Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The first "enlarged" Morin family camping trip

Mike decided last Wednesday that we should go camping over the Memorial Day weekend. The weather looked like it was supposed to be nice and we were all happy to not work in the yard for another weekend! So we spent the better part of Thursday night making a plan for meals and getting the camper packed. Have I mentioned that our poor Nanny had to work her tail off! And we are truly grateful for all her hard work (especially with such short notice)! I got home from work Friday to finish loading the cars. Courtney, Patrick, Mike and I successfully got the camper out of the garage (which is no easy feat since we only have about 1/2 inch clearance on either side of the camper).
As we setup the camper on Friday night, Geta was very inquisitive about what we were doing. I told her we were setting up the camper so we could sleep in it. She adamantly stated, "Me no sleep in car". As the camper went up and she saw the beds and sink, she said, "First it's car, then it's house?!?!? Crazy, Mommy, crazy!" But she thoroughly enjoyed camping and is very excited to go again in 2 weeks with Grandma and Grandpa!
We had an awesome weekend. The weather was perfect other than a small rain shower on Saturday morning as we were just waking up. Geta learned to ride a bike by herself which Mike was very grateful for. Courtney learned to make pancakes and bacon. Patrick learned how to grill hamburgers and setup the campfire. (Boy Scouts came in handy!) Emily had a crash course in chasing Tamene EVERYWHERE! And Tamene learned to be contained in the Port-a-crib when he stepped outside the boundaries set by mommy. Josh loved the freedom and took full advantage of spending time with his friend, Kevin. Geta loved the "big bathtub" (which most of us would call a swimming pool), except when she tried to drown and daddy thought she was just trying to swim. Thank goodness she is resilient and determined. She got back in and was a little more careful for the rest of her time in the pool. Courtney had 2 friends join us for Saturday night. They slept in the tent and spent the majority of the night studying for Oral Exams. (Yes, we gave them a very hard time!) :-) Grandma visited us for most of Saturday, and part of Sunday. Grandpa made an appearance, but spent most of the weekend at the fire station.
We also attended the Memorial Day Mass at Cedar Grove Cemetery. As we walked around the cemetery to visit all of our relatives, Geta tried to figure out what all this was about. She was very impressed with all the flowers, until she realized that they were for people who had passed away. She asked me, "You going to here, Mommy?" Without thinking, I said yes and then proceeded to ask her if she would plant pretty flowers for me. She got very upset and said, "You can't die, Mommy!" My heart broke for her, but I assured her that I was very healthy and the doctor had given me all my shots. (She did actually laugh at that.) But it was a good reminder how careful we must be with our words as she tries to figure out this new life. I still pray every night that she finds security and happiness with our family. There are moments that I see her genuine joy and others that I see a pain and fear that runs so deep that it brings tears to my eyes.

All-in-all, camping was a lot of work, but what a great weekend!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Oops! Laundry Room goes over budget. :-)

Ok, did anyone not expect this to happen? :-) I tried to think through everything, but I missed a few details. So now we are about 15% over budget. Thank goodness, the Mortgage market is great right now, so Mike is bringing in more than anticipated! God continues to bless our family and we are truly grateful!

As of today, we have no more leaky skylight. I am glad I wasn't hear to see them remove the skylight, but I am more excited that I wasn't hear when they found the ants that were living in the wall. YUCK! How does that happen? We also saw the prototype of the new "locker cubbies". They will help so much in dealing with all the "stuff" our kids "need to have". I think the clutter stresses them out as much as it does me. They know I get upset by the mess, but they never had a place to go with it. Defined space that they are in control of will help tremendously. (At least it better!)

Lisa (our nanny) is thrilled to have the added space, and thank goodness, because she also has to deal with the constant noise and interruption that all these strangers bring to our life. It is funny to hear Tamene mimic the sound of drills and hammers or hear Geta get so upset at the mess that they are making. Tomorrow Geta will see Laundry done in the basement for the first time and I can't wait to hear what she says.

They expect another 3 weeks of construction. Ugh! I am trying to be patient, but I am ready for it to be done.

We will keep you posted on the progress,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I love weekends...

So I must admit, the work weeks are hectic. We get home in time for dinner and then it is all we can do to get the kids in bed at a reasonable hour. But the weekends! They are the times I cherish. Of course, usually not at 6:30am when Tamene first graces our presence, but by 8 or 9am, I am usually glad to have all these kids. This weekend, Courtney took 1st place in her gymnastics meet. All the older kids (including Geta) worked the meet, running the scores back to the main gym. Emily and Patrick had incredible patience with Geta, understanding that she was afraid to go on her own, yet wanted to get the scores there by herself! Patrick played Trombone at the school Media fair today and did an awesome job! Emily sang in the Children's Choir at Mass and Joshua shared his gorgeous artwork. What confident and loving children we have! I find such joy in watching them "be" a part of each others moments. Even Tamene clapped with such vigor when seeing his sister take her medals or seeing Patrick play his trombone. (ok, don't tell Emily and Josh, but he was totally oblivious to their accomplishments!)

Another Milestone this week... Geta had her last day at ECDC. Her teachers wrote a beautiful card to her thanking her being such a special part of the Kindergarten class. They said she was a flower that they watched blossom. She actually volunteered to announce one of the poems they recited to the parents. It was totally adorable! How far she has come in just a few months home.

I have posted a variety of pictures - Emily's 1st Communion, Courtney with the Bishop at confirmation, Geta with ND Buildings they built at ECDC and Courtney at her gymnastics meet.

God has blessed us with a BIG and wonderful family and I cherish every minute that we get to spend with our kids.
Oh, and by the way, Fr. Nate is grateful we brought everyone home from Mass today! :-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Construction begins

Today, we started a major construction project on our house. We are removing the "hot tub" room because the hot tub has not worked in over 2 years. We decided that, while Mike cherishes the hot tub, he prefers an outside hot tub. So we are regaining the inside space to increase the size of the laundry room. It also allows us to get rid of a leaky sky light and we will add 6 locker/cubbies for the kids to store their coats, boots, shoes, mittens, hats, and backpacks.
Before Pictures
I did my best to prepare Geta and Tamene for the demolition, but they were unnerved, none-the-less. Tamene spent the better part of the day nervously mimicing the sound of drills while Geta was not happy at the mess that these strangers were making. She was also very concerned about the missing Laundry machines and is unclear as to where her backpack should now be stored. (Thank goodness, her school is done at the end of this week!)

On the first day of construction, they removed all the cabinets from the laundry room (and relocated them to the basement because Mike can't part with anything!). They also removed the hot tub and and the raised floor around the hot tub. They were able to salvage some of the floor so that we can try to keep the kitchen tile and only replace the tile in the new laundry room. So far, I am "at" budget (not below or above), but we will see how long that lasts!
After pictures
They expect construction to last about a month, perhaps a little longer. In the meantime, I have no laundry, so we will be visiting Grandma frequently!

Also, we have finally picked names for Geta and Tamene. Geta will become Geta Etore Alexa Morin. Alexa stands for "defender" and also happens to be the name of our specialist in the adoption process. Tamene will become Tamene Etore Daniel Morin. Daniel is a biblical name that means "God is my judge". We felt this was very similar to how their biological father felt when he named Tamene (which in Hadiyissa means "God is believed"). While we always plan to use their Ethiopian names, we felt that it was appropriate to add a name for their upcoming baptism (which I better start planning now that Emily's First Communion and Courtney's Confirmation are over). But we also thought that if they ever felt "alienated" because of their Ethiopian name, they could use a more "american" name given to them in the same spirit as their birth name.
Thank you for your continues love and support,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Looking from the inside out...

So today, we took the opportunity to come home for lunch and play some Uno. Work has gotten busy for both of us and we have been enjoying a few days of lunch by ourselves in the last 2 weeks, so we haven't been coming home for lunch as often as in March and early April. Geta has started to notice, so I decided that we had to keep that effort going. Today, we both arrived home and ate lunch with Geta and Tamene. Geta asked if we could play Uno. Having the pressure of a 1:30 meeting, I told her I could play a little bit. So we hurried through lunch and then broke out the Uno deck. As we played 3 token games of Uno, I was reminded of this same spot 2 1/2 months ago. At that point, we had very few words, but much enjoyment. Today, the enjoyment was still there, but in a very different way. There was nothing "new" about it, but how we cherish our time together. Geta proudly displays her "ouch" cards that are all targetted toward Daddy. She protects Mommy at all costs. Daddy, realizing he is playing against 2 opponents, strategizes and still wins. Words are so much more prevalent. At one point, Geta said, "Daddy, stop talking!" Anyone who knows Mike has to laugh at this because he always expends endless banter. While Geta normally takes this all in stride, today it wasn't allowing her to concentrate on her strategy. I know this is not something that she would have said to her Ethiopian Dad, but she had learned our family dynamic and feels free to be a part of it! I am truly filled with joy at our progress. The ease of our relationships bring me such joy and pride. I have no idea how we got here, but I thank God everyday for our many blessings.

I had fully intended to put picutures of Emily's First Communion on the blog today, but it is late and I am tired and the camera is nowhere to be found, so that will have to wait til tomorrow. She had a wonderful weekend and was so filled with joy at receiving her First Communion. Please keep Coutney in your prayers as she prepares for her Confirmation this Friday. (It has been a big week for the Morin Family!)

Love to all our friends! Your words of encouragement have been such an inspiration through this whole process.