Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Court Date

Okay, keep us in your prayers. An AWAA representative goes to court (in Ethiopia) for our little boy on January 26th, 2009. 70% of families pass court on their first try and we are desperately hoping to be in that 70%.

If we pass, we will travelin February to bring him home!

New Years Eve

I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year's Celebration.

It's the time of year for fresh starts and new beginnings. In this coming year, our family will grow by one, we will learn to manage our money with our new pay schedules, we will train our dog to be a good member of the family, and we will endeavor to become more healthy, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Big resolutions, I know, but needed.

We plan on doing nothing tonight except being together. We have a silly movie, Dags will take a bath, we're having crab legs and cheese sandwiches, and somewhere there's got to be ice cream...

Happy 2009, a few hours early.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holly Jolly Christmas

Well, we made it to Christmas Eve services at church! We had the Christmas program that the kids worked so hard on and it was great! Dagny even remembered her line and said it loud enough that people heard. It was lots of fun!

I made Swedish meatballs for dinner, just like my grandmother used to make, and they turned out quite good, if I do say so myself. Last time I made them, they weren't that good. This time, I invoked my grandma's help and she must have heard me. And the twice baked potatoes, also one of her traditions, were fabulous.

After dinner, I thought we would perhaps sit down and watch a bit of television, but my father seems to have come down with Pink Eye and Marc took him to the emergency room instead. They flushed out his eye, but since no pharmacies are open in Pipestone on Christmas Eve, they ended up driving all the way to Sioux Falls (45 minutes) for the eyedrops. That's love, when your hubby takes your father on that long of a trip. They got back around midnight. Dagny was already asleep and Santa had already come and gone, leaving the presents in the stockings.

This morning, Dagny woke up about 7:15 and was quite excited about the presents. She went in to tell Daddy that Santa had been there while I took the dog outside. And while we were outside, something got ahold of me. I don't know if it was the quiet, the peace, or what, but I ran around the yard in the snow with the dog and I loved it. We're going to go outside later as a family and play.

Dagny made out like a bandit with the presents. She got clothes, books, toys, a toddler sized chair that she can haul around, and a barbie car, which seemed to be the biggest hit of the day. Marc and I each got some clothes that were much needed and we gave each other Ipods, which was fun. Even though we both knew what we were getting, it was still a nice Christmas.

This afternoon we're working on dinner: a ham, au gratin potatoes, green beans, and Marc is making a bread pudding with bourbon. Mom is also making a fruit salad because she needs something to do. Don't get me wrong, I like fruit salad, so it will be nice. She just likes to have time in the kitchen.

Dagny isn't napping this afternoon, but I suppose that's all right. She's almost at the age where she won't nap anymore anyway.

The only thing that could make this day better would be our son. He got presents under the tree this morning, something from Santa, and a chair for himself. They're in his room, waiting for him to get here so he can open them.

We love you, honey. We'll be there soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Church got Cancelled? Again?

So last week church got cancelled. It was snowing, a bit icy, and darn chilly, so I understood and thankfully, the choir director caught me just as I was leaving. I went over to the building anyway, since I had a present for the pastor, wanted to get a copy of the music for next week, and had a bread starter to give to someone. No big deal, except we had to postpone the Christmas program.

So this morning it's really cold again (think -35) and the snow is blowing around a bit, so I get up about 7:15 (slept in) and called pastor to see if Church was cancelled. Besides, I don't want to take a shower if there's nowhere to go! He says NO. We're having church!

So I get everybody fed, straightened up, and then I go to take a shower and as I'm getting ready, the phone rings. It's pastor. He says he's cancelling after all, because all the other churches did. more week to put off the Christmas program.

BUT...on the bright side, I got the house cleaned. Yesterday I got all the presents wrapped, and most of the laundry done. So I feel accomplished, but I miss services. Two weeks is a long time to go without church!

Maybe God will smile on us Christmas Eve and we'll make it to services. Cross your fingers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

Behold, the artistry of a three-year old.

Okay, so we bought a kit from a local fundraiser to make a gingerbread house and it contained all the parts we would need except for frosting, which I made myself (it worked fine). As you can see, the roof collapsed...must be a problem with the architect and not the contractor, right?

So we went for a NM style adobe flat-roofed home, complete with green snow, a star of Bethlehem, and a garden in the back with rich red soil, into which three magnificent pine tree pretzels were planted.

Fabulous, is it not? We're selling the property for $100,000 which is a steal in the neighborhood its located. Contact me, the agent, if interested.

When we were finished, the dog had frosting in her ears...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Three-Year Old Christmas Programs

Dagny had her first Christmas program today and it was wonderful! She was so cute in her little tinsel halo. Of course, I didn't think to dress her up fancy like all the other little girls were, but she still looked great to me!

They sang five songs and she knew all the hand motions and looked like she was singing the right words. I cried. It was so fun to see her up there.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Jobs, New Dog...

So we started our new jobs. Marc started on November 17th, I started on December 1. They're both good. Marc is the Transit Manager for the County and, while he's got his work cut out for him, it's a good job and he says it's not too bad. He even got conned into helping plan the county Christmas party this year. Probably because he was new and couldn't say no...

I'm really enjoying the Librarian position. I've been on the job for a week and have only begun to organize, but the daily functions I've learned pretty well, like checking things out, interlibrary loan, and getting things returned and back on the shelves. Its the administrative stuff I have to learn next. And it's a bit confusing since I haven't had a full-time job since I was pregnant. How do I get everything done? GAH...for a woman with OCD, leaving things unfinished is agony, but I'm going to have to learn. I'm making weekly lists instead of daily now, since it'll just work better that way. I can fulfill the list need and still maybe get a few things done.

Like today I made cookies and I need to clean bathrooms and finish the laundry. Marc helped with laundry yesterday and said he could vaccuum later when Dagny gets up from her nap. He rocks.

No doubt some day in the future, I will be slaughtered for showing this picture publically. But I couldn't resist. Dagny needed to pee with an audience. She lined up all her dollies neatly by the bathtub and proceeded to do her business. Too funny!

And then at Thanksgiving, she got so worn out, she fell asleep on the floor in her room instead of in bed. I know the picture's sideways, forgive me. She's lying on the carpet under her playsilks, with her head on a basket of stuffed animals. She slept like that for an hour.

And I thought it was tim to finally post the dog! That's Bluebelle Hall, at a grand total of 12 pounds. She and Dagny are already best of friends and the carpet has been pooped on at least once a day for a week. Oh well, we'll survive. She's learning and finally starting to get comfortable in her crate instead of howling all night.
And now...we wait for a court date, so I can post a few OTHER pictures I know people want to see...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Do You Thank Everyone?

I have no idea how to thank everyone who has made this entire thing possible. Every single one of you that reads this blog (and tons of people who don't) mean so much to our daily lives that I can't even being to express it in words.

We love you. We thank God that you are in our lives every day. Each and every one of you is special and blessed and has blessed US in return.

And we thank God for making this possible as well. He saw our struggle and let us go through it, and because we didn't give up, he laid his hands on us at the end and gave us peace.

Thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Pictures

I'm starving for more pictures. The families that have recently traveled will probably put up albums so I can sort through those, but his referral picture is quite dark and I haven't been able to find a picture that I'm SURE is him.

GAH! This is driving me crazy. I want to see more pictures of my son!! Anyone have a magic wand to wave for me?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh my GOSH!!

You guys won't believe this...I went to create a new lilypie tickers (that countdown thing at the top of the page) and it recorded the last time I made a ticker, which was the very start of the process, when we sent in the very first form.

And the date on that ticker was...May 15, 2007. Ephraim's first birthday.

I have chills.


Friday afternoon, at 2:30 PM, we got the call. I was at work and painting away in the museum when my phone rings with a (703) area code. "703? Who's in 703?"

So I answer.

"Stephanie? This is Terra Bailey from America World."

My heart stops. And then I hear my husband's voice and I realize we've been conferenced together.

"Is this the call?" I manage to get out.

"Yes, this is the call," she replies. And I fall to my butt in the gallery and start crying. Big, uncontrolable sobs. My boss starts staring at me and then figures it out, and she leans against the broom and watches with tears in her eyes, too.

"We have a beautiful boy for you. His name is (can't share it yet) and his birthday is May 15, 2006."

2006? He's a toddler!! He's only a year younger than Dagny!!

I didn't manage to say anything else except thank you and to hear my husband promise he wouldn't look at the pictures until I got home.

And when I got hom with Dagny, we rushed to the computer to open up the jpeg and we saw his face for the first time. And we're in love. He's beautiful and I can't wait until he passes court and you all can see him. if the day wasn't full enough...I got a job as Director of Libraries with the school system AND we put a deposit down on a new dog.

Heck, might as well have all our changes at once, right?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All Hail the New York Giants!

We just got back from the movie theater, where we saw Madagascar 2. So it wasn't as funny as the first one, that's for sure, but it was the first time Dagny went to the movie theater. She did pretty well! We got popcorn (which she spilled) and Mommy had to leave the theater once to get more snacks, then again to take her to the potty, but all in all, she wasn't too bad.

Of course, it was hard for her to understand that kicking the seat in front of her wasn't appropriate, but lucky for us the lady didn't turn around and tell us off. I appreciated that.

We had fun! I think I'd wait for the video on this one, though.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good Tidings of Joy

Okay, well, to make a long story short, Marc lost his job three weeks ago. We almost stopped the adoption and moved to Phoenix, but we managed to keep cool heads and just try one day at a time.

But yesterday, Marc got a job! He is the new transportation manager for the county of Pipestone, which means he will organize and oversee the public transportation. It's a pay cut, so I still have to look for a job, too, which means leaving the museum (I'm heartbroken over that). On the job front for me, I have an interview for a librarian position next week. No jokes about naughty librarians, please. :D

God blessed us. I know, it's taking forever to get a referral, much MUCH longer than we thought it would. But that was God's plan. It's taken us awhile to get our ducks in a row and had we gotten a referral in the middle of the chaos, it would have been terrible. So he waited. And I am truly sorry that the other families had to wait with us, but I am so glad that it worked out this way. Now I can look forward to the referral again with joy instead of dread.

To all the other waiting families: our children have been born, they are waiting for us. And before we know it, they will be in our arms since they are already in our hearts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spongebob Squarepants

Okay, so this isn't the Nickelodeon Park, it's Halloween. Dagny was Cinderella, in case you can't tell, and she had a great time. We carved our pumpkins on Tuesday and then Friday, of course, we went trick-or-treating. We stopped at the retirement home at the top of the hill first, since all the people who live there love to see the little ones in costumes. And then we worked our way back to our house, stopping at the people we knew. Okay, we didn't get a huge amount of candy and we were done in 45 minutes, but what 3-year-old needs forty candy bars?

At the Nickledeon Park on Saturday (and I'll put up a picture of Spongebob as soon as I find my husband's camera cord), we rode all the rides that a small person could ride. Luckily, all we needed to do was buy her a wristband and either Marc or I could ride along with her as a chaparone. It was great. She loved it and we had a really good time. The picture above is the baloon race ride.

And of course, they had to ride the big rigs ride, too. The little trucks had horns for everyone to push. That's marc, up in the back of the truck. Must have been hard to fit in there. Glad it wasn't me!
I'll post more pictures and write more as soon as, yep, you guessed it, I find the cord.

MN Get Together

The families from Minnesota and South Dakota who are adopting from Ethiopia through AWAA managed to have a get together on November 1st at the Mall of America. We ate at Ruby Tuesdays and although they couldn't fit us all at one table, we had great discussions all around! Hutchinsons, Rovangs, Korsons, Wistroms, Prause, and the Halls (us) all managed to be there, some with children in tow. All in all, there were about 20 of us and we took over two booths and a few tables put together in the middle. It was great fun to see the faces of people I'd only heard on the conference calls!

And notice the silly sign. I made it so we could all find each other, BUT by the time Marc had gotten the sign out of the car, we'd all found each other anyway. So the sign only got used for the picture. Oh well, at least it's a nice sign!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Conspicuous Silences

So, there's been a few shakeups in the Hall household. We definitely need your prayers, though I'm not going to go into a lot of details here. I will be silent for awhile, I'm sure, until there is a referral or I have good news to report on other fronts. I hope you all forgive me for not writing, but it is going to be difficult.

Pray for peace, pray for understanding (for everybody), and pray for his will to be done, which will hopefully lead us in the right direction.

I am trying to remain secure in the fact that he led us in this calling for a purpose, even if I don't know what that purpose was.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Right, so the conference call was very enlightening in a strange sort of non-enlightening way. You're right, that makes no sense, but there you go.

We received an email indicating that there will most likely be no infant referrals in October and Duni stressed that on the call. The orphanges are full and some of the kids need to leave in order for them to bring more in, so our group on the 25th is critical to more referrals. I suppose that makes sense.

If we get a referral in the beginning of November, we should expect to travel in January, which is doable for me but hard for Marc. He's got a tradeshow every week that month, so things might get a little crazy for him. We'll figure it out, though, as we always have done.

Duni also said that, in light of the fee increase at the beginning of November, they might revisit those fees for those of us who should be expecting a referral this month. They do not want their integrity questioned, which is a good idea. I think, though, even if we get a fee break, we will probably make a donation to the transition home anyway. The money is needed for the children and if we have it, we should give it. We'll see how that all pans out.

I feel better now. Not really more relaxed, but a bit more in the know without really knowing anything. Weird how that feels.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Bit Bummed

How ironic that my post about being bummed follows the thankful post. Just goes to show how the emotions are roller-coastering (yes, I know that's not a word).

We don't have a referral yet and Duni is out of the office today. I know, I know, she said the end of the month, but a girl can hope, right?

I'm a bit bummed because they sent out the next travel dates for the families with referrals already. Not that they have their travel dates, don't get me wrong. That's AWESOME!

What I'm bummed about is we were really hoping to travel maybe before Christmas and the travel dates encompass a group leaving on December 5th. Since we don't have a referral yet, it looks like we won't travel until January at the earliest, which means we really need to get our homestudy redone. *sigh* There's another $550 to spend, not to metion the new fees for the program. I know God will provide, but that doesn't take the stress away some days.

For those of you traveling, I am SO HAPPY for you and I look forward to sending something along for my son when you go.

Now if I could just get a referral...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


It's been very hard for me to blog lately, since there is no news. Of course, there's no bad news, either, so it's just a lack of things to write about.

Today, though, Kim Kulp has challenged us to write about what we are thankful for, so that has inspired me.

First off, I am deeply saddened again by the loss of another child to pneumonia. Etsegenet Forrest was brought home to God on Saturday and sits with Him, and all we can do is to pray for understanding. The Forrest family has been very present in my prayers lately.

But back to thankful. I am thankful for the support and the love that I can feel coming from the other members of the Yahoogroups list. We are all God's family, but this group has been so essential in helping its members through the process that I have no idea where we would be without it. Every single member contributes with prayers and support and its amazing. All of you are truly blessings from heaven.

I am thankful for my family, my husband and daughter, my parents, and my uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws. Again, there is a lot of support to be had in hard times and I can feel how much they want us to succeed. It's humbling to know there are so many people on your side.

And I am thankful for God. I know that I need to place my trust in him, even during the hardest of times when faith is in short supply. My cousin Amy reminded me of that this morning. When things seem very bleak, that's the time you need to trust most of all and that is no mean feat. Thank you, Amy, for putting things bit more into perspective for me.

(and now for a small silly story)

This morning I was lazy. I stayed in bed until I heard my daughter get up and then waited for her to come and get me instead of going to get her. I heard her door open, and I expected small feet to pad to our bedroom, but instead, I heard some clanking around and then realized she was going to the bathroom by herself. She went, flushed, and washed her hands before walking down the hall. Just as she came into the bedroom, the phone rang.

"I'll get it, mommy" said her little voice, and sure enough, that's just what she did. Not only did she pick up the phone, but she pressed talk and said "Hello? Hi Daddy. Mommy is in bed." And then she brought the phone to me.

It's amazing how much of a little person she is becoming. And I am thankful for that, too.

In fact, I'm thankful to be alive and to have the things I have. I have a house, I have a family, a car, a computer to write this, a phone, food to feed us, and heat to warm us up. And that is a vast amount more than others have.

Thank you, Kim. I needed this today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spoke to Duni!

I finally spoke to Duni and Marc was right, it helped. She told me that the orphanages were a bit full, as was the transistion home, so it was possible that no referrals would be made until the end of October. I don't know if she was telling me this to help me not stress out so much, or if it's true, but it helps to know anyway. She also gave me clues as to the order of the four families, but I'm not going to say anything here about that.

The only thing that stinks is that AWAA is increasing their international fees on the first of November, so if we accept our referral after that date, we'll be subject to twice as much money as we would pay otherwise. The fee will jump from $3450 to $7500, which is a huge increase we weren't expecting. If that happens, travel will be difficult since we budgeted, but we'll find a way.

Marc just hopes they aren't playing dirty and holding back referrals until November. I hope that, too. That would really be dirty pool.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dow Jones, You Stink!

So, with the market crash of the day (poop on this plan...hope it works in the long run), Marc and I together have lost money. A lot of money. Just around $8500. Okay, its recoverable, but at the moment it hurts. It's what's called an unrealized loss, which means that it can come back if we don't cash out. If we cash out of our stocks, we lose the money. As of right now, its only theoretical.

Theory still stinks.

Waiting Waiting Waiting

*insert Jeopardy theme music here...*

Don't worry, Shelley, I'm stalking those blogs, too! For those of you not reading the comments (shame shame), I am stalking the Martins, the Renos and the Chans. Not in a bad way, but I read their blogs every day. We're all up together here at number one for a boy (unless there's a mystery family in front of us, which there probably is) and it's still nerve wracking.

One of my friends said she wasn't going to call me anymore for fear that I will run out of pants.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Tied for Number One?

At Jori's insistance, I am updating the blog! In my defense, I was out of town over the weekend and away from my computer, which can be a good thing.

