Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas

We have had a wonderful Christmas this year. Papa and Ayat (my dad and stepmom) were here for all of the festivities. My father contributed significantly to the spoiling of my children. But I can't say much as I did too. Here are a few photos of the days. I have more, I just have to finish editing them.

My best friend from college sent the girls fairy wings and wands and Mr. Sketch scented markers. They were thrilled to pieces and they made good use of the wings and wands immediately.

The big gift this year for the girls was bikes. They have both wanted them since we came home from Ethiopia and this seemed like a good time. We opened all of the presents and then cleaned up the garbage. When we took the garbage out to the garage, Papa and I "found" two more presents. Here is Meskerem realizing just what is inside the big red bag.

Here is Kidist, very thrilled with her new pink bike with streamers. So far they are doing well riding them with the training wheels. Since it is cold and snowy outside, they have been riding in the garage which seems to be about the right size corral for them right now (especially since they don't have helmets yet).
Here they are showing off several of their Christmas presents. My brother got them each Carhartt overalls and my stepmom got them new tutus. Put all that together with fairy wings and bikes and you have Montana fairy princesses. They are ready for anything.
I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas. My dad and stepmom leave tomorrow and then I get to do the "grandparent deprogramming" on the kids. The next week will be fun, but VERY low-key after all of this excitement. Now we get to plan for our trip to California in March (bought the plane tickets today).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Okay, it has been a really long time since I have posted. I started this post about two weeks ago, but life got in the way of me finishing it. However, since I have sent out a Christmas card with a link to my blog, I figured I better get on here and get some things updated. We have had a fantastic Christmas (photos to come in the next few weeks), but here are a few other things we have done so far this winter.
The girls learned how to make a snowman. They loved the snow at first, but they are ready for it to go away now.

On the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, my mom and I took the girls to see the Nutcracker ballet. It was a wonderful experience and the girls loved having a reason to get all dressed up in their fancy dresses.
So, there are a few things we have done. I have lots of pictures, but I have to get them out of the camera. I also have lots of video and got some new software for Christmas so I should be getting that sort of stuff posted soon too.
I hope you have all had a very wonderful Christmas and I hope you were as spoiled as we were. Please check back in the next few weeks as I do plan to get more photos and video up here for you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No, I am not Madonna

I was asked a question today that I thought deserved more of an answer than I was able to give at the time. I was discussing my adoption with a visitor at my clinic today and he said, "So you're doing the Madonna and Angelina thing huh?" My answer was, "Not really, I choose to see it as following the call God put on my life." I am afraid I embarrassed the poor man. Now I don't mind people asking me about Madonna and Angelina Jolie. They have made adoption popular and more mainstream. I would love to have the funds and help they have (I could adopt a few more), but I think comparing my adoption to them minimizes the reality of adoption. It isn't something that just celebrities can do. It is real people following a real calling and doing real hard work. Not that Madonna and Angelina don't work hard to be parents, I don't know what kind of parents they are. However, I can't say that I am looking to them for examples. I have much better examples closer to home. My own mother for one. Being a single mom is tough, but I am learning to love it (no, I don't love it all the time). I have learned more and grown more in the last six months than I ever thought possible. I have also learned more about the depths of my own depravity than I ever thought possible. It is true as one friend told me, "parenting is the fast-track to sanctification." I hope Madonna and Angelina Jolie are getting the same lessons through their adoption.
How do you think I should have responded to that question? I am curious what you all think.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

The girls have had a week full of activities, not the least of which was all of the fun Halloween stuff. On Wednesday, we went to the library for story-time and all the kids were dressed up and they all had their pictures taken in front of the pumpkins and giant spider.
This afternoon, they got to draw their own pumpkins that came from the pile at the library. We had one larger pumpkin that had grown in our garden and they helped me carve that one. They thought it was pretty cool to see it all lit up. Here they are with all the pumpkins including their pumpkin candy buckets. As you can see, they are really into the princess thing.
Then we drove up to Billings to spend some time with friends and trick-or-treat in a nice quiet neighborhood that was very friendly and not scary. My girls really don't like anything scary and I can't blame them at all.
Here they are at one of the first houses. It didn't take them long to catch on to what to do.
It started to rain and the wind was blowing so we didn't stay out very long, but they had a blast. After we were done, we went back to my friends' for chili and soup and lots of fun.

This display was at one of the last houses we stopped at before we went back for dinner. I couldn't resist getting a photo of the "pumpkin bear." I wish I was talented enough to come up with something like this.
I hope you all have had a fun and safe Halloween this year. Now, we can get on to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kidist's Birthday

Kidist turned 4 today (at least according to the Ethiopian court). Since she has never really had a birthday party we decided to keep it small with just 7 of us. That's 5 grown-ups and two little girls. There were enough presents for several kids, but she handled it quite well. I didn't get a lot of great shots, but I am proud of myself for remembering to get out the real camera rather than just using my phone. The girls had a blast experiencing opening presents for the first time. I had a couple for Meskerem so she would not feel completely left out and I think it helped her handle everything else better. It also helps that most of the gifts were things that are much more fun when shared.
Enough about all that. Here are some shots from the party.

Opening the first present.

What was in the first present.

Meskerem getting excited about the present she picked out for Kidist.

Percussion instruments from Papa and Ayat.

Cake. Kidist had her own little horse cake and the rest of us had a big horse to share. It was almond cake from my Aunt Carole's recipe. I am so glad it is what Kidist requested. Kidist also loved being sung to. The basket next to her has all of the new presents in it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We are finalized!!!!

Last night we had the adoption finalization ceremony at church. The church became a court room for a few minutes. We have a wonderful lawyer who does the paperwork pro bono and the family court judge is a Christian and happy to come to Harvest to perform the ceremony. My girls are now officially Meskerem Rebekah Eyob Morissette and Kidist Elisabeth Eyob Morissette. And I changed Meskerem's birthday so she can turn 7 and not share her birthday with Kidist. I also had my mom, dad and stepmom there to be a part of it. The girls did really well. Meskerem burst into tears when she realized just where we were going to be and how many people would be looking at her. She stopped before we went on stage, but wouldn't look at anyone. Luckily we took a few pictures before hand when she was smiling. Here are a few of the photos.

L-R: Tim Weidlich (pastor), Doug James (lawyer), Judge Russell Fagg, me (holding Kidist) and Meskerem.
One of the few photos where Meskerem was looking at the camera.

Me, giving a brief summary of my adoption journey.
The girls will now be issued Montana birth certificates and I can get them passports and social security cards. They aren't citizens yet, but I have until they turn 18 to get that done. I am done with paperwork for this year. ;-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Water babies

Here are a few shots of the girls enjoying the summer tradition of running through the sprinkler. Funny thing is, you don't have to teach kids how to do this. I borrowed one of my mom's sprinklers that shoots up in the air really high and goes back and forth from left to right and the girls loved it. I was hoping Mom still had the clown sprinkler thing that we played with as kids, but somehow it managed to die and get thrown away. Oh well, a plain sprinkler was just as good.

Kidist running full bore toward the water.

Meskerem enjoying the water.
After running through the water for a little while, they lay on their towels to "warm up" and dry off.

Kidist pondering the world from her beach towel.

Meskerem has found the good life.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Surprise Photos

One of the most fun things to do after I get home from work is to look at the camera and see what the girls have been doing that day. I am so glad that my mom and the nanny both make sure to grab the camera and take pictures. Here is a selection of the "surprise" photos found in my camera.
Here the girls are all duded out in their new painting smocks so they can paint pictures in the garage.

Here they are having fun with their new sand buckets (photo edited by my dad).

Flying their kite in the backyard.

The girls built a fort under the piano. Here is Kidist peeking out.

Meskerem peeking out.

Outside their fort.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

1st Annual Backyard Field Day

On July 24, my friends Emily and Chris planned a backyard "field day" for the girls and some other kids. No other kids were able to make it, so we "grown-ups" filled in and had a blast. There were relay races, balloon toss, sack races and killer duck-duck-goose. It was one of the best days we have had in awhile. To top it all off Uncle Peter was here for the festivities as well. Here are a few shots from the day. Some are less sharp than I would like, but that just shows you how fast we were all moving. :-)

Kidist and Meskerem racing in the beach ball relay.

The first event of the day (the girls even got to pick their own teams).

We all had to re-learn duck-duck-goose. Even Dot got into the mix.

This was Kidist's favorite game by far.

As you can see, she was REALLY into it.

