Friday, December 24, 2010

An Ethiopian Update: Too Sweet!

I know it's not the 14th but just wanted to share a quick update as we get ready for the Christmas holidays. We received an email last week from our agency. Our application has been received/processed and we are now working on the next step... our home study! I have heard they can be sweet and painless or long and worry-some. Can you guess which I'm hoping for?

I was thinking today that maybe next year we will be needing a new ornament to represent our adoption for our Christmas tree. That's where I found this ornament/tag (purchase here). Too sweet.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Would My Own T-Shirt Say?

Have any of you all seen this article? "The force is with you, Katie" It's about a lil girl who loved Star Wars until friends at school teased her for using a Star Wars water bottle and told her that Star Wars was for boys.

Katie not only loves Star Wars but she is Jewish, has a weak eye that requires wearing a patch and is adopted. She was heartbroken but decided she didn't want to add one more thing to her list of "what makes me different" and decided to no longer carry her favorite water bottle to school. Katie's mom has a blog, Portrait of An Adoption, and she wrote about how the experience affected her daughter. As you all in the blog world know, Katie's story caught on and the blog world rallied around her. This little girl has gotten to attend some cool Star Wars events, has received so many Star Wars toys that she is giving the majority of them away and more!

People started talking about teasing and bullying and about teaching our kids that it's ok to be different. I love that! Katie's school took it one step further and hosted an, "I'm Proud to Be Me!" day at school - a day that would allow all kids to wear a t-shirt that shows who they are and what makes them unique. I love-love that!

I hope to organize the same day at my daughter's school and am emailing our PTA President and Principal the article and my idea. I'm excited to hear their responses and will be sure to keep you all posted.

Until then, I'm off to think about what my own t-shirt would say!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Ethiopian Christmas + An Update

This past Saturday, some of us the families who are part of the DFW Ethiopia Babies yahoo group got together to celebrate Christmas. It was so much fun! We were able to meet new families, catch up with friends, meet potential traveling partners (wink, wink) and hug enough adorable children to last us til we meet again!

And now for our update. Thankfully, we have a very understanding agency (we love Gladney!) who understands the aggravating predicament we are in regarding this whole TX driver's license. So what does all this mean? While we work on obtaining Harold's driver's license, we can go ahead and submit our application! Yay... soooo excited!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Sprinkle of Christmas Cheer... exactly what I needed. It seems just when we are taking one step forward, we end up taking two steps back. Our car needs a new transmission and enrolling both girls in a camp for the Christmas break is going to be much more expensive than I anticipated. Booooo!

Today we dropped off the car at the mechanic, got our tree set-up and started decorating it. As soon as we started unpacking our ornaments I knew we would be ok. Our family is healthy, the girls are happy and together we are going to accomplish great things!Lucia saw this tree and insisted I buy it and sent it to her brothers in Ethiopia (love that girl!). I was able to convince her that we could send a picture much quicker and she was fine with that as long as she got to hold the tree. Yes, she is wearing dress shoes with her track pants... a few minutes earlier it was a cheerleading outfit with dress shoes so this was a happy compromise!
The real reason for the season. Nativity ornament we bought on our last trip to Peru.
Both Lucia and Isabella wanted to put the start on the tree so that's exactly what we did. Nothing wrong with placing the star on twice... who knows, maybe next year we'll be doing it a total of three or four times!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Ethiopian Update

There are days when I think we will need to alter our adoption list from toddler boy to teenage boy since it seems we just can't get our act together when it comes to getting our paperwork started. Sigh.

For those of you keeping up, I mentioned working on our referrals last month - turns out I was working on our homestudy application - not the "official" application! Grrrr. I guess on the positive side, at least we know what we need to finish up and work on when it's homestudy time, right?

There is just one thing holding us up right now - our Texas driver's license!!! Now that we are TX residents, we have to submit TX license numbers. It took two days to get mine and now we are just waiting on Harold's. Unfortunately, the DMV is closed on the weekend and lately it seems Harold is only working weekdays!! Grrrr. Grrrr.

