Monday, December 13, 2010
I have also started another part time job. I am helping a Chiropractor's office with their marketing. It's a fun job that I can do entirely from home. I have really enjoyed the research I have done so far, and I look forward to creating their marketing calendar! It's also nice to be able to use my degree somewhat (something I haven't gotten to do entirely since college).
Trent has been doing great, and he is helping me a lot with the kids! I've been getting overwhelmed with the holidays, the second job, and just basic housekeeping. Trent has been so supportive, and I can't thank him enough for that! He has been somewhat busy at work (more busy than he has since the recession hit Brookings), so the extra time has been good for him. He luckily never lost his job with the market the way it is, but he has been down to 40 hours now for a year and a half. Before that he was always working at least 50 hour weeks. So it's nice to see some work right before the holidays. However, I'm sure it will slow down again after Christmas.
We both are still adjusting to having two kids. I actually have a half post that's been sitting out in blogland about this topic. I prepared Emme for having a sibling, I prepared myself for bonding with him, but I NEVER prepared myself for having two kids. And having two kids that are 15 months apart! It's been an experience, but we are all getting the hang of it (slowly, but we are getting there).
The kids are doing great. Miss E's imagination is running wild now, and she is making us laugh a lot! Just last week she was playing in her Cozy Coupe Little Tikes car (it's Leo's really, but she thinks it's hers). Trent and I were making dinner, and all of the sudden I heard "I want some chicken, and burgers, and chocy milk". I look over and she is yelling into the oven window. We realized that she was ordering food from a drive thru! Does that show you how much we have been on the go lately?!? She would REALLY like for Santa to turn her into a princess, but I don't know if that wish will be coming true this year... And she has been getting a lot better with her little brother. We still have a few moments every day, but she is now learning the rules on dealing with him.
Leo is such a fun kid to have around! He is very vocal. He has said "hat", "one", "two", "hello", "hi", "mama", and "Dad". Actually Leo's favorite word is "Dad". It is so cute, he looks at Trent and says "DAD" in this wobbly little voice! He is constantly copying noises he hears, and you can just see his mind a-working trying to figure out how to talk like us! Mr. Man is SO close to walking, he just doesn't have the self esteem yet. He barely hangs onto us when walking, but he panics when we let go. Last night he took a few steps for me, so we were excited to see him trying now!! He turned the big OH-ONE a couple of weeks ago, and he is getting to be such a big boy.
Leo has been battling ear infections for the last month & a half. He has now been on three different antibiotics. It didn't help that on top of the ear infections he has dealt with two new teeth and pink eye. Needless to say, we haven't gotten tons of sleep around here in the last month. His teeth have now cut through, so his sleeping has been better. And he has been a lot happier this last week. So things may be looking up!
I guess that's about all I have for now! We just got a new computer, because our old PC has been on the verge of collapse for sometime now. The modem went out on it, so we have a new laptop that I'm now in love with. I'm just starting my research, but I think I can legally leave my husband for a piece of machinery. Don't quote me on that though, I'm still trying to figure that one out! But downloading picture can now be done faster (my card reader was out on my computer as well), so there may be quite a few picture posts in the near future!
Ta-ta for now!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Leo is fitting in pretty well! He has had two ear infections, and has gotten four more teeth in since being home. He has gained four pounds, and eats like horse! He loves daycare, and making his sister mad. Walking along furniture is his favorite activity, and we are pretty sure he will be walking soon! Ergh, my palms start sweating just THINKING about him walking! November 30th marks his first birthday, but I think we are going to keep it low key. Pizza & ice cream are his favorites, so we will probably stick with those! Little Mr. is a pretty sweet kiddo, and we love watching him grow!
Emme is a typical big sister: bossy, opinionated, and stubborn. Luckily she is pretty cute, so those characteristics work on her! She LOVES princesses right now, and wants to dance ALL the time. Emme is a little like Buddy the Elf, she sings out loud for all to hear! And what a voice she (doesn't) have! Potty training is not going great, but it's getting better. We just caught her painting her fingernails... on the couch! It only took an hour of scrubbing to get the stains out (with nail polish remover, carpet cleaner, and soapy water). Ergh, I wasn't too happy that night, but now I'm finding some humor in the situation. Little Miss is fun loving two year old, and such a treat to have around!
