Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blogger Police have released me!

A couple days ago I posted the music video below. Then I went to make another post above it explaining the video (now posted). When I tried to post it I had a note from blogger that their spam robots had picked up on my blog as potential spam (thanks a lot) and it was locked for a couple days until it could be reviewed by one of their humans (no joke: robots and humans were their words, not mine). It seems that the verdict is in and after review and a couple days wait the blogger jury has come to the verdict that I'm NOT GUILTY.
Freedom at last!
While frustrated at being locked out of my own blog I had to remind myself that I'm able to blog on blogger free of charge and it is a privilege not a right. So, thank you blogger for being available for me to be able to connect with my family and friends for free and for protecting our accounts from problems: I will not complain about the wait.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My friend's got TALENT

Hi everyone,

Recently I shared with you all about our neighbors daughter, Jessica, and the fund raising party we were attending for her mission trip to Africa (She has since gone and returned). I knew she was in a band but had not heard them play until today. They have entered a contest and could possibly even win a record deal out of it but need everyone that enjoys their music to VOTE on this contest. Please listen to the video bellow and if you enjoy it as much as I did you can go to http://www.star987.com/pages/rockstar/videos14.html

to view it there as well or click on the vote button at the top of the page and vote for this great group! Please send those votes in from as many email addresses as you have! Their band is Radio Parade and the song is Brand New Day.

Radio Parade

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Parenting advice needed!!!

All parents welcome to please give advice in comments or in private email at angnjim@sbcglobal.net.

Here's the problem: Our 4 year old! He just turned 4 recently and is incrediably smart and can be SO sweet! However, he can also be very difficult. He has decided to no longer be potty trained which is frusterating us to no end! We have tried anything and everything we have been told by friends and books. We have potty trained two boys before him but he sure has us puzzled! Yes, we have tried consistancy, taking away his pull ups (which only leaves me with the frusterating mess of cleaning underware), rewards, punishment, and lots and lots of prayer... and yet he still challenges us.

We are trying to figure out what we are missing and what to do about it. Yesterday he decided he didn't know how to put on his sandels anymore (something he has been doing for years) and it became a battle. It all leaves me to question: Is this emotionally driven? Could he be realizing more and more that his life is about to change and these new brothers and sisters really are going to be here and live with us? Could he be fighting for his place as the baby (now that he will have a little sister)? Or is he just really really stubborn?

What to try now??? All advice welcomed!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Our Beautiful Children!

Vilner age 1
Lovenie age 3

Luke age 4

Johnny age 6

Kyle age 8

Jude age 9
Stephanie age 11

Jacques age 15
Counting my MANY blessings tonight and here are 8 of my most precious ones. I wanted to share recent pictures of all the kids in order of their ages. I am such a blessed woman!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Help bring a little boy with medical needs home from Africa!!

Hi everyone,

This is not a hoax or a scam but an actual friend of mine who also lives here in Southern CA. She is adopting from Africa and her process has moved very quickly due to her son having medical needs and needing to get home. However she has less then a month to come up with $8000!

She is seeking 8000 people online that may be willing to donate just a dollar. To view the information and how you can help click here: http://bringisaachome.onedollaradoption.com/

If you feel led to help please cover her in prayers, finances, or by passing on her website to anyone and everyone you know.

Thanks so much!

