Saturday, June 30, 2007

Birthday in the house!

Breakfast pancake with a candle

Bear at zoo who put on quite the show for our birthday boy

My little monkey!

It's the birthday season around here. We have 3 summer b-days in our house the first of which was celebrated today! My middle baby boy turned 4! I can't believe it. I cherish the day he was born and came into our lives. He is such a lively and smart little guy. We spent the day at the zoo in the beautiful sunshine. Had a picnic lunch of salami, cheese, crackers, Cheetos, pretzels, blueberries and raspberries (all picked out by the b-day boy). On the way home we had pizza and will have cupcakes & ice cream for dessert once everyone wakes up! The two youngest are sleeping in the car in the garage and Dad is upstairs sleeping (I wish I was too:). Happy Birthday my sweet little boy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer Reading List

Okay so it might take a few summers to read all of these books! I used to read all the time but I haven't had as much time in the last couple of years. I miss it and I'm going to read at least a couple of books this summer. I joined a book club that meets once a month and haven't been able to attend any of the meetings....I've missed 3 so far. Recently on my adoption yahoo group a bunch of books were suggested as something to read following There Is No Me Without You. If you haven't read this great book by Melissa Fay Greene, then please do! Here's the list:
God Grew Tired Of Us by J. Bul Dau and M. Sweeny
Africa Is Not A Country by Margy Burns Knight
Love In The Driest Season by Neely Tucker
The Hospital By The River by Hamlin
In Ethiopia with a mule by Derva Murphy
Blue Clay by William Powers
Our Day To End Poverty (a 24 chapter book on different ways to eliminate poverty) by Daley, Harris and Keenan
Then I have a list of books not related to Africa:
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseine
#1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
If anyone has read from this list I would love to have your review. I'll let you know what I think as I read them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Child Proofing Extravaganza!

I have been child proofing the house like crazy. Baby guy is putting us to the test! Most of the house is under "bungee cord" lock down including cabinets with chemicals and the wood stove. I never had to put locks on the cabinets for baby boy #2 and with baby boy #1 we lived in a different house. I'm getting the locks! I also got some more baby gates. I locked off the mudroom, laundry room and sewing room area. Baby guy was having a great time turning the furnace off/on, dialing the phone, taking 20+ pairs of shoes off the rack and "licking" them, YUM! I moved the XBOX and all the kid's DVDs out of reach on the bookcase. I ruined all his fun opening the drive and tossing the disk out amid screams from his brothers. I also taped closed the control box on the front of the TV. He loves to change the channel or mess with the menu option. This week he set a parental control on channel 5, with a password! The other big area that I've rearranged is the office area. I can't block it off (maybe I'll find a big enough gate) but I have moved some of the items. Baby guy was loving to push all the buttons on the phone, especially the speakerphone button (really nice when you're on the phone). I moved the phone out of reach but as you can see from the photo I need to move a few more things. He climbed onto my jewelry case looking for the phone! I've never had a climber in the family, but I do now! If it's quiet in the house I quickly jump up, "where's baby guy?". His older brothers are constantly yelling, "Mom, he's in the......". Good thing I have two helpers!

Friday, June 22, 2007

World's Best Teacher!

Here is Tuba and his wonderful teacher at last night's "moving up" ceremony. She is the BEST!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On to Middle School!

My baby (my oldest baby) is moving on to middle school. Tonight is his 5th grade "moving up" ceremony. The hubby and I are taking plenty of tissues to dry our eyes with. It is amazing how much he has changed and accomplished in the last 8 years. "Tuba" (great story behind the nickname) started special education preschool at age 3. He spent two years in the preschool program and then on to K-5. The staff at his school have been amazing. Everyone from the teachers, teacher's aides, OT/PT, speech therapy, nurse, secretary, cooks, to the wonderful children have been so kind to our special guy. Tuba has always loved school. Sometimes it was embarrassing when I would pick him up at school and he would cry because he wanted to stay longer. Tuba still crawled about 90% of the time when he started preschool. He's now running so fast that it's hard to "catch" him. Over the years he has learned countless things. His first word other than "mama and papa" was "Baaaaab", which was Barb the speech therapist. He would shout her name from down the hall or when he saw her office. Now Tuba has lots of words. He has amazed all of us. I'll never forget the day his teacher told me, "he counted to 5 today!". Quite frankly I didn't believe her. When we got into the car I said, "did you count to 5?". He replied with, "one, too, fee, fo, fie". I had to pull the car over because I was crying so hard. Now he's counting to 12! Tuba had some tough years battling the seizures. The day the ambulance had to be called from school was a doozy! I think it took about 5 years off of my life (and the staff). Through all of the seizures and meds and surgery Tuba was such a trooper. He just gets back up and continues on. He has a zest for life that is so infectious. I know he will be greatly missed at his elementary school. On to middle school!

