Archive for December, 2009

It’s New Years Eve and we are still just hanging out. We took the kids to an indoor pool to swim with a few cousins. Now we are just settling in to watch a movie. I’m not sure how many of us will see the New Year in. I’m guessing that the adults may cheer the New Year in early and greet it clear eyed in the morning.

I tucked Megan into bed happily. She was tired and ready for sleep. The others aren’t so willing to give up on 2009.

We had a little adventure today. We are a host family for an international student from Ethiopia. We haven’t been the best host family, rarely taking him out but we bring him injera and wat each time we cook Ethiopian.

Today we invited him, a colleague, her daughter and international student from Lithuania out to the African Restaurant. We discovered that the owner is Somali. Our waiter looked at Shega and Megan and said, "Ethiopia?" 

I answered, "Yes! How did you know?"

He drew circle in the air around their faces and said, "I see Ethiopia!"

We were served a feast of injera and wat. The food was good and the company was great. Our Ethiopian friend offered me the best compliment when he said that our injera and wat was much better than the restaurant version!

Megan was the entertainment. As soon as we arrived she stood on her chair and announced, "Seriously! Seriously! You are going to love injera!

Seriously! Seriously! I love that girl!

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We made it to the Christmas party. We stayed in a hotel just twenty miles from home. Strange, but it saved us multiple trips on a gravel road with lots of snow. Plus, most of the family who traveled to see the locals was staying at the hotel too. The kids had a great time running through the halls, swimming in the pool, fixing puzzles and playing cards in the lobby.

After bowling and lunch, we made our way home.  Megan took a three hour nap. I worked on the three-year post placement reports for our adoption agency and Emma, Thomas and Shega played outside, read books and watched TV.

It was a good day, but it felt strange to have nothing pressing to do. 

Megan is washing dishes and singing. I love to hear her singing. She has a "close enough" attitude when it comes to lyrics.

Right now she is singing "Arthur had the angels sing…." to the tune of "Hark the Herald".

It couldn’t be cuter…seriously….

I hope you have time to just hang out too.

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Another snowstorm is keeping us home today.

There will be no more last minute Christmas shopping trips. It looks like this snowstorm will keep us housebound through Christmas.

A friend brought us the fixings for five gingerbread houses. We had planned to have some cousins over today to decorate them. The snow foiled that plan, so we saved the gingerbread houses for another day and we decorated some cookies instead.

We played a little pinochle, ate some cookies and chicken soup, gave the cat a bath and mostly just hung out tonight. We are waiting for Paul who did make the trip through the snowstorm. He had a pretty long trip, but we are sure glad he is near.

We called Kendra and Joe to wish Kendra a quick happy birthday and to tell them about the wonderful things that Thomas’ school collected for their school. We can’t wait to send a package to Paraguay full of good things for their Paraguayan kids.

We hope your family is near to you tonight.

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Megan, Shega and Thomas were all a part of the children’s Christmas program at our church tonight.

Thomas sang his heart out! It was awesome to see him sing like no one was listening. He loves Christmas songs and I could tell he was enjoying the opportunity to perform.

Shega was a Christmas angel. There were four blond angels and Shega, the Ethiopian angel in the angel choir. She definltey was noticeable with her big straighted hair and golden halo. (Don’t tell anyone, but this mom definitely thought the brown angel was the most beautiful!)

Megan wore her sheep hat with her beautiful black velvet Christmas dress and baaaa’ed on command.  She smiled and looked as cute as a button during all of the three-year old songs.

Unfortunately, you will have to take this braggin’ blogger-mom’s word for it. The camera battery was dead and all of the cute had worn off before we got home to charge it.

In fact, Miss Megan ate her weight in chocolate after the program. The deacons always reward the kids with bags of candy. She quickly ate through her chocolate stars and moved on to the chocolate covered peanuts.

After our program, we went to a neighboring church to watch the cousins perform. Megan scored a ginormous chocolate bar when she slipped in line with her cousins.

Fortunately, Thomas and Shega moved on to the apple and the peanuts in the candy bag before they too were overcome by the chocolate monster.

The big two saved their chocolate for tomorrow. I hope they have a chance to eat it before Megan, the chocolate monster, finds it!

The girls are safely tucked into bed. Megan is struggling to find her way to sleep, due in part to her chocolate consumption. I hope she dreams of the Christmas story and the peaceful sheep sleeping in the stable with angels singing over head.

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We straightened Shega’s hair tonight. I can’t believe how long and thick her hair looks when it is straight.

She loves it! She ran around the house cruising past every mirror she could find.

It took forever to pull the straightener over all of that hair.  I don’t think we’ll do it often, but it was fun to see if we could. I know the straight ‘do won’t last as long as corn rows do. The last set of corn rows lasted nearly five weeks. I hope the straight hair makes it through the night. She has her sleep cap firmly in place over a loose french braid and she is snoozing away.

Our girlie definitely looks like a teenager. Scary! 

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It was my birthday today.

It was an amazing, wonderful day.

I received many "happy birthdays" and a few gifts too.

I typically remind my family of my birthday. In fact, I start letting them know that my birthday is coming several days in advance. I joke that the reminder is for their own good. I don’t want them to forget my birthday and then feel sorry that they had forgotten. I am helping them to avoid regret by reminding them early.

Even though I love to be remembered on my day, it can be difficult to receive gifts graciously. I often feel guilty because I hadn’t remembered gifts or cards for in return, or just a bit embarrassed by generosity or sincerity.

Today, I was lavished on! I received many wonderful gifts and cards and wishes for a great day. I am so grateful. I hope I received all of the gifts and wishes gracefully and graciously.

