Thursday, August 5, 2010


I LOVE FLorida.
I LOVE my children being matchy/ froo-froo-ey in their clothes.
And I LOVE LOVE LOVE when I can extend that matchy/ froo-froo-ey-ness to my little nieces and nephews while visiting my family in Florida.
I am NOT ashamed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day and Easter

I love that my children, up to this point, allow me to be the obnoxious momma who matches her children for the holidays.
Here are some pics from Easter.
I SO LOVE LOVE LOVE my children!!!

Have you ever noticed how often it looks like Magoo is grabbing her brother's crotches in pictures???
This makes it picture #3 that I can think of off of the top of my head.
Maybe I will have to make a blog post about that!;-)

Anyone who knows me in person knows that I LOVE to dance. And I love capturing my children dancing.
Lest you think that I coerced my children to match by taking off their shirts, let me assure you that this all happened spontaneously. When one kid takes their clothes off, all of the kids follow suit. It is one of the 800,000 things that I find hugely amusing about my children.

Random St. Patrick's Day pic...
Sometimes, I feel the crazy and obnoxious pressure to be ultra crafty, ultra cute, ultra creative and ultra nice where I live. None of those things come naturally to me. Particularly the nice part. But, far be it from me to deny my children of green pancakes and eggs and green milk for St. Patricks Day. UGGGHHHH!!! I've got to move!

Going back in time

I'm going to admit it now.
Now that my adoptions are complete, and my family is complete, I completely suck at blogging.
But, I just made a book out of my Ethiopia Adoption Blog and am so in love with it that I am now re-dedicating myself to the blogging.
Try to be patient with me... I'm a work in progress.

Here are some pictures that I love from our family trip to California in March.

Here is a picture of Nate and his boys. I love these boys because they are married to some of my best friends, but I also love them because they are fun guys and great dads.
Me and my besties. I forget how short I am until I see pictures like this.

I just love this picture. It is of me and Belly-ome watching Princess Tiana perform at Disney Land. I have to admit, she made me cry. I love her and I love that my little girl can now see herself in a beautiful Disney Princess like Tiana.

Monday, July 5, 2010

3 years ago...

I have been thinking a lot about how drastically my life has changed over these last three years.
Three years ago, I was just a retired high school teacher and cheer coach with two children at home and a husband who had just completed his MBA. Life was easy... and predictable.
And then I think about how drastically all of my children's lives have changed in the last three years...
Three years ago, B-Man and Bellyome were being cared for by a staff of people paid to care for them. Three years ago, they had only seen pictures of their future family.
Three years ago, Bubba and Magoo only had to fight each other for my attention.

Three years ago today, Nate and I were packing our suitcases for Ethiopia. Getting ready for the biggest roller coaster of all of our lives.
I'm not gonna lie and say that it has all been easy. For a good while after coming home, Nutella was my best friend rather than my husband, and I remember feeling like I was barely keeping my head above water for a good year after our family was all united. But, I wasn't the only one who struggled.
My husband lost a wife who could dote on him. For a while, he lost a wife who could do much of anything.
My biological children all of a sudden had a brother who was older than them, but couldn't talk to them and a little sister who couldn't communicate in any way other than screaming.
And my little Ethiopian babes... they lost so much.
My oldest and youngest had to lose their first families and first cultures in order to gain us. They lost everything and everyone that was comfortable to them. And they were thrust into the arms of two foreign white people. Complete strangers. And told that we were their new parents. I don't take that loss lightly, nor do I think that my love for them can make that loss completely disappear.
But, I love them. With all of my heart and then some. They are my children and I feel blessed by them every day that they are mine.
I feel blessed by B-Man's beautiful spirit. He is so dynamic and lovely and strong. He has a sense of himself that transcends anything that Nate or I have taught him. We thank his first family for that.
I feel blessed by B-Man and Bubba's relationship. They adore each other. They are truly good to each other. One always looking out for the other. The reality of their relationship is better than any dreams I had that led up to our adoption.
Magoo and Bellyome's relationship, on the other hand... well, let's just say, they are both strong-willed and beautiful girls who are so alike it is eerie. They like to fight, but they love to laugh and play with each other, too. They are both entertaining and vibrant girls. I can't wait to see what the future holds for them!
These last three years have been so much more of everything than I could have imagined. More difficult, more draining, more painful. But more importantly, it has been more colorful, more fulfilling, and more beautiful than my best fairytale dreams.
I am truly living the dream.
Happy Three Year Anniversary!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CALI Trip 2010

Every few years, we get to stay in a FABULOUS home in Dana Point, California and hang out with Mickey Mouse.
2010 was NOT actually our year to go.
But, Nate's sister couldn't use the house this year.
And we decided- "who are WE to waste a perfectly beautiful home and perfectly wonderful opportunity to go on a vacation?"

So, three weeks ago, we headed to California.

You may need some background to understand how big this trip is for my family...
For some reason, my husband does not love DisneyLand.
I feel like that opinion is Un-American.
My husband doesn't like beans or sweet potatoes either.
Those things I can handle.
But, I made sure that whether he liked it or not, our children got a heavy does of the most famous mouse ever on our Cali Trip 2010.

We got to ride pretty much every ride we have ever wanted to.
We got to eat with the Disney characters at Goofy's Kitchen.
We got to watch the parades.

My boys got to be Jedis and fight against Darth Vader.
My girls got to sing with Princess Tiana and hold her hand.

And I have to say... after three days of non-stop DisneyLand fun, I was DONE!
So glad that we had a day to play at the park and swim in the pool.
So glad that we had a day to go to the movies and watch that weird Alice in Wonderland movie.
So glad that we got to eat lunch with Nate's step-sister and her boyfriend.

I am just so glad that we had such a wonderful chance to spend time as a family.
How blessed are we?!?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thank you Michael Jackson

Last week, my boys had a play date at "Aunt Rinnie's" house with their best friend Tyson.
They came home with a new obsession.
Michael Jackson.

Now, while I would NEVER want my boys to meet the man in person, I can't help but LOVE his music.
His songs and his videos were a huge part of my tween years... I listen to Smooth Criminal and think of Todd and Ted McClellan performing their routines all over town. I hear Thriller and think of my high school cheer tryouts. I think of Bad... and well, I think of Weird Al.

Anyway, I had to get some shots of my kids dancing to the King of Pop.

Bubba does a mean wave. Check out the focus and determination in his face!

Bellyome's great skill is her facials. This is her "thug" look.

Magoo's move of choice is a spin. That is all she has got

B-Man is on a breakdancing kick.
He is even taking classes from a boy who danced on High School Musical. 1, 2, AND 3!
Who knew that a 7 year old boy would think that was so cool?!?!?

Winter in Review

These pictures are out of order, but I am too lazy to do anything about it.
To the two of you who read this blog, please forgive me.

Our winter was full of sick children!
All told, we had both girls sick with over 104 degree fevers as a result of kidney infections and Bubba was diagnosed with asthma and viral bronchitis.
Fun times

This is how we spend our Sunday evenings... folding clothes.

B-Man was awarded with the Principal Pride for the month of January.
Love that little man!

Our new favorite family home evening activity is ice skating. This is a pretty terrible picture of the kids' actual skills, but I cant help but love B-Man's spread eagle on the ground!

The snow in our back yard took two months to melt! The kids liked it for about three days, and then they collectively decided that they would like to move to Florida with me. We are still working on convincing daddy.

I think that we chose "THE COLDEST NIGHT EVER!" to visit Temple Square this year. We had a fabulous time, but I've got to be honest... we spent more time driving there and back then actually looking at the lights.

We had a princess party with our friends to celebrate and watch The Princess and The Frog. We had such a fun time. The only down side was Magoo's stomach that was covered with hives as a result of wearing her princess costume to the movie

So... there you have it. Our winter in review.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jesus was adopted

Sometimes, I am amazed at the insight of my children.
Like the other day...
Belly-ome was sitting next to me in the tub.
She started to talk about all of the people that she loves with her beautiful, 3 year old heart.
"I love Jesus and Heavenly Father," she said.
I asked her "Why?"
She responded by saying "because Jesus died for me so that I could live with Him in Heaven again... and mommy, Heavenly Father is Jesus' first daddy."

Now, we as a family talk about "First" Families all of the time. This is the terminology that we use for B-Man and Belly-ome's biological families. So, when Belly-ome used this term, I understood exactly what she meant. I will be honest though, I was amazed that she had made this connection.

"Who adopted Jesus?" I asked.
"Joseph did. But Mary was his first mommy." She said.
"Jesus was adopted just like me and B-Man, right mommy?"
And then she added, with a hint of pitty... "but not Magoo and Bubba?"

Bless her heart, Belly-ome feels sorry for my biological children. How sad is it to her, that her brother and sister do not have something so beautiful and significant as adoption in common with Jesus. Even Bubba feels sorry for himself and has taken to calling one of his aunts his first mommy just in order for him to not feel left out! :-)

It has been a fear of mine, since the moment that Nate and I decided to adopt, that our adopted children would feel the stigma of being "less than" because of their adoptions.
That fear has no place in our home as long as my daughter and son continue to see their story in the One who was sent to earth to bring us home.
What a blessing all of my children are.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moments like these...

On Monday, our family went out to eat with our surrogate brother/cousin Austin.
On the way home, JoJo (my sister) started a rousing game of "I Spy"
Second round in, she says "I spy something black"
Belly-ome immediately responds... "ME!!!"
Love it.

On Tuesdays, the boys take a breakdancing class.
They love it.
There is a girl in the class that B-Man asked me about last night.
B-"mommy, that girl in our class is brown but she has blond hair?"
Me- "yes. That is because her mommy is white and her daddy is black."
B-"but she is brown and she has blond hair... how does she do that?"
Me- "because some of her is like her mommy and some of her is like her daddy."
B- "you mean she's NOT adopted?"
Me- "No, son. That is her first mommy that she comes with every week and her first daddy is black just like you."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a difference a year makes..The Finale

Sweet B-Man. What a little prince you are. So kind and loving. So responsible.
And yet, SUCH A BOY!!!
I sure do love you!

