December 31, 2007

Best News Of The Year On The Last Day Of The Year!

We should have known that the best news of 2007 would be delivered to us on December 31st. We woke up this morning to an email from CHI confirming that our dossier is on it's way to Ethiopia! It was express shipped on December 26th so will arrive any day now. We already know what the best news of 2008 will be, so for now will just hope that it's the best news of January or February 2008!

(I know I know, hoping for a referral in 1-2 months isn't probable but it is possible so that's what we're running with for now. We're well prepared to wait 3, 6, 12 months or longer if we have to - we'll just be 20 pounds heavier from all of the injera we'll be cooking!)

December 28, 2007

We Made Injera (And It Was Good!)

We did it! Our previous Ethiopian meal preparations have included injera and berbere made by a local grocer, but this evening we made our own injera and berbere...and IT WAS GOOD! Various Wats may now be staples in our weekly meals...

We've got loads of pictures to post of some fabulous Christmas gifts for the rock star formally known as Bean (Ashton/Isabel) and will hopefully get them up soon - in the meantime happy new year to all!

December 27, 2007


We LOVE getting mail from CHI - pretty much anything that arrives in the mailbox from them is something that has been very anxiously awaited. The package that arrived from their office yesterday was even better because it was unexpected! We originally thought that our travel guide would arrive once we got our referral for baby Ashton/Isabel, but it was a very happy and welcomed surprise when we opened our mailbox to see that it had arrived yesterday. The travel guide includes information regarding our trip to Ethiopia and the attached letter from our agency includes sentences like:

"You will start a wonderful trip very soon, to bring your child home from Ethiopia."


"As you get closer to your travel date you will receive a packet containing forms and documents..."

Seeing these words put together by our adoption agency brings huge smiles to our faces because it confirms that all of the planning, gathering, chasing, certifying, and stamping will soon produce a referral, court date, and travel date. Soon! And I love that the word "soon" was included in the letter sent from our Program Director so I'm not just dreaming this all up, it really is happening soon!

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas To Our Forever Family

Ashton McGregor


Isabel McGregor

There is a good chance that our baby is born. Baby Ashton/Isabel could be breathing the same air we woke up to this morning. I can't even begin to describe the feeling knowing that it's possible that s/he's a part of Earth right now, but even harder is the realization that the chances are that hunger and cries for needed attention are part of everyday life. Not just for the child, but for the birth parents as well who need the same nourishment, love, and attention to guide them through what is certain to be one of the most difficult times in their lives. We are here, and we await the great challenge of parenting baby Ashton/Isabel through the grandest of lives.

December 23, 2007

Christmas In MN - Ethiopian Style

Tonight we enjoyed a traditional Ethiopian feast at my parent's home with Mike's mom and stepfather. My sister has several girlfriends who recently moved to the USA from Ethiopia who had planned on joining us and guiding us through the meal preparation, but unfortunately they were victims of Minnesota weather so last minute improvisation was necessary. Thank goodness they had shared the location of an African grocery store with us earlier so we were able to find the all-necessary berbere and injera, and they even hooked us up with special spiced ground beef for sambusa! I must say that we did alright with tonight's meal - we made sambusa for appetizers and followed with traditional Ethiopian entrees of tibs wat, a berbere potato dish, and a red lentil dish. They were all delicious! We all sat around the dinner table enjoying a traditional Ethiopian meal, soon to be known as a traditional McGregor meal.

Despite a welcoming Minnesota Christmas snow we made it in to MSP on time yesterday. Mike and I have ALOT of family in Minnesota, in fact between the two of us we are Hall's, Campanaro's, McGregor's, Tull's, Anderson's, and Roberts. Thanks to an unknown source of scheduling magic we're able to spend quality time with all of them during most of our visits to Minnesota. We need to start buying stock in scheduling magic...

So what did we do on day #1 in MN? Naturally, we went bowling! Based on our performance my mom and sister should probably join a league and my husband and I should stay as far away as possible from those three-holed balls that aren't supposed to go in the gutters.

Today we had our McGregor/Roberts Christmas (Mike's dad and stepmother) where Grandma and Grandpa were the center of attention. They are without a doubt the couple that Mike and I aspire to be. Grandpa is 98 years old (3 months shy of 99) with a plethora of health issues, yet the two of them are so obviously in love that it's fun to watch. Seriously, fun.

Baby Bean's Godmother was there as well!

December 21, 2007

A New York Christmas

We fly to Minnesota tomorrow to be with our family for Christmas so celebrated our New York Christmas today. My husband got up early and made my mom's famous Swedish almond coffee cake for breakfast (sorry love, but mom's is still better!) then we blasted Christmas music and did the "tree thing". For those unfamiliar, the "tree thing" is when we sit around our Christmas tree in the worlds most comfortable pajamas eating Swedish almond coffee cake while drinking coffee with Baileys Irish Cream and open presents. Our cats spend the morning playing with crumpled up wrapping paper and then we retire to the couch where we watch various holiday episodes of The Simpson's. The only way this morning could possibly be better would be if our little baby Bean was there to enjoy it with us. Thank goodness that time is fast approaching!

We received word from CHI today that our dossier has received certification from the US Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy, so as soon as it arrives back at CHI's office will be sent on to Ethiopia where (thank goodness) no further certification will be necessary, just a bit of wait time before the all important match is made.

Off to watch Christmas movies and pack - as you may have noticed Bridger has already made himself quite comfortable in his box, and I'm sure Bode is sure to follow!

December 18, 2007

The #1 McGregor Christmas Tree Ornament, 2007

We already knew that Cindy from Pink Bottom Creations was fabulous, but today she topped the cake. We can't quite divulge how we've been working with her lately as the gifts under the tree are yet to be unveiled, but we can share that she created our most favorite ornament of Christmas 2007. In November she created the most wonderful piece made with Ethiopian prayer beads for my husband's birthday and we're so excited to now have an ornament to place on our tree of equal importance.

Cheers to Pink Bottom Creations!

Good Things Happening

We haven't received an update recently (our dossier should be arriving in Ethiopia this week!) so I thought I'd share some of the other good news out there:
  • Anna & Ben are traveling to Ethiopia in 5 days to pick up their beautiful twins!
  • The Forsberg's have a court date!
  • Brian & Noelle are in Ethiopia meeting their adorable little girl!
  • Jill is set to leave for Ethiopia on December 31st to meet Amari!
  • Tinsae is home from the hospital!
  • Puppydog Tales got their fingerprinting appointments!

