Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Festival & Halloween Week

I volunteered to organize and run our church's annual Fall Festival which we put on October 31 as a safe alternative to Trick or Treating for the kids of our church and community. We have a carnival type atmosphere where we play games, sell hot dogs and nachos, have a fire going for the older folks, big and little jumps for the kids. We then have a Trunk or Treat where the kids can go from car-to-car in the parking lot collecting candy. We have the cars preregister so we know who is supposed to be in the area. We rent hay bales for a hay ride and decorations, we rent a cotton candy machine. We'll have a popcorn machine, as well as a balloon sculpturer

I've been busy shopping and organizing. Today I'm putting all the games together since I will be pressed for time tomorrow. Our church hosts BSF so we can't set up until 11:30ish and we start at 6pm.

Last night we went to our first ever school carnival. It was fun for the girls. Their teachers, principal and the reservation firefighters all ran the games. We only had tears at the end when Adah lost her candy bag. One of the firefighters quickly filled her another which was greatly appreciated.

Meskerem enjoyed herself and dressed up as Belle. I think this may have been the first time she dressed up, but not sure. She doesn't remember going out for Halloween or going to a Fall Festival or a pumpkin patch in the last two years. Both of our cameras are non-operational so the first grade teacher offered to take pics for us to capture this momentous moment!

I'm also in charge of our youth group's monthly rummage sales. That means when someone from the community has something to donate I hustle on over or down to the church to meet them so we have great things to sell. We use the money to help the kids go to the various camps offered throughout the year, or they can use the money on a mission trip usually planned for the summer. Whoever shows up and works gets a cut of the funds. Having six kids in the youth group it is advantageous for me to help.

I'll post pics when our cameras get working again.

Enjoy your day tomorrow and stay safe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

May the Circle Be Unbroken

Today during a dentist visit I started reading a book I bought on Ebay a month or so ago. The book is May The Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey Into The Heart of Adoption by Lynn C. Franklin with Elizabeth Ferber. Today's reading found me involved with birth parents and their stories. There were so many riveting thoughts that I finally had to find my yellow marker so I could highlight and keep track of all I was learning.

Ms. Ferber writes on page 31: "In America you cannot vote until you are eighteen and you cannot drink unil you are twenty-one, but you can sign papers to relinquish a child at any age. It is one of the only contracts a minor can sign, and it is important for parents of a young mother to help their daughter reach her own decision. "

Further down the page:   '....relatives strongly affect the adoptive decision, and a woman or young teen desperately needs her family's unconditional love and support when she is face with the overwhelming situation of trying to decide what to do. "

 One thing I have told my older kids is if they should find themselves in a situation where they are or someone they are together with is pregnant, and they are not married, to please tell us. Yes, we would be disappointed. No, it won't be easy. These are things our children should not need to carry alone. Be open with your kids. Let them know you're there for them, NO MATTER WHAT. I don't want to find out after my child visited Planned Parenthood that there WAS a pregnancy, but there isn't anymore. I would be willing to raise my grandchild. I would be willing to help my son or daughter raise their child. But I need to know. I want to be in the loop. I know I fail at every level every day, but I hope that if the situation ever arose, that I would follow God's forgiveness and grace and not my own fleshly emotions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Updating and Adding my Book Lists

Front Cover  Front Cover  

I love books. I love collecting books and often have way too many books for my house. I've collected books throughout the different seasons of my life. As I go through my bookshelves I will add and update my booklists on the right side margin. I broke up my adoption reading list to Adoption and Ethiopia and Hair care. I've added Christian Living, African, and Family Life. I hope you enjoy some of the books I've been able to find.

Where do I find my books? Ebay! Sometimes I go on and just type in Ethiopia and narrow it down to children's books and see what I come up with. Other times I've found a lot of good resources from other adoptive families. Some of the hair care books I've received as gifts or from Paperback Swap. Some of my non-adoption related books I'll find at homeschool used curriculum sales. You might find some at the thrift store or library store if your library has one. Amazon is a great place to look too.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Friday

This morning I took seven of the kids to school, went grocery shopping for our bay night tonight, and then came home and made fudge and magic cookie bars. I made a double batch of fudge since we're passing this out as our shower favor tomorrow. We are putting them in a cute cupcake liner and then wrapping dark pink tulle with a brown ribbon around it.

