Monday, May 11, 2009

So Long, Farewell

In the past, when adoptive families whose blogs I've religiously followed have "shut down" said blogs, I've found myself nearly bereft. It often felt as though my glimpse into their journey was forced to abruptly end, long before I was ready for it to do so. I wondered, "Isn't it written somewhere that they must ask my permission before disappearing from sight on their trip down the yellow brick road?"

However, at this point, I must say that I understand the psychology behind it all. This blog, Seven Lyons, was originally created to document the journey to our Nina--a journey which, by the grace of God, is now complete. And I find myself not having as much to say about that journey specifically, and more to say about THE journey that is parenting five children amidst all the other crazy things David and I choose to do on a daily basis.

Don't worry; I'm not leaving cyberspace all together. I'm simply bidding adieu to this blog. If you'd like, please follow us on my new blog, Yes, it is my "professional" blog, but it chronicles (among other things) the antics of ALL of our kids, the hair-raising moments of a frazzled mother/wannabe organic gardener/aspiring zulu knot creator, and the 2-year-long process of house-training the most lovable Cockapoo on the planet.

I won't delete this blog. I hope it serves as inspiration and/or information for those embarking on the incredible journey of international adoption. And, of course, I need to get it printed out in some way, shape, and form so that Nina will forever have documented our journey to her.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who's supported and befriended us along the way. The international adoption community is unlike anything I anticipated and it far exceeded my expectations. The friendships we've built, the connections we've made--albeit through cyberspace--and the support we've received have been tremendous. I cherish each and every one of you, and hope to maintain each of our relationships for years and years to come.

Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
--Richard Bach

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Nina! We can hardly believe she's one already. Walking everywhere, into everything, and every bit as much a joy as the day she came home (probably more).

Monday, March 23, 2009


This post puts to rest (hopefully) many of the questions and confusion regarding the ins, outs, ups, and downs of re-adoption, obtaining a new birth certificate, obtaining a social security number, and obtaining citizenship for an adopted child born in a country other than the U.S.A.

Questions related to this topic have generated thousands of threads on many a blog and group site. There are about a kazillion ideas on how all this is to be done, and it's enough to drive anyone slightly mad. After many months, and many incorrect suggestions (including one directly from a state-sponsored attorney), I thought I'd document my experience with what has worked. We have only one step left, and I'm confident that I know how to do it (I hope).

*Please note: this is only my experience, and it reflects only Arizona processes. In addition, this information is valid only under circumstances in which a child was not granted U.S. citizenship upon entry into the U.S. If they come in with citizenship (as denoted by an IR-4 visa), the processes are likely a bit different (and probably a bit easier!).

Let's just start at the beginning, shall we?

The first thing you need to do is go through re-adoption. Re-adoption is not required in every state, but the following states do not recognize a foreign adoption decree, so it's best, in these states at least, to go through the process of re-adoption.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
Keep in mind that if you presently live in a state that does recognize a foreign adoption decree, but you later move, your new state may not recognize the adoption. So, again, in my humble opinion, it's best to just do the re-adoption.

In addition, re-adoption is the only way to legally change your child's name. Considering that the formal name of most children coming from Ethiopia will read as their first name plus your husband's first and last name on their passport, changing their name may be something you consider essential. I doubt our daughter would be terribly pleased as a 16-year-old with David as her middle name!

We thought it would be fairly easy to do the re-adoption without an attorney and, as I understand it, it is in some states. Not Arizona. However, thankfully, the state of Arizona does provide a state-sponsored attorney to you at no charge to facilitate the adoption proceedings. The only charge we incurred was for our social worker's re-adoption report (much like a home study report only slightly abbreviated; it only requires one home visit) which had to be submitted to the state. This cost us $300.

Ask your social worker (the one who did your home study) who you need to call to facilitate re-adoption in your state. The woman we called in Arizona was Kim Redmond and she was lovely and very helpful.

The re-adoption process can take anywhere from 3 - 8 months, depending on when you get your court date.

Obtaining a New Birth Certificate
Once the re-adoption is complete, you'll go to the court house and go through a quick proceeding in which your child becomes legally yours according to Arizona law. You'll receive a formal adoption decree which you can (and will want to) have certified before leaving the court house. The cost for certification is, I believe, $28.

After this is completely, you'll want to apply for a birth certificate for your child. We were told that the Department of Vital Statistics would send us an application after they received and processed our daughter's information post re-adoption. This did not happen. So, be prepared that if you don't hear from them within 6 weeks or so you'll have to head down to the Department of Vital Statistics.

However, you'll have to head there in person anyway. You need to go to the Department of Vital Statistics office at 1818 N. Adams Street. They are open M-F from 8-5 but after 4:00 you can only get information, not apply for a birth certificate. So go before 4:00. Their phone number is 602.364.1300.

Whether you get the application via mail or print it out yourself from their online site, fill it out as follows:

Name: Your child's legal name as specified in the re-adoption
Date of Birth: as specified in re-adoption

Most of the rest of it is self-explanatory.

When you go, expect the DMV. Expect for it to take a while. If you can avoid it, do NOT take any children with you! You'll need your child's "foreign born" number, so if you don't know what that is, attempt to get it from the attorney who facilitated your re-adoption. This is the number under which your child is registered with, among other places I'm sure, the Department of Vital Statistics.

If you cannot obtain the foreign-born number from your attorney, simply tell the person at the "triage window" (yes, they do call it that) at the Dept. of Vital Statistics that you are there to apply for a foreign-born birth certificate for your recently adopted child but that you don't know what their foreign-born number is. They will likely send you to the Corrections room to obtain the foreign-born number. Once you obtain that, you go BACK to the triage window and get a number to get in line to apply for the birth certificate.

The reason you need to be there in person is that they will need to see the certified copy of the re-adoption, which I doubt you'll want to put in the mail. At $28 each, we only got one copy!

Then, you wait a while. I waited for about 45 minutes. When your number is called, you present your application, a credit card, debit card, or cash in the amount of $10 per certificate requested (though I hear it's going up to $15 per certificate as of 4/1/2009), and then you go home. The birth certificate is mailed to you within 5-10 business days (we got ours in 4 business days).

Social Security Number
In order to obtain your child's SSN, you MUST have a foreign-born birth certificate and you MUST appear in person at the Social Security Office. I HIGHLY recommend the office on North Tatum. It is north of Greenway and south of Bell on Tatum on the east side of the street. It's a big building and not hard to find. Go in and go around back on the left side of the building to Suite B.

It is very clean, and not NEARLY as crowded as the Social Security Office in downtown Phoenix. After confirming that I had not brought in a gun, a knife, any other weaponry, or pepper spray, I was given a number and quietly told to take a seat. So quietly that I said, "Huh?" to the security guard. Not so good. I waited only 3 minutes to be called to the window.

Present your application, your child's certified birth certificate, your certified re-adoption documents, and your child's Ethiopian passport and resident alien card. There was only one space on the application I was confused by and it was the field that asked whether my child was a U.S. citizen, a something-or-other, or other. The correct answer is "other."

It is free to apply for a SSN (finally, something is free!). They will likely tell you that the information didn't get through Homeland Security the first time, but this is only because the kids' info is often typed into Homeland Security's system incorrectly to begin with so it doesn't match and takes a human to look at it and approve it. It's all very efficient. :)

Your child's Social Security card should arrive in 2 weeks. If it does not, you need to return to the Social Security Office to inquire as to what the problem might be.

This is an area in which a TON of confusion has arisen. A few salient points:

- Your child is NOT a citizen of the U.S. upon entering the U.S. unless he or she comes in on an IR-4 visa.

- Your child is NOT a citizen of the U.S. upon finalization of the re-adoption (even though our attorney says otherwise).

- Your child is NOT granted citizenship by obtaining a U.S. passport. In fact, they should not be able to even get a U.S. passport without a valid foreign-born birth certificate, but I know a few folks in Arizona who have managed to get their child a U.S. passport without doing the above and think it gives them citizenship. I don't know, but according to the gal at the Social Security office, who truly seemed to know what she was doing, it does not.

Now, you CAN, technically, apply for U.S. citizenship without a SSN. So, you can do the citizenship application and the SSN application simultaneously if you want. But I like order and structure and one thing at a time so I say get the SSN first. But that's just me.

Once you receive your child's SSN in the mail, you can begin the application process for U.S. citizenship through Homeland Security. You MUST have an appointment for this. You cannot just walk in to a Homeland Security office the same way you can walk in to the Dept. of Vital Statistics or the Social Security Office.

The number/address for Homeland Security in Phoenix is:
2035 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004

Call and make an appointment to apply for U.S. citizenship for your child.

Modify SSN
When you initially get your child's SSN, it will reflect "resident alien" status (which terribly confuses our other children who now swear that Ethiopia sits somewhere near Jupiter). When your child is granted U.S. citizenship, take the citizenship paperwork BACK to the Social Security Office and they'll amend your child's record to note that s/he now has U.S. citizenship. They don't get a new card or a new number; their status is simply modified in the system.

U.S. Passport
NOW you can apply for a U.S. passport for your child at your local post office. You'll need to take every bloody thing you've acquired to date!

If you have any questions about this process in Arizona, please feel free to contact me. I feel very well equipped at this point to open up shop as a How To Get Your Child All S/He Needs to Function as a Citizen of the U.S. of A. consultant!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Can We Do?

This was the first question I asked myself when I heard about Haregewoin's passing. After all, she has 50+ children, many of them HIV+, still living at her homes throughout Addis Ababa. Surely, these children are sad and scared.

The following was on Melissa Faye Greene's blog this morning and it shows us how we each can contribute something, should we so choose. It's amazing, truly, how much it costs to care for children in such a poverty-infected country. But, given that the cost of the washer and dryer for Hannah's Hope was nearly $20,000 (that is not a typo) it's not terribly surprising.

$1 may not feel like a large donation but if everyone who reads my blog in a month donated $1, it would be almost $1000 toward this effort (that's assuming that my parents aren't reading my blog 998 times a month, but who knows).




*from the blog of Melissa Faye Greene, author of There is No Me Without You.

Haregewoin Teferra 1946 (est.) - 2009

Dear Friends,

By now you may have learned the shocking news that Mrs.
Haregewoin Teferra has died suddenly after a short
illness. We don't know what caused her death; she felt
sick for a couple of days, went to the doctor, came
home without a diagnosis, felt sick again, laid down,
and that was the end.

We are grieving, yet we have no time to spare: 59
children survive her, many of them toddlers and babies,
the majority HIV-positive.

Worldwide Orphans--the New York-based organization that
has provided pediatric care to Haregewoin's children
for many years--has stepped into the breach. They have
assumed full custody of the 42 HIV-positive kids and
are prepared to take responsibility for the 17
HIV-negative children, as needed, most of them babies
and toddlers. Those small children are still at
Haregewoin's foster home; their caregivers have
stayed on; and the Atetegeb board has taken charge of
their well-being for the present.

These heroic measures come at high cost: it is
estimated to require about $4,600 per child to cover
food, healthcare and medicine, education, clothing, and
caregivers. Once the children's basic needs are secure,
their paperwork will be sorted out: some may be
eligible for adoption, others may have extended families
in a position to take them in; others may find new

No one knows, at this moment, whether Haregewoin had made
financial plans for the children in the event of her
death. All that can be sorted out in the future. The
crisis is NOW: keeping the children fed and clothed,
paying the salaries of loving caregivers to act as
stand-ins for their late parents and long-devoted
foster mother, and making sure there is no lag-time
in their life-saving medical treatment.

At Little Atetegeb, for positive children

Haregewoin lived with these children seven days a week,
24 hours a day, for ten years. She is irreplaceable.

The youngest children, of course, have no idea what
has just happened. Please let us work together to
act as foster parents in absentia for them and to
provide financial sustenance to the adults on the
ground in Addis during this transitional time.

Thank you in advance for any amount you can give.

Online contributions can be made at

Checks may be sent to:
511 Valley Street
Maplewood, New Jersey 07040


Haregewoin's children

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Angel Goes Home

A little over a year ago, when the road we'd been pleasantly traveling suddenly dead-ended into a hillside named "Guatemalan Adoptions Now Closed mountain" (it really was called that, I swear), we weren't sure what to do. We wondered whether to turn left, or turn right, or turn around and simply go back to where we'd come from -- a place with our four beautiful (albeit unruly) kids and a bit less confusion over a message we thought we'd heard so clearly.

The first book I picked up in an effort to get some clarity was There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene. It is a stunning story documenting Melissa's time in Ethiopia, first as a journalist and later as an adoptive mother of, ultimately, two Ethiopian-born children.

The book centered around a woman named Haregewoin Teferra (shown in the middle of this picture surrounded by many of "her" children). Haregewoin Teferrra was "a middle-class Ethiopian woman who found herself at the heart of a global health crisis...transformed her home into an orphanage and began facilitating adoptions to homes all over the world." It is a fantastic book, and one my mom bought and sent to a number of people prior to Nina's homecoming.

On the day of Nina's re-adoption, I was so blessed to meet the adoptive family of one of the children featured in There Is No Me Without You, to put a face with that part of the story that touched me so deeply. In fact, when I learned that this little boy had made his way all the way from Ethiopia to, of all places, Phoenix, I thought that, surely, that was just another sign that we were heading in the right direction, both literally and figuratively.

It was in reading this book that I knew wholly and completely that while I was initially so unwaveringly sure of our journey to Guatemala, the place we were meant to go was Ethiopia. I don't know how to describe the knowledge more deeply than that, but I know my friends with Ethiopian-born children understand what I'm saying.

I've been thinking lately that I need to re-read it, this time from the perspective of someone who's adopted from Ethiopia and been to Ethiopia as opposed to someone who's merely considering those activities.

Haregewoin died suddenly today in Ethiopia. Not many details are yet known other than that she called a friend and then died in her home.

Ethiopia has lost a true hero in the war against children without home or family. Tonight, Haregewoin is where she belongs, resting among all the other angels in heaven, having most rightfully earned her place there.

And tonight, to honor her for indirectly opening my heart so fully to welcome home an angel of my own, I will begin re-reading her story.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Water Is Life

The family profiled below are friends of ours. Their daughter is in Grace's class. We think this is incredible and hope you'll be moved to help.

WORLD WATER DAY, March 22 - Phoenix Family Turns Off House Water for One Week to Save a Child's Life for a Year!

A Phoenix family turns off their house water for one week to save a child's life for one year!

This family of four will shut off their Phoenix suburban house water for one week. They will fulfill their daily water needs by carrying water in buckets from their 'water well' to their home each day, perhaps a few times a day if necessary. They will fill their buckets at the local well - the Verrado Village Sport and Health Club - and carry their water up Main Street to their home which is approx. one mile round trip. They have chosen to give up their house water as a representation of how challenging it is around the world to obtain clean water each day.

They are hopeful that they will generate awareness to help solve the global pure water crisis - all in honor of World Water Day. Watch and share in their daily experiences at

They are giving up water for one week (Sunday, March 22 - Sunday, March 29) to save a child's life for one year. Their hope is that people will recognize and acknowledge their efforts by donating a simple $10 to save a child's life for one year. Each $10 donation purchases a water filter that hangs around a child's neck and filters out bacteria that causes waterborne diseases, which kills 4500 children each day. Visit for more information on how you can help, and to save a child's life from waterborne disease for one year. The water filters will be distributed in Kenya in August, 2009.

The family resides just outside of Phoenix, Arizona and includes two daughters, Picabo (13) and Livvie (10). They will be ready to shut off their house water on Sunday, March 22 at 5 pm in honor of WORLD WATER DAY 2009. (Maybe girls not so ready!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bring on the Zulu Knots!

It's getting harder to do Nina's hair simply because she's mobile so she'd prefer to move than sit. But she's still awfully patient with me. I decided the other day that it was time to try Zulu Knots. Her hair is so long that when I made the initial ponytail and started wrapping it, I actually tied it in a knot and then wrapped it all the way around! Her hair is about 10 inches from root to end at this point if you pull her gorgeous curls out.

Be patient NeeNee, we're in for another hour of styling!
(She looks just thrilled, doesn't she?)

