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This post, from February 10, 2009, launched My Learning Curve, a series of posts with practical tips for parenting children from “hard places.” I’m reaching back deep into my archives to share some of the best posts with you (with updates) over the next weeks. I hope you find them helpful.

Kalkidan is a lean girl – thin, muscular, and very strong. We thought that once she was home she would begin to gain weight, but in 21 months she has only gained 3.5 kg while growing significantly taller. She has the beautiful Ethiopian look of a long distance runner, but she doesn’t have much in the way of fat reserves.

When it comes to food, I am easygoing with my children. Food just isn’t a battle I’ve chosen to fight. We don’t struggle over finishing everything on our plates, or save dinner for breakfast if it isn’t eaten. That isn’t to say that I let them eat dessert when they haven’t had dinner, but I try to be relaxed about food.


Look at us! Tuesday Topics two weeks in a row. Did you enjoy reading the responses to last week’s question as much as I did?

Today our question comes from Teresa, who asks,

We have adopted multiple children from a country where birth records are either absent or often inaccurate. Our children are still younger (currently in lower elementary school). In one situation, the birth date seems off by a year and in such a way that it may actually be helpful to repeat a birthday, or to assign a new birthday half-way into the new year.

image: public domain

public domain image

On Hannah’s last day at the beach, we took a long walk at low tide. Strolling along the tide flats, we searched for beach glass and admired the beautiful houses on the far end of the bay. As we walked, the wind picked up and the sky grew darker.

My sister, Laura, and her family were staying down the beach, so they walked out to join us. We talked, admired the kids’ shells, and enjoyed the morning. To our surprise, we heard thunder in the distance. No big deal, we figured, at least it’s not raining.

Then the sky grew darker still and lightening shot across the clouds. We decided to head back to the house, walking quickly. As we chatted, one of the girls said, “Mom, your hair is standing up. Does mine look funny too?” We looked at each other and laughed at the static electricity in our hair; Hannah and I took a picture.


Summer is nearly over and I have not yet finished this little series of updates! I’m going wrap up my big kids today.

Mimi had a summer full of travel. She has always wanted to see the world and have adventures. When she was in college she dreamed of being a travel writer. Life went a different direction, yet now, through her work in the gaming industry, she is traveling to conferences all over the world.

First day of School 2014

First day of School 2014

Remember back in the “Before” when we did Tuesday Topics each week? It was one of my favorite parts of One Thankful Mom, and I know that many of you loved it to. I’m ready to get it rolling again and I’m so excited to hear from all of you.

This week’s Tuesday Topic is a good question for all of us as we approach the start of school.

What one (or more) tip can you give for calm school mornings?



Yesterday I saw the cutest young family in an original, restored VW bus. The mom and dad were probably in their late 20’s and they had an adorable little girl. I watched as the dad opened the back of the van to pull out a backpack and the mom unbuckled their little one from her seat. Dad put the child in the backpack and lifted it onto mom’s shoulders. They were affectionate, happy, and adorable.

But my heart was heavy watching them. I knew it was none of my business, but I wished I could offer them some advice. I didn’t – but when Russ walked over to me, I got a little weepy as I told him what I wished I could say.

The good news is that I have a blog, so although I couldn’t say this to them, I can write it here and maybe it will help someone else.

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giving thanks #1661 – 1670

waking up happy to be home

a bathroom makeover completed while we were gone – a gift from friends (pictures soon)

hannah work 2

Hannah just began the fourth year (of five) of her otolaryngology surgical residency. She has decided to specialize in pediatric head and neck surgery, which requires an additional fellowship after residency.

Applying to fellowships is a little bit like applying for residency; Hannah will submit her resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation to programs around the country and travel for interviews. We hope she matches closer to home this time!

N and K move June

It’s August and I haven’t finished telling you what all of the kids are doing this summer. I need to get serious about finishing this little series.

This summer brought new adventures for Noah and Katie. They celebrated their first anniversary and they moved to Seattle, where they plan to live for the next few years of medical school at the University of Washington.

sunset wedding

Three Sisters

Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4 | Remembering Moments Part 5 |Remembering Moments Part 6

Three months ago I wrote Remembering Moments Part 6. The series of posts was difficult for some of our family to read, so I stopped writing them for a time; I’m ready to finish now. Seven months have passed since the accident, and memories fade with time, so I’ll just share what I can recall in the simplest way I can.

In the week following the accident, I was struck by how amazing our adult children were as we made decisions and coped with all that needed to be done. In what feels like a very short time, they had become young adults and now they were operating in their gifts.