Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve...Still hasn't come yet... Passing the time with his bff Baby (grampa) is responsible for this! Notice Fasika is still trying to be "ghetto" and has rubbed off on her cousin Frankie!! This is the 2nd annual "be proud of what your Baby gave you, yo!"
Another cRaZy Christmas is over..... Apparently Santa thought we were all exceptional all year long-- I'm thinking he might have been watching the wrong family!!! For the past few weeks I've been threatening the kids with "Santa's watching" and "Do you really think that behavior/language is going to land you on the nice list??" Apparently the kids know Santa is a bit of a softy and is extremely flexible when it comes to them breaking the rules.

Is it bad that I sit here tonight..... thankful that Christmas is over?? Let me break it down for you...
Top 5 reasons I'm glad Christmas is over:

1. I can't afford another trip to the mall-- Seriously I'm sure GMAC is also happy Christmas is over-- they are patiently awaiting my car payment!! I have come to conclude that I can't afford Christmas AND my bills! Thank God Christmas only comes once a year!!!
2. I'm ready to put my house back in order. Ready to take the tree down and all of the clutter that decorating brings.
3. FOOD. I'm so full that I want to start my new year's diet NOW! (haha, that urge will be gone by morning, I'm sure!!)

4. The "Santa is watching" threats just aren't working anymore. I can now "ground" them from all of their new gifts-- hahaha!!
5. No more Christmas music at Walmart-- did anyone else notice that Walmart started playing Christmas music right after Halloween this year?!?!? Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously it was sooo early.
After all of the excitement and all of the presents the kids are finally sleeping!! Right before Thomas fell asleep, he said "mommy, how many day's till Christmas??" That same question I happily answered several times a day for the past 25+ days.... I answered, "365 sweetie!! Just enough time for mommy to catch up on bills and pay off Christmas 2009!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little bit of Crazyness......

I'm not sure whose idea this was, but I got stuck taking the pictures!! My 3 kiddo's plus my sisters 2, always = TROUBLE! My nieces, Chesnee and Francesca are a couple of crazy little girls! Chesnee is the cutest little DEVIL you'll ever meet!! Francesca is just a sweetie (& and little sour too!!) Anyway, when you get the whole crew together they are sure to melt your heart (OR drive you crazy.... right Meme??)

Soo, here they are

Like O.M.G!!!!
VAMPIRES... (yea, vampires.... idk)

Silly (normal for kids this age...)Hott (Hott?? yes I said Hottt. At this age, you might ask?? That was deff Chesnee's idea!!)
I'm not sure what happened to the "typical" photo shoot poses, such as say cheese, silly faces, mean faces. Oh how times have changed....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My excuse....

Ok, so I don't have an excuse...
So here was the conversation last night right around dinner time:
Thomas: Mommy, what's that smell??
Me: That's dinner....
Thomas: Dad's home??
Me: Nope, not yetttt...
Thomas: Well, what's that smell?
Me: Dinnerrrr
Thomas: But where's dad??
Me: On his wayyyy
Thomas: but....?
(with a confused look on his face...)
And then the sad reality hits-- When daddy usually walks in, SO does the smell of dinner-- yup, that's when you know you get take-out wayyy too much..... oh and one last hint-- when you call the local restaurant (Behind the Scenes, soooo yummy!!) and they say... "You guys want the usual??"
Sad, so sad!! So tonight (just right now), I've decided that I'm going to get better at planning dinners around here-- Not only is take-out expensive, it's just NOT healthy. And it's not like I don't go to the grocery store every week and spend way too much money, and I really do LOVE to cook, so this should be an easy task!
Ok, that's my plan-- as I sit here (waiting for Chinese to arrive! yum!) I'm already thinking about next weeks dinner menu, and it does NOT include McDonald's, China Town, Behind the Scenes, Friendly's or Applebees!! =)
Ok, got to go-- daddy's home, and SO is dinner!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

WARNING: It's Contagious and I HOPE you get it!!

Soo over the weekend I had a special request on my ETSY website for 5 of my Hands for Africa Pendants, it's by far my largest quantity of necklaces in a single order-- so I was curious and asked the buyer if she had a handful of friends/family in the adoption process, and she said....

"Actually no. My friends and I decided last year to give money to a charity instead of gifts for Christmas. I am giving a donation to Doctors Without Borders as their present this year, saw your pendent and thought it would be nice to give them so when they wore it they would think of the donation."

