Monday, March 31, 2008

New Normal?

Today was that day I've been waiting for. The first day where it felt more normal than not to have Hana and Abenezer as part of the family. Today was a perfectly normal and uneventful day. It was great. =)

Actually, when I started this post, I thought it might even be a tantrum free day (although there were some minor pout fests by Miss Hana) but Abenezer couldn't quite resist. ;) All in all though, they both have made tremendous progress! Just amazing really.

A couple of things that are going much better than expected are:

1) Food - given the battles we had in ET about this, I really thought we were in for it when we got home! But they have eaten pretty much everything we put in front of them. They don't love it all, but they try everything and will drink their milk and eat their veggies, even if they have grossed out faces (not much different than other kids!). Hana has even really started to like cereal, they both love pizza and sloppy joes (on bread or rice).

2) English - They are picking up a tremendous amount of language! Left and right they are trying out new words. Hana especially is a little mimic and can often guess how to use words right, even if she doesn't completely understand. This is also problematic, because we sometimes think they understand more than they do. So we still have to be careful and miscommunication is common. But we have made a ridiculous amount of progress in 3 weeks.

Back to our completely uneventful day. ;) Ally had to go to the doc today for her 18 month check up, so her and I ventured out alone. She's doing great. She's grown a ton in the last 3 months! She is now in the 75% for height and only 25% for weight. This was a shock since she is such a chunk! Otherwise we just sort of hung out since it was pouring rain all day. Abi and Hana weren't too happy about that since they've been enjoying our swing set most days this week. But we survived. I'll have to run up and give Ally and Gracie a bath soon.

I hope that we find out the parasite situation with Abi and Hana soon so we can mix up the baths a bit. We hope to know more on Wednesday!

That's about it - no great stories to report or anything. Just nice and boring!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I have a stalker.

Female. Curly brown hair. Blue eyes. About 2 foot tall, 18 months old.

Poor Ally. She can't let me out of her sight.

Poor me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A few more photos

Just a few random shots from the trip! I hope to get together a real slideshow one of these days...

The view from our hotel


A few new friends at the Hilton playground

Gracie road-tripping on our last day in Ethiopia


Gracie and Hana snoozing in a random taxi


Hana and Mommy at one of the lakes in Debre Zeit


Abenezer looking handsome outside a swanky lakefront resort we did not enter. ;)




The First of Many

Today was the kids' first doc visit. Fortunately, it was fairly quick and painless. They weren't supposed to have any until next week, but they both have some skin issues that had to be addressed. Fortunately, we were able to get the script and get them started today. The doc also took a look at Abi's ear and we got a referral to an ENT. Poor kiddo - he's had a perforated ear drum for the better part of a year, maybe longer. Hopefully there is no permanent damage.

But both kids are in good spirits and having a pretty good day. I know this isn't much of a post but hopefully I'll have time for a "real" post later. =)

Monday, March 24, 2008

4 kids

How do people find time for personal hygiene with four kids?

And for those of you I know in double digits - I'm just amazed you can get out of bed at all.

;)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

we're home!

We are in the van and driving west! What an exhausting 24 hours! But
we made it and and even caught an earlier flight.

I'm exhausted!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Man, this is taking forever!

It is just before 5 p.m. in Addis.  We are about to grab a pizza or something quick and easy for dinner.  Our driver will be here in 2 hours to take us to the airport.  Then we will sit for 3 hours and get on a plane for many hours.  And wait for many hours.  And fly for many hours.
 
And then we'll be HOME!.
 
=)
 
The kids are BEYOND excited.  They have been asking incessently since yesterday "America?  Chow?  America?"  It is very cute, but that is wearing off just a tad.  ;)  But infinitely better than 4 days ago when Hana informed us "no America."  ;)
 
Today we decided to take our last chance and got out of the city. We went to Debre Zeet (spelling?), which was beautiful.  It is actually where Hana was born, so that was good to see too.  And it was nice to have a distration this morning. The afternoon was mainly spent packing and wrangling kiddos.  We then got driven to the volunteer house to take showers since there is STILL no water here and I was not traveling a million hours without a shower!
 
Anyways, we are very close to being on our way! 
 
We are so excited to get home, but it is bittersweet.  It will be hard to leave - it is hard to take the kids away.  Seeing where they grew up makes that a reality.  I know that they will be better off with a family, but the loss of their culture really is tragic.
 
