Our first month here was amazing. We are blessed. Here are some pictures that cover some of the things we've been up to.
After one week of living here, they had a work day where hundreds of volunteers came to help clean up our campus and make it beautiful and sparkling. I was especially thankful since there was a lot of cleaning and organizing to do on the inside of our home!
There was a crew working in the front and back yards as well, adding mulch, planting new plants, pulling weeds, etc. The yard initially needed a LOT of work, so this was really helpful as well.
This is about half of our front yard. Now that the weather is cooler, we are out here almost everyday. The boys LOVE having a huge yard. They love their new rooms, their new home, their new sisters. We play hard pretty much every day. I love seeing them love it here.
Our second week of having the girls, the teen boys cottage pranked us by ringing our doorbell and running. We retaliated by sending fliers with ridiculous/scary photos like the ones below, shining flashlights in the windows when it got dark, and depositing a large plastic Santa Clause in their front yard. We also ordered pizza, then emptied the boxes and stuck a note inside. The delivery guy was kind and fun enough to deliver it to them :). To top it all off, the last night of the prank war, we all hauled our lawn chairs across campus to their back yard and serenaded them with our fabulous rendition of "Kumbaya." When they heard us, they came out back and found us camped out, singing and looking at the stars. So fun!
Don't have pictures of it, but some of our activities this week included clothes shopping for the girls, playing Hide and Seek in the dark, finishing up decorating the house, going horseback riding, playing Just Dance on the Wii, playing board games, playing sand volleyball, opening our house to the public for our annual Open House, having family meetings every week, going on family library trips, homeschooling Bennett (for three weeks now - have some things to tweak, but so far so good), painting, having movie marathons, going to Saturday night church and then eating out as a family each week, going to the girls' high school Open House and meeting two of their teachers each (I got some strange looks, that's for sure :) ). Our kids definitely keep us busy and active!
And an update on me: I am learning to fill out paperwork quickly and efficiently. I am learning to cook very large meals that include several sides. I am learning how to listen to teenage girls, because that's what they want more than anything - to know you care and that they have a listening ear. I am learning to pick my battles wisely and let the rest go. I am learning how to balance. I am learning how to hold on to what is truly important and necessary, and let go of the rest when I run out of time. I am learning to be a mother to girls who have been searching for one their whole lives. I am learning how to make a new house a home. I am learning how to homeschool and do everything else I have on my plate all at the same time (slowly). I am learning to give my boys extra hugs and kisses, to hold onto them a little longer, to look them in the eye when I am speaking to them, or when they are telling me something. I am learning that consistency and dependability are just as important to teenagers as they are to toddlers :). I am learning that reading my bible every morning takes me so much farther and grants me more wisdom for the day than anything else ever could. I am learning how to drive a 15-passenger van quite well, if I do say so myself :). I am learning how to ask for help and how to accept it. I am learning how to stay connected to my husband and keep our relationship healthy and whole in the midst of all of the craziness that comes with having six kids. I am learning how very much I love having a big family and doing what we are doing.
We are blessed.