I just packaged up the necklaces, added a few of my favorite decals and sent it on it's way-- I feel so honored to be a part of this!! It gives me even more determination to fundraise and put all the money to good use. Sometimes I sit here and I think of how much needs to be done, it's so overwhelming, it almost seems like a task that is impossible achieve. Then I come across people like this, like Debbie and I realize that every little bit helps-- and if we all pitch in WE can make a difference, to a child, to a family, to an entire village. It's contagious, one person gives and touches the heart of another and it continues on and on and on.... soo, the next time I sit here and think to myself... "can I truly make an impact?" I will be at peace and know I can because I am inspired by people like Debbie and maybe, just maybe, someone will be inspired by me and someone by them and on and on and on... I can only hope.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Is it dead yet, mommy??"

Sooo that was the question of the day on Thanksgiving-- Maybe because I made the mistake of letting the kids help me prepare the turkey.... cut open the package, uncover the hairless bird, dump the bloody mess from the wrapping, pull out the neck and other nasty insides-- they left the kitchen in complete disgust and wandered off with too many questions. I hear their discussions from the kitchen, Thomas says "I'm gonna ask dad if he'll get us McDonalds, I am not eating a dead bird."

Finally, when the buzzer rang and the turkey came out of the oven, Fasika comes running out and says "is it dead yet mommy??" LOL, I laughed and said of course, it's all cooked! Autumn says "well, is it a he or a she turkey? I bet the boy ones are nasty." I thanked Autumn for her input and changed the subject quickly-- Fasika continues to watch as I scoop the stuffing out and says "mommy, I'll eat some of that turkey, but I am NOT eating it's guts!" At dinner it was decided that the turkey was indeed a girl, because it tasted just too good to be a boy! Thomas was too busy claiming his olives to be concerned about the turkey!
You DO love your mommy!
Soo much to be thankful for....
Another happy turkey day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LOVE that smile!

It doesn't take much to get a smile out of that pretty face!! Give this girl a pile of leaves and you'll be lucky if she makes it in for dinner! I've always been amazed at how content she is with the simplest things-- No bells and whistles needed for this sweet girl! For now, we've got leaves, and soon we'll have SNOW, and then, her personal favorite-- MUDD! Got to love Vermont!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood, Texas

Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those killed and wounded in the tragic shooting at Fort Hood. Please show your support and lower flags to half staff from now until Veteran's Day, on November 11th.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hands for Africa Pendant

Hands for Africa Pendant BACK IN STOCK! Finally! They are soooo much work!! Check out my etsy shop!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All about AUTUMN

Autumn LOVES her little brother
LOVES to Laugh
LOVES animals
LOVES her sister & her mommy
Autumn is a great little artist-- she LOVES to draw, scrapbook, and do anything creative! She loves to write stories and write in her journal-- her last story she wrote was about "wore" AKA, war, and how the fighting and killing makes her sad. She is such a little thinker and sometimes worries about things that an 8 year old shouldn't even be thinking about. She is super sweet and wants everyone to be happy. She's an animal lover and says someday she'll have one of everything! She loves to laugh, sing, dance, and listen to music. Autumn LOVES school and her friends and even got an award for student of the week! She's practically an Angel!!! (haha with the occasional tantrum of course!)
I can't believe how fast she's growing up- I love every second of it, everyday she makes me more proud to be her mommy.

One for you and One for Me.....

THIS is what happens when Mommy is busy doing something else and her son says "Mommy, can me and Fasika ..........blah......blah.......(and the rest is a blurrrr). And of course, being preoccupied doing WHO knows what..... I say "Sure sweetie!"

Luckily for me, they checked the nutritional facts before digging in!!

What more could a mom ask for????

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1 Week until school

I can't believe it's that time already-- Is summer really almost over?? My kids are excited to go back to school, although I don't think they realize that they will be away from Mommy for 7 hours a day. I've always stayed home with them and loved our time together. Autumn, who will be 8 next month has struggled with separation anxiety the past two years and even begs me to home school her.... LOL, and I do mean LOL. There is NO way I could be disciplined enough to home school my kids, not to mention I really think they need the social interaction of their peers and a teacher, which I am NOT!
This will be Thomas and Fasika's first year of full-time school. Fasika is soo independent I am not at all worried about her. Thomas on the other hand is a TOTAL mommy's boy and I am afraid he will have a difficult time with this transition. He's even worried about missing his puppy, Beef! They are truly best buddies and have been since Beef joined our family more than a year ago!! Thomas and Fasika will be in the same class with the same teacher. I was unsure if I should place them together or separate them. I talked to them about it and their pre-school teacher and we all decided that they would do best together. Thomas and Fasika are buddies and really have a blast playing with each other. They are very protective of each other, sometimes too protective! Just the other day Fasika was playing on the floor with one of her friends when her friend ripped her favorite baby doll right out of her hands.... Fasika said "Tommy John, Kaylee took my toy" Thomas walked over and demanded Kaylee to "GIVE IT BACK" or he would have to take it from her. Kaylee obeyed, Fasika said "thanks handsome boy" Thomas looked back as he walked away and said "Now be nice to my Sista!" LOL, it was sooo cute.

AND did I forget to mention that the thought of getting 3 kids, PLUS my husband ready for school/work and out the door on time terrifies me!! I don't want mornings to be chaos, I don't want any yelling, I don't want any fighting. I want to send them off for the day happy and smiling and prepared. I do not want to send my kids to school unprepared. I'm afraid I will forget to pack sneakers on gym day, or books on library day, or a special toy on show & tell day, 3 snacks, 3 lunches, 3 water bottles, HOMEWORK ......oh and the list goes on. Organization is KEY, but when "Completely Organized Chaos" describes my family/life I am afraid that we are in for some rocky mornings!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bitter sweet

I had to go birthday shopping for miss Fasika tonight-- I can't believe she's going to be 5 on Saturday, seriously I'm in shock. She seemed so little 15 months ago when we brought her home. She was even wearing size 2T clothing- she was just a little peanut- My little baby is going to be 5!! Well, it seems like she has just grown up overnight. She has come so far in the short 15 months we've been home. She now speaks perfect English (and has for more than 8 months), she has grown 6 1/2 inches and has gained 5 lbs, rides a bike, loves to go on sleep-overs, and is completely independent. Is it because I missed the 1st 3 1/2 years of her life that it feels like she's grown up so fast?

I sometimes think what it would have been like to hold her as an infant, to see her first smile, to watch her take her first steps, and have all those memories that I cherish so much with my bio kids. It comforts me to know that her mom was able to have those special memories with her. I sometimes feel guilty when I hear the sounds of Fasika's laughter, kiss her boo boo's, feel her soft skin, or hear her call me "mommy." I know her mom's heart is aching for her and would give anything to hold her again.

As her birthday is only 3 days away. I know her family is especially thinking of her during this time. As I plan Fasika's birthday party, a celebration that celebrates the miracle of life-- I know on this day, the day her mom who labored for hours and held her for the first time, the day her dad cried tears of joy to hold his baby daughter. Her mom told us that it was in the evening when Fasika was born, shortly after dinner. She said Fasika was a "big healthy baby" and that she gets her amazing out-going personality from her dad. She was so proud to tell us this story.

As I promised her mom, Fasika will ALWAYS know that she has a family in Africa who loves and misses her dearly. I have decided that we will pull out our video from our birth-family meeting and listen to her mom tell us the story about the day Fasika was born. I hope Fasika feels the love and happiness her mother felt during that time. It doesn't feel like it's enough, even though it's all I have. Why does my JOY have to be her GRIEF????
So.... Tonight, as I sit here, ready to wrap Fasika's birthday presents, I am torn. Torn between my joy of sharing my daughters 5th birthday with her and the sadness that her mom will not see the happiness and joy on her daughters face.
I came across this poem online and loved it:
My Child's Birthday
It's my child's birthday He just went dashing by His eyes are sparkling with the excitement meant only for today. Presents, kisses, hugs, cake, ice cream.
It all seems so natural. It's a day of looking back and looking forward.
It's my child's birthday But there is something different happening inside me.
This should be a day of complete joy A day for Thanksgiving But in the midst of all this excitement I pause, because my thoughts are about someone else for a time.
It's my child's birthday I have no memories of his life growing inside me and fighting to be released. Another someone was there Another someone suffered for my joy.
It's my child's birthday But someone, somewhere, is feeling emptiness inside.
I'm sure she is wondering Who he looks like If he is big or small. Wondering if he laughs much. It's my child's birthday And in the midst of this blessed day that was given to me I have a prayer. Oh God, that I may never forget that someone suffered so much to give life to my child. That someone loved my child so very much that she gave him the right to live.
May I never forget for a moment and especially now, today, to offer a prayer of thanks for that someone and that you, dear God, will always be there for that someone to help her through the hurts she will have when she stops to think that today is "my child's birthday."
© Unknown

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let me tell you about how an orphan changed my life....

Help me in Defending the cause of the Orphan.... From Tom Davis' blog:

In your own words and experiences express your POSITIVE and FULL OF LOVE adoption story, here's your chance to help defend the orphan:

1. Write a "positive protest post" on your blog that references the movie, Orphan.2. Focus on your orphan care or adoption story that is positive, redeeming, and full of love.3. Link your post here via a trackback or comment.4. Send out an e-mail, Facebook message, or tweet to get others to do the same on their blogs.

If you don't have a blog, post your store on the
Christian Alliance for Orphans Site.

Just finish this sentence: "Warner Bros. new horror movie Orphan proclaims that it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own. Let me tell you about how an orphan changed my life..."

I am the mom to 3 amazing children. All 3 a blessing. All 3 make my heart melt. All 3 make me laugh and give me my highest highs. All 3 make me cry and give me my lowest lows. All 3 require my sweet kisses on their boo boos. All 3 crave my attention. All 3 are the reason I get up and work my ass off everyday. All 3 call me MOMMY and I couldn't live one day without anyone of them.

Did I mention one of 3 was adopted??? Ummm, NO. In our eyes it doesn't matter how our child came to be a part of our family, whether it was through the amazing miracle of birth or through our amazing journey of adoption. Both journeys have their own ups and downs, neither one more significant than the other-- just different paths that led me to being a mommy of 3.

I THANK GOD for the option to grow my family through adoption, without it, my once "orphan" daughter wouldn't be one of the (3) biggest miracles in my life. Oh, and there is NOTHING about her that is "HARD" to love. Quite the opposite actually!! She is simply amazing, simply sweet, simply naughty, simply beautiful, simply MY DAUGHTER (adopted or NOT)

Obviously anyone who would think that a once "orphan" child would be hard to love, has not been touched by a child who is now thriving in a loving family. A family who wished, prayed, and longed for a child to call their own. A family whose life is much richer because of an "orphan." A family whose dreams have come true because of an "orphan." A family who is a FAMILY because they were blessed to be parents of an "orphan"

Orphan = simply a BLESSING

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Almost out of Stock!

One of my favorite items from our shop is almost permanently out of stock. This cute little frame is painted black, lightly distressed and finished with a super gloss finish. It hangs with black and white ribbon. It's an adorable addition to your nursery or any room in your home. The quote "As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person" By Paul Shane Spear, is written around the design. This custom design was created by Jim Goodell, it features a child's hand print sketched over the earth. The shape of Africa with a red heart over Ethiopia.
Thanks to everyone who has purchased this item and supported our daughters village of Aleta Wondo! Only 5 left..... Visit our shop!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I just ordered these adorable cards and can't wait to get them in the mail. They are made with love to make a difference! Kids helping kids!
10 cards created with art work by Oskar and 9 friends. The etsy price is $12.50 as it is USD this takes into the currency rate as they are being sold in Canada for more. The theme Selam (Peace) was the inspiration for all of these cards. Each card has the name of the artist on the front and a description of the Oskar for Ethiopia Project on the back. The cards come with 5 yellow and 5 green envelopes and are tied with a red ribbon. These are the colours of the Ethiopia Flag! 100% of the profits go to put children in Ethiopia in school. It is Oskars wish and his goal is to send at least as many kids to school as he has in his class, 25.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A special gift.....

The night before we left for Africa to bring home our sweet little girl my sister gave me a special little gift. A gift that would have more meaning to me and my daughter than I even realized. In the small little gift bag were two matching necklaces one small and one large, both in the shape of circles, light pink with polka dots. The larger one with the letter "V" for Valerie and the smaller one with the letter "F" for Fasika. I, of course put my necklace on right away and put Fasikas in my suit case to bring with us the next day.

