I have been so busy since I have been home that I have neglected my blog. We are now getting ready to leave again so I need to do a quick update.We have spent lots of time with our kids and it is obvious they missed us very much. We have decided that being gone did have its advantages because they bonded and taught each other things while we were away. Zhenya taught Alesa to play the guitar. Brett is teaching Julia to swim. Kyle our college son tried to teach everyone that it is OK to sleep until noon sometimes (one lesson we had to reteach). Seriously it is so heart warming to see how close they all became during our absence.
Our older kids have not been living at home since the girls arrived and haven't had much time with them so this was very special that they really got to know each other. Zhenya was here before everyone started leaving so we call him our bridge between the two sets of kids. Since our first 4 are no longer living at home getting them all together if it isn't a holiday is hard with school, work, distance etc. Mark and I feel like we are raising two families, our first, and then our second.
For any empty nesters out there I highly recommend the second family. You get to re-do it again and I actually think the wisdom you have gained from the first set is an advantage. We were strict with our first two children and they always remind us how the two younger ones got away with more than they did, and they are right!
Now that we are older and wiser we have reached a balance in parenting, at least that is what I am telling myself. I don't think you ever get it perfect but it sure is fun getting to do it again. For example, the wonderful day we spent with them bowling, eating hamburgers at the local greasy joint, and then going to the movies. The hugs and kisses, and having teens who think you are so awesome that a great day for them is spending time with their parents. You can't beat the pay back on that one. If we were empty nesting, as we would be if God hadn't given us other plans, we could be soaking it up in the Caribbean, at least that is what the brochures tell me empty nesters do. Instead we were jumping off the side of our friends boat over 4th of July into a giggling mass of kids. I will take the lake plunge any day over the other choice :)
I am so glad we were able to come home and spend this time with our children it has been priceless.
Brett missed us enough to come and visit several times even though he soon has to return as full time baby sitter. This time he won't have his brother helping because Kyle went back to college for the summer session. Zhenya will have to step up which won't be hard because he is such a great guy and he and Brett make a great team.
Lena called (we left her a phone) and thankfully Mark and I and the girls were all together when she called. Lena is so friendly that she just started chatting away to the girls. They told her they can't wait to meet her and gave details about some of the fun things they have planned when she arrives. It was a successful conversation even though our girls struggled a little with speaking to her in Russian, and then accidently reverting to English during the conversation, lots of giggles at the mistake, and then going back to Russian. Alesa is very quiet and Julia is very talkative so we think Lena will fall somewhere in the middle of the two. We are so excited to watch this new relationship develop, this phone call was the first contact, and it couldn't have been more perfect. It lasted quite a long time and seemed like they already knew each other.
Connections are being made between many hearts this summer. We give God all the glory!