Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A post is overdue!

Christmas pics - from the week. There's like 500 but here's a few!
Cuddling on the chaise (Kiki and Jim)...

First $5.00 video game - notice the Blackberry in his pocket, just like Moms!

I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!!!! A matching oven mit! Whao~

Hanging out with Momo... good times!

I actually think we're starting to look alike!

Cousins! Look at my little peanut Tessa-roo. She's caught on to how to work a fake smile!

Who knows where to begin... After the ice storm we had a ton of snow that fell. And then Christmas! There are so many pictures that I don't know that if it's worth posting - but we had a ball. Tessa Bezu was fantastic and was the drama queen/star of the show (in a good way) anywhere we went! She LOVED getting presents and got several from all of our visits etc. and Santa (not too many from the big guy this year as we had a change of heart about Christmas and it's meaning after everything that touched our lives the past year and a half.)

But everyone around us was so generous with gifts for the children that it was still overwhelming with the amount of toys and clothing that they rec'd. Thank you family and friends!

This was an odd Christmastime for me. I had been expecting it to be the best Christmas ever, and in many ways it was, but there was still something missing for me. The true Christmas spirit never completely captured me as it typically does. "Stuff" just isn't as important as before. And even though we made some gifts this year for the grown ups in our lives it wasn't as I had hoped.

No matter what, you end up feeling like if you don't have an extra special purchased gift for people that you screwed up. You (or I) would watch people opening our "scaled down" gifts almost wincing with apology. It's hard to explain. It just felt sort of embarrassing since nobody else "scaled down". You see, I'm known in my family for being very creative and giving really cool gifts instead of grabbing crap off of end caps. But this year was different. We bought some for kids, we made some for grown-ups and bought some delicious treat too, and donated the bulk in different families' names.

We really wanted to do this and people seemed to enjoy the donations but they still didn't have a cool gift. It reminds me of how commercial I still am and how little my thoughts are. But don't we all care if someone likes what we give them? Sad, but true?? The ego kicks in now and then!

My heart was also pulled because I thought a lot of Tessa's family... Even though they haven't celebrated Christmas (Timkat as they call it) until January, I thought of them and wished that they could see her smiling and happy now. The photo album that we handed them at our birth family visit had pictures of Tarikua upset or vacant looking. They were only pictures that were given to us before we traveled by other wonderful families and of us as a family of three. She was not the same as she is now and I want her Mamoo to see her filled with life and not the dead look in her eyes that is in most of the photos.

I'm ashamed to say that I'm glad Christmas is over - I would almost cringe when people would say that in past years (sort of feeling it a little) but I really feel that way this year.

Perhaps the past few months have taken a bigger toll on me mentally than I had expected. Between the wonderful/difficult meeting and coming home, being ever so ill (still am) and then the holiday season sprinkled on top! Phew! This is coming from someone who cannot put too much on my plate without feeling the overload!

Light and wonderful things; Tessa is AMAZING me and us every single day. Michael said just two days ago that these are the happiest days of his life. We are so madly and crazy in love with Tessa. Her sentences are full and wonderful. Sadly she's losing a bit of her accent on several words. We began a little daycare a bit ago and she's loving the other kids. Not afraid that she's not coming home to us and feeling scared. The great thing about our life and the way we raise our kids is that life is pretty structured and predictable - perfect for a new member of the family to adjust to!

She is the biggest snuggle bug on the planet and cannot get enough of girly stuff and playing with my hair and letting me do hers. She's obsessed with anything pink and sparkly and insists on picking our her outfits each day. She is so content and easy to please, she is HYSTERICAL with her humor and makes up crazy songs every day (which mostly consist of repeating the same words over and over but in a different tune.) It's been odd that she is never (almost) speaking Sidamafoo (sp) or Amharic. She never really has much, even at first. If she can't say it in English she basically doesn't say it. We try to use some of the phrases that we learned to keep it up but sometimes she looks at me with her head tilted and says; "No thank you Ethiopia". It's sad. She says the same thing after looking at pictures from our trip too (we do not show her pics. of her family visit), "no thank you momma, no Ethiopia" she'll say after looking at several of them. We want to and will continue to instill that we love Ethiopia! She get's excited at first and then doesn't want to see them anymore.

On a Twilight front - still love it - crazed obsessed fan! Heaven help me! :)

I'm tired of writing and will stop now - Ciao~ I'll try to pull some recent pictures together soon!


  1. I love you and your blog so much. I look forward to your thoughts and honesty. You are an amazing person and I'm grateful to know you.
    BTW, I held it together this time until the "happiest days of my life" part. XOXO

  2. I miss you so much! What a great post. We could have spent Christmas together- hard to actually articulate what you feel, but it is just so different! Love you dearly, know that. :)

  3. You are probably emotional and physically exhausted and the Holidays just added to it. I also feel guilt over Christmas. It is so commericial and stressful. Jesus is really the only thing we should be concentrating on but when you go to the family's house it's all about food and gifts and I get sucked back in. I don't know how to balance but I'm trying. Happy New Year as a family!

  4. What a wonderful and honest post. My family WAY overdoes it on Christmas, and I have no idea how to change it. I tell them how I feel about it, and we get so much less for others than we receive (not the best position to be in!) Therefore, no answers for you! But I sure understand, and feel the same way.

    BTW, I didn't know you were on facebook. I might look for you. :)

  5. I loved your post and I love your honesty about everything you are feeling. I wasn't into Christmas as much this year either.

    I think Tessa will go through phases with the Ethiopia thing. Marlie was consistent about not wanting anything to do with Ethiopia, her sisters, Ethiopian pictures or music, and right around her 2 year anniversary home, something just clicked. Now she can't get enough and is so proud to say she's from Ethiopia. I think Tessa will get there too.

    The Ethiopia she left was a scary place for her, and she was the child you saw in the pictures. And she doesn't want to be in that place (mentally) again. So it totally makes sense that she's trying to avoid it. Once she's fully secure in her place now, her past won't be so threatening anymore and I think she will embrace it again.

    Look at me... I just wrote a novel in your comments section. :)

  6. I love your posts. You are so honest and generous. God willing, we will be in the same boat next year and I will be somewhat prepared for the rollercoaster of feelings because of a friend who shared what she went through. May the next year be filled with new adventure, joy, and peace.

  7. I have so missed the honesty, integrity, insight, and love that you emit with every post. Although I, myself, have yet to travel to see first hand part of what you have witnessed, I, too, felt conflicted this year with gift giving. And, like you, I chose to scale back and gave many gifts of "experience" to our loved ones. Christmas morning felt a bit disappointing (just saying that word makes me cringe) this year. But, embracing and living fully in the love of our family and of Christ was definitely the way to go. You continue to inspire me, as you are a fantastic mom to Nick and Tessa. She is beautiful through and through! And, her love and appreciation for Ethiopia will only grow more and more as you and Michael embrace all of its beauty! You are GREAT examples for her! God bless you all this new year!

  8. Lori,
    I am so glad that I know you. Each time you open your heart and write, I learn something new. Not just about you and your family, but about true feelings and about the joys and heartaches of adoption. I also wish that the birth parents could see how happy and healthy these amazing children are when they are with their forever families, but I know that can't happen very often. So I hope and pray that they have some peace in their hearts and can somehow know that their children are doing really well. And what Tessa is going through with her lack of interest in Ethiopian things is just a coping mechanism for her right now. It helps her block out some of the pain so that her heart can heal. When her heart is healed, she will be better equiped to deal with the pain. And I know that you will be by her side every step of the way to love her through it all. And I totally agree with you about Christmas. We only gave gifts to children this year and then an orngament exchange with my family. It is a wonderful tradition b/c you don't spend money but you enjoy your family and have a token of a family members ornament when you leave...so that your tree each year is filled with thoughts of family. Anyway, thank you for your thoughts.

  9. lori,
    you are always a joy to read. and obviously i'm not alone in appreciating that. it seems you strike a cord with all your readers. your honesty and openness is refreshing, helpful and touching. please keep talking to us and make sure and post some photos! happy new year!

  10. Yeah...we should really talk. I felt the EXACT same way about Christmas this year....I seriously could have written that part of your post!

  11. like other commenters, this post really hit home. i, too, gave scaled down gifts and last year did mostly donations in peoples names but the recipients do seem a bit disappointed in a way especially since they continue to give me gifts (even when i tell them not to)... sigh. i think it may take them a while to get used to it... anyway, your heart is in the right place and that's what counts.

    love reading how tessa is adjusting so well and seems so happy. your family is really making me consider toddler adoption instead of infant adoption... i'll keep you posted on that!

    happy new year!!!

  12. What a great honest post. Our daughter REFUSES to talk about India most times and others will be wanting to... I think it changes from day to day. In time, you may find Tessa pouring over photos and begging to hear more stories. She is beautiful and has a beaming smile. It is cool that she likes sparkly things -- I see Twilght-headedness in her future. :)

    Christmas has been difficult for us ever since our adoption of Max. It is something we struggle against and seem to lose each year.

  13. I love all the Christmas pics. Nick and Tessa are both so cute!

    I feel you on the Christmas thing. It was wayyy different for us this year. I wonder how it will be for us in the years to come.

  14. Love your thoughts and feelings on Christmas. I have loads of thoughts on this as well.

    The pictures are super super sweet! You guys are all beautiful people. :)

  15. i so identify w/ glad that Christmas is over ... We also gave away most of our Christmas funds this year ... It was exciting and fulfilling, but odd when it was time for everyone to open gifts ... i feel like i am just getting my footing after all the changes of the year (Maggie home, new job for hubby, lack and change of insurance, changing schools for boys, from 3 to 4 kids, etc) ... I pray we both find our spiritual foothold and God blesses us w/ a ton of energy !!!

  16. What a great post!! I just saw where you commented on my sister's post and couldn't remember if I'd been to your blog before or not!! Either way, your daughter and family are beautiful and we're looking forward to hopefully receiving our referral this coming week...Happy New Year, kristi

  17. You are such a dear soul, Lori. I love love love your blog and am so happy to know you.
    That chaise is lovely. I love these couches. I find them intrinsicly romantic (yes, you remember that Edward had one in the movie).
    I so appreciate your thoughts on the season--I felt the same in some ways. It was my first year to actually be HAPPY getting all the decorations down. This usually makes me a little blue.
    And that pic of Tessa opening her oven-mitt is priceless.

  18. So what has Tessa made you guys with her new kitchen gadgets?

    Christmas..... hhmmmmm.... not how I pictured it being this year, either. We scaled down, and since Nigel's still a runt we could get away with it anyway. I really think the donations to charity was a great idea. It's hard though because we're all so used to "stuff." But remembering how people in Ethio (and even us while we were there) get by without "stuff" makes it all so trivial!

  19. beautiful kidlets! and i LOVE all the (red) shirts! power to the people!