Thursday, December 31, 2009

X-mas Pix!

Nothing says Christmas morning more then matching and ridiculous p-jays. Here is our annual Christmas morning whole team couch photo.
Anna and Mary hanging with their cool Columbus cousins on Christmas Eve's Eve.
All of the kids (various pets too) with their big cousins. Poor Henry is weeping because Jamie wacked him just as everyone was getting into place, notice how happy Jamie, and really everyone else seems to be?! No sympathy for those tears!
Rosie was thrilled with her little African drum from 10,000 Villages. She is also in love with Mary's cute new necklace that she quickly borrowed and wore for the day... she is a jewelry kind of gal!
Jamie is crazy about Star Wars guys... he was psyched to add to his collection.
Henry got a little hamster who he named Wesley, after the hero in Princess Bride. He loves his little hamster and was thrilled to have a pet of his own that is not Lily's or Jamie's.
I think Henry and Wesley resemble each other... same bright eyes, cute round face, shiny black hair...does Henry look like a hamster, or Wesley a little boy... hmmmm.
I told Mary that there was absolutely no way she would be getting a new phone and she totally believed me... I love her big surprise face... gotcha!
Turkey posing with his new Christmas Snuggie... a must for every snuggly terrier.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Over the Rhine

I was able to see my favorite band on Saturday night... Cincinnati's own Over the Rhine. Each year they end their tour by performing a show at the Taft and everyone leaves the show feeling as though they have just spent a couple of hours with their coolest and most talented friends. They are incredible musicians in every sense of the word... each lyric is pure poetry and all of their songs are played with both passion and compassion.
Both Linford and Karin (the leads/producers) also seem to be just incredibly kind people. I receive e-mail updates from the tour written by Linford. Here is a part of his note written just before their final show...

After we played in Denver, we rec'd a beautiful letter from a listener who said,
"I felt my soul being pieced back together while you played."

May that be a blessing for all of us: As the year winds down, may we feel our souls being pieced back together.

Another listener at Seattle's Sunday night show wrote and said, "I've listened to Drunkard's Prayer until it was worn to a polish like a string of rosary beads - each song a prayer for the Desperate and Hopeful."

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Let's find each other, and gather all of us in a room, the desperate, the hopeful, anyone who longs to piece their soul back together: All are welcome here.

We'll be lookin' for you.

Peace like a river,

Linford and Karin of Over the Rhine

Humility, Gratitude and Kindness.
Thank You, OTR, for sharing your talents.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chris Henry

Chris Henry, 1983-2009
Chris Henry may have had his issues (who doesn't?) but his loss is unbearably painful to many.
Rest in peace Chris Henry. You will be missed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Making of Christmas Card '09

Each year my family spend way more time and energy then really anyone should, putting together our Christmas card. I wish I could say that the kids all love doing it, but really it's like pulling teeth to make it happen. They all appreciate and are very proud of the card as the end result, but don't care much for the process of it all. Karl and I have learned over the years just the right combination of bribes and threats to get the younger kids to cooperate.(hmmmm... 'tis the season of bribes and threats?) So as I type this,Karl is furiously photo-shopping in hope that we can get them out by Christmas. The final card will be very cool, but until then, here are a few snapshots from the photo shoot that will eventually become Christmas card '09.



Mary is a fantastic model-


Lily was mostly helpful, but her bird was perfect!



Rosie wasn't so sure, but looks pretty darn cute sporting her little antlers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Claus, Superelf and Baby Reindeer





I pulled some Christmas stuff out to start getting ready for the holidays... mostly to get our Christmas card going and before I got far the little guys got into everything. They took some stuff upstairs to their rooms to play and when I checked back later they kicked me out... I was not welcomed into their reindeer games. I asked Jamie ("santaboss") what they were playing... Jamie was Santa (the boss) Henry was Superelf (sidekick in a cape) and Rosie was, of course Baby Reindeer. Our little rugrats really do have their moments of cuteness...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving



Here is a favorite photo of 3 of my 4 girls celebrating their good health and goofiness at our nations capital last spring.


I understand, more than anyone, that I have much to be thankful for. However, at the top of my list is the gratitude that my family and friends share good health. I am also grateful that we live in a country that values freedom and choice and has a constitution that supports this concept.

This is my favorite poem by Ralph Waldo E.


Thanksgiving

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.


--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bengals and Buckeyes


Cincinnati Bengals- Leading the AFC North



Ohio State Buckeyes- Rose Bowl Bound

You know it, baby...!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Passport to Forever






Jamie and Henry recovered from the flu just in time to work their stuff on the runway as little male models. They were two of many internationally adopted children who participated in the children's fashion show at the fundraiser for the International Adoption Center at CCHMC. It's an AWESOME event, the highlight of the evening seeing the kids wave and grin and march the runway in style. So many dedicated volunteers work their tails off to make it a successful night... Karl and I have it easy because we volunteer to put together a slide show video each year and really enjoy collecting all of the photos and piecing them together with music. This year's event featured the Pacific Islands, and had a luau theme so we tried to stay in theme with my favorite parable, which just happens to be from Hawaii. I asked a friend's new daughter Elona, who is recently adopted from the Ukraine and is truly one remarkable and adorable young lady to read the parable and then speak a little bit about herself. We began the video with Over the Rainbow,covered by Israel Kamakawio'ole-my total favorite ukulele artist, better know as Iz, a perfect fit for showing the kid photos. Then we worked in a shortened version of Jackie DeShannon's LittleLove in Your Heart, and finished with my all time favorite song O-o-h-Child by the Five Stairsteps.


