life as we know it

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

t-shirts are available!

Hey all! I know how much you've been anticipating the pictures of the REAL t-shirts, not some silly mock here they are!

Front of women''s a little more blue-gray in person

Back of women's

Front of men's

Who wouldn't want to buy a t-shirt from this guy?!

Back of men's

The women's sizes are running SMALL- order approximately two sizes up. If it doesn't work, we'll exchange it for a different size without a problem. We've already put in our second order!

What others are saying about the t-shirts...

"I do love it and it fits perfectly! I love that it's longer too, and so so soft!" "Super cute"

Jessie sporting her new shirt. She was our first t-shirt sale!
If you haven't ordered yours yet, click on the t-shirt PayPal link to the right on our blog. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bah Humbug?

This Christmas season is different for Nick and I. We both REALLY enjoy surprising each other with presents and in fact, enjoy choosing unique presents that we are more excited to see the other one open more than receiving presents ourselves. Sometimes this can make for a less-than-budget friendly Christmas season. Not to say that we get caught up in the giving of presents over reflecting on the birth of Jesus this time of year, but we do love sharing enthusiasm through gifts! Things have been very different for us these past few months. We have cut back on expenses across the board. We took a 14 day "fast" from spending money on food, eating only what was in our pantry at home, cut back on internet, cable and electric bills (the house stays at 60 degrees more often than not around here...bring a coat if you're coming to visit us this year! :) ), working extra jobs, coupon cutting and discount searching and generally going with less than we're used to. Has it significantly HURT us? Absolutely not. But we are so much more aware of what we spend and how we spend it. All of this, and of course, very strict Christmas present budgets. I have to begin by recognizing that I am working A LOT. Six to seven days a week a lot and am away from the house for work more than 60-70 hours a week (I know that may not be a lot to some, but it has been an adjustment for me). These long hours means that I didn't start my Christmas "shopping" (I use the term loosely because it can't really be compared to SHOPPING) until Friday. I wandered around a few stores and left pretty much empty handed. I was feeling defeated and depressed about not being able to afford presents I would love to buy to surprise Nick. I've never thought of myself as a huge Christmas consumer, but this had really lead me to question: is the Christmas season about buying presents to me?! Horrific and unimaginable- NO WAY! Or is it?! It certainly really has had me thinking and reflecting more about what Christmas really should be about and what should be filling me with joy, which is certainly not my measly Christmas shopping budget. I know there is such a deeper reason I am going through this season during well, this season (excuse the pun, not exactly intentional!). I am looking forward to that time when it all makes sense but now am just trusting that Nick and I find joy this Christmas in spending time with each other which will be better than any present that could be wrapped under the tree.

We have continued to move forward with the adoption process. The t-shirts have arrived and we LOVE them. We love the colors and the design. The sizing was a little surprising to us as the women's are running SMALL (which I knew they would because they are slim women's cut, but SMALL!) and we're adjusting a few orders because of it. If Nick were around I would have him take some pictures so we could model them for you, so until then, you'll just have to sit on the edge of your seats waiting in anticipation! :)

We hope you all are having the opportunity to reflect on the importance of Christmas and what it really means.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Destination: Ethiopia!

We cannot believe it's actually happening, but we are returning to Ethiopia...together!!!! I think the part that makes it official are the fact that the plane tickets that have already been booked. We leave the US on February 12, arriving in Ethiopia February 13. We're spending the first seven days in Dahley with the sweet Baer Family. We are going to be assisting with the distribution of 1,000 pairs of shoes to school children in this rural community and helping out wherever we can. We're then heading into the city of Addis for the remainder of the trip to work in the government orphanages providing physical therapy services, setting up and training caregivers with specific equipment and following up with some of the other projects we began on the first trip in 2009.

Although I'm not going to go into details, I am absolutely in awe of God's provision for us and this trip. It wasn't long after I returned from my first trip in Ethiopia that I knew I would hopefully be returning with some additional equipment and to provide more training to the caregivers. Nick has been such a support for me during the times when I was doubting what I thought we had been called to do. Literally, this story is one of absolute FAITH and trust. There is absolutely no way whatsoever things could have come together without God's hand being in every single step. All this just makes me excited to get further into the adoption process because we really believe all this is in our story, as well. More details to come about our upcoming trip :)

On the adoption front- Nick and I are getting close to being finished with our first round of paperwork for our homestudy agency! We are really excited!

Heading back to all these beautiful faces soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Virtual trunk show...NOW OPEN!

Hi friends! Shopping for Christmas presents can sometimes be a difficult task. So can fundraising. We've decided to merge the two and hope that you all love the Noonday Collection products as much as we do. We received a sample box of some of the beautiful jewelry, accessory and home items and boy am I in LOVE. Seriously, if you are looking to buy me a Christmas present, ask me about my wish list. My fabulous husband snapped some of these pictures during our trunk show (p.s. if you're in Colorado and are interested in stopping by to check out the items in person, let me know!).

This is absolutely one of my favorite pieces!

Bracelets made by a community in Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, India

Love these engraved cuff bracelets

Tagua seed earrings made in Ecuador

LOVE. Handknitted alpaca made in Peru

My FAVORITE. psst...this is sold by Anthropologie for a lot more!

Love this link scarf- so versitle

Drooling over these arm warmers and matching hats. Also handknitted in Peru.

Handmade by Huda in Lebanon.

Entire set of jewelry made by Embira seeds

This piece makes such a statement

Here's how to purchase: Go to Noonday Collection, select your favorite pieces and add them to your cart. When you checkout, type "Mortellite" in the "instructions to the merchant" section. Then, tell me how much you love the item you chose! Thanks for all your support and we hope those on your Christmas list (including yourself!) enjoy these beautiful pieces!

We are also SO excited to have our Noonday Collection fundraiser featured at Our Different Christmas. Go check it out!


Monday, December 6, 2010

As told by my husband and a few other tidbits...

Did I mention what wonderful friends and family we have? We really do have great people in lives. Like this one. Carrie and I have known each other for, dare I admit, 14 years! We met during middle school cheerleading.

I'm not even claiming which one is me. Can you tell? Well, sweet Carrie has posted about our journey and we are so grateful! I told Nick he had to write something GOOD for her blog. Of course, he did a wonderful job. It's not until things like this when I realize HE has a heart for adoption and orphans separate from me. I've never wanted to feel like this was a one sided thing and can I tell you, it is SO not. My husband is the most fiercely loyal and loving person I know and I am SO blessed to walk this road with him. How did I pull off such a great catch?! You know you picked a good one when your friends prefer his company over yours. It's okay, I can see where they are coming from. Okay, well if I keep talking like this, he's going to get a big head, so I'll leave you all with the fact that I love him deeply and that I hope all my friends can share a love like we have at some time in their lives.

This weekend was busy for both Nick and I working, but it was also a really fun weekend. Friday night, our favorite (and only, but still, they would be our favorite if we had ten neighbors!) neighbors came over for some Mario Kart on the Wii. I myself love the Wii but will always prefer a good old Nintendo Mario Kart battle over anything the Wii has to offer. After work Saturday (getting off much later than expected), we saw friends of Nick's (and mine, now!) that moved out to Colorado recently. Nick has climbed with Brian and Ang for years and they have some great memories together, but I'm excited about making some new memories out here in Colorado!

Wednesday is another day we're looking forward to! We are meeting a virtual friend! Wendy, of Adopted by Design, is in town visiting her family who just also happen to live in Loveland, Colorado. We have partnered with them to do some fundraising for our adoption (check out her stuff by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of our page- if you order, include "mortellite" for instructions with your order)! They're coming over Wednesday night for some dessert and Nick is pulling out all the stops with our favorite heath bar chocolate layer trifle thingy. If you're lucky, I'll remember to take a picture to share.

As always, thanks for sharing in our journey!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Water Works

Yikes, something is wrong with me today! The tears have sure been flowing, and for good reason I suppose. Let's put the pieces together. December 1st was World AIDS Day which helped raised awareness to HIV prevention and for people to take action to reduce prejudice against those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. I've been seeing some videos related to this topic and articles (like the one featured in People Magazine about Project Hopeful) but have been extremely busy with work, so I finally found some time today to catch up. Of course, click on one thing and it will lead to to another, and another, and another. Until I stopped on the following video. Although not related to World AIDS Day, this video touched me deeply. It's the story of the Wahlberg family who answered God's call to adopt. What I can say is that this family didn't just change the life of their little girl Bale, but have a story that will impact many, including me.

 Of course this hits home for me as Nick and I are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia, but this goes to a deeper level for me. See, one of the children in the orphanage I volunteered in was a boy with no physical impairments but significant cognitive deficits. He was always in a dress because he would go the bathroom at random times and the caregivers got tired of changing his clothes. He has a large scar on his face. The only phrase I ever heard him say was "be careful" as he repeated what he had heard me say. We were careful when he was around the babies because he tended to unintentionally be a little rough. But the joy of this child's dancing, oh the joy! I loved dancing around with him. I'm not sure how the beat of clapping sounded to him, but it usually initiated a contagious dance party that made everyone smile. He was called Mingi. I knew it was only a nickname, not his real name, but I had no idea. No idea what this meant or the depth this phrase has in Ethiopia. It meant he was a cursed child. And I called him this. Oh, hurt my heart. Ignorance is bliss? I beg to differ. I hope we can all embrace the idea of opening our eyes to the injustices of the world and do something. I hope you find as much joy in this child's dancing as I did. I just wish I knew his name.

These are a few of the best videos I have unfortunately; sorry for the orientation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

T-shirts are in!

We are excited to have finally finished the official design and color scheme for our t-shirts. Without further ado...!

Men's t-shirt - front

Men's t-shirt - back

Women's t-shirt - front

Women's t-shirt - back

Cost: T-shirts are $30, which includes shipping. There is an extra $1.50 for sizes 2XL and bigger.

Sizing: The men's t-shirts are your typical unisex sizing. The women's shirts are a women's fit, so they run small (order 1-2 sizes up). If you would like a 3XL, please e-mail us and let us know.

Exchanges: We'll do our best to exchange sizes for you if needed. Please be patient with us as we may be needing to wait for the next order to get your new size in.

Coloring: Men's shirts are a charcoal with grey print, while women's are indigo with white print.

Payment: There is a PayPal link to the right where you can select what t-shirt(s) you would like to add to your cart, then you continue through the checkout. This should be the most convenient and secure way to order your t-shirt. (Make sure you use the t-shirt PayPal link as opposed to the Donate link).

Orders will be placed when we receive at least 25 orders for women's and 25 for men's. This helps us keep costs down so please be patient with us.

Thanks for all of your support! We will never be able to thank you enough for helping us along this journey. E-mail us at with questions!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

                It was all planned out.  We would get ready and be out the door at 8 am sharp so we could get to Red Feather Lakes, buy our permit, and be the first ones out there with our saw to cut down a perfect Christmas tree.  Kelly and I were starting a new tradition and we were super excited to have a day-after-Thanksgiving, Christmas decorating bonanza.
                At about 6 am the alarm went buzz, my hand went directly to the snooze button, and my head went back into dream land.  That process repeated every five minutes for an hour!  You would think the annoyance of being woken up every five minutes would be enough to get us out of bed, but it was so warm and cozy under the blankets and so cold and bright out there in the real world.  Eventually we gave in to the relentless alarm and got moving.
                As we were collecting everything we would need I started thinking about the baby that would, one day be in our house.  Maybe all you parents out there can give me some insight, but it really seems like you would have to get up about five hours in advance to go anywhere.  All we had was ourselves, our dog, Duke, and a desire to be out of the house for an extended period of time to cut down a tree.  With those few things, it took us a full hour to collect all the pieces we needed from the packed lunch and drinks to the saw and the rope.  I really think we are in for an eye-opening experience!

                We weren’t the first ones out there, but I bet we walked the farthest to find the perfect tree. We ended up seeing a lot of Charlie Brown trees in our two hour search through the snow, but found the one that fit us best when it was all said and done.  All in all we were gone from the house for nine hours so I have a question for all you parents out there: What does it take to get out of the house with a baby?!  I would love to hear any funny or crazy stories about your adventures in parenting when it comes to planning a day away so leave us a comment and until then, Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Everybody loves a giveaway!

So as we've started this whole process, I've been trying to figure out what project could bring out my crafty side. I've thought about the idea of picking up sewing, knitting and crocheting. I don't have a sewing machine. And really, I probably don't even know how to sew a button on. Anyone interested in teaching me these skills? :)

So then I've been thinking how cool it would be to own one of these:

The Silhouette pretty much rocks. It makes tons of diverse things and the best part? I wouldn't have to learn anything new. Except how to operate it (that can't possibly be harder than someone trying to teach me to sew, can it?). Fast forward to blogs I read. I've been loving some of the projects found at Shanty2Chic and am looking forward to trying some for Christmas. They're doing a giveaway for the Silhouette. Um, yes please! No seriously, go check out their blog and get some great ideas for handmade projects of your own. And if you enter the giveaway and win the machine, you should split it with me :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas before Thanksgiving?

I have had the Christmas bug for a few weeks now. It's coming a little early for me because I'm typically a firm believer in no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving. I just called the ranch where Nick and I are planning to go Christmas tree cutting this year and asked about bringing the pup on Friday. Although dogs are allowed, she recommended we come before Friday because of how packed they will be that day. EKK. Does that mean we will be cutting our tree down...gasp...before Thanksgiving?! Not sure Nick and I can make it up any earlier than when we were planning, but perhaps we'll give it a thought. Most of our Christmas decorations were purchased the day after Christmas last year when everything was 50% off, so I'm excited to use some things that have been packed up for almost a year now. Think Nick will be interested in Christmas decorating when he gets home from work?! I suppose we'll see. We'll post some pictures once we're all finished! For now, here are pictures of Christmas past.

Dad and Kira's Christmas tree in Ohio 2005
Christmas 2005 in Ohio
Christmas 2006 in Nick's barracks in Germany
Christmas in the barracks after I arrived!
UNC OR Christmas Party 2007 in North Carolina
Christmas 2007 in our North Carolina apartment
Christmas 2008 in Las Vegas - the view from our room at the Bellagio
Christmas morning in the Bellagio 2008
Room service Christmas morning 2008
Christmas 2009 in Colorado
Christmas tree 2009
I guess I didn't realize how transplanted we've been since we met...five Christmases in four different states and two different countries. I'm looking forward to many years here in Loveland making our own annual traditions. What are your Christmas traditions? What do you look forward to most this time of year?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Until then

I can't wait until this is my daily reality...

*none of these children are who nick and i are adopting. they are some of the kids i was so blessed to spend my time with when i was on my first trip to ethiopia.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Now?

Knowledge is a great thing right? I mean most of us spend a great deal of money and time trying to acquire knowledge through schooling, travel, or through the counsel of our older and wiser friends and family. We strive to know about the world around us, but when we gain some of that knowledge, what do we do with it? Kelly and I are at a stage in our lives where we have been confronted with some new information about our increasingly small world and we’ve asked ourselves the question: what now?
What we’ve learned has come from a combination of research and Kelly’s first-hand experience in Ethiopian orphanages. She had the chance, as many of you know, to spend two months in the capitol city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working as a physical therapist directly with the children of the government run orphanages. Kelly’s job wasn’t just to help children, but also to educate their caregivers on better ways to take care of the children or “kiddos” as she calls them. Things like ensuring the kiddos get out of their cribs and spend time outside in the sun light were foreign ideas to some caregivers. They are so understaffed that spending time with each child throughout the day isn’t a possibility. Children often feed themselves with a bottle and there simply aren’t enough hands to pick every child up every day.
The knowledge Kelly gained from working with kids that don’t get picked up, don’t get to see the sunlight, and feed themselves on their backs (leading to aspiration) is that they are almost all developmentally delayed. In most cases, with enough care, these children could come around and “catch up” to any other kiddo their age, but the reality is that most cases get worse rather than better. The pictures and videos Kelly sent home definitely had some eye-opening moments for me and a bigger reality hit both of us as we learned more about the magnitude of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. This link will take you to a video made by the Gladney Center for Adoption and you will see some amazingly awful numbers and some beautiful children:   
So what now?
Now that we know there are over six million orphans in one country what do we do with that knowledge? Do I pretend I didn’t see the part of the video that said twelve percent of six million children will die before they are five years old? Let’s pretend something else. Let’s pretend I was good at math (a stretch I know!) because numbers this big don’t seem real to people like me on the other side of the world. 12% of 6 million is 720,000. If that number is still too far out there let’s think about a football stadium. My team, painfully, is the Cincinnati Bengals and their stadium holds over 65,000 people so you would have to line up ELEVEN Bengals stadiums filled to capacity along the Ohio River to match the number of orphans that will die in Ethiopia before they are five years old. 
Multiply by eleven, then imagine all of those people gone. That's the number of orphans that won't make it to their 5th birthday in Ethiopia.
So what now? Something! Just do something is the thought screaming through my head when I try and understand this massive problem. Of course it is too big for my wife and I to tackle by ourselves, but we don’t feel that’s what we are called to do. Kelly and I are confident we have been given a chance to gain this knowledge so that we can simply do something. For us that something is adoption and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Earlier I asked if knowledge really is a great thing. If you can turn it into wisdom by applying it to your life, then I say yes, knowledge is a great thing!
Kelly was given a fantastic opportunity that turned into a love for the people of Ethiopia and when she brought that love home with her it was infectious. The passion she showed and the desperate desire to return to help as much as we can was passed to me and I’m so grateful. As we learn we are continuously faced with the simple question of “what now?”  The best answer we can come up with is, just love.
I really hope you get a chance to watch that video I linked to earlier because Kelly actually got to work with some of those kiddos! I also want to thank whomever is out there reading this and keeping us in your thoughts. Please shoot us a comment if you have any questions or just want to say hi.
Nick & Kelly

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We got blogged!

Woohoo! We just got blogged. Establishing a blog takes some time and we're excited about each connection we make. Check us out here!

Support us along the way...

As you may have caught on, we're really excited to begin this journey. This process is overwhelming for a number of reasons, but we absolutely believe the end goal will be so worth it. We would love for you to consider purchasing items that will directly support our cause. Browse through our fund raising ideas and buy items for yourselves or as Christmas gifts for others; it's a great and easy way to get everyone crossed off your list!

Here are a few things we're working on...

Purchase your Christmas cards, announcements or have some custom stationary created with part of the proceeds supporting our adoption. Visit Adopted by Design to pick out something perfect for this holiday season. Just let Wendy know you'd like to support the Mortellite family with your purchase.

Everyone loves a great t-shirt! We are working on finalizing t-shirts, but here is a quick preview of where we're headed with them. Stay tuned for updated pictures, color schemes, and information!

Front of women's t-shirt (We are thinking about a v-neck!)

Back of women's t-shirt

Front of men's t-shirt - of course it will actually be a picture of Africa!

Back of men's t-shirt

Check back soon for the updated t-shirt designs!

Get your day started right with a great cup of fair-trade Ethiopian coffee! Ethiopia is said to be the birthplace of coffee and in my experience they produce, by far, the most amazing coffee. Just Love Coffee sells Ethiopian blends in addition to a few other items. By clicking on the Just Love Coffee link, you'll be directed to our online store where you can buy items and check out from there. Not only is it great coffee, but it's called Just Love! What are the chances?!

Contact me at for details on purchasing items to support us!