Franklin Five

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Just wanted to give a little update about what's been going on with us this winter season. We've had lots of snow and snow days, so the boys have loved playing outside and being together. Graham and Wesley are getting much better at happily playing together which in turn makes their momma very happy.

Lidiyanna has been moving like a storm around our house. Right after our trip to Disney at the end of December, she learned how to crawl. Not only does she crawl but she loves to pull up on things and cruise around the furniture. I thought she was never going to start moving and now you can't stop her. It's so fun to watch her go and she loves the independence that crawling brings. Don't you just love her little pigtails? Her hair is getting long enough now although it's tricky to get her to stay still while I fix her hair. Sometimes, her pigtails end up a little crooked, but I still think they are adorable.

Wesley is doing great. He's been enjoying building train tracks and has recovered quite nicely from his head injury. We see no permanent damage that has resulted. :)

Graham has been enjoying more time at home during the snow days, but he's happy to go to school as well. I got to help in his classroom last week and was thankful to see his joyful, friendly spirit.

Last year, we had so much fun watching the birds in our backyard eat from our homemade birdfeeder. It's been fun to watch it again this year, and Tim has gotten some great shots of the birds.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nissan Off-Road Day

The Gang from Tim's office took some of the Nissan Trucks Off-Road.
The Xterra is Graham and Wesley's Favorite.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Ethiopian Buddies

While we were in Ethiopia on our first trip for the court date back in August, we met a really great couple. Mike and Neiva were there at the same time as us to meet their son, Colton. We met our children for the very first time together, spent every day going to the transition home to visit our kids together, and went through the long morning at court together. It was a week that bonded us in a deep friendship because we experienced some life changing events together.

We were very sad to find out we would not be traveling with them in September for the embassy date. We decided then that sometime later we would all get together after we had all our children at home. They live in the Canton, OH area, so we thought we would meet somewhere around Cincinnati. After having trouble finding a place to stay, we decided they would come to our house for a weekend of fun with six kids.
It turned out to be so much fun. I was so excited for Colton and Lidiyanna to see each other again (especially since we've already decided they will get married someday), to remember our experiences in Ethiopia, and to talk about how things have been since we've been home with our kids.
All six of the kids did very well together and quickly became buddies. It was a weekend we hope to repeat many times over the future.

Colton and Lidiyanna
It's interesting how different they look even though they are both from Ethiopia. Lidiyanna is from the Southern part of the country and Colton is from the northern region of Ethiopia.

our attempt to get all six kids looking at the camera

We got a few babysitters to watch the kids so we could enjoy a dinner out. It was wonderful!!

hittin' it off at Jump Zone

Sydney and Lidiyanna with their cute little pigtails

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More from Disney

Last year, Patsy helped a good friend from her high school days plan their reunion. This friend's father owns a large hotel chain, and he wanted to give Patsy gift of a week at his family's condo in Orlando. So, that's how this trip started. The condo was fabulous and gave all of us (5 kids and 5 adults) plenty of space. What a kind and generous friend Patsy has, and we were thankful she shared it with us. We had a great week and have lots of fun memories from the trip. The week started out very chilly but the weather was perfect by the end of the week. Our neice, Hayley, loves alligators. It just so happened that a man brought some alligators to the resort we were staying in for a special show and touch type of thing. I think he was from Gator Land. Anyway, Hayley just loved it, and I think she might have been the only child that got this close to the alligators.

Tim's sister, Melanie and her family, Patsy, and us

What started this trip was

one of Wesley's favorite rides-Aladdin's magic carpet ride

the kids enjoying popcorn before the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom

our first day at Magic Kingdom

Our last day at Magic Kingdom

waiting to see the electric parade

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Magical Night

Tim's mom took us to Disney World for Christmas this year. I have lots of pictures to share, but tonight, this is it. At Disney, everyone always says, "Have a magical day." I just didn't really get it until this night. We decided to stay later in Magic Kingdom to see the electric parade and the fireworks. Both of them were amazing and the castle was lit up with tons of beautiful white lights. The weather had been nice that day and all of the kids were so excited to see the parade and fireworks. We were standing on a very crowded Main Street with the castle ahead of us and the fireworks lighting up the sky. Tim had both the boys and I was holding Lidiyanna. I was amazed that she was doing so well considering our girl likes going to bed early. She would look up at the fireworks for a minute and then lay her head on my shoulder. It was a wonderful night, and I am so thankful to Patsy for taking us on a great trip. More to come...
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Our First Trip to the ER

Sorry for the poor picture quality.
Tim took this pic with his phone after we returned from the ER around 10pm. I couldn't believe he was still smiling. I think it must have been the Popsicle they gave him.

I thought it would be Graham that would take us to the ER someday, but it was his younger brother. Last night, Wesley fell on the sidewalk and received a pretty yucky cut on his forehead. The cut wasn't long but it was gaping open. I knew it needed more than a band aid.

Wesley is our child that freaks out just going to his regular check-ups, so I knew this was not going to be pleasant. Our pediatrician recommended taking him to the Vanderbilt Children's ER because it was a cut on the face. Tim decided to stay home with the other kids and I took Wesley to the ER. He was nervous from the minute we said he was going to have to see a doctor about his cut.

I called my brother who works at Vanderbilt, and he decided to stay up at the hospital and meet us at the ER. I am so glad he was there, and I am filled with gratitude when I think about him sacrificing his evening with his family to be with us at the hospital. He was a big comfort to me and Wesley, and I was glad to have another person that loved Wesley helping me through the experience.

I cannot say enough great things about Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and how great the staff treated us. They sent in a child life specialist to talk with Wesley using a doll and toys to try to help him relax. She was amazing and stayed with us until the stitches were complete.

Wesley was a trooper. He was scared and he screamed, but he was able to get the stitches without having sedation. Often times, they sedate the little ones to help keep them still, but I really didn't want to have to do that. Including the doctor, there were six of us gathered around my sweet son trying to keep him still while he got the three stitches. Fortunately, he didn't need a shot because they applied this cool, numbing gel when we first arrived at the ER. I was amazed at that magic goo because I remember how much those shots sting.
In the end, he came away with three stitches that will dissolve, a green Popsicle, and a look of pure relief. Today, he proudly told Nana on the phone all of the details of the harrowing evening. He's doing really well now and hasn't complained at all that his head hurts.
Again, I just feel so thankful for my wonderful, big brother who never cease to watch out for his little sister. I am also thankful for the compassionate staff at the hospital who never made me feel weird or annoying for having a screaming kid.
All that to say, I do not want to make a trip to the ER anytime soon. Hopefully, my next post will be about something fun-like our trip to Disney last week.