Today Ben's old dog, Piper, met Ephraim for the first time. Piper is a nine-year-old Flat Coated Retriever. The average lifespan for a flatcoat is seven years, so she's considered geriatric in the flatcoat world. You'd never know it by her actions though. That's why we waited until now to introduce the pair. Piper is ABSOLUTELY nuts about children, and she has the energy of a puppy. I was afraid she might scare Ephraim in her exuberance. I should have known nothing would scare Ephraim! He did get pretty tired of her constantly trying to steal a quick kiss though. These pictures were taken in series, so you can see Ephraim's scrunched-up face knowing a kiss is coming, Piper trying to ignore the temptation, and finally the kiss! Back when Piper was a puppy we managed to teach her not to kiss faces, so she kisses the top or backs of heads as a compromise.
I love going to the lake! If we could live there full time, I'd move in a heartbeat. We actually worked pretty hard this weekend, but it still felt like lazy days. There's something satisfying about doing projects there too. Since the place is so small, any accomplishment seems larger. At home we do a major project, and it's just one of many left to finish. This weekend we drove to Sasha's school 90 minutes away to pick him up for the week, replaced the flooring under the space heater in the basement, scraped the indoor/outdoor carpet off the back patio, cleaned it and painted it with concrete stain, painted the kitchen, mowed the grass, cleaned the entire cabin in preparation for my mom coming to visit next week, and dropped Sasha, Riley and Jensen off at church camp on the way home. Even still we spent several hours each day floating around in the lake doing nothing, cooking out, swinging on the porch swing again doing nothing, I knitted a bit, and Ben and I watched a couple of Netflix movies after the kids went to bed each night. It's just so peaceful there! I notice a difference in the children too. The twins are still very shy, reserved and seem tense much of the time, but they open up and act goofy there more. Notice the picture of Keaton rolling her eyes at me? You can guess what she was saying. Right. "Oh, Moooom!" I'm trying to convince Ben that the peace is caused by no TV reception, no telephone service, no internet, and even the peaceful Murray State NPR radio station we listen to. Prairie Home Companion or The Eisenhower Hour while painting a back porch is just plain Zen! I wish we could get rid of all the electronic time killers at home, but I'm sure that will never happen. Ben and the teenagers would riot!
I was missing the delicious Vietnamese food we ate the entire time we were in Vietnam, so I did a search for a local Vietnamese restaurant. I found three different restaurants in the same block just off Charlotte Avenue! When we got there, we discovered an entire section of the city we didn't even know existed! There was a shopping center with adjacent stores which were all Vietnamese run. There were two Vietnamese video stores, a nail supply store, a Vietnamese doctor, a Vietnamese dentist, three restaurants, a small grocery and a huge international grocery store! We ate at one of the restaurants, Miss Saigon, which was wonderful, and then we did a bit of shopping at the grocery store. Each aisle was devoted to a different country, but the vast majority of the store was devoted to Asian food, also divided by aisle into differient Asian countries. The fresh produce selection was vast, fresh, and reasonably priced, and the meat section was an adventure! The kids got a kick out of the live eel tank. We bought a half cart of fresh produce for $35.00. Later we went back with an empty van and bought an overflowing cart of groceries (mostly fresh fruits and vegetables) for under $75.00. Since Turrentine's, our only local salvage grocery store, and the international market across the street from the farmer's market both closed in the same week, I've been at a loss for an inexpensive place to buy good, fresh produce. I've found my replacement, as a bonus it's just a few blocks from my favorite Salvation Army furniture thrift store!
I think we're grooming Ephraim early for the medical profession! My mom bought him the scrubs as a baby present, so we were trying to get some cute pictures to send her as a thank you note. While I was trying to snap pictures, Ben was helping me out by pulling claims to match up with today's insurance EOB's. Ephraim was trying his best to pull all the papers out of my file cabinet, and it made some pretty cute pictures! I think we're going to use one in our next ad in the local newspaper. We're about to move to a new location, so we need to run something to let folks know our new address. Now I just need to think of some catchy caption such as, "Our Staff Working Hard On Your Insurance Needs".
Boy, do I feel old! My birthday was Friday, and my 30th high school reunion was Saturday night. On Friday, we went out to dinner with one of my best friends from high school, Pam, and her husband, Lee. We also chatted with them for the majority of the reunion. We hadn't seen them in nearly twenty years! The reunion was really fun, and I saw people I hadn't seen since graduation. The picture is of Lee, Pam, and Ben. During the day on Saturday my mom met Ephraim for the first time. He seemed in awe of her pure white hair, but he warmed up and flirted a bit before the evening was over.
We just received news that friends received their referral for a baby girl from China! We are so happy for them because they've been waiting 2 1/2 years for this day! On their blog they wrote that their youngest son was initially less than enthusiastic about their upcoming adoption, but now that the adoption is real, and he's seen pictures, his attitude is rapidly changing. That got me to musing about the twins.
When we started the adoption process, and the twins were interviewed for the home study, they were also less than enthusiastic about the idea. They didn't want us to adopt at all. They said they wouldn't play with the baby or pay any attention to it. When we were matched with a boy, they were even more adamant! They were not-so-secretly hoping for a girl and were VERY upset when that didn't turn out! Even when we got picture updates for the next six months, they didn't want to see the pictures.
In the past month since Ephraim came home, I've hardly been able to touch him! They fight over whose turn it is to hold him, feed him his bottle and push him in his stroller. The other day they were pinching each other and crying. When I went in to break it up I found out they were fighting over who got to change his wet diaper!!
They've been so attentive I've had to make rules: (1) They can only change his clothes if his clothes are dirty. (2) They can only change his diaper if the diaper is actually wet. (3) They can no longer wake him up when he's sleeping.
I caught them the other morning at 6 o'clock getting him out of bed. Apparently they've been waking up early every morning since we got home, getting him out of bed, and sneaking him to the playroom. That way they get an hour each morning to play with him without having to share him with anyone else! These are the two who said they'd ignore him when he came home! I guess I can't complain, and I guess I can share him a little if they are going to give him so much love!
Yesterday was Jive! Jive! is a community-wide outreach for our church, 24Church, and it's one of the largest special events in Pleasant View. This year we had blow-up slides, climbing wall, obstacles courses and several others that were attached to water and ended up producing very wet and muddy children! We had a mechanical bull, skateboarding exhibitions and helicopter rides. Besides that, we provided hot dogs, BBQ, hamburgers, soft drinks, popcorn and snow cones. We had drawings for a Wii, an iPod and free gas. The kids, and I think the entire community, had a blast! That night they showed the movie, Bee Movie, on yet another blow-up invention -- a blow-up movie screen. Everyone brought blankets, and our church provided free popcorn, soft drinks, chips and sold Dominos pizza for $1 a slice. The movie was so cute, I found myself laughing out loud. Unfortunately, Ephraim didn't make it in any of the pictures because he was in the stroller most of the day, but he had fun meeting everyone at church and watching the movie. He was mesmerized by the movie until he finally fell asleep in the middle of the blanket.
We have found Ephraim's true love. Water. That kid is a true water dog! The first time I tentatively put his legs in what was pretty cold pool water, I expected a squeal. I got a squeal all right. I also got him trying his best to squirm out of my hands so he could nose dive into the water, kick and splash his hands all at the same time. Brooke sat on the steps and wrestled with him while he splashed for about 30 minutes. Poor Brooke! This evening she was blistered and chilling, but Ephraim was just tan. You can see from the pictures that Micah had a run-in with the sun too. Brooke is always so good at keeping Micah slathered in sunscreen except when she is here. Since my little guys never burn, Micah gets forgotten. The twins call Micah "pasty-white". Tonight she looks like broiled lobster. This afternoon, we took a break from swimming and got Ephraim a floaty seat from WalMart. He loves it! He very quickly learned to put his face into the water and blow bubbles without sucking water in and choking. Several minutes of floating around, and he's gone from this world. It's the only time he takes a solid nap. He never sleeps more than a few minutes at a time in his crib during the day. He played in the float until suppertime when he started looking a little chilly. When I pulled him from his float so that I could get him warm, he screamed bloody murder, threw himself towards the float, grabbed on for dear life, and was inconsolable for quite awhile until I was able to pacify him with a bottle and some tight swaddling in a beach towel.
I'm a work-at-home mom of thirteen children ranging in age from twenty-six years old to five months old. Eight are home grown and five were adopted internationally (Russia, Guatemala, Vietnam and Ethiopia). We live on an 85-acre farm, and we have home schooled since 1986. My husband is a family physician in solo practice. I manage his practice and file the insurance claims.