Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mother's day victories and defeats:)

Hard to believe it has been a full month since I doubled the fun of motherhood! The first week I found myself on the verge of hyperventilation...and that was the calm part of my days! To be honest I was scared to death I had made a crazed horrid mistake and jumped in way over my comfort level....and I had. At least the part about the comfort level. I felt backed into a corner and scared to death.  No one was happy during week one.  I was putting out little fires of unhappiness all over the place.  I had many conversations with God about His voice...and had I done the right thing? Had I heard him correctly? THIS IS REALLY HARD! I groaned.  He said even His own best kids acted up sometimes and He knew how I felt. arguing with God was going to make this better.  But praying did.  And each day has had it's share of victories....and defeats.  Bentley hits Marina....Evan is irritated by Lindsey....Lindsey and Bentley hit each other....Marina and Evan are fighting over the door to his room being shut....or open. Bentley is still in pull ups and seriously I think diapers would be cheaper he goes through these things so fast! We are bribing him silly just to poop in the potty. (sorry, this is a real life story).   But each day gets a little better.  Evan has taken a huge interest in his little brother.  I think it had to do with the fact that the kids told us they had never been to a movie we took them on friday night to see the Lego Movie--which was awesome! (everything is awesome...if you have seen it you get the pun....). I will admit it is difficult to sit through a movie with a kid who has adhd...but we did great and it was a great family journey.  Bentley got up the next morning asking if we could go to the movies again:).

They love church--both churches...and Lindsey said her first "grace" for dinner tonight! She was so excited to have done it! These are not "firsts" you think you will share with someone....but the firsts are surprising.  Lindsey and Marina get the giggles and fall out laughing all over the place some days, and most nights.  But to see Evan give Bentley the name " King Jr.." is really something sweet.  Of course Evan is King Epic or some such thing, and I call Lindsey "Rapunzel", which she thinks is "Brupunzel" and we are often all trying to figure out what Marina is saying though I always tell her in russian that she is beautiful...and she is. They all are.  I cannot believe they are my children.  I am stunned by their beauty and complexity.

 We have two swimming pools now- one small one for the nonswimmers and one big one for those who can swim...and we have a garden that has the cutest fence around it.  It is so cute it qualifies as a pinterest post! The yard is fun, and so inviting! There are two things that level the playing field for this brood--one is the pools and going crazy outside....the other is listening to the Newsboys on the radio about as loud as we can enjoy it. I don't have a lot of time to blog because I am still gripping this big blue ball of earth by my fingernails and keeping a smile on when I can remember.  Adoption is NOTHING like birthing a is infinitely more difficult.  And this is my mother's day:)  Off & Running!

Life can be beautifully messy!

This was taken mothers day of this year:) Bentley and Evan are my super heroes and Lindsey and Marina are my damsels in distress:) The little ones arrived on April 10th and it has been crazy since that day.  They are beautiful and funny and annoying and crazy....usually before breakfast. One is over the top medicated and we are working hard to bring that down to a minimum if not completely eliminate it from the existance plan. I do not like to think that a 2 1/2 year old was diagnosed with ADD and never given the chance to heal before the symptoms became masked behind amphetamines and heart medication (the adderall is a jack up med and the other two are a bring ya down med--hoping to break even so focus will come's a sad commentary on how the government is involved in fixing "their" kids and someone should spend some jail time for it in my opinion considering that kids age and circumstances.) The chaos is real and the hurt runs deep for both of them.  Bentley can't walk by Marina without smacking her but his apologies are so sweet--it is a crummy cycle and she no longer accepts his apologies.  Lindsey and Evan annoy the crap out of each other.... on purpose.  I assume jealousy? Or maybe she is looking for a new way to manipulate her circumstances.  I am astounded at how these two precious children have learned to manipulate their world like professionals.  And every bit of it is based in survival instincts.  It will take time to build trust and create a safe haven. There are no short cuts for that.  Marina gets to go to camp next week for 5 days at a special needs camp and she is sooo excited! I saw the pictures and it is too bad I can't go:) It looks wonderful! Evan will go to camp in late July and he is starting to look forward to it once I convinced him people don't spend that kind of money on "punishment"--He thought I was sending him away! I am sending him to save his sanity:) We spend a great deal of time at Lantern Ridge pool and Evan and Marina are on the swim team there.  The little ones LOVE the little pool while the older ones practice twice a day so most days are taken up with that. For now it is the best thing we could have done to keep busy and balanced for now.  Bentley will attend child development center in the fall and Lindsey will attend school with the other two as she enters as a kindergardener.  I look at their coloring and their art work and they are definitely delayed.  Bentley falls down constantly and I really think his eye hand coordination never had a chance to take root--he never bonded with anyone as a baby when developing that black and white initial motion and facial recongnition since he spent most days in a baby seat.  I won't go into much more of their back ground or their current behaviors because that is not what defines them.  Tomorrow defines them.  Hope defines them.  A chance to believe and grow and live and succeed defines them.  Marina was no picnic every day after her arrival either. For that matter Evan has had bad days.  And we won't even talk about mine:) The point is, life is messy and hard.  I have struggled with being overwhelmed with this and with what some would define as post adoption depression.  Some days if I get the dishwasher emptied I am feeling successful!  Other days are easier.  Most days I referee my little heart out trying to put out fires I can't just let burn out--the rage is too intense.  The fact that there is a respite of naptime each day is a flat out gift from God.  And I do love them. My heart hurts for them when I watch them have no idea about going to the movie theater or having a milk shake..  We are settling in and we also have a long way to go.  Maybe the rest of our lives.  Adoption support groups is mandatory when I find one.  Mental re-evaluations are mandatory.  Therapy for all of us will be mandatory as a family.  Play therapy is on the horizon.  Scott is helping me every one of his waking moments but he has long 4 day work weeks so I am solo for several days.  We parent different and each kid needs different parenting styles so we have to work through that as well.  Following the voice of God is not for the ones looking for an easy life.  People in general are an inconvenience when they don't "act right" or exist in the same circle of behavior as we would like.  That is often the biggest problem in the life of most "christians" because helping others is without question "inconvenient".  But the rewards are great! In big ways and in small ways... these little lives will be changed forever and they WILL have a chance. Just look at Marina in 3 and a half years....she is a success at school and has more friends than I will probably ever have.  She can swim like a fish and she is funny...and annoying.  She still can't talk worth a hoot but we figure it out most of the time.  Right now she is sitting at my feet giggling her silly head off trying to get my attention....all of which beats sitting medicated and drooling in the corner of an adult mental institution in a war torn country right now. Remember the other path she was on?That was her reality until God broke my heart for what breaks His. I was on a different path along time ago too.  God adopted me and stuck with me when I was messy.  He is still sticking with me...and I still need Him...Every day of my life.  In exchange I get bigger dreams and wilder fields of living and the colors are brighter and we always 4 wheel every where we go:() I am still messy but in a good way.  I still get to be me, but by sticking within His set of boundaries, I get to live I am trying to teach my little ones.  Live by the rules of the House.  Enjoy life to the fullest.  I will honestly say, it is not easy, but it is exciting and worth it. I do NOT have the answers to every question...even the ones like why is the sky grey? why is it raining? what is rain? did you know it is raining mom? is it going to rain today later? is it going to rain tomorrow? are we going to walmart? Coz we need an umbrella:) mama, can I stay here with you? can I stay forever? How about 8 years?  Well, some questions I have the answer to. Yes, you can stay here forever, even for 8 years:) Take a chance on something big before you lose that window.  Life is a one time offer, use it well.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Much change, fresh starts

It's been a year and 3 months since my last update. I took off from writing after I came home from a writer's conference and much change occurred the week after that. It was a time I didn't want to write about because I was learning my way by walking out faith through a grey time. Tully and I separated the week after my return... And we learned a new way of life. In many ways it was learning to breathe again because the very air surrounding us changed. I worked 7 days a week and Evan was no longer home schooled. As we were able to maintain, we learned how to work together and bond together as a working unit. A single mom status comes with a sense of being judged and expectations to be everything. I have a whole new perspective of what I see when I hear I am in the company of a single mom....A warrior princess who has no idea how to hang on to the planet some days. As time went on the kids grades rose. They are on honor rolls and Evan has been on the honor roll for the last year. He has worked so hard to overcome the baggage of losing his dad, though still with a long way to go. Marina rolls with things:) her answer to change is "ok". And she means it!

