Monday, December 28, 2009

Irrational Fears

So I think my stress is starting to show in some interesting ways. Instead of worrying about what I'm going to do if Ari has a hard time adjusting and won't sleep for a week straight or if he has explosive diarrhea on the plane for 15 hours, I'm now more concerned about our house being robbed while we're gone. Seriously, that was the conversation Roger and I had last night laying in the dark, listening to every creak and squeak, totally freaking ourselves out. We made ourselves feel better by scheduling ADT to come later this week and reactivate our home security system. Good grief, as if we've never gone on vacation before. And now, thanks to the most recent terrorist stunt that the media WILL NOT quit talking about, I'm picturing our plane going down in flames on the way home into D.C. Damn you, terrorists. Not to mention the fact that Ethiopia is geographically located smack dab in the middle of two supposed terrorist "hot spots" -- Yemen and Somalia. I know, I know -- I'm sooooo worst case scenario and dramatic. Like I said, it's the stress. My mom asked me the other day if I was starting to get nervous about being in Ethiopia, and I can honestly say no, I'm not. I'm actually really excited and looking forward to it. My only concern in that regard was eating something bad and getting sick and not being able to take care of Ari like we want and need to. But with our trusty Cipro at our side, I'm feeling much better about that. And now my freezer is bursting with baby food and Roger and Abby food, so I can no longer do that to occupy myself. I think my best bet is to just quit watching the news. Reruns of Will & Grace and Frasier at bedtime it is.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well, Roger and I continue to be the rockstars that we are in preparing to travel...and now also for our first couple weeks home as new parents. Or at least we've hopefully made our lives a little easier in the meal preparation department. Today we spent part of our afternoon cooking meals that are now in the freezer waiting to be eaten at a later time....just in case Ari turns our world so upside down we don't have time to cook. With both of us cooking today it took no time at all and we were wondering why we don't plan meals ahead like this more often.
A batch of Roger's chicken enchiladas
(Btw, food is really hard to photograph without making it look strange and a little unappetizing.)

A new recipe from my brother --white bean chicken chili

....and regular chili

And just because I can't seem to get myself out of the kitchen these days, some time spent organizing my Tupperware cabinet. Roger reminded me it will just get destroyed multiple times once Ari gets here, but at least it looks pretty (and takes less than 10 minutes to find a container and matching lid) for now.

And tomorrow's project -- butternut and acorn squash baby food. And lasagna to be made and frozen for another day.
A few other accomplishments this weekend:
* Two car seats installed by Roger
* Baby monitor installed
* Jumperoo assembled
*A trip to Walgreens to purchase our "traveling medicine cabinet" (including a precautionary prescription of Cipro)
* an hour at the gym!!! (This may or may not be the first time I've been to the gym in a few...maybe more.....months)
* Wonderful time spent with friends and family
* A successful phone call to Ethiopia to arrange our driver for us while in-country
* A date night tonight to see Up in the Air and a drive through McDonald's at 8:30. How healthy of us. And ironic after we spent an entire day in the kitchen.

I foresee lots of laundry, packing, and housecleaning next weekend. This week I have decided to take a couple more depos. It helps the week fly by and, as much as I'm surprised to admit this, I already miss work. I've continued to work through December but have cut back drastically, and it has made me appreciate my work so much. I've always enjoyed my job and felt blessed by it, but I thought I'd be more than happy to say good-bye to it for a while once I became a mom. I think I'm going to continue to work on a limited basis when it's convenient for mine and Roger's schedule. Lucky for me I have the option to choose when I want to work, and I think we will be taking full advantage of that for a few months.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Car Seat. Check.

The past couple of days have been great. Amazing Christmas Eve at Abby's parents. Christmas day with my family. Christmas evening with Zoe and her parents. Lots of good food and fun. Ari was the big winner at Christmas this year: Cowboy boots, cowboy shirt, cowboy-footie-pj's, car seat, jumperoo, Disney clothes, Disney characters, Disney plate and cup.....and the most original comes from our two nephews, Ty (9) and Cody (6). When asked what they wanted to get for Ari for Christmas they replied: Ferraris for Ari. So Ari's matchbox collection has already started, with two Ferraris. Super cool. Thanks, guys!