But enough on the sad stuff. Because we are going home and I'm excited for that!  And so are they!   =)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Whew!

Before squeezing in a little more packing and hitting the hay - I just wanted to let you all know that we did receive our visas today!  Whew! 
 
There was no reason to expect problems, but we obviously feel much better having themin hand.  So we are set to leave in just about 24 hours!  It should be a CRAZY trip home, but we can't wait to be back on U.S. soil (and in our own beds)!
 
Today we celebrated by not having electricity or water at the guesthouse.  Sigh.  Electricity did come back, but I was rooting for the water.  Hopefully in the morning!  We are packing in one more day of fun and looking forward to heading home!!!
 
=)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

P.S.

We heard a rumor last night that our visas were approved.  Hopefully we'll have them in hand first thing tomorrow and be on a plane as schedule Saturday night!

Finding my Happy Place

Today was a great day.  As I write this I have a little smile – nothing that amazing happened today, so it is funny to be so excited about it.  In fact, both Abenezer and Hana had quite the fit at some point during the day. 
 
But overall, it was just what I was hoping I would find here…

 

For me, our first week here was actually very hard.  That was very hard for me to express to anyone, even Mark (although I'm sure it was at least somewhat obvious in my blog posts).  I'm not even sure how to describe WHY it was hard.  I think it really all came down to my expectations.  Not so much my expectations about the kids, or the country, or the hotel or whatever.  Most things were at least pretty close to what I had anticipated.  But I thought I would be stronger I think.  I have been in love with my kids and Ethiopia from afar for about a year now.  I thought that love would translate seamlessly once we finally met.  I knew there would be fits.  I knew there would be some shoulder action going on.  I  knew there would be poverty, hunger, and beauty.  But then we arrived and everything started falling into place but me!  Mark was very attached from the first day.  I played the part and the kids, especially Abenezer, wanted to be near me.  But that feeling I had waited so long for just didn't magically materialize, didn't become tangible.  I know that it isn't love at first sight for everyone, but I was honestly shocked it wasn't for me (how could you not fall in love with those big brown eyes?!).  We met so many wonderful people (volunteers, other families) that would go on and on about how wonderful our kids were and how they all just loved them to pieces (especially Abenezer – he is very popular around here).  And I was ashamed.  How could so many others love my children more than me? 

 

Along with those tumultuous feelings of shame and inadequacy was the disappointment in myself – I didn't fall in love with Ethiopia the way I had expected either!  I didn't dislike it.  And it wasn't the things that one might expect that bothered me.  Sure, I would prefer to flush toilet paper, but I can live with throwing it away.  =)  I just didn't feel like I was connecting with the people.  I felt like we were all too often taken advantage of as stupid ferenge (if you are familiar with Mexico, think dumb gringo). 

 

I'm not quire sure when this changed for me.  I think a big help was moving to the guesthouse.  For whatever reason, it gave me a chance to start anew here.  I think the more relaxed atmosphere let the kids have some freedom to interact with each other, with us, and with Grace.  It let me sit back and observe them more, rather than on constant patrol so that one of them didn't run off with a maid or stick their head through the railings on the balcony (or worse!).  I was able to really start to get to know them. Truly appreciate Hana's ridiculously silly sense of humor.  Enjoy the sparkle in Abi's smile (even when he is using it to get out of trouble!).  As each minute, each hour, each day passes, I love my kids more and more.  And I know there will be hard times ahead (probably some very hard) but that we'll get through it.

 

The kids have been doing very, very well overall.  The worst day was last Friday, which was understandable given how emotionally drained we all were by mid-morning.  But for the most part they have been very lovable – and loving.  Especially now – they are both really starting to interact with Grace, which is just amazing to watch.  And Grace has opened up and come out of her comfort zone a great deal.  We've all grown so much. 

 

And we've been able to get out and about a bit more and are falling more in love with the country each day.  Today was lovely.  We got a driver for the better part of the day and tried shopping again.  Our 2 previous attempts have been rather frustrating and exhausting. But today the kids were great. The all wanted to see everything. Although they asked for many things (Gracie too!) they were happy with the items they did get and took no pretty well.  We found a couple items we were really hoping for.  We finally got some people that were willing to bargain down to a fair price.  Those that weren't didn't get our business and there was some satisfaction in that too. 

 

We had a nice lunch an d then went to the Lion Zoo.  This was actually pretty depressing – the poor lions!  But we met our friends (that we had lunch with at the Hilton again) as well as the father of a little girl from Abi and Hana's orphanage who just came into town.  His daughter is just beautiful (we got to dote on her a bit last week).  We were able to just drive around the city and saw some areas we hadn't seen. Some beautiful, some incredibly sad.  We passed out a box of granola bars and a few birr – all gone far too quickly. Always another empty stomach.  My heart aches for those people, and for this country.  So ravaged by disease and poverty.  The rich getting richer, the poor barely surviving.

 

And yet, it felt good to feel that ache – because I was finally feeling something for this place.  I needed to find love and respect for Abenezer's and Hana's heritage.  I need to pass that on to them.  They need to be proud of where they came from.  Hopefully we can come back in a few years as a family and hopefully we'll find things much better.

 

But that won't happen if the world keeps pretending Africa is some dirty secret.  I'm not sure when that will change.  But I'll do my part, whatever that may be.

 

Because Ethiopia is amazing.

Things I miss...

Things I miss:

 

10.    reading my favorite blogs!

 

  1. consistent electricity

 

  1. consistent running water

 

  1.  chocolate

 

  1.  diet coke

 

  1.  not eating out ALL the time

 

  1. my bed

 

  1. my shower

 

  1. my pets

 

  1. Ally
  2. Ally
  3. Ally
  4. Ally
  5. Ally
  6. Ally
  7. Ally
  8. Ally
  9. Ally
  10. Ally

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Best, The Worst

The government irritates the heck out of me.

 

We arrived last Monday.  Our embassy appointment was last Wednesday.  On this past Monday we found out that our paperwork just sat all last week while someone was out. It was supposed to get sent to Rome and be expedited.  But why would someone actually follow through on that?  Grrr…  And keep in mind this is the US government – not the ET government.  Sigh.

 

We probably couldn't have left today anyways (no flights) but it would've been one less stress to have the visa in hand.  Tomorrow the embassy is closed for a Muslim holiday.  We were originally told it would be closed Friday as well, but now they are saying no.  So it'll get issued last minute on Friday… hopefully.  I'm just so ancy about it – nothing has gone without a hitch so far – why should this?

 

But otherwise, things are going well.  Yesterday was a nice day overall. Other than the oatmeal incident in the morning, Abenezer did great.  Hana is finding her way, which has some ups and downs.  But still doing very well overall.  Does anyone know the Amharic word for whiny?   That is driving me nuts.  =)
 
We met some new friends for lunch at the Hilton.  We ate down by the pool which was lovely.  It was great to finally meet some more people we'd known from support groups and their new baby was just adorable, sweetest baby I've ever seen.

 

The Hilton is probably one of the most beautiful places in Addis, at least in Western terms.  But lunch was ridiculously expensive.  Nearly 3 times (or more) than we typically pay for a nice meal  (and 5 times as much as the guesthouse).  It wasn't paying the money that was a problem… it is just hard to leave the beautifully manicured grounds of the Hilton and right outside is the hustle and bustle of the city and all that goes with it, including stark poverty.  That is something you never get used to and can't avoid, no matter where you stay.  Today we walked to the orphanage to visit Hana's sister again.  Along the way we were approached by a little boy, maybe 2 – 3 (?) or so.  He's approached us before.  On our way out he approached us again.  Big, sad smile and open hand.  Mark fished out 3 granola bars out of our backpack and he ran off happily.  Further down the road we saw him run to his mother and sister and baby.  It is just heartbreaking.  We found one more granola bar and Grace took it to her with a few birr.  She thanked us again and again. 

 

I know we can't help everyone. But it helped her today.

 

Many things about our trip are exactly as I expected.  What I didn't anticpate is how they would make me really FEEL inside.  I guess I really couldn't prepare for those feelings.

 

It never stops hurting to see hunger like this.

 

But I don't want to leave this post on that note!  The poverty, the hunger, yes are very hard.  But there are so many great things here.  The sincere smiles of the people.  How they cherish the joy of simple things.  People that have so much less than most of America – and yet are probably happier than the average American.  People that truly appreciate friendship, family, hospitality, a good cup of coffee. 

 

Yes, there are many things that I miss about home (mostly Ally!) but there are many, many things I will miss about Ethiopia.  I hope that we have all learned a lot while we are here and I hope that we don't forget this place, these feelings, upon our return.

