Thursday, September 29, 2011


This afternoon I took the boys to our local clinic to get an official height and weight since they were there in April for their first doctor's appointment. We are going to begin the readoption process to get an American birth certificate. Anyway, after the boys were measured, I realized that our VeggieTales scale must be measuring in centimeters because the boys' ACTUAL growth is:

Jeremiah 1-1/2 inches
Simon 1-3/4 inches

Jeremiah has also gained 2 lbs. (now at 36) and Simon has gained 2-1/2 lbs. (now at 37-1/2).

Even though they haven't grown as much as I originally thought, they are definitely still growing...and that's a good thing. :-)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

5 months 1 day homiversary

This past month has been VERY busy. We had a weekend at Granddad and Grandma's house in Inman, Jeremiah started preschool, Garth and I had a date night to go see Jersey Boys while Grandma Kelley came to watch the boys for us, AND we had a VERY important birthday and very big party where the boys got to meet their Uncle John and cousin Ashley from New York for the first time.

The weekend we went to Granddad and Grandma Kelley's, the boys got to drive the tractor, got a 4-wheeler ride, swung on the famous rope swing at the Tompkins' ranch, got to ride to church in Grandma's car, got to pet some kitties, and snuggled with Granddad one morning.

Jeremiah started preschool on September 9. He goes on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9-11. He has really loved it and I have gotten a lot of beautiful pictures and paintings. :-) Our little neighbor boy, Dominic, also goes to the same preschool so that was an added bonus. Jeremiah says his favorite part of preschool are his friends and toys. While Jeremiah is in preschool, Simon and I got to the local library on Tuesdays for the story hour and on Friday we read stories at home.

Also on September 9, Grandma Kelley came for an overnight stay so Garth and I could go have dinner and go see "Jersey Boys" at the Orpheum Theatre in Omaha. We try to go see at least 1 show a year at the Orpheum and I was SO excited when I found out Jersey Boys were coming because I had wanted to see it. I did enjoy it quite a bit....especially the music.

On September 15 was Jeremiah's 5th birthday. We had been talking about it and since he had been to a couple birthday parties for his cousins, he knew what was coming. You can read about that day here, but suffice it to say that he had a GREAT day and fun was had by all. Enjoy some pictures!

Simon's new hat

Jeremiah playing the harmonica through a kazoo

Playing dress up in the dress-up trunk

Jeremiah's beautiful dress


Jeremiah, Daddy, Simon

Simon's bucket hat

Simon on the famous rope swing...he really did like it

Jeremiah's turn

A very friendly kitty

Granddad, Jeremiah, and Simon

Simon is ready to drive it

Jeremiah driving the tractor

Simon driving with Granddad

Simon and Jeremiah riding horsey daddy

Granddad, Jeremiah, and Simon

Granddad, Jeremiah, Grandma, and Simon

Hanging off the cart at Pamida

Something was REALLY funny

Simon and Jeremiah in their new booster seats

Jeremiah on his first day of preschool

Simon on Jeremiah's first day of preschool

Jeremiah with his teacher

Jeremiah, Grandma, and Simon

Reading the library book together

Simon wearing the headband I made at MOMS

Jeremiah in his traditional Ethiopian outfit

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Letter in the mail today

So every day when I get the mail, I look for some "good" mail...maybe some money, a personal letter from someone, and especially no bills. Well today I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 pieces of good mail. The first one was a birthday card for Jeremiah from some dear friends and the other was a letter from our sponsor child, Matiwos. The letter from Matiwos said this:

Dear Carmen,

How are you? I am fine. I will start the school after some days in grade 7. Hope someday I will see you. We are going to celebrate our new year and I wish a happy year for you too.

I love you.

Your Matiwos

Isn't that just so sweet? I LOVE getting letters from him and hearing about what he is doing. I had hoped to go see him while I was in Ethiopia, but it obviously didn't work out, so hopefully I'll be able to meet him some other time. We sponsor Matiwos through Yezelalem Minch. If you would like to sponsor a child through them, please click here to go to their website. You will not only get the blessing of getting letters like the one above a few times a year, but you will help a child (or children) go to school, get enough food to eat, have a place to sleep at night, etc. If you DO decide to sponsor a child, please let me know! I would love to hear of your decision to do this!

Matiwos...isn't he SO HANDSOME???

Monday, September 19, 2011

Soap box (A couple things that DRIVE. ME. CRAZY!)

First let me say that this is not directed at any particular person and I hope I don't offend anyone, but since this is my blog, I figure that I can get on a soap box every once in a while and tell you what I feel.  Since we have brought our boys home there have been 2 phrases that people say that just rubs me the wrong way. The first is introducing our boys as "Garth and Carmen's adopted sons." There have been about 5 times where this has happened and I don't know about you, but that kind of drives me crazy.  Yes, they are adopted...that is pretty obvious since they are from Africa and Garth and I are about as white as you can get. The fact that they are adopted goes without saying. I think the reason it bothers me so much is that I feel it sets them apart from biological children. I mean, have you heard anyone introduce their biological child by saying "and this is my biological child (insert name here)." Have you? No, I didn't think so. They say "this is my son/daughter..." Right now the boys don't SEEM to be affected by being called our "adopted sons" but if they hear it enough they may begin to feel inferior, like they aren't a real part of the family. They are as real a part of this family as they would be had they been born of my body.

The 2nd statement that I have heard a LOT more is how "lucky" the boys are to have us. First, I can't stand the word "luck." I don't believe in it. Luck to me implies that it was total happenstance that the boys came to be with us and I know for a FACT that God brought us together. It was HIS plan. Luck had nothing to do with it. That said, I know that the people who say this are trying to be complimentary but the reality is that I feel that Garth and I are the ones who are truly blessed. In order for the boys to be brought into our family, they had to suffer great loss. They lost the only family they knew, were sent to an orphanage where they didn't know anyone except each other, then sent to another transition home where again they only knew each other, where the people spoke a language that they didn't know, and they had to learn 2 languages at once (Amharic to be able to communicate with the caretakers in Addis Ababa and Jeremiah was also learning English to try to be able to communicate some with his future parents). After living at that home for several months, they were visited by complete strangers who they had only seen in pictures before. They spent about 10 days with Garth and 3 weeks with me before I moved them to Yebsabi Guest House with more change. After about a month at Yebsabi with me, we then made the transition to Nebraska. I think you will agree that having all those changes at such a young age would not be considered "lucky." As exciting as adoption is, for adoption to happen there is some tragedy involved. In addition, if kids hear how "lucky" they are enough, they begin to feel like a charity case, like we are only doing it to feel better about ourselves. Our boys are cherished members of our family...they are NOT charity.

I posted a blog last year that talks about the do's and don'ts of cross-cultural adoption. I encourage you to reread it here. Even if you haven't said the two phrases above, there are several more do's and don'ts that you should be aware of.

I am now stepping off my soap box. Thank you for your attention.

Reaser Family Pampered Chef fundraiser!

My friends Dennis and Katie Reaser from Kansas received their referral for a beautiful baby girl on August 26, 2011 after over a year of waiting. Shortly after their referral, the courts in Ethiopia closed for the rainy season but they will be opening sometime in October so they are hoping for an October court date so they can finally go meet their baby girl! They are having this Pampered Chef fundraiser to help with the cost of plane tickets. They will go to Ethiopia twice...once for court and then again for their Embassy appointment when they will bring their baby girl home FOREVER! This fundraiser will run through October 9 so don't delay! If you haven't gotten the microwave chip maker or the simple slicer yet, now is your chance! Click on the Pampered Chef link on the right and enter "Katie" as the hostess. Then shop to your heart's content! Here is a picture of the current Reaser family. I look forward to showing you an updated one with their new baby girl in the next couple months or so!  You can also check out their family blog here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy 5th birthday Jeremiah!

On September 15, 2011 at 6:45 a.m., Jeremiah came into my bedroom and said "Mommy! It's my BIRTHDAY!" Since I had only gone to bed about 3 hours earlier, I had been hoping his birthday would start a little bit later, but I loved that he was so excited. He had been to a couple birthday parties for his cousins Jack and Joshua, so he knew what they were about. He had been asking for cake for almost a month so his next question was "Mommy, cake today?" In addition to that cake, we also went to the zoo, had homemade pepperoni pizza, and opened presents from us.  It was really so fun to see how excited he was about every present he opened. It didn't matter what it was just something new to him and it was FOR him! I'm not sure who enjoyed it or him.

Today, we had the extended family birthday party. We had 24 people in our house and it was chaos, but so much fun. The people who attended were: Grandpa and Grandma Druckenmiller, Uncle John and cousin Ashley Druckenmiller, Granddad and Grandma Kelley, Uncle Bruce, Aunt Carol, James and Rebecca Kelley, Uncle Brian, Jack, and Joshua Kelley, Natalie, David, and Paul Tompkins, Rick and Ellie Klassen, and Marc and Christine Tompkins. Once again Jeremiah had a bunch of presents, more cake, and lots and lots of fun with cousins. This was the first time that the boys had met Uncle John and Ashley. They started playing together like they had been around each other since birth. All the kids had so much fun together and for a minute when the 6 kids were running around I had a vision of 6 of OUR kids running that circle (shhh, don't tell Garth I said that!). Anyway, enjoy some pictures from both parties.

Jeremiah going down the slide at the zoo
Simon going down the slide

Jeremiah and Simon on the gorillas

Jeremiah helping me chop mushrooms for pizza

Simon wanted to help too

Jeremiah eating his requested birthday meal

His homemade (out of a box) birthday cake

Blowing out the candles

Jeremiah picked all the pieces for us. We got the 3 on the 2nd row and he got the single piece

Covering his eyes while I brought the gifts in

The sneaky, snacky squirrel game

Tractor bag with crayons and more stuff inside

Their new-to-them spider man pajamas

Googly eyes

New pants

A Nebraska football!


A Mater bubble mower

More toys

Simon got some presents too

The cake

David (whose birthday was today) and Jeremiah

Paul, David, and Natalie Tompkins

The boys wanted in this picture

Simon kissing Ashley

Today I Kissed an Angel

Today I kissed an angel. I knew it from the start. The first time my angel smiled at me; I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel; This angel child of mine. Though not of my creation, My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel. My heart is dancing wild; Our family, by a miracle; Blessed by our angel child.

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman