Wednesday, August 31, 2011

reflections, elephants and okapi's

Not many people are dumb adventurous enough to go to the Houston Zoo in August but we did it! Last Monday when both my parents were here Gabe and I ventured with them to the Houston zoo. There weren't a lot of other people there, a few animals weren't in their exhibits and the animals that were out were very sluggish because it was so hot but we had fun nonetheless.

We went through their aquarium and snapped a photo of Gabe in with the fish. Well, not really, it's his reflection but I thought it was fun all the same!

We saw their elephant exhibit which was not nearly as nice as the new African Elephant Crossings at the Cleveland Zoo but was still nice. It always amazes me to see Asian elephants compared to the African elephants we saw in Cleveland. They are so much smaller than African elephants but still so big that it kind of boggles the mind.

Papo and Gabe spent a lot of time walking through the Cool Zones.

We managed to see the seal show which Gabe thought was positively spectacular. Anything that makes him smile and laugh is pretty great to me too. And an okapi garnered a lot of our attention. None of us had seen one of these before and he was positively beautiful. The colors of a zebra but related to a giraffe, just by looking at it you could see how graceful and regal of a species the okapi is.

I absolutely love going to the zoo and can't wait to go back and see the rest of the exhibits. We'll just go on a cooler, much cooler, day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fair Time in Ohio

For the 28 years I lived in Ohio I never once went to the Cuyahoga County Fair. Move to Houston and we go. I'll admit we only went because we were in Houston for the Medina County Fair and would return to Houston before the Lorain County Fair started. And we needed some fun fair time! And I don't think that I'm being biased at all when I say for being one of the largest counties in Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Fair doesn't hold a candle to the Lorain County or Medina County fairs. But we had fun anyways.

The fair-goers included me and Gabe, my mom, and my four nephews: Caleb, Ethan, Jacob and Sam. We could go anywhere with those four and Gabe would think it was the best place on earth but add in french fries, big animals and rides with music and Gabe was in heaven!

Gabe went on his 2nd carousel ride and loved it! This carousel went faster than any other carousel I've ever seen and Gabe was in heaven!

Bumper cars were the ride of choice for C, E, J & S.

We walked through most of the barns and checked out the animals

Gabe enjoyed his 1st (and 2nd ,3rd and 4th) experience of the bouncy slide. And loved it! We went so fast that these were the best pictures my mom could get.

The big boys rode more bumper cars.

I snapped a photo of Matt's favorite sausage stand (they're regular vendors at the Medina County and Lorain County fairs that we frequented yearly).

And after a day at the fair which included no napping Gabriel fell asleep about 6:15 in his rocking chair.

Now we have the Harris County Fair coming up in October and I'm very interested to see how the food fare holds up. I'm really hoping for a cheese sizzle!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Day

Today is the LAST day for the Ordinary Hero grant fundraising! Shop for yourself, spread the word (and link), help us keep the momentum going!

The Estes Africa t-shirt and tote bags are on sale, bracelets are 25% off and their are lots of product donations to buy to feed, clothe and benefit children in Africa.

Click here to shop

Tomorrow we will return to our 'regularly' scheduled programming [smile].

Friday, August 26, 2011

Top 5

Yes, you read that correctly! We are in the TOP 5 of fundraisers for the 3 grants being given away by Ordinary Hero.

But I know how quickly things can change in fundraising so we're still pushing forward! We want to be in the TOP 3.

Can you help us?

Think early presents for your family, a sweet surprise for a friend or a pretty bracelet for yourself!
Or buy a sheep... how many times today have you been asked to buy a sheep?

And please, please, please share this!

Don't forget to pick our (my) name from the affiliate drop down box as you check out!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Shop Ordinary Hero Here!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Today I woke up in Gabe's room because he had a very rough night. A rough night for Gabe generally means an early bedtime for me and right now, I am anxiously awaiting bed time.

My morning email check revealed that we are in the Top 8 for fundraising with Ordinary Hero today!!! Woot woot! After all the changes with moving to Texas we really want to win that grant, so go shop [smile].

This morning Matt and I went to our USCIS fingerprinting appointment. Contrary to what I've heard from other people the USCIS appointment was super easy and quick. The governmental workers were really nice and seemed to really know what they were doing! Usually it takes a lot of tries to get my fingers printed but today I only had one print rejected. And it was accepted on the next try!

Today we also went for our local background checks that were rejected the first time we submitted our dossier. When I called the Houston PD they told me that it would cost $200 each. Yikes! I wasn't prepared for the $400 but you've got to do what you've got to do. However, when we arrived, it was only $20 per person. Can I tell you what a fabulous surprise that was?

Today Matt and I went out to lunch, just the 2 of us! With my parents being in town Matt and I are going to take advantage of having babysitters on hand and go to a movie this weekend :)

I bit the bullet today and ordered a new bathing suit to take on vacation next month. Do all women hate bathing suit shopping as passionately as I do? It's almost as bad as jean shopping!

After a short nap with Gabe this afternoon, I cooked dinner for the first time since my parents came to town. If I do say so myself, the chicken and brocolli alfredo was top-notch.

Now, proof Gabe's grandparents are really here:

Gabers and Papo cuddling on the floor watching Bobby and Larry

and sharing his pool with Nonny.

Today... is a day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fundraising Update!

This morning we received an email from Gina at Ordinary Hero stating we are in the TOP 10 for winning the grant! Thank you to everyone that's ordered... and if you haven't ordered; click the picture below, make a purchase and be a hero for our adoption!

Grant contest goes through Sunday night... don't forget to choose us as the affiliate you want your proceeds to go too!

Monday, August 22, 2011


That word makes me cringe; mentally and physically. I hate fundraising, I despise asking people for help and loathe how incredibly insecure and needy it makes me feel.

Nevertheless, fundraising is part of adoption because adoption is so darn expensive. We have a big fundraiser planned for the beginning of October that I'm trying to get in order but right now, Ordinary Hero has a grant contest going on that we are participating in. Not only do we recieve 40% of each purchase but the top 3 sellers recieve an additional $500! We want that grant money! Contest ends Sunday August 28th Texas time! Just don't forget to choose us from the affiliate drop down box when checking out!

Buy yourself a t-shirt, cool hand-made flip flops or buy a sheep or blanket for needy children in Africa AND help us raise money to bring our baby (or babies) home from Ethiopia.

Matt has the t-shirt linked above and he loves it! Well as much as a man who cares little about clothes can love a t-shirt but it is probably the softest t-shirt I've ever touched!

And stay tuned for our October fundraiser... you can sit on your computer at home and shop some pretty cool things if I do say so myself!

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. -Isaiah 1:17

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2 years

Two years ago we walked out of the hospital full of excitement, expectation and love.

August 21, 2009 our wish, hope and prayer was granted. For no reason but the grace of God we were able to walk into the hospital with an empty car seat and walk out with our biggest miracle.

There are many important dates in adoptions; the day you find out your 'expecting', the birthday, the court day. But for me, the most important day was the day that Gabe was put in my arms ready to go home. Home sweet home, it was. And still is.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Party Weekend

Last weekend was the party weekend at my parents house. On Saturday my lovely Sondra and I threw a very lovely baby shower for our lovely Megan (yes, I used the word lovely 3 times in 1 sentences, it just fits!). Complete with a baked potato bar, the most delicious cupcakes ever eaten and punch, it was a perfect celebration in the upcoming arrival of one of God's littlest miracles. There was lots of present opening, womanly chatting, zero game playing and catching up with friends. This is the only picture I have as I was hosting, filling food, delivering presents, cleaning up, etc. Isn't the mama-to-be just glowing!

And then on Sunday the partying continued. Gabe's 2nd birthday party was also at my parents house (they were so great with opening their house to let me have to parties there on one weekend!). The house was filled with Grandma's and Grandpa's, aunts and uncles, cousins and a few more 'family' members. It was much smaller, less hectic but just as fun as Gabe's beach party last year. I'm learning that more often than not, less is more. And contrary to pictorial evidence, Matt was able to be in Ohio for Gabe's birthday party. His work required him to be in Youngstown Ohio the friday before so he extended his weekend (and saved his company money on airfare cause he's such a fabulous employee) and was at Gabe's party. With Matt being there for our babe's birthday party, nothing could have made it anything but perfect.

A Thomas the Train birthday cake

Yummy Cupcakes
Opening gifts; well Gabe actually only opened the first gift from his Great Grandparents Donna and Al. They went with his all time favorite veggie tales and once Gabe saw that he was done opening presents. We tried to take it away and open other things but his cries for Larry won out. And his cousins were able to open his presents which is always fun for them.

Gabe and his favorite gift: Veggie Tales Nativity Set

Cake time!! We were even able to sing to Gabe this year and there were no tears. He is growing up [smile]

And of course there were party hats!

And then all 4 of Gabe's cousins spent the night! And wore their party hats when Gabe found the stash and started gleefully yelling "hats, hats!" Those 4 sure love Gabe more than most cousins love a little boy and he loves them too! A lot!

I think this was Gabe's first "sleep over" with all of his cousins although he didn't actually sleep in the room with them. We'll save that for a later date!