Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ocean Oasis

One main wall of fish, blue Satin swag on ceiling, partial view of waterfall bed canopy
Room Overview- blue satin everywhere!

Waterfall Canopy over beds

The boys making fish faces on the top bunk under the waterfall-

Kyle and Jude's room is officially redecorated! Thomas the Tank Engine is gone and has been replaced with Kyles request for an underwater bedroom. Most of the room is covered in shiny blue satin material that swags from the ceiling and over the walls in 4 slightly different blue tones to give it a very cool and very relaxing underwater feel. The big project was the giant waterfall canopy over the bunk beds. We were so excited about how the room turned out that we threatened to kick out Jude and Kyle and take over the room for ourselves! I couldn't quite capture it all with the camera but it's blue shimmery satin everywhere and so very awesome!

We are exhausted but Johnny and Luke's room is still half Thomas half the new theme and all the old stuff is crowded in the room or spilled into the hallway so it looks like another all nighter to get that one done. Now that they have seen Kyle and Jude's room they are anxious to have their new hangout done.

Can someone please tell me why we do this???

So, Jim now has just a few days left of his vacation and we really had no big plans for these last few days. Sounds great right? Smart people would just hang out and chill doing lots of relaxing. Not us! If we don't have something on the calender we somehow manage to CREATE an insane amount of work for ourselves!!! We decided that we would completely redecorate Kyle and Judes room AND Johnny and Lukes room and decided at the last minute to throw a New Years Eve party (this we are actually really looking forward to!). So yesterday we worked almost non-stop on the rooms and running to stores for things we needed for the rooms and for the party.

Today promises to be more of the same. Not only did we decide to redecorate the rooms but we have created way over the top projects. We are about half way done and so I'm at the "Why do we do things like this?" point. We were up until 1AM this morning working and plan to spend the rest of the day trying to finish up. Things are actually coming together really nicely as (you know me) I'm finding great deals and yet we are making major changes. I'll post them when we are done. Until then if you don't hear much from me I'm working like crazy to finish these rooms, preparing for a party, partying (bring that part on!!!!), and then starting off the 1st day of 2008 collapsed somewhere. Because.... That's how we roll my friends! ;)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Do-Over Fun

Nana and Papa are here, Nana and Papa are here!!!! Let the "official" Holiday celebration begin! Not only was it a treat to get to hang out with them but they brought a bag full of gifts from them, and other family members. The boys were so excited when they opened up a SECOND DS system (after thinking they wouldn't get any) and the rest of the gifts were pretty much DS games or gift cards to get more games. They are loving it! When their eyes start turning all red and starting to stick out of their heads do we then consider removing the electronic toys? At what point does a good parent do that? I'm sure at some point we are going to have to set some limits but for now they are just way too excited to put them down.
After opening gifts we headed off to Macaroni Grill (yum) and stuffed ourselves with good food, good conversation, and just a wonderful night.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just Skating By

The boys hanging out at the rink
Luke figuring this skating thing out with Dad's help.

Johnny was surprisingly the most enthusiastic about skating.

Is Kyle busting a move or just trying to keep his balance?

Last night we took the kids to a roller skating rink for the first time. For about the first 10 min. I was thinking "This was a big mistake!" The kids were falling, complaining, Luke was crying and begging to take the skates off... by the end of the night they didn't want to leave and were begging us for some skates of their own!!! Kids. ;) We ended up having a real blast together. Since all 3 kids were learning for the first time, Jim and I both had one of the kids at the end of our hand all night. For Jim it meant a lot of bending over so his back is a little achy today. For me (since I'm much shorter) it meant constantly holding up the kids while they struggle for balance while they pulled up and down on my right arm and shoulder- ouch, a couple hours of that can be painful. The child without a parents hand at the moment had to do the inching along the wall thing until we got back around to them. By the end of the night we finally got smart and we would take turns with the boys having them hold one of my hands and one of Jims, skating in between us so that we shared the effort of helping them balance and we could glide them fast around the rink. They loved that! We had so much fun together and already can't wait to do it again!

Jim's parents are coming this afternoon and we will have more of the traditional Christmas celebration when they get here. Good times!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Today must be my Christmas delights in delay.... The phone rang. Who could it be? Someone from the Dr.'s office that needs to sign my DMV form (remember the one that would take two minutes but somehow has taken 6 months?). She said the sweetest words "The Dr. has completed and signed your DMV forms." What? I said WHAT???? She asked me if we would like to pick it up or have them mail it to me. Could this really be happening? Do I dare get my hopes up that this really is a light at the end of the tunnel? Could it be? Really???

If she hadn't called right before their office closed we would have hopped in the car and picked it right up but since we wouldn't be able to make it there on time I'm taking a big leap of faith and asked them to put it in the mail to me.

NOW... This is one HUGE hurdle we just climbed over. Lets see if it's filled out correctly and DMV accepts it and feels that they can believe my Primary Care doctor, my Neurologist, and now my Epilepticologist that I am and have been perfectly fine to drive!! I'm thinking about asking for a notarized letter from my Mommy too just to be sure (okay, please forgive the sarcasm but it's been a very long undrivable road). ;)

SO.... Lets see where this new development leads us....shall we? Our family is off to have a fun family night together doing something we've never done with the kids before. The day just keeps getting better and better!

Late but PRECIOUS Christmas gift!!!!!!

We received this in our mail box just now! What a wonderful gift!!! It's medicine to the aching heart to see them looking so healthy and happy!!!! WHEN will someone invent a computer that will allow me to hug and kiss them through their pictures???

We are not sure why Jacques is not included in this update but knowing that Kez is there with him we are sure to get plenty of pictures of our sweet son when she gets home. Also, still missing is Vilner who we believe to still be living with his Birth Mom instead of the orphanage which is where we believe he is supposed to be for now. Please continue to cover him and his Mom in your prayers as food is very scarce where they live and violence is unlike anything we could imagine.

Here's our December update:

The monthly updates is brought to you as you were surely waiting for it.
Stephanie: 86 lbs 59 inches.
Jude: 54 lbs & 52 inches.
Lovenie: 20 lbs & 35½ inches( Last month it was not 45 inches, it was 35. question of typing, please understand). They are in perfect health, the picture will give you a clear idea.
Your dossier is now in MOI. Stephanie & Lovenie entered on november 6th, the numbers are respectively( # 3757 & # 3760). Jude entered on December 5th, the number is # 3839.
God Bless you always!!!!!!!
NLL, Reginald

So... The kids are doing well. ALL 3 of them are finally in MOI! HUGE praises and celebration as we no longer have to wonder about Jude's file!!!!! Lovenie continues to take on a look of a healthy glow we thought we might not ever see in her. God is surely answering our prayers and we thank Him for such beautiful blessings!!!!!!!!

All we want is our family

It didn't happen for this year. We know God has a reason and a perfect plan for our family. Next year should be one LOUD and wonderful Christmas!

Christmas '07 and update

At Mission Inn in Riverside
The boy's "Loot". They were SO excited!

3 little happy faces
Our Christmas was a relaxing and interesting one. If I were to be honest it was not great and not necessarily just WAS. You know what I mean? Christmas Eve we went to service at our new church and enjoyed that very much. The only damper was that Johnny's hacking cough returned as soon as we entered (it may have been the artificial tree in the room that set him off again). So Jim and Johnny ended up standing outside until Johnny's cough was back under control which never happened so they missed almost all of the beautiful service. We almost didn't make it to service at all because as we were getting ready for church I burst into the tears I had been holding back all day and cried out to Jim "I miss our kids!" Waaaaaaaaaaaa. It took a little while to get that back under control and touch the make-up back up before rushing out the door. I spent the rest of service fighting back the tears that wanted to come again but was able to spend some of the time really getting focused on the fact that Jesus was sent to this earth to pay for our sins and set us free! It is possible to have that joy burning inside of you and a heartache at the same time--who would have thought? After service Jim got a phone call that kind of changed our Christmas plans in a strange and unexpected way. Suddenly we had NO plans for Christmas. We rushed over to the grocery store to at least get food for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinners and some snacks and decided to have a quiet Christmas at home together of games and Christmas movies. It was very emotional knowing that this was the last Christmas with our family as it is and expecting it to be really grand when it really was just what it was. We had some really great moments together laughing over games or curling up and watching great Christmas movies.
One of the movies we watched was Christmas Do-over and it was actually pretty funny. Well, we get a Christmas do-over tomorrow as Jim's parents are coming to spend some time with us! It will be so great to see them again. They are bringing another gift that the boys will flip out over as well as wonderful gifts from other family members. It will be like having another Christmas day when they get here!!
Jim's vacation days are flying by but action packed: Saturday- Shopping and strolling around to look at the lights at Mission Inn that many people told us we just "had to see". I think it was one of those things that everyone built up so much that we expected something really big and spectacular so when we actually got there we were kind of like "This is it? Are we missing something? We don't get it." Sunday we got to go to the home of one of Jim's best friends growing up. That was SO fantastic. They have been friends since they were little kids but had not seen each other in 7 years so imagine our surprise to find out they live only 45 min. away from us now! We had a great time with them and meeting their children for the first time and hope to have many more hang out times with them. Then Mon. and Tues- Christmas Eve and Christmas. Today we have some errands to do, woo hoo! And then tomorrow is Christmas Do-over day!! ;)
For our Children in Haiti-- They are no words for how much we miss you!
For our Family-- We hope you had a wonderful Christmas, missed you all, and hope to see you soon!!
For our Friends in Texas-- We knew how special you were before we left Texas but have been reminded even more now that we can't see you of just how much love and fun you added to our lives. You are so very missed!
To our New Friends in CA-- We are grateful for the gift of your friendships, hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your families, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Next big events: Host a New Years Eve party and then Date 5 of 10 on my birthday!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

A very special Merry Christmas to all my very dear friends! Here is a copy of our family's Christmas letter and the post below is a 3 min. review of our family's year:

Dear Family and Friends,

We pray that this letter finds you and your family happy, healthy, and overwhelmingly blessed. We would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This has been a very exciting year for our family. On August 14, 2007 Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie legally became our children. We continue to wait for them to receive their passports so that we can go to Haiti and bring them home to our family. Please continue your prayers for us as this will be such a big change for us all but we have been waiting anxiously for it for so long. We continue to have a long wait to bring home Jacques and Vilner as well so please continue your prayers for them also!

Some of the other exciting things to happen to our family this year is that Angela has been seizure free for 9 months now. Jim has excelled and already been promoted at his job and we are able to enjoy Southern CA for at least a couple more years now. Kyle, Johnny, and Luke are all healthy and doing great at school. We are so proud of the little young men they are becoming! In April Angela was able to take her first trip to Haiti to meet our 5 waiting children and the birth mother of 4 of them. It was an Easter unlike any other. She was able to return again with friends on a mission team in July and love on our children again as well as getting to play with and spend time with the kids at the New Life Link and Hope For the Children of Haiti orphanages where she fell in love with each child there. The year has gone by pretty fast with many visits with family and friends, more then a dozen trips to Disneyland , and so many other adventures.

Here is a link to a video of our family’s year in review. It begins with photos from January and ends in December and includes the update photos of our waiting children from each month:

We can’t thank you all enough for your love, support, encouragement, and friendships as our family grows and changes through challenges and exciting new blessings.

May God bless each of you more then ever in the year 2008!

With Love,
Jim, Angela, Jacques, Stephanie, Jude, Kyle, Johnny, Luke, Lovenie, and Vilner

A year in Review

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Okay... I know what you are thinking... with all our anniversary dates and mush that's been shared on here. While Jim really is great this is not about us. ;)

Yesterday we happened to be near the reptile store and popped in for a bit to check them out. We found an adult corn snake that we all fell for. It was so mellow and slithery and cool! We spent as much time with him as we could and we would take turns letting him coil around me, Kyle, Johnny, and Jim. Luke has decided he does NOT want a pet snake after all. The rest of us just loved this snake. I was surprised that Kyle and Johnny were so immediately into holding and playing with him. With Luke not ready for one and not knowing how the rest of our family members would feel about him we had to say our goodbyes and give him back. :( It sure was encouraging to see most of our family members really liking him. Maybe in the next couple years they will all be ready!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vacation...sweet vacation!

Today is officially the first day of Jim's vacation. He had been very careful not to use all his vacation time in case our kids were to come home this year. Now, it's a use it or lose it kind of deal so he will be hanging out at home with us for the next 11 days straight. WOO HOO! We have no really big plans as we plan to stay home for Christmas but with us not having plans usually means that we will end up doing tons of all sorts of spontaneous things. Who knows how we'll end up spending these days! I'm just happy to have so much family time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The year of the perfect gifts!

WOW... I don't know what's gotten into everyone but I am getting seriously SPOILED with amazing gifts this year. My Mom emailed me recently that she was excited about finding the perfect anniversary gift for us. I was totally puzzled because not even I could think of what we really want or need (how blessed are we?) or what would be a great gift. My Mom told me that we could open it as soon as we receive it " if you want to". You know you don't have to ask me twice about ripping into an early present! So today I received a package and found this beautiful blanket in it with a picture from our wedding day and above it it says 10th Anniversary. I took this picture to share it but a little picture totally does not do this gorgeous big blanket justice! My only complaint is... It's so fantastic I don't know what to do with it! How do I display it? The kids are begging to curl up in it and I'm telling them No way because I feel very protective of it. How can I display it in a way it deserves? Anyone have any idea's? I'm leaning towards finding somewhere to hang it on the wall but can't even think of the best place for that. It's such a great gift that it's almost TOO good and I don't know what to do with it. ;) I guess that's a great problem to have.

I also accidentally received an early gift from Jim. I say accidentally because a package came while he was out of town and I thought it was from a relative for the kids for Christmas so I opened it up and knew right away it was for me. At first I thought it was from my Mother In law because I went shopping with her and my Sister in law after Thanksgiving and came across this very gift and made mention of wanting one. It turns out Jim was the one that bought it and had it sent to our home and thought he would be back from his trip before it arrived. His Mom and sister didn't tell him that I mentioned wanting it he just picked it out on his own. How cool is that? And he searched for one in my favorite color no less (blue). For anyone wondering what it was it was one of those soft electric throw blankets. I get cold easy and love to curl up in a blanket plus I hurt a lot from my problems with my neck and spine so this is like curling up in a warm soft giant heating pad. I LOVE IT.

And then there is the Necklace... there just are no words for the sentimental value of that necklace.

WOW I'M SPOILED and totally feeling loved!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No Snake for Christmas

My stocking will not be stuffed with a real snake this year. :( I thought it was really funny yesterday when Jim told me he considered getting me a snake for Christmas but now is just not the right timing. We are not sure how our newest family members would feel about a pet snake. I know it seems a strange thing but I've wanted a pet snake for years. I've had several friends with pet snakes and whenever we go to their house I'm the first one to get all excited and beg the snake owner to bring it out and let me play with it! I love how their skin feels when they slither around you, there's nothing like it! There is a nearby reptile store that I can go to and hold their snakes when I need a "fix". For now we'll wait and make sure everyone will be able to sleep well at night with a snake in our house before bringing one home but it would have been a really fun gift to pull out of my stocking! ;)

Thanks for considering it Jim!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Universal Adventure!

Date 4 of 10 was celebrated with great fun and fanfare at Universal Studios of Hollywood!
The first thing we did was walked through the House of Horrors. I'm usually not easily scared but admittedly screamed and screamed like a little girl! The haunted house itself was not so scary but people hiding in scary costumes and jumping out at me will make me scream every time. The really sad thing is that even when we went through it again and I KNEW where they were hiding and that they would jump out at me I would still scream and jump. It was actually quite fun and surprisingly one of our favorite attractions.
"My boy" Chucky likes to pop out of his box and startle people. Isn't he cute?

Jim was so scared in the House of Horrors that he was begging for his Mummy.

Who's laughing now? These guys are not going to be jumping out and scaring anyone!

I laughed and laughed regarding the above photo. While we were waiting for our ride on the Mummy (Which by the way was totally our favorite and we rode it 4 times) Jim thought he would be cute and reach in to a hole in the wall and act like something got him. Oldest joke in the book right? Well, turns out when you reach in it does actually shock you and Jim let out a real scream that had me and the people in line in front of us laughing so hard!
(UPDATED: Jim insists that screamed is an exaggerated word for what he did. Since he's been so good to me I'll retract my original statement, but his reaction was still hysterical!)


Just hangin' out with my buddy Evan, deep in conversation.
"Really, two of each animal? Seems like I've heard a similar story to this somewhere before."

Jim holding his "Best Husband" trophy after we got off the Jurassic Park ride where he gave me his jacket with a hood to keep dry and blocked the water for me while he got soaked. As if the Gondola ride was not enough to win him this trophy! ;)

"Hey, do you know who you remind me of?
I've posted on here before that I often hear this question and it's ALWAYS followed by Renee Zellweger!
Jim on the other hand hears the answer, Tom Hanks in his role of Forest Gump. When he first told me that I didn't see it. Then he showed me a movie cover and Tom had Jim's haircut and WOW, he really does look like him!

Renee and her Stand in.

Jim hanging out with his twin, Tom, and a few other good friends.
More to share tomorrow. We are beat and it's time to get everyone to bed.

9 Months

9 Months Seizure Free Today!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!! Who would have thought it could happen? ;)

A few more clues before heading off to date 4:

- It's about an hours drive
- We have to have tickets
- It's an all day thing
- It's part indoors part outdoors
- I have not been there since I was a kid
- It will be a day of fun and being entertained!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What will Date 4 be????

Tomorrow we have our date 4 of 10 planned. I'm wondering if anyone can guess what we have planned? (Keeping in mind that the rest of the dates will all be in Southern CA). As a reminder of what we have done so far:

Date 1- Reminiscent, Reenacted our first date and hang outs from our dating stage.
Date 2- Relaxing, Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa
Date 3- Romantic, Gondola ride

Date 4, just like all the other dates, will be TOTALLY different from the previous ones and lots of fun. I'm so glad we decided on the date plan for our 10th Anniversary, especially since they will likely need to hold us over for many more years. ;) We are having such a great time that I can hardly believe we are not even half way done yet. Thanks for everyone sharing in on our fun with us! Your comments from Date 3 were very fun to read and it was great to be able to share it. Now... I can't wait to hear if anyone can figure out what we might be doing tomorrow. Please post any guesses and you just might give us ideas for future dates!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gondola Ride

Take just a moment to cruise in the Gondola with us!

"Will You Marry Me Again?"

CONTENT WARNING: If you tend to have a gag response to over-the-top romance we advise that you do not read this post any further.

Date 3 of 10: For our 3rd of our 10 dates for our 10th Anniversary we had the most wonderful time. After going back and forth with details for childcare we finally decided that it might be easier for everyone if we just take the boys with us on this date. They were so excited to go and promised to be very good for us. We drove to Newport Beach and found a great spot to watch the beautiful Christmas boat parade.

One of the many decked out boats of the parade.
After the boat parade finished it was time for our scheduled date to begin- Gondola ride along beautiful Canals! It was just gorgeous. The kids were seated way at the front of the boat and for most of the trip were very quiet and taking it all in. The canals we went down were along the back of stunning homes covered in Christmas lights. We were snuggled in to the back seat of the Gondola curled up under a blanket and the kids and us each got a basket of goodies from the Gondola company including French bread, cheese, salami, chocolate, and Sparkling Cider. Beautiful Italian music was played and everyone enjoyed it so much! It was peaceful, beautiful, and so very romantic.

The boys quietly taking in the ride and all the lights.
Ducks came along side of our boat hoping that we would share some of our French bread and the boys loved it. It was fun for us to watch them enjoying it so much and were glad we brought them with us.

As we went along our Gondolier told us that people from Catalina Island have been throwing bottles into the ocean and sometimes they float all the way over to where we were so we should keep our eyes open for any. Just on cue- straight ahead in the water we saw a bottle bobbing up and down and showed the kids and the boat filled with excitement. The Gondolier lined up the boat so that we went right next to the bottle on Me and Johnny's side of the boat. First Johnny tried to grab it and missed then by the time it got to me it had gone too much under the boat to reach it, so he turned around and gave us another chance at it.

Here I am with my retrieved bottle from the water. And look at that- There was a message in the bottle. It was really exciting and the kids went nuts wanting to know what it was.

Luke helped me take the message out and Kyle begged to be the one to read it but Jim insisted that maybe I should read it first. To my surprise it was a love letter from Jim telling me about his love for me, what these last 10 years together have meant to him, and then in the letter asked me if I would MARRY HIM AGAIN! (I will not share the actual contents of the letter because it was so special and private, but it would make any woman weak in the knees!) Then Jim got down on one knee in the boat and told me again how he feels about me. I was so surprised and overwhelmed by his words that tears were just streaming down my cheeks. Then after I told him Yes, I would marry him again.... He brought out an unexpected gift....

After the proposal the Gondolier took our picture and I am holding the gift and the message from the bottle.

