Thursday, August 30, 2007

I found it!!! Peanut Butter Chews

For years I have wondered about a cookie bar I used to have in grade school. I've never had it since and just figured it was one of those things I would never get to enjoy again.

Well!!!!! Lo and behold the recipe was in our local paper yesterday. They had a back-to-school feature and this was it. The recipe was distributed by our local school district. I was so excited that I had finally found it.

Today I made it and they are so good. Steve tried to joke with me and said, "Oh, I don't think you'll like these. You shouldn't even try one." Good try, but no cigar. They were wonderful!!!

Here is the recipe:

Peanut Butter Chews

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats

3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons peanut butter
4 1/2 teaspoons very hot water

Combine butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix, creaming well.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add rolled oats and mix well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix until well blended.

Spread the batter into a greased 12-by-18 inch cookie pan with sides. Bake at 350* for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake.

For the glaze: Combine powdered sugar and peanut butter. Gradually add hot water. Spred glaze on warm Peanut Butter Chews. Cut while warm. Cookies will have a chewy consistency.

Makes 32 bars.

(From the San Diego Unified School District Food Services Dept.)

Anna is sick

Anna is still sick. Today her fever was 103.4. She pretty much just lays on her dad and naps. She threw up this morning. Yesterday it so bad she got three of us at one time. Gross............... Baths for two girls and a shower for me! Her top tooth broke through. Could this be how her body acts when she is teething? She doesn't have any other teeth so we have no idea. We take her to the doctor tonight to see what he thinks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Picture of me and my aunt

This is for you Aunts! This was taken last year at Jared's wedding.

Settling In

Now that we've been home for a week life is getting back to normal. My suitcases are unpacked and things are put away. The girls have settled in nicely and seem to be thriving.

We took both girls to the doctor on Friday night. I knew Adah had an ear infection in ET, but Anna started tugging on her ear and I had my suspicions. Sure enough she too had an ear infection. At least it was only in one ear! For some reason Anna is not feeling well, we've been sick at our house with fevers and colds but no one has thrown up, and she threw up after we went down our winding road to soccer practice. Do you think if I had a used car seat she would have thrown up? Oh no! She just HAD to initiate the brand spankin' new car seat. Yuck! She continued through the evening and we stopped all formula. Amazingly she fell asleep on Joe without her bottle.

Saturday found us at Steve's annual company picnic. Here they met their Aunt Joanie who has called for daily updates and would periodically call throughout the nine months to see how things were going. She was over the moon with the girls and is so in love with them!

Sunday found us at church. It was the first time the girls went and they did splendidly. Anna slept through the SS hour and Adah slept during the church service. They were loved and adored my everyone and we couldn't have been any happier to be there. There is something special about our church family at Mapleview. We love them!

Later in the day we went to my aunt and uncle's home for a birthday bbq. Sunday was my uncles and my cousin Scott's birthdays. Monday was Steve's birthday so we had a family celebration. Jared, Jake and Arianne came too. The only one missing was Miranda. :( She was sleeping since she works the graveyard shift.

Monday we took them to the international doctor that we have been seeking advice from. She said Adah is the size of a five month old and Anna is on target. She wrote out a game plan for us to take to Kaiser and is sending us a report that she wrote out on each of the girls. Both girls now have appts. for Kaiser to have their post-adoption exams. Adah is not sitting up or any of the things that a normal one year old should be doing. We lay her on a blanket and get her to lay on both her back and her stomach. She needs to strengthen her muscles so she can start crawling and catching up. The dr. advised us to take lots and lots of pictures thinking that in three months she should be much, much bigger.

Well I need to go change a stinky diaper and soothe a whining little girl. Until tomorrow..........

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Late Birthday Steve!

Yesterday was my husband's 48th birthday. I have been with this man for thirty-one years. Hopefully we'll have another thirty-one! We spent the day with him going to work, and then both of us took the girls to our international doctor. I met him at his work and we drove together. After we were done with that we took the girls home and then went to PF Changs for dinner and off to Cheesecake Factory for dessert., then shopping for the girls at Target.

I met him when he was fifteen and started my life with him when he was sixteen. He's a wonderful man and would do anything for me. We have a love that I'm not sure most people find in a marriage. If it wasn't for him and for our Lord I know I wouldn't be the woman I am today. Thanks, hon. Love you!

