Thursday, December 30, 2010


We've had a wonderful time watching Winnie discover Christmas. That glow and excitement on Christmas eve... the crumbs and empty milk glass left by Santa in the morning...singing happy birthday to Jesus and explaining "He's here, we just can't see him"...reciting the Christmas story with the little people nativity...the excitement on the drive to the grandparent's houses in Circleville...and the two hour wait to look at what was under the tree until dad got home from the firehouse!!!

It hit me on Christmas Eve, what a difference this Christmas was to last. I mean, two 30 year olds preparing for santa is NOT the same as two thirty year olds and a five year old! Even more, I realized while singing carols at church that until you have a child, it's hard to understand the sacrifice that comes with the Christmas story. It hit home in a different way this year.

So, here is a smorgasbord of photos. You'd think I would know how to do this by now, but I get them out of order every single time. You'll notice Christmas morning she starts off with a shirt and skirt... then on the bike, then off with the skirt. Then on with the wig. Next a tiger tail and face mask. Then off with the whole thing and on to a new outfit :) That's our girl.

The tree farm didn't have much selection, but anything looks killer with this tree topper perched on it!!

best milk and cookies for santa on the block!!! How would I know?????

Grace, Ava and Winnie acting out the Christmas story.

Snow on the ground makes a true test drive impossible...
wait, we can do it in the house!!

Lotso smells like strawberries, and my grandma DOES NOT like him.

For me???

Winnie will be dressing as Jessie for halloween next year. We've already got the sparkly red hat with the yarn braid attached.
Last week she wanted to be broccoli, so we'll see...

I got many great presents too, one of my favorites being a huge scrap book full of every blog entry and picture!!! WHAT A LABOR OF LOVE!!! Thanks Amanda

Future soccer star!!

He must have liked the cookies and milk!!

Papa spent Christmas in the hospital, so we went many times to cheer him up and decorate his room. He's coming home tomorrow!!!!!

Favorite line of Christmas...

My 85 year old grandma with alzheimer's says to an excited, loud Winnie on Christmas eve, "You know what your gonna get? your gonna get yourself a paddlin' "

Winnie replies, "No I'm not, I'm gettin' a bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That's our girl :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

How does santa get a bike down the chimney?

Why did Mary have to get her baby out of her belly in a stinky barn?

Is tomorrow Christmas?

Is tomorrow my birthday?

Can't you PLEASE play Mary and Joseph with me now?

Are there chocolate colored angels?

A good friend got us a "little people" nativity set, and I've played Mary and Joseph with Winnie every day!! I was exhausted and a little silly tonight and I had Joseph tell Mary how much he wanted a cat. Mary told him he couldn't have a cat because pregnant women aren't allowed to be around them. Then Mary told Joseph to go clean out the barn before they got there so it wouldn't be so stinky!!

Winnie has seen two Santa's. She loves to tell people that one was really fat and wouldn't let her sit on his lap, and one was skinnier. She was consistent with the wish... a big girl bike with two wheels. And for us? A beautiful hand print wreath she made at school!! I never thought I would love preschool gifts the way I do.

Daddy and mommy going out for a party! Winnie got to stay home with Tiru and have her whole head braided!!

Thanks to daddy we've got a rip roaring fire!!

The skinny santa
Santa, mommy says we should ask you for a brother or sister for me to play with. She says I need a playmate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An update from Tim

For those of you reading our blog that I haven't talked to recently, I just returned from Haiti where I have been working as a volunteer treating cholera. Unless you have been living under a rock you know that Haiti was hit with a massive earthquake nearly a year ago, leaving over 250,000 of its residents dead. Currently 1.3 million people are living in tent cities where diseases run wild.

Flying into Port Au Prince, it is amazing many blue tarp and tent houses there are within the city.

It is amazing that nearly a year after the earthquake, building still lay in piles, ceilings collapsed onto floors, its occupants still entombed within the concrete and rubble.

If you are reading this, please don't forget about our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The suffering there is real. It is ongoing. Tonight people are starving to death and dying from disease. 

I saw two quotes written on the table at the MMRC compound in PAP:

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. ~Edmund Burke

I was working with Open Hands International Medical Partners, a non-profit based in Columbus, OH. Abigail and I have both volunteered with Open Hands before. We helped build a cholera treatment center with the great folks from MMRC on Isle de la Gonave. We assisted another organization in doing field reconnaissance and worked in the PAP Medishare Hospital.

Winnie picked out her favorite crawling "goo-goo dah-dah" doll and asked me to take it to a little girl in Haiti who might not have a doll. Unfortunately that describes a majority of little girls. The girl I decided to give it to was one of five siblings being treated for cholera in the Wesleyan Hospital CTC on la Gonave. I was amazed to watch this resilient little girl drink and fight her way back to health. Her mother deserves some kind of award. I cannot describe what the conditions were like or how she cared for her children. Amazing. Winnie was so pleased to see this picture.

Our adoption is COMPLETE!!!

I wanted to post a blog entry to share in our joy! Winnie is now officially an American and the final chapter of our adoption is closed. The Magistrate was nice enough to pose with us for a picture to remember this special day. Winnie got the big chair.... how appropriate.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

from December 8th, 2009

We passed court and were officially Woineshet Joy Shaw's parents one year ago. Reflection is a sweet thing!! I just left Pre-k, where we were making hand print wreaths. Winnie was the "leader bear" today, and you can only imagine how proud and seriously she takes that position.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What if

I had a thought tonight. It's nice when that happens once in a while... :) Here goes...

What if each person would put their wants and desires aside for a while?
What if everyone reached out to the least and the lost? Not just let the mind wander to it, but actually live in that place.
What if instead of looking out for me and mine, I decide to get "risky" and put comfort and convenience aside?
What if I stopped feeling entitled to bigger and better and more?
What if the next generation saw this in us? Instead of spiraling into more of a "me and mine" society, we started consistently living in a "you and yours" world.

think of the possibilities.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baby God

"Oh baby God, little baby God. Bad baby God. I'm gonna getcha..."

These were the words coming out of Winnie's mouth as I peered around the corner. She had a snow man ornament in one hand and a nativity ornament in the other. Apparently snow man was scolding baby God for something. By the time I got to her, snow man's nose was broken off and baby God had come out on top!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 months of being thankful...

You know where this post is going already...
It's THANKSGIVING and time for reflecting on what God has done for us and blessed us with. Our hearts swell and praises go up to our awesome God for what he has done for our family. He held us together during difficult times (and still does), united us with our daughter, provided a way for her to come home, and bonded us together with some sort of holy crazy-glue!! As if that isn't enough, He gave us faithful, compassionate friends and family, a warm home, and many extras!!! We are thankful for the freedom in our country to gather together and pray, to vote, to share our opinions openly, and to persue education.
As for Winnie, she is usually the most thankful for food. She's grown 7-8 inches in 10 months, had 2 birthdays, is friends with 5 dogs, asked for and listened to the story of "us getting her" 1,000,000 times, attended 3 friend's birthday parties, forgotten nearly ALL of her Amharic, learned nearly every word in the English language (including spelling z-0-0, 'cause when I spelled that to her dad the other day she said, "the zoo, the zoo, we're going to the zoo."), and is confident that she WILL be getting married to Cameron very soon!!
May your time of reflection and thanksgiving be sweet!!!
The Shaw's

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November update!!

Enclosed is the photo we received of Winnie last November. Doesn't she look like she's just waiting around for mom and dad to show up?
Tonight I was half heartedly starting to organize the office that has become a hoarder's heaven. I wasn't too happy... UNTIL I ran into Winnie's November update page from last year. I started laughing about how they were real polite with Winnie's now apparent characteristics...
first read the report given, then read my translation:
1. She eats well. = she will eat you out of house and home.
2. She talks a lot and sings abc's and repeats numbers in English after the nannies = she never stops talking and she likes to mimic people
3. She observes and remembers events (like what other kids said) and tells it to the nannies = she's a real tattle tail
4. She likes little babies = she can not get enough of little babies!!!
5. SHe is very funny! She likes to imitate what she saw other people do (she took the measuring tape from my hand and started measuring the height and head circumference of the other kids just like she saw me do). = she is a strong willed, take charge kinda girl... but she does it in a really sly way that makes you laugh so hard you don't realize that she's become the boss!!!
Ok, in all seriousness, tonight before I found this update, I was laying in bed with her. She had just fallen asleep, and I was examining the wrinkles in her little neck and sniffing her face (not sure why.) I was praying that God would please bless this little gift and show me how to parent her. The worries I had last year about our adjustment and bonding seem a million miles away. It's always a good reminder to read updates and things from the past. There is a certain perspective that I never want to forget, one from the other side of the fence where I clung to the words... "she told the nannies that she has shoes her family sent her." This time last year this picture and these words were all I had of Woineshet.
My how a year can change things!!
p.s. the next week we saw someone Else's child with Winnie's shoes on.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Dear TIm,
My present this year is the addition of 2 years to your age!! I found it fabulous that you thought you were turning 34 this year, and I decided to give you the gift of 2 years instead of just one!!


