Friday, May 29, 2009

What's been going on here?

Oh my. Life has been somewhat slow since, as of yesterday, all of our activities are finished for the school year! Kids have been occupied with playing outside, reading, and playing inside. In a few weeks, C and O and I go to church camp where they will be campers, and I will be a counselor (hopefully in C's cabin!). We've got two weddings, beach days, playdates, and a trip to Grandma L's on the radar for the summer, but other than that, it's looking to be hanging out, and getting to know each other.

Here's what we've been up to lately:

Mother and I brought back outfits for everyone.

Our first full family picture!!

M's so handsome in his little outfit :)

B and E got matching purses and scarves.

O thought he'd try on J's new hat.

What a typical morning looks like in our home. Daddy built us a wonderful bench in the kitchen, and that's a common gathering place.

Breakfast time!

Also happening:

E has taken up soccer.

B has learned to ride a bike.

And M has started a career with the fire brigade.

A common activity among the youngests is dressup. E and B have an entire drawer of little girl dressup stuff under their bunkbed, and almost every day we'll find one or both of them in a sparkly princess costume.
Here they are being "Queen of the Egyptians" and "Silly Goose". How E got the notion to be "Queen of the Egyptians" is beyond me.

They even dressed M up. And I think I just saw him walk by wearing the same tutu!

C ang O like playing all sorts of games together, and they recently found a bag of old soccer stuff. I LOVE their imaginations!

E got in on it too.

She knows she leads a rough life...
Today is sunny, and I'm thinking a park trip is in our very near future. Daddy and J are at work. Daddy got him a job there hauling sand, and working in the yard, so J has opted out of camp this summer to continue working. He is SO good at it, and I'm so happy he's having fun! J is also taking drivers ed (eep!), along with three of my very close friends. Look out world! L loves looking after the younger ones, and today, she and I took a lovely morning walk. Life is good, God is good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I was wrong.

So, remember when I said we weren't worried about M, and his calling things Mom? Well it seems things are now slightly different. Yesterday, Mother decided she must do everything for him from then on, since the word "Mother" obviously meant nothing to him.
I thought is was a wonderful idea, especially since I thought he knew who she was, at least.
Not so very much.
This morning, I came down before heading out on a walk and sat down on the couch. M looked up, saw me, and said "Mommommommommommom.", and started running towards me. So Mother scooped him up, and told him SHE was Mommy. He didn't like that very much.
Then a bit later, he was playing stacking cups with C and O, and crawled into my lap. I looked at him and said "Se me man oh?", which, in Amharic, means "My name is". He smiled and said "MOM!".
Oh, dear.
Mother and I looked at each other, and I began to tell him I was P - "Se me man oh, P, M, P. THAT'S Mommy. I'M P."
He dutifully repeated it, and I passed him off to Mother.
I went off for my walk (with the dog).
When I came back, I walked into the living room, and heard "MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY!!", and saw M running towards me, with a HUGE grin on his face.
So, from now on Mother and I have decided that I'm to do nothing for him, and limit my hugs and snuggles with him.
Extremely sad for me, but completely necessary.
It's really no big surprise he's confused. When we were in Addis, Mother fed him most of the time, and put him to bed, but I was always there too. And I would hold and rock him, and play with him. He didn't really grasp that I was his sister. When we were flying home, I held him in the sling in the airports so Mother could get to the paperwork, and he spent an equal amount of time in my lap on the plane as he did in Mother's.
So, I ask you to pray with us that he understands who Mother is, and would always look to her first for anything he needs.
But above all, God is good.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Things have been settling down... somewhat. As they get more familiar with home, and the people at home, B and M are also getting more comfortable with testing their boundaries. Not in a bad way, at all, and this is absolutely to be expected, since they're in a new place and don't know the ropes yet. B tends to get very emotional. When she is in a good mood, she'll laugh, and play with everyone within a 20 foot radius. She cracks up so easily! Just today, I was cleaning my room, and she was sitting on the chair at my desk, when she spotted an old photo of Daddy holding a one-year-old me just after a bath. For some reason, this struck her as incredibly funny, and she was literally rolling around on the chair, with TEARS streaming down her face from so much laughter. So of course, I laughed too, which just made her laugh harder. But even when she is having a good time, and playing with E, or C, I'll find her with a very sad expression, and sometimes tears. She has begun to do a pathetic act for Mother anytime she wants attention. She'll start whimpering, and go limp and floppy so Mother will pick her up and cuddle her. This, too, is understandable. This morning, E was having a hard time, so Mother took her to the sofa to cuddle. B saw this, and immediately began to whimper and cry. So Mother picked her up too. The scene was almost comical: Mother, with a whimpering/crying girl on each side, hearing stories in English and Amharic, kissing and cuddling both of them. But this is one of very, very few episodes. B has settled in wonderfully, and she and E get along very well. They both love to dress up (today they dressed up M as well!), have the same fashion sense (or lack thereof :P), and are EXTREME girly-girls. We are thanking God they get along so well, and that the battles for Mother's attention are few and far between :).