The gift: It's a bit difficult to get a great picture of this beautiful and sentimental necklace so I'll describe it. The necklace is heart shaped with a smaller heart at the very top. In that smaller heart is my birthstone. Along one side of the necklace is lined with a row of birthstones for each of our children in order of their ages from Jacques all the way to Lovenie. We were not able to add Vilner yet since we do not know when his birthday is and Jim couldn't find anything that would hold so many stones! ;) On the other side of the necklace- a cross- a symbol of the foundation of our marriage and family. I hear he had to do a lot of searching for this. I was so moved by the necklace, the loving words, thoughts of how God's blessed us and added to our family over the last 10 years that it must have taken me at least a half hour to get my tears under control again!
Yes Jim... I would marry you again and again and am so happy to have you as my husband!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back in the snapping business!

Dad must be driving! (Kyle and Luke)
Johnny with a Santa Mickey I'm pretty sure I've never seen before (even now I'm wondering where it came from).

These pictures were taken tonight with our NEW CAMERA on the way home from the store. I've shared with you recently that our camera just totally croaked on us. We knew that we would totally want one to capture our moments picking up our kids from Haiti and decided we may as get one now rather then waiting. We were so excited about the new camera that I put it all together and took these pictures of the happenings in our backseat before we even got home.

Today was a productive but EXHAUSTING day. Jim got home after midnight last night. We are so glad he's back! From 10AM- Noon we met up with a group from the new church we are attending. They are really big on showering our community with acts of kindness and showing God's love in really tangible ways. Today we helped pass out free gift bags to unsuspecting holiday shoppers in parking lots. Many people had a big smile and thanks, some took the bags but gave us the "what's the catch" look, a few others refused it completely wondering what nuts were trying to give them something for FREE. Along with the bag we gave out cards that simply wished the receiver a Merry Christmas and reminding them that God loves them.

Afterwards, because we are some of the most well practised procrastinators, we crammed in almost all of our Christmas shopping and grocery shopping in one day. We didn't get home until late and had been going almost all day. We are all beat, but we are done with our shopping... a day well done!

Friday, December 14, 2007


What's not to love?

Down with the tree!

A guest post by Mama Scrooge: This year we upgraded our fake Christmas tree from a 7' to a 9' so it was our first time to use this tree. I know I'm at least mildly allergic to the fake trees because I get itchy all over when I touch it.
For the last couple weeks Johnny has had a bad mysterious cough. He insists he does not feel sick but continues to cough none-the-less. A couple days ago I realized that it's been almost two weeks and his cough is not improving. Meanwhile, I've had a sore throat that just wouldn't go away and Jim has been congested. I wrote it all off as a winter cold in our house. It wasn't until I started thinking back to when we all started feeling bad that it occurred to me that it was the weekend we started putting out our Christmas decorations--including the tree. Then Johnny and I sat on the couch near the tree while watching a movie together. The whole time we were both coughing, sneezing, and rubbing our eyes. That's when it (Finally) hit me... It's the tree! We are allergic to the TREE!!! How sad that it took me two weeks to figure it out! So last night I took off each ornament and all the lights. I disassembled the tree and put it back in it's box. When Johnny came in the room while I was taking it apart he started coughing so hard I was worried he was having trouble breathing. I had to send him out until it was done and the room aired out. And this morning... my 2 week long sore throat is GONE and Johnny's cough is much better all ready.
So a little bah-hum-buggin' for the health of the family! Surely this could be forgiven?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

News from the US side of things..

No pictures to post of the family from the US side as our camera has gone on to camera heaven. We were very sad to see it go, but what can you do?

So the news from here:

We are all over our colds-- WOO HOO!!

Jim is in Louisville, Kentucky. He was sent on a short business trip. I'm grateful to have such a great marriage that we both can't stand even a few short days apart and that he does not have a job that takes him away from home often. He got to his hotel last night with all sorts of stories of traveling mishaps. The one that shocked me was that he had a horrible dinner. What's all this we are hearing of great Southern cooking?? Then again he did order Salmon (that's so CA) when maybe he should have gone with the CHICKEN. :) He will get home very late tomorrow night.

