Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Our Blessings

Our Blessings
Jack who’s laugh and curious nature gives us hope…Mom and Dad for everything they do for us to support us on this journey…Kathy for her kindness to us…Our sweet friends at BBBS…A safe trip to Africa….Our new friends the Scotts who share this journey of raising visually impaired children…Our lovely friend Jeannie, the artist and her sweet Bob…Janet and the amazing gift of our new oasis…our friends Jody…Hasson…Jessica…Jane….Danae…Cyndi…Rachel…Adrain… all have been incredibly kind to us this year….Dannie our sweet friend who we miss dearly and loved having near us for two years….Amy and JP who came for a visit….Annie who came for two visits and is my pastor….Our new church Rolling Hills where I’m learning about being church again….Jack’s new teacher LaDonna- who sees all his potential and truly loves him and he has blossomed with her…My work at the University and having the job of my dreams…My VAC students who make this work a joy…The CLCE staff I’m so grateful for them…Micha- my wonderful intern…And our sweet, sweet Ella- who give us so much joy….and Scott, I couldn't ask for a better companion and friend for this journey....and so many more…life is sweet!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baking cookies!

Ella and YaYa

For the last 4 years Ella, my mom and I have baked holiday cookies. It's always really fun and really messy. We had a great time yesterday baking cookies for our friends. We made some fabulous tasty treats!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good times

We're doing well- Jack is responding well to his seizure meds and we're waiting for an MRI next week. This is a long journey and we're learning so much along the way. We took our annual Christmas picture this weekend- Jack was not real cooperative- the flashing camera bugs him but we were able to get some nice shots. We hope you have a lovely holiday.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Wedding Day Amy and JP!!!!

Today our dear friends Amy and JP married in Georgia and we were with them in spirit! We took some pictures of the family- wishing them all our best for a happy life together. We love you dear friends!!! We hope you enjoy this special day!

Our prayer for you Amy and JP:
Go in peace, dear ones, for God has given you the greatest of all gifts, true love, love embodied, love promised and sworn, love twined to itself till death do you part.
May every word you speak and every breath you take in each other’s presence, be twice blessed, with truth and joy and may you walk together in strength each day of your lives. Amen

Love to you,
Angela, Scott, Ella, Jack and Tallulah
PS little man Jack was napping when we took pictures today- so we sent a picture of Ella swinging and singing to our sweet boy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Fall Festival Fun- Snow White and Tigger.

This has been a bizarre time. Our little Jack has been sick and he was in the hospital last night. So we're in the wait and see mode while we wait for future tests.

We had our big Halloween Celebration last week when we attended a Fall Festival. Ella still had a chance to trick or treat tonight. We'll post more when we learn what's going on with our little guy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Fun

Jack's testing the pumpkin- this is the one!

Picking out the perfect pumpkin!

Jack riding on Dad's shoulders

Ella has her rodeo queen wave down!

We've been really busy with our University's day of service last week and we finally had some free time to pick out our pumpkins! Sunday evening we attended a Fall Festival at church and Ella rode a pony- it was great fun.
Life is good...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A few new pics

I've not had time to post- but here are some new pics of the kids.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

shoe strings, velcro and bunny ears

So Ella has been learning to tie her shoes. It's been a big deal around our house. Ella started a new dance class and she has shiny new tap shoes- that have ribbon ties and she doesn't want to have to ask her new dance mates to help her with her shoes- so each night we practice. If you've never taught someone how to tie your shoes- you realize it's tougher than it may seem. We've watched videos on You tube and we've made bunny ears and I've cursed velcro over the last few days. But Ella is determined and she's being really patient with her mom- who happens to be left handed and Ella is right handed- WHO KNEW!?!?!? That was going to be an issue!?!?!? But this is one of those great milestones we wanted to share with our friends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First day of school

Ella started Kindergarten this week. She's been counting down the days for the last 5 weeks. She had her backpack packed days before and she was discussing what to wear all weekend. I was more nervous than she was of course. I was struck by the new rules- pre-k we walked them to class and picked them up from class- Kindergarten you leave them outside in the morning and they meet you at the "walker's door" in the afternoon. I wasn't prepared for all the newness of Kindergarten. But on the first day we were allowed to walk her to her class and help her get settled. When we arrived- parents were snapping pictures, following their students with video cameras into the school- it was actually pretty fun to see the buzz around her room as they entered. Ella turned to me at the door of her class- she gave me a peck of a kiss and turned around and left me in the hall. I wasn't leaving until I made sure she was all settled- I was amazed- the teacher basically ignored all the camera flashing and anxious parents and started giving the kids instructions and many of the children were following suit. Ella searched all the tables for her name- she glanced at her coloring page and she reached in grabbed a purple crayon and she got busy. Ella was well on her way to her first day of Kindergarten- and I snuck out while a few others were still clinging to their mommas' arms begging them not to leave.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

