A Look Back at Ethiopia

In addition to watching our video from Ethiopia, I looked back at all my blog entries from our trip there last year. It makes my heart ache to be back, not to adopt (we do not feel God calling us to do that again at this time) but just to relive the week again, to hear the music and eat the food and talk to the people and savor and relive each moment over again.

Day 1 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-travelday-1.html

Day 2 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-day-2-metcha-day.html

Day 3 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-day-3-gotcha-day.html

Day 4 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-day-4-embassy-day.html

Day 5 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-day-5-orphange-visits.html

Day 6 - http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/03/ethiopia-day-6-our-orphange-visit-get.html

Day 7 -


02/16/11 - Gotcha Day 1 Year Anniversary!!

Our guys one year ago - back at the Guest House after getting them from the America World Transition House:
(check out John with his upside down sunglasses - he wore them that way the whole time there!)

And today, home at our house:Just the Facts since arriving home: In a year both boys have grown seven inches (yes you read that correctly - seven!). John has gained about 12 pounds and Ryan about 6 pounds. John has gone from a size 10 shoe size to a size 1 and Ryan from an 8 to a 10. John is completely fluent in English and Ryan is putting together long sentences and using comparison words.
Just for Fun since arriving home: They have traveled to 4 other states: Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. They have gone to the out door theatre, indoor movie theatre, zoo, apple orchard, pumpkin patch, have been back yard camping and camping at a real campground, gone from riding tricycles to two wheelers with training wheels, been swimming in our little backyard pool, pools at hotels, a water park, and a sprinkler park, are still eating through their Halloween candy, made three different home movies with Daddy, helped bake lots of brownies and cookies, memorized Bible verses for church, jumped at Bounces R Us and Monkey Joes, petted and fed various animals at Animal Gardens, fallen in love with root beer floats, eaten pizza almost every Thursday night and Ethiopian food nearly every Friday, been generously given more than 300 Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars to add to their ever growing collection, starting receiving an allowance to better understand the concept of saving, tithing, and spending (and so Ryan would have an opportunity to have some money as John has lost 8 teeth and had that many visits from the tooth fairy in addition to finding money on the ground nearly every time we go somewhere - he's like a money magnet!!), attended a minor league baseball game, cheered the Packers on to Super Bowl victory, discovered a love for television, and started a nightly devotional during dinner time - WOW! What will next year hold?

02/15/11 - Metcha Day 1 Year Anniversary!!

One year ago today we saw two little people live in person for the first time!
To read the actual post from that day thanks to our friend Alison, click here: http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2010/02/metcha-day.html

02/13/11 - A year ago today ...

... my Mom and Dad picked us up to take us to the airport! Our bags were packed (with too much stuff I might add!)but all came in at under 50 pounds!
waiting to check in:
Here we come John Eyob and Ryan Ephrem!!

Just looking back at the pictures blows me away - I cannot believe it has been a year since we boarded a plane to Ethiopia and the next chapter of our lives!

Wrestling with Daddy Time

Who do you think is having more fun?

"I like to move it, move it!"

Ryan will periodically break into this song. the video is a bit dark but when I moved to the other side of the table to get better lighting, he wasn't as cute. And let's face it - it's all about the cute factor!

1-07-11 - Ethiopian Christmas

Melkam Ganna!!

The following information is taken from the web site http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/christmas-traditions-around-the-world-ga4.htm

Christmas Traditions in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church.

The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Most Ethiopians who live outside the modern capital city, Addis Ababa, live in round mud-plastered houses with cone-shaped roofs of thatched straw. In areas where stone is plentiful, the houses may be rectangular stone houses. The churches in Ethiopia echo the shape of the houses. In many parts of the country there are ancient churches carved out of solid volcanic rock. Modern churches are built in three concentric circles.

In a modern church, the choir assembles in the outer circle. Each person entering the church is given a candle. The congregation walks around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the flickering candles. Then they gather in the second circle to stand throughout the long mass, with the men and boys separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the holiest space in the church, where the priest serves Holy Communion.

Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.

The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.

Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Church officials called dabtaras study hard to learn the musical chants, melekets, for the ceremony.Ethiopian men play another sport called yeferas guks. They ride on horseback and throw ceremonial lances at each other.

Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.

So we started our own tradition of giving gifts of clothing to the boys (along with two books about Ethiopia and Toy Story Yahtzee):

Then headed to Kenosha to an Ethiopian restaurant, http://www.alemethiopianvillage.com/, to enjoy an authentic dinner with our Southeastern Wisconsin Ethiopian Yahoo Group.

I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the food when it came but it was FANTASTIC and I highly recommend this restaurant!! The food was wonderfully delicious and plentiful, the service was excellent (there was about 45 of us), and it was great to see old friends again and pretty cool to hang out with so many families that look just like us!

Fun in the Tub

The boys cracked themselves up with this one day in the tub:

It was too quiet ...

one day so I went searching and found this: