Tonight Mary Jane and I were sitting at the kitchen table watching all of the kids playing in the back yard. Because of the way the sun was shining, they couldn't see us but we could see them. They were all in a big group in the middle of the yard trying to work on their bikes. All of them were there except for Robert. He was on the trampoline by himself. But then we saw him get off of the trampoline, making his way toward all of his brothers and sisters. But he was walking funny...? wait a minute. His diaper had fallen off, half way, and was hanging through one of the leg holes on his shorts. We could tell it had some pretty good weight in it because of how far down it was drooping. We started making bets on who would notice it first and help him. MJ said, "it would be Ana" and I said, "I thought it would be Matthew." These kids really do help each other out quite a bit, which is amazing. Anyway, we were sitting there watching as he walked awkwardly toward everyone... no one noticed him. As he got closer to the herd, we started cheering on who we had picked as our choice as the one who would help first. But then we noticed... his diaper wasn't full of #1 but it was full of #2... and it was almost a neon green in color! As he stepped up to the rest of the kids, I think they all noticed him at the same time... and they all ran like there was a fire! All the kids ran in different directions and were yelling different versions of eww!We were laughing so hard... you had to see it. But speaking of fires we actually had one last week here at the house. It seems as though Matthew, Marlon and Diogo had a magnifying glass and used it to start a log on fire. Not that big of a deal, right? All boys do that at least once in their lifetime. But my boys took it one step further. They decided to walk around the yard with their flaming log. They walked around the side of the house and a piece of the fire fell off into a landscape bed containing an assortment of plants, including a perfect hedge of 25' tall leyland cypress that spans the entire length of the house. The bad thing is that they didn't notice it fell off. When they walked back to this side of the house about 45 seconds later, they heard a crackling noise and then they noticed that the tree was on fire! They ran inside to get MJ and she tried to pull the hose over to the fire but it was too short! She tried to arch the spray of the hose to reach the fire but it was barely reaching. All the kids ripped off their shirts and were trying to 'beat' the fire out as MJ was frantically trying to fill up pots to dump on the fire and spray the hose at the same time. Maryssa called the fire department as everyone tried to put out the fire. It was spreading rapidly because it was very windy that day. It was only about 10' from the house and everyone was freaking out because the fire was about 15' high and 10' wide! They were finally able to put it out, after what seemed like an eternity. It was a very stressful time for my little wife, to say the least. Other than that, things have been going great (except for having to take Matthew to the Emergency Room the Monday before that. He was riding his bike in flip flops and ripped half his toe off!). We've been home for a month now and there is never a dull moment at the Dunn home.
There have definitely been a few challenges though. One of the things is never seeming to have any time to just enjoy the kids. It seems like we're always having to referee and discipline and entertain... non-stop all day long, without just being able to just have fun. That gets very exhausting ( for MJ mostly because I'm usually at church). Also, not having anytime to just relax (except when it's time for bed.) is very wearisome for my wife.The other thing is being able to spend quality time with the kids one on one. We don't want to just provide food and shelter for these kids. We want to love on them individually and make sure that each one feels special. Dealing with everyone as a group doesn't achieve this. So, we're praying for wisdom so that we can come up creative ways to make this happen. As far as never having time to relax... I told MJ to fill up our big cooler with water (we wouldn't want anyone to dehydrate) then make all the kids go outside to play and just lock the door! Problem solved, right? Seems reasonable to me. Now I'm not talking about all day or anything just for an hour or so each day. If someone has a droopy diaper filled with poop hanging to their knees, or if someone severs their big toe off or if there's a fire... then they can come in. Sounds like a plan to me.
Jim and MJ