So that is our quick update for now. I'm going to try to post some groups of pictures in the next couple of days, so you will hear a little bit more from us in the next week!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
- Just how much I love her.
- That patience IS a virtue.
- What "virtue" means.
- Hand washing after going potty is not an option, it's a priority.
- That no matter how many tantrums Emme throws, Mommy will always come back with a kiss and a hug.
- No, Daddy is NOT a prince.
- Learning to say "I'm sorry" will be one of the HARDEST things she will ever learn.
- That when she is 30, she is STILL learning how to say "I'm sorry".
- That she shouldn't look to Mommy as an example, because Mommy still has a a lot to learn.
- That after everything Mommy went through to bring her into this world, she would do it all again and more if it meant that Emme would grow up to be the beautiful little girl that she is.
- Princesses are pretty cool, but I'm not quite sure it's the career path she should take.
- If she REALLY wants to pursue the whole "princess" thing, we will support her.
- When Mommy hits Daddy, she is just being playful.
- Emme is NOT being playful when she hits Leo.
- She shouldn't hit her brother.
- What "playful" means.
- Just how cute she sounds when she pats my cheek and says "You okay Mommy?"
- I will ALWAYS be okay with that cheek pat is around.
- Dinosaurs are NOT real, so there is no need to be scared that they are going to get you.
- The dinosaur at the Museum is a pretend dinosaur.
- What "pretend" means.
- We gave her a sibling because it was the greatest gift we could give her.
- Learning to share is hard (for everyone).
- Someday she will appreciate having Leo around (sure she may be 25, but it WILL happen).
- Leo thinks she is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
- Just how great of a 2 year old she is... We love you Emme!!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I look at my son, and I know in my heart that the same blood did not run in my Dad and Leo's veins. But I find it funny that the month my Dad passed away was the month that Leo gained 2.2 pounds in Ethiopia. And then I see Leo giving off this huge, no-holds-bar grin, from ear to ear, and I can't help but think of Dad's goofy grin. The other day I made the comment "I'm a little worried about school with Leo... I have a feeling we have a class clown on our hands", and my next thought was how much my Dad always loved to goof around and play jokes on people. And I see how much Leo chases after his sister, and gets a kick out tormenting Miss E... Now, I'm not saying that Dad loved tormenting his big sister, but he DID always love a good poke at her.
And now I can't help but wonder where else Leo's angel will lead him. Some good places I'm sure, and more often than not some mischievous places. Honestly, it makes me exhausted to think about raising a little Graydon Leo. But it puts a smile on my face, and slightly heals the place in my heart that misses my Dad so much.
Thanks for watching over him Dad, it makes us so happy to know that you are around to watch over us. But could you do me a favor? Tell him to be easy on Rosie, she needs a little break!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
He's a talker (who knows what he is saying, but we love listening to his jabber).
He moves like a bat out of... well, you know where.
He moves at lightening speed when the gate is open to the kitchen (to get to the dog's dish), and also when the bathroom door is open (the toilet bowl brush is fascinating).
He will get up on his hands and knees, and he will rock, rock, rock... and then drop to his belly and army crawl across the floor.
He really likes baths.
He can get the entire living room rug wet when he splashes in his little bath tub.
He can no longer take baths in the living room.
He likes to explore.
He gets stuck under chairs. A lot.
He follows us all over the house.
He likes to pat your cheek.
Pat-a-cake is a GREAT game in his eyes.
If you want to hear him giggle, play peek a boo.
He has THE BEST giggle.
Sometimes he stops breathing when he giggles.
Don't continue to make him giggle when he isn't breathing anymore.
He likes to talk himself to sleep, but don't talk back because he won't go to sleep then.
He loves a good back massage (just like his Mommy).
He is stuck under my chair now.
He grunts like a boy. A lot.
His poop face is even cuter than Miss E's (and he has to go into the crawling position to poop).
He likes to look out the front door.
Trees fascinate him.
He is not afraid of grass.
Swinging was a little scary at first, but now he thinks it's kinda cool.
He LOVES food.
