Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mini Ice Cream Cones - Elf on the Shelf Style!

Elf Ice Cream Cone

Meet our elf, Claude

So, tomorrow A is supposed to bring in mini elf treats to her kindergarten class. After much pinterest searching I could only come up with the cheerios that were made into doughnuts...while they are certainly cute it was also listed as an option on the homework sheet...and well..I like to be different. So I was walking around the grocery store with no real idea of what I would make when I saw a bag of Caramel Bugles and decided they would make some pretty cute ice cream cones! And since ice cream would surely melt I went for vanilla icing...added some sprinkles and voila...elf ice cream was born. Easy. Peasy. Now, I'm sure I am not the first person to think of this...but such an easy and cute "elf treat" must be shared with other elf on the shelf momma's looking for their next elf adventure!

All you need:
Caramel Bugles
Icing to pipe into the bugles
Sprinkles to top the icing

And maybe something to hold your mini ice cream cones upright if you make a lot of them. I just used a small garment box and made hole punches in it!

this mess up cone ended up being cute too!
Claude can't wait to dig in!

who better to make elf treats than an elf himself? (let's pretend I didn't spell his name wrong)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I didn't tell the truth.

If they are giving out awards for world's greatest bloggers, I'm not getting one.

Excuse my last blog entry and the lies it held.

As soon as I said we were back one of my wild and crazy beautiful, wonderful, precious children smashed...and I mean smashed as in screen crushed, whatever liquids behind the screen dripping, can't see a thing kind of lap top. I envision the scene going much like this:

"Hmmm...mommy left her laptop on the couch. That could be fun. Let's think of the best way that we can totally ruin it. Mommy will love that. I'm going to take it off the couch, put it on the floor and pretend it's a trampoline. That will be AWESOME!!"

It will forever be a mystery since no one will admit to the actual sequence of events. Ava blamed it on Chet. Chet blamed it on Nora. And Nora blamed it on Ava....story of my life. I am again...back to you believe me???

Friday, July 27, 2012

end of the blogging break!

Okay...We are back from a LONG blogging break...It was really not a purposeful blogging break since our daily life is full of some pretty entertaining blogging material, but to sit down and put it all in a coherent thought that is longer than a facebook status was just not happening with all of the adjustments going on around or house!

We are getting in the swing of our new normal and maybe, just maybe, I can get back to blogging and reading some of my favorite blogs! Here goes nothin'!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ethiopia Happenings...

Things in Ethiopia are going really well...we have settled into a routine with CT and he is doing beautifully. He still has some sad moments that are to be expected, but overall he is growing more and more attached to us. He prefers for mommy to hold him at all times unless he is in wild man mode and is running around crashing toy cars, kicking and throwing balls, and just over all being wild and destructive! He loves to play with daddy, but always come back to snug with mommy :)

He is the most precious little boy and is really SO smart. He imitates everything we do and is already using English words! He says yes, no, thank you, here you go, and uh oh! He loves to roll his eyes and make silly faces...he is constantly making us laugh! He doesn't really turn on until the after noon, but when he does it's really a sight!

We have had the guest house to ourselves which has surprisingly been very nice and relaxing. It's so different than a house full of great friends that had the last time that we were here, but I think it's been really good for CT to have alone time with mommy and daddy.  We have had fun hanging out with our friend Yonatan who runs the guest house and tomorrow we are going to dinner with some friends who live out of state and are adopting a little boy through a different agency. We met during our last trip and have gone through the same process with the USE and USCIS on the exact same timeline - so it will be nice to see them in person again and not via facebook!

Today we went to Mountain Entoto which was where the city of Addis Ababa was first settled. I believe it's also the highest point in Addis. We got to experience the beautiful views as well as visit the first church in Addis which was carved into the limestone into the side of the mountain. We learned a lot of very cool facts!

CT is sleeping really well...he woke up one time the other night, but other than that is sleeping straight through the night. He is getting over an ear infection and cold, but seemed to be feeling much better today since he has been fever free!

Unfortunately the wifi isn't exactly supporting me uploading lots of pics to blogger, so I've given up on that for the night...I'll add more later or at least do a big blog post of pictures once we get back home...

Love from Ethiopia,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Day in ET - Keepin' It Real

Oh, it is so good to be back! The second we got off the plane and took a big fat breath of Ethiopia my heart was just about to burst. Our travel day was nothing less of eventful from delayed flights, to running from one end of airports to the absolute other in order to catch our flight, to bumpy flights and so on! We got into the guest house after 11 p.m. and thankfully had a good nights sleep...

For the sake of keeping it was largely a sad day. We went to get CT from the transition house in the late morning because a lot of the drivers were at church...which we had actually wanted to do, but kind of forgot what day it was until it was too late! I am not quite sure if CT remembered us or not, but he was quite hesitant around us and stuck very close to his nanny...we expected this from him after getting to know him on the last trip. We played with the kids with balls, balloons, suckers and other toys that we brought and didn't show him much special attention so he could just get used to our presence. But the second he realized we were leaving it was an all out melt down...he screamed and fought us the whole car ride to the guest house until I just held him as tight as I could and prayed and prayed for Jesus to enter his heart and give him peace in this moment. He instantly quieted and fell asleep on me for the rest of the ride. After he woke up he was pretty sad again, so we loaded him into the ergo and went to friendship mall to walk around and have pizza since CT loves to sight see. He enjoyed it and fell back to sleep. There are so many places to serve in Ethiopia and on our way back home we came across a young girl with a baby who needed clothes and luckily we had some clothes, shoes, a toy and formula to give her. We know it was a small act, but we are thankful that it was something we were able to do for her and on this trip we are really praying that God will open our eyes to the ways that we can be His hands and feet.

When we got home he was sad off so we broke out the puffs... apparently he loves the taste of air because he pretty much ate a whole container as we sat on the bed and held and comforted him. We changed his diaper and clothes and put some really good lotion on his poor dry skin and went outside to play. He wouldn't let me put him down, but we blew bubbles and nate would toss us a ball and CT would kick it (as I was holding him!) across the court yard. He liked that game and we even got a few half we played it for an unnecessary LONG amount of time! CT really turned the corner during our game and has done really well since then. We walked  to dinner to our favorite chinese restaurant and then walked to Kaldi's for some yummy ice cream all without tears. It was CT's first taste of ice cream (as far as we can tell) and he was SO funny! The first bite he acted like I gave him pureed peas and made the most awful face...after that he wanted more and more, but he would keep his mouth open after each bite until the ice cream melted and then he would close his mouth and swallow it. He is such a cutie!

We came back home, got in PJ's and rocked him to sleep (I did try to lay him down awake, but he decided that was not how things were going to go down!). And since my camera is in the room with the sleeping precious boy you wont be getting any cute pictures on this blog post, but our guest house got WI FI PUT IN LAST WEEK (!!!!!!!) so I promise to upload some tomorrow!!

Please pray for our sweet boy as he goes through this process of grieving. We are filled with joy that he is in our arms forever, but broken hearted by all that he has lost and is losing in just 22 months of life. Adoption is really sad stuff. Really. Sad. But thankfully WE SERVE A GOD WHO REDEEMS!! We praise him for the life of Chet Tamerat and we praise Him for all of the work He will do on his precious heart and that He makes beautiful things out of the dust...that HE makes adoption beautiful! (as pointed out by created for care shirt that I will wear tomorrow!)

He makes all things beautiful. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Much Love From Ethiopia,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WE CLEARED!!!!!!!!!!


It has been a LONG journey, but we are COMING TO GET YOU, Chet Tamerat Miller...Mommy and Daddy will be there soon!!!!

I didn't sleep at all last night...tossed, turned, checked email...over and over again. The last time I checked it was 5:50a.m....AND THER IT WAS!! The email from USCIS that said we cleared and our case is being sent back to Addis!!! I excitedly started saying "We cleared! We cleared!" and bonking my sleeping husband in the head with my shining, brightly, cell phone (how's that for a wake up??). He put his hands out to shield himself and was like "WHAT? stop! We really cleared????!!!".

Yes. We. Did.

Tears ensued. Tears all day.

Thank you, Jesus. You are faithful!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

22 Months Old and an Ocean Away

Happy 22 months to our sweet Chet Tamerat!!

My Precious Son,

We have watched you grow from 13 months to 22 months old through updates, pictures, and videos. We pray that this is the last month that you will grow older without us and that you ALWAYS know just how much we love you and how hard we are fighting to have you in our family. We long for you to be here with us and we know that God will make a way! We wait with anticipation for the moment that you are in our arms forever and we start making sweet memories as a family. Even though you are not here yet, you are always in our hearts and minds and you are loved deeply from an ocean away.

Your Mommy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

We've been "Nairobi'd"

When we were submitted to embassy on Dec 8th the thought of being Nairobi'd (as some have recently coined it...since, besides the rare case here and there, it's a fairly new phenomenon) made me want to pretty much throw up. But our case had pretty much stopped making forward progress, so when we got that email on February 1st that told us the news part of me was very sad, and part of me was relieved to at least have something happening.

I know not everyone knows what it means to be sent to Nairobi, so let me explain our situation really quickly.

Our case went to the US Embassy in hopes of being approved for a visa for CT (so that he can come home). Unfortunately our case was deemed "not clearly approvable.". This doesn't mean that he can never be awarded a visa, but that our case needs further review. It will now be reviewed at the USCIS office in Nairobi, Kenya.  The timeframe for this is approximately 30 whole, long, excruciating days, but a deadline none the less (at which point you are cleared or sent for more review-which we won't even think about right now!).  It takes a week for the files to make it to Kenya and ours arrived as expected on February 8th.

So now, the countdown it on! But, get this, the majority of families lately are clearing in a week to a week and a half after their file arrives in Kenya...not 30 (whole, long, excruciating) days!! That is super encouraging news and we've got a little favor to ask of you :)

Will you join us in PRAYING that our case follows this trend and is CLEARED in the name of JESUS super, duper, miraculously FAST??? We covet your prayers and we are thankful for a God who hears them!

The countdown to our sweet CT is on!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I wasn't kidding...

Just in case y'all thought I was kidding about how powerful the moment of prayer over Ethiopia was during my "date with God"...Allison from Lovin Much blog wrote about it today!! (Click the name of her blog to go read her experience, too!)...We talked about it briefly at the conference, but it's very cool to see how she put this moment into words too!

A friend sent me an email saying..."Look it's one of your crying friends!" with a link to her blog...God was right there with us...and I know that each of us felt Him!

(At least I wasn't the only one wanting to take a picture!!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Created for Care

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to go to the Created for Care Retreat (in Buford, GA on Lake Lanier) which is for adoptive mommas (or people thinking about being an adoptive momma). It was SO wonderful...I signed up to go to C4C in September thinking that my little boy would have been home for a while by the time I went. And then, as time went on, I thought he would be too newly home for me to be able to go. And then I was thinking I would be in Africa and not be able to go. But as it turns out he's not home yet and I was able to make it to the retreat. I am always trying to find the good in our wait and this retreat is definitely on the list. I am SO thankful that I was able to go!
The beautiful lake
I went with some friends from church and we had a wonderful time together, not to mention all of the wonderful people that we met! There were 433 women there (and 400 new women coming to the retreat in march...WOW!) and I learned SO much from the sessions that I really felt renewed and refreshed by the end of the weekend....not to mention better equipped to bring home an adopted toddler. I met many people whose child was the exact same age as CT when they were adopted so I got LOTS of great advice and tips. One thing I cam away with...Toddler Adoption is Hard!! I am up for the challenge and the hard road...even if it's not easy for a while I know that this boy deserves a family who loves him and that we are no doubt the one God chose for him. My heart could just burst with the love I have for him and am not able to giving him right now!
newest picture of our little guy! isn't your heart about to burst too???
One of the most special moments of the retreats was an hour or so that was blocked out for a "date with God"...there were different stations where you could spend personal time with God...they ranged from clay, paint, post it prayer walls, reflection tent...etc. Well, there was one that was called "pray for the nations" and the wall was lined with maps and there was a big plastic map covering the floor. I immediately knew that was where I wanted to go first. I wanted to sit right down on that map, lay my hands on Ethiopia and PRAY relentlessly for my little boy and his home country. I bee-lined for the map and as soon as I closed my eyes I could feel I was right there with him, praying over his sweet little self. The emotions of this moment were so strong as I cried (shocker!) and prayed for our little boy. I felt other hands join mine and could hear many tears hitting against the plastic. At one moment I opened my eyes and there were five other hands forming a circle around the word ETHIOPIA on the map. Five mommas praying and in tears for their little ones from this country. Some of them have yet to see their child's face, some of us had met them and had to leave them, maybe some were already home. No matter the situation we were all drawn to this special place on the map...this place in the world that will always be a part of our souls!

Y'all...I. HAD. CHILLS. and of course I wanted to break out my phone and take a picture of the hands that were praying over Ethiopia, but I didn't want to be the creepy girl taking pictures :) or take away from their time with I didn't, but I will never forget it...What a blessing. God loves Ethiopia. God loves orphans. God loves Chet Tamerat....I already knew that, but man it was good to rest in it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's in a name??

Many have asked and so I'm sure even more have wondered, "what happened to Nolan??"

Well, let me explain...

I'm a name person. I LOVE picking baby names. It is was the first thing I wanted to decide on with both pregnancies. Pick a boy name a girl name (and let's be honest...I have a running list, so it's not that hard to come up with). And true to form, when we decided we were adopting a little boy I wanted to have a name picked out asap. I wanted to refer to him as my son, with a name, even though we had never seen his face before. 

So I begged and annoyed my husband until he agreed we agreed on the name Nolan from early on, but after a few months Nate felt unsettled about the name we had chosen and even more so after we saw the picture of our son. So...we changed it.  

Clarification: there was NOT a little boy named Nolan that we were once adopting and no longer adopting. It was just a name change (I know some people have been confused about this). Always have been (from the very start, even before we knew him) on the path to adopt this one sweet boy who God always knew would be in our family.

Sometime over the summer we agreed on the the name Chester "Chet" Tamerat Miller. Chester was Nate's dad's name and he went by Chet. I love having a name that is special to our family and my husband and Chet is just such a cute name on our little guy. We said from the first time we saw our son's  picture that the name Chet "fit" him.  Tamerat is his African name and we were adamant that it would always be a part of his name. Tamerat is a common name in Ethiopioa and means "Miracle". In Ethiopian culture is often given to children when it is considered a miracle that they are alive or were not expected to live through child birth. We definitely consider it a miracle that God has blessed us with this son!

The plan is to eventually transition from Tamerat to Chet Tamerat to Chet, but if we get home and that doesn't happen that is fine to.  And of course, Nate loves to call him CT as that has always been his favorite initial combo (random, yes.)

So, that's what's in a name...or at least Chester Chet Tamerat CT's name...Glad we cleared that up :)