Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Numbers

This month finally brought some movement in the wait list!  This just thrills me as it means we are a few steps closer to bring our little one(s) home.  Movement also excited me because that means other parents children have made it home, to their forever home. 

February Numbers:
Boys: 83 (down 5)
Girls: 106 (down 4)
Siblings: 38 (down 1)

This was the first month in four months that all of our numbers went down!  I'm praying that next month our boy wait list number will have a completely different digit in the front.  Yes, we're praying for the 70's!  Want to join me as we pray down the wait list numbers?  Because as the wait list numbers go down, the number of the worlds orphans decreases as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sondra's Visit!

Last week we had a visitor!  We love visitors here in Houston, Texas and Gabe was just thrilled to see Auntie Sondra when he woke up on the way home from the airport.  I, on the other hand, was tickled pink the second I saw her outside the airport and the whole way home.  And the rest of the week [smile].

Disappointingly enough, the weather did not cooperate for a lot of outdoor activities.  Sondra didn't mind because it was a good 40-50 degrees warmer here than in Ohio but I just wished the big Texas sun would have done it's job. 

Our visit was filled with shopping trips; one to the Galleria where Sondra and I ooed and ahhed were aghast at the $800 Jimmy Choo Shoes we saw, ate some delicious Cheesecake and took a train ride with Gabers!  A trip to another mall provided Sondra with her 1st pair of TOMS, watching a movie at the Studio Movie Grill, going for walks, eating delicious food and lots (and lots) of talking made up the rest of our time together. 

Gabe and Auntie Sondra on the train at the mall
Pre-Studio Movie Grill
Ready for our night at the Studio Movie Grill

Showing off our TOMS!  Sondra's first pair!

Gabe says cheese!

Love this picture!
At the Studio Movie Grill (I was too enamored with the whole idea to remember to take any other pictures)
Not the movie we saw, but the movie we'll see together in Ohio!
Zoo pictures!
Coquerel's Sifaka - these little guys were hilarious.  The weather was
pretty cool so all of the animals were very active. 

DeBrazza's Monkeys

Mama Orangutan and her baby

Regal looking lions

Gabe and Hans the Elephant

Gabe's favorite - Elephants!
There are 3 young calf's at the Houston Zoo! 
The week commenced with meeting Matt at Papa's BBQ to initiate Sondra into the wonderful world that is Texas BBQ.  Unfortunately, it was the worst BBQ restaurant Matt and I have been to thus fa.  Fortunately, Sondra's brisket was delicious so her Texas BBQ experience was a good one!

Then Saturday came... and although I contemplated just not taking her to the airport, I figured if I ever wanted her, or anyone else for that matter, to come visit again, I should not have a hostage incident on my record!  Hehe! 

Friday, February 24, 2012


So as we take Gabe to see Veggie Tales Live this afternoon I can't but hope they sing this song.

It's silly, pointless but makes me smile every time I hear it!  And c'mon, veggies rapping - it's just fabulous!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One of our favorite places!

For Christmas, we gave Gabe a membership to the Children's Museum in Houston.  It took a few weeks but we were finally able to go, sign up and play! 
There are so many wonderful things there for Gabriel to play with, explore and experience.  As you know with toddlers, playing is learning so this place works for me too. 
Talking on the phone... you can dial, ring and talk

One of his favorite activities - there are 5 flowers
that he tries to get moving all at one time.

Practicing crawling up stairs.

Lots of real life experience

More gross motor fun!  This was a slippery, segmented incline
and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't get to the top.

By the way... do you know how good a 2 1/2 year old sleeps at night after playing here for 3 hours?  Very, very good (smile).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Yes, sweet boy, you can do ANYTHING you put your mind too.

Gabe's smile pretty much reflected mine.  His pride in walking... mirrored my pride in him.  And, Gabriel, that umption-in-your-gumption that we sing about... it is spectacular!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2 1/2 years

 A boy is Truth with dirt on it's face,
Beauty with a cut on its finger,
Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair,
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.

-- Author Unknown
Sweet Boy,

Today you are two and one-half!  Two and one-half years ago you came into our life and turned it completely upside-down.  Upside-down in the best way possible.  Before you were born, I thought I knew what I was missing without you in our life but I had no clue.  The joy, happiness and love you brought with you is immeasurable.  I admire the way you love, laugh and live without abandon; you embody all the world has that is good.  Everything I had done in life was leading up to the point where I could become your mama... and I am so grateful for the gift of you that was given to us.  You are a gift... a treasure... a blessing beyond belief. 
Gabers, you have continued to amaze us over these past 2 1/2 years... each milestone and accomplishment showing off the miracle that is you.  Your spirit is so gentle yet you have so much fight in you.  You work so hard 4 days a week at therapy and then for countless hours at home.  What some people take for granted, you have worked so hard to achieve and know the sweet taste of success.  If most people worked as hard as you I can't imagine the good that could come from it. 

Most of the day you are like a tornado - barreling through life at warp speed but there are times when you'll sit in your little 'study' and read books for an hour at a time. At 2 1/2 years are wild about Veggie Tales and trains. Larry is your favorite character from Veggie Tales but you love the Madame Blueberry episode about having a thankful heart. You call it the tree episode because her house is in a tree [smile]. Trains are a recent passion after playing with the electric train at Papo and Nonny's at Christmastime. We already had a couple at home and you love to play with them. Just recently you've learned how to use your pull-and-go trains. 

You are such a smart boy!  Your vocabulary seems to be constantly growing and you are learning your letters with ease.  A few days ago you were pulling letter magnets off the refrigerator and telling me what letter it was like it was no big deal.  I was so proud of you!  You love to read and point out all the different things you see in the book... sometimes I don't know where you've learned all that you know. 

We love you little one and can't wait to see how you amaze us next.

XOXO ~ Daddy & Mommy

Friday, February 17, 2012

Memory Lane

Tomorrow Gabe will be 2 1/2 years old... 30 months... where has all the time gone?
Join me on a walk through memory lane? 

Just a few days old...

6 Months Old
12 Months Old
18 Months Old
24 Months Old

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Beloved, let us love one another, 
for love is from God,
and whoever loves has been born of God
and knows God.
-1 John 4:7

Monday, February 13, 2012

5 Months Waiting

5 months in and one month closer. 

Last week I was feeling discouraged.  Well, let's be honest, I've been feeling discouraged for a while lately.  Referrals at our agency (and through out Ethiopia) have really slowed down and no referral means more waiting.  And I just long to meet our child face to face.
Then we received some discouraging news to a question we had asked our agency (more on that later).  And I was even more discouraged. 
But yesterday after reading the first few chapters of 1 Thessalonians I have decided to choose joy. 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Right now I am choosing joy; joy that we are on this journey of adoption, joy for all of the wonderful things in our life and even joy for the difficult things (like waiting and living far from family)... I'm just plain old making the decision to choose joy.  Obviously the other parts of the verse are important but reading "be joyful always" just resonated deep within.  Probably because I have been doing well with praying and giving thanks but not being joyful. 
So there you have it, 5 months in and I'm choosing joy (But you may need to remind me of my choice once and a while).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Days!

Two days from today, almost exactly 48 hours from right now, Gabe and I will go up the crazy highway overpass to get on the Sam Houston tollway.  I'm almost certain that we will listen to some Bob and Larry as we venture down the tollway to the airport.  Once we get to the air port, we'll wait in the cell phone parking lot for the phone call.... the one that says, she's off the plane and heading to the terminal. 

I will try not to squeal too loudly as I put the SUV into drive and head to the Delta terminal.  To pick up Sondra. My lovely.  Gabe's auntie.  For a few days of Texas fun and sun.

My excitement is palpable!  I. Can. Not. Wait!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Like Crazy

Since October, every visit home includes a stop at Dr. R's office at the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.  I can not tell you how much I love this place and the extreme gratitude and relief I feel that our insurance will cover Gabe's spectacular Dr. R all the way in Ohio. 

The visit in December was Gabe's first appointment with his glasses and it went splendidly.  Wearing his glasses, his vision is near perfect.  Now, he still has to wear his glasses and he still has to wear his patches, bt our boy can't just see, he can see well! 

This appointment was a little more special because Ethan came with us.  Seriously, this boys a gem!  He kept Gabe entertained in the waiting room and then held the iPAD up so Gabe could see it while Dr. R examined Gabe's eyes.

And if I'm honest, anything we do in Ohio is made a bit more special when we share it with one of Gabe's cousins. Whether it be Caleb, Ethan, Jake or Sammy... spending time with them is the best.  Being in Texas, being away from them and missing out on soccer games, baseball games, weekend visits, sleepovers... it's just the pits.  For all of us. 