He finds the smallest things on the floor, and he puts them in his mouth.
He just now finally admitted to me that he was stuck under my chair (so like a man).
He has his Daddy wrapped, just like his sister does.
He doesn't like baby toys, he likes Miss E's toys.
His sister can do no wrong in his eyes.
He has already had his sister's bedroom door slammed in his face 5 times.
Doors slamming in his face make him cry.
His sister is still warming up to him. But she is very good at calming him down when he is crying.
He has a pretty cute cry, and a GREAT chin quiver.
He has the best smile.
He is the perfect little boy.
We are SO blessed! Love ya Leo!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Our trip went great. The flights were all on time, our luggage arrived with us, and we made it back to the guesthouse to unpack on Saturday night.
Sunday morning we woke up early, got ourselves ready (a little nervously, mind you), triple checked that we had everything we needed, and we headed to the bus. We took a trip 3.5 hours south of Addis. We arrived at Hosanna, and began our wait to meet an extremely important person. Finally it was our turn, my stomach was in knots, I probably didn't make much eye contact at first because I was SO nervous.
We were in a small little room with the one person that my son will have questions about for the rest of his life. What do we ask this person? We fumbled through our meeting with questions and comments for our son's birth family. About an hour after the meeting I started to think of more questions for them. I cried at the mid point of the meeting, and I was nervous wreck. I just kept thinking "how can I express what I am feeling right now". After the meeting we took our picture with them, and I just looked at those eyes (my son's eyes), and I said "Thank you" and then I remembered that they didn't understand English. So I said "AH-mah-say-guh-NAH-loh" (thank you in Amharic), then I shrugged, held up a finger and said "One word, the only word I know in Amharic". I got a small laugh from this special person, and then I said "Oh, actually it's TWO words" while holding up two fingers, "Ee-Shee" (okay in Amharic). I got a bigger laugh this time and a response of "Ee-shee, ee-shee".
Then we had the Entrustment Ceremony. This is where the Birth Family passes a candle over to the Adoptive Family, and we all pray for the child that connects us and creates our own special family unit. We then had to say good-bye. Oh boy, was this hard! We got the customary three kisses on the cheek, and then an extra hand kiss. I just wanted to grab onto that hand again and say "thank you" over and over again. But I just watched them walk out of the room, a little piece of my heart walking out of the room with them. The bus ride home was long, after such an emotional day. That night we were ready for a good nights sleep, after such a hard day.
The next day we went to go see the little man! We walked into the room and he just looked at us pretty non chalantly. Our agency tapes our first meeting, so we received this video at the end of our trip. We spent a couple of hours with him at the care center, and then we brought him back to the guest house that afternoon for a trial run. He took pictures of him, we video taped him giggling (he has an awesome giggle), and we just took him ALL in! He took a bottle right away, so we had no worries with him bottle feeding. He sure likes his food!
Tuesday morning was Embassy, and he was a champ in the waiting room. At one point we had him giggling like crazy (he had the whole waiting room watching him), and when he was done he looked around at everyone and gave this look like "what, can't a kid giggle?". He was perfect! The appointment went seamlessly, and we headed back to the Care Center to drop the kids off for the last time. We returned to the Care Center at 3 for the Farewell Ceremony. Oh, don't worry, I didn't cry AT ALL through this (just kidding), and then he was placed in our arms forever. And then he pooped through his traditional Ethiopian clothes! It was truly a special moment (ha ha). We cleaned him up, and then we headed back to the guest house.
The rest of our time was spent getting to know little Leo. He is a great kid, and we are so Blessed with such a fun little guy! Oh, and our big news on the little man front...
HE CRAWLS!! And he doesn't stop! Already he has gotten into more predicaments than Emme EVER did! Oh well, I guess that's Boys vs. Girls! We are so proud of our little boy, he has gone through SO much in his short life and we can't believe how far he has come!
Our flight home was okay, we didn't have a bassinet seat for the first 6.5 hour flight. So we struggled through bed time with him (he just wanted to stretch out), but the second and third flight went AWESOME! We arrived home, so excited to see Miss E.
Here we are the first time as a family of FOUR!
Leo loves his big siter, Emme doesn't quite know what to think. She THINKS she likes him... Until he takes her baby, or knocks over her tray, or grabs her hair. But we keep telling her that is what little brothers do. She does love to give him bottles, and feed him. I love hearing her say "It's okay baby" whenever he cries, and she loves to pat his head.
This week we have been dealing with a double ear infection (Leo), and strep (Emme, my mom, and I). So we have had illnesses and schedule changes to deal with. But all in all, it feels like we have been a family of four for a LONG time. I have tons more pictures to share, and those will come with time.
Right now, I have a baby to get back to and a little girl that needs help with her Barbie... Later!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Yes, we leave soon for Ethiopia! We are so excited to see Leo again, and to ring him home. Thank you to EVERYONE for the support, prayers, encouraging words, and excitement as we have prepared to bring our son home!
We will see you all in a week!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
We slipped into the pace of Ethiopia with ease. We arrived at night, exhausted after such a long trip, without our luggage but we didn't really care. We were in Ethiopia, and we were about to meet our son! We fell into our beds, not even noticing what time it was (probably around 11:00 pm Ethiopia time).
We woke up to the sound of barking dogs, and calls to prayer. With a quick rub to the eyes, we remembered where we were at. And that we were about to meet our son! We hurried and got ready, ate breakfast as fast as we could, listened to the introduction, and headed for the bus. Little did we know the bus would take us only one block away. We stood in front of a building that was in the backyard (basically) of the guest house we were just at. We sat and stared in amazement at the little clothes dangling in the air, we marveled at the loud noise of children's squeals coming from inside, we fought for rubber shoes (we couldn't wear our own into the care center) so that we could get inside.
Finally, we are given the chance to go back and meet the infants. We walk in the room, and Trent points to the first baby in the room and says (questioningly) "I think this might be our guy?" I looked really closely at the baby (who did have hair like our baby), and said "really?" I was a little taken aback, because it didn't like Habsisa at ALL! The nanny then asked "who are you looking for?" We say Habsisa's name, and she says "oh, Habsisa's back here, he's back here". Sure enough, there is our son! He was one of the kidlets that was on his tummy playing on the floor, in the back of the room.
The second day started just as the first, we met him again and spent two hours with him. He was happy, then tired. I held him again while he slept. It was perfect. We had to say good bye to our children this day. I didn't think it was going to be too hard... It was horrible. I didn't think I would attach to him so quickly. I still miss him every day, and I am so ready to go back to Ethiopia to bring him home!
The third day was full of shopping, and touring the city. It was a day full of taking in the Ethiopian culture. What a beautiful city, and I can't wait to go back. Yes, there is poverty; but there is also beautiful green plants all over; the weather is absolutely perfect (even in the rainy season); and so many happy people ready to practice their English by just saying "Hello".
The fourth day was the BIG day. We went to meet with the judge. She was a soft spoken, beautiful Ethiopian woman. She asked us 7 questions. Questions about our daughter at home, questions about how we are preparing to bring him home, questions about our connection to the Ethiopian community, and then she asked if we met him. Before I could answer Trent said "Yes we have Your Honor, and he is PERFECT". Tears came to my eyes, and I had to look down at my lap. She asked if we understood that this adoption was absolute, and we would not have a chance to back out of this adoption. We said "Yes we do, Your Honor". She just looked up at us and said "well then, he is all yours".
Oh my... That is all I can say about my reaction. The ugly cry was right there, so I mumbled "thank you, Your Honor" and ran out the door. Everyone was waiting outside (including birth family members that were there to relinquish their rights), and I was just in shock. The events of the week came down on me and I started to shake and cry. People came over to make sure that everything was okay. I just mumbled "uh huh" and kept crying. Trent was sitting there all cool and collected... Jerk (I can say it again, because he IS a big ole jerk)...
The rest of the trip flew by with ease. We enjoyed our surroundings, and our company. We have so many stories to share on the people we traveled with, the experiences we never thought we would experience, and the immense joy we had in seeing our son's face! But I feel that I have gone on long enough!
If I think of more stories to share, I will quickly write them out! Sorry that this is a kind of "quick" overview of our trip. You see, we were told to expect 6-8 weeks between the two trips. But I was a little surprised on my third day home, I was talking to our specialist, and she said that we will be going back on...
