Graceful Expressions, where the girls are both taking dance classes is having a special performance to benefit the the children at Noel orphanage in Choimim, Kenya.
The show is going to be so cute! (Annika is actually quite a scary spider!) Miss April is so creative with her choreography and costumes, and our girls are both spiders and have been practicing very hard for this special night!
You can go to the Graceful Expressions site or go the the Holly Springs Cultural Center for tickets.
Hope to see you there!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Posted by Susan at 3:54 PM
Monday, August 30, 2010
The Ethiopian adoption community in the triangle area was invited to share a meal by the woman who makes and sells the best injera in town! A lot of people showed up for this wonderful feast hosted by Tenu and her husband Moges. There are remarkable people who run a soup kitchen in Raleigh and an orphanage in Ethiopia! They gathered all of the families into a huge circle and we went around and introduced ourselves. This is just he kind of experience we want to share with Benaiah! By the way, the food was phenomenal! Better than any restaurant!
Jeremy swam his last USA Swimming meet with New Wave for now... He did really well and won his heat in the 100 backstroke for which he was awarded the duck. He loves getting those ducks!
Posted by Susan at 10:10 PM
We wrapped up another year of Awana with the "Awarnaval" and celebrated the conclusion of the spring semester of our home school co-op with family night.
We also found a skink or something creepy-crawly in our bedroom. He kept getting away and discovered again under pillows -NOT on the bed!
William took Jeremy on a trip that we hope he will always remember. They traveled to Wilmington, NC where the went through the "Passport 2 Purity" materials. (It has object lessons and CD's that cover the birds and bees and addresses staying keeping pure for your future spouse.) They had a great time! They stayed in a Kozy Kabin at the KOA. (You just have to chuckle at that!) In between sessions of the program, they went to the beach and toured the USS North Carolina. To top it off, they went out for a really nice dinner, and Jeremy was presented with a gift to remember the occasion. *sniff*
Posted by Susan at 8:14 PM
So, my last family post was in April!! UGH! So much has happened since then! So, where to begin? One GINORMOUS post with the past 4 months? Or 50,000 smaller posts?
We are going to go BACK IN TIME, "BIT" for short. (The kids love Huey Lewis & The News' song, and Benaiah asks for it in the car!)
So, watch for our BIT posts!
Posted by Susan at 8:03 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I just saw that I haven't posted to this blog since April! Where did the time go? We have been very busy... mostly with summer swimming.
I hope to post photos and short re-caps of things soon!
Now, I need to work on our yearly update for Benaiah. We have to send a report to Ethiopia every year until he reaches 18!
Posted by Susan at 12:28 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Did anybody notice the *new* button that I put up last week for Into the Streets of Ethiopia?
A sweet couple with whom we have shared our adoption journey has began a non-profit to help street kids in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are currently working with Robel, an amazing young man who was our guide while we were in Ethiopian and is also a former street kid. Robel started an Ethiopian organization called Children's Future Ethiopia to feed, clothe, school, and give medical care to kids on the streets of Addis. (Robel's bio is on the site too. Check it out! AMAZING! We LOVE Robel!)
Please, consider helping these kids who don't have families to care for them!
Now for the GIVEAWAY... Remember the necklace that somebody thought looked like TX? LOL! That was made by Tracy at JunkPosse. She sells a lot of beautiful adoption and Africa-related original silver creation on esty.com. After reading about Into the Streets of Ethiopia, she has donated $80 in credit toward a necklace (your choice!) with FREE shipping for Into the Streets of Ethiopia to give away so that they can get people looking at the site and HELPING these kids!
Just check out the Into the Streets of Ethiopia site for details!
Posted by Susan at 9:18 AM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
(click collage to imbiggen)
After we got home from Mom's, we had to put Benaiah down for a very late nap since it was way past his nap time. Then, we gave the big kids their Easter baskets from us. The were ecstatic to find eggs full of AA batteries to put in their Wii remotes! (See Jeremy's photo above!) They also got some new pajamas, some Wii accessories, and some candy.
