Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ice-skating Super Hero with a Scary Dog

This is not that Kookie old guy, Hamilton, that does flips on the ice. This is not Caesar, dog whisperer. This is my Uncle Chad.

"Hello, Chad. Yes.. eshi. It's the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities. bye"-actual conversation on Woineshet's toy phone about 2 hours ago.

Chadalaic and Woineshet at Princesses on Ice Tonight.

Sorry Chad, It's just not your turn to talk.

"I lob you, Chad"

I ask to call Chad about every hour. I roll play that I am uncle Chad, and mommy or daddy or any number of unlucky friends have to play TUSCON, the Chowchow. I call and leave him messages that say, "HI Chadalaic, I love you, I miss you. Woineshet...Mommy... Makina see Chad??." Last weekend you skated/dragged me across the ice for 2 hours... cause I loved it. This weekend you sat through Princesses on Ice with me... cause you loved it (just kidding) for me, I know. You always hold me and carry me, helping buckle me in my seat. You went for water twice today, cause the first time I was thirsty and the second time I spilled it all over you!!! I just wanted to say I love you!!! You are an awesome uncle and these past few weeks I have realized what a true family is like, always there for you. Always got your back.


I love all my family that I have met. Mommy, daddy and I pray for you all nightly.
(Molly don't be mad, I love you a ton too.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thank you CTVS

These pics are all out of order, but I had to post quickly to write what Winnie said on the way home, "OH MY GOSH." My friends threw a pizza party for us after work tonight. It can't get better than good friends, good food, a nice glass of red wine, and my daughter at my side openning a ton of presents!! It was a sweet night. THis first pic is of WInnie putting her new doll to bed. Ellie cleaned up one of her special dolls and gave it to Winnie... SO SPECIAL!!

Betsy gave WInnie some paint brushes. She rushed in the house, put the new baby to sleep, and went to my make-up drawer and begain dipping the paintbrushes in eyeshadow. Apparently she has only seen us use brushes for this so far. I've got news for her, we have some fun painting ahead of us... and not on mommyay's face either!!!

She's got a thing for photography already. I think just about everyone had a Winnie portrait taken this evening. Malorie was lots of fun with her.

Yum, cupcakes with safari animals on them!!!

She received a tea set and promptly began serving everyone tea and breakfast.

Raisins or M&M's tonight? Raisins won out, but not for long!!! She spotted the m&m's on the way home and asked for a caramela... please mommy?

This was a cute idea, the cupcakes were decorated so nicely!! And look at cute little Janie! We all had a ball!

Her first look at her new doll. Thanks again Ellie, that was so super nice of you to pick that one and give it to Winnie.
So, we have quite the sugar buzz tonight :) but had a blast. Winnie is upstairs in her bedroom with her eyes wide open, asking to jump to the bathroom and back... supposed to be "wind down time" She did great tonight, but who wouldn't with tons of presents and 10 ladies who love you already. I work with the most wonderful group of friends/coworkers... I am truly blessed with the support they have shown all through the adoption process. It was great to see that all come together with the finished product tonight... Little Miss Woineshet. Even a few of our docs stopped by to meet Woineshet!!
Thanks to everyone!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home for 4 weeks...

Today we went to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant for lunch. Several things struck me as "odd" today. One, daddyay wasn't with us. He's back to work :( Two, Woineshet hasn't had Injera for over a week. This is odd, because in the beginning she asked for it hourly... then daily... now, hardly ever. Three, Tiru (restaurant owner, awesome Ethiopian friend) said that Winnie is losing her Amharic. She really, truly IS... and I am so sad. Yes, I am shedding a few tears right now!! I so much want her to keep her Ethiopian language and traditions alive. We have hired an Amharic nanny to come 2 days a week, knowing this is the only possibly way for her to keep her Amharic language. Tiru and many other Amharic friends have said even with the 2 days a week, it will be impossible. Tim and I have learned so much Amharic, but it's choppy, and not real sentences... Tiru says that she is adopting our "bad"accent even!!! I notice that she says "good" instead of "Tiroo sera", "bye-bye" instead of "caio", and "Woineshet is pretty" instead of "Woineshet Konjo".

This week she asked me if she should not use her hands to eat. Ethiopians do not use utensils. She likes her fork better now. Ahh!! It's good that she wants to be like us, but so sad for me to realize that she is a Dora loving, fork using, toilet-paper loving American.

So, here are the things I love most about her that are Ethiopian in nature...

1. shrugging her shoulders to say NO.

2. kissing pictures of people she loves. If we have a picture of you, she has kissed it!!

