Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

It must be Christmas. The girls decorated gingerbread houses for the first time today. We put them together yesterday. (They are super-easy kits from Bountiful Baskets with organic gingerbread and meringue powder included) Today, with the help of Dr. Ashley they got to decorate to their heart's content. Yes, there are a lot of pictures of the same thing but I had to make sure you saw them from almost every possible angle.
Two proud craftswomen
Meskerem (looking way to old) and her gingerbread house

Kidist (yes those are Swedish-inspired pjs) and her house
Even the backs got decorated

Going to bed has been a little tough tonight. I think they ate more and licked their fingers more than I realized. But then, I probably did too.

Library Christmas Party

 This last Wednesday was the Libray Christmas party. Santa Claus came and read a story and all the kids got their pictures taken with him. Then we all stuffed our faces with the goodies everyone brought. If I haven't said it before, I love our library children's program.
Kidist and Brody

Meskerem and Santa
Kidist and Santa
Both girls with Santa
Incidentally, I got berated by Santa because one of my children complained to him that there weren't any Barbie dolls under the Christmas tree last year. I told him he ought to know my feelings on Barbies by now. Besides my kids usually understand that Santa isn't real.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Photos

I had a friend from church come down and take pictures of me and the girls about a month ago. I am so pleased with how they turned out. You can check out Kerry's other work at her Blog and at the Tracy Moore Photography website. So here are a few for the rest of you to see. These were all taken at our local county museum. It was so nice to have a photographer come to us and take pictures where we were comfortable. It was also nice to get an outsider's perspective on me and my kids. My dad has taken some wonderful photos, but he is just a little biased.

The three of us.


Mommy and Kidist

I really like this one of just our legs together.

My tattoo with the reasons for it.

Meskerem and Mommy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I couldn't not post photos of our Halloween. The girls came to the office and we went straight from there to downtown where several businesses had their doors open and were generously handing out candy. The Chamber of Commerce even had hot chocolate and hot cider which were quite welcome given the dreary drippy skies we were experiencing. After we had hit most of the businesses, we stopped at the local pizza/sandwhich shop for a burger and pizza. That's when the skies opened and it rained pretty hard. Once we were done, it had stopped raining and we headed out again. It was quite nice to take them trick-or-treating in all the same places I went as a child. Some things in a small town really never change.

Happy princesses. Our pumpkins turned out pretty well too.
Dancing in the dark.

I was playing with my camera on a tripod and took this photo without a flash. The girls are sort of ghostly as they weren't sitting still while I took the picture.

Kidist's Birthday

So I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. Here are some photos from Kidist's birthday a few weeks ago. I was completely crazy and invited a whole passel of kids. They all had a blast playing outside, dropping clothespins into jars, pinning the tail on the donkey, and bobbing for apples. Kidist wanted a Mickey Mouse theme for her party so both boys and girls would feel comfortable at her party. Luckily I had several grown-ups who stayed to help. It all turned out well as you can see by the photos below.

Table full of children.

Playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." We used my mom's circa 1947 donkey.
Bobbing for apples.
Kidist with "Lizzie" from Papa and Ayat and wearing new hats from Dr. Ashley.
Happy mom and daughter and one cool Mickey Mouse cake (pretty proud of that one).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I have the best kids in the world!

I have to tell you all about what happened this evening so when my kids are driving me nuts you can remind me just how good they can be.
We had a long day yesterday. I started at 3AM with going to the hospital for an OB patient. She delivered and I was home by about 7:30. I tried to sleep, but that didn't happen. Then by 10 we were off for the day. We had library story hour; I had a CPT meeting; we went to Billings for shopping and out to dinner with friends. We got home so late, I put the girls to bed in their clothes (luckily they have comfy Lands' End dresses). Today, we were all recovering from a long day yesterday and not enough sleep. I felt completely wiped when I got home and the girls could tell. Meskerem said, "You're tired, Mommy. You go rest a little bit before you make supper. We're not hungry yet anyway." "Really?" I said. Kidist responded with, "Yes Mommy. You rest. Meskerem and I play together." So I went and laid down. Meskerem even came in to see if I needed her to take Dot out of the room. I aasked them to come get me when the clock said 6:30 or if my phone rang. At 6:45 I woke up. The girls were having so much fun playing together they didn't realize the time.
How many other moms have kids that will push their mom into her room and tell her to rest for a little bit? I know my kids are far from perfect, but tonight God reminded me just what a blessing they are.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What have you done with your life?

