Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dinner and good friends

On Friday evening, Mike and I got dressed up and headed out to “Under an Ethiopian Sky” – a fundraising gala to benefit Faith Village in Ethiopia. It was a fun night of great food, great entertainment and inspiring speakers.

This is a picture of us with Paul and Anna at the dinner. She’s the one who got the tickets for us and encouraged us to go. I’m thankful she did because we had a great time.

We’ve gotten to know Paul and Anna over the last few months since they also started their adoption journey. Anna and I went to the same high school and Mike and I even went to the same church as Paul and Anna for a few years but didn’t really have a lot to do with each other. We saw each other a few times when our Victoria and their Nicole were newborns. They were born two days apart and we went to the same clinic for our family doctor so we would run into each other there a few times. Then when Victoria and Nicole were in the same class at school, we saw each other more often and chatted here and there. Victoria and Nicole would have play dates once in a while and go to each other’s birthday parties.

Then last December, Anna called me to tell me that Nicole was able to come to Victoria’s birthday party and we began talking about other things. She asked me if we were adopting again because Nicole had come home and said that Victoria was getting another baby – this time a brother. Anna was confused because she didn’t think it was very common to adopt a boy from China but I informed her that we were adopting from Ethiopia this time. We went on talking and she told me that she and Paul had thought about adopting sometime but that’s really as far as it had gone. I told her that she could call or email me anytime if she wanted to discuss it in more detail (adoption being one of my favourite topics of conversation) and if she had any questions. To be honest, I didn’t think much of it because I often have people tell me that they think about adopting but for whatever reason they just don’t. However, I think it was a few days later she called me again and that lead to more phone calls and emails. After much prayer and a few subtle signs from God, she and Paul were on board. They sped through their home study and our files went to Ethiopia within a month of each other and now we’re both waiting to hear about the precious children God has picked out for our families. They’ve requested a girl and we’ve requested a boy and we’re hoping they end up in the same class at school too.

It's been really neat to see how God has brought our two families together. I’m thankful for our friendship and pray that God will continue to bless us both on our adoption journeys and keep our children safe and healthy until they come home to their forever families.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thank you Secret Pal

We received the final gift from our secret pal. I'm so glad I signed up to be part of the exchange. It's been so much fun to send things out and also to receive a package each month in the mail. This month's gift was a blue onsie and sheep rattle as well as an "Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook" which I'm sure will be extremely helpful.

Our secret pal also revealed herself this month so instead of saying "Thank you secret pal", I can now say "Thank you Christina!" You've made this exchange so much fun. We appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into each and every gift and can't wait until we get to put all the things to use.

Thank you again Christina. We wish you all the best on your adoption journey!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A girl's best friend

When Victoria and Austin head off to school, you would think Samara has no one to play with. That's not exactly true. She has Teagan. She loves that puppy like you wouldn't believe. She drags him everywhere, praises him when he does something good and wags her finger at him when he's naughty. It's super cute! He's a pretty tolerant dog too - he loves the attention however he can get it. Here's how we found the two of them the other day:

And if Teagan is too tired to play and all else fails, she can always call Grandma.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quilt #2

Dear Family and Friends,

While we were on our first adoption journey – our journey to Samara – we did a lot of reading and studying about China and Chinese culture and we came across an interesting tradition from the northern part of China. When welcoming and celebrating a new life, family and friends are called to put together a “Bai Jia Bei” or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. The quilt maker invites 100 people to contribute a single square or patch of fabric to be included in the quilt. Often times the squares would come from the fabric of their worn clothing and it is said that the luck, energy, and good wishes of the people who wore these clothes now surrounds the child when he/she is wrapped in the quilt. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation. We thought this was a great tradition and, as many of you know, we made a Bai Jia Bei for Samara; however, for us it represents the love, support and prayers of our family and friends. It was such a neat project and really amazing to see how many people anticipated Samara’s arrival and loved her even before she was here.

Even though it’s a Chinese tradition, we would really like to do another 100 Good Wishes Quilt for our little one from Ethiopia and so we’re asking for your help to make this possible by contributing a piece of fabric for the quilt.

The squares do not need to be from old clothing but can be scraps or newly purchased material – something that either has special meaning to you or just something you like. We would love to have as many of you as possible contribute a square to our quilt. You do not have to be a “crafty” person to participate. If your children would like to contribute their own squares and blessings/wishes, that’s great too. We know it will be a beautiful treasure and keepsake for our little one.

