Abby's Big Arrival

Abby finally made her appearance this morning at 10:35 after a very long night.  She weighed in at 7 pounds 3.5 ounces and 21 inches long.  She is an absolute doll and already keeping Jason busy with the diaper changes!

Here are some pics, I also uploaded a few more in the photo gallery (I will upload more when I get them, hint hint dad):

Yawning must be hard work being born

Happy new family

Proud new dad

Grandpa and Abby

Grandma and Abby

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!

It seems the years are getting shorter. Every year christmas seems to sneak up on us. Looks like christmas will be a nice Arizona winter, 72° and sunny. Ohh wait, just woke up and now its Arizona chilly. 50° and pouring rain.

The 2008 recap:

Early 2008
• Factor 1 (matt’s design firm) Moved out of the house, and into offices (Wahoo!).
• Sent off our adoption dossier to our agency and then to Ethiopia
• We are officially on the waiting list for Siblings!
• We hired on our first employee at Factor 1

Mid 2008
Stuff happened, just nothing we can remember. Even looking back at the blog, lots of fluff posts, and conversations on waiting. lame.
• Drove out to colorado to spend time in the mountains with Matt’s family in July
• Matt went on his first epic mountain biking trip to Moab & Durango with the guys. Nothing says awesome like biking 20 miles a day at 10k feet elevation.

Late 2008
• Still waiting. Lots of waiting. But it seems we are near the top of our adoption waiting list, so things are rolling along, and looks like we will be parents in 2009. Finally.
• The gardens super-quadrupled in size. We are now growing lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, peppers, and more. Potatoes and grapes will be happening soon.
• The usual holidays happened. Great thanksgiving with Stephanie’s family.

We are looking forward to 2009 like you wouldnt believe.

Matt & Stephanie

things tank is afraid of

Tank is our super special lab mut.

He is clearly a runt at 60 pounds. We always joke about the things he is afraid of. I decided it was time for a list.

  • Sweaters
  • Wool jackets
  • Hats (baseball caps not included)
  • Feathers (as in cat toys)
  • Woven baskets (like this one that we keep his toys in)
  • Simple brand shoes (how can anyone be afraid of these?)
  • Mens Dress shoes
  • Carter (the cat, and I guess he is quite scary.)
  • Small electronics (cell phones cameras remotes)
  • Leather belts
  • Singing cards (any occasion)

  • Skirts (denim skirts are okay though)
  • Dress shirts
  • Dress slacks
  • Some kid toys that move on their own

Now tank didnt use to be so afraid of things. In fact, most of these fears have developed in the last year an a half maybe two years. Most started when we moved from our house in mesa, to maricopa.

BTW. He also used to be super cute. What happened?

Friday Update – 12.19.08

Adoption Update:  We made it through week 41, how many more?  There were 10 referrals this week, seven boys and three girls.  Congratulations to all the happy families!  Our agency is closed until January 5, so no more referrals until after the new year.  We did not know about this closure until this month, so if anyone picked a referral date in that time period, please feel free to pick a new date.  We were re-fingerprinted last Saturday and USCIS is not very busy right now.  We were taken right back for our fingerprints, so much nicer than the last time.  Everyone say a prayer that my prints don’t get kicked back by the FBI, I had really dry fingers and she had a difficult time getting a good print.  I was obsessively putting on lotion last week to remedy the problem but to no avail and this week I didn’t obsess and no dry fingers.

Running Update:  I finally started running again!  I have to say it is so much nicer taking up running this time of year.  I can already run further and longer than I could when I stopped.  The temps being well below 90 sure make a difference!  Now I just need to start doing those push-ups again.

Gardening:  My garden is doing really well.  The snow peas have finally started to bloom and I have plenty of lettuce for salads.  I haven’t had to worry about a frost yet and Matt is helping me build a cover for the garden this weekend for that rare occasion we get below 32°.

Life:  We made lots of cookies on Sunday with my family and have been busy handing them out to neighbors ever since.  Michelle and I also made cookies on Tuesday.  She did a great job decorating them:


I also was able to meet Paul B. today!  He is a wonderful baby!  I had a very nice time chatting with Sandi and Bill about Ethiopia and their trip.  I cannot wait to travel!

Help Save Handmade

Okay I must admit, I am addicted to  I love browsing the handmade crafts, especially the stuff for children.  I dream about the stuff I can buy for Tom and Jerry when I find out ages and genders.  The sad thing is there is a new law that is about to go into effect that could end handmade stuff for kids.  The Hand Made Toy Alliance has this on their website:

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008.  Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number. 

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.
What can you do?  Well the Hand Made Toy Alliance has provided a sample letter.  Please write your Representative and your Senators.  It is easy and takes less than a minute.  They are not asking for the law to go away completely, but rather for changes to be made, so small toy makers can stay in business and crafts can still be sold.

Friday Update – 12.12.08

Adoption Update:  Two referrals this week, both were sibling groups.  One set of four year old identical twin girls and a boy/girl sibling group ages 1.5 and 2.5.  Congratulations to the happy families!  We reached 40 weeks today!  Hopefully our referral will be here soon.  We are going to USCIS to get fingerprinted again tomorrow, hopefully this is our last set of fingerprints.  

Life:  I did not get much done this week as I was very sick for a couple of days, so no exercising and no gardening and if you hadn’t noticed, no blogging.  I did check in on the garden this morning and it did survive the week without me.  🙂  We are doing some holiday baking on Sunday, I will be sure to take lots of pictures.

carter – king of the christmas tree

For those of you that dont know. One of our cats, Carter, is super wild.

Carter – Seen here in his native jungle habitat.

I mean runs around the house, full speed, peeling out on tile, leaping over furniture, scaring dogs 8x his size wild. Carter LOVES christmas. I mean loves it. He loves to take the stockings down. the garland down. and normally, he just naps, and removes lights and ornaments from the tree.

Not this year. He’s working on taking the whole thing down.
Carter in action:

(sorry for the lame cell phone video. Its all i had on me in a pinch)

Friday Update – 12/05/08

Adoption Update:

Well we have made it to 39 weeks of waiting! I am getting to the point where I just really want to see their faces and know them. Most days I am fine, but today not so much. 🙁 Please pray for some more referrals, and for court dates to start going more smoothly. A lot of court days have been rescheduled lately and my heart breaks for the families who didn’t pass recently.


My little garden is really starting to take off. The turnips and snow peas look great and I have some lettuce ready for eating.


Matt and I have been keeping busy decorating for Christmas and I have been cleaning out closets and cabinets like a mad woman! Business is staying strong which is an answer to prayers during the current economic situation. We are truly happy and thankful for all that we have.

Mocha Club

I started a Mocha Club team in Tom and Jerry’s names today to support education in Uganda and Kenya. Please join our team and provide education for only $7 a month.

Baby Names

I’ll be honest Matt and I have no idea what we are doing with the kids’ names and I don’t see us making up our minds until we see them. We do try to think of names from time to time, but never really settle on anything. I came across this fun baby name site today. You can search for names by disposition!

What to buy

What do you buy for the person that has everything, is impossible to buy for, is an eco-dork, or the consummate philanthropist? How about buying them gifts that keep on giving?

The World Wildlife Fund has tons of animals you can adopt and your recipient will receive a gift also. Some adorable examples are the frogs, giraffe, or penguins.

Sustainable Harvest has gift options that improves the standard of living for families and preserves the environment.

Heifer International has gifts to help families become more self-reliant. You can give goats, bees, ducks, and trees and many other items.

You could buy them shoes:

Or you can give the simple gift of water for Christmas.

Shopping for Fair Trade items is always a possibility. Check out Global Exchange or Serrv International.

Those are just a few of the gift ideas I have to share. Please feel free to share any you have.

Tom and Jerry have a room!

Matt finished up the painting this weekend. I am very pleased with how everything turned out and so glad I married such a talented man!

Here is a quick video showing a panorama of the room:

He even added flowers and butterflies just for me.  🙂