Madine Family

Posted on : 12/07/2011 | By : Joanna

I wanted to share a couple of my hair accessory storage solutions. I've look all over the web and Pintrest to find a good solution to organize headbands and bows...and keep them out of my way. I kind of had a light bulb moment when I saw this pant hanger in the back of a closet.

The cool thing is that the arm things swing out to let you take the headband off. I just hung ribbon from the bottom bar and clipped the bows to them. I even have room for two more ribbons.

When my daughter was tiny, she wore mostly headbands, but now that her hair is getting longer. I don't let her wear it out very often. We mostly do protective styles. To keep up with all of the rubber bands, etc, we use this jewlery bead organizer from JoAnn's.

I just saw that all jewelry and beading storage is 40% off at JoAnn's right now. I could use a couple more of these since I'm going to start using beads on her braids. I'm kid of lusting after this one. It looks like this could almost be an all in one storage unit for us, with combs, brushes, clamps in the top and pray bottles hanging off the sides. We'll still have to keep our shower caddy bucket for big jars of conditioners and styling creams, etc. I'll have to check it out in person to see if it will work :)

As far as logistics go, I keep a spray bottle (water, conditioner, & olive oil) hanging off the side of her diaper caddy. I spray her hair in the morning to add moisture and then slather her down with lotion. I keep a small shower caddy basket of her detangling conditioner, regular conditioner, sulphate-free shampoo, combs, etc. beside the bath tub. The rest of the hair accessories normally stay in the TV cabinet in the den, since we style while watching Sesame Street.



Posted on : 11/29/2011 | By : Joanna

My sister and her family came up from South Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving at my Dad's. It is so fun to see these adorable cousins together...although hearing protection might be a good idea next year (lots of squealing and screaming).

Watching Movies and squealing.
Making Christmas cookies.

My favorite :)



Posted on : 11/29/2011 | By : Joanna

We celebrated Halloween at a big neighborhood party...which was so much fun.

Cutest butterfly ever!

Maeve Turns 2!


Posted on : 11/29/2011 | By : Joanna

I'm trying to catch up a bit on my blogging, so the next few posts will likely be mostly pictures;)

Maeve turned 2 in October, and we were so happy to celebrate her with lots of family and friends...many from out of town.

Ethiopian/Italian style cake from a local Ethiopian bakery.
Enjoying cake!
Singing with friends.

New kitchen from Mommy & Daddy.

Happy Anniversary!


Posted on : 10/12/2011 | By : Joanna

Happy Anniversary to us! Four years of bliss, and this year has been the best!. It was our first full year as parents...not an easy year, but a year of joy and thanksgiving. Praise God for bringing our family together!

This is us at our reception, laughing hysterically at my brother-in-law's speech. I think my cheeks hurt more than my feet by the end of the night. It was such a blessing to have all of our friends and family from all over the world there to celebrate with us.



Posted on : 9/11/2011 | By : Joanna

Happy Enkutatask! (Ethiopian New Year- 2004!)

Yes, you read that correctly.
Enkutatash is the Amharic word for New Year which will be celebrated in Ethiopia on Sunday September 11, 2011. Ethiopia follows the Orthodox Julian Calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th moth consisting of 4 or 6 days. This means the Ethiopian calendar is seven years behind our Western calendar and it will be the year 2004.
The Madine family will be celebrating by attempting our first Ethiopian coffee ceremony at home, roasting our own beans, burning Frankincense and everything :) . You can read more about this very important part of Ethiopian culture here.

We will also be attending a dinner for adoptive families at our local Ethiopian restaurant.
A couple of weeks ago we attended the 10th Annual Ethiopia Day celebration in Plano. Here’s a great pic of our little Habesha (Ethiopian).

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, enjoying your friends and family, especially on the 10th anniversary of so many losing so much.

Coffee Ceremony


Posted on : 8/31/2011 | By : Joanna

The coffee ceremony is very important in Ethiopian culture. Even after traveling to Ethiopia twice, I realize that I don't know very much about the ritual. I knew it was delicious and a little history, but that was about it. Recently I ran across a few articles, each offering some bits and pieces of info, so I thought I'd share what I've gathered.