Yes, that is three weeks in between the two trips! We will be home on September 4th, can you believe it!! So I have been trying to write about our trip, get our travel arragnements ready, get his clothes ready, pack for him, organize toys, wash bottles, get paperwork together, clean, organize Emme's playroom, get Emme back on a schedule, and eat/drink/sleep... And I'm exhausted! I wonder how much MORE tired I will be with two kiddo's at home!
We will keep you posted!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Leo, in honor of his grandpa watching him from above.
We chose the name Arthur, in honor of his grandpa watching him on earth.
His Birth Family chose the name Habsisa, for a very sacred reason.
And God chose this little child to bless our family in ways that we could never have imagined.
We will be reunited with our son in 6-8 weeks, and then we will never let him go! Boy is college going to be awkward for him!
More to come on our EXCITING trip to see our son.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I had this picture taped to my bed in ICU. I couldn't fall asleep, because I couldn't believe that this was the baby that I had been waiting 9 months to meet. I was amazed at how much she looked like her Daddy. I was entranced by how beautiful she was. I couldn't believe that it was 12 hours after she was born, and I still had not held her.
The full magnitude of her birth day did not hit me for a few days. I was stuck in this euphoric "I have a BABY, and she is BEAUTIFUL" stage. I remember looking at Trent after learning of what happened when I went back into surgery, and saying "well, it looks like we are going to adopt"! I said it with such joy. I did not realize the grief that was going to go into the adoption. The joy. The tears. The frustration. The amazing friends I was going to meet. The beautiful baby boy that would follow in a few short years.
When I look back at this picture, I remember the joy that enveloped me. Even though I was in ICU, hooked up to tons of machines, and getting pumped full of blood, I was SO happy. Now I look at this picture, and I see the hope of a new Mom and I see the spirit of our family. We may not have had everything go the way we planned, but we came out of a time of struggle with a smile on our faces and a bright future ahead of us.
Now I say this as if I think about this every day. I definitely do not always remember this joy. I get caught up in the frustrations of everyday life, and the delays that I can't control. I get mad at the "it's not fair"-s and the "why not me"-s. But whenever I see my baby girl's smile...
I remember these three things:
And then I breath again, and life is not as bad as I thought it was. Because it COULD be worse, I could have not been here to see this beautiful little girl grow up. So I sit down, grab my girl and we play dolls. Or smell flowers. Or swing. Or read books. Or watch the ants (we especially like to find "Ant Sinny").
Thank you to the divine Miss E., for being such a blessing to our family. For being the lively, fun loving girl that you are. For bringing hope into our family during a dark hour, and making us see that life is so much better together as a family. We "wub ya", and we are SO proud of the beautiful little girl you are.
HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY EMME JANE!!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
How cute is this little mouth? I bet you are REALLY excited to see the rest of him! Well, someday you will be able to because...
WE LEAVE FOR ETHIOPIA IN 8 DAYS!!
Can you believe I just wrote that?!? Because I did, and I still don't believe that I wrote that!!
We will be traveling on the 24th & arriving on the 25th in Addis. We are not sure of our schedule, but we do know that Baby E has been moved to Addis now! This means we get an extra day with him!!! And I get to see that little smile, and I get to tickle his little tummy! And then we get to do the funnest thing ever... Go in front of a judge and answer whatever questions they have for our family! Doesn't that sound exciting (I'm trying to put a fun spin on it)!!
We still aren't in the clear though, we don't have our MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) letter & we will need that letter before we pass court. HOPEFULLY (my favorite word) we will get this letter before August 7th, because on August 7th the courts close for three months. That means if they do not receive the MOWA letter by August 7th, we may have to wait for court closure before we pass court. "What does that mean" you ask? Well, it means that we wouldn't pass court until after the courts reopen. It would mean that we would not get an Embassy date until 6-8 weeks after that court date. It would mean that we could potentially be bringing him home in January... "Seriously" you ask?!? Yes, because our adoption would not be "our" adoption without some type of stipulation on it!! So, I am not going to be completely calmed down until we pass court.
