January 24, 2012

WARNING! This is a very long post . . .

So much has happened over the past six months (I can't believe it's been six months since I last updated everyone).  In July we celebrated the Fourth of July and my Mom's birthday.  We were very lucky to have my brother Tom and nephew Stephen stay with us for a week.  Tom had been working on some electrical items in my home for me and wanted to come down and finish things up.  Of course, we welcomed them both with open arms.  Janissa loves her Uncle Tom and couldn't have been more happy to have him around.  She participated in our neighborhood 4th of July event by decorating her wagon with Cousin Lisa.  Janissa had a lot of "firsts", one being attending her first professional baseball game.  We watched the Angels play the Mariners with several family members.  We had a great time!

Ready for the 4th of July

Janissa attended her first professional baseball game

Mom with several nephews at her surprise birthday celebration

Mom with all six daughters

Throughout the Summer, we enjoyed several O.C. Adoptive Mom's meet ups, trips to Disneyland with our cousins Cheryl, Mark and Makana as well as Char and Kwali, visits to the zoo, an event we hosted at our home for all our Ethiopian friends and Janissa's very first manicure and pedicure.  Other firsts for Janissa this year were her first musical at a theater (Shrek) and her first real movie (Mr. Poppers Penguins).

Janissa with Makana

Celebrating a Korean Holiday

Play Date with Weredesh

Event at our Home

First Manicure/Pedicure

Santa Ana Zoo

October was very exciting (and extremely over-stimulating) for Janissa.  We used air miles and flew "First Class" to Orlando, FL.  My sister-in-law Kathy and her Mom ("Miss Mary") met us there and we spent a wonderful week together at an amazing Disney Resort Hotel.  Janissa got to see Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom and two water parks.  Needless to say she was beside herself.  Kathy made all the arrangements and I must say she outdid herself.  She managed to get us free meals and snacks, reservations at wonderful restaurants and even breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella's Castle!  Before we left Janissa had her "first" real hair appointment.  A wonderful woman named Linda did cornrows so we wouldn't have to mess with her hair while on vacation.  She cried because they have to pull so tight to get them to stay in; however, one they were in she didn't want to take them out.  Tons of Disney World photos below:

Magic Kingdom

Janissa's Favorite Princess, Rapunzel

Breakfast with Princesses

Yummy Breakfast

Water Park

Animal Kingdom

Epcot Center

Being silly in our hotel room

Some of the great food Kathy managed to get us for free!!

Yes, I do realize I'm only showing you desserts; however, we did have incredible "real" food as well, including African, Japanese and Italian.

The day after we returned home was Halloween. 
Can you guess who Janissa dressed as?

Before I knew it Thanksgiving and Christmas were upon us.  We had the school programs and lots of family visiting.  Lucky for us, Joe and Flaget were here for both holidays.  Kathleen and her family (well part of the family) came for Thanksgiving and Tom, Kathy and the two boys were here for Christmas.  As you can see from the photos below, Janissa just adores her cousins, aunts and uncles.

Thanksgiving Program

So many cooks in the kitchen!

Janissa with her cousin "Danny Boy"

With Matthew and Daniel

With Aunties

Christmas came and went so fast!  We participated in lots of activities.  We made sure we rode the train and reindeer carousel at our local mall, Janissa participated in her school Christmas program, we went to Disneyland 2 or 3 times while it was decorated and spent a lot of time with family and friends.  This year we also went to Irvine Park and took the train to the North Pole to see Santa!

For the second year in a row we met all our friends at Chuck E Cheese on New Year's Eve.  It's an annual thing that we look forward to.  In January we also celebrated Timket, an Ethiopian Holiday honoring the baptism of Jesus by St. John.

At Chuck E Cheese on New Year's Eve

Timket Celebration

All the Beautiful Children

Melat, Malia, Zaela & Janissa

Best Buddies - Kwali & Janissa

Just to catch you up, we found out last week that Janissa needs to have surgery to put tubes in her ears and to remove her tonsils and adenoids.  She has failed 2 hearing tests and is constantly asking, "What Mommy?"  She has had chronic ear problems since birth and I can't remember the medical term, but basically her ear drums are pushed half way into her ear space.  The tubes will help drain all the fluid and the ear drum will eventually move back to where it is supposed to be.  The poor thing has been sick more often than she's been well and we hope this will take care of that.  It is scheduled for the end of next month.

Finally, this blog has been private for quite some time.  I know how much I love to stumble upon and read other people's blogs, especially those raising Ethiopian children, so I am once again making this one public so everyone can see it.

I will try to blog again after the surgery to let everyone know how she does.  Until then, take care!