Monday, December 8, 2008

Journey to "The Dark Side"

I will be the first to admit that I have always harbored this secret "distaste" for mini-vans and those who drive them. I have been known to comment that getting behind the wheel of a mini-van must somehow alter your ability to function/drive. Lets face it, who hasnt gotten a little crazy when they are trying to pass in the left lane on a 2 lane highway (yep, thatd make the left lane the PASSING lane) only to get behind some mini-van driver who thinks the left lane is the "coasting along beside the car in the right lane" lane. All of this previous negativity recently came back to bite me in the behind. I have been driving around in what I lovingly refer to as the Geri-mobile since my grandma passed away 2 years ago. We have been nice and cozy with all 3 kids lined up in a row in the backseat. Getting them all in and out has been interesting to say the least. When Mikes old jallopy drew its final breath a few weeks ago we were presented with a great deal. Yep, you guessed it......a mini van. And I have to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!! I love the heated leather seats. I love the automatic doors. I love the fantastic stereo system. I especially love that I dont have to fling Noah into his seat in the middle of the vehicle anymore. I love this vehicle so much that I dont even mind that I have gone over to the dark side! I can handle it when my friends and family call to tell me to be very careful on the that I'm a mini-van driver.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Waiting for the "Bill"

Last week, while dining at our favorite Mexican restaurant I realized how far Helina has come in her "knowledge" of the English language.

Helina: Mom, is it time to go yet?

Me: No Helina, I have to wait for our bill

Helina (after a 3 or 4 second pause to ponder): Mom, we dont know any Bills. Who is Bill?

Helina (now looking at Logan): I dont know any Bills. Do you know any Bills?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween pics

Its been a busy couple of weeks. My niece Megan celebrated her 13th birthday (holy cow I dont feel old enough to have a teenage niece) and Helina and Noah enjoyed their first Halloween. The weather was absolutely beautiful for trick or treating and Logan and Helina are still basking in the sugary glow of life!:) I am looking forward to the next "family firsts" we'll get to experience with Helina and Noah. We have SO much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I've been tagged

Well, I have been tagged by Miss Gina to share 6 random things about myself. So, here goes...........

1. I have no eyebrows. My dad has Cherokee Indian in his heritage and the one aspect that I have inherited (it couldnt be the beautiful dark skin of course) is that I have very few, very light eyebrows. My cousins tease me mercilessly about this. When I try to "draw some on" they stand out like a sore thumb. Like I'm wearing a sign that says "hey, look at those eyebrows". Insanity.

2. I attended Purdue University (Go Boilers!!!!) and for 3 years was a recruiting hostess for the football team. Got to take all of the potential recruits around campus and onto the field. Had GREAT seats on the 50 yard line to watch the games with them.

3. My favorite food is Mexican. LOVE IT!!!!! If I were forced to live on one type of food it would be Mexican.

4. I am currently addicted to the Twilight series books. One of my co-workers has talked about them non-stop for months and I finally decided to see what the big deal was. WOWZERS. Finished all 4 books in about 5 weeks. Now every girl at my clinic is reading the series. We are Twilight junkies.

5. My favorite movies are "Sweet Home Alabama", "Remember the Titans" and the Lord of the Rings movies.

6. Every year my cousins, aunt, mom and I head to a huge shopping mecca about an hour away to shop literally until we drop the day after Thanksgiving. We leave at about 4:30 in the morning and get home anywhere between midnight and 2am on Sat. Look forward to it every year.

Ok, that was more work than I thought it would be. So now I'm going to spread the wealth by tagging my blogger buddies Rebecca B, Rebecca M, and Chris M. Looking forward to reading your random goodies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference

Mike and I went to Helinas first parent teacher conference last night. We "found out" what we already knew about our vivacious daughter. Her teacher describes her as a butterfly.....she just flits from one thing to the next. She is highly intelligent (her teacher cannot believe she has only been speaking english for 7 months) and everyone in her class loves her (and she them). Her struggles are in the area of listening. I often have to tell her "focus" at home and her teacher does the same at school. She is a whirlwind of motion and her zest for everything she encounters sometimes makes it hard for her to listen. I have to laugh a little because I can imagine that my mom must have heard some of the same things about me when she and my dad sat down for their first conference with my teacher alot of years ago. God truly blesses us with the children of our hearts whether they are the children of our womb or not:)!!! Thanks dear Lord for our sweet, head in the clouds Helina!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Its been awhile

I have been a very bad blogger lately. We have hit the fall season running and my time on the computer lately has been limited at best. We have had some beautiful days and being couped up in the basement on the computer instead of outside just hasnt seemed right.

We were able to go to my cousin Jamies last weekend for a big family get together. It included a hayride, haunted barn, pinata, great food and a bonfire. We had a blast. Below are some pics from our evening as well as a couple of the MOST good-natured and tolerant dog on the planet. She sits motionless for hours and lets the kids use her as the big mountain overpass. Too cute!~

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh boy

I have to preface this picture by stating that at this point in Logans young life he is a little man living in a little womans world. He is surrounded by girls. Noah is too young to play with (although the 2 of them have started wrestling. Jeez boys are weird. Enjoying wrestling at 20 months). He wants to do whatever his sister and cousin (whom he idolizes) do. His best friends are the neighbors twin girls. Man oh man is he going to look back on this period of his life and wonder how it all went so wrong. He went over to our neighbors with Helina and Megan to have lunch on Sat and this is how they spent their time. Mike is convinced it is going to scar him for life. I think he makes a pretty girl. One who may very well be able to wear high-heeled shoes better than I can. Sigh.........

Monday, September 8, 2008

Great news

A couple of weeks ago we found out through the "friend grapevine" that a family who lives in our baby sitters neighborhood is adopting a 5 year old girl from Ethiopia. Her name is Tess. The principle at Helinas school emailed me today asking for permission to give our email address to this family so that they can contact us and find out about Helinas transition. All I have to say is YAY YAY YAY. We have several other families in our community who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia (BIG congrats go out to one of those families James and Nancy who just returned with their baby boy last Sat!!!). To have a little girl exactly Helinas age who will be in the same school system (and maybe even in the same class) is so awesome. I know that it is going to be so important as these kids get older for them to have others within this community that share their culture.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What WAS I thinking

Since I have all of Logans baby clothes/accessories, clothes that Noah and Helina have outgrown and a TON of toys, etc that have managed to multiply in our house over the years I decided to have a garage sale. I obviously had no idea what a hassle this would be. I have been dreaming of prices, "50 cents, no 75 cents, no I think I can get a buck for it" for a week now. "Garage sale frequenters" as I will lovingly refer to them are quite the unique bunch. They park WHEREVER the mood strikes them and buy some of the strangest things. Like a pleather suitcase from the late 70s in a lovely shade of brown that Mike dug up from the basement and marked for a buck. Seriously? Ignore the Abercrombie jeans on the next table marked at a price thats a steal but certainly make sure you take home that lovely suitcase. Then, to make it all much more fun add intermittent rain storms all morning. Now mind you it hasnt rained in 8 weeks (no exaggeration) but today the skies opened up. Move tables into garages.....move tables back I am hoping I will be laughing all the way to the bank by tomorrow afternoon. It'll be awhile before this girl decides to garage sale again for sure.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Progress is good

A couple of months ago we had a speech therapist come a few times to work with Noah (she couldnt keep coming because she was allergic to my cats). She told us that once he was walking proficiently his speech would start "taking off". She was so right. In the last week or so he has become a TOTAL chatterbox. His favorite things to say are "Hi dada, ouch, dog, thank you, mama, and the ever present NO". He also likes to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Too funny. I'm afraid now that he has started talking we might not ever get him to stop.:)

Another area of progress I have seen in the last couple of weeks has been the relationship between Helina and Logan. They have always played pretty well together, but lately I've noticed that they actually enjoy their time together and would rather play together than alone. This afternoon they played with about every toy that they own over a 4 hour period. They read books and played barbies and pirates and rode their bikes. Not once was there a harsh word or any attitude. I am certainly NOT naive enough to think that this will be the status quo between the 2 of them. I am however thankful that their bond continues to grow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For 2 and 1/2 hours a day.........

I am down to 1 kid again. I had forgotten what it was like to be able to go to Walmart, strap that 1 sweet kid into the front of the cart and shop. Yes folks, actually shop without saying 150 times "stop touching that" or "if you dont sit down in the cart you are GOING to fall out" or "if you dont stay with me where I can see you, you are riding in this cart". I told my dad I was doing some shopping this morning and he asked me if I wanted him to keep Noah so I could shop and I laughed and said "heck this is going to be a piece of cake":)

Now, to the flip side of this giddiness. 2 of my kids are going to school. I cant believe Logan had his first day of pre-school today and that Helina has had 4 days of kindergarten under her belt. Another reminder of how precious time really is. Both of them are LOVING school and that is what is most important.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hope Reunion

We went to St. Louis last weekend for the first annual Hope Adoption Agency Reunion. We had a fantastic time. It was so fun seeing the Pruitt gang (Grace and Miranda were my traveling buddies on my trip over to Ethiopia to get Noah) and catch up with some of the other "Hopers". It did my heart good to see all of the children together. It really feels like we are family. We all share a love for Ethiopia and these wonderful children. We also got to meet our agency director Shimellis. Helina couldnt have grinned any wider when she first laid eyes on him again. After a jam-packed weekend of Ethiopian food Friday night, picnicing on Saturday and the St Louis Zoo on Sunday we came home tired but refreshed. Wishing I didnt have to wait another year to see everyone again!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beating the Heat and birthdays