Sarah wanted magic cookie bars but I made the recipe on the Nestle chocolate chip bag instead of the original and it was tasty as always. When we were in Costco shopping the other day an older lady stopped us when she saw the Nestle's bag that we had picked up and told us to try the Kirkland chocolate chips. She said, "They're the best chocolate chips I've ever had!" We found them and put our Nestle bag back. They are very good chocolate chips. They seem fresher and only have four ingredients.

I finally got the house clean about 12:30 and as soon as I sat down, the school called to say that M has a sore throat and wanted to come home. I headed out the door to get her and wait a minute!! The other four were coming home too! What?! Ah well. My house doesn't stay clean for long, at least it was clean for a few minutes.

We're getting ready to go the bay tonight for a bonfire with other families who have adopted from Ethiopia. We're bringing hot dogs, chips, soda and s'more stuff. Two grandbabies are going while their parents are either working or enjoying a night out.

I got some of the fudge wrapped up and ran out of ribbon. Burned two CD's for a shower game tomorrow. The game is to guess the titles of songs that have Baby, Babe in it or in the song. I need to go and make sure everyone has warm clothes and see why Boy (Isaiah) is crying. Talk to you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Busy family week

Sarah and her family are here visiting for the week. We're giving her a baby shower on Saturday to celebrate the impending arrival of Elizabeth. We've been busy shopping for food, paper goods, food, outdoor swing cushions, food, food, and more food!

We're going with different kinds of dips for her shower. We decided on one with chili and cream cheese, another one for fruit with cool whip. cream cheese, and something else in it, spinach dip, and salsa.

Tuesday night twelve of my thirteen kids were here, along with their families. We had potato soup, rolls, and two cakes from Costco. Yesterday we had meatloaf, Jalapeno hashbrown casserole, and carrots. Later today we're hitting the pumpkin patch and dad is bringing us some $5 pizzas.

We bought some brown curtains to hang so my son-in-law just went out to buy the rods for me. We have blinds which drive me absolutely batty since we live on four acres of dirt and have a lot of windows. Keeping the WHITE blinds clean is a losing battle, but I haven't wanted to fork over the money for something so trivial.

Today we're going to make Sarah some Magic Cookie Bars and make some fudge as party favors for her shower. Pick up the girls from school and go to the pumpkin patch. I don't think Meski has been before since she keeps asking what it is. She'll have fun. I'll post pictures when I get a chance.

I did go in and talk to the principal about our social issues and he's going to address them. Hopefully everything is resolved. It really is a great school, just like anywhere though, there are mean girls.

Monday, October 15, 2012

To homeschool or not to homeschool?

That is the question.

My girls go to a small school two miles from our house. It's ideal as far as the location and the smallness of the school. However, my oldest girl is different enough that she is not wanted at the lunch table with the other girls her age. Hmmmm...they talk to her as individuals but not as a group.

These same girls come up to her and want to know why she has her hair up in a ponytail and not down like them. She explains to each of them that her hair is different and she prefers to keep it up. They then proceed to try and touch her hair and she tells them 'NO' and they do it anyways.

Then comes in girl number two who was in tears today at lunch because her friend a girl was calling her a "B" and spreading a rumor that she liked a boy and then other kids were telling other kids. This is a girl who is eleven or twelve in her body, but four or five in her concept of such things. She doesn't understand such things. In Ethiopia if they treated each other this way the offender would get whipped and made to apologize.

My youngest two have been wanting to come home since school started, but I really like their teacher and frankly, wanted the break this year to get my house and head back in order. I've home educated twenty-four years and I thought a break would be great to help me get things in place. They don't have issues with the learning and educational part of school, they have issues with the social aspect. Boys throw pencils at them, push them, etc...they're really just being boys, but they're girls and they don't like it.

So I ponder and pray. They'll go to school tomorrow, and I really hope everything blows over and their life is wonderful and full of roses, but for some reason I don't think that will happen.

Tonight I will peek through the Sonlight catalog and see if it will work for us. I believe God is telling me to bring them home and use Sonlight. Why Sonlight? I have no idea. I'm a true blue A Beka gal, but maybe my girls need Sonlight and the closeness it requires of us as a family.  Meskerem is settled into our family enough that I could educate her. My Bell's Palsy is getting better, enough that I could teach them without the sounding out of words becoming a problem.

And by the way my boys got an A+ and an A on the cell project they did. Good job, guys!

Friday, October 12, 2012

My little firefighters

Firefighters come to the girl's school yesterday. They brought all the goodies for the kids and taught them to "Stop, Drop, and Roll!" I was questioned by Anna as to whether we had a smoke alarm or not. As part of their goodies they were given plastic firehats so I had them pose when they got home.
                                       For some reason she was a grumpy girl.
                                                     Okay, that's better!
                                                  Charlie's Angels?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Orphan Sunday

November 4 is Orphan Sunday. To raise awareness of the orphan crisis and possiblities of adoption or sponsorship among God's people we are heading up Orphan Sunday at our church. We plan on having a "Dedication Service" where we as the parents affirm before our church family and the Lord that we take the raising of our children for Him very seriously. We are having our girls dedicated since it's something we hadn't done yet. We had our boys dedicated years ago, but have never had the girls dedicated. Another family with six adopted children may also participate in the dedication.

Our pastor is on board and is looking at the Orphan Sunday website today to see what he can glean from their vast available resources.

We're hoping to have testimonies. We have our family who had eight biological children, but weren't done parenting so we added to our family through adoption. We have the family who adopted all six of their children. We have another family in mind who have numerous older adopted children and now have an 18-month and two 3 years old. No big deal, right?! Well.....this dad is 66 and his wife is in her mid-fifties. Like we heard at Older Child Adoption Training through Kingdom Kids years ago, "An old dad is better than no dad."  We also have an older woman who sponsors a child through Compassion Intl.

If you attend a church why don't you head up Orphan Sunday? It can be as easy or complicated as you want to make it. For ideas go to www.orphansunday.org.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting for a court date

We received a notice yesterday that the county social worker gave us a favorable recommendation to go forward with finalizing Meskerem's adoption. Her report goes forward to our lawyer who will then schedule a court date with the San Diego court and Meskerem will legally carry our last name....finally!

Monday, October 8, 2012

What I've done the last 24 hours.

I took the girls to a birthday party at Pump It Up. They had a really fun time jumping around on the jumpaleens as Adah calls them for about an hour and a half. Then they had pizza and ice cream cake before we went home.

I asked the girls on the way home when the last time was that we had washed hair. We remembered that we had gone to a birthday party last Sunday so we didn't wash it then which meant it was hair washing night. I take the little girls one by one and wash their hair twice and then put conditioner in and we leave it in for twenty minutes. While this is sitting in their hair I put them in the bath and start on the next one. I bring them back into the shower where we wash all the conditioner out and they're able to rinse all the bathtub yuck off of them. This method works well for me since they're not old enough to wash their hair themselves. Thankfully Addis & Abi are able to wash and style their own hair.

This morning all five girls were to school by 8:00. Addis does their hair in the morning for me while I prepare lunches and breakfast. After I drop them off I come home and pick-up the lunch and breakfast mess, get a load of laundry going, and do some type of cleaning or organizing.

 Today I organized my coupons. I have been cutting them and filing them which takes a lot of work. The way I'm going to try it is file them by date and/or coupon publisher. I have Red Plum, Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble. I took it a step further and put my grocery store ads in a file and then also one for other stores. I use www.grocerysmarts.com which tells me what coupon to use for a particular item and the coupon source.

After getting that accomplished my jr. high boys needed help with math. Those pesky uncommon denominators were getting the better of them. They also had a three paragraph essay due on a Mark Twain story called The Californian's Tale. http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/mtwain/bl-mtwain-cal.htm I read the story to them since they weren't getting the gist of it. They wrote out their summary and I'll look over that tomorrow. I had never read it before and was taken aback by the ending.

In between all that we were also working on their 3D animal cell project that is due this week. We got the idea for the project from YouTube. 

Last week we took our coupons to Michael's to buy the supplies for our animal cell project, and bought the styrofoam balls, white foam sheets, and some other things. We used some black spray paint that we had, and Steve brought home some wood from work for the base. I did most of the cutting because I didn't want them to get hurt cutting out a piece from a 10" styrofoam ball. I used my serrated knife for most of it and it was challenging. Our nucleus accidentally got thrown away so the boys used the end of a badminton birdie.

This is John's finished project.

After we did that I did a few pick-ups from school. Some of the girls like to come home after school and a few like to stay for the after school program. I let them stay and play a few extra hours. I only allow it a few times a week because of our schedule and they get so tired.

Steve & I went out for dinner and let the kids fend for themselves. They had leftover chicken from our dinner on Friday when we had company and James made rice and biscuits to go with it.

We're home now and I'm chatting on fb with my daughter. I have one son at soccer practice. One is sitting behind me trying to download iTunes to a new computer, one is working on schoolwork, three girls are in bed, and I don't know what the other three are doing, but it's quiet. Which is always a good thing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Hour That Matters Most-Free eBook!

The Hour that Matters Most   The Sister Circle

A friend just emailed me this link for a free ebook from Tyndale. I downloaded mine to my Kindle Fire. It's free until Oct. 13 so grab yours today!

The Sister Circle is also free! Just click the above link and it will take you to both books.

From my house to yours,


Friday, October 5, 2012

We Give Books

We Give Books is a resource every parent should utilize. Just by joining (free) you have access to online books. Last night I personally read about a ficitional book about a boy who lived in Haiti during the recent earthquake and found a soccer ball of source of happiness not only to him, but to other children as well. My six year old daughter saw one with a gymnast so we looked at that and now she is ready to do gymnastics when she gets home.

Hope for HaitiI Want to Be A Gymnast

This is a great website. All the books are FREE!!!!! Grab your kid and go read a book together. It's a win-win situation.


This is from their website:

We are dedicated to delivering award-winning books empowering you to read and share beautiful stories with children in your life. With age-appropriate content for young readers, our goal is to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Books are right at the heart of this program — books for reading and books for giving!
All of the books available for online reading are children's picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers. We'll be adding news books every month, together with special seasonal offerings.
The We Give Books team works upfront with each non-profit literacy partner to identify the kinds of children's books that best fit their program needs. Some of the same great books you can read online will be donated to our charity partners through your reading efforts. We also donate others they request specifically for the young people they serve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's been going on over here?

I know you're dying to know what we've been doing in the past few months since I've posted.

We had four birthdays in the family.


Our youngest two girls have been in our family for five years now, we brought them home August 2007.

We celebrated our 32nd year of marriage. The picture was taken two years ago on our 30th anniversary.
Nine kids started school away from home. That was a first! One is back home using Switched On Schoolhouse and he seems to love it. Two of our boys are a charter school and attend only two days a week. So it's on me to help them with their middle school work when they don't understand it. Some days we're at the table A.L.L. D.A.Y. and others they need no help at all.  For some reason I only got pics of the girls. Bad mom.

We're letting our hearts heal after not bringing home our Little Miss A from Ethiopia. It's surreal because she would be in our home now, and yet she isn't.

We've started counseling for our newest to make sure that there isn't something we're supposed to be doing. We're on track and came in with a RAD diagnosis. The last diagnosis was Adjustment Disorder with Disturbance of Conduct. (same thing?)

I watch my 14 month old grandson every day, and sometimes my two year old granddaughter is here as well.

I'm attending BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) once a week.

I had my annual endocrinology appt and am still cancer-free. I had thyroid cancer back in 2005 and had my thyroid and some lymph nodes removed.

I'm still couponing when I have time. (when would that be?)

We're all in AWANA and we the parents are Jr. High Leaders.

I'm planning/organizing the Fall Festival for church.

I'm throwing my daughter a baby shower for her baby girl. She's due in December with her second baby, first girl.

Giving a listening ear to other adoptive parents when they need to vent or giving advice when asked.

Shopping at the thrift store when I can get an hour or so to myself.

Wearing chip clips in my hair and having it announced on the radio with my full name none-the-less.....

I found this doll which reminded me of Adah. Of course, I had to buy it.

Took two of my boys to a Shakespeare play which was a first for all three of us.

Had entirely too many frozen chocolate yogurts with granola.

Enjoyed the beach and the sand.

Yelled too much at my kids. Tried to balance it out with an equal amount of hugs and kisses.

Two sons went to Mexico, and one went to Alaska.

I'm hoping this season will slow down a bit, but with eleven people in the house and many more coming and going, I don't think so.

From my house to yours,