"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Taking a Moment to Remember the Mundane

I usually write a Christmas letter to send with our Christmas cards that contains little tidbits about what each of the kids is into, major events of the year, etc... Yep, a form letter!

Well this year I have written so much that I did not do the same type of form letter. I realized in the last few days that by NOT writing a silly form letter I have not taken time to document the ordinary. Because ordinary is what most of life is, I have chosen to document the ordinary right here right now.

(I bet you are really excited!)

Did you know that...
  • Krissy, Jay, and Sierra watch (un) Professional WWE Wrestling every single night.
  • Joshua loves the color red best.
  • Krissy is in choir - you will never see a photo though. She HATES pictures.
  • Brenna is addicted to TV and snack food.
  • Jamison likes to play video games and watch football at the same time.
  • Sierra plays piano.
  • Joshua has been on my hip for 6mo. yesterday!
  • Brenna likes to read dog books best, she also loves crafts, and cookie dough is her favorite food.
  • Krissy is totally stressed if she has less than a 95% in a class. Geometry is making her crazy. She says she is flunking with a B.
  • Chad finished painting Krissy's car. It will soon be seen on the streets with a 14 year old driver in the making... beware of yellow bugs! =)
  • Jamison's favorite teams are the Colts and the Celtics. He loves sports, both to watch and play.
  • Sierra wants a punching bag in her room. She is pure sweetness with a fiery temper and wants a punching bag to take out her aggression out on.
  • Krissy and Jay have to walk to school, even in the cold and snow. They do not approve.
  • Jamison shot his first grouse this fall.
  • Brenna will never, ever fall asleep watching TV (ask Grandma Donna!).
  • If the kids trade insults at the dinner table, they owe me a quarter. Meal time has gotten much more pleasant since I came up with this plan!
  • Some of my favorite things are dark chocolate with almonds, reading fiction, drinking coffee (a pot or so a day!), candles, my birthday, and silence.
  • I do not like everyday cooking - but love to entertain?!
  • I miss my friends.
  • Joshua's very favorite food is pizza. We eat it almost every day for lunch. I feel like I am back in college.
  • Chad has sold our fishing boat and purchased what I lovingly call a really fast pontoon. It seats 10. We are now taking reservations for the 2011 camping/boating season. Want to join us?

**Joshua goes to the doctor tomorrow. Please pray for this 9:30 AM appointment. It is only a routine exam. I suspect they will draw blood and perhaps start some immunizations. I have no medical concerns, only emotional ones. The first time Joshua saw the doctor (almost 6 mo.) ago was very, very scary for him. It was NOT the normal kind of scary, but truly traumatic. Our wonderful doctor recognized this and gave us 6mo. to bond before doing any more medical stuff since Joshua is so healthy. So tomorrow we start!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care

One of the really fun and also interesting things about Joshua being almost 3 his first Christmas home is that he is both really excited and really confused about all the Christmas stuff that is going on. It is amazing how many things kids just know and "get" because they have experienced it from day one. Christmas, American style, is new and crazy and weird (yep, one of his new words) and FUN!

Saturday, we braved Hobby Lobby in order to buy Joshua his very own Christmas stocking. It was a very fun and very memorable trip.

So below is a picture of ALL the "D" stockings hung with care:

Above is a close up of the stocking that Joshua chose. Notice NO Santa? Santa is becoming less scary and more fun, but he is still DEFINITELY pretend! Joshua picked a snowman stocking with BELLS!!!! He loves, loves music so the bells were the deciding factor.

The checkout line at Hobby Lobby was crazy long, so we decided to do some browsing in the hopes that the lines would get shorter. While we were browsing, God orchestrated something really cool.

You see, I have been thinking and praying about something we could have in our home in honor of Joshua's Ethiopian mommy. I was not sure if this were necessary, but at the same time it is very important to me that we talk about and show honor and love toward the woman who gave birth to, named, and nursed our son.

Well between God Almighty and Joshua Gebeyehu, my prayer was answered on Saturday in Hobby Lobby.

While we walked the aisles ever so slowly, Joshua and Brenna pointed out dozens of things. "Mommy look at that!" was the theme of the day! But when we got to this,

Joshua's window shopping was over. He saw this beautiful angel and very quietly said, "Mommy, Joshua hold it?"

He held this angel ever so carefully and stared into the face of both the angel and the baby.

He finally said, "Joshua?" while pointing to the baby.

I asked him what he thought.

He said, "Joshua."

Then he pointed to the angel and asked, "Mommy?" so softly and tenderly.

"Is that your baby mommy, Joshua?" I whispered.

He nodded. "Mommy pretty." he whispered back.

"Yes," I said in a teary voice. "Your baby mommy is so pretty."

"She hold you Joshua." he replied.

"Yes, Joshua. I am sure your baby mommy held you and loved you and kissed you." I replied.

"Yeah" my sweet son sighed.

"Mommy buy this for you please?" he asked.

"Yes, Joshua. Mommy would love to buy this for you." I answered.

Oh my sweet Joshua Gebeyehu, how I love you. And how I love your beautiful Ethiopian mommy that I never had the honor to meet.

**I sometimes wish certain posts could be private. This was an intense sacred moment. It still gives me chills. I have wondered if it is OK to post, yet why would I not publically acknowledge the beautiful way our sweet beautiful son chose to remember his Ethiopain mommy? Joshua, if someday this seems too personal to publish - I am sorry. It is also too special to forget, my son. And I never want either one of us to forget. To heal, yes. But never to forget or in any way disregard your baby mommy. She must have been something really, really special to give birth to a son as amazing as you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend in Pictures

Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorite long weekends of the year. I traditionally do not leave the house, but spend the whole weekend decorating for Christmas, cooking, and watching cheesy Christmas movies.

Here is a glimpse at our weekend.

Joshua is into books - here he is reading with Grandma Donna.

Here it is Daddy's turn to read.

Snuggling siblings.
(the littlest two were laying on Krissy but she did not allow me to photograph her pre-makup ...not that I blame her)

Daddy told Joshua he could "help" move snow with the jeep. Joshua was so totally excited he did not even allow Daddy time to brush his teeth before they got their shoes on to go!

Joshua made sure mommy was taking pictures!

There they are working hard!

Grammy was next in line to read to Joshua.

Daddy let him try Diet Coke - Mommy was not too excited - but Joshua loved it!

Krissy let Joshua play with her camera, he really enjoyed the super bright flash.

Here he is capturing Grandma Great and Grammy working on gravy. Joshua was super excited about this because he helped me buy a new strainer for Grandma Great to use and he could not wait to see how it worked. He ran to get it out of the cupboard for her the moment she walked in. He has THE best memory, it is truly shocking. AND he really loves Grandma Great.

One of my very favorite Christmas decorations is our "family tree." I have a small Christmas tree that my mom gave me when Sierra was born. It is decorated with framed pictures of the kids each year at Christmas. It is so fun to see how they have changed over the years. This is Joshua's first Christmas ornament. He and I were both so excited!

He hung it all by himself.

Thank you God that this cute Ethiopian cowboy is our son.

I asked, begged, or bribed - whichever was necessary - the kids into letting me take their pictures with a Santa hat on for a silly display I had in mind. It was really fun!

You will have to drop by to see the finished product!

I hope you had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving weekend as well.

Friday, November 26, 2010

All By Myself!

Today, for the first time in 6 months, I had 2 hours ALL BY MYSELF!

Chad took all 5 kids to the shop to work on Krissy's car and I was home all ALONE!!!!! decorating for Christmas! Then they brought my favorite pizza home for supper so I did not have to cook.

Aaaaaaahhhhhhh, as much as I totally adore being surrounded by one or two or five kids... alone felt really, really good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Got Thanks?

