Monday, November 28, 2011

The holidays have begun!

We traveled to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving this year, our hometown and home of both sets of grandparents. In fact, my parents moved a couple of months ago, so they now live right around the corner from Tom's parents.  Although that seems like it would make visiting more convenient, this trip posed some new challenges. Firstly, although we have two large SUV's, you just can't fit eight people in an 8 passenger vehicle when there are three car seats involved. So we took two cars.  Secondly, we stayed in a nearby hotel, as our large family also overwhelms the small retirement community houses our parents live in.

We arrived in town Wednesday night and after quick hellos to the grandparents, settled down into our rooms at the hotel for some sleep.  Thanksgiving day was spent with the Spears family and Friday was at my sister Johanna's house with the Miles family.  Saturday we hit the road and were home again by dinner time.  It was sure nice to see everyone; the long drive for a short trip was worth it.
 Cousin Becky and boyfriend Rommel playing Yahtzee
with Candace and Thomas

 Kenneth, Emily and Anna with cousin Paul

 The Spears Family!

  Tom and his brother Andy... eyes on the football game.

 Sarah snuggling with cousin Libby.

 At the pool with my dear sister in law Linda.
  We're rarely photographed together since
we take all the pictures.

  Kenneth playing poker with cousins Noah and Dereck
and Uncle Colin while Candace and Grandpa observe.
 Kenneth explaining the fine points of the game to Candace.

 Candace reading with Aunt Johanna.

Thomas loves Anna!

Swimming with cousins Samantha and Allie and friend Hannah,
daughter of our college friend Elaine and her husband Chris.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dance, dance, dance

This past week we had parents' viewing night at the twins' dance class. They have limited space for spectators, so we only get to watch occasionally. The studio is in a church basement and is thus a little dark, so it's hard to get pictures, but here are a few that are at least viewable of Candace and Sarah strutting their stuff. I was impressed how much better they have gotten since last year; Miss Mollie is a good teacher.

Stretching and listening to Miss Mollie's instructions.

A blurry ballet shot of Candace.

Tap class

Sarah practicing buffaloes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wearing blinders

The idea of a "trauma anniversary" certainly isn't new, and I read about it in The Connected Child, Attaching in Adoption and Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child early in my relationship with the twins. It's funny to me, then, that I just wised up this year, our third November with the twins, that the reason they are so difficult at this time of year is that this is the time of year that they were relinquished to the orphanage in Nazret. I am sure they could not verbalize this. I am also sure that they have no idea what month is was, and they certainly don't get any clues by weather or cultural events, since both are vastly different in Nebraska and Ethiopia. Honestly, I don't know how it works... just another mystery of the human brain. But I do know that at this time, we experience lots of acting out and lots of sadness and longing for Ethiopia and the family they left behind. It is painful for me to watch and I am sure even more painful in their hearts. (It's also very draining for everyone, which explains my absence from this blog of late.)

We talked about their adoption story in therapy this week, and that seemed to help. In addition, I am trying to be extra patient with tantrums and controlling behavior. Not easy... but a lot easier than what they have been through. Love will see us through. Especially now that my blinders are off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting to know you

Sylvia loves Bobby. Sylvia wants to snuggle with him in the dog cabinet all the time. Bobby, alas, is not reciprocating her enthusiasm. At least he's not running away from her in terror now. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mr. Personality

It's interesting to watch as Thomas moves out of his "honeymoon" behavior and we get to see his real personality. Generally speaking, he is a happy kid and easy to parent. He is kind of wiggly and makes a lot of those weird little boy noises. He certainly is interested in the details of his next meal. Here are some pictures that capture some of the facets of his sweet personality.

He is destined to be the class clown...
always trying to make us laugh.

Do you see a recurring theme here?

He wears many hats... sometimes literally.

He can pout like nobody's business and turn on the waterworks instantaneously when needed... no surprise to any of my fellow adoptive parents of Ethiopian children, I'm sure.

But most of the time the Thomas we see
has the sunniest smile around!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Soccer finale

I got these photos from one of the other "soccer moms"... just had to say that. ;) They are from the final game of the season, which was actually a couple of weeks ago. Thomas had a blast playing, and best of all, he made a friend!

Playing in the final game of the fall.

The Blue Team

Soccer buddy Zachary

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is Ethiopia!

Ethiopia is a very poor country and a lot of the international press about it subsequently features pictures of poverty, drought and famine. But... Ethiopia is very beautiful and so much more than that. I have decided to periodically feature a photo that reflects this beauty and the culture of Ethiopia, so readers who are unfamiliar with the country can see why we love it so much.

Here is the first one!

Bora, Ethiopia...
A small village in the Gamo-Gofa zone of the SNNPR.
It is about six miles up the mountain from the town of Chencha
One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

First snow

First snow of the year and first snow ever for Thomas! We have had a cold and wet day today, and for awhile there were big fat flakes falling from the sky. Thomas was disappointed in the lack of noticeable accumulation, but we assured him that he would get to see plenty this year. I'm sorry to say I don't share his enthusiasm, but I am so grateful to his lovely preschool teacher, Mrs. Martin, for taking him outside to experience the snow and get his picture taken for this exciting first!

They're hard to see in the pictures,
but the flakes were big, wet and fluffy.

I love that face!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A happy Halloween

This is the third year for the twins to take part in Halloween, and Thomas' first! I'm pretty sure Thomas had no idea what to expect, but he was excited because he got to wear his soldier outfit. Candace and Sarah started their festivities with a party and parade at school, which I was sure to attend because last year I was informed that I was the only mommy who didn't come. (Statement followed by much snubbing and pouting.) I have photographic evidence of my attendance this year. Thomas had a party at preschool as well, and so the excitement level was high in the hours leading up to the big event. I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all.

Supergirl Candace in the school parade.

Cleopatra Sarah has a regal wave... not. :)

With the jack o'lanterns they carved with Daddy.

Ready to hit the streets!

Anna and the littles