Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feeling Guilty

I agree that I have been silent for too long... updating this blog has been on my to-do list for 4 months now! It is one of those things that has been hanging over my head, and the longer I wait, the more overwhelming it seems. Erinn is the one that finally gave me the little kick I needed to get this done, so thank you Erinn C.

Life is full! There is rarely a free moment to spare. I am going from the moment I wake up til the moment I go to sleep. I have never been so busy, yet I have never been filled with such joy from day to day. There is a new level of contentment that God has brought in my role of being a mom. The lesson that was ingrained in me while I was in Africa was "simplify." I have slowly been putting this into practice as I learn to differentiate between what things are good and what is best. I find it very easy to fill up my week with commitments and obligations only to be worn out and tired by the end of the week. I have decided that I am in a season of life where I need to scale back my level of involvement outside the home so I can focus more time in the home. My two main goals this school year is to homeschool Sage and to make "good" sit-down dinners every night. I want my family to know that they are my first priority and to show in practical ways that I care about them.
Since Katie and Christopher have been home, there is a greater since of unity and peace in our home. It is as if our family is a puzzle and there was a piece missing...and K & C were the piece that completed the puzzle. It is so normal, natural and just feels right having K & C in our family. There really hasn't been a transition. I honestly feel as though bringing these two home has been far easier than the transition of having my first, second or third child. We immediately found our routine. I believe this is only possible because of God's mighty hand. I think this is another reason I have taken so long to blog...because in one sense, it feels like Katie and Christopher have been with us forever, since birth. It feels like my time in Africa was years ago. Sometimes I forget that K & C have only been here for 5 months and although it feels so ordinary and normal to us, there are so many people that have traveled this journey with us that are longing for details and pictures. So please accept my apologies for not posting sooner. If I were in your shoes, I would be going crazy for pictures as well!
Katie's personality: Katie is very persistent and stubborn. Although this can be a trying trait for a parent of a 2 year old, we believe this is the reason she is still alive. She is a fighter! She is doing very well health-wise. We have had our share of ups and downs already...3 weeks after coming to America she had a blood transfusion and a hospitalization of 2 days; last month, she had another hospital stay of 2 days for a kidney infection; and then we've had a few ER visits here and there. We have also flown to the Denver Children's Hospital and are working with an excellent doctor down there who has teamed up with her pediatrician here. We feel very blessed to have found these doctors. She is on penicillin daily, we know to keep her bundled up, and we have learned her cues for when she is not feeling well. It has been a learning curve, but it has also become a part of our normal family life.
The best part has been watching Katie grow, flourish, thrive, and come to life. Nobody at Amani Baby Cottage would even recognize her now. She is constantly smiling (a great big smile that shows all her teeth), running around, talking, playing, pretending with her babies and the play kitchen...and she loves her music--anything with a good beat! Katie has amazing dancing skills and we have no idea where she learned these--it must be in her genes! Katie's great accomplishment this week is potty training. She is still in diapers at bedtime, but is doing awesome during the day! Katie is very compliant, likes rules and boundaries, and is very quick to let us know when Christopher has been disobedient. In public, Katie is quiet, reserved and shy, whereas, her brother Christopher is outgoing, loud, and loves to be the center of attention. He is a ham. He is very intense about everything he does. He does everything whole-heartedly and usually has a ton of fun while doing it (even things as simple as climbing into a chair). He is a charmer and has some wonderful facial expressions. Todd's nickname for Christopher is "Cos" because there are a lot of similarities between Christopher and Bill Cosby! One last thing about Christopher is that he tends to be very neat and orderly, a little OCD at times. His blanket has to be just right, his shoes have to be lined up in the mud room, things have to be put back where they go. It is a little funny that his favorite toy is the little red Dirt Devil vacuum.

Christopher and Katie have overcome most of their original fears...dogs (well at least our dog), stuffed animals, bath toys, and bugs. There is still one thing they cannot stand (not necessarily a fear) ...They hate the microwave. Every time I put their milk (they love warm milk) or food in the microwave, they start crying. We go through this everyday. I think they believe the microwave is going to eat their food! But everyday I explain and show them that their food is still there. Christopher is crazy about his food. He LOVES to eat. One day C & K were doing laps around the kitchen table having fun and chasing each other. All of a sudden, Christopher comes to a screeching halt, bends over, picks up a crumb, puts it in his mouth, and goes back to running full speed. Needless to say, Christopher is a few pounds heavier than Katie and a few inches shorter! He is our little football player. Katie is long and lanky, she is our dainty dancer!

We have had fun with the endless questions I get asked every time I go anywhere. Here are some of them:

*Do you run a daycare?
*Are Christopher and Katie twins? (Some have even asked if they are identical!) Then when I answer "No, but they are only 6 days apart," I get a funny look and am asked, "so are they from the same mom?"
*Is your husband black?
"Wow, you have a lot of kids. Do you like it that way?"

We are enjoying our time together as family. Todd and I love watching Jaden, Kellen, Sage, Christopher and Katie all interact in a way that can only be explained by the bond of Christ. God is good, all the time!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
***Just to give an idea of time...I started this post on the 24th early in the morning. I got 1 paragraph written. 9 hours later, I got another paragraph written. 2 days later, I got the pictures loaded and finished! Whew!


Scott and Erin said...

oh, your family is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! I can't believe how big Christopher and Katie are getting -- time really flies! I'm so glad you posted an update... keep 'em coming!

Jacque said...

Honey! Don't you dare feel guilty one bit. Everyone who knows and loves you and your family - and even those of who don't know you - can recognize that you are on a blessed mission and have truly focused yourself on God's path for you. You blog when you have the time - not when you think others think you should. Simplify - you're right! And I am full heartedly supportive of the family dinner meal at the table. It is so important and, by being there, your children will develop memories of it and pass the habit along. It's a good thing! Even if all you're having is ice cream sundaes! Thank you for your time and efforts in sharing your life. I admire your strength and spirit. Bless your heart!

Jenny said...

I am so glad you posted an update! I wondered about you all a few weeks ago, glad to see everyone's doing so well. C&K look great! (ok, the others do to!)

Keep us updated occasionally!

Jessica said...

Katie and Christopher are getting so big! Thanks for posting the update and all the pictures! It was such a blessing to hear the work God's been doing in your family! a time-saving idea for blogging, if you have a camera phone (no idea whether you do or not), you can post photos to your blog directly from your does take a small amount of configuration like telling flickr what your blog's password is and turning on the upload by email options...but once you have it configured, its super-fast-and-easy to upload photos to the blog from your camera phone...if I think of any other good ideas, I'll let you know! :)

isabelle said...

What an awesome update - it was definately worth the wait!
Katie and Christopher look so great! God is good!

Cloughamily said...

Sweet Jenny,

Your family is beautiful!! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures and update. You sound so good - full of God's peace and joy. We are praising God with you for His goodness in the life of your lovely family. Christopher and Katie look amazingly healthy and so happy.

All of our boys came running to the computer when I announced you had posted pictures. We all are so happy that your family is together. To God be all glory and praise. God bless you, Jenny, Todd, and your 5 little blessings.

Erinn (for the Clough Crew)

nancy said...

hi jenny! i just found your blog again. your family is beautiful. hope we can meet soon and feel NO guilt!

Anonymous said...

I'm really excited to see pictures and hear updates about Chris & Katie :) They're so big! I guess that's because the last time i saw them was 2 years ago... crazy! Chris was a special little man to me & i always prayed he would one day have a family who could give him all the love he deserved. I just wanted to let you know that i'm really happy to see that both C&K are a part of your family.

:) Katie Sawatzky

LeeAnn said...

I read your blog back on the day we talked, it was really fun to see how things progressed for you to bring your babies home :) I absolutely LOVE the first pic of all your hands, so neat!!

The Ferguson Five (5) said...

Glad to see that you have updated your blog, but totally understand why you haven't. We always love reading your blog, because we can see God's works in your family. It is great to hear that everyone is doing well!

Anonymous said...

zrtGah! the wait for you to put pictures up was definately worth it!
they look INCREDIBLE. i'm so happy.
katie looks sooo so good! and christopher is definately is cute little self!
Thanks for updating! God bless!

Auntie Karianne.

christine said...

Hi. My name is Christine. My husband and I have six boys and are adopting twins from Uganda. I have enjoyed looking at your blog and all the pictures of your family. God has blessed you.

Auntie Amanda said...

Hi! I got to know both of your new additions in the baby 1 room last summer and it's so, SO good to see how beautiful and healthy they look now! I am amazed. Your family looks so complete :) lots of love sent your way.