This was our fourth year to have swim lessons. Even still, the week wore me out! Swim lessons are a lot of work. I like the sun. I like the water. I like being with my kids. I like leaving the house. Put it all together, and you get one tired mama and two tired kids. Maybe its the long list of things to remember... swim diapers, sunblock, water, snacks, towels, changes of clothes, regular diapers, hair up, swim buoy, goggles... Forget one and things start to unravel quickly. Like the day Leah pooped hugely in her swim diaper 20 minutes into our water-baby lesson. (I was in the water with her.) Changing that diaper was like trying to clean up an oil spill. Impossible. Swim diapers are great, but can someone please invent a way to make it less of a mess when they POOP in them?
Here's Melody using the kick board with her teacher, Heather Fedosky. We've known the Fedosky's for five years now. (!) They go to our church and I was delighted to discover Heather was Mel's teacher.
Mel jumping off the diving board! I have to admit, I was very excited and proud. I clapped and squealed each time she jumped. I remember the first summer I jumped off a diving board. What a thrill! I love her smile in the picture.
Leah and I sitting in the shade during Mel's lesson. This was Melody's first year to be in a lane class. There were four kids in her class and two teachers.
Here are Heather and Melody posing after the last class on Friday. Melody has started using a posed smile; gotta love those.
My brother, Chris, graduated from John Brown University last month. It was a happy day. He studied Construction Management (same as Chad) and worked hard to put himself through school. He amazed me by the small amounts of sleep he tortured himself with. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning a lot my freshman year, but after that I got at least six hours a night most of the time. Not Chris. I think 3am was his typical bedtime. I have no idea how he did it. He's in Colorado working at a camp this summer, and we are missing him. His weekly visits were our excuse/reason to make homemade chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis. Congrats Christopher!
Here's the whole happy family.
This is Jim Caldwell, the main Construction Prof at JBU. Jim has been a great friend to Chad since we graduated 10 years ago. I rarely see Chad laugh as often and as hard as when he is interacting with Jim Caldwell. You can see Chris is laughing also.
After the ceremony my dad took the family out to Shogun's in Fayetteville. (Thanks Dad!) Melody and Leah used chopsticks for the first time. Goldfish snacks. Do they eat those in China?
One good thing about being unemployed is that we have a lot of free time. Last month we spent ten days in Illinois with Chad's family. During the trip we visited Grandpa Randy and Grandma Cindy twice. They live on a farm that has been in Chad's family for several generations. Chad and Chelsea spent many summer weeks here during their childhood. Daily trips to Dairy Queen are tradition around these parts.
Chad found a 50+ year old tricycle in the barn. It was his mom's when she was little! Here's Melody coming down the lane.
Leah liked chasing Mel in a circle.
Chad decided to help Leah have more fun. She didn't agree with his idea.
We also spent time with Chad's dad.
Here his he is with the girls...
It's always difficult to know how to start a post after not writing for awhile. The update on us is lengthy, but I don't have much energy for blogging right now. I haven't even done much emailing lately, which is crazy for me. Chad was laid off in April. His work is in residential construction and the small company he worked for did not have one contract. He had worked there for one year and one week.
Initially I hoped he would find another job and our adoption would move forward without incident. After several weeks of job searching, I contacted Gladney to inform them of our unemployed status. Our caseworker, Jessica, gently informed me our case has been put on hold until we are employed again. She was sensitive and compassionate. I was glad she told me the news on the phone instead of in an email.
We were at week 9 on the waitlist. Before being put on hold, Wednesdays were exciting for me. Wednesday, March 18th was the day we were put on the waitlist. Every Wednesday since then I've flipped to the next week in my mind. I would tell friends and family, "Today marks week 5!" Now Wednesdays are really hard. I cried through the would-be-week-10-Wednesday. Then last week, it was the non-week-11. I'm dreading this Wednesday because week 12 would be a milestone (three months!). Its just hard to watch the weeks click by.
So far Chad hasn't had any luck in the job search. Staying in Arkansas is our first choice, but we are willing to relocate even though it would mean an updated homestudy and more paperwork. We are especially interested in St Louis because its closer to his family.
Despite the rough aspects of our circumstances, we've been having a great time together as a family. Having Chad home is so nice. The girls love it and so do I. We went camping in late April. It was a highlight of Melody's four year old life. She said, "I wish we weren't camp outting for two days. I wish we were camp outting for ten days!" We camped at the Buffalo River near Ponca, Arkansas. We hiked the Lost Valley Trail. The girls walked almost the whole way. Toward the end I put Leah in the Ergo. She was instantly asleep on my back, her legs swinging limply at the knees in sway with my walk. They ate smores both nights with gooey delight. Night time was unlucky. They didn't sleep much, leaving us exhausted by the end of the trip. We might have stayed a third night if they slept better. It was a wonderful mid week trip though. April is the prefect time to camp in Arkansas.