Today was spent making more baby food, putting together some of Ari's gifts and trying to figure out how to install a car seat. For some reason Abby left the car seat project to me. I spent about 1.5 hours working on it and finally got it figured out. Then realized it was crooked. So Abby came out and helped me and I think we got it secure. It's still funny that we will be in Ethiopia for 9+ days with him, driving all over the place with him in our lap. Then we will land in Springfield and within an hour we will be confining him to a car seat for the first time in his life. I'm hoping they have one of those car seat checks in the next couple of weeks so we can double-check and make sure he's locked and loaded.

The countdown clicker is under 2 weeks....11 days until we leave, 13 until we meet. I sure hope he likes cowboy boots, sports gear, and Ferraris!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

365 days ago

Our dossier arrived in Addis Ababa 365 days ago (December 23, 2008) -That's 365 days ago, right? It's been one heck of a year. While we weren't able to get Ari home for Christmas 2009, we are 2 weeks and 1 day away from leaving to go get him. Which means there are a lot more of these faces around our house:
(Taken at the airport the day Zoe came home)
It's so great to see Abby this happy and joyful. It's been quite a journey but we know everything is going to be worth it when we see his chubby little cheeks in person. Thanks to everyone for all your support and prayers. We couldn't have made it without all of you.
BTW: Abby continues to amaze me. In the time it has taken me to do this post she has made another batch of baby food. Blueberries this time. They would probably be really good on Andy's Custard. Mmmmmmm, Andy's!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Homemade Baby Food

So this is something I've found to do to bide the time while we wait to travel. I was inspired by my fellow adoptive friend Meredith to make homemade baby food (if you've seen the before and after pictures of Zoe, you'll see it works!), and I am having so much fun! For all of you experienced mothers out there who think this is absolutely unnecessary and will prove to be an inconvenience later on down the road, I would ask that you refrain from pissing in my cheerios and keep your comments to yourself. As an adoptive mom who has missed out on the first six months of my son's life and everything that goes along with those first six months, I find this to be a therapeutic way of dealing with that, a way to provide Ari with something that comes from me and from my hands and effort, not from a jar off a shelf. From all of the pictures we've received of Ari so far, it appears he is receiving good nutrition, but an orphanage is an orphanage and I think he deserves any extra nutritional boost we can give him once he gets home. Plus, baby food is really easy to make (I wish all cooking was this simple), cheaper than jarred baby food, contains no preservatives or additives, is organic if you so choose to buy organic ingredients, and I've heard it's easier to transition babies to table food without creating a picky eater because they're used to the bold flavors already rather than the bland, overprocessed food that has a shelf life of two years. Now, whether that is true or not about the picky eater aspect of it, I don't know, but I've decided it's worth a try. So far I've made carrots and sweet potatoes. I think we'll do mangoes next. I've been making big batches and freezing them (you can freeze homemade baby food for up to eight weeks), so I think Ari will have plenty to eat for the first few weeks he's home before I need to make more!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Friday!

The sweet little girl in green is Ben and Kate's daughter Lyra and she is a few months older than Ari. Did we mention how much we loooooove Ben and Kate for taking all these great pictures a couple weeks ago?! Priceless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


