Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ab Fab

My lovely wife, Abby, is FABULOUS! I have to give her all the credit for all-things-nursery. Everything in that room has been picked out by her -- the furniture, bedding, paint colors, wall decor, etc.....and it's finally paid off. With the help of Google, we were noticed by Creative Baby Nursery Rooms. And now our room has been posted on their site. Check it out here. I'll never doubt her again (on painting). We're going to hang more art on the walls tonight. We'll post pics soon. Very Impressive, Boo!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We're huge in Dubai

That's right. Our t-shirt is huge in Dubai. Thanks to Julie for helping make it so popular. (There's a great shot of Julie wearing our shirt in Dubai....but since they are out of the country we'll wait for permission to post the photo. I'm learning Blog etiquette.) 7,990 miles from Springfield to Addis Ababa. 1,559 miles from Dubai to Addis Ababa. 6431 miles down....Good luck, guys!

On a personal note, I hate to break it to everyone, but I caved in yesterday. That's right. I joined Facebook!!! The pressure was just too much. So many people telling me how great it was. Hearing what I was missing out on. The curiosity of who was out there that wanted to be my friend. I joined February 18 @ 10:18am. I deleted my account February 18 @ 10:25am. SEVEN MINUTES....that's all I lasted. I couldn't handle the pressure. (I'd like to thank my lovely wife for calling me a particular name and making me snap out of my Facebook slip-up.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Painting: Part II

Yes! We are done painting! Don't get me wrong; it was fun and all, but now it's even more fun to walk into the nursery and daydream. It was a very sweet Valentine's Day this year because all day long we painted. And didn't get into one single fight. Now, that is true love. Our "accent" wall definitely turned out for the best with both of us working on it, with our respective talents and strengths. I couldn't manage to put the tape in the right place without Roger constantly reminding me and he couldn't -- well, anyway, I love him dearly so I won't bother to point out his shortcomings. It was definitely a process but so much fun to work on together. Okay, anyway, on to the pictures! The nursery is not fully complete, so I will just post pictures of the square wall and the bedding (by popular demand).

What we started with

The squares look crooked in the below picture, but I swear they are perfectly straight. I think it's just a bad camera angle.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Quick updates:

  1. We are still waiting...and we'll probably be waiting for months. Sorry we don't have any great/exciting news, but this is the waiting part. Waiting for a referral is probably the most boring part of the whole adoption process. It's exciting at the beginning because you have a list of 1000+ things you have to do, and when people ask how it's going you can tell them that you've done #786 on the list of things to do (copy of birth certificates) and that you're making progress. Then you get all the paperwork done and get in line. Where we are....waiting. Trust me, when we hear/know something you will know! Until then, feel free to keep asking. We'll tell you the same thing....Still waiting. On a good note, we are coming up on 2 months of waiting....still a long way to go, but these 2 months have gone by fast.
  2. We had a fun "meeting" in Branson last week with all kinds of families that have adopted internationally. And I will never look at a chocolate fountain the same way. It's amazing that double-dipping is socially acceptable until someone tells you that it's not socially acceptable. Whatever. If I want to dip a nutter-butter in chocolate, take a bite, then dip it in chocolate again, I say I can. If my pal Caden can do it, then I can too. (Thanks to Jamie Jo and Andy for opening their house...again and again and again.)

  3. At the meeting I got to hang out with Gabby....always a highlight for me. Abby calls her my girlfriend. That might be a little much, but it is scary how much this little girl just melts my heart. I can't imagine how protective I will be someday of a daughter. Until then I've got the Rwandan princess, Gabby.
  4. This past weekend Abby and I finished up painting the nursery. OK, Abby finished up and I just did what she told me to do. She'll be blogging about that soon.....
  5. Thanks to The Today Show crew (Matt & Meredith) for riding with us to the Branson meeting. Who knew Mazzio's was still in business?!?!?
  6. Looks like we are getting our "travel shots" tomorrow....or so my wife informed me today. Yippee. Lots of needles and lots of money out of my pocket. Two of my favorite things. Figured I'd type tonight in case I can't move my arms tomorrow. Stay tuned....
  7. And finally, on a completely unrelated topic: If you go see He's Just Not That Into You and you decide to upsize to a large soda because it's only $0.50 more (with free refills), you do NOT have to go get a free refill just because they are free! Let's just say I don't remember the last 30+ minutes of the movie because I was trying to do everything I could not to pee myself. But I made it to the end....

