Thursday, June 30, 2016

With All My Heart!


I just put this little bugger to bed about 15 minutes ago.

I shut the door and was walking towards the steps when i heard:

"DADDY!

DADDY!!

I love you with ALLLLLL my heart!"
I had to go back and give the dude another hug...

I love ya with all my heart too, Z-Dogg!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Just In Case They Need It


These two coins are in my center console in the truck and as perfect as they would be in a vending machine - the center console is where they'll stay for now.

They remind me daily of how we're supposed to be.

A few weeks ago - the goofballs and I ran to Home Depot for some yard stuff.

On the way out we passed a woman in need - she had a cardboard sign, some bags... the whole thing.

Of course - our kids are like gigantic givers in this space and wanted to give and I felt bad to have to tell them I didn't have any cash....

Fast forward a few hours - we're home but loading up to go somewhere - when Mebbie says:

"Hang on - I'll be right back!"
She ran back in the house - emerging a minute later with her little purse slung over her shoulder.

She dug deep down in that purse and came out with these two quarters - which she handed to me and said:
"Let's keep these in the truck... just in case we come across somebody and they need it..."
And that's where they have sat since... at some point - some deserving person in need is gonna score them...

But for now...

They remind me of this girl and who she naturally is...


Mebbie - I am so proud to be your daddy and so proud of who you are!

Keep changing the world, baby girl...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Would We Have Questions?


These two girls are doing a reading club through the summer...

Getting books from the library and just churning through them!

Their last stash from the "Lie-berry" had some good ones...


Cultures of the World: Uganda

Mars

Foods of Ethiopia

All chosen by them - I love their expanded world view!

They also brought this one home:


I did a quick read and suggested to Laura we might need to be ready for some tougher questions after seeing some of what it touched on...

Tonight in the car - Meron told me she had finished all her books - including that one.

I asked her if she had any questions after reading it... she said:

"It said that at the end - that I might have questions and if I did I should ask my parents..."
I asked her again if she had any... she responded with:
"Why would we have any questions? You guys talk to us all the time about adoption and birth parents and stuff... and plus - we don't wonder about where we're from - we've been to Ethiopia - and we'll go again on more mission trips..."
And then... boom.

End of story.

She was on to the next topic of discussion - snacks at the pool tomorrow I believe it was.

I dunno why I doubt our sovereign God...

I mean we have prayed relentlessly for the hearts and minds and souls of these little goofballs.

So far... they seem to be doing just fine!


So thankful for this girl's strong confidence in who she is and what her identity is...

She's an unknowing model for two little ones watching every move she makes.

Meron... you blow daddy away on a regular basis girl... never stop being YOU!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Life Is Good


This girl believes that with all her heart...

She lives everyday with this belief and I have learned SO MUCH from her....

Meron... never, ever, EVER lose that infectious positive attitude you have!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Here's a Skinnier Brush... Paint With It Instead


A month and a half or so ago I found myself in a conversation - primarily about adoption - but life in general too - and this comment was made:

"Well... if it was all as happy and joyful as Tymm's Facebook or blog makes it seem then everybody would do it..."
I kinda "ha ha ha'd" it off at first but then...

That comment has kinda stuck with me.

And it bothered me.

Was I being kinda "Fake Happy" on social media? Man... I hoped not.

So I did an audit... and honestly - it has me thinking of some Jay Z lyrics:
"Say that I'm foolish I only talk about jewels (bling bling),
Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?"
I mean seriously - have ya read our blog? Pretty sure we're downright open...

I mean - we were pretty straight forward about how sucky it was when Brighton died and then multiple times afterwards as we hit his anniversaries again and again...

Or that time Meron was being groomed for GOD KNOWS WHAT...

Or stress related body heat...

Or indiscriminate friendliness...

Or when talking to our kids from broken backgrounds is broken and hard...

Or my jacked up lack of relationship with my own parents...

Or my deathly fears when Laura was staring down something growing inside her...

Or racism. Or name calling. Or discipline. Or hard parenting crap. Or...

I could go on and on and on...

So then I decided to check Facebook. And same thing... I feel like I'm a pretty straight shooter. To the point of ticking some people off and losing some "friends."

So - after wracking my brain - the only thing I could surmise was this...

Sometimes - people paint other peoples' lives with the big, fat, broad brushes of their own lives.

We may have some similarities in life - and you may have a challenge or two - and so you just assume we have that same challenge and don't talk about it.

Stop ASS-uming you silly ASS-umers.


And just stop painting with gigantic brush strokes!

I mean - what if the only thing we have in common is that we have nothing in common?

It could be the case...

Or... should I post more things like this?


Piles and piles of clothes - never to be put away ever - just moved from location to location... IMPERFECTION AT ITS BEST!

Would that make us all feel better?


Or my forever unfinished sidewalk project on the side of the house?

Dad/Homeowner failure in the flesh!

Or how about this one...


Stacks of dirty dishes... always around!

There - is that better?

Or should I talk about my lack of self esteem?

Or failures as a husband? And as a dad? And as a son?

Would that be more palatable for the masses?

Or maybe... just maybe... you could take this...


