Saturday, December 31, 2011

Much to be thankful for in 2011

We have had some much needed time together as a family over the last few weeks.  Christmas this year was a break from the daily routine that goes with having 2 toddlers at home, 2 girls in elementary school, 2 girls in middle school, 1 son in high school and a husband that puts in many hours at work.  I'm so thankful that we have been able to enjoy time together playing, eating, and just "being" as we have been pondering our Saviors birth.

Here are some things that have been happening around our house...

* Buche has been announcing to us his name.  He says his first, middle and last name.   I love to hear his full name come from his mouth.  After he say's his full name, he tells me all of his brothers and sisters full names and then mine and Ryan's.  It's like he has decided in his heart that he is one of us. He is part of this family. It's a hard to explain the beautiful feeling that comes over me as I hear him include our last name when he tells me who what his name is.

*  We've spent time ice skating on our lake.  It is a blessing watching all 7 of my kiddos "play" together on the ice.  B & B think it's quite amazing to walk on the lake.

* A big part of our heritage is Norwegian.  My grandpa was born in Norway and came over as an young teenager.   Part of this heritage is "Krumkake" at Christmas time.  If you don't know that krumkake is - it is a waffle type Norwegian cookie.  It's really, really yummy! This year, when the Krumkake came out our 9 year old wrinkled her nose and said ..."yuck ... Krumkake just doesn't sound good!".  Now, I think it was only our family that was laughing at with her.  "Kahkah" (which sounds like the second half of that cookies' pronunciation) is what our little Ethiopians do in the toilet. :)

*  We were able to celebrate Christmas with family ... grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins... I couldn't ask for more.  I treasure time with family.

*  B & B got a little leap frog "phone" for Christmas.  They walk around the house with it telling us it their i pod.  Guess that is what happens when you have an older brother and sister.

And, we forgot our camera at a Christmas celebration that we were at, or I'd have pictures to share with you ... oh well ... maybe later.

So today, as we close the year of 2011 I can not help but to be overflowing with Thankfulness!  2011 has been a year like none other has been.  So many changes, so many blessings, so much stretching and hopefully  growing has been done over this last year.  It has been a year that seems like emotions have been all over the board!  Bring on 2012... we're ready.  Happy New Year, friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Praying for this guy today ...

You may follow Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom already.  She has been advocating for children that are soon to age out of their orphanages.

This is Kyle.  Please join me in praying for him.  Time is running out for this young man. You can read more about him here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Year Ago Today ...

  Anniversary's.  There are anniversary's of things that are fun to celebrate and there are anniversary's of days that were very hard days and it's hard for our hearts to think back to those days.   

A few days ago it was my parents anniversary.  They have been married for 41 years.  I am so thankful for the legacy that they are leaving for our family.  I'm sure that they can think back to the last 41 years and come up with many memories.  I love you dad and mom!

Yesterday was the anniversary of Ryan's dad's passing.  Dec 22nd was a hard day.  It had been a few hard months leading up to that day.  It is still a hard day as we think back to that loss.  Words can not do any justice to the pain that is involved when a son looses his dad.

There are new anniversary's that are a part of our lives ... like the anniversary that our sons were relinquished to their orphanage.  Like the day we passed court and an Ethiopian judge said "they are yours". 

I have a special anniversary playing over in my heart today.  

First, let me take you back many years ago.  I first approached Ryan about us adopting like ... 10 years ago or so.  He said no, that was not for us. At times I had given up, but yet there was this tug on my heart that just would not disappear. But waiting is soooooo very hard!

 Speed ahead to December 23, 2010.    At this point God had spoke to Ryan's heart and we had started the adoption process.  We had our home study done and our dossier was submitted to Ethiopia.  One year ago today ... in the afternoon ...I pulled up the "waiting list" of children from our agency.  Children's photos that were waiting to be adopted populated my screen.  And, there they were.  Our sons.  I knew it then.  I know it now.  Emotions have wavered.  Some moments of this journey have hurt my heart like I didn't know a heart could hurt.  Some moments have been the most joyous moments ever.  Some times I have trusted fully in my God who has clearly been writing this story.  Some moments I have grabbed the reigns myself and tried to run the show.  I'm so thankful for an unchanging, always steady God.  I'm so thankful for the family He has blessed me with.

