Sunday, June 30, 2013

In Heaven

These girls are absolutely in heaven. If mommy can't be here the next best thing is hanging with their cousins...

I LOVE seeing them so happy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Late Night Cousin Time

We made it. Tired. Worn out. Beat. But ready to do dress up at midnight.

Looking forward to some fun - wishing mommy was here with us!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mr. Mom - Day 6

That's one part of breakfast right there... a half of an ice cream sandwich. Don't judge...

We evened it out with some yogurt - but the sandwich was for sure the hit!

Man - we were in a groove today. We nailed hair and got these guys to camp 20 minutes early. You know how we roll...

They did basketball today and they were crazy eager to tell me all about it - but only after the hype of this died down:

Yep - our girl has lost her first tooth with mommy away in Africa - and while she was at sports camp! She was excited though and told me how all the kids celebrated with her...

Love the smile Mebbie!

Next it was home to a surprise of some goody packages from Granny and Aunt Connie and Uncle Ronnie!

Uh... i think excited was an understatement!

They both got cool journals to keep their drawings and writings in...

As well as some dope princess accessories! Funny side-note: the "Tangled" wig was originally for Meron and the "Brave" one for Mebbie - but try as we might we could NOT get that blonde wig over Meron's hair! like the amazing sisters they are - they simply swapped with huge smiles... THANKS SO MUCH GUYS!

Mebbie also had an extra surprise from Granny. A few years ago Granny had bought Meron her very first and very own suitcase. And now she was hooking Mebbie up too. She was THRILLED!

The smile couldn't get any bigger! She is ready to pack for our trip to see our cousins!

To celebrate the toothlessness of Mebbie - we decided to make a Yogli Mogli run! We ran into some good friends there and all got to enjoy a little organized chaos!

Then it was home and into jammies. Skipping baths because CRAZY electrical storm was kicking.

Side-note again... this picture cracks me up. Meron looks like a Jolly Gentle Giant and Mebbie looks all tiny! But all that love ya see all over both their faces? That's the real them...

Meron was really freaked out by the electrical storm and had a bazillion questions. Because of that - the night ended like this:

I LOVE the way they love each other...

Update From Ethiopia III

Laura called right as I was picking the girls up yesterday and got to surprise them - they were so excited to hear mommy's voice. I am pretty sure was as excited to hear theirs.

Check out her daily summary below - trying not to be jealous of her time there!

Today was another great day! We went to Kebebe Tsehay at 9 and while the team played with the kids, Robert, Nebiat and I went to the Meditech office to purchase the formula. We were able to purchase 840 cans!! I still have money leftover and am looking for good diaper prices.

We then went and ate lunch in a church parking lot and some of us were introduced to squatty potties! EEK! Now THAT was an experience!

We then headed to Embracing Hope Ethiopia in Korah. Christy Shannon gave us a great talk about their programs and then a tour. We spent the next hour playing with the 1-2 year olds (all 50 of them!). Then the moms starting showing up and we had Robert taking beautiful pictures of the moms with their kids. It was wonderful to see the fierce love these moms have for their kids and how they will fight to not have to lose their children.

We left there around 6 PM and headed to my new favorite restaurant, "Sishu". I promise you will have the BEST hamburger you have EVER tasted in your life right here in Addis!

We headed home after that and spent another night laughing, crying, chatting and even calling home for all us us on my Iphone for only 6 birr per call! What a gift!! Tomorrow brings another day at Kebebe Tsehay and Embracing Hope. We are so thankful for another day of service here in Ethiopia!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mr. Mom - Day 5

I get to wake up to beautiful every single morning - and today was no exception. After the late night we had the night before I was worried these guys would struggle this morning and with camp - I couldn't have been more wrong.

They were awesome. Got 'em to camp 15 minutes early - they played soccer and hockey and again - LOVED it!

It was my first day of PTO so I was able to squeeze in a Target trip, a gym workout and a tire rotation and balance on the van. Then the girls got some outside time on their bikes before we all did a HUGE Goodwill run and an evening track workout.

We ended the day with extended bath play time and cooking dinner at home.