In the past 365 days, B-Man has done the following...
*He has become a stud on the soccer field AND on the dance floor. He even had the opportunity to show off some of his breakdancing moves for his elementary school. I think that the administrators suffered from a little bit of racial profiling in that all of the student body raised their hands to dance for an assembly and B-Man was one of the 6 picked, but he was glowing from excitement when he came home that day and told me all about it!
*Speaking of school, B-Man was just awarded a Principal's Pride Award for the month of January. He gets a special luncheon with the Principal and his momma and dad. We are so proud of him!
*B-Man has become an incredibly money motivated young man. He knows which chores receive what amount of money. He has learned this past year that cleaning the basement will get him a heck of a lot more money than clearing the table. Thus, he has become our resident basement cleaner!
*He has become very interested in the human body. We have spent A LOT of time this year talking about all of the wonderful parts of a body and functions of the body. Who knew that mommas had to talk about penises and vaginas and heart defects and why people are in wheelchairs and how a doctor can fix so many things?!?! But there may be a silver lining to all of these discussions, because right now, B-Man says that he would like to be a surgeon when he grows up.

During the past 365 days, I have learned...
*B-Man would prefer jello to cake for his birthday.
*He still has a soft spot in his little seven year old heart for McKinlee.
*He is "Ultra Competitive!" and likes to be the best at EVERYTHING!
*He loves to be well groomed and would prefer to wear nice jeans over anything else. Alas, he has worn through three pairs of jeans since September making it somewhat difficult to stay on top of his grooming standards.
*He LOVES to be loved on... kisses and hugs and cuddle sessions are plenty.

I am so lucky!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a difference a year makes..Part 3

Bubba. Oh, my sweet sweet Bubba. You have the gentleness of your daddy. And that is one of the many reasons that I love you!

In the past 365 days, you have...
honed in on your computer skills,
started kindergarten,
and exceeded all sorts of notions that we had of your academic abilities,
You found really fun new buddies like Trey and Braden and kept some really fun old buddies like Tyson.
You have also "attempted" to ride a bike without training wheels and ice skate. You played soccer and learned to swim.

Here are some things that I have learned about you this year...
*You are just as content in a corner playing by yourself as you are pretending to be Count Duku with a green light saber against several other "light sabered" friends.
*You are a mommas boy... just how I like it. You told me just today that you never want to get married and you would like to live with me forever. You know how to melt my shriveled old heart!
*You are quite the dancer. You have moves all your own. Your signature move is a body role with corresponding and simultaneous arm rolls. It is quite spectacular.
*You are not easily bribed. Money and treats mean nothing to you. If you can have somebody do your work for you, you will.
*You love to make people smile.

Bubba, I think you make my heart two sizes bigger!
Sure do love being your mommy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What a difference a year makes..Part 2

Miss Magoo's pictures are significantly harder to distinguish.
I can only tell which year is which based on her pajamas.
And the date in the bottom corner.

Miss Magoo has accomplished great things in the last 365 days.
She can now read and write.
She can sing just about any primary song in the book, but her favorite is "I am like a star". Figures.
She has started pre-school with Ms. Joey and loves it!
She has learned to accessorize. She loves to wear special earrings for church and really enjoys getting her nails done.
She just got her yearly hair trim and thinks that her hair looks fabulous!

Here are some things that I have learned about Magoo in the past year...
I have learned that she LOVES to have slumber parties with her brothers.
And that she does NOT like to be woken up.
Nor does she like somebody leaving the house without chanting "Bye!... See you when you get home!... I'll talk to you later!... I love you!... Wait, I forgot to give you a hug and a kiss!"

Miss Magoo is such a yummy girl.
I just love her and savor every sweet moment with her!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What a difference a year makes..

I look at my little Belly-ome often.
She just takes my breath away some times.
I just LOVE this girl!

In the last 365 days, she has become potty trained.
She has learned to count.
She can recognize almost all of her letters.
She knows how to spell her name and can tell you her address and phone number.
I think having three older siblings has helped her just a little bit!

She has also learned what she likes...
*She likes her hair in a head band over just about any other hair style, but will tolerate corn rows because she knows that means I won't have to fix her hair for at least five days.
*She does not like to have her feet feel dirty. Beach sand was a big issue this year. I would like to complain about this, but I don't have a lot of room to talk since I MUST wash my feet EVERY SINGLE NIGHT even though I bathe every single morning.
*She LOVES to make people laugh! She has the best sense of humor.
*She would prefer to sleep by herself and in her own room.
*Her favorite cereal is Fruit Berry Crunch
*Her best friends (according to her) are big Madi and little Madee. Keep in mind that big Madi is 13 years old!

In the past year, Miss Belly-ome has grown so much.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be her mother.