Monday, April 30, 2012

Hello Summer. Not So Nice To See ya...

Summer came roaring in and took away any hope for a spring this year. It brought with it heat, sweat, humidity - and me wishing for an early fall.

Meron had the right idea...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hanging With Friends

Our small group got together tonight to hang out and chill. By the time we busted out cameras though a bunch of folks had left so it was more like a "tiny group."

Still love seeing the girls hang out with friends!

For every normal shot - there has to be a goofy one. Mebrate wins for nuttiest face...

Thanks guys for a fun afternoon!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little Artists

Thanks Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Connie for the cool art desk - the girls are LOVING it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Missing Man Formation

Friday nights around here are my favorite. Hang out, do movie night, eat popcorn, stay up LATE...

But something wasn't right tonight. We were missing a little somebody...

Some behavioral issues today and tonight meant Meron was flying solo (as Mebrate was doing a short bid - see, it ain't always peaches and cream around here). Meron was bummed - bit not enough to skip out on it.

So we flew the missing man formation in honor of Mebrate doing some time...

I am fully confident we'll be back to a full squad next week!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


We asked them to "pose" for us. Meron busted out her sassy.

And Mebrate...??? Well, Mebrate indicated TOUCHDOWN!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peek-A-Boo Princess

Happens OFTEN around here. We live in a castle. And if ya look in the background - our princess closet apparently threw up.

Wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING.

A Heaping Helping of Truth

See that little girl up there, holding Mebrate's hand? That is Batri. Batri is near and dear to Mebrate's heart as the two of them were best of friends in Ethiopia for who knows how long. Long enough for the memory of her to be permanently lodged into our girl's head. Long enough for her to bring her up and talk about her. Often.

I had the opportunity to meet her in Ethiopia last January while visiting Mebrate. She can command a room and she can run things!

She's a spunky little bugger - full of life and leadership qualities. I am so anxious to see the plans God has for her as they unfold over her life.

Oh yeah... she is also HIV+. More on that in a minute.

But first - look at how our girl and her friend love each other!

They broke bread together...

They spent time like two little old ladies showing off each other's family photo albums...

They just did life together. No prejudices. No judgment. Just love. A Lot of it.

Recently - Batri got invited to a birthday party. Anybody who has kids knows how exciting this is. I have watched Meron get giddy and wait for weeks for the party to arrive. Pure excitement about hanging with other kids (and cake too...).

So I am SURE Batri was pumped.

But then - the party throwers - through Batri's family blog - found out she was HIV+.

And next - in what I can only pray was a moment of blind ignorance - they UN-invited Batri to the party. Via email. Basically saying "she is not welcome any more."

Batri has an amazing family and an incredible mom and dad. These guys handled this with such grace and love. Me? I am STILL angry. But I am choosing to follow their lead here. And I wanna give ya the opportunity to soak in the truth.

If the idea of HIV scares you - or your kids having friends who are HIV+ terrifies you - I am BEGGING you to go live in these resources here right now - read every word of it. Understand it. Allow it to wash over you. And then send it on to everybody you know. So nobody else, anywhere on this planet will ever feel it is necessary to un-invite a 4 year old child from the fun, happy, loving environment of a birthday party.

Batri... baby girl you are an AMAZING child and a stunning princess built and created by a heavenly Father who loves you more than we could ever imagine.

You can come party at our house any time you want to!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

His Heart For Details...

We never held Brighton. We never even saw him in the flesh. He owned our hearts from every angle, but we just never got the earthly blessing of loving ON him. Oh we loved him. Just not ON him.

Some people question it all because we never held him. Those people are silly.

Just because we never held him doesn't mean we didn't love him with every ounce of love we could muster.

We celebrated little things in his life...

Like painting his room. The room that is now Meron's and has Brighton watching over it from the wall.

We filled up a dresser full of clothes for him.

Most of them are still there. We look at them from time to time but can't get rid of them.

And then there was this little revelation this week. I mean - I guess we always knew this - but this week He helped us KNOW it.

I have overheard Meron talking a lot about Brighton lately. She has had questions about him and I have heard her taking our answers and processing through them as she "explains" it to Mebrate.

And that's when God whispered to us (loudly):

"She knew him."
What God? Wait... huh? What...?

And suddenly - some simple facts I have known for years - came slamming down on me this week.

Meron and Brighton spent 10 days together in Enat Alem orphanage before Brighton passed away. His last 10 days. We know they shared some of the same clothes. For all we know - they shared a crib from time to time.

Meron has been such an instrument of healing in this house for years and now God just upped her ante - the only Hoffman to have possibly spent time with Brighton.

"She knew him."
His love for His children and His heart for the details in their lives will NEVER EVER stop amazing me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simple Prescription

Sometimes - like today - this is all the medicine I need to heal my day right up...

Thanks Meron - for always being willing to be my medicine!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Make-up Artist

Laura was brave enough to allow Meron to practice her make-up artist skills on her tonight.

I say she wears it to work like this on Wednesday... no?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cousins... Meet Mebrate!

Mebrate met some of her cousins for the first time tonight - and they hit it off immediately.

There was one more... but she kinda preoccupied.

Thanks girls for some good times today!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stopping To Smell 'Em

Trying hard to do this more often...

The girls do it so well. Watching and learning from them...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Girl's Spirit

This girl's spirit and heart never cease to amaze me.

I had a doc appointment this morning cuz my allergies have done me the awesome pleasure of turning into a wicked sinus infection. By the time I picked the girls up this afternoon I was in a bad place.

Eyes SWOLLEN bad.

Head POUNDING. Pressure building in head like an active volcano.

Not good.

I picked up Mebrate first and she could tell I wasn't feeling good. We headed down the hall to get Meron when Mebrate said to me:

"Dah-dee? Dah-dee? Can I pray for you right now?"
Seriously? Uh.... of course you can. We stopped right there and she grabbed my hand, closed her eyes and said:
"God, I just wanna pray for my dah-dee, he feel better. I wanna pray his eye and face feel better. I wanna pray so we are not sad. Jesus name. Amen."
Right there in the hallway. No shame. Matter of fact - PRIDE in it.

With zero prompting from me (trust me - I was barely walking let alone encouraging her in her faith!) - this sweet little child of God's went to Him with her concerns. And on my behalf nonetheless.

Humbled. And in love.

Thanks God. And... I do feel better tonight!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Formula For Laughter

It's simple really...

First - you queue up some of this as a pre-bedtime wind-down reward for good behavior...

Next - ya position these two like so...

Works every time - them cracking up cracks me up every time too...

Laughter. We love it around here...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jiffy Pop Popcorn Head

Our technical term for their night-time hat is "Princess Hat" - but once it is on and "fully loaded" - well then we are easily allowed to refer to them by the house nicknames...


And they love it. We'll even joke with Meron about using her fluffy head as a pillow and she says "Yes. You can. Here, just let me fluff it..." as she reaches up to fluff her head.

Thankful for their sense of humor! Life around here wouldn't work without it...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not Without Me!

"Oh wait, what? You're taking pictures?"

"Not without me you're not ya cute little photogenic thing, you..."

"There. Perfect. That's what it was missing!"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Like That Y'all...

In honor of the Beastie Boys being the third hip hop group ever inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend...

The girls decided to bust a bedtime b-boy stance for 'em...

Celebrate Mike and Adam and Adam - well deserved!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Homies - Cribs Style

We had some good friends over tonight for dinner and playing. When it was time to gather them up for a kid photo - Meron INSISTED on lining up all the vehicles for the shot - a la MTV Cribs.

She's never seen MTV Cribs.

She's one of the weirdest kids I know - and I love every second of her weirdness...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Created For Each Other

Man - sometimes I see these two together...

and I just immediately think they have known each other forever. For their whole lives.

That they are twins even with the way they connect.

That they spent 9 months forming together somewhere creating an incredible bond between them.

But then the truth of it all hits me...

God ordained this relationship before he even breathed life into me or Laura or our existence on this earth.

The truth is way, way cooler than anything I can imagine...

Kudos God - on yet another mind-blowing creation of yours.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fun In The Sun

Even when it's just two shadows in the sun...

busting out some crazy poses...

it's pretty easy to pick out...

These two goofballs!

Never stop having fun girls! Your shadow will ALWAYS follow ya!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Most Honest Girl In The World

When I walked into school to drop the girls off this morning the staff grabbed me at the front desk and were all "We got it wrong! You guys gotta be here today," (then whispering and pointing at Meron) "She's getting an award!"

A quick call to Laura and a quick call to her boss later and we were sitting in the church watching our girl walk up on stage...

... to accept this.

Ms. Tukuru - her teacher - was announcing it and when she announced Meron was winning the "Most Honest" Student of the Month award, she said "This is the most honest girl in the world."

That's true too - the girl will rat herself out all the time - but theres something really special about having other people recognize her character like that.

Meron was pretty proud of it all - but most excited that her mommy and daddy were there to watch it go down.

She was a little shy up on that stage... me? I was about in tears.

Afterwards we got a picture with Ms. Tukuru. This teacher has poured so much biblical truth into our girl - we just wish she could graduate with Meron and continue right on up through school with her.

I know any parent would be teary and proud - but it's these moments in her life when I can't help but think about her story and where she has come from. It seems so random and crazy and lucky - but I know it isn't...

When I tucked her in tonight I told her again how proud of her the entire family was and I reminded her that THIS was the girl that God built. This young lady was exactly who God planned her to be. An honest, loving, happy, smiley, caring, praying little daughter of a King. She giggled, smiled real big and said:

"I know Daddy!"
And He planned her to be right here with us too. I am so glad "you know" Meron.

Your mommy and daddy love you SO MUCH. We hope you know that too girl...