There were two boy referrals last week, which means...(cue music here) Martins, Renos, Chans, and Halls (that would be us) are in the number one spot for a boy. We're all tied together because our paperwork all went together on the very same day to Ethiopia. So who knows which one of us will get the call first?

Technically, Chans and Halls are first for a boy. Martins and Renos asked for "either" but since boys are more common, I'm counting them up there with us.

Everytime the phone rings, I think I'm going to wet my pants. Seriously, it's that exciting. I know we might not get a referral for awhile, but it could be today, tomorrow, any's crazy. To think, in a few days we might see a picture of our son for the first time. My heart hurts just thinking about it.

Who wants to bet that they will call on Friday, when we're out of town and our cellphones don't work...

Friday, September 19, 2008

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Arrrr, mateys. Walk the plank, land-lubber. Shiver me timbers!

And that's all I have to say about that. Oh, and I got a pedicure today and already managed to mess it up a bit at work. I'm going to stop on the way home and see if she can fix it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Going Crazy

I'm not actually sure how much longer I can stand this. We're somewhere in the top ten (or very close) as I've written before which means that, with luck, we might get a referral later this month or the beginning of October.

I don't know how other families have stood this! Every time the phone rings, I jump, and I'm crying every day. I stalk the adoption list to see if there were any referrals and I feel dejected when a day goes by without one. I never worried about it before, now its become an obsession. i'm having a very hard time thinking about anything else.

Dagny is talking more and more about how her brother can share this, her brother can have that, she wants to cuddle him and kiss him, and she asks all the time when I'm going to Africa to get her brother. She's obsessing, too! The whole family is obsessing!

How much longer can I take it without going bonkers? I mean, I know its all in God's good timing, but can't the time speed up a little? I'm ready now! Right, there's my whining for the day.

Enough whining. I need to get in the shower and get myself to work. Tonight I have a few things to do, so maybe that will keep me from obsessing too much. Banana bread, tomato processing, picking more stuff from the garden, organizing the freezer...there's lots of things to do...

Come on, God, hurry it up! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Weekend Date!

So a friend of mine stayed at our house on Saturday and Sunday with Dagny so that Marc and I could take a short trip to the Twin Cities, a weekend date!

We love to go to the Renaissance Fair and this year was no exception. We've gone every year since we've been together and haven't missed one! Well, this year was wet and buggy, but we spent three hours there (and spent some money, too) and had a great time. Puke and Snot are still my favorite act, even though the original Snot died this summer (how sad...) and was replaced by a new guy. They were still hillarious.

After the fair, we decided to see a movie and we went to Tropic Thunder, which was very funny. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing a non-animated feature! We even worked in a trip to IKEA before dinner. I love IKEA. It's like Mecca for me. We bought some things for Dagny, including a really cool easel that has a whiteboard on one side, a chalkboard on the other, and a roll for paper. It's awesome, she loves it.

We had dinner at Pei Wei, which is a noodle bowl place. We had one in Tucson and we must have gone every week, so I've been having Pei Wei withdrawal until now. tummy felt so good after that. Following dinner, we went and browsed at Barnes and Noble, got some cheesecake, and went back to the hotel for a long (uninterrupted) night's sleep.

This morning, we left a bit early so we could stop at Emma Krumbee's on the way back. It's an apple orchard, restaurant, gift store kind of place and the food is fantastic! I had cinnamon apple pancakes and they were delicious.

Now we're back home, cleaning the house and getting everything put away. Dagny missed us, but she had such a fun time while we were gone that it wasn't too bad. She went to the Science Center and to Fuddruckers for cheese sandwiches, which are her favorite. She even got to go play with a dog in the evening, which I know was a treat.

She's already asking when we'll get a new puppy...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Angels

Just to update, the procedure went fine. His veins were so weak, they sedated him so he wouldn't feel the needle poking and he fell asleep with his head in my lap. She had warned us that he might vocalize or lose bowel control, but he did neither. He just looked up and us and sighed before he passed and it was over.

They allowed us to bring the body home and we buried him in the backyard after letting Dagny say goodbye. She seemed to understand that he had gone to heaven, bu later asked me if she could go out and kiss him to make him come back, like they do in the stories. She placed the first handful of dirt, and when the hole was full, we moved over a pot of pink geraniums and sang Amazing Grace.

God has a new angel now. Thank you so much to all of you who sent messages of support and prayer. It's so lonely in the house this morning without him following me around and I keep thinking I can hear his tags jangling as he scratches. It'll definitely be a new experience, having a quiet house.

And to the dogs waiting for him to join their pack in heaven, he's a good boy. Be nice.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Death of a Beloved Pet

Today, at 4:30, we're putting Atlas to sleep. He has lived a long and full life, but he is no longer happy.

He stopped eating three days ago, and no longer comes to greet us at the door. He is failing internally, as is evidenced by the problems he's having going to the bathroom.

Marc doesn't want to come home and find him dead, nor does he want Dagny to find him, and since it's the end, we would rather be with him when he passes.

Please say a small prayer for all the dogs in heaven. Atlas will surely be an angel.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Canning Success!

Well it worked. I've got seventeen small jars of apple butter, all lined up on my counter and the seals took, so they're all good. I'm quite proud. If this wasn't so time consuming, I would do it as a fundraiser.

I've got a newfound respect for farmwives and women who would preserve food like this all the time. After all the time it took to process the food to the stage to can it, and then the actual canning (which is really hot with all that boiling water), I am amazed that I got anything done at all. Huzzah to women who do this all the time!

And to think, my tomatoes should be ripe in another few days and I can do it again! I hope I have enough for a respectable batch of pasta sauce, and maybe some left over for salsa. Even if it's just one or two jars, I would really like to look at them on my shelves and think "Hey, I made that from our garden."

Besides, it gives me something to do so I'm not thinking about referrals!

Apple Butter

I made apple butter yesterday, from scratch. And when I say from scratch, I mean I even picked the apples off the tree in our front yard. I spent an hour and a half peeling, then had to make applesauce, then pureed the applesauce smooth, then put it in a crockpot with cinnamon, sugar, allspice, and cloves.

My house smells goooooooooood! It's thickening up pretty good (cooked overnight) and this afternoon I am going to attempt to can it. This is my first attempt, so who knows if it will work or not! I certainly hope so. I'd like to give it to people as gifts. And if it works, I'll have to do it again!

Whoo hoo! Hooray for trying something new! I feel so domestic at the moment. If the canning works, I've got a whole bunch of winter squash that I will cook up with brown sugar and can. And when my tomatoes all turn red (they're close), I can do salsas and tomato sauce, too! Nothing is better than the stuff from your own garden!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of School!

Movie Star Dagny, off to school. Gotta wear the glasses to keep up the cool appearance. Right, so Dagny did just fine getting off to school with her new shoes and her backpack, but mommy was quite sad. I know, I take her to daycare four days a week, but somehow school was different. She just looked so grown up!

Here she is, sitting at her table and making a nametag. She tells me the only thing they did was play outside and swing on the monkey bars, but they also made a cute crown with construction paper crayons, because that was in her bag. She has her own hook for her coat and bag, and her name is written over it. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. She's having lots of fun and I am so proud of her.

Now let's see if I can get the house cleaned up this afternoon. If I manage some of it, we're going to go outside and pick apples later. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Top Ten!

We are in the top ten. Wow. It affected me a lot to finally see our name at the bottom of that list. With ten referrals a month, we could get a call anytime between now and October. It's happening faster than I thought now that we're this close.

I don't know if I should be scared or insanely happy. Ha.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Light and the Darkness

I'll start with the darkness first, since its always better to follow bad with good, so you end on a better note. Our dog is very sick. The vet asked me if I wanted to hear the word (starts with 'c') and I said no, so she didn't say it. He's throwing up every day and not finishing his food and Dagny is starting to realize something is wrong. It's very hard. He's 13 and has been with Marc since he was 8 weeks old and he is my first dog altogether. I've never had to really deal with the loss of a large pet (my parents dealt with our cat) and I'm terrified every day that I will come home and he will be dead. I just don't want him to suffer at all. The vet says we will know when he's got a bad quality of life and we should just manage the symptoms until then. All right, I'll go along with that.

There's a lot of stress at Marc's work right now, so he needs a few prayers sent his way. I'm not going to go into details, since they're many and varied and would get boring, but suffice it to say that he needs a bit of a boost. Got a board meeting this week, so we'll see how that goes.

In lighter news, we just got back from a weekend up at the cabin and the weather was perfect. We fished and took walks and rode around the lake in the boat (it was very windy) shrieking happily with our arms spread out wide while Marc drove us really fast. It was quite fun. We also visited a winery that we had never seen before and got a few books at a sale. When we came home, it was hot, but our tomatoes were turning red and we had fresh tomato sauce on pasta last night and it was divine.

We are also about number 5 in line for a baby boy now. The wait is almost done and I'm fairly trembling with it. I've been crying every day but I'm not sure if it is from joy or terror. I guess we'll see. Maybe we can have this baby home for Christmas. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

And now I leave you with something a bit offensive, but I just have to post it. The following is a photograph of a squash that was growing in my garden when I got back and it's suggestive to say the least. Enjoy.

