Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lea to the Rescue!!

Psalm 40
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My Help and My Deliverer

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

Tanya's sister Lea and her two children have been here this week on a rescue mission. She has been so awesome. I should be having Tanya write this post. She has been really loving all the help and time that she is putting in. A special hats off to Justin too for giving up his wife and kids to us for the week.
The kids are having a blast. It is so fun to watch them play together. Erin and Claira are like peas and carrots. They have so much fun playing dollies, singing, reading books and watching movies together.
Levi LOVES riding his bike! Rain or 98 degrees, he wants to be in the driveway riding his bike. His language gets better and better each day. Jesse is such a snuggler. He loves to play in the yard and toddle around, or swing, but he is just as happy watching the other kids play if he's sitting in a lap. Levi and Jesse had round 2 of shots yesterday, two in each leg for both of them. Ouch. They were tired and grouchy last night and today Levi wasn't walking too well.
Isaac and Kaylee are really liking school, but Isaac is ready to start his Tues, Wed, Friday schedule. Because Lea is here, Tanya was able to go and spend time in each of their classrooms on Wed. She really loved it!

I'm throwing in a couple pics that most haven't seen yet.
The corn on the cob was fun to watch. They totally mouwed that down. The plastic trike pics are from the guest house in Ethiopia. It had buttons on it that said "Readytorock" when you pushed it. Levi still says that when he rides his bike here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

1st day of school

So much to write and there is just no time.
Yesterday was Kaylee and Isaac's first day at Clark.
They really liked it.
Kaylee is in 3rd grade and loved her teacher, Isaac is in Kindergarten and really loves his teacher too.
God has so blessed our decision to send them to school. Isaac's teacher is a good friend of ours and she has such a heart for the Lord and for the hearts of kids and is so being used by Christ in her classroom and in the school.
Through our friends from church, God has really blessed this day, which didn't start out so great.
I am so overwhelmed by the power of scripture memory and how I wish I had more memorized. The verses that are locked in, I am so thankful for. I have a desire for so many more, especially for situations of frustration, anger or those moments when you feel like you just don't care.
The verse that was shared with Tanya and then she shared with me was
Colossians 3:12-17 (Show me Colossians 3)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Definitely verses that i want in my head and heart for mornings like today.
  • Noteworthy happenings of the last few days:
  1. Kaylee and Isaac started school
  2. Daddy got a shed through a radio auction (pre-built and they will deliver it to our backyard)
  3. Levi and Jesse started oral medication for ringworm in their scalp.
  4. Mommy and Daddy treating their ringworm with antifungal cream
  5. Erin got a new bike (this eliminates the fighting over the one bike we had)
  6. Levi really struggling with biting and hitting. Please pray for us to not be quick tempered and pray for a peace in his heart.
  7. Levi's language is coming along, he is speaking some sentences and picking up tons of words. He has lost so much of his Amharic that i think it is a little frustrating for him to have lost one language without fully knowing the new language.
  8. Visit to the dentist was very interesting. Have an oral surgery appt. for Levi in Oct.
I'm sure there is more, but outta time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Marcus Fair 2007

Another Slideshow is coming, this time, we've added some video.

We had such a good time at the Marcus Fair.
My sister, LaRae, is the president of the fair board. I'm so proud of her! That fair rocks!! She does a great job.
Special thanks to Nate, Rae, Bob, Memah and BompaKK for helping out that day with all the kiddies. They really had a total blast and they were completely wiped on the way home. They wanted the AC blowing right on them.
Levi and Jesse are still experiencing so many firsts. It is so fun to see how they handle all of the new things they encounter each day. They spend a great deal of time in the following states:
Confusion or
Awe or
Extreme overstimulation
Click below for the newest slideshow and ENJOY!

Marcus Fair 2007
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Monday, August 06, 2007

shopping day

Warning: The information in this post may gross you out, but I assure you the story i'm about to tell is true and not even the names have been changed to protect the guilty....
Saturday, in an effort to just get out of the house and be out and about with all the kids, we ventured into the world for a day of shopping and fun. The idea was to go to the nodland school park and eat a picnic lunch, play on the equipment and then little ones (and possibly dad) could nap in the car while errands were run and such. We left the house at 11am.
In order to MAXIMIZE our time, Tanya dropped me off with the kids at the park while she went to Kohl's pick up something and also to look for her lost cell phone. Famous last words "I won't be gone long" I'm thinking, "no problem, they will play and Ta will come back, we'll eat lunch, bada bing....nap time" WRONG!!!!!
First 10 min, Levi soaks his pants with urine- oops. No pullup, none in the diaper bag. Deep breath dad, you can handle this. Solution: Levi goes commando with wet shorts. Hopefully, they will dry by the time Tanya returns. No problem.
Well, about 5 min after that is cleared up, Erin comes to me and says "Daddy, i'm so sorry" That's right, she peed too. "It's okay, Erin" I calmly tell her. "no problem"
As I"m trying to clean up this mess, my hand mushes into something. That's right, She peed and pooped too. The lump falls out of her underwear, into the wood chips. 2 deep breaths, can do this. Erin feels so bad, i just keep telling her "it's okay, honey"
Now, At this point, the other family that is playing at the park and observing my every move, decides to leave. Big shocker. Good news, Erin is in a skirt and I do have pants for Erin and none of the poo got on her skirt. So, bright idea....I'll put jesse in the stroller, Carry a naked erin over to the van and scrounge around for something plastic, right....whooops.... Oh yeah, Tanya took the van. Rats. Maybe i'll look again in the diaper bag. SWEET, a plastic bag, now i can pick up the lump of poo in the woodchips over by the swing. I also found a pullup in the diaper bag, score. Now i just have to decide who to put it on. Levi or Erin? Solution: Erin gets the pullup, because she is under my arm and Levi is off playing. Did i mention that it is about 92 degrees and 100% humidity? And where is Tanya? Shouldn't she be back by now? Hmmm?
Okay, It's noon, i better feed these monsters. Personally, I don't feel much like eating.
The kids were excited to eat and especially drink, we have one capri sun for each kid.
They are so hot, that they drink that first. Bad choice, because the sandwiches are peanut butter. Have you ever seen a kid turn blue trying to suck the last drop from a caprisun? Thankfully, we had a couple apples. No knife though. It would be good to mention here that i did have Antibacterial wipes that I used to wash hands before we ate. I resorted to biting out huge chunks from the apples and then handing them to the kids. They basically just sucked the juice out of them, too.
Hey, what is that honking i hear? is Tanya here? No, not in the parking lot. I have my phone, but i can't call her because her cell phone is lost. Hmmm?
i spotted a drinking fountain (oasis in the desert) across the park. HOORAY, it works. I brought the kids over for drinks. The kids pretty much douse themselves in water and we keep playing in the park. About an hour has past and now I'm about to pee my pants.
Tanya pulls up, HALLELUJAH! The kids all run to the van, because they know the air is on in there. She felt terrible. She couldn't remember how to get back to the park. She could see it from the street she was on, but couldn't find the turn. That's what the honking was, She was on a street where she could see me, but couldn't get to me. Oh, and she didn't find her phone. She is laughing hysterically, as i tell her about the events of the last hour.
Anyway. We continued the day, Tanya found some shorts and a pullup in the van for Levi. babies fell asleep and i washed the van with Kaylee and Isaac while Tanya was at JCPenney. We went to Mickydee's and got baby icecream cones and then picked Tanya up.
we went back home and ate supper and then went swimming at Leif Pool with the neighbors until 8pm. We showered and soaped up the kids at the pool showers, brought them home, brushed their teeth and put 'em to bed by 9. We laughed about our day and crashed in bed.
The next morning, i found Tanya's cell phone in the trunk of the Honda, before we went to church. Yeah!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Our Minnesota Bliss!

We returned from our annual family vacation to Park Rapids, MN Wed. night. We cut it short because Layne had to go back to work, but it was still VERY good and relaxing, even if just for a few days. There were 14 people in our 3 bedroom cabin, 7 adults, 7 kids. Anything else would've been boring! The kids had a blast in the water, on the beach and on the boat (thank you Tom and Wally for the boat rides!) Everybody else from the Matney clan comes home tomorrow.
It has been awesome to see how God has provided time for us to spend getting to know Levi and Jesse and for the kids to all get more and more acquainted without tons of distractions.

A day in the life in Southern Ethiopia

As Layne and I traveled to the southern region of Ethiopia, near the village where Levi and Jesse's Ethiopian family live, we observed many things out the window as we drove. We were traveling to meet Aster and Assefa, their birth parents. What an emotional day. We will NEVER forget this beautiful couple and their love for the LORD and Geremu and Habtamu. We will tell the boys about this day many times throughout their lives. I just wanted to record what I had journaled as we traveled in the Range Rover to get there.

A baboon running on the side of the road

little children playing soccer by the road

mostly grass thatched roof homes

homes made of thin sticks and a metal sheet roof, built at a slant so water runs off

many people walking by the roadside and some wearing white shawls. It is Sunday, their holy day. White signifies this. Many families visit each other on Holy day, says our driver in very broken English

a man walking on the side of the road in the rain using a HUGE leaf as an umbrella

a man standing outside his hut under the cover of his grass roof awning. His hut had puddles of water around it

a donkey pulling a cart by the side of the road

a woman gathering water by a puddle near the side of the road

many people with sad serious faces

most barefoot in the mud

children carrying mangos, corn, and vegetables on their backs in large baskets to market in the rain

naked little children standing in the doorway of a grass hut

signs indicating that certain villages are under the jurisdiction of Ethiopia

MUDDY creeks that look like a trickle, but the people act as if the trickle is a huge river

our driver honking at birds that stayed alongside the road

sometimes very thick fog

beautiful green moutains

one mountain had 3 stripes all around

lots of little boys ages 5-9 pushing carts with big loads or tending a cart pulled by a donkey

tarps are very useful here

the water that is running in creeks and under bridges is very brown, almost orangish in color

Saw a woman with a load on her head, kneeling down and collecting water from a puddle

very rocky red soil

boys using the road to play soccer (quas)

a lot of corn growing in patches all over, some tassled, others knee high

mosque in the village

some sections of roads not paved and very muddy and rutty.

We nearly hit a man walking by the side of the road who was using a cane

little boy 5yrs? dipping water from 2 small buckets on a porch

Amharic news on the radio while we drive, it blows my mind we are in Africa and almost to the area the boys are from

It's raining, with out this newly paved road we would not be able to travel in these muddy conditions

When crossing bridges we slow WAY down and drive over a big ridge where the road meats the bridge