I am so proud of who they are becoming. Evan was accepted into Art Visions gifted program just yesterday. Marina can write and identify so many words now, it is exciting to see her really learning to read.

I came into being single with the attitude that I was devoted to being MOM but no more relationships. It would be too messy and I was done with messy grown ups. The chuckle from God was audible. I came into agreement that if someone came along to help with the kids I could welcome that.... It seemed a safe agreement at the time. A week later a man I work with came up and said he would be happy to help anytime I needed assistance with the kids or if Evan needed a male companion for any events. He was unmarried and had a back ground in Christian camp counseling from his earlier years. I knew he had gone to Bob Jones and was seeking a relationship but I knew his standards were through the roof- and I was not his type but had been his friend for several years.

Anybody else see where this is heading? I sure didn't! Sometimes God leaves us in our cloak of unawareness for our own sake just to complete his plan without arguments from us. But Scott persevered and committed to his offer to a time I realized I was flat out exhausted. I loved working with him at my house to keep it from disrepair and we laugh a lot. He talks to me and coaches me and encourages me in faith and in life.  He is a non smoker, non drinker, non cusser. He is stable and loyal and has a beautiful heart. He thinks I am great:) it's amazing. The kids are growing to count on him for things I cannot do. We are in a safe place and a good place.

After my divorce was final I immediately updated my home study for adoption. I KNEW it was something I was supposed to do.  It was finished and put out nationwide to introduce me as the eligible mom looking for a boy and a girl....something for everyone haha! Evan has always wanted us to have more kids around. His request was that they speak English:) and he wanted a brother for him
and a sister for Rina. Seemed easy enough... And unlike Marina's journey this one was fast and painless...from start til two days we welcome Lindsey and Bentley into our home and lives. She is 5 and he is 4.  Their birthdays flank Marina's birthday by two days on either side....Dec 27, 29, and 31!they are small from what I hear so as a side note if you are spring cleaning, yes I will take your size 3 and 4 boys and 4/5 girls wear :) we are all so excited we can hardly stand it! Life will be another sharp shift towards fun...and I have convinced myself they will play together like kittens.. The more there are the busier they will be in their own world... I attribute this to how much fun everyone has when they are together with cousins and how easy it can be. Ya"ll can quit laughing at me know...

It was amazing how the new little ones just came at the right time and the adoption board that was in charge of them decided I was a great was all done in three and a half months, and really a month and a half since I saw their little faces. It only takes one picture sometimes. it's all it took me to fall in love with Marina! And I pursued her halfway across the world. What a worthy trip that was...and besides God had the whole journey in the palm of his hand. It's comforting to use the rear view mirror when traveling with is amazing to see where He has taken you and how He opened gates left and right just exactly on time.   Always what the enemy has planned to thwart us God ends up shining through...I have lived through that enough to see it a way more than His promise ( For I know the plans I have for you says The Lord...plans to prosper you and not to harm you!) this is His personality in action.

So all is alive and well and sooo exciting! We welcome prayers during this next phase for sure....that the littles would arrive prepared for a new life and unafraid. And that Evan would embrace his new leadership position with honor....and Marina would NOT boss them to pieces :) and pray for Scott that he isn't overwhelmed....I am still holding him to his original help offer:)
I will begin to document their arrival with photos and periodic updates as I can. Thanks for hanging in there with us! It's never boring:)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I imagine by now you thought they would be in college it has been so long since I posted:0 But here we are, the end of January heralding in the end of winter (all 5 minutes of it here in the south).  Valentines day is coming up soon and these two will help me fill out all those classroom valentines cards and wear red and probably find a way to consume an exponential value of sugar that could fuel cars if given the chance.  Life has changed a lot since my last post and that is partly why I have not posted....but truth is the only way to address life if you want to heal and move forward.  There is a christian song that talks about how families never crumble in a day and that is terribly true...but it does eventually take place on a single day. After heading in a particularly undesirable direction  for years, it finally culminated in the decision that Tully would move back north to Pennsylvania this past November.  Sometimes people have things they never get over in life and sometimes people have a predisposition to dependency issues that are genetic...and sometimes it is both.  The decision to break apart was a difficult one but one that has lead to some amazing healing for us 3 and I am certain for Tully as well.  I am sure he would appreciate your prayers through this time in his life as the change was really big for him.  There is no animosity there and I wish him the best life he can find. I believe he can overcome this thing that chases him and plagues him, because Tully knows the Mighty Creator but that battle is for them to fight now-we have our own course to navigate. I am sure he would tell you I have been far from perfect as well.  Anyhow that has been hard to put in a post for lots of reasons....but I will never be one of those Christians who pretend that life is all fancy since I "got saved" would do a great disservice to those in search of the way, the truth and the life that Yeshua has offered us. And even in the messes we create, there is forgiveness and freedom to live life to the fullest. Life is really hard most days.  Lately I look around me and even in my small chasms of work circles EVERYONE is going through major curve balls being lobbed at them.  Cancer, divorce, loss of jobs, loss of homes, wrecks, etc.  and that is in a circle of about 20 people.  If we represent the larger picture, the world is really hurting.  What I am personally learning (again)...(still) that we do not need to seek answers, we need to seek God. We get overanxious and all freaked out.  We fall and fall and fall before we hit the ground.  What we want are microwave answers instead of seeking God and trusting his timing.  If we seek answers we won't find them...but if we seek God, the answers find us. We must learn to pray through the situation we find we are in and continue to pray through our circumstances which will eventually change in time.  (some of this is from "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson which is a fabulous book on what and how to pray to the God of it all). Prayer is not for the weak who can't find solid ground, it is for everyone regarding everything because it IS solid ground.  But enough here...this is Marina's story so on to her life accomplishments.

Marina is more of the same. By MORE I mean that kid has blossomed into MORE bossy, MORE sweet and more alive than I can describe.  She is electric.  Happy, fierce, sweet and ...not so sweet.  She is so beautiful. I cannot believe how blessed my life is with her in it. The first word she wrote in English is Marina, the second word is MOM which she writes all the time now. She just turned 8 the week of Christmas but seems small to me even though she is in the right size clothes...and outgrowing them quickly just like Evan.  I took her to Shabbat service this morning at a Messianic church and she danced and sang through the songs in a way that challenges my sublte ideas of worship.  Evan is amazing as well.  He went back to school and took on the second grade as "the new kid" since I had to stop homeschooling him in November.  He has transitioned beautifully.  He is handsome and funny and may or may not have a friend-girl of which I am not even allowed to mention to him, therefore confirming it by his way of denial.  Only a mom would dare to write that in the first place:) He has not cried any at school this year and has a zillion friends.  He is beginning to rival my social skills and I am proud to say is also excelling in his school work.  We have switched places...where I used to read to him now he either reads to me or Marina.  I remember the day in kindergarten when he came home on day one and was a little disappointed that he still did not know how to read.  Yep, day one.  Well he is good to go now.  He has recently mentioned he wants to be baptized and if that is so, I plan to take him with me to Israel to the Jordan river where Yeshua was baptized by John (Yochanan if you are counting on me to use their Hebrew names...).  I was planning a trip to Israel this year anyway and would be elated to float the dead sea and watch the sun come up on Calvary with my kiddos.  The vacation is one of those tentative ideas which form if you work at the airport. Now I just have to figure out when it is that not many people travel to Israel so we can. Flying  Standby leaves us flying against the current of passengers if we are smart and don't want to sit in an airport for a week trying to get home. 

