Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whirlwind weekend

We've gone nonstop with family all weekend and I didn't manage to break out the camera til today. That's probably because, with my family, you have to holler and shout to get everyone looking in the same direction, and I haven't had a voice since early Thursday.

Saturday morning, the Seifert kids and their families took my dad to lunch to celebrate his birthday and to wish him well on his move to Idaho. Yes, Idaho. The potato state. The state that is home to only 1.2 million people. Well 1 million, 200,002 now.

I sat in the middle of this group and quickly realized how much my brother, Steve, talks. I vaguely remember my grandmother, on long road trips, paying him NOT to talk, but I never really thought that much about it until I couldn't croak out a single sentence without everyone going, "Huh?" I finally gave up and let him spin his yarns, which are pretty dang funny.

If it makes you feel better, Stevo, I think there is at least one member of my family that is secretly glad I couldn't talk for 3 days. I'm not naming names.

This morning we took the kids to my mom's church -- wearing their Ethiopian garb. I went to this church for 30+ years, so it was fun to introduce Dawit to everyone -- many of whom have followed our blog. He charmed everyone with his two, new teeth.

Later we went to Cedars of Lebanon State Park so the kids could play. And then S took them back home, while I went back to Nashville. I have to be here through Wednesday, so I'll miss my babies!

Friday, August 21, 2009

This kid loves injera

And Ethiopian-style green beans. Last week I gave him some canned green beans and you'd have thought I was trying to feed him twigs. Nothin' doin'! Shemsia at Gojo knows how to do green beans.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taste of Ethiopia: June 10

Wednesday was a very full day. We visited Yezelalem Minch, Nesibu and Birtukan's amazing ministry that includes an orphanage, a child sponsorship program, a women's income-generating program, community meals and so much more. YM's dedicated staff truly touched our hearts. Later that morning we visited some of the women in the YM income-generating program. Through personal loans, YM makes it possible for women to start businesses of their own to support their families. This group of women sorts, roasts and packages coffee beans for sale. We bought 15 kilos of coffee to take home! They also make a variety of Ethiopia spices. We also bought some berbere, shiro and lentils for when I get ambitious enough to make some Ethiopian dishes at home. (If you've wondered how you could help Ethiopian women and children but don't feel ready to make the ongoing commitment of sponsoring a child, you can make a one-time donation of $100 to YM's IGA program and help one woman start her own business. Let me know if you'd like me to send you a brochure with more information.) The women held a coffee ceremony for us in their chapel. We've been home for two months and we're truly enjoying the Ethiopian coffee, but it's not even close to being as wonderful as it was there. There is obviously something in the preparation that we're missing.

Later we visited Gelgela, one of the larger orphanages that Bethany works with. The children were sweet and curious, and we took about 300 pictures. They enjoyed seeing the pictures of themselves, and Spence kept them entertained for about an hour.

In the afternoon, Birtukan gave the girls a cooking lesson. We made lentils and shiro and something else I forget. Somewhere I wrote down the recipes, and I will share them here when I remember where I put them.

Later in the evening we went to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner and traditional dance. Dawit was not happy about us leaving and I felt guilty, but Birtukan insisted that he would be just fine in 5 minutes. Later, she said he did just fine and fell asleep easily, but I had lingering guilt over leaving him. The music and dancing was amazing and the food was to die for, but Spence and I were sharing with three guys who didn't mess around: Mekonnen, Milkiyas and Tendaye, so we had to dig in to get our share. Oh, how I miss the food!

We got back to the guest house pretty late, and Dawit was snoozing on his tummy. Birtukan said most Ethiopian babies sleep on their tummies, so hey, who are we to change traditions?

Here are the pictures in a bit of random order. Can I just say that putting pics in Blogger is a pain, and resorting them is even worse.

Hanging out at Gelgela:
Ladies at Gelgela making injera:
Roasting coffee beans:

Emane and Lindsay in deep conversation in the chapel:

Yezelalem Minch staff:
Getting a cooking lesson:
Nesibu helping:
Does this look hot or what?
Milkiyas, Tendaye and Mekonnen:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flood damage

Can I complete a timely post? I think not!

Two weekends ago I took the canoe upriver about 3 miles to survey the damage the valley sustained in the rare July flash flood.

This is Stock Gap Road bridge that we cross on our 10-mile bike loop. A number of families used this bridge to get out of the valley. I've heard the county has applied for disaster funds so they can rebuild it, but it will be a while. In the meantime we won't be doing the loop.
This is where the bridge used to be.

Maybe we can ride across this tree.
This is my view 15 minutes later from underneath my canoe. A big electrical storm pushed through and forced me to think like Survivorwoman. I inverted my boat against a short ledge and sat until it ended.

Wonder who took this pic? Survivorwoman!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Caroline's first fishing trip

Spence's email to Nana: Our canoe trip yesterday was really great. She loved it and behaved well. We stopped at several gravel bars so she could play and throw rocks. She also likes to play in the sand and rub mud on her arms and legs. She calls it “sunscreen.” We had a tea party, too. With rocks I made a tiny table, plates, tea cups, and a tea pot. We used little mussel shells as bowls for our imaginary yogurt and sticks for spoons. I jokingly warned her that if she smeared her yogurt on herself, I’d take it away. She smiled. We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, cheese sticks, and lemonade. Then later we got a treat, Little Debbie oatmeal pies. She told Mama Norma that we had pie for our treat. I’m excited about going with her again. I was concerned that she’d fuss about wearing her life jacket, but she didn’t object at all. And she never got bored or whiny. I think we could go for an entire day and she’d do fine. I’ll bet she’d even nap in the boat. I’ll try that soon.

Spence didn't mention that they caught a mess of fish, which he fried up for dinner.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First word!

I've got so much to post and so little time -- the rest of our Ethiopia trip journal, flood damage, etc. -- but this one trumps everything else:

Dawit said his first word this weekend: Da-da!

For a couple of days he'd been saying da-da-da-da-da, so we capitalized on the opportunity and worked on focusing it down to two syllables. Yesterday, we think he said it. But today I'm 100% sure. I said, "Da-da." He said, "Da-da." Daddy wasn't here to witness it though. He's off on a canoe-fishing day-trip with Caroline.

My little sister Jesi's first word was Da-da. It took months to get her to say anything else, so I was hesitant to push it with Dawit. But later this morning he dropped his toy. I said, "Uh-oh." And he said, "Uh-uh." Then he proceeded to say uh-uh whenever he couldn't reach a toy.

Caroline's first three words were kitty, Mama and tractor.