Sunday, July 31, 2011

Look What I Found!!!

Sunshine and Little Buddy have another birthday coming up and I want to start a Lifebook for each of them and give it to them for their birthday. I have been dragging my feet a bit, because a Lifebook for an older adopted child is very different than a scrapbook of a child that you have had since birth or babyhood.

I don't have any baby pictures or pictures of their parents. And the first part of their life was hard. When I would go to the craft store to find stickers or paper for their books I left feeling frustrated that none of the stickers and embellishments quite fit.

With the birthdays approaching I decided to take another look and was so excited to find a whole "stack" of scrapbook paper that is called Safari Chic. Africa scrapbook paper!!! It is perfect for their albums. I bought the matching matstack to use as backing on pictures that are placed on plain paper. I found the paper at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. The stacks usually sell for $19.99, but are often on sale for 50% off, which is when I bought them.=)

A few months back I purchased a whole die cut set from My set is called the "Standard Ethiopian Lifebook Embellishment Pack." It includes sixteen die cuts with Ethiopian flags, crosses, continent of Africa, mother and father in amharic and others. The whole set was $14.95.

A friend also purchased a book for me called "Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child," by Beth O'Malley. This book explains the importance of allowing your child to help write their lifebook. It is their memories that should be placed on the pages. The book walks you through what should be included in the book.

She writes in her book, "A Lifebook is a security blanket, a concrete tool, and a medium for one complete personal history. It promotes a positive grasp of identity. It makes talking about adoption feel like everyday conversation. It promotes attachment. It honors every moment of your child's life."

I can't wait to get started on their books. As I said before, I plan to start the books and give them the opportunity to add drawings and dialogue to fill in the history of their life before they came to live in our family. I know these books will be a treasure to them as they grow up.
Sweet Momma

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation 2011 - Part 4

While in Colorado Springs we took the advice of a friend who grew up in the area and spent some time at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

This zoo is located on a mountain side in Colorado Springs. It is an excellent zoo with many animals native to Africa and Australia that I have never seen before. Because of its location, the views were amazing.

The greatest attraction by far were the giraffes. There were at least 15 giraffes who were in an environment that let you get up close and personal with them. Stand-Up Dad purchased big piles of lettuce that they were happy to consume right from your hand. The walkway we were standing on put us at eye level with them. You could reach out and pet them. Truly incredible creatures. It was very funny when the people next to us fed some lettuce to a giraffe and it must have gotten caught in his throat. The giraffe totally coughed and sputtered all over them. Yuck!=) Fortunately, the giraffe was fine.

Here is Little Buddy getting a good look at the giraffe's long black tongue.

Yes, you could say that Stand-Up Dad was teasing the giraffe,
to see how far he could stick out his tongue. Gross!=)

These animals are absolutely beautiful! Getting to see them up close was one of the highlights of our trip!
Sweet Momma

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation 2011 - Part 3

So sorry to have left you hanging...I don't know if anyone but my mom is following our vacation pictures, but I have been anything but punctual about continuing our vacation saga.=)

I apologize.

After leaving Jackson Hole, Wyoming we traveled across Wyoming into Colorado with our final stop being Colorado Springs.

Along the way I was amazed at the colors of the earth. As you drive along at 75 miles an hour, (Yes, that is the speed limit in Wyoming) you go around a corner and this is what you see. Completely Incredible!

It is true that these pictures don't do it justice. I just love how God chose to surprise us with the colors of the dirt and rocks. Heaven must be incredible with gold for roads!

After a very long day in the car, we arrived in Colorado Springs and planned our first stop the next morning to be a visit to Focus on the Family. This Christian ministry has been around for over thirty years. It's goal is to be a support to families. They do this through radio broadcasts, support calling centers, literature and much more. While there, we took a tour of the main building to hear about the ministries they are currently involved with.

After the tour, we made our way to the visitors center. One of the ministries of Focus on the Family is called Adventures in Odyssey. This is a morals based Christian radio drama. The episodes have many characters that my kids love. They are funny and entertaining and also teach kids how to be a Christian in the real world.

Downstairs in the visitors center is a place called "Whit's End," which is a soda shop in the radio drama. There is much more to it than I can describe here. If you have kids over eight I would highly recommend these CD's. After you have listened to a few, take your kids to Focus on the Family. They will have a blast!!!

One of the best parts of Whit's end is the chance to record your own Adventure's in Odyssey episode. All six of our kids got a chance to be in on the fun. They actually record your voices and sound effects in with the characters from the show and then give you a CD with your voices. Very Cool!

Here we are as characters from Adventures in Odyssey, in front of the KYDS Radio Station.

This was a great way to start our time in Colorado Springs. More to come. Sooner than later, I hope.=)
Sweet Momma

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our Fourth of July!

Our family lives in Western Washington. There is a common phrase around here that is "Summer does not begin until after the Fourth of July." Meaning that it is grey and raining until then most years. I have lived here for fourteen years and I believe that it is true.

But this year was different! Hallelujah! The skies were blue and I believe the temperature reached 80 degrees!

This year we got together with both of my brothers and their families and went to Steilacoom, Wa, where they host a Fourth of July parade and street fair each year. It is right on the Puget Sound with the back drop of the Olympic mountains. Absolutely gorgeous!

There are 12 cousins in all. They had a great time together enjoying our countries Independence Day!
The whole crew, ages 2-14!

I love this picture! I don't know why it warms my heart to see my beautiful
Ethiopian kiddos sporting their American garb.

After the parade we went to my brothers house for a BBQ feast. One of the kids favorite was the red, white and blue Jello! My sister-in-law (chef extraordinaire) made four batches of home-made ice cream! Yes, you read that right, four different flavors and I tried them all!=)

Little Buddy's first sparkler!

The fireworks were the most stressful part of the day. Here's a thought, let's line up twelve children and give them a stick with fire on it to hold, all at the same time.

Yes, the dad's were in charge.=) They did a great job of keeping everyone safe and all the children went home with all of their hair.=)

For me, this Fourth of July was the best I have had in years. The weather was so beautiful. I completely enjoyed watching all of the cousins play together for hours. Family, food and fellowship. What an amazing gift!
Sweet Momma

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vacation 2011 - Part 2

On our second day we traveled south out of Bozeman towards Yellowstone National Park. The weather man said there were going to be thunderstorms, but God had different plans. Although the clouds loomed in the distance, we had a wonderful day!

As we drove into the park we went to the visitor center and watched a short movie about the history of the park. At one point, the movie showed a bison flinging a person up in the air. It was meant to warn visitors to respect the fact that all the animals in the park are wild. This person got too close and did not respect the personal space issues of wild animals.
The video completely freaked out our little ones. We promised that we had no intention of getting anywhere near an animal, but they were still unsettled.
We spent a good part of the day traveling around the west side of Yellowstone. We visited many of the amazing geysers and springs in the park. The picture above is one of my favorite. It is called the Cistern Spring. It's blue color is fabulous! The water in the center of the spring is boiling. It gave me pause as I walked along the path, wondering what was under my feet!

Visiting Yellowstone was a wonderful experience for Sunshine and Little Buddy. They have seen pictures of our family visiting there three years ago. When we talk about the past, I get a sense of separation. They want to feel included in every memory, even though that is not possible.

To experience this day as a complete family unit helped to draw their lives into our past and bring clear understanding of our experiences. We found this to be true throughout most of the trip.

Our last big stop in the park was Old Faithful. It was late afternoon and the littles were tired and not very interested. The funny part was, that the geyser tricked us four times before it actually blew. I can sum up their thought of Old Faithful in one word, "Whatever."

As we drove out of Yellowstone we saw a lot of snow. There was 4-5 feet on the side of the road. Lewis Lake was still frozen over on June 11th. The summers here must be very short.
After visiting Yellowstone we drove south into the Teton National Forest. I was asked by a friend last night what my favorite part of the trip was. That was easy..."The Grand Tetons!"

My family refers to the Grand Tetons as "Mommy's Mountains." I love the way they shoot out of the flat earth into such amazing, rocky, snow covered heights. They are completely breathtaking! When I see them I can hardly breath. I know God made them just for me.=)
I have seen a lot of mountains in my day, but these are my favorite by far.

When I think about God's strength, His power and His Majesty, I often picture these amazing mountains! Some day Stand-Up Dad and I will spend a vacation right there!
This day ended in Jackson, WY. We stayed in a hotel that sits at the base of the mountains. So cool! I was glad that we got a lot of pictures, because we woke up to rain the next day. My beautiful mountains were completely hidden. How often are God's blessings hidden from my view because of some rebellious attitude or choice I have made.

I definitely want to see ALL of His blessings. That is something to think about.
Sweet Momma