Goodbye again

Claudette Bernard (who spoiled us all so much!), Jacques, Dr. Jacob Bernard (director of NLL and HFC), Me, Lovenie, Stephanie, and Jude
Today it is 3 weeks from the day I returned home and I'm still barely able to speak of our last moments together. I love to go and feel so very blessed to get the time with our kids but dread the goodbyes even before leaving. Our last night together Stephanie asked me if she could stay at the guest house instead of riding in the taptap the next day. This is when I had to tell her that she could not because the next day was our last day together. She immediatly was so sad (which makes me sad) and when Jude heard this he also got very quiet for a while. I asked him if he was tired or feeling sick and he shook his head no. Then I asked him if he was sad because I was leaving and he said yes and remained quiet and sad for a while. What can you do? It IS really sad!
The last day we all climbed in to the back of the tap tap for our last ride with our kids. We still planned to spend until the afternoon with them but the kids had all by then found out this was the last day and mothers and children both shed tears already that morning. We went and played games, did crafts, gave out gifts, and more that day and when we finally took a break for lunch we had been doing some games with all the kids and I wanted to do much more until I realized we left in about an hour. I just had to drop the games then and spend some time with our children. We had a nice time together until the last hour. When we had about a half hour left I took Lovenie back to the baby room to say goodbye and have my arms available for our other children. Stephanie came to the baby room with me. As I hugged and kissed on Lovenie trying to tell her I had to go but I would be back and how much I loved her I broke and just bawled. I could no longer control my tears. Stephanie had been quietly crying up until then but when I fell apart so did she and we were both sobbing. That triggered Lovenie that something was going on and when I tried to put her back in her crib she flipped out like I've never seen her do before. She was screaming and grabbing at me which only made me cry harder. I had to place her in her crib and was trying to keep her in while shutting the little door. She slammed the door back open and flung herself back in to my arms which made me cry even harder. I held her for a while and Stephanie sobbed next to us. I knew I had to end this scene and put Lovenie back in her crib. It was just horrible. She kicked and screamed and hit at the door of the crib trying to get to me and I had to hold her back with one hand and tightly hold the door closed. To make matters much worse I had to take the time to tie a string that holds her door closed while she screamed and cried and beat the door yelling "Mama." I know it sounds terrible... but it could never sound as bad as it actually was! Then I took Stephanies hand and quickly led her out of there. We went outside to the courtyard where the team was starting to gather for their last goodbyes. Stephanie just crumbled in tears and I took turns holding her and Jude on my lap hugging and kissing them and promising to be back soon and Jacques sat right next to us and I would lean over and love on him too. Meanwhile, there were so many other goodbyes going on around us. Some mothers that were adopting younger children had done as I did and had to take their children to their rooms and say their goodbyes. They sat in the courtyard either expressionless and numb with pain or sobbing with the rest of us. My friends little girls were just screaming and sobbing and clinging to their Mama. I think that made us all cry even harder because us grown ups felt the same way! This dragged on for about 30 minutes it was just horrible. Then it was time to hug and kiss our kids one last time and climb on to the tap tap where we could no longer reach them. When we did that adults and children alike sobbed. It was horrible to be seated there waiting to leave...looking out the sides of the tap tap and see our children crying and not be able to hold them. Stephanie was off by herself sobbing and I yelled to Jacques asking him if he would comfort her and being the amazing and sweet big brother that he is he wrapped his arms around her and let him cry on his shoulder. Jacques brought them next to the tap tap and they put their hand on the outside of the tap tap and I put my hand on theirs from the inside and we just bawled. Then the tap tap began to move and we all waved to all the children and watched as we drove out of the gate and could no longer see our kids. There were so many tears in that tap tap! I'm sure there was many tears at the orphanage as well. I've said goodbye to our children twice now and it is the hardest thing by far I've ever experienced. Your heart feels like it's going to stop beating. There were a couple of Mom's that met their children for the first time that trip and one of them shared with me that she just feels in a funk since leaving Haiti. It's so normal. You bond with your children and then leave. I shared with her that I felt the same way and because I love our children in Haiti the same way I love our bio sons here in America it would be the same as someone coming and taking my children from our home, moving them to another country, and having no idea when they will be returned to me or when I will see them again. I ask you what loving mother would not experience some depression under those circumstances???
Now, all that being said... Is it worth it? Yes, it is so worth it! The pain you experience is worth the joy you have of all those precious moments of hugging and loving on your child. It's because those moments are all so wonderful and precious that the goodbyes are so heartbreaking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July update photo's are here!!!

These just in! Look at how much healthier little Lovenie looks and Jacques first update photo that he smiled for us in (Merci Jacques, bel souri!). Stephanie and Jude smiling and radiant as always!
The update says they are all healthy and doing well. I miss them so much. Someone needs to invent a computer I can reach through and hug them!!!!

More Playing in Haiti- Last day

Nikki in the blue shirt, me leaning over yelling for the team to throw the balloon higher and Stephanie next to me.
Karla was one of the judges for the potato sack race and joined in on the fun of watching the kids laugh and play.

My precious son Jacques and his friends getting ready to take on the water ballon game. These boys had the balloon flying in the air. It was great!

