Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ethiopia bound!

Today I will be aboard an Ethiopian Airlines jet on my way to Addis Ababa with some friends both old and new. We will be working on several projects for Because Every Mother Matters... delivering the 4X4 ambulance to Mareya, bringing chickens to the villagers, visiting with the sponsor moms, providing midwifery training and working on getting the new safe house ready. Plus, I'm sure we'll squeeze in some fun and fellowship.

Tom will be blogging about his stay at home dad experience and also posting updates about our trip on Facebook. See you when I get back!

Monday, March 19, 2012

With spring comes...

...spring soccer! And a very happy little boy. Although he is still in preschool, Thomas was asked to play up a couple of levels, with the second and third graders. I was nervous about it, but after watching his first game, it was the right choice. His skills fit in well with this group, and he still managed to score a goal!

The speediest guy on the field!

All that hard work deserves a relaxing soak!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arts and sciences

While Candace was basking in her laurels as a celebrated young author, Sarah and Thomas were collecting major awards in the fine arts. The Ashland Junior Women's Club sponsors a fine arts festival, and many of the local children had artwork displayed, as well as artists from around the area. Sarah received a purple ribbon, the highest award, for her drawing of a city street.

Sarah's artwork

Sarah really enjoys painting and drawing, so it was fun for her to receive some recognition for her work. The preschool aged children receive participation ribbons for their efforts... Thomas once again opted for the self-portrait, this time featuring a many-armed version of himself.

Thomas' self-portrait of himself in a parallel dimension.

Today, science got mixed into the excitement as Candace found a fossilized shell somewhere in our yard. She was excited when she thought it was an ordinary shell; she was thrilled that it was an ancient fossil!

The young paleontologist displays her find.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"I miss my cow."

This isn't the house that Thomas was born in, but it looks very much like it. Sometimes when we are in the car, Thomas will tell me stories about things he remembers from Ethiopia. This is becoming more frequent now that he is fairly fluent in English.

Traditional house in southern Ethiopia.

Today he told me a very detailed story about the time that the family cow gave birth. It featured many family members and clearly this event had made a big impression on his young mind. There was a happy ending as the white mama cow and the red baby cow all made it through okay.

Some cows I roomed with in Bora, Ethiopia.

I asked Thomas to repeat the story at dinner, which segued into a discussion about all kinds of things the littles' remember about Ethiopia. After the twins had finished eating and gone off to take a bath, Thomas was left at the table with Tom and I, lots of dinner on his plate because he had spent so much time talking. He was telling us about saying good-bye to family members when his little face bunched up and he began weeping sadly. At first, Tom and I were just shocked... we shouldn't have been, of course, but... this is the first time Thomas has cried at all about losing his home and his family. I picked him up and he just sagged into me, clinging for comfort. Also a first; an embrace that felt real. All three of us just stood there together, our hearts breaking.

After just a few minutes, it was over. We reassured him that it was okay to be sad and he could tell us whenever he felt that way. Tears were dried, and off he went, his normal cheerful self, to find his sisters to play with.

I think we just had a breakthrough here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One year ago today....

... Tom and I met a very special boy.
Our son, Feyissa Thomas Spears.