Thursday, May 29, 2008

Look who made AGCI ETHIOPIA Opening page...Gracie!!!

We had to submit 6 photos as one of our post adoption requirements and I remember long ago signing a waiver about photos but we had no idea she was on this page until I logged onto the sight recently. I keep telling John she should be modeling!!
Here is the photo.....I can't figure out how to drag the AGCI website to this.. will post it later. Those of you at AGCI it is under Ethiopia adoption of course.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Casey is the Best Goalie

Casey recently played in one of her 6 soccer tournaments this summer. She did an awesome job as goalie. She did get soaked by her friend after the game when they were squirting water on each other........and I did then find those soccer clothes in her zipped up soccer bag .........about a week later. P.U. Click on photo to see closer image.

Soleburner 2008

In memory of my mother we ran in the Soleburner the day before Mother's day. My mother, Mary, lost her battle with ovarian cancer when she was 44 years old. My life is in some ways a tribute to her... for all she has done for me. Wyatt and Owen did so well and were so excited to get the goody bag and the end of their 1k. Me...on the otherhand...well, I finished but I didn't feel the best. Of course that probably has nothing to do with the fact that I trained for about 2 weeks prior to the event. That's alright though. I was happy to have finished.

Casey in the Civil War re-enactment

She's the one with the "v" shaped yellow emblem.

Gracie with a Hat...Gracie with a Fro

Gracie does not have curly hair...she has wavy hair. John has been the only one able to get it real curly after her bath. It must be some special technique only he can do. I think she likes it.

Gracie's First Campfire

Considering the weather here in Wisconsin has not been real nice, (Why do we live here again???) we have not been outside a whole lot with the kids. Last weekend we were able to start a fire on our patio and make some smores.

Momma and Sweet Baby Gracie

Need I say more??

Casey and Mom Explore the Everglades!!

Well, actually we are in the inlet back in the mangroves at Grandma and Grandpas but we were pretending we were in the everglades.

Gracie is Baptized--April 6, 2008

Today was a very special day for our family. We all walked into church together, welcoming Gracie into our church community.
Of course I tried to put a cute white dress on her which we managed to do despite the 40 degree weather. She is truly a gift from God and we will always be grateful to be chosen to be her parents. Owen, as you can see is especially glad to be holding the candle.

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Grandma and Grandpa's we go---Florida

O.K. ----so we missed our flight going to see John's parents in Florida. How does that really happen? We live about 20 minutes from the airport and yet of 6 miss their flight. We went back for Gracie's amoxicillin which I guess was a mistake. I think it is all quite sad that it happened and it will never happen again. Luckily John's dad was able to pull some strings and we were able to make it the same day, only later. We all love to go visit Duff and Judy. The boys could fish all day long. Casey and I went for 2 kayak rides...pretending we were in the everglades...will post those pics later. It is just so good for the body and soul to travel to Florida as much as possible. Living in Wisconsin in the winter and spring is soooo depressing. I could count on one hand the number of times we were all outside this winter. Why is it we live here again??
I think living here must be like the delivery of a child. The pain is so horrible but we forget about it in just a few months. Now that it is just beginning to get nice out...I think we tend to forget how miserable the last 6 months were. How fortunate we are to be able to travel to Florida. John and the kids are getting ready to go again in May.

Easter 2008

We all had so much fun doing easter eggs this year. Gracie wanted to play in the dye and became quite angry when the water was taken away from her. We had standing room only at church which is not too unusual for us. We always seem to be late on the holiday masses despite how we try to get ready earlier.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Beautiful YOU!!

The Future of NASA

These are what we bought the boys as their souvenir from Africa. We really didn't find anything that we thought would be suitable for them in Africa but found these at the Smithsonian store at the Washington D.C. airport. They love them!!

Team Marshall

Are there any Ethiopian-American women in Hockey?? Owen has Gracie all set!!

The Wizard's bring home silver.

John and Bill's High School team took home silver this year in the state hockey tournament. Disappointing from last year but still an awesome accomplishment. At least 4 of the boys were sick with the stomach flu for the semi final game. Of course we then brought that home with us as Owen was up throwing up all night too.

Random Photos

Hello March !!

Back to the blog world again... sorry it's been awhile. As you can imagine we are kept busy with our 4 munchkins and Casey is the only one involved in things right now. I can hardly wait until summer when the boys and Casey will be in soccer and baseball!!. Owen turned 5 the end of January, John's b-day was in early February, Casey turned 11 early in March and I will be 37 this next week!! We have had so much to celebrate and to be thankful for.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

My sweet baby Gracie

Our wonderful friend Jenny took these pics. Aren't they great? I bought the pink tapestry in Ethiopia. I love that picture. It's funny how she doesn't even look like the same baby anymore!! She is getting so big...too fast! We are so in love with her. She doesn't like us to put her down for more than a few minutes but is happy as can be in our arms or in her Baby Bjorn. The kids have been great and are so happy to have her here.

