Thursday, December 31, 2009

Many of you know that because of Dawit's cleft lip/palette we had to send special bottles over for him to be able to eat. Remember that he was 5 pounds in June. Since the bottles got there, he has steadily gained about a pound a month and we expect him to be about 13 pounds or so when we get there. Here is a picture of what it looks like. The nipple is long and made so that we can squeeze it, allowing the formula to come down. I am hoping that we will be able to see the nannies feed him once, just to see how it is done.

Well, my pediatrician has been great...helping us get everything together for our trip. He gave us a prescription for ear infections since kids with a cleft typically have ear problems. He even gave us travel packs of formula. Anyway, the bottles can't be purchased at Babies R Us and he found them for me at a local nursing store. I called about them and asked about the cost...$23...FOR ONE BOTTLE!! Augh! Luckily my friend Christina came to the rescue. She was able to get us 10 or so bottles! Thank the Lord! I couldn't imagine spending that much on one bottle. All that said, I have them washed, sanitized, and in the suitcase. Check one more thing off the list!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Is Only a Test

I am just making sure I know how to email and post to the blog.  Hopefully I will be able to send updates while in Ethiopia!  12 more days!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas

We had a great Christmas. The kids really enjoyed seeing all their cousins and playing with their new toys. Unfortunately, James got sick Christmas Eve and missed out on part of Christmas Day festivities. Then, on Saturday Avery came down with it and is still throwing up. YUCK! Here are some pictures of the holiday...
The girls actually asked for a vacuum. A toy vacuum, I asked? No mom, a real one. Believe it or not, but my kids love to help clean. Dusting and now vacuuming are their specialty. :) So, Santa brought a little vacuum!

Last year the girls and I started a new tradition. We make a birthday cake for Jesus! The girls love to stir the batter and spread the icing. As you can tell, adding the sprinkles is their favorite part. :)



It was fun watching the girls open their gifts. Avery was really excited about each one. (must be the age) Once, she unwrapped a small Kohl's box and said in the sweetest voice,"Oh...it's a box!" Too Cute!

Dawit got a few gifts too. Christina got him a few cute outfits.

Kory got him this ornament.

I was really excited to see his name on a tag. :) (I forgot to take a picture of the cute outfits though.)


We had a fun few days. We hope you did too. Now, if we can get healthy, things would be better. (Maybe this is why our trip got pushed back) Speaking of our trip...13 days until we leave!! YEAH! Our friends the Gibson's are traveling this week. As I type this they probably already have their arms around Bennett!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS

It never even crossed my mind until last week that I had not sent Christmas cards. Saturday, our dear friends, Brandi and Aaron came over and took some pictures of Lindsay's family and I stuck my girls in the middle of the madness. When I got the cd of pictures Sunday night, I thought "great, now I can send Christmas cards out" HELLO, BRITTNEY, CHRISTMAS IS IN 3 DAYS! So, sorry to say, I won't be sending cards out this year. There was no possible way to get them printed, addressed, and mailed before Thursday. Sorry, I am a slacker. We did get some really cute pictures of the girls though and I want to share them.


I brought a plate of cookies someone made me and put them on a Santa plate. Brandi thought that would make a cute picture. Well, I knew all the cookies had milk in them, but I thought mom would have an Oreo for Avery....she didn't. Look how sad Avery looks!!

Reese on the other hand was very happy I brought cookies. This was just about the only time she sat still and looked at the camera. :)


MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE ARMSTRONG'S!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dawit's ornament is here

Friday I received Dawit's ornament in the mail. Natalie and JT did a great job. We love our ornament!



I wish he were here to celebrate this Christmas with us...what is the next holiday?? Martin Luther King Day, I think. :) Anyway, thanks guys for the ornament! I was excited to hear from someone at church today that they saw my post and ordered two!

Grandma got Baptized!!

Today was a special day at church. We got to celebrate the birth of Christ and during the service James' Grandma got baptized! We are so excited. Several family members came to celebrate with us, so it was a great day.



I told her she looked nervous...she said the water was really cold. I guess they forgot to turn on the heater! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Travel Plans

Lesson Learned....don't buy plane tickets and then change them. It is absolutely ridiculous! We are getting to Dawit one way or another though. We leave January 10 and return with our baby boy on January 20. We are actually staying longer now, which I think we are going to enjoy. Who knows when we will get back there. Now we are enjoying the girls and the upcoming holiday. After that I am sure I will become stressed! We are counting down the days!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blessings

As I journal our adoption, I have to include these two stories....

Last week, as I worked childcare at church, a woman who I have met once before started asking about our adoption. (When we leave and that type of thing) We talked for just a second. After the service, she came back downstairs and told me about her friend who adopted. When this friend went to pick up her child, she made sure she had lots of money in one dollar bills so she could easily tip everyone. Then, this woman who I barley know handed me a check and told me she wants us to be able to do the same thing! I told her thanks, but I couldn't take it. She insisted. I cried, we hugged and I thanked her. She asked my name, as we had met only once before and it was a while back. After she walked away, I looked at the check and it was for $100!! Can you believe that? She didn't even know my name! What a blessing! I was just in awe!

