I haven't really blogged that much this year. Life gets busy but I do love going back and reading all the blogs I wrote in that first year and reflecting on how far we've come. Every once in awhile we have a really hard day that reminds me to be extra thankful for how many smooth days we have now. That first year was a lot of hard days but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Very glad we are on this side of it now. We had a great Valentine's Day today. We went to church and then went out to lunch and to the park with a new friend who is also a single momma. Our kiddos played great together while we got to have grown up conversation:) After that, we came home and took the dog to the dog park so she could get her daily sprint in. This dog runs and jumps like a deer. And has just discovered she can jump our 4 ft fence like 2 weeks ago so I get to spend my tax refund on getting a 6 ft fence put in to replace the 4 ft section. Thankfully most of the yard is already 6 foot so I don't have to have the entire thing done. She jumps it like it's nothing and then takes off running all over the neighborhood. She always comes back and if I chase her she goes farther. If I get in the car and open the side door, she'll almost always jump back in. I'm not too worried about her running away but I am worried about her getting hit by a car. So I haven't been able to just let her outside these past few weeks which really bums her out. And means a lot more visits to the dog park for me. After the dog park, we played outside for a bit. Mihretu decided to get part of the way in the freezing cold pool with his jeans on. He thought that was so fun. He tried to talk me into it but one foot in and I was a no go. It is like ice cubes in that pool. I can't complain about the weather here though - even though the pool got really cold, the weather has been awesome. I like Florida winters! Today was sunny and 75. I had on flip flops and a tank top. Here's a pic of me and M from the park.
After M went in the pool, he of course wanted a warm bath. Then we went for a walk and he rode his John Deere kid sized powered tractor while I walked the dog behind him. It makes for a noisy walk around the block but he loves it. Then he rode his bike and scooter up and down the driveway until dark. Then we came in and ate pizza while watching Star Wars Episode III and "staying up late" since there's no school tomorrow. I wanted to empty the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen and Mihretu asked me if he could help and said "it'll be faster if we help together" so he washed the dishes in the sink while I unloaded the dishwasher. I hope his helpful side stays. It's pretty great that he loves to help with this kind of stuff. And I must say he washes dishes a lot better than some adults I know:) He's a cool kiddo. Here's him washing the dishes.
At church today, they gave all the ladies a rose. As a single momma, I especially loved that because it wasn't like I was getting roses today otherwise. We just watched Beauty and the Beast this past week and I commented in the car jokingly to M that the rose looked like the one in that movie and then said "do you think I'll meet my future husband before the last petal falls?" and Mihretu being so quick witted and always with perfect comedic timing said "I think so. But I hope he's not a beast." I cracked up.
He is so stinkin funny. And quick as the responses. I can't wait to see (well I can wait cause time is going by too fast already) what he'll be like when he's an adult. I just know God has big plans for him. He's so funny, outspoken, brave and bold. Sometimes some of those things can make for embarrassing moments like the other day when he followed people around at our garage sale asking them if they were going to buy anything and if they had kids, etc. He's certainly not shy. And he is a little bit obsessed with money. Which I can't quite figure out how to handle cause I'm certainly not. But he just loves money. I'm happy to say we're finally out of the "making fake money on little pieces of cut up paper every single day" stage. But he was all about making huge piles of his toys and books to try and make money at the garage sale. And he was super upset when by 10 am he had only made $15. I thought $15 was a lot as a kid. Apparently not the case these days. He actually started crying. We had to have a little talk about being grateful and thankful for what we have. By the end, he made $30 which was quite a lot for a kid and we went to target so he could pick out something with it. He's kind of into something called Shopkins right now. He's got a lot of friends at school who like these and that's where he first heard about it. So he bought two different sets with his money and had 6 cents to spare. He was super happy. All in all the garage sale wasn't as successful as we hoped and I'm not sure if this neighborhood is great for them or what the deal was but we didn't have all that many people. It was a gorgeous day though to be outside and having a garage sure made it easier. We were able to set up a few days in advance a little at a time and that helped make it a lot less stressful the morning of.
We've had a busy weekend - moreso than usual. Tomorrow is President's Day so it's a long weekend. Here's hoping little man sleeps in a bit. Lately he has been sleeping till 7:30 or 8 which is light years difference from the first year or so when he was quite the early bird. He cracks me up sometimes when I come in at 6:30 to wake him up from school and he said "ah man, I want to sleep longer". I think we're both still adjusting to being on Eastern time. I hadn't been on this time zone for 13 years. Amazing how much of a difference 1 hour can make. And then the time change thing - I'm always messed up for weeks after that. And oh goody, it's almost spring and we get to change it again. When are they ever going to just do away with the silliness that is "daylight savings time". I'm over it.
We get to go visit Nashville in March. I have to go for work cause we're having our annual leader training there since it's the best central location for leaders from all over. And we currently have 2 staff there, 2 of us in Florida and 1 in Alabama. I'm excited to go and see everyone, visit our old church and actually we're having the training in one of the buildings of that church. I am starting to prepare that this trip might be emotional for me and Mihretu. I had a really hard time with the whole missing our church thing for the first 6 months or so of being here. I didn't realize how much of an attachment I had to that place I had been part of for 12 years until I left. I miss all of my friends there too but I stay in touch with them and the last year and a half prior to moving, I had felt pretty disconnected and didn't see people nearly as much as I once did. It seemed like everyone's lives got crazy busy, a bunch of people who had always gone to that church left and I felt pretty isolated. In hindsight, I think it all helped prepare me to be able to leave and I'm thankful for that. But I've been surprised at how easy it has been to pick up life here and settle in. Especially once we found a church. I loved Nashville and literally never thought I'd ever ever leave. So the fact that I did leave and haven't been an emotional wreck about it has been a total God thing. However, I do think some emotion is going to hit me when I go back for the first time since leaving. And I suspect it will for M too. He's had weeks that have been hard and where he talks a lot about missing our other home and his old school and our old church and friends. He talks about the house the most and our friends bought it so we will actually go there when we visit which I am preparing will likely be hard for him but also hopefully provide closure as well. Praying for that especially. I think it makes sense that it would be hard on him since that was our first home together as a family and change is hard for kids anyway, especially kids who've experienced all he has in his short life. He's done amazingly well even though I know he's had some big feelings about the move. He does like it here and he really loved it when it was warm enough to swim every single day and go to the beach every weekend. It'll be back to those temps soon enough. He likes his school a lot now but at first he had a hard time cause 1st grade requires a lot more of him than K did and his teachers here expect a lot from him. He's doing great though and making tons of friends. Whenever we go to a birthday party or school function and I tell another parent who my child is - seriously every single time they say "oh Mihretu - my son/daughter talks about him all the time". He's that kid that makes everyone laugh and is a little social butterfly. The little girls especially love him. Who can blame them?
My best friend from high school moved here the same time we did and lives about an hour and a half away. We meet up with her family a lot at the beach or Busch Gardens and that has been a huge blessing and surprise. That wasn't even on the radar when we decided to move here so I've loved that. My friend Deb also lives about 45 min away and that's been nice. And I have a step grandma about 40 min away and some family friends about 25 min away so it's definitely nice to know you have people nearby that you already know and that was something I did not have when I first moved to Nashville in 2002 when I literally knew not even 1 person prior. I even just this past weekend got to know my neighbors a little bit more when they invited us over for the Super Bowl party. And that was a Godsend cause I was feeling really sad that day cause I didn't know anyone having one and always went to one in TN. So that was neat that they saw us outside and invited us over. I've started making some really great new friends here - ones that you can't imagine not knowing just a few short months ago. One of them is Jessica and she also now works with me. She's my friend I get to be silly with. Sometimes working for a non profit can be hard and laughter is the best medicine of all. Not everyone gets my dorky sense of humor but Jessica does and that's been really fun. And we started attending a small group right before Christmas that just resumed last week and I've been really enjoying getting to know these folks from church more. And have even gotten to know the pastor and his wife quite a bit already. I really love this church and just the genuineness of everyone there. Really great people that you just feel like really care and want to get to know you. You don't find that everywhere. I'm thankful. And Mihretu loves it and gets so excited everytime we go. He especially loves that two other little boys his age from Ethiopia are also there. I am grateful for how God is connecting us in our new location and looking forward to seeing what else He has for us here as time goes on.
Well, that's the update on us for now. I'm going to get to sleep just in case M doesn't sleep in tomorrow:)