Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's really more about protecting them from themselves

Prtoecting them from crashing into each other.

From the full speed blind charges into me.

From falling headlong from their perch on my back.

From the embarassment this picture will cause them someday in their wedding video childhood picture montage.

And protecting their baby sister from flying gazoombas.

And probably a little bit of protecting her from dad.

 Either I am making funny faces at Sophie... or someone stepped on my sensitve bits. It's all about protecting those as well.

Think she will figure out that she didn't get into this family exactly the same way the rest of us did?  I'll try to protect her from anyone who wants to make an issue of that too...

All creachers and mamles ulowed

At the A,B,C Orfunige and the Elfebet Orfanige.

I supposed it's better than their usual stuffed animal games where every animal dies, and then its mother and father are sad.  But we might have to curtail the orfunige games when Sophie gets a little older...

They made it

Their first day of Kindergarten...

To their last.

Hey look!  A roly-poly!!!

Here come the graduates.

I won't bore you with home videos of their thrilling songs and recitations for graduation.  We recorded all of Ella's, and I don't know that we've ever gone back to watch it.  So I am guessing you don't want to see it.  Needless to say, they were all adorable, and ours were surprisingly well behaved.  But heck...  keeping their hands out of inappropriate places for the whole program probably would have met our exectations, so actually singing along was a bonus.  Especially given that they both had epic meltdowns on the ride to school, just because they couldn't take their V-smile along.  Wouldn't be a complete last day of school without a meltdown!

Afterwords, they had to pose with their kindergarten crush, Chloe.  You've also got to say her name with a dreamy drawn out kindergarten crush voice...  Chloooooooeeeee...

And of course, their fantastic teachers, Mrs. Marquard and Miss Nikki.  I'm not sure how you actually got them to (mostly) behave and sit still long enough to learn something, but somehow you did.  Thanks again for being awesome teachers.  Maybe Luke will wander his way through there in a few years, just to uphold the tradition.

They will also miss Wall-e, their automatic trash can.

Mrs. Marquard informed me one day that the state had given the school some grant money.  I believe it was money from some tobacco tax that I am sure I voted against.  The money for their class was specified for a trash can.  Something about having a cleaner and more sanitary classroom environment.

Uhhhhh huh.  I've got two boys that I am constantly yelling "HANDS OUT OF YOUR PANTS!!!" at.

In public.

A trash can that opens itself isn't even going to put a dent in the sanitary condition of their hands, much less anything else in that classroom they touched (Sorry Marquard and Nikki.  We tried.  We really did.)

Mrs. Marquard said that they don't get any state funding, so this was fairly unusual.  I clarified for her that not getting state funding is actually a selling point for me, not a downside.

Ahhhhh, government!

Now it's on to first grade, where Mrs. Renaud has been warned that the next two won't likely be quite as... compliant... as their older sister.

The way-sin kind

In college, we drank whole milk. Like... straight from the cows. One roomate worked at the local dairies, the other lived on one. Six college guys can go through a ton of milk, so access to free milk was awesome.

Of course, after several years of that, I now have an ingrained habit of shaking the milk prior to pouring, just to make sure nothing has settled.

Even though we drink almost only skim (hardly qualifies as milk.)

But somehow a gallon 2% made it into the house. Heaven in a cup, is what I call it. So I pulled it out and gave it a shake.

And saw brown bits go swirling by.

Hmmmm. Expiration date is still good.

Sniff. Doesn't smell rotten.

Taste. Nothing wrong there.

Turns to children...

"Did anyone put something in the milk jug?"

"I did!" pipes the youngest boy, with obvious pride in his handiwork.



"What kind?"

"The way-sin kind!"

Hmmmm. You are supposed to do that the other way around boy.

Still tasted like heaven in a cup though. Even with little brown bits.

I guess being able to READ isn't a job requirement for this company



Needless to say, we won't be hiring Scorpion Sweepers to do a "behavioral study" of the "active scorpions" in our backyard. Sounds like a scam to me anyways.

OK, just visited their website.  "Scorpion Sweepers uses a completely natural and safe extraction method, removing each scorpion one by one from your property. Our chemical free process is completely safe."

FOR $65 A SWEEP!?!?  Are you kidding me?  We bought a $20 UV flashlight at Ace Hardware.  That, and a stick, and I can "sweep" the backyard for free.

On the plus side, Noah may have a golden opportunity here to fund his text message habit.  Assuming he can find anyone gullible enough to pay $65 for someone to smash scorpions.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Perhaps it was a bad idea to ever explain to him the concept of a text message

I worked today, so that I could take a day off later this week.  Since no one was in the office, it means I actually got 8 hours worth of work done today, instead of approximately 2.5 (if I am lucky.)

As I was leaving, one of the kids started texting me.  Yes, they've all discovered texting.

Uh huh, sure mom "dose."  I got home and hunted down the culprit, who was easy to spot by the you-know-what eating grin on his face.

Me:  "Noah, did mom know you had her phone?"

Noah:  "Yes."

Paige:  "How did you know he had my phone?"

Me:  "Cause he texted me about 20 times."

Paige:  "Noah, I thought you were texting Aunt Lindsey?  How did you text dad?!?!?"

Noah:  "Well, I just went back to messages and saw Jason Addink so I picked him."

Uhhhhhhhhh oh.  If he figured out how to change who he is texting...

{goes upstairs to retrieve the phone and check}

Yeah, sorry about that Grandma Meyer, Denese, Janna, Krystal, Gina, Ruth, Sabrina, Grandma Addink, Angie, and Mrs. Marquard.  Paige wasn't just texting you random greetings.  That was our chief mischief maker.  Kid managed to fire off multiple texts to 12 people in under 7 minutes.  And he is 5.  This is not a good trend...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last waterslide before the rapture

And the first waterslide of the summer season.  We set the waterslide up in the front yard yesterday afternoon.  One of the neighbor girls from our home group joined us as well.

We bought this three years ago when Levi and Noah were Luke's age.  Best money we ever spent on a birthday present.

Shhhhhh, don't tell his mother.  It was this, or let a dripping wet kid in on the wood floors to use the proper facilities.  I chose to preserve the wood floors rather than his dignity.

Ella still hasn't outgrown the fun.

Karter was a little daredevil.

Noah, with no fear.

Levi apparently took a good tumble off the side of the slide while I wasn't watching them.  He spent the rest of the time cautiously going down with a tight grip on the side rail.  Must of been a good tumble if it slowed Levi down.

Karter trying to warm up her little buddy Luke.

And since I am posting this on Sunday, we are obviously all still here, and will get to enjoy another summer of watersliding...

Sophie's First Birthday

What to the EVBC Commons and Sponge Bob have in common?


I can't think of anything really.  Except Sophie's birthday party / open house.  We rented the Commons so that people could come meet her, and so we wouldn't have 50 some people in our house.

Paige's friend from church made us an awesome cake.

We brought the birthday girl.

Who couldn't wait to dig in.

And then did.

Of course, we found out a few days later that she has Giardia.  Which can make digestion of sugar difficult.  Which explains why the entire piece of cake she ate didn't stay down for long.  She enjoyed it though!

So where does Sponge Bob play into all this?  Paige rented a giant bounce house for the older kids to play in.  Apparently someone offered her a deal on a bounce house... significant savings if you chose the bounce house with the weird sponge and his friends.  Being a good Dutchwoman, she went with the cheaper one.  Even if church seems like an odd place for a giant sponge.

Two other tidbits.  We opened all the presents when we got back home.  Someone thoughtfully gave us this little toy... which we all found to be nearly as weird as a giant sponge.  So you just in case you are reading this, we do sincerely appreciate the gift, as it gave us all a good laugh.

We also got this spinner car toy thing.  Levi fairly quickly snatched it and repurposed it.  This inventiveness could be very, ummmm, interesting come college.

Thanks to everyboy who came to help us celebrate!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

So how is is going?

The first question everyone asks is how is it going? Followed by how is Sophie adjusting? So here is my summary for all three of you out there wondering.

It's going great.

The first week provided the least amount of sleep as I tried to convince our daughter that day and night were now reversed. She eventually got the hang of it and I am very grateful. I already blogged about her pediatrician visit after three days home. Our pediatrician was very pleased with her overall health and growth. Today we had a follow up appointment and a one year well visit.

So after two weeks of being home Sophie had gained a pound, grown an inch longer, and her head grew another cm. My doctor just chuckled when she saw her growth curve go straight up in two weeks time. She might be a big girl after all, now that she is getting adequate nutrition. Time will tell.

All her medical reports from her blood work came back with good results. Her stool study came back with a diagnosis of giardia, which we already expected. We have been on meds for two full days now and the treatment lasts for five. The goal is for better intestinal health by killing the parasites, but I am here to tell you that today was by far the winner for nonstop blow out diapers! Disgusting! Let's hope we improve over the next three days.

Sleeping is going very well. She takes two naps a day for 2-3 hours each. She goes down with no fussing at all. Wakes up screaming and mommy comes running, so she has me trained well already. She goes down great at bedtime too, but still wakes for that middle of the night feeding she was accustomed to getting at Toukoul. She has skipped it a few times by herself, so I am hoping she will out grow it herself by getting more nutrition in the day and the reassurance that she will never go hungry. For now, when she cries at 2 am she gets a bottle. Thankfully she goes right back to sleep.

She is getting braver in her surroundings and can be found crawling through the house getting into all kids of things that siblings have left lay all over the place. She is still a bit wary of the dog, but every once in a while she will crawl up to Banjo and just touch her. She will pull herself up to play at her musical table, but mostly just crawls. She keeps a close eye on my proximity at all times and while she can be on one side of the room fine one moment, she will panic the next, bursting into tears, until I come and pick her up.

She loves to play with her daddy but does it better if I am not around. If I pass by she will cry and reach for me. She screams loudly and the tears come instantly. A faker at times, but she knows how to make her needs known. I wear her on my back in the Beco often, so that I can accomplish a few simple things around the house, or so my arms are free to hold Luke.

She really is adjusting to all these changes well. I feel so sad when I think that she has only been here two weeks and how foreign it must all feel to her. We are her fourth change of care that we know of in her first year of life. There was her birth mom, the orphanage in Harar, the Toukoul orphanage (who knows how many different care givers there in the course of 9 months) and now home with us.

That is a lot of change in 12 months of living.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The City of Addis

Thanks to our friends Adam and Sabrina, I ran across this video on their blog.  We didn't go to any of these places while we were there... but the sights are the same.  The goats, the kids in school uniforms, billions of blue Toyota vans, the crazy haired old men in the streets.  Is it weird that I felt like I missed it a little bit when I watched this?

The video is produced by the same guy who runs the Ethiopian Guest HomeObviously has a heart for Ethiopia and the people there, and we loved staying at his guest house.

We actually seem to have spent a huge portion of our time there like this.  It's the drive from the Toukoul Orphanage to the YGF Guest House on our first trip.  Sped up 8X.  Don't miss the guy at 29 seconds taking a leak against the wall.  Another very common sight in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

33 years old, mother of 5, ages 7 and under

Last Sunday was Mother's Day and I was still in a fog adjusting to time changes with Sophie and we had house guests. So it was not thee most relaxing Mother's Day, but I think it was by far the best.

Noah threw a terrible fit and missed out on lunch. My mom was/is out of the country so I couldn't talk to her on the phone, and I think Jason ended up leaving his mom a voice mail because he couldn't locate his mom either. My gift from Jason was a doctor bill for pink eye, since our doctor office is now out of network on our new insurance. (long story)

But all in all, it was the best Mother's Day thus far. This year I have five children to be thankful for. This year I am blown away at the blessings God has given me to parent. This year I want to freeze time and just stay right where we are forever. 7,5,5,3, and 1. That is one amazing line up. I would keep it this way if I could.

It is hard to believe that I have been a mom for seven years already. It was the greatest thing ever in my life when I became a mom and Jason and I took on new roles as parents. We were/are so in love with our sweet baby girl and loved being a little family. Ella was our first taste of God's plan for family.

Adding to our family was an easy decision. And while I was in shock at my ultra sound when the tech said there were "two little somethings", my husband shouted out with glee "Yes!". And we instantly had become a family of five. Levi and Noah were wonderful easy going babies, tumultuous toddlers, and are growing up into fun boys who constantly challenge me to live out the fruits of the Spirit. (Specifically patience and self control.)

Luke was the next addition three years later. He was a sweet answer to prayer to a very fear filled pregnancy following a miscarriage. I wasn't sure I could set myself up for pain of losing another child and was terrified the entire nine months. While most people responded with shock that we would be having another baby and that we were crazy for wanting four children, we new this baby was a sweet answer to prayer and a healing for our hearts. God sent the perfect addition to this family in the form of Luke Hendrik.

Perhaps since we had already crossed the societal norm of three children max, we should have been done growing our family. But that was not God's plan for our family and I am so very glad. Around the time that Luke was turning one, Jason and I began to seriously look into international adoption. Now almost a full two years later our Sophie Joy Tufah is home where she belongs.

She has been prayed for, loved, and wanted since before she was ever conceived. Only God could orchestrate her story and ours to become one family from two different sides of the globe. God is so good, and we are so blessed to welcome this child into our family.

I am not Sophie's first mother. There was someone else, whom we will never know, who loved her first. Who gave her life, and then chose another course of life for her. There was another mother who put her child's needs above her own heart and gave Sophie to us. There was another mother who is remembering birthing a beautiful baby girl one year ago and was only able to have her for a very short time. There is another mother with a piece of her heart missing.

If only there was a way to show that mother our hearts. To show her how we are bursting with love for her child. To let her know that we will cherish her forever. To somehow say thank you for the life she created.

God's plan for my family may look different than others, but I wouldn't change a thing. I am the mother of five children, each chosen by God to help refine me, as I humbly try to mother them. Thank you God that this Mother's Day you have entrusted five beautiful children to my care. Please give me the grace to honor you in my parenting.