Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Year

December 8, 2008 we were surprised to receive a call from our adoption agency that they had a referral for us (our dossier had been sent off 6/11). Due to concerns about his size and a diagnosis of failure to thrive on his chart in ET they waited a few days to send us the picture. They advised that we have our Int. Adoption Dr. review the medical info. We were emailed this picture of this beautiful child a few days later and now I had a face to put with this child that I had been praying for for about 2 1/2 years .

This is amazing, unbelievable! God is so good! Less than one year later these pictures were taken! Taye is obviously thriving and our family is thriving with this new little one to love!
No more tiny little running steps, on his toes. This kid can fly!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tree Shopping

So after a crazy week, with all kinds of missed blogging opportunities, we headed out to a tree farm early Saturday morning to cut down our own tree. I was so pumped-- I love new experiences and this is something I have never done. Usually Kevin and Brecken go to a place in town and pick up a Frasier Fir that is already cut. * Side note-- I read that getting trees from tree farms is actually more "green" than artificial trees-- unless you keep your tree for more than 20 years. We have a 10 y/o old artificial tree and it is not looking good I can't imagine it at 20-- well actually it didn't look great when we bought it. Now, since we do both (real and fake) I am a little unsure where we stand.* We are all bundled up in our winter gear for the first time this year and the temp is in the 30's. We get to the farm and they give us a saw, a mat (to sit on), and a long measuring stick. They point us in the direction of the type of tree that we like and we are off.

After trekking to the end of the row and back we think we found one we agree on. Kait has only knocked me in the head twice with the measuring stick. :) The saw remains safely in Kevin's control! We take a vote on the tree-- it has to be in our price range and then meet our requirements for height and fullness. Everyone agreed this was the one except Bella who at this point was cold, her boots were too tight, and her mittens too itchy.
Taye loves wearing his mittens (that won't stay on for anything). He wore them and looked at them the whole way to the farm! He loved everything about the day!

The men are working on sawing down the tree. Then, our saw broke in half-- I think this kind of stuff only happens to Kevin! Luckily, a nice family who had just finished was walking by and offered us their saw as well as a few tips. We had the tree down on no time!

We are heading back to the barn to have it shaken out and a hole drilled. Bella is seeing the end of this outdoor experience and is starting to feel happier!

Home for hot chocolate and decorating!
Only after Taye was napping was anyone allowed to touch the tree. Bella was totally in her element, as was Kait. Kevin and Breck hung a few things and headed off to work on a float for the Christmas parade. By the time Taye was up the tree was done-- he loved it-- I wish I had a picture of his face but this one is really sweet!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Times!

We got to hang out with Liz and Ryan (my sis and bro- in- law) Saturday afternoon! Our kids all took naps or disappeared (and didn't even trash stuff) and we could actually just talk. Love it!! Note this girl's decorations-- and I'm accused of being too early :)-- looks great!
These two are such good buddies!

The party moved to my parents for an amazing Thanksgiving feast. Taye loves turkey and after his little cousins left the table he went around and finished their turkey for them! yummmmm!

Taye and his darling cousin Macy-- DO NOT leave these two alone! Double Trouble!

Speech and ballet are cancelled today so we are totally enjoying a Monday at home! Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Coming!

The Christmas jammies arrived today and I even listened to Christmas music! Yeah! I love the Christmas season! So fun that it is Taye's first Christmas here-- what is he going to think about everything?!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More, More, More!

Nope, this post is not about the amazing Beth Moore conference that I was blessed to attend this last weekend. That WAS an absolute answer to prayer-- great time with friends, powerful worship, and solid Bible teaching.

We have had another prayer answered though-- Taye has about six words and is even saying "more" without being cued, at the appropriate times-- you know, MORE candy, MORE movies, MORE playing! :) He has been wearing his hearing aids for a little over a month now and is doing so great with them! He amazes me with how he keeps them in and willingly works to repeat words that you want him to say. According to the hearing tests he is still not picking up much sound but he is definitely using all that he has to try to put sounds together! As of now we have an appt. with a cochlear implant team scheduled for December. This may have to be delayed d/t insurance issues but we are praying that we can move as fast as possible. He is such a sponge and the sooner he has more access to sound, the more likely it is that he will really thrive with implants.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Early Treats!

