Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'll cheat just a little!

Okay, we have done SO good about not posting any photos of our kiddos. But since the only thing I can do with myself this evening is post apparently (see three other posts below!) since Mark is out with the guys, I have to put 2 more photos up of my babies that are half way across the world. Since it isn't their whole face, I think it isn't really cheating. Right? (guilty face)

Oh, and if Mark comes home and things I'm crazy, which is entirely possible, these photos will probably disappear... ;)

The Many Faces of Ally Jane

Go Huskies!

Grace had "Spirit Day" a couple of weeks ago and I forgot to post this photo. Doesn't she look cute in her cheerleading vest her grandma made?


Why or why won't the stupid courts reopen again already????

Okay, I'll admit, that wasn't very mature. But I think we've done pretty well so far. It's been nearly two months without a real word on progress. But we knew it was coming, so I was geared up to sit and wait for awhile.

But now, as September draws to a close (and Ally's birthday is almost here!) I am getting more and more anxious to hear about the court opening! Rumors are flying, but still nothing concrete. At this point, I'm just hoping we'll hear something early next week. But not holding my breath...

I'd say keep your fingers crossed that they will open up soon, but I just can't ask anyone to cross their fingers that long! So, instead, please just keep Abi and Hana in your thoughts and/or prayers and we all hope they'll be home soooooooon.

In happier news, another AAI family had some great news today - they are having their beautiful baby, Amara, escorted home (rather than traveling) and have been waiting and waiting for her. They got the call today that, surprise!, she'll be home Saturday! Congrats to Kerri and her family.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Big News!


Remember. Back in the day. Back when we said that two was better than one? Turns out, we were spot on!

Just to refresh your memory, we had planned initially to adopt 2 children, but then decided to adopt Abi (who could resist him!). But all of our paperwork - homestudy, USCIS approval, etc - had been for 2 children. We found out somewhat recently that, if we wanted to, we could still adopt two children together in the same time frame!

Well, after having been set on just one for so long, it was kind of a crazy thought. But we had some serious discussions - what we wanted for our family, what was best for Grace, for Ally, for Abenezer. We knew we wanted to adopt again in the future anyways and it was only a matter of time before we were certain we were meant to adopt this girl. Once that was clear, there was no going back!

So, we'd like to introduce our daughter, Hana! She is about 4.5 years old. Again, these are the times we so wish we could post pictures! But alas we cannot. Happy to email them though! She is absolutely beautiful and probably pretty tiny from what we can tell. But so is Abi. They are not related, but are at the same orphanage and do know each other.

Grace is just over the moon to have another sister, especially one that she can really play with and share a room with. Its obvious that many people think we are crazy for a number of reasons, not the least of which is wanting four children. But we know this is right. Don't get us wrong - we're under no illusions that things will be easy for us - there will be hard times, perhaps very hard. This is still what's right for us. This is something we are completely committed to and are willing and prepared to handle all the challenges that may lie ahead. It's hard to explain the feeling that these two kids are already our children and we will fight for and do what ever it takes to give them the life they deserve.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This is what...

82 pairs of Crocs (and 80 pairs of socks) looks like!

Thanks to the extreme generosity of Tammy at Anderson's Shoes and Boots in Attalla, Alabama, we have LOTS of Crocs to take with us to AHOPE!

Not only did she get us the Crocs at cost - then offer to pay for half - she ended up deciding to pay for ALL!!! Just amazing! What a great woman! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU TAMMY!

Those of you that have donated to our cause never fear! Because AHOPE is moving forward on some new initiatives, including a program that will help to provide proper care, medicine, and education to HIV infected children in Addis, but allows them to stay with their families. So, if we happen to have a few extra pairs of shoes, they will be well used. We also hope to be able to give some of the larger sizes to the caretakers that work so hard for these kids each day.

Hmmm... now the packing is the next issue! Wish us luck with that one!

Everyone told us when we moved into this house...

(and we thought it was so big) that we would find a way to fill it.

We sure have!

A houseful of kids (well, almost)!

A fat cat

A grumpy Cocker

And a real, live polar bear ;)

Oh and yes, Claire is possibly the most tolerant dog alive. My only fear of her with any child is that she did sort of step on Ally once. But since Ally likes to crawl over here all the time (and pull out her fur in clumps) that is really only fair right?

Peek-A-Boo Poncho

I know you're in there...

Come out and play!

Here he is!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When is it Okay for Kids to Date? 1st grade or 2nd?


So Tuesday night was the first grade 'meet and greet' with the kids and the parents. Fun. Although I mostly 'greeted' the ones I already knew. I'm not a good mingler. Anyways, turns out Grace has quite an admirer.

I won't get into the whole cute story b/c it would be kind of a pain to type and sort of confusing. But let's just say that it involved a gift (rolled up paper, lovely) and the evening ended with us walking back to the van and Grace's would-be suitor, Devin, yelling out the window of his parents' car as they drove away "BYE GRACE."

Yes, Grace confirmed that he is her boyfriend. However, she also noted that her recess is often spent running away from other boys as well. I think we are going to have our hands full...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Grace Funnies

So, I probably post more about Gracie than Al, but truth be told Ally just can't say anything funny yet (or for that matter, can't say much of anything). So Grace get's some limelight:

Her recent favorite thing to discuss with me is how we do not have enough children. More specifically, "I think we should have 4 kids. No, 16. No, a HUNDRED!!!" Ah yes, well, at least she is keeping things reasonable. Oh and she requested that we adopt them all save one, because she would like one more to come out of my belly. Ummm.... nope.

Also, she has decided that when she grows up she would like to be a mom and a doctor. And that she would like 16 children, 8 boys and 8 girls. Some babies, some older kids (to help of course). But she is going to adopt them all - because "You know what mom? Having babies just hurts too much! I'm not interested!"

=) So, it looks like Grace plans to keep our twilight years full of grand-kiddos! That should be quite entertaining!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Five Whole Ks ... Yeah Baby!

Okay, so I realize that this is not a big deal to a lot of people, but it was a pretty freaking huge deal to me! I had set a goal to run a 5k race (actually run the whole thing - even if slowly - no walking) before Ally's first birthday. Well, this morning I did it with 2 weeks to spare! Amanda and I ran 3.1 miles around the zoo today!! Yeah for us!

So, maybe I haven't been able to drop that baby weight (I suppose I can't call it that any more though), but at least I can run!!! ;)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Crocs and Socks Have Taken Off!!!

Thanks to everyone who has supported our Crocs and Socks drive for AHOPE! Every little bit of your generosity has been much appreciated.
Yesterday we got some fabulous news!

We've been trying to find a 'hookup' that could get us Crocs at a discout or maybe donate some - but we'd been getting shot down. However, Mark's mom has a good friend that owns a shoe store. So Carol asked her friend if she might be able to help us out. Man - what a result!

Not only is her friend going to let us order all 80 pairs at cost (about half of retail!) she is going to pay for HALF!!!! Isn't that amazing!

So we still have a ways to go to cover the difference and we'd love to gather several other pairs to have extra size options, etc. But now we know we really will be able to take enough for every kid! And hopefully we'll have enough left over to purchase some medical supplies, etc (we plan to be VERY creative packers!).

Yeah for the generosity of strangers! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First Day of School

Oh yes, the fun has begun. First grade started yesterday. I think it's going to be a good year! =)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

IKEA ... sucks

Well, we planned a fun-filled family outing today to Ikea. Okay, so I didn't really think it would be THAT fun. But I thought it would be productive and that was good enough for me. We were really good - we wrote out a list of exactly what we needed (in priority).

So we get there (and this is a 2 hour + drive!) and we spend a few hours looking at our options. The big things we were looking at were 2 new dressers for the kids and a bedroom set for us. We find it all, plus all the odds and ends, etc.

So, we meander down to the self-serve pick up and find that half of our stuff is out of stock. You've got to be kidding me (mind you, no indication on the showroom floor that this is the case). So we decide to ask before giving up - good news! It is all in stock, just in the back. So we are told to wait a few minutes and it will be brought up.

Don't worry - we stuck it out! Only to find that the computer showed the items in stock, but the customer service rep (ha!) couldn't find them so they must be in transit. We can come back on Tuesday. Rrrrrrright.

All in all, from the time we realized that half our stuff wasn't there to when we gave up was a full hour!

Why didn't we just go ahead and get the stuff we did have you might ask? Well, out of our bedroom set they had the bed, but not the dresser or nightstands. And they had one of the kids dressers but not the other! The whole point of this trip was to match! Ahhhhhh!

So we got some cheap kiddie dishes, Ponch got a new bed, a few other crummy odds and ends and we headed out for a lovely 2 hour + drive home... Don't worry. Ally slept a solid 28 minutes on the way there and approximately 4 on the way home (and I'm not joking). A bit off her nap time?

So, tonight I'm pissed at Ikea. Not sure how long the grudge will last. But perhaps awhile...

P.S. I do have to say that both kids were just troopers! Grace didn't whine (too badly) and Ally hung out on my back for 4 hours without (too much) complaint. And the tolerated the 4 hours in the car well too. I guess it was a family bonding experience. Just not as productive as I'd hoped! Damn Ikea.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Michigan Adventure Fun!

Here are a few photos from last weekend's outing to Michigan Adventure with my mom and sister. It was a beautiful day and lots of fun!