For Grandma Sue

Grandma Sue called this week and asked for an update so here you go! Jack is now walking from room to room and he can't get enough of his favorite game- ball toss. Actually it's toss anything he can get his hands on- Jack will find any toy nearby and start "tossing" to whoever is across from him. He can play toss for 30 minutes without getting distracted or bored. Jack's special school is closed for summer break -so he'll be home with Scott and Ella for 2 weeks. Scott is going to start working on the Wilbarger Protocol with Jack- which is a special brushing method that will help him with his constant need for stimulation. We're hoping to see some significant results from using this method.

Ella is doing very well- she is anxious for school to start. Last week she described in great detail the new backpack she wanted for school- purple with flowers. Two days later we found a lovely purple backpack with flowers- unbelievable!?! Well, it was right next to Tinkerbell- you can guess which one won out- she now has a lovely green, sparkly backpack with Tinkerbell on it! We are signing up for dance for the fall- her dance school has asked that Ella go up to the next class with 6-8 year old- in a combo class where she will learn ballet, tap and jazz! Mom is thrilled about the addition of tap shoes to her dance repertoire.
That's all we have to report! You need to come for a visit Grandma Sue!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jack is walking!

Our little guy is walking! Now he hasn't taken one step at school yet- but he's all over the map at home and it's a hoot. So here's some video for you to enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I started a new job last week- I'm now at the University working with students planning community service events. It should be great fun. We've had a nice quiet weekend- little man Jack is walking between chairs and it always has to be his idea! We are constantly cheering for him and I wish I had a picture to post but it's almost impossible to get a picture of the little guy in action. If I can get video of his toddle I'll post it soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another big week

Jack's new touch board

Me and Ella

This week was Ella's 5th birthday. It was a big day- time with YaYa and then a big party with loads of friends. It was a great day and we all left the party completely exhausted. Jack had tubes put in his ears the next day and that was a big deal too! We're hoping this will help our little guy with his language skills and his constant ear infections.

The next day Scott and I attended a special conference for parents of visually impaired children. It was a great conference and we learned so much. We learned that our little guy practices a lot of normal VI behavior. We got some great ideas for activities for him- for independent play. There's a picture of Jack playing with his new touch board that Ella and I made for him today!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Big week

Scott and Ella in Branson

My Aunt B

We had a big week- we had to leave town for a family funeral. My Aunt B passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. We had a good time as a family together to remember her and celebrate her life. I was asked by our family to perform the service. It was an honor for me to have a chance to lead our family in such a time and to have time to reflect on her life. She was a beautiful woman with a sweet spirit and a great sense of humor. She loved her family and we will miss her- we already do...
Scott, Ella, Jack and I then headed north to Branson for a big reunion of families with children adopted from China. We met our buddies from Dallas for the event. It was great fun- the event was sponsored by the Shanghai Circus- it was a cultural event that allowed the children an opportunity to learn Chinese games and they prepared a traditional lunch and we had a private showing of the circus. The girls also had a chance to meet the acrobats. Our girls always have a great time together. It was a big weekend for Jack- his first road trip and his first dip in the pool! He loved the water! He also took 4 steps on his own! It was so fun to see him just take off on his own! We were thrilled.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The third girl- Tallulah

18 months ago Tallulah joined the family- she was all of 4 lbs. and the prettiest little thing we'd ever seen. She was from a litter of pups that my cousin Annette's beagle had. We saw the pups when they were 2 days old. Annette picked Tallulah out for us- when she was just 3 weeks old. Tallulah confounds us with her chewing habit- of our favorite shoes, and she has something for mermaid dolls- two have bitten the dust. She bays like a beagle and she trees squirrels and she has presented at least one deceased squirrel to Scott as a gift. When she was just a little thing- she swiped some of my new yarn- and had the time of her life- decorating the backyard with red and orange yarn- wrapping tangled yarn around treeand s the storage building- it looked like our entire yard was a large colorful spider web. That had to be in the artist in her- right? She serves as a warmer on cold days and she allows Jack a boost when he wants to stand and needs something to hold on to. She's the cracker buster- cleaning the floor under Jack's booster. She put on 4 lbs his first 3 months home! She loves crackers. She is our precious third girl and we're happy to have her. We think she's pretty great- our wonder beagle.

