Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Most days I go along fine handling -- and LOVING -- all of the challenges and demands of home and kids, so please don't judge me harshly. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be at home with my girls every day -- to teach them and help them and watch them learn and grow. I didn't have this opportunity with my son, so I am very aware of what a blessing it is.
But, honestly, some days I would love to lock myself in the laundry room (never mind, I would have to look at the laundry I need to do) for about fifteen minutes. Heck, doesn't some federal law guarantee all workers the right to two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch break if they work eight hours?
Case in point, this morning I just about went over the brink to insanity when I couldn't even CUT MY TOENAILS without one of the kids needing something from me. I think if I had the federally-guaranteed 15-minute break I'd use it for that...cutting my toenails in peace.
OK, better go...someone is calling "mamma" again. Thanks for listening. I feel better now.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Elizabeth's new do...
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Since the current economic times have been tight, I think many of us find ourselves reconsidering our spending habits (I know I am) or feeling like maybe we don’t have enough or make enough money. Many have lost their jobs and are having to dip into savings, and many, me included, have lost quite a bit of their IRA or 401K. Tony and I say every year that next year will be the year we’ll build a new house on our property and get out of this old and way too small house with only one bathroom. But…we have a solid roof (well, mostly solid until a big wind blows off more shingles) over our head, Tony has a good job, and we always have food on the table. Our kids have everything they need and most of what they want.
Consider this: Yesterday morning Ruby was in a really chatty mood and felt like talking more about her life in Ethiopia. I just get this kind of info in small bits when she’s ready to talk, but she’s talking more frequently now and I’m piecing together what her and Elizabeth's life in Ethiopia was like. Yesterday she told me about how in Ethiopia she didn’t have any shoes when she was with Amari (her biological mommy). She said her and Elizabeth’s feet got burned and were bleeding because the ground was hot and things got poked in them that had to be picked out (maybe glass) because they were walking, walking, walking and had no shoes. She said Amari couldn’t buy shoes because she had to use the money for food. But sometimes there was not enough money for food. And she told me that she and Elizabeth and Abiya and Meeta (other family members) stayed to take care of the home while Amari went away and tried to get food. She also told me that Amari got her a white dress one time and it was pretty but she couldn’t wear it when it was a muddy day. If it was a muddy day she had to wear the “pink skirt clothes.” Those were her only clothes – no shoes. Then she acted out how Amari hand washed all the clothes and hung them on a line to dry.
I know times are hard for a lot of people in the U.S. right now, my family included. But will we ever be faced with looking into the face of our starving children or trying to comfort them because they have burned and bleeding feet because we can’t provide shoes? I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Amari to spend four years of her life watching her daughters grow into beautiful little girls and then come face-to-face with the reality of looking at their beautiful faces for the very last time, trying to memorize every feature, and walking away in hopes that they could have a better life – with plenty of food, clothing, and a home. The idea of what she must have been going through haunts me.
When I start to get worried about the economy, our finances, or if we’re ever going to build that new house, I look at the faces of my beautiful daughters and try to imagine Amari struggling to get food and shoes for her daughters; or I imagine what it would be like to be a woman in China, without a voice to speak out for herself, forced to put down her baby girl and walk away because a government dictates that she can have only one child and her husband dictates that she must have a boy.
Am I wealthy? I am not wealthy by most standards, but I am more than wealthy by my own.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Here are a couple of pics of the girls with Sydney and Alex. They were all over "fixing" their hair. It was too cute.
Sydney with Nora and Elizabeth...
Sydney and Alex with Nora, Elizabeth, and Ruby...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
OK, I'm trying to be funny. I KNOW what they're doing! Spring has sprung in Missouri.
P.S. Did you know the Bluebird is Missouri's state bird?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Ruby: Mommy you and Daddy live in this house and then get your girls?
Me: Yes, Ruby. Daddy and I lived in this house and then went to China and brought Nora home. Then Nora lived here for a while and then we went to Ethiopia to bring home you and Elizabeth.
Ruby: You wanted three girls because our room has three beds?
Me: No, honey, we got three beds because we wanted three girls. Our hearts told us we had a daughter in China and two daughters in Ethiopia. Se we just followed our hearts and brought you home.