We're ALL kinda feeling like this right now...

I'll tell ya what - I have MASSIVE respect for single parents who pull it off out there. And even though Laura KILLS it home by herself with them - we pretty much ALWAYS tag team the evenings. But going at it alone - 24/7... that's a whole new ballgame people! It's exhausting!

And even though every part of my body wants to be doing what Meron is doing up there - I had to get all my ducks in a row for morning. Which means things like...

Clothing/dress station ready to go...

backpacks lined up and ready to be stuffed with lunches (already made and chilling in the fridge) and snacks and towels...

and probably most important of all... THE HAIR CHAIR.

Yep... i think I'm ready...

Let's do it again tomorrow girls!

Update From Ethiopia II

Got to chat online with Laura a good bit yesterday as her team wound down after what sounded like a great day of ministry. And then today - I got a surprise phone call from her while in the drive thru at Starbucks (sorry friendly barista for ignoring you) - thank you MagicJack! Sounds like they are having an excellent third day of ministry today - spending time with Embracing Hope Ethiopia - who we love, support and believe in 100%.

Check out her quick recap of yesterday's time below:

Hello. Here is a very quick overview of the day. It is 2 AM and I NEED to try and sleep. I only slept 3 hours last night!

We started the day at Adera Foundation to serve with their school feeding program. It was such a joy to watch the team JUMP right in and learn how to plate injera. Then we served the kids before they went to take their final exam.

Next we went down to their daycare to play with the kids. They are some of the sweetest little toddlers you have ever seen! So smart, so happy and learning the love of Jesus. We then ate a quick lunch outside the van and then headed to Kebebe.

They were celebrating their school graduation and were having an all afternoon party! We enjoyed a coffee ceremony with the staff, danced, colored, and chatted with the older kids. We held babies, fed babies and spent sweep precious in the special needs room. Watching this team serve is an honor and joy. I also just LOVE watching people experience Ethiopia for the first time.

Next up was dinner at a very small Ethiopian Cultural restaurant called Bata. They show was JUST FOR US! I was even pulled up on stage to dance and from what the team said, I must be part Ethiopian with my shoulder shake! Others danced, too and it ended in a Ethiopian conga line! We came home to Beth feeling much better. She spent the day in prayer for us and we filled her in on EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of the day. We sat in a room and chatted, laughed, cried, praised and prayed for another 3 hours!

Seriously...this team is beyond close! So honored to be here with these special 9.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mr. Mom - Day 4

Had another great day with these two princesses. Day 2 of Sports Camp went off without a hitch. The weather was much better and today - when I picked them up - they could barely contain their excitement as they jumped in the van and yelled:

"Daddy! Today we shot bows and arrows! Just like Merida!"
That was both a little bit awesome and a little bit terrifying!

But they clearly had a great time.

The past few days had been catching up with them so they crashed pretty hard for some afternoon naps.

After hanging out for a while we headed out for a Chick-Fil-A picnic!

Sure - it was in a parking lot in the back of the van... but hey - they LOVED it!

On Tuesday nights I typically do a bible study that runs til 9:00 - I was thinking I was gonna have to skip it - but some good friends offered to watch the girls while I went... they were both PUMPED UP to hang out...

Love seeing this crew together... have watched all these kids grow up and it's been a total blessing.

Finally got the girls home and teeth brushed, prayed up and in bed... ready for another day of sporty introductions tomorrow!

Thanks Rebecca for giving me that 3 hours of time tonight - we owe ya one big time!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Update From Ethiopia

Last night at about 2:00 AM my phone rang. I was actually still up (I don't sleep well when my entire family isn't under one roof - that includes Zechie...) and I grabbed the phone and had a static-filled, in-and-out conversation with Laura. None of that mattered - i was just pumped to hear her voice! She was okay - the team was doing great - they had their luggage and they were on their way to Kebebe Tsehay! YES!