M continues to keep us rolling with laughter at his funny-man antics. If you laugh at something he does, he will do it over and over and over, until he gets bored. He is an absolute bottomless pit, and has perfected a "food shriek" if Mother does not get it to his mouth in time :). He is still slightly confused by the meaning of the word "Mom", since everyone, and everything seems to have that name. "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom... etc..", until you look where he is pointing, and either give it to him, or bear the shrieks that ensue when you don't. We're not worried, however, since he is growing and learning, and will understand soon enough. (Especially since, "They've only been home five days", as someone just reminded me.)

We had a completely at-home day today. And, since it was raining, I decided to do a bit of cleaning. Now, the downstairs fairly sparkles (and will remain that way until certain children come down in the morning), and I felt I've had a fulfilling day. One of our dear friends has coordinated meals for us, and so many wonderful families have been bringing us dinner since Saturday! I think tomorrow is our last meal day, and they will be sorely missed! Our refrigerator is stuffed with leftovers, and today, the B family brought us five quiches, of which four are frozen. Thanks to ALL who have provided us with meals, and love, and prayer. We love you all!!

Tomorrow we're taking a Girl Scout field trip to an enormous bounce castle place. It promises to be fun, and we're hoping B and M will hold up ok. We'll be the only group there, and the sound will be off, so it shouldn't be TOO overstimulating :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ethiopia trip continued...

Pictures first, this time!
M, our driver, loading up the van with donations.

B and I, shortly after our meeting.

Mother and M. Yes, he is wearing a purple tracksuit. No, he is not a girl. Colors, I've found, don't really matter when you have three items of clothing :)

M, Mother, and B.

M thought it was hilarious to honk Mother's nose.

This photo just cracks me up! He makes that face all the time, mostly when he wants something from you :). The man holding him is P, one of the dads in our travel group.

The set up for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.


Both of them trying to blow up the balloon at the same time. At one point, M was blowing into one end, while B was blowing into the other. So cute!!

My ravioli!

I thought this made for a very pretty picture. The curtains and the roses complemented each other so nicely.

One of the many gorgeous flowers.

