Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Years Ago

So, I pretty much abandoned my blog last March. It has been nearly a year since my last post and a lot of things have happened in this last year. I am not going to do a recap, but I do want to post a few things this month. I have yet to make a blog book of our adoption journey and this is something I really want to do. So, my plan is to end this with a couple of posts for our daughter and then have it printed. 

Today is Mia Grace's two year Gotcha day. Two years ago we walked in the gates of Hannah's Hope and left those same gates with our daughter in our arms. Two years ago we ended our long and painful wait for our sweet daughter to come home with us. 

 When I look at these pictures I see that I was overflowing with joy and our sweet Mia was filled with uncertainty. We were so happy to be reunited with her and she was just trying to figure out who we were and where we were taking her.

 She saw this picture yesterday and said, "what am I doing? That's  my daddy?" She couldn't recognize that face she is making because of course now she adores and loves her daddy. Two years later she feels safest in our arms and knows the joys and the love that a family brings.

 March 4th is a day that we will always celebrate because it was the day our daughter left an orphanage as a daughter and a sister. Thankfully, we were able to share this special day with the 4 families in the picture below. Experiencing those first fragile days with these sweet people is something I will never forget. They are all a special part of our journey. When I look at this picture I see a lot of little ones who weren't so sure about the people who were holding them and a lot of happy, but exhausted parents. Thankfully we know that the Lord has transformed all of these sweet ones into happy, healthy, and secure children who know they are deeply loved.

 We started our day by watching Mia's Gotcha Video together. We sat on the couch in our pjs and I tried not to shed too many tears. Oh, how we love our girl!! We gave her a giraffe and an "I love Ethiopia" bracelet that we bought for her in Ethiopia.

 Daddy made us a big breakfast and we enjoyed eating and being together. It worked out nicely that school was canceled today due to icy weather.

 Mia Grace wore her dress and we went to a friends house to eat king cake in celebration of Mardi Gras and Mia's gotcha day.

We are thankful to God for that day two years ago and what it means for our family and even more than that we are thankful for all the Lord has done in our lives since that day. We are a family and we can't imagine our lives without our happy, fun- loving girl.

Happy 2 year Gotcha Day Mia Grace Mestawet!!!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Party Animals

Mia Grace turned 4 on March 13  and Sawyer will be 7 on March 26. I thought this meant I would be planning 2 parties this month, but Sawyer asked if he could have a party with his little sister. Of course, I agreed to this sweet request. We decided to celebrate our little animal lovers' birthdays at the zoo. 
 I love my three little cuties!!
 Sawyer showing off his monkey table. Monkeys are definitely his favorite animal and have been since he was a baby. He still sleeps with the stuffed monkey I received at his first baby shower, that is unless he lets his little sister sleep with it.
 Mia was very proud of her zebra table. Can you find my little zebra girl in the pic?
 She loves smiling for the camera.
 Sawyer giving us his best lion face.
 It was a beautiful day for the zoo. The weather was perfect. We had 29 little ones in attendance at this party. They all had a blast. We were a little too busy to take many pictures.
 Justin helped Mia open her gifts while I tried to take pictures over the crowd of kids surrounding Sawyer.
Sawyer said it was the best birthday party ever and I am pretty sure Mia Grace agreed with him.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mia Grace is 4!

Our sweet Mia Grace is 4 today! She has been talking about her birthday and planning her party for a couple of months now. Some days she would wake up and ask, "my birthday?" We told her last night when she woke up it would be her birthday. She was so excited. She requested waffles for her birthday breakfast. 
 Jasmine, our dog, came into her room this morning wearing a happy birthday hat and we all sang to her. Then she came out and saw a table full of presents. She started cheering and clapping.
 Last year we celebrated her birthday the day after she came home from Ethiopia. While she enjoyed herself she really didn't know what was going on. This year is so much fun, because she is so excited about everything. We now know her personality and her favorite things. She kept saying she wanted pizza, ice cream, and Minnie Mouse for her birthday. Some of her gifts were a melissa and doug wooden pizza, ice cream sidewalk chalk, and a new minnie mouse stuffed animal.
 She was pretty happy about the waffles, bacon, and pink lemonade for breakfast.
 We are so thankful that 4 years ago our darling daughter was born in Ethiopia. We don't know much about what that day was like and this day does bring up a lot of emotions for me. I hate that I missed the first three years of her life. I keep thinking and praying for her birth family. Her birth day is a reminder to me of the heartbreak of adoption, but it is also a reminder of the Lord's redemption and grace. We love our beautiful 4 year old.