Wednesday, We're Home!!!

After sitting on the plane for about sixteen hours, we landed in Washington, DC. That was actually a nightmare from mine and Sarah's perspective. We had to go through customs, immigration, pick up our bags and placed them on a cart, secondary inspection because of the girls. Then something was wrong with Anna Mihret's paperwork and we had to stay put for a few minutes. I was holding both girls while Sarah watched the luggage. My arms hurt, hurt and hurt some more. That was finally cleared up and they allowed us to proceed to the next area.

We were able to leave three of our pieces of luggage at the baggage area. Only two made it home. The other was delivered the next day. Of course that was the one I had put the girls paperwork in. Why? I don't know!! I blame it on the fact that I was half delirious most of the way home.

After we dropped off our bags we went and changed the girls and freshened them up a bit. Then we had to hike to probably the furthest check-in counter to get our boarding passes. After our boarding passes were in hand we then walked over to have our bags scanned. We each had a carry-on and a bag. One carry-on had all of our electronics that we weren't able to use, worthless things, and the other was a rolling diaper bag for the girls. We then attached two bags to each carry-on with diapers, bottles and such that we could keep at our feet. When we got to the scan we had two suitcases and three of those plastic bins to put things in. Sarah stood on the other side with both girls after going through while I retrieved our items. Unfortunately I didn't realize that the laptop and DVD player had to come out of their cases. I pled with the worker that we were two women with two babies who had just flown all night and then some and we were very tired and overwhelmed, and asked him if somebody couldn't just take them out for us. He looked at our pitiful selves and took my bag and did it himself.

After that was all cleared up we had to put all the bottles back, put our shoes on, and put everything back in order. We headed over to the shuttle to get to the boarding gate. After we collapesed into a seat at the boarding gate, Sarah went to Wendy's or something and got some fries and a cold drink. We were so exhausted. We waited for a few hours for the plane. It was time to board and get on our last leg home! Another five and half hours and we were done!!!!

Adah would not go to sleep on the plane. I couldn't figure it out because she was exhausted. Finally I took her sleeper off and she went to sleep immediately. I really didn't care what other people thought. I could now go to sleep and she was sleeping. Sarah, the lucky duck, had the only empty seat on the plane next to her so she was able to spread out a little with the older one. Adah wouldn't go to her at all so she was stuck with the heavier baby.

We finally landed in San Diego. Our family and friends were waiting for us! We took the girls into the restroom and put their dresses on before they met everyone. After we got off the elevator we looked and there they were! Dad, Jesse, Joe, James, John, Joel, and Rachel, her mom Brenda and Rachel's girls Evey, Josie and Carrie. The girls had brought black baby dolls for their baby friends and to welcome them to the USA. Rachel and the girls also made up a Welcome Home sign for us. Thank you!

Anna Mihret took to her daddy right away, but as of today, Adah Derartu is still warming up to him. Yesterday at the dr. she put her hand out to touch his shirt, but when he turned around she just looked away. She's not used to men.

Here's a few pictures from our Welcome Home day.

Jesse, Steve, Sarah, Anna Mihret, Joe, Mom, Adah Derartu, James in back. John and Joel in front.

Steve and Anna

Mom with Adah, Dad with Anna

Joel, Miranda, Anna and James goofing around on my bed.

On our way home we stopped at our favorite Italian restaurant and had dinner. Then Jared and his wife Miranda came over. We headed to Target to get some items while Miranda and Sarah watched the girls. All is well and we're thankful to to be home.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tuesday, Our miracle day!

w Today we got up and kind of packed here and there just in case we were able to fly out later in the day. We then went downstairst to the lobby and finished up our souvenir shopping.

It came time for us to get picked up for our embassy appt. We hooked up with Tony and Laura and their girls in the lobby and headed outside since our CWAE ride was running late. Of course the youngest baby messed her diaper while we were waiting. I changed her on a bench and was able to finish before the ride got there.

We piled into the car and headed off for the Embassy. Eyob was behind us in another car. We arrived at the Embassy and had to go through screening. Sarah forgot that she had her camera in her little passport pouch and had to leave it at the front counter. We headed into a little waiting room and I saw the families from another agency that I had seen on the plane on the way over there. This time they too had their new children!

It was our turn to head upstairs. We waited for them to call the "Grieshaber" family to the window. I had to swear with my right hand that all the info was true to my knowledge. When it was all done, Eyob politely told the clerk that our flight was to leave that night. He asked if it were possible to get our passports/visas that day. The response? "Sure, no problem!" WHAT?!!!! I immediately burst into tears. This was a God thing. The ONLY way we got their passports was because the Lord went before us and allowed it to happen. We had our church family and our adoption families praying for us. Our God is a MIGHTY God and only He can miracles.

I headed over to the other families and Lisa gave me a big hug. (I secretly think she is the one who sent me red roses to our hotel room or was it Laura?)(still a big mystery!) Eyob explained that no other family had ever received there documentation on the same day. Sometimes its iffy to even get it the next day. We then had to wait a little bit while they prepared both of them. They called up Derartu Stephen and then Mihret Stephen. (Cute names!)

We raced back to the hotel and furiously packed. I headed over to the little store at the Hilton to look for Benadryl. Knowing that our oldest one was a screamer I wanted a back-up if she got out of control. They didn't have it and again the Lord came through and she slept most of the time. We were able to pack our bags quickly and head down to the lobby to check out. Casahun was waiting for us and off we went to the airport!

We drove through a much nicer part of Addis than I had so far seen and wondered why we were never brought or told about this area. I would have felt safer shopping here. We got to the airport and again mass confusion. Families saying goodbye, people trying to help and this was just at the sidewalk in the parking lot. Casahun walked us in and we retrieved the luggage that was lost on the inbound flight and he took it back to the care center since it was donations. We had left Sarah, Mihret and our carry-ons at a bench while we retrieved the bag. Casahun was going to go, but I had no idea where Sarah was so I asked him and he took me to her. After checking us in at the airline counter he went ahead and left. I tipped him $10 which seemed meager for all the help he had been to us.

With Casahun gone, it was just us four girls. We went and filled out the immigration form and presented that. Passed through that and headed somewhere else to actually fly out. Checked in at Ethiopia Airlines and had just enough time to change the girls into some pjs. and board the plane. We were able to sit in Business Class at the very front of the plane. The girls each had a baby bed that attached to the wall that they could sleep in. Derartu threw up in hers once on the way home, but other than they were both very well behaved, especially for ALL the changes they were going through.

They fed us well, and the seats just about fully reclined. It was time to relax, catch some sleep, thank our Father, and reflect on the events of the day.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Monday, August 20

Today we were to be in the lobby of the hotel at 10am. Casahun was going to pick us up to take us to the CWAE care center to go over our paperwork for the embassy appt. and pay the rest of our fees.

While we were waiting I saw Laura and her family. I was so excited! I met Laura and Tony at the Kingdom Kids Older Child Adoption Training in April. Tony and Laura adopted three sisters that range in age from about four to eight.

Casahun arrived and all ten of us piled into the jeep. No car seats-no seat belts. Everyone just piles in and finds a spot to sit. We had three adult women in the back with four children on our laps. :-) As we drove to the care center we just soaked in all we were seeing and chatting away nonstop.

When we arrived at the care center two other families were there as well. Dustin and Heidi are first time parents that were with their little eleven month old guy and grandma, and Bob and Lisa were also there with there three older boys and their bio son, Josh. I hit it off with Lisa & Laura immediately!

We all went into an office and took out our paperwork. Chaka went over each families paperwork with them to make sure everything was in order and so they could turn it in ahead of time. Ours were fine and nothing had to be changed. I had brought multiple copies of each form needed, some filled out and some blank, all signed and notarized by Steve. I then went over to the accounting office and paid the embassy fee, fuel fee, passport photo fee, visa fee and I don't know what else. I was glad to get rid of the money that I had been carrying!

After all the paperwork and money was taken care of the staff prepared lunch for us and we all had injera. I was having a hard time because it was the baby's naptime and Mihret was not having any part of being good. She was tired and cranky. I got up with her and went outside and walked with her until she went to sleep.

