Sunday, January 31, 2010


I love winter, I love bundling up in sweaters and scarves, I love cozy fires and hot drinks, and I especially love SNOW! We got about 4 inches at our house this weekend, which is a very big deal around here. Madeline was not a fan of the white stuff at first, but she warmed up to it after a while. Here are a few pictures of our winter fun this weekend:

It's never too early to start ski lessons!

We took Madeline on a tour of our whitewashed neighborhood via sled.

We stuck with it until she decided that she liked it.

Nothing like a little hot chocolate to help you warm up. :)

About to go for a hike down by the river

Building a snowman this afternoon. Seriously, it has been years since we've had enough snow to do this!

Madeline was pretty impressed with my snowman-making abilities.

Giving the snowman a hug

Happy girl

The view from my kitchen window

And, finally, here's some fun with snow balls captured on video. Madeline thought it was simply hilarious to see us throw snow at each other.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting Ready for Little Brother

Nesting (as in the frenzied activity of a woman nearing the birth of a child to get her "nest" just right) is not something entirely influenced by hormones. How do I know this? Ever since we received our referral, I have hardly stopped working for a moment. I have been cleaning out cabinets and steaming my carpets like my life depended on it. I have been pregnant before, I know what it's like, and I am definitely nesting. Think of me as about seven months pregnant now, only without all the hormones.

The reality has sunk in that we have a baby coming to join our family in just a couple of months. I have a lot to do to get ready! Cleaning and organizing gives me an outlet for my energy. I want so badly to have him in my arms now, to be rocking him and loving him. That isn’t a possibility right now, so I am throwing myself into what I CAN do. I am getting our household as ready as possible for him to join us so that I can devote all of my attention to him (and Madeline, of course) when he does get home.

Here is a peek at my freezer.

I have been working very hard to jam it full of meals so that I won’t have to cook for a while after Little Brother comes home. I am up to 25 now, and my goal is to have 30. If I had a deep freezer I would probably fill it up too. :)

We have been diligently working to get his bedroom ready. We had planned to just keep it simple. We weren’t going to paint or anything (the room used to be a guest room). But one thing has led to another and we have now not only painted, but also replaced the windows, replaced the door, and put new trim around everything. (I am so thankful for my super-duper handyman husband!) We have a crib that we borrowed from a friend and a rocking chair, and that’s really all we need for the time being. I am enjoying how spacious the room feels.

Here I am cleaning drywall dust off of the bookshelves. Doesn’t the blue look pretty!

Madeline LOVES her dad’s cordless drill. She knows how to turn it on herself and she walks around with it, pulling the trigger.

In the meantime, I have been reorganizing pretty much every room of the house. Our house is on the smaller side and we have very little storage. (No garage, no bonus room, very small usable attic…) Before we had kids this wasn’t too much of a problem because we had a closet in each of our three bedrooms that we could use to store anything that we wanted. Now with a child in each of our bedrooms, there is NO extra space! Over the years I have gradually purged so many things that I used to treasure. They just don’t seem to matter much anymore. It actually feels good to relieve myself of the burden of all the stuff.

I have also gotten more and more efficient at organizing. I’ve realized that it makes a lot more sense to have our changing table in our spacious bathroom now that I will have two in diapers. As a bonus it frees up space in Madeline’s tiny bedroom. I have puzzles and craft supplies tucked in kitchen drawers that I emptied in the latest purge. And the den cabinets are stuffed with Mr. Potato Head and blocks instead of stacks of wedding presents that I have never used. I’ve moved an extra table into our bedroom and draped a long cloth over it so that I can store my sewing machine and supplies underneath it. And now I have a sewing station in our bedroom instead of filling up a closet with that stuff.

With every cabinet that I have cleaned out, I have felt a little more ready. But I think my greatest victory so far has been cleaning my carpets last weekend. They were badly in need of it, and I didn’t realize just how much it had been bothering me until I felt the relief of them being clean once again. I rented one of those big machines from Home Depot on Saturday and worked all day at moving furniture, dusting, and going over and over the carpets until they were completely clean. I feel like a new woman!

Besides just all of my cleaning, cooking, and organizing, I have sent a couple of care packages to Little Brother. He is no longer at a regular orphanage but in our adoption agency’s transition home. Since he is there we have the option of sending gifts to him via other adoptive families who are traveling to Ethiopia to pick up their own children. It gives me such joy to know that these things that have been in my hands are now in his! I sent this photo album of pictures of our family to him first.

