Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Ever Ethiopian Get-Together

Saturday night was the Second-Ever Springfield Ethiopian Get-Together. Another wonderful night spent with other adoptive families and their amazing kids. Roger and I look soooo forward to these nights. It's an opportunity for us to spend time with people who really "get us." But we also can't wait for the day to attend this party with our very own baby since, after all, that's the main purpose of these get-togethers: for the kids to spend time with other kids whose family make-up is just like theirs.

Diesel's mom Katy was kind enough to take lots and lots of pictures of all the fun being had Friday night, and below is a picture she took of me and Isaac. In it he is holding on to my "Expecting from Africa" necklace. Isaac is the first Ethiopian baby I held back in October when he was five months old but was the size and weight of a newborn. Since then he has grown so much and is doing so great!

(A picture speaks a thousand words....or emotions)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dog sitting

We've always thought our dog Jack had "little-dog-syndrome". This weekend we are dog sitting our neighbors black lab, Bailey. She's an amazing dog. Today Jack and Bailey decided to do tug of war. Jack probably thinks he's looking in the mirror, playing tug-of-war with himself....

Yes, this is what we are doing for entertainment during the "waiting" stage. My first experiment with the new camcorder, uploading video and posting to the blog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Zoe Liremet

Our friends Matt and Meredith left for Ethiopia Wednesday morning (as in two days ago). They arrived in Addis yesterday. They met their daughter, Zoe Liremet, for the first time this morning. She. is. gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. I think Matt and Meredith may just be the luckiest people on earth today. If you would like to see her picture, go here.

In Memory

In 1985 Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie penned the charity single "We Are the World." The song was performed by USA for Africa, a supergroup that included Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, and, of course, Richie and Jackson. Profits went to the USA for Africa Foundation, and targeted famine-stricken Ethiopia.

To see a video of Michael recording "We Are the World" solo, go here. He sings the full song at minute 7:15 if you don't want to watch the full ten minutes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More for me than you

Let Go & Let God
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my Friend.
But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
"How can You be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "What could I do?
You never did let go."

I had this poem in my dorm room in college. Today I ran across it, after some serious looking, in a box in my office. As Abby and I continue to patiently wait for our referral, it's good to know that we really don't have any control over it. And we are still in the easy part.

Two more thoughts. More for me than you....
"There is God's way and your way. And your way doesn't matter."
"Man plans and God laughs."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Today is six months. Wow. That kind of blows my mind it's already been that long. I remember looking at our little timer at the top of our blog when it said "1 week and 3 days" and thinking this wait was going to take FOREVER. Well, it still kind of seems never-ending, but it's crazy to be at six months already. We have made so much progress. I can tell we're getting close because I'm starting to get nervous. Not nervous in a bad way, but nervous in a realistic way. It just seems a little more "real" now. We have actually reached the point where it could "be any day now." Not that it will be, but technically it could.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Funny

This song might get stuck in your head. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


After being in Texas for three days, I just got home from my 7-hour, 415 mile drive. Tonight is one of Abby's teletraining seminars for work, so when I got home, she was on the phone already. She told me my dinner was in the microwave. Ladies and gentlemen, let me show you what a microwave dinner looks like when you're still in the newlywed stage of being married for four years:

Yes, that is homemade fried/baked chicken, wild rice, and sweet corn. Awesomeness.

My plate five minutes later. Yes, I was starving, and, yes, I'm bored.

On another note, we are still taking dates for our Referral Pool. My date is Sunday, June 21. What do you say? Leave a date in the comment section.

