Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winter/Spring 2014

We had an unseasonable warm winter, and then a longer spring this year. It was perfect! We got to play outside a lot. Here are some photos from our winter fun:

Alemitu loves animals. Poor Scooby would stay outside just to get a break from her. Then Alemitu would stare out the window sadly, until I let her go outside to play with Scooby some more.

The boys love playing in the back of the truck.
Busy Schedule = Kids That Fall Asleep In The Car

We always go to a Spring Training game with Grandpa Allen.

Grandpa Allen bought Alemitu a soccer goal (She calls it a "gold")
Lots of Four Square when my parents come to town.
Lots and lots of trash talk

Sabrina, well, the "family" got a new puppy!!! Meet Donny.
It took a little while, but Scooby and Donny are the best of friends.

Easter Sunday
She won't stop squeezing Donny. Ever. Not ever.
Alemitu's school recommended she go to the eye doctor. She is far sighted, but a lot of kids grow out of it, so we opted to hold off on getting glasses.
Wes at his school's fun run to raise money. The boys love doing this.

The boys started playing basketball again. I can't find Wes' picture right now, but this is Calvin's.

Wes trying to get a rebound.
Alemitu loves preschool.

The teachers kept talking about how surprised they were that she would get right in there and play hard with the boys in class . . . even though she is smaller than everyone else. That's what happens when you have older brothers.

We visit one of my very best friends on Wednesdays - Ms. Charlene. I used to do her hair each week since 2007, but now we just go to visit. Alemitu calls her grandma.
Alemitu got a big girl bed.
Adam came home from a wedding and brought me a flower. Alemitu was upset that daddy didn't bring her a flower. Somehow, my daughter ended up with the flower.
Valentine's Day hair.
Straight hair
Scootering in style
Alemitu started playing soccer. She LOVED it. Sometimes, we had to get on to her a bit about trash talking.
The boys playing tetherball in the rain. Alemitu sad because she can't join in right now. She wants to do everything her brothers do.
Riding her balance bike
The boys each scored a few goals this season.
Wes was sick, so Dr. Alemitu came to the rescue.
The boys had to dress up for an Ellis Island project at school.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Alemitu!


Alemitu is turning 4 next week, and we decided to throw her a farm animal party with her friends. When Alemi and I were grocery shopping for the party last night, the cashier was talking about how she will make even more friends when she turns 4 and goes to school (not realizing she is already in preschool). Alemitu was distraught. For the next hour, she talked about how she didn't want any more friends. She already has too many -- and then she named all the places where she has friends. So cute. When she wasn't talking about not adding anymore friends, she was talking about all the things her friends have to do at her party. For instance, they must all bring her a cake and they are not allowed to play with her brothers, just her. That's our little Alemitu.

Alemitu's Farm Animal Party had a petting zoo and pony rides.


As usual, Calvin was sweet with all of the animals. Wes was curious, and preferred to just let his brother do the touching.

The party went really well. We had 17 adults and 21 kids attend. Grandma and Grandpa Fischer were a great help, and even carved a pig out of a watermelon for us!

Adam put the Kit Kat bars on the outside of the cake, and he added the pigs.
Most of the kids that came to her party. This was not an easy picture to get.
Alemitu was also able to debut her new short haircut. I finally convinced daddy to let me cut her hair off. It is a little shorter than anticipated, but perfect for summer. She loves it, and I can comb right through it after a shower, so I think it is perfect!

Alemitu Things:

Boyfriend: She is still dead set on the fact that cousin Carter is her boyfriend. She is extremely protective over anyone getting close to him, and I am currently hiding a recent photograph of Carter holding hands with her other cousin, Chloe.

Best Friend: Joshua from her preschool. Those two are inseparable. But don't get confused, he is not her boyfriend.
She wanted to lead the pony when Joshua was riding.
Age: FOUR! I'm so excited that she can tell you that she is four. For the entire year of age 3, she could never, ever, ever, ever remember her age. And do you know how many times a week someone at the store asks her that question? Year 2 was great. Year 3 came with a memory age block evidently. The past two days, she happily tells us she is 4!

Favorite Color: Pink

Favorite Thing to Play With: Our puppy. She won't put him down. Ever. Not ever. She also likes Lego Duplos, balls, and Mr. Potato Head.

Introducing Donny to Cousin Claire
Favorite Food:  Chocolate and chicken. Getting her to eat is still very difficult.

Favorite Show: Doc McStuffins and the Lego Movie . . . and the TV sitcom, Community. She puts headphones on and watches it on Adam's iPad over and over again. She knows all the characters.

Personality:  She is very, very strong willed. You often hear her scream, "FINE! I'm going to my room!" 'Okay, have fun' is usually our response. She will sometimes choose to take a punishment rather than complete a task like finishing her food. We are constantly outsmarted by her. On the other hand, she can be the sweetest, most polite, most complimentary, and most cuddly little girl in the world. She often tells us how much she loves being our daughter.

When she grows up, she wants to be "NOWHERE! NOTHING! I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE THAT!" (five minutes later . . . ) "Mom, why did you ask me that question?" "Because honey, I just wanted to know where you wanted to work when you get older. Like be a doctor like Doc McStuf......" (Cut off) "I already told you! Nothing!"

Happy Birthday, Ms. Alemitu. We love you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Alemitu!

Our 4th year in a row to celebrate her adoption anniversary at the "Green Park"
I cannot believe it has been 3 years since we brought this little girl home. We feel so blessed. She continues to outsmart us every, single day. But she is also the most happy and complimentary person you will ever meet.

Alemitu has asked a lot about her history this past year. She loves to talk about Ethiopia . . . or "Oopie Oopia" as she refers to it. She loves to talk about her friends, Sophie and Ty, that are also from Oopie Oopia. She is very aware that she has two mommies, and she loves to happily announce that to everyone. 

The thing that makes me really sad is that she is terrified, terrified of us leaving her. While I don't think she remembers her first 9 months of life, I do believe that experience helped shaped her personality. And part of that is her living with a terrible fear that we will leave her. Several times a week, I have to promise her that I will never leave her, and that I will always be her mother. Just the other day, she was talking about an incident that happened over a year ago where for 10 seconds, she looked up and couldn't find me at a children's museum. It isn't like she cries when we leave her (although she does do that at times), it is a much bigger, overall fear of being left. I'm glad she feels comfortable to talk about this (a lot), but it really makes me sad. 

But, back to the happy stuff -- Recently, she was talking about how we went to get her from Oopie Oopia. She then asked where we had gotten her brothers. I said, "Brothers were in my belly." And she said, totally shocked, "YOU ATE BROTHERS?!?!?" She is still a little confused about adoption.

She loves to talk about her skin color. One time, I pretended to eat her arm because it looks like chocolate. She still laughs about that, and she told her teachers all about it. She also told Adam and I that she is a "bamvire" (vampire), and we can't be "bamvires" because we don't have brown skin. Only people with brown skin can be "bamvires" - so she reiterated that her friends, Ty and Sophie, are also "bamvires".

Adoption is such a wonderful experience, full of ups and downs. Most days, I love how we can openly talk about it in such a happy way. On some days, I get really sad and anxious over the fact that we don't have a lot of answers for her concerning her Ethiopian family. We hope to go back there with our entire family in a few years so that our kids can experience that beautiful place filled with beautiful people.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

RV Vacation

It was definitely a Griswold family vacation this Christmas, that's for sure! Adam has always wanted to take an RV vacation. I have had no interest. So when my little sister asked us to spend Christmas with her in Texas, I figured I better start bargaining because (A) I can't say no to my little sister; and (B) my husband isn't fond of Texas as a vacation spot. In the end, I got my . . . um, "we agreed".

It didn't take me long to get excited about the almost 2 week vacation. I think I may have started packing about 2 months prior. On the day that we picked up the RV, everything was perfect. We were the first ones in line (others had to wait about 45-60 minutes). They had upgraded our RV to a new model with an extra slideout. My in-laws were watching our kids so we could quickly pack. All was perfect. Until Adam broke the . . . the living room slideout broke. Honestly, it wasn't his fault. The motor malfunctioned and the slideout was sticking out about 2 inches. Stuck. Hours of trying to "do it yourself" fixes happened. There might have been some marital fighting happening. It was Adam's opinion that he was in the "let's get this done" mode, and I was staring off into space like an idiot. However, that is obviously not what happened. I was super, amazing, perfectly calm and offering the awesomest suggestions, while he raged like a monster towering over me. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. 


In the end, we were given the option of postponing our trip by a day (and we had a tight schedule), or getting a discount on the price and driving an RV with a broken slideout. We decided to start our vacation. My claustrophobic brain was definitely arguing with my money budgeting brain. 
Beautiful scenery on our trip
Off we went. Once the raging, towering monster of a husband was fed dinner, all was right in the world and we set off to Tucson, Arizona. That night, we hooked up the RV perfectly. We worked together as a team. High five to the Fischer Five. 

The next day's drive didn't go as planned. We were hoping to drive about 6-7 hours to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We were having such a great time that we decided to take a scenic route through the mountains. As we are driving on the scenic route, it becomes really windy. Really windy. It was the most wind I have ever experienced in my life. The worst part was that I was driving. I can totally admit that I'm a terrible RV driver. It is what it is. And because of this, my family blames me for our dog (yes we brought our dog too) pooping all over itself and its portable crate. It was awful. We pulled over on the side of the road, freezing, getting blown over by wind, and Adam and I are trying to figure out how to hose down the dog. Finally, I just said "screw it" and while Adam held the hose with freezing cold water, I used my hands and cleaned off all the poop from the dog. I was a rockstar wife in that moment. Dog was bathed, portable crate was thrown away, and Adam's poop covered shoes were stowed in a compartment under the RV. We then locked the dog in the bathroom and set off again. A little bit later (contrary to my family's memory, I was NOT driving), the dog puked and pooped all over the bathroom. Needless to say, this was a horrible moment in time. Operation dog cleanup was repeated, and dog was locked into regular metal crate that sat on top of the master bed, with a waterproof blanket underneath. The dog never had a problem again for the rest of our trip. Lesson learned: Scooby gets carsick. 

Stopped for a quick photo right before the dog incident
Oh our day didn't end there. We continued on our scenic route. Just as it was getting dark, we went to the White Sands National Park. It was amazing. It looked like mountains of snow everywhere, but it was just white sand dunes. We got out and played for a few minutes, but it was freezing and the park was getting ready to close so we headed on our way. 

White Sands National Park

A little bit later, we stop for gas right before heading up the mountain. I can't remember how many thousands of feet it goes up in 16 miles, but it was a lot. Steep. As we were at the gas station, I saw a truck at the pump across from us that was covered in snow. Covered. His truckbed was full of snow. If you know me well, you know I HATE snow. When I lived in Indiana, I would start worrying about the snowy weather in August. I HATE it. I'm TERRIFIED of driving in it. The guy with the truck asked Adam if we were planning on heading up the mountain. Then he told us we were brave. That did it for me, I climbed over the driver's seat and yelled out to the guy, "Is it really bad up there?" And he said, "Well, look at my truck." Oh dear. So I agreed to go up the mountain, and Adam agreed to turn around immediately when I asked him to. 

When we left the gas station and crossed the street, it started snowing. We got maybe a mile or two up the mountain. The road was covered in snow, and it was coming down pretty hard. Everyone was going slow, and a police officer in front of us was slipping and sliding. An ambulance passed us with its lights on. I got ready to start crying, and Adam decided to turn around (thank you scenic parking lot turn around thing on the side of the mountain). As we were coming back down (again, just a mile or two), the police were closing down the road (going up). Even though we had already been driving way longer than anticipated, our safety was more important. So we had to backtrack quite a bit, but after about 13 hours, we made it to Carlsbad. And even with all of that, we were still in good spirits. 
Just barely getting into the snow on the mountain
Mountain Dew: How I got through the day
The next day was perfect. We had a great time at Carlsbad Caverns. The weather was great. The drive to Texas was easy. It was a great day.

Outside Carlsbad Caverns

On Day 4, we drove to San Antonio, Texas and stopped at Sea World. We had a great time. It's one of those places that I'm glad my kids got to experience it, but I'm not sure it would be worth going to again. I also thought it was a great idea to watch Blackfish the night AFTER going to Sea World, as I refused to watch that documentary before we went. :-) 

Day 5 was Christmas Eve, and we finally arrived at my sister's house. There was a great RV park right outside her neighborhood. It was perfect. We got into comfy clothes, cooked a great ham dinner, and we spent the night at my sister's house waiting for Santa to arrive. Just like we used to do when she lived in Arizona.

Christmas morning was great. Chaotic (5 kids, 3 big dogs), but great. All the kids got bicycles from Santa Claus so they were super happy.

The next day my parents, older sister, and her kids arrived in Texas. Again, chaotic, but we had a great time. We rode bikes, went to see some ice sculptures, and went to the zoo. None of us took many pictures, but we had a good time.

Bike racing
"Indoor Antarctica" according to my Dad (ice sculptures at the Gaylord)
At the Ft. Worth Zoo

Wrestling with Uncle Zach
On Sunday, Day 10, we started to head home via the northern route. We had followed the southern route on our way to Texas. When we woke up on Day 11 in Amarillo, Texas, two of my kids were sick with the stomach flu. I was super thankful that the RV park had a laundry facility so I can wash those puke covered blankets. Yeah, it was that bad. But again, we had an amazing day checking out the tourist places.
Wes using spray paint for the first time

Evidently Texas likes to bury things: VWs, Cadillacs, Tractors
Calvin felt well enough to spray paint a little
We were dying to eat at Cracker Barrel, and we drove out of our way to get to one. But this is what we found instead. Huge disappointment.
On Day 12, we went to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adam and I really loved the TV show, "Breaking Bad", which was filmed in Albuquerque, so we drove around to the different places that were part of the TV show.

We went to a few more tourist spots just inside Arizona, and we let the kids play in a little bit of snow (they lasted about 5 minutes because it was so cold to them). Then we headed back down to the Valley of the Sun. We arrived home on New Year's Eve and were able to ring in the New Year on our couch -- absolutely exhausted. 


We had a great time. Adam says it was the best vacation ever. I'm not so sure it was the best, but it was pretty great. I hope to do another RV vacation again in the next few years.