Come on, admit it, you laughed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


That, my friends, is a pumpkin growing in a pine tree. It's about two-thirds of the way up the tree and I have no idea what will happen when the pumpkin gets bigger. Ha. Talk about weird.
Anyway, that's my news for the day. I cleaned up the garden, made placemats for the kitchen, and am about to clean the house, but I wanted to share the silliness of the pumpkin first.
Oh, and I am now on facebook! So if you are, too, come find me! :D

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Awful News

Another family that got a referral just a short while ago was informed a few days past that their little girl was going into the hospital with pneumonia. Here, that would be worrying, but probably not fatal. There, that wasn't the case.

Their beautiful girl was taken home by God and as I write this I am weeping with sorrow for the loss they must feel. Her mommy never got to hold her before she died and will not be able to be with her little girl until they meet again in heaven. Words cannot even express how heart-wrenching this must be for them. For all of you who read my blog, please say a prayer for the family as they struggle through this sad time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Harvest

There are things growing in my crazily overgrown garden! Dagny and I went out yesterday to explore and found six acorn squash, three summer squash, a nice handful of beans, a tomato, and three ears of corn. Okay, so the corn is feed corn and inedible, but it was fun to find anyway.
We ate the tomato and the beans for dinner with hamburgers and we're going to trade a bunch of the squash for beans and sweetcorn from a neighbor. Those can be frozen. Who knows, maybe he can teach me a trick to freeze squash this afternoon, too. I'm not sure how I would do that, other than cook it first. Which I suppose is the way to go. Now I have to decide if I want to buy a pressure cooker and canning jars or freeze everything in ziploc baggies, which is what a lot of people do around here. I just need to organize the freezer!
No news on the adoption front. There haven't been any referrals in the past week, so I'm trying not to think about it too hard. Of course, when I went shopping on Thursday for socks and underwear for Dagny, I found a romper with a lion on it at Gymboree and I bought it for Ephraim. It was on sale, I couldn't help myself. At least I didn't buy more than one!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Civil War Reenactors

Have I mentioned my husband and I are insane? Every two years, Pipestone hosts Civil War Days where reenactors from all over the United States come to dress up and pretend it's somewhere between 1861 and 1865.

Two years ago, when we had just moved here, we got hired to read letters from soldiers to their wives at the festival. We enjoyed it, so we agreed to do it again this year. AND we got roped into doing a talk on hot air ballooning during the war. Don't get me started on that, since I'm the talker and I could go for hours. Suffice it to say that hydrogen balloons were used as spies for both the Union and the Confederate Armies, though the Union was much luckier with them. I've really enjoyed the research and the talk, so if you want to know more, you can always email me.

Two years from now, I pledge to have a dress that belongs to me (the one in the picture is borrowed) and I pledge to make Marc a nice vest that matches. I may even be able to make both kids matching outfits and we can attend as the entire family! I'm really looking forward to that.

And yes, there's a bunch of guys dressed as soldiers running around and shooting each other. The Union Commander even court-martialed and shot someone this morning...all in good fun.

Yeah, we're crazy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Dagny has started pooping on the toilet! What an exciting entry for the blog. :) I just know you all wanted to read that today.

Also, one of the women who is in Ethiopia right now say there are 50 kids at the transition home. 18 of them have referrals, so does that mean we might get a referral soon? I'm on the edge of my seat!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Goat Races 2008

You may feel free to laugh now. I just know you were all wondering what the heck we did in Jasper to pass the time in the summer and now you know. Once a year, the residents of Jasper get drunk and laugh at goats. Okay, I wasn't drunk, but I was laughing!

Since it was the last year, I rented a goat for 15 bucks and participated. I had the meanest nanny, but she followed along well enough on her leash (snork) as we got into the racing pen to get ready. My goat is above. She was kinda ugly, too. But hurray for the goat!

We won third place in the adult division. I got a trophy. With a goat on it. Now you can laugh really hard! See the picture below of said trophy.

I should be very proud.

Fishing Our Hearts Out!

The picture above is Dagny's BASS! Yes, bass. Not a panfish or a tiny fish, a bass. Probably about a half pound, but a bass nonetheless. Dagny loves to fish. She had a pole without a reel, just a bobber and hook which I filled with worms, and she flipping loved it.

She must have caught thirty fish this week, which was just the most wonderful thing. With each fish, she patted them and told them they were good fish before throwing them back. She even took a fish off her own hook once when we didn't get to her fast enough. It was hilarious.

Vacation was excellent. We visited an Emu Ranch (very large birds) and did a little shopping. Dagny rode the jet ski (with Marc) all the way across the lake and seemed to enjoy herself. We went swimming, picked up shells, and went to the science center about an hour away, where she touched hissing cockroaches and a tarantula before following a tortise around the exhibits. It was a great time.

Most of the time she was pretty good, and we also got Olde Tyme photos taken with her a Southern Belle, which she loves. We'll frame it on her wall one of these days. But now we're back to the daily grind of things, which involved the goat races today...see the next post for that one!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pins and Needles

Okay, so Jori thinks perhaps we're about number 10 in line for a boy. By my calculations, we're right around 12 or 13, but either way, we're getting much closer. That's good news!

On another note, we just cancelled our Christmas Trip to Phoenix. Since they will want to see Ephraim anyway, we decided to go later instead of twice close together. Now I have to break it to Dagny, but she might not notice the time difference in the trips. At least, that's what I'm hoping. We just have to use our tickets before July 9 of 2009. all think we can be back from Ethiopia before July 9th? :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time Goes By

When Dagny was in the womb, Marc found her a very special clock when he was in Las Vegas, at a clock shop. Her clock is painted with a picture of a baby sleeping in the moon and has the poem Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on it.

I found this clock for Ephraim in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, of all places. I couldn't help myself. I bought it right away.

Monday, July 28, 2008


So, I look out the window at my garden and am quite impressed with myself. Everything is healthy (mostly) and growing (pretty much) and there's this large plant in the middle which I thought was a pepper. Only there's no flowers, its not producing anything, and its taller than I am.

So Marc tells me to take a picture and take it to church, where there are a lot of farmers that can probably help me figure it out. I take the picture and guess what Alan tells me it is?

Ragweed! A giant ragweed in the garden! And I'm really allergic to ragweed! Well no wonder I've been miserable weeding. Anyway, Marc pulled it right away and underneath, low and behold, we find that the potato that Dagny and I planted on a lark is growing merrily away.

So next year I'm going to plant potatoes in one corner of the garden, just to see what happens.

What is it with kids being afraid to poop in the toilet? Dagny is doing it again, holding everything in until it hurts. She already knows if she keeps it up, we're going to do the same thing we did last time, which I really don't want to do and neither does she. We'll see what happens.

And Sunday, Marc and I got another date day. My friend Maria came over to watch Dagny and we went to Sioux Falls and saw the Dark Knight, which was excellent. I haven't seen a movie that good in a long time and I really hope they nominate Heath Ledger (Rest his soul) for an Oscar. He was fabulously awful.

We're getting ready for vacation at the end of the week, so I'll probably not be blogging until we get back. Four families have passed court and will be travelling in August (YAY!) and there's been a few more referrals. Just keep your fingers crossed that things will keep moving along!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


(do not read if you have a weak tummy!)

Okay, so now there's poop. After the laxative and the suppository failed to work and it's been four days, I called the nurse this morning for some advice. Luckily, I got a friend of mine and not some random nurse, but someone who actually knows me and Dagny. Whew. I didn't feel like a complete idiot describing what was going on.

Meanwhile, while we're talking, Dagny is screaming that she's fine, which so wasn't true. She sat on the toilet with Marc for an hour and a half. Okay, Marc wasn't ON the toilet, he was sitting next to it and encouraging her and it got nowhere. So what did the nurse say to do?

Put vaseline on my finger or buy an enema kit from the drugstore. Yerks. I figured the vaseline was actually a better option, so Marc held her and I did you know what.

It was not even remotely pleasant, but it achevied the desired end. No pun intended. And I thought she'd never get near a toilet again, but when she woke up from her nap just now, she immediately went to the potty to pee.

Now, if I could only convince her that pooping is fun. We're off to Sioux Falls to get her a backpack and the book "Everybody Poops."

More Referrals

(still no poop...)

So, there were five referrals on Friday! Five families got the call about having been matched with a baby! Awesome!

According to Alecia, there are about 20 families in front of us, both boys and girls, so who knows. If we go at ten referrals a month, we'd get a referral in September. I bet it'll be slower than that, though. I'd like to have a referral by the end of the year. I don't have much more to say on that topic, because it's kind of hard to talk about. I want it to happen so badly...

Friday, July 18, 2008

No Diapers?

So while I was gone to California, Marc put Dagny in big girl panties for the first time. She did okay, wore a pull-up to bed, but on Sunday, she wanted back in the diaper. When I got home, she wanted panties again, so she wore her panties to Bible School.

And she had an accident. In front of everyone. She was terribly upset, but the next day wanted to wear panties again. We have had no accidents since then and she has been in panties every day. Of course, she wears the diaper at night, but this morning, she was dry!

She went to the potty right away, peed, and then said "Wow, mommy, that was a big one."

Only problem is, she won't poop on the toilet. She says her butt is too big (shoot, girl, if yours is too big...what about mommy's?). And she won't put a diaper on because it's not a "big girl" thing to do. So she hasn't pooped in three days.

I know you all can't wait, so I'll keep you posted on that.

She's riding her bike around the driveway every night and getting much better at it. She likes to go fast (yeah, she's my kid) and loves to chat with me while she rides, and then stop for a kiss every few rounds. I love it. I can sit and watch her and read my book, and she does circles endlessly. Perfect for both of us.

On the adoption side, I think my heart is breaking. There haven't been any referrals yet this month and I so desperately want other families to be united with their children so that I can realize my time is coming closer. I want to bring him home. Now. Like on the plane in an hour. *sigh* I keep telling myself its all in his good time, but that's not making it easier at all.

Hurry up everybody!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Going to the Chapel...

One of my best friends was married this weekend and I had the good fortune to attend the wedding in Nevada City, California, which is close to Sacramento. And my, was it an exciting weekend. Let's start with Friday...

My friend (the groom) is Matt. Now, Matt said he would pick me up at the airport in Sacramento, but we neglected to exchange phone numbers before the arrival date. Dumb. So I arrive and no one is there. No one that I recognize is even in the terminal. I call my husband, who informs me there is another terminal, about a half a mile away, that he might be waiting at. So I schlep my stuff down to the other terminal and low an behold, he's there. So I hook up with Matt and Paul (the best man) and we walk BACK to the other terminal because someone else is coming in that morning, as well. Granted, we dropped off my stuff at the car, first.

So we pick up Teresa, who is also a groom's person and my room mate for the weekend, and we get in Matt's Prius to head back to Nevada City.

Did you know a Prius can run out of gas? Ha. It did, right on the side of the interstate. Matt calls roadside assistance and Paul and I decide to walk to find a gas station. So we cross a field of thistles and three lanes of traffic, jump a fence, and find a gas station about a mile away. We buy a gas tank, fill it, and walk back, jumping the fence once more, crossing traffic, and the field of thistles. We STILL beat roadside assistance, so Matt cancels the appointment and we're finally on our way.

We get back to Nevada City and go to the bride's father's house for a luncheon, but we're pretty late so most of the people head out shortly after we get there. Since the rehersal is at four, we don't have much time to get to the hotel, but we make it, get ready, and head up to the place where the wedding is going to be held.

The bride's mother's house is lovely, with an English Rose Garden in the back where the wedding will be. Matt asked me to do a reading, since his sister Karen (who was originally going to read) just got out of the hospital and was worried about doing it herself. Since Karen is a good friend of mine as well, I agreed. The rehersal went off without a hitch, but it's really hot.

The rehersal dinner was way cool (only Mama Floyd can plan a party like this). We took an open air train to the top of a mountain for dinner and we were 'robbed' along the way. Outlaws stopped the train and 'stole our hearts' (we were instructed to bring small heart shaped gifts for the couple) and later, they shot the engineers and hijacked us. It was loads of fun.

The rehersal dinner itself was served up on the mountain under the pine trees and was quite lovely. It wasn't quite so hot up there!

I decided to go to bed after that, though the rest of the groom's party was going to go drinking. They didn't make it, though, because the rings went missing and it took two hours to find them. It's way too long a story to type out here, but suffice it to say that housekeeping was quite questionable and it was no fault of the groom's party. I ended up in charge of the rings the following day and didn't let them out of my sight until the ceremony. Just call me Frodo, kids.

Saturday morning I had breakfast with Matt and Shannon and Roy, two of his friends, and then went shopping with Karen. It was very nice. We bought pasties for everyone, then went back to where the groom's party was getting ready and I helped with Karen's nails and her sister Anne's hair before getting ready myself. I didn't have to be there early, so I wasn't worried.

Roy was my 'date' since Shannon was in the wedding party, and we got to ride in a limo to the wedding. Never been in a limo before and it was quite fun. We debated skipping the wedding and just going to Las Vegas, but figured since I had the rings, I had to show up. Ha.

The ceremony was beautiful (I cried, as always) and then we were back in the limos to go to the reception, which was just down the hill. Dinner and dancing lasted until 11 PM that night, at which point I was TIRED so I tried to go to bed. I didn't quite manage it, and ended up getting up at 4:45 to go get on a plane not feeling any more rested than I had the night before. Oh well. I slept from Sacramento to Denver and felt a little better.

All in all, it was the best wedding ever. I saw people I hadn't seen in a long time, namely Matt, Brian, Karen, and Anne, met a bunch of new friends in Teresa, Paul, Roy, and Shannon, and had a hugely great time with all the dancing. Great weekend, even if I now feel as if I've been hit by a bus...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Three Day Weekends

Sing praises for three day weekends! Whoo hoo!

Friday was our outside day, where we took care of the things outside the house. We finished weeding (finally) the garden in the morning and Marc cleaned out the eaves, which were a bit clogged, and we picked up all the pine needles and got the composting going.

We also went for a family bike ride and a barbeque at a friends house. It was so great. Three three-year olds together are very funny. The parents even got to chill for awhile while the kids played. Bratwursts, potato salad, and home-made rhubarb pie. Yum. We were thinking about going to the fireworks, but they were so late, we decided against them. Instead, we drove home and on the way, someone was shooting fireworks off at their house (we live in the boonies) so we saw some anyway! And then, when we got home and had PJs on and everything, Marc said "Dagny, let's go outside" and we could see the pig farm on the other side of the highway shooting off fireworks, too! Not to mention the lightning was a great night.

Saturday was the inside day. We had a furniture moving vacuum day! Dagny helped (well, kind of) and we moved all the couches and tables and vacuumed. Wow. Don't think I've done that in awhile. It was pretty nasty. Had to dump the vacuum like three times! But now the house smells better. What a sad comment. And I got 6 loads of laundry done, since I washed the quilts, the mattress pads, everything. And we STILL had enough time to go for a nice bikeride in the afternoon.

Dagny is getting pretty good at her bike now. I'll have to get her a helmet next time I'm in Sioux Falls.

Sunday, since we got most of our chores done Friday and Saturday, was a lazy day. I finished the laundry, did NOTHING while Dagny napped (what a treat) and then we decided to ride our bikes out to a friend's farm, since he bribed us with fresh lettuce. It was a longer trip than I thought it would be, but I made it and I'm quite proud of myself! Hauling an extra forty pounds of trailer and kid behind the bike, uphill, is not easy. But it was worth it. We got fresh lettuce and Dagny got to help dig up some potatoes (which were very yummy) AND she sat and ate peas off the vine. She must have eaten almost a pound of peas.

We had a great weekend. I love weekends that you get to spend with your family. Wonderful. I feel a bit refreshed now, like my head is more straight than it was before. maybe I can live through this summer yet!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nobody Gets In to See the Wizard!

HAHAHAHA! Jori, you rock. For those of you who haven't read the comments on the previous post, Jori has reminded me that No is a perfectly acceptable answer to things. "Nobody gets in to see the wizard. Nobody!" I'm just not good at saying no, but I'll work on it.

The Wizard of Oz is now over, which is good and bad, honestly. We had a great time and out of eight shows, we got seven standing ovations. People loved it. It felt good to be involved in a production that was so well-attended. I mean, I've been on stage before, but never in front of an almost sold-out house, which we had the last weekend every night. The witch is glad not to have to paint herself green anymore (the make-up gave her hives) and the kids are glad not to have to sit downstairs and be quiet during the production, but I think we all miss each other.

So now the summer gets into high gear (except it was 45 degrees this morning. 45 degrees!?) and I need to get my head back into real life. The garden is out of control with weeds, so I have been up at 5:30 every day for the past three days weeding before the small one gets up. I've got the delicate weeding done (the stuff that has to be done by hand) and on Friday, I'm taking the garden claw back there and going for it. The squash are all doing great, the watermelon are growing, and most of the tomatoes are doing well. The beans and peas are growing, too, just not as fast as the rest.

And there's a stalk of corn out there. CORN? I didn't plant any corn. Of course, we live across the street from a corn field, so it could have just come for a visit in some small animals droppings, but it's funny. It's right in the middle of the peppers and we decided not to pull it, but to see what happens. It's very healthy and rather tall at the moment.

The adoption feels very slow, but there were ten referrals in June, so keep your fingers crossed. Those families at the top of the list must be going insane. I keep checking to see if we're in the top ten yet, but so far, no luck. We'll get there when it's time, right?

We're planning on going to a friends house for a barbeque on the 4th of July and then going out to the fireworks. Dags has never seen fireworks, so it should be fun. The other couples also have three year olds, so it should be quite the party with three 3s, and two 1.5s. Should be tons of fun.

And other than that, we're not doing too much, which is wonderful. It feels good to be able to go home every night, have a nice dinner (not rushed) and watch some TV before we all go to bed with the windows open. It might be summer, but we've only had the air on for 12 hours so far...weird weather. Maybe I should go buy a Prius...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Three Years Old?!

I can't believe it. Dagny turned three years old yesterday. Three! She can go to preschool next year if she gets toilet-trained! My baby in school? *shrieks and faints*

I remember being pregnant. I don't remember it being that long ago, but I guess it was. She holds up her three little fingers and beams. "Three, mommy. Three!" Amazing.

Her party went very well. We had about 20 kids and with their parents, I must admit I was very glad it didn't rain. All those people in my house would have been a bit awkward! But we had a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, and I didn't plan any activities, I just put out lots of toys for free play and it went great. We had bubbles, the swing set, balls, a frisbee, balloons, the grass, silk flowers, that sort of thing. They had a good time. We had cake around four and presents after that so people could go home for dinner or stick around and play a bit more. We got the whole yard cleaned up before I had to go to rehersal and Marc took care of the inside.

She got more presents than she needs, of course, so I think one of these days i'm going to have a toy cleanup and remove a bunch of her old toys and box them away, to be unveiled later if she needs a boost. I think that'll work pretty well, since she doesn't need to have all those toys at once and a lot of them are just little junky toys she picked up here and there, like from her grandpa's happy meals. Yes, my father buys happy meals. Don't tell.

It was a great weekend, too. On Saturday, Mom, Dad, and I took Dagny to the zoo while Marc had a business meeting, then we all met up for lunch. Again, great weather, so the zoo was quite a treat. We even got to watch the bears take a bubble bath, which was endless entertainment for Dagny. She also saw a monkey breastfeeding, which puzzled her a bit, but she remembered doing that. We talked about it a bit, quietly, and the monkey seemed to have no problem with us being that close. It was very neat.

A note on the adoption, the wait times seemed to have increased. We probably won't go until early spring of 2009 to get our son. It really hurts and I'm not sure I can really talk about it a lot yet, but I keep telling myself that God has a plan and I'm just along for the ride.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Growing Things!

I have a garden now! Some of you might laugh, since you know I have black thumbs, but you gotta give me credit for trying! On Saturday, Marc got a neighbor to come over with a rototiller and really dig up a back corner of our yard, which he (my husband) then raked and prepared for planting. he even put up chicken wire around the back to stop the rabbits from getting in. Once I'd planted, he built a fence in the front with shorter chicken wire and stakes. In other words, I can step over it, but it's Dagny and doggie-proof.

Dagny and I planted together. We planted tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, and peppers. I'm not completely sure where some of them will grow, since Dagny ran off with seeds and planted them herself, but who cares? She enjoyed it and that's all that matters. And she found some GREAT worms, which she played with for an hour, carrying them around and calling them names. It was very funny.

And the garden looks great. Now all I have to do is weed and water and cross my fingers that I don't kill all the nice produce that we'll have for salads later. And who knows, maybe our halloween pumpkin will be grown by us! If we get a lot of tomatoes, I'm going to learn how to can and make tomato sauce for the winter. That would be very nice.

Okay, so this post wasn't really about the adoption. I'm honestly trying not to think too much about it because my head scrambles when I think about how longit could be until my son comes home. I was hoping for Christmas, now I'm not so sure.

We're (roughly) 23rd in line for a baby boy and the referrals have been slow. Cross your fingers!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Too Much to Chew

I have officially bitten off more than I can chew. I really need to just take a few steps back and breathe before organzing myself and starting afresh. It's a good time for that, considering all the plants are coming up and in a week or so, my day lilies will start to bloom. Perhaps I can get my head around that.

Along with the waiting for our son (which is far harder than I thought it would be), I've taken on being the secretary for a Board of Directors, helping out my husband at his work, my own part-time job (which I've had for several years), trying to be perfect at weight watchers, holding a position on another board of directors, being in the play, and still being a mommy. When I started doing everything, it didn't seem so bad. Now, it seems like it's far too much for me to accomplish.

The secretary position is doable, I just have to schedule in a few bits of time each month to write the minutes. Helping my hubby is doable, since he is working on finding someone else to take on that position full time (I'm just not trained as a book-keeper). And the other board is something I love.

The play will be over soon (well, June) so there's a light at the end of that tunnel. And my job is handleable. I'm just struggling with the other two: Mom and Weight Watcher.

Weight watchers has become very difficult as I don't seem to be making any progress. That could certainly be because of the other stresses in my life. I tell myself that I will feel better if I eat the foods that are good for me and I *do* but that doesn't stop the cravings for the things that are bad. Donuts, pie, peanut butter and jelly, all those things. What I need to do is try to fit those things into the points, instead of cheating to eat them.

I think that's my problem. I think the entire time I've been trying (well, this time) I have been sabotaging myself by cheating on small things here and there, which makes it worse and becomes a vicious circle because all I want to do is eat and, once I fall off the wagon, it's very hard to get back on. I need to work on that. I keep telling myself that today is the last day of being bad and then the next day, I say the same thing. Now it's really time to stop.

When I get home from work, I am so tired I just want to watch TV for the rest of the night, when I know my daughter would much rather go for a walk and see the cows. I've got to get myself to the point where that walk is enjoyable and not a chore. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

This is a downer of a message, isn't it...maybe tomorrow I'll feel better. Must be a lowpoint in the month.

Friday, April 25, 2008


There were at least four referrals today! WHAHOO! Those families are so excited and I'm sure their hearts are so full for seeing their little ones for the first time today! Those photographs must be the most precious things and April 25th will always be remembered in their hearts as that first glimpse of their son or daughter. I am so happy for everyone, I can hardly stand it!

Ords, Gibsons, Ducommens, and Coxs....amazing, completely amazing. I can't wait until it's me!

May blessings be showered on those families and may their court dates go successfully, without hitches, and may they travel in short oder to bring their little ones home!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring Fun

Well, tis that time of year where sometimes you need to find things to occupy yourself (see the sarcasm there?) as if playing outside and riding bikes wasn't enough in the first place. I auditioned for the Wizard Of Oz musical in Pipestone and got in, a speaking and singing part of the Guard at the Gate. You know the guy, who argues with the group about a sign on the door? yeah, that's me. I know, it's a guy's part, but that's where they cast me, so I'll make do and enjoy myself anyway. Should be fun.

Bowling is pretty much over. I could bowl singles if I wanted to in the tournament, but even with my hadicap of 213, I don't think I'd get very far. Yes, 213 shows that I am pretty bad at bowling. My average is 91 and last night at doubles I got a 96, 95, 94 in that order. At least I'm over my average, but I didn't break 100. One week, after a beer (or as the guys call it, aiming fluid) I actually bowled a 167 and got my name in the paper! Shut up, everyone, it's a small town. Things like that are exciting.

The weather has been beautiful the past few days and Dagny is playing outside at daycare which means more baths. My child is a dirt magnet! I picked her up yesterday and there was dirt on her face, all over her hands, and her dress was perfectly clean. How does that happen? I didn't spray it with teflon, so it should be as dirty as she is! Who knows.

Anyway, we're working on an exhibit on photography at the museum and hopefully I'll get a bunch done today, like placing objects and getting some labels and photographs in place. I need to move two manniquins upstairs and dress them in wedding clothes, since we have a photograph of a wedding couple AND we have the dress and suit in our collection. We're getting creative and trying to fill the space with fun stuff so it's not such a static exhibit. And downstairs we're working on carpeting maybe this summer, which would be grand since we're going to do a railroad exhibit next year. Railroads have been really important to the city of Pipestone.

I hear my small one waking. I'll write more later!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Alone at Home

Marc is gone again for a few days, which always makes me bummed. It's hard with him traveling, even though I know its for the good of the company and the family in the long run. I just wish he didn't have to do it all the time. But we'll survive.

On a lighter note, Dagny can't get enough of saying her brother's name. She says "Ephraim" to anyone who will listen, though it's not very clear and people always need a translation. That and people who don't know me look questioningly at my stomach to see if I am pregnant. Ha. Talk about a conversation starter.

I don't feel much like writing tonight, though maybe tomorrow. The first night is always the hardest.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Per request, here is a picture of the pedicure. Ha. It's a dark purple with white flowers. The flower has a tiny white gem in the middle and is trimmed with pale green and silver swirlies, which you can't really see in the picture. Anyone else ever tried to take a picture of their own feet? It feel very silly!

Friday, April 18, 2008


So yesterday was my 35th birthday. I feel old, though I shouldn't since I'm not even close to actually being old. I suppose it was just one of those milestones maybe I wasn't expecting.

I had scheduled our appointment with the travel clinic for the afternoon, figuring my husband would take time off from work, we'd get our shots, then we could go get some ice cream or lunch just the two of us before picking up Dagny at daycare. But alas, this was not to be. Something came up at work for Marc and I ended up driving to Sioux Falls myself.

It wasn't bad, though. I got a pedicure (purple with flowers) and found a nice shirt at the mall, as well as getting a few other errands run, so all in all it was a pretty good afternoon. On the way home, I called a few friends and asked them to meet us at Pizza Ranch for dinner and they did, so dinner almost felt like a party. And that was very nice.

And then, of course, we just went home and watched TV. Marc bought me the book A New Earth, which is on Oprah's List and my pastor is reading right now. He wants someone else to read it so we can discuss it and that seems like a fun idea. Pastor Gene is an awesome guy and I think a theological discussion with him sounds like it would be enjoyable. Of course, with all the other books I have to read, it might take awhile.

While we were watching TV, Dagny fell asleep on my lap, her head pillowed against my chest. I have never felt like more of a mommy than I did right then. She is so incredibly beautiful that my heart aches when I look at her. So, of course, I cried and thanked my husband for the best present ever, a family.

And soo nthe family will grow and be even more of a blessing. Ephraim, we're waiting for you with open arms and eager hearts. Even Dagny tells people she's getting a brother and she can even say your name.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Other Journeys

Yesterday I attended a lunch in Pipestone where the guest speaker was a family in town who has adopted five children internationally, two from Guatamala and three from Ethiopia. They have TEN kids all together. Are they insane? No, they have a lot of love. It was so obvious to see them together, it was amazing. They brought all ten kids to the lunch (though they left since some of them are very young) and then showed a slideshow and gave a talk that made me cry. The children from Ethiopia were so beautiful and I couldn't stop staring at the little girl, who was three years old. My son will look like her, I kept thinking to myself, holding hands with my friend Angie who went with me for support.

I'm a big cryer, so I knew I'd need someone there to explain why tears were constantly running down my face. The slides were amazing. Ethiopia is beautiful and now, not only can I not wait for my son, but I can't wait to take him BACK to see the country when he is old enough to remember. I can't wait to show Dagny where her brother came from, to explore a world through two pairs or eyes that are lower to the ground and much more connected than mine. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me...

The wait is horrible. And I've not been waiting very long. Maybe I will get used to it or it will get better the longer it goes, but right now it's aching inside.

And one of my best friends had to put her cat down last night. Good bye, Jazz, we'll miss you. Meet Maria in heaven, will you?

Monday, March 31, 2008


So, you all know the title of the blog is Ephroms Family...well, I spelled it wrong. It's a very long story. Originally, it was not me that misspelled the name, it was Marc.

See, Dagny has a drawing of her name downstairs that her granpa John got her in New York City while he was waiting for theater tickets. It's her name drawn in rainbow colors and dolphins and rainbows, and things like that. When Marc was at Disneyland (on business, if you can believe that...) he bought one for our son, with bamboo, dragons, and other oriental symbols and its fabulous. Only he spelled his name Ephrom.

In my head, it had always been spelled Ephraim, so I was a bit shocked by the spelling from Marc, but I thought "Well, it's not bad, really" and I ran with it.

The other night, Marc told me that we had to spell it right and we'll get Ephraim a new name sign to frame, one that is spelled correctly.

So his name is EPHRAIM, which means fertile in Hebrew and Amharic.

I told you it was a long story.

Today schools were closed and the museum wasn't open due to weather, so Dagny and I are home doing mommy and daughter things. The snow has sort of stopped, but Marc says the roads are still bad, so we'll just stay home. I had been so hoping for spring...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hooray for Isaac!

Isaac went home! His sodium level has stabalized and he has finally gotten to leave the hospital with his mommy and daddy and go home to be nice and cozy with his new family. I am so happy, I'm crying tears of joy.

Learning to Blog!

Well, thanks to Candy Tennant, Pete Juvinall, Jori Armstrong, and Rebecca Caldwell I might have a handle on this now. Might being the operative word.

Please notice on the side that I have put up a paypal button for our fundraising tee shirts. Of course, I don't know if it will work until someone actually buys a shirt (this is a shirt!) and then I'll post whether or not I was successful.

You guys rock. Without you, I would have a sad little blog, stuck in cyberspace, without any sort of interesting things attached to it, much less the stunning blogs of others and a fundraising opportunity.

I can't say enough good things about the yahoogroups for AWAA members adopting from Ethiopia. Everyone there is so wonderful and so supportive, I've never felt more welcome. And I've never met any of them in person! How's that for silly!? We've heard each other's voices on conference calls, I read their blogs, I even have a few of their pictures on my refridgerator, but I've never met them. I might have a chance to meet a few families that live close by in the Twin Cities sometime, but I look forward to some sort of gathering where we can all meet up, even if I've got to fly to get there!

Go buy a shirt! (Just kidding...)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Even more waiting!

So I saw in that last post that I copied over that we mailed in our paperwork at the end of February. We are DTE as of March 3, which means our dossier traveled to Ethiopia on the that date and was then picked up by Girmachew the following Sunday morning. And now we have joined the ranks of the truly 'pregnant' moms, who are waiting desperately for their referrals from the Ethiopian government.

They tell us it will take about 5 months, possibly as many as seven. That puts us right smack dab into July. That wouldn't be a problem except the courts close in August and September. Which means we might get a referral in July and have to wait until October for a court date, which would mean we wouldn't go and get him until November, which will throw a wrench into my parents plans, since they were supposed to go to Japan in November and they might have to cancel to watch Dagny. Whew...that was a long sentence. And there's no use worrying about the timing. That'll come as its supposed to, right? We'll just cross that bridge when we get there.

We had nine referrals this week on the yahoogroups site for Ethiopia through AWAA. NINE! that means in a month or so (hopefully) more children will come home! I am so happy for those families and I can't wait until it's my turn to go and get my son.

In other news, Granny is doing fine physically, but she is now on the medication for Alzheimers, since she no longer really recognizes us or knows what year it is. It's very hard to visit, but we try for a couple times a week at least.

My cousin Terri Jo had a baby this weekend as well, Sunday (Easter baby!) at 3:46 PM. His name is Isaac and he weighed 6 lbs, 11 ozs. They have not been able to take him home yet because he is having problems with his glucose levels, so keep him in your prayers. He is at the NICU in St. Paul, undergoing tests. He's so beautiful though.

And the wait just might kill me.

So Much for Resolutions

February 25, 2008

You know? I'm just not the journaling type. I accept that now. My blog is never updated, I never managed to write in the journal at home, and my pictures are in piles instead of in albums. I should hire a documentarist to keep track of everything.

Adoption news: We sent in the paperwork on Saturday! Whoo hoo! A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel much better about everything. We've been told the wait for a boy is about 5-7 months. So maybe in August? With my luck, it'll be August. Marc and I are involved in Civil War Days here in Pipestone (in August) and this year I'm making a new dress, doing two different live presentations, and so you know what will happen, don't you?

I'll get the dress done, the presentations all prepared, and then we'll travel during the actual days! Which, if that's what it takes to get things moving, is okay. Ha.

But now its off my dresser. The copy is still there, but all the originals, all the stuff that ook so long, is finally on it\s way. Now we just wait and see.

With luck ,we'll be travelling with some of the other moms who are sending in or have sent in their papers. Alisa, Danielle, know who you are!

Awake at Last

January 2, 2008

Okay, the holidays are over. Whew....that takes it out of you, doesn't it?

Adoption update: We've got all our paperwork done! At leat everything that we are responsible for. We are waiting on MN and CA to get our authentications back to us, all the other ones are here. And now we wait for the I-171, which I know will take awhile. And once that gets here, well...then we send in the dossier and wait for a referral! So we're almost over the hump of paperwork and into the valley of the wait. And a long wait it can be, as evidenced by recent events with other families.

The good news is, at the end of January or so, FIVE families will be travelling to get their beautiful babies. And I say beautiful, I've seen the pictures. Oh, they're amazing. The parents are so proud. And it's taken so long. I can't imagine what that will feel like when it finally arrives. I can't wait to see his picture. Every time I think about it, I cry.

In the meantime, Marc came up with a brilliant idea. We have formed TEAM HALL at our house, which means we are getting into shape to go get our son. We've got a sheet of paper on the wall where we are keeping track of weight an exercise so we can egg each other on. AND...I've finally started taking my vitamins again and trying to remember my steroid inhaler, to keep my asthma under control. My mother thinks I should visit a travel clinic before we go, just to get some advice.

She's right, though. We had a scare at Christmas and I landed in the ER with an asthma attack that my inhaler couldn't stop. I had come into contact with a mouse nest while cleaning my old blocks up for Dagny and that was all the trigger I needed. I haven't been to the ER for asthma since 2002, but that kind of put the fear of God into me, so now I'll try and control it. My doctor will be so happy.

Speaking of doctors, we're going to start getting our shots soon here, so we'll have those all done and won't have to worry. Should be good (see the sarcasm there?). I'm terrified, of course. Who wants to get vaccinated for scary diseases? I have it in my head that I'll get them... *snork* I'm so paranoid.

We had a good Christmas, with too many presents for the Dagster. She now has a kitchen set, food, and pans which she loves, more books, and more clothes. She's growing like a weed and starting to insist she doesn't need a nap. How annoying. She DOES need a nap, she just fights it. *sigh* We're working on that. And the whole potty training thing. I really wanted that done already, but she doesn't show any interest in GOING on the potty, just sitting on it and reading books. She must have learned that from her grandfather.

