Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My girl

Aliya brought a few things with her when we picked her up in Ethiopia. This was one of them. A very, very precious treasure. It's a picture of her on a beach outing with a friend. I don't know how old she is here but I'm guessing maybe 9?

She is so cute, isn't she?

This is precious for so many reasons. It's a special gift to have a piece of your history in the form of pictures or momentos. Not everyone has those things. We take them for granted here but we shouldn't assume everyone has the same physical memories that we have.

Aliya had her final choir concert last night. It's her final middle school concert ever. They made it special by having the kids bring a picture of them as a baby and then a current picture and while they sang a couple songs, the pictures played in the background. Such a great idea, but what if Aliya hadn't had *this* one picture of herself? She would have been the only kid not to have one. I can tell you what she'd have done. She wouldn't have wanted to even go to that concert and as stubborn as that girl is, she would have stayed home. And I wouldn't have blamed her. Ouch. That would have hurt and been such a reminder that life was hard and wasn't fair to her.

So if you are a teacher please remember this:) These kind of assignments can remind our kids who were older when they joined our families that they are not equal with the other kids.

Anyway, off my soap box:)

As I watched Aliya last night standing in the first row of altos, I thought, "This looks like a girl who has always lived her and been in this school." She looked so comfortable and happy. She danced and did the motions to the songs. She giggled and interacted with the girl next to her, like they'd been friends all their lives. I was so proud of her.

It's hard to believe she's only been here just over a year now. She's getting more comfortable and at home. The first year had some pretty rough parts but now we're all finding our groove and it feels so good!

Truly, God does not give us more than we can handle:)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The promised pics!

Reno, Katie and Blake. Reno is Blake's new buddy. He's a nice dog and a great companion. The kids LOVE him.

Here is the basement flood that happened a few weeks ago. hard to see since it was all NEWLY re-done from the fire. Oh, well:)

Katie and her lovely bridesmaids at her shower.

MJ at his party for his preschool friends. How can my baby be 5??

All of us (minus De who was working) at MJ's family birthday party.

Here they are!! These are our 6 precious little ducklings. Blaine thought it would be fun to get an incubator and some duck eggs and let the kids watch the process. Let me tell you, it was just as much fun for the adults as for the kids. I don't know why we never did this before! We kept the 6 eggs in the incubator for about 25 days or so. One day, we noticed a little, tiny peck hole in one of the eggs. Then another and another egg had little holes. Within 2 days, we had our first duckling. Mihiretu got to see the second hatch. Katie and De got home in time to watch the third one and the other 3 were out by the time morning came!

Misganaw and duckling. This little guy or girl is just under 2 days old! I had no idea they would be this big (not sure how they EVER fit in those chicken sized eggs) and agile! They follow us around the yard in a little line. Make way for ducklings!

We've been busy, busy, busy planting and getting the yard ready for the wedding. It's only 6 weeks away!! Lots of preparations being made. It's such a beautiful time of year and we are enjoying every minute of it.

It's been a couple weeks now without a catastrophe in our family and home. I cannot tell you how absolutely wonderful it feels. It doesn't feel like a dark cloud is hanging over our heads anymore and I'm feeling more like my old, optimistic, happy go lucky self. We've been praying for a covering of protection from the Lord and He's sent one. I'm asking Him for a season of relief and He's giving us that.

Thank you! Thank you, Jesus!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

A catch up

Sorry about my lack of posts lately. A friend was still very concerned about Blaine since I hadn't posted about his MRI results. Sorry! I honestly wasn't sure anyone was still reading my few and far between posts anymore...especially since they haven't contained any good pictures lately! I will have to remedy that. I know...promises, promises:)

We did see Blaine's neurologist last Friday. He reviewed his MRI and saw nothing out of the ordinary there! Praise God. So why is he having the symptoms? Well, since he his spinal cord had been demylenated (when he was paralyzed), he can have these symptoms now when he's under physical, mental or emotional stress. And he was under a large amount of stress at work for a few weeks, which seems to have brought this on.

The other thing he was having was the headaches. You can see on his MRI that one of the vertebrae in his neck looks different than the rest. It was broken in the accident 5 years ago. The doctor feels that is leading to his headaches so he gave him a medicine to try at nighttime. He said it works miracles in 2/3 of patients and does nothing for the other 1/3. The jury is still out on if it's helping Blaine or not. He thought it was at first...but we'll see.

We were so thankful and relieved that everything looked good on the MRI! There was a concern for MS but the dr. said in all his years of treating MS patients, he has never, ever seen anyone who had as many spots (lesions) in his brain and as much demylenation in his spinal cord as Blaine (when he was paralyzed) go on to have a completely clear MRI later. The lesions just don't disappear like that. So he ruled out MS. We were pretty concerned about that.

With Katie and De's wedding just 7 short weeks away, we find ourselves busy (ok, scrambling) to get preparations done. I wish sometimes that I was one of those people who gets everything done early and then coasts until the end. I. AM. NOT. Invitations WILL get printed and addressed today. We meet with a florist on Monday. I spent 5 hours at the nursery yesterday picking out trees and shrubs for the yard and now we have some planting to do:) She had a beautiful shower last weekend and another coming in 3 more weeks. Her dress is being altered. So things are being done...just seems there is still a lot to do. They are waiting to hear on an offer they made on a short sale town home right here in our town...only 10 minutes away.

Blake is now the proud owner of a Boxer named Reno. He is 15 months old and his owner had health problems and was unable to keep him. He's a great dog and Blake is loving his new companion. Blake is also continuing to make improvements on his home. He and one of his roommates installed some can lights and a drop ceiling in the basement bedroom. Blake is learning how to patch walls and fix whatever needs fixing. In one week, he will have completed his Junior year at the U of M and will begin summer vacation. We're so proud of him!

Aliya is doing well in school, although she "hates" Health class. She has officially added Social Studies (Geography) to her course study so the grade she gets in there will be permanent. So far, she has a B. She's got a couple friends from school who she enjoys spending time with. This morning, she is at the zoo with one of the girls' family. She is continuing to feel at home here with us and has a comfortable fit in the family, I think. Things will change when Katie moves out, which I am *hoping* will improve their relationship, which is currently like walking on eggshells when they're in the same room. However, Aliya ADORES her dad, does everything with him and asks where he is several times every day. I just purchased her a ticket to go visit her friend, Anaya (who she was with in the orphanage in Ethiopia). She is visiting her in Florida for a week this summer and although she is scared to death to fly alone, the reward is worth it!

Mihiretu is now in baseball for the first time. He LOVES it! What sport doesn't this kid love? It turns out, he is also a natural at baseball. My prediction...this kid will get into college because of sports. The only problem is, which one? He continues to be one of the bigger kids in his class...80 pounds in 2nd grade and has NO fear. Mihiretu was tested recently due to his struggle with reading and was found to have a med. to high IQ but has some sort of disability when it comes to reading fluency and writing expressed thought. So he will get special help in school for this, which we are thankful for. It is a very real possibility that this was caused from the malnutrition that he suffered until he was 4. Sad.

Misganaw is still our little clown and big talker. He's recently been telling me about the Giant Pacific Octopus and how it has "jet REpulsion". He rides his bike up and down the driveway and yells, "Jet REpulsion...out of the side of my bike!!!!!" This makes him go very fast:) I so often smile a little smile at God when I think of how in my kind of "older years" gave us such a precious bundle of joy. He really brings such delight and enthusiasm to our family. He is a great way to end a great string of kids:)

As you can see...we have an overabundance of things to be thankful for!!