Sorry for the lame update - hopefully next month's will be a better one!

In the meantime, I'm loving meeting so many of you and working on your adoption announcements. Thank you for thinking of me - your children are all too precious for words!!

I also found out that there is an Ethiopian art gallery in Atlanta, The Hanatzeb Gallery. I keep visiting their website - - and staring at this picture. Are these two sweet boys friends or brothers? Do they have a family or is the priest assuring them that their family is on their way? I don't know... just know that it makes me smile and wish we were already in Ethiopia! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Dream Made Possible By Mom.

I don't remember believing in pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, white unicorns or all the other innocent things kids believe and daydream about. I know that I thought about going to college and growing up but I don't remember ever getting carried away in my dreams.

One of the last conversations I had with my mom was about dreams. I had just been offered a chance to work at an advertising agency as the owner's assistant. He was going to teach me all he knew about graphic design and I was just excited to have a full-time job for the summer (especially since I was already thinking of not returning to college in the Fall). I came home after our meeting and told my parents all about it my new position. My parents were excited that I would be working on a computer and even have one at my very own desk. It was 1997 and no one in my family owned a computer.

I kept filling them in on what exactly the agency did and what would be expected of me. My mom then said, "Oh, Laura, you have to work hard and then he might decide to buy you a computer to have here at home!" I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her and said, "Mom, he is not going to buy me a computer to bring home." Picking up on my you-are-crazy-tone, my mom then said to me, "Laura, you never know - don't be like that. This is your life, you have to learn to dream big."

Less than three weeks later, both my parents passed away in a car accident. I didn't return to school in the Fall but did go back a couple of years later to get my degree in Graphic Design. And as for that crazy idea my mom had.... well, guess who bought me my very first Mac to use at home? Yup, my boss.

Today is my mom's birthday. I was thinking about that conversation we had years ago as I find myself dreaming my nights away thinking about upcoming homestudys, referral calls, trips to Ethiopia and of course, what those sweet faces will look like. I can't claim that all my actions have made my mom proud but this decision my family and I are making I know will have made her so, so happy.

Happy birthday, Mom, I'm dreaming big for the two of us! xoxo.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's not too late to post Halloween pics as long as your kids are still eating the Halloween candy, right?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lucia!

Lucia has been anxiously waiting for her birthday for the past 18 days... or since Isabella turned six. :) Every day we would look at the calendar and talk about how it was coming up. She was so excited!

No doubt about it - the highlight of her day was not the cake, ice cream or presents. It was about everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to her! These pics were taken while we sang - she looked at each and every one of us to make sure we were singing! So funny!

Lucky for her she had her family....

and favorite cousins to share the day with!

The group pic was taken using our camera timer and Harold would NOT run into place so we were all screaming for him to hurry and telling the kids to smile and look at the camera because the light was blinking. We took three pics and each time we'd laugh and scream more than before!!

It was a perfect day for a perfect girl.

Happy Birthday, Lucia!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Needs A Ball When You Can Have Love? + An Update

Oh, how this process seems to be going so slow... our goal is to send out our second application in the next 2-3 weks! We have come up with our list of references, worked on our bio and are ready to get this show on the road - the road to Ethiopia!!!

In the meantime, I still spend a lot of time watching families grow through adoption. I have given up questioning why I get so emotional and why I can never get enough of these adorable children. It's what God is calling our family and me to do. Simple as that.

Grab a tissue and watch this video, it's a lil long but one that will stay with you.

Welcome home, Yohannes!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Isabella is Six!

Guess who turns six today? Guess how we celebrated?
About two months ago, Isabella decided that she wanted to cut her hair and donate it to Locks-of-Love. I was worried that her hair wasn't quite long enough and convinced her to wait til her birthday.... which got me thinking. I always tell the girls their births were God's gift to the world - maybe now we could continue making the day extra special by giving the "world" our own little gift on their birthday.

Can you see how excited Isabella was with our new plan? This year her gift was "a wig for a child with cancer who doesn't have any - don't say bald, say 'who doesn't have any hair,' ok?" I hope to always remember this day. She must have reminded the hairdresser that she was giving her hair to a child with cancer about 100 times. The hairdresser smiled at her excited energy but I also knew some nervous chatter was mixed in but she never changed her mind.

That's my girl!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Cutest Birthday Cake Yet!

Today was my birthday. Tomorrow is Isabella's. Tonight we celebrated together.
Isabella loves, loves, loves hearing the story of the day she was born. I'm sure all kids do. She loves it when I tell her that her daddy announced she was a girl before the doctor since he was sooo excited. And lately, I've added in another part of the story - how she didn't want to share her birthday with me and refused to be born on my birthday... it cracks her up every time!

And what do I love? I love that she gave me the best gift ever - a chance to be her mom.

And I especially love my cake this year! I faxed the Cookie Co. one of Isabella's drawings since she is big on family drawing these days. Doesn't it look great?
PS: Another bonus to a cute cake and even cuter birthday partner? No one asked me how old I am now!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Call Me Kathy Lee Gifford

I have re-entered the working world after a five year break... five years!!

My new position is Corporate Advertising Coordinator and Graphic Designer for a Texas bank. Yes, I was able to keep up with my design skills by working as a freelance graphic designer but this new gig is still taking a lil getting used to. Until I find my groove, these are the thoughts that go through my head... some on a daily basis.

• How do single mom's do this? I haven't a clue! If it where not for my sweet husband, our family would be crumbling.
• Who do I talk to about getting an extra two hours into my day? Where does the time go? I honestly no longer have a clue!
• I love my job. I honestly do. To be surrounded by so many adults has been much more fun than I ever expected.
• I always knew I wasn't a great cook and these past two weeks have been my confirmation. Cereal for dinner and breakfast isn't that bad, is it?
• No matter how early I drop off Lucia or how late I pick her up, there is always a child that has arrived before her and one that will still be waiting after her. Still not sure how I feel about that.
• Loving Friday jean day!
• As a self-proclaimed TV junkie nothing beats cuddling on the sofa with family. Sorry, Law & Order - you've been demoted.

And finally....
• I am the Marketing Dept's "Kathy Lee Gifford!" Ugh. That kinda hurt to write but it's true. Any chance I get to share a funny story about my girls, I do. I never realized what a mom I am. If I'm not bragging about my kids, I'm sharing a funny story. If I'm not sharing a funny story, I'm bragging about them. It's a sad cycle. Lucky for me, everyone seems to find my stories amusing. Let's see if they're still laughing three months from now!

Monday, September 13, 2010

No Longer A Stay-At-Home Kid

Today was a big day in the Jimenez household - Lucia and I both had somewhere to be!

This past week I accepted a job offer. I'll still be doing freelance design work but our family just needed a steadier and more reliable income. Today is my first day back in an office setting after a five year break! This also means that Lucia will now be attending school!!! Yay! Poor thing would ask me on an almost daily basis when she could go to school. How sad is that?

Doesn't Lucia look so grown up? And of course, posing as usual. She was sooo excited! I was talking to my sister and telling her about how happy Lucia was to finally be going to school and she said something that had me cracking up. She said, "Of course she is! She's no longer a stay-at-home kid!"

Lucia will be attending a Spanish immersion school. It'll be interesting to see how she does - almost the entire day is taught in only Spanish! Dios mio!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I saw this picture on one of my favorite blogs. Don't you think it says it all?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Look Who's Home!

This past week was a busy one for Gladney - they were able to reunite some cuties in Ethiopia with their forever families. So, so exciting!

I have been working on an adoption announcement for the Owen family so I had already seen pics of their adorable boys and now you can, too! Brian and Tracy invited their moms on their second and final trip to Ethiopia to pick up their boys. Too sweet.

Check out their blog and read all about their exciting journey.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lucia, Lucia, Lucia!

When Lucia was born, she was so calm. She really was content in any situation - sitting in her car seat, being held or riding in her stroller. I breathed a sigh of relief and figured I was being blessed with an easy-going, quite and sweet child. She was exactly what we needed as we tried to survive med school and parent a bright, loud and independent first child.

Not sure when it happened but it has all changed. Lucia can be louder than Isabella and while I was always able to dress Isabella in any outfit of my choosing, Lucia is very vocal when it comes to her clothes. The past few months I've noticed what a funny little personality she is starting to get.... whether she is chasing the dog with my electric toothbrush or screaming, "O! M! G!" at something or someone - she really does crack me up on a daily basis!

Her latest form of entertainment is "posing." I am constantly deleting pics that Isabella takes of her. I saw these and thought maybe I should keep a few.

She is too darn funny!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tio Henry!!!!

My bachelor brother flew in from NYC for a quick weekend visit. Lucky for him, now he only needs to fly to one city in order to hang out will all his nieces and nephews.

For years, my sister and I have talked about getting our families together for a pic and we finally did! Last night we spent hours digging through closets and running to the mall - it's hard work coordinating outfits for ten people! These are the pics we took of just the kids with their Tio Henry.
Tio Henry is lots of fun, lives in NYC and never shows up empty handed... though some gifts are better than others! This trip they got candy, confetti poppers, super snaps, jump ropes, plastic bubble kits and a whoopi cushion. A whoopi cushion! See what I mean?
Tomorrow, he's promised to fill 300 balloons for a water balloon fight at the pool. The kids love to play with their Tio Henry - can you tell?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

Yesterday was Isabella's first day at her new school. She is having to repeat Kindergarten since TX and LA have different birthday requirements. I'm still a lil aggravated by this but that's another story.

Sunday night, she started crying that she didn't like school once she realized that she was not going into first grade. I'm sure nervousness and a lil fear had something to do with her comments but it still made my heart break. Of course, the only thing I could to do was to stay up late and make her a new purple headband!Monday she woke up and acted as if it was Christmas morning - she was soooo excited!! Oh, how Isabella loves to keep us on our toes. On the way to school I thought that I'd gladly put up with back-to-school meltdowns if I can keep her little forever - she's becoming such a big girl!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good-bye, Summer!

Isabella starts school tomorrow so today was the last official day of summer for us. We spent the day going to church, to my sister's house to swim and to have dinner. It was a nice way to end an even better summer!

On the way home, Isabella was starting to get a lil nervous about starting school, so I started naming all the fun things we did this summer and it really was a lot! Who knew we'd been so busy? These were some things we came up with in case Isabella was asked to share a few summer memories with her class.

• Moved to Dallas so Harold could start his Residency
• Slumber parties with our cousins - here in Dallas and in Houston
• Trip to Costa Rica - saw a volcano, took a river raft trip, waterfall hike, went to the beach, held a butterfly and more
• Snowballs, snowballs and more snowballs!
• Girls were flower girls in TWO weddings
• Swimming
• Exploring Dallas - movies, library, restaurants and splash parks
• Quick trip to New Orleans to visit family and friends

We came up with much more but these are the highlights. Hopefully, a few of these will get mentioned in class. Then again, Isabella may have everyone convinced that we are a boring family and just say that, "She watched tv." We did do a lot of that, too!

Good bye, summer!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ethiopian Update: Fundraiser Time!!

We are officially starting one of two fundraisers to benefit our adoption. I've been thinking and praying about this for a while now and am excited to be taking one more step forward in our journey!

Our first fundraiser will be designing custom photo adoption announcements. I've always had a desire to do this, not just because it would be some money coming in but because it would be such a reminder of the forever families being formed. For you new readers, I've written about it in the past here and here.

For a donation of $25, you'll receive a custom adoption announcement saved as both a 4x6 and 5x7 for you to print and distribute as well as a low-res file that can be easily emailed to family and friends! My goal for this fundraiser is twelve families - yes, only twelve!! This would allow us to check off the next step in our process and start focusing on our homestudy.

If you know of an adoption family that is ready to show off their newest addition, please tell them about us! If you are interested in an adoption announcement but have exhausted all your available resources on the costly process, contact us anyway. I'd love to design an announcement for you as my small gift from one adoption family to another.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Two Weddings and New Orleans

We are back in New Orleans!!!

We made the long drive a few days ago so that we could be home in time for my cousin Heather's wedding. Isabella and Lucia were her flower girls. The wedding was held in Port Allen which made for a couple of long days - driving home, changing, driving to the rehearsal, back to New Orleans, back for the wedding and finally back to New Orleans. Phew!

My cousin made a beautiful bride and Mark, a handsome groom. They are both going to be spending a few years working as missionaries in Honduras - what an exciting way to start of your marriage, huh? Because Honduras is close to both of their hearts, the wedding was full of color and little Honduran touches. Isabella and Lucia even carried handmade Honduran bowls full of rose petals as they walked down the aisle instead of the usual baskets... so sweet!

Weren't we a colorful bunch? So much fun!

Now we are looking forward to spending some time in the Big Easy, playing tourists, eating some beignets and looking forward to this coming weekend. The girls have been asked to be flower girls yet again for some dear friends of ours from church.

I think I should make them little business cards they can hand out to their new friends in Dallas with "Professional Flower Girls" as their titles!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Peruvian Independence Day

This year's celebrations bombed!

I was so excited to celebrate Peru's Independence Day! Not only did we have a sitter lined up but we had four Peruvian restaurant's to chose from. Yes, four! There are none in New Orleans so this definitely counts as another Dallas perk. Harold was working but was meeting up with us after he got off.

So what went so wrong? We were running late. The restaurant lost our reservation. Limited menu which meant no ceviche or lomo saltado for me. Place way too packed to stay (poor planning on restaurant's part). We decided to skip Peruvian food and just go out to eat but since Dallas is no New Orleans, everything was getting ready to close. What a mess!

We finally ended up at an Irish pub - yes, Irish!! - and tried to pretend all the green was really red. Oh, well, at least I was able to update my Facebook pic in honor of the day!

Viva Peru!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's Black, White & Cool All Over?


Today we went to go see my nephew, Alex, and niece, Sophia, perform in their final camp play. Really, it was little skits in which the kids all acted out their own made up little story. It was really cute. The theme for all the plays was supposed to be about how the animals tricked the humans into staying at the zoo in their place.

As you can see, Sophia was a zebra and my girls dressed in black and white to show their support! Oh, how they want to be just like her... especially Lucia. Isn't that adorable? Alex was a "lazy human" and kept joking that his preparation was non-existent because he just let his true character show through. He cracks me up!

By far, one of the best part about being in Dallas has been hanging out with our cool cousins. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Give-Away

As you know, I love to read blogs and follow a family's adoption adventure. One of the first family's I got to "know" was the Andrew's Family.

Lindsey was the very first person I ever contacted to share adoption info and worries. I looked up this morning how long ago I first contacted her and it was over a year ago! Lindsey and her husband have adopted two gorgeous kids from Ethiopia and it is so fun watching this little family become one! So, so awesome!

Now, Lindsey is hoping to pass along the same excitement to four lucky readers. She is having her very first give-away.... actually, it's four! ;) If you have ever thought of adoption or just want to learn more about how we can better take care of one another, read this and leave her a comment! I've heard wonderful things about all the books she has selected - you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mooo-ving Along Adoption Update

Our adoption journey is slowly taking off. We are making little steps and while that bugs me, I keep telling myself that little steps count just as much as big ones!

We have our first phone interview tomorrow with our adoption agency. Judy has been so sweet and while I've spoken to her a few times, tomorrow we'll have an official three-way call with Harold. It'll be a good way to make sure we are all on the same page and working towards the same goals! Yay!

In the meantime, a few days ago it was "Dress like a Cow" day at Chick-fil-A so guess what we did?
That same day we met my sis and her kids at the movies to watch "Despicable Me!" (which was so good!!!!) so I printed out an extra set of ears for my sweet nephew, Joshua. It was pretty fun to see everyone dressed up - some went all out! Mooo!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Excited Big Sister

Ever since we moved to Dallas, the girls have been really excited about our upcoming adoption. We always said that we would start working on this once we moved here and it's never far from their minds.

Today, Isabella asked me to come in and see our family that she made out of play-dough. As I was telling her that she did a good job I noticed that there was one more person included so I asked her who that was. She said, "That's Papi, you, me, our new little brother and Lucia. You see - it's a boy not another girl!"
Oh, how that girl can melt my heart when she wants to!

I told her I was going to take a pic and she asked that I give her a sec so that she could position herself holding "Lucia's" hand!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July! Unfortunately, Harold had to work and was not able to spend the day with us but thanks to my bf, Janella, we still had a great day!

We had a lunch of BBQ and then went to watch a firework show. I was so excited when we pulled into the parking lot. Families were hanging out in their cars and on blankets, kids were playing football and a few people had their radio on. Yay! It felt just like New Orleans when everyone hangs out waiting for the parades to begin. :) I was so glad we brought some lawn chairs and a blanket!!
A young guy promoting his bounce house business was giving away free glow sticks and our girls couldn't have been happier. Glow sticks AND fireworks in one night? They were in heaven.

As soon as the show started, about half the crowd took off - turns out most of the show was blocked by an overpass! This is what happens when you live in a state that finishes their roads in a timely manner... no one realized that it was no longer such a great spot! We didn't mind.

Next year I need to remember my camera! My iPhone is not the greatest when it comes to taking pics at night. Oh, well. Hope you all had a great day full of fun, family and fireworks!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Colorful Update

This blog is overdue an adoption update. I said I would update every month on the 14th and so far I have missed two months. Sigh. Our house sale fell through and along with it the main bulk of our adoption fund. Double sigh.

Now that we are officially in Dallas, I was supposed to update our file with Gladney so that we could get this adoption going. Unfortunately, at the 11th hour our house sale fell through and honestly, I just got a bit discouraged and never followed up with our caseworker. Have I mentioned before that patience is not my strongest virtue? :)

Yesterday, I decided enough of not believing in our plan. I know God wants us to adopt from Ethiopia. I feel it in my heart and He told my husband. What more confirmation do I need, right? I called our caseworker and we now have an updated file and hopefully will be attending our first seminar in the next few weeks. Yay! Where will the money come from? I don't know. We have a few ideas and trust that God will take care of the rest. I can't thank God for our blessings and then doubt His plan in our lives.

In the meantime, Isabella and Lucia decided to clean my room for me yesterday while I was on the phone. By "cleaning" I mean making my bed. If the bed is made, the room is clean (my kind of girls!). Isabella decided my door was too plain and drew this picture for me. Yes, she's drawn 100's of family pics but this is the first one that show's Harold as having a different skin color than mine. Her use of color just makes me smile... that and how she still draws a few random hairs on Harold's head.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pura Vida

If you are ever in Costa Rica, you are bound to hear someone say, "Pura vida!" It's a little catch phrase that is said over and over, regardless of the situation. The literal translation is "pure life" but it means much more than that to a Costa Rican. I heard it used as a greeting, as a good-bye, when laughing about the local soccer team and when there was just a moment of awkward silence in the taxi.

So with that being said, here are a few of my favorite pics from our trip. I loved hanging out with my little family and love, love, love the memories these pics represent. Pura vida!