Tuesday, July 29, 2008

News from Court...

Thank-you for your prayers!!!

We just heard from our program director who told us that the paperwork arrived at court (YEAH!), but they ran out of time today.

So, our case has been pushed back to AUGUST 6.

You have probably noticed that this is very close to the date on which the court closes, August 7 (as far as we know). Please, pray that our case gets through on AUGUST 6.

We are still looking at traveling to bring Benaiah home about 3 weeks after we pass court.

Thank-you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and friendship!! PLEASE, KEEP PRAYING!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Surprise Court! Please, PRAY!

Last week, we were told that our court date would be October 8 -after the court reopens. I have put off posting about it because our program director was to appeal on Wednesday, and again on Thursday, and again on Friday. We hoped that she would call or write us early this week to give us the official word.

Well, she did call today to tell us that if our papers are there at court tomorrow, we should pass!! Benaiah will be ours! WHOA! William said that she sounded very optimistic that things will work out!


Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us in EST, so we should hear something fairly early tomorrow. Check back here for an update. If we make it through, there will be PHOTOS!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Swimming is OVER!

I just don't know what we're going to do with ourselves now that swimming is over! (Ha ha!)

Thursday evening was our swim team "banquet" (pizza and cake). The kids all got medals.

(Jeremy is such a goober!)

We had made a bargain with Annika that if she swam in the last swim meet, we would get her a Webkinz rhino. She decided that she would name it "Rory" after Coach Rory (in the photo). Since the meet was canceled and she did swim the distance for warm-ups, we let her have Rory the rhino. Coach Rory got very invested in Annika this summer, and I think he's pretty pleased with her progress!

According to Annika, Rory the rhino is not a swimming coach. He works at an "ear pierces place" and pierces ears with his horn!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Last Meet that Wasn't

Tuesday, we arrived at the pool at 4:20 pm donned in capes and decorated with Sharpie markers. It was SUPERHERO night!

As warm-ups began, Annika joined the 6 and unders for the first time at a meet. Coach Jeannine had to tell her "Ready GO!" about 7 times before she would jump in. After a short break on the lane line, Annika swam past the yellow rope at 15 yards. She then received a little verbal instruction about how she only gets one chance to go when the starter tells her to go.

Minutes later, the thunder began, and eventually, the decision was made to postpone the meet until Wednesday night.

Wednesday's forecast was worse than Tuesday's. The thunder began after 4 pm. I decided that we wouldn't leave the house until it slowed down. At 5 pm, I called the pool to find out that the meet was called off.

(Abs by Sam.)

Since before Annika's birth, William has worked from home full-time. This week, he is in a class -all day, every day- like "normal" daddies do. Today, Annika asked "Will we get to see Daddy at night again?" She is so not used to William leaving us! (Me either!)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cookie Baking

Last year for Christmas, the children got some really neat cookie cutters shaped like vehicles (Car, rocket, bulldozer, etc.). A couple of nights ago, Annika asked why we never make cookies, so I got out the cookie cutters and the kids recipe book and turned them loose on the kitchen. The only thing I did was operate the oven. Here are a few pictures and a short video.

The children decided to share the cookies with their swimming coaches and each one got to pick a special cookie for one of the coaches and deliver them. Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of the finished, decorated cookies; but there was not a spot of cookie that was not covered in at least 1/2 inch of icing and sugar topping. The last picture shows the table under the cooling rack when they were finished to give you an idea.

** Note: When Jeremy says in the video "They look disgusting", and I reply "They look absolutely gross", this is a family joke as in "These cookies are not any good at all, you wouldn't like them. I'll just eat them all for you."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Half Birthday, Benaiah!

Today, Benaiah is 6 months-old! "Happy Birthday" to the little guy that we love and have never met!

It has been 6 1/2 weeks since we received our referral. We have not heard anything other than we will NOT be told when our court date is. At this point, we have to believe that something is in the works. The Ethiopian courts will be open for 3 more weeks before it closes for a 2 month break, and our African Program Coordinator is there in Ethiopia doing whatever she can to get as many of as through as possible.

Five families received referrals yesterday, and they were told that they have a small chance of getting through court before it closes. This is an encouraging thing for us to hear! We may be in one HUGE travel group!

Please, keep praying for our case to get through court SOON!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Last Away Meet!

Tonight was our last away meet!! There was a pirate theme, and the coaches looked great! I'm so sorry that I didn't take our camera!!

The night began with a moment of silence. One of the pool's (the other pool) members disappeared on Saturday and was found murdered today (Tuesday). Please, say a prayer for Nancy Cooper's family. She left behind 2 little girls. (The story is HERE.)

