A Day in the Life

H: Let's play basketball!
Y: OK!

H: (paraphrased) You're doing it wrong!
Y: (paraphrased) No, I'm not!
H: (paraphrased) Fine.  You want to do it wrong?  OK!

Y: You can play by yourself then!
H: You SAID you wanted to play!

Y: Mom!  Mom!  He's telling me what to do!

Y: Mom! Mom!

Y: Mom!  Stoooooooooooop! 

Y: Mom!  I'm trying to stay angry!

Y: Mom!  Stop making me laugh!

Y: StooooooooOOOOOOoooooooop!

Y: Oomba.  (Ethiopian equivalent of a pout.) I'm not talking to you!

30 seconds later...




Those of you who have become parents know that some major re-wiring goes on in your brain because of them.  There are, of course, other things that help change you (passage of time, maturity, God: not necessarily in that order), but in my experience, becoming a parent made the most life altering changes in my brain.

Patience, Patience.
How many of us have prayed for patience.  I would tell people half-jokingly, "Don't do it!  Don't pray for THAT!"  Because, guess what?  You don't automatically become patient. It's not a gift that is yours for the taking, purchasing, begging, borrowing, OR stealing. You learn it through repeatedly being in situations that make you want to lose your mind, blow your stack, erupt like a volcano.  Well, you get the drift.  And if anyone can tell me a better proving ground for learning patience than having children, I'd love to hear it.   The practice of patience is daily, hourly, minutely... and secondly on some days.  One of the major things that stops me in my impatient tracks is the realization that I am modeling behavior for my children.  ARGH.  I HAVE to take the high road if I expect them to see how to live patiently.  Some days, for me, patience is keeping my mouth tightly shut when I want to say totally useless and unhelpful things like "Hurry up!"  and "We've got to go NOW!"  and "What is taking you so long?!" and "You should have done that earlier!"  These only serve to add fuel to a fire that is beyond my control.  The invariable answer from the recipients of these phrases is "I AM HURRYING!" and then their increased frustration, which makes them MOVE SLOWER.

Unconditional Love
We know that God loves us unconditionally, but we never realize what that means until presented with people that you HAVE to love because they are yours. In our case, getting older children with a history, memory, past, personalities already in place, created much opportunity for learning about love.  It makes sense that we did not all love each other right away.  We had all just met.  And, while Lee and I had a choice in choosing each other as mates, bearing or adopting children gives you little choice.  You get what you get.  True in any way you create a family.  So, now you've got these little strangers in your house, whether a baby born to you, adopted by you, depending on you.  And you've got to make the 1st move of loving them.  For me, after a couple of weeks I realized that these children were going to be our children forever... and then I had to keep realizing it every day for awhile.  We had not had children in our house for that long before, ever, and I'd wake up at night and think, "There are children in the house!"  That thought filled me with dread and wonder and fear and joy all at the same time.  After a couple of months I realized that I would give my life for theirs, but grudgingly, because it was the right thing to do.  After a couple more months, the grudgingly part went away and was replaced by GLADLY.  (God never had the grudging part, I'm sure.)

Caring More and Less
There are many things I used to care about, but don't anymore.  You can imagine what they are... Lee and I were alone, with 2 good jobs for 10 years.  Alone in our quiet house.  Able to do anything, anytime.  Go anywhere, anytime. I miss those things sometimes.  I miss being able to complete a sentence, a thought, an idea without being interrupted.  I don't think I've even been to the bathroom in the last 2 years without someone needing me urgently as soon as I close the door.  And yet, all this needing me is fleeting.  I know that some day, they will not come to me at night because they had a bad dream, because they feel sick, because they heard a noise.  I know, or at least desire, that they will grow and mature into a man and woman of God... people that care about the important things (God, other people, injustice, peace) and care less about the unimportant things (power, money, position, video games, TV).  In wanting to teach these things, I have been changed as well.  I thought and hoped I didn't care about money, until we went to one income so I could stay home with the children, then went to a lower one salary when Lee got laid off and had to find a new job. It took some adjustment, but I certainly care less about money now that we've got less of it. We've got riches in other areas that are much more important.

I know there are many more ways we have been re-wired.  What are the ways you have been changed?

These pics have nothing to do with the post, just thought you'd like to see them.


Half Empty or Half Full?

I forget what Habtamu even said one day, but I called him "Mr. Glass Half Empty."  He didn't know what I meant, so Lee volunteered to demonstrate.

He asked the kids, "Is this glass half full?"

They answered "Yes."

"Is is half empty?"


"Well, which is it?  Half full or half empty?"

Habtamu answered glumly, "Half empty."

And Yordanos chirped happily, "Half full!"

And there, my friends, is the truth of my kids' personalities in a nutshell.

When I announced to my family that I had finally swum the length of the pool (25 yards) without taking a breath, Lee and Yordanos cheered.  Habtamu's comment?  "Huh.  I bet lots of people can do that."  Lee shook his head and said, "All that water in the pool, and it's STILL half empty."

Can you guess what kind of a personality I had as a child?  Hello 1st grade!  (Mom? Were there no re-take days available?)

It gives me hope that if we're born with a "glass half empty" sort of personality, we can sometimes, with God's help become "half full" people.


Inanimate Love

I finally broke down and bought a food processor. There have been many times I have not made something because it needed a food processor, OR I tried whatever it was in the blender, and it just didn't work right.

I can't help but love the cheerful red color, and this little cutie has been used nearly every day since I got it.

This appliance also gets a daily workout...

But, of course, this is my favorite...

Which kitchen helpers make your life easier?

This was NOT posted by Lee.  Anyone know how to change that once it's posted?


Happy Belated Birthday

I am the world's worst birthday party thrower.  I don't care about themes, prize bags, or raffia decorations.  I know, being crafty, I SHOULD care, but I just don't.  This year, I asked a friend to make the cakes, and they were totally awesome. 

Cakes of chocolately awesomeness:

My hastily thrown together event went surprisingly well.  It was horribly HOT, we were at the park for 2 hours and then strategically retreated home to sit in the A/C.  I know, I know... I'm RUINING birthdays for my children by being a Grinch.  Don't tell them, though, because they had a great time. :)

Here's Habtamu receiving a bag of things that he'd left at our friends' house... his own hat and his own sunglasses.  He also got a baseball game for the Wii.

Here's Yordanos receiving every Hello Kitty thing on the market... thanks Grandma!  Lee said, "Somewhere, Hello Kitty is walking around with no clothes."

And here's one of the happiest sights for my children.  Grandma and Grandpa arriving... laden with food and gifts.  Grandpa let the children dig out one handful of coins from his change jar and keep it.  It was something his Grandpa used to let him do from time to time.  It's amazing how much change can be held with the right motivation.  I think both kids got over $12.

For my daughter, her baby cousin is the BEST THING EVER.  I rarely get to hold my niece.  

She's pretty much as cute as these babies... my "little" ones.