Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Weekend Project

This weekend, in the midst of MANY household projects, I decided it was time to get SOMETHING on the walls in Malachi's new room. We have been holding back on doing much of anything as we wait and figure out exactly what we want to do in there, but something I have wanted to do is add name letters to his wall.

At first we bought some and painted them in the red stripe color, but I just didn't like them. So I started researching and found a cute idea of decoupaging the letters. I have lots of scrapbook paper laying and was able to find some cute and specific papers for Malachi :) The process was pretty easy, but a few of the letters did need to be redone.

Overall, I am very happy with how they turned out and it is so nice to finally have SOMETHING on his walls!

We also decided to make some for Elias and yes, we hung them in Malachi's room. Eli is in the nursery for now, but we know eventually these boys will be sharing a room so we figured we might as well get Eli's done now too.

Stay tuned as we continue to add to Malachi's big boy room :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

So Blessed!

I can't help but feel so incredibly blessed as I think about where my life is at right now. I have been given everything I have ever wanted and so much more!

I can't help but go through my day and be so thankful to God for everything I have. I have a home, that while it feels small these days, it is safe and cozy and really quite perfect actually!

I have a husband who is amazing! I am pretty sure I have the very best of the best in that department! He takes great care of all of us and is the best dad to our boys! He is a great and loving man and has stepped up as the leader of our family!

I am so thankful for the job he has! They treat him so well! He has great hours, a great office, and they value the contribution he makes! They gave him 6 weeks off paid when Malachi came home and they gave him 4 weeks paid off when Eli was born! They just gave out very generous bonuses and they also tell them all to go home early on holiday weekends - whoohoo!

I get to be a stay-at-home mom! This time I am able to be at home and take care of my children is invaluable to me! I don't miss a moment with them and I am the one getting to influence their lives! I don't take for granted the fact that I get to do what I want everyday! There is no place I would rather be than at home with my babies!

Of course, it goes without saying that my children are my two biggest blessings! Wow, we had to wait awhile to get to this place but now that I have been doubly blessed in one year I feel so fortunate! I am so happy with these two little boys! Now, I would love them the same no matter what, but the fact that they are incredible sleepers and go down on their own at night sure does help this momma out! I swear, I have been given the two easiest and happiest babies!!!

The pant-less, one sock look!

I know it sounds super cheesy, but I find myself humming along to this song a lot these days! It is a pretty accurate description of how I feel right now!

So we are very much "in the land of plenty" right now! And while I know hard days and difficulties will be back someday, I don't want to forget to count my blessings and be thankful when life is great! Sometimes I think it is very easy when everything is going right to forget to be thankful. Today, I remember to be very thankful for all the blessings that have been poured out on me!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Today, we are officially BTDT (Been There, Done That) parents! Today Eli is the exact same age Malachi was when we got him! Don't ask me why reaching this date was so important, maybe I am just weird.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of the boys (since this is the first day we can actually do that!) Now, I am not going to make a regular habit of comparing them as they are individuals but I thought this would be fun for today :) Also there is about a 5 lb weight difference between both boys at this age :)

Malachi in the bumbo the first time I ever saw him!

Elias in the bumbo:

Daddy holding Malachi:
Daddy holding Elias:

Walking with Malachi:

Walking with Elias:

Bath time for Malachi:

Bath time for Elias:

So parenting should be a breeze from this point on right? I think back to when we were picking Eli up from the NICU and the nurses were concerned that maybe he shouldn't be coming home yet as he was choking a lot while eating and his face would change color when he did that. The doctor looked at us and said, "well, they have a little one at home, they know what they are doing!" I was thinking, ummm doctor there is a big difference here. You are sending us home with a fragile 5 lbs 3 ounce newborn and we started our parenting adventures with a 17 lb 4 month old - BIG DIFFERENCE! Well, fortunately we all survived :)

I also think about how attached Eli is to us. We know him very well and he knows who mommy and daddy are. I just can't imagine how hard it would be for him to get ripped from everything he knows even at this young of an age. It gives me a new perspective on everything Malachi went through. He was such a trooper!!!

So here we go, embarking on familiar territory as BTDT parents. There will definitely be similarities but I also know things will look quite different as Eli makes his mark as his own person and follows Malachi just 9 short months behind :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Reading List

Lately, I have been finding more and more time to read again! I love to read and a year ago Peter got me a Kindle which I am really enjoying! I love to read fiction, but lately I have found myself in a phase of reading non-fiction books. I am enjoying nothing more than settling down and reading for a little bit when I have a free moment!

Something odd about me (one of many maybe) is that it is very rare for me to just read one book at a time. I typically like to read a bunch of books at a time and switch back and forth between them. So right now I am actually in the midst of 5 books and thought I would share with you my current reading list:

Book #1: The Bible

This is of course the most important book I am reading! I have found it very hard to find time to read in the midst of early motherhood. There is always something to be done around here, but I have put reading my Bible at the top of my priority list each day. Our pastor challenged us a few weeks ago saying that there is no reason that a person can't read 5 chapters a day and really dive in to their Bible. At first I thought he was nuts since I was barely even able to read 2 a day. Well, his words convicted me and made me realize all the things I was prioritizing above spending time in the word. After all, if I am able to find time to read other books on my Kindle, I should be able to sit down and read my Bible first. So, I just finished up Revelations a few days ago and am now back on my way through Genesis!

Book #2: Radical by David Platt

Last year I started Radical and it is definitely a life changing book to read! You can't listen to the words of David Platt and NOT be convicted. Well, life got busy for awhile and now that I have had time, I am back to reading it. It is a book I have to read in small bits and really soak in what he is saying. If you really truly read this book and listen to the words, you can't help but be convicted to do more and give more of yourself. Peter has been listening to David Platt sermons at work while I have been reading this book and it is truly re-prioritizing our lives and making us want to live a Radical life for God.

I was driving in my car the other day and heard this son on the radio. It lines up so closely with what David Platt says in the book Radical. Check it out!

Book #3: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

I have always heard great things about the book Crazy Love and so I decided to add it to my Kindle. It is a pretty good book and really has helped me to see God in a different light. It has really showed me just how much God loves us and cares about us. Reading this book along with Radical has been great! I read about God's love for me which makes me want to do more for him and serve and worship him more - which goes well with books 1 and 2!!!

I remember seeing this Francis Chan video a few years ago - it is pretty incredible!

Book #4: Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson

Now as a mother of TWO boys I figured I really needed to check this book out. I am really glad I did so that I can get the proper mindset early on and actually a lot of the info is already pertinent to where we are at with our little guys.

This book has made me realize just how much responsibility there is to raising boys (even more so than raising girls). Boys are more likely to commit suicide, commit a crime, have developmental delays and the list goes on and on in the book. It is very eye opening to the roles we play as mom and dad and how we can parent successfully and let our boys grow up into responsible, loving men!

I found this video and thought it was pretty funny as to how boys really are :)

Book #5: No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene

This was written by a woman I hope to be able to use as a model for my life. This is all about raising a big family full of bio and adopted children. What this family has done is pretty incredible and reading about their journeys through raising their children has been great! I am only a few chapters in but I can't wait to read more and hopefully gain some valuable insight :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Randoms

This weekend we FINALLY have had some downtime! This has given us a great opportunity to get some stuff done around here! When we moved in to our house almost 2 1/2 years ago, we pretty much spent every last penny on getting the inside all put together. The house was a foreclosure and needed a lot of work. Almost every aspect of this house from siding to counter tops to floors had to be redone! The good news is it made most of the house brand new!

The only thing we did not get done was the yard. It did not help that we bought the house in the middle of December either! By the summer of 2009 we had decided to adopt and so spending any money on our yard was not a priority. Same thing last summer. So this year, we are finally giving the yard a little TLC. I swear I could see the relief in our neighbors eyes when we have been out doing yard work this weekend! We got everything mowed, most of the weeds are pulled (and there were a lot of them). We hosed off the front porch and the back deck and washed windows. Today I hope to get some flowers planted and Peter is going to work on pricing out a new fence as he spent many evenings this winter out in the pouring down rain trying to tack the fence back up so it could make it through another storm. Our ultimate plan includes removing a few trees, putting in some pavers and planting a new yard, but for this summer we will focus on the fence and staining the back deck!

This weekend we got some updated pictures of our little sponsor girl in Ethiopia. We have discovered how much better it is to sponsor children through smaller organizations (although we do have one child through Compassion). For starters, it seems that the smaller organizations are able to stretch your dollar a lot farther and the other reason is that you can have a more personal relationship with your child through the smaller organizations.

This is a picture of our child who is in Ethiopia! We are sponsoring her through Children's Hope Chest and they really encourage us to try and go meet her. They are actually planning a trip to Ethiopia in April of 2012 and I told Peter he should go meet her :) Children's Hope Chest DOES currently have children available for sponsorship if you are interested!

Another great opportunity is to personally connect with a child in Uganda. I have a friend who has an amazing story of her journey to Uganda. She moved over there in December and started a school, got married, raised funds for the village to get a borehole, adopted a few kids and is now expecting her first bio child - talk about going full speed ahead!

We sponsor a little guy in her village and it is so awesome because we are really able to build a personal relationship with him! She sent me a video awhile back of him dancing with a group of boys his age (he is 4) and she is also in the states right now and I was able to send her a care package of toys, candy, and new clothes that she will personally deliver to him! How awesome is that!!! She is also looking for sponsor families and you can check it all out at http://compassinmyheart.blogspot.com/

I hope everyone else has had an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Graduation Weekend

This past weekend we had the opportunity to trek up to Spokane to see Peter's little brother Andy graduate from college at Whitworth University!

We got on the road at 5:30 AM on Friday, hoping that the children would sleep if we interrupted their rest. That did work with Elias, but Malachi decided that he only needed to sleep an hour of the 6 hour drive. We did stop 3 times. Once for breakfast, once to give Malachi a snack and let him run around at a McDonald's play area and once more where we needed to turn off on an exit and hold Elias for a little while as he had been crying for 45 minutes and was showing no signs of going back to sleep. Fortunately that worked and we made it to Spokane!

We got to the hotel and unpacked and decided that was the perfect time to let Malachi test out the swimming pool. He was so adorable in his swim suit. I stayed on land with Elias while Peter hit the pool with a very tired little Malachi!

We took him swimming when he was 6 months old back in Las Vegas and he wasn't quite sure of it, but this time he LOVED it from the moment he hit the water!!!

I gave Peter strict instructions to NOT get Malachi's hair wet, but Malachi did his hair in by splashing like a maniac!

Our little water lover!

So fun!

Occupying Malachi in the hotel room was a challenge. We chased him around the whole first night baby proofing the room as he was drawn to everything he shouldn't have.
Peter and Malachi came up with a fun little game with the footstool!

Eli was a pretty good traveler and did a lot of sleeping. He did have some fussy times but what do you expect with a 3 month old who was out of his element.

We were concerned about how Malachi would do at night as he is a light sleeper. He did pretty good as he was completely exhausted by bedtime every night with how busy the days were. We did have one night where the neighbors above us were very loud and woke him up after he had been asleep for a couple hours and so we spent the next hour trying to get him back down.

We had a good time with all of Peter's family over the course of the weekend! There was certainly lots of baby love going around with the boys! We were also able to go visit our old pastor and his family which it was so great to get to spend an afternoon with them!

And of course there was graduation. We decided it was best for me to stay at the hotel with the boys during the graduation as there was no chance they would even last 5 minutes in there. It was the best decision as the ceremony was quite long! But Peter was able to get some pictures and we were all thrilled for Andy and his accomplishment!!!

Congratulations Andy and we can't wait to see where life takes you now!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Perfect Today

Today was a day I wish I could relive 1000 times over. Today, I decided to let the housework sit and to not worry about the fact that we just got home yesterday and we have a ton of laundry piling up and bags that need unpacked. Today I just wanted to play with my boys and so that is what I did!

And it was perfect and amazing! I was able to spend an hour on the floor playing with my 3 month old son. Watching him as he observed the world around him and just enjoyed his perfect little grin as he looked at me. I had the time to sit in the rocking chair and rock him and sing to him as I fed him before nap time. I could just enjoy the baby snuggles that are going to go away all to soon. I was able to bask in the simple joy of a baby asleep on my shoulder and could feel him breathing on my neck and inhale the wonderful scent of a precious little baby.

If that doesn't sound like perfection, I had the additional amazing joy of just observing my 13 month old son as he played with his toys and explored the world around him. I got to teach him how to sit on the floor and roll a ball back and forth to mommy. I got the splendor of smiling at him and watching him smile back at me. I got to listen to him giggle and laugh in delight that mommy was spending the day playing with him!

And the ABSOLUTE icing on the cake for today was when he came over to, rested his head on my shoulder, patted my back with his hand, and said "Love You" back to me in the best attempt a 13 month old could possibly try! And it was perfect!!!

I could have gotten the house all clean and gotten everything put back away, but look at everything I would have missed. I definitely need to do this more often! Today was a day that was good for my soul and a day that I will never forget!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Life's Happenings

Well I figure I am way past due for an update and I better get it done BEFORE we hit another very busy weekend.

The last 2 weeks have been pretty crazy. Not that things weren't crazy before that with birthday's and Easter and on and on and on. Two weeks ago I got hit hard with a cold bug. I had a fever, sore throat, congestion, cough - all that fun stuff. I did my best to stay away from everyone else in the family and I learned two things - #1 I really missed them and it just felt weird to be stuck in the bedroom when all my boys were downstairs. #2 The house becomes a total mess without mommy!

So while I was still pretty miserable with my cold, off Peter went to Michigan for a work conference. This was the first time that Peter has been gone since we had kids. The good news is that the week flew by for me! I was kept very busy and have a whole new respect for the woman who do it all on their own all the time!

This past week we have been organizing and packing for a weekend trip to Spokane for Peter's brother Andy's college graduation. Let me just say now, there is SO MUCH stuff to pack for two kids. We have had to pack several times for trips with Malachi but now with two, there is just so much more stuff! We have had to pack once for two kids and that was a major failure (remember the left behind pump post!) I told Peter I will NOT be crossing anything off my last minute packing list until I know for sure that it is in the Jeep. We will not be leaving that pump behind this time!

Along with trying to get things together for this trip, we have also spent the last couple weeks working on readoption paperwork. It is crazy to me how much more paperwork (and money to spend) there is to do after you get home with your child! I remember after we landed in Denver and went through the customs process for bringing a child into the US there was just a huge sense of relief as we had done it! The adoption felt complete! Well, not so fast. Actually we still had all this paperwork to do so that we can get him an Oregon birth certificate and then we have to go through the citizenship process and THEN I believe, the adoption process is complete!

It is kind of sad for me to think of all these steps we are taking. I know that sounds strange, but every step we take here in America is one step further away from his Ethiopian heritage (or so it feels). I remember taking off on the plane from Ethiopia with Malachi in my arms and I was overcome with sadness that we were taking him away from his country and the amazing people and the language. As we take this step and he gets his Oregon birth certificate, it kind of feels like we are leaving behind his Ethiopian birth. I am very sad that in order for him to become an American citizen he must lose his Ethiopian citizenship. It is all part of the necessary process, but it still feels wrong. It is just a reminder to me that we need to be diligent about passing on Ethiopian culture and giving him opportunities to learn and go see his country if he wants to. If someday he wants to return to Ethiopia to live, well I guess we will be racking up those frequent flyer miles to go see him :)

Anyway, today we will go file the paperwork at the county. Then we have to send paperwork to DHS and wait for them to send us a waiver. From there we send the waiver to the county and wait for the judge to sign the paperwork and then we get his Oregon birth certificate. After that, we pay the money (ugh) and fill out the paperwork for him to become a US citizen!

Weight loss. I haven't forgotten about that! I fell a little behind on working out while I had the cold, but I am getting back in the swing of it now. I reached my pre-pregnancy weight and now am a pound under it! So nice to have those 25 lbs gone, but now I realize just how different that post pregnancy body really is. Oh well, Elias is very much worth it! So 14 lbs left to my goal weight. I will get there :)

Here are some recent pictures of the kids. I tried to get pictures of the boys everyday while Peter was gone, but I may have missed a few in there. I did my best and I know he enjoyed seeing pictures of them while he was gone!

Malachi being a very silly boy!

Eli is an expert at the pouty lip. It is pretty incredible, and heartbreaking!

Malachi loves to try and bounce his basketball. He also loves to throw it and chase it! All boy!

Love those kissable cheeks!

I love my moby wrap, but I also know from experience with Malachi, that after the baby hits about 16 lbs it is not that comfortable anymore. I follow babysteals.com and a few weeks ago they had Ergo carriers for half off so I snatched one up! Eli was sleeping when it came and since it claims it can hold a child up to 45 lbs we decided to let Malachi try it out! He LOVED the darn thing and cried when Peter took him out. So back in the carrier he went :)

Eli looks ready to fight!

And another silly Malachi picture. I don't know why but he loves to carry the ball around in his mouth.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

3 Months

Elias is 3 months old today! Wow, time sure is flying these days! He is just as precious as ever with those chunky dimpled cheeks! He is starting to interact more with us and definitely knows who his mommy is!

He is doing awesome in the sleep department. His newest routine is going down around 8 at night and sleeping until 6 in the morning and then he eats and goes back down until 9-10. This is so awesome and I feel so lucky that he is doing this amazing at night.

He hasn't really reached any new milestones. He has been rolling over for awhile and smiling, but these things are becoming more common as he continues to grow and get stronger. He is getting more and more head control and has spent some time in his bumbo now. It won't be long now and he will be rolling all over the place. He is just growing too fast for mommy, but daddy is looking forward to the coming days when he is moving around and stronger!

I weighed Elias today and he was right at 12 lbs which puts him in the 10th percentile. He seems so big to me now, but apparently he is still a peanut!

We just couldn't love this little guy anymore. He is a true delight in our lives!

1 Year Ago Today........

1 Year Ago Today my dreams came true! I finally saw the face of my little angel that we had been waiting so long to see and know! This day will always remain one of the best days of my life!

As hard as the journey was, it is indescribable to finally get to see the face of the child you have been praying for and waiting for! The days leading up to the call were some of the most difficult days of my life. I know now that I was burdened for a reason. My son traveled many miles in those first days of life and was in and out of several different places before he finally settled down at Hannah's Hope where he would spend the next 3 months of his life before coming to his forever home!

The difficult days were not over for me. While May 4th was the highest of high days for my life. There would be difficult days ahead as we now had seen his beautiful face and knew he was waiting. There would be days filled of grief and longing as we got news that court date after court date had not gone as planned.

But looking back now, as Malachi has been with us for just under 9 months we can remember the good days. Malachi is ours and he is doing so good! Now, we just enjoy today and reflect on our precious miracle baby boy who we "met" 1 year ago today!

Yes, he was perfect in every way and I just could NOT get enough of him! He was so beautiful and I took his pictures with me everywhere. I had to constantly be staring at him! It is like when you first bring your baby home from the hospital and all you do is stare at them for hours and hours and hours. I just had to stare at these same photos all day long. I laugh now, because I had these 3 photos EVERYWHERE in our house. By the computer, on the refrigerator, on my nightstand, on my phone screensaver, at work, on all of the bathroom mirrors (in fact, two photos STILL sit by the mirror in Malachi's bathroom). I just had to have him everywhere with me!

Yup, May 4th will always be a day of celebration in our house! Finally we were parents! If you would like to take a walk down memory lane with me you can check out our post all about the amazing call here: