Monday, December 27, 2010

October and November

Well, the holiday season officially flew by. It has been three months since I last posted. So much has gone by. We have done so much and blogging is getting increasingly harder. But I am going to try to commit to weekly so I have the memories saved in words.

October came and went. The boys absolutely loved Halloween. They were both Batman. Dawit was the original Batman and Sintayehu went as the Dark Knight. We had a whole weekend of festivities between school, church, family and friends. Dawit wore his costume for 8 straight days. At School we had a Fall Festival. It went well but the best part was the Magic Show. Sintayehu was picked to help out and his expressions were hilarious. We went to the pumpkin patch with the Diehls and the Dolls. It was so much fun. We got some good family pictures as well.We had a Halloween Party at my parents. It was so much fun. We did all sorts of Halloween games for the kids. They had a great time. The following night was Trick-or-treating. They were shy at first but figured it out really fast. We went trick-or-treating with the Brownings and Harris'.
Sintayehu in the slingshot at the pumpkin patch.

Dawit in the slingshot at the pumpkin patch.
Silly Boys
Took the boys to see Willy Wonka at the local theater.
Trying to walk in Mommy's shoes
Carving Pumpkins
Carving Pumpkin
Browning, Harris, Crain Clan + Sara
Batman to the rescue!!
During Veteran's Day weekend, we took the boys to Vegas. We stayed with my Auntie Tammy and Uncle Alan. We went to the Hoover Dam. This was the Highlight for S. He loved reading all of the facts for the building of the dam. He even got to stand in two states at once. He straddled the border of Nevada and Arizona. My Uncle told us of all the shows we could go see and then the boys asked if they could ride the escalator. We decided all of the free Vegas stuff would be exciting enough after that.
Loving the Escalators!!!
Just us!!! at the Hoover Dam
Inside the Dam
The Crains in front of the oldest working Crane
More Escalators :)
Thanksgiving was so much fun. They couldn't believe that we, Americans, had a holiday devoted to eating. We watched movies on the pilgrims and Indians. Talked about the first Thanksgiving and talked about being grateful. We had Thanksgiving at my sister's house. She cooked a fabulous meal and there was way to much food of course. Then my mom and I went to Walmart for the Black Friday deals. We were there from 10- 6 and boy were we tired.

Sintayehu's soccer team is doing great. They were league champions and are going on to defend Yucaipa in the Commissioner's Cup in Temecula the first weekend of December. He is so excited. The practices are bloody cold. It has even snowed on us one night. I come to practice wrapped in several layers with a heater and the cold is still nipping at my toes. Can't wait for the tournament.
Sintayehu with his trophy
Sintayehu performed skits from the Bible at a convalescent home with his youth group at the end of the month. The residents seemed to enjoy themselves but even more importantly, all of the kids want to go back soon. They are developing a servant's heart so quickly. They just seem to get it at this age.

Sintayehu was Jesus Healing the Leper
Family Pics Taken by a great friend.
Shooting off Rockets in the park.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I don't know how long I will have feelings of pure joy and an overwhelming sense of amazement at the fact of becoming a mother, but I hope it is for the rest of my life. This morning, as I was dropping Sintayehu off at school I became overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude towards God's awesome and perfect plan. I started thinking back to before our plan was reshaped by God's.

Our family began before Nick and I were even together. We were very good friends, even tried "going out" in the 8th grade, but in March of 1999, we were mere Juniors in High School. But across the world in a little village in Ethiopia, a woman, my age, was giving birth to a perfect little boy. While I was worrying about who I would go to Junior Prom with or giggling with excitement that I made CIF in swimming and was going to do an overnight swim meet with our Co-ed Swim team, a girl of the mere age of 16 was beginning her journey to motherhood. She was looking at our little angel. She walked to the hospital and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. A boy that she would love, feed, hold, cuddle, and sing to. A boy that she would teach Jesus to, even though she couldn't read the Bible. A boy that she would teach to work hard and take pride in whatever he was doing. So, while I was doing traditional "American Teenage" activities: college prep, sports, dances, hanging out; our son was being raised very well by an incredibly loving woman.

I am grateful for their first mother. Grateful that she went on to have another son. Around the same time that Dawit was born, I was praying for a double line on a pregnancy stick. We had our first "scare." Scare for Nick, Dreams for me. I was two weeks late and while I knew we said we would wait two years before trying to have kids, I was ready and hopeful for this little skipped cycle. It stirred a yearning and desire to become a mom. Well, a week later and four negative sticks later, my cycle was back on track. There was never confirmation as to why it was so late, but in my heart of hearts, I had a very early miscarriage that never truly started enough to show positive on a test. But so started the quest for trying.

It took Nick 6 more months before he would actively try to start a family. We thought it would be easy. Huh, boy were we wrong. Little did we know that starting a family would test our marriage in ways we didn't know possible. But we clung to eachother, and finally laid it all out for God. We prayed, fasted, read, meditated on scripture, but month after month, the answer was no. All of our initial fertility tests came back inconclusive. At the same time I started undergoing allergy treatment and tests. Turns out, I am allergic to everything. So we weighed our options and prayed. We prayed for a family.

God definitely showed us that family doesn't have to share DNA. We both knew where we were being directed. All the while our family was growing across the world. First steps were being taken, first words were being spoken. Car crashes, falling off of horse drawn-carts, sibling fights. S started kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade and D was getting ready for preschool when their world was turned upside down. I am sure it crumbled and became dark. They didn't know what was going to happen to them. I know they were SAD. A sadness I can't comprehend. I have never lost a parent. They were scared. A fear so primal that they resorted to infant behaviors for a while. Again, something I can't fathom. I have always been safe.

But through the dark and across two continents and an ocean there was a couple who was praying for a family. Through the darkness, pain and grief, God was growing another family for these beautiful boys. God does not promise to keep us from suffering. But He does promise to deliver us from evil. If we choose to love Him, He promises to grant us the desires of our hearts. Even if our desires are not know fully to us. We prayed for the love of children. It didn't matter the age, gender or circumstances. We knew we had love to give and we just needed children who could receive it. So today I was in complete AWE of a God so grand.

This is what pure joy can look like if we trust in HIM.
It's not at all what I thought my family would look like in 1999 when I was 17 years old. But in 2010 at 28, I can't dream of it any other way.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apple Picking, Soccer, Flu and Freak Storms

Last weekend we had the opportunity to get together with some of Nick's extended family. They came up for apple picking, or so they thought. Our weather has been weird enough this summer that the apples weren't quite ready. However the raspberries were delicious. We picked three baskets full and managed to avoid the bees. The bees were everywhere. Sintayehu DID NOT enjoy this activity and he made sure everyone knew it. It was really frustrating. Everyone else was having a good time though. We moseyed down the way to another family favorite ranch and no picking there either but we were able to make some Apple Cider. This was more Sintayehu's speed. (It was in the shade. He is not a heat kid and it was like the hottest weekend of the year.) Later we went to the park for a picnic with the family. The kids all got to play together and it was fun to see the boys hang out with their cousins.

We have been loving watching Sintayehu grow in his soccer skills. He is doing so well. We are just waiting for his confidence to grow. He plays to the ball and gets frustrated when he doesn't get the results he wants. But he's improved so much already.

Last week I managed to catch some kind of stomach bug. Ugg. Being sick is ten times worse as a mom. So much to do and I couldn't do anything but run back and forth from the bathroom to bed. But my mom came and helped while Nick was at work and Nick was awesome and got Dawit out of the house on Friday so I could get some more sleep. Today I am finally feeling better. By about noon I was able to stand with out the nausea. I can't tell you how many people thought we were pregnant. EVERYONE. But we aren't.

Today we had a great thunderstorm around 4:00. It was awesome. We played a family soccer game and had a great time. Sintayehu felt like he was back in Ethiopia. It was a lot of fun and fairly our of sorts for our neck of the woods. So we just enjoyed it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

6 months

Today, our boys have been home for six months. It's funny, the time has flown by but it also seems like they have been our family forever. I just finished reading through all of the posts since they have been home. We've been busy ;). Oh my. It's so amazing to think how all of our pain, with the waiting and delays, has just absolutely disappeared. The boys have just filled up our lives with a love that I had never known. It's incredible, my relationship with them has caused so many other relationships to grow as well.

Nick and I are closer than ever. We may not have all of the alone time we we would like and our conversations are constantly interrupted but we have been filled with such a joy that we share together.

My mom and I are much closer. It took a little bit as we were finding our footing and what we could all handle; but my appreciating for her patience and willingness to help put or hang back has quadroupled. Plus I don't know how she managed all 3 ignite extra-curricular schedules.

Watching the patience my Dad has with the boys just makes mr respect him all the more. He is a very loving grandfather and Dad.

Nana and Poopa just absolutely adore the boys and thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. And they are always there for an encouraging word, we know how self soubt can haunt a parent

And my relationship with God has changed as well. Not because of a fulfilled promise but I can fully understand God's love for us. I couldn't quite comprehend his willingness to die on a cross for us. But I one hundred percent understand his desire for us to choose to love and praise Him.

I have been working on a slideshow but it's not done. Hopefully this weekend unwilling post it. Tomorrow, Nick and I are going to our 10 year reunion. Grandma is taking te boys to chuck e cheeses, so hopefully Sintayehu won't be upset that he is not invited. He thought it was really rude to put No children on the invitation.

For six months we have loved, battled, cried, mourned, grieved, rejoiced, learned, and grown. I can't wit to see what life continues to have in store for us.


My little man has not one but two loose teeth. He is so excited. I am so bummed. My baby is growing faster than I think is ideal. He wont look like a little kid with those gigantic teeth in his mouth. This is all just going too quickly. Today I decided our family will stay 28, 11, and 5 forever. Someone let me know where I can buy that machine to freeze time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rocky Start

Today I woke up to an 11 year old telling me we were late for school. We weren't. It was 5:45 in the morning and he didn't have to even wake up for another hour. Well the pestering continued and the morning turned into ka-ka. Each one of us yelled at someone. Every person in the house hit. And we were all miserable. Plus ants invaded every room in the house.

I needed to re-do the morning. I wish I could. I went down to their level and I shouldn't have. So I am making it up. I prayed for patience, peace, understanding of the crazy mood swings. And thank God, I was renewed.

Our afternoon has been wonderful. Homework is going smoothly. Little man went down for a nap and we will soon be taking showers so we can go to Bible study.

All I have to say is Thank you Lord for your constant power. You are so big and perfect. I constantly fall short and fail in so many areas, yet I remain in Your grace. I don't deserve redemption and renewal but You are faithful. Please use me as you see will. I am your servant and I will answer your call. Thank you for your abundant blessings. Amen

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Last week went by so quickly. The Crain household was thrown into a blender and we all came out barely damaged.

I went back to work last week and while I only work part-time, the first week of school is a full week to get routines going, get to know the kids, and meet the parents. It was so difficult being away from the boys all week. I wasn't getting home until 4:30 or 5 and we were going straight to soccer practice, bible study or some other function. So it was a long week that went by in a blur. Plus add our 115 degree heat and a broken air conditioner, I was not a happy camper.

On Saturday, Sintayehu had opening ceremonies and his first "unofficial" soccer game. It was just a scrimmage, but they were in uniform, there were refs, and the mayor blew the whistle for the start of the game. Sintayehu was on cloud- nine. He had quite the cheering squad, Grandma, Poopa, Grandma Kathy, Uncle Richard and Trinity all showed up to watch his game. When his team scored, he ran to the nearest kid on his team and hugged him. It was really cute. Here are a couple of pictures from the game:

He got to do the kick off so he was super excited
Running for the ball
After the game.

This week I only work on Thursdays and Fridays so life is back on track. The boys behavior was so much better already. Mixing their routine up throws them for a loop which can be very difficult to navigate sometimes.

Sintayehu still loves school. I am proud of how well he is doing. He comes home and starts his homework with minimal hassle. We are working on him completing it and I checking it when he is done. His confidence level isn't very high for math so he wants constant reassurance that he is doing the step correctly. I am hoping by October he can do the lesson and let me look it over after he has finished. Luckily he is loving reading. He has almost finished all 4 "Diary of a Whimpy Kid" books in three weeks. He has about 40 pages left of the last book.

His mother had instilled self pride and effort into him so well. She is a woman that I respect and hope to meet the same expectations. I am so honored to get to know her through them and to raise them with the same values.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Days of School

Sintayehu started school on Monday. He was so excited. I was able to get a few pics before school but I goofed and the battery died after only a couple. I did get video though. It was really cute to see how excited he was. I walked him to his classroom and met his teacher. He immediately found a friend and joined the boys in his class.

When I picked him up he looked hot and tired. He said his brain was exhausted. It was difficult for him to translate so quickly. But he was eager to go back. Each day has gotten easier for him. He understands more and is slowly getting to know kids in his class. He got his first weekly progress report and the teacher said he is getting it. He got excellent on behavior, homework and classwork. He was even excited to do his weekend homework.

We were fortunate in that his teacher has had three students from Africa in the past five years. So his teacher was really excited to learn about another African country.

Dawit is still getting used to the day without his brother. On Day 3 of dropping off Sintayehu at school, Dawit says in a small little voice and a single tear on his cheek, "Good bye Sintayehu. I miss you" Check out the video of their reunion after the first day. *** sorry it's shakey. I was a bit excited myself ***

I am also going back to school next week. It is so hard to leave them. I hate it. I may be exhausted, tired, and overwhelmed; but I want to be the one to see them wake up, get home from school and learn new things. I don't like missing those moments. I am praying for peace and understanding as I return to work.

On a very happy note, our good friends the Doll's had a beautiful baby girl on Thursday. Her name is Ellery Von Doll. The family is healthy and smitten with their baby, and maybe a little sleep deprived. I am so excited for them. I can't wait to meet her, but I know how transition time is needed. So I am patient :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Catching up Part 2

We had Sintayehu's 11th Birthday party on Saturday. It was beautiful weather. The kids all played very nicely together. Again I was expecting melt downs, especially from the little man but he did really well. Sintayehu allowed him to help and they got along very nicely. It was lovely. Everyone stayed long enough to dig up some dinner and continue chatting. It was great to have family and friends together twice in one month.
Opening gifts

It was a batman themed party
The next day we headed to church and after church we headed up the local mountains for some camping. Nick took this week off to spend as a family before there are some big changes (Sintayehu going to school, Me going back to work, and Dawit spending some days without his brother). It was great up there. The weather didn't peak above 75 the entire time we were there. The boys enjoyed the time up there. They learned how to play horseshoes, shuffleboard, and played some basketball with the "Big Boys" which resulted in some skinned knees. The boys also showed off their soccer skills and rode a horse for the first time. It was great. I told nick we should sell our house and live in a little trailer. And then no one would have to work. We could just spend our time as a family. He wasn't too keen on the idea. But we had a great time.
D-man checkin on his brother


Family photo

Rock Climbing

A great way to carry your drink around the campground without looking like a lush.

Well we got home from camping and I called to get Sintayehu signed up for soccer and wouldn't you know it, he was going to have practice in two hours. So Nick and he ran out to get soccer gear while Dawit and I did some unpacking. We went to his first ever soccer practice and was tired but he loved it. He even asked to go running to build up his endurance. So cute.