October 30, 2010

I. Am. Freaking. Out.

Is it okay to admit that?

Just two weeks until we leave. Last night I let myself think about leaving the kids for 9 days.

Nine days is a long time. Will Seth remember to make them shower? And take their vitamins? Will he be able to drive alone in the van with the kids for 14 hours? What about going to the bathroom at the gas stations?! How can he manage boys and girls for a bathroom break?!!

Deep breathing and realizing that my hubby is indeed a very qualified, responsible father. He can manage taking five children to the bathroom. It may end up that they are all urinating on the side of the road from the back of the van. If I'm halfway around the world, then it's really just not an issue, right? As long as they get to go potty. And if they don't shower or take vitamins for nine days it's not like they will drop dead. Life will go on. They'll be stinky, they may be sick, but they'll probably revel in the freedom that comes with spending nine days with Daddy.

Good thing he's spending the week with his parents. I don't think my mother-in-law will allow the children to spend a week without bathing.

Give me a few minutes to remember something else I can worry about. Like forgetting to buy pull-ups or bring Ella's epilepsy meds to the beach. I better start packing their bags right now...

Still freaking out.

Lessons from the Ten Year Old

When Everett was five years old, long before we ever talked about adopting from Ethiopia, he confidently told us that he was going to be a missionary to Africa. He never said he wanted to be a missionary, he said he was going to be a missionary. For the past five years, he's continued to say, "When I'm in Africa..."

I never expected my five year old to declare that he did indeed know what he was supposed to do with his life. I watch this oldest child for indicators that he will grow up to be a missionary. I watch from afar and hope to see some sacrificial behaviors or maturity beyond his years.

But he's TEN. He loves Lego's and reading fiction. He sword fights in the backyard and pretends to be mortally wounded as the dog bounces on top of him. He reads his Bible every morning, but an hour later is yelling at his sister for using his mechanical pencil. He is TEN.

It's so hard to remember that he's got incredible aspirations and hopes, but he's still just a little boy. Yesterday, we had a very busy day. Classes for three hours with our home school co-op, then a fall party that I had to help coordinate. Following the party things had to go without incident in order for us to make it to the missions conference after dinner. The kids left the party with Seth and I had to stay to clean up. On my way out, so far without incident, Seth called. Sally had zipped her belly into the skirt she was putting on. I could hear shrill screaming in the background. Seth, trying to get dinner for the kids, was a wee bit frantic. I told him that he just had to pull it off, or Google a solution. Thirty minutes later, I show up at the house with less than two minutes to grab dinner and get into the van so we could make it to church. I was greeted by Sally, in panties, at the table eating. She looks at me and starts sobbing. Tenderly, she lifts her shirt. She's got a ragged square of skirt and zipper hanging off of her belly.

Okay. This is so something I would do, like crazy. Not at all what I expected to see when I got home. Seth, looking rather sheepish, shrugged and said, "I felt too bad to do anything but cut the weight of the skirt off of her. Then I gave her dinner and decided to wait for you."

So we decided that we weren't going to make it to the missions conference. I heated my dinner up. We told the kids to just go ahead and put on their jammies. Everett, already wearing his coat with his Bible in hand, couldn't believe what we were saying. He stepped into the hallway and looked back with tears in his eyes.

Wait, is this what I've been looking for? These signs that our child really does care about things beyond fun times? He's visibly upset about not attending church...on a Friday night? Tears make their way down his cheeks and he solemnly looks at Seth and I.

"I'm just very sad about missing the missionaries tonight."

Severely chastised, Seth grabbed his coat and the keys and took both boys while I stayed behind to...deal with the zipper. A few hours later three very happy guys return. A Haitian pastor had preached, a Filipino couple had sang with such passion many were moved to tears, and a family from Spain had presented a video of their work.

"Mom, it was the best night ever. I'm sorry you missed it."

And he's only ten.

October 19, 2010

I Love My Hair

I saw this today and loved it. I read the criticisms and, honestly, I still love it!

Let's be realistic-- We can wax on eloquently about the hairstyles that this little muppet has. We can discuss that she sings one thing and her hair is doing something else. Or we could just be happy that Sesame Street produced such a cute, affirming video for African-American girls who have hair envy.

I don't think the Sesame Street crowd notices that our lovely muppet's hair gets a 'relaxed' look halfway through for a few seconds or that she gets incredibly long braided extensions towards the end. She's singing about loving her afro and cornrows. She's a lovable muppet! How could you be so upset and read into this song so much as to get angry. This is a great thing for my afro-wearing daughter to see! Affirmation that she does have wonderful hair that she can wear in so many amazing styles. It's great.

The story behind the video makes it even better. Here's the article from NPR:

A little Muppet girl has started a sensation. The unnamed puppet with an afro sings a love song to her hair.

