Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Caroline was born 5 years ago ON Memorial Day. We had been at the beach for the weekend and actually ended up driving from the beach to the hospital for her early arrival (she wasn't due until June 19th). That girl has had a mind of her own ever since :-)

Her birthday happened to be the morning after we arrived home with Rahel. I had already wrapped her presents, planned her birthday meals and scheduled a day of fun with me at the cupcake shop and nail salon.

My mom joined us and Caroline shared her pedicure.

Then it was time for ice cream sundaes at home with the family (I think Rahel thinks we eat cake and ice cream everyday-we had a "welcome" home cake the day she arrived, brownie sudaes on Caroline's birthday and cupcakes at our friend's house the next day for Memorial day).

It was a special day for our special girl.

Happy Birthday Caroline!!!


Memorial Day 2011 was full of family fun and memories. The kids are loving having Rahel home. She has taken a particular liking to Caroline which I was a little surprised by. I thought she would tend to gravitate towards Hermela as they are closer in age, but she absolutely loves Caroline (not that she doesn't like Hermela-she's actually kind to everyone). She carries Caroline around and is always giving her attention which is just what she needs, so it works out pretty nicely for everyone.

First time down the slide (this was day 3 home-she wouldn't go down earlier).

She's a little silly :-)

She seems to be adjusting pretty well to everything. I'm always wondering what she is thinking. It's so different bringing home an older child because she definitely knows what's going on, but she can't really express any thoughts or feeling yet. I can't wait for her English to pick up so that she is able to tell me what she thinks about everything (or maybe I can-hmmm). She is pretty easy going so far, seems happy and is very smart. She knows all of her colors, shapes, letters and sounds, numbers, simple addition and subtraction and is even reading sentences in English. I actually think she understands a whole lot of English because when she does speaks in English, it is usually in short sentences, not just one word questions or answers. Pretty impressive as she didn't speak any English 14 weeks ago when we visited for court.

We thought it might be a good idea to introduce her to water and bathing suits on Sunday as we knew we were going to take her swimming on Monday. She LOVED it!

A little friendly competition

Then it was time for a swim. She wasn't so sure about it at first...

But she warmed up pretty quickly.....

And before we knew it--she was going under

Aren't they the cutest??? (little partial here:)

Welcome Home!

Monday, May 30, 2011






Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Hi everyone this is Heidi one of Jessica's friends ..I wanted to share a quick update with you. Everyone is doing well! She was able to visit Trees of Glory and deliver every blanket to the kids. THEY all LOVED them and wore them around all day. Simret the director at TOG even gave them a few "la la la la" Ethiopian cheers when they gave them out. It truly made their day. I'm sure she will have loads of pictures and more stories to share with you.
Jessica finally got Rahel yesterday and sent this picture. Oh how it melts my heart to finally see them together. They passed their Embassy today! Yay God! They will be heading home in just a few short days. Please continue to pray for their rest of the stay and for a safe trip home. If I hear any other news I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mission Impossible

I thought it was, but here you have it:

100 blankets

45 sponsor letters

5 care packages

2 special deliveries

clothes/shoes/books/games for Rahel


gifts for our Ethiopian friends

and I even managed to fit

most of my clothes (the rest are crammed into my carry-on.........

You get the picture--we got it all in. Well, almost all. My mother-in-law arrives tonight and I'm sure we'll have to make a few adjustments (let's just say she's not the lightest packer:). I think we're going to be able to get everything in our alotted 6 bags of 50 lbs each--but boy are we close. The space saver bags saved my life--never would have fit everything without them.

In addition to packing, I spent many hours in the kitchen today ensuring that my family will not starve while I'm gone. I'm leaving them in the very capable hands of my husband and while he does many things very well and I know the kids will have a blast with him, cooking is not his strong point and I feared they may have been eating pizza every night (which isn't the worst thing I guess). We also have a few volunteers bringing meals while I'm gone.



I was thinkg while I was cooking that I should do this every week--cook once and pull a meal out of the freezer each night. Wouldn't that be nice to have everything prepared for the whole week? Well, I don't think that will happen. At least it will be simple for the fam while I'm away.

