Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 62 of Our Lives in Ethiopia...

Well, my buddy Bex has inspired me with one of her more recent posts, to blog about our daily activities. I did a post like this in the first few weeks we were here, but I haven’t done one since we’ve had the twins, so here goes.


Somewhere in this hour of time, the twins wake up. Sometimes they are up at the same time, and sometimes it is in half hour intervals. If they wake up at the same time, you can often walk in their room and find them laughing at each other from across the room, as if one of them has just told the other a really funny joke. These are my favorite wakeup times. I love that they are enjoying one another now. At the orphanage, they didn’t interact much, so seeing them really know one another and play with one another is a real treat.


This is breakfast/play time. They usually have a bottle and some oatmeal during this time, and then they play with their toys. They have already learned how to be selfish (or perhaps it just comes naturally), and they are always stealing each other’s toys. It doesn’t matter if one has the exact same toy. If the other one is holding it, it is much more enticing. Right now Alex is trying to steal Eliana’s bottle of formula right out of her mouth even though he has his own.

As you can see, there is some good jealousy going on here.
This is the time we also get our breakfast served in our room.


This is usually nap time unless we are out and about the city.


We usually have lunch around 12 or 12:30. If we are all very motivated, we leave the guesthouse to go eat with Josh, Bex & Mercy. Josh and Bex have been our constant companions these past few weeks. They are staying in the room right next door to us, and they are also some of my brother and sister-in-law’s very best friends. Pretty cool, actually. The got their little Mercy about four days after we got Alex & Eliana, so we have all been learning the joys and frustrations of parenthood together. It’s been a true blessing.

By the way, our very favorite lunch spot is Island Breeze. All seven of us hire a taxi and devour their awesome chips and salsa (the only truly good chips and salsa we have found here in Addis), and have some amazing entrée.


This is afternoon naptime. As long as we are at the guesthouse during this time, the twins both usually go down during this time. Sometimes it is for an hour, and sometimes two. During this time Wes and I usually just rest. Sometimes we surf the web (if the internet is working), sometimes we read, or sometimes we just veg and watch some lame movie on our television (okay, this would mostly be my activity. Wes is much more inclined to put on some praise and worship and write in his journal.).


Play time once again. They are crawling up a storm these days, and their speeds are increasing exponentially. When we first arrived in Ethiopia, Alex could drag himself across the floor with his arms. Both him and Eliana had the same crawl. They both used one leg to help push them along on their bellies. Alex was really good at this, while Eliana was still learning and very slow. Now they are both quite speedy on all fours. No more dragging themselves on their bellies. Actually, Alex is cruising now. He can stand up by himself, as long as he has something to pull up on. He then cruises from one piece of furniture to another, always trying to reach for some “illegal” item that he is not allowed to touch. Eliana is just learning to pull herself up. She is not as strong as Alex yet, but she is scrappy (we call her Scrappy Doo), so she figures out how to get where she wants to go, even if it takes her a bit longer.


This is winding down time. Usually we feed them some oatmeal and some form of gerber baby food. We top it off with about a 4oz bottle of formula, and then hopefully lull them into a milk-drunken sleep. Eliana must be going through some kind of growth spurt or something, because she can seriously pack in the food this week. She eats and eats and eats. Alex is not quite as eager to eat all the food, but he loves his bottle.

Eliana loves to eat. I think she looks like Alex here (not because of the mess, but because of the eyes).

We seem to have broken the habit of going to sleep with a bottle. In the orphanage, they would always put them to bed with a bottle. It became a comfort item for them. Sometimes we could give Eliana an empty bottle, and she would fall asleep. This past week we started doing bedtime sans bottle. We just got them nice and full so they were still giddy on their milk-drunk. It seems to be working! Very exciting!


Once the twins are in bed, we usually order dinner from Ice Blue. They deliver to our guest house which is a HUGE blessing when you have little ones! Mercy usually goes down at the same time as the twins, so Josh, Bex, Wes and I often have dinner together. We sit and chat about life, spirituality, parenthood, movies, etc. etc. We relax and have a good time together.


