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A Summer of Firsts
Chad Dykstra - 2011-09-13

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A Summer of Firsts

Chad Dykstra - 2011-09-13
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It's been a while since we've had an update.  That's not due to a lack of things to write about...it's due to a summer with too much to do and too little time to document it all.  Truth be told, this update has been partially written for a long time, but I haven’t made the time to finish it up.

 
We've had a lot of firsts since our last update.  We had our first family camping adventure at P.J. Hoffmaster State park, where we camped with over 50 other other Ethiopian adoptive families.  It was a fun time of bike riding, camp cooking, and spending lots of time with friends - both new and old.  The kids would disappear on their bikes for extended periods of time and we'd have to hunt for them.  With four kids all on two wheelers, there was no way we were able to maintain their location at all times.  If our kids spent too much time at your campsite, I apologize.  :)  We went to the same Ethiopian camp-out last year as a family of four.  We hadn't even received our referral at that point - it came just a few weeks later.  My oh my - how things can change in the course of a year!
 
We also had our first family trip to the mountains.  We stayed in Sevierville, Tennessee and visited the Smoky Mountain National Park with Grandpa and Grandma V.  This was also our first vacation which didn’t involve other Ethiopian adoptive families.  The kids were a little young to appreciate touring the park (read: lots of whining and complaining), but they were really troopers on the way home - Tennessee back home in only 2 stops!
 
 
We lost our first teeth - and second, and third, and fourth, and fifth, and so on.  Abi is minus two teeth, Zinabu is minus six (two were gone already when he got home), and Abatu is minus one going on two.  The tooth fairy is going to go broke in our house over the next couple years.
 
We had our first swimming lessons for Zinabu and Abatu, and discovered how much they enjoy the water...although not so much the being cold that goes along with it.  All four kids did a great job at their swimming lessons.
 
 
We took our first family bike ride down the road.  Our house has been training-wheel free for quite some time, and now there’s a lot of one handed riding and popping wheelies and going on everywhere.  That first ride down the road was pretty stressful, and we haven’t worked up the courage to do it again.  We also had our first family road race, at the Rural Rush.  Lora and I ran the 5k, then did the one mile fun run with the kids.  They’ve asked to do it again, so we need to get running!
 
A few weeks ago we did a church camp-out at Cran Hill Ranch, which involved our first frog race.  I think Lora and I had more fun catching frogs than the kids did.  Of course once it came time for races, the kids saw that other people had turtles, and frogs were no longer good enough.  I guess next year, we need to catch turtles instead - then we can have our first turtle race.  Oddly enough, I caught a turtle last night down by the pond - the kids did enjoy playing with it for a few minutes before bed.
 
We wrapped the summer up with our first surgery - Zinabu had his tonsils and adenoids taken out a few weeks back.  They were extremely large and restricted his airways while sleeping.  We had a sleep study done, and they identified them as a problem, so we had them removed.   This was a challenge for all of us.   The first few days Z was so sad and betrayed.  If he didn’t get his medicine every four hours, he had some serious pain to deal with, and he hated the medicine, so we were always fighting either him being in pain, or forcing him to take it.  He was quiet and downcast all the time.  After a few days, his demeanor improved, but we were still left with the pain and his own unique brand of mischief returned.  This made for a very tough combination.  The recovery is mostly behind us now, and we’re hopeful that a consistent better night’s sleep will help Zinabu to level out some of the super-highs and super-lows he goes through on a daily basis.
 
Now that summer is over and fall is nearly upon us, we’ve moved on to a new set of firsts. We have our first sports experience.  With four kids, we have an entire team worth of players, and yes - all four kids are on the same team. As you can probably imagine, they asked us to coach the team.  Go figure.  Now our Saturdays and Mondays are spent on the soccer field.  Depending on the day and the hour, this has mixed reviews.  Today I heard someone complaining about not liking it and not wanting to go back, but in an hour they’ll probably say that it’s fun.
 
We also have had Zinabu and Abatu’s first school bus rides.  This was a big problem for us last year, because Abi got to ride the school bus daily and they weren’t able to.  We heard about it every day.  We will very soon have our first time when all four kids are in school.  Ben will be in preschool three days a week in the afternoons, so we will have a few brief hours where Lora will be able to spend some time with her horse on a consistent basis - also a first.
 