Here is the video... enjoy!


video

"...things will get brighter...right now"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Slime Flu Vs. the Boys


Both of our boys got hit with the swine flu, or "slime flu" as they called it, both on the same day. Our area has been widely affected, so while it doesn't surprise me that the boys caught it, we were really doing our best to stay healthy until we could get vaccinated against it. The most amazing part about Jamie and Henry getting sick was that they were the only members of the family to get it. While I would really rather avoid it for everyone, I am the most worried about Rosie being exposed as she is still getting over some minor health issues that she came home with. So, because we really wanted to keep the illness just with the boys we were very strict about keeping them apart from the rest of us, and spend every waking hour lysol-ing, and washing hands, toys and bedding. They stayed in their rooms and were only allowed out to go to the bathroom... not a big deal when during the first two days when they were very sick and didn't want to move, but more of a problem during the three days when their fever hovered at 100... they felt well enough that they wanted to do stuff and to have to stay in their room, was like the longest time out of their life. They took to coming to the door of their room and yelling at the top of their very loud lungs about how completely healthy they were. Once Henry complained that he missed his baby sister, and then when I brought her to the foot of the stairs so that she could wave to him- he got upset because she had on new baby jeans..."when did she start wearing jeans!" I guess he felt left out of her fashion decisions. Jamie completely immersed himself in hours and hours of watching cartoons and is now obsessed with Burger King... they must have a really good commercial because Jamie has brought up his deprived childhood times since... "I just don't understand why I have never been to Burger King... it has everything I like"
So while the flu had it's scary moments (Jamie's temp read 104.6 at it's highest..gulp!)Once we were over the first two days it was mostly all about containment and waiting it out.... no fun, but not the worst.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go Bucks!

O-H-I-O!




The Ohio State Marching band came to town to play the Bengals halftime. They did a performance on the street before the big game and as usual, were amazing. After being home a week, Rosie joined in and took a marching band street concert right in stride. I love this photo of Anna sandwiched between the drums.




Karl enjoying the band with his new daughter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Home!



We are home.
Exhausted, elated and very very happy to be home.
Rosie did great.. she is a mighty little girl. Elizabeth and I are physically and emotionally drained and doing our best to process everything from our time in Ethiopia. Everything went very smoothly, we didn't have any issues or problems with the embassy... our agency representative (Abdissa), was wonderful and so was everyone else at the orphanage. We stayed in a guest house in Addis Ababa with very kind and helpful people. Although we were nervous about the journey, Elizabeth and I were given support and welcomed warmly.
I will post more later, but I wanted to let you know that we are home, Rosie is gorgeous and healthy and we are all doing very well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homeward Bound!


Here is a photo of Rosie in her last few hours in Ethiopia. For never having been in a stroller before she adapted to it quickly and enjoyed strolling around the wide open spaces.


I honestly don't remember a lot of details from the trip home... hours blurred into hours which became more hours. Rosie did ok... she fussed a bit and slept a lot. It was all kind of surreal to fly for that long and we were moving with the night, so it was dark for most of the time. Our total travel time was about 30 hours, about 22 of those hours were the flight from Addis Ababa to Washington D.C. Immigration in Washighton was a breeze... no problems there and then we were on to our final leg... Dulles to Cincinnati.


Forget Disney World, for me the happiest place on earth is the painted yellow strip at the base of the escalators at the airport. That's the spot where those waiting are the closest they can be to those coming from incoming flights. That is the very spot where the rest of our family met Jamie, Henry and now Rosie, and I associate it only with happiness. The thrill of introducing your newest member, combined with the relief of finally being home is a joy that can't be beat.

Our first glimpse at our welcoming committee... if a stroller could peel out, that's exactly what we were doing...
Home!!!!


A little more composed just before we left the airport... Henry looks glum, but he really wasn't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Return to the Orphanage

Rosie and I sporting our new Ethiopian outfits... I look sweaty and spent, she completely adorable, as usual.

Here is the giant cake... each new family made three cuts.


Here Rosie and I are with Abdissa our country representative, truly one of the kindest and warmest gentlemen ever .

After our very live-stocky morning, Rosie, Elizabeth and I were picked up and taken back to Rosie's orphanage for a goodbye celebration. As we entered the orphanage, all of the children were in the front room clapping, singing and doing very cute little dance moves. I wish I could post photos, but we are only allowed to post pics of our own kiddos. After the song and dance welcome we were ushered into another room and asked to sit while everyone was served a coke. After everyone was settled Abdissa our adoption representative lead us in a church service. He read from the bible and spoke of the love that we all felt for all of our children and the strength of faith. He spoke with passion from the heart. He conducted the service in English and then would translate to Amharic. He blessed all of us newly adoptive parents and families and our new sons and daughters. Then he turned to all of the children living at the orphanage and blessed them. His tone was celebratory, but my heart ached for those children who were still waiting to be adopted. Then he asked each family to say a few words. I was emotionally spent at this point, so I just thanked them all for their warmth and kindness in welcoming each of us, and tried not to cry. Then a huge cake was brought out and each family made three cuts in the cake and it was served with more bottles of coke. As all of the children we being served, Abdissa gave all of us wrapped gifts- traditional Ethiopian shirts and dresses for the little girls. A fun and very unexpected surprise. Abdissa had a gift for Rosie, Elizabeth and I, and then each member of my family at home as well. Since we are now a family of eight, I left with many packages! After the gifts were passed out, we all said our goodbyes and loaded up our van where we were off to dinner at a restaurant with traditional food and dancing.