"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Before We Come Home

One last post before we come home. Internet access has been sporadic, at best, so we haven't been able to post much. Not to mention the fact that we have been busy with Zoe & Marcus today. We had a great day together with them and they are feeling much more comfortable around us. They sleep really well at night, so we are all pretty well-rested.

We have discovered that Marcus is terrified of dogs (not a big surprise). The other guesthouse has a pet dog to "help" the kids acclimate to pet dogs. It doesn't work too well :) Thankfully, Lilly (the dog) is not at OUR guesthouse! She is a nice dog, but she does jump which totally freaks the kids out!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hey Everyone!!

I finally figured out how to post on my blog from here!! I bet you all thought I fell off the face of the earth. Well, I didn't - just went to Africa :)

We obviously are here in Ethiopia and are doing VERY well. Ethiopia is an amazing country and the people are absolutely wonderful. You would have to see it to believe it, so I think everyone should take a trip here!

We have had several opportunities to spend time with Marcus and Zoe. Today (Monday) we got to bring them here to the guest house where we are staying for the morning. It was our first time taking them away from their care center. It was so good to have an extended amount of time with them. When we had to bring them back to the care center, Marcus had to be pried from Daddy. He cried a lot when we had to go. It was heart-wrenching! Tomorrow we take them into our care full-time and we won't have to leave them again. That will be a very good thing.

Marcus is definitely more fond of Chris than myself. That's okay though. I am glad he feels safe and comfortable with Chris. Zoe will go to either of us. We got to eat lunch with them today and Zoe fed me a lot of injera. She thought it was very fun to feed mom!

Yesterday, we went south to Hosanna (a town south of Addis - in the area where are children are fun). We got to meet a member of Zoe & Marcus's birthfamily. It was an amazingly emotional time. Very good, but very, very hard. I am not sure I have ever had such an emotionally difficult day... We are SO glad we went though. For those of you that haven't gone to get your kids yet, I would HIGHLY encourage you to take the trip to Hosanna. It's hard, very hard, but very worth it!

I don't know if I will be able to post again - as it is not working very well from here. I will definitly fill everyone in when we get home. Okay, if you're looking for something to pray for us - pray for water :) Our water is not working and we would like to smell nice for our embassy appointment tomorrow :)

Nina, Aidan, Emily & Raelea - we miss you VERY, VERY much! We are praying for you and looking forward to Friday when we will all be together again! Thank you for being a blessing to your care takers!!

Dawn - If you are reading this please email me. I can't get to the forum and I would like to get a message to you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We're Off

So long, farewell....(I don't know how to spell those other words :) )

We're soon to be off, so I won't be blogging again until we get to Ethiopia. Thank you to all who are praying for us and who have helped us on this journey. You are very much appreciated!!!

God is good!

Pictures From WTCYH Day

Before the pictures - did you notice my nice weather widget that is now working? It is so nice to see that it is 73 in Ethiopia as I sit here in 8 below weather :)

Now, on with WTCYH Day...




Okay, to be truthful, we should probably rename the day Wear The Clothes You Won't Be Packing Or Wearing In The Next Ten Days Day, but WTCYWBPOWITNTD Day just seemed a bit cumbersome.

Happy WTCYH Day!!!!

Hopefully, pictures to follow!

Monday, February 18, 2008

2 More Days!!!

Happy Presidents' Day and Happy Birthday to Kathy!

We spent last evening packing - not too exciting, but I will share some pics with you anyway. It looks like we'll be bringing six suitcases and then two suitcases of donations for the agency.


On a sad note, we had a "murder" at our house yesterday...the dog we are dog-sitting ATE the girls' hamster, Blackberry! I guess that's one less pet to take to the sitters tomorrow :(
One more thing, everyone remember that tomorrow is WTCYH Day (Wear The Clothes You Hate Day). Actually, you don't need to participate unless you, too, need to pack all your acceptable clothes tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

3 More Days

Wow, it's getting really close now! I missed church this morning because Nina is sick :( While she is laying on the couch, I am trying to get stuff done for the trip (I'm not quite sure how blogging is getting stuff done for the trip, but somehow, here I am).

