Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Are We Going To Do Next Week?

Ever since we tucked our pumpkin-pie-filled selves into bed on Thanksgiving, we've been listening to Christmas music practically twenty-four/seven.  And in between we've been squeezing in as much Christmas fun as possible.  

Two weeks ago we met our friends for a fun morning at a local market with only THE-MOST-DELICIOUS-CIDER-DONUTS-EVER,
This picture would be right before Beza toppled over head-first.  Thankfully her coat and fluffy hat--and maybe my arm--absorbed the fall. :)

horse-drawn wagon rides (with jingle bells),

and,of course, a few Christmas-y characters to hug.

We also spent an evening making "gingerbread" houses.  
J and M's creation.  Sweet ride in the front.

T & I made this one.  See that boxy structure in the front--with the orange wheels.  Yeah, that's my version of a car.  Oh, man.  Really, it's more like an SUV, maybe?

Beza and T met Santa at their Toddler & Tots group.  Well, actually, T met him.  Beza wanted to head for the hills. :)

T's preschool class had a little sing-a-long.  And while he may sing all of the words just a little off from the rest of the class, he is nothing if not passionate.  (Sometimes J and I laugh at how different he is from our boring selves--we LOVE it!  Can't get enough of it, really. :)

M's kindergarten class had a sweet performance, too.

Santa came on the firetruck.  

And in between we've been filling up the Jesse Tree.  LOVE this.
Those branches in the vase are completely covered in ornaments.  (Love this Jesse Tree book, too.)

We've been reading Christmas books, talking a ton about this story (The Rich Family),  watching Christmas movies and even caroling (thankfully with some people who can actually carry a tune).  

Totally embracing the wonder and hope of this season--probably one of my most favorite Christmases yet.  

But, really, what ever are we going to do next week? ;)   

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

She Is Totally Teasing Them

M and T are bear-holding thumb-suckers.  Beza loves her bear.  She does not suck her thumb.  

She does however tease M and T about it.

If she spies on of them with a thumb in their mouth, she gets a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous smirk.  Then she looks at her hand to find her thumb and then dangles it out of the side of her mouth.

Sometimes she accidentally sticks her finger in her mouth instead.  Then she pulls it out, looks at her hand again to find her thumb and then sticks the right one in her mouth.


(She doesn't usually stick her tongue out :)--the camera just happened to catch this face. :)

Tuesday: Talk About It

This is the new video from our Adoption Agency.  It touches my heart to see familiar faces in it.

Be The Difference from Videos for AGCI on Vimeo.

This past week has been a sad one.  Last Friday one of J's very good work friends passed away suddenly and unexpectedly (not at work). He was 46.  He has a wife and two young daughters.  Praying that God would comfort the aches in their hearts as they learn how to walk through this life without their daddy.

Thankful for Hope...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stale Bread Solution

This is one of our most loved recipes.  We try to have one kid-favorite meal a week.  We cycle through four of them--and this one makes the cut. :)

This makes a very yummy breakfast with friends, too. :)

Speaking of breakfast with friends--Less than a week before Christmas!  Still busy working on this year's Christmas Card--nothing like cutting it close!

Here's a peak back at 2009--the year we officially started our adoption paperwork.

Happy Monday! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Square and Fair

When we were packing to go to PA for Thanksgiving, M walked up to me and said,
M: This time I'm not going to be a square.
Me: (Hmm...) What do you mean?
M: Well, last time we packed, T was fair and I was square.
Me: Oh.  Why is that?
M: Because he packed lots of fun toys--he was fair.  I packed boring stuff--square.  So this time we're going to be fair and fair.
Me: That sounds like a great idea... :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When You Have a Little Guy and You Buy Wrapping Paper

You might just decide to make his day by turning yourself into (wrapping paper roll) "SwordMan."
You will probably try to capture the moment on your handy iphone--totally blurry--but it captures the essence of the moment. :)

And you might strike menacing poses and say the only fencing lingo you know, "on guard," easily one hundred times.  You might even leap off of the couch in mad pursuit because after all they seem to get the biggest kick out of that themselves and maybe you would want to see what all of that leaping hype is about.  
Trying to escape in their "boats." 

And then because you're out of breath from all of that "rough-housing" you might just have to take the battle to finger-fencing in the raspberry bowl. 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On Our Hearts Tonight...

Praying tonight for a miracle for an adoption friend.  Her family has been living in Uganda for the past 9 months just waiting to bring their youngest daughter home.  You can go here to read (and see) her family's story.

Also praying for a family who tragically lost their daddy yesterday...   (You can go here for more details and ways to help.)

And for our friends R&K who are expecting a new little one tomorrow through the miracle of adoption.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome to Our Christmas Open House

 To set the mood--MY FAVORITE "new" Christmas song--Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Andrew Belle.
(From this past week's Under the Radar episode featuring all brand new this year Christmas songs.)

A peek into Christmas at our house.

Wishing you a warm and cozy Christmas Season!