She is looking forward to her "aminal party" this weekend. She keeps saying that she is having a "bebra" (zebra) party and Sawyer is having a monkey party. We are excited to celebrate our oldest and youngest children at the zoo on Saturday.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

One Year Home!

There are many milestones during an international adoption. There is the day we were accepted into the Ethiopia program, the day we got on the wait list, the day we saw our daughter's picture for the first time,  the day we officially accepted our referral, the day we met our daughter, gotcha day (the day we returned and got to leave the orphanage with our daughter), and finally the day we arrived home with Mia. That last one was a really special day because it meant that our adoption journey was finally over. It meant that our entire family of 5 was finally together. No more children on two different continents. No more waking up at 3 am to see if we had e-mails from the embassy. No more breaking down into tears because I missed my baby so much it hurt. Getting off the airplane in Monroe with our daughter in my arms was so wonderful.

Mia Grace's adoption story from Justin Bufkin on Vimeo.

This year we celebrated by spending time together just the 5 of us. We went took the kids to a fun place with lots of jumpers and games, ate nachos, and had cookies from our favorite new bakery.
The cookies were iced in the same colors as the Ethiopian flag in honor of our sweet Ethiopian girl. They were so good! 

 Happy one year home Princess Mia!! We are so glad God chose us to be your family. You bring so much joy and laughter to our home. We are blessed beyond measure.
God sets the lonely in families... Psalm 68:6 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gotcha Day Gifts

When we were in Ethiopia for our court appointment I bought some gifts for Mia from her birth country. I used some things to decorate her room and some I put away for special occasions. I decided to give her this little Ethiopian doll for her first gotcha day at home. 
 She was happy to pose for pictures with her new doll. She thought Mestawet would be a good name for her doll.
 She wanted to dress up in her traditional Ethiopian dress and take some more pics. This girl loves to have her picture taken!!
Here we are showing off our mother/daughter necklaces that I bought us at Created for Care in January. I thought about giving it to her on her gotcha day, but ended up giving it to her early for Valentine's Day. Last year we were apart for Valentines day and I missed her so much. Gen 31:49 is inscribed on the back of the hearts.
It was also called Mizpah, because he said, "May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other". Gen 31:49

The Lord certainly did watch out for us when we were apart and I'm so thankful he brought us together. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking Back on Gotcha Day

March 4th is our gotcha day!!! I can't believe that our daughter has been in our arms for one year now. I woke up before everyone this morning and I am just sitting here looking through pics of that first day together. It's amazing how far the Lord has brought us as a family in the last year.

On March 4 2012, Justin and I were so excited to see our daughter again. She greeted us with a smiles and waves, but they quickly changed to inquisitive glares and even tears as she realized something big was about to happen. She knew something was different and she wasn't so sure she liked it.

She was happy about lunch time and we were able to get a few smiles out of her. She still loves lunch time so that has not changed. However this pic really shows me how far she has come in a year. She was not feeding herself with a spoon yet and was basically still eating baby food. Now, she can eat with a fork and spoon all by herself. She eats just about anything that isn't green. Her favorites are pizza, yogurt, bread, PB&J sandwiches, and cereal. Her muscles were also so weak. When I held her she would lean back to the point I thought she would fall, because she just didn't have the strength to hold her little self up for long. Physical therapy has helped her so much and now there isn't much our little one can't do now.

I am still amazed at the way God worked it out for Mia and her best friend Eve Meaza to leave Hannah's Hope together. I know it made the transition so much easier for her. This picture above makes me want to cry. Our girls were so scared and sad. Praise the Lord He has healed their broken hearts. They are now happy little daughters and sisters. 

We got to meet up with Eve Meaza and her parents  on Friday night. It was so good to see our little ones together again. They acted like they see each other day. There is no denying that these two are sisters at heart. 

Here is a picture of us and Mia with one of her favorite special mothers. This picture says so much. I love the way Mia is looking at Justin. She was just trying to figure out who we were. My eyes were so glassy as I was trying not to bawl my eyes out. We were glad to finally be with our daughter, but it was also so hard to take her away from people who loved her and a place where she felt  safe. 

She let me hold her a lot that first day, but she was not so sure about her daddy. It took a while to warm up, but I can assure you he is one of her favorite people in the world now.

I always wanted to take a picture of the three of us outside of the black gates of Hannah's Hope. I had dreamed of that moment for so long. As you can see it was not such a fun moment for our girl. 

After a long nap and a new outfit she was ready to let us snuggle with her a little. March 4th will always be a very special day for our family. We are so thankful for our beautiful daughter. The first year home was not always easy, actually there were some really tough moments, but we have seen God's hand of grace through it all.

 Happy Gotcha Day Mia Grace Mestawet!!! We love you to the moon and back! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Favorite Pins of the Week

I love Pinterest and I especially love trying recipes I find on pinterest. I have pretty much neglected my cookbooks and cooking magazines. Almost every new thing I try now comes from Pinterest.  The only bad thing is sometimes I can't remember what I tried, or what I thought about the things I tried, so I decided I would start writing about it in my blog. Plus it gives me something to write about, since I have all but abandoned my blog. These pictures are cut off a bit, but it will just have to work for now.

The first thing I tried this week was this delicious greek pasta salad. I pinned it a while back and have been wanting to try it, but I didn't know if anyone else in my house would eat it. I finally decided that it looked too good not to try and I was right.  I made it for lunch one day and I ate on it for three days straight. It was that good! The kids didn't care for it. They actually refused to try it, but Justin liked it. He said he would prefer it if I cut up the olives next time. Maybe I will try that or maybe I will just keep them whole and eat entire bowl by myself.

Monday night we had these pork chops from Cassie Craves. I have made these several times and they are a family favorite. It may just be the easiest recipe on Pinterest. There are only 3 ingredients and I just put them in the crock pot. So simple, but so yummy. I serve them just like the picture shows with a great big helping of mashed potatoes.

I think one of my favorite things about this time of year is eating soup. Our whole family loves soup and I love trying new recipes. I especially love creamy soups on cold, wet days. We had a freeze Tuesday night, so this was the perfect time to try this new cheesy vegetable chowder. I like making a meatless meal at least once or twice a week, but if you want meat I am sure it would be good with bacon crumbled on top. We all liked this, but Jax and Sawyer said it had too many vegetables. :) We have a family of 5  and we did not have enough for leftovers, so if you may want to double it if you want leftovers or have a large family.

The last Pinterest recipe I made this week was one I pinned a long time ago. I don't know why I just got around to making it, because it is one of the best things I have made. This chicken fried rice was super easy and filling. Jaxon,  my five year old, finished his whole plate and then said, "mom, thanks for this delicious meal you made. " It doesn't get much better than that. Justin said he wouldn't mind if I made it every week, so we will have to add it to the rotation. I think it would also be good with shrimp or without meat. I will probably add another egg next time, because the egg is my favorite part of fried rice.

I would say that all the recipes I tried this week were a success. I am not very crafty, so although I sometimes pin crafts on Pinterest I rarely make them. I do however like to make crafts with my kids and find fun learning activities for them to do. Here are a couple of my favorites from this week.

I just bought some Bob Books on Amazon for Jaxon and he is loving them. I found this site that has free Bob book printables to go with each book and they are great. These worksheets have been perfect for Jax and I can adapt them so that Mia enjoys them too.

This week the kids enjoyed making these spiders. I liked them because I didn't have to prep much. I just put out the art supplies and let them have fun.