Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December so far...








This month is flying by.. the girls decorated the tree last week, last weekend we had rehearsal for their ballet performance of the Nutcracker. Ava also got to be in our church's "A Night in Bethelehem" where they recreated the night Jesus was born, she was a beggar girl(really cute)Last night they had their ballet performance and it was so good!Genet is done with dance for now, I may put her in gymnastics this winter. Ava will continue in ballet until the next Youth Theatre play starts sometime the end of February. It is soooo cold here and the girls are playing outside in the snow. The dog keeps chasing them and stealing their mittens so they come in crying and cold!We took down the crib in Genet's room and she is now in a big girl toddler bed. At first, she couldn't understand Why she has to sleep on the floor(the bed is so low) but now she likes it. They keep wanting to share a room but we try it with sleep overs but they just keep each other up and since I can't get Genet to take naps she needs ALL the sleep she can get at night. I have been looking for a cheap (but tuned) used piano for Ava to start lessons this winter. Schooling at home is going well. She usually argues at first but I am trying to make things a little more hands on and fun. Right now I just want the girls to play and bond. We try and do Math and language arts 3-4 days a week. She is learning the 50 states, capitals and abbreviations. She has started to learn a little French. Science we are going to do some fun kits I ordered. I am also just reading her good literature and having her narrate it back to me. So she is busy. WE are learning HOW to learn together and that takes some fine tuning. I have not regretted a second for having her home. until later....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Genet singing!


okay, I know the picture quality is terrible but last night we were waiting for some friends in the car and Ava and Genet figured out how the headsets work and Ava has always liked Pavarotti so we put it on and Genet CANNOT hear herself singing but it was so unbelievably cute that I had to record it... Enjoy a future American Idol!!!
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Catching Up!






okay, I haven't posted any pics in awhile because we have been sooooo busy! Science Museums, the Bodies Exhibit at the MOA, a waterpark for a birthday, plays and just everything else that comes along in life. Genet had her ECFE assessment and she passed with flying colors. They had an interpreter there and she refused to even acknowledge her, she would ask Genet a question and she would simply ignore her and then Ava or I would ask the same question and she would answer. Not sure what was up, she called Genet by the correct pronounciation of her name in Ethiopian and Genet told her in no uncertain terms HOW to say her name. It was funny, but I felt bad for the interpeter, she was very kind. We also had our 3 month post placement with our social worker this weekend. We have really lucked out with Genet, she is smart, loving and doesn't seem to have any issues that we need to be aware of right now. I am still waiting for something, it seems alot of families have one issue or another, I also know God only gives you what you can handle, so we must be weak!lol because our post adoption has been really really wonderful! I have felt so undeserving of this child and to have it be good is even more humbling.Enjoy some pics of our activites recently..

Friday, November 6, 2009

1 month of homeschooling and the learning continues


okay, so as usual, anytime I decide to get "into something" I have to become obsessed and my home is littered with info on my latest obsession, which happens to be homeschooling. So tonight as I was getting Ava ready for bed I told her she needs to start reading this chapter book on the "First Thanksgiving" in the magic treehouse series and she rolls her eyes at me and says, "Mom, I already KNOW about the pilgrims and thanksgiving." and it HIT me, yeah, she does and why do we have to keep talking and studing it just like the schools do, the same thing year after year. YUCK! know wonder they lose interest in learning, I know she doesn't know everything but so what, she is 7. She gets the idea of the pilgrims, thanksgiving and squanto, etc. So I think the most we will visit the topic is to watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" so about another hour or so went by and I decided to make a deal with her, while we will still have to do math and language arts almost daily,I asked her, WHAT do you want to learn about?anything you want, give me some ideas. I want her to WANT to learn and look forward to reading about pretty much anything. SO... she wants to learn about lights, who invented electricity; all of the president's pets, Walt Disney not the "guy" but why and how did he think of Mickey Mouse?; Moses; how did God know that our hands should be at the end of our arms, and how we should have blood; and the about the guy that painted the "margerita" she means the Mona Lisa. So I told her we will "google what we can" and go to the library and check out what ever subjects and books interest her. I am also reading a book on discoving your child's learning style and I think I have my work cut out for me. But you know what, I am interested in all these things too. So what an adventure we are on...
On another adoption note: Genet is doing amazingly well, thanks so much to Ava who is so patient and just a wonderful big sister. They really get along well. Genet had her last so called check up at the eye doctor today and everything check out great. She is picking up so much. She is smart and loving. I am truly amazed at both of my girls and feel incredibly blessed to have them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick or Treat!