Monday, June 18, 2007

In Memory of my dear friend Danny

I received terribly sad news this morning. My dear friend Danny from Addis Ababa died last week. He collapsed while jogging and died. He was 26 and very healthy, a former soccer player. Probably nobody will ever know what happened to him. Danny was our hired driver last August when my Mom and I were in Ethiopia to bring baby guy home. Danny was far more than a driver to us. He was a tour guide, a translator, a body guard of sorts, and most of all a friend. He answered endless questions for me. I learned so much from him about the city of Addis, the history of the country, the feelings of the Ethiopian people. Danny was only 25 years old when we met him but he was already a great man. He gave freely of his money to the beggars on the street. He especially had a heart for those that were old or crippled. He sponsored children in the city to go to school. He said his pastor and church really encouraged Ethiopians to help one another and that is what he did. Danny was an extremely hard worker. When we inquired about the cost of hiring him for the day I asked him, "what hours does the day cover?". He replied, "the whole day, 24 hours". He wasn't kidding. Anytime we wanted to be picked up or dropped off he was ready to go. His car was the cleanest thing you have ever seen. He washed and cleaned it out daily which included spraying the seats with Fabreeze! He had a great business sense and was well on his way. We spent the week with Danny taking us to appointments, shopping (he was thrilled to hold the baby while I looked at items or paid), and sight seeing. He took us to the Merkato where his father owns a shop. We had the pleasure of seeing Danny's home too. We met his sister and niece and had sodas with him and his family. While at his house he was thrilled to show us photos of many of the families he has driven for. He knew all the kids names and where they live in the states. After I was home Danny and I kept in touch by email. He was thrilled to see pictures of the baby guy and commented on how big he was getting. We planned to see Danny again on our next adoption trip to Addis. I was looking forward to hubby meeting him. I knew my family would be in good hands with Danny driving them. I will miss him dearly. I pray for his family during this difficult time. May his memory be eternal.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful hubby. You are the greatest Dad to our boys. I thank God for you every day. You are truly a blessing given to us. All three of our babies aspire to be like you. They have your amazing energy for sure! When I think of you and our boys I think of these things; Unconditional love, snuggle time, Star Wars, video games, hide and seek, "Dad, wrestle me!", gum, "Papa" yelled by our oldest, army guys, prayer time, swinging (so high I can't look!), throwing rocks into the water, Starbucks, walking the loop, cars, and anything all BOY! My favorite time is when we are all at church together. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this year with you and your boys. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On the wait list!

Our dossier went to Ethiopia today! We are now on the wait list for an infant GIRL 0-12 months!!! Referrals are taking about 7 months and then another few months to travel date. So, we are estimating a new arrival next Spring, maybe May! Please join us in praying for the many orphans in Ethiopia and our soon to be daughter.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

1 Year Portrait

Today we went to the mall and had baby guy's 1 year portrait taken. Okay, so I'm only 3 months late. That's not too bad, is it? I was wondering if they could airbrush out his teeth and then I could pretend that I had them taken "on time". He was a wild man for the photo op. He did NOT think the young girl taking the photos was funny or entertaining AT ALL! None of my kids have ever smiled on cue for the strange hooting, whistling, clapping, peek-a-booing and certainly not for the "tickle wand". I find myself wanting to yank the button out of the photographers hand and click the picture myself. Well at least these two photos turned out well. They did the car picture last (the girl said they can only do it last because kids always love it). Good thing I listened to her because when baby guy had to get off of it and leave he threw a major screaming fit!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

