Thursday, August 26, 2010

Raven's First Day of Second Grade

  • Alarm set - check
  • Lunch made - check
  • Backpack packed - check
  • One cute little excited, toothless-grinning, 7 year-old - check
  • New school uniform set out - check
  • New school uniforms tried on, making sure they fit - check ... whoops...
It would have been a good idea to do this before the first day of school.  Every stinken piece of school uniform was HUGE.  The skirts hit the floor as soon as she let go of the waist and some shirts went practically to her knees.  So, we cinched that belt as tight as it would go and found the smallest shirt we could.  Whew - nakedness avoided, at least for school day one.  I assured her that I could easily put a stitch in the other huge skirt (the one without a belt loop).  However, in her 7 year-old wisdom, she knew this was a bad plan, and begged "No, Mom!  Please take it to Grandma and let her do it."  Good and wise plan daughter.

Raven and Zoom's classes are right next to each other.  Zoom was very excited about this revelation and was coming up with all kinds of creative ways he could communicate with his sister throughout the day.  I told him his teacher would probably discourage the idea of hammering a message through the wall.  Raven seemed a little unsure of the close proximity with little brother, but she was a good sport about it.

Raven has the same teacher she had last year as well as a couple of good friends in her class.  Can't wait to see all the things my smart little cookie learns this year.

These two cuties will have to wait 2 weeks before Pre-K starts.  Zoom was super bummed all day, and really missed his sister.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Blog to Boring

You read about my reasons for creating a blog here. Well, we have traversed this unknown land called international adoption and are so thankful to say that we have landed safely on the other side. So, (this is where all my adoption-interested-only friends jump ship) I am transitioning this blog from adoption adventures 101 to boring family adventures, table for 6. Since I have failed miserably to keep up the family scrapbook, my hope is to capture timeless family memories here, and one day have this blog printed into books for the kids. So, if you enjoy hearing about road trips with screaming kids, first days of school, how horrible of a tooth fairy I make, etc., stick around. I may throw in some deep thoughts about God's love for orphans here and there, but it will mostly be boring stories about my four terrific kids and one amazing husband.

Coming soon ... the exciting, amazing, spectacular first day of 2nd grade.  I know y'all are at the edge of your seats.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Grandma rented a house for three nights for the whole family in Colorado Springs. In order to make the drive a little easier on us the kids, we decided to head out a few days earlier. We rented a great little 3 bedroom condo in Vail for three nights before we would meet up with the remaining fam on Saturday.

Day 2: We got to our condo Wednesday evening, and it was wonderful. Refreshing heated pool and hot tub, a picturesque crystal clear river out our back door, and, most importantly, 3 large bedrooms, so we can put Raven to bed far far away from us in a quiet room all to herself. She is not a good sleeper, especially away from home.

Day 3: Took all the kids for a quick swim. Then, Dad was under the weather with a sinus infection, so as he and the babies napped, I took Renny and Zoom for a longer swim. This was "the day" Zoom proved he can swim on his own. He was so proud of himself, pretty much making it the length of the pool many times without assistance. Later I took the big kids to a beautiful little river right behind the condo and they had fun exploring, splashing, throwing rocks, and generally giving me a heart attack as I  feared the current sweeping them away.

Day 4: We drove about an hour west to Glenwood Springs. This is an incredible town with lots to do and see, and would easily be worthy of a week's stay on its own. We went to Glenwood Springs Adventure Park, a cool little amusement park on the top of the mountain. Once riding a gondola to the top, the kids rode mechanical bulls, alpine roller coasters, explored mazes & a 4D theater. I had a moment of insanity courage, and rode a nearly upside down giant swing over the side of the mountain. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to do crazy things like this with me.  Just as the ride was starting to move, the jerk funny guy next to me said "no worries ... if your harness fails, just aim for the river at the bottom of the mountain."

Day 5: We packed the van back up, and headed toward Co Springs. On the way, we stopped at the Denver Zoo. It was HOT! We like to visit zoos whenever possible on vacations, and are thus self-proclaimed zoo aficionados. I have to say Denver Zoo wasn't that great.
Day 6: We had the privilege of hooking up with some friends we met in Ethiopia. We got to see their darling little man, Mebratu, and share post-adoption stories, support, etc. We met at the Garden of the Gods, yet another one of Colorado's proofs of just how amazing our God's is.

Day 7: Focus on the Family in the morning. Honestly, I was expecting this to be a tad lame and boring. But, it was actually very cool. My kids and husband love listening to Adventures in Odyssey and the kids area was themed around the characters in the stories. There was also a 3-story slide that was quite intense. Renny was the only of our kids tall enough to ride. Poor Zoom was crushed. We then headed to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which was a billion times better than the Denver Zoo. Aunt Connie, Uncle Chris, Sam and Will also came and the kids and adults had a great time. I love seeing the cousins getting to spend so much time together and having such fun.

Day 8: We checked out of the mansion Grandma had rented, and headed towards Denver. We spent the entire day at Water World. We all had a blast! After this day, kids and adults were t.i.r.e.d.... Babies did remarkably well, considering we were there all day. Taz napped in his stroller for at least an hour. Taz absolutely loves the water and has not a bit of fear of it. Raven is the opposite. It takes quite a lot of coaxing to get Raven into even the shallowest of water. On the other hand, it takes a lot of convincing for Taz that I cannot just let him go when we are in 4' of water. But, divide and conquer, Mom and Dad did, and we had fun. Renny and Zoom ran and jumped and swam and wrestled and splashed, without ceasing, for at least 6 hours. I cannot imagine how many calories that would have burned. Late afternoon we head out to the Holiday Inn Express in Burlington, CO. I think this might have been the only night Raven didn't wake up crying ... she was too pooped.

Day 1 and 9 ... driving ... driving ... driving. The kids all did pretty well, considering the long drive. Taz loves loves loves TV and so, as long as he wasn't hungry, he was cool. Raven doesn't really care for TV and so looked like this a good portion of the time, poor thing.

Family vacations with four small children ... they are a lot of work. But, the amazing memories are priceless!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

Roads seem less scary when others have gone before you. When we began researching and making decisions about adopting, NO ONE we knew had done anything like this before. We knew God had called us to do this, and we knew He would strengthen us and provide, but it was still a scary exploration. We read books, talked to agencies, googled, saved, sold and prayed. It seemed like we were exploring a new land. As we got closer to that new land, we realized several others had gone before us, and so we stalked them read as much about their experiences as possible. Suddenly, among our circle of friends, there seemed to be an adoption explosion, I believe partially because God was moving among our friends and partially because our new reality involved new friends.

The birth of this blog was three fold:
1) To keep friends and family up to date. Adoption gestation is a hard thing for the upcoming parents and their friends. They can't see the progress. There is no ever expanding belly (& butt & thighs in the case of my three pregnancies). So, in order to avoid the two hundred "when do you get to bring him home" questions, I created this blog. It allowed others to track my "expanding belly" without the awkwardness of "how do I ask." I also had a really hard time remembering who I'd told what, and so this was my safety net.

2) To Encourage. You wouldn't believe how many people in the last year have told me "I have always wanted to adopt" or "I would love to do something like that." Well, I wanted to just put our story out there so that people could see this is not some lofty dream only for the rich and famous. It is something normal, doable, reachable. I am certainly nothing special. If we can do this, you can too!

3) To give God the glory. Again, I am nothing special! But, my Father in Heaven is! If He calls you to this, He will provide. I have had lots of people say "I could never afford it." But you know what? My Father in Heaven owns everything. I'm not saying it won't take sacrifice or hard work. But who would trade any of your children for a billion bucks? Not me. When I look back at the money we've spent, it means absolutely nothing compared to the little trouble-making, cute as a button, fearless, into everything treasure we call Joseph. I know so many families who could have never afforded it, but God made a way ... through fund-raising, garage sales, donations, second jobs, tax credits, etc, God made a way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lets Talk About ... Baby Beauty

In my opinion, one of God's great gifts to mothers is their blind love and preference for the beauty of their little munchkins. Even those kids, God love-em, that have that only-a-mama-can-love face. C'mon, you all can picture that kid, sweet as can be, but ugly as the day is long. And, the miracle is, I believe the mamas and papas to those kids have not a clue. Really, they don't! They brag about the cuteness of their little precious with no hint of embarrassment or doubt. This is a gift also extended to grandparents and other loved ones.

So, I am rambling. I have a point... When we really started to dive deep into the adoption idea, particularly the transracial adoption road, one of my concerns/thoughts/deep dark secrets was ... I currently have the three most beautiful children I have ever seen (see note above about God's gift to mamas). Logically I know this might not be true. But I really believe my children are gorgeous. My question was ... if I adopt a child that looks so different from my three bio children, will I think he/she is as attractive? They have a lot to live up to (see note above about my amazingly beautiful children).

So, my conclusion ... I now have the four most beautiful children. Is this because God's gift to parents is not limited to biological children? Most certainly! Is it because Joseph has a smile that can light up a dark night, eyes any woman would kill for, eyelashes to the moon, cheeks you could just eat up and amazing soft curls no kid can beat? Yup, that too!

Proof this gift extends to fathers: Public stares ... we get a lot of them, particularly when we are traveling through a small town. Recently, on the way back from a Colorado family vacation, we stopped in a small town grill in Western Kansas for dinner. Lots and lots of stares. I asked Travis if he noticed and he simply said, with complete sincerity, "I really think Joseph is just such a cute boy, people are naturally drawn to stare at him."

need I say more?