Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

...poor Jingle. He was trying to help us with our lights (the top 1/3 of our tree is out...ugh!). But, the giant tree proved to be too big of a task! Love you for trying Jingle!

Tonight's task...dinner by candlelight and decorate the tree! Can't wait!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard...

We found Jingle sitting in a basket of toys this morning. Apparently, one of his main jobs at the North Pole is to inspect the toys...he just couldn't help himself!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Horse Open Sleigh...

I think Jingle might be missing home just a bit. We found him this morning in one of our sleigh decorations. That seemed to cheer him up pretending to ride through the snow. In today's letter Jingle (Santa's favorite elf, apparently) told the kids he would have a surprise word search waiting for them. He made a special one for each of them. Max's uses Thomas the Train words, Abby's is princesses and Madison's is Harry Potter. All things they are each currently "in to".

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Present From Jingle...

This morning we found Jingle sitting on a present under the Christmas tree. His letter told us to wait to open the present until after school, but some naughty children couldn't wait and opened the present before reading the letter all the way though. He understood their excitement though and promised not to tell Santa.

We had a fun little Jenga party today. It seems like Jingle knows just what we need to get the Christmas excitement going in our house!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fitting Right In...

Jingle has already made some new friends. We found him this morning just chatting away with all our Christmas toys. They had some stories to swap I'm sure! I probably should warn them to sleep with one eye open though, I hear Santa's elves can be a bit mischievous.

Our activity for today was to make some yummy s'mores at Paw Paw's fire pit. I won't tell you what Jingle told us marsh mellows really were...but maybe you can guess! Being from the North pole and all, he would know!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

That Silly Jingle...

We woke up this morning to find poor Jingle stuck in a box of cereal. He said he just wanted some breakfast but couldn't quite figure out how to get the cereal out of the box. I bet he thinks twice before doing that again! :)

Today, Jingle wanted us to decorate our house. He said it just doesn't feel like home to him without Christmas decorations everywhere. So, we got down the boxes (about 12 or so) of decorations, turned up the music and had ourselves a house decorating party! It isn't completely finished, but it looks oh so much better! Thank you Jingle for getting us going!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jingle the Elf...

We had a visitor last night. His name is Jingle the Elf. He was hiding in our house. Apparently Santa thought we might need a little elf making sure we really should be on the nice list. He left us a letter to read this morning telling us he's got some fun stuff planned for our family until Christmas, when he has to go back with Santa to the North Pole. When the kids woke up this morning they found him on the rocking horse. He said as soon as he found out Santa was sending him to Texas he knew he would have to ride in on a horse. I haven't figured out his personality yet, but I think he might be a little mischievous. I can tell he has a good heart though! In his letter he told us our first activity is for each Koceich kid to make a paper chain with 22 links to count down the days until Christmas. So, we are on it!! Sooo excited to have Jingle here! We'll be sure to let you know what he's up to!

Thanksgiving Memories...

Wow...Thanksgiving came and went like a flash! I think I am so consumed with work as it is nearing the end of my busy season (I'm almost there!!) that life speeds by from October-December! I did slow down for a couple days to enjoy time with family! Wednesday we had my dad's famous lasagna (oh so good) and Thursday back to Dad's for a big traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal. This year the Thurmans and Vincents (James' family) were there which meant lots of cousins time. Friday night was my turn. We hosted about 20 people for a delicious ham dinner. Everyone brought a dish and I added some Ethiopian tibs(kind of like a beef fajita dish) with a little too much Berbere(an Ethiopian spice we brought back) and injera (an Ethiopian flat bread), mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing and two caramel apple pies. I love cooking for everyone for Thanksgiving. We have oh so many blessing to be thankful for!! Our evening ended with some awesome Uncle Joey time! He's the best uncle ever!!

** I wish I had taken more people pictures but I went into hostess mode as soon as everyone showed up and forgot to snap pictures!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


One year ago today, I was sitting at my computer editing pictures and the phone rang. I almost didn't answer it because it was a long distance number I didn't recognize. We had received our "on deck" email just 2 1/2 weeks before and were expecting to wait 1-3 months before receiving a referral so I was trying to stay busy and not be too anxious every time the phone ring. I don't know what made me answer the phone because I really wasn't thinking it would be the referral, but I did and sweet Terra's voice (our agency representative) was on the other end. As soon as she told me who it was I knew and I was one crazy emotional lady. After a brief panic about what to do since Matt and the kids were all at school I asked Terra if I could gather them all and call her back. We had talked about all being there to see his face for the first time but hadn't actually made a plan.
After getting off the phone I jumped in the car to start gathering kids. I called Matt and told him to find a way to come home and to pick up Abby on his way. I wonder if I was even coherent when I picked up Max and Madison? I don't think my heart stopped pounding for the hour or two between Terra's phone call and the time I would actually see my son's face for the first time.
We got home and set up the video camera so we could video our reactions to seeing him for the first time. We wanted to show him some day just how much we longed for him and how overjoyed we were knowing that the little boy we were seeing for the first time would be ours...a gift from God.
We were all situated and we called Terra back and it went to her voicemail...ahhhh.
So we left a message and waiting maybe 30 minutes or so. She called back with all the details she knew about our precious boy. He was four months old at the time. The rest of the story is his to tell.
During the phone call Terra sent the email with his picture. I am so grateful that I video taped it. I was so emotional seeing his face for the first time I wasn't even aware of the rest of the family. Going back and seeing the video later was so emotional. Especially sweet Abby was overjoyed and overcome with emotion. I must figure out how to post it...check back!

After that referral day we would be assigned a court date for December 24th. We passed court on the first try (more about that day on the anniversary) and traveled to pick up our precious boy in February.

Here is the blog post Matt wrote on this day last year...

Sweet Sam,

I can't describe to you how much you have changed our lives for the better. You have brought us to a deeper level of understanding God's amazing love for us and the lengths He goes through to bring us home!! You have given us a perspective on the world and opened our eyes to realities that have been hard to see, but at the same time have given us a compassion for others and a purpose. You are so loved and adored and make us smile every day!

I love you so much. I get the giggles just watching you walk around and explore and study everything. I can already tell at this young age that you want to understand everything around you. You are a communicator and you love making everyone smile and laugh. I am grateful for you and so exciting to see what God's plans are for your life...I know they will be amazing!!


Sunday, October 31, 2010


...from the most adorable reggae musician, rock star, hippie and T-Bird you've ever seen!!! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Blessings of a Broken Heart...

God is teaching me to be obedient when it doesn't make sense. I am a slow-learner and extremely task-oriented and logical so this doesn't compute easily with me, but He is persistent. I am in the middle of my busy season, and by busy I mean REALLY busy (which is a blessing by the way). So, I shrugged off God's tug to write this post, but he keeps tugging and I finally listened. I don't think this post is about me telling you something you should understand, know, do, think or feel. That's between you and God. It's about me recognizing and focusing on what He is saying to me.

Since we began the process of adoption from Ethiopia, God has been opening my eyes outside of my own little world. With the process came a network of friends who have a heart for orphans. Friends who have traveled to Ethiopia and have a global reality, who have seen face to face people who are starving or sick or who have no access to clean water. People who have nothing yet would give you their last bit of food to show you hospitality if they could. God had me read "The Whole in our Gospel" and "Radical", books that gave me eyes to see the world as God must see it. Many of his children living in excess, spoiled with their toys and mindlessly whining about their problems with no grasp that their fellow human beings and brothers and sisters in Christ are going days without food, water or suffering from preventable, curable and treatable illnesses with no hope because they don't have access to a doctor or medicine.

I am that spoiled, whining child. God has shown me so clearly how wrapped up in me I am. He has broken my heart over this and I am so grateful. My heart needed breaking. I want it to continue breaking. Because with a broken heart I must rely on Jesus.

He came into this broken world and through His death He brought healing. Because of Him one day I won't live in a broken place anymore. But, that's not the only reason He came. The gospel isn't just about Him saving me, it's about Him using my life to love and care for others. His plan isn't for sickness, starvation and hopelessness. His plan is for His people to be His hands and feet.

What exactly does that look like for me? I don't know but I pray that He continues to break my heart for the things that break his and that He teaches me to listen and be obedient even when it doesn't make sense.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The State Fair of Texas

Going to the State Fair of Texas has become a tradition! We are becoming pros at finagling our way through the crowds to hit our usual route. We did great this year except for missing the dog show. They closed the doors early because it was full! It was beautiful weather and a fun and delicious day!!

*** perfectionist photographer's disclaimer...these are not fully edited! :)

Sam's first State Fair...he wasn't so sure about all these people everywhere!

First stop...the giant indoor sandbox. Sam didn't like how the sand felt on his feet so he observed just outside the box.

