Monday, December 31, 2007

She Said It

5 year old Justine said, "Jaiden wasted all the camouflage."

Mommy "What camouflage?"

Justine, "The kind you clean your teeth with..."

Dental floss - Camouflage - pretty close.

The Nutcracker

I have always wanted my kids to be introduced to the theatre, opera, symphony, and ballet. Year and year, I had it on my list of things to do to get tickets to The Nutcracker, then the Christmas frenzy would begin, and I would realize that I had missed the deadline again. I have always thought going to see The Nutcracker would be a great family tradition to get started. So this year, I finally got it together enough to get tickets (thanks to my dad) to take the 3 smaller children and Nana to The Nutcracker Ballet.

We had great tickets in the balcony, near the percussion section. That fact made me nervous at first, but luckily Tchaikovsky liked bells and light drums as much as big, loud bass drums. I took a Tylenol just to be on the safe side.

We began our experience at the ballet with the 3 children fighting over who was going to sit nearest the percussion section. I think every single one of them sat in that seat at one point or another. Luckily, the fascination with the drums kept them from climbing on the balcony railing.

I believe whoever designed the Springfield Landers theatre must have been about 4 feet tall because I had my knees shoved up into my chest for the most of the ballet. Justine kept changing her mind about where she wanted to sit, therefore climbing over all of us. I think the people next to us were impressed with how well behaved my children were.

When the ballet began, the kids were really interested and watching the ballet. I was actually quite impressed.
During the Arabian dancers of the second act, one of the girls stepped on her loose fitting Arabian pants and they came completely off. Just a pile of cloth on the stage. My mouth dropped open. She was dancing in her underwear. I thought to myself, "well the show must go on. " A wardrobe malfunction. What is this the Superbowl?
Maybe the kids wouldn't notice...
About that time, all three kids turn to me and very loudly say "mom, is she supposed to be in her underwear?" I clasped my hand over their mouths to stiffle their giggles.
Now granted, it wasn't like she was wearing a thong. Thank God. She had on ballet underwear. Probably practices in it all the time. It's not a big deal, I kept telling myself. We made it through the underwear scene without too many more questions or giggles loud enough to be heard from anyone within a 10 row radius of us. And I thought what a great opportunity to teach the children about perservence and that the show must go on, no matter what. OK, I can deal with this.

Then the beautiful sugar plum fairy was dancing. Her cavalier was spinning her around and around. Jaiden gently nudges me and asks "Is it supposed to be like that?" Then I see what she's talking about. The back of the sugar plum fairy's very tight, sleeveless, strapless top is unbuttoned all the way up the back. It's holding by 1 little measly, quite stressed button. All I could think of "Please God, make that button hold, there couldn't be a bra under there." Here I brought my children to get them cultured in the ways of the theatre and I have practically brought them to a striptease. For all that is good in the world - please make that button hold!
I don't think I took in another breath during the dance of the sugar plum fairy. I was nearly faint by the time she left the stage...with her top intact.
So as we left the theatre, my legs numb from sitting in the midget chairs, my feet smashed from being stepped on SO many times while my children played musical chairs, I was only slightly light headed from holding my breath during the ballet, and I couldn't help but think what a great experience, and what a great tradition for a family to begin.
It was definitely an experience that I don't think any of them will forget. I know I won't.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas is over!

So Christmas is over. Our adoption is final. Justine is now 5 years old. What else have I accomplished this week? I washed my dog... I'm attempting to climb out from underneath my laundry pile and clean my house. Here is my top ten list of things I want to accomplish in the next 6 weeks.

10. Really clean and organize my house.
9. Read a book (and finish it) for pleasure.
8. Work on my packing list for Ethiopia.
7. Make travel arrangements for Ethiopia.
6. Take more pictures.
5. Take the kids to the Rutledge Wilson farm.
4. Listen to more music because it really makes me happy.
3. Learn to play pitch.
2. Eat healthier and exercise.
1. REALLY enjoy my husband and children.

So we will see how this list goes. I've decided against New Year's Resolutions this year. I am shooting for 6 week resolves. I don't think I have ever made a New Year's Resolution work for me, so I am trying a new method. Perhaps if I only have to think about 6 weeks at a time, I won't forget so quickly. Good luck with your "resolves" and may God Bless you in the year 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Notification of Parental Responsibilities

As of today December 26, 2007 at 7:58 pm CST, we were notified that we are now the official parents of Merkeb (William) Jameson Ellerbee and Filemon (William Joshua Ellerbee. YEAH!

We have waited so long for this moment, it's almost surreal. Jeff cried; I'm just absolutely in shock and numb. I thought the courtdate wasn't until tomorrow, so I actually didn't worry about it too much today. When Crystal called, I couldn't believe it! It's done.

They are officially ours! Crystal is forwarding an email from Shimellis about the travel time frame. She said he has broken it all down into how long it takes to get what paperwork done etc. We are NOW looking at traveling the first two weeks of February. So that looks like our 10 year wedding anniversary and convention plans at the end of February may be put on hold...but who cares?

They are going to be here soon! What an awesome, wonderful Christmas gift! Now we move on to travel arrangements and packing! What an awesome week! Christmas, Adoption day and Justine's #5 birthday tomorrow! YEAH!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New pictures of our Kids!

Filemon looks so tall! Isn't he handsome?
Look who lost a tooth! My girls will be twins!

We can't wait to get you home!
Merkeb and Filemon with their cousins. I love Merkeb's pig tails!

Visiting with grandma!
They look so happy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Once again, my mind is focused on traveling. I am working on my Excel spreadsheet once again, and beginning to think about what it's going to be like to actually see my kids for the first time! I am working on lists of what to bring, what not to bring.

I am still looking for Pedialyte packets (that you add to water, like of like Crystal light) If anyone comes across any of those in the store, please call me right away. I will buy in bulk! Because I am a nurse, I would like to help the orphanage in as many medical ways as possible. I am still planning on taking medications and goods for the orphanage. I also need to stop and get some toys to take. After Christmas sales? Sounds good to me.

As lucky as our children are for getting out, I want to help take care of those who are left behind. I am so grateful to the caretakers for loving on and caring for my children. Kristy in KC who adopted 2 kids last year and is going back soon for another gave me the name of the travel agent she uses. I have contacted her and am awaiting her email. I would really like to go ahead and schedule our flight arrangements. It would be cheaper to schedule farther out and then have to change if necessary. This particular travel agent does not charge to change plans. So that's excellent. I will let you know if I hear anything. I have requested pictures for Christmas, so keep praying that I will receive them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tolerance: It's not just for you anymore

In this ever increasing world of political correctness, I find that people urge others to have tolerance of their differences (gender, sexual orientation, race, social status, background etc) and are quite offended when they fall victim to intolerance or prejudice by others.

However, I have found that sometimes those who require tolerance of others are the last to offer tolerance in other situations. It really reminds me of the movie Crash. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Not to spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it, but the premise is that everyone has prejudices against them, and also hold prejudices against other people. Did you know that the actual definition of prejudice is "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. Unreasonable feelins, opinions, or attitudes." I have thought and thought about this for several days, and have actually deleted several entries...but I feel I have to say thank you to those of you who are open to this adoption.

Thank you for not being judgemental and negative. Thank you for realizing how awesome this opportunity is for us, our children, our family and our community. I have been reading a lot about large families. Some people choose to have 1.7 children (man I feel sorry for the .7 one), while others choose to have larger families. It's all about choice. Personal choice. I'm not against families who have 1.7 children, but I also don't expect to be judged negatively because I have 6. It's a choice. Is it more work to have more kids? Maybe, I'm not sure. I can't remember what it was like to have 1.7 children. Do they play with each other, encourage each other, teach each other and take care of each other? Absolutely. Do I think I am cheating my natural born children because I'm adopting 2 orphans from Africa who have no parents? Absolutely not. I believe (and I would have to, or I wouldn't be able to do this) that these children are going to add so much to our lives, and that we are going to be so blessed by them, that the extra laundry, the extra groceries, the extra time etc. will be absorbed without us even noticing. 6 is not that much more than 4. Trust me, when you're drowning in housework, you're drowning, it doesn't matter how deep the water is.

So I guess my point is that I believe my children are extraordinary people. I think they have the ability to look beyond what society tells us is the ideal family. I believe that we are teaching them so much: how to not be spoiled and selfish, how to love all of God's children, that color and background doesn't matter, how to share, how to care for others, how to be patient and how to help one another. I am so excited for the future of all of my children because I believe when you can think outside of the "norms," you have such potential to make a positive difference for others, and I think they are getting a really good example of that. So thank you so much for your love and prayers. Sorry if I sounded a little "preachy," this is definitely something that I feel passionate about.


Finally done with finals

Just a quick note to let you know I made it through another semester of graduate school. And somehow, by the grace of God, I maintained straight A's this semester. And when I say grace of God, I mean by about a tenth of a point. I am not going to sugar coat it, it was horrible and stressful, and I lost A LOT of sleep, but just like statistics last semester when I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, I made it through. So I am ready for a break from school!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Failed Court date

I just received word that the courtdate on Dec 13th did not go through. What we hear is that one of the MOWA seals (the ministry of women's affairs) was deemed illegible by the judge. So they were going to try to get that back to MOWA to have it resigned, then take it back to the judge. Originally they rescheduled our courtdate for 2 weeks from the original, which would make it Dec 27th (Justine's birthday). Shimellis talked to the judge and explained that everything else was done and completed, and the judge said they would try to push it through quicker. So we are still in limbo. We are still wondering when we are going to be traveling. We are still waiting.


Monday, December 17, 2007

We're still waiting, waiting, waiting

It's so funny because every one of my babies had to be induced. I have had to wait before. I wish there was a way to induce these two to get here. The bad thing is there's really nothing we can do. Crystal has emailed Shimellis and heard nothing back yet. If we just knew that the court date was successful, we could go ahead and book our reservations. It's really frustrating because unfortunately, time is money. The longer we wait to book, the more we are going to spend. And more than the money, we are just ready for them to be here. It would be easy to get wound up and angry over it, but there's nothing we can do. God has brought us this far, and the waiting will soon be over. I know that we are going to look back over the next few weeks and think "Wow that went really fast." So in the mean time, we are going to be working on our packing list, our donations for the orphanage and getting our kids bags together. We still have so much to do! I will let you know as soon as I hear anything out of Africa.


UAB Emergency Room Rap

Another one for my favorite nurses out there. I think we should definitely make a video!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

War of words

Test your vocab and feed the hungry! For each word you get right - they will donate 20 grains rice through the United Nations to help feed the hungry. Good luck! Click on free rice.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adding initials

Well I did it! After stressing out about the fact that I hadn't studied AT ALL for my certification exam, I took the 125 question test this morning and I passed! This was basically the last thing on my To Do list for awhile (at least until I start packing for Ethiopia). It feels great to finally be done with it, and the raise will be nice to help feed all of these hungry children! So I now add some initials to my name. RN, BSN, CCRN! Yeah!

Ethiopia, Here We Come

Our "Ethiopia, Here We Come" party was last night to celebrate the official courtdate in Ethiopia. We are 1 step closer to bringing Merkeb and Filemon home.

Our little Mikey (give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything)
Jaiden enjoying some "authentic" Ethiopian food!

MacKenzie and Jayden sharing!

Isn't she the most beautiful baby in the world?

Jeff did a great job making the Ethiopian food. Ben made a "succulent" eggplant dish, and Linda made a great fruit salad. Thanks!

Looks great doesn't it? tasted good!

On a separate note: Hollywood

I just had to add the pictures of Hollywood at the nursing home attempting to Tomahawk me with her bells. She is absolutely hysterical.

So you see the look in her eyes? Scarey!

And my personal favorite!

Nursing Home Visit

Jack and Jaiden, along with several friends from GDA, (Gloria Deo Academy) sang for the residents of a nursing home near their school on Thursday. They did such a wonderful job, and the residents really enjoyed them. It brought tears to my eyes to see Jaiden (unprovoked) go up to an older lady in a wheelchair and give her a hug and say Merry Christmas. It made me happy that the kids are so open and loving. My kids are the best! I'm so proud!


Our Christmas tree that usually resides in the basement. There wasn't room this year. Jeff told me to just forget about it. But this is the tree that has all the "homemade Sunday school" ornaments that the kids have made. I just couldn't bear to not have it up. So in my typical "where there's a will, there's a way," I moved things around and put it in the dining room. It's actually a really nice addition, and it makes me smile everytime I walk into the kitchen.

Our "Blue Christmas" tree.

It feels so good to have the Christmas decorations up. As much as I was dreading it, it is so great to have it finished. My never ending list of things to do is getting shorter and shorter. It feels so good!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today is our courtdate. With the time difference in Ethiopia, we woke up this morning knowing (or assuming, hoping, praying) that the kids were ours! I spoke with Crystal this morning about how we would know for sure that the courtdate wasn't postponed (and that everything went well in general), and she said Shimellis usually emails her to let her know how things went. She said Email is slow coming out of Africa this week, so it may take awhile to find out for sure. She knows that we are all anxious, and she is attempting to get as much information as is possible at this point. My one thought is "do they know it was today?" Are they as exited as we are? Have they been counting the days as well? If they only knew how many people can't wait for them to get here. I will update with a post as soon as I hear anything. Keep praying!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


What a mess! I have posted the "before" decorating picture, and as soon as I get done, you will see the "after" picture!

Gloria Deo Christmas Program

Justine really enjoyed the program!

Jack - third grade

Jaiden - 2nd grade

Jack and Jaiden's GDA Christmas Program was last night. They did great. Jack had a speaking part and was wonderful! It's amazing to see how much the school has grown. I remember the first Christmas program at GDA - the entire school could fit on the stage...last night they had to separate into several different groups. We have one more week of school before Christmas break and I'm so ready. We have been in decorating hypermode this week, and we're almost finished.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Storm Again??????

Well we had our first real hint of winter. Another ice storm hit last night. We were so worried that it would be as bad as last year. Luckily it wasn't! Thank God. The kids were up early to see if school had been cancelled. Luckily, it wasn't! Jack and Jaiden couldn't wait to get outside to check it out! Last night Jordan said she had fun during the last ice storm. Does anyone else remember having fun during the last ice storm? Working non-stop at our church that was turned into a nursing home? Falling down the ice covered front steps? Poppy freezing to death in his cold, dark house? OK, I guess I did kind of enjoy going to WalMart and seeing Jordan's friends laying on beanbags in the TV section with pillows and blankets (not purchased yet). And I enjoyed watching the entire Rocky collection. I enjoyed the fact that I never lost power... OK Jordan you're right, it was kind of fun. I enjoyed spending time with family and friends. I enjoyed the sense of community and the coming together of unlikely groups. I still don't think I enjoyed working in the nursing home though.

Getting ready for Christmas

Well as I am finishing my final paper for the semester, I am reminded that I still have to put up the Christmas trees (yes I said trees). I hate to admit that I am not looking forward to lugging all of that stuff in and putting it all away. Bah Hum bug, where's my Christmas spirit?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Are they all yours?

So last night, I decided I would from now on reply "6" when anyone asked how many children I have. I need to get used to saying that, and quite honestly it feels good to say it. So there's this one, kind of airhead RT who asked me how many kids I have. When I said 6, she said "are they all yours"? I said yes, they're all mine. Two are being adopted , 4 are already at home. And she goes on to say multiple times "so 4 of them are your and 2 aren't." I said "no they're all mine." So she keeps on asking "but 2 of them aren't yours?" I wanted to punch her in the nose. Finally I just turned around and walked off. I think they are all mine. Every single pea picking one of them. I have 6 (yes six) children, and they are all mine! By the way, when she found out the kids etc, she said "Wow, you're going to have problems when you get them home, you know." What a freak.


New Blog

I have decided to change my website and family blog to a blogspot. With continuing problems adding hyperlinks and the pain in the butt advertisements, I am going to muddle my way through this new site. We will continue to blog on our site until the kids come home, then our family's adventures will be documented for all to see at

