Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spring Happenings

The first half of the year went by without any other major incidents like what we had in the previous post.  In March, we went to Gatlinburg for the weekend. We stay at a timeshare but Andrew always calls it "the big house".  Our kids enjoy exploring and learning about "the olden days" so visiting the settler's houses is always a must, second only to swimming in the pool.

During March and April the boys played ball.  Unfortunately, due to their birthdates Tobin had to be put on a prep-ball team and Andrew was put on a T-ball team.  The good news was that their younger cousin, Sadie could be on the team with Andrew.  Andrew was so excited to play T-ball and cannot wait to be on a prep-ball team with his brother in the Spring.  The boys games were on the same night, one after the other with about an hour in between games, so we packed dinner every night and enjoyed it together as a family at the baseball field.  Some people ask how we can afford to go on vacation and one of the reasons is because we hardly ever eat out. 

One night a couple of the girls and Andrew were bored at Tobin's game, so they found an empty warm-up pen and tried to play with a bat and ball.  Next thing you know, Jen hears Andrew's scream and knew something was wrong.  Andrew came running over and by the time he got to Jen(only seconds) he had a bump in the middle of his forehead between his eyes the size of an egg, no exagerating.  Turns out he walked right into the aluminum bat as his sister was swinging.

Jen scrambled around trying to find someone with a cooler so she could put ice on Andrew's enormous mound.  Andrew ended up being completely fine except that for the next week he had a bump with a bruise, which then turned into a scab for several weeks. To this day it is a faint red spot.  He keeps asking when his bump will go away.

Living in the middle of the National Forest, 2 miles in, on a dead end road has it's disadvantages.  Apparently, people think it's a great place to free their unwanted animals.  Being a family with many kids in a neighborhood of not many kids, most strays find their way to our yard.  In May we picked up 3 sweet little German Shorthaired puppies playing in the road, obviously malnourished from being recently dropped off.  Animal control would not come since it was a Friday, so we kept them for the weekend and of course, the kids fell in love.  We have one Alpha male dog already, so we decided to keep the female.  We brought the 2 brothers to a foster home for dogs sponsored by the Humane Society. 

Even though we were keeping one of the puppies, our kids were really upset about giving up the other two.  It may seem strange, but we were really encouraged to see Andrew grieve over this loss.  To us it showed that he was in a good place emotionally.  Just this past week, our puppy(4 1/2 months old now) unexpectedly passed.  Again, we got to see him process his sadness with many tears.

We went camping in June with family and friends.  We went to our favorite spot in the woods, a small hike in to a campsite surrounded on 3 sides by a creek. It doesn't have a strong current so its perfect for children of all ages to wade in.  It's full of rocks and wildlife so it makes for a kids' paradise.

The creek turns into a waterfall that flows into the Chattooga River.  There's a small beach area by an edy for the smaller kids to play. Some of us swam out with the older kids and explored the rocks across the river.  Andrew absolutely loves water, so again another great trip for him. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Long over due

In real life we often tell people we meet or long distance friends not to worry if they don't hear from us, we're just low maintenance kind of people.  When we meet again, we'll just pick up where we left off!  So here we are picking up where we left off- January 2012!

The above video is Andrew doing school. It was halfway through the school year and shows a sampling of his progress in speech and learning.  As we mentioned in the previous post, we had decided to post pone school for him, but he insisted.

About this same time we had some guest speakers come to our church. We had them over to lunch on Saturday. They were great. As soon as they entered our home, they jumped right in with the kids playing on the Wii and really took time to make them feel important.  At this point we felt Andrew had attached very well and were not at all concerned about him interacting with strangers.  As Aaron left to bring our guests home Andrew asked to go with him. No big deal.  One of the speakers sat in the back with Andrew and let him play with his cell phone.  Andrew showed no signs of past behavior that would alert us. 

The next morning after our service ended, we saw Andrew sitting in the same speakers lap, playing with his phone! Aaron discreetly called Andrew to him and held his hand until we headed home.  We felt we had averted a relapse.  However that afternoon we decided to watch a movie together as a family for some down time. All the kids piled on us on the couch except Andrew. We said,"Andrew, come cuddle with your family."  Shockingly, he responded,"You're not my family. I want to go back to Bulgaria."

We had never heard anything remotely close to this.  Having no idea how to respond, Aaron replied, "Well go ahead, go back to Bulgaria."  Andrew shook his head no and immediately climbed up on the couch with us all.  We have never dealt with anything like that since. 

We have found it helpful before coming into new situations that might trigger similar responses to ask Andrew who his family is.  We specifically ask ,"Who is your mommy?,Who is your daddy?", etc. and have him answer us. We're not sure if this is the key to anything, but again we haven't seen this behavior since.