Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great Sermon

Last weekend, Brother Kevin gave a great sermon that focused on the cross. It was such a powerful message about our sin problem. I was in tears by the end. It was a great way to lead us into the Easter weekend and the resurrection. If you have 30 minutes, I strongly suggest that you watch it. If you don't have 30 minutes...make time!

Sermon: Whats Our Problem?
(click on Kevin Ezell, under East Campus)

Recipe

I opened this mornings Feature Section of the newspaper and found an article on ethnic dishes. It includes 2 recipes from Queen of Sheba. Misir Wot is the spicy lentil stew served with each meal. It is so good! I can't wait to try this. The article also features a recipe for injera. (which I hear is hard to make) I remember telling Samira (our friend in ET) that I wanted to learn how to make injera and she just laughed!! Here is the link to the recipes. Have fun! And if you try it...invite me over! :)

Misir Wot and Injera Recipes

Monday, March 29, 2010

Post Surgery Appointment

Today we went to see Dr. O'Daniel for Dawit's post surgery appointment. He said that everything looked great! They made me this before and after picture. Can you believe how good he looks? And how different?


Today we also met with the nutritionist. She went over his diet with us. She also told us some ways to get him more calories. She told me to get him some cheese spread for crackers.....Chez Whiz?? I got him alloutte and he actually liked it! She is going to come by 2x a month for weight checks and to look at his food journal. He should be gaining half a pound a month. I told her he was averaging a pound a month, so he should be good! He is currently up to 16.11 pounds. Big Boy!

Photo shoot!

Today we were at Lindsay's and Dawit was looking too cute.

Sadie Loves Dawit!.....Gross!


So does Lexi.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Article about KVI


I just saw this article about the founders of Kingdom Vision International. (Dawit's orphanage) A magazine in Wisconsin wrote this article about some of the local people that have adopted from Ethiopia. A lot of these people even went through Arise. We know some of the adults and children referenced in the article and in some of the pictures. Neat! We traveled with Zubeida's family...pic on page 2. What a cutie! Now, go read it! It's a good article.

http://volumeone.org/magazine/articles/1308/FEATURE_Local_Adoption.html/page/3

Friday, March 26, 2010

Giveaway

I just stumbled onto this fun giveaway that Shannon is doing. If you have girlie girls like I do, they will love these dresses!

http://throwingourarmsopenwide.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A New Opportunity

Most of you have heard me talk about the monthly fellowship for waiting moms that our church has every month. I always loved going to these. They were a big encouragement to me while we waited for Dawit to come home.

Yesterday, Tera (the head of our churches adoption ministry) told me that she wanted to do something a bit different. She said that she wanted to involve the dads in these meetings and that she wanted to host them in someones house as opposed to the church. Then, she told me she wanted James and I to lead the group for the East area. She asked me what my initial thoughts were..."LEAD a group? AUGHHHH!" was what I replied. :) She sweetly told me to think of it as " more of providing a hospitable environment for fellowshipping." Ha! She is so funny!

So, starting in May adopting families from our church will be meeting at our house to talk adoption, give support, and just lift each other up in prayer. We are really excited!! I can't wait!

Honestly, I had been thinking about ways to get more involved in adoption. God just opened that door and said, " Here you go!"

Now I just have to find a sitter for my crazy kids! :) Any takers??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reunion With Old Friends

Last Monday was a really fun day. I haven't had time to post about it with all the things going on. It started on Sunday with a call from Debbie. She is the mom of an old friend. She said that she wanted to surprise Lindsay with a visit from another old friend. (Stay with me...)

Growing up, we had a close group of friends who lived around our house. Lindsay has kept in touch with a few through facebook. Anyway, Kelly's mom, Debbie, called and said that she wanted to get Lin, Kelly, and Whitney together on Monday afternoon. Lin was going to be so surprised!! She talks to Kelly, but Whitney has been in Afghanistan and is home on leave. I was so excited! I hadn't seen them in a long time either.

I talked to Lindsay early that day and she was going to go out to the store. I asked her if she was going to get ready. She said "no". I told her she should at least fix her hair. (she didn't) I told her that the kids and I would come over to play that afternoon (I had to make sure she was home!) Then when I got there, I started straightening up. (surely, she would get a hint that something was up!) The doorbell rang and she was sooo excited and surprised! Here are some pics of the little reunion!
The Three Musketeers: Kelly, Whitney, and Lin

A surprise to even me was that Whitney's cousin, Lauren, came too.

I know this will sound silly, but I can't believe how much they have grown! They are such beautiful young women!!

Everybody wanted some Dawit time!

Whitney with Gracie. I had to get this picture. Gracie is named after Whitney's mom, Kirby! I will never have a picture of Kirby and Grace together...this is as close as I can get. LOVE IT!!


It was such a fun time catching up. Whitney has since headed out again, but hopefully we can get the rest of the gang together again soon. It was so good seeing them!

Friday, March 19, 2010

We Love Sunny Days

Yesterday and today we were able to enjoy the nice weather. Believe me, we all needed the sunshine and the girls needed to run off some energy!! Dawit was a trooper. He hung out in the stroller and watched the girls play. Thankfully, I had some family come over and help me out. Lin came over yesterday and today Sis and Umey came to play. Thanks guys!

A nice game of "kick the ball" turned into tackle.


Avery won't stand still long enough for a pic.



Doesn't Dawit look great?? His swelling is really going down. He cracks me up! He has discovered his top lip (that its all there) and licks it a lot. He also realized he can do that little motor boat noise. And my favorite....he started saying "mamamamama" I got really excited and of course told James he said "Ma Ma." He won't say it all the time and I am sure he doesn't know he's calling my name, but oh what a sweet sound!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Post Surgery Pictures

I know that everyone has been praying and is concerned about Dawit. We really appreciate your call, emails, and comments on the blog. Here is the latest...

He had a better day in terms of pain. It is the restraints that are making things bad. He can't suck his thumb, crawl, or play with any toys. When it is time to sleep he can't snuggle his blanket or sleep on his belly. He has spent most of the day in our arms. James goes back to work tomorrow...AUGHHH!!

Dawit was in a great mood Tuesday morning before the surgery, despite having no breakfast. He was all smiles, as usual.



Here is his first picture once he got home.

Here he is in his arm restraints. So sad!


Here is a picture from this morning.





Sleep his still hard to come by. He is sleeping in the baby swing and gets really restless. Hopefully that will get better every day.
Speaking of sleep...I am off to get some.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Surgery Update

Dawit's surgery went really well this morning. I wish I could say the same thing about the rest of his day. It has been rough. He has to wear little braces on his arms, which means no sucking his thumb or snuggling his blanket. Those things equal a screaming baby that can't fall asleep! We'll see how tonight goes...my guess is not so good. Keep the prayers coming. He needs them and so do mommy and daddy! I try to post some pics tomorrow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BIG BOY

I guess Dawit heard that he turned one. He decided to turn into a big boy during the last week. In a span of about 5 days he has...

1. Started crawling on his hands and knees instead of on his belly.

2. Started pulling up on every piece of furniture.

3. Gotten his first tooth!! One tooth on the bottom has poked through and the one beside it looks like it will also within a few days.

He is doing great! I am so glad that we get to witness all these milestones!

His surgery is tomorrow. I will let you know how things go tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again for your prayers!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Answered Prayer

Big News!! This morning my brother in law, Tim, prayed to receive Christ!! This is something we have been praying about for almost 5 years. We are so excited and thankful. God is good!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doctors, Denists, and Therapists, Oh My!

