Long awaited (although possibly disappointing) post

I just happened to look at the date of my last post...and it was over 2 months ago!!! Wow! I knew we had been busy, but I just can't believe its been that long. So, unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but this will be informative.

Adoption - I would describe this as S L O W. Ethiopia has slowed the wait time again and so they have told us it will be 10-17 months from the time our dossier was sent (June). So, we wait.

Dad - Dad has had a great couple of months of "down time." He has stayed in remission (HUGE praise) and felt great. He and Mom headed back to Nashville Sunday afternoon to move in to "The Village at Vanderbilt." He will be undergoing a stem cell transplant. He had a central line placed today and will start his 8 days of chemotherapy tomorrow morning. On September 1 he will receive his stem cell transplant. Our prayer requests are for minimal side effects, no infections, and a "smooth" recovery period. He will be required to stay in Nashville for 100 days. You can follow his blog here: www.carepages.com and type in "reidpennington"

Everything else - We have been trying to keep the remainder of our summer as "normal" as possible. We have been able to visit with both sides of our family so that was nice. My job has really been busy for the past few weeks, so I am really trying to balance home-work-play life. I was asked to speak at a cancer conference in town a few weeks ago. I think it went well and I was excited to see several people I know there.
Norah Kate is at a great stage. I know I'm going to kick myself later for not keeping up with this blog as well for her more than anything. She will be 2 1/2 in September and is already wearing size 3T clothes. She is talking so much, singing songs, and just a TON of fun to be around. She recently started Parents Day Out on Tuesdays/Thursdays and has done so well. I still go in her room almost every night and spend a minute or two just watching her sleep and thanking God for such a wonderful gift.

Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns over the last few months. I really hope to catch up with this blog soon!


Updates, Updates

Adoption Update! ...we F I N A L L Y mailed in our Dossier. I'm almost speechless to tell you just how relieved we were to send this in. I mean, we applied for this adoption almost A YEAR AGO!!!!! Yes, we have been through many many many many (you get the idea) frustrations with this process, but hopefully we can relax just a little since there is nothing else that is technically our responsibility. Each time we move a little closer to bringing our boy home, I get so excited. I know that we still have quite a wait (probably 7-10 months), and I know that we still have a lot to do but I just can't help but get excited. Please continue to pray for our son and wisdom in the decisions that we make.

Mailing our dossier
In other news...Dad is doing well. We found out on Wednesday that he is still in remission!!! He has started his first cycle of consolidation chemo. I think they are wanting him to have a bone marrow transplant for too long. We would really appreciate your continued prayers...he is not out of the woods yet! But as you can see below, he is feeling well and we are enjoying quality time with him :)


A Sunday afternoon post

I haven't blogged much (on here) lately, and I know that you all understand. My dad has finished his intense, week-long chemo and just had a repeat bone marrow biopsy this past Friday. We will get the results on Tuesday. If this shows that the chemo worked & that he is in remission, then he will get a break to recover and then begin maintenance chemo to keep him in remission. Please pray with me that he will get good results!

In other news, we had a yard sale yesterday to raise money for our adoption. Thank you so much to everyone who donated items and sacrificed your time to help! We are so blessed with great friends. We raised enough money for 1 plane ticket to Ethiopia! Wa-hoo!!!

I think that is all for this afternoon. Hey, a short post is better than none, right? Maybe I'll join my husband and daughter in a nap now.


A Post I never thought I'd make...

I definitely have been out of the blogging world lately. I guess I'm just not sure exactly how to go about saying this, so I'll just say it: My dad was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on April 22. I don't know that the shock of that statement has lessened any at all. He is now undergoing an intensive chemo regimen at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. I am so thankful for this facility and the doctors/nurses/staff that he has encountered. If you would like to stay updated on his progress you can visit his website at www.carepages.com/carepages/reidpennington This will prompt you to register with the carepages website and then when you "visit" a site you just put in "reidpennington." This has been a rollercoaster of emotions already, and we know that there is a long road ahead of us. Please join me in praying for his complete healing, for no infections while his counts are down, and for my mom/sister/me as we help to care for him throughout this time. I am so thankful that God has allowed us His peace at just the right time throughout this process. His protection over my thoughts/emotions has been amazing. I just want to say that if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ...you are missing out! I am so thankful that I already had this relationship established prior to my Dad's diagnosis. There is no relationship that compares and none other like my Jesus. My hope is that, through this hardship, Christ will be known by all who we encounter. We will give him ALL of the glory.


5 on Friday

Well, It is Friday again...& you know what that means! 1. We are in Pocahontas tonight for my 10th High School Reunion. I think that's all I'm going to say about that. Ha ha! 2. I got my hair CHOPPED OFF today. And I got the long bangs. Yes, this is a first...as with all "fashionable" things, my sister said it would look good and so I did it. I do like it...its, honestly, just about 6 or 7 inches shorter so that will just take some "getting use to." 3. Norah Kate FINALLY went for her 2 year old check up yesterday. She weighed 27lb (between 25-50%), height 36.5inches (90%), head 47cm (50%). She did a great job and no shots this round. 4. I'm not sure if I have mentioned on here, but I've given up sweet tea for Lent. I don't think this was a good idea for several reasons. 5. Adoption update: Our agency verified on Tuesday that Ethiopia does continue to process only 5 adoptions per day. That means that we will have at least an extra year added onto our wait time. ...sigh... David and I have not really had a chance to discuss exactly what this means on our end, so I would continue to ask for prayers of wisdom.


5 on Friday

I know you've probably noticed, but we've been gone for a couple of weeks...well...gone from the computer on Fridays! 1. David recently led a trip to France with some of the Union students. They had a great trip. I was really excited to hear about everything, and to see David's excitement. While he was gone, Norah Kate and I packed up and headed to Arkansas with my sister and niece...and then on to Branson with my mom. We had a great time, but Norah Kate's 2 year old tantrums and disobedience shined through several times over the week, and so it was challenging (to say the least)...I was EXHAUSTED when David returned. I don't think I've caught up on my sleep yet! 2. Tonight David is gone AGAIN! Life group leader retreat was tonight and so he is helping with that. So...here we are again. Sitting at home...Norah Kate is asleep and I am typing while watching House Hunters International. :) 3. Yesterday, Norah Kate had her follow-up appointment for her PE tubes. The doctor said she looks great. I am so thankful with how well she is doing. As I mentioned, before her surgery she could not say any multiple word sentences (other than "good girl" when talking to Chula). The other night I was saying that I was time to go to bed and she said "Dad go night night too?" I was ecstatic!!!! That is just an example of how much better her vocabulary is. She is talking so much more and I can actually understand her...most of the time!! :) I know that PE tubes are definitely overrated in some cases, and in some cases used when not needed, but I am so thankful that we made the decision that we did. I feel like we waited for the proper time, but yet, did not drag our feet with something that she really needed. Another thing I've noticed is that she stops and listens to quiet noises. For example, there is a train track about a mile from our house and she now stops and puts her hand to her ear and says "Mama! Choo choo!" I really have to almost fight back tears each time something like that happens. 5. And last, but not least...the adoption update. What a ROLLERCOASTER! We were told that many of the personel in the Dept of Women & Children had been replaced, and that they were hoping that the number of adoptions would pick up again. However, as of now, they are still processing 5 adoptions a day. The USCIS website also mentions that if this continues, it will add at least a year to the wait time. David and I have continued with our process; finished our fingerprinting for USCIS; and are waiting to receive our final letter before we send off our dossier. Please pray for us during this time. This has been a time of frustration as we fill we are in limbo until we hear something more definite from the Ethiopian government. It is hard to think that we would wait ANOTHER year before being able to bring our child home...Norah Kate would be 3 by that time, and we still plan to have other pregnancy(s?). So, as you can see, whatever is decided in Ethiopia may cause us to consider seriously what God is revealing to us. Along those lines...as of now, we ARE still moving forward, and plan to have a yard sale in the next month or two to raise funds for the adoption. Please let me know if you have any items that you would like to donate to our yard sale. Well, I think that catches us up on our 5 on Fridays. Hope you've enjoyed reading!


Late 5 on Friday

1. I realize that my 5 on Friday is late...but we have just returned from visiting family in Shreveport! We had a great weekend, but are very tired. It is so nice to be exhausted for a GOOD reason. (Oh, and I guess that "spring forward" thing too)

2. Adoption Update: Many of you may have heard, but MOWA (the government agency in Ethiopia that is in charge of adoptions) gave word that as of March 10th they would decrease the number of adoptions per day by 90%. There are a lot of talks and negotiations going on in that country right now, but IF this does go into effect it could drastically prolong our adoption process. Please Please Please join us in prayer that 1) God's will is done 2) that this would not go through...or at least that it would not be as severe as what they are saying & 3) that God would give us wisdom on choices to make.

3. My smocking is on hold...I really need a dress to smock and am NOT will to pay $40 for a dress that I still have to smock.

4. David is leaving this coming Friday on his GO trip to Europe. Please pray for safety and boldness of him and the students and safety for Norah Kate and me while we are here in the good ole U S of A.

5. PE tube update: Norah Kate has seemed to recover just fine. She really doesn't mind the ear plugs that she has to wear in the bathtub. She is sleeping great and her speech is improving. Thanks for the prayers!!!


Happy Birthday Norah Kate!

Happy Birthday Little Lady! I have spent about 45 minutes trying to upload a video of you sliding on your new slide, but unfortunately that did not work out. But, I did not want to end the day without a post about your 2nd birthday.
Norah Kate, you are one-of-a-kind. You keep your Dad and me laughing and amazed at the things you do and say. Since you had tubes placed last week we have already noticed a change in your vocabulary for the better. You are saying multiple word sentences now and pronouncing most words MUCH better than before. You are about 35 inches tall and weigh right at 27 lb. You are able to climb up your new slide and slide down all by yourself. Your favorite food is blueberries and you really only drink "aqua" or apple juice. You are doing pretty good about your potty training, but not consistent yet...so we will keep working at it. We wake up excited EACH day to see you and to experience new things with you. We are so so thankful that God chose us to be your parents and we can't wait to see what this year brings!!! We love you very very very much.
Dad & Mama


Five on Fri....uh, Saturday!

1. This night 2 years ago I went to supper at Carrabba's with David, my parents & David's parents. It was such a nice dinner, but I couldn't help but think the entire time that it was our last dinner before becoming parents because...

2. The next morning we were induced and welcomed our sweet baby into the world. Yep...tomorrow is the little lady's 2nd birthday. We have had a FULL day of partying with friends and family. Thank you to all who made it so special. Now...

3. David is asleep on the couch. Norah Kate is asleep in her room. & I am sitting around at a DISASTER of a house; thankful, but dreading a Saturday night of cleaning and reorganizing. :) :(

4. I was able to get some smocking plates off of ebay...now if I could only get a dress to smock them onto!! Haha! Baby steps, right?

5. Adoption Update! We FINALLY heard back from the USCIS. We received our date for fingerprinting...but it is when David is out of the country! AHHHHH! So, we have sent in our form to reschedule the appointment (yes, it is a form...no phone rescheduling) and we are waiting again. :) David and I really appreciate your prayers throughout this process.


Five on Friday

1. Norah Kate had her PE tubes placed & adenoids removed this morning. She did GREAT and now we are back home. She was pretty fussy just after surgery, but calmed down after about 10 minutes. She is now sleeping soundly in her bed. Thanks for the prayers!!!

2. Haven't heard anything else on the adoption this week. BUT we have reviewed everything and we have all of our papers/references/etc. ready so when we do hear something we are ready to send everything in.

3. Smocking is going well. I have learned about all the basics I can learn...just need to actually smock a dress or outfit now!!!

4. Tonight is our women's retreat at our church. I am not sure that I'm going to make it...I'll have to see how Norah Kate is doing & how David feels about staying here with her. We'll see.

5. I'll end with a picture of the morning. This was just before they took her back to surgery. :)


Tubes Tomorrow!

Just wanted to asks for prayers for Norah Kate. She will be having PE tubes placed & her adenoids removed around 8:00am. Thanks!! David & Nekayeh


Five on Friday

1. We heard back from the government form! We received a form in the mail yesterday saying that they received our application, everything was correct and...to wait for the next form that will give us more instructions on what to do next. Ha Ha! Hey, at least we heard something!

2. Didn't make it to smocking class this week...but for good reason. Had a great dinner with good friends.

3. Work has been pretty slow this week. This is a great blessing, but I can't help but feel a little nervous about what that means for the upcoming weeks.

4. I am procrastinating on doing Jillian Michael's 30-day shred by writing this post. :) That lady might just be evil. Just kidding!

5. I probably will not post again before Monday, so I will wish an early 81st birthday to my grandmother, Mama Joyce!!!


Joining the club...

"Hey, Norah Kate...what club are you joining?"
NK: "Huh?"
"The PE tubes club." NK: "Ohhhhhhh."
"How do you feel about that?" NK: ...no response...
So, yes, next Friday Norah Kate will be having PE tubes placed in both ears and having her adenoids removed. I just have to sigh as I write this. I honestly NEVER thought Norah Kate...or any future kids...would have to have tubes, but I was wrong! Norah Kate had her first ear infection in October (yes, just a few months ago). However, she's only been off antibiotics for 3 weeks total since then! It seems that she just cannot get rid of the fluid behind her ears. She woke up with blood coming out of her right ear last Sunday morning and I really thought that she had perforated her ear drum. However, when I took her into the pediatrician, he said both ears were fine. "HUH???" I just could not believe this was true since she spent the rest of the day walking around and holding her right ear and saying "Ears, Mama, ears." So...I talked to one of the ENT doctors in our clinic and he was VERY gracious to see her Tuesday afternoon. He confirmed that she STILL had fluid (not necessarily infected) and that with her history since October, he did not think it would get better any time soon (he said at least not until mid-summer IF then). Since she seems to not be hearing so great much of the time (talks very loud in public, can only pronounce about 3 or 4 words correctly; most words that she says are NOT pronounced correct, etc.) So...tubes we go. When we were talking to him and his partner we came to the realization that her adenoids are most likely enlarged as well and so we just decided that we would "kill two birds with one stone." I know that she needs this procedure, but it is so hard to sign papers that your child may be put to sleep with general anesthesia. Please pray with us that she would be safe during and after surgery, that she would have a quick recovery and that she would not have any more issues related to her ears/adenoids in the future.

Valentine's Day

Happy Late Valentine's Day! (well, I guess its not too bad since I never posted on Christmas...or did I???)
Anyway! We had a low-key V-Day. David and I were able to go on a date last Saturday night to eat and to a movie (The King's Speech...was great!)
Honestly, I doubt that Norah Kate even knew it was a "different" day on Monday, but she did get a few new books and a couple of cards. She was happy!

Here is Norah Kate in her cute Valentines outfit!
She LOVED opening a gift! Ha ha!


5 on Friday...on Saturday

I forgot to do my Five on Friday... :(

1. Norah Kate had her 23 month birthday this week! That means next month will be PARTY time for the big 2 year old. I'm so proud of her. She is so much fun and has really been improving on her sleeping this week. She is 27lb and about 34 inches tall. She can tell you that her birthday is "Maouch ix" (March 6) Yay!

2. We are still waiting to hear from USCIS about being fingerprinted for our I600A form. That is the big government form and I HOPE HOPE HOPE we hear something this week!!!

3. My mom and my grandmother (Mama Joyce) came through yesterday. It was good to see them, but it is so funny how much Norah Kate loves Mama Joyce! She can only say "Joyce!" Ha! The other day when we were talking to them on the phone we hung up without saying goodbye to Mama Joyce and it very much disturbed Norah Kate. She kept saying "Oh! Joyce!, Oh Joyce! Bye Joyce!" ...so we had to call back and tell her goodbye :)

4. This was a great (easy) week at work. I had several cancellations with the snow/ice, and so I was able to get some extra things done that have been hanging over my head. ...AND stay caught up on everything else.

5. My smocking class is going well. Our teacher this week told me that I have "great stitches." Ha! David is not going to let that one go. BUT...we will see how this goes. I definitely want to have this knowledge, but EVERY PERSON ON THE EARTH knows that I do NOT have time for one more thing in my life! Although its a great stress reliever...we'll see.


Five on Friday

So...I'm totally stealing this idea of "Five on Friday" from several friends, but hey, whatever gets me blogging, right?! So, here goes:

1. David and I are a little frustrated with the adoption goings...we've had another form sent back to us that we had to redo. However, David reminded me last night that even though WE feel like we are way behind our anticipated schedule, God isn't. I know He is sovereign and that He has everything under control. My flesh on the other hand...

2. Norah Kate had a VERY hard time with us going to Israel it seems (for those of you who didn't know, David and I were in Israel for 11 days and return almost 2 weeks ago). We have had a total of 2 nights of her sleeping through the night now, so hopefully that is a light at the end of the tunnel.

3. I was able to leave work today and have NOTHING that I had to do (for work) this weekend. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. I'm learning to smock.

5. Tonight we saw Norah Kate tip over this vase with grass decorations in it. She started running away and I said "Norah Kate, did you tip the bucket over?" She said "No." I said "Norah Kate, you are not in trouble, just tell me if you knocked it over." She said "No." I said "NK, when you do something like that and Mama asks you if you did it and you say no, that is called lying. You need to tell me the truth and that means saying Yes if you did do it." She replied "Ooohhh." Me: " So...did you knock over the bucket?" NK: "No." I turn my head in disbelief an look at David, who has his head turned the other way LAUGHING. Finally he said "NK, did you bump into the bucket." She replied "Yeah, Dad."


22 months old!

"I'm 22 months old!!!"

Our little lady turned 22 months on January 6. That means the big T W O in 2 months!!! Time flies when you're havin' fun! :)
Well, FUN is definitely the perfect word to describe Norah Kate. She is so intelligent and creative. I love to see what she comes up with each day.
Here are some stats:
Height: ??? I always forget to check
Weight: 26lb 7oz (at Mondays doctor's visit)
Eats: EVERYTHING! Her favs are - bananas, chicken, and anything that can be dipped. She really just likes to eat the dip by itself. Ha ha!!!
Drinks: Water or "agua," juice and milk
Diapers: SOMETIMES! She has be using her potty for awhile now. We have recently been trying to let her go without a diaper while we are at home and she's done pretty well. I bought her some big girl panties today and well...she pooped in them within the first 5 min of wearing them. However, after that we had a talk (because she seemed very confused at what had happened) and she did much better tonight. Now, don't get me wrong...we are not pushing her by any means, but we figure we can go ahead and start some of this now and hopefully it will make it easier later. But...her diaper size for when we are out or during naps is a size 4.
Vocabulary: She will repeat anything that is said. Most words are still hard to understanding. She is starting to put word combinations together. For example: everyday when we leave the house she has her same routine = "Bye Ula" (Bye Chula...the dog), "Good Gul" (Be a good girl), "be back!" (We'll be back)
Skills: anything and everything. Running, jumping, climbing, doing the "splits," Dancing
Good Stories: 1) The other night I was getting her ready for bed and I said we needed to change her diaper. I had a new box of diapers sitting beside us. All of a sudden NK ran out of the room yelling "Biper! Biper! (meaning "diaper")...Mease ("please") Biper!" I had NO CLUE of what she was up to, but I just decided to sit and wait. About 30 seconds later she comes back into the room with the NAIL CLIPPERS. She opened the smooth end (that your thumb rests on) and attempted to cut the tape on the box to open the diapers. After a couple of tries I asked if she needed help and she said yes, so I then opened the box for her. Ha ha!!! How in the world did she think to do that. I don't know that we've ever opened something with the clippers!

2) The other morning I was trying to get NK ready and I was get close to be running late for work. NK has had a hard time obeying when we ask her to "come here." After (literally) about 10 minutes of arguing with her and basically trying to be nice because it was first thing in the morning, I finally just said "Okay Norah Kate, you are not obeying Mama, and so you have to get a spanking." I proceeded to get a wooden spoon out of the kitchen. When I returned I gave her 2 light swats on the bottom (now, keep in mind that she had a saturated diaper and fleece pajamas, so she probably (honestly) did not even feel the swats). Of course she cried, but was more obedient after that. Well, after she got dressed and we were about to leave the room she said "Mama - poon (spoon)." I said "Oh, I need to put that up." She said yes and ran out of the room. When I entered the kitchen with the spoon she was standing by the trash can holding the lid open!!! She said "poon!" and pointed into the trash can. Ha ha! She wanted to make sure it was gone for GOOD! (*Note: I did not throw away my good wooden spoon)

Extra Info: After 2.5 months of a continuous ear infection (both sides much of that time), we received a "Clear Ears" report on Monday. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's hoping we don't have to go through THAT again!

Here are a few pics (thanks to David) of Norah Kate's snow day. I was at work, but David was with NK because he did not have to go in today. Now that I am seeing these pictures I realize why she kept saying "eat" when I asked if she played in the snow!
Chula enjoyed the snow as well!
Adoption update: We FINALLY got our home study report in the mail TODAY!!! Our plan is to send off for our I-600A form tomorrow. Please continue to pray for us through this. We are getting down to the tedious work and it always seems that there are things missing when we are trying to receive something, mail something, etc. We are ready to have our paperwork completed and mailed!!!