Thursday, May 28, 2009

Feeling hopeful again

I finally seem to have broken out of the 'numb' state from which I've been occupying for the past few weeks.  Memorial Day, Blaine wanted to spend the day at the house doing yard work like cutting down some trees and transplanting some hostas and ferns.  I must admit, I felt ambivalent
about spending so much time there.  It's both bitter and sweet to be there.  My sweet sister, P came to help and as we weeded and transplanted, she reminded me that soon we will be home again.  I have lost sight of that lately, being a very shortsighted person.  She got me excited again and we really did get a lot of yard work done, which will be wonderful when we get back in our house again.  

We spent Saturday and Sunday away at Blaine's Aunt and Uncle's lake home fishing with the little boys.  T and H are wonderful hosts and I actually had time to devote to just playing with the boys again.  It was just what we needed!  I felt like me again.  At our home away from home, I feel like I any time I'm not cooking, bathing the kids, cleaning, etc. I need to be working on the inventory in order to get that done.  It was great not to have that hanging over my head. Peaceful!

Blaine and I went today to pick out plumbing fixtures and tubs today.  Then we went to pick out a new fireplace for the living room.  Finally, some progress towards seeing the house finished. It was fun!

I also find myself allowing myself to think more and more about our next adoption.  I'm getting excited to begin the journey again.  

Also, my brother and sister in law are very soon moving back to Minnesota from Spokane after many years away.  I'm excited to have them closer and be a complete family again.  Now we just need to get their son and his sweet wife here and we'll have it all!  Pray for them as they are leaving a beautiful home, wonderful church, their son and daughter in law.  My brother is having health problems and needs more family around for support.  No matter what the reason for the change, I have learned that transition is so hard and adjustment takes time.  It will be a blessing to be together again.

God truly is good and I know He has a purpose in everything that happens to us, good and bad. People always say, "When it rains, it pours," and always pertaining to bad things happening. Really we should also remember to say that when good things are happening to us over and over.  "When it rains, it pours (blessings)." I think we really just love to complain and people love to commiserate.  Ugh...I hate it.  Waste of time and energy.  

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox and go to warm, comfy bed with my belly full of oatmeal cookies and my 4 beautiful children safely in their beds.  

Ahhh...when it rains, it pours.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A day in the life of Misganaw

Morning:  As I was getting him out of his car seat, I begin teasing Misganaw by saying to him, "Look at that neck...I think I might have to bite it.  Oh, here is a hand, I'm gonna eat it!"  Usually when I do this (which is often) I pretend to bite him and he laughs and laughs.  This time, he instantly picks his nose and points it at me and says, "Here.  Eat my bugger."  I burst out laughing and say, "I'm most certainly NOT going to eat your bugger."  He puts his finger back in his nose and says, "Have another one."  

Dinnertime:  Blaine was holding Misganaw on his lap.  He pointed to the part of his leg under his knee and asked Daddy, "What is this?"  Blaine replies, "That is your shin."  Misganaw replies, "No it's not.  This is my shin," and points to his chin!  He had the whole table cracking up over that one.

Bedtime:  I was watching the highlights of American Idol that we recorded and the boys were supposed to be going to sleep.  Right...good one.  Anyway, I hear Misganaw say, "Mommy, come here.  Mihiretu needs your help."  I usually don't rush in for these things because usually when I get there I get asked a life or death question about what we're having for breakfast tomorrow or something life shattering like that.  But then, in the most precious, concerned, drama-filled, almost crying voice, Misganaw says, "Mommy, would you please come and help my bluller, Mihiretu?  (He can't say 'brother'.)  He fell when he was trying to sleep in his bed."  Right...I then hear Mihiretu say, "I can't hold on much longer!"  I walk into the bedroom and see Misganaw standing on the bed holding tightly onto his 'blullers' ankles for dear life.  Keep in mind, Misganaw is 28 pounds soaking wet and Mihiretu us over 60 pounds.  

Yep, he'd very obviously been almost sound asleep when he suddenly and without warning went head first off the end of his bed into a cabinet and got stuck.  I just don't understand how these things happen to an almost sleeping child.  Hmmmmmm.......

