Thursday, January 28, 2010

For Sale By Owner...

2004 Disney Princessmobile

Only 27 miles! Pink with pink interior.
This is a near perfect princessmobile. This would make a great first car for a daughter or a great in town commuter. The princessmobile is fuel efficient and in good mechanical condition. This is a nice affordable sedan with power locks and windows, power brakes and steering, a 13 band push button equalizer stereo, power horn, magical mirror, horse noise maker and power princess carousel. This car also has the LS trim package which includes the triple princess stickers and sissy bar. Tire at 75%, missing half of the steering wheel. Great car, daughter has just outgrown. NO reasonable offers refused. Call today.

A short video....


Who gave us this hand me down toy? Not a funny joke!!!

Mommy and Woineshet were up at 4:45 AM this morning. She immediately wants to hop on her favorite NOISE MAKING machine... A lot of people gave us really kind donations and clothes, but there was obviously a little celebrating on the givers end when they packed it up and gave it away. There is no ON/OFF button for the noise, it plays, spins, lights up for hours with no rest :) It is her favorite. AND Yes, she does have rock candy in her hand! I bargained with her after she ate her eggs that if she ate two pieces of strawberry, she could have the sucker for a little bit. The kid will not touch fruits or vegetables.

So, anyways, she met a lot of important people in her life yesterday... Grandma Sandy came to visit (picture above). She brought her tons of hair things (which are always a hit) and socks (same). OH, and a DOUGHNUT!! We had a great time together. Woineshet had three cups of tea yesterday. She asks for "chai, mommy??" Being a tea lover, I can't refuse, so I am almost out of decaf :) Last night she went out to eat for the first time at a Japanese restaurant where she met her cousins Grace and Ava. Her uncle Brian and daddy tried to get her to eat straight wasabi... and she didn't do as well with it as the Ethiopian spices. We had fed her dinner before hand, but she ate another meal with her little chopsticks backwards :)

Today, we have our doctors appointment. I have the toy nurses kit, so we will be bringing that out today.... maybe mom's real stethoscope too!! Right now, she has pulled everything out of the scrap book box and is punching holes in things... that is, in between riding on her favorite NOISE MAKER.

p.s. Thanks to Tim who spent a few days organizing and posting some of our favorite pics. :) I love you... and I'll let you sleep for 1 more hour to show it :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We're Home !!

For a while now, I've had this picture set as the background on my desktop. For too long, we've had only pictures to hold of our little Winnie... But as I post these pictures, I can hear her counting with Abigail in our living room (in an Amharic/English mix)...It's glorious... It's surreal too. It is amazing to have her home. Thank you God for seeing all the way home safely... We are so blessed.

Our African adventure to bring Winnie home started out with a 3 day lay over in Cairo. What an amazing city! About 20 million citizens, and I feel like half of them said "Welcome to Cairo" to us... The people were so warm and friendly. We both felt a little guilty that we aren't more hospitable to visitors in America...

We wanted to see the pyramids....

and our good friends Gabe and Emelia !!! (Thanks for traveling to meet us)

It is difficult to describe size of the Great Pyramid... The bus is parked away from the base.

It is made of over 2,300,000 huge stone blocks....

Each one weighing over 5000 pounds!

We visited several other pyramids, the Sphinx, and some really cool tomb sites. Gabe and Emelia arranged for an Egyptologist to travel with us for the day. He was amazing, he could even read the hieroglyphics. We were able to go into a burial chamber under one of the pyramids...

It is also a rule to keep your pyramid area tidy! The hut in the background houses an Egyptian police officer. His "patrol car" can be seen parked just beside it.... These huts are all over, protecting the valley from grave and antiquity robbers..

One of them even rode up to say "Hi". He made a 'picture' motion to me... and after I clicked the shutter, promptly demanded a "tip"...HAHA.

Donkeys and camels everywhere... Donkeys are the ultimate little beast of burden... They pull huge carts... people also ride them everywhere.

We spent hours exploring the streets in the oldest part of the city near the market. It has been in constant operation for over 700 years.

The streets are a colorful labyrinth of shops, a gigantic market, mixing old and new.

The architecture is amazing.

We visited Al Ahzar Mosque. This is one of the largest mosques in Cairo, it also houses Al Ahzar University. They welcomed us inside to visit and take pictures.

The food was great in Cairo too... It was a mix of so many different types of food. (We did have a mistranslation one day; I ended up with a plate of cold sheep.... well anyways, not good)

The spice markets smelled so good. The big balls on the end are actually hibiscus flowers for tea.

That big orange pile..... saffron. They spill more one the ground adjusting their display than I could ever afford in the US....

Fresh bread just set out to cool at one of the bakeries.

The Nile Valley is incredibly fertile, evident by four heads of cabbage.

I think that Abigail or Rhen already posted about our troubles leaving Cairo, but by grace we were able to make our plane.
During the flight from Cairo to Addis Ababa, a baby cried the whole time. It made me a little nervous...knowing that in a few weeks, that might be us.

Of course we did eventually make it to Addis Ababa. After some rest we took a short tour to Soto to visit the Church in the Stone and to look down at the city from the high cliffs.

I think at this moment Abigail was not really relaxing but trying to spot the orphanage from a higher vantage point. We were both a little anxious to meet our daughter.

The church was really interesting. Carved out of a single granite formation over 1600 years ago. It held regular weekly services until bombed by Italy during WWII. They still have a few services a year in what is left of the church.

We also traveled into southern Ethiopia to visit an orphanage and meet Winnie's uncle.

The children were really excited to have visitors.
The kids are so sweet... it breaks our hearts to see them without forever families. It is hard to even imagine that there are over 4,500,000 orphans in Ethiopia alone.
A few people gave us donations, asking us to use is where we saw the most need. We felt very honored to do this. The orphanage was the obvious choice. Through their generosity, we were able to purchase much need supplies including: formula, powdered milk, laundry detergent, and baby powder. We also purchase a television in cooperation with another group who purchased a DVD player. The children in the south don't speak the national language and the TV/DVD will allow them to begin learning Amharic, an important transition as they are moved to the capital for adoption.

The southern part of Ethiopia is beautiful, but very rugged. This is a street in Hawassa, a larger city in the south.

On the highway from Addis to Hawassa, our progress was frequently stopped by herds of cattle or sheep.

The resilience of the people in this region is amazing. The land is so dry during this season and the rains are still months away. Farming families in the south often make less than $100 per year and often only eat one meal per day.

This landscape seems so foreign compared to the Midwest. We were curious about Winnie's reaction to Ohio in January...

This picture sums up driving in Ethiopia... not for the faint of heart.

We also stopped for an hour to visit Lake Hawassa? It was a huge lake near Hawassa. It was supposed to be quite a tourist draw.

People here fish from woven reed boats, the fish is then sold in the local fish market. This fish tastes like Lake Erie perch.

The lake is also a very popular bathing spot... not sun bathing, soap and lake water bathing. The further south we went, the less clothes people were wearing. The guys were not at all embarrassed by our unexpected presence.

Meeting Winnie

This is the last known photo of Abigail, pre-Winnie...

Our meeting couldn't have went any better...she is so adorable.

She was bulldozing the other kids out of the way to meet us...

She loves biscuits (cookies)...

And her doll ( Thanks Amy & Derek), Tigist....


We met Anagaw through a friend in our small group. He is a wonderful man. I don't think he blogs, but I feel the need to give him special accolades anyways... Before we left for Africa Anagaw started meeting with us and helping us learn Amharic. Imagine our excitement when we found out he would be visiting in Ethiopia at the same time as our trip. I would never have dreamed that someone could be so selfless in helping us navigate Africa. He travel over 600km on one trip with us to meet one of Winnie's uncles. He helped us shop in the merkato, and gracefully took the heckling from the vendors about helping us bargain. He taxied us, took us to the best local cuisine, showed us traditional dancing and even translated for us to our new little girl. We thank you so much Anagaw. We will never forget it.

Saying Goodbye

Part of the process of leaving the transition home was saying bye-bye to all of her nannies.

In March, Winnie would have been in the transition home for one year. That makes her somewhat of a vetran and very well known.

It was a relief to see how caring and compassionate these women were... we spent so many nights wondering and praying.

It was a tiring day...