Harder Family

Harder Family

Monday, September 4, 2017

Six Months

Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

It is hard to believe, but we are just days away from celebrating the six month anniversary of when DJ and Shan Chen became our sons. It is hard to believe that six months ago I was in China. Sometimes it feels like it has just been a few days, and other days it feels like the boys have been with us forever. On March 6th, DJ became our son and March 9th Shan Chen became our son. Our family day, the day we actually met them and they came to the hotel with me is March 5th and March 8th. What a ride the past six months have been!! We are so glad that God called us to be their parents. It has been a wonderful six months, although not perfect. We have all struggled at times to adjust to being a family of 10 and everyone has had to learn how to share our time. We are doing our best and it is our prayer that God uses this in each of our children's lives to draw them closer to God.

In China (3-2017)

Here are some stats on six months ago to now (I only know because I had to fill out our 6 month report for China): 

DJ - 57.5" and now 58.75"; 80 lb and now 87.6 lb. He has thinned out and is growing so quickly. DJ has done amazing this summer in school as well. Since May, he has completed the entire 1st grade Abeka math and is only 10 lessons away from being done with 2nd grade math (all since May!). He is speaking a ton of English and has started to enjoy reading some easy level books (especially if they are super hero or Lego books). DJ is more quiet, but he loves to cook (or be in the kitchen asking me when he gets to eat while I'm cooking) and ride his bike.

Shan Chen - 49" and now 50"; 43 lb and now 58 lb (I guess his daily carnation milk is helping him grow). It is wonderful to see him looking healthier and not like skin and bones. Shan Chen kicked butt this summer and completed his entire 2nd grade Abeka math book and is now in 3rd grade math. He speaks entirely in English now and can read about at a 1st grade level. The joy and fun he brings to our lives is astonishing. It's hard not to smile when he is around.

Last week we started school. I cannot believe that I am starting my 8th year of homeschool!! Abigail was going into 2nd grade when we started and my "baby" is now a freshmen in high school!!! We had a great first week. There are a lot of adjustments to homeschooling 8 kids, but we survived the first week and I learned a lot. Hopefully this next week goes even more smoothly, as everyone realizes that summer is over and it is time for school. Here are pictures from our first day of school. I posted real pictures to, to just keep things real with everyone. I don't want it to look like we have it together. Simple things like, "Hey, let's take our first day of school pictures," can turn into a range of crazy responses.

Fun breakfast for our first day back to school! Above is a picture of me attempting to figure out how to squeeze everything into one day with 8 students!

Sophia's birthday is coming up, so we went on our traditional birthday date. I buy the girls a new dress (hello, I just love Once Upon a Child) and we go out for ice cream. Sophia loved having the one on one time. She has struggled the most with adding two new kids. It was wonderful to get some alone time with just her.

On the second day of school, we had some friends over to make wontons from scratch. It was great to see the kids play together and learn another piece of culture for the boys. Plus, who can beat homemade soup??

There were 14 kids!! That is a lot of kids!

On Tuesday night, our neighbor invited us to her church for the outdoor program. There were jumpy houses, face painting, and food. I enjoyed getting to know some amazing new ladies.

On Wednesdays this year, we are doing something fun. We are doing our history and science with friends. We get together one day a week to do a week worth of history and science. This week we started our lessons on Rome. They suggested dressing like a Roman teacher so the students could grasp how different school was then and now. We also made cookie tablets, made jello cells, and learned about life in Rome and human cells. It was a great day, but very long!

On Thursday, after dropping the older girls off at Classical Conversations in Indiana, we had to rush back home for dentist appointments. A few kids needed cavities filled. I didn't know how we would squeeze school in between running to Indiana and the dentist, so we brought school with us. We transformed the waiting room into our classroom.

On Fridays, we will be studying art. I found a great program where the teacher teaches art via a dvd. The kids this week learned about the primary colors.

We have new neighbors. Well, they moved in almost a year ago. We have slowly gotten to know them over the past year. Recently, we have seen a lot of them and have enjoyed spending time with them. My friend Bessma is from Jordan. She invited me over on Saturday to learn how to make "upside down dish", which technically is called Maklouba. She has been teaching me some Arabic words as I try to help her with her English skills. They have two sons that are close to the Shan Chen and DJ's age. It has been such a blessing to have kids they can play with too. 

Look at all this food! It was such a great time of fellowship and delicious food. Bessma plans on having me over to learn more Jordan dishes. I cannot wait! The more international cuisine I learn how to make, the more excited I am. I just love trying new food and getting to know new people. Heaven is going to be an amazing place filled with people of every tribe, tongue and nation!