Wedded BLISS--- 26 Years Worth! :)

August 29th, 1986

my Handsome Husband!

Yea! We are married!!

we were young!
that makes us
not very old still! :)

To my high school
Thank you
the last 26 years...
to love, cherish, honor
each other
thick and thin
(you have always been thin, I have been thick several times-physically speaking of course!)
sickness and health
(thankfully for the most part we have more health than sickness at this point :))
Prosperity and Want
(hmmm...I'm not sure if that line is right but we have had both)

I don't remember the rest of our vows but I do know this:

You have 
loved me
(maybe not liked me at times :))
provided for our family
(and worked hard from the first years on going to school, working full time to take care of us)
been LOYAL to me

and made our home full of boys 
an active one!
have and continue
in our first batch of boys
our 2nd batch of kiddos

many MEN
would want to start over and embrace
a life of diapers, homework, tears, sweat, fun,
laughter, TEENAGE years
after surviving it once.

have stretched my horizons with
mountain biking, tandem biking (although that about broke our marriage up! :), road biking,
hiking and all 
stuff that I wouldn't have attempted
with our boys without you. :)

Thank you
for being long-suffering with me:

When I cooked our first dinner of a whole chicken and 
left in the bag of neck/gizzard/heart,
(and I THOUGHT I knew how to cook!)
made spaghetti night after night
or tuna fish casserole :)

when I act with my heart and not my head
(a balance of both is good :))

when I write checks b/c I don't want to use the credit card but don't check the balance

when I start a conversation with you and in the middle start a different conversation with you

when I put the mail all over

and countless other things...

believing in me
and helping me set physical goals (see above on biking)
encouraging me as a 

Marriage is about actions
not just feelings
and you have shown that over and over again!

We compliment each
other and are proof
opposites attract! :) 
(although we aren't opposites in our convictions and passions!)

My prayer is that
through you and I 
others will see a marriage that is
not always
but that is
Christ- centered
and loving
but also
lots of FUN!

I love you!


Our wedding Song:
 You're the Meaning In My Life


Not Feelin' the LOVE!

I tried to give Grace...
but by the end of the "quick" run to 
with the 2 girls and baby I was irritated.

I have thought about sharing this one aspect of adoption that has had me bothered at times
since Mother's Day
and since 
Tuesday at Wal-Mart about did me in I 
decided it was time.

Trying to choose ketchup and mustard
with the baby in the basket and the 2 girls
wandering around 
an older women walked up and starting talking to the girls
and baby..
"Oh, he's sooo cute... I bet he get's ALL the attention,
well girls, one day he won't.. blah , blah blah.
I was trying to keep on task and slightly ignore her hoping she would scurry along...

"Well, where are you from?" (talking to the girls)
by now she has my full attention.
I replied, "WE are from xyz"

Her response, "No, I mean where are they ORIGINALLY from?"
"They are from Ethiopia"

"Ohhhh...what are your names?"
4 yr old says her name but of course the lady can't understand her.
I say, "Just say Anne" to our 4 yr old.
The lady says, " NO, Anne is TOO plain, your other name is GRAND!"
(I'm like WHAT the HECK lady! That's my name too!)

And she is motioning with her arms outstretched making sweeping gestures all the while.

Then she asks our 6 yr old what her name is...
she tells her.

Then the lady says, "This is your NEW family!"

I interject and say "YES, this is our family... I'm your Mommy, right...etc. etc."

4 yr old starts to talk to lady about her Daddy being in Texas and as lady is commenting on that I am hurriedly 
pushing the basket away from her around the corner. 
Head to checkout in a hurry...here comes lady in the next checkout lane.
She says, "OH THERE YOU ARE!" 
4 yr old is giggling and being very charming. 
Baby is saying "thank you " for something and lady proceeds to make him repeat "thank you" saying
"say it... say Thank You!" 
I was like "that's just how he says it!"
and rushed out the door from whacko lady.

I had HAD IT!

Yes, I know our family looks different-- people are very 
but people can also be very insensitive.
(or maybe there social skills are lacking!)

I understand where people are coming from..
I was there
 before our family was all together
I was fascinated by trans -racial families
and wanted to know their stories 
I didn't ask personal questions of strangers
just like I wouldn't ask a family of all
the same skin color personal questions

I know I should respond with grace and even humor
because our family on display is a beautiful 
example of adoption
God's LOVE for us, His children.

So, in hindsight I should have just said,
"thank you for your interest in our sweet family but
I have to run." :)

Honestly, I have struggled with how much attention our family
(especially the girl's) get when we are out. Out of the
ordinary attention...not natural attention :)
I KNEW to be prepared for this but it's been harder than I thought it would be.

Just a few examples:

I took our 6 yr old bio son and 8 yr old Ethiopian son to the school
district office to pick up some materials.
When we got to the main gals office who is over the ESL programs I told her I had brought 2 helpers. I introduced her to our 8 yr old and she said, "OH, this is D who we have been talking about! So good to meet you!" and shook his hand. Then literally she just kept looking at him like she was looking at a museum piece. After it seemed like an eternity I said, "And this is my other helper, M!"  
Not feeling the LOVE in that situation for sure for that lady!

We went to Moab for Mother's Day with all 5 of our littles. You have to understand this was  a big deal b/c it was the first time we went anywhere on an overnight trip. We stayed a few days but thankfully didn't tent camp! :) 
Anyway, walking down the main street we were a site to see and got quite a few smiles and stares. 
I walked into a pizza restaurant with the girls. Randall and boys were following behind.
We got up to the hostess and she immediately started gushing..."Oh my gosh, they are so cute!!" On and on....of course 4 yr old LOVED the attention . I wanted to say..."Please just give us a seat."
After dinner I took girl's to bathroom...A woman came in and started commenting on 4 yr olds cute hair. I had to go too so I quickly went into the stall and told girl's to stand there and not move.  Lady is still talking to girl's. I come out and she's still talking!! She then starts to comment on 6 yr olds cute hair and touches it. Then 4 yr old jumps in needing more attention and tells lady their ages, about her brother and her life :) I'm washing hands as fast as I can go to get out of there. 

I will stop here b/c I realize  you probably have the idea...
yes, our children are cute...JUST like ALL children...
it's hard b/c as we are working with them on attachment and
NOT seeking attention all the time
they are getting
all the time from strangers
and well-meaning friends alike.

It has a term-
(can't remember what it is)
but basically it's well meaning people showering  not normal attention
to black children /families 
to show them they are not racist.
(disclaimer- this is my definition not the right one :)

I read in one of our adoption books,
that trans racial families would like to just go into the store
to buy a gallon of milk without all the fanfare! : )

I feel just like that.

What I would say to unsuspecting strangers 
just treat us like any other family with children...

just regular low key acknowledgment
and if you have a question about adoption that is appropriate
and it's not when I  am choosing mustard and ketchup
please free to ask... :)

This is a term a therapist used who is working with a friend of mine who has a bio child with RAD... no gushing over her. It's not healthy for our kiddos :)

I guess I won't talk about the hair touching and squeezing either at this moment.

You get the picture! :)

Thank you for "listening" to my heart...
in no way want to offend anyone
and I do need to work
need it too! :)

Just my Mama's heart at the moment 
(or last few months!)

Big Brother Christopher-yes they all squish in this pool! :)

2 yrs old!

Love, Tracy


We haven't dropped off the planet! :)

Life has been speeding by
 hit some SPEED BUMPS
and long stretches
of barren highway...
Whizzed effortlessly
down the freeway
at times
enjoying the 
and we
are still ALIVE 
WELL  :)

Home 8 months and have lots to share...
but will later when my 
thoughts are clearer.

Thanks to my BROTHER
here are some pictures of our kiddos!

click on the Gallery Link in the article to see pics :)

Love, Tracy 

Hip Hip Horray!

Kindergarten graduation day!

Summer Fun!

Not sure about the sprinkler!


My March Baby :) and almost 6 mo. home!!

Happy 19th Birthday
to our sweet Nicholas!
Today we celebrated the birth of our 4th son,
We thought he was the last of the bunch...
Enjoy a few pictures of our early years..
Nick is the one with dark brown hair :)

Christopher's wedding...

Tonight he had 5 little brother's and sister's, 1 big brother,
and 1 Pop-Pop and Grandma
singing Happy Birthday to him with much 

We are so thankful for Nick!

Time has been flying by! It's hard to believe we have been home over 5 months.
At 6 mo. we have another post adoption report due to Ethiopia. We had one at 3 mo. with our social worker.
Ethiopia requires a 3, 6, 12 mo. report done by our social worker and then a yearly report done by us after that until the kids are 18!

Here are some funny happenings that have gone on....

We were driving down the road and saw a little Toy Poodle running on the sidewalk.
E. hollered out (because most talking is done in a very loud voice!)
"LOOK! There's a SHEEP!!"
I couldn't help but laugh and explained that was a poodle :)

Another time I had taken all 5 kids to the park. (which goes to show how far we have come in 5 months!)  Nick was with me but waiting in the van because we only had a few minutes before we were to meet Randall for dinner.
All of a sudden T. say's, "PEE, I have to pee!!" I'm running to the bathrooms which of course are locked. He's having a conniption
  and I'm trying to figure out a private spot for him to pee. (there's a girl's soccer team practicing several yards away)
Frantically, I had him come by the side of the bathroom and told him to pee right there. He starts to pull down his pants and squat. I was like "No, stand up!" Pee!
He's now in a panic saying, "Ca-ca!!!" (poo!)
Now I'm in a panic! "Pull up your pants!!" "Everybody in the van!!" 
By now the baby has wandered off and everyone is looking at me like I'm nuts.
After gathering the other 4 sad kids we rush to the van and pile in.
I'm hollering at Nick to help buckle them all in and off we go to the 7-11 up the street. 
We rush in and ask for the bathroom where T. sits for awhile and feels much better!

There is a song T. learned listening to Randall's I-Pod in Ethiopia and all the way (and several weeks after we were home...finally weaned him off of it!)
The words are" I feel so alive! For the very very first time! I feel like I could fly, fly, fly"
Well, T was singing, " I peel so a lion, for the berry  berry first time, I peel like I could fly, fly, fly!" I didn't even know what the words were till Randall told me and I just had to laugh!

I had thrown out some dead roses out the back door into the dirt. 
Well the kids found them and replanted them in a pot :)
They were convinced they were growing!

They are so enthralled with the hyacinths and daffodils blooming...
"MOM, MOM, look! Flowers!!! Let me showm (that's how they say show)

The girls are very observant of women and what they wear. If I get a Kohl's ad or they see women scantily clad they ask me, "You Like?" I say, "No, that's not very good to dress that way...too short shorts, etc. etc."
Now they tell me "not good" only my 4 year pointed a gal out in TJ max who was dressed and commented right next to her all the while pointing at her.
So we had a talk about not pointing or talking about people in front of them :)

We have had a few talks which the girl's initiated about our skin color...they are very big on what matches...clothes, plates at the table, colors, etc.
So E. was saying, "Mom, S. matches you (our skin) and me no match."
We talked about her skin being darker brown and Mommy's lighter brown.
S. told me the other day my skin was yellow :)

They have come so far since they first came home on behavior.
We would literally have meltdowns and wailing fits. 
They would physically shut down and refuse to move.
We know it was due to all the change, fear, grief etc.

Learning to use words has been a big focus and as they have learned more and more English it has been so much easier to communicate their needs.

Randall said the other day that 
was feeling more normal
our NEW normal is inching it's way in.
(He said that after taking the boy's biking which
is a big part of our family.)

We feel like our family is melding together and we can sense when the kid's are a bit off 
or regressing.

Thank you, as always, for the prayers and encouragement!
It is amazing how God uses His people to lift up, encourage and support 
one another!

As a reminder to myself and all of you:

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:58 

Brother's digging up Daddy's horse radish!
Very proud of all the roots they dug up!

Luke's 25th birthday!

beautiful baby

riding the pump track!

biggest brother Luke at bike pump track

Mommy coiled hair!

3 kids loving the sunshine!

Nick's 19th birthday!

Love, Tracy :)


Oatmeal in my pocket...Gum on my shoe!

Some DAYS, WEEKS, seems like MONTHS,
are like that....
I started out making our normal 10 cups of oatmeal
and as I was filling up a little bowl at the stove
it slipped out of my hands...
HOT oatmeal all down me and right into my hoodie pocket!
(the hoodie I was wearing happened to have GRUMPY from the Seven Dwarves on it..just fit my mood!)

I was doing hair, brushing teeth and wiping bums in the kid's bathroom when my bare foot was sticking to the floor.
(I know the blog title says "shoe" but that sounded better than "foot" :))

I haven't posted in soooo long for several reasons...
Life has been hard and I've been worn out physically and emotionally some days :)
It's not hard 24/7
There are some beautiful, sweet, funny, precious, everything good moments and days 
for sure!

Like the other day when
Boy comes down in sandals and I say...you need to put on tennis shoes...it's freezing outside!

"But MOM, these are Jesus shoes!!!"

Okay, how do you argue with that. He got to wear the sandals.

We are hearing more and more stories of the children's lives back in
Heartbreaking at times for what they have seen and experienced.
Yet, they are so animated when they tell us and laugh at times remembering funny things.

At bedtime I was talking with both boys..
Big boy was telling me about his Ethiopia Mom and how she is with Jesus.
I just try and listen and think
"What Lord, can I say to comfort him?"

Then our 6 yr old says, 
"Mom, T is going to heaven b/c he asked Jesus into his heart!
"I told him what to do and said the words and he said them after me,
so he is going to be in heaven with me forever!"

Wow! I was speechless and full of tears. 
My 6 yr old is having conversations at night with his brother that are of the upmost importance
and I'm just trying to get everyone quiet and asleep!

I think I have been overwhelmed and have missed out on the right

I get in the middle of all the 
and trying to attach to 4 children who were uprooted 3 months ago from the only 
lives they have known,
and I forget
we are not alone in this...
even though adoption can be a lonely place when
other's can't understand
why you don't let your 4 year old 
love on them and sit on their laps
or why
you can't leave the baby in the nursery at church till that baby is KNOWS 
we won't ever leave them and we are coming back.
That we miss our friends and the fellowship
but for our children's sake to learn we are family
we have had to cocoon and not leave them with others.

For the first time in over 3 months Randall and I went to 
dinner together (at dinner time!)
for his work. It was the first time we were both gone from the kids at dinner and bedtime!
It FELT sooo good! :)
My Mom and Nick watched the kids (yes, it takes 2 people!)

I came across this quote a while back and it really encouraged me:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
President Theodore Roosevelt

We are in the arena of trying to blend a family and 
not err
thankfully we 
don't get our strength from ourselves...

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And at the end of the day
I am so grateful
whether I am worn out or not
that God has chosen us
for these 4 sweet children.

 When I see all 4 big kids intently digging the biggest hole
ever in the garden TOGETHER
I think this is part of what 
it's all about!
Our bio 6 yr old is not by himself digging...
they all have each other.

4 heads is better than 1 for digging!

mmmm..peanut butter/jelly and bell pepper sandwich!

Biggest brother with 2 little brothers :)

1st day of school!

Wait! I think I see a worm!


jogging buddy! 1st time to use the jogging stroller again!

All 4 wanted to sit on same side of table

Love, Tracy


JOY multiplied!

JOY x 5 little ones and 4 BIG ones

We are so thankful for all our 

I think I can say my heart was overflowing and tears threatened to come pouring out this Christmas
as we were exchanging gifts.
One BIG son had wrapped up 
his own i pod plus some fun stuff 
and given to his oldest brother.
He gave another brother his small computer like an i pad plus accessories to go with it.
He gave his Dad his personal binocular straps that Dad really liked plus a cool bag for archery stuff. 
They were thoughtful, personal, from the heart gifts.

My Mom heart almost couldn't take it and as I looked around at the other big boys I saw they were as moved and touched as we were.

Our sweet 6 year old had wrapped up his special handmade blanket plus a box full of his cars for his Daddy as well. He gave his treasures too.

In spite of all our failures ( I should speak for myself! My own failures as a Mom)
God gives us hope and allows us to see the goodness and preciousness of each child He has created and made unique.

Sometimes as a Mom life gets overwhelming...
the day to day..
the dishes over and over again...
the laundry that will never end...
the endless whining (or so it seems :))
the nights of homework 
the worrying ( I never thought I was a worrier but my oldest says I am)
and so onnnnnnnnnnnnnn..... 

and then I have to step back 
and look for 
and appreciate
 and savor 
the moments of
and I LOVE YOU's
and all
that is

Not sure where all that just came from :) but on to how we have been doing and some of the 
challenges we have faced since bringing home our 4.

Oct. 15th to now

1. 12 samples of poo within 3 days delivered to children's hospital!
2. giardia for everyone!
3. Scabies anyone? You Bet!
All of us treated.
4. Blood work taken from all 4. Two sat and watched blood being drawn. 1 screamed till all our eardrums burst! Baby cried for a bit.
5. Banana peel next to trash can on floor next to toilet in bathroom. Hmmmm...
6. Refusing to move, wailing/screaming/mad for all day fits.
7. Above happening for small things.
8. Whining as a means of communication.
9. Learning to ask for things with words.
10. Visit to dentist/screaming for 1 with eardrums once again bursting.
11. Everything given to them stuffed in their backpacks, tucked away in pillowcase.
12. Learning different personalities and how to best work with them.
1 Tomboy girl who loves to do hair and help.
1 Princess girl who loves to take care of her baby.
1 sweet boy who loves to help, play ball and read the Bible storybook with Dad.
(also trys to take Dad down in wrestling!)
1 Climbing baby who is into everything! He can shimmy up the stairs in 30 sec!
Loves to laugh!
1 Precious boy who is learning how to share his LIFE with 4 new brothers/sisters.
13. Getting used to stares when we are out as a family.
14. Getting used to comments such as:
3 Asian men came to look at our formal table:
him, "Lots of kids", me " Yes,"  Him, "Babysitting?"
me, "Nope, all ours!"
end of conversation.

Fireplace guy: all kids napping when he comes in, 1 by one they get up.
At end when I am paying he says, "Day care?" I said, "Nope, they are all ours! 24/7!"
15. Listening to singing in their language all together.
Listening to them speak to each other part English and part their own.

Life has been a whirl wind! Some days my brain can't think anymore such as the day I get a call from the school office:
"Mrs. Auty? Just wanted to let you know today was an early day out and M is sitting here in the office"
Me: " Do we not have school tomorrow? Usually it's an early day out the day before it's a no school day."

Her : "Today is Friday!" (EVERY Friday is early out!)

I didn't even try to explain to her my life!

And then another day we are driving after I picked up M from kindergarten:
M: "Mom, is there a reason we are driving and I am not buckled up?!!"


I have been so grateful for all the meals we have received! They literally have been a lifesaver... the help with housecleaning, laundry washing, encouraging etc.
Mom has come up and spent all day with me. She has worked with the kids on school and seen first hand LIFE here.
She about summed it up when she talked with M's teacher.
He had come home with a bag of stuff for me to help the teacher with here at home.
There was NO way I could do that so Mom took it back up to school for me. She talked with M's teacher who said something to the effect of it still figuring things out over here. 
Mom told her she was a retired teacher who knew what to do and it was even overwhelming for her! :)

We are learning our new normal :)
and growing as a family.

I am so thankful for Randall who has taken all 5 kids out to give me a break!
He loves to spend time with them and takes such good care of all of us!

The troops are up and on the loose so I better run!

Love, Tracy