Sunday, December 30, 2007

Winter Wonderland!

Well, we just returned from our annual winter get-away and what a winter wonderland it was! Every year between Christmas and New Year's we rent a cabin in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains (about a two hour drive for us) with my parents. It was perfect. A wonderful way to unwind. Jake is a snow machine-- he spends more time out in it than in the cabin-- and comes in coated head to toe-- but he doesn't care! ( ALL boy!!) Grace seemed to enjoy it too. It was pretty cold this year, so she stayed quite bundled, but she seems to be an outdoorsy one, just like big brother. We took her on her first snow shoe adventure and she was all smiles until she fell asleep for the majority of the trek! My mom and I reflected one evening and remembered that at the cabin last year, we were talking about adoption and saying that we were anxious to get home and send in our application to START the adoption process. And a year later..... well, needless to say that we're a VERY blessed family with a VERY amazing little girl! (She even rolled over from back to front-- she was struggling in getting over that tummy of hers. Grace also has no motivation to crawl, but if you hold her hands, she'll walk all over the place!!!) These next few months might get a little interesting. :)

Enjoy the pictures of God's awesome creation! Hard not to reflect on His beauty in a place like this. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Fun!

I think the magic of Christmas increases with the more kids you have! As adults, we can sometimes get bogged down with the preparations and busyness of Christmas. It's easy to lose sight of what really is important. Sometimes the season brings "too much" and we have to stop ourselves and just slow down. And, in a "stuff" driven society, it's hard to know when to stop. I think our 4 year old nailed it, when after opening his stocking and then seeing his Santa gifts-- a guitar and a puzzle-- he thought Christmas gift time was over and he was absolutely thrilled with what he got--everything he asked Santa for! Mike and I just looked at all the unwrapped presents under the tree and then at each other and wondered why we thought the kids "needed" more. :) Needless to say, there wasn't any disappointment when we told Jake there was still more to open, but it was nice to see his joy in just the couple of things he thought he got.

Christmas was fun. Lots of family. Lots of love. Lots of traditions. And now we're off tomorrow for a cabin in the mountains for lots of snow!!!!Christmas Eve and matching PJ's!!

Ribbon and paper is more fun than the actual present!

The rock star and his new guitar! (a side note-- moments before we left for his preschool Christmas program, Jake ran upstairs to "do something". When he came back down, he said he had just needed to brush his hair like a rock star, and now he's ready to go!!)
Could she be any sweeter?????
Auntie was quite excited to get a Rubiks Cube!!
Almost asleep with Grandma.
Brother and Sister having fun in Grace's new play tent!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oh What Fun....

Someone thinks her first Christmas is going to be fun!!!! I think this is a sneak peak at the next few days..... stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sometimes It's the Little Things

Our first Christmas with two kiddos!!! The blessings have definitely doubled. Sometimes it's the little things that bring a smile to my face: Jake pointing out Grace's new ornaments to anyone and everyone that stops by the house; trying to dress two kids for Santa pictures; and shopping for a new doll for Grace-- since that's what Jake is telling everyone that Santa is bringing her!

Thank you Jesus for this Christmas blessing!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Late Night Feeding

My husband does the last feeding of the night. Grace is in bed for 12 -13 hours at night; feeds around 7:30, then asleep. Mike goes in around 11:00/11:30 to "top off the tank" as he so lovingly calls it. Does she really need this feeding? We don't know... but what we do know is that she sleeps soundly until 8:00am with it... so we're not quite ready to give this last feeding up. But... tonight Mike had to call me into Grace's room to show me this! (I normally get to stay in bed during this feeding!) He thought it was too funny that she laid in her bed and fed her entire bottle to herself without ever opening her eyes!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


A wonderful AGCI family received their referral of a GORGEOUS, 5 week baby boy!! Check them out! Congrats, Ancelet family!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Christmas Tree