The family fun continued as we played Wii Sports Resort together.
Then the sugar overdose kicked in, all of the kids turned into total freaks, and we couldn't wait to get them all to bed! LOL!
Posted by Susan at 12:15 PM
(click collage to imbiggen)
Anyway, we started the day with chocolate chip pancakes and little, sweet sausages. YUM! The kids are always anxious to give their gifts, and I love the Webkinz Marshmallow Bunny that they got me this year! She is so cute, and I named her "Fasika," the amharic word for Easter since I got her on my Easter birthday.
We went to mom's to celebrate Easter and my birthday. We had one of my favorite dinners, cubed steak with mashed potatoes, and William got a chocolate raspberry cake from Once in a Blue Moon. YUM!
It was wonderful being surrounded by people I love all day, and I enjoyed all of the cards, calls, and Facebook messages! I did have a very happy birthday! THANK-YOU!
Posted by Susan at 11:39 AM
(click to imbiggen)
We all sounded like we gargled with gravel after being out in the pollen! The yellow scunge was pretty bad that day!
Hope you all had a blessed day celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!!
Posted by Susan at 11:25 AM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Anybody who is a Facebook friend of mine probably realizes what a rough week this has been for me. God must be trying to teach me something ... again... or still.
I got my teeth cleaned this week. I hate going to the dentist even though my mouth is healthy. I do like the music there. It's the people who usually annoy me! The hygienists seem to want my teeth to have something wrong with them because I am honest and tell them that I only floss 3 times a week rather than everyday. It really bugs them that I can have clean teeth without flossing every, single day!
The hygienist asked if my necklace was Texas. Nope.
The hygienist mentioned something about kids who come in with their new teeth growing in before their baby teeth fall out, so I thought that being in the dental field and being a human being, that she would be interested and concerned for some children that I had learned about through Drawn From Water.
Me: "Did you know that there are some tribes in Ethiopia who think that children who have two sets of teeth like that are bad luck, so they kill them."
Hygienist: "Ha ha!"
(She must not understand what I just said.)
Me: "They're doing it now, it isn't just something that happened a long time ago."
Hygienist: "Well, I guess that keeps the population under control. Ha ha."
(Are you serious?)
Me: "It's NEVER OK to kill children."
(My blood is boiling now. There are tools in my mouth, and I am at a loss for words anyway.)
Hygienist: "Different strokes for different folks.... I could kill my kids sometimes. Ha ha!"
Is this how the rest of the world feels about people in Africa? That they're not really children of God like you and me?
This breaks my heart for her -that she is so ignorant and empty. It breaks my heart for the people in other countries that are not seen by many as the *real* people that they are who love their children just like you and I do.
To learn more about this practice and how to help save these children who are being drowned in the river because their teeth come in "wrong," they are born out of wedlock, are twins, or they chipped a tooth please, visit the Drawn From Water blog.
Posted by Susan at 9:00 PM
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
About a week or so after we received our letter from the U.S. Census Bureau warning us that we were going to get our census forms, we got it. Thanks for the warning and for wasting all of that money our government doesn't have to send something saying that you were going to send me something.
Although, everyone is only required by law to write in the number of people living in their dwelling, we thought it would be fun to fill it out for all 6 of us. For Benaiah, we proudly checked the box indicating that he was our adopted son. Then, we got down to race...
Race. What is race? I checked Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia trying to make sense of the census form.
The first question having to do with race asked if one was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, and if so, from where did his or her heritage originate. At the time, it seemed reasonable that the census bureau wanted to collect some extra information about Hispanics/Latino/Spanish folks for whatever reason. Strange, just the same that that people group was singled out from the rest of the races.
Here are the choices from the 2010 U.S. Census for everyone else:
- black, African Am., negro
- American Indian or Alaska Native (has space for principal tribe)
- Asian Indian
- Other Asian -Print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on.
- Native Hawaiian
- Guamanian or Chamorro
- Other Pacific Islander -Print race, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on.
- Some other race -Print race.
It appears that the census bureau thinks that if you are of African decent, you are "black, African Am., or negro." First, I have always thought that the term "African American" specifically refers to an American-born person who is of brown-skinned African descent. (Merriam-Webster agrees.) NEGRO? Really? "Black" and then, "African American" have replaced that term in the years since the civil rights movement!
According to the U.S. Census Bureau:
Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro," or provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian. (http:/quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/meta/long_68178.htm)So, how did we answer the question of Benaiah's race? We checked "Other" and printed "Ethiopian" knowing that they will lump him in the "black, African Am., negro" category, and I'm fine with that. We are proud of his ethnicity, race, nationality, and whatever!
The problem that I have is that some races are so sub-divided into different people groups based on nationality, and others are just all lumped together. Just lump us all together into the 4-5 groups that are needed and used for funding and dividing out representatives. Collecting information that reflects our actual heritage would be interesting if it were for ALL races, but not really necessary for anything.
Needless to say, I was totally weirded-out by this stupid form, and it has hurt my little Pooh brain thinking about it!
Be proud of whatever you have been labeled! God loves us all!
Posted by Susan at 9:42 AM
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
by Annika Schmidt
ONCE, there was a little puppy named “Peppermint Puppy.” She was so small that when she sat on a leaf one windy day, the wind blew her away to the end of the world!
When she finally landed, she turned into a blue peppermint puppy! “Oh no! I'm a peppermint!”
Then a green peppermint baby said, “Who are you?
My name is “Peppermint Puppy. What is your name?”
The baby said, “My name is Michael, and this is Peppermint Land. This is my sister Natalie and my other sister Lia.”
“Will you stay for my birthday?” said Michael.
Natalie said, “Would you like to help me bake the cake?”
Lia said, “Will you help me clean the dishes?”
“Yes, yes, and yes. I will.”
“Good! We like you to be here with us.”
The cake is done. The dishes are done. It is time to eat!
They ate and ate and ate.
Michael, Natalie, and Lia put Peppermint Puppy back on the leaf and shouted “Good-bye!” as she floated away.
When she made it home, her dinner was waiting for her, and a mint was in her bowl!
Posted by Susan at 3:45 PM
by Marissa Schmidt
Once upon a time, there was a princess named Marissa and a pirate who was a bully named Blacktooth.
One day, Blacktooth kidnapped the princess! She said, “I am doomed!” Blacktooth had taken her to a big tower in his castle that was surrounded with mean dogs.
Blacktooth gave Princess Marissa bread and water every day, and she wasn't allowed to take a bath or brush her hair.
After three days, Super Miriam popped out of nowhere with cats to scare the dogs.
"Stop right there Blacktooth!” said Super Miriam. Blacktooth put his hands up, and said, “I surrender.”
Super Miriam called the police and freed princess Marissa, and they lived happily ever after.
Epilogue: Blacktooth got a job at the police because he was so good at trapping people.
Posted by Susan at 3:30 PM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Marissa and Annika have written, illustrated, and sent in their entries for the PBS Young Writers and Illustrators contest! They had so much fun writing their stories and drawing pictures!
Annika was first to write her story. Since she has the limited writing abilities of most kindergartners, she told me the story, and I typed it. Kindergartners are limited to no more than 200 words. Well, that girl has A LOT of words!! Her first draft was 430 words!! We had to edit that thing WAY DOWN!
On the other hand, Marissa's first draft was 84 words. Third-graders have to have between 100-350 words! I asked her for details, it made more story, and she finally ended up with 140 or so words. Whew. It seems that Annika had Marissa's helping of words!
I hope to post the girls' stories and drawings in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!
