Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Meet and Greet

Before we left for vacation, Gabe and I stopped by the Christian book store in our neighborhood. I was delighted to see it was exactly like the Christian book store at home. And Gabe was even more delighted to see that the whole back part of the store is dedicated to Veggie Tales.

To say that Gabe loves Veggie Tales is an understatement. He watches a show everyday and always requests to listen to Larry in the car. His favorite birthday present was his Veggie Tales Nativity Set and I can recite his Veggie Tales books by heart.

Gabe is addicted to Veggie Tales. And I don't really mind. Their message is awesome, the music - a little catchy and come on, who doesn't like talking vegetables?

Needless to say when we were checking out with a few new c.d.'s for our long trip to Florida and the store clerk mentioned that Bob and Larry would be visiting the store on October 29th, I knew we had to be there!

On to the calender it went, and yesterday we ventured to New Life Christian Book Store to meet Gabe's favorite guys!

And unlike his meeting with the Cat and the Hat... Gabe loved them. He gave both Bob and Larry a high-5, but requested a Larry balloon and held on to Larry's hand whenever he was close enough to reach him. It was too cute. And oh so precious.

Thank you New Life Christian Book Store for hosting Bob and Larry to the delight of our son!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Numbers

I acknowledged earlier this week that I had (quickly) become more dependent on knowing our monthly numbers than I was prepared to be. Coupled with the fact that I had a bit of an 'emotional' past few weeks and all of our AGCI friends had received their numbers, I was, to say the least, anxious.

But tonight, while looking something up quickly during the World Series (c'mon Rangers!), I had a huge sigh of relief. Working late on a Friday night, Brandi emailed us our numbers! Thank you, Brandi!

Drum roll please......
Boys: 91 (from 97)
Girls: 117 (from 125)
Siblings: 38 (from 45)

Now that was a lot more movement that I expected to see considering the courts just opened October 12. God is good!

I am especially excited to see the movement in the siblings category. We know that bringing home siblings is the 'least' likely outcome of this adoption, but anything is possible with God. I know it sounds cliche but it is so true. I find myself wondering (often) why God brought us to Texas and bringing home two babies would be the biggest affirmation I could ever ask for. Not that I'm expecting a straight forward answer, but it would always be welcomed [smile].

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 week!

Today Gabe and I went for a nice, long walk. At the end of October, I'd expect to see natures beauty. Reds, yellows, oranges... beauty like this:

Instead I glimmered (read sweat) in the warm 90 degree sun wondering when where the breeze was that the weather man spoke about. Instead of crunching through leaves I stepped on a red ant hill and rather than jumping in piles of leaves we came inside to escape the onslaught of mosquitoes. Mosquito's in October is just nonsensical. And just like everything else, mosquito's are bigger in Texas too. With a few new bites each, we came in side, dabbed on some coconut oil to quell the itching and shared a nice bowl of ice cream. No warm apple cider on a night like this, but the ice cream sure hit the spot. And I'm beginning to think Gabe has a sweet tooth like his Momma!

In other, non weather related news we have just one week until Orphan/Adoption Awareness Month and the start of our online auction. There's some pretty nice stuff from some very generous people, all to help us bring our little orphan (or orphans) home where they belong. I'm thinking it'd be a great time to start looking for Christmas gifts!

Have a great night, friends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sleep Over & a Dinner Out

Whenever we head home to Ohio, while packing I'm anxiously awaiting many things in Ohio...

spending time with family
catching up with friends
visiting our old church
eating at First Watch
the list goes on...

One of my favorite things to do (and see) while in Ohio is Gabe with his cousins. He loves Caleb, Ethan, Jacob and Sammy so much. He asks for them as soon as we get to my parents house and for days after we return to Houston. Then he just demands to see their pictures saved on the computer.

But while we're in Ohio, Gabe is in heaven when his cousins are around. A trip to Ohio guarantees a sleep over filled with laughter, fun and lots of wrestling.

And when the sleepovers are done and Gabe's cousins have to go to school during the week, Gabe misses them. A lot. So spur of the moment dinners together are a must. A few weeks ago when we were home we went to the Golden Corral together. Gabe was in heaven because his cousins were there, and well I was pretty much in heaven because there was a chocolate fountain. With rice krispie treats. And strawberries. And marshmallows. And lots of chocolate. Check out the faces (and chins) of these chocolate loving boys!

No matter where Gabe is when he spends time with his cousins, it nearly always tuckers him out.
Gabe fell asleep on the way home, his arm tucked around his newest treasure; a gift from his cousin Jake.

And the music in my mind starts playing "memories"... {smile}

Sunday, October 23, 2011


At least twice a day for the past week I've thought to myself "I should blog about that" but I just haven't been in the mood. Which is so unlike me because blogging is so cathartic for me and I love to do it but alas, I have not felt like doing it. Putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard in this case, allows me to express myself except at times when my thoughts are so jumbled with emotions that I can't type to save my life. Like right now. Good thing my life doesn't balance on my ability to type or I'd be in a fair bit of trouble.

Last Friday, I recieved great news from our old church, the church that when visiting I walk into and immediately feel like I'm at home. Our old church is going to start an Orphan-Adoption Care Ministry and while I was talking to the missions director I was ecstatic to hear this fabulous news. However, shortly after learning about this new ministry I was, well honestly sad and even a bit mad. Sad that I am missing out on this opportunity, sad that our new church seems to have other goals for the future besides starting an orphan ministry (which I completely understand) and honestly a little angry that the orphan-adoption care ministry started after we left. I realized my anger is not valid and now I am just disappointed that I missed out on this opportunity. It took until today that I realized how silly I was being.

Monday the weather man said we had seen the end of the 90 degree days here in Houston. He lied. However there were a few days that were in the 70's and we spent plenty of time outside enjoying the reprieve of hot weather. Friday it was 91, hence the 'he lied' statement.

This weekend was our community's annual garage sale. And boy was it disappointing. It seemed like people just dumped their junk out on their driveways with absolutely no forethought. The only item we found was well worth the dollar we paid.

Matt's mom came into visit from Ohio on Friday. And on Saturday Gabe met his Great Uncle John and his lovely wife for the first time. And Gabe now has a new girl friend as he loved Christina. He loved her so much that he followed her around after she'd leave the room and wanted her to hold him over me. If you know Gabe, you know how monumental that is.

The weather is supposed to be in the 70's this week but I'll believe it when I feel it and am not feeling 90 degree heat penetrate my skin when we go outside. Speaking of weather (again), we took Matt's mom to the Houston Prime Outlets and I found a steal of a super cute jacket at J.Crew. I've had my eye on it since this summer and once it was on sale for $25 I just had to scoop it up! I haven't had a jacket for years but realized my thick Ohio-winter coats would be a little too warm for the majority of the winter. I'm a little too excited to have the opportunity to wear it.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll receive our October numbers for our adoption wait list. I under estimated how much I'd be depending on these numbers to get us through each month.

And that ends the most random post ever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Take Pride

My friend Laura created a piece of art work with this quote:

“Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”

I'm not sure what circumstances evoked Christian Larson to say this, but maybe he was waiting for something; something his heart longed for but was still far away.

Like us, Laura is waiting for her little boy to come home from Ethiopia. She's still waiting for a referral (like us) and to commemorate the passing of each month bringing her closer to the missing piece of her puzzle, she makes a beautiful (and different each month) piece of art work and raffles it off.

They're beautiful. The amount of detail she puts into them is astounding. I'm impressed by her artistic talent and she's even made one for us.

So go check it out, enter to win and follow along with her on their journey to her son.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Feels Like Summer

It may be Autumn by the calender but Houston either didn't get the memo or is just ignoring it completely. The only good thing about the extra long (and extra hot) summer is that we're still enjoying the summer. I think people look at us like we're crazy when Gabe is at the splash park and it's only 85 degrees. They don't know that we're Ohioans at heart and 85 is a hot summer day up north.

Here's to at least a few more sprinkler friendly days!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Empress Taytu Take 2

Last December when Sondra, Akane and I went to Empress Taytu, I was abruptly taken by surprise. By the cold, spongy taste of the injeri, the unique textures and the spiciness of food labeled mild.

This time my friend Samantha accompanied me and while the food was the same, my experience was different; knowing what to expect allowed me to truly enjoy the food. Knowing the injeri would not be like a tortilla shell, I actually liked it! Knowing that the foods listed mild may still be too spicy for me I took smaller bites. Knowledge really is power when it comes to eating ethnic foods!

And again, the sambusa was my favorite part of the meal! That may be one Ethiopian cuisine I need to learn how to make.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goonies Never Say Die

And Gabe never says quit.

Our sweet little boy is learning to use a walker. He just needs a little help keeping lefty on the walker and his balance still needs a bit of help. I have to say this may have been one of my proudest Mommy moments yet.

While we were living in the hotel Gabe started to pull-up into a standing position, something we'd worked on for a long time with our fabulous CCCR- west therapists. Shortly before therapy restarted Gabe started 4-point crawling - something we never thought he would do. Just a few weeks ago Gabe started to learn to furniture cruise and at my parents house he did it independently for the first time. Weight shifting and balance are his biggest obstacles and Gabe is working through them. And now moving on to a walker. We need to figure out how to get lefty to hold on but I think that this is the beginning of a whole new adventure for Gabe.

The child that should be paralyzed but isn't, would probably never crawl but learned how is defeating all the odds. A huge shout out to Ms. KC and Ms. Danielle who are such an integral piece of the puzzle in Gabe's progress. Without them pushing us forward, I'm fairly certain we'd be in the same situation as the mother I spoke with today who's son didn't like therapy so she took him out when he was just a few months younger than Gabe is now. At four years old, he's just back in therapy and learning to walk. Today I'm definitely thanking God for our great therapists; who not only took great care in providing therapy for Gabe but also encouraged us to help Gabe be all that he can be.

Without our great therapists (past and present), I wouldn't have been inspired the way I was today. Gabe is definitely my inspiration; yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And yes, Gabe always looks super stylish at therapy. Tie shirts are just how he rolls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Open for busin adoptions

The Ethiopian courts reopened today after being closed for 2 months due to the rainy season. A few adoptions that were in the waiting period snuck through during the rainy season but other than that for 2 months children have been waiting. Waiting to be matched. Waiting to go to court. Waiting to be part of a family.

Realistically we could be waiting through another rainy season but with any thing is possible with God on our side so I'm praying that we're home in the US as a family of 5 (or 4) before then.

Friday, October 7, 2011



“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” - Bernard Meltzer

This week I've been blessed to spend time with some of the women I admire most in life. Strong women, faith-filled women, women that have over come obstacles, women who build me up, women who challenge me to be better and women who keep it real. Early morning walks, late evening pedicures, dining on Ethiopian food, laughing until it hurts, a few much needed tears shed and a lot of talking was had. I mean a lot of talking!

Next week, the distance from Houston to Ohio will never seem greater as I reminisce about all the time I spent with the ones I hold dear.

But today I met up with a friend to walk, to talk, to wrangle our children in strollers and on playgrounds. I missed her deeply but didn't realize how much I needed to see her until we drove our separate ways. Has that ever happened to you?

Do you have a friend that you can be brutally honest too, say things privately to and know they'll keep your trust? I do. I have a few. And today I was with one of them. And she listened to me, spoke with me, walked in comfortable silence along side me and laughed out loud with me.

It felt good. It felt honest. And it was needed.

Sometimes distance causes friendships to fade away. Sometimes life gets too busy and the days are too short. But I have been blessed with friendships that distance doesn't define relationship. In some the distance has created a deeper bond, a bond we know that we have to work to keep. I have been blessed with friendships that encourage me, enrich me and keep me accountable. My friend cup, it is full.

A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.” - Henri Nouwen

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It is absolutely impossible to see this and not marvel at all of the many promises God gives us.

"When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:16

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vacation Part 3: The Last One

I swear (not really) that this will most likely be the last vacation post. It was truly just such a wonderful getaway for our family that I can't help but post a percentage of the photo's that we took. And seeing as I use this blog to journal our family's life, it seems only apropos that a lot of vacation pictures make their way here.

Crazy-haired sunscreen covered Gabe!

the path the led from our house to the beach

walking to the beach

Gabe in the waves. I love this photo!

I love this one too and couldn't decide which one to post. Then I figured why not both. Everyone loves them some Gabe!

Gabe and his daddy!

Playing in the waves!

After playing in the ocean, Gabe uses the host to get cleaned off. Or sometimes, he just wants to play in the hose.

No he's not naked. His diaper is a natural, unbleached color.

Daytona is one of the only beaches cars can drive on. The sand is super packed into the ground; ideal for walking but not ideal for sand castle building.

another beautiful beach view

An early morning walk, pajama's and all!

same stroller, same beach, different walk

a beautiful crane demonstrating his gracefulness as he hunts in the water

It is impossible to spend a week at the beach and now find the beauty of God everywhere we look. Our vacation was nothing but a blessing; a time to refresh, a time to relax and a time to reflect.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde