In lieu of photos you will have to settle for writing. Why? Because dummy me forgot to put the card back in the camera and took pictures all day without realizing there was no card! ARGH! So mad at myself!
We had a really wonderful Easter, and I feel more and more blessed with our new version of Team LaJoy with each passing day. As someone said to me today, there are lots of Kodak moments right now (even if mom can't be bothered to remember to put the card in the camera!). Many of those moments are more verbal than photographic in nature. Quiet conversations of shared histories again in the car tonight when I had to run back to our friends to get my purse...which I forgot there (see a theme here at all???) but it was worth it as it allowed me to have time to laugh and giggles as times at the orphanage were recalled and Kenny's first days here were discussed. Why is it so much easier in the dark to open hearts?? Need more late night drives I think...
I can not tell you how much I love the fact that all of our kids totally believe in the Easter Bunny...yes, even Matthew. I am sure this is the last year for that with him, but my heart smiled as I tucked them into bed last night and he sat up saying "Mommy, I don't think I can sleep tonight! It feels almost like Santa Clause is coming!!", and I was told later that he was on the stairs to Angela's bed early saying "Angela...Angela! Get up...the Bunny was here!". In today's world with the early loss of innocence and childhoods ending abruptly far earlier than they should, this was important to me. I said long before we ever had kids that I thought the biggest challenge would be letting them have a real childhood in our modern world, that keeping them innocent would be the single most important and most difficult task we would ever have. When kids grow up too soon, they miss out on so much that is important to healthy development. I don't want my kids approaching adolescence at 10 years old!
Thankfully, we have somehow been able to pull it off and one of the reasons I think we have managed to do so is our strong limitation of TV time, where images of pre-maturely jaded kids abound. It has also kept the "I wants" at bay. Sure they watch some cartoons are their favorite, but monitoring it carefully has made a big difference. I am sorry, but I find most of the Disney shows that are designed for kids to be inappropriate, demeaning of adults, and flat out snarky in nature. They also push an attitude of lack of gratitude in general which I personally don't care for. That doesn't mean our kids haven't watched some of these shows, but it is a rare occasion, not a steady diet of it.
It was a lot of fun to watch the girls this morning as they really had no understanding of the concept of the Easter Bunny, an egg hunt, etc. It took a few minutes for them to connect the dots and then they were off and running in the cold, bare footed, dashing here and there to grab as many eggs as they could! Lots of wonderful firsts we have had, despite missing so much of their lives.
We played Monopoly last night, and tried Life the night before. The girls understood the mechanics of the games easily, but it was quite obvious that we have a LOT of work to do with math as we saw them both struggle with simple tasks with the fake money. It also reminded me just how much our children learn from us without us really knowing it, by merely being part of a family from a young age. Angela was buying a property for $350 and had no clue what to hand me to purchase it. She didn't understand at all that if she gave me $500 she would get change back, nor did she know how much. It seems in her case, she has decent math facts skills but practical, real life application ability is non-existent. Olesya was totally lost in almost anything having to do with the money, but she was a land baroness before we knew it! Hahaha~!
There is so much work ahead of us, and I have to constantly remind myself that it is 1 day at a time, Rome wasn't built in a day, right? This will take years of making up for lost time, but every day they are absorbing so much! I can't let myself feel too overwhelmed by the loooooonnngg road we need to walk, or I will be so scared I will turn back and give up.
We ended the day at our friend's home for dinner, with us bringing a turkey which the girls kept calling a chicken. We tried to explain but it didn't stick. So I guess we had an Easter chicken! Hahaha!
We also may have been connected with a wonderful resource for Kenny when someone came up to me after church today and offered her assistance to work with him one on one beginning in late summer. She is a retired teacher who specialized in reading issues, and herself is dyslexic so understands what it feels like to be intelligent and not be able to read well. Our family is touched on so many levels by the most amazing people whom God has brought into our lives. At moments like that, I feel far less alone in this and realize that this new phase requires as much...if not more...faith than our adoption of Angela and Olesya did. At least with the adoption, I had a clue what was going on, felt seasoned walking into it, and was as well prepared as anyone could be. This is a whole different realm, and homeschooling is something I am definitely walking into unseasoned, uncertain and unprepared for.
But how could I forget God is with us always? And sometimes with great risks and challenges come great rewards. If this is truly what God wants for our children and our family, then we are never going to be left dangling all alone! How could I forget that after all the trust we have placed in God thus far? Once again, I fail, placing myself incorrectly as the Lead Player rather than as minor bit part actor who simply puts myself out there to be used in whatever capacity God sees fit. It's been made abundantly clear that we should be making this step, regardless of how foolish it might appear, so as of today I am going to trust in that guidance 100% and look for ways in which God sends reassurance, for I know it will be there in the form of many people and experiences that I can not begin to fathom.
And as I remind myself daily right now, Kenny already can't really read...how much more damage can I do to that? The worst thing I could do is not make any progress, right? The worst thing that happens with the girls is that they gain in verbal skills but I stink at everything else and we put them all back in school. The best thing that happens is they all graduate from Harvard at 18! HAHAHAHA!!!! NOT! I'd take reading and writing on grade level for all 5 of them and be pretty satisfied with that.
So today's message that I will carry forward into the year is Courage Always.
And I sure wish I had photos of the kids in front of the rainbow draped cross today, all holding up their "Love Wins." stickers. Can't believe I missed that opportunity!!