Missing these boys is like when you try to hold your breath for so long that your chest hurts and your eyes feel like popping out of your head.  It just stinks.  It hurts.  And I hate it.  But it does make
each and every moment we spend with them when we're back in Ohio that much more special.

We love these boys. Like crazy.

E & Gabe at the aforementioned eye appointment.

Fun picture of the cousins at Christmas
One of the special moments... Matt with our nephews at Dave & Busters

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Soap Box

Tonight I am stepping up onto my soap box.

Last week Matt, Gabe and I went to the Houston Rockets game.  Remember, the game we were at for only part of the 1st quarter.  Well, those couple minutes were enough for me to leave slightly offended and very distressed by what we saw there.  Rather than just stewing on it, this past weekend I put my disgust into action and sent off an email to the Rockets head office. 

Yes, I went there.  I am turning into that person that sends emails to organizations to complain.  (And after talking to Matt this evening I may just have to send a hard copy by mail)
What was it that worked me up so much that I needed to write a letter?  The Houston Rocket cheerleaders.  Yep, you read it correctly; I complained about their outfits!  There's no need for you to google it and see what they wear because I can tell you and save some immodesty.  Their top provided no more coverage than a bra (wow, that seems weird to type on the internet) and their bottoms were the same as boy-short panties.  It was disgusting. 

And sinful. Yes, I said sinful. Sinful for all parties involved.
Sinful because when some men would watch them dance, there may be some inevitable lust happening.

Sinful because young girls in the audience would see these cheerleaders and be envious that they don't look like that. 

Sinful that a woman would put her body on show like that.  Gabriel is 2 years old and I didn't want him to watch it.  Honestly, it would be like walking to the park and seeing someone walking their dog in their undergarments! 
What ever happened to modesty?  I'm not talking about long skirts and turtleneck sweaters, just enough clothing to keep yourself covered.

"And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes." - 1 Timothy 2:9
My even slightly bigger issue with the cheerleaders outfits; rather than showing-off the athletic talents needed to be a professional cheerleader (and no I'm not being snarky), they're showing off their bodies.  So young women in the stands focus not on the athleticism of the athlete's but the beauty of them.  And this outward beauty, the world has too much of it!  We have forgotten that true beauty comes from the inside;
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." - 1 Peter 3:3-4

Tonight I am praying that young girls, teenagers and the early 20-something young ladies who are still finding themselves will remember true beauty comes from within and that your future husband is not going to love you because of short skirts or tight tops but because of your inner beauty.  I'm also praying for Gabriel, my sweet nephews and all other little boys that they will be raised in families that teach them not to objectify themselves to the temptations of the world and to respect women for their inner beauty not their outer trappings. 

Stepping off my soapbox.

I realize that this is not a normal topic for me; nothing about Gabe, adoption, being a mom... but this has been on my heart for a week now and I just wanted to share.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Cozy Coupe

Gabe still loves his Cozy Coupe car.  Like sees it in the garage in the morning when we leave for therapy and proceeds to whine or tantrum as we get into the "big car" because he wants to play with the car.  The joys of parenthood [smile].
But rather than riding in the car he prefers to push it around the drive way.  By around I mean down the drive way.  Our drive way is at a pretty good incline so after a few good pushes (that sounds weird but it is grammatically correct), down the drive way it goes.  Gabe laughs so hard when he realizes it's going to go into the street.  The sound of his laughter is a little bit of heaven on earth.
And because he is just super cute and I love him to pieces... I chase after the car each and every time!
He is super cute, isn't he?!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

January Numbers

Our long awaited January numbers came yesterday, February 1st.  Ack!  Do you have any idea how neurotic I become as the end of the month nears.  Generally I check my email in the morning and evening however once the date is passed the 28th I check my email when I get up, when Gabe eats breakfast, before we leave the house, when we get home, when Gabe eats lunch... you get the point!
So waiting until February was agony!  But they're here!

Boys:  88 (down 1)
Girls: 110 (down 3)
Siblings: 39 (up 1)

I have an email into our case worker about the increase in the sibling number.  I'm assuming another family changed their parameters but I can hope that it was a small mistake and the number is lower or at least the same as last month.

And when I wonder why God has placed us on this long, winding path towards my 'friend' Lara posts a video about the journey her family took to their new son.  Then I remember.  God wants us to love others like he has loved us.  God demands we take care of the fatherless.  And God is fullfilling the deepest desires of my heart.... motherhood. 

An Orphan Becomes a Son from Jennifer Penner on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One of my favorite quotes right now:

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
-C.S. Lewis