Family 2013

Family 2013
Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby's got BLING !

Can you believe those eyelashes ??

OK~dont hate me. I know baby girl couldnt get any cuter but....
We took baby girl to get little earrings!!!!!
Baby's got bling :) (my FTC friends will remember this line well :)

Boo came home with earrings from her foster mom in Guatemala, and Bug had her ears done at 22 months. It was super easy , yes she did cry for a few minutes...more from the loud pop , I think...but then that was it. She hasnt touched them once and they were completely healed within 2 days. AND they are soooooo stinkin cute !

Beautiful sisters :)

Teeny lil earrings :)

Cheeky girl !

Ta DA!!! How cute am I?

We are so thankful to GOD for putting adoption in my heart, and softening my hubbys heart to trust me ;) We could not imagine our lives without these beautiful children !!!!!

Have a wonderful blessed Sunday :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ethiopia continued...and sweet smiles

Baby Girl is settling in so well I am just amazed at how blessed we are. She naps like a champ 2-3 times a day and is sleeping pretty well at night. She sleeps in her moses basket next to our bed, until she wakes then I bring her to bed with us. She usually only wakes up about 3 times a night. 2 times for a bottle and one time for a pat. I am so thrilled with this. If I could just get her to sleep past 7am I would be spoiled :) I know GOD picked us to be the parents of this amazing beautiful child, and for that I am just in awe...what an amazing blessing. The kids love her and she lights up for them. Right now Boo is acting out a bit and testing which is draining, but she does so well with her baby sister.

Minutes after first meeting baby girl she

is all smiles with papi :)

Mama giving baby girl her 1st bottle

She was so content she fell right to sleep
for her nap before we head to the embassy.

The walk back to the Union hotel...
leaving baby girl with her special mothers wasnt hard. I knew how much they loved her, and my heart broke for them knowing time with her was slipping away. After a quick snack we were back , to head off to the embassy.

Mom and son who live inside their small tin house

Do you see the small window right ahead of

my husband? It is a make shift produce stand, where a small little boy would beckon to us to buy his small tomatoes which had seen better was so tiny. I couldnt believe he LIVED in this little tin house with his mom and another child. When we walked up to the house one day, he was lying on a teeny dirty mattress and right next to him was his mom cooking on a fire. The whole small room was filled with smoke. I asked his mom if I could give him some cookies, she was so thrilled! She said it was a "wonderful treat for baby" :) we found out from Almaz that the little boy is ill and has a medical condition. Almaz sponsors the older child for school. It broke my heart. The day we left we brought a bag of food for them and my sweet husband put a baggie in with money for the mom... :) if you pass this little house, give them a smile or goodies or birr. They can really use it.

This is a little store where you can buy bottled
water on the way back to the Union

First picture of Baby girl back at the hotel. She was pretty happy to be away from the crowds of people.
She didnt make a fuss at all on the way to our embassy appt. She was all smiles. UNTIL......... all the local folks IN the embassy started making a fuss over her. It was too much for her and she started to scream. AND SCREAM. Sweet baby screamed all thru security, up the stairs, while sitting, nothing could stop her from screaming and crying. Finally Hiyam took pity on us, AND all the other people in the waiting room, (who btw where beginning to stare just a bit)
and took baby girl outside. We were actually done and on our way back to the car in about 15 minutes flat ....even though it felt like an eternity with a sweating, screaming baby in your arms :) Outside she was back to being her happy self. Until we walked back to the car, to find it gone. We had to wait on the busy street full of people for about 10 mins, with folks coming up and chatting and touching baby girls little hands. Well that did ....the screaming started again :( we were quite a show for the local folks playing cards. They were kind and just smiled at us.
After our embassy appt we headed back to the hotel for a much needed nap :)

Look how tiny baby girls little head is
compared to my husbands hands :)

Happy baby with her first binky !! she took right to it :)

Daddy and his baby girl :)

Baby girl loved looking at picture slideshows
on our laptop. I hoped it would help her to learn her brother and sisters faces.
Oh, the goodie bag we sent to Baby girl, after our referral, Almaz brought back to us. Complete with the tags still on the blanket, I so lovingly picked out because it was super soft. Our photo album was still in the bag too...and it didnt look like a baby had handled it honestly. The only things not in the bag were the outfits and socks I had sent. I had mixed feelings about this honestly. I was a bit sad to know the items I thought were a part of us, and hoped would be a link between baby girl in Ethiopia and us so far away, were never removed from the bag. But on the other hand....who cares I guess. Would they have mattered to a tiny baby? no. Lets be honest. Sending gifts over for babies is for US not them. So I took the tags off the blanket, and gave Baby girl her first gifts. A super soft blankie and a photo album of her family :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ethiopia part #2 & Baby Sweetness

Play yard at Hannahs Hope

Daddy and baby girl -love at first sight

Mama & baby girl Pure love :)

The second we met Baby girl we couldn't

believe how small & perfect she was!