After 26 hours of travel we arrive in Ethiopia, anxious to meet our little girl for the first time. Our driver picked us up at the airport, drove us to the guest house, unloaded our bags and then walked us to the orphanage where our daughter was. When we arrived all of the children were eating lunch. I spotted Fasika right away..... she was wearing the pink sweat suit, slippers, necklace and bracelet's I had sent for her months before. I couldn't wait to touch her, I wanted to run over to her and squeeze her as hard as I could..... but I didn't =) We spent about 3o minutes at the orphanage before Fasika was packed up and ready to leave and head to the guest house with us, where we'd be spending the week. When we got back to our room i pulled out her necklace and put it around her neck. right away she noticed it was the same as mine, just smaller and with a different letter. From that second on, we were bonded. She was officially MINE and I was officially HER'S. We'd go back to the orphanage to visit with the other children over the course of the week and she'd show everyone that we were the same and we were TOGETHER and that I was HER mom and she was MY daughter.

We've been home for a year now. I have put Faskia's necklace away in our special treasure chest full of little treasures until she is old enough to take care of it. I wear my necklace often and she always says "mommy your Africa MY MOMMY necklace" It's soo cute!! Our necklaces will always represent togetherness for us

So, in the works for my etsy web site, i am creating a mother/daughter pendant in hopes that it will bring the same special bond for another mother & daughter as it did for me and Fasika. Also makes a great gift for best friend, cousins, or sisters!!

Check it out!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to me..... I'm a little firecracker!!

So this is what 30 looks like.....
But, shhhh! I'm still telling everyone I'm 26!! =)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Africa Pig

Ok... so here it is-- "Our Africa Pig"

The Goal: Fill the pig & go to Africa!

The Rules: It's pretty simple really... At the end of EVERYDAY any change; quarters, dimes & nickles and any $1.00 (occasionally 5's & 10's) bills get dropped in the Africa pig. Sometimes that even means raiding daddy's pockets, car and wallet!!

Everyone is pitching in!! Thomas even donated his birthday money & all of the kiddo's have emptied their own piggy banks into the Africa pig!!

I have NO idea how much money is in the pig as of now-- I have to talk myself out dumping it and counting it daily. It's getting pretty heavy and we still have a long way to go!!!!

Here is your fair warning, if you enter our house you might be mobbed by my kids (or myself) to empty your pockets into our PIG-- here it is sitting right by the door!!!
Thanks in advance!! =)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My dad, my hero!
The top 10 reasons my dad is the best!!
10. No need to have proper parts for any job-- my dad can "rig" anything!!
9. He ALWAYS has a job to tinker on
8. My dad is a super hero-- as a kid I used to think he was even strong enough to pick up our house!!
7. He always knew the best trick-or-treating houses to hit
6. He made the best bologna sandwiches with mustard smiley faces
5. Makes the best burnt hot dogs
4. A major 'softy' .... you can talk him in to ANYTHING!
3. My dad is super supportive. Even if he hasn’t always agreed with me and the things I’ve wanted to do, he has always been there for me and helped me accomplish my goals.

2. My dad is a proud man. He showed me the importance of being true to myself no matter what. There is no shame in knowing what you want and standing up for yourself. No matter how big or small my differences with others, he’s always assured me of the importance of staying true to me and being proud of myself for the person I am.

And the #1 reason MY dad is the world's best dad.....
He taught me to appreciate all the small things in life, the importance of family & friends, the value of a dollar (even tho my mom would disagree!! LOL), and he has the biggest HEART of anyone I have ever met. He is truly my hero and I'm proud to be his daughter.

*He is the best "BABY" (grampa) in the whole world and we couldn't imagine a day without him!! He's always a good sport-- whether he's getting his make-up done or his nails painted by one of his SIX granddaughters (I WONT post the pics =) or if he's crusin' in his hot rod with his ONLY grandson-- he's the proudest grampa around!!

Love ya Dad, Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Artificial twinning... trouble X 2!

Artificial twinning is an expression used to describe unrelated children in a family whose birth dates are less than 9 months apart. These can be a combination of biological and adopted siblings, adopted only, step or foster siblings. In our case our biological son and our adopted daughter are only 6 weeks apart in age.

I am often stumped when I get asked about my children from strangers. I always say I have a 7 year old and two 4 year olds. Of course they always say "TWINS?" I'm not really sure how to answer.... I usually say "umm, I guess you could say so" that usually leaves them completely confused and gets me out of explaining the WHOLE story.

There are some agencies and families who oppose artificial twinning, claiming it disrupts birth order-- but for us, it was perfect for our family. Both our son and our daughter have adjusted well and are just like any other brother and sister. They are in the same pre-shcool class and love having the comfort of each other when needed. They, of course are the best of friends and the worst of enemy's-- they & sister! Don't mess with one, unless you want TROUBLE x 2!