Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home is where the family is...but we're hoping for more than a lean-to!

Obviously much has changed since the last post, since it was about a year ago. But more has changed than we bargained for! On a strange day in August, a tornado whirled thru our neighborhood, taking down scores of huge 100+ year old trees. None in our yard but our neighbors on either side had oaks down on their homes. In a few minutes, what wreakage! Then Justin walked in. At 3:30 in the afternoon. Did you hear about the storm, did you come to check on us?

But he had been doing a phenomenal job--not just an opinion, the numbers were proving it. They had fought to hire you (a bidding war for my man), moved our family, watched us buy a house, invest in it and the community (shoot, we had our own stimulus package going here w/ the renovations we did to this 80 yr old house), put 4 kids into its schools, got involved with a local church, and then a dispute among the higher-ups and they clean house? Men who worship their own hands--we're all prone to it but imagine how much more tempting when it appears you hold the power of life in your surgical gloves--can crush everything around them as if the wind were in control.

That was three months ago, and there have been ups and downs, a stream of interviews punctuated by Sophie jumping to conclusions "we're moving where?" She'll be the saddest to leave so soon after an awesome transition into high school. Katrina and Isabelle will move more easily, if indeed a move is in store.

But I feel badly for Nicholas. After spending 2 years who-knows-where in Kaz (best case with a loving mother or grandmother who got sick; worst case, with some witch who eventually left him in the street); 1 year in an institution for tiny kids where every minute was scheduled and watched, where he was paraded in front of potential mammas and pappas, hoping to be picked; a year of joys and adjustments in splended Naperville; a year in dreary Cleveland, where I was sick for 6 months with sinus migraines; and then, following surgery and all the work to the house, much of which was for greater energy efficiency (heat in the snowbelt!), just when we were ready to sit back and enjoy all this and the comfort of familiarity: bam! The "For Sale" sign goes up, and though we prepare for showings, no one is looking.

BUT. You know with me, there's always a BUT! And it makes all the difference. What did Einstein say when asked if evil exists... "Cold is the absence of heat. Dark, the absence of Light. Evil is not a thing in itself, it is the absence of God." So we continue to do our best to walk in the light, the heat, with God.

In the process, we've learned that fallen branches make great lean-tos! And we still have more than we need--we're "more than sparrows" for whom God provides everything, and yet, the sparrow cannot sit on his branch calling out all day! He needs to get busy, search for seed, gather twigs, build that nest.

So we've made some adjustments that are just what the Great Physician ordered. Rather than sending Nicholas off to Kindergarten early or to a third year of preschool at a special (very pricey) school I'd identified that would help w/ some of the residual attachment issues, we've kept him home, and he's getting his fill of mommy and daddy-time.

Justin and Nick have taken up Ultimate Frisbee--he's great at it! Nicky is understanding more about using freedom to make good decisions about how to spend his time and what it means to feel grounded in a home and family--things we may have employed a professional to undertake had we been able to afford it! Nick and I do jobs around the house together all the time. He's both my buddy and my little pain in the butt! There's that "but" again! I continue my editing/translation work and we've rented out the carriage house, seeds and twigs.

And last, but so important, is that Justin is continually amazed by the circle of friends and colleagues he has who have encouraged him and connected him. He has said, more than a handful of times, "I've worked with great people, I have great friends, there's no question about that." Thanks to all of you, from all of us, and the photographer (Justin). Steph

Sunday, March 1, 2009

All is well in Cleveland

It's been so long... and so much has changed. But the love of these two has only grown. Look at those two goofy faces!

We moved to Shaker Heights on the "urban fringe" of Cleveland and into our new house on July 31, 2008. The kids have done great with the move. The public schools are fantastic. Justin is thrilled with his new work environment. I've never seen him happier and more engaged professionally. I am still adjusting--probably taking longer for me because I don't have a structured environment to go to every day. My editing & translating work is still steady and this big old house is like having another child. And I'm taking a training course at church. Slowly, but surely putting down roots again. Our time in Naperville was definitely unique and we will always treasure the prayers and effort of our friends and church family that went into making our family complete.

Friday, May 2, 2008

April 30th marks 1 year!

Wow, has it already been one year since we sat in the orphanage director's office and she said thru the translator, "now we will bring in three children for you to chose from..." In walked the little boy whose photo we had seen before, but he was so small!

That's how Nicholas Peter Holland entered our lives. The first thing he asked when we drove out of the orphanage weeks and weeks later was, "will Daddy get a doggie for me?" I answered, something like "sabatchka when you learn Angliski." Doggie when you learn English. Well, he's grown, from a 2T to a 4T, and is completely fluent in English. Katrina persuaded us to get a dog and well, it coincided with Nicky mastering English... so this is Travis, a one-year old puggle (pug and beagle mix) that we found at a doggie orphanage. He is darling and now I know why little boys and puppies go together like peas and carrots.

Ski trip to Snowbird, Utah

Nicky is fearless! He's going to be a great skier once he learns to STOP! We had a blast, Justin and I, skiing with Izie and Nicky, on the Chickadee run. Sophie and Katrina are good enough to ski whatever Justin and I ski. We had many sunny days, 14 inches of new snow, and lots of lounging around, swimming in the hot tubs and heated pool, and the little kids loved the kids club up at Alta. When we got home, spring had sprung!

Visit to Tia Renata in Argentina

Tia fell in love with Nicky and Nicky fell in love with Tia! The horsebackriding was his favorite.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sharing the love

Isabelle went on a daughter-daddy date with Daddy just before Valentine's Day. She was absolutely delighted. (And I think it confirmed for her that she's daddy's precious girl even though there's a boy around now!)

We try to share the love with the four kids daily according to their needs and the way each of them was created. They are each so beautifully different, one from the other. We do draw the line though... For one, "special orders do upset us" in the Holland kitchen. It's tough beans if you don't like beans! Nicky eats everything though. It's a delight to watch him gorge and we're still saying "smaller bites" and "slow down." He's grown over 4 inches and we're due for another run to Target for some longer corduroys since it seems Spring is still a long way off here!