Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hi

I love the video feature. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The video as promised

Sophie's newest skill

Monday, January 14, 2008

post holidays update

WARNING: Boring update to follow if you are not really interested in the Ray family timeline and/or Sophie development. :)

We had a wonderful holiday season this year. We were in town for the whole time (i.e. no driving on crowded roads) and were able to spend time with both of our families. Sophie was so much fun. She loves to have all the people she loves the most in the same room; she gets so excited. It's not so much about the presents for her. Isn't that what its about anyway?

Since the holidays, we have been super busy... even busier than the holidays were I think. After a trip to Atlanta for a conference last week, we came home and jumped right in. Josh's and my offices both went through moves recently. Mine took place only last Thursday. It has been quite a chore and has required more hours than usual getting things in order there. Also Sophie started at her new "school" this week. We moved her to a new place that is closer to my new office so it would be easier for me to pick her up. I think it is going to be great.

Something neat that happened over the holidays was that we received a note from one of her teachers at her old school. Sophie really loved Miss Linda from the start of our time there. Linda wrote us the sweetest note about Sophie, and how much she loved her, etc. etc... and, seriously, I cried!!! It is crazy, my mom was always so touched by people talking nicely about us, and I thought Oh please! but when I read that note, I was just so PROUD of my sweet little girl. I know its ridiculous but it was her first little praise note. I hope all of her future teachers will be as kind and sweet as Miss Linda is. It is such a blessing to feel confident in the people you entrust with your baby.

Sophie is doing several new things. One is great. One not so great.

I'll start with the bad: She is now spitting our her vegetables. This has not been a problem much at all until now. In the last week she has rejected broccoli, green beans, carrots, and peas. The little stinker will even pick them up, mash them in her hand, THEN drop onto the floor. This is a new predicament for us. Apparently I am not alone, however, every mother I have mentioned this to is like, "Join the club!" The worst thing is it is SO hard not to laugh. We are resisting but, man, it is hilarious.

The good, I mean, great: She is walking! She has been getting so good at walking with our fingers, but not wanting to take steps. But Wednesday night at church she busted out with several steps in a row! I have a video to post, I will do that tomorrow. It is pretty cute!

Wow, I cannot believe what a "mommy" post this is! I always said my blog would still be about more than just Sophie, but I am certainly not living that!

A really deep thoughtful post is in order...soon, I promise. Right after I change this diaper.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Our Christmas 2007 Letter

Here are a bunch of Christmas photos if you're interested. And this is just so I have a record of our Christmas letter on my blog.

December 19, 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

2007 has been a wonderful year for the Rays. As you may remember, we began the process in 2006 to adopt a child from Ethiopia. Early 2007 found us waiting to hear from our agency, Children’s Home Society and Family Services, that we had a child. On Easter weekend, we got word that a beautiful and surprised looking 3 month old baby GIRL was ours! From April till June, we decorated a nursery, had a wonderful shower, and made travel plans. On June 6, Josh and Brooke headed to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to pick up Sophia Yenenesh Ray. We met her two days later, spent a week there getting to know her, and flew home June 16.

We suspected from the first picture we received of Sophie that she would have lots of personality. A colossal understatement. From the day we met her, she has been full of joy and life from morning till night. We are amazed by how much she has changed in six months. In June when we arrived home, she was truly a “baby” just learning to roll over. Now, she is starting to try and take steps on her own. She learns something new each day. She laughs all the time and makes us feel like rock stars when we walk in the room. We are thankful that she has come to love us as much as we love her, and she shows it with tight hugs and slobbery kisses. We are so proud to be her parents and barely remember life before Sophie.

Sophie is the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Therefore, you could safely say that everyone is a little obsessed with this tiny girl. Our parents have been immensely helpful from day one. She has grown very attached to her grandparents, aunts and uncles. We celebrated Sophie’s first birthday on December 13.

Josh continues to study at Harding Graduate School of Religion while working full time at Enterprise Property Management. After taking maternity leave, Brooke returned to her work at Highland Street Church of Christ. She feels blessed to work for and with people who allow her to be flexible now that she is a mother. Both of us are blessed to work with Christians who encourage us and support us.

Lastly, our lives have been forever changed, not only by the addition of Sophie to our family, but also by the addition of Ethiopia to our family’s heritage. Ethiopia is a beautiful country with a fascinating history and a rich culture. It also a land ravaged by poverty and disease. We can never erase from our minds the images of what we experienced in our short time there, nor would we choose to do so until the reality in that country has changed. This is now a part of our family’s story and we are compelled to tell you that the conditions in Ethiopia must change. We have humbly committed to being a proactive part of the solution. We would love for you to join us in that pursuit. One way you can do that is by supporting AHOPE. AHOPE is an orphanage in Addis Ababa where education, medical care, and a loving environment are provided to HIV-positive children who would have no access to these things on their own. We were able to spend a couple afternoons playing with the children at AHOPE and seeing the amazing work the staff there is doing, If you are interested in learning more about AHOPE, visit www.ahopeforchildren.org. If you are interested in knowing more about Ethiopia or adoption, just call us. We love to talk about either of those things.

May this be a wonderful Christmas for you and your family. May God’s blessing be upon you and may that same blessing be upon others through you.

Love to all,

Joshua, Brooke, and Sophie