Friday, February 29, 2008

18 Weeks and a Leap Year!

We find ourselves at 18 weeks still very busy and still......waiting! We are running out of ways to create these numbers so during lunch today, the kids decided to use their apple slices and baby carrots to make the number "18"! They were thrilled at how their apple slices could make the number "8" so well!
They are continuously asking us why it is taking so long for them to see their brother and sister. We keep telling them that waiting for something we long for is so hard but the Lord is always faithful and we must trust in Him to reveal our babies in His timing. They have been "chewing" on that for a while (along with Brad and I, too!) The waiting period has been very long (even though we know "long" is a relative term) but the Lord has carried us through the entire way. It is truly amazing how He continues to prepare our hearts to receive these precious blessings and that has been the most amazing part of this journey, so far!

We are so thrilled for a couple of Gladney families who have recently received their referrals...Congratulations Thorne family, Roberts family and Farmboy and Buttercup!

Happy "Leap" Day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

African Children's Choir Performance

Tonight, Brittany, Brad, the kids and myself all went downtown to see the African Children's Choir at the Wortham Theater and it was spectacular! I had seen several months ago that they were coming in town, so I told Brad that for my birthday, I wanted to get tickets. We didn't tell the kids we were going until we left the house so we could surprise them! The were so excited since they had seen many videos of the African Children's Choir on the internet. The entire drive down there, they were full of questions. Elijah was a little confused, we think, since he kept telling me that we were going to get "our babies from Africa"!

We arrived a little early (which is monumental for us!) and were able to watch another group of kids performing traditional African dances in the lobby. They were amazing! We finally went to our seats that were only 10 rows from the stage and no one was blocking either of the kids' view! All of the children were from either South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or the Congo. They ranged in age from 7 years to 11 years and were so precious! To see those children on stage was truly breathtaking for me! Even though none of the children were from Ethiopia, it gave me such pride knowing that my children have such an amazing story and heritage just being from Africa! They danced and sang with such joy and passion that was truly contagious throughout the audience! Isabella and Elijah were totally entranced with the children and their performances. Elijah stood most of the time dancing around and clapping to the beat and Isabella was truly taken by the children as she stood incredibly quiet (which is rare for both her and myself!) noticing every little detail about their performance. They both kept asking what the children were singing about and we were able to read from the program to help them understand.
Every one of us enjoyed it so much and felt like it gave us a little taste of what we will experience when we travel to Ethiopia! There was no video or flash photography allowed during the performance but when they came back out for an encore performance, everyone was snapping pictures, so I, too, couldn't resist taking a few. I even was able to catch ther end of their performance with this video:

We all felt drawn to these kids, but Isabella was pleading with us to adopt some of the kids. She cried at the end of the performance because she said that those children needed mommies and daddies and she didn't want them to be lonely. She is a very compassionate little girl, very astute and in-tune with others and their needs. It made me happy to see her compassion demonstrated so freely and deeply but at the same time, I was a little sad that she was struggling to understand why we couldn't adopt those precious children. In that moment, I was struck at how the Lord has been working in our children's hearts along with our own. Throughout this adoption process, it is clear that He has grown within our children a sensitivity, and a burden, and a love for children who are different from them and whom they have never known. We are so thankful for that precious blessing in our lives!

As we left the theater to go home, Isabella was very sad and was disappointed it was over, and wanted desparately to meet some of the children. However, Elijah was full of energy and dancing freely to the African music playing in the lobby. This picture perfectly demonstrates the demeanor of them both after the performance.

Friday, February 22, 2008

17 Weeks

Hooray! We are still climbing and have reached 17 weeks! The kids decided to use left over Valentine's Day candy hearts to make our "17" and it was cute! I haven't eaten those candy hearts in so long and they are still as gross as they were when I was a kid. However, Isabella and Elijah ate one whole little box full smiling the whole time. I kept thinking to myself..... "There is no way they really like the taste of those candy hearts!" But in order to eat a whole box-full, there has to be some degree of enjoyment so I figure it is just candy to them. I am just glad they are only available one time a year!
No new adoption news....still waiting....

