February 24, 2009

Swing Set

After much research we finally decided on a swing set from Lowe's. I was really shell shocked at how expensive some of those play sets or "systems" as they call them are! The set from Lowe's was a fraction of the price of some of the bigger sets, so I was a little apprehensive. When we opened the box the instructions said it would take 16 hours and 2 skilled workers to complete just the tower part of the set - I got scared when I read that! There was so much wood and so many pieces. I guess that is why many people end up calling Lowe's anyway to get them to install it.

Eric just took one step at a time and between last Sunday and this weekend he got it done. He also had some help from our friend Jason which was wonderful - thanks Jason! I must say I am very proud of Eric. He never lost his temper and was just very methodical about every step.

In the end the set may not have all the bells and whistles of the bigger sets but I think Aiden and his friends will get a lot of use of it. We ended up not spending a fortune so we will not feel bad leaving it one day. We also liked the fact that you can add things to it as your children grow. For now we only got the tower, slide and swing set. As Aiden grows, we will add the tunnel and Rock Wall and of course we will be getting the baby swing for our new addition. We plan to put mulch under and around it and we will put railroad ties around the perimeter of the play area. We are going to add a sand box and maybe a picnic table. It comes with a built in sand box but it is so small and has no top to it.

February 18, 2009

Aiden is 4 years old!

Well, Aiden turned 4 years old today! He was so excited. We asked him what would happen now that he was four he said that he was going to get his driver's license. I am sure that time will come before we know it!

February 12, 2009

Play Date

We had a play date with our friends Will and Ian. We took the kids to Pump It Up and they had a blast. Why didn't they have these places when we were kids? The boys jumped and went down the slides and had a great time! Everyone got along and no one got hurt - that is what I call a successful play date!

After lunch, Will and Ian went home and Aiden and I headed to the park. Aiden has certainly gotten over his fear of the swings. A couple of weeks ago he wouldn't even sit on them and now he was letting me push him really high. Then he was pushing me which must have been quite a sight to see. We fed the ducks and watched the turtles sunning themselves - there were even a couple of babies - so cute!

Insert Mommy Brag Here: Aiden won a contest at school yesterday. They had a test to see who could identify their letters the best and Aiden came in first place. He really does blow me away with that stuff. Now to work on his listening skills - ugh!

February 9, 2009

Some Weekend Fun

Well it was 77 degrees yesterday here in Mississippi! So, we took advantage of the wonderful weather and took the dogs for a relaxing walk on the Natchez Trace http://www.nps.gov/natt/index.htm Well in true Eric and Lauren fashion our relaxing hike turned into something let's say a little bit different. We found the walking trail, which turns out to be more often used for horse back riding, and parked the car. You could chose between two different directions of the path. We chose our direction and headed on our way. We hoped the direction we had chosen would be scenic and we thought we might even get a glimpse of the nearby Reservoir. Yeah - that did not happen. Instead we were knee deep in sticky bushes, mud and horse poop. But it least it was quiet and Aiden and the dogs were having fun and then the shooting started. Turns out the quiet trail we picked is also directly behind a shooting range training school. Our hike in the woods felt more like we were back in time fighting in one of the wars that had taken place there centuries ago. We continued on our journey for a couple of miles until we realized that the trail was not getting any more scenic and the gun shots were not going to let up and we turned around. The good news is that we made it back in one piece and we realized again - "Toto we are not in Virginia anymore" (insert a big sigh here).

We did get an update from our adoption agency on Friday. Turns out that there were 8 families that received their referrals last month, which is more than we thought. Maybe we are a little higher on the waiting list????

February 4, 2009

Holt's Blog - Senior VP in Ethiopia

Currently our agency, Holt International, sent their vice president to Ethiopia to visit both the care center in Addis Ababa as well as the intake center in Durame. Here is what he reported:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—What an amazing day today! Just back from our first day in Addis where a group of Holt board members and donors are visiting our newest adoption and child welfare program. A day filled with many highs and a few lows.

Highs began in the morning with our visit to the Holt child care center in Addis Ababa. Some of the children greeted us, walking down the front stairs and handing each of us a fresh cut rose. They were all dressed up in their best outfits and all appeared remarkably healthy.

So many great things are happening here at Holt’s programs in Ethiopia. The Holt care center is just over a year in operation and now is the temporary home to some thirty or so children. Most of the children have been matched with adoptive families who will soon travel here to receive their new family members.

The low was listening to Dr. Fikru, Holt’s country director, explain and describe the dire situation of so many other children at our transition center in the south. This is the center where abandoned and orphaned children are brought for care… sounds like there are tremendous needs and very little resource to meet those needs currently.

We’ve spent the last few days in Southern Ethiopia at Holt’s intake care center located in Durame, where we were once again, greeted with smiles and a flower. 50 infants and toddlers now occupy the Durame Center, where the loving staff individually cares for each child who enters its doors.

We were there when a local official brought in another abandoned infant, which seems to be a daily occurrence. Although the children are well cared for by the staff, there are tremendous needs for the center that you can see all around. The children are bathed daily outside with cool water, where there is no working bathroom facility.

In a center where the electricity struggles to stay on, the staff continues to give quality care to children and work by candlelight to feed them.

Would you like to help? http://www.holtintl.org/gifts/

February 3, 2009

Happy Anniversary Monica and David - A Day Late

I just wanted to give our best buds - Monica and David - a shout out wishing them a very Happy Anniversary. We have had such good times with you guys and are looking forward to many more! Love you guys!

In adoption news I just wanted to clarify something. Some of you have asked if we already got our assignment. I think it is because of the way the ticker reads. No, we have not gotten an assignment yet. The ticker is just counting from the day we started the process or the day we submitted our initial application with Holt. We did that way back in June! Our agency made 3 referrals in January. Every time a referral is made, we move up the list. The last time we checked in with Holt to ask what number we are on the list was back in November. At that time we were number 21. I am guessing based on my own calculations, that we are somewhere around 15 or 16 right now. What does this all mean? Well it means more waiting. There are currently 6 families either in Ethiopia or on their way to Ethiopia to meet their children. It is encouraging to see this movement and we wish these families the best! There are also many families waiting to go to court (which makes their referred children legally theirs). We hope they have a successful day at court and pass the first time. We are hoping for a big batch of referrals after all of the current families pass through the legal system. Stay tuned for more news....

February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

Well it is my husband's favorite day of the year. However, he told me that this day brings mixed emotions for him. While he is moved by the fact that there is an entire day dedicated to his favorite thing in the world, he is also sadden by the fact that this is the last day of the season. Well, Happy Super Bowl Eric! What will you do for the next couple of months without the sweet sounds of football? I know one fuzzy face who is certainly looking forward to some peaceful Sunday afternoons!