Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming Home

I'm finally getting around to posting about our homecoming. Our journey home got off to a rocky start. We left the hotel right around Mia's bedtime. We really hoped she would fall asleep on the way to the airport or shortly after, but it didn't happen. By the time we got to our gate she was completely exhausted and so were we. She cried and screamed and didn't even want to be held or comforted. This whole time I was thinking, "Oh my goodness, we have 30+ hours of this to endure." Well, finally Justin pushed her around in the stroller while she cried and she fell asleep. We were all so thankful and I am sure everyone else who was waiting to board the plane was relieved.

She really did great the rest of the time. She slept almost the entire first flight, much of the second, and all of our last flight. She ate a good breakfast in London and enjoyed taking long walks on all of our layovers. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.

I slept most of the first flight, but not much after that. Our flight home was delayed about 2 hours because of bad weather in Houston. I was so exhausted by the time we got home, but I was so very excited to finally be home with our daughter. I had dreamed of that moment many times, and I must say, real life was much more fun.
The two big brothers were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new little sister.
I was so filled with joy as I saw all of our friends waiting for us. I was especially happy to see my sweet boys. Finally, all of my children were in one place!!
I am sure Mia was a little overwhelmed, but she did great. I was surprised how many friends were there to welcome us even though our flight got in late. I know some of them waited at the airport for 2 hours. Now that is dedication!
This picture makes me cry. My friend, Megan, was such a constant source of encouragement to me the entire journey. She prayed with me, helped me fundraise, cried with me, and celebrated with us. It was so good to finally hug her neck and introduce her to the sweet girl that I knew she already loved.
Mia was a little confused when she met her Daddy's twin brother, Uncle Jon.
The big brothers were so excited to finally meet their sister. Thank you to everyone who made our homecoming extra special. It was a moment that we will all remember forever!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sawyer's Sixth

Today is my sweet Sawyer's sixth birthday. We just got home from a date to get frozen yogurt, just the two of us. I am so thankful for the little boy who first made me a mommy six years ago. He is such a good big brother to Jax and Mia. I have been so impressed with how patient and loving he is with his new sister.

We celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a small family party. Justin took he and Jax to meet some friends at Chuck E. Cheese. I stayed home with Mia Grace and got ready for our little party.
Sawyer's friends Jolie and Sarah came to celebrate with us. I think everyone had a fun time.
It is almost impossible to get these two brothers to take a serious picture.
Of course I had to take a pic with the Birthday Boy.
Little sister and brother didn't want to be left out, so I took a picture with them too.
Happy Birthday, Sawyer!! We love you!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Highlights From Week 2

This was our second week home with our sweet Mia. I thought I would give you a little recap of the week.

1. We started the week with more sickness. Sawyer felt pretty bad most of the week. Mia helped me take care of her big brother. Thankfully, everyone has been well since Friday. This week is Spring Break for the boys and I am praying we all stay healthy so we can enjoy it.
2. Mia got a package with hair lotion, headbands, and lots of bows. She was so excited when we opened it. She kept saying, "Yay! Yay!"
3.Mia helped me bake cupcakes for Sawyer's class. His birthday is tomorrow, but he doesn't have school, so we took cupcakes last Friday. This was her first time helping me in the kitchen and she did a great job.
4. She overcame her fear of the carseat. Yay!!! She doesn't mind riding in it now, but gets very excited when we come home. As soon as she sees our house she starts shrieking with joy. I think today she even said "home".

5. She also overcame her fear of cupcakes. She didn't want to touch them at her own birthday, but as you can see from the pic below, she now enjoys cupcakes.
5. We continued to take lots of walks and play outside this week. She is definitely happiest when she is outside.
6. She enjoyed her first popsicle and got to meet her cousin Miranda.
7. Yesterday we celebrated Sawyer's 6th Birthday with a couple of sweet friends. I will post more about his birthday celebration soon.
8. Mia had a tea party with her friend Sarah. Sarah and her family have been praying for Mia for a long time, so it made me so happy to see these two sweet girls playing together. Mia Grace loves her tea set her LuLu bought her. She brings me tea and toast all the time.
9. Her new favorite English word is "Uh, Oh!" She says it all the time and it's so cute. My favorite thing she is saying now is, "I love you."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


In this post I wrote about how every time I saw a butterfly I thought about my daughter and prayed that the Lord would do a transforming work in her life. When we met her in December, I was amazed at how different she was from the scared little girl we were told about. Now that she is home, the transformation is really remarkable. She has only been in a family for a little over 2 weeks, so I can't wait to see how much more she progresses.

Yesterday, I was taking Mia for a walk, when a beautiful yellow butterfly flew right in front of us. I immediately thanked God for what he has done in my daughter's life. She is no longer an orphan and she never will be again. She is a beloved daughter and sister!!

Here is the first picture we ever saw of her. Her sweet smile captured my heart the first time I saw it and she continues to capture my heart each time she smiles at me.
Most of the other pictures looked like the one below. She wasn't smiling at all in most of the pics. I just wanted to pick her up and love on her.
Now, here she is below in her new home with her family. She brings us so much joy.
She is so stylish. Every morning she wants to pick out a necklace to wear. She seems to especially love wearing dresses and skirts.
What a difference love makes!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mia's First Week Home

Little Miss Mia Grace has been home a little over a week. She is doing really well, but it has been a long week. Here are few of the highlights, good and bad, from our week.

1. Mia loves to be outside and especially loves her wagon, so we take lots of walks every day. Her brothers like to go on walks with us sometimes, too.
2. Jaxon, Sawyer, and Justin have all been sick at separate times this week. I am praying they all get and stay well and that Mia and I don't catch anything.

3. We are all over our jet lag and Mia is sleeping great. She takes a long afternoon nap every day and sleeps about 11 hours every night.

4. Mia has discovered that she loves to wear dresses and dress up clothes. She and Jax have fun dressing up together. They were made to be bro and sis.
5. Mia has developed some new favorite foods. She loves bananas, kix cereal, multigrain cheerios, raisin bread, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, and chicken noodle soup. Here she is finishing off her chicken noodle soup. She is a good eater!
6. She has overcome her fear of our dog and her fear of play-doh. Yes, I said fear of play-doh. She was terrified of the stuff when we first introduced it to her, but now she loves playing play-doh with her brothers. We are still working on her fear of the car seat.
7. She went to two different doctors this week. She did really well at both appointments. She is so brave.

8. She had blood drawn on Friday and that was a horrific experience! I'm just glad that's over.

9. She seems to understand a lot of what we say to her and is saying more and more English words each day.
10. We thank God every day for the beautiful gift of our daughter.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gotcha Day Pics

I wrote about our Gotcha Day here, but I didn't post any pictures. We traveled to Hannah's Hope with 5 other families. Here is a pic of the sweet moms I got to share this special day with. One of the dads, Will, was so sweet to take pictures for all of us. Most of these pictures were taken by him. Justin and I were the first ones to walk through the gates of Hannah's Hope. We were looking around for Mia and I was trying to ask the special mothers if they knew where she was.
I finally spotted her by the kitchen. She was getting bread. She started waving when she saw me.
She came to me and then sat on the stairs. She wasn't sure what to think. I just wanted to get her in my arms and give her lots of love.
She was pretty smiley and happy at first.
Then she started seeing all of the unfamiliar faces and got really quiet. She wasn't ready for Justin to hold her just yet.
Then she put her little head on my shoulder and wouldn't look up. I think she knew things were different. She was scared, but I am glad she let me comfort her.
It was lunch time so I fed her some lunch. She cheered up then. My girl loves lunch time!

We took some last minute pictures with the special mothers and Almaz. Almaz is the director of Hannah's Hope and one of the most amazing women I have ever met.

We then walked out of the black gates with our precious girl in our arms. Our daughter will never spend another day in an orphange. Praise the Lord!!!

It was a hard day for our sweet girl. I comforted her as she cried when we first got back to our hotel room. She then fell asleep with me and took a nap.
She woke up pretty happy from her nap. I gave her a bath, changed her clothes, and tried to get her to smile. She has a pretty cute smile!!!
March 4 will always be a very special day for our family.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod

One of the greatest joys of our first and second trip to Ethiopia was being able to see our daughter play and interact with her friend, Eve Meaza. They are 8 months apart in age, and have lived together since Meaza was a young baby. We took the below picture on our first trip. It is so funny to me how different they are in size. Meaza is petite (wearing size 18 month clothes) with a big personality, and Mesti (wearing size 4t) also has a big personality. Not only are the girls great friends, but Eve Meaza's, mom, Sarah has become one of my dearest friends as well. We are so thankful that God allowed us to travel together to bring our girls home. I tell everyone that only God could write this story and I truly believe that. This picture was taken just minutes after we were reunited with our girls. As you can see Mia Mesti wasn't so sure about things.
I think having Meaza leaving at the same time and being in the same hotel all week really helped Mesti. Every time she saw her friend, she would shout "Meaza!" and Meaza would squeal with joy. It was so precious!!
They love, play, and fight like sisters. Mia liked to boss her "little sis" around, telling her wear to stand and what to eat. It was so cute to watch them together. Sarah got them these "two peas in a pod" shirts.
They have a special bond and I pray they will always be good friends. Thankfully we don't live too far away from Eve Meaza and her family, so we will be able to keep the girls connected as they grow.
I shed a tear as we said goodbye to Eve Meaza and her parents in London. I already miss them so much, and can't wait to see them again.
Every time I think about what God has done for us and our daughters I think about this verse:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birthday Girl

We are home! We flew in on Friday and were welcomed by many of our friends and family. It was a wonderful moment and I will be sure to post pictures soon. I have neglected my blog a bit lately. I have so many things running around my head that I want to post, but I am a little busy chasing the cute little girl who is running around my house. Also, like any new, exhausted mommy, I sleep when my baby sleeps.

Today is my precious girl's 3rd birthday. I am so thankful that the Lord made it possible for us to have her home by her birthday. We celebrated at our house on Saturday with some of our family.
My sis-in-law took these pictures, and I think they came out so cute.
I love my beautiful girl, and so do her big brothers. I have loved watching them get to know each other.
Her daddy is pretty fond of her, too. I am pretty sure she has us all wrapped around her little finger.

We helped her open a few birthday gifts. She was so excited about her baby stroller. She loves taking care of her dolls and pushing them in the stroller.
She also loves her sweet little elephant!
I am pretty sure she thought we were crazy when we put a flaming cupcake in front of her while singing "Happy Birthday."
She wouldn't touch the cupcake, but she loved the ice cream.
Mario made an appearance at Mia's party. Jax is always dressing up. He and Mia are going to have so much fun playing together.
It breaks my heart to think about the birthdays that I have missed, but I am praising God that she is here now and that I won't have to miss anymore. I am so glad my beautiful girl was born and that God led us to her.
We love you, Mia Grace Mestawet!! We hope you have fun being 3!!!