"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."

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Couldn't Help Ourselves...

When your four year old tells you that she plans to be a princess when she grows up, you sort of have to celebrate the Royal Wedding...As many of you know, Grace is FANCY. She loves to be PRETTY, and she believes that she WILL be a princess some day.
So, this morning as the big kids got ready for school, Grace got ready for our little "coffee"/royal wedding watching party. We invited some friends over to watch the wedding (previously recorded) and have some fun.
Grace loved the princess' dress, the carriage she road in, and of course, all of the smiling, waving, and attention the princess got. The whole event confirmed Grace's plans to become a princess some day.
Royal treats.
Grace and her friend Ellie. I am pretty sure Ellie thinks Grace is getting carried away with this "princess thing."
The celebrating carried over into our drive way after our little coffee party/wedding watching party.
And tonight, my "big girl" got to celebrate with her friends. The girls enjoyed some special treats while THEY watched the wedding - we even had real candy from London (Doug was in London recently on business and brought home lots of goodies for us!).
A fun day was had by all. An exhausted Grace fell into bed tonight and was asleep in a matter of seconds. I bet she is dreaming of her bright future as a princess...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our New Easter Tradition...

The snow has finally melted and we are finally feeling a touch of spring in the air! We spent the past few days enjoying time together and explaining Easter and it's traditions to Grace.
It always makes me laugh that she never questions any of the things we do around holidays. She seems to think dying eggs makes sense. She is also the only kid we have that will actually eat the hard boiled eggs...finally!

O.K. she DID question the bunny ears. I don't blame her. It is a silly thing to do (and not really her style).
She enjoyed her first egg hunt. It was pretty funny actually. She was so polite that she only ended up with five eggs. Most of the kids involved have been hunting eggs for years and they were on a mission to get as many eggs as they could. Grace was very SLOW in gathering her eggs, therefore, she was left with whatever the quick kids (and pushy parents) left behind.
She was thrilled with her five eggs and the candy that she discovered inside of them.
Soon enough she was able to enjoy an entire basket of goodies. The Easter Bunny hid her basket (and all of the baskets) and she had a hard time finding it. She got a little frustrated, but eventually with a few hints from the older kids, she found it. Again, no questions about this tradition of ours. She seems to like Peeps.
The Princess Tiana shoes that were in her basket were a hit. They light up when she walks. She also got a "Fancy Nancy" dress up dress. I am guessing that the next 100 pictures I post will involve Grace wearing these new items.
Figuring out what to do with the chocolate bunny was no problem.

The weather on Easter was wonderful. We were able to go to church for the early service and then we decided to leave town and create some new Easter traditions.

We decided to head to Milwaukee and visit some animals. Grace was super excited to see BIG animals. She wanted to see the elephants, tigers and lions. She talks about tigers a lot (like that they are going to "get her"). I wonder if that was something they talked about in Ethiopia???

It seemed like 75% of the animals we saw were from Africa. I kept telling Grace that "this animal came from Africa too!"
Bryce with a cute little monkey.
The giraffes were a hit.
Finally, the elephants! They were so cute...side note: Alyssa and I saw the movie "Water for Elephants" this weekend and LOVED it. O.K. back to our zoo trip...
Not sure if Grace is more interested in the tiger or the girl with the braids that was next to us. She kept pointing out cool hair styles to me. Keep in mind that we don't see many "cute" (AA) hairstyles at home.
I found myself having to grab Grace from crawling over the fence a few times. She is pretty comfortable around the animals.
After the zoo, it was time for Easter dinner! We were so excited to be able to having Ethiopian food for dinner. You can tell by Grace's smile how happy she was.

I am not kidding when I say that, Grace ate her weight in food. She ate so much injera that I thought she would get sick. Nope...she was thrilled with her meal.
Drew is a fan of Ethiopian food too. He does such a great job of trying new things.
Before we left the restaurant, we decided to do an experiment. We asked the waitress to talk to Grace in Amharic to see if she still understood. Grace was a little nervous when the waitress started talking to her in Amharic. She did seem to understand though! The waitress asked Grace how old she was and she answered. She also nodded when the waitress said something else...not sure what she asked...hopefully, "do you like your new family?"
After dinner, we headed to our hotel and did a little swimming.