3. wrapping her babydolls to her back

4. singing Amharic songs

5. asking for chai and dabo for breakfast... bread and tea

6. loving socks (not so sure this is Ethiopian, but it's definitely Woineshet's prize)

7. eating chicken legs and sucking EVERY LAST PIECE OF ANYTHING off the bone

8. "click... aaahhhhhhhhhhh". The sound she makes when she enjoys eating something or takes a big drink of something

9. calling every baby doll "Tigist"

10. correcting our pronunciation of Amharic words...This has not happened in a week or so :(
11. She has Ethiopian hospitality... she wants to serve you boona (coffee) when you come to her room to play.
I know I forgot many things, if you think of one... send me a comment and add it!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some time in the woods.

We thought she fell out of bed, but the next morning she described to me, with a laugh, how she crawled out of bed... notice Dora and the bear arranged nicely on her pillow.

Our fun family hike

near hocking hills

feeding daddy snow

We promise, the girl has a coat and gloves!! She doesn't like to wear them though :)

Tim and I love to jump in the car and head for the hills... close to where he grew up. We love to hike and discuss what we would do with the mega-million if we were the winners, how to organize and budget our family, where would we go right now if we could go anywhere, and dream about what our cabin would be like. We thought those days of hoping in the car and taking off were long gone... but we were WRONG.
Winnie is a great little hiker, forging through the 12+ inches of snow, through the creek bed, and up a hill. Yes, daddy did carry her once, but it was short lived!! Winnie and mom packed our lunch of pb & J's, blueberries (mommy's caramela's), carrots, gold fish, and Winnie found power bars in dad's glove box. We ate the majority of food before we got there!! It was lots of fun... and, when Winnie slept on the way home, mommy and daddy got to talk about what their dream cabin/land would be like... just like old times :)
Daddy went off to work last night, so Winnie and Mommy made popcorn and watched a little Dora. I wasn't expecting this, but Winnie got so excited about the popcorn that she thanked me 10 times. "OH, thank you mommy. Oooh, thank you Mama!! Yeeteftal (delicious) mommy" Then she requested that we save some for daddy in a bag. It was a very sweet day for all of us.

Being a Daddy

Being a Daddy is the best. It is so much better that what I could ever imagined that it would be. I was watching her the other night, sitting there on the couch, with Dora all wrapped up in a blanket, giving her a bottle. She catches me looking..."I lub you Dahdy". I am lost for words. I love her so much. I can't believe she was an orphan. A child of God, so lovely, but without someone to love her. I am so humbled that God chose us to be her parents. She is amazing. She is beautiful, smart, funny and loud. She is quiet and curious, scared yet brave. She is loving and affectionate, strong but learning to be gentle. She is loved forever now. She is my daughter.

Winnie - Mad in the snow...


There is no snow in Ethiopia. I suppose it is a pretty foreign concept to most people in Africa as a whole. There is not even a good word translation for snow. We just went with "cold" and "water". Something was lost in translation. I was trying to be funny, but she looked at snow like we look at mud. She keeps saying "ko-sha-sha", which means dirty. She was amazed when we went inside and the "mud" all melted away. Now that she understands, we've had snowball fights, made snow angels and went sledding down to Gigi's house.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Tonight daddy went off to work again, and Gigi (grandma) came over. You know the sayings about how being a grandparent is great 'cause you can spoil them, then give them back?? or something like that!! She came over, gave Winnie chocolates (on her behalf, she did ask mommyay first) then tantalized mommyay by saying she "needed to run to the mall and pick something up for Molly's birthday... and do you think Winnie would like to play at the indoor play area?" I seriously teetered... that's like holding a ticking time bomb... going to the play area for the FIRST time, AT BEDTIME. Of course I said yes, I love an adventure. We prayed first that God would be gracious to us, made Winnie promise she would ride in the stroller, and raced to the car. So... what is the HUGE mall like to a little African girl that has lived here for 2.5 weeks? She was very quiet at first, dumb-founded by the lights and konjo (pretty) things in the windows. We got to the play area and she did not want to go in!!! Surprised, I was!! Excited for her to stay in her stroller and let mommyay shop... YOU BET!!! We got 2 stores away from the play area, and she decided she wanted to go back. She loved it!! She made friends, and held hands going down the slide. She jumped on Gigi's back when she wasn't expecting it, and about knocked her over. We played for quite a while, and I decided Gigi was doing a SUPERB job... and I just had one little thing to look for and would be right back. Winnie decided to dash out of the play area, run away from Gigi, down the mall, as fast as lightening!!! Gigi tried to catch up, but couldn't... Winnie hid behind pillars, and ran for the stores, finally collapsing with a case of the "noodle-legs." This noodle leg syndrome happens usually when she is tired, hungry, or just being a stinker. Gigi got her back to the stroller, I'm still not sure how. Mommy came out of the store. We went home. Funny thing is, Gigi escorted my sweaty, "hyped up" kid to the door and said, "I really can't take my boots off, or stay... caio Woineshet, Caio Mommyay."
So much for structured bedtime tonight :)
It was definitely worth it!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pictures of the week.....

Abigail wanted me to post of few of my favorite pictures of the week on here for everyone to enjoy... These capture the essence of our Winnie this week...

