Thursday, August 31, 2006


Grace turned one yesterday. I almost can't believe I just wrote that. At this time last year, our dossier had just been sent over to Ethiopia. We had the long (or what seemed long at the time), 4 month wait for our referral and then four more months of waiting to travel. We finally got to bring our baby girl home in April. Now that she has been home for five months, I can not even imagine our family without her. I'm a little sad that we missed so much of her babyhood, but I am really looking forward to watching her grow and change. I've realized that adoption has some fun, hidden surprises. You see, when your biological kids are growing, you might recognize a trend or pattern in their growth or personality that echos Mom or Dad. Not too many things are truly unexpected. With adopted children, especially those that are abandoned, everything is a surprise. When will she begin walking? When will her first tooth come in (not yet)? How tall will she be? What will she look like when she grows up? I am looking forward to the future with great anticipation!

As most parents know, with the 1st birthday, comes the next obligatory visit to the pediatrician's office. There is the usual stuff like safety, height and weight, eating habits and milestones to go over. After all the pleasantries with the doctor, it was time for the nurse to come in. Grace started wimpering as soon as she saw her. The poor thing needed 5 shots. OUCH!!!

R & R

After a long week of shopping for school supplies, trying to figure out the home school curriculum from hell and attempting to convince our bodies that they really were supposed to wake up at that un-Godly hour, the weekend was most welcome. We never really get to sleep in with five kids in the house, but it was nice not to have to run right out the door. Justin has been a little lonely without his older sister and brother home to play with him. He sat around the family room in his swim stuff for almost two hours while they did their chores.

Finally, the big kids got their freedom. He was VERY ready to go out to the pool when that time came!! Everyone had lots of fun!

Back to School

Last week my big kids went back to school. I thought I would REALLY be looking forward to having them gone for part of the day, but it turns out I miss them. They have grown so much, and I find that I enjoy their company most of the time now. They are also very helpful with the little ones. This is their time though, and they really enjoy having the chance to get out and spend time with their friends.

Since it was time to go back to school, it was time to start home schooling too. At the end of last school year, we found out that there was a place for Daniel in the program that runs through our school district. I thought this would be a good way to have some support with the curriculum, but still give him the friendlier learning environment at home. He plans on going back to public school for Middle School next year, so I hoped this would aid in the transition. Boy was I wrong! That has to be the most ridiculous program I have ever seen. I really think that they have set people up to fail. I guess it would be cheaper for the district if they could do away with the program all together.

So, it was time to put my thinking cap on and figure out what to do next. I wanted to find a good, all-around curriculum that Daniel would enjoy, but wouldn't take over my every waking moment. After some research, I think we found it. Daniel will be starting California Virtual Academy this Tuesday. I am VERY excited about it, and more importantly, so is Daniel!

No Fun!

Guess what happens when life gets too busy and you don't have time to seal the grout in your new house. You get to do this....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


A big thanks goes out to Amanda from Mayhem and Magic for letting me know that my videos were crashing her browser. I bet she wasn't the only one that was having this problem. But y'all, they have been up for quite a while, and no one else said anything. This is a customer friendly blog. I aim to please. So, if you ever have trouble viewing something, or my posts are causing something to go awry in your cyber world, please let me know. I'll be happy to see what I can do to fix the issue. I promise I don't bite. Maybe just nibble a little. Actually, that is reserved for cute little kiddie ears, so you're safe. 8^)



Remember this?

Well, the drawing (and one heck of a party from what I've seen in the pictures) was this past weekend. I'm sorry to say that none of my readers won the beautiful quilt, but a man from the local Rotary Club did (Port Angeles, WA area). The cool part is that his ticket was sold to him by an Ethiopian adoptee. A couple of kids attended the meeting a few months back to sell tickets. They were dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothes to make the tickets all the more appealing. The young lady that sold the ticket will also receive a lovely hand-made quilt. Good for her! The person that sold the most tickets is an adoptive Mom through AAI. She sold $1100 worth of tickets. That's 220 tickets!! She will be awarded with a quilt for her efforts as well. The total amount earned in the raffle of this quilt was over $7000. That should go a long way toward helping to find families for some harder to place children through the GRACE Fund.

Our efforts here and at
TheBus4Us were far more humble, but I am pleased none the less. We sold 40 tickets and made $200 to add to the GRACE Fund. Not too bad for two non-salespeople that decided to do this on a whim. Thanks for spurring me on MP. And A HUGE THANKS to all our readers, friends and family that helped out. The kids and their new familes will appreciate it greatly. You all are the best!

