Saturday, May 10, 2014

Matthew's Been Home 3 Months!

With all the craziness of our schedule this time of year, I almost forgot to post that Matthew has been home already three months!  He is doing really well and we are so thankful for a smooth transition.

Matthew is a super neat freak.  He cannot stand clutter or dirt anywhere.  He also does not like to wear dirty clothing.  Well, he’s a boy and he gets dirty, so I find that he changes his clothing 165 times a day.  We are learning that we will have to make him suck it up and just wear dirty clothing.  I can’t afford to do his laundry every 5 seconds!   We joke that he might have a little bit of cleaning OCD.  Many mornings he will wake up and have the whole downstairs organized and cleaned.  His bed is always made each morning without being told and no one better get anything out of order in “his” bathroom!

He is obsessed with mowing the grass.  He likes even the outside of our home neat and tidy.  He’s been begging to clean out our garage.  I know that it is probably giving him a twitch because it is VERY, VERY filthy.  I just don’t want him going to town on cleaning the garage because he is unaware of black widow spiders and the danger of them.  I need to be out there with him while he cleans, but I just have not had the time.  It really is a blessing to have such a tidy boy…..If only his tidiness would rub off on Haley. ;)

He really loves to work with his hands to fix things.  Last weekend Tim’s parents were in town and he had to be right beside BeBe and Tim helping fix the gate on our privacy fence.  The other day he asked for a picture for his wall where he could put photos of his family and he loved using the level and the power tools to hang the picture on the wall.

His reading and English is coming along slowly but surely.  I think he is taking a little longer simply because he is homeschooled and not exposed to as much English as he would be in a typical school.  He is still working on his vowel sounds with reading.  He can pronounce them really well, but he just mixes up what vowel sound goes with what letter.  I will probably continue to work with him all through the summer on it and hopefully one day he will wake up and it will just click!  One thing he struggles with (as most boys do) is sitting still long enough to learn.  I really do need a seat belt for the child!  Katie joked that she has a huge supply of duct tape upstairs that could assist him in STAYING PUT.  He didn’t think that was very funny.  In fact he said, “That’s not funny.” 

In the last few weeks especially he has begun to really open up.  He hugs us all a bit more.  He writes out and says “I love you” a lot.  The other day he took my hair into his hands and he said, "Dis hair. Me, I  like it.  Dis hair beautiful."  (He said he thinks my hair is beautiful. Melt). He smiles and laughs a lot more.  He talks about Ukraine and his former family there and his friends there.  He chatters on and on.  He finally uses mostly English this month whereas former months he would speak Ukrainian inside an English sentence and we’d be all confused.  The other night at a softball game he was listening to music on an ipod and he was chattering on, and he was chattering LOUDLY because he couldn’t hear himself speaking due to the music.  Everyone in the stands just looked back at him and smiled.  He draws attention to himself because of his accent and vocabulary, but he doesn’t really seem to notice or care.  He really is a joy to our family!

I was flipping through pictures of him this week and I really couldn’t believe how quickly he’s changed.  He is growing leaps and bounds.  He is so full of life and energy!  He seems to become more handsome as he grows!  We are so thankful that God brought him into our family.  “Matthew” is truly “a gift of God!”
His blue eyes!!!
Acidic water or not, the boy loves to be in the pool!

He found a scarf in the closet he thought he'd try on

Photo by Katie: Hanging his picture in his bedroom
Mama and Dad I love you
BeBe, Tim and Matthew fixing the gate

The picture on the left was taken less than 6 months ago when we first met him and the one on the right is one I took this week. He looks SO different!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Family Camp: Because the Kids Must Stay Busy

I haven't figured out if it is an effective strategy to keep the children super busy while Dad is away so the time flies by, or if it just does nothing but exhaust Mom.  I only know that I have fallen asleep all week before my head even hit the pillow and I have not woken up in the middle of the night at all!  Praise the Lord for good rest!  I sure have needed it to keep up with this crew!

Early this week I took the hyper crazies to a free family camp.  They enjoyed a tree top obstacle course, archery, and a lot of other camp activities.  The two youngest girlies found a toad and a tree frog, of course.  It was a beautiful campus and it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside.  It sure was a lot of fun and it was great that it was all free.  We stopped by the lake for ice cream and slushies on our way home.

I also have been working in the back yard with Kylie with her softball.   She is gaining more confidence in her hitting and catching.  It is hard to believe she's only been playing softball a little over a month.  When she gains full confidence in herself she really has the potential to go far with softball.  I think her natural athletic build with long arms and legs really help her with softball a lot.

The kids decided it'd be fun to climb on top of the shed out back and jump from the roof off on to the trampoline (Matthew's brilliant idea).  Thankfully, they all had a great time and no one was injured.

 I've been working on getting the PH levels regulated in the pool.  The pool people said the neighbor's Bradford Pears are making our water levels highly acidic. The bottom of our liner is almost shot because that is where the leaves and debris sit overnight until we can vacuum them out.  Matthew got a bad rash from the PH levels being off and the water being highly acidic.  We dump a lot of money in chemicals into the pool trying to get the acid out.  It stinks we cannot have anyone over to swim in our pool any time soon, but I don't want to risk other people getting acidic rashes because of our pool.  Patience is a virtue for sure! 
We are all getting anxious for home schooling to finish up for the summer.  The more that it is sunny outside, the less the three youngest kids want to stay focused on their work.  If they had the motivation, they would have been finished already for the summer.   Tim and I are still determining what we will do in the Fall with the kids' schooling.  Tim wants them in school.  I would also like them in private school, but I don't see a way without a job.  Most of the time I love homeschooling, but some days it's terrible trying to stretch myself to meet the needs of 4 very different kids when I feel teaching is not my gift.  Matthew especially NEEDS school due to his energy level and he needs to learn English through immersion into American school.  We are continually praying for God to open and close doors where they are needed.  In the meantime, I must keep the kids busy!!!!