If you are interested, here’s what we need:

1. One 7” x 7” square of 100% cotton material (washed and ironed before cutting the square to allow for shrinkage). If you are more comfortable sending a larger piece of fabric and leaving it for me to cut to exact size, that’s fine too.

2. Along with your quilt square please include a “wish” which could be a prayer, poem, thoughtful quote, Bible verse, original thought, or whatever you choose on a piece of paper along with your name.

3. Along with this piece of paper with the wish and your name, include a small square of the fabric (can be about 1” x 1”) that you’re sending for the quilt. This small swatch will help us to identify your fabric within the quilt. The piece of paper can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like to make it and will be kept in a scrapbook for our little one to read. We know that he will love to read the blessings from each of you and find the fabric you’ve contributed within the quilt. If the fabric has special meaning to you, please include that information on the paper as well.

You can either give the fabric and paper to us personally or put it in the mail. If you need our mailing address, let me know via email (link on the side bar) and I'll send it to you.

Your help will make this a wonderful keepsake. Thank you so much.

Love Mike, Karen, Victoria, Austin and Samara Carmody

P.S. If you've never seen a 100 Good Wishes Quilt,
click here to see a picture of Samara’s quilt so you have an idea what the finished project will look like.

Four months!

Woo hoo! I'm excited to see our ticker above say that our file has been in Ethiopia for four months now. It's actually gone by really fast - I can hardly believe it. Do I dare say we may be at least halfway there? Hmmm . . . better not go there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Shrink Art

What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than doing some shrink art? This used to be one of my favourite crafts when I was little (but we called it shrinky dinks) so I was excited to do it with the kids. And they loved it too. I had actually bought these kits quite a long time ago but realized afterwards that it couldn't be done in a gas oven. In the meantime, we got a new oven that's not gas and so we can now do shrink art.

Here they are after they've been coloured all ready to go:

Here they are just before entering the oven:

Watching the shrinking process . . . so exciting!!!

And after they've been shrunk:

Some of the beautiful jewelry that was created:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pretty Girl

Before . . .

And after . . .

Notice anything???

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ride for MS

Mike participated in the 55 k Ride for MS this past Sunday morning. The weather was cold and wet. I don't think it stopped raining from start to finish. It took a nice hot coffee and a hot shower to finally warm him up. Despite the weather, they had a good time and the ride raised over $264,000.00 for Multiple Sclerosis. Good work everyone!

Mike and his friend J.D. finishing up the ride:

Three soggy, cold and very dedicated fans:

Friday, September 05, 2008

2008 Run for the Cure

I signed up to run in the 2008 CIBC Run for the Cure next month. This was the very first 5k run I did last year and I've been thinking about doing it again this year but wasn't sure if I wanted to or not. As you may recall, last year I ran with this sign on my back:

This year instead of running in honour of Marisa, I will be running in memory of her and I hate that. But I decided that's not a good enough excuse not to do it so instead of dwelling on it, I signed myself up last night. So if you feel so inclined to donate to a great cause by sponsoring me, please click here or click the link on my sidebar. (You have to click on the words under the Run for the Cure logo since I didn't know exactly how to do this).

Thank you in advance for your support.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Say cheese . . .

We all enjoy cheese in our house. We like it on bread, with crackers, in casseroles, on pizza, etc. However, there is one person who loves it more than anyone else . . . Samara.

The other day, she decided to serve herself some cheese. She went into the fridge all by herself, got the cheese out, and started taking bites out of the large brick of cheese! This is usually not the way we eat cheese in our house. We really are a little more polite than this. Here's the damage she did on the cheese. I would've taken a picture of her in the act but I didn't want her to think it was okay. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

And thus ends another summer vacation . . .

Victoria and Austin are both very excited to be starting a new school year. Victoria is now in grade two and Austin is in kindergarten, which is three full days a week. We actually had to wake Austin up this morning to get him to the bus on time. He picked today of all days to sleep in.

We all walked out to the bus stop together. Samara, however, was NOT impressed when her big brother and sister got on the bus without her. The bottom lip came out and huge tears started rolling down her cheeks. How dare they leave her behind?

Victoria and Austin both had a really good first day of school and they love their new teachers. Austin was exhausted when he got home! It will take him a little while to get used to the full day thing as JK was only two mornings a week last year. But I'm sure it won't take long and he'll be right into the swing of things.

Samara and I also had a good day . It's neat having time just with her. Every child is different when you're just one on one with them so I think it'll be fun.

Here's to another year of school beginning.

This is before Victoria
and Austin got on the bus: