Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Summer of Teeth

Back in July, Hana and Abi headed out for their first dental appointment in the USA. Their only other experience on the subject they associate with the Chinese (I don't know why - perhaps there was a visiting Chinese dentist at some point?). Unfortunately, they now seem to associate men of Asian descent with teeth-pulling. :( We'll have to work on that.

But back to the dentist...

At their first appointment/cleaning, the both did great! The dentists and hygienists couldn't believe how still they sat! Abi's teeth looked great and he was all done. Unfortunately, Hana wasn't quite so lucky. She had quite a bit of damage and decay. She needed five (5) follow up visits to take care of it all. All in all she needed a pulpotomy (baby root canal), 2 crowns and fillings in most of her other teeth.

Today was the fifth and final visit! Although she was excited to be done, this was the worst one of all - 2 extractions! she had the front tooth and the one next removed. She was pretty bummed about it. I know it's for the best, but I feel so badly! Grace is trying so hard to get her (loose) front tooth out too so they can match. Hana is hopeful that Grace will be successful. I think she's feeling rather self conscious. I think she's pretty darn cute.

She started warming up below and showed me at lunch time today:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

She knows!

We found out yesterday that *S* received her welcome bag (I think last week)!!! We received the photo via email and it was awesome! She looks a bit overwhelmed, but in a good way! She's already looking so grown-up. I hate seeing the time pass in photos...

Now just more waiting around until October when the courts reopen. Hopefully then we'll get filed (relatively) quickly and get a court assignment! I admit, I'm getting my hopes up that she'll be home yet in 2008, but we shall see! =)

Oh, and don't miss it - I finally got Grace's birthday post up below!

My Baby is 7 ... Can You Believe It???

Yes, the rumors are true. Grace Lu turned seven years old this past Saturday. Man. 7. That just sounds old! I'll be honest - I was a little bit nervous about her birthday. You'll remember that Abi and Hana had a shared birthday party back in June on Abi's birthday (since we missed Hana's 5th birthday in March). That was all great back then, but I wasn't sure how they'd feel about all eyes on Grace. But you know - the kids had a fantastic day! They were very excited for Grace with her gifts. And she did a pretty good job at sharing (see the new tent below), so that always helps! And this was Grace's FIRST friend party. Abi and Hana love when Grace's friends come over and they did great playing along. We had an outside party (mostly) with the kiddie pool under the slide, a borrowed slip-and-slide, trampoline, etc. I thought the kids would be set for hours! Ha! Bored in 30 minutes. But all and all lots of fun!

These tents are on sale at Target right now and my kids LOVE it. It is an "outdoor" tent, but certainly not all weather. =) It works well in the living room too!

Grace requested a chocolate cake with pink icing and strawberries. It didn't turn out too bad!

The weather was beautiful all afternoon for the party, and then storms rolled in that evening. It was perfect timing - we are all super tired from the day! We camped out on the couch and watched a movie (Grace's pick was Howl's Moving Castle) and just cuddled and enjoyed each other's company. Nice end to a nice day.

Obviously this is Ally. But she was super cute.

I've been thinking all week about what to write about Grace for her birthday post. Unfortunately, none of it was good enough.

Grace is just a super kid. She's lovable, smart, goofy and very sweet. Her world has really been turned upside down in the last two years - she went from being an only child for five years to being big sister of 3 (and soon-to-be little sister to 1). And yet, she continues to roll with it with very little complaint. All her younger siblings adore her. Hana often gets on Grace's nerves (what little sister doesn't?) because she wants so badly to be like her. Ally just lights up for her. Grace even spent over a half hour with Abi the other night, trying to teach him how to jump from the tires in our yard. Abi was just so sure he couldn't do it, but Grace wouldn't give up coaching him, cheering him on. She's our cheerleader. ;)

She tries hard to please, glows at the slightest praise. She's just genuinely a good person. The kind of kid you always secretly (or not-so-secretly) hope you'll be lucky enough to parent. Hard to believe we've been so blessed with her for seven years already! I don't know what we'd do without her - she really makes this family tick.

Just a few more photos of Grace ...

Obviously this one (below) is OLD but still super cute!

Love you Gracie!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stay at home dads gonna burn in hell?

Who needs context right? Not this guy!

What an ass. Just thought I'd share this lil clip. It's
almost funny. Almost.

(And if you are just a random visitor - yes, I might be biased given that Mark is a SAHD.)


Monday, August 25, 2008

Changes 'round here?

Now that we are back in the adoption process full swing, I'm getting nervous (again) about having a public blog. I already had to go back and edit out *S*'s name, but I don't want anything here to jeopardize our process. I just confirmed that anyone that was on the list before should be able to just sign in and keep reading. But if you were not and would like access, please leave a comment or email me!

Oh, and I owe Grace a great birthday post. Hopefully I'll have the energy to get that done today. =)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ethiopia... in Pictures

You may remember our slide show of photos from our Ethiopia trip, but we also (finally) put together photos of our scenery shots for those of you who wanted to see a little more of the sights. Unfortunately, most of these photos were taken with our back-up camera so they aren't great, but I'm happy to have them!


U.N. to send $214M to Hunger Hot Spots

The World Food Program said almost 1 billion poor people across the world struggle to survive amid the higher prices. The agency is trying to reach those in critical need of assistance in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome Bag

As you may remember from my posts here and here, we get to prepare a "Welcome Bag" for *S*, which is how the children find out they have been matched with a family. We sent ours to our agency last week and *hope* that it will go to Ethiopia soon with a traveling family (we have not yet heard if it arrived in time to be picked up with the other bags...).

So, as far as we know, she does not yet know that we are her family.
So excited for her to find out!
You can see a photo of what we sent below. Mark did a great job preparing the photo album. It makes our house look like 24/7 fun (hope she's not disappointed with reality!) The shirt was fun to make. Each of the kids picked out an iron on for it. Grace chose the dolphin, Hana the soccer ball, Abi the dogs (of course), and Ally *picked* the flower (or I did because it looked easy to apply, whatever you want to believe). I am SO SO SO hoping we actually get the disposable camera back this time with photos of her and her friends! We did not get any photos back from Abi's or Hana's. But I'm thinking a 10 year old could have some fun with it. ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's 9 p.m. Do you know where your dossier is?

'Cuz I'm pretty sure ours is in Ethiopia. ;)

This is a bit overdue, but we found out our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on July 22nd - 364 days after our dossier was sent last year! Whooooo hoooooo!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fair Time!

Yesterday we packed up all the kids in the Beast (still haven't found a better name for it...) and headed back to my home town to enjoy the County Fair. I have attended each and every Fair since I was born (EXCEPT last year - so weird). And even more than that, I showed animals and participated in other events through 4-H for over 10 years when I was younger too. So you could say I was pretty hard core. :)

I had really been looking forward to sharing this with my kids and I'm glad we were able to make it this year. It was a warm day, but we had a ton of fun! We enjoyed the tractor pull, where the kids got to cheer on Grandpa and Aunt Julie (congrats on the 2nd place Grandpa Joe!). We also spent quite a bit of time in the petting zoo, where Hana got her shirt licked by a calf and Abi (rather unsuccessfully) tried to hold a baby chick. Everyone really was a pretty good trouper all in all.

After that, we headed into town to see my friend Abby's new house and new puppy! I didn't get any photos of that, unfortunately, but it was so nice to see some friends and baby London is super cute. Then Abby and Holly joined us at my brother's pool (and Julie was able to come later too)! Charlie and fam were out of town, but were gracious enough to let us use their pool - what a GREAT end to a hot day!
On the road by 7:30 with the kids cashed in the back. One of those practically perfect days, you know?


Go Julie! You can do it!



Mr. Cool on his pony. He was a little upset that he couldn't make it run, but mostly the pony ride was a big hit with all the kids. Except Ally. She wasn't interested in actually touching the horsey.


Grace was seleted to be a volunteer in the "Pirate Show". She was aptly cast as a mermaid. It was fun to see her perform!

Not really sure what was up with Ally here. But she wanted to carry around her plastic fire hat that way. And she was determined to do so for about 5 minutes. And if you are looking closely, that is not a "leash" per se. It is her "monkey backpack" that happens to have a conveniently long tail. She feels independent, we don't lose her, everyone wins. ;)

Update - Yordi coming home!

A big thank you to those of you who kept this family in your thoughts and prayers! Looks like Yordi should have arrived in Chicago this morning. Not out of the woods yet, but on her way!

Friday, August 1, 2008

If You're The Praying Type...

PLEASE keep this family in your thoughts and prayers (well wishes - whatever works for you). Carolyn is in Ethiopia, trying to bring her beautiful daughter Selah Yordanos home to be with her family. But they've had problem after problem and Yordie is getting sicker and sicker. The situation is getting desperate. She's waited too long for a family to lose it like this!