I fell asleep praying for her, her team and the impact they'd have. Lucky for us - our MAIN MAN NEBIAT hooked Laura up with some internet and I got to chat with her a LOT today - I asked her to sum up the day for us - and here's what she sent:

The last 24 hours hours have been nothing short of amazing. Last night we had sweet spirit filled worship time with our team over candlelight that ended with many tears of thanksgiving to the Lord for allowing us to even BE serving Him. Then today we started at Kebebe Tsehay oprhange where we were able to love on babies, pray over EVERY little one we touched, sang and played with older kids, gave graduation gifts to 25 little kindergartners, and ended with a special coffee ceremony with the Kebebe teachers. 3 of whom said that they were "keeping Laura". I loved seeing our team just sit and "be" with these sweet ladies that rarely see Americans. There was lots of hand motions to communicate and evidently I know JUST enough Amharic to get myself in trouble. Evidently, I told the 3 teachers that
"I would return tomorrow in the rain in a car".
What??? They had quite a laugh at me and that broke down the walls completely and laughter filled the tiny classroom where we all sat around the sweet smell of buna (coffee).

We then went to Adera Foundation's daycare to host a special dinner for the 55 moms. Wow... Robert took pictures of every mom and their child with the help of Megan and Nancy. Then we went and helped serve dinner to all the sweet mama. After they ate, Adera introduced us and I got to share our story with them and our little Brighton. Then Regina shared her heartfelt testimony and TRULY touched the hearts of these moms that have had really hard lives. Regina connected the hearts of women who lived in opposite corners of the world with her story and how the Lord LOVES us all. Even some of the women shared after she shared.

Then we handed out the FCC babies and bracelets and the look on their faces was priceless. What a gift. We explained to the bracelets were made by a group of church ladies and each piece was prayed over. Then the Adera staff served US dinner! What? We had beef tibs and injera. DELICIOUS! We said our goodbyes and headed to the van. Our driver drove us by the dump and I don't think the team had any idea what they were about to witness. It made the reality of what these women go through all too real. We are so thankful for Adera who ministers to the women of Korah and their children.

After that we headed back to the guest house and that is where we are now. I am outside of the room where everyone is hanging out and all I hear is laughter! This team is just amazing... so blessed.

Tomorrow we go to Adera in the morning to help feed 200 kids before they take their final exams for their school year. The rest of the day will be spent and Kebebe and if there is time, we'll go back to Adera's daycare and play with the little ones and take more pictures.

Pray we have an even greater day tomorrow!!

From our hearts in Addis to yours!

Mr. Mom - Day 3

Today kicked off the first day of the 5 day Jr. Sports Camp the girls would be attending at our local YMCA. That meant two things:

  • a 4 hour window of PEACE around here
  • Copious amounts of pre-production work to even get them there
The night before we prepped all dry lunch items for the week. All snacks were separated out, bags were tagged, sunscreen was prepped, water bottles filled.

But let's be honest here people - the real fear was hair. Ya picking up on a theme around here? I woke them with PLENTY of time for me to screw up and start over. Hence the sleepy look in that pic above... it's all good. I called it practice for school days that aren't far off...

The drop off went smooth (The Y does this well!) and the girls were SO excited! 4 hours later I was back in the pick-up line. Meron spotted me and was waving like crazy. As her and Mebbie jumped in the van sporting their backpacks and looking extra cute the first words outta Meron's mouth were:
"I had a blast!"
We headed straight home (after shipping 250+ pounds of formula to some of our favorite mules in Nashville!) and I did my best to enforce nap time.

But things got a little crazy round here and eventually culminated in an emergency family meeting to discuss discipline and a new chart we need to build. We were ALL treading on thin ice.

Eventually we all pulled it together and I got to finish up some work while the girls each earned a few dollars cleaning up the playroom and assigning toys to go to Goodwill.

While I got dinner together they went a little artwork crazy...

And eventually did some serious decorating of their castle!

These guys were spent from a field workout the night before and 4 hours of sports this morning... bedtime was quickly approaching. We did baths, read the bible and said some great prayers for mommy... and headed to bed.

But not before harmonicas and binoculars made an impromptu showing on the scene.

