Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Crazy December Saturday

Each December, there is always at least one weekend in which there are activities out the wazoo! This year, it was December 12. On that day, we enjoyed the IBM children's Christmas party, the town Christmas parade, and our church's Christmas production.

So, early in the cold morning, we headed to RTP to the party. Our first stop was to see Santa.

Annika was most excited and happy to see Santa.

Jeremy knew that it would make Mama happy and obliged.

Marissa didn't want to sit on Santa as you can tell by her expression.

Benaiah clung to me, and I could tell that he was thinking, "Don't you dare think that you're going to put me down on this weird man!"

After our Santa fun, we played games, made crafts, hung our with the Colglaziers, and ate lots of SUGAR!

We went home to re-group and have lunch, and then headed to downtown Cary for the Christmas parade. (They can call it that because it is hosted by the Jaycees.) We again met up with the Colglaziers who we kind enough to save us a spot. It was COLD. The parade was as wonderful with marching bands, Elvis, CANDY, and of course, Santa again. Marissa said that Santa recognized Miriam from the party earlier.

After thawing, we headed to church for the Christmas production, "A Christmas Tale," which was excellent as usual.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Crazy Adoption

Our friends Kari & Roger adopted a little girl from Ethiopia last year and have now began a website called, "My Crazy Adoption," in hopes of helping many more families to understand and enjoy the many processes of adoption whether they are paperwork, family, or heart issues.

Until December 15, you can enter a contest at My Crazy Adoption to win some GREAT prizes!

They are also raising funds for the next adoption by selling "Simply Love" t-shirts. Please consider helping them bring their newest little one home!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We have SO MUCH for which to be THANKFUL!

Our family sat around the school table, and we wrote down and drew many of the things that make us thankful. It was fun!

We had a wonderful meal with my mom, Barbara. It included corn, green beans, and noodles by Barbara, sweet potatoes by Jeremy, rolls by Annika, mashed potatoes by Susan, smoked turkey, gravy, and stuffing by William, orange-cranberry sauce by Trader Joe's, and a lovely, dairy-free carrot cake made by Marissa.

William and I drifted in and out of consciousness while the kids all watching "Finding Nemo." After we fed the kids again, we all watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" which we all love!

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Second AWAA Transitional Home in Ethiopia!

We are excited to announce that America World will be opening a second transitional home for the children in our Ethiopia Program! In hopes to better serve our children, this transitional home will be fully equipped to house additional children with more resources and space during their transitional time with America World. The home is located just around the corner from the current transitional home and is expected to be open and house children beginning December 1st! Please keep an eye out over the next few weeks as we post news and photos regarding the additional transition home.

~WOW! One year ago, just after we picked up our Benaiah Meteku, the children were moved from the original TH to a larger one, and now they have TWO! I am so grateful that more children are being united with families!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 15th Birthday, Jasmine!!

Yes, she is a dog, but she's 15! That is really old! She is our good friend who has pretty much retired from being our watch dog, although she still sometimes goes out when the kids play to guard them.

On New Year's Eve nearly 15 years ago, William and I were at the flea market looking at puppies -just looking. A little boy who had a playpen full of pink-bellied teddy bears asked me if I wanted to hold one, and I did. It was the sweetest puppy, and all that I needed to push me over the edge. We had already talked extensively about our desires to have a dog in our family. After some research our in an issue of Dog Fancy, and a stop by the ATM, we went back to get our little Keeshond puppy! We were HUGE Disney fans, so ended up being named after the heroine of the most recent film.

Two and a half years ago, we almost lost her to a grapefruit-sized tumor on her spleen. After much anguish, we chose surgery hoping to prolong her life, and I'm so glad that we did.

Jasmine has been here to greet each child as we added them to our family and has done well tolerating them. She has helped comfort us through our losses. She is a great friend.

Happy Birthday, Miss J!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AWAA NC Africa Reunion

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There are many NC families now being blessed through adoption from Africa! We recently got together with families who we have known for years that have their children home and those who are in the earlier stages. Families are working on bringing home children from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda!

We shared a wonderful meal and even more wonderful fellowship!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Awana Grand Prix 2009

Each year, to William's and my chagrin, the AWANA groups have a pine wood car race which involves making a car and getting up early on a Saturday to race them. We've been doing this for most of the past 7 years, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot make a fast car! So, we decided to not put much effort into this year's cars.

Annika thought it was a good idea to wrap her wooden block in pink fairy wrapping paper, cover it in packing tape for durability, smear glitter glue all over it, and add a bow! Guess what? She came home with a trophy for 3rd place in speed AND 1st place in design! She is so excited!! She named her car "Lisa," and says that the speed trophy belongs to Lisa, but the design trophy belongs to Annika. She is so funny!

Marissa's group had their races during club time Sunday night. We were successful in NOT making a fast car. She was 3rd and 4th in all of her heats, but at least it crossed the finish line!

Marissa's design was some critters on a log. She also won a 3rd place trophy for design! Way to go, Marissa!

So glad it is OVER and that we avoided lots of tears!

International Fair

Each year, our home school group has an international fair. We have not participated before this year, but I figured that it was about time since our family is becoming more aware of what is going on in our world, and we all should learn a little more about the country from which our precious Benaiah hails.

I got a small pile of books about Ethiopia from the library from which we gleaned information. Jeremy wrote a report on the country, and Marissa wrote a report about the orphan crisis there. We all worked to put together a display, gathered some of our Ethiopian artifacts, and donned our Ethiopian clothing.

Everyone brought a dish from the country they studied. We took "kik wat" or red lentil stew and some injera. It was such a yummy lunch tasting foods from all over the world! William even came to watch, eat, and help wrangle Benaiah.

I hope that we can do this again next year. We just have to decide what country to study...

Happy Gotcha Day!!

On October 28, we celebrated 1 year after receiving our Benaiah Meteku into our arms for GOOD!

My mom joined us all for dinner at Abyssinia for a yummy Ethiopian dinner. Benaiah sure did turn the heads of the Ethiopian men who gather there.

We love you baby boy, and are so happy that you are part of our family!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy 12th Birthday, Jeremy!

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Jeremy had a great birthday! He began his day with M&M pancakes, bacon, hash browns, coffee, & lemonade!

Marissa & Annika gave him a Webkinz giraffe which he loves because his favorite animal is the giraffe -an appropriate choice, except that they don't swim. He also got a dolphin Kinz Clip, so I guess that makes up for the giraffe not swimming!

His BFF, Bethany, spent most of the day with him. We all ventured out into the mist for some miniature golf, and then the kids played a game of Monopoly on the computer.

Our family in town all joined us for Jeremy's requested dinner: meatloaf, french fries, and cream soda. I found out that frosting does not stick to ice cream, but his cake turned out OK, and was very tasty. I surprised Jeremy with the ducks. (He gets ducks when he wins his heats at the RSA swim meets.)

He got enough money to purchase an iPod Touch which arrived this week. He is a very happy boy!

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

RSA Kick-Off Meet


Jeremy had a GREAT meet this weekend. It was the first regular meet of this new year-round season. He has improved his times by a lot and won 5 out of 8 of the heats for his events!

Jeremy got a duck each time that he won his heat, and he LOVES this part!

Dad and Mom are happy to see that the hours and hours of practice are producing improvement and strength!

(The hat has been a fixture on Jeremy's head since our trip to Branson. He wears it ALL OF THE TIME! -except for when he is swimming.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Funny Feet Night

This past Sunday was Funny Feet Night at Awana.

Here are Annika, Marissa, Jeremy, and William's funny feet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crazy Hair Night!

Here's the crew ready for Crazy Hair Night at Awana. Marissa had the craziest hair in her group. Nobody else thought to put a diaper on her head!

William and Jeremy are both leaders in Kindergarten this year, and Mema is working with Marissa's group in Truth & Training.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meteku Becomes Benaiah

Our friend Kari met our Meteku last summer in the transition home and took LOTS of photos and video! It was such a gift to receive those from her -especially since we had such a long wait before we could bring him home!

This weekend, Kari and Meteku were reunited. He has grown so much! He looked like a sickly little doll in last year's photo! Kari looks great in both!

When the mail carrier brought all of our held mail after our trip, in the pile was our DECREE OF ADOPTION from the state of North Carolina! Our son's name has been officially changed from "Meteku Wiliam Schmidt" to "Benaiah Meteku Schmidt," and our adoption has now been formally recognized in the United States.

Now, we need to pursue his birth certificate, Social Security number, and a Certificate of Citizenship. Most people thought that this was over when we came home with our baby! Ha!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

BIG TRIP 2009 -Part 4: Nashville, TN

09.08.09 Nashville, TN

We got up very early and began the day driving along one of the ridges of the Ozarks on Rt. 160. William just about needed some Bonine to help him deal with the snaky roads. We got freaked out 3 times by big ol' turkey buzzards or something eating road kill. They'd take off right in front of the van as we rounded the curve! Yikes! We also saw two cows all of the way up to their shoulders in a large puddle of water. It was pretty funny!

We arrived in Nashville in time for dinner with Rachel. Rachel was the director of the transitional home in Ethiopia while Benaiah lived there. He was in under her care for 5 of the first 9 months of his life, so they're old friends. He seemed to remember her or at least he liked her. She was impressed by how big he has gotten.

We had a really nice visit with Rachel. It seemed like we just saw her last week rather than almost a year ago! She and her husband, Barrett, are waiting for their referral for 1 or 2 children from Ethiopia!

09.09.09 We drove. It rained hard. We finished listening to "The Time Machine" and began "The Wind in the Willows." We picked up pizza and ate it at HOME!

BIG TRIP 2009 -Part 3 : Branson, MO

09.04.09 Branson, MO AWAA Africa Reunion

We finally arrived in Branson about an hour after the party began where we "met" many friends who we have known for about 2 1/2 years! We have been through a lot with these people, and a lot of times, they were the ones who really knew first-hand what we were going through.


On Saturday, we met the WHOLE crew, 25 families with many children, at a bakery where we had gloriously, wonderful cinnamon rolls! We connected with many friends, and afterward, we went walking along the Branson Landing and had lunch with the Laughners and the Juvinalls. We were able to share a parenting tip with the Juvinalls... You can use Daddy's belt to tie a kid down to a high chair!

Later that night, we met to see the outdoor drama, "Shepherd of the Hills." Everyone really enjoyed it. Benaiah even liked the shooting and running horses!

09.06.09 Silver Dollar City

So, I was a little skeptical about going to Silver Dollar City. I knew that there would be lots of shows, but we closed the park down and didn't see a single one! We spent our time riding. They have 3 good roller coasters, several other thrill rides, and things that Jeremy and the little ones liked too. Marissa is our rider and rode 2 BIG coasters! Pete talked Jeremy into riding the tamest of the coasters, and Jeremy was pretty proud of himself! Check out the photo of Jeremy, Marissa, with me on the log ride. We got really wet. They had craftspeople making things, and we bought the girls' sun bonnets from a milliner there. We had a really fun day.

Oh, the shirts! I tie-dyed the shirts in the color of the Ethiopian flag so that we could keep track of everybody. Well, it worked, but we couldn't believe how many comments we got! People kept pointing at us! We heard over and over what a good idea that was and how bright they were. At the end of the day, somebody said something about how we couldn't lose anybody, so I told them that there were 10 of us when we started!

That night, we gathered with the Laughners, Steigers, Harbaughs, Melissa, and Jill in our hotel's breakfast room for ice cream.

09.07.09 Farewell Picnic

On Labor Day, those of us who didn't have to boogie home got together to say, "Good-bye until next time in Nashville!" All of the kids enjoyed playing together again, and our kids had a little party under the playground with the rare can of soda that we allowed them!

We just couldn't get enough, so after a nap for Benaiah and a little shopping, we met up with the Juvinalls and the Steigers for dinner at Danna's BBQ. The food was really tasty, and the company was wonderful!

We miss you all already!! I wish that we all lived closer!

Thank-you to all of the precious families who made this trip so wonderful! It was great for the parents to see the other parents, for the siblings to see the other siblings who have African brothers or sisters, and for our African sweeties to see each other!

Friday, September 11, 2009

BIG TRIP 2009 -Part 2: St. Louis

09.04.09 St. Louis, MO

We left IN bright and early and began listening to "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls. The story takes place in the Ozarks, so it was pretty appropriate for our trip.

We mapped our way to an Ethiopian restaurant called, "Meskerem." We killed it! (See photo below. You can click on the collage to embiggen.)

After lunch, we made our way to the Gateway Arch where we all piled into a dryer drum and rode up to the top. The kids LOVED it!

At the arch, Annika looked up at me and announce, "This trip is more funner that I thought it was going to be!"

Back into the car for 4 more hours of driving to get to Branson, MO.

BIG TRIP 2009 -Part 1

We left home early on Wednesday, September 2 and drove for 12 1/2 hours! We arrived at Maria and Bruce's house and were greeted with a wonderful meal and two very excited cousins!

Thursday morning, William was the "Mystery Reader" for Marta's 1st-grade class! He chose "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." (Marta has the yellow kerchief on her head.)

We played at 2 different parks and had dinner at a wonderful Mexican restaurant! The cousins enjoyed playing in the basement and just being together!

Thank-you, Bruce, Maria, Greta, & Marta! We love you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something to Make You Laugh

He would make a pretty girl.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Africa Reunion, Here We Come!

This summer, you may have noticed the zebra-striped button to the right of your screen. A bunch of families with whom we have shared adoption journeys are getting together on Labor Day weekend to celebrate what God has done in our lives!

It is really funny that we have shared the intimate moments of paperchasing, waiting, getting our children, and adjusting with our friends that we have never met in person! We are really looking forward to "meeting" our friends!

We're taking the opportunity to visit with William's sister, her husband, and our two nieces on our way and are hoping to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

This is our BIG VACATION of the year, so we're hoping to have lots fun! Please pray for our good health and safety. We're hoping to begin the fun car ride at 6 am on Wednesday morning. Google maps estimates that we will be in the car for 1 day and 11 hours! Again... PRAY FOR US!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jeremy's Trip to New York

My Trip to New York

By Jeremy Paul Schmidt

August 14, 2009

Last year on my birthday, Grandma & Grandpa told me that the next year they would take me on a trip to anywhere I wanted to go in the continental United States. I choose New York City because there are a lot of things there I would like to see.

On the day we arrived, we went on a double-decker hop on/hop off bus tour. The bus drives around stopping at famous sights. We rode on that for a while,and then we got off at the Empire State Building.

The line at the Empire State Building was very long, but we soon got through it. We took the elevator all the way to the 102nd floor. The view was amazing! We could see The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

The next day we went to F.A.O. Schwarz. It has more toys than I've ever seen in my life!(That's a lot of toys!) It was overwhelming!

Later that day, we went to the Statue of Liberty. We had to wait in the sweltering heat for hours and go through security twice. Finally after an exhausting wait, we made it into the air conditioned Statue of Liberty. We took the elevator to the observation deck. The view was spectacular!

After the Statue of Liberty, we went to Katz's Deli. I had the most delicious, mouthwatering, 1-pound, pastrami sandwich. I ate the whole thing! It was really, really, really, really, really, really yummilicious!

The following day, we went to the New York Hall of Science. It had some really cool exhibits. My favorite one drops dry ice into a bowl of liquid and lets off gas which propels it so it spins and zips and bounces around the bowl. We had a lot of fun and spent most of the day there.

Later that day, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant. We had the best Ethiopian food I've ever had in a restaurant. Mmmmmmmm.

That evening, we went to see The Lion King. We had really good seats in row E!! The show was very well-performed, the costumes were elaborate, and I enjoyed it a lot.

On our final day in New York City, we went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum, and I got my picture taken with Superman, Elvis, Neil Armstrong, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Mark Spitz, and Albert Einstein. It was very cool.

Over all I had a wonderful trip and enjoyed the time with my grandparents.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

I was counting up how much of my life I have spent making milk for my little ones. In just a few days, I will have been pumping milk for Benaiah for a whole year! I nursed each of our biological children for 3 + years. That is a total of over 10 years of lactating!!!! I have been making milk for ONE QUARTER OF MY LIFE!!!

Kudos to all of you mamas who are nursing or have nursed!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catching Up

A lot has happened since our last post. During most of that time, our family computer has been down. It is limping along right now on an old hard drive, and I don't know what is going to happen, but I know better than to upload our newest photos!

Summer swim team has finished. Jeremy and Marissa both swam in the Cary City Meet. It is the largest swim meet of any kind in the state! Our pool hosts it, and it is a big, hairy deal! They were both excited to earn ribbons for their relays, Marissa won her heat in breast stroke, and Jeremy placed in breast stoke earning points for the team! It was a fun day! We were there from 7 am until 8:30 pm!

The season was finished off with the swim team "banquet." It was a carry-in. Annika was awarded "Most-Improved Six and Under Girl" right before the thunder and lightening began. We moved the festivities to the church across the street and finished up. It is so sad to say good-bye our coaches and friends.

We began our new year of home schooling on Monday, July 27. Things are going well. We began with what we have as we waited for the rest of it to arrive. The children are really enjoying painting with watercolors! It helps to motivate them to get through the other necessities. Annika is especially excited to be doing school!

We're all taking Friday off to go to the pool!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mozombites in the House!

We were recently blessed to have some special visitors! The Mozombite family was nearby for missionary training and spent a fun afternoon with us! They brought their son Asher home from Ethiopia this spring are going into the field in Bolivia this fall with SAMS (South American Missionary Society).

Since it was the weekend of the 4th of July, we thought it would be fun to make a Jello-O flag cake. YUM! Marissa and Annika decorated it!

Annika and Lily had fun playing dress up together! (I think Annika wanted to keep Lily!)

Jeremy and Isaiah hung out together and enjoyed exploring Jeremy's room and the tree in the front yard.

We really enjoyed our visit with the David, Amy, and their crew!

To other AWAA families: Please, let us know when you'll be nearby! We'd love to meet you too!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Grocery Inquisition

Last night on a normal grocery run, our family was stopped by an older lady who was also shopping who was quite interested in figuring us out.

Her first question was, "Is HE adopted?" Well, duh.

She was also blown away that we would go all the way to Africa to get him.

I'm sure she is a nice lady (but terribly nosey). She just kept firing away with the questions, and her brain was trying to process our answers.

We feel kind of conflicted because on one hand, it is our business... on the other hand, we feel obligated to help educate people about adoption and caring for others... even if they may look different.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


For the first time ever, I got the kids some sparklers to help celebrate our independence. They were so excited! Annika freaked out a little when hers began to sputter and some of the paper landed on her arm and now, she has a blister. William also found himself on fire, and now, his thumb is twice its normal size with a blister. YUCK. Jeremy and Marissa enjoyed them and are intact.