Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday I was thankful for Christmas cards! I LOVE getting Christmas cards...I cannot wait for the mail to come each day to see which cards have arrived. I also love sending cards. I always send a picture card. I send picture cards because many of the people I send cards too only see my kids a couple times a year (if that). Well and because I love getting the pics of our friends kids too!
I had waited on the Christmas cards until our court date so I would know if the boys were legally ours or not. Since we did not pass court I decided not to include their pics on the cards. Monday I dressed the kiddos up and began our photo shoot! Needless to say we had many outakes! I will show the pics that made the final cut after I send out my cards. Oh can I also be thankful for the child who enjoys working with the camera!

Yes, I climbed on a ladder to get this after they piled themselves up on their own.

This was an older pic that I never posted. This is Carson with Patrick Henry Hughes which is our local celebrity in Louisville. Patrick is a musical miracle. He was born with no eyes and by 9 months was repeating notes on a piano. He has since made history by being in the marching band at University of Louisville. He has appeared on ESPN and last year was the recipient of the Extreme Home Makeover. We attended this prayer breakfast and heard his father speak and he played the piano and sang. Can we say tears.......
We bought his book I Am Potential and his CD (the kids love it).
I was so thankful for Carson. He was amazed by Patrick and sat for a few hours with all adults listening to many lengthy prayers.

Sunday we attended a cookie decorating/ornament exchange at my neighbors. Carson got a cute glass blown Santa.

Madelyn had to make some jumps on the trampoline while we were there......

Okay so these pics uploaded all out of wack! Here are the finished candy cane cookies from our unit last week!

Tonight we ran out to Marks Feed Store. They had Santa and of course on Tuesday kids eat free! Only Annie would sit on Santa's lap! She was in his lap for about 5 minutes. She grinned at him and just stared in awe! (and while Santa leaves a gift on Christmas morning, we don't talk about him all the time so it amazes me that she "knows" all about him). While we were eating she leaned in and whispered in my ear "I love Santa". She chose the dress to wear saying "Santa will like this dress, because he likes this white stuff "!

Here is a shot of the 22 children at the ornament exchange!

Here is Madelyn (always topless..I have to work on that) with the before shot of the candy canes!

This family is in Ethiopia right now. They are picking up their son "Yirdaw" who they will name Eli. They are also planning on traveling to our boys orphanage and take some pics and drop off our goodie bag. I want to share one of the last messages they sent.

This morning we were picked up and taken to the orphanage! Once we arrived they took us up to a small room and we all sat around and talked. A lady walked in and said "who is Yirdaw's parents"....that would be US!!! So we followed her down the hallway right into the baby room and there was our boy sitting up in his bed waiting for us...as happy as could be! The best thing was they had dressed him in an outfit that Thom and I had set over here when David and Paula came to get Ellie...he was even playing with the toys we sent.

I talked to him over the side of the crib and he was laughing and smiling...I asked the nanny if I could pick him....they said "of course, he is yours". Instantlly we fell in love (although we were already in love with his picture)....we were able to watch the two other families meet their children for the first time cause we were already in the nursery! I was also able to feed Yirdaw his bottle for lunch - he fell asleep in my arms while I was feeding him so we cuddled for about 45 minutes before he woke up when we were in the court yard playing with the older children. We were also able to hear a little more about how Yirdaw came to the orphanage...so when he is old enough - we will be able to share some of his story with him.

We also saw some of the other kids that are being adopted by other familes...they all wanted their pictures taken on our digital cameras. JANA COOK....I LOVE YOUR BOYS!!!!! I loved on Jana and Kenny's "kids" for a long time while Thom held Yirdaw...I promise you pictures before Christmas!!! The boys carried around the bags that you sent and all the kids were following them around looking at what they had. I pulled out the pictures and I showed the boys pictures of you and Kenny!!!! I had a gathering of kids while we looked at the pics - the kids at this orphanage are amazing.

While we were there were over eleven kids dropped at the orphange...it was amazing (and that was before 1pm). One of the nannies took me to the room where the kids are dropped off - I asked if I could take a picture just to capture how many children were brought daily...they allowed me to take as many pictures as I wanted. In fact, the mothers were asking if I could take their picture with their children. It was such an neat moment for me to see those mothers and to love on their kids for a few moments. It was not all mothers that were there - some were other family members or friends that were dropping kids off. I learned of some sweet stories of why these kids were being brought - one mother tried to give her baby to Thom.

We came back to the guest house around 2:00 and the men went to the grocery store to get formula and cereal for our kids. Yirdaw fell asleep in my arms and I laid him on the bed beside me for his 2 hour nap. He loves to cuddle. He is a little bit smaller than I was expecting....his 12 month clothes that we have him in now are a bit big and we rolled up his pants - but he is healthy and he loves to eat!!!

Thom and Yirdaw are "running" through the hallway...oh yeah, HE WALKS!!!! He is still waddles a little bit - but he can make it a few steps without falling down!! We will eventually change his name to ELI - but he responds well to Yirdaw....so we're working on changing that...but no rush!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

today is better....

Oddly enough a days time begins to heal your heart!
I have prayed for the Lord to take this hurt off of me and help me wait patiently without fussing (isn't that what we preach to our kids?!)

So I figured I might as well jump back on the horse and at least journal a bit so that when I do my daily album I know what I did..!

Today we had a birthday party at a local pottery place. I love those birthdays, the kids loved it too. They all painted tiles and a Christmas ornament. Then we met most of the families at Bearnos for lunch with Santa. We just sent the kiddos off with grandparents to watch a church play. We are headed to our Sunday school party and Pauls work Christmas party. Then guess what we have tomorrow...another party!
Maybe I will actually take pictures tomorrow!

PS Thank you for all of the kind comments. I really appreciate your support and prayers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

...we are very sad today

We did NOT pass court.
The judge wanted the orphanage license and "they did not produce it quickly enough".

No words can describe the sadness. No words can make me understand why. No words can make me not miss my boys more and more every second. No words can make this "alright".

The worse part is knowing it could happen again. My little one will most likely turn 2 before I hold him. He most surely will walk before I see. I am bummed my friends...bummed.

We have been reassigned for January 21st.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

and we complain......

“Furah carries wood and her eighteen-month-old daughter Shukyru, on the road linking Rupango to Sake, eastern Congo, Wednesday Nov. 19, 2008. Furah walks the 16 kms every day, crossing from the CNDP rebel controlled area to the government held town of Sake to sell wood.” (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
(this was taken from Jody...)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A big thank you to Kristin, I love chocolate covered pretzels but I have never made them. This quick and easy recipe is perfect! The only problem was no one liked them but me...so guess who ate them all?!! Another fun part of our week was preparing our goodie bags for our boys! Daddy and I shopped for all things small, fun and light..oh and that will fit in a Ziploc bag!
This dear family is going to pick up their sweet baby boy in only a few days and they have agreed to take these goodies to our boys and hopefully meet our boys and get pictures for us! So far we only have 3 pictures of each boy and of the three only 1 is clear ...so pics of my boys are the best Christmas present I could ask for!..Thank you Lesley and Thom!

Yes I actually it all of this into one bag! This is for our 3 1/2 year old.

This is for baby boy and everything fit except the blankie :(

Schimpff's Candy

Today our lesson of the candy cane came to life! We visited our local town treasure, Schimpff's candy store. The store has been in business since 1891! We were able to watch as they made cinnamon drops, which was very neat because it was very much like the candy cane process we had tried yesterday!
If you are ever in the Kentuckiana area I recommend visiting this neat spot!

This week we are doing our unit study on The Legend of the Candy Cane. It has been a fun filled week so far. With FIAR type studies you read the book each morning and then you pull out social studies, math, art etc from the story.
We began our study discussing how a candy cane resembles a shepherds hook. We talked about the similarities in ourselves and sheep and why we need a shepherd. The older children are copying Psalm 23 (Carson is cursive and Maddie in lower case print). Ther letter J is the letter of the week, a candy cane upside down is a J for Jesus.

We got our unit study from www.homeschoolshare.com where everything is always FREE! Here is the candy cane unit. The candy cane recipe and play-dough recipe on here as well.

After all of the "boring" work we got busy with fun activities! We made candy canes! Who knew most of the ingredients for candy canes are in your cabinet?! It was so much fun! This is what the mixtures look like before you twist them. It is very tricky because it is very hot but you cannot let it set or it will harden. Each kiddo and mommy finally got two pieces to twist together.
Here are the finished results! Cool huh!!! Oh and let me tell you the house smelled wonderful for hours! It was good for the sinuses too!

These crafts were something that I did in school as a young child and it was always my favorite craft. My kids obviously got a bit bored and did not fill in all of the spots. You take little tissue paper squares, wrap them around your pencil and dip in glue.

So we also had to make peppermint play-dough! We also added in glitter which the children loved!

Be sure to let the kids watch this video of candy canes being made at the Sprangler candy factory.

Here is another site with some free Christmas symbol unit studies.
Our project for Thursday is to make these cookies.
(Disclaimer-Please pay no attenion to the clothing/pajamas or lack there of my children wear to school!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Court Date Explanation

Since Shelley asked I figured others may want to know too.
Our court date in Ethiopia will make the boys legally ours. The process is rather sensitive in the way that giving each individual judge exactly what he wants is like hitting a moving target with your eyes closed (so I have been told). There are 7 judges hearing cases. Each judge wants something a bit different. Sometimes it is a piece of paper, or an interview with the social worker that accepted the kid at the orphange or as simple as the judge does not come in to work that day.
So on December 12th (middle of the night for us folk) our prayers will be finished and it will be in Gods hands.
If we pass court we will then travel about 5 weeks later. During this time the US embassy requires another HIV test and makes new birth certificates.

If we do not pass court (I will have a meltdown and probably host a small pity party as well) we will be scheduled a new court date 6-8 weeks out and we will try it all over again! Meaning we will probably not pick up the boys until March :( Here is another fun tidbit...we most likely will not find out until Monday if we passed due to the time difference and computer problems etc. So it will be a ridiculous weekend!!

So I trying to keep positive because I KNOW the boys need to get home! And for my little Annie..every single day she asks if we are getting her "brodders". I hate to think about explaining that mess to her! So once again if you can pray Thursday night before bed that would be awesome!

Monday, December 8, 2008

So since I am SOO behind I will have to catch up generic style!

Thursday - We worked more on our FIAR story/lit. unit for the week.

Friday - We took advantage of our church Kids Night in program. The kids enjoy pizza and ice cream. They play games and make crafts. Annie had to hang with mom and dad (which she was unhappy about!) We went to O'Charleys for dinner and then did some Christmas shopping. Her big treat for the night was a cinnamon/sugar pretzel! We shopped for the goodie bags for "Jon & Issac" that will be taken to them next week when 2 other families travel to pick up their children.

Saturday - The girls and I volunteered at a party at the Salvation Army for mothers and children living at the apartments. Every year I want to do more in the community and in service of others. However, every year I am consumed with all of the shopping and other commitments that December seems to bring. This year we committed to cutting back on everything we buy for others and we also asked for our family not to buy for Paul and I and to cut back on the toys bought for the children. The mothers and their children were so sweet and so appreciative of the small tokens brought to them, it was so refreshing!
Saturday evening was equally as awesome! We attended our adoption agency Christmas party. We were able to talk with like-minded families. It is so inspiring to hear all the adoption stories. To meet the families adopting my childrens friends! To here the amazing story behind families who planned to adopt one child and are now picking up a sibling group of 3 or 4!! I believe there were about 10 couples present and by this summer we will have brought home 20 or so children...children together in Ethiopia will then be together in Louisville!
Oh and did I mention that if we pass court on Friday we are the next family to travel!!!

Sunday - Carson sang in the church choir all three services. My mom and I shopped all day and got much accomplished!

Monday - We began our weekly unit on The Legend of the Candy Cane. More info on that later!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

22 Days until Christmas

-Found the kids Christmas outfits!
-Had a completely glorious school day!
-Completed a 2 page layout and some other random scrapbooking finsish ups!

No pics...see ya tomorrow!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

23 Days 'Til Christmas

So my fellow friend and blogger Teaque has committed to blogging each day in December to do a combo of thankfulness and December daily type posts. So here is my version!
I am thankful for the one space in my home that I feel is "finished"...this means ''regularly'' decorated as well as Christmas decorated!
All my other rooms feel like they are always in ...waiting on curtains or carpet or pictures ....
So here is my foyer!
I love looking through the front door and seeing the sparkling lights of the season! It feels so warm and cozy and inviting!

I am thankful for my mom coming over yesterday and spending the entire day cleaning, organizing and getting ready for the boys and for Christmas! Mom re-organized my Tupperware cabinets and a few others. I told her I had always wanted a snack bin that the kids were able to grab an approved snack from without asking or digging through the cabinet!
So I am thankful for this simple, no-frills snack bin!!
I am thankful for my early Christmas gift!! A few weeks ago my wonderful, sweet, lovable, best ever hubby pulled into the drive with this!! We had a Sequoia so while we could seat the new boys in it, it would have been a hassle to flip the seats up each time. People don't forget that I will have 5 children in car seats! I wanted a van badly but Paul never really agreed to it. It is this the "flyest" ride ever (in mini-van form hehe!)...do you know how awesome an automatic door opener is?? Oh and did I mention a GPS for one of the most directional challenged persons ever! Of course most important, my babies can get in and out so easily!
Oh and how can I forget how thankful I am that I can filll it up for $26! My SUV was running over $80 a fill up!!

Love my little Annie's room....(still missing her first 2 ornaments)!

So thankful that my rooms are ready for the boys! Minus a few mattresses and shoes we are ready! I actually decided to keep the baby in Annie's room until we figure out the boys sleeping schedule.

I am thankful that most of the Christmas lights are out! I did what I could tonight with only 1 extension cord!

BTW Dec 1st's "thankful" was everyone in the Maynard house is WELL!!! YEAH!!
BTW part 2: 10 days until court

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am thankful for.......

Here is a shot of the boys room in progress. These are the bunk beds from Meijer! I am a Pottery Barn girl at heart but when it comes to shelling out the money...I cannot do it! We ended up only spending $400 on these 2 beds and Annie's new bed. I am still trying to find a better nightstand/piece of furniture to go between the beds. I love those bins but they look so messy and the red has to go!

Once we get the crib in I will take pics of the whole room.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh my, I just read this friends blog and boy did it bring on the tears!
One of the many reasons I hear of couples not adopting is the financial aspect.
No one assumes they have an extra $25,000 sitting around.
I have heard stories, and read stories about random money falling in the hands of those just when they need it. Well while I believe in everyone of those stories I have never known the people it happened to. Well I know Jana and we are adopting children from the same orphanage, so this is real....it happens!
Please read her blog...see the words she uses about Gods plans.............wow!



Okay, as I begin to write this I feel kinda like a hillbilly......but yes we attended the North American International Livestock Exposition ! Picture the animals at the state fair and add in lots of hands on learning expierences and teaching stations. This is one of our favorite FTs of the year.
Here Carson is concentrating on roping his steer! Annie picks apples.

Carsons favorite part was watching the chicks hatch.....he was amazed!

Here is some of the 38 children who attended. (Yes, Madelyn is missing , she was sick with a virus :( )

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Art at co-op

So sorry for so many pics...blogger has not been working for me...so when it works I over do it!

The other co-op that my kids attend had our open house night and it was lovely. These are for Teaque especially, her little boy got sick and they could not attend...he was very dissapointed :(

Below is the art display from the Art class that Teaque and I taught. The class was K-1st graders. We meet for 8 weeks, so we had 8 different techniques or projects for the children.
Below is a PAPER MACHE maraca......a pinecone (3D art) turkey CLAY ornament,

From top to bottom: We did magazine collage where each child assembled their "family" from the facial features of the magazine pictures.
Next was our "Eric Carlish" picture. On day one we did texture painting. We painted with feathers, combs etc. On the second day the children cut out shapes and made a picture. (Madelyn's was titled The Very Busy Animals.....notice the horse on the left and the bird)
The blue blob...was learning about abstract as well as monochromatic. The children drew their shapes and then colored in all the spaces with differnt shades of the original color.
On the bottom is their mosiac. They hand drew a picture and then glued on the mosiac tiles. (FYI this one did not go as planned!)!

Guess who is a big girl now?

Little Annie finally has a big girl bed! She is a bit over three and had refused to sleep in her crib for the past few months (which is no wonder as "big" as she has always been).
We originally were putting off buying a new bed until we received our referral. Not knowing the ages or genders of the children, we did not know where everyone would be sleeping...etc. Once we got our referrals we decided the boys will share a room (which meant selling Carsons loft bed and getting 2 twins) and the girls would stay in her own room. Then the girls decided they wanted to share a room. Which meant selling Maddie's twin bed and buying a full.
I decided to just get Annie a toddler bed for the time being, until we see how everything is going to work out with the current room situation.
So here she is......

Gotta love Craigslist...I got the bed (Pottery Barn) for $50!!
It needs to be mentioned that Annie was a bit dissapointed because the bed was not "high" ...she wanted it "higher and higher"!

Our little turkeys..

I found this cute little turkey craft here. My friend Marcy had the idea posted on her blog. This was the only thing that we got done this week, despite my overzealous plan that I had prepared because of the sickness that has been running rampit through our home. I had promised Annie for over 1 week that she was going to paint turkeys. If you know Annie....she does not forget!!
Once we got going we decided we would make one for each member of the family for place cards tomorrow. (I did not photo the name cards).
Madelyn began and she fizzled out quickly (to my surprise as she loves art/painting etc) but she came back and finished. Annie is so ....well....Annie. That girl did her own glue (Elmers people...not a stick!) and placed each little piece on hers and most of Maddie's....she has patience for the details...inlike big sis!

Isn't she a doll....!! Oh and I need to make the Carson disclaimer: Carson chose to ride his bike rather than participate!!LOL