A sweet across -the- street -neighbor invited us over tonight b/c she doesn't want the bunch of older kids on Halloween. The kids were thrilled to have another chance to dress up, see friends, of course get candy, umm I mean visit their elderly neighbor :) We had a fairy, a dancer, Luke Skywalker (brand new territory - I had to look him up online to make sure he was okay) and a cute dog. You may also notice-- we have a BUNCH of leaves! Luckily I don't have to rake them all!
You can kind of see Taye in the middle with his hood on-- seriously you just want to eat him up-- so cute! We met up with some other neighbors which was super fun!

The adorable crew of kids!
Funny story about the dog outfit-- Brecken wore the thing for 4 years. he agreed to retire it last year for a knight costume but he still wears the dog thing around the house sometimes. I hate the idea of buying costumes for Halloween-- so of course Taye has inherited the dog and it looks like it might fit him for 4 years as well. I did break down and get Brecken's pants and shirt at Target for 30% off (he had the boots and sword). I am hoping now when he is playing with the girls he can be a guard or something instead of their dog.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend events

I got THIS at the farmer's market Saturday morning! Brussel Sprouts are so cool-- I have never eaten them before or even actually seen them on the stem. Brecken loved them raw-- in fact the quote of the weekend was "Brecken, seriously stop eating all the brussel sprouts"-- the child is NOT normal! Love the farmer's market! Ours closes after next weekend- bummer.
Bella got her first real haircut. At 4! Our girls take forever for their hair to really come in and thicken up. She only had a tiny bit trimmed off because she wants it to get really long.. like Rapunzel.. that should be interesting to try to comb out. You can kind of see how long it is though when you pull it straight. Almost double. I am going to have to straighten it some day for fun.

Yes... Taye is wearing underwear. I didn't want to deal with this yet. I hate public restrooms, touching everything, ahhhh! I was planning on waiting until after Christmas-- diapers with a lot of traveling are really nice. I want him to be a baby for a while. The signs were there though. Waking up dry after 12 hours (yeah, he has also been sleeping through the night consistently for a month!!!). Asking to be changed right after he would go in his diaper. He could practically change his own diaper for pete's sake. Then, we switched him from his high cal formula to lactose free milk. I was thinking about not buying formula and started thinking about not buying diapers either. The next thing I knew, I was in the basement digging out Breck's tiniest undies. The next few weeks should be interesting. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some Recipes

Okay, here are a couple recipes that I am loving right now for my crock pot. These are both from Kev's A. Carla's cookbook and I changed them a little bit-- tweak them to fit the ingredients that you have on hand and what your family likes.

Sunshine Chicken

8 chicken breasts place chicken in slow cooker. combine other ingredients and
2 c. BBQ sauce pour over chicken. cook on low for 8 hours. we had this with
1 c. apple cider or o.j. rice the first night and then shredded the leftovers and froze it
1/2 c. water for sandwiches the next week.
1/4 c. honey

So this one surprised me-- I was pretty skeptical about spaghetti in the crock pot but we really liked it!

1lb ground beef- browned 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 lb ground sausage- browned 1 (47 oz) can tomato juice
2TBSP dry minced onion pepper to taste and some ground red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt 16 oz dry spaghetti
1 tsp garlic powder broken into 4-5 in pieces
1 TBSP brown sugar

Mix everything in crock pot except spaghetti. Stir well. Cook on low 6-8 hours (or high 3.5 hrs). Turn to high last hour and stir in dry spaghetti.
Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy ~and I would love to get some of YOUR favorite crazy week night recipes! Let me know if you are posting some! Thanks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Five Favorites

My friend Jenny suggested posting five favorites and I love the idea!

For the most part I only get around to posting updates on Taye but I do have a little bit of a life outside of the kids (not much though). :)
So - here are a few things I'm loving right now-

1. My new French Press! Whoa-- this coffee is so good. Fresh ground Gobena in it is great!

2. Reading in bed-- down pillows, down mattress cover, and down comforter! I just finished Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Patton-- great read. Thanks for the suggestion Betsy!

3. Clean windows-- We have lived in our house for 4 years; because it is so tall and the windows are huge, cleaning the outside is a daunting, somewhat unsafe job. I saw someone doing an awesome job on the windows at Chick- fil-a the other day and asked him to do ours. A friend that was with me there laughed, BUT when they came to clean them the other day-- she happened to be here and they are going to her house soon. It inspired me to clean the inside really well and I love it! Especially with the awesome fall colors outside!

4. Honeycrisp Apples from MI-- the best-- practically dessert! The fact that they come from just down the road from one of our favorite places (the lakehouse) makes them that much better!

5. My Slow Cooker a.k.a. crock pot. Having minimal food prep to do b/twn 4 and 6 pm is a sanity saver! I have found some really good recipes lately and probably use it at least once a week.

So, what are your 5 favorites right now?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taye's "ears"

We got Taye's hearing aids (ears) last Wednesday! I tried to get a picture with them but they are really hard to see. He loves wearing them and pretty much leaves them in except for when he's is sleeping- which is great! He is so persistent that if he didn't want them it would be a full time job to make him wear them! We have already noticed him making some new sounds and responding to loud sounds! He is also much quieter - really nice!! ;)
It is so cool how well they stay in-- he wears them when wrestling with Breck, to gymnastics, jumping in the trampoline and they are usually fine!

At this point we are not increasing the number of days of speech/ listening therapy, just trying to increasing the intensity of the therapy and obviously us working with him as much as possible. Hence, the delayed post-- it is intense sometimes! I feel like he has missed so much and want to try fill every extra minute with giving him as much as possible-- he is such a little sponge! What fun to see new little pieces of his personality unfold! My current favorite is-- he will hold his pointer finger up as to say-- just a minute, then he will start to walk away to get something and after a few steps turn, hold his finger up again and nod at me like-- keep waiting, he runs to get what he wanted and then runs back-- totally excited that he told me what to do!

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Sister; New Nephew

Little Clive Denver Riley. Born in Doha, Qatar on September 26th to Ryan and Betsy. I love this picture because he looks a lot like our girls in it. So precious!
Ashley- my new sister, married my little brother Harold on Sept. 26th. She is so great and it was a very memorable day! :)

Bella and my niece Emrie-- sweet flower girls waiting with their daddies

Brecken and Cade-- they look innocent here but watch out!

Taye looked so handsome! He loved all the excitement!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

overnight stay

Some girl time at the American Girl Store
Some boy time at the Lego Store

Taye had some Grandma and Grandpa time this weekend.
The first time that we left him overnight! He did great. We missed him so much but it was good to have some focused time with the older kids for 24 hours. I posted the "store" pictures but the time together was so much more than that-- getting eye to eye with each of them and being able to give them our full attention was great. Leaving your children after adoption seems like a controversial topic with a lot of strong opinions. Our social worker had suggested that it would be wise to occasionally leave Taye with another family member. Especially if the plans were not conducive to taking a two year old with you. For our family right now, this was a good suggestion, We had a lot of fun but were so glad to all be back together-- there was no doubt that someone was missing with out that little sweetie!
btw- I think Taye had a great time. He is sitting here looking at the picture with a huge smile doing the sign for grandma and waving excitedly! Thanks Mom G!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Taye's first time at a birthday party-- a really great one too-- complete with a bounce around, a ride around town on the Boilermaker Special waving at complete strangers (one of his favorite things), and cupcakes with a ridiculous amount of frosting. His shirt is actually white again thanks to bleach!

Bella started ballet-- a long awaited event! She LOVES it! I LOVE it! :)
Taye watching the girls dance(siblings are not allowed in the dance studio). I love his shirt, even if Kevin thinks it is a little too 80's. $4.50 at TCP

Just some of the fun things going on here this week.
Of course there are some not so fun things like a 2 year old who wants to constantly test you to see if no still means no. Or maybe, kids that come for dinner COVERED in dirt while wearing brand new school clothes and on the day that the bath tub was cleaned and floors were mopped of course. They act offended that I was annoyed with them-- "well moooom, we were having so much fun throwing dirt and then it is ruined because we got in trouble." Too bad, at least change your clothes next time.:) It is all good now-- Daddy put them to bed and tomorrow is a new day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Official!

