Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Welcome for Maeve...

Only a quick post today... more about the magnitude of the trip later. But, I wanted to put up some photos of Maeve's welcome... I love that I get to share my little one with so many great friends and, of course, my family...

The trip back seemed really long... partly because it started at midnight out of Addis Ababa and then travel time was 25 hours, I think. Anyway. Maeve is a rockstar traveler... but discovered that walking the aisles was more fun than just staring at the wall in front of us :-)


Introducing Maeve to her fan club awaiting her arrival...



Walking through the door to her new home for the first time...



Showing Maeve her room for the first time (and yes, my very close, teacher friend made her the celebration banner... ha. I love it)


Checking out some of her books


And, jet lag set in. Oh no. Panic. Get the child in the bathtub... wake her up. Its only 3pm... Yeah. She slept through the whole bathing experience. It seemed like a good idea...


I think we're conquering the jet lag though... Maeve went to bed at 7pm and woke up at 6:30am after a couple of wake ups... but it was mostly sleep. Yay.

Maeve experiencing the jumperoo for the first time. She's a big fan. You should hear her giggle... Its pretty awesome. But, that's because she's pretty awesome.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We're Home!!

Introducing..... Maeve Mahlet! We just got home this afternoon... I'm super tired, but I wanted to put up some photos so you could see the sweet thing. She is absolutely perfect. How did I get so lucky? Here she is:


Her hair is long enough that they had her in cornrows when I met her...


This is just after I got to hold her for the first time...


Someone has a love affair with her thumb...


Ethiopian, and proud of it...


Okay. More later....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leaving on a Jetplane....

Yay!!! Whaooo Hooo!!!

In 12 hours time we will be loading up the back of Amy's truck and heading to SeaTac Airport to embark on the biggest chapter of this "Great Adventure" yet. It does floor me how much busy work was involved in getting ready to go on this particular trip, while simultaneously nesting to the nth degree. But... I am ready. As ready as I'm ever going to be anyway. (With many many thanks to an amazing community of friends and family)

Stacy and I gathered the last of the donations and managed to easily fill all our bins. Keeping within the designated weight is somewhat challenging, but with the bathroom scale and some minor reshuffling of things, I think we mastered it.

We have 250lbs of straight donations -- a combination of formula, diapers, bottles, medicine, diaper wipes, bumbo seats, toiletry items, and a few clothes. The remaining 50lbs are for gifts, Maeve's accessory items, and just a few things we'll need over the week. We managed to get all of our clothes, including Maeve's, in our carry-on's. I think we did pretty well...

So, Stacy is promising to look at the video camera en route and maybe figure out how to operate it. No pressure here... I mean, it is only the biggest moment of my life thus far. ha.




Getting the bins all secured... drilling holes to ziptie them locked.


The loot minus our carry-ons, which are rather impressive in of themselves.



Tune in next week... I'll have a very cute 6 month old to show off!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Big and Beautiful Personality"


I can't stop thinking about Maeve, in between all the organized chaos, that is... But, I really can't believe that we will be heading to Ethiopia on Friday to go meet, love on, and bring home sweet Maeve. I have stared and stared at her photographs -- studying every angle and imagining what she looks like 3 1/2 months later. Will I recognize her? But, how could I not with all the hours of examination I've done? I learned this recently:

"she has such big and beautiful personality and we are going to miss her when her mom takes her home, of course very excited for all of them when they go home."

Almost there... almost there.

Only 2 More Days...

Until we're in the air towards Maeve.

Today's agenda was preliminary packing... seeing how much stuff we have in donations, and how they would look in the bins. We are so fortunate to have the luxury of extra baggage and weight allowance. Again, thanks Roy.


A shot of current donations... There will be more shopping tomorrow with the remaining donation funds. We are thrilled to be taking so much medication to Ethiopia... Those lil' kids will get their vitamins and iron needs met for now, I hope...



Also... Thank you everyone else for making this trip so easy... with all the donations, money, ease of getting supplies, and support. It makes all the difference in the world... Its so fun to anticipate how happy everyone at Hannah's Hope will be to receive these items.

Busy Bee's....

The organizational guru has landed at my house and I couldn't be happier. I feel like I've worked hard over the last three months to get my house set and settled.. making it a home. But, there comes a time when all the mundane details of it become a little much. Enter Stacy. I have allowed Stacy free reign to organize, move, and throw out practically anything that she wants. She thrives on putting things in order.... and it makes me so happy.

Today was running errands day. We also bought our rubbermaid bins to travel with (which, I think we'll have to make another run to Lowes to get a 6th one... because, although I was hopeful to get allowance for extra baggage, I didn't actually think we would get approval for 2). I don't mind the drive back to the store....

After organizing... we met Amy, Amber, Leann, and Melanie at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant for dinner and then Stacy and I just got back from watching the movie, "Good Hair". A totally full, productive, and fun day.

Stacy putting together some "organizational bins"...


My newly arranged pantry


Dinner with the girls...


Thank You Roy!!!

Who is Roy, you might ask? Roy is the friendly local manager of NWA/Delta Airlines at SeaTac Airport that has preapproved 2 extra pieces of luggage for Stacy and I to take to Ethiopia -- aka an extra 100 lbs of donations that we can take, free of charge, to Hannah's Hope. Its a good thing Amy has a truck to take us to the airport... We will have 6 bins total. Yay!

So... thank you Roy for making this easy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting There...

How great is this?! Stacy, her sister, Jodie, and mom, Sharon, all arrived at my doorstep yesterday and went to town. Many lists have been created and many things have already been crossed off the list. It is quite amazing to me how much there is to get ready for such an epic trip and baby.

The major accomplishment of the day was getting Maeve's room totally, and completely organized. I have so many generous friends that I had an abundance of clothes... If I buy her anything between now and 12 months, shoot me. I used to keep walking into Maeve's room, and then walk right out again because I was overwhelmed! So... now we're onto other items on the list.


Next. Organizing the donations and sweet talking the nice people at the airlines. I still don't know if we're allowed extra baggage, but I did manage to get through to people that know people. We'll see. My email is, at this point, unanswered, but I remain hopeful. I literally have a roomful of donations that I'm not quite sure how we're going to get there... but, we'll do it.

Stacy... making lists.



One thing that I love is my brother. I love that he is home with my two nieces while my sister-in-law is here with me. Stacy has come a week early, is going to Ethiopia with me, and staying a few days afterwards to help me settle. I mostly love that the grandparents that were going to head out to help him for a portion of the 3 weeks have been rescinded. He decided that if I can raise a child by myself, he could certainly manage things for 3 weeks on his own.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

H1N Run...

Yes. We are dressed as pigs. We are H1N Run. Why, you ask?

We participated in our annual fun run this morning, The Pineapple Classic -- a Leukemia & Lymphoma event where you run as a team, conquer boot camp-type obstacles, and make sure your pineapple survives the event right along side of you. Once complete, there is a luau to partake in. We did feel a little cannibalistic, however, when we were eating our pork...


Notice the pineapple.... aka... our piglet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Crossed Off the List.

Sell car. Check.

I'm now a new fan of craigslist... Sold within 12 hours at full asking price, sight unseen. Perhaps I should've asked for me... Whatever. Its done. That makes me happy.

Goodbye Stu. You were good to me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Maternity Leave...

One more day and then its official. Awesome. Crazy. Wild.

Too bad I don't live in Canada anymore so I can cash in on the year long leave. But, in comparison to many others, I am thrilled at the ability to take 3 months off to be with Maeve.

My sister-in-law, Stacy, flies into Vancouver on Saturday and will be treking down to me on Sunday with her sister and mom in tow. I'm so excited for the fun week ahead... Stacy and I have an agenda of packing and getting the homefront totally ready for Maeve (oh yeah, and selling my car. ha...) but, I have to say, I'm super excited to just hang for the week too. My siblings and their families live too far...

PS.... check out that dimple. She has one on the other cheek too...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

See...

I'm doing things to get ready.... Really. I am. What did I accomplish today?

  1. Gathered all the donated items and put them in one area. I have some more coming in the door this next week too. Ummm... we may have a weight and size issue, people. But, its a good problem to sort out;
  2. Picked up some more clothes and "baby items" from friends... Seriously, the girl is going to be so well dressed. She has enough outfits to not have to wear things twice at this point.
  3. Oh, and I bought a "new" car... I couldn't fathom getting Maeve in and out of my current 2-door, so I had to make the upgrade to a 4-door.
So, I suppose, on a different list of "things to do" next week, is sell my current car. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute... I know. I know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Ready...

I mean, I totally am. But, if you compare notes to some other families that I will be traveling with... I'm getting a big fat "F" on packing. Really... you are fully packed and ready to go already?

Historically, I just pack the night of a trip.... doesn't matter how far I'm going or how long I'll be gone. I think I find the last minute pressure part of the excitement. I consider myself doing well by gathering up various people's packing lists and recommendations thus far. I'm way ahead of the game. I did laundry for Maeve today... does that get me a gold start in the "getting ready" category?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Booked...

We are booked.... Stacy and I will fly out on November 20th to Ethiopia and return on November 27th. It seems unreal almost. But, I'll try to adjust :-)

Maeve will be a seasoned international traveler before the year end. I was also busy purchasing our tickets to Winnipeg for Christmas. Yes, I know, it seems like cruel and unusual punishment to yank an infant from her warm and sunny Ethiopian summer and subject her to the cruel arctic-type cold of Winnipeg. It may be verging on child abuse. Sorry Maeve, but your Aunt, Uncle, cousins, and grandparents want to spoil you on your first Christmas... (I might mention that she will get plenty spoiled by her Gran upon arriving home... she should be plenty prepared)

I amended my leave of absence dates today. My last day of work will be next Friday and then I'll be off for 3 months... Yay. The timing to be off for all the holidays could not have worked out better. Well done Maeve.

Confirmed Travel!!

I just got off the phone with Julie -- we have confirmed travel dates!
We need to be in Ethiopia on November 21st and we leave on November 26th! So... a call has been placed with my travel agent to make this happen...
Sweet!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

5 Month Update....

Unfortunately, still no confirmed travel dates... but our flights are on hold leaving November 27th....

I did get a few "stats" on Maeve today though. She's smaller than I thought she'd be... so, chunky monkey will have to work on being more of a chunky monkey.

Weight: 6.35 kg / 14 lbs (22nd percentile)
Height: 65 cm / 25.6 inches (55th percentile)
Head Circumference: 43.5 cm / 17.1 inches (84th percentile)

Personality: "Maeve" is a content baby. She is also very sweet spirited and adorable. She will be ready for her mommy!

Sounds perfect. Now I just need to go get her.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Donations...

Well, as it gets closer to traveling to Ethiopia to pick up Maeve, I want to start gathering up donations to bring to Hannah's Hope.

Hannah's Hope is the home that Maeve is currently living -- and it is run by my agency, All God's Children International. I could not be happier that she is there... but, that is another post. Supplies can be very expensive and/or very difficult to obtain in Ethiopia, therefore Hannah's Hope relies heavily on donations brought by families who travel to pick up their children... This is not required, certainly, but I obviously want to do anything I can to supply Maeve's current home with as many donations as we can possibly bring. Knowing that Maeve is benefiting by such donations, makes my desire even stronger. When Hannah's Hope has excess, they provide the governmental orphanages with highly sought after donations too.

The biggest need Hannah's Hope has is for powdered soy formula and diapers. I will also attach this list of other coveted items, just in case.

Greatest needs are currently:
a.. Diapers (about half newborn-size 3 and the other half size 3 and 4's)
b.. Formula (especially soy) --powdered only
c.. Moisturizing Shampoo and conditioners for both babies and older kids
d.. Yellow Disinfectant cleaning gloves
e.. Tennis shoes for older kids (ones that would be playing soccer)
f.. Eye drops, for pink eye both for babies and older children.
g.. Eye drops for all kind of infections
h.. Ear drops for infections
i.. Iron drops that can be used for children.
j.. Iron pills for adults
k.. Different kind of antibiotic, to treat for pneumonia, ear infection
l.. Cold medicines for older children and adults
m.. Surgical gloves
n.. Some formula for babies born under weight or are under weight
Travelers

If you know me, or live in the Pacific Northwest, and wish to donate... please let me know. I'll be more than happy to fill every inch of my bag, and so will my sister-in-law, Stacy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heeding Advice...

Two pieces of advice almost every parent has for me:
  1. Get all the sleep you can now because you won't be getting any later; and
  2. Enjoy your nightlife now, because again....
So.... I slept in and I'm now off to enjoy Joshua Radin in concert.

Check and check.





Halloween Weekend...

I'm a little bit exhausted and its only Sunday morning -- but Sunday morning with an extra hour tacked on. Love this day already.

Friday was a big day on our unit at the Hospital because we threw a Halloween party... It was super fun, chaotic, and candy was spewed everywhere. Perfect. We had gracious volunteers, fantastic donations, and the perfect decorations created for us. Thank you to all for making it a day of 'much needed fun' on our floor... Kids should be able to smile and trick-or-treat regardless if they're stuck in the hospital.

Next... Halloween and Avery's Birthday!!! Yay Avery. One years old!!

I can't believe it was a year ago when I snapped this picture of her only a couple of hours old. She was wondering what was so great about living outside the womb... Since then, she's been determined and made her opinions known ever since! ha. Fortunately she's so cute about it...


Happy 1st Birthday honey...


Party goers wearing, or umm, eating their party hats...



Next onto Amy and Brent's for more Halloween fun... they live in a coveted neighborhood for trick-or-treating, therefore we corralled all the animals plus a ballerina at their house pre trick-or-treat. Not every animal was excited about wearing his or her costume... but, that only made it more funny to watch a little lamb or puppy dog cry. Is that wrong?




I pretty much hung onto Maya for most of the night because she was born only one day before Maeve... and I wanted a little pseudo-Maeve lovin'. How sweet is she?! Only a month away....