"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, August 29, 2008

Can you hear them???

For those of you who live close by and want to know what it is like having 6 kids... just walk out to your street and turn your ear towards our house. You will know you are hearing our kids when you hear the hysterical giggles coming from my boys as they watch football with Ben. Why they are giggling like girls over football I cannot say... but they sure are loud. My house is ALWAYS loud. It was loud before Ethiopia - it is even louder now. EVERYTHING around here is a production. Dinner, laundry, brushing teeth, making beds, playing with blocks... even quiet time. There is always laughter, often tears (from Addy who is going through a "stage"), discussions, arguments, more laughter and lots of singing.

So if you wonder what my house sounds like - try this experiment. Call your mom on your cell phone and have her tell you a long story. Then call your grandma on another phone and have her tell you a different story. Play a laugh track on your computer speakers. Turn your radio up really loud. Let your dogs in the house, preferably muddy. Ask your husband to take apart your dishwasher while you ask one of the kids to start making dinner. Then just sit back and watch... you might feel like you are going crazy at first. But after a few minutes your lips will start to twitch into a smile and before you know it you will be grinning at the craziness of it all.

OK seriously, it isn't that bad... most of the time! :)

My idea of a GOOD time

I am so sad that I will be missing it! I can't believe that I can't go. And no, I am not joking. But since I have already paid to see it twice and bought the soundtrack... I just can't justify going again. Boo Hoo! Tonight there is a sing a long version of Mama Mia at our local movie theater! I danced through the last 10 minutes of the movie while singing quietly under my breath the last 2 times... tonight I could sing for the whole theater! Rats!

So if YOU haven't seen it yet and are looking for a good time - I suggest heading to your local movie theater for an Abba Fest! :)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of School

I love this day!  I loved the smiles on the kids faces!  I loved chapel at school!  I loved their nervous giggle when they were ready to go!  Hope your first day is great too!

Recent Pictures

These pictures are from our trip to the beach. Too bad you can't see the one of ME trying to body surf. I thought it was easy right BEFORE I fell flat on my face!

Monday, August 25, 2008

So You Want to adopt... maybe????

This post is for all the people out there who are thinking that maybe one day they want to do this too. Maybe you have always felt the call to adopt but needed a little push. Maybe you are ready and your spouse isn't. Maybe you THINK you are supposed to adopt but really can't afford it! Maybe you are terrified! Maybe you think it will be too hard! Maybe you just don't know how to get started!

We have been there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben and I got to go on a date last night. We used to go at least once a month. Now we go every 6 weeks or so (if Grandma and Grandpa are available). So last night we got to talk about all the changes that have happened in our home. We talked about the last month and how hard and emotionally exhausting it has been. We talked about the pile of parenting books we bought and need to read. We talked about if we would do it again... knowing what we know now. We both said absolutely. Our kids are not perfect, not a single one of the 6! But we know that God had them picked out for us and for that we are so thankful!

We do not think that you must be a perfect parent to adopt. (Obviously, we are far from perfect). One of the best bits of advice we got as we began this journey was to suspend ALL expectations of what you HOPE for. Give them up and pray for peace and joy and love for the children God has for you!

So if you think you want to adopt I have attached some scripture to pray over.

"Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."James 1:27

Psalm 68:5, “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”2. God considers spiritual service the purest when His people are taking care of orphans. (and) A religion that does not care for orphans is no religion at all.·

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”·

Isaiah 1:23, “Your rulers are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless.”

Deuteronomy 10:18, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”·

Psalm 10:14, “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.”·

Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.”·

Matthew 25: 45, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

I have also linked a websites for you to inquire about children. Kingdom Vision International. is a newer orphanage and the director is a "web friend" who adopted from Ethiopia and felt led to go back and start an orphanage. You can request a photolist of available older children if you think you would like to go that route.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Student Loans - Boo HISS

I am so grouchy right now I could scream!!!!!!!!!!! Ben and I both took out student loans so that we could teach kids! We are certainly not getting rich doing it! 2 years ago the govt. passed a law that said that public employees (teachers, nurses etc) could have their loans forgiven after 10 years of payments. The 10 years had to come AFTER October 1, 2007 but the monthly payment would be reduced to accomodate family size and income! Hooray we thought! What a blessing!

Today I called to find out exactly what we needed to do because we were told that since we had consolidated our loans when we got married 12 years ago we had to wait until July 1st for a new program so that we could REconsolidate! We were told we would begin making approximately $300 payments each month for the next 10 years! Hooray!

I just got off the phone and basically we don't qualify because we consolidated our loans together and they don't "support joint consolidated loans". I am so mad! So now we will begin making our $600 payments for the next 22 years! I was really hoping to have OUR college loans paid before Marti graduated!

Now I just want to clarify that I am not angry that I have to repay my loan. I am angry because the ONLY agency given the ability to support the Public Employee Loan Forgiveness Program has arbitrarily decided to not allow "joint (married) consolidations". That seems very wrong to me!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


No, I am not relaxing but Marti's hair is! We took her in yesterday and had her hair relaxed. Oh, it is beautiful! She has so much hair and the curls just got lost in the mass of hair. Now you can see each gorgeous curl and she loves it! I love it too! I can actually run my fingers through her hair and comb it without tears (my tears not hers). Hooray!

The boys hair is causing us problems and I am currently searching for a barber who knows how to "shape" African hair. The boys have some VERY STRONG OPINIONS about their hair and my cuttings with the clippers is not up to their standard! I have the name of someone close by and will be calling at lunchtime today!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Home again!

