Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogging has nearly ceased to happen. If I'm gonna give it a try...its got to be short. So straight to the point here. We have 3 very active and beautiful children, zero time for much else, and we are so happy! Cecily started school and loves it! She is doing great. I want to say her English is great but I don't really have any non-English speaker to compare her to. She speaks in full, dramatic, descriptive sentences and has complete conversations with us about any and everything. She started another session of gymnastics and will start soccer in a week. She loves to ride her bike, scooter, play with friends...all the usual little girl things. She loves to paint her nails, fix her hair and play dress-up too! I have some really cute pictures on facebook of her dressing up in princess clothes (Ian too, which is super cute and funny)! She loves to do all of the little girl things. I sometimes forget that she missed out on years of playing and we try to let her play like a 5 year old even as 10 approaches!

Ian, where do I start. He is one funny little clown. He is typical two I am gathering and he keeps us on the move. We are not making much progress on potty training, as he has decided only to go to the potty when and where he wants to and at no other time! He does make quite the habit however out of undressing himself, going in the floor, and telling us about his accomplishment. We are working on the meantime, we clean the carpet frequently. He LOVES to play outside. We would stay outside from daylight till dark 7 days a week, rain/snow/sleet or shine. He loves the water and getting dirty..all the little boy things! As he continues to assert his independence, he still clings fiercely to his momma! I love it at night when he hugs my neck and says in his cutest toddler voice, "I love you momma, you love me?". Melts me. God makes them so cute, funny, and sweet to make up for the times when they pour a whole box of goldfish out in the floor or wake you up by hitting the toilet brush against the bed. Or maybe the times they screech in horror at the entrance of Walmart and beg for someone to help them making you look just like a big ole kidnapper. Precious.

Pyper is a sweet little thing! We all are adjusting to her sleep schedule. Ian's love for her is growing. He loves to hit, I mean pat her head, and jab, I mean gently offer her pacifier to her! If he's quiet..she won't be for long! Cecily is wonderful with Pyper. She is the best big sister. Cecily told me the other day that she wished Pyper was brown like her and Ian. I asked why, expecting something about wanting to look alike or another adoption issue. Nope. She said she wished Pyper was brown so she didn't turn red in the sun like me. Ha.

I would love to post the million pictures that I have of my beautiful, wonderful, amazing kids but I HATE blogger's upload tool. It annoys me terribly. So I will post a link of the most beautiful slideshow of our recent pics. The beginning ones are all of Pyper (her first photos), stay tuned to the end for pics of my Ethiopian beauties. You will see that it is totally worth the wait =)

Zoombug Photos

Click and enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

And Pyper makes 5

It has been a very busy few months for us at the Clevinger house. The kids are doing great, Cecily is AMAZING. Her English is coming along nicely. She has her stubborn streak but don't we all?? She is looking forward to going back to school in the fall. She did an ESL program in summer school that gave her some time out of the house. She loves the interaction with other kids. We are thinking that it may be best to repeat the 3rd grade. She seems to think that is a good idea too and we are hopeful that she will have the same teacher.

Ian is hilarious! He is starting to pick up on the "2 year old" fits and we have had some embarrassing moments in public =) All a day in the life of a toddler!

Did I mention we added another child to the mix??? Pyper Anslee joined the family July 12, weighing in at 8 lbs. 7oz., 21 inches long! Cecily and Ian are so happy to have her here. Ian's enthusiasm waxes and wanes depending on how much of my time she consumes! Cecily is the greatest big sister in the world. Everyone said that she would be helpful but she goes far beyond that. Yesterday she did the laundry. Switched it, folded it, put it away. I nearly fainted. She rocks, pats, walks, consoles Pyper as well as Cortney or me. She distracts Ian, keeps him alive, gets him juice cups, gives him bites of name it, she does it. Just like a little mommy. I am amazed, thankful, and blessed. She is the most compassionate, precious little girl.
Some days I can't believe that our family has grown from just the two of us to a whopping 5 people in just 19 short months. Each child adds a new dynamic to the house and binds us all just a little closer together. Each child came into our family in a different way giving us rich experiences as parents and tapping on skills and emotions that have shaped us as people. My husband, my high school sweetheart, avid golfer, video game savant, perpetual child; does school pick ups, gymnastics, homework, bedtimes, toddler wrangling, diaper changing, nose wiping, and the millions of other fatherly duties just the way my dad used to do. We are there in our lives, parents, the one thing our hearts so desired. It is truly funny how drastically different the seasons of our lives are and how we transform into different people to accommodate those changes. Life is good. God has provided.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday 2 year old!