 
The boys really enjoy school, which is great.  They come home happy and seem to be having a very positive experience.  We’re very happy about this!  School, however, doesn’t come without its’ difficulties.  Abi is now getting on the bus in the morning and is in school all day.  Z & A are extremely upset by this, and are in a very bad mood all morning because of it.  They feel cheated because Abi is doing something they aren’t, and they let us know it - over and over.  Worse than that, when Z is angry, he will break into a full tantrum at the drop of a hat, will bother people to no end, and even will hurt people just because he’s mad.  This is our morning existence these days - trying to run tight crowd control and just counting down the minutes until 11:55.  Lora and I were even trying to figure out how we can send him to do something in the morning so he doesn’t get so angry, but for now we’re just going to ride it out a little longer and hope it gets better. 
 
Tonight, we will take the kids to the Allegan County Fair for their first amusement park rides.  We went to the fair last weekend to see the barns and hang out with Papa and Nana.  This was fun, but again, the kids felt very cheated because they didn't get to ride the rides and "other people were having fun".  I'm sure they'll still be mad about all the rides they're too small for, but hopefully the can have fun on the rides they're able to go on.  Never a dull moment!
 
Tonight, we’ll take the kids to the Allegan County Fair for their first amusement park rides.  We went to the fair last weekend to see the barns and hang out with Papa and Nana.  This was fun, but again, the kids felt very cheated because they didn’t get to ride rides and “other people were having fun”.  I’m sure they’ll still be mad about all the rides they’re too small for...but hopefully they can have some fun on the ones they’re able to.  Never a dull moment!
 
 
Tonight, we’ll take the kids to the Allegan County Fair for their first amusement park rides.  We went to the fair last weekend to see the barns and hang out with Papa and Nana.  This was fun, but again, the kids felt very cheated because they didn’t get to ride rides and “other people were having fun”.  I’m sure they’ll still be mad about all the rides they’re too small for...but hopefully they can have some fun on the ones they’re able to.  Never a dull moment!
Tonight, we’ll take the kids to the Allegan County Fair for their first amusement park rides.  We went to the fair last weekend to see the barns and hang out with Papa and Nana.  This was fun, but again, the kids felt very cheated because they didn’t get to ride rides and “other people were having fun”.  I’m sure they’ll still be mad about all the rides they’re too small for...but hopefully they can have some fun on the ones they’re able to.  Never a dull moment!A Summer of Firsts
 
It's been a while since we've had an update.  That's not due to a lack of things to write about...it's due to a summer with too much to do and too little time to document it all.  Truth be told, this update has been partially written for a long time, but I haven’t made the time to finish it up.
 
We've had a lot of firsts since our last update.  We had our first family camping adventure at P.J. Hoffmaster State park, where we camped with over 50 other other Ethiopian adoptive families.  It was a fun time of bike riding, camp cooking, and spending lots of time with friends - both new and old.  The kids would disappear on their bikes for extended periods of time and we'd have to hunt for them.  With four kids all on two wheelers, there was no way we were able to maintain their location at all times.  If our kids spent too much time at your campsite, I apologize.  :)  We went to the same Ethiopian camp-out last year as a family of four.  We hadn't even received our referral at that point - it came just a few weeks later.  My oh my - how things can change in the course of a year!
 
We also had our first family trip to the mountains.  We stayed in Sevierville, Tennessee and visited the Smoky Mountain National Park with Grandpa and Grandma V.  This was also our first vacation which didn’t involve other Ethiopian adoptive families.  The kids were a little young to appreciate touring the park (read: lots of whining and complaining), but they were really troopers on the way home - Tennessee back home in only 2 stops!
 
We lost our first teeth - and second, and third, and fourth, and fifth, and so on.  Abi is minus two teeth, Zinabu is minus six (two were gone already when he got home), and Abatu is minus one going on two.  The tooth fairy is going to go broke in our house over the next couple years.
 
We had our first swimming lessons for Zinabu and Abatu, and discovered how much they enjoy the water...although not so much the being cold that goes along with it.  All four kids did a great job at their swimming lessons.
 