Anyway, as you all know tomorrow is Presidents' Day (please note the proper placement of the apostrophe) where we celebrate the birthdays of two Presidents: Washington and Lincoln (yes, Lincoln, for those of you in AL! Oh, and we also celebrate my sister, Kathy's birthday :) but she has not yet become President ). Well, here at our house we have declared Tuesday, February 19, 2008, as Wear The Clothes You Hate Day. In an effort to get clothes packed for all six kids, they will wear their least favorite clothes for WTCYH Day. Feel free to participate in WTCYH Day wherever you are. Hopefully, I will post a picture of my crew for you all to see which clothing items earn the dubious title of Most Hated Clothes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just 4 More Days

Now we are getting down to the wire and I'm getting serious about packing. Chris just doesn't understand how I can spend ten minutes deciding what I should wear on the plane. I don't want to be too cold or too hot and I certainly want to be comfortable. I think our shoe dilemma for Marcus is solved as we are bringing a pair of sandals for him (very forgiving when it comes to size). I had thought of the sandal thing before, but do you think you can find sandals in Minnesota in February?? NO! Thanks to our wonderful neighbor, Audrey, we now have sandals, an extra suitcase and a bathroom scale (to make sure our suitcases don't go over weight).

Friday, February 15, 2008

AHHH What Happened to day 6? 5 Days to GO

Happy belated Valentine's Day! Too busy yesterday to post, not with packing mind you, but too busy anyway.

Okay we're getting down to the wire. WIth the weekend approaching our To Do list is growing. Btw Chris made a beautiful list, complete with the Ethiopian flag up in the corner, telling us what we need to do when. It works great and I love crossing things off it. yesterday I got to cross off five items. Unfortunately this morning I will be adding 13 items. For those of you astute in mathematics, you will quickly figure out that the list is going in the wrong direction! We did get our required notarizations done yesterday and copies made of stuff for our many babysitters.

Okay, this is a side note from packing...I have the best husband in the world. He took me out to this outstanding Thai restaurant last night AND he gave me a certificate for a one hour massage. Now I just need to decide if I should go get that massage before we go or after we get home. What do you think? I'm leaning towards when we get home because that is when the stress will really be high (I think - I guess I don't really know...)

Two bits of news from our agency yesterday, they said that we may (or may not) be able to go visit our children's birthfamily. That's not much by way of news, I realize, but up until now it was a definite NO. We won't know until we get there whether we will be able to go, so we need to be prepared for that possibility even though it might not happen. Please pray that we can go. It would be TREMENDOUS blessing to us, to the biological family and to Marcus and Zoe (they wouldn't be going, but we could take pictures, etc.). As most of you know, we are a very "open-adoption" type of family, so this type of meeting would fit in so well with our family situation. Second bit of news is that the agency has asked us to transport some donations to ET when we go. Since we probably won't use up our allotted allowable luggage we have agreed to bring over some donations. We are happy to be able to do that.
Okay, I need to read my email before the troops start appearing from the depths...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just 7 More Days

Yesterday can be summed up in one word - DIAPERS. So, how many diapers do you bring for a 17 month old? I am open to suggestions...Here's what you need to know to give me your accurate answer:

1) We don't know when we will be taking Zoe into our care. It could be Tuesday, but maybe it will be Sunday, perhaps Monday is an option. It will be no later than Tuesday (or so we are told).
2) We don't know the condition of her intestinal tract (read - we don't know if she has giardia). This will play a HUGE role in how many diapers we go through, if you get me drift.

Okay, go ahead and guess...

Btw, Raelea is obsessed with diapers! Her favorite words are "Zoe's diapers." I kid you not, she spent 1 1/2 hours the other day playing with the diapers in her room. Stacking them, unstacking them, looking at the pictures on them, telling herself these were Zoe's diapers. Yesterday, she proceeded to put about fifty diapers in one of the suitcases that is laying around here. Who knew diapers could be so much fun!

Okay, as long as your posting a comment about number of diapers we should bring, could you also tell me what size shoes a four year old and a 17 month old wear???????

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Starting Day 8

Well, Day 9 saw the ever important progress of purchasing our travel Scrabble game. We certainly can't take a 22 hour plane ride without a Scrabble game. Let's see, the only other thing I accomplished was to put Marcus's clothes in a suitcase. Hmmm, at this rate we won't be ready to go until sometime in March. I think I better pick up the pace :) Actually, I also ironed my summer clothes (that had been packed away). I'm not quite sure why I ironed them as they will, no doubt, get quite wrinkled in the suitcases.

