Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's in the Numbers

6 months at a glance:

14 family birthdays and cakes
288 candles (grandparents require a lot)
36 swimsuits
37 pair of shoes
28 school uniforms
3 ½ years of Math curriculum (new children)
2 ½ years of Phonics curriculum (new children)
1 year Science curriculum (new children)
72 readers (new children)
21 Magic Tree House books (new children)
481 new foods (Hello, Southern Comforts, Ancient Grains, Fresh Fruits and Veggies, Fish, and oooooh yes….36 flavors of Ice Cream)
5 new bikes
6 pair roller skates
6 Razor scooters
4 Ripstiks
1,308 oz. of laundry detergent
2200 dryer sheets
900 loads of laundry AT LEAST!!!!
4,860 meals
2,720 snacks

Countless memories.  Few regrets…if only there were more time.  I’d play more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hard Things and Our Part

“And nobody wants to talk about the hard things.  The painful things.  The injustice.  The things which MUST make us uncomfortable enough, so that our hearts are stirred to do something about it!  Nobody talks.  Lord forbid we offend,” avows Adeye Salem. 

She’s right about it, about the hard.  You know.  The broken, the lonely, the fatherless, the unwanted, the dying, those suffering injustice, nobody wants to fully acknowledge it, not to the point we recognize our responsibility to respond.   Today, I'm sharing Adeye's blog as she's asked many of us to do in hopes that even one of these children will know the love of a family.

I dare you to look into the eyes of one of these children and really ask yourself what part you own in their story.  If not us, then whom?  Please, read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Just for Fun

Friends, it's not just all family and fun around here.  Truth is, LoPa, the business we established to fund feeding and education in the community of Korah in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is still plodding along.  So, between cooking, washing, feeding, cleaning, teaching, folding, cooking, feeding, dishes, reading, playing, dishes, feeding, washing, running, loving, feeding, folding, washing... (okay you get the picture) I'm still LoPa-ing.

Next week, you can join us in fighting poverty one sale at a time.  The sale of Ethiopian Art and Handmade Ethiopian Jewelry benefits the community of Korah, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Here's the scoop:

September 19th and 20th
9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (Come and Go)
5925 Brixworth Dr., Tyler, TX 75703

Click here for the 'official' invite, and enjoy a smattering of teasers below.

Ethiopian Leather Jewelry

One in a Series of 3 Pieces of Ethiopian Art by Zekiros

Multi-colored Oxen by Aklilu

Blein Floral by Abraham
Ethiopian Leather Jewelry

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Four Months New

Four months.  Time has flown.  Four months ago last Saturday, our sweet trio entered our arms forever.  I keep asking, “What does four months mean?”

Four months means three children speak English, slang, and attempts to incorporate an East Texas drawl.  Four months means knock-knock jokes and bathroom humor at the dinner table.  Four months means more American than Habesha food.  Four months means red peppers, broccoli, spinach, chard, asparagus, Greek yogurt, kefir, and kale chips on our plates without a look of terror.  Four months means family time on the couch, card games on the den floor, throwing dice at the kitchen table, and ruling Wii Dance Party.  Four months means we swim, scooter, skate, tube, ride bikes, and shoot hoops.  Four months means cousins, grandparents, and friends.  Four months means we don’t want to speak Amharic or reference our roots too often (grieving that).  Four months means sibling spats and refusing to obey.  Four months means we know 4 scriptures.  Four months means new songs and stories from a far away land in a time before “we” were.  Four months means comfort.   

Four months means everything has changed.  Everything.  Yet it means so little when we know we have all of this life left together.   Embracing it all.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's a Mom to do?

Born as one of three girls, I’m convinced I’ve adapted pretty well to being a boy mom; but today, heck, it made the charts.  I mean what’s a girl to do? 

Silence, in a home marked by the ever-present low hum of children, is NOT a comforting notion.  See, for about 3 minutes my senses lapse into utopic ease.  Then fear strikes the depths of my heart because a hush does NOT indicate tranquility.  It means a palaver is brewing.

Today, around 3:30- a time my boys usually need mama to cook up fun- not one of those 5 striplings could be found in the house.  I wandered outside sure to unearth my fellas.  There they were.  All of them.

Hunter, leading the bunch as a sensible, older brother should, held the others attention with merely a magnifying glass.  (My boys are not captivated that easily by non-motorized apparatuses.)  My boys spotted me and invited me to join their fun.  The bug under their hand lens was no shock; however their answer to “what they were doing” caught my attention. 

“Mom, help us cook the squash bugs!  They’re way better cooked!  Stellar, in fact (says one 14 yr. old boy).”

“Ugh, uh, what?  Excuse me?  Better for what?” I inquired.

“Eating.  The last three weren’t too bad.  We thought we’d do another,” croaked Tiger.

And with that, 3 boys proceeded to bite down on that squash bug.  I don’t know which troubled me more the sight of medium-rare cooked squash bug’s goo erupting or the crunch of that brittle shell entering my ears.  Gross! 

Ty trying squash bug tidbits.

Squash bug in Tiger's teeth.

Hunter having a squash bug nibble.

 What’s a mom to do?  You know the adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”  I guess I’ll be munching squash bugs the next 16 years.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just For Fun

Sometime you just have to lighten it up, so just for fun:

Western life looks very different than village life (or city life) in Ethiopia. Best perspective?  Seeing this world through the eyes of my children just introduced to these nuisances. For instance, central vac seems the easiest way to clean up post meal messes. The first time I plugged her in, my three habesha gathered around trying to touch what they thought to be our newest pet. Nick, our oldest, attempted to make nice with our vacuum. He squealed, "Give her to me, mama. I feed her for you. She hungry for my food." but when he went to 'feed' the vac, the suction caught hold his hand, terrorized that poor boy, and he demanded she go back to her cage (closet) until learning to eat nicely.  He's still quite certain that is more animal than machine.  And...

My habesha discovered the original orange pushups at a local feed store (I know, right? Ice cream at a feed store. Alas.) In an attempt to eat their ice cream, each child placed their plump lips on the pushup handle, mistaking it for a straw, and sucked until blue in the face.  Loud and sloppy sucking.  I was giggling too hard to clue them in right away.  Oh, don't forget...

In the orphanages our children spent the last 2+ years of their life, they were required to tell a caregiver prior to doing anything. May I say ANYTHING again? ANYTHING! 2 am toilet visits means a child in your room yelling "toilet", a runny nose requires the ongoing announcement of snot and boogies, an itchy bottom... Well, you get the point. To that end, also remember our language is in the development stage. Soooooo.... standing in the middle of our church foyer at only 2 weeks home, Ty hollered (to insure a quick response), "Shint! Mama, SHINT!" Now, I fully understood the Amharic meaning of 'shint' as 'tee-tee', but many others standing within earshot, with his volume I promise that would be anyone in a mile radius, only understood a petit, brown-skinned boy with a snarky smile, holding himself seemed to be yelling profanities loudly at his mama in the middle of a church. I'm glad I can laugh.  And the every popular...

We play a lot of cards at our house. Our kids are all fairly competitive. The battle cry for Nick, Hewan, and Ty is, "I'm the wiener!"  Nope. Not a typo. If you can be a wiener who wants to be a winner? #can'tcorrectwhatmakesthemthem

Then there are picture worth a 1,000 words:

Boobie Fun!

Mama's Lingerie 

Urkel Pants

Suction Cup Boob Covers

Habesha Were NEVER Meant to Be Blonde