We've been blessed with the addition of our four year old daughter from Ethiopia. We fell in love with Ethiopia and want to honor the gift of our daughter by continuing to embrace her amazing homeland. Join us on our journey as we become a family of six through international adoption and as we work to support the beautiful country of Ethiopia.
This is a video that I posted exactly one year ago...I enjoyed watching it and remembering how special last Christmas was. Grace had only been with us for a few months, and we were so excited to share the holiday season with her. She looks so tiny in this video...and her hair...it was so short!
Our family is so blessed, and we know that being able to celebrate Christmas as a family is a true gift. We will forever be grateful for the miracle of adoption!
Hope you enjoy my little "walk down memory lane..."
I have been a terrible blogger lately. This holiday season is really kicking me in the rear end. I would have to say that we are one busy family these days. Most of the stuff we have going on is wonderful (lots of dance competitions, basketball, school stuff, traveling husband, etc.). There are days, however, when I really question the amount of activity in our lives...perhaps there will be a few New Year's resolutions in the works for us...
Grace has been enjoying the holiday season and is keeping busy with the preparations.
Here she is sporting her new holiday apron.
We had a great time at the annual gingerbread party we attend (Thanks Kneelands!).
The moms had a great time catching up. The party was fun and one of my favorite parts was talking adoption with the other moms (four out of five of our families have adopted). ***this picture makes me laugh- have you ever heard the song "Red Solo Cup?"
Grace got to hang with Santa during Alyssa's holiday dance show. She told him that she is hoping for a horse. Santa was nice enough to clarify that the horse would be a toy and come with a "brush."
The dance show was wonderful...Alyssa's dance studio raises thousands of dollars every year by having two holiday shows - all profits go to support a homeless shelter in Green Bay (last year over $15,000 was raised).
We can finally get Grace's hair in TWO "puffs" (although I can barely make them stay). Love it!
And...last but not least, a couple awesome ideas that I found on (my favorite) Pinterest:
These adorable reindeer nose cookies were such a hit. They are the perfect size, so easy to make, and make a cute little treat to share this time of year. ***My smart little high school daughter did point out, however, that reindeer noses would be blackish, not brown***
The other cool thing I have been working on, are these super easy (and fun to make) stamped metal ornaments. They are made out of washers...I am currently stamping anything metal I can get my hands on. It's so fun. I decided to give these as gifts along with a card that explains that "water has been donated in your honor" instead of just buying little gifts for people. I am donating to Living Water...love their advent conspiracy project.
So, that is a little bit of what has been keeping me from blogging.
FOUR more days to get ready for the main event...here we go!
Grace decided that she did NOT want to go to sleep. She wasn't tired...yeah, right. Well, I figured, why not call her bluff. I told her that she could stay up ALL night long. I am so fun like that (NOT). I told her she could stay up ALL night, as long as she was wearing pjs, stayed in bed, and had the lights out. She was so excited that she wanted to get in bed without reading bedtime stories. She was so excited that she couldn't wait for her "fun" to start. She crawled in bed beaming with joy. (I love how Grace starts reciting our family rules when I ask her what the "rules" are about staying up all night).
I came across one more cool item that just might be helpful for the process of attaching to, bonding with, and appreciating an adopted child (or any child). The like book is a very simple book that allows a parent to take a minute each day to sit with their child (for me, before bed) and to verbally (and in a quick written sentence) acknowledge something that they "like" about their child. The book is meant to be used daily as a type of journal for expressing the things you appreciate about your child.
I think Grace and I could both use this tool to bond through this simple, fun type of nightly routine. The entries can be as simple as "I like ...your smile" or "I like...holding your hand" or "I like...when you say funny things."
I am hoping to start using the book with Grace (and maybe another kid or two or three) after the holidays. The book is written in a 12 month open date format, so it can be started any time (of course the Type A personality in me wants to start January 1st). There is even a "like book" for couples...hmmm...that could be interesting. I think I'll stick with the kiddos to start!
If you are interested, you can check out the "like book" website. If you decide to order, you may want to use the code: likebook for a 25% discount.
"Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless" - Mother Theresa
These little stuffed animals are perfect for helping kids express their feelings and share emotions. Each stuffed animal comes with a pocket that hides three "emotions." The animals all have their own "personality" and come with emotions that are specific to their personality. The little "emotions" can be taken out of the pocket and shared. Grace is such a verbal little girl and seems to be doing great, BUT...she has her moments. From time to time, she says things that clue me in to her frustrations, inability to express herself in a kind way, and her self-protective behavior. I thought these little "critters" might help her to express herself appropriately, and would allow us some good dialog when times are a little tough.
The reason I am posting about this TODAY, is that I just got an email from "8 moms" and the Kimochis toys are over 50% when you shop 8 moms for them. Check out theKimochis website to learn more about the toys, and then register with 8 moms to order at a huge discount.
Today is World AIDS Day. Did you know that? Have you heard? It seems to me that we (as a country) have not been talking as much about AIDS in recent years. There was a time (in the early 90's) when the AIDS epidemic was featured on news programs daily. Magic Johnson brought attention to the issue in 1991. I remember going to visit the traveling AIDS Memorial Quilt when it came to a city near me...it was a very powerful sight to see...so many people who lost their lives to the disease.
Fast forward about 20 years, and here we are today. I held my little Ethiopian girl today and thought about how AIDS has not really gone away at all. Just because we don't hear about it every day in the U.S. doesn't mean it doesn't continue to change lives, cause heartache, and in Africa specifically, leave millions of children orphaned. We are choosing to keep much of Grace's story private (until she is ready to learn more about it and can decide what she wants to share), but we do know that her immediate (birth) family in Ethiopia has suffered the loss of some of their family members. Now...when someone dies in rural Ethiopia, they are not always dying in a medical facility or hospital. More than likely, they are succumbing to a disease that has been labeled something very vague. I am quite confident that many of these "diseases" are the result of untreated HIV/AIDS.
In memory of the millions in Africa that have lost their lives to AIDS, I took a few minutes to make a digital quilt square to add the the ONE campaign's digital AIDS Quilt. It was fun. It only took a few minutes. Most importantly, it reminded me of those affected by AIDS in Africa. It breaks my heart that people continue to die when two pills a day that cost about 40 cents can keep someone with HIV and AIDS alive and healthy.
The quilt will raise awareness and symbolize a pledge that people are making to help eradicate HIV by the year 2015.
To make a digital quilt square of your own go HERE.
***In sub-Saharan Africa, 4,400 people die daily from preventable, treatable disease
***Every day in Africa, 4,700 people become infected with the virus
***Africa has been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other region in the world; over two-thirds of people living with and dying from HIV are in Africa
***In sub-Saharan Africa, young females are three times more likely to have HIV than their male counterparts.
(statistics found in Shayne Moore's book Global Soccer Mom- a great read!)
AND...did you know that you can buy some really good (RED) products for Christmas gifts?
(RED) harnesses the power of companies and people to help fight AIDS in Africa. To date, over $180 million has been raised with 100% of the money going to work on the ground. Over 7.5 million people have been impacted through Global Fund programs that (RED) supports. When you choose to buy (RED) a portion of the profits goes to AIDS programs. Current (PRODUCT)RED Proud Partners include: American Express (UK only), Apple, Beats by Dr Dre, Belvedere, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Gap, Nike, Penfolds and Starbucks and Special Edition partners include: Feed, Girl Skateboards, Mophie, Nanda Home, Shazam, Solange Azagury-Partridge and Timbuk2.