Yesterday was a huge day! I feel like that is the only time I have been posting lately-- hopefully I can get back to some regular stuff.

Taye had molds made for his first set of hearing aids. We should have them by the end of the month. He did great and of course totally charmed the audiologist and student we were working with, as well as several other people on campus. He waves and smiles at everyone and loves to "talk" to people. We don't have high hopes that the aids will help enough but of course we will be thrilled if they do! In the mean time-- his personality, signs, and vocalizations make him quite good at getting his point across and making friends. That afternoon we went to the court house to complete our re adoption and officially change his name! The judge was really nice and the kids loved being part of it. Our lawyer was great!!!-- Thanks Stu! I actually got tears in my eyes as the judge was making his comments and then finalizing the adoption. It felt like the end of a long and life changing process, but the start of this new journey we would have never guessed!
After we were finished at the courthouse, the kids decided that the afternoon was much to special to go back to school, unfortunately Kevin did have to go back to the office. We had a great time at a little zoo and playing at the park! This goat looks really nice-- until it started to eat my red skirt-- seriously! Then, it started to eat Kait's blue dress and Bella started to get really freaked out! We quickly moved on to the animals that are enclosed!

They were so tired! They managed to get the energy to walk to the ice cream store for drinks and cones and then it was home for baths. We actually got them to bed at 7:45 that night -- which never happens but was so nice!!!! (I think I might try for that again tonight)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Transition Time

ice cream and silliness
bike rides

hey jenny g-- doesn't he look good in orange and blue ;0

an update- long overdue

Summer has been so fun! The kids started school today so that means it's ending, I guess. When I was in middle school there was kind of a big debate about year round school. I remember feeling horrified at the thought, and doing an assignment that involved writing a persuasive argument about why or why not to have year round school. I have to say-- I still love the long weeks of summer!
With the start of the school year, Kevin and I feel like we are getting ready to dive into a new classroom too. Taye had his ABR (brain stem hearing test) last Friday. It confirmed that he had severe bilateral hearing loss. We were so thankful that the audiologist felt like she got a good reading -- we were ready to know what the situation was and move ahead. Also-- that the loss was labeled severe and not profound which is what we had originally been told. This means that there is a chance he will be able to hear with hearing aids. At this point we think he can hear very loud sounds-- a loud clap, a lawn mower. It was so hard to know for sure where he was b/c he is so smart! :) He can do some lip reading already-- go get your shoes, let's go outside, and is doing so well with signs!
We feel a little bit overwhelmed with all the options, opinions but are so lucky to live in a community that has some really great resources! We also love hearing other people's experiences and the route they have gone! So now I'm off to study.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One of my favorite things in Indiana...

lots of BLUEBERRIES! Even growing up in the neighboring state of IL.. no blueberries. Every summer we would bring a few large boxes home from my grandma's and enjoy them by the handful for a short time. I always wondered why we had to wait for a trip to Grandma's in July to get berries. The whole idea of where food came from and that there were more options than the local grocery was rather vague to me. Now that I live here and have actually seen blueberry bushes, I love getting to go pick berries and eat as many as you want. The kids love it too-- Taye doesn't really bother to pick them-- he either puts his really cute lips up to the plant and takes one right off or eats them out a other people's buckets.

side note-- I don't usually let him have a rope hanging around his neck-- it is actually attached to the bucket that you would, hypothetically, put the blueberries in. Still, not a great precedent but he WILL NOT be left out of doing anything that his sisters and brother are doing. What's a mom to do?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I need to do an update but it is so crazy around here that sometimes I don't have any coherent thoughts! For now here is a link to some really sweet pictures of Taye that my friend Andria took for us! She was so great!

With 8 kids and 4 adults here our house was really full last week! She arrived to take my little sister's senior pictures as I was returning from a run and at about the same time that a new therapist (for Taye's hearing) was supposed to arrive. While I was helping Marissa finish getting ready; Andria babysat Taye for me and snapped some amazing pictures-- what a great friend and photographer! Check these out!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fun Times!

Taye's first trip to the lake house went so well! I was really nervous about how he would do-- he was great! We had so much fun with him -- from the pictures it looks like Kevin was the only one that had him- umm, I think I played with him too-- apparently we just don't have pictures of that :) I do have to say that it was a really nice break to have Daddy and a lot of other adults around though!
First trip to the beach-- he loves the water and sand but shivers like crazy after awhile

Go -cart racing. No fear! Couldn't beat Aunt Em and Kait though

Tubing! Had a smile plastered to his face the whole time. In fact after watching one kid ride he was literally fighting me to get out of the boat and get in the water or on the tube!
I was also stressed about how he would be when we got home. All these different adults taking care of him and Kevin with him a lot (he has always been a little more attached to Kev). I actually feel it has went really well as far as attachment/ bonding with me now that we are home. Maybe it is just as time passes or maybe I am a little more relaxed. Either way, it is definitely nice to have him be more receptive to me! A little more affectionate, wanting me to help him, and even obeying sometimes. :)--I've read and heard to expect 3 steps forward, 1 step back so I am just trying to soak all the positive in now ( and hoping that things can stay good).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looking Back

We are hoping to leave tomorrow to go to Michigan. I looked back at our pictures from last year and had to smile. First I am amazed at how God has answered prayers-- last July our dossier was just going to Ethiopia. For those of you who are waiting for your children-- it feels so long but it really does happen! Second-- God does not always answer our prayers in the way that we were thinking-- this has been such a roller coaster journey. Third-- this picture was taken on our way up to the lakehouse-- kids in coordinating outfits, picnic packed to eat on the way-- ummm, this year --I'm just hoping that I can actually get packed. Period ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fruit Stains -no problem

I got a great tip from my sister Sara~ pour boiling water on fruit stains before you wash the clothes. Magic! They totally disappear! No more stressing when the kids are picking strawberries and juice is all over! Now if I can get Taye to wait until I wash them....
Less time on laundry means more time for playing! Happy summer!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the end of our trip!

Firday was market in the morning and then visiting Taye's old orphanage. They were so sweet and excited to see him! I was really overwhelmed and it was a hard day. Taye was also starting to be more manipulative and controlling with us and that was obviously expected but hard.
Friday night we got to "help" make injera-- harder than it looks!

Saturday am we went to the Millennium Park to run. This is where some of the marathon runners finish up on their training runs and Kevin really wanted to do this! We took Taye for a short run too, to try to make sure it would be in his blood :)-- you can pick Kev out easily-- the only white guy.

Good thing we ran-- Saturday afternoon was the traditional Ethiopian meal at HOH. Oh it was soooo good! I don't think this was even all the food!

Later Saturday afternoon we visited the Home of Hope supported by Loving Shepherd Ministries . This is a home for 7 orphans. We had a great time with the kids!

Tsion is the beautiful "mother" to these children. She is 65 y/o (looks amazing!)and raised 4 children. After they were grown she "prayed to the Lord for 7 more". She then got busy working to support some families financially and wait for the Lord to answer her prayer. Through friends she met at work she was put in touch with the right organization and God has answered her prayers in miraculous ways. She was an amazing testimony and example! We loved meeting her!

this is Sunday after church. We went to the International church and took Taye. That was pretty much a disaster but I had fun walking around outside with him and talking to another mom! Kevin is pictured with Almaz, the wonderful wife of the director of HOH and Tesfu. Tesfu was our guide but ended up being our good friend!!!!! We enjoyed our time with him so much!

The end of and exhausting and emotional few days and the start of a very long journey home to another life for Taye. We are in the car after tearful goodbyes, some of which are captured on video and are so precious to us!

One of Taye's favorite guards saying goodbye as he closed the gate-- I have tears while I am typing! We can't wait to go back some day!