Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gracie's Birthday Party

Today Gracie celebrated her 5th birthday with a party with some of her friends. Her actual birthday is still a few days away, but with Dawit's birthday so close to hers, we wanted to make sure we did something special and fun just for her. At first I planned to have a few kids over and it grew. All the kids came, so we had a total of 14 kids between the age of 3 and 4.

Gracie chose to have a Fresh Beat Band birthday party. It is a show on Nickelodeon. The cast each sing, dance, and play an instrument. Now you see why this was the perfect party for Gracie!! Since the show involves music, I thought it would be fun if the kids made a musical instrument as a craft activity. We gathered little mini water bottles, dowel rods, and beads...and viola! MARACAS!! (come on parents- if you came tell everyone how much you loved that party favor!!) :) Here are a few pictures of the kids making their maracas.

When everyone was leaving, James made sure to remind them to get their maraca!
After the craft, James made smoothies. On the show, they visit the Groovy Smoothie everyday. So, daddy made Chilly Cherry smoothies. Here is the line for smoothies.

I found an edible image of the Fresh Beat Band and decorated her cake. When I was working on it the night before, Gracie said, "I love my cake mom. Thanks for making it for me." She is so sweet. Here is the finished product.

I think the kids had a fun time. A few found the dress up trunk and I guess Gracie showed them my closet because they came down wearing all my heels! That was a funny sight that I wish I had my camera for! It was a really fun day! Here are a few more pictures to show how much fun was had!

Notice the girls shoes below. You can't really tell, But Gracie had on my boots. They go up to her knees and the heel is really high. I can't believe she can walk in them!

Brandi got some Dawit time while I ran around doing party stuff. She never complained...or shared! :)

(we are missing two kids in this pic...not really missing, just didn't want in the picture!) :)

More celebrations later this week. I guess Gracie is having a Birthweek instead of a birthday!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blogger Friends

Back in December I was looking at my friend Bethany's blog and saw that one of her friends was selling Christmas ornaments as a fundraiser for their Ethiopian adoption. I got Dawit an ornament and made a friend at the same time! Natalie and JT are adopting a 4 year old boy through our agency. He is at the same orphanage as Dawit was. We actually saw him, but at the time we didn't know that they had been matched with him. Anyway, they were in town this weekend for the adoption conference at Southern Seminary and stopped by on their way out of town. (They live in Somerset, so we have been blogger friends) It was neat to finally meet them. We got to talk about Ethiopia and gave them some insight about the trip and KVI. I am glad we got to meet face to face. They are a sweet couple and we are so excited for their family.

They have raised a CRAZY amount of money in just a few short months through several fundraisers. (but anyone who knows about adoption knows they need a crazy amount and then some!) They are currently selling t-shirts. I got mine today and I love it! Dawit got one too. Here he is posing with his new shirt...

The shirt says "5 million minus 1" which is the name of their blog. You can find it one my sidebar and venture on over to purchase one for yourself! It is a cute shirt and the money goes to bringing home their sweet boy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

First Steps Evaluation

At Dawit's first visit with the pediatrician we were referred to First Steps. It is an early intervention program here in KY. We knew before we got him home that this would be a resource we used. Well, yesterday someone came over to fill out all the necessary paperwork. Then, today Kristen came out for about an hour and a half and did his evaluation. She played little games with him while she watched his behavior, movement, etc. He had lots of fun and never realized it was a test! After all her exercises, she looked over his results and gave him a score for each area of development. In most areas Dawit was significantly delayed (motor, language, and adaptive) and in a few he had a mild delay (social and cognitive). This just means he is not doing everything a 1 year old should be doing. For example, he still army crawls instead of being on his knees. He qualified for Speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. We are just going to stick with speech and PT at this time and add OT if he doesn't catch up on that. Kristen said that the speech therapist will help him learn how to mimic sounds, help with teaching him to use his sippy cup (which he needs to learn before his 2nd surgery), and will help us when he can't suck his thumb after surgery. (among other things) As I told my Dad all this tonight at dinner, he got really defensive about Dawit's "delay". I had to laugh a bit. "That's my boy!" he said. He thought she was picking on him. :)

Dawit has done so well and is doing LOTS more than when we came come so we are really excited about that. This therapy will just help him catch up. The session last 6 months, but he probably won't even need it that long. We meet next week with Dawit's "team" and will set his goals for each therapy. He will start his sessions a few weeks after that. It is nice because each therapist comes to our house once a week. I will let you know how things go!

Jana-Melissa and Kristen said HI. Both girls started telling me about someone they knew someone that adopted 2 boys from Ethiopia. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting Older

Aughh!! When I was getting ready this morning I found a silver hair. Not kinda gray, but shiny silver. This is the first gray hair I have seen. I did check for others, but didn't find any. :) Is that what 3 kids does to you?? I got a laugh out of it anyway.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ethiopia Trip Day 5

January 14
Embassy Day

This morning Dawit woke me up again by putting his hands in my face as he giggled! (LOVE that!) We headed downstairs for breakfast and ran into the Shultz family and Becky. We chatted about our embassy appointment later that day. I was a bit nervous because I didn't really know what to expect. Jen shared with me what she knew.

After breakfast, Dawit took a nap. I would have loved one, but we had to leave for the embassy at 12:00 and we didn't want to take a chance of sleeping through it! :) Thankfully the horrible headache I had Tuesday and Wednesday was gone. James and I talked about trying to catch an earlier flight home it was so bad.

As we drove to the US embassy, it was in a part of town we had not yet seen. It was a very nice drive. We got to see the palace...the gates anyway. :) As we approached the embassy, we saw huge concrete barricades and large metal storage units (at least that's what they looked like) around the perimeter. We walked through metal detectors and then wait with all the other families from HOPE. We found out several were staying at our hotel, but we never saw them. After the wait outside we went inside and through more security. Finally, we made our way upstairs and began waiting for them to call our names. After what seemed like forever, the called ours. I was nervous for some reason. The woman behind the glass asked us many this the child you thought you were getting? have you met his parents? what do you know about them?....There was a little hiccup, and I got a bit more nervous, but thankfully we were passed through. Everything was fine. We waited a little longer for the Shultz family to finish up, because their car was giving them problems and we wanted to make sure they had a way home. (this time it started)

When we got back to the hotel, Dawit took a nap. I was excited because tonight we were going to dinner with the Shultz family, Becky, and Eyob. (the director of KVI) We went to the Zebra Grill. This restaurant has a great view of the city, but it was dark so I couldn't get any pictures. This was the restaurant where I ordered the fish...if you missed that post, scroll down and read it. Dinner was really fun. It was nice to visit with new friends.
Here is Dawit with Eyob.

Today we also tried to call the girls...we miss them sooo much!! Lindsay answered and we were able to speak to Grace to a second. I was holding Dawit and let her saw hi to him. In perfect time, he made some noises into the phone. Gracie loved that. (we later found out she called her grandparents to tell them she talked to Dawit and he said hi to her.) I was in mid sentence telling Lin everything went goof at the embassy the phone hung up. The people at the desk told us it would cost $6.00 for 3 minutes, but we didn't realize it would just cut you off after 3 minutes! Those minutes flew by and I didn't even get to say goodbye! Since the Internet wasn't working I couldn't even call them to finish our conversation.

I don't' have many pictures from today. We weren't allowed to take cameras to the embassy and that was the bulk of our day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enjoying the Snow!

We have had lots of snow here in the 'Ville lately. The girls have gotten to go sledding and have snow ball fights. Avery took a snow ball to the face recently, so that ended the fun on that particular day.

On Monday night it started to snow and we were supposed to get several inches. I set out a few bowls to collect snow with intentions of making snow ice cream. I got the kids excited, but honestly I think I was more excited than they were. Lindsay came over after everyone's nap and the fun began!

We started with big bowls of fresh snow.

Next we added sugar, milk, and vanilla. I was even able to make Avery milk free ice cream!

They had lots of fun adding all the sugar and stirring everything up. It turned out good! They even got to add chocolate sprinkles!

The novelty wore off quickly and Gracie and Avery were ready to play. Not Reese though!

Dawit even got a bite.

We had fun...but I am ready for the snow to be gone! Unfortunaltey there is more on the way, I think.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dinner Out

On Friday, I was feeling feisty and decided that we should go out for dinner. James wasn't as excited about it, as this was the first time we took all three kiddos out to a restaurant. Don't worry...I called in back up and my parents went with us. (we needed to out number them!) We went to The Queen of Sheba. It was great. I ordered my favorite dish, YeAsa Tibs. It is talapia and oh so good. When we were in Ethiopia I ordered talapia for dinner one night, expecting to have my favorite thing. to the wise...don't get fish unless you are okay with eating it like this...

We had a great dinner on Friday. The kids were pretty good. Dawit was a hit. One of the waitresses took Dawit to meet the owner and stopped by every table along the way. He is a flirt and loved the attention.

Gracie's funny comment of the evening:
Daddy: "Gracie, you are smart."
Gracie: "Yeah, Kmart smart."
We couldn't stop laughing!

Our craziness spilled out into today and we went out for lunch after church with Lynn and Amber to celebrate. (James' mom and niece) "Celebrate what?" you ask?? Lynn prayed to receive Christ today!! Yeah! Today at church we sang "...give Him glory great things he has done.." Amen to that!

