Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quest for a mama's boy

video

So I'm trying super hard to get my boy to give me a "mama" on film...no luck but he sure is cute isn't he?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amazima Ministries

I just put the Amazima Ministries button on our blog - on the right side....please check it out. This ministry was started by a young woman from TN who visited Uganda and was led to help the many orphans there with the basic necessities to live and to attend school. She has a house there in Africa where she helps feed and bathe these children and to show them God's love. Her passion for this country and it's people is truly amazing and her stories are inspiring....click on the stories section of the blog and grab a box of tissues.

There are many projects that need funding....check those out too. You can sponsor a child for $300 a year - school fees, clothing, 2 meals a day & minor medical needs. ...wow, makes me feel silly for getting that pedicure this morning.

This ministry is inspiring and I love reading about people who have discovered how God can use them to be His hands & feet and to help the least of these. I long to know what He has planned for us next. I know there is more for us in Ethiopia. I don't know if God has another child for us there or not but I do know there is more for us to do. There are just so many who need help. I know i've blogged about it before and I promise not to sit on my soap box about it....but please pray for these children. If you can afford to sponsor a child, check out the Amazima button (it is a legitimate blog and person), if you've ever thought about adoption keep thinking and praying about it.

My sweet angel boy is sleeping peacefully upstairs in his crib. Every time I hug him I am reminded of how blessed we are to have been chosen to be his parents. It is not by chance that he is our son. God loves orphans and is fighting for them and giving them homes.

Oh, and I have to brag a bit...sweet angel boy has slept 12 hours for the past 2 nights - yahoo for that!!! Napping is another story but this mommy who loves her sleep is thankful for the start.

Good night,
Sara

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Fun




The girls were begging me to take them to the pool yesterday afternoon. As you can see, mommy could not muster up the energy to take all 3 so we improvised with our very mini baby pool! It was a short dip but they had fun and then we got baths out of the way early. Nothing like having all in pjs at 4 pm!

Mr. Silas is doing really well. Poor guy is teething, has a cold & still trying to get used to our craziness here. All in all he is a very happy boy and I think he likes it here :) As trying as it can be that he rarely lets me put him down or leave his sight, I am grateful that he is bonded with me and is learning I am his mommy and will take care of him.

Thank you to all our dear friends who have helped keep the girls entertained and brought us yummy food! We are truly blessed by you all!
I've been meaning to blog about an awesome book I read on our trip. It is "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I plan to re-read it and will blog more about content but if you are looking for a thought provoking book this is a great one. I promise you will be blessed by it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Celebrating Silas




Today we had a little birthday celebration for Silas's 1st birthday. The girls picked out a Cars theme cake and Publix also made a mini cake for him to devour. It took him a while to figure out he could eat it but after spoon feeding him some frosting a few times, he was all in!

It is hard to believe how happy we felt as a family of 4 and now today as a family of 5 it's just absolutely amazing and more fun each day. Silas has brought so much joy to our lives the past week. The girls adore him and want to make him happy 24/7. He is going to be one spoiled little boy.

Out of all the millions of orphans in Ethiopia, God chose Silas for us and us for Silas. Our little angel boy. It is impossible to understand why so many have nothing and we have so much. I know God has a plan for the people of Ethiopia and for the millions of orphans. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

God commands us to care for the orphans. There are so many....pray for them or better yet go adopt one or MORE! :) You will be forever blessed.












Saturday, July 18, 2009

First Dip in the Pool







We all went to the pool this morning for the first time with Silas and he LOVED it!! He loved splashing and went totally under a few times. Soooo excited that I just might be able to manage all 3 at the pool next week.


Sydney has come such a long way since the beginning of the summer when she had the full-on death grip around my neck. Now she "swims" all by herself thanks to her favorite hot pink water wings....halleluiah!


Silas continues to be such a joy and angel boy. He is sleeping better and is becoming more comfortable with playtime with the girls. He let Olivia hold him several times in the pool....so sweet!


Happy weekend!

sara

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pictures....


thank you justin and jamie for the yummy
and fun cookies :)


Precious boy


Mimi & Pop brought the Gator gear.....Mama is going to have to get some Dawg attire fast before the Fall..

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 3

So I just posted and the time says it is ontly 8:45pm but it is really 12:15am, I promise! I want credit for being up this late - I get teased so often for going to bed super early :))

I know, amazing I am awake at this time of night! Actually I went to bed a little bit after 8pm and just woke up to soothe my crying baby for a bit and now can't go back to sleep. I've had a nasty sinus infection brewing for the past 6 days or so and finally got a zpack and steroids today...already feeling so much better. My face and head felt like they were about to explode today. I am so thankful for our usual good health - boy, is it tough being mommy feeling steroids lousy.

Silas is still doing great. He is not the best sleeper but hey he wouldn't be a Jackson child if he was, right?! He wakes up at least once during nap time and most nights he wakes up crying more than once. Usually he'll go right back after rubbing his back for a bit and letting him know we are here. Its hard to know if this is due to the fact he is teething, his tummy is processing so many new foods or a result of the transition.....probably a bit of all 3.

His first doctor's appt went great. He is right on track for a one year old boy...75th % for height and 35th% for weight. And I'm sure his weight is going to skyrocket after all the food he's been shoveling down the past several days. He loves everything especially chicken and dumplings mixed with peas (thanks deanna :)) I have the baby cooker (WS) and it is awesome - blends anything and everything perfectly and quickly. We went to the hospital today for blood work. The hospital in Beaufort is always an adventure... after waiting almost 1 1/2 hours checking in and waiting for the lab tech, poor guy screamed his head off while his blood was drawn. Glad that is done!

The girls are both doing pretty well. Liv has really stepped up to be mommy's #1 helper. I could not be prouder of her this first week back. She loves helping me help Silas and she's been huge with helping Sydney during her "needy" moments. The fighting between sisters has somehow gotten much better. She is so gentle and sweet with the baby and he is starting to respond and let her do more and more with him.

Sydney is showing signs of jealousy which we knew would happen. She wants us to hold her if we are holding Silas or if Silas is sitting in my lap she sometimes tries to push him away with her body. I hate to call a child "needy" but boy her little eccentric behaviors (holding her hands while she poohs, down the stairs & brushing her teeth.....)that used to be cute are mighty tough now with a baby clinging to me. She hates it when Silas cries and gets mad at me if I don't immediately remedy his issue which results in her crying too. Thank goodness by tomorrow my head should be clearer to deal with her better. Today was pretty trying.

All in all we are all adjusting really well. Mimi and Pop arrived today and Silas had fun playing with them both.

Will post some more pictures in the morning!
xoxo,
Sara

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2 Home


helping mom unload dishwasher
silas and the girls

Monday, July 13, 2009

Welcome Home Silas!!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

We are HOME!!












We finally made it home today around 4 pm. It was a long journey home but our little guy was truly perfect the whole way home. He slept just about the whole way from Houston to Savannah.

We had an amazing welcome home from our girls and my parents. The girls each made signs and had special gifts they had picked out for Silas. My stomach was in knots most of the trip home as I just could not wait to see my precious girls. I still can't believe we were apart for so long. It feels absolutely amazing to all be together as a family of 5...the Jackson 5! finally!

My parents are the best! My fridge was stocked with everything we needed, the girls' laundry was all done and put away, they had made letters, a cute toy crate for Sila's room, lots of balloons and my mom made chicken pot pie for dinner and some other treats for the coming week....yes, the best! Thanks Nanna and Doc!

The girls are doing so well with Silas. Liv, my little mommy, is wonderful with him. Sydney is a bit jealous which I had anticipated. She is also sucking her thumb...what??? I'm hoping with time she will become comfortable with being the youngest girl and being a helper too.

We are so thankful for God's blessings during the past 10 days. Honestly, I can't imagine it going any better. Silas is just the perfect child for our family. He has bonded so well with both Tom and I and he loves all the attention from the girls. He is into everything and so much fun to watch him discover his toys, the girls' toys, etc....it is like watching a kid in a super duper candy store!

One thing I failed to mention in earlier posts that we were discussing with my parents today. We were so inspired by several of the families in our travel group who adopted older children and two families we took care packages for. One family has 4 bio children and just adopted two older boys and the other had 3 bio and adopted 2 more....talk about unselfish love. We also witnessed children seeing pictures of their family for the first time while delivering care packages. Tom and I were both choked up at seeing these children just beam with happiness....seeing their parents, their home, their sibling, their first bike...wow! It is hard to imagine having to wait 7 or 8 or more years to have a true sense of hope for a family.

I'm sure as we both continue to process the trip we'll have more to reflect upon....as of now we are officially wiped out. I think we've had about 6 hours of sleep the past 2 days or so.

Enjoy the pics of our sweet kiddos...xoxo, sara & tom




Back in the USA!

We are back on US soil and boy does it feel good! It is Sun 3:30am and we are in a hotel in Houston awaiting our flight home! Silas was an angel baby and slept 12 hours on our 15 hour flight from Dubai to Houston. Hallelujah! But of course now he is up and running. I think mom and dad slept maybe 2 hours total off and on during the flight. We are all so messed up on our sleep with the time changes and traveling late. We arrived in Dubai from Ethiopia on Fri and did not make it to the hotel until 3:30am and had to be back up at 5:30am for our flight. We are pooped!

I can't remember if I've mentioned before or not....but we highly recommend flying Emirates. Lots of leg room, movies/tv to watch on your own mini tv & it just feels safe to someone who despises flying. I wish they flew within the US!

I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to put into words what we saw, felt & endured on our journey to Ethiopia. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Ethiopia or any third world country for that matter, jump on it. You will not be sorry and will be blessed immensely. Our hearts are forever changed and I just pray that are lives will also be forever changed as a result.

Thanks again to our prayer warriors. We truly felt your prayers!
Love,
Sara & Tom

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday

Silas and mommy stayed at the guest house this morning. We played and napped while Daddy Tom went to one of the orphanages. Silas is becoming more and more playful and it is wonderful for us to see his fun personality coming out. Tom enjoyed seeing the Kids Care orphanage and was able to take our donations for the children there. He was surprised and relieved to find the conditions not nearly as bad as we had thought they might be. In his opinion, it really was about the same as the TH. It is comforting to know the children are so well taken care of while they wait for their forever family. We then journeyed out with two others and took a taxi to the market again to buy a few more things. It was our first time “alone” in the city w/out the AWAA staff accompanying us. It is a wild ride anytime you venture out. Seriously the traffic here is insane. There are no traffic laws persay and there is a lot of swerving and beeping going on. The air quality is unbelievable bad – exhaust fills the air everywhere. We are on the 4th floor of the guest house and are winded by the time we reach the 2nd floor. It is amazing how much the altitude affects your body. I can’t wait to breathe some fresh, clean air!!Tonight is our last night here in Ethiopia. It has been such a wonderful and emotional week. We are so ready to be home safe and sound with the rest of our family. It is still hard to believe we are in Ethiopia and now have our son in our arms. We leave Ethiopia tomorrow around 7pm and will arrive home Sunday afternoon. We have a long trip ahead of us but can’t wait to see our sweet girls and Nanna and Doc at the airport!

Love,
Sara & Tom

Silas’ 1st Birthday!!


