Monday, November 19, 2012

I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For

Last year at this time Tegegn and Tiruye were still in an orphanage and we didn't know when they would be able to come home. We had recently been assigned a court date and were thrilled to be able to anticipate meeting them for the first time, but we were also watching other families navigate the immigration process and were terrified of how long that journey might take us. After four months without any new pictures of our babies, we were thrilled to receive some. Looking at those photos tonight, I had to pause for a good sniffle and a chance to go upstairs and watch my little ones sleep.

Tegegn, I promise you that we will do our best to make sure you are always in an environment where you can thrive and be the jolly little person you really are. Your face in the pictures above and the memory of the nannies at the orphanage telling us you just preferred to play quietly by yourself make my heart want to break into a million tiny pieces. You are resilient and strong and one of the sweetest little guys ever. You are so loved and we are so, so thankful to have you in our family.

Tiruye, in our family you will always have an appreciative audience for your sparkle. You charmed the pants off of all of us from the moment we met you and we adore your strong will and devilish sense of merriment. The journey to bring you and your brother home was one of the most challenging and painful of my life, but you two were worth it.


Monday, October 29, 2012

We're Still Here

As you can see from the photo dump above, we're still alive, well, and busy. Most of my thoughts these days just feel more Facebook-sized than material enough for a full blog post. I tie the kitchen chairs to the table to prevent them from being dragged around the house as accessories to mayhem and I bemoan playdates gone wrong. I post adorable pictures of my kids. I bite my tongue and prevent myself from posting too many political things because even though I'm pretty sure I'm right and everyone who intends to vote for the other candidates is wrong, I'm pretty sure they feel the same way about me and have no intention of changing their minds. And so it goes.

Meanwhile, we've been occupying our lives with plenty of fall-themed activities: corn mazes, corn boxes, playing in leaves, and choosing pumpkins have all been hits. The bambinos are all thriving. Atticus loves being in kindergarten, though he does get quite tired by the end of the day. Norah is taking a dance class this semester and loves it. Tegegn is smiley and is generally the most easy-going kid we've had. Tiruye continues to be into everything, but makes up for it by being the sweetest little girl. Seriously though, the child is into everything. If Tegegn wanders out of the room for two minutes, I will usually find him with his older siblings or pushing cars along the floor. If Tiruye leave the room and is quiet, you can be assured that she's gotten into my makeup bag and is dumping my new bottle of foundation over her hair (true story). When you discover her, she grins and sometimes blows kisses. I thought Atticus and Norah created a lot of mischief at that age, but Tiruye takes it to a whole new level. With that said, oh, how we love our little newbies. Knowing that they're most likely going to be our last additions, I often want to freeze time and savor the cuddles, chubby cheeks, and general sweetness. For full disclosure, I'm also a mom of four kids five and under, so I also often want to hit fast forward to a time when everyone's needs are just a little less urgent and the kiddos are more independent. Why can't life be like a DVD that can be repeated, rewound, and fast forwarded at will?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


If only it were possible to bottle the essence of autumn and apple picking. I think it's my favorite time of the year. It's become a tradition to spend an afternoon picking with the Peep-Eye family and I love looking at the photos of our gorgeous kiddos as they grow up (click here for photos from 2011, 2010, and  2009).

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I'm about to tell you a story that does not make Paul and I seem like particularly observant parents. It is also not a terribly interesting story but for the fact that Norah keeps telling it to people -  like her grandmother over dinner. I still wouldn't consider this to be a blog-worthy tale except that Norah can't pronounce the "t" in the word "peanuts". Here's the story:

"At the beach, we were eating peanuts. Tegegn loved peanuts! He kept putting more and more peanuts in his mouth. Then it was time for us to pack up and go home. It's a long drive home from the beach and my little brother fell asleep. When we got to the house, Mama and Papa realized that Tegegn still had his peanuts in his mouth! My little brother kept his mouth full of peanuts the whole walk to the car and all the way home. He had so much peanuts in his mouth! Mama said, 'Oh no, Tegegn! You shouldn't sleep with your peanuts in your mouth! No more peanuts for you! We're lucky you didn't choke on your peanuts!' Then Papa made Tegegn spit out his peanuts and my little brother was really mad because he loves to keep his peanuts in his mouth."

Monday, September 3, 2012

I realize that this last picture isn't especially flattering to any of us, but I had to post it to prove that we did take Tiruye with us. I've gotten some nice photos recently of the older three kids together - all of them are hams who will rush to smile for the camera. Tiruye gets distracted. In the first couple of pictures here she was off trying to get Paul's shoes to stay on her feet. In the last picture she stood up to try to abscond with my hat.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Spontaneous Saturday

We took advantage of a dreary day to head to the Shedd Aquarium for Tegegn and Tiruye's first visit. Atticus and Norah love the yellow submarine there and Tegegn was a quick convert. He loves any type of steering wheel on play equipment and will camp out pretending to drive for huge amounts of time. Tiruye squealed with delight each time she spotted a penguin or beluga whale and loved watching them through the aquarium windows. There was a big football crowd in the museum parking area, so we ended up getting to walk through the Chicago Jazz Festival and along the lake on our way back and forth to the aquarium. Norah would have been happy to sit watching the music all day.  Next year we may need to plan to bring a picnic and stay.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I keep meaning to write an in-depth post about how adjustment is going, but most nights once the kiddos are in bed my brain is spent. In short, everyone is doing really well.

Tiruye remains a holy terror to take to stores because she hates being contained in a shopping cart, Ergo, or stroller and refuses to hold hands preferring instead to run around doing whatever she pleases. If the kibosh is put on her plans, she throws tantrums that attract the attention of everyone in the store.  Luckily she makes up for it by being a total doll most of the time that she's not in a public marketplace. She gives great kisses and loves playing with her older siblings.

Tegegn is our smiley little guy and is enthusiastic about any and every outing. He loves putting on shoes and riding in the car and is even more excited when a ride terminates in an actual destination.

Atticus and Norah started school last week - preschool for Norah and KINDERGARTEN for Atticus. They were thrilled to be back with their teachers and friends.

The final photograph [in which I swear the big kids are wearing pants] was taken from our kitchen window while I was inside. This might not seem remarkable, but Tegegn and Tiruye have been dogmatic about keeping me within arms reach since they came home and to see them go out in the yard to play with the big kids without a parent felt like a big step.