Happy Halloween, Genet got to see her first parade and go trick or treating. She totally got it!I mean a no brainer getting lots of candy, right?? Homeschooling is going really good. I can't believe for as much as I hated Ava starting school each fall that I didn't start homeschooling in Kindergarten. I love having her home and I feel like her math and reading are improving already. Of course, we have only been at it for a few weeks. Last Friday she got to go to the Cahill school and experience a real one room school house just like the pioneers. This week we are going to the science museum. So between, ballet for both, Youth group, swimming and field trips the weeks are soooo busy!Ava and daddy are starting puppy classes so we will see. I am NOT totally sold on the dog yet.lol

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

okay, as you know from my last post we have decided to homeschool Ava. I cannot tell you how at peace I have felt since that decision. It is like this large weight has been lifted and I am looking at Ava's future. So much, we or at least I am so "in the now" it is hard to look forward and WAIT but my decision to home school AVa is for her future, yes, I am not going to have as much time to myself and there are going to be days that I question, "What am I doing?" but honestly I feel like that now, nothing kicks your butt like parenting. Daily I struggle with things like, why is she so sassy?we don't allow that?are they watching to much TV(always a yes), why does she blantenly ignore me when I call her name?UGH!!!there were days that I was glad she got on the bus just so I didn't have to deal with it(I am ashamed to admit) Well ,everyday I get a message from Insight for Living and today was the following devotion: as usual God just knows when you need Him to reveal something to you and re affirm that you are doing the right thing.
October 20, 2009

Take It Easy
by Charles R. Swindoll

Proverbs 22:6 " Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Maybe it's because I just had another birthday. Maybe it's because I'm a granddad several times over. Or maybe it's because of a struggling young seminarian I met recently who wishes he had been higher on his parents' priority list than, say, fifth or sixth. He was hurried and ignored through childhood, then tolerated and misunderstood through adolescence, and finally expected to "be a man" without having been taught how.

My words are dedicated to all of you who have the opportunity to make an investment in a growing child so that he or she might someday be whole and healthy, secure and mature. Granted, yours is a tough job. Relentless and thankless . . . at least for now. But nobody is better qualified to shape the thinking, to answer the questions, to assist during the struggles, to calm the fears, to administer the discipline, to know the innermost heart, or to love and affirm the life of your offspring than you.

When it comes to "training up the child in the way he should go," you've got the inside lane, Mom and Dad. So---take it easy! Remember (as Anne Ortlund puts it) "children are wet cement." They take the shape of your mold. They're learning even when you don't think they're watching. And those little guys and gals are plenty smart. They hear tone as well as terms. They read looks as well as books. They figure out motives, even those you think you can hide. They are not fooled, not in the long haul.

The two most important tools of parenting are time and touch. Believe me, both are essential. If you and I hope to release from our nest fairly capable and relatively stable people who can soar and make it on their own, we'll need to pay the price of saying no to many of our own wants and needs in order to interact with our young . . . and we'll have to keep breaking down the distance that only naturally forms as our little people grow up.

Time and touch. Listen to your boys and girls, look them in the eye, put your arms around them, hug them close, tell them how valuable they are. Don't hold back. Take the time to do it. Reach. Touch.

When you are tempted to get involved in some energy-draining, time-consuming opportunity that will only increase the distance between you and yours, ask yourself hard questions like, "Could my time be better spent at home?" and "Won't there be similar opportunities in the years to come?" Then turn your attention to your boy or girl. Hold nothing back as you renew acquaintances.

Take it easy!

The two most important tools of parenting are time and touch.

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Official Homeschoolers!




