730 + 4


So two years ago today (730 days) we contacted L at The BF to talk about adoption. We were  lost on what type of adoption we wanted to do and had so many questions. After a lot of talking, praying, and research we decided on Ethiopia. It sounded like an adventure. Who doesn't dream about going to Africa? (Side note: A couple of years ago for Secret Santa, I had mentioned on my "info" sheet I wanted to go on safari in Africa. Maybe I have seen The African Queen too many times.) We were also excited about the idea of a "fast" adoption process.

At the time the process only included one trip, we liked the idea of not having to leave you behind. I didn't think I could do it. Well, it is no longer just one trip, that changed while we were still working on our home study. Two trips? Sure, twice the fun. We didn't know how we would handle leaving you, but we said we could cross the bridge when we got there.  

495 days ago we officially made the "wait list" for our international agency. There has been tons of "ebb and flow" in these 495 days. Our official numbers, on at least one list, always moved, but it was slow at times. What was supposed to be a 9 month wait at the longest stretched to over a year. We got a call about a little boy named KJ, 15 days later another call came breaking our hearts, informing us we would not get to raise him. We still pray for KJ and his situation.

On September 26, I got an early birthday present. A call telling us about you. You had just turned 10 months and were large for 10 months. We were told you were 30 inches tall and weighed in at 20 pounds. Your head was on the international growth chart in the 95th %tile. We were in love. The second picture we saw of you is still our favorite. It is the one where you are sitting on your special mother's lap with your hands on your knees. The expression on your face just seems to say, "Okay, I am ready to come home."

K, we are so ready to have you home. Your room is kinda ready. (I still need to put up your Star Wars valence and I am thinking we might need to get you a mattress for your crib.) While waiting to come home, you have turned one years old. Your Dad and I have a "birthday party" planned for you when we get to Addis. Okay, we got you a bib that says "Happy 1st Birthday" and a tuxedo bib (we wanted to be fancy). When we get to Germany we are planning on finding a cupcake or something cake-like to bring to you to celebrate.

In two days we leave to see you for the first time. We get to hold you for the first time in 4 days. 734 days from beginning this journey, we will hold you. We get to hold you and play with you for 4 days before we have to cross that bridge. I know the distance to that point is 8 days, but I don't know when after that we will hold you again.

I would like to say I am having a total Scarlet moment saying, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." Well, tomorrow is kinda here and I have been having my Scarlet moment for some time. I know when we separate, you will be carried away from us. I know we will try to have our game faces on, so you don't see us cry.

K, please know we love you. Right now we are all over the place. We are excited, nervous, scared, worried, and a bunch of other things (your aunt Courtney laughed at some of my worries/concerns I shared with her on the way home from school, which some of them are pretty ridiculous). We love you. We have only seen your face, but we do love you.


PS- I so can't wait to hold you.


Gingerbread Traditions


So usually I do two Gingerbread parties during the Christmas season (okay, only 2 in the past 2 years). The first one started several years ago with your aunt Jennie, her sister, and other friends. (Which since it is with your aunt Jennie, you know it is ALL OUT gingerbread and Christmas stuff.) This is a Gingerbread House competition. Okay, so maybe it isn't a competition, but I like to think it is. A lot of planning goes into the building, blue prints are drawn (in my head), but you don't know for sure what you will be able to do until you get there. You can only use the supplies provided. Which at times makes you change plans.

Well this year there was a change of plans. The Gingerbread party was postponed for a year due to the original date being the Saturday we get back and other times just not working. So I don't get to show you a picture of this year's house, but I can show you last year's. I like to have a theme in mind when I do my gingerbread house with this group. (Past themes have included snowmen, an ice skating rink, hot tub, and a Ferris Wheel that ended up being a merry-go-round.)

The beginning. . .

Cutting out the door. How else is Clark Ginger(Gris)wold going to get to decorate?  

The beginning of the roof. Fruity Pebbles make great "lights." 

One side of the roof. 

Front view. Clark is just coming out of the house and has a string of lights in his left hand. 

You can't see Clark, but you can see his lights. You can also see the "reindeer sleighs." That is supposed to be (a chocolate wrapped) Santa, but he had issues with standing. 

Overhead(ish) view of my house. 

The back of the house. 

Here are some of the other houses from Jennie's.

This is Karen's house. 

Mallory's house. She was trying to do a maypole like thing with the licorice. She also had a snow fort out of sugar cubes. 

Jennie's houses. 

So I told you there were two Gingerbread Parties. We also have one at Marcia's with the kids. We started this last year and used the left over Halloween candy, so it could officially be gone. We did the same this year, plus we found Easter Peeps, and some shower candy (I had to get it out of the house). This is always interesting since it is kid directed. All the adults do is put it together (we had hot glue this year) and put the icing where we are told. The kids come up with their design and what candy is used where. Next year, you will get to share a house with L, J, and L. You will all be 2 or under, so we are thinking by the time you each do about 5 minutes, it will be good enough.

For some reason, Marcia didn't want 3 houses at her house, but she got them. :) On the left is A's house. We worked on it together. That's right, there are both bunny and chick Peeps on the roof. The house Sarah did is in the middle, with E's house on the right. 

W and G's houses. 

A close up of the rock candy door on A's house. 

Sarah and E's houses. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch roof is on W's house. 

So next year, you get to join the Gingerbread craziness fun! Luckily we buy our houses a year in advance.

Well K, we are at 5 days until we leave. In 7 days I we get to hold you for the first time!!



Happy Birthday K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your Dad and I just wanted to say,

Happy 1st Birthday K!!!!!!!

We so wish we could be with you on this milestone, but we get to see you in 10 days. We are so looking forward to holding you for the first time. I am really hoping I get to go first. :) We love you and so want to meet you. Don't worry, we have something special planned for your birthday while we are there. 

Although you don't get to see it, or eat it, I just wanted to share with you what your birthday cake looks like.

Hopefully you like trains. In almost all of the pictures we have of you, you have a train bib on, so we have decided you like trains, mainly Thomas. (Plus, if you are lucky, there might be some people who will share their trains with you.) Your Papa isn't too sure about the Thomas thing, but I think he will come around. He would probably prefer you just like "normal" trains.


BTW- Your next birthday will be Star Wars, this way we can use the R2D2 cake pan. We might also be able to get a Stormtrooper to come for the party. . .


shower and Mary


I gotta tell ya, there are a bunch of people who are excited about you and want to see you home. On Sunday, a shower was given in your honor and I can say your Dad and I are overwhelmed by the love family and friends already have for you little man. 

The room at the restaurant with the tables set. The center pieces are buckets of candy. That's right, buckets of candy. It gets better, the candy is all in reds, greens, and yellows just like the Ethiopian flag.

The table where the cake will go. The theme of the shower was candy. I am thinking there are some people out there who know me well. . . Here you can see the "jumbo" pieces of candy with different words on it in Amharic.

The centerpieces right where your Dad and I sat. A gum drop wreath. You can also see the bowl of chocolates. Your Dad was really excited over the Rolos. 
The cake! In this picture you can't see the glitter-like sugar on different pieces of candy. 

K, we are feeling so loved after this shower. Before the shower, your room looked like this. . .

This is what your room looked like after getting all of the gifts into it. 

Joey somehow found a path to make sure he was in the middle. Right now he isn't too happy about loosing his room, big boxes going into it, new furniture, and the stuff filling the room. We keep telling him he is going to like the changes, I don't know if he believes us. I know you two will be BFFs, but Joey doesn't do well with change. 

So the shower is done, which meant on Monday I went to the travel clinic and your Dad went on Tuesday. (Okay, so we kinda kept pushing this off, but it is done. Life is good.) I knew going into the appointment I was going to get my typhoid vaccine, since I had already done all of the hepatitis, DTap, and flu shots, but I wasn't prepared for the polio one. It wasn't bad, but I will say the typhoid one was. (Your Dad even talked about how bad it was.) However, ever since the appointment at odd times I keep thinking about Typhoid Mary. Yep. Typhoid Mary and this picture I am pretty sure was in my history textbook back in the day.

I will say I didn't learn a lot from the appointment. Not once was I told not to drink the water, don't eat fresh fruits/vegetables unless I had peeled it myself. I was expecting that, but it didn't happen. Instead, I was told my glucometer might not work in the elevation of Addis Ababa. Panic. (I was especially panicking since Dr. N and I have been talking and planning for this trip for almost 2 years. How could we not have thought/heard of this!?!?!?) The doctor said he had never heard of this, but it was in the CDC material and thought I would need to check this out. Yes, I would so need to check this out was my thought.

As I walked to the car I was scrolling through my contacts to bring up Dr. N's number. I called and felt a message on the nurse's line and knew it probably wouldn't be until Tuesday to hear back from him. So I called Grammie to get her working on it from her medical contacts end. To my surprise, I got a call at 8:20 pm from Dr. N's nurse letting me know he was out of town until the 30th, but she had left him a message to get back to me as soon as possible. (Good. The 30th, cutting it close was my thought, but okay, workable.) Grammie calls back as well to say her contact (Leslie, you rock.) went on to talk to her friends in Iowa City to learn at diabetic camp in Denver, the campers reduce their basal rates by 20% due to the elevation, but still a mystery about the glucometer.

I call the people at the glucometer company. The first person I talked to was very nice, but didn't know, so I was transferred to another person. This person was their "extreme sports" expert. I didn't know adopting was an "extreme sport," but I got put through to her due to mountain climbers. (Yes, there has been diabetic who have attempted Everest. Not sure how safe this is, since it is 29,029 feet high.) My glucometer and pump can only go up to 10,000 feet above sea level. Safe by 2,454 feet. I am good to go. I am so not panicking anymore, at least over that. However, I think it is safe to say I won't be climbing Everest, not that is was on the list of things to do. (Again, so not thinking it is a good idea since it is 19,029 feet above the glucometer working.)




5 hours 30 minutes


So I could share with you about the shower we had today, but I am going to save that for later. I need to tell you about what took 5 hours and 30 minutes. Putting together your crib and dresser! I am so excited about this. Okay a little background. . .

Your crib and dresser arrived on November 11 and has sat in your room. It looked like this.
Yep. It just sat in boxes, in your room for over a week. During that week, we did a lot of this.
Not really, I wrote IEPs, worked on lesson plans, we watched TV, worked in the yard, and kinda avoided the task. Joey, though slept a lot on the sofas. When I talked with your Aunt Meg, she asked if I was waiting until Papa came down to help us. When I told her we were going to do it on our own, she laughed. She laughed for at least 5 minutes straight. It made me feel really good about myself. When she got down laughing, she said something about it taking us 8 hours. She said it would take us 8 hours to put the crib together.

So yesterday at 6:30, we began. I should probably also tell  you, it was 6:30 pm. This is what the first 2 hours looked like.

Joey checked out our work a couple of times. He isn't sure what to think about what is happening in his your room.

The finished product. We still need to get you a mattress. Don't worry, you will have one before you come home. 

So I was feeling really motivated after finishing the crib. It was only about 8:30 pm, plenty of time to work on the dresser. So here's the next 3 hours and 30 minutes. Okay, there were breaks, but together it took about 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Joey really likes standing on things he shouldn't. So here he is standing on the sides of your dresser. There was a lot of styrofoam between the two boxes. We are still finding styrofoam around the house from it.


The finished product. That's your Dad's rocking chair from when he was little. Your Grandma Kathy thought you might like using it.

Okay, so there is more to share, but I will do that another day.



a day of love


So today has been a day of events. I think in life there are times when you know you are loved and appreciated, but then there are those days where you actually see it. Today was one of those days.

Since it was Veteran's Day, there was no school, so I was able to take my sweet time going about the day. After breakfast, Joey and I braved the wind to go for a walk, followed by raking leaves. (I know, probably not my smartest move to rake leaves when there was wind, but it had calmed down. Plus, it needed to be done.) Leaf raking was followed by some good old TV time, while I mentally kicked myself about how I should work on stuff for school. (I didn't get anything done for school today. I will probably be upset with myself later next week, but for now, I am okay with this.)

So, why do I feel so loved today? The first gift of love, wasn't directed towards me, but I do get to carry it. Another family, who has since come home, is sending a bunch of formula to HH through us, and today I picked up the formula. There is a lot of formula.

The second gift, arrived on our doorstep around 2:30. It was

your BOB stroller! That's right, BOB arrived. Your Grammie, Great-Aunt Kim, Britt (sorry, you were listed, but I forgot you on here), Kathy, Lynn, Annette, and Sherri sent it for you. I am super excited about this. As you can see, I put it together right away. For now, your Black Hawk Hockey Monkey is testing it out.

The third act of love, followed shortly after the BOB. It was your crib and dresser. You can see the box for the dresser in the picture with BOB. Your Dad and I need to get working on putting this together. (I have a feeling it will be a great exercise on communication and patience.)

The final act, came around 5:45. I was supposed to have dinner with your aunts Marcia and Courtney, but we hadn't talked about it and since Marcia had been sick, I hadn't really thought about it. At 4:45 Marcia called and asked if I was still coming over for dinner, I said I had forgotten, but would be there. I stopped at Lowe's first and then headed to Marcia's. As I was pulling up, I noticed there were more cars on the street, but that's isn't unusual, so pulled in the drive and walked in (yes, I do just let myself into Marcia's house). To be honest, I was shocked at what I saw. I walked into a surprise travel party.

Friends from school had gotten together to send your Dad and I off with supplies. (In addition to the awesome dinner and cake. Yes, a Janet cake.) We have wet wipes, bug spray, travel Lysol, wet wipes, mints, wet wipes, travel games, hand sanitizer, travel sewing kit, hand sanitizer, and so much more. What you see above, is only a portion of the goodies. (Yes, my school friends so know how much I hate germs. I really don't like germs/dirt.) I feel so loved. Thank you so much Courtney, Cynthia, Denise, Krys, Marcia, Meghan, Peggy, and Sarah! (Plus, a special shout-out to A, A, and E who joined us.)

Picture of the cake to follow. . .



baby has moves


This has been a week of news K and it is only Wednesday. We started out the week with a call from B saying you were still sick, but the week has gotten better. (Plus, the information she had was from November 4, so it was a couple of days old.)

Yesterday we got a video of you, plus a couple of pictures. The pictures were taken on November 8th, so they are recent. Our favorite though, your video. Little Man, you can dance. You have some pretty sweet moves. Okay, you can clap and swing your body to the rhythm of the song being song by your Special Mother. So glad you can dance, because you sure won't be picking up any moves from your Dad or I. (Plus, this shows you are feeling better.) 

We love your video, but today's news tops it. The "Southern 6" have got MOWA letters! These families were all in court back in July and August and have been waiting for the letters ever since. Although they don't have an Embassy date yet, this means their files can be submitted and then their parents can return to Ethiopia to bring them home.

We leave to see you in 23 days!


PS- Your Dad can't wait to teach you his moves. (He doesn't have dance moves. The sprinkler so doesn't count.) He is also excited about introducing you to some of his favorite bands.


the gig is up


Last night your Dad and I went out with your Uncle Alex (your Dad's brother, not Aunt Meg's husband, just to be clear). We were celebrating his 21st birthday, a little late. (This was also the 12th year of celebrating birthdays with your Uncle for me.) It is amazing how this celebration has evolved over time. At one point the celebration was going to be in Vegas, then Chicago, but we settled for Springfield. That's right, Springfield, home of Honest Abe. Your uncle wanted a horseshoe. That's right, a horseshoe, which meant there was only one place to go.


Not only is Springfield the home of Lincoln, but the origins of the horseshoe sandwich and the corn dog. What's a horseshoe? Well, it is an experience. You start with a bed of Texas Toast, followed by some type of meat, covered in crinkle cut fries (at D'Arcy's at least), topped with a cheese sauce. It sounds like A LOT of food. It is a lot of food, which is why you can get a ponyshoe as well. Your Dad had a chili cheese hot dog horseshoe, while your uncle went with the walleye one. (They went in thinking they would get the buffalo chicken horseshoe.) This is the closest picture I could find of my ponyshoe.

After dropping off your uncle, your Dad and I went home. During the drive we discussed what we are doing for Thanksgiving, which also means missing your first birthday. We know this is going to be difficult. We know we will see you the following week, but it still doesn't make it better.

So we talked about your birthday cake. I know we have had a Star Wars theme going on this whole time, your room will be Star Wars when it is done, but you don't know the awesomeness of Star Wars, yet. So it doesn't make sense to do a Star Wars birthday cake. So we talked about a train (in all of your pictures you are wearing a train bib), which led me to say something about using your aunt Courtney's pan she used for "W" for his Thomas birthday. I think your Dad just kinda looked at me. (Since I was driving, I can't be sure about this.) I do know he said, "Kara?" Which I responded to, "I don't have time to bake and decorate a train cake." So you are getting a train cake, but Janet is going to do it.

K, I need to apologize to you. Your Dad is a little crazy. Right now your Dad is watching the Buckeyes lose to Indiana. That's right, they are losing to Indiana! Crazy! But it is okay, Ohio State just scored their first touchdown. This might be okay.

I have a confession, I am a horrible person. That's right, at times I am not the nicest person. We know we are making your current name a middle name once you are home. We have our reasons, which we will share with you when you are older. We don't know though what we want your first name to be, so we are waiting. "We" (aka your Dad) thought we should wait to decide until we meet you. Well. . . This is why I am not always the nicest person. It has been bugging your Aunt Meg how she doesn't know your name, outside of calling you K. So for the past two weeks, I have calling and talking with L, telling her a different name each time. Yep, I have been using your cousin to bug your Aunt. It so helps that L is 2 and can be difficult to understand. Your Aunt Meg caught onto my little game. So as of this morning, when I called to talk to L, the gig is up. It was fun while it lasted. Plus, I can always remind Aunt Meg about "Hazel."



1 month


That's right, 1 month. In one month your Dad and I will be on our way to see you for the first time. We will get to hold you and see your determined look. (You so have a determined look.) So excited.

We also got a package in the mail for you. One of the other AGCI moms sent us her old ring sling to use with you. Her little "B" wanted to see a picture of you, so I sent her one. Her daughters ask to see your pictures a couple of times a day, they too are praying for you K. She told me B said, "Look at that cute baby!  He's at the same place I lived when I was in 'Opia!  His mommy and daddy are going to get on a BIG airplane and fly ALL the way to 'Opia and snuggle him and bring him home just like MY mommy and daddy did!!" K, I am really excited about this ring sling. Just think about all of the love it represents as we keep you close. 

On a less exciting note, B called today to tell us you are sick. You have an upper respiratory infection. This is our first update about you being ill, it is kinda difficult. We know your "special mothers" are taking care of you. We know you are in good hands, but I would still like to hold you. Get well little K.