Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 9 & 10: Goodnight Aggieland!

The children's book that Mark and I wrote was published, and we received our shipment of books this week!  Goodnight Aggieland is a book about the greatest university on earth, and it's unique traditions.  While it is a children's book primarily, it's great for any fan who wants to share the traditions that make Texas A&M one of the most spirited campuses in the country.  It would make a great Christmas present for anyone!  We are so proud to be able to dedicate the book to our son, Zane Addisu, future Fightin' Texas Aggie class of 2031 (WHOOOOOP!)!  See more about the book at

We've had a great month of November.  Ginger and cinnamon filled our apartment today as I baked Ginger Spice cookies.  We had pot roast and cornbread tonight before downing the cookies with a hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee.  I love fall.  The smells and tastes are warm and inviting.  The sites around Houston are filled with Christmas lights, colorful ornaments, wreaths, and ribbons.  I felt pure delight as I listened to Bing Crosby fill the halls of Memorial City Mall yesterday.  It may not be a "White Christmas" here, but it certainly will be a joyful one.

It's been interesting to think of Christmas this year with a toddler in our family.  I want to make family traditions that are meaningful and important to him.  Most of all, I want him to know the beauty of the season. Christmas is about giving, sacrifice, and hope.  Our attention turns to the poor and the needy as we gather meals and gifts for others.  We await Santa Clause, or Saint Nick, who is said to have given gold coins to three neighborhood girls who had no dowry for marriage.  The coins were dropped anonymously through the chimney of their home and landed in socks hanging to dry over the fire.  The most important reason we celebrate and the cause of the first Christmas, of course, was the Savior of the world being born to rescue man from their self-destructive sin nature.  The hope and joy we have during this season is because of His deliverance from fear, oppression, and grief.

In the midst of the lights, music, merriment, and fun of it all, I hope to instill traditions of giving, sacrifice, and hope during this season.  As Zane learns American culture, I pray that it is forever infused with his Christian heritage, and the true meaning behind our celebrating!

I would love to hear the Christmas traditions you have with your children or family!  Please leave a comment or post on my facebook page!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 7 - Fall is Here!

This week was full of great weather and fun!  We've been in the 70's and 80's here in Houston, which feels like winter, and we've enjoyed being outdoors.

Zane is officially out of size 12 month pants this week!  That's a relief since the boy is almost 22 months!!  He's on to a size 18-24 month!  We continue to introduce new foods, and he's catching on to the American diet.  This week he likes beans, broccoli cheese soup, and peanut butter crackers (an all-time favorite).  He's still not really into meats, but we continue to put them in front of him at meal times.

We've had playdates this week with old friends from college, and Zane even stayed with Mimi and Popi for a whole day while Mommy and Daddy went to the Aggie game.  Unfortunately, the Aggies lost, but we feel like we scored big time with a whole day out and no issues!  Zane is adapting well to life here, and he loves his grandparents!

Sunday we went to Grandmom and G-Daddy's for lunch after church.  Zane went to his first Sunday School class in the toddler room, and we picked him up afterward.  I think he did okay, but he's still a little surprised and relieved when we come back to get him.  We're praying for him about this, and we continue to create opportunities to prove that "Mommy and Daddy ALWAYS come back."  We're also praying that God the Father would be so evident to him that he always feels His closeness when we are away.  God was faithful to be near to him in the months while he was in the transition home, and I know he is near to him now.  I pray that Zane can see that, as he literally and spiritually senses the Lord's presence around him.  At Grandmom and G-Daddy's Zane got to swing, see our dogs, play outside in the beautiful weather, and get spoiled with cookies and lots of attention.  He had a great time playing with vintage toys that Mark, Jay, and Laura used to play with!  Aside from hitting his head on the tile floor and getting his second bruise on his head (same spot as the one he got in Ethiopia from falling out of a chair), he had a great time!

Monday was the big event:  First Fest at Houston's First Baptist Church.  We've been waiting for this for weeks now.  There was everything you could imagine at the festival, including a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses, blow up slides, train rides, and more!!!  Zane went to the festival as the Ethiopia Lion of Judah.  In Ethiopia, the Lion of Judah represents the country's strength, independence, and foundation of historical Christianity.  Ethiopians believe that some of the bible's ancient history occurred there, and they even house the ark of the covenant.  This is a really difficult costume to explain to a bunch of American Baptists.  They think we just dressed him as the lion on the Wizard of Oz, but we knew he was so much more.  Zane, the lion, is a representation of God's hand on his country, the power that God has to strengthen Ethiopia, and God's deliverance from oppression.  Of course, these deep thoughts only occur to his mother, the brain behind this madness, and I'm okay with that.

The most thrilling things for Zane were the most simple things:  the bubble wrap tracks where toddlers could run and make the bubbles pop, a plastic pool with water and magnetic fish, and a big sandbox with items you could dig for.  Brilliant!  It was toddler heaven.  They even spread out butcher paper inside and let the kids draw on it with sidewalk chalk.  For Zane, candy was not even a thought this Halloween.  It was all about discovery.

I think Zane was most mesmerized by the Petting Zoo.  He had a love/hate relationship with this attraction.  On one hand, he was so drawn to the donkey, the goats, the lambs, the deer, and the chickens.  Afterall, these animals are EVERYWHERE in Ethiopia, and they sustain the country.  However, he was a little surprised at their audacity to approach him, encourage him to pet them, and invade his personal space.  In Ethiopia, donkeys will toe the line as their master whips them into submission.  Chickens roam the streets and yards of peoples homes without concerning themselves with people.  Goats and lambs stand caged in local markets waiting to be bought and sold, slaughtered, and eaten.  But these animals?  They wanted to be coddled and pet by cute little children dressed as animals, pirates, cowboys, princesses, and other creatures.  This was absolutely bizarre to Zane.  When the donkey stood just beside him and honked out a loud, obnoxiously long "heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw", he raced up my leg into my arms, and looked at the thing like it was crazy.  It was so funny.  I wish I knew what he was thinking the whole time he watched the animals roam in the pin and rub up next to him like pets.

Mommy had a moment of "Toddlers and Tiaras" when I heard announced a costume contest for ages 0-2.  I went into "we gotta get him up there" mode, and I even pulled Zane away from a conversation with Daddy and Pastor Greg.  I've got priorities people!  Zane ended up third place, which is great for his first pageant!  (Not that there will be more...Mark would kill me.)

It was a great night that finished with dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and an "after-party" at home.  Mark and I stayed up with Zane and played until he was worn out from all the fun.  I think Zane's first American holiday was a hit!