It never failed. Every time we pulled into the carport at Mimi & Papa's house she would say, "Home again, home again. Jiggidy jog." Those words brought me comfort time & time again. I feel like I'm home again home again and finally settled in.
My time in Missouri was amazing. God taught me so much in those 9 days. Here's a glimpse of some of the situations that caused emotional & physical overload:
- being away from Lex...always very hard for me because I am head over heels for my husband
- being away from Lex with Annerson...automatically means double duty for me because Lex helps out A LOT with his baby girl
- getting to spend over a week with my brother...he's so amazing & I always learn so much from being around him
- taking care of my nieces and nephews...ALL SIX OF THEM...I seriously thought I wasn't going to make it after the first day I had them to myself...but it got so much easier & a whole lot of fun as I acclimated to the call of duty!
- spending an entire week in close proximity to my mother...which turned out to be very enjoyable (Praise God that she is the most level headed I've EVER known her to be in my whole life!)
- spending good quality time with Xia & Diezel for the first time since they've been home...this was so hard for me...I'll explain later
It was a crazy week. I survived being away from Lex surprisingly well. I was so busy with the kids and keeping up with the house that I hardly had any physical or mental energy left to do anything else. Annerson was a complete mess the whole time. She was very overwhelmed because a.) all the attention and b.) she was not quickly adjusting to being out of her normal surroundings. So she clinged to me nearly the whole time. It was a miracle moment when she'd let McKayley or Faith hold her without first having a cry fest. That was a little overwhelming for me because I would be trying to do laundry and they'd bring her in to me in the middle of it all. I couldn't get a lot done unless she was asleep. Naptime for the toddlers and Annerson meant go time for me. There was no getting on the computer or blogging during nap time. When they hit the pillow, I hit the dishes, laundry, toys, dinner preparations, etc. It was non-stop. In fact I have to interrupt myself and give a shout out to my sister Steffany right now.
My admiration for you has officially launched to the furthest galaxy. I do not know how you do it day after day. I really don't. I know it's totally different because you went from 1 to 6 one at a time (except for #5 & #6 but you know what I mean!) so you had time to adjust. But I know you must be worn out at the end of every day nonetheless. You have to be such a God-dependent mom to live that life. I so admire you. So so much. Thank you for fulfilling God's calling for your life. It was very humbling to walk in your shoes while you were gone. I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad you do!
Ok, where was I? All I know is this-while I was there I was exhausted in every way imaginable but loved it at the same time because I got to spend time with my precious nieces & nephews, my brother, & my mom. I'd do it all again in a heart beat.
Since Xia & Diezel have been home I have had 3 brief interactions with them. This week gave me the much needed chance to open up my aunt heart to them. I've always loved them, even before they came home, but I hadn't bonded with them yet. The time I spent with them was good. They are hilarious, precious, and much more "Americanized" than I thought possible. Xia kept calling me "Hey You" but would say "Aunt Leah" as soon as I responded with, "What's my name?". She is so sweet and polite and girly. I love it. Diezel is just all boy. I think he likes me enough. We made great progress with him pooping in the potty so that was good. I think it just took one good observation of me changing Annerson's diaper for him to see how gross it was to change a poopy. After that he never pooped in his diaper again while I was there! Ha! The twins change the dynamics of the family and for this reason I found myself frustrated. Often I'd catch myself having a hard heart toward them because they make life in general so much harder, or maybe I should say that things are more complicated with them. I don't know what the right word is. I know that is so stupid & I hate that I battle these thoughts (and I did battle them with God's love & truth), but I thought them regardless. Adoption is beautiful and ugly at the same time. I've had many conversations with Steffany about how hard the last year has been on them. When I thought these things I forced myself to picture them in the situation they knew in Africa. This broke my heart and immediately stirred my heart to love them more. Even though I know the twins are here to stay, I think I still see them as these sweet little babies that are staying with my brother & sis-in-law for a while. Don't get me wrong, I love them like crazy. If you know me at all, you know that I adore my nieces and nephews. Jace, McKayley, Faith & Lukas are INCREDIBLY near to my heart. I just expected to automatically feel the same towards the twins. I'm just not sure what to do with the fact that I don't yet have the same affections for them. I'm sure it will just take time. I know that they are just as much a part of this family as anyone. It's just going to take some getting used to on my part. Is that wrong to feel like that?
I know I am totally rambling in this post. I'm a little scattered tonight. Sorry!
I didn't get to take many good pictures but here are a few that should give you an idea of what the week looked like.
McKayley, Jace & Faith with Papa
Annerson crawled up stairs for the first time! She loved it!
She went up the stairs over and over again.
Sweet McKayley...the mother, nurturer,
and serenity of the group
Faith washing the bus!
Diezel ditched us so that he could shine up his own ride!
(Some of these pics loaded funky for some reason)
Lukas decided that his ride needed some attention as well
Annerson was not enjoying her light saber training
NuNu showing Annerson his muscles. So cute!
Ollie was all too easily replaced in Annerson's heart
with their new kitten Tyler
Annerson enjoying her MeMa!
brother all dressed up
look at those smiles
nightly ritual bathtime
In case you are wondering where Steffany was all week, she went backpacking in Colorado. I haven't talked to her about her trip yet but I know it was brutal & very challenging. She said the Lord taught her so much. It sounds like we both had weeks filled with lessons, only I got to learn mine with the comforts of a warm shower & comfy bed while she slept on the earth in a sleeping bag and pooped in a hole with 10 other women. Hmm....