I have FINALLY decided to homeschool, after much thought and prayer, we are going to homeschool Ava. I have been agonizing over this (out loud, sorry Nicole and Cindy) since Ava started Kindergarten. We were not unhappy with her school we just felt that this is something we can do and provide Ava with a better education and it frees up so much time for her to do other activities. PLUS we get to see her everyday. She has been gone from 8:30 am to almost 5 pm everyday. Too long!! Please pray that all will go smoothly in transitioning to this next adventure in our family life. On another note, we got to finally enjoy some fall activities this weekend. WE went to the Berry Hill Farm with Grandma and Ava and Genet's little cousin, Jeffrey. It was a lot of fun. Looks like that is going to be it for awhile as the weather is just not cooperating this year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Home for 2 months!

okay, this time has gone so fast. I am not saying this has not been a major adjustment for all of us having a 4th member but the last 24 hrs have really made the last 3 years ALL worth every tear!Mike, AVa and I prayed daily while waiting for Genet that obviously she would stay healthy and safe but mostly we wanted her to recognize us as her family, know we love her and that she would love us. Yesterday morning Genet has gotten into the habit of waking up really early and crawling in bed with us, so yesterday, she climbed up and wraps her legs and arms around me so tight and says, "I love you, mommy"(completely unsolicited) and last night Ava and I went to Ballet and Mike and Genet stayed home, so when I was getting them ready for bed she says, "I missed you" AWWWWWW! I said honey, I am sooo glad I am your mommy and you are here. and she said "me, too" Who can EVER doubt God answers our prayers?

Monday, October 12, 2009

OCTOBER SNOW?WHAT THE HECK??

we woke up on Sat morning to SNOW!!!Genet likes it. I don't!I am feeling a little remorseful that about a month ago I was ready to get the pool down and looking forward to cooler fall weather NOT winter!oh well, by sunday it is supposed to be 60 again.We got the girls pics done on Saturday morning and they turned out good. sunday we decorated pumpkins and rested. Ava is fighting a cold! She had an orthodontist appointment last week and she suggested to the doctor that he go to Africa and help kids because some have really bad teeth. I had to laugh a little. He was surprised that she had been to Africa and then she told him all about the kids that need his help. too funny.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A new family member!





Genet and I went out of town for a mere 36 hours(she got to meet her Great Grandma and we came home to a new puppy!We are not necessarily "dog" people but have talked about getting a German Shepard for a couple of years. Mike has Ava on video promising to help feed and take care of it. If I can figure out how to get it off is I-phone I will post it. I am not sure if I dare leave anymore. Ava named the puppy Thaddeus Delgado Gagnon.(what a mouthful)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall 2009




 
Mike cut wood last weekend and the kids Helped!(wink wink)
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Genet Swimming!

can you believe this little gal has only been here for 6 weeks!!she loves the water. we put away the swimming pool at home this weekend, and she wasn't happy about it. She has no idea what kind of weather is coming in about 1 or 2months. It's good her preferred wardrobe is jeans and long sleeve shirts no matter how hot it is. I think God was preparing her for living in one of the coldest states in America.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009



at ballet school.

playing at her cousins.

Daddy and Genet hanging out in the apple trees waiting for Ava to get off the bus.Mike took her with him the other day on an errand and the people had goats, she grabbed it by the horns and when the man gave her some food to feed it she ate it!too funny.





I got Genet's permanent resident card in the mail today!We have been home over a month now and Genet is getting more comfortable and Americanized everyday!lol She is trying AND liking more foods. She is in Ballet and LOVES it and is doing swimming lessons and LOVES that too. Ava started 2nd grade and I think Genet thinks she rides on a bus all day. Everytime we see a bus she says, Mom, Mom, Ava bus?We did a child dedication last Sunday at our old church and it was so fun to introduce Genet to all the people that have been praying for our journey since we started. I am sure she is wondering why does everyone come up to me all the time?I ran into the pastor/friend that married Mike and I and who have also adopted(domestically) this last week and what a fun blessing it was to see him!Ava is also in ballet and we haven't decided yet what else she is going to do. She wants to do another play this fall BUT she does NOT like getting up in the morning so I am not sure if I am willing to fight with her every morning since rehearsals can be up to 4 times a week and go really late. so we will see. I posted a few pics of our last couple of weeks. Fall is starting to get busy, there never seems to be a lull. I am so excited for Genet to see how pretty it gets here and for her to see and have fun in the snow!She likes to be outside all the time. I am having a hard time getting things done. Having two children really changes the dynamics and makes it alot harder to have any time to do projects around the home. On the other hand, it really makes me stop and just sit and enjoy time.God Bless

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ava's first day of School!