I am currently working two jobs which unfortunately run 7 days a week. The fortunate part is that they almost all occur during school hours or early I am always able to pick up the kids and they are not inconvenienced by any of this.  A couple of days my nephew earns his gas money by staying over and putting Evan and Marina on the bus since I leave for work at 3:00 am two days a week.  Every time I write that down it amazes me that I make it to work at all...most of the shifts are short and both jobs are part time.  But it works for us for now.  Some days the house is messy and some days it is messier than that.  But I know what is important to me and right now they need someone to remind them to put their coats on as the sun is going down-I know they are outside because I can hear them howling at the moon, seriously:)

I have a short story that is part of a book on mercy that has been published-Echos of Mercy is the name of the book and is available through Winepress publishing.  Click the link to go to the ordering page. It is print on demand and takes a little while to get the book (not like going to barnes and noble) but I love that publishing house and would be delighted to work with them more in the future.  My writing has been on hiatus since adding that second job and taking over the household but it would make my day if you ordered one and read my story--heck it just feels good to sit here and write all of this down now.  I will be ordering in bulk soon so if you want to wait and trust me to link another address in the near future that is also an alternative plan.  It might even be a little cheaper, though probably not enough to mention. I also know alot of the other writers so I am excited to get one my self! The stories are all about a page long and are vastly different in style and content but all about mercy and grace.  and life.

Ok I hear the kids wailing outside LOUDLY and the moon is full and the winter night is cold and sound carries like a rabid coyote around here anyway, so before the neighbors come see if the kids are being chased by something scary, I will stop here and go herd them in the house (no, two does not make a herd so to speak, but the neighbor kid is here too).  Thanks for checking no us and we covet your prayers.  ~Cathy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Buddy Walk is Fast approaching!

What I notice is that EVERYTHING is fast approaching! Fall is just around the corner and there are many new family events on the horizon not just for me but you as well. I sympathize as we just try to figure out when to time the changing over from summer to not so summer clothing in the wardrobes! I wanted to take a minute and post our fundraising page for the local chapter of Family Connection who does an amazing job of unifying our community for those with special needs. Somehow I think we ALL fall into that special needs category but their criteria for membership is generally genetic so they have not expanded it to the world just yet...probably waiting on further information:) Anyhow I created a link to her fundraising page and if you can spare a fancy cup of coffee in her name I assure you Family Connection does a fab job of managing those funds here in the community. Buddy walk is a nationally recognized day of celebration for those who have Down syndrome to be recognized as VERY giving members of society. I could not agree more. Thanks for ALL the support that has come through for Marina and Caylyn over the years. None of it has been in vain and I am utterly grateful.

Marina's Buddy Walk 2012
or you can visit our widget link in the column to the right-> THANKS AGAIN:)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Changing seasons