Next I ordered this elephant “lovie” from a lady on Etsy. The back is super soft and the ear is silky. She embroidered his Ethiopian name on it too. I LOVE it. I am sending it to him doused in my perfume, hoping that he will get used to my smell and recognize it when we pick him up.

So there’s a little peek into my life in the last three weeks since we received our referral. I am a tired but very happy, nesting mama.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Screen Printing

We couldn’t be more thrilled when the FedEx man arrived with this big box on Saturday.

It was filled with these!

For months we've been sorting out what the future of our Go. Seek. Love. T-shirts should be. When we finished up with our own fundraising in October, we felt compelled to continue selling the T-shirts to benefit another adoptive family. We had been so blessed with our own fundraising, and we wanted to pass along the blessing to others. Plus we were selling more T-shirts than ever before. How could we shut things down? It felt wrong to just walk away from this once we had gotten what we needed from it .

In the last four months our sales have continued to increase. We have been able to send almost $2000 in profits to our partner family. It has been a blast! However…..each T-shirt takes about 10 minutes to produce from start to finish (we hand print them). And we’ve been selling 30-40 per month. Time is at a premium for us these days, and things are only going to get busier when little guy comes home in a month or two. BUT we REALLY want to keep going.

So after much prayer and discussion, Daniel sought out a broker and placed an order with a screen printer for this big box of T-shirts. Now all we have to do is ship the T-shirts. I can’t tell you how excited we are about that!

For the next month or two we will be recouping our sizable investment in the inventory. (Early on we had NO money and we felt like it was too risky to carry a bunch of inventory, which led us to opt for hand printing.) In the mean time, we plan to be working to adapt our website to accommodate partnering with multiple families simultaneously. How we will make it work is still a little foggy, but we are trusting God to lead the way.

And by the way, the shirts look fabulous!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We'll Miss You Pap

OK, I know – it’s been a while. I have been busy with very important things lately. Last Monday morning, Pap (my dad’s dad) passed away at the age of 91. He was a wise, Christian man who raised six children who all love the Lord. His wife (Granny) died several years ago, and it has been a long and lonely few years for him. I am happy that they are together again, with no more pain, no more arthritis, no more heart conditions. Only joy and peace and wholeness in the presence of Jesus. We will see him again someday!

This is Madeline and Pap together Christmas of 2008

And here we are this year at Christmas along with my Aunt Sarah

It was precious to spend a couple of days with family. Whenever we get together for holidays, it is always so rushed and rarely is everyone there. Well, everyone was here and together last week. It was a sad time, but it was also a blessing to be with the ones that we love.

My sis Rachel, cousin Riley, niece Abigail, me, Madeline, cousin Hannah, and cousins Patrick, Nathan, and Jacob

Madeline LOVES Hannah

Friday, January 8, 2010

Madeline Speak

Heard around our house this week while Madeline played with her baby doll's toes:

Piggy market
Piggy home
Piggy ro-bee
Piggy none
Wee wee wee, DADDY'S HOME!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ethiopian Cuisine

I am the practical cook of our family. I cook every day, and I feel as though I must be. I try to prepare things that are inexpensive and that don't keep me in the kitchen for too long. I enjoy cooking, but I have lots of other things to do besides just that.

Daniel is a fun cook. Once in a while he gets an interesting idea to try something new, and he goes all out. He spends time researching recipes and ingredients, and he makes sure that he does it just right.

A few months ago, I made an attempt at cooking some Ethiopian food. I cheated, though. I did not use all the spices called for in the stew (because I wanted to LIKE it!), and the injera was a shortcut version, not the full blown sour dough version made with teff flour.

Last week while he was off from work, Daniel decided that he was going to cook us some real Ethiopian food. We really want it to be a part of our family's dinner routine, at least occasionally. Although the spices are very different from what we are used to, we keep hoping that if we eat it enough times we will start to truly enjoy it.....

So he went ALL OUT. He went to the international market at the downtown farmers' market to get some of the spices that aren't even available at our local grocery store. He started by making the tear gas.... oops, I mean the berbere paste. Berbere paste is a mixture of several potent spices that is used to flavor many of their dishes. It is an Ethiopian staple. To make it you toast cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, fenugreek, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cloves, and several other spices in a skillet. That's when it became tear gas. We literally had to open the windows and put fans in them to air out the house because we couldn't breathe.