Earlier today I was talking with a friend about all the things she wants to do in the next few years. She is applying for the FBI and she's already a lawyer, but she is also working on Theology classes and wants to get an associates in auto mechanics. I laughingly said, "Gee, all I did was go to med school. What have I done with my life?" Then we looked over at the table where the girls were eating breakfast. They were holding hands and praying over their meal and thanking God for what He had given them. My friend said, "That is what you have done with your life and you should be incredibly proud." It just reminded me that I need to re-assess my definition of success. The speaker at church Saturday night said the same thing. I may only have two degrees (yes, I realize many have none), I may not always work enough to get a bonus; but hopefully my children will be able to remember having dinner together most evenings, cuddling in bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings andd having a mom present when she was needed most. I also hope that my patients will know that I truly care and that I will take the time I need to take care of them.
So success in my life can't be measured by my bank account, my house, my car or any other material things. Success will be when I stand before God and He says, "Well done. Thank you for caring for my children."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Silly Photos

A few nights ago, I came home from work, tired and frustrated. God used my kids to remind me that I have so much more to be thankful for than I have to complain about. We all ended up in the big chair together and played with Meskerem's camera.
Here are the three of us. Not the most flattering photo, but a happy one.
We moved into the office and played with more pictures. The girls each wanted their picture taken with me. And then, Meskerem wanted them all printed out for her to look at whenever she wanted.
Mommy and Kidist
Mommy and Meskerem
We have been a family for almost 18 months and I can't believe how the time has flown. A couple of nights ago Meskerem needed to talk. She sat on my lap on the couch and talked and then we sat in the rocking chair and talked more. It wasn't all profound, but I just about lost it when she said, "I like my new life Mommy." Then as she crawled into bed, she said, "I love you Mommy. You a good mommy, Mommy." What more could a mom ask for than that? Those words play over and over in my head whenever I start to get frustrated or wonder why God called me to walk this road. Once again, I pray that I will be a worthy mother to these two little (but growing every bigger) gifts on loan from God.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father figures

My brother asked me to email him some photos of him and the girls. I had so much fun going through all the photos that I had to share a few here. I also thought these would be good in honor Fathers' Day recently. My girls may not have a dad, but they do have some wonderful male role models and father figures in their lives. My father is a wonderful, though spoiling, grandfather to the girls. It is so much fun to see them soak up his love and attention. Like flowers soaking up water, they stand taller and happier after they have been with Papa. The same thing happens when Uncle Peter comes to visit. I am sort of sad that they can say their 'P's now. It was so cute when they called him "Uncle Pfeter." Anyway, they love to talk to him and do things with him. Meskerem has already asked him to take her on a "date" to Sonic when he is here next month. Peter, of course, said he would be happy to.
So, here are some of my favorite pictures of the girls and their father figures. I hope other single moms have guys like these in their lives to show their children who men are supposed to be.
Kidist snuggling with Uncle Peter on Christmas Morning

Kidist and Papa making faces

Uncle Peter reading Meskerem her bedtime story

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mobile Blogging

My first post from my Droid! Hopefully this helps me blog more often like I would like to. Here is a photo of the girls roasting marshmallows with their great-aunt on our recent trip to Minnesota. It was a great trip. They got to meet their crazy first-cousin-once-removed and experience American consumerism at its best at IKEA and the Mall of America. I have lots more photos to share from our trip to California in March, dance recital in early May, T-ball and everything else summer will have to offer this year. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or tell me something that you would like to have me post on. I need to make this more interactive. If I know you all are reading, I am more likely to feel guilty about not posting and post more often. =) Who wants to keep me accountable?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Conversations

This is Meskerem while we were in Disneyland. The last few days she and I have been having some very deep conversations. I am not sure what all she is processing right now, but what she is talking to me about is big stuff. She seems to be struggling with what being adopted really means. She is very worried about her birth-mother and the other evening told me that she wished her birth-mother would come here or else go to Heaven where she would be safe. What sort of life must her mother have been living for her to wish that? She has been saying, "Mommy, you not my real mommy" off an on, but never in a defiant or mean way. She just seems to be working through what it means that she was sent to a new country and a new life without really having any say in it. This evening I told her that I chose to have her and Kidist come be my children, but that I understand that it was hard for her to not have any choice in the matter.

All of that is pretty big, but was even bigger was that happy silly child in the picture up there was sitting in my lap crying her eyes out because there were people in her world that didn't know and love God. On Easter, she got upset that I bought them presents and gave them Easter baskets. She wanted to make sure that the day was all about God and what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and rising again. When she found out that there were people who didn't believe in the resurrection, she said, "But we need tell them." I told her that most of my friends have heard a lot more about God since I started the adoption process. She can't seem to fathom that God is using their presence here as evidence of His power and love. Heck, I can hardly fathom all that God has done in the last two years.

This Easter was also the 1st Anniversary of us coming home as a family. The growth and development that has happened in all of us in that period of time continues to boggle my imagination. I will do my best to get some more updated photos and such up here at some point. We have a couple of crazy weeks coming up and then hopefully we can calm down for a little bit.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thank You

Thanks to all of you who posted encouraging comments, gave me hugs, gave me a shoulder to cry on and prayed for me over the last few weeks. It has all helped more than any of you can know. Parenting is a tough job, but I am a much better mother thanks to all of the people I have to support me.
This week has been professionally difficult. Thank God the tough family stuff has been better this week. I don't know how I would handle it if they happened at the same time.
This is another short post, but I wanted you all to know that I am doing okay and so are the kids. I will leave you with a couple of photos of my girls with "Crazy Chris" (he and his wife, Emily, brought dinner down to us last night and it was just the therapy I needed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm tired

So no pictures tonight. I feel a need to vent and didn't think a Facebook status was the best way to do it. I am having one of those nights when I am not sure I want to be a mom anymore. Now, I know deep in my heart that I really don't want to go back to my life before the girls were in it. But sometimes the hard work and the mistakes that I make seem like too much to handle.
Tonight I put the girls to bed and thought I would try a new tactic. They like to get up a lot after they have gone to bed so I told them that I would check on them in a little bit and whoever went to sleep first got the last cinnamon roll. I figured if they were both out, I would make more (have frozen ones in the freezer). A half-hour later, it looked like Meskerem was asleep and Kidist was still squirming around in her bed. "Great," I thought, "the reward system might work." Not so fast, I suppose. Another half-hour later, Meskerem comes to get me to tell me that Kidist is crying. I go check on her and Kidist tells me that she bumped her knee on her bed when she got up to go to the bathroom. I kiss it and tuck her back in. Everything is quiet again, for a few minutes. Then Kidist gets up and comes to tell me that Meskerem pinched her. So I go back in, Meskerem doesn't deny it. When asked why she did it, she doesn't answer and shrugs, then laughs. That causes her to get a spanking. Then all the drama lets loose and she is screaming and crying. So I take her out of the room that she shares with Kidist and take her to the office bed and tell her she will stay there until she is done crying. All through this I have repeated that I love her, but that she is just not allowed to pinch her sister. She is still crying as I type this. I have checked on her a couple of times and she is not interested in stopping crying or talking to me. Every time I check on her, I kiss her and hug her and tell her I love her.
My mood is better, but I am so tired that I just don't feel like I have the strength to keep being the mom they need. I guess God is breaking me in new ways every day. I don't like spanking the kids. Mostly because I have a hard time not doing it out of anger. I have been better lately, but tonight I allowed myself to be pushed over the edge. That makes me mad at myself, makes me feel guilty and makes me feel like I am a failure as a mom.
If you read this far, thanks. I don't usually feel like this, but if this is going to be an honest web journal, there are going to be some messy emotions and not every post is going to be full of sweetness and light. I feel a little better putting it all out there. Not sure why I feel the need to share. Maybe another mom will find this and realize that she isn't alone in the feelings she is having. I just hope God can use it to help someone.
Just as a reminder to me of how far we have come, here is a photo of all of the adoptive families that were at the guest house with us in Addis Ababa when I got the girls. As you can see the girls have grown a ton.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meskerem's Birthday

I know I have gotten behind on blog posts. I am going to try and catch up in the next few days/weeks. A lot has been going on and I want you all to know about it. So for our first post in March, we are going to go back to February 21. That is the day Meskerem turned 7. It was a great party attended by good friends and family. I have learned that the best way to get good presents for your kids is to only invite grown-ups to their parties. =) The girls don't really know about kids' birthday parties yet and I think I am going to wait until next year before I try to attack that challenge. So here are a few pictures from her birthday.

Here is the family all together. As you can see, it was a princess party.

I let each of the girls choose what kind of cake they want. Meskerem wanted a DQ Princess cake. Cinderella even lit up.

Kidist loves her sister.


Grandma gave her a great rolling bag full of doll clothes.

Here's the whole haul. Her favorite was a camera from Papa & Ayat.

Here is one photo that Meskerem took with her new camera. She has a great "eye" and is going to develop into quite the photographer.
After it was all over, we were pooped. Even Dot was exhausted by all the attention.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random recent photos

Here are a few photos from recent days. We are all still alive and doing well.

You know you are a mom when you get tissue paper flowers for Valentine's Day. Best flowers I have gotten in a long time.

Sunset on Valentine's Day

Meskerem with her "snow baby." There wasn't enough snow for a snowman so she created this.
Snow Baby detail

Kidist showing off the words she knows how to write. If you can't read them, they are: my, me, hi, to and Kidist. She was pretty proud of herself.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So much for New Years' Resolutions

So I was going to try to write at least one post a month this year. I have already missed January. I have lots of pictures to share and a lot of information to share, but I just haven't gotten it up. We have been so busy making memories, that I haven't taken the time to share them with all of you. It also doesn't help that I have been dealing with some depression/stress issues lately. Before you worry, I am doing much better. Quite honestly, medication is making me a better mom right now. I realized that I need to put that out there for some of you. Admitting you have depression and getting help--be it counseling, medication, prayer, exercise, whatever--does not make you a failure. I am so thankful for the good friends that have helped me see that I did/do need help and need to admit it (often). I am also incredibly blessed by the same friends providing the help I need. Having friends who will talk with you and cry with you (and prescribe you medication if needed) is an incredible blessing. So I want to say thank you to all of you, you know who you are, for being there when I needed you most. I hope I can be such a friend to you.
So, now that I am getting back into exercising and sleeping better and overall becoming a healthier person, my plan is to get back to sharing the fun of our lives with all of you. But, for anyone out there thinking about adoption/single-parenting, etc., please be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. It's tough, but you don't have to be alone.