Why me?!?

So, yesterday was a particularly busy day (maybe I should say stressful, but I hate to admit I was stressed). Anyway... I just kepy telling myself:

The kids will be in bed by 8, then I can watch American Idol. The kids will be in bed by 8, then I can watch American Idol. The kids will be in bed by 8, then I can watch American Idol.

That was to be my reward for my hard work!

So, it was stormy all around out house yesterday, but we only got a sprinkle at our house. It actually seemed to be over and done with. We had the kids in the bath and were putting them in their pajamas for bed and...


Yes! The Power went out and did not come back on until 9:45... therefore... No American Idol for me. At least I took the time to read the rest of the book I was reading on the way over the Ethiopia by candlelight. I had 80 pages left and I did not know when I would have time to get around to finishing it... so to focus on the positive, at least I was able to do that!

And... thank goodness for YouTube! I missed all the "fluff" of the show, but I was able to see all the individual performances... and I have to admit...

David Archeletta was in-it-to-win-it and he really did a good job of "brining it" last night... although David Cook is still my musical style and I will definately by buying his music, I do think if David A wins, he deserved it and I am proud of him! And I think he is more cut out to be the Idol winner. It would be nice for David Cook to have 2nd place because they usually have more of a say in their music when they are not the actual winner.

The finale is usually really good too because they have A LOT of guest performers and what-not... so I am looking forward to it tonight. We will be at Katie's for dinner, but when we get back I am going to get in my PJs, cuddle into the corner of the couch, and pray the power stays on!!!

And then there is Thursday... SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE! Oh happy day!!!


Bring on the American Idol!!!

I get excited about Tuesday nights... why?


And like a silly teenager I am hooked on it and am totally wanting my David Cook to win! Yes... MY David Cook! I get giddy when he performs. Just because he always sounds so good and you never know what he is going to pull out of his hat! And he seriously sings my kind of music... I would buy his album yesterday if I could! I have some of his stuff on my music player at the bottom of my blog! I love everything from his edgy "Billie Jean" to his pure and simple "Music of the Night"!

Don't get me wrong... we do appreciate our cute little David Archuletta and if he won, I would not cry! But I also would not buy his album (unless they do something amazing, but I am sure it will be full of a bunch of ballads)! Ya gotta have love for the little sweet innocent Mormon boy!!! What kids a Mormon would I be if I did not at least somewhat cheer for him? And he is a little cutie! And sometimes he hits note that just ring. So... it will be good finale! It is not like there is anyone I totally hate or anything!!!
Well, I better get up before the chaos wakes up! So far all the chaos is still asleep, so it is a good time to get a shower and get a jump-start on my cleaning!
But leave me a comment... you know you wanna.... who do you want to win?

PS Another reason I am always excited about American Idol ending is that means that my So You Think You Can Dance? can begin... and if you think I am nuts over American Idol, I am SO MUCH WORSE with my love for that show... my SIL Katie is too! We watch it, we call and discuss it, we DVR it and watch key dances like AT LEAST 20 times, then all the Charlotte Jeppson women (and yes, Katie is still a Jeppson... she should blog about it sometime... haha!) go to the tour and we meet the dancers... which I met them by myself last year... long story... maybe I will blog about it sometime!

Like the picture I chose Katie? I think between us both we have watched that dance over 100 times!!!


My Backyard Smells Wonderful!

If you ask my my favorite flower, that would be Honeysuckle and Carnations! I am all about good smellin' flowers! I have honeysuckle lotion and a honeysuckle Yankee Candle. Honeysuckle also always reminds me of late spring/ early summer and it reminds me of the softball fields growing up. Whether it was my sisters or me playing, there was always a TON of honeysuckle vines and the smell was always so strong. And I love to pull off the flowers and taste the nectar!

As I walked outside tonight I was overwhelmed by the smell! The honeysuckle is in full bloom and boy does it smell good around my house! And better yet, last year we just had a teeny patch on our hill after we cleared it off and put up a fence. This year, I have honeysuckle spiraling up my fence. Not only does it smell good, but it looks very pretty! I am going to enjoy being outside and smelling the honeysuckle this week!!! I will have to show the kids how to taste the nectar!

My Link Leading Lady Interview!!!


That is my interview if you want to hear it! I talked for like 15 min with them, but they shorten it to 4 minutes!!! Haha! But I thought it turned out OK and I got to say some really nice things about how I feel! I feel weird hearing myself on the radio, but I am happy I was able to do it! I am looking forward to the banquet! Free food is always nice!!!


