Monday, June 30, 2008

June in Review

I can’t hardly believe June is over…where does the time go. We are doing wonderfully here and enjoying every moment as family of 6. I am realizing that in the next few weeks we will need to start doing school shopping and preparing for the fall. Time really does fly and I’m not so sure I want the next phase to come. Actually I am ready, I think that they will love school and will have much to be proud of themselves for. Jessica enjoys learning and will succeed, Joaquin gets frustrated easily when he can’t get a concept or doesn’t understand, but is always so proud of himself when he does something well and strives to do well.

So what has been going on with the Hollis’ in June. Well, we do a lot of running and playing, but making sure we have some down time too. The kids have adjusted (all 4 of them) extremely well, I can’t imagine it having gone any smoother. Jess and Emi have bonded so well and the boys, well, they are just boys, all “boy”. I have some pics to help dictate how we have spent some of our time.

Joaquin and Jess are doing well with English. They understand a lot more than they use, but Joaquin is using quite a bit more English the last two weeks and is catching on. Jess wants to learn so badly but is reluctant to use it, but understands a great deal. Joaquin’s pronunciation is really clear, but Jess is so cute, she can’t make the “th” sound and her “r” sound is always trilled even on her English words. I understand her, but it’s like a baby when only the mother understands what they are saying and has to translate for others. It will all come together in time, they have only been in the states for a month and a half.

They walk around the house dancing and singing as if they have always been here. Jess knows the rules how to behave with no problems. We can take her anywhere and she knows what we expect from her and has no trouble following along. Joaquin is learning and is making great strides, but is just so silly and care free that he sometimes forgets. The love the pool and all the running around. As a matter of fact yesterday we didn’t have to go out, we stayed at home all day. And near bed time they questioned why we stayed home all day and why we couldn’t go out. I had to giggle. I remember when being out for 10 minutes was a big deal and they begged to go home. Now they love to get in the car and see what the next adventure is. However, the running, even for fun stuff, wears on them. They are always falling asleep in the car when we’ve been out. Ten minute power naps do them good.

We have visited the school a few times and we ran into Jessica’s teacher at the park a few weeks ago. Nate had this teacher in first grade and we loved her. She will be a perfect fit for Jessica in second grade. Joaquin’s teacher we have never had before, but always hear wonderful things about her. He will be attending a kindergarten camp the week before school starts so he can meet his teacher and friends before the first day of school. She is the only teacher in the district who offers such a camp, but it’s a wonderful idea. They will find their way around the school and playground by way of scavenger hunts etc, so Joaquin should have a real good time.

Baseball is now over and Nate has a few weeks of a break before football starts. Emi has started cheer practice at the Junior High and is having a ball. She will be in the community parade on the 4th. Joaquin loves playing with Emi and Nate’s friends. We are finding that Jessica is shy and doesn’t like to be in front of people much, where Joaquin is pretty much the opposite. This tells me that Jess may have some self confidence issues, not major, but enough to help us in knowing how to help her handle things she may face. I thought for sure that after she saw Emi in her dance recital that she would want to dance next year, but she is not interested. She love to dance around the house, but she said dancing in front of all those people is not at all what she wants to do. We are finding new things out about them each week.

They speak of Colombia an La Maria everyday. They don’t want to go back, but would love to call La Maria and say Hi to their friends. Jessica has shared some info with us on things she remembers of her biological family. I am not sure what she actually remembers or what she remembers being told. We did receive a packet of 277 pages of their file from Colombia and found out some interesting info we had not known. We have lots of info for them someday if/when they want to know.

Also, often times when the phone rings, Joaquin will ask “Is that Colombia?”. They tell us they are happy here and love ALL of the family. The majority of my family lives within a 15 minutes of each other, so they are always asking to go and see everyone. It amazes me how they love everyone so much already, like they’ve been part of us since they were born.

Our lives have all been changed and as much as I should not be surprised, I can’t imagine two more perfect children for God to have chosen for us.

So here are a few things June held for us…
Cooled off in the back yard in the little pool (it's really for the dogs to cool off, but Joaquin thinks when we first fill it, it's for him)

Stayed over night with Mimi at Mimi, Papa and Great Grandpa Ross' house

All the little cousins got together so we could go to the zoo

It's great having big sister to pull them around while they rest their feet from the lots of walking at the z00

Took a break with Great Grandpa Ross at the Zoo

On hot days we spend time at Tia Jo's pool!

Had a few sibling moments

Walked the excercise trail at the park

We've played in the creek

More sibling moments at the park

We also enjoyed another first...cotton candy...a treat from Mimi and Papa. They thought it was very cool, but Joaquin wanted to eat it like an ice cream cone off of the stick.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Merrily We Roll Along

I don’t even know where to start. We are a happy family of 6 and loving the time we have to spend together at home for the summer. I am hoping to not go back to work until the fall when the kids are in school. Jessica and Joaquin are doing wonderfully. I really couldn’t ask for better. It’s as if they have been with us forever and are learning more and more every day. We are having a blast now that we are home and I am able to not go back to work just yet.

A few things we’ve noticed. They ask for ice in their drinks…remember when they wanted everything warmed up? They do well helping with chores, and even seem to like it. Except the clean your room part. They’ve asked to see the houses of every family member so we are taking them a little at a time to check out everyone’s places. We had a grill out at my brothers 2 weekends ago and the kids had a ball. We went to my mom and dad’s this weekend and they got to take their first motorcycle ride with Abuelo Papa. He just took them down a side street, subdivision type road, and they thought they were big stuff. We will take them to my aunt and uncles later this week to swim and will need to visit Aunt Jeanie’s when she gets back from her work trip in Germany.

The are getting used to our busy schedule with lots of running to sports and activities and are doing great. Nate’s baseball team has taken them in and made them feel special, the ball players play with Jess and Joaquin like they are buddies and according to Jess and Joaquin, “it’s really cool!” They love Emi and Nate’s friends and are adapting so well.

Joaquin is slowly learning how to control himself when asked and Jessica has been a gem since we have been home. Last night she even apologized, out of the blue, on her own, to Emi for being so mean to her in Colombia. And Joaquin saw a plane fly overhead as he was jumping on the trampoline and said, “No don’t come get me, I like my family and we are having a lot of fun!” However a few days ago he did ask me to call La Maria so he could talk to his girlfriend. I cracked up. He talks about Lilly, his novia, all the time. Jessica talks about La Maria constantly, telling us stories and things here that remind her of things at the orphanage. They both tell us they are so happy and love their family, they can’t get enough of all the grandparents and aunts and uncles, and they haven’t even met Eric’s family yet. They are doing well eating and trying new foods.

I don’t know what else to say, things are going so well and we are having a ball. I would do this all over again in a heartbeat!!!

A few pics for the record...things we've enjoyed since we've been home.

We had a grill out at my brother's and had a great time. Tio Brian and Tia Sonya got Jessica and Joaquin crosses on a chain that are engraved with April 08, our gotcha month and year! The kids love to wear them, so I had to put them up so we can save them for special occasions and not lose them!

Joaquin loves to help with chores

Emilee graduated from the 6th grade and she tried out for the Junior High cheerleading squad...and she MADE IT!!!

Joaquin likes to water the flowers and himself

Played in the spinkler in the yard (with me not working we are going with out AC this summer, so lots of time will be spent cooling off in the water)

We played in the water area at the park

And we've been to Tia Jo and Tio Bud's to swim a few times too.