My big 2nd grader!I cry every year!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Home almost 3 weeks!

Wow that time has gone fast!!Ava starts school next week and I go back to watching my nephews. I watched them this last Tuesday and it was really fun to have them back. I really really missed them. Genet got her first set of shots on Monday, four of them with 7 vaccines!poor thing. She literally limped around until Tues afternoon. and we have to go back in a month for one more BUT then hopefully the flu shots will be available and then we will all have to get one too. someone asked me the other day if there has been any surprises and I thought for a moment, I am absolutely amazed at how our God knows just the right child, Genet has been an utter JOY!don't get me wrong, there are some tough things, like sibling rivalry, food, lice, scabies, giardia etc.lol BUT all I can say is how happy I am to finally have her here. She is amazing, in the morning she yells, MOM, until I come get her than she lays in bed with me, and puts her arms around me and smiles, kisses my cheeks,over and over. I tell her, I am sooo glad I am your mommy and she smiles more. God is so Good!This adoption journey has grown me in my faith and trust in the Lord to such a much deeper level. I am mourning the anticipation of meeting her, I know that sounds twisted, but I really feel God is moving my heart towards Ethiopia again.Maybe another adoption, I feel part of my heart is still there. That is the only way I can describe my feeling of longing. Does it mean we will adopt again?does God want us to do missions there?I guess we will have to wait and see what the Lord reveals.
God Bless,
Dawn

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Days!


Seriously, does it get any better than a hot summer day in Minnesota,swimming, laying in the sun and eating Cheetos?Week two has been easier!food thing still sucks(pardon my French)We have actually been busy, I have tried to NOT do too much running around but we just seem to have stuff to do everyday. Genet had a dermatologist appt this last week and all looks good. She saw no lice. YIPEE!!Mike has been waiting for our down comforter to be put back on our bed, but I had washed it once and put it in a bag and was waiting to get a clear ahead we had no lice!lol We are still having some serious jealousy issues with Ava, I guess it will just take some time. We reassure her everyday about how much we love her, but she just has a hard time when we are paying attention to Genet. On the other hand, Ava is so good with her, they play up in their rooms all the time. They change clothes constantly. Genet LOVES lip gloss, and is constantly putting it on(more around her lips than on them). She seems so well adjusted already. We have been bringing her with us to church and she is so wiley. I told Mike next Sunday she is going to Sunday school!I have been afraid to leave her at all. Ava has one more week before she goes back to school. Grandma got her heelys and if you know Ava it is funny, I told her she needs a helmet. Mike & I have always secretly called her Gilda(Gilda Radner from SNL)She has all this long wild curly hair, knobby knees and it a total clutz!so these shoes I can't figure out why she wanted them?oh well, at least the wheels are NOT allowed at school, so only need to worry at home.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home for one week!




WE have now been home for a week!I am still doing loads and loads of laundry. We treated for lice and every little piece of lint in any one of our heads has me looking at it with a microscope. Genet got her teeth cleaned by Auntie Tammy on Monday(we got in on a cancelation)she did so good, we got great xrays and her teeth are in really good shape, no decay. The dentist estimated her to be about 3 1/2 so we are going to use our referral date of Feb 17th as her birthday. Her official date of birth will be February 17th, 2006! I also had a pediatrican appt for her on Wed that I made prior to traveling. I showed the Dr. some bumps on her wrists and palms and she said oh that is scabies!SUPER!so on Wednesday night; Genet, Ava, Mike and I all had to put on this cream after baths and leave on all night.In addition to getting stool samples for the parasites they think she has in her tummy.(poor thing)So yesterday(thursday) I washed all our bedding and clothes again.We finally got outside in the afternoon, it has been raining(pouring)since the beginning of the week. Other than those minor things, some things about Genet: she is a daredevil, this is God's sense of humor on an extremely cautious and doting mother who has always been afraid to have boys. She will climb the monkey bars and flip over and sometimes land on her feet. She thinks it is extremely funny when she lands on her head,back or shoulders.UGH!She goes down the slide head first,has already tackled a bike with training wheels, she gets stuck as yells, MOM until I come and turn her around and she has no fear of water. I have already signed her up for swimming this fall. She LOVES it when Mike throws and flips and wrestles her, I can hardly watch. She laughs so hard in this huge belly laugh that is just infectious. Ava and Genet fight like they have been sisters since the begining of time and Genet wants to be with her all the time, She yells Ava, Ava, Ava all day. Genet is a really good sleeper at night, naps are hit or miss. The only tough thing for me is the food. She is extremely picky and will not even try anything, she smells the box or carton and says no,no,no. Ava has always been such a good eater that this is definately out of my element.I am not pushing it yet but eventually she will be made to at least try it. She likes Dora and playing with Ava's barbies, mostly she like to play with the hair. She is particular about what she wears and she LOVES to wash her hands(like she is getting ready for surgery)I have to go in and shut the water off. She loves to brush her teeth that also takes about 15 minutes, I should not complain, I have to fight with Ava to do it and she takes about 30 seconds.lol other than that we are getting settled in. Mike has been working from dawn to dusk(literally)and he just left this morning(Sat)it is a mixed blessing. Can't complain about work.Soon he will be home all the time and driving me crazy.Ava starts school in a couple of weeks so we will be getting her ready in the next week for that. Grandma Heidi is taking her shoe shopping next week!anyway I hear little footsteps on the stairs..gotta go...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 9th