Posted by Susan at 6:31 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
After being snowed out in late January, and then again in mid February, we finally had nice weather for Bible quiz! There were 12 multiple choice questions, and then there were 12 speed round questions.
All of the kids learned quite a lot and did a great job!
Marissa & her partner Audie placed 2nd! YEAH!
Thank-you for coaching again, William! This was his 4th year of coaching. Benaiah spotted his daddy on the stage keeping score for the multiple choice and repeatedly said, "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" It was funny the first few times.
Posted by Susan at 5:48 PM
Friday, March 5, 2010
This morning at the gym, I don't know why, I just wondered when Benaiah had been conceived and what our family may have been doing at that time.
Benaiah's birth date is the day after Annika's due date, so I knew that Benaiah had been conceived in April because Annika was. I also remembered that we had applied to adopt sometime at the end of April.
So I pulled up a due date calculator online, and it allowed me to plug in Benaiah's birth date, and it calculated his "estimated date of conception." Then, I went to our AWAA folder in my inbox of my email, and looked at the first email that they sent us saying that we had been accepted into their Ethiopia program...
You've guess it! They were the EXACT SAME DATES! April 29, 2007! Is that cool or what?
God is so awesome to reveal these little details of his plans for our lives!
Posted by Susan at 3:34 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Every year our church does a church-wide Bible/book study, and each week, the pastor's sermon ties in with the lesson. This year's "Full Service in a Self-Service World" is a little different! Instead of holding the normal weekend services this week, the congregation was sent out to serve others in the Hands of Hope service projects!
Here are some of the projects from which to choose:
- Helping local schools with landscaping, litter pickups, mulching, painting, etc...
- Assisting various human service agencies such as the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army Thrift Store, American Red Cross, Wake Interfaith Hospitality, Society of St. Andrews, an assisted living home, New Bern House, and more.
- Packaging 100,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now to send to those in need in Africa and Haiti.
We smartly put latex gloves over our cheap Dollar Tree gardening gloves, William and I were given sharp weapons, and we were sent out into a field to harvest the collards and cabbage. With Benaiah on my back and what looked like a little linoleum knife, I quickly realized that I was ill-equipped to harvest the collards. So, I crawled down the row cutting cabbages and peeling the icky leaves off so that they looked like what you would buy at the store. William harvested was a harvesting machine doing both collards and cabbages with his little saw. Jeremy did a great job hauling 8-9 cabbages at a time to the Inter-faith Food Shuttle's truck. Marissa enjoyed pulling the nasty leaves off of the collards and bagging them, Annika was in charge of the cabbage bag and peeled a few of them, and Benaiah got himself into a position on my back where he could see over my shoulder and give me editorial comments like, "EWWwwwww! Dat distustin', Mommy." Near the end, he started asking to watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Barney."
We harvested for 2 hours, and as we were walking off of the field, the kids asked about doing it again!
We joined some other families from church at Bojangle's for lunch -our reward.
Sadly, we forgot the camera because I'm sure that the photos would have been great entertainment for many! These are collards. The field in which we worked had sand in between the rows, and the cabbages and collards were inter-mixed.
It is so cool to know that within 48 hours of our family project, people in need are eating the cabbages and collards that we picked!
Jeremy went back to church that evening to join his middle school small group in packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now. He said that was fun too.
When can we do it again?
Posted by Susan at 9:24 AM
Monday, February 22, 2010
A LOT of our friends with whom we shared our first adoption voyage are back in it for round 2! I am so excited for all of them! It is wonderful to see how God has changed our hearts through our experiences with orphans and seeing REAL poverty first-hand. One family is pursuing a 13 year-old boy whose likelihood of being adopted was diminishing with every passing day. Another family that we know is pursuing a child who is HIV+ and is educating everyone who will listen! I am so happy that God is using these families for HIS glory by making these children part of their families!
