Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our last meal

We would like to invite friends and family to join us for our "last" meal in the states. We are meeting Saturday night at the Golden Corral on Glenstone and Primrose at 5:30 pm. If we all meet together in the lobby, we have a greater chance of getting to sit together. I called to reserve us some space, but they don't reserve the big rooms in the back on Saturday and Sunday nights. We thought it would be fun to have a little going away bash, and would give us a chance to really stock up before we leave (like we need that!) As Jordan once told Jeff when she was about 7, "It says all you can eat, not you eat all." We hope you can come help us celebrate our departure! YEAH!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Drop Shots Picture Sharing

I have finally figured out the drop shots picture sharing website. YEAH! Crystal, Tim and Julie used this when they were in Ethiopia, and it worked really well. Blogspot doesn't work there for some reason, and the Drop Shots is a lot faster than sending out emails, so that's what we're doing. Drop Shots also allows you to leave messages, so we will get to hear what you think about our beautiful kids before we even get back! To leave a comment, click on the picture and scroll DOWN to the comment section. (That's the part I was missing, didn't see the stuff at the bottom 'cause I didn't scroll down.) The sight is www.dropshots.com/ellerbee8 We won't probably post pics until maybe late Tuesday because we get to Ethiopia late on Monday night, and we pick up the kids on Tuesday, but that's actually Monday here... I don't know. Just check frequently and feverishly for new pics, and I will be sure to come through for you!

Friday, January 25, 2008

No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog

Santa left behind this deer. At first, he wasn't so bothersome. He was even kind of cute. I kept bringing him upstairs to put him away with the Christmas decorations in the garage. Then I would find him in the basement. Weird, but I was OK with it... How this deer gets all over the house, we just can't figure out.

Exhibit A

Then he started moving around right under our noses. We found that he enjoys looking out the windows. You might think this sounds quite innocent, but this deer has a dark side. He can be quite naughty, you see. When you're walking through the house at night in the dark, he puts his little wooden paws out to trip you. When you're in a hurry, he jumps right in front of you to make you stumble. When he's naughty, he gets put in time out. We find him in the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedrooms, the laundry room...

Exhibit B

But now this demented deer is hanging out outside our bedrooms and staring at us with those evil plastic eyes. Every time I turn around, this deer is in my face. But this morning, he's taken it a step too far.

Exhibit C.

* For you gullible types, the deer doesn't actually move. This whole thing started because I kept bringing it upstairs to be put away with the Christmas decorations. And Jeff kept making the kids take it downstairs. So then the next day, I would bring it back up... and so forth. Finally I'm like yelling at the deer, "Why do you keep doing this to me?" And Jeff is like "I'm so tired of those kids bringing that deer up here." After that we started moving it around the house when the kids weren't looking. He's ended up on the table, upside down on the couch, guarding the fridge, in our bed, and multiple other places. It's actually kind of funny. We'll put him in time out and then the kids will be like "Where is that naughty deer now?" And he'll be somewhere else. I guess we should name him. Leave your suggestions and we'll vote on the best name. The person who wins will get an autographed picture of us and the deer. Good luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Addendum to SNAG

I just now heard from Helen at the NF guesthouse. She has a room for us. A room. Which means Jeff and I will probably be sleeping on the floor and all the kids (Jordan, Merkeb and Felimon) in the bed. I am waiting to hear more info about what "a room" means. It's nice and it's clean and it's not $360 a night. (It's not even $60 a night). So I feel a little better. I feel stressed and overwhelmed and freaked out, but that's an improvement. What does that tell you about my mental state earlier today? You so don't want to know that...


Well we may be sleeping in the Bole International Airport if I can't find some %^&* accomodations soon. Helen at New Flower guesthouse "thought" she would have rooms and was going to get back to me on Tuesday. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Have not heard anything despite two more emails to her. So today I thought I will just book the Hilton, screw the guesthouse, everyone having their own bed thing. Guess what? The Hilton filled up sometime between yesterday and today. So our options are the Sheraton at $360 per night or God knows what. You can't just get on the hotel websites (other than the Hilton and the Sheraton) and find out any information about room availability or anything else for that matter. So I have emails out to the TDS guesthouse, the Siadmora guesthouse, the Yoly hotel, (holy moly that sounds fun), the Queen of Sheba Hotel (this is my personal pick) and numerous other hotels. Of course it's like the middle of the night there, so I OBVIOUSLY haven't heard a thing, and I've been at this practically all day. So I have been drowning my sorrows in some graham crackers smothered in whipped white cream frosting, and crying all ?#$% day. I so wanted to stay somewhere nice where we wouldn't be sleeping on the floor. At this point, I would take just about anything. Even the Sheraton.....?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Airline info

We will be arriving home with our new children on Sunday February 10th on United flight 5872 arriving at 5:37 pm at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport. We will be taking one cell phone and a charger with which to call and update someone once we get to Chicago. Hopefully, we will be able to tell you if we're going to be on time or not. You can also click here to get the arrival schedule at the airport and check the status of the flight. If this does not work, go here and find the United arrival information. I would love for people to be waiting at the airport to welcome our new little ones. I think that would be awesome for them to know that so many people have been praying for them and waiting for them. Beware, there may be updates to this information in the near future (which means I may not know what the heck I'm talking about, links could be messed up, or this may not be the correct flight information, day or even airport for that matter)

I crack myself up.............

I sent an email yesterday to our traveling buddies from Colorado with a picture so that they would recognize us when we meet at the airport in Frankfurt. Click here to see the picture I sent them. I think it's a good picture of us, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kindred Spirits

* Duplicate entry as seen on adoptethiopia.zoomshare.com. Too important to not publish twice.
There is something about going through this adoption experience which really binds people together. I feel I have made some really great friends over the past 6 months, whom I have never set eyes on. But there's a bond there, a sense of kindred spirits. There is another family traveling at the same time as us to adopt from the same orphanage. Shimellis sent me an email with an email address for Julia in Colorado. Julia and I just spoke on the phone. She and her husband are going to pick up Michael, a 7 month old boy, the same day we are picking up Felimon* and Merkeb.
For those of you grammar freaks (like me), I received Merkeb and Felimon's birth certificates via email today and this is how it is spelled. FELIMON. Their middle names are spelled Willam instead of William. *In an Ethiopian adoption, the children's middle names are the first name of the adoptive father... is that confusing enough?
So anyway Julia and I hooked up via email and then on the phone. They are one of the families I told you about whose baby died in November. They were getting twins. My heart broke for them then, and it still breaks for them. She seems extraordinarily nice and has a really great outlook. They are very anxious to get Michael home and make sure he's well. We hit it off right away and it was awesome to share this excitement with someone who is REALLY feeling it. At one point, we were screaming "We're leaving in a week and a half!" It quite truthfully sounded like a junior high slumber party... YEAH! Anyway, so we start talking about our flights and when we're leaving and getting there etc. They live in Colorado. So, get this, we are on the same flight leaving Frankfurt and arriving in Addis at the same time! YEAH! Our embassy appointments will be at the same time and we will be traveling to meet the kids on the same day. So I already spilled the beans about the birth certificates.
I am on my way now to go pay for and pick up our airline tickets from Great Southern Travel. Still waiting to hear from New Flower. If that's not available, which I hope it is, Kristy in KC gave me the name of 2 other guesthouses where they have stayed, the TDS guesthouse and the Yekka guesthouse. We are looking at the guesthouse option because by the end of the first day, there will be 5 of us, and a regular hotel room will be a little crowded. So I will continue to keep you updated!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let my Jordan Go.........

It was decided after watching the classic movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" that we have our very own Ferris (Nicole) and Cameron (Jordan). If you know Jordan, you're going to think this is really funny. And even if you don't know Jordan, it's still pretty funny. Sorry for the cuss words, you can't cut them out and evidently you can't make a movie without putting them in.

