Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Waiting for the story to unfold...

Hmmm...I wanted to write a quick post about being in this moment--this small (although it doesn't feel that way) moment in our lifetime when we're just waiting to see her face.  The moment when I watch the clock to see if our agency is open yet, when I jump every time the phone rings, and at the end of each day when I realize that today is not THE day--but maybe tomorrow.  

We've been sitting as number 1 for only ~7 days and a lot of that was the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's a really fun place to be and also an excruciating place.  On the surface it's totally awesome to be the next one to get "The Call."  But underneath there's so much more...

While pondering these thoughts has been a huge part of this process--wondering where she is--is she at Hannah's Hope, is she at another orphanage waiting to come to Hannah's Hope, is she still with her mother?  How old is she?  Is she hungry, cold, afraid?  What is her story?  These thoughts are such a huge reality now.  This is the time that she is living out a part of her life that we will never know.  And while I get that is completely a part of the process--it grieves me...

And so we wait--with great excitement, with humbled hearts, but also with peace.  Knowing that through this all, God has put a desire in our hearts for a little girl on the other side of the world.  Some day soon the pieces of the story will fall into place...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Makeover: Ugliest Bag Ever?

I was recently contemplating why by duffel bag is always so heavy, even when there's not really all that much in it.  It occurred to me that perhaps the culprit is my toiletries bag.  Just maybe those full bottles of shampoo, face wash, hairspray and contact solution weren't doing me any favors in my attempts to pack more lightly.

From a very practical standpoint, it's a great little (free with purchase) bag--quite roomy--but then, perhaps, a little too roomy.

If any of you have ever seen this lovely bag, I have often wondered what you have thought about it.  Why?  Because it is quite possibly one of the ugliest bags ever.  That is unless you love teal, peach, and a strange (but pretty) woman's face with encouraging words all over your bag.

Get ready for it...

Here it is...

Pretty cool, huh?  Yes, it is in fact so remarkably unattractive, that I took pictures to remember it by.  It has served me well these past 5 or 6 years.  Bon voyage big teal and peach bag...

Of course ;), I also took pictures of it's replacement.  A cute, yet conservative little number that tidily fits small refillable bottles.  And, can I just say, that my bag was actually lighter on our Thanksgiving trip to PA.  The new bag is a pleasure. :)


Ahh...the things you do when you're waiting for the phone to ring! :)  

Sunday Funnies: Fire Eyes

Funny week about red eyes around here (all besides the pink eye has made several unwelcome appearances--that's really not so funny). :)  

T has decided that he can be a "scary monster" if he squints his eyes shut really tight because then they turn into "fire eyes."  I'm just assuming, but I think that when he squints that maybe he sees red?


Really, how "scary" is this face?  Cracks me up!  He looks like a sweet, little old man. :)  That my T.

Today as we were running across a freezing parking lot, M was convinced that she was going to turn blue ("or whatever color the wind is") because it was blowing so hard.  I said not to worry--her cheeks might turn a little red, but it would quickly go away.  She said that she could tell that she was already turning red, because when she closed her eyes she could see that color.  Funny kids!


Here's looking forward to a new week! 

(Once again, off to find my phone--not quite sure where it ended up in the unpacking process....hmm...)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful and Brothers and Sisters Weeks

(Update--Our Agency is closed for Thanksgiving until Monday--so definitely no referral call until at least then.) :)

Time for some Theme Week catch-up! (Not to be mistaken with ketchup which is so not a hit to my tomato-loathing children.;)

Two weeks ago it was Thankful Week.  We started our "Thankful Tree" (an awesome idea from Andrea's blog) that is now covered with leaves naming lots of things that make us thankful.


We also learned how to say "I love you" in Amharic--"ewedeshalo."  That week we could say "Ewedeshalo, doro" or "I love you, chicken."  Because "doro" was the only other amharic word that we knew from Turkey Week the week before.

Last week was Brothers and Sister Weeks.  And we learned a few more words.  Now we can say, "Ewedeshalo, ehit (sister), wundim (brother), enat (mother), abat (father) and gwedenya (friend)."  That makes a lot more sense.