Jacques and Friend dodging the kids as they used the sling shot to fling water balloons at the gate. Other kids tried this too and the only one to get hit (that I know of) was Stephanie and she got soaked and we all got a big laugh.

Look out! The kids enjoyed the slingshot. What kid doesn't?

The kids actively playing the water balloon game

A team getting ready to play.

The prize center. The winners were so excited to pick out a prize!

I'm so glad we got to play some of the games planned and we had so much fun. I wish we had time to stay and do more but we did this the last day. We started off getting the kids all together with double dutch jump ropes and played the CD soundtrack to the movie Jump In (I heard they saw and loved that movie and it was among the ones donated). Then when we were all set up (Thanks Debbie and Candy for filling up so many water balloons, and Tyson for setting up the prize zone) we called the kids over and Nikki did a great job translating for us. The kids were grouped into teams of 6 and given a beach towel that they would hold the sides of and as a team had to fling the balloon in to the air and catch it again. It was a regular balloon filled with water and if it fell but did not break they could pick it up and keep going. The kids had a blast and there was lots of laughter!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just another Manic Monday

It started out just like another Monday, except Jim decided to take today off (I LOVE that he works 4 days a week and can choose each week what day to take off.) Also last night we had bought the kids a 21' waterslide and were all anxious to play on it. At the last minute we decided to call some good friends and ask them to come over and "break in" the new slide with us. They accepted our spontaneous offer and before we knew it there was 10 of us sliding, bbq'ing, and swimming. As if that were not a fun enough day we were able to keep Kyle and Johnny's best friend for a sleepover... yep... Just another Monday!

Kyle and Johnny trying out their new slide
Dad's joining in on the fun. He was especially fun to watch because he went down so fast that he went over the front of the slide on to the ground (a trick Debbie later did as well). No need to worry no one got hurt until we played Marco Polo.

Debbie was SO fun to watch go down the slide as she always ended up in some twisted position!
Fun for grown-ups too! Debbie and I laughed and laughed as we went down and then waited in line with the kids for our turn. Over and over again we went down (we are sure to be sore tomorrow). It was so fun! Later we all got in the pool and made a great whirlpool and an aggressive game of Marco Polo... Ended it with burgers, hot dogs, and a sleepover. Not bad for a Monday!

Waterslide fun

Johnny Wisdom

While we all snuggled up in our big bed this morning Johnny made a comment regarding race that shows more intelligence then some adults. His comment: "If our colors got all mixed together we would all be the same!" Deep, Sweet, Insightful.
Then it was followed by: "We would all be a dark white!" (Well what do you want...He is only 6)

Those comments were immediately followed with "A Rat's gotta do what a Rat's gotta do." reminding us of why we call him Mister Random. Sigh... how often we say "That's SOOOOOO Johnny!" He keeps us laughing and is such a great kid!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The TRUE way to have a happy marriage

Okay friends... we should be charging for such good marital advice but because of my great love for you all we will share our new found secret for FREE! Toss aside all marriage advice you have heard before now and prepare to hear the one very simple step to a happy marriage:
It started this last Mother's Day. I was spoiled so much but to top it off my husband made sure to get me some very special dark chocolate candies. I was so pleased. Then as the weeks went on and I had a tough day here and there my husband would send me to bed for some rest and quiet time and would come up stairs with a bar of dark chocolate in his hands. I would laugh and thank him and thought it was left over from mothers day. As time went on he continued to bring me a surprise chocolate bar. I teased him and asked him if he had a secret stash hidden somewhere to keep me happy and his answer was a smile (that means yes).
When he had to go out of town me and the boys spent many days at my parents house and he informed my Mom that if I got cranky feed me chocolate... preferrably dark. My Mom did show up with Cinnamon Bears (my second favorite and hard to find!) one day to "keep me happy."
Recently my husband has been doing the family grocery shopping. It takes so much longer to shop with the kids and I don't have a license yet so he is automatically nominated (and he's good at it too). I noticed that the chocolate bars were showing up more and more. It became a great joke as he would not tell me where he was keeping this never ending supply of chocolate. He would actually make me go up stairs and get in bed before bringing me one! He did eventually share with me where the stash was and I laughed when I found out he put it on the top shelf of our pantry where there is no way I could see it even standing on a chair. My husband is 6'2" and took advantage of the fact that I was vertically challanged. Boy was I excited to see the stash!!! He had bought dark chocolate in bulk!!! It was hidden behind the stashed party supplies and bulk box of garbage bags and far out of my reach. Our marriage has been better then ever in the last few months of the great chocolate stash. I did put on a few pounds but the parasites I picked up in Haiti quickly took care of those! So there you go.... marriage advice and fast weightloss plan reveiled in one post. No need to thank me...just get a big box of chocolate and live a happy life!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bethel Guest House happenings

