Monday, March 30, 2015

2 Months Home

Gyunay loves putting on his sister's shoes, including these rain boots.

It's hard to believe that it's been two months since we brought Gyunay home.   He has done so well that it feels like he has been here much longer.  I read tons of adoption and attachment books, and we readied ourselves for the worst, but this happy little guy has adjusted remarkably well.  We have started bringing him out in public more, like to church and Walmart, and he consistently shows that he knows he is with us, part of our group.  He "checks in" with me visually throughout the day, and he is appropriately shy when he meets someone new.  He's doing better about the shoes issue, and although baths are still hard, they are somewhat better, too.  (At least, he seems very unhappy rather than just terrified.)  He has some "orphanage" behaviors, but nothing too severe.  We have had some feeding/sleeping issues, but really, he is doing so well.  I know that he may have some rough times in the future, but I am confident that we can work through them together.  The older kids adore him, and although Lydia had a hard adjustment to not being the "tiniest and youngest," all of them now get along like your average siblings.  We still have reminders of how little Gyunay knows of the world, and how often things are "firsts" for him.  He is starting to say a few words besides Mama and Dada: Elijah, car, tickle, choo-choo, poop, diaper, hi, bye-bye, nigh-nigh (for goodnight). (And once he said "cuddle" as plain as day, but never since.)  He says "buh" for many things, including ball, bus, bird, baby.  He makes a "guh" sound with the dog, probably an attempt at either dog or good, since we often say "good dog" when we pet Katie together.  He does the sign for "eat".  He also makes the cutest sound for "squirrel."   He also has a tendency to say buh or da for anything in general, whether it starts with those sounds or not.  We have a therapist coming to do his evaluation for speech and other therapies this week, so we are hoping to help him make some progress with the help of some good people. 

As far as his physical abilities, he is really quite amazing.  He loves to tuck small objects under his little arm.  He has good dexterity with his fingers.  He has made adjustments to do whatever he wants to do with just the one arm, and some of his solutions are quite creative.  We have introduced him to stairs, and we have been working with him on going up and down.  He had no fear of stairs, so he just pitched himself rather head first down them, and if we had not been there to catch him, it would have been really scary.  Now, he does fairly well going up stairs while holding either a hand or rail.  Going down is still a little scary, even while holding on to him, but it is improving. 

His overall health has been good.  His lungs look good, which was a relief due to issues he had at birth.  We've almost got him caught up on immunizations, too.  He's a very busy and affectionate toddler, and we couldn't be more in love with him!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

Hosanna!  It's Palm Sunday, and all four kids carried palms to the altar today.  They also looked so cute in their coordinating outfits that I made for them:
You may remember that before we got Gyunay, I made him a shirt.  That shirt is way too big, so I made this one for now.  Maybe the other one will fit next year.  Or the year after.  I also made a shirt for Nathaniel, and I originally intended to get someone at church to take a photo of all 6 of us, but that didn't happen.
And somebody has turned 6 and enjoyed a spectacular gymnastics party:

I didn't get too many pictures of the party.  Malachi and Lydia had a ball playing, and Elijah was fabulous taking care of Gyunay.  And Gyunay?  Well, he bounced and ran for the full hour and wanted more:

All in all, we've had a very busy and fun weekend. 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kids behind the camera

We've enjoyed some really beautiful weather recently, and I let the kids take over the camera one afternoon.  They love to take pictures.
Fun with chickens

The start of Lydia's new fairy garden

I actually took this one.  Lydia said, "Take a picture, Mom!" and both of them posed for it.  It was the first time Gyunay has deliberately smiled for the camera.

Elijah was really excited about this picture.  He said, "Mom, I got a picture of Gyunay hugging a tree!"  It reminds us of Lydia at that age, hugging all the trees at the park.

The kids attempt a selfie.  Gyunay is there, but you can barely see the top of his head.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


The last two or three weeks have been pretty long for us.  We've been battling a lot of sickness in our house, and this past week was the worst, with both Nathaniel and I being very sick for several days.  We are just now really resurfacing into the "real world"!

We did, however, have a good weekend last weekend, in which we took the kids to the zoo.

