"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

Friday, January 21, 2011

2010 recap in pics

Here is the review of 2010 in pics, in case you don't want to read my "Christmas letter" below!

The long flight home

Big J meeting Little J at the airport

Big sis teaching little sis manners

Big J still loves to get in bed with Little J

First trip to the beach....You okay Little sis?
Yep, we love the water!
Our hot tub makes a great size pool in the summer
More beach time on vacation
Mom's fav from vacation
Big sis thinks of the silliest things....
Baptisim day with Cousin M

First family pic for 3 month post placement report, should be up above but I'm a newbie at this...

My first Halloween

Big J and good buddy from daycare

Visit to Grandma and Grandpa's for Thanksgiving
Maybe Big J will let me have you, I love you

Aren't we cute?
Christmas lights at the zoo
Christmas trees around the world, this is the Africa tree

Merry Christmas!

Hope you enjoyed the recap!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I know what you're thinkin!  Karen, writing a blog???  She must have hit her head or she must be having a mid-life crisis.  Well, neither of those two things but nonetheless, here it is.  Hopefully, our family and friends will enjoy it as a way to keep up with our two cuties and watch them grow.  We have more excitement coming but more on that in another post!  (just want to make sure you come back...)

Since we had such an eventful and fun 2010 and an especially busy and fun December, this is going to have to serve as my Christmas letter.  I will have to save the Christmas paper that I actually found and bought last November until this December!

Our year started off by passing court in Ethiopia on January 6th.  Just as the process started, everything continued to go quickly and smoothly!  We left for Ethiopia on February 13th.  Little J was brought to us on the 16th and we left for home with her on the 19th, getting home on the 20th. Our entire trip really could not have gone any smoother.  God’s grace and protection and all the prayers we received were felt the entire time. The most stressful/difficult time was actually the entire airport process on our trip home. We had to fill out lots of paperwork at every step it seemed and they decided they wanted to hand check our luggage at check-in. By the time we boarded our first flight at 10:00 p.m. (so we had already been up a full day), which would be 17 hours long, we were sweaty, exhausted people.  Little J took it all in stride though and bless her heart, she slept about 14 of that 17 hours! When we arrived in DC, my wonderful cousin Paula picked us up, took us to their house, fed us (yum!) and we took a shower and changed clothes, it was the regroup that made the final two flights home a breeze. After we got home from Ethiopia, I stayed at home with the girls until Spring Break. Tim then wrapped up his school year and was home from April until this fall! This was so fantastic to have Little J home all this time, it was so beneficial to her attachment and bonding (she just loves her daddy!) and it was so fun for both of us to have the precious time at home with both girls.

We are so grateful and know how blessed we were with Little J's adoption.  She came home at four months old, this is pretty rare and even now, one year later, the process has changed in Ethiopia which is making the process take a few months longer.  We literally were done, start to finish, in 5 months.  We were able to experience every major milestone, the first roll over, crawling, talking, walking, the first tooth.....so priceless!

While we didn’t do some of our usual travels this year we did have a very fun year.  We spent a week in July at the Lake and were in the water every day.  Both girls LOVE the water.  We were able to spend one afternoon with family at their house on a beautiful lake where Big J was enthralled with their cuckoo clock!  And, we spent one afternoon with another family with five kiddos.  Their youngest daughter was born in Ethiopia and came home with them in April.  We are so fortunate that there are five families with kiddos from Ethiopia, just from our agency in close proximity.  I’m sure there are many more that we will get connected with over the years, but we feel blessed that Little J will have friends who are from her country and who were in the same orphanage at the same time as her as she grows up.

Little J started daycare at the end of August at the same center as Big J.  She really transitioned great and she is doing just fantastic there.  At 15 months, they are amazed at how well she is talking.  I can't  even keep track of all the words she can say.  She is also a TALL girl, off the charts for height (and well, if you saw pictures of her this past year, yes, her weight is off the chart too but she is re-shaping very nicely as she is becoming a toddler!).  I just find it so funny, two sisters not biologically related, and they are so much alike.  God blessed us with such a perfect fit in our family.  In fact, while we were in Ethiopia, several Ethiopians said to me, "she resembles you".  I would ask, "is it the cheeks?" and I would get a "yes, yes".  Well Big J has the cheeks too so all the girls in the family have that in common - although they will both surpass their mom in height!  It was also funny in Ethiopia, one afternoon I was talking with a Sudanese gentleman who was a guest at the same place we were staying while Tim was out getting us lunch.  He told me, your husband looks like Ron Howard!  Yes, half way around the world.....it really is a small world, isn't it?!  

In December, we were fortunate to spend a few days up north and Big J took her second ski lesson (took one last year too).  Her "pizza" was much better this year!  Little J loved being out in the snow and we did some sledding and went to the indoor water park.  Our nephew and my best friend and her two boys came with us and we all had a great time.

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Abby the week before Thanksgiving.  The cat that everyone loved; she was so sociable and sweet.  Saying goodbye after 16.5 years was very sad.  Paris (12 year old cat) is still adjusting to life without a snuggle buddy, he has had one ever since he joined the family 11 years ago and somehow I don’t believe he will ever consider Mitzie (the dog) for that role!  Mitzie is still a funny and sweet dog and she loves girls and the girls, especially Little J, love her (most of the time)!

We hope it was a good year for you and yours and we pray that you will be in God’s loving care in 2011!

p.s. don't expect all my posts to be this long, remember this is a recap of the entire year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coming soon!!

Join us on our journey of life, a dad, a mom, two beautiful girls, and our furry friends!  And come back in early February to learn more about the title of our blog!