Baby girl instantly connected with us. She never showed

fear, just a slow interest...she would feel our faces, and lean

her little forehead on mine while I talked to her.She loved daddys chain and bracelet. Within seconds of meeting she was cooing and baby talking with us. The special mothers were laughing with us :)

She was looking at me at me like

"Are you who I think you are?"(we had no electricity the morning of our first meeting with baby girl!)

(the guy in the back is Hiyem? sp? ..he is the

nicest man. We spent alot of time with him and he is awesome and very

funny. He made us feel so comfortable, and he LOVED baby girl)

The lobby of the UNION , very pretty.

If you go to the 2nd floor and look out the back window, you will see this families backyard. Each day this women would be outside doing her wash. She owns the chickens and rooster :) she has some brick on her house which means her family did well at one time.

View out our window to the right a bit..yellow tin building is a store front, owned by a well dressed lady, and the tin panel just to the left is a gate for a family home. You gotta love the small pole scaffolding. Looks ricky but it works !

View out the window to the left..this building has been under construction since we started our ethiopian journey i think! Ethiopia is such a contrast of wealthy and poor right next to each other..the yellow home looks very fancy, and it is right next to the very meager tin homes. Everyone co-exits which I found awesome.

This street is HOPPING first thing in the morning and again when folks are coming home for the day. You have to just sit at the window, with it open and see and hear the sounds of Ethiopia. We spent hours enjoying it with Baby girl on our laps..she found it fascinating just like us :)

Union bath room :) not bad

room 103, open the curtains wide and open the large
windows! We slept with them open each night. The breeze
was amazing:)

The bed is very pretty and comfy, we brought our

own sheets and pillows cases. (Ethiopians use

the fancy pillow shams as the case.) Room service

washed our sheets for us too :)

The gentleman at the gate, and his friends all hang out during the day, just waiting to be helpful. The are super friendly and would give us the biggest smiles :) somehow i didnt get a picture of them....
We arrived in Ethiopia late..and the streets were FULL of people all dressed up going out on the town.
The traffic is amazing! Insane and loud and tons of near misses! It really is exciting and funny. We were ready for it, since we traveled in Guatemala too...I wouldnt say it is dangerous, they have a system and it works for them :) ~One horn honk means "dont cut me off, Dont walk in front of me" ~2 horn honks , means I am letting you go" Seriously no road rage :)
At first we thought the city wasnt too poor. Daytime was a rude awakening. It is very poor...but the people are living their lives and are happy. They all seem to be kind to each other. In the mornings a very old , poor gentleman would sit across the street by the telephone pole, begging. Many well dressed ladies on their way to work, would stop and give him money.

When children do come up to you and ask for birr, they are always polite. Never did we have a pushy or uncomfortable situation. EXCEPT for the belt guy while shopping...he was a pain :)

More baby girl sweetness to follow :) Boo is struggling a bit, mostly with attitude. She seems to really enjoy her baby sister but is acting out while adjusting :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Ethiopian Princess

We are in love with this child :)

My sweet kids decorated the house and baked a

cake for baby girl!!

ok I could give you more Ethiopia pictures or just jump in with some baby girl sweetness? Baby girl sweetness it is !

Look what the Easter bunny brought!!

Wow. I still cant believe my baby girl isnt sleeping on another continent without me, or me without her. She is here. I am kissing her sweet curls and her sweet wet little mouth. I am stealing smiles and giggles and carrying her in her sling all day long. I am carrying a diaper bag again, making bottles and getting up 3-4 times a night to care for and snuggle my baby girl. I am one lucky mama :)

Hugging big sis first thing in the morning

Aunt Meme (gaby) and baby girl

Baby girl sportin her bib from Aunt Meme :)

Look at this face? HOW beautiful is this child?

ok..a girl HAS to her bows right?

This sweet child even likes her car seat :)

I am truly in awe of how well baby girl is doing. She is all smiles, sleeps great at naps, and at night is waking for bottles or a cuddle but thankfully going back to sleep. A few nights she was up for 2 hrs or so...all smiles so I am not complaining but , this mama NEEDS her sleep :)

~I realized we took 200 pds of donations not 100 that is another reason that rude women was on my many people trying to help kids, but she is cold.. I do have donations to pass on too if you are able to take some.
~Oh another quick tip since so many of ya'll are leaving soon. At the union (and many places in Ethiopia) you can not flush toilet paper. That could be why many places simply dont have any...(ick) so at the union we brought cheap little sandwich baggies and those personal wipes (too much info? :) that way the trash can stays tidy and you dont have to call the desk to explain the big wet mess on the floor LOL.
~ and be careful to not get any WATER in your mouth. Brush with bottled water, rinse your toothbrush with bottled water and after you wash your hands use hand sanitizer. When I washed my face I would put some lip balm on so the water would bead up (the water is NOT your friend) then wipe it dry quickly.
We ate the yummy breakfast everyday and lots of coffee. We also had a few lunches. My hubby loved the chicken soup. We didnt get sick at all. I honestly even forgot to take the pepto tablets too.

~If you like to have pasta and chicken you can have johannas stop by the grocery store where you can buy bow tie pasta and bouillon cubes, my hubby brought canned chicken and a hot plate and ate yummy comfort food :)
~dont be too worried about all the noise on the street, we where in room 103 , right above the street and didnt find it unpleasant at all. Except when a large truck would lay on the horn...the chickens werent bad nor the prayers. Its the sounds of Ethiopia enjoy!!
~Our bed was very comfy. Sorta like a temper-pedic but thicker.
~BEST tip I think, we knew we could never turn our backs on children or people in need, but sometimes it isnt best to pull out money. So i read somewhere about bringing snacks. We brought a ton of peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers and lil keebler cookie packs. Whenever a child approached us we would let them take as many as they wanted. They would light up like it was Christmas!! And the best part was they knew they were important to us :) they mattered. we only had one young mother with a child approach us and we gave her little one a bunch of food and my hubby slipped her a bunch of birr , quietly. She was so happy ! She let me take her pic and I Will post it soon.
Whew...thats it for tonite :) I hope my tips help a bit. I know I love having a heads up :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heading to Ethiopia photos #1

Up bright and early at 5am at Tampa airport
heading to Dulles.

My dear friend Kendra & her family met us at Dulles airport and took us to lunch then to the Smithsonian Boeing Museum. It was awesome.

The lookout tower on top allowed you to see planes taking off and landing.
this pic is for Braeden :)

Here is Kendra's beautiful children Braeden and Alexa :)

Mr b is so darn cute my hubby wanted to take him home !! He is 1 month younger then our Boo and they will be married at some point ;)

FINALLY after about 3 yrs and a zillion emails, texts and phone calls Kendra and I finally met. What a wonderful treat. (she feeds her kids ketsup..shh)

Thank you for taking such good care of us!!
Her family is beautiful.

from Dulles we went to Rome for fuel then down to ethiopia!!

Ok. Normally I would never show you my feet but this is worth sharing. I have long skinny feet. After a very long flight and drinking tons of water to stay hydrated....I lost my ankles and my toe ring was stuck! They stayed like this for a couple days...even my face was a bit bloated. Wierd.

Beautiful sunrise over..somewhere LOL cant remember.

We took just over 100 pds of donations with us. We learned after a lost luggage incedent with Guatemala that you should spread your clothes thru all bags and carry ons. We did , and thankfully all bags arrived safely. We flew United to Dulles. I couldnt believe how many RUDE people we encountered so early in the day. The clerk at the desk was a *itch. One of our checked bags was 54 was chock full of donations. another bag was 40 ish... When she told me the bag was over, I said "oh bummer. It is full of donation for orphans in Ethiopia" That was returned with a blank look. So I ventered...Can we pay a bit extra for the 4 pds? "She tells me the charge is $125...." Seriously ? I ask her (nicely) this is for orphans babies? She shrugs and goes "well $125" EERRR!!
We ended up moving things around but her cold attitude just sucked. Another family traveled american and they let their bags slide thru over the was almost 12 pds over with no charge!
Ethiopian Air was a wonderful experience. They were kind and polite. You have your own movie screen, blanket, socks, eye shade, and all the food and drink you could want!! Plus they are all so exotic looking it was fun. Our trip down was great..we slept alot, watched a couple movies and just rested up for our trip. You shouldnt brush your teeth with the plane water,or eat ice. we ate all the food just no salads or fruits and only bottled water. I also used hand gel after washing my hands. We werent sick one time the whole trip. The plane was full of ethiopians going home and just a few other white folks like us.
~TIP-I highly recommend taking some sort of sleep aid for the plane we took melatonin.
~TIP- I also would take a sinus medicine. I usually have super dry tight sinuses after flying but this time I took just one Day Quil (sp?) and my sinuses felt great. I also drank alot of water. By the time we landed we both felt a bit tired from the long flight, but great other wise.
~TIP-you dont need to take your prescription meds out of your carry on. Just keep them in their original bottles and let them go thru. You can put all your liquid/gel goodies in your 1 quart bag including small glass bottles.
~TIP~Ethiopian Air will NOT let you bring water on the plane even if you bought it after passing into the secure area and havent opened it (UNLESS YOU COME THRU THE VIP LOUNGE..more on that later). United did...
~TIp- when you get off the plane in Ethiopia just go up the stairs turn to the left and PASS the window and go to the small brown door..that is where you will get your visa. Very simple just have a crisp $20 bill for each of you. Be sure to exchange a bit of money into birr after you have your passport stamped while you are waiting for your luggage. The guy in the window is very funny and loves Obama :)
~We didnt find the helper guys in the airport to be pushy at all. One gentlemen helped us and we gave him $5 per bag in birr. Johannes met us right thru the front doors. We arrived at night and it was crowded but not pushy and there were not any kids or folks looking for handouts. BUT we did have some cookies/crackers for kids if we saw any.
~Ethiopia does NOT look the same in the day as it does at night. Night time was hopping and looked not too bad. Daylight is cruel. You see how poor it really is which is sad. But the people are beautiful.

more later :) Thanks for all the congrats !!!!

"...Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT..." Proverbs 24:12

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -(Mahatma Gandhi)