Friday, December 26, 2008

We've finally mastered our video camera!!

Grandma is still here. She has folded about 7 loads of laundry and done a few dishes, in between cleaning, she still finds time to be a Mouseketeer. Finally, we've figured out how to post videos....check out a Christmas morning video!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Baby Name Revealed and Merry Christmas!

drumroll please.... **!
J means "God is gracious" and is our way of honoring DH's Auntie Janet. Grace because we have been captured by God's good grace to us...and we always dreamed of having a little girl we'd call "Gracie". A is to honor both of our mothers (both middle names A) and our dear aunt/uncle/cousins/bro-in-law (long story...) with the last name L. BTW: the name A means something like "grace in the valley" which i think is rather appropriate since my favorite Bible passage is Psalm 23. DH loves to say that her name means "grace upon grace upon grace"...which to him is the summary of the gospel. So, no longer does our daughter, whose face remains mysterious to us, have to be called "our new baby girl". We can call her by name. Let the monogramming begin! Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remembering Christmas-Past

Welcome to our house...just wanted to show you snapshots of our Christmas memories. We appreciate receiving all of your cards, and your children are so beautiful! It puts a smile on my face to remember all of the places we have been, and the friends and family we love so dearly. It made me so happy to receive pictures from members of my AWAA family, some with kiddos already home forever from Ethiopia (a glace at our Christmas future!). As I glance at the ornaments and family pictures of our Christmas's, I can't wait for next Christmas to see girlie ornaments on the kids' tree and a new family picture!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yummy Christmas Cookies

My mom is here. I am keeping her busy with the obligatory laundry folding & cookie baking. The chocolate chip cookies for DH did not turn out well, but the boys had a blast making the sugar cookies! And for those interested, we plan to announce the baby name we have chosen on Christmas day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Miracle--SNOW in Louisiana!!!

We've been up since 5.30am this morning, when DH discovered it was snowing and woke everyone up! We've played in the snow, made 1/2 a snowman, taken pictures (sorry no digital-no batteries), drank hot chocolate, eaten candy canes in front of the fireplace and watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas". The boys were yelling across the fence to the neighbor's boys "Its a Christmas Miracle!!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My little man...and Proverbs 31

Here's how a homework-time conversation played-out at our house last night...T was moaning about how being a little brother is hard. JP argues that being a big brother is much harder, because of its additional responsibilities. I think to myself, what terrible chores do these boys do? Are they fetching water from the well? Are they cleaning out piggy stalls? (No.) I remind JP that being a big brother has it's priviledges as well...first to drive a car, go to college, have a girlfriend... He replies, "MOM, God had already blessed me with that!" "Oh, yes, "L"! She is a blessing!", i say, trying not to laugh... then he says, "Yes! A woman who loves the Lord is HARD to find!" True, true...especially for a first-grader. And then i think...does this mean i should start losing weight to fit into my mother-of-the groom dress? UH-OH!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

7 Month Anniversary of DTE

7 months ago, our package of documents left DC to Ethiopia. When the man at FedEx asked if we wanted to insure the package, and how much it was worth, i said, "Well about 6 months and $10,000. you better not lose it!". DH apologized and tried to explain to the bewildered fellow about the adoption, and that his dear wife is the one who has "lost it". This period of waiting has made me a little crazy, a little pensive, and very hungry for treats. I have been contemplating what the day of our referral will be like, what meeting her will be like, and what i should say to her when i meet our little girl for the first time. how do you explain the kind of love that we already have for her? it reminds me of jeremiah 31.3: "i have loved you with an everlasting love". it is as if a strong wind, flowing over the continent, over the ocean that divides us, has whispered into our ear, into our heart her name, the sound of her breathing, her cry, the smell of her hair, the feel of her eyelashes against our cheek while she sleeps. "i have loved you with an everlasting love." one day we will see her, and the pain of waiting will be over. but for today, we are still waiting and hoping that that day will come quickly. (at least we have the sounds of little boys pretending to burp to distract us.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving--City Mice travel to the Country

Howdy! We were so thrilled to be invited to the Kemp farm to celebrate Thanksgiving with LOTS of our church family! We took our Zyrtec & Claritin & rounded up the mice for lots of new Louisiana adventures. We ate tons of food, went on a hay ride that was kind of like Space Mountain (lots of dips and turns in darkness), climbed mountains of sand, had 4-wheeler rides, rode horses, learned to "rope", climbed trees, and bounced on a trampoline with NO net. Minus our sinus headaches today, there were no injuries. We had a wonderful time, and JP even begged us to spend the night...but Mommy loves her king-sized bed:( I am thankful this Thanksgiving that God's ways are higher than our ways...he leads us by still waters and restores our soul. I am thankful for how our family has been embraced by our new church family. I have enjoyed our life as a family of four, but i am VERY thankful that before next Thanksgiving we will be a party of 5!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Picture REJECTS