He purchased real teff flour at the international market too, and he worked all week on making his own injera "starter." You must allow it to ferment at room temperate for several days. Yummy, I know. :)

By Saturday he was ready to assemble the meal. He prepared Doro Wat (chicken stew, a common Ethiopian dish), injera, and yellow split peas (a dish that we have come to recognize as a "safe" one at Ethiopian restaurants, that is, not spicy.) Here are a few photos:

Doro Wat. It has hardboiled eggs in it too. It really did taste better than it looks.

Yellow split peas

Daniel feeling a little nervous as he cooked his first injera

The first batch didn't turn out so well

But the next batch looked beautiful! However, it lacked the bubbly texture that injera is supposed to have.

I am proud of his efforts, and overall everything was really good. I have to admit, though, that after the tear gas episode, we wimped out and he only added about 1/4 the amount of berbere spice mixture that the recipe called for. That was plenty for us.

Here are the recipes that he used:


Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Continued

With all the referral excitement during the week after Christmas, I never got around to posting the rest of our Christmas photos. Sorry grandparents.

We enjoyed some time at home, just the three of us, on Christmas Eve. We gave Madeline a baby doll stroller, and it was a big hit. We just had to go outside and give it a test drive on our street, Christmas jammies and all.

We got together with my dad's side of the family that evening in Kentucky. We always have so much fun with them.

Cousin Hannah, M, and me

M with Aunt Sarah

On Christmas Day, we were in Owensboro with Daniel's family.

Daniel's sister Emily made Madeline the best gift ever. A pillow with a hole in one corner so that she can pull out all the fuzz inside, one little bit at a time. :) Madeline has had an obsession with "fuzz" for months now, ever since she managed to make a hole in the seam of her Pooh bear "lovie" that she sleeps with. For at least a month, it was her continual project to to pull every last bit of stuffing out of Pooh until he was as flat as can be. Every time I would get her out of bed, I would find a new collection of tiny bits of poly-fill scattered over her mattress. Now she has a brand new project - her polka dot pillow from Emily!

Madeline with Aunt Emily

Madeline got a tricycle from her Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas. This awesome trike has a bar that attaches to the back so that the grown up pushing it does not have to bend over. (We hadn't put it on yet in this photo.)

Madeline gets very upset these days when something is broken. When she came into the room and saw her daddy putting together her tricycle with pieces scattered all around him, she looked at him, absolutely horrified, and said, "Oh no! You broke it, Daddy!" We have gotten quite a few laughs out of that one. :)

Madeline gets very excited about having pig tails in her hair. She often asks me to do it for her. To add to the fun, ALL the girls in the family put pig tails in their hair. What fun.

We went out to look at lights at a local park one evening. It was so cold that we couldn't make ourselves walk all the way around the track. We ended up running back to the car when we were only half-way around.

Can't you tell how cold we are in this picture? :)

We went to a Christmas festival at the river front in Owensboro, complete with a carousel. Madeline wanted to ride it until she actually stepped onto it with her daddy. Then, "No, no, no, no" is all that she would say. They opted for the bench seat instead of one of the scary looking horses. (They really do look scary!)

So there is the rest of our Christmas in photos. We are blessed to have both sides of our family close by. I can't wait to celebrate as a family of four next year!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Good News

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.

- Proverbs 25:25

My soul has been given a drink of cold water. What good news to know that a precious, healthy baby boy is coming from a distant land to live with us.

Thank you, Lord, for this little boy. Thank you for the honor of being his mommy. He is so beautiful, Lord. I know that you think so too. Thank you for the excitement of our friends and family when we shared the news. It is such fun to share the joy. It has warmed my heart and soul.

I just want to show his picture to everyone that I encounter. Usually reserved Sarah has been whipping it out to share it with EVERYBODY that crosses my path. I am proud of him. I am proud to be his mommy. If only I could jump on an airplane tomorrow....

I keep thinking of things that I want to do. But I don’t feel overwhelmed and burdened. I am full of energy! I want to print pictures to send him a photo album of us. I want to buy him clothes. I need to start buying formula. I want to make and freeze baby food before I bring him home. I need an awesome sling. I want to cook a month’s worth of meals to stockpile in the freezer. But the long list only makes me feel excited. I can’t wait to tear into it. I want to get his room just right. A map of Africa. A flag. Lots of bright colors. What fun. A little boy is coming to live with us. Oh, Lord, thank you.

I have so much that I want to read - all about his region and people. I want to learn some of the language. I plan to devour more stories about Ethiopia and the rest of the stack of memoirs beside my bed, all written by Ethiopians. I am thirsty for knowledge that will make me feel closer to my boy. My boy. I like the sound of that.