blogging each day seems like such a great idea. until it's 10:55pm and you haven't written anything for the day. then you start to scramble and see what you can come up with in the last 65 minutes of the day that will make for an interesting post. so tonight is "update" night.
  • i got my passport back. in six days. it's amazing what can happen if you are willing to pay a little extra. everyone keeps asking me if i got my passport. it was such a huge deal at the time, but then it came in the mail 6 working days after i mailed the request in, and then it's not such a big ordeal. i had forgotten that i had blogged about it and there are actually people out there that read this (and care) what we are writing. so yes, i got my new passport, along with my old one back. we should be good to go.
  • after 2 weeks and "interviews" with 3 different pediatricians, i think we have finally decided on ari's doctor. it's really weird to talk to doctors and see if they are qualified to take care of your child....a child you've never seen or touched. but i think we've made a a great decision. we just hope ari feels the same way after his first week home (and all the shots, tests, etc. that he is going to go through.....poor buddy)
  • the nursery and supplies are slowly coming together. there are still a couple of things we haven't decided on. (monitors, etc) but the list of unknowns is getting smaller each and every day.
  • we have a car seat. but we haven't opened the box yet. no reason. just haven't taken the time to read the directions and realize how complicated this install is going to be. hopefully i can get abby to video my first attempt at putting the car seat in.

one last random: happy birthday to "uncle matt". not officially an uncle, but a great friend that ari will always know as "uncle matt".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We started packing

With three weeks to go until we leave, we decided we would start packing up some stuff just to be sure we had enough room for all the donations, all of Ari's stuff, and what little we can pack for ourselves in the space that will be left. We started with the two donation suitcases. Thanks to my sister Tammy (I think she started a blog at one time but never published it so I can't send you a link), we got to experiment with some fun new toys -- the extra heavy duty vacuum sealer. Amazing. And so much fun. At one time we couldn't close either suitcase. Now it all fits, with room to spare.
The empty bag, on the table, with all the clothes...
All of the baby house clothes in the bag....

All of the clothes in the same bag, with zero air. Amazing.

Now we have room for extra stuff......we just have to monitor the 50 pound limit. It's hard to believe that three weeks from now we will be in the air on our way to Ethiopia. One more day down.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stealing ideas

This post-every-day-mission is much harder than expected. Especially when nothing happens in relation to getting Ari home. So, I'm stealing a post from Zoe's mom. And after going to Walmart (where did the dash go between Wal and Mart?) and the mall I believe this clip even more.

Better stories tomorrow...

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Call to Ethiopia....

This morning I called a hotel in Ethiopia to book a (backup) reservation. I'll explain that one later. That will probably deserve its own post once we get back from Ethiopia. But the phone call was awesome -- and difficult!! I was so ecstatic when someone answered the phone. Even though they answered in Amharic and I had no idea what they were saying at first, I was just so thrilled to be talking to someone who is literally a few miles from our baby. It brought a huge smile to my face to hear their lovely accent. It really doesn't take much these days to get me excited, I know. So I just started talking (in English, of course) and they switched languages and accommodated my requests as well as they could. The person who originally answered the phone did have to hand off to someone else when I started asking too many questions and then I was talking to a woman I could barely hear. There was a lot of pregnant pauses and then "Hello?" Hello?" But we managed and (I think) we have a reservation. So awesome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Successful Sunday

Church. Check.
Lunch with friends. Check.
Making copies for travel documents. Check.
2.5 hour nap. Check.
Dinner at home. Check.
Lots of Tivo. Check.
Ice cream for entire family.....


Saturday, December 12, 2009

He's getting SO big...

Awhile ago Abby found a great deal on a pack-and-play. We opened it up and couldn't find any directions so we did our best to put it together. I swear, I thought I broke it at least three times. There are two parts to the pack-and-play: the full unit that can be used for older/heavier kids and then there is a zip-in part they call the bassinet. On the bottom of the bassinet is a mechanism that allows the whole pack-and-play to vibrate for the child. We finally decided to get the battery for the vibration kit (a size "D" battery -- didn't know they still made those!) and see how it worked. As we were looking at the "mattress" we found the instruction manual and finally learned all the ins and outs of the pack-and-play.