Today we also made Avery's bed into a toddler bed. She was really excited. It has been almost 30 minutes and she hasn't gotten out of bed once! I hope the novelty doesn't wear off.

Happy Valentine's Day!
James never reads this, but, by chance he does...I love you honey! I am proud to be your wife and you are a blessing to our family!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ethiopia Trip Day 4

Wednesday, January 13

This morning I woke up to Dawit's hand in my face. When I opened my eyes he was right there, bright eyed and smiling. What a way to wake up! After we gave him a bottle we headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. After getting some nasty looks yesterday, it was nice when one of the staff came up and talked to Dawit. He asked about his lip and how it would be fixed. (side note: Most people that we encountered in ET had never seen a cleft lip before. One man asked, "Who did this to him?" I tried to explain that he was born like this, that no one did anything to cause it. "It's nature?" he asked. Everyone was very concerned about how it happened and what we were going to do to fix it.) Breakfast wasn't stellar...I had a stale roll and some pineapple.

We were so tired from all the travel, lack of sleep, and a very busy Tuesday that we came back upstairs and all took a morning nap. I had the worst headache. I mean, blink or turn my head and it throbbed. The nap did me good.

We awoke to the phone ringing. I was a little caught off guard...who in the world would call us in Ethiopia? Well, it was our driver, Jared. He said he was downstairs waiting for us. He said we had to go back to KVI, but didn't know why. We jumped up and tried to gather some things to leave. We were worried as to why we needed to be there. We had asked to see Dawit's mom, but knew that couldn't happen until after our Embassy date on Thursday. I was nervous as we drove the bumpy road back to the orphanage. When we got there we found out Dawit had an appointment at the children's hospital for a vaccination. I was nervous again for several reasons...1. An Ethiopian hospital 2. A shot! what shot??

Thankfully Jared speaks good English and could talk to the Dr/nurse?? Anyway, the hospital wasn't what I pictured at all. It was made up of 3 small buildings (houses really) that had a small desk and bed in each room. He had to get a measles vaccination. I made James hold him, he screamed. Jared didn't like seeing him get his shot either! We were able to get a copy of all the vaccinations he has received, which is a lot. (update: the pediatrician called today and said they reviewed his labs and he doesn't have any antibodies, so he will be starting his vaccinations from scratch tomorrow.)

Since our original plan was to stay at the hotel and bond with Dawit today, that's were we headed after our trip to the hospital. I took Dawit upstairs and we laid down while James went to the grocery store with Jared to get some snacks, cereal, candy for the kids, and diapers. (I took a ton, but Dawit was having some major belly issues and I was afraid we were going to run out!) When James got back, we took a much needed afternoon family nap. We ordered dinner from room service. The Spaghetti was pretty good, with a berbere flair. :)

Today was good...lots of time getting to know Dawit better. He is such a happy baby! Right now, he can crawl, army style! :) He looks so cute doing it, he is so little you don't expect it! He cannot put any weight on his legs or sit up at all yet. I am sure he will build those muscles quickly though.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ethiopia Trip Day 3

Tuesday, January 12

After leaving Washington almost an hour late, we actually arrived in Addis only 15 minutes behind schedule. It was 8:45 am. My knees were creaky as I walked down the stairs, but I was happy to be up walking finally! We headed to stand in the first of many lines to get our VISA. That actually went quick. After this, James went to exchange some money and I tried to find a bathroom. I found I would normally turn around and walk back out of...not the cleanest. We headed to our next line for immigration. That didn't take as long as we thought it would, maybe 30 minutes. We found our bags and had to have them scanned again before we could leave. We didn't really understand that.

A driver from the Panorama, our hotel, was there waiting for us. As we walked out, it was neat to see all the excited families waiting outside. The warm air felt sooo good! The area around the airport was nice and green with bright colored flowers planted everywhere. The drive to the hotel wasn't long at all. During this short drive, we saw our first glimpses of Addis. I was surprised to see so many people walking on the street. (not the sidewalk, but down the middle of the street. I thought we were going to hit a few.)

Our first impression of the hotel was okay. They didn't have a crib or anything for us and looked very surprised when we asked for one. (we never got one by the way) After we put our things in the room, we called Hope and they said a driver would be there at 1:30. So, we went upstairs, packed Dawit's bag, and got a little more settled.

We were so ready to see Dawit so we went downstairs a little early and waited...and waited ...and waited. We had the front desk call Rahel again. No answer. Someone called the hotel from Hope and asked if we were still waiting. YES! Finally, after waiting some more, a woman working for the hotel saw us still sitting there and took the phone number and she called Hope again. Now they said the driver was on his way.

Our drivers name was Yared. He said to call him Jared. I guess he thought it would be easier for us to say?? He is really nice. (more on him later) He drove us to Hope orphanage to fill out paperwork. We almost wrecked about 100 times, honked the horn A LOT, and could have easily run over pedestrians! and man, were there alot. People were everywhere! They walked right down the middle of the road. It was crazy. James told Jared, "A lot of people walk." Jared said, "They walk because they don't work. They don't have anything else to do" So, (back on track) we arrived at Hope and filled out the paperwork for our embassy date on Thursday. Samira helped us with all that. She was great and turned out to be a good Friend to us. We visited with Hiwot, Feven, and a few other children we knew there. But we really wanted to get to Dawit, so after a few minutes they called Eyob to tell him we were on our way. He is the director of KVI. Well, he wasn't there...we had to wait almost an hour!! We spent some more time with Hiwot and talked with her nannies. For anyone who doesn't know, our friends Justin and Donna just announced their plans to adopt Hiwot, along with their two boys!

FINALLY we headed to KVI. I had planned everything on the way over. Jared was going to take pictures and I would find someone there to video. As we pulled up, I saw the yellow Kingdom Vision International sign that I had seen so many times before in pictures.

It didn't seem real. Jared honked and the guard opened the gate and we drove in. Eyob walked out to greet us. It was surreal seeing the buildings and Eyob after seeing them in pictures for so long. He lead us to the back and I kept asking, "Is Dawit in there?" because I didn't want to miss the moment on camera! First, we met the Shultz family with ZuZu. She and Dawit have been together since Nazaret. Grant offered to video for us and Jared was ready to snap pictures. Our moment was finally here!

We walked back to the baby room and Dwit was on the floor with another baby and a nanny. I picked him up and he immediately started laughing. He just kept smiling and laughing- so sweet. I just couldn't hug and kiss him enough. I passed him to James and he went for his UL hat.

We spent some time in there and took some pictures with his nannies. It was obvious that they loved him so very much! And he loves them too!

We got to ask his nannies about his schedule. He pretty much eats whenever he wants. (formula and cereal) He naps 2x a day and wakes up at 6:00. He is going to fit right in with the girls!

We asked Eyob about meeting Dawit's birth mom. He said he would look into it and we could possibly make the trip to Nazeret with the Shultz family on Saturday. We spent some more time with the kiddos. Saw two really sweet brothers that are coming come to Indiana in a few weeks. :) We also saw "y" (Her family emailed us and asked us to check on her. They live in Idaho. I wish they lived closer so we could meet. I loved that little girl!) After a while, we were ready to go. By then it was 6:30 and we were so tired. I think Eyob wanted us to stay, but we told him we would come again tomorrow.

As soon as we got back to the hotel, we gave him bath. Surprisingly, he didn't cry. Not even when I dumped water on his head. He sure didn't like being naked and getting dried off afterward though. We gave him a bottle and he went to sleep. (only after being snuggled!) I must look like a sucker, because I am sure the nannies didn't do that. Let's not play, I really enjoyed it and wouldn't have had it any other way! He woke up once and we gave him a bottle and changed his diaper. (at this point, he has peed on me twice!) He decided it was time to play, so we were up for a while before he decided to go back to sleep.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sleep! and Dr. Visits

You guys aren't going to believe this, but DAWIT SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! We went to our Arise fellowship so everyone could meet him, so he didn't get to bed until 9:00. He didn't wake up until 8:45! Please, Lord, don't let this be a fluke!

In other news, we went to the Commission last week to fill out all Dawit's paperwork. She said it would be 2-3 months before he could be seen by the panel of doctors. She told me I could try to call Dr. O'Daniel's office, but that would probably take 6 weeks. (Dr. O'Daniel is the plastic surgeon that will correct Dawit's cleft) Thankfully my mom's oldest friend is also friends with the dr. I called on Friday and got an appointment for Monday! (it's all in who you know) They took some pictures of Dawit and we discussed how the surgeries would go. His first surgery will be on March 16. During this surgery, they will repair his lip and nose. Many people say that they haven't even noticed anything wrong with his nose, but it is flat on one side. We go for a pre-op appointment on March 11. This summer he will have surgery #2 to repair his palette. Before this time, he will need to be off the bottle. Since Dawit is a thumb sucker, he will probably have to have splints on his tiny little arms to keep him from sucking! Can you just picture that?...poor thing. Surgery #3 shouldn't be until he is 8 or 9. They will take a bone graft from his hip and fill in his gum that is separated. Surgery #4 will be around high school and will involve another surgery on his nose. In the meantime, he will have a couple sets of braces too. No big deal, right? The doctor seemed to think that Dawit would bounce back quickly from his surgeries and the scarring shouldn't be bad. I hate to think about my little guy in surgery!

By the way, giardia....(thankfully) GONE after 5 days of medicine!