Monday, February 28, 2011

The Post I Have Been Waiting To Post For...

...10 months, 1 week and 6 days!!!!!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Labor of Love

I think I am enduring my "labor" this weekend.  Ever since I got the call about Brittany's referral on Friday, I have had that sick-to-my-stomach, nervous/excited feeling.  Friday night I even had HEARTBURN! 

I remember Thursday evening, giggling to myself when I received Brittany's text that she was having similar symptoms.  It wasn't so funny when it was my turn =)

Last night we even had friends over for dinner...I was fumbling over my words and tripping over my own two feet.  My hands were even shaking as I was cutting up some bad, in fact, that I splashed chicken juice ALL OVER the kitchen floor on my way back to the sink.  By that point, I just shook my head and told Hubs, "I need you".  He came over to clean up after me and finish preparing the dinner that I couldn't pull myself together enough to complete =)

This morning I was all nervous to go to church, concerned I would be a blubbering mess.  Well unfortunately, that was not far from the truth.  During worship, the tears started flowing.  Then during "greeting" I had two people stop to pray for me (and thank you to each of you who did, it meant the WORLD) and that was the end of it.  It was one of those ugly cries too - you know, the constant stream of tears that you can't blot away with your handful of tissues, shaking shoulders, quivering lip sort of sob!  Yeah...I was a complete and utter mess.

So needless to say, I can feel it on the horizon.  I know that moment when I get to gaze at my daughter's sweet face is approaching soon.  And I'm ready.  No, her nursery isn't finished.  We're not done fundraising (more on that later).  Her closet is fairly empty.  But my HEART is ready.  We're ready to have some answers to those "unknowns".  Ready to have a face to put to the name.  Ready to answer the "how many kids do you have?" question with a proud "TWO!" 

Now I'm going to leave you with a sweet poem my friend Lori wrote for me (during church of all things, lol)!  It is just so precious.  This women is known for her cute little poems.  She even wrote one for me the week I missed church for being sick and sent it home with my, you're the best!!!  So here ya go!  I hope to update you with some AMAZING NEWS very soon!

Into all our hearts we've found
Little baby girl, small and brown.
May love surround you every day
And feel God's love in every way.
May God's hand be upon you now
Even though we don't know how.
To keep you fed and safe from harm
That the mothers would be taken with your charm.
That God would guard you on every side
Until finally in our arms you'll hide.


Monday, February 21, 2011

For Those Of You Waiting On The Lord

I don't think I can listen to this song enough today =)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Night Of Celebration!!! (+ ETHIOPIAN RECIPES!!!)

If you've been following my blog and our journey for some time now, you probably know that we have developed a very close-knit group of friends through our agency's yahoo listserv.  These fellow adoptive families are all in different areas of their journey: Jon and Janice came home with their sweet pea last year (shortly after we met).  Justin and Niki are leaving TOMORROW to bring home their long-awaited baby boy!  Chad and Tarah are anxiously waiting to pass court for their two littles.  And Erik and Darcee still wait (like us) to be matched with their daughter(s).  It still BLOWS MY MIND that we were connected solely because of our journeys to our children, but that we will FOREVER be friends!  I love you ladies and your families SO very much!!!

Well anyways....

Last week we were at this point that we knew Justin and Niki would be leaving for their 2nd trip soon, and once they were home they would be cocooning....and then it would be Chad and Tarah....and once they were out of THEIR cocoon Hubs and I would be nearing that stage...and then Erik and Darcee.....

SO ANYWAYS...we decided we better get together, and FAST before life get's so crazy that we don't see each other for several months.  So that's what we did!  Last minute...seriously, like the NIGHT BEFORE, I said, COME OVER!  I'm making ETHIOPIAN!  Amazingly enough, it worked out!  Some were without husbands, everyone (except for us of course, being at our house) were without kids.  I spent ALL DAY making Ethiopian food (not because it's that HARD, just because it tastes better that way) and it was AMAZING to share this dish together from the birth country of our children!

And let me tell you!  This was a night to celebrate!  Celebrating Justin and Niki preparing to BRING HOME their son!!!  Celebrating Chad and Tarah meeting their children and then soon following Justin and Niki back to Ethiopia!!!  Celebrating Hubs and I making it into the TOP 5 on the waitlist!  Celebrating Erik and Darcee in the TOP 10 on the siblings list!!!  It was all around smiles on our faces =)  Niki and Tarah both brought pictures of their recent trips to Addis and shared stories about not only their precious littles, but the other ones there a well.

Have I mentioned how much I love these ladies?!?  Thank you so much you guys for coming over and putting a smile on my face during this wait!

{Janice ~ Tarah ~ Darcee ~ Niki ~ Me}

{Janice ~ Tarah ~ Darcee ~ Niki ~ Me}

{Tarah ~ Niki}

And NOW for the part most of you have been waiting for - THE RECIPES!!!!  =)

{Sorry that I don't have have pictures of each of them!  I was too busy staring at pictures of Ethiopian cuties at Hannah's Hope to pay that much attention!}

***None of these recipes are my own!  They are found from multiple google sites and from other adoptive families.  I have "written" in my own special tweaks of what has worked for ME after making them a few times.  I'm sorry that I don't know where I found each recipe originally though.  =)

Doro Wat (Traditional Chicken Stew)

2 lbs Chicken Pieces {we used drumsticks only}
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
4 Tbs Vegetable Oil
2 cups Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp Fenugreek, crushed
1/2 tsp Cardamom, ground
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, ground
2 Tbs Berbere
4 Tbs Paprika
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 cup Water
2 Tbs Butter
1 Hard Boiled Egg per person

Remove skin from chicken and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt.
Heat oil on low heat and add onions, garlic, and ginger.  Cook until onions are brown.  Add fenugreek, cardamom, and nutmeg.  Stir well and add berbere, paprika, tomato paste, and water.  Bring all to a boil and cook slowly for 45 minutes.  Stir often and add water if necessary (should be like a heavy cream).  Add chicken and turn to coat.  Add butter.  Cook on low for 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through.  Take hardboiled eggs, cut 5 shallow slits in them and place in pot for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with injera.

Shiro (Vegetable/Side Dish)

1 lg Onion, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1-3 tsp Berbere
2-3 cups Water
1/2-11/2 cups Shiro (I use about 1c)
Salt to taste

In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until soft (about 5 minutes).  Turn off heat, place in blender and puree.  Return to pan, add berbere (I use about 1 hefty tsp, sometimes 2 depending on how spicey I want it) and a little water (so it does not stick) and stir to combine.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add water (I start with about 2 cups).  Begin to add 1/2 cup shiro powder, a little at a time so it does not clump.  I find it easiest to use a whisk for this.  You want it to be about the texture of hummus.
Serve with injera.  I have also found it AMAZING with pita chips =)

Himbasha Bread (Sweet Honey Bread)

1 cup Water
4 cups Flour (more or less, you want a dense dough, not really sticky)
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp Yeast
2 tsp Black Sesame Seeds
2 tsp Fenugreek, crushed/ground
2 tsp Thyme
2 tsp Cardamom, ground

Mix together flour (I usually start with 2 1/2 - 3 cups), salt, sesame seeds, thyme, cardamom, and fenugreek.  (I add the cardamom and fenugreek together in my magic bullet to grind them first.) Then add in the yeast (I was told not to put salt and yeast right next to each other that's why I add yeast last). Make a dam with the seasoning, add the oil, honey, and warm water in the middle of the dam and stir in circles slowly adding the surrounding flour. Add more flour as needed for a stiff dough. Once the dough starts separating from the bowl, put on a floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes until no longer sticky and smooth like a baby's bottom (except you'll obviously feel the seeds, lol). Place in a round pan and let rise (I put a little oil brushed over it and cover with saran wrap and a towel and place it near my heater since its COLD in my house). Then bake at 350 degrees until light golden brown, about 30 minutes. As soon as it gets out of the oven, brush with butter.

***You can also add more honey for an even sweeter bread if you want!

Yetimatim Saleta (Tomato Salad)

1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
11/2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp Pepper (freshly ground is best)

Combine all ingredients and let stand for at least a half an hour before serving.

***Was out of A LOT of ingredients but wanted something similar with my meal so I used the red onion, tomatoes, lemon juice and pepper...but added chives, iceburg lettuce and a little more lemon juice as needed and it was a delicious addition to our Ethiopian meal!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 Months

Today marks the 10 month anniversary of being put on the waitlist!  Back in April, when we got our first official waitlist number....we were quoted an 8-10 month wait to see our baby girl's face.  At that time, referrals were taking right about 8 months, so as you can imagine...we never DREAMED we would even make it to the 10 month mark.

