Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cracker Barrel fun!

We hit Cracker Barrel in Phoenix while we were there visiting Sarah. I'll post more pictures later. Miss Mulu needs to use the computer to do math. :-)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Abi Mulu!

Yesterday was Abi's birthday! We think she is about eleven/twelve. According to her birth certificate she turned ten. After church her dad and I took her and two friends to El Toritos because she wanted Mexican food. They sang Happy Birthday to her and she was so happy! Unfortunately she had just moved to my side of the table so I wasn't able to get a great picture of her face when they came SCREAMING and singing Happy Birthday. I got her profile and her face speaks volumes.

After lunch we took Dad home and us girls went shopping. We hit Justice, Target, and Old Navy. Abi Mulu was able to buy three outfits and some jewelry. She also picked out a sleeping mask which she LOVES!!

Happy Birthday Abi Mulu! We love you!! You bring such joy to everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Art Awards!

The school the girls go to entered their art in a local art show. These two art projects won placing ribbons, BUT!! Meskrem placed FIRST with six others from the first grade class. Her art is now going on to the County level. I have no idea which one she did but I'll post pictures when I find out!  (fyi-Anna no longer goes to school outside the home)

Friday, February 24, 2012

P.E. Awards!

Meskerem (Amy)

Adah Derartu

Adoption update

Life with Miss Meskerem is going wonderfully and progress is made every day. She is doing great at school and here at home. She has a teacher who keeps me in the loop if anything is amiss for the day so I can address it and nip any bad behavior in the bud. Yesterday she was jingling her money for hot chocolate when asked to keep it quiet so today as her consequence she didn't receive any money so no hot chocolate during recess or lunch.

She fits into the family well and is making the adjustment as well as can be expected. It must be hard to come into a family with four girls already in place and try to fit right in the middle of the pack and work your way into the family dynamics and try to figure out where you fit in. She is amazing and does a great job and works very hard to fit in.

I believe that Meskerem is seven turning eight or eight turning nine. She is small for her age, but she is not six turning seven. We see the doctor in a few weeks and I'll see what she says. She is the same size as my five year old turning six, but my five year old is the same size as a four year old so I don't hold much weight in that. My intuition, her teeth, her smarts all added together tell me she's older.

We went to Arizona this past weekend to visit with Sarah and Meskerem met her oldest sister. They hit it off well and Meskerem loved snuggling with Sissy while she could. We all miss Sarah terribly but we're glad she is so happy. Sarah's baby Isaiah was the hit, of course, and the girls loved playing with him.

Concerning our current Ethiopian adoption still in process we had some news that her case and the investigation that is going on is going to a different level, hopefully from a local police to a federal level. On March 8 will be one year from when we accepted her referral. We are hoping that she receives clearance soon.

We're still working on updating our homestudy and sent the update fees in this week. Steve needs his physical and will get that in a few weeks. We also need to have a mobile notary meet us at the doctor's office to notarize the doctor's signature. We're almost done and I'm hoping that she'll be home this summer if not sooner.

As she is a year older she has moved from the baby house to the older house and it is reported that her verbal skills have gotten better. So we wait, do more paperwork, and send in more fees. :-) Hopefully she'll be ready for us when she finally meets us.

Winter Formal

Joe and his girlfriend went to her Winter Formal a few weeks ago. I would post more pictures but my computer is so slow that it takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. This is the first formal for both of them. They looked absolutely beautiful and had a great time!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's for dinner?

During the last few weeks I bought some Smoked Summer Sausage and Sweet Italian Sausage. I googled recipes for both and found two winners right out the gate. Last night we had Dirty Rice and tonight we had Baked Ziti. Both were doubled for my large family of eleven. My oldest son's family of four (he has a German exchange student until June) stopped by and enjoyed some Baked Ziti as well. It was a hit with everyone!

 With the Dirty Rice we had salad which went well.  To go with the Baked Ziti I fried zuchinni in olive oil and seasoned with seasoning salt and garlic powder and rounded out the meal with fresh Italian bread from Fresh & Easy. Pretty yummy stuff! VERY kid friendly!!  Enjoy!!

Dirty Rice         Baked Ziti with Sweet Italian Sausage

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hope at Home 2011

hope at hope banner

“Experience Refreshing and Equipping For Successfully Parenting Adopted Children”

Hope at Home – 2011 is a time of refreshing as we encounter the Father’s heart towards adoptive families. It is going beyond a traditional conference to equip and restore parents as they face the challenging task of transforming orphans into sons and daughters.

Why You Should Attend:

  • Receive renewed strength for your parenting ministry
  • Be equipped with new practical skills and insights
  • Learn how to access God’s resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • Enjoy the powerful prayer ministry offered throughout the event
  • Be encouraged by sharing experiences with other adoptive parents
  • Make authentic connections with others who share your commitment to children
  • Hearing Adopted and Biological Children Share Their Stories

A Sample of Topics Covered:

  • Responding to Your Adopted Child’s Tough Questions
  • Nurturing Your Marriage Amidst Competing Demands
  • Establishing Peace in Your Home: Addressing Anger in You and Your Child
  • Fathering Your Adopted Child
  • Creating Unity Among Siblings in Your Adoptive Family
  • Transforming an Orphan Spirit into a Spirit of Adoption
  • Loving Your Adopted Child Through Every Stage of Their Lives

Speakers Include:

  • Susan Hillis, Ph.D. – Adoptive mother of 10 children, motivational speaker, and Senior HIV Scientist from the CDC.
  • Stephen and Beth Templeton – Adoptive parents and leaders in their local church. They head parenting ministry and Northlands Church.
  • Greg Haswell – Pastor of Northlands Church (which consists of 18% of adoptive families).
September 23 – 24
Northlands Church – Norcross, GA

to register now!

Early Registration Fee:
(Through September 18)

Registration Fee:
(September 19 - 22)

Friday, February 10, 2012


I cannot believe it is already February. January, where did you go?!!

The girls are doing well in school. We are receiving help with Miss Abi and her ESL issues. She's getting extra help with reading & math. She was excited yesterday because she has memorized some math facts up to 2. I think it may be multiplication facts, but when numerous kids are talking at the same time, it's hard to remember.

Today they are having parties in class. I think it's for the 100th day of school, but again not sure. I just know I had to send pretzel sticks, fish crackers, and fudge with three girls. It's also the Scholastic Book Fair week and parents are invited to share lunch with their children so that's where I will be at lunchtime today. I worked the book fair earlier this week for an hour and ended up buying each of their teachers a book off their wish list stack. The girls were delighted when they got to put a sticker in the front of the book that it was from them. I have shelves and shelves of books, so buying one for us wasn't necessary, and this way the teacher can share with her other kids for years to come.

Things are going well on the homeschooling front. James has been doing science experiments form his Apologia Physical Science book. He missed these experiments at Class Day and needed to do them. We were both excited when he found the thermometer he needed in a science kit that I have had for years, okay, probably decades, that I have never used. He has probably earned an A in the class and I'm very proud of him!

Joe is doing well at his high school. He played his last home game for soccer last night. They have one more away game and then his season is done. He wants to play volleyball for the second year. He's 6 ft. so that sport makes sense. He earned A's and B's this last grading period. He has started a law enforcement program and does that weekly also. He has a uniform, goes weekly, and has homework! Last week he went to his first dance. He and his girlfriend went to her Winter Formal. They looked very nice in tan and black. They complement one another well.

Our new Little Miss has her ups and downs. She's had a tough week. I think she is testing the waters to see how deep we're in this with her. I told her we're onrier and meaner than she is and nothing she can do is going to make us give up on her and send her anywhere else. We have to constantly tell her that. We constantly tell her we love her and we constantly hug, kiss, and hold her. See the word constantly? She CONSTANTLY NEEDS stability,  she CONSTANTLY NEEDS affection and, she CONSTANLY NEEDS a foundation. We're determined to be that for her.

She's HAD to be her own advocate for so long. I have told her that her ONLY job in our house is to be a LITTLE KID!

She does not have to do her own hair. She has/had an issue with big sis helping her. I had to have a talk with her and tell her how it is in our house. The big people help the little people. I help Addis, Addis helps her, Meskerem helps Adah or Makenna. That's how this family operates.

She tries to be tough when she has had her feelings hurt. I can see the hurt in her eyes, I can tell she is trying to toughen up, and I tell her it's okay to cry, it's okay to feel hurt. Then she'll burst into tears.

We make her kiss us. We make her give us her face when she turns her face as we're about to give her a kiss. I hold her when she wants to be let go. And everyday we see progress. Everyday we feel a little bit more like she is our daughter. At first it seems like long term babysitting, and then before we know it, feelings are there and we're family. We've made great strides just this week. We're there. She's our daughter and we're her mommy and daddy.

Sometimes when she's being naughty and I talk to her I do tell her that I'm trying to parent her how her Ethiopian mommy would parent her or expect her to be parented. What I mean is that if my biological children were in a family other than ours I would hope that they were being treated as lovingly as the other families bio kids were. I have expecations of myself as her mother and I won't give up on her. At first I had my doubts, but they're gone. Thank you, Lord for helping me put one foot in front of the other to do this ministry of serving my children.