Back to Bloggin'!

So, we are home! I just have been too busy to write! But it is now 6 in the morning, I have been up since 5:30 and I thought I would take this opportunity to blog a few things and post a few pictures!

I am happy to be home! I always thought I wanted to be a world traveler and to see all the different sites in the world. I think I have decided now that spending the rest of my life only vacationing in Florida is now my favorite option. Basically, I seem to pick up any sort of food/water born illness to quickly... it is good to be home where I can drink out of the tap!

The kids are doing great! They really are! They have adjusted remarkably well! We flew in at noon on Saturday and they were so excited about all the new things (the cars, the backyard, their rooms) that they stayed awake and finally crashed around 7pm (which would be 2am their time). And so far they are up around 7 and in bed around 8, so that makes a lot of things a lot easier!

Meals are still really interesting. Yemane and Yonas will eat anything put in front of them but Selamawit if a VERY picky eater and seems to only eat bread if she can help it. So we are working on making her not so picky! We have white bread in the house, but we usually only have wheat... so I think when we switch back over to just wheat she may not be in such a hurry to only eat bread!

They all seem to know the routine really well! We went to church yesterday and that went well! They are used to really long services, so the 1 hour sacrament meeting is not too bad for them! They all seemed to enjoy primary, particularly music time! Yemane broke down crying half way through his class and they brought him to me. Poor thing! I really could not blame him! He does not understand hardly any English and it was probably so overwhelming! When we got him into the van to go home, he fell asleep. So I think being sleepy had a lot to do with it as well!

Yonas is really good with all things sports. He has some great soccar skills and he watched a little bit of Nolan & Lettie's t-ball game, came home, and threw a ball in the air and hit it! Levi was impressed! He has great form and everything!

Selamawit lost a tooth yesterday, it just popped out in the middle of church. It was not in the best shape, so I don't think it took too much to fall out. We did not do the tooth fiary because she would not understand. But it just occured to me as I am typing this that NOLAN will understand, so I may need to put on a facade that the tooth fairy came just so he will not wonder why she did not come!

The main stressful part of having the new kids is the language barrier. For me at least. Today we are going to try to learn the words for certain feelings. I have a worksheet printed out with the basics on it (happy, mad, sad, sick, scared) so hopefully it may help them to be able to communicate their feelings. I am hoping to catch Sesame Street today as well and talk about the letter A. Catching them up for school is going to be hard, but we will do our best and we have the whole summer, so that is good! Yonas seems very anxious to learn, Selamawit... not so much!

Oh, and we were calling Selamawit "Salie", with the a sounding like "ah" instead of "aye". But then we realized it is so close to Callie and they both respond when I say either name. So we may transition her to her middle name, whatever we end up choosing that to be... but I think the most likely choice is going to be "Macie". Selamawit is a mouthful for an American, especially if you try to say it right! We may have to transition Yemane as well, because that is not said how you would think either. But that is something I would do very slowly. But it really does not take kids but so long... heck, all our other kids have about 10 nicknames a piece that they all respond to. Heck, Callie responds just as well to "Wallice"!

So, any ideas for boy names?

Well, I better figure out breakfast before the troops wake up! Here are some pictures! I will make a shutterfly album of Ethiopia pictures soon for you guys to see!

Trying to use a straw for the first time:

Some airport pictures:

At home, with a ton of kids:


Audra from Ethiopia

This is Katie - Audra's sister-in-law. She sent out an update today and asked me to post it here. Enjoy!!!

Hello Family and Friends...

The Internet is slow here, but not too bad! The weird thing is, I am unable to access to Blogspot, so no blogging from me :-(! I am going to have A LOT of catching up to do when I get home!

So, as for an update...

THEY GAVE US OUR KIDS A DAY EARLY!!! They asked us when we got in yesterday if we would like them today and of course we said yes!!! So, this morning was the big day! I was nervous, but I did not dwell on it too much! Then they came! 10 minutes before they came the guy in charge came and that is when the butterflies started! They came in and you could tell they did not know who to go to, who to hug, who they belonged to. When they realized they were with us it was so hard because they did not know a word we were saying. Then... a miracle happened in the form of balloons...

