Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas at Temple Square

Do you ever picture the perfect family night out? I thought we should take the girls to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. I envisioned awe-inspiring adventures and great memory making time with our girls.

We picked the night, the first Sunday in December...not too cold yet...we were planning on being in Salt Lake City anyway...why not?

What we didn't know is that the first Sunday in December is the Christmas Devotional/Fireside held at the Conference Center on Temple Square. We learned about this while visiting Steve's parents before going to Temple Square. We could have postponed our plans, but it is a lot of work finding 6 pairs of warm boots/shoes that match, 6 pairs of gloves and/or mittens, a minimum of 3 hats, long pants (opposed to the short ones the twins had been insisting on wearing all week) and coats for all. Not to mention a wagon and blankets.

Steve's dad got roped into driving us and dropping us off so we wouldn't have to find parking. First on the agenda was to see the life-sized nativity. Usually there is music with the Tabernacle Choir singing and a narrator telling the story of Jesus' birth. But since the devotional was in process, there was no sound. Madison and I wanted to take pictures as the various sections were lit up, but Steve was worried the twins would get bored and needed to keep moving. He thought I heard him say to meet him at the doors to the Visitor Center when we were finished. I thought he said he would be right back. Anyway, we got separated.

Just when I told Madi, there was no way we were going to find them, we heard Savannah's very familiar cry. You know, the one she uses in public when things are not going her way. We were inside the Visitor Center with the Christus statue. Steve had the twins out of the wagon and we spent the next several minutes chasing them up and down the escalators.

Here is a cute picture I took of Madi by a tree in the Visitor Center. Right after this picture, Savannah managed to unplug something and the tree was no longer lit. :(

We went up to the Christus along with about 200 other people, then decided we should go back outside....just as the devotional was getting over...oops. There were people everywhere, just outside the Visitor Center. We managed to get into the flow of people traffic and just kept moving. We decided we should go to the Plaza where it may be less crowded and luckily that was a good move.

By this time, I was ready to go and had given up on the picture perfect night out with the girls. But we persevered and the night ended pretty well. The kids did enjoy the lights and we managed to still have 3 girls, 6 pairs of warm boots/shoes that match, 6 pairs of gloves and/or mittens, 3 hats, long pants, and coats for all. Not to mention a wagon and blankets.

Recipe for Hair Goop

I've had a few requests for this recipe, so here it is:

Proclaim Curl Activator Gel (32 oz)
3 Cocoa butter sticks (1 oz)
Proclaim bees wax (4 oz)

Place cocoa butter sticks in a large glass bowl along with half a jar of bees wax. Microwave until they are liquid.
Add about ¾ jar of curl activator.
Mix vigorously with a spoon until the mixture looks like vanilla pudding (smooth and thick).
Add remaining curl activator.
(If you don’t microwave the bees wax well enough, it will clump when you add the cold curl activator. If this happens, put the whole solution in the microwave for 4 minutes, then begin to mix again. Then add the remaining curl activator, once the mixture is mixed well and cooled. Apply to wet hair and style using shingling process described on curvesalon.com.

Good Luck!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Homemade Hair Goop

I just LOOOOVVVE Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme for Sierra's and Savannah's hair. It is a moisturizer and it works really well and smells good too....but it costs $32 for 8 oz. In December they have a 2 for the price of 1 deal making it $32 for 16 oz...plus shipping ($16.35). Since we are trying to keep a tight budget so we can afford to travel to Ghana and complete this adoption, I decided to try a recipe I found that is supposed to be very similar to Miss Jessie's buttercreme and curly pudding (another product I have bought that defines curls).

So I spent just over $10 at Sally's and bought the ingredients. It made about 40 oz. of creme...it doesn't smell as good as Miss Jessie's, but so far I like how it is working on their hair...nice and soft and not brittle. If any of you with black children want to try it, let me know...I have plenty to share! :)

(Miss Jessie's in front...my concoction in back.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I-600A Approval Received

Today we received our approval letter for our I-600A. It only took them 2 weeks to process!!! There is one problem with it; they have me listed as Steve's spouse on page 1, but on the attachment where it tells us when our fingerprinting expires, it lists someone else as Steve's spouse. I know we live in Utah....but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one! :) I'll have to email our contact, and see if we need to do anything about that.

We also learned that Saviour actually goes by Anita. When I talked with Kingsley on the phone, I thought he was calling her something else, but I just thought I didn't understand his accent...lol. I think we will talk to her and see what she wants to be called...Anita, Saviour, or Lilly before we make any changes to her name.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! We enjoyed spending time with Steve's family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do You Want to Hear Saviour's Voice?