This is it... this is the picture that I first saw.  

I took a picture of my computer screen that displayed this picture and texted it to Ryan.  Then I quickly called him.  You see, we were thinking at this point that we were going to choose to adopt a in (1) one.  It has taken 10 years for Ryan decide this.  But, God had different plans.  He had two amazing little boys on the other side of the world that He already knew where our sons.

When I got Ryan on the phone I said ..."I want you to look at the picture I just texted you and I want you to keep an open mind.  I think I just looked at a picture of our sons".  Sons!!!! as in plural was his response.
It has been an amazing year of growing and stretching and loving more than I ever knew we could.  Jesus has shown up in Mighty Ways!  

Last year (just a day before I saw a picture of my little guys for the first time) I was reflecting in this blog post on how we were preparing for Christmas and pondering when we would welcome our "little one" into our celebration.  

Last year as I sat singing Christmas songs with my family at Church on Christmas Eve I remember closing my eyes and pondering ... would I have our new "little one" on my lap next year on Christmas Eve to sing with me?  God knew  ... it was not a surprise to Him that this Christmas Eve we will have TWO new little ones to join us in singing this Christmas Eve. 

For those of you who are waiting this year ... waiting for your children to come home or for something else... Plain and Simple ...It's hard!   I can not do anything or say anything to change the feelings or make it better.  But I know that strength does rise as we wait upon the One who is writing the story.

 Merry Christmas from our home to yours the Christmas!  May we all ponder the good news and great joy that Jesus is to each of us.

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger".  Luke 2:10-12

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

I took my four youngest kiddos to McDonald's today.  After they ate their Happy Meals I went to the bathroom to change the boys' diapers while the girls started playing.  I had a conversation in the bathroom with my little Buche.

Let me take you back a to just a few months ago.  We got home with the boys on June 26th.  That means that they have been home for 21 weeks.  I don't think I've ever blogged about this, but our plane ride from Ethiopia to home was ... well ... awful!  It was terrible!  I'm not sure if I've wanted to forget about it and that is why I've not blogged about it - or if I just didn't have the words to describe the 25 plus hours of planes and airports.

We left our guest house in the early evening hours.  We made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some Addis Tea.  I wanted to get things that the boys were familiar with so that when we got home I could give them familiar things...something that might comfort them.  They loved dipping their "dabbo" in tea. They still do!  Besides getting in a small fender bender with a large rock in the parking lot of the grocery store which got our driver who spoke no English into a long and what sounded like an angry conversation with a man that came out of the grocery store the car ride to the airport was uneventful.  I just remember holding tight to my little boy and telling Ryan to do the same.

We had the boys in carriers in the front of us.  Buche thankfully fit in his with his hip-spika cast he was sporting from the upper femur break that had just happened a few days previous.  It was just the day before we left for home that he had been put completely under general anesthesia to get him in that large cast!  Ryan and I were determined to push our own bags because our previous trip through the airport had cost us quite a bit of money.  At the Addis airport you are quickly surrounded by men that want to carry your bags for you.  But, the last men who we had carry our bags had requested a lot of money and for the sake of arguing we ended up just giving them it.

We made it through check-in.  We made it to the hallway floor, where we sat and had a Coke.  Then we spilled the Coke all over the floor.  I was feeling stressed.  I was feeling happy.  I was feeling sad.  I was feeling overjoyed.  I was feeling crabby.  You know that feeling, or is just me???

I decided to change the boy's diapers.  We found a bathroom and I took Burka in first.  Then Buche.  They both cried the whole time I had them on the diaper changer.  I went as quick as I could.  The lady that was cleaning the bathroom came over and rubbed their heads as she said "becka (baa-kaw)"while I changed them.  I had learned by now that everyone didn't know my son Burka's name because that is what it sounded like they were saying, but rather they were telling my child that "it is over - it is finished".  The nurses said this to Buche when we were in the hospital.  The doctors said it to him too.  This lady in the bathroom was just telling my son that the diaper changing was finished and he could stop screaming.  

But, this trip home was far from finished!  We boarded our plane late after a very trying, L O N G wait in the terminal.  At least it seamed long to me.  To finish it off one of the boys went "kah kah" in their diaper right as we were finally getting to board.  Ryan quickly changed it - right there in the terminal.  We tried to hide so that people didn't have to watch, but did get a few dirty looks anyway.    

Diaper changed, we boarded the plane.  I have to say, the boys did sleep a bit on the plane ride to Amsterdam.  So did my legs.  From the very first time we met the boys Buche was drawn to me and Burka to Ryan.  Although we had a seat for each of the boys, they didn't sit in them much and Buche was my boy ... bless his heart.  But, that cast was miserable, for both him and me. When he did fall asleep I didn't dare move him .. AT ALL.  So, I'm quite sure that there was NO blood flow to my legs.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk again, but what do you do when you are on a plane with a little guy that you know if you wake him up the whole plane will be awake because sitting quietly and reading a book was NOT going to happen.  

We made it Amsterdam.  Then we went to McDonalds.  It was yummy.  We all thought so...

...but looking back at these pictures I can see the fear in my babies eyes.  I knew they were scared.

We left the Amsterdam airport and I'll spare you the details of that plane ride to the states, but it was not pretty.   We had two little boys that were doing everything they could to control life at that point.  And, I don't blame them one bit!   But, it wasn't making life very easy ... or what at times even felt tolerable.  

One of the tricky parts about riding in airplanes for hours on end with little ones in diapers was changing them.  The little diaper changing table in the little bathroom went about as well as changing the boy's diapers at the Addis airport where the kind Ethiopian lady told my babies "becka".  It was a smaller space to change them in, but not a smaller scream from them as I was doing it.  

At one point the lady in front of me turned around to congratulate us.  I was thankful she wanted to congratulate us and not ask me to control my sons.  She was a sweet lady and I know she just wanted to encourage us.  I couldn't respond with anything other than tears. Later, after I had kind-of composed myself I told her thank you.  She said, "oh... you have a beautiful family and I'm praying for you."   That made me cry even harder ... happy tears.  

The gentleman behind us told us about how he had also adopted and their plane ride looked much the same as our was going.  He assured us of one thing ... we would make it.  We would make it to the point when we could get off the airplane and regroup.  And we did.  We  landed, made it through customs and had some awesome friends waiting for us at the airport to bring us home.  We were ever so thankful!

We made it.  It was not pretty.  But, we made it and it was worth every minute.

Now, speed ahead to today in the McDonald's bathroom.  I had a conversation with my little Buche as I was changing his diaper on the diaper changer.  He started the conversation.  This is what he said, "mommy ... airplane ... Ethiopia ... Buche .... scared ... Burka ... Daddy .... airplane ... Ethiopia ... scared"  Again, I found myself in tears, but today I found myself in tears looking into my sons eyes whose eyes were telling me that he wanted me to comfort him.  He wanted a hug.  He wanted me to hold him.  He said "I love you mommy".   So much has changed.  

Can't image how I would act if I were in my son's shoes on that airplane ride just a few short months ago.  But, I believe that those moments mold me into being a better parent.  I need to remember I don't know much at all about the first years of my son's lives. It reminds me that I can not judge people on how they act... because I have not walked the road they have.  

Indeed so much has changed and now I see much more of these types of faces instead of the scared faces I saw just a very short time ago.  I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another way to Bring Love In

Hey friends! This is exciting!  You can now purchase your Bring Love In T Shirt!  They are now in the Bring Love In Store.  I think it's an awesome way to help support Bring Love In's mission to create forever families for orphans while employing widows in Ethiopia as well as a way to be able to share about the ministry while wearing your T shirt.  

Here's what the front looks like ...

And, here's the back!

Check it out at

If you do not follow Levi's blog, check it out.  I love reading as he shares from his heart and tells the story of his families life in Ethiopia as they are on the journey that God has them.  He always seems to have me laughing and crying while reading his posts.

And, keep watching the store.  There are some amazing metal art pieces coming in soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monkeying Around

Yesterday after lunch I was getting the boys ready to lay down for a nap.  Burka was sitting on the toilet.  On the back of the toilet was the toilet paper holder that Buche had pulled off the wall a few weeks ago.  He thought it was a great thing to play with when we were in the bathroom ... until the sheet rock gave way and we no longer had a toilet paper holder on our wall.  

While Burka as sitting on the toilet he started playing with all the pieces of the tp holder.  