Wow. This week and next are crazy busy with appointments. Thursday I loaded up all the kids and took the girls for their dentist appointment. I wish I would have remembered my camera. Gracie went first and did so good. She looked so cute laying back in that chair with the big glasses on! She let Priscilla count, clean, and floss her teeth. She even got fluoride. No x rays today, she did that last time. I am so proud of how good she does at the dentist. (I have been taking her since she got her first teeth. She has worked up to being this good!) Avery was next. Last time she would only let them count and brush her teeth, so this time we were excited that she got them cleaned! She did great too. (she had to be like her big sis!) They got to get new tooth brushes and little crayola flossers. :) Yes, Gracie likes to floss. The dentist said everything looks good for now. They LOVE her. She does so good with them. Last time she found Ariel and Flounder in Gracie's mouth! Gracie thought that was hilarious and will let her do just about anything!

We had enough time to come home for lunch and get naps. Then in the afternoon Dawit had is pre-op appointment with Dr. O'Daniel. His surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. We have to be there at 6:00. The problem...he can't eat after midnight. This is NOT going to fly with him. I anticipate him screaming bloody murder when I wake him up that early and walk right past his high chair! They said that they should start his surgery about 7:30 and that it would last about 2 hours. Depending on how he is doing once he wakes up, we may be able to leave or we might have to stay over night. They think we will be able to leave though. They may have to put little splints on his arms so that he can't suck his thumb. I don't know what he is going to do without it! I can't imagine him in the little splints either. Our friend Steve is an anesthesiologist at Kosair and will be doing his surgery. I am glad he will be there. Please pray that the surgery goes well. That Dawit would recover quickly and not be in a lot of pain.

Today, we had our First Steps meeting to plan out Dawit's therapy. We set some goals. He will start speech in two weeks. I think we might start PT next week depending on how he is feeling. They have also referred us for a nutritionist. I am most looking forward to the speech therapist working with us on drinking from a sippy cup and some speech things. I feel like he is already motoring along and improving everyday in terms of PT, so that probably won't be very long. Each will be coming once a week to the house.

See, I told you we had lots of stuff going on. :) Now you are updated on all things medical. Thanks for your prayers regarding Dawit's surgery.

Almost forgot...no we are off the the pediatrician so Dawit can get some immunizations. Won't that be fun?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ethiopia Trip Day 7

Saturday, January 16

Another early start. Today we headed out to Nazareth at 7:30. We drove a van since so many of us were going: Eyob, the Shultz family, Becky, Dereje, and us. All three families were thinking ahead to meeting our children's birth mom.

The trip was about 1 1/2 hours. We left early with hopes of missing some traffic, and we did. The drive was full of excitement. The entire trip is on a 2-lane highway and I think I have filled you in on driving over there. One moment I remember vividly. We were driving on our side and a truck was heading straight for us (trying to pass another car.) I don't think the driver of the truck could have waited another second to get back in his lane, or he would have hit us head on. The look on my face must have been funny because Grant turned around and said, "I know, did you just see that?" Even though the trip was long, Dawit slept most of the way. We were able to enjoy the countryside. It was the opposite of the busy city. The scenery was beautiful!

We saw a camel. :)


It was great to get away from the busy city and see the countryside. There were lots of good views of the mountains. But there was still lots of poverty.
I was excited to see the KVI sign as we drive up.

Once we arrived, we saw several staff members that we met last night. We also got to meet a few new faces. Natnael was there- he is so nice. We met Elsa, who runs KVI in Nazareth. She began to give us a tour of the orphanage. In her office she had 4 frames each with a picture of children at admission and a current photo. One was of Dawit. Elsa told us that at admission he weighed a mere 3.3 pounds. She said that they immediately took him to the hospital and he stayed there for a week. This was all new info to us. I just couldn't believe that he was so little and sick. We are so thankful that God was watching over and protecting our little boy. Here is the picture in Elsa's office...

As we continued our tour, I couldn't help but notice how it was so much bigger than the Addis orphanage. You could tell we were in the country. In contrast to KVI Addis, there were lots of older kids and fewer little ones. Maybe 5 toddlers and infants each, and the rest were older children.

We watched the children playing a game that was similar to Duck, Duck, Goose. They sang a great song while they skipped around the circle. We took video of that and I wish I were able to show you, but unfortunately I can't. Once we saw what game they wer playing Jen told Elsa. We playa game just like this. It is called Duck Duck Goose. Elsa just smiled and looked at us like we were crazy. :) After their game, the children greeted us with handshakes and kisses on the cheek. Such sweet kids! Most spoke descent English. One wanted to write my name on his hand with a pen. He asked me how to spell it. He did great writing the "b" and "r". Then I told him "i"
"What?" he asked. I repeated it. He didn't understand what I was saying. Then I laughed and realized he didn't understand my country accent. I corrected myself and said it "properly" He got it then. :)

James had a lot of fun playing football with the older kids. I played some hand clapping games and thumb wars with some girls. I couldn't help fall in love with these sweet kids.

For a while we sat under a few trees and chatted. The boys in our group left with our driver and Natnael to get some new soccer balls. The only ball they had was the inside lining of a soccer ball. James made sure they all got one small ball each and a few new soccer balls.


As we sat, Elsa began to tell us Dawit's history. I could sense she thought his mother was not going to show up today to meet us. She gave us all the info she had, which was very little. We got to see a very small, black and white picture of her. He looks a lot like her. I had really hoped to meet her, but I knew after talking with Elsa that she wasn't coming. We were disappointed. I had all these questions ready to ask her. I wanted some pictures for Dawit later. I know he will have questions and we won't be able to answer them. Even though we didn't get to meet her, the staff gave us all the info they had about her and her family. We are thankful for that. Before we left, I made her a picture album with pics of Dawit and our family. I left it there for the staff to deliver to her.
Here is a picture of Dawit with Elsa.

That afternoon, we had another coffee ceremony. One of the nannies began to prepare the coffee.



Elsa served rice with vegetables, which was really good. She also served some bread. Then popcorn, cookies, and cake with our coffee. YUM!

During all this, Dawit feel asleep and I laid him next to ZuZu in a nearby room. These two cuties are about the same age and came to the orphanage in Nazareth about the same time. Now they are both leaving with their forever families!


Eyob offered to show us some of Narareth. We left Dawit sleeping and we all went out. First we went to Millennium Park. It was beautiful! There were different huts to show the different regions of Ethiopia. Everything was so green. It didn't seem to fit with the other scenery out on the street.





They were also setting up for a wedding there. It looked amazing!


As we left, I saw a goat that had just been skinned. It was being loaded into the back seat of a cab. Gross. James told me he saw them skinning it, glad I missed that.

Next, we drove to a hotel for a soda. (In ET they only have Coca Cola. Eyob said nobody likes Pepsi. And everything is in a glass bottle.) The grounds of the hotel were beautiful- green grass, flowers, a huge pool. Again, it didn't look anything like the Ethiopia we had seen. Driving down the dirt road, I never would have guessed this nice hotel sat behind the iron gate.

After our soda we started back toward the orphanage. We did stop somewhere so Becky could get her picture taken next to fountain. They have a picture of her daughter’s birth mom next to the same fountain. Sweet...
As we drove up to this place, we saw a big bag on the side of the road. As we got closer we saw that it was full of goat heads. We wondered why they were there. Then as we waited for Becky, we saw a man drive up and purchase one. Dereje said he might be buying it for his dog. I tried to get a picture but it didn't turn out that good. And honestly, you probably don't care to see it. :)
Here are some pictures of Nazareth...


Defintiely more laid back...There were a lot of these little buggies that took the place of all the cabs.




We got back to the orphanage and gave the kids some candy and James passed out the balls he bought. The kids realized that when they squeezed the balls...they squeaked...very LOUDLY! It was hilarious! I am sure the nannies loved that gift!