We have some new pictures of Saviour and a video too! Thanks Jessica!!! It's kind of funny that lately we have just been referring to her as Saviour instead of Lilly. The twins won't call her Lilly...only Saviour. I guess we'll see what happens when we actually meet her. She's wearing orange in all the pictures. :)

Here is what Jessica said about her:

"She is really sweet and she loved the book you sent. She looked at it over
and over and over. She was running around to show all the kids her family. She
would point to Steve and tell them he was her dad, then she'd turn to your
picture and tell them you are her mom. She would say you are coming soon to see
her. She loved the pics of Madi. She kept asking me when Madi was coming. And
she got a kick out of the twins. It was really cute."

Jessica said she is good friends with Comfort, the other girl in the video and they were always playing together. Comfort is being adopted by a family in Washington. Here's a link to their blog. http://adoptingfromafrica.blogspot.com/ It is quite a miraculous story about Comfort's adoption. She needs heart surgery and found just the right family to help her.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What Will I Be Thinking This Thanksgiving?

I talked with Lois (she's helping us with our adoption) on the phone last night. One of the things she told me was that they now have enough money to feed the children breakfast at Luckyhill. While on the phone, I was thinking, "That's so great. They have extra money from these adoptions and now the kids get porridge in the morning." Then I got off the phone and couldn't fall asleep. I was thinking about how much I complain about the price of gas, food, utilities, etc. I was thinking about how much I take for granted having clothes to wear and 3 square meals a day, not to mention a hot shower every morning and electricity to make everything in my life easier!!! I was thinking about how much excess I have in my life.

Today at church, our Relief Society lesson was on a talk President Thomas S. Monson gave in conference last April called "Abundantly Blessed". I sat there thinking about all of my blessings. The list is quite large. I realized that I don't always show my gratitude to others like I should. I don't tell Heavenly Father often enough how thankful I am for such a blessed life. But even as ungrateful as I have been, He has still seen fit to continue to bless me and my family.

I thought about coincidences. So many times, something happens and I think, "What a coincidence!" As I considered this today in light of receiving blessings, I realized that a coincidence is just evidence of God's handiwork. I know it wasn't just coincidence that I met Jessica on a Yahoo group who just happens to be adopting from Ghana, and who just happens to live 30 miles away, and who just happens to be a member of the same Church, and who just happens to know someone who lives 60 miles away who would be willing to help us with an adoption, and who just happens to know of an orphanage in Ghana called Luckyhill.......

I believe that Heavenly Father loves little Saviour so much and he loves Steve and I so much that he helped us find one another....and that is what I will be thinking about this Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twins' Birthdays

Sierra and Savannah turned 4 on Sunday, the 16th. I can't believe it's been four years since we first saw them. I was remembering how sick Sierra was after she was born with necrotizing enterocolitis and spinal meningitis. It really is a miracle she is still with us. Savannah is on the top, Sierra on the bottom.

We have been blessed to have them as part of our family, even with all the mischief they manage to find :D
Madi is such a good big sister, then and now!!!

We celebrated their birthday at Steve's parents' house where they got plenty spoiled with gifts and cake and ice cream. I think their favorite present was tools. When Steve was working on finishing the bathroom, they would always take off with his tools. They were thrilled to have their own set. After they opened them, they wouldn't open anything else for quite awhile. Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Savannah top, Sierra bottom.

Savannah top, Sierra bottom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Paper Work is in Ghana!!!

We had our homestudy on Thursday, November 6th, which went well. I kept thinking that I needed to hurry up and get our dossier put together. We had a lot to do still gathering all the required documents. The hardest one to nail down was a notarized letter verifying Steve's employment. It wasn't hard really, it just took some time and some follow-up on his part to make sure it was notorized and official looking enough.

Anyway, Wednesday, the 12th, Jessica called me. (She's adopting Sarah/Adjoa from Luckyhill.) She told me she was going to Ghana on Sunday morning, the 16th and could take things over there for us....So the race was on to get it all ready.
I emailed our social worker and asked if it was possible to have our homestudy ready by then. (I had proof-read it the night before.) She said "Yes. It will be ready tomorrow." So, Steve picked it up on Thursday. We needed the finalized homestudy for the dossier and also so we could file our I600A telling the U.S. we intend to adopt an orphan.

Friday Steve took the day off and we made an appointment with the US Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services to file the I600A. I learned from Stephanie (adopting Samuel and Godfrid from Luckyhill) that they only accept money orders even though their webpage goes into great detail about how they accept personal checks. So I was prepared with a money order in hand made out to the Department of Homeland Security for $837. We got to the office and felt a bit like we were in a foreign country. We went through security and waited in the waiting room. When our name was called, the gentleman behind the counter looked at the money order and said that he couldn't accept it because the fee was $830. I really wanted him to just keep the change, but he said we would have to come back. Of course the credit union that issued the money order is in Tooele and we were in Salt Lake. I went to a credit union in SL where we have another account and fortunately, they allowed me to deposit the money order in my account and then they issued one for the correct amount.
We went back and had to wait for awhile because the man had gone to lunch. Finally, we finished there and went over to another location to be finger-printed. So, now we are just waiting our approval on that.
We got back to Tooele, went to a notary to notarize any and all papers we thought might need it and then went to a copy center to make 7 copies of all documents...4 for Ghana and 3 for us. I stayed up until 1:00 AM compiling all copies and triple-checking to make sure nothing was amiss.
Saturday we delivered Saviour's book, an outfit, teddybear and necklace that Madi made to Jessica along with our adoption fee and the dossier. So, now the adoption process can begin in Ghana. We are happy to have our part complete.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saviour's Book

I have so much to post about, but have been way too busy!! So I'll start with Saviour's book and post a few more times this week.

We wanted to create a book for Saviour to help her understand what is going to be happening with her adoption. Steve thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a purse, so she could carry it around with her easily if she wants to. So, here it is:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Walking in the Light of God

We had our home visit by our social worker Thursday and it all went well. We should have our completed homestudy this week!

Saturday night we went to a concert by the African Children's Choir. It was wonderful. I loved watching the children perform songs and dances from Africa. They ended with "Walking in the Light of God." I love it. Our kids love watching it over and over on youtube. Enjoy!!!

We also got to meet Lois and her daughter from Ghana, Lily. They met us at the concert. Lois is fun to talk with and Lily is beautiful. We also met another couple adopting from Luckyhill. So, it was a great night. I can't wait to meet Saviour and hear her little voice again! The way things are going with passports in Ghana, I am not as optimistic that we will be able to bring her home in January or February. I'm guessing it may be more like April or May. We will get everything done on our end and then leave it in the Lord's hands and pray that the process will go smoothly in Ghana.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Call To Ghana

We talked to Kingsley yesterday after church. We were supposed to talk to Saviour (Lilly), but with the time change here, it made it 8:00 PM there and she was already in bed. Kingsley said she gets up at 4:35 AM for family devotional and school starts at 7:00. It was nice talking to Kingsley. He was just called to the Bishopric, so he's even busier than before. He said that Saviour is beautiful, quiet, well-behaved and respectful. He told us we could call back at 8:00 in the morning their time.

So, we got up at 1:00 AM and made the call. I talked to Kingsley while he walked to her school class to get Saviour and then I talked to Saviour. I am guessing this is her first time ever being on a phone. She didn't say much, just answered "yes" or "OK" to the things we said. Madison wanted to get up to talk, so she talked and of course Steve talked to her. It was fun to hear her little voice. I don't know how much she understands about these people who call themselves "mom" and "dad," but hopefully the book we are making to send with Jessica will help her understand better.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It Was a Tight Race

Phewf....that was so close! 76 total votes....25 for Lily, 25 for Lillie, and 26 for Lilly. So LILLY it is! I must say that no matter how the poll went, I intended to go with Lilly anyway for a few reasons.

1) Steve says I always ask for opinions, then do it my way anyhow, (which is mostly true).
2) There are more letters from Luckyhill in the name Lilly ;)
3) And most importantly, I like how Lilly looks in cursive...lots of curly letters, kinda princess-like....very important! Go ahead try it out; it's a fun name to write...lol.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lilly is Waving to You

I just got this great picture of Lilly. She's the one in the center waving. Isn't she just so adorable. Look at that smile. Lois found this picture as she was looking at the pictures she took at the school. I just want to give her a big hug and kiss!

Good news. Jessica's adoption is final as of yesterday! She will be going to get her little girl (Sarah Adjua) very soon! We are going to send a book with her to give to Saviour Lilly with pictures of our family, house, dog, etc.

We are having our home study visit on the 6th. Once we get our copy of the home study, we can send off our dossier (Ghana paperwork) and file our I600A (U.S. paperwork).

Friday, October 24, 2008

5 Things You Can't Do When You Have Twins

5. Watch Jay Leno. My favorite time of night...the children all nestled, snug in their beds. When we turned off the TV, we heard crying coming from the family room downstairs. Upon investigation, we found Savannah lying on the Love Sac holding a brick of cheese, 3 raw eggs and the remote to the TV. She was crying because she couldn't get her movie to start. :)

4. Yard Work. You would think this could be manageable because the kids can play on their bikes while you work. But since weeding flower beds means your back is turned, they have a tendency to disappear. Our neighbor 3 houses down came over and informed us they were swimming in their baby pool....stark naked! Their clothes were so wet, we ended up flinging them over our shoulders and doing the walk of shame home with bare bottoms exposed to the world. One passer-by started chuckling and we just said, "don't ask!"