PS For those that odered, your receipts are on their way to you. Thanks again. 8^)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shameless Endorsement

Grace has been toddling around the house for a while now. First crawling, then walking. She has shown absolutely no interest in the stairs, except to use the bottom stair to help herself get upright. That is, until last week. As we were getting ready to sit down to a nice Sunday morning breakfast, she climbed. all. the. way. up. the. stairs!

Will and I immediately went into a slight panic. Other than the bedrooms/baths, there is not a "normal" doorway in our house. We have what you might refer to as an "open" floorplan, and the stairs are right in the middle of it. Now, please understand that I am not a big fan of all the gadgety baby stuff on the market. I have never owned a wipe warmer and I'm not a big fan of shopping cart covers either. Heck, I consider it a successful outing if all 5 of my kids get into the store and back out to the car without anyone "almost" getting hit by a car. I do not have time to decorate the shopping cart. But I digress. Upon realizing that Grace had acquired this new skill, we decided that two things were in order. A temporary barrier needed to be constructed immediately, and we were taking a trip to Babies r' Us right away.

All 7 of us got our shoes on, went potty and hit the road. 45 minutes later, we were ready to do some serious gate testing. We wandered through the store for a few minutes, Ooooing and Ahhhing at the abundance of cuteness along the way to the gate section. I was really hoping to have the chance to see their great assortment of gates, and have the opportunity to shop with a hands on approach. Call me crazy, but it seemed to me that if we were going to rely on the thing to keep our baby safe (and not inconvenience the rest of us too much), we needed to see more than just a picture. Well, I was in for some disappointment. Half of the gate section was gateless. They were SERIOUSLY low on stock. Fortunately, they did have this little gem. I almost forgot to mention that our staircase has lovely, natural wood railings, and as much as I love my kiddo, I was really hoping to avoid drilling big holes in them. So this gate, along with it's optional extensions (8" and 24"), looked like it just might work. Of course, Babies r' Us was not finished doling out the disappointment. They don't carry the extensions in the store, only online. Dang it! But then something occurred to me. Babies r' Us rarely has the best prices for anything. I decided to go home, put my internet searching skills to good use and fund us our gate.

Well, in light of the fact that life can get really busy sometimes and the incredible effectiveness of the temporary barrier constructed at the bottom of the stairs, I didn't get to my internet searching for a couple days. By Wednesday, I realized that we were all getting pretty tired of moving the carseat box or stepping over the large basket of baby toys to start or finish our trips up and down the stairs. It was time to get to searchin'. The first thing I found out was that I was SOOOOOO glad we had not purchased the gate at Babies r' Us. There were quite a few online retailers that had better prices. Secondly, these other retailers charged less for shipping and didn't charge sales tax for customers in California. Score! I also found out that we really needed to get out tails over to our staircase and figure out exactly how we wanted to lay out this gate. After a few different configurations, we figured out what would work best for us. We needed the gate, 1 24" section and 2 8" sections. Finally, I discovered that had the best price, only charges $4.95 for shipping regardless of the size of your order and could get it here in a week. I have ordered from BabyAge before, and had good luck, so I went for it.

The gate arrived at our house this Tuesday evening. As it was a busy evening again, gate installation had to wait until Wednesday. Once Will got started though, the whole thing was done in about 30 minutes. This is THE COOLEST GATE I have ever seen! It hugs the contour of the staircase. It didn't require holes in the wood. All of the kids (even Justin), except Grace, can open and close it easily. It is VERY sturdy. The best part is that it isn't even all that ugly. 8^)

All right Gracie...bring on the next new skill!!!

PS For those of you with a different layout at your house, here are a couple more examples. ("borrowed" from the internet)

PPS After all that, I just realized that I never included the name of the great new find. This is the Kidco Configure Gate with the 24" and 8" extensions. It is model #G80.

Monday, August 14, 2006

We did it! We FINALLY did it!!

We got ourselves together and had pictures taken, that is!

Check out how they've grown!!! These pictures were taken about a year and a half ago. Grace's pic was taken mid march this year. Oh, how they change!


Saturday, August 12, 2006


Said by Justin (4 years old) as he gulped down the last big bite and looked up with juice dripping off his chin....

"I am all about cantaloupe!!"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Check this out!

1st Steps

We were told that "institutional" delays are common in babies that have spent time in orphanages. We fully expected to see some things pop up when we brought Grace home from Ethiopia. To this point, I can honestly say that she does not appear to have ANY physical delays. Walking at 11 months old seems to prove that!!

Here's Proof!!


To all of you that prayed for us or sent your good thoughts our way over the last couple years, Grace says "Hello", applauds your efforts and sends her love!!

Here's Gracie!!!