Thursday, December 30, 2010
Seasons Greetings All. The storm in the house Christmas morning was greater than the storm we were reported to get outside. No one was more excited than Krem to open gifts, but when all was said and done, we had to explain to him that Santa does not bring EVERYTHING on the wish list. Hirut's favorite gifts were anything to do with food. If she could not eat it, she moved on to the next present. River commented 'I know it's pajamas, but I sure hope their not footie pajamas', showing clearly that he has moved on to the teenage years of Christmas excitement. Forest and Stephanny, however, were ecstatic to get full length, to the toe, fleece footies. No Christmas would be complete without 8 pounds of frosting for the sugar cookies, probably 2 pounds of which never made it to the cookies. Nate, Forest, and Krem went out for a beautiful Christmas day test of the Kayak River and Forest received, just as the snow flurries were starting to come down. To view more Christmas and Holiday pictures, click HERE.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a great Thanksgiving dinner a few days early so that Krem and Hirut could get the full experience of the tradition before Stacey left for Mexico to spend the holiday with her sisters family. Click on the picture above for a better view.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Today marks seven months since we arrived home with Krem and Hirut. In so many ways it seems like we have come light years from that remarkable day. Yet in other ways, it still feels like we are adjusting to life with 5 children. There are still challenges we are working to overcome. Here is an update of what's been happening since our trip to Maine... to round out the summer and start fall...
Forest participated in a kids Triathlon with friends, swimming 250 yards, biking 2 miles, and running a half mile. They had a blast! Stephanny, River, and Forest are also participating in fall soccer league, and we are enjoying watching their skill improve as the season progresses. River has become quite the goaltender and it's great watching Forest flash around the field.
We had a wonderful trip to Quebec City, traveling with Nate's work and a very wide collection of people from around the world. It's wonderful that our kids get the opportunity to interact with others their age from around the world. And of course the accommodations are a treat as well. The city itself was such a great
surprise. I'm sure the locals get sick of hearing it, but it's like being in Europe, with magnificent old buildings, a castle, fortresses, cobblestone streets, and of course the French Canadian accent. To see more pictures of our trip, click HERE.
As busy as life has been, I did manage to get out for a real camping trip with River, Forest, and a collection of their friends. Meric O. and his two boys joined us. It just happened to be one of the hottest, most humid, nights of the summer. Even the least strenuous tasks left us drenched in sweat. Luckily, we were camping right next to Muddy Run creek, and every minute not setting up or sleeping was spent floating around in the water. As for sleeping, the kids did alright but there were two very dreary dads hiking out of the woods the next morning.
A couple of birthdays to report as well. Since soon after coming home in March, Krem has talked about his birthday almost daily. When the day finally arrived, he was so excited! He woke up to 300 balloons in the living room, and had a great day, complete with party, pinyata, friends, and a great cake baked and built by Stacey. He wore his sparkling 5 year old smile all day!
River turned 13 a few days after Krem's big day. It's remarkable, and a little scary, to think he will be an adult in 5 short years. For his birthday he had a party with 4 close friends, and we took a trip to the local haunted woods in the big RV for a night of fright and freshly minted teenage shenanigans. To teach him what being a teenager is all about, we ended the evening throwing pumpkins from an overpass onto passing semi trucks. OK, not really.
Nate's pal Matt H. was in town for their semi-annual ultra run weekend. As usual, it was a mad dash to fit in as many adventures as we could in 72 hours. This included fishing for Bluefish on long island sound, a night in Manhattan, a mad dash to Times Square for Gyros, and oh ya, the actual run itself, a 28 miler along the spectacular trails of the Susquehanna River.
School has started again - River is in the middle school (7th Grade!), Forest is in 5th Grade, and Stephanny is in Mr. K's 2nd grade class. Krem started preschool at Fairville Friends and is overjoyed to go to school 2 mornings a week. Hirut is currently enrolled in "How to stop trying to bite your siblings in 3 easy steps" but is just barely passing. Next week we will start her in "How to not have a fit when someone takes something away from you that you should not have had in the first place."
Most recently I took Stephanny and Forest to a Philadelphia Eagles game. Despite the loss, they had a great time cheering on the local team. Check out the VIDEO.
Overall we are still adjusting to the chaos of 5 children, but one thing is for sure - we will never suffer from boredom. This VIDEO is just a sample of what you might see on any given day in our house.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
It's about 3 minutes too long, but there are some funny lines and truisms.
It got me thinking about a topic I have NOT taken any time to consider - What has it meant to be a new dad again, and a dad to 5 kids. With fathers day around the dorner, here's a collection of thoughts.
- I'm not a new dad really, but I am a new dad 'again'. I have never enjoyed having a baby in the house as much as I do with Hirut. She's a sweetheart. But so was Stephanny so that's not why #5 is such a pleasure. Being older and mellowing with age, I think I am taking a lot more time to enjoy it. Everything else has been put on hold, so most of my focus, outside of my work day, is entirely on the kids. There are lots of moments watching Hirut be the doll that she is, watching her develop and do all the wonderful new things 1 year old babies do. She's just about to walk, and says new words almost every day.
- For the same reasons, I am enjoying being a dad in general more than I ever have. The house project is on hold. I am coming home at 5 every day. It's summer. It's really nice to parent without other distractions competing for my attention.
- I change %5 of the diapers and get up 10% of the "Mommy" calls late at night. Stacey has always been the primary bearer of those burdens, and it certainly makes being a dad much easier, or at least much less 'tiring'.
- If there are dads out there who miss going to the bars and doing guy stuff, I'm confused. I just don't miss that stuff, not that I was a champion partier back in the day. I do miss doing stuff with Stacey. We had a lot of fun, and some of it is just not cool to do as we get older. For instance, we are now at the age where we would definitely be the old people if we went to a techno club. (I'm sure there's a lot of people who might read this and be surprised we did that kind of thing). And if we were caught parked in the middle of the woods sleeping in the back of our minivan, I'm pretty sure we would be arrested as vagrants. We spent the better part of a year doing that sort of thing when we first met! Being in collage together was a blast. I miss that attention that we used to be able to give to each other, and how much fun we had as a couple back then! We did not take any of those days for granted. I cherish them.
- What do people without kids do with themselves? I don't care how successful you might be, or how many adventures you might have, life would be so empty.
- There are few things as special as walking in the door at the end of the day and having kids run up to you and wrap their arms around you screaming "Daddy!". When those days end it will be a sad sad day.
- There are few things as special as hearing someone say "Goodnight daddy, I love you, see you tomorrow". When those days end it will be a sad sad day.
- I think I stepped it up a notch being a daddy this year. I don't celebrate birthdays, and am not big on presents at Christmas. But I'm calling in the favors this year - I want a present for fathers day. I think I have earned it this once. Kids, consider this your notice! I may not ask again, but this year I want some presents!
- Krem has definitely elicited a feeling of extra responsibility with regards to parenting an older adoptive child. I feel like I owe it to him to go the extra mile - to be patient, caring, solid, and present. There are times when the look in his face, or the actions he makes, seem to tell a story of his life before we received him into our family. I feel it is my responsibility to make up for the hardships he experienced, and assure he gets whatever he needs to lead a happy, normal, successful life. The picture we received when he was referred to us, and the thought of what it must have been like for him to leave his birth mother breaks my heart. That alone causes me to have strong feelings about being the best parent to him that I can be.
- You know what scares me as a dad - we have to somehow figure out how to get 5 kids through college, assuming they all go.
- You know what else scares me - teenage daughters.
- I do not fear the responsibility of providing for and raising children.
- River is soon to be a teenager, and these are the critical years he and all teenagers must bridge to get to adulthood while avoiding pitfalls, mistakes, bad influences, and temptations. I hope to be the right kind of parent - patient and understanding at times, solid and stern when needed. One things for sure - he is entering these years on great footing. He is kind, sensitive, does well in school, is helpful around the house (sometimes with a little prodding), and is a great kid in general. What I realize is that I don't spend enough time with him one on one - which is made difficult with 5 kids - but hope to do better over the summer.
- It is interesting and amazing to watch how each childs personality develops in different ways, shows different strengths and weaknesses, and how they devise their own systems to work together, resolve disagreements, help each other out, and even sometimes scheme to manipulate Stacey and I. It's like a little sitcom right in our home!