So, just because i'm weird, i thought i would post 2 pictures that did NOT get selected for our family Christmas card. I would love to hear your suggestions for the caption. The top one i thought looked like "Instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, we will be having Mom's 12 Days of Cream-of-Unusual Casseroles". The bottom one is just the boys attempt at smiling.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Imaginary Friends and Pretend Cousins

Yes, i know this is our adoption blog...but i just had to post about T's many imaginary friends and cousins. First introduced to our family was Jake. Jake is a fun-loving imaginary friend of T's who is an "expert at trains" and has a Nana that feeds the boys all sorts of cupcakes, cookies and sweets. Jake also has a "intendo" and his Nana lets them play video games all day long. We've pretty much figured out that "Jake" is T's "Paris Hilton"/ spoiled kid with the "perfect" life. Second, last week T said, "Don't ya know" with a really Sarah Palin/Canadian-like accent. (T also does a great heavy Southern & British & French accent) When asked where he heard such a thing, he simply said, "from Fran". I can honestly say I cannot think of a single Fran, or where he even heard the i asked, "WHO???" He explained that Fran was his cousin. She is a girl. She is a squirrel. Yes. So not only does Christopher have an uncle (Matt) that is also his second cousin (my cousin who married DH's sister), he also has a cousin who is a Canadian squirrel. Third, today I learned about Frank. I foolishly thought he may be related to Fran (due to the similarity of their names), but again, i was wrong. Frank is a human pumpkin farmer, who apparently has fallen on bad times, because he has to go to Albertsons to buy his pumpkins. On a happy note he does play the banjo often, which T and Jake witnessed on their field trip. I am in awe of T's great story-telling ability, and JP enjoys it now too. He used to yell "LIAR" whenever Jake's name was mentioned, but now we have a wink system, which is accompanied with a very condescending, "that's nice, Nibbles" from big brother "Jerry".

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night

I can hear the Alabama song still in my head... We went to Tiger Stadium last night for the boys' 1st college football game (thanks Russells!). T drank 1 1/2 large hot chocolates and admired the tubas the whole time. JP soaked it all up--he loved doing all the cheers and chants, the marching band, and the hot chocolate (did I mention it was freezing?). He couldn't understand why the people kept booing their own team. LSU "fans" can be fickle. It just reminded me again how "other"(DH's word for different) God is from us. His love is an everlasting love. His love has purpose; it is not a whim. In church today we listened to how we were adopted as sons in Christ, according to God's good pleasure (Ephesians 1). It spoke to me because I know with what purpose, love, devotion, and steadfastness we pursue our little girl. I know that we have loved her before we have met her, seen her face, heard about her history. Just a smile on my face today, not just because LSU pulled out a victory in the 4th quarter, but because I know God has a particular love and purpose for me, and our ever-growing family.

Friday, November 14, 2008

6 Monthiversary DTE- Random thoughts and updates

So....6 months of having our paperwork in Ethiopia. The cravings have kicked in. The weird dreams have officially started. The pounds are creeping on. They don't call it paper-pregnancy for nothing! So, I've just been marinating this month (like a Thanksgiving turkey) in God's good promises. I've been learning alot about the life and ministry of George Mueller. I've been collecting girls clothes. (Thanks friends!) I've been attending Thanksgiving feasts and homeschool groups. I've visited with family from far faraway. It has been a good month of waiting, we are experiencing "the tree of life" stage (Proverbs 13.12). JP lost his first top tooth. He says it helps him whistle better. T is happy hiding or causing much mischief stating, "you felt it in the old trick!" No matter how many times we laugh and tell him its "you FELL for the old trick" he insists in saying it his way. Also overheard this morning around 6.15am...christopher softly calling "daddy!" (repeat about 6 times). JP encourages him, suggesting he call for mommy instead, since Dad was not making an appearance. T replied, "BECAUSE...Mommy does not get out of bed while it is still dark." True. True. We still have not named our little girl, so if ya wanna make suggestions, then do so in the comment:)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What are you...Chicken?

We are now celebrating 5 months of having our dossier in Ethiopia. I just got word today that we have about 4-5 months left (longer than first expected). We also heard last week that our adoption expenses have gone up over $3500, making the total needed overwhelming to us. ADOPTION IS NOT FOR CHICKENS. It is not for the faint of heart. It is for fighters, for God-wrestlers. I was reminded this week about the story of Jacob, and how he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, and said..."i will not let go until you bless me". God did bless Jacob, changing his name to "Israel" or "he who wrestles with God". He walked away with a limp. That is how i feel some i've been wrestling with angels. We will not quit this. We may walk away limping, but we will hold on until God blesses us with bringing our little girl home.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who ya gonna thank...G-O-D!!!

