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Monday, May 23, 2011

We have been home for 1 MONTH!!!

Can you believe that? 1 month! Time has flown! I am loving every minute of it!!

The story of Zak: Zak screamed the first 24 hours he was in our arms. We could not do anything for him with out having the screams. Screamed when picked him up, screamed when we put him down. HATED changing his clothes. Baths sounded like we were torturing him. Bedtime made my heart hurt he screamed in terror. I just cried while I prayed for him that first night. (jet lagged and not sleeping on the couch!). Pleaded with everyone on FB to pray for our boy. And on day 2, there were so many glimpses of answered prayers. He cried a little less. Baths and bedtime were still torture and changing diapers was a dreaded event, but still I saw his heart was better than the first day. He showed so many signs of starting to trust in country I was thrilled and so thankful for prayers of our faithful friends - they had been heard and answered! Then the trip home - 17 hours on our first leg and all I can say is we survived. I would rather move on from that event. Once we were home he did scream with changing clothes, bath time was done standing outside the tub screaming and us washing him off with a wash cloth. He did love the "beep beep" from the very beginning, so we could always put him in the car to make him happy. Also loves those bubbles!!! So, first day home Daddy took him to Target in the beep beep and bought a bubble machine! That transformed bath time and play time outside!
Fast forward to today - he is the happiest boy! He gives big ole wet kisses. Laughs constantly. Would stay in the bath tub for hours if allowed. Happily will pee pee in the potty and gets his own diapers when time for changing. Tells everyone night night when time to go to bed and lays down on his own in bed! The light in his eyes warms my heart to the core! We are all madly in love Zak Sitota.

Hope! This girl has a heart of gold. I have no doubt God has big plans for this girl and she is going to impact the world in a big way. There is just something about her you can't put into words.
All the families who had gone to HH prior to us would refer to Hope's personality and the light within her. One older American lady who volunteered at HH even pulled me aside to tell me there was something about my daughter, she could see it, and there was reason she coming into our family. We did not see the real her until the last week or so. She has always been so kind and sweet, but quiet and reserved with us. There were many walls from the very beginning. She would not allow Jay to touch her and she would not be alone with him. She said no words. Never sang. Never laughed during the first week or so. She would play quietly alone with her dolls. She loves to braid and is very good actually! She wanted to be near me or touching me, but that is about all we got. Once home, she loved all of her clothes - changed clothes multiple times a day! Took 3 baths a day. Loved her sisters. Jumped and played outside with them.

She has transformed into the brightest, most kind hearted child. She laughs a lot now - cracks herself up! She loves to do school work. Very bright student! We are down to 1 bath a day and 1 outfit a day. She will try any food you put in front of her. She will let you know her opinion, but she always tries! She is an encourager. Now her light is starting to shine so brightly. She now runs to Jay for hugs and playing. She is teaching us songs she knew in Ethiopia. Teaching us words in Ahmaric. Loves to dance! And the girl has got some moves. She gives us so many hugs and kisses and I get to hear "I love you mommy" so many times a day.

I cannot imagine missing all of this. Yes, my life is crazy and busy with 5 very active children. There is so much laundry. Dishes coming out my ears. We eat more eggs and chicken than I ever thought possible. My house is SO LOUD sometimes! I am exhausted at the end of the day and sleep really well. In the worldly view of things I should feel the weight crushing my shoulders and stressed out, but I have never felt so free. Following God's plan and receiving His blessings through these children - I get more hugs and kisses, thank you mom, and hearing that sleepy I love you while cuddled in bed is better than anything this world could offer.

Wow, what a great first month!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's been going on . .

Trying this post again!!!
So what have we been up to? Here's a glimpse of the last couple of weeks in pictures!!!

WE LOVE BATH TIME!!!!!!! Went from screaming to loving it in a matter of 3 days!

Still loving the beep beep! A constant source of entertainment (and source of a lot of fights! :)

I just think this picture is the sweetest, so had to share!:)

Mother's Day, this pic was taken for my brother's fam as a "wish you were here!"

Mother's Day lunch. I am present, taking all the pictures!

I finally hand the camera to Jay and say you have to get me in a picture on Mother's Day!!! How great is it to be surrounded by all this love!!!!!!! They are all so beautiful!!

Getting some lovin!