We got back from Seattle and the Washington Coast 2 days ago. We were treated to this fantastic vacation by my dad, and what a great trip we had. The kids got to meet and spend time with Grandpa (my dad), LeLe (my step-mom) and their Aunt and Uncle. Their Aunt Lyssa is 10 and their Uncle Trystan is 12... we had a blast! My sister and her boyfriend joined us for part of it and the kids are always so happy to see Rebecca. It is always fun to hear her take on the kids and how much their English has improved since our flight home from Ethiopia. It was so much fun spending time with everyone and the kids got along really well!

Yesterday we helped Grandma and Grandpa (the ones that live here in Kennewick) with a going away party for a friend from church. The kids were so cute and helped carry food, chairs, tables and drinks for the guests. Addy was sad that she didn't have a job so she was in charge of greeting people and saying, "thanks for coming". The girls all wore their matching dresses that our friend Alyssa made them. They looked so stinkin' cute!

Today Marti (she has requested that she be called Marti (pronounced Mar-Tee) from now on) had her first soccer game. She played so well and was graceful and FAST! It was fun to watch her play. Jacob, Danny and Lilly all played today too. They were fun to watch and won their game 7-0.

We have had such a fabulous week and now we prepare for school starting! I cannot believe our summer has come to an end. We finished school supply shopping ($180 later) and will finish our clothes shopping this weekend (along with every other family in the world). I will do my yearly before-school-starts interview with each of the kids this week too. Every year since Danny was 3 and starting pre-school I have "interviewed" him about important things. I love how his answers have changed over the years. It will be fun to do this with all 5 of the "big kids" this week. I can't wait to see their answers!

Next week all the kids will have their Home Visits with their teachers from school. It will be fun to spend time watching the kids interact with their teachers. We are super excited about the teachers each of kids has this year. We feel like God picked them out just for our kids :).

The last few weeks have been really hard on our kids. The "Honeymoon Phase" is definitely over and although things are still really good everyone is trying out their limits and their roles in the house. The kids are really missing Ethiopia and the way life used to be. We have had several tears (from me too) but we are getting through it and will surely be a stronger family for it! We would appreciate your prayers during this transition back to school and as we move through this more difficult phase of adjustment.

Well... I better go make lunch and get the kids ready for a birthday party for one of their best friends! Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Letters Home

Tonight I wrote a letter to Mesalech. We are sending it with a group from AWOP that is traveling to Sodo next week. They are taking letters from us and the kids, pictures, and sponsorship packages so that we can sponsor Mesalech and the boys. We (actually from my sister mostly) will begin sending money each month that will help pay for medecines, job training and food so that her burdens will be lightened. I am so thankful for this opportunity to support her and the boys. After being there and seeing what it takes to survive, I am glad we can help a little.

What did I write in the letter... all the things I would want to know if my kids were somewhere else. Are they healthy, growing, happy? Are they reading their Bibles? Are they being good? I told her all about the fun experiences they are having too. The swimming, school, sports, birthdays, vacations... all the important stuff. We are sending almost 50 pictures of the kids along with the letters. Pictures of them goofing off with their siblings as well as pictures that show they are happy. I wonder what she will think? I hope that the tears she will probably shed will be from relief at knowing they are well not because the letters will cause her to hurt all over again.

There are so many different philosphies on this part of adoption. I never expected that I would be such a supporter of the communication that we have had. But I truly believe it has made all the difference in our kids adjustment and bonding. Does it hurt sometimes? Sure. The other night Jacob got out of bed and was asking Marta for a picture of "his mom". He wasn't talking about me. My heart skipped a beat and then we walked hand in hand downstairs where we found the picture he wanted. He told me all about Mesalech's kisses and spankings. He told me that he missed her and that she was beautiful. He told me that she wore a scarf in her hair most days. I think he was forgetting her... being able to talk about her and look at her picture calmed him and he went to sleep happy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer Blues

Right now I am sitting in a class (well we are actually on a break) learning about the new math standards. I am excited to see that the new standards are have more depth to them at each grade level so that we don't feel like we are always having to teach everything every year. This is good.

I am so sad that school is almost starting. As much as I love the first day of school, I guess I love summer more. I love way everyone wakes up slowly in the morning and the relaxed feel of the day. Oh well. All good things must come to an end.

The kids are all sad that school is still 3 weeks away. They would be happy to start tomorrow. We will be setting a new record at Bethlehem. We will have 5 siblings enrolled at 1 time! It will be wonderful to have them all together at 1 school. Joseph is excited for school soccer and can't wait to play - he is lamenting the fact that it has been 3 months since he has played.

Well class is starting...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover in Tri Cities

I just sent in my nomination for our Extremem Home Makeover... boy that was hard! The nominations are not due until August 8th (I know I put the wrong date before) but I am glad to have gotten it sent off. Recently 4 different people have said that we should apply and I kept telling them all that they were funny... not that we didn't want one - just that we were sure it would never happen. And then all the sudden our paper was declaring that EHM WANTED to come to the Tri Cities... They WANT to come to Kennewick??? Well, who am I to deny them the opportunity to meet my great kids :) ??? So the application has been sent and now we enjoy the part where we have something fun to dream about... It is kind of like when you buy a lottery ticket and spend the next couple days dreaming about how you could spend your millions. That is what I have been doing. Dreaming about a room for Joseph... Dreaming about a "sanctuary" for Ben and I... Dreaming about the beautiful pantry which will solve all the worlds problems... :) Seriously, the dreaming is so much fun!