Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Doha Days

Today I was reminded of something I like about Doha.

I was driving home from picking up Abbey from Girl Scouts at about 5pm and I drove through a part of town with a long strip mall of "hole in the wall" places that sell rotisserie chickens and shawarmas.

They don't start selling them until 5 or 5:30. The timing was right so I pulled up. You don't even have to get out of your car. The "chicken men" stand outside on the sidewalk and if you catch their eye, they will come take your order. I got 4 whole rotisserie chickens for the weekend and a bag of fresh shawarmas to take home for dinner. He even brought out a small bag of falafal "for the babies" while we were waiting.

It may seem funny, but it is moments like these when I find myself immersed in the local culture that I like living in Doha.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our eldest












Our son Cole is 12. He is at that age where he doesn't really want me to take pictures of him. This rare opportunity came about because he needed some photos for a school project. I love these pictures. He is doing something he truly enjoys. He is happy.

This week he is gone to the UAE with his 7th grade class for a Week Without Walls experience. I already miss him and am praying he has a great (and safe) time. They flew out at 5am this morning. He went without fears or reservations, confident and ready! He is growing up whether I like it or not.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Will's 8th Birthday









Will invited some of his closest buds over for a Star Wars sleepover. We had so much fun playing games and watching movies. Abbey was a HUGE help getting ready for the party and keeping the little boys entertained. She definitely has a knack for this sort of thing.
One of the highlights was the chocolate fountain. The boys had a great time and got all kinds of messy!

Will is such a wonderful son. I love his sweet spirit and he is always so thoughtful of me and others. He loves his friends. His best friend is moving back to Texas next week and he is going to miss him so much. They play together almost everyday after school. They are already planning to go to camp together this summer.

Happy Birthday to my Will....I love you soooooo much!

Lots to Tell About


Abbey participated in a Walk A Thon to raise money for a school that we (our school) are building in ETHIOPIA. The children in the village where we are building the school have to walk a long way to their current school. Our kids walked an hour before school and an hour after so they could see what it is like to walk to school. I am so glad to be a part of a school that is reaching out to help others.










Cole had his first band concert of the year. He plays the clarinet and we couldn't be prouder of him. He did a great job and looked so sharp in his black outfit.



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 Months Waiting for our Girl

We have been waiting for 5 months for our referral of a little daughter from Ethiopia and again I am just grateful to God that he has given us patience and peace through the wait. I feel like we are getting close to getting our referral and I think we may know something in February, based on the timelines of other waiting families.

Our agency has had a baby boom of sorts due to famine like conditions in the Northern parts of Ethiopia and increased waiting time for court dates. They now have over 60 babies and toddlers in their care. When I was there a couple of weeks ago the storage rooms were quickly being depleted of baby supplies. I am planning a baby drive here in Doha to collect supplies to send (or maybe take myself, if I can)

Here is a link to a newsletter from our agency explaining the baby situation.

http://hosted.vresp.com/350477/fa584ebd37/238/86edb0b3a5/

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dr. Rick

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460891101/bclid1481452785/bctid1902498519

While in Ethiopia, we had the privilege of meeting the legendary Dr. Rick. He has lived in Addis for 21 years and is a doctor at Mother Theresa's Mission. He cares for the "least of these" every day. He has adopted 5 teenage Ethiopia boys and cares for 15 more children in his home. Every Friday night he opens his home to any visitors that would like to come for the Shabbat meal. It was a moving experience at he recited age old passages in Hebrew, blessed all the children and prayed for the sick. He kept it lighthearted by asking everyone to go around the circle and answer the Question of the Week. And after he had prayed over the bread. He broke off pieces and tossed them to each person in the circle. The link above will take you to a slide show of this amazing man. I believe a documentary of his life will soon be released at well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Ethiopian Happy Birthday


This is me with one of the volunteers. She was also dressed up (thank goodness!) What you can't see behind us is the traditional goat slaughter as they prepared for tomorrow's Christmas Day feast. Yuck!

The morning of my birthday I was overwhelmed when Mekdes (she is in Addis Ababa on holiday) and her sister surprised me with birthday cake and gifts. The bought me a traditional dress and sandals. The cake was completely vegan as they were both still fasting and they wanted to be able to enjoy the cake, too. I do not know how you make a cake without milk and eggs, but it tasted good. This was the day of the kids Christmas party and they insisted I wear my new clothes to the party. I have never gotten so many compliments. Although some of the Ethiopians were probably surprised to see me all dressed up, many told me how "qonjo" or beautiful I looked. It was a birthday that I will never, ever forget.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home

I am home from my volunteer trip to Ethiopia. I had a great, amazingly great time. How can I say that when our accommodations were sub standard, we had a very small trickle of hot water and some days no water, we were without electricity some nights, and I don't like the food all that much.

Simply, it is the kids. I have fallen in love with these kids and I wanted them to have a special Christmas just like I want for my biological children. We spent several days getting ready for the big Christmas party, which meant lots of gift wrapping and making a list and checking it twice. Now I know why Santa checks that list twice. We had to go over and over and over the list because we wanted to make sure no one was left out. In between times, we spent cuddling and feeding babies and just hanging out with the big kids.

The day of the big party (and also my 40th birthday), the children performed the Christmas story drama. They did not leave out a single detail of the biblical Christmas story. Then came "the circus" where some of the older girls did tumbling and acrobatics. It made me tear up to see these kids, who had never had a gymnastic lesson of any sort, performing for us. Santa himself showed up to hand out the gifts. Each child got a toy and a new traditional outfit. They loved their new toys. It was amazing to watch them play for hours with their one new toy.

I wish I could post pictures of the kids so you could see how beautiful they looked in their new clothes and how happy they were with their new toys. Even though they had little, some of the older girls wrapped up pieces of candy from their goody bags for me when they heard it was my birthday.

These kids are amazing and if you have ever considered adopting an older child, you should contact AAI and get a copy of the waiting child DVD. There are so many beautiful older children longing for families.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I'm making these for my family!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Submitted by: Lois GordonRated: 5 out of 5 by 282 members
Prep Time: 10 MinutesCook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 35 MinutesYields: 16 servings
"These banana muffins are my kids' favorite. I adapt it for adults by adding chopped nuts or dried apricots."
INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate
chips
DIRECTIONS:
1.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

On my way..











Just wanted to briefly let you know that I am going to Ethiopia TONIGHT. I volunteered to help with the Christmas parties at the orphanages and transition home for our agency. We are still waiting to get a referral, so I will not be seeing our little girl, or maybe I will and not even know it. I think we will be getting a referral early in 2009, maybe February, based on the current time frames.

It is extremely difficult to leave my three kiddos behind. I have trouble trusting that God can take care of them without me here. I have 4 amazing moms that will be taking care of them after school and one amazing husband that will be caring for them after work and each morning (but it is still hard).

Our Ethiopian housemaid is also gone to Ethiopia on holiday, so she will not be here to help out. I am glad I will get to visit with her in her home country. I know she wants me to attend church with her. I am also going to try to visit my friend's baby that is still in care at an orphanage. He is the cutest baby boy ever!








I collected some women's clothes to take to the nannys at the transition home and some kids clothes too. Thanks to my friends for helping me with this.








Ok...that is all for now, I have to finish packing and I want to make some chocolate chip-banana muffins for my kids.
















Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas report































We are back in Doha today (12/30/08) after another looong flight. It takes me a few days to re-enter the land of the living when we return. Today I successfully cooked breakfast and lunch, unpacked things, played UNO and Life and promptly fell asleep about 5pm.
We had a great time with family over the holidays. We spent most of the time at my Mom's home in rural East Texas (with no Internet). There were 38 of us celebrating in mom's little home. It was tight, but there was a lot of love going around. I loved seeing my sisters and brother and all their kids. Many of their children are adults now, with families of their own. It is so fun having so many little kids running around. I guess there will never be a time in our family that we don't have babies and little ones. My nephew and his wife are expecting their second child in April and hopefully our daughter will be with us by this summer. Another niece is getting married in April and we are planning on coming home for the wedding. It happens to be the same week as our Spring Break. Yay!

The kids and I drove to see Bill's family on Christmas Day. Bill had to come back to Doha early and missed all the fun. I think he was pretty lonely, but our friends in Doha took good care of him. We are so blessed with wonderful friends

Our trip to Disney was great fun! We used tourguidemike.com to help plan our trip and I highly recommend it. One of the things we did this year was dinner at 1900 Park Fair at the Grand Floridian. It was so cute. The stepsisters and stepmother were there along with Cindy and Prince Charming. The stepsisters were a hoot! Our favorite ride was Toy Story Mania. It is crazy the madness surrounding this ride. You have to arrive at the park at opening and walk with the stampeding herd to the fast pass line. While I got fast passes the kids and Bill rode it once. I think all the fast passes are gone by mid morning or something crazy like that and we were there during the slow season. Our favorite meal was probably at Cinderella's castle. We had the dining plan this time and I don't plan to do it again. It was waaaaaay too much food and I couldn't bear to leave our credits unused. We did get to eat a lot of fun character meals though. We stayed at the Polynesian resort and would definitely do that again if possible. You can see the fireworks from the resort beach every night. Just beautiful

The hardest part of the trip home was leaving my Mom. Her health is not good. In fact, we had to take her to the emergency room and several doctors appointments while we were there. She is having test done to see if they can figure out what is making her feel so bad. If you think about it say a prayer for her.