Gyunay absolutely loved it!  He is very fond of animals, just like the other kids.  And at home, since we've had some nicer days, he's been able to pet some of our chickens:
That is very hard to catch on photo, since both Gyunay and the chickens are constantly moving.  We still have 6 hens.  They have been laying very well for us lately, 4 or 5 eggs a day.  We are talking about getting chicks, maybe after Easter.  You know I just can't say no to chicks when we have such a small flock.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Starting Seeds

I started some lettuce, arugula, spinach, carrot, and marigold seeds on Sunday, and the arugula has already sprouted!
Today, I planted more seeds, tomatoes and sweet peppers.  Our playroom doubles as a sort-of green house, so I have a great place for starting seeds.  Three of the walls are glass doors, and although it has a regular roof, there is plenty of sunlight for seed starting.  I often help the seeds along, especially peppers and tomatoes, by using these plastic lids loosely over the tops of the pots: 
It's not pretty, but it works really well.  I have 2 of these flats planted.  All of the pots are old ones that I reuse every year.  I just fill them with either potting soil (organic) or seed starter, whichever I have or can find cheaper.  I still need to plant the broccoli, herbs, etc, but I'll get there this weekend.
Every time I start my garden, I think of my Papaw.  He was as excited about my garden as I was, every year.  When I was a kid, he grew the best tomatoes ever.  At the time, I thought his garden didn't look good.  It was messy, with heaps of dried grass clippings for mulch thick around his plants, and grass spiders making their webs everywhere.  I didn't complain, of course, because I loved his tomatoes, but I did wish he had one of those "prettier" gardens with the neat dirt rows.  Now that I'm grown and grow my own food, I realize how genius his garden methods were, and I use them myself.  My garden is not pretty, but it produces great tomatoes, almost as good as Papaw's.
My littlest gardener-in-training.  I'm sure he'll keep me on my toes in the garden!

I linked this post to the Homestead Blog Hop at Chickadee Homestead.  Click here: for more gardening, farming, cooking, and old-fashioned home-making links.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Smiles and Signs of Spring

Gyunay loves to sneak behind the chair, where Katie sleeps on her bed. 
Really, Katie tolerates this very well.  Gyunay has learned to mostly be gentle, and Katie is truly such a great dog.

I was thrilled to get these pictures, and with the sunlight streaming in the window, they turned out quite well.
Also, I took these pictures today.  I saw a happy sign of spring.  Do you see it?


Look closer:

Yes, today 2 mallards came to our pond!  A male and a female were happily paddling around.  They are gone now, but I hope they return when the kids are here to see them.  Maybe spring really will come soon.  Hey, a girl can hope, right?!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The weekend in pictures

We got another foot of snow on Wednesday, so the kids were out of school for three days last week.  Here is the driveway before Nathaniel spent 5 hours shoveling it:
The kids have done really well with all of the together-at-home time.  Here I found all four of them playing together with the little people:

Granted, Elijah was just helping/playing with Gyunay, but still, all four doing the same activity voluntarily!

We were also thrilled to have a visit from Aunt Autumn.  She arrived Thursday and stayed until Sunday morning, so we had a really nice visit with her.

Here Gyunay is with me in the sling.  Lydia took this picture as we were out front.

Lydia and I also introduced Gyunay to the bunny yesterday.  He seemed to enjoy it.

And yesterday was so nice that we went for a walk, or scooter ride, depending.  As you can see, some of the neighbors' snow has melted in big spots, but our yard is still covered.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review - Dauntless by Dina L Sleiman

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)

I loved this book.  It is a story about a band of unlikely and unwilling outlaws, in the vein of Robin Hood, but it is so much better than that!  Lady Merry Ellison is the main character, a girl of 17 whose entire village was killed by the king.  She and the few remaining children have been living in the forests ever since.  Merry is the leader, and oldest boys are her "men," who go on raids to provide for the group.  They are forced to move to a different forest when Merry unknowingly takes gold meant for taxes, and in their new location, she is faced with someone from her past, Timothy Grey.  Once, they were supposed to marry, but now he works for one of the king's men.  How could she trust him now, and why would she need to?

The characters are well-drawn, from the delightful toddler Wren to Merry herself.  Merry has been facing a crisis of faith alongside her other issues in just keeping the children alive, and this ties nicely into her trust issues.  The writer does a very good job of painting a realistic portrait of England in the 1200s, and the reader gets to view life from both the noble and peasant points of view.  There is plenty of action, and some surprises along the way.  I was most fond of the character of Merry.  She is the type of character I like to write about - a strong, unconventional female lead. 

This is the first in a new series by the author, and I can't wait for the next one now!  I highly recommend this book.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.