My creativity and actually getting around to making things seems to come and go in waves. I was in a major lull for awhile and just recently was re-inspired and have been doing more sewing and crafting. A few of the results:
Some friends came over a few weeks ago and we all made these string balls. Super easy and there are tons of tutorials online.
I made this doll for Laia. Cant wait to give it to her. I used this pattern.
My soon to be sister-in-law and I were feeling crafty when she was in town visiting so we spray painted and painted some of Adelaide’s animals.
I helped a friend with some nursery decor. We embroidered maps and glued them in embroidery hoops.
Birthday gifts for two of our favorite toddlers. I followed this tutorial.
Here I am still posting pictures from our trip to Tanzania and we are already headed back for a second time. We are so thankful that things are continuing to move forward smoothly (a few minor hiccups). Josh and I will fly back to Tanzania on Thursday (2days!). We have a court hearing on Monday, April 22nd. We hope that this will be the final court hearing and that the judge will make the final decision but we are trying to keep an open mind. Either way, we know that this will not be our last trip to Tanzania, so we are gearing up for continued paperwork, fundraising, and travels. Thank you all for joining us on this journey. We look forward to some *fingers crossed* exciting updates soon.
Below are the last photos I wanted to post from our first trip.
An elderly Maasai woman on the side of the road.
We spotted these giraffe’s on the side of the road also. Pretty incredible.
A traditional Maasai village.
Posing for a photo.
A Maasai warrior.
A young boy and the herd of cattle he was watching over.
I am a bit sad that this adorable face is not going with us this time around (on the flip side I am pretty pumped about 40 hours of quiet airplane reading time). She has been pretend playing a lot lately and is often flying to Tanzania and going on safari’s to see animals in her play. We cant wait to one day be coming home with a little sister for her.
The wonderful ladies of our community group here in Menlo Park, rallied together to throw the most epic bake sale of the year, century maybe?? These ladies are my world, we meet at the park, go running together, they watch my kid, i watch their kids, they cook me dinner, we bathe our kids together, etc. And if that is not community enough, they pulled up their boot straps, enlisted help, baked the day away, and set up an amazing bake sale at our church at the end of a service. And we were completely blown away by not only the spread they laid out but the response from friends and strangers alike. People coming together to support our family. Some people we knew but so many people we had never met who paid ungodly prices for cookies and pies. This adoption process has been a rollar coaster; learning, stretching, growing and mostly being in awe of how God has provided each and every step along the way. Through finances, through relationships, through paperwork, through connections. In so many ways. And for me, this bake sale was an incredible picture of community working together to support this cause. And we are so incredibly grateful.
Oh, and did I mention this little bake sale raised $3,000.00. Yeah, you read that right. $3,000.00. Unbelievable.
We have worked hard. Others have worked hard. And we are so close to bringing our first baby home. We raised the $3000.00 needed to receive our matching grant from Lifesong and are only about $2000.00 short of EVERYTHING we need to finish this first (really second) adoption. So incredible! Dont let money ever stop you from taking the plunge to adopt. Its one of the most beautiful parts of the process. Seeing how it all comes together despite us clearly lacking.
While in Tanzania we were able to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. The entrance to the crater was 15 minutes from the baby orphanage. And it was incredible. Seriously one of the most amazing places I have visited. The crater is a sunken in volcano that is approximately 100sq miles in size. Over 30,000 animals live in this area, including the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa.
I was surprised by the lush vegetation around the rim of the crater. It was much more green than I expected.
The crater from above.
Our first sighting of Zebras. We had no idea we would see hundreds more.
Traveling down into the crater.
Wildebeest. The largest species population in the crater.
We saw so many baby animals. Some only a few hours old.
Stumbled upon this girl snoozing in the road.
There were 4 female lions all in the same area.
This one had her eye on that Wildebeest but never made a move.
A crew of hyenas was feeding on this dead hippo. Their cackle is as terrible as you would imagine.
These girls loved spotting zebras.
We made a quick stop to get a photo of these girls in front of the zebras.
Then we drove by these two guys and stayed and watched them for awhile. There are 5 different lion pride territories in the crater.
A trail of baboons as we were leaving.
This girl astounds me every day. The things she says and does.
