Sunday, November 30, 2008


Yesterday Ruby and Elizabeth saw snow for the very first time! It didn't accumulate, but it was coming down pretty hard. This morning when they woke up the ground had a light dusting of snow. They kept saying "Wow"! Here's a picture of the girls catching snowflakes on their tongues!

Our Thanksgiving week!

Wow! What a week it has been. We've had a great time with all of our family. Nana (Tony's mom) was here for a week, Katie was here last Sunday night and then again this Friday and Saturday night, Michael was here Friday night and went home Saturday, Jonathan was here for six days, Derrek and Samantha were here for Thanksgiving day, Summer was here all day on Friday, and Jarred, Uncle John, and Granny and Pa have been here too!

Tony is on his way to take Nana and Katie to the airport (his fourth trip to the airport in eight days. The house seems very quiet. I never thought of OUR house as quiet before! Ha ha!

The only thing we missed out on was seeing Davey and Shelly (my brother and his wife) and all of the family that were gathered at their home on Thanksgiving, including Mom and Richard. We weren't able to make it to their gathering since we made Thanksgiving dinner here at home for all of our guests.

Here are a few pictures!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jonny and His Sisters

The girls are having a great time with Nana and Jonny. They love piling on their brother and climbing him like a tree! Today we were at Target, and Jonathan came out with a soccer ball he bought for his sisters. They are in heaven! They're taking a nap right now so they can go back outside and play soccer some more!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Exciting week coming up!

The next week will be fun and exciting! Tomorrow Jonathan arrives in the afternoon, and the girls are soooooo excited to see their brother. Ruby and Elizabeth have only met Jonathan once, at Derrek's wedding. Then tomorrow night Nana (Tony's mom) and Aunt Katie arrive. Jonathan will be here for six days and Nana and Aunt Katie for eight days! We're so happy that we get to spend Thanksgiving with them. OK, I'm off to begin CLEANING HOUSE now!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stars in the making?

Check out my little singers. They didn't get all the words right, but what was funny was that they were all singing the same words. I think they taught each other their own version. :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Me and my girls!

Did I ever think I would have three little girls? People ask me this question sometimes, and my answer is a definite "No"! I could never have imagined being so blessed.

When Tony and I got married, we thought our family was complete with our three sons. We had talked about having a child together, but in the end just felt that it probably wouldn't happen for us, plus we lived far away from any family. Still, we talked about what it would have been like to have children together.

Fast forward a few years, and we find ourselves living in Missouri -- very near much of our family -- and talking about adoption. Our journey to each of our girls has been such an amazing part of our lives. I'll post more later about how we were led to China and then Ethiopia, but for now I just wanted to share this great picture Tony took yesterday of me with my girls. I love them so much.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looks like we'll be eating a lot of venison!

Yep, venison chili, venison stroganoff, venison spagetti, venison stew...

Tony had never hunted deer until last year, so this is his first one. It was an exciting morning. (Sorry Rebecca B. I know it has a face, but it's food.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

America Best

Yesterday as the girls ate breakfast we talked about Ethiopian food. Tony and I had plans to take them to an Ethiopian restaurant for lunch. As we talked about injera and eating with our hands, Elizabeth looked at me with a very concerned look and said, "Mama, America best." She thought we were talking about going back to Ethiopia. It's hard to imagine what she was thinking -- she's only three years old. Also, we've never really talked about the fact that we live in America (due to the language barrier and the abstract concept of countries), but they obviously knew they were coming to America and learned to say the word "America" before we ever met them.

Maybe we should all take note -- America best. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Missouri Sunset

It's hard to beat a Missouri sunset! I took these pictures tonight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So easily entertained!

Try to guess what this picture is before you scroll down...

Did you guess? The answer is...

My dining room table after three girls, three pairs of scissors, one magazine, and thirty minutes! Cutting up paper is one of their favorite activities. They're so easily entertained. Now if I could just teach them to use the vacuum to clean up the mess that spills over onto the floor!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh Nora, you dance just like an angel!