Meskerem wasn't so thrilled with the cut-throat action so she stayed at the side and my friend Kalah got this photo of her.

It almost always ended with someone carrying Kidist.

The sack races were hysterical. The girls were the only ones that really fit in the pillow-cases, but Peter still managed to win.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We're doing well

I realized I better put up a new post or you all are going to be wondering if we are doing okay after the last post.
We are doing REALLY well.
Just like this rose (which the girls helped plant), we are blossoming.
I am back at work (loving it and not feeling guilty about that at all); the girls are doing great with the nanny; and we are done with our first post-adoption report. The social worker said he was impressed at how well we were doing and couldn't believe we had only been home two and a half months. Tomorrow marks our three month anniversary of coming home. The time has flown. Oh, we still have a long way to go to completely meld our family, but much progress has been made.
I know you are all wanting some new pictures. Below are a couple from 4th of July. Sorry to my Facebook friends: these are duplicates of ones I posted there. I will get some exclusives up here in a few days after I get them out of the cameras.

Here they are showing off their 4th of July finery:

Here are all my "girls:"
And if you were wondering, Dot is doing great with the girls. Once she got over the initial stress, she accepted them as her kids. I had to stay the night in Billings one night in June and my mom stayed with the girls. She got worried when she couldn't find Dot and found her sleeping on Meskerem's bed. Every morning after we get up she sits outside the girls' bedroom door and waits for them to get up. When they do, she greets them with happy barks and lots of licks.
Thanks for all the prayers during the tough times. I appreciate them. We will have more tough times, but right now I am going to praise God for and enjoy the progress we have made thus far.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Nobody loves"

That's what I heard this afternoon during rest time. All morning M had been moody and tearful. She threw a fit at lunch when she didn't get as many chips for her third helping as she thought she needed. I sent her to her room and K went a little later after she finished her lunch. There were some power struggles during rest time and more tears. Later, it was really quiet so I went to check on the girls. When I opened the door, I found M in tears and she said, "Nobody loves." Meaning "nobody loves me." She pointed and me and said "God loves" and then pointed at herself and said, "God no loves." Well, now I sort of knew why she had been moody all morning. Who knows how long this had been brewing. I gathered her in my arms and said, "Yes, God loves Meskerem and Mommy loves Meskerem. Meskerem is loved by lots of people." She said no again and I told her again how she much God loves her and how much Mommy, Grandma, Papa and Ayat all love her. Then she said, "I want to go home." I have sort of been wondering when that was going to come out. I don't blame her for wanting to go "home" and I told her so. She is in a strange country with strange people and a strange language and strange food. Why wouldn't she want to go back to everything she knew and was comfortable with. After we talked about that, I rocked her until she stopped crying and she was fine the rest of the afternoon.
Well, I better close for now. A big storm is brewing out my office window and I want to post this before the power goes out. Please pray that Meskerem and Kidist, but especially M, would know in their hearts just how much they are loved, not only by me, but by their Creator.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Two more pictures

My dad did a sort of photo shoot while he was here visiting. Here are two of the pictures that he took. We are all wearing dresses that I bought in Ethiopia.








Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finally...an update with pictures

So, it has been awhile since I last posted pictures. A lot has happened in that period of time. So here are some pictures of what we have been doing for the last 6 weeks or so.

I took them to the high school pow-wow and they were very intrigued by these little girls.

Kidist at the pow-wow:

Meskerem at the pow-wow:

They played outside in their winter hats in 70-degree weather.

Papa (my dad) and Ayat (Amharic for grandma, my step-mom) came to visit and a great time was had by all.
Napping with Papa:

They got new twin beds and got to ride the new mattress in Costco:


Papa also built a REALLY cool swing-set/fort:

We went to the Country Fun Day at the museum where:

Meskerem had her first popsicle:

And rode a tractor for the first time:

They have been to the pool a few times (getting ready for our up-coming trip to Chico Hot Springs).

The girls with my good friend Kalah (I just got a new waterproof digital camera):

Kidist under water:

Meskerem under water:

They have "borrowed" mommy's scarves to carry their "babies" around. This is traditionally how children are carried. I think it is great that they do it too:
There is a lot more to share, but I think that is enough for now. If you are still reading, Thanks. I will try to post more pictures when we are home from Chico next week. I go back to work on July 8 so don't expect much after that until we get into our new routine.