We got to Ethiopia about 6:30am absolutely no sleep for me; I cannot sleep on a plane. Ava slept most of the way and missed both meals (not good anyway) so by the time we arrived she had an empty stomach and got sick in line waiting for our Visas. Good thing I grabbed the sick bag from the plane. We got thru customs, exchanged money, all our luggage arrived and we were met by our America World representative at the airport. On our way to the Guest Home, Ava got sick in the van. Quick prayers this was only from an empty stomach. When we got to the Guest Home we pretty much crashed and slept until about noon. Guest Home was really clean and our room was nice, we had a kitchen, living room and a bedroom. We even had electricity AND hot water. Wahoo!! We had dinner there and met another family who had a son about Ava’s age and for the rest of the week they got along like two peas in a pod.

Monday, August 10th






We met in the lobby and did our paperwork party, which was only a couple of forms and then when we were done they informed us Monday night was ladies night and we could all opt to go to the Spa tonight. What? How awesome! Of course Mike wanted a massage and after some razzing from the other guys (which didn’t bother him) we scheduled our appointments. Off to lunch at a pizza joint and it was really good. All thru this I was eerily calm knowing in a couple hours we were going to meet Genet for the first time. So after lunch we were off, after a short drive we came to the gate of the TH home and I was seriously NOT going to cry and then when I saw the America World sign I teared up. We only had a group of 4 families and we take turns alphabetical by last name and we were 3rd in line. So we took other families cameras until our turn. My hands were literally shaking and then it was finally our turn, they brought out our little Genet, she came out and was soooo much cuter than I ever imagined. Her hair was all done up and she had on a dress we sent and she was just smiling like, it is FINALLY my turn. She was really tiny and came right to us. She was and is a little afraid of Mike. I knew we were not supposed to have any expectations for this moment and I was ready for her not to like me, but I am telling you it was LOVE at first sight. A lot of people say it takes awhile because this child is new, it doesn’t smell familiar or their mannerisms are not like ours but I seriously didn’t feel that and she took to me right away. We spent 3 hours there and played with balloons, Ava and Genet ran around and around the TH home and I thought, WOW, how am I going to run after a toddler again. Then Genet started to braid and play with Ava’s hair and it was soo funny, I have it on video. Then it was time to leave and Genet did NOT want me to leave. I had to pull her hand out of mine and a nanny took it then I looked back and she had this serious pout going on and tears and that was really hard. Did she think I was coming back? I promised her I would be back and then I had to just turn away. It was gut wrenching.
Going to the spa on Monday night was conflicting, it was in a way a good way to distract from thinking about our children and Ava and I got to have a girl’s night together. We both had pedicures and Mike and I both had massages. ALL TOGETHER it was about $70. Complete change from Paris. The Boston Spa was just as nice if not nicer then some of the spas around home. We opted out of the Ethiopian Dinner on Monday night since it got so late and we knew that Tuesday was going to be another big and busy day.