I think George Strait was playing on the stereo...or maybe it was Lyle Lovett. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Horses Can’t Vomit

Being the wonderful sister-in-law that she is, Pam helped me out with the origin of "sick as a dog." I miss Pammie and love her sense of humor! Yesterday she read my post and before going to bed last night I noticed that I had an email from her solving the mystery of where this saying came from.

"There are several expressions of the form sick as a ..., that date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sick as a dog is actually the oldest of them, recorded from 1705; it is probably no more than an attempt to give force to a strongly worded statement of physical unhappiness. It was attached to a dog, I would guess, because dogs often seem to have been linked to things considered unpleasant or undesirable; down the years they have had an incredibly bad press, linguistically speaking (think of dog tired, dog in the manger, dog’s breakfast, go to the dogs, dog Latin — big dictionaries have long entries about all the ways that dog has been used in a negative sense).

At various times cats, rats and horses have been also dragged in to the expression, though an odd thing is that horses can’t vomit; one nineteenth-century writer did suggest that this version was used “when a person is exceedingly sick without vomiting”. The strangest member of the set was used by Jonathan Swift in 1731: “Poor Miss, she’s sick as a Cushion, she wants nothing but stuffing” (stop laughing at the back).

The modern sick as a parrot recorded from the 1970s — at one time much overused by British sportsmen as the opposite of over the moon — refers to a state of deep mental depression rather than physical illness; this perhaps comes from instances of parrots contracting psittacosis and passing it to their human owners."


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Samantha is THE BEST!

Last Friday, Halloween, I woke up sick as a dog. (Where did that analogy come from anyway?) I couldn't even keep water down. I was having a really hard time managing three kids when I could barely even stand on my feet.

It was 10:45 in the morning and I was getting by and starting to think about how I was going to face getting lunch on the table when it involved a) looking at food and b) standing upright for more than 60 seconds.

Then I got a text message from my daughter-in-law, Samantha, saying "Happy Halloween. Hope you're having a great day." Well, clearly I was NOT, and I messaged her back saying I was really sick. So she messaged me right back and said "Would it be good if I come and get the girls and take them to McDonalds and they can play and eat?"

Would it be good? Oh my gosh, I was so happy I started crying, which really confused the girls. So now mommy is sick and crying too? Samantha is a hair stylist and Friday happened to be her day off. So my new daughter-in-law, who is 21 and has no kids (but is really good with kids), used her day off to drive 25 minutes to my house, loaded all three of the girls into my van and drove them to McDonalds (another 15 minutes away) to eat lunch, and then took them all to the park to play. AND when they came home they had all made get-well-mommy cards for me. She took paper and markers to the park for this little project.

I am just amazed that Samantha did this for me. I already knew she was awesome, but this just completely blew me away! Thanks Sam!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Announcing officially...

Ruby Nigate Smith and Elizabeth Amsalu Smith! Their names are now legally changed and we have the court document in hand that recognizes the foreign adoption in Missouri! Yeah!

Monday, November 3, 2008

November 4, 2008 -- More than just Election Day

Tomorrow is an important day for our nation as well as our family! Not only is it Election Day, but it is also our court date here in Cass County, Missouri. Tomorrow we go to court at 1:30, and when we walk out Nigate and Amsalu will officially be Ruby Nigate and Elizabeth Amsalu! We will also receive a "Recognition of Foreign Adoption" certificate, and the girls will have new Missouri birth certificates issued! Next step...send in these court documents to receive their U.S. Citizenship!

This is a very different process than we went through for Nora. In China, the adoption is finalized AFTER you arrive in the country and meet your child, so they travel home with their new name (if you're giving them one) on an IR-3 Visa and are U.S. citizens as soon as you go through immigration at the airport in the U.S. Then I had to fill out a form and send in the translated Chinese Adoption Decree to the state of Missouri to get a new birth certificate.

Or adoption of Nigate and Amsalu was finalized in Ethiopia via Power of Attorney with our adoption agency BEFORE we met them. This means they came home on an IR-4 Visa and are permanent legal residents on the U.S., but we have to send in paperwork (and more money of course) to obtain their citizenship. Also, their legal names at this time (at least until tomorrow) are Nigate Anthony Smith and Amsalu Anthony Smith. Pretty, huh?

Saturday, November 1, 2008


The girls had a great Halloween! Here are some cute pics!