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We are the Ducommuns! There are 4 of us now-Craig, Laura, Zamara, and now Mahashavah, our 1 year old son. We adopted Zamara from Ethiopia in 2008. Our son is also from Ethiopia and we are hoping to bring him home soon. We live Flagstaff Arizona. We are so glad you found us. Take a look around and don't forget to leave us a message.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Zamara helps around the house

Merry Christmas everyone.  We are getting ready to leave for our Christmas in Oregon.  We have so many things to remember to pack now that we have a baby.  Of course, the last I checked, there were stores in Oregon if we happen to forget anything.  

We are very excited to go, but are also anxious since this will be Zamara's first big trip since coming home from Ethiopia.  Please pray for our trip.  

Zamara also had some immunizations on Monday.  They were ones that leave bruises and make the babies a little sick.  Every since Monday she hasn't been sleeping well at all.  Naps have been the worst, but she has been also waking up several times at night.  We are both very tired and hpe to get Zamara back on track soon. 

On a positive note, Zamara is healthy and doing great.  She is in the 70% for weight, height, and head size.  She can turn pages of books as we read them, clap her hands, show us how big she is, crawl, stand holding onto furniture, and show us where her mouth is.  She seems to do something new each day.  It is nice to know she is thriving so well (even if her naps aren't so good!) in our care.  That is always a worry when you adopt a baby.  

We also have this little video we took this morning.  I was doing laundry and Zamara wanted to help.  Craig videotaped the very end, but Zamara helped unload the entire dryer.  It was so cute and it show how well she is standing and responding to our commands.  

Again we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas,


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Loch Ness

I had no idea Laura and I made so many references to the Loch Ness monster. Please be assured we will try to limit those for only truly special occasions in the future.

Zamara Meets Santa

Hello Everyone! We have so much going on and so much to share. Zamara is now crawling. We have tried to catch it on video, but that is like trying to get the Lock Ness Monster on video! We will keep trying, though. Keep checking in over the next week and hopefully we can post a video.

We also took Zamara to get pictures with Santa last week. She loved Santa! She was not scared of him at all. She just sat there and giggled at him the whole time. Of course, everyone at the "North Pole" was in love with her--probably because she was one of the only babies that didn't cry on Santa's lap...well that and she looked adorable in her Christmas dress (Thank you Gilder family for the gift!).

We have been busy with work and church. Craig has been working hard on our annual Christmas production. It will be over this week, so Craig's schedule should open up a little bit after that. Oh wait, then we have Christmas Eve services to plan...well, I guess it is just a busy time of year.

We are having a babysitter watch Zamara this Friday night so Craig and I can go out on a "date". It is the only the 2nd time we have allowed someone else to put her to bed since she arrived home in August. I can't believe we haven't been out on a date in almost 4 months! We are very excited to have a few hours with one another. We know Zamara will be fine. Like most new parents, it has just taken some time to feel comfortable allowing others to watch her.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Zamara has learned how to clap

Zamara recently learned how to clap.  Last week we would have to show her how to clap before she would do it  on her own.  Now she can clap when we ask her to.  So check out this short little video clip...

Season's Greetings!

Season's Greetings.....What does that mean anyway?  That phrase just annoys me.  What ever happened to Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving?  Season's Greetings is like someone saying "regards" to you.  Who says that?  

Ok, boy, I just got so excited there.  

My younger sister and parents were here for Thanksgiving over the past few days.  All of them have left over the last 24 hours so I thought I would go ahead and talk trash about them now that they are gone....Ok, here it goes....My little sister---man, could she be any more perfect?  She is like the most amazing person I have ever known.  I have no idea what happened to her but she is one of the nicest, kindest and most godly people I have ever known.  Seriously, if you haven't met her your life is not complete.  

And then there's my parents.  They really love their family.  They always make an effort to see us (even before we got them a beautiful granddaughter!).  I really appreciate all the times they have come down to see us in Flagstaff.  I am sure their trips will become even more frequent now that Zamara is here.  Posted above this are a few pics of our time together.  I think, at times, Grandma and I were having a competition for who could take the most pix.  I'm pretty sure I won...

Oh, I almost forgot.  We ate a whole bunch of M&M's brand chocolate candies.  And we ate at a restaurant named "Wendy's" but did not have a milkshake named a "Frosty".   (You had to be there)

Wow, this is getting long.  The most important part of this post is that I finally got a picture of Zamara's "poo face".  This has been like getting a picture of the Loch Ness monster but I finally got it.   Her eyes watering up, a constipated smile look.  It's hard to describe.  I am guessing you will be able to pick out the pic I am referring to.  That will be our little game for this post.  Pick out the pic  from the ones above that is Zamara's "poo face".  Hint:  It's the first picture.

Season's Greetings!  

Craig, Laura and Zamara

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stuff and things

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to post a few recent pix for you all. One is of Zamara wearing a sweater that my daughter's mother's sister's husband's mother made. It's very cute and has the cutest buttons ever. Each button is a sheep and there are little strings that look like sheep legs hanging from each button. The other pix are of our trip to Sedona today with Laura's sister Andrea. We've had a great time with Andrea. We'll miss her. Next up is my family coming for Thanksgiving. My mom, dad and both sisters will be here. It should be a whole big barrel of fun! After that we travel to Oregon to visit Laura's family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nighttime sleep issues

Hello everyone!  We have been very busy.  I begin work in 1 week.  I can't believe my 3 month maternity leave is coming to an end.  

Zamara has been working on cutting her 2 front teeth the last couple weeks. That has put her in quite a cranky mood lately.  She is the most cranky in the middle of the night.  Last night was one of the worst for us.  She woke up at 1:45am and kept us up and down until 4:30am crying.  We tried everything, Ibuprofen, diaper change, rocking her to sleep, singing, a small bottle, etc...nothing worked! At 4:30 Craig and I both decided to just let her "cry it out".  We closed her bedroom door, closed our door, turned off the baby monitor, put in earplugs, and went back to sleep!  We turned on the monitor briefly at 5:15am and all was quiet. We didn't turn on the monitor again until 7:30am.   She was awake and crying just slightly.  I went in and she seemed like the usual old Zamara. Smiling and happy (although a little extra tired all day) So I am guessing she slept for at least part of the time we had the monitor off.  

All of this may not seem like a big deal, but this was the FIRST time we have let her cry it out before.  To be honest, I cried a little bit last night too.  It was hard to just let her cry!  People have been encouraging us to do this when she doesn't want to sleep at night.  Up to this point, we just haven't been ready to do it yet.  Since she was adopted we worried that she really didn't know if we were going to come back or not.  At this point, though, she has bonded very well with us and I don't think we need to worry about that issue so much.  

Friends and family have encouraged us all day.  After Craig went into work today I went over to our friend Brian and Debbie's house for breakfast.  I told them the whole saga from the night before.  They were so encouraging that we did the right thing.  I cried a little bit before breakfast at their house too!

Hopefully tonight will be a good night.  If not, I feel like I may have a little more confidence to allow her to cry herself back to sleep.  

Well that is what has been going on lately.  Not too exciting for most people, but it has been a big deal to us.  

I hope everyone had a good halloween. We will be posting some more pictures soon.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Fun!

This weekend we got ready for Halloween.  We "helped" Zamara carve her very first pumpkin. Well, she thought it was interesting for about 2 minutes and then Laura spent the next 1/2 hour carving the pumpkin while Craig entertained our daughter.  It turned out pretty cute.  The close up picture was Craig trying different settings on our camera.  She looks so beautiful in this picture, we just had to add it to the blog.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

We have been working on this video since we arrived home from Ethiopia.  We wanted to share some of Zamara's history with all of you...and hopefully for her when she is old enough to understand. We know very little of Zamara's background, however  we feel so blessed to have her as a part of our lives.  Craig and I prayed that God would prepare the right little girl for our family.  And He did!  I hope this video gives you a little insight into who she is and where she came from.  (It is a little long, but worth it.  Let us know if it is too long to process on your computer.  We hope everyone can watch it)

blessings,  Laura

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snowbowl pix

Like any good, law-abiding Flagstaff family we were obligated to take our new baby up to Snowbowl to try and get some cute family pix amongst the changing Aspens.  Well, the changing Aspens part didn't really work out but I think we at least got a few cute family pix.  Enjoy!  CLICK ON THE PIX TO MAKE THEM BIGGER--ESPECIALLY THE THIRD ONE--MUCH FUNNIER WHEN BLOWN UP!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I promised more video and here it is.  Zamara loves to play Peek-A-Boo.  She is genuinely surprised each time--which is really quite impressive since we play it probably 7 times a day. Zamara was at the top of the stairs (I was working on laundry as you can see in the background) and Craig crept up the stairs to play peek-a-boo.  She got quite a kick out of it.  I love the surprised look on her face each time.  Of course,  she also looks so cute in just her diaper (or as our friend's daughter, Alana, calls it "maked").

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sorry it's been so long...

Hi everyone!  Sorry it has been so long since our last post.  We have been busy.  My mom came back down to Flagstaff to visit for a week.  I was feeling lonely and needed a little help with Zamara.  She was amazing!  I wish she could have stayed longer.  She helped me a lot and I miss her.

Zamara is doing great.  She had her first immunizations last week.  She did fine but got a little sick from the Flu shot, but nothing too bad.  She is growing like crazy and does new things each day.  She is right on track for a 7 month old.  Her hair continues to fill in.  I cannot wait until it is long enough to really have fun with.  

She loves to eat whatever we put in front of her.  Last night she tried pasta for the first time--real grown up food.  She is also learning how to feed herself which is pretty funny to watch.  We shot this little video of her trying to feed herself yesterday and thought you might enjoy it.  

We have some more video and pictures but we will save it for another day.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

First Tooth!

The Title pretty much explains it there...

New Pix

Here are some pix from the last week or so. Enjoy!  First time with a sippy cup....VERY exciting....for her parents at least.  It's so strange saying her first sippy cup was very exciting.  But it was.  Seriously.  At the pool...again.  And we just couldn't wait for winter to put this hat on her. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Our girl can sit!

Last night Zamara sat up by herself for the first time for any length of time.  We have  been working on sitting, but she would always topple over after about 10 seconds.  Tonight was her night, though!  She was sitting like an expert!  She would start laughing though and kind of fall over.  She seemed so proud of herself!  She also LOVES the blocks that Aunt Angie and Aunt Ashley made for her.

The other pictures are of daddy and daughter.  Craig was eating string cheese and Zamara was laughing like crazy...I'm not sure why, but she was really tickled!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fields of Gold

Just South of Flagstaff is this area right off the freeway just full of yellow flowers/weeds (I don't know which).  I found it to be too irresistible of a photo op.  Well, I find pretty much anywhere to be too irresistible of a photo op.  Here are a few pix.

Halloween Costumes

This past weekend we went to Phoenix and tried a few potential Halloween costumes on Zamara.  I am sure every first time parent jumps out of their skin with excitement about dressing their little baby up to be a goblin or warlock or witch...wait...we're Christians so that's bad.  I mean dressing their baby up as an angel or Bible character....Ok, enough of that.  We went to a large big box baby store that will go unnamed and tried on several costumes.  We thought both of these options were just about the cutest things we had ever seen.  We know which one we bought but the rest of you will have to wait until Halloween.  There WILL NOT be a vote on this like we did with baby names.  This is just so much more important!  

Hugs and Kisses--Craiggers

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pool pictures!

Here are the pictures from the pool that I promised you all...and this last one is of baby and daddy watching tennis on TV. They both looked so cute with their round bellies hanging out!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A rough week!

This has been a difficult week for all the Ducommun's in Flagstaff (all 3 of us!).  Up until this week Zamara has just been the perfect little baby girl.  This week she has been quite fussy.  I think the reality of her new life has kicked in and she is having a hard time adjusting.  She has been waking up several times a night and not sleeping very well in general.  Staying at home full-time has also been more difficult than I thought it would be.  I am grateful to be at home, though!  I cannot imagine how difficult this transition would be if I also had to deal with working outside the home right now.  

I have talking and emailing friends who have gone through similar situations.  I have also been reading every book I can get my hands on about how to deal with infants.  I know we will get this all worked out, but please keep us in your prayers as we work toward getting our lives into a normal routine.  I think there are some real differences with biological kids and newly adopted children.  It is hard to sift through all the information and decide what to do in each situation.  

On the positive side, Zamara has gained a pound and a 1/2 since we brought her home.  She is healthy and growing.  Her cold and congestion has gone away.  That in itself is a miracle and we feel blessed to have such a healthy little girl.  

Yesterday we took her to the community pool.  It was her first time swimming.  She looked darling in her new swimsuit and ABSOLUTELY LOVED the water!  She would have stayed there all day  "swimming" around.  Her parents were tired, though, so we only stayed for about an hour.  We took pictures of her at the pool.  Hmmm, I need to find those and get them uploaded to the blog.  

Craig is back at work this week.  I think that has added to Zamara's overall sour disposition.  She loves her mommy and daddy and is the happiest when we are all together.  If only we could get paid to stay at home and hang out with our child all that would be a good job!  But since we haven't seen a lot of openings for this type of position, Craig will have to continue going to work.  

Thanks for all your prayers and for continuing to check up on us every so often.  If you get a chance leave us a comment.  We love to hear from you all.  

Goodnight!  Laura

Friday, September 5, 2008

Here are some recent pictures of Zamara...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Visa Story

Alas, I am finally able to share with you about our visa story...I know all of you are waiting with baited breath for this:

Our adoption agency was having a hard time getting us plane tickets home from Ethiopia (ET from now on).  We could get tickets to ET, but all the flights back to the USA were booked.  So finally we were able to get a round-about ticket from Addis to Rome to Atlanta and finally to Phoenix.  The problem with this itinerary is that a transit visa is required for our daughter to stop in Rome.  It is the policy of the Italian embassy that it takes a week to get a transit visa.  We did not have an extra week to wait around.  

We had to get our US visa for Zamara on Wednesday and then take that to the Italian Embassy to get our Italian Transit Visa on Thursday and then leave ET on Friday night.  Rachel and Robel (our in country guides through the adoption agency) had talked with the Italian Embassy and set up a special 1-day turn around on our visa.  This was amazing new news since the next available airline tickets wouldn't be available until the end of August.  It seemed like everything was coming together.

So we headed off to ET with 3 other AWAA families to pick up our children.  On Wednesday we went to the US Embassy and got our US Visas-no problems!  The plan was for Robel to take our US visas to the Italian Embassy on Thursday and get those completed.  So on Thursday Rachel picks us up at the hotel.  We were planning on going to visit the Kids Care Orphanage and then go to lunch at an Ethiopia Restaurant.  We were at Kids Care for only a few minutes when Rachel said we had to leave.  Apparently the Italian Embassy was telling Robel that they could not issue the transit visa's in less than a week.  Whatever they had said several weeks before about getting special expedited visas was no longer going to work.  They were very rude to Robel and from what he said, they were not very happy with him.

So Robel left the Italian Embassy and headed to the German Embassy.  He had heard that we could get a special German Visa that would work for all European Union countries.  However, the German Embassy closed at noon.  It was already 11:45am.  We had to stop by the hotel to get our paperwork.  We ran in and got the papers and drove to German Embassy.  They had stayed open just for us.  All seemed good.  We finished the paperwork and were about to be issued our transit visa's then a German representative came out and told us that a German visa would not work in Rome.  We were broken hearted!  

We left the German Embassy and headed back over to the Italian Embassy.  We spent about a half hour pleading our case to the officials there.  They were not happy with us but finally said that they could issue us epidited visa's on Monday (Remember today was Thursday).  Since we all had plane tickets for Friday Night (early Sat morning) that was not going to work.  However,  we thought that maybe we could all change our tickets to Monday night.  

So, back to the hotel we went to talk with an Ethiopian Airlines representative.  Rachel found out that there were NO tickets available to leave Ethiopia until the end of August.  So here was the situation:  WE HAD TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY THAT FRIDAY!  WE HAD TO GET THOSE ITALIAN TRANSIT VISAS!  

We headed back out to the Italian Embassy.  Rachel admitted on the ride there in the bus that we needed a MIRACLE.  We had to get these visas within 24 hours.  The whole situation seemed very bleak.  

We arrived at the Italian Embassy and Rachel got on the intercom.  She was very firm and said that she had to talk with an Italian Representative.  We all waited in the bus for over an hour while she was inside the embassy pleading our case.  During that time we were all praying and praying.  Finally Rachel came out and said that she needed our paperwork RIGHT NOW!  After talking with several different people and all of them denying us visa's she finally found someone who would help us. She rushed back in with our paperwork.  About 45 minutes later she came out and said that they would have our visas ready the next morning.  It was indeed a miracle.

Here's where it gets even more amazing.  The last official Rachel was talking to--the guy that finally said "yes" to her--had been saying, "no", "no", "no".  Then Rachel said his face completely changed and he said, "yes, I will give you your visas."  We asked Rachel about what time this all happened and it was at EXACTLY the same time my mom was praying inside the bus.  My mom was praying that God would open up the heart of whatever official Rachel was talking to.  Ok, so it gets even more amazing...back here in the US my sister was up late in Newberg Oregon on Wednesday night. She said she couldn't sleep and that God was putting on her heart to pray about our visas.  (she had no idea what was going on in Ethiopia)  She said she just kept praying for us.  She had no idea we needed an Italian Visa or that we were having trouble getting our visas.  

