Home 6 months!

July 12, 2013

I think it is true to say that Wild Africa (at our zoo here in Battle Creek) never lives up to its name quite like when Zari, home 6 months today, is there!



the GROW project

July 12, 2013

A little random post to break the silence:)  Last year, after collecting our garden goods one day toward the end of Michigan’s too-short growing season, I made the following picture with all the day’s produce and, all the sudden, I had an idea brewing which was one more reason I had been dreaming of this year’s garden ever since. IMG_1328 the Grow project 9:19:12

Of course I always have the idea that each year the garden is going to be bigger and better and stay watered and weeded and that that I’ll start all my seeds indoors and they’ll be big and luscious by the time I plant them in the freshly worked, nicely warmed soil come next May. And, perhaps, that one year the garden will be big enough to produce beyond a “fresh snack zone” for the kids so I can store some, give some away and even set up the little veggie stand the kids have dreamed of.
Until all that happens we are enjoying our garden, imperfect as it is, and I am finally getting to live out last year’s idea for garden art.  I didn’t know if the kids would get into it but after Day 1, earlier this week, I was already pretty entertained!

And now I present..IMG_7616
“A Tomato Rowing a Boat”  by Jayce
And, here’s a little clue for the next one, which was designed by Tyrus.  This is the day after we returned from a trip to IL and made a stop at Super Target on the way home….IMG_7628

Give up?  Well, the banana peppers are Ry and I and all our little sweet peas-Jayce, Ty, Kaleah, and Azaria, are following behind as we head into Target which is depicted by the outline of sweet Peas with the typical big red balls at the entrance of Target marked by the cherry tomatoes!  Kaleah was too busy crunching away on sweet peas to partake in the art!  At the rate that they find and consume anything close to ripe, it’ll be amazing if we can make many more garden art additions to this post.  If anyone wants to add to this, we’d love to see your garden art:)

HOME {3 months}

April 12, 2013


I have many thoughts and memories stored up since coming home with Azaria three months ago-some glorious, some deep, some mundane.  I thought today would be a the day to share them but, since it didn’t work out that way, I’m marking the day with this picture instead.  Apparently someone captured it on my camera at my sister’s lovely wedding last weekend.  (Zari, by the way, was quite the impressive flower girl!)

IMG_5305Rosy Vintage


March 24, 2013

This boy is nearing 8!  I am so thankful for him.  He is a quality time kid and one of my favorite memories with him last month was when he said, “We need a date.”  So he and I went out and the whole way home from our date he rattled off all of the NFL teams one by one and told me the name of their running backs (or was it wide receivers??) as if he was reading it off of a list.  Then he went through each team again and told me the names of all their quarterbacks. I asked, “How are you doing this?!”  He nonchalantly answered, “I’m just going by conference, then division and then team.” He sure does enjoy sports and he retains information like a champ:)  Here he is-my little date- along with his little look-alike cousin and Ty in one of the only pictures I have of he and I together recently.

Basketball season came to a close earlier this month and I was not ready for it to be over!  It was great fun to go watch the boys play every Saturday morning.  Jayce really became a leader on his team this year.  For their final game, Jayce and Ty’s teams played each other.  It’s too bad I never got a great picture of them. Jayce stood in for this one but he just couldn’t keep his eyes off the game that was being played, add to that the fact that I was contending with a squirming baby and the near-impossible gym lighting!
IMG_4598 Jayce and Ty Upwards
IMG_4553 Jayce on defense

I am thankful daily for his tender, big-brother heart.  He is so good with his sisters that I have to watch it or he will have them spoiled in no time;)  Something about those girls-whether they are sad, want to be held, or need to be entertained, he is right there to scoop them up.

Sure do love my artistic, self disciplined, thoughtful, athletic, practical joking first born!


March 13, 2013

Ty has been sick for the past few days.  Thankfully it’s uncommon and I can only remember seeing him like this one other time a couple years ago.  Let me just say that when he is sick the energy level in our house plummets dramatically.  And that is putting it lightly.    So much so that I admit that I asked him somewhat nervously a few times, “Who am I?…Who is your littlest sister?”  just to make sure he was able to engage appropriately.

I missed putting this post up last month on “his” day so I am putting it up now.  It was my attempt at re-capping another (never-boring) month in the life of the Ty guy.  Sometimes I am able to get pictures or videos of him and his great ideas.  Other days I just can’t keep up…

Ty has been helping more in the kitchen.  Along with this he has chosen a favorite kitchen gadget-the meat thermometer.  For a couple weeks it seemed that whatever was cooking on the stove, whatever had just come out of the freezer, or whatever was on his plate about to be consumed had the meat thermometer sticking out of it and Ty was reporting on the temperature.  I even walked into his room one (cold) day and there was the thermometer, stuck through the open window and through the screen to the outside!  (I am forever searching for the fine line between the side of applauding and encouraging his curiosity and ingenuity and the side of disciplining his poor judgement and correcting his ideas-gone-bad!)

With Ty even the simplest activities get turned into something way more interesting (and often messy or time consuming).  Simple morning chores turn into experiments and inventions…

Here are the kinds of things I find on my camera thanks to Ty:)

And there are a few moments I can recall but didn’t get pictures of like
the time I walked into the dining room while cooking a meal only to find the porcelain toilet cover on the dining table while overhearing Ty in the bathroom giving Kaleah a lesson on how the toilet works.

Or the time I walked into the bathroom to find he had just given himself his annual haircut which he has a name for and everything.  It’s called the “pond” because basically it is an almost bald patch right in the front surrounded by the longer hair.  One of my automatic responses was to say that I would have to fix it with the clippers and he so seriously replied, “I don’t think you can because you would have to use like a zero (guard) because I cut it as close to my head as I could.” An unseasonably short haircut followed:)

Oh the list goes on. I totally love life with this boy.  Here is one last shot from just the other afternoon when the snow had started to come down in full force and he decided he wanted to be in a tent outside.
My caption when I sent Ry this picture was,  “Tyrus: making us look like bad parents since 2006” haha.  I just wondered how long it would take one of our neighbors to report us since it looked like he had been kicked out of the house in the middle of a snowstorm!

Kaleah Faith

March 6, 2013

Had a great day celebrating this little sweetie today!  Her activities of choice were to go to the library and the humane society:)
The brothers did whatever they could throughout the day to make her day special.  It actually began last night when Ty decided to bring the tent inside and set it up in the basement.  He thought is would be special for her birthday-and she did too! They got out the sleeping bags and slept cozily, along with the cat, until 4:30 this morning when they ventured back upstairs.  They had fun playing in the tent today and I am sure you can imagine my instruction that preceded these photo attempts-(“Hey guys, unzip the tent and stick your heads out so I can get a picture of you.”)
tent and kids
Of course my thought that followed was, “Why do I even try?!?”

As her birthday approached over the past couple weeks it was of course mentioned that she is “growing up.”  She never talked about wanting any presents but she did ask me very seriously a few different times when she will get to be a mommy now that she is growing up!  She just loves babies and being around her baby cousins over the past couple weeks and watching her aunts care for them made her love babies all the more!   She is such a bright spot to all of us!

February 8, 2013

The flower girl dress came in the mail while I was taking Zari’s birthday pictures the other day.  So Kaleah tried hers on and stepped in for a few shots…if I would have known she was going to be so in to it, I could have at least done her hair:0  Of course the house was trashed while this was going down, the boys kept going in and out the door with wet, dirty shoes from playing outside, and dinner was un-started. Oh well, first birthdays and the excitement of flower girl dresses are worth it I suppose:)
Kaleah trying on flower girl dress collage

Birthday girl!

February 6, 2013

Today we celebrated Zari’s first birthday!  But really, it seems like just about every day is a party with her!  Whether its words or photos, I feel I can never quite accurately depict who she is:)

Here is a video from yesterday…

She is just under 19 pounds and is 25″.  I think the height measurement may be a little inaccurate but either way, she is petite with the exception of her belly. She just popped her second tooth last week. Her little eyebrows seem to dance and her collection of facial expressions makes me think of a brand new box of 72 Crayola crayons-they draw you in and there are just so many.  I am trying to learn them all and categorize them by what they each mean.

Some of her favorite things these days are…
the cat (I don’t think it’s mutual)
bottles (as many as we will give her)
mommy (though I feel my standings are slipping the more she gets comfortable and explores)
her lamb (the one we took her when we first met)
cylinder shaped objects (she tucks them in with a football hold while she crawls around)
daddy (she has been calling him dada since we picked her up it seems)
food (she cleans up any concoction I whip up, no matter how healthy!)
her siblings (she likes to be carried, play ball, kiss and hug them, and laugh at them)

Our case worker called to check in with us today.  At one point I was hoping she didn’t think I was making things up because, thankfully, everything has been so smooth.  Don’t get me wrong, she has her daily “fussy at 5(pm)” moments and I have already posted about some of the bloopers and day to day moments that just aren’t too pretty, including the diarrhea dilemma, but the case worker and I talked about how she had no jet lag and has only woke up in the middle of the night once or twice since being home and how she communicates so well.  She picks up sign language almost instantaneously.    She started signing “more” before we even left Ethiopia, and she now signs “milk” when she wants a bottle or “drink” when she wants water.  She also uses  “please”, “cat”, and “snow.”

We did a little cake smash today and by every indication, she really enjoyed it:)  The other kids were pretty entertained too-and happy to get some cake themselves!
cake smash collage
There are of course deep questions and emotions surrounding this day-her birthday.  I mostly left these with Jesus today but as I looked deep into her eyes before laying her in bed tonight I couldn’t help but wonder about the woman who looked into her eyes one year ago.  I don’t know her, yet there is such a connection between us—This little girl.  And our love for her.  I believe it was with deep, heart-wrenching, unfathomable love that she laid her down.  And because of God’s deep, heart-wrenching, unfathomable love-poured out on us- we now carry her.  This brings me low.  I don’t think there is any way to fully understand or explain it.  But in the mystery, I am in awe of God’s faithful, redemptive hand at work for us all and for allowing her to be in our family.

We love you Azaria Wogen Joy Moody.  Happy Birthday, sweet girl.


February 5, 2013

Just a month away from 3, she is becoming more beautiful to me everyday (despite crazy hair because getting her hair done is not her favorite thing:).  The other day she told me she wanted to be three “right now.”  I then realized its because she is so excited about being in Auntie Kelli’s wedding and I told her it would be after she is 3.  She wants to wear her “pretty dresses!” Most of the time she has been so busy “babying the baby” that she hasn’t had time to be bothered that she isn’t the baby anymore.  There have been a few occasions when she seemed to be struggling with the transition and if you were anywhere near us when we were leaving Meijer last night you would know what I am talking about.
I love her near-constant singing and when she “reads” books out loud. I love hearing her pray, “thank you that Zari is home” after all the months of hearing her pray (while we were waiting for Zari), “thank you that Zari can come home.” (living up to her name’s meaning, “bright faith”)  And I love to watch her live out her 2 year old dreams …K pushing Z in stroller During the (brief) reprieve from snow last week we took a walk and she pushed Azaria all the way around our circle “by herself”.
Keep dreaming, little girl!


February 5, 2013

Last week as I sat through the first night of my English class (still taking baby steps towards a nursing degree) and read over all the writing assignments I will have, I looked at my instructor and thought, “Dude, I hope you are ok with reading about diaper blowouts, homeschooling dilemmas, and messy houses cause that’s about all I got!”

Never in my life, even when I worked in a daycare or when both boys were in diapers, have I ever spent so much of my time changing diapers.  This is one of the many reasons that my recent summary for life has been “It’s not always pretty but it sure is beautiful!”  I think about this so often, not just when I am changing the 3rd messy diaper of the day and its only 10am.  I think about it when kids stumble through lessons and I coach them along the way.  And when I get impatient, speak harshly and get picked back up by God’s grace and the sweet forgiveness of children.  I think about it in the midst of my messy kitchen- especially when my husband steps in to clean everything up.  And when I can’t for the life of me get to even half of the things on my to do list.  I think about it when I miss the basketball game in which my biggest boy scored all of the first quarter’s points so that my teething baby can finish her much needed nap.  And when we are stuck at the library with a flat tire.   I think about it when I step in the melted, muddy puddles surrounding the boots after big brother has taken little sister out sledding. And when I get on the treadmill only to hear little voices in the monitor less than a mile later and go on to wear my work out clothes for the rest of the day.   The list goes on.  Things do not always look so pretty around here but I am learning to remember, more and more, that there is something deeper, something more lasting and important happening beyond just what I can see in the moment!
Case in point….  Just out of the shower, looking like I got way less sleep than I actually got, but oh, the love!  I am so thankful for these children.
with all 4