Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 Family Photos


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Don't worry Grandma, you'll get some real ones in the mail soon. :)

And to everyone else, my apologies for my lack of blogging. Um, well...not really. My house is cleaner, my stress level is lower, and my kids are happier. I just have no idea what's going on in anyone else's lives.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Taw and Cal If Or Nee Ya

At the beginning of October we drove to Utah and Cali for 2 weeks. It was way fun...if you subtract the nasty sickness we had for the majority of the time. The Utah trip was quick, but fun. I wish we had more time there. Cali was great, but we didn't do a whole lot or see very many people because I was so sick! That makes 3 out of the past 4 trips to California that I've been super sick. Maybe it's a sign... We took too many pics for me to put them all up and even after weeding through them all, there are still too many and I'm too lazy to label them all. Make up your own captions. :)


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday

To the greatest woman I've ever known.

That's My Girl!

Emma has been learning to ride her bike without training wheels. She is SO my child: TERRIFIED. I didn't learn until I was at least 7-8, and I eventually taught myself because I was too chicken to put myself in someone's hands. I know my sister gave me some awesome pointers. But I digress...

She screams and cries the who-o-o-ole time. I watched one of my neighbors come out of her garage just to see what all the commotion was. It seriously sounds like someone is dragging her by the ponytail or something. Funny thing is - she can do it just fine. Ian lets go all the time and she rides it wonderfully. She's just plain scurred. So today she fell, scraped her elbow, and bonked her knees. You'd think her beloved kitten had just been hit by a car(if she actually had a kitten). So I brought her inside and cleaned up her elbow. While she was recovering she had an awesome one-liner. She was just at the end of her crying when she stopped, looked in the mirror, took a couple breaths, and said, " My shirt kinda makes me feel better cuz it's so cute."

And then she got a popsicle. Because popsicles make everything better.

P.S. As I'm writing this I overheard her tell Ian(after being told to clear her dinner place), "I feel feeble." That girl reads too many books.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday Boutique!


(Blocked my address for obvious reasons...if you need it, just leave a comment and I'll send you my addy!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

3 Years


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mamamamamamama

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Monday, September 21, 2009

EEEEEEEEE


We have a 1st word!! Last night at dinner Malachi said, "Eeeee(aka pleeeease)." And today at lunch he said it again! Granted, he said it after I gave him his food, but he said it!!! That is the one word we've worked on the very most - just because he screams every time he wants something. If I could just get him to say please, my life would be much less LOUD!



We went to the Dr. today for a follow up. She told me to pick a birthday somewhere between August and October, but not as late as November. I'd rather stick to the young side, so we're now deciding on October. Anyone have any special reason for a special day?



It's just so heartbreaking to think that when they thought he was 7 months(see pic below) he was actually closer to 15 or 17 months.



Since he's been home, he's gained 2 pounds, grown an inch, gotten a molar and an I tooth, gotten rid of the giardia(I think), started running and jumping, and is now sleeping in his own room. He's still biting and hitting at least once a day, but he is doing better with other limits like not throwing food, staying out of the kitchen when I'm cooking, and moving away from something when I say, "No." My absolute favorite thing is when he gives kisses. He holds your cheeks, pulls you in close and says, "Mmmmm." And now he's actually keeping his mouth closed for most of his kisses.


We had someone from the Arizona Early Intervention Program come to evaluate Malachi's development - and mainly his speech. She said developmentally he is right on track, but his speech is obviously behind. She is going to have the speech evaluator make an appointment, but she said she is sure he will qualify for therapy.


We also had his hearing checked relative to his ability to hear speech sounds. They were basically making sure he could hear well enough to learn to speak. He passed that, but she did say his right ear was too congested(or something) to hear well. Also, his language comprehension isn't strong enough to really isolate his ears, so they just tested his overall hearing and found that it shouldn't be interfering with his ability to speak.


Today his ped prescribed an antibiotic for many reasons - his ear, his nasty cough, his green snot, and now he has a little stye in his eye.


Other than all of that craziness, I really feel like Malachi is doing well. He's a toddler, so there are trying times because of that, but he is a generally happy kid, he eats and sleeps wonderfully and he loves his momma. That is more than we could have hoped for, so I think I'll be happy with that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Best. Idea. Ever.

OK so maybe not ever... but definitely the best I've heard all day. There is a family living in Hawaii who is in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. They have a 13 year old son who would love to travel with his family to pick her up. He is raising money for his plane ticket by "contracting" with Santa. Here's the description:

Austin is my oldest son. He’s 13. And he’s super cool! He plays the guitar and ukelele, he dances hula, he has a big heart, and he desperately wants to go to Ethiopia with me to pick up his baby sister. The problem is the cost. Tickets will be about $2500 each. So, he is planning a few things to raise some of the money so that he can go.

We all know that Santa vacations here in Hawaii. He sits on the beach in his beach chair wearing his bright flowery Hawaiian board shorts sipping a pretty umbrella drink. I’ve seen him. Really.

Well... he’s here right now. I imagine that he’s here trying to relax before getting
into full blown Christmas mode. While he’s here in Hawaii, he picks up postcards and sends them to little girls and boys, reminding them to be nice and that soon he will be checking his list again. He also has some really cool stories to tell about Hawaii - the beaches, sea turtles, humpback whales, surfing. I bet he’ll include at least one little bit on each postcard, too.

Be sure to let us know the child(ren)’s name(s) and address(es). In a few short days your child will receive a personal note on a Hawaiian postcard... postmarked from Hawaii, too.

In addition, you get to feel good about your purchase, because it’s helping a 13 year old be creative and work his way to get something he really wants... a trip with his Mom to pick up his new baby sister from Ethiopia.

SO cool, huh? Here's the link to the Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=30036303

My kids will be so stoked! Go check it out!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We Speaking Fanish

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Ice cream and the Trampoline

First time eating ice cream...and possibly the last for a while.

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The trampoline is definitely the most used toy in our house. Santa made a good choice. I've had quite a few people ask me where to get this. I'm pretty sure Santa found it at Toys R Us, but I looked and it wasn't there. It is at Amazon for a bit more than Santa paid at Toys R Us, but temporarily out of stock. If they restock it I think it is SO worth it - as long as you can handle the music. It does have two different volume levels. :)

Anyway, here's Malachi's new thing. The best part is the lack of expression on his face while he is jumping. He did this the other morning and we could NOT stop laughing.

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*edit - I don't know why the videos are so dark. When I play them through my files, they're fine. But in blogger they're all dark. Sorry!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let's Roll

Today at the girls' school they had a special flag ceremony for Patriot Day. I was especially touched when their principal talked about the passengers of United Airlines flight 93, who took the plane down themselves before it crashed at the White House. He said they probably saved a lot of polititians. Initially I thought that was kind of funny - that the hijackers failed at something that many people in the U.S. would have appreciated. But the truth is that those brave men and women sacrificed their lives to save a great symbol of our country. And regardless of who they saved - they gave their lives to save others.

So today I am remembering those brave men and women, as well as all of the others who have served or are currently serving our country. I hope I never forget.

Conversations with a Kindergardner

Me: Mckenna, who goes to school with you?
Mckenna: Riley, Brigham, Jacob, Guard(who sounds like God when she says it), Mac, Cole, Colton...
Me: Are there any girls in your class?
Ken: Yeah
Me: What are their names?
Ken: Uh...... (silent thinking for 10 seconds)... I don't know.

We may be in trouble.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A little Q & A

Since I've been asked the same questions so many times, I figured I might as well throw some of the answers on my blog. It's not that I am sick of talking about Malachi, the adoption, or Ethiopia, (am I ever sick of talking about anything?), I just thought this might be good for those of your who haven't gotten the chance to ask or are just being kind to us and letting us lay low for a while(thanks btw). So, here they are:



Q: How is Malachi doing?

A: He's doing really well...now. The first week was really hard. I think it was a combination of shock, new environment, jet lag/time change, and he cut a molar(ouch!). It was likewise hard on Ian and me because we were also suffering from the jet lag and time change...plus we have 3 other kids to parent. It was a week of a lot of screaming, a lot of sleeping, and a lot of adjusting. The second week(last week) was much better. Malachi is a generally happy kid. He is walking and coming very close to running. He sleeps fantastically - which has been a lifesaver at the end of our stressful days.



Q: What do the other kids think of him?

They love him! Emma acts the same way with him as she did with her other 3 siblings: She is excited about them, she tries to be helpful(sometimes ends up hindering more than helping), but is generally not affected by them very much. Mckenna absolutely ADORES him(which is how she was with David), and the feeling is mutual. If Malachi is sad, you can be sure Mckenna will try to comfort and entertain him within minutes. He will even let her "hold" him for comfort - which is basically just her giving him a hug. David seems rather non-affected by him - except when it comes to toy sharing. The two of them fight just like any other set of brothers. They both know how to push each other's buttons, but thankfully things haven't gotten too rough when they get mad. To summarize: I can count on Emma to watch him, and Mckenna to entertain him, and David to make him scream.



Q: Does he say any words?

A: Nope. :) He hasn't picked up on any English yet and as far as Amharic, we're pretty sure he doesn't say any of those either. We asked Ian's Ethiopian brother and sister to pay close attention for the week they were here and they didn't hear him say anything. He babbles a ton, though so I'm hopeful he'll pick up some words soon.



Q: What does he think of the food?

In general, he loves it. When we first came home - and even while in Ethiopia, he ate very little. We even tried giving him what they gave him at the orphanage(firfir), but he was apparently just too stressed to eat. Now that he is home and a little better adjusted, he eats like a horse! He definitely out-eats my other kids. I'm sure this will slow down once we rid his tummy of the parasites(more on that below), and many times he is rather scream-y at meal time - but overall he is a great eater and likes just about everything we give him. His parasite tests came back positive for Giardia - very common in Ethiopians. We'll be picking up his prescription for that tomorrow. I'm really excited for the meds to start working(if they do...they only work 85-90% of the time), because then we'll have less diapers/blowouts/laundry!



Q: What did you think of Ethiopia?

A: We loved it!! Ethiopia is a beautiful country with wonderful people. We traveled to many different places and saw many different terrains. Ethiopia is a country rich with culture and history. We loved asking our drivers all sorts of questions and they never hesitated to educate us.

The food is divine(unless you're eating at the Roha hotel in Lalibela where the eggs taste like fish and the chicken is tougher than nails). We had all sorts of foods from traditional Ethiopian to burgers and pizza. Italian food is huge over there(due to a short Italian occupation) and they definitely know how to cook it.

In the capital city, Addis Ababa, it rained every day - but never all day. The weather there was actually very nice and refreshing after being in 115 degree Arizona. However, Dire Dawa felt just like home. It is very close to the Somalian desert(hence the camels walking the streets), so it was very hot and dusty. The architecture in Dire Dawa was beautiful, and everything we ate there was delicious. Lalibela was similar in climate to Addis - wet and 60's-70's. We loved Lalibela and can't recommend it enough if you ever have the chance to go.



Q: Why are there are so many orphans in Ethiopia?

A: We've had this question a lot lately and there really is no one simple answer. Overall: poverty. But there are so many factors that contribute to the poverty, and likewise so many problems that come from the poverty that then lead to orphaned children. I would love to direct anyone wanting a better answer to this question to the wonderful book, "There is No Me Without You," by Melissa Fay Greene. That book talks all about the Ethiopia orphan crisis and why it has become what it is. Excellent resource!



Q: How old is he?

A: ...good question - I'd like to know the answer to that one too! When Malachi arrived at Wanna house, their doctors estimated his age to be 7 months. That was at the end of January. So, by their calculations, he is 14 months right now. When we took him to his new pediatrician here in the states she said, "There is no way he's 14 months. I'd say more like 18-24 months." She said this because developmentally he was acting much older but also, if he was 14 months then he is in the 90th percentile for height. He has many signs of malnutrition and so for a malnourished child to be in the 90th percentile for height...that's a little weird. We did a bone scan which can be off by +/- 4 months. The results came back: 24 months!! That's 10 months older than we thought, which is almost twice the 14 months we were told. Right now, we're thinking we'll choose 20 months(what a weird concept...choose how old your child is), because that's on the younger side and we'd rather err on that side than the older side. Essentially the few months we could be off by isn't enough to make that big of a difference in his schooling. Even if we do go all the way up to 24 months, he'll still be in the same class as if we choose 20 months. The weirdest part about all of this is that when we began this process, we thought we'd be bringing a baby home. Turns out he's less than a year younger than our 2 1/2 year old, so we really have two toddlers. Hopefully they can be buds!

So, overall everything is going really well. We're all still getting used to our new life as a family of 6 with all of the craziness that entails. I have a feeling life won't be settling down any time soon so I might as well just start rolling right along with it... and stop stressing so much.
(btw - the camera has stayed in the drawer since we got home. I'll try to break it out soon, but no promises. I'm lucky if I get a shower - I'm not sure I can add picture taking to the list without blowing a gasket!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Zzzzzzzzzz

I promise I will blog...someday.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July


July is always a fun month for us because it has Emma's birthday and our anniversary. I know lately I have just been posting a ton of pics with no captions, so I'll try to narrate these for you.


For our 8th anniversary, Ian planned a super fun surprise day for us. He just told me to be ready at 7am when he got back from seminary. We got in the car and headed south. On the way, we stopped at Dairy Queen...just because it was a special day. So, here's my double PB cup Blizzard at 9:27am:

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First we went to a rock climbing place in Tucson only to find out that they were closed until noon. No worries, Ian just bumped up our massages. After a very nice relaxing massage, we went to a super yummy and cute little restaurant for lunch, Tohono Chul Park Tea Room. It was absolutely delicious, with fresh ingredients and yummy prickly pear lemonade.After that we headed down to Kartchner Caverns - a limestone cave where they have living formations made of calcite - for a little spelunking. It was SOOO awesome. They are very into preserving the living stalactites, stalagmites, "soda straws", "bacon", and other really cool things, so you take a guided tour in and they walk you through the caves. On the way down we stopped by this raptor...and any of you who remember our college years will appreciate this pic:

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Here's us on our little tram ride to the cave entrance:
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They don't let you take pictures inside the caverns, so here's Ian once we came out...pretending to eat a prickly pear. We had lots of prickly pear candy that day, but apparently not enough for him.
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After the caverns we walked around the museum part of Kartchner Caverns.
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These are very bad representations of what you can see in the caves. For a better idea, go here, here, or here. They have a 58 ft tall(5 stories high) column made from stalactites and stalagmites called Kubla Khan which is absolutely breathtaking.
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After Kartchner Caverns we drove back to Tucson for dinner. Ian had researched and planned to go to a specific restaurant, but it was closed on Mondays. We drove a bit further up the road and parked, thinking we'd walk around and find a place.
We just happened to park in a lot behind a Greek restaurant. We usually like Greek food, but aren't usually lusting after it, so we walked around a while to see if we could find anything else. We stopped on the way and got a little shopping done and also picked up a little desert for later.
After not finding anywhere else to eat, we headed back to Athens on 4th, and OH MY WORD. I have NEVER in my life been to a restaurant with better food or better service. I am definitely going back, even if I have to drive the 2 hours by myself.
When we walked in, the owner greeted us and showed us to our table, offering to put our desserts in the fridge, and also telling us we wouldn't need them because he was going to give us his best dessert on the house(which he did and it was divine).

We were brought bread and there was olive oil on the table, but no balsamic vinegar, so I requested some. He hesitated a few seconds and asked how much I like balsamic. When I told him I loved it, he said he'd just got some new balsamic that I was going to love. He wasn't kidding. I could have drank the whole bottle. Throughout the rest of the night I was dipping everything in it.
We also ordered an appetizer that was basically cheese and butter on pita bread. Drool worthy. I could go on and on...basically everything in this restaurant was prepared perfectly and I have never loved a restaurant more.
Plus, Giorgios told us to come back with our new baby boy and the rest of the family(extended too!) and he'd give us a meal on the house. What could be better than free food? Oh wait...AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS free food. :)
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We had a fantastic anniversary!
Here's a random silly pic of David. Ian's been taking him to the "Itty Bitty Sports" program at the YMCA. So cute.
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Planting flowers:
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(Yes I know her shirt is on backwards...she says her tags don't bother her when she wears her clothes backwards. I think she just likes looking like Willie off the Pickle Boat.)

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One day in July Ian brought home 20 pounds of cherries...
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Which we had a lot of fun canning! Here's D inspecting them:
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And Emma stemming them...
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Yum! We got 9 quarts, plus a few full bellies.
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Pioneer day bike parade:
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Emma's 7th Hawaiian birthday party...
Painting hibiscus piggy banks:
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Cupcakes...I got the idea from my friend Tina's blog and they turned out so cute!
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My cute chef hubby
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Digging for sea shells
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blowing out candles(you've probably seen the hilarious video by now)
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I thought this pic of Katelyn and Emma was cute. Looks like a pretty deep convo.
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My adorable little man
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My bro-in-law Jed and sister Shannon came just for Emma!
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All the girls!
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After presents they all went upstairs to play. I asked Ian to check on them because I was a little worried about the lack of supervision. Here is what he found:
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A puppet show! Complete with audience:
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At some point Tami and I got in a pillow fight. I thought this deserved some blog-time. lol!
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We still love each other. :)
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We have loved having the girls home for the summer, but I'm so excited for the routine of the school year! My sister's coming to watch the kids when we go to Ethiopia, so we'll miss the girls' first day of school and then as soon as we got back, life is going to be insane! Hopefully I'll get on here to blog about our trip! Ciao until then!