3. Go to the store, especially Wal-mart. Problem #1...Wal-mart doesn't have carts for 2. This means one child can ride where a child is meant to ride, with a seat belt. The other child must ride in the cart portion with no seat belt. Problem #2...The child w/o the seat belt continually hangs one leg out of the cart ready to jump at all times, even though you've told that child numerous times to sit down and hold still. Problem #3...child in seat belt is jealous of the freedom of child in cart and cries to be let out of the seat belt until you relent. There are many other problems....use your imagination....many of them have to do with squished bread, and clean ups on aisle 10, etc. ;)

2. Home Improvement Projects...we placed the toilet where it would be installed just to make sure we had enough tile down before grouting. We stated at least 3 times to both Sierra and Savannah that they were not to pee in this toilet...."it's not ready yet." Yes, you guessed it, the next morning when my friend came over to help me grout, there was pee in the toilet! YUCK!!

1. BLOG...they helped themselves to the cereal while I was blogging...I guess the floor was hungry too, since that is where the majority of the milk and cereal ended up!

Yes, we know what we are doing adding another 3 year old to our family. I figure that my time is already consumed with watching two, what's one more? I ran into a lady at a park who had triplets that were only a year old. I felt for her. I figure it is better to get triplets at the age of 3 or 4 when they can all walk by themselves and are potty trained.

Our Paper Pregnancy

A lot of couples refer to adoption as a "paper pregnancy". There really is a lot of paperwork to do and we are finding it is even more so with international adoption. We have completed all of our paperwork for our home study and should be having a visit soon from the social worker.

I really wanted to have the bathroom finished downstairs before our home visit and thanks to friends who are handy (Teree Bentley and Chris Olson), I think we'll make it! ;)

We heard from Lois the other night. Saviour has been told she is being adopted and is happy about it. We are going to send a book with pictures of our family, house and dog to her with Jessica when she goes to get her 2 year old sometime soon.

While we are waiting for our home study to be completed, we are gathering documents needed for the dossier. We send a dossier of various documents (home study, birth certificates, pictures, medical information, etc.) to Ghana for their approval of us as an adoptive family. We also have to file a form with the INS to get permission to bring Saviour to the U.S. as an immigrant. We also need to get passports and visas....so lots still to do, but coming along.

We are going to be having an adoption yard sale in the early spring to help pay for this adoption. So start gathering things you don't want anymore...we'll take them off your hands. Our 2-car garage is already half full of items for the yard sale that have been donated! Thanks to everyone for your kind words and support of our family. We love you!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Madi, the 9 Year Old

Yesterday was Madison's 9th birthday. It was a great day. She had school, even though it was Columbus Day. I took doughnuts in for her class as a birthday treat. After dinner, she opened presents (Lego's and clothes). Steve is soooo happy that he gets to play with Lego's....with all girls, who'd have thought?

We had our neighbors over for birthday cake and ice cream. She wanted a soccer ball cake, so this was my attempt. The phone rang off the hook for her that evening with calls from her birth mother, Amanda, Amanda's parents-Grandma Holly and Grandpa Marc, and her birth father's mom-Nana Pat. It's so great to be able to share these special days with them. We always love hearing from them.

We will celebrate her birthday on Sunday with Steve's family. My mom is still on her mission, but sent her a birthday card and money to go shopping with. It's hard to believe sometimes that it was nine years ago that she came into our lives. She has grown so much and is such a good girl.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Steve's sister got married

Steve's youngest sister Shelly got married yesterday. It was a great day for a wedding. We were worried that it would be raining/snowing, but alas, the weather cooperated. She made a beautiful bride. As she came out of the temple for pictures, someone from another wedding party said, "OK, that bride looks like she is about 12 years old." I told her she is 28 and I don't think she believed me. She married Dave and they seem to be a great match. They get asked how tall they are everywhere they go....so I'll tell....Dave is 6'8" and Shelly is 5'2". I just love weddings and always cry. It was really neat that all of Steve's family was able to be inside the temple together.

I liked something that the man who married them said. He had them look into the mirrors in the sealing room (the mirrors are located on opposite walls of each other). He told Shelly to look at Dave and Dave to look at Shelly through the mirrors. He asked how many images they could see. They answered that they could see many. The mirrors cause this effect, making it seem there is no end. Then he told each of them to look at themselves. He asked how many images they could see. They answered, "only one." He went on to say that is how it is in marriage, when we focus on each other, we see things in an eternal perspective, but when we think only of ourselves, we can only see the here and now. How true that is!