Thursday, November 29, 2007

Learning to Read

Having adopted older children (5-8) from Ethiopia that do not speak English, it has been fascinating to watch them take on the language. Since we live with them, it is hard to see the growth every day. But then something happens and you say, "Wow!" as you realize that since the last time you noticed, some substantial growth has taken place.

This happened to me the other night when I saw K.D. reading before bed. Yes, I said reading. I quickly grabbed the video camera to capture a few moments of it. Keep in mind that K.D. did not know his Amharic or English letters when he came to us 9 months ago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CrazyMom's Birthday

CrazyMom had a birthday recently. One of the great things about big family life is that whenever you are wanting a party you just have to go through the house and round up all of the kids. Of course, when you are wanting a little peace and quiet . . .

Before you watch the following video of the kids singing happy birthday to CrazyMom, an explanation is in order. We have some good friends (CountryDad and CountryMom) that had this tradition. Whenever one of their girls was having a birthday, CountryDad would "warm up" his voice by singing "la-la-la-la" at an ever increasing volume and as far off key as he could. I witnessed this many times both in his home and, much to the embarrassment of his girls, in public restaurants. His girls always seemed to have that look in their eyes that said, "Yes, I know you love me dad, now could you please stop it!" Anyway, my kids just loved it and now we "warm up" our voices as well right before singing happy birthday.

Here is CrazyMom enjoying her favorite ice cream (coconut almond chip), her favorite beverage (coffee), and one of her favorite cakes made by the girls (white cake with white frosting covered in coconut).

The kids made presents for CrazyMom and I also took the kids to the dollar store so they could buy her things as well.

I got CrazyMom a gift to fit a homeschooling mom - a photocopier. Yeah, I know men aren't suppose to buy their wives electronics for their birthdays, but she does seem to really like it and has used it a lot already. Who wants flowers anyway? You can't even plug them in to keep them fresh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CrazyMom, Mass Emails, and Smores

CrazyMom knows best. Of course, you already knew that. There is all of the obvious stuff, like what would make for a good dinner, if that orange shirt should go in the red laundry pile or the bright laundry pile, and how to comfort a child when they suffer a significant loss – like somebody drawing on their Sunday school paper which we throw out every week anyway.

But there are other ways in which CrazyMom knows best - ways that involve me. We were at a home school conference this summer and CrazyMom took a liking to some guy who was funny and had written a book or something. When we walked by his booth, she told me that she had signed me up to receive “encouraging emails” from the guy. Being the cynic that I am, I knew that I would not become a better father by reading some funny guy’s mass emails. I was also not sure if CrazyMom thought that I might LIKE the emails or, due to some deficiency in me, she thought I NEEDED the emails.

Well the emails started coming. I don’t even think I read the first few and instead noticed how fast I could delete them. Then the title of one caught my eye and I read it and thought it was OK. Then I read a few more and found them, well, kind of encouraging.

I got this one email and it was talking about . . . well, here . . .I will just give you an excerpt:

I’m thinking that this Friday or Saturday night would be the perfect time for a little marshmallow roasting. About the only drawback is that it’s pretty much a big pain. In my head I picture laughing, roasting, and singing. In reality, it’s gooey hands, potential 3rd degree burns, and flaming sticks being swung around like light sabers. I’m sure I’ll do more yelling than singing---but you know what? It’s worth it.

I know that there is no better feeling than to sit around a warm fire with the people you love the most. In fact, if I were only given 24 hours to live, I would spend at least a couple of those hours around the campfire with my family.

So, Dad, let me encourage you to enjoy some of that good, God-given fall weather with your family this weekend. Make a campfire, go pick apples, drink apple cider, or make s’mores.
The email gave me a real hankering to do s’mores with my kids despite the hassle it would be. Ever since, I have been keeping an eye out for the perfect night and tonight it came. The weather was unseasonably warm and the air was still. We did the campfire/s’more thing despite the fact that it was a Tuesday night. It was great.

Any by the way, dads. You can sign up for the emails at Family Man Web.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Top 10 from the First 100

Note: Things have been crazy for the last few weeks and I couldn't keep all of the balls in the air, but I have now picked the blog back up off of the ground.

This is the 100th post. These arbitrary base 10 milestones seem like a time of reflection, so both CrazyMom and I looked back over the blog so far and picked out some of the posts that we liked the best.

CrazyD's Favorites

CrazyMom's Favorites