Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Time

Christmas was a lot of fun this year with Solomon. He is understanding a little bit more about what it is all about. 
 Picking out our Christmas Tree
 Solomon played toddler Jesus in our church's Christmas play.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Two Year Old

Solomon turned 2 on November 22. He loves Elmo so we had a Sesame Street themed party and invited some of his friends and family. Can't believe he is two. We also celebrated being home for one year on November 25. 

At two years old he loves Elmo and Spider Man who he affectionately calls Milk Man.   He got a tricycle for his birthday and frequently asks to ride his bike. He loves to dance and tries to sing the alphabet song, happy birthday and Jesus loves me. He puts lots of phrases together such as I want __ or where ___ go. We are starting to hear more and more yes instead of always no. When asking a question he tilts his head to the side. He always lets you know what belongs to who.."that's daddy's bike". If you ask him his name he says Solly. Almost daily he tells us about how a doll fell on his cousin Emma on Halloween by saying doll fall emma ok.  He tells us when he is scared of the gark (dark). He loves to steal my phone and chap stick. Knows how to operate an iphone and find his games on it. Loves bubble baths. He sleeps like a champ 11 hours at night and usually a 2-3 hour nap during the day. He currently has two of his two year molars in. He worries about other's booboos. He prefers to read books on his own instead of having you read it to him. Loves his milk. Sometimes he pretends that he has a baby in his hands and will rock it or kiss it. He also likes to pretend he is a dog. He has some temper tantrums now but they aren't too bad. Still working on his hitting. I can't believe he is has flown by.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


My little puppy with his cousin.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our gotcha day anniversary

Last week we celebrated Solomon's gotcha day. I couldn't write this any better so I copied it from my husband's blog..

One year ago today Laura and I pulled up to our adoption agency’s foster home on the side of a hill in Ethiopia. We had come to receive a baby boy named Selamu into our family. I will never forget it. We stood outside the gate of the home while a worker for our agency went inside to bring him out.

So, we just stood there and waited in the street.
I can still hear the sounds of the children playing and talking on the other side of the wall. I can still hear the sound of the women saying goodbye to Selamu. These were the women who had cared for him since he arrived.
When the gate opened our worker stepped out holding Selamu, walked over and handed us our son.
Solomon had nothing with him but the clothing he was wearing. But that was all he needed.
When we got back into the van to leave the orphanage Solomon started crying. He was scared. He did not know where we were going. He did not know who we were. But in his fear, he did one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed.
He reached his little arms around his forever mommy’s neck, placed his head on her chest, stopped crying and held on.
In that moment he experienced the love and assurance of adoption. He was our son, and we became his mommy and daddy. We are so thankful for what God has done. Solly is truly a gift of God. A blessing.
- Happy Gotcha Day 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Things have been busy around here..hence not posting in awhile. Back in August I quit my part time job of working as a social worker for early intervention and began watching some children in my home. I feel that we are just now getting into a good routine and Solomon is doing well sharing his mommy. (The kids aren't here today and Solomon is napping so I finally had some free time to write in this here blog.)

In August/September, we also went on our annual family beach trip with my side of the family and Matt's side of the family...all staying in one house. For the most part Solomon had a great time, but he easily got worn out by the hot sun.

Solomon also went to the fair for the first time and loved feeding and seeing all of the animals.

We are about to have lots of celebrations soon. It has almost been one year since Solomon has been with us. I can not believe how fast it has gone by. He also will turn 2 next month!!

I will leave you with some recent pictures.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My little dancer

3 of Solomon's favorite things right now.

1. Dancing
2. The alphabet song
3. Watching himself in the video camera

Love him!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Aunt Again

Yesterday, I became an aunt again. Matt's sister had a baby boy - my first nephew. I am so excited that Solomon will have a boy cousin close in age. Solomon gets to meet him on Thursday, but Matt and I got to see him late last night. While we were in Ethiopia, Katie called to let us know she was pregnant...crazy how time flies by. Welcome to the world Brody Baker!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

While in Ethiopia

 I loved my time in Ethiopia and really do miss it and the wonderful people that I met. I thought I would write some helpful tips or recommendations for those people traveling soon. Come prepared with a list of things to do or see as you will have lots of free time before you get placement of your child. Fair warning: I am sure I misspelled a lot of places. 
Immunizations: Matt and I got Yellow Fever, Typhoid and the Twinrix shots. We were already current with our Tetnus. I would highly recommend getting the Malaria medicine as I have heard of two different families who got Malaria while staying in Addis around the time we were there. I was eaten alive by mosquitos when we stayed in our first guesthouse but didn't get a bite once we moved inside of the city. So bring some bug spray/repellant. You can get some in Ethiopia. So glad I had Ambien to help with my sleep before taking placement of Solomon. It is so noisy at night time and I am a very light sleeper.
Flights/Travel Agency: We flew Lufthansa. On the way to Germany our planes were nice and had movie screens on the back of the seats. On the way back the plane was much older looking and we did not have individual TVs to watch movies but it didn't really matter because I had Solomon with me so watching a movie was not really an option :) He did amazingly well on the flights home. Since we missed one of our flights going to Ethiopia we were put on Ethiopian Airlines. The plane was much older and I slept the entire way. We didn't lose any luggage which I consider a miracle since we missed planes going and coming back. I do not have anything pleasant to say about our travel agency besides the fact that they offered cheaper flights than other agencies. Their customer service when I needed them was nonexistent. 
Guesthouse: We stayed at the B and B guesthouse owned by a Gladney driver. We also stayed at the New Flower Guesthouse which is in the city a bit more. Both were nice places. We stayed at the Lewi Resort in Awassa. 
Food/Sickness: I brought a lot of food. Canned vegetables, spaghettios, easy mac, tuna fish kits, protein bars. (If you plan on taking a day trip you should bring protein bars/snacks/meals as there is really no where to eat along the way.) I started off thinking I would not eat meat and would be careful about produce as well while in ET. Well throughout my time there I ended up eating pretty much anything and everything. Even eating the best strawberries ever from a farm along the road on the way to Awassa..just rinsed off with some bottled water. My husband even ate raw meat at the encouragement of our driver Solomon. There was only one time when I needed to take some pepto due to some stomach pains as the food can be greasy. I did have a sore throat/cough towards the end of my stay but think it was mainly due to the fact that I was not getting much sleep and the fumes from the cars are really bad. Bring lots of tissue as it seems to stay in your nose. I tried to take a multivitamin everyday. 
Restaurants: Favorites: Island Breeze. Antigua (good chicken kabob). Top View. Blue Tops (good ice cream). Lucy's. LimeTree (I enjoyed their lime juice). Sheraton restaurant by the pool. Yod Abbysinia for cultural dinner. Khaldi's and Bilo's had really good desserts, coffees, and juices. Serenade was by far the best has late hours and only open on certain days.  They like for you to make a reservation. The prices there are more like American prices but still reasonable for the food. We also went to Hill Bottom which is near the Gladney Foster Care Centers with some other families and their kids and took Solomon. It is out of the "city" and has a playground area. Most places had nice areas to eat outside. The menus are in English.You do have to ask for the bill or else it seems they won't bring it. You can have your food boxed up and have your driver give it to the homeless. The grocery stores have a lot of things to choose from as well. So unless you are extremely picky I wouldn't worry about food. Our driver was able to bring us food as well.
Weather: I was there in October and November and it was HOT!!  In the mornings and evenings I needed a light jacket. I think there were 2 days that it rained while we were there. 
Bathroom: Don't put toilet paper in the commode! Some public places just have a hole in the ground as their toilet. 
Internet: I thought the internet was pretty good considering we were in Ethiopia. Most days I was able to skype and never had a problem with facebook. I couldn't get on blogger. 
Things to do in Addis: I tried to see as much as I could because I have no idea when we will go back and I wanted to document and take in everything that I could so that Solomon could have it. We went up part of Entoto mountain to see the scenery but didn't go up all the way (I wish we had). We visited the government orphanages several times and even went to AHope orphanage. We went to church at the IEC. We went to the Leprosy Hospital. Got massages and pedicures while at Boston Day Spa :) We went to the pool at the Sheraton...the lavishness of this place is incredible. We went to the zoo (Nothing impressive to see, but our driver was very excited to take us there and show off his skills with the monkeys). Shopping. We did all of  Gladney's scheduled tours. You and your children will have lots of appointments as well. Went to other guesthouses for playdates.  I wish we had visited Korah and the Fistula Hospital. 
Shopping: The post office area has souvenir shops. Bring a calculator to help with conversion rates. The Leprosy Hospital. Sabahar Silk factory has scarves and other gifts and is a neat place to see. There is a ministry of maps buildings where you can get a map of pretty much anything in Ethiopia but they are pretty stingy with how many maps they will give you. Makush art gallery. There are basket shops and all kinds of other places along the street where you can stop and shop. By far my favorite shopping experiences were at the IEC bazaar (only available the last Saturday of the month) and the Tropical Garden Bazaar (not sure when it is available) The Gladney staff let us know about it. The Bazaars had hand crafted gifts..much better quality and uniqueness than the souvenir shops. Grocery stores really do have a lot of "American" things so if you forgot something don't stress too much.
Get out of Addis: Please do get out of the city. There are several nice day trips that you can take and some are only an hour away. With Gladney we went to eat at a resort called Kurifto. The countryside is breathtaking and just a nice change from the city life. We went to visit an old church in Addadi Miriam. Saw a monestary/museum at the Gorge. I would also recommend visiting the area where your child is from if at all possible. Awassa was beautiful and it was such an incredible experience to see Solomon's first orphanage and the area where his birth family lives.  

Driver: I loved our driver..he was amazing!! He helped us bargain shop at some of the shops, was our translator, helped us come up with ideas of places to eat and see, comforted me when I was upset, and showed us the wonderful Ethiopian spirit. He became a great friend and I don't know what we would have done without our Solomon. I miss him. 

Although it has been about 8 months since I was in Ethiopia..if anyone has any questions about things I left out feel free to ask.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Trip

Last week we celebrated a year since we got our referral...June 23, 2010. He was 7 months and 1 day old!
 The first picture we saw..all we could see were those big eyes!

Boy is he growing 19 months old. We decided to celebrate by spending a couple of days at the beach. Solomon's first beach trip and our first vacation as a family of 3. He had a great time and loved being in the water holding our hand and just walking in the sand. Cannot believe we have seen this adorable face for over a year...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Father's Day!!!

An early morning picture to remember Matt's first father's day. I made them matching ties. So incredibly blessed to have these two in my life. Matt I am honored to share this journey of parenthood with you...what an amazing father you are!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

November 23-25 (Day 40-42)

November 23

Embassy appointment. We were joined by two other families.  Right when we got there the Gladney staff told me that the embassy had recently requested more paperwork for Solomon's birthfather and that they might ask me some questions about it..this made me a little nervous. We waited a short time and then the Gladney families were called. I was so nervous because this really is the last major thing to do before we could leave and oh how I wanted to get home. Don't get me wrong I really enjoyed my time in Ethiopia but I was ready to be with Matt and to be in my own home. So when they finally called my name a Gladney staff member went up with me, as is typical. He asked me some questions behind his glass screen and I had to sign some forms. They did mention the paperwork and how they were not happy with the fact that it was late getting to them and how they could have delayed/denied Solomon's visa..what???!!!  But he went on and said that he was going to give us his Visa. shew. We were going home!!!!! We then went back to the guesthouse to pack up and relax. There was a Gladney cultural dinner planned but it was canceled as we were the only family who could go and I had already been to a cultural dinner.

November 24
Our last day in Ethiopia...I remember having mixed feelings about leaving.. how sad I was to leave and that I wasn't ready to go..but at the same time I was so ready to get home. This country that I had lived in for 6 weeks was incredible. The day started out with no power which meant no hot water for showers.  We left around 9 to finally get to tour the Gladney foster care center. (We had been discouraged to come back after our initial visits when Solomon was living there as it was too confusing for the kids and staff.) We had a coffee ceremony and saw the different foster homes. Solomon received his traditional outfit from his special mother (apparently he had two of them). He had lived in 2 different guesthouses during his 9 month stay with Gladney. His last home was foster care 2. We went to see his old room and someone had already taken over his crib :) and was wearing one of the shirts that he was always wearing when we got pictures. While at the foster care center I ran into Dr. Mykias and had him recheck Solomon's ears to make sure they were healed and that he wouldn't be in pain on the airplane. So glad that Gladney has him and we were able to take advantage of him.

 In his special Ethiopian Outfit
We got packed up and our flight left at 11pm that night. We had difficulty on our flight home and got stuck in Germany again....egh. We had to buy new flights home as our travel agency was not helpful at all!! It was very stressful being in Germany and trying to figure out how to get home.

 We found a flight to DC and let Matt know through facebook that we would not be arriving in Charlotte and that our plan was to rent a car to drive home. :( After going through customs we found our luggage, it had been placed in the wrong place and took a long time before we collected all of it. As we were heading out to find a place to rent a car, I saw the the most amazing sight. Matt and my dad drove up to DC to meet us and bring us home. I have never been more happy in my life to see these two.
Our first family picture in America in the DC airport on November 25, 2010 ....Thanksgiving Day!!!