That's a skinnier, narrower brush so you can stop broadly dipping your brush in your own life and painting ours with it.

That might clear it all up right there...

Because ya know what? The truth of the matter is this: We Keep It Real.


There's no faking going on around here - not in social media land and not in our camp in real life.

We're the same every where - at least we try hard to be.

And maybe - just maybe - our life looks overwhelmingly positive because... it IS overwhelmingly positive.

And I bet yours is too.

The real question is this - what are you choosing to focus on?

Are you allowing the 5% of your funk to become 100% of your junk?

Are you allowing 20 minutes of a bad day to ruin the other 1,420 minutes ya get each day?

Or are you CHOOSING to embrace the positive, the awesome, the incredible, the glorious... the HIM in every day?


Look - we're not perfect. We're FAR from it.

And come talk with me - I will give ya the goods, the bads and how HE has shown up in each of them...

But we'll also tell you that life is not bad. You may like to think it is - and Lord knows it probably gets more clicks, likes, shares and comments when it seems bad...

But the truth is... the icky crap that happens - it is far outweighed by the amazing fact that we wake up every day and get to live life - even bad things - we get to experience that - cuz we're ALIVE.

We choose the voice and tone and personality of our family - both in real life and online.

And for this camp... we're choosing to be REAL but stay POSITIVE... because the fact is...

#LifeISGood

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Being There Matters


I was a little late getting to Z-Dogg's T-ball game this morning...

And by the time I got there - he was in the field - somewhere in the vicinity of third base!

And I'll tell ya - you'll never ever be able to convince me that our simple presence doesn't matter to our kids...

Z was trying to stay focused on the game...


But he kept taking quick looks around.

When we caught eyes - I gave him a thumbs up and a quick wave.


He went straight professional on me and tried to be all stoic but a tiny little smile was trying to climb outta his lips...

And eventually - he couldn't contain it any more and he flashed me his signature smile!


And I gave him the same look back!

I don't make it to every single game - with as much as these three do - i can't see how I ever could.

But man - i try to be there as much as I can.

Cuz it matters. It really, really matters...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Crazy Crew


This crazy crew right here... I love 'em SO MUCH.

And they're always looking out for their daddy - like tonight when they said:

"Hey daddy - we know you're busy - here's a picture for our blog!"
And I looked in to see this...

Guys - you're as crazy as crazy can be... and daddy loves every bit of it!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guy Smiley


This dude here...?

He's usually up to something.


But that smile gets him out of it most of the time!

Keep smiling Z-Dogg - ya brighten the world a bit when ya do!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Making Lemonade Out of Lightning


What do ya do when ya JUST get to the pool with your friends and they shut 'er down due to lightning?

Ya jump in the back of the truck and head back to the house to play instead!

Thanks guys for making lemonade outta lightning today - we had fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rub A Dub Dub


These three in the tub...

ALWAYS makes me smile!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Family That Does Burpees Together, Can Eat Slurpees Together


Today - as I was jogging up Ruxton Ave. to go do this friendly little beast - my phone started buzzing with some pics from Laura...


Pics like this one here..


And there's this crazy guy!


And these gals - the best workout trio ever - all looking alike!

I LOVE that the goofballs are digging exercising!

And Summer is just FULL of it around here!

Tomorrow all three of 'em are in a soccer camp for three hours in the morning and then transition to softball in the afternoon!

Keep up the amazing work guys - you're gonna stay healthy and fit (and we'll squeeze a Slurpee for a Burpee in there somewhere!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beard Oil, Soap and Coffee


I woke up to some of the best hand-made cards from my absolute favorite people on the planet!

There was also beard oil, manly soap from the Farmer's Market and a Starbucks gift card!

Awesome morning indeed - but none of it holds a candle to this:


Posting up on the couch with my homies to watch the NBA Championship game!

9 years ago Brighton made me a daddy...

And this little crews keep me in continued practice!

To all the dads out there - putting in the work - loving those kids - making them top priority - and leading 'em to Jesus - HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

6 Ways to Not Sound Ignorant About Adoption


Feels like this silliness rears its head every year or so - and we tend to receive a good bit of it year round. We've touched on it before - but here are 6 more ways to NOT SOUND IGNORANT about adoption.

1 thing TO do and 5 NOT TO DO.

It's easy!

#1 - THINK!
God gave us these awesome noggins for a reason - let's use 'em!

So you walk in to a restaurant and see a uniquely made family - maybe the parents look different than the kids - maybe not all the kids look the same... but whatever it is - your drawn to them because:

A) they're different and,
B) the kids are probably stunningly beautiful.
You start walking towards them while they are eating and all kinds of things cross your mind:
- "I wanna touch their hair"

- "I wonder where they're from?"

- "Could they be biologically related?"

- "They must not of been able to have kids..."

- and all kinds of other thoughts...
Here is where you have an awesome opportunity to be different. To show some tact. To help restore my faith in mankind's ability to be wise and not openly ignorant.

Remember - THINK!

You are about to approach a family in the middle of their meal - with their children present - and ask some questions of which you have no idea what the answers are or what this family has walked through.

So... THINK!

There's a whole slew of sympathizers of the ignorantly curious who say things like:
"Come on Tymm - show some mercy and compassion to these people! They're typically just curious and want to know more about adoption... blah blah blah blah"
To those sympathizers, I say... THINK!

If you know me - you know you will ALWAYS get my undivided attention if you have questions about ANYTHING to do with adoption, our family, missions, etc. I'm a fierce advocate for all of it.

Unless my kids are present.

And then... I beg you to THINK before you open your mouth.

Because the protection of my children's minds, souls and spirits will ALWAYS trump the quenching of somebody's curiosity. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So there ya have it - one thing you CAN do to not sound ignorant about adoption. You can think.

Now - 5 easy things NOT to say that will also increase your adoption awareness and make you seem less ignorant.

Remember - as your mind is getting ahead of ya - and you're approaching this family at their table - DO NOT say these things...

#2 - WHERE DID YOU GET THEM?


Look man... they're not loaves of bread or pet hamsters. We didn't run by King Soopers on the way home from work or swing by PetSmart.

These HUMAN BEING CHILDREN weren't "GOT" from anywhere.

They were BORN.

Not got.

And they came to be with us through the sovereign hand of a God who hates that this solution even has to exist but has given it to us as a fallen solution to a fallen problem in a fallen world.

How's that for an answer? Too much, too soon?

Probably.

Your best bet? Just don't ask this question...

#3 - ARE THEY REAL SIBLINGS?


Yes. They are.

Ad I'm gonna be super honest with ya here - ya get ONE SHOT at this question with me.

If ya did #1 up there and THOUGHT - you probably wouldn't even ask this question - but if ya do - ya get one shot.

You will always hear "yes" from me.

If you begin to push the issue and continue to dig past my answer - you're gonna find yourself on the receiving end of a not very happy daddy.

This line of questioning disturbs me deeply and I struggle with why people have this deeply rooted need to know this biological connection of my children.

And start throwing in words like REAL or TRUE and honestly - it just speaks volumes about YOU.

Wanna sound NOT IGNORANT?

Say something like "What gorgeous brothers and sisters you are!"

And call it quits.

#4 - WOW - THEY ARE SUCH LUCKY KIDDOS!


Horseshoes are lucky.

Holes in one in golf are lucky.

4 leaf clovers are lucky.

Lottery winners are lucky (or not...)

But these kids are not LUCKY.

There is absolutely nothing lucky about family disruption brought on by any number of circumstances of varying degrees.

There's nothing lucky about spending chunks of prime development time in an institutionalized setting.

There's nothing lucky about hunger and the long term effects it has.

There's not a single thing lucky about a solution rooted in pain. NOTHING.

i know when you say this you're trying to pay us a compliment - and that's not lost on us.

But as you approach our table and this idea of "luckiness" pops in your head - and ya just HAVE to let it out - look at me and Laura and say "Wow - you guys are so lucky!"

Because that? That is 100% true.

#5 - YOU GUYS COULDN'T HAVE REAL KIDS... I MEAN - YOU KNOW... YOUR OWN KIDS?


Sigh.

Deep breath.

Count to a trillion and 70.

We do have our own real kids.

You're staring at them.

They're very real. And they're our own.

Ad there's nothing else that even needs to be said about this except - go back to #1 up there and THINK.

#6 - HE REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF BUCKWHEAT!


Okay.. seriously?

That's the comparison that jumps to mind for you when you see my dope little dude chilling with me?

I'm sorry for you... and you remind me of...

Okay, okay, I won't go there.

But don't say this right in front of my kid.

Multiple times.

I can show copious amounts of restraint and control - but this one - this one might test even my capabilities.

Okay - this list is in no way exhaustive - but if you do #1 and choose not to say #2 through #6 - you will likely present yourself as a tactful, caring individual who seems well versed on adoption!

And we all wanna be tactful... right?

And like I said before - you will ALWAYS get my full attention if you have legitimate questions and a desire to understand and know more... just in the right setting with the right people present (or not present).

So... until next year...

Go forth, be tactful, think... and don't be ignorant!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lights! Camera! Action!


Meron desperately wanted to shoot some scenes from a little short film script she was working on.

She got bummed when I told her it was too dark - but she lit up like a firecracker when I brought the lights outside and said: "Okay - let's do this!"


She had Rowdy Rhonda and Z-Monster all set to battle it out...


We even had a light saber fight coordinator on hand!


And he was handing out some battle-side tips and techniques!


Sleepy heads caused us to call "CUT!" - but we'll be back to wrap it all up!

QUIET ON THE SET!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Girls of Summer


It's kinda unfair that they get to play in the shadows of these awesome mountains!

But I am loving this season of life where they get to just try out pretty much every sport and see which ones stick!


Right now they are doing a techniques and fundamentals softball thing...


They're learning the rules...


Getting to take a swing at all positions...


But most importantly - they're having fun!


I love watching 'em learn the game... the insane amount of rules...

Learning stances...


Learning to "run through" first base...


And just being part of a team.

These two... they do "team" well!


Keep it up girls - I love how much you guys give to it and remember to just have a blast!

Daddy's proud of ya!