This seems neverending!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fingerprint Renewal Appointments

Since we have had our I-171H approval for so long, our fingerprints and our I-171H will expire soon. So, Brad and I went downtown early this morning to get re-fingerprinted for a new approval. It was raining this morning and when we arrived, there was a long line of a bazillion people all along the side of the building. After we were allowed inside, we had to fill out the same paperwork as before and wait for our number to be called. It was actually pretty uneventful except that it gave Brad and I some time together that we haven't had in a while because of his incerdibly busy schedule! Nothing like going on a date to the USCIS-Houston building! We were only there for under an hour and then headed home. Hopefully, we will receive our new expiration date for our fingerprints soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Treasure Hunt I must brag on Brad once again! He is a wonderful daddy and always does neat things with the kids, but this particular event "took the cake" in both being precious and hysterical at the same time! This morning, the kids woke up to the doorbell ringing incessantly. Their sleepy little bodies meandered towards to the door to see what was going on. At the prompting of Brad, they opened the door to find a letter addressed especially to them! Their excitement grew as Brad read the letter that some "pirates" had left for them:They squealed with excitement as they ran to the back door (pushing each other outside) and found a ziplock baggie with TWO treasure maps inside!! Their faces were absolutely priceless as they opened their maps! Isabella was asking a million questions trying to figure everything out as she is our little detective and Elijah was cracking us up just squealing and jumping up and down enjoying the sheer excitement of it all!Is he not just so precious and proud!?! He is actually holding Isabella's treasure map (that Brad said he held over a candle fire to make it look old and oooops! It acidentally caught fire!)

They quickly put on warm clothes and shoes and out the door we went to find the treasure! Isabella continued to ask questions like, "Who rang our doorbell? How did they get into our backyard? Why do they want us to have their treasure? Don't we need a shovel to dig up the treasure?" At the last question, Brad began laughing hysterically and I was definitely in the dark until he explained......

Early this morning, he drew up the letter and the maps and then took our shovel and the "treasures" down to the lake close to our home that is situated just past a forested area behind our subdivision's community pool. Since it was kind of rainy, he wrapped the "treasures" into their own large plastic bags so they wouldn't ruin when buried. Great idea, right? Yes......until it is very early on a Saturday morning and a large suspicious man with a rusty shovel and two large plastic bags containing unknown items quickly descends down the remote hill to the water's edge and begins burying the plastic bags! What do you think the policeman thought who had pulled up his patrol car and was watching him?

Needless to say, Brad saw the policeman's car, threw the shovel down and left it there and walked back up the hill thinking how he was going to explain himself! He ended up getting back home without much trouble from the police!!

After we arrived back at the buried treasure spot, we all felt like we were sneaky little ex-cons and I kept telling the kids to "hurry up!" I didn't get a chance to take pictures because I was on the "lookout" for more police....I mean "pirates"!! I felt like Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive" as Brad was laughing the entire time (especially when Isabella discovered that the "nice pirates" left us a shovel to dig for the treasure and was appalled that we were "stealing their shovel" as we brought it back to our car!)

It definitely was a fun time, but then again, we always have fun with Clark Griswald!

Date Night....

...for Brad and Isabella! Sometime during the day, Isabella "found" an invitation to her from Brad. She was so excited that Daddy made her a special card! She began asking what she should wear and where they were going. Brad told her they could go anywhere she wanted to go, so she picked Double Dave's Pizza! She loves to watch them toss the pizza dough and make the pizzas! She got dressed up and begged to wear her "sparkly pink shoes" to which I said, "It is the perfect 'Daddy date' shoe!" Then, she asked Brad to fasten the Ethiopian cross necklace around her neck that he had given her for Christmas. She LOVES to wear the necklace! After she was dressed and ready to go, Brad gave her a little card and on one knee he gave her a little tiny wristlet corsage!! She didn't quite know what it was but when Brad told her, she lifted up her little top and stuck out her hip for Brad to pin it on her waist!! It was so cute even though we don't exactly know why she thought it went on her hip! He put it on her wrist and she said, "Look, Mommy! A flower bracelet!" It was perfect (especially since he had the florist make it special since they had just closed and didn't have any tiny wristlets already made up...but who could say no to a daddy taking his little 5 year old on a date?!) and she was absolutely thrilled! It was raining when they left so she took her little umbrella and they had a great time!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

16 weeks

Today is our "Sweet 16" (as others have referred to it); however, I am not too sure it will be too sweet. But what was sweet about today is Elijah trying to make a 16 with his train tracks! He was so determined to make it work and I have to admit it was tough trying to get the right angle of the tracks to curve just right. He loves his trains and made sure that number "16" tracks were being used by his trains!

As for now, I guess we "chugga, chugga" on to week 17 hopeful of some news of a referral!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We have all been sick....AGAIN! So, I am trying to catch up these posts (seems to be the theme of my life lately!)
Well, we started today with heart-shaped pancakes made by Aunt Brittany! They were so cute and the kids were thrilled!
We spent most of the day outside playing and having a picnic for lunch! The kids opened their little "Valentine treats" after dinner.
Elijah squealed when he got some books (he LOVES books!) and Isabella was thrilled to find a pair of Valentine sock monkey pajamas! Of course, they found some candy and a Valentine pez dispenser for both of them!
On the adoption front, we sent off our request for fingerprints this past Tuesday since our old fingerprints expire on Saturday! Our Houston office has always been great at a quick response so we know we will receive an appointment soon! We are in the process of renewing our I-171H since that will expire in May. The USCIS office has allowed one renewal without payment so we are so very thankful for that!! Once again, the Lord continues to provide for our needs!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Okay, so I was "tagged" by my friend, Shelly, a while back but I have been so busy, I haven't been blogging much. So I have finally decided to sit down and answer these "Crazy 8s"....

8 things I am passionate about:
  • My husband, Brad
  • My children, Isabella and Elijah (and my children in waiting)
  • Adoption
  • Sewing
  • Children's Ministry
  • Cooking
  • Organization
  • Making a difference

8 things I want to do before I die:

  • See my children walk with the Lord
  • See my children marry
  • Become a grandmother
  • Write a children's book
  • Learn to knit and crochet
  • Travel to Switzerland and Austria
  • Own a log cabin with a wrap around porch and creaky rocking chairs somewhere in the mountains
  • Own a children's boutique/tea room that also sells unique dishes, fabrics and beautiful dolls

8 things I say often:

  • I love you completely and forever
  • Hurry up! (This should actually be said to me since I am always late!)
  • Good night, Nurse!
  • It's freeeeeezing in here! (Brad keeps the house at 67 degrees!)
  • Did you wash your hands? (I say this every day, many times a day)
  • Vomit! (Not as a command, just in response to something disgusting)
  • Do you need to go potty? (Always asking the kids this before we leave the house since my biggest pet peeve is taking the kids to nasty public restrooms!)
  • Ummmm, helllllooooo? (Example: “Mommy, I can’t find my pirate underwear?” So I walk to his bedroom, open his underwear drawer, smile and point to his pirate underwear and say, “Ummmmmmm, hellllooooooo?”......giggling always follows!)

8 shows I have watched recently:

  • American Idol
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  • Barefoot Contessa
  • Take Home Chef
  • So You Think You Can Dance?
  • Lazy Town (my kids LOVE this show on Noggin)
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Little People, Big World (LOVE this show!)

8 artist I never tire of listening to:

  • Barry Manilow (don't judge me....I actually paid to see him at the rodeo and screamed "I love you, Barry!" while he was singing "Weekend in New England"....I was "that" woman in the crowd......Brad literally slid down in his seat and broke into hives!)
  • Celine Dion
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Natalie Grant
  • David Phelps
  • Josh Groban
  • ABBA (Who doesn't love a little Dancin' Queen and Take A Chance On Me?)

8 things that attract me to my friends:

  • Authenticity
  • Trustworthy
  • Sense of humor
  • Heart for the Lord
  • Honesty
  • Love for my children
  • Don't take things too seriously
  • Shared interests

8 things I learned in 2007:

  • My heart can truly ache for children that I have never laid eyes on yet!
  • The Lord doesn’t promise a “bird’s eye view” of His plan when He calls you to obey and follow Him
  • Following the Lord’s calling on your life can be lonely and full of joy all at the same time
  • Waiting is harder than I have ever thought
  • Homeschooling is not as difficult as I once thought
  • My husband truly loves me in sickness and in health
  • The adoption community is a tremendous support group of people, many of whom I have never met in person but share a lasting bond and friendship with through blogging (Who knew?)
  • What doesn’t kill us, truly makes us stronger!

Oky, so now I think I am supposed to "tag" someone else.....Rebecca, Lincee, Robin

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week 15

Still waiting with no word.....Isabella's turn this week so she chose Strawberry Shortcake dolls (most of these were mine as a little girl!) and made sure they all had their little pets beside them for the picture! So cute! All the gang was there....Strawberry Shortcake and Custard the cat, Apple Dumplin', Apricot and Hopsalot Bunny, Butter Cookie and Jelly bear, Lemon Meringue, Mint Tulip and Marsh Mallard the duck, Huckleberry Pie and Pupcake the dog, Cafe' Ole' and Burrito the burro, Crepe Suzette and Eclair the poodle, Lem and Ada (the twins) and Sugar Woofer! And don't forget the villains....The Peculiar Purple Pieman from Porcupine Peak with Captain Cackle the berry bird and his female counterpart, Sour Grapes and Dregs the snake! Yes, I LOVED Strawberry Shortcake dolls (obviously a little too much!) and I am glad she now does too! They even still have their unique smells after 25 years!

Hopefully we will hear something soon (Can you see things are getting a little crazy over here?)!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Two Front Teeth

It seems with all the teeth being pulled from Isabella's little mouth, she would want to hang on to some of her remaining teeth....but now, her two front teeth are missing! Her two front teeth have been loose for some time, but she decided to let Aunt Brittany pull only one of them last night! She was so brave!
So, tonight she decided she let Aunt Brittany give her other front tooth a pull and that one came right out as well! She started with 20 teeth in her mouth, then she lost her first tooth on the bottom. A week later, the dentist pulled 5 more teeth on the bottom to make room for her adult teeth! And now, her top front teeth are missing, so we are really not sure how she is going to eat or drink with all the holes in her little mouth, but she is so proud! Now, she is affectionately called our little "toothless wonder"!

Week 14

I have been so busy the past two weeks that I haven't had a chance to update.....(so I am dating this post from when it actually occured instead of when I am actually posting it!!) Last Friday, Brad and I and my brother all drove up to Waco (kids in tow) to move my younger sister from her apartment. She graduated from Baylor in this past December and is taking some time off before she has to join the "working world" and now has decided to live with us!!! We are thrilled!! The move went pretty smoothly and rather fast....we drove up friday night, moved most of her things into a U-Haul, woke up early, moved the rest of her things and we were driving back home at 3pm. Isabella and Elijah are now sharing a room and she has Elijah's old room and the kids LOVE it! It was great to clean out Elijah's room since I needed to do it anyway before we brought our kids home from Ethiopia! There were definitely lots of "little treasures" we discovered during the clean out process of his room.....little boys are always so "curious"! Brittany also has a little poodle, Beaux, who the kids adore and they are loving having a little dog in the house!

We have now entered into our 14th week of waiting for a referral and I asked Elijah if he could make a "14" with something. He immediately rant to his bin of cars and started "racing" the cars in line to make his "14"! He was very excited about it that he wanted to make another "14" with his train tracks (I can see that coming in the next few weeks!!).
Tonight, we celebrated our 14th week with Malva Pudding! It is a South African recipe that I have and it is delicious!!! We made it for Christmas Eve dinner this year but somehow during the baking process "someone" turned the oven up to 500 degrees! It was rather crispy and dry, so we thought we would give it another try tonight. Brittany actually made it for us (I am glad we both share a love for cooking!!) and everyone enjoyed it! I forgot to take a picture of it but I have one that was attached to the recipe. It is simliar to bread pudding and so good that I thought others may like the recipe: (you cannot taste the apricot jam in it so I am really not sure why it is there except maybe to moisten it)

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. apricot jam (or preserves, chopped very finely)
5 ounces all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter (a generous tablespoon)
1 tsp. vinegar
1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup fresh cream
3-1/2 ounces butter
5 ounces sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp. vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat or whip the sugar and eggs, preferably in a food processor, until thick and lemon colored. Then, add the apricot jelly (or jam) and mix thoroughly. Sieve together the flour, soda and salt. Melt the butter (do not boil!) and add the vinegar. Add this mixture, as well as the milk, to the egg mixture in the processor, alternately with the flour. Beat well.Pour into an oven-proof dish, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. In a pot, melt together the ingredients for the sauce. When the cake is halfway baked, take it out of oven. Make holes in cake and pour all the sauce over the pudding. Return to the oven. Delicious!!