Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beach Lovin

 This weekend we headed over to the beach for our first official trip of the summer (I know it's not actually summer yet--tell that to the Florida weather).  I'd been craving a trip to the ocean.  We were supposed to camp out in the Keys for spring break, but my spinal fusion kind of put a damper on those plans.  Enter plan B: a quick weekend getaway.  Awesome that the beach is just 1 hour away!

the obligatory family shot to prove we were there

my little twins and I sat safely in the sand--up by the hotel wall

while Nick and the big kids braved the big waves compliments of tropical storm Beryl

"look at that body--he works OUT"

the cautious crew

Colton is always up for a game of sand baseball

I wanted to capture individual pictures of each of our kids because I tend to get group shots. I think these show their sweet personalities.



Caroline-now 6

Meron-almost 6


Time for the group shot.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Birthday Girl

Caroline celebrated her 6th birthday with a family trip to the beach and a tropical party.  Caroline was actually born on Memorial Day 2006. We drove straight from the beach to the hospital where she arrived 3 weeks early (she's had a mind of her own from the beginning :-)

The birthday girl.

I can't believe our first baby girl is already 6!  Six sounds so old.

the party guests--it's always a party with a big family

Caroline requested ice cream sundaes instead of cake.  I LOVE this picture of her.
Happy birthday "Luie-belle ice cream" (daddy's nickname for her :-)
Caroline, we pray that you will grow to be a girl who loves God and loves others more and more each day. We are so lucky to be your mom and dad--you are a sweet, smart and determined little girl full of grand ideas and dreams--thanks for adding a little spice to our family. 

We love you birthday girl!

Monday, May 28, 2012

One Year Home

One year ago, my mom, mother-in-law and I took a journey together to bring Rahel home.  This is her while we were still in Ethiopia waiting to come home.  She had amazing courage to so lovingly join our family-although I know it was a difficult and scary thing to do.

SC Gee Gee and Rahel at the Ethiopian History Museum

FL Gee Gee and Rahel at the guest house

Our last flight home.
Walking out to meet the rest of her family.

She had a tight grip on my hand from the time we left Ethiopia.

The welcome party.

Our first family photo.
Our beautiful girl. 

What a difference a year makes. Rahel has gone from being shy and reserved to being a joyful, funny, and out-going girl. She's taken on the challenge of learning to speak, read and write a whole new language like a champ and is a great helper and hard worker. She's got a good sense of humor and quick wit that keep us all laughing and she does a great job of being the big sister. We love watching her try new things like soccer, bike riding, swimming, crossing the monkey bars, first birthday, first camp out, first trip to the ocean.....We never in a million years would have thought that we would adopt a 9 year old girl, but I couldn't imagine her not being here. She's an awesome addition to our family!

 Happy One Year Home!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Day of School

We had out last week of school last Friday, so we spend it doing some of the science experiments the kids had been wanting to do. Science with air = balloon rockets and paper airplanes.

Meron cracked me up with her intensity.

Colton had a good flight!

Caroline decided to attach her airplane to the balloon rocket (mom taped the straw too tight to the balloon, so this one didn't go too far).

I think they had the most fun with the balloon.

Summertime is in full swing.  We've taken a trip to the art museum, had a few sprinkler days and loaded up library books so far.  I'm loving it!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Scummy Pond, An Answered Prayer, and a Fundraiser Resurrection

This lovely little pond is actually a sacred fertility pool in Lalibela.  Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities and home to 13 amazing rock-hewn churches.  My mom, mother-in-law and I had the chance to visit when we went to pick up Rahel last year.  Lalibela is definitely one of the sites to see if you're ever there.

It is said that if a woman is unable to conceive and is lowered into the pool, then she will be blessed with a child.  Well, I was obviously not lowered into the pool, but when my mom requested I take my picture by the pool, I prayed to the Lord that he would indeed bless us with another baby.  When I got home, I told Nick about my prayer and he kind of laughed it off.  But, I knew that there was a baby boy waiting for us--I just had a feeling. 
The "scummy pond."

Well, you know how the story goes from here.  God answered my prayer and we are now waiting for our baby boy to come home--the baby I had hoped and prayed for one year ago in this spot!

I've said all along since we've started the adoption process again that this baby must be super special because we've been under full blown attack ever since we signed our papers.

Almost immediately, we were hit with large dental bills, thousands in car repairs, plumbing backups, appliance breakdowns, my hospitalization and surgery ($64,000 in medical bills--thank goodness we have insurance :-), and most recently a small flood.

I got home Friday night and noticed it was hot in the house.  I went to turn on the air, but nothing happened.  We cleaned out the overflow valve--a solution that usually works, but this time no luck.  Then, we noticed when we walked on the hardwood floors in the hallway, water squished up from the seams (never a good sign).  We realized the ac had been leaking water all in the closet and it was now seeping into the baseboards and floors surrounding the closet.

So started our first night in Florida with no ac.

Our ac has since been removed to replace the sensor that failed to shut off the system when the water started backing up in the first place, so we're rockin the wall unit ac and keeping the fans running.  It' not too bad until about 4:00 in the afternoon when the humidity reaches 100% and the 90 degree afternoon sun pours in.

no ac in Florida= a family trip to Target to cool off

oh yeah--lots of wood damage

hardwood coming up--gotta love that terrazzo

When all of this happened and we realized we'd be spending yet another plane ticket's worth of cash to fix it, I literally didn't worry about it one bit.  We've already seen God provide over $7000 for our adoption, and we trust that he will provide the remaining money as well.

The very day that we got the repair bill estimate, a friend wrote me to say that she was donating all of the money they had raised at their yard sale over the weekend to our adoption fund--over $300!!  And she had no idea about the ac.  God just used her family, without her even knowing it to help bring our baby home.  And that's God's economy.

Every time we've needed money, we've had it.

I'm reading a great book called "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson about praying circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears.

In one chapter, he talks about the "law of measure" and quotes Luke 6:38

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We've definitely experienced this to be true.  Over the past few years, we've given to other families' adoptions.  When I added up how much we've given out and compared it to how much has been given to us, I realized that God has provided literally 10 times the amount we've given away back to us for our own adoptions.

10 times!!

He goes on to say that "faith is allowing your God-given vision to determine your budget and when God gives a vision, it will most definitely be beyond your means."  When we have vision beyond our means, it may feel like we're setting ourselves up for failure, but we are actually setting God up for a miracle.

How God works that out is his job.  Our job is to circle that God-given dream in prayer.

So, we are continuing to circle the financing of this adoption in prayer and we have extended our
 $7 for our 7th 
 for one more month to hopefully raise the remaining $2968 left to reach our goal.

If you could pray along side us, we'd greatly appreciate it and please consider passing our link along 
 via your own blog or facebook page (even if you've already done it once, we could really use your help).

This fundraiser only works if people give $7 and then pass it along so that a little adds up to a lot as it is shared.

click here to go to fundraiser
We thank you!!!

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