life as we know it

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! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today is a day to acknowledge and celebrate all the men and women who have fought for and protected our freedoms. Thank you Nick, Dad and Grandpa for your sacrifices. Here are a few pictures to commemorate my favorite soldiers.

I had just arrived at the Frankfurt airport

My dad and Nick at the welcome home ceremony

Dad walking me down the aisle

Dancing with Grandpa

Grandpa at my DPT graduation dinner

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday was this past week and Nick and I spent the evening at Timberline Church. We really ended up choosing this church because of it's large population of adoptive and foster parents and the way in which they live the words of the Bible. Last week at the end of service, we were talking about how we couldn't wait to hear the following week's message. It was the first time in a while we were really excited for the next service and it was due to the subject matter being so dear to our hearts.

Timberline's event was great, as it was last year, although completely different. There were tables set up providing information regarding foster care, child sponsorship, adoption and all things in between. We all know we are to care for the orphans but we also recognize this doesn't mean everyone is called to adopt. There are so many ways to get involved and so many great ministries doing this work and Orphan Sunday at Timberline really showcased these opportunities well. Nick and I were excited we had the chance to meet a few of the representatives from the organization we're using for our home study (one of the many requirements for adoption), Hope's Promise. Because our adoption agency, Gladney Center for Adoption, is based in Texas and doesn't have a license to complete home studies in Colorado, we have to go with a local agency. Hope's Promise was the best option. They were so well-versed on the ins and outs of home studies for international adoptions for people like us who are using out-of-state agencies. We're excited to get started and the home study is the next step. I think that means I need to clean the house though...ekk.

The Orphan Sunday event was centered around a concert. In between songs, we heard stories from families who have fostered or adopted children and listened to the desperate need for families willing to step up to support and sponsor children. The main vocalist shared her personal story of how she came to adopt and the role it has played in her life. As most adoption stories are, this was a powerful reminder of the life changing event we are working towards. It was a great event to worship God and appreciate all we have been blessed with with a reminder of all those who don't have the same luxuries.

Check out more information on Orphan Sunday or at Cry of the Orphan.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I knew we would eventually start a blog. The task just seems so daunting! Creating a design that represents you and is visually pleasing (thanks, husband!), committing to writing frequently enough and writing interesting, worthwhile things to keep the readers engaged and checking back, not to mention wondering- who will read it anyway? We know it will all be a work in progress. All pressure aside, we’re excited to share some of us with you all and process the journey of our lives together.

Nick entered the military right after graduating high school and spent ten years between active and National Guard duty. He finished up just a month before we got married so after the wedding, we were assured there would be no more deployments. We were married on May 27, 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nick moved down to North Carolina where I was in school.

I graduated from University of Cincinnati with my Bachelors in Health Sciences and continued on to Duke University where I earned my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. A short ten days after graduation, I boarded a plane to spend two months living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, volunteering as a physical therapist in the government orphanages. I was so blessed to have this experience and know God used it to change me. I came home, excited to see my husband again, but devastated to leave the kids behind. Nick heard all the stories and saw all the pictures and it wasn’t long before he and I knew we would be called to adopt.

James 1:27 says this, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  While reaching out to orphans is something we are so excited about, it is also a daunting, sometimes scary process. So much paperwork, money for the process, and fear of the unknown makes it very overwhelming. We have to believe, however, that if God has called us to this place in our lives, He will provide the patience, the strength, the relentlessness and of course, the funds. Adoption just happens to the way God has called us at this time to fulfill His desire, and so we will follow by faith. So THANK YOU, for following our journey and being apart of our lives during the process of our Ethiopian adoption.