Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WE ARE STILL HERE...

AND...our boy is certainly growing (a little too fast for this Mommy!). We are having so much fun with him. He is certainly an explorer. Once he got out of that crib his whole world was opened and he has not stopped checking it out!
He gets up about 7 and has a bottle and empties his basket of toys by 730! He loves his car and dump truck and actually crawls along as he pushes them. He is becoming quite attached to his Mommy and Daddy, although, will still go to just about anyone. He does not suck his thumb near as much as he used to. He does when he is really tired or hungry (and it is taking Mom too long!).
He is a HUGE charmer! He can look at someone and give them that smile and head tilt and they are putty in his hands. It is pretty funny. Even in a restaurant, I saw him do this and the old guy stopped and talked with him. TOO CUTE!
He loves to smack his hands on things. I think he needs some drums! He does have a birthday coming up.
I am looking forward to our first holiday with him. It will be a busy weekend but will be so much fun. I am praying for good weather.
Now...to the pictures...
Learning to walk.
Playing in his room wearing his new hat.
Going up the stairs! UUGH-He has made it up 3 of the 15. Any further and the baby gate will go up.
Just looking cute!
Taking a ride on the horsey. This horse has outlasted several kiddos including my hubby! It has duct tape on the side of it. :)
Daddy went in to check on him one night and found him all curled up in his blanket. You can kind of see his head and his feet are sticking out.
I hope you all are enjoying your week. I have been a little under the weather but am hoping by tomorrow I will be back and ready to do some work around here.
Blessings to all,
Tina

Sunday, March 21, 2010

HOME FOR ONE MONTH...

WOW...One month has already flown by...It is amazing to see all that Elijah has already learned and done. He is starting to let go and try to walk but usually falls flat on his little face. Lately, he loves to mimic everyone, especially, their facial expressions. He is SO funny! He will be sitting and playing with his toys and stop look at me and cackle...it is great!
He is still a whiner...I will look at him and say "knock it off..." and he will look at me and just smile! :)
We have purchased a big gate to keep him from the kitchen. He likes the dog water and food if there is any left in the dish...YUCK! He loves to hang out at the gate...it is mesh in the middle so he loves to smoosh his face in there and laugh at me while I unload the dishwasher or whatever I am doing. Now...if he is hungry...that is a different story. He will stand there and whine at me until I have the bottle made or get his food ready at his high chair.
He loves to stand at the door and watch what is going on outside. If it is warm enough I just lock the screen door and let him watch. I love how excited he gets when he sees Randy, Emilie, Tifanie or Daddy come walking to the door.
He looks like such a big boy here! And so proud of himself.
One of most favorite things is to watch when Don comes in from work or whatever, and Elijah sees him, crawls as fast as he can to him and then climbs up his leg to a standing position and pulls on his leg until he picks him up. TOO CUTE!! He loves his Daddy for sure.
Our lives have surely been blessed by this little guy. Everyday I am so thankful for this little guy and all he has brought to our lives. Years ago I thought our lives were complete with our 3 kiddos but now as I watch Elijah I know it wasn't even close to complete. Do I think it is complete now...Hmmmm. That will have to be a later post. :) BUT I can say...we feel so blessed and are so thankful.
Blessings~
Tina


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SOCK MONKEY WRESTLING & MORE

Elijah got 2 new sock monkeys at his baby shower and this one made its way to our living room instead of in his crib. SO...Elijah decided to challenge him (Benjamin) to a wrestling match...


Got Ben by the tail...

AND...Elijah is the winner!!!
BUT he still loves Benjamin...
Elijah learned to clap his hands together this week. I was finally able to get him to do it so I could take a picture.
I love the monkey on his behind...SO CUTE!!!
I also showed him how to tap these toys together to make a clicking noise. Now he loves to do it!
He will empty his toy basket to find the stackable toys to click together!
Elijah loves our air purifier because it blows air out on him.
Hope you enjoyed the newest pics of our little guy! We are so enjoying our new life with him in it! He amazes me how quickly he picks up on things. He is getting braver and will probably (all too soon!) be walking.
Have a blessed St Patrick's Day!
Tina







Sunday, March 14, 2010

1 MONTH/ 10 MONTHS!!


I am going to combine 2 posts this time. We can start with one month since that is today...3/14!

Elijah has been in our arms for exactly one month. He is doing so great. The month has flown by and we are truly enjoying this blessing we have been given. He is attaching/bonding very well. We see progress everyday. He loves all of the kids and even loves to follow the dogs. Most days he will follow me everywhere and if a gate is in his way he will let me know about his unhappiness.

3/15...ELIJAH IS 10 MONTHS!

10 months old...wow. He is such a busy boy and into everything we will allow. He says Mama and Dada but we are not 100% sure he is meaning us although he does follow me around saying mamamammama! He is still eating baby food (we are still testing to make sure he is not allergic to any). He does not like peas. He will eat most everything else. He LOVES popcorn. Don't worry we only give him the soft part! But he will beg right along with the dogs if we have some. He is sleeping about 9-10 hours at night. He is walking quickly around furniture and it seems to everyone that he will be walking soon. (I am not ready...want to keep him a baby a bit longer!) He loves to look out our front door and it's a bonus if there is someone out there he can see. He loves his siblings and plays with them a lot. He will give open mouth kisses but not on request so... He likes to be rocked to sleep. He is an amazing little guy and we are very much in love with him! HAPPY 10 MONTHS BABY BOY!

Friday, March 12, 2010

OUR WEEK IN REVIEW...

We have had a very busy week since last Saturday. We had our welcome home baby shower with our family and a few hometown friends. It was wonderful! I think we had about 100 people and I even had family travel from out of town just to see our precious boy. Elijah did very well. If he started feeling overwhelmed he would whine and we would cuddle him. I think I only saw a few times when he just wanted Mommy. We are so very blessed to have such great family and friends so excited to see our little guy home!

Grandpa Steve with Elijah at the end of the day.

Elijah was more interested in the cake on the table than getting a pic taken.

Opening gifts
Aunt Amanda made his cakes (they were yummy!)


Elijah went to the pediatrician on Tuesday and they were so much better than the visit we had with our MD. He weighs 18 lbs 6 oz. He is still very congested so they checked him for rsv and it was negative and then they did a deep suction thing. They took him to another room and told us we would not want to see it. We could hear him screaming and it broke our hearts. I had a hard time not just running out to find him. When they brought him back he was sobbing and I held him and he went into shut down mode and fell asleep. Then we had to go get his blood drawn. PRAISE GOD...all tests show he is a very healthy boy. :) We are starting his shots over but I have chosen to wait another month before put him through that. We do have an appt with a ped. urologist in April.
Emilie had a 5th grade music concert this week. She auditioned for a solo and was chosen to play her recorder. She played Amazing Grace for the concert. We were so very proud of her. We did take the video camera but Don said it kept shutting off and so he only got her bowing and the crowd applause. SO...we had her play it again at home for Elijah and Randy (they stayed home together so as not to disrupt the entire show!) I am hoping this video works as I have never tried putting one on here.
video
Hoping you all had a blessed week and have a wonderful weekend.
The Hubbards

Monday, March 8, 2010

BONDING...

We know from reading and watching and following other blogs that bonding and attachment can take time. We have certainly not rushed our little guy in this at all. We just love on him, play with him, make sure we are the only ones feeding him and rocking him to sleep.
We have noticed in the last few days that he is showing signs of bonding. He is looking for us when others are around or holding him. He is fussing if he wants us or would rather be down. When he wants to let us know something he will whine and crawl around to find us. He says mamamama and dadadada and has since we got him. But lately we have seen him do as he crawls to us so we "think" it may be the real deal.
BUT tonight my heart melted for this little boy once again. He came crawling to me fussing as I was writing some thank you cards. He pulled up to the rocking chair and started trying to grab the things and throw them off my lap. I took that as a sign that he needed me. I quickly sat everything down and picked him up. He cuddled up to me, stuck his thumb in his mouth and just stared at me. I began rocking him and kept staring at me as I rocked and talked to him. He then began rubbing my face until he finally closed his eyes. This Mommy was so happy! Usually, he loves to be rocked but he doesn't really look at me as I rock him. This was like he was talking to my soul! I kept repeating how much I loved him and singing Jesus Loves Me to him. He was just staring at me and every once in awhile he would smile but he laid perfectly still the whole time. (Which never happens! This kid is on the move always!!) I LOVE THIS LITTLE GUY SO MUCH!!!!
Today we also took him to Em's school so she could do a show and tell with her class. He was a hit! One young man looked at him and then turned to the teacher and said..."He is a mini me!" The teacher and I got quite a laugh and had to agree! :)
SO...Life in the Hubbard house is certainly blessed. God has been amazing throughout this journey and He continues to be!

Hope you all have a blessed week,
Tina

Thursday, March 4, 2010

HOW ARE WE DOING?

We have been home about a week and a half and things are going very well. Elijah loves roaming the house and playing with all of his toys. He is a very curious little guy and has to check everything out. He can make it up one step...and has already fallen off of it!
He loves playing with his sisters and brother and wrestling is his favorite. He is eating babyfood and enjoys most of it. (could do without the peas)
We have spent time with extended family and at Church. He did well. He likes to talk so we had Randy take him out a few times.He still likes Mommy to rock him to sleep. We know he is ready when he starts really whining. He will cry but not a lot unless he is really upset about something.
He is sleeping from about 830pm to 7 am and getting 2 naps a day. He has learned to cry when he wakes up because Mommy always gets him up right away! :)
Elijah was not afraid of our dogs but our dogs are not real happy about him! :) They keep looking at me like what did I do??!!
He is certianly one of my greatest joys! We waited a long time for him and I know why...God hand picked this little guy for our family. We could not have asked for a better fit for our family. One of our most precious gifts ever. We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OUR LAST DAY IN ETHIOPIA...

2/20/10
*I can't believe how quickly time passed while we were here. We will be headed home by late tonight. Today is shopping (FUN!) and the traditional lunch and coffee ceremony. Once that is done we will finish packing and head for the airport around 630pm. It is going to be tough leaving here. We have formed such strong bonds that we never expected to.
*Shopping was an experience. I am sure I will wish we had gotten more. I tried to remember to get several things for him throughout the years. Almaz is amazing at shopping! We had fun just watching her. :)
*The traditional meal was neat. I am a very picky eater so did not put much on my plate. Our cook looked at my plate and said "Where lunch?" Then she took my plate and put food on it!!! Thankfully, I was sitting next to Don and told him he had to eat what she put on there because I did not want to offend her but was not going to eat it! :) He did. And still filled his plate again so I did not feel too bad.
*We got to make injera as well...I did not do well with this. Mine turned out to be a donut looking thing. I told them it was because I was married to a police officer. Almaz just kept laughing and laughing at me!
Almaz is an amazing person. Everyone we have met here has touched our lives in such a big way but she seems to have touched it the most for me. She is exhausted today and yet still stays and talks with us after everyone has gone. She keeps telling us how muh she will miss us. She said we need to come back and Don says in 6 years and she says NO...2 years! :)
We have been so blessed by this trip to get our son. A journey that we will never forget!
Our last day in Ethiopia
Don, Almaz, Elijah, Tsegay, and me
One of Elijah's Nannies
Last day with Almaz
My sad attempt at making injera
Daddy and Elijah relaxing

**I promise this is the last journal entry while in Ethiopia that I will post! :) I just wanted it all on here!















Tuesday, March 2, 2010

VISITING THE ORPHANAGE DAY...


2/19/10


Our day began early. We had prepared Elijah's bag the night before thinking he would be staying with the ladies at HOH2 (what we were told...just a miscommunication) but when the van arrived we were told they were taking us to drop the boys off at the HOH. This made me sad. I know they have done a great job with him but the idea of him being stuck in that crib again for the next 6 to 8 hours just made me feel sick! When we got there and took him up, everyone was excited to see Bereket but he just kept looking at me confused. I handed him to his nanny and gave her directions the best I could. I kissed him several times and promised we would be back soon and walked away with tears in my eyes. It was very tough. I could only imagine what he was thinking. "Hey, I've had it great the last few days, why did you bring me back?" Talk about feeling guilty!

Our ride to Numan was a little crazy. I took my dramamine (and really thank those who advised me to!). I still felt icky but just tried to keep my head laid back and take it all in. The country side was beautiful! The fresh air was wonderful.

So many things caught my attention as we drove. The livestock that was just roaming free where ever. I just knew we were going to hit one several different times. Children walking to and from school. Several towns with different "specialties" that they were well known for. Ficker was with us as our guide and translator so he told us about the different things and answered our questions. We saw lots of mud/grass huts with families sitting around outside or kiddos playing around them. In my mind I wonder what it would be like. Karen and I have said several times...we are so spoiled! We have never really known what it is to do without the major necessities. The things we think are important...but are they?

