Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2 Weeks in America....

Yes!  It's true!  We've been home for 2 weeks and it has been glorious.  It feels like we've been home all along. 

Some people have asked us how it feels to be parents day in and day out.  It's a hard question to answer.  What I keep telling people is that it feels normal.  I feel like Wes and I are the same as we've always been.  Life is the same.  We just have two little babies added into the mix.  No, I'm not saying it's all easy and breezy (although, I AM breezy....I know some of you will get that reference), but it hasn't changed who Wes and I are.  Oh, there have been days where I wanted to crawl out of my skin when Eliana was doing her ear-piercing, I'm hungry and tired, scream.  I've wanted to pull my hair out at times when Alex has started his obnoxious, I'm hungry and tired, cry (which involves his nah-nah sound mixed in with an angry growl/lawn mower sound).  But, as I've alluded to, that mainly only happens when they are tired and hungry, which in all honesty, if I stay on top of things, doesn't have to happen too often.

For the most part, our little Alex & Eliana are pretty amazing babies.  They laugh a lot.  Eliana is still hilarious.  Oh my goodness.  She keeps Wes and I laughing daily.  Alex's little personality is really starting to shine.  We've taught him to do a mean face, and now he's kind of addicted to it.  So all in all, we just laugh a lot with these two.  They are so funny!

Getting back to life in America has not been a huge adjustment for us.  It's funny, but once we were home, I think we were just so happy to be here, that everything else paled in comparison.  We fell right back into life here, but we fell into it with a ginormous amount of appreciation for the life we have here.  Oh how we've appreciated strollers, and car seats, and booster seats, and microwaves, and drinkable tap water, and grocery stores, etc. etc. 

Speaking of grocery stores, I was telling my brother (who is waiting to bring home his two 6 month olds from Ethiopia!) about my first real grocery run with the twins, and he said I should blog about it. 

So here goes....It has been raining cats and dogs here all month, and today was no different.  Once I managed to get them out of their car seats and into the stroller, the three of us raced through the rain and got into Kroger.  Since I didn't think I wanted to try and conquouer pushing the shopping cart while pushing the stroller at the same time on this first trip (although I have seen many-a-mother doing this dance), I decided to carry a basket.  Well, once I filled up the first basket, I dropped it at the customer service counter, and they agreed to hold it there for me until I checked out.  Then I filled my second basket, and then I started filling the basket underneath the stroller.  And throughout all the basket filling, Alex & Eliana are starting to reach their hunger limit, and I forgot to bring in their bottles, and the crying is beginning to commence.  Luckily, I happened to have a few cookies left in the stroller (compliments of my buddy, Aimee!), so I just fed them a steady stream of cookies while I shopped.  Alex devours his, because he has 8 teeth.  Eliana combines her gums and two teeth (although as of yesterday, tooth number 3 up top is breaking through!  Yeah baby!), and kind of creates a kind of cookie paste, which she kindly spreads all over her clothes, neck, face and hands.  Oh, and let's factor in the constant, "Oh they are so cute!  Are they twins?  Are they boy and girl twins?  How old are they? They are so beautiful."  All nice things said by nice people.  Unfortunately, it tacks on a lot of time to my shopping adventure.  People literally walk right in front of the stroller so I can't move forward, just so they can talk to me and ooh and aah over the twins.  I guess I need to get used to it, eh?  :)  I finally got most of what we needed, and headed over to check out.  And wonderful Kroger actually had someone take my groceries out to the car, and put them in the car for me, while I got drenched as I put the twins back in their car seats.  Good times.  Good times.

Yes, I'm sure that story was a bit anticlimactic, but it's the everyday stuff that has changed for me.

So, there you have it.  Two weeks back in the States, and I'm going grocery shopping with the twins.  Life is truly exciting!

Mean Face.  Love it.

Cookie Paste Girl.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome Home Mullins Family....

To say coming home and leaving Ethiopia was bittersweet would be a lie.  Coming home was all sweet, sweet, sweet.  It was the best gift ever!!!  And for about the last month in Ethiopia, Wes swore that once we got back to the States, he would kiss the ground.  This is very uncharacteristic of Wes, so I held him to this promise.  It was fantastic.  Once we got outside in Chicago, he knelt down, with Alex strapped to his chest in the Ergo, he knelt down and kissed that sidewalk.  Woohoo!!!

While we were in Ethiopia, we made lots of new friends.  Many families came and went while we were there.  The Kohls were one of the first families we spent time with.  Their little Amanuel was in the same room at the same orphanage as Alex & Eliana.  We became instant friends, and Christina and Amanu met us in Chicago.  I totally cried.  Seeing a familiar face on American soil was so good for my soul.  We missed seeing Kevin, but I guess somebody has to work.  :)

Here are all three of them before they left the orphanage.