I am always amazed when I open this blog and realized how much time goes by between posts. I used to post all the time when I was waiting for Marina to come here. Now life is so busy I let too much time get between posts. I am thinking perhaps I need my tonsils and adenoids out too. At least my ears cleaned out from being impacted with wax...because it has changed Marina's life once again. She struggled to heal and her throat was very tender for more than two weeks. She lost about 5 pounds (another reason I may want this done). But school has started and this child can HEAR better. This child can SLEEP better at night so her days are beautiful and not fraught with exhaustion. She has not had one runny nose since the surgery, which for Marina is a huge change...the child was green from day one. But that is gone now. We have a sleep study on monday but I think they will see a marked improvement, though some of the apnea is still present. Anyhow all of this amounts to the fact that it makes her happy to feel better and to hear. She has taken the high dive to learning and is in a perfect swan formation. She loves school so much that on Sunday she lays her clothes out after questioning me that she is indeed wanting "more" and will she be riding the bus on Monday? She has learned her alphabet, her colors and her numbers. Last night she was in need of something to do and wanted to play on the computer. I found a websight to a California public school math program for kids pre-k to 12th grade--Evan often does the second grade link so it was already on the "list" of things we can do. I decided to pull up the pre-k level for Marina since she was not having much luck with the game of solitaire she had started over and over. I thought it would be entertaining. I did not expect her to play for an hour with such amazing success! She followed the avatar instructions and listened to the rules, then played through every problem on three different levels of achievement. Wow! Wednesday she was honored at school as a Kiwanis Club Terrific Kid, today she brought home a note that she was in a fight on the playground....yep! That's my girl! It is so encouraging, no, a better word would be blessed. I am blessed beyond words to see her so happy. She is learning, and growing and "getting it"! Life is coming to her and at her and she is catching it and loving it. She is free to be Marina with only small obstacles such as reality and gravity. Each day I get notes from her teacher. So far they have been all about how great Marina is doing in school. I bet! Marina is putting in another 2 to 3 hours practicing writing when she gets home! She can tell me which word says mom and dad, Evan and Kiki and Sashi (the dogs). The other day Marina painstakingly wrote the letter K and came running to me to alert me that she had Kiki's name all figured out~I thought it was a house fire at first but once she calmed down we figured out the story. Her speech is still a struggle for her but she is getting more clarity in some of her words. She can say dinosaur but school still starts with P, like pool. Still, we are getting there. The animation she displays in her descriptive arm waving is hugely helpful and we rarely miss the point:) Evan is enjoying home-school this year. He is doing much better now but that first week had me questioning my judgement. After about 15 minutes of work in the morning he would ask if we were done. HA! But I have learned if a kid wants to be done, then even if you keep talking, well, they are done. So we break it up. Sometimes I just ask him to go ride three laps around the house on his bike or go find a rock with mica in it. It is as much for me as him. He is learning to cook a meal by himself using the stove and involving more than peanut butter and bread. Nutrition and manners are actually on the front burner as well even if knowledge and implementation are not always connected yet. He is happy to be home. I know he really struggled after Marina came because he lost some ground for his very existence in his eyes. I get that. So he gets this year to re-bond and realize that he is so very important to me and that God has a purpose that was only designed with Evan in mind. Evan won't be little much longer. I already see where he wants to be big but he is too little, and then he wants to do something little and he is too big. He is really smart but I think his confidence is shaken somehow and that is the primary goal to address. Tully brought home a plastic pellet bb gun as a surprise gift and Evan is LOVING that! It comes with a ton of responsibility and Evan has done exceptionally well rising to the occasion. I have a couple field trips planned--day trips to the Franklin Mint in Philadelphia and the monuments in DC...the airline job is a bonus when you home school:) I have two amazing opportunities coming up in October. I was chosen out of a lottery to attend the Captivating "boot camp" at a ranch in Colorado for 4 days. Since reading the book Captivating nearly ten years ago or so (can't remember exactly) I have been a fan of the written works of John and Staci Eldridge. The way they write and present just really speaks to me. Anyhow I have always wanted to go. And now I am. After signing up for that I took some time and filled out a scholarship application for a writer's conference in Albuquerque at another ranch. The conference is a really big deal and a really big opportunity for me. The scholarship was made available by Cecil Murphy who was the ghost writer for Don Piper's 90 minutes in Heaven, loads of other books and several dozen of his own. I was just notified that I was one of the recipients of a full scholarship and so I will be taking my rough draft book and hauling it to New Mexico on the wings of prayers and hope and apprehension. Those things usually go together I find. All I know is that I am going to have to dig out my boots for this next month of off road journeys since I keep being reappointed for the cowboy section of the country. It is an exciting time for me. I had a feeling October would be about "change" for months now. Seems it is coming to fruition. I have been in a "freelance" bible study where we bring no agenda to the table but a core group of 7 women meet once a week and find that we are generally on the same path of discovery so we share what we have learned for the week. It makes for a really amazing picture of how church can truly be--not the building but the total fellowship involved. Not to mention that when God speaks to a person uniquely it is a part of the whole picture/puzzle and we are to share what we know with each other. We have been through the Lord's prayer one verse at a time, who the Houses of Judah and Israel are, how we got grafted into God's story and how RELEVANT the Feasts of the Lord are. The old testament is a story of how the new testament is "played out" so really there are no uber surprises in there other than the way everything fits together. Turns out angels and their counterparts are real, and the entire time of meeting reiterates that God is anything but boring and stiff-necked. This is a time for Harvest and a time for knowledge gained. Having given this some effort and I have found that off-roading through the bible is one serious Indiana Jones type event. SO very much to be discovered and it is just flat out amazing. SO overall everyone is ok. OK is a good place to be. I challenged God 4 years ago that He would allow me to see joy again and I doubted I would. I am happy I was wrong.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tomorrow is tonsils out day!