What an awesome Easter we had. I wouldn't be surprised if this new Easter tradition of ours sticks. We had such a relaxing time and were able to spend some much needed time as a family of six. Happy (belated) Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Favorite Easter Video

Check out this sweet video. I have been trying to find a video to help explain Easter to Grace. When we went to our church Easter program on Monday, they showed this video to the kids. It explains the reason we get "dressed up" and celebrate Easter. Hope you enjoy the video! **We especially enjoy the pizza served at the last supper and the way the disciples tell others about Jesus at the end of the video ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Here is a quick review of what we have been up to...
Last weekend's dance competition was a great time. The dancers were awesome. My daughter's trio took first place and earned a PLATINUM award! (that's the best).
Elizabeth, Mackenzie and Alyssa (my daughter)
Elizabeth and Alyssa pretend to be the "cool" girls who are trying to teach Mackenzie to come out of her shell and "bend and snap" as the song says... of course, Mackenzie ends up coming WAY out of her shell (removing the glasses and sweater) and rockin' the house.
We are so proud of these girls. Their routine is so much fun to watch. It's a great break from the traditional lyrical, jazz and tap numbers they also perform. The judges seemed to really love it too (some were dancing in their seats along with the girls).

The girls also had fun together at the hotel and while shopping. Lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe was also a good time!

I returned home to find Grace's eye looking a little better. While she was eating her cookie yesterday, she said to me "look mom, my cookie looks like Africa..." Sweet.

We had a wonderful Easter celebration at our church this week. The kids got a chance to learn about the real meaning of Easter and to get up close and personal with some baby animals.
Grace decided that the lamb's hair was sort of like her hair...soft and curly.

There were even alpacas at church!
The celebration was a wonderful way to welcome spring. The kids planted some flowers. Things were starting to feel like spring after all...and then...
Yesterday we were hit with another snow storm. Can you believe that we got another 9 inches of snow???? April 20th and 9 more inches of snow!!!!
That makes our snow total for this year 91 inches. Why do I live in Wisconsin?????
Hope you are having a wonderful week and enjoying some nice weather ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ONE More Way To Help

Did you know that one out of three child deaths in the developing world--a total of nearly 3 million each year--is caused by diarrhea or pneumonia? That's more deaths than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined.

But did you also know that we now have two new vaccines that will help stop these two preventable diseases--we just need to make sure these proven vaccines get the funding they deserve?

I just signed a petition asking President Obama to make sure these two vaccines get to the kids who need them most.

Will you please sign the petition, too?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good News - Mostly...

Thanks to all of you who signed the One petition that I blogged about a few weeks ago...

"Great news today. The 2011 US budget that passed Congress last night preserves nearly all funding for key programs fighting poverty in the developing world.

The threat of Congress severely cutting these programs was very real. In fact, the budget that's currently on its way to the President's desk for his signature makes some of the most significant cuts to the federal government in American history. But we campaigned hard to make sure Congress prioritized programs that save lives, and now programs that fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and hunger will maintain full funding."

Other good news: Thanks to many of you who have purchased necklaces, I was able to commit to sponsoring TWO of these beautiful women in Ethiopia! They will be given micro loans to start their own small business. I am so honored to be able to do this and look forward to having contact with them. I also love the idea that some of us (adoptive moms/fellow bloggers) may even meet up with these women some day...a few of you have expressed interest in an adoptive mom type mission trip...sounds great to me!

Now it is time for me to travel to the "windy city" (Chicago) to watch my lovely daughter and her awesome dance friends compete this weekend. I am looking forward to watching some great dancing, enjoying an all "girls" weekend, doing a little shopping, and reading a great new book.
Many of us have read Melissa Fay Greene's book There Is No Me Without You, and I was excited to order her new book as soon as it came out. I am only on the first chapter, but am already loving it! She writes about parenting in her new book...she has nine children, five who are adopted (four from Ethiopia).

The one tiny little bummer to report, is that last night Grace learned not to walk in the path of a swinging baseball bat. She took a hit to her eye. It immediately swelled up and turned purple. We spent some time at the after hours doctor's office. She checked out OK, so now we use ice, apply ointment, and try not to stare at her too much. Sometimes we forget that there are things she still doesn't fully understand (like stay out of the way when your brother is hitting the ball).
Her siblings taught her to say "you should see the other kid."