Eyob then called everyone into a big room and said it was time to present us with our Ethiopian names. It was a sweet time. The children sang a song about Jesus. I was given the Ethiopian name Salem (peace). James was given the name Sitota (gift). I knew when this was over it was time to start saying goodbye. I was so sad! This was Dawit's home for many months and they care for him while he was so little and sick. I am so grateful to these people for the care and love they gave our son. It was emotional. I wanted to give them so much more than a hug.

The drive home was longer because of traffic, but Dawit slept most of the way again. While driving home, Susan called Eyob so we got to talk to her for a minute. She said she was worried about us. (We had been unable to call or email) It was nice to talk to her...someone from home!

It was an AMAZING day. It was a long trip, but it was nice to be able to relax in the shade with good friends and spend the day with some really sweet kids. We got home, ate, showered, ZZZZZZZZ.....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Dawit!!

Today Dawit turned ONE! I am so excited that we got him home in time to celebrate this big day! We first saw his sweet face in May of last year...

Then we finally held him in our arms in January.

Now look how he has grown! I feel like he has grown so much.


On Saturday James' family came over and we celebrated Dawit and Gracie's birthday. We ordered pizza and had cupcakes! Then we played a little Wii. I wish I would have taken video of some of that. Watching people on the Wii Fit is hilarious. (including me...I know I look funny.) Dawit enjoyed some cupcake. I didn't give him the icing part. He still sometimes gets choked on his puffs that I break in two, so I was hesitant to give him a lot. James made me feel bad! Here he is enjoying his cake.


Avery has noticed all the attention the other two have been getting and felt a little left out. She wanted us to sing to her and put a candle in her cupcake. So we did, and she loved it. :)


On Sunday, my family came over. I know it sounds crazy having so many parties, but my house just isn't big enough! It was another fun day. Gracie got another musical instrument. A piano this time. yeah! She got some really "fashion girl" clothes. She has such an opinion on her clothes already! Then we had ice cream cake. After we sang yet again...we had to sing to Avery also. She sang along with us and had her hand up the entire time. After our song Dad asked her if she saw someone singing like that at church :) She said, "No, I just didn't want Gracie to blow it out!" Smart Girl! Here is a picture of her blocking Gracie. (who, by the way, never acted like she was going to blow Avery's candle out.)


Dawit really did LOVE the ice cream cake! (despite his face in this picture!)

He didn't know what to do with the presents. Instead of unwrapping them, the chose to chew on the bag!

Sis couldn't leave Dawit out and decorated the yard with yellow ducks. It was sooo cute!



I took him to the pediatricians office this morning. He weighs a whopping 14.13 pounds. He has gained about 1 pound this month. Honestly, we thought he had more than that. He is 26 inches long. Everyone in the office just loves him. He has some fluid in his ears, but we are just going to watch that since he has sugery next week they don't want to give him any meds unless it is absolutely necessary. Dr; Joe was happy with everything. He has to go back soon for more shots. Not looking forward to that trip!
To show me what a big boy he is (now that he is one) he climbed up into the table I have in the living room. Usually it is home to all the kids toys, but he pulled them all off and climbed right in. He thought he was so cool! Avery did this too when she was little.


We are so thankful that God has written Dawit into our family. I just can't imagine things without him. We are so glad we got to celebrate his first birthday with him. When Gracie turned 5, I did a "top 5 things I love about Gracie" But, Dawit is only one and it doesn't seem right to do the "top one thing I love about Dawit". So...

The top 5 things we love about Dawit:

1. That sweet smile!

2. That he is a momma's boy! I have always wanted that!

3. His slobbery kisses. The girls love to kiss him and then make a big deal about how he slobbered on them.

4. His laugh. Sometimes he makes a sound, other times he just opens his mouth and squints his eyes...both cute.

5. Let's not kid around....WE LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS LITTLE GUY!!!