Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I've been a bit weary lately.  This world has a way of bringing me down at times quite often if I let it.  Life has been fast paced and busy around here for the last couple weeks. ... day and night.  The little boys have been up lots at night still and our days have been busy with lots of fun things like...

Watching our favorite tennis player ...

while we are eating our picnic that included oreo's on this day :)

...and we've been cheering on our favorite soccer player ... number 14!

Climbing to the top of the big slide repeatedly (because the little is just not as fun)

And hanging out with sweet friends ... just to name a few things we've been up too!

Parenting is not easy and I know I didn't sign up for easy.  I'm okay with that.  It just makes me a bit weary sometimes.  

I've really been trying to focus on relationship with each of my kids.  Not a "peer friendship" type of relationship, but relationship.  A parent-child relationship.  Letting them know I'm there for them ... love them ... care about how they are feeling ... want to understand them.  They are really neat kiddos - all kiddos are.  Each of them are so very different.   They each are unique and have areas that they excel in, as well as areas they struggle in ... no different than me.  I know that I excel in some areas, but I'm all too familiar with the areas that I struggle in.  I'm good at being hard on myself.  I'm also guilty of thinking that my kid's behavior and choices are a reflection of who I am.  Lots of time their behavior and choices are awesome, but it is really easy for me to fall into the trap of being hard on my kids and focus on the behavior and choices that is not so awesome.  

Some nights when my head hits the pillow I think though the day and want to change things I did during the day.  Little things I said, "the sigh" when the milk spilled again or the tone I used with the teenager who should "know better".

Here's the thing my little guys have taught me.  Isaac and Isaiah's first years in Ethiopia were not easy.   There is much hurt and pain in their short little lives.  Putting myself in their shoes, I can not imagine how it would feel to have to have had to see the things they have to see and endure.  I can not image the life of an orphan without a forever family.  Now, my sons are my forever sons and I am their forever mommy ... but that is an adjustment for them too.  They have been here just a few months and taught me so much.  They are adjusting very well, but their world's have been rocked - starting with an airplane ride half way around the world to a different culture, different style house, community, smells, food, clothes, friends ... the list goes on and on.  No matter how hard their day (or night) seems to have gone you know what they always wake up with?  A smile on their faces and a sparkle in their eyes as they are calling me to their room ... "mommy, mommy ... Burka ...  Buche ... mommy, mommy ... Burka ... Buche!"  The morning brings a reset.  A new sweet day has started.  A new journey begins.  A start-over.

Tonight, as my head is going to hit my pillow I am reminded that I do not need to be consumed with all the things I should have done differently.  I will have a new journey when the sun rises in the morning ... all because of my God's great love!  I know He will be faithful to guide me all the way to the end of this parenting journey.  For that I'm so very thankful.

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion's never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:23

Monday, August 22, 2011

Africa Cookies

It was about 2 weeks after we were home with the boys.  I was inside with my little guy, Issac while Ryan and the other kids were out in the boat.  Isaac still had his cast on.  We were soooo blessed with meals when we got home - it was humbling!  But, I love to cook and bake, and I was feeling like making a treat.  I had just got a new cookie cutter.  It is a really, really fun one!  It is the shape of Africa.  So, Isaac and I made some "Africa cookies" frosting them with red, green and yellow (the Ethiopian flag colors).  It was fun.  I pulled out this nice Tupperware that I don't use that often but fit these delicate cookies so nicely.  For the next few days we had a special treat - "Africa cookies".  That was 6 weeks ago.  I pulled out that Tupperware today for the first time since then, and guess what my little man immediately started chanting ...  "mommy, Africa cookie ... mommy!  Africa cookies!"  I'm amazed at what my babies remember!

On another note, for the first 7 weeks we were home both boys sleep all night, slept tight snuggled in with their blankets and each other.  For the last week, Isaiah has been waking up in the night in sheer terror.  He looks scared out of his little mind.  I think he is having bad dreams ... by the looks of it, nightmares.  The boys sleep together, so that makes for the three of us spending lots of time snuggling together in the middle of the night.  Today, the boys slept for for 4 1/2 hours for their nap.  They are tired, I am tired... but a sweet friend that stopped in today gently reminded me that "this too shall pass".  I'm so thankful for friends!  Now, after Isaac told me about the "Africa cookies" tonight I wonder, what do they remember from their short lives.  What is my baby dreaming about?  Til this passes, I'll lift him up to the one who knows all those answers and spend time in the middle of the night cuddling those little guys.  I did have a chat with them today and told them that mommy is a much happier mommy with some sleep.  We'll see if they understood that. :)

We went out for Pancakes at a pancake feed that my dad's work puts on every year.  They snapped this picture after the girls had caught their cakes that they flip off the griddle high in the air and make you catch on your plate.  Fun times.  I wish Zachary would have been there with us, but this family is getting harder and harder to find all in the same place these days.  He was on his way to play his first soccer scrimmage of the season.

