Friday, May 28, 2010

Road Trip!!!

Thank you for your prayers - Eden is feeling so much better so Neil and I get to go on our road trip this weekend! WHOO HOO!!! We have been looking forward to this weekend for about a year now. Crazy huh? We wanted to do something for our 7 year anniversary which is June 21st but Memorial Day weekend was easier to get babysitting =)

Well, a year ago we were planning a trip to London to go visit our sweet friend Kyle and travel a little around country side. Then about 8 months ago we thought we should probably save a little more of our tax return so let's go to New Mexico and do some cool things that we've read about - lunch with the lamas, stay in a tee-pee, visit Acoma Pueblo.

Then God's plan for us to start our adoption came a bit earlier and we needed to save all of our tax return so we are now going on an AWESOME low budget, fun trip to Austin and San Antonio. We realized all we really wanted was to have some time together without the kids (we haven't done this since our 5 year anniversary 2 years ago - it was time!) and to SLEEP IN!! Yeah!! Plus we'll be taking two amazing trips to Ethiopia within the next year and a half.

So here's the plan =) We are leaving late this afternoon to drive to Austin and stay with Mike and Heather. Saturday we're going to try a different Ethiopian restaurant called Karibu (Austin has 3 and we've tried Aster's which is SOO good!) and then find something cool to do before we meet up with my sweet, childhood friend Heather Adams for dinner and stay at her house. Then we're driving to SA really early for our shift at Homes for Haiti (check out my earlier post to see how you can still get involved this weekend!). Then it's off to downtown where we had a free nights stay at Hotel Valencia from our 4 year anniversary. They gave us a free night and we've never used it =) We stayed there the night of our wedding so it's a special place for us! Then Monday we're just going to kick back, relax, grab some lunch and maybe a movie or museum before we pick up the girls again. We are so excited!

A huge thank you to my parents for keeping the girls tonight and Sat. night and Neil's parents for keeping them Sunday night. I'm SUPER nervous about leaving them because Eden has never stayed away without us. (except the trial run last weekend at my parent's house which she did well!) This will be a great mini trip for our parents and the girl's for when we have to take our longer trips to Ethiopia. Wow - I STILL can't believe we're going to be there!

Gotta run and pack! This might be a little cheesy. I know there are a lot of you out there who visit our blog and I'd love to hear from you! (I'm a lurker too!) I have a map tracker and it's so exciting to see what cities around the world keep up with us so........
leave a comment even if you don't personally know me!! What are your best low budget trip tips? We will need be using them this weekend for sure! If you don't have any, just leave a comment and tell where you went on your favorite vacay!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You know you're getting old when...

your doctor tells you to get a colonoscopy sometime this year. WHAT?! I do have colon cancer in my family history but now? He just kept saying "Now that you're about to be 30...." yeah, he said it 3 times.... thanks for the reminder doc!

My 30th is right around the corner and I've actually been looking forward to it because I think 30 is going to be a great year! And when I think about all the things God will be doing with me and my family this next decade, I get excited. But I will admit that yesterday was the first time I really felt like I'm getting older. That and when I realize that some of my students were born the year I graduated high school!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What a day!

*** WARNING: this post is not for weak stomachs! Read at your own risk! ***

So today started with throw up all over our bedroom hallway - our poor baby Eden just stood there frozen not knowing what was going on. I felt SO bad for her. She laid on me for the rest of the morning (so unlike her!) until we had to leave for Neil's and my scheduled-for-over-a-month and already-rescheduled-once physical appointments with our general physician. We have to get this done to be included in our home agency paperwork.

Claire and Eden were so good while we were out. Actually, Claire had a blast! She loved talking to everyone in the office and watching us get our blood drawn (HIV, Hepatitis test), watch us pee in our cups (Drug test - she was with us each at different times as we were swapping kids back and forth while being carted around to different areas in the office - it was CRAZY!), watch us get our chest X-rays (don't worry, she was behind the wall with the technician!) and overall, loved it! All the while telling people she was going to have a baby brother =)

Poor Eden continued to be a bit lethargic and while waiting at a different office for our X-rays had a nasty diaper blowout - pure liquid and all over her clothes. I changed her out in the hallway wishing Neil was with me to hold and wipe but we managed! While she was finally napping at home, for 2.5 hours, we went to wake her up at 5 p.m. and she was covered in diarrhea all the way up her back. Oh yucky and she was just fast asleep - poor thing! Stripped her down and got her in the bath. She was ready for bed again around 7:15 p.m. and we're just praying this is a 24 hour thing. (We can't leave her this weekend if she's still sick. Details on that to come!)

With all that happening, Claire was awesome trying to take care of her sister and Eden was so sweet just staying on our laps and in our arms. Again, that never happens! Claire and I did get to see Mike for a little bit - he came into town to help my dad with his screening-in-the-patio project. Claire enjoyed her tickles from Uncle =)

So please pray for Eden to feel better tomorrow and for no one else to get this stomach bug. We have Claire's end of the year program tomorrow, a picnic lunch and a choir concert to attend tomorrow night. My date night with Claire!

Hoping everyone else had a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Homes for Haiti - THIS weekend!

Wish I would've posted this earlier but better late than never =) This is an amazing opportunity to come together as a community to serve and to continue the out reach to Haiti. Please read the info below and prayerfully consider taking part of something AMAZING!

I grew up at UUMC and my parents are still heavily involved over there. They will be participating as well as two other couples from our church (Gibbins and Dyes) on Saturday afternoon. Neil and I are going on a little get away this weekend to Austin and downtown SA but felt a strong tug to get involved so we'll be coming back into town early Sunday morning to do the 9-2 p.m. slot before we head downtown for our night stay.

Here it is: (the link to register is at the bottom)
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country of Haiti of January 12, 2010 left hundreds of thousands of Haitians homeless. People are living in the streets, parks, and amongst the rubble of what was once their home.

“Homes for Haiti” is a tangible way for Americans to provide relief to the victims of the Haiti Earthquake­—organized through C.O.R.E Alliance. Built in sections by volunteers across the United States, these homes will be flat-packed and shipped to Haiti to be assembled by volunteers in-country. At this time The U is not sending a team to Haiti, our involvement is building the flats on our campus. Each shelter costs $600 and this project is already 100% funded.

How You Can Be Involved
Beginning at noon on Friday, May 28 we begin building shelters in the South Parking Lot of The U—our goal is 50 homes by 2:00pm on Sunday, May 30. We have specific jobs that require various numbers of volunteers working in 5 hour shifts around the clock. These jobs include everything from actual construction to food/hospitality to first-aid station staffers.

Fill out your information and choose your volunteer slot. Please do not register if you cannot fulfill the obligation! Once a slot is filled, it is taken off the availability list.

Register Here
Thank you, once again, for making a difference in our world through the love of Jesus Christ.

Questions? Rich Holt, Assistant Director of OutReach, 210-696-1033, richard@uchurch.tv

Homes for Haiti flyer

This just in…
We also need food, water, and snack donations for the volunteers working the Homes for Haiti Project. Food Ministry is providing meals and snacks round the clock, for 900 hard working volunteers, but we can’t do it without your help. Please come by the Coffee Kiosk in the South Atrium to sign up your donation!





18 months old

Is my baby already a year and a half old?! Wow - she is just as sweet as pie and learning her ins and outs everyday is a blessing. She has been having a rough two weeks with fighting sickness (croup and another virus) and she's teething BAD! Getting her molars before she finishes her front teeth but I did notice that she did get another front tooth so guess she's working on them all at once. Poor baby (and poor mommy and daddy!)

So here she is with her sister looking cute as can be =) As many of you know, I'm a sucker for matching outfits!



Oh this girl loves being outside!

Here are a few pics of Eden throughout this past month along with somethings I want to remember!