I have spent the week feeling SO thankful. All week I have either been near tears thinking about how blessed we are OR so joyful I thought my heart would burst. So imagine my surprise when on Thanksgiving Day my grateful heart is challenged...

Last night was a LATE night. My BFF from middle school came for dinner and we (and Joshua) were up late catching up. Joshua did not get to bed until 11 - yikes! He woke up this morning at 7 and called for me. So I stumbled into his room looking forward to a big Thanksgiving hug and snuggle. What I received was not such good news, "Mommy, Joshua kaka (poop) pull-up!"

My answer was total disbelief. He has never pooped in his pants. But it was true. There is NOTHING fun about changing an almost 3 year old's poopy pants, yuck!

The next thing I do is go into the kitchen, very quietly as everyone else is asleep, to mix up a pan of pumpkin bars for Thanksgiving dessert. Joshua loves to mix and we were having a super time... until Brenna woke up and snuck downstairs. Then Joshua followed. Then momma followed to remind them NOT to wake the big kids. Then my whole batter bowl of freshly mixed pumpkin goo slipped off the counter and ALL OVER my kitchen floor. I was not a happy momma.

First poop and then pumpkin! My first thought was to just give in and become GRUMPY! It had. not. been. a. good. morning! Thankfully, I quickly realized that I had a very important choice to make. I could choose to be thankful or I could choose to be grumpy.

It really is a choice.

So I chose to thank God that even though we will not have dessert this Thanksgiving, I would not have to scrape dirty food up off the floor and feed it to my children because it was all we had. I chose to be thankful because the spill had happened on hard flooring and NOT on carpet. I chose THANKFULNESS.

I would love to tell you that my heart has been totally thankful, peaceful, and joyful ever since, but the truth is I have had to continually CHOOSE to be thankful today. My flesh would like to just be grumpy, which quite honestly is irritating me because I have so very much to be thankful for. But perhaps what true thankfulness is all about is choosing to be thankful even when you do not feel it?

I have reminded myself of this verse many times today:

"Be joyful always;
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

The author of that verse faced much more dire circumstances than tired kids, poopy pull-ups, and pumpkin goo. He faced absolute persecution and finally death as an earthly "reward" for following Jesus. My concerns and moods are so very petty.

Forgive my humanness, Lord Jesus. Forgive me for my un-thankful grumpy heart. Thank you for blessing me with so much. All our needs have been met by You and You alone. Thank you as we are not deserving of the plenty, the muchness that we are surrounded with. Please continue to teach us your will for our life and all that you have given us. And Lord Jesus, I pray today that the two boys we sponsor in Africa are warm, clothed, and fed today. As we prepare a mountain of food to enjoy on this Thanksgiving day in America, I think of them and pray that they have enough food, hope, and love to sustain them. Thank you for saving our Joshua Gebeyehu. A year ago his life was bleak. Thank you for miraculously connecting our hearts. Thank you for the gift of our precious sons and daughters. Thank you for allowing us to be Your children. I am so unworthy of all I have received.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another milestone... Chewing Gum!

I finally broke down and bought Joshua his very own pack of gum! It is the "reddie kind like Sharlenie's gum!" (not the spicy kind like mommy's)

He could hardly believe his eyes...

"it is mine?"

"Joshua help you open it!"
(He wants to open it himself... he is still talking in the third person a lot.)


Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Printed to a Book

Anybody out there had their blogs printed into books?

I am preparing to do that and looking for advice. Please let me know if you have any! (I have found places online that will do it, but I would like testimonials from people I trust!)

Also let me know if you want a copy when I get that far. My preliminary research says it will be cheaper to buy multiple copies at the same time. (I will warn you that all spelling and grammar errors will remain. For a "real" publishing I would need to hire a REALLY good editor, but for the publishing of my scrapbook I have decided to leave the errors. They are just too me to remove.)


A Mommy Morning to Savor

I did not sleep well last night. For some reason as I tossed and turned it occurred to me that maybe I was awake because God had something to say to me. So I told Him that if He had something to say, I was listening. I slept some after that but woke up really early with the realization that during this Thanksgiving week, I should be concentrating on worship. Hmmm.

So I got up and opened my Bible. About the time I had settled into reading a sweet sleepy Joshua Gebeyehu voice called, "Mommy! Mommy!" So I went to snuggle with my son, asking God when and how I could make more time for Him? As we snuggled Joshua pulled my cheek tight to his in a monster hug and said,"I love you mommy" in a voice muffled by the thumb that was still stuck tight in his mouth.

It was a peaceful morning getting all the kids off to school. That is a miracle in and of itself on a Monday morning and it set the tone for a pleasant day.

Joshua and I stopped at the grocery store for a couple of items and it was snowing as we walked in. It is cold so our feet made squeaky noises on the snow that Joshua loved. He was totally fascinated with the sound. Then I showed him how to catch snowflakes with his tongue. We both giggled like crazy. When we got into the store he gently brushed the snowflakes out of my hair and looked deep into my eyes saying, "I love you Mommy."

We got home and I cooked while he played happily. About an hour into cooking he started to fake cry. (his sign that he needs me but is unsure how to ask for attention when he doesn't really NEED anything but some lovin') I put down the dirty dishes and picked up my baby. He snuggled in and said, "Thank you me mommy. I love it snuggle." We snuggled and tickled and giggled a while.

Then Joshua suggested we go downstairs to "Get down, lift you up, get down." At our church we do fun, crazy, dancing, praise music with the kids that come to our Wednesday evening children's programs. Joshua is not attending those yet. (He is too young and the evening at home with daddy alone is WAY more important this year.) But I have been playing him the DVDs of the songs the kids sing. He loves them. He loves music. He loves dancing and jumping. He is fascinated with guitars and microphones. His absolute favorite song on those DVDs is "He Lifts Me Up." Chances are Joshua has fallen for it because it has a lot of repetition in the lyrics and jumping in the actions. However worshiping with my sweet boy this morning gave me chills as I chose to let the message of the song soak in. You see Joshua has experienced dark days, crying, aloneness and he has also been lifted up. Thank you Jesus.

Here are some of the lyrics:
All I need's another day
Where I can't seem to get away
From the many things that drag me down
I'm sure you've had a day like me
Where nothing seems to set you free
From the burdens you can't carry all alone
In your weakness He is stronger
In your darkness He shines through
When your crying He's your comfort
When you're all alone, He's carrying you

I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down

This valley is so deep
I can barely see the sun
I cry out for mercy, Lord
(and) You lift me up again

I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down

As we sang and danced like crazy Joshua grabbed my leg for a huge hug and for the third time this morning said, "I love you Mommy! Thank you get down Joshua!"

I was humbled to realize that God absolutely made time for me to worship Him in the midst of my busy day being a mommy for Him. It was a sweet sweet time.

Joshua and I had some lunch together and I will share his thankful thoughts from our pre-lunch "Come Lordie Jesus" (that is what he calls praying).

Thank you God
  1. Daddy shopping (daddy is at the shop working)
  2. Mommy Joshua get down song
  3. Krissy,
  4. Jamison,
  5. Sierra,
  6. Brenna at school

It was a morning I just wanted to record and remember. I am trying to savor every bit of sweetness, every lesson, every giggle, all the joy, and some of the tears.

May you feel Him lifting you up today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Family Pictures

This is the picture of our family drawn by Brenna one year ago. At that time our dream of Joshua was incomplete. We had not yet seen his face, held him close, or heard him laugh. But he was very real to us just the same and we prayed for his safety and longed to have him home.

This is our family picture one year later. I can not tell you all the emotions that go with it. Joy and gratitude are at the top of the list.

This week I hung up all our new photos. Joshua was so thrilled. He used to point to the outdated family photos and ask, "Where or where is Joshua?"

Now Joshua is right in the center of our family picture. He is so happy to show them to everyone because HE is in them! He runs to point them out and proudly points out "Joshua!" and then the rest of his family.