Monday, May 17, 2010
River recently performed in "The Music Man" as part of the cast and lighting crew at the middle school. We are very proud of the time and effort he put into the production, at times spending several hours after school several nights a week. As he approaches 13 years old, he acts more and more like a teenager, but a wedgie now and then keeps him in line. He excels in school and is currently on the honor role. He gets up on his own at 6:15 AM every morning, gets ready for school, and makes himself breakfast - all before anyone else rolls out of bed. River is also taking electric guitar lessons, learning chords, and picking up rock tunes. He is a wonderful big brother to all his younger siblings. It's amazing to watch kids go from pooping, crying, keep-you-up-all-night babies to responsible, helpful, mature, little-bit-lippy-now-and-then people.
Forest is a joyful goofball. Despite the cold spring water, he spends a lot of time in the pool. He is doing well in school (4th grade), because of the effort he puts into his homework every night. He is also involved in orchestra (cello), music ensemble (for which he goes to school an hour early once a week), and takes acoustic guitar lessons. He recently played his guitar for his school talent show. You can watch a video of his performance here. He also loves playing soccer, lacross, and camping in the yard with his buddy Kyle. Forest is also a great brother. One minute he will be rough-housing with River in the pool, and the next minute be playing with Hirut or feeding her. He is a playmate to all his brothers and sisters.
Stephanny is an adorable, sweet girl. Many mornings, we wake up to the sound of her and Hirut chattering in their beds. It is easy to see how much she enjoys having a baby sister. At times Stehpanny and Krem play like best buds, and at other times she gets a little frustrated with his high energy. Stephanny has recently starting curling up in bed to read chapter books. She also does well in school and gets glowing reports from her teaches. She has just started taking guitar lessons with her brothers. Stephanny's best friend Jenna lives just down the street, and they spend lots of time playing together with their American Girl Dolls. Stephanny and Jenna recently performed a dance routine in their school talent show. See the video here.
Krem continues to embody the happiness of Micky Mouse and the energy of the Tazmanian Devil. His language continues to develop at a steady pace. He is now starting to formulate simple sentences. He adores Stephanny and want's to play with her constantly. And we continue to catch glimpses of his life before joining our family. While doing yard work yesterday, picking up sticks from the yard, he grabbed hold of a root sticking out of the ground and, realizing what it was, became very excited. He bent down and started chewing on it, motioning me over to have a taste. Of course, roots are a part of the diet for some Ethiopians living on subsistence farms, so it was not surprising, but still an interesting contrast between his birth and adoptive cultures. Considering the poison ivy around the yard, we will unfortunately have to discourage chewing on roots while working outside. Stacey also recounted another anecdote from earlier this week: On a friends farm, Krem points to the chickens and makes a motion clearly indicating we should break the birds neck and says "Eat?". Stacey responds "No Eat". If I were there I would say "Yes! Yes!", if not for the effect it would have on the friendship. Another anecdote: Stacey took Krem, Stephanny, and Hirut hiking in the Susquahannah river valley along a creek, through the woods. Krem was very nervous about the wilderness and seemed fearful of bears, animals, and "scary people", at one point bolting down the trail in terror when other hikers approached from behind. Clearly, the wilderness is something unfamiliar, except that he knew it was scary and things in the woods would get him.
Hirut is still a very content and easy baby, but she certainly is developing some new personality as she grows older and gets more comfortable with our family. She has been giggling and laughing a lot more over the past few weeks. She also picks up new words almost daily. She says "Hot", "Hi", "Momma", "Dada", "Peekabo" (Peeaboo), "Ei-ei-ooo" (Old McDonald had a farm). Also along the lines of "communicating", she grunts when she poops and she has realized that this gets our attention quickly. She is now grunting to get our attention in general, and it is hilarious. "Grrrrunnnnnt", now means "I want another bite", "Look at me", "get me that toy", or "pick me up". Here is another funny habit she has started: we stopped giving her formula after her first birthday. She now gets about a half bottle of milk before bed. Being used to a full bottle, she was at first confused when she did not get as much as she expected. These days she is down right pissed. I know it's not right to use such language when talking about a baby, but no other word explains it quite right. She's not just angry. As soon as that last drop comes out, she immediately wails and throws a fit, flopping around in our laps to get down. She'll find her bottle, next to the rocking char, grab it, desperately drain any remaining drops, and continue to express her utter disappointment. This only lasts a few minutes, luckily. It is important to point out that this usually happens about an hour after dinner, where she generally eats hefty portions, such as a full slice of pizza. We're not starving her by any means. She LOVES to eat, and has serious affection for her bedtime bottle.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Elsewhere in Kolkata there were miles and miles of very simple shacks and homes lining nearly every street. There is nothing separating bystanders from the private lives of those living along the road. At night, many families draped crude tarps along the sidewalks and made small fires and rough beds for the evening. Many families bathed in a lake near the hotel I was in. From a distance the water was serene and picturesque, but close up it was littered with trash and choked with pond vegetation. The park surrounding the lake was covered in debris and trash, with many children and women scavenging and wandering among the garbage.