It's rare to get a pic of the three of us - love this one with her chewing on her finger =)


Daddy closed his eyes but they were having such fun! It's a good pic of those teeth too =) Eden LOVES to laugh - making us laugh or laughing while she sees what we will do when she stands on the couch, when we tickle her till she can't hardly breathe, when Claire makes faces at her, when we chase her around the house, when she sees Rollo throughout the day - her laugh is contagious!
See? She's SILLY!
Oh this girl still loves to eat and LOVES her watermelon. Fruit is her favorite these days.
She smiles so sweet but still has her many times throughout the day where she challenges what we say to her. This month was the beginning of time outs for Eden and she is doing really well with them. We do them just like Claire's with the warning and when she hears the "time out" warning she scowls at me and scrunches up her face. She stays in her corner really well and is quick to kiss me once we set on the steps to talk about why she went. It's about setting the routine and expectations right now and surprisingly she is getting it really well. She has always watched curiously when Claire goes to T.O. so she has seen it enough to know it's not a good thing.
A few other things:


- She is a monkey and climbs EVERYTHING and as always, doesn't want your help. Even when she can't do it - she'd rather just struggle for awhile! Strong-willed and determined for sure.


- She LOVES sitting in big chairs because she feels like a big girl. She really wants to sit at a big chair to eat meals with us now but I'm trying teach her that if she's going to eat it's in the high chair and it's not off our plates. This is really hard right now! I remember Claire going through the grazing period too


- Still loves to sing and dance - her favorite two songs right now are "Encourage one another" from Hide 'em in Your Heart (scripture set to song that I recommend to EVERYONE!) and "La Bamba" from another children's CD I have.


- She has starting talking so much more and I love to hear her voice! This is what she can say now:


"no", "mouw" = cat and mouth, "uh-oh", "uh" = up, "daddy" (my favorite), "mommy", "buh" = bug,


Say and Identify - nose = "no", eyes = "eyes", mouth = "mouw", ears = "ouch" (because that's what I say when she pulls my earrings!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My necklace

Neil (a.k.a. the best husband in the world) got this beautiful necklace for me for Mother's Day! It's hard expecting and not being able to rub my tummy. I find myself touching my necklace constantly throughout the day and praying for our little man. I really love that the charms make a little clinking sound so I'm also constantly hearing it! The best is when the girl's play with it. Claire knows what it says and means so she usually asks me questions as she plays with it. It's kind of like when she would rub my tummy with lotion when we were expecting Eden. One of my favorite memories. I pray that God grows a special bond with Claire and Eden with brother right here and now.

I found this great necklace through someone's blog and then on etsy. It was custom stamped by Nicole over at SweetTeaShoppe The money she makes from her site goes towards their adoption. I love that!! Visit her and check out what she has. Perfect gifts for you or someone you love!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a different kind of day but a good one! The morning started with flowers in bed and homemade cards from Neil and Claire - the best! After Claire gave me her card she asked "So do I get my present now?" Guess she was a little unclear about the holiday. You see, when she had come home from school last Monday with the cutest homemade recipe card holder for me that resembled a purse (one of her favorite things) she thought she wanted one too. I told her maybe we could make her one so that's what she expected... HER homemade "purse" on Mother's Day! It took me all morning to figure this all out so what did I do during her quiet time? Made her a purse =) And then explained Mother's Day!

Eden was sick so Neil stayed home from church with her while I took Claire to second service. In church I was really consumed by sadness as I thought of our son's birth mother somewhere in Ethiopia. Carrying a child that she may or may not ever know. How heartbreaking when I think of losing my children. I know I've written about this before but I can't imagine what she is going through right now. I was also consumed by the hope we have that God already knows him and can see our family of 5. I dream of that day we can hold our sweet boy and express how much we love him. I already love him SO much and I haven't even seen his face yet. It's much like what I experienced with the girls in just loving them as I anticipated meeting, holding, kissing them. I don't know if he'll be home for next Mother's Day or not but I pray he is.

The rest of the day was pretty low key hanging around the house recovering from the week and garage sale the day before. We ended up at my mom's house to drop off a little something for her and stayed to eat a yummy panini. Back home to get the girls to bed and I vegged on the couch watching a cute chick flick on TBS. It was a good day =)

A big THANK YOU and LOVE YOU to my mom and Neil's mom! Here's a great pic of me and my mom.