Congratulations to everyone!

December 16, 2007

Christmas Cookies

I'm terrible at baking cookies and most other baked dishes. I'll admit to being a bit talented in the kitchen, but I don't seem to be able to bake a decent batch of cookies to save my life. So, when my husband suggested that we bring Christmas cookies to our neighbors I was less than anxious to oblige. I eventually gave in and spent the afternoon baking and decorating sugar cookies and white chocolate chip cookies with dried cranberries.

Sounds good right? Not so much. The sugar cookies turned out crispy and flat, and despite our best efforts to cover this up with festive green and red frosting they would still score a distant 2nd in the grocery-store-bought cookie competition. And even that's being generous. As for the white chocolate chip with dried cranberry cookies, I'm really at a loss. How on earth could something with two full sticks of butter (I don't remember the last time I even had that much butter in the fridge!), and multiple CUPS of sugar, brown sugar, and other tasty ingredients possibly turn out bad? Well, it did. The hockey pucks of the bunch have been placed in reserve as the "dunking bunch" for my husband to have with coffee, but really I think I'll just stick to the bakery for cookies from here on out. Unfortunately for our neighbors this year they'll have to do with our homemade batch...

So the point of this post you ask?

1) I baked. (And there are pictures to prove it!) They are definitely not the most scrumptious cookies on Earth, but that just solidifies the well known fact first introduced to my husband at an early age that ONLY grandmas bake cookies. Grandma Camp and Grandma Hall, preheat those ovens!

2) We're waiting for our referral and baking cookies helps pass the time. It's a good thing that baby Bean has fabulous grandmothers to bake the fabulous cookies that only grandmothers can make!

December 13, 2007

Dossier Update

Well, not really - but kind of. Our CHI Adoption Consultant emailed me on Tuesday and told us that she receives weekly dossier updates from St. Louis (CHI's main office) but hadn't received this week's update yet. If everything has gone according to plan then our dossier should be arriving in Ethiopia as early as next Tuesday, December 18th, so we're really hoping to be on the DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) list very soon! Some agencies consider families to be officially waiting upon submission of the dossier to the agency, in which case we have been waiting now for one week and two days. I don't think that's how CHI works however (I get the impression that their wait times begin when the dossier is officially in Ethiopia) so let's all hope that it arrives on Tuesday!

Also, I updated my list of Ethiopian adoption blogs to the right and there are a few new ones - check'em out!

December 9, 2007

Tibs Wat

We were recently given an amazing new cookbook (thanks M&P!) that I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning about African cuisine. The book, "The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa" was written by Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson and includes everything from spice & sauce preparation to elaborate stews and of course injera. Today we prepared our first Ethiopian dish, Tibs Wat, and it was delicious! I think we spent the most money ever at the grocery store solely on spices (note to self: bring back LOTS of cardamom from Ethiopia!) but it was so worth it. Tibs Wat is a slightly spicy, gingery, garlicky, beef stew which is traditionally eaten with injera. We didn't tackle our first try at injera today but plan to in the near future.

Cheers to fabulous friends and fabulous cookbooks!

On the adoption front, we haven't heard back from our agency regarding the status of our dossier but at this point no news is good news - it just means that they don't need any more documents from us. So, hopefully their original estimation of the dossier arriving in Ethiopia somewhere between December 18-22 still holds. The last 4 CHI families to receive referrals all got their calls within 2.5 months of the dossier arriving in Ethiopia which means we could realistically receive ours late February/early March! Our first Amharic class with our Ethiopian tutor is scheduled for January 7th and we can't wait to get started - A March referral & May travel date leaves us with 5 months to learn as much of the language as possible - hopefully we'll catch on quickly.

So, for the next several months we'll be attempting to master (or at least moderately succeed at) the art of African/Ethiopian cooking and doing our best to learn the basics of the Amharic language. There's nothing better to pass the time than taking on a few new hobbies!

December 8, 2007

Six Degrees Of Separation, Blog Style

Wikipedia says, "Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one "step" away from each person he or she knows and two "steps" away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is no more than six "steps" away from each person on Earth."

Translate this in to blog language and the following scenario plays out:

Wake up, check comment area on own blog, follow links to profiles/blogs of commenter's and read their blogs. Check out their blog rolls and find a a handful of interesting blogs. Visit those. Realize you've gotten off track and return to own blog to check in on your blog roll for updates posted on your most frequently visited blogs. Notice new links added to their blog rolls, visit those. Comment area in one of the new sites contains huge list of profiles of other waiting families, visit those. As of 12:00PM on Saturday I've officially squashed any doubt that I'm now connected by six "steps" (or less) to the entire adoption blogging community.

December 5, 2007

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Our dossier arrived at CHI's main office in St. Louis yesterday and was reviewed by the Ethiopia Team Program Director. Short of a few missing documents (all of which we faxed over this morning) it passed initial inspection! I say "initial" because I have a feeling that the revising, reviewing, and resubmitting of documents is one of those things that is never ending in this process. The prefix "re" is commonly used when preparing a dossier! This list has been made, checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked so many times I've lost track - we definitely put Santa Clause to shame in that department.

Of the documents that were missing most of them had to do with CHI's additional requirements and not necessarily dossier requirements. CHI is very dedicated to ensuring that their waiting families are well educated and prepared for the adoption and parenting journey so they mandate things like DVD courses, online testing, parent education classes, reading specific books and engaging in self reflection activities, etc... This part can be a little overwhelming when you're in the process of gathering so many other documents, but it's important to remember that at the end of all of this we're going to be parents and you can NEVER over-prepare for that job!

CHI emailed me that our dossier should be in Ethiopia in 2 - 2.5 weeks which lands in the December 18 -22 range. Merry Christmas!

December 3, 2007

FedEx And An Interesting Article

After notarizing, county certifying, and state certifying a copy of our I-171H this morning I bundled our now complete dossier and sent it on it's way to CHI's main office in St. Louis! The clerk at the FedEx location where I dropped it off thought I was a bit odd for taking a picture, but little does he know how valuable this package is!