MOWA update

MOWA letters update
I received an email today that the letters for birth certificate and passport are completed. WE HAVE AN EMBASSY APPOINTMENT ON FEB 6TH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will get a copy of the birth certificate today and hopefully get the passport soon! I am booking airline tickets and guesthouse reservations right now!!!!!!!!!!!!! It looks as if this process is almost over. Our kids are almost home!

Leaving on a jet plane..............

We're leaving on a jet plane, start the countdown. We found out today that we are going to be leaving Feb 3rd for Ethiopia. For those of you really great mathematicians, that's like 13 days from now. Our embassy appointment is on Wednesday Feb 6th. I have made contact with the Newflower guesthouse in Addis Ababa to make reservations for the entire floor. I have also made contact with Great Southern Travel who had such a great price on airfare. I hope it's still the same price and is available this late out. All of the sadness and frustration of the last week has completely flown out the window. We are almost there. It's time to pack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Video from Africa

We received the most wonderful gift yesterday. A video from a family who has adopted at our orphanage sent us a beautiful video with pictures and live video with our kids in it. We got to see Merkeb making funny faces and jumping rope, sucking on a ring pop. We got to see Filemon waving like a mad man, jumping rope and taking pictures. It really brought their personalities out. While they have been "real" and "alive" to me all along, it somehow made them more "real" and more "alive" to us. I wish I had the computer knowledge to put that entire video on this blog, but unfortunately I don't have a clue how to do that. I'm working on it though! We would love to share this video with you, just give us a call.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Queen of Sheba

Well we made it through Jaiden's history banquet. For those of you who have not experienced it, the history banquet is a time where the kids get to choose a character from the history period they are studying this year, and they get to BE that person for one night. We research the character, make a costume, make a poster board with information about their person, and memorize a speech from the first person perspective. So basically that means the parents torture the child for the week before the banquet by making them repeat and repeat and repeat their speech. During the speech, Jeff and I are mouthing all the words to ourselves because we too have memorized the speech as well. Everyone did a great job and we were so proud. And we are soooooooooooooo glad it's over. Time to get started on Jack's. What are we going to do when we have 5 history banquets?

Cost of poster board and supplies................$20
Cost of MP3 player bribe for completing memorization of speech..........$40
Cost of seeing your child performing on stage...................................priceless

Thank you Shrek and Donkey

I want to send out a great big thank you to Dream Works Productions, Shrek and Donkey specifically, who taught my children the "I like big butts" song. Taking after their mother though, my kids can't seem to get the words right, so what you get is "I like big butts on a Friday night live..." I have no idea what the significance is of that. We have tried and tried and tried to get them to stop singing it. Just when we think they have forgotten about it, they hear it somewhere and scream at the top of their lungs, "Mom, it's Big Butts." Impressive huh?

Justine showing off her "big butt," among many other "big" parts.

Nice, don't you think?

It's actually the contents of an entire toy box shoved in her footy jams. Jams that are both comfortable and serve a purpose. That's what I'm talking about.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ready, ready, ready to go!

I thought you might want an inside view of what I'm packing for our trip to Africa to pick up the kids. I have made an excel spreadsheet with detailed items to pack. The kids' stuff is completely ready to go into a suitcase. The orphanage donations are almost completely ready. I am still working on our bags and our carry on stuff. I am hoping to get information today about when we can travel! Keep praying that we will not have to go through another weekend without knowing specific information. I don't know how much longer we can wait!

Merkeb and Filemon's backpacks are ready to go! They both have books, games, crayons, color books, journals with pens, and travel blankets.

I bought this "fanny" pack for my cameras. I thought the little camera would fit perfect in the pocket on the left and the video camera on the right. It also has a zipper on the back for money, credit cards etc. Jeff made fun of me, and said "I can't believe you're going to wear that." I told him, "I'm not wearing it, you are." Ha

1 of 2 eighteen gallon rubbermaid containers with donations for the many different orphanages we will be visiting. We have frisbees, soccer balls, jump ropes, bubbles, diapers, dolls, shoes, clothes for grandma, medicines, and many, many other things!

Filemon's stuff is ready to be packed.

Merkeb's stuff is ready to be packed!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Down with zoomshare

As you may or may not have noticed, our adopt ethiopia site at zoomshare has been virtually unaccessible for 2 days. I will be blogging adoption news here, and although I enjoyed my zoomshare site as a virgin blogger, I will be glad to only have a blogspot in a few weeks!

So the only news today is.............
Guess what?
No news!

Julie did call me today and told me that a couple they met in Ethiopia, who were also adopting from Faithe Children's Home, called her the other day. They evidently were quite in love with Filemon and Merkeb (who has met them who hasn't fallen head over heels is what I want to know), anyway they made a video of their trip and of the kids at the orphanage. Julie said they Filemon and Merkeb are in a lot of the pictures. (Filemon more than Merkeb) She said that the McCoy's are sending us a copy of the video, and it should be here anyday. I would love to see more pictures, but the thought of possibly getting to hear their voices and see them in action gives me goosebumps! I will certainly let you all know when the video arrives!

Until further notice, I am boycotting zoomshare. Check back here for your adoption fix. And when we find out in a few days when we get to travel, it will most likely be posted here first!

Bat girl takes on the neighbors

If you rang our doorbell yesterday, this is what you would have seen. Imagine my surprise when my friend Laura rang the doorbell yesterday, and was greeted by this! I ran to get the door to find out Justine had already opened the door, wearing this! She looks great, don't you think? Too bad it wasn't the Schwann's man. I've been trying to scare him off for years. I made the mistake of buying his ice cream when it was 2 for 1, and now he won't leave me alone. Stalker.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Am I really like that?

Have you ever looked at your children and tried to discern what characteristics they have that are just like you? Sometimes I hear something my children say, and I think "Oh no, they sound just like me." It's usually something I would rather have not taught them, but that's a different blog entry. Actually that's the previous blog entry. But what I'm talking about is who they really are. Their likes, dislikes. Their personality quirks. It can be quite frightening, as well as really insightful into who they are. It definitely can be a bond between you.

I love the fact that Jordan and I have this common love of books, reading and learning. I think in this aspect, we are the most alike. Take us both to Barnes and Noble and we will be content for hours. Years ago, we both confessed to typing in our heads when people spoke. I told her I thought that was a sign of being gifted since we both had it and we knew she was gifted... hence saying that I too was gifted. She replied, "I don't think so." She has since moved onto translating into French everything that she hears, and I have tried to refrain from my weird little habit. But all in all, we are a lot alike. And I love that.

In Jack, I see myself in several of his personality characteristics. Unfortunately, I think I gave him several quirks that cause us both a lot of turmoil. Perfectionism and thus rage with frustration. But aside from the perfectinist rage fits, we do have our good points. Our love of children and babies. He is the only 9 year old boy I know who loves babies. He loves babies in movies, in books, at the grocery store, at church. This boy has some weird radar that seeks out all the pregnant women and/or newborns within a 10 mile radius. The competetiveness, I confess, he gets from his father.

Jaiden and I have our craftiness in common. Give us both paper products or scrapbook materials, and we would both be happy for eternity. We both share a flare for the emotional breakdown from time to time, but overall Jaiden is me on my best day. She's artsy and stable, and loves starting projects. She's helpful and sweet and full of good ideas.

Justine. Justine is what began me even thinking about this topic. She is me in that she loves to play house and with her baby dolls. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she simply says a mom with 6 kids. Sound familiar? But playing house with her is like an acid trip. Today, we were playing house. Her husband had died (he always dies when we play house, perhaps too many Disney movies with missing parents?) Anyway, when I asked her how her husband died, she said, "He was killed." Long dramatic, drawn out pause... "By ninjas." Everyday is like this. She has several children who suffer all kinds of horrible afflictions, and she's always a widow by the age of 5. She is me on LSD.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MOWA letters

I received an email from Shimellis today that he has been on the phone today and hopes to get the letters tomorrow. We may finally be ready to book our travel arrangements. Yeah!


My daughter, the sailor

We are so proud of our kids... most days. Most days, our children are at the top of their classes, the most polite, well behaved children. Most days, our children are wonderful, loving children.

Today, not so much!

At the soccer game, Jeff was tickling Justine. We're laughing. We're having a good time.

Then Justine says (really loudly) "Stop it, you $#%^&@." Loud enough that our Sunday school teacher sitting directly behind us probably heard. Loud enough that the people sitting next to us gasped for air as if she had hit them directly in the stomach.

She denies it. Wouldn't you? We put soap in her mouth. We grounded her. When she came home, she put herself in time out. When we questioned her about it, she swears she said "you sucker." She blames Hannah Montana for her sailor mouth. I knew that girl was bad news.

So now, I'm wondering what it was that she actually said... did we just punish her for saying something she did hear on Hannah Montana? Well, we may never know for sure, but we do know that she'll never say anything that remotely sounds like $#%^&@.

What the $%^& kind of parents are we anyway?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rooster Magnet

Today Justine informed me that she has to dress "the cutest" because the "boys" expect her to. I'm not sure what boys she's referring to, but I would like to find them and tell them that 5 year olds don't wear lace cami's, daisy dukes and high heels because she obviously isn't listening. I have fond memories of Jaiden's imaginary friends Sheila and Cheila from South Africa, with whom she had hours of fun and play. Justine's imaginary friend is "Tyler" who she spends her afternoons pretending to kiss. Does this scare anyone else? Today on the way home, Jack informed her she was going to be a "rooster magnet." I'm guessing he meant the gender opposite of "chick magnet." All I could think of was I hope he didn't mean "cock magnet..."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dreams and ramblings

It's getting so close now, the children visit us every night in our sleep. I can see us getting to the orphanage and meeting them for the first time. Shimellis said the kids have been moved to a different orphanage. They are in the process of moving the entire orphanage to a different location. I know he said that it's closer to Addis. He was indicating that the kids are at point A, Faithe Children's home is a little further away at Point B and grandma lives the furthest away at Point C.

We are going to get to visit Faithe Children's Home where the kids have been living all this time, as well as Grandma's. We are also going to a Nun's Orphanage that has all children over the age of 2 and a government run orphanage. I really wanted to go to the government run orphanage. I have heard horror stories about what we would find there compared to the private orphanages. As worried as I am about it, I know that it will permanently stay with me.

This statement made me think about people who are so afraid to "feel" things. Those who avoid anything which is uncomfortable. anything painful. anything that hurts. We as a society are so doped up on antidepressants, I'm not sure anyone "feels" anything anymore.

So, I am expecting to have my heart broken over what I am about to experience. I know that as happy as we are going to be to get Filemon and Merkeb home, I will undoubtably be broken-hearted over the kids I can't bring home.

So back to our plans. We plan on getting to Addis, checking into the guesthouse and perhaps taking a shower/nap? I don't know about the nap - depends on how much we sleep on the way... Then we are going to the orphanage. Shimellis said to plan on spending some time there, getting to know the kids and playing with all of them. He said to take pictures of our kids throughout the whole week, and we would be able to, just in a week's time, be able to see big changes in them. Then we are free to take the kids with us.

I don't want to just show up and say come on, let's go... and take them away from everything they know. As happy as they are, that's got to be difficult. It's hard to remember that we are gaining something, they are gaining and losing. There will be grief involved with that. When they are ready, we plan on taking them back to the guesthouse for showers and Merkeb's first bubble bath... relaxing and getting to know one another.

We also have plans of going to the National Museum, the Ethiopian Orthodox church and King Menelik II's palace. Oh, and he is going to have the orphanage people find out the kids shoe sizes so we can take them some shoes! I know it's premature, but I am getting things ready to pack. I just can't wait much longer.

Grey's Anatomy

So is anyone else really excited about Grey's Anatomy tonight? Well don't get too excited, this is the last new episode due to the writer's strike. I almost don't even want to watch. I know it will just wet my appetite. It's like a Grey's Anatomy teaser... not fair. So from stalking their website for sneek peeks, it looks like Miranda Bailey's STUPID husband does something STUPID again and her baby is hurt... and of course having surgery. It's a good thing there's a lot of staff at Seattle Grace, they wouldn't have enough patients otherwise. To add insult to injury, there will be no more episodes of Private Practice... This has so deeply affected my life, that I admit I had to look into it. The major malfunction here is that the writers aren't getting enough residuals ($) paid when their programs are rerun, put on DVD, internet, ipod etc. So the people who are making millions of dollars (the networks) won't settle with the writers. The interesting fact here is that the majority of the writers guild members make about $62,000 a year! The writer's guild members also want reality shows to be brought under their umbrella which would be quite profitable for them. From what I read, neither side is willing to budge. I suggest we all start reading, listening to music, exercising, playing games with our kids and forget all about Meredith, Bailey, McDreamy. McSteamy, George, Izzy, Alex and Christina. If you're obcessed with Grey's Anatomy, find out which Grey's Anatomy character you'd be by taking this quiz. By the way, I was Meredith. Leave me a comment to let me know who you were... Patrick is that you?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Love at First Sight

So I have been reading a little about post adoption panic or post adoption depression where parents get home and think "What the hell have I done?" In a really poignant article written by a mom who adopted a little boy from Bulgaria, she stated that she didn't have that "love at first sight" feeling that some adoptive parents feel. That falling in love with the pictures, the video etc. She tells of how she at first didn't love her son. She just had to pretend she did. And the more she pretended, the more she fell in love with him. It was a real tear jerker. I looked at the pictures today of Filemon and Merkeb with grandma and the tears just flowed. I don't expect to have the post adoption panic. I think we've already reached that stage at one point or another along this road. You know what I'm more afraid of? That I won't be able to leave the other children there. Crystal asked me to evaluate (as an RN) a little boy named Danny at the orphanage. I knew Danny right away because Julie had told me about him. Physically he is right on schedule, walking, potty trained etc. But emotionally and socially he is not. She wants me to spend some time with him to see what I think. In earlier pictures, he has a very blank look, and would sit in a chair, if placed there, for hours. But in the new pictures, he looks brighter and better. I told Crystal "you just want me to fall in love with him and have to go back to get him." She laughed and said no, she hoped to have the Julie/Tim phenomenon, where I come back and say "someone has to adopt this kid." I said I would work on that. So if you know of anyone who is interested in a possibly special needs, really cute little boy, let me know.


Finally Met Shimellis!!!!

We finally met Shimellis today. He was everything I thought he would be and more. Very warm and friendly. Great laugh.

He said the kids are very happy and excited to have been adopted. They said that wanting to be adopted is closely related to how well the kids settle in. Those who really WANT to be adopted do better. I guess in thinking about that statement, I want to say DUH. He said they are both great kids.

He has developed more of a relationship with Filemon over past year and a half, so he knows more about him. He said that Filemon is such a good boy. I know he said that several times. Such a good boy. He said that he would do fine whatever the situation because that's just the kind of kid he is. He says he's very helpful and quiet. Patient, let's see what else did he say? He said that because he's been the oldest of the group, he's used to taking care of others.

When Shimellis told him that his cousin who was adopted to Kentucky was having behavior problems in his new home, Filemon responded "I'm very disappointed in him." He indicated that both kids were very close to grandma, and that her influence on them has made them the great kids that they are.

He indicated that grandma was so happy they were being adopted before she died. Can you even imagine? Shimellis wasn't sure how long their parents had been dead. He thought it had been 3 or 4 years! So that would make Filemon 6 or 7 and Merkeb 4 or 5 when they died. Poor babies! We talked about the name thing again. I thought that I was being adoption sensitive about keeping their Ethiopian names. Shimellis said that it would ultimately be their decision about their names, but we should present them with the pros and cons of having an American first name. He said that in his experience, having people not be able to pronounce his name all the time was a barrier to making friends and becoming assimilated to this country. He said he often wished that he had changed his name when he came here because it would have been much easier to fit in and make friends. So that's something to think about.

He also said that as important as it is to remember their culture, we shouldn't dwell on it too much at the beginning. That we should think about them becoming Americans and what can we do to help them learn our culture. That was something new to hear. He also said that the fact that we have children their age will help them because they will learn a lot just from being around our kids. I said that was what I was afraid of... Well I will talk later, must make dinner! G


Monday, January 07, 2008

Too much time with the girls?

OK, so maybe Jack's spending too much time with the fabulous fems of this house. Saturday he told Jeff, "Gross, Dad, look at your armpits. You need to shave." Yeah, we'll work on that.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Rutledge Wilson Farm

Tales of a city family on the farm...
Well we finally made it to the Rutledge Wilson community farm near our house. You can check it out by clicking here.
So what's it like to take city kids to a farm? Better yet, what's it like to take a city dad to a farm? Well it's a little like this. When we got to the farm, the kids were sooooooooooo excited to see the animals. Jeff, in his leather coat and dress shoes, was jumping over cow patties and running from animal to animal. I don't know, but I think he was ready to go home about 5 minutes after we got there. When we came upon the miniature horses, I said "Look at the cute little ponies." Jordan informed me that this was not politically correct, "they are miniature horses; you hurt their feelings." So I tried to pet them. Jeff chastised me. Did I not see the sign in the barn that said the animals may bite? Miniature goats? Same thing. So we went to practice milking the fake paper mache cow in the barn. Jaiden, taking after her father, wouldn't touch the thing. Jack shot us across the barn with fake milk from the fake cow. Really nice. It's nice to see our taxes going towards something that we will utilize and that makes our community nicer. They are going to have homeschool classes and things for the kids to do in the spring. The farm will be connected to the Ozarks greenways eventually, so we can ride bikes and go to the farm. And it's within 10 minutes of home. How great is that!

Justine - get out from behind there... you don't know where that cow has been.

Jack shooting milk all the way across the barn. Nice.

"I'm kind of good at this. Mom can I have a cow?" "NO Way."

Jaiden absolutely not willing to give it a try.

Although Justine was really a natural milker, probably because she's such a "cheeseball."

Jeff was really enjoying the farm experience, even the crafts and snacks.

The girls making crafts at the craft station.

Jordan helping the girls to make bird feeders to hang in the trees at home.

Aren't they just adorable?

Jordan - don't pet the goats...they BITE.

And so do the adorable little ponies, err I mean adult miniature horses.

Does he look like he would bite anyone?

They kind of look like they should be on the other side of those bars.
Miniature goats in the barn. We got to pet them this time...
Checking out the chicken coop. Justine wanted to take the eggs home to eat...

Christmas photos - better late than never.

Do you see that sharp, shiny pocket knife? Does this scare anyone else?

What did Santa bring? A princess alarm clock that projects stars onto the ceiling. Do you think this will help her turn into a morning person?

Mommy make me better. The best gift ever!

Jaiden reading her jump rope rhyme book.
Mabel, Mabel, set the table.
Just as fast as you are able...
Could Justine be any happier?
Jordan opening her Barnes & Noble gift card...notice the big box? All of her presents were double, triple or quadruple wrapped. What fun!
We had a glorious Christmas and are ready for our next big holiday...Gotcha Day!