Recently my oldest was promised a new Lego train station from one of his doting grandmothers. He waited by the front door, looking out the window, for it to be delivered..and waited...and waited. At church Sunday he pointed at the front steps of the stage which some would refer to as "the altar" during the prayer time at the end of the service. JP had never done this before, and pointed to the steps with such a sense of urgency like the way i look at a piece of cheesecake! So, the boys and i went to the steps to pray, while Dean, of course, was playing the guitar. JP said, "i want to pray that my package will come tomorrow!". We prayed for the swift delivery of the package, and i prayed a silent prayer that no sweet old lady would come down to pray with us and overhear our "urgent request"...we also prayed that God would help us to desire the things he desires. My heart is for Ethiopia this week. the sense of urgency on my heart is growing: to prepare, to bring her home, to give her a family. When JP got his package, he squealed with delight. His brother went rushing to his side and hugged him...they tore open the package. I asked JP who heard his prayer and, my TobyMac lovin' kid said-"G-O-D." I rejoice with friends who got the referral of their sweet girl today...and God hears my prayers as we look out the window waiting..hoping...dreaming of the day our sweet gift will be delivered home.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

4 Months Down...5 to go?

Hi friends! So, although I am about 13 months pregnant (since we started paperchasing for our adoption)...we still have at least 4 months, probobly 5, more to go. Of course, I am keeping myself busy with the boys, and all the hurricanes that insist on harassing us, as well as making sure that i am not giving into too many "pregnancy" cravings. The latest news from our program is that our trip will be shortened by about 1 day (good news for whoever is lucky enough to watch the boys while we are gone). We will also be staying at a guest house/bed & breakfast instead of the big Hilton. (Good news for us$$) That's about it here...

Friday, August 15, 2008

1st Day of 1st Grade

JP was so excited today to start 1st Grade! What a big boy we have!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's our 3rd Monthiversary!

Ok, so our dossier has been in Ethiopia for 3 months...yeah! As of our last conference call, we are expecting our referral sometime in February. Of course, it could come earlier or later...

What have we been doing to pass all of our tme? Well, we went to Florida to visit the fam...had a blast. We ate a lot of Barnaby's pizza. We got a Camaro. We voted someone off an island. Cousins rode in a Model T. DH still had to mow the grass. But alas, good things can't last forever....the smell of the Bluebonnet swamp lured us home. Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A little sip of seattle in Baton Rouge

This week our good friend, Tarin, from Seattle, visited our flat blazing-hot sudsy city.... it was a breath of fresh air for us! We enjoyed showing her around our city: our house, the school, our church, the pool, our tiger...ok, LSU's tiger "Mike". Tarin experienced Baton Rouge: etoufee, beignets, and southern fried chicken, southern accents, and of course, the heat and humidity. We also went to Starbucks once to savor a sip of Seattle.
On June 9th we celebrated being 1 month DTE, and currently we are #45 for a referral (that we know of on our Agency's Yahoo Group). We are expecting a referral between mid-December and mid-April...we'll see as the time grows nearer. Enjoy the pictures....

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Well, Pinch my cheeks and call me a monkey's uncle..."

".........This is ALOT of Legos!" This is a JP quote when opening up his birthday present from all the Leighows (LegoCity Police station). Yes, our JP is 6. I am starting to feel old, so it's time to break out my Justin (Timberlake) CD and dance.

His party was great, with friends from church, school and therepy. We enjoyed ice cream cones and Transformer cake. We wish you all could have been there!

The Lego police station, complete with jail cells w/ toilets and a break room for police officers w/coffee, has really got the boys asking lots of "why do bad guys not get privacy when they go to the bathroom?" Good question. So, we've had deep discussions about honoring God & mom & dad, a boy's duty to protect, and being a good guy...

In celebration of JP's birthday, I thought i'd share part of a note with you from JP's teacher, about our own "good guy": "JP is so delightful- his humor, mischievous smile and his willingness to share. He is so smart. You are wise to spend so much time teaching him. He is so respectful..."

Honor and duty aren't taught as much as they used to be. They are used more as ad slogans for military service than the duty of every boy, and future man. I thank God for my 2 future men, may they grow up to be modern-day knights, and may they always have privacy in the bathroom!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This bud's for you?!?

I'd like to raise my Abita to toast all the "little" people who helped with our the unnamed lady in {state undisclosed}....who (when we were switching our dossier from el salvador to ethiopia) was so obliging with our certifications. I will never forget the things she said like "i'm going to hook you up", and "you got a staple remover?" as well as "all a children need is some love". She made me laugh on a day when i desperately needed to and reminded me that at the heart of all the paperwork headaches it was just about bringing a child home.
So, as our dossier passed thru Memphis, Germany, and is now in Ethiopia, I raise my glass to you {undisclosed woman in my hometown}...may you be blessed...and help other children find a loving home, too.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dossier to Ethiopia Today

After 9 months of paperchasing, our dossier is headed to ethiopia. It was picked up in Virginia today around 3 pm... I will happily detail our adoption paperwork's journey halfway around the world in later days. Tonight we will party @ the Melting Pot to celebrate this adoption milestone as well as our upcoming 12th anniversary!!!