Once upon a time....

Flash back to 1999, we were a family of four. Happy in our new roomy house and comfortable in our ways. A few years later, the Lord blessed us with an additional little package, little boy #3. Now we were a family of five and sure that would be the end. As time moved on, so did we. The Lord used the time that passed to open our eyes to His will. Several years ago, Bob and I individually heard the call to adoption. It has been a long "pregnancy", but during this incubation time, the Lord has brought us to where He wants us to be. Spring 2010, we traveled to Ethiopia where two little angels were waiting for the Lord's timing - to become our children. Now we are home and can't imagine life any differently! What a blessing to be in His will.

Galatians 4:5 says "God sent Christ to buy freedom for us, who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children." We are just following his model. A Perfect picture of salvation.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Thank You Jesus!

This morning as we prepared to open presents, we took a moment to remind the kids what this day is really all about.  Bob started by saying, "Now, this day is Christmas and it is Jesus' birthday, that's why we give presents. We want to do what Jesus did.  He was the greatest gift ever given.  His coming made it possible for us to receive salvation through his death on the cross."  Then he continued with a question, "Jesus isn't physically here, but he is all around us and we can give him gifts, too.  Can you think of something that we can give Jesus?"  Of course, Bob and I had already formulated an appropriate answer in our minds:  "We can give Jesus a gift - by helping others around us."  But Nardos summed it up perfectly when she answered, "Thank you".

In Thanking Jesus, we open our hearts to His will.  We acknowledge His position and power.  He is the Creator of the Universe, and yet He came as a baby and lived among mankind.  He grew up to pay the ultimate price:  Death on a cross ~ separation from His Father God ~ resurrection and restoration.  Through His Gift, we are offered the gift of eternal life.

This Christmas, I pray that you will accept His gift and ultimately, say "Thank You".

This is what the Christmas Tree looks like after you show 4 kids how to "finger crochet" a chain...

Merry Christmas - Christmas Eve service

Alex didn't totally agree with the timing of his being awakened!  The night before, I had told the kids:  "Don't even come out of your rooms until 7am."  They took that literally and at exactly 7:00am Christmas morning, we heard footsteps, elephants rather, coming down the stairs!

Marshall gets help opening his present!

Nardos - checking out the Barbie Head that is in the box....the kind you get to do the hair on!
I have to let you know that the older kids have already begun calling it "Decapitated Barbie" ~ a little sick.

Beti - upon opening her gift - her own REAL MP3 player!

Levi - checking out the many different ways you can use this Lego kit.

Pancake time!  Nardos enjoying her breakfast and "coffee".

Mommy gets a little creative with the pancakes....

If you look closely, you can see the "eyes" on the Frosty the Snowman.

Rudolph and an ornament

Levi - slicing up Frosty!

Beti (notice the MP3 player already in use) with her pancake Santa beard.

Marshall - filling his mouth!

Merry Christmas - From the Konings

And Thank you Jesus!

Friday, December 17, 2010

We passed!!!

On November 17, 2009 Ethiopia approved our adoption.  One year, one month, and one day later, the State of Missouri recognized the adoption that had been granted by Ethiopia.  We have come to what some would consider the completion of our adoption.  However, our journey is most definitely just beginning.  Our mission started with a call to obedience.  We clearly heard the call of God to care for the widows and orphans.  For us, that included a trip to Ethiopia.  For others, that may be working with Habitat for Humanity, supporting an orphan overseas, or purchasing a cow or group of animals for a village in a far away country (see World Vision).

The point is when you see a need, what do you do?  Do you just spend time "admiring the problem".  By that I mean, do you sit around talking about how bad the situation is in Haiti, or AIDS is really bad in Africa, or the bad accident that left some kids without a Dad...  The problem is worth looking at, talking about, but not really doing anything about.  Instead of "admiring the problem", why don't you do something about it!?

Sure, we are thrilled to have our "adoption" complete, but our obedience is ongoing.  Lately, in the midst of all of the commercialism that has become "Christmas" in America, the needs of those around us is quite a stark contrast!  How can we even think of buying a camera for $600 dollars when that would buy a cow and a goat!  Those two animals alone would help feed several families in an impoverished country!!!  So, really, it comes down to that.