Surprising even my expectations though, today has not been filled with tears or disappointment, but rather JOY! God has brought us SO far on this journey.  When I imagined this leg of this journey, I imagined a tear-filled, torturous wait.  And while this has been an emotional roller coaster, I continue to marvel at things God has taught me about myself:

I am capable of patience.
I can feel an overwhelming amount of love for someone I have never met.
My body can go through hormonal changes without a physical pregnancy.
I can experience the "peace that transcends all understanding".

Just to name a few...

Today I have a verse on my chalkboard (which I may or may not have told you about before) that I read everyday to remind myself of God's perfect timing.  Beneath it, I have our current number framed.  Next to that, is a giraffe...a gift from my friend Niki...the first item from my daughter's birth country that I get to hold in my hands!  But this isn't just any giraffe....this is a pregnant giraffe.  A giraffe's pregnancy lasts about 15 months, so I can relate to the creature right now!  (Although I feel more like an elephant, who has a 22 month pregnancy, at this point!)  These items are there to represent the missing member of our family, who we think about and pray for everyday.  Although I love looking at this right now...I can't WAIT to replace that number with a photo of my angel's face!  That day can't come soon enough =)


A Cinematic Adventure!

***Disclaimer: these photos were taken with my point and shoot and even I am extremely unimpressed with the quality.  That being said...bad photos are better than no photos at least in my book =)  The importance is that I documented this first!***

For Monkey's first trip to the movie theater, we went to our local downtown (small town) theater that plays one, maybe two movies a day.  We had been wanting to see TANGLED for quite some time...but there's something about getting a babysitter and going to an animated movie that just GETS to me.  If we're getting a babysitter...I want to do something ADULT-ish.  Sooo...we decided two just MIGHT be old enough to go.

As soon as we got into the theater doors, Monkey spotted the popcorn...

 He headed straight towards it as I started snapping some pictures.  Immediately the employees caught on that this was his first trip and announced the Tuesday special: free popcorn for first timers! =)  (Of course we bought a big 'ole bag and drinks for the two of us as well =)

After we found our seats, Monkey had to explore every square inch of the place...including the woman's bathroom where he QUICK got a diaper change before the movie started!

Up and down the aisle he ran!  Fortunately there was only 4 other people TOTAL in the theater...a dad with his daughter and a mom with her son.  They totally GOT IT and didn't mind his antics at all (PHEW!).

Yummy pop-a-corn!!!  Sittin' down to enjoy the movie...we'll see how long he lasts!

He coulda cared less about the pictures (or anything else for that matter) as long as popcorn was IN HIS LAP!

My boys =)  I love them!  (Doesn't my hubster look so handsome??  He's got the BEST smile...just in case you wondered where Monkey got it from =)

Chowin' down!  And notice the bags???  Yep, we came prepared with coloring books, story books, lots of cars, diapers, wipes, milk, chocolate, fruit name it!  The key to any successful toddler adventure is to BE PREPARED!!!!

So how did he do?  Not to shabby.  He could see just fine, but once the movie started he just preferred to be seated in one of our laps...which was just fine by us!  HE thought the movie had a slow start...meaning it just took a while for him to get into it.  But once the characters were really developed he seemed to enjoy it.  About 20 minutes before the end he tried to crawl off my lap saying "all done" so it took some effort to keep him there (note the BAGS of goodies...I think we went though 7 packs of fruit snacks?!?) but it was worth it. He had so much fun!  Although we won't be making this a NORMAL thing...its a fun treat every now and then...with the right movie.

And how was the movie???  All three of us really loved it!  Cutesie!!!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is gonna be a great day today, I just know it!  A great week!!!  If you would have asked me that at 4:30am when my two-year-old woke up screaming I might not have answered the same.  But after two hours of jumping in our bed he DID eventually pass out...and every minute of those two hours was completely worth it when I woke up to his peaceful face in my arms...and his daddy's right next to us! =)  Happy Valentine's Day to me...what could be sweeter???  (In fact, the two of them are STILL snoozing at 10:34am...Monkey's pooped out....guess that's why they say "no monkeys jumping on the bed" right?!?)

But BEYOND getting to spend Valentine's with my two favorite guys, I have a GOOD feeling about this week!  This is the FIRST time, I have woken up and thought, this could be our week!  The past SEVERAL couple of weeks I have woken up and thought, not this week...but maybe the next.  In all reality, we are unofficially close enough it could happen.  Especially knowing there are babies AT Hannah's Hope who need a family.  I guess it completely depend on if they are "paper ready" and how many boys vs. how many girls.  I guess I should say, I don't OVERLY have my hopes up....but this is the first time I've even had the THOUGHT it could be a life-changing week!  It's close, I know it is!

I was praying for my girl this morning....every time I pray for her, I pray that she has enough to eat, something to wear, a diaper to cover her bum, loving arms to hold her, and kisses touching those sweet cheeks every day.  This morning, I felt like I didn't need to worry about those basic needs being meet because maybe, just MAYBE, she is in the loving care of the special mother's at Hannah's Hope!  No, it's still not the same love she would get being HERE every day...with a mother and father and brother calling her family.  But from what I hear from every family who travels there, it is the best possible care she can receive until that day!


Friday, February 11, 2011

A HUGE First In This House!!!

I think most of you know I am a professional hair designer!  Which is really just a fancy way to say HAIRSTYLIST!  So I'm sure you can understand that a first haircut in this house is a HUGE deal!  So almost 2 1/2 years old, Monkey just had his FIRST haircut today!  Mama could have easily waited longer, but daddy was complaining about it just a wee bit too much.  He said I really should take my shears to that head of hair before it looked cRaZy!!!  Hahaha!  So TODAY was the day (much to my dismay).  But I put on a smile to make this as "picture perfect" as I could.  Too bad Monkey couldn't do the same...hehehee!  So PLEASE excuse the crazy face in this picture =)  He saw gummy bears and that was ALL he could think about!  I imagine in this picture he is thinking, "WHY is daddy just HOLDing them there???  I just want them IN MY MOUTH!"  LOL!

Mama & CRAZY-faced Monkey!

He wasn't so sure about the water bottle at FIRST....

Until I let HIM squirt it!!!

NOW he wants to get daddy (not the camera, Monkey...not the camera!)!!

Here we go...first snips!!!

(Check out mama's "quiet freak-out" face....I know I won't be twirling my fingers in that little curl any longer!)

Gettin' that faux-hawk back for daddy!

Breaking out the blow-dryer!!

Proof for you doubters out there that he DOES have some curl in there!  Nothing like his little sister will have...but it definitely puts a smile on my face! =)

The gummy bear in the mouth = priceless =)

So it's official!!  He really IS his father's son!  The cropped hair makes him look even more like his daddy even if it IS blonde =)

Still can't believe how big he looks - yikes!  (I know, I know...just wait until I have a BABY in my arms!)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"How are you doing?"

This is a question I hear a lot lately, for pretty obvious reasons.  Don't ask unless you're prepared for the answer...or for tears...or for a sarcastic laughter that attempts to hide the tears.

How am I doing?  Well, it's been 17 months, 3 weeks, and two days since we started this adoption journey.  It's been 9 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days that we've been on the official wait list.  I've seen "deadlines" that we have set for ourselves come and go with not even a glimpse into the reality of when that referral day will actually be.

Ever since Christmas we've been patiently waiting for that rush of referrals we keep expecting.  It's now the second week in February and we've had...maybe two???

We've had our hopes dashed time and time again, and yet somehow we press onward.  Why?  Because our daughter is waiting for us on the other end.  Because I would cross the ocean time and time again to bring her home (and realistically WILL).  Because God has called us on this journey and each day when I think I can't possibly wait a moment longer...He is teaching me to be more patient.

When I can't feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same
When I can't hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray
And I want you more than I want to live another day
And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful
{Lyrics from Brooke Fraser's "Faithful" which you can play below on my playlist}


Monday, February 7, 2011

February Number

In all honesty, I really didn't think I would even have a February number.  I thought we'd be celebrating a referral by now.  But apparently God's plans are not our plans.  I really can't complain...because I know with every ounce of my being that he has our daughter hand-picked for us!  I just never imagined we'd only be at this point right now.

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time, it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay."  Hab 2:3 (NIV)

I have that verse on the chalkboard in my kitchen right now and it is NOT coming down until I have a picture of our daughter to display!  I need to remind myself of that TRUTH every day and PRAY it and BELIEVE it.  It's not always easy, but I don't exactly have control over referrals now, do I?  But until I DO have news of a referral to share, I have a framed picture of Africa with our current number on it...which as of TODAY we are now unofficially number.....

Pray with me that our turn comes soon.