A close up - almost done!

Finis (and it lasted 3 days!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

As Promised

The kids reading their Valentine's Day magazines from Grammy and Poppy. They each got a 1-year subscription to magazines by the Cricket group and they love them! (and Nina is enjoying Mama's National Geographic!)

The Nina

She'll be running around before we know it.

I found the neatest organization this morning. I've again taken up knitting (much to my mother's dismay, as I have to call her every 8 seconds asking, "Now the directions say to do such-and-such. What does that mean?" as though she can "describe" how to knit over the phone). I subscribe to the Lion Brand newsletter, and this month they are featuring a neat charity called Knit-A-Square.

Their tagline is: Knit a Square to Keep a Cold Child Warm.

You can read all about them on their site but, basically, they ask knitters to knit a square (or two, or seventeen) and mail them to them. They then mail them to South Africa where the Soweto Comfort Club (a group of women from a church in South Africa) stitch the squares together to create warm blankets for the children of the region who often suffer through cold nights with no blankets.

The site gives tons of information on the organization, the process, and even how to knit! I promise, knitting a square is an easy undertaking if you're patient. It's quick and very rewarding. Once you start, you may not stop! Who knows what is in your knitting future? Blankets, scarves, sweaters, booties, hats? The options are endless!

If anyone is interested in this, let me know. I may set a goal for Believe Impossible Things to collect xx number of knitted squares to send to Knit-A-Square and on to South Africa. Think how many blankets we could provide to keep children warm at night!

We can even do an online knitting tutorial for those of you interested in getting started. I promise, if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Come on Katie - you need to be rewarded with the joy of completing more than the eyebrow warmer you created 7 years ago!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I promise, promise, promise new pictures are coming.

For today, I need a bit of help. Consider it a Valentine's Day gift. I won't get one otherwise. The kids won't even share so much as a Hershey Kiss with me.

I've entered a blog contest at Frankly, it's a pretty cool site.

If you have a moment, would you go to, click on Current Episode at the top, and then scroll down and find my post underneath their video? It's presently #2 under the Most Recent tab. It's titled Dads of Twins: God Love 'Em.

In the narrow column to the left of each post summary are 3 categories: funny, helpful, & honest. All you have to do to vote is click on one (or all!) of the categories. I'd love to win funny, but I'll take anything! You can click on all 3 categories and cast a vote in each one, if you'd like.

I'm presently in 2nd place for Funny, so I need to call on all my peeps out there to give me a hand. I asked my kids for help, and then said, "Sorry Mom, we're heading out into the snow." 


Thank you!

And I shall reward you with recent photos of my glorious princes and princesses within 72 hours (though this is dependent upon my glorious husband's photo editing timelines).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Any Other Saturday

Today was interesting.

David went hunting in Sedona and took Grace with him. He dropped her off at her cousin's to spend the night. Both she and Casey (said cousin) were so excited that neither of them slept last night, so I don't know how well their plans to stay up until 2AM will go.

Anyhoo, here I was with Jack, Henry, George, and Nina until 4:30.

Now, you may have gleaned that I've been spending a lot of one-on-one time with Jack lately.

Grace and I have many girly days where we go shopping, out to eat, or whatever. We've also gone on several trips together.

I spent the vast majority of Henry's life with him from the age of 4 months until he turned 3. He was receiving so much therapy outside the house and I was required to do so much inside the house that we were pretty much connected to one another for many years. Not surprisingly in hindsight, Jack (even at only 18 months) often acted as the therapist's "assistant" with Henry. The kid could totally fend for himself while Henry wouldn't touch food or move a limb to get anything he wanted, so I thanked God for Jack's self-sufficient nature and went to grab Henry a rattle. Or a Cheerio.

George, as I've mentioned, didn't cut the cord until he was 3 1/2. He now wants nothing to do with me, which is somewhat upsetting, but he's a bit of a "Daddy's Boy" these days. Truly, he was on my hip, like an interesting fashion accessory, for the first 3 1/2 years of his life.

And Nina, well, Nina is obviously with me most of the time these days.

So Jack has sort of gotten the shaft, as they say. And I'm greatly enjoying making it up to him.

The kid is so multi-faceted it's unbelievable. He's athletic and domestic and kind and funny.

This afternoon I asked him to go with me on a mountain bike ride into...can you guess...the mountains. Our neighbors told us about a trail up into the mountains behind our house that sounded fun.

Of course, he agreed.

On the way up the hill (the very steep hill), I hear him behind me profess, "I love my life."

Now, most 7-year-olds love a lot of things: their toys, Wii, days off from school, ice cream...

But to say, "I love my LIFE" as a 7-year-old?

I somehow doubt that happens all that often.

It was the most Zen statement he's ever made --- totally void of materialism --- and only focusing on how beautiful the day was, the fact that he was out enjoying it on his bike and, I like to think, the fact that we were out and about together.

So then we head up to this trail.

Now, let me preface all this by saying that I was not wearing a helmet. But I survived. Barely. And I wrote Liz Helmet on the Target list the minute we returned home. My dad will have a heart attack over this. But, like I said, I'm fine. Barely.

Now, when you're mountain biking with your 7-year-old (and looking muy cool with the baby seat on the back of your most fab Diamondback mountain bike that was given to you by your fab husband 11 years ago --- and hasn't been ridden know, because I got pregnant about 6 minutes after the gift was presented and stayed that way until...well...recently) and every 8 minutes or so that 7-year-old turns his head 180-degrees to the right to inquire, "Mom? You okay back there?" you start to feel a bit...well...old.

Then, we hit this huge downhill...all rocks...and, did I mention, I didn't have a helmet.

I told Jack, as we sat perched at the top of this very steep hill aware that there was nowhere to go BUT down, that this is why we wear helmets. So if you go over the handlebars and hit your head on a rock, the helmet protects your very delicate and important brain.

The whole way down I'm going, "Do not go over the handlebars. Do not go over the handlebars."

We made it, and Jack goes, "Mom, if we hit another hill like that, I'm going first. I think I need to test it for you. And do you have a CLUE where this path will end up?"

No sir. I do not.

So, another hill we hit and, as promised, Jack raised his hand and said, "Stop. I'm going first."

I truly felt like I was younger than he is.

So, after we made it down that hill (with the damn baby seat bouncing like mad the whole way down), Jack goes, "Mom, you really do need a helmet. Because if you fall and get hurt, I'll be lost."

"Jack, somehow I am quite confident that you would find your way home."

"Well, that's true," he confided. "But I wouldn't know what to do with your body."


I said, "Jack, this raises an excellent point. Next time we do this, I'm bringing (along with a helmet) my cell phone."

Jack says, "Yeah, you need to teach me how to use that. In case I have to get someone to come get your body."

Also lovely.

So, an hour later we finally arrived at an outlet from which I thought we could get home. And as we came up over the hill, we saw David, Nina, and George. David was like, "Good God - where did you come from?"

Jack answered, "Don't ask."

I love that I have 5 kids who are all SO different from one another that I can so clearly identify what it is about each of them that is special and unique. I can have 5 special and oh-so-different relationships at the same time. I know without doubt that two of them will scream at me for much of the day, two of them will be eager to go on any adventure with me, and one of them will do something amazing each day like clap or laugh or get a tooth.

As Jack said so well, I love my life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Girl

Before I update on the Neenster (as George calls her), let me show you this fine image of my Jack. The other day, I asked Jack if he wanted to go to the mall with me. He darted upstairs to put on his new clothes AND style his hair.

Off to the mall we went. He learned very quickly how to spot a sale, and insisted on carrying all of my bags through the mall. He's 7!

He can just as quickly come home and grab his football and head outside for some throwing practice.

One day, he's going to be the best husband. He reminds me so much of David because he'll carry his wife's bags through the mall and then come home and sit down to the Superbowl. He's fantastic.

Henry will undoubtedly have to live with Jack forever since he refuses to pick up even a sock. In fact, he hung around all day the other day with only one sock on. Apparently, it was far too exhausting to find the other one (or take the one he was wearing off).

On to the Neenster. So, my girl spent most of yesterday under the end table in the family room. I don't know what this is all about, but I think she'll be a fort builder when she's 2.

She had her 9-month appt yesterday and she weighed in at 20 pounds, 12 ounces (80th percentile). She was 28" (70th percentile) and her head was in the 90th percentile (but, frankly, I think the nurse was challenged by the amount of hair Nina has, so it's possible that it's not quite as big as it measured).

She's doing great...crawling all OVER this house. She says "Mama" and "Hi" and will often clap when asked to clap. Her hair is finally beginning to grow down instead of out! Peek-A-Boo is by far her favorite game and she can often be heard just laughing at herself (or something!) for no reason whatsoever.

I truly never knew the joy I would feel being a mother to this gorgeous little girl! I am so thankful for her each and every second (though right now I'm really hoping she'll opt for a nap instead of continuing to yell "Mama" from her crib!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New 'Do for a New Year

If you could hear Nina right now you would die. She just sits on the floor and plays and sings to herself. We are all having SO much fun with her. She's just got the best disposition on earth and she's ALL OVER this house. Crawling everywhere.

Last night, David was trading baseball cards with the bigger kids (I don't know who's more excited about this, the kids or David) and Nina was crawling right into their stacks of cards.

Jack was so good about it. He'd just joke with her and pick her up and put her on the other side of the room. But by the time he got back to his spot, she was already there! He had a great attitude about it though. Good she chose him and not Henry.

Here are some pictures of a recent hairstyle I tried. I got the idea from my friend Aimee. Only took an hour, but thankfully if you put a bucket of toys in front of her, she'll sit for that long quite happily.

She also now does the sign for "more" and laughs at herself in the mirror in her crib all the time. It's hilarious.

As Uncle Michael says, "What up, yo?"

"Like my farm? Me too."

Details of the 'do

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A little humor...

Maybe it's just me, but I laugh every time I watch this...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here is a photo from yesterday, when the temperature was 72. Don't you just want to butter her up and have her for dinner? She's so fantastic. And she has hardly any hair. If you want to see the photo bigger, just click on it.

Another uneventful New Year's Eve is behind us. David and I made it until 10:30; it was a record. I had to see Dick Clark, who is a staple of my New Year's Eves, and I did that. Anything beyond that was gravy.

Today the kids made New Year's Resolutions. They were interesting.

1. Play soccer, football and games with my family.
2. Play with Nina.

I suggested that he could perhaps agree to actually sit by me for 2 minutes per day. He declined.

1. Sit by mom when she's sick (?) and other stuff.
2. Stop screaming and yelling

The "sick" comment likely is because I have no voice today. The kids are thrilled.
I can't wait for #2 to become a reality.

1. Play lots of games with my family.
2. Spend 1/2 the year doing everything with Papa and then spend the other 1/2 of the year doing everything with Mama.
3. Do things with Mama. Because no one ever does anything with Mama.

Amen to #3.

1. Finish my novel, Amazing Amy
2. Make new friends
3. Get straight A+ on report card
4. Stop chewing with my lips open
5. Save more money

She's not at all an over-achiever.

I'm only making one resolution for myself because I'm smart enough to know, at the ripe age of 36, that even one may not make it to fruition. But it's to finish MY novel (of which I've written a whopping 4 pages).

Okay, I do have one more. I'd like to get good at my guitar, which I've owned for 2 whole weeks. I'm terrified even to get it out of the case lest I can't play like Eric Clapton within 24 hours.

David won't let me post his resolutions. But they are very "organic," I'll say that.

Here are some photos from Christmas Eve:

Grace won't let an opportunity to get matching outfits for her and her sister go by!

This is as close to me as George got this holiday season. He is showcasing his watch from Aunt Mollie and Uncle Gary which was the hit of the season. Little did they know he'd been BEGGING for his own watch! It goes everywhere with him.
The boys. This is how we now photograph our family without an extra around to capture all of us together: boys in one shot, girls in another. The boys are wearing their shark tooth necklaces from Fiji, compliments of Grandpa Bill! They love them, and the sharks' teeth are really sharp! (I hope they don't decide to use them as weapons anytime soon.)

Happy New Year everyone!!