Fast forward to Ethiopia almost 4 years later. We visited a market looking for gifts and traditional art. The shopkeepers booths were packed tightly together along a dirt road just off a major intersection. After visiting a few shops and buying a few items, we realized every merchant would do whatever it took to nudge us through the curtain into their dark booths smelling of a beautiful mixture of woods, incense, leather, and cloth. The items sold were similar from booth to booth, so after visiting a few, there was not much to be found that we had not already seen. Everyone had a huge incentive to sell us something, and the effort and persuasion that went into their pleas reflected the opportunity they saw in a foreigner in the market. Having walked down one side of the market we were out of time and tiring of the unyielding attempt that each merchant made to convince us to buy something, anything, from their wares. We resorted to telling shopkeepers we had run out of cash. An older, gray-haired store keeper with leathery skin and years of hard life written in the wrinkles of his face gently pulled me by the wrist into his store, no bigger than a 8' by 12' closet, but with every possible inch of wall, floor, and ceiling covered with items for sale. Not wanting to look any longer, I quickly roamed the wares with my gaze and absently picked up a Mancala board to inspect. Upon seeing my feigned interest, the man immediately began to barter. The board was hand carved of ebony, beautiful yet simple. He was asking the equivalent of 10 dollars. I quickly repeated what I had told the last several peddlers - I had no more money, and the man quickly dropped his price to about 9, 8, 7 dollars. Blocking the doorway trying to convince me to make a purchase, I did my best to convince him I was out of cash. He even said he would let me take the board and the taxi driver could collect the cash from the hotel. He would do anything to make the sale. I did not want the board. In a last effort to make the sale, I saw, with heart wrenching dismay, tears welling in the old mans eyes as he broke down, pleading that he was hungry and would sell me the board. "Just make offer" he said.
I was shaken. I again repeated that I did not have money, and I exited the booth quickly. Stacey and River were in the booth of another merchant trying hard to make a sale. I collected them and we made our way to our taxi and hotel. Soon after we left, I had a pit in my stomach. With money in my pocket I had left the shop unwilling to look for something of interest and buy so that this man would be guaranteed a little money and perhaps a meal that night. I tell myself to live life without regrets. But no one does really. I have a few, and not buying something from this man is now counted as one of my regrets.
Earlier in the day we had made our way to the Blue Nile Gorge, to the north of Addis Ababa. Along the way we made several stops, often along the rural road seamingly in the middle of nowhere. In every case, almost out of nowhere, children would come running from the fields, eager for a handout, kind word, or a touch. Without explanation, their beaming, giddy smiles melted away as soon as a camera was pointed their way, and the hard lines in their young faces shone through. When the smile was gone, it appeared as if these children, 6, 8, perhaps 12 years old, aged a decade. Without a smile, there was no emotion to mask their sunken cheeks, their rail thin bodies.
But as soon as the camera was gone, the smiles reemerge. That's the beauty of the human spirit. It's the wonder of perspective. I saw it in India and Ethiopia - despite the conditions people may live in, if a person lives and grows knowing a way of life, there is an awful lot a person can put up with and still be happy. The shacks in Kolkata were surrounded by children chasing each other, splashing in the water, playing simple games with sticks and rocks in the dirt, enjoying each others presence. In Ethiopia, the children have rocks, sticks, and each other as their playthings. You can see them making chase among the goats, cracking their whips, looks of joy on their faces. Children, especially, can overlook an awful lot of hardship and find happiness in even the worst conditions.
But the old man teaches us there is only so much a person can bare, only so hungry a person can be before desperation takes over. The image of children surrounding our vehicle in Ethiopa, and the merchant's eyes filled with moisture, helps keep my perspective in check as we face our future as a large, multiracial family. I have spent hundreds of hours over the last 2 years working on our house in preparation for Krem and Hiruts arrival. There were many long nights, ending with sore muscles and frustration of facing many more weeks of work. Just the other night I was behind the house at 11 PM , with the cover off the septic tank, fishing a clog out of the sewer line. I'll admit the prospect the task made me less than chipper, but inside were 5 kids off to bed, complete with mattresses, surrounded by books, toys, dressers full of clothes for every occasion, steps away from cabinets full of food. They would wake up with smiles on their faces, and the prospect of vast opportunities in their future. If millions of people can find comfort and happiness in shacks and huts, with very little to eat, and little chance for a different future, we can certainly cope with the challenges that come our way as a larger family, with three different cultures and races under our roof.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Before I go any further let me tell you how much I despise that word. It's like "Dork". Just the sound of the word is irritating. I have a friend who will not use the world "Dork" because he hates how it sounds. When "Blog" rolls off my tongue its like a half gag ending in "G". I'm going to refuse to write "Blog" from now on. It's "online journal" from here on out. Or the "B word".
These "Experts" also say there are 50 million online journals in existence. Even if 75% of them are no longer maintained, there are still millions to chose from. Up until the last 6 months, I had not read a single one, at least not intentionally. And I am not misconceived that I have anything more interesting to say than the other 10 million people vying for your attention. At least a million of those folks must have more interesting things to say.
So why do I write? I sometimes tell myself I write online to keep family and friends informed because it is so hard to keep everyone up to date. That purpose is served, but I don't think that's the "reason". I also try to convince myself that I write to have a record of these important days of our lives. While I believe we will read these words later in life and be thankful to have them, I still don't think that is the driving force that makes me get up a bit early once ever couple weeks and regurgitate such mental bile into the ethosphere. In reality, I am just hoping that someone will find our drivel interesting enough to read a single entry from start to finish. It took me a while to realize it, but that's the truth. That's why I also maintain a family web site. We have invited adventure and chaos into our lives, and sharing it online is a way to take pride in what we have worked so hard to achieve. We toss it out there for all to see. It's bragging really, but you only have to hear it if you chose to lay eyes on it. If your thinking "Oh god, what an ego", well, feel free to exit now. Go ahead, close your browser. Go check out what's on ebay instead. I'm sure you can find a nice set of used kitchen knives.
Oh shit, now no one's reading.
What I am trying to achieve is truth. To myself, and to you, and understand what motivates the other 10 million people like me. I think we are all looking for someone to take notice. It is nice to hear someone say "I read that, you guys are crazy" (we take that as a compliment), "I liked what you wrote", "You guys are doing it right". In grade school we are told "your special, you can be anything you want". Really? Are we? Can we? We're mostly just worker bees with 1 to 3 kids, trying to make ends meet. We have split-level homes and subscribe to cable. We look for kitchen knives on eBay. We stand around the water cooler to talk about the same shows that we ALL watch. We don't want to admit that we did not expect to be part of the vast sea of people all doing the same thing, all thinking we would be leading a far more interesting life. We want someone to take notice and say, "your doing it right". But really, if that were true, we would not be keeping an online journal - someone would be writing it for us, about us. That's when you know your life is interesting, when someone does your bragging for you. (That little tid-bit also comes from the same person who hates the word "Dork".) For the time being, it looks like we will have to just keep on bragging for ourselves.
But writing is also therapeutic. Taking the time to write out our lives and adventures forces me to reflect and organize my thoughts. It's like coming up for breath. Breath in - breath out. Something new happens every day and we rarely have the time to fully appreciate those moments. Writing is realizing those moments and appreciating them more completely.
What has caught me by surprise is the comfort I have gotten from reading other peoples online journals. I am not the most chatty guy on the plant. OK, I may actually be the least chatty guy on the planet. If you call me and I seem less than interested in talking, it's because I am not really interested. If I am chatting, I'm only pretending to be interested. You want to get together? Sure. Let's go biking. Let's take the kids to the playground. Chat on the phone? No thanks. So it goes - I don't have thoughtful conversations with other adoptive parents about how things are going. But there are a couple of friends keeping blogs about their adoption experiences, and it is surprisingly comforting to identify with their challenges, hesitations, fears, joys, and witty parenting anecdotes. Our adjustment to bringing Krem and Hirut into our family has been great. Many of our fears and concerns did not come true. But there are big challenges, and it helps to know we are not alone in facing them. I read the blog of a family that stayed in the same guest house in Ethiopia, and the mother accurately described Stacey's feeling of the hopeless war with the laundry. She may win a battle, but the war will definitely be lost. To know someone else feels the futility of this effort is somehow comforting. Another mother shares her fears about parenting an older child from another country before they travel. Her list of worries could be mine or Stacey's.