 

We have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Weekend Photos

My cutie pies

Randomness in Africa

Okay, so posting here has been harder than I thought!  Not really just because of the speed of the internet (although that can play a factor) but just time!  How do you get away for a moment with three kids?  It is still a lot for us to handle together, let alone just one of us.  And by the end of the day we are exhausted!

 

It's about 8:20 a.m. here now (I won't be able to actually post this until later though) and we just finished breakfast.  Well, Mark and I and Grace ate our oatmeal. Hana ate her obligatory bite but Abenezer is still refusing to try and is therefore still at the table.  Overall he is doing MUCH better. But food is often still a power struggle.  We are getting much better at picking our battles, but we think we are just setting ourselves up for trouble if we don't deal with the food issue a bit now.  He's been able to get lots of Ethiopian food, but gets upset if he can't have whatever he wants on demand (even though they have porridge for breakfast at the orphanage).  Anyways, this isn't that interesting!  It is so hard to focus my thoughts while here – so much going on!

 

I'll try and post more later about the big events in the last few days. On Friday morning we met Hana's mother and on Sunday her sister.  I can honestly say that was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. Ever.  I'm not quite ready to say more than that.  I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world.  But incredibly emotional.  The rest of Friday was pretty hard.  Hana was obviously very emotionally confused and on edge and acted out much more than she has previously (although not as bad as I expected under the circumstances). Abenezer seemed to feed off that and he had a rough day too.  Friday night I just cried – I just didn't know if I could do this.

 

But Saturday was a new day.  The kids woke up happy and sweet.   Waking up with them is my favorite time of day.  They crawl over next to us and wrap their arms around our necks and rest with us a few minutes before the giggling (and demands for breakfast) begin.  We decided we weren't quite happy with the hotel.  It was nice enough in general, but not quite nice enough for the price (we were paying a suite price and just wasn't worth it – smaller rooms better deal).  So we ended up moving to the AAI guesthouse on Saturday.  Completely random move for most people!  But at less than half the price it just made more sense. And the kids can more easily play, which seems to have helped tension levels. We play outside with the ball a lot which burns off tons of energy.  And funny enough – a new family came into town on Saturday to stay at the guesthouse – and they only live an hour and a half away!  They adopted three beautiful older girls that Grace loves to play with.  So overall that's been great.  But the internet isn't quite as easy to hook up to now (dial up) so we've been a little less connected.  It figures though – Sunday morning we lost water until yesterday evening.  We were all so filthy!  But it wasn't that bad overall – kind of like camping (I can say that now b/c I showered last night!)

 

Yesterday (Monday) was a bad day.  Not the kids – they actually had a very good day!  But we ended up having my backpack stolen from a restaurant.  It's a long story, but we left it in one restaurant to go down the road, figured it out and went back and they worker had "no idea" what we were talking about.  Although I was upset we lost the bag (and camera!) we wanted the items back that had no value – in particular Abi's special bag of toys!  The one he carries everywhere.  He's been much better about not needing it in his hand at all times (hence, why it was in the bag).  He was pretty bummed about it, but we were able to 'recreate' it just a bit, which helped.   Fortunately, Mark had been insistent about downloading all our photos just that morning. So we didn't lose any pictures.  That would've been a tragedy – all our photos of Hana with her mother, her sister... I was pretty upset yesterday. But now I'm thankful.  We could've lost the pictures, our passports, money.  That is just part of being careful in a big city. 

 

Oh and for the record, it is now after 10.  Abenezer JUST took his bite of oatmeal. That was a tough one.  =) 

 

Sorry for the random post!  I'll try and write more later (that will hopefully make more sense!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The King of the ET Shoulder Shrug!

Hello again!
 
I hope my photos went through this time!  Since I didn't really expect my memory key to work, I didn't take the time to write out a thoughtful post - and it would've worked!  oh well, maybe next time.  It is after 11 p.m. here and I'm pretty beat, so I'll do my best.  ;)
 
I would've been down to check email sooner, except that by the time mark and i got the kids to sleep it was after 9.  then we talked for the first time in 2 days!  that part i didn't really count on - they kids are VERY consuming and any extra energy is spent trying to give Grace a little time to herself (she's been a champ, but it is a bit hard for us to be so consumed by Abenezer and Hana).  Anyways, it was just nice to talk.
 
But back to the trip!  it has been a whirlwind few days.  The jet lag is hitting me especially hard so we are running on much less sleep than desirable.  We've been going to sleep with the kids around 8-8:30, but today we got to watch a traditional coffee ceremony and have some (yum) and topped it off with a coke (yum - glass bottles and real sugar ARE better) but now paying for it ... and yes, makes me ramble-y.
 
Yesterday we attempted to get the girls' hair braided.  We are learning that African time estimates are far from accurate.  ;)  We couldn't wait any longer since we had our embassy appointment, but that was okay.  After the embassy appointment (which is such a non-event it is almost irritating we had to go) we went to swim at the |Hilton and FINALLY meet one of our Internet friends!  That probably sounds so weird, but the adoption community is a whole different beast.  =)  it was great to meet her and her beautiful daughter (about Hana's age and from the same orphanage) but frankly the Hilton pool was a disappointment!  \it is pretty neat since it is filled naturally through hot springs under it.  But that makes it HOT - and I mean BATH WATER hot.  It was so uncomfortable!  And the kids had to be watched so carefully.  Even in the more shallow kiddie pool-ish area.  Abenezer waded in the more shallow part then proceeded to walk right to the edge, just out of Mark's reach, and walk OVER the edge above his head!  Mark was able to immediately fish him out but scary!  He laughed it off. these kids are so tough.  If he falls down, he might think about crying, maybe whine a little, but mostly they just pick up and keep going - there hasn't been anyone there to care much of they cry for awhile.  Well, that isn't quite true - the caregivers at the orphanage are amazing.  But they do only have so much time and energy to go around.  Anyways, I'm all over the place.  The Hilton was a nice visit (although seriously overpriced - I really wouldn't do it again).
 
Today was busy too. We spent the first part of the morning getting the girl's hair braided. That was pretty neat.  The woman was so fast, but it still took a long time (tiny braids!).  But very cute.  I know she was pulling tight b/c Hana's eyes kept watering but she just wiped them with a tissue - not a sound.  I felt horrible!  But she really liked it all done. And Grace wanted her's done too.  She actually sat for the whole thing, which is AMAZING if you know how sensitive her head is (and how big of a wuss she is).  But she loved it when it was done and has gotten many compliments.  Then we went shopping with a driver that was great.  Found some great stuff, but it is hard to shop with 3 kids.  Well, Grace is fine (actually helpful to keep an eye out)!  So we didn't get quite as much done.  But fun. This afternoon was a goodbye ceremony for Hana's friend and was very fun.  Grace finally loosened up and really played at the orphanage (she's been sort of scared and overwhelmed thus far).  But she had a blast!  There was this adorable little boy that attached himself and she felt bad when we had to leave!  But we'll be back in the morning to meet the neighbor that brought Abenezer to the orphanage, so she can play more then.
 
As for the title of my post ...
 
The kids are actually doing great.  Hana especially.  She has already really attached herself to Mark and (somewhat lesser) to me and Grace.  She handles disappointment pretty well (although doesn't like no a whole lot, she handles it pretty appropriately for 5).  Abenezer on the other hand is a bit of a stinker.  ;)  He is such a charmer, but can really turn it off and on.  He's been attached to my hip and very fixated on me, but there is an air of superficialness about it.  Obviously true attachment will take time and might be a long road.  He's got to re-learn what love is and there will be tests for all of us.  But overall he is beautiful and happy boy that makes friends with EVERYONE.  I think his age is pretty accurate at 3 1/2 but emotionally he is much more like 2, which can be exhausting.  Although Hana only rarely pulls out the famous "Ethiopian one shoulder shrug" he will do it almost any time he is told no or diverted from his path.  And it can last awhile!  Other times he is just so easy going, easy to laugh and hug.  He is very smart. He doesn't really try much English, but he understands more than he speaks.  He is mechanically inclined, always trying to figure out how things work, very focused.
 
Hana is such fun.  She is a total goofball, always making a silly face, laughing hysterically.  She and Grace are really starting to play, which is so fun to watch.  She and Abenezer have an interesting relationship. She watches out for him and often gives in when he insists on something.  But she will also fuss at him like a brother.  =)  She has Mark wrapped around her finger completely!  And i may have my tomboy - she HATES dresses.  one of the few times she settled into a good pout was when i made her wear one for the embassy appointment!  i didn't realize what the deal was until later though.  she doesn't even like nightgowns.  I have been trying to find the kids traditional clothes, but Hana hates all the dresses!  So we'll see what happens there.
 
