Monday, September 28, 2009

The girls and Moe

Liesel, my future veterinarian, has worked very hard to prove herself responsible enough to be a horse owner. She has cared for the dog, the cat, the cow, and the chickens cheerfully, consistently, and independently, thus finally earning the long desired horse. We set up a baby monitor in the barn so we can listen for raccoons at night (and children during the day) :). At the crack of dawn every morning, through the baby monitor, the bucket of oats can be heard sloshing around and Liesel can be heard talking silly to the chickens. It is a great way to wake up every day. I am very proud of her.

We found a college student who know everything about horses, and she is coming twice a week to give the girls horseback riding lessons. It has been fun for them (and for me watching). Even Ava got on at the end for a little bit. I can't very well hold Ava on the horse and take a picture at the same time but one of these days I will get a photo, I promise.

Moe loves getting groomed but is very spoiled and expects his treat at the end!

Saddling up....

Hope is laughing because as I leaned over to get this cute photo of her taunting Moe with his treats, Buddy the calf was butting me from behind. Yes, he really was.

Moe learning who is the boss......

Liesel learning to teach Moe who is the boss.....

As with anything the more we learn the more we learn there is to learn. Hopefully we'll be pros soon and we can invite you all over for a ride!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Little Lighthouse- Mini Laps

Thank you so much to everyone who made The Little Lighthouse Mini Laps fundraiser a huge success. Overall something like $260,000 was raised, including corporate sponsorships and matching grants. And Ava brought in $2,345!! Woo-hoo! Thank you all!

Here are some photos from the event. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the 'world' on the bald head until the end of the event. It had smudged quite a bit, oh well. The theme was "It's a Small World". I KNOW you will enjoy browsing through the photos of these beautiful children, walking, or rolling their lap while the crowd cheered on their accomplishments. It was a tear jerker for sure. By the way, Ava did so great!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Updates

We decided yesterday to take Hope out of Pre-K. I started calculating, and I was driving 150 miles extra a week JUST to take her to public preschool, so I could have an hour and a half to myself a day. So not worth it. Plus she already knows all her letters and sounds and numbers and shapes and senses. She is well on her way to reading. It just really didn't make sense.

I enjoyed my first day of "homeschooling" her yesterday. She really wants to learn to read and that is just what we are going to do.

The kids are all doing great in school. Everyone has A's and B's as far as I can tell. Simeon has had the biggest adjustment, being in middle school now, and having 7 subjects and 7 teachers. The first few weeks were rough in trying to get organized and understand the expectations of his new schedule. But I feel he has a handle on it now and I am very proud of him. He even has a B in English which is his hardest subject!

Moe is a great horse and we are crazy about him! Sometimes when he sees the van coming down the road he stops his grazing and runs to the fence to greet us. :) The farrier came yesterday to trim his hoofs and tomorrow we have our first family horseback riding lesson. He has escaped a couple of times due to children leaving the gate open. Yesterday I was home by myself when I found him missing, and I was glad someone wasn't video taping me trying to retrieve him. I did finally manage to get him back in the gate but not after he gave me the workout of a lifetime! :) Horses are apparently social and this horse is no exception. His reason for escape? To whinny and neigh at our neighbor's horses. Maybe we need to get Moe a wife. :)

We got our fingerprints last week as part of our adoption process for USCIS approval. Meanwhile the dossier is being authenticated in Washington D.C. I would expect it to be on its way to Ethiopia within the next week or two, getting translated and submitted to court. Then we wait for our court date. People are asking when we should have the kids. The best answer I have right now is in the spring. It will be about 4-6 months after our paperwork arrives in country, we are told.

I am putting together a costume for Ava's Mini Laps which I will show here soon. Thanks to Kelly Bassett for a cute suggestion. :)

TODAY is the LAST DAY for Ava to get credit for donations made in her name. Thank you to all who have donated!! Anyone still wanting to donate can do so by clicking here. Be looking for the Mini Laps event on Saturday. I can't wait!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flat Stanley on the Farm.....

Dear Avery,
Here is a peek into Flat Stanley's time here on the Urban farm. We tried to make him go to school but he refused!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Behavior modification plan

Ava has a couple of bad behaviors which I didn't intentionally withhold from you but it came to my attention recently when I met a blog friend for the first time, and Ava kept pinching her little boy's arm and pulling his hair (and laughing about it). My friend was very gracious about it, but was just surprised since I apparently had never mentioned it before.

Yes, she is very naughty that way!

She also has a terrible habit of throwing plates, cups, food, silverware, toys, etc.. Very naughty.

Tonight we were reading books together on the bed and she threw the books across the room, did the sign for "NO", gave herself a swat on the butt.....and laughed.

