Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Stories

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! Here we are just before heading out for church. I got the kids new Christmas clothes a few days ago. When I asked Tadi to put his on he ran to his room and pulled out the clothes I had brought home from Ethiopia for him. I thought that was pretty fantastic, so I decided to wear my Ethiopian dress too.

From Chloe:
I got an American Girl doll with a horse. I got some new pairs of earrings and I got a mosaic picture and I got a flashlight that is also a pen. And I got a DSi. You can play Mario Party and My Littlest Pet Shop on it. I woke up very early and I woke up everyone! I love Christmas!!

From Rachel:

I got an American Girl doll and an American Girl horse for Christmas. I got a pack of lipsticks and I got them in my room (Rachel asked Santa to put one small thing in her room). I got three packs of Pet Shops from Chloe and Tadi. I got mosaic pictures, a castle and a horse. I felt very happy! I got a pack of chocolate Santas.

From Tadi:

I love my football helmet but I don't like them alot, just love it a little bit. I wanted to have a cowboy horse and a cowboy. (Tadi asked Santa for a football helmet - amazing, he got one! The girls got dolls and horses and he was feeling VERY left out... ;) I love my toys. I like my (Nerf) guns and bullets. I love my t-ball set and my racecar track. I'm happy about my toys.

From Matt:

Christmas is always such a wonderful time of year. A time for both friends and family.

First the Friends: The whole Christmas season kind of kicked off this year getting out of work early. We had the opportunity to spend a couple of evenings with friends around the community at different gatherings. It was a nice way to kick start the holiday. What a great neighborhood we live in!

Now the Family: My sister flew in from Michigan to join us. My Mom and Dad came and spent Christmas Eve night with us so we could all be together Christmas morning to watch the bevy of wrapping paper fly through the air in the morning as the kids opened their presents. I am still a kid at heart on Christmas Eve. Anxious for Christmas and having a hard time falling asleep and when I do ususally a wrestless sleep. This year it reminded me of my recent surgery. When I fell asleep, and I don't remember when I did, within a second, the kids were jumping on our bed saying "Santa came, Santa came, get up, get up!!" So we did and it was such a wonderful site to see the kids so excited to open their presents and then watching them play for the entire day in their pajamas. Next up - Mark and Vicky for the New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From Beth:

I really enjoyed Christmas morning this year. It didn't seem to be quite the fractic frenzy as some of those in the past. I got to see the kids open all their stuff and man they really had a fantastic time playing all day. We never left the house because it rained pretty intensely all day.

Matt's sister and parents stayed the night Christmas Eve so were with us Christmas morning. Was very nice. And we went to church on Christmas Eve, so we stayed in our jammies ALL DAY!! Fabulous.

The kids really picked out some fantastic things for me. We let them pick out whatever they want for us and honestly they did a great job picking things that really fit my personality. I was very surprised and impressed. I also got a Scentsy wickless candle set. If you haven't seen these, and you really like candles, you got to check them out!

Wishing you all a wonderful, blessed, New Year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A little late

But better than never. Our Sunday blog tradition was thwarted by driving home from the cabin followed by a week of full-time work by Mom. But here we go!

Rachel and Tadi told Santa what they wanted for Christmas! Mom drilled them before leaping on the lap that they were to ask for ONE thing. Santa so GRACIOUSLY and GENEROUSLY told them they could ask for MORE things and that they would also get some surprises. Wow - thanks Santa!!!

From Chloe:

For Thanksgiving, our grandparents came over. We had Thanksgiving dinner together. Then they left. Then we went over to our uncle's and aunt's house. We had pumpkin pie with whipped cream! On Friday, we left early to go to the mountains. On Saturday, we bought a Christmas tree and went sledding. On Sunday, we went home early to decorate the Christmas tree. I had a great time!