However, I am also filled with resolve to do better to remember my friends, colleagues and families on their special day.

The old adage says that it is better to give than to receive. However, it is more difficult to receive than give. I guess it is true that there must be a receiver for every gift out there.

I’m a bit weird, aren’t I? Are any of you weird like that?

Here I am, modeling some of my gifts!

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The tree is looking a little worse for the wear after just three days.

Could the reason for its shabby appearance have anything to do with the kitty ornament pictured below?

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Shega loved bringing injera and dorowat to school today with Andrew.

She said, "Everybody likes dorowat!"

I don’t know about everybody, but many of the kids tried and liked dorowat.

Thanks for including us in your birthday celebration, Andrew!

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Steve and the kids made dorowat and sambusa while I wrapped presents. Cousin Andrew wanted to bring Ethiopian food for the second grade as his birthday treat. We’re going to celebrate Shega’s 1/2 birthday and join the fun.

Shega ran out this morning thrilled about the day.  I hope it is an example of celebrating culture and not cultural appropriation.

We scanned the book, "Silly Mammo" and are planning to read it from the Smartboard.

There are around 60 second graders in three classes and all three classes will be there. Shega is in one class, Andrew is in another class. And Josh is in the third. All three of them know how to eat injera and wat, so I know a few of the kds will like it!

Shega was very excited to go to school today. She loves dorowat. I hope that lots of the kids love it too.

Besides making dorowat, we put up the tree yesterday afternoon. We typically go out to a tree farm and find the perfect tree. Steve’s new hip isn’t quite strong enough for the hunting and chopping exercise.

This year, we found the perfect tree in our attic. Three years ago this week, we were in Ethiopia meeting our little girls for the first time. We found a artificial tree that year that would survive a couple of weeks without water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t smell like a Christmas tree. The whole house actually smells like dorowat, so we wouldn’t have gotten the full effect of pine smells anyway.

Lo and behold, the thing survived these three years in the attic, without water or any other attention.

It’s a marvelous thing!

The kids and I decorated it yesterday. There are a lot of decorations hung at about Megan height! The kids did great.

Shega woke up this morning, looked at the lit tree and said, "Yesterday I was afaid our tree would be ugly. Today I think it looks pretty!"

It was a pretty good Sunday!


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Did you ever go to some event thinking, "If we don’t go, I’m really going to have to apologize?"

The event began at 7:30 p.m. Megan hadn’t napped well. She fell asleep on the way. We had to wake her up to go in. The event was in a small room with a lot of adults, and no other children.

I hope some of you have ‘rassled a napless child with specific ideas of what food and seating arrangements she DID NOT LIKE!

I am really sorry I didn’t apologize for not attending the event. because I now must apologize for attending the event!


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Remember how excited I was about the snow day, just a few hours ago????

My joy has faded!

What is it about the telephone that incites violence and noise among the younger set? Why is it that the sound of the phone ringing, especially if it is a work call for mom, that makes the kids want to beat one another and scream?

Someone should do a study. I wonder if there would be some stimulus money available for a "shovel-ready" study like that?

We could try different ring tones, different times of day, different weather conditions…..or even…..different children.


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There is something so joyful about the first blizzard!

The kids got out of school early, Steve and I left work early and we hung around home.

What did we do?

Steve figured out how to make Ethiopian Sambusas. He and Megan rolled out the dough. I filled them and he fried them. They were delicious.

The girls painted and watched too much Hannah Montana. 

Emma and I faced Steve and Thomas in pinochle. The girls won!

This morning, everyone was up early checking snowcap for the latest school announcements. No school again today. YAY!

We can do more "nothing" today.


He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’  So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor.  Job 37:6-7


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What do you do when your braided beauty comes home with a head full of sand?

You get out the small appliances and get to work!

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Joe is twenty-four today!

We called him in Paraguay to wish him a happy birthday. He and Kendra had a tough week. They met up with a pick-pocket in a bus station. The pick-pocket was pretty darn skilled. (S)he was able to unbutton Joe’s pocket and slip the wallet out without alerting Joe.

They ended up having to stay in the city an additional day to file a police report and to get new ID’s at the Peace Corps office.

I’m going to have to send Joe one of those ugly fanny packs that he has teased me about in the past. That would have thwarted the thief. (S)he would have been so busy laughing at the fashion faux pas that no theft could occur!

Joe said that it was a cool day in Paraguay. It was rainy and only about 90 degrees or so. That is a different definition of cool than we had here today. It was 13 degrees and very cool!

It was cold the day Joe was born too. It had snowed a few inches when I came home from teaching first grade. I shoveled the walk and waited for Steve to come home. Paul, then 2.5 and I watched Steve play basketball that night in the community league. Paul, ran out onto the court in the middle of the game. I folllowed, tripping over my own feet. I fell flat, burning a hole right into my polyester maternity stretch pants! The crowed gasped!

Steve and I brought Paul home and got ready for a new baby. We soon left for the hospital arriving 22 minutes before Joe was born. Easy peasy! 

Man! I miss that boy! (I miss his lovely wife too!)

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This post is from Uncle Ron and Aunt Lynn who served for three seasons with the children at TLC Orphanage in South Africa.

Thanks for your work and for your encouragement.

We are praying with you for those affected by HIV AIDS today.

World AIDS Day 2009 –

Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money,

but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. 

World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away,

and that there are many things still to be done., 2006

I am only one, but I am one. 

I cannot do everything, but I can do something. 

And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  ~Edward Everett Hale

Remembering our beloved ones living with HIV/AIDS…

Lynn and Ron


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