Now that's some Texas Sized cotton candy!

Our favorite stop is the Little Farmers Farm. They get to pick fruit, plant seeds, milk a cow, ride a tractor out to the fields to feed the cattle and more. At the end they turn in eggs, milk, corn, wool and more to get paid for their labors and buy a treat at the store! Really a well run exhibit!!

onto the rides. They each got to pick one ride with our tickets and Nani took them on a ride with her. Max couldn't resist the first BIG CAR he came too!

and Abby, of course, made a fast friend on her airplane ride.

Madison picked the loud music ride. No idea what it is called, but boy was it loud!

Max needed a little carry/snuggle time with daddy by the end of the day!

That is one tired baby!

But, we still must go out with a bang. Funnle cake complete with powdered sugar and chocolate syrup! Can you say tummy ache???

A tuckered out kid is the best judge of what a fabulous day we had!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sweet and Sassy...

Poor Abby's birthday falls right at the beginning of my busy season. I totally forgot to blog about my sweet, precious girl!!!


At seven this phrase "Sweet and Sassy" fits you perfectly! You are all things glamour and fashion. You love clothes, jewelry, lip glass, hair clips etc., etc. etc. Paw Paw took you shopping for your birthday. You hadn't seen the inside of the mall since you were a baby and he said the gasp you let out when you saw Dillard's was telling!! You will be an unapologetic fashionista, I am sure of it! You definitely have lots of Sassy to go with that Sweet. You are working hard on your behavior, but sometimes that urge to just "do" whatever it is your not supposed to do wins. I am sure God gave you that spunk for a specific purpose. It will accomplish good and further God's kingdom in some awesome way!!

I love you sweet, seven-year-old sassy girl!! You are my JOY!!!!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Koceich Happenings...

Time for a Koceich Kiddos Update...

You are really enjoying 6th grade and your teachers this year! We've only had two weeks of school but so far so good!
You are still enjoying swim and have a meet (your second so far) coming up at the end of this month. You're nervous about that, but I think with each meet you'll get more and more comfortable. You've moved up to the Bronze level of swimming. I think this is now your third level since you started swim about a year ago.
You and Sam are developing a special bond. I knew you would. You are so loving and a natural nurturer and he's young enough to not really get on your nerves. LOL
You are really searching and wondering about the TRUTHS of God. I think you worry that your supposed to understand it all, but we've talked alot about just asking God to reveal who He is to you and taking the time to listen, pray and read and understand His word. I love that you don't just accept what you're told, but need to know and understand for yourself! I pray for a peaceful heart and a greater knowledge of and love for God than you could ever imagine!!

You are sugar and spice and everything nice FOR SURE! You love your 1st grade teacher, you love school, you love clothes and accessories, you love life!! Your spunk still gets you in trouble often, but it's what makes you the you that we all love so much!! You are still in gymnastics and really enjoying it. You've talked about trying something new, but we're having you stick with gymnastics for a least a little while longer. We were able to convince you that if you stuck with it you could possibly be like the Olympic gymnasts. When you remembered they were on TV for all the world to see you were convinced it was a good idea! Oh, I just know you will make quite a mark on the world!!!

Cute as a button, sweet as honey! You were blessed to get the awesome kindergarten teacher that Abby had last year. I was certain she would be so impressed with how well-behaved you are...well...two weeks and two squiggly faces later...
Actually, you are so wonderfully well behaved and when you've gotten the squiggly faces you've felt awful about it, but it turns out you just LOVE to talk, talk, talk! You don't have one spiteful bone in your body so we'll work on the talking but at the same time count our blessings for what a sweetie pie you are!!
You are still as enamored by trains as ever! Thomas the train is a topic of conversation most days. It's so cute to see how excited you get about anything to do with trains!

Sweet, funny Sam. Your little personality is flourishing! When your brothers and sisters are home you are just giddy. You spent most of this morning bouncing on your knees or doing a little spin maneuver we call "break-dancing" and just being in general loud and happy! You still mean business when it comes to food. If you see anyone eating then you MUST eat too! You have the thighs to prove it. You are getting better at giving us the hungry sign instead of just screaming. We're working on portion control and you're much better at stopping when you're full! I'm sure it takes a while to retrain thoughts. I'm sure you began life having feelings of true starvation and those memories are strong and hard to forget! We are so thankful to have you in our family! You keep us smiling and thankful!!