No, I'm not bah-humbug.  I am totally the opposite.  The real reason for Christmas was that the Christ Child came.  But, not just that he came....he came to serve others.  He lived here on earth - without possessions.  He had no home, no place to lay his head.  He spent his life, a mere 33 years, serving others and pointing them to His Father, God.  Can we do anything less?

I pray that you find what God is calling you to.  And I pray that you have the guts to do it!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Putting up the Christmas Tree

I had no idea that 5 kids could put up a Christmas Tree so fast!  They really did work together well and the end result had Nardos asking where the presents were!  Enjoy!

And Bob helped by holding down the couch!

Merry Christmas - Nardos is a star!

For her preschool program, Nardos wore her Ethiopian dress.  It was a special day indeed!

She did a nice job of following her teacher's directions, but looked scared out of her wits most of the time.  At one point, the Christmas Story - the real story - was read.  Nardos and a few other children were the "stars".  She took her time trying on about 6 headbands before she decided on a star that fit to her liking!

After the program, they had a cookies and punch reception.  They had a "Santa" there.  We, as a couple, decided 14 years ago that we would not make a big deal of "Santa" and made decision to focus our celebration of Christmas on the birth of Jesus.  Well, Nardos has heard of the fuzzy guy via her peers and was eager to meet the old guy.  Clearly, someone had also told her that you tell "Santa" what you want and he will get it for you.  So, here we are in line to see "Santa" and she is telling me her list of items that she is going to ask for.  When we were about 4 kids from the front of the line, she casually leaned over and looked at the basket of candy canes and little toys that were sitting to the right of the old man.  At that point, she squinted (looking intently at the basket), looked up at me and with great disappointment said, "I don't see any pink princess dresses".  She thought that you asked for it and *poof* you get what you asked for!  I stifled my guffaw and explained to her that you can ask, but then you have to wait.  You don't get toys tonight.  She did go through with talking to "Santa".  Here's the proof.  Later, Beti explained to her that Santa wasn't real, but rather a person in a costume, pretending.  She took it well.

That night, she cleared it all up.  "Christmas is Jesus' birthday, Mommy."  "Yes, Nardos.  That's right.  It's all about Jesus."

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh the joys of learning the English language

Ok, so Beti is in 2nd grade and they are talking about "compound" words.  Which if you remember, are words that are made up of more than one word.  She was working hard on her spelling list and said, "Look, Mom, a compound word, "be-long", just like "king-dumb"!  (kingdom!)

I giggled and said, "Yes, just like that!"

So cute!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Many of you know the dress delimna that we go through with Nardos on a daily basis. What can I say, she is a girly girl. In an effort to keep clothing costs to a minimum, I scouted around and landed on a pattern/idea of attaching a skirt to a t-shirt. Here are our first creations. We hit Wal-mart & picked up four shirts, then headed to Joann's fabrics to find material for skirts. It was fun! Here are a few pictures of the dresses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Finally! Nardos' hair is long enough for two pony tails

Ok - so we don't call them piggy tails because as they were learning English,  "piggy" tails weren't as desirable as "pony" tails.  Nardos' hair was rather short as you can see in this comparison.  Anyway, the other night as we were combing her hair after a shower, I noticed how long it was getting and made the comment that we MIGHT be able to get it into two pony tails.  Needless-to-say, the next morning I spent a chunk of time combing and combing again.  If you have ever rolled out bread dough - it's a little like that.  As soon as I combed it, it would crawl back to curly!  Anyway, enjoy the pictures of our little Minnie Mouse!

Friday, November 5, 2010


As time rolls on, we have lost track of all of the "firsts" that the girls have had.  I have to admit I am patiently waiting for them to see their first snowfall.  In the meantime, I do my best to write down or somehow record through pictures the things they do and the things they say.  Beti is learning loads of things in 2nd grade and she is a great advocate for herself in that if she hears a new word, she is good about asking "what does that mean?"  Nardos on the other hand, is pretty oblivious to the finer points of English pronunciation.  She often misarticulates words - which typically results in rowdy laughter from the rest of the family.

Dad:  "Nardos, did you eat breakfast?"
Nardos:  "Yes, Daddy, I had nuffin." [nothing]
Dad:  "Nardos, you really need to eat breakfast.  We will be leaving soon for church."
Nardos:  "I did Daddy, I ate nuffin."
Dad:  "I don't understand, you ate nuffin for breakfast?"
Nardos:  "Yes and it was yummy."
Dad:  "Nuffin was yummy?"

>>>At this point, Nardos goes over to the counter and shows Daddy the "muffin" wrapper that she had emptied by eating the muffin not "nuffin".

In fact, just the other day, she had two nuffins for breakfast!

Half the time, "salt" comes out "sauce"; "darn it" comes out "donut".  My favorite is that she loves to do her "laundream".

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nardos does laundry

So, as the kids get bigger and the weather gets cooler, the clothes get bigger and thicker.  We finally designated a day of the week for each kid to do their own laundry.  Three years ago when Levi was just 5 years old and starting Kindergarten, I was also going back to work full-time.  We decided that it would be valuable to have the kids each have their own laundry basket and do their own laundry.  Several good things came of this.  Responsibility is one of them, but my favorite was no more sorting out socks and undies!  We splurged on a double sized, front loading washer and dryer.  I put my special education training to use and created a set of visual directions on how to load the washer.  I also purchased a set of small Glad containers into which we pre-measure the dry detergent (carefully laced with powder Oxyclean).  We have now been three years into the children doing their own laundry.  It is fabulous!  

Bring on two more bodies (the girls) with clothes to clean.  We gave them a few months to get used to the routine...and learn some English...and then helped them embark on the journey of laundry!  Actually, they have been helping us all along.  In fact, Nardos regularly volunteers to help Levi and Marshall put their clothes away!  So, on Friday, Nardos did her laundry by herself for the first time.  Here are the pictures to prove it!  She was so proud - and so are we!

My favorite picture is of her going DEEP into the basket to retrieve some more clothes!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention...

Ok, so the clips, hair clips are taking over our home.  So, an idea that I had seen, I don't know, some time in the past, resurfaced and we started creating!  My mother's obsession with painting and her collection of picture frames was the spring board for the clip collection... turned into art! 

Want one of your own?  Take a picture frame, some snazzy ribbon and a staple gun.  You can figure out the rest.  Hang it on the wall and you got yourself a clip collector!

We hung the headbands from the towel rod above the frame.  Can I just tell you that this is not all of the supplies in our home!!!  We keep the less-liked, less-used stuff under the sink.

The color coded touch belongs to Beti!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Camping - REAL Camping

Not just a hotel on wheels, but camping at a camp ground for the expressed purpose of doing NOTHING!  We did just that last weekend.  And it was wonderful!  We took the kids' bikes and jump ropes, footballs and scooters.  There was a playground and we had a great time making s'mores!  The weather was beautiful and we all had a blast.  Enjoy the pictures.

Yummy S'mores!  We usually have Hershey's chocolate bars for the chocolatey part of the S'more, but I thought it would be fun to shove a Hershey's kiss into the marshmallow....unfortunately I didn't account for the tip of the chocolate kiss cracking through the graham cracker.  We made it work though - we just bit off the tip of the chocolate kiss before sticking it in the marshmallow.

Nardos is so good at butchering the English language.  Each day, she would ask me if we were going to make "marsh-melons".  What a cutie!

Beti thoroughly enjoyed the S'mores!

We fed the fish at the marina.  They were huge and VERY eager to eat the fish food we were throwing in!

Blue Springs Lake Marina

Yes!  Those are fish - scrambling for the little nuggets of food.

This is Peanut (the dog) on his first camping trip.  Alex was happy to sit in the camper and keep Peanut company.  Peanut was OK, but probably won't go on many more trips.  He was freaked out at every little noise.  The fact that the campground allowed dogs (on a leash, of course) added to the wide variety of smells that he had to sort through just to find a place to wee!  He was a little out of his element.  I think next time, he will hang out with Grandpa for the weekend!

Nardos loves to "hug" on Peanut...I'm not sure if he feels the same!

I got the job of untangling the toys!  In this picture, I am choosing my "happy".  
(See the previous post "Choose your happy" for an explanation)

Bob brought along his trusty guitar.  Nardos caught him in this musical moment.