Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eden's 2 and a half!

Last week our baby turned 2.5!! She has changed so much – especially the past three months as she is turning into such a big girl. Eden’s sweet spirit and strong will keeps us on our toes!! She has such a complex personality! I’ve had this conversation with a few people as we say “You can’t just describe her in two or three words” like a lot of other kids her age. I’m still trying to figure her out sometimes but I do know that she is just the way God made her: empathetic (concerned with anyone upset or crying), an observer, gentle spirit, class clown goof (always trying to make someone laugh), stubborn with a capital S, determined to accomplish things herself (doesn’t easily give up), creative and imaginative, nurturing,

Now for things she really loves and is into! She still gravitates towards a lot of typical boy interests such as trains (especially a train book we got a few weeks ago!), building blocks, roly pollies, turtles & balls. Not sure how much of her love for dolls and kitchen play is her or because Claire has instilled that in her. She certainly has the nurturing, mothering side with her dolls! She continues to love animals of all kind and playing outside. About 4 months ago she mastered climbing the rock wall at the playground in seconds flat which amazed me! Everyone always asks me "how old is she?" I have to really keep an eye on her =) If she isn't on a slide, she's scaling the wall. Eden also continues her innate love and skill for music. She has been able to keep a steady beat for months and match pitch since I can remember - I often find her playing the piano!

Here are a few pics of our sweetheart!

"Share-you-go" - this is what Eden says if she wants t o give you something and it's SO cute! Neil and I LOVE this and will be so sad when she stops. Ever since she could talk she would say "share" if she wanted you to take something from her (her cup, plate, toy, etc.) It slowly turned into "share-you-go" which comes out sounding like one word. Here she is sharing her cupcake with Daddy - two of her loves!

Eden is still trying to grasp the idea of our adoption as she continues to wonder where the baby is in my body =) She has still lovingly patted my chest asking "baby?" but the past three weeks when I've asked her "Does mommy have a baby in her tummy?" She will say "no" and I will explain as best as I can in her words. Two weeks ago she prayed for baby brother in her night time prayer when thanking God for everyone and when asked the question again about me having a baby in my tummy she said "no, Birth mom" - pretty much brought tears to my eyes to see her starting to get it the best her little 2.5 year old mind can.
Loving the water these days but will cling to us in the pool! Will be doing lessons in the fall =)

One of our biggest milestones the past three months was potty training!! After her time with the stomach bug was over about a month ago, she has been completely out of diapers both nap and night time. This blows me away because although Claire was potty trained at this age, she was never dry at night so she was in diapers for a very long time. I think I hindered her a bit in that area so as soon as Eden was dry twice (we watch her evening liquid intake closely), it was bye bye diapers!! We went straight to panties which worked for both girls but she was pretty self motivated and for the first three weeks of trying the potty she was motivated by chocolate chips! I'm so blessed that she didn't make it into a power struggle because that's what I anticipated. I think because I took it so layed back with her and took HER lead, she felt like she was in control and it was never something I was making her do. I don't know - just glad she's done and we can now work on moving her into a big girl bed =)

I'm going to sound like a broken record but here it goes again - time is FLYING by and although she will always be my baby, she's moving on and growing up too fast!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Maw Maw

What a sweet, sweet visit we had with Maw Maw, Neil's grandma, in Kerrville last week! Lunch at the usual mexican restaurant and some nice time down by the river. The girls fed the ducks, read books with Maw Maw and even surprised her with a "picnic" with their pretend food and plates. Maw Maw made some yummy freezer oatmeal cookies. It was just what memories are made of.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

God's Provision and a lot to celebrate!!

I'm a little behind on posting some fun things we've done the past two weeks but wanted to quickly and temporarily post about our 6th and hopefully final HUGE garage sale we had today. (I don't keep fundraising posts up for any length of time so in case our blog gets searched by Ethiopian govt. Better safe than sorry!! I don't want to set my blog to private) We haven't done one since November so although a little rusty, it seems like we've become garage saling pros =) Of course we couldn't do it without all the wonderful people who continue to call us and ask if they can bring stuff over! We accumulated a bunch the past few months and are just so thankful for God bringing stuff to our door! We also couldn't do it with our amazing parents who helped with the girls and for my parents who come sit in the 100 degree weather to help us sell just one more thing. We are SO blessed!

It was a late every night getting it all sorted and priced since everything we were selling was new to us. Over all God blessed us with $982 and we are still working on selling a mattress set that will hopefully knock us over $1,000! All funds raised will go directly to our adoption expenses (right now it's helping us pay for our second trip)I know I say this every time but isn't that amazing? Who ever heard of such a crazy thing? Well God keeps showing up and as it's "God's will, God's bill" He is choosing to pay it with garage sales (and marathons!!) and blessing us through our efforts. I feel like we truly have it down to a bit of a science and it's prompted me to later write a post on garage sale tips. We put a TON of time into it and although exhausting, so worth it!! Just like most things - you get what you put into it.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us!! Something else to celebrate is we are in the 20's!!! We are now unofficially sitting at #29 which seems a little unreal!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preschool Graduation

Seriously, where does the time go? Neil and I laughed the other day when we realized that all those parents who told us that time would fly when you have kids were right!! And it's seemed to have sped up exponentially since Eden entered our lives.

