"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."
-Anonymous

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last Day Of Summer Vacation

It is a beautiful day here in Wisconsin ... the last day of summer vacation - oh, and the weather is nice too! :) We decided to do something fun, so we went to the wildlife sanctuary to feed some ducks and check out a few animal exhibits. The first picture ever taken of me with my FOUR kids...that sounds so crazy!
Grace's brother is showing her how to feed the geese. She certainly has no fear. I think she would have jumped right in the water with them if I would have let her.

What a cute bunch!








And to think that Grace has lived three whole years without being shoved in a giant turtle or goose for a picture...She didn't really seem to appreciate it very much...
She DID like the bear skin that she was allowed to touch. She thought she heard it "roar," so she "roared" right back.
She is still all about fashion. Today she was given four outfit options, and this is what she decided on. I find that our morning fashion battles go much more smoothly when I lay out three or four choices (that are all OK with me) and let her choose (two choices are never enough- both would be a big fat NO). She is also all about the accessories. She has on her "pretty shoes" and fake earrings to top off the outfit.
So sweet! Well, it has been a life-changing summer and it is sort of sad that it has to come to an end. The kids are excited to go back to school. Grace keeps asking about HER school...I have a feeling she is going to be pretty bummed out tomorrow morning when we drop all the kids off and head back home. I am looking forward to more one-on-one time with Grace, but I know she will miss her brothers and sister. I have this (unrealistic) idea that without the three older kids home, Grace and I will get our house organized, make great dinners, do all of the laundry and cleaning and then at night, we will all be able to enjoy each others company (after we battle through homework, sports practices, driving to the dance studio, etc)...Hmmm...time will tell!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rainy Day Play

So what to do on a rainy Friday (besides secretly wishing that school had already started)?... Well, Grace kept busy and enjoyed herself even though it was nasty outside and the hail was falling. In addition to baking muffins and cookies, we enjoyed doing some fun "indoor" stuff together. She enjoyed lots of dress up with her sweet sister. Alyssa is such a good sport!
Grace has never sat still to watch TV or dvds, however, when we were in Ethiopia, I bought a dvd of kids singing Christian music in Amharic. She has been asking to watch "Ethiopia" every day since she first saw it. She loves it! I wish she could translate for us. It would be so nice to know what she is thinking while she watches. She gets into a sort of relaxing trance (except for when she is dancing to the music). The three other kids are really sick of watching it by the way :) It is next to impossible to tell her "no" when she asks, with her sweet little accent, to "watch Ethiopia?"

All dressed up for lunch. Nice dinnerware, huh? Grace LOVES corn on the cob. She is also an expert corn husker. I wouldn't be surprised if she has experience doing that. Notice the chai tea with her lunch. She asks for "shy" (Ethiopian word for tea) all the time . Lucky for her it s one of her mom's daily rituals. We always start our day together with a cup of chai.

Making blanket forts was a hit - it tends to get a little wild with the boys. The addition of a huge cardboard box made for even more fun...

Today we also got out the big Barbie head. It was a hit! I hope we can find a more "ethnic" version. She still hates having her (small amount of) hair combed out. It would be nice to have a curly Barbie head to prove to her the importance of combing her beautiful curls.

Two beauties! The rainy day has turned out to be pretty fun for Grace. We are looking forward to some pizza and a movie tonight and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings our way.
Enjoy the weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"I LOVE socks..." -Grace



Grace has been wanting to wear socks since we came home. Socks really didn't work out with her summer sandals, but today was her lucky day. She was thrilled with her frilly socks. It was another reminder of how much she enjoys simple things that she did not have in Ethiopia. The first time she put a pair of socks on, her face lit up like it was Christmas morning...so sweet.
Grace with her dog...took a little while for her to warm up to him, but now they are buddies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Day On The Farm

Today we were able to take a drive to Door County and visit one of our favorite family-friendly places..."The Farm." We have been taking our kids to The Farm for the past twelve years, and it never disappoints. Everyone has a great time feeding, chasing, and holding, the animals. The weather was beautiful today. It was so much fun to bring Grace to a farm. She loves to read The Big Red Barn and we have been talking about all of the animals that we would be visiting at the real farm. She had a ball...

The big steer was very friendly...


Holding the kittens is always a big hit. We don't have cats, and every year the kids try to talk us into bringing one home...nope...
Bryce was really into the cats today. He says holding kittens is one of his "favorite things to do..." Better get this boy some more hobbies.
The goats are pretty assertive when it comes time to drinking their bottles. Grace thought it was so funny.


Hey, that flower looks just like the one my mom makes me wear all the time...
Two cute little farmers.
That is one big horse...
OK...this was so funny. The farmer was doing a goat milking demonstration. Grace was totally into it and made her way next to the farmer, and starting milking the goat! She was really confident and comfortable with it. The farmer said that he was not even helping her and that she was doing it all by herself....makes me wonder what kind of experience she had with goats in Ethiopia. Who knows? Maybe she has done this before!

We had a great time at the farm. To top the day off, we got to Skype with our friends The Hendersons who live in Louisville. Grace hasn't "seen" Tedi since they lived together at KVI in Ethiopia. It was great to have the kids get a chance to "talk" to each other and see each other via the computer. We miss being able to see our travel buddies and look forward to seeing them again soon! Hopefully we will make it to Louisville for a visit before the end of the year!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can't Stop Thinking About Korah...

The Village of Korah - A short documentary from Session 7 Media on Vimeo.
***Remember to pause the music at the bottom of the blog to watch the video.

I have so many things I want to write about...so many cute photos of Grace and our family to post, but I can't stop thinking about Korah...I have loved this verse for a long time: "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12 After visiting Ethiopia, I love that verse even more. Have any of you had a hard time with your transition home after adopting from Ethiopia? I seem to be balancing the excitement of being home in the U.S. with missing and NOT forgetting Ethiopia. This morning, I got an email from another mom who was in Ethiopia adopting at the same time we were...she simply said, "I miss Ethiopia." I agree.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Korah

Ordinary Hero~ A day in the trash dump in Ethiopia from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.
Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video. I am so convicted by it. Grace and I just finished watching it together. Here I am with my adorable little girl...a girl who was just living in Ethiopia. As Grace sat on my lap watching, she saw the same images that I did, but I bet she had a different perspective. I cried tears of sadness for the children living in Korah, and I cried tears of thanks for the little girl that I am holding.

We had heard about Korah before we traveled...we asked about it while we were in country...interestingly, when we brought it up to our Ethiopian friend, he sort of dismissed it...We later learned that some of our travel buddies (that we spent many hours with in the airport) were able to spend some time at the Addis dump area called Korah. What they described was unbelievable. They were so moved by the experience. This is an area that we WILL support and visit in the future. It is unfathomable that this is a reality. Please check out Kelly's organization Ordinary Hero. I began following her blog when she adopted an adorable little boy a couple of years ago, - she has become anything but an ordinary hero...she is incredible and the work she does is amazing (I know...that word is totally overused, but she really does amazing stuff!). Ordinary Hero is partnering with Project 61. I have had people ask us about how they can "help" in Ethiopia. I trust and respect Ordinary Hero and believe that this would be a wonderful group to support if you are called to act.

***Pause the music on the bottom of our blog before watching the video***

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"America?"

"America, yes?" I hear this question a lot from Grace. I first realized that she knew how to say America when I showed her a picture of us all that was taken in the airport after we returned from Ethiopia. To my amazement, she looked at the picture and said, "Grace America." Wow! I couldn't believe it. Someone must have told her about going to "America." Perhaps they prepared the kids at the orphanage about their upcoming trips, etc. After a couple of weeks home, we started to hear Grace say, "Mommy America?, Daddy America?, Grace America?" Well, it was all sweet and cute, until now...Grace is asking "America?" each time we get into the van to go somewhere. Clearly, she does not think we have arrived in (or at) "America" yet. When we went to Target the other day, she said "America, yes?"...well, I love Target, but I don't want her to think that it IS America. So, the question is, how do I explain to a three year old that we are IN America? It is tricky. We talk about Ethiopia a lot and we tell her how much we love Ethiopia, we remember the things we did in Ethiopia together, we show her books and pictures, etc. Now, any ideas on how to explain the America thing?
One thing is certain, she is a darn cute Ethiopian American!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Woo hah

I can't count the number of times each day that I hear the Amharic word "woo hah" which means water. Grace LOVES water! If she isn't asking for a drink, she is trying to tell us that she wants to take a bath or go outside and play with water. I have had people ask me if she ever wears clothes, because every time they stop by our house, Grace is in a swim suit. She would play with water all day. I think this is because in Ethiopia, she did not have an opportunity to take many baths (at least not spend much time in the bathtub with bubbles and toys) or play with a hose in the yard...water brings her so much joy!




Gone are our days at the beach of sitting on the sand and watching our kids...Grace requires us to chase her around the water the entire time...


Notice who always seems to be in charge of the hose?


The Slip N Slide has been a lot of fun this summer...ever add a little baby wash to the slide to make it go faster? (The boys think this is an adequate substitution for a shower/bath at night).

Watching Grace enjoy and appreciate water so much makes me even more sure that charities like Living Water, Glimmer of Hope and Charity Water are excellent places to donate money to. We take water so for granted in the U.S. Take a look at these websites, and you will be moved by the increditble work they are doing.
Well, I better run. Grace is ready to get on her swim suit - she doesn't seem to mind that it is a cloudy, rainy day!