At this time of the day I'm in my "lets just get this bathroom trip done" mode and I said to Burka..."PLEASE stop 'monkeying around' with that."  I walked out of the bathroom to let the little guy finish.  Buche, who had been listening to me talk to Burka says to me ...  "Funny mommy!  Booooka no monkey!" as he laughed quite loudly as he was correcting me.

How could I do anything but laugh ... They make me smile :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blessed Beyond Measure

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us.

With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment - to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ."  Ephesians 1:3-9  NIV

Blessed Beyond Measure!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My baby girl is 9!

It's a special day in our house!  

My baby girl is 9.  

9 years ago this princess was born.

She's had a big year.  She was the baby of our family for almost 9 years and this year for the first time ever she became a big sister!  She fits the shoes well.  

Happy Birthday sweet girl.  Mommy loves you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I went to conferences today with my middle school girles.  They made me proud.  Ryan stayed home with the little boys instead of going to conferences.  One of the boys loves his daddy and usually always picks him over me.  He cried when I left this morning.  Yeah!  Not that I like to see him cry ... and who knows, it might have been because he wanted to go for a car ride.  It might have been because he just woke up.  It might have been for a reason that I can not even dream up.  But ... he cried when I handed him over yelling "mommy".  I'm chalking it up to a successful move forward in attachment.  I'd say it has been a successful morning.  Oh Happy Day ... I love those moments!

Levi at Bring Love In posted a video that I wanted to share with you.  Here it is ....

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bring Love In

Thanks for the emails and comments of encouragement.   I am blessed and thankful.   

It's Friday!  I have to share with you another thing I'm thankful for and blessed to be a part of.  I have blogged in the past about Bring Love In.  Today, I'd just like to draw your attention to them again.  You might know this, but the Benkert family who started Bring Love In live in Addis Ababa and are working on creating forever families right in Ethiopia.  Their plan is to pair widows with orphans and create forever families.  They are working with the Ethiopian government right now on the start up and it looks like things will be complete and ready to open these homes very soon.

How amazingly awesome.  I'm so excited to see how God works out all the details.  I know I'm probably writing to an audience that has seen first hand the devastation that poverty brings.  As we traveled the streets of Addis and greater Ethiopia this year we saw children all over in need.  Adoption is one answer for that need, but I do not believe that it is the only answer.  That make me so thankful for families like the Benkerts who are there and have a vision for things like this.  

If you have not read Levi's blog you should go and check it out here.  He writes from his heart and what I most appreciate about Levi is that he doesn't hold back.  He has recently been sharing life experiences that have shaped his life ... made him who he is today.  He is very transparent and honest in his writing, which I believe is just how we should be.  

I have been privileged and honored to help in Bring Love In in just a small way.  A good friend and I have been working on designing a T shirt and getting it into the store at Bring Love In.   We also get to do the shipping of the store items.  It's so sweet to be a part in a small way of what the Benkerts are doing at Bring Love In.  The store is now open.  There are some awesome bracelets in there right now.  They were made in Ethiopia and are making there way to the states as I am typing this.  The T shirts will be in the store soon.  I'll let you know when we get them in.  

Levi and his sweet wife Jessie have shared with us that they are so thankful for the support that they get - that it's not just money but it helps them feel like they are not alone. So, as you are gearing up for shopping for Christmas remember the Bring Love In store.  

Or, you could help raise the funds needed for a van for Bring Love in.

Or you could hop on Levi's blog and give him a comment of encouragement.  I can only imagine the difficulty that must go with seeing poverty every day.  

Join me in praying for Bring Love In and the Benkert family in Ethiopia.  I'm so excited to watch and see what God does!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bath and Body Works

The boys and I went into Bath and Body works this week.   Not the typical store that I frequent with the boys but I needed a gift for someone.  They did great, but they LOVE to touch everything and with two of them it can get to be very hard to get any shopping done.  To my surprise, they stayed quite entertained at Bath and Body Works.  They like this product...  They were fixate on it ... because they thought it was a picture of Injera!

While they were looking at the "Injera" I was able to have a visit with the sweet gal who was working there ... it felt like a conversation that was meant to be.  She was so encouraging.  She was so sweet.  She understood things that are on my heart.  It felt like an instant connection.  