A friend send me a link to this New York Times article which I think is an interesting read, especially the comments that people posted in reaction.
New York Times: A "Normal" Family

December 2, 2007

Amharic Lessons & Organic T's

Our agency (CHI) researched and organized an Amharic tutor for interested families in the NY area recently and we're now in the final stages of scheduling the classes. As it currently stands we'll begin meeting with her in early January for one hour a week on Monday evenings. Her typical class consists of ten one-hour sessions, so hopefully by March we'll be well on our way to having a basic understanding of the language. As I've mentioned earlier I LOVE languages. Although I've always felt that for any country we visit we should have at minimum the basic pleasantries and restaurant/taxi/tourist vocabulary down pat, with this situation it feels so much more important. When we travel to Ethiopia I want to be able to greet our hosts properly, say I love you to our child with familiar sounds, and chat with the local taxi drivers and shop owners. I know that it's unrealistic to think that my husband and I can be conversation-fluent in Amharic by the time we travel to Ethiopia, but we can do our best to get as close as possible. I can't wait to start classes and am so thankful that CHI dedicated resources to find a capable Amharic tutor.

On my way back to Brooklyn today I stopped by the holiday market in Union Square. For the most part this is a huge tourist trap stuffed with booth after booth of knit hats, candles, hand-made jewelry, and gingerbread cookies that I SWEAR have a chemical scent added to them that was engineered somewhere in New Jersey...but I did find a fabulous woman who makes 100% organic baby wear that made the whole trip worth while. Her shop is called Farmer Kids, check it out! I fell in love with this little set:

December 1, 2007

The Mailman Is OFF The Naughty List!

GOT IT!!!!! Only good things come in envelopes sent from USCIS. Now that our dossier is complete with our I-171H the whole package will be shipped to our agency first thing Monday. Hooray!!!

November 30, 2007

The Economy, Adoption, And Finances...Not Necessarily In That Order

Federal Chairman Ben S. Bernanke officially freaked everyone out last night when he told Congress that the economy is going to get worse before it gets better and that the economy is about to "slow noticeably". Great. There was also mention of the housing market continuing to sprial downward and the dollar hitting another new low against the euro and various other marvelous tidbits of information. Now, top this off with a sudden increase in our monthly mortgage payments due to our closing agent's GROSS miscalculation of our school tax and all of a sudden the topic of finances begins to creep it's way in to a growing number of conversations. Then again, we did sneak into the housing market last year just before things started to go really pear shaped and could not be happier with our cozy home, politically & environmentally active community, and one of the best school districts in the country.

What does this have to do with adoption?

1) Our school taxes are worth it. Bean is going to attend some of the best public schools in the US and have constant access to the influence of higher education via our local state university, SUNY New Paltz.

2) Our taxes pay the mailman who, yet again, neglected to deliver our I-171H today. I should be aiming this frustration towards USCIS, but unfortunately for the mailman he's the more visible candidate. So (for now) our mailman smells of elderberries.

November 27, 2007

Good Finds

No I-171H yet, but here are some good finds that we've come upon in the meantime!

Pink Bottom Creations: Custom hand-crafted jewelry designs, many that incorporate Ethiopian silver prayer beads.

Heart for Africa Adoption Fundraiser: This is one proud grandmother. She is hand making these pendants, and 100% of the sales will go towards her daughter and son in law's Ethiopian adoption.

Amharic Kids: Fantastic Amharic bean bags that teach colors and numbers, as well as Rebecca Haile’s fantastic book, Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia.

Tsehai Loves Learning: Tsehai Loves Learning is a new, animated, early childhood education DVD series that promotes cultural and environmental awareness and is presented entirely in Amharic.

November 24, 2007

List Of Lasts

We're beginning to check off the items on our list of lasts. That is, the list that contains all of the things that we'll be doing for the last time alone, sans Baby Bean. These pictures are going to be SIGNIFICANTLY cuter next year (I have a feeling Bean will be the centerpiece rather than the Christmas decorations!) but here's a glimpse of our Thanksgiving weekend - our last solo, but what's sure to be the beginning of a year of many exciting firsts!

Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey, toasted mushroom couscous, sage stuffing, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, asparagus, and bread)

Thanksgiving Snacks (fried sage leaves stuffed with garlic and goat cheese, assorted cheese and crackers, olives, turkey chili, and apple crisp)

Mike cutting down the Christmas tree

The Christmas tree! (I may have given Mike a little slack last year for selecting a short Christmas tree...he more than made up for it this year as we had to cut over a foot off of the base so that it would fit in our living room! It's one solid 9 foot tree!)

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and turkey-filled Thanksgiving.

We're blessed in so many ways, here are a few things that we're thankful for:

* Our loving and supportive family
* Our amazing and creative network of friends
* The boys (Bridger & Bode)
* Our warm and cozy home
* CHI, who has been incredibly organized, informative, and professional throughout our journey to Bean and who's efforts are supporting the children of Ethiopia in such loving ways

Another Very Important Birthday Gift

My sister's children have grown out of these items (absolutely vital to the wardrobe in our family) so they've now been passed down to Bean. Bean may not know it yet but he/she is definitely a Vikings fan!

It's My Birthday! (Yesterday)

Aside from USCIS missing the memo that it was my birthday yesterday and a certain envelope was supposed to arrive as my gift, the day was perfect! My husband planned a fantastic afternoon/evening in NYC and not only was it a fabulous way to spend my birthday, but it kicked off the holiday season as well!

Bridger woke me up to say happy birthday! (or to beg for breakfast, one or the other)

We started at Morrell's which is a wine bar in Rockefeller Center - the tree is up but wont be lit until next Wednesday but the area already has a very festive vibe. Then we went to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes! This is an annual tradition for us but this year was extra special because they're celebrating their 75th anniversary so the program was completely new. Next stop was Central Park West where we saw the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated and then the evening wrapped with dinner at Calle Ocho with amazing ceviche and paella. We were back in New Paltz and cozy by midnight, well, cozy until my husband had to figure out how to relight the pilot light for the hot water heater and stove because we ran out of propane unexpectedly yesterday...but it's all good now and the turkey is happily roasting away in the oven!

Here's us on the train ride home, and just in case you can't see my birthday present clearly I'll provide a zoomed in view!

November 20, 2007

4 Thoughts, 1 Post

We have an exciting post, a still waiting post, an Amharic update post, and an odd question post all of which surfaced today. Each of these thoughts likely warrant their own posting, but it's a short work week and I'm very much so looking forward to the long holiday weekend so I'm going to keep this short and sweet!

* We received our first clothing purchase for Bean in the mail today. It's a onsie (6-12 months, hopefully will fit!) produced by American Apparel as part of their Bella {Muse} series and has a scribbled line that says "Artist" underneath. Adorable.

