So, yeah, we decided that it would be smart to go ahead and move Cooper down to the basement and make that his bedroom. We thought about this prior to the new kids coming home, but I really wanted him to be upstairs with all of us cause I thought that would help with the bonding process. I just didn't want Cooper to always be down in the basement and we never see his sweet face. So, it was decided at that point that Gatlin and Bennet would share a room and Kaleb and Kali would share a room, and Cooper would keep the room upstairs by himself. This was all great, in theory, but then the kids got here. The, "It'll be fine for me and Bennet to share a room" wore off 15 minutes after they were home. LOL Actually, the room, itself, was never really a problem. BUT, whenever there was a problem, which, in truth, has been somewhat often, the room became an issue - somehow separating them and putting Gatlin back in her own room was always the answer to any and every problem (from Gatlin's perspective). For Bennet, she wanted to "be in the room with Gatlin for forever", but couldn't quite change the behaviors that were causing Gatlin to not want that. In truth, there is a significant maturity level difference between pubescent, 11-year-old Bennet, and hormone-crazed, 14-year-old Gatlin. So, after 5 months, in order to make the transition as easy as possible on everyone, we decided to change the rooms.
In truth, by the 5th month, Bennet, too, was ready to change rooms, but she wanted her OWN room. Oh, it's always something. ha!! But, somewhat reluctantly, she finally unlocked the door and let Kali into their new shared bedroom. LOL We took Gatlin's name off the wall and put Kali's up there - and Bennet moved to the bigger, bottom bed, and Kali went to the top bunk (which was a fun change from the bunk she shared with Kaleb where he was on top). And, lo and behold, Kaleb ended up with his own room. We just figured it made the most sense to go ahead and separate the boy/girl room sharing and give Kaleb the room with its own bathroom, thus leaving the three girls to share the other bathroom with all their girl stuff. Kaleb didn't actually love the idea of a room by himself, but he is trusting me that, at some point in the near future, he'll be very happy about it! (: And, can I just say, that moving Kali and Bennet in together has been so great. They are much better roommates because they are both very nice and neat, unlike Gatlin, who is just a wee bit messy (like her mother was at that age - so she comes by it naturally). They also both get ready for school very quickly and therefore, wake up at the same time in the morning. Gatlin takes a wee bit longer (and no, she didn't get that from me, I'm fast!) so wakes up earlier and doesn't have to tip-toe around, which she is thankful for.
BUT, in order to make the room changes, we had to change some things in the basement, which, when we first moved into this house 14 years ago, was Brian's studio (now he has a free-standing studio next to the house). The vocal booth in the back of the basement has been a music room of sorts (guitars and drums in there) and then the rest of the room was a game room, with a pool table in the middle. So, first things first, we had to sell the pool table, not only to make room, but also to pay for the new shower we were adding to the bathroom down there. A friend of ours lined up the plumber to put the shower in and we started the process.
Oh, but I haven't yet mentioned that we were anticipating company and were trying to get the shower done before they got here since they'd stay in the basement while here. But, pretty much everything that could have gone wrong with the bathroom renovation, went wrong. It wasn't our friend's fault, it was just a comedy of errors. Like, the shower didn't fit through the door - had to take the door off. Then, they had given him the wrong size shower and it had to be returned. The flooring was taken up and was supposed to go right back in after the shower installation, but when they tried to put it back in, it no longer fit the area....so new flooring had to be purchased. Things weren't drying and therefore couldn't be completed. And the hot and cold water were backwards (which still has to be fixed!). So, it was just kind of funny since we were trying to hurry and quickly get it done, which, of course, we should have realized jinxed the whole thing. ha!! So, I let our friends know that, yes, they would have a shower, but, no, it would NOT be pretty. Thankfully, these sweet friends couldn't have cared less about such things.
We had an awesome visit with Nick and Ann Tunheim (our precious friends that we went to Ethiopia with for court and then, Brian and Gatlin went back again with them for the Embassy appointment). They were here for three days, but OH, did I mention that my best friend, Angela, and her four boys, were in Atlanta shooting a movie and she called two days before Nick and Ann were arriving and said that she and the boys were done with the movie and were headed our way for a week long visit! HA!! I loved the fact that we were going to get to see them (cause they live in California), but the timing was hysterical. SO, they got to our house the next day. They ended up staying in a hotel though cause the basement really was too much of a disaster area at the point they got here. So, we spent a couple awesome days hanging out with them and then Nick and Ann got here. That weekend was our awesome adoption agency's reunion so we spent Saturday and Sunday with our amazing friends that we've met on this incredible journey. And I'm telling you, it is really quite a miracle how God weaves our hearts together with others so quickly. Dan and Tara Quinn brought their kids over for a swim on Friday afternoon and we just had a blast hanging out with them. Nick and Ann stayed for that, too, and then at the end our time with them, Angela and the boys came back to our house to stay with us for one night before they headed back to California (so yes, Nick and Ann out, Angela and the boys, in - it was so funny, but you probably had to be here). And oh, it was such a huge blessing that one of the Chick-fil-A stores in town had their large nugget trays on sale for half price cause I, seriously, took advantage of that FIVE times!!! SO perfect for the large groups we had over in July - and so very yummy!
I was doing laundry and packing suitcases that entire weekend as company was coming and going, because on Monday morning we jumped in the car and drove THIRTY TWO HOURS to California.
To be continued....
PS. I want to touch briefly on the Bennet/Gatlin relationship. I don't want anyone to think that we're having any extreme issues over here - but I do want to be honest with everyone cause it's not always peachy, either. The girls are sisters, and as sisters, they bicker. Ok, they fight. ha! They both have areas they need to work on - and they are. Bennet needs to work on not purposefully "pushing Gatlin's buttons" and Gatlin needs to work on not reacting so strongly when she does. It is a process and we are working on it. But, one thing I do realize is that I'm grateful that they both feel so bonded to each other that they are comfortable arguing. Yes, at times it's a lot of drama. Ok, a LOT of times it's a LOT of drama, but we just happen to have two very dramatic girls - and it's that high drama that makes me know that they are not in our family by mistake, God knew they belonged with me. He knew I could handle it (oh, please, God, help me handle it - LOL) and He knew that I could understand their ways, since I, too, loved looking at myself in the mirror when I would cry...oh wait, that's another story! Anyway, I believe that the issues we have are just normal sibling issues that every family has. We are blessed beyond measure.