I also had to leave the girls with a hairstyles that would last until I get home. I love them in braids because they can swim and play and their hair lasts about 2-3 weeks in this style. It's about a 2 hour process per kid, so I don't do it too often--although I'm sure it will be a staple during the summer this year.

Don't you think Meron looks like the little girl on this book?

Next hair day, I'll have all my girls together! Can't wait!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday

Hermela celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday. She was so excited to turn 7 because now she's as old as Caleb. We've started the tradition of having a special outing with each child on their birthdays instead of doing a big party.

First, my mom takes them out for breakfast. This year Caroline went along as her birthday is the day after we get back from Ethiopia and we didn't want her to miss out.

Then I took Hermela for her first pedicure. I get a pedicure about once a year, so this is a really special treat (for her and me). The ladies there were so nice to her and even painted little flowers onto her big toes.

Then it was off for ice cream. She ate that whole thing! I kept telling her she didn't have to finish it (it was the smallest size they had and still huge). I calculated the cost of if we had brought our whole family with us--it would have been $50--for ice cream people. Somethings wrong with that picture don't you think? She really enjoyed the one on one time with me.

After eating her way around town and having her requested hot dog dinner, she only had room for one bite of chocolate cake--her tummy was too full.

She said it was her best birthday ever.

Happy Birthday Big 7 Year Old!!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



That's a question I've gotten more than once when I'm out and about with my crew. I just smile and say, "They're all mine." My kids usually respond back with, "We have one more sister waiting in Ethiopia." To which I usually get a puzzled look--again, I just smile, nod my head and walk away.

Well, you should just see our "little" Ethiopian family group that we've got going on here. Between 5 families, we have a total of 30 children (9 from Ethiopia)! The other four moms and I have become friends over the past months of waiting for our kids to come home and now we've gotten the kids in on the fun.

Today we had 24 of the 30 kids in my back yard having a blast (2 kids were at school, 1 was sick, 2 are still in their mom's bellies-I guess they were technically here-just not in the picture, and of course we're missing Rahel). The best part is that all of our Ethiopian kids have come from the same care center. Six of them were in the care center at the same time and were already friends in Ethiopia.

In just two and a half weeks, Rahel will be home to join the group! I took pictures today to show the nannies all of their kiddos still playing together in their new families. I also took a few of Rahel's friends playing in her back yard and in her room. I think she'll be so excited to see her brothers and sisters together with her Ethiopian friends. Isn't it amazing to think that God has gathered up all of these kids from across the world and brought them together again all the way over here?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

Isaiah 43:5

This morning, I woke up to the best news--"THE EMBASSY SAYS YES"!!!

Yes, we can come and pick up our girl! I'm so excited that we've finally passed this little hurdle and will soon have Rahel home with us.

God has gathered us up in His perfect timing from the west so we can bring our sweet girl home from the east and we are so grateful!

Ethiopia-here we come!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

We May Have A Problem

How in the world are we going to get all of these into 4 suitcases?????

Through the generosity of many, I was able to purchase 100 blankets for Trees of Glory today. Thank goodness I brought a friend with me (and didn't take the kids) because we filled two shopping carts to the tippy top with blankets. It was quite the production at the check out line as the cashier had to scan and count each one. We had several questions and a few curious looks as we hauled our blankets out of the store.

If you ever wondered what 100 blankets all piled up looks like, now you know. I was shocked at how much space they take up. We're planning on using space saver bags to shrink them down as much as possible so we're able to get them all over to Ethiopia.

I think we're going to need a baggage miracle over here. It's a GREAT "problem" to have don't you think? We have so many donations, we don' t know what to do :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today was our two little girls' last day of Pre-K (Caleb and Hermela will be done in 2 weeks-just in time for Rahel to come home). My little "twins" are growing up so fast and will both soon be 5. Five sounds so old. Once you hit 5, you're definitely out of that baby stage and on to bigger and better things.

We celebrated with a little "party" and craft time using the book "Perfect Square." It's a cute little book that shows all the different things this perfect square can turn into (like a river, a fountain and mountains).

The best part of course was our "perfectly" square brownies that we decorated with sprinkles for dessert.

notice the sixth little school desk :-)

We ended the day reading another great book, "Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten."

I can't believe we'll have 5 kids in elementary school next year.......where did those preschool years go??????