Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago today we were leaving on a plane.....for the journey of a lifetime. I cannot believe how it seems like just yesterday. We were so excited and so so scared. Halfway around the world our 2 beautiful girls were waiting for us. I was worried about leaving my boys behind, but I really don't know why. They had Grandma to themselves for 10 days straight! They were excited to meet their sisters. I remember a long time ago when we decided to adopt again, we told the boys about it and they couldn't wait. Nicholas was under the impression that we would be getting 2 sisters, one for him and one for Carter. At that time we never dreamed we really would be getting 2 sisters. It is funny the way God works, getting your heart prepared for what is to come. I can still remember seeing the girls pictures on the waiting child list. I told Steve about them and he looked at me like I was the craziest person ever. 2? he said, I thought we had agreed to one more?
Well at the time, we were the 3rd family interested in the girls, what would the harm be in being placed on the waiting list for them? Well one email  2 months later....the dossier for Ethiopia began. We traveled just 8 months later.
Our trip to Ethiopia was life changing and amazing. I will never forgot the butterflies in my stomach as we pulled into the transition home. I could see them on the porch, they were dressed so pretty and you could tell they were anxious to come. Our girls. I am still in awe how far they have come. Katie picked up on everything so quickly. She is so spirited and spunky and so much fun. She is a big 4 year in Preschool and just such a doll. She loves candy, Dora and coloring. She hates vegetables, going to bed and cleaning up her toys. Then there is Olivia. What a beautiful young lady she has become already. She is our quiet, sweet helpful girl. She loves sweets, Hannah Montana and listening to music. She hates carrots, putting away her laundry and cleaning her room. I admire her strength. She has seen more in her life than many of us have. She had to let go of her parents and say good bye to her siblings, begin in a new school with no friends and knew very little English. She has done it all without hesitation.
Katie's 4th Bday-Oct. 27th

Olivia's 11th Bday Dec. 21st

Matching jammies at Gmas house!

Christmas Day 2010

My sweet Olivia!

Christmas 2010
The joy in seeing them both experience so many firsts. I am excited for year number 2 as a family of 6.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 months and our first Christmas

Where on earth have the past 10 months gone? It really just seems like yesterday when Steve and I boarded that plane that would change our lives forever. As a little girl I never imagined having 4 kids...I always wanted a boy and a girl. Thanks be to God for changing that for me! No, our house is never quiet (well if it is you better go see what they are all doing!) and it is not always neat, but it is full of love and fun! The girls have come so far in such a short time. Olivia and Nicholas were in the Grace Church Christmas program this past weekend. I sat there as the proudest mom ever. There on that stage were once 2 orphans that had no mom or dad to hold them, hug them, tuck them in at night and God chose us to be there parents. I watched Olivia as she sang those words in English so well, when just 10 months ago all she could say was mom and dad! She has so much energy and love for life, she is such a joy to have in our family. And Nicholas, as he stared at the director, trying so hard to get every move right, was once just as baby in an orphanage begging to be held. And Katie, our little bug got to sing a few songs with her class too. She adds a new level of excitement to our house that compares to nothing. Her precious little voice when she says"Mommy, you're the best!" just melts my heart every time. And finally there is Carter. Our little boy who really does not do well with change who had his world turned upside down this year with so much newness. He loves his sisters with all his heart. He has such a bond with each of them. He is truly Katie's protector and best pal with Olivia. The Christmas season has been so much fun with the girls. From putting up the tree, seeing lights all over town, shopping, wrapping, meeting Santa Claus for the first time, baking cookies, and of course all of the SNOW! To see Christmas through the eyes of a child is a miracle. I feel so blessed that our first Christmas as 6 has been such a joy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 4th Bday Katie!!!!

My little bug is 4 today! Happy Birthday Katie! How quickly the time flies with 4 kids! It seems like we just got word that the girls could be ours....a 2 yr old and a 10 yr old. Really? Needless to say we were shocked that we were even considered for the girls since there were 2 families ahead of us looking at them. But God has a plan....he needed that time to get our hearts and minds ready for 2 more kids. As I looked at Katie asleep in her bed last night, I cannot imagine not having her in our family. She is such a bundle of energy and spirit, she keeps us going for sure. Her constant chatter never stops. She lights up a room with her smile. We love her so much. Nicholas was the first one up this morning when I woke up Katie. He was so excited to show her the bday balloon and to wish her a happy bday. He has come so far from not wanting his attention taken away to being by her side 24/7. Katie asked me last night before she went to bed if she gets fire at school tomorrow? Yes, she means the candles, she wanted to make sure she has candles to blow out on her bday too. I can't help but think of and pray for her older sister and brother in Ethiopia. I can only imagine how they must miss the girls and wonder what they must look like now. I am also certain that her mom and dad are in heaven smiling down on her on this day. My heart also aches on days like this for all of the other orphans in the world. Who is there to give them a hug on their special day or does anyone even remember or know when their bday is. Please take a moment to pray for the 147 million orphans in the world. Happy Birthday Katie bug, we all love you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thanks for your help!

 This is our you can see we were near capacity!
 The warehouse where the shoes are sorted before being shipped to Ethiopia.

