Friday, December 20, 2013

Yarn Twists

New to us, we thought we would give yarn extensions a try, and here is how it turned out.

As you can see, I totally cheated... only getting half her head done and running out of time, I quickly did the top half in large sections. In total, this took 5 hours. It's a bit faster than Kanekelon braids I would say, however I am not sure if it will last as long.

I am also not entirely happy with the way the hair hangs. Yarn is very light, so it tends to kink and flow any way it wants, unlike real hair or kanekelon. Beads would be a solutions, but alas, every store in the this valley only sells assorted colored beads and no threader! Frustration. I had envisioned white, clear and silver sparkly beads that would go with everything. I guess I have to better prepare myself for next time with some online purchasing.

The one advantage of yarn, is that it is light on the hair, and it holds in the moisture. Zahra had a bath last night. I spritzed her hair with oil and put on her sleep cap. In the morning it was nice and moisturized.

So now she wants to give me that 'Movember' shot!?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Kiss!

Daddy received his first kiss last night, and I just happened to catch it on camera!
I was doing some Christmas baking while the kids were getting ready for bed. Zahra jumped up on the step stool beside me and put on some lip balm. She kissed me goodnight and I commented on how soft and sweet smelling her lips were (watermelon - gag me!). I suggested that she should give Daddy a kiss with those sweet lips. So she started to put on more lip balm, followed by lots more, and even more...

'Got to do lots Mommy!' This literally went on for minutes. I think in reality, she was just working up the nerve to follow through with her kiss.
After asking her for the third time, she said she was ready and I could call Daddy. I called Daddy and told him Zahra had a special good night kiss for him. Totally expecting that she was going to back out, he leaned in and gave her the kissy kissy face...

And she followed through! AND I caught it on my phone!
He's so lucky! ;)
Outtakes - Pucker up!

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's in Santa's Sack?

Shhh.... Don't tell!

For the Muffin Miester

For Mister Man

For Zahra Joy

Purchased used from a local FB Buy and Sell group. Isn't it fantastic!!!? What a lucky find!
To go with it, I purchased some Ethnic dolls (which just so happen to cost $3 more than the white dolls. ???), and a nursery.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Post Placement Report #2

Yes, this officially marks 6 months since we have been home.

3 months ago, Zahra tested at 24 months for her gross motor skills and 30 months at Speech development. She was 36 months at the time. I knew she was behind in these areas, and I also knew this was perfectly normal.

She walked later in life (if we compare her to the 'avg' child, not in an orphanage setting), and she was not very confident in her footing. She struggled walking up or down hills, always wanting to hold a hand etc. Granted, she never had much practice with hills before.

Gross Motor Development:
Mountain life, dance class, and the trampoline has really brought her up to speed. She can now completely dress herself, head to toe, and is definitely more agile and confident.

Here is a video of 6yr old dance class that Z decided to join in on. (The instructor is a friend and I assist her with her craft class options.) Z accompanies me. This day she decided she wanted to dance and Karin was nice enough to allow her. I think we were both amazed at how fast she caught on to the choreography!)

I think you will agree that her gross motor is just fine!

Speech Development:
She has seen the speech therapist because she tested below average on her IDP. (6 months delayed) She would drop the ending consonant sounds and had a preference for 3 word sentences. The speech therapist has not yet determined if she will require therapy or not due to her situation. We will follow up in the new year.

Research shows that adopted children all catch up around 48 months. Again, I am not at all concerned as she is progressing rapidly. She now uses 5-6 word sentences. Sentences like, "Mommy, we go get Daddy now?", "No Daddy, me put on my boots, not you.". She is also starting to use the 'filler' words in addition to the verbs and nouns.

Hearing has been tested, blood work, etc... all normal.

Other changes we are seeing is in her confidence. She doesn't nearly play shy to the extent she once did. She LOVES to go to play groups and be in social settings. When we are out and about, her comment always is "Mommy, where we go next?"... always wanting to go somewhere else and somewhere new.  She loves to tag along with Daddy on errands to the bank etc. She doesn't care where she goes, she just wants to go.

She has finally warmed up to stuffies and dolls, wanting to sleep with them at night. (In her own bed!)

She is very particular about which pyjamas and other outfits she wears. Favoring fancy outfits, owls and Hello Kitty (?? Don't ask me, I'm not a fan!... actually now that I think of it, Dan bought her a Hello Kitty from the airport a year ago. Hmmm. ;)

She knows her primary colors and most others.

She has now taken a keen interest in counting things, although she still cannot count accurately. Same goes for her ABC's.

She can work the wii, TV, ipad, iPhone... (not so sure that is a positive.)

She knows all her body parts.

She loves to help around the house. Especially helpful at unloading the dishwasher.

She goes willingly to bed now, enjoying saying goodnight and giving goodnight hugs and kisses to Muffin and I. Boys are still on the outs for self initiated goodnight snuggles.

She is currently in the 79th percentile for weight and 77th for height! She is likely to outgrow us all in 5 years!

Her favorite colour is purple and her favorite food is still bread.

She is simply amazing, and we just love her to pieces.

Here are some snapshots of the last 3 months. (Most of them shown on the Facebook page.)

Her art submission for the report. Gingerbread House. 

Outakes - My attempt at getting a good Movember photo. She wasn't a very cooperative model. 

Friday, December 6, 2013


There is still time to get your Christmas Card orders in! Send me some photos, choose a style from something I have posted, or one one the Internet, and I can customize a card for you. If you are a satisfied, I just ask that you please make a small donation of $10 to Linked Through Love to support orphan care projects in Kenya and the Congo. Full instructions here.

Please help us reach as many people as possible by sharing this post, lets get as much $ in to them as possible before the Christmas Holidays.

Thank you so much - every single dollar makes a difference!

Linked Through Love is now offering Gift Certificates as well. If you make a donation in honor of someone, I will send you a customized Gift Certificate like the following. I know there must be at least one or two hard to buy people on your list!

This certificate has the option of adding the specific purchase you made, such as 'Mattress', or '$25". Ones can also be made for the Congo Program as well...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This could have me arrested in Kenya...

As we were walking through the playground, Zahra looked up at me and said, "Mom, that boy eat snow!", as she scrunched up her nose in disapproval.

My eyes lit up at the thought of another first I was going to be able to witness. "Try it!" I told her. She looked at me like I was crazy and said "Nooo!"

Until, her little friend dipped his mit in the snow and licked a tongue full off.

She reached down, filled her mit full and took at big mouthful. I was able to capture it on my iPhone.

She ate her little heart out. Then when we got home, she had to eat her way to the door. This is when I explained the snow eating rules - only from fresh fallen snow with no tracks. (And heaven forbid, stay away from the yellow stuff!)

I swear she would have stayed outside for an hour eating snow had I not make her come in for lunch.

While this is a very normal activity for our Canadian kids, my Kenyan friends at home will be horrified. Scrunching their faces up, doing a little shiver dance in their seats, turning their faces away from this picture of snow in her mouth. YES - I can see you all right now!

They do not eat or drink anything cold for belief that it will make them sick. Cold = Cold. If they develop a sneeze or a runny nose in the afternoon, they relate it to the cold juice they drank in the morning.

I know this sounds ridiculous to us, who would not dream of drinking juice at room temperature (Beer? Yuck!) or not having ice in our soda, ice cream, refrigerated milk etc. But, for whatever reason, somewhere down generational line, someone came up with this theory and it still remains a traditional belief. It does not matter how you explain the science behind viruses, they will still remain steadfast in their belief. Some even believe they are 'allergic' to the cold.

We were able to corrupt a couple of our Kenyan friends and talked them into Ice Cream, and cold Beer, but at the end of the day, the preference was still 'warm'. Which makes perfect sense as they were not raised with and do not live with refrigerators.

Dan and I fight over fruit temperature, he wants them refrigerated and I want them room temperature. It all comes down to what our parents did and what we are used to.

However, my Rafikis.... I maintain my position here with this cold/sick business. If Zahra even comes down with as much as a sniffle or a sneeze, I will let you know. (But I pretty much guarantee you she will survive this 'snow lunch' without any side effects. :)

Another new Kenyan Adoption policy...

Many of you have likely already heard this, so this will not be new news.

Apparently you are now required to get an Exit Stamp from Immigration which acts as a 'No Objection to Depart.' If the stamp is not present in the child's passport, you cannot board your flight and people are saying that you will/could be detained.

 As I understand, once you have received your passport, you will be required to submit it to Immigration in order to get this stamp. It is not yet known what the timing or cost is.

If you have more information on this, please leave me a comment and I will update my information.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Winter (SNOW!) Sensory Bin

Tomorrow is the last day of November, and we still do not have snow on the ground!
Zahra is so eager to make a snowman! She draws and talks about them all the time.
I decided since I can't control the weather, I would find a way to make my own snow. I googled my way to some wonderful recipes, but decided to go with this one.

It is cold to the touch!

It powders like real snow!

It compacts like real snow!
What is it!?
It is so simple!!
Are you ready for it?
6 cups of baking soda
1 cup of hair conditioner
Yep, that's it!
Our bin is pretty large, so we tripled this recipe.
The cost? $7
Chances are, you live in a less remote place as we do, and will have better luck finding 'winter' animals, like penguins and polar bears!
My kids laughed at me when I brought home the donkey, sheep and turkey. But hey, these are animals that do live in our snowy climate!
Tips for this craft: We purchased a large $2 bottle of conditioner from Walmart that had a very strong floral scent. The scent is rather overpowering really. I highly suggest purchasing a non scented conditioner if you have the option! I would have loved to do a non scented with some peppermint essential oil! (Unless you are able to find cheap peppermint conditioner!)
My older kids LOVE this just as much as Z does!
(Not safe for consumption - so watch the little ones!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Studio Photo Shoot - 1 yr

We've been home for 5 months now!

I've been wanting so badly to get photos done, but since we are still recovering financially from the last years events and preparing for upcoming needs (new vehicle, flooring, toilet - ALL I want for Christmas is a new toilet BTW. How is that for low maintenance!?), we had to forgo the type of photo shoot we normally would have. You know the one in nature, of candid shots instead of staged shots?

The thing is, I am capable of taking some pretty good photos, but Dan likes to take photos of his thumb prints, and without a tripod (hmmm... another gift idea? Of course my husband will (Should ?) be reading this. ), it means we are unable to have a family picture. Also, I am finding that more photographers are no longer offering digital files for a set fee. You have to pay for the session, then for each individual photo or package - printed. I prefer to have the files, for uploading, and editing/playing around with, and I don't need a bunch of prints, nor a $400 bill. I don't mind paying for a photographers time, but just let me buy the digital files. Non edited even.

I need to make friends with some hobby photographers. Anyone?

So we went to Tot Shots. They offer a digital photo package for $50 (in addition to other package of your choice.) Perfect. Affordable.

Zahra wasn't exactly what I would call the perfect model, as she was uncooperative in the beginning and then just wild at the end. (Certainly this is where a photographer would have come in handy!)





Adoption Conference / NAC update

Get yourself a cup of coffee and sit down to read the presentations that were given at last week's East Africa Adoption Conference.

To quickly summarize what I took out of my reading last night is they are trying to modify the adoption program to assist with the adoption of more boys. Girls are preferred in domestic adoption in Kenya (due to inheritance/cultural reasons), and currently girls are only permitted to be adopted by single females. (Although, we have seen medical exceptions.) It looks like they may be changing the ruling on the single female adoptions to allow the adoption of boys as well. Good news!

Another subject I was happy to see was the presentation given about attachment. As adopting parents in the Western World, we read and read and take classes on this. However, this is a fairly new concept in Africa, and I don't mean 'attachment' in itself is new - I mean education and attachment therapy. One example would be their preference for the child to have their own bed, and how we as parents feel like we have to 'skirt' around this issue, because we 'co-sleep' with our children to build attachment.

In other good news, I have to make an Edit to my last post. I gave the wrong link for the Gazette. The issues are posted to the web frequently. The link for the updated issues are here. I cannot currently get this link to work, but I do know it was working before, so I believe they may be doing maintenance on the page.

Nothing has been published about the NAC yet, but we are told to watch for the November 29th issue, this Friday.

Hopefully, this is week will mark the end of this delay, and you all can get back to actively 'waiting'. Adoption does have a way of fine tuning ones patience. I don't know about you, but 2012 was the year I discovered my first grey hair. It's fitting I suppose.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A 'Hopeful' NAC Update

My last update explained that the NAC could not reappointed until it had been announced in the Gazette that it was disbanded. (It can't be official unless it is published as I understood.)

However, this week, we were hearing that we should be watching the Kenya Gazette for news on the reappointment of the Committee. Leaving us wonder about the disbanding publication.

The Kenya Gazette is published online. The paper is published every Friday, and believed to be available from the Government printers.

*** Today, I heard from 2 sources, that Mr. Hussein himself has said the NAC HAS BEEN REAPPOINTED and will be published soon in the Gazette. Yes, this is hearsay, and I realize that information can be lost in translation - but 2 sources (coinciding with previous information) is good enough for me publish it. I know you all could use some good news right about now.

I know there are many for you who were hoping to be in Kenya before Christmas. I know how hard it is to keep missing these dates, and being left waiting, and wondering. For all of you, I will leave you with this.

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh Baby!!

Prepare yourselves!! This is cuteness over load right here!!
I have learned one thing from this all... I love babies! (Lord help me not aquire 12 more.)
Baby announcement cards!! A local Mom asked me to do up her cards, and made the mistake of giving me access to her dropbox account.
Someone help me, cause I couldn't just stop at this one:
The design she requested in a 4x6 - (although I redid the colours to match her photos)

 And this is where I went to next....


Squishy, little, yummy baby!

And... my personal favorite. I edited the photo with a focal B&W. (5x7)

I am not a professional - but 'BOY' did I have fun!
I design these cards in exchange for a small charitable donation to an orphan care foundation. If you are interested in having your own custom made design by yours truly... see here.