Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Quote

So [I] told me the other day that he was going to ask Santa for a DSi and ask us to buy him the game Spirit Tracks. He explained, "That way it will save you money because I'm asking Santa for the expensive thing and asking you to get the cheaper thing." I simply thanked [I] for being so thoughtful! We can definitely say that we still believe in Santa in this home!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Thanksgiving

This year, as we did last year, we went to the LDS temple in Bern Switzerland for Thanksgiving weekend. There is a little hostel across the street that we stay at and we go up with several people in the ward. Thus, we have lots of fun with many of our friends, but we don't get to make a proper Thanksgiving meal (the hostel only has stove tops and a single microwave--or did do until someone tried to make toast in it and set off the smoke alarms and the microwave never worked after that--and no I don't know who did it). This year we had chili for our big Thanksgiving feast. Well, Friday night some people brought up pumpkin pie, so I guess that almost counts as a Thanksgiving meal.

This year was especially special because we were able to have [T] sealed to our family. A sealing is a simple ceremony done inside the temple to show that before the eyes of God and the church, [T] is part of our family from now on and forever. It was a very special day for us to make our family complete. Below is a picture of us right before we entered the temple. It snowed the night before our sealing so the world turned a beautiful white winterscape.


A view from the hostel.

Snowing the night before also meant that our kids got to have a day playing in the snow! We don't see snow very often, maybe for one day a year, here in Aviano, so snow is a real treat. Also, I think it was [T]'s first time seeing snow. I'm not sure what she thought of it, but we had a great time having a snowball fight and running around in the snow. After [T] watched us a bit to see what we did with the stuff, she was happy to join in as well--a least a little. I think she mostly thought it was cold. [I] and [A] didn't let a little cold stop them and spent most of the day outside!

[T] with her first snowball.

[I] has a way of always finding the biggest chunk of snow he can--and then throwing it at sometime. This time that someone was me, and it went all down the front of my coat since I wasn't zipped up all the way--COLD!

[A] is always up for a little snow!

[K] helping out in the snowball fun.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just a Few Pictures


First day of school! So maybe that was a month ago, at least I posted it, right? Notice what hams my children are.


[T] in the hospital with her big splint on. This is while we were waiting for them to open up an operating room for us so they could decide whether to do surgery or not. She looks pretty happy for a girl who wasn't allowed to eat from 8pm Friday night to 3pm Saturday.

Here are my "twins" at the welcome shower for [T]. [K] did most of the unwrapping for her. I think [K] is trying to remind me that he never got a birthday party this year. Neither did the other boys. Poor boys. :(



Finally we have a family photo! It's not the best photo ever, but it took us forever to just get this one. We brought both of our cameras with us to this location and both ran out of batteries trying to get a few pictures. Luckily one turned out okay, because we weren't able to take any more.

[I] is Amazing


[I] is in 2nd grade this year. He is 8 years old. The other night at bedtime, [D] was talking to the boys about random things when [I] starts this conversation:

[I]: When do you start doing math with letters?

[D]: What do you mean?
[I]: Math with letters like a+b?
[D]: (After a moment of shock, he explains the basics of algebra) Are there kids in your class doing math with letters?
[I]: No, I just saw some kid.

**The conversations continues, leading to college. Can I just add that I didn't know what college was until I was in high school--[I] is 8**

[I]: Are there good colleges and bad colleges? (You should know that [I] decided about 2 years ago that he is going to design games when he gets older. He has already made us do quite a bit of research about it, found websites to create his own game, and designs games on paper all the time.)
[D]: Yes. For example if you go to MIT you could get a job almost anywhere. But you have to get good grades to go there.
[I]: Do I have to go to MIT?
[D]: No.

[I]: How do you find out if a college is good or not. Can you find out about colleges online?

[D]: Yes.
[I]: Can we look now?
[D]: No, it's bedtime. We'll have to do that later.


This response worked until after school the next day when [I] asked me to research colleges for him. I answered that we needed to homework first and I needed to make dinner, so we would have to wait until later that night. [I] did not forget and when [D] came home, [D] and [I] researched different colleges that would be good if you wanted to go into designing games. Yes, [I] has a plan and he amazes me all the time that his brain works this way.

K-Bomb Cutie

K-bomb is just one of [K]'s many nicknames.

It just so happens that [K] has this super cute pouty face that I've been trying to get a picture of for ages because it just makes me laugh every time. I thought I was finally getting a picture this time, but the camera was set to video. Here is the result. It is only a few seconds long but I hope you see why it makes me laugh--he's really just too cute!



video

Monday, September 6, 2010

On fire

So... as you may be able to tell it has been an interesting week. After so much stress we decided to go on a short hike and Geo-Cache as a family. We went to a trail that we knew of and enjoyed our time by Lake Barcis. After this we decided instead of driving around the mountain back home again, to dry over the pass through our local ski town (Piancavallo). When coming down the other side our breaks began to over-heat. At that time I remembered what my Mom said when I was a kid about overheating breaks and pulled over. The was smoke billowing out from the front tires. We got out and looked and the drivers-side brakes were on FIRE!!!!! Looking for our fire extinguisher (no where to be found), evacuating the kids quickly, and then looking for some water (none found at first), we found some lemon-aid and doused the flames with a some crystal light. It worked and our van was saved. After 20 minutes we came the rest of the way down the mountain in low gear at 15 mph. What a great family outing.

[T] --NO SURGERY-- Yeah!!!

So after a night of waking every two hours, when the nurse would come in to check on [T]'s blood supply to her hand, we found out that the scheduled surgery was postponed due to emergent surgeries that took up the operating rooms. Then, waiting until noon we found out that we had a new Orthopedic Surgeon now on managing our case. He was much more conservative than the one the evening before. He said that she MAY need surgery if after attempting to reduce the fracture under anesthesia it does not set well. Then we had to wait for an operating room to open up. The new Surgeon decided that because [T] had been fasting already for 18 hours he was going to try to work some deal with the surgery room in the ER and their Anesthesiologist to do the procedure down there. Everything went well with just a little IV sedation. The fracture was set with just casting and we were able to go home 2 hours latter. A good ending to a long week (after a stressful climax.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

[T] is in the hospital

Poor little [T] has quite a tough time when it has come to the medical side of things since she has come to live with us, and now she is in the hospital! So . . . I had told her and Kimball that they could not have any more popsicles (I felt the 2 they had already had that afternoon, plus the one in the morning really was enough). I guess they felt this wasn't a good answer so when I wasn't in the kitchen, they decided to try to sneak some more. It did not go well. [T] fell off the chair she was using and broke her arm! Of course she did this Friday evening, on a 3 day weekend, right after the base hospital had closed down for the evening. So we had to take her down to the Pordenone Italian hospital--they do things a little different there. What isn't different is that she broke the joint in her elbow and needs surgery. They were going to do it immediately, but Dan had fed the starving girl a snack while they waited in the emergency room. Now it is scheduled for some time today (Sat). In the States this would be an out-patient surgery, but we are in Italy so we hear she will probably be in the hospital for a few days. We'll post more when we know more--it's hard to get information out of the Italians.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Updating

So I have heard from many people that I really need to update our blog. There is just so much that has happened this summer, it almost seems too daunting a task to even try to complete. But I have decided that a few minutes a day can go a long way and I will do what I can. We did write a bit--preparing to blog--while we were in Ethiopia, but at some point even this fell to the wayside. So you will probably notice a big difference in what was written before as opposed to now. But, I am going to post them as to the correct date when they SHOULD have been posted, so you will have to look back at older dates to find the newest information. Just FYI! Here is a picture to tide you over until I get more done!

Here is all of us outside the Washington DC temple.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Picking up [T]-- Day 4

Tuesday began our real saga with the Italian Embassy. (No pictures today since taking pictures of an embassy is just a really bad idea.) They had recently made a change to their policy (starting June 1st) where they no longer made appointments for visa applications. Instead you had to show up at 8:30am outside the gates and they would allow around 12 applicants inside. So of course we showed up early, not wanting to be #13 in line. So we waited with [T] in tow from 7:45 – 8:30am to be admitted inside the gate. Then we spent a few minutes in the gates but outside the building. At 8:45am they let us inside the building into a tiny room with only enough space for about 20 chairs and that many people. We sat down and waited until a bit after 9am for them to start helping people. We were called as one of the first people because they must have thought we had Italian citizenship when Dan said he worked there. Getting in didn’t help us, though, because we didn’t have the paperwork he wanted—specifically the US Visa in [T]’s passport, but he also listed a few things we didn’t have such as our marriage certificate and a printout of our travel itinerary in and out of Italy. (We had the one out of Ethiopia, but not of our trip to the US.) They also said that if we came on Friday (since we wouldn’t be getting the visa from the US Embassy until Thursday) they could not get the Schengen Visa completed until the following Mon at the very earliest. We left a bit discouraged. Plus, I will not go into detail, but it is no small ordeal to get a page printed off the internet here, so getting our missing documents printed took about a full day. It may not sound long, but think about how most people have a printer at home and can print something in a few seconds.


To make sure Tuesday was a very full day, our agency then took us on a shopping trip with the other adoptive families then home for lunch and off to the US embassy in the afternoon.


Two embassies in one day is 2 too many. I will say that the US Embassy was much nicer to deal with. They have two waiting rooms for people coming for Visas and one had a big play area for children. While there were twice the number of people there—many who were also adopting children, our wait time was probably about the same. We were at the Italian Embassy from 7:45-9:30am and at the American Embassy from 3:00pm to 5:15 or so. At least [T] had something to do while we were waiting which made the time go much quicker.


So this is how the process goes. When it is your turn, you go up to a window with a worker behind it. They ask you some questions about the adoption and how your child became available for adoption. A form is filled out and signed and that is about it. Our worker was amazing! He was nice and we kept joking with him. We expressed how we needed to make sure we got an IR-3 instead of an IR-4 Visa because of our living in Italy, and he made sure to get that done. We then joked about how this process was so much better than going to the Italian Embassy—and joked about how they must be bitter about losing in the World Cup. Then, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it came up how we really could use some help speeding up the process since we did have to work with the Italians. He quickly talked to his co-worker and it was done—our Visa would be done the next day by 3:30pm instead of the normal two-day wait. We were ecstatic!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Picking up [T]--Day 3

Driving up to the Thomas Center. This is the best picture we could get.

Monday
we got to pick up [T] from the Thomas Center, her orphanage. She was pretty excited to see us, but I think it has more to do with base personality. She has a way of just tackling anything that is thrown at her head on. Plus, we found out later that [T] always loved going in the car to anywhere--just as long as she was going. So maybe she was so excited because she knew she was going somewhere, but I also hope that she remembered us a little from when we came out and visited her in Oct. In any case, she was more than happy to leave her home for the last year and start this new adventure.

Here is [T] in the room she has spent the last year in. She was still in the baby room, so she didn't have many kids her age to play with. She doesn't look too happy here, but she was pretty excited to come with us. Those are molluscum on her face. It's a virus she picked up just a few weeks before we were able to get her. Most of the kids at the center had them, so it must have gone around the orphanage pretty well. Molluscum is very much like having a wart--it spreads by scratching, not much medicine helps it, and it takes a few months to go away.

This day was spend mostly sitting around different places. First at the orphanage after meeting the nannies and letting [T] say goodbye, we had to wait for the other families to do the same. Then we moved to the CHI office there in Addis Ababa while each family took their turn checking through and preparing paperwork for the embassy appointment the next day. It is a little difficult to try to get to know your new daughter while sitting in a room with a group of people you have just met, above your agency's offices, with no toys for a couple of hours. It wasn't bad or annoying, but a weird way to spend the first several hours with a 3 year old that is suddenly mine.

Here we are at the CHI offices trying to entertain [T]. The sippy cup was a new thing and she loved having something of her own. That and soda--she couldn't get enough soda.

So this whole time we thought we were adopting a 2 year old and that [K] and [T] would be almost exactly a year apart. We still believed this last October when we went to visit [T] at the orphanage. She was just learning to walk then and the right size for a 15 month old. So when we showed up this time with a bunch of 18 month and 2T size clothing, we weren’t expecting to find a 3 year old. Since she was abandoned, they guessed her age when she was found. Our guess is that the conditions she lived under before going to the orphanage must have caused her to be delayed in her development, but under the great care of the Thomas Center she was able to catch up more to her actual age. So it looks like we have twins now (or at least close to it). And we are here in Ethiopia with a bunch of clothes that are way too small for her (she’s wearing a lot of capris and mini skirts—with capris under the skirts).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picking up [T]--Days 1 & 2

We left Venice Italy on Saturday after spending 3 frantic days of trying to find babysitters for our other 3 amazing children. Our flights were uneventful and we arrived to Addis Ababa only ½ hour late (compared to our last trip which was 2 hrs late arriving at 2am). Upon arriving in Addis Ababa we spent 1.5 hours getting through the immigration lines and Visa Office. Once we collected our luggage we headed into the main terminal to meet our ride to the guesthouse. However, we walked out of security and there was no one there to meet us. We waited about 15 minutes and then decided to call and see where our ride was. (Note that in Ethiopia they use a different clock than we do in the states. Their day starts at 6am our time, in other words 6am our time =12am Ethiopian time. Also their dates to not change until that time also.) We arrived at 12:45 am our time on the 4th of July = 6:45p 3rd of July Ethiopian time. So this was very confusing to our guesthouse and so they were expecting us the next day. Our phone call woke them up in the middle of the night to come and pick us up. Luckily it was the same guest house we stayed at before and so it was like coming home in a way--Tsebay the manager is amazing and we were all hugs when she showed up to get us.

Sunday was very uneventful. We slept in and found out that ALL the families that are picking up children from CHI were staying in the same guest house as us. This is very unusual but worked out great for us because we were all able to get to know each other very well and not have to spend any extra time picking up and dropping off people all over the city. (There was another family there with a different agency who said they would spend almost 2 hours picking up everyone in the group from their different hotels/guest houses.) We all just lazed around most of the day and checked and re-checked all of our paperwork, clothes, and diapers for the next day. Happy birthday to me! A very weird sort of birthday it was, right on the brink of picking up a daughter. I don't think I have words to express it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

EMBASSY APPOINTMENT

Finally, we have our embassy appointment to finish up the immigration paperwork to bring [T] home!!! We can not express how excited we are. It seems so surreal... We started this process over two years ago when we prayed about if we should have another child in our family. At that time we felt that we were going to have another child but the more we thought and prayed about it the stronger we felt we needed to adopt. Again, we prayed and pondered which country and which agency we should use and we ended up adopting from Ethiopia. It has been a long road but now we are going to pick up a daughter whom God has reserved for our family.

We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooo EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baseball season 2010

Last summer I told the boys they could pick 2 sports to participate in for the year. They chose soccer and baseball (I did not include Tae Kwon Do and dance). [A] was the only one who ended up doing baseball since [I] was busy in dance. Let's just say that if you think baseball is boring--T-ball is 10x worse! I'm not the only one who thinks so, [A] seemed to agree. I give you exhibit A:

Now it looks like [A] is busy chasing the ball, but no, he is just playing in the dirt. When I asked him why he kept laying down in the dirt, he replied, " 'cause I'm bored." So instead, he would pretend he was sliding to catch a ball. To be honest, it wasn't all boring. [A] had some fun. As proof I give you exhibit B, C, and D!

This time he actually is going after the ball (it's at his feet).

Up to bat!

Coming in to home base!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baptism

[I]'s 8!

Can you believe it!? He turned 8 in April, but we waited until May when his Grandma and Grandpa T were coming. Due to when [D] could get off work, we were in Rome the weekend before his baptism. I would not recommend traveling right before a baptism because it was a little crazy getting everything planned when we got back. (It didn't help that our internet died right before we left for Rome.) But everything turned out beautifully! [D]'s foot was also healed enough that he was able to do the baptism without problem (something that would not have been possible in April). It was an added bonus that [T] became officially our daughter the same day. In fact, our adoption agency tried calling us with the good news during the middle of the meeting, but of course we weren't able to answer. It was definitely a very special day for our whole family!

A little pre-baptism advice.

All of us!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Best Adoption News



We are pleased to announce to the world that we are now the proud parents of [T] Hatcher. Our adoption court date was today and we passed court, so now in the eyes of the Ethiopia and the world, we are officially her parents.

We are so excited!!! We will be traveling in July to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick up [T] and accomplish the immigration paperwork at the US embassy . We will be traveling from Italy to Ethiopia and then directly to the United States.

Thank you all for all of your prayers and support while we have been waiting for this day over the last 2 years. Please continue to pray for us as we wait for our appointment time with the US embassy.

.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Adoption News

On April 5th we FINALLY received the police clearance that we've been waiting on since December of last year! That is the good news. It basically allows us to move forward in the adoption process again. Now we need a court date. Before, parents weren't required to be present at the court, but as of May 9th that will be changing. We were hoping for a court date before then, but it is now May 2nd, and we still haven't heard anything. It just doesn't look like that will happen. There is a possibility that we will be able to get a waiver since we have already been out to visit [T]. once. Otherwise, we will be visiting Ethiopia an extra time--one more time for the court date and then 2 months later to pick her up. We are really hoping to hear soon when our court date is so we can make plans for the summer. And really we just want to bring [T] home. In August it will be a year since we received our referral, so we have definitely been waiting a long time for this. Here is a more recent picture of her. She is getting bigger and we want her to be getting bigger before our eyes, and not simply through photos!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

D's injury

When [D] came home with his ruptured Achilles tendon, it started us on a long road of rehab. First we had to get surgery scheduled. These first two pictures are the bruising on [D]'s ankle from the injury.

It was pretty gross at the doctor's office going from the doctor's office to the casting office. His foot just jiggled at the end of his leg when he hopped on his crutches. You could just see that it wasn't attached to anything inside. I was going to video it, but then I thought better of it since it was really disturbing.

A week after that doctor's visit, we went in for surgery. This is the boot [D] came home with.

This boot was so big that [D] couldn't even get pants over it. He had to wear shorts the whole time--even to church. He had this on for 2 weeks after the surgery.


Here is [D] a couple of days post-op. You can tell it was a couple of days because he's smiling. Those first 2 days were rather uncomfortable for him. I dragged a twin mattress down from upstairs and put it into our storage room on the first floor next to the bathroom. That is where [D] stayed for the first 3 or so days post-op since he wasn't allowed to go upstairs where our bedroom is. He was only allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom--to which he mostly crawled since the change of pressure when standing up really hurt his foot.








Some things we did while D was gone

D was gone for a little over 2 months at the beginning of the year. We had to entertain ourselves somehow--here are a few of the things that we did.

K seems to think that adequate winter clothing includes a hat, coat, gloves, and boots--pants completely optional.

I had a whole roll of paper and A. and K. made some beautiful murals!

K. will do anything for the chance to play in water. I've had to become very creative to find ways to let him play without making huge messes. I'm not all that successful since our bathroom is flooded at least once a week. Thank goodness our house is all tile!

Mom caught sleeping on the job.

Where's my children?

Oh, there they are!





Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our Latest Adventure

So. . . D was supposed to be back from a 2 month TDY in the States last Wednesday. First the jet he was flying in broke and they had to return to Las Vegas. The next day they tried again and made it to Shaw (South Carolina), but the jet was broken once again. The next attempt to come home was delayed because the re-fueler to get over the ocean broke down.

Then came the phone call--from the emergency room. D had ruptured his Achilles tendon. Yes, it's a 95% tear. We spent a stressful day trying to find out if he would come home for the surgery or stay there. Well, he has gotten to come home, although the flight home was not great (every flight was delayed and thus he missed every connection). Although D tells me flying with your foot in a splint was horrible, he did get to go through all the airports in a wheelchair, and thus go through all the secret passageways of the airports.

The next phone call I got was to tell me that the base surgeon was out of town. That person thought the surgeon would not be back until the 20th or so, but luckily the surgeon will be back on Tuesday. It's still a much longer wait between injury and surgery than it should be, but I think I would have gone mad with worry if D had the surgery in S. Carolina with no one to help him.

So, I guess I will post an update after Tuesday when we know more about when the surgery will be, etc. What we can definitely count on is at least 6 months of rehab. D has never broken a bone or seriously sprained anything, so I guess this is his way of making up for it. As for the deployment coming up . . . we don't know how this will effect it, but I'm sure we'll find out soon.
(I'll post a picture of gimpy D soon!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Adoption--The Latest

I wish I could say I was posting something good, but unfortunately will are still stuck in a bit of an adoption black hole. We have been waiting since December for a simple letter from the local government where T. is from. We don't know why it is taking so long, but nothing can progress until we have it. The only news we have received is that of the 6 families all stuck in this same place, 3 of the families received their letters about 2 weeks ago. It is rather frustrating to be on the wrong side of 50%. We are, as we have been these last months, hoping our own letter comes soon! It is all in the Lord's hands, and we must trust to his timing.

Monday, February 8, 2010

As long as I was posting pictures of the boys, I thought I should add the boys school photos from this year. All I can say is we paid way too much for way too little.


So while we did ask that they wear their jackets for the pictures, we had no idea they would zip up their jackets all the way to their chins. Tell me again why I bothered to put them in nice shirts?


Friday, February 5, 2010

My Little Boys

I have been blessed with some of the cutest boys on the planet. I have also been blessed by a dear woman in the ward who offered to take free family photos for anyone who wanted one. Unfortunately, D was already out of town so we were unable to get a full family photo--maybe when he gets back--but I did take the opportunity to get some pictures of my boys. It's funny how hard it can be to get 3 boys to pose for something simple like a few photos--I felt like I had just finished a long wrestling match when our session was finally over. (If the pictures seem a little dark, it is because the transformer for one of the lights wasn't working and so we had to do with much less light than expected, but beggars can't be choosers, and I am well content with how they all turned out!)

As you can see, my children were showing off the silly parts of their personalities.


I couldn't decide which of these pictures of K. to put in, so I went with both of them. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Adoption Saga

On Dec 15th we were informed that our orphanage cleared all investigations and everything should be moving along again--at snail pace! On Fri we were told they are still waiting for letters from the government that allow them to petition for a court date. When are we ever going to get moving forward again? Our hearts are breaking knowing that T. is waiting for us, in the orphanage, not getting the love that we can't wait to give her. We know the Lord is with us and helping us through this waiting that is nearly unbearable

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tae Kwon Do

While we wait for news about our little girl, life goes on. I thought I would show a little of what I spend my life doing--or at least a little of why I'm always on the go. For the last several months, I. and A. have been taking Tae Kwon Do. Just tonight they tied on their Tiger Cub blue belts (it's a white belt with a blue stripe in the middle). I only have a picture from when they tied on their green belts, but all the award ceremonies look the same. I think we are about to take a break from Tae Kwon Do, but I had to show they at least once in their totally cute uniforms.
Their new belts are tied on.

Here they are with their certificates.

They always take their old belts and throw them in the air at the end of the award ceremony. Their own little graduation tradition. (Yeah the picture isn't the best, sorry.)