What is this blog about? It's a mish mosh of my ramblings about home, work, my constant quest for good coffee and my wonderment why I never sleep. It's a little of this and a little of that with a whole lot of WTH mixed in for good measure :)

Monday, April 27

Back from Africa


Adoption is a beautiful and life changing event in and of itself. Having the opportunity to witness the love of uniting a family is something so special. Having the chance to see the world with a new set of eyes is something that I will never forget.

I had the privilege of traveling with my dear friend Kelly to pick up her beautiful son from Ethiopia. It was more than I could have ever imagined even though I've read, researched and heard from others.

We met up last Saturday morning in NYC. We were greeted by our friends Natalie and Sheri and spent the day enjoying NY (and its awesome food!) with our friends during our day long layover. Natalie drove us back to the airport around 8pm for our 11pm flight on Emirates Air bound for Ethiopia with a stop over in Dubai in the UAE.

The plane was beyond cool! It was a double decker with insane food! We had movies, video games and TV shows to watch during the 12 1/2 flight to Dubai. We landed in Dubai and spent the night at the airport hotel. Talk about futuristic and cool. The guy that processed my Visa looked like Ryan from The Office dressed in traditional UAE dress. We learned after the fact that it is improper to smile at men in Dubai because it is seen as flirting. You all know me, I'm a smiling machine. I bet that I had quite the rep!

We slept a few hours and showered (one of the few for the week!) and then boarded our plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We flew over the dessert and landed in the middle of gorgeous mountains. It was breathtaking! We got to Ethiopia on Monday morning (we left on Sat. am for those of you tracking time).

We were greeted by Kelly's facilitator and taken to the Addis Guest House. It was quite comfortable and set up like a one bedroom apartment. We had our own bathroom! Abebe, the agency rep, took us immediately to Behailu's orphanage called Hope so Kelly could get him. We were not in the director's office but a few minutes when a sweet little boy came into the room and hugged Kelly. Behailu is gorgeous! He had kept a photobook of his new family by his side since Christmas and knew immediately when he saw Kelly that she was Mom. Seeing him with his forever Mommy was so amazing. We met his friends and had our 1st of many delicious coffee ceremonies. We brought Behailu back with us to the Guest House and got to know him. He was excited by all of his new clothes (he loved folding them and trying them on), foods to try and the TV remote control. There were many 1st's for him. At 6 years old, it was something to see.

We spent our time in Ethiopia visiting several different orphanages and meeting the children. They were all so remarkable! In effort to protect their privacy, I cannot post any pictures of children waiting for their Forever Families.

The weather was warm and sunny during the day with a great breeze to keep you cool. Nights were chilly because our altitude. The people of Ethiopia were so kind and happy. They welcomed us everywhere with smiles. I can't even explain the level of poverty that we witnessed. It truly was like nothing I have ever seen. People were poor but they still had the strength to smile. I loved that. It taught me so much about what is REALLY important in life.

We enjoyed awesome food throughout the trip and had many laughs.

Our journey home started on Friday night. We left Addis Ababa at 7:30pm. We were fortunate to get upgraded to business class on the flight to Dubai. WOW! Complete luxury! Filet and champagne and HUGE reclining leather chairs. We had a quick plane change in Dubai and we were back to real life and Economy class on the long ride back to NYC. Because of bad weather over the Atlantic, our flight increased to about 14 hours and we flew directly over Baghdad (!), Iceland and Greenland. We came in to NYC via Canada.

Behailu officially became an American on April 25th :)

He is a beautiful boy from a beautiful country with a beautiful family. I am thrilled for Kelly and eternally grateful for her for giving me the opportunity to share this experience with her! I will never forget what I learned on this trip and now consider myself a better world citizen thanks to the people of Ethiopia.

In New York with Sheri and Natalie
The video monitor on the plane showing our route to Dubai
Starbucks in Dubai -- I could still speak Venti :)
Downtown Dubai from the plane
Dubai to Ethiopia
Love at 1st site
Kelly and her son
Beautiful Behailu on the balcony at our guest house
Views from the guest house balcony
Traditional Coffee Ceremony Behailu fast asleep with the remote and jellybeans on the 1st night. This was the 1st time he wore jammies and undies and used a remote and flushed a toilet!Our friends at The Addis Guest House -- Awesome hospitality!

Pretty trees and flowers outside Sele Anat orphanage

Living large in Business Class :)

Wednesday, April 8

Ethiopia Bound!

A very dear friend of mine, Kelly, is adopting a beautiful 5 year old boy from Ethiopia. She has been waiting MONTHS upon MONTHS to bring him to her loving home. She finally got the call with her travel dates and asked me to be her travel companion. I am beyond thrilled to be there as they meet for the 1st time! Just thinking of that moment fills my eyes with tears of happiness. He is so loved already before making his way home to TN. This is just so amazing and my heart is so happy for her and their family.

My wonderful Curly is taking a week off from work to take care of my Mommy duties so I can travel with Kelly. He is so awesome. His friends, however, are wondering how they can ship their wives off to Africa.....lol. Right now we are working on travel arrangements but we plan to leave on 4/18. I will post pictures of sweet B as soon as I am able to :) He will melt your heart!

There is room in my suitcase (gasp! I have room in my suitcase?!?! LOL) so if anyone would like to make a donation to the orphanage, there is still time to get them to me. Leave me a comment and I will email you my address.

We will be spending time with the kids at the orphange and plan to take lots of photos for Mommies and Dadddies that are waiting on their children to come home. I remember how precious those photos were to me as we waited for Devon to make her way home.

***EDITED TO ADD THAT THE ORPHANAGE COULD USE THE FOLLOWING***
*Good diaper rash cream
*cloth diapers
*plastic diaper covers, smaller sizes
*toys for kids of all ages
*twin sheets
*crib sheets







Sunday, April 5

Objects in the Box are not as Large as They Appear

So to say that I've gotten a little chubbier since losing my mom is an understatement. I've done my share of emotional eating since she was in the hospital and it's all caught up to me. I've decided to grab the big old bull by the horns and I started Weight Watchers online this week. So far, so good. I'm allowed to eat a certain amount of points per day so obviously I try to maximize those points. Yesterday at the grocery store, I stumbled upon these little gemstones that are only 1 point. After I opened the box and pulled one out, I darn near pee'd my pants laughing at the minute size. And get this, they aren't even filled with cream! LOL They literally are the size of my pinkie (see image #2). Total bait and switch!