We came with a couple from Charlotte, Leanne and Charlie, and they met their daughter at the same time. He had brough balloons! AND BOY WAS THAT A BLESSING! We went into their lounge area, blew up 4 balloons, and that was it... instant bonding and happiness! They started hitting balloons in the area, we hit them back and forth to them... and that was it... we were family! Hahaha! Who knew balloons would be such a blessing? After playing for over an hour with balloons and wearing ourselves out, we went upstairs and they colored and we went to lunch. They are taught to be quiet during lunch, but we soon broke the ice by stealing their shoes off their feet and switching them under the table. And Charlie was making them giggle by doing silly things with his napkins and Levi was balacing a butter knife on a bottle... simple pleasures!

THEN... Yonas discovered THE CAMERA!!! And there has been no living with him since. He has taken pictures of EVERYTHING, then he sits down and tells us about them in perfect Tigrinyan... and WE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT HE IS SAYING... but we just smile and he seems to feel VERY connected with us! Selamawit is daddy's girl ALREADY!!! As I am typing this she is shooting him with sponge rockets and running away! Then he will hide and when she comes around the corner he will grab her and tickle her. She will NOT let me put anything in her hair! But she did want to wear her new clothes! But a pretty butterfly hairclip... NO WAY!!! Isabella Haragu already has a love of hairbows and pretty things. They just came in and she just got her hair cut and looks really cute!We went to the 11th floor where the kids could look out on all the city! Of course Yonas took a million pictures and LOVED all the construction trucks (there is a ton of construction around us). Well, I better go while I can... but so far so good! I can not wait until I can share some pictures. They are smaller than I thought, so their clothes are going to be huge, and they are featherweights... but all of them are so handsome/pretty! Oh, and on a side note... we got an AMAZING gift! A little teeny wallet type thing with teeny id size photos of family members... with names... and (Christie, you will love this) GENEOLOGY!!! WOW WOW WOW! Oh... and even better... the cell phone numbers for their family! I have found a phone card and I can call them. Apparently Yonas already knows that the number is there... he pulled it out and brought me over to the phone. So, life is good... if you guys know of anyone who would want to read this, please forward it on or cut and paste it into whatever forums or blogs or what not. Maybe I will try to send pics next time... right now they have the headphones and are dancing... hehehe... they are hilarious!

Love you all!Audra & Levi


It is 1am

We are packed. The downstairs is almost tolerable. The kids are asleep. The "babysitter" is here. We are as ready as we will ever be.

We are just going to stay up because we have to leave at 3:30 to catch our flight, but boy am I tired. The good thing is, we will sleep on the plane, and hopefully turn out times around a little bit. Who knows.

This is an adventure. I have always wanted to go to Africa, I have always wanted to adopt from there as well, my dreams are coming true!

I know it is a strange dream, but a dream just the same!

Hopefully the internet will be working there. So keep checking in and we will keep you updated as much as possible!


A Whirlwind!!!

Ok... I am going to be on the radio May 16! That is my "air date". I will link to the interview after it airs! It should be pretty good! I hope! The whole thing seems like a whirlwind!!! But it was fun! And I spoke from my heart! I am just so passionate about adoption, ALL types of adoption and I could have went on and on about what an amazing life changing experience it is, and how there is such a need, etc. etc. All my passion hadto be condensed into 4 minutes and I hope it came across!

The cool thing is, I will now have my 4 minutes of fame!

Just 11 more to go!!!

So there is still room for more fame in my life!

So, here is my day thus far...

I get the kids all cute to go. As I am getting something out of Lettie's room, Jovie comes in, pulls on the dresser and it tips (which I did not know it could do, but all the drawers were out because Lettie was putting on pretty things and getting her baby supplies out) and down comes a glass cookie jar thing... CRASHING to the floor! And it breaks into a thousand pieces, and I hate cleaning up glass! But what do you do... I need to get going and I will clean it up when I get home! As I am loading them into the car I smell something... yep, dirty diaper... so I take Callie out and change her diaper! Then I happen to get behind the slowest car in the world going 30 mph in a 45 zone... but that is OK... I left in plenty of time. Even with the glass & the poop because I am Super Mom and I can handle ANYTHING!

I get there and I meet the promotions manager. She said she would give me some goodies before we start. She gave me a gift card for $25 at a local restaraunt, which I am excited about because Levi and I never go out unless we have an amazing coupon or a gift card!

