Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Two little elves helping Hambisa find his first Christmas tree...

This one looks like a keeper.  Let's load her up, boys!
Think I should stick to the back roads home in my Cozy Coupe?

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family, near and very far!  It has been an adventurous year for this Scholtens crew.  Many of you have had your own grand adventures or even great losses.  For you all, we pray for a blessed and happy 2013!  Keep in touch.
                                With Love & Joy,
                                         Kurt, Whitney, Macabe, Bennett & Hambisa

Busy Boys, Broken Bones & Baby Cakes!

We always knew that with three boys there would eventually be broken bones.  It was no surprise to us that the first boy was Bennett, who also has been missing a front tooth since he knocked it out over a year ago.  The poor kiddo had surgery and an overnight hospital stay, along with his new Frogger who also got a matching cast from armpit to knockles.  Big brother, Mac, came up to visit and do what he does best...nurture those in need.
Off with cast #1, out with the pins, and on with a new and improved water-proof.
Broken bones aren't all bad when you get some TLC at DeVos Children's Hospital...an amazing place with great staff!  We love you Aunt Sarah and crew!
Nope, Bisa hasn't broken bones yet, but his time will come.  I found him here using the high chair as a bridge to get from the bench to the fruit on the table.  I thought I had finally outsmarted him by removing the ability to climb on the table chairs....yeah, right, Mom!

My big boys were SUPER bummed to get rained out (with lightning) of the much anticipated Turkey Trot race.  Mac did make sure he got a chance to drive around the parking area to see if he could point out all his teachers he had hoped to see there.  He is loving school, and we are thankful.  It began as an exhausting transition for everyone to the all day, everyday event, but at least he is having fun!
Not to be left behind, Hambisa also had minor outpatient procedure at the Children's Hospital.  We weren't there long, but we seemed to keep the surgical area hopping.  They learned what "Busy Bisa" means and had the female nursing and doctor staff swooning over him.  He had all sorts of ladies popping into his room to sneak a smile from him or see those flirty blinks he likes to give....oh boy, we have more trouble headed our way!  Wa-hoo!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Busy Bisa: A typical 20 min chronicle


He loves to use the dishwasher for playing with and reaching things up on the counter.

 He nabbed the trash can to ride when Dad took out the garbage.

He explored the washing machine while I was doing laundry.

He found some big shoes to fill.

He found something else to fill....

and water to play in.

 He found a way to make curtains into a superhero cape.

Of course there is always furniture to climb.

Oh, and tables to climb with food on top!

More shoes to fill.

Or just to empty and spread amidst the house.

Oh, and the mops are near the shoe coral...

...along with the fly swatter.

Watch out!

And back to the dishwasher, which was now actually being loaded, despite the absconding plates.

 We put an end to the dishwasher. He couldn't play with cookie sheets, so he found the bed sheets and returned to the laundry basket.

Yup, the laundry basket makes a good riding toy.

I love that he likes to play cooking, but I so wish he wasn't so interested in the oven.

And finally, we find a legitimate toy that we all approve! Whew!

We decided to follow him with the camera so we could document his activity level.  Nothing was staged or encouraged.  No one was harmed in the making of this documentary.  We do not recommend trying this at home if you don't have to.  He is always this active, unless he's asleep. And yes, he is stinkin' hilarious!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A big Week in the Scholtens' House

 Happy Birthday to Bennett!
He is now the big 4 year old in our house, and very proud of it.  Several times, he was seen sitting at the table singing the birthday song to himself, or professing to his cousins that he was now big enough to do some things like them.  (This only proved to be a problem when letting his 3 year old cousin know that she, however, was not as old yet.)  For him the day was perfect, being able to celebrate at the cottage, going on fast boat rides, slow fishing boat rides, or just playing on the boat while anchored.  And though he has never seen a Spider Man movie, he is quite enthralled with the character.  He just leaned over and said, "There I am on the boat with my Spiderman shirt on."  In fact, he even slept inthe shirt because he didn't want to take it off.  

Two-Speed Bisa:  Crazy Busy and Asleep
This little man has proven to be the perfect fit for the family, full of energy, curiosity, determination and silliness.  He absolutely loves the outdoors, a good game of chase or peek, and becomes quite possessive about juice boxes.  When he is not busy trying to eat rocks, ride his big brothers' bikes or pushing his trucks out to the road, he is often scavenging through the garage refrigerator for juice boxes.  Yup, he wants to be just like the big boys and has recently been spotted holding his own territory with those big boys.  With a sense of determination strong enough to save his own life since birth and hands as giant as his, we all better be prepared for this silly monster to mature in our family.  I am interested myself to see what this story brings.