The best case scenario is that we would be coming home with court clearance and then we can plan our second trip to Ethiopia. Oh, and we could finally POST PICTURES of our little man! We received our Social Report for him, so we have 15 new pictures of the CUTEST little guy in the world! He has curly brown hair, and two little teeth, and a BIT cheeky smile, and a twinkle in his eye that says "Mama, I'm gonna get into LOTS of trouble". And I can't WAIT to see what trouble he is going to give us!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I had a lovely breakfast with my sister's (we even got the waiter to show us the electric slide)...
My brother crashed our breakfast...
I went to pick up my dress (and I never had to deal with those people again)...
I had my hair done up perty...
I got to the church (where my grandparent's had been married 60+ years before) late for pictures...
I hurried up and got ready...
I took pictures...
Trent arrived at the church...
They kept him outside...
They put me in a little white room (and no it wasn't padded)...
The hour approaches when I'm supposed to walk down the aisle...
The hour passes when I was supposed to walk down the aisle...
The priest shows up an hour late...
The singer shows up an hour late...
The priest is surprised that I'm so calm after his tardiness...
I tell him that it's okay, the only people waiting for us outside is family, and they won't care...
The singer comes in & says he has his two songs ready for the ceremony, and I say "I asked for three songs"...
The singer forgot to learn "All you Need is Love" on his guitar for the recessional...
I told him not to worry, just surprise me...
Trent seats everyone at the church...
I get pulled into the hallway...
They inch me closer to the back of the church...
The singer starts singing "First Day of My Life"...
I walk down the aisle...
I don't make eye contact with Trent, because I knew that an ugly cry was right around the corner...
My Mom and Dad kiss my cheek...
My Mom doesn't let me go at first...
FINALLY, my hand goes into Trent's...
The wedding goes on without a hitch...
We kiss as husband and wife for the first time...
Our singer starts in on "I Only Wanna Be With You" by the Bay City Rollers...
I decide that I LOVE that song...
We leave the church...
We head to the winery...
We have a wonderful time with our immediate family...
We see a black cat...
It's Friday the 13th...
We decided that it's the luckiest day of our lives!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Anywho, we had a great weekend catching up with old friends & meeting new ones. Emme had a blast with the kids. I do feel bad because, when her fiance Rhys comes over, the two of them pair up and it creates many "third wheel" moments for the other kids. But I guess it's just part of the courtship process!
Once the party was done (actually it was more like once it started), I just sat back and enjoyed the day. Emme loved the presents, the cake, and Trent loved the new sprinkler. You see earlier in the day I sent Trent to Wal-Mart to pick up some last minute items that morning. We didn't have a present for Emme yet (we have a big one, but we are waiting until her birthday to give it to her), so I told him to pick up this beach ball sprinkler for her. This way the kids would have something to play with on such a hot summer day. I am running around, trying to get everything ready, when I get a call from Trent. "Uhh, Katie? I was going to get the sprinkler you told me to get, but there was this other one for the same price, and it shoots BALLS into the AIR!!" So I told my son... I mean my husband, that I don't really care what sprinkler he got, just grab whichever he thinks he... I mean she... will have fun with.
So the kids (Trent of course included) were having fun with the sprinkler, people were stopping in to chat, and Miss E was in seventh heaven. I decided the last minute party was a success! Once everyone left Rhys and Emme settled in for a movie.
Let's just say they were entranced! Once Rhys left, Emme enjoyed her new toys for a bit longer and went to bed.
The next morning we decided to FINALLY head over to the Brookings Summer Arts Festival. Every year Brookings has the BIG Arts in the Park event, and it is one block from our house. Since we couldn't partake in the activities on Saturday, we decided to head over on Sunday and enjoy the sights (and the food of course).
It was a nice stroll through the park, we saw some friends while wandering around, and Emme sat SOOO still when she got her face painted! We enjoyed our corn dogs & lemonade, and headed home.
The rest of the day we just stayed at home, Emme played with her new toys, Trent worked on our shed, and I read my book club book. It was our first relaxing day in so long, and who knows when we will get another one! Now I just have to get the birthday party pictures from my mom, and then post as soon as we have them!