And what better week to visit the "City of Brotherly Love", Philadelphia.  Oh, early that Sunday morning I was up working on my good old CEU's when I thought that I should take a closer look at the fine print.  To my horror, I realized that I couldn't do them all online.  But here's the cool part--that night I could have been doing lots of other things, but I really felt like I had to get the CEU's done.  And  last week was the BIG speech-language pathologist conference.  Had I been doing anything else, I totally would have missed the conference.  And it wasn't in California or Texas or somewhere that I had to get a plane ticket for--nope it was in Philadelphia.  And J was game to take a day off to hang out in the city with the kids.  And I loved it!  There were seminars on language and international adoption, the relationship between poverty and literacy, and work that is being done in developing nations.  Good stuff!

And I have to give a shout out to Dr. Light at Penn State.  I had the privelege of doing research with her as a student.  I went to one of her 2 hour seminars on working with children with Down Syndrome.  It was so amazing that I had to stay for her second 2-hour lecture.  She is truly one of the most beautiful people that I know.

 (M & T at the Please Touch Museum with J while I was off learning. ;)


 Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  "Ewedeshalo, gwedenyas!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Number 1: Waiting...

So totally in awe of the moment when we meet the little girl who God has planned all along for our family.


Waiting from G Miller on Vimeo.

Sweet girl, praying tonight that you are feeling surrounded by love and praying that your mom has peace and hope in her heart.  Longing for you...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Number...

wow...just found out that we are Number 1!  Number 1!  Super-excited and calm.  That is until the phone starts ringing and then I can't even remember how to turn it on...  :)

Keeping the "Little" in Your Girl

When the world wants girls to grow up too fast, how do you help your daughter navigate boy craziness, modesty, body image, media, and Internet safety? The foundation for an emotionally healthy teen girl is built between the ages of 8 and 12. Mothers of tween girls can direct and guide their daughters by developing a close relationship with them. In Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl, Dannah Gresh shares six ways to help you grow confident, godly young women. Also included is a quiz to test your relationship, fun activities to do together, and Scriptures to use in prayer.

As the mom of a little girl who is not all that far away from 8--I thought it would be good to get a glimpse into what's to come. Yikes!  I must admit it's all a bit intimidating, but I LOVE that there are resources like this book to both give me creative, insightful and inspiring ideas to connect with my girls and to be proactive in guiding them through the tough questions/phase of life ahead.

I highly recommend this book to moms (and dads) of little girls.  For more information and books and cool  ideas head on over to Secret Keeper Girl (www.secretkeepergirl.com).  I  have a few more books from there in my pile to read.

[Now off to, first, find my phone and then to make sure that it is charged. ;) ]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Neck Candy :)

Oh, man--still keeping busy with those crafty ideas. :)

I recently made a few of these lovely pleated scarves (from www.youcanmakethis.com).



And, Becca made me this super fun, bunchy "ruffled" scarf (also of www.youcanmakethis.com).  I wore it ALL weekend in Philadelphia.


And, I love my "Hope for Orphans" necklace from The Vintage Pearl.  All of the proceeds go towards helping families bring children home through adoption.  (LOVE TVP!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Funnies: WHERE do you want to stop for lunch?

"Michael-Donald's"

(His middle name is Michael. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So, What's Next?

Thought it would be a good idea to share what's coming next.  :)

There is a ton that has to take place.  But I'll try my best to outline the basics.  Keeping in mind that time frames are extremely flexible in the adoption world (it's totally best to expect things to take a really long time so that if they don't you can be pleasantly surprised.).

So, at this point, I try to keep my phone with me (and ideally charged) at all times.  And when our home phone rings I run to find it (sometimes this can be a bit of a challenge) and then I rush to see the caller ID (which is a much appreciated, newly-added feature in our house.).  

1.  Because, sometime in the next day, week or month(s) we will get our referral phone call (Ahhhh!).  Our case manager at AGCI will call us to let us know about a little girl within our age parameters.  She'll email us all of the available information about her (her medical records and history--if anything is available).  And pictures!

Unfortunately, we won't be able to share those pictures online until the adoption is official.  But, trust me, if you see us in person you can definitely get a peek!  

2.  Okay, so then we have 10 days to complete the referral paperwork--including a report from an international pediatrician that we will contact and send all of her medical information to.

3.  Our paperwork is then sent to Ethiopia to be translated and we wait for a court date there.  Right now the families that received recent referrals have their first court dates near the end of January.  So for sure our court date would, at the earliest, be in ~February.

4.  J and I will fly to Ethiopia for the court date and we will meet our little girl.  We'll be there for about a week.  Then we will come home.  Without her.

5.  We'll be waiting for an embassy date where she will get a visa to come into the US.  That process takes at least a month.  Once we have that date, we'll fly back (again for about a week) to bring her home.

6.  That's when our life as a family of 5 just gets started...

Kind-of a complicated process.  M and T are definitely a bit confused about how this will all go down, so we spend a lot of time explaining that while we'll see her picture soon, she won't be living here until after St. Patrick's Day.  At this moment they can not wait to share a room with her and they argue about where she will sleep.  T is convinced that we need to rush order bunk beds (Which is a very sweet idea, but definitely not wise given his climbing history.). 

So can not wait to start celebrating!

On the Edge of Something BIG

We are unofficially Number 2.  NUMBER 2!  Wow...  What an amazing place to be...  It feels like we're sitting right on the edge of a moment that we have been longing for for such a long time--a HUGE moment.  The moment when we will see the face of our daughter. 

I alternate between wanting to (and even occasionally actually) screaming in great excitement, "Ahhhhhh!" To being in complete speechless awe of what's to come.

How cool that referral phone will be!  It's the conversation that will make us parents for the third time.  M will be a big sister again.  And T will be a big brother for the first time. 

Years of a heart's desire.  Years of reading and research.  Months of paperwork.  Classes.  Vaccines.  Waiting.  Numbers.  All culminating in the words, "I have a little girl I want to talk to you about."

Oh sweet girl, we can not wait to meet you!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Funnies: Beware of the Volcanoes (and Scotch Tape)

The other day these "warning" signs appeared on M's door.  Apparently volcanoes have begun erupting in her room and as an act of goodwill, she has taken it upon herself to warn the inhabitants of our house to stay clear. 


The one below shows a very largely crossed out smoking volcano.


Shockingly enough, volcanoes have also sprung up in T's room.  The butterfly is a friendly way to tell you to "go home (as in fly home away from the volcano)."


So, how exactly is it okay for one to enter a room with a smoldering volcano?  Well, you have to don protective gear and a mask, of course.

Now, nearly every door (after strongly discouraging the use of tape on the walls) in our house boasts a scotched-taped sign or two--most of which have a crayon heavily taped onto them.  Some day I will miss this...  (For now, I try to sneak just a few of them down--you know, to make room for more!)  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leaf Mazes (and a new number!)

Today, while trying to keep my 2.5 year old from touching too many toys to limit his current pink-eye germ warfare capabilities, we took the fun outside.  :)

Gorgeous day!  (Didn't quite know that before stepping outside and actually rummaged through the basement bins for heavy winter coats, hats and gloves.  It was nearly 60* today.)

First M and T had a good tumble through a leaf pile.  

Love T's face in this picture--he is truly delighted. :)

And then on to my absolute most fun thing to do in the fall--leaf mazes.  My sisters and I loved to do this when we were kids!  We used to pretend that they were deep tunnels of mazes (we got the idea from hearing stories about Christians hiding in catacombs--can you tell what kind of elementary school I went to?)

Today, though, we were pretending to hide from wolves and skunks, of course.  I'm sure if anyone was watching from afar we probably looked pretty funny running to the one and only shaded room to hide from every bird and airplane that flew overhead (they are spies for the wolves and skunks, in case you were wondering.).   I have to say, the maze was easy to get lost in--luckily it's also quite easy to step over the walls. ;) ( And, yes, hoping that my kids don't have nightmares about bird espionage and ravenous wolves.)


Okay, and just saw the very exciting news that we are NUMBER 3!  M and T have been in bed for quite awhile, but were still very awake.  Here's their reaction when I told them the news...

How fun is that?!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Updates and Getting Ready

We got our monthly update call on Monday night--we are officially Number 5 (UNofficially NUMBER 4). :)

Number 6 for siblings.  
(We don't expect that we would get siblings because 
siblings are not as common and because 
our age parameters are so limited (0-15 months), 
they would have to almost be twins.) :)

J-Mill and I got our second round of vaccines last Thursday.  Take that Meningitis and Hepatitis A and B!  (We give it another go next month to take out Yellow Fever.)

And right after being vaccinated, we got to head over to the Children's Hospital to visit Tage.  And do you know what?  Tage got to come home on Saturday--crazy to imagine how much changed in one week for him.  (If you want to check in on the little guy you can go to www.littlewillard.blogspot.com).

Also, wanted to share some of the cute dolls that now reside in our house.  So, crazy story, but one day a few months ago, Becca met this random person at the soccer field who lives in Namibia, Africa (Where is Namibia you ask?  It's on the western coast right above South Africa.)  While she was back visiting in the states she was selling a few items including these BEAUTIFUL dolls of a big sister with her little sister in a sling on her back.


How beautiful are their faces?!  To hear Miriam's story go to www.mbgNamibia.blogspot.com.  Amazing...


Miss M got these cute dollhouse dolls for her birthday.  They hail from The Land Of Nod (via Nana).  :)


And, seriously, how fun are the next few months going to be--we are SO close! 

 (Okay, this picture was totally taken in awful fluorescent night-time lighting, but look at how far we've come!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Perspective

What money can buy...




Update: The Blair family sold all 650 CD's in ~24 hours that they needed  to keep their adoption file open! You can still pick one up at http://theblairfamily-dawn.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 08, 2010

Monday Made It: Handbags and Just About Time for Christmas Music

Saw this totally fun pattern on www.thediydish.com (my latest obsession) and have been making some bags.

Favorite part of the bags--They easily fit 2 sippy cups and some assorted toys along with all of my essentials.


And, it's almost time for Christmas music. ;) Wanted to put a quick shout out for a way to help a family TODAY to raise the money they need to bring a little girl home from Ethiopia.  They are selling a Chrismas CD put together by the husband, a former member of Audio Adrenaline.  Find out more at their blog: http://theblairfamily-dawn.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Orphan Sunday

November is National Adoption Month.  Today is Orphan Sunday.  A day to be reminded of the opportunity we have to make a difference in the lives of the unfathomable amount of children who go to bed each night without a mom or dad...


Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.

For more information about adoption or orphan care go to www.cryoftheorphan.org or www.orphansunday.org or www.showhope.org.  Thank you...

Friday, November 05, 2010

Theme Weeks and How We Became a Family of Three

Last week was Birthday Week. Our Little Miss M turned 5!  And in hopeful anticipation of our referral, I thought it would be fun to briefly look back to remember how we changed from a family of two to a family of three 5 years ago. :)

One day a little over 6 years ago, just after my birthday, we were driving in the car and it occurred to me that we had always talked about having more than two children, but I was getting older and older and we had no plans for when we would even start to grow our family.  The baby bug had bit! ;)

Over a year later--just after Valentine's Day and after a brief struggle with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)--we were finally expecting!  I found out on a lunch break from work--I had wanted to color my hair that day, but wanted to make sure that I wasn't pregnant first.  I couldn't believe my eyes when the test was finally positive.  Right after work I ran to Targ*t to get another test just to make sure (yep, it was for sure), got my hair cut (no color, thank you), went grocery shopping and bought some balloons (what better way to tell J than with balloons, right?).

With 20 minutes to spare I quickly wrote out a scavenger hunt for J--you know, "Go to the cupboard beside the sink, look in the cup you use for a drink."  (Funny, huh?)  So as to not make him completely suspicious--I told him it was for his Valentine--because I had forgotten to give him the card on Valentine's Day.  At the very end of the "hunt" there were a bunch of balloons with a card telling him that he was going to be a daddy. 


J and I are both the oldest in our families and M is the first grand-baby on both sides.  We made up a slide-show to tell them our good news.  As to not make them suspicious we made them look at a slide-show of pictures from a recent ski trip and then we said, "Oh, while you're watching, here's a video I made for J for Valentine's Day." 

(Premise:  It's a bit cheesy, I know.  But it is supposed to sound like a lost letter that I wrote to Jason when we had just started dating.)


We're Having Baby #1/2005 from G Miller on Vimeo.

And that's how it all began. :)  Nine months or so later, on a cold, snowy day in October, our beautiful M joined our family.  She is our passionate, imaginative, insightful, and compassionate princess.  Love you M and am so thankful for the day that you made me a mommy and I am honored that we get to do life together!



(A little catch up--two weeks ago was Feelings Week.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Update, Song for the Journey

First, a little update about 3-month old Tage.  He still has a road ahead of him after his heart surgery, but he is doing well--you can check out his progress at www.littlewillard.blogspot.com.  

Just a little adoption update.  Literally just saw that we are unoffically NUMBER 4!!!  That should be OFFICIAL this week.  Yay!!!

And tomorrow we get our second round of travel vaccines. :)

Without having all of the right words, I also wanted to post this song to remember a special person who has touched our hearts along this journey...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Praying...

Praying for Baby Tage today (see Saturday's post).  He is out of his 8+ hour open-heart surgery.  He looks like such a tiny little guy in his big bed.  And he looks so good.  Love you Keith and Emily and Tage!  You are not far from our thoughts...