He asked this week for me to put away a collage of pictures we had in his room. They were pictures of Joshua while he was in the care center in Ethiopia. He pointed to them one day while we rocked and said, "Mommy no I love it Ethiopia pictures. Take it down."

I asked what picture he would like in his room.

He jumped off my lap, ran to the livingroom and grabbed one of the new family pictures. He said, "Joshua I love it this one! No Joshua self picture. Joshua family picture in Joshua room."

We are remembering the treasure of belonging this Thanksgiving week.

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
2 Cor. 9:15

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mega Sleepover

Sierra had all her super-sweet girlfriends stay for a mega-birthday sleepover last night. I was worried, but it was truly a good time. The girls were silly, noisy, and very giggly. They played games, used the foot spa, painted nails, ate and ate some more, watched movies, danced, and laughed A LOT! Best of all they were all still friends this morning. NO GIRL DRAMA WHAT SO EVER!

The girls.

Game time.


Foot spa.

Completed toes!

After her friends left, Sierra wrote her thankful list:
  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Brian (Godfather and Great Uncle)
  4. Cindy (Godmother and Great Aunt)
  5. Riley
  6. Krissy
  7. Jamison
  8. Brenna
  9. Joshua
  10. family
  11. friends
  12. family friends
  13. God
  14. Jesus
  15. my home
  16. the world
  17. life and
  18. school (even though it's annoying.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweet Sierra Faith

Our Sierra Faith turned 11 today!

There has most likely never been a sweeter, kinder, more thoughtful, and enthusiastic birthday girl. No kidding - this daughter of mine has a way of making people feel loved and appreciated. I guess it is because she really does love and appreciate people! She can always find something good about EVERYONE! She is the first to make a kind comment - sincerely to cheer someone up or make them feel important. I call her irrepressible. She is like a balloon filled with helium, you can try to hold her down but she pops right back up again. Her enthusiasm and life challenge me to love more and be more every day.

Sierra chose cheesecake. (FYI, she did not blow out all the candles BUT she is also NOT allowed to have boyfriends!!)

Joshua and Daddy shopped for Sierra's birthday present last night while the older kids and I were at church. He was so excited to show me her gift when I got home! He brought it to her the moment he woke up this morning. After school, the youngest three cuddled up on the couch and gave Sierra's brand-new DVD player a try.

This skinny little sweetie loves, loves, loves to hunt. She can hardly wait until next year because she will be able to carry a shotgun. She is positive that she will clean anything she harvests, so Grammy bought her a hunting knife. I should have video of Sierra doing her best model run-way walk with her knife held on her hip. Cute and tough? Daddy says, "that's my girl!"

After it settled down a little (Grammy, Grandma, Grandma and Grandpa Great, and Aunt Cindy and Uncle Brian joined us for supper) the girls tried out Sierra's new stuff... the game Apples to Apples

and a bracelet making kit.

It was a fun evening! And Joshua did super! It was the biggest commotion we have had around here since he has been home. I told him multiple times throughout the evening that I was really proud of him. He played so nicely and remembered to let his siblings have turns talking. He was very "true to himself" in that he acted much like he would when it was just us in the midst of the crowd. So awesome my son!

**Keeping true to myself, I want to share a Yeah, God! moment from today. I have spent a bit of time preparing for a tax audit that was supposed to take place next Monday. That stuff stresses me out, lots... more than it should! We hire a terrific CPA that I trust, but being audited makes me feel suspect and under the microscope. Anyway, today I received word that the audit has been postponed indefinitely! YEAH!

Secondly, Chad received a signed contract for a job that will keep our guys busy for most of the winter! We have been slow this summer, which was wonderful in that it made both of us more available to our kids - but we really needed this project (and God-willing a couple more) to keep us going this winter. We are thankful for God's provision.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Telling His Stories

Over the last year I have felt called by God not just to find Joshua, but to carefully and publicly record our journey. Many times I have felt almost fidgety until I have taken the time to write about how God is speaking and working in my heart and life. Believe it or not, I am not ordinarily a very public person. I had serious doubts about blogging. I am much more comfortable keeping my life... especially my faith journey to myself.

To say I was "lead" to blog sounds totally wacko, even to me. But I believe I was. You see in sharing in this private yet public way, I have grown. I have been comfortable writing about conversations I have had with God that I would never have called up my friends to discuss. Wrong? Maybe. But true.

On this blog I feel free to be more transparent because I do not face any rejection. I can record my stories and you can read them or not. You can think I am nuts or you can be touched. I never know.

In the process of writing down many of the "God-instances" in my last year, I have been changed. Because I recorded them, I can not forget them. I can reread my own words and remember with total clarity the reason they were written, how God spoke to me, reassured me, comforted me, or challenged me.

The last year of sharing my faith on-line has also made me more comfortable sharing face to face. Comfortable, because I have practiced. Also comfortable, because I have discovered that the way I grow most is by hearing the way God is working in the lives of others. If their stories grow, encourage, and challenge me - mine just may do the same for someone else.

One thing I have been thinking about a lot lately is whether or not I share my "God stories" with my children frequently enough? That can be tricky. As parents we want to protect our kids from the tough stuff that is going on in our own lives. In the midst of the tough stuff is often where God is at. So sometimes because I do not want to burden my kids with the tough stuff, I neglect to share with them how God carries or instructs or encourages me.

I recently read this:

"We will not hide these truths from our children
but will tell the next generation about the
glorious deeds of the LORD.
We will tell of His power and the mighty miracles He did.
For He issued His decrees to Jacob; He gave His law to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them -
even the children not yet born -
that they in turn might teach their children.
So each generation can set its hope anew on God,
remembering His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.
Then they will not be like their ancestors -
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God."
Psalm 78:4-8

Those verses inspire me. I do not just want my kids to know about all the amazing stories of God through the Bible. Of course I want them to memorize scripture and to be familiar with Bible stories, but I also want them to KNOW that God is still alive and working today. I believe if I want them to have a person relationship with Jesus they need to know about mine!

I want them to know how God speaks to me. I want them to know that I pray for them and what I pray. I want them to know about the miracles that happen in our family. I want them to know that it is hard for me to follow at times. I want them to know my heart.

I also know that when I share my heart, they open their hearts to me and to God. Last week I told the kids that sometimes following the 10 Commandments is just not very convenient! Their ears perked up. I explained that I had been shopping that day and when I got home I discovered that the greeting cards I had meant to purchase got stuck under a case of diet coke. Since the cashier did not remove the case of soda to scan it, the cards were not noticed; thus I had not paid for them. I did not have time to return to the store that day, and quite frankly I did not ever want to -but to send a stolen card would just not be right! Sierra loved that story and immediately told me a story about having to make a tough choice during her day at school. By telling this simple story, Sierra was both reinforced for taking a stand and encouraged that it can even be hard for grown-ups to do what God would want them to do.

So, I encourage you (and me!) to "not hide the truths from our children" but to instead share the "glorious deeds of the LORD" that are happening in your life. I am sure that both our hearts and the hearts of our children will be changed in the process.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brenna Joy's Thankful Thoughts 2010

You may remember that before our kids are allowed to make Christmas wish lists I ask them to make a list of some of the things for which they are thankful.

Here is what Brenna is thankful for this year:
  1. joy
  2. faith
  3. friends
  4. family
  5. school
  6. toys
  7. God
  8. church
  9. Jesus
  10. food
  11. water
  12. house
  13. animals
  14. pictures
  15. hats
  16. clothes
  17. shoes
  18. fish tanks
  19. frames
  20. meat
  21. lights
  22. candles
  23. pumpkins
  24. baby wipes
  25. stores
  26. cabinets
  27. cookies
  28. wood
  29. glass
  30. chairs
  31. Ipods
  32. love
  33. DVD players
  34. strings
  35. swings
  36. slides
  37. cartoons
  38. leaves
  39. trees
  40. plants
  41. bracelets
  42. pop
  43. popcorn
  44. naps
  45. napkins
  46. the world
  47. space
  48. moon
  49. sun
  50. satellites
Brenna was determined to get to 50... and she made it! I am not totally convinced she is truly thankful for a few of these items, but who am I to judge? I might just remind her that she is thankful for naps sometime in the near future however!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Joshua's Birthday

I have had a few people ask me when Joshua's birthday is... and I have been stalling before I answer that question.

