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 truck....as 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 cause.....host 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 www.solesforjesus.com   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 fatherless....so 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 hard....no 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 already.....it 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 water....it 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!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life with 4 kids

Well, needless to say it has been a long time since I have written! We are starting to learn our "new" normal and have settled in quite well. We just returned from vacation at Myrtle Beach with our awesome friends. We all had a great time. The girls loved the ocean and the pools, Katie was not shy at all...she was jumping in and going under water from the minute we got there. Olivia is determined to keep up with Carter, so she is teaching herself how to swim and is doing a good job. We are really keeping busy this summer, Carter , Olivia and Nicholas are all in Summer School. Katie is in tumbling and loves it. She comes out of every class with her sucker and a big smile. Steve and I just laugh at how much Nicholas and Katie are alike. We are lucky they have each other to talk to each other every day!!! While Nick is at school I think Katie asks at least a million questions and repeats EVERYTHING! Her English is incredible, you would never know she has only been here for 4 months. I still look at them both and think of how far they have come. Olivia is starting to gain confidence and talk more. She really opened up a lot the other night and was telling me about her family in Ethiopia. She told me that she and her brother look like their father and Katie and her older sister look like their mom. Their dad made horse shoes. Their works on fixing houses, and their mom often made woven baskets. Apperently Katie's crib was not too good because it used to break every day and she would fall out of it! She showed me the picture of her with the huge bumps on her head! Poor Katie!

Friday is a big day for our family...official re-adoption day! We are actually re-adopting Nicholas too. When he was adopted we didn't have to re-adopt him because of the type of visa he entered on, but we decided to go ahead and re-adopt him the same time we do the girls.

We are all looking forward to lots of quality and memory making time this summer. Carter asked Steve today if he could switch his job to a teacher so he could have the summer off too.....he is such a sweetie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

3 months home!

Well, today it is officially our 3 month anniversary as a family of 6! Needless to say it has flown by so fast!!! We are still getting used to our new "normal" and I think we are all adjusting pretty well. The non-stop noise and chaos is so fun....and exhausting! I am still wishing the laundry fairy would visit my house but I am not holding my breath. Katie is our sweet little motor mouth who is speaking all English all the time....she is funny and sassy and a little parrot, nothing goes by that she doensn't repeat. She is Nicholas' shadow and Carter's cuddle buddy. Olivia is slowly starting to try more and more English everyday. She has made a good stride and then stopped,  but just in the past few days has started to build more confidence and talk more and more. She is still the one I use the most spray and wash on...grass stains on nearly everything!!! Olivia tried cotton candy for the first time today....absolutley hilarious...she put it in her mouth and then said.."where did it go?"....she cracked up and then went on to eat the french fries instead. She loves to eat that is for sure :) Nicholas has been doing better with his adjustment of not being the "baby" anymore. He still has his moments and tries to pick on either Katie or Carter, and neither one of them put up with it! Carter earned an award last week at school for his good attitude and work at school. We are very proud of his success this school year. He told me "oh mom it was nothing." He is so funny. These first three months has been wonderful, I cannot wait to see what the next 3 bring. If you have ever considered adoption....I encourage you to look into it, it is an amazing and rewarding process.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2 months home

Wow, seriously, can tomorrow be our 2 month home date? It has gone so fast and the girls are still doing great. We have come so far so fast. Katie speaks way more English than Amharic....she repeats EVERYTHING! It is so funny. Tonight I put her in bed before Olivia and she hates this....a few weeks ago if I had done this I would have heard...Yordanos over and over again...tonight I heard Olivia, Olivia, etc. Olivia is starting to speak more and more each day too. As much as I loved Spring Break, it was not good timing for her. She was really on a roll in school. I hope she can pick back up where she was before. She likes school a lot and has made some really sweet friends. The boys are loving their sisters so much. I love to see Carter and Olivia take off and play soccer in the backyard, or see Nicholas and Katie playing dress up and belly laugh when they see each other, too funny. We still thank God everyday for the blessing of our kids. We pray that the next 2 months go as well as the first 2 have.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Last night we went to the airport to see some friends arrive home from Ethiopia with their son. It was incredible. He is the most adorable little guy. It is so neat to look from afar and watch his new siblings greet him. I can't believe it has been 2 months since we left for our adventure to get our daughters. I know I will remember the moment we arrived home with Nicholas and with the girls. Two completley different circumstances, but each perfect. God has blessed my family in so many ways. My prayer for each of you is to have a wonderful Easter. Enjoy your family and appreciate every second with them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


There are so many emotions  I get each and every day since we first met our daughters and have been home as a family. So many of our friends and family have asked how things are going, and I can honestly say they are wonderful. I LOVE having a big family. If you would have asked when we first got married if I wanted a lot of kids...I would have said 2 maybe 3 at the most. Now having four is amazing. I love to watch them all interact with each other in completely different ways. I love the things the boys have learned about adoption. Nicholas was so young when we adopted him that he doesn't remember much (although those that know him...he does remember some!). I hope we can teach them all about the needs of orphans and do our part as a family to help them, pray for them and educate others about them. I think of the 3 of them and thank God that he chose us down the path of adoption. I cannot imagine my life had we not been able to experience all that we have. Yes, it took many mountains to get the girls home, but I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. My goal now is to do some fundraising for the orphans in the world and to educate others....will it lead us to another adoption? Only God knows that answer....for now we will continue to pray for those children to have a mommy and daddy to tuck them in bed every night and tell them that they are loved.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Ethiopia pics

Carter and Nicholas first night home with Katie

Happy Birthday Nicholas!!!

