It starts with the sounds of eight little footsteps rumbling down the stairs to greet the day full of hope and energy. The buildup continues through a breakfast that would make a short order cook's toe nails cringe as he (or she) let's out an exasperated sigh wondering how he (or again she) ended up here. As the day progresses breakfast turns into the quagmire of time after eating but much too long before the next part of the day's activities and the pressure and stress continues to bubble up. As we all head outside to play, explore, ride things with pedals, appreciate our cat's latest kill, or just sit and watch as we take turns doing "flips" on the trampoline things start to feel better. The stress subsides and for a minute it looks like all will be well in the world. Throw in a quick lunch and continue time outside and now everyone is full of fresh air, a glossy sheen of sweat proving that all the things were conquered, afternoon turns to evening and dinner time. It is a good day to make it to dinner time before the pointing, questions, attitudes, and spilt milk turn the metaphorical heat up to 11 and it just becomes too much. Now the dinner hour is serenaded with the sounds of yelling, screaming, dancing, wild gesticulating, and a final shout of "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH"? 

And that's just me. Imagine how Joshua feels. 

As Joshua and I fought for bedtime supremacy, I finally won, I was thinking of a fantastic zinger of a one-liner and for now I think I have it. Nobody has the power to make you look like a raging lunatic quite like your own children. Even your adopted ones.

I chose the word even instead of especially because I think that is the most fair depiction of the truth. Yes, Joshua tests me in ways that the other children don't or at least haven't in quite some time. On the other hand, the other three kids are exhibiting odd behaviors. Physical altercations, selfishness, manipulation, etc. It sounds bad but it really means two things.
1. We are alive.
2. We are sinful humans.
Throw in the consideration that we are all healthy enough to go outside and have a little fun and I'll take it. 

Anyway this isn't about how loud, how often, or who I flip out over. This is to document my life so I can laugh at it later, and so hopefully someone thinks this sounds just like them and doesn't feel alone. 

The reality is it has been a busy but good week. The kids and Joshua are bonding with each other and on top of it there are little neighborhood relationships growing too. In fact a local boy was on the trampoline talking with Kayleigh when he heard we were going for a bike ride. Kayleigh was upset. Neighbor boy asked mom and dad if he could join us. This too is being documented for the future. Kayleigh was less than thrilled when I brought it up at dinner tonight. Our bike ride took us to a  local elementary school where Joshua conquered his fear of slides, and Kristi breathed an ecstatic breath of relief because kids who ride slides don't need their mommies as often on the playground. FREEDOM! 

While Ben and the neighbor boy that came along for the ride invited themselves into a local kickball game, Madeleine learned how to crawl across the arched monkey bars. I'm not sure that's the technical name but it's an upside down U that kids are supposed to climb up and over without smashing their teeth out. Now that I think of it I'm surprised such things are still allowed at schools, but alas they are and she is turning into quite the little monkey. She and I worked together using words only and she learned to crawl to the top of the U, bear crawl/shuffle around, and then climb down. She was so happy and I was proud to see her learn something new. 

Tomorrow Joshua gets the Gary Sheffield treatment. That means he's getting shots... Google "Gary Sheffield, Shots, butt" don't worry it will be safe for work. We aren't quite sure how many shots he'll need but we did get an injection punch card in the mail so the 10th one will be free. As parents we've always been a little torn on shots. On the one hand it hurts. On the other hand they are necessary and it usually helps the kids sleep better the following night. I suppose that means 1-bad vs. 2-"good" so yay shots. I doubt it will be nearly as painful as the blood draw he had in Guangzhou where they didn't even let the parents into the room. "Hey stranger, let me take your adopted kid into this room where he can't see you (or you him) and never mind the sounds that echo under the door, he's fine. Really." 

Well this has been quite the ramble. I think I really just wanted to share that my kids make me look like a raging lunatic sometimes. If it weren't for genetics I'd blame my hair loss on the kids... maybe I still can. On a positive note, I did have a friendly little guy who likes to do wheelies hep me on my run today: 

USA looks good on him right?