Archive for October, 2009

Shega and I used a restaurant napkin to write secret notes back and forth after our first trick-or-treat outing. I commented on her costume. Since I didn’t wear a costume, I can only assume Shega commented on my general appearance and/or demeanor.

Megan was supposed to eat a hot dog before we headed out to gather the candy. We were hoping the hot dog would stem the chocolate tide. She decided to give the hot dog a little "hair-do" before she ate it. Apparently hot dogs taste better when covered with rubber bands. 

Megan insisted on wearing her ballerina dress backwards. Wearing it backwards definitely gave a new view to the scooped neckline. Shega was a beautiful volleyball player. Thomas went as himself, but scored some candy anyway.

Megan is still riding a two day sugar high.

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Joe and Kendra are in Asuncion for the weekend. We got to visit on Skype the other day. It is always so much fun to see them while we talk.

Thomas’ school is planning to do a Christmas project for Joe and Kendra’s school. Thomas is really excited!

We’re not sure how we’ll get the materials to Paraguay. We’ll ship them if we can figure it out. Otherwise, we’ll send them with Paul and Emma who are planning a trip for February.

Maybe some folks will donate money. If so, we’ll use that for shipping.

Here’s a note from Kendra. Here are some pictures from their school and a Youtube link to a video that shows them taking us on a little tour of their school.

Hey Laura,
 We have been brainstorming some things that Thomas’ school could donate for the students at our school. Here are some ideas:

  • school supplies: pens, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, markers, scissors, backpacks, and crayons
  • stickers
  • books in Spanish
  • toothbrushes
  • coloring books

We will be giving the donations to both schools in our community, there are about 200 students total in 1-6th grade. We can give some school information for Thomas to share with his school about the school in Paraguay.
The school year runs from February to November with a two week winter vacation in July. In December and January is the hottest time of the year so the students don’t have school, just like at home. There are two turns of each class, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Morning classes start at 7 and  end at 11. Afternoon classes are from 12:30-4:30. The students wear uniforms, navy pants or skirts and white shirts, with long white socks for the girls. Many of the students do not have enough money to buy school supplies, they rely on the free government supplies, which don’t always come. The government also helps provide milk for the students. The children here really love to play soccer and volleyball. Every recess includes a soccer game.They also enjoy English class that I am teaching every Wednesday. The students can count to 10, recognize colors, and love listening to American music. Many of the students do not have books in their homes so Joe and I are trying to bring more books into the school. We plan to open our Support Room in the summer for any students that want to come and read books. Boqueron, our community is a farming community, it is run by the production of sugar. There is a sugar factory in our community and the many of the parents of the students are farmers that have sugar cane to sell to the factory. The factory brings a lot of money to the community, many of the students didn’t come to school until the factory opened in May, when they were finally able to buy supplies

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Wow! This is a mean virus.

It got me yesterday.  I barely left my bed all day. I ate and drank absolutely nothing.

I have renewed admiration for my hubbie. He and Megan were both sick on Thursday. I stayed home to take care of Megan ….  for most of the day. However, I had a class to teach at 12:05. I didn’t want to miss it, so I left at 11:30 and didn’t return until 1:30.

He never complained or let on that taking care of a sick kid when you are sick yourself was difficult.

If I had to take care of Megan all alone for two hours yesterday, it would not have been good.

I just ate a little chicken broth and some 7-UP. It was good.

I just heard Thomas find his way upstairs to the bathroom. Definitely NOT good!

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Steve and Megan have joined the ranks of the sick ones.

Thomas and Emma are feeling better.

I have chapped hands from cleaning the bathrooms.

I offered Thomas $10 if he made it to the bathroom every time. He did not earn it. I did not offer the deal to Megan, but she would definitely not have earned it.

Do you think the sick Dad would be insulted if I offered him the same deal?

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Sometimes this is a dress and other times its pom-poms!

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Emma spent most of the night on Saturday night throwing up. Most of the girls on her volleyball team have had the same thing.

Thomas spent all night last night throwing up. He christened all four bathrooms. I followed him with bleach.

