Friday, January 31, 2014

Non-Stop Dance Party

I swear - our house is a non-stop dance party. Truthfully - Laura and I are probably partially to blame - as we like to dance and sing our way through everything from baths to poopy diaper changes.

But these guys? These guys take it to a whole other level.

Almost daily.

And Zechie - well that little dude just follows their lead - no questions asked.

He was born to be a dancer a rockstar or professional timeout goer. We're still waiting to see how that one shakes out.

No matter what kind of day we're having - these guys always find something to dance about.

And Mebbie's face says it all... WE LOVE IT!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

All About Meron - Star Student Part II

Meron got to do "Star Student" back in Georgia and now she is getting to do it again here! It's really just a cool way to let all the students learn about each other as they fill out a form with their interests and share some pictures of themselves.

Meron was loving it! She was PUMPED to show me her poster when I got back in from a snowy run tonight...

I absolutely LOVE that she wanted to show off her "Meron Day" picture when we became a family. She has a lot of pride around that day - she loves it!

And we couldn't find an already printed picture of Clay Bear - so that dog is Sandler - my dog that Meron never met! She said:

"It's okay. I'll just pretend it's Clay Bear..."
Love it!

And her best friends included two of her teaches from back in Georgia. My heart hurt a little that she didn't have anybody here to list... but I have full confidence she'll have a whole army of friends before long...

Meron - daddy is just STUPID PROUD of how well you have handled such a gigantic change in your life. I love you with every single piece of my heart girl and I am striving to be more like you in a lot of areas...

Keep up the good work of being awesome!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Furry Prayer

I love that the last couple nights as we gathered together to do our prayers we've had a new visitor...

Since moving here this old man of ours has literally glued himself to Laura - where she goes... he goes.

He hung out with us all through prayer - and then much to Meron's dismay - he slipped out with mommy.

If she had it her way - he'd stay right there with her all night and even go to school with her...

We love the extra company Clay Bear!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy "Got Here On Earth" Day!

Today was this girl's birthday. Her "I Got Here On Earth!" day. As I usually do to celebrate special days - i dropped a little rhyme on her today... and then we hit a new brewery she found and had a good old family celebration...

she cleans poopy diapers, she's a dirty butt wiper,
she can calm kids when hyper, she's a discipline sniper;

she cooks every day - not just once but three times,
she puts up with my nonsense (and a lot of it rhymes);

she's a runner, a driver, a survivor,
when the fridge is on "low" she's a pantry Macgyver;

her heart is so full of her love for her God,
and it shows in her love for those here and abroad;

she has passion, and courage and faith that I envy,
and she's loved by so many cuz her love is so plenty;

her values are solid and her morals we try to model,
her outlook on life we just wish we could bottle;

she's sunny, she's funny, and real good with money,
she's cute like a bunny and sweeter than honey;

she's out of my league - fact, she's several above me,
It's a sheer act of God that this hottie could love me;

as a family we cherish her and hold her up high,
we can't do life without her - wouldn't even wanna try;

So today we will celebrate her "I got here on earth day!"
And let her know how she's loved - have a great happy birthday!

I think she is so kind that she sort of tolerates my rhymes... but THIS is what she really wanted for her birthday!

time with these guys!

after dinner it was "jammies and presents!" on mommy's bed...

there were awesome cards...

lots of kisses...

fantastic artwork...

and just plain old cuteness...

Lots of "ohhh - i want a picture with mommy!"

and "Me too! Me too!"

There was chocolate (that mommy better hide!)...

and a card from me with HOT in big, red letters cuz the girls lose their minds when I say that mommy is HOT! (so of course I do it all the time now...)

And then there was this cake. Little Meron plotted for days to get this and get it right complete with candles and everything.

Sorry mommy - we gave up your age!

Truth is Laura - you don't look anywhere NEAR 39 - and ya don't act it either.

You're my best friend, the most amazing mother, the best team mate and somebody that I simply could not function without.

God spent some extra time when He built you - most likely cuz He knew you'd be dealing with me.

Whatever the reason... I am SO GLAD He made you.

I love you birthday girl...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ain't No Temperature Low Enough...

Last night I finished up my run and watched this happen out over the mountains. The run was gorgeous but as that sun dropped the temperature went right with it - something like 51 degrees to 25 degrees in like 2 hours. CRAZY.

As I closed the door and pulled off my hoodie I was hit by the squeals of kids who no longer feel the effects of cold. Not when there is a park and playground equipment like 500 yards away. So off we went...

25 degrees meant NOTHING to these playground maniacs. As I huddled under the monkey bars looking for some reprieve from the EVIL, EVIL wind - I couldn't help but think about anybody who might be homeless on a night like this - and my mind started wandering to how I could most definitely fashion a makeshift bed out of that tube slide - the only area safe from the wind.

But the temperature had little to no effect on these two crazies. Nope - sliding, swinging, climbing - none of it was hindered by the continually dropping temps.

Finally - I tricked them into racing to the van by declaring:

"Neither of you will ever be able to beat me in a race! EVER!"
And it worked. We were back in the van. And I even turned on seat heat - which I never do.

And for the record - I beat them both. And always will. Until they figure out a way to use that temperature to their advantage...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Church Search 2014

Today we officially started the search for a new church home. I gotta be honest - I HATE this process. it's never fun and I gotta remember not to compare everything to our home of 8 years back in Atlanta - cuz truthfully not much will compare to what we had there...

But we dressed our crew up and headed out. We have been blessed to have a bunch of recommendations from people and we have a good sized list we are going to hit over the next bunch of Sundays.

So heads up Colorado Springs - Camp Hoffman is coming your way. You'll likely recognize us as we drag a kid or two behind us and rush to get our diaper bag that we forgot in the car and TRY to look all calm and reserved and not intimidated by waltzing into a new church as complete strangers...

Yeah - if you see that - that's US.

Honestly though - today went really well. We enjoyed the service - and as a dad - I gained a ton of confidence from the confidence this crew of little homies showed. They love and support each other SOOOO much. They are just there for each other and it shows.

I couldn't help but be confident as part of their posse.

Way to go guys - let's do it again next week!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Art In The City

For some people - "Art In The City" means a fancy dinner, some dressed up clothes and a slow walk through an art gallery. Not round these parts...

Nope - for us it meant these three troopers, a free community art program at Colorado College and some creative fun in a new city.

There was lots of cutting and trimming...

Some intense coloring with oil pastels... and lots of other fun art stuff.

And based on the smiles we were seeing...

I think everybody had a pretty good time!

Even this little dude - who couldn't pull off too much on his own - had a super good time copying everything his sisters did.

I am pretty sure mommy had the most fun of all though - at least with the modeling clay!

Overall - it was a GREAT day with my GREAT family. We drove around a bit afterwards just checking out the downtown area and Meron said:

"I know I am just seeing it for the first time but wow - I really like this downtown Colorado!"
Downtown Colorado. Too cute. But she was right - we thought the downtown area was cool too.

After a fun dinner out the day caught up with this crew and they were SPENT.

Rest up guys... tomorrow we HIKE!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Brother From Another Mother

We visited Focus on the Family recently and found Zechie's long lost twin brother!

I think he's coming over next week for a sleep over...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

White Fluffy Stuff

These folks were bundled up like this today because we woke up to something like 4 inches of fresh, fluffy, powdery snow. There were 2 hour delays for a lot of things (all Air Force bases, Focus on the Family, meron's school, etc) - but not Compassion! Ain't no little snowstorm gonna stop us from helping out the kids across the globe!

So I got to try out my snowy road driving skills - and since Meron attends a 3 hour morning kindergarten - we opted for the "call this # if your child isn't coming in" route and let the kids head out for a little bit of fun!

Which - of course - turned into a snowball battle. Because when you've never seen snow before - balling it up and throwing it at people is the obvious favorite thing to do!

I think the smiles said it all - Meron was loving pelting her siblings with snow!

Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be 55 degrees. Way warmer than today's high of 19. Glad this crew of Ethiopians from Georgia got to spend a day playing in it!

By the way Meron - nice shot with that snowball to the back on our evening walk - watch your back cuz your time is coming!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Was Just Thinking About Jesus...

I came home from work today to find this picture on my bedside table. I did a little investigating and found out that Mebbie was the artist...

Tonight I had her tell me a little bit about it and she described it for me pointing out all the nails and the crown of thorns and the blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood.

I asked her why He was frowning and she said:

"He was sad and scared... because He didn't want to die."
I don't even know where this came from. I swear - sometimes I feel like Jesus whispers to these kids in their ears throughout the day and just reveals Himself to them.

Come to think of it - it wouldn't surprise me if that's what was happening. I pray that exact prayer every single night: "God - invade their hearts and reveal your spirit to them..."

I hugged Mebbie tight after she explained it all to me and I said, "Why'd ya draw this today girl?"

She looked at me with those huge, innocent, sweet Mebbie eyes and said:
"I dunno daddy - I was just thinking about Jesus."
That's a perfectly good reason Mebbie. Perfectly good.

Never stop listening to His whispers girl... daddy loves ya!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Daddy Daughter Donut Day

So... today was the first day of orientation at my new job. Starting at 7:45 AM. It was also "Daddy Daughter Donut Day" at Meron's school starting at 8:15 AM.

But of course it was. Cuz theres nothing more awkward than asking your brand new employer if you can miss the beginning of your very first day of orientation.

But here is where Compassion isn't just holistic in their mission towards rescuing kids from poverty - but in their relation with their employees as well. Not only did they allow me to come to this event so Meron wasn't without a daddy on her second week in a new school - they INSISTED on it and went to whatever length to make sure it could happen.

So i got to walk this cute girl to school this morning. I love this time with her. She's so grown up yet still EVERY BIT a daddy's girl. I love it.

I got to hang out with her in her class - meet some of her new friends and their dads AND get to eat delicious donuts. It was a GREAT morning.

All the kids made "Super Hero" books about their dads that included these most excellent drawings...

As well as some narrative on us. I love this thing. I will keep it forever.

And I'll tell ya what - my daughter thinks I am a Super Hero. And that's not something I take very lightly. Whether it's spinning Zechie in a basket, running fast or holding the whole family - I will do my very best to live up to what she thinks of me. I'll fall short regularly. But her heart is enough reason to keep getting up and trying...

Tonight - at prayer time - she thanked God for "the time spent this morning with my daddy - because I love him so much."

It was a simple thing... and it mattered SO MUCH to her. None of that is lost on me - every single thing we do as a parent is so important to them.

Meron - this morning meant more to me than you'll probably ever know. You're the super hero in my book girl... I LOVE YOU!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Celebrating Dreams

Today a good chunk of folks across America had the day off to celebrate the dreams of a pretty amazing dude.

His dream was impressive, his life was determined, the results indisputable - which is why I found the weird trend in social media today to kinda passive aggressively put down those who were lifting him up kinda suprising. There was a strange veiled attack against posting his quotes, acknowledging his struggle or as some would even say "worshipping MLK."

Now - I reserve my worship for ONE and only ONE - however I do feel that a man of MLK's stature and legacy is more than worthy of some recognition every year. But maybe it's more personal for me.

Every time I peek through my closed eyes as my family lowers our heads in prayer and I see three sets of tiny little brown hands tightly clasping the lighter, whiter hands of their parents - I think of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every time we walk out into a busy parking lot and a tiny, nervous brown hand slides into my white hand and holds on for safety - I think of MLK, Jr. and his dream, his tenacity, his determination, his passion and ultimately - his sacrifice - that paved the way for my family to be able to walk THROUGH THE SOUTH looking the way we do with no judgement, harassment or discrimination.

Meron has an oral presentation due tomorrow - her class touched on MLK, Jr. and then they were sent home with a task of writing out some particular dreams and being prepared to stand in front of the class to speak to those dreams.

So this morning she and I snuck off to a nearby Starbucks and set up shop for a while. We could have just dove into the dreams worksheet - but I wanted her to know more about MLK.

So we found his speech on YouTube and I had Meron listen to the real meat and potatoes of it. She was super focused and afterwards when I asked her what MLK's dream was she said:

"He just wanted people to be able to sit together and not be judged by the color of their skin... that's all. Who would do that any ways? Judge people by their skin?"
I explained to her that the fact that she could barely fathom that idea was in large part due to the ground work put in place by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Once she understood this - we jumped into her worksheet - which was really her filling out three dreams she had. These were entirely her own - i wanted to leave NO TRACE of influence here. And this is what she wrote:
  • I have a dream that one day my family will: "Adopt more kids."
  • I have a dream that one day my school will: "Study the bible."
  • I have a dream that one day the world will: "have no more hungry kids in orphanages."
I was floored. My little girl - my crazy, wild, rambunctious, intense, out of control (at times) little girl has some AMBITIOUS dreams.

Because of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream and his willingness to pursue it - my little girl doesn't have to have dreams that involve her being able to sit with friends of a different color or share a bus, a restroom, a water fountain or restaurant. She doesn't have to dream about it because she's living it.

And that frees her up to dream about things that are SO BIG and SO BOLD and SO SCARY. And THAT is WAY WORTHY of celebration in my book.

Thank you Dr. King for never resting and always pursuing your dreams. Meron - I pray you do the same and know your mommy and daddy will ALWAYS support yours...