From Rachel:

Rachel is sharing the flower book she wrote. I am copying it here in her kid-spelling:
"Haw a flawr gros"

by Rachel Celusin

Flawr's grow only if tha have wotr sunlit and soyl. Mack shor that you don't giv them the roing umaut of soyl sunlit and wodr. I like to plant flawre's. I plant meney difrint culr flawr's and...
meny difrint cins of flawr's.

The End

Here's the translation:

"How a Flower Grows"

Flowers grow only if they have water, sunlight, and soil. Make sure that you don't give them the wrong amount of soil, sunlight, and water. I like to plant flowers. I plant many different color flowers and...
many different kinds of flowers.

The End


Here's the story behind Tadi's picture. We were at the tree farm and were talking about the colors of the tags on the trees. Blue tags, white tags, white with orange polka dots, etc. We told the kids, "Go find a tree with a blue or white tag." They were walking around and Tadi called out, "I like the orange one!" We rounded the corner to see him standing next to this tree:

From Tadi:
I love my Christmas tree. I have fun getting hot chocolate and candy. I love great time for lunch and I love my Christmas tree. I have fun sledding and I have fun watching movies and Nutcracker movie. Good time!

From Matt:

The Holidays always represent an opportunity for us all to remember or perhaps focus on what is important in this, friends and sharing happiness. Thanksgiving weekend represented one of those opportunities to spend time with family. My Mom and Dad came for dinner, we shared dessert with our Brother and Sister and family after. We had an opportunity to go to the cabin in the mountains to spend some time together in such a wonderful place that reminds me of the Norman Rockwell Christmas Village. See the lights and the kids with Santa. Then the highlight of the weekend...the trip to pick and cut our Christmas Tree. As we searched the tree farm with amazement of how big some of the trees actually were and admiring one, I hear a very little voice say from the other side "How bout the orange one!" then I round the corner from behind an 11 foot tree to see Tadi highlighting the wonderful "orange" tree in the picture. A very cute Christmas memory (along with others) that will live with us forever.

From Beth:
We managed to get our 9 foot tree home unscathed and decorated Sunday night. I dutifully check all the lights before putting them up - all in good working order. I put the lights up and we decorated the tree. We plugged it in and it lighted like fireworks. Awesome! The next morning - NO LIGHTS!!! We checked and unplugged and replugged and flicked lights until we finally figured out the top strand was the defunct one, causing all the rest to go out. Got a new set and put it overtop. All is well with Christmas again :)

I'm spending this week waffling between the emotions of being thankful for employment and yet loathing every minute I spend doing it. It is a one week "adventure", so thankfully it's over soon. I look tremendously forward to getting back to building my new business next week.

Happy CHRISTmas season!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Sunday everyone!!

From Chloe:
Sunday the 22nd I am going to a Miley Cyrus concert with my mom and my friend Avery and her mom. We are leaving at 4:30pm and on the way we are getting pizza. Then we are going to be leaving at 9:00. I'm very excited to be going! I'm also kind of nervous.

From Rachel:
I like the new church I have. I go to Sunday school there and it is fun! For snack I eat pretzels and I drink water. After that I like to pick a prize out of the prize box. And then we went to get donuts. And then we went home and played.

From Tadi:
I love you Mama. I have so much fun playing Zingo with you. I have so much fun having more stuff to eat like I love you Mama. I love you too.

From Matt:
He's out shopping for turkey right now - TBD...

From Beth:
I'm very excited about a new business venture I've got going. I went to an all-day conference yesterday in Concord, NC and listened to the most successful persons in the business share their stories. I'm re-energized about my desire to succeed in this business and use the money for Ethiopian mission trips. Today in church they talked about spreading the word of God and Jesus through church-planting and for the first time I can see myself getting involved in this ministry. I feel very positive and confident that I am moving toward something really wonderful.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bubble Wrap Blowout

The kids always have more fun with the bubble wrap than the stuff that comes in the box. Particularly good when it's the large-bubble bubble wrap.

Here are the family posts for the week:

I'm writing about Veteran's Day. It's a National Holiday. I celebrated it and I got a day off from school. On Veteran's Day I went to Jelly Beans and went roller skating there. They have a game area and I played in it. I earned 58 tickets and I got some candy!

(Millie is a stuffed animal that the kids in Rachel's Kindergarten class get to take home once they've filled up their sticker chart).
I brought Millie home for the weekend. I had fun with Millie. Me and Millie played outside. Me and Millie are going to watch the movie "Up" on Sunday night. Me and Millie have never seen it. We are excited!

I love you Mommy. Me and Mommy and Chloe and Rachel and Daddy can go to the restaurant to eat food. Me and Chloe and Rachel had fun like we're playing and we had so much fun reading. Good Night. Sleep tight. And I love you Mama. We got a good time. And I had fun playing with my trucks. Me and Rachel just have good time to eat food everyday like we get hungry like our tummy get feeling hungry. Good night. Sleep tight.

In life the greatest gift we can receive is love. If you are lucky enough from a special someone, your soul mate. Even luckier from your children.

This is the unconditional love we all seek in life and it happens in many different ways. In the comfort of an embrace with your wife. In the softness of tucking your kids into bed. In the joy of you all together having fun eating dinner, watching a movie, going on a vacation or even just riding your bikes.

Then one time, this is interrupted. There is internal conflict, one that runs deep. You realize you have become everything you didn't want to become but in the same breath are proud of what you have become... your parents.

What an impact such an awarenss has. Severe sadness in that, the people who raised you and you love you have become. You have become all of the things you said to yourself when you were little that you would never be. But yet you are and you do. And in the same awarenss, you feel happy, that you had such wonderful parents to raise you and take care of you, become more than parents but friends.

But how do I distinguish between that unconditional love that a child has had and differentiate what I believe and feel, what I want to believe and do vs. what is engrained in me... well, again I am fortunate to have someone, that soul mate to help me on my path, to make me aware, for this I am every grateful... tbc...

This past week I volunteered three times in the girls' school and had a day off with them. This is the reality I am grateful for. I am so happy to have set aside a too intrusive career for the benefit of my children, for me. The financial struggles have been challenging, but I am always grateful again when I see the families who are over-stressed and over-scheduled trying to manage two full-time careers.

The pastor talked about acceptance today. One of my most favorite topics. That accepting God's path is the only way to move confidently and happily through life. I pray that I can always see the path I am supposed to be on.

Have a great week-

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Luneke's first family post

Hello! This blog has lagged in my failure to figure out what to do with it. I really didn't want it to become a listing of my day-by-day life. I wanted it to tell something fun and memorable for us all. But, without a plan to be on here regularly, the tendency was just to let it slip away. And I tended not to be on it on the weekends since any time I'm on the computer, my kids think I'm working! So, I was trying to avoid the perception that mom "works all the time" :) So, I've figured out a new plan! We'll do it together as a family every weekend! Everyone will contribute something they want to share from the last week. So, here we go!

From Chloe:

my name is Chloe
I am 7 years old and in the second grade.
Today november 8th 2009 I learned happyness
is like a pebble in a lake!!!
(Chloe shared with me during a bike ride around the lake today that the rings emanating from a pebble thrown in the water is like happiness spreading by one person smiling at another and on and on)

From Rachel:

At school we are making fun projects. And when it was October we made plastic apple plates. It was alot of fun! Also in October we made owls out of paper bags. We are talking about our 5 senses. We are reading alot of books about our 5 senses. We are having Super Senses Day and it will be alot of fun!

From Tadi:

I have fun at Lauren and Ryan's house playing games and I like the crumbs to eat for breakfast and I always like them. And me and Lauren and Ryan played the cow game and I almost crashed one of the cows. We just watched a movie and I like the songs and I like to go downstairs to play. And I didn't know you gonna take me home like you said after you fight I'm gonna take you home.
(I learned afterward that the cow game is a video game and Tadi kept crashing his guy)

From Matt:

I finally got to experience in my heart what my wife got to experience in her heart when she decided she wanted to adopt from Ethiopia.

From Beth:

We visited a new church for the first time today, King's Park International Church in Durham, NC. It is an interdominational church that is fundamentally Christian in that it teaches directly from the bible, but has a different worship style. Today they celebrated the first ever national Orphan Day. We were blessed with the African Children's Choir leading our service in worship through their amazing singing and dancing. At the first beat of the traditional Ugandan drum my heart lept with life til it poured out my eyes. A reaffirmation for me today that Africa lives in my heart. The pastor's talk today was taken from various scriptures in the bible about caring for orphans. I was very moved and it enabled me to solidify some rambling thoughts I've been having about how I am going to make my dream of sponsoring mission trips to Ethiopia a reality.
After church we had donuts then went on a family bike ride on a beautiful sunny and 75 degree day in NC.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Around the World in a..... Year

June 12 celebrated the one year anniversary of our family receiving the referral of Tadi along with his photo. Check out the now and then photos.

June 12, 2008

June 14, 2009

(the smile of a boy receiving his very first ever birthday present)

On Thursday, June 11, there was a package on the front porch when I arrived home after work. I saw the name of our Ethiopian contact on the label and was confused to understand why I would have gotten a package from him. As I looked more closely, I realized it was addressed TO him, FROM me. It was the care package I sent to Ethiopia on June 27, 2008 to be delivered to Tadi in the orphanage. Nearly one year later, it was on my doorstep, in tact, undamaged, never opened. So, Tadi got his teddy bear and photo album here at home. The clothes, suffice it to say, were MUCH too small.

We've been having much fun in the sun now that the weather is beautiful. Here is Rachel showing her fabulous scootering skills :)

Chloe has become quite the entrepeneur. She is designing and creating her own kids' jewelry and selling them at craft fairs with me! She has actually made a decent amount of money doing it and is learning some wonderful business skills. We are so proud of her!! (Unfortunately, her jewelry is off to the left out of the photo. Mine is showing in front of her).

Rachel and Tadi came to visit and support us at the show!

Til next time...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Birthdays and Beaches

Tadi is desperately trying to understand when his birthday is. So far this year, we've celebrated Rachel's, mine, Chloe's, Matt's, Mother's Day (for which we sang Happy Birthday, of course), Grandma's birthday is coming, so is Grandpa's and Father's Day (not to mention a few friends). Then, at the end of the heap is finally Tadi's birthday. He decided yesterday that the little toy he got from the restaurant was for his birthday.

There is no such thing as a bad day at the beach. Our first evening when we arrived, the weather was cool and rainy and this is how our beach walk started:

And this is how it ended... soaked head to toe, fully clothed...

We weren't sure if the kids liked the sand:

And I'll just say that's it's amazing the longevity of a three dollar plastic shovel-

The boogie boards were not to be defeated either. Some friends joined us there on our last day - Chloe is with her friend Sterling here-

I had an interesting experience with Tadi the other day that I never quite expected. Based on the race difference and his age when coming home from Ethiopia, I assumed that his adoption would always be obvious to him. However, the other day when talking with him about his aunt, I asked him if she was his mother (trying to get a sense of what his perception of her was) and he looked at me wide-eyed like "What are you talking about?" and said "no". The message was clearly, "You are my mother - what are you talking about?" So, I've been reconsidering that at some point I will have to have a conversation with him not just about Ethiopia and his life there, but also possibly that he is not our birth son.

Other recent and coming events:

Rachel is starting kindergarten soon and is very excited about it. She was also very nervous and a kindergarten orientation at the school helped her alot to overcome that. She saw some of her old friends from her previous school and that eased things alot.

Chloe is taking piano lessons and doing quite well. I enjoy to listen to her play and have been impressed by her interest in creating her own songs. There is one in particular that she made up and plays again and again.