When Tim asked WInnie how old she thought he was, I don't think he was entirely prepared for her response...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Mom, did I do an awesome job?"

Nina sat and read Winnie a story tonight. "praise Jesus, we can all be in the same room at the same time"

my favorite photo

favorite trick or treat candy, the first one to be eaten.

papa with scary eyes and a stollen wig...he's in Vegas now!!

proud mama

"trick or treat, if you say 'pick one' I will pick several and look at you with a sweet smile"

That is what she asked tonight as we said goodbye to Molly, Chad, and Tuscon. I must say that "awesome" is definitely the word I would use to describe Winnie with Tuscon the chow. Last night she walked him on the leash...first time with no tears. Tonight she hugged him around the neck several times and sat with him SANS FEAR!!! (in our house)

The only thing she put her foot down about was letting him upstairs, which was fine by me.

Molly said to Winnie, " I really need to know what made you change your mind about Tuscon?" Winnie said, "Dad showed me how, and God helps me be brave with all the dogs." We talked and decided that if Winnie feels like crying with a dog, we should first walk away and pray about it. :)

It was not Winnie that got in trouble this evening, but my grandma. She snuck Tuscon some chocolate cake after being reminded not too. Hope your ok Tucson!!!
Shout out to Grace Ava Lora and Brian for a much needed date night!! Winnie had a slumber party with her cousins, and as usual had a ball. Tim and I caught up, had sushi, caught up, had North star breakfast :) good to catch up!!!
-mom to an awesome brave kid.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birthday, Baxter, and the Bone Scan

Wow, we've had a couple busy, great weeks. Sorry the blogs a little behind the times!! Here's the latest and some photos....
Winnie turned 5 a few weeks ago and we had some friends over to celebrate. It was a dress-up tea party (although I made tea, lemonade was the unanimous vote!), and Miss Win wore her Tiana dress, white elbow gloves, pink wig, crown and high heels. Wooooaaa, a site to behold!! All the girls looked fabulous, decorated their own cupcakes, painted nails, and then my planned activities dwindled to nothing in 50 minutes or less... we played a lot of red light green light and simon says :)

On a related note, Winnie got a wrist x-ray to verify her birthdate. She is officially 5 medically, developementally, and imaginitively (we can't play pretend enough to suit her little imagination). It's nice to have all that 4-5ish stuff over with, and now she tells people she will be 6 next week!!

LAST, but really my most amazing news is that we had a dog sleep over this weekend!!! For those of you who follow, you know that Winnie had a dog-aphobia BIG time. We are talking screaming, clawing her way to sit on your head away from the dog-phobia. So, with pride I tell you...WE HAD A DOG SPEND THE WEEKEND AT OUR HOUSE!!! The saint dog's name is BAXTER and we love him. He is a playful 2 year old cockapoo. About 20 lbs. full of energy but knows when to sit. We took him hiking on sunday, and the two sat in the back hugging the whole way. We took him to the pet spaw and gave him a bath before taking him back to his father's posh downtown loft (muddiest, leafiest, burr-iest mess, sorry Billy for not returning him in the same condition he was left).
Next week we will take on Tuscon, Aunt Molly and Uncle Chad's sweet chow. Then on to Nana and grandpa's Australian shepards and Border collie.
Aunt Kimmy painting the nails

She ate her cupcake before we could stick a candle in it and sing!!

Cheers to Winnie's 5th birthday!!

Winnie and Reese

baking cup-cakes for the big party. She was so excited she could hardly hold still long enough for this picture!!

AHHH!!! BAXTER!!! WE LOVE YOU!! Winnie literally let him lick her tongue... I know, gross, but after telling her that wasn't ok, I just had to laugh at the new dog-brave Winnie!!

Baby-love. Winnie holding Kylie at the zoo last week.