Sunday, December 6, 2009

One week later...

One week ago today Brian and I were preparing our home and family for the arrival of the new baby. I was waddling around counting the hours until I would no longer be pregnant. Brian's parents were in town, ready to meet their new granddaughter and take care of the other 3 kiddos.
November 30th has come and gone, we have our sweet girl home with us and tomorrow we get back into the swing of things. The past week has been fun and hectic. Hope brings lots of joy to us all but allows for very little sleep. The poor little angel seems to have a touch of colic.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Girl!

Hope Elizabeth made her grand appearance on Monday at 9:57 a.m.
She was 8 lb. 6 oz. and 20 1/4 inches.
We are so excited to finally have her here. Her brothers and sister adore her.
We can't wait to see what God has in store for her life. She is every bit his plan and we are thrilled to get to be part of it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Highlights from September

Brian had to make a quick trip to OKC last weekend so we made it into a day trip for the whole family. Nana went along and we introduced her and the boys to Ethiopian food at the Queen of Sheba Restaurant. Shurabe was so excited to have Injera (Ethiopian bread they use as a utensil).

Nana wasn't quite as skilled with the Injera as Shurabe. The boys were troopers and tried all of the food that wasn't too spicy. We are all looking forward to going back for Shurabe's birthday in October. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to come!

We had a beautiful Summer rain shower a couple of days ago. The kids were all playing outside while Brian mowed the lawn. Suddenly, it started raining so Levi and Shurabe decided to shed their shirts and take advantage of the water. Shurabe ran around singing and being silly. Levi spent most of the time chasing Shurabe and sticking his wet bottom as the rest of us. He's such a BOY!
Yesterday Shurabe got dressed in her finest dress-up attire in anticipation of a play date with her friend Nicole. Unfortunately, Nicole's whole family was sick so I just let her wear her outfit when we ran errands (however, I did make her change out of her play high-heeled shoes). She got lots of compliments at Super Wal-Mart!
This past Sunday our church family threw a shower to help us welcome baby Hope and Shurabe to our family. It was absolutely lovely. Lots of our friends and church family were there to help us celebrate our growing family. We opened a mountain of gifts in a record amount of time thanks to Shurabe's "Tazmanian Devil Technique".(The adorable diaper cake was made my Brian's cousin Rachel Barnett)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shurabe's New "Do"

Last night Brian and I had the priviledge of taking our good friend Raynisha to the John Legend concert. It was so much fun. While there I got an education on African American hair. This morning Raynisha came by the house and braided Shurabe's hair for her. It looks so cute and Shurabe loves it. It was so much fun to see her reaction when she saw herself in the mirror!

She looks a little apprehensive in this picture because she hasn't seen the finished result.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School

Today was the boys' first day of school. Kindergarten for Levi and 2nd grade for Cole! It was dreadfully stormy this morning so we all got to trek into the school through a downpour of rain trudging through a river that used to be a sidewalk. The boys looked at it as an adventure (which I think helped distract Levi from his nerves about making friends)!
We have pictures of the morning but they are on my parents' camera because we couldn't find ours this morning (I can't seem to get them to download onto our computer). Here are the "after" pictures. Both boys had a great day. When I asked Cole how 2nd grade was different he said, "I think we have more bathroom breaks." Levi made 2 friends but can't remember their names - typical 5 yr. old. We stopped for a 1/2 price Smoothie at Sonic for an after-school-snack, then headed home for some vegging out on the couches and watching MIGHTY DUCKS.

Levi is behind the boy in the blue shirt.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Showers of blessings

W have some of the most amazing friends and church family! On Sunday, my Adult Bible Class passed around a sign-up sheet for people to provide meals for our family. We are covered for the next TWO WEEKS! I am in awe of their thoughtfulness. It has been so nice to spend the day focusing on the kids without worrying about grocery shopping or what to make for dinner. (Added bonus - a break from the same 6 recipes I make all of the time.) On top of that, the boys have had special outings everyday with friends so they can have a break from their sister as she adjusts to life in a family.

We are making progress everyday as far as communication and tantrums go. We are learning some of her words and she is learning some of ours. She uses hand gestures (not really sign language) to show us what she wants sometimes and we do a lot of pointing.

This morning Shurabe and I went to Super Wal-mart to do some school supply shopping. I wasn't sure how she would do in a big place like that but she did amazingly. She just sat wide-eyed in the cart and took it all in. One of the Wal-mart stockers approached me and said she looked Ethiopian. I told him that we just got back from going to get her from Addis Ababa. He said that was his country and asked her name and what Agency we used to adopt her. I was shocked that he could tell she was Ethiopian. It was a really cool thing!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Adjusting to the new life

We are home from Ethiopia with our new daughter. The trip was truly a journey- physically and emotionally. I've never been so "spent" in all my life. There were lots of laughs and lots of tears (some hers and lots of them mine). It's really nice to be home where there is fresh air, safe food to eat and ice in my drinks.

I wouldn't trade the chance to see Shurabe's birth country for anything. The people were very kind and gracious. Every where I turned there was someone trying to speak to and comfort Shurabe. The scenery is breath-takingly beautiful in contrast to the hungry and handicapped beggars roaming the streets.

We are blessed to have Brian home this week as Shurabe learns what home and family means. She is fond of her brothers and they are even more fond of her. She is becoming more and more interested in Daddy as she sees how fun he is. But Mommy is at the top of her list (both flattering and draining). I only wish I knew what was going through her head when she gets quiet and contemplative or begins to scream at the smallest disappointment. I try to be understanding and comforting and at the same time discern when she is being manipulative to gain control of all those around her. Three is a rough age even without the grief, language barrier, and homesickness. We would really appreciate your prayers as we help her through this uncertain time of adjusting.

This morning was especially hard. There was a horrendous thunderstorm that set off our security alarm at 3:30 a.m. Needless to say, we were all jolted awake with hearts racing. The thunder and lightning were relentless for about 30 minutes. I layed down with Shurabe in our bed and hugged her tight. She fidgeted nervously for about an hour until it was clear she was finished sleeping for the night. She and I got up and watched a Praise Baby video in the dark living room. It calmed her for awhile until she began crying for her special care-giver from the Transition Home. She was clearly grieving the loss of her special friend/mother-figure. It was heart breaking to say the least. When she was done, she led me to the kitchen and pointed at the cabinet where we keep her favorite food, peanut butter crackers. She seems to be a comfort eater, a boredom eater, and an all-around BIG EATER. We'll work on that when there aren't so many other issues at hand!
As I type this she is playing happily by herself. I'll leave you with some happy pictures of our first days at home together.She loves baths. I bet she dumped water on her head 30 times!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's a GIRL!


Peek-a-booTwo tiny feet.

We found out this afternoon that this sweet baby inside of me is a little girl. Brian is going to have two little princesses and I will no longer be outnumbered in this Testosterone-heavy household. I'm trying really hard to keep myself away from the sewing machine. It keeps calling to me saying, "Come sew tiny things with flowery fabric!" But I must ignore it and finish packing for our trip to go get our oldest daughter.

Here is the PROOF.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The home stretch...

This adoption is feeling more and more real with each passing day. We leave for Ethiopia in just a few days and there is lots to do before our flight leaves. Our friends and family have all been so kind and generous. Thankfully, we have everything we need to start out life with Shurabe. I am really looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Just meeting our daughter is reason enough but we will also find out this week the gender of our baby. Brian is blessed to be able to take some paternity leave and so the whole family will be home to bond with Shurabe. Brian is such a great husband and dad that we all look forward to spending time at home with him. I'm really excited to see how Shurabe reacts to him. I have a feeling they will have a very special relationship. Hopefully next post I will have some photos.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A family of 5!

We got the exciting call this morning. Shurabe Eden Jennings is officially our daughter. We will hopefully travel to get her on July 11th. "Ethiopia, here we come!" I am sure Brian will make a video when we have time but for now, here is on
e of my favorite pictures of her.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ultrasound Scheduled

I had my 4 month Dr. appt. yesterday and baby and mommy are healthy. Last week I suffered from a lot of lower back pain. So many of my friends were so sweet and offered suggestions that helped with their maternity aches and pains. After two appointments with my favorite D.O. in the world, I am feeling 98% better. Just a little stiffness left over from a week of inactivity. We are a little nervous about the long flight to Ethiopia and any reoccuring back pain that might creep up. I plan on going to see my Dr. and getting my back adjusted a couple of days before we leave to make sure I am feeling as good as possible.

Now for the good stuff! My ultrasound is scheduled for July 2nd. Only 2 1/2 weeks until we know the gender of this baby! I am so glad we will find out before we leave for Ethiopia. I think it will be good for me to be mentally prepared for a boy or a girl before we start the emotional transition process with Eden. (By the way, we have decided to use Eden as her middle name but for security reasons, we aren't using her Ethiopian name on the internet. As soon as we pass court, we'll post her name and pictures so all of our friends and family can start getting to know our new daughter.)

One of my friends Kelli found out this week the gender of her baby. She took a poll on her blog to see what her friends and family predicted the gender would be. I thought it was a great idea so I am going to do the same. (After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.) Join in the fun and leave me a comment to let me know your prediction!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fun give-away

Check out this give-away  by the Pleated Poppy.  She always has really cute stuff and there's nothing like something free to brighten your day!   

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer "Break"

Last Friday we cristened the first day of summer break with an all-out-family-watergun-fight! Cole and Levi both got new mega waterguns for their birthdays so we had one for everyone in the family (mom included). I'm pretty sure Levi's gun weighes as much as he does when it is full of water!
Close range shooting was the most fun even though the guns could shoot really far!

I have a feeling there are many more watergun fights in our family's near future!

Monday, May 25, 2009

We didn't pass...

We just got the call from our Adoption Agency informing us that our case didn't pass in court.  Apparently, the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia must write a letter to the judge for each adoption case and they didn't get ours complete in time for our court date.  I'm still foggy as to why they didn't complete it but the Director the the Ethiopia program at AWAA told us that MOWA has been very particular the past month.  There has been a much higher percentage than usual of families not passing.

Our new court date is June 18th.  Please pray that there would be a sooner court opening and our date will get moved up.  The longer we have to wait, the harder it is going to be on me traveling and the less time we will have to help Eden adjust before the new baby arrives.

We are confident that God is still in control of this process.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Court tonight

Tonight, while we are sleeping, an Ethiopian judge will review our case.  If they are pleased with our paperwork and Eden's paperwork, they will pass our case and she will officially be our daughter.  Hopefully, by Tues. morning we can show you pictures 0f our daughter!  We would really appreciate your prayers for a smooth court date.  We are trusting that God is in control of this adoption and has been from the very beginning.  Eden will not be in Ethiopia one day longer than God wants her to.

We had a really great time last night with two fellow adoptive families who have daughters from Ethiopia.  We took advantage of the opportunity to ask lots of questions about travel and helping Eden to adjust when she is home with us.  I'm so grateful for their openness and experience that we can glean from.  

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Six more days until Court!

Our Court date in Ethiopia is May 25th (Memorial Day). If all goes well and the judge is pleased with the amount of information given about Eden's relinquishment, she will officially be our daughter. We would really appreciate your prayers that everything goes well. If we don't pass court, we'll have to wait for another court date which sometimes happens the next day or the next month, depending on what kind of information the judge is asking for.

This past weekend was Mayfest in Tulsa and I've been looking forward to it all year. Last year we found a wonderful vendor who makes amazing little girl clothes. We drooled over them for a long time but decided we should wait until we know the age of our little girl before purchasing anything. Well, since I now know the size of clothing we need, I was anxious to see if the vendor was back.....SHE WAS!! Here are the two outfits Eden got.

They are completely reversible so really, she got 4 new outfits. Brian and I bought the dress and Brian's parents bought the capris and top with the little hat .

I can't wait to see them on her!! Now she just needs some little girl toys.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Due Date...