Coffee originated in Ethiopia. Legend says that a goat herder from Kaffa noticed his goats were acting very lively after having eat the berries from a bush. He tasted them and felt invigorated, so he took them to the local monastery. The Abbot thought the berries must be evil and threw them in a fire. When he smelled the lovely aroma, he changed his mind and decided they must be from God. That night they sat up drinking the brew and vowed to drink it daily to keep themselves awake during their long devotionals.

Being invited to a coffee ceremony is a sign of friendship and/or respect. Coffee ceremonies are sometimes performed three times a day and can take a few hours. It is an opportunity for friends and family to catch up on local/political events and celebrate special occasions...and drink the best coffee in the world. :)

The Ritual:
The woman of the house (or a younger woman of the house) wears a traditional white dress with colored embroidery along the sleeves and bottom of the skirt. She begins by setting up the room. On the floor she spreads long aromatic grasses and flowers and burns frankincense to ward off evil spirits. She sets up a large tray with rows of small demitasse cups (without handles). She fills the traditional coffee pot, called a jebena, with water and sets it on hot coals.

She washes the green coffee beans in a wok-like pan over hot coals, shaking and stirring them until the husks and debris are shaken free of the beans. Then, in the same pan, she roasts the beans, stirring and shaking the pan constantly until the beans darken and begin to release their oils. The aroma of the bean is a very important part of the ceremony. She carries the pan around wafting the aromatic smoke toward each person. The guests should comment on how wonderful it smells. She then grinds the beans coarsely with tool similar to a mortar and pestal, but are called a mukecha (moo-key-cha) and a zenezena. By this time the jebena is ready. The ground are added to the pot and the mixture is brought to a boil, then removed from the heat. It is now ready to be served.

She prepares to serve by pouring a little coffee into the first cup, then pouring it from one cup to the next cup to warm them up. The grounds have settled to the bottom of the pot and she pours the coffee in a steady stream from a foot above the cups. The goal is to fill all of the cups equally with one pour (without spilling or splashing very much). Women practice this beginning when they are young girls. In many cases the youngest child in the house will serve the first cup to the eldest in the room or the guest of honor. Guests should complement the hostess on her brewing and serving skill. Sugar is typical...and a lot of it, usually already added. The most common snack served is popcorn (no salt or butter). (Coffee and popcorn go really well together). The first brew is similar to espresso. There are typically three brews (called abol, tona, and baraka), with the last being similar to american style coffee. Each cup is said to transform the spirit, but the third cup is a blessing, and the ceremony is not complete until it is consumed.

Here are my sources:

Let me know if I left anything out or didn't mention the meaning behind something.

Catching Up


Posted on : 8/24/2011 | By : Joanna

I know I haven't been great with the blog posts lately....and I think it's time
to admit that a once a month update might be an achievable goal. :)

Maeve is now 22 months old and doing great. She's sleeping through the night pretty consistently, which is something Mommy and Daddy are happy about, but still getting used to. After months of waking a few times a's strange how a full nights sleep can still leave you feeling tired in the morning. She's had a few rough nights because she has 5 teeth coming in at once. We'll all be glad when that's over.Maeve's food issues are getting better. We're still giving her the night-time bottle (brushing her teeth before bed), and won't be changing that until we feel it's time.

She is talking non-stop...well, she always did that, we just understand a lot of it now. We just love it! She also loves to sing and clap, can count to 13, can identify of the letters. We did an evaluation through our county's early childhood intervention program and she tested well above her age on all levels. I was afraid she wouldn't talk to the therapist, but she was on! When each of them came in, she said. "Hi. Hah you?" (How are you) and showed them her books, etc. She even surprised us with some of the tasks she completed. We're definitely proud parents. :)

She's making progress on potty training, using the potty about 50% of the time. It's just a bit inconsistent between day care and home, but she definitely knows how to do it. Now if she could just tell us more often before she goes :)

Maeve loves going to her "school" (day care). She really likes the teachers and has a few BFFs already. She sometimes names them off and grins and giggles.

We went to Chicago over July 4th and had a great time with Uncle Brian and Aunt Cris.

This is Maeve falling asleep at Starbucks.

We also had the pleasure of attending the 2nd birthday party of Maeve's old roommate in Ethiopia, Lily.

We also attended a huge pool party of Ethiopian adoptive families.

(That's Maeve on the far right- "I thought you said we were going swimming!")

We've also gotten in a few play dates with her good friend, Tsegaw.

I'll try to be better about updating and leave you with one of my favorites.

6 months home- how it's going.


Posted on : 6/12/2011 | By : Joanna

Maeve has been home now for six months. She has now been with us longer than she had been with any other care-giver...including her birth family. Let me repeat that. At almost 20 months old, six months is the longest she has been with any one car-giver. It's a thought that makes me weep. Before she was 14 months old, she lived in three different places. Her experience is that every 3-4 months, she moves to a new place with new people. Imagine how stressful that would be for an adult, much less a baby.

The little girl we met in Ethiopia was just a glimpse of the girl we know now. She was sick and traumatized...and now that I know her, I know that she was terrified and shell shocked. She has changed so much since then, and I can't wait to see what she'll be like another six months from now.

I want to write candidly about the issues we've face because I have a lot of adoptive family/soon to be adoptive family friends that read this. We are all a huge support to each other and really try to learn from each other as much as possible. Also, it will help our family and friends understand the issues we're dealing with.

Our attachment/bonding has gone really well, but I strongly believe it is because of the level of effort we put forth in that area. It was our job to help Maeve feel as secure as possible as early on as possible. I relate it to a trauma patient. Doctors tell them that there is a very short window to get as good as you'll get, so you better make the best of your rehab/therapies, etc. Obviously, our attachment will be ongoing, but we felt strongly that we had to lay a very strong foundation in the beginning, especially during the 12 weeks I had off work. We basically laid low for a long time. We stayed in the house mostly, with occasional walks to the park. We did not have many visitors. No one other than myself and my husband held her, fed her or changed her diapers. We did not do anything that we thought might be sensory overload for her (no trips to the grocery store for months, etc).  We were trying to teach her that she is safe, that this is her last stop, and that we are her forever family. Even with all of our efforts, she is only now starting to show some fear of strangers. (Sometimes institutionalized kids look for attention from anyone and everyone they meet, which can be very dangerous). We still tend to be home-bodies, with the occasional weekend-playdate or weeknight dinner with friends, but we are always together and Maeve only had her first babysitting a few days ago (which was with my Dad and Step-mom and went very well).

Our fist few months were a whirlwind. We were exhausted trying to get used to the time difference. Maeve seemed to like us just fine and seemed to be adjusting well, but would have to occasional nightmare. They were horrific. She'd wake up instantly screaming bloody murder and gasping for air. We'd have to turn on all of the lights and it took quite a while to really wake her and then calm her down. Her eyes were open, but she was not awake. She'd frantically climb me like a tree, clawing and an absolute panic. And the screaming, well, it's a sound that you can't quite comprehend until you've heard it. It is primal, and it is heart-breaking. She hasn't had nightmares in months, but we have heard those screams related to hunger. I'll get to that in a second.
The main issue when she got home is what I call food panic. Sadly, before she came home, she had no control over when she ate or how much she ate...and there were times in her life that she was very hungry. In the orphanage, the nannies just appeared with food according to a strict schedule...and you ate...very fast because there were lots of other babies to feed and everyone has some catching up to do. If she even saw me making food or a bottle, she'd start screaming, gasping for air, and waving her arms frantically until I fed her. She was not used to waiting for food, so if it didn't just appear in front of her, maybe she wasn't going to get it. I started making her breakfast (oatmeal, scrambled eggs, etc) the night before so I could just quickly heat it up. I made her lunch while she was taking a nap. Eventually we got to the point that I could put her highchair in the kitchen and giver her a few bites while she watched me make her food. I still give her a nibble here and there as I'm cooking.
After my 12 weeks off, Maeve's Giardia (stomach parasite) was finally gone and I went back to work while she went to day care. Oh, we also moved houses around that time. More big transitions for her. We just tried to do things as smoothly as we could. Mark and I work staggering schedules, so that we can spend more time with her. We're taking forever to unpack because we'd rather spend out evenings and weekends with her. It only took her about six weeks before she felt really settled in the new house. She loves her school and has a great time there. I learned very quickly not to pick her up in the middle of snack time, as she ran screaming from me a slapped me in the face. Food is a big deal.

Back to the food topic (did we ever really leave it?) Our latest issue escalated very quickly a few weeks ago. We started weening her off her night-time bottle, first by mixing formula and milk (increasing the milk ratio gradually) and slowly lowering the overall number of ounces. She started really fighting going to sleep (has always been a  bit of an issue anyway) and it got gradually worse until it was an absolute battle. She was also waking up in the middle of the night screaming, which would sometimes work up to hysteric levels. We though she was just trying to train us to hold her each time we came in, we tried to get her to go back to sleep. We were all pretty exhausted. Each night we hoped she was tired enough to just go to sleep and prayed that she stay asleep. One night the bed-time battle got out of control, she screamed the primal scream I had only heard a few times before and it was all I could do not to burst into tears myself. Thankfully, our social worker was coming over the next night...and boy did she get a front row seat. :) After a couple of hours of talking, we came to the conclusion that she was getting hungry in the middle of the night...and hunger triggers a deep fear of starvation. So we made a few changes to our routine and offer her food constantly.

Old routine:
Dinner 5:30pm
Bath 7pm (exciting and getting too worked up)
Bottle 7:30
Asleep 8pm

New routine:
snack 5pm
bath 6pm
dinner 6:30
relaxing time/read books/drink bottle (100% formula) 7-7:45
brush teeth
Rock asleep by 8pm

Basically, eat dinner later and offer her a snack to tide her over. Have calming play after dinner to start winding down (may add music to this). We tried to have her drink the formula out of a sippie cup that has a soft spout, but she didn't like it. It was more of a distraction, and she wasn't drinking much, so we went back to the bottle. I may try a different kind of cup in a  few weeks. We make a big deal about putting the bottle in the fridge and saying "Bye Bye. See you in the morning". We also have a sippie cup of water in her room while I am rocking her. She'll ask for it, but only takes a couple of sips and holds it. She just needs to know that it's there. We also put it in the crib with her. During the day, we constantly offer her food. Some days she doesn't eat much. Other days she eats a ton. I talked about this in detail with her day care and send lots of extra snacks for them to offer her.

We've been doing this new routine for a little over a week and can tell it's making a big difference. As parents, you know as soon as you get one ting sorted, something else changes...and for us it can be hard to distinguish regular toddler behavior from something adoption related. I think form now on, when in doubt, just assume it's adoption stuff. In other words, if there's a issue, don't just assume they'll out grow it or it will resolve itself...AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

One Year Ago


Posted on : 5/11/2011 | By : Joanna

One year ago we got "THE" call...the call that told us about a little girl on the other side of the world who would become our daughter. That day it all became very real. Maybe it was really going to happen; maybe we really were going to get to be parents. That day we put a face to the love that had been growing in our hearts. That day...everything changed.

Here is my original post about Maeve's referral

 What a difference a year makes :)



Posted on : 5/06/2011 | By : Joanna

I mean to post this a while ago, but forgot. It's Maeve and Kayla during our Zoo weekend.
Just about the cutest thing ever!

Mothers, birth-mothers, and "wanna be" mothers


Posted on : 5/06/2011 | By : Joanna

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am beyond grateful to be a mom…finally. I praise God for His many blessings! While my heart is full, it also aches.  Today and every day, my thoughts turn to our daughter’s birth-mom, the most beautiful spirit I have ever met. She is a part of our daughter and a part of our hearts. We miss her. We long for her. We cry for her. We pray for her. I cannot imagine her pain…her loss. She is an amazing mother. If there are any birth-moms reading this, know that you are loved, honored, and cherished.

My thoughts also turn to the women, many are my friends, who are trying to start a family. I was in the same boat not too long ago. I know first had the agony of uncertainty, the loss, the torture of the highs and lows, hope and despair, living your life a couple of weeks at a time. I know all about the endless string of baby showers, everyone you know getting pregnant seemingly without much difficulty, the unknowingly hurtful comments from friends…it all sucks…a lot. I remember being a church on Mother’s Day a couple o f years ago when they asked for all of the mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers to stand up for a round of applause (I had just lost our second child a couple of months before). I sat there for what seemed like an eternity…with all of the children and men…chanting in my head “don’t burst into tears, don’t burst into tears”.  For those of you struggling, I don’t have any words of comfort….just know that I know.

This year, I am finally a mom. I am grateful and fully aware of how sweet it is. THIS year in church I will stand…and probably still burst into tears. I’m kind of picturing something like a scene out of The Lion King… with me holding my daughter above my head. LOL!

I hope you all have a great weekend.

18 months-Zoo weekend


Posted on : 4/17/2011 | By : Joanna

Maeve turned 18 months old a couple of days ago. We were so excited to go to the zoo with old friends. All of these kiddos were in the same orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Heather and Eli live with in an hour and half of Dallas, but Betsy and Kayla came in from Wisconsin for a visit.

Sharon and Lily drove 45 mins to to meet us for dinner and more play time. The kids had a blast.

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At the Park


Posted on : 3/23/2011 | By : Joanna

Now that I'm over my nearly 2.5 week long sinus infection, we happily took Maeve to a big park near our house last weekend. The weather was gorgeous...dare I say "hot".. and the park was packed.

We played some ball (gotta have the tongue out).

Got to pet a dog, that she thought was a cat since it was so small :)

Picked flowers that tickled her chin.

Went down the slide a lot.

After all that, had some serious chill out time with Sesame Street.
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17 Months Old


Posted on : 3/16/2011 | By : Joanna

First of all, Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 
from our Irish/American/Ethiopian family to yours!

Maeve is now 17 months old and doing really well. Her Montessori school is starting to transition her to the 18-24 month class. They usually don't do this for about another 6 weeks, but agree with me that she's ready and will really enjoy what the other class is doing (ABC's, numbers, songs...basically stuff she's been doing for a while now). We know, she's brilliant! :)

We also moved into our new house a few weeks ago. We've been taking the transition slowly and opting for spending time with Maeve rather than feeling the need to be completely unpacked and all sorted right away. She and I have both been sick (me much worse than her, thank the Lord), so that hasn't been much fun...but hubby has been doing an awesome job working double duty while I got some much needed rest.

We also had the great joy and honor of baptizing our daughter at the end of February. It was wonderful to have family in from Ireland, Chicago, and South Texas. It was a bit hectic, but we all had a great time.

Maeve in her traditional Ethiopian dress.

Reading with PaPa 'dine

Bubbles with Daddy and cousin Georgia.
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Want to feed us? :)


Posted on : 2/27/2011 | By : Joanna

We didn't really need much help in this department when Maeve first arrived home, but boy are we gonna need it during the next few weeks.

I'm starting back to work on Monday and Maeve will be going to Montessori school full time. If that weren't enough of an upheaval...we're moving to our new house Thursday.

So, if any of you would like to make us dinner (casseroles, soups, etc...frozen or not) or would like to order food in for us (pizza, Chinese, etc). We would really appreciate the help.

We'd like to be able to spend the evening hours after work and before Maeve's bed time focusing solely on her as much as possible, trying to make her feel as secure as possible during yet another transition for this little girl.

Please let me know if you are interested.

16 Months Old!


Posted on : 2/16/2011 | By : Joanna

She eats pretty much anything we eat. No mush for this girl!...
and she's gettting really good at using her fork.

She found this little sponge, tore in into two pieces, and pretened to put on makeup.
You'd think she learned it by watching me, but I try to wear makeup as little as possible :)

We've heard recently from family that Maeve just looks so happy in all of her pictures.
I thought, "Well of course, we only share the good ones" LOL.
So, just so you all know, she does get upset, but that face is still pretty irresistable.
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Posted on : 2/05/2011 | By : Joanna

Although we got flurries a few weeks ago, this is Maeve's first real snow...almost 6 inches!
She loved walking in it, thought it was hiliarious, but didn't like falling in it or getting it on her face.

Pretty stinkin' cute!

Maeve Cleans the Windows


Posted on : 1/30/2011 | By : Joanna

The Park


Posted on : 1/29/2011 | By : Joanna

We had another great day at the park and met these sweet Ethiopian boys.

I was wondering if they were Ethiopian and they were wondering the same about Maeve. When it came up in conversation, one of them ran to the other boys saying, "See, I told you so!" He'd heard us tell her, "Nay" (come)...and said she looked Ethiopian.They were very sweet to play ball with her, and we were happy to talk about Ethiopia. It turns out they had friends/family at the park...two male all-Ethiopian soccer teams!