The talent that is hidden without broken spirits of those who are invisible in their own society is heartbreaking. The struggle Staas will have entering adulthood and trying to manage a "real" life without the necessary underpinning of training in a family is beyond our comprehension. I ask for prayers for Staas as he is faced with the challenge of leaving the orphanage and being alone in the world. Thank goodness for people like Victoria who reach out to these kids and do what they can.
I find myself hesitating to blog these days because I feel we have nothing of interest to share with anyone. Settling into daily life which will no longer include the ups and downs of preparing for another adoption is a relief for me, but doesn't make for very interesting reading for any of you. But I remind myself often that this blog is for us, and recording the more mundane is as important as all that came before.
I also have discovered that writing for the blog serves a huge purpose for me, and that is it forces me to try and find the Spirit in the little things, it helps focus my attention on the presence of the Holy in what appears to the outsider to be insignificant. For truly, there is significance in all we do, if we do it with the right heart. And God speaks to us as we go about our daily lives in ways that we often don't take the time to tune in to.
But I know reading a blog about how a kid is doing in school or what books we happen to be reading has to be as entertaining as being forced to sit through a 1 hour slide show of your friend's or in-law's vacation pictures showing pasty white swim suit clad bodies in 25 poses on a sandy beach on some island somewhere.
I guess I say that all to acknowledge that I know we are boring these days, and I am sorry yet thrilled to have much of the drama behind us, at least for now. There is more subtle stuff going on, mainly for me internally, and that too makes for boring reading and will be worked out in time. With that being said, here is a peak of the remainder of our week:
As you can see from the photo above, the kids have taken the Summer 2010 Team LaJoy Book Challenge seriously! We now have our chain stretching halfway down our driveway and it is growing daily. I know I am a total, utter geek to admit this, but this gives me such a thrill! Maybe it is because I know that reading is the root of all learning, maybe it is because I have always found comfort in a good book, maybe it is getting a kick out of seeing all the kids grow. Whatever it is, my heart is warmed by watching them all grab a book before leaving the house for any lengthy car rides. I love being begged to have "just 15 more minutes to read" while in bed.
I have to admit that one of the sweetest things this past couple of weeks is watching Angela come alive with reading. We found the hook without realizing it. On her own she discovered our entire collection of the Little House series and asked if she could watch one. From that first episode, she has been totally hooked and has begged to watch it constantly. She has watched almost the entire first season and has talked and talked about each episode afterward. Over and over she has said to me "I love this Laura...she so funny! Good family, good movies.". This week on our library visit I searched and found a stack of beginning readers based on the higher level Little House books. These beautiful picture books had her squealing with delight when I found them and grabbed every single one of them off the shelf.
That was all it took...she now has read them all, some more than once, and was so happy to learn there were many more at a higher reading level. Now she has a purpose to her reading, and she wanted more books about pioneer times. Prior she was just grabbing a fistful of books off the shelf in the beginning reading section and throwing them in the basket, and with one exception being the Bearenstain Bears she hasn't shown any real interest other than she knows she has to read. Olesya was easy as her love of animals had her searching out books from day one, and she seems to be generally more curious about the world around her as she scopes out the pictures in the Eyewitness book series, etc. We tried the Junie B. Jones series which Angela did enjoy, but we found the dialogue to be too challenging as it was written in the language of a 6 year old with many things that didn't make sense. I think we will hit that eventually again once we have more understanding of the more obscure meanings in daily English language but for now we needed more story and less 6 year old dialogue.
Last night I began reading aloud to Matthew from his new birthday book, the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries. As I read it I realized what a tremendous vocabulary was required to understand it, and I worried it might be too difficult for him. We are not a true "classics" family as many homeschoolers are, maybe because we need to get basic English down first! Hahaha! But I am SO GLAD our friend bought this for him, as it is awesome! I would read a paragraph or two, then stop and explain the new words or have him narrate back to me what he understood the story to be saying...and I'll be darned, he did great with it! There were many new words to him, or words that he vaguely understood what the meaning was but couldn't pinpoint it. But he LOVED the writing, and it is definitely the next level up for him... an appropriate stretch and since I have spent the past 4 months doing nothing but reading "baby" books it is super special to have something he and I can wade into together and share...and it is just ours alone. I love nothing more than reading to and with the kids, and I am glad they all love it as much. My hope has been that as we all grow in skill, read alouds will be a greater part of our life together. I know of the rare family here or there who reads aloud together every night until their kids are in their teens, and I hope we are one of those too as it will provide some special family moments together that we will all surely long remember.
The kids all decided to "Play Store" yesterday, which was spearheaded by Olesya! Maybe Kenny has a fellow entrepreneur in the family, in all honesty I am beginning to see it. Believe it or not, this girl LOVES cleaning cars and is begging to go work with Daddy sometime. She has gone out and cleaned my van out several times, vacuuming it and doing a fine job of it. She and Kenny were having long conversations about being in business together a couple of days ago doing something together. Who knows? We have noticed that both Olesya and Angela are drawing closer to Kenny these days. I think it took them a bit to adjust their expectations of their older or same age brother who really is their little brother in so many ways. As they have grown to know him better and understand where he is at developmentally, they have become even more protective and understanding with him, taking him for the 8-9 year old he really is in most ways.
So Josh and Olesya created a store then everyone else joined in. I was confused by the sign above the bed that read "Toys $200.00 & Pawn" as I knew neither of them knew what a Pawn Shop was. Alas, the English issues (and 2nd grader issues!) came into play and it turns out they were advertising that toys were for sale for $200 OR "8 Pounds"...not "& Pawn"...Hahahaha! That happens so often around our house I fail to document it, we are always laughing at English errors! Currently it is between Angela trying to pronounce one that most newbies to our area struggle with "Uncompaghre" which somehow turns into something like "uncomhungry". For Kenny it is impossible for him to say the word "experience" and he says "experiment" every single time.
Needless to say, my brain works overtime 24/7 trying to interpret. Today is one of those days when I looked at Dominick and said "Honestly, I am brain fried and need a break!".
Matthew selling the remainder of his Easter candy. This is why I never worry about the kids having candy stashed in their rooms after holidays. We have never once had a problem with them eating it all up too fast or sneaking it. They will all come out and ask me "Mom, can I have a little of my Halloween/Easter/Christmas treats?". Don't ask my why, we are polar opposites of health food nuts, they just don't crave it all that much. Josh in particular will turn down sweet treats all the time. I need some of his genes :-)
Love how they each put out a "tip" sign. It turned into more of a lemonade stand and we all drank far too much yesterday!
Unfortunately, we determined this morning that we have to reschedule Kenny's surgery for this week. He has a bit of a cold and is coughing some, sounding a little congested. Shriner's already called a couple weeks ago to make sure he was healthy and had not had anything in the past 30 days. We canceled reservations today and will speak with them Monday to reschedule. We are a bit bummed about it, as Kenny gets mentally ready for surgery and then to have to drop it is a little hard. But all in the right timing, so whatever works is fine with us.
I enjoyed a moment this week when I was officially crowned "Queen LaJoy" by our friend Lael, whose support has been so helpful these last few months. She totally cracks me up and her creativity knows no bounds. So with my Burger King crown on, and my flowered cape, I bid you all adieu for the afternoon...at least I can be a Queen in my own mind! Hahaha!