So, we've been asked more than a few times if we're ready to go back, and for now, the answer is "NO." It isn't that we don't have a desire to help orphans, but God really gave us a handful when he placed Benaiah Meteku in our family! He is one busy boy! The challenges of home schooling have been magnified as we are afraid to leave this little guy unsupervised for more than 30 seconds (maybe less!).
We both imagine that when the kids that we have get older, we would like to go back to Ethiopia and bring home some older children if that is what God wants. Another thing that we've thought about is being a foster family. Who knows what God will ask of us?
Two very important lessons from our first adoption remain:
1. Where God guides, God will provide. We have no concerns that if God calls us to adopt again, we do not need to fear the details.
2. When God's calling is clear, obedience is the only option.
So for now, we are content with our 4 blessings, but we are fully expecting the day to come when God will call us to adopt, foster, or maybe even something we have never imagined!
When that calling comes, HE will provide, and we will obey.
Posted by Susan at 11:00 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Annika made a non-competitive display called "Squirrel Friends." We read a few books about squirrels, she colored some, and we printed some and made a nice display. She was so cute answering questions about squirrels at her display! We did learn that there are white squirrels in Brevard, NC, and they have a festival in their honor! She didn't care. She just enjoyed people thinking that she was cute!
She is cute!
Marissa set up an experiment to see how fast the worms would eat certain foods. It was gross. So we had worms (EWWW!), and then we had to measure the food that the worms had left. She loves worms, and even Marissa was grossed out by having to pick out the composting food and get the worms off and out of it (double EWWWW!). She did end up with an interesting project and now has pet worms.
When Jeremy told me that he wanted to do a project involving bubble gum, I was very torn. I was happy that he had interest in something, but I also knew that over the years, the science fairs across out country had been bombarded with gazillions of lame bubblegum experiments. So, we put a twist on it. His project was entitled, "Strechi-densi-bility: Stretchiness, Density, & Water Solubility vs. Bubble Size." So, Jeremy's project actually had 3 experiments and a calculation with lots of data analysis.
We were having some major motivation problems with this one, and two days before the science fair, I was totally losing it (screaming, crying) while trying to get it across to him that he needed to finish his stinking project! After lunch, he realized that the science fair was *this week* NOT *next week*!!! AAGHAGAHAGAA!!! Jeremy did get it in gear and turned out an excellent report and an interesting project.
Neither of our competitive projects won any awards or moved on to the the next level, but we are so glad that we did it! The kids learned a lot about the many aspects of a science fair. There is WAY more to it than just running an experiment. We had to employ our math, writing, *time management*, and art skills too.
Next year, we will have some solid deadlines for every step of the projects! They WILL be great!
Posted by Susan at 9:28 AM
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Well, they were right! We got a significant amount of snow! Everything for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have been canceled, and we are enjoying our weekend off! We really could use some down time since we are all sick or getting over being sick.
Poor William has been our for 3 hours or so trying to clear the driveway. He gave up on the plastic excuse for a snow shovel long ago and has been using a flat-bladed thing he bought to pull up carpet tacking and a dirt shovel. We really could use a nice, metal snow shovel from up north!
The kids all enjoyed the snow! We have to do our best at batching it when it comes to bundling though. The kids are all trained to keep their pajamas on under their clothes to got out to play, the girls wear rubber rain boots, and Jeremy is lucky to fit into my 20+ year-old snow boots. Here is what Benaiah wore out to play in the snow:
- last night's pj's (cotton, two-piece)
- sweat suit
- denim overalls
- hooded sweat jacket
- denim jacket with fleece lining
- knit hat on top of hood
- leather shoes
So, we're all snowed in, and today is Mom's birthday. She doesn't have a computer, so if you could call her and wish Barbara a "Happy Birthday," she would be thrilled!
Posted by Susan at 3:24 PM
Friday, January 29, 2010
Benaiah had a great 2nd birthday! When he woke up, the first thing he said was, "Happy to you. Cake!"
We began the celebration with banana pancakes for breakfast, and then we went to Build-A-Bear Workshop where Benaiah made a wolf that we named, "Natty Wolf." Natty Wolf also has a little friend named, "Tay-tay," which from what we can tell means "no, no" in Amharic.
After another favorite meal, pizza, Benaiah enjoyed a nap, but since he knew that something was up, he made sure that he didn't waste too much time sleeping.
Mema, Aunt Patti, and our local cousins came over for chicken nuggets, gold fish crackers, and some Very Hungry Caterpillar cake. Benaiah had a fun time ripping open his gifts and being the center of attention.
His birthday was funny for me again this year. I didn't mourn his birth mother's loss as much as I did last year, but his birthday is strange in comparison to our bio children's birthdays because I have memories of their births and I don't even know what I did the day that Benaiah was born. I guess our gotcha day with Benaiah is more significant to me. We lit a candle at dinner to honor his birth mom. God bless her!
Posted by Susan at 9:34 PM
Thursday, January 14, 2010
My baby girl turned 6 years-old! Annika asked for a "Hawaii birthday," so we bought luau paper products, pineapples for the tables, leis, and of course, we had a volcano cake just as she requested! (She loves Hawaii and wants to go there more than Disney World!)
Annika was thrilled to get the Webkinz mud hippo which was the only thing that she would tell us that she wanted for Christmas or her birthday! Jeremy and Marissa got that for her.
Mom, Patti, Scott, and the kids joined us around noon for pizza, chips, dip, and the volcano cake. We played lots of Wii games together and had a great time hanging out all afternoon!
Posted by Susan at 1:40 PM
We had a nice, quiet Christmas morning at home. LOL! Mom came over to enjoy the chaos. We moved some of our chairs in to the dining/school room so that we could sit beside the Christmas tree. I don't remember if I mentioned on here that we set up our tree in there so that Benaiah didn't try to climb it or knock it over or strip it or eat it or all of the above!
We only had a few packages under the tree since we decided to just do a big family gift this year. Marissa opened the major gift and found a Wii. (You can see Jeremy's reaction in the photo above where he is squeezing the life out of Annika!) We also got Dance, Dance Revolution Disney Grooves. So, guess what we did all day and night for the next 10 days in which William was off of work? You bet! (William and I were so sore!) We all love it! We especially love it because in most of the games we have, we have to get up and move. William and I have started doing the DDR dancing for a workout a few times a week in addition to our trips to the gym.
We had a nice steak dinner and decided that Jesus wanted a birthday cookie instead of cake this year. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blew out a candle.
We had a great Christmas together as a family and hope that yours was blessed too!
Posted by Susan at 1:30 PM
We spent Christmas Eve at my mom's house with my sister, Patti, her husband, Scott, and their 3 children, Tabitha, Benjamin, and Isaac.
We had a really nice ham dinner, and then we got caught up on birthday gifts. We were unable to get together with my sister's family for Marissa and Scott's birthdays. In the collage above, is a photo of Scott with the Monopoly quilt that I made. The family received the matching pillows for part of their Christmas gift from us. Patti had bought the Monopoly fabric at least 10 years ago and had given it to me when she moved. It was fun using it to surprise them all!
Mom had given me a bunch of OLD aprons that her mother wore in the kitchen and to work at the Westinghouse plant in Columbus, OH. We believe that some of the aprons also belonged to her grandmother. Anyway, I made my mom a wall hanging out of them. I hated to cut them up, but they were of no use to any of us, and now, they can be enjoyed.
Isaac (3) and Benaiah were a hoot to watch together. They are dangerous!
Posted by Susan at 1:16 PM
While Grandpa and Grandma were here for Marissa's birthday, we celebrated Christmas with them. We enjoyed a dinner of cubed steak, mashed potatoes, and pineapple upside-down cake before exchanging gifts.
The kids all made a miniature painting that we turned into ornaments for Grandpa and Grandma.
Posted by Susan at 11:00 AM