Meanwhile we are so totally vegging at home. It really might be considered out of control chillin'. Little work, pre-made meals from the freezer, book reading, game playing, movie watching... yep tough days at home. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Before all this chillin' was happening we had a lot of fun things going on. Last Thursday to Sunday night we got to hang out with my friend Ali and her sons. They are such a great family and we enjoyed them so much! We ended our time together with a bang and spent 12 hours together at Disneyland on Sunday. Also a brand new movie theater just opened up near us and offered cheap movies before their official grand opening. How could we pass that up? Monday night our family, and friends Debbie and Andrew, all went to see Nancy Drew. It was a great family movie- even Luke surprised us by liking it! There were a few parts where kids would get startled and scream and everyone in the theater would burst into laughter. Much fun! On Tuesday Debbie was kind enough to pick up me and the boys and drop us off at the theater for more movies (thanks Debbie!). We saw Mr. Bean's Holiday which we all thought was hysterical. I really think you would have to be in the right mood for it...and we were. Plus to add to the fun we sat next to a really sweet young guy that was laughing so hard, stomping his feet and clapping his hands, that it made us laugh even harder. It reminded me of watching movies with the teens at HFC and how hard they would laugh and stomp at all the funny parts. I got to go out to lunch with my 3 handsome boys between movies. Then we headed back to see Daddy Day Camp. By then we were all tired and cold and not really in a movie mood anymore. Plus we didn't have our new friend next to us making it even more fun. The movie was a bit of a let down after Mr. Bean (tough act to follow).

I still do not have a drivers license. It insures that we stay put at home until Jim gets back. ;) I won't even go in to the details of why I still can't drive. Let's just say DMV and HMO are totally bad words around here these days!

More from Haiti

Princess Stephanie in the babies room
Lovenie is "too cool for school" first she's sleeping in class but then she's so bright she's gotta wear shades!

Jude in his school uniform with THAT smile. What a sweet boy he is!

Along with these new pictures I received from Casey who just picked up her children (Congratulations Casey!!!), she also sent me this message:
Stephanie was so sweet and wanted to know if I knew "Ahhnn geee la." She beamed when I said yes and asked me to tell you she loves you. She wanted a picture made with both of my children. Jude was only too willing to smile for the camera.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

1st pictures

In honor of our un-happy anniversary I thought I would post the very first photo's we received of Lovenie, Jude, and Stephanie. Lovenie was just a baby. I had forgotten how the first many pictures Jude never smiled in and am thanking God that he is now happy and knows he is very loved, and Stephanie is as radiant as always!

A very UN-Happy Anniversary to us.

This morning I woke up thinking that there was something about the date that was very familiar and significant but I had to wake up a little before it hit me: Today it has been one year from when our files exited IBESR! One year! It used to be just a matter of a couple weeks to a couple months at the most from when you exit IBESR to picking up your children. Times have changed and long steps have been added. What was originally thought to be a 6 month or less adoption process is now looking like it may be 3 years or more.

I still believe there is a reason and this is all part of God's plan so I am not "down" or upset today. It's just not really a celebration kind of anniversary either.

One year ago today Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie had been in IBESR a very long time. A corrupt director had finally (and with much celebration) been removed and a new promising director had replaced him and then had to learn the job and play catch up on the files that the previous director ignored. So we were so anxious to hear the good news that our files may finally be released. I learned that this had finally happened while we were at a hotel in TX. I went to their media room to check my emails and there it was... "Your children have exited IBESR". Before getting this message I imagined in my mind what this would be like to get this huge news and then was surprised that my reaction was so different. I thought I would be jumping up and down with excitement. Instead I just sat there frozen and staring at the screen. I was glad Jim was the only one in the room with me because I then burst in to tears and cried and cried. I'm still not sure what that cry was about... happiness, relief, pain because of the long wait, shock that our kids were finally coming home... no clue but I couldn't hold back a storm of tears. Once that was taken care of I was able to move in to what I had always pictured it to be.... major celebration!! We went back up to the hotel room and jumped up and down on the beds whooping and hollering. We were out of IBESR and our kids were FINALLY coming home. The only thing we were worried about was that we still had more then 2 weeks left of the vacation we were on and we were wondering what we would do if they called us to Haiti before our trip was over and decided we would leave, of course. We were really concerned about getting back home before it was time because after IBESR the wait was very short. Boy, were we ever wrong! Other steps have been added and we could have never imagined the new delay. So here we are one year later and still have no idea when our kids will come home. Not an anniversary to celebrate but one worth pondering on.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Pictures of our waiting children!

