Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New photos of Ezra

On Saturday Ezra and I went for a date ;) It was a mommy and Ezzy day out and we let Daddy have some time to himself since he's home with Ezra all the time. We went to a park off of Camp Bowie then to a J. Rae's bakery for some of their famously delicious cupcakes, then off to the Trinity River Park Duck Pond for a walk. We were chased by some very territorial and nasty geese and I had whelps and red marks from them biting me while I was trying to save Ezra since he doesn't know that not all animals want to be kissed by little boys ;). Then we went shopping at Fort Worth's #1 kids boutique ZOE + JACK (per the sign on their store). It is a precious little shop that has unique finds and adorable clothes but be prepared to rack up a bill b/c it's a bit pricey.
Today we went fishing at a church friend's catfish pond and caught some HUGE fish as you can see from the pictures below - haha. Then we went to Incredible Pizza (an arcade with go carts, etc. in Euless) for dinner with some family that are in town. Ezra is still too little to really get excited about that kind of place so we'll wait a few years before we go back.

Our trip to the Trinity River Duck Pond in Fort Worth:

This is my Uncle Be with one of our HUGE catches of the day :)

My mom's "monster" bream...

Herman just wanted to chase the llama...

Monday, March 29, 2010

The War rages on...

I read this excerpt from the blog of a mom who's adopting from the DRC. This massacre happened in December yet we are only hearing of it NOW nearly 4 months later. I just posted a portion of the article. If you know anything about Uganda and the history of the Acholi people and the "invisible children" then this article should be quite interesting. If terms like, "LRA - the Lord's Resistance Army" are unknown to you then you should read Girl Soldier by Faith J.H McDonnell and Grace Akallo.

KINSHASA (AFP) – Ugandan LRA rebels killed at least 321 civilians in a previously unreported "well-planned" four-day attack on villages in the DR Congo last December, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday. In a report released in Kampala, HRW said 250 others, including at least 80 children, were abducted in the December 14-17 Lord's Resistance Army attack in the remote Makombo area of northeastern Haut Uele district.

A Catholic clergyman at Isiro-Niangara in the same district, speaking before the report was issued, confirmed that 30 members of the rebel LRA attacked a dozen villages of Haut Uele, which is in Orientale province. "They killed at least 300 people. They also kidnapped between 200 and 400 others before disappearing," clergyman Dieudonne Abakuba told AFP.

"During the well-planned LRA attack," the rebel outfit "killed at least 321 civilians and abducted 250 others, including at least 80 children," said the HRW report headed "Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo."

A Congolese villager with machete wounds to his head -- from an attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Ugandan LRA rebels killed at least 321 civilians in a previously unreported "well-planned" four-day attack on villages in the DR Congo last December, according to Human Rights Watch.

"The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks".

"The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a three-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes," said the report, written after a mission visited the region in February.
Between 25 and 40 rebels had walked for 100 kilometres (65 miles) during the operation which was aimed at killing, abducting and pillaging, Human Rights Watch said.

"The Makombo massacre is one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history, yet it has gone unreported for months," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, a senior Africa researcher for the rights watchdog.

"The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim." Human Rights Watch said witnesses it interviewed said that "for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the 'stench of death.'"

Children and adults who escaped gave similar accounts of the "extreme brutality", it said.
"Many of the children captured by the LRA were forced to kill other children who had disobeyed the LRA?s rules. In numerous cases documented by Human Rights Watch, children were ordered to surround the victim in a circle and take turns beating the child on the head with a large wooden stick until the child died," the report said.

The clergyman said the rebels were wearing military uniforms. "They killed a lot of people on the road and attacked them with bludgeons," he said. "They killed mainly men. They chopped some people's heads off and kidnapped children on their way to school," added regional lawmaker Jeannette Abakuba, confirming the more than 300 dead.

Life with out credit cards...

We are a "Dave Ramsey" family ,therefore we are a NO credit card family. We love living with as little debt as possible and usually it's a non-issue. But I tell ya, when it comes to having to buy furniture or plane tickets it's just soooooo frustrating. Today I had to call the bank to extend my spending limit to buy Ezra a bunk bed from Pottery Barn. I then called Pottery Barn to place the order and low and behold it didn't work :( - blurg. So then I have to call the bank to see when the order will go through and now have to wait for someone to call me back to then call back the customer service rep at PB.
Not the end of the world I know but still very frustrating. Here are some pics of the bedding/throw pillows and bed that we are getting Ezra. His room is themed as "Vintage World Travel" - ohhh lala. And we recently painted his room a "grey/navy" color if that makes sense to anyone ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The only GOOD thing about the new health care bill...

With the signing of the new health care bill, adoptive parents received some very welcome news. Not only will the adoption tax credit be extended until December 2011, but it has also been increased from $12,170 to $13,170 for adoptions occurring after January 2010. And for the first time, the credit will now be refundable. Families may receive a refund for documented expenses for the adoption of their child.

What this mean to adoptive families:
The best news: This new tax law means that adoptive parents may apply up to $13,170 of their adoption expenses toward their taxes owed, thereby decreasing the amount owed overall by this amount. However, the news gets even better. For the first time, families may be getting cash back from the IRS for their adoption expenses. That's right, the credit may now be taken as a refund for the first time. In the event that the couple owes less than the tax credit amount stated, they may receive some or all of the balance as a refund on their Federal taxes.

The tax credit is important to both international and domestic adoptive families, but it's greatest beneficiaries are the children who will now have permanent families thanks to adoption being more affordable. Many groups and individuals have successfully lobbied to help extend this tax credit beyond its original expiration date of December 2010, and are still seeking to make the tax credit permanent. As we celebrate the extension of the deadline to December 2011, we must also remain vigilant in seeking to make this legislation a lasting gift to the children who wait.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So funny I'm literally crying!!!!

Hill- FREAKING - arious!!!!!

Wedding monograms

One of my technicians at work is getting married in September and because I love doing crafty things and I'm trying to figure out this whole photoshop thing I told her I'd try and make her some little monograms to put on goodie bags, menus, etc. So here are some of the things I've come up with so far. I can't get my version of photoshop to "rasterize". If anyone knows what this means and what I'm doing wrong please let me know :)

Funny man...

So it's only 9:30am and already Ezra had just cracked us up. The first thing he did was in our bed there's a space b/w the mattress and the head board so if you look down the "space" you can see through to the floor. Well Ezra was hanging out with me while I was checking my e-mail and he kept saying "down, down" and was looking through the space and I said, "what's down there buddy" and he said "Big Bird". I have had Michael confirm that no, in fact there is not an 8 foot bird muppet under our bed :)
So we're all hanging out in bed and Ezra uses my skin to grab a hold of and pull himself up - OUCH! So when I yelped and told him no, that he hurt Mommy. So he put on a frown, slid off of our bed, walked out of the room, but then came back for his final insult which was to close the door behind him. :)
On a side note, I'm getting really excited about adopting from the DRC.

I keep hearing great things about this group of volunteers called Our Family Adoptions that work for families adopting from the DRC and there are no program fees which helps out a lot. The foster to adopt side of things is basically almost free and we would have a child quicker but I do feel so strongly called to Africa that I'd be abandoning a child there. I'm so excited to see who the Lord has in mind for our family!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ezra's first shave...

This morning I was getting ready and I heard a drawer shut and little feet running out of the bathroom.
Never a good sign.
So I quickly put down the hair dryer and run out of the bathroom to see what it is that Ezra has that he knows he shouldn't (hence the running) and as he turns to look at me I see him raking a razor across his chin!!! YIKES! He didn't seem phased and didn't act like anything had happened but I immediately see the blood start to pool.
Here are some pictures of the offending razor with his blood on it and him showing me his bo-bo.

When Daddy got home he took Ezra for a ride to make him feel better :)

These last 2 pics or just random photos of Ezzy playing with the dogs.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Decisions, decisions...

So I heard through another Aledo family's blog that the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) had opened up for international adoption. Apparently this happened some time ago after we got Ezra but I had no idea. I've been in contact with a family who adopted a baby boy from there and it sounds very encouraging. It should be relatively inexpensive and quick if we go the route that they did. Of course this is all just hypothetical seeing as how we're still broke and I still really want a baby girl but if we decide to go with the DRC then we'll likely get another boy next. The need is great and again I see the you tube videos of these kids and it just breaks my heart. Since they are not a Hague convention country the whole process seems a lot less of a hassle and the in country stay is only one week. We'll see... I'm still waiting for the Lord to give me the push that I need to go forward with either the DRC or with foster to adopt. Decisions, decisions... in the mean time I'm working my tail off to try to save up some money. It's great if the process is faster but at the same time you have to come up with the money quicker. The main thing with the DRC is that they don't allow families with 2 kids to adopt (they may make some exceptions but I don't know what the criteria are). So if we are going to do it then we need to do it now before we get our next child. In the mean time I'm trying to learn how to work photoshop, layering things, etc. I'm watching all of these tutorials and I'm still lost as a goose :)

Just a few pics of some Congolese Orphans

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meet some new monsters..

Here are some new stationary designs :) The "little monsters" are 5x7 note cards that are a single fold with a bright yellow cardstock lining on the inside.

The "faith.hope.love" collection are on this beautiful tourqouise colored scallop trimmed note card. I think they are 6x6 but I'll have to measure them to be sure.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wonderful video!!

If you already love Third Day this will make you love them even more. Sorry it gets a bit cut off :(

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cupcake Addict.

For all of the cupcake addicts like myself out there...

In Fort Worth there's a bakery called J.Rae's off of South 7th and Foch St. near Trinity Park and it's AMAZING! We found it kind of by a happy mistake and have fallen in love :) The strawberry and German Chocolate are incredible. Also the red velvet is delecious! I still like the strawberry cupcakes from Ultimate Cupcake in Weatherford the best but their other flavors can't compare to J.Rae's. Just thought I'd put a shout out so all the other FW families can partake in a little bite of heaven :)

New Designs!!!

Here are some new designs from my Adopt Africa Couture etsy shop. These are a few new ones from my "little monsters" collection. I have a couple more that I'll introduce a little later on. Also I am planning to start doing stationary so most of the designs you see on a tee can be reproduced onto note cards. If you like what you see just click on our etsy ad on the right column of our blog, or go to www.adoptafricaetsy.com to be transfered to my etsy shop!

This is just one example of a note card, but any design can be reproduced onto stationary with matching envelopes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

50 Days Left..

I am happy to say that we can add Utah to our list of states with our Adopt Africa magnet thanks to Paul and Megan Hawkes! We still need lots of other state representatives so please look at the list and if you or someone you know is in one of these states stand up for orphans and how your support :)

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What an awful day!

This is exactly how I've felt today! I just wanted to throw stuff, and stomp my feet, and just tell everyone to leave me ALONE! Gosh... difficult cases, difficult clients, no breaks, someone contantly in my ear needing something when they can clearly see I'm up to my eyeballs.
Days like this aren't too often but lately it seems like that's been the trend and tomorrow looks to be equally as bad already. Sometimes I just wish that I didn't have to be the one to come up with the answers. Then to top it all off Ethiopia changed their in country requirements to TWO, count them, TWO trips in country to get your child. So now families have to meet their child BEFORE they go to court and then go back to ET to pick them up as well.
The fact that ET was a one trip country was a huge appeal to many people and now I'm afraid that it will significantly decrease the number of adoptions there. So many countries have halted adoptions all together that people wanting to adopt from Africa are very limited and now even more so. So disappointing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ezra makes coffee

The other night Michael and I were watching a movie with Ezra when he'd walked away for a while and I realized it was quiet...WAY too quiet. So I went into the kitchen to look for Ezra and he was sitting on the floor, had pulled out the coffee maker and was going through the motions of making coffee! I guess he's seen Michael do this every morning and just absorbed the steps like a sponge :)
I also have a few pics of Ezzy at the park. I brought bread for him to feed to the ducks but he ate it instead :) Michael and I were so happy that he was eating on his own that we could care less about missing out on handfeeding the ducks.