Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weiseth Christmas 2009


Our Christmas morning began with stocking gifts and then snuggling with toys received the night before. Charlie is in love with this bike...as you can see.

Emelia made us breakfast tea with her Addy doll.

After Breakfast and family worship we headed out for a walk. Such a beautiful day!


In the afternoon we reenacted the Christmas story with our little people nativity set.



Then we had a candlelight dinner. So... I completely forgot to thaw the turkey so we had pretzel crusted chicken breast with a creamy cheese mustard sauce. Totally nontraditional but completely yummy!


Earlier, while the boys were sleeping, Emelia and I made a Birthday cake for Jesus. We sang and ate cake after dinner.


Andrew and I were busy putting Emelia and Levi to bed. Charlie was being so good and quiet. That should have been a warning that something was happening...

(Charlie found Emelia's new Mr.Sniff markers)

This was the first Christmas since our honeymoon that we spent it with our immediate family. It was wonderful! Very calm and special.

Christmas day also had another special meaning to us (besides the birth of our savior). The day also marked Levi's time WITH us as the same amount of days as WITHOUT us. His first 5.5 months were spent in an orphanage and Hannah's Hope. His second 5.5 months were in our family. I cannot believe he has almost been home 6 months. In 2 weeks he will be a 1 year old! This has been a very blessed and wonderful year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

REadoption day pic

A lovely AGCI friend, Erin, sent me this picture. I just love it! We readopted our boys the same day in Bellingham. If you look close to the picture you can see that we are raising our right hands promising to take care of Levi always, to protect and love him.



Emelia's quote of the day: "I know what Naomi wants for Christmas! All she wants is us...a family!" (For those of you who don't know who Naomi is: She is our future daughter. We are all pretty sure we will be adopting again. Emelia has everything all planned out.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From 2 to 1


8 years ago Andrew and I were married. It was an amazing day! All day I have been smiling just thinking about my husband and how God has been so faithful to us. When I graduated high school I felt God telling me I needed to prepare to be a wife. Well I really didn't know much at 17 about being a wife. So I read every book I could find in the Christian book store. My friends, for good reason, thought I was crazy. 3 months later I met Andrew at Seattle Pacific University. We became best friends very quickly. At Thanksgiving break from school my aunt asked if I had "met any boys?". I told her about Andrew and how i thought he was the type I wanted to marry but we were just friends. Andrew was an amazing friend. He loved me regardless of my moods, made me laugh, taught me to how to have fun, he enjoyed all the little things in life. He was a joy to me. Around Christmas time 10 years ago we had a DTR (Define the relationship) talk. We decided to pray for 3 days and then talk again about whether we should date. We loved our friendship and didn't want to ruin that. We also decided to only date if we thought we could marry the other person. This sounds so serious and a bit crazy but.....God was so much a part of bringing us together that we really wanted to obey Him. So we started dating December 27, 1999.
fast forward... Andrew proposed December 27, 2000. Then we were married December 15, 2001.
The past 8 years have been full. we have moved 6 times (in the first 6 years), 3 kids, several different jobs and lots of other craziness. In all of that we have been blessed infinitely. I used to worry we might "grow apart" since we were married so young. I had heard that from several people. I was pondering this a lot today and I don't think it is possible to grow apart if you both are loving Jesus and spending time with Him. God created marriages. He created woman and man to be together. (I am trying to type this while holding both the boys. So I end with this.) We are not the perfect couple, our personalities are not perfectly complementary, we still fight, misunderstand each other and get annoyed. Over the past 8 years we have put a lot of work into our marriage and have spent a lot of time with Jesus. We are still growing more and more together to being ONE than apart. I am so thankful for this!

AHHH.. must get boys off me now! bed time!



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

picture blast

Fun pictures from the week....

Picnic outside on the patio. Yes it is freezing outside but this all took place on a Daddy Day while I was at work.



Emelia and I just finished reading The Wizard of Oz. Andrew helped her make this costume...also on Daddy Day.
I love having a husband who loves being a Dad. He is so creative and purposeful with our children. I don't have a picture but Andrew started Family Worship about a month ago. Every morning before he leaves for work we sit down as a family and worship. We sing songs, read the bible, confess our sins and pray. I love it! Our kids love! Charlie says, "Family worship time! Yeah!" (while clapping wildly).
Okay, the next pictures happened on my watch. I came upon my daughter cleaning out Levi's toe jam. What is even more amazing is that earlier I found her holding Charlie down, ripping his socks off and cleaning his toe jam as well. By the way, I have NEVER cleaned the toe jam out from any of my kids. She didn't learn this from me. This is completely her idea!

This afternoon I took the kids to my parent's boat (They live on it). Here are some cute pictures of the visit.





Friday, November 27, 2009

re-adoption day and attachment

November 20th we participated in the National Adoption Day event in Bellingham, WA. It was an amazing experience. I am so glad our social worker pushed us to get our papers in and get 'er done. Degefa Andrew Weiseth is now officially Levi Degefa Weiseth.

The court room where we his readoption took place. Each child received a teddy bear and the sibling received bunnies.


This is Levi about ready to go before the judge. We were the first family of about 30.


Just celebrating with new friends


Still loves to nap in the ergo. I don't know what I would do without it.



Attachment: Levi started to crawl about 2 weeks ago. Now he follows me all over the house and pulls up on furniture. He's got skills. Last week he started the get purposely affectionate. He had only cuddled before when he was tired or asleep. The past week he has been crawling to me and laying his head on my foot, leg, chest (where ever) and cuddling for 2-3 secs. Then he is off again. When I sit on the floor he does this about every 5 mins. It is so cute and it completely melts me. Our attachment has grown over the past few weeks so much. It seems that most people "feel attached" to their adopted children right away. That they love them SOOOO much. While this is true it I don't think I realized how much ATTACHMENT is a process. It is a journey. It is not just lovingly taking care of someone. It is the mutual osmosis of love, trust and affection. Levi and I have had our ups and downs. Some days I felt like I...well I won't say it. We had some hard days. It is awesome to see how far we have come.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Want to save money?


Here's some top-level advice from the Weiseth Dad:

Wouldn't it be great if you could get two of your kids to sleep on one mattress? And, what if you didn't even need a frame? "But Andrew, how would I accomplish such a simplifying, space saving & cost effective thing as this" you ask? Simple! Just buy them a bunk bed.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Sister kiss


Emelia loves being a big sister. She is very good at helping me take care of her brothers. When we come inside the house she helps Charlie take off his shoes. When Levi is fussing, she carries him to me or gives him a toy. She pleads EVERY day for a sister. She wants so badly for us to find "Naomi". Here are a few Emelia quotes from this week:
"Naomi is still in Ethiopia. We HAVE to find her soon."
"I have been thinking about it all day...Here is a penny to buy a van. Then we can get Naomi."
"Being a big sister is a lot of work. I hope Naomi is bigger so she can be the big sister."

Andrew and I have felt for quite awhile that God had another daughter for us. We have no idea as to when, where, or how. Please join us in praying for Naomi. Pray that God will direct us and provide. Consider this your unofficial announcement that we are making steps towards being a family of 6.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Photo update

I am a little late on this one: but yes we did go get pumpkins. It was a beautiful day. I somehow forgot about how muddy pumpkin patches are. I also didn't account for carrying Levi on my back and Charlie on my front (he was freaked out for some reason). So now how was I suppose to carry a pumpkin? Next year.... well, maybe we will skip next year and get one at the grocery store.

Brothers


Getting to be so big....in the booty.





EYES:

Blue eye boy: Andrew
Blue eye girl: Emelia
Green eye boy: Charlie
Green eye girl: Amber
Brown eye boy: Levi
Brown eye girl: to be continued....


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

plenty

Feeling thankful today.
Feeling thankful of having plenty.
Actually overflowing.
Most of our closets are overflowing with clothes, food, crayons, etc.
We are not rich in the US but we live like Kings and Queens compared to most the world.

Wondering if we have enough for another child.
Dreaming of Naomi.
Still doesn't make "sense".
We have been blessed with so much...so much to give.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally did it!

I am not sure really what took me so long. ...
or really why I did it tonight but.....


I am now officially on facebook

Anyone want to be my friend? (I feel like I am in elementary school again)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Highlight of the Year -with a Side of Irony (by Andrew)


(Sorry to hijack your blog again Amber.) I have to say I've always looked at blogging, face-tweeting and the likes with cynicism. "Why do people think anyone would care what kind of sandwich they're making at the moment? How ego-centric can you be?!" Now, I still know it all can be a fairly unhealthy, self-centered obsession for some. But this (Amber's blog & many of yours) has taught me to see what one always sees with a closer look, Christ is the Great Redeemer. He can even breath life into online social networking! I have seen great fruit come from this blog & others. Preface A completed, here, quickly is B: I share this not to point to me, or Amber. We're sinful people in need of daily correction, me especially. I share the story because I am pretty sure someone will benefit from it -this book can be a valuable tool.