Billy came too! We played the Hungry Caterpillar Game for my mom (and Claire!) Mom is always asking to play a game so that we did =)
The Wed. before Mother's Day my brother, Heather and Jenny came into town to surprise Mom (Billy had to work). Mike and Heather came bearing yummy ingredients for a special lettuce wrap dinner. We pitched in and had a great night together!
My mom LOVES pics with her kiddos!

Evie aka "Cutie"

Oh my goodness - isn't she the cutest?!

This is Evie (Evangeline) who Claire likes to call "cutie"! Evie came home to be with her forever family back in Feb. when I was blog stalking Rachel =) The story of how we met is so awesome - a complete God-incidence placing the Kovac's in our lives just at the right moment. Personally knowing someone who has adopted from Ethiopia is beyond a blessing. We have gotten to see Evie, Indigo and Jude almost every Tuesday when we take Claire to swim lessons and Rachel and I just gab away! Lessons are about to end but I know we will continue seeing each other and continue building a friendship between our families.

Claire just adores her! And don't I look like I'm just about to bust? My Aunt Linda took these pics when they were visiting and Rachel had asked me to hold Evie while she got the other two kiddos dressed. I was so excited to hold her and get a picture with her =)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Linda and Grandma's visit!

This post is WAY over due! After my mom's knee surgery early April, my Grandma and Aunt Linda came to town from Wisconsin for a week and a half. We had a GREAT time running around! My mom's knee didn't slow her down too much - not with crutches and a wheel chair for the long distances! I choose a handful of pics but if you're interested, this is the link to the whole album: http://neilkathrynclaire.shutterfly.com/2001

The first night dinner - Claire was SO excited to see them!
Sunday we stopped over for lunch and tried on our Fiesta crowns for all the Fiesta fun we were going to have the following week.

They also drove out to Fredricksburg's Wildflower Farm - love this pic of mom and dad!
Grandma loving on Eden - she wouldn't give her smiles out freely but warmed up quickly
Jenny came into town and we all went down to the night River parade!
Lin and Grandma also got to go to Claire's swim lessons before they left to visit Mike and Heather in Austin. I was so excited that they also got to meet Rachel and her 3 kiddos - especially Evie who's been here for about 3 months now from Ethiopia. Pics with her will be a whole different post!
Visiting in Austin
Grandma, mom, dad, Claire and I went to an AMAZING Air Force Band concert - it was really good and free! I think this will become a tradition =) Claire LOVES concerts. Her favorites were the singers and dancers. She said she wants to dance like that when she gets older. Unfortunately, it was a little sexy for mommy's taste! Isn't her dress cute? Great find at a resale shop.
We had a great dinner when Mike brought Linda back into San Antonio.
Friday was Battle of the Flowers parade!! Fun but hot =) Grandma was sportin' her neighbors necklace! We had a good shady spot but we were still melting so we only stayed for about half.
More parade
Back home after recouping from the heat =)
We had everyone over for dinner and Linda played Old Maid with Claire. Claire LOVED her time with Linda!
Grandma and Claire
We LOVE to color - I remember coloring with Linda when I was a little girl!
Having fun with Claire's new crayons! Thanks Linda and Grandma - LOVE new crayons!
We did see Billy one night while we trucked over to his restaurant for dinner =) The last night he did get over to mom and dad's for the farewell dinner!
It was a WONDERFUL visit! Linda met Eden for the first time and we hadn't seen her in 2 years! Grandma met Eden once last year but enjoyed seeing how much she had changed and how much that girl eats =) She was going through a growth spurt that week!
Can't wait to see yall again! Love you so much!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where we are

Oh I feel so behind!! I still need to post about my grandma and aunt's visit, our garage sale, Mother's Day, what my girl's have been up to - finger painting! and recovering from croup/virus'.... yikes! But I'm so encouraged to know that people are out there praying and wondering where we are in our process these days. So thought I'd do a quick post before heading to bed =)

Let's see - we are almost done with all of our home study paperwork. It's been taking a lot longer than I thought. We have to prepare an autobiography, marriage reflection sheet and parenting reflection sheet along with all the other stacks of documentation. I will say writing everything has been hard. I worked almost 3 hours just on the Parenting worksheet last night (of course yall know how wordy I can get)! Mind you, we can't work on things till about 7:45-8 p.m. so we have been moving slow and steady. We had the goal to get it sent back to Lutheran Social Services by the end of the week but I'm seeing that we will have to get it out at the beginning of this week. Once we get it in, we should have our first home visit in about 2-3 weeks. Just writing that made my tummy turn!

We haven't sent in all of our notarized, signed, filled out orientation paperwork to AGCI yet. Still working on gathering some funds =) Looking into some loans but also planning another garage sale at our house on June 12th since our first was so successful! We have until mid-July to get that all sent in. Of course that delays things because we can't start our dossier until we get the contract and orientation paperwork sent in. We are still selling coffee through our virtual coffee shop www.justlovecoffee.com/Lewisfamily and hoping that will pick up some. We've had 3 customers! (It'd be a great Father's Day present if you're interested in helping us and other orphans in Ethiopia!)

We got our first round of fingerprints done last week and sent off for our FBI request for our records. Our paperwork said the wait is only 2-3 weeks for adoption but the word on the street is that this clearance and response takes a lot longer. We have to have the response and clearance to complete our home study. Here are some pics of our trip to the Helotes Police Dept.

Pictures taken by Claire (except the last one!)
Our sweet girl
Taking a picture of mommy (can't wait to tell yall about the necklace I'm wearing in this picture!! It was a gift from Neil for Mother's Day!)
I love this man!!
So that's where we are. Still gathering paperwork, slowly progressing, wishing we were moving a little faster.... We continue to be blessed by so many and humbled by the love and support we have gotten.
Hope to write again soon! With so much going on here with fundraising, parties, recitals, meetings, life - it just takes awhile to get around to it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tact

So, teaching a 4 year old about tact is interesting... they are so brutally honest as times that you don't know whether to laugh or cry!! She likes to tell me point blank that I smell or that I need to shave. I tell her that even though I, or others smell (because I've been taking care of kids and haven't had time for a shower), you keep it to yourself. Or you can say "You need to shave Mom" with a little less of a disgusted tone =) Tonight's bed time convo was worth posting and it showed me that she just might be learning...

Claire looking at her fuzzy heart pillow that desperately needs a washing...

"Mom, that's daddy's gel on my pillow." (he likes to use it when he tucks her in)
Me: "Yeah, it's getting a bit dirty - we'll wash it soon."
Claire: "It's kind of yucky but I won't tell him that."
Me: "You won't?"
Claire: "Nope... he's kind of a good guy."

I laughed out loud and kissed her - she didn't want to hurt daddy's feelings. I think he's kind of a good guy too =)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Haiti's Rescue Mission

Got this email from my friend Tara and hoping to catch some more San Antonio readers who can help with any donations for the Haiti Children's Rescue Mission! Donations to orphanages are VITAL and can you imagine the looks on their faces when these kiddos get new socks, shoes, bags, underwear, toothbrushes, toys, etc?

Read below, visit the blog link for the detailed list and if you can donate, bring the items up to the church Wed. night (Northside church of Christ on 218 and Thousand Oaks). Melynda Dye is helping collect things for Tara to then get to Cindy =) Find Melynda or let me know if you don't know her and I'll arrange for a drop off box somewhere.

Here is Tara's email: (hope you don't mind me doing this Tara! I didn't even ask!)

Hello, In response to this request (http://thispoeticpresent.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html) on Cindy Foote's blog, I'm taking a few items over to her house on Thursday. She is flying to Haiti soon, and will pack the donations in her suitcases. There are currently 115 orphans in a space built for 45, at Haiti Children's Rescue Mission. http://www.ourchildreninhaiti.com/index.html If anyone is interested in donating the items she is seeking (soap, socks, toothbrushes, notebooks, etc--please see her blog post for a more complete list), please reply to this email and let me know. We can work out the details (likely a designated area at the church to place the items on Wednesday evening) once I know if anyone is able to contribute.

Thanks so much!Tara Richardson