My girls LOVE each other. Lots of hugs and kisses going on most of the time between the 3 of them. The share a room and even right now are all in the same bed! They choose that! There are plenty of places to sleep, but they want to be together. They still love to be silly together also! So attractive.

Zak swinging!! Happy boy in his swing

Matching PJs!!!! How pretty are my two princesses?!!

Haley won an award at school for a book she wrote on "Our Journey to Hope and Zak." She won a silver medal. We were all there to congratulate her. So proud!!!

SB also won an award that day for her book on the State of TN. She won the gold medal!!! GO SARAH!!! So proud of her as well!

We had some friends over to grill out and swim. The kids are enjoying their popsicles in the hot tub after dinner. AJ standing in front was one Zak's good buddies at HH. They came home about 2 months before we did. Very fun for us all to be together in TN!!!

LOVING swim lessons!!! She loves the water and with a pool in our back yard and Hope wanting to get in without her floaties on a daily basis, we started swim lessons with a good friend. Those are the great arms of Jim Chapman! Jim has a ton of kids - 3 of them are from China. There were more adopted kids in this class than biological. LOVED it! Looked like he was teaching the United Nations how to swim!

Abby Chapman - awesome swim coach! Having fun teaching my 4th child how to swim!!!

Love this smile. Swim lessons have been wonderful. Jay took her almost every night and they would stay after and swim some more. Wonderful bonding!!! Water breaks so many barriers. It has done so much for Jay and Hope!

One last funny pic - because you have to see those eyes! Is that not the greatest?! When he gets excited those eyes get so big! It's priceless!

Love to you all!!! Have a fun end of school!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Week Home

My computer was acting up and would not let me type with my pics, so instead of trying to win, I posted pictures and decided I would tell you all about them separately! (see post below for some pics!)

Overall we have had a great first week at home. We landed on Good Friday - VERY thankful to be home! We did have a photographer at the airport that got some wonderful shots of our arrival - I will have to post those soon too! The 17 hour flight was one we were thankful to survive! That is behind us now, so we'll move on from that.
From the point we landed in the US, things have gone very well. We dreaded the car seat and them having to buckle in, but turns out, they actually like it. Hope loves that she can buckle herself and Zak just wants to go in the "beep beep."

They love baths! Hope started out wanting to bathe multiple times a day. We are down to 1! She loves those bubbles. Zak has progressed from screaming standing outside the tub and us washing him with a washcloth to loving the bath and splashing around in his bubbles. We have made huge progress in one week with bath time!

They both love to be outside playing. JUMP! is something we hear often. The trampoline has turned out to be a great way to expend some energy. They also LOVE the pool. They will ask for that even when it is raining and a little to cool outside to swim. Both of them just laugh and giggle while those teeth are chatting from the water I find a bit too cool to swim in yet. Mommy just takes the pictures!

We have a walking path and creek behind our house and walking on the path to a close playground has been very fun as well. The creek is big fun to throw sticks in on one side of the bridge and watch them come out the other.

They both love their new brother and sisters. All 5 kids are doing extremely well. Hope and Zak also are getting acquainted to my parents. Hope loves her Mimi. Zak has even let Papa hold him once. That's pretty big since he is really attached to his daddy!

Eating and sleeping is going extremely well!! We have no issues with either one. We go through A LOT of eggs! They both go to town on eggs in the am. Hope will try anything! She is the best eater! Zak is a carnivore. As long as we have some kind of meat and "dabo", bread - he's good. They are definitely getting their protein. They both sleep all night long for about 11 hours. Hope sleeps in the girl's room. I will lay down with her and she will fall asleep in about 5 minutes and sleeps the rest of the night. Zak is the same. He and Carter share a room. We can lay him in his bed, stay with him for a few minutes, he's out for a good 11-12 hours. So Jay and I are in our room with a baby monitor and loving that we get some sleep too!

Zak seems to be doing well overall. There has been nothing I would not expect out of a 2 year old boy. Hope also is doing well. She has her sad moments which is normal. She does let me hold her through them. Our only minor problem has been Hope does not really take to males, including daddy. If I'm here, she does well, but she needs her mommy around for security right now. She has started calling out to show Jay things, but she still won't go to him to give him hugs or hold his hand. Prayers for her healing, trust and growth with that would be very much appreciated.

There's my quick update. Thank you again and again for all the love, support and prayers. They have been felt and have made a difference in this initial transition.

Love to you all!

First weekend pictures

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