Our team got beat really badly again, but we *always* get beat by this team. The big surprise was that they didn't beat us as badly as they have beat other teams this year and we've lost by more this year! Ha ha. We showed them!

Jeremy swam 2 main events, and won his heats in the other 2 events. His freestyle relay team won. They work so well together!

Marissa had fun, played cards, and made a new friend who has called here for her already! Marissa said that she was saying "Good luck" to one of her teammates, and this little girl thought she was talking to her. She stuck pretty close to Marissa for part of the night. Marissa seems to collect friends everywhere she goes!

Next week, we are hoping that Annika will swim her first meet. We have proposed a nice bribe for her, so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

2008 Greater Raleigh Summer League Championship

First, let me say that we went to church on Saturday night! So, we did not skip church to swim. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that if you did... Ha ha!

We left the house at 7 am this morning and arrived at the HUGAMOUS indoor, Olympic-sized aquatic center 5 minutes later where one of the local year-round swim teams was hosting an area-wide swim meet. Only a few from our team went, but we had 2 of them.

The photos of Jeremy & Marissa swimming are awful. They ended up swimming breaststroke at the same time in pools next to each other which was very interesting to watch! They finished at about the same time. Check out the scoreboard with both of their names! Jeremy got a heat winner ribbon, but the board says that he came in second.

Annika was a trooper. She went back and forth between William's and my laps trying to get comfortable. We came home at little after 11 am, ate some homemade Ethiopian food and took a LONG nap!

Raymer MeET and GreET!

We were able to do our first MeEt and GreET at the RDU airport for the Raymers as they returned home with their two new children! It was an amazing experience, and we were privileged to watch a family grow!

Their flight was 1 1/2 hours late, but I determined that I could figure out who was waiting for them, and sure enough, I nailed the group on my first try! The American themed t-shirts and cameras helped, and I had seen photos of the whole clan -kids and grandparents on their family's blog.

The grandmas were especially funny as it got to be time for the plane to land. They were literally on the edges of their seats! I heard, "Here they come!" and then there was tons of hugging and picking up of new children. It was so wonderful! John & Dottie looked EXHAUSTED, but had big smiles and some tears.

Welcome HOME!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beautiful Bread and Banana-Brand Office Supplies

This is one of the beautiful loafs of bread made in our new Zojirushi bread maker. I'm so excited to see loaf shaped loafs after so many years of tube-shaped loafs. So far, only one of the 10 or so loafs I have made was not 100% beautiful like this. I think we may be exceeding our daily allowance of carbohydrates, but we sure are loving it.

While I'm blogging, I want to take the opportunity to talk about Banana brand office supplies. First, let me say that one of the great blessing in my life is working from home. Not only do I save gas and wear and tear on my car; but most importantly I get to spend lots of time with my family which I really enjoy. I'm home every day for lunch and get 2 hours back in my day by not commuting.

So, one day while I was working Jeremy brought me my 'lil Kinz polar bear (Owen) and set him up with his own computer made of paper. The next day, when I was on a phone call (wearing my headset), Jeremy made a headset for Owen. Then he and Marissa proceeded to duplicate every major component of my office -- printer, phone, calendar, etc. The really creative part is that these are Banana brand (not to be confused with Apple brand). They are produced in a factory owned by Jeremy's Cheeky Monkey WebKinz "Steve". Instead of iPhone, iPod, etc. They are uPod, uPhone, uDrink (water bottle), uPrint, uCal(endar). In the final picture, you may be able to see the uFrame (picture frame) with a picture of Owen's girlfriend (Susan's lil Kinz dog) "Olive".

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Bad Day

Our friends with whom we began our adoption journey, the Tennants', referral has fallen through. They are sad, but are handling it with a great attitude. This boy was not to be their child, but he is covered it their prayer.

The family from our church, the Vaz family, is also adopting from Ethiopia. They received their referral 2 days before we did, and we were looking forward to our little boys growing up together and sharing their heritage. Their referred child became ill and was hospitalized a few days ago. He did not make it. We are so sad for their loss.

Please, pray for these two families as they grieve and heal.

A Bust!

We went back to the pool tonight, and it was beautiful! The meet began at 6 pm starting with Jeremy swimming breaststroke. All of the older kids swam breast stroke, and then the younger ones began swimming butterfly. As Marissa was swimming, the thunder and lightning began, and the meet was called. That is that. This was at 6:30 pm!

At least the cancellation was followed by a nice, violent storm that went on for a while. We were glad to be home!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hawaii at the Pool!!

I believe because the coaches knew that we would be slaughtered at the meet this week, they decided to have Hawaiian night! It was lots of fun. Those are the coaches in the photo! Aren't they cute!?

