Sunday, January 30, 2011


Some of you may have noticed I have been missing in action lately.  (at least I hope some of you noticed...ha!)  The last few weeks have been pretty rough in our house.  First Avery got sick...I will spare you the details and just leave it at "sick".  She had been sick for about a week when Dawit got it.  About that time Gracie brought home some unwelcome guests from school.  I broke down and cried a few times on Thursday because I was tired of everyone being sick.  (thankfully I have great family and friends that bring starbucks and dinner to help me out.)  Wellll, guess who got sick next??  MOMMA!  (figures)  Now, after a few days of laying around I am finally feeling better (not great).  Since I have an awesome hubby, he has taken over all household and kid duties since he got home Friday.   The problem?  Now he is upstairs laying down because he doesn't feel good.  BLAH!

Hopefully we will all be back to normal and having fun soon.  Then maybe I'll have better things to write about than being sick. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I have gotten lots of compliments on my Ethiopia necklace I ordered from Deena.  I even got the girls one for Christmas and they love theirs.  Gracie even showed her teacher and they got a map out and talked about Africa.  :) 

WELL....Deena has created some really cute new designs for her bottlecap necklaces, bracelets, and key chains!  They would make great valentine gifts or fit nicely into an Easter basket.   The valentines designs she has are pink and girlie.  I think they would be perfect party favors for Gracie's birthday party!  Won't the little girls love a cute necklace with their name on it?

Here is just one example of the cuteness!

Deena is selling them for $5 (only $1 to ship) and the proceeds benefit Ethiopia Reads.  In case you are not familiar with Ethiopia Reads, they are an amazing organization that brings children's books to kids in Ethiopia. Did you know that before Ethiopia Reads was founded, there were no children's libraries in all of Addis Ababa (not to mention rural communities in Ethiopia)? Keep in mind that Addis is a city of close to three million people! No books for kids???? (of course, as a teacher...that is not acceptable!) 

Please check out Ethiopia Reads and learn more about their programs...a favorite of ours...the donkey carts that bring books to kids in the countryside! Really!!!! Think bookmobile, but much more rural...a donkey is attached to a cart that is full of kids books and they deliver the books to kids in rural Ethiopia! So cool!

Please head on over to Team Marquis and place your order!!  Right now she is having a giveaway too!  Everybody loves a giveaway, right?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friends in Ethiopia

We had some Arise friends travel to Ethiopia during Christmas to meet their son!  (Yeah...I just love that!)  Lesli and Ryan's son is at KVI in Nazareth which was exactly where Dawit was!  They were so nice and took one of our Christmas cards to give to Elsa and the staff there. Here is part of an email I recently got from Lesli... " Elsa was so sweet and said that she could hardly believe how much he's changed!! They were passing your card from room to room for the nannies to see :)  "
It just reminds me of how much they love our little guy.  We were so thankful that Lesli and Ryan were able to take the picture and let the staff know how great he is doing.

Remember....this is the picture I found on the wall at KVI when we visited Narareth on our trip.

This is what Ryan found on the wall when they visited in December....

(Thanks for sending it Lesli!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Celebrating ONE YEAR TOGETHER!!!

I cannot believe that today marks the day that a nanny in Ethiopia placed Dawit in our arms!  It seems like it was not that long ago that we were in Ethiopia, but on the other hand it feels like Dawit has been in our family forever. 

I remember how tiny we was....a 10 month old in 3 month clothes.  He couldn't bear any weight on his legs, couldn't sit up, and didn't eat well from a spoon.  MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!  He is doing so well now.  I doubt his friends in Ethiopia would recognize him, aside from his big eyes and huge smile.

We are so thankful to have Dawit in our family.  Each of our children are such a blessing.  I can't imagine our life without him.  We would have missed out on so much if we had not decided to follow Gods leading. 

I put together a video that includes pictures from each month.  I couldn't believe it as I looked at the pictures!  It is amazing to see him get taller, fatter, have surgeries, get long hair....  WOW!

Still can't upload the actual video, so just click the link.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Coutndown to Gotcha Day!!

Dawit has almost been in our arms for an entire year.  That simply blows my mind!!  I wanted to post a video we put together a few weeks after we came home.  We showed it at an open house mom and dad hosted.  Everyone came to meet our newest family member and we wanted them to see the pictures from our trip.  I love looking at all the photos and being reminded of our time in Ethiopia.

I'll warn's long.  :)
**Blogger isn't letting me post it straight to my blog.  Not sure why.  Anyway, just click the link.**

Countdown to Dawit Day: 2 more days!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover Airs Tonight!!

Just a reminder to turn on Extreme Home Makeover tonight at 8:00 on ABC.  If you are local, WHAS is having a behind the scenes show at 6:30.  Look out for my daddy...he'll be the handsome one.  :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ganna Dinner

Tonight we were able to celebrate Ganna (Christmas) with the Browns and part of the Henderson crew.  We had a great time and, as always, dinner was delicious.  The restaurant was packed...we saw many other families celebrating with their Ethiopian babes.  Salem (the owner) told Gracie how cute she looked in her dress and told her "Merry Christmas" in amharic.  :)  It was a great night with great company.  I am so glad to have walked this journey with the Browns and met Nat and her family along the way too.  What a blessing they are to us!

Here are some pictures from tonight.  The kids would not cooperate for pictures before we left.  (are you surprised??)  But, I did manage to get a few pictures in their traditional Ethiopian clothes.  (I hate to say it, but this is the first time they have worn them!)

And here is our big group of cute (but loud) kiddos.  :)  Can't wait until we can go again with the Justin and Donna's boys!  We'll need an even bigger table!!

Melkin Yelidet Beaal!!

Melkam Yelidet Beaal

Melkam Yelidet Beaal....Merry Christmas!!  Today in Ethiopia people are celebrating Christmas.  Here is some info I found about how they celebrate...

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church.

The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Most Ethiopians who live outside the modern capital city, Addis Ababa, live in round mud-plastered houses with cone-shaped roofs of thatched straw. In areas where stone is plentiful, the houses may be rectangular stone houses. The churches in Ethiopia echo the shape of the houses. In many parts of the country there are ancient churches carved out of solid volcanic rock. Modern churches are built in three concentric circles.

In a modern church, the choir assembles in the outer circle. Each person entering the church is given a candle. The congregation walks around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the flickering candles. Then they gather in the second circle to stand throughout the long mass, with the men and boys separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the holiest space in the church, where the priest serves Holy Communion.

Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.

The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.

Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Church officials called dabtaras study hard to learn the musical chants, melekets, for the ceremony.

I think Ganna calls for a trip to the Ethiopian restaurant!! 

James and I missed Christmas by a week or so when we went last year.  However, we were there for Timkat.  The streets were decorated with red and green banners.  Many of the streets were closed so that the priests could walk down them (followed by other churchgoers).  It was a very important day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Break Recap

Winter break started early this year with snow days so we have been going NON STOP since mid December. Having three kiddos home everyday and being off our regular schedule was fun during times and totally crazy other times! We did lots of fun things to pass the time and keep things interesting.

One day we went to Lindsay's and made homemade pretzels.  They didn't quite turn out like Auntie Annie's, but with lots of cinnamon and sugar they tasted great!
Avery rolled and squashed hers for eternity!!
Finished product...

While we were cooking the girls were downstairs playing (usually no big deal).  We hear a big scream and Gracie comes up saying, "I didn't mean to!"  OH NO...this can't be good!!  She hit Reese with the plastic bat!  After MUCH crying at least she smiled for my picture, BUT she did have a huge black eye!

 Gracie had a sleepover during her break from school.  Her friend C goes to church with us and is also in her kindergarten class at school.  They are BFF!  Gracie was so excited that she was coming over.

They fixed each others hair....great style.

 They played dress up...
Poor Dawit!!!  He HATED it and cried!!!  I guess this is what happens when you have two big sisters.  (I won't let it happen again though...this time I just couldn't stop laughing to stop it!)
We made gingerbread houses out of foam.  I am a fun mom, but not crazy!  No way was I going to get out the icing and other sticky stuff.  Don't worry, they loved it and never missed the messy stuff.

We also got to play with friends over break.  Gracie really wanted to see Kory and the girls.  She was pumped when Kory let her feed M.

James and I spent one night making cookies with the girls.  They had a blast and I think they used EVERY single sprinkle we had!  These were Avery cookies.  I am sure Santa loved them.  :)

 See, I told you....every single sprinkle!!

 Gracie and my snow men
 While we were decorating, Dawit got to eat some icing then decided to get into trouble.  (he can open the dishwasher now.  fun times)

So, that was our break.  Everyone headed back to school and work this morning.   Avery cried because she didn't want Gracie to leave.  Gracie was so sweet and told Avery to just look at her picture whenever she missed her.  :)  It was so cute to see them hold hands walking to the car and then hug goodbye.  Fast forward to this afternoon and things were back to normal.  ;)