Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tsegaye Mamush-Our Ethiopian Son

 Now this is amazing moment for us...

For a long time, since 1995 to be exact, we have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International.  We've had the same boy during that whole time period.  His name is Tsegaye Mamush and he lives in Ethiopia.  We got him when he was 6 and he is now 21.  During the years, we have written him and he has written us.  We've sent him pictures of our family and received pictures of him.  His writing, the last few years, has revealed him to be a kind thoughtful person, who has a deep faith in God.

Close friends of ours, Jeremy and Amanda, were going through the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia and I asked them, on a wing and a prayer, if they might visit our sponsor child for us.  They would be staying in the same city as Tsegaye and after conferring with Compassion, we were able to set up a meeting.  Our family shopped for Tsegaye here, picking out a nice bracelet and had it engraved and sent along to Jeremy to take.

I can't believe they were so generous with their time, spending 2 hours with our child and taking him shopping for a new soccer ball too.  Here was some of Amanda's news for us:

He really loves you guys. I hope you know how much your writing has supported him through the years and how much he values the photos you've sent. He said he fears two things in life: 1. Losing his grandma (who raised him) and 2. Losing you as his sponsors.
He was very genuine and got teary a lot. Tried to be tough but it didn't work. He hugged us a lot and kept saying (through the translator) that he was so thankful you sent us to visit him. He said that when he was a little boy at first he didn't understand the value of being sponsored but through the years he has realized how fortunate he is. He is currently in office equipment training. Something like that. But says chances of work are not great. He plans to help take care of his grandma as she ages. he said he cooks for her. he has a little brother and sister that don't live with them but who he is close to. He loves soccer and basketball. We asked which ball he'd prefer and he chose soccer. Nice that there was an awesome sports store in the "mall" we were eating in.

It was a really sweet visit with a great guy and we were so happy to do that for you guys. 

Shopping for him made him more real to me.  His letters, of course, made him real but touching and picking out something that he would wear was an emotional process for me.  Through technology, the world has become so small, but in a third world country, he still seems so far away.  

He will be aging out of the Compassion Program but the great news is, that we will likely be able to maintain contact with him.  We will sponsor another child, but I will always feel a special connection to Tsegaye.  And I could never thank Jeremy and Amanda enough for sparing the time to meet with him.  Bless you both and your newest member!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Congratulations Mikeypoo!

My nephew graduated from High School last week.  The same nephew I took down to the beach at age 4.  And while at the beach, he roared like a dinosaur at people passing by.  I wish I had a picture of that.  But now he's graduated high school and I am left wondering where all the time went.

I got to make his graduation cake, as I've been experimenting with cake decorating lately.  (Ya' know, in my spare time).I was pretty happy with it, but of course, it didn't come out like I'd planned.  What's that they say about best laid plans?  But I got to try out some new fun things like pearl dust and an impression mat.  Fun, and I was happy to do it for him.

In the middle of typing this post I went on an all-out scavenger hunt for a particular photo of Mikeypoo with his siblings.  Thus making this post take 2 hours instead of the 15 minutes I had planned.  Ahh, what's vacation without distractions anyway?   I found the negative but lost my patients with the scanning process.  However, I found these gems from oh-so-long-ago.   They make me smile.  I am having so much fun I will have to force myself to stop otherwise I will not get anything done today!  (It is taking a monumental effort to stop BTW)

Michael, or Mikeypoo as we fondly call him, is an awesome young man now.  I think the thing about him that stands out to me is that he is kind.  OK, not necessarily to his 3 other siblings, but especially to small children, like mine.  He holds their hand, plays with them, carries the baby, moderates language usage around them, and is very good sort of person.  Plus, he's funny and fun.  I'm looking forward to our vacation at the end of this week where we've rented a beach house together as a whole family.  My happiest Congratulations to him and I wish him every ounce of health, happiness, and success for his future!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Yet

Clearly, we are not ready for potty-training just yet.

If you notice, she has a bright red blotches on her face, shoulder, back, arms, legs, everywhere(although you actually can't see too many in these photos).  Hives.  Lots and lots of them.  A patch will blossom and then go away 15 minutes later only to have another batch pop up somewhere else. We're not really sure what they're from, but hoping that they are just about done.  At least they aren't bothering her so I've been able to get away with Benedryl only at night.  Never a dull moment with this one!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Barnard Fireman's Parade

Our family tradition, longstanding since before I was born, is to go to the Barnard Fireman's Parade in Greece.  It is really the only parade and carnival we ever went to.

Community.  That is what I didn't realize it was as a child.

I liked it because my Dad would pop popcorn and stow it in bread bags for us to munch on while we watched.  A tradition he continues.  I liked it because sometimes the people walking would throw candy at us and we could scramble just a bit into the street to pick it up.  I liked it because of the marching bands and color guards and the too-loud sirens of the firetrucks.  I didn't understand then why I had to stand for the Vietnam Vets, but now insist that my own kids stand too.

We have gone to this event almost every year of my life and the memories tend to bleed into one another.  But there is always the carting of lawn chairs to the house where we have relatives that afford us a front row view.  There is always carnival food the night of the parade, supplied generously by my Dad, who seems to revel in the entire night.

There is always someone from High School and now, strangely, there are always kids from my children's school.  In fact, they knew more people than I did.  I'm not sure what that says.

And there is always Family.

Last night we went and did the rides with the kids. Willa was finally tall enough(by a hair) for all the rides she wanted to go on.  The girls both ran into some friends from school to make the evening even more enjoyable for them.  Adalyn enjoyed the sharing of the snow cones a great deal.  (She is still fighting a mild case of hives from God-Only-Knows-What.)

A fun way to start our 2-week vacation!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Willa Graduates Pre-K

Willa attended the UPK in Greece this year.  She attended a Christian Preschool last year too but this years program was everyday(half days).  She also got to ride the bus and it was at the school that Denver attends as well.  We were extremely happy with the program.  I tried to volunteer a little and was delighted by the children.  Kids are so random at that age, willing to tell you stories about a squirrel they just saw, their dog that died, or whatever happens to pop in their heads.

What I admired about the teachers was their ability not to squash the individual.  I'm not sure I can explain it well, actually.  If you tell me to paint a giraffe, I will try very hard to make a painting that looks like a giraffe.  But in a classroom of small persons, the image of a giraffe is very subjective.  And I just loved all the encouragement, caring, and support I observed for all the "giraffes".  After all, my greatest desire out of a preschool for my child, is the that they leave with the feeling that school is fun and they want to go back.

Willa is very bright and is excited for Kindergarten.  I think if she could start in Kindergarten next week, she would.

For the graduation, the kids sang a few boisterous songs, got their diploma, ate snacks and spent a good deal of time playing on the stairs in the library.  Gran and Pop came and Adalyn behaved reasonably well.  However, she did not want to pose for a picture with the Graduate.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Well, I did manage to pick my berries and get to some jamming.  Forecast be darned.  We usually go to Burch's Farms in Hilton, for you locals.  Very sweet berries and he told me that he needed to spray a fungicide just once, no pesticides, no fertilizers.  Yeahhh!  Not quite organic but it could be much worse.  Wayne helped me pluck 10 lbs. of ruby deliciousness.  That is a lot to process at one time but it's done.  And I'm not ruling out a second round(we eat A LOT of PB&Js around here).

Adalyn was more interested in the eating, than the picking.  I managed to get 4 batches done while she napped and 2 later that day after the girls had come home.  Getting the 2 batches done with 3 children felt like twice as much work as the 4 batches did.  Ahhh, parenthood
And look, a rare photo of the photographer!
The jam came out terrific.  All 22 jars!  But it will go fast as I tend to give it as gifts too.  So perhaps next weekend I could squeeze in just a few more batches.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Catching Up, or Maybe Not

We've had a nearly childless weekend.  My Almost SIL took the older 2 camping at Yogi Bear Campground.  They were very excited and I'm looking forward to hearing about all the things they did when they get home tonight.

I had great hopes for this weekend.  Compiling list upon list of things that have been ignored that I was sure to get to while they were gone.


So here, just to keep humor and humility in my life I will jot down some of the things I was hoping to accomplish...

  • Thoroughly clean the girls room.  Throwing out all papers and cheapy McDonalds-type toys that are probably made with ghastly ingredients.
  • Scour the upstairs bathroom.
  • Clean, clean, clean.

  • Install new French Doors here(this wasn't on MY list but we were hoping that the timing gods would help us out and that all the parties needed would be able to get it done while the 2 were gone).  Hopefully this week.  Which makes me excited and nervous all at the same time.
  • Completely clean and organize the office.
  • Catch up on laundry.
  • Produce many batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam

Did I mention it is our 12 yr. Anniversary??  1 dozen years with my soul mate, whom I am still in love with and like an awful lot.

 Instead, I kicked off the weekend with a fairly good sized allergy attack triggered by volunteering at Field Day for the girls.  So fun(Field Day, not the allergy attack).  The rope swing was a big hit and in general, it was a really festive time.  They had a DJ there and all the kids were dancing.

 I'm spending the rest of the weekend fighting the allergy monster so maybe it's a head cold, hard to say.  

We spent yesterday doing a little shopping and out for lunch while the Curly Haired Monster was at my folks' house.  

Then the Curly Haired Monster wasn't sleepy until 11:30 last night, at which point we were almost asleep before her.  

And now as I type this, I will stay home from Church, while Wayne goes, to let the little beast sleep.  If there is time, I may try some jam.  IF, that is, the rain forecasted does not wipe out my picking-my-own ideas.

I did however, finally back up my photos onto CD's.  A project desperately needing to be done, but in this case definitely more of an anything-but-cleaning activity.

My girlfriend told me a quote from Phyllis Diller(sp?):

"Trying to clean your house while your children are young is like shoveling your driveway while it's still snowing."  

Well, that makes me feel a little bit better.  Not much.   

We have been busy, so maybe a break from running at full steam was necessary.  We had the girls recital last weekend, very fun and cute. 

Denver's teacher came too and made Denver so happy.

I had my last Nazareth Sports Banquet(sniff, sniff).  I still can't believe they decided to close such an awesome school.  I know, I know, $$$, but still, those kids are just great.  It will be hard to duplicate that atmosphere.  

And so here I sit, blogging.  Again, I think we can safely chalk that up to the anything-but-clean theme that I seem to be following this weekend.  Would I the cash I would gladly hire a maid.  Until then, no more excuses, it's off to the housework I go.