I thought that an update on all things Salem is long overdue. There have just been so many more pressing things to share with you all recently.
I cannot believe that the first quarter of the school year is already nearly over. Where does time go? We are loving our new school venture (a combination between homeschooling and Christian school) this year. The kids are having the best time. The last few weeks of adjusting to a very hectic curriculum has been so crazy for me. Thankfully, I think we are finally getting in a groove. I am grateful for a very academically challenging curriculum this year--even though it is stretching us all in different ways. Getting out of our comfort zones is always a good thing.
The part-time school our children are attending has a strong emphasis on adventure and the outdoors--it is one of the things that attracted us to this particular school, especially for the boys. They have a very unique program that teaches older children leadership skills, discipleship and mentoring while experiencing God's beautiful creation. Connor is in his element! Mountaineering, canyoneering, repelling, and camping is just his thing. He literally cannot get enough of the great outdoors. What a joy it is to watch our oldest son grow and mature in the Lord--while doing something he absolutely loves! Such joy.
The adjustment to having the older children gone two days a week has, by far, been my greatest challenge. I am so used to having them here with me 24/7. I love having my children at home. But I know that they are right where the Lord has planted them in this season. When Kael and Hasya come home, I know the two days of not having to do schoolwork will be a huge blessing. Both children are going to have so many doctors' appointments and therapies (especially physical therapy) which I can schedule without having to worry about disrupting school--another reason why we chose to do something a little differently to the way we usually do homeschool. We are so thankful to the Lord that we have this option for school where we live. So far it is turning out to be a beautiful blessing for our family.
Many of you have written to ask me when I will be able to travel back to Bulgaria to bring Hasya and Kael home. I really have no idea. I know that everything has been approved as far as the U.S side of the paperwork goes--now we just wait for the Bulgarian government to do what they need to do. I will definitely keep you posted as things progress. We are all longing for the day when these two precious blessings will be a part of our family--it cannot come one day too soon.
One of the biggest issues that I am struggling to get my head around is how to bring Hasya home with as little stress as possible. Just taking her out of the orphanage and into a strange environment is going to freak her out. The flights home? Oh my! Not only is she going to be stressed by all the stimulation, but she is also going to be so, so physically uncomfortable. Her frail little body is so desperately contracted, her muscles atrophied. Her limbs no longer straighten all the way. Her arms are permanently stuck at right angles. Also, knowing no other position but lying flat on her back in a crib for nearly fifteen years, she hates being in the sitting position. I'm quite sure it must hurt her stiff bones and muscles being in an upright position. Poor little darling! How in the world am I going to make the journey home as comfortable as possible for her? I have NO idea!
Any advice from those who have been there, done that would be greatly appreciated.
Hailee is a little over two weeks into her strict new gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free diet. She is doing well! Praise God! I have already noticed a few changes in our littlest lovie. Her fingernails and toenails are no longer all cracked and dry. The skin on her face is not as red, dry or flaky. Her lips are no longer dry and cracked. And her stools (sorry to be graphic) are finally "normal." The change in what I feed Hailee has not been nearly as stressful on me as I thought it would be. It's been pretty easy, actually. We generally eat very healthy as a family and I have found that cutting out the foods Hailee cannot eat has been as easy transition. I have not cut gluten out of everyone's diet yet, but we are definitely all eating way less than we used to eat. Added to that, a lot more fruit and vegetables mean that we are all eating even healthier than we used to.
Oh, one extra little blessing that I found on my quest to feed Hailee and my whole family healthier is a fruit and vegetable co-op (Community Supported Agriculture) in our state. What a fabulous idea! Incredibly fresh, organic produce for way less than we pay in the stores (where I can never afford organic) delivered to a location two minutes from my house every Thursday. I got my first delivery last week and was so impressed by the quality and the amount of our share for our large family. We even learned what kohlrabi was after having to google it to find out what the heck to do with that thing. It's a turnip thingy, in case you never knew.
I am so very thankful for all the advice I got on this post. It truly has been such an incredible resource to me on this new journey with Hailee. I have ordered many of the books and scoured blogs and websites you all shared! So much wonderful information. Thank you!
Speaking of Miss Hailee, the time has come for her to start speech therapy with Harper and Haven this week. Hailee is such a busy little love. She does not sit still for a single second. She is constantly on the move, and if there is something in her path, she tosses it aside with brute force (yup, she's tough!). Hailee is a constant source of entertainment in our home--she is just so sweet and her quirky ways keep us giggling. She is affectionately known to all who know her in real life as the Tiny Tornado. Speech therapy? I have no idea how Miss B, the speech therapist, is going to teach this kid to speak! When I asked her, she responded with a chuckle (because she knows Hailee). "I didn't say that I could teach her how to speak...but hopefully we can give her a way to communicate!" Bring it on, Miss B! Should be fun.
I am still loving my ridiculously early morning workouts. Getting back to living a more disciplined life has been so good for me. I am back on the spinning bike and enjoying it so much. I feel so much fitter and healthier than I did four months ago. While my family still snoozes in the morning, I am doing something that I absolutely love!
Our nights are freezing cold and we're quickly heading into winter. Living at 8,500 feet means that fall bypasses us. We have two seasons up here--summer and winter. If you have read my blog for a while you will know that my Southern Hemisphere blood is not a fan of the cold weather. Like, NOT! When my flesh wants to complain and whine (and it sure does!) about the fact that I wish winter never existed, God is so gentle and kind to remind me that it is He who holds the weather in His hand...who am I to complain? The weather truly seems too insignificant in the bigger picture.
I have been so blown away by the selfless giving and the amazing way you have all rushed in to help with the various needs I have shared here recently--from spreading the word about the children in Hasya's orphanage, to helping find young Zack the family he has longed for (if you missed the wonderful news, you can read it here) and to helping the Boothe family to sprint across the finish line....I appreciate it all! You guys are so amazing and your hearts for the Lord constantly encourage me on my own journey. Thank you for teaching me so much about what it means to live a life that longs to do "whatever"...and a life that longs to be faithful in the small things God sends our way.
Thank you for journeying with me. You are all such a blessing and I appreciate your support, your advice when I have a need, and the fact that you take time to read this little blog of mine.
Our God is an AWESOME God!
Have a super blessed day, everyone.