Those are the highlights of our day other than American Idol.  Seriously, was that the best finale show ever?  Rod Stewart, Queen, Kiss, Keith Urban...great entertainment.  I couldn't help but sing along with my between pulling my sons'  head out of a cabinet, I mean. 



Monday, May 18, 2009

Too much testosterone

We arrived home last night from a work weekend at the cabin.  We had 2 gorgeous days and lots of strong, capable and willing young men (and a few old ones!) and the docks were in the water quickly, the leaves were cleaned up and 5 big trees were taken down.  I am told by my little spy that my husband was spotted shimmying up a tree.  I am also told none of the younger guys would attempt this feat, so if that tells you anything.  Thanks for your prayers for this man!

It surprised us to know how difficult it was to leave the cabin and not have our own home to come to.  Obviously, we have a very lovely home to come home to but it's not our home. Misganaw seemed to really feel it as he had 4 melt downs that evening, total meltdowns.  He seems to be the one who feels it (or at least talks about it) more that anyone.  While we were at the cabin, I overheard him ask his cousin M, "M, do you like the blue bandaid that is on my house?"  Poor kid, it really is hard on him.

I am more convinced than ever that we definitely need another girl in this family.  There is way too much testosterone flowing in this family.  Let me give you the most recent example...

Today, Mihiretu had his buddy, W over to play.  They were outside playing.  I was sitting at my computer working on my fire inventory, once again.  All of a sudden, I hear a noise and look out the sliding glass door just in time to see two boys FAAA-LYYYING down the long and pretty steep hill right outside.  So guess what they were riding on??  Mihiretu loves to fly on his bike down this hill and that makes me nervous.  No, they were on Misganaw's stroller...both of them together...all 120 pounds of them.  Pretty sure that stroller wasn't made to hold that much weight.  So I ran outside and had a few words with these adventuresome boys.  If you could have seen me but not heard me (well, you'd be pretty hard of hearing) but you would have seen me pointing at my head several times.  As you can see, some estrogen would be lovely.  Thank God, no one was hurt and the stroller is intact!  When is it that they say a boys brain is completely developed?  I think it's like 23 or so.  Wow, we have a long way to go.  ;)

Hey, please say a little prayer for my blog friends, Amanda and Matt who leave Wed. for Ethiopia to visit their daughter.  They are running into all kinds of horrible road blocks and due to some legal red tape have not passed court after 6 tries.  This little girl needs to be here with her family and they are at their wits end.  Pray that they can pull some strings when they get there so they can bring their daughter, S home.  Pray that God would move mountains for them.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


The trusses have been ordered and should be done the first week of June!!  Yea!!  After that, things should get moving.  So pretty soon I need to get busy picking out things for the house like tile, sinks, countertops, etc.  Since our house was only 5 years old, there isn't much I'd like to change so that job shouldn't be too big.  I'm going to meet with our cabinet maker next week to see what he thinks about the kitchen.  The layout will be the same but I'm going to do some different things with the cabinets to make them more efficient.  My kitchen is my 'baby' so it's important to get it right.  

Last week, Blaine and I took the kids for a bike ride down to a nearby lake.  There is a little river coming out of the lake and of course, Mihiretu just had to feel the water.  You can see where this is going.  Mihiretu is the kind of kid who often learns and remembers best if it is learned the 'hard way.'  He occasionally doesn't want to take our wise advice but rather he needs to experience it instead.  He didn't think it felt too cold so then he just had to take his shoes off and walk in it.  It was only a few inches deep but I told him the rocks looked slippery.  Blaine told him 'go ahead' and didn't share my assessment of the slippery rocks.  So in he went and within 2 seconds he slipped and began rolling down the little river in a freezing panic.  If I had only had a video camera!  Keep in mind that this little river was only a few inches deep and probably 12 feet long, so he really wasn't in any danger but you couldn't tell him that.  He thought he was going to drown!  I can't imagine the temperature of this water either.   Blaine and I had the laugh we needed that day - tears were streaming down our faces.  Mihiretu was laughing (after Blaine pulled him out) until he realized he had to ride his bike home soaking wet.   Anyway, it was HILARIOUS!