For our the-boys-are napping reading time with Emelia today I read, "Aslan's Triumph." It's a nicely summarized version of C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe" from the Narnia series. The illustrations are well made & thoughtfully put together. As we read it I kept telling Emelia that the story was made to tell us about Jesus.

When we got to the end, she still seemed very focused on it so I went back to the 1st page & asked, "What does this picture teach us about Jesus?" Then, we talked about it. This went on all the way through the book! Granted, it's not a huge book. But we had good talks that went on for a while on most of the pages. I asked a few times if she wanted to keep going but she was still interested. Some times she missed the concept entirely but was eager to learn. Other times her understanding of the picture surprised me.

We covered temptation, identity & purpose, sin & its penalty, Satan ("The Accuser"), angels & demons, Christ's intentional & brave sacrifice of Himself, His resurrection, His victory over death, the exhilarating joy of following Him, Christ's victory over the battle, how all of His followers survive in the end, heaven, and becoming the people He made us to be.

...hardly a typical afternoon talk with my 4 year old. (I hope I can say otherwise in the months to come!) I got to sit for half an hour and share the Gospel with my daughter! As my friend Josh would say, it was beautiful. It was.

At the end of the story my little blond girl & I talked about the little blond girl who revives her brother with the gift from Aslan (the gift of healing). "Did you know" I asked Emelia picking her up onto my lap to face me, "that YOU have gifts too? Jesus has given you gifts!" She was so intrigued & locked eyes with me in the way I think every father longs for his beloved children to do. She was mine, eagerly awaiting the good news (the Good News!) I had for her, delighted, trusting & focused. I knew right away that whatever I said next would stick.

So, naturally, I lost it.

I am glad to report that I didn't go snotty-nosed-hyperventilating-high-pitched-voice on her. But cry I did. It seems children's books are what put Amber & me over the edge these days.

I got to tell her about the gifts I see in her. I got to fill her with wonder at the gifts she has -ones that we don't even know about yet. And, I got another opportunity to point my girl to Jesus. I am so filled right now it's silly.

My latest highlight of the year involves crying over a kids book and I'm blogging about it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Becoming my Mother


Growing up I was always shocked and embarrassed by my mothers ability to cry about anything. Movies, books, stories, sitcoms, Oprah, etc. I just didn't get it.

Today I realized I was becoming my Mother. Emelia and I sat down for our afternoon reading session. The book for today was Meet Addy (American Girl series).

The story is about a 9 year old slave girl who escapes to freedom. I started reading the first chapter aloud to Emelia and made it only a few chapters before I was crying. It was pretty intense and probably a bit inappropriate for a 4 year old. She was however hooked and wanted more. (This is probably where I make the point that in the future I will try to read the books first). I ended up reading the 70 pages story to her over about an hour. She loved it and had many questions. I however struggled to read without sobbing. 2 parts in particular really hit me. First was where the father and brother were sold to another slave owner. Second was where the mother left her baby behind so she could escape with the 9 year old. These are issues I will never face. No one in my family has and probably never will. As I was reading I couldn't help but to picture Levi.

When I had learned about slavery in the past it was always distant from my life. I felt compassion and sadness but not real understanding. Today I experienced it differently. I pictured my son working on the plantation, being beaten by his slave owner and sold as property. I realized for the first time that all the men and women who risked their lives for freedom from slavery...that they did it not only for themselves but they also did it for Levi. He is able, because of those who fought slavery, to come to America and live a life of endless opportunity.

I have a african son. over 100 years ago if he came to America it would have been on a slave ship. Now he comes as my beloved son, a equal portion of my heart, a equal heir.

See, I have become my Mother. Crying and blogging about an American Girl story book.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Question?

143 million orphans worldwide..................

James 1:27
" Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"

Couldn't be more clear.

So what do we do with this information? Is this just for the rich guy over there with lots of time, space and energy? Is this only for the perfect families? Is this only for families with infertility?

So if there are 2.1 billion Christians worldwide why do we still have 143 million orphans?

What is God calling you to do?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big Eyes! Big personality! Big plans!


Usually I post pictures that are all cute and happy. This is somewhat misleading. This weekend I am going to post some pictures of the "real" Levi. He is a 9 month with a plan. Usually I have no idea what this is. For example today he screamed at me for 20 mins because he didn't want to sit or be held. He wanted me to hold his hands to stand. Well I had to make dinner so he had to pick a reasonable option. This was not part of his plan. He screamed so hard and long that my other kids went and hid in the back bedrooms to get away from him.

I haven't really been talking to many people about how tough of a baby he is. I feel like they will think it is because of attachment issues or that they will judge my adoptive parenting abilities. I wonder these same things I guess. But I am reminded all the time of my first born. She was exactly the same way. Every night until she was about 2 we had to hold her down screaming and kicking to put her pajamas on. She hated to sleep and was grumpy A LOT! Now she is a wonderful, sweet calm child. I have my hopes for Levi as well. But for now it is TOUGH!

My middle child was kind of like a cabbage patch doll until he was 18 months. I would put him down on the floor and do "things". He would just sit there until I came to get him. Very calm, very self entertained, easy and loves to sleep. I guess the moral of my story is that children have very different personalities. I shouldn't take it personally that Levi is a discontent little guy.

Look out! the real Levi in picture is coming!

Friday, October 9, 2009

cuddle bugs

3 in a bed


Emelia stealing a kiss


Charlie cuddling "Naomi"

Monday, October 5, 2009

My daughter the song writer





Emelia sung this song tonight to Levi while we fed him his good-night bottle.


You are my brother
my big little brother
Charlie is my other big little brother
I am your only sister
until we find your other big sister Naomi
We don't know where she is
But we will find her because we love her

I love you so very much
My heart is so full of love for you
I love everything about you

I wasn't there the day you were born
I didn't know you until the day I saw your picture
Your birthmom sent it to our computer
That was so very nice of her
Then I felt love for you
When you came home I was so happy
you are my favorite baby boy


The song went on for about 10 mins. I only wrote down the lines I could remember. It was awesome to see her pour her love out on Levi. While she was singing to him she was kissing and hugging him. I was just quietly thanking God for this moment. I will ALWAYS remember it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We like 'em big



Levi has been home for 3 months and has gone through 4 sizes!
He started in 3-6 month and is currently wearing 18 month clothes. How did this happen? One might think all I do is feed him. (He only takes 3 bottles a day) I really expected my Ethiopia baby to be malnourished and skinny. Boy, was I wrong. He is my biggest yet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3 months home

3 Months ago today!


3 Months Later...


Wow. How did 3 months go by so fast? Here are the most common questions I get and the answers:

1.) How is he bonding?
Great! and not so good. He is like a mommy suction cup. If he is on my body, he is happy. If he is not, he cries real tears. When I am home he only likes to be fed from me. Anyone else gets a fit. He is a passionate little boy. So the great is that he very much is attached to me and loves it. The not so great is that my arms get a bit tired each day carrying around his 22 lb booty.

2.) How are the kids doing together?
Better than I expected. Emelia loves Levi. She is very helpful and patient when he needs me. LEvi also LOVES Emelia. She can get him to belly laugh doing the simplest things. Charlie LOVES Levi. He still thinks Levi is his personal stuffed animal. He will push LEvi over and lay on top of him saying, "cuddle Levi, cuddle Levi". Levi is, for good reason, nervous around Charlie. They love to take baths all together.

3.) What is Levi's personality like?
I love Levi, but I am learning to love him for who he is and not what I imagined him to be. I had already formulated ideas from his pictures and what other people said when they met him. When we picked him up in Ethiopia, he was very chill and easy. After we had been home a few weeks things changed. What I know now: He doesn't like to sleep. He is a busy boy. Love to beat on anything..toys, tables, people etc. Loves to eat- 22 lbs:). Loves his blanket. He is constantly moving.

4.) Do you love him the same as Emelia and Charlie?
Yes! Yes! Yes! That doesn't mean I don't get annoyed or frustrated at him. He can be extremely draining. When I went back to work, I ached for him the same way as my bio kids. I LOVE his smell. When he is sleeping I sneak in a smell him. It is different than Emelia's and Charlie's smell but I love it. He just feels like he fits and that he has always been in our family.

5.) Is it weird having a child with different colored skin? Do you get strange looks? What do people say?
This has been a bit problematic. I used to be able to leave my house un-showered in my pajamas (yes, it is true) and be unnoticed. I cannot do that anymore. Every where I go, people talk to me. They want to know where he is from, how long it took and how much it cost. Okay, it's not that big of a deal but I do have to plan for people to interrupt my outing for questions. I have had nothing but positive comments and interactions out in public.

6.) Is your family complete?
No. We are pretty sure we will adopt again in the future. Right now life it pretty crazy so we can't say exactly when. But we know that God has opened our eyes to see what a huge need there is across the world and that we can make a HUGE difference. Right now that difference is in Levi and other people that are considering adoption because of watching our story.
Last night Andrew and I were in bed talking. We had just been talking about the chaos in our lives right now. The fatigue, the busyness, the financial challenges, etc. I then said, "I think I want to adopt again." Andrew simply replied, "Me too." I was shocked. I thought Andrew would get a vasectomy and block all access to adoption blogs with the way the past few weeks have gone. I am glad that God has united our hearts and our callings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A few birthday presents

Those of you who have already been to Ethiopia and enjoyed firsthand the coffee, will appreciate this coffee cup. When you get to the Union Hotel in Ethiopia you get to order how much coffee you want to take home with you. They ask you this question at a completely ridiculous time...right before you go meet your child. Well, I wasn't really thinking and I said 10. I thought I was getting 10- 1 Lb bags. Nope. I got 10 Kg or 22 lbs of coffee to return home with. We had a suitcase just full of coffee. This label is off one of the beloved coffee bags. The coffee is amazing, dreamy, smooth, rich, smoky....absolutely beautiful. I am not sure what I will do when we run out. This coffee cup full of dark Ethiopia coffee makes my drive to work at 430am so much better. Thanks Andrew for this wonderful present!


Remember those tomato plant pictures I posted? Here is a sample of what we harvest EVERY week from half the plants. The other half are cherry tomatoes. I currently have a love/ hate relationship with my tomatoes. I feel like I am drowning in them. Yesterday I worked from 5am-530pm, rushed home, put 3 kids to bed. My darling husband had picked the tomatoes for me while I was gone. So instead of falling into bed myself I peeled the skin off these tomatoes, chopped and froze them in bags (This picture is the left over ones I didn't peel and freeze). CRAZY! So many more to go. I have the high hopes of learning to can by next summer. Or maybe just not plant so many tomato plants.


As for the children. Not much good to report here. All 3 are sick. I was going to post disgusting pictures of each of there noses but I didn't want to scare off the 3 people who read this blog.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Write Amber a B-Day Message


Hi Everyone! It's your lovable little fuzz ball of a husband, Andrew here inviting you to a once-in-her-life-time opportunity. Amber's 28th B-Day is 9/23 and you get to write her a note!
NOT SURE YOU SHOULD? TOO BUSY?
NOT ON HER TOP-10 BFF LIST AND THINK YOU'RE TOO DISTANT
OF A RELATIONSHIP FOR HER TO APPRECIATE YOUR MESSAGE?
...FOOEY!
LET'S SEE WHAT OUR MUNCHKINS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT

click the comments link below to leave your message


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Take my life

Our community group (small group, home group whatever you call them) has been trying to figure out how to be missional, not individually but as a community. As I was praying yesterday about this issue, I came across this familiar hymn. It deeply encouraged me to look not to myself but to Christ.

Philippians 3:8 "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ..."

Take My Life and Let It Be

Take my life and let it by consecrated Lord to thee.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love
at the impulse of thy love

Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King
Always only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be filled with messages for thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold
Not a mite would I withhold

Take my love my God I pour at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be ever only all for thee
Ever only all for thee.

Return to work:
On a sad note. I return to work tomorrow. I am more nervous this time than with the other 2 kids. Maybe because I have to be there by 5am. Ouch! I also have enjoyed being home so much the past 12 weeks. If you think of us tomorrow, pray for Andrew. He will be with the kids for 12 hours by himself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

One year ago

One year ago today we started our adoption. This very day we sent in our contracts and $. Crazy how fast it went. I due a due date calculator online and discovered our adoption was just a week and a half more than a pregnancy. He would have been 41 5/7 weeks.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Emelia!

My daughter turned 4 today. I always love replaying her birth in my head. Today I actually took the kids to the hospital for her to see the room she was born in. 4 years ago she came into the world at 11:58am. She is the one who made me a Mother.




A lot has happened in 4 years. From this:
To this: