Archive for August, 2009

We had a wonderful weekend. Emma and I went to a Beth Moore simulcast. Steve took the other kids to the football game. We all had a great time!

The most amazing part of the weekend was that we all went to church together. Megan has not done well in church since she moved past the nursery age.  She has such a difficult time keeping it together for the hour of worship. She hates noise and seems to have a special aversion to the organ.

I happen to have an aversion to the death looks coming from the people of God when a three-year old disturbs their worship! Thus the worship fast for our family.

We hadn’t all been in church together since Mothers’ Day (and then we only all lasted for about 15 minutes when I and one special little girl left in a hurry).

We mustered up the courage, we packed snacks and toys and we sat in the back.  It was good…..very good! Megan did well….most of the time.

Later, I packed up the younger kids and picked up their cousins for a trip to a nearby sandpit and pseudo-beach. The kids dug, they swam, the floated and had fun. I sat in a chair and read a book.

Ahhhhh! The weekend ended too soon!

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My three year old niece, G was showing the neighbor’s rabbits to her cousin O. She said, "This bunny’s name is Baby-bunnies-drink-from-my-breast."

I can’t wait to hear what she names her own children someday!

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I heard privilege definited like this today:

You are privileged if you have the money to buy a book and the ability to read it.

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Steve happened past Worthington, MN and picked up some injera. We cooked some doro tibs, misr wat and ET veggies tonight. YUM!

Shega couldn’t wait to eat. I teased her by saying,

"Shega. Don’t you remember that you decided to fast on Thursdays?" She giggled, rolled her eyes and haunted me while I cooked.

We have Ethiopian food fairly often. Everyone in the family loves it. We would definitely eat it more if we had a local source of injera.

We have found injera at four different places in Sioux Falls, SD. We wonder if it is all made at the same place. All of the injera we have had from Sioux Falls is similar in taste.

The ET restaurant in Worthington has just a little different type of injera. I think it has more wheat flour and less teff flour.

Here are the recipes for our meal tonight. I found them by cruising around on the web.

Misr Wot

SERVES 4 – 6

1 cup red lentils
4 tbsp. nit’r qibe (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)
   or unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. berbere (Ethiopian Spice Mix)
1 small tomato, cored and chopped

1. Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water and set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved lentils, 1 tbsp. of the berbere, tomato, and 4 cups water to the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and the lentils are tender, 45–50 minutes. Stir in the remaining berbere and season generously with salt. Serve immediately.

I didn’t have a tomato, so I used a can of chopped tomatoes.

I bought my spiced butter and berbere at the Ethiopian restaurant in Worthington. I think it is called the Queen of Sheba.

Doro Tibs

  • 2 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 tbs spiced butter (preferred), ghee or olive oil
  • 3 large tomatoes peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp berbere, or to taste (adding more thickens sauce and makes it hotter)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalepeno  pepper, seeds  removed,

Saute onions in spiced butter until golden in large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Add tomatoes, chicken and garlic ginger paste, sauté until chicken is cooked through (there will be juices left). Sprinkle berebere, salt and pepper over chicken and thoroughly mix in. Taste for seasoning. Stir in sliced peppers and cover until ready to serve.

I used chopped canned tomatoes.

Ethiopian veggies

I don’t have a recipe for this one. 

We sauteed one onion, a tsp of minced garlic and about a tblspoon of shaved ginger.

We cooked about 6 potatoes in a microwave cooker until they were pretty soft. We then added the potatoes to the onions and threw in some frozen green beans and carrots.

I actually sauteed the onions, ginger and garlic together for all three recipes. It worked well and sped up the process.

This isn’t a pic of our meal, but it does show ET food.  I found the picture here:


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We have really been putting on the miles!

I work 20 miles from home. Megan goes to daycare in my work town. Thomas and Emma go to school 9 miles from our house and Shega goes to school 4 miles from away. Steve works 12 miles from home.

On Tuesday, my first day of school, I made my first trip to work early in the morning, dropped Megan off and went to work. I had to leave work early that day because Shega was dismissed at 2:30. I couldn’t pick Megan up at 2:30 because that is nap time and she would have been sleeping.