Well, yesterday while driving in the car Misganaw recalls this incident this way.

"Mom, remember when we were all riding our bikes on the street?  And we went to that park?  And Dad threw Mihiretu into the river?"

I laughed and reminded him that Dad did not throw his brother into the river.

He said, "Yeah and there are crocodiles in that river!"

Oh, the imagination of a 3 year old.

Did I say 3 year old??  Yep, yesterday was Misganaw's birthday.  My baby is 3.   Having done it before, I can honestly say it's a love/hate thing watching your kids get older.  I hate to see Misganaw get any older but I also know every phase has so much joy and fun in it.  Plus, there is very little I can do about it! I love them all but if I had to pick I'd say age 3 is my absolute favorite!  So we should be in for a fun year.

We still are having a very good experience with our insurance company.   Miracle, huh??  If I didn't mention before (I think I might have) our insurance company is Travelers.  They have been a pleasure which is believe is rare from what I've heard.  My two cents is to make absolutely certain you have enough insurance, house and contents.  As I said before, we had just gotten Travelers after 20 years with another insurance company.  We were sorely underinsured and if we'd had this fire a year ago, we'd be having a whole different experience because we didn't have enough coverage.  Be sure you do for your own security.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day, House and Soccer

This is how the house looks from the back.  Misganaw says it looks like our house has a bandaid.  

This is the front which looks pretty normal.
Here is my little athlete, Mihiretu from at his game on Saturday.  Can a mother brag a little?? He scored 5 goals this day!  
This is the first picture we ever took of Mihiretu on the day we met him.  Little cars are a great ice breaker for that first meeting with a young child.
This is the first picture with me holding Misganaw on the day we first met him.  Even though he's adorable, he remained expressionless like this for a couple days with us.  He began to come out of this 'coma' when we'd take him away from the orphanage and it would return as soon as we brought him back.  

I thought since it was just Mother's Day I'd share what it was like to meet the boys for the first time.  They took us up to see Misganaw first but since he was sound asleep, I suggested we go get to know Mihiretu a little.  We went to the playroom area at the care center and played cars with him.  He did a lot of squealing and was very loving toward us and very excited.  We tried to tell him who each family member was...Katie-sister, Blake-brother by giving him a fruit snack, then asking him to bring one to Katie or Blake or Mommy or Daddy.  He learned quickly and believe it or not was very willing to share 'his' treats with us.  

When Misganaw woke up, they brought him to us.  Mihiretu was excited to see him and hugged and kissed him.  We all took turns holding him and helping him stand up, a skill he'd recently learned.  He would occasionally make eye contact with us but only when we encouraged him to. He would not smile or cry or make any sound.  He just looked around with those huge eyes.  We were quickly smitten with him!  

Soon all the kids from the care center came into the room where we were and all wanted hugs, to sit on our laps, or play with the toys we brought for Mihiretu.  I completely understood but still was a little concerned when Mihiretu literally took a kid down and punched him hard in the back after the kid knocked a ball out of his hand simply because he wanted to play with it.  He also did NOT want us touched, sat on or hugged by ANY other child because we were HIS family.  It was a little difficult at the time because all these kids just wanted some love, too.  Also, after never having any possessions of his own (literally) he wasn't about to let to of the couple cars and ball he now had.  Totally understandable. 

 This left us with a situation I hadn't thought of before I brought the toys.  If we left them with him, would they still be there to spend the day with him the next day?  Not that it mattered to us, but what would ensue during the night with the other kids and 'his' toys?  But if we took them back, what would he think of us?  Would he think we weren't coming back, too?  That we were temporary.  The decision was made to leave them with him and believe it or not, the kid had his pockets full of cars the next morning!  Don't mess with Mihiretu!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day!  All the kids and Blaine made me feel so appreciated and loved.  I got loads of flowers, cards with lovely things written on them, gift cards and lots of hugs.  I don't know why God has blessed me with 4 great kids.  I am sad that the boys' Ethiopian mom is not able to parent them.  I have lots of emotions surrounding this.  I am intensely grateful, humbled, honored, privileged to be the mother of all my kids.   But I do get the disparity in the fact that I have these gorgeous boys and she is missing out on being their mom.  What a sacrifice she made to see them live and have a future.  Often I think about her and how she would think I was doing being their mom.  I fail on so many points but pray that I am somehow worthy.