Then... we went home - and ate Injera for lunch while we took in the smell of Cinnamon and Clove Buds that has our house smelling so good on these rainy fall days that we've been spending inside.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Encourage One Another

We had a much needed weekend away.  Life has felt heavy and I think a weekend together as a family along with some awesome grandparents and  a fabulous uncle is just what we needed.  We headed up north to my parents' cabin.  We spent the beautiful weekend outside.  The fall colors were beautiful.  The fall air was refreshing.  The extra hands to chase little boys was a blessing.  The time spent with teenagers without TV and computers was amazing.  So, first I'll share some pictures with you.

We played some t-ball

And a family game of Volleyball (without the net).  I love having a family big enough to play games like this!

Went on walks and collected things like rocks and sticks (that is what little boys do!)

Went on four wheeler rides with grandpa

and wagon rides behind the four wheeler

Went grouse hunting (or was it a walk in the woods) with uncle Michael

And just plain had a fun, relaxing wonderful weekend :)

Now, onto some thoughts I've had.  As I said above, life seems heavy these days.  Not that it isn't filled with lots of smiles, fun times and joy beyond what I could have dreamed up.  My heart overflows with joy much of the time ... and yet there is a sadness mixed in there too.

I am simply amazed at how each of the kids have adjusted to life.  The little boys are doing great.  They are smart, resilient, amazing little guys.  I am blessed to be their mom.  That doesn't mean there are not struggles.   The big kids have adjusted well.  They help me so much!   Bringing them to Africa with us on our first trip was a bonding time for our family.  It opened their hearts to things that only traveling there could do.  They are so happy to have their brothers home. That doesn't mean there are not struggles.  Our marriage has deepened to a level it has never been.  I'm thankful for that.  That doesn't mean there are not struggles.

But, after traveling to a third world county my heart is heavy.   I can not know the stories of my son's life and not feel a heavy heart. Friends, there are things that are forever etched on my heart ... like a sweet little girl whose hand I held in Ethiopia.  She has a disease that if she does not get the medicine she needs she will die. She needs a medicine that is not accessible to her where she is.  She needs a family to love her and take care of her. Re-entry into a first world country after being in a third country has many challenges.  

And then, as I enter into a "what can we do about it" thought process there seems to be so much tension.  Tension on how to help.  Tension on rules, regulations ... tension on what the right thing to do is.  The picture is so very BIG.  This world can be such a messy place.  

I have friends waiting and then waiting some more to bring home their children through adoption.  I feel for them in that wait.  It is hard!  

I hear stories of children that were trafficked.  It's frustrating.  It's hard to comprehend. I say over and over again ... how does this happen.  It's back to the messy world thought! 

Injustice.  It's simply not okay.  And, it's heartbreaking.

If you have read my blog, I'm guessing you've figured out that I am a Christian. In saying that it means I also admit I am a sinner.  I mess up ... all the time. Another thing that is heavy on my heart is when I see people fighting.  I'm not saying that with a critical spirit.  I hear of people doing amazing things and then I see people being critical of what they are doing.   Time that is spent on being critical of one another rather than encouraging one another.   That is not suggesting that we should not call each other on things we see that are not right.  We need each other.  I need others to tell me when they think I am doing something wrong ... even if I don't like to hear it. I believe we all need that.  But that does not mean we should be working against each other.  We need to work together.  We need to encourage each other.  

Okay ... there is it.  Some things that are heavy on my heart.  

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you many be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Hebrews 3:13

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up"  1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Horsing around

My sister-in-law took some great photos of Grace and her horse Montana. Thanks, Tanya!  Nothing insightful to share, although I do have some things on my mind that I'm trying to put into words.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to share those things but for today, it's just pictures ...  and a thankful heart for sweet gifts like Montana.  Thanks again, Shannon.  You've made one little girl smile!

Grace, her daddy and horse.

Grace and her adorable cousin

 Miss Brynn

Grandpa Pete

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you for Injera!

Injera and wot. The boys and I love it!  The rest of the family ... not so much.  So, it's often lunch since it is just the little guys and I at that time.  We've been working on praying before our meals.  Thought I'd share...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beyond the Gate

It's a beautiful day here today and the boys and I played outside all morning.  Fall is a beautiful time of the year!  After playing in the sand, swinging, going on a walk and having Injera and wot the little guys needed a bath before we could settle in to milk, rocking and napping.  I just left their room.  They are snuggled together with their blankets and teddies.  The house is quiet and I pulled up Levi's blog from Bring Love In.   After reading it, I had a very vivid memory.

Our boys stayed at our agencies care center for about 2 months.  They arrived just before we went to court and stayed there until after our second trip to Ethiopia to pick them up and bring them home.  Before they were at our agencies care center they spent about 1 year in an orphanage.  In fact, just as we were starting the process to adopt they were relinquished to their orphanage.

Here is the memory I had after reading this blog post.  We were allowed to bring the boys outside of the gate that they looked at every day and walk about one block to the other guest house.  The street was overwhelming to the boys and they seemed scared of the outside world at first.  Even though we were really still strangers to them, they clung on to us as we walked in the street.  After a few walks down the street had passed the boys started to really enjoy walking out of the gate and into the street.  The best word I can use to describe what it seemed to mean to them was freedom.

Now, I have to say that I was amazed by the staff at our agencies care center.   They all did a great job taking care of the kids. But, it is not a home.  It is transitional place - a place that kids stay between the orphanage and their forever family.

By the end of the week, our little guys would stand at the gate and try to peek out of the little tiny cracks between the doors.  Any time the bell would ring they would run to the guard and want to answer the door with him.  They looked like they were going to bolt out of the place as the door opened and let in whoever was out there.  The guard would hold them in and close the door and they would be sad.  At times, Solomon, one of the guards lifted Issac up high so he could see outside the gate.  Issac begged for him to keep doing it.

Here is a photo of the boys with Solomon.  The green double doors behind them is the gate - you can see above the doors glimpses of the outside world.  That is where Solomon would lift Issac up and let him peek outside.

So you see, as I read this post I could not help but let my mind wander back to when our little guys sat on the shoulders of the guard at the care center to see the world outside the gate.  Today, they played outside for hours.  They are our sons.  But, there are children waiting to have a forever family.  Many, many children.  Adoption is one way that children find a forever family.  It is not the only way.  I'm so thankful for families like the Benkerts at Bring Love In who are creating forever family's for so many orphans and widows right in the country they were born in.  They indeed are not letting the gate close behind them and not do anything about the orphan crisis in Ethiopia.  I encourage you to go to their site and check out what's happening at Bring Love In.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We are a few weeks into school.  The five "big" kids (I'm sure my 17 year old loves to be called a "big kid") are all into the swing of things.  We are at three different schools this year, which makes life interesting.  It's all going very well.

The little boys are a bit confused where their brothers and sisters wandered off to.  They are usually not awake when the kids leave, so when they get up ... it's just me and them.  We go through the list ...  "Daddy? ... Zachary? ... Amanda? ... Hannah? ... Grace?  ... Greta?"  They repeat the names over and over ... then they add "at school" at the end of each name ... Let me know that daddy is at work and we move on to breakfast.  I didn't realize how much those "big kids" helped me out during the day.  Besides an hour for nap time my little guys are running full speed and need to have mommy around.  I'm thankful for that, but it is exhausting.  A diet coke with a lime sure does call my name at nap time.

I'm sad to say that we are hearing less and less Amharic and Sidama language from the little boys.  We are hanging on to those words we know, but since we are not fluent in either language we can not teach the boys any more than they already knew.  And, actually ... we've made our own language around here.  Buche and Burka are starting to mix words together.  For example; a car in Amharic is a "mekina".  They now say mommy's "mecar".  We live on a lake.  The word for water in Amharic is "wuha".  They look our our window and say "wuha-ater"  I love it.  And, we read our cute little English-Amharic book that our sweet driver took us to get from Book World in Ethiopia.  Who knows if I'm pronouncing any of the Amharic words correctly, but it's a fun thing to do with the boys each day.  They boys are understanding more and more English.  When they come to me whining for a drink... to be picked up ... to eat or whatever it is they need at the moment I say "What do you say?" trying to get them to say "please" rather than whine.  They used to always say back to me "What do you say?".  They repeat everything.  Although that does still happen sometimes their response is "please" these days instead of "what do you say?".  And, even better yet ... sometimes they come to me and say "please wuha-ater" instead of whine.  So sweet.

We've added a few pets to our family.  Two fish have been adorning the island in our kitchen.  Grace has a science project going on.  And, a sweet family wanted to get rid of their horse.  Yes, we now have a horse.  Grace has been praying for a horse for over a year.  We thought it would be impossible.  Well, we were given a 18 year old mare named Montana.  I've never seen miss Grace smile for so long.  Better yet, Ryan's sister and brother-in-law have horses, so Montana has joined their herd.  And, Grandpa is also close by and keeps an eye on Montana for Grace.  Thanks Shannon and family for blessing our Grace with Montana and thanks to the grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins for taking such good care of Montana when Grace is not there.  I think you will be seeing a little cowgirl around quite a bit. It really is amazing how God works things out and answers prayers and It has been neat to watch our little girl see God in the story of waiting for a horse and now having Montana.

Buche and Burka went to the dentist last week.  They sat so good and actually had a great time.  They didn't learn that from me.  Although I love our dentist, having my teeth worked on is not at the top of my "fun things to do" list.  Not only did the boys like the dentist, their teeth look great, so that makes for a happy day.  Actually, I went to the dentist a few weeks ago.  I had to have a filling taken out and a new one put in.  When my dentist got the old filling out he realized the decay went deeper than he thought and had to grind deep down in my tooth.  He said that the chances of him hitting a nerve in my tooth, or even the decay that was there damaging my nerve was quite good.  If that happened it meant a root canal for me.  I would know if the nerves were damaged until my tooth hurt - and that could happen in a day or week or 10 years from now.  There was no way to tell but to let time pass and see if I developed a tooth ache or not.  My thoughts about a root canal scream "Nooooooo - please Noooooo". Not only does it sound very painful, (isn't there a saying "that was about as full as a root canal"?) it is not a fun way to spend money in my book. Well, the when the Novocaine wore off my tooth hurt terribly. I spent about a week pretending it didn't hurt.  Then Ryan one night prayed for me.  He prayed that my tooth would stop hurting.  Maybe I was a bit crabby.  I think he needed my tooth to feel better so he didn't have to listen to me complain.  Guess what.  My tooth has not hurt since he prayed about it.  How's that for answered prayer.

Hannah had an art project.  She needed models, so since the twins are adored by all their siblings, they usually get to do the jobs like that.  But, it didn't go so good.  It is very hard to get two little boys posed and smiling for a photo.  Here's what she managed to get.

Not sure what her art teacher will think of her project, but I think she had the cutest models ever... not that I'm biased or anything.

This is quite a "random" blog today.  Is this the type of post that is made for "Misc Monday" like I see some bloggers do?  It's Tuesday today, but honestly every day of my life just feels "Misc" and "Random". Just when I think I'm going to fold the laundry I end up running a little boy to the bathroom to go "kah kah".  Just when I think I'm going to make dinner, I end up putting a puzzle together.  Just when I think I am going to sleep I end up rocking a sweet babe that needs me.  I play with two sweet toddlers much of my day... eating fake food in the play kitchen, farm in the living room and build towers out of Legos in the family room.  Other than that I try to make a tennis match, soccer game or volleyball game fit in.  There have been some days that I think I should be doing more.  By more I mean ... working for a cause - a cause like starting a non profit to help raise funds for orphans and widows... raise money to help those starving in the horn of Africa.  Do more for the people that lay heavy on my heart.  Be at the kids' school volunteering time. Do more like teaching Sunday School or helping with youth group ... reach out more to friends with encouragement.  I do have lots of time to "think" about things because "farming" my living room carpet doesn't take much brain work.  I also have time to pray for friends and situations.  So, that's what I do today and see what happens next.   I love this season of "farming" in the living room and trust that God will reveal if I am to be doing more now, or if it is a season of waiting and the season to harvest some of those things that I'm thinking about will come later. I saw a rainbow in the sky this morning.  I do love the way my God makes promises.  I'm thankful today for his promise to never leave me.  I've learned that praying is where is needs to start.  I prayed for our little boys for many, many years.... they are now home.  Grace prayed for a horse (and I really thought it was impossible) for a more than a year which to her seemed like eternity and she now has a horse. Ryan prayed for my tooth and it has not hurt all week.  I know He'll show me what he wants me to do each day.  I'm learning to be content in this farming that I've been doing.  It's time to play.  It's time to pray.  Time to think ... time to think about how I spend my time.  And a verse in Hebrews reminds me that I need to be content.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

Okay ... I'm off to go cultivate the carpet dirt.