It's so good to receive pictures of both Stephanie and Jude playing games (Jude's playing picture below). You must have a love of games to survive in this family. We are quick to admit it's one area in our lives that we are fanatics and have been known to host and/or attend game nights that go on until 5AM the following day. BTW-- Isn't Stephanie stunning?

This is the only kind of hug you get from Stephanie-- Whole hearted hugs. She is so kind and loving and everyone who meets her lets me know what a sweetheart she was to them.

Here is the recipient of this big hug: James. He traveled with his Sister In-Law and my friend, Bryn, to help get her settled in to live with the kids of HFC and NLL. If you remember from the previous blog we were just hanging out with them at Disneyland a few weeks ago. James is such a kind man and his wife, Mandy, is just as wonderful! They are adopting Job and Bernadin from HFC and Afterly from NLL so their kids in Haiti are friends of our kids in Haiti and their kids in the US have become friends with our kids in the US which means we MUST see each other as often as possible. ;) We have so much fun with their family!

What's this? Could it be SHY Stephanie? No way... not possible. She must have something in her eyes. I've never met a more bubbly and outgoing person!

James surrounded by some of the girls. Stephanie is right next to him and is clearly laughing at something. I wish I could be the one standing next to her. Maybe I could photoshop James out and insert my own picture. Anyone know how to do this? Just kidding... Thank you so much James for loving on our kids!

Bryn settling in at HFC. Please continue to pray for her adjustment as her life has been totally turned upside down but she is likely at the beginning of what will be one of the most exciting and life changing journeys of her life! I love this picture of our little Stephanie standing close by. My friend in another country with my little girl... How cool is that?

More games

There it is... The CLASSIC Jude smile (He's the one in the bright blue shirt at the bottom of the picture). It' something I've never seen him without and it's so totally beautiful. I'm convinced he is the smiliest most upbeat kid in the whole world! The only time I saw him not smile is when he finds out it's time for us to say goodbye. It totally breaks my heart to see the non-stop smiler in tears. What a great kid and we get the honor of calling him our son... WOW!

Here is my proof that Jude is never without a smile. He's taking a blow to the head and still grinning. Haha... I just love our son!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jude with a goofy face that includes the Jude smile.

Okay.. perhaps I've gone a bit too far when I start posting pictures of the back of our kids heads but look... He's playing a game! This is very important. ;) Also I pointed it out to Jim that Jude was playing and this is the back of his head (the one in the grey shirt). Jim asked me how I could tell it was Jude and I responded in a very put out tone "I'm his mother, of course I know the back of my sons head!" In truth: I honestly was pretty sure it was the back of his head but had to go back to other pictures and check what shirt he was wearing to make sure. Shhhh....don't tell Jim that! You may be just seeing the back of his head but you can be sure on the other side of that head is a face with a smile of it-- I think I've provided enough proof of that!

This picture was sent to me on the same day but by a different person (Thanks so much Beki!!). I LOVE this picture of Lovenie. I've never seen her in her school uniform before. She's in her preschool class and it cracks me up that she's sleeping through it. I hope her new teacher ( will be able to keep her awake. I can't believe she's old enough to have started preschool...what happened to my baby girl? She looks so grown up... Wahhhhhhhh!

Lovenie hanging out in the hall. This picture brings up so many mixed emotions in me! She's standing and that's something we really thought she may never be able to do and her eyes are wide open... Praise God big time!!! However, she looks so skinny at just 19lbs and 3.5 years old. This picture looks to me like one of the kids you see in the commercials on TV with pleas of helping the starving children. I worry so much about her health. Her weight has not changed in a couple years and I've seen her shovel down tons of food every sitting. I believe she likely has parasites and/or worms that are taking away from her nutrition. I can't wait to get her home and pray it won't be long until I post pictures of our chubby little girl. ;)

A huge thank you to James and Mandy for getting these and many more pictures of our children! I love these wonderfully candid photo's. We did not get any pictures of Jacques but he tends to hide from the camera while his little sister Stephanie jumps in front of it! My friend Kez will be with the kids in just 5 days (please pray for the mission trip of nurses she is leading) and I know I'll get lots of pictures of Jacques from her because they have such a sweet connection. Kez--- You have Jacques's Mom's permission to do whatever measures of torture or bribery it takes to get Jacques to smile for the camera!!

Can you believe God would bless us with such amazing kids?? We could never earn or deserve such favor from the Lord!