I think of our daughter who is in Ethiopia now.  Are her parents sick, suffering, severely impoverished, dead?  Sounds terrible but let's be honest - she wouldn't be an orphan if this wasn't the case.  Is she taking care of a dying parent?  Is she already in an orphanage?  Has she just arrived or has she been there for years and years, waiting and longing for a family who will love her and give her their last name?  

I am so unworthy but so incredibly blessed and privileged to be the mother of such children!  May God bring homes for every one .


Saturday, May 9, 2009

2,332 lines!

Just for fun...a pic of us a couple weeks ago at Mihiretu's church choir concert.

Last night, in my steadfast pursuit of catalog completion I reached line #2,332.  When I pushed the right arrow to continue to the next picture of "stuff" to catalog, there were no more!!  I AM FINISHED!  I can't tell you what a relief it is to have that part done.

Now I have to begin the task that I believe will take me about 5 times longer than the cataloging.  That is to figure out an approximate age in years and months of each item and then search the internet for the estimated cost to replace each item.  But never mind that right now because today I am celebrating this milestone!

Thanks for sharing my joy!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

                                     This is Mihiretu and Romeo, De's brothers puppy.

     Blaine and I on the beach in Cabo San Lucas.  So glad we had that calm before the storm.

                     Some of my kitchen things including a jar of berebere (Ethiopian spice!)

   This was a lovely family picture that hung above our fireplace.  I'm really not too sad about                   losing it since it is only the 4 of us and doesn't represent our family anymore.

This once nice leather office chair was up in Rene's room on the second floor and must have                            found it's way out the window and ended up in one of my flower beds.

                                                         Me at my card table desk. :)

                               Mihiretu and his cousin B at the zoo last week.  Love this pic!!

                             My beloved (or should I say my very much beliked) Kitchen Aid mixer.

                       Misganaw driving Romeo and Rocco around the yard on Easter morning.

                                                                   A wedding gift. 

                                          The hope chest my dad bought me in high school.

                                                        My favorite cake plate.

Sorry about the randomness of these pictures but I though I'd mix the good the bad.  For some reason, I have been hesitant to post exactly what I've been feeling.  So I thought in posting these pictures you might have an visual understanding of it.  

First, I have to start with a little background.  Remember the T.V. show "The Love Boat?"  Remember Julie the cruise director?  Her job was to be sure all the passengers aboard the cruise ship were happy, had their needs and wants met and mostly that everyone was having a good time.  She was always  bubbly and would stop at nothing  in her quest to please everyone.  I am like Julie.  I have always thought of my job as wife and mother to be one of making sure everything and everyone runs the the best they can.  I literally run the house and except for the bills and fixing things, I manage the house and those in it to the best of my ability.  

So for the first month after the fire, I continued to do this role.  And for the first month, I really was handling things - photographing everything in the house, saying goodbye to Rene, laundry, shopping (for everybody) to replace the things we needed,  and trying to make a "home away from home" for my family.

As far as the progress on the house, nothing visible has been happening for a the past couple weeks.  We understood that the truss company wouldn't be beginning to build our trusses for another couple weeks.  They take 2-3 weeks just to build so that's a whole lot of 'nothing' happening for me.  Blaine is crazy busy doing more things than one human being can possibly do.  

So I guess this past weekend, it finally hit me.  Our house burned down.

Please hear me when I say that I know we are so fortunate and blessed.  Without a doubt!  We have a roof over our heads and food to eat which is more than millions of people in developing countries can say.  We have God.  And we have each other.  All that really matters, we have.