Everyone was super nice, and it was so nice to meet everyone! I was real tickled to meet Ramona because Levi and I listen to Matt & Ramona all the time! That is the only thing that got me through putting the playset together without pulling my hair out! Levi brought the stereo out just so I could listen to Matt & Ramona and the World of Weezy! (If you have not heard of her, she is Ramona's mom, master Cougar, and because of her, Levi and I now have the noun "floppies" in our vocabulary!)

They said I could bring the kids and they would just put them on the couch and someone would watch them. I thought this meant a couch in the waiting room... nope... IN THE STUDIO!!! Callie was dead asleep, and Jovie had decided today that her baby doll needed a lot of loving attention, so they were actually really good! No hair pulling contests or making each other giggle! The cutest thing is, as I was talking, I look over and Lettie has taken out the pictures of the kids and is showing them to everyone!

The conversation went really well and I hope I don't sound too scatterbrained! I am getting a cold and was up late last night and my brain would not stop swirling! But of course when all is said and done, I was happy with most of what I included, but of course I had a ton of those... I should have said, I wish I had said. The #1 thing I wish I had the oppotunity to say (but no questions led into it) was:

"Even if you can not adopt, there are always ways to help children in need. You can be a mentor to an at-risk child or teen in the states. You can send money to charitable organizations who help out in Africa and/or sponsor a child in a needy country by donating to people like, http://www.adoptionguides.org/. They are an adoption agency, but 100% of donations to their program goes directly to services of women, elderly, and unadoptable children in Africa." (I REALLY REALLY wanted to plug the donations, because it not only benefits a wonderful adoption agency, but it also benefits orphans directly and you know that 100% of the money goes directly to those in need. When I get back from Africa and settle in I hope to help them more with that part of their program!).

The good thing is, they are going to put a link to their agency on my bio! So hopefully some aid will come their way through that!!!

But my #1 thing that I did not do that I regret...


How could I... the ultimate shutterbug... FORGET TO TAKE A PICTURE! I brought my camera and everything! I wanted something to put on my blog other than the pictures I borrow from other websites! I had the camera in my bag and everything! I did not want to bug Ramona or anything, but I could have at least taken a picture of the kids outside of the studio... they were so cute in matching shirts... yes, I am THAT mom!

In short... THANK YOU 107.9 The Link! I had a blast! I am so honored to be a Link Leading Lady! And I look forward to the baquet in November!!!

Off I go to pack and clean for the trip! I just needed a moment to wind down and you know I love blogging!!! We leave for the airport at 3:00am... I don't think I am going to even bother sleeping tonght. Maybe that will help me with the jet lag!


I Have Conquered the Sea of Paperwork!

... I am no longer drowning in paperwork! Hooray!!!

Done! Done! Done!

I knew this would be the biggest obstacle for me when it came to adoption, because frankly... I HATE PAPERWORK!

After I finished my home study and Dossier I thought, "Whew! The worst is behind me... no more paperwork!" Boy was I wrong! I had not yet been introduced to the embassy, citizenship, and visa paperwork... oh buddy!!!

Because we are adopting 3 kids we had to do each form 3 times and because we are going to another country we want to carry another copy just in case! Luckily I figured out how to fill out the forms on the computer so the poor embassy workers did not have to decipher my TERRIBLE handwriting... but I had to print everything out, then go back and copy most of it again because I did not realize from the get-go that I would need to make another copy. I did not use a copier, but my home printer... which takes an extraordinarily long time... then I had A LOT of documents I needed copies of just in case, but...

I'M DONE! At least I think I am done!

So, for now I shall rejoice!

Of course once I get them home I will have to fill out medical paperwork, citizenship paperwork, birth certificate requests, SS# requests, school form... but for now I can breathe freely knowing I have all the forms done for our trip!!!

So... wanna see it?... here it is!!! Prepare to be impressed...

I can hear your "oooo"s and "aaaaahhhh"s through the computer! The large stack is everything together and the one folder is just my embassy paperwork! That is a heck of a lot of paper! I organized it all neat and purdy like! Hopefully I did not forget anything!

Disclaimer: To anyone reading this blog who is also doing their embassy paperwork... DO NOT FREAK OUT if your stack is not as huge as mine! Since I am adopting 3 kids, therefore had to fill out EVERY form 3 times over, and have some special circumstances that required more documentation... my paperwork is HUMONGOUS and barely fits into the folder... but your paperwork should be considerable thinner!


All I Wanted Was A Makeover....

So... 107.9 the Link has a Mothers Day makeover and I thought it was the last day for it last Friday, so I called Levi because I was on my way somewhere in the car and heard about it and said he really should sign me up since I was not home that afternoon and it was the last day and if anyone can use a makeover, it would be me...

Well, apparently, he signed me up for that, but then he also nominated me to the "The Link's Leading Lady"... This is what it is:

"107.9 The Link and Cambria Estate Winery want to give special recognition to all of the women who are taking charge, making changes and achieving goals!A Link Leading Lady can take many faces, she can be: a role model, a leader, an innovator, an entrepreneur, an ambassador, a mentor or a pioneer. Do you know a Link Leading Lady? To enter please fill out the nomination form below!Each week a Link Leading Lady will be selected and will be featured live from Ramona Holloway's Leading Lady studio. Plus... she will be rewarded with a bottle of Chardonnay from Cambria Estate Winery. Our Leading Lady will have her own feature on the Link's website where listeners can log on to read about her accomplishments. At the end of the program one Leading Lady will be selected as The Link Leading Lady of the Year and will receive a check to give to the charity of her choice.

Read about this year's Leading Ladies by
clicking here!they pick a woman from the community who has shown exceptional service and giving to be a leading lady. You get a 4 min interview and have a banquet at the end of the year where the leading lady of the year gets $2500 to go to a charity of their choice! "

So, I get home and I hear a message from the radio station I think "Holy crap! I got my makeover..." but then they go on to say I am a link leading lady and Levi nominated me... I AM SO TICKLED!!! So I interview with Ramona from Matt & Ramona the DAY BEFORE we leave! And it is going to be aired on Saturday! They will send me a CD of it! It can always be downloaded too! Ahhh! I need to get moving then and get packed and cleaned up so I can go stress-free to my interview! They even said to bring my kids... HAHAHA!

I am just blown away! She said Levi wrote 2 pages of wonderful things about me! I WANT TO READ IT!!! He is a wonderful husband and I wish the could honor us together because these adoptions are not just me... they are us!

Anyway, wanted to let you guys know my good news! I am so tickled! I have always wanted to be nominated for something! How cool is that?

I am trying to figure out a way to bring in some adoption charity information and see if I can get started on raising $10,000 to build an orphan home in Mekelle (My goal)! Oh! I am so excited!!!


My T-ball Kids!

Nolan & Lettie get to play T-ball together this year! And boy are they cute!!! They have a good time! At first Lettie said she did not want to play after the first practice, and now she is more excited for the next game than Nolan is! Of course during the 3rd inning she starts to lose interest and ends up doing spins and twirls all around the coach. Nolan does really well and we can see how much he has grown up since last year! Their team is called the Blue Hawks and their coach is great! They have such a good time at games and at practices! Here are a lot of pictures of their first game!

Do they look nervous! This is their opening line up of their first game!
Nolan biting his nails...
... and Lettie biting her glove!

Nolan is #8 and Lettie is Lucky #13!
Go Blue Hawks!
Lettie immediately got white chauk all over her hat!
It made it easy to spot her!
Lettie... you are looking the wrong way!

Nolan taking his job of playing second base very seriously! Haha! Princess Lettie the out-fielder! Nolan saying hi from 2nd base!
In the set position! Ready to go!
Waiting for a grounder... with her chaulk covered hat!
The girls, with their pink gloves!!! So cute!
Lettie with coach! She is always hanging around him when playing in the field!

Nolan ready for the ball! Ready to bat!
High 5! Good job Lettie!
So cute in her "HGUM" hat!
Jovie... the unofficial dug out mascot!
There is no getting her out of there sometimes!
My pretty boy!
Zoning out!
Ready for the home run!
Oops... not quite what was expected!
Dancing when he gets to 1st base!
The serious hitter! She usually misses, but she takes it very seriously!
Look at her go!
All the way around!
Run Lettie Run! She would always start out running towards second and then have to make a HUGE arc back to first!
High 5! Good Job Lettie!
Fixing her hat! She is all about the hat!
Almost home!
There she goes! Her first time running home!
So proud!
The last time running home! She has a plan this time!
Look at that face... you can just see it!
Why is she tugging at her sleave?
Even the couch is wondering what she is up to!
Oh Lettie! Only 1 arm?
Look at her face! She thinks she is hilarious!
I think she is kind of funny too! I hope you enjoyed my pictures of my awesome T-ball players! It is a lot of fun!!!