Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Everybody must really love me"

These are the words spoken by Winnie tonight. Here's the context... We are driving home after a long, fun-filled day. We woke up early and planted our garden. Then we spent the day at the circus. Winnie's Nana and grandpa and Jake came with us and bought her a big tiger sno-cone and popcorn. Then we went to the North Market and ate Indian, followed by strawberry and creme crepes, followed by Jeni's icecream, and finished off with a belgian waffle thing-y. She and Jake got to pet a really sweet dog, whom she let kiss her!!! (if I haven't mentioned before, she has a FIERCE fear of dogs.) Next, a very short nap. Then we picked up "aunt Lisa" and went to a friend's house. She played, rolled in the grass, ate a popcicle and goat cheese, and got to boss a smaller girl around for a while. This friend gave her some "gently worn" dress up dresses. She was over the moon. While driving home, she repeated several times,
"EVERYBODY MUST REALLY LOVE ME. THEY ALWAYS GIVE ME PRETTY CHAMISE (CLOTHES). Mommy and daddy really love me." On the way to bed, she kissed my hand and repeated this statement several times :)
I can not imagine going from a shared pile of clothes and shoes for 30 little girls, to a closet full of pretty chamise... too many to actually get worn!!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Gift

Once in a while I write letters to Winnie for when she is older. If I get emotional about things, or feel like I have to tell her something she won't understand right now, I write it down. I don't usually share them with anyone really, but there's a part that I will today...
"One day, before you came home to us, I was fretting over going back to work. God spoke in my heart and told me that there would be an African woman to watch you, and that I should not worry anymore about it. I even told a couple people, who said, 'that's interesting. Seriously though, who's gonna watch Winnie?' I never went to look at daycare because I kept thinking about this woman. Months later, after you came home, we had tea at Tiru's shop. You ran around breaking dishes and singing Amharic nursery songs while Tiru told your mommy that she would love to watch you. You see, at the same time, Tiru had decided not to run her restaurant any longer. Winnie, God sent us Tiru to guide you as you learned English and got used to the American ways (not better, definitely different). In her, I am able to give you a little piece of your homeland...the great love of your people, the culture, and even the GOOD FOOD!!! She greets us every day with hugs and kisses. While I am away, she braids your hair, walks with you to the library, plays dolls with you, sings Amharic songs, and a thousand other things. When I get home from a long day, I am usually greeted with the smell of awesome Ethiopian cuisine and giggles coming from the basement playroom.
...Again, I don't do God justice with this short description, but I had to tell you today how much God must love you and me. As always, I am overwhelmed that He brought you to me, and in His infinite way, He provides all we need and so much more."
So, that's a brief summary of our Tiru. She may be leaving us in a few weeks, and I just had to share how she blesses our lives. She may not be Winnie's babysitter forever, but something tells me she'll still be around quite a bit!!
Oh one more thing... Tiru is the one that told us Woineshet means FRESH GRAPE in Amharic. She saw Winnie's picture the week we got her referral, and always had time to help us translate things for her care packages (in between serving hungry guests at her restaurant).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dear Mom

special cupcakes we made just for you
mmmm, wish you were here to try one. We are giving some to Nina too.

Here's your card...

It plays music, "you've got a friend in me..." Winnie carries it around and it may not actually play the song by the time you get back :)

In the last 4 months, I have understood so many things about growing up with you. I am now aware of sacrifices you made and things you did to make my childhood a happy, healthy one. I think back to the days of preschool when I blurted out really uncomfortable discoveries about people we didn't know in public. Now I realize how embarrassing that was for you! I remember you getting up in the night when we were sick or just wanted a reason to get you out of bed. Now I understand how little sleep you probably got. I remember how you taught us about God and His love for us. Now I realize the prayers that you poured out for me! I remember some strange casseroles and meat loaf type things that I hated. Now I realize that you worked very hard on those creations and it must have been really frustrating to hear!! I've got a vague recollection of a day when I toppled over the entire display of glass coke bottles at the grocery store. Now I realize that was probably a really bad day for you!!

I wish I could spend this day with you today. I love you very very much and I am more amazed every day at the things you did for me and still do to this day. Your grandaughter is one of your biggest fans too!!!

Hurry home, we miss you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


We're goin' to Texas!! Winnie and I are off to Texas for Memorial day weekend. She gets to see her friend Bekeh and the other crazy Rooots, her traveling buddy and good friend from the Transition home. The girls are both speaking English quite well, and I can not wait for this little reunion... not to mention a BIG dose of Texas fun. When I told Winnie we were going, her eyes got HUGE!! "BEKELECH?? WE GET TO SEE BEKELECH?? WHAT ABOUT DEREJE?? TODAY? TOMORROW? WEDNESDAY?" (Wednesday is the only day of the week she knows so far :)

Then Winnie gets to meet her cousin Peyton and her Aunt and Uncle Hogan. They have a swimming pool and a monkey dog (poodle). We always have an awesome time together, and I can not wait for Winnie to meet my sister and see for her self. Winnie points out pictures of Peyton daily, and is also talking about how big she will be to sleep alone with Peyton and the Monkey Dog. Papa is coming with us too, so it is looking to be one big ol' family bash. Maybe we will even bring out the memory game and see if Papa and Peyton can beat the champ.

Poor daddy will be working :( and we'll miss him.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Week or SO of Catching UP...

Looking at our ticker, Winnie will be 4 years old in 1 month and 1 day!!! This last week we made an abrupt but seemingly wise decision to start preschool. We went to check the school out for next year, and I loved it so much, I thought "why not start her for the rest of this year?" I filled out the worlds longest forms, and vvvooiillllaa... We went back that afternoon to meet the teachers. So, if you see Winnie soon, she will probably tell you all about Mrs. Z and Mrs. H, her teachers, and the 7 super cute new friends in her class.

Here's a few pics from her first day...

Outside the school...yes she does have garden gloves on!!! She loves her new bag and matching head band, mommy was up sewing late the night before...actually mommy was more excited and nervous than Win :)

Her first day was also exciting because she was class leader :)

Last Weekend, we got to meet Winnie's friend Wobi. Notice the freshly pierced ears, Winnie is hot on her trail...counting the days until she has her's done. 1 month and 1 day to be exact. Winnie loved seeing Wobi, the girls hugged and had a day of fun re-familiarizing :)

Winnie also got to see her little friend Micah. He was adopted from the same agency, and his mom and dad met with us before we started the process. Thank you Julia, Roscoe, and Micah for helping us make the best decision ever!!! We had a picnic last week, and Winnie LOVES taking care of him (even if he doesn't need it or want it :)

She has been talking more about life in Ethiopia. I've been asking often because I feel it should always be something she knows is OK and even GOOD to talk about. She told me this last week about her "bed mate," they shared a little yellow toddler bed together. She told me about her favorite nanny, Maza (who wears big earrings, and must be close to idol status in Winnie's mind). She makes up great stories about taking care of the babies in Ethiopia, and driving the car to doctor's appointments with the nurse, Fortuna ("10 babies on my lap in the car mommy!!") We also talked about going back to Ethiopia someday... perhaps a little brother or sister in the not too too far distance. She said, "will mommy and daddy get in the car and leave me with A****(Winnie's friend)?" I replied, "No, NEVER, EVER. This is your home now. We go to Ethiopia to visit now, but will never leave you alone...we are your mommy and daddy now and you belong with us." She smiled, and I won't forget this one, She said "mommy, I love you so much, you good mommy, really good mommy"