Friday, June 6, 2008

More pics

Ella's Graduation day from Pre-K

Jack's new quilt from Miss Jeanie

Ballet Recital

Holy Smokes how can he be any cuter?

Race for the Cure 2008
YaYa's 5th Anniversary of being cancer free!

Update: Home 6 months

Life has been good- Jack's been home almost 6 months and he is doing well. He's getting so big! Ella graduated from pre-k and had a big ballet recital that was very exciting. We've battled our share of illnesses over the last 6 months. We've literally had an illness each month- from a parasite to chicken poxes to the flu! But we've seen so much progress with Jack it's been amazing. His baby babbling is getting more complex and he can stand on his own and he's taken a couple of steps. He's a big snuggler- he will interrupt his play and come and find us for a little snug. He's started a special day program where he receives his speech, physical and occupational therapy on site. He is in a class with other children with special needs. He's the only visually impaired child in the class. His receptive language is growing and he's very responsive when we ask him questions. He is a happy, happy baby with a sweet spirit. We are so pleased to be settling in with him.
Ella is a great big sister- she's a big helper and she is very gentle and sweet with him. It's been fun to watch her bond with him. She is a generous child- willing to share time with mom and dad. Her birthday is coming up later this month and she has been planning the social event of the year- her 5th birthday party!
So life is good and I've decided to start updating our blog again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Time to say goodbye

I wanted to say thanks to those of you who've contacted me and let me know you've read about our journey to our little guy Jack. But my time is so limited and I realize I just don't have a lot to say. So I'll be closing down 3 girls and a blind guy soon- thanks for sharing this amazing ride with us. We are so blessed.
Take care,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Leave is almost over...

I've had a great time on family leave and it's winding down quickly. I've so enjoyed this time with Jack and I'm ready to get back to work. Jack will be attending a wonderful day care program. We've been spending time there each day this week so he can get to know the staff and the other children.

We created a ball pit for Jack to play in at home. And he loves it- and Ella loves it too. Our living room is looking more like a playroom everyday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Living outside the box

Our house is quite the obstacle course these days. We're working with Jack on sitting up and standing more often. The child likes to rock and lie on his back so I've created space in our living room to encourage him to sit and stand while playing with many of his toys. The challenge has been keeping toys close by because he is a "tosser"- toys go flying across the room because I think he enjoys the sound of toys falling to the floor. So I've attached the toys to his space so he can find them again. The thing I'm learning about raising and living with a child who is visually impaired is that it keeps you on your toes and always thinking about how to challenge him.

One thing I learned this week was related to language development. I sang the "name song" to Ella frome an early age- she would shout out a name or word and I would start "Ella, Ella bo-bella..." I read this week that non-sense rhyming doesn't help visually impaired children develop their language skills. So I've nipped singing the name song with Jack . Ella and I started working on the Old McDonald song but instead of animals we thought of sounds heard around our home. It was fun and Ella was so creative and thoughtful- thinking of things like doors, shoes and hands clapping. This journey is one that is going to make us all think outside the box!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our little prince

Jack is doing so well! He's been home just under 4 weeks and he now knows his name- he never responded to his Ethiopian name. If I call his name he'll sit up and listen out for me again- I'll walk up to him and he'll grab my legs and pull himself up. He's sleeping better and he will play with us more. And he snuggles with us a lot more! So good things are happening.

We had our "re-adopt" court date yesterday. Jack had on his styling green sweater from our friend Annie. When Ella saw him that morning in his cute sweater Ella exclaimed "Momma, Jack looks like a prince!" So here you go- a new pic of our Prince Jack!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life is sweet

Last night I walked into the living room and I heard Scott playing Claire De Lune on the piano and Ella was in her ballet dress dancing to the music. It was a lovely scene. It was a sweet moment. It was one of those moments that I realized this is my bliss- I love this life. So here are a few pics of our little ballerina.