Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick Update!

Today I spoke with our homestudy worker (Stacey) and scheduled ALL of our homestudy visits. We'll finish our homestudy March 19 and Stacey will have it written and sent to Portland by the middle of the next week.

Exciting stuff! We just can't wait to get all this paperwork stuff done and get on the wait list for our little one. Heck, we just can't wait to get out little one home with us! And now we're just a few steps closer!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The View from Here

From my vantage point on the couch I see this:

Gabe "talking" on the phone (if you look closely you can see my cell phone) while looking in the mirror. I'm not sure what we're going to do if he gets any cuter. I don't think we'll be able to handle that much cuteness in our lives.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Blessing

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:11

A few weeks ago friends of ours approached us with an extraordinarily generous gift; it took a while for me to even be able to wrap my mind around their generosity. And to wrap my mind around the wonders of how God works.

Let me digress for a moment. Matt and I have decided, and our agency has said that the courts will most likely allow it, that only I will travel to Ethiopia. Because of Gabe and his diagnosis and needs, we feel that it would be detrimental to him for both of his parents to be away from him for any extended period of time. And while we know the importance of initial bonding and have big plans for Matt to attach, bond and cocoon with our next baby, for our family as a whole it will be best to take place at our home.

That being said I was planning on going for our court date by myself and having Sondra (my dearest friend and Gabe's 'auntie') accompany me on the second trip. Matt was not fond of this idea and we eventually decided that it would be better for numerous reasons if someone came with me. Luckily my sister-in-law agreed to come for me as well.

But then we went from having to buy 3 round-trip tickets to Addis Ababa to 4 tickets. Which in turn means spending more money on airfare.

In walks our friends. Days after we made the decision for me not to travel by myself, they offered to provide us with a round-trip plane ticket to Addis Ababa.


To say that their generosity blew us away, would be an understatement. I've tried to write them a thank you note but 'thank you' sounds so casual when they're providing such relief from another expense. And while they want to to remain anonymous, we are so grateful and thankful for their generosity (is that redundant? grateful and thankful?).

Tom Brokaw once said "It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." Thank you dear friends for making a difference.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The difference between a helping hand
and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist.

~Laurence Leamer, King of the Night

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Together Again

A little more than four hours south is a wonderful place; a place filled with love and laughter, chickens and tractors, dirt roads and grassy knolls and lots and lots of family! Like GAK!

After months of planning and canceling trips to southern Ohio to visit GAK and the rest of our extended family, we finally made it! And for the first time Gabriel met his Great Uncle Dennis (we tried to calling him GUD but Gabe seemed to respond to him as Papaw) and my cousins and their children. Before moving to their farm they lived in the same city as us and many of my childhood memories include my cousins. It was really important for me that Gabe meet, know and love these people like I do.

Generally Gabe doesn't do well with strangers but he was enamored with my Uncle Dennis! Gabe loved him, laughed with him, played with him, yelled with him and went for his first ever tractor ride with him! Gabe went on a tractor, a loud tractor with a virtual stranger and loved it! Loved it so much that he didn't want to get off! Is he not his father's son?

Besides meeting Papaw he loved playing with my cousin Buzzy's babies Blake and Kierstyn and Peyton, my cousin Lisa's 10 year old. He pretty much thought she was the coolest. And she was incredibly sweet and kind with Gabe.

Gabe and my cousin Buzzy (Derrick)

Gabe and Peyton

Gabe and my cousin Emily!

please note the miniature Chihuahua named Riley - Gabe loved her! Hmm...

Gabe did miss his Daddy though and when I'd ask him to talk to Daddy he'd put his hand up to his ear like he was chatting on the phone!

And of course, Gabe was able to reunite with GAK. She loves him so, and while he likes her now, one day I'm certain he'll adore her as much as I do.

Leaving is never easy but we can't wait to see everyone again! And on the way home, while the bad weather slowed us down quite a bit, we didn't get stuck for hours and hours like some other Ohioans.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I can hardly believe that our baby boy is 18 months old today. This past year-and-a-half has simply flown by. Gabriel is in one word; remarkable. Matt and I would have never believed that one little boy could change our world so completely.

Gabriel Matthew,
You are the light of our life. Your happy spirit, determination and tenacity amaze us everyday. Not a day goes by that you don't make us laugh, make us wonder and make us marvel. You are our little moosh-moosh and we love you so much.

