About Me

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Married twenty-five years to my wonderful husband and best friend. We have 3 "home-grown" kids and 1 hand-picked by God from Africa. Our life is blessed. We are a close knit family with strong Christian beliefs. Come along with us on our journey…you might have a great laugh or two.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Maybe we'll just wait until then...

Well, we are finally back from traveling and spending time family during the holiday season. We had such a wonderful visit with everyone...just wish that everyone lived closer to us. We have way too much fun and always hate to have to leave.

We started the depressing task of taking down the tree and the Christmas decorations today (although we didn't get very far before we found ourselves playing on the floor with the kids). Oh well, if we keep the blinds closed maybe no one will notice in the Spring that it still looks like Christmas in my house. Or...we could just say that we're getting ready "early" this year if anyone asks. I mean we won't be able to even see, much less find, the Christmas lights outside until all the snow we've had melts....maybe we'll just wait until then.

Poor thing...no tellin' what our new little one from Africa thinks of all of this white stuff.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from our family to yours...

From our family to yours, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May God pour out his blessing upon you this upcoming new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sometimes you just gotta laugh...

Our trip to Ethiopia was incredibly stressful. We seemed to have one problem after another that we had to deal with. However, in the midst of all of that stress...sometimes you just gotta laugh. Here's a few moments we'd like to share and have a good laugh about it (believe me, I wasn't laughing then...only now looking back).

Sometimes you just gotta laugh when...

-in the middle of the biggest blizzard of the decade (the night before you are to fly out) your snow blower "pull-start" cord breaks and you are left to shovel and shovel and shovel

-your flight is one of only three to leave your airport (because of the blizzard) and yet they still lose your luggage (and I mean ALL of your clothes are gone...and you've got ten days still to go)

-you finally get into your hotel room in Ethiopia late, with little to no sleep for two days, only to be awoken by a Muslim mosque chanting VERY LOUD for hours on end early the next morning

-if the mosque didn't keep you up at night, then the packs (and I do mean "packs") of wild dogs fighting all night would

-the next day you go to a shopping "mall" (because you've been in the same clothes now for days and you're pretty tired of it) only to be told by a sales clerk in choppy English that "we have no clothes to fit you" just by looking at you

-you realize over the next few days that all of the pictures you are taking during the trip will later look like all the same day...due to you still wearing the same clothes

-the shared computer in the lobby of the hotel has a "dial-up" connection and you become ecstatic when you get one e-mail through

-driving on the streets in Ethiopia is much like driving in the worst traffic on the planet...with no rules...and you realize that you just might not make it out alive

-near the end of your week there the laundry service in the hotel has taken pity upon you and brings your one outfit up to your room after it has been cleaned

-the day you are to leave you call to confirm your airline reservation only to learn that it has been cancelled and you are stuck in the country (thank goodness for emergency numbers)

-after you finally leave Ethiopia you land in Istanbul and have to go through 6 different passport and immigration checks which by this time petrify you enough that you debate you will never leave the United States again (if you ever make it back...)

-you land in Chicago to a plane that skids sideways on the runway...why am I not surprised after this whole week

-you miss the last flight and have to spend the night in Chicago...oh, to be so close to home

-you make it home with the most wonderful bundle of joy who for the entire trip was the biggest trooper and never did complain

This was our "labor" to bring him into our family. Oh what a story to tell him when he's older...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This is our amazing journey...

This is our amazing journey. A journey that took one year. A journey that was incredibly long and one of the hardest. A journey to meet our son and bring him home. Come along with us...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We finally made it home and look who we brought back!!!!

We just got back from Ethiopia yesterday morning and allow me to introduce to you our newest family member...

...weighing in at only 14 pounds and only 11 months old, he is a tiny thing but one of the happiest children I've ever seen.

We'll update more about our trip in a day or so (we are in deep need of some sleep and some type of normal "baby" routine). For now, we couldn't be more happy with our new little boy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dial-up Connection Update!

I can’t remember the last time I used a dial-up internet connection, but I’ve learned that in Ethiopia, you’ve got to be quick because you could lose your connection at any moment. So here’s an update in bullet format…

- Left for Ethiopia in a blizzard… one of only three planes to leave the Des Moines airport that morning.

- Missed all connections… had to re-route (lost one of our bags of luggage in the process).

- Landed in Ethiopia after 40 hours of travel… still no luggage so none of our clothes arrived with us.