First glimpse of snow? What to do? Run down stairs and put on your prettiest (conjo) sandals to go outside.... We chose snow boots instead.
Winnie and I like to go to Global Gallery and get coffee and a snack. I had my camera out because the snow was starting to fall again... but who is interested in that? Not her... she was laughing so hard at this statue...

A family for 3 weeks

First glimpse of "real" snow out the window...

Wow, it seems like I go back and forth between feeling like we've been together forever and feeling like we have just met. The cat, Virgil, thinks she's been here too long. I mean, a few days ago she felt like she knew him well enough to trap him in the princess play tent and drag him around... She told dad he was "slleeeeeeping." Dad doesn't think cats hiss and spit and lose hair in their sleep.

In the last few days, she has met MORE new friends, fallen in love with her toy kitchen from Aunt Molly, had a date with GIGI, watched and sang with Dora, had a snow ball fight, and told Mommy and daddy she loved us 203 times :)
We feel like blogs should be about honest feeling and journeys, so here's a bit on that... There have been times when the melt downs have been bad. Sometimes she cries about something she isn't allowed to have or do, but it seems like that turns into a cry for us to care, to be there, to tell her that we won't leave or abandon her. We have prayed daily and hourly for extra patience and consulted a great book, "The Connected Child," by Karyn Purvis and David Cross. Here is a snippet from the book.
"If you remain mindful of a child's unique history and how early growth was disrupted, you can even admire the strength that allowed this little child to survive adversity and have compassion for the ongoing struggles he faces. It's important to respect the neurological impairments and deep fear that drive disruptive and maladaptive behaviors.
By gaining a deeper understanding of what motivates your child, you'll be in a better position to support your child's healing."

We continue to be amazed at Woineshet's resilience. She was most likely in an institution for half of her small life. She feels less pain due to the elevated stress hormone, cortisol. She gets scared when she wakes up alone at night, and promptly goes back to sleep when she sees we are still there. She acts very independent at times, running from us, because Winnie's been the only one looking out for Winnie for a long time. She eats any time she can because she's been hungry and knows it doesn't feel good. We are so proud of her strength and survival, and we want to take back the control so she can learn to just be a kid.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

New friends and new things

Winnie has met all kinds of new friends so far this week. The picks and tools at the dentist this morning would not be included in that, in case you wondered. Gigi came over on Tuesday, and after a 45 minute tantrum over something I can't even remember, they played upstairs and did some puzzles. Chocolate Winnie met Vanilla Winnie yesterday. She had her first happy meal experience... and ate every bite of it!! She also played with Micah Richardson last night. She seems to share better with babies :) She and mommy walked down the street to have tea with our friend Leah.
We baked bread on Tuesday, and it was probably one of her most favorite things to do!! The bread has blueberries in it, so she won't actually eat the bread :) My mom (Gigi) brought over our old aprons that say MOM and MOMMIES helper. It made things official that way.
She's still waking up several times a night, so mommyay and daddyay are tired. Dad's taking a well deserved nap, Winnie's dancing in the kitchen, and I wanted to say HI to you.
included are some of our recent pictures...
p.s. Can we remind her in a few years how much fun it is to vacuum?


Monday, February 1, 2010

We've been together two weeks!!

Today marks two weeks that we have been with you. When people ask us for a "quick update" on how things are going, I'm not sure where to begin?! I usually start with telling people that you are more wonderful and beautiful and smarter than I could have ever imagined. Then I say that we seem to be bonding really well, We feel like we've been your mommy-yay and daddy-yay and you've been our Winnie-yay for a really long time. I probably proceed to tell them how brave you were when you got 5 shots and all those labs drawn, and how you took your doctors kit right in there with you like you needed to show them a new procedure :) If the person still looks interested, I tell them how much you love socks, eating injera, feeding the cat (demit), EATING IN GENERAL, laughing, tying your babies to your back, bath time, anytime but naptime, and loud toys. Then I laugh with people about our silly first time parenting moves... sitting in the 4th row at church (I mean you did great, but we should have known that you would break out in Amharic during the sermon) or driving around town because we promised you injera AFTER you refused to try icecream. If they are still listening at this point... you've gotten on the phone already or met them and said "salem, endemenesh"... and they know.
Your dad and I just wanted to tell you that these two weeks have been a dream come true for us. When we were doing all that crazy paperwork and waiting and waiting for you, people told us it would all be worth it (and we told ourselves that too). Guess what? we'd do it a million times over... even on your crabbiest day!! You are so much more than we could have even imagined!!
ehwedishalow, Winnie-yay!!
Sleep tight... and by that I hope ALL night :)
love mom

Multicultural Crayola

Our kayaking friends Chris and Kathleen in Delaware sent us a huge package of gifts for Woineshet. She loved everything, we especially loved these markers... Thank you guys, that was so kind of you...