This is your life, Gabe, at 18 months.
  • Every morning you wake up with a smile. The most cherub-ly cute smile.
  • You eat anything and everything! You love fruit, veggies, pasta, chicken, turkey, taco's, meatballs, yogurt, cheese, waffles, oatmeal... you haven't met a food you didn't like.
  • Bottles are a thing of the past (and have been since before Christmas) and gave them up all on your own. You love to drink milk and water from a sippy cup and have absolutely no interest in juice.
  • Balls, cars and blocks are your favorite toys, although causing the rocking chair to rock is one of your favorite activities.
  • You go to physical therapy and occupational therapy each week and you finally love it! You get so excited when I ask if you want to go see Ms KC or Ms Danielle and work so hard while you're there.
  • While your still a mama's boy, you're a daddy's boy anytime he's around. You pretty much think your daddy is the bees-knees; just how it's supposed to be.
  • Nonny and Sam are 2 of your favorite people! You practically leap out of my arms when we pick Sam up at school on Thursdays :) And Nonny and Popo are the only people you'll stay with for any extended amount of time.
  • You've started doing a modified army crawl which is super cute. Rolling is still your fastest way to get from point A to point B.
  • Lefty is no longer your enemy and you're starting to use it a little bit more each day. We are so proud of you!
  • You love to talk and while you only say a few words intentionally (mama, dada, ball), you are never quiet. I can't wait to hear what you have to say once it's in English.
  • Books are one of your favorite things. But not only do you like when being read to, you also enjoy paging through books by yourself. I love coming upon you hearing you babble as you read aloud.

We love, cherish and adore you sweet boy and can't wait t see where this big world takes you!

And Gabe today!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sticks and Stones

Remember that childhood idiom "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" Well the older I become the more I realize that it's wrong. Sometimes words, especially thoughtless or careless words, hurt worse than the broken bones.

Tuesday Gabriel had his weekly physical therapy appointment. Gabe has one-on-one physical therapy with Ms. KC but there are also other children around him. Amazingly there are 3 little girls right around Gabe's age that have therapy at the same time. They're all developing differently and I've loved watching these 4 little ones (especially Gabe, of course) learn, grown and develop. One little girl (K) graduated from therapy this week; which is fantastic. We are so happy for her; that K developed and strengthened her weaknesses and is now doing well.

But this isn't about graduating therapy, or really therapy at all. It's about words.

Before going back to therapy K's mom was celebrating her daughters success (rightfully I may add) and talking about her relief that they were done with therapy. K's mom then made a few thoughtless comments; comments I'm sure she didn't mean to sound so callous but did. And her lack of sensitivity to a child would obviously not be graduating from therapy any time soon, left me angry. Unbeknown st to her, I think of therapy as a complete Godsend. K's mom was relieved she wouldn't have to hide that her daughter went to therapy. Hide it? We're so grateful to our wonderful therapists that we probably flaunt the fact Gabe goes to CCCR-west and how fabulous it is.

It bothered me horribly that she would find therapy something to be embarrassed about; that a developmental delay or a medical condition would be something to be ashamed about. I hate the fact that people think that; that Gabe may one day hear from someone that he should be embarrassed that he goes to physical and occupational therapy. I want him to be proud of how hard he works, how far he's come.

As I processed what was said I remembered other casual remarks that I've heard. And while I know most people don't mean to be hurtful, I think we need to be much more aware of what we say and who's saying it.

When you complain that your child is crawling before "you're" ready, remember that Gabe works uncommonly hard to try and crawl.

And when you tell me that my life is going to change, once Gabe can pull up and walk then smirk when I respond with an "I can't wait" know that I really can't wait. Because walking is not going to be an easy feat for Gabe and when he does take those independent steps we will be rejoicing in the moment.

Through our struggles to have a child; I've learned to never ask or barrage friends when they were going to start a family because you never know what they're going through.

I guess my point to this whole thing (besides being able to process and let go of it) is to watch you words. Be thoughtful in what you say. Because the lady I used to work with who constantly asked if I was pregnant caused me much more pain than the girl that punched me on the basketball court in 7th grade.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
- Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Off the charts

Alternately titled Two Good Things Happened Today

Today was a beautiful day in Northeastern Ohio, so beautiful that rather than doing the ironing after nap time (yes, nap time is for both the baby and the mama) we went for a walk around the neighborhood. After being stuck inside for the better part of the past 4 months, walking around the neighborhood felt liberating. 52 degrees today, 60 tomorrow... and while I know the snow isn't gone for good yet, Gabe and I, we plan on taking advantage of these beautiful days!

And yes, in typical northeastern Ohio craziness, there were definitely kids wearing shorts outside. Not quite short weather for us, but that's just what we do up here!

But long before nap time Gabe had his 18 month well visit (and physical for our adoption). As our sweet baby boy enters toddler hood, he's starting it with a bang. Besides being really angry the whole visit, Gabe was weighed and measured. Here are his stats:

weight: 27 lbs 7 oz; 75 percentile
height: 35 1/2 inches; off the charts!
So, while all the moving Gabe is doing is steadily decreasing his juiciness, he hasn't slowed down on growing. He's so long that he's no longer on the height/weight charts the doctors use to determine if your child is normal, failing to thrive, etc.
Well, this little man is certainly not failing to thrive! He's growing and thriving, learning and changing each and everyday.
To celebrate his 1 months, we met Daddy at Steak and Shake. Since we were celebrating, we had the typical touristy fun and Gabe wore the Steak and Shake hat. Isn't he just the cutest?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is this actually a valentines post?

Not sure who wrote this but I had to share it. It definately wasn't me; I wish it was though [smile].

A Valentine may play a love song for you, but God sings you the sweetest love song in the universe.

“The Lord you God..will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

A Valentine may give you flowers, but God sent you the most beautiful rose of all, Jesus.

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley.” Song of Songs 2:1

A Valentine may take you out to dinner, but God has invited you to the most amazing feast ever given.

“Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:9

A Valentine may bring you chocolate, but God provides you with something even sweeter, His Word.

“How sweet are you words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Psalm 119: 103

A Valentine may be far away, but God is always with you.

“I am with you always.” Matthew 28:20

A Valentine may give you something, but God has given you Everything.

“ us richly all things to enjoy.” I Timothy 6:17

A Valentine may love you for a lifetime, but God loved you before you were born, and will love
you for all eternity!

“Yes I have loved you with an everlasting love..with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

And while we don't really do anything different on Valentines day I did get 2 lbs of the most delicious chocolates, a dozen roses and a Caramel Frappe. I guess my vacation diet will start in a couple of weeks days!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And it feels so good...

You know the Peachers and Herb song "Reunited and it Feels so Good?" Well that's the phrase that came to mind as Matt and I wrapped up our education this evening. Wrapped up as in FINISHED! And while not finished in the meanings of no longer educating us on the many facets of international adoption for that is an ongoing, continual process. But finished as in done with the mandatory classes and workbook required by our agency. So sing it with me....

"Finished Education and it feels so good
Your assumption that I may be slightly crazy is correct, but that's just how excited I am to have this step done. That brings us one step closer to our newest little baby, the baby we have yet to lay eyes on but the baby God knows already belongs in our family.
So, maybe "Reunited and it feels so good" may fit because while we haven't met him (or her) yet, he already owns a piece of our heart and finishing this step brings us a little closer to being reunited. Does that make sense? If not, oh well... it's just how I'm feeling.
Oh, how I long to walk out of an air plane and step foot in our baby's birth country.

And while I'm posting this a tad-bit late, wouldn't these be great Valentine's Day presents? Yes, I just realized this morning that tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Good thing Matt knows I love him!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just a quick update

I'm not supposed to be blogging. I told myself I would stay away from blogging until we finished our education. Why, you ask? Because we can only do the education when we're both home and with Gabe's love of the computer I can only blog when Matt is entertaining him. So, I said I wouldn't blog until we were done. And that was a big incentive to me, besides the fact of being closer to our baby.

While we're not quite done, something came into the mail that just had to be posted. Today, Matt received his diploma in the mail.

None of my pictures came out well from the actual ceremony but I just had to post this one. I am so incredibly proud of my husband. He graduated in 3 years with his MBA; he went to school part-time to full-time all the while working full-time, being actively involved in our church and, the big one; adopting our Gabriel and beginning to adopt our _______ . Matt hates attention but I just had to broadcast how incredibly proud I am of him. Not many men would work so hard for their family; God definitely blessed me with the best.

And, because it's been so long I figured I'd share some pictures of Gabe, the biggest reason people come check us out. And please note the use of lefty! While we've had a bit of a setback with no cast on righty, Gabe is back to trying to use, involve and figure things out with lefty. Way to go, baby Gaby!

And just in case you were wondering, we finished all but 35 pages of With Eyes Wide Open and all of our online classes. That just leaves a fire inspection and Gabe's physical... we are finally moving right along! I love it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sickies, Sanity and an Update

The sickies crept back into our house on Oxford Avenue this past weekend and after 4 nights filled with little to no sleep for the writer of this blog a doctors appointment was made for Gabe. An ear infection and cold was the diagnosis; although I found it hard to believe there was nothing more to his cough then just a cough ;) Hard to believe, but happy to hear all the same.