We get to the orphanage and there really are not a lot of kiddos there. We are told that several are at school. We give them all of our donations and then Ficker comes out and says all of the birth mothers are there and that the Hubbard's will go first. Don and I look at each other and say why do we always go first! The nerves kick in and I begin to shake. I tell Don to ask the questions and I will write so that I can do my best to keep my emotions in check. Our meeting was amazing. I will NEVER forget it. But as most of us know...this is Elijah's story to tell so I will not give much details here. I will say...we asked her why she named him Bereket and she said because he was a gift from God. I almost lost it there...we know he is! We did promise he would be raised in a Christian home which pleased her. We gave her a photo album and she teared up a little. Then when she saw the picture of our other kiddos holding his picture the day we passed court she cried and that was all it took for me...she was so happy that he had siblings who are already loving him so much! We got a picture and thanked her several times.

As we waited for the other families we got to see where our 3 boys met each other and became the "3 amigos". The most amazing thing is that the three birth mothers have also become great friends through all of this. God is so amazing in the way he works. I guess there are times when we need to be reminded of this.

Once everyone was finished they had a coffee ceremony for us. This was the first time I had coffee while here. YIKES...it is sure strong. I am a tea drinker not coffee. I did like the roasted barley. It was yummy. During this time Don had grown attached to a sweet little boy of about 3 years old. He had climbed into the van with Don and was enjoying the fruit snacks we had brought to share. I think if Don could have take him he would have. The little guy did not want to get out of the van.

We said our final good byes and said thank you again (just will never be enough!) and gave big hugs. She hugged us tightly but especially Don. I really think she was so thankful that he would have a Daddy!

We pulled out all in tears sharing our experiences together. I know we will treasure this forever and are so thankful we did this for our boy. She will always have a special place in our hearts! She gave her gift to us and we will forever be grateful for that.

We stopped and ate on our way back. It was great food and even I ate. (just no meat!) We enjoyed visiting more with Ficker. He is really a great guy and has been with us for most of our trip.

When we got back we ran up to get Elijah. When I walked in the room he was just sitting in the crib looking down at the floor. I bent down a little and said "Elijah" and he looked up at me and got a huge smile on his face. It was like he was saying," Hey you really did come back!" Yes my love and we will be together forever! I snatched him up and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.

We truly have been so blessed during this week and are sad to see it coming to a close. We leave in less than 24 hours. Where did the week go??

Monday, March 1, 2010

EMBASSY DAY...

2/18/10
Today we had a very relaxing morning. We got partially ready for the appt and then hung out outside visiting. It was a beautiful day and Elijah loves being outside in the sunshine and in the playroom. After lunch we gave Elijah a sponge bath and got him ready. He looked so cute in his pooh outfit and hat. We left for the embassy at around 115. I was nervous and excited.
We had to drive about 30 minutes. I wish I could put into words everything I see. I find myself wishing for better for ALL the children I see wandering alone. Today I saw a young boy sitting by a very busy roadside. He had on men's clothing (way too big) and no shoes. As a Mom I wish I could protect him and that breaks my heart. He could have been very easily run over sitting there. That is when I wish I could do more!!! And I begin to pray for guidance on what God wants for us next.
It was very busy at the embassy. We had to cross the road~SCARY! We made it through all of the security checks with minor issues. (someone forgot to take the laptop out of the diaper bag!) We finally got to the waiting room. There was another agency ahead of us so we waited about an hour. Then finally, we heard "Hubbard family please come to window 6". All of our families cheered because we were the first of our group to go. At window 6 we met a very nice man from St Louis, MO. :) Don and he swapped sports stories...some ball baseball game that took place years ago!? Then he asked us to raise our right hands...we did and we look at Elijah and he has his left hand raised. The guy got a kick out of that. We answered our few questions...no really, I blundered through them! Then he stamped the papers and said all was approved and we would get our visa and passport tomorrow. I, of course, teared up! Our final step to be able to take our boy home.
We go tomorrow to visit his orphanage where he was relinquished. I have so many thoughts going through my head~ but most of all, how do I say thank you when I know that it will never seem enough! Our gift came at such a cost to her.