Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thank you for my home!

Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on the blessings of the year, a time to celebrate with friends and family, a time as pastor Pat puts it to examine ways I have been a blessing to others. This year has been an amazing experience! I am so very thankful to have Joseph and Jacob home for the holidays. As we look forward to Christmas, I can't help but remember this time last year when my heart yearned to be in Ethiopia with my boys. A time of great expectation, sorrow, and overwhelming joy. No, they were not home for the American celebrations, but instead in God's perfect timing were here for the Ethiopian Christmas celebration. I know each emotion well and so I know the journey many others are on at this very moment. I still feel that a part of my heart is in Ethiopia. I hurt for each of you waiting for that phone call/e-mail for travel.

I must offer up praise to my son Joseph in this post. Thanksgiving dinner was before us and my sister asked who would offer the blessing. In a room full of adults, Joseph spoke up and said he would pray. I think I held my breath for a minute (you never know what is coming!) but became the proud Mama as he began to quietly sing "God Our Father," a song he has learned at school. As the song came to an end he paused and then added, "and thank you for my home." Kind of puts it all in perspective and lets me know that he gets it. That it's not about all of the toys and other things in life. Yes Lord, thank you for my home! Thank you that I had the courage to say yes to your calling down this road. Thank you for each ounce of strength you afford me and for the opportunity to raise these boys in the home you called their own from the very beginning of their lives!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy 2nd birthday Jacob!

Jacob celebrated his 2nd birthday last Monday, 11-7. The day was filled with emotion as I reflected to a year ago when I was in Ethiopia for the first time meeting him and Joseph. We met on the 8th of November 2010 and the only regret is that I did not know he was celebrating a birthday at that time. The day started with a big smile as I sang happy birthday to him. Joseph was quite excited at that time also but quickly became jealous over the attention and told me I hadn't given him a party:) to which I pulled out the pictures and video to remind him of his celebration. Though Jacob wouldn't get out of my lap to open his gifts he quickly got into opening presents and immediately began to play. We celebrated after work and school at our favorite restaurant, Margarita House. There were more presents with his sisters, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephew. Have I mentioned he has a new niece?? Born 9-12, Ms Emmalynn is the light of his life. He just loves holding her, saying her name, and touching her head and hands! The birthday celebration wrapped up on Saturday with a Thomas party and some friends and lots of family showering him with attention. He was hesitant to blow out the birthday candles and began eating his cake prim and proper with a fork, ending with hands and a slap to both sides of his face.

Jacob is in his big boy bed now and is doing quite nicely, having stayed in bed every night since this transition. His teacher at school is frequently reminding me how smart this little guy is. He is counting, trying to say his ABC's, and reading! Yes, reading! The children's names are on the back of each chair. At snack time he pulls the chairs out, reads the name, and places it at the appropriate place at the table! My little genius boy he is. Oh, and there hasn't been anymore biting since the ear tubes were placed. Perhaps my theory was correct and he was biting to relieve the pressure in his ears. Love that boy! Happy birthday little man!!

At Margarita House
With sister Kathy
Some of his birthday loot!
Wrestling with nephew Colten
You might say he enjoyed the birthday cake!

Friday, November 4, 2011

October update

Wow, I can't believe how far behind I am. It seems that time is just flying. In fact, one year ago this coming Tuesday I met the boys for the first time on my court trip to Ethiopia! So hard to believe. We have come so far and yet have so far to go. I struggle daily with the demands of two small boys as a single parent. The first thing every morning I pray for patience to wake them, rush them off to school, and head to work. Then on the way to school each afternoon the prayer becomes endurance for the remainder of the day. I am 49 years young now, and some days I feel every bit of it! At the same time I have begun to wrestle with God over the desire to go back to Ethiopia for more children!! How that can possibly happen only God knows. He knows I do not have the financial resources for more in daycare nor the room in my car for more car seats, and so the answer is adopt older. As much as my heart yearns to follow through and fill my house to the brim, I find myself in the same place I was in two years ago, only this time my eyes are perhaps a bit wider to the reality this brings. So, I pray and wait.

The month of October was very busy. On Oct. 15th we went to the Shrine Circus and the boys got a taste of clowns, elephant rides, pony rides, souvenirs, and lots of junk food. The 16th we went to the pumpkin patch and enjoyed an afternoon with the boys' classmates. They went on a hay ride (minus the hay), worked their way through mazes, fed and saw many animals, and played with and on a variety of other things. Not to mention their first taste at trick-or-treating. I must say that I have the cutest Batman and Robin on the planet! Halloween was quite a treat as they went door to door and ended the evening at a neighbor's house for a Halloween party. I do believe America became even more enjoyable with this night alone!

November began with a bang for Jacob. After literally weeks of recurrent ear infections and issues with his asthma he was referred to an ENT and on 11-2 had ear tubes placed and an adenoidectomy. Prayers were answered as he sailed through the surgery without breathing complications, but perhaps the hardest moment in my life (well, in a lot of years) was when they carried him away from me toward the OR and I watched him flailing and reaching and screaming Mommy. We are two days post-op now and the swelling is residing and pain seems some better. He is quite cranky, but after reading the operative report I can understand why.

We now look forward to the winter holidays. Joseph asks almost every day if it is going to snow and today he asked when Christmas would be here. He seems to remember our Ethiopian celebration last year and has begun circling most every toy in every catalog in hopes that Santa will bring them his way. Jacob turns two years old on 11-7 so I hope to post again sooner rather than later. I plan to put his big boy bed up soon as he is trying to scale the side of the crib every morning! Yes, we have come so far. This little boy who came home wearing 12-18 month clothes is now in 3T. He is coming out with more words every day and I expect once his hearing normalizes he will be talking up a blue streak. Though he has begun having issues with biting in school again (after 2 months without) he is doing well and shows how smart he is every day, counting while breathing in his albuterol and singing his abcs. Joseph is doing well in school and seems to be catching on more every day. He still refuses to call himself Joseph, referring to himself instead as Yosef Tyler Shinkle. Oh well. If that is the part of his identity so important to him, than so be it.