We have four ill children around here. Please pray for everyone to be healthy by next Wednesday! I would hate to leave sick kids here and I would not want to bring sick children half-way around the world either. Ugh! Lots of coughing and waking up in the middle of the night. Those that are healthy can't sleep either because their roommates are hacking all night. One thing about having a large family is that illnesses take a long time to pass through everyone in our house. When one starts getting better another one starts feeling sick and so on...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Countdown To Ethiopia - 9 Days To Go

Well, now that we are in the single digits of counting down to travel, things are getting exciting. Our rooms are becoming filled with piles of stuff. That in and of itself is not too strange, as we frequently have piles of stuff all over the place, but this stuff is big and suitcase-like. Okay, it's not really suitcase-like, it really is a suitcase. Actually, it's many suitcases, everywhere are suitcases. We have six suitcases laying around so far. When it's all said and done (hopefully on next Tuesday) we will have packed eleven suitcases and four carry-on bags. Three of those suitcases are for the kids staying back here in MN. Hopefully, all suitcases will get to their intended destinations on time :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Strange Things My Kids Wear





I'm not quite sure why, but my children come out wearing very strange outfits some days. Here is a sampling from just the past few months.

Yeah!!!

I just talked to our contact at the agency and they ARE letting us stay at the guesthouse! What a wonderful answer to prayer!!! We will be in a room with two double beds and a toddler bed. It will be a little tight for the two nights that all six of us will be in there, but that's okay. We are a squishable type family.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's Official

Well, we purchased our airline tickets today, so I guess we really are flying out on the 20th of February. We have an awesome travel agent (Scott Nordwall) who got us a great deal even with only 13 days notice. Did you know that airlines can have buy one get one free sales? Who knew?

Those of you that know what a bargain shopper I am will not be surprised that even our plane tickets were bought on sale! I love a good deal! Now we are praying that this change of travel dates will allow us to stay at our agency's guesthouse while we are in Addis. We weren't going to be allowed to stay there if we traveled on the 27th because they didn't have two rooms for us. Molly and Evan are coming with us on this adventure and the rooms only hold two people. That was a HUGE disappointment as we were really looking forward to being in the guesthouse, where all the action is. Hopefully, with our new travel dates we will be able to get in there. If not, we might stay at a bed and breakfast (who knew they had those in Ethiopia as well? - it's just been an educational few days).

Tea Source

Those of you that have visited my house, know that I am passionate about tea or maybe I'm just addicted; either way, I thought I would share with you my favorite tea store. It is called the Tea Source and there website is http://www.teasource.com/ . If you're looking for some really good tea, check them out. I think I should get some sort of discount for this free promo...

Anyway, my personal favorites right now are the Chocolate Creme and the Cranberry - both black teas and very, very nummy. Be sure to read about how to prepare your tea as you will find a much tastier cup of tea if you do it right.

Oh My, Oh My Oh My

Ahhhhhhhh! I just got an e-mail from our specialist at the agency and she said we are approved to travel on the 20st!!!!! Yes, that would be 13 days from now! ANd so it begins - total chaos for two weeks :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Many Looks of Emily

We don't watch TV at our house because our kids are so entertaining. I thought I would give you an idea of what makes us smile over here. We'll start today with Emily (the other kids will have their turns in the future).







Tuesday, February 5, 2008

We're Going

We got the call today with our "tentative" travel date - February 27th. Not as soon as I'd hoped for, but hey, we're going!

Still Waiting

Well, if there's one thing I've learned through this adoption is how to wait (I'm not very good at it as my husband will attest to). We still don't know when we will be traveling and our specialist at the agency said they would "be working on that in the next few days." Now to you all, a few days doesn't sound so bad, but keep in mind that we started this process 432 days ago! So, you say, "what's a few more days?" Agony, that's what it is! For a process that we were told would take 12 months from start to finish each day beyond that requires a re-adjusting of my expectations. I don't re-adjust well :) Okay, on the bright side, I still think we will travel on the 20th, but I would like to know for certain (as certain as anything can be in international adoption - which isn't saying much).

Okay, hopefully, I will post later with the wonderful news of a travel date.

Monday, February 4, 2008

They Came

FINALLY, we received Zoe and Marcus's birth certificates!!! Yippee!!! No news on travel yet, but rumor has it we will find out later today when we are going. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Morning at Our House





Morning at our house is rather quiet and, as you can see from the pictures, cold!





















Where is Emily, you ask? Well, she's still snuggled down in her bed. Smart girl!

The Tension is Mounting...

I was doing pretty well waiting for the information about when we are going to travel - until about yesterday. I'm a wreak!! As I read about my forum friends packing and getting ready to go get their kids, I get more and more anxious to go get mine. Please, oh, please, let us find out today when we travel!!! Each day that goes by is one more day that Zoe & Marcus don't know us and one more day that they don't have a mommy and daddy's hugs and kisses. Okay, now I've done it, now I'm crying. I better stop posting or you'll all be depressed.