Thursday, July 31, 2008

Did you see this?

Doctors in Houston, TX believe they may have found a cure for the HIV virus. The problem with attacking HIV thus far is that the virus mutates very quickly. The doctors have a discovered a section of the protein in the HIV structure that remains constant and does not mutate. If they can apply something called an abzyme to that protein, it will disable it. The theory has held up in lab and animal testing. The next step is human trials.

What amazing news this is!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Beast

Since driving home from the airport upon our return from Ethiopia, we've known we would need to move "up" in car. Up as in more space. The Montana has been great, but with all 6 captains chairs full, it was just too tight. Once we decided to adopt *S*, the need to move up became more urgent.

Have you ever shopped around for a vehicle for 7 people? 4 of which are in car seats/booster seats? Not many options!

So, we bit the bullet and picked up our new addition today - a 2003 Chevy Express ... 12 passenger!

Okay, I'll wait while you stop laughing ...



Seriously now....


So, we went from cramped quarters to TONS of space! It's really a nice ride and we are very happy with it. Looking forward to our first "road trip" next weekend up north to really test it out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Photos - Part 6

Some photos from Sunday's pool party

Injera and spicy tibs - YUMMY

Ally LOVED these goggles and wore them around for quite awhile

Ally has discovered "big jumping"
(which includes lots of big falling)

She might have a future as a line backer. Seriously.

Not sure what happened here. But funny.

Summer Photos - Part 5 - Pets!

For those of you who read my blog but enjoy my animals more than my kids (and yes, I know there's at least a few of you out there!) here are some relatively recent photos of our pets (and a couple pet "relatives")


Wally the Cat
(he spends most of his day hiding from squeezy hugs)

Poncho the Cocker Spaniel

Claire Bear the Pyr

Sleepy doggie

He loves the hugs, he really does

Yes, they both just got caught in the treats

Beauty salon


Koda, one of my favorite big doggies

Cookie... SMILE

Ally doesn't mind sharing with a dog more her size!

Lucy, she's really more like a little sister...

Summer Photos - Part 4 Anniversary

On Sunday July 20, Mark and I celebrated 6 years together. Well, six years married, nearly 8 together. In some ways, that is hard to believe. The last six years have gone so fast and been so incredibly full! Yet, in many ways, it feels like we've always been together.

Every year when July 20 rolls around, I chuckle just a bit to myself. I know there were many out there who scoffed at our young marriage - sure that we wouldn't, couldn't make it. If you've ever met me in person and talked to me for more than a few minutes, you probably know that I love proving people wrong. ;)

The truth is that our life together certainly didn't "start" the way we planned. And it hasn't progressed exactly how we thought it would. But every step of the way we've fallen more in love. Can't ask for much more than that can you?

(p.s. notice my cute new SHORT hair cut!)

Summer Photos - Part 3

Yes, Ally still lives here. :)

Notice how happy she is with food... hmmmm

Summer Photos - Part 2

Plans to head to the beach thwarted by severe storms (well, the promise of them) so Grandpa and Grandma took us to Chuck-E-Cheese! (Talk about overstimulating...)

Still loving our "big jumping"


We go through a lot of apples at our house these days...

The fab four

Summer Photos - Part 1

So... I find blogging very time consuming lately! But I miss keeping things updated. Mark is out tonight (DNO - Dad's Night Out) so I thought I'd try and catch up a bit. Since I'm not feeling rather witty, I think I'll just post some fun photos from the summer so far. :) I was going through our photos and there were so many that I hadn't even seen! Mark's been Mr. Photographer while I'm at work, so it was fun to go through them... Just another reminder how fast summer is going! I can't believe that August is right around the corner. I'll start with some photos of the kids' main summer activity - baby pools in the yard! Although I know my kids would love a fancy in-ground pool, they really get a ton of use out of these $7 wonders...

They also had quite a bit of fun a couple of weeks ago when Grace's best friend came over for a sleep-over and brought her new slip-and-slide. The kids were pretty hilarious. Poor Abi never did quite figure out how it worked. He either ran on it (and fell down and whacked his head) or he slid too early and had to crawl down (notice Eva in the photo below pushing him to the bottom). But I think they all had fun anyways!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Weekend!

First, I want to thank all of you who have passed on your well-wishes and congratulations to our big news, whether on the blog, in email or in person. We are very excited about our new addition, but our joy is exponentially increased by your excitment for us!!! Thank you for all your support! It is nice to know not everyone thinks we are crazy. ;)

I just wanted to take a minute to share about our great weekend. Saturday we had a pool party with other families that have adopted/are adopting from Ethiopia. Many of the same people we camped with, but also some new faces. Although the vast majority were from our neck of the woods, there were a few folks that drove quite a ways to come - which was great!

Now that we have this local support group to share experiences with (and yes, to enjoy each other's company), I'm realizing just how much I need that! There are so many things about adoption and the post-adoption adjustment that can't be understood by those who haven't been-there-done-that. It is just so nice to know we aren't alone and that, generally, we seem to be on the right track with our parenting! We're also lucky that this particular group just happens to be full of some great people too. People I might not have otherwise met or befriended, but those that I enjoy chatting with, even if you take out the adoption component. =)

Back to the party generally - the 3 oldest kids LOVED LOVED LOVED the water.

Grace was in the pool nearly all day. Her swimming is really coming along. She was able to hold her own in the deep end just fine and had lots of fun w/ the water slide! (seriously, who wouldn't?). Unfortunately, she also came home sporting a bit of a sunburn. She was so upset about it that night ("mom, I have 2 parties tomorrow and I look ridiculous!"). She could not understand why Abi and Hana didn't get burned too. Aside from the fact they weren't in the sun as much, I tried to explain the melanin difference in their skin and why it is there biologically, etc. She wasn't getting it. Ah well. ;) fortunately, a little aloe and the burn was much better. So she'll survive.

Abenezer and Hana did great swimming too! I was a little nervous at first - they haven't been swimming THAT much. And Abi in particular is fearless - even when he shouldn't be! So we kept a close eye. But by mid-afternoon, they were swimming everywhere with the assistance of arm "swimees" just fine! They both even got to try out the water slide themselves. Big hit, especially with Abi. Hana really seemed to have a good time socially. Making new friends and playing with the other kids. There were several other 5 year olds, which Hana declared were all her friends b/c they were 5 (even though I'm not sure she even played with most of them!). Abi continues to be a bit of a loner, but he's doing better. The pool loosened him up a bit and he was interacting a lot. Nice to see.

Ally continues her "I-don't-like-the-beach-or-swimming" theme of the summer. However, by mid to late afternoon she wanted in the pool too. Which was a bit exhausting. If you've ever been within 10 feet of this child, you'll see how fiercely independent she is. So, once she decided to swim, she wanted to float around on a tube by herself, absoltely no assistance. Nevermind that she couldn't hold on to the tube... Oh, and she also thought the slide looked fun and was determined to try it out. Even though it was HUGE and definitely not meant for a 2 year old! All in all, she did great (especially given she didn't nap!)

Okay, better wrap this up. Yesterday everyone was pretty tired and a bit crabby. Grace had a birthday party and we all went to a going-away party for our neighbors who are moving. Otherwise, we mainly vegged out. Nothing too crazy.

The weekend just went so quickly! Better get back to work now. I'll get some photos up soon, promise!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Official

Okay, okay ... we've been rather quiet lately! But it's been a busy summer! Rather than summarize our random busy-ness, I'll just get right to the goods.

We've been keeping a secret.

Okay, maybe not so much a secret, but just weren't quite ready to share our good news with the world at large.

But now, it's time.

We're adding to our family again.

If you read any of our posts while in Ethiopia, you might remember that we found out shortly before we traveled that Hana had an older biological sister. I think I only mentioned it in passing as we weren't really ready to "process" it. Whatever that means. But we were fortunate enough to get to meet her while in Ethiopia, which was just great.

And it took awhile once home. But Mark and I came to the realization (independently and then together) that Hana's sister was also meant to be our daughter too. So, our fifth (and oldest) child, will be joining the family late this year or early next!

Her name is *S* and she's about 10 years old and she's beautiful. Although she doesn't know we are adopting her yet, it is official- we signed the placement agreement this week! Or dossier went to our agency a few weeks ago and will (hopefully) be headed to Ethiopia by the end of the month. We are trying to finish up her welcome bag. Things are moving along!

I know that a lot of people think we are crazy. But we don't care. We are excited. =)

Friday, July 18, 2008

New and Improved - PEPFAR

"The US Senate voted Wednesday night to reauthorize PEPFAR – the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. But in doing so, it also boosted spending to $48 billion over five years. That's up from $15 billion. What's more, it lifts the travel ban on those who are HIV positive, who want to come to the United States; and it supports efforts to overcome the healthcare worker shortage.

The legislation now goes back to the House of Representatives where members will consider the senate revisions."

Read more here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

G-8 Focuses on Aid for Africa, Climate Change

G-8 leaders in 2006 in Russia

Read the article here.


Aid for Africa — and whether enough was coming from the world’s major economic powers — was in the spotlight Monday as the Group of Eight nations met with seven African leaders at its annual summit.

Activists have accused some G-8 countries, particularly France, Canada and Italy, of skimping on aid to Africa, and urged them to ramp up their contributions. The U.S., Japan, Britain, Germany and Russia make up the other members of the G-8 ...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Independence Day - Part III - Recovery

Happy Independence Day - Part II - The Party

I call this "Grace at sunset"

Our family + 2 random kiddos?

Abi thought the fireworks were amazing! And loud!

Super-tired Hana - she slept through most of the big show!