The whole story is an absolute miracle. Robel picked up our completed visas the next morning with no problems.  Let me just say that God is amazing!  He has proved his existence over and over on this trip.  I am convinced that God has a special plan for our little children.  Satan was working so heard at putting up road block along the way.  We had many other difficult issues that I could tell you all about related to getting our children out of the country, but this is enough for now.  If you are reading this and are not sure about God, please be encouraged to know that He is real and he does answer prayers!!!  There is no other explanation for what happened.  God is good an our little ones are safely at home.  

My mom took this picture outside of the italian embassy.  I thought it was a beautiful picture of a woman taking firewood to sell at the market.

love,  Laura

Thursday, August 21, 2008

pictures and picasa

Ok everyone, here is what is going on. We are having a TON of trouble getting pictures uploaded as well as getting all of you onto our picasa sight to see the pictures that miraculously did get uploaded. Well, we are taking my mother down to the airport tomorrow in Phoenix, so we won't be able to work on it all tomorrow. I guess we need to send you all invitations to get onto the picasa sight. I will do that on Saturday. I will post it on the Yahoo group as well as send an email to friends and family.

Anyway, thanks for being patient with me. Here are a couple more pictures...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

YES! We are alive!

Hello everyone!  Yes, the Ducommun's are alive.  We have been trying to get Zamara on a schedule for sleeping and eating...this is not easy task, let me tell you.  She refused to go down for an afternoon nap today and was a stink-butt the whole afternoon and evening because she was tired and cranky.  She is sleeping well now...for the moment...I don't want to jinx things though.

We have the most amazing visa story to share with you tomorrow.  God really worked some miracles while we were in Ethiopia.  It's a long story and too late to share tonight.  I am on baby duty from 3am-9am so I need to get some sleep. 

STINK! I have been trying up upload pictures with no luck.  I will keep  trying...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

We made it home!

Hi All! I just wrote a long post and it got, I am too tired to write it again. Here's the gist...

We are back in Flastaff and Zamara is sleeping (although fitfully) in her crib. It was a LONG and difficult trip but we are glad to be back.

We have a TON of video and pictures to go through and will update our blog each day in the next few weeks.

AWAA referral families: we will post our pics on Picasa in the next few days and will give you access.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Craig is REALLY a dad now (and he's actually blogging)

"This is Craig...I think the last time I posted on the blog was the very first post. So....don't expect another post from me for at least another few months. It's Wed at 7:50am according to my computer but here in Ethiopia it's 5:50pm. I think I should be over my jet lag by around Saturday at midnight when we leave Ethiopia and head back to the States. Zamara is still struggling with her chest congestion and we are going to try and get some baby medicine at an Ethiopian pharmacy tonight. We just don't want to be stuck on the plane over the Atlantic and wish we would have gotten the meds when we had the chance.

I cannot really even describe the feelings I have for my daughter. Picking her up and taking her home in the bus yesterday afternoon--the moment she felt like she was really ours--was just a surreal experience. A moment in time Laura and I had been looking forward to for far too long. I have held our daughter and laughed with her and changed diapers and been spit up on more times than I can count and it's only been a little more than a day. Sometimes I can't even look at her without just crying. She is already more than Laura and I could have hoped or dreamed for. I always feared the stickiness, dirtiness and spit up part of being a dad but it is truly amazing that when it is YOUR child you barely even notice those things. I am sitting here typing this wearing my favorite "Canada....fits your budget" T-shirt that currently has slowly rotting baby spit up all over it and I don't really care.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and emotional support! I am going to attach a few new pics that we did not have access to yesterday but Laura mentioned in the blog posting (pooping during bathtime in particular). And that reminds me....please remember that pic the next time you are on vacation and confident your hotel staff has thoroughly cleaned any part of your hotel room. Also, there will be a few pix Laura's mom took of me and baby just a few hours ago around the pool here at the hotel. The T-shirt is starting to really smell so I better go now. Please keep Zamara's health in your prayers. We are especially concerned about her as we travel for 20 plus hours on various planes beginning this Saturday morning."

(This is Angie, Craig's sister, and all I can say is that Craig and Laura are definitely parents now because ONLY parents will take pictures of their kid's poop!)

(Beautiful picture of Mommy and Baby)

The new daddy and his little mocha cub washing their feet