My little man Logan turned 4 last Thursday. I always get a bit nostalgic each year as his birthday approaches. You see, 2 weeks before he was born I had told Mike (and the Lord) that I was finally "done". Done longing for, wishing for, dreaming about having a child. We had been foster parents for a period of time and had had several short-term placements that had left us feeling a little weary. I had finally begun dealing with the idea that I was obviously not meant to be anyones mommy. Then, on Saturday morning July 24 at 8:15 am we were awakened by my BFF Kelly (who is also a caseworker for DCS). Mike answered the phone and when Kelly said "we have a baby for you" he said "Oh for heaven sake" and handed me the phone. All we had was a crib, so I very calmly called my mom and told her we needed to go shopping. We picked our sweet boy up at the hospital 48 hours later and ......the rest they say is history. My aunt said it best when she explained that I got pregnant on a Saturday and delivered on a Monday:). God truly stretches us in times like these and the blessings He bestows are oh so sweet!!!!!!

Its been SO hot here the last week or so that we have been spending alot of time hanging out at the lake or under the sprinklers. My little water bugs are loving it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I knew that it was bound to happen at some point....but it still feels like a sucker punch in the gut. We had our first "encounter" of blatant racism. Our babysitter Lynda is a wonderful lady with 2 grown kids of her own. Her husband is finishing up his degree and is home with the kids during the day alot of times as well. Our best friends twin girls stay with her too. They are just the best, always going above and beyond to help our family. There were a couple of kids who Lynda has been watching a few days here and there recently. Today Lynda explained to me that she will not be watching them anymore as their father decided they would not continue to bring them to a babysitter who was also watching black kids. What......are you kidding me????? I teased with my mom that the kids are in more danger of learning bad habits, etc. from Logan than from the "black" children. But in all seriousness my heart just aches. Helina has the kindest, most generous heart and has so much to offer to those she encounters. What will happen when she and Noah are old enough to understand this stupidity that is racism? These 2 kids (who both LOVED Helina) may very well be the next generation of narrow-minded people because of their parents influence. Racism is LEARNED at the hands of those who have the responsibility of teaching the next generation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Parking" it

We were able to get away for a few days last week. We headed to one of our favorite summer time places. Cedar Point Amusement Park in Northern Ohio. Its one of the biggest (and best) amusement parks in the world and is located on beautiful Lake Erie. We stayed at one of their resorts right on the lake. We were "on the go" for 72 hours. From water slide, to wave pool to rollercoaster to hotel pool. I came home more tired than when I left:). I'm not complaining though. We had so much fun together. We bonded over the icecream and bumper cars. Nothing better than spending quality (and fun) time with my family!!!!!!

Walkway to our hotel
Beautiful Lake Erie

Logan LOVED the bumper cars (whats better than being able to ram into people and not getting time-out for it:))

Ok guys.....give me the corny smiles

Helina and Megan, or....aliens from another planet

My peeps:)

Logan and I on his first rollercoaster ride (nope, he didnt put his hands up)

Papaw with Helina on her first rollercoaster ride (yep, she had her hands up the WHOLE time)

This is one worn out girl

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Looking back

I was scanning all of my favorite blogs tonight and was reminded of how hard the wait to bring your child/children home can be. AlthoughI cant imagine how, I had in some ways forgotten just how hard it is. On the 4th we always watch the fireworks out on an island of one of our big area lakes (thanks Janice for letting us popsquat on your yard:)) and as I was watching Helina and Logan run around playing it struck me that exactly 1 year ago I was sitting in that exact spot dreaming of the time when Noah and Helina would be enjoying the fireworks with us. Wow, what a difference a year can make. It seems like time slows down when you children are waiting for you on the other side of the world but I want to encourage those who are waiting who might be visiting me here. Before you know it your children WILL be here and your lives will be richer and fuller for it.

Tonight as the kids were out front playing in the sprinkler Helina came running towards me (trying to get me wet I think). Something in the way she was smiling as she ran took me back to that day in January when I was anxiously awaiting my first glimpse of her at her orphanage. She came running through the gate after school with that same big smile on her face. It brought me to tears for some reason. I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of these children. And now that I am looking back on this journey and all that it entailed instead of trudging through it I can say without a doubt that it is ALL worth it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Fun

We are having such a great summer. The weather has been absolutely beautiful and we have enjoyed being outside in it as much as possible. We enjoyed our 4th of July weekend by keeping with some of our oldest "traditions" and starting a new one. Attending a 4th of July parade in our area that we have gone to since I was a little girl and then heading to my Aunt and Uncles house for a big family cookout afterwards was a blast. Helina LOVED her first fireworks display. She kept saying "oh mommy, that one was really cute":). We also started the new tradition of a block party. Good food, friends and our husbands fireworks display (they wait all to buy and set off their fireworks) had us all saying we couldnt wait to do it again next year!

