Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Little Sister, Big Laughs

This afternoon we made a quick run into the local grocery store for a couple of items or twelve.

You know how that goes.

Went in for zucchini, avocados, tortilla chips, and tomatoes...came out with $101 worth of necessities including that fabulous looking organic cherry crumble...
but I digress.

As we were leaving we spotted my friend, Dora, whom Mari has only met once and that was not long after coming home...when her English wasn't quite "there" yet...and before she had become obsessed with (you guessed it)...

I said, "Do you remember Miss Dora?" and the child looked at me like I was crazy.  
Like, "Woman, there is NO WAY that is Dora 'cause I KNOW Dora and that is DEFINITELY not her."

I pressed..."This is Mommy's friend, Miss Dora.  Yes, like Dora that you see on TV...that is really her name!  Isn't that neat?"

Mari smiles at her and, in all seriousness asks, 

"Where's Mickey Mouse?"

I kid you not.  

Dora was quick, though.  "He's in the car!"

Gotta love it.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


In eleven years of motherhood, I have never had a child with a serious "crush."    There have been momentary giggles or red-faced grins in the presence of another cutie, but honestly I've never been one to encourage the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing with my kids.  Personally, I'd be fine if they didn't notice the opposite sex existed until they were at least 27.

I'm just sayin'.

So imagine my surprise when Drew, Mommy's loverboy and seeker of all cuddles, developed a little crush on a cutie pie in his preschool class.  Now, her Mom and I have chuckled about it but I really blew it off because, well, he IS only 4.  And at this age kiddos change objects of affection more often than they change underwear.
Again he IS only 4.  And he is a boy.  And I often wonder why his hamper doesn't fill up as fast as his sisters...

But I digress.

Last week, said pre-k cutie pie sent out birthday invites to her upcoming Easter-themed soiree.  
The invitations have her picture on them.  
I nonchalantly placed it on my kitchen counter and promptly forgot about it made plans to go out and buy a birthday gift.

Shoulda hid the invite.

Tonight, just before dinner, I spot my loverboy with the invite held close to his chest.  He pulled it away long enough to gaze lovingly at the photo and proceeded to plant a kiss on cutie pie's face.

NOW HOLD ON ONE SECOND.  Those kisses are MINE, buster!  Don't you go and give them to some 4 year old who may or may NOT be deserving of those kisses because, lest you forget, those kisses are MINE!  Until you are at least 27!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Five months...

Can you believe it has been five months since my sweet Ethiopian Princess set foot on American soil?

I cannot.

In some ways, it seems like she has always been here.  She just fits.  

Her language has grown by leaps and bounds, and her beautiful African accent is slowly fading.  I will be so sad when it is gone.

SHE has grown by leaps and bounds!  Gaining an average of one pound per month and already growing 2 inches and 2 sizes since she came home, I am realizing that I should not have bought those clothes on sale at the end of last summer!  She came home in a 2T and now is moving comfortably into 4T clothes.  Her feet have also grown 2 sizes.  And her hair?  It has grown at least 2 inches.  (I think I see a pattern here!)  She no longer feels so little...when I pick her up I find myself having to work to hoist her up on my hip.  She feels more "meaty"...my hands sink into her little bottom when I am holding her and her once bony frame is taking on layers of sweet, healthy "fluff".  She is still very slender, but her limbs and her previously distended belly have met in the middle and her proportions are right, praise be to God.

Earlier this week she had complete dental restoration.  She was SUCH a trooper.  Even though she was nervous, nothing could squelch her excitement over getting "new teeth with no boo-boo's!"  Her poor little mouth was in awful shape...her molars were actually loose and on the verge of crumbling.

Let me take a moment to give you some advice...Do not (I repeat DO NOT) take candy when you visit children in orphanages.  PLEASE for the sake of their health and comfort, bring sugarless gum, granola bars, ANYTHING but candy.  Little Sister spent her first three years with no access to dental care of any kind, therefore entered the orphanage with already weakened teeth, then spent eight months being given dum-dums by countless visitors to the Transition Home.  She happily stuck those suckers in her cheeks, but never saw a regular tooth-brushing, therefore her molars were completely rotted in the exact spot where she kept those sweet treats on both sides.  It has affected her greatly...she has had incredible difficulty eating anything crunchy or cold and often cried with the pain caused by her decayed teeth.  She spent 2 hours under general anesthesia in order to have 2 molars pulled, 4 molars crowned, and every other tooth filled because every single tooth had cavities.