I'd like to finish with this.....I was going to apologize that this blog doesn't have more to do with adoption than it does. But I'm not going to apologize. Because while we may not be blogging about adoption (seriously, how many times can you type "WAITING") we are blogging about our life right now --- and everything we do is somehow wrapped around the idea of adoption. So, thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. And thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Speaking of thoughts and prayers....Keep the Neals in yours! They are flying from Atlanta to Dubai right now. And I've got to be honest, if I wasn't sitting on my bed with my two puppies and my lovely wife beside me, that's the only other place I would want to be right now...on my way to Ethiopia to meet my child.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Omaha....and Ethiopian Food

First of all, sorry for the mass download of blog posts from us lately. If you're keeping current with our blog, I applaud your tenacity! I think being called fabulous and all has maybe inflated mine and Roger's ego and now we're super-inspired to blog even more! Or maybe we've just had some blog-worthy stuff going on in our life lately. I'm not sure.

Anyway, since it's already Thursday, I thought I should probably get around to writing about our very fun weekend in Omaha so as not to give our friends Josh and Sara the impression it wasn't a momentous and enjoyable time that we had with them. Because it SO was. Josh and Sara get the Most Supportive Friends Award because -- wait for it -- they went to an Ethiopian restaurant with us and shared our first experience eating Ethiopian food!!! And they aren't even adopting from Ethiopia (gasp)!! And it was so fun and hilarious and I will remember it forever. Roger and I had Googled "Ethiopian restaurants Omaha" last week in the off chance there might be one, and low and behold there was. Obviously Springfield is not the cultural epicenter of the Midwest, so we were totally going to take advantage of traveling to a bigger city. I called up Sara on Wednesday or Thursday and informed her of our exciting discovery and how we really wanted to try it, and she was all for it......until I gave her the address of the restaurant. I detected a slight decrease in her enthusiasm, but she was still very supportive and said if we wanted to go, they would totally go with us. Then we get to their house on Friday afternoon and we're discussing our plans for the weekend and the restaurant comes up again. At that point Sara's husband Josh pretty much flat out told us we were not going to go because it wasn't a safe part of town. I told him I kind of expected that and I was sure it would be fine. After all, I had read two raving reviews online, so it had to be great; right? Josh agreed that we would at least "drive by" so as to see for ourselves that we probably wouldn't want to get out of the car. Well, guess what? We checked it out (in broad daylight), it looked perfectly safe, and it was great. Well, as great as eating Ethiopian food for the first time can be. As we were walking into the restaurant I was giggling like a little girl I was so excited. I felt like you do right before you ride a big roller coaster; excited and nervous at the same time. The lady who waited on us was the restaurant owner and she so sweet and beautiful and helpful, truly. I think she may have thought we were complete idiots when we were ordering because we ordered like four huge different dishes, which was of course too much food, but we all wanted to try everything. And it was very reasonably priced so it was no big deal for us to do it that way. She was so nice and explained what everything was on the menu. Even though the menu had pictures, that still of course didn't help us out any because we know nothing about Ethiopian food, except injera which we knew was some type of bread. So we had plenty of food that we all loved trying and commenting on. The only "negative" part of our dining experience was when I took a bite out of a whole hard-boiled egg covered in a red spicy sauce and Roger about threw up. And that was only negative for Roger because we all thought it was hysterical he was so freaked out by it. Eggs have always weirded him out and I knew he would react that way, so that may or may not have been my incentive for trying the egg. Roger and I also drank mango juice with our meal to be even more "authentic." It smelled like tomatoes, but tasted like mangoes. The other very cool thing about this restaurant is it was attached to East African Grocery. After we ate, we wandered over there up and down the aisles and it was full of Ethiopian goods, like ghee and sesame candy and dried lentils and a bunch of other stuff I know nothing about. As we were wandering around looking totally out of place, oohing and aahing over everything, Roger was totally caught staring at a very beautiful Ethiopian girl, who was probably in her mid-20s. Seriously, I'm a little worried I might go over to Ethiopia and come home with a child minus one husband. As he was blatantly staring at her, she asked him if he was a student and he totally looked like a deer in headlights. He didn't even answer her at first because he was so caught off guard. Apparently she thought we looked out of place and that was her best guess for why were there. Since Roger was still stammering around, I jumped in and explained to her that we were adopting a baby from Ethiopia, and she kind of looked at us for a minute and then said, "Oh," with a combination of surprise/indifference, if that makes any sense. And that was that. I am so intrigued by what Ethiopian people think of white families adopting children from their home country. Anyway, it was a great experience and so much fun. The restaurant also had a TV showing an Ethiopian channel that consisted of music videos of people doing Ethiopian dances and singing songs. Very interesting. Like I said before, it was a great experience and so much fun. I am definitely looking forward to eating Ethiopian food again, now that I have a better idea of what it is.

The rest of the weekend consisted of a little shopping, some more great eating, a hockey game that I didn't watch any of because I was too busy talking, and tons of great conversation. Sara and I have been friends since we were about 13, so we have that special knack that all lifelong friends have of picking up exactly where we left off, no matter how long it's been since we last saw each other. Relationships like that are so precious. There's nothing more comforting and fun than spending time with a friend who has known you your whole life, who totally gets who you are because they know your whole story, who has shared your excitement and happiness over the wonderful times in life and also knows your struggles and heartbreaks. I even told Sara I was going to blog a photo of us together from 1995 (sexy hair, stick legs, matching Garner jackets, and all) just to demonstrate how long we've been friends, but since I'm so technologically inept, that will have to wait for another day. Josh and Roger get along so great, which is awesome because when you get married and your friends get married, you're never quite sure how everyone will get along. Of course, Roger is the social chairperson in this marriage, so it's rare for Roger to meet anyone who he doesn't like and vice versa. I also was very proud of myself and only bought 2 baby things all weekend. I'm supposedly on a baby clothes spending freeze, but it was such a great deal I couldn't pass it up!

(Dinner at Mark's, a restaurant in midtown Omaha)

(Olli, Josh & Sara's sweet dog who I totally get a kick out of since I had a Schnauzer growing up)

(At our Ethiopian feast)

(Couldn't have said it any better myself!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Day...

As we were having dinner with the in-laws tonight (mark & erin), I realized that today's date is February 11th. Yes, I knew it was February 11th all day, but tonight is when I realized there is actually a little significance with the 11th of the month. The "US" picture on the left was taken September 11th, 2008. Our great friend, and tech-wizard Matt Spindler invited me and Abby to go to the Cardinals vs. Cubs game @ Busch Stadium. We had awesome seats (thanks, Matt), ate and drank for free (thanks, Matt) and had the times of our lives. Again, thanks, Matt! It was a rare night when Abby and I actually carried our camera with us and used it. There are lots of great shots from that night, but this is by far my favorite. (Duh, that's why we used it as our "US" photo.)

I remember driving to St. Louis on September 11th. Abby and I had found out exactly a week earlier that the first round of IVF didn't work. So the whole way up there we were discussing if/when we would do the second round of IVF. The drive to STL is 220+ miles, which isn't bad unless you do it over and over again, week after week. Driving home on the 12th we both decided that we did our one and only round of IVF. The time and drive were just too much. Not to mention the emotional (and physical, on Abby) toll it took.

So I consider September 11th the "Last Day". September 11th, 2008, is officially the last day I had zero thoughts about adoption. It's the last day my mind went without having a single thought about Ethiopia. It's the last day Abby and I tried to control everything. Since that day all we've talked about is Adoption. Since that day all we've thought about is Ethiopia. Since that day we have Let Go and Let God.

September 12th is the day we decided no more IVF! September 12th is the day my mom Louanna (aka: "Mom-Wasson," "Mom," "Lou") told us about an adoption fundraiser that her friend Julie (aka: "Rob's wife," "Caden's Mom," "Jeff Gordon Fan/Freak") was going to on September 13th. See, we started having thoughts of adoption/Ethiopia on the 12th. Then we went to the fundraiser on the 13th - met Jayden and Caden - and had the seeds planted in our minds & hearts to adopt from Ethiopia.

So, this photo is the "Last Day." The day before our journey would begin. I'm so glad we have this photo and these memories. So one day when our kid(s) complain that we are boring we can bring up these photos and show them how cool we used to be -- before we were driving them around in a Rav-4 (don't get me started) listening to the BeeGees sing "Ring-around-the-Rosey" (I'm sure they have a Kids Album...I'm just holding off looking for it.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Painting: Part I

Last week my wonderful, wonderful mom came over to help me start painting the nursery. Yes, I can paint, but my mom is on a whole 'nother level. That's why I have her do the trim work. She is amazing. Super picky, but you know what? That means she does a fantastic job. No paint on the ceiling or baseboards. And now tomorrow night she's coming back over to help me hang a curtain/valance thingy in the window. And probably point out more spots that need more paint. What would we do without our moms? Seriously. Thank you, Mom, so much for all that you do for me. I will never be able to put into words how much I appreciate all your support and help. So, anyway, she came and trimmed in the whole nursery for me last Monday while I was at a depo and then Monday night and Tuesday morning I did the rolling -- and had three blisters to show for my hard work. Wednesday night Roger took over as quality control and surveyed my excellent work -- and put little red stickies over all the spots that needed a little more coverage, which were kind of a lot since I only did one coat of paint. It was a great help because I was starting to go blind staring into a tan wall looking for white spots. The room is a little boring right now because it's painted a neutral color, but Roger and I are going to jazz it up a bit this weekend.

(My mom working her paint magic)

Valentine Tea

(Louanna-Roger's mom, me, Cody, Tammy-Roger's sister)

Today I had the privilege of attending my 5-year-old nephew Cody's Valentine tea party at his preschool that included singing, little cheese sandwiches in the shape of hearts, and cupcakes frosted (heavily) by the kids. Cody and I of course had to eat our cupcakes upside down since we both have an aversion to frosting because that's how we roll. Anyway, all of the "significant women" in Cody's life were invited; you know, like grandmas and aunts and his mom. It was so fun...and cute! The kids sang sweet Valentine-ish songs for about five minutes, including "You Are My Sunshine" in which I then had to employ some serious breathing techniques to keep the waterworks at bay, but I did make it through. There is just something about that song. But then I've also notcied lately that when I get in certain situations (like any time there are babies or little kids around) I find myself fighting tears, not because I'm sad but because I have so much denied maternal instinct built up inside me that it just comes out in the form of tears. AND THEN, as if that wasn't enough, there was one little girl in the class who didn't have anyone at the party for her -- no mom or grandma, no one. And it was obviously very sad and upsetting for her, as it would be for any 4-year-old who walks into a room and doesn't see a familiar face when all of her classmates do. She of course has a family to go home to after her 2 1/2 hours of preschool are over, but I couldn't help but think of the millions of children and babies in Africa and all over the world wondering where their mom and dad is every day and why they aren't there with them. Very different situations, I know, but as I watched her cry after it became too much for her, I felt a deep sense of grief and almost panic as I realized that those are the emotions our child will experience before we can be united with him/her and then even after that for a while. To know this because common sense tells us this is one thing; to actually witness these emotions in a child is very different. Okay, enough. I didn't mean to be such a downer. I know I'm being a little dramatic. Adopting internationally is just a lot to think about sometimes. But, anyway, the tea party truly was so much fun and so enjoyable. And Cody gave me the biggest, nicest hug before I left, not because his mom told him to (even though she did), but because I think he really was happy I was there. I CANNOT WAIT to have more Valentine parties (and every other school function) to attend with our own kids!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

We Are Officially Fabulous.......

