#1 - The last month has been crazy. Non stop sick, non stop shifting of people, and non stop irritants. This past week is the first week in awhile where I have felt positive about a lot of things in life. Not to say that life is all gloom and doom, but when your head hurts, you can barely swallow, you've got frustrating situations and people cropping up every day, it becomes really easy to be pessimistic.
While most of the pessimism-causing factors cannot be discussed here, I can share one particular aspect of it all. Monkey and Parrot are no longer with us but have been moved to a different situation. 34 days to pour into a child's life--I pray it was enough. Watching them leave was hard. Yes, life is simpler without three kids under the age of 5 running around in addition to 4 kids over the age of 5, but when you spend 24 hours a day loving, disciplining, nurturing, and caring for a child--you tend to get attached pretty quickly.
For the last few weeks we have, therefore, been back down to 5 girls (counting Blueberry). However, yesterday, we added a sixth child to our little family. Our newest addition is older--in fact only a few months younger than Mama Bear who is the oldest of all the girls. Haven't come up with a nickname for her yet--still feeling that one out. She will definitely provide a unique challenge--that much is for sure!
And then a few hours later she introduced her baby doll to going potty. Of course baby doll wouldn't sit on the seat very well, so her legs wound up sticking through the hole in the seat, but Blueberry was determined to see her through the process.
She also continues on with her love of cleaning. There is an empty spray bottle in one of kitchen cupboards, and she will frequently get it out along with one of my kitchen towels and clean off the front of the fridge and the stove (one of the chores the older girls does in the cottage). Blue also loves to dust and will walk to the laundry room door, look up to where the duster is hung, and demand "dust! dust!" persistently until you hand her the duster and let her walk around dusting everything. Sometimes I think she does just as good a job as the girl whose actual chore it is.
In truth, she wants to do whatever we or the big girls are doing. When it is homework time, she will stand up on a chair at our huge dining room table and color away for quite awhile while they work on their homework. When it is time for chores, unless I've taken her away to get ready for bed, she is generally underfoot, wanting to help everyone. She mommy's her dolls, and as the cottage was recently given a toy kitchen, has been enjoying "cooking" food daily.
#4 - Other Blueberry news--her word explosion continues. She is beginning to piece together sentence (albeit, sometimes half-spoken, half-signed sentences they are!). "Baby walk" (when pushing her baby doll in a stroller). "Lala 'nack", followed by frantic signing for "please". Her attempts at her name have come out as Lala and 'nack (snack) is one of her favorite words currently. Although "oof" (food) is also being used more frequently. Apparently she is slightly dyslexic with this whole backward food thing "oof" for food and "oosh" for shoes. She also loves "walk" (as she very much wants to go on frequent walks), "Bible" and "Book" are rather interchangeable. And in general she is just mimicking sounds of words constantly--unless it's a word that she apparently doesn't care to learn or be bothered with because then she just says garbled syllables of her own devise and expects you to be satisfied with that.
She will have whole conversations (or read entire books) of which we have no idea what she is actually saying, but she is quite a conversationalist when she wants to be. Of course when she sees anyone she doesn't know well, she'll freeze us, stare at them, not say word, and its hard to even coax a smile out of her. One of the women who works in the administrative office is currently attempting to bribe her favor with suckers. It appears to be working--slowly.
#5 - I was pleased to get our taxes done yesterday (not pleased about the whole "taxes must be paid" thing; however, that's a totally different conversation) and get a refund check on its way to us. I was even more pleased to look at our budget and with a charming 20% discount being offered by the hospital, we realized that we can take care of yet another of our large bills this month. That's the second one we'll have paid off in the last six months. And then by the next six months we should get the third "smaller" one done. $15,000 in one year! If we continue to save and budget (which we plan on doing--after all, we're used to living under a tight budget and even with a little more wiggle room built in, we're trying to continue that careful living method), we foresee getting all my student loans and all Chris' student loans squared away in the few years which would leave us with the house to pay off--which could actually happen in a decent amount of time! All in all, a very encouraging status to be looking at. Both Chris and I have a dream--to be out of debt completely. And we want to do so as fast as we can. God willing, it's going to happen soon(ish).
#6 - A few weeks ago we took a trip to Little Rock for the first time since we've moved here. Went to the local Whole Foods (yay for living near to one!) and even more exciting--went to the local Gluten Free (and soy free and a lot of dairy free) bakery! Yummy. Their bread is some of the best gluten free bread I have ever had. Totally indulged in a number of tasty treats--worth every delicious morsel. Fortunately they are an hour away, so it's not something we'll be indulging in that often. But I do foresee regular trips to the Dempsey Bakery when we are in Little Rock. Oh, and they serve lunch--so that's an added excuse :)
#7 - And just because--two of my favorite pictures from Valentine's Day.