Amanuel and Christina.

Friendships that will last a lifetime.
And then came the moment....it was time to go down that escalator at the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, KY.  I had been dreaming about this moment for the last 3 months.  Who would be there?  Would there be a lot of people or a few?  Would I cry?  Well, all the questions were finally answered. 

Photo by Cara Dee Photography.

Photo by Cara Dee Photography.

Photo by Cara Dee Photography.

Photo by Cara Dee Photography.

We got interviewed by the local news.  Photo by Cara Dee Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

The fabulous Marty Vaughan of www.martinrayvaughan.com is going to be making a video about our adoption.  Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Seeing Bestemor again.  Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Meeting Sam.  Alex loved Sam.  Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Cindy and Wes grew up together.  As a matter of fact, they were born in the same hospital on the same weekend.  We were so glad that she could make it to the homecoming!  Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Alex loved the children.  Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Photo by Cydil Waggoner Photography.

Here are just some of the people that showed up to welcome us home.  Photo by Cara Dee Photography.
A huge thank you to Cara Dee Photography and Cydil Waggoner Photography for catching one of the most special moments of our lives!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Few Snapshots from our Final Days in Ethiopia...

We have been home for 4 full days now, and it's still a bit surreal.  Wes and I have just been enjoying being in our own home with the twins.  It's been very relaxing and it just plain feels good.

We had an incredible home-coming, but I'll post more about that tomorrow.  For today, I thought it would be appropriate to share some images from our last days in Ethiopia.  Enjoy. 

For the last week and a half in Ethiopia, we all stayed at Rich & Melissa's house (some friends we met during our stay in-country).  It was a HUGE blessing, and the twins loved it.  They got to make all the noise they wanted.  Here they are taking a bath in their little blue tub.  SO cute!
Just some random donkeys.  A usual sight on the streets of Addis Ababa.
On one of our last days we went up to Mt. Entoto with our friends, Erica & Dave Shubin.  Our goal was to get some pics of the twins with a beautiful Ethiopian backdrop.  Eliana loves the camera, but Alex does not seem to care for posing much.

Several children hung around as we took pictures.  They seemed fascinated by the two habesha babies and the white people taking their pictures.
Well, Eliana only lasts so long for a photo shoot.  As you can see, she was finished with posing at this point.  But still....she looks super cute even when she cries.

The Mullins Family Four.  What a miracle.

Zack was one of our faithful drivers.  He really cared about our crazy roller coaster ride of an adoption journey.  We love you, Zack!

Every once in a while we were able to catch a beautiful Ethiopian sunset.  This one is compliments of the view from Jervaun and Tim's house.

Another Mullins Family moment.
The Shubins joined us on a trip to Sabahar, a place that makes real silk scarves starting with actual silk worms!

Erica & I at the Fistual Hospital.  Actually, it's outside the Fistula Hospital because they don't let you take pics inside.  When I called to set up an appointment for a tour, they actually put Dr. Hamlin on the phone!  I know...be jealous...I spoke with the beloved and famous Dr. Hamlin!

Metro Pizza has some of the very best pizza in Addis Ababa.  Take my word for it.  We ate pizza everywhere, and this was the best!  It definitely caters to a Western style, but the Ethiopians seem to love it too!
Metro Pizza offers some delicious starters that are free.  Yum!
And the salsa they serve with the bread....delicious!
I had to add a little pic of our favorite cafe.  So yeah...it looks a little like America's fabulous Starbucks.  And we went here almost every day.  We'll miss you, Kaldi's!

On our last day in Addis Ababa, we decided to make a final visit to Enat Alem, the orphanage our twins spent their first few months in.  These shoes are what you put on when take your own shoes off and go inside the orphanage rooms.
Etsegenet and our sweet Eliana.  Etsegenet is an amazing 9 year old with 2 year old twin sisters.  All three of them should be going home this week to be with their forever family!  We really fell in love with Etsegenet during our time at Enat Alem.
Ummm...hello handsome!  My boy is gorgeous!!!

Hello, people.  Can I offer you some coffee?

And there's their favorite nanny, Desta.  They helped her with our final coffee ceremony in Ethiopia.
Alex was especially helpful by dropping the mugs on the ground.
Wes with his Daddy's boy.
So many people talk about missing Ethiopia once they are gone.  Well, I'll be honest.  Right now I don't really miss Ethiopia.  I know....I'm horrible.  But after spending week after week there, wondering if and when we would get home, right now I am just super glad to be home.  I'm sure after a little bit of time, I will be able to miss Ethiopia.  But for now, I'm just going to thank God for bringing us home, and for providing for all our needs.