We are having a wonderful time celebrating Silas’
1st birthday – yes – his birth certificate shows July 8th!
What a blessing he is and we are overwhelmed with the
love that we have for him! He is sleeping well, eating well,
playing a lot, and bonding better than we could have ever
expected. God is good all the time, that is for sure!
He has been faithful and we are blessed.
Today we head to the US Embassy to complete the final
steps for our return on Friday. Tomorrow we will head
to an orphanage to drop off donations and after that we
will purchase some goodies to bring home. The extreme
poverty in this country is evident at all times. There are
really no “good sections” that are immune to the conditions.
That said, the people are very welcoming, loving, and happy despite their situations. We see street kids (homeless) playing marbles (with rocks) and carrying on as if all is fine and dandy. Unfortunately, they were barefoot, had tattered clothing, no belongings, and were caught in the pouring rain with nowhere to go. They clearly were making the best of their situation. We have learned a lot…..Thank you for your prayers and look forward to introducing you to Silas. Olivia and Sydney will be very taken with him – words can’t describe what a perfect little boy he is. See you soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gotcha Day!!



We are back at the guest house with silas....he has really opened up and is having so much fun walking (with us!), playing patty cake & he ate a whole jar of oatmeal for dinner. Lots of giggles and squeals. Will write more soon....xoxo, sara & tom

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meeting Silas

What a day! Emotional, beautiful, wonderful…truly one of the most amazing days of our lives. We started out with breakfast at our guest home and then we all gathered around a table to do the necessary paperwork for the US Embassy. After totally botching the first form, Daddy T had to take over. My nerves were in full swing. Then we headed to lunch at Lucy’s (I think that is the right name…near a museum)…tom and I shared a cheese pizza. We are playing it safe in the food area for sure. Then we headed to the transition home….
We were number 5 on the list to meet our baby…cameras were passed out to other families to capture each meetcha moment. The tears were flowing as soon as the first sweet baby was brought out. It is hard to describe the beauty and joy of watching each family meet and hold their children for the first time.
Silas came out very sleepy. Apparently we arrived during nap time, so they had to wake the babies up to meet us. We held him and loved on him but it was very clear he wanted to sleep. His little arms didn’t seem to know where to go at first but after walking and singing to him he fell asleep with his arms around me. Oh how I love snuggling with my babes. He pretty much slept the whole time we were there. I did get to feed him a bottle and then he promptly went right back to sleep. Tom held him while he slept and when it was time to give him back to his nanny he looked back at Tom and his eyes seemed to get super big....what a big day for our little guy too!

After the TH, the ladies headed to a really neat spa. I had a 1 hr massage that was awesome! Then we picked up the guys and went to a traditional Ethiopian restraunt. I only had two bites of food before my nose, ears & mouth were on fire, but the beer was good and the entertainment was great. Several of us danced with the dancers and Kyle played drums…super fun!

Tomorrow we shop in the am, then lunch, and then back to the TH to take pics/care packages and then get our babes for good!

This is my second time typing as we lost power…so please ignore typos…more later. We are tired, happy and healthy …miss you all! And for soon to travel families, it is winter here…pretty chilly at night.

enjoy the pics...
Xoxo,
Sara & tom

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Start of day 2 in Ethiopia

Good morning,

Today is the day! It is around 7am here and we are anxiously awaiting our paperwork party here at the guest house at 10, then lunch and then off to see our boy at the transitional home. We've been up since 4 am...reading, eating skittles & trying to pass the time. Our sleeping schedule is way off and we seem to sleep well during the day and not much at night. Hopefully this will change soon as once we have Silas with us I'm sure the day time napping will promptly end!

Dinner at the guest home last night was excellent...traditional ethiopian meal of beef, peppers and rice. I just need to get my hands on a diet coke this morning :) Tom is going to have his first taste of Ethiopian coffee here in a bit. So far so good...we are both feeling well.

We have gotten to visit with many of the 8 other AWAA families staying here at the guest house . We have a great group! It is so nice to be experiencing this trip with others who are experiencing many of the same emotions and joy.

Hopefully we will be able to post later today with pictures of our meetcha day!!! Can't believe it is here.

Liv & Syd - we love you and miss you....xoxoxo!!
mom & dad

Hello! We made it to Ethiopia!! It feels sooo good to be here.

