a week home {& lots of firsts}

It's REALLY hard to believe our kids have only been home for a week.

If feels rather like a month.

h&p - signs

{one of the AMAZING signs from our friends greeting us at the airport!}

hugsandpunches.net - elsabet

So far everything is going well. Though we've still done some fun stuff, we decided to kinda hunker down a bit and spend time only with our family...to get to know each other and get used to this craziness of now being a family of 8.

h&p - learning english

Abreham {the way we're officially spelling his his name} and Ezekiel got right to work about 5 minutes after getting home from the airport. Ezekiel brushing up on his Amharic & Abreham trying his best with English.

They now share a room and it's so fun to hear the murmuring late at night {ahem, when they're supposed to be sleeping}. I have no clue what they talk about so late, nor do I know how they can chat so long when neither speak much of the other's language.  We tried so hard to help Ezekiel keep his language...but he would. not. use it. ever.

Now he's working hard to regain the knowledge that's deep inside somewhere. We know it's still there because sometimes he'll sleep on Ben and my floor at night if he's had a nightmare, and I can hear him speaking it in his sleep.

I love the bond the two of them are forming.

h&p - imani & elsabet

Speaking of bonds, everyone has been asking me if Imani has been jealous.

Does this photo give you the answer?! Nope, Imani hasn't been jealous for a second {not yet anyway}. Actually, I think she believes she's Elsabet's other mom. She is SO doting, caring, and involved.

hugsandpunches.net - sisters

She's always wanting to hug her, hold her, and take care of her. It's really precious.

h&p - picnic lunch

We've done a lot of picnics, and walks. Abreham apparently has no intention of ever getting onto a bike, so sadly we haven't gone on any trail rides or long bike rides like we'd hoped.

I suppose he's a little too big to stuff in the Chariot behind one of our bikes. Bahahaha mental picture...how awesome would that be???!

hugsandpunches.net - hiding

Aberhem has had a TON of firsts this week.

Oh what fun we've had introducing him to new things such as rolling down grassy hills...

hugsandpunches.net - rolling video

{rolling down the hill video}

hugsandpunches.net - boxing

Enjoying our favorite family pastime {boxing}...

hugsandpunches.net - lemonade

Figuring out how to drink out of a straw...

hugsandpunches.net - rainy day

Playing in the rain {video}...

hugsandpunches.net - poolside

Going to the pool {not into it}...

hugsandpunches.net - speed camp - sport xcel

Speed/running camp {very into it!}...

hugsandpunches.net - escalator

And my absolute favoite...his 1st time on an escalator...

I have a video of it, but it just doesn't do it justice {perhaps because I'm laughing so hard}. I remembered how Ezekiel was when he first began riding on these strange moving stairs and knew it'd be a funny one to capture again.

Oh if I could only find THAT video! You'd all be falling off your chairs, tears streaming down your face. Yep, it's that funny. But alas, this is about Abreham and the stranger he's holding onto for dear life. Sweet, sweet buddy.

hugsandpunches.net - little helper

I'm having a hard time getting much done around the house since this little cuddler always wants to snuggle, so the kids are all having to do more. Which is good, they need more responsibilities.

hugsandpunches.net - elsabet silly

Ezekiel and Anton do all the dishes and loading and unloading of the dishwasher {which we now often run TWICE a day}, they're all making their beds, bringing down their laundry {and sorting it in the light and dark bins}, and other chores as well.

They're doing a  good  better job picking up after themselves too, especially because they know Abreham is watching, seeing how we work as a family unit AND because we have so many kids that if they didn't help out, that would mean I'd be cleaning all day, rather than playing with them.

hugsandpunches.net - campus

We have been overwhelmed at how God has gone before us and prepared the way for Abreham as he gets settled.

We were looking for an English tutor to work with him in preparation for school. Rather than finding a tutor however, we found his actual ELA {english language acquisition} teacher and she reached out to US asking if she could help him before school began! She came to our home and spent several hours getting to know our family, learning his story, and of course getting to know Abreham while assessing him, all the while he's simply thinking they're just drawing and hanging out.

You should have seen the smile on his face. He was so excited, knowing she was one of his main teachers.

In addition to his sweet teacher, we've also had numerous conversations with a man who is the Amharic Liason for the school district. He has had in-depth conversations with Abreham learning about his educational history and such. Yet another advocate for the success of our son.

. . . . . . . . .

This is what Ben posted about it on his Facebook page:

"When we moved to Denver two years ago we did a lot of research for schools and the methodologies they use for English Language Acquisition. Ezekiel was new to America and since we were settling down as a family it was a big deal. We have been so pleased with Cherry Creek and the effort they have put forth. Ezekiel is already at grade level.

Our choice was affirmed again this week. Less than a week from Abreham coming to America and his ELA teacher has already met with him. They have a Amharic Liason who has reached out and talked to him in his native language to get a better understanding of his school and personal history so they can be better prepared for him. Next week he will get to tour the school before the students all arrive so he feels more comfortable and knows where things are. "

hugsandpunches.net - ethipian evangelical church

{climbing stacks of chairs at church as we chat with new friends}

Last Sunday there happened to be an Ethiopian festival going on in town, it was such a blessing to see Abreham understand that though he is in America, he's not alone.

hugsandpunches.net - ethiopian food

{laith eating Sabusa, his favorite Ethiopian treat}

This Sunday, we went to the Ethiopian Evangelical church and then to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant afterward for lunch.

I'm sure it was a sigh of relief seeing, hearing, and tasting that which is familiar...though everything around him is so new and unknown.

hugsandpunches.net - ethiopian food lunch

All-in-all, things are going better than expected. I realize this is the "honeymoon period" though and things will arise that we will need to deal with, and some of it will be really tough.

But for now, today, we're SO enjoying being a family of 8. I'm {crazy} tired, sometimes frustrated, but wholly & entirely happy.

hugsandpunches.net - smiles

 I can't believe they're all ours. All 6 of 'em.

h&p - ethiopian festival

Goodness, we're going to have so much fun.

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