I think it's time for a new behavior modification plan.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ava and Mikhail

I assumed Hope was trying to draw hair on Ava's head today. However, when I asked her why, she confessed she did it because Ava was being "so mean" and taking her markers away from her. Ha ha. Ava so mean. Made me chuckle.

Leave it to John Urban to make this comparison, which I couldn't resist posting here: (Wait, I think I just had an idea for a Halloween costume).

Oh No! I just realized Ava has school pictures tomorrow. Great.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A fish hook in my finger

I can't believe I forgot to blog about the fish hook in my finger! Last night, just as we had said goodbye to our company, I got the kids ready for bed and started cleaning up the kitchen. One of my children (who I won't mention because he feels so badly about what happened) was responsible to clean out the tackle box. He had laid a pile of fishing wire, connected to a fishing lure/hook...whatever it's called....on top of the overflowing trash can. When I pulled the bag out of the trash can, the fish hook (yes, the kind with backward prongs at the end), sank into the tip of my finger. Goodness gracious that hurt.

I have had 4 children without a single epidural, so I was sure I could handle John yanking the hook out. I begged him to pull the hook out. Very quickly. But he insisted we go to the emergency room. I ended up being so thankful that he insisted, because it required wire cutters, pliers, and a local anesthetic. And when I saw how hard the doctor had to yank to get it out, I was SO glad for that local anesthetic. So here is a photo for you, taken by John's cell phone, for your enjoyment and entertainment. And this, my friends, is why I don't fish.
I want to thank everyone who left such kind, affirming and supportive words regarding our big change in adoption plans. It has been such an encouragement and confirmation to us. Thank you.

I would be lying if I told you I was not a wee bit nervous about adding three children to our family at once. I guess I just lied a little, because "wee bit" nervous is quite an understatement.

I am not naive, I know there will be many adjustments for our current family. We ventured out once and did a special needs adoption. Now we are adding to the mix a toddler and two older children all at once, and transracial and transcultural on top of that. I'm bracing myself for more mouths to feed, more laundry to do, more arguments to break up, more attitudes, more valuables broken, more dirt to sweep off the floor, more smudges on the windows. There will be more noise, more kids to get out the door, more clothes to buy. And I will probably grieve the loss of facebook and blogging for awhile!

(Then again, I see in my future more kisses and hugs, more snuggles, more laughter, more playmates, more character building, more built-in babysitters, more sibling ties, more cultural experiences.)

When I put myself in their shoes, I feel pretty overwhelmed, thinking of the big changes that will soon be happening to them. Do they want to be adopted? I am sure the answer is yes. But are they prepared for all the changes they will soon experience? I bet they feel just as unprepared as I do. They will have to learn new rules and boundaries, a new language, be immersed in a totally new culture, call complete strangers......white strangers...... Mom and Dad, learn the names and habits of their new...white brothers and sisters, learn to adapt to different kinds of foods. And oh, can you imagine how much they will grieve over the loss of the only place they ever knew as home?

My friend Heather reminded me how much easier Ava's adoption was than we thought it was going to be. I am praying that this will be the case now too.

But just in case, I ordered several books today on older child adoption, toddler adoption, parenting the hurt child, and even some children's books on adoption. I have so much reading material that I shouldn't even notice the wait (perhaps?).

By the way, I feel tremendously blessed to be doing adoptions at a time when there are so many valuable resources.....books, blogs, chats, yahoo groups. Seriously how did people used to do it? I have learned so much from you, my dear internet friends. Thank you.

I plan to spend some time on my knees these next few months asking the Lord to give us every bit of wisdom and grace we all need to survive thrive.

Thanks again for your support, blog friends, and thank you for keeping our family in your prayers.

Little Lighthouse donations-Thank you!!

THANK YOU to those who have generously donated to Ava's school! Every little bit makes a difference and I am eternally grateful to those who have given. If you could walk through the school halls just one time you would see why feel so privileged to be a part of this wonderful ministry. We do not have the ability to see who is donating unless you put your name on the honor roll. So forgive me if I missed thanking you in person.

Normally "Anonymous" makes me cringe as there have been some cruel blog comments left by Mr. Anonymous. But today, Anonymous I am extremely humbled and grateful for your generosity...whoever you are. Thank you.

I just logged on to see another very generous donation from H2O Express. I know you you are. THANKS!!!!! Over $1,000 has come in!

There are only 10 more days to give, if you would still like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.

By the way to read the stories of and see the beautiful faces of all of Ava's classmates and schoolmates, click here. Warning, it might make you cry. These are some pretty amazing kids.