After we got the battery in and all the pieces put back together, we thought we would see how it worked. And surprise, surprise, it worked like a champ. Then Abby started reading the instruction manual. Come to find out the weight limit for the bassinet (with "D" size vibration unit) is 15 pounds. 15 pounds? 15 pounds! That's all good and well, except we were told last week that Ari is already close to 18-20 pounds. Awesome. So all the work to get the vibration kit working were in vain. We read more in the instruction manual and learned how to take the bassinet out. Below is the pack-and-play as it sits in our bedroom. Everyone keeps telling us we won't believe how fast he will grow up. We had no idea he would already outgrow his first bed...before he got home. C'mon January!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

T Minus 26 Days!!

We are leaving three days earlier!! Wednesday, January 6th! There was an availability on an earlier flight and we jumped on it, of course. That means we will meet Ari Friday, January 8th rather than Monday the 11th and we'll have a full week together before we board a plane to fly 8,000 miles and 20 hours home. This anticipation is like nothing I've experienced before. And, because I'm so dang happy, I thought I'd share another new picture of our sweet boy today and every Friday until we travel. Just a little something to look forward to until the real fun begins. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

43 minutes

I'm really trying to make a post every day until we leave. Luckily I still have 43 minutes left today to make my post. 43 minutes means that it's 11:17pm which means we're still up. We are still up because we are trying to fit as much as possible into the time we have left before we become a family of three.

Tonight we went to a small gathering after work, went to see The Blind Side (amazing), and then had a small dinner at 10:00. Made it home just in time to see the opening credits of Frasier so we could guess what the opening credits would be. (In case you didn't know, the opening of Frasier is alway different -- a light will blink, it will rain, there will be a train, some lights will go on in the building.) Yes, this has become one of the highlights of our day. One of the reasons this is a highlight is because we know another day has come and gone and we are another day closer to Mr. Ari.

We have become "those people". Those people being the ones that whip out photos of their children -- even when people don't ask. But we feel like we can since it's so different than most people. And 99% of the time people actually seem interested to see the pics and hear our story. Or at least it seems that way.

Another day down, another day closer. Hope you like the new ticker.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

5 + 1

Today Ari turns 5 months old

One month from today we will be on an airplane to go get him.

Since we only have one more month until he's home I am really going to try hard to blog (or ask Abby to blog) something daily. Just so we can remember all the stuff we did getting ready for him to come come. And all the stuff we did to distract ourselves from the fact that we have a month until we go get him. I'm also hoping to post more pictures of me and Abby during this last month so someday we can look back at how young we looked before Ari came into our lives. We cannot wait for the day we get to see him... "ARI DAY"
We got some great/amazing/beautiful shots of Ari from Lyra's parents. Thanks to Ben, Kate and Lyra for the pictures. We are being a little selfish and holding them close for now but we will post some of them soon. He's a big boy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Embassy Appointment!!!

We received confirmation today that we are scheduled for embassy January 14! Yay!!!!!!! This means we will leave a week before that -- in about a month. One more month. We can do this. We will be arriving back in Springfield Saturday evening, January 16. And, no, it still doesn't feel quite real yet. I'm wondering when that will happen. When we pack our suitcases? When we get on a plane? When we hold him in our arms for the first time? Right now I just feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have made it this far. Thank you, God.

And the newest picture of our little man which was taken last Monday, November 30. Cute, cute, cute!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


This past Saturday Roger and I were showered with our friends' and families' love, both for us and already little Ari. Thank you to all who attended. There were quite a few of you we haven't seen in a while, and just your presence on our special day meant so much to us. We appreciate all of the wonderful gifts and orphanage donations we received -- thank you for your generosity! Thank you also to Jeff and Becky Kelley and Brian and Tammy Wilmsmeyer for hosting such a beautiful shower. You made it very memorable for us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The End is in Sight??

Have I mentioned the waiting doesn't get any easier even when you're close to the end? (sigh.) December can't go by fast enough.

Oh, yeah, we got a new picture of Ari two days ago. His hair is long! And adorable. We will be taking Curly Q's Milkshake to Ethiopia. And he's still chubbalicious. And we got a report from some friends he's happy and healthy. It really doesn't get any better than that. Unless our agency calls us tomorrow and tells us we have a confirmed embassy appointment. That would be better.