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's addictive

I just found out the people in Kansas City who adopted an 8 year old girl and 10 year old boy last year are adopting again from Ethiopia. In the email I received, Kristy told me they had a courtdate in October, but it "didn't go through" Their new courtdate is Dec 19th. She indicated that their agency told them to not be surprised if that courtdate doesn't go through either. That kind of freaks me out. I guess I again thought unrealistically, that once we had the courtdate, it was a done deal. So we are waiting anxiously for that courtdate to go through without problems. Right now is the most important time for prayer! I have to say that adoption really is addictive. It can be painful and stressful, you have to sell your stuff to get money, and it is such a roller coaster ride, yet people do it again and again. If that's not an addiction, I don't know what is. At least it's a healthy, positive addiction.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New of tensions rising between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Eritrea-Ethiopia border deadline looms amid war fears By Jack Kimball ASMARA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - It's hard to see the looming threat of war with Ethiopia as you walk Eritrea's tree-lined boulevards or enter its Italian-style cafes. But beneath the Eritrean capital's tranquil surface, many Eritreans say they are worried about a repeat of the 1998-2000 border war that killed some 70,000 people. "It's so dangerous now. They say the troops are so close at some points it's like this," says a middle-aged Eritrean, holding his index fingers a few inches apart. "And worse, all the world has sided with Ethiopia," said the man who asked not to be named. Eritreans and Ethiopians have lived with five years of heightened tensions, harsh rhetoric and the threat of war after an independent border commission's ruling on their countries' shared frontier failed to resolve the explosive issue. Ethiopia initially rejected the final and binding decision, and now says it unconditionally accepts it, but wants more talks. Eritrea rejects new discussions. Last November, the commission gave the two sides one year to agree on the border and said if that did not occur, it would dissolve itself and send the Horn of Africa nations signed maps on Dec. 1 designating the border based on colonial treaties. Both sides have rejected that solution. Analysts say it is unlikely much will change on the border even if the commission closes as expected on Friday -- except psychologically. The tensions of the past five years are unlikely to diminish. "It's highly possible that the end of the (commission) will be a non-event and will leave the situation in a vacuum," said Francois Grignon, Africa Programme director for the International Crisis Group. "The deterioration of the situation, related to the coming vacuum in the peace process, could lead indeed to confrontation, but the signs we're getting over the last two weeks are toward a continuation of the standoff rather than escalation," he said. MANDATE EXPIRES Indeed, little has changed in the language from either side in the run-up to the commission deadline. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday said Ethiopia had no plans of fighting another war, but would make sure Eritrea "never, ever dreamed" of conflict if Asmara unilaterally launched one. Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu reacted to the comments on Wednesday reiterating longstanding allegations Ethiopia is planning to invade. "This is just what's been said on TV screens, but we know what's happening on the ground and behind closed doors," he said. In the last month, security experts estimate both nations have moved at least 100,000 troops each with heavy weapons to the 1,000 km (620 mile) border. In early November, worried over escalating tensions, the United States and the United Nations urged both Ethiopia and Eritrea to step back. The fate of a 1,700-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission (UNMEE) charged with monitoring the border -- whose mandate expires at the end of January -- remains in question. The mission's mandate says it expires upon completion of demarcation, according to its Web site. But analysts say the United Nations -- plagued by memories of failed missions in Somalia and Rwanda in the early 1990s -- will likely try to stay on. "The U.N. will look at the security situation and if that is unstable and the threat of war is seen as real, they will not move out," said Jon Abbink, professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands. "They will even renew the mandate. If they move out immediately then you have another stepped-up level of threat in the region," he said.


No Orphans of God

Check out this awesome song and video under music and video links titled "No Orphans of God" I have a vision of my soon to be taken pictures of Ethiopia set to this song..... These are the lyrics to the song. Who here among us has not been broken? Who here among us is without guilt or pain? So oft’ abandoned by our transgressions. If such a thing as grace exists, Then grace was made for lives like this. There are no strangers. There are no outcasts. There are no orphans of God. So many fallen, but hallelujah. There are no orphans of God. Come ye unwanted and find affection. Come all ye weary, come and lay down your head. Come ye unworthy, you are my brother. If such a thing as grace exists. Then grace was made for lives like this. O blessed Father, look down upon us. We are Your children, we need Your love. We run before Your throne of mercy. And seek Your face to rise above.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

counting the days

Well it's 8 days and 15 hours until the kids will officially be ours. I guess in Ethiopian time, it's less than that... That's amazing to us. It's so difficult hearing that some of the kids in the orphanage became sick and died a few weeks ago. It's been very emotional for us to have to leave them there. My heart aches for those children, and for the parents to whom they were promised. I'm sure it will be even harder to wait after we know that they are ours. We are looking to travel the week of January 20-31st. We have found really great airfare for that time, and hope to have them pinned down to allow us to go ahead and make those reservations soon. We are beyond ready to go get them. Please continue to pray for their health and wellbeing, as well as for us to make our reservations soon. This waiting is killing us.