Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday and Never Before Seen Footage!!!

Sounds like the title of a tabloid, right?  I just wanted to get your attention.  But it IS true.

Today on the blog, for the first time, you will get to see the first pictures we saw of our babies.  On September 9, 2010, we saw their faces for the first time.  I can hardly believe 9 months have already gone by since that first phone call.  It seems like yesterday, and yet it seems like 5 years ago at the same time.  So enjoy the plethora of pics and video we received before we ever got to Ethiopia.  There is no way to describe what treasures these pictures and videos are to a parent who is waiting to meet their little one for the first time.  We clung to these little treasures, and could not WAIT for the day when we saw those little faces for the first time in person.  On January 15th, 2011, we finally saw those precious babies face to face.  And today is their first birthday.  I can't believe it!  Enjoy the journey!
Alexander, August 2010

Alexander, August 2010

Eliana, August 2010

Eliana, August 2010

September 2010
October 2010
October 2010

November 2010

December 2010
January 2011
                     Cherrie Cornish made us this amazing video while we waited to go to Ethiopia!
    She, along with our favorite Berhanu (from Project 61) got to hold them and love on them.  I cannot even tell you how I cried through this video the first time I saw it!

And finally, here are a few shots of the twins' first birthday party that we had yesterday.  Wow.  Talk about chaos!  Kids everywhere.  Adults everywhere.  Food.  Dogs.  Toys.  Chaos.  But it was so great to have everyone there to celebrate with us.  And yes, they got their first taste of cake yesterday.  Ummmm....they are fans, to say the least.  It was a little disconcerting, though, when they both started getting random shakes while eating their cakes....sugar high, perhaps?  They were seriously giddy on sugar!  And I think we can all tell from the pictures who the messiest eater is.  As soon as Eliana saw Wes come to take the rest of the cake away, she started smashing it all over the tray.  It was hilarious!  And both of them were stuffing both hands full of cake, and shoveling it into their mouths.  Once we got them to bed, they slept for 11 hours straight.  It was a great night for all!  Happy Birthday, precious babies!  We love you SOOOOOO much!

Just a sampling of the many people that came.

Alex has no patience when it comes to food.  See that look of anxiety on his face?  Yeah, he needs the food to be in his belly yesterday. 
Eliana's hands were immediately lodged into that cake.

I bet Eliana's thinking, " can I get some of his cake too?"

"I like to make artwork with my cake."

Alex:  " have something on your face."  Eliana:  "Ummmm...why haven't you eaten all your crumbs yet, Alex?"
"I rule."

"Want some?"

"We don't really know what do do with these big bulky items called 'presents', but we'll eat some of those puffs."

"I will rule you, Abacus."

Monday, June 6, 2011

First steps....

Okay, so maybe I have already posted this on facebook and sent it via text messages and emails, but seriously, I am just way too excited about this to not post it on the blog.  I know what you're thinking....What could be so monumental?  Well, it's not really monumental to anyone but the members of this family.  Alex started walking a couple of days ago, and today he took more than just a couple of steps.  SO exciting!  I can't believe how emotional I got about it.  I must love these kiddos or something.  ;)  Eliana should get really motivated now.  She doesn't want her brother to out-do her.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Packing List for Ethiopia...

So oddly enough, I've been having a lot of people emailing me for advice about staying in Ethiopia, especially for those that are considering staying between court and embassy.  So the next few posts will be about long-term stay in Ethiopia.  And when I say long term, I mean planning for about 2 months in Ethiopia.  We ended up being there for 3 months, and we ran out of many items, formula being the most important.   So the following list is certainly not exhaustive, neither is it necessarily for everyone.  Not everyone may need or want all the items we packed.  We found that we used almost everything we had, and we were very glad we had it. Oh, and keep in mind that this packing list was for us and our 8 month old twins (at the time), so that is what we packed for. 

Clothing for Babies

10 outfits each
1 Sweatshirt each
Robeez Shoes (these were awesome to have because they stay on!)
10 pairs socks each (tight ones)
Hair Bows (for a girl)
Swimmy Diapers (in case you hit the Sheraton.  Trust me.  You will want to.)
2 or 3 Sleepers each
Bloomers (for a girl)


Size 2 & 3 (We counted on about 8 diapers per baby per day)
Aveeno Diaper Rash Cream (Desitin smells awful!)
Wipes (1-3 wipes per diaper depending on “content”)
Changing Pad (this is a lifesaver!)


Plastic Bowls for food
2-4oz. Playtex Bottles with disposable liners for trip home (target brand is great!)
Stage 1 & 2 foods
4 Dr. Brown’s Bottles
1 Bottle Cleaner brush
Plastic Baby Spoons
Formula (1 can lasts about 3 or 4 days between the 2 of them)
Gerber Oatmeal (they LOVE this!  And it goes quite a ways too.)
Gerber Rice Cereal

*When it comes to formula, yes, you can buy some kind of funky brand of formula in Ethiopia.  Keep in mind that the cans are smaller, though, and are a bit expensive.  If you can, I would pack formula and bring it with you.  If you can't, rest assured that you can buy some there. 

Mischellaneous for Babies

Nail Clipper
Snot Sucker

Meds for Babies

Baby Tylenol
Baby Ibuprofin
Gripe Water
Nasal drops
Lice Meds
Medicine Dropper


5 Board Books
Plastic Rings (the ones that connect)
2-3 Stuffed Animals
Bouncey Balls

*Don't overdo it on the toys.  They will not need many, and we found they loved playing with water bottles and boxes just as much as their toys.  Still do!

Toiletries for Babies

Shea Moisture or Carol’s Daughter Hair product
(I used Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey while in Ethiopia to tame the frizzies)
Shampoo and body wash (I used Aveeno for both hair and body while in Ethiopia)


Camping Lantern (battery powered) – for when the electric goes out (we were REALLY glad we brought this with us)
Flash Lights
Citranella Candle if it is bug season
Air Freshener (Febreeze, Candle)
Powder Laundry Detergent
Clothes Pins
Bug Spray
Dirty Laundry Bag
Plastic Bags for dirty diapers on the road (to contain the smell while traveling)
Dryer Sheets (left these in our closets to keep things smelling a little fresh)
Blankets for babies (one nice fluffy one is nice to have with some thinner ones)
Books for reading
Cell Phone Chargers
Cell Phone (you can often get a sim card to put in your cell phone once in Addis)
Duck tape (for packing on the way home)
Luggage scale (bought a cheap one from walmart so we could weigh our stuff for the trip home)
Sewing Kit
Voltage Adapter/Converter (sometimes more than one is nice if using more than one appliance at the same time)
External Hardrive for pictures

Meds for Adults

Zyrtec-D  for allergies (you can only get one pack at a time under your name)
Probiotics (these really help!)
Nasal Spray (you won’t regret it! it is very dry in Addis Ababa!)
Ibuprofin (don’t forget it!)
Cipro (get this from your doctor.  You will need it at least once.  It’s an antibiotic for stomach bugs.  It has to be prescribed, but you shouldn’t have to go see the doctor.  Just call and tell them what it is for. Find out if there is a different dosage for Kynzi & Karston.)

*I can't stress enough how much vitamins and probiotics help while in a foreign country.  The first time we got sick was when we ran out.

Clothes for Adults

1-2              Sweatshirts
2-3              Pairs of pants
7-10            T-shirts
1-2              longsleeve shirts
2-3              Tanktops
1                 Swimsuit
4-5              pairs of socks
1                 Pair of walking sandals (I recommend Chacos!  Mine have lasted for 11 years
                   hiking through about 11 different countries.)
1                 Pair of sneakers
1                 Pair of dressier shoes
10-15         pair of underwear
2                bras
1-2             skirts
1-2             nicer shirts/blouses
1-2             pairs of pajama bottoms
1                Swimsuit
1                Pair of flip flops

*It all depends on the season for clothes, but Addis Ababa is usually nice and warm for the most part.  I think it is in the mid-70's to mid-80's year round.  The only time when it is really different is during rainy season in July-September, a time we were not there.  You will find it to often be cool in the evenings, which is really nice.

Toiletries for Adults

Ponytail Holders
Bar Soap (10-12 Bars) *
Shampoo *
Conditioner *
Toothpaste (2)
Face Lotion
Body Lotion
Facial Cleanser
Razors (5-10)
Kleenex (can be bought in Ethiopia but it is not very soft)*
Nail Polish (fun on days when you get bored)
Nail Polish Remover
Nail Clipper
Contact Case
Hair Dryer
Curling Iron
Flat Iron
Dental Floss
Liquid Hand Soap and dispenser (this isn’t a necessity but was nice to have)*
Deoderant (2)
Hair Product (spray/gel/detangler)

*-these things can be bought in Ethiopia, but are usually a little pricey.  If you don’t feel like packing them, though, you can always get them once you are in Addis.

**-Another great packing resource is Ashlie Fulmer's blog here.