Friday we went to the orphanage at about 10:00 to meet the kids. I was nervous and excited, all at the same time. The drive to W House was quite interesting. I saw lots of little tiny storefront shops, and shoe shining stations, and lots of animals (mainly goats and sheep). I saw poverty, and happy people, and dust. I saw a need for the Lord, and I felt right at home!
When we pulled in the gate at W house, I saw a bunch of children, some holding balls, some running, some standing still. They were all looking at the van. I was one of the first to get out, and I saw B right away. She had on a pink barbie shirt, pink pants, and flip-flop sandals. When she saw me, she smiled, and walked up to me. I smiled at her, and she stuck out her hand. I took it, and she bowed her head and introduced herself. Then I hugged her, and she hugged me. And I kissed her cheek, and she kissed me right back! My heart was so very happy! When she caught sight of Mother, her face lit up with an enormous smile, and she ran to her, and hugged and kissed her too. I started looking for M, and saw him, standing, looking very confused. I scooped him up, and told him who I was . "Ehet. Sister.", I said. He was dressed in a purple tracksuit, and shoes three sizes too big. Quite a combination :)
I brought him over to Mother, who hugged and kissed him, and he seemed to recognize her, but he still looked very confused. After our initial meeting, B took me around, introducing me, telling all her friends I was her sister. Oh, my heart swelled at every moment! We played outside with them for a while, kicking around soccer balls, blowing bubbles, and taking lots of pictures, and all the families got to know their new children a little bit. That is, we played until it started to pour! We ran into the main building, which was all set up for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. One of the nannies was wearing traditional dress, and serving the coffee, which is very thick and bitter. They had a TV in there, and were playing an Ethiopian dance video. Dance in most parts of Ethiopia consists of jerky head and shoulder movements. It probably doesn't sound very cool when I write it, but it's amazing to watch, and I'm convinced they dislocate their shoulders or something like that. We stayed a bit longer after the ceremony, then said goodbye to all the children, and assured them we would be back tomorrow. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was made easier by the fact that we would be back there in a few short hours.
We went for lunch at an Italian sorts bar. It was kind of funny, but very good :)
After lunch, we were scheduled to go to the National Museum, but were unable to, due to a power outage. Instead, M, our driver, took us to Churchill road to do some shopping. Churchill road is a long stretch of little shops carrying all sorts of "touristy things". Most shops were basically a hole-in-the-wall, with barely enough room for two people. Some were bigger. They had Coptic cross necklaces, bracelets, art, pottery, clothing, toys, drums. And it was all made in the traditional Ethiopian style. We spent about an hour there (which was much too short! If you plan on going to Churchill, try to have at least two hours if you're trying to do some serious shopping :]) , then headed back home.
Another thing about Churchill is the amount of beggars. Usually they are children, but occasional a disabled adult, or a mother with her child came up too. Those kids were mighty persistent, but since my parents had been to Ethiopia already, I was somewhat prepared. I had bought a bunch of gum in the States, and I started handing that out. They usually took it, and were appeased for a while.
It just broke my heart, and I tried to be as generous as I could, but if I wanted to give Birr, I had to do it very surreptitiously, otherwise every beggar for about three miles would swarm me. One boy was especially persistent, and would walk right next to me as I went down the line of shops, I never understood his name, but his story kept changing. He even recognized me when we went back on Monday. "Hey! Pretty Lady, give me money. I hungry. I need exercise book. Money, please!"
So I gave him more gum.
Even when I was in the car, people would come up to the window and knock, trying to get our attention. If there were only two or three, I would open the window a crack, and push some money out, but if there were more, I could only smile at them, and try not to cry.
When the car was stopped, waiting to go, mothers with little babies would come up to the window, and have their children knock, asking for money. It was amazingly heartbreaking...
We were on our own for dinner, so Mother and I walked down to the TDS hotel restaurant with a couple other families for some food.
We crashed back at the hotel, and slept well :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More pictures...

So, I just realized that I haven't posted any actual pictures of any actual kids... So here they are!

Waiting... From left, J, E, O, C, L, and Grandma L.
Daddy and M!

Settling in for the car trip home.

Yes, B, you DO have to sit in a car seat :)

Mother, so happy to be almost, truly home!

M's not so sure about this restraining thing...

Heading inside.

This morning: "You talking to me?"

Messy mouth...

Because of all the happy confusion, our kind friend, Mrs. H was the photographer of our arrival, and I've yet to get the pictures from her. So, more pictures will be coming!!


At the airport

Yummy airplane food!

Sprite can written in... Arabic.

For some reason, this packaging just cracked me up! Maybe it was the sleep deprivation... Dental stick? Really? Toothpick been copyrighted?

We're almost there!!!

Even Mother is smiling!
Some awesome clouds over Sudan.

The view from our balcony.
Our wonderful balcony!
The gate for the Guest House.
The flowers were amazingly gorgeous!
Gotta love that flat screen tv! Room with a view :)