Monday, February 13, 2012

Disney World Surprise!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baby Steps...

Okay so I don't think I did the most direct way of getting this picture on our blog. I took it from facebook. Is there an easier way to do this? Please note little sister in the background trying her best. I believe we will soon have two riders. Tom and I can take no credit for their progress.

This girl kills me...

This is Ellison... our first born. She is turning seven this year. Tom and I feel like "those" parents who comment daily, "it's going by so fast." Seven feels old! Up until this point it is a lot of child's play, now it feels real. In another seven years she will be doing her own thing until she moves out for college or the next chapter of her life. Seems a little dramatic doesn't it? However, she is already a little adult in training.

At the park yesterday she picked up a friend's bike and just started riding it. No instruction other then me saying, "Ellie you just have to keep pedaling or you will lose your balance." I was occupied feeding a baby with one hand and watching Addis punch another child who would not let him play soccer. So Ellie took it upon herself to pick up the bike and take matters into her own hands. A true first born. I would love to show you a picture of her riding but alas I have not figured out how to take pictures from my camera phone and upload them onto my blog. Baby steps I tell myself.

Ellie has started the first grade. Ansley Mills is doing Kindergarten, and Addis is making sure you know he is still around. It is so fun and funny to see three kids in the same house, relatively close in age and all so different in their own way. More to come for sure!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Here's the thing...

I've said it before...right? Coming back like Britney... bigger than ever.. (see a blog about two years ago!) On April 16th around lunch time.. Some idiot decided to wiggle open a locked window and help themselves to our possessions. The haul included our computers.. cameras.. just to name a couple of things. So I have been unable to do much.. However.. some very generous friends hooked us up with some hardware so really that excuse does not cover January-April and then April 20th to present. But that is what I continued to tell myself.

So the chaos has continued... At present... I asked the kids.. "what do you want people to know about you.."

Ellison- She wants you to know that she can read books and cook good and has learned to body surf waves at the ocean.

Ansley Mills- nothing

Addis- He is out of diapers but does not poop in the potty. I will leave the visuals to you for now. However a nasty picture may follow at some point. I can not make any promises. It's all out war!

Tom and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are proud to say that at this point we have out lasted some minor appliances (think toaster oven wedding present) and think a major appliance (think dryer) is on its way out and all the while we are holding strong. I feel like I could be back in action but would love some feedback from readers as to what they would like to see featured on "carpenter's chaos..." I look forward to your thoughts..

Friday, January 14, 2011

Are Kids Color Blind?

This week we've been reading several books about Martin Luther King Jr. Who he was and why he is significant. Most of the books are stories written about his childhood with beautiful illustrations. After reading this book for several days in a row the questions started:

Mommy what is white?- Ellie 6
Well Ellie in this book the word white is referring to the color of some one's skin....
I've never seen white skin.. my skin is peachy.. Ansley's has some red in it... Addis is dark brown and mommy you are light brown...
Well Ellie they use that word to be generic... lump a whole bunch of skin tones into one category...

Once we got to the part of Rosa Parks...
So mom is this saying that Addis would have to sit in the back of the bus?
After I lifted my jaw from the floor... Well yes if Addis lived during that time.. but that was a terrible law and many people realized the foolishness of it and worked very hard for change and MLK is one of those people.
Momma I know what they can do... just sit in a seat that does not have anyone in it.. then people would not fight over seats. Ansley Mills 4

You know if only it were that easy... Just sit in an empty seat. It seems to me that kids are aware of skin color in the same way they are aware of your shirt color. In our neighborhood skin color comes in every shade and languages vary just as much. So how do I explain racism to my kids? How do I protect Addis from ever feeling that he is given second and third glances because of his skin color? The short answer is...I can't. However I don't want those to be the reasons why I shy away from these questions. I used to think parenting was hard when they were first born. Hah! That was not parenting.. that was keeping them alive. Funny how your perspective changes...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some relationships can only last so long...

We first meet in the summer of '98. We saw each other from across the room. I thought you and I would hit it off and we did. Once we were introduced there was no separating us. We did everything together. We've traveled.. backpacking in Colorado... New York City... British Virgin Islands.. Ethiopia...Canada...California and countless other domestic locals. From casual everyday life to fancy occasions.. we have seen each other at our best and worst. You left an imprint on me that I have become identified with over the years. Now after 12ish years we must go our separate ways. My husband is overjoyed with our parting. So.. after a torn sole... frayed threading...stains.. smells and various other causalities we should no longer be together. So my beloved Chaco's.. this is where I say goodbye. We had a dozen wonderful years together. Maybe in the future I will met a new you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What are you going to tell him....

One of my kids favorite video's to watch is "Addis's Video." Many times throughout the week it is asked for by that title. Created by my husband to give an a way for other to absorb our experience as well as having something for Addis. As our adoption process was coming to a close and we were nearly ready to leave the question was asked by many... "what are you going to tell him when he gets older?" Interesting.. of course we thought about this and my gut said..."the truth." Innocently when we returned from Ethiopia I was walking Ellie to school and she asked me.. "momma is Ethiopia in your tummy?" Her 4 year old understanding at the time was this... you and dad have been talking about our brother.. you said he was from Ethiopia... you left.. came back with Addis... Similar to... you talked to me about a baby coming... you left... came back with Ansley Mills.. Man I can see how this would be tricky. The answer then was "God had Addis planned for our family just like God had you planned for our family." Let's be honest as parents we are wingin' it most of the time.

Fast forward two years and here we are with kids who understand things a bit more or at least have more pointed questions. As we watch this video now the question has been asked.. "why would someone leave him in a field?" Heartbreaking right? One time Ellie asked me.."Does Addis have another mom?" Calmly (thanks Jesus) I just asked Ellie "Do you have another mom?" She laughed and said no... and then said "I get it.. neither does Addis." More questions will come.. I would gather that one day Addis may have many questions but maybe not. Either is okay. We try hard to share the age appropriate truth to these questions. Sometimes that is really hard.

It is important that all of us have an understand of where Addis was born. We choose to be a family of five... not two kids with one Ethiopian. Our desire is to always share and be a part of the Ethiopian culture. Living in DC makes that super easy. Our goal is to travel back to Ethiopia as a family. Hopefully more than once! Until then we gather around our computer and take in the gift that each child is to our family. All the kids light up when this video plays...especially Addis. How much does he understand? I don't know. What are you going to tell him? The truth. God had you planned for our family!
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Hike

Our group of ten children and six adults took a day trip to Mt. Shasta and hiked to the natural springs. It was around 2 miles round trip with a pit stop at the spring for cheese sticks.. grapes and good ol' water. This little spot is notorious for local hippies who believe the spring has natural healing powers. Nudity is welcomed.
We hit the peaceful spring and in a matter of seconds it was just for us. Everyone else cleared out once our tranquil group sit down for snack.
Several attempts at a family photo produced this. Thank heavens for digital. Many tears were shed on that hike and twice as many snacks were distributed than calories needed. A couple of potty breaks and countless sit downs. The only thing that got them down the mountain was the lure of a fudge brownie.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Day at Yosemite

Life seems pretty simple when you just enjoy God's gift of nature. Our day at Yosemite consisted of a little hiking and lots of playing. We saw waterfalls..played in the river.. ate a picnic lunch... got ice cream and soaked up some of the most beautiful scenery.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

California Rewind

This summer our family flew out to California to visit some friends. One family lived near LA and the other Merced. We started in LA and ended in San Francisco. Along the way we were in the central valley area... Malibu... Yosemite National Park.. and Shasta Lake. Kids were in the Pacific Ocean and glacier fed rivers. The house we rented with two other families with kids (um 10 kids and 6 adults) was surrounded by black berry bushes. I sorta fell in love with this California weather... 70's no humidity and lots of sunshine. I swear I would be a better mom and overall person absent humidity. The kids did great! Given the amount of planes trains and automobiles we traveled by... we had no strollers.. no pack n plays and lots of laughs.