Redacted File

We received the kids’ redacted file in the mail Friday, reviewed all 998 pages of it that evening, and signed and returned the form saying we had done so on Saturday.

Most of it was stuff we already knew. There were a couple things in there that were new. It was quite interesting to see it all laid out.

I think that’s the last checkbox before adoption. Now we just wait for enough time to go by before they can be officially ours.

Calm After the Storm

When kids are first placed there’s a bit of an adjustment period as they learn the rules and routines and you learn how to fold the extra kids into your life. It can take a bit for everything to iron itself out. Those first weeks to months can be really crazy.

We’ve reach the calm after the storm adding E&M to our already giant family.

It took two or three weeks after getting the babies. They were only two months so the adjustment period with them was all about us learning how to deal with newborns, bottles, and cribs. It took a sold two months for A&N. A had an especially rough time adjusting. It was pre-COVID so we were still having weekends with E&M and I think that was really difficult for A especially.

We’ve had E&M for about 5 weeks now and it’s been a much easier adjustment than I expected. They really miss their grandmother, but they are so happy to be here with their little brothers. It’s not nearly so chaotic as it was the first couple weeks. There will always be some amount of chaos as long as these kids are all so small, but it’s just not as chaotic all the time as it was at first.

Ortho K

A few weeks ago Fritz had his annual checkup at the eye doctor and, as usual, his vision was worse. He gets more nearsighted every year. So the doctor gave us a brochure about Ortho K.

After thinking on it and getting Fritz’s input, we decided to go with it. Ortho K is making it so Fritz only has to wear glasses part of the time currently and eventually he won’t need to wear them at all.

Last week he had tons of measurements and tests done on his eyes. From those, he was fitted with a pair of contacts that he only wears when he is asleep. He’s worn them two nights so far.

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They reshape his corneas while he sleeps. He saw the eye doctor yesterday morning after wearing them the first night. She was delighted with how much his vision had improved in just one night. If he was old enough to drive, he would have been able to without corrective lenses already. Compared to what he started with, that’s significant improvement.

This morning the difference wasn’t quite as impressive, but his vision was even clearer than when he took them out yesterday. Over the course of the day, his vision worsens and he started wearing his glasses again about 3pm yesterday. It’s kind of a weird transition period right now only needing glasses part time and his glasses not making things totally clear because his eyes never get even as bad as last year’s prescription over the course of the day.

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He should reach perfect vision that holds all day within two weeks. At some point he’ll be able to only wear the contacts every other night. After long term use, the correction generally holds for 1-3 years of not using the contacts. Many people who used Ortho K choose to get LASIK once they are old enough.

It’s really very cool and kind of wild. Fritz is loving not wearing glasses and still being able to see. I’m glad the eye doctor told us about it!

Not sure how we’ll do it

We’re doing pretty good getting the kids up, dressed, fed, hair done, teeth brushed, and out the door each morning. They usually wake up about 6:30 and I usually get them dropped off at daycare/preschool about 8:15. It really takes a good hour to get them all ready.

When school starts in two months I’m not sure just how we’ll do it. E&M will be at two different schools. Since we don’t have a choice in that (no pre-k at our zoned elementary school), I’m not sure if I’ll have to get her there or if she’ll be bused from E’s school. I need to check on that. School starts at 7:30am for elementary kid so if I have to drop them both off at their own schools, that’s going to be rough.

I haven’t decided if I am going to get E&M ready, take them to school, and go back for A&N (who don’t have to be to daycare/preschool at any specific time) or if I’ll get all four ready and drop the big ones off and then the middle ones before going home to finish getting the babies ready for the day. I’m hoping we won’t have to start getting up at 6 instead of 6:30, but that just may end up what we have to do.

I guess, like everything else with this adventure, we’ll figure it out as we need to.

14 Course Meal

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The youth in our ward were given a quarantine challenge to help keep them busy this spring/summer. One of the things on there was an n course meal where n is the number of people in your family. We added in Cameron and ended up with 14 courses. We had our meal yesterday afternoon. It was both fun and delicious!

(carrots and dip by Adrian, cheese cubes by A, Grapes by E, New England Clam Chowder by Baby B)

(bread and butter by Fritz, applesauce by Baby A, sherbet by N, salad by Jamie)

(buffalo cream cheese celery by my dad, lemon friend chicken and broccoli by my mom and mac and cheese by Adrian, brie and crackers by Ani)

(crepes and nutella by Cameron, Milky Ways by me, and sparkling cider by M)

 

Eczema

N has eczema. We were not sure we could handle his skin. We’d seen him multiple times before he came to live with us. He was red and swollen. He was very itchy and scratched himself until he bled often. His skin kind of scared us.

The way his skin looks today doesn’t look at all the way he looked when we first got him. He saw his dermatologist on Friday and she was so happy with how great he looks that he doesn’t have to go back for a whole year.

So what do we do?

Well, we discovered his eczema gets worse when he eats gluten. It was pretty much an accident that we figured this out and if so many of us were gluten free already we never would have. I really think taking him off gluten has helped his skin the most.

We also found he scratches more at night if he’s played outside in the pollen and doesn’t get a bath before bed. So now we bathe him every night to get that pollen off him. That really helps with the scratch until he bleeds thing.

After his bath he gets gel rubbed into his still damp skin two or three times a week and gets rubbed with Aveeno eczema therapy cream every night and every morning.

It takes some work, but it’s not nearly as difficult as we had feared (especially since we already are used to making gluten free food).

Second Middle Names

We are giving The Six second middle names when we adopt them. This is not without precedent in our family. Fritz is Frederick David Harold because Jamie’s dad (first name Harold) died while I was pregnant with Fritz. So The Six will have two middle names like their big brother.

E’s will be Ezekiel. This is because my dad had a hard time remembering his actual name when we first had them over and kept calling him Ezekiel. And with his amazing hair, I kind of imagine the prophet Ezekiel looking a bit like my boy.

M’s will be Kerry. I was in the temple one day before we even got the twins and the person I had was a distant aunt or cousin or something. Carrie. She tried to convince me I must name a child after her. Eventually we agreed that if I was ever able to name a little girl, I would name her Kerry, but spell it that way because Jamie’s mom lives on the border of counties Limerick and Kerry and my best friend in elementary school was named Kerry.

A’s will be John. My uncle was named John Ralph (he went by Ralph). Ani was working in the temple once and, well, Uncle Ralph wanted A specifically to be named after him.

N’s will be Alexander. When I was pregnant with Adrian I narrowed his name options to Adrian, Alexander, and Christopher and let Ani pick. So now I get to use Alexander after all.

Baby A’s will be Christopher. So I get to use that one, too.

Baby B’s will be Malachi. It just seemed fitting for the youngest of ten to have that name. Also, when my best friend was here at Christmas she kept joking that we needed to name a kid after her. We’re not doing that, but Malachi is a name she always wanted to give a child AND she and Baby B super bonded so in a way we are naming a kid after her.

In a bizarre twist, Cameron shares a middle name with one of The Six (also Jamie’s middle name), another has Jamie’s first name as his middle name, and another shares a first middle name with Fritz (which is also my brother’s name).

We are also strongly considering adding a second middle name for Ani and Adrian (Cameron does not want to). We don’t know what we’ll pick for Adrian, but Ani’s will likely be Michelle after my sister.