Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Benjamin Update

I guess it's about time that I write an update on family life. It's been too long. That's the problem. When I get behind on something, or when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to shut do
wn. Starting feels too hard when there is so much to write. How do I summarize the complexity and busyness of the last couple of months without just making some generic statement about how "life is great"? I suppose I should just take it one chunk at a time. For starters, here is an update on the most recent addition to our family:

Benjamin is now fourteen months old, and I thank God that he has now been with us for one-third of his short life. When I look at the photos from his first days with us I realize how much he has changed and grown during that time. What a big boy he is getting to be! The clingy and insecure wailing baby of the first couple of months is gone. We now have a son who crawls at lightning speed around the house, forcing me to chase him down because he has become so independent. He is at the INTO EVERYTHING stage: emptying drawers, pulling things over on top of himself, tossing everything he encounters in his mouth without discernment. We call him the Roomba - you know, the vacuum that bounces around the room sucking up everything in its path. That's our boy.

He started crawling around his first birthday (August) and can now pull up just about anywhere. He's also just starting to "cruise" a little bit. I don't expect to see his true first steps for a couple more months, and that is just fine with me! He is already into everything as it is! Madeline didn't walk until almost seventeen months, and so he fits right in at our house.

His personality has seriously mellowed out. We don't hear nearly as much screaming, and his temper is not as extreme. He has actually become quite a tender little guy and gets his feelings hurt pretty easily these days. When we tell him no, he often looks hurt and begins to cry instead of getting mad and throwing himself on the floor like he used to.

He is absolutely in love with his daddy. Now don't get me wrong, he loves his mama. But he REALLY loves his daddy. In the morning if I am the one to get him out of bed, he looks at me and says, "Whuh dada?" When he gets up from his afternoon nap, he asks the same question. And when Dada finally walks in the back door at supper time, he is so out-of-his-mind excited he can hardly stand it.

The language part of his brain woke up one day a couple of weeks ago, and he suddenly started learning new words every day. He constantly points at things and asks, "What's that?" Actually it sounds more like, "uh sat?" So cute. He understands way more than he can say, and so we are starting to feel like we can really communicate with him. I LOVE it.

B is so friendly it cracks me up. He flags down people at the grocery store to wave and say hi. And he acts just as secure as any other kid his age now. We leave him in the church nursery and with a babysitter sometimes, and after the initial protest at the indignity of being left behind, he is just fine.

He is seriously the best sleeper ever. To say that I am thankful for that is an understatement. He sleeps from 8 pm till 7 am and never (never!) wakes up during the night. Then he takes a one hour nap in the morning and a THREE (or sometimes more!) hour nap in the afternoon. He definitely makes life easy on his mama in this way.

We have been struggling with some digestive issues. For the past couple of months he has had chronic diarrhea, and we just can't quite seem to figure out what the problem is. (I have lots of
graphic, entertaining yet stomach-turning stories that I could share about this, but you probably would never read my blog again if I did.) He has tested negative for various parasites or other problems that could cause it, and we have ruled out lactose intolerance. If anybody out there has any insight because of personal experiences with an Ethiopian child, I would love to hear from you! But the boy certainly has an appetite. He easily eats twice as much as Madeline does. At some point, we just have to stop feeding him. He doesn't ever really stop on his own. And he eats everything!

We are so thankful to God for the prayers that we have seen answered over the past several months. Benjamin has come so far, and we have grown in faith and maturity as we struggled through those early days. Every day we are more in love with our boy. And he truly is now - he is ours.

Meet Ferris

Me: Madeline, what do you think we should name our pumpkin?

Madeline: (pausing to think carefully about this important decision) Ummm, Ferris.

Me: (racking my brain to think of anyone that we know or anyone that Madeline might have heard of with that name) Wow, that's a great name! Do you know anybody named Ferris?

Madeline: Yes

Me: Oh really? Who is named Ferris?

Madeline: The pumpkin.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
When the evil one comes to devour me, when my enemy and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord - the one thing I seek most - is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
He will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high above the enemy who surrounds me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "Lord I am coming."
Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don't leave me now; don't abandon me, O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path, for my enemy is waiting for me.
Do not let me fall into his hands, for he accuses me of things I've never done;
with every breath he threatens me with violence.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cute Kids

Perhaps I'm a little partial, but you've got to admit that these guys are pretty cute. :)

(the surprised look)

(the offended look)

(the just plain sweet look)

We tried very hard to get a good shot of Benjamin in his traditional Ethiopian clothes. This was the best we could do.

Most of them looked like this

...unless he had a cracker in his mouth

And a good picture of both kids together? Not a chance. Oh well.

Madeline in her traditional Ethiopian dress

Life is good. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet the Cox Family

Well, I have fallen off the blogging wagon lately. I guess that is obvious. Life is FULL. Full of fun, full of work, full of joy, full of kids hanging onto my legs at all times. My heart is full and my days are full. More about that later, but for now:

I am honored to introduce you to the Cox family! They are the Go. Seek. Love. partner family for the month of October, and I have been horribly remiss to not introduce them until the month is half over.

Jason, Summer, Elijah (6), and Judah (2) Cox

For the month of October 100% of the proceeds of all Go. Seek. Love. sales will go to this sweet Texas family. Summer is offering a different cool giveaway each week this month. Check out her blog for the details. I know that we all love giveaways! coxragamuffins.blogspot.com

Here is more info about their family:

We are Jason and Summer Cox. We have been married for 8 years and live in Fort Worth, TX. We met in the Aggies for Christ on a mission trip while in college and were married 2 years later. We have two sweet boys: Elijah, age 6 and Judah, age 2. Jason is employed for Chase Bank and Summer is a stay at home mom & part-time teacher at our church's preschool. God is at the center of our marriage & family. We strive to live our lives in obedience to Him and the calling He has put on each of our lives. We talked about adoption several years before our second son was born and felt like it was something God was calling us to do at some point. We had heard of the poverty and hopelessness in Africa and felt a burden & tug on our hearts to do something to help. We also felt a biblical responsibility to care for the orphan and spread the word about adoption so others can help too. Thispast summer we felt God telling us it was time to start the process, so we did. We are very excited about it and know very clearly that we are on the path God has chosen for us. We have been on the wait list since July 1, 2010 and can't wait to bring our baby girl home from Ethiopia!

So head over to www.goseeklove.com and buy a t-shirt to support their adoption. Our new design has been selling like crazy. You know you want one!