I rushed home,  packed Shega up, dropped her off in town for a bike ride at Grandma’s and drove the 20 miles back to pick up Megan. We immediately went home again.

That’s 80 miles just to work and back on Day 1 of school.

Later that night, Emma had a volleyball game at West Lyon, another 60 mile round trip. That would be 140 miles for my van that day.

Add my miles to the 30 for Steve and the 20 for Emma and we covered a good deal of three counties with three cars.

We’re not good poster children for lessening our collective dependence on oil imports!

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Miss Megan has acquired a new skill. She gets up in the night and engages in certain nefarious activities. These activities are typically not discovered until morning.

So far she has:

Removed her jammies in favor of her summer church dress covered by her sisters best skirt. The she climbed back in bed without her still necessary night time diaper.

Later last week, she got up, and explored Emma’s make up drawer. She added some fancy art to the toilet seat and other bathroom fixtures.

Last night, she found Emma’s fingernail polish. Much of her body is now covered with pinkalicious nail color.

The fumes were such that Emma was forced to move to the basement for the rest of the night.

I hope Miss M has her creative bent satisfied at school today. I really don’t want her pulling all-nighters at this stage!

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Tomorrow, it is out the door early!

School starts for Thomas and for me. Megan has been at it for a week. Shega and Emma start on Tuesday.

We’re ready. Here are the things I’m ready for:

  • Watching volleyball
  • Football games
  • A schedule (my body and soul really benefit from the rhythm that school brings)
  • Cool breezes
  • Fall smells and colors

I’ll miss:

  • Lazy mornings
  • Late nights
  • Fresh sweet corn
  • Long days
  • Late walks
  • Impromptu trips to the park

Ahhhh summer! It was great to know ya!


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School is on everyone’s mind! Shega asks me every day to tell her how many days it is until school starts. Then she pretends to be disappointed that it is so soon.

Thomas had his open house. He brought his school supplies, checked out where he would sit and visited with his friends over ice cream. He was clearly comfortable and feeling back at home.

It was my turn to blog for the Katelyn’s Fund Blog. I wrote about a school issue we had with Shega when she was in kindergarten. I feel like I’m less vigilant about adoption issues with the girls than I was then. I hope that means I’m just comfortable and not that I’m overlooking things I should be addressing.

Here’s the post….pasted right from the Katelyn’s fund site:

B is for Baby

Shega went happily off to kindergarten when she was five and home from Ethiopia for less than a year. She loved her teacher and enjoyed kindergarten immensely.

Projects linking home and school are quite common for kindergarteners. Shega’s teacher did a great job designing projects that were low pressure and fun for parents and for children. I enjoyed working with Shega to complete home based learning projects.
On one occasion Shega was learning about the letter ‘B’. Her teacher sent a note that explained the kindergarten baby book project. We were to send pictures of Shega as a baby as well as pictures of us, her parents as babies. The kids would be doing activities with the baby pictures and creating a project with them.
My heart sank when I read this home activity request. We did not have any pictures of Shega as a baby. We had met her when she was well over four and obviously no longer a baby. I was worried how she would feel about being the only child with no baby pictures. In addition, I worried about the ramifications of her having comparing her pictures with our baby pictures. As an adoptive and transracial family, we obviously bear little resemblance to her. I was afraid that the activities planned would make Shega feel conspicuous and different.
I quickly contacted her teacher with my reservations. Her teacher was immediately sympathetic and eager to ease my worries. Although it was too late to stop the project, she assured me that she would downplay the project and wouldn’t have children display their projects, match the children’s baby pictures to parent’s baby pictures or discuss parent/child resemblances.
We sent some of our earliest pictures of Shega when we met Ethiopia  and sent some school pictures of us from when we were in early elementary school. Shega’s teacher handled it sensitively and Shega seemed to enjoy the project.
Later, I sent a list of resources to Shega’s teacher and to the principal for discussion. They decided to drop the project and others like it. I was pleased with their receptivity.
I found many good resources on the Adoptive Families website. Here is a link to their site. With school starting soon, you might find some resources you would like to share with your child’s teacher.


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I am happy to announce, that the former Brace-Face is braceless. After three years, the items of torture have been removed from Emma’s teeth.

I would include pictures, but unfortunately the lens broke when the blinded by the flash of the pearly whites.

When asked how she feels with her braces off, Emma declared her teeth large, and very smooth.

I am hoping she smiles alot. Those very expensive teeth should be viewed at every opportunity.

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Have you accepted Christ as your personal Creator?

I heard the Provost from Calvin College say that today.

It makes me feel better about my nose, thighs and cellulite (and many other things I don’t care to admit to.)

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I’m back from my temporary need for a mom break. I resisted the urge to pick up cigars. Whew!

Steve and Thomas met Paul up at the cities to watch PGA golf and the Twins. They had a great time. I stayed  home with the girls.. Thomas and Steve got very close to several of the golfers including Tiger who smiled and acknowledged them as he passed.  They were disappointed that Tiger didn’t win today. I’m sure he’ll be back!

They saw the Twins win big. Thomas has been loving watching the Twins all summer, so he was thrilled with his chance to see them in person.

Megan started back to daycare on Wednesday. Shega came along to work with me. One day, she braided my hair, securing the ends with paper clips while I worked at my computer. In addition, she shouted in the entry way making great echoes. She played computer games on the Smartboard in one of the classrooms. She fixed puzzles and generally redecorated my office. I don’t know how I ever get  a thing done without her along!  (BIG WINK!)

Today we ate at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant and then went to Falls park fto celebrate the one year homecoming of some of our favorite kids!  The twins did great and we feel so lucky to be part of their lives!

We’ll be back to normal tomorrow. I have meetings all day at school. Megan will be back at daycare, and Shega and Thomas will hang out at home with Emma. I hope they can manage!

School starts next week. It always seems like when the time comes, we’re all ready.

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I need some space.

I’ve been thinking about taking up chain smoking cigars. Nobody can stand the smell of cigars, right ?  I love my kids too much to allow them to be near someone who chain smokes cigars, RIGHT?!?

Is there another mom  ….  anywhere  ….  who might need some space too???


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The Okoboi Bible Conference was awesome! The kids absolutely loved it. Shega and Megan had sessions in the morning and in the evening every day. Megan loved the early childhood program and learned so much. At the Saturday morning service, the little ones shared the songs and activities they had done. Megan was standing right by the microphone and her participation was quite evident!

Shega loved her sessions too. She found many friends and happily ran off to the session each time.

Thomas was part of the junior high group. They met only in the mornings. He only made it to two sessions, but hopes that he can do more next year. The group met for fun activities after the evening service, but that was tooooo late for his parents!

I went to the women’s group each morning. The session was set up as a coffee house. (I was really thirsty for coffee on the first day we attended, so I picked that session for the coffee and was hooked both on the coffee and the good stuff I learned!)

We spent the afternoons on the lake each day. We boated, tubed and rode the roller coaster at the Amusement Park. Shega wanted to go on the roller coaster sooooo bad. Nobody wanted to go with her. Finally, I agreed…..not only once, but twice!!  On the way out of the park, Shega looked at me and said, "You must really love me! You went on the roller coaster with me TWICE!"

Each night, we crashed at Uncle Keith’s and Aunt April’s after 10 p.m. We were out the door by 9:30 a.m. each morning and gone all day. It seems we may need a vacation from our vacation!



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The washer and dryer had been in my living room for a week while the "fixer guys" put in a new floor. Then we went on vacation for a few days.

We arrived home late last night. I had to reach pretty deep into the underwear drawer to find anything to wear this morning. I wonder if my find would pass my mother’s underwear test.

DId your mom ask you a similar question when you would go out? "What kind of underwear are you wearing? Would you want to be wearing THAT if you are in an accident?

Just for fun:


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We heard from Joe and Kendra last weekend. It is such a joy to hear their voices on the other end of the phone line. I have been longing for them lately. We’re just past the six month mark of a 27 month commitment, so they will be calling Paraguay home for quite awhile.

Here’s a link to a video of their home in Paraguay.

They are so happy with their new space. Paul and Emma are planning a trip to visit Paraguay sometime. They may have to sleep with Joe and Kendra. Emma will be singing this song:

There were four in the bed and the little one said…..

Roll Over, Roll Over

So they all rolled over and one fell out!

Look out Paul!

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