- Slept on a bed as hard as a board… no kidding… but happy to be here!

- Met our son the next day, so worth all of the trouble to get here… we got the happiest one!

- Next day, still no luggage… had to go shopping for a pair of pants and a shirt (getting tired of the same clothes)

- Played with our son… did I mention that he’s REALLY cute and VERY happy?

- Got to meet the birth mother… very emotional meeting for everyone, but definitely glad we did it.

- Not doing well with the food… coming back skinnier (new Ethiopian diet!)… still no luggage.

- It’s Sunday today and we’re now resting… waiting for the chance to see our son again tomorrow!

There you go – the fastest update ever from the country of Ethiopia!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our bags are packed...look out Ethiopia here we come!

O.k., no one ever said that having children would be easy. It doesn't matter whether you are the biological parent or the adoptive one. You will have to "labor" to get your child into your world. This is so true for us at this very moment.

The biggest snow storm since 2007 is right upon us and about to dump 10 - 14 inches of snow...right now and into tomorrow. Very early tomorrow morning we are to be flying out in blizzard conditions (that is if they fly at all...). If we miss our connections through DC and NY, we will miss the only flight out of NY to Istanbul and then on to Ethiopia...and we will be stuck waiting for the next day's flight. Needless to say, we are incredibly stressed. So I've decided, this is our "labor"...and what a "birth story" to tell our son.

Hang on my little one, we are packed and coming...whether I have to help shovel the runway or not. I'm on my way!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Way to go kids!!!

Three days and counting... before we leave for Ethiopia. Can you believe it??? Our life is so completely busy it would truly make "your head spin". In the midst of all the last minute details, shopping, paperwork and just getting people here to help us, our kids had their Lego Mindstorm competition today.

If you are unfamiliar with Lego Mindstorm, it is a two part competition. The first part the kids had to create a Lego robot using a special computerized "brain" which has to perform certain "tasks" on a special playing field (you get points for doing different things). The second part of the competition is the research project, where the kids have to present a project on a certain topic. Crazy enough as it might sound...our team won first place in the scoring part of the robot competition and we have now been invited to compete in the state level of the competition.

Way to go kids!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm still here...

Birthdays are a funny thing...when you're young you can't wait until your birthday - to be older. When you're in the middle of your life, you just want to forget about it "because" you're getting older. And at the end of your life, you're just thankful you keep having birthdays.

Today is my birthday...my 40th. I am sure my guardian angels up above never thought I would make it this far...much less my parents (I am highly accident prone...and I have been stitched up and raced to the hospital more times than I care to admit). Nevertheless, I'm still here...still "ticking" but with slightly slower batteries. I wake up in the morning and sometimes hurt in places that I didn't think had muscles...but I'm still here. I have begun to tell my kids the..."I remember when" stories and they just look at me like I'm crazy...but I'm still here. I now have to circle the "40 - 45 division" when I enter a running race...but I'm still here.

So the way I see it, turning 40 isn't really that bad...let's look on the bright side....I'm still here...and that's a really good thing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do you know how this stuff works??

Yesterday I stood dumbfounded in the aisle. Apparently, they make a lot of them...in all different kinds. You can get it pre-made or powder, with soy or with some kind of booster for the brain or some kind of growth thing. I looked at the kids and said, "Any suggestions?". They just smiled and shrugged their shoulders.

It's funny if you think about it. Here I am a mother of three "home grown" kids (11, 10 and a 5 year old) and yet I have never in my life bought formula or even a bottle (and apparently there are tons of those as well). I nursed all my children for the first year of their life and then they went straight to the sippy cup - it was quite easy to say the least.

So here I am standing in the formula aisle and I look over and see a very young mother of a small baby. I smiled in her direction and asked..."Do you know how this stuff works?"

Her face was priceless...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hangin' on this week...

I can't believe how crazy this week has been already...and it's only Tuesday. Our adoption agency has been sending us last minute paperwork that needs to be filled out and sent back to them before we leave in a few days. We are scrambling to get the last two needed shots (to be able to go on an excursion outside of the city of Addis Ababa...crazy but we just found out about this). The Christmas packages are arriving by the tons and are getting wrapped as fast as they can. The decorations are finally up (well most of them, that is). We have been shopping for diapers, formula, toys, clothes for our newest member. And to top it all off, our Lego Mindstorm competition is this Saturday, so we've had the kids at our house practicing.

Crazy...but we seem to just be hangin' on this week