I cannot believe my sweet little Nicholas is 6 years old today. I can remember it like it was yesterday....how nervous we were as we boarded the plane to pick him up. We were leaving on the journey of a lifetime as our baby boy was turning one. I have prayed many prayers for his birth mom, I can't imagine what she must be thinking of as her boy turns 6. Nicholas asked me yesterday if his birth mommy could see a picture of him. I said no, but I am sure she has the picture of him in her mind of how he looked the day he was born. We are so thankful that God has chosen us to raise this chatty little man. He is unique in so many ways and gives us so many smiles everyday. We love you Nicholas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

They fit in so well....

I still sit back and look at the girls and I am amazed that they are really here, not just the pictures we gazed at for so many months...they are such perfects gifts. People are still asking how our transtions are going...and I hesitate to say, but it is still wonderful. We had Nick's family Bday party yesterday...about 25 people in our not so big house...needless to say a bit noisy! The girls fit in so well, they played with the other kids and seemed to have a blast! Nicholas had a great time and got so many new things....he was a very happy little boy! He was cracking me up today...Katie kept asking him something and he of course could not understand..his response was "She's from Ethiopia you know, I cannot understand her!" I was cracking up! Katie and Nicholas are so much alike, social, chatty and full of energy and life. I feel so lucky for all 4 of them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Way over do.....

Well we have been home for 2 1/2 weeks and my goal to write about our time there and since we have been home has not happened...but I am making a promise to  myself to try harder and keep this thing updated!
Our first couple weeks home have been AMAZING! It feels weird to say perfect, but it is so close to that. We feel so blessed and lucky that God chose us for these amazing children and so lucky that our boys at home have been no less than wonderful. They have been waiting so long for sisters and I think they are loving the extra entertainment in the house! I cannot write this without mentioning our truely incredible family and friends who have helped us get through everything, the prayers, kind words, visits, clothes, toys and not to mention all of the delicious food! I had lost weight in Ethiopia, but have found it since we have been home! Though I am not complaining one bit because it was so nice to not have to think about what to fix for supper. The firsts for all of the girls have been so fun..automatic sinks, elevators, escalators, hair salons, wal mart, malls, restaurants, bike rides, and many, many more. The surprise and excitement in their face brings us such joy and reminds us once again how lucky we really are.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We leave TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! I really cannot believe we will be leaving tomorrow. It was officially 3 years ago in February that we decided to adopt again. It sure did take us a long time to get to this point but we know it was His timing and we are so thankful to God for this amazing adventure. A part of me still can't believe that tomorrow is the day we leave. Suitcases are packed, everything seems to be in order, I hope!! We have been packing for so long that I hope we didn't forget anything. Thank you for the prayers.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Packing, packing, packing

Well, we officially leave next Wednesday. The bags are nearly packed, lessons plans complete at school and instructions given to Grandma. I can't believe it is here...something we have been thinking and praying about for over 2 years. I sometimes still have to remind myself that this is really happening! We couldn't be more excited, anxious, nervous, scared and happy......all rolled in to one. We  thank God every day for these wonderful blessings He has given us. We continue to pray that the girls are ready to join our family and that the boys are ready for this huge new chapter in their lives as well. We will officially be a family of 6 in America on Feb. 12th......we finally made it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

tentative date....

We got an email from our case worker saying that our tentative embassy date is on Feb. 9th!!!! So much to do and we couldn't be more excited. The boys are so excited and can't wait for their new sisters. The room is painted and the shopping spree has begun. We got measurements and we are trying to figure out sizes. Shoes are my biggest worry. Crocs it is, they are a little forgiving and once we are home we can shop for super cute ones. I have officially decided to take 6 1/2 weeks off of school. I am so excited to have that time to spend and bond with them and the boys and start our family of 6.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I am not so good at this...

Wow where do I start!! SO much has happenend up to this point!!! We PASSED court on the 15th of December! Wow what a relief...we really didn't know if it would happen. I was at work and Steve said he would call with the news, so cell phone in pocket I went on with my day of teaching 27 darling little kindergarteners. Well it didn't take long for the call....8:35 cell phone vibrates in my pocket, it is Steve, of course at the noisiest time, lining up to go somewhere! I tell the kids..shhhh, I have to take this, and YES! Good news! I could tell in Steve's voice he was happy! I did a little dance of joy and was off to share the news! I delivered the kids to their class and then went to call my mom. Needless to say, she was thrilled. Steve called everyone else on the list. We received 2 beautiful flower arrangements from the Cabell's and my parents. What an amazing day. I still hav to repeat it sometimes....I have 4 children. God has truely blessed us.

An early Birthday gift.
We were busy all day on the 21st....didn't check email til late that night. I was thrilled to see new pics of the girls and that they had moved from Awassa to Addis! One step closer to bringing them home!

Well here we are on January 5th, no travel dates yet. We did receive new pics of the girls yesterday and thier sizes. The boys are so excited to have their sisters home. They pray for them everyday. I can't wait to see all of my kids in one room.

I will do my best to keep this updated. This adventure in our life is worth writing about.