Bon Nuit, Domi Byen (Good night, Sleep well)- One of my favorite times being with the kids is getting to spend the nights with them as a family does. This trip was the first time I was able to share a room with the boys and tuck them in at night... what a cool blessing!

Princess Stephanie has an amazing ability to take over even a King sized bed. I attempted to sleep with her and Lovenie and between Stephanie's flopping all over the bed and Lovenie waking up through-out the night I got very little sleep. Check out how Stephanie is taking up a big chunk of the bed. I had to put Lovenie upside down at the end of the bed on the edge with a pillow so she wouldn't fall off... and notice I'm not in the bed.... no room for me! I teased Stephanie the next morning when everyone was awake and telling her that this is how she sleeps and then I threw an arm on her, then a leg, and so on until I was laying sideways across her and all the kids were cracking up.
What a joy it was to tuck in our sweet sons. One night I got them all tucked in and then made them laugh by diving onto the bed right in between them and held Jacques hand and cuddled with Jude until the both fell asleep. It was such a precious time. Stephanie and Lovenie stayed awake to make sure that I was coming back to them and I did.

Debbie shared a room with us and was such a great sport. For the last couple nights she shared her bed with Charline (who is now going to be her daughter). There was one night that Debbie was really exhausted and really needed to sleep but I couldn't keep all the kids out of our room. I kept kicking them out and they would come right back in. I tried to enlist the help of their Moms but many were busy with a project and in and out all the kids continued. I finally had to kick the kids out and put a chair in front of the room door and stayed there turning kids away so that Debbie could get some sleep.

Jacques listening to the walkman I left him on my first trip, Jude playing Tetris that I brought him this trip, and our dear friend Job hanging out.

Stephanie had just fallen asleep and is already making her way towards taking over the bed and I have the pictures to prove it. :) Lovenie is waiting to be dressed for bed.

The kids loved to hang out watching movies on the little screen of my portable DVD player. Movies played in our room was Superman 2 and Pink Panther.
Good Night our precious sons! If I were not so exhausted I may have been able to sit awake all night and marvel in the fact that I got to see our children sleeping!

Jacques, Charline, Stephanie, and Jude- All of them wearing the new necklaces their mothers just gave to them. Jacques, Charline, and Jude are wearing cross necklaces that Debbie and I bought for them there in Haiti (I brought home matching necklaces for Kyle, Johnny, and Luke), and Stephanie is wearing the locket I brought to her with a picture of both of her mothers.
Jude, Jacques, Job, Stephanie (hiding behind the movie case), and Bernadin watching another movie.

One of the kids took this picture of me. It shows the rest of our gorgeous room. It was so big, clean, and beautiful! The door I'm near leads to our own full bathroom in our bedroom.
Friends hanging out. Charline listening to Stephanies new walkman and Bernadin hanging out nearby.

Ange and daughters dropping in to say Goodnight

MEAL TIME- Meals at the Bethel Guest House is quite an event! You are so spoiled and waited on while there. You are called to each meal with a bell and then served delicious foods and drinks. Everyone eats together as one big family and it was so fun!
Our Table: Then empty chair next to Lovenie is were I was sitting. Jude is at the end of the table in the orange shirt, Charline is leaning over to talk to Stephanie, Debbie, and Tyson at the end of the table.

It took many tables to host our team of 13 plus all our kids which I think ended up being 14 of them as well! Such a good time!!


Our team received a request to bring the boys some soccer balls. I'm not sure how many ended up being brought but it was a lot of them. To transport them we all deflated them and we had one of the few ball pumps so a lot of balls ended up in our room to be pumped back up.

Entry area:
My neices (Ange's daughters) after their graduation ceremony. Resting in the Entry area of the guest house. Aren't they adorable??!!