I am not sure who is in charge of my clock but it is on steroids these days. Time is flying off in chunks in my honest opinion. We got on a plane the day school let out and headed to Lihue Hawaii...along with several too many other folks! It took us some fancy routing but after 37 hours and a diversion of our own making to Maui we arrived where our clothing had already taken up the corner of the baggage office in Lihui. I probably won't get hired as a travel agent any time soon with my skill set. The nice thing about my job is that we can jump on any flight that has a seat if the gate agent is good at their job....aaaaannnd that would explain how we ended up in Maui for the night, in the rain, with a hotel that had no view unless you like chain link fence and parked cars. On the good side, Hawaii is still Hawaii and it is hard to convince anyone that bad things might go wrong on the way to paradise with kids that are the two best travelers there could be. They simply roll with it. Ok, once I packed up the baby dolls Marina had spread out all over the airport waiting area in Phoenix in order to get the seats they were giving to us, and she went a bit ballistic when I did not stop to fold the doll clothes but we recovered. I was kind of surprised that the folding of the doll clothes was an issue since no one folds ANYTHING at home. Still they love to travel and she and Evan were great. Tully got through that whole 37 hour escapade without once doing anything worse than rolling his eyes...maybe because he was afraid to say anything at all for fear it would be a flood of what I was already thinking about this crazy idea. Lihue was great, but seriously, next time I take my family to Hawaii, Maui is much more suited to the things we love to do, like not drowning in rough surfs. We did really have a blast watching Evan chase the island wild chickens around. He even caught several baby chicks! We had a great place to stay that we found last minute on craigslist in Kauai.There are several great things about working at the airport, and the one I can't get over is that it costs about the same anywhere we go in in America within a few percentage points since we fly really, why go to Myrtle beach when Hawaii just takes longer to get there:)?? Marina finished out the school year with some great things going on, especially in her art and writing skills. Her language skills continue to stagnate, and that brings us to tomorrow. I know what she is saying but that does not count as regular spoken English. As a side note no one has ever actually seen the child's ear drum. Her ear canals are so tiny that no one can see if she has an ear infection or what is going on in there. I have asked the ENT to take the opportunity with Marina being sedated to get in those ears and see what the truth is about all that would, could and should be going on with Marina's hearing. Her hearing tests have always been inconclusive. As you can imagine I am always a bit anxiety ridden when it comes to Marina going in the hospital and being sedated. I happen to know first hand that hospitals are not good places to hang out no matter how great the staff is. Here is where you would expect me to ask for prayer, and here is where I rise to just such a request. Evan has asked many many questions as always when it involves the hospital and a sibling so I feel that he is working through the questions that always lie just under the surface. I am glad he has a chance to address these things in bits and pieces in order to have him grow forward. I am homeschooling Evan this fall and I am so excited at the opportunities we are making lists to accomplish. I really am excited to have the time with just Evan so we can get some one on one time because Marina is like a hurricane most days for met getting to finish a sentence. It simply dawned on me that I would like to talk with Evan again:) If you could hear the mayhem going on around me as I type this you would know what I am talking about. I had to implement a firm rule that a child only gets 4 "Hey Mama LOOK" in a day. I now realize no one can count whatsoever but I do get to say no, you had your times to make me look....I am starting to feel like linda blair in a bad movie my head flies around all day making sure the "mama look!" does not involve a dangerous stunt since NO FEAR has been instilled in these kids. And some days an I told you so just won't cover the big stuff... As expected life around here is as normal as the poster for crazy can adhere to. We just look like a normal family these days. It was really all I ever wanted once I realized how amazing it could be. Normal is synonymous with dysfunctional, right? Father's day was great today. The kids swam with their cousins all day (Hey MAMA LOOK!!) and the taller kids and parents sat around and chatted about anything and everything after a magnificent feast off the senior Dad's grill. Everyone is so tired I feel we will head to bed soon so as not to be late for the surgery tomorrow. I will leave off with a synopsis of my best conversation with Marina lately...."mama? I'm awesome!" Yes Marina, you are awesome!" To which she replies...Thanks Mama!! Kinda hard to argue with that one! We got a puppy at the end of the school year too, and everyone loves a puppy. I have a great video of Marina and Sashi but could not post it due to a program conflict but will work on that. It is pretty cute (Who wouldn't like a video of a kid and a puppy??)Will work towards figuring that out, but enjoy the photos as they are growing up fast just like everyone elses!! Love from Us.