Getting and decorating our Christmas tree has become one of the most treasured traditions of our family. It didn't really start out this way, but has definitely turned into one of our favorite memory making adventures of the Christmas season. We start by going to a tree farm and cutting down the "perfect" tree (sometimes a bit Charlie Brownish.... but perfect in our eyes). This year, for Grace's first tree cutting experience, we did it in the pouring rain, but with snow still on the ground. She was bundled in the front pack with my rain coat wrapped around her. (unfortunately it was too wet for the camera to come out!) But, we found one, brought it home and let it dry out in the garage before bringing it in the house. So, tonight, the ornaments came out, the Christmas music was turned on, and the fun began! We don't have a "theme tree", and it definitely won't win any awards for the most beautiful tree... but it tells a wonderful story! A memory is attached to every ornament- from one from Disneyland, where we got engaged, one from our first anniversary, a Snowbaby in memory of my dear friend (who had an extensive collection of Snowbabies) who died in a plane crash in 2001, to an angel that I made when I was a little girl with the little plastic beads that you put in the metal frame of the ornament and then put in the oven to melt (and it creates the most noxious smell throughout the entire house!!). Now there's many Jake ornaments-- all on the bottom branches this year-- right where he wants them, of course! We've started the tradition of giving each other a new ornament in our stocking, that represents something from the year. Jake has a dinosaur one, a robot, train, plane.... things that he was interested in during that particular year. And now, the blessing of getting Grace her first ornament! I so wish that I could have found an ornament in Ethiopia. Believe me, I looked. And, as the kids grow, their ornament collection grows too. And when they marry-- that collection of ornaments (and hopefully the memories and stories) will go with them to their own home and own Christmas tree.

What a treasure it is to have Grace home with us this year, to add one more to our family, and another special ornament to the tree that tells a wonderful story of her 1st Christmas with her new family.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

1st snow.... and other stuff!

December 1st and we had our 1st snow!! Jake would play in the snow all day/all night if we let him! We're a snow family, so thank goodness Grace seemed to enjoy her first encounter in the snow. Hopefully this will lead to fun snow shoe and x-country ski outings this winter!

Grace is starting to sit! It's been fun to be able to put toys around her and watch her really enjoy playing with them. :) I've been looking forward to this stage; I missed this stage with my son. He decided to crawl before he turned 5 months, so he crawled before he could even sit! I never got to enjoy the "playing by them self and knowing that they're not going anywhere" stage! We baby proofed early with Jake! Also, discovered these two CDs. I think at least one will make it's way into a stocking this Christmas!
African Lullaby African Playground

Monday, November 19, 2007

A New Ethiopian Movie

Trying to spread the word about a new Movie/Documentary that's trying to take roots. It's called "Bewoket- By the Will of God". (click on the title to be taken to it's website.) Here's a brief summary:

The idea for the film began in 1998. Dr. Rick Hodes was speaking in a synagogue in London, in an effort to raise awareness of his work.
Rick’s story was immediately inspiring. It was an opportunity for a personal and intimate inquiry into the life of a relief worker- what it is that makes a person leave everything and go to Africa, and what it is that makes them stay there.

In April of 1999, Sam traveled to Ethiopia and spent Passover with Rick and his family. He was able to capture Rick’s daily life in the clinic, as well as revealing interviews with various family members.
On his visit to Rick's house, Sam met Bewoket, the title character. Bewoket's personality and his desperate struggle for life against all odds made him a perfect hero. Tens of thousands of children die each year in Ethiopia, and Bewoket is a survivor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My BFF Ruby!

Fun, fun, fun! We met Natalie and Ruby tonight for dinner and some shopping!! What a treat. Grace and Ruby were in our agency's orphanage together and Ruby went home one week before we brought Grace home. Their cribs were right next to each other and they're 2 weeks apart!! They were so cute together. They just kept looking at each other, smiling, touching, etc. They remembered. :) We got lots of oohs and ahhs tonight-- but who wouldn't-- they're two of the cutest baby girls around!! :) And many people asked us if they were twins! (but that might be due to the fact that their corny moms dressed them in matching pjs!!)

Grace's newest face: She's learned to make "raspberries" and does it ALL the time!! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Days!

My kiddos----- I'm so blessed by the two most precious babes. Jake is head over heels in love with Grace! It's fun to hear my words come out of him. I hear... in a higher pitched girl voice.... "Hi little lady. How's my girl doing? I sure love you, etc...." It's a kick! And when I pick him up from preschool, he has to give Grace and hug and a kiss before he does anything else. And then they hold hands in the backseat all the way home!!! And Grace--- you should see the looks she gives him! She's in LOVE with brother.

And my big girl-- weighing 15.5 pounds.... in the 45th% for weight now!!! Who would have thought that she was only 4.8 pounds at 9 weeks!!!!! And she's started solid foods and loves it!