Every single tooth.

So please do not bathe the teeth of orphans in sugar.  It is NOT worth it.  They are just as happy to have chapsticks or gum...trust me.  That is what we brought and they all loved it.

Anywho...I will step down off of my soapbox to tell you the funniest story!

We were at the Surgery Center awaiting Mari's procedure and our anesthesiologist gave her a liquid "happy medicine" to drink so she would be relaxed when they took her away from me to go to the operating room.  She drank it down and continued to play with stickers for about ten minutes.  Dr. L walked by and said "She may start to get wobbly, Mama."
"Ok," I said.
About a minute later she began to sway, so I laid her down on the pillow and she looked at me with sleepy eyes and said "Night night, mommy.  BA ha ha ha ha!!!!"

Little girl was positively drunk!  She cackled and cracked herself up and had everybody in stitches!  She was even slurring her words!  When they wheeled her back to the OR (yes I cried...) she was oblivious and went to sleep with no problem whatsoever.
When she woke up she was so precious.  It felt so good to be there for her.  I really believe that it was another opportunity to build trust with her, for her to see that I wanted her to be comfortable and feel safe, and I gladly stroked her hair back from her beautiful face and whispered how brave she was, how proud I was of her, and kissed her warm cheeks and the tip of her little nose.

She has recovered beautifully, though she is quite sore.  I am so glad to have that behind her.

Five months.  I notice this post is less about her adjustment and more about just normal daily life.  What a huge praise to our Father and the Author of Adoption that is!  We still have moments that are incredibly frustrating, but they are just moments, not entire days.   She has talked a little more about her memories of Ethiopia, some of which are very hard to hear, and I feel like being able to have those conversations with her is huge.  She remembers her Ethiopian Mommy being sad, and she remembers friends dying because "their bottoms got sick."  My heart just weeps for all those who she left behind...for those who still wait for a Mommy and Daddy to bring them home and walk them through their healing.  For those who are sick and dying and sad.  Too many to count...but God sees and knows and loves every single one.

We stalk blogs and Facebook and rejoice every time we see that one of her friends is coming home.  She LOVES seeing their pictures and knowing they are coming on an airplane to America just like she did.  But still...there are five million orphans in Ethiopia.  FIVE MILLION.  I know they cannot all be adopted, but oh if God's people would rise up and care for these children...to be sure they have their needs met and get a chance to grow up and break the cycle of poverty...if the body of Christ will be willing, an entire culture could be changed.

Yes, Lord.  We are willing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How does my garden grow?

I don't know about you, but I learn SO much from my garden.
I am not exactly a "green thumb"...this is only my second year to have a vegetable garden.
But when I checked the forecast and saw that we had the "all clear" to begin planting, well, you could not keep my hands out of that dirt!!  (Nor the hands of my children...as you will soon see!)

As I worked, the Lord tenderly showed me how He has lessons for me in even the smallest things.  

Nature truly sings of His glory!

The right tools...

and the sweetest of helpers...

work together to fill an empty void...


A survivor of winter brings color and fragrance and flavor...

while a new resident settles in for the summer.

Dirty little hands relish the simplest of treasures

and we take a break from the work to take in what is bursting all around us

The first of many beauties that will grace my garden

And OH the lesson the Lord taught me here.  I was convinced this was dead...a lost cause.
But NO!  Tiny little green gifts appeared...little signs of hope and life!

So much beauty...

that can barely contain itself.

An empty heart, waiting to be filled...and the promise of rain to fill it.
Do you SEE what He is doing all around us??

A delightful discovery that thrilled my little boy's heart! 

He enjoyed him for a bit, then gently put him back in his home, watching delightfully
as he squiggled back down into the dirt.

As the sun set, we finished our work.

We stepped back to admire the promise of harvest.

At last, we retreated indoors as the water settled
all the seeds firmly into their new home.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11