Thursday, January 31, 2013

Celebrating Ethiopian Christmas

This year we were able to start what I hope will be a longstanding tradition in our home - hosting friends in to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas.  In Ethiopia, they still follow the ancient Julian calendar and as a result, celebrate their Christmas on January 7th.  They call their Christmas, "Ganna," and in celebration of Christ's birth, it is a day for families to attend church after having fasted the day before.  Then they celebrate the day with a special meal, games and time with family. Gift are extremely unusual as it is a time to celebrate Christ's birth and enjoy family and feasts. : ) You can read more about it here if you're interested.  I would love to be able to incorporate more traditions as our child is home and over the years.

We invited some families within our agency that have become like family to us.  Incredible friendships are formed as you walk through journeys that not only add to your family, but walk through journeys that change your heart from the core.  I have often thought I had no idea how one simple "yes" could change me so dramatically and I so pray it is for God's better.  These ladies have been such a part of that journey.  Not to mention it was so fun to see all the kids running around our house.

I didn't take a really good shot of the food but here's a little glimpse of the spread: we had a mix of Ethiopian and "American" - for traditional Ethiopian we had Injera (a spongy like bread you use as a utensil to eat your food with), Dora Wat (a spicy chicken stew-like dish) and two types of Shiro (a traditional side dish that is SO good).  It made my heart feel so happy seeing the kiddos enjoying the food so much - further spurred me to keep practicing and learning new dishes for our child some day.

A few of the kiddos eating (Ava wanted nothing to do with the picture : ) )

The mommas sitting around and doing what we do best: eating and talking : )

Even the men joined in : )

Seriously - how cute are these two!?

It was so interesting to see how much "A" just sat back and observed for much of the beginning of the night.  Sweet girl - she is so smart and doesn't miss a detail and you know she was processing.

Some of the kiddos playing in the basement. Still so sad we didn't get a picture of all the kids!

There's the smile we love!

How sweet are these two?!

Little Was had kind of a crush - couldn't blame him!

These 5 were hilarious all night - kindred spirits for sure.

Love these ladies and how they encourage us in our journey

Man shot - they may have been coerced but they're good sports.
So thankful for the good men in our lives!

It was even more fun that the Biggerstaff's got to stay the night.  Our girls ran around until 10:30 together, Was put up with a houseful of ladies like the pro he is and we loved getting to stay up and connect with friends. 

Sunday morning

These two were fun to watch together

Need I say more? Fun was had. : )

Until next year!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Michigan Christmas - Part Two

There was a good enough covering of snow in Michigan that we tried to take full advantage and we went out sledding a couple of days.  Maybe it's living in such a flat area with so few sledding hills, but I am realizing more and more just how fun it was to have some of the best sledding hills in my own back yard growing up.  I love the "excuse" to go out with my kids.  Too fun!

Kate all bundled up.


Here we go - first time down!

Gpa showing the twins an easier way for them to climb up the big hill

Cole and Olivia

They went down and across about all the hills!

Daddy and Ava all set to race down 

snow angels!

Our family

It was fun to see the girls get more adventurous on their own (until mommy face planted Olivia in the snow, but I digress). They had so much fun!

One quick sister shot before we headed home

And one last tea party to finish off the festivities

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Michigan Christmas - Part One

We stretched out Christmas a little further when we headed up to Michigan after New Year's to spend some time with my family. The girls were so excited to be with their cousins again.

Decorating some cookies


Auburn and me ...I may have introduced her to Downton Abbey . . .and we may have spent more than few minutes on this couch during our days there. : )

The girls singing Christmas songs for us

All the girl cousins

the whole crew (well . . .minus one :  ) )

Our family

Keith and Alisa

Ken & Amy

Dad and Mom

Olivia in her glory

Mommy and Kate

Opening up their stocking bags

Gpa and Olivia

My parents saved one present for the girls to open at their place

Princess legos

Circus Legos

Brynne gave Ava a bag of old clothes/shoes.  Ava LOVES her hand me downs (mommy too) and it was so cute to see her pull out and lay them down each item one by one.  She wore one of the shirts to school today Brynne - thanks!!

Addy and Olivia building together

Daddy and Kate

Ava's present was a horse set to play with - she has loved it!

Daddy and Kate's finished creation