"I Love My Hair" debuted on the Oct. 4 episode of Sesame Street. It was posted on the show's YouTube page — and then women began posting the video on their Facebook pages.

African-American bloggers wrote that it brought them to tears because of the message it sends to young black girls.

Joey Mazzarino, the head writer of Sesame Street, is also a Muppeteer who wrote the song for his daughter. Mazzarino is Italian. He and his wife adopted their 5-year-old daughter, Segi, from Ethiopia when she was a year old.

Mazzarino says he wrote the song after noticing his daughter playing with dolls.

"She wanted to have long blond hair and straight hair, and she wanted to be able to bounce it around," he tells NPR's Melissa Block.

Mazzarino says he began to get worried, but he thought it was only a problem that white parents of African-American children have. Then he realized the problem was much larger.

In writing the song, he wanted to say in song what he says to his daughter: "Your hair is great. You can put it in ponytails. You can put it in cornrows. I wish I had hair like you."

That simple message has caused an outpouring of responses from women. Mazzarino got a call from an African woman who told him the song brought her to tears. "I was amazed, 'cause I sort of wrote this little thing for my daughter, and here this adult woman, it touched her," he says.

Mazzarino says he's happy to report that Segi loves the song — and her hair.

October 18, 2010

Building Fund

Our team just reached the goal for building projects that need to be completed for Trees of Glory! I'm amazed at the generosity of people--a $4,000 goal met! Incredible!

Hopefully, after 4 guys spend 4 days working, these buildings will be transformed into a church, dormitory, and classroom.

If you were hoping to donate funds for this trip, you still can! Visit Hopechest online to donate, specifying ET101101T-PROJECTS in the notes. There will be plenty of opportunities to bless these children and their caregivers beyond the building project. We are planning a full meal at each care point and also plan to bring fresh fruit with us. It's nice to have a little cushion in case of an unexpected emergency. Karen posted recently about a young boy suffering from an abscessed tooth. The team who happened to be visiting Kind Hearts that day funded a trip to Addis to visit the dentist.

October 16, 2010

4 weeks!

My Mom and Dad were here this weekend to help with some home repairs. Actually, we had a door behind our fridge that needed to be closed in. I take full responsibility for deciding to put the fridge there. I do things without thinking about the reprocussions. Like the hole in the kitchen wall that is also waiting to be closed up. But I won't go on down that rabbit trail, it will only end badly.

A day of madness and chaos and lots of dust...the project is nearly completed. As my parents were leaving my Mom hugged me and said, "See you in D.C."


Whoa, we are really that close to leaving for Ethiopia. The next time I'll see my mom we'll be boarding Ethiopian Airlines together.

October 12, 2010

School Uniform

I never thought we would become that homeschool family.

When Eli got up Monday morning and announced that he would be 'Wolverine' for...ever, I thought, "We are going to be that family."

I wondered how brave Eli would be in this Wolverine suit. It's one thing to wear it around the house and write "Wolverine" across the top of his math papers. It's a completely different ball game when it's time to step outside of our little world.

The boy proved himself a very courageous soul. He wears his school uniform to the doctor's office, flower shop, plate painting event...Yesterday, I had become so accustomed to seeing him in yellow and blue polyester that I forgot he was in his uniform until someone asked if he was a power ranger.

Today is our school picture day at our co-0p. I asked him this morning if he was going as Wolverine and he looked at me as if I had three eyes. "No, that would be too much. I really like wearing my jammies underneath and getting away with it."

And all along I thought it was a middle child trying to assert his independence and show himself different. He's just seven year old who wants to stay in his jammies all day.

October 9, 2010

Josiah's Birthday!

Terrible Twos, Goodbye! Could the pithy saying be Terrific Threes? Dare I beg for this year to be a bit easier than the past?

Too smart for his own good, too cute to get in real trouble, and too rotten to care about any of it...here's hoping for obedience and maturity in the coming year. We are off to a grand start!
Yes, he did spit on half of the cake. Happy Birthday, dear sweet (salivating) boy!

October 7, 2010

Mission Trip Giveaway

Crazy Kari Gibson had a wonderful dream. When she woke up she decided to trust God and just go ahead with this wild business.

She's giving away a mission trip. An entire trip. To Ethiopia.

I've seen some great giveaways on blogs. This one takes the cake. For the next month each shirt purchased will grant you one entry, the purchases will funnel into a scholarship covering the cost of the trip in February with Visiting Orphans.

You can buy an awesome shirt, wear a shirt that will spark many conversations, and know that the purchase of that shirt sent someone on a lifechanging trip that they otherwise wouldn't have been able to take. A great concept. Check out the details on Kari's Crazy Adoption Blog.