Posts Tagged “Kids”

It seems like we have one of these every year! So why do I seem to get more tired every year when it’s over? :)

We had fun last night. The boys were all pirates (all, yes, even the husband). Gabby was such a stealthy ninja people didn’t even recognize she was a ninja and got only 3 pieces of candy. Next year she plans to be more conspicuous. Mili was a little pink skeleton. I was a mom :)

It’s funny how different the boys are. Last night, Dean was all into the costume and acting the part. He liked the make-up beard and said, “Aaargh, thank you!” in his best pirate voice when people gave him candy. He jumped off all the stairs and had tons of energy. Pierce, on the other hand, was more quiet and carefully walked, being very cautious of the sidewalks and bumps around the houses. They are so yin/yang.

Maybe the best part was seeing Paul get into it. He had a long wig, grew his beard out for a month, did the patch and hook  hand, etc. He had a lot of fun and definitely plans to do it again next year.

So now on to the next holiday. I already have the menu planned out and plan to be utterly exhausted making it the best Thanksgiving ever for my kids :)

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Other than a new living room floor, not much new is going on here. Kinda nice, kinda boring :)  The carpet was cheap and ugly and I never liked it. I just needed a good excuse to get rid of it. And since we have a new-ish puppy that liked to pee in one corner and liked to snag and chew it, I figured that would work! We put in a pine wood laminate and it makes the room look so much bigger.

Gab’s in 8th (which also means high school next year!!) and Pierce is in 1st grade (just really starting school). They’re both playing soccer again this year through AYSO. Pierce isn’t competitive at all so he just follows the other kids around. But Gab really gets into it; they’re both fun to watch.

Mili is doing better with food. She’s learning to take little bites instead of stuffing her mouth and she’ll hand us her plate and cup when they’re empty and says, “All done!”  She will still attempt to steal someone else’s food if it’s left around, but hopefully she’ll grow out of that. I know she’s not hungry but it’s tough when she still insists (especially when we’re at a restaurant). There’s times I feel like people are saying, “People, feed your hungry kid!” but I can’t listen to my own paranoia; I just have to do what I know I have to do and ignore wondering eyes. Or throw fries at people….I suppose that would be funner….

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So things have been going well with Mili. She’s talking, walking, has a few more teeth, understands what we tell her (and if she disagrees, she lets us know that, too).
The older kids have taken to her like a duck to water. She has truly become “one of the kids.” She just blends right in.
We still have a couple food issues though. She will eat until she bursts. She doesn’t seem to know when to stop eating. It’s definitely worrisome, and we hate being the bad guys by telling her no to more food. But we do.
She loves the pool; I take the kids on average 4-5 days a week for about an hour each time. Each of them has changed a lot with water. Pierce can swim for a few feet, Dean kicks all over the place in his round floatie, and Mili has one she sits in and can kick around. It’s been fun so far.
Right now Ethiopia is going through a drought/famine…and things weren’t great before. I’m happy to have her out of a situation like that, but my heart breaks for the other people there. I wish we could do more.
But, things are great here. I have to be thankful for that. Gab just got back from spending a month with cousins. So things are rolling along.

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The first day we arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was gorgeous. Honestly, every day was gorgeous, 70 degree weather. Much better than the 30 degree weather we left in.

We got out of the airport and our driver took us to the guest house run by the adoption agency. I was surprised that everything is behind fences and gates. Everything private or semi-private anyway. Homes, many hotels, churches, etc. Later I learned that there are thieves that break in these places so they have a guard for them as well.

After we dropped our luggage at the guest house and sat for a little while, our director took us to visit 2 of the 3 orphanages. There were 4 families, 3 orphanages. (Mili and another baby were at the same one an hour and half away so we visited them the next day.)

Each couple had brought a bag of candy to hand out to the kids at their child’s orphanage. At the second one, watching the kids was as much a treat for us as it was to them to get the candy. They slowly and carefully sucked on the Smarties. Have you ever seen an American kids suck on Smarties? No. Mine practically inhale them. But for these kids, it was such a rare treat. Two little boys sat on my lap quietly and ate their candy, enjoying the attention and treat.

Kids in Ethiopia are truly loved. So it’s not that they don’t get attention, but that attention is just divided in so many ways. It was obvious that the nannies and staff loved the kids wherever we went.

The kids’ clothes were kept clean; everywhere we went there were clothes out on bushes or ropes drying. Unfortunately, though, the clothes were very worn and often too small. On one of our trips to an orphanage, all the kids came up to us showing off their new shoes. They were crocs or flip flops. One boy had on flip flops with a big flower on top; he was probably 9 or s0. He didn’t care about the flower; he was just thrilled he had new shoes! It was very heart-warming to see them excited.

It’s hard to be very sad around these kids when they’re so happy. What it did was to strengthen the spark in my husband and I into a fire. Our desire to do more is stronger than before.

I wish I could show everyone what we saw. I wish I could take every spoiled American to Ethiopia. I wish I could inspire even one family to adopt. The kids are beautiful kids that deserve another chance.

I’m excited to go back in a couple months and have started collecting donations again. And if anyone wants to come, you’re more than welcome :)

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Today is Christmas Eve. We got home yesterday.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and nice. Their way of life is very “live and let live” and they care about each other. They don’t sweat the small stuff like we do. Family is a way of life, not just something you have or do. The adults treat the children as if they’re each an amazing person, not a small annoyance that’s running around making noise. And the children are very well-behaved. In these ways, Ethiopia is far superior to the USA.

Sadly, there is huge amounts of poverty. Driving around you can see tiny little huts on the side of roads; families live in these. Some are about the size of your bathroom. They provide shelter and nothing else. These people cook right outside their huts. They clean their clothes in mud puddles. Their small children walk around half naked so they don’t soil their clothes. There are fences and tall gates around homes, some churches, and many semi-private areas (like guest houses and businesses).

The orphanages are many. They, too, are surrounded by tall fences. At the top of the fences (which were cinder block or metal), there would be broken glass or barbed wire to keep people out. Each of them has a guard or two to protect the children. The smallest orphanage we visited had about 20 children, 5 or 6 of which were infants. The oldest was a mid-teen. The largest had about 45 kids, 12 were babies. The children are allowed to play. They are taken care of and loved and protected by nannies and “sisters” (nuns). In the baby room in one orphanage, it was obvious when a particular baby would spot their main caretaker. The child would smile and light up. So there is definitely love between the children and caretakers. This made it less heartbreaking. But it was still very sad that all these children didn’t have a true family.

The children were healthy (many had colds and runny noses, but that’s expected where there’s a lot of kids). Of about 100 kids, I saw only one with special needs. We were allowed to go where we wanted to go, but not allowed to take pictures. It’s against the child trafficking laws, so we were more than happy to follow the rules to protect the kids.

We were able to complete the adoption. We now have 4 children. Milinium Grace is going to be called Mili for short. She’s supposed to be 14 months old, but judging from size and development and orphanage, I’m guessing she’s 10 months, 11 months at most. She’s got the chubbiest cheeks I’ve ever seen, curly hair and loves to stick out her tongue.

We go back in the end of February or beginning of March to bring her home. As jet lag wears off, I’ll put pictures up. But I have her pic as my Facebook profile if you’d like to see her :)

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So while the adoption is moving along, there’s always life moving right along with it.

Today was parent-teacher conference day for both Gab & Pierce.

We went to Pierce’s teacher first…I wasn’t sure what to expect. Anyone that knows him knows he’s either fire or ice, black or white, angelic or…well…not so much  ;)

I was pleasantly surprised that his teacher said he’s doing very well. He listens well, pays attention, raises his hand, asks for help when he genuinely needs it, is kind to others, shares well, etc. I loved hearing that!! I know he’s smart and he loves to learn. But to hear it from the teacher is amazing. She was surprised he’s never gone to school/daycare/pre-K of any kind.  I had to laugh a bit and really wanted to say, “Yeah, well, there’s other ways to teach a kid…like the mom teaches the kid!”

So the boy earned a donut.

Then we went to Gab’s school…the middle and high schools do conferences differently than the elementary. They just do a walk-in-whenever thing. We wandered around and talked to a few teachers, and I’m proud to say, I was bored slightly. Why?? They said the same thing…”She’s got an A, doing great, pays attention, does her work, studies seriously, etc…”

So it was a great day! I hope they’re as proud of themselves as I am of them.

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I emailed our agency today with a few questions, one of which was a possible time line.

She promptly wrote back (as she always does…love her!) and said the wait time is about 2 months! Then another couple months to the first travel dates and another 2 to the final/pick up date.

Of course, all this is approximate and subject to change…either sooner (if we’re lucky) or later (if there’s delays). It’s the end of July now; so her dates are September for referral, November for the first travel (when we meet her) and January for the second travel (to pick her up).

Exciting news :)

But for now, I’ve got back-to-school shopping and getting ready within the next few weeks, then soccer right after that for Gab & Pierce. And there’s always the church stuff to keep me busy. I’m definitely looking forward to the referral and meeting her, but I think when people look too far ahead, they rush or miss what’s going on now. And for now, I have a busy 2-year-old, a soon-to-be Kindergartner, and a 2nd-year-middle-schooler! I’m sure the time will fly by, as it always does when I blink.

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We’re at a lull in the adoption process for the moment. We’re waiting on our 2nd (and final) home study visit which will be in a couple weeks.

But life still goes on! My husband’s grandma died last week, so he’s going to Wisconsin for the funeral this week.

Next week Gab heads out to Utah for her cousin’s wedding.

And amidst those things, there’s band concerts, hair appointments, dr appointments, a few church get-togethers, parties for me to plan out (2 for church, 1 for the boys)…..sigh….

Unfortunately most of things are just on my mind and not to the point of being able to put into action. This is a frustrating thing for me. So I’m left feeling a little anxious….so much to do and I have to just sit and wait for the days to come!

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We’ve taught our kids when they’re done with a dish, to load it in the dishwasher. As soon as they understand language, that’s one thing they learn. Same with throwing trash in the trash can.

Dean loves watching me do laundry. He loves throwing clothes in the washer.

So today our darling 21-month-old decided to put a few ideas together.

He put a couple shoes in the dishwasher. Pierce’s shoes. He (Pierce) went to put a dish in the dishwasher and laughed and said, “Why did Dean put my shoes in here?”

Funny thing was, if I were going to put shoes in, I would have put them in in the same way he did.

Then I noticed a pink comb in with the silverware. Good place for a comb as well.

I just don’t know whether he meant to be funny (he’s a goofball) or if he really thought he was helping. It was cute, either way, and Pierce and I quietly put the shoes and comb in their proper places.

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So after much thought, prayers and consideration, Paul and I have decided that we’re going to adopt!

We don’t feel our family is complete quite yet and trying-to-conceive hasn’t worked out. We’re in the process of picking an agency and we’re just hoping and praying we get accepted and can be on-the-way through the process soon. It’ll take a while, a “hurry up and wait” kind of thing, but we’re ready and excited.

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