I can't believe another year has passed. I can't believe how many changes our family has seen. I can't believe how blessed I am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life's Just Happening

Almost 3 months have passed since we brought sweet Cecily home. Sometimes I look at pictures from those first few weeks and I am in disbelief at how much she has changed. She is not the same little girl that came home shy, scared, timid, quiet, and agreeable. Thank goodness! We love her strength (most times) and her voice about how she feels and what she wants. Her English skills are getting so much better with each day. School helped that tremendously. We still get caught up in the communication barriers sometimes but now she just huffs and thinks of another way to say it. I could go on and on about how smart and funny she is but that seems a bit boastful!
We have had so many families ask us about issues that we had or are having since Cecily is older. I think communication in the beginning was the most frustrating part. She withdrew tremendously in the first few weeks and said little to nothing. English that we were certain she knew, she wouldn't use. She tells me now that she was sad and scared then. Now she enlightens us daily with crazy stories. She knows we love to hear about her and she has helped us understand so much about her life. We never ask specific questions, I have just always asked her to tell me something funny or to tell me a story that made her happy. She is amazing. I love hearing her talk about Ethiopia and her time there. She has a great love for Ethiopia. She wants to hold onto her heritage often fearing that she is forgetting something. Our children are truly remarkable.
Ian is turning 2 this Friday =( I'm a little sad to see this next milestone (very thankful to be celebrating it) come and go. His little personality is just so endearing. He is so funny and intuitive that he catches me off guard most times. He is a great little brother. I'm not so sure what kind of big brother he will be in a few weeks...should be interesting. He's still our little baby and he will tell you that!
Wish I had more to update about. Life is good, too fast, and exhausting. The kids are beautiful, funny and smart beyond belief. Some days I can't believe this is my life, I a very blessed woman. As I hit the big 2-7 next week I will look back and thank God for the infinite blessings I have received.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

almost at the 2 month mark

I have been a horrible blogger these past 8 weeks. Life has exploded all over me like cake in the face. Wonderful, delicious, messy cake in the face. We have had the ups and downs that I did and didn't expect. Our transition to a family of four has been scary, amazing, and ever changing. Cecily, our quiet and reserved little girl who used to whisper and just smile when spoken to has turned into the little diva we all knew she was! We went for several weeks begging her to speak. We even had to limit her most favorite activity, television, because she wouldn't respond when spoken to. We weren't sure if it was shyness or stubbornness but she stopped using even the words she initially said freely. So, after an evening of limited tv, the vocab usage improved. There is nothing like asking someone a series of yes/no questions and having them roll their eyes at you for 2 weeks straight!! In the past 3-4 weeks we have seen such changes that I can't even grasp until I think back on how things were in the first weeks. She can express most any thought in English as well as tell us MANY odd stories from her time in Ethiopia. You have to wonder how much is true and if all is true...yikes. She seems to understand nearly everything we say. We still have the occasional language barrier...mostly when you are asking her to go to bed or turn off the tv! Typical 9 year old I hear! She LOVES Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody! Anything Disney channel or black and white shows. We have to limit tv and that is our most difficult task. In the evening we play outside until nearly dark then she gets her tv time before/after bath. That usually results in an ultra short bathtime!!!!

School is going great. Her teacher said that she has made a few friends and does well socializing. Her ESL teacher raves about her determination and how quickly she is picking things up. We are very pleased with school and she loves going. It is so scary taking her there and just leaving her not knowing what she is dealing with all day. I know that is normal but I worried about if she would tell them that she needs to go to the bathroom or if she would understand what was expected. I guess she is doing just fine.

She does really well with Ian. She gets a little frustrated with him at times and we have to intervene in their sibling fights. We try to make her room hers and keep him out as much as possible. Ian wants whatever she has, wants to be where she is, and do whatever she does. It can grow tiresome on a 9 year old.

We are on our first vacation as a family this week. This is the vacation that I dreamed of for years while we were growing our family. Last year we didn't really have vacation since we were in limbo about her travel date. This year we decided on Cancun for our first getaway, but due to many issues including passports and swine flu we decided Florida may be the better option. It has been amazing. Watching their little faces when they saw the ocean for the first time and played in the sand. We went to Busch Gardens and my fearless little girl rode the most daunting of roller coasters without any hesitation! It is perfection...everything I had hoped.

Life is continuing to change for us in many ways. We will welcome a third child into our home sometime in July! last little Clevinger!

