We have some very excited boys today, just waiting to get on the plane to see Grandma's and Disneyland! I must have been asked 50 times this week already "When are we going to get there?' and we haven't even boarded a plane yet!
What a roller coaster week it has been for many, many reasons. Our dear friends departed yesterday after staying at our home for their last night in town. I can't even talk about how painful it was, and yet how beautiful to have people you hold so dear to your heart. Matthew didn't show much emotion when they left, but the remainder of the day he was very solemn, and spent over an hour cuddled in my lap after they left, rocking in the recliner silently as we both contemplated a life without them. Their son left Matt his huge body pillow to remember him by, to remind him of all the sleepovers they had...and guess what just HAD to be packed in our bags for California.
We finished their new bedroom before we left...thank goodness! What a big project as we rearranged the layout of our house, painted bedrooms as we moved them into our old bedroom, moved ourselves into a different bedroom, and we now have an empty room waiting should we be blessed one day to bring our girls home. Walking by it every day serves as a reminder of them, and I don't know whether to smile or to furrow my brow in dismay that it the color still blue and not pink or purple! Hahahaha! Here are a couple of photos of the boys rooms...and if anyone has to couble (or triple!) up in a bedroom for their kids, these beds were terrific...from Ikea and only $149 each!!! Best bargain as we had looked for over a year for something inexpensive and most of these loft beds are not cheap. We got folding plastic tables and chairs from Walmart for under their beds to use as desks, and the bookshelves were $16 from Target on sale. eventually I will get bulletin boards for each of them for under their beds, and all the time I thought I wanted a framed picture or something for their wall and they begged me to put up a Kazakh wall hanging we purchased in last time were in Kazakhstan. So, simple as it is, it is done...after about 40 coats of red which didn't to cover over the purple wall with flowers painted on it! Hahaha! I have to laugh as honestly...I am not kidding here...all three boys originally wanted me to KEEP the purple wall and flowers as they liked them so much. I figured that might be the case now, but not so much when they are teenagers :-)
Thursday was the last day of school for Kenny and Matthew, and they had a "Field Day" with lots of outdoor events and then an award ceremony. They both begged meto go to school with them that day, goofily getting down on their knees and giving me puppy dog faces, until I relented despite having tons of things to do before our trip. Josh was invited by Kenny's teacher to come along as well, so we had a Family Day there with even Dominick showing up for lunch and hanging out. Joshie, of course, had to attend with his beloved blankie wrapped around him...and Matthew and Kenny both get a huge kick out of how all the girls in their class have to give Joshie hugs and say "He's so cute!" as they stand by and ignore the older boys. Matthew laughed and told me Thursday "Mom, Joshie is going to have more girlfriends than either Kenny or I!".
All the kids had a blast and enjoyed all the games, and Joshie sure felt like a Big Guy hanging out with all the older kids.
What a moment of reflection it was...and yes with mom swiping away a tear or two...when Kenny received the Achievement Award during the awards ceremony. He received it for all the hard work he has put into school this year, and that certainly is true. In 9 months he has gone from a child who could not even recite the Russian alphabet to a little boy who is already reading in basic readers. His speech has improved tremendously, and his math is at almost a second grade level. For a child who had never been to school before, had not even the equivalent of pre-school under his belt, we are so proud and pleased with all his teachers have helped him to learn this year. His first year was phenomenal and he had the blessing of people all around him who cared about him, spent extra time with him, and guided him in so many ways. You go, Kenny! There is NOTHING stopping you!!
We had another moment to celebrate as well when Matthew received a certificate for being on the honor role, the first time he was eligible and he made it! We couldn't be prouder of you, Matthew. Your diligence at always doing your homework, and particularly this year listening to advice your teacher had for improvement really paid off.
In addition to our own kiddos, we had the great joy of seeing so many of the Cub Scouts in our Pack being honored for their achievements, some who have struggled and worked really hard received recognition for all they have done. We loved seeing all of them up there, bringing Pride to our Pack!
So now, we are half an hour from leaving for the airport and Dominick is bugging me to hurry up and quit blogging...the car still needs to be loaded! I am so glad he indulges me, but even I have to admit this is cutting it short so I had better get moving. We'll post as we can during our trip, and hope to relax after a year filled with joy, sorrow, frustration, dedication, and celebration...we will take a breather, reflect on how far we have come as a family, and have a wonderful time together.
It was one year ago tomorrow that we met Kenny for the very first time, one year ago that we held him close, looked into one anothers eyes, and said "Welcome to our family". What an incredible blessing he has been, what laughter he has added, how much we have all grown because of his presence.
Thanks to all for following along with us, thanks to all for your encouragement during the hard times.
We ARE family.