Monday, September 27, 2010

Update on All of Our Kids

I haven't blogged in FOREVER! It's not easy adjusting to four kids and a pregnancy, so bear with me! But it's been so much fun, and with school already being in session for a month, and the routines of daily life finally feeling "routine" I thought I would take a breather and update the blog on our growing family.
Kayla couldn't be more amazing - how many times have we said that? She's 15 and a sophomore at Alta High School, and continues to impress us with her maturity, fun, self reliance, motivation, talent, and love. She's beautiful inside and out. She's about to get her learners-permit and is already online looking for a car to start saving for - we can't believe it! She's still playing piano and cello and working very hard in school. Don't grow up, Kayla!!
Ashley is so creative and in the last 5 weeks of having her in our home, we are seeing more and more of her personality come out. We already knew she was artistic, but she's also very animated in her story telling, and very generous in her note-writing to the family. We have pictures she's drawn all over the house! Currently we're in a Halloween theme.
Nate's just awesome - we don't know where he came from. I don't know another 12 year old boy who is so helpful and responsible. He's pretty fun to watch (on the trampoline, playing soccer, etc.), too. He's also so motivated in school (straight A's, because he currently wants to be a fighter pilot when he grows up...), and also is busy with piano, scouts and seasonal sports (Jr. Jazz basketball to soccer). He's very loving to the whole family, and I don't know what I'd do without him.
Shaun is such a blast! This kid is nothing but energy and an appetite, and fits in so well in our home (meaning, he can tease right back to his dad or siblings)! He's always on the trampoline (learning from his brother), as is Ashley, and hamming-it-up at school (we're working on that one...). I'm just glad he's so happy and is making friends in his new surroundings. We have a wonderful tutor/translator named Ksusha who the kids just love, and she's helping both Shaun and Ashley keep up at school, which they both are. We're so proud of both of them!
Ashley sent me to work with this photo to hang at my desk.

Had to include baby Luke in the blog post! This was about 2 weeks ago.

Kayla and our new little Lilly! Not that Sadie could ever be replaced, but we had to lighten up the mood in our house, and for depressed Kona. I called the vet (when Kona didn't want to even go on walks, he was so sad), and the vet said that, when we're ready, that a new companion dog would help. We found little Lilly (same breed as Sadie, mini-poodle/shih tzu but with just a little added Maltese in there) and Kona didn't know what to do with her at first. Now he's playing more and his tail is finally wagging again. We still love and miss Sadie and speak of her all the time. As a matter of fact, Shaun and Ashley have been saying family prayers now, and they even include a sentence or two about how we miss Sadie and how we know she is with Heavenly Father now... it's so sweet.

So here's Lilly. She's 12 weeks old now.

And here's Kona when he was still so pitifully sad. Doesn't help that he's a cocker spaniel, as they look so sad anyway... but he really was.

Jill Chappell came to town the weekend before school started, and the kids LOVED her! Shocking, I know. Nate and Kayla already consider her family, but Ashley and Shaun we sold when she began speaking French to them (they are very comfortable in French), and she won them over. You look beautiful, Jill - come back and see us!!

Mira and Kayla at Disneyland - August!

Shaun and Mira.

All of us (Shaun's taking the picture).

Now Nate's taking the picture.

At the Hotel Del Coronado in August. This is classic Nate.

And this is just before we got Ashley and Shaun - August in Salt Lake City. Shaun and MJ came up for her birthday and it was so much fun.

Ashley and "Jacob" - you should see her bedroom.

And more on the tramp - they love this thing. In Ukraine you had to pay money and go to a special park to even get on a trampoline. Now that it's in their own backyard, you can imagine the hours logged on this thing. It's also great "motivation" for a mom, when things need to get done (slightly suggest that there will be no trampoline jumping if homework doesn't get done, and they are suddenly very motivated to do homework).
Anyway, there's a little update on the family. We couldn't feel more blessed and happy - and are so proud of all of our kids for making this adjustment. For Ashley and Shaun because it takes a lot of bravery and courage to navigate an entirely new life in a new language (new home, school, neighborhood, culture, religion, etc.). And for Nate and Kayla who so selflessly shared their life with them, and work with them daily. I'm humbled by these kids, and want to be more like them in my own life. More soon!!