Here is our little peanut at 8 wks. 6 days. The top of the picture is it's head ( Actually it's the right side of the picture but my computer won't let me rotate this picture.)
It looks like we are going to have a Thanksgiving baby. My due date is actually the day after Thanksgiving but I am being optimistic that I might have this one atleast a day early. Levi was born on his due date without any help. Cole was induced on a Friday, a couple days after his due date, so we wouldn't risk having him on the weekend when my Dr. wasn't on call. I really don't want to induce again...that was not a pleasant experience!
Anybody know if the Thanksgiving dinner at St. John's Hospital is edible? Let's hope my family will take pity on me and bring me left overs from home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just when I thought I was done with these...

I was so excited to find out that we are getting a 3 year more diapers! Then a few days later I found out that we are pregnant! Time to rethink things:

1. Forget the garage sale where we perge our home of all things baby.

2. Perhaps our Honda Pilot isn't going to cut it anymore. Boo Hoo - I am going to have to grow-up and get a mini-van. (Brian tried to comfort me by saying, "Maybe they will throw in a couple of pairs of mom-jeans to sweeten the deal!" -- NOT FUNNY!)

3. I'm trying to enjoy cable television as much as possible. We've already decided it's the first thing to go and make more wiggle room in our budget. It's not like I'll have time for T.V. with 4 kids anyway!

We really are thrilled - especially the boys- the idea's just taking a little getting used to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 we come!

There has been lots of excitement at our house this week. I had prepared myself for a long and painful wait with this whole adoption process but it has proved to be much faster than I anticipated. We received our court date yesterday - May 25th. That is the day that Duni (one of the Ethiopia staff) will go to court in Ethiopia on our behalf and if the judge passes our case, we will officially become "Eden's" parents. (By the way, if you didn't already know, we are going to probably name her Eden.) Right now, we have a tentative travel date (TTD) of June 20-27th.

30% of families do not pass court the first time so we would really appreciate your prayers that we DO pass court on the 25th of May.

Yes, there is life aside from adoption at the Jennings Home. Cole has turn into quite the bike rider this Spring. It doesn't matter how cold and rainy it is, he wants to be outside riding his bike! Brian took him on a little "camping trip" out to the church camp last a couple of weekends ago and he had a blast riding his bike up and down the sidewalks.

This is a snap shot of a typical day in the life of Levi. He's such a little character that we spend much of our time watching and laughing. However, it's a rare occurance that we get a picture of him without a silly look on his face or where he's hiding his face or scowling (he's not a big fan of having his picture taken).

Lately, he's been fascinated with numbers. The boy amazes me. He already does simple addition and subtraction - he just doesn't know he's doing it! And be careful to not tell him your age unless you want him telling it to everybody he sees in the next couple of days!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's starting to feel real.

A week and a half has passed now since we received our referral.  Levi and I went to Target on Wednesday and picked two outfits, an assortment or headbands and a mini photo book to send in a care package to our Eden.   There is a family from Broken Arrow who is also adopting a little girl from Ethiopia that is the same age as Eden and they will travel to get her in a week.  They are going to take some pictures for us, deliver the care package and get hand and foot prints of her if possible.  I am hoping for some pictures of her smiling.  The only picture we got with her referral is really sad.  It makes me want to hop on an airplane right now and go give her a hug.

Lots of people have been asking me when we will get to bring her home.  My best guess is in July sometime.  We should be getting a court date in the next week or two and that will give us a tentative travel date (about 3 weeks after we pass court).  

As I write this, Levi is coughing up a lung.  He started coughing yesterday evening and hasn't stopped (except for a couple of hours in the middle of the night when I gave him the last few drops of our beloved prescription cough syrup).  I am so sick of the boys being sick!  I just want my babies to be able to feel good and go to school and church and have fun.  Allergy season brings such mixed feeling for me.  I love Spring with all of it's flowers and budding trees and mild temperatures.  If only we didn't have all of the wind blowing the pollen in our faces!
Hopefully Eden won't have allergies too!  
Well, I'm going to go get some exercise and mow all of our weeds so Brian can spray them with pesticide in a couple of days.  Unless... maybe I could have the boys sell dandelion salad at little curbside stand to raise money for the adoption!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today was THE DAY!

Today I was spending a little time sewing on a Birthday gift when the phone rang. I almost let the answering machine get it but at the last minute picked up. It was our Family Coordinator from America World. She said that she was calling with some great news for our family. She had a referral for us! I immediately started crying and my heart was racing. She called Brian on a conference call and told us all about our little girl. I can't tell you too much now for confidentiality reasons but we are so thrilled to finally know her by name and to see what her sweet face looks like.

I was expecting to have to wait until atleast June if not Aug. so this all came as quite a shock. Now we wait 2-4 weeks to hear when our court date is. The court date will probably be in June. Then we will travel about 3 weeks after we pass court.

Please pray that we will get a court date soon and pass the first time in court. I wish I could tell you more but we'll just have to wait on all of the details until she is officially ours!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Houston Bound

The kids and I are headed down south for Spring Break to see my brother and his family. I'm looking forward to spending time with the ladies in my life (my mom and sister are going with us). The weather is supposed to be in the upper 70's and low 80's all week...I'm looking forward to that! Hopefully the kids will play happily outside just content to have the company of their beloved cousins. ; )

We'll be making a trip to the new JoAnn in Pearland. Elizabeth had never been to one before and called me a few weeks ago, begging me to come and see the new "amazing, gigantic" JoAnn. I think she now understands my tendency to gravitate towards our local JoAnn Store. They also have some really great V.A. Thrift Stores that she frequents. I'm going to try to talk her in to taking me so I can get in on the amazing deals! My dad came home from visiting my brother for his birthday and said they also have a really cool outdoor mall really close to their house. It sounds like we are going to have to get a baby sitter atleast one day and cram as much shopping as possible into one afternoon!

Here's just a little bit of bragging. I pride myself in my expert packing and this is the only bag we are taking for all 3 of us for a full week! (Granted, we'll have a backpack or two of snacks and toys for the drive down.)

Friday, March 6, 2009 not as bad as...


Today Cole's teacher relayed a funny story to me from "story time" in class last week.  

They were reading a book about manners written by Whoopi Goldberg.  On each page they discuss a different offensive behavior and in the lower right-hand corner, almost like a mantra, is the suggestion that this particular offense (such as interrupting, talking in theaters, bad sportsmanship, or eating with your hands) is not as bad as...(the next bad habit or behavior) on the next page.  

As Mrs. Munozcano read the "is not as bad as..." part, Cole would say under his breath "is not as bad as going to hell."  He did this on every page!  Thankfully, Mrs. Munozcano is a believer and wasn't offended by his remarks, but I reassured her that we didn't talk like that all the time at home.  

Kids are so unpredictable.  But he does have a point...good manners aren't quite as important as salvation!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I finally broke down and learned how to crochet. Up until now I've been a little bit of a knitting snob. I got this Newsboy Cap pattern from here. After I figured out HOW to crochet, it was pretty simple. I still have some practicing to do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fun with Rope and Remnants

I've been doing a little bit of spring decorating this past week and thought I needed a little more color in the living room. I decided to make some new coasters with some of my favorite fabric remnants. I the instructions on craftystylish
Anyway, I've been itching to try it. It uses clothesline rope which I had a little trouble finding, hence the delay in trying out the project. Anyway, you can buy 200 yards of the rope at Home Depot for a under 10 dollars. I made a bowl and 4 coasters and only used about a third of the rope. For a fun set of coasters or bowl of your own, just cut fabric into 1 1/2 inch wide strips about 6-10 inches long. Wrap a strip around the rope, form the rope into a cinnamon roll shape while sewing the layers together using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. To form the sides of the bowl, just gradually curve the edges and sew so that the bottom of the bowl faces out to the left of your sewing machine. It's as easy as that...maybe better explained with pictures than words! I'm sure I'll make more in the future, maybe next time I'll try making a tutorial!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another pieced top

This is the project I was working on yesterday when I had the ironing catastrophe.
I used a bunch of beloved scraps left over from some purses to make this baby quilt top. It was fun trying to puzzle piece them all together without too much waste. I think I'm going to do a denim on the back. One of these days I am going to finish a quilt instead of just making tops.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A good mistake.

Today I was pressing some seams on a project when I noticed that the iron felt sticky. Apparently I had it sitting too close to this ugle Easter bucket that I've been using for sewing trash. The bottom 1/3 of the metal plate on my iron was covered in melted plastic. There is a big blob on my ironing board cover too. At first I was just frustrated with myself...then I thought it might be the perfect reason to replace my piece-of-junk iron...then I was relieved to see that none of the melted goop got on the project that I was ironing. I decided that I must come up with an alternative refuse container! This is what I came up with.
It even folds down flat for easy storage when I am not in a sewing frenzy! It turned out so pretty that I can't bring myself to put trash in it. So for now it's a sewing caddy to keep some of my notions close at hand.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Swedish Chef

Levi has a birthday party next week so I whipped up a little apron and chef's hat for the Birthday Girl. I love the little apron because the staps are made of one long cord that moves freely through a casing on each side. As you pull on the ties, the neck strap tightens. I got the idea from an old Pampered Chef apron and just scaled it down to fit a child.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Last week I received word that I had won a quilt from here. I just got it in the mail and I am so thrilled. The quilt is adorable...all the colors I would have chosen myself. And the back is made of that "minky" fabric, complete with a sweet label. What a generous Give-Away!

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dress #3

Well, here is the last dress for Anna...actually, I am sure it won't be "the last" dress but it's the last one I intend to make for a while! I accidentally bought the wrong size of pattern so I had to tweek a different pattern that I already had. I think it turned out pretty well. I actually like it more than the original pattern. Sewing for little girls is so much FUN!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dresses for Anna

Last week my sister-in-law showed me a catalogue from Boden kids...oh-my-goodness...such cuteness! We decided to try to find some dress patterns that were similar to a couple of the dresses in the catalogue. I have two of the three dresses made so I thought I'd post a sneak peek for Elizabeth and Anna.
It's had to tell in this picture but the first dress had strawberries all over it. Anna loves Strawberry Shortcake. When my boys are impersonating Anna they say, "Where's my cake?" That's what she calls Strawberry Shortcake - "My Cake"!

Monday, January 26, 2009

late night piecing

Last night, while Brian was playing basketball with the guys from church, I had a little fun with fabric. I decided to take a crack at my first Log Cabin square. Here's the finished square (please ignore the water stained ironing board cover and bad photography). I just picked a bunch of my favorite fabrics. There's really no rhyme or reason except that I like it!

That was so much fun that I decided to venture off on my own and started piecing together some scraps from another project. This is what I ended up with. I'm not sure what the final outcome will be. I'm thinking about making a really minimalist quilt with mostly white and these vibrant striped.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cough, Cough, Sniff...

Our house has been filled with the sound of big coughs coming from little bodies. Both boys have been battling the cold bug this week, Levi more so than Cole. It reminds me of last spring when Levi had a trecherous cold. His little lips were raw and swollen from blowing his nose so much. We took this picture one morning while he watched cartoons. Notice the mountain of used tissues and the empty kleenex box. I think you might even be able to see his not-so-little upper lip sticking out. So pathetic. Anyway, I don't think it is going to get near as ugly this time. I'm just enjoying all of the cuddle time we are getting to have together.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now you can see...

I promised before Christmas to post some pictures of the things I made to give as gifts. Now that the gifts have all been received, it's safe to show them to you!

A fun princess skirt for my neice! She insisted on wearing it under her dress on Sunday to church. That made her Aunt Beth very happy!

Matching fleece robes for my nephews
Unfortunately, Luke is growing so fast that his is already a little short in the sleeves. I don't think he minds but it was a little frustrating for me.

A knitted shrug for my little sister. This is my first attempt at a clothing item for grown-ups. It turned out pretty well if I might say so myself. I just wish it was a little bigger so I could borrow it!