Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We Survived Two Years of Four Kids!

On Christmas Eve we celebrated two years of being a family of six.  Two years since we brought Little Girl home from Ethiopia!

We have decided to celebrate the anniversary of that day when we stepped off the plane from Ethiopia with our new child and were finally all together as a family of 6 every year with a fun family outing.  

This year the weather was beautiful so we decided to do the same thing as last year.  We had a picnic at a park and then rode the pedal boats around the lake.

My husband and the boys were in one boat and I was in another with the girls.  

My girls giggled about the duck with the "crazy hair"! 

Do you see him 3rd in line with a puff ball on the back of his head?

Here's his (her?) close-up:

Then we spotted a turtle on some pontoons and petaled over to get a better look, but as we got closer, this large rat-looking creature that we later learned was a nutria, suddenly swam over and climbed onto a pontoon!

We followed that guy all around the lake when he got in to swim

I'm not sure if he's cute or one of the grossest creatures I've seen, but he sure made our day more fun and exciting!  And educational as we went home and researched nutrias, also known as coypus or river rats!  Apparently they have become quite the pests as they eat so many plants around the wetlands.

It was a great afternoon and then we went home and cleaned up for Christmas Eve church!

Adding a child older than the age of infancy to your family through international adoption is such a surreal thing.  I really cannot describe accurately how we feel about two years because it all just contradicts itself.  In some ways two years feels like too small of a number, it seems like Little Girl has been with us much longer.  "Really, she's only been with us two years?" we sometimes think.  But, in other ways it seems like just yesterday that we brought her home or that we were in Ethiopia with her.  

And then in so many ways, most ways, she has adjusted amazingly well to living in America, being in our family, and speaking English.  But, then sometimes there are still things, like what I call "orphanage behaviors" that crop up and I think, "Really?  We're still seeing this?"  But, I think both realities are normal.  She has come a very long way, yet to some extent her past will always be a part of who she is.

Two years in and having four kids is still very busy, messy and loud (it is funny to go back now and read my post "4 Weeks of Having 4 Kids" and my views then about color-coded cups and less stuff are absolutely still true!), but the blessings are magnified, too with four children!  Mostly we are just so thankful we get to be a family!

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