I've been thinking about recording several different things for a while now, and it's well past time for me to write them down!
- We're having a great summer, first of all! :) I've had a great young lady from church that we're having come help a little during the week. Katie has been Micah and James' Sunday school teacher for the last year and now will have Lynae. Katie came on Friday and we all went to the zoo! After the zoo, Lynae napped while the other seven kids headed out back to the kiddie pool. When everyone was settled and enjoying the pool... I escaped! For the first time in many months at home, I made dinner completely by myself!!
- On Saturday I headed over to St. Petersburg for a Wright's Law conference. It was a great conference because I received books which will help me to navigate the special ed laws, and more so because they are now highlighted so that I know where to look for the more 'important' stuff. Unfortunately, I really felt like the conference took about twice as long as would be necessary to do that... and the rest of the time was about Pete Wright himself. Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy and has a lot of accomplishments... and I'm glad to get to know him a little during the conference. But... I also would have loved for it to have been about 3 hours shorter too!!! I left home at 5am and got home at 10pm (after a LOVELY dinner with two friends! :) ).
- On Saturday as I drove to St. Petersburg (about 2.5 hours), I was burdened by two things. One, was an overwhelming brokenness for my adopted children, and children just like them that have no families... no knowledge outside the life in a facility... and no one to count on to be there the next day. I needed this... God knew I REALLY needed it. Because adoption isn't easy. And, in fact, one of our children in particular is very difficult. There's really no secret who she is, since she is new to us and came from a mental institution and has zero concept of love, family, or social expectations. I needed that refresher. That burdening, that brokenness. I needed a reminder of how far she's come in 5 months! The second thing I was burdened for was my CRAVING for the Word. The Bible. In my brokenness over the orphan, I recognized one of the reasons that our transition is so difficult. One of the reasons that *I* am having as hard of a time dealing with Aleksa's behaviors... not just her dealing with her new life. That reason is that in the busyness of the day, of managing life with 8 kids and figuring out what our 'new normal' is over the last 5 months, I haven't had nearly enough time in the Bible to refresh my spirit and to let God work in me. That's gonna change.
- Today was church. I missed church last week while I was visiting Elizabeth and I think that's part of the burdening that I had yesterday. But today we were able to go with Aleksa and Wesley (we don't leave them in children's programs still) in to the worship service and openly worship our God! Michael went in to church early to prepare for a class he's teaching at our church summer program, "CHAOS" next week and he brought Kristopher with him. I had the other 7 kids at home and brought them all up to the church. Walking through the parking lot with two wheelchairs, James and Micah holding hands with Micah holding both the wheelchair and James' hand, Lynae and Brianna holding hands, but with Brianna staring at her shoes to carefully make every step... walking behind me... Well, we made it from the car to the gym building and Michael met us there on his way out to help. I decided that was another 'recordable feat' in my book of things that I've "survived" as a mom of many little ones :) Generally I'd have a large stroller or something like that when navigating with everyone, but when the kids all go different directions within the church, I don't have that option!
- Tonight we had a quick gathering with a few other moms and we all had a nice time. All I can share is that if you attend Park Avenue and you're not sure if you'll be at church this Father's Day... You won't want to miss it!! :)
- Also, I made an 'ice vest' for James! I used an "OP" brand 2-piece swimsuit and flotation shirt and used only the shirt. I slit each of the 4 foam compartments and removed 2 of the 3 thin foam inserts. I replaced them with 4 ice packs. It has sleeves, 50 SPF, and a zipper up the front. I'm not sure how long it will stay cool, but since I forgot to bring it to the zoo (OOPS!), we put water on James constantly while at the zoo and he stayed fine. After, we put it on James while playing in the kiddie pool since we were still outside. I think he liked it! :) We kept a tank top on under it so there weren't scratchy parts of plastic from the ice packs up against his skin. He did great with it on and didn't seem to mind it at all! Total cost: $25.
- We had tried the ice vest once before, and James liked it then as well. That made us consider a weighted vest for daytime use. We did a little research, and finally decided to just make our own vest for him! I bought two identical (clearance $4) button up long sleeved collared shirts at Target. One shirt I cut the collar, buttons, and sleeves off of. That one is the lining. The second I sewed a zipper on (from the inside) the chest panels on each side. When it's finished, the zipper will close the flap that a weighted (adult ankle weight) pack will slide in to. The sleeves can be rolled! Hopefully James will like it and maybe he'll even 'calm' a little with it... And if not, it was about $20 to make.
- Today I took a big step. One that I've been praying about for a while. One that I believe God has brought about the timing for. I consider myself blessed to have a rejuvenated friendship which allowed today's decision. More on that in the future. For now, I rest, contented, knowing that God has been at work on my heart.