Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts


Gratitude: Day Thirteen

I am grateful for Hubs' family and all our extended family. My kids hit the jackpot of Grandparents on both sides of the family. Cousins and aunts and uncles too... It's almost not fair. They are supportive and loving across the board.

We are so blessed.


Gratitude: Day Ten

Today I am thankful for my parents.

Who support me through every single off-the-beaten-track idea I've ever had. (I started at a young age.)

Who love Ethiopia, donate to causes I care about, and my mom who now goes up to Ethiopians wherever she spots them to talk about Ethiopia and her Habesha grandson.
Who get special needs and don't criticize my parenting.
Who don't dismiss me, even when they don't agree with me.
Who visit and call and want me to visit and call.
Who laugh at my jokes.
Who tolerate and forgive so much.
Who paid for my violin lessons and supported choir, school plays, Saturday all-day dance rehearsals, made me clean the bathrooms, made me go Christmas caroling at nursing homes and at the home every widow they could think of.
Who decided at least half my childhood that we didn't need television in our house and took us to the library.
Who befriended the librarians who hooked us up with all the newest books and forgave our library fines.
Who encourage, support, advise, and work hard.
Who love their six kids and nine grandkids.

I am so lucky.


Easter Stay-Cation Weekend Picture Extravaganza

I have not yet had the guts to try a road trip with the little people and flying with them seems daunting, too. But ever since traveling to Ethiopia last June, which while lovely was not exactly a vacation, I have felt trapped. It might be all in my head, but it's just so dang hard to pick up and go anywhere, be it church, the store, trips have seemed forever away from possible.

To break up the normalcy we decided on a little stay cation we found a nearby hotel --which would be free for us using hotel points from an oft-traveling Daddy, and the number one selling point of the place was a warm pool.

Can you find the baby hiding in the luggage?

I took nary a picture of us enjoying this pool since it required all hands on deck the make sure no one drowned, but believe me when I say the Sheraton in a highly unattractive setting on a busy highway in Norwood, MA boasts one of the nicest, warmest pools I've ever seen at a hotel, and the rooms were surprisingly lovely.

Why are bathrooms in other places so fun?

It's too bad two things happened. The first being Hubs decided twenty-four hours into our stay to share with me tidbits he learned when he sat next to a hotel inspector on his last business trip. Things about how filthy hotel rooms are, how poorly the rooms are cleaned. How everything my kids had been touching and licking contains every disgusting germ and bodily fluid in the known universe. I had the heebie jeebies the rest of our stay despite being armed with Clorox wipes.

Public Service Announcement: Don't use the comforter on hotel beds. Ever. Rip them off, throw them on the ground, put on Hazmat suit to touch them. Don't rest on them, put babies on them, sit on them.They are cleaned less than once a year, if ever. Also, don't touch the remote for the TV unless you wash it with something first. They are never cleaned ever. They are the filthiest part of a hotel room.

Look at the cute girl, eating near a hotel bed comforter. I might as well have fed her giardia or chlamydia. Eek!

Oh and look, what you thought was a sweet baby napping after a good swim is now proof of child abuse, as he is burying his nose in, drum roll....a filthy comforter!

The second unfortunate happenstance was that Cookie Monster contracted a stomach bug. We learned that he has amazing control of his body, and no matter what wanted to come out from what orifice he can wait until he's in a safe, authorized place to let it all out. Sorry, I know that was a bit much info but man, this boy amazes me. Despite his talents in the flu-arena, it was unfortunate that he was not himself, a bit out of sorts, and just wanted to sleep most of the time.

It got worse when he kept waking up Tsega at night needing to run to the toilet. So, since the hotel was a measly 15 minutes from our house, Hubs took him home so the rest of us could sleep in relative peace.

Things didn't work out perfectly with our getaway, but it was still fun.  Couldn't have done it without Grandma Jane to help us.  Bedtime is always more fun with Grandma to read stories, make up games, and keep Mommy sane.

We will see if I can ever stay in hotel again without weeping over the hidden filth.

This Easter we opted for zero reference to or about the Easter Bunny. The week leading up to Easter we spent a lot of time reading about the last week of Jesus' life. I think most folks, even lukewarm Christians have a hard time with Easter Talk with kids, especially compared to Christmas. A baby being born and angels and gifts is pretty fun, even if based on miraculous premises. That is not a hard tale to tell. But a man being betrayed by one of his closest friends for money, and followers turning on him when days before they'd loved him, and then him being, mocked, tortured and killed after he suffers immeasurable pain for all the people who have ever been born and who would ever be born?  It's violent, and horrible. But oh, the messages.