Gracie's Baby Shower

Here we are....waiting to eat some cake. My wonderful sister and sister- in- law had a shower for Gracie and I about 2 weeks after we arrived home. We planned on having one mid January as we had not planned on traveling until the end of January. It was wonderful....(just like my sister and sister-in-law) I would highly recommend the Fischer Price Jumperoo. It is a Johnny jump up and exersaucer in one. She loves it. We got so many nice things from so many nice people.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Owen and Gracie

Adjusting to our new life.

Yes...I feel like I am already slacking in the blog world. It has been over a week since my last post. It is hard to find time to even get to the computer these days. Gracie had her Dr. appointment last week... all tests are good, except she had giardia. We completed her course of Flagyll on Wednesday. We will check again in one month. She is just a joy... we are so happy. We call her "doodie". This started from all her poops she had early on. We would ask her if she went doodie. So she now has gotten the name of doodie or dooders. She is getting so big. She likes to eat every 3 max of 4 hours and is taking 6 ounces at a clip. We started cereal last week and added green beans this week. She has not been real keen with this but is starting to accept her food. We had to do the cereal in the mouth and then stick the bottle in her mouth as soon as possible trick. I recall doing this with Owen. She is smiling and babbling and grabbing for everything. The kids love her and are great with her. Wyatt is learning to read and read his first book to me without my help a couple of nights ago. This is my first born baby reading!! I can't believe it. I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Born to Love thing about a baby, is that each step of the way, you simply cannot imagine loving her any more than you already do, because you are bursting with love, loving as much as you are humanly capable of, and then you do, you love her even more. (Anne Lamott)

Our week in Ethiopia with Gracie.

The week was filled with activities and down time. The time really did fly by. Sitting here now, I can't believe it is over. Of course our jouney has just begun, but all the planning, paperwork, praying, waiting, visiting blogs to try to figure out the approximate time we might travel.......that is over. The anticipation is over. In most ways I am very glad for that but in some ways am sad. I think it's the same feeling I had sitting in the whirlpool tub at the hospital after delivering my boys and running my hand over my belly, knowing I was not pregnant anymore. Life is made up of moments, these are the moments....the feelings I will never forget.
Let me first say that Hannah's Hope is wonderful ( I think as wonderful as a transition home can be). That is all because of Almaz. She has dedicated her life to these children and she really does consider them her children. She is so easy to talk to, so knowledgable and understanding. She has such a strong sense of self and I aspire to be like her. She runs a tight ship. The special mothers are caring and loving to the children. I thought they did a great job. The home is decorated nicely. It was great fun to play with the older children. I played volleyball with the older girls and John played soccer with the boys. One day I couldn't find John...and then one of the kids told me he was eating with the toddlers. Sure enough, there he was sitting on a toddler chair, at the toddler's table, eating Injera with the kids.
We went to Habesha... a great restaurnat with great Injera...twice. They had some dancers and singers doing native dancing. The women were beautiful... I'll post a pic. I wish I could have gotten just a head shot with them looking right at the camera. I have to say that the women of Ethiopia are some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and I am not just saying that because my daughter is Ethiopian. I find it funny that our Lonely Planet, Ethiopia, books cover page shows 2 men with paint on their faces and barely clothed. I think a lot of people think that this is what people look like in Africa. Almaz said National Geographic goes and finds the remotest tribal people and then photgraphs them. This is not what people in Addis look like. They are just like us.
We went shopping...we got coffee, and I got a scarf, tapesty, bracelet and cross and a bowl with Mary painted in it for Gracie. We bought the boys spacesuits from the Smithsonian store at the Dullas Airport in D.C. They love them... I think they'll use them more than any souvenier I could have found in Addis. We got Casey some colorful rocks from the Smithsonian and a bracelet from Addis.
Almaz sent us to the Hilton on our last day for a massage. 45 minutes for about 12 dollars. It was great. A bit immodest but great. They massage your front and back...of course avoiding the taboo areas.
We basically spent our days partially at Hannah's Hope, then some activity, then some time at the hotel. Gracie slept in the Moses basket that Almaz let us use while at our Hotel. She slept in the closet for some of the night. (It's a large closet and the doors were open) otherwise John and I would have had to be up with all the lights off.
The embassy appointment was on day 2. Seemed kind of funny that the whole appointment took about 5 minutes. All the work.....for 5 minutes. Oh well, It was fine.
The day we left was hard. I think Almaz tried to make it easier by not having us say good by to the staff and kids. The special mothers had already been crying during the week knowing Gracie was leaving. She thought saying good by would just bring on more tears. She was right. It was hard to see the older children as we first walked into Hannah's Hope. I am sure they are dissapointed when most of the people come to adopt the babies. I so would like to adopt an older child. We are already thinking about this.
How fortunate we have been to have been led to adoption. From the start of this tiny soul to the reality of bringing her home.
She has truly changed us all. We have returned different people. Not only because of her, but the people and places we have met and gone because of her. Africa, Ethiopia, the special mothers, Danny and Welde, Almaz, and the children of Hannah's Hope. They have all changed us as well. Love really is the answer. We're here only to teach love. When we're doing that, our souls are singing and dancing (Gerald Jampolsky M.D.)