It has been an adjustment trying to organize our new life...lol. Things are a bit crazier in the Shawley house hold with 4 kids. The girls have done so well with all the "new" in their life. They have been here for three months. We have been so blessed, watching the girls blossom into beautiful young ladies.
Anna is in the 8th grade. She has joined the band and volleyball. She also attends youth group every Tuesday. Anna loves to dive in and try new things without any hesitation. I have been so proud of her as she attempts all these things without any fear of the unknown. She also is our social butterfly and has been making new friends. Her facebook page is just booming with messages from her new friends. The other day she came home with a necklace from one of her very close friends. It is a necklace that you share. I remember when I was little and my friends would exchange those same necklaces. I am just so overjoyed that her friends are embracing her. Her transition has been very smooth.
Emmy is in the 6th grade. She just celebrated her first birthday in America on December 17th. She was so excited to finally have a birthday party and was even more excited to see her first birthday cake. When it came time to sing to her, I felt myself get choked up watching her beam with excitement over a song and cake. It is those moments that make me appreciate EVERYTHING in life. Emmy is our motherly one. She seems to keep Anna in check at times and helps me with Hunter and Ethan. Emmy also is a little shy to try new things but when she does finally let go and does explore she always has the most fun. I have noticed that she is really coming out of her shell and wants to do more things. She has told Jim Bob and I that she wants to play the flute next year in the band and also wants to play basketball. She has also expressed interest in dance. But for now, she attends youth group on Tuesday.
Hunter and Ethan have been such troopers with all the "new" in their life!! I have been so proud of Hunter for excepting two strangers into his home and into his heart. He looks up to his sisters and loves having them around. It is funny though...he acts real cool when you talk to him about his sisters. He acts like a typical little brother. Hunter is in the 2nd grade this year and just finished up his first year of football. He is my active little bugger and keeps me on my toes. Hunter never ceases to amaze me with his kind heart and thoughts.
Ethan is...well...he is my Ethan!! He is our strong willed one!! He can be challenging at times but I I melt when he looks at me with his big smile and say, " I wuv you mommy." I just love watching him jump on the coach with Emmy and Anna to watch his favorite Disney Shows. I am just shocked at how well he has adjusted to his sisters. God has truly touched his little heart. He loves teasing his sisters and being your typical little brother. He reminds me so much of my mom...lol. She was strong willed and so darn cantankerous at times. He is definitely a little Bonnie :)
As for Jim Bob and I, well we know that nothing is possible unless we stand together. It is so important to stay focused as a couple. God has blessed us so much in the past year. He has also equipped us with the tools to raise 4 children. It has been so important to us to raise Ethan and Hunter in a christian home and we want to pass those important values to Anna and Emmy. We have had the blessing of teaching those values to Hunter and Ethan from the very start of their precious lives and for Anna and Emmy, we have so much to teach. I feel so blessed because we have not had any major problems since the girls have arrived. Yes, we have our growing pains but out of that comes a new life lesson and a milestone hurdled. My house might be a little messier, a little more chaotic, but it is filled with laughter, screaming(Ethan) and love!
I am most thankful for the reminders of why the little things in life our so precious. Emmy celebrated her birthday last weekend and it was so precious watching her beam with excitement. The next day after her party when we had some down time before we heading to yet another Christmas get together, Emmy told Jim Bob and I that she wanted to use her birthday money to buy gifts for her family. Jim Bob and I looked at each other and immediately said, "No...Emmy that is YOUR money...to spend on you!" She looked at us and said, "But I want to do this!" We paused for a minute and told her that is was her choice to do what she wanted with "her" money.
She jumped up and down and gave Jim Bob a hug and ran to her room yelling.."presents...present." Jim Bob and I stood there in the living room with tears in our eyes. What a selfless act. There stands a little girl, who came from nothing, want to give everything she can to others. We talked with her again to make sure she understood what she wanted to do and she was determined to use her money for gifts. We told her how special that was and that God would bless her kind heart. Well, last night we took all the kids to go shopping for each other. Jim Bob and I had a blast spending time as a family. There was so much thought put into each gift that was purchased. But the look on Emmy's face was priceless as she purchased items for her family. It wasn't about the material things that she was purchasing...it was watching the joy in her eyes as she knew she finally had a family to celebrate Christmas. As we entered a store, outside sat a woman ringing a bell that we all hear around the holidays. In the hustle and bustle of everything, I hear that bell but often times just slip something in the bucket without much thought. Emmy looked at me and said, "mama, can I give?" I looked at her and stumbled for a moment to reach for my wallet and before I could say anything, she had placed her change in the bucket. The lady looked at her and said, " Merry Christmas!" Emmy looked back at her and said, "Thank you and Merry Christmas to you" in her very cute Ukrainian accent. As we walked into the store she asked me what the bell was for and I told her that it was called the Salvation Army. I explained to her how they help people in times of need. She smiled real big and said, " I help people too." She was so proud to have given her change. Then she looked at me and well...this is where my heart just melted...."mama, I am glad that I gave because I remember my life in Ukraine...I had nothing and now I here in America..have sooo much! I am good girl to help people.!!" Isn't God great!! That girl has so much heart it just overwhelms me at times. I don't think I will ever look hear that bell the same way again!! I didn't expect to find the abundance of joy in an evening filled with shopping from store to store and I didn't expect to find the overwhelming gratitude for all the little things that I have in life from a bell ringing. I expected mass chaos, grumpy kids and parents, and most of all..I thought that I was going to fall over because I had been going strong since 5am. But that wasn't the case! God is with us in our every moment! I praise him for all the joy and "Peace" in an evening of shopping.
We hope this year that your Christmas may be filled with love, joy and peace. Don't let the chaos get in the way of all the gifts God has to offer. ~ Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! ~
Here are a few pictures of our family :)
Emmy's 14th Birthday party!
Singing happy birthdayEmmy celebrating her first birthday in America!
The birthday cake was beautiful and was make by my cousin, Michelle
Making Christmas ornaments
I got out some flour and salt and we made salt clay ornaments. We had a blast :)
Anna painting her ornament
Maser family gathering!
The Shawley Crew