Off to the doctor
I never took my first four kids to the
doctor for check-ups. It seemed like we were
at the doctor enough when they were sick,
and it always seemed like an inconvenience
to go when they were well. The girls were
due for their 6 mo. check-up. I called for
an appointment August first, and couldn't
get them in until last week. I wasn't
excited about the appointment at all. I had
to take an afternoon off of work. Steve
joined me and we had to take Shega out of
school early. We drove to the pediatrician
in Sioux Falls.
I was so glad we went! No...the kids weren't
sick. I didn't find anything out. We just
had a good time together! Everyone at the
doctor's office was very kind to us and to
the girls. Shega grew 4 inches in height
since February. She gained 4 lbs. She is in
about the 80th percentile for both height
and weight. Megan gained 8 pounds since
February. She moved from the 10th percentile
to the 50th in height and weight. Her head
circumference moved from the 20th percentile
to the 80th percentile. She has room for
LOTS of brains!
They both needed shots. Megan got one shot.
Shega actually got 4 shots. She'll tell you
she was brave. I'll never tell my part of
the story! After the appointment, we asked
Shega to choose where she wanted to eat. She
had a hard time choosing between McDonalds
and Lalibela (the Ethiopian restaurant).
Finally she chose Lalibela. She loves injera
and wat. She usually chooses Doro wat, eats
hers then reaches over to eat mine. We
usually have a little left to bring home. It
amazes me to think that just 8 months after
she joined our family, she can't decide
between McDonalds (What could be more
American?) and her beloved injera. I'm
actually quite pleased that she decided on
In other news...
Emma is beginning to fit in nicely at
Boyden-Hull. She is making her way socially.
Her classes are going well, and I can see
the light come back into her eyes. It is an
answer to prayer!
Paul went to Iowa
City to see the Hawkeyes play. He couldn't
find anyone to travel with him, but enjoyed
his alone time with the relatives.
team won two games yesterday. It was a great
day for baseball and we enjoyed the weather.
Happy Birthday to Amber in Arizona! I hope
you are enjoying your students.
Happy birthday to my student assistant,
Johanna's mom! I think Jo's mom and I have
lots in common. We both love our birthdays!
I hope her whole week is a celebration!
Back To Top
We are enjoying the last hot breath of
summer. We had a great weekend. We went to
Lifelightfest, a Christian outdoor music
festival on Saturday. The kids had lots of
fun. I don't have any pictures. The camera
was one thing we left at home. We had to
park a good 1/2 mile from the concert site.
Between the stroller, chairs, blankets and
other paraphernalia, we had plenty to carry.
Chris Tomlin closed out the evening. He was
awesome. We got home after midnight and
After church on Sunday, we headed to Round
Lake to enjoy the lake with the Heits
family. Shega and Megan loved the water. I
actually went water-skiing.
I have skied infrequently as an adult. Every
time I do, I say, "This is the last time I
am going to ski in my life." Then another
opportunity presents itself, and I try
again. My neck and shoulders are mighty sore
today and again I am saying, "I will never
ski in this lifetime again!" I guess we'll
Joe and Kendra have accepted a Peace Corps
appointment. They will be leaving sometime
next September. They'll spend about two
years, (27 mo.) in a Latin American country.
They'll likely be placed in central or south
America. Joe will be working in agriculture
and Kendra will teach. They are very
We are very proud of them and their
willingness to go and serve. The first
challenge they will face will be spending
three months apart. The Peace Corps wants
every volunteer, even married couples to
spend three months in separate host family
homes. In that way, they will learn the
language better and will be totally immersed
in the culture. It will be hard for a newly
married couple to be apart for so long.
However, they have really thought and prayed
and feel like this will be a good fit for
them. Here's a link to the Peace Corps FAQ.
It answered quite a few of my questions:
Joe and Kendra are still in the midst of
wedding planning. Here's their wedding site:
still adding a few things to the site. More news will
show up soon, I'm sure.
Emma had her first volleyball game last
week. It is always fun to see the fruit of
your labor! Shega is still doing well in
Kindergarten. She loves all of her teachers.
She loves PE, Music and ELL (English
Language Learners). She especially likes her
teachers. I'm pretty sure some of the
stories she takes home are
embellished...(like the story of the big
frog that big her SO HARD!) but it is really
fun to hear her talk at the end of the day.
Thomas is really enjoying Mr. H in fourth
grade. It's always a treat for little boys
to have a man teacher in the elementary
grades. He enjoyed an extra day with his
cousins at Round Lake last night. He is so
tired that he's drifting off to sleep right
now and its barely 9:00 p.m. He should be
fresh in the morning!
This is a heavy topic to end the post with,
but it has been on my mind lately. I visit a
forum where other adoptive parents discuss
their kids and other issues affecting
transracial families. One topic concerned
whether or not our very young children had
experienced racism. I'm not sure the
following incidents have racism at the core,
but they are interesting. Let me know what
1.) Kendra was walking down the street
pushing Megan in the stroller with Shega in
tow. A man she didn't know stopped a car,
jumped out and handed her two dollars
saying, "One for each!" I'm not sure
was racism, however I've never had that
happen with any of my other kids. Could it
have been someone who thinks that black kids
must be poor? Maybe it was someone that knew
the girls and just wanted to be nice. I just
2.) When at a volleyball game last spring a
nice man gestured toward Megan and said,
"I'll bet you can't wait to see what her
vertical is like when she's this age!"
That's not really a racist comment, but is
racial stereotyping. I guess it just points
to his limited exposure to Africans and
3.) Last spring, Steve's mom introduced the
girls and me to a woman she knows only
slightly. She introduced me as her
daughter-in-law and the girls as her
granddaughters. The woman gestured toward me
and said, "Is she married?...She quickly
followed with, "A lot of times they're not,
you know!" I can only assume she meant that
women with black children aren't typically
married. That one was definitely racist. I
can't think of a nice explanation for that!
There have been a few incidents with kids. I
just give them the benefit of not knowing
any better. When Shega was just learning
English, a pair of 4 year olds came running
into one of Emma's games, breathless. They
said, "Grandpa! There's a brown girl chasing
us!" When their Grandpa explained who Shega
was and that she didn't know English well
and just wanted to play, the girls said, "We
don't like brown people!" Their poor grandpa
was horrified, quickly took it upon himself
to "help" the girls play with Shega by
sharing some candy with her and giving Shega
a little extra special treatment in front of
the girls. I'm quite sure they hadn't been
up close with any "brown people" before, and
weren't sure what to think. I'm sure Shega
was a little scary, smiling, chasing them
all over and not speaking at all!
We know we have some tricky times ahead of
us. We know that the girls will feel alone
sometimes. We hope that we can provide them
with some role models, friends of color and
some contact with both the Ethiopian culture
and the African American culture. We know we
need to make friends with people of color.
Pretty soon you might see Steve and I
chasing down some poor unsuspecting black
kids saying, "Will you be friends for our
We shouldn't be surprised if they turn
around and say, "We don't like white
people!" (Especially loud, scary white
people who don't make sense when they talk.)
Blessings on your week! Thanks for checking
Back To Top
August 27, 2007
School has begun! Emma and Shega began on
Tuesday. Shega barely slept all night. I
kept waking up seeing Shega's face peering
into my face in the dark. She said, "Mom.
You're going to forget to wakin' me up!" To
her surprise, I remembered indeed, and Emma
and Shega got on the bus together, each
headed for a new school. I worried and
wondered all day, but both girls had a good
day. I am praying that Miss Shega will find
some friends. She loves Andrew, who is in
her class, but she tells me it is hard to
find someone to play with at recess. She
also says, "I can't writin' my name good.
Other than that, I don't hear a lot. She is
dead tired at the end of the day, and she
definitely needs "wakin' up" every morning.
I guess writing her name gives us a focus
for our at home time. I didn't spend a lot
of time teaching her how to write her name,
because we were still in the "name
ambiguity" stage. We kept thinking we were
going to move her name to Shaya. She does
answer to both Shega and Shaya now, but we
continue to call her Shega at home. When we
complete her paperwork, she will be Shega
Faye Heitritter. The other day she said,
"Who namin' me Shega?" I said, "Your
Ethiopian mom did. Shega means lovely, and
that's the only name that would fit such a
lovely girl!" Her middle name is Faye, after
Steve's Mom Sharon Faye.
Emma is adjusting to her new schedule. She's
still finding her way socially.
I'm glad she has volleyball right now. She
loves volleyball and is enjoying the girls
at practice. Thomas seems to love 4th grade.
He already had an overnight this weekend. It
is always great to reconnect with friends.
Joe begins his fall baseball schedule soon.
We love watching fall baseball.
There's no pressure and it is usually nice
We are still in the throes of our home
improvement. The project is mostly finished,
but it seems as if one project leads to
another. One time last summer, Shega was
dancing around the living room with a full
gallon of paint on her head. (Hard to
believe, but true!) It fell and painted the
carpet in the living room! We're not quite
ready to remodel the living room and
kitchen, even though it needs it. We decided
the path of least pain would be to carpet
the bedroom and repair the living room with
the bedroom carpet. The carpet is coming
tomorrow. We spent the weekend cleaning,
painting and moving the furniture. Tonight,
while I was braiding Shega's hair, Megan
very carefully painted a large square on the
bare wood floor. She also painted herself in
her Sunday best. She put quite a wonderful
design on her new shoe as well. Oh well, I'm
definitely having to hold on to my "earthly
lightly. Moths and rust have certainly come
to destroy (:
Blessings on your week! Thanks for checking
Back To Top
August 20, 2007
I always find this time of year difficult.
Even though I enjoy my work, I always find
it difficult to see the end of the free
schedule and free times with the kids. Joe
moved out yesterday. I am very aware that he
will not live with us for any length of time
again. He's off to school and getting
married in December. I am sad that our time
with him went so fast, but I am so very
proud of him. He and Kendra are a wonderful
match and he has turned into a man!
Shega is getting eager for kindergarten to
start. She is in Andrew's class and I think
they'll both do well with that. She and Emma
start school on Tuesday and Thomas begins on
Wednesday. The girls did well in daycare in
OC last week. I'm not sure what's up for
Here's an interesting (Long) article in the
New York magazine.
It's called the nuclear family exploded and
it talks about adoption. The article is very
real and portrays a good view of the
complicated feelings I have about adoption.
There's a story about the adoptive family
driving out to meet their adopted child's
birth family. It makes me so sad that we
don't have the infrastructure to take care
of the world's children while keeping them
with their families of origin. Yet, I am
pleased that at least this child (and our
girls) are safe.
Sad news update
We were able to attend the services for our
friend's son who died last week.
My heart is broken for their family. By all
accounts, Michael was a fun-loving, great
kid. His parents and friends have no
explanation. I can't imagine what the start
of school will be like for them. It will all
seem so empty. He was just a few weeks
younger than Emma, about to start his
freshmen year. His two college-aged brothers
and his little sister as well as his
grandparents and friends must be so broken.
It is simply a nightmare.
The family played the Natalie Grant song,
"Held" at the service.
The lyrics go like this:
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and why should we be saved
We're asking why this
To us, who have died to live
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from
And you survive
This is what it is
to be loved
And to know
That the promise is
when everything falls
You'll be held.
I pray Michael's family is feeling the
loving arms of God holding them now.
Back To Top
August 13, 2007
It seems that this time of year always makes
fun seem like an emergency. I keep trying to
schedule more fun to fill our days before
school starts. This weekend we took the
family boating. We went back to the Okoboji
Bible conference on Sunday morning and
evening and boated all afternoon. The
services were great. We saw Avalon in
concert. The weather was beautiful for
boating. We had lots of fun. We have one
weekend left. We'll have to get planning.
Like I said...fun is an emergency!
Unfortunately, the schedule has begun again.
Emma had volleyball camp last week and began
school volleyball today. I think she is
ready for a schedule and volleyball will
help her to solidify some new friendships.
She had a nasty UTI this week. She had to go
to the dr. twice. On my last visit, the dr.
asked me about Shega and Megan as well as my
work schedule. He said, "Laura. Don't you
know that mothering is a full-time job?!? It
is a lifetime of commitment but it reaps an
eternity of reward." Well.....This part-time
mommy feels like I'm always on the job!
Hmmmmm I'm mulling that comment for awhile!
I went to Des Moines last week for work.
(more part-time mothering!) Aunt Dode stayed
and filled in the gaps for two days. Kendra
helped out during the days. Dode said the
kids kept her plenty busy. She told me that
she slept all day on Friday! Those little
darlins' do wear a body out!
Adventures in haircutting
Shega gave herself a haircut this week. She
cut off about a 2 inch square piece of her
hair...right down to the skin. The damage is
in the back, so I'm hoping not many people
notice. Braids may be difficult. Her hair
will have to be "free" for awhile. There
will be a noticeable gap in the braids.
Back to school
I was planning to begin a regular schedule
today. However, our babysitter has a sick
baby and couldn't have the girls. Her little
guy will be in the NICU at Sanford for
awhile. I am praying for a good outcome for
him. In the meantime, I reserved a spot for
Shega and Megan at OC Daycare for tomorrow
through Friday. They will be happy to see
their old caregivers and friends.
We were saddened to hear of the death of
Bill Reimers this week. He was killed at a
corn intersection near Boyden last week.
We've played cards with Bill and Sue for
over 20 years. He was a good man. We will
miss him. Here's the obituary:
We are praying for Sue and the girls.
I had a call from a someone today who told
me that his 14 year-old grandson, the son of
a good friend of mine, died this morning. He
was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot.
My heart is broken for the family. I have no
words other than those from one of my
Here's Romans 8 v. 38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor
life, neither angels nor demons, neither the
present nor the future, nor any powers, 39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
Back To Top
August 7, 2007
We’re back to reality! I’m back at school,
and the kids are registered for school. It
is weird how fast summer goes.
decided to send Shega to kindergarten rather
than TK. I know it will be a stretch for
her, but we really feel like the schedule
will be good for her. She thrives on a very
scheduled environment. I think she’ll do
fine. We decided on Boyden-Hull, because
they have an ELL program, and other
resources that she might need. We will
likely move her to Hull Christian either
next year, or the next. We are thinking she
might need to do kindergarten twice. I don’t
know! She’s a pretty smart kid!
Thomas is registered for Hull Christian. I’m
so excited that he will have Mr. H. He was
one of my students here at NWC. It is fun to
see him as a professional in a different
Emma is headed to Boyden-Hull. It is a bit
of an awkward time for her. She is ready for
school to begin. Right now, she misses her
friends from Hull Christian. They are very
involved in school, volleyball and other
pursuits. However, she isn’t really on the
schedule for her B-H friends yet. This week
she is at volleyball camp. That helps!
had a great time at the Okoboji Bible
Conference last weekend, and hope to go
again this weekend. If you’re in the lakes
area, you should check it out. Here’s a link
to the schedule:
Back To Top
July 30, 2007
We had a great time at the wedding! Amber was a
lovely bride and Nate a handsome groom. We wish
them both many years of happiness. We can't wait
to hear updates on their new life together. We
stayed with Carrie and kids for the wedding.
Shega loved swimming in the pool and visiting
with the cousins. She is very social! Megan
loved the wedding dance. She toddled and danced
and was generally very agreeable all night. It
was great fun to see all of the kids hit the
dance floor. Shega really wanted to wear Emma's
old flower girl dress to the wedding. It took
some convincing, but she packed the sundress
that she chose at Old Navy. Megan wore hers too.
The dresses proved to be a good investment. The
girls fell asleep on the way back to Carrie's
house after the wedding. We put them right into
bed in their dresses. We picked them up around
6:30 a.m. and put them in their car seats still
in their dresses. They spent the entire day in
Considering Thomas spilled ketchup on his shirt
within the first bite of the wedding meal, I
think the girls did great!
Brunch with friends
We met three other adoptive families in the
cities before the picnic. Two of the families
had adopted 3 - 4 year olds along with infants,
just as we did. The older kids spent the
weekends in the infant center with their baby
siblings. The agency really encourages the
children to know their siblings. Having visited
the infant center for a few days, It is tough to
imagine what the preschool kids did for the
weekends. The rooms in the infant center
resemble church nurseries without the toys. I'll
bet those kids had to make a lot of their own
fun. Shega was sooo excited to see the kids.
They had a great time just playing in the yard
and enjoying each other's company. It was so
nice of these folks to think of us!
Wow! The picnic was so much fun! It was great to
meet so many families who look like us, sound
like us and have had similar experiences. The
picnic was so well-organized. There were
vendors, events and speakers. I learned so much.
It was a complete joy. The kids loved it. Thomas
enjoyed heading around to all of the events.
Megan napped nicely in her stroller and then
enjoyed going from place to place. Shega had a
wonderful time. She connected with many
children. There was one child in particular that
Shega especially wanted to see. I have heard
several stories about this particular child
(I'll call her T) and was eager to meet her. We
had had told Shega that T would be there so
Shega was on the look-out right away. When we
found her, Shega walked up to T rather shyly.
Then she picked her up, and tried to twirl her
around. Since T is only 2, she doesn't remember
as much about Shega as Shega does about T. She
was a bit suspicious of Miss Shega! Shega says
that T lived near her when they were in their
first home (Shone, Ethiopia). She says they
traveled to the care center together. She says
that they were in a blue van. Shega says her
first mom asked her to "play with the babies."
I'm not sure if we'll ever know if that story is
true, but Shega emphatically insists that it is.
The afternoon passed so quickly. I would like to
have visited a bit longer with T's parents,
members of our travel group and others that we
met. What a wonderful day!
Back To Top
July 23, 2007
Congrats to Emma for her blue ribbon pigs! It
was a very hot fair. The rest of us didn't spend
as much time there as we typically do. The hog
show went well. Thomas took second in the pedal
pull. He's earned a trip to the state Pedal Pull
this fall. We'll see if we actually get him
We had to persuade Megan not to eat all of the
garbage she found on the ground. Now that she's
mobile, she likes to explore. She found many
half-eaten treasures on the ground. I thought of
Templeton, the rat from Charlotte's Web. She has
been eating like a pig! I've got some delicious
Megan and food pictures on the
Here's a link to a video of Megan...I mean
The Boyden Bash was lots of fun! Shega loved the
blow-up toys and the kiddie parade. Megan did
great all day. Thomas and Emma had a good time
playing volleyball, playing the kid games and
running around Boyden. Small towns do know how
This week we'll be at Amber and Nate's wedding.
We're very excited about seeing everyone again.
It will be Shega's first wedding. She is trying
to imagine it, and thinks it will be awesome.
The wardrobe will be a battle. She wants to wear
a flower girl dress that Emma wore to one of the
Heitritter weddings. It is white, full length
and full of lovely crinolines. She thinks it is
what she should wear to a wedding. She would
definitely be noticed! Sometimes she wants me to
take her hair dos out before we go out in
public. She says, "Take my hair out. Everyone
will look me!" I'm quite sure she would have
quite a few folks "looking her" if she wore that
to a wedding in which she wasn't a participant!
We'll see what happens.
Shega can't wait to go to the picnic. She knows
she will meet some of her old friends from the
care center. There is one child in particular
that she is eager to see. She calls her "my
sister", and says she lived right behind her in
her Ethiopian village. She is quite animated
when she talks about her. She is also eager to
see two boys that had baby brothers in the
infant center as well. The big kids would spend
weekends with their siblings in the baby
facility. She got to know these boys quite well,
as they ate and played together every weekend
while they visited their baby siblings. One of
the families has invited us to spend Saturday
morning with them. We can't wait!
Back To Top
July 16, 2007
The Hull Summer Celebration was fun! Shega rode
her new bike in the kiddie parade. Megan loved
chasing candy on the curb. Thomas and Emma
enjoyed it too. Aunt Dode came along. Later, she
helped Steve prime the walls in our new room.
Check out the parade pictures.
Emma finished her ball schedule this week. Her
little league schedule ended with the typical
mother/daughter game. Since Emma is a catcher, I
had to catch! Scary! At least I got to wear lots
of padding and helmets. I used those handy dandy
shin helmets quite a bit. (Yes, they ten-runned
Thomas finishes his ball schedule this week with
the father/son game. I am quite sure that the
dads will win. Dads don't throw the game just
for the benefit of nine-year olds. That's a
Megan and walking
Megan is walking well. It is such a joy to see
her toddle around. She usually sleeps all night
and naps well during the day. All that walking
wears her out! She is such an easy-going child.
It is a joy to have her in the family.
Shega and Attachment Therapy
We continue with attachment therapy. This week
Shega and her dad spent some time together. We
had some rough moments in the days following
therapy once again. It is interesting to see how
Shega reacts to therapy. We hope we are doing
the right thing.
What is therapy like?
The therapist is a child/play therapist who has
extensive training in attachment. He is very
busy, so we were put on a waiting list as soon
as we arrived home. Although we weren't sure it
was necessary, we began therapy as soon as we
got to the top of the waiting list.
The sessions begin with either Shega and I, or
Shega and her dad working with the therapist
with things like eye-wars, conversation
starters, or little games that force us to have
eye contact. Then he typically does a short
session alone with Shega. During this time, he
has her talk through scenarios from the week, or
from her past with dolls.
What is different about parenting an adopted
I'll answer this with a discussion of how we
handled an incident in our house this week:
Shega was screaming in the house the other day.
I asked her to scream only outside. I said,
"Screaming is an outside noise. Go outside when
you feel like screaming." She agreed. She then
opened the window, walked outside and screamed
in to the open window. I closed the window and
explained why we don't scream inside. Later, we
went to a ballgame. As I was visiting with some
folks Shega came, stood between us, and let
loose with a blood-curdling scream. (I know that
some of you are laughing right now! ) When I
asked her to stop, she responded. "Mom! We are
outside!" I walked her to the car and explained
courteous behavior. When we got home, the phone
rang. As soon as I picked up, Shega screamed 4
short screams while checking to see if I would
I did not handle this in the same way that I
would have with my other (bio) kids. The root of
the behavior was not careless or childish
behavior. Her intent was to see what I would do
if she pushed me as far as she dared. She
certainly can't give voice to this intent, we
only see it underneath the surface. It is as if
she attempts to push us away with her behavior
sometimes. She is almost afraid to love us too
What not to do:
Time outs. We don't do time-outs where Shega
can't see us. Abandoned children must never be
abandoned even in a symbolic way. We don't send
her to her room, or put her in a "naughty chair"
where she can't see us. She needs to know that
no matter how naughty she is, we will never
Spankings. I'm not going to lie and say that I
didn't feel like spanking her! However, Shega is
not secure enough in our love to risk any kind
of physical punishment.
Withholding of love or affection. Again, Shega
is not secure enough in the knowledge that we
love her to ever risk giving her the "cold
What we did:
I took Shega to her room and held her on my lap.
We use "Holding Time" where we just hold her and
tell her how much we love her. During holding
time, we stroke her hair and face and repeat how
much we love her. We tell her that we are her
parents and she can trust us to make the
decisions. We tell her that she has to obey
because obeying keeps her safe. Shega typically
cries for a little (or long) while. She doesn't
like to be restrained. The holding time always
ends in a sweet conversational time.
What should we do?
We don't know! We forge ahead and pray that God
will fill the gaps! If you have time to keep us
on your prayer list, ask for God to reassure
Shega that she's with her forever family and
reassure us that we can parent her well.
Back To Top
July 8, 2007
Shega is 5!
Check out the party pictures!!
We just concluded a three-day celebration of the
big event! Shega had a birthday! She has been
waiting for her birthday since she arrived and
found out what birthdays are. We even had a
practice birthday party for Shega some time ago,
because she couldn't wait any longer. About two
weeks ago, she wrapped up one of her favorite
books and hid it in the closet for her birthday.
She was very terrified that I would give it to
Steve for his birthday last week. It was much
fun for her to open it and just as much fun for
Thomas to tease her about it.
Shega woke up early on her birthday, walked down
the steps and discovered a new bike. She could
hardly wait to ride it. She hopped right on, and
Thomas steered her to the garage where she
discovered the new pool from Aunt Dode. She
can't wait for us to set it up. After those fun
discoveries, we traveled to Wild Water West with
Kendra and the three cousins for the day.
Everyone had a great time there. In the evening,
we went to Emma's game, and Shega rode her new
bike in town. Barb and Grandma made supper for
us. Then Shega opened more presents. Later, we
went to McDonalds for supper number two and even
more presents. (Earlier in the week, we had
promised Shega she could go to McDonalds on her
birthday. We try very hard not to break any
promises we make. We want her to think we are
entirely trustworthy.) Soooooooo, even though
Grandma's supper was awesome, we went to
We took most of Saturday off from birthday fun.
We spent the day beading Shega's hair (not bad
for our first attempt!), cleaning the house and
playing outside. We did a trip to the grocery
store to buy the supplies for the party. Shega
enjoyed choosing the menu. On Sunday, the fun
After church, we went to Rock Rapids to the pool
and park for party number three. The kids had a
great time in the pool and the park was
especially nice. We had volcano cake, cupcakes
and fruit. Shega enjoyed the food, all of the
cousins and the fun at the park.
Megan did very well at the parties too. She
loves the water. She did not love having her
hair beaded. We just put two little strings in
the front over a major protest. She is walking
everywhere now. She still has the drunken sailor
waddle, but is cute as can be as she toddles
from place to place.
It has been a year since the girls came into
care at the care center in Ethiopia. I don't
know if they can sense the milestone passing or
not. I did have an interesting conversation with
Shega this week. Shega began by asking me when
we would be going to see different friends and
people she knows. For example, Shega would say,
"When are we going to Maddie's house?" I would
sing, "Soon and very soon!" Eventually, she
asked, "When are we going to Jesus house?" I
sang, "When I die Hallelujah bye and bye...I"ll
Suddenly Shega became very worried. She kept
asking me, "When are you going to die?" I said,
"It will likely be a very long time until I die.
I'll be a grandma and you'll be a mommy." She
said, "No! I don't want to be a mommy!
I want to see Jesus with you! I don't want to go
alone. Don't let me go alone! Take me with you
to Jesus' house."
It amazed me to hear how much this child fears
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or
terrified because of them, for the Lord your God
goes with you; he will never leave you nor
Back To Top
June 30, 2007
Happy Birthday to Steve! We didn't do much
celebrating for Steve's birthday.
We spent more time at ballgames. Emma is really
busy with ballgames. It has been great fun to
We celebrated little Gracie's birthday at their
house last Saturday. I love it when Megan says
Gracie. It is more of a "Gashee". It's adorable!
Shega's birthday is in six days. She wrapped her
favorite book and hid it in my closet and was
terrified that I would give it to Steve
yesterday. We're not exactly sure what the plans
for the celebration are yet, but she already has
cupcake pans with liners on the table. She
picked blue liners for the boys and pink for the
girls. This girl is soooo excited about her
Megan had her meeting with the teacher and
physical therapist this week. She really
performed for them. She took a few unassisted
steps, she sang, she practically charmed them
right out of the house. They are planning to
reduce her contact time to once a month. Her
next IFSP will be sometime in October.
Singing and talking
Yes! Megan sings! Kendra taught Megan the "Ring
around the Rosie" song. She is constantly
singing, "Ashee, Ashee, Down, Down, Down!" She
LOVES it! She is such a little mimic right now.
She will repeat nearly anything anyone says. Her
favorite word right now is "NO". She also likes
"BOP" which means, "STOP"! We think she is
prematurely two! It is so much fun to see her
Attachment therapy is a challenge for Shega.
After the first two sessions Shega cried for
many hours. I hold her as she cried. The
therapist says this is normal. It is quite hard
on Mom and Dad. We wonder if we're doing the
right thing. I hope so! She is a lovely, smart
child. We pray that we can parent her well. (Of
course we can't, but we pray that God will fill
in the gaps!) The session this week went much
better. I'm not sure why, but we're happy.
The Boyden tournament went very well again.
Steve puts many hours into the tournament. I
wasn't much help at all this year. Emma's team
finished third and she made the all-tournament
team. You can check out pictures on Steve's
Back To Top
June 17, 2007
Fathers Day! I especially want to wish my dad a
happy day. My dad is a great guy who was (and
is) a wonderful father. He is a godly man who
worked hard and modeled good values for us.
Thank you Dad for all you did and still do for
all of us.
Steve and I and all six kids had a nice Fathers
Day on the lake. We joined Keith and the boys
for boat rides and pizza. It was Shega's first
She was thrilled. She is quite a water girl!
Megan did well too. She mostly sat on my lap and
worried a bit about whoever was on the "little
boat" or tube. She spent a lot of time saying, "SHEGA,
NO!" anytime Shega was on the tube.
Attachment therapy was interesting this week. We
spent most of the hour doing holding activities
and eye exercises. It did seem to shake a few
things loose for Shega. She was more than a bit
disagreeable on Thursday and Friday. She had
much to say about Ethiopia and her first mom
this week too.
I hope that the therapy helps us head in the
right direction for our forever bond. We had a
wonderful weekend, so perhaps the therapy is
moving us in the right direction.
Megan has physical therapy on Wed. The teacher
is coming out to do a reassessment for cognitive
skills when they are here as well. Megan is now
taking about 3 steps in a row right now. She is
getting stronger by the day.
I certainly don't see any evidence of a
Back To Top
June 9, 2007
Anna was born on Grandma Dyk's birthday.
Blessings to her on her 6th birthday! It was
much fun to see Anna recently. She is becoming a
lovely young lady and it was a treat to see her.
Mom would have been 79 on her birthday. She has
been gone for 10 years. I still miss her. Here
are a few things I learned from Mom.
Things I learned from Mom:
Always say nice things about other people. It
soon changes your attitude about them and about
Sit down with family for supper.
Go to church....usually.
Sundays are for church, spending time with
family and for taking a snooze. It's not
important to fold socks. Your family can dig for
pairs in a laundry basket full of the "socks
without partners" club.
There's always room for one more at the table.
Ball, ball and more ball
Thomas and Emma are playing ball! Emma is
playing for the Boyden town team, and the
Nighthawks. Shega and Megan are doing well going
to the ball games. Shega loves it when the games
are in Boyden. The playground is near, and
sometimes we get her trike out of Grandma's
Update on Megan's PT
Megan is doing well with her large motor
development. Her PT has been very pleased with
her progress. She now cruises between furniture.
She pulls up nearly anywhere. She has taken a
few steps between people. It has been a joy to
see her learn.
A funny note! During Emma's volleyball season,
an older gentleman whispered to me while nodding
at Megan, "I'll bet you can't wait to see what
her vertical is like when she is this age!" I
assume he thought that because of Megan's color,
she will really be able to jump when she is
Emma's age. Hah!
I didn't stop to tell him that Megan's birth mom
is under 5 feet tall, and that Megan has a
pretty significant motor delay. People are funny
We're beginning attachment therapy with Shega
this week. I am so glad the therapist has an
opening. Perhaps she doesn't need it, but I
think we should definitely see. She'll see the
therapist three weeks in a row, and then we'll
make plans and see if it should be ongoing.
Shega said something funny this week. I was
reading to her from the children's Bible. The
resurrection story shows the tomb, the stone
rolled away and the two guards who appear to be
sleeping. The conversation follows:
Shega: Why those guys sleeping?
Me: They aren't sleeping. They are so afraid
that they fainted.
Shega: Why they so afraid?
Me: Jesus rose from the dead. He was dead and
now he came out of the tomb.
Shega: When Jesus came out, did he say, "BOO"
From now on, when I hear the resurrection story,
I will picture Jesus saying, "BOO!" really loud
when he is released from the tomb.
Back To Top
May 30, 2007
Memorial Day Weekend
We had lots of fun at the Dykstra weekend
get-away! The girls loved the science museum.
Shega played with the big bubbles for a long
time. She loved the water works and is still
talking about the giant movie (IMAX). Megan
loved the toddler room. She and her cousins Owen
and Grace spent some time in there. You'll have
to check the photo page for some pictures.
Adventureland was a blast! Shega was fearless!
She rode every ride that she was tall enough
for. She absolutely loved it. Megan slept nicely
2 hours in her stroller. She was pleasant and
easy going for the day as she slept, ate and had her turn on the
Thomas rode many roller-coasters with his
cousin, Jay. He followed closely behind Jay as
he went from ride to ride. He rode the sugar
bowl 4 times in a row. My stomach can't even
stand to think about that idea! Even Gramps and
Ann rode a few rides. Much fun was had by all!
We had a nice shower for Kendra, Kate and Amber
Sunday afternoon. We have three weddings this
year. Amber and Nathan are getting married in
July; Kate and Christopher will follow in
November. Joe and Kendra will close out the year
with their wedding in December. Ben and Suzy will be
getting married sometime next year. Our family is growing and growing.
We have lots of joy to share.
On Monday we went to Living History Farms.
Carrie, Izaak, Grace and Anna went with us. Emma
had to head home for softball practice but Steve
and I and Thomas and the girls had a great time. I
totally enjoyed all of the kids, but I am still
laughing at a few things that Izaak said. Here
are a few
When talking to the druggist in the old town
pharmacy, Izaak said, "Hey! Did you know they
used to make white crayons out of ear
After looking at where they made the old time
newspaper, and where they made the old time
furniture, we spied a big building with a sign
saying "Restrooms" on it. Izaak said, "Now
they're going to show us how they used to make
When looking at the old time baseball bats that
have a large knot, or bubble in the middle,
Izaak announced, "When old time baseball players
hit the baseball, the middle of the bat exploded
in bubbles!.....I'm serious!"
This one was totally out of the blue: "Everybody
is gay sometimes."
Wisdom from a six year old!
Back To Top
May 16, 2007
The top three reasons I am happy to be out of
1) No more hurrying out of the house in the
Last week we had a terrible time getting out of
the house on time each day.
The girls' hair has grown to the point where it
must be "done" each day.
Doing the girls' hair is a bit much for my
fumble fingers! It usually takes an entire Dora
the Explorer episode to do both Shega and
Megan's hairdos. We would be ok, if hair was our
only complication. We've had a few unexpected
complications lately too. One day, I thought
Megan was hot when I got her out of her jammies.
I let her crawl around naked to cool off while I
brushed my teeth. Well....she decided now would
be a good time to poop, and since her main mode
of transportation is scooting on her bottom, she
left quite a stinky trail! On a different day, I
had her all dressed and in the car. She picked
then to have a dirty diaper. It was so dirty,
she had to be stripped.I decided she needed a
bit of a bath, but I really didn't have time to
give her a full bath, so I soaped up her butt in
the sink. As I picked her up, she peed all over
me! Then we both needed a full change of
In addition to poop, we've had other delays. One
day, I had to turn the car around twice and come
home for forgotten treasures. One day we left
the Dora blanket at home. Shega couldn't have
nap time at daycare without Dora. We retrieved
the blanket and started out again. Then Shega
noticed she had left her show-and-tell school
bag at home. We turned around again! I've
forgotten my cell phone, we had a toilet
overflow, We had to bring a sleepy Thomas to
school a few days. All in all, I'm glad to be
2) More time for baseball!
Joe's baseball team has done fantastically well!
Last week they won the regional tournament. It
has been so much fun to watch them. We've taken
Thomas and Emma out of school quite a bit for
baseball. I hate to have them miss so much
school, but we hate to miss the time together
watching baseball too. Last week, Thomas had a
Mother's Tea program at school during one of the
games. I had the cell phone on my lap for score
updates. Near the end of the program, Thomas
caught my eye and mouthed "What's the score?"
Later he added, "What inning?" His mind was NOT
on singing! The Red Raiders will play in Omaha
in a best of three series Thursday and Friday.
Here's a link to the KTIV sports report about
the game that Thomas and I missed:
3) No more grading
I will not miss the familiar refrain, "Will this
be on the test?" Creating and grading tests is
the worst part of this job. I am glad to be
finished with it for another year.
Emma will be graduating from eighth grade next
week. She is turning into a lovely young lady!
It is fun for us to see her interact with her
She does a great job with the girls too.
Megan is now crawling. She has figured out that
crawling is a little faster than scooting. She
still likes to scoot for short distances. She is
beginning to talk a blue streak! She will
imitate almost any word you say. It is great to
see how she is blossoming.
Shega had preschool graduation last week. She
sang all of the songs and did the fingerplays
with her class. I am amazed by her English
skills. What a smart girl she is! It is fun to
see her just blossoming. We had her last day at
preschool last week too. I am afraid of how she
will react to less structure in her day. I am
quite sure she will miss her friends and the
structure of daycare and preschool. I am praying
that she will adjust and love it here. The girls
had a such a good experience at daycare that I
nearly cried on their last day. We've done
daycare for 24 years, and this is the first time
I remember being sad on the last day of daycare
for the school year.
Joe's fiancé, Kendra is doing daycare for us for
two weeks until she starts working for Joel and
Connie in June.
Happy Memorial Day! If Joe's team keeps winning,
we'll be heading to Idaho for the National
Back To Top
April 25, 2007
been awhile since I've updated. It must be true.
I don't have anything to say.
Happy Birthday to Anne! She turned 25 on the
23rd. Paul and Anne are always the same age for
about a month.
The girls are doing well. Shega has enjoyed
preschool. It has been fun to listen to her
stories about preschool and daycare. Yesterday,
she wanted to go back to daycare rather than
come to my office after preschool. She had a
plan to play and wanted to get to it. It was fun
to see enjoying playing with kids so much.
Megan is doing well with her tubes. She is
sleeping and eating well. She is beginning to
get around even faster on her bottom. Her cousin
Grace rivals her skill with the "boot-scooting".
It is fun to see them together. I predict
they'll be great friends soon.
Shega still talks about her first family often.
She has taken to calling her first mom her
"Momma all-gone." For example, yesterday we saw
a horse on our trip to school. She said, "Momma
all-gone in Ethiopia...she like horses."
It still breaks my heart to think of all Shega
has lost. I hope that she will know that even
though she has been separated from so much in
her life that she knew and loved, she can never
be separated from her heavenly father. This
verse helps me to think about it:
Romans 8: 35 - 39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution
or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As
it is written: "For your sake we face death all
day long; we are considered as sheep to be
slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor
life, neither angels nor demons, neither the
present nor the future, nor any powers, 39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in
all creation, will be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our
Back To Top
He is risen!
Shega continues to tell the Easter story. She
absolutely knew the story before she arrived
here. Her mother must have been very intentional
about passing on her faith. She could tell all
about Jesus death and resurrection.
It is amazing to see the story again through the
eyes of a child.
One funny thing
happened when we drove on the yard on Thursday.
We were talking about Easter as we parked the
car on the yard. Fresca, the dog, had hauled a
dead raccoon up to the house. Shega said with
great emotion, "WHATSA MATTER RACCOON!" I told
her that the raccoon had died. She said,
"DIED?!?! ON THE CROSS?!?!" I told her that the
coon had died a far more conventional death.
Dyeing the Easter Eggs
Thomas and Shega had a great time dyeing Easter
Eggs at Richard and Nancy's house. Nancy had
Star War theme eggs for the boys, and flowers
and rainbows for the girls. After the Egg
dyeing, they got to decorate cookies. What fun!
Even Megan got to come along and enjoy.
Easter Sunday was fun! Worship was great on
Sunday morning. It is such a joyful time. After
a quick visit to Grandpa and Ann's, we ate
dinner at Grandma Heits. My house is still in
disarray from the still in-process remodeling
attempt, and it was great for her to offer to
have the celebration at her house. We had the
Easter Egg Hunt in the park. It was fun to watch
Shega on her first Easter Egg hunt ever. She
didn't get it at first, but it didn't take long.
We have the smaller kids hide eggs for the big
kids when their hunt is over. Shega was very
helpful to the big kids, (much to Thomas' and
his cousin's chagrin!) Paul, Joe, Kendra and
Emma all competed for theater tickets, McDonalds
gift certificates and cash. The little kids got
balloons and candy. We have a deal here at the
Heits. You must participate in the egg hunt
until you reproduce!
We went to Richard and Nancy's house for Easter
Sunday night. They had a hunt for the kids there
too. By then, Shega knew exactly what to do. She
loved it. She can't spend enough time with
Maddie and Andrew. She loves to play with them.
This morning, Shega opened all of her loot and
sorted it out. She decided to hide it in her
room. Suddenly she said, "Oh No! My OOF is gone.
I left it at Maddie's grandma!" It took me a
little while to figure out that she had left her
whistle at Nancy's! We'll have to ask Rick to
look for it.
Wow! Megan's tubes were NO BIG DEAL! She was
gone for about 30 minutes and had a good day.
She has slept all night for the past three
nights. We're so rested, we don't know what to
do! I'm so glad she's doing well.
I love Bono. Here's his acceptance speech at the
NAACP awards. It takes about 4 minutes to watch.
Well worth it!
Back To Top
birthday! She is 10 today. We wish her a
good day. I remember when she was born. She was
named for my mom, Grace Dykstra who had recently
passed away. Grandma knew she was going to have
a namesake before she died.
Grace is very special to all of us because she
made mom very happy even before she was born.
Grace's dad died suddenly just over a month ago.
I am certain Tony is in their hearts and minds
as they celebrate Grace's birthday and Easter
Here's a verse for the week:
Isaiah 41:13, "For I am the Lord your God, who
takes hold of your right hand, and says to you,
'Do not fear; I will help you.'" (NIV) Singing
Shega loves to sing. Each day as we travel to
Orange City, she thinks of songs to sing. When
it is my turn, I have to sing a different song
each time. Sometimes she calls for her
favorites. Her current favorites are "The Belly
Button Song" and "A Bicycle Built for Two". When
it is Shega's turn, she sings either "Jesus
Loves Me", "This is the day, which she says as
"Zis iz za day", or "Happy birthday to you".
This morning when it was Shega's turn, she was
silent. I said, "Shega, it's your turn." She
responded with, "I don't like Nemo...scary me!"
Since she hasn't watched Nemo at our house, I
assume she was anticipating that scary fish
story being shown just before naptime. She made
the quick leap from "I will rejoice and be glad
right to, "Nemo is going to scare me to death!"
Emma had the state volleyball tournament this
weekend in Indianola. Her team played very well
and made it to the final tournament. It was
really fun to see them play so well. The little
kids did well on the trip to the hotel and all
day at the tournament. Mitch and Lee Rozeboom
rode with us. They are such fun kids! The action
in the back made the trip quite entertaining for
the little girls. Megan learned to slap her head
in a "silly me!" gesture.
She now has a new trick!
We forgot to take Megan's antibiotic for her ear
infection. After missing two doses, she was
already pulling at her ear and complaining of
pain. We went to a local pharmacy and explained
the situation. After a quick call to Hull
Pharmacy, the Indianola pharmacist gave us a
couple of doses and we got Megan going again.
The pharmacist also told us that the pharmacist
at Hull told us to "go home and take care of the
farm." As she was hanging up she said, "The
pharmacist told me to tell you he loves you!" I
think the Indianola pharmacist might have
guessed she was talking to grandpa Dyk!
Megan has had 5 ear infections in the past three
months. We took her to an ENT last week. He
scheduled tubes for Good Friday. I hope Megan
does well with them. Constant antibiotics have
given her chronic diarrhea. She isn't always a
daycare favorite when she is that messy. She
really needs to put on some weight and fighting
diarrhea doesn't help for that.
Red Raider Baseball
Wow! The Red Raiders Rock! We're now 18 and 6.
It has been lots of fun to watch. Spring
baseball is always cold, but it's a lot less
cold when we're winning. Here's a link to the
schedule and scores:
Here's a link to an article about the pitchers:
Paul is back to work at Greenworld. Tomorrow
there is a chance of snow. It will be odd to see
snow lying on that ultra green grass. I can't
wait to welcome spring.
Here's a silly poem from A Prairie Home
Companion's poetry show:
Untitled poem by Linnea Engblom of Chapel Hill,
NC (Read more about Linnea)
its spring i dont need upper case
its spring punctuation is optional but i love
okay here we go
no wonder people fall in love this time of year
wake up tomorrow and breathe deeply again fall
asleep in the rain feel the wind around your
sockless ankles and ears whistle
dont dilute excitement let it overwhelm you find
a playground and swing on the tire swing get
muddy really really muddy and make sure you wear
white to make it really really fun
eat m&ms every single day even the peanut butter
ones dont control your dreams run along with
them take a journey go left instead of right
then right instead of forward end up where
you've never been
catch yourself loving
Back To Top
March 24, 2007
Song of Songs 2:11-12
(NIV): "See! The winter is past; the rains are
over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the
season of singing has come."
Yesterday was simply a wonderful spring day! The
Red Raiders played baseball. It was the first
conference game. They split with Dakota
They are having a great start. The girls came
along and did well outside.
Two Sundays ago, we attended a special lent
service at American Reformed Church in Hull.
They had worship stations as part of the
service. One station had worshippers pound a
nail into a wooden cross. Shega has been
fascinated with crosses ever since. She sees the
cross in broken trees, she sees the cross on old
barns, she sees the cross in the arrangement of
pictures on her wall at night. She always points
and said, "Look Mommy.
It's Jesus!" It has been a good reminder for me
to see the cross everywhere and think of Jesus
and his sacrifice during this season.
The ladies of Hope Church had a shower for Shega
and Megan and two other babies in church. Wow!
What generosity! Shega couldn't wait to open her
clothes. I insisted on putting them in her
closet, even though she wanted to arrange them
all in outfits on the living room floor. Many
times per day she wants to look at her "church
clothes". Thank you so much!
Emma and I brought Megan to the emergency clinic
at the hospital Thursday night. She had another
double ear infection. This is her fifth
infection in three months. I think we'll have to
check with a specialist.
I've been wearing turtle necks all week. It was
a little hot yesterday in 70 degree weather. I
broke out with a large ringworm on my neck.
Since it looks a little like a teenage young
love problem, I've been keeping it covered. I
wouldn't want Steve to get teased at work.
Paul was 24 on Wednesday. We celebrated by going
to a sit down restaurant.
Shega had never been at such a place. Since at
McDonalds we get our chicken nuggets right away,
she assumed that was the way it went. She kept
saying, "Who come my chicken?" I think this
translates as, "Where are the nuggets; who is
bringing them; and why aren't they here yet?"
Finally Paul picked up a few of her crayons and
began to color a farm picture in her color book.
Emma took another picture and soon all three of
them were coloring.
It is Maddie's birthday party this week. We hear
she took a big tumble on her new bike. She was a
bit dramatic about the whole thing. She said
something like: "I can only imagine how other
seven year olds feel on their birthdays. This is
the worst day of my life!" Luckily there were no
Happy Birthday to Cami, Ben, and Jason in Iowa
City. Happy Birthday to Uncle Joel who shares a
day with Paul. Happy Birthday to Grandma Heits
and Johanna, my student assistant for this year.
Ann is 80 today! Happy Birthday.
Back To Top
Steve, Emma and Thomas are back from Florida.
They watched the Raiders win their spring
tournament! Yay! Go Raiders! Steve thinks the
team will be really good this year. It sounds
like Joe had a good week, and is ready for the
season. I wish it were a little more spring-like
here, but the warm winds are blowing today! We
may even go for a walk.
We went to the Comet send-off today. Shega made
a sign that said, "GO GOOFY!" She has called
Ricky "Goofy" since the day after he met us at
the airport in Minneapolis. I think Aric gave
him the name. It has certainly stuck. She
marched with Maddie and Andrew in the Comet
send-off kids parade. She had lots of fun. Megan
had fun too. She was dressed in her little Comet
shirt and scooted around the gym floor with
lightning speed. We are eager to see what the
Comets can do at STATE this year. GO COMETS!
Both Steve and I got to single parent this week.
He took two kids to Florida and I stayed home
with the other two. My hat is off to those
single parents out there who do such a great job
with their kids. I will be so happy to be
Shega's memories of Ethiopia
Shega's English has really improved lately. The
memories of Ethiopia have simply poured out of
her. Here are some of the things she told me
In Ethiopia it is never cold. There is no snow.
Her Ethiopian mom opened the door and said, "No
BRRRRRR!" outside and it was never cold again.
(Too bad this mommy doesn't have that kind of
power!) In Ethiopia, when someone dies, people
put rocks on their chest. (I have no idea what
she means by this, but she is adamant that it is
true.) Shega remembers riding to the care center
in a blue van. Megan slept the whole way.
Ebenezer was always mean to her at the care
center. Here's a quote, "He push and push me."
(I don't know who Ebenezer is, but I know Shega
didn't like him!)
In Ethiopia, she ate corn on the cob.
Shega's Ethiopian mom made injera in a large,
Shega's Ethiopian mom peeled potatoes with a
knife, not a peeler.
Shega said that Megan bit her Ethiopian mom's
breast and there was no more milk. Quote: "Megan
cry and cry. She hungry." (I know that Megan did
not have any teeth when she was brought into
care. I'm not sure what happened that brought on
In Ethiopia, you wash laundry outside. You do
not wash laundry in a washer.
You rub the clothes together with a bar of soap.
In Ethiopia dogs are nice. Dogs do not attempt
to kiss people on the face.
Dogs never jump on people. (This is in defense
of her dislike of Fresca, our dog.) In Ethiopia
cats do not live in the house. They live outside
with their "sisters". (She can't figure out why
Sami stays in the house, and the outside cats
stay outside.) It has been fascinating to hear
her talk about her memories. I am trying to
remember to write them down for her. I am afraid
the memory will fade.
Megan is learning so many tricks. It is a joy to
teach her baby tricks because she is a willing
participant. When Thomas was a baby, he wasn't
quite as eager to please as Megan is. In fact,
he would look at me with total disdain!
Here is a current list of Megan's tricks:
Giving high fives
Singing the "roll-over" part of the "Five in the
Bed" song (perfect pitch, but not perfect
diction) So Big The "I don't know" shrug I'm
The one finger POP from her mouth
Thanks much for following our site.
Back To Top
What do you do in a two-day
Thomas says that the best part of the snowstorm
is the snowdrifts. He built an awesome fort out
in the grove. The cousins came on Sunday and
finished it. It provided hours of fun. He also
enjoyed putting puzzles together, making
playdough and playing with playdough and
Shega loved the movie, "Barnyard". There's a
little bird named Maddie in the movie. It's her
favorite character. We took the sled down the
hill a few times. She tried to fend off the dog
all the while screaming, "Fresca, scary me" and
"Mommy, scary me Fresca!" Her English is
improving! We made playdough and she and Thomas
fashioned the playdough into spectacular
snowmen. She does not like the cold. I am eager
to for her to see that it actually is nice in
Emma baked cookies. DELICIOUS! She worked on her
own snowfort and made quite a fortress. She
watched movies and kept in touch with her
friends via MSN.
She complained about her little brother and her
dad listened with compassion. (OK, that part was
Steve and Laura
Steve scooped the driveway being careful to make
big piles for the kids. He refereed for the kids
who immediately stopped fighting. (another
stretch!) He did a little work from home and
coughed and sneezed a fair amount. Laura was
totally content to play with the kids and rest.
It was a good day.
A friend shared this verse with me last year
during a snowstorm. It is very fitting for this
Job 36: 6-76 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the
earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty
downpour.' 7 So that all men he has made may
know his work, he stops every man from his
Back To Top
We went to
Iowa City to both mourn and celebrate Tony, our
nephew and cousin. Tony died unexpectedly on
Tuesday morning. He was 38 and died of a heart
attack. He was married to Carrie, my brother
Ed's daughter for ten years. Together they have
2 children, Grace (9) and Izaak (6). Here's a
link to Tony's obituary:
We are so sad for their family. Carrie's
sisters, Cami and Kate and her parents, Ed and
Linda are all in the area. I'm glad Carrie and
the kids have them to be a support to her.
Carrie's partners are so willing to pick up the
slack at the hospital. We met many people who
are planning to support and be there for the
family. We are far away, but can pray and offer
words of support. I'm notorious for sending late
birthday greetings. I still have Carrie's
birthday card (Feb. 8) on my desk. Perhaps I can
send her a monthly birthday card this year and
be ahead for 12 years! I know that nothing
people do can help to heal their hearts. Only
God can fill the role of Father, but I am glad
the family has much support.
The visitation and service were so well done.
There's always grace to be found at church, even
when I'm there to mourn. I found it in Tony's
All of us, except Joe and Kendra were able to go
to Iowa City. Joe had to play ball in Kansas.
Paul, Steve and Emma took one car. Dode, Thomas
and the girls rode with me. Steve's truck made
the trip home on Friday night after the service.
Emma was supposed to play volleyball on
Saturday. Dode drove me and the three youngest
kids home on Saturday. The trip home was
terrible. Thomas became sick in the morning and
he was miserable the entire way. He threw up
several times, had a headache and was just
generally feeling bad. The roads were awful from
Iowa City to Newton. They became very bad again
at Onawa. We went 30 mph for a very long time.
We dropped Dode off in Sioux City, and called
Steve to meet us in Lemars. I really didn't
think I could make it further than that without
Steve, and it was becoming more and more
apparent that Thomas was going to need to stop
at the emergency room. We stopped at the
hospital in Sioux Center, and although he didn't
have a sore throat, he tested positive for
strep. Dr. Rens gave him a shot, and this
morning he is already feeling some better.
Ironically, his throat is sore this morning. We
left Iowa City at 11 a.m. and we walked in the
door here at 9:30 p.m. That was a very long
carseat sit for the two little girls. They both
slept for about 3 hours, which in a normal 5 - 6
hour Iowa City trip would be really helpful, but
in a 10 hour trip, seemed like not nearly
Dad and Ann are still in Iowa City. I think that
when you are over 80, you should choose to drive
only on good roads. I hope that's what they
think too. I know it is very hard for both of
them to be out of their element. We heard that
the electricity in their hotel and in much of
Iowa City is or was out, so that makes it
especially hard to be away from home.
Shega talked about death this week. She said
that in Ethiopia when someone dies, you put a
rock on his or her chest. I stopped at the
cemetery and showed her the stone for Steve's
dad. I thought perhaps the rock was like that,
kind of like a burial marker. As she explained
it, in her limited English, I think it is an
actual stone. I'm not sure if that is before the
body is buried, or after. hmmmmm
No prayer concerns we have with the girls seem
nearly as important as what Carrie has with her
Back To Top
February 18, 2007
Happy 5th birthday to Joshua Heitritter. Happy
29th to Kate Dykstra. I don't seem to get those
Shega enjoyed putting together Valentines. She
definitely understood what the day was about.
Her preschool teacher gave us a picture of each
child in her class. We put the child's picture,
a valentine and a candy in a ziplock bag. It was
a great system! The show-and-tell theme for
preschool was for the child to bring something
related to Valentines Day. The card club gave
Shega a heart shaped magnetic doodle-pad. She
brought it because it was a "hurt". (That's what
it sounds like when she says "heart".) She
happily came home with her bag of goodies. She
likes chocolate and ate them first. She doesn't
really like any of the other candy, but it is
fun for her to unwrap it, lick it and say,
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I get Shega
from preschool and bring her back to my office
for an hour. A coworker had given me a box of
chocolates for Valentines Day. Shega devoured
every chocolate kiss in the hour she spent with
me on Tuesday. It was actually great
entertainment for her and for me. It took her
quite awhile to unwrap the chocolate kisses. On
Thursday, she went right for the empty box and
complained that the kisses were all gone.
Thomas and Emma brought Valentines to school
too. Thomas brought the Simpsons Valentines. I
hope the recipients just grabbed the candy and
didn't read the questionable greetings on the
Simpsons cards. Homer has quite a sense of
humor. I probably should have thought about that
before I purchased that particular box. Shega's
were much more appropriate. She had baby animals
Megan had her physical therapy appointment this
week. Amber, her therapist is pleased with
Megan's progress. She rolls anywhere. She is
beginning to get from a sitting position to her
tummy. She still doesn't get on all fours, but
she will stay in a crawling position for up to
20 seconds when placed that way. We try to do
her therapy at home, but it is easy to forget.
Megan is so pleasant and easy going. We love to
get her to do all of her tricks. We love to ask
her where people are, just to see her put her
palms up and shrug her shoulders "I don't know."
We have asked her this so often that I sometimes
see her strike the pose even when she is playing
by herself on the floor.
The little girls love to shop. Today we went to
Walmart for a few things.
Shega loves Walmart and is very good there.
Megan likes to look around as she rides in the
cart. Afterwards, we stopped at the grocery
store. We had lots of help deciding what food to
buy. Today's trip went much better than the
swimsuit trip went last week. We went to Sioux
Falls to buy Emma a swimming suit. Wow! The
fashion industry doesn't believe in modesty for
teenagers. We returned with no swimsuit. We did
have a new outfit for Shega, however. Shega and
Thomas were racing to the door of the mall.
Their feet tangled and Shega went down in the
street. She was so muddy, we had to buy new
pants and a new shirt. She had lots of fun in
Old Navy choosing new clothes. She wanted to
wear her new outfit every day this week. We
ended up getting Emma a swimsuit online at JC
Penney. I decided that modesty is worth a lot of
money when it comes to shopping for your teenage
We have a new driver on the road. Emma took the
driving test to get her permit this week. She
went with Mariah on Tuesday and again with
Mariah on Wednesday. You'll have to ask those
two why two trips were necessary!
We are working on bonding time with Shega. She
is still struggling to really know who her
family is. We have instituted a "no-holding"
rule for her. We don't want any other people to
hold Shega. She often wants to be held, and we
just need to patiently teach her who her family
is. We're trying an attachment strategy called
holding time. It's really just holding Shega
until she gives receives eye contact from us and
relaxes in our arms. We've done it two times
with pretty good success. After holding Shega
for about an hour on Thursday, she talked
extensively about her Ethiopian mom and about
her memories of Ethiopia. I am amazed by what
she remembers. We showed her the video lifebook
that we received when we were in Ethiopia. Her
lifebook has video of her birth mom and their
home in Ethiopia. It was pretty emotional for
her to see it. She has now seen it at least 50
times and is totally engaged with it each time.
Shega talked nonstop all the way to Sioux Center
today. She looked outside and asked me what
letter everything she could name started with.
She would say, "Tree? What letter?" When I would
answer, "T", she would respond by saying "/t/
tree, Thomas, Tressa", and go on to the next
thing. She's doing very well for a 4 1/2 year
old. Megan does quite well too. She knows and
looks for each of us. She points to things that
we name or things that she wants.
Megan's ears have cleared up. We stopped the
antibiotic yesterday. I am going to bring her in
to the doctor this week for a check. We're still
doing the eardrops, because we still have some
left and I hate to waste it. The antibiotics
have made for some pretty special dirty diapers.
The folks at the daycare would be happy to see
Megan need prune juice again.
If you still have time to put us on your prayer
list, please pray that the "no-holding" rule for
Shega goes well. Please pray that she attach to
us as her forever family.
Back To Top
February 11, 2007
Two month check up
We have been home for eight weeks! The time has
passed so quickly. Everything from Ethiopia
still seems so fresh. I decided to use this
opportunity to answer some of the questions that
we get regularly. It usually starts out with:
"So, how are the girls doing?"
The girls are doing well. God is weaving them
into our family on His time. Last night I was
rocking both Shega and Megan while watching
"Back to the Future" with Thomas. Thomas leaned
over the chair and gave Shega a kiss on the
forehead and Megan a kiss on the cheek. We're
beginning to feel comfortable and at home.
Both girls came home with giardia. It cleared up
nicely with only three days of treatment. Megan
has had three ear infections. This week she had
an internal and an external ear infection. The
poor little thing had puss just dripping from
her ear. Ouch! Shega, on the other hand hasn't
even had a cold. The rest of our troops have had
several viruses over the past two months, so I
think the girls are doing nicely.
We received the results of Shega's bone age
test. The experts estimated her to be between
4.3 and 4.7 years old. We really thought she was
older than that. She has amazing small motor
skills and she is actually quite big for her
age. We plan to celebrate her 5th birthday on
July 6 this summer and hope to start her in
transitional kindergarten next year.
Megan is still receiving physical therapy for
her large motor skills. She doesn't crawl, but
she is beginning to roll to where she wants to
go. She mostly is just satisfied with wherever
she is, so she doesn't attempt to move.
Daycare is going well. The girls both have very
good lead teachers and are settling into the
routine. Shega began preschool this week too.
She is in the Covenant Kids preschool in Orange
City Christian. She loves it and each day wakes
up to ask if today is a preschool day. She
usually adds with an air of superiority, "Megan
too little for preschool. Megan go to baby
Megan sleeps for most of the night. This week
she was up a little more often because of her
painful ear infection. Otherwise, she typically
sleeps until 5:00 or so. We give her a small
drink and put her back to bed.
I put Shega to bed each night. She puts her head
on her arm and snuggles up tight in my bed. She
typically falls asleep quite quickly. At first,
we put her out on the little couch. For the past
few weeks, I've been walking her up to her bed.
She often wakes sometime in the night and comes
down. Sometimes I go back up with her and sit by
her in her bed. Usually, she lays down on the
floor next to my bed and I cover her with a
Food is going quite well for Shega. At first,
she would only eat bread dipped in ketchup and
oranges. It wasn't unusual for her to eat 4-5
buns in a day. Now she is eating much better. We
have gotten her Ethiopian food a few times. She
definitely sees it as a real treat. Last week we
went to an Ethiopian restaurant. We carefully
parced out the leftovers so she could eat some
each day. She loved it.
Megan still drinks a bottle. The pediatrician
wants her to continue to get most of her
nutrition from formula for the next three
months. She has gained about 3 lbs since we got
home. Her little cheeks have really filled out.
She also eats baby food, Cheerios and pizza
Shega is learning language at a simply
astounding rate. I love to hear how she is
putting together entire sentences. Yesterday we
were in the mall, and an Ethiopian family came
to talk to us. They spoke to Shega in Amharic
and she answered in English. I know she will
forget her Amharic. I wish we could figure out
how to keep it. She does sing softly with the
Ethiopian dance music we have found on Google
Shega was pretty sad at first. She would tantrum
often, and we struggled to know how to handle
it. Now she rarely has a tantrum. If she does,
they usually are very short and uses her own
coping skills to get out of it. She asks about
her Ethiopian mom often. Yesterday she told me
that she had long hair in Ethiopia and her mom
never hurt her when she combed it. I was combing
through a couple of snags at the time. It breaks
my heart to think about all she has lost.
Shega "mommy shops" quite a bit. In other words,
any girl or woman between about 10 and 40 will
win Shega's immediate affection. She will ask to
be held or will touch their hair. We know that
this is typical behavior for adopted kids. But
we don't really know how we should be handling
it. Despite this, she seems to be looking to us
to meet her needs and shows us much affection.
Megan is such an easy-going baby. You would
think I wouldn't worry about that, but I do! She
just rarely demands any attention. She is
pleasant and loving. She has learned many baby
tricks on an accelerated schedule. She knows
patty-cake, bye-bye, blow a kiss and oh-oh. When
asked where something or somebody is, she shrugs
her shoulders and lifts her hands in the "I
don't know" position. She is interactive and
simply a darling. I hope that she didn't learn
at the orphanage that it doesn't pay to fuss, so
she might as well make the best out of every
situation. In the meantime, it is easy to enjoy
being around such a wonderful child.
Please pray for us to figure out how to deal
with Shega's mommy shopping. I don't know if I
should curb this or let it run its natural
course. Most of the women and girls she
"befriends" have been very kind to her. Even the
doctor allowed her to take her stethoscope and
touch her red hair. Pray for Shega to attach to
us so firmly that she would feel secure in our
Please pray for Megan's ears to clear up. Pray
too that she will realize that if she complains,
chances are, her parents will come and care for
Thanks for your continued prayers. I am so
amazed by the support we have received
Back To Top
February 4, 2007
Chapel went well.
Thanks for your well-wishes and prayers. My
family is my favorite subject, so it was easier
than I thought. Steve put together a very nice
powerpoint. He's a great guy!
We had a nice party!
Steve and his brother rigged up a mighty big
screen with a white sheet and some staples. We
had the biggest football in town! (Who won? Oh
yeah, I was supposed to be watching not eating!)
Shega happily ate her
left-over injera today. She didn't touch the
chips and pork sandwiches. She loves it, and was
very willing to share. Only Megan shared a bit
Here is a link to her
obituary. She was quite a lady:
Rose Meester Obituary
Back To Top
February 3, 2007
I said I would talk about our family in Family
chapel at NWC tomorrow morning. Will you pray
for me? Sometimes I say things I shouldn't
(like, "Yes, no problem). It is so fortunate I
married Steve. He is calmly putting together a
powerpoint for me right now. I love that man!
Grandma Meester died yesterday. She ate
breakfast and went back to her room for a
snooze. When the nurses checked on her, she was
gone. She was only 3 weeks short of ninety-nine.
She had recently moved to the nursing home. In
fact, the crew just moved her out of her
apartment permanently last Saturday. What a
blessing it would be to live that many years
with very few infirmities! Although it is always
hard to say good-bye, this is a happy good-bye!
As Shega would say, "See ya later!" Soon we will
all be together again.
The Girls' Check-ups
We went to Sioux Falls to see Dr. Kooima
yesterday. The girls had their check-ups. Megan
weighs 18 lbs. She moved from the 3rd percentile
in height and weight to the 10th percentile. She
went from the 5th percentile in head
circumference to the 20th percentile. She got
three shots. She was a bit grumpy last night, so
her legs probably hurt.
We had Shega's hands X-rayed to help us decide
how old she is. Dr. Kooima thinks we can hit
about a 6 mo. window. That will help us make
some school decisions.
We went to an Ethiopian restaurant, Shalom, in
Sioux Falls after the doctor visit yesterday.
Shega loved it! She was so engaged and happy
while we were there. There were quite a few
Ethiopians in the restaurant. They were very
kind to all of us. They spoke to Shega in
Amharic. She responded in English.
I was disappointed about the English. I would
have liked to hear her speak in Amharic again.
They told me that if we come back in 6 months,
she won't know what they are saying. I said,
"I'm sorry." They said, "Don't be sorry. You
will tell her about Ethiopia. America is a good
place. Children aren't supposed to grow up in
orphanages." I was glad they were all so kind to
We told them about our trip and they talked a
bit about Ethiopia. I am so glad we did that
now, while Shega still understands the language.
Shega ate a lot of injera and wot, and we took
three meals home for her. She will be eating
well for awhile!
Shega will be beginning preschool this week with
Kim Starkenburg. I am excited! I hope she does
well. Kim says she is prepared to chase her a
bit (: I hope not too much!
Emma was very sick this week. She missed 2 1/2
days of school with stomach troubles. Thomas
missed a 1 1/2 days. Joe was home to change
clothes before he loaded hogs for his uncle Joel
while the other two were sick. Today he is home.
He has been throwing up for the last 18 hours.
He didn't want to be sick in his apartment. I'm
sure his roommates are grateful he took it back
home. I hope the little girls don't get it.
It was Megan's birthday this week. We ignored
it! The kids were sick and Shega hates it when
it is someone else's birthday! We'll make a big
deal out of number 2 next year.
Happy Birthday to Carrie this week. Thanks much
for the hair products you found for the girls.
They smell wonderful and their hair is cute.
Emma and I fixed Shega's hair this week. We did
a series of little twists with snappies and
beads on the end. She thought she was pretty
Chapel tomorrow! I'll let you know how it goes.
Sick kids. Pray that the little girls don't come
down with it.
Thanks so much. I am amazed that people are
still interested in our lives.
Thanks for everything!
Back To Top
January 27, 2007
Daycare went quite well this week. The girls did
well. Shega spent a lot of time checking on her
sister. Sometimes the caregivers can't find her.
Megan did very well. She slept well every day
and the caregivers love her.
One day Shega hid her shoes at daycare. They
were missing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I am glad
that I put her propensity to hide her favorite
things on our intake form! We came home with
some tiny toy or puzzle piece several times this
week as well. One day we had Arthur's pants from
a puzzle. I put the piece under Megan in her
carseat the next day in order to return the
piece without alerting Shega. As I was getting
the two out of the car at daycare, Shega found
the piece and slipped it under the seat of the
car. I retrieved and returned the piece after
the girls were settled in!
Transitions are still hard for Shega. This week
we went to a Northwestern/Sioux Falls College
basketball game. The girls both did great at the
game. They were engaged and excited. We all went
and played in the Recreation Center at halftime
and Shega simply loved it. When the ballgame
ended, Shega did not want to leave. She screamed
nearly all the way home. Thomas was a wreck.
Steve was beginning to lose his patience and we
all were a bit shaky. When we were two miles
from home, Steve said, "Shega. When we get home,
I will make ice cream malts for Thomas and Emma
and Mom. Shega will not get to have one, because
you can't eat ice cream when you are crying. You
will have to sit in the chair until you stop."
Shega paused mid-scream. I repeated the sentence
and her crying was immediately over. Steve
looked at me and said, "I was really looking
forward to putting her in the chair!" It
reminded me a bit of the Jonah story. After
Jonah finally went to Ninevah and told the
people to repent, he was angry that they did. He
was looking forward to God's punishment on the
Shega uses the words "watch" and "look"
interchangeably. Often "look" works for "watch",
but it doesn't work the other way around. It is
so funny for her to ask me to "watch that silly
sticker on the floor" or to "watch at my hair"
after she combs it. She also uses "Who's that?"
and "What's that?" interchangeably. I always
find it amusing when she says, "What's that
grandpa?" She wants me to identify whose grandpa
it is. She calls Dad, Ann and Sharon all
"Grandpa" right now. I'm glad they are good
sports about it!
The rest of the crew
Emma is at an AAU volleyball game today. I hate
to miss it, but it seemed impossible to take the
4 kids alone. Steve is moving his Grandma
Meester permanently into the nursing home. She
is nearly 99 and has been a widow for nearly 60
years. God has blessed her with many years of
good health. What a blessing!
Emma rode with the Lammers to Onawa for her
tournament. It has been wonderful for her to
have such good friends. Carly and Mariah's
families have driven her all over lot lately. It
has been much appreciated. This morning Emma
made a tuna sandwich to pack in her lunch
bucket. I told Shega that it was made of fish.
(You would expect this to be a funny story about
what Shega said, but actually........) Emma
said, "What kind of fish?" I said somewhat
incredulously , "Tuna!" She said, "Well, on
Sponge Bob, Patrick was made into tuna fish and
he is a starfish!" YIKES! I am going to have to
ban cartoon network!
This week I received an e-mail from an adoptive
mom I have never met. She e-mailed me that the
Lord had laid it on her heart to pray for us. We
had a particularly rough day that day. We were
able to spend much time during the night bonding
with both girls. Steve and I had very little
sleep. In the morning, Thomas and Emma had a
monster fight, and mom freaked out. How could
this woman know what a rough day we were having!
We really need prayer as we make this adjustment
as a family. Pray for us to be united as a
family and to seek God in everything.
Back To Top
January 21, 2007
Birthday Justin Heitritter! We didn't get to
make volcano cake and celebrate. Jonathan isn't
feeling well, so only Keith and the kids and
Grandma Heits came today. Joe and Paul didn't
show up either. It was a small crew for a Sunday
We had a good week with the girls. Megan had
another ear infection, but she seems to be doing
better. I can't believe how much weight she has
gained! I took her in to see Dr. Rens at the
Hull Clinic on Wednesday afternoon. Shega came
too. Shega insisted on having Dr. Rens check her
ears too! (They were
fine!) She was fascinated by Dr. Rens' golf ball
collection. On Thursday Shega found a golf ball
in Steve's desk drawer. She said, "Mommy, Mommy!
Medinique ball?!?" She was pretty sure I had
stolen one of Dr. Rens' golf balls and was
hoarding it in Steve's desk drawer. It was funny
to see the wheels turning in her little head.
We needed a family picture for the church
directory. Steve picked up pizza and we invited
everyone to come home for the picture Wednesday
night. Kendra joined us too. Grandma Heits
snapped the pic. Now that I have a picture of us
all, I have no excuse not to get a Christmas
A mom from church brought her 4 year old over
for a play date on Friday morning. It was
interesting to see how Shega handled it. When
Emily removed her shoes, Shega quickly found
them and hid them. I'm sure in the orphanage,
there was as much hiding of clothes and shoes as
possible. Since nobody owned shoes or clothes,
it paid to hide things. Shega wore Emily's coat
the entire time they were here. I wondered what
would happen when it was time for Emily to go
home. Shega handled it well and handed the coat
over, and found the shoes. Emily was such a good
little friend. I was impressed with how patient
she was with Shega.
The girls went to my niece, Tressa's house on
Friday. Shega had a very hard time leaving when
I picked her up. We were planning to go to the
Comet's game at George, but decided Shega had
had enough stimulation for the day.
She was sleeping by 8:00 p.m. We wore her out!
We had a fun day on Saturday. Thomas went tubing
with Kendra and Joe. It is so nice of them to
make sure that Thomas still gets some attention.
I know it is hard for Thomas to give up being
the youngest. He had a great day.
The girls had fun too. We took them to the mall
to exchange some pants for the boys and to shop
for a few clothes for Emma. The girls did great
at the mall. We stopped and got groceries and
went to Walmart. Shega has wanted a bra since we
got home last month. We bought her a bra at
Walmart! She was a happy camper!
Tomorrow the girls go to daycare for the first
time. I hope things go well!
We're planning on a short day tomorrow. I'm
hoping to be there by 10 and stay until 3:30 or
4. I'm really afraid that Shega will cry hard
when it is time to go! I hope the staff doesn't
think that sometime terrible is going on at our
house since she hates to leave daycare! We'll
see what happens!
Back To Top
January 14, 2006
Thomas is nine!
I can hardly believe Thomas is nine. Time has
absolutely flown since he was born. I guess it
is true that time goes faster as you get older.
I don't think my big boys got to nine quite as
fast (: We had just a few kids over to go
skating to celebrate. We can't do big parties
anymore because we don't have room in the car
for two carseats plus lots of visiting kids!
Joel, one of Thomas' friends had a sister that
got married Friday night. He had lots of news to
share about the wedding in the car. One story I
overheard went something like this:
"Paige got $300 for her gardener," said Joel.
This was met with, "What's that? Is it like a
gardener snake or something?" One boy corrected
the pronunciation saying, "You mean garter
snake?" Joel said, "Kind of. It's like a thing
that goes around her leg. Some guy paid $300 for
it and guess what!?!? He had to take it off her
leg with his teeth. And then guess what!
He just put it on his head! Can you believe he
paid $300, and then just put it on his head! I
don't know why he wanted it that bad!"
I would have loved to get in those boys' heads
to see the visual picture they were creating
with that story!
Shega did well at the skating rink. She put
skates on and kind of toddled around on them.
She chose to stay mostly on the carpet. When I
tried to help her around the rink, she put all
of her weight on me and we just couldn't quite
negotiate the "help" and not "mommy do" skating
We had a really good day yesterday. Emma had a
basketball tournament. Her team took second
place! Emma's big brothers came to see her play.
Shega and Megan did very well at the ballgames.
After the tournament, we picked up the little
boys and went right to the skating rink for
pizza and skating.
Shega transitioned well to each new activity.
The only transition she struggled with was
bedtime. She cried in my arms for about 10
minutes. She hasn't done that for awhile. I
think she was just over-stimulated by our busy
day. She slept all night. Megan, however, was up
too many times to remember. Hmmmm. I hope there
isn't an ear infection brewing!
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January 13, 2007
A Note from Aunt Dode
This week I spent a couple of days at the Heits
farm again. I am feeling so blessed to be a
part of this family! When our Mom passed away
10 years ago I started to come to the Heits
about once a week or so to help with the laundry
and stuff. I knew I could never fill her shoes
but it always made me feel like I was doing my
part. I got to be the aunt, to be the fan at
sports events and school things, to participate
in birthday parties and holidays…and just the
joy of watching them grow. I told my friends
that I borrowed my sister’s children, fed them
lots of sugar and returned them home. But I
really had no experience with babies! I liked
them old enough to tell me what they are
thinking. Neither Shega nor Megan can tell me
exactly what they want. So this has been a new
adventure! I have also pretty much avoided
diapers all of my life. Maybe God thinks its
time I do my part there too! Laura has been
staying home in the mornings and leaving after
she puts Megan down for her nap. On Tuesday,
Shega wanted to get in the hot tub outside. I
didn’t have my swimsuit so put on a Steve’s suit
and my bra. I had to run in to check on Megan
sleeping and run back for Shega so I was in the
cold air quite a bit! I think it was quite a
sight. Good thing it is out in the country. Of
course, Shega wanted to do it again and I got to
practice saying no to her. I took some of my old
baby cards and cut them up for a project. Shega
and I glued them to paper, added sparkles and
made a book from them. We worked on this for a
couple of days this week. I think she really
likes school. She also loves her Ethiopian
videos. Oh, by the way, I have been calling her
Shega and Shaya interchangeably. She calls
herself Shega. Ann asked me and I said either.
Once again, it is difficult until she can tell
us herself what she wants. I am sure she will
have an opinion! Dad and Ann came and cleaned
one day. I think they were a little overwhelmed
too. It is wonderful to have help with the
basics things like taking out the garbage and
doing some laundry. Thank you so much! Megan
wakes up so content. She might cry until you
get her but then she is so happy. Her sister
makes her laugh. Laura said she likes bread and
butter so I took the crust off a piece of bread
and buttered it and gave her the whole thing.
She had butter from each ear to the other. I
laughed. Later, when I was talking with Laura,
she told me that she broke it up into little
pieces. Oops! I tried giving her bread with
peanut butter but she did not like it. I think
it was sticking to the top of her mouth. I also
keep trying to put her on her stomach but she
doesn’t like it. She likes to be held or to
sit. I have been trying to push on her legs and
it seems like they are getting stronger. It is
absolutely a full time job when both girls are
up. There is no time for cooking, laundry, or
anything! Shega has been getting the blame for
a few missing things and she does like to hide
things. I got to be the taxi for Emma and her
friends so we moved the car seats and we found
Laura’s phone. Not sure if Shega put it there!
Emma and her friends were going to Orange City.
It was fun to see them so happy and laughing.
They got me to laughing too. It was really nice
to take time out for Thomas’s and Dad’s
birthday. We had a wonderful get-together at
the Pizza Ranch. It was great to see Paul, Joe
and Kendra. I always love to see Grandma
Heits. It wouldn’t be a party without the
Heitritter cousins, Jonathon, Justin, Josh and
Aunt Connie. Uncle Joel had to work. Uncle
Richard, Aunt Nancy, Rick, Tressa, Aric, Maddie,
Andrew and Grace came. Grandpa and Ann brought
the cake. Also, it was fun to see our cousins
Dwayne and Lief, our Uncle Art, Aunt Doris and
Aunt Grace. Thomas scored quite a few quarters
for the games there. Later Thomas and I added up
how much loot he came up with. We thought he did
pretty well. I was on the couch downstairs and
he was sitting in the chair. I had just told
him that I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer
when his Mom came to get him. I hope it was a
great birthday! Oh, I have one of those little
miracle stories. I went to the grocery on
Thursday morning with $100 grocery card. I was
trying to keep track but decided to just get
what I thought they needed and if it was over I
could put some things back at the counter. The
total came to $99.68. Some people might say
that was just a coincidence but I like to think
of coincidences as little miracles in which God
wishes to remain anonymous! I know God is
watching over us. Tressa was helping on Friday
so I got to come home. I just want to say
“Thank You” to Laura and Steve for allowing me
to share your family all of these years. I love