And, finally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to "BABY-TY." Holy cow, our oldest nephew is 9 years old. RUKIDDINGME? A kid born in 2000 is now 9 years old. RUKIDDINGME? Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday to Ty's mom (and my sister) Tammy. I'll keep her age classified. Happy Birthday, Tammy (June 16th) and Ty (June 17th). We hope to celebrate with you both very soon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A couple weeks ago (before we became #1 on the waiting list!) I was feeling a little frustrated/grumpy/impatient/exasperated about the whole long process of adoption, and Roger, bless his heart, was doing his darndest to cheer me up. He very generously threw out a couple ideas, some weekend trips we could take to maybe get our minds off the long wait. He suggested Vegas, one of our favorite places to visit; also New York City, always a good time and also an opportunity to visit my good high school friend Kate. I snapped back at him like a spoiled child, "No! That just doesn't cut it anymore. Those are just distractions away from what I really want." Well, after I sucked it up and quit feeling sorry for myself, I decided that floating sounded really fun and maybe was exactly what I needed. So this past Saturday we did one of my most favorite activities in the whole world -- floating -- with some really great friends, Matt and Meredith. Growing up in Iowa, I had never been floating. The rivers and scenery there are just not nearly as pretty. And the water is not as clean -- too many field chemicals. But the summer of '06 I had the pleasure of experiencing floating in the Ozarks for the first time and I totally fell in love with it. I think in the past three summers I've dragged a few relatives, my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and some Iowa friends along with me when they've come to visit us in the summer. This time we went down to Ponca, AR, and floated the Buffalo River, which I had never floated before, and it was fabulous. Matt and Meredith agreed to go along with us for one last "child-free" weekend before they bring baby Zoe home. It was a really great day -- perfect weather, surrounded by God's beautiful creation, great friends, and a little white dog (Jill) sitting on my lap who loves floating as much as I do. It just doesn't get any better than that. And both canoes made it the whole 10 miles without ever tipping!! There may have been a couple close calls, but Meredith and I were in really good hands with our guys. I take absolutely no credit for it (except I maybe do have a good sense of balance).

Yes, I sit in a lawn chair while Roger sits in the back and does the rowing. I always offer to help and he says it's just easier if I leave my paddle in the boat, as shown above to the left of my chair.

Matt and Meredith with Meredith experiencing "lawn chair floating" for the first time. I think she's sold on the idea.

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Friday, June 12, 2009


I have had this post on my mind for over a month but didn't have a great way to add it to our blog. Yesterday gave me the reason I needed. Thursday wasn't awesome. It wasn't great. It wasn't average. It was Thursday. Everything I did started out great and then somehow exploded in my face. No matter how many times I tried to change my attitude, things just kept going downhill.

Luckily, last night was our Adoption Fellowship. And it was exactly what I needed. Let me just tell you I cannot wait until we have our little one home. And I'm really excited that we will be getting an infant. But I'm most looking forward to having a toddler. Where am I going with all of this? Well, after the day I had yesterday, I was in "the mood" as Abby calls it. We drive to Branson with "The Today Show" and I don't say much. Just feeling sorry for myself after the day I had. Then we get to Rae's house and everything changes. I didn't get to play much with Zoie and Vivvy (Vivian), but Rae was my buddy. Sitting on her swing eating chips and cookies and watching her backwash an entire bottle of water, I realized how powerful a child is -- and will be in our lives. No matter the day, knowing that I will have a bundle of joy waiting for me at home gave me a new perpective. Thanks, Rae!

Life is all about your attitude. I've been guilty recently of being down and having a bad attitude. Don't really know why -- just because. But about a month ago I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine that was really down. He asked how I was doing and I decided to tell him all the things I was grateful for at that point in time.

Me: How are things?
Him: Slow. Sales stink. This recession is killing me. How are you?
Me: Excellent. It's sunny. 85 degrees. I have an amazing wife. An incredible life. I can drive a car. I can walk. See. Hear. Talk to my family. Go to any church I want. Eat any food I want....
Him: (Interrupting) So you've been to Ethiopia already?
Me: Nope. Not yet. Just decided to have an Attitude of Gratitude. Start being thankful for the things I do have instead of just being down about the stuff I don't have.

So, I hope you decide to be grateful for all the great things in your life. It's easy to overlook how many great things you take for granted. As I was mowing the yard, this song came up on my iPod. See, it's all about perspective! (And who doesn't love Kenny Rogers?)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Club Parenthood: We Are Next in Line!

Probably not a big deal to anyone but us, but I just had to share some happy news. Roger and I found out today that we are now #1 on our agency's waiting list!! The couple in front of us received a referral today for a baby boy, so this makes us next to receive an infant referral. We are beyond thrilled for our friends; my heart is truly bursting with joy for them. The road to parenthood has been a long one for them, and today is a huge milestone in their journey.

