Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I realize that I have become very lax in keeping up with my blogging posts. I think I am averaging only one post a week. I must do something to change that. Here is Eden with her messy nose completely thrilled about being covered in sand from head to toe. And when I say covered I mean COVERED. She gets the sand completely caked in her hair and scalp and it is nearly impossible to remove it.
In case any of you need a superhero Superman lives at our house. Just give us a call and we'll send him on his way. Shane did his school work today in his spider man getup. He is so cute. What is it about boys and superhero's? Shane is perched on our stair railing in this picture - definitely not too safe. But he is a superhero after all.
Here is Judah working on his school work this morning. We are trying to figure out what to do with him. He is now in second grade and it only takes him an hour to do his reading, writing, spelling, phonics and math. Of course we do Science and History as well. Judah just seems to fly through his work. I know we are only in our first week and most of this is review so maybe things will change a bit. Otherwise......I'm not sure how I will keep him challenged. Except maybe double up on his work and get through two grades this year. Just kidding. Although I'm sure he could handle it.
Here is Shane pretending to be Prince Edmund from the Chronicles of Narnia. One of our all time favorite stories is this: When the first Narnia movie was released on DVD Shane would have been three years old. We were watching it with the boys and we got to the battle scene towards the end of the movie. You know...were Aslan and Peter show up to help defeat the white witch. Well....the battle is raging and suddenly Shane runs out of the room. He soon returns with a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other hand (play weapons of course) He stands in front of the TV and yells, "How do I get in there!!" He was completely ready to jump in the fight. I love the warrior hearts in little boys.
As I said before Eden's new favorite place to play is in the sand. Pretty cute, huh?
I was trying to get some pictures of all the kids together since our 6 month post-placement is coming up and I will have to submit more pictures of Eden and the family. I can hardly believe we have our second post-placement visit scheduled already. Where does the time go?
Our entire swing set area has sand so it is one big giant sandbox. Fun, fun, fun!
Just look at Eden's clothes. She went through three outfits yesterday simply because you cannot bring her in the house after playing in the sand without removing all articles of clothing - including her diaper.
This is one of my absolute favorite things about Eden. She crosses these two fingers all the time. When she is eating, playing, yelling.....these fingers are very often in this position. I just find it very cute. One of her little quirks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End of Summer

I find it hard to believe that summer is coming to an end! It just seems to have gone too quickly. We are gearing up to start school next week and I am really ready to get back into the swing of things. Although there will be aspects of a more loose schedule that I will miss. Here is Shane doing.........? I find him sometimes with the most unusual combinations of things. Here is one of them. He was riding one of Tristan's toys and talking to himself. He must have liked how he sounded with the protective ear thingies on. I don't know what to call them - they are supposed to be used while using a chainsaw.
We took the two older boys to Delgrosso's today to hang out with them. Judah has been communicating to us lately that he misses doing "fun" stuff with us now that we have two little ones. While there is some validity to that we also know he has a tendency to forget the fun stuff we have done and only focuses on his list of unfinished things. So we packed them up, met Tori and Lucia at the waterpark and rode the water slides. After we were freezing we changed and went to the amusement park. I am pretty sure I am officially old now or something. I have never been so freaked out while riding amusement park rides. Geesh!!! I was sure I was dying a few times. The boys found it particularly thrilling that their mother was so scared. They thought it was awesome! I should have counted how many times I heard that word today.
I love these pictures of the boys holding hands and walking together. One of my greatest desires is for them to grow up as best friends and not loose that friendship as they move on. They are so precious!
I know this picture isn't very good but here is Judah coming down the one slide. He was tall enough this year to go on the biggest slide. One time he came down, ran over to me and said, "I met a new friend at the top. His name is Tyler." And he ran off again.
Here are the boys watching some of the Olympics before bed. I love how they are all lined up on pillows the same way.
Judah and Eden hanging out and eating pretzels. I am pretty sure Judah eats more than just about any other kid I know.
Tonight Mark took the boys back to the park to continue their riding marathon. I was way, way too tired to even think about going with them. So, I spent some sweet time with the little ones. Man, I missed them today. I kept seeing all these sweet babies and I just wanted to snuggle one of them. So......I came home, sat on the floor with these two cuties, tickled them, snuggled them, looked at books with them and just felt pretty blessed. I had five hours today with the older two and a few hours at the end of the day with the younger two.
Please just overlook the negligence of the mother in not wiping this cherubs nose. I didn't feel like having a wrestling match so she is looking a little crusty.
Please take note of how her hair is growing. I found some new hair products that make her hair insanely soft so now I can't touch it enough.
Here is my little man. I showed him his picture and he pointed two things out. He said, "Eyes. Binky." One of these days I will have to start the separation from the binky. But like Tori said, "He won't have his binky when he is 20 so don't get too worried."
And this is Eden's horribly sad face when she doesn't get exactly what she wants. Like shoes at Target or in this case - oatmeal before bed. See the little tear about to slide down her cheek? looking at this picture I kind of regret not getting her another snack before bed. But she had already had two banana's this evening. Anyway......until next time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eden's birth mother

I have found myself thinking about Eden's first mother so often lately. Maybe it is because we are rapidly approaching the one year anniversary of her death. I look at Eden every day and wonder what parts of her are like her mother. Her sparkly eyes, her feisty spirit, her determination, her love of many things. I can only imagine that someday these things will feel so important to Eden and I won't have any way of answering her questions. How big she was when she was born, does she look/act like her mom or dad, her natural ability to move to music (although this is Ethiopians in general). I love everything about this little girl! Including the fits she throws at Target and Wal-Mart when we walk away from the shoe departments without buying any shoes for her. I have determined that in the future I will avoid the shoe departments in every store unless I am prepared and willing to buy her some shoes. Otherwise everyone looks at us while she screams in the cart "shoes! shoes!" with tears running down her cheeks. Please don't think I am awful for not giving into her every shoe whim.

We are really blessed to have the information on Eden's family that we do have. I am pretty sure I would find it nearly impossible to raise a beautiful child knowing her mother was on the other side of the world thinking of her daily. I read other families stories of meeting the birth parents and I think my heart would never heal from the pain I would feel upon meeting the family and promising to love their child. I wish Eden's mom, Alemnesh, could see her little girl today though. She would be unbelievably proud I'm sure because I am unbelievably proud of her! She is beautiful, funny, sassy and endearing. My friend Tori calls her "sassy pants" and that is pretty accurate.

Sometimes I wonder if Eden's mother knew she was dying far in advance. Or did she die from a sudden illness. Did she wonder what would become of her sweet little girl? I know that a few times last spring/summer I felt a strong urge to pray for peace for my daughter's mother. Of course we didn't know if our daughter was even alive yet. I think back to some of the time tables of when I prayed and I am confident God spoke to her mother. I remember specifically praying that God would reveal us to her mother in her dreams and just give her a peace that her baby would be loved and taken care of. Eden has now been in our arms and home longer than any other place. From our court documents this is what we have gathered: she was with her mother until her death on August 20th. For the next two months it is noted that her maternal uncle tried to find volunteer people in their area to take care of her but couldn't find anyone. She was then entrusted to any available centre in their town. At the beginning of December her uncle had to bring three witnesses to court to testify that her parents were deceased. At that time she was transferred to the main orphanage in Addis Ababa to be placed with a family - us!! If I think about those months of her being shifted around after the loss of her mother I can almost loose it! I am amazed at how happy and well adjusted she is after experiencing all she has experienced.

So today I want to honor her first mother and her forever birth mother, Alemnesh! Thank you brave woman for the gift of life you gave to Eden and the gift of life you gave to us!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Mark took Judah and Shane out for dinner tonight to just get a little bit of quality time with them. Mark does an amazing job of spending time with them and making them feel special. I probably should have been the one to take them out but.....I was kind of dragging. Anyway, when they arrived home I asked the boys how their dinner was and Judah said, "Oh! It was fabulous!!" Our boys are some of the most expressive kids out there. One of their friends even informed them that the word beautiful was not cool and they still use it. Judah uses words like "beautiful" "gorgeous" "fabulous" quite often. It always kind of catches me off guard hearing those words from a little boy but I always smile to myself. Sometimes I have to wonder if being home schooled has preserved some of their expressive words. I am pretty sure they would get made fun of for saying colors were fabulous and views of the mountains were beautiful. Anyway, I love hearing them talk. It makes me laugh.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Smattering of Photos

I am definitely on the mend and feeling more like myself these days. I am so grateful to my mom, my mother-in-law and my friend Tori for helping out so I could get some extra rest. And my dear husband! He has been amazing and so very helpful. He really is a gem! This picture will need some explanation for sure. Judah and Shane built a monster truck ramp in the sand. You can obviously see the ramp and the little pine cones were the audience. The larger sticks were lights (I think). Pretty creative!
Here they are getting ready to ramp the truck. They wanted pictures to show the progression but unfortunately I do not have that caliber of camera.
Here is my beautiful garden before I got sick and the weeds invaded. This shot is of the pumpkin patch. The boys are hoping they make as much money as last year but I am not so sure. We may have planted them too early because they are already turning orange. I feel kind of bad that my garden has become overgrown. I just have not had the energy to get out there and work. We are getting crazy amounts of string beans, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes. The boys like giving the produce to the the neighbors - it's fun to watch them pick the vegetables and then decide who to give it to.
Tristan playing on his slide.
Eden lounging on a little chair and contemplating life. (Krista - notice the little shoes. She can finally wear them) Eden has a complete shoe fetish. It is rather cute at this stage of her life. She wants shoes on all the time and likes to change them multiple times a day. This morning when she woke up I walked into her room and she immediately started clapping and pointing to her shoes. I love it!!!
This picture was taken right after Tristan's territorial smack on her head. You see, this is Tristan's chair and he was not happy that someone else was lounging in it.
Here is Shane on a tire swing. He still had his helmet on from riding his bike. Some days I think about making it a mandatory requirement of all 4 kids to wear a helmet at all times. It just seems like it would be much safer for everyone.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A few tidbits

Well, I have been very blessed to have had numerous naps over the past few days. After the first 10 days of fever/horrible headaches my throat became unbearable. I was literally unable to swallow from the pain. I was spitting my saliva and not eating/drinking much at all. So.....I started Prednisone 4 days ago and am feeling so, so much better. My throat still hurts but the swelling is down and I really feel like my energy has been better today than it has for quite a while. I have been getting close to two hours of sleep during the day by having the older boys with someone else while the little two are sleeping. I was supposed to do a bunch of music at a wedding this weekend and felt so horrible when I called her last week to tell her how sick I was. Fortunately, the bride herself just recovered from mono in May so she was very understanding and I am really hoping they found someone to fill in for me. I would never have been able to keep preparing adequately and wouldn't have been able to sing for sure. I was hardly able to speak yesterday because of the pain in my blasted throat. Anyway.....all that to say I am believing that I am past the worst of it and now will just have to pace myself. Now for some cuteness. Here was Tristan trying to figure out what to do with the flames that were so close to his little face. I just did cupcakes instead of a cake for him since I didn't feel like dealing with Judah and Shane asking for cake nonstop for days. This way the cupcakes were gone in about 2 days. Pretty smart, eh?
Eden has been home now for four months! In some ways it seems like she has been hear forever and in other ways I still vividly remember all the emotions surrounding her homecoming. Honestly, she couldn't be more perfect for our family. I was just saying to Mark today, "Why can't we have just one child who is somewhat compliant and not so bullheaded." This little girl is becoming quite the whip!! She loves, loves, loves to climb! And she climbs on everything. She has a nice bruise on her head right now from a spill she took while climbing. I just can't watch her all the time! Sometimes I have to turn around, you know? She has gained 5 pounds and grown two inches since we are home. She also walks a lot now. She is not completely walking but could if she wanted to. She must have a high pain tolerance too because she can fall and not cry much. Or take for instance her toes. She likes to push her stroller around the driveway outside. She was doing this yesterday for a while without shoes on her feet. I picked her up at one point to give her a kiss and realized that both of her big toes were scraped open and bleeding. She didn't care at all!!! This morning she was back outside and reopened her toes. They look so sore but she doesn't let it slow her down. She doesn't mind getting dirty and is happiest outside. She will spend hours and hours outside. This makes me happy!!! We are more in love with her all the time. She has become a complete daddy's girl and usually wants to be with him when he is home. This makes me happy too!!! I love watching Mark interact with her. It is just different than the boys!
Now before you all think I am a negligent parent let me just explain. This is Eden's new favorite place to climb. I have to retrieve her from the stairs probably 30 times a day - at least!! I decided to take a picture so you can see what my monkeys are like. The first time I realized Eden figured out how to climb on the outside of the railing I found her where Tristan is at in the picture. Talk about heart failure!!
Just hanging out on the steps. All of my children must have inherited their climbing gene from their mother. When I think about some of the stupid stuff I did when I was little - jumping from the garage roof to the horse barn roof, walking across the top beams in the barn, jumping from the top beam in the barn into piles of hay........climbing trees and swinging from branch to branch....
One last picture of Eden. She is into wearing her headbands but likes to wear 2-3 at a time. Tristan likes to wear them too but we will talk about that later. This is her innocent face that she flashes at you when you catch her doing something she isn't supposed to. So cute!!!

Now I am off to sit with the boys while they swim! Shane is now completely water safe so I can rest a little easier when they are swimming. I have a little bit of bragging to do on my older two but I will do that next post.