Friday, March 27, 2009

Geta's 1st Field Trip

Wednesday, Geta and I went on her first field trip.  It could very well be the most important event to happen to her for some time, as it was a field trip to the hallowed Golden Dome.


Due to the threat of rain, we actually took a bus (not my bus mind you) the 500 feet across campus.  We sketched the Golden Dome from the outside and then we went inside and looked at the murals.


One of the things her class is doing is having various parents who work at Notre Dame tell the kids about what they do.  On this day, one of the parents who works in the Golden Dome, told us about her job in the news and information department.  At the end she asked if there were any questions.  And here comes one of the two highlights of this day for me.  One little boy raised his hand and asked her, “How did God make the Earth?”  She deferred to the teacher, but truthfully, I think that falls under the category of information and if we got the answer, it would definitely be newsworthy.


One other thing I am sure you are all dying to know.  Geta would tell you there are 22 steps up to get into the Administration Building.


And the other highlight of my day is when Geta was pointing at something and then with a surprised voice, said to me, “Little Beep Beep.”  So, she saw her first golf cart.


It was a very fun trip and it is, of course, of the utmost importance to familiarize her with Notre Dame as soon and as often as possible.




Tuesday, March 17, 2009

G&T meet the Fire Department!

OK, so today was my first full day back in the office and Geta has not been so happy with me. (more about that later...) I arrived home after work, greet lots of children, get snubbed by Geta and try to catch up with Lisa about the day. In the background I heard a beeping noise, like a smoke detector that has low batteries. Lisa mentioned that it just started beeping, so I didn't worry about it. We sit down to dinner, and about half way through dinner, the beeping is driving me nuts. I send Patrick on a hunt through the house to find the smoke detector that needs batteries replaced. He arrives back (from the basement) with the carbon monoxide detector! The LED has a reading of 283. Still thinking this must be low batteries, I push the reset/test button and the Alarm starts beeping like crazy. Geta and Tamene are now becoming scared of what is going on, so I replace the batteries and tell them everything is fine. With the new batteries in, the alarm continues to go off and the reading is 172. For those who don't know, we have a security alarm that has a carbon Monoxide detector as part of the monitoring service, so I send Mike down to the basement to see what it thinks. Since it doesn't have any kind of display, he presses the TEST button and the house alarm start going off. Tamene is now in an all out scream, terrified of all the noise. The telephone rings and ADT is advising us that we have a issue and the fire department is on its way. Hmm... Never had that happen before. So out to the front lawn we go. It is beautiful day outside and the kids are having a ball. The firemen decide to call the gas company so while we wait for them to show up, all the kids get to sit in the fire truck. Tamene is not so sure what to think of all of this, but it is a "beep beep" so how bad could it be! Aunt Missy and Crazy Bob and clan show up in the middle of all of the commotion, but have a great time playing with all our kids in the front yard. Thanks to Matthew for saving Tamene from the street several times! In the end, the big scare turned out to be nothing. But we had a good time making the most of a bad situation. And did I mention that Joshua lost a tooth while we were out in front of the house? Yes, that means that both top front teeth are missing, but for anyone who remembers the story, this is the "dead tooth" (killed by the refrigerator when he opted to walk backward, then turn too quickly and ... well the rest is history.)

So a quick note about my return to work... Last week I worked mornings and was home in the afternoon. Since Geta also started school, she was also occupied in the morning and I realized that she has never noticed that I was at work. So this week, I worked Monday afternoon, then added a full day of work today. I picked her up from school as usual Monday afternoon and we ate lunch together. But when we would normally start playing Uno, I announced that I needed to go to work. I immediately got the cold shoulder and some very unhappy looks from Geta. But I hugged and kissed her, told her I loved her and I would be home before dinner. After work, I met Mike at the baseball field where we switched cars so Mike could head to an "end of the year" basketball party with Courtney. When Geta saw that I was now driving "Daddy's car", the pout and cold shoulder were immediately back. She did not speak to me the entire night. When it was time to say prayers, she turned her back to me and when I asked for a hug and kiss good-night, I got the same cold shoulder. I have never been one to accept this behaviour, so I hugged her from the back and told her how much I love her. I said it was OK to be angry with mommy, but I still love her. Who knows if she understood, but off to sleep she went. This morning, I asked her if she would give me a hug and after a very brief pause, I got the same cold shoulder. I gave her another hug and kiss before we left for school and forced one more when I dropped her off at her classroom. Tonight, it took awhile before she would even look at me, but after all the excitement, she was more than happy to let me comfort her. At the end of the day, Mommy is still someone who protects her and that is really my goal. So, while I continue to stress about whether she is ready, I am encouraged by the deep rooted attachment that I see. I also see some 6 year old, "I have had mommy's undivided attention and now that is going away" anxiety. But all of this seems healthy to me, and that precious smile just fuels me to be tough and persevere.

More soon...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Weekend

It has been a long, long time since I have posted and I have plenty about which to write.  But my wife says I have to choose one topic, so we will see if I obey.


I can’t tell you how awesome our new life has become.  The new increased family size makes our household a bit louder (and it was not quiet initially), and a bit wilder.  But Geta and Tamene have sure put our focus back on family.  We eat dinner together each night, our extra-curricular activities are scaled back (just random luck I think), and we spend a lot of time on weekends doing family things.


We went to McKinley Park on Saturday and Geta and Tamene had a ball.  They loved the slides and just playing outdoors.  We saw a “woosha” or two (“woosha” is Amharic for dog).  It is so cute to see Tamene start babbling in pure excitement but half fear every time he sees one.  Geta rode a scooter over to the park along with our older kids.  Of course, it was hardly faster than walking.  But she had a ball.  Today, in the driveway, I held the bike up as Geta rode next to me.  Again, this was about at the same pace as the scooter ride.  After a trip or two around the driveway, she clearly wanted to do something different, but I couldn’t exactly figure it out.  When I let her show me, she started walking the bike in circles.  Yes, that is her holding the bike pushing it around in circles.  But it made her happy, so I was game.  They were both amazed by the toy lawn mower.


And tonight, and I only wish I had a picture of this, Kristen, Courtney, Emily, Joshua, Geta and I played Uno on the King Size bed upstairs (while all of them also watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition (I would rather watch paint dry)).  And Tamene was playing with cars (beep beeps as he calls them) up there, while I was multi-tasking, chasing him and playing Uno.  Then he wanted to sit on the bed, so you got it, it was Kristen, Courtney, Emily, Joshua, Geta and Tamene, Oscar (the “demet” cat) and I all on the bed with the tv blaring.  Patrick had lost tv privileges for the week so he couldn’t join us.  If he hadn’t lost those privileges, we might have had to get a second bed.  It was a sight to see.


Anyway, the week went well.  Kristen was back at work part-time and Geta started school.  We had a doctors visit, but I made it into an outing and we all had fun.  The shots weren’t something they would like to repeat, but it was much better than the first trip.


I often sit thinking about Geta and Tamene’s family and I sure wish I could do something more for them.  Courtney and Kristen and I had a little talk Saturday night about them and Courtney was so sad.  Ethiopia truly has a special place in our heart now.


Which leads me to what I should be posting about.  They have an awesome library program in Ethiopia and I plan to post soon about it so that you can all check it out.  I am signing off for now with your anticipation of my next post running high I assume.  If you want a preview, google Ethiopia Reads and it will lead you to the site.  But I will post with a picture or two and some reflections about our visit there.  Talk to you soon.  Mike



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Courtney's Homework Assignment on Courage (Dad says a must read)

Of all the people I know, it is not a Saint, or Biblical hero, or even an important person in our society in whom I really see true courage.  They are the two youngest people in my family at two and six years old.  Through the whole adoption process, the paperwork to the referral and then our trip over to Ethiopia and back, I have really seen the face of God in my whole family.  Everyone has shown courage, but Geta and Tamene have shown the most.

            At the young ages of two and six, both have endured many hardships.  Not only have they seen the death of their mother, been parted from their family, and been forced  to move to three different places in eight months, but they have had to call an already bonded group of strangers “family.”

            If that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.  We may think that young children can not have the gift of courage because they have not had as many life experiences in which to learn it.  What we should know is that sometimes it is the youngest little children in our lives that are to the most looked up to.




Sunday, March 8, 2009

G & T finally meet Grandma and Grandpa Morin

Geta, Mike and I visited ECDC on Friday morning. The class would be perfect for her. There are 3 teachers for 22 students and there is another little boy that doesn't speak English either. While she never ventured far from Mom and Dad, she seemed to have fun exploring the classroom and seeing all the things that were there. She listened to a story and ate snack with the kids. She smiled a lot and even shook the teachers hands when we left. When her siblings asked her about her visit, she smiled and seemed happy. But then by Friday night when we were getting ready for bed, she said, "No, Geta school." I think the idea of being there by herself is very overwhelming. So I am going to take her tomorrow and see how it goes. I think she would enjoy it if she can get over her fear of being without us. Today she has been asking if Tamene can go to school. I explained that Tamene is little and Geta is big. She seemed ok with that response. So we will see what tomorrow morning brings...

Today we took all the kids in the "Morin Family Bus" to Chicago to meet Mike's parents. We had a great day visiting with them, and with Mike's sister's family. Geta and Tamene didn't take long to feel pretty comfortable in their new surroundings. Grandma had prepared and had Uno and Sorry ready to play, so that helped a lot! Tamene even took a nap in one of Grandma's beds. He fell asleep quickly and about and hour and a half later, he sat up in bed and called my name. I thought for sure he would wake up screaming, but he did just fine.
I am adding a few pictures of Geta with her weaving project and then some Ethiopian dress up.
We continue to thank God everyday for both of these kids being a part of our lives. They are so precious and we are truly blest to have them for our children!

Please pray for Geta as she struggles with school. (and for me as I will be a total wreck worrying about her!) I start back to work part time tomorrow, so I will be at work during the time she is at school. At least I am close if the teacher needs me to come get her.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Geta goes to school -- Tamene meets Barney

Ok, so I have been scolded 4 times in the last 48 hours for not posting on the blog. I don't have the camera handy, so I am going to add pictures later. But I thought an update was better than nothing!

The big news at the Morin house is that Geta starts school Monday morning. She has asked us frequently if she can go to school. This is something I had never considered (assuming she would not be ready), so Mike and I have been calling around all week trying to figure out what the best option for her is. Part of me feels that she is very ready to go to school. But I am also hoping that we are not pushing her too fast. She has come so far in the last month. I would really hate to screw that all up by putting her in new and terrifying situations. But how can I tell her no when she asks, no actually she begs, to go to school. She sees the other kids leave every morning and she asks, "Geta school. Please Mommy!" Yesterday, I was reading books to her. She was talking through the words she knew from the pictures and I was reading words. She said something about a story and I showed her how her letters make words. Her next question was, "Mommy, Geta school please!" She definitely relates school to learning and if she is ready, who am I to stop her. So, she will be starting at ECDC at Notre Dame on Monday morning. We go tomorrow so she can see her classroom and meet her teachers. I plan to let her stay there for as long as they will let us in the hopes that Monday by herself won't be so bad. I, of course, will be a wreck, but I hope she has a great time and loves it! It is a 5 day program from 8:30 to 11:30am and conveniently starts when I go back to work. So part of me feels God is helping make that transition a little easier.

The other news at the Morin household is that Tamene saw his first Barney video and LOVED it. We have been singing Barney songs all week long! Their favorite is the "Hello and How are you" song. But there are several that we sing through. I happened to be trying to find the second verse to "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to help Geta learn more body parts. I was watching a video on YouTube hoping that they sang the second verse. Tamene woke from his nap, so I showed him the video. He was mesmerized! It has definitely been a blast from the past for me. Our other kids LOVED Barney, but we haven't played his songs in many, many years. I am kicking myself for giving away all those videos!

Anyhow, on another front, both Courtney and Joshua lost teeth this past week! It seems to be the thing to do at the Morin household! We spent the majority of dinner last night counting all the teeth that everyone has lost. I believe the count went something like this:

Tamene = 0
Geta = 5
Josh = 3 (with 2 more hanging by a thread)
Emily = 8
Patrick = 12
Courtney = 17

Thank you to everyone at work for the AWESOME party this afternoon. It was really great to see everyone and to catch up on what has been happening around work. Geta thinks Mommy's work is lots of fun and wants to come back. (Hee Hee) I tried to explain to her that that was just the place I work, but that we were having a party. I am not sure she got it, but I am glad to know she likes my work! Tamene loved hearing Mr. Scott play guitar for him! It was great fun and we truly appreciate all the effort and support you have all shown during this special time in our lives!

I will post tomorrow (I hope!) to let you know how school goes.