Gabe hates going to the doctor now. I whole heartedly believe that it's from the awful experience after his eye surgery. And he remembers, Gabe's a smart boy. And while he hates the doctors, he now loves going to therapy (hopefully a therapy post will be coming soon - have to ask Ms. KC and Ms. Danielle if we can take their pictures). We missed therapy all week because of the sickies. Which hasn't happened ever in the year since we started therapy. And it just so happens to have happened the week after the cast came on... and the week that I'm having trouble getting his removable restraint cast on. Ugh!

But staying in was evidently the right decision as I was the recipient of more sleep last night then every night in the past week combined. I'll be completely honest with you all and say that I was super close to losing my sanity.

Speaking of sanity, I know I've mentioned my life group a couple of times before. Well, our life group keeps growing; adding adults and children the like. Last Friday night we had um.... 12 adults and 15 children in our house... and complete madness ensued. Actually, with that many children, the oldest being 6, it could have been a lot louder, a lot messier and a lot crazier.

With that many kids, busy schedules and the need to spice things up, we are no longer meeting every Friday night. After almost 18 months of meeting every week (yes, we started our life group right when Gabe came home) it's going to be weird meeting as a whole group every week. On the flip side of the weirdness, will be a new found delightfulness. The weeks that we're not meeting as a whole group, we'll alternate meeting with just the women or just the men.

And tonight, starts just the women!

I am overly excited to spend time with these 5 women; women who strengthen me, encourage me and challenge me to be a better Christian, wife and mother. Over the next month we'll start reading and sharing Francis Chan's Crazy Love.

I started it shortly after Gabe came home but with the massive sleep deprivation I never made it very far and I'm anxious to read it. "Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter" - Francis Chan, Crazy Love If that doesn't make you want to read the book... well, it makes me want to read it more!

Tonight though, we'll eat some Panera, discuss what we want to get out of our meetings and discuss a Bible verse that is significant to our marriage. I knew instantly which one I would share; it was the last verse our pastor shared on our wedding day. And if they'll let me - I'm going to share every one's here. Scripture is so powerful and sometimes I find such strength from reading verses that are important to other people. I'd love to have a place to put these scriptures for all of web log eternity! And, I'd also love to know what scripture verse (or verses) have made an impact on your marriage... or just on your life.

So tonight, my sanity will be restored. I'm sure it will never be restored fully [smile] because that wouldn't be any fun, but maybe just a little bit so I don't put the Frito's in the fridge or the milk in the pantry. Two things I've done this past week!

And now for an update... an ADOPTION update! Our homestudy paperwork is nearly complete! All of our background checks have cleared (no criminal records for us!), most of the paperwork is signed, notarized and mailed in and we just have a few loose ends to tie-up. Well a few loose ends and quite a bit of education to still complete. But after the craziness of the month of December, it feels good to be moving forward with things! A few steps closer to our baby boy (or girl - I know, mom :). I just have this feeling it's a boy and a fabulous peace about it as well. And after all my hem-hawing and debating about wanting to check girl, I think that says a lot about it! Now if I could just convince Matt to like one of the names I have picked out, we'd be all set! Kind of. Well, not quite! But it's nice to think about, right?

And today, while the sickies have kept us from our regular schedule, we had three special visitors and Gabe was in big boy heaven. Gabe thinks that his cousins are the bees knees, the best thing since sliced bread, all that and a bag of chips... you get my picture. And remarkably, a 8 year old, 6 year old and 5 year old act that the feeling is mutual! And without further ado, Gabe and his cousins, Jake, Ethan and Sam. This morning when he heard them coming up the stairs he started shaking with excitement and smiled the whole time they were there. But then passed out cold 20 minutes after they left! Oh, the life of a 17 month old!

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Day One Lunch

Not all of us can do great things.
But we can do small things with great love. ~ Mother Teresa
Would you like to take part in something so small but can do so much good?

What would you be willing to give? Or better yet, what would you be willing to give up?

If you could actually change the life of a child through a simple action, would you?

What would you be willing to do? Or better yet, what would you be willing to do without?

Did you know that $3.00 can buy a preschooler in Ethiopia lunch for a month? $3.00 can't even buy me my favorite Starbucks coffee!

If you want to take part in something that requires so little but can do so much click here:
One Day One Lunch

On Thursday February 3, I will join Addisyn Block ( her mom writes the blog Building the Blocks, read it and you will be inspired, and the stories of her kids are hilarious sometimes!) and give up my lunch to feed a child for 1 month.

If a 15 year old can give up her lunch for 100 days to help make a change, I can give up my lunch for one. Can you?