This analogy is going to sound silly (and it is), but bear with me. For the past three years I feel like parenthood has been this super-elite club that Roger and I have just NOT been able to get into. You know, the place all your friends are talking about and where everyone wants to be. It's the talk of the town. There's a red rope outside with two guys in suits and ear pieces only letting certain people in at a certain time. There have been times where it has felt like all of our friends have a VIP ticket and they just keep passing us by, getting right into this amazing, life-changing club called Parenthood as we continue to wait our turn outside on the sidewalk. Well, I feel like we are now finally at the front of the line. We are so close we can see inside the door and see and hear all the excitement that we're about to be a part of. Granted, we may be standing outside this door for another three months, but we are just so darn close! And that is enough to make our day for today.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Weekend Update with Roger and Abby

Roger and I had a wonderful weekend filled with time spent with friends we absolutely love, so I thought it was definitely worth blogging about. Here we go!

Friday night we celebrated our good friend Amy Buzbee's birthday downtown Springfield with dinner at Bruno's with a great group of people. Good dinner with really great company.

Saturday morning I attended Meredith's baby shower. Baby Zoe is expected to arrive home really soon! Like at the end of this month/beginning of July! Meredith received so many great gifts....and they had two other showers this weekend too! I think they have everything but the baby at this point. It was a beautiful baby shower with brunch and games and great conversation with people I met at the shower. I even won the game we all played which consisted of matching celebrity parents to their uniquely named celebrity babies. I had the most correct: 21 out of 26. This really impressive feat is basically a result of two things: 1) reading People magazine religiously and 2) being obsessed with other people's babies. Two things I probably shouldn't be overly proud of, I know. Anyway, it was a fun game and my table was impressed with my useless celebrity knowledge.

Saturday night Roger and I had dinner at our house with Matt and Meredith and Jonathan and Becca, two couples we have met since our adoption journey began, two couples Roger and I feel so blessed to have as friends. It was a really enjoyable evening, complete with Roger's first attempt at making sangria that turned out surprisingly well! I think we've found our new favorite summertime drink! It was so yummy we ended up having to make a second.....and third pitcher of it.

I've come to realize how much I enjoy and look forward to having people over for dinner or get-togethers, etc., which is really funny because before I was married that was one thing that made me really anxious when I would think about becoming a wife and what all it would entail. I was a little intimidated and unsure of my abilities when it came to cooking and hosting. Not that I'm necessarily great at either one of those things yet, but I can at least say that I'm comfortable enough with it to enjoy it. It's fun to look back on life and realize just how much you've grown, you know?

Tonight Roger and I took Jack and Jill to Bark in the Park at the Springfield Cardinals game, and boy, was that interesting. We did a little parade of puppies around the field before the game began, and I think Jack tried to start a fight only about four times -- and only with dogs five times his size, of course. He doesn't have a problem with dogs his own size, but apparently he feels he has something to prove when he comes across a Lab, etc. Little Man Syndrome in full force just like I expected. One of these days he's going to get his a** handed to him and it's not going to be pretty. But, regardless, they both loved it and were totally overstimulated with all the people, dogs, smells, sounds, etc. We tried to watch the game with the dogs on our laps, and that lasted not even two innings. Every time the crowd clapped, Jack started barking, along with when they were shooting t-shirts into the crowd with the t-shirt gun. Apparently he could actually see the t-shirts flying through the air and wanted to fetch them. I use the term "fetch" loosely. Jack's version of fetch consists of running to the object and running off with it in the opposite direction instead of bringing it back. And then at one point I had to excuse myself and Jill from our seats because she started barking loudly and ferociously at a Golden Retriever making its way down the stairs in our direction. A whole lot of people got a kick out of that, me and Roger not included. We decided to head home shortly after that and on the walk back to the car Roger announced, "That stressed me out." I asked him what he's going to do when we take a baby to a baseball game and he said, "It won't be that bad." Hmmm. Interesting. He may be stressed out for a while. So, yeah, at least we tried. It was still a fun time while it lasted.
Me and Jack during the "parade"

My attempt to take a picture of Roger and Jill
while Jack was trying to start something with
a yellow Lab

Roger with Jill; me with Kasey, Roger's parents' dog;
Louanna with Jack. Seriously, how happy does Jack look?!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

After being a wimp for three days, I finally went to Urgent Care. How can they call it Urgent Care when it always takes 3+ hours before you're seen? Anyway, thanks to modern technology (electric cautery), a trained professional burned a much larger hole in the nail than the one Abby created and was able to fully drain the blood. So much blood that it's still bleeding to this day. Even the nurse was impressed. Here's the cautery tool they used.