Oh, and before you go, a little peek back at Christmas 2008--the year T was born--and two weeks later we locked him in the van with our keys.  Also the year J made an accidental personal hygiene purchase and was "mildly" obsessed with heat pumps--good stuff... :)

Happy Monday!
(Off to tackle some Christmas projects. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Funnies: The Superhero Who Sleeps Down the Hall

We share a house with a superhero.  A hero hybrid of sorts.

Caped.  Disguised.  And Super.

Our Superhero.'s a Christmas secret...he (and his super wonderwomen) might just be getting a "real" cape(s) very soon. :)

Friday, December 09, 2011

When Food Makes You Mad

Yesterday we took the 2 Dollar Day Challenge.  Our goal was to feed our family with just $2.00 for the whole day.  The purpose was to open our eyes and hearts to the plight of nearly half of the world's population.

J and I based our menu off of the food listed on the 2 Dollar Day site, what our friend's priced out from Aldi's and on what one of the organizers of the challenge bought that day in Ethiopia.  (Because J was at work, our total food cost was difficult to figure out, but we tried to eat as closely as possible to $2.00.)

Everyone except Beza played along.  (....she already lived that life.)

1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal lightly sweetened with brown sugar.  Divided in three. 
(J had his own before work.)  (M and T also had an apple with peanut butter--something they have every day--I didn't want them to be hungry at school.)

One Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich made with 1 TB of peanut butter and 2 tsp of jelly.  Divided in three.  
One banana--divided three ways.  
(We used homemade bread--I cut the slices extra thick--I didn't want them to be hungry--and quite frankly, neither did I...)

Afternoon Snack
One banana--divided in half (T didn't want any).
Two cups of  "black" tea.

Six scrambled eggs and 2 cups of rice.  Divided by four.  

Note: M and T had very close to their normal portions for all of their meals and even left food on their plates at dinner.  T had a morning snack at preschool.  They only complained about being hungry right before dinner.  Definitely the biggest change to their day was not having a substantial healthy afternoon snack.  They also struggled with the lack of choices.  T was really frustrated that he couldn't have a fruit bar...

What did we learn from the day?

None of us likes to feel hungry.  It makes us cranky and tired and it makes it hard to think about anything else.

During the day, both J and I took food from our plates to give to M and T.  Even though our stomachs were growling, we didn't want them to be hungry--even for one day.

We can not imagine living this day in and day out.  We woke up to a pantry full of food.

We also woke up to a warm house, closets full of clothes, a stable, well-paying job, a bank account, health care and nine faucets, just on the inside of our house, flowing with clean water.

I tried to think of what I would really do if I only had $2 a day to feed my family.  But the truth is that I honestly can't know what I would do.  I am a healthy, robust adult.  But what if I had started my life without enough to eat--without medicine or vaccines.  Even without dental care.  And probably with at most a very limited education.  Wouldn't I be a tired, hungry adult just trying to survive...? 

Not to mention that with that same $2 a day I would somehow need to fund some sort of shelter and clothing (forget about diapers).  And clean water.

What would I do if one of my children or husband got sick?  (Malaria and HIV/AIDS--just to name a few of the many insidious diseases--are rampant in countries where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.) How is there any money for that? 

There isn't.

$2 a day is not enough.

So now what?

For sure I think that what we're left with is this--a much deeper compassion for those who walk this road.  A compassion that, God-willing, will help us to focus our priorities..and our hearts.  A compassion that will compel us to make a difference...because if I were living on $2 a day I would want someone to see me and to love me enough to help me change my future. 

For more information about living on just $2 a day check out these resources.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

One Year Ago Today....

We saw her face for the first time.

 Little Beza.  9lbs at 5 months old.  Extravagantly beautiful. 

So thankful for the privilege of being her parents...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Morning in the Life of Beza (How Different From One Year Ago)

After we drop M and T off at school on Fridays, Beza follows her own little quite predictable routine.

The drop-off.

Once home, always closing the pantry door (open doors appear to be one of her major pet peeves) on the way to the living room while murmuring, "Melmo.  Melmo.  Melmo."  (Elmo.  Elmo.  Elmo.)

Always standing to watch her favorite show.  

Always leaning with her hands on the ottoman.  

Even if she's standing in front of it--still always leaning with those hands on it.

And then, always paging through a book.  Girl loves to read.  

Do you know what her current favorite is?  The photo book with pictures of us in it that we left for her in Ethiopia between our two trips.  How sweet is that?  She loves pointing to M and T and saying their names.  

And do you know what tomorrow is?  I can hardly believe it, but it's our referral-versary.  Here's the post from this day last year--the day before we saw her little face for the first time...

A Letter

Dear Sweet Girl,

Today I want you to know just how very much you are loved.  We have been waiting for you for such a very long time and not long from now we will see your face for the first time.  Sometimes this waiting seems like it will go on forever, but I am realizing that this part of the journey is just another part of our story.  I am wondering where you are and what is going on in your little life right now.  Know, that even though we may never know the details, you are so constantly in our hearts.  Our prayer for you when you are not with us is that you would know that you are so very loved--that you would feel a full belly and a cozy bed--but most of all that you would have warm arms that hold you tight and that let you know how beautiful and wonderful you are.

Longing for you...