Our flight from Dubai was excellent - we were upgraded to business class which was insane....seats totally recline, chair massages you all over, you name it and we got it! Of course I was way into watching all the movies we never get to see anymore, so no sleep for me and I think about 1 hour for Tom.

We arrived to the airport and went through visa control, passport control & retrieved our all of our luggage w/ no problems. David a driver w/ AWAA picked us up at the airport. We had to ward off several men trying to help us with our bags. The begging is definitely going to be a challenge here.

Driving to the guest house we were able to witness the extreme poverty from our windows, although I know we haven't seen the worst of it yet.

The guest house is clean and very friendly staff. I am using the receptionist computer right now b/c the internet connection is not working in our room...sorry for any typos the keys are a little bit different on the keyboard. We just took another 3 our nap and plan to eat dinner here at the guest house.

We miss and love you all. It feels great to be here and one day away from seeing our boy.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Love,
Sara & Tom

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day in Dubai

So much for sleeping in today. Tom got up at 5am and attempted to go to starbucks (which was closed) but enjoyed a peaceful morning in the hotel lobby drinking coffee and reading the paper. I of course could not go back to sleep so we ate an early breakfast in our hotel and then headed to the beach. We have not left the Beaufort heat behind. It is crazy hot here. The beach here is nice there are chairs lining the beach, tiki bar and a foggy sea view. After trying to cool off in the Arabian sea (which felt very similar to a hot tub) we had a frozen concoction and a dip in the pool. We went to chilis for lunch which was just a short walk from the hotel. We then proceded to take a 4 1/2 hour nap! Now we are at Starbucks and off to find another American chain for dinner.

Thoughts on Dubai: not sure what all the fuss is about - nice but really just a lot of shopping and hotels on the beach. not much character that we've seen. although we did stay cooped up in teh hotel for most of the afternoon. we've never done the tourist sightseeing thing very well.

Highly recommend for future travelers: come a few days early to rest and sleep. We've enjoyed not being on any kind of schedule. We feel like we should sleep when our bodies will let us.

We meet our driver at 5:30 in the am for our flight to Addis. We should arrive in Addis around 11:30.

Happy 4th of July!!
Sara & Tom

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dubai

Well we made it to Dubai!! It was a loooong journey but we are so happy to be on the ground and in our room at the Sheraton. The flight from Houston to Dubai on Emirates was long but truly not so bad. We each had our own little TV and lots of movies, tv shows, and music to choose from. I ended up wathching for 4 movies in all!!

I think God was giving us a taste for what is to come on our return flights b/c there were 3 young children on our single row. The little boy next to me cried off and on for the first 4 hours or so of hte trip...not much sleeping going on but am thankful the movies kept me occupied. I highly recommend flying Emirates for those of you who are about to travel. It is very spacious and can't beat all of the entertainment.

We got to our hotel around 9pmish and ate at the Grill House here...food ok...we are so exhausted and looking forward to a shower and sleeping in. We plan to just veg tomorrow at he pool and maybe check out the spa here.

It is a new experience for us being in the minority both on the flight and now here in Dubai. A great lesson I think for us as we are soon to have Silas T in our arms.

We miss you all. Olivia and Sydney we love you so much and of course talked about you non-stop over dinner. We love you!!
Sara & Tom

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Take Off

Well, the time has finally arrived. We leave the Savannah airport today at 2pm and then on to Houston and then Dubai!! We will be in Dubai for 2 nights/1 day and then on to Ethiopia on Sun am.

We will meet Silas on Mon and then take him with us forever on Tues!!!

We are super excited and truly blessed to feel so covered in prayer. I honestly thought I would be very anxious and nervous about being away from home and my girls for such a long time. This morning I woke up with a sense of peace and calm knowing we are in God's hands and have wonderful prayer warriors!

We will do our best to update as often as possible. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Love,
Sara & Tom