Since there's no pics in this post, I realize at least half of you will check out at this point. No offense taken. =O) More pics will be coming ASAP, I promise!

I know it's only been a month or so, but so far life with kids has been pretty much what we expected. People have told us (for YEARS), "just wait!" as if there was no way we could comprehend the hardships of parenting until we had kids. Truth is, I think we've always had a pretty good grasp on what it would be like. It's hard. And amazing. The kids will frustrate you to no end in one moment, and have you rolling the next. We've lost most of our "free" time of course, but who goes into parenting not expecting that?

(Speaking of "rolling," our funniest moment came when Ellie was going potty and didn't close the door like I asked her. I realized Elijah had disappeared, and I came in to the bathroom to find Ellie and Elijah standing at the toilet. He had poop in his hand...and mouth. Couldn't even get him to let go of the poop in his hand - apparently, he really liked it).

The two surprises we've had have been the tantrums from Ellie and how we've handled them. Sure, kids are kids. They're going to do things they shouldn't and you're going to have to discipline them. We have NO problem with that. They're going to misbehave. But Ellie's tantrums have escalated to screaming, slapping, biting, pinching, and spitting. She won't stay in the time out chair or in bed, and half the time she'll start laughing the more stern you get. We literally have to hold her hands and feet together and bear hug her to keep her from hurting us or herself. We've tried to the whole "Super Nanny" approach of just quietly walking her back to the chair for as many times and as long as it takes (hours), but frankly it's proven to be rather ineffective.

Keep in mind, she recently came from another country and speaks a different language. We don't know what she's experienced, how (or if) she's been disciplined, and we can't ask her what she's feeling or explain the reasoning behind our actions. We can't necessarily use the same parenting tactics you would use on biological children.

What's worse is that Erin and I have had a hard time controlling ourselves during the tantrums. We've been quite surprised to find out how quickly we've lost patience, spoken more loudly and harshly than we want to, or have been more forceful physically than we want to. So we're definitely a work in progress. We're making mistakes, but we're learning from them! A month ago, we didn't have kids - now we have 2 partially grown children! We're trying to learn...and to breathe and think clearly. We're trying to stay calm and in control, and to relax about the things that don't really matter.

Other than that one issue, all is perfect. Our kids are hilarious, adorable, smart, and weird...which is fitting considering they're now Smiths. We love them SO MUCH. It's hard to imagine us not having them in our lives or getting to see them every day. They're amazing! Aside from their skin color, you'd have no idea that these kids weren't biological. It's unbelievable how many traits of ours they seem to have and how PERFECTLY they fit us. It's almost as if God knew...

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