Wednesday, March 31, 2010



I'm so Excited

I found my FAVORITE documentary on Amazon for cheap! Cha-Ching... $$$

We have watched The Long Way Down which documents the travels of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. They travel from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa on motorcycles. We checked this out from the library and absolutely loved it! They travel through Africa meeting wonderful people, showing amazing landscape, and share a great story.

The other documentary, The Long Way Around, documents their travels via motorcycle from London through Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia and Canada. We haven't seen this one yet, but I am so looking forward to it.

I allowed the older kids to watch The Long Way Down even though there was a few spots of language, but what they learned from the actual experience probably outweighs a few curse words here and there. Most of the words were muttered under their breath at moments when things weren't going very well for them. (They probably hear a few muttered under our breath occasionally, if I were being perfectly honest with you)

And Ewan McGregor is absolutely wonderful to look at no matter if he's playing Obe One Kenobi or himself covered in dirt on a motorcycle. Whoa. That's what I call educational television.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Dear Daughter,

Jaiden and I started a little mother-daughter project recently that we'd like to share with you.

I call it "Dear Daughter"; she calls it "Dear Mommy."

I write down a question for her to answer. She has a few days to answer the question and give the notebook back to me. But before she gives the notebook back, she has to write a question for me to answer. And so repeats the pattern.

I've taken a few questions from the book Conversations Starters for Parents and Kids, but I've also made up several questions. The questions vary from the very silly to the very thought provoking, serious questions.

Jordan and I did this years ago, and it was not only a great way to get to know some of her inner thoughts, but was also a great bonding opportunity.

The requirements for this little project are a strong ability and desire to read and write, a little creativity, and a little discipline to keep the give and take going.

I'll keep you posted on my favorite conversations...


Career Day

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid?

How her creativity and imagination leave me scratching my head and holding my sides in laughter day after day?

Does anyone want to fathom a guess as to what she was for Career Day?

She kinda looks like a cat burglar...

But she was actually an FBI spy for career day in the 1st grade Co-Op Class of 2010.

I love it that the rest of her class were nurses, teachers, cowboys and firemen.

And that she did a kung-fu spinning somersault through the door to enter into class.

Every day people.... It's like this every single day.


Friday, March 26, 2010



Summer Camp

Do you remember that post I wrote about summer camp? You know... the one right here?

Well I just filled out the applications and sent in all *gulp* 5 deposits.

Josh is going to a soccer camp at William Jewell College in Liberty MO. The remaining bees are going to Camp Wakonda.

They are all going to be gone the same week in July.

I couldn't be happier with the whole thing.

When I showed them the brochures for camp and named off a dozen of so amazing activities, Jameson asked,

"Is that all there is to do?"

And I kinda wanted to pinch her little head off, but then I realized that perhaps if you're from Ethiopia and you don't know what camp is like, that's a valid question? I don't know. The other kids have never been to camp before either, but I'm just trying to rationalize that statement in my head and think maybe she's just anxious or excited or something else and she just sucks at verbalizing that?

I can't tell whether Josh is excited or not... New things tend to freak them out. I'm sure he'll come around. Or maybe he just sucks at showing his emotions... (this I know for sure.) So maybe he's jumping up and down on the inside? Only time will tell.

The other kids offered to have a garage sale to pay for all of it... I think it's gonna take more than a garage sale though...

But it's gonna be so worth it!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

My muse

I know as you all log on every day to see my Project 365 photos, it may seem like Justine is my favorite or something... I swear I have no favorites!

But she is my muse. I cannot take a bad picture of this kid. She just makes it so easy. Every thing I see her do, I imagine creating a beautiful picture.

I just had to share the rest of the "Taking the Puppy to Potty on a Rainy Day" pics...




Perfect is a lie

I've always been a black and white kinda girl. I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist. I often times see things as the way I wish they were or the way they should be instead of enjoying the way they actually are.

Last night at dinner, I had a moment. A surreal moment. I took a second to look at our family as an outsider would. We sat at a huge table for 9. (Jordan's bf Ben from college has melted into our family shananigans without a second thought.) We were loud. We were probably obnoxious. We were laughing uncontrollably.

I took a second to evaluate "us" as I would critique one of my photographs. I oft times throw out a picture if the lighting isn't just right, or the angle isn't quite what I wanted, but I think sometimes I delete some really great photographs because I'm waiting for them to be perfect.

I think I've been waiting for my family to be perfect.

And potentially I have deleted some really great times in my attempt to do so.

We are what we are. We are not perfect. We make mistakes daily. We have adoption issues. We have cultural issues. We have parenting issues. We have marital issues. We have family issues.

Look at this next picture... I ordinarily would have deleted it because I cut Jordan's head off.

But look what I would have missed... Look at the smile. Look at Ben's face. Look at Justine's little pudgy hand holding the crayon in a death grip. Look at the details of the very colored on table cloth. I would have missed a lot if I hadn't stopped to look at the details.

We are a work in progress for sure. We are all trying to make sense of this life God's given us. We are all working together to be the family we want to be.

But we are no where near perfect.

It's good to be reminded every once in awhile that things don't have to be perfect to be good. Heck, I'm finally getting to the point where I don't even believe in perfect. Only one person was ever perfect, and it wasn't me. Perfect is a lie. It's a lie we tell ourselves when we look at other people; when we compare ourselves to others.

I bet there were people watching us interact with each other during dinner who thought we had it all. We were the perfect blended family. Look at them. Their kids love each other. Their kids obey them. They look so happy together.

While on the inside, I'm feeling so much less than perfect.

Perfect is a lie. And I'm just now learning to be OK with that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010



A Bus Rolling

Parenting kids is not easy. As every parent knows, it is probably the hardest job in the world. Parenting older children brought to you through international adoption is the hardest task EVER.

It is so important for parents to have a united front when parenting kids.

Parents: Do Not Throw Your Spouses Under the Bus!

Case in point:

I am often seen as the disciplinarian for our adopted kids. I am the teacher who is constantly correcting their work. I am the one who spends most of the time with them. Josh's birthday was Sunday. He has complained about his cell phone since he got it at his last birthday. We had a credit at Sprint, so we thought we would take a gander at an upgrade.

Not only did he not want the upgraded phone that would cost us less money, but he wanted the much more expensive phone. When we were told the credit wouldn't apply to the phone, and the actualy cost was like $275, I said forget it.

Flash foward a day:

Jeff finds a slide phone (just like ours mind you...) refurbished for a MUCH cheaper price. Mind you, I didn't have this nice of a phone until I was 35... and I paid for it myself.

I could hear Jeff apologizing to him after he gave him the phone. I could hear him making excuses and telling him we'd get him the nicer phone next year. I couldn't, however, hear the words "thank you" coming from my son's mouth.

I felt my pulse quicken and the hair on the back of my neck stiffen. Since when do we apologize when giving our kids $100 gifts? Since when does a 13 year old require or deserve something nicer than everyone else in the house?

I confronted Jeff, who said, "Well, he just looked so pissed over the phone..."

This seems to be an ongoing thing with my adopted kids.... everyone feels so sorry for them.

Except me.

I'm sorry for what they went through, but by God, they're not going through it now. They have a pretty awesome life now, and I am sick to death of everyone coddling them.

But what do we expect when we apologize before giving them a gift?

This is an ongoing issue and it going to be a sore spot for me for a long time. I am made to be the bad one time and time again.

"Mom said no Rated R movies."

"Mom said no to the $275 phone."

"Mom said.... blah blah blah."

Kids need a united front because it's confusing. It's unfair. It causes division.

These kids are like sharks in the water... they can smell blood and they know when the mom and the dad aren't on the same page. Jeff and I weren't even in the same book or at the same library over this one.