All in all - a great (albeit weird) day!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mr. Mom - Day 2

Ahhh yeah... we rolled right into Day 2 just OWNING this thing called "Mr. Mom."

For starters - we all slept in and missed church. Ooops. We did manage to hit Panera for a quick pastry (sorry laura - used your free drink!) on the way to the church - we may be heathens who missed the service but we weren't about to miss the opportunity to hug our friends and say "Godspeed!" as they head into the field for full time mission work in China.

Next up it was a matinee showing of "Monsters University" - it was promised if behavior permitted it - and behavior was a ROCK STAR today!

After an afternoon nap by ALL of us - these two cuties hit the field with me for a quick sprint/plyo workout.

These guys are no joke when they come with me either - they put in REAL work!

They were sweating their little faces off... with 100 yard lunges, power skips, leap frogs, sprints, crunches, push ups... they stuck with it the whole time!

Meron even worked in 20 yards of cartwheels... can you say "dizzy?"

Afterwards we went home for pizza - and while Mebbie clocked some serious time playing - Meron helped me bag up lunch items for the week at their Junior Sports camp they'll be going to...

Today was awesome - we don't miss mommy any less - more actually - but better behavior has settled in and we all had a great day.

Communication with Laura has been minimal which sucks. So I don't know if her luggage arrived or anything. My guess is this - if things were super bad she would have found a way to get in touch with me. So our prayers are for their first real day of work tomorrow... and trust me there have been a LOT of mommy prayers today.

We miss you Laura - but are incredibly proud of who you are!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mr. Mom - Day 1

Today's theme as day one of Mr. Mom wrapped up was definitely "Thankful for good neighbors" - also loosely translated as "Dear God this was just ONE day?!?!"

After what can only be described as a "trying" day - these guys invited us over to let it all cool down in the pool. The girls - having had about enough of my discipline for the day - were pumped for some water shenanigans led by this guy!

There was leaping...

There was crashing...

And they even invited us back over for round 2 that included a grill out dinner and some more friends.

Super thankful for their generosity and kindness!

We ended up home in the tub doing this - but it was WELL worth it.

With Day 1 under our belt - we all crashed HARD on the couch (I think I was out the hardest).

Laura and team made it to the guesthouse - but those delays and close connections yesterday left them with no luggage. It's supposed to show up tomorrow.

Here's to hoping they found some of the same peace and quite and REST that we did on the couch tonight. Tomorrow's a brand new day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mommy Mission... Again!

Today we had the honor and privilege of seeing this team off at the airport. This was 60% of the very first Brighton Their World mission/vision team. Well - minus the two little cuties who hopped in the photo. This team met up in Chicago with the other 4 from North Carolina and now they are together as a whole team somewhere over the Atlantic - next stop Frankfurt, Germany!

I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of Laura - and how blessed I am to share life with this girl. She has worked tirelessly for the last 6 months to get this trip all squared away. I'll tell ya this much - this house is missing her already but we just KNOW God is going to be glorified by this team she is leading. Can't wait to hear all about it.

We've dropped mommy at the airport before. For her last mission trip. For the trip to go take custoday of Mebbie. But something about this trip - probably her age - made this goodbye excrutiatingly tough for Meron.

Man... as a daddy - it was hard to watch.

She was trying SOO hard to keep it together and she did a really great job.

But she made me promise to start working on getting her passport - ASAP! Cuz she is determined to go to Africa and help feed the babies. And I think she is ready to come with us too...

Big huge thanks to everybody who has supported this trip in prayer - it's the most important part!

I am trying to get a list together over the next few days of our opt-in emails to get some update emails out for our supporters. If you haven't signed up to be on our mailing list - holler at us below and we'll get ya on the list!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Passing Time

We had to be at two church services this weekend to share about Brighton Their World - and we move as a unit when we do this stuff - meaning the whole fam was representing...

And what did our littlest creative girl do to pass time in between services?

Dive in to a coloring book of course!

I love her creativity!

Mebbie - stay busy girl! Never stop creating...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ice Cream Smile

That's an ice cream smile folks... I can spot one anywhere!

Watch out for brain freeze girl...