We finally got to go back to the hotel for some rest. After a while I went down to the lobby to souvenir shop to look around and get some ideas. I found some cute Ethiopian dresses for the girls and bought those. They're a little big, but in about a year they'll probably fit. Later Sarah joined me and we shopped for some gifts for the family. We then went to eat at the Kaffa House in the Hilton.
Okay food, not the greatest.

We went back to the room and I had it out with Mihret. She's a screamer and was screaming because I wouldn't give her what she wanted. It's normal in Ethiopia for children to not be disciplined until they're five or six and for them to get what they want. Lots of appeasement. I wasn't having anything to do with that and when she was denied something the screaming started. I disciplined her and put her in her crib, a tad angry and having had enough. She slept pretty well until the next day with the exception of needing a bottle or two.

The thoughts that night were, "What have I gotten myself into?" "Lord, You called me to do this, You will have to lead me and give me the strength to mother these two girls. I can't do this on my own. You'll have to do it for me, and remind me daily that I'm doing this for You. Please help me see these girls as You see them." Then I layed awake all night either crying or watching tv.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sunday, August 19

I had a hard time sleeping through the night this first night, and really every night I was there. The calls to church started in the wee, wee hours of the morning, maybe 2am? and didn't finish until about 7am? Dogs barked, what sounded like gunshots were going off here and there. I brought Adah Deratru in my bed with me. She slept soundly all night.

I found I was getting weepy and emotional. I think the wear and tear of the trip, being dropped in the middle of Africa, then picking up two girls I didn't even know and didn't know me and I was totally responsible for their care, and then the primitiveness of the B&B just sent me into a tailspin. It was cold inside with tiled floors which seem to make to make it colder. Sarah and I both have colds now.
This was the light in my bedroom.
This was the kitchen. Five dollars a day if I wanted to use the stove.
Ceiling was nothing more than whatever that was. No insulation or anything.

I couldn't wait to call home and talk to Steve, but I had to wait until a reasonable hour to even call someone. I called the driver who had agreed to drive us for the week, but for some reason he didn't want to drive us (he said he would be there in a half hour and never showed up). That sent me even lower in my emotional state thinking I was stuck and couldn't go anywhere.

We got dressed thinking we were getting to go call home and go to the Hilton to check on sooner airflights out of Addis. Since our driver didn't show up we headed outside the door of our house and we were summoned into Yelamwork's home. We chatted and I broke down crying in front of her. She did not understand why I wanted to call home, I did just call home the day before, and why I was missing my family so much. We had coffee and then her son Alex showed up and offered to take us where we needed to go. YEAH!!!

We went to the international calling center and called home. I broke down crying when I was talking to Steve. Sarah took over the call for me since I couldn't seem to talk.

After the call we headed over to the Hilton Hotel to check on a sooner flight out of Addis. We were supposed to head out Sept. 1, but I knew I WOULD NOT LAST THAT LONG. I was done and ready to go home. I sat at the Ethiopian Airline desk for over an hour while the clerk helped me and tried to manuever us out. He told me that there was nothing available until the end of the month. NO!!!!!! I asked him about first class seating and that was a different story. He checked on that and there were tickets flying out of Addis Tuesday night, August 21, the same day as our embassy appt. All was good!!!!!

I had Sarah walk up to the front desk to see if any rooms were available for two nights. There were!!! After I finished up at the airlines I found Alex and told him I would be checking into the Hilton. Sarah and I were on the same page. Neither one of us wanted to continue at the B&B.

He took us back to get our bags and we were questioned as to why we were leaving. I told the father that the B&B was too isolated from everything. As two women with two babies we couldn't go anywhere or do anything unless someone was with us. We would have gotten lost if we left, and we didn't feel secure walking around with lots of money and our passports on our bodies.

As soon as we walked into our room we felt so much better. There was a tv, electricity, and carpet instead of tile. The electricity in the B&B didn't work in the bathroom early Sunday am. The pail that kept the water overflow from the toilet was full and overflowed onto the floor which go my pantlegs wet when I used the toilet. I couldn't see any of that happening though because it was dark.

Toilet and bucket at the B&B-notice how full the bucket is? This is about 11am when it was light enough to see.