First Day of Kindergarten!
Macabe couldn't have been more excited.  He was dressed and jumping about the house by 7:10, wondering what time the bus would come.  He is loving every minute of it and can hardly believe he gets TWO recesses...of course, the favorite part of each day.  He was also excited that he was able to fit in the bus seat with two of his friends at the same time.  It is a long day from start to finish.  He comes home quiet, escalates through his exhaustion, then crashes in bed and chats about his day.  His teacher is so silly with the things she says.
The first two days of school, Mom followed the bus to school making sure he had it all figured out.  He's a quick learner.  Poor Bennett didn't understand why he couldn't just ride the bus with him and then I'd pick him up at the school.  The first day, I asked Bennett if he wanted to go to a park and play.  He said he would wait for Mac to get home.  After letting him know that would be awhile, he'd agreed to go play.  On the ride home he asked, "Mom, does that mean that if I want to watch a movie sometime, that I can pick any one that I want?"  Yes is does, Bennett!  Though every morning I can see in his face the disappointment when all the kids he played with this summer hop on the bus and drive away. 

 It's a crazy house we live in...but we are still smiling over here!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


We have had a few inquiries lately about how it's all going.  I know, it's been 9 weeks since our last post.  I can hardly believe that it was over two months ago we landed on the front steps of our house and burst into tears from such joy of having all five of us together.  On the other hand, Hambisa just slides right into the family as he's always been a part of it.  He is doing so great with his adjustment and he fits perfectly into my arms!
Thank you all for your many thoughts, prayers and well wishes.  We have appreciated them, felt them and coveted them.  While his emotional adjustment and attachment seems to be going very for him, that's not to say it's all been a breeze.  He is a very busy boy! (and that's part of why he fits in so well).

That's the short story.  If you want to the longer one, here goes some of it:

It began with 44 hours of no sleep on the journey home.  Hambisa was getting up every 3 hours throughout the night. (Due to the cloth diapering, the orphanage awakened babies for a changing; and feeding was the easiest way to get multiple babies back to sleep.)  We built forts in the basement for Macabe and Bennett so they could actually get some solid sleep themselves.

1 trip to urgent care for Hambisa (oozing ear infection)
1 head split open worthy of four staples (Mom)...that was a wicked game of peekabo, I'll tell you,
    but worth all the laughs
2 bouts with the flu (Bennett and Mom)
2 digestive systems with an Ethipian parasite (Bisa and Mom)
3 skin infections/cellulitis (Mom)
1 brother who had to be watched he didn't smother his brother with hugs
1 brother who had to be watched he didn't smother his brother with tackles
several extra days off work for Kurt to nurse his family's health
countless prescriptions
1 new budding relationship with our pharmacist

As for now, we have hit our stride.  They are busy days.  I had forgotten how busy a one year old can be.  Just the other day I was emptying the dishwasher when I turned around to find much of the laundry I just folded strewn about the living room.  By the time the laundry was remedied, Hambisa had gotten into the garbage can.  And let's just say we don't ever leave the bathroom door open anymore else we will have toilet paper everywhere and a one year old swimming in the toilet.

Macabe has been in love with Hambisa from the very start, loving the chance to have a job and someone to take care of.  He recently has gotten quite anxious about needing some space to protect as his own, but overall is coping well with the adjustments.  The honeymoon period for Bennett wore off after about a week and he struggled with his new role as middle child.  To his defense, we didn't bring home a newborn baby who can be set down or who sleeps a lot.  We brought home a toddler who immediately gets into his things, into his way, and requires a lot of attention from us.  It was difficult to even play his usual games or toys without interruption or destruction.  Bennett had to be watched closely with his new younger brother.  I was having some of my own stress over this, worrying that I'd ruined my easy-going Bennett.

However, today has been a great example of how far we have all come.  Nine weeks into it, Bennett has some very sweet big brother moments and learned he is one of the best people to make him laugh.  He even took great care holding and 'babysitting' his baby cousin Mabel this morning.  Macabe is learning to close his door to protect his space and certainly been thriving with the chance to have a job and be a big help.  He is built to be a nurturing soul.   Hambisa is comfortable to explore the room and play with others, returning to check in with Mom and Dad for affirmation.  It took six weeks before he would lay his head down on our shoulders to sleep, but now will seek us out for hugs and kisses...and everyone sleeps through the night now!

We have some precious pictures and more fun stories to tell you, but for now, it's time for bed.  I've got to get ready for more fun and crazy times in the Scholtens' household.  Sweet dreams!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Home Coming

Lots to share from the trip home but for now...this picture sits well with our souls!

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly...

The good:
1.) I think we have stabilized Hambisa's digestive system
2.) Our friends arrived as expected and picked up their beautiful daughter.  Hambisa had his first play date on our hotel floor.
3.) We took two naps today...all of us...from 8:40 to 10:00 AM and again from 1:30 - 2:45PM. That likely won't ever happen again...ever!
4.) We found some ticklish spots!

The bad:
1.) We broke out and took a walk around the block, careful to keep Hambisa covered.  Fresh air was nice.  Who knew taking a walk could feel so bad ass!
2.) As we get closer to departure, both our enthusiasm and anxiety grow.  The thought of being home is wonderful, however the thought of 17 hours in flight time with stop overs in Sudan and Germany, not as exciting.  We are positioned to take it one small step at a time, which we hope to start with a good night's sleep.
3.) Yeah...didn't get that sleep we were hoping for.

The ugly:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

60 hours and gone...

Guess what's inside the walls of the US Embassy that I didn't realize I missed?  Grass!  And it was being cut with a lawnmower!  Fresh cut grass and the clean smell of a 4 cycle engine...even better!  20 minutes through security.  4 minutes wait. A 2 minute conversation and we received a birth certificate and promise of passport on Wednesday by 10AM.

On the way home we were reminded that we are strongly encouraged  not to leave the hotel with Hambisa.  So we have started our 60 hours of "house arrest".  It was nice spending a large part of today with our Aunt Mary, Uncle John, and Cousin Heidi who are also in Ethiopia visiting a soon to be adoptive daughter and grand daughter.  The company is therapeutic and quite honestly, more deliberate than our frenzied family gatherings back in the states.  Who knew we'd have to travel half way around the globe to spend some quality time with relatives.  They headed back to the states tonight and now, with Hambisa in hand, we were envious.  60 hours and we're gone as well.

I took a stroll to the market for the necessities...Pringles, Snickers, Ramen noodles, baby soap and a small box of laundry detergent for my laundering activities (note Hambisa does not have the same outfit on in any two pictures).  Managed to let Hambisa soak in the sink and give him his first bath.  Actually, as is evidenced by his love for the water, this is not his first bath, but the first one I've been priviledged to give him.

Bath time was perfectly timed as we were dressing him, we were able to enjoy an unexpected visit from Pastor James, the gentlemen who, along with his wife took Hambisa into their orphanage in Western Ethiopia.  He was in Addis for one more day before heading back and we asked if we could see him.  He came to the hotel, where we could properly thank him and trade one more round of stories about where Hambisa came from and the life he is heading towards.  Pastor James really liked hearing about and picturing Hambisa with his two brothers. 

Hambisa is tired of dragging his knees on the carpet, something that is new to him, so he's pretty much decided he should walk around the hotel room to spare his knees. He's gone from a shaky celebrated step when we got here yesterday, to 10 or so succesful steps. What's impressive is when he gets to his destination, he can easily bend down and pickup a water bottle or my shoe and maintain his balance.  Not bad for an 11 month old.

We managed to get our hands on some pedialyte for Hambisa, so we stopped his formula and are instead going with a clear liquids diet.  We are determined to get his tummy to feel better in the next 60 hours.  Two wet diapers tonight before bed and the absence of diarrhea are leaving us feeling optimistic.  We'll see what the night brings!  We're looking forward to the arrival of some families tomorrow whom we met on our first trip to help us push through our "house arrest".

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morning Walk, before picking up Hambisa

"Construction Zone" - this is the main street from Airport to City Center. They claim to be putting in a Tunnel. Not sure it's deep enough!

At least they were conscientious enough to build a pedestrian bridge.  Hey a ladder would have been a lot easier.  Can you imagine the litigation that would ensue in the US?

Our last meal as "2"...injera, lamb tibs, split pea shirew all washed down with a few beers.