I read this today... so fitting.  A reminder to trust in the one who is indeed my strength. So thankful!

Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy 17th Birthday Zachary

Ryan said as we were chasing two toddlers and listening to the teenagers plans and agendas for the rest of the summer ..."I'm think I might be too young for teenagers and too old for toddlers!"  Ha! Nevertheless - our oldest, Zachary turns 17 today!  I know people say this all the time, but I really can not figure out where the years go. It seems like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital!

I had some fun looking through the last 17 years with my little boy...

Zachary is an awesome big brother.  He has always loved his little sisters and now he is a great big brother to his brothers too.

I'm so proud of you, Zachary.  I am blessed to be your mom!  I love you, buddy boy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thank You

I'm so very happy to report that little Isaac has a perfectly normal heart!  Everything is just fine.  Amanda, Ryan and Isaiah went with to the clinic, which kept Isaac occupied while we waited.  He did great and didn't mind that we were even at the clinic yesterday.  When we were called into the room and I laid him down on the table he started to cry, but by the end of the test he was ... sleeping!  Yes, he slept through the test.  Guess it worked well to schedule this one over nap time (even though I thought  is was a bad idea when the lady told me that was the only time she could get us in).  I praise God for not only a healthy heart, but a peaceful trip to the clinic.

I sometimes wonder about this "blog world", but I'm amazed at the people I've connected with through telling a bit about our story and reading about others.   Thank you old and new friends for your comments and encouragement. Thank you for telling your stories.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

So today, I'm so thankful for my sons healthy heart - and you, my friends for your encouragement, thoughts and prayers.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Look at me"

We spent much of our last weekend outside.  It was a beautiful weekend.  I'm thankful that we have some summer days left, but yet can feel that fall is lingering in the air.  

One thing that is so fun is to see how the boys take in everything new.  We had a new "first" this weekend - running through the sprinkler.  They love water.

They love water and their big sister who helps them run through the water.

As I see them playing in the water, I can't help but think of the horn of Africa struggling without water.

Today, Isaac Buche goes in for an ultrasound of his heart.  When we came home the doctor found a murmur and thought it warranted getting checked out.  My little guy has had so much "medical" stuff since we've took custody of him... a broken leg and all the appointments that have gone with that along with all the regular medical appointment we had when we got home which include lots of poking and prodding.   He in on a medication that isn't agreeing with his body right now.  I know that in comparison to many children, everything he has gone through medically since we've taken custody is minor.  Nothing is life threatening.   Although I'm anxious to get this heart murmur checked out I'm not really worried about it.  Our doctor doesn't seem really worried about it - he just wants to make sure everything is okay.  However, I would covet your prayers today for my little guy who doesn't really care to walk into a clinic anymore.  When we went to get his cast off he saw the doors of the clinic and said "no mommy" and started to turn around. 

We get asked a lot how the boys are adjusting and how attachment is going.  We decided as a family that staying home with the boys for the first weeks was the best thing to do. We've had a great summer.  We've spent lots of time at home just playing.  I think its been great for all of the kids.  I believe that bringing home our sons has strengthened our whole family.  It touches my heart to see how each of the kids are bonding with their brothers and how their brothers love them so much.  Just yesterday Zachary stopped in for just a minute and Isaac Buche didn't think that was how things should be.  A five minute stop was not enough time for them to play together.  He loves to hang out with his big brother.  And, moments like when I snapped the picture below touch my heart.  Grace was hand in hand with her brothers as she was saying "eh wed eh HA Lehoo" (I love you) Buche and Burka.  Sweet!  

It has also been so fun to watch the two little boys play together.  I absolutely love listening to them talk to each other in their native tongue.  It is precious.   As we prepared to bring the boys home we did much studying and research on bonding and attachment.  Although I think that was good, I've found myself learning much more after the boys have been home.  Things just make so much more sense now.  One of the things that I make sure to do is to have the boys look at me with eye contact when I'm talking to them.  I love looking into their beautiful brown eyes that are fixed on me when I'm talking to them.  So, a few mornings ago while the boys were playing together  Isaac Buche says to Isaiah Burka "Look at me!  I love you Booooka!".   They were locked in eye contact with their hands on each others cheeks.  I think they might be understanding me :)  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Anniversary to my love

It was May of 1990 when I met Ryan.  He loves to share with people that it was all a bet ... the friends he was with bet him that he could not find a prom date by the end of the night.  He landed next to me at the movie theatre.  I was 16 years old.   (Our son turns17 years old in a few days and I shutter at the thought of our son being older than I that day that I met Ryan!)   Well, he found his prom date that evening ... and the rest was history. I still have that little piece of paper he wrote his number on ...  

18 years ago today I was almost 20 years old, madly in love and made a commitment that would last "til death do us part".   I had no idea on that day what life would hold for the next 18 years ... which was probably a good thing because although I would not change the last 18 years for anything I'm not sure that it would not have seemed a bit overwhelming to have known what those years would hold for Ryan and I on the day we were married. There is wisdom in taking things one day at a time.  God amazes me at how he guides us through life giving us just the right amount of things that we need to handle along with exceeding amounts of joy all in His perfect timing.  

Just the other night, Ryan and I were talking about how ANYTHING is possible with God.  You know what his response was?  "Ya, I know that ... you know how I know that? Because we have soon made it through 18 years of marriage!"  Now, that might sound negative, but he did not mean it negative, nor did I take it negatively.  Marriage is a blessing ... but it is not always easy.  I like things my way all too often (did I just admit that in writing so there is proof?).  We have not always flowed through the dance of marriage gracefully, but I'm so thankful for the grace that Ryan has had for me as we learn dance through life together.  I thank God for giving us each the strength it takes to learn to dance together gracefully - more yet, how to come back together and dance together gracefully when things have been tough.  It is amazing how anything is possible ... how we can do all things through God who gives us strength.

I'm so very excited to see how God directs us through the rest of our marriage.  'Til death do us part' on this earth, Ryan ... and then in heaven forever!  I love you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Birthday, Ryan! 

You're growing old with me ...
but you know what?
The best is yet to be!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I get to be their mommy!

As I rocked my babes to sleep tonight I had just one thought...

How am I so lucky to have them call me mommy?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet times

Life is good!  We are all adjusting here at our house.  Ryan said the other day, "I can't image life with out the little boys" after he described how every time we had added a child to our family it's almost like we can't ever remember life with out them.  That's how we are feeling these days.  I can't image not having our twin toddlers.  They are amazing!  We love them so much.  I am so blessed to be their mommy.  I get to be a "stay at home mom" so I have not really been away from the boys much.  The other morning Grace had a dentist appointment and Amanda had a tennis lesson at 7:30am.  The boys were still tucked in and sleeping, so I left Hannah in change and took the other girls to town.  We were only gone for a few hours, but as I walked in the door I was greeted with big smiles on two little boys as they came running for a hug shouting out "mommy".  Life doesn't get better than that! 

Here they are playing us a song!

But, I'd be lying if I said there has not been some hard moments too.  There have been nights that either I wake up Ryan or he wakes me up after we've both fallen asleep in the rocking chairs with the boys ... at midnight hoping that we didn't fall asleep before them.  Life is exhausting these days but we wouldn't change it for anything.   Life is also emotionally exhausting.  We eased into "toddler-hood" (is that a word?) before, starting with a newborn.  Now we are trying to figure out when independence comes from being a growing boy and when it comes from spending much of the first years of your life in an orphanage.  And, then there is a whole new world that opened up in our hearts after we spent time in Ethiopia.  I hear about things like the severe drought in the horn of Africa and fall to my knees in prayer.  

We've been used to little girls here at this house.  Little boys have introduced us again to a whole new way to "play" - and there are two of them ... brothers ... the same age!  The saying "boys will be boys" has been used a few times.  Sometimes its lots of fun ... 

and ... sometimes it's not so fun.

One exciting, exciting, exciting thing that happened at our house is that Isaac got his cast off!  Yeah... now we've started spending time playing at the lake.  The boys love the wuha and are even starting to call it water!  Here's Greta and the boys on the dock and playing in the tube.

Some more English words the boys have started to say are 
and my favorite...
I love you

And their beautiful African accent make each of those words even sweeter.  I wish they would keep that accent forever!

Today, I'm thanking God for the blessings in my life - for my husband and each of my children.  For precious family and friends who have prayed for us, cooked for us, given the boys amazing gifts and just listened to us as we've needed to share our hearts.  The list goes on... when I keep things in perspective life overflows with pure joy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

5 weeks home (and one day) home

Yesterday marked the day that we had been home with our sons for 5 weeks.  What an amazing 5 weeks it has been! I am in awe at how God knits together families and so thankful for mine!

I've never shared this picture on my blog before, but this is the picture I first saw of my sons.  I knew as soon as I saw it that they were meant to be our sons.  

Here they are today.  I love these little guys and Thank God for giving them to us!