I just got back from urgent care with Shega. She has a perforated ear drum.

Shega was tearful from the pain. Megan said, "Shega, stop crying. Just ask Jesus!"

I hope the sickies leave my house soon.

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Megan: Everyone I know has a baby!

Me: Really? Everyone?

Megan: All of my friends have a baby at their house. I want a baby at our house. I want a brown baby…..a brown, brown baby at our house.

She looked wishfully up at me. Then she added: I want a brown baby and a camper. All of my friends have a baby and a camper.

She may have to put that on her Christmas list!

Hey Grandma! Here’s Megan’s Christmas wish list!

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We were out of our comfort zone a bit today. Dode saw an African restaurant in South Sioux City. She told us that the restaurant had a note on the window saying, "We have anjera." 

We weren’t sure if "anjera" was the same as our favorite Ethiopian food, "injera", but we thought we would give it a try.

Steve and I and the three youngest kids got in the car and made the hour trip across the bridge to Nebraska. We found the restaurant simply named, "African Restaurant".  A note on the window did indeed say, "We have anjera". Another note said, "We serve goat meat".

We boldly entered. We were not the only customers, but all of the other customers were men. There were no children, no women and no "peach" people, as Shega would say.

The server came on over and asked what we would like to eat. We asked if he was Ethiopian and he shook his head and said, "African."

(We know Africa is a big place, but he didn’t seem to want to narrow it down for us at all.)

We asked if the anjera was Ethiopian injera. He nodded and asked what we would like to eat. There was no menu. He said, "We have injera, steak, chicken legs, spaghetti and chicken for the little ones!" gesturing at the girls.

Shega said, "Do you have dorowat or misrwat?"

She was disapointed when he shook his head. Megan said, "I want an egg, do you have an egg?"

We struggled with the communication a bit, but finally we said, "We’ll take injera with whatever you put on it."

Thomas said, "Can I have spaghetti and steak?’  He couldn’t resist ordering two of his favorites at once.

The server went back into the kitchen and left us wondering what we were going to get.

Soon he brought out six huge Sambusas. Sambusas are an Ethiopian pastry stuffed with meat and onions. They were delicious.

Next he brought out bowls of lettuce, with several cut limes on top.

Later we got three huge platters of injera with two kinds of beef, boiled eggs, chicken legs and potatoes.

Steve had steak on his plate of injera as well as potatoes, chicken legs and meat.

Thomas had a plate piled high with spaghetti and steak. The steak was sliced thin and cooked with onions and peppers.

The food was delicious and plentiful. We all loved the injera and whatever was on it. Megan ate three hard boiled eggs.

After we ate, the girls flitted around the restaurant. Megan sat right down with a group of men and ate rice off their plates with her hands. They waved and shook their heads when I told her to leave the poor men to their dinner.

Shega asked some of the customers if they knew if Ethiopia had a queen. Many of them spoke to her in Amharic (I think) waiting for her to respond.

Dode and Dick joined us for conversation at the end.

We had a great time and great food.  Our bill for it all was $29.00. 

We will definitely return to "African Restaurant".

It was good for us to be out of our comfort zone.

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Our family went to a volleyball game tonight. The little ones came along as they usually do. We are nearing the end of the season and it is becoming more difficult to pack enough entertaining toys and activities to keep the younger ones busy for the duration. Today, the best-of-five volleyball match took all five games to decide.

The girls were getting restless and bored with the toys we packed. I was beginning to become anxious that they were annoying other spectators with their restless wandering and wiggling. I kept one eye on the exciting match and another on my two little girls.

During an especially busy moment in the game, I stole a minute to check on my busy little girls who were visiting with some of high school fans just a row or two above me. My little girls’ brown faces mingled conspicuously with the blonds in the cheering crowd. Just for a moment they caught my eye and grinned to let me know they were doing well.
My breath caught in my throat at their gaze. My heart gave a little thump with the thought of the amazing gift these girls are to me.  I said aloud, “Lord. You have made these girls so beautiful.”
I am typically on the look-out for imperfections in my children. I smooth hair, pull up pants, tie shoes, straighten hair bows and tee shirts… I am on constant duty, looking for ways to improve my kids’ looks.
I have even been known to give a mean spit bath to erase anything yucky on their faces. (Actually I can’t think of anything on their face that would be yuckier than their mom’s spit!)
Adoption is complicated. Adoptive parents are often worried if they are doing something wrong. We obsess over attachment. We look for signs of trouble and project trouble into the future. I find it easy to look at my kids with worry in my eyes.
Tonight, however, I received an amazing gift. God allowed me see my girls as He sees them… so beautiful, strong and amazing,  they take my breath away.
Dear God
Give me the ability to see my children as you see them. Let me see myself as you see me. You loved us enough to die for us. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.


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Ahhhh! Sundays are great. I sat down at my computer and opened up our blog. I write the posts and Steve adds the pictures. I gasped when I saw my picture from yesterday. I said to my husband, "Wow! Why did you pick that picture. I look so bad!"

He said, "You’re supposed to look bad. You were up for half the night with the child who couldn’t wait for the dance."

That’s not exactly true. I should have taken a picture of him. (of course he would not have chosen to post it if he looked as bad as I did!)

The Dad had teenager duty Friday night. Emma and her friends piled in a car to visit a haunted house. They got lost, it snowed, they had to bring the kids back to the site of the football game, followed by more teenage excuses…leading her to get home very late. The dad stayed up to badger the teenager with text messages while I went to bed. He handled the 11:30 p.m. visit from the dance crazy-three year old while waiting for the teenager.  When said three year old visited our room at 3:30 a.m. to discuss the dance again, she came to my side of the bed. Once I convinced her that she had time to go back to bed for SEVERAL additional hours, she decided there were spiders in her bed. For some reason, her mama is completely incompetent when it comes to spider removal. We had to wake up dad to take her back to bed and get rid of the imaginary spiders.

I definitely emerged on top of this parenthood division of duties.

B. T. W. The dance was great. The kids did wonderfully well and loved it. We sat right in the front row and they stayed engaged from beginning to end. Emma and I supervised the 5 kiddos while Dad stayed home and took a nap.

Take a peek at this link to a 1955 magazine letting folks know what duties I should have as a good wife:


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I have made many mom mistakes. However, after 26 years of mom school, I should not have made this one.

I told Megan that we would go to a dance concert at the college. I also told her that she could take her cousin, Grace with us.

We did her hair last night in anticipation of the big event. She called Grace to make sure she was going. She was even happy while I did her hair because she wanted to look cute for the dance. She went  happily to sleep at 9. She must have been dancing in her dreams.

She woke up at 11:30 p.m., checking to see if it was time to go.  She woke up at 3:30 a.m. concerned that she would miss it. She has now been awake since 7:30 a.m. obsessing over the dance.

The concert begins at 4:30 this afternoon. Megan cannot stop asking if it is time to go. I said, "Megan. Don’t you remember I told you the dance is after your nap?!

Megan said, "I took three naps! I don’t want to take another nap!"

Whew! This could be a long day!


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Cool! or maybe I should say, COLD!


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Shega tried out for a team. She loved the practices and couldn’t wait to go each day. She packed her bag the night in advance and obsessed about the carpool arrangements.

Unfortunately, the coach advised us to keep her out this year and try to have her develop her skills before she tries again.

Shega cried for an hour when I told her. I e-mailed the coach how sad Shega was and that she would really miss it. I know the coach felt bad and told us that we were welcome to keep her in the sport but that Shega would really need to step it up in terms of skill and listening.

I don’t dare tell Shega that she can try again but that she needs to work harder and improve. I don’t want to turn something she loves into a high stress activity.

Shega is sad. I am sad. I think it is as hard to be cut from a team when you are 7 as when you are 17. (It may be just as hard for moms as it is for kids.) At least is was for Mama Bear in this book.

The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team (First Time Books(R))


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The Twins won! Thomas couldn’t wait to talk to his big brothers. Paul called him from Iowa City. Shortly after that, we called Paraguay and woke Joe and Kendra up.

The news was too amazing NOT to share. The TWINS won the pennant!


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