Friday, March 20, 2009

the new normal is very busy

We are settling in here at the Clevinger house. Cecily aka Mekdes has decided she wants to be called Cecily now. That was a middle name that she liked but has since informed me that she is Cecily not Mekdes. We are trying it out for now. We won't do her official name change for a month or two so we have some time to decide which name will be first officially. We are so excited that she got an IR3 visa this time. I was complaining to our friends about filing for her citizenship certificate and they told me that it will just come in the mail!!! You mean I don't have to pay 500 dollars and agonize over the paperwork??? I thought we just got out of the re-adoption but this is excellent!
We have spent a good part of everyday at the doctors office getting bloodwork, checkups, skin tests, shots...the normal stuff. Our pediatrician is awsome and has been super cool with her not rushing into anything before he is fully informed. We have dentist and eye drs next week and throw in the rest of our appointments and she is soon going to be convinced that we go to the dr everyday!
She has really come out of her shell. Ian has made that happen almost all by himself. She loves on us and laughs with us but she really cuts loose with him and acts like the wild and crazy kid I know she is!!! He is the best little brother and she is the best big sister. They were meant to be together. Everyone is sleeping pretty well. I fall over usually after the last one goes to bed ;) They exhaust each other and me on most days. But everyone has been sleeping through the night for the past few days. Ian got back on his schedule 2 nights after we came home. He was an amazing traveler. For someone who asked, the only reason I wouldn't have taken him is if I hadn't had so much help. I had three women with me who helped tremendously as I transitioned with Mekdes. Also, the day I got sick they took over with both kids and let me lay in bed in a Phenergan induced stooper! Without them...having Ian wouldn't have been so easy.
So here we a somewhat normal life with our two kids. No fits or anxieties to speak of yet. Overall everyone laughs more than they cry and loves more than they hit so we are considering week one a success.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home Finally =)

Home finally with our sweet girl! I am so excited to be blogging from Mekdes' bedroom while she plays a matching game on the other computer! It is early and we are all a bit jet lagged but slept pretty well last night. We were greeted at the airport by many excited family members and she was a bit overwhelmed. She came home, showered, and was ready for bed. I have tons of pictures that I haven't uploaded all of our pictures yet but I will very soon. If I had to sum up our week with two words they would be humbling and hilarious! I was in awe of my daughter who moved through the week graciously accepting me and Ian and my friends into her life forever. I was amazed at her strength and courage, her beautiful spirit, and her diva-ish style! Staying in a guest house with Laura, Andrea, Amy, Jamie, Mekdes and Ian....hilarious! We loved Ayat house very much. It is the true Ethiopian experience..yes indeedy (LOL for the crew). We have so many ridiculous stories to tell that would have you in stitches. Many involve asking someone to move so that someone could vomit or being asked to not vomit in that spot! Either way, we had so much fun and I wouldn't have changed a thing. As far as Ian goes... knowing what I know now...I would never have not taken him! He was a joy on the flight. He made the layovers seems short and slept a ton on the flights. It was love at first sight when he met Mekdes. I will post the video sometime. It was like he had waited his whole life to meet her and he wanted her undivided attention. He spent the whole week making sure she never got out of his sight and she cared for him and kissed on him as a big sister from the beginning. It was so nice to have both of my children with me, starting their bonding process as well. He made it easier for her to act like a child with all of us. He ran around like a little crazy man and so she followed playing too. It was perfect (except for the travelers sickness).
I have so much more to tell, so many more people to thank and a ton of pictures to post. I love my family and friends and thank the Bakers for keeping Cortney sane during the week.
I leave you with a few pictures...

Friday, March 6, 2009


We are just 24 hours away from lift off here in KY. My group is thrilled and we have been gathering the last minute things and stuffing them into luggage! My niece's Girl Scout troop made bracelets for all of the older children at Gladney's foster center and are sending boxes of Girl Scout Cookies! I am excited to take pictures of the kids reciveing the gifts! It was a very kind gesture and I am so proud of her troop! I also have to give a little shout out to Mekdes' three very excited cousins! They are parting with their mommy this week so that I may be privy to her child whispering abilities!

I am so excited that Ian is going. I am thrilled to have this time with my children, together. Some have questioned this decision oddly enough but at this point it is the right one for us.

This will be my last post until you see the long awaited picture of us all united at last.

Signing off...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Last week is a blur. We got a new court date and passed court all in the same week. How does that happen? Now what you ask? We leave for Ethiopia in just 9 short days! I can't believe our travel is so soon. I have been packing and gathering things like a mad woman. So here are the plans. I am going to Ethiopia without Cortney. He is sitting this one out and staying here because of some health issues that came up after our last trip to Ethiopia. Nothing bad, just need him on his game when we return and not out of commission for a month like last time. Who is going in his place??? It is a lengthy list. Ian of course is going with me. We debated about was short...I am taking him. I just cannot be without him for a week. Cortney feels the same way but I am persuasive and I won. He will be grumpy during the plane rides I am certain but a delight during the trip I am hoping :) My sister, Jamie, my best friend, Andrea, and none other than THE Amy Breedlove. Oh did I mention that we are sharing the guest house with Lara Byars and little Mercy too? It is going to be one giant sized slumber party at Ayat house!!!