Nora: Mommy, that's crazy. Sometimes you crack me up! (while waving her arms in the air)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
1. I have been to four continents.
2. I have lived in five states.
3. I now live in the house my dad grew up in – the same house where I spent many nights with my grandma and grandpa.
4. I love wine.
5. I think lobster is the most delicious food in the entire world.
6. There are only a few foods that I know of that I don’t like – black licorice, celery, blue cheese, and creamed herring.
7. I love to swing. Tony has put up swings in trees for me at two houses.
8. I love to go camping.
9. I’m not a night owl. I have a hard time staying awake past 10:30.
10. I’m an avid reader and love books of all sorts.
11. I’m very clumsy. I’ve been known to break bones trying to do things normal people can do without harming themselves.
12. My iPod has 4,797 songs on it, in 24 genres. But no rap music!
13. Cooking has become my new hobby.
14. I was once on a Bud Light billboard in Kansas City.
15. I’m very punctual and hate to be late anywhere. I also hate it when others are late.
16. I have four Pug dogs.
17. I love Coach bags.
18. I consider myself one of the most blessed people in the whole world. I have only in recent years begun to understand that God has led me to where I’m supposed to be.
19. Five years ago I would not have guessed that I was going to be a grandmother before the age of 40!
20. Five years ago I could never have imagined that I would have three daughters.
21. Five years ago I would never have imagined that I would be led to China and then Ethiopia to bring home my daughters.
22. My prayers at night include the biological mothers of my daughters – two women I think about a lot. They gave me the most precious of gifts.
23. I’m very proud of my son. I look at him sometimes and am just amazed that this grown man is my little boy. I love him beyond belief.
24. I’m married to the perfect husband and father. It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but I finally did! He makes every day of my life special.
25. I can’t imagine life without my sister and brother. I love them beyond measure. I also happen to think they’re two of the smartest people I know.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Now, I look in the mirror at every wrinkle I wish I could erase and every dark spot that now graces my once smooth skin and wonder if there’s something out there to correct it. But, I don’t…correct it, that is. I wish I still looked like I did fifteen years ago, but I don’t and I never will again. I want to take care of myself, and I want my daughters to look at me and see someone they think is beautiful. But I also want them to look at me and see someone who is happy about the way she looks and doesn’t have impossible standards for what beautiful means to women.
I hope my daughters can each learn to love every single thing about their beautiful selves. They are each so unique and perfect – curly hair or straight, light skin or dark, tall or short, large or small. Yet I think as I grow older I will need to continue to remind myself of what I want them to understand about beauty. It all comes from within. Live a life that makes you happy, feel confident, and feel great about WHO you are, and you WILL be beautiful…to yourself and everyone around you. That's what I want to instill in my beautiful daughters.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Then the girls like to hear me say a prayer, which usually goes something like this: "Dear God. Thank you for Derrek, Chris, and Jonny. Thank you for bringing Ruby Nigate, Nora Lynn, and Elizabeth Amsalu to me so I could be their mommy forever too. Please help me to take good care of my girls and keep them safe and be a good mommy forever and ever. I love them so much. Please watch over the people who loved them in Ethiopia and China and keep them safe too. Amen."
Then, each of the girls say a prayer of their own. I never asked them to do this, they just started it on their own. Each of them says something like this: "Dear God, thank you for Mommy and Daddy come get me in [Africa/China]. Thank you for good food and Mommy and Daddy kiss me and keep safe and love me forever. Amen." They also thank God for Granny and Pa, Ayi, their brothers, each other, and other people depending on the night. It brings tears to my eyes every time.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
(check out the udders on the cow)
So...after dinner we put on our jackets and set off for a walk around our property. Some of the horses came over to the fence to check us out, but one of them was running around like a crazed nut. I don't think she was a big fan of the flashlights.
From Merriam Webster:
ad·ven·ture \əd-ˈven-chər\ noun
a: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks (e.g., getting your retinas burned out by a cow with large, plastic udders)
2: an exciting or remarkable experience (I'm sure we were quite remarkable to the cars pulling into the church next door as we walked around in the dark with no general purpose shining very bright lights at absolutely nothing.)
3: an enterprise involving financial risk (Those flashlights were certainly an investment, and there is the ever-present risk of them being lost.)