Overall things are going really well.  I'm glad that our trip isn't quite winding down.  But it is hard to think about being away from Ally for another week and a half!  I try not to think about it too much.  =(  But we are having a great time.  The weather is very warm and the people are friendly.
 
Okay, I'm totally running up my Internet bill so better go!  But hopefully will post more soon!
 

Thursday Photos

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Travel and Tuesday in Addis

Well, \I typed out this fabulous long post last night and now \i can't load it!  And i don't want to leave mark too long so not going to say much for now.  But all is well - our travel was as good as we could've hoped (as good as 25 hours of travel can be) and we got the kids yesterday.  They are great and have been very attached to us.  But hana especially has been playing with Grace too.  i think that bond will develop more as the week goes by. Abenezer (he does not respond to Abi even though some people do call him that) is a mama's boy.  he prefers to be on my hip or in my lap.  And he carries his welcome bag of stuff we sent him last summer everywhere.  Actually - he carries HANA's bag with some of his stuff in it. But very possessive.  He's just much more relaxed if he has it.
 
hana is very sweet, but there is a stinker in there too.  mischeveous!  Very smart.  she may very well be ready for first grade next year.  i think (so far) that we are pretty close with their ages.  Abenezer is very smart too, but emotionally younger, which is to be expected.  he is just heavy to carry all the time!  =)
 
We haven't gotten out much yet, so i don't have much to say about the country yet other than everyone is very very friendly.  the hotel is pretty nice, good location, nice size room (although we have some problems with the bed situation - only one at first!).  The bed is rock hard, but we are surviving.  We have our embassy appointment today and there is a small chance we'd be done early next week instead of late - so we might actually leave Wednesday rather than Saturday.  We shall see yet though.  Taking it a day at a time.
 
i won't go into all the good details since it took me an hour to type them out last night - will have to fill in upon our return.  i also copied a bunch of photos to attach too and that's not working either.  hmmmm hopefully i can figure it out !
 
but better jump in the shower and get moving!  wish us luck|!  =)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

airport

We are in the airport! About an hour and a half til we board.
Little surprise at check in-backpacks are no longer a personal item so
we had to repack our carryons! Frustrating to say the least but
nothing was left behind - I just PRAY we don't lose any luggage!
Won't be too long and we'll be leaving Michigan behind!

T Minus 4 hours!

That's right. In a few moments we are leaving for the airport and in just over 4 hours (hopefully) we will be on a plane and on our way!!!

I can't believe it - it is really FINALLY happening!

In just 48 hours (less!) we'll have the kids in our arms. Insanity!

I'm sorry I don't have anything more substantive to say. We are just jumping out of our skin here. The only thing dampening the mood is Ally - I can't believe how much I'll miss her. It was so incredibly hard to leave her yesterday.

But she's in great hands. And Abi and Hana need us more right now.

The adventure begins!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Testing, Testing

So, I want to be able to blog while we are in ET.  But, the ET government has blocked blogger (shocking I know).  So I have to see if I can post via email.  This is my first attempt! 
 
I'm even trying with photos... we'll see how that goes!
 
2 days to go at work.  Exciting and scary.  I wish those days had more working hours!  But I can't wait to walk away on Thursday and be able to finally put ALL my focus on our trip and our kids!  I just can't wait!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One Week to Go!

One week from tonight we'll be anxiously trying to sleep. Wondering how we are going to handle 30 hours of traveling. With a six year old. (not even thinking about getting the 5 of us home yet!).

You think our house would just be abuzz with packing, planning, excitement!

You'd be wrong.

Okay, not completely wrong. But it's been a rough week! Nothing like trying to make plans to leave the country for the trip of your lives and to, oh, maybe pick up your children?! and have to work crazy hours too! Which means Mark is working crazy hours. With a cranky baby. And a sick kid. And a sick me. And now he's in bed sick too. Faaaaaaaaaaabulous!

So, it's Saturday night. And I'm working (well, and blogging!) and Ally's scary dog toy keeps setting itself off.

And all I can think about are their smiles.

And that makes this horrible, exciting week all worthwhile. =)