Our baby is now 5 and we celebrated her preschool graduation today! What a fun program the school put on with all the kids and then each graduate got called in their cap and gown to get their certificate and bible from Mr. David. They also took the time to do a slide show with every child's name and picture. I can't tell you enough how amazing this MDO program is. They truly make the kids feel so loved and special!

Here is a video of Claire being called up front

Untitled from Kathryn Lewis on Vimeo.

We took a ton of video of the songs that Claire and Eden's classes performed for my parents who were out of state visiting my grandma and aunts. So cute and they looked like they had a great time! Here is the graduate!
Such a proud mommy! These roses came from a garden that I was taking care of at the time and she just loved them.
Daddy and his girl

Claire with her wonderful teacher, Ms. Claudia!

Eden on the run =) She was there enjoying all the music!

The graduate with Mimi and Poppa! So glad they could make it to celebrate with us!

Claire chose to go to "I-Pop" for breakfast afterwards as a celebratory treat! What a glorious day to see our sweetheart continue to grow, learn and become all that God has intended for her to be at 5. She is an amazing little girl - yes, she knows all she needs to know to move onto kinder. Her letters, colors, numbers, rhymes, opposites, etc. But that's really not important in the long run. She would learn it eventually anyway. Most importantly, she has a heart of gold - always looking out for others. Who Claire is and is becoming as a young lady just blows me away and in so many ways, well beyond her years. Her character is what is most important as she soon embarks on a whole new world going to school everyday with all kinds of different people. Can't wait to see what all He has in store for her as she continues to grow and seek Him.

We are so proud of you, Claire!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May number

Got our official number today! (as of 5/23, we are #30!) It was one less than we thought it was so that was a pleasant surprise! We were 34 in April so although slow movement, there IS movement. This is always encouraging as we have now been on the wait list for 7.5 months (in process for a little over 14 months). Our caseworker sent us an email with our number along with the news that they are now estimating wait list time as 18 months. This is not what they currently have seen (the last referrals were at 11 and 10 months) but what they are estimating with the slow down and more detail and time taken on paperwork/investigations to make sure the children are truly orphans. The MOWA is being much more careful with each child's case to make sure nothing unethical is taking place. The US Embassy in Ethiopia has also been taking a little more time on a case to case basis.

We continue to trust God's timing for our family. Meanwhile we are working on big transitions in our house to get ready for the big transition of traveling and bringing brother home - potty training (Eden has completed this one - even naps and nighttime!! No more diapers!!), moving the girls into the same room, Claire starting kindergarten in late August, Eden and I having some one-on-one time we've never had before, working on the baby's room. We are also continuing to read as much as possible on adoption and Ethiopia - I'm close to cooking my first Ethiopian dish! We are staying busy and anticipating a really great, fun summer together. Savoring each moment we have together.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

The moment I found out I was pregnant with Claire 5 1/2 years ago, I became a mom and my life was forever changed. Then she was born and my life REALLY changed!! 2 1/2 years later along came Eden and our world was turned upside down once (again!). These two girls are the light of my life and I yearn for my little guy who will again, create a new normal for us. I don't have the eloquent words to describe this feeling I have for him already and I don't even know his face or name yet. I PRAY he is home by next Mother's Day so I can spend it with my three little ones. As always, I also continue to pray for our sweet ones birth mother as I can only imagine what she is and will be going through by having to say goodbye to her baby boy. Just breaks my heart.

Although being a mom is accompanied by tough days, the past 5 1/2 years have been one of the most molding, eye opening, humbling, and amazing experiences that has ever happened to me. It is the most rewarding job I am honored to hold as God has entrusted me to mold their little lives to be His servants and live for Him alone!
This year was so fun as Claire really understood what we were celebrating and she took so much initiative starting a week in advance! She wanted to check out a fingerprint art book from the library to make me a card and she made me this all by herself (Neil did the writing!) These two are of a cat and a beaver.
Here is a bee, spider and lion
Add Image And this one is a caterpillar, flower, turtle, girl with long hair, a pirate, a frog and three little people at the bottom (maybe a bunny? =) She is such a craft lover!

The girls made these great gifts at MDO for me with their pics inside shoes they have outgrown. On the leaves it says "Plant in a loving family, sprinkle with kisses, bathe in the light of the Lord" How cute is that?

And this is my favorite =) Claire made this and told the teacher what to write about me! She was more than excited to show me her drawing of her and I on the front.

And this page just about made me cry. So wonderful to hear her "say" that I like to play and that my wish would be to have baby brother! What a sweetheart! And yes, my favorite food is pizza - I could eat it everyday =)

So this mother's day was wonderful as the kids are getting a little older and showering me with extra love and kisses. I got breakfast in bed, pizza for lunch, a nice long nap, a visit to Neil's mom (my mom was out of town) and throw up all over me after dinner!! Eden started her 4 day stomach bug that evening which just reminded me why I celebrate mother's day in the first place... to take care of my babies and that no mother truly gets a day off!