As part of the adoption process, Joshua was assigned a birthdate. That date is November 27, 2007. (Remember that Joshua was most likely born in his home. He was not issued a birth certificate at that time. We were unable to meet with any members of his Ethiopian family so we have no idea whether or not that date is something they would agree with.) Based on his size and development, that is a reasonable date. But I am really struggling with celebrating a "random" date as my precious son's birthday.

So... when we go through the readoption process we hope to change his legal birthdate to January 19, 2008. January 19 (2010) was the date we first saw his beautiful eyes. It is the day we claimed him as the son God had chosen for us. It is the day he was born in our family. It has HUGE significance.

In order to complete the readoption process in our state, children have to be in the US for 6 months. Joshua and I arrived home June 6 so we can not submit our paperwork to the courts until December 6... after his Ethiopian "birthdate." The attorney I have just begun working with has never been asked to change a child's birthdate before, so I am unsure whether or not the courts will grant my purely emotional request. (In our case the request is purely emotional. However there are many occasions where the Ethiopian birth estimate is quite a bit off. I know of many children whose birthdates have been changed as a part of readoption. But they lived in different states and had "better" reasons.)

So, what we have decided to do this year is celebrate on January 19. Besides the fact that I ABSOLUTELY have to celebrate in a BIG happy way on THE DAY I first lay claim to this beautiful child, I think Joshua will have more fun celebrating his third (yet first) birthday after taking part in a few more family parties. Afterall anticipation is half the fun of a birthday!

So, the temporary (and hopefully forever) date we will celebrate Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D's life will be January 19, 2011!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sausage Making

Ever wonder if you married into the wrong family???

Once a year I am subjected to a long standing "inlaw"family tradition.... SAUSAGE MAKING! It is the only time I ever wonder if I was cut out to be a Chad's wife. I try, but I am just not a fan.

However, in my husband's family sausage making is almost an art form. They butcher their deer themselves - yep... Chad and the oldest kids spent days cutting meat off deer bones. Yuck! Then they cut up pork, grind the pork and venison pieces together, season it, taste test, season it some more, taste test, approve the seasoning, stuff it into casings, smoke it, cool it, package it, and FINALLY freeze it.

The first 12 (or so) years we were married, I was a big part of this process. I was not enthusiastic, but I pitched in. Sometime in the last four years Chad noticed my intense dislike for the whole messy process and has let me off the hook! I really, really appreciate that!

This year I was not only "exempt" from all parts of sausage making, but he did it all in the garage! It really was wonderful not having all that meat mess inside my kitchen.

So for the benefit of all my sausage-making-and-loving-it inlaws, I have a few pictures for you!

Sierra loves every part of sausage making!
Krissy, Jamison, and Sierra helped a ton this year! Other than skinning and quartering the deer they were involved with every step. Chad was very thankful for the enthusiastic help! (ME TOO!!!)
Joshua hung out in the garage, playing, watching, and splashing in the messy water every chance he got. In fact, I bought him new tub crayons to make coming in for bath not quite such a drag.
He loved them! (Great fine motor skill practice in disguise, too)
Krissy snapped this picture of Joshua and I watching them work. It is not too often that mom is not in the middle of the work around here!

And in case you are wondering... Joshua LOVES sausage. (He loves ALL meat!) But he thoroughly enjoyed all the taste testing involved in sausage making. They made three different types of sausage and he approved each and every one of them!