But if I'm being honest, I must say that I'm a creature of habit and it's hard to be uprooted from all I know.  I was comfortable with my life and the way things "worked" which is precisely the reason I structured things the way I did in my wife, mother,  home management role.  It worked for me and us as a family.  

So now all that has changed and I thought if I acknowledged it "on paper" so to speak I could get it behind me and move ahead.  The fact that anyone actually reads this blog and is blessed from anything that is said here is a huge bonus, as I blog because it helps me so much to get my feelings and experiences off my chest and sort it all out "on paper."

I also don't want anyone to think that I have it all together.  This is so untrue!  I told someone that I hadn't seen in a long time that we were adopting again.  

"You guys have so much energy!" was her reaction.

"No, we don't!!!" was mine.

Still I say, "God doesn't call the equipped.  He equips the called."  

Did I ever think in a million years that I'd be the mother to 5 or even 6??  NEVER!  I'm not one of those people.  I don't drive a van, have a long braid down my back or make casseroles.  (Sorry for the stereotype)  

I am NOT a patient person in the slightest - I think this has been established a long time ago:)

I don't love chaos and loads of noise.

I like to sleep through the night and preferably until 7:30 a.m.

I don't really like picking up after everyone.

I don't enjoy laundry.

Are you getting a picture of me now?  Ugly, huh?

But you know what I love more than anything else?  I love living the life God has chosen for me from the beginning of time.  I love to follow His will, whatever that is.  I love to hear Him and know without a shadow of a doubt, we're right where He wants us to be.  I love knowing that my kids are developing a heart for poor and needy in the world.  I love knowing they will grow up to view adoption as natural and as a way to build their own families.  

Why is it that we as a family have been through so many traumatic things in our lives?  Don't know.

Why has God chosen to show us in no uncertain terms that we He wants us to adopt once and now again?  Don't know.

Why is Satan so threatened by us adopting that he tries so hard to stop us?  Don't know.  

What is God's plan in all this?  Don't know.

What I do know is that we will continue to follow God's will for our lives.  And wherever that takes us, we will go.  

Pity party officially over.  I hope I never have to write about one again.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

We had a special missions speaker this morning.  Dr. Clive Calver said what the church needs to hear.  He's served God in many different positions over the years, including being the president of World Relief.  He's been around the world and seen so much.

He told a story about being in southern Ethiopia bumping around in a Land Rover, looking for churches in different villages in order to partner with them.  He came upon a beautiful woman with her two little children playing around her feet.  After sitting down by her, he asked her who she was.  She replied, "I am no one, but my husband is the pastor.  He's in the next village preaching Jesus Christ to the people there."

Dr. Calver asked her, "How long have you been here?"

Woman, "A year."

Dr. Calver, "What happened to the previous pastor that was here?"

Woman, "The villagers killed him.  He was preaching a strange God to them (Jesus Christ) when the rains dried up and the crops failed and the people began starving.  They killed him to appease their gods."

Dr. Calver, "Why then did you come with your husband and two little children if there is such danger?"

Woman, looking with complete bewilderment and pity at Dr. Calver (for not seeming to "get it") profoundly and simply replied, "We are Christians." 

That is the reason.  Because we are Christians!!  I LOVE IT!!!!!!!  It was such an encouragement to me to hear what he had to share.  He lovingly yet directly told the people that the world is in such bad shape and we need to die to ourselves and let Jesus live through us.  Imagine if we (Christians) did that.  It would literally change the world if we took our eyes off ourselves (our desires, our wants, our quest for stuff) and put them squarely on Jesus (sacrifice, considering others better than ourselves, realizing the poor and the orphan were Jesus in disguise).  

This little Ethiopian woman "got" this.  May we all be more like her and her husband.

Man, I'm glad I began this post with this because this has been a very difficult day for us.  Not for any devastating reason, nothing is wrong.  Just because I was feeling overwhelmed and not a little sorry for myself, I must admit.  

But after reading what I just wrote, I am once again encouraged and feel much better.  

Laura, get your eyes off yourself and onto Jesus, where they belong.

Ok, got it!