Happy New Year Everybody....
This is the first year in a long time that I did not get a Christmas Letter out or even Christmas cards. This year's events snowballed into the end of the year and left me wanting for simple days and as little stress as possible. Our year has been chock-full of good stuff and not so good stuff, but the promise of a new day is the best medicine for me always.
Christmas Eve we had Mesfin and family come over for afternoon lunch and catching up. Genet was in Ethiopia (her sweet sister, Tigist, had died suddenly).
Each morning I enjoy beautiful scenes as I make my morning coffee. My good friend Grace lives right there behind me, so I give a silent "good morning" to her as I smell the scent of my coffee brewing...
Morning coffee view
When we decided to move from California to Colorado ... I still find it interesting to realize that I'd never been here, (just a tad when I was really young, don't remember all of it), I didn't know anybody here, and moving would have lasting ramifications with significant relationships. I would be leaving everybody and everything that I ever knew and had spent precious time coming to know. What kind of crazy decision is that? But what I know for sure is that all of the decisions I've made as an adult and some as a young girl, have brought me such joy and happiness for years to come. I can take any one of my decisions and follow it through and see an incredible amount of fruition ... fulfillment, achievement, satisfaction! I can see the fruit that I've labored for. Some ripened over night and some took years. And right now, it all seems to be evident right before my eyes what my "Fruit Tree" looks like. It is huge, it has strong roots, it has strength that only God can offer it. It bears not just one type of fruit, but many colors and tastes. Sometimes ... too many for me to take in.
Our first Winter snow
Front yard tree
In my 40's, (okay...late forties) I can say that I am at a happy place. Certainly I am a constant work in progress, always. But you can't have in your 20's and 30's what the 40's can bring you if you do it right.
All this to say, September 29th, 2006, (the day we moved) marked a day creating yet another fantastic foundation for me and my family. Since then, we have continued to make fun and courageous decisions that have brought fulfillment and richness beyond our recognition. I love when I get to remind our boys that "You never know what is around the corner," especially when I know exactly what is around the corner that we are about to give them. Maybe it's something big, or what they've been asking for lately. But I feel like when I get to do that, I can only imagine what it is like for God to look at our life and say, "My Child, you have no idea what is around the corner for you!" He must want to scream out to us to make those U-turns, or keep on doin' what we're doin'. When I know that Brandon has major attitude for some crappy little issue and yet around his corner I have something big for him, it hurts my heart to decide to stick to it and give it to him. God does not take things away from us every time we make bad decisions, He keeps his word and so do I.
It took me a while, but I have found that when I reflect back on my life in California, I have no regrets for this move, this major life-changing decision. Sure I was sad to leave behind everything that I knew, absolutely ... but the idea of something unknown, something simpler, a not so fast paced lifestyle ... drew a fire in my heart that I couldn't put out. One thing about David and I is that once we make the decision, which is always based on careful thoughtfulness, we pretty much stick to it and move full steam ahead. And it has always been good. We trust our instincts and intuition.
There are so many changes that have taken place since we've moved and over 2009...
We added a new family member, Tigist! Big one, don't you think? The boys have grown very tall, Brandon being over 2" taller than I and I'm 5'7 and a half! Brandon has created many things with his hands and head ... a cross bow, a hover-craft that literally floated on air the length of a cement hockey field, a bow and arrow, artwork that blows my mind and other stuff I forget by now.
Evan and Tigist making letters
Halloween at Leah's house. She sure loves dressing up. She's tried to dictate what she'll wear each day by throwing a fit. I won't have this starting so early, so I just give her 2 choices and she gets to pick one. Sometimes she just can't decide and throws a fit...God help me, it's too early!
Learning letters with playdough
Evan took tons of pics of her in the house, outside ... they love to play with each other
Working her music career early on.
Did you like it Mommy?
This is Aman. Mesfin's youngest. I think they will marry one day. He takes care of her when he comes and kisses her. But today, she couldn't get a kiss from him at all.
Tigist dressed up to see the new Disney movie with the first black princess ... "The Princess and the Frog". Her first time in a theater. She wasn't too impressed with this new experience, just too wiggly and wanted something to do the whole time. We'll try again real soon.
This is truly how they feel about each other. At times it brings me to tears. Brandon being in the 9th grade now, High School, he's grown up quite a bit. He really gets into hands on projects at school and at home. He is 2 or 3 inches taller than I, I can't believe it. Some of our most precious times are little rides together running errands or a movie. And I know David has precious times with him to playing ping pong in the rec room upstairs.
More of Evan's pictures in the back.
Oh, my precious daughter. Full of joy!
"Evan, how many more times do I have to say cheese?"
Elizabeth gives her a pink Ukelele. Rockin' it!
This is the owner of our adoption agency, Joan. She had a 10 year anniversary fundraiser here where the night before this, was a beautiful sit down dinner. Many adoptive families came fromout of town and out of state to celebrate.
Aneata on the right was our agency rep. We still meet for lunches and Tigist loves to see her. It was so much fun when returning home from Ethiopia and bringing Tigist to the agency for the first time.
My 2 love-birds.
Now ... this is Abebe. He was our rep in Ethiopia during the time we went to pick her up. He and his wife run the orphanage, Sele Enat, so to see him here in Denver was such a treat. And for him to see not only Tigist, but all of the other children that they helped to bring home to their families...was just so wonderful.
Gilles and Melanie are waiting for their baby girl. They live in Hollywood where we use to live. We met over the phone last Summer, I visited while attending Deb's funeral in L.A. And we've been friends since then. They just got their referral of a gorgeous 2 yr. old girl.
Hanna runs Sele Enat in Ethiopia. It was so good to see her here too.
Tigist and Hanna
Evan is now teaching himself piano, he plays guitar and the drums every single day. Their interaction with people is so much fun to see, because that is where I see if all of our hard work "took." Evan sometimes cooks a whole dinner for us. He loves, loves, LOVES it when we play family games or cards.
Most times you can find Evan playing with Tigist. They do everything together. Evan is an amazing big brother to her and she loves him so. The other morning, I was looking on the video monitor to see if she was up yet, and I viewed something that brought tears to my eyes. Evan was waking her up and stroking her back and tucking her in (I guess she was still tired). He hopped into bed with her and just was so sweet to take such care of his baby sister. It was just precious to witness and know how much he loves her.
I guess I've inspired him by buying him the Guiness Book of World Records. I think he had like thirty-something shirts on at once. Then he couldn't breath and pleaded for me to help him get them off.
Thursday nights we have Family Fun Night and we make it a point to stop everything else at 5pm and it's all about being together. No I-Pods, I-Phones, computers, head phones, work ... this is our favorite night of the week and we get to check in on where the boys are at with what's going on with them for the week. Next week we're having a Dream-Nite, where we sit in the front room together and make lists and notes about what we expect of ourselves for the year. They get to pick their favorite drink, I make them a goodie bag of yummy stuff they like (cause we want to put them in a happy place, right?!!) and we talk about expectations! It's a time to focus on that one subject and think it through. David and I have done this for years between ourselves. We make a list called ... "I can't believe I .... " and then we fill in the blank. But the neat thing is, this list is things that we have not accomplished yet. It is a sort of bucket-list to work towards. We all know that if we put our dreams and wishes on paper, they are more likely to come true, so that is what we do. And it works!
David's business is taking a new turn this year where he will host a regular seminar across the US called "Home Recording Boot Camp". His first one plans to be hosted in L.A., which will be on his way to Australia taking Tigist to meet the few remaining family members who have yet to meet her. His sweet brother Rod found out a couple of months ago that he has a brain tumor of all things. He was just about to retire and vacation in the US to come see us and other places. David went to visit him earlier and will go back in March again. Rod is doing well now, but he continues to struggle with taking care of this. Bless his heart.
I continue to fulfill the orders daily for the business and blown away that everyday there continues to be orders from around the world for David's dvd tutorials (www.proaudiodvds.com). We hope to pass this job on in the next month or two so that I can concentrate on perhaps teaching a half hour session at David's Boot Camps about Social Media Networking for Musicians. We'll see. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of extra time on my hands with a toddler in tow, but I really would like to see this happen, so I'll do my best. Hopefully we''' be traveling to the cities that some of you live in and we can have a coffee together. I'm going to be starting some podcasts about SMN (social media networking) with my friend Gina (she's in Orange County, CA) which really thrills me. I think this'll be right up my alley.
For those of you who has known me for a long time, you'll remember I use to sing with a vocal group called Crescendo in L.A. One of my most favorite times in my life was being a part of that group. I ended up bowing out as it was conflicting with my family time and David was then working his business as well as working at our church as the sound engineer. But the update of one of the members, Charmaine Clamor is that she is doing really well these days. She has the equivalent of an Oscar in the Philipines where she is from, but doing really well in New York and L.A. I'm so proud of her. She plays regularly in L.A. at "The Catalina Bar and Grill" on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and if any body here likes really great Live Jazz, you should see her show there. I highly recommend it and I'm upset that I cannot see her regularly like I did when I live in L.A. I'm working diligently, however, with jazz radio here and the local jazz clubs and Filipino Community to try to get her and her band here for a Denver performance. It's my new mission I'm on!
Tigist grew 5 inches since she came home, yet she only gained 1 pound. It is clear that she has thinned out and grew taller cause all of her pants go a few inches above her ankle when I put them on.
It has absolutely been a wonderful year, despite some tough areas, did I mention the fire? Just a little damage. Brandon has to tell THAT story. This year I feel is going to be spectacular for sure.
Lots and lots of neat things happening. Stay tuned...
Back home Mimi's was my go-to place to meet people for breakfasts. It always seems so weird for me to see snow on the roof of our Mimi's here in Denver.
Halloween this year was at Leah & Kyles ... again. They are always so sweet to invite us.
The food was amazing here. Leah pulls out all the stops.
Ohhh, don't we love Thanksgiving?
Leah's pavlova dessert
Tigist and Aman ... isn't he adorable?
We love baking in the ktichen together. She even has her own baking utinsils.
Our visit from our California neighbors who now live in Texas. Terry and I had a day out in the city ... it was a great day!
Our friends from Texas brought Tigist a new back pack and "Dora" underwear ...
Our friends visit from Texas
Tigist, Me, David, Nick, Sabrina (hiding) Brandon and Evan