* We're still waiting for the I-171H. It is the last form we need before our dossier can be sent to Ethiopia and we can begin officially waiting for a referral. We were fingerprinted 18 days ago and were hoping that this form would arrive before Thanksgiving. One more mail day... come on Postman!

* Our adoption consultant notified us today that CHI may be offering Amharic classes in our area in the near future! YEAH!!! This is definitely something we would participate in and have recently begun the search for an Amharic tutor so this is great timing. No number of books, DVD's, or colorful beanbags could possibly be as affective as an actual agency sponsored/recommended language tutor and/or class. Very exciting, CHI is amazing!

Odd Question
* I was randomly asked this question by a close-to-complete stranger today who happened to know about our adoption via having worked with my husband recently:

"Are you planning on having your own kids after adopting?"

Are you kidding me? Not only was this my first time exchanging anything other than a quaint "hello" with this person (which was evidently enough for him to feel justified inquiring about our personal family matters including reproductive habits) but what exactly did he mean by "my own" children? My response didn't even come close to the thoughts that were bubbling inside my head at the time, but the moment he asked the question has been haunting my thoughts ever since. I know we're going to encounter far more disturbing situations and we're doing our best to educate ourselves on the best way to handle them, however we'll never cease to find them disturbing nor would we ever want to. I'm sure he didn't mean any harm by asking what I'm sure he thought was a simple question, however not only was it not simple but completely ill-stated and very personal as well. I definitely need to better prepare myself for similar future encounters.

November 18, 2007

It's Soooooo Christmas!

Organization At Last

Phew. After almost 3 weeks of our 2nd floor furniture living on the 1st floor we're now officially moved back in, clean, and organized! We hosted a dinner party last night which provided the much needed motivation to put things back in order. Ever since the 2nd floor refinishing/carpeting escapade the house has been in complete disarray and it's fantastic to finally have everything in it's place at last. We also successfully completed a 48 hour cleansing so indulging in spicy enchiladas, wine, caffeine, and a clean home last night with guests was pure joy.

Another bonus of the mass cleaning/organization is that we found the computer cord for our digital camera so can finally post some decent pictures of Mike putting up the Christmas lights last weekend and the end result of our renovation from this weekend. Still no I-171H, but the mailman is now hand delivering all of our mail directly to our doorstep. We have many things to be thankful for this week, and an attentive mailman is one of them. Hopefully one of his next deliveries will be in an envelope from USCIS!

Mike transforming our home into a Christmas gingerbread house:

Bean's room is on it's way! We now have the crib put together, the first piece of art (an outline of Ethiopia with a heart in the center that says, "There's nowhere I wouldn't go to bring you home to me"), our new Amharic beanbags for numbers and colors, and Bean's first blankets/clothing from Great Grandma Soer.

Bridger fast asleep under our new living room blinds:

Mike's office is finally organized!

November 14, 2007

My Sisters Rock

Both of my sisters rocked today. OK, they always rock, but especially today.

Older Wiser Sister: Married with three of the most adorable children on the planet. A box arrived in the mail from her today containing knit baby outfits and blankets. They found them a couple of years ago in my grandmother's house after she passed away labeled "for my great grandchildren". My sister's children have been enjoying them and now that she's passed these absolutely precious items down to me, Bean will enjoy them too. Speechless.

Younger Youthful Sister: Fabulously single and birth mother to two more of the most adorable children on the planet currently living with their adoptive family in Iowa. Today she agreed to participate in a 2-5 day cleansing with me where the only nutrition allowed is a cayenne pepper/lemon juice/maple syrup/water mixture and daily vitamins. Only a sister would agree to such a thing. We're going to text message each other through the next 2-5 days (she's in MN, I'm in NY) and look forward to the mental and physical health that a cleansing can bring.

Bean is going to have two of the greatest aunties in the world!

And The Winner Is...

The Stokke Xplory

And even better, we got it for 20% off! One of my girlfriends has access to a corporate perks program that allowed her to share a 20% discount with friends and family for the month of November - talk about timing! All of the reading, DVD's, articles, and advice we've encountered regarding adoption and attachment stress the importance of the mother and father establishing themselves as the primary caregiver. This stroller is going to be extremely helpful in that regard because it rotates 360 degrees so that the child can face mommy while out and about. Thanks Grandma Camp!

Visit to Modern Tots

Modern Tots might be my new favorite store. Ok, most of the products are crazy expensive but it's still fun to look. We first stumbled across their website when we were looking at rocking chairs on Craigslist and then realized that their showroom is right around the corner from our apartment in Brooklyn so we stopped by last night to check it out. The saleswoman was fantastic and walked us through the wide world of strollers. We are looking at three potential strollers: the Xplory by Stokke, the Orbit System, and the Quinny Zapp. One thing to keep in mind is that although we spend the vast majority of our time in our small Upstate NY village we do spend a bit of time in NYC as well, so our stroller will need to be suitable for car rides and hiking trails as much as it will need to be suitable for long city walks and subway stairs. Here are the pros and cons we found for each of the three we're looking at:

Xplory by Stokke: Everything is adjustable! The stroller seat can be moved up and down (fantastic for restaurants, simply adjust the height and it doubles as a high chair, also great for visits to the zoo when other strollers would be too low to see over the bars) and it rotates 360 degrees so that Bean can face mommy on long walks or face forward when it's time to observe the world. It also reclines for those times when a walk turns into a nap, and the wheels collapse together turning the whole thing into a dolly-like structure making it easy to "bump" up and down stairs. The main con for this stroller is that it's not easy to get in and out of cars, and is nearly impossible to do while holding a baby.

Orbit: The big pro for this stroller is that it doubles as a car seat. This may be inconsequential for us depending on how big Bean is when we get home, but if Bean is under 6 months this may be a good option. It also has the 360 degree rotation but is also a bit of a pain to collapse and get in and out of cars.

Quinny Zapp: CHEAP!!! We're going with this stroller no matter what. It's lightweight and collapses to almost nothing with one quick & easy motion. Literally, nothing. I watched the sales woman press down on the handle and it was like the whole thing just disappeared and all that was left was this small folded piece of metal on the floor that I could have practically put in my purse! This will be a great around town stroller and perfect for those times when we need to run a quick errand or are going out and planning on having Bean out of the stroller most of the time when having a compact stroller that doesn't take up any space is great.

The saleswoman told us that she went through four strollers with her daughter - yikes.

November 13, 2007

5 Months 6 Days 10 Hours 7 Minutes...

To think that we don't count every moment of every day would be undermining our perseverance. The Mailman has suddenly become our most anticipated visitor, the occasional post about an I-171H arriving "earlier than expected" is our unexpected window of hope that things may progress "quicker than expected". I use quotes because the very meaning of the word "expected" deserves to be taken contextually. There are no expectations in international adoption, yet we as adoptive parents would be lying if we said that we had none. We have expectations, however they may be more in the form of hopes.

November 12, 2007

New Policy

Due to increasingly negative views toward adoption in Ethiopia a new policy has been set in place. Adoptive parents are no longer able to take custody of their child until after the coffee ceremony which takes place the day prior to the family's departure. If the family is staying in a guest house at the orphanage then they can take custody any time after arrival, whenever it feels appropriate for the family and the child. Apparently there has been quite a bit of negative publicity generated about international adoption by families staying in hotels, not to mention the recent nightmare in Chad which resulted in the Republic of Congo completely shutting down all international adoptions.

We're hoping to stay at Children's Hope Internationale's House of Hope (their family guest house) while we're in Ethiopia, however this may not be an option depending on the number of traveling families at the time. I must say that it would be heartbreaking to meet our son or daughter on day one and then not be able to hold him/her in our arms all day every day until we return to NY. On the other hand, my husband and I are dedicated to ensuring that a proper process is followed, no rules are broken, and that everything possible is being done for the children who will remain in Ethiopia. After all, this is about keeping the best interest of the Habesha in mind and ensuring that absolutely every step is being taken to preserve their culture and remove the possibility of illegal child trafficking and other horrendous activities.

I guess we'll add "room at the guest house" to our ever expanding list of things to hope for. We were actually already really hoping for this, however now it's been moved further up the list. We're also hoping that people will stop being ignorant, arrogant, and self-righteous to the extent that policies like this have to be created in the first place.

November 11, 2007


Noisemakers at New Years, candy hearts, Easter eggs, fireworks, BBQ's, parades, turkey, and anything Christmas! October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year. I love the fall season, the leaves, the pumpkins, the apples, and eventually the turkey, the trees, and the lights. They really are an amazing three months. Truth be told my husband and I actually have mini-Christmas celebrations several times throughout the year when we're in need of a little spice where we prepare a holiday'esque meal, listen to Christmas music, watch a Christmas movie, and maybe even exchange a gift depending on the reason for needing a "Christmas night" in July. Nothing beats the real thing though, and it's finally November so we can start celebrating the real thing!

Today we put up Christmas lights on our house for our first time ever (our previous apartments haven't exactly been the ideal setup to hang lights outside, the neighbors would have likely complained). The picture doesn't do it justice, we'll try another shot or two tomorrow before the sun has completely set. We've been warned not to actually turn them on until Thanksgiving but at least they're up and ready for the switch to be flipped! After the carpet installers leave tomorrow and we've put all of our furniture back into place (or into place for the first time, as will be the case with the crib!) I may break out the Christmas decorations, but we'll see how the day goes. If I know me though those Christmas decorations are as good as up!

The Ethiopian calendar is made up of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days (6 in a leap year), so Ethiopian Christmas is celebrated on January 6th or 7th each year. I guess that means we'll just have to start extending our Christmas festivities...I could definitely think of worse!

November 10, 2007

2 1/2 Months

Is the longest wait time between submission of dossier to referral for the most recent 4 families in CHI's Ethiopia program! We've been reading a lot lately about how the wait times have been increasing due to the increase in agencies working in Ethiopia so it was fantastic to read that the recent CHI Ethiopia families received their referrals so quickly. Congratulations to the families!

November 9, 2007

One Week Later

No carpet. No I-171H. The carpet was supposed to be installed today thus ending a week of all of our furniture living in our living and dining rooms, but they called this morning to tell us that there was a delivery delay so they won't be able to install until Monday. There goes our fun weekend of redecorating and putting things back in order... USCIS somehow didn't get the memo either that our I-171H needs to be delivered ASAP! Yes, I know it's been just a week which would probably have broken some major land speed record for government document delivery, but a girl can hope, can't she? So I need to find a "YES" for today, too many "NO's" to start the day off.

Yes, we live in a beautiful neighborhood in a gorgeous home and the yard is sprinkled with red, yellow, and orange leaves, and now that we have some unexpected free time this weekend I see leaf jumping in our future!

Yes, we have two fantastic cats who keep us company when one of us is out of town. They somehow sense that the one of us who is at home needs a little extra cuddling while the other's away and cuddle-in extra often.

Yes, I'm going to go grocery shopping today and cook an amazing dinner that will make the whole house smell of garlic, sage, and rosemary. I love to cook.

Okay, maybe I can wait a few days longer for the carpet and I-171H.

November 8, 2007

Why Ethiopia?

The amount of paper we've had to edit, copy, notarize, certify, fax, and then recopy is enough to question the effect of international adoption on the environment, although the quantity of trees that have been sacrificed is obviously very well worth it. We'll go as far as we need to go and fax as many 35 page copies of our dossier that need to be faxed to bring our little one home! But why Ethiopia?

The first page of our dossier is a letter to the Ethiopian Government explaining why we would like to adopt a child from Ethiopia. My husband and I wrote this letter and edited it all in one evening. We sat down and just thought out loud and reflected on our thoughts and feelings together and wrote an honest and excited letter. I guess I've just always felt that this is how my family is going to grow, and who we are going to be, and have always had that one little place in my insides that didn't feel quite complete, but has always known, somehow, exactly what was going to complete it. It's hard to put that into words, but when you've been planning something as long as my husband and I have been planning this the words tend to flow.

Why Ethiopia? Because we live in an area of the USA where we have access to an active Ethiopian community and will be able to provide our child with knowledge and pride for where Bean came from and who Bean is. Because we live near a street where Amharic is the primary language and Ethiopian restaurants are in no short supply. Because as we researched adoption programs Ethiopia kept calling to us as this absolutely amazing country with such an astounding history. Because there is a little one out there who is family. Ethiopia will be entrusting us with an amazing responsibility, to raise one of their children with love and respect and pride for who they are and will become. Obviously this is a responsibility we are anxious to take on.

November 6, 2007

Language And The Taxi

One of my most favorite things to do in NYC is to find myself in a taxi with a driver who is a native speaker of one of the languages I've studied. A few weeks ago my husband was away on business and I was out with the girls and opted for a cab ride home after a dinner out. It was the first time I'd ever used my (extremely limited) Arabic vocabulary to converse with a taxi driver. We exchanged a quick salam-a-lekum and I was in heaven. It was the most fun I'd had that month!

So, tonight after an evening out my husband and I hopped into a cab and directed him towards Brooklyn. The scene that ensued was embarrassingly entertaining. If you don't keep up with NYC news here's the lowdown: NYC taxi's are now required to have GPS and credit card capabilities. There was a brief strike by the taxi union in protest, but it didn't result in much. The primary purpose for the driver's dislike of the new regulations appeared to be the fact that the GPS map was located in the passenger seat (doesn't do the driver much good...) and that being required to accept credit cards would increase the number of "ride and runs". I'm not sure, however, that quite possibly the greatest threat was ever even remotely addressed.


So to continue with this evening's events, our driver was more than willing to take us to our destination, however requested that I enter in the address to his GPS device. I did so (however am fairly certain that many non tech-savvy riders may not have been able to) and we were on our way. On our way that is, until the GPS devise began giving English directions. Within seconds our taxi driver had to interpret, "in 500 meters turn left", and "at the next intersection make a right from the left hand lane". Yeah...I'm sure "intersection" is one of the first vocab words you learn as an immigrant to the US. All of a sudden there are so many more reasons to dislike the new GPS and credit card regulations for taxi drivers in NYC.

If you're a recent immigrant (or an immigrant of 10 years who has lived quite comfortably never needing to understand the way a computer pronounces, "In 5 Meters Navigate One Right Turn") many of the directions given by a modern GPS may not be well understood.

This language barrier coupled with the tangled and always construction ridden streets of NYC just may just result in GPS soup.

Amharic DVD

Thank you Jill for this fantastic resource! I just ordered the first DVD in the Tsehai Loves Learning series and can't wait to start learning!

November 5, 2007

Learning The Language

I love languages. My list isn't as long as many of my friends who grew up speaking three languages and then studied three more in school, but I have picked up a few. I studied German in elementary school, French in high school, and Spanish in college. I try to study the language of every country we visit for a few months leading up to the trip, however this usually results in just a few key phrases and if I'm lucky the ability to count and order dinner in a restaurant. When we visited Morocco I was lucky if I came anywhere close to correctly pronouncing the 5 words of Arabic that I managed to remember and was very thankful that French is also a widely spoken language in the country. In Italy, however, I was able to participate in conversations and understand most of what was being spoken around me. Languages are incredibly exciting to me and I love learning them, even if it is just a word or two.

So, when we began this process I fully intended to learn as much Amharic as possible. I bought the Amharic phrasebook published by Lonely Planet however haven't been able to find many other resources. A DVD would be fantastic as it's always more helpful for me to hear the words, say them, repeat them, and practice them than just read them in a book and hope that I'm interpreting the pronunciation rules correctly. I'm going to look on craigslist for an Amharic tutor who might be able to help me out for an hour here and there (I love NYC!) but would love to learn about any books, CD's, DVD's, etc... that any of you know of and would recommend. Any ideas?

Sister Support

Thanks to my always reliable support system of mothers and sisters I've chilled out a bit and am secure in the knowledge that everything that can be done is being done as quickly as possible. Sometimes I need to be reminded that this process does not revolve around the timeline of my husband and I, or the timeliness of the US government, or even the steady efforts of all who have been involved in helping bring us to the completion of our dossier. It revolves around Bean's life, Bean's timeline, and when Bean is ready, we'll go and get him/her. The refreshing breath of fresh air that a girl breaths after having a mother/sister moment is truly priceless.

November 4, 2007

Waiting On The Gov't

Forgot to mention in my last post that the information we did find in blogs from NY indicate about a 6 week lag time between fingerprinting and receipt of the I-171H. That would put us around the mid-December mark for submitting our dossier, and mid-January mark for officially just "waiting". As if we've been doing something other than waiting the rest of this time, it feels like all we've been doing it completing document after document at rush speeds, all to just wait and enter the next stage of waiting. Patience patience patience...

Blog Searching & Football

We woke up this morning (with an extra hour to spare, thanks to daylight savings) thinking that we'd search the blogs for New York families in the adoption process in an attempt to learn more about the average time between fingerprinting and receipt of the I-171H. Given the sheer volume of blogs out there we assumed that New York adoption blogs including a timeline would be plentiful. Not so much. Not only do the wait times differ (hugely) from state to state, but it also seems that any attempt to learn about the potential wait times in your specific state will result in a handful of oddly organized blogs that point to, well, not much more information than what you woke up with. This must be karma's way of telling us to chill out, we've done all that we can do, just be patient and enjoy a beautiful November New York Sunday afternoon. I can handle that I guess, doesn't hurt that the Vikings absolutely dominated the Chargers...

November 3, 2007

Renovating The Renovation Plans

The plan was for the sandless hardwood floor refinishers to arrive at 9AM this morning and begin refinishing the floors upstairs. They arrived, looked at the floors, and regardless of the fact that we had sent them pictures of the paint on the floors and they had confirmed that "we've dealt with worse" they quickly informed us that they would not be able to complete the job. So, with all of our upstairs furniture temporarily relocated to the lower level we began investigating other options. My husband and I have never been the type to require much time for decision making, which is interesting seeing as we're two very indecisive people...which may be why we both need to "make the final call" quickly just to get out of the indecision. Anyhow, sometime between 9AM and 2PM today did a complete 180 and decided to go with Carpet.

Carpet? Are you kidding me? We've lived in NYC (and for the past year the surrounding countryside) for over six years, and THE rule of thumb is HARDWOOD. And now all of a sudden we're willing to have carpeted bedrooms? Odd. Even more odd is that it actually feels like the right thing to do. Quieter. Warmer. Softer. Sold. So, we woke up expecting to have the entire upstairs hardwood floors refinished and furniture back in place. We're going to go to sleep looking forward to our carpet install appointment later this week with our upstairs furniture taking temporary residence downstairs. Who knew.

The really exciting part is that as of next weekend the only other room that still requires significant "help" will be the downstairs bathroom. Don't get me wrong, there will always be projects, but it will be nice to have most of the necessaries out of the way.

Bean is going to love his/her soft, padded, stain-resistant carpet. Oh my goodness I feel the need to reaffirm myself with a DWR purchase...

November 2, 2007

No Cell Phones, Please

The fingerprinting centers have a no cell phone policy and today we just about witnessed an all out brawl because of it. A gentleman and his wife were reporting for their fingerprinting appointment and had taken public transit to the center. When the security guard informed them cell phones are not allowed inside the gentleman said ok and asked where he could check it while he got his fingerprints taken. The security guard informed him that the center does not provide a holding area for cell phones and that he would have to wait outside. Huh? How can you not allow a device and then not provide an option for storing it? Anyhow, the gentleman was not so gentile and gave the guard a really hard time. In the end his wife got her fingerprints taken first while he waited outside and then they traded places so everything eventually worked out. I don't understand giving the security guard a hard time over the matter though, it's not like they write the policies - they just enforce them. Those of you who haven't been fingerprinted yet beware: Leave your cell phones at home or in the car!

The fingerprinting machines that the Department of Homeland Security uses for USCIS approvals are so cool. They digitally scan your prints and feed them directly into their massive database and spit out a score for each one. My right hand ring finger received the highest score of my ten digits, a 75, but Mike's left hand thumb trumped me with an 80. Can't win'em all. This part of the process does win the speedy aware though - we were in and out of the building in 20 minutes! It was officially the last thing on our to-do list for the dossier, nothing to do now until the I-171H arrives.

November 1, 2007

Hold On, Wait A Minute...

I'm feeling a little sad about using the words "excited" and "anxious" and "antsy" so much lately. At some point over the next year Bean is going to experience a life altering tragedy and as a result is going to be separated from his/her biological parents. We have been feeling all sorts of emotions throughout this process, and two of the most essential are grief and mourning over Bean's loss. There are tears of joy and sadness.

We read an article this week about one family who every year on their child's birthday gathers on the front lawn and lets a balloon fly away with a note attached for the child's birth mother. The child looks forward to this communication she has with her mother every year. Other families write notes, say prayers, and participate in various annual activities to remember the child's birth family. We've been doing a lot of reading and research to make sure that Bean is aware and proud of who he/she is and where he/she came from and how loved he/she is. Perhaps one of our new traditions will be to release three balloons, one green, one yellow, and one red. Just to make sure they know where to go.

October 31, 2007


Our dossier is officially burning a hole in my pocket. All of the documents are stamped, certified, state approved, and tightly bundled in a weather proof package ready to be mailed to CHI the moment we receive our I-171H. I fee like I've been making my list and checking it twice (or three, or four, or five...) times for months! Oh wait... I HAVE! So now that everything that we can gather is gathered, what to do? Refinish floors, make a new kind of lasagna (asparagus with parmesan sauce), carve 6 pumpkins, research patterns for the baby's room, obsessively question the age of every child we see:

Me: Do you think that child is 3-5 months or more like 6-8?
Mike: Hm, does she have teeth yet?
Me: I think 6 months is when many children start teething.
Mike: Wow, so our child might already have teeth?
Me: Well what about her, she looks like she has teeth but she's walking, do you think our child will be able to walk like that when we meet him/her?
Mike: He/she will probably be too young to be walking, but maybe.
Me: Well what about that one over there, he looks to be in the 8-10 month range, right?
Mike: I was thinking more like 5-7 actually. Do you think our child will be able to sit up on their own like that one over there?

And the conversation continues! I guess now that the paper chase is (almost...come on I-171H) complete we're looking for something else to keep us busy until that fabulous day when the referral arrives. This weekend it's the floors, maybe next weekend we'll take a stab at redoing the downstairs bathroom, and then there are those windows that need to be weather proofed, and then...ok maybe it wont be so difficult to find things to do!

October 30, 2007


We will be able to make our fingerprinting appointment, as assigned, this Friday at 1:00PM. Sigh of relief is an understatement.

October 29, 2007

Dossier & The Boss

Today two major steps were completed:

1) Our dossier documents are now New York State Certified!
2) I had THE conversation with my boss!

We will need to return to the state certification office one more time once our CIS approval arrives (the I-171H form) however everything else is 100% ready to go at this point which is really really exciting. Our I-171H is in the works, and baring any roadblocks (there is one potential delay, but I'm doing my best not to focus too heavily on this as all will happen in due time...) we will receive our approval in 4-6 weeks. Hopefully less, but isn't that always the case? Also, I met a woman while waiting for my file to be reviewed who is adopting from Russia. She needed to state certify 57 documents! And I thought our 20 was a lot. We exchanged contact info and will keep each other posted on our progress!

As for the conversation with my boss, it could not have possibly gone better. She's excited, I'm excited. I'm dedicated to returning to work full time, she's very happy about that. Considering the fact that the best timeline I could provide was, "I could be traveling anytime between February and July of 2008 and even then this could change at the drop of a hat depending on the zillions of factors contributing to the process..." well, quite frankly she was a gem.

So, we'll keep our fingers crossed that these two steps forward don't result in two steps back (come on you Paula fans...) and if they do, well I suppose it's about time for another round of the patience song...

"Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you are impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember, that God is patient too, and think of all the times that others have to wait for you!"

Great Adoption Resources

Thanks to Kevin & Stacie I'm now well acquainted with The Dalai Mama's Shop, personalized gifts for a great cause. This site sells items such as baby shower cards catering to adoptive families and adoption announcements as well as postcards of scenic Ethiopia. A significant portion of the proceeds from any purchase made on her site will be donated to Adoption Advocates International's Child Sponsorship Program which raises money to send children in Ethiopia to school. Cheers to the Dalai Mama!

October 28, 2007

Too Soon

We discovered yesterday that this weekend was just a tad too soon to be shopping for Bean's first outfit. Two main reasons:

1) Bean's room isn't ready yet (we haven't bought a changing table and the floors need to be refinished and carpet purchased) so there isn't currently anywhere to put clothing, decorations etc... meaning items would just sit in bags until the above mentioned are taken care of.

2) Bean could be a boy, or a girl, 3 months old, 6 months old, 10 months old, small for his/her age or large for his/her age...who knows! Requesting an infant (0-12 months) of either gender leaves things pretty wide open to possibilities making the purchase of clothing a little tricky. That said there are some adorable items out there that would likely suit a boy or a girl in the 6-12 month age range so as soon as Bean's room is ready we'll revisit the project of purchasing the first outfit.

In the meantime we're hoping we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. Our fingerprinting appointment is this Friday which is the last step we need to take to get our CIS approval which is the last document we need to complete our dossier. At that point it will be pretty much out of our hands. The wait times, however, seem to be increasing lately with 3-5 months being more realistic than our originally hoped for 1-3 months. Still, we can't help but think that if we receive a referral in 5 months (which is still realistic) - Bean could very likely already be born! It's amazing how it's possible to love someone so much before ever even meeting them.

October 26, 2007

The Baby's Room: Post #1 of Many

It's so hard to know when it's "time" to start doing things like decorating the baby's room, buying clothes, and organizing your home so that it's fit for a child when you're paper preggers. When we start the home study? Complete the home study? Apply to CIS? Complete the dossier? Or do we wait until the dossier is officially in Ethiopia? Well, we've decided this weekend is the time for us, which just happens to be in none of the stages listed above rather the "our fingerprinting appointment is next week and it's time to get the baby's room ready!" stage. Never question the logistics of a waiting mommy... it's just time.

The first step was to schedule an appointment to have the hard wood floors refinished on the second floor of our house where the bedrooms are. The genius who owned our home prior to us decided to paint the walls with bright colors without protecting the floors, and then just covered them up with bright colored carpeting which we promptly removed when we moved in. Needless to say the floors are gorgeous but look a bit like a Jackson Pollock painting only 50% complete. Our appointment to have them refinished is next Saturday! In the meantime we plan on finalizing the room decor and maybe even purchasing our very first outfit for Bean. This will need to be a special purchase, but we may have something in to follow!

October 25, 2007

AKA: The Boys

This is Bode, one of our two highly cherished and highly spoiled cats. I'll introduce you to Bridger later. Today we discussed getting started to work on Bean's room and if I know my cats they're going to sense that something is up with the entrance of one new piece of furniture...the crib! We adopted our cats through a fabulous organization called Kitty Kind. Bridger entered our lives Spring of 2002 and is now about 7 years old and Bode joined us Spring of 2003 and is now about 6 years old. I say "about" because both were supposedly around 2 1/2 at the time of their adoption, however all of the kitties waiting for homes seemed to have the 2 1/2 year "estimated age" listed on their id's as well. Curious. Anyhow, both of our boys came to us with very developed personalities.

Bridger was dropped off at Kitty Kind by an elderly woman who no longer had the means to care for him. Bode was found by Kitty Kind in a condemned building in Brooklyn along with 40 other malnourished cats. You can imagine how their former lives impacted their personalities - Bridger is trusting and will let you carry him anywhere whereas Bode is quite a bit more hesitant with who he trusts, but once you've made his "OK" list he's hard to get rid of! In their own ways they both love to cuddle and play and hunt and be curious. I have a feeling our attention is going to shift a little once Bean arrives, or maybe it has already... Yesterday I found Bridger sleeping on top of our Adoptive Families magazine - I think he may have been trying to tell us something!

October 24, 2007

Fingerprinting Appointment Set!

Okay okay, I've tried really hard not to title each post with a ! at the end, but all of the updates at this point are so unbelievably exciting that I just can't help it. Today we received our appointments for fingerprinting with CIS which will complete our CIS application and result in our CIS approval - the last piece needed to complete our dossier. We're set to be fingerprinted on Friday, November 2nd at 1:00PM. Once that is complete we'll receive our CIS approval (the I-171H form) and shortly after will send everything off to CHI at which point it will be officially out of our hands. I'm so excited that our fingerprinting date is set and was received so quickly - only about a week after we sent in the application! If things continue to go as smoothly as they have been our dossier will definitely be in Ethiopia by the holidays. YEAH!

County Certified!

As of yesterday afternoon all of our dossier documents (with the exception of our CIS approval) have been county certified. Three of the four were a breeze and took 10-15 minutes of painless administration and the fourth (New York County, surprise surprise) took two hours but is now done! Everything is all set to take to the state for their final stamp of approval as soon as our I-171H arrives. Remaining steps you ask?

1) Receive our appointment from CIS for our fingerprinting (necessary before the CIS approval can be processed)
2) Receive our CIS approval
3) Bring all documents to NY State for State Certification
4) Send everything to CHI!

October 23, 2007

Every Step Counts

My husband wanted me to hold off on this post until ALL of our documents had been certified but that's not going to happen until this afternoon and I'm excited so here is my small update...

Yesterday we had our documents certified in two of the four counties we need to receive certification from. The Ulster County and Westchester County documents are all set to be state certified! I also checked our bank account online and saw that CIS cashed our check for the I-600A application so it must be in the processing stages! This afternoon we're going to go to the two remaining counties, Kings (Brooklyn) and New York (Manhattan), and then head to the NY Secretary of State office to have everything state certified. We'll need to have the CIS approval form county and state certified as well, but we thought getting all of the other documents completely taken care of while we wait for our approval will help speed things up once it finally arrives - that and it gives us something to do while we wait. It's not that we're impatient, we're just REALLY excited!

October 21, 2007

Crazy Beautiful Organization

Now that we've completed the paper chase we're in waiting mode for our CIS approval. And what better way to spend our time than hyper-crazy organizing our dossier documents so that they're spot-on-ready for state certification once our CIS approval arrives! We're now into multiple weather-proof folders, four contain the county specific documents (all of our dossier documents need to be notarized then county certified then state certified all in the county and state where the original notarization occurred) and one final weather-proof folder for the state level certification.

Our marriage license and birth certificates are all set because they don't originate from NY (we were both born in MN and got married in MT) so these are the first documents to move to the state level certification folder, but the others are soon to follow! Is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than researching and printing county and state government office information and then printing and organizing detailed cover letters to be placed in weather proof folders? Well, watching the Vikings whoop the Cowboys would be nice too - here's to holding out hope for the home team!

The Babymobile

Today we brought home the babymobile. We are now proud owners of two cars for the first time ever. We love and frequently take advantage of public transportation and lived sans-auto for our first two years living in NY. Since then, however, the demands of our jobs, family, and geographic location have brought on increased demand of travel-by-auto, necessitating the purchase of car #1 four years ago and now car #2 today. Not to mention the fact that we felt guilty transporting our cats in car #1 making the purchase of our babymobile pretty inevitable. And it's a Subaru! We can't wait to equip our new ride with a child car seat!