Bears & Birth Talk

Man, the polar bear at the zoo was so fun to watch this morning. He was diving in, doing spins, and pushing his big feet off the glass right in front of us. We watched him for a long time. Then we got to see seven female elephants hang out together. The zoo keepers were so excited to have all seven in the same area for the first time today. You learned that the clouds move, when we stand still. You kept stopping to notice them moving. We had a snack under a tree and we watched bugs climb on and under our legs. It was a good morning.


I’m 18 weeks pregnant, and I keep wondering if that was your sister I just felt moving. I think it should be more obvious, but I’m so ready to feel her. You love to pull up my shirt and say “Baby’s big, Mommyeh!” I switched to a midwives group who I’m quite excited about. First apt with them next week. That means I’ll skip the drugs and try to have this baby old school…but at a very good hospital with trained midwives, and a doctor in case of emergency. I’ve just started to read and educate myself on what this is going to be like, and can I say that God was pretty good at creating woman to do such a thing?  I guess it’s normal to be  nervous about the whole experience. As I read I become full of anticipation. I also keep thinking of your dear birth mom, who gave birth in rural Ethiopia. Talk about old school. I’m sure your great aunt or grandmother was there to help her through it. And I’m so grateful for her strength and courage to give birth to such a precious little you. I wonder how much you weighed, and how long you were. I would love to know your birth story. Oh, if we could only have a picture of little baby you.

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You Turned Three

You did it, Tegegne…you turned three! Your dad gave such a special speech that people said I stayed teary eyed the whole party. (I’d like to blame half of this on extra hormones, but half was because I was really happy). The party was lots of fun. You were overwhelmed when you opened presents, and just wanted to play with the first one opened. We have put half of your new things in the basement to pull out for a rainy day. You sang Happy Birthday all weekend, but you were wide eyed and silent when we all sang to you yesterday. It was awesome to have many friends and family celebrate with us. 

Today marks approximately 3 years of your life. Ababayeh and I have thought a lot about birth mom the past few days. She must be thinking of you and missing you. Did I ever mention that we have a chance to send photos to Sodo that are printed and delivered to your birth family? I have done this twice and got a report back that they were very glad to see you well. It’s quite amazing that we are so closely tied in this way.  

Ababayeh has made an extra effort lately to get down and play with you. You glow with excitement the whole time you are playing. Because of this, your new favorite question is, “(Mommyeh, Taryn, Ababayeh, Micah) want to play with me?”

Happy Birthday Son. We love you.

Mommyeh & Ababayeh

Baby bellies at Cousin Olivia’s party last weekend. 

House For Sale

So our house is for sale. And I’m sorry but the adorable African in the front yard above does not stay with the house. Here’s what does stay though, our master bedroom that Michael built for me two Christmas’s ago. It’s so peaceful up there. I have loved watching the seasons change through the big picture window. Our cozy wood burning (efficient) fireplace stays, along with a winter’s worth of chopped and seasoned wood stacked out back. Our sweet front porch stays, where we’ve eaten many meals while greeting neighbors and dog walkers going up and down our street. (This is how we met Olive and her mom, btw. Tegegne ran out to the sidewalk to greet them, and to ask for a ride in Olive’s pink car.) Being on this front porch also allowed us to meet Philvis, Bob & Momo, Troy, Angela & baby Cecelia, Jeff, Val, 4 yr old Jessie, & baby Lucy, Jenny & Kelly, etc, etc. There is great community on this street. I think every adult neighbor I mentioned has brought Owen home at least once. The multi level back deck stays. We have also eaten many meals back there. Tegegne and I have done lots of bird watching from that deck as well. I have enjoyed cooking many meals in our kitchen. And on and on.

So here’s the real deal, we’ve promised our neighbors that we will only sell this place to someone awesome like yourself. Your good friend or relative would work too, I guess.

Did I mention that you can walk to the adorable Hi Hat coffee shop, or to the Plaza for fine dining and to shop sales at Urban or Anthro? Or you can walk a very short two blocks to the cutest park in the city.

Click here and print a coupon to buy the house half off. Okay sorry. But really, I don’t think we can keep this place spit shined for too much longer so send your friends our way!

Hey Boy

Hey boy, did you know it’s almost your birthday? I can’t wait for you to get your big gift from all your grandparents. You are going to scoot around the town on that thing! I can’t wait for your size 8 shoes to come in the mail, so I can wrap them for your party. (wish I could have bought these but can i buy Zara in USD online?) I can’t wait for the celebration this Sunday with about 50 of our family and friends! (Dear Lord, would you please keep the rain minimal so we do not have to cram into our sweet little bungalow that we have all spiffed up to sell!)

We have hair cuts on Friday (an Ethiopian gentleman in town asked what we planned to do with your hair…hint…hint), Olive’s birthday to attend on Saturday, Gma Debby, Gpa Ben, Uncle Eric, & Aunt Erica coming to town, and lots to get ready before noon on Sunday.

Baby’s Mama, Here

I thought it would be fun to remember some of the pregnancy symptoms that I’ve been experiencing, most dramatically in the first 3 months:

Nausea, in the morning, noon, and especially night time.
Midnight Munchies, each time I get up to use the restroom (2-3 times) I would have to eat. Michael loved waking up to my chomping of cheerios in bed.
Insomnia, what’s sleep for anyway? why not let my mind race all night. I’ve heard this is a helpful transition to the sleep deprived first months of babyhood.
Cravings of chocolate milk, cereal, milk, more cereal. Chai lattes, of course.Pasta with white sauce.
Awful aftertaste, especially with chinese food. This is one of my most annoying symptoms. I’ll eat food with garlic or with any real flavor and the taste in my mouth afterwards is so strong. We ate PF Chang orange chicken, and the aftertaste drove me nuts. I brushed my teeth 5 times and it was still there. It’s so odd.
Worn out, I definitely try to nap when Tegegne naps.
Bloody nose, got one of these early on and read that it’s a symptom of pregnancy. Stuffy nose too.
Smells, phew, opening the refrigerator, trying to do dishes (for a few months I avoided dirty dishes), helping wipe someone’s stinky behind. That dirty mop smell at the grocery store, phew.
Forgetfulness, wait, can I blame this on pregnancy. I think I can.
The Waddle, I’ve noticed myself walking very slowly, swaying back and forth, knees bent, toes out. The waddle.
Sarcasm, using this to cope with how bad I’ve felt. This is not a real symptom of pregnancy, but it helped me.

When I walk up stairs I can feel the extra blood pumping through my legs. It’s weird.
I’ve bought things at the grocery store I never looked at before. Being there while prego and hungry are not good combos, but that is most of the time so it’s inevitable. Today I left the g. store double fisting a banana and Twix wafer bar. The security guy (yes, I live in the city) said, “Wow, you must be hungry!”

Thanks to Groupon, I did a real workout today. Yes, something besides being pulled around the block by Owen and trying to push you in the little red car at the same time. One of the nicest gyms in Kansas City. I felt like I was on vacation. Thanks Groupon for my chance to go to this lovely gym 29 times for $29 when it’s normally $450 (or something outrageous) to sign up.

My stomach is growing, got my first maternity jeans which I could have used a month ago. I did not like the belly band.

I am generally feeling better and I cannot wait to feel the first flutter in my belly. Thought it may have happened today, but not so sure.

Big & Small

So many things happening that I want to write about…big and small. On a small note, it’s Friday morning and we are listening to Children of Uganda music and Edward Sharpe while doing a bit of cleaning. I have not been sleeping well, but got good rest this morning from 7-9am. Came down to your room where you were playing and you smiled at me and said, “Mommyeh sleepy?” You are so kind to let me sleep in some mornings!

I called my mom and stepped outside while realizing that it is the most amazing weather I’ve felt all year. Of course I step out to have a quiet conversation, but I never sneak out without my boys following me (Tegegne, in his little Diego underwear and Owen, our hugely-huge yellow lab, bolting out the door ahead of me). Since I’m half distracted on the phone, the boys wander up and down the neighbors yards while I follow them, trying to keep them from sneaking all the way around the block. In the mean time neighbors come and go and laugh at my situation. I am often in this situation. Yelling for Owen and trying to give Tegegne choices…”Either I carry you back to our yard, or you ride your car back to our yard.” At the same time trying to carry on a conversation with my mother.

So we may or may not be selling our house to buy a much cheaper house in order to plan for this next little human being that will join our family at the end of February. (Do you know how expensive daycare can be in the city?) The move is twofold really. Michael and I have been asking God, what’s next? God has given me some pictures of what my days with our children could look like. One picture I’ve had is sitting with African women and watching our kids play. I’ve envisioned cooking for a single mother and her children, and I’ve pictured having the house with the open door policy…meaning that neighbors are always welcome. I say that as I’m looking at our open front door in our now neighborhood. We love it here, and it’s hard to imagine moving. This is the perfect street, with good people from all walks of life. It’s cool how God works though. One house we’ve looked at would be half the mortgage we have now, it’s a beautifully renovated house with four bedrooms, and guess what? An African family lives just behind this house. And there is a park a half block away where Michael sees large groups of Africans playing soccer (as he ride by on his weekly bike ride). There is a large refugee population in the neighborhood.

One unsurprising thing that must occur before we buy a different house, is that we must sell ours. It’s bittersweet really, and overwhelming. It’s like we get this idea and before we know it a real estate sign goes up in our yard. (No sign yet, and I am dreading talking with all of our neighbors that have become dear friends.)

A really neat thing about our marriage is when God aligns our thoughts and something becomes clear to both of us. We left this house saying, yes…let’s pursue this. It just makes sense. This was similar to how we pursued adoption. “Okay let’s do this!”

We don’t know if this will work as we imagine, but we will take it one step at a time.

A Dream

I love reading the blog Family From Afar, and I just read Karen’s post on Martin Luthur King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It is very good. 


Here is a part of her post that gets me excited:

For me, there is one specific part of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech that deeply stirs my heart and gives me assurance that we are making progress in the war against injustice.

“I have a dream that one day … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”


(Here is the photo she posted of her children.)


Click over HERE to read the full article. 

Photo of Gunyea & Ababayeh’s hands by G. Heinlein