We watched a large, ominously black cloud roll in just as breaststroke began. We began to gather our belongings, and Mom eagerly volunteered to go home with Annika just as the first bolt of lightning split the sky. The remaining of us made it to the car before the rain began, and sat there for 1/2 hour until we were told that we would be resuming our meet the next day at 6 pm beginning with 9-10 boys breaststroke. Great. The storm subsided as we went our separate ways, of course!

So, back we go tonight! (weather permitting!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Recent Travel Group

America World's latest travel group is now in Ethiopia! They will be meeting their children tomorrow -which is today there!

The Raymers will be giving Benaiah his photo book and loving on him for us. We also know that the Gibson and Ord families are there also along with a "mystery" family. Please, pray for safety and good health for these families all this coming week. Hopefully, we'll have some new photos of Benaiah soon!

It has now been one month since our referral. We still have no word on our court date. I am hoping that our case will piggyback on some other cases that are scheduled for July 15. We shall see. I'm beginning to get antsy.
Please, pray!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fellowship of the Ring

by Jeremy

Happy July4Th! Last night (because I read the EXTREMELY long book the Fellowship of the ring.[trying not to brag] ) We(me,mom,and dad) Watched the EXTREMELY long movie ... over 3 hours!

Things I liked about it:

1. It was 3 hours long(get to stay up REALLY LATE! [past 1 a.m.!] )

Do you not think the photo above looks cool? (special effects were great)
3. It was SCARY.
4. It wasn't 20 hours long LOL! (-: (-:
5. It was NOTHING like the book.

Things I didn't like

1. It was nothing like the book(-:
2. Some of the scenes were stretched out too long.
3. Too many things were left out .
4. Lothlorian and Galadriel were all wrong.
5. Too much was revealed of Merry and Pippin's whereabouts at the end of the movie.

P.S. I was sick that day)-: so I got to drink cream soda, kool-Ade ,and tea(-: .

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Texas Pete!

by Jeremy

I have recently discovered the magical wonders of Texas Pete Hot Sauce which goes with everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 ___no___11things that go with Texas Pete Hot Sauce

  1. Pickles -mmmmmm...
  2. Salsa-super spicy!
  3. Texas Pete Chilly sauce-Interesting
  4. Pancakes-Really good-Don't you agree?
  5. Potato chips-yummy-yum-yum-yum
  6. Scrambled eggs-really eggy!
  7. mustard-really good
  8. ice cream-cold and hot
  9. hot dog-REALLY HOT DOG
  10. sandwiches-Spicy bread...spicy cheese!
  11. Everything in between-Right?

I have tested each of these...they are all gooooooood . Until next time HAPPY HOT SAUCE

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We're Half-way Through Swim Season!

Yesterday was cool -a high of only 85 degrees. We trekked over to a teeny-tiny retro pool in Raleigh. They haven't changed much since 1978! We got there early with our foot-long Subway sandwiches and situated ourselves behind the coaches who provide us with a lot of entertainment.

Marissa won her first-ever heat! (It was the 4th heat, and she swam against 2 of her own teammates, but who cares!?) We were all very excited for her, and her swimming is improving each week!

When William checked the heat sheets (the spreadsheets that tell the swimmers which heats and lanes in which they will swim for each event), we were surprised to see that Jeremy wasn't swimming the freestyle relay with the other 9-10 year-old boys. One of the other boys pointed out that Jeremy was to swim the freestyle relay with the 11-12 year-old boys. YIKES! Jeremy kinda freaked out at that news! They swim 50 yards instead of 25 yards, and he doesn't have a legal flip-turn perfected yet.

When we looked over behind the lanes to see if Jeremy was with his relay team, we couldn't help but notice that Jeremy was a good foot shorter than the 11-12 year-old boys! (My first though was "He's so much smaller!" My second thought was, "Is he going to grow *that* much this coming year!?") Jeremy's relay team started in the lead, and he did his part to hang onto it and pulled ahead some more! They won, and William and I breathed a sigh of relief! We were a little nervous for him too!

Our team's coach has been trying to recruit Jeremy for the year-round swim team where she also coaches, and the head coach from that year-round swim team was there and spoke to Jeremy about swimming for them. We're trying to figure out if Jeremy is ready to get that serious -swimming 4 times a week all year and how to fit it into the budget. He loves swimming, so we are seriously considering this.

Back to the weather... Marissa begged me to not make her swim the free-relay. It was so COLD by the time the sun went down! We did think to bring changes of warm clothes at least. They could have used more than 4 towels a piece though.

William got his birthday breadmaker today and is so happy!! We have been wanting this for a few years. I'm surprised that it isn't loaded up with dough yet!