Friday, December 30, 2011

If you only do ONE thing today... should give me a birthday present. In return you'll be giving the gift of new life to someone, and also in return I'll give a children's book that teaches kids about the world's water crisis in a way that only children's books can (to the first 50 people who donate with us). The book is pictured to the right. Let me explain...

This is Drew, guest-blogging. My 30th birthday is on December 31st. As a family, we decided to give up my birthday this year and ask everyone we know and anyone else who's willing to give at least $30 for my 30th to Charity:Water to build a well.

Through this adoption process we became forever linked to a different part of the world that we may have never otherwise experienced. When we were in Ethiopia, we saw firsthand how tragic the water crisis is on our planet. As we learned while in Ethiopia, it's a water crisis because water affects everything: education, health, poverty, and especially women and children. So, we wanted to do something about it. We started a campaign to build a well through Charity:Water in a third-world nation that would otherwise not have access to clean drinking water.

A few reasons that I like Charity:Water?
  • They Prove It. You can see every project they've done on a map, and once our project is done we'll have GPS coordinates to share with you where the well was built.
  • The 100% Model. When charity: water was started, they made a promise to the general public — 100% of their donations would go directly to the field to fund water projects. They find other ways to cover their operating expenses.
Will all of you join us in supporting the cause? Would you share this blog post on your blog or facebook? I've never asked for a birthday gift before, but I'm asking you now! Here's the link to OUR CAMPAIGN, where we are raising money for my birthday to build a well in honor of Zoe and her first year of life in Ethiopia.

The video below shows why the water crisis is so widespread and important to fix. This video was from Charity:Water's September campaign where they raised enough money to put 2 more drilling rigs on the ground in Ethiopia. Now, they just need fundraisers to support projects.

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just a few pictures of my 2 littles!

We've been trying to soak up as many Christmas activities as we can in the last couple of weeks..  Words can't express how excited I am to celebrate Christmas this year with our little family of 4. 
I mean, seriously, could she get any cuter?!? LOVE THIS LITTLE GIRL!
Evan wanted to stand by baby Jesus :)
Sitting together in the sleigh... 

Now if we could just get a LITTLE snow before Christmas!  Oh how I love me a white Christmas... 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Little Update....

Just a little update from our little family...  I hesitate even typing this for fear that it will reverse the progress we've seen, but little Zoe is sleeping much better!  There have been 3 or 4 days in the past week where she has only gotten mommy and daddy out of bed ONE TIME!  Hooray!!  I'm starting to think part of her problem with sleeping has to do with teething, but it's hard to tell.  She doesn't seem too affected during the day by the teething, but of course there are all kinds of fun distractions during the day- like big brother, toys, and all the things she's not supposed to be getting into :)  Whatever the reason for more sleep, we are very thankful and finding it much easier to function during the day because of it!  And because I can't post without a couple of pictures, here are a few of my favorite reminders that we are a family of FOUR this Christmas....

 A gift from big brother Evan to Zoe under our tree.  He has been SOO excited to give it to her and couldn't wait to wrap it up and write on the tag!

FOUR stockings lovingly knitted by Grandma Jean with our names on them. Can you tell the one on the far right (Drew's) is looking a little worn?!?  He's been a Baker much longer than the rest of us ;) And don't worry- the picture on the mantle will be replaced by a new family picture as soon as Shutterfly ships it to us!

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

Our little town has a "Breakfast with Santa" every year.  It's a really neat thing- something that's been around for 28 years- Drew and I both went as kids way back when.  It is put on by the high school theatre and they all dress up as reindeer and animals and serve breakfast.  Santa comes and then everyone moves from the cafeteria down to the auditorium for a little show put on by the theatre kids- they usually do a fun little "12 days of Christmas" number and then what Evan calls the "Jesus show" about the Bible Story and a little sing-along.  We look forward to it every year- a very neat family tradition for us. 
Our little family- can't believe we were all looking at the camera!!
 This girl is serious about her food- she is now eating table food WONDERFULLY!  I'm amazed at the progress she's made in the past 7ish weeks.  You'd never know she'd only had a bottle until her first birthday with the way she is eating now.  And she LOVES pretty much any and all fruits and veggies... 

 She was looking pretty stinkin cute in her little Christmas tutu :)  And kind of a neat story- her little shoes were MY shoes from way back when... 
 Evan reading Santa his list.. he is REALLY hoping Santa remembers to bring him some blocks- this boy LOVES him some blocks!
 We finally got Zoe to look at the camera and then Santa wasn't looking!!
 We have taken a picture of Evan every year by these same snowmen...  I love comparing them :)
She loved roaming through the halls of the high school.  This girl is ON THE MOVE!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Update on baby Zoe...

It's crazy- on one hand I feel like Zoe has been a part of our family for FOREVER and then on another hand it's hard for me to believe that she's been home for 6 weeks already. Overall, she has adjusted pretty seamlessly.  She walks around this house like she owns the place and is into EVERYTHING.  Literally, I can't turn my back on her for a minute without her getting into some kind of trouble.  Her favorites are the kitchen cabinets, pulling all the books off the bookshelves, unrolling the toilet paper in the bathrooms, and messing up anything big brother Evan is playing with (which he usually handles very well).  In fact, Evan told me today "Mom, I love Zoe so much.  I'm so glad she's finally home".  Oh, melt my heart.  Me too Evan, me too... 

Zoe's adjustment to baby foods and solid foods has been amazing.  She's becoming less and less picky the longer she's here and has quite the appetite.  Several people have told us how much chubbier her cheeks look already.  I don't notice it, but I'm sure they're right with the way she eats.  I'm amazed to think that she's come so far in just 6 weeks (from only having bottles to now eating soo many different foods so well).  She still does have a few bottles a day, but she's done really well with weaning off of it so far. 

One of her newest tricks is making animal sounds while looking at her animal books. This may sound very typical for little ones her age, but both are small miracles to me.  Considering she barely even knew what a book was 6 weeks ago, I'm amazed that she will grab a book and walk over to me wanting to read.  And she can roar like a lion, meow like a cat, bark like a dog, and we're working on her moo.  It's pretty stinkin' cute.  And the ease that she has picked up on the language is also amazing to me.  She recognizes so many words and has even started to say a few.  She is constantly pointing at things and saying "Yook".  Translation: LOOK.  She loves giving slobbery, open-mouthed kisses and is now an expert at waving hello and bye-bye.  One of my favorite things right now is walking into her room in the morning or after her naps and seeing the huge grin on her face when she sees me.  And the way she looks at her daddy and runs to him when he gets home from work- oh so cute.  That little girls LOVES her daddy- and I think he kind of likes her too ;) 

Our one area where we can use some prayer is the sleep department!  She was used to waking up in the middle of the night in Ethiopia and it's been a little tough breaking her of that- especially when all the books and research on attachment with adopted children suggest that you shouldn't let them cry.  So we're working through that and last night she actually only woke up ONCE!  We were so excited this morning and are praying that this continues.  It's kind of hard to be upset at her though when she's such a cutie ;)  I know we'll get there, I just hope it's sooner rather than later!

Ok, enough updates- here are some pictures I know you all are waiting for...
Mom, what are these crazy things on top of my head?!?
My little monkey loves bananas!
Love these 2!
Cooking in the kitchen- love the tongue :)
This one is for you Trisha!  Thanks for the beautiful monogrammed shirt :)
I put in a PraiseBaby DVD one day (Evan used to LOVE these) hoping to get a few kid-free minutes to get something done and this is what happened... for about 30 seconds or so.  Then they were done and ready to play.  Guess DVD's don't have the same effect on Zoe as they did Evan at that age.
Teasing me- trying to take off her bow... and knowing that she's funny :)
Love this one- those eyes just melt me!
Just had to put this outfit on her at least once since she didn't wear it on her 1st birthday....
He loves her soo much!

Hope you all are enjoying this holiday season and remembering the REAL reason for celebrating....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Big Boxes!

We have been doing a lot of our Christmas shopping online this year.  So lots of packages and big boxes have been arriving at our house...  Who knew they could provide hours of entertainment?!?
I just had to include this one because it's one of the best pictures of the 2 kids I've taken yet.  It's no easy feat to get them both looking at the camera and sitting still these days!
This worked out very well while I was making dinner a few nights ago.  They were contained and having oh so much fun together!
And then last night, daddy made the big box into a house....  too fun!  This morning Evan and Zoe were playing with stuffed animals inside it.  Too cute :)
Love how it doesn't take much to keep kids happy and entertained!  It's the little things!