Josh and Bex usually go back to their room at about 9pm, so Wes and I just hang out together until we get too sleepy to stay awake. We usually watch a movie and chill. Last night it was Ice Age and Bourne Supremacy (these were the two movies that were on tv at the time. I switched back and forth between the two of them.). Okay, I will have to admit that Wes didn’t really watch those with me. He spent most of his time writing, and checking on the March Madness schedule. I’m such a couch potato!

And finally we lay our heads down and go to sleep.

Alex and Eliana usually wake up once in the middle of the night (around 3am), but it is nothing a few ounces of formula doesn’t cure. Then they are right back to sleep. Although, the last 2 nights Eliana slept through the night. I can definitely get used to that!

So there you have our days in a 24-hour time-span. It’s not bad! Once we got into some kind of schedule, we got a lot more rest and started enjoying the twins a lot more. They both have their own charming ways that melt your heart when you are the most frustrated with them. Alex may be banging on the window or wall until you want to pull your hair out, but then he crawls up to the side of the bed, pulls himself up so you just can just see him from his neck up, and a huge smile spreads across his face, as if he has just came out of hiding and surprised you. That never gets old. He has yet to show us his true personality, but we know it’s coming. We think it has taken him a bit more time to really adjust and come into his own. We think he grieved the loss of his nanny and orphanage much more than Eliana did. I can’t wait to see what kind of boy and man this little baby grows into! Eliana tends to be our easy baby, and she is hysterical. She has developed her own little personality, and it is so funny. Our favorite thing she does is to throw both of her fists up in the air as if she has something important to say, and she starts shouting, “Geh-geh, geh-geh!” It is awesome. We have no idea what she is saying, but we love it.

It is taking some time, but bonding is taking place. It hasn’t been easy for me. I have found myself feeling like a horrible mother at times, because I just get so stinkin’ frustrated with them at times. I don’t know what is going through Alex’s head when he is crying and moaning about going to sleep. Is it because he is grieving the loss of his other life at the orphanage, or is he just being stubborn? And why is it that sometime it seems like Eliana is inconsolable? But I feel like the questions are slowly being answered, and I am starting to understand their needs better. And as this happens, I feel more capable to be a good mother, and they seem to be much happier and more comfortable with me.

I wouldn’t trade this time with Alex & Eliana for anything. It has been hard, but irreplaceable. I cherish it. Both Wes and I have cherished it. And now we will cherish being home in a way that others may never understand, who haven’t been through what we have been through. We started parenthood in a very unconventional way, and I am SO thankful for it. So many people talk about how they were super anal about every little thing with their first babies, and then became a lot more lax with their next children. Well, here in Ethiopia, there really is no opportunity to be anal about parenthood. I watched nannies give our babies lollipops in the orphanage. I watched them let them hold objects that were total choking hazards (no matter how many times I tried to hide the objects!). They sleep in shallow cribs where it’s VERY easy to fall out of (Eliana did! But that’s a story for another day.). These are just a few of the things you have to chill out about. It’s all a part of the experience, and needless to say, Wes and I are pretty darn laid back with Alex & Eliana.

Life is good. We just can’t really complain too much. But we miss home, and will definitely not complain when we get the stamp of approval to head that way! ☺


  1. I think it was a God ordained way for you both to being parenting our beautiful children.


  2. Looks like you guys have got the hang of parenting, glad everything is going well. As always thanks for the pictures and updates we always look forward to them. Thanks for the email picture of Eliana in her outfit she is such a little doll. God bless!

  3. Nina- I look forward each day to your posts and enjoy them so much. Please know that we are praying for you daily. I think all moms feel the way you are feeling, frustrated one minute, joyful the next, it's ok...God feels that way too about His children...totally normal, and even God's that free will thing. These kiddos look like they are doing great in your care...we know the grieving process is normal, and good..shows they can attach. Keep breathin' in that Holy Spirit in those rest times...He will sustain you. I hear great comfort in your writing for the routine you've established, hang in there...hoping your approval is soon to come home. ~Renae.

  4. Nina- thanks so much for sharing your day with me. I so look forward to your blogs and photos. It is always a special treat. I know how busy you are with the little ones so any news is awesome. Then when you add a few photos, yeah! Praying for a swift trip home for you all. !!!

  5. you got them off the crib bottles soooo fast!! good momma!!!