 Every box is labeled with a size before it is shipped.
 This is the cleaning station, before the shoes are shipped they are all cleaned.
 Ready to be sorted.....
 These are the shoes we delivered...all 845 pair!

This one is out of order...this was when we arrived before we unloaded!

We cannot thank you enough for all of the shoe donations!!! We ended up with 845 pair of shoes! Soles for Jesus is an amazing organization that does fantastic things for children. We hope to do another shoe drive in the spring, so if you have shoes to donate, let us know! We will take them! Children half way around the world will be affected! Thank  you all again!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Soles for Jesus.....will you help?

While reading a friend's blog I came across this amazing a shoe drive for the orphan and homeless children of Africa! I instantly thought what an awesome opportunity. As a mother of 2 beautiful Ethiopian children, we witnessed the need for shoes. SO, we are hosting a shoe drive starting tomorrow, Sept 7th and running through Sept. 24th. We will be collecting shoes at St. Mark School where I work and at Lettie Brown School. If you would like to drop shoes off at our house, we will have a bin inside our porch. I am also willing to pick up shoes if you send me a message! Steve and I will be personally delivering the shoes to the warehouse that the shoes are shipped from in Wisconsin. You may tuck a personal note inside if you wish also. If you do not have shoes to donate but would still like to help, you may donate money which goes to offset the cost of shipping the shoes to Ethiopia. Thank you all!
Sizes Needed: toddler through adult size 9
This information below is just a small part of what is on their website. Please visit   to learn more!
Ethiopia has over 4.2 million orphans. 44% of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15. Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any African country. One in six children die before their fifth birthday. These are some of the stats that quickly surface when researching Ethiopia. The team saw first-hand the desperate need for these neglected orphans and street kids and how it greatly burdens the heart of God. For this reason alone, the Lord has clearly established Soles For Jesus. Shoe donations will be sent to orphanages, hospitals, drop-in centers (for street kids), as well as other organizations that are reaching out to children and youth in great need (ages 0-15). These shoes are an amazing gift of hope and safety, given to those in such uncertain surroundings.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

6 months home!

the girls at 6 Flags June 2010Adoption Day! June 2010Gettin ready to go to 6 Flags!

Our first 6 months have been filled with so many amazing memories....I am so thankful God chose this path for our family. I have such a passion for helping orphans and hope to do more in the future. It is rubbing off on the kids too, esp Carter...he says if he is every rich he will buy the White House and fill it up with orphans. He is so caring and compassionate! We are making it a family goal to do what we can to help the those children will have someone to tuck them in at night and kiss them when they are hurt. That is the one part about adoption that can be knowing what took place in thier lives before God chose us to take care of them. BUT there are so many great things about adoption that I wouldn't trade for the world! I get to hug them now and I get to watch them grow into amazing adults. It is such a gift. Please pray for the ophans that they too will have a mom and a dad to get hugs and kisses from tonight.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Fun!!!

Well I had every intention to put pics on with this entry, but none of them are saved on the computer, all on the camera and that is with Steve in Chicago!!! Yes, he is in Chicago with Olivia, Nicholas, Katie, my inlaws and my nieces and Carter and I are home....sick :( Yes we are totally bummed, feeling better today, but we were both down and out yesterday. It sounds like they are having a great time....the zoo, Shed Aquarium, Navy Pier, and even an Ethiopian restaurant for the girls. Can't wait to hear all about it once they get home! Carter and I have had a good time hanging out together and watching old movies....The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, and even The Karate Kid 2.

We have been really busy doing lots of other fun stuff as well. We had a big fish fry with our neighbors and bff's the Cabell's...we called our party "The Crock's". It was a really good time with family and friends.

The kids are really enjoying their Summer...since Summer School has been out they have learned that sleeping in is awesome! I love it too!!! The alarm clock season will be here way too soon!!! :( I love being home with the kids....if only that money tree would start growing in our backyard......then maybe ;) we can all dream, right?

Olivia's English is getting better and better every day. She is telling us so much about her brother and sister back in Ethiopia and about her parents too. It is like we learn a new piece to her puzzle everyday.

Katie is doing really well too, she loves to try and keep u\p with Nicholas. She definately has a mind of her own! She starts preschool this Fall at St. Mark and is soooo excited. She got a new backpack with Tinkerbell on it, I think it is as big as she is! lol

Nicholas is having a fun Summer too. He loves to play outside and hang out with his buddy Evan. I still cannot believe he will be in first grade really seems like Steve and I were just in Russia bringing him home. He is talking a lot about his mom and dad in Russia. He wants so much to be able to talk to them like Olivia talks to her sister and family in Ethiopia. It breaks my heart how badly he wants this. I hope that maybe someday we can return to Russia to help him with this quest.

Carter would love if every day would be a summer day. He loves the carefree living of this time of year. His favorite thing has been going to the Morton pool....he is such a fish! I can still remember when he first took lessons at the pool and screamed so loud I think the whole town heard us because he didn't want to put his face in the is amazing what lessons at Easter Seals can do for a kid!

Well we do still have a few weeks of summer left (thank goodness!) but before you know it I will be back getting my classroom ready and  we will be back at Walmart filling up our cart with school supplies. We will try and squeeze every last ounce of fun out of summer before the crazy fall schedule kicks in. Enjoy your days as well!!!