She is smart and funny. She is sweet and kind. She thinks about me and her friends. Saying things like, “Dont worry Mama, you just lay there and rest, its ok.” How nurturing and caring she is taking care of her baby dolls and anyone else that will let her. She changes their clothes and diapers, rocks them to sleep, feeds them, and just generally loves on them. Her baby dolls have good lives.
She is brave and adventurous. Climbing to the top of the jungle gym and even trying to get across the monkey bars on her own.
She basically potty trained herself right after she turned two. Has had so few accidents and is now diaper free. No pull ups to bed.
But at 2 and a half she was still extremely addicted to her pacifier. It was her comfort. Falling asleep at night, being stuck in a car seat for long (or short) distances, when she got hurt or was just upset. Her pacifier comforted her. If she didn’t have it in her mouth she asked for it all the time. So she still felt like my baby. And then last week she gave it up. Or more like we coerced her into giving it up.
We had a dentist visit scheduled for her. We had been feeling like perhaps the pacifier was beginning to do some damage on her teeth so wanted to have it checked out. We decided to use it as a way to get rid of the pacifier. So we talked to her months in advance telling her that the dentist does not like pacifiers and was going to tell her she had to stop using it (make the dentist the bad guy, genius right?). And we talked about how we were going to take all her pacifiers and leave them at the dentist. So she knew. And the day came and she was a champ. She was so brave. Watched and asked questions while I got my teeth cleaned and then sat in the chair and happily let the dentist do a cleaning and examination (and informed us that the pacifier was indeed doing damage). Then she handed over all her pacifiers and we left.
That was one week ago and this last week has gone infinitely better than I ever expected. She did something so hard, gave up her most prized possession. And yes, has had a few moments of struggle but overall has figured out how to live without it. I could not be more proud of her. I its opened my eyes to the incredible person she is becoming and that I can learn much from her. About loving others, making sacrifice, and moving forward. And so much more.
The warm sunshine, a beautiful place to live and my sweet family make for a perfect day.
Love in the rocks.
This little one loves exploring.
We found lots of fun trails.
And a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge.
Trying to take a shortcut up what we thought was a small staircase.
Carried a sleeping toddler in her stroller from that road up those stairs. Yikes.
But this picnic with my loves was worth it. I think we talked about missing Barcelona that whole picnic.
The view of ocean beach from the park.
Sutro Heights Park.
And an incredible drive home down Hwy1.
We are seriously so blessed had have been able to live so many incredible places. Im falling more and more in love with Northern California and feel so lucky to get to enjoy these beautiful days in this beautiful state with the people I love. Now everyone move out here too and it will be that much better!
We have now been back from Tanzania a couple weeks. Its been slow recovering from jetlag (with a toddler) and getting back into a normal routine. The malaria antibiotic is continuing to make my life miserable but luckily I am so close to it being out of my system and things will for real be back to normal. I cant wait. That stuff is the worst.
Its hard to put into words the experiences and emotions of 10 days in Tanzania MEETING OUR NEW DAUGHTER. We are so thankful for God’s provision. It was rather emotional and incredible all at the same time, the way that everything fell into place. We had some amazing meetings and were able to finish all the paperwork needed to begin her adoption.
She is a year and a half old and cute as can be. Hopefully soon we will have lots more information to share. Right now we are waiting to find out when our first court hearing will be. Josh and I will have to fly back for that and most likely a third time to finalize things and bring her home.
Tanzania is beautiful. I have spent time in Africa but was truly blown away by the beauty that we encountered. On top of being busy with meetings, paperwork, and spending time with our daughter, we were able to do some sightseeing and visited some incredible places.
We were so impressed with the orphanages we visited and the hard work and care that Jerry and Tammy have taken in establishing His Healing Hands. We are so excited to be able to walk along side of them, share their vision, and watch the growth of a home for so many children in need.
Adelaide did great. The flights were long but we survived and she quickly embraced life in Arusha, running around without shoes on and covered in red dirt. She loved seeing all the animals and played well with all the kids we spent time with. It was a true blessing to be able to introduce her to a whole new world and for her to be a part of such a huge event for our family. She is going to be a great big sister.
Right now the days feel slow. Each one that passes is agonizing and exciting, knowing that we are so close to having our sweet little girl home. Oh my, OUR sweet little girl. Seems too good to be true.
I cant wait to share more. In the meantime Ill leave you with some photos of our time.
A few of the kids at the children’s orphanage in Arusha.
Adelaide was not sure what to think at first.
Sharon, Jerry and Tammy’s daughter, and Adelaide were inseparable. It was so great for her to have a playmate the whole time.
View from dinner.
Visiting the cultural center.
Song performance at the children’s orphanage. Adelaide jumped right in.
Playing with stickers.
On our way to Karatu.
Baskets. Loved meeting local artisans.
Baby orphanage in Karatu.
Back in Arusha playing at a park.
Getting ready to play games.
Adelaide and Sharon tried so hard to keep up with the big kids.
Lunching with Zebras.
Look ma, Zebras!
Swinging at the children’s orphanage in Arusha.
A glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro on our way to Moshi.
Coffee in Moshi.
After an early morning wake up, a cross-country flight, and a 5 hour drive we arrived in Santa Barbara after a week in Florida. It was our first time in Santa Barbara and we loved it. Its such a beautiful town. The weather was perfect and we had the best company. Cant wait to go back.
Adelaide’s first surf lessons with uncle Andy.
All the ladies.
The godfather and god daughter.
Touring Westmont’s campus.
Enjoying the views of the city.
With our favorite people.
A beautiful sunset.
Adelaide was such a trooper. This is how she spent New Years Eve dinner. It turned out pretty well. She got a three hour nap and we enjoyed a quiet dinner.
After our quiet dinner we headed to the beach for a New Years Eve bonfire and s’mores.
After her long nap, Adelaide was ready to party.
View from the pier.
Looking at crabs.
A great end to a great weekend. Thanks guys:)
We were able to head to Florida for Christmas this year and spend a week with Josh’s family. We had a great time seeing everyone and are thankful Adelaide was able to get to know her cousins a little better. She loves being the center of attention and enjoyed being spoiled by so many family members .
Already loving Florida and we havent even left the airport. She may have named her baby doll snow white.
Family campfire. Adelaide experienced her first s’more.
Christmas morning opening her stocking.
Family photo Christmas morning.
Opening presents. She kept saying. “oh wow, I love it” before even getting to the actual present.
A few of her favorite gifts. Dora dress up mermaid, blocks, a ruffly skirt, and Dora pajamas. Every time she opened a new clothing item she immediately put on, on top of the last.
We love Aunt Pamela!
And Grandma and GrandDad!
Looking through old photos. Josh’s mom and Grandpa.
She loved hanging out with these little guys, her cousins. They were pretty adorable all together. Although the boys did not understand why all she wanted to do was break their train tracks.
So thankful for the opportunity we have to be with family as much as possible.
Things are really moving forward with Tanzania. Its a little crazy since we have been at such a slow pace with Honduras. We purchased our plane tickets and will be traveling for our first visit to Tanzania on February 8th! Thats just one week away!! We will do all the paperwork needed to begin processing the adoption, get our permit stamped in our passport and hopefully meet our little girl! It feels a bit like a whirlwind and there are still so many factors to fall into place, we just can not believe we are this close.
The orphanage happens to be 30min from the Ngorongoro Crater and we are so excited to be able to go on a safari while we are there.
We are so thankful for all the support that we have received thus far. We are still far from our goal but are so excited that we have received a matching grant through Lifesong. Our Matching Grant is for $3000. And that is where all of you come in. In order to get that $3000 we need that much in donations. Donations can be made to our Lifesong fund (and receive a tax-deductible receipt) and as we receive donations they will match them up to $3000. We are so excited about this big step in our fundraising efforts and are so excited to watch everything come together in order to get these babies home!
If you are interested in donating, the information is below:
Give by Check:
Please make checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans.
In the memo please note your gift preference with Family Account Number and Family Name.
(ie: Preference 3428 Taylor)
Please mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all US administrative and fund-raising
costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to
the need…helping orphans.
1. Go to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate
2. Select Give to an Adoptive Family
3. Complete online form and fill in Family Account Number & Family Name Fields (3428 Joshua Taylor)
Individual donations $250 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a taxdeductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $250 will gladly be sent upon request.
Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.