Last week I sent an email out to my coworkers telling them about our upcoming trip. I told them I was going to put a baby bottle in the lounge for orphanage donations. I described our plan to take the orphanage staff out to the market so we can get them exactly what they need. Well, today someone came to me and asked if I was still taking donations. I told her I was. She asked if we still planned to take the staff shopping at the market. Then she said that she had a donation for us and handed me a check. I thanked her and glanced down at the check. Then I did a double take. It was for $200!! What? Are you serious? I was blown away! It was from her and her family. I hugged and thanked her as I cried again!

Thank you doesn't seem big enough for all the help we have gotten throughout this adoption. We have been so surprised and blessed by each one. Many of you know about our plane ticket fiasco and know about how ridiculously high our tickets are. Needless to say, we were not going to be able to spend a lot when we take the staff to the market. Look at how God has provided! We will be able to take them out and get them a lot of the things they need! We can't wait to pass along all these blessings in Ethiopia!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gracie's Dance Recital

Last night Gracie had her first dance recital. She started taking classes in September. She had a fun time last night. She was clingy and shy at first, but once I left and went to my seat she got better. Here are a few pictures taken before the show. (look at that frown!)


Once the show started, she got a bit more excited. It was so cute watching all the kids. The younger ones especially were cute! Some just stood there the entire performance! Here is Gracie's performance. James was trying to zoom in at first and realized that wouldn't work. So, sorry ahead of time for the zooming/focus.
video
She LOVED being on stage. (can you tell?) She is already asking when the next recital is and if she can wear that dress again. She even got a little medal. :) So for now, dance is her thing. I actually thought about putting her in Hip Hop classes because I thought she would like that style. But, on the way home thought better of it. She told us she didn't like the last dance because of their outfits. (they weren't dresses) It was a hip hop routine and they wore jerseys with pants. I guess that's not girlie enough for our Grace.
Here are our girls hamming it up after the show.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ornaments

A new family with Arise is selling ornaments to help fund their adoption. Believe it or not, they have raised almost $2000 dollars in a few short weeks selling almost 400 hand painted ornaments. I just ordered one for Dawit. I can't wait to get it. I will post a picture when I do. Until then, check out her blog where you can view the ornaments and buy one.

Another Cool Blog

Ha! I write that title like you all think my blog is cool!

Kari Gibson has a great blog and she is giving away some neat things for Christmas. You should check it out. The catch...if you win because of my referral, you have to give me one of the Simply Love shirts you win. I really want one! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Disappointing News

Today Susan called to let us know that we will not be leaving as planned on December 26th. MOWA has not yet written the letter needed to start the process of getting his visa. I am totally bummed. She called during class and my kids saw a sight! I bawled. I realize that it is not that big of a deal. I just feel sooo close to him now, pushing back our trip to him just sounded so bad. In the big scheme of things, its not that bad...could be worse, definitely. So, I am over my meltdown, still bummed though, and looking forward to leaving mid January. We are trying to work out the details on changing our flights now. Susan said that looking back we will see God's hand in all this. For whatever reason, we are waiting a little longer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Packing


Packing...or lack of packing...let's call this piling. This is what Dawit's room looks like. I don't even know where to begin! I have lots of little piles that I have convinced myself are organized. :) I guess I will get to it soon. By the way, anybody have a suggestion on the number of diapers I should take?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

African Treasures

Here in Louisville we have a fair trades store, Just Creations, that has merchandise from artists around the world. Last night the store hosted a community night for Arise for Children and part of each sale went toward our agency. My aunt and I went. I had hoped to walk away with some Christmas presents, but I only got a few things for us. There was lots of nice things, they had nativity sets and ornaments made from around the world. Really cute things. But, with us traveling to Ethiopia in a few weeks I decided to wait. I have high hopes in finding some neat things for the house and some gifts while we are there. Here is what I did get...
An angel ornament from Kenya

An ornament from Ghana

A basket from Bangladesh for diapers and wipes.

And I got some organic chapstick from Zambia. (I am a sucker for chapstick)



I saw on Whitney's blog that she did a little countdown ring for her court date. I took that idea (thanks Whitney) and the girls and I made one to count down the days until we leave. Gracie and Avery colored the strips and Gracie even wrote numbers on each of them. When it came to gluing them, she got tired after about 13! So, here it is...our countdown on Dawit's door....23 days!

I can't wait to see this thing getting shorter!

And, since this post is a hodge podge of things, I am going to throw in a picture of our family putting up the tree for Christmas. We didn't put much else up because we leave on the 26th. My aunt is helping us out and taking the tree down while we are gone. Here is James putting the angel on top.



Here is a picture of Gracie with her finished letter to Santa. She told her daddy what she wanted to write and he helped her with spelling. At the end it says, "ps can you bring Dawit a truck?" What a sweetie to think of him!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arise for Children

Tonight we had our monthly fellowship with families from our adoption agency, Arise for Children. I often think about how blessed we are to have a local agency and know the families that are on this wild journey with us. Tonight was a reminder of how special the staff and families are. After we had a time of fellowship and got updates on everything, we had a time of prayer. As they gathered around James and I to pray over us, I knew I would end up in tears. They said such sweet things. Praying for our family, the girls while we are away, safe travel, transition, and (of course) Dawit. I am crying as I type just thinking about it. It was a very special time. Thank You, Thank You for all your prayers. We covet them.

Susan just finished the agency's new website. You should check it out. There is a link on my sidebar. The website has some great pictures that Hollie took while in Ethiopia in the summer. And Susan shared tonight about the China program they are opening.

PS. I did cry.

PSS. 3 1/2 weeks!! And I still have a ton of things to do!