......or at least someone thinks our blog is! I can't even tell you how honored I am, especially considering who it is that gave us this "highly coveted" status -- only my favorite blog writer ever, Laura, at Our Valentine's Day Treat. Laura's humor is beyond hilarious. And she has a true gift for writing. And she's so real and honest about their adoption experience -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Through Laura's blog and her son Mattix's experiences, my eyes have been opened even further to what challenges our baby may face from the moment they are placed in our arms into the days, weeks and even months after arriving home, and that to me is priceless. Laura, we cannot even compete with your fabulousness, seriously. I feel honored. Roger and I are pretty new to the blog world -- and probably don't post as often as we should -- so we think it's awesome that someone thinks our blog is worthy of even being mentioned!

1. Pass it on to 5 fabulous blogs, and include the one that gave it to you (and link them).
2. List 5 of your fabulous addictions…..


1) Amy at Ethiopia or Bust. This was the first Ethiopian adoption blog Roger found shortly after we started our adoption process last fall. First of all, Amy is an Iowa girl like me, so that fact alone qualifies her as being VERY fabulous. Along with her blog being pretty amazing, Amy and Josh wrote a book, "From Ashes to Africa," about adopting their son Silas from Ethiopia and their difficult journey they endured to get there. Their story is so similar to mine and Roger's that reading their book was like reading a dialogue of my own thoughts over the past two years. Needless to say, I highly recommend reading it if you're adopting from Ethiopia (or anywhere else, for that matter), if you've experienced the heartbreak of infertility, or if you just want to read about the miracles and transformations God works in people's lives.

2) Meredith at Time Well Spent. I actually have the privilege and pleasure of knowing Meredith and her husband Matt (Roger affectionately termed them "The Today Show" for obvious reasons) personally since we both live in Springfield, and oh, my gosh, after knowing them for five months now we are still beyond excited to have met such a fun, young, hip couple (like us) who are becoming first-time parents (like us) by adopting a beautiful baby from Ethiopia (like us). Anyway, getting back to the blog, Meredith has what I call a beautiful blog. She is an eloquent writer with beautiful photographs. I highly suggest you take a look and see for yourself.

3) Ty at The Buz and The Queen Bee. This is not an Ethiopian adoption blog, but it is a blog featuring our friends Ty and Amy Buzbee's over-the-top cute kids and the first blog Roger and I ever followed. Be prepared for some seriously cute photos and witty captions. Unfortunately, Ty does not stay very current with their blog, but still so much fun to look at.

4) Heather at Dooce. Does anyone else know about this phenomenon? Because I just found out about it. This lady GETS PAID to blog. So much so, in fact, her husband quit his job because she makes so much money. Need I say more? How much more fabulous can you be? Oh, yeah, and she's really funny too. And swears a lot. Like Laura.

5) Julie at Ethiopia....Part of Our World. I think Julie is fabulous (and Rob) because they are wonderful friends of ours and a huge source of support and advice to me and Roger. We have gained so much insight from their adoption experiences. And they're fabulous because they drive us to Branson once a month for our monthly Branson adoptive families get-together. Not because they have to, obviously, but just so we can have time to talk and catch up. I feel so blessed to have Rob and Julie in our life as we go through this crazy adoption experience. I just know Julie will someday be a great source of comfort to me when I'm overcome with worries and questions and doubts.


1) Jon & Kate Plus 8. Have seen every single episode. Every. Single. One. And for all you Kate-haters out there, you might get impatient with things a time or two if you were raising eight kids too. I'm just saying. Not only does this show make me laugh and cry, it gives me hope that if Kate and Jon can be great parents to eight kids, Roger and I can surely be great parents to just one.

2) AG Jeans -- as mentioned in my Vegas in Review blog post. Love them. A little spendy but well worth the money. Fit like a glove, hold their shape and color for years (yes, I said years), and are particularly good for tall girls who like to wear high heels.

3) My two dogs Jack and Jill and my cat Janie. My pets are beyond fabulous. I could go on and on and on, but it really doesn't do their cuteness or smartness any justice. You just have to meet them for yourself.

4) 70s music. I have always loved 70s music and always will. I know, I'm like a 60-year-old trapped in a 28-year-old body when it comes to music. I sort of have a low tolerance for rap/hip hop. It kind of stresses me out. And current pop music bores me after hearing the same songs over and over and over again. When Roger and I are in the car traveling through horrific city traffic at rush hour with lots of construction and I'm gripping the oh-sh$t handle, sweating, yelling random words at Roger like "brakes!" and "stopping!" and "whoa!" (PTSD, anyone?) Roger will turn on a 70s music station on XM and it helps to put me in my happy place. He's a very smart and patient man.

5) Ethiopian adoption blogs. Let me explain to you how much we love our blogs. We love them so much that Roger and I are bucking the system and refusing to join Facebook because we'd rather read blogs than join the Facebook phenomenon. When people look at us incredulously with wonder when they learn we don't partake in Facebook, we just simply explain we don't have time for it; we are blog junkies. And, also, I don't think everyone needs to know what I'm doing every second of every day. I'm not even interested in what I'm doing every second of every day. Our friend Josh this weekend told us he calls Facebook "MyFace," and I'm totally going to steal it from him because I think it's a more appropriate name. But, anyway, oh, how we love our "Blog" friends and keeping up with everyone in the Ethiopian adoption world. There's so many of you out there where I just wish I could reach my arms through cyberspace and hug you because you make me laugh and cry and I relate to you on such an intimate level, even though you probably don't know me. Sometimes I can literally feel my heart swell with happiness to know there are really great people out there who are going through the same wonderful, scary things we are, who share the same hopes and concerns, joys and excitement that we do.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

From Ashes to Africa

FROM ASHES TO AFRICA.We got the book on Tuesday (2.3.08) -- Abby and I BOTH finished it last night (2.4.08). Hopefully Abby will post about it in the coming days. I just wanted to let everyone know what a great book it is. It was really weird turning the pages -- it was almost like someone had taken notes on us and our journey. Great Job, Josh & Amy!
(And no, you can't borrow our book. Pony up the $13.99 and get your own copy. Besides, I'm sure I'll be reading it more and more in the coming months.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

5 months...

So today I take Abby to lunch at the "Springfield Famous" Pizza House. As we are sitting there taking in 10,000 milligrams of sodium, we start talking about all-things-adoption. This past Friday we had the pleasure of going out with The Today Show Morning Crew (Matt & Meredith) and talking about nothing but adoption for 4+ hours. It's really great to have another couple that is going through the exact same stuff that we are going through. Luckily they are months ahead of us, so we can learn from their travel, etc. As we are discussing adoption stuff with M&M, they start telling us about all these great blogs they have been reading. (If you look to the left, you'll see we've added some amazing new blogs.) I highly suggest this one!

That was Friday night. Sunday was the Super Bowl and another 10,000 milligrams of sodium with no less than 7 dips at the Casa de Buzbee Super Bowl Bash. Yesterday my awesome mother-in-law (aka Erin, aka "Grammie") came over to do the trim part of painting the nursery. My wife couldn't wait to finish painting the room, so while I was at my grandpa's last night watching WWE, she took it upon herself to paint the entire room (she finished this morning). Yet another room in my house I didn't have to paint. AWESOME!

OK, enough back story. The "5 Month" title for this blog.....
It's 5 months ago tomorrow that we got our negative results on the IVF. Seriously, 5 months ago? How is that possible? But what's amazing is that one negative led us into the most positive thing....adoption from Ethiopia. It was a long and winding road to get to September 4th, 2008 -- but all of that journey just makes where we are today that much better.

Abby and I both said over lunch that we are happier now than we could have possibily imagined. Had the IVF experiment worked, there is no telling where we would be today.
But because it didn't work, our life is now filled with so much joy: the countless people we have met through THE BRANSON GROUP, reading hours and hours of blogs, watching countless videos online of couples meeting their children for the first time, a group of friends that grows daily, and the amazing hope that someday soon we'll get the call/email introducing us to our child.

As Pops says, "There is your way, and there is God's way. And your way doesn't matter." Five months later it feels so right to be going God's way. We are definitely on the right path. Stay tuned...

{As I was typing this post, my wife's cousin sent this video to us (thanks, Ashley). Good Grief. I don't know what scares me more: the idea that someday I could have a daughter doing this or the fact that I can't wait to have a dance-off with my child.}