Grace has arrived. She came through the doors to meet her sobbing grandparents, uncle, and aunts. She is the most adorable baby ever. Grace smiled and didn't fuss from being passed around to all of us. She is very happy and healthy. She likes to smile and coo. She is so sweet. I think that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I thought I was in love before....

Andy and Emily are naturals. I got goosebumps watching them interact with their daughter. There is already so much love and family unity within the three of them. I am honored that they allowed me to take part in a little of that.

There is more to come...
but for now, I have to get back to the fourth grade nothing!

Uncle Joe. Bonding! Posted by Picasa
The most beautiful girl in the world! Posted by Picasa
Our first look at Grace Hodson. Posted by Picasa
Grace and her Mommy! Posted by Picasa


Email from Africa

Please forgive me, Andy and Emily, for not getting permission to post this email, but it would be almost impossible to reach you right now. I feel like all those who love and care for you are dying for some news from Africa. I am going to go ahead and post the email that they sent to the family today. They are happy and healthy (after some curve balls). Only a few more days until they touch down in Chicago. It seems like we have been waiting forever. I love you guys, please get home safely.


This will be quick and to the point...sorry, but the email here has been gone for days and could be here only shortly.
Grace, Emily, and I are now a family. We have all the paperwork and visas to prove it. We had the coffee ceremony today so that the kids could say good-bye. We all cried. Grace seems healthy and happy, she is spending the night with us tonight for the first time. We will see how it goes.
Emily became very ill on Monday night. She handled it wonderfully...I know from experience that is not easy to be sick in Africa...so far from home and help. She couldn't keep anything in her for 3 days...but she just kept drinking fluids to hold her ground. She lost a significant amount of weight. But, she feels 100% now, is eating normally, and really happy. DO NOT WORRY! She made a full recovery...Thanks to the Z-pac, a pediatrician from Florida, lots of Gatoraid, and Emily's wonderful attitude.
Ryan and Heather have been wonderful. Not only helping us...but other kids and families as well. We are so glad to have the assistance.
I can't tell you how happy we are. Grace's face lights up when she sees us. She is drooling and gurgling to beat the band. We have been overwhelmed by the hospitality of the staff, the companionship of the other families, and the generosity of spirit shown by all in such a stressful and emotional time. We will be very glad to touch down in Chicago...but, we will also know how valuable this time here was. The people in Grace's Ehtiopian life love her has hard and true as you can imagine. It has been a honor to meet them.
Our love to all of you. We will see you on Monday (I confirmed the flights and all seems on track at this point).

Peace, Andy and Emily and Grace


Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing....

And so it begins.....Finally I start student teaching. Tomorrow is my first official day as a student teacher. So far I have been going to my classroom on Fridays, but now I start to take over some responsibilities. My first task is to organize a reading group. I chose I book called "Whipping Boy," by Sid Fleischman. I am really excited about it. Joe and I went out to Old Navy and bought my first "first day at school" outfit. I had a lot of fun.

Andy and Emily are still in Africa. I went over to wish them a safe trip last Wednesday. They were really excited (of course) and a little nervous about everything (who wouldn't). They met Grace on Saturday, and have this whole week to bond with her. They are also meeting her extended family on Wednesday. They will be flying into Chicago on Monday evening. Joe and I and grandparents Hodson are going to drive up to the airport to greet them as they get off the plane. What a week this is going to be. I can't believe this time is actually here.

Joe is doing wonderful. He had a break from playing out this weekend. He seemed to enjoy himself. His band is looking for a new lead singer if anyone is interested. I am sure he would love to talk to you about it.

Well, I am off to a MaryKay meeting, then hopefully to sleep so I can be ready for the fourth grade tomorrow.



The Hodsons Like Never Before!

I can't believe that the time is nearing for Grace's homecoming. The Hodsons spent Sunday evening together to celebrate Amy's 22nd birthday. This would be the last time that our family would be without Grace. I posted a picture of all of us. I can't waite to post a new Hodson family picture. I wanted to write to thank everyone who donated items to the orphanage. Andy and Emily filled six large duffel bags full of supplies that are going to be well appreciated in Ethiopia. They received so much, that I think they will still have to send some to the adoption agency here in the United States because they can't carry it all. I am so proud to have such wonderful family and friends who go above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you.

I also have great news. I have been honored to be able to take care of Grace for six weeks after Emily's maternity leave ends. It just happens to end the same week I am finished student teaching. So, I get to have a crash course in baby care needs and watch Grace until Andy and Emily's summer vacation starts. I am really excited. I feel so lucky to be given this chance to be with my niece.

Joe and I are doing well. This week is Hell week for me with school, as it is the last week of school until I start student teaching. I have four major assignments due this week, and in true Kathy form, I have procrastinated on them until today. Needless to say, I should stop typing and start working on my homework.




Preparing for Grace.

Emily packing up donations for Horizon House in Ethiopia!

Andy showing off all the generous donations after they

have been packed away!

The Hodson Clan. (sans Grace)


What a Week!

This past week has found both Joe and I sick. Joe, luckily, didn't have to miss work. I, however, missed school for the first time in a while. I feel better now, and just in time. I only have two more weeks of classes before I start student teaching, and there is a heck of a lot of school work for me to do in the next couple of weeks. It also decided to snow this week. I wouldn't really care, but I keep thinking about my mom, dad, and sister hanging out in Hawaii this week, and I get a little jealous. I hope they have great weather.

Andy and Emily leave on the 16th for Ethiopia. They are planning on returning on the 27th. Only a few more weeks to go in order to meet this very special addition to our family. I am so glad that there is finally a date. I think that seeing the picture and not knowing when they could pick her up was really hard on Andy and Em. I wish I was going to be there to see Grace when she first meets her mom and dad, but I am thankful that they will not be alone. Their good friends Ryan and Heather are going to be there with them. I will hopefully be able to post pictures soon.

Well, that's the update for now!


Baby Grace is coming home!

I thought that I would post a email that Grandma Hodson sent out to the family. I think that it pretty much sums up what the rest of the family is feeling after hearing the fantastic news that our little one is coming home!

Hello to all!!
Emily and Andy's phone rang today!!. The meeting to finalize everything in Ethiopia has been scheduled for February 20th. They will leave a few days before that. They hope to bring baby Grace home by the end of the month. I was too excited to ask further details other than "Can you come home on the 21st?" Answer was "a few days later mom". Now, I begin to pray for their safe trip and hopes for a loving, peaceful transition through out their stay.

Grandma Maureen