Waiting for the fireworks to start
Doesnt get much better than this for scenery to watch while you wait.

Hangin with cousins at Aunt Pollys cookout. The kids rode on this golf cart ALL afternoon.

My patriotic sweeties!

Noah enjoying his daddies rocking chair from when he was a little guy.

Zoey is the most patient little thing. Good thing in this household

Helina and Megan. This is the night we went to see Wizard of Oz at our local theatre. Helina was completely mesmerized. She loved the singing and dancing.

Enjoying a Friday night concert in the park.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What a surprise

I found out about this wonderful organization Project G.L.O.W. through a fellow adoptive moms blog. When I went to check it out I was wonderfully surprised to see some pics of our Helina in this video they created. There is also a great closeup of her in their photos section. What a worthy cause. Check out their website I will certainly be praying about what we can do to help them in their ministry!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A little sad

We have been having such a blast the last few months since Helina came home. Our family unit is settling in. Logan does not want to do anything or be anywhere without his sister and Noah lights up whenever Helina or Logan walk in the room. The transition has been really pretty seamless. It seems as if Helina has been with us forever in so many ways. Because it feels this way I was struck with a wave of sadness last night when my dad asked me if I ever heard her talking in Amharic anymore. Up until about 3 weeks ago she would at least sing songs in Amharic but since then not 1 word. Her english is amazing but it came with a price. I had heard from other adoptive parents that this could happen fairly quickly but still feel a sense of loss for her that her native language is "gone". It only strenghens my determination that Noah and Helinas Ethiopian heritage WILL be celebrated in our household. Such a strong and beautiful people!!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cherish My Time

My heart has been so heavy the last 24 hours. Yesterday afternoon Stephen Curtis Chapmans youngest daughter Maria, who was adopted from China was killed in a horrible accident. This family has been in my thoughts and prayers all day. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around what they must be going through. This terrible tragedy has also made me really stop and think. I so easily get caught up in the day to day craziness that has become my life. Work is always busy and crazy. My house is always cluttered and in disarray. And yet, what is really important is that I take the time to treasure reading to my kids, snuggling with them in the Lazy Boy, tucking them in to bed and praying with them. I know that I will think twice before letting the distractions of day to day life keep me from valuing every moment I have with my kids.

"Dear Father, please be with the Chapmans tonight. Give them your peace that passes all understanding. Be near to them in this dark hour. In Your name I pray, Amen".

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fun-filled, activity-packed days

We have been on the go the last few days and have had such fun. On Thurs. we had to take Logan to see his orthopedic specialist in Indianapolis (he and his sibs all have scholiosis). After good news from Dr. B. that his curve is not worsening at all we all headed to the Childrens Museum. We got to visit with dinosaurs, play dress up, dig in the dirt, play in the water and go through mazes. There was a new comic book display which included an acual batmobile used in the movies and capes for both batman and superman worn in the movies. My "big kid" really liked that. It was a great way to spend a day. Then on Friday we were able to go to an indoor water park recently built in the heart of Amish country in northern Indiana. Found out that Helina is a HUGE water fan. The girl has no fear (which we already knew) and this evidently transends both land and water:). She came down a slide barrelling under water, came up smiling and climbed back up for more. Swim lessons are definitely on the agenda for the summer!!!

Being out and about has also included some encounters with others regarding our diverse family. I had an African American woman approach me when I had Noah in the sling and tell me how adorable he was. This is not anything new as Noah draws attention wherever he goes. People are constantly coming up to him and telling us how cute he is. This woman asked us whether we were fostering him and I told her that he was ours, that we had adopted him. She got this huge smile on her face and said "oh my goodness (with a great southern drawl) that is just the most wonderful thing. Can I give you a hug?". And I gave her a hug and told her that we felt blessed to be able to have these children. We often get stared at but we have yet to encounter anything that isnt positive or encouraging. We are fortunate.

I am really getting the hang of uploading my pics to the computer so I added some new pics of our last few days!

Happy Mothers Day to all of you moms out there!!!!! God bless!

Logan enjoying the water hose

Helina coming down the slide for the first time. 2 words.......NO FEAR

Could they be any sweeter?

Ok you two, give me your cheesiest smiles.

Super heros.......

My favorite kind of dinosaurs......"Kiddosaurus cutiepies"