Not much longer now and I will get to look at those beautiful brown eyes in person!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

new look and a little hope

I hope the next post you see on this blog has my little girl's face as the first thing you see!!! And that could be as early as THURSDAY!)!*#!*_)#(!)*$

Fingers crossed...praying it's official on Thursday.

Helping out...(this was recycle trash so not too heavy--don't call social services just yet!!)

Happy Birthday Dustin!!!! PS. That isn't Dustin's hair in the background!

Ian and Sophia hanging out in their pajamas.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

no dice

Court was rescheduled for March 10th. We are sad for us and upset for M*. We finally have power again after the horrible ice storm that hit a few days ago. Enjoy the pictures of the precious thing keeping my heart warm.

Yesterday as I unpacked her suitcase full of things I had packed I decided that we have to hand this burden over. I have to trust that God will be with her and help her to understand why we are taking so long. No more counting down and worrying with travel arrangements and planning when we will possibly travel. We have had her referral officially for 7 months and if you had told me we would still be waiting on court I would have laughed in your face. Guess the joke is on me.
Thank you to our dear friends Sean and Andrea who put us up last night, kept us warm, cozy, and very entertained on such a depressing night. Thanks for sharing your warm house!

Ian and Sophia waiting for a table
cuteness that happens while I'm at work

yummy snow (not the yellow kind that our dog makes!)

Just wanted to document for when Cortney wonders why he is sick?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

not a yes but not a no

After getting an email today from Gladney around 1:45 stating that they could not make contact with our in country rep due to communication issues I ended up getting a phone call. Natalie called a bit after 2 to say they had made contact with Belay via email and he was able to send limited information. MOWA did not have an opinion ready for our case today however the judge saw our daughter and her uncle and completed her relinquishment. The judge asked that the Gladney reps come back to court tomorrow to decide how to proceed. So, our case is remaining open until tomorrow when the judge will decide whether to set another date or leave it open until MOWA issues the opinion.

We ask that you continue to pray for all of the families who have been affected by this. Pray for my sweet daughter, that God will give her peace and make time pass by quickly.


I guess all hope is not lost but it doesn't look promising for us today. Natalie told us yesterday that due to MOWA being closed for two days the opinion may not be issued for our case. It has all already happened so now I go to work and wait for Natalie to call and tell us what happens from here. If a miracle happened and they issued an opinion before court..we are through (unless something else holds us up). If not, our case may stay open and on the judges desk until the opinion is issued and then we are through. Or, we could have to wait for a new court date and do this all again in 1 to 1.5 months. I am saddened. I trust God's plan and I know that he has never left me or my sweet daughter in this whole process. I worry about her hopes and expectations. I did not know until yesterday that she will appear in court. Therefore she knows that court is happening and will subsequently wonder where the heck we are in the coming weeks/months. I know that she probably woke up excited and nervous and went to court where our case may not have even been heard. My heart is broken for her far more than for me.

We got an update yesterday. Kind of bittersweet I guess. She told us that she loves us very much and wants to know when we are coming. She said that she loves her brother and is so excited to meet him. She also hopes that we can find families for her friends.

I work 9-9 today so I will try to get some emails out when we get the news. Maybe my sister will put something on the blog for me. Take care and pray for my little girl.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Single digits

We are now only 9 days away from our court date. I am about as anxious and nervous as any person can get. I am fearful that we will not pass simply because it just seems to be the norm these days. One week from a very historical Tuesday, a court will convene and a fate will be determined. I could be on a plane in just under a month to bring home our long awaited newest family member. Over a year ago the journey to her started and we pray that Tuesday, Jan 27th is successful.

Hanging on by a thread for 9 more days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

my favorite time is now

I know this may be a shocker but I am living in the favorite time of my life. I will begin with a little disclaimer. I am aware that court has not successfully happened yet and I am waiting anxiously to bring home a beautiful person who will add more happiness to my life than I ever thought possible but I am talking about today.

As I look back at pictures from the past months and see what a tiny baby Ian has changed from I tend to get a little sappy. It seemed that our time with him as an infant was so short..too short. Before I knew it he was wiggling to get out of my lap and pushing my kisses away. I dreaded the transition to this toddler age because it meant an expression of his independence and I just was not ready. I knew that when the walking started and the bottles stopped, he was officially crossing over. How could I have dreaded that? It is so wonderful. I want to hang on to each day because I just know no other day could ever be better than this one. Then I wake up to this precious little boy who hugs my neck and gives me unsolicited kisses and realize that every moment is my favorite time. Every day is more perfect than the last and I am the most blessed person alive.

Life will continue to change very rapidly for us. I will continue to enjoy each change and embrace the moments I have with my wonderful children. Finally, the grass is not "greener" anywhere else on earth.
I leave you with pictures of Ian and his best friend forever!