- Phoebe - Eyes are healing beautifully. She never runs into doorknobs with her forehead anymore. She's going to preschool for five hours two days a week and she loves it. On Tuesdays and Thursdays her entire countenance changes because she is one of the big kids; she carries herself like a schoolgirl. She is kicking the tail of potty training. She pretty much owns that commode. She and Lydie have been playing house often and Lydie is the momma and Phoebe is the "sweetie." That is a fitting title for Phoebe. Only one of that twosome can play the sweetie, they have cast the correct actress in the role.
- Noah - Finally likes school enough that we don't battle in the morning about whether or not he should go. There is a girl named Angelique that wants him to be her prince and he is pretty darn tired of telling her he does not want to participate in her recess game plan of playing prince and princess. She seems to think that persisting to nag him will get him to be her prince; she is woefully ill-informed. He had managed to learn almost nothing from us prior to entering Kindergarten, making his current knowledge level fairly impressive. This school seems to teach kids things, which is nice. He is working hard and doing well. He still much prefers the weekends and being with us. Who can blame him? ;)
- Hope - Is frustrated with a girl in her class that always rolls her eyes at everything she says. That is her single complaint about school. Oh, I take that back. Today she was scandalized that a boy told her she has a very pretty face. She just could not believe he would say something like that to her! When I tried to figure out what was so shocking about that she said, "I am eight. Boys don't say things like that when you are eight." She is doing better than ever before and while it took her a year after Isaac to learn to read; she is now reading close to his level. There are a few things that are more difficult for her but we're proud of the way she is persisting in spite of difficulty. We don't underestimate what 9 months of orphanage neglect without enough calories/formula may have done - it just makes her all the more amazing and we're cheering her along and celebrating how far she has come academically in a few short months. Troy was at an event at school with her the other night and five or six kids asked incredulously, "THAT is your Dad?" Hope looked at them like they've just asked the most stupid question ever and replied "Uh, Yeah!" in a "what of it!?" tone of voice. (Troy thinks it is because they are shocked at how handsome he is, but I think it is probably something else.)
- Lydia - We've been trying a few new things with Lydie. She is supremely disinterested in allowing us to do anything for her and that leads to many long drawn out episodes of ridiculousness every day. If you were to witness how long it takes us to leave a public restroom because SHE must open the heavy door totally by herself, you'd consider having me institutionalized. We've started giving her choices that don't matter. Do you want to hold my left hand or my right hand? Do you want your juice in a pink cup or an orange cup? Do you want to put your shoes on now or in thirty seconds? Do you want two crackers or three? It seems to be making her feel more autonomous and less frustrated. We've been dealing with her meltdowns by talking about her feelings. The hope is that by identifying her feeling (mad or sad or frustrated) we might one day have a little girl that says, "I'm mad" rather than screaming and kicking. We can dream, can't we? She has figured out that when she feels sad she gets the best response and even a little empathy. Last night I put her to bed then heard her saying, "I sad mama, I saaaad." I went in to lie down with her and ask her what was making her so sad. After a few minutes she said, "Oh mama, I just faking."
- Isaac - Still walks around shining his happy light on every situation. As happy as he is, we're finding out he is still a deep thinker and is always trying to figure out the world. Lately he has been very concerned for the kids at his school because they are mostly children of divorced parents. We figured out he needs reassurance that we're not planning to divorce. We also learned at dinner the other night that he is a little bit stressed about being taken away from us. Out of the blue he asked me how often I drink wine. I replied, "I don't know, not that often, why buddy?" He said, "Because if parents drink a lot of wine or beer their kids get taken away and I am just glad you don't." He has a tendency to take things very literally and to make one story he hears into the ONLY possible story/outcome. We spoke at Nations Church in Dallas a few weeks ago and during the Q and A portion he raised his hand to ask Troy, "How did God really make those mountains move, that seems like it would be hard." Troy's metaphor was taken quite literally. Many little girls in his class have a crush on him. He is overwhelmed with some of them. He wanted to tell me something embarrassing but he was so uncomfortable with it he wanted to stand behind me to tell me. (No eye contact.) He said one girl dances and sings a "naughty" song to him. We've talked a lot about the culture and television and how it sometimes causes kids do inappropriate things and not even know they are. The night after that conversation he was praying at bedtime and he asked God to please let His love be known and felt by his classmates and their families.
- Paige - Her peppy attitude is contagious. She is now not only working hard academically she is also on the swim team. The good news is, she is the fastest, most talented swimmer. The bad news is the rest of the team needed to learn to swim. The team is less about competing in meets and more about learning to improve strokes and get some cardiovascular workouts in; which is kind of disappointing since it is supposedly called "competitive swimming". We've determined that at this point it is just swimming but she is doing it anyway. :) Paige is being given unique (and challenging) opportunities to exhibit love. She is turning the other cheek in some difficult situations at school. My heart swells when I think about her strength and determination. She drove us to Target the other night and tried hard to kill us when she pulled out of a parking lot; that night my heart didn't so much swell as it did pound. Perhaps more behind the wheel time is in order.
- Britt & Chris- Britt is taking her final semester very seriously and aiming high. Chris has a touch of senioritis and is going to skate across the line on fumes. It is understandable though because he is also working more than 40 hours a week between two jobs. French is the bane of his existence and is the class he must conquer in order to receive a diploma in December. Britt is not kidding around and kind of freaks us out with her type-A perfectionist attitude. Both of them are working on their grad-school plans and considering immediately starting in on more education. They have two dogs and a house and jobs and school, but we still get to see Britt most days. We love having her drop in and tell us the Baylor story of the day. Being parents of an adult child is weird ... and awesome. (We've never done this before, you know.) Britt and I have done a ton of learning and talking about how to do this relationship now that she is all-grownz-up. Finding the balance between smothering and neglecting can be tough. I think our time together in Waco has helped us figure out so much.
This week we met with a social worker for the final time to finish the paperwork for Phoebe's Texas adoption stuff. There was legitimate concern on her part as she watched the swarm of children and wondered aloud how we ever had time to get it on. Her concern stopped short of offering to baby-sit but it was sweet none the less. She realized we are coming up on our 12th Anniversary soon and asked us how we ended up with a tribe this size so quickly. She seemed to think we planned it. We told her there was no plan and we don't recall deciding anything about anything. It's all one giant and fabulous blur.