(I just can't get enough of the sparkle in her eyes!!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

6 months!!

Today my baby turned 6 months old! 6 months ago today, sweet little Gracie came into this world-- half a world away from her soon to be mommy and daddy. I looked back at my calendar and saw that I had taken Jake to swimming lessons that day. I wonder if I thought more about our referral that day. Was she born yet? How old will she be? What will she look like? But, it was probably just a typical Friday for us.... who would have know that the most precious and beautiful little girl had just been born! Well, fast forward to 6 months later and our lives have been blessed more than we could have ever imagined!!! Thank you Jesus for giving us the gift of Grace! Happy Birthday baby girl!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Love Fall!!

Fall is my absolute favorite season... especially on days like today when it's sunny and 70*! I took to the kids to the pumpkin patch with our MOPS group a few weeks ago, but it was cold and rainy and Grace slept the whole time in the front pack, so I didn't get many good pictures. So, today I had the kids pose with the pumpkins in the front of the grocery store!! I couldn't miss Grace's first Halloween without pumpkin pictures!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Just so happy!

Nothing new or exciting to post. Just had to post a few new cute pictures. Grace is finally tall/long enough so her feet actually touch the bottom of her exersaucer and she can really enjoy it. She is such an easy and happy baby... and becoming quite a chunk (who would have ever thought!! Woo Hoo!! And maybe someday we'll actually be able to see her neck-- I think she has one. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

The 1 month mark!!

Have we really been home for a month? Time has flown by and it's been wonderful. Grace is truly a blessing. I'm asked about the bonding/attachment "issue" and I can honestly say that there isn't an issue. Being Grace's mom feels no different to when my son was born and I became his mom. I don't know if it was the 2 months I had her picture for and I was able to love, worry, get excited over, etc...... this little girl who was my daughter? I don't know, but all I know is that when Almaz placed Grace in my arms for the very first time it was an instant bond. This was my daughter... the one God had chosen for our family... no doubt about it!! Praise God! Now, since being home, I have had a few odd comments. One- a gal actually asked me if I was babysitting!! And when I told her that no, this was my daughter, she looked at me in amazement and said, "oh, then you must have adopted her??" I just smiled. Another woman paused at our grocery cart and oodled over Grace and then asked me if she was mine! Again, I just smiled and said, "yes, this is my precious baby girl and this (my son) is her wonderful big brother!! And, speaking of her brother, he's in love with her and Grace is enamored with him. It melted my heart last night when he peered over the side of her crib and said, "Good night baby sister. I love you!" With that being said... there's been some issues of adjustment with him. He spent the last 4 years ruling the roost here at home and I know that he's searching a bit to find his new place in our family. At one point he did tell me that Sophie (our cat!!) had told him that she wanted baby sister to go back to Ethiopia because she was afraid that she might scratch the baby!! Hmm... the cat really told him that?? And, I guess I can't leave out the adjustment to the lack of sleep again! We've had a good couple of years of uninterrupted sleep, but truly we can't complain. Grace is down at 7:30, wakes around 4:00 for a bottle and then again at 7:00/7:30 (right when brother wakes up!) So, there's our first month in a nutshell. Grace is definitely a Redman and has her mommy, daddy, and big brother (not to mention grandparents, other family, and friends) wrapped around her finger!!

**Though I am trying to wait a bit for the dust to settle and the memory of the million hour plane flight home is a distant blur before I start seriously talking about the next adoption with Mike!!! (even though I know he's thinking about it too! :) But an older child the next time.

And now our little peanut is 5 months old!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is it cold season, already?

Grace is on round two of a cold! Jacob came home with one on the first day of preschool! Good grief... no reprieve for us. Well, colds in little Gracie are a bit tougher. The Doctor thinks she was born around 32 weeks! Yikes. Therefore, this winter will be a bit tougher. We're hoping to get the "RSV vaccination" (our Dr. thinks Grace will qualify) and the flu shot. Pray for a healthy "flu/cold season". Her little lungs will have a hard time with it. But..... God protected her for 3 1/2 months in Ethiopia, when, according to US standards, she shouldn't have "made it". Why God chose our family to care for and raise this precious miracle-- we don't know. But, we're looking forward to discovering all the wonders Grace will bring to our family. God IS good!

Had to add a few cute pics!

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