Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School: 2011

We weren't sure the first day of school was going to happen this year. I mean, we knew it would happen...eventually...we just weren't sure that it was going to happen today.

Hurricane Irene struck yesterday - and although it was less than devastating (far less), we did lose our power for 28 hours, 32 minutes, and 14 seconds...or so.

The kids had to brush their teeth "Africa-style". Bottled water only because we had no running water.

This year is a BIG year for our family because Amaya started Kindergarten at the same school that the older kids are attending. Did you catch that? 1 school, all 3 kids. One drop-off! Holy cow, life is good! (she was just a wee bit excited!)

Amelle and Avery had a lot to smile about too - they are attending a new school this year - one with a less stringent dress code! Amelle gets to wear "regular clothes" - which was kind of exciting!

Avery still has to wear a collared shirt - but there is freedom in colors and styles. He wanted to go on record as being "unhappy" about starting school. Although he's glad to be going to a new school, lets' face it, school is far less enticing than summer, so he wanted to ensure that his picture did not depict a smile. ...even though I was making strange fart noises to try to force a smile. He was stone cold.

3 kids. 1 school.
I can't stop pinching myself.

It was extra-special to find a friend waiting for us in the parking lot. Ellie is also attending Seacoast Christian this year - friendly faces are good on the first day at a new school.

Don't ask me why that picture is blurry - I'm going to blame it on the fact that we were late. Or maybe Renee pushed me as I snapped. Or maybe my focal point was aimed at that little spot of rotten wood between Ellie & Amelle's legs. You'll never know the truth.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bridge Jumping!

Bridge jumping has become a favorite sport around here. on Friday when I received a text from a friend that she was headed to the bridge...

...I alerted my troops and within minutes they were in bathingsuits and we were headed out the door.

Avery is the real jumper in the family...Amelle has done it, but has no real desire to continue doing it. Amaya can't wait to jump - but I think she needs to become a stronger swimmer (there is a current).

In the meantime, she can paddle a kayak! (which I got to try and LOVED)

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nature Walk - People

All the photographs from our nature walk should be on one post.
I am lazy.
And Picasa only uploads 4 pictures at a time. are the peeps.

Will & Avery

Wow I should have cropped this picture. (I'm too lazy to go back and do it now). Sorry Beckett.

The gang - minus me
(again, I was apparently too lazy to set up the auto-timer)

Heading home

Nature Walk - Sites

Today Wendy and I packed up the kids and headed to Grandma's house.

Grandma has a great neighborhood for nature walks

Lots of trails

and fun signs

and scenery

Good times.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do I Know Her?

Amaya doesn't like witches. The whole witch thing dates back to here...(when she was three we went to a Fall Festival - everything was wonderful - until a witch spontaneously rode through the crowd on her bicycle). Amaya didn't soon forget her and her cycling ways.

But that witch was the furthest thing from my mind when Renee invited us to see The Wizard of Oz at Prescott Park a few weeks ago.

Until Amaya realized that a witch would be appearing in the show. Then came the questions..

"Will the witch have a green face?"

"with pimples?"

"will she have black clothes?"

"will she have a broom?"

"do I know her?"

Monday, August 22, 2011

My First Medal

A few weeks ago our family participated in a walk for ana-cepha-somethingorother. Its a condition where a baby is born with a life threatening illness and either dies in utero or shortly after birth. My friend Renee was asked to photograph the event and she asked me to tag along and take pictures with her. That just spells "good times" to me.

Jermaine thought it would be a good opportunity to walk with Amelle, so they did the 5K walk together. Avery jogged the 5K walk so he could be the first walker to finish. He's a mess.

After the walk was over there were some "fun run" races lined up for the kids. Amaya was in (after we bribed her with a McDonald's ice cream). Don't judge.

Amaya runs fast. She's got some Serena Williams legs and they move! The top part of her body is so perfectly upright, yet her legs are moving like lightening underneath. It's slightly awesome. I secretly couldn't wait to see how fast she would be compared to others her age.

She took off at the "get ready". Who cares... "get set" and "go" are for suckers.

Unfortunately the dude in the black shorts is the 5yo, American, white Usain Bolt. He killed it.


...lucky for us...they were giving out 2nd place medals.

My girl was JAZZED. "I got my first medal"


Saturday, August 20, 2011

She's a Biker

Amaya learned how to ride without training wheels today.

Dirt took her to the middle school track and within moments she was off...

circling the track with her biker posse

then we decided to have some fun "showing motion" with my camera

Amelle was moving at the speed of light...she is the pink vapor.

Seriously, that chick did 7 miles around that track today. I'm surprized she didn't end up with vertigo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Little Pink Lifeline

Two weeks ago I received an email from B with a phone number on it. He asked me to call him. I waited up until midnight so that I could catch him first thing in the AM. At 12:05AM I dialed the ridiculously long number and an older Ethiopian male answered, "Hello". (This was a good sign). I asked for B, then I heard a bunch of kids in the background. Then his voice. "Hello".

I melted.

His voice was so clear it was like he was calling from the next room. He said exactly what I was feeling, "I miss your voice".

After 28 minutes he had to go, apparently the owner of the cell phone wanted it back. After two years you would've thought that maybe it would dawn on me to get him a cell phone that I could call whenever I want...but noooo. It never ever ever even crossed my mind. Duh.

B mentioned that if he had his own cell phone I could call him any time (hint, hint). It only took me a millisecond to realize that I had probably three old cell phones in our kitchen junk drawer. He told me it would cost 60 birr to activate it. I was like, "60 dollars?". He responded, "No, 60 birr". Um. 60 birr is like $3.50.

At 12:35am I found myself rummaging around for the cell phone charger that matched a pink cell phone from our "junk drawer". The next day I packaged it up with 60 dollars (just to be safe) and sent it to a friend who was headed to Ethiopia.

I felt funny sending my 14-yo son a pink cell phone, but seriously, the pink thing doesn't seem to be an issue for boys in Ethiopia. Yesterday he sent me his new number and today I called and talked to him. Twice.

I called first thing in the morning, but then he wanted to hear Avery's voice - so Avery had to call him when he woke up. So precious. I love having a way to talk to him whenever I want. And he can talk to me whenever he wants by sending me a message on FB or email for me to call him.

Who would've thought that my lifeline to B would be a little pink phone? least until Dirt gets the phone bill.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

My Idea of Fun

Last week my friend Renee came over to play photography with me.

We set up my fake studio and added some moving targets (the kids).

then we played in Photoshop





Good times.

Friday, August 05, 2011

God is Good!

Even when he doesn't say yes to me. He's good. His plans are good and His timing is perfect.

Today the courts closed for the next six weeks. We were not submitted because we are still waiting on a piece of paper.

God had 6 weeks to get a piece of paper from point A to point B so that we could get submitted to court before they closed and He chose not to. If He had wanted it to happen, He would have made it happen...He wouldn't have even needed to perform anything miraculous. Six weeks is plenty of time to get a paper from A to B - even in Africa. Because He is God, I can rest in His sovereignty and His promise that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). He has given me peace.

That's not to say I'm not disappointed. I'm heavy-hearted. My emotional state can best be described by a sigh. I'm not sure what hurts more, the fact that B's homecoming will be delayed, or the fact that God did not say yes to my zillions of prayerful pleas for a September homecoming date. I want to shake my fist in the air and holler "Why?" - but that just feels stupid. He's God. He's got His reasons and they're good...even if I don't agree. His ways are higher than my ways and when He exercises His will, He doesn't need to answer to me.

As I hung up with our social worker tears welled up in my eyes. The realization that "it was over" overcame me. Every single day for the last four weeks I have waited with expectancy for the phone to ring between 10am and 12pm. Every day I have endured the ping of disappointment when the phone did not ring. Every day I would nervously recalculate the likelihood that we would get submitted before the looming court closure date.

It sounds like the paper might take a week to get into B's file (of course I've heard that timeline many times before). I'll get "the call" when the paper makes it there. Next week I will take a break from my expectant waiting and the following week I resume until I get that good news phone call.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

3 Days

Sometimes I feel like I'm the Queen of Bad News on this blog.

Tuesday came and went, and news. There are three days left until the court closes for 6 weeks. Today (which is half over in Ethiopia), tomorrow and Friday. Even if we did get the referral today, God would have to do the impossible to get us submitted to court before it closes.

Yesterday I decided to pray instead of emailing my caseworker. I figured I was emailing someone who can't do anything instead of praying to the One who can do everything. I prayed. You prayed. We all prayed. Yet yesterday came and went without any sign of good news.

Last night I was sick. Sinus stuff. Amaya laid in bed next to me and told me she felt sad that I was sick, so I told her that she could pray for me. She said, "that never works". My heart broke. Partly because she lacked faith, and partly because I had been feeling the same way. All this praying, 6 weeks to get one piece of paper was more than enough time - why didn't it happen? Why pray if God doesn't answer our prayers?

Just like Amaya is five, I'm spiritually five. So young and foolish about my faith sometimes. As if I'm the boss and He must do what I say. I'm so thankful He doesn't let me call the shots. If he did, this world would be insane (and chocolate would have zero calories). I digress.

I encouraged Maya to pray for me anyway, and she did. Then I prayed for God to strengthen her faith by giving me some noticeable relief from my sinus pain - for her sake (and for mine!). Last night the sinus pressure was so great I fell into tears and this morning I woke up relieved of all the pain and pressure. I couldn't wait to tell Amaya that God answered her prayers.

He is still hearing and answering prayers. He is still paying attention to us. He is going to do this in His time, for His Glory.

Monday, August 01, 2011

One Tooth Less

Amaya lost her front tooth on Saturday.

She was determined to pull it out. ..and out of nowhere she came downstairs with a bloody paper towel and a big smile. She yanked it out all by herself.

She's independent like that.

A missing front tooth is a camera-crazed mother's dream come true.


We did a photo shoot.

Of course, now the other front tooth is wiggly.