Another NY resolution? Journal more. At least once a week hopefully, just to keep everyone informed of what's going on with us and to keep my thoughts in order. Hopefully with this paperwork almost done and things returning vaguely to normal I'll be able to get myself on a better schedule and feel better about things. At least, that's my goal.You know how they say toddlers don't like change? I don't either, honestly. I can deal with it, but I prefer to be where things make sense and are the same. Such a homebody I am. Maybe this is the year to break out of that, too?

Homestudy Accomplished!

December 9, 2007

Well, we passed the home study! We knew we would, but its still a relief to have our social worker tell us that we did. So that's done. So now what?

Now, we have to send in all the various papers to the states in which they originated for authentication. Basically, the Sec. of State has to stamp his approval that the notary who signed our papers is who she says she is. Silly, but necessary. And unfortunately, we've got documents originating in SIX states. So now I have to hope that those go through quickly because if they do, then all we wait for is Immigration to tell us we can bring in an orphan. That takes typically three months. So if we're lucky, we can turn in our dossier in March of 2008.

Then the real waiting begins. Then its out of our hands and into God's and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs in Ethiopia, who will decide whether or not we'd be good parents and then send us a referral.

Cross your fingers.

I'll try to be better at updating.

Expecting Parents

December 4, 2007

Bad me! Took me long enough, didn't it? Well, there's so much going on that I get slowed down in some areas and forget about others completely. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

We're slowly making our way through our paperwork and making headway now, so I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, which is good. Haven't felt that way in awhile.

Let's see, where to start...we were in the paper in the middle of November for National Adoption Month. It was a good article with a big picture, right on the front page. Made us feel pretty special.

However, in response to that article, someone from the community wrote us a very nasty letter about how we shouldn't fundraise because other families don't, and that our daughter was poorly behaved at church. It was completely bizarre and very hurtful.

Luckily, our pastor was also upset, as were people at Church council, so we know it's not the feelings of the church at large, just some busybody who felt like being mean. Whoever wrote it mailed it to us with no return address and didn't even sign it, so Pastor told us to just ignore it. Which is hard, but we're trying.

That, of course, did not stop us from fundraising! We had a fundraiser last night at Pizza Ranch which netted $375. Which is great! I bussed tables for two and a half hours, which was really fun, and lots of people came in and showed support, which was fabulous.

So in the next two years or so, there will be FIVE children from Ethiopia in Pipestone, which is a huge number considering the small population. It's very exciting. We'll all be connected on a deep level and I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully we even like each other. Ha.

Okay, so our final homestudy meeting is Saturday, and I'll write more then. Promise.

Home Study Part 2

October 28, 2007

Yesterday, Stacie came to our house to do the interviews. We started with a tour to show her all the rooms and she thought our house was great (which is good, since I cleaned just for her).

Marc went first, so Dagny and I went to the store and played outside so they could talk privately. He said it went well. She needed a break between the two meetings so she could could them as two visits instead of one, so she went to see her grandmother in Luverne, which is about a half-hour away.

When she arrived at her grandmas, Grandma had fallen and cut her head open, so Stacie called and let us know what was going on. She took her grandma to the emergency room and we supposed she wouldn't come back.

Of course, she called right when we were getting ready for dinner and said she was coming back and was on her way! So we fed her, which won't get us extra points but was nice, and then she and I talked about the autobiography that I had written. There were a lot of questions. In fact, I wrote nine pages (Marc wrote about 3), but then again, I'm very verbose.

I can't even begin to go into detail about all those questions, but suffice it to say we talked for about two hours and it went quite well. Now we have one more to do and we'll probably go up to the cities for a weekend to get that one done. Not sure when, but it'll be soon so that process can be over.

This morning at church, I showed off our shirts for the fundraiser and lots of people want one, so hopefully we'll be able to make a little money to support our venture! :D

If YOU want a shirt, you should post a comment and I'll get the information to you. They're very nice. As soon as I figure out how to post a picture here, I will!

Home Studies

October 15, 2007

Well, the first meeting went great. Stacie, our coordinator, seems to be a very lovely woman and she made me feel right at home. Basically, the entire meeting was a get to know you kind of thing, though she did give us some bedtime reading (handouts) and we exchanged the paperwork that was completed. And don't forget the money.

It went much better than I thought it would and she eased my mind about the next home study which will actually be at our house. I asked her if I needed to clean from top to bottom and she informed me she wanted to see it lived in, which makes sense. If it were too clean, it would show just how anal I can be! :D So I should leave the dog hair on the couch, and the scuffs on the kitchen floor, and the dust on the top of my fridge. It's all normal, all everyday, and that's what she wants to see.

If only the entire process could be this easy.

Physical Results

October 10, 2007

So, our physicals were normal. Everything was fine: no HIV, no Tetanus, no Hepatitis, none of that. Even Dagny's TB test was negative. She was such a big girl for getting that, she didn't even fuss too much.

But she did insist on watching my blood test and stood right next to me. "Whatcha doin'?" she asks, in her small voice."I'm taking your mommy's blood," the tech replies."Hey, that's MOMMY'S blood," Dagny says, looking a bit mutinous. I have to reassure her that it's fine and the nice lady needs the blood to run some tests. She doesn't look as if she believes me.

Then, of course, I have to pee in a cup. There's nothing like trying to explain to a toddler (who is trying to learn to use the toilet) why Mommy is peeing into a cup instead of into the bowl. And there's performance anxiety involved here, since she stood right between my knees and stared at the cup very curiously.

But we made it through, with stickers and suckers to assure the kid (I didn't get one...sigh) and everyone went to lunch mostly happy.

Our Home Study occurs this Saturday, though not in our home. We're meeting our coordinator at a Happy Chef in Mankato for lunch and all of those things that come with a first home study. I have no idea what that entails, but you can be sure I'll write about it here.

And I really miss Cassie.

Loss of a Best Friend

October 8, 2007

Today we had to give our youngest dog into rescue. Her name is Cassie and she is a 5 year old Australian Shepherd. I came late into dog ownership and she was my very first dog and I am heartbroken that she had to leave our family. But her jealousy of the baby has not gotten any better and it will only increase when a new child comes into our house. About four months ago, she began licking a spot on her leg until it was raw. Because of that, we put her in an e-collar (those satellite things) and hoped it would heal. It hasn't been healing. Every time I take the collar off to wash it and brush her, she starts licking it again and its raw all over. So she's been in the collar for four months.

We though perhaps a muzzle would help, instead of the e-collar, so we talked to the doctor and found a good one. And then we discovered she was peeing on the carpet and the furniture upstairs. In fact, we'd scold her for doing it right in front of us and she'd go do it somewhere else.

Not to mention the e-collar was being used as a weapon against Dagny. So we decided the best thing for our family and for Cassie would be to find her a new home where she could be an only dog and be loved. And she will be, she's a wonderful little dog. She just doesn't fit with our family anymore.

That doesn't make it easier. She is my little darling, has been for awhile. We got her when she was a puppy and she was my baby until Dagny came along. So I'm feeling pretty miserable. She left with Marc this morning at 3:30 AM to be delivered to the rescue lady. We checked the groups references, their track record, and I know she will be cared for until she finds a good home, but I miss her already. Our older dog, Atlas, cried when she left. I know that sounds weird, but he refused to go back to sleep and has been wandering around the house sniffing her favorite places.

We'll get better, but right now this really hurts.

Let's get Physical!

October 6, 2007

Okay, so this morning Marc and I (and Dagny) have to go get physicals. They're going to test absolutely everything, from thyroid and liver function, to TB and Hepatits. And Dagny has to have a physical, too, though since she just had one recently, it's not a big deal for her. But it should be fun, a family visit to the doctor's office.

Marc is stressed out and worried that someone he won't be healthy enough to go through with this adoption. The only problem he has is being a bit overweight. Who in America isn't a bit overweight? (Supermodels not included). I'm a bit overweight (but going to Weight Watchers), I've got asthma, been diagnosed with PTSD (though its much better now), and have regular sinus infections.

Other than Marc's weight, he's as healthy as a horse. He has white coat syndrome, which means when a doctor gets close, he gets very nervous, so he's been tracking his blood pressure for the past two or three weeks to prove its good, because when our doctor takes it, it always seems high.I think we'll be fine. I will, of course, post our results here so you all can laugh. :)

We're doing pretty well on the paperwork so far, collecting the bits and pieces we need for our home study. With an exhibit going in at work, trying to get things in the house organized, and getting new carpet, I'm left with very little time to do anything else and i've determined that I simply scheduled too much to happen in one month. But I'll survive it. After next week, things will slow down and get much better.

And I should have more time to finish getting ALL the things I need for the study. I don't have to have it all for the first meeting, but the more I have done, the less I have to worry about. Basically, I need to finish our financial statement, write a short autobiography (which won't be very interesting) and prove that I'm employed. Not too bad, right? Marc has a bit more to do for himself, but he'll get it done eventually, if I poke him a bit.

Anyhoo, that's the news from the front as of today. I'll write more later.