I love wiping tears from my eyes telling my kids about how Jesus, while suffering, prayed for God to forgive the people who were hurting him. Whether you believe in God, or Jesus or not, that is the kind of person we ALL can learn from.  Samantha surprised me by piping in "Mom! Ruby Bridges prayed for the people that were yelling at her when she walked to school, just like Jesus!" I can't believe she remembered that from this book:

And the message of the Resurrection, that we all will live again, be returned to bodies made whole, because Jesus was first to do so. That this life is only part of our eternal souls' journey, well, the beauty of this message of hope was what we focused on this Easter, and it felt good.  Inspired by a friend, we used Resurrection Eggs and the book Benjamin's Box and they worked beautifully. The kids loved it. No one was scared or traumatized. Messages received loud and clear. And then thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, they got a good ol' fashioned egg hunt with cousins.

I love the baby feet in this picture

Is this not a highly attractive man?

In case you weren't sure, here he is again, with our monstrous preemie

Pooling the loot

Cousin S got a gooey spider in one of her eggs

Happy (late) Easter, or in Amharic Melkam Fasika!

*update: upon reexamining this post I wanted to mention that I don't think the Easter Bunny is bad. I think one can have a lovely Easter devoid of religion and more about family if that is how you celebrate. I think dying eggs and candy is awesome. We just did it differently this year. In later years we might bring back more of the frills. Dear Internets, please don't think I am an Easter Snob. I couldn't bear it.



The children had the blessing of meeting and spending time with some of their great grandparents a few weeks ago. They were rightly enamoured with their Grandma Joy. When asked why? the consensus centered on the awesomeness of her white hair. I hope in time they will learn the other more substantial reasons she is a wonderful human.

The real kicker was my eldest. She has personal space preferences. Not a real cuddler. To see her sidle up to a stranger, even one professing to be her great-grandmother, and touch and talk and breathe the same air was a thing of beauty. Kindred spirits these two.



Here are some in the runnings. Thanks to my wonderful sis-in-law for hosting a perfect Thanksgiving! Well, the Patriots winning helped too.

Love these cousins. Now, on to Christmas. Yikes.



Tsega  came to our family five months ago. Has it only been that long? We celebrated T's joining our family with a few very special milestones. One of which is that he failed to qualify for Early Intervention. His social, physical and cognitive development is average or above average for his age. I became weepy as the women read to me their assessment and observations. Our little man has overcome so much, and to see him grow in areas of development to the point of looking like he'd never been in an instutitional setting, well, it was overwhelming.
He also was able to meet my grandparents, who flew to Boston for a visit.

He met my father, Papa Randy, who apparently is the Tsega Whisperer. I've never seen him take to a stranger like my dad, in that he was actually himself.

He met Aunt Megan, Hubs' little sis, who is one of my go-to examples of excellent parenting and who I am horrified to say I didn't photograph with Tsega boy. Along with Hubs' parents, these lovely folk joined our family for a special ceremony we call in our church a "sealing." In Mormon temples, marriages are performed not "til death do us part" but for "time and all eternity." Children joining familes by birth are automatically sealed to their parents in the eternal family. Children adopted have the opportunity to be sealed to their adoptive families, and the ceremony is very sweet and meaningful in our faith.

In the temple some of our dear friends and family surrounded us in a little beautiful room. All our children were so beautiful, and serene. Sun streamed in on Tsega from a stained glass window and everyone in the room seemed to glow, and as he placed his little hand on ours and the words of the sealing were spoken, I thought about his mother. What would she think about this? Would she be ok with it? Would he grow up to wish he'd been sealed to his birth family and not us? I don't know. I felt peaceful, though.

The cast of weekend heroes.

Afterwards we had a little lunch catered by the one and only Fasika. No, friends, I didn't even think about whipping up a feast of Ethiopian food for this many people. This awesome restaurant in Somerville cooked all the food ahead of time for us, we picked it up and partied at home. For all you Bostonian adoptive families, next time you need to celebrate a birthday or family-a-versary Habesha style I highly recommend giving them a call.

here I am, basking in the happiness of dishing up food I didn't have to make

Our dear friends Jenn and S came as well. I don't know how I'd live without Jenn. Little S was in Tsega's same orphanage in Addis. She has three Scoopingitup boys she can choose to marry one day. I don't care which one, as long as she keeps it in the family. Did I mention they live ten minutes away? Bliss.

Attempting the obligatory all-kids-in-traditional-clothes-shot.

oh well...

My mom, who has been here for seven -yes, seven- weeks helping me stay afloat made a necessary return to her real life tonight. I am trying to be all grown up and stoic and non-devastated. She helped until the bitter end, clean laundry she was attempting to fold had to be wrested from her death-grip as she was ushered out the door. To say she is generous and amazing are gross understatements. She will be sorely sorely missed. And isn't she beautiful?

It was a wonderful weekend, full of fun, family, and not enough napping. Happy five months, Tsega.
Behtehleku ewedehalew-
I love you so much.