Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Lauren!!

Lauren turns 14 today! 14 years ago today, after 36 hours of labor, she was born on February 27th at 7:00 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounzes. Yes - she is our lucky 7 girl!

A few more things about Lauren:

She walks with the Lord.

She is humble - the most humble person I know. She received "Most Improved" this cross country ski season. As an 8th grader, she went from skiing Jr high to skiing varsity in one season but she doesn't ever boast about her achievements.

She is mature and wise - at times more mature and more wise than her mother - I have learned so much from her=)

She is very bright - straight "A" student; first chair violin (except when she plays with the older kids' orchestra); her home room teacher this year informed me that it's almost "unheard" of to see a student as active as she is with sports and music and still have the GPA that she has. But she works really hard, so she deserves recognition.

Favorite movies: Lord of the Rings and Pirates movies

Favorite books: Narnia series

Favorite color: green (mine too)

She is shy - quick to listen and slow to speak.

She is a nut and can get very crazy. Those who don't know her well may be surprised by this but she loves to act crazy and silly with her closest friends.

She is very selective about her friends and has a good instinct about good character in others.

11 year old Tea Party Birthday with friends. Cool glasses, huh?!

Her good friend Elizabeth who was born 20 minutes after Lauren. Picture of the two of them at their combined 10 year old birthday party.

The special man in her life. Getting ready for the Father/Daughter Celebration 3 years ago.

She is a great, big sister to her siblings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Loaves of Bread

I have said many times that our journey to Samson has changed us. Our eyes are more open to the needs of the world. Steve and I have been talking a lot about where we will help and where we can contribute to make more of an impact. Our conversations ultimatley lead to ideas like down sizing our life style, selling our house, selling our boat, living more modestly, giving more of our time, giving more money and giving more in the talents God has gifted us with.

Esentially, we would like to live by the verse,

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Mathew 6:19-21)

I bake my own bread. I love bread baking days when I have no choice but to stay home and keep a careful eye on my bread. Sometimes I invite a friend to join me for the day. I simply just ask my friend to bring a couple bread pans to take a couple loaves home to bake in her own oven. My friend will stay during the bread dough preparations, kneading and rising times.

When you add a little play time on the Wii while the dough is rising, fun and deep conversation with a close friend and throw a couple of toddlers playing together in the mix, you have a recipe for a very full, rich day.

My recipe makes the equivalent of 5 loaves of bread (3 large and 4 mini). What ever our family doesn't devour on baking day and what ever I don't give away goes in the freezer.

I have had 2 baking days close together.
2 baking days = lots of loaves of bread in our freezer.
We have a abundance!

I am reading the book, "Hole in the Gospel" by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision. I HIGHLY recommend this book!! In his book, Stearns describes the Bible story about the boy who gave 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed thousands who had nothing to eat. In this story, the 12 diciples saw this task as too big. They were too overwhelmed with the task at hand that they offered nothing. A small boy approached Jesus, gave him all he had and this small amount of food fed thousands of people. Talk about the power of one person!

You see, Jesus doesn't ask us to solve big problems on our own, he is only asking us for what we can offer in our gifts and talents.

I think I offer a pretty healthy loaf of bread. My recipe includes whole wheat and rye flours. In recent months, I have used freshly ground whole wheat flour thanks to a friend who owns a flour grinder and thanks to a local grain mill that sells organic wheat berries.

My recipe also includes just a little salt - enough to boost the flavor but not too salty. And there is a small amount of sugar to sweeten it up a little too. Molasses adds a little more richness to the bread.

My mother-in-law once told me that bread is very forgiving. This fact has saved me many times because I'm not perfect, so I sometimes forget an ingredient or step.

As a child of God, as one person, who has been forgiven of my sins, I need to look at what I can offer to the world. I don't want to store my loaves of bread anymore. I know there is so much more I can offer. Praying for my eyes to see opportunities to move forward and trust God with a undescriminating, forgiving and joyful heart.

What about you? Are you ready to give your loaves and watch God multiply them?

Bread baking days = loaves of bread = much love to share

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Birthday Events

I'm already almost a week late posting a recap of Samson's Birthday. Sorry for the delay.

Anyway, Samson had a fun day, which began with a tasty pastry for breakfast:

Then, watching his favorite TV show, Curious George:

We then got out of our pajamas, drove to town and picked out balloons:

We tied the balloons to each chair and began preparing the table for dinner by first spreading out a table cloth/bedspread I purchased in Ethiopia:
I decorated his 2 layered chocoate cake while he took his afternoon nap. I'm not too proud of how it turned out. Long story, I know it's weird but it's half Zebra, half Giraffe with a Lion face on top:

For dinner, we ate his favorite food - pizza, pinneapple and mango. He's just finishing his 3rd serving of fruit - just can't get enough of that mango:

He blew out his candles on the first try:

Holding him off for one quick picture with his sisters:

Lauren made him this cozy blanket which is now a new favorite of his:

And...the highlight of the evening was getting a new bike:

I haven't seen him off his bike much since we gave it to him. Can't wait for spring - a little nervous about our hardware floor.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I need to unpost something

I have been in the middle of writing a blog post about bread baking. It's a work in progress because I haven't had time to complete it. Just came to my attention that somehow it got posted. So if you read it and it seemed unfinished, it was. Sorry about that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Surprise!

We woke up this morning to find our main level decorated for Valentine's Day. Olivia got out of bed at 4:00 a.m. to decorate! Love her heart! Just a few pics to show a glimpse of how much work this girl went through:

Today, we also baked and decorated cookies to take to the neighbors:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Samson turns 3!!

Today is Samson's birthday!!

Three years ago, our hearts began to stir and we felt God telling us that we had another child. We began praying about adoption, searching our hearts and researching our options.

Little did we know that at the same time we felt our hearts being pulled towards adoption, our son was born. Three years ago today, at approxiamately 6:00 p.m., Samson was born to his birth family in a hut near Mudula, Ethiopia:

We saw Samson's face for the first time when we received his referral on May 4, 2009:

And on August 6th, our family traveled to Ethiopia to bring him home. We met him for the first time on August 7th at our agency's care center.

On August 11th, 2009, exactly, 6 months ago today, he came into our custody. This is our first family picture together at the farewell ceremony taken at the care center:

On the bus leaving the care center for the last time:

We celebrated both his first night with us and his half birthday in our guest house room that evening. There was lots of laughter and excitement for 2 straight hours of getting aquainted and playing with our new son and brother. We had balloons bouncing all over the room, bubble blowing contests and everyone taking each opportunity they could get to win Samson's attention. We were pretty sure the neighbors could hear us celebrating.

*We have much of our first few hours with him on video but not enough pictures - wish we had more=(  
He loved playing with the girls' stuffed dogs, so no surprise that his first words in English were "Woof! Woof!"

This is his first morning with us at the guest house. He is sleeping late. Do you think he could have been a  little worn out from the previous day's events?

We decided to keep today simple and celebrate with our immidiate family only.  More pictures to come soon of the much anticipated first birthday with us.

Happy Birthday Samson!!!!

We are just as crazy about you as we were 6 months ago!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Animal Talk

I have been having conversations with Samson about what different animals say and eat. Here is how one conversation went:

Me: "What does a pig say?"
S: "What does a pig say?"
Me: "No. YOU tell me what a pig says?"
S: "NO. You tell ME!"
Me: "What about a cow." "What does a cow say?"
S: "What does a cow say?"
Me: "No, you tell me what a cow says?"
S: "A cow says."
Me: "Let's try a different animal." "What does a kitty say?"
S: "Meow."  Then Samson asked me, "What does the moo say?"

Me: What does a bird eat?
S: Pizza!

Our little man is turning 3 on Thursday, February 11th! He just learned how to hold up 2 fingers for his age, now we're trying to add the third finger. Thursday will also mark 6 months of being a forever family. Lots of emotions will be stirring in our family this week!