Here's a photo of the nail before the procedure. I'm sitting on the "after" photos for the time being. I don't want to run everyone off. (Notice the tiny BLACK dot towards the bottom center of the nail? That's where Nurse Abby did her drilling work.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Now for the "Beauty" part of the post. Figured I owed it to you after making you look at the disgusting toe above. My dog Jill absolutely loves her food. She'll do anything for food..... except beg. Abby and I sit at the kitchen counter/bar 99.9% of the time when we eat. The dog dishes are just to the left of the counter. So when we sit down at the bar to eat, Jill goes to her dish and "begs". She doesn't make a sound. Just sits there looking at us, waiting for us to drop something in her dish.How cute is that? Of course we usually end up putting something in her bowl. That might explain the extra poundage she carries around. But, come on, isn't she adorable? And no, that is not an electric cord running to her bowl to keep her food warm. She's spoiled, but not that bad.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome to June

So this past Saturday was absolutely perfect in SpringBilly. Mid-80's, not a cloud in the sky. Abby and I decided to make the most of it and spend a majority of the day at the pool. Of course I had to mow the yard and clean the garage before we left, but that usually takes 2-3 hours, max. Everything was going great until I decided to thaw the fridge in the garage. Since it was so nice, I was just walking around in flip-flops, taking the shelves out and sitting them in the sun to thaw. Well, someone at Whirlpool FORGOT to tell me that the bottom shelf is just a piece of glass that is not secured to anything. It's just sitting on top of some holders. So, I pick up the holders, pull our the shelf, turn it on its side, and WHAM! Out comes the 6000 pound sheet of tempered glass. Luckily it didn't break. That's because my big toe absorbed the blow. Please remember, smart guy here isn't wearing shoes! It hurt so bad. I was expecting to see my big toe missing and blood everywhere. Nope. Nothing. Just a little scrape. When Abby came out to see what happened, I had to point to where it hit.

Fast forward to Sunday night, 8:00 pm. After grilling some burgers and limping around all day on my foot (the one with the large toenail the color of Midnight Purple...use your imagination), I decided I had had enough. So I jumped on the Internet and looked for ways to relieve the pressure. Because if anyone knows how to get blood out from under the toenail, it has to be some Joe in New Jersey that decided to try something and it worked so he wrote about it online.

(Editor's Note: The following isn't pretty. We have photos and video but won't post. Yet.)
So Abby and I first decide to try Option #2. We heated up a paperclip and tried to burn a hole in the top of my nail to open it up. We didn't get the clip hot enough or I'm just a wimp because nothing happened. So then we went to Option #1. We get out one of Abby's leftover syringe needles from the IVF (New. Unused.) and she begins to slowly drill it into the nail. I don't remember the last time I felt pain like that.
(Editor's Note: Us guys have NO PAIN TOLERANCE. ZERO. Abby just kept laughing at me the whole day as I limped around. I think she might have actually enjoyed poking a hole in my nail with the needle.)

So, she drills deep enough (barely at all) to strike blood. And what do you know, it worked. Relived some of the pressure. Some. I'm still a big baby and today I'm rocking the open sandals at work because I can't put shoes on. Weak. I know. Incredibly weak.

So, besides the fact that I am going to have a gross/painful toenail for the summer, it was an amazing weekend. Once again Abby proved to be the most awesome wife ever. Still debating about posting photos of the surgery and toe. Stay tuned.

Oh yeah, since this blog really is about our adoption, we got some news over the past couple of days. Looks like the "abandonment issues" in Ethiopia are slowly getting cleared up. Rumor is it should all be worked out by the end of June. Luckily, this hasn't directly affected us since we don't have a referral yet. Plus, there were lots of referrals yesterday for a group we are connected to. (Still not 100% sure how we are connected, but we all write checks to the same organization in one way or another.) Lots of referrals hopefully just brings us closer to the top of the list.

My referral date projection is June 21 (Father's Day) -- Abby has July 27th. We are going to start a pool if you're interested. $1,000.00 to enter and the winner gets a high-five and we use the money to travel to Ethiopia. See, everyone wins!