Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yes, baby KALU is home...and we are alive!!!!

Ok, friends...I do apologize for the weeks and weeks of blog-less-ness (a new word?!). Those of you who know me well know that I am not the best at multi-tasking...and I tend to put off things until I have a big 'block' of time to work on it. Well...guess how many 'big blocks of time' happen in my life these days....yep... ZERO!!! Anyway, I'm having to get better at multi-tasking (an understatement!) and am learning to jump in and do a little bit at a time on projects. Anyway...here I am...back at the computer wanting to give you a little update before I get so sleepy that I can't think straight...
So...we are a complete family at last! Many of you know that Miss McKinley Kalu Hamilton (to be called Kalu) arrived safely home from Ethiopia on October 9, 2009. I can't believe she has been home 2 whole months! Wow! It has been a BLAST...albeit tiring for this 43 year old momma (and the 46 year old daddy!) She is doing well...sleeping 12 hours (THANK YOU JESUS!!!!), eating well, loving life and settling in like she's been here her whole life.
Her big sister and brothers ALL love her to pieces...and she seems to be the last bit of 'glue'
we all needed to feel complete and settled. She is a happy and active baby...and now
that she is walking all over the place...she really keeps us hopping.

In her short time in America she has already been to four UT football games, four basketball games, travelled to NC two times, been baptized, traveled to St. Thomas (the whole family went with the UT basketball team) and celebrated her 1st birthday! Thankfully, she has adjusted fine to our 'on the move' family. God knew she would be the 5th child in this crazy family...and he has given her the laid-back but adventure-loving personality to be able to survive and thrive in it. :)

While the boys' have been sweet and attentive to baby Kalu (well, as attentive as boys can be!), I must take this little opportunity to brag about what an INCREDIBLE big sister Kalu has in Madison. Words cannot express the sweet relationship these two have...and how much Madison is shining as a loving, caring and VERY fun big sister to Kalu. We have been careful not to make Madison feel like she has to be a 'second momma' to any of the kids...but her genuine love for Kalu and her helpful spirit have been a TREMENDOUS blessing to all of us. And how precious to watch her grow and mature through this journey. God is so good!

We all continue to be 'stretched' in this journey and it hasn't all been easy...but it is all very very GOOD. And most importantly...God has been faithful at every step...providing just what we need at the right times. What sweet gifts He gives!

Enjoy the pics!


Kalu is ONE! ...not sure about this cake stuff...


Oh, I get it now...I'm supposed to WEAR the cake! FUN!

I LOVE MY BIG SIS!!!! SHE IS AWESOME!!!!


Madison and Kalu sure have some HANDSOME brothers!!!!
(Looking sweet in their traditional Ethiopian clothes for the baptisms!) Madison and Kalu 'talking on the phone' in St. Thomas!
Bathing beauty!
Fun pool time with Daddy in St. Thomas!

TEN SWEET FEET!!!!!

Not a Hamilton...but a new friend (or foe?) we met in St. Thomas...by the pool!!!
Priceless!
Mom and Kalu...in St. Thomas....GO VOLS!!

Madison, Jen (our friend and 'nanny'), Kalu and Kiya...picking out a Christmas tree!

Can't say enough about how AWESOME Jen is....she is SUCH a gift from God to our family...and I personally call her 'my sanity!'

Okay...it's almost midnight...and I need SLEEP! We love you all and hope you are enjoying and savoring this Christmas season. Blessings!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rain,rain,rain!

It's raining in Knoxville today! It was pouring rain today when Madison came home from a friends house and decided she wanted to stand in the rain! And of course, we couldn't let her stand out there by herself so we sent everyone outside for a party in the rain in their pajamas! FUN! It was so fun, but so wet! Madison, was of course, out going, and plunged right into the rain! Matthew liked standing in it with a towel and then running through it, Nate, was adventurous and ran up and down the street in it! and Kiya was timid and scared at first, but as soon as he knew it was okay for his pajamas to get wet, he loved it too! Rain is always fun to play in! but especially in your pj's!  
                                                                Madison and Kiya in the rain!
Madison, sitting in the rain! In her pajamas! In the front yard!Matthew, Madison. Nate, and Kiya standing in the rain with pajamas on! 


Madison and Nate laying in a puddle of cold, wet rain! In their pajamas!!!!

       This is Kiya laying down in a BIG puddle in the cold rain! Madison and Nate are watching in amazment. :)

  

Sunday, August 23, 2009

God Makes The Front Page!!!!

Only God could 'move mountains' to get the headline on the front page of our hometown newspaper, The Knoxville News-Sentinel! This article ran on the top of the front page of our Sunday edition with the large quote at the top: "We serve an amazing God." WOW! Go, God, go! May He continue to get ALL the glory for anything good that comes out of our journey!

You can read the article here:
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/aug/23/ut-athletic-director-tells-how-he-and-his-wife-wer/

Also look for the slide show on the same website for some more pics of our trip and our time since we've returned.

Lastly, please pray as I will be returning to Ethiopia Sept 13-18 to bring our sweet McKinley Kalu home at last. I am excited that my sister will be travelling with me. Pray for safety, health and sleep on the long flight! Also, we will be meeting our children's birth grandmother...we are so thankful to meet her and hope to be able to learn more of our children's heritage for them to know someday.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. The steps of our journey have not all been easy...but the challenges are definitely worth it and we know we are on the exact path God has called us to. He is growing and stretching and blessing us in so many ways.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Madison directs Kiya Isaiah in his debut motion picture

video
Madison made this great video of Kiya Isaiah the past few days and we thought it was really cute! If nothing else we are having fun around here! 

P.S. Madison says..."Enjoy! And after it says THE END...keep watching!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Bedtime Routine to the sounds of TobyMac!!

We may have begun a new Hamilton boys' bedtime routine tonight...to the rockin' sounds of TobyMac! If you have 3 minutes to spare, you might enjoy the awesome moves of these three guys...Hilarious! (I'm also hoping it will wear them out a bit to help them sleep just a little later in the morning...hee!hee!)

video

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Beach...continued

We are home now and wanted to share a few more pictures from our beach trip. We had a wonderful, fun week at Rosemary but we are so glad to be home!!  School starts in two weeks...so we hope to enjoy the last 'carefree' days and then get settled in to whatever our 'new normal' looks like.  We'll keep you posted on that one! :) 


Here is our beautiful princess!  Wasn't she four just yesterday?

 And our serious fisherman...nothing but nibbles! But he sure did look handsome trying!

Another handsome boy.  This one LOVED the ocean.  


The 'baby' beach boy...not a serious bone in his body! What a face!

Long-time beach buds...Christian and Matt.

Wow!  Two beauties!  Where did our baby girls go?


Friday, July 31, 2009

The Hamilton Family...for now

We debated whether or not to take these photos since our sweet Kalu is not with us...thus our family is not complete.  However, since this is the boys' first beach trip, we decided it was worth documenting in this way.  We will, of course, have another photo session when she arrives...or photoshop her in! :)  

Wow...hard to believe it is reality...but here it is in FULL color...we are a FAMILY!  There are many more to share...but here's a few for now! 






Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Now that we have seen...

Wanted to share this powerful video from a dear friends blog.  God is at work all over the world...in Africa, in Peru, in Haiti, and in our great United States of America...even right next door or sitting in the pew beside you. He calls His people to be involved.  All to pray.  Some to give. Some to go.  Some to bring home babies. We each have the PRIVILEGE to use the gifts He has given us to love the least of these. What seed of adventure has He planted in your heart to love the broken? It is NOT easy.  But if you are called...it is MOST definitely worth it! 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hello, BEACH!

Yes, we are at the beach! (a previously planned vacation that we decided to stick with despite only being home from Africa for 7 days!)  The boys have adjusted so well so far that we decided to brave it...plus it gives us MORE quality time with Daddy and our older kids are encouraged to be able to do something we do every year...a little bit of normalcy is a blessing for all!  

So here we are at Rosemary Beach, Florida...with our good friends the Porters...and things are going well.  The kids absolutely LOVED the ocean and beach.  Their first words upon seeing the ocean was excited screams of "NEMO! NEMO! NEMO!"...yes, they have already watched the movie.  Hilarious! Upon arrival at the beach, we played and played and played...for 4+hours!  We videotaped their first reactions but our Flip is not downloading right now...so you will have to wait! (sorry!)  Nate (Papy) was ecstatic to say the least...he screamed and jumped and played in the water non-stop!  He was so very brave and even boogie-boarded some.  Isaiah (Kiya) was more cautious but loved it a little at a time.  He enjoyed the sand, the fish that his big brother Matt was catching (more Nemos!) and laying on the boogie board at the edge of the water.  He played so hard he took a nap under the umbrella! 

We have a pool here at the house...so after the beach...we played some more.  So fun!  Here are some pics!  Enjoy! (and thanks for your continued prayers...we feel them! )



Matt, the fisherman!

Hey, Matt!  Are those the Nemos you caught?
One sweet beach bum!
This bucket is heavy, Mom!
Nate (Papy) LOVES the waves!!!
Isaiah (Kiya) is not too sure about the water at first.

Kiya awaiting snack after swimming
Daddy in the pool with Nate, Madi and Matt
Nate and big sis in the pool!
Nate (Papy) and Isaiah (Kiya) explore the sand
Sand, sand...and more sand!
Matt, Christian and Nate (Papy)...boys having a blast!



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Home at Last!

Our first family photo after returning home...and we look pretty good for being on an airplane for the previous 24 hours!!! What a joy to return to Knoxville to the hugs and cheers of friends and family at the airport! Papy (7 yr old...pronounced 'pop-ee'...to be called Nate) ran into the arms of his big brother and squeezed him so hard Matt thought he was going to pop! Kiya (4yr old...pronounced 'key-yah'...to be called Isaiah) also gave his big bro a big hug...and at last our family was together again. Of course, as many of you know, we did not get to bring our baby girl, Kalu (8 months...pronounced Kah-lu...to be called McKinley) home on this trip due to additional US Immigration paperwork that won't be completed until early September. While it was very hard to leave her in Ethiopia...we know God is in control and knows what is best for us all. It is a blessing to have these 8 weeks to get the boys' settled and secure before the demands of an infant...so we are looking at the bright side! Also, she is in great care at our agency's transition home...spoiled actually, as the director told me, "we usually feed on a 3-hour schedule, but with Kalu...we just feed her anytime she cries!" Oh, my! That will be fun when she gets home! :) I am thankful, though, as she is growing and very strong as you can see on the video I will post soon.
It is impossible to put into words our experience in Ethiopia...though I will try bit by bit as time goes on to share parts of our journey there. Suffice it to say that our hearts continue to fall in love with this country and its people who are beautiful, strong, resilient, loving and kind. They are poor physically but rich in culture and in love for one another.
For now, I simply want to share some pictures of our time with the boys and Kalu there...Enjoy!


Day One: Waiting to meet Papy, Kiya and Kalu for the first time!!!!!!


Day One: "Well, hey there!" Our first embrace! :)


Day One: Papy-Nate hugs his new sister!



Day One: Kiya looks happy about his new family!


Together at last!!! (but missing Matthew big-time!!!)



Day One: Madison and Papy-Nate!



Day One: Daddy and Sweet Kalu!


Day One: Mommy and Papy-Nate read a book. (Madi has Kalu!)

Day One: Daddy and Papy-Nate play soccer. (Papy won!)

Day Two: We are here to take you home forever! Papy, Mom, Madi and Kiya


Kiya is great at blowing bubbles!
























Papy-Nate and Kiya-Isaiah love to show off the pics of their families!!!



Madison entertained the TH kids with her animal balloon making...who cares that she can only make a poodle? :) She was AMAZING!


Mommy and Kiya by the Transition Home school room.



Baby Kalu...Precious!

Anyone have a spoon handy? :)

I love my big sis! Can't wait to have this bundle HOME!!!!

There's more folks...we took over 350 photos...but I'm tired and naptime is over! Thank you for your prayers...keep 'em coming as the transition is going well but there are bumps along the way! We know God's grace IS sufficient and He will certainly finish what He has begun! All for His renown!!! We love you!