So in this way we are just like so many other people who have adopted a child (or two or three). Except it feels good to be just like one of the crowd. It's nice to know we are not doing it wrong or 'messing up our kids'. Or maybe we are messing them up a little, but at least we are not the only ones, and it's going to be OK. We are not going to be perfect, we will make our mistakes too. But we are doing it mostly right. Taking a peak into other peoples lives helps realize that. So if your reading this, and your one of those other "B**G" writing parents out there, maybe I read what you had to say, and it helped me a little. It was nice to hear your having your doubts too, and that things are going well for the most part, but there are moments. I'm not going to call and chat about it, but I still appreciate it. Thanks for writing. Really.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The honeymoon phase of having new children is slowly fading away. Don't be alarmed. All is well. Very well in fact. Spring has sprung and everyone is enjoying being outside, and the special happy feeling that accompanies the blooming of spring flowers and greening of the trees, and of course the warm sun on your skin. However, we would not be painting a complete picture if we failed to mention some of the harder parts of being a larger family.
For instance, there is never a time someone does not need to be somewhere else. From play practice, to early morning music programs, to science club, and of course doctors appointments. Every family faces this challenge to some degree, but I think we have reached the point of critical mass, where it is sometimes not physically possible to have everyone where they need to be all of the time. At the end of some days, Stacey and I can only shake our head at how chaotic those 18 waking hours can be.
Another challenge: Krem is the personification of sustainable nuclear fusion. From 7 AM to 8 PM his tank is full, and we are on his heals trying to keep up all of the time. From riding his bike around the driveway for hours, to playing in the pool, to organizing doll house toys in the kitchen, there is never a moment of pause or rest. We are pretty anti-television in our house, but in the interest of initiating some down-time we are being a little more flexible. I don't know if we are the first to do so, but we have a good half-hour of "Spongebob family therapy" a few nights a week, the only time where all of the kids are in the same room doing the same thing. Stacey generally defers on this activity - not being so fond of the genius of Spongebob Squarepants, but the rest of us get some good laughs in. Krem also relishes story time before bed, the only other activity for which he willingly sits still. I use this time to foster language association with everyday things. Just this week he seems to be taking more interest in making the language transition. Despite his energy, it is positive and focused, like the rays of the sun. It spawns happiness. He drives us crazy trying to keep up with him, but as the same time spawns joy, and he has focus on whatever activity he is doing. Getting used to the energy level is an adjustment for us, not him.
Another challenge for Stacey has been her back. Hirut is a "Healthy" baby (aka Babyzilla) and it is taking a toll on Stacey's spine. She's coping as best she can, but it is obviously a frustration and distraction to deal with.
On the other end of the spectrum, here are some challenges we expected that never materialized...
We are getting way more sleep than we hoped for. Hirut can easily sleep from 7:30 PM until 7:30 AM, and she takes a long afternoon nap as well. Krem goes down between 8 and 9, and his sleeping habits have recently stabilized. He was waking up a few nights a week whimpering now and then. This seems to have stopped, perhaps now that he realizes we are just around the corner and available. I was thrilled when I heard him wake up the other day whispering "Folest" (Forest with Krems R to L pronunciation). A few minutes later I heard "Mommy....Daddy". Like Edgar Alen Poes telltale heart, it grew louder and louder until I went to check on him.
Meal time is much easier than it should be as well. There are some foods that Krem does not like, but Stacey puts everything on his plate that the rest of us eat, and he will generally try it all with a little coercion. Hirut (aka Babyzilla), on the other hand, devours her dinner. Here mouth is open, ready for a bite, while the spoon is en-route. She is eating cereal and pieces of vegetables and fruit. She has no trouble picking up anything that is even remotely edible and guiding it to her mouth. Oddly, however, she did not try to eat the sand at the beach.
Finally, the kids are all adjusting well, and have embraced the addition of two new children. Knock on wood! It's still early, and of course there are moments when they need some alone time or a break from Krem's energy. But they all love having Krem and Hirut as siblings. Stephanny plays with Hirut every morning before we go in to say goodmorning. Forest loves having someone who constantly likes to bike and be outside, and River seems to be enjoying being a big brother, which is great considering he is at that age where ipods are THE thing and high school is just around the corner.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Hirut: Can a baby get much sweeter? I think she should win some 5 star baby award! Seriously, the girl chills in her high chair and allows me to actually wash dishes, giggling when I simply glance at her. She goes to sleep at 7:30pm, and does not stir until 7:30am, then goes back down for her nap by 11am, and wakes at app. 2-3pm. She LOVES just hanging out with her Mama, happily tied to my back while I attempt to play soccer, push bikes, cook food, wash little hands, help with homework, clean and do laundry, wait for the bus, dig out extra playthings from the garage for the neighbor kids, and very feebly attempt to hold a conversation with a friend on the phone. She calmly puts up with her brother's very loving (and possessive) demand for my attention, and her sister's constant rally to convince her that she can be 'Mommy' too. After all of this, and my constant desire to soak her skin and hair with ointments, oils, the whole line of 'Carol's Daughter' African hair products, bows, cute baby outfits, and finally baby pajamas, she still remains sweet, babbling cute baby sounds, and tickled by my silly ways. When she finally sees the bedtime bottle in my hand she goes nuts, trying to climb me to get over to it, until I sit down in the rocker, when she knows that it is on it's way. She immediately begins to drink, her eyes deadlocked with mine. She spends the next ten minutes studying my face, touching my eyes, cheeks, mouth, and hair, as if making up for all of the lost time she was not with her mother, and I equally am playing catch up with her, and am completely and totally in Mommy love.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
are at a comfort in 2 hours outside of Boston. Sheer winds kept us
from landing as sceduled and diverted us and many other planes to
Boston. We spent 2 hours getting through costomes, lost a bag of
luggage, and scrambled for a rental car, to drive the rest of the way
home. Desprate for the family to be together again, we will be on the
road as soon as we can drag ourselves out of bed in the morning.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
journal. Last night the computer in the guest house was fried by
further power surges. I now have 60 minutes of battery power to last
us the remainder of the trip. Never fear, the full account of our
journey will be posted, probably after our return on Saturday.
We passed our Embassy clearance yesterday. All that remains is a
couple of relaxing days (relatively) getting to know Krem and Hirut
better. After a nice going away ceremony at the orphanage yesterday,
they are with us in reality and in our hearts from now until the end
of time. Our night went well, with both Krem an Hirut sleeping
through the night, although Krem tossed and turned a bit. We are
playing playing playing today, riding bikes, playing blocks, drawing
with sidewalk chalk, etc. Hirut is being a sweet, smiley baby.
Everyone is past their illnesses here, but we received word Stephanny
has come down with the flu back home.
That is all for now. A handful of pics have been uploaded to our
Ethiopia photos, so be sure to check them out!
Looking forward to seeing everyone soon.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
of effort, but rather the uncertainty of electrical supply and
internet access. Imagine 1985, when a hard drive was a new product on
the market and kids knew what dial-up was (Honestly, River just asked
me). Oh the nostalgia of the
"beee-beee-beee-shsshtshshccctchthhddh..." as the connection is made.
All is well here for the most part. We are all suffering from varying
degrees of stomach ailments and/or fevers, traced back to a
questionable lunch we had while on our amazing tour to the Blue Nile
Gorge. Why it did not cross my mind to NOT eat the cold beef and
chicken, I do not know. Just plain stupid. Fool me once, shame on
me, fool me twice... (e.g. Coming back from Calcutta with dysentary
and mono would be the "once" in this case"). Alas, we are all on the
upswing, and have been in contact with doctors for advice and assurance.
Despite the stomach issues, we have meet Krem and Hirut. To say the
least it was a humbling and overwhelming moment. When Krem saw me for
the first time, from the back of a dark, cramped classroom, he rose
from his seat and ran into my arms, and squeezed me for a long long
time. He knew us immeadiately and why we were there from the photo
album we had sent in advance. The orphanage takes great care to
prepare the children for adoptive parents arrival, and because of this
the moment was so special. This does not negate the challenges we
face on our long road ahead, but it is certainly the best possible
first step. I am going to let Stacey elaborate beyond this, and
describe meeting Hirut. For me, Forest put it best when he said "Wow,
that is something that just happens once in a lifetime!"
I think we have found a more reliable way to update this journal, so
expect further posts soon.