I have been tagged by a friend's blog(check out her wonderful family at . I have been challenged to come up with 8 random things about myself. So here it goes:
1. I love to clean and organize. When I was a little girl and I would be playing at a friend's house, I would say, "C'mon lets clean your room, lets clean out your closet". I love to go into a messy office or see a disaster of a closet. My mind starts to plan and I "itch"to get my hands on the disorder. More than once my kids have had to really get in my face while I'm madly organizing, "MOM, we are hungry!". Oops, I guess I do have to stop and feed the kids:)
2. I am super anal (only I can use this word about myself) about the calendar! Please do not change dates on me after it's on the calendar in INK! Don't make me get out the white-out!
3. I LOVE disco, yes I said disco. It is the happiest, most fun music and it makes me want to smile and dance.
4. Although I'm very girly, girly, love pink, makeup and clothes. I am the "tool-time" mom of the house. I owned all the power tools coming into my marriage and I love to do home-repairs. I like the challenge (and money saved) from fixing it myself. Plus, I'm way too impatient to wait for the repairman to come next week!
5. I can be outrageously silly. I save most of this for my husband who swears he will videotape me and show it at church, to my mom, or any other threat he can come up with. PS-my mom says she already knows!
6. I hate tomatoes! I always have and I'm sure always will. I tried recently to eat one. They look so good but no I still don't like them. Even just the juice or seeds (I'll pick each one out of my food) make my mouth water (not the good kind of watering mouth). I do like them if they are in the form of sauce with spices and blended all up. I love Ketchup. Wasn't it Regan who wanted it to be included as a vegetable for school lunch? I concur!
7. I was extremely shy as a child. I had to attend morning AND afternoon kindergarten in hopes that it would help me become more social. I can remember my palms sweating and fearing that the teacher or another student would look at me or talk to me. In the 3rd grade I became not shy anymore and I've never shut up! Nobody can believe that I was ever shy. I don't ever feel shy anymore. Very occasionally I get nervous. I can speak in front of large groups but if it is a topic close to my heart than I do get a little nervous. When I did the slide-show presentation of my trip to Ethiopia I got very nervous and shaky. I hadn't felt that way in a long time. I've taught classes to large groups and often make announcements to a large group and never felt nervous.
8. My favorite day is spent at the beach with my boys (hubby is one of the boys too). I love to sit with my feet in the warm sand, have a yummy picnic lunch and watch the boys play. On the way home I love to go for a scenic drive, eat candy and chat.
Okay, that is 8 random things about me. I hope you learned something new. I now tag Sonora, Dawn, Leah, Jaime and Miranda to do your 8 random things on your blog! If you play, leave a message in the comment section so we can read your 8 things too.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes! It's been one year since we received our referral. What a wonderful year it has been!

First photo of baby guy. He was 1 month old.

Now, baby guy at 14 months old

Big brothers have gotten so much bigger too! One of my favorite photos of last summer.

Sponsor a child

This is the family we sponsor in Ethiopia. For $15.00 a month you can sponsor a child. The money pays for a school uniform and school supplies. In order to go to school in Ethiopia you have to pay for it. We are so blessed in the USA to have free education for our children. $15.00 is a very small amount of money for Americans. What can you give up for $15.00 a month? One dinner at a restaurant, 3 lattes, 2 movie tickets? Go to for more information on student sponsorship. You can set up a monthly deduction from your account. It's easy and it's a worthy cause. Each month when the money is deducted it reminds me how lucky we are.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

He's My Son!

Okay, I'm venting! I took the two little boys with me to the Nordstrom sale today. I got new sandals for the baby and then headed to the Clinique counter to pick up my order. As we were standing waiting a woman starting talking to baby guy. She commented on how cute he was and he did a good job of smiling and flirting. The woman asked me how old he is and then says, "Are you a foster mom?". I calmly and happily replied, "No, he's my son". She just silently looked at me. Sort of an annoying question. Next we went over to the latte bar to order a snack. As we were sitting having our treat a little old lady behind me starts talking to baby guy. He again smiles and waves at her. I turn around as she tells me how cute he is. Next thing out of her mouth is, "Are you babysitting him?". "No, he's my son", I reply. Two comments in 5 minutes has left me feeling a little on edge. I didn't trust myself to smile and be friendly so I turned back around to my own table. Next the lady says, "Oh, well that's interesting". Now she didn't say it snotty or uppity but in my brain all I could think was, WHAT!!! She said something else but I forced myself not to listen and just talked to my boys. In the first month that baby guy was home I heard many rude and intrusive questions. Most of these were from people we know. "What happened to his real parents?" was the basic question asked over and over. Each time we politely answered that we are his parents and then explained the poverty and orphan issues of Ethiopia. For some, this just wasn't the answer they wanted. They would try again, "Why was he orphaned?", "What do you know about his family?". Our answers ranged from polite to curt. We explained that some things are private. Just when I didn't think I could take anymore invasive questions they seemed to end. Now today drudged up all those feelings again. I felt myself tearing up as I sat at our table. I wanted to grab baby guy, hold him tight and yell, "No, he's my son. He's my son just like his blond haired, blue eyed brothers are my sons. It's the same. There is no difference. He's mine. He's My Son!". My good friend's advice for these people and their intrusive questions/comments, "People don't need to say everything out loud that they are thinking". Amen, Amen, Amen!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Me and My Mommy

In yesterday's mail I received this picture of myself with my Mom. My Dad came across some old photos and sent them on to me. What a wonderful and surprising thing to get in the mail. I LOVE getting things in the mail and this really made my day. I got all teary eyed looking at this photo. It reminds me of all the snuggle time I spend with my precious boys. It reminds me how important it is to sit down and spend time holding my kids.


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