We took our first family bike ride down the road.  Our house has been training-wheel free for quite some time, and now there’s a lot of one handed riding and popping wheelies and going on everywhere.  That first ride down the road was pretty stressful, and we haven’t worked up the courage to do it again.  We also had our first family road race, at the Rural Rush.  Lora and I ran the 5k, then did the one mile fun run with the kids.  They’ve asked to do it again, so we need to get running!
 
A few weeks ago we did a church camp-out at Cran Hill Ranch, which involved our first frog race.  I think Lora and I had more fun catching frogs than the kids did.  Of course once it came time for races, the kids saw that other people had turtles, and frogs were no longer good enough.  I guess next year, we need to catch turtles instead - then we can have our first turtle race.  Oddly enough, I caught a turtle last night down by the pond - the kids did enjoy playing with it for a few minutes before bed.
 
We wrapped the summer up with our first surgery - Zinabu had his tonsils and adenoids taken out a few weeks back.  They were extremely large and restricted his airways while sleeping.  We had a sleep study done, and they identified them as a problem, so we had them removed.   This was a challenge for all of us.   The first few days Z was so sad and betrayed.  If he didn’t get his medicine every four hours, he had some serious pain to deal with, and he hated the medicine, so we were always fighting either him being in pain, or forcing him to take it.  He was quiet and downcast all the time.  After a few days, his demeanor improved, but we were still left with the pain and his own unique brand of mischief returned.  This made for a very tough combination.  The recovery is mostly behind us now, and we’re hopeful that a consistent better night’s sleep will help Zinabu to level out some of the super-highs and super-lows he goes through on a daily basis.
 
Now that summer is over and fall is nearly upon us, we’ve moved on to a new set of firsts. We have our first sports experience.  With four kids, we have an entire team worth of players, and yes - all four kids are on the same team. As you can probably imagine, they asked us to coach the team.  Go figure.  Now our Saturdays and Mondays are spent on the soccer field.  Depending on the day and the hour, this has mixed reviews.  Today I heard someone complaining about not liking it and not wanting to go back, but in an hour they’ll probably say that it’s fun.
 
We also have had Zinabu and Abatu’s first school bus rides.  This was a big problem for us last year, because Abi got to ride the school bus daily and they weren’t able to.  We heard about it every day.  We will very soon have our first time when all four kids are in school.  Ben will be in preschool three days a week in the afternoons, so we will have a few brief hours where Lora will be able to spend some time with her horse on a consistent basis - also a first.
 
The boys really enjoy school, which is great.  They come home happy and seem to be having a very positive experience.  We’re very happy about this!  School, however, doesn’t come without its’ difficulties.  Abi is now getting on the bus in the morning and is in school all day.  Z & A are extremely upset by this, and are in a very bad mood all morning because of it.  They feel cheated because Abi is doing something they aren’t, and they let us know it - over and over.  Worse than that, when Z is angry, he will break into a full tantrum at the drop of a hat, will bother people to no end, and even will hurt people just because he’s mad.  This is our morning existence these days - trying to run tight crowd control and just counting down the minutes until 11:55.  Lora and I were even trying to figure out how we can send him to do something in the morning so he doesn’t get so angry, but for now we’re just going to ride it out a little longer and hope it gets better. 
 
Tonight, we’ll take the kids to the Allegan County Fair for their first amusement park rides.  We went to the fair last weekend to see the barns and hang out with Papa and Nana.  This was fun, but again, the kids felt very cheated because they didn’t get to ride rides and “other people were having fun”.  I’m sure they’ll still be mad about all the rides they’re too small for...but hopefully they can have some fun on the ones they’re able to.  Never a dull moment!

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Comments


Posted by Belinda on 2011-09-13

Love, love your updates :). What a fun, busy, honest family. You are embracing your situation and giving it all you've got! Seems that the issue of "fairness" seems to be one of the bigger struggles? Just a thought - I heard a speaker say the other day that we should help our children understand that "fair" is not about everyone being treated the same, but everyone getting his/her needs met. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Belinda on 2011-09-13

P.S. Love your pictures too - especially the one about looking at the camera :).

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