At the Hilton we knew that Sarah could go down to the lobby without me or vice versa. We knew we could go souvenir shop without waiting for someone to take us somewhere. They had a restaurant so we could go eat. It wasn't very good, but at least it was more American food than the injera. By the way, I lost eight pounds in five days. That tells you how much I ate.

Here are some pictures from our hotel room at the Hilton.

Addis neigborhood

Ethiopian scaffolding

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saturday, August 18

After Casahun, our CWA driver helped us put in a claim for our luggage, we were greeted at the gate by Alex from the Addis B & B. He drove us to his guest house which was behind his mother's house. As soon as we started off the main road and onto a bumpy, muddy, dirt road I wondered where in the world we were going. I knew immediately that Sarah nor I would be walking anywhere. We stopped at a sheet metal/iron fence/gate and honked. The gate was opened by a man who is the guard for the B&B. We drive in and I just couldn't believe we were going to stay here for fifteen days. I had one of those, "What have I gotten myself into" moments.

We were warmly greeted by Alex's father and mother Yalemwork and Ato Belay Zegeye. Alex and Yalemwork went in with us to the house we were to stay at. We had reserved the house for two weeks at $65 a night plus $20 a week for a mobile phone for local calls only. I paid the money up front. (and lost about $950 when I left the next day-no refund). We were welcomed with a traditional coffee ceremony and popcorn.

Just as soon as that was done Casahun and Chaka (CWAE program director) arrived to take us to gather our girls. We were taken way across town to a neigborhood that looked equally as bad! The whole city was crazy. People and cars all interacting together. No one ever gets in a car wreck and that is a miracle.

Christian World Adoption Ethiopia Foster Home/Care Center

When we arrived the girls were sleeping. The nannies welcomed us and proceeded to wake the girls who weren't happy that their sleep was being interrupted just to be handed over to two white ladies they'd never seen before.

Anna Mihret in the crib/Adah Derartu in the chair

Mihret and Sarah

Nanny and Derartu

We were given instructions on their care and off we went. Casahun and Chaka stopped at Bambi's, a grocery store, so that we could buy formula, diapers, bottles, and a few other things.

We arrived back at the B&B and Yalemwork greeted us and the girls. Yalemwork agreed with me that Derartu seemed to have an ear infection and she took us to the dr. The dr prescribed an antibiotic for her and had us stop the medicine she was on unless she really needed it to help her breathe. So far she hasn't needed it. I'm wondering if there isn't mold or something at the care center that would make her wheezy. She doesn't seem to be so wheezy and rattley in the chest as she was.

We did well for the afternoon. Sarah retired for the night and then Yalemwork brought over some injera for my dinner and we ate together.

Our plane ride Aug 16-17-18

Some donations for the orphanage. We also took the filled and wrapped toilet paper tubes, See's suckers and candy bars.

Sarah on the way to Addis.

On the way to the airport we all went to La Pinata for dinner. Jared, Jake, Arianne, and Aaron (Sarah's friend) joined us. We had a great dinner and wonderful company. The waitress told us of a family that comes in that has fourteen children and will be featured on the tv show about large families.

We head to the airport and say our good-byes to everyone. Sarah and I head off to our boarding gate. We wait for awhile and finally our time to board the plane came. My ride to D.C. was a bit uncomfortable as I had a really large lady sitting next to me and she took half of my seat. (at least I didn't have a baby then!)

We switched planes in D.C. and boarded on Ethiopian Airlines. Our seats were perfect! We had an exit aisle so plenty of leg room. The airline was quite impressive and the staff were very courteous and polite. I think our plane ride was like sixteen hours. I'm not quite thinking clearly and don't want to take the time to figure it out. Addis is ten hours ahead of us here on the West coast. Our plane landed in Rome to refuel. Too bad we were so close to some great pasta and didn't even get to have any! It was dark so we didn't get to see Italy rom the plane either.

Our third leg of the trip was from Rome to Addis. We finally landed and our driver from CWA was there to greet us. Unfortunately one of pieces of luggage was lost. It was full of donations for the orphange and our electic converter/adapter. The converter/adapter was so we could use our electronic devices and adapt our plugs to their outlets. We got word that the luggage was found on Monday, but decided to wait to pick it up.

Immediately after we got off the plane we had to apply for visitor's visas and exchange some American dollars to birr. I ran into trouble because my dollars were from the 1996 series and they wouldn't take them. I found some newer bills and exchanged about $140.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're home!

Sarah, Adah Derartu, Anna Mihret and I arrived home this afternoon!!! I am SO glad to be back. I didn't like being in Addis Ababa at all. I think it was too many adjustments/changes at one time.

I'll post daily about our time in Addis until I'm caught up! Thank you for your prayers. Our girls are doing great and our family is bonding very well together.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We leave today!

Sarah and I leave tonight for Ethiopia. We fly into Washington DC-Dulles and arrive at a bright and early 6am. Fly out of WA DC about 9:45 on Ethiopian Air, arriving in Addis Ababa on Saturday, August 18 at 8am. That would be our Friday night, early Saturday AM here in the USA. A driver should be there to pick us up and take us to the Addis Bed & Breakfast.

Not sure when we're getting the girls. We can call our agency when we're ready and set-up a time. I'm hoping we can go to church on Sunday so we'll have to buy another scarf/headcovering so that we can both enter the church.

I shopped for donations yesterday. Baby blankets, crib sheets, teething rings, school supplies, and some soft balls were things I found. We have two 18 gallon tubs filled with goodies. A big suitcase for the girls and a big suitcase for Sarah and diapers. We'll each take a carry-on and our personal backpacks. Unfortunately Sarah can't find her Ipod which isn't a good thing. To a teenager on a long flight that could be a life saver.

I'll pack my clothes and my carry-on today. I'm taking my camera, laptop and a DVD player, Ipod, knitting, and all documents on the plane with me so that I don't lose them.

Thank you all for praying for us and joining us on this journey. Now pray that Sarah and I don't get lost or end up in Pakistan instead of Ethiopia. Sarah's observation was, "How come they're letting the two most scatterbrained people in the family loose in Ethiopia?" "Good question, Sis. Now strap that GPS system onto your leg so they can find us."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Joel-Can ya' tell where he's been?!

She might be 16, but I can still pick her up!

Vikki & Sarah

Giving my lovely daughter a big smooch!
Sarah & Vikki
(I had this picture taken in case they lose us and need to put out a missing person bulletin when we're in Ethiopia) (Thank you Jacob L. for taking this!)

Crystal, Vikki, Shenna & Debbie

Friends are forever!!!

John at Silver Strand



John Jake & Arianne

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yummy Cinnamon Muffin recipe

This is our family's favorite muffin recipe. I made it this morning and thought I would share it with you. I found it in the 2004 The Taste of Home Annual Recipe book.

Cinnamon Muffins

1/3 cup shortening or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening/butter and sugar. Add egg; beat well. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk and mix well. Fill greases muffin cups half full. Bake at 350* for 15-20 munites or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

(By the way, I don't use paper muffin cups, I just use Pam and they slide out of the pan nice and easy.)

In a shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip muffin tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen (of course I ALWAYS double the above recipe)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Joe!

Me & Joe last year at Jared's wedding.

My fourth son Joe is twelve today!!! He's already taller than I am. Joe is a sweetie and a very easy going boy. He received a PSP and a game along with a gift card to the local Christian clothing store. We went to Fuddrucker's for lunch with another large family. Now he's at his friend's house enjoying his day.

Joe came into the world at 10.10 lbs and has never slowed down. He has always been the tallest of all my children. My two oldest boys are 6'3" so I'm imagining Joe will be 6'4" or 6'5".

Happy birthday sweetie!

Awassa, Ethiopia-Anna's birthplace

Awassa is where Anna Mihret is from. I found these gorgeous pictures on google.

I found this blog entry. I think he describes life in Awassa perfectly.

Information about Sebeta, Ethiopia-Adah Derartu's birthplace

Adah Derartu is from Sebeta, Ethiopia. We found this out when her birth certificate came.

This is the beginning of the article linked below: The town of Sebeta is located within Ethiopia’s Oromia region, approximately 24 kilometers southwest of the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. (See Map). Of the approximately 13,400 residents in Sebeta, the demographic age is quite young, with almost half of the population in Ethiopia under the age of 15. Sebeta is also home to a few hundred orphans, cared for and housed at various schools. The majority of these orphans come from families that are simply too poor to care for them, are significantly disabled from crippling diseases, or have passed away from infectious diseases, predominantly AIDS and malaria.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Getting ready to travel

The past few days I've been doing little tedious tasks to get ready to go. I had to fill out immigration and Power of Attorney papers and get them ready so Steve can take them to a notary to have his signature notarized.

Printed off our itinerary so we know when we should be at the airport and when we should get picked up when we come back.

We have to take two sets of our paperwork. Going through the file I have to make sure things are in order. I took report covers and inserted each different paper in one and labeled them on the edge where the holes are so I can find what I need in a flash. Having two babies with me won't be easy and I need to find what I need, quick.

Received our tickets yesterday. Our travel insurance has Mihret's name spelled as Meheret which was how we thought her name was spelled, but I am glad it's Mihret, so I've been trying to fix that. I need to print those off so we have copies of it all.

Emailing back and forth with Addis Bed & Breakfast where we will stay. They have an iron!!! That opens up my wardrobe! I usually wear cotton skirts and tops and as you know they wrinkle easily when in a suitcase. I've been buying travel knit items to take with me.

It's cold and rainy in Addis. I'll have gone from 103* weather to cold and rainy in a little over a week. I soaked up that sun yesterday at the beach. I just had a feeling it was my last beach trip for the year. I burned my legs REALLY bad, the upper inside of my thigh. It hurts to walk.

Just checked the weather in Addis. For the next five days there are heavy and light rainshowers. Guess we'll be inside a lot! I bought a computer game for my laptop. It has lots of board games and puzzles on it. I also plan on taking movies to keep us entertained. We went to Office Depot to try and figure out how to get wireless internet on my computer, but it looks like it won't work. The guy spent about a half hour messing with it and it says its on, but it didn't work. Ah well, I was hoping to get it working so I could blog and post pictures from Ethiopia. We still have a few days so we'll see what we can figure out!

Took the three youngest boys to see Underdog. It was a cute movie. I rented Tyler Perry's Daddie's Little Girls for Steve and I to watch tonight. It should be good. We LOVE Tyler Perry's comedies, although this movie is a drama.

Been doing laundry FOREVER. It seems as though our washer and dryer are constantly going. My table is loaded with piles right now that need to get taken up to their spots. I think Sarah forgot how to use the washing machine while I was gone. That's okay, the boys were still alive and the rest of the house was in great shape.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Beautiful Beach Day!

Today Steve and I went to Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado for the afternoon. We brought our two youngest boys who are six and eight and Jake met us there. We had such a relaxing day. The sand was so white and beautiful and the ocean was a spectacular blue. The sun was shining yet not too hot. Just a gorgeous beach day. I love summer!

Amharic Kids Book & Toys

This site was recommended on the Ethiopia Yahoo forum that I read.

I bought the book and bean bags for the girls. Just another way to help them capture some of their heritage.

Palm Desert

Steve and I went away for a few days to the Marriott in Palm Desert, California. Palm Desert is a city just next to Palm Springs. It was about 103* in the day. Too hot! We ate, ate, and ate some more. One day we drove through Joshua Tree National Park. We saw two movies: The Bourne Ultimatum and Hairspray. Sleeping a lot was on my agenda, in the car, at the movies, in the room, it didn't matter. I was beat! I think it had to do with all the traveler's shots I'd received the week before, with the Yellow Fever only two days before we left and being anemic.

Now we're home and I'm enjoying my little guys. They missed their mommy. I played Old Maid with John and Joel before bedtime. We're a game family and I found a kids' card set at the gift shop and knew it was a perfect gift for Joel. Today it's Crazy Eights, Hearts and Rummy.

Sarah's friends threw her a birthday party while we were gone. They all parked in the back of our property and it was dark so she didn't see any cars. They all hid upstairs behind the wall and jumped out and surprised her when she walked through the door. She's sixteen now. Hard to believe.

Embassy date and birth certificates

We have an August 21 embassy date! With all the right documents that allows the girls to leave their birth country.

We received birth certificates for the girls yesterday.

Our oldest adopted daughter's name is recorded as Mihret Stephen Grieshaber with a birthdate of 4/28/06 making her fifteen months.

The youngest daughter is Derartu Stephen Grieshaber with a birthdate of 9/12/06 making her eleven months.

It is a custom in Ethiopia for the daughter to take the father's first and last name and add them to her first name.

We'll be busy this week making plans and packing. Just a tad overwhelming!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Leaving on August 16!

Sarah and I will leave August 16 to pick up Anna and Adah!!! We arrive in Addis on August 18. They are eleven hours ahead of us here on the West coast.
We'll stay until September 1 and arrive home on Sunday, September 2, unless we have to change our flight to a later date.

Now we have to figure out how much to take for fees, souvenirs, meals, taxis, guest house, tips, etc......Anyone have any crisp $100 bills? We have to take those, and they have to be the newer bills.

My busy week

I've had a busy, busy week since we've been home from camping. Just to give you a taste I'll post what I've been doing.

8:25: Drop family off at church
8:30: Go to Walmart for baby shower gift
9:00: Back to church, check-in with Steve to see if he needs help with SS, go to adult SS class
10:30: Worship Service
11:20: Leave church early to drive 45 minutes to family baby shower
12:00: Arrive at baby shower
3:00: Drive mil home
3:45: Go to soccer meeting for Joe and James' team
4:30: Head home
5:45: Go to church for business meeting
7:30 or so: home


7:00-Start putting tandem stroller together
7:30-Jake calls me and wants me to his house by 8:00 to take him to his dr.
8:00-Pick Jake up
8:20-Sit at drs for 8:50 appt.
8:50-Jake sees the dr.
9:30-Head over to lab for Jake's blood work\
11:00-Go back to drs. to ask more questions and file for Jake's disability
12:00-Take Jake home and start cleaning his house like a mad woman who wants a sterile enviroment for her son to recuperate in (I call and tell Jesse to bring our Dyson vacuum from home.)
2:00-Sarah and I head out for our Traveler's shots
3:30-4:00-Finally receive traveler's shots
4:00-Take Sarah to Pick Up Stix
4:15-Take Jake to two different banks
5:00-Leave and go out to P.F. Chang's with Steve


8:45-Head over to Jake's to retrieve my car
9:00-Hang out there for 45 minutes
10:15-Hair appt.
11:30-Head home
12:30-Take Joe to church for JH beach trip
12:45-Head back to Jake's
1:00-Go back to lab
2:00-Jake has appt with infectious disease specialist
4:00-We head over to emergency room and sit there for a while
5:30-I head home to be with the family, Steve is at the emergency room with Jake
Dinner, laundry, blah, blah, blah



8:00-I head to Ears, Nose and Throat dr. (I have a hoarse, raspy voice since my radioactive iodine treatment two years ago. The thyroid sits on the vocal cords and they zapped my vocal cords to make sure there weren't anymore thyroid cells on them. ) He sprayed my nasal passages with nasal spray that numbed my mose and throat. He then scoped down into my vocal cords.

Everything looks fine, but received a referral for speech therapy.

9:30-Grocery shopped
11:15-Ran groceries home and dropped them for Jesse and Sarah to put away, picked up four younger boys, headed to Jake's house to pick him up for his abdominal ultrasound and CT scan of his head.

11:30-Jesse and Sarah to beach with HS youth group at church

11:45-Get to appt and find out we're an hour early, but they're able to get him in right away. Boys and I head over to the frozen yogurt shop for lunch. As soon as we got back to the drs Jake was done.

12:15-Took Jake to La Salsa. He's now able to keep some food down. While he's ordering food I head over to Old Navy to buy some windbreaker jackets for the girls.

12:30-Head home. Start making potato soup and chocolate chip cookies. Fold laundry.

The day finally felt a little normal!!!

I ordered Am. Govt tests from A Beka for Jesse and Sarah

Looked through my Awana Cubbie supplies and made an order form. Got REALLY excited when I found there are lesson plans laid out for the entire evening.

5:00-Jesse is home, Sarah is at Bible study and Joe goes down for JH dye wars with other churches
8:30-Joe gets picked up


James wants to go to the library to turn in his second paper for the summer reading program and receive another ticket for the prizes.

Jake just called and wants to get picked up so he can come over.

Sarah has soccer practice tonight.

Other than that just laundry, snuggles, cleaning, and meals.

And how has your week been?!