Friday, November 30, 2007

The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving

There it is-- #146, it still makes me cringe to look at it.
Jim in "our room". Don't let the comfy blankets and pillows we brought from home fool you. It was, no contest, the worst bed we've ever hardly slept on.

Kyle chillin' (literally, it was so cold) in his top bunk. Him and Jim were the best sports about the cabin.

Johnny and Luke in their bunks. Look how thrilled they are to be there. We hadn't even slept there yet... Oh my.

They did like to snuggle up on the porch swing. Notice the big chapter book Luke is holding. He likes to take Kyle's big books and pretend to read them, or so we thought he was pretending. Now we are not so sure. This kid reads signs and things he's never seen before and we are always like "HOW did you manage to read that?" When his cousin Jake took him to the bouncy pillow (pictures and video's to come) Jake asked Luke if he was going to get on it. Luke told him "Just a minute, I'm reading the sign" Then he said to Jake "It says No Footwear Allowed. I have to take off my sandals first." When Jake came back to camp he told us about it and asked me "How old is he again?" 4, he's 4!

Luke gets the porch swing to himself.

"Don't believe the stories my Mom tells about me. You can see by my grin that I'm always sweet, right?"
Okay, nightmare might be a bit of an exaggeration of our stay in the cabin...but not by much. We have not stayed in one of these cabins before so did not come as prepared as we would of had we known. The worst part was the beds. We were told to just bring our bedding but the beds had a mattress. I don't know if they should legally be allowed to call them a mattress or not. It was more like a nap mat given out to Preschoolers at day care but placed on wooden slats. It was bad... real bad. The next morning when our family all got together we mentioned that we didn't exactly sleep great so were going to leave and look for a store to buy a memory foam or something to make the next night bearable. That's when my brother (who's stayed here many times before) agreed that their mattresses really are horrible and that's why they bring an air mattress. Once we learned they had that we pounced... We ended up taking their "mattress" (which was twice as thick as ours and still bad) and putting it on top of our "mattress" making our bed possibly comfy enough to make it through just one more night.
We may have then got some decent sleep except that our kids , who almost always sleep all through the night at home, had to get up again and again to go use the restrooms. This meant bundling up and heading out in to the cold for the walk to the bathrooms. (Seriously, WHY do people camp?... I don't get it at all).
We had such a BLAST at the actual grounds and spending time with my family but if we join my family again for this Thanksgiving tradition we will be heading to a nearby hotel each night!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Date.... again

Kapps pizza in one of the booths we likely ate in before while dating. On the table is our favorite ever pizza-- Ham and feta. It was even better then we remembered it. I'm wishing we ordered extras and had some now!

At Fibber McGee's in Mountain View

So the plan is to have 10 dates by or before our 10 year anniversary (Jan. 17th). For the first of these special dates we thought we would kick it off with a walk (and dance) down memory lane. Since we were going to be in the bay area (where we met) for vacation we thought it would be fun to reenact our first date as much as we could. Keeping in mind that our actual first date was a little over 10 years ago we obviously could not do everything exactly the same as the first date but were still glad that at least the places we went to were still around.

We started off with dinner at Kapps. It's actually where we went on our 2nd date and many more after, but hey...we were hungry and that was kind of "our spot" as it was right down the street where I used to live. We thought about parking at my old apartment complex and walking down the street to these places as we had done many times and where Jim held my hand for the first time but it was cold and we were hungry so we just skipped over that part. ;)

After our dinner at Kapps we walked just 2 doors down to where we actually did have our first ever date. On our first date Jim met me at my apartment complex and we walked to Fibber McGees. There was a one man band playing and we just had to see that (bummer he wasn't still around). Fibbers is a cute little Irish Pub that has now been changed more in to a hip hop dance club. We were able to sit exactly in the same place as our first date and order the exact same drinks we had (yes we still remember them). Since the one man band had been replaced by a DJ and no one was on the dance floor we decided we would help the place kick the night off and had the dance floor to ourselves until others caught on (you can't accuse us of being shy). Then we decided to go 2 more doors down to Molly McGees also another Irish Pub with a big dance floor (weird huh?) and danced nearly all night almost non-stop. It was so fun to be able to do that again. By 1AM I admitted that the music was starting to get on my nerves and Jim said him too (yes, we've gotten older) and we decided to go find something else to do.

At the end of our actual first date Jim walked me home, held my hand for the first time, and gave me a sweet goodnight kiss on my cheek. Again, too cold to reenact all that!

So we got in the car and drove around remembering all the places we used to go. It was so much fun. Then we got to return to our hotel suite without any kids (something we most definitely did not do on our actual first date).

A HUGE thank you to Donna for keeping our boys all night and in to the next day so that we could kick of this anniversary event in such a perfect way!

Date 2 of 10 to happen soon!

I-600's Have Arrived!

As if as a gift for Jude's birthday- yesterday we received our I-600 approval letters for each of the kids. I knew it had been approved so was watching the mailbox but of course it was not sent out as soon as they said so it just got here on his birthday. How cool is that?!

We also read the great news that one of my best friends got news that her 3 daughters all have passports and they will be ready to travel soon. HUGE WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Our kids files are right behind them and I'm hopeful that they will go through these last steps as quickly as my friends and it will not be much longer!

Lastly, I hold a perfect record: I've officially cried on every missed birthday of our kids in Haiti. Last night I read some heartbreaking news just moments before Jim walked through the door and cried buckets of tears. Jim had checked the mail on his way home and so walked through the door with our I-600 and expecting a celebration. The news we learned of was just beyond too upsetting to allow for excitement over these pieces of paper, but we are so relieved and grateful to have them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy 10th birthday to our precious Jude!

Here it is... another missed birthday and sadly we were not with him when Jude hit the double digit birthday. This is the first of the kids missed birthdays that I have not cried yet. I think it helps to really truly believe that it will be the last ever birthday to not have with him! Then again the day is not over yet....still time for something to make me cry. I wish so much that I could wrap my arms around our precious son just like in the picture. I can't believe God would bless us with this amazing boy as our son. He is as sunshine as it gets! Almost constantly laughing and smiling. He's going to bring SO MUCH joy to this family and I can't wait for the rest of his family to meet him!

I made an attempt to call him to wish him a happy birthday. We had such a hard time communicating over the phone with Stephanie on her birthday so I was unsure if I should try again until I got an email from Kez telling me that she talked to Jude and he asked for our phone number. I don't think that he would be able to call me and knew that if our little boy wanted to hear from us...we most certainly would call him on his birthday! I was really looking forward to talking to both him and Jacques. I had even hoped Jacques would translate for me and Jude. It was going to be so fun to surprise them....except I was the one to be surprised. For some reason the boys phone was at the girls house so I never did get to talk with the boys. When they heard that it was me on the phone they got Stephanie for me. I got to tell our princess that I love and miss her! I wasn't expecting to be able to do that. She asked to talk with her brothers and Kyle and Johnny took turns exchanging Hello and I love you's with her in Creole and English. Then she asked to speak to her Dad and hopefully she understood when I explained that he was at work. Once again she asked me when we were going to come for her and once again I had no answer for her and not sure how to explain to her in a way that she can understand that we have to wait. It makes me so sad. I just pray it does not leave her disappointed and confused. One day I'll be able to explain it to her and this wait will be a distant memory.

Last birthday without Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie!!!! Our Jude is now a big 10 year old, and God has blessed our family with lots of amazing children.

November update from NLL/HFC

Jacques, Lovenie, Stephanie, and Jude
We received this update while on vacation. This is one of our favorites! They all look wonderful and like they are doing well. Lovenie looks so much healthier then she used to, see how both her eyes are wide open? We are so excited to "see" them again!
No new news-- the kids are still in MOI but it seems to be moving quickly for some people and we could be among them. Hopefully next months update will have more exciting news to share.
Meanwhile..... TODAY IS JUDE'S 10TH BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't believe we are missing another birthday but truely do believe this one is the LAST to be misssed. I'll post a birthday tribute for Jude later today. We are going to try and call him today. When we tried to call Stephanie on her birthday we could not understand each other much but it's enough if he knows that we love him and are thinking of him. Kez shared with us that he asked her for our phone number last time she called so I think that's a good sign that he does want to hear from us!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Home again

We had such a wonderful vacation that we ended up staying gone two nights longer then we planned. This was an extra special Thanksgiving this year because we got to spend it with my family and Jim's! I have so much to share but we just got home and I'm ready to chill so I'll just share a summary and add more later:

Tuesday 11/20- Left for our road trip and made it to the Santa Cruz KOA (I'll share pictures soon it was beautiful). We made it in time to have dinner with my parents, Grandparents, and my brother and his family-- Very cool!

Wed. 11/21- Early morning I sat on a picnic table while having my phone appointment with the DMV officer. Let's just say it not only did NOT go well but was worse then what I could have imagined. My poor Mom, Grandma, and Sister-In-Law ended up having to put up with my self pity tears and anger for the next 15 minutes or so. They were sweet about it and reminded me that there must be a reason for it all. We spent the rest of the day very restful playing on the many amenities at this very cool KOA. If it were not for the camping part it would have been GREAT. I still do not love camping and if we meet up with my family again for this new tradition next year we have already picked out the hotel we will stay in. ;)

Thanksgiving day- This day went by so fast but was wonderful. We did need to pack up and clear out of our cabin (we were happy to say goodbye to it). We got to spend the first half of the day with my family and then headed to San Jose to have the traditional meal with Jim's family. Almost all of his family was there and it was so great to see them all! We spent that night just hanging out with family, playing games, and enjoying each other. Kyle and Johnny spent the night with their cousins and we headed to our hotel suite! The hotel was WONDERFUL!!! After staying in the cabin I was giddy about climbing in to the super cozy bed and sleeping soundly followed by a very long hot shower the next morning.

Fri. 11/24- My FAVORITE day by far of the vacation: We had breakfast with Jim's family and then headed to one of my favorite places in the world- Capitola. It's the cutest beach town and we've been going there for years. First it was just Jim, me, and the boys and we took them to a restaurant on the beach we used to go to long before we had kids. It was such a trip to be there almost 10 years later with kids around the table. Then my parents met up with us at the beach and the fun really began! Because my Mom and I married two of the greatest guys ever they stayed on the beach and watched the kids while me and my Mom got to go in to every cute and unique boutique in Capitola. Afterwards we said our goodbyes to my parents and headed back to Jim's sister's house. She's so good to us that she kept all 3 of our boys ALL NIGHT and long in to the next day so that we could have our first date of our 10 dates plan. We had a total blast and I'll share more about it later. It was so much fun to go back to the very same places where we had our first many memories!

Sat. 11/25- Original plan was to meet up with some friends Jim had not seen in a long time and then head home. Instead we did lunch with his friends and decided to hang out another couple nights with Jim's sister and family, and parents. Saturday night was so relaxing with pizza, games, and spending time with Jim's family.

Sun. 11/26- I was SO spoiled on the last day of our vacation. Jim had some work he needed to do so got some done while our boys played with their cousins. Meanwhile I got to go shopping with Jim's sister and Mom. When they had to leave for other things I asked them to go ahead without me and got to spend hours alone at the mall. Something I have not done in a very long time. It was so much fun! While back at the house Jim not only worked, but also watched the kids, AND washed and folded all our laundry so I would not have to do it when we got home. How great is that??!!!

A really wonderful time and so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We are on the way out the door for our Thanksgiving vacation. I'll check in if I can. If I don't get a chance to-- Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Also in the news today....




10 Dates for 10 Years

Our 10th anniversary is coming up soon. Who would have thought we would have 8 kids by then? We sure could have never dreamed something so wild up! ;) Since I was pregnant just one month after our wedding (and we eloped, he was born two weeks early, you KNOW people are doing the math in their heads, it's cool.... It was one full month AFTER we were married- honest, lol) so most of our anniversaries have been finding a babysitter so we could go out to dinner. We've always said that our 10th we would GO BIG in celebrating. Since we eloped we thought about maybe having a big reception party for our anniversary party (this is before we knew of the 5 new additions to our family). That's not likely to happen because of finances and, well... I think we have enough stress (even if it's good stress) in our lives without throwing a big expensive party. Then we started looking in to cruises since we live right here in LA area where so many ships are. We were close to going with that but for a few days cruise it's quite a bit of money, we would have to find someone to keep the kids overnight during that time, and the ships pretty much just go to places that we've already been too and are not all that exciting to us. SOOOOOOOOOO... here's the idea we have come up with... 10 dates for 10 years!

We estimate that we have only been on about 4 dates over the last almost 2 years. We imagine when we have more children we will get out even less (even though that's barely possible). So we came up with the idea of instead of going somewhere else we will stay right here in So CA and go on 10 extravagantly fun or romantic dates. We are really excited about this plan. We've got 7 of the dates we want pretty for sure planned and have a list of fun maybe's too. I'll share them as we go along. I am totally looking forward to them all!!!!!

Today we are doing the last minute errands and packing for our Thanksgiving vacation trip. If we have time we also want to meet up with a friend that Jim has been friends with for over 30 years. They lost touch for the last 7 years just to find out that we live really close to each other now! When we last saw them we had just a toddler and newborn and they were just about to get married. They now have 3 children and one on the way (all ages 4 and under) and we can't wait to meet them!

While on our vacation trip we will be near where we had our very first date. So if we can sweet talk a family member in to watching our boys we are going to kick off our 10 dates for 10 years by recreating our very first date together. I hope it works out-- I'll keep you posted. I better get packing!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Paper Pregnancy Dreams

Okay my head is still a little fuzzy from trying to wake up and acknowledge that I really am awake and not going to be able to go back to sleep. I remember having some really strange dreams when pregnant with our bio boys. This morning I was having the most bizarre dream about our kids in Haiti. From what I remember it started out with Jim and I in the streets (on foot) of Port-au-Prince. We were trying to find the orphanage and I had assured Jim that since I have been there twice I could find it no problem (yeah right!) so we walked and walked and saw the strangest things along the way. My favorite strange thing was a taptap that had a McDonalds in it (I must be having paper pregnancy cravings in my dreams too)! It might not be too bad of an idea.

So, anyways we finally get to the orphanage and our kids are just inside (although it looked nothing like the real orphanage). We are so excited and can't wait to get to them. We kept trying different ways to get in and couldn't figure out how to get inside. One of my favorite ways was that the orphanage was suddenly this HUGE building with a tiny rickety spiral staircase going up the side of the building and just packed with people. We would climb our way up the tiny stairs and get off on a floor and walk around looking for our kids and we would see odd things like a large window where you could watch a surgery being done on one of the kids, which I watched a little of and it creeped me out just like it would in real life. We kept going on the huge spiral staircase and looking and looking on each floor. At one point I went in to a panic because I suddenly realized we brought our sons from America with us and I couldn't find them either so we climbed back down the crazy stairs as fast as we could and finally found our boys on the street (good parenting, right?). Then I noticed a normal door entrance on the other side of the building and thought Hmmm... lets try that. We walked right inside and there was no longer any crowds of people. We walked up a nice wide open staircase and it brought us to just one big room. This is where we would finally get to our kids, I was sure of it. We opened the door and it was filled with arts and crafts tables everywhere and we couldn't get past them. I went a little nuts and started to climb over the top of one of the tables. It was there while I was dangling from the top of the table that some adults waiting for the kids to come in noticed me and asked me what I was doing. I sat there crying and said "I can't find my kids". They asked me who our kids are and I told them their names. They got very excited and told me how much they love our children and that they would get them right away and bring them to us. "Really?" I cried out to them. I was suddenly so excited and relieved!!!! AND........I woke up. I never got to see the kids after all that. No, No, this isn't right I MUST go back to sleep! But, no, here I am typing.

So 3 questions:

1) What is your idea's about what my crazy dream means?

2) Is it usually near the END of pregnancy, paper or not, that you start having the weird dreams?

3) How can I make myself go back to sleep and hold those babies of ours? ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

bel pitit fi nou (our beautiful daughters)

Lovenie in her crib with both eyes open!
Our beautiful Princess with the cute Pompom's in her hair (I love those!)

We just received these cute pictures of the girls today from someone that was just visiting them last week. I totally prefer these great candid shots to the update photo's (although those are exciting to get too). It shows them just hanging out and being natural. I love it! The pictures uploaded kind of small but the enlarged picture of Lovenie shows her looking healthy with both eyes wide open--which is a great sign! It was emotional to see Lovenie laying in the very place that I left her when I said goodbye to her. It's great also to see Stephanie and her beautiful big smile. She's such a sweetheart!

It's interesting lately as I'm receiving a lot of very sweet sympathy about not having the kids home for Christmas. If I were to be totally honest--- I'm not upset at all about it. I almost feel guilty that I'm not because it seems like a good Mom would be, wouldn't she? And then again God has just given me so much peace about the end process wait (thank you for your prayers!). While I miss them so much I no longer have strong feelings of anger or frustration about the process. God really keeps confirming to me that this too is part of His plan and He has a reason that is beyond my understanding. He's also really opened my eyes to the importance of living in this moment, not just waiting. Very soon our lives will been turned upside down in a wonderful way. Until then I have precious time to give our children that are home so much attention and reassurance of my love and that it will not change. I have had some of my most wonderful times with them ever in the last month or so and am just totally loving it! Don't get me wrong- I'm going to be jumping and screaming with joy at the word that "it's time" but until then I don't want to miss all the blessings God is showering us all with right this minute!

Something that has really helped to encourage me even more that there is a reason for all of this is a comment that was made by a friend at the party last weekend. As I learned more about her adoption story and much longer wait time then ours (can you imagine that) I was just stunned at all they have been through. She said to me very matter of factly that she does not ask God "why me?" but realizes that after all they have been through in their process it is very likely that another family may have given up on bringing home their child, but God chose them and gave them the strength to hold strong and do all it takes to bring there child home. Would someone else in our shoes have thrown up their hands and given up on our children? Maybe, maybe not, but I'm so very grateful that WE are the ones He is blessing with these amazing children and there is no wait too long, or battle too hard that it would not be totally worth it for the honor of them in our lives.


Yesterday we headed back to Disneyland and it was the first day of Disneyland's Holiday decorations and shows. All I can say is WOW!!! I've never seen anything like it! Of course it's the one day I say "nah, let's not bother with bringing the camera today." I searched online for photos or videos and couldn't find any that even come close to doing it all justice so I'll have to go back (you know... if I have to) and get some of my own. It was really like stepping in to another world and was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen. We were all oooooo'ing and ahhhhh'ing at everything we saw! The best part was the night was that we got to play in the snow after the fireworks! No, not real snow...even better. It looked like snow falling from the sky but was really just tons of suddsy bubbles. It was so fun to have it falling all around us and trying to catch it. I was playing in it with the kids and laughing out loud when some of the suds made their way right in to my mouth. Okay.. from now on.. closed mouth during the snow part, laughing stays inside! It was just totally a blast!!!!!!!

Other then Jim having a cold we had a great time again! Today is the first meeting of a new large adoption support group that started up at the church we used to attend. Even though we don't go there any longer (we loved it but it wasn't a good fit for Johnny) we like to join in on some of their events and follow the pastor's teachings on the radio. I've heard the group is pretty big already and made up of families adopting from here in the states and from all around the world. I know of at least two other families that have adopted or are adopting from Haiti and at least one other person who has been on two mission trips to Haiti so that is really cool. They are having their first family picnic at the park and we hope to join them. It's really something special to be around other families that know and understand all the joys and heartaches of adoption. Should be another great day! This is the start of Day 2 of Jim's vacation time and we have a heavy schedule packed with tons of fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gifts and other news

It happened again... Last night Jim came home from work to find that we had two full big gift bags on our doorstep. It is the funnest and sweetest thing. Someone over the last few months has been leaving us gifts at our door on several occasions! If you happen to be that person and read this blog-- THANK YOU!
It is so fun and such a brightness in our day as we pull things out of the bag like beautiful clothing, shoes, toys, movies (when we collecting DVD's to take to Haiti)... so many things for our kids. The kids of course get very excited over everything that is "for them" and I am really touched while looking at the things for our children not yet home and imagining how much they will like them. What a wonderful lesson it's been for our kids also to see what it is like to have someone do something kind for you just because.
Other News:
I just talked with Jim and he had a really crummy start to his day. Poor guy. It involved a missed train and bad commute, silly traffic violation ticket, and means he also has to drive to and from work today. This will mean he will have to leave earlier then usual (We are teaching the kids tonight at bible study), got in later then usual, and has a lot to do because today is his last day before his 10 DAY VACATION!!! :) Okay, that last part probably will not get us much sympathy, will it? I'm so excited that we will get to spend so much time together!
Jim had a talk with his boss today and it's sounding like they want him to stay here in CA for around one more year. So Woo Hoo to making the most of our passes, living close to family, not having to move right before or after our kids come home, and even just for having a better idea of what the plan is. A not so Woo Hoo to my Texas friends as it was looking like that may be the place we would have headed back to if we moved again (I miss you guys so much!!!).
Counting down the hours until vacation and theres not many left! ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Woman's World (pictures part 2)

Car lot is Jim's favorite

Tool kit is my favorite

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Disneyland getting a bad rap

"What? What did I do?"

Could everyone PLEASE stop emailing me about the evils of Disneyland and the harm it is doing to me and my son? I know it was originally mentioned in a comment in the kindest and most thoughtful way by a friend to consider that maybe the rides and lights are effecting us. I accepted that suggestion and appreciated my very sweet friends concern. Since then I have received several emails from people convinced that this is what is causing the recent episodes Johnny and I have had. I really do appreciate your concerns and for one person to bring it up for consideration is very sweet. However, to receive email after email from people insisting that this is the cause is getting to be too much.

What you may not know is that Johnny has been having these episodes since before he was 2. They happen on and off with no pattern or triggers that we can figure out. The amount of these episodes have not decreased or increased since we started going to Disneyland. I did find a few thrill rides that "irritated" me and now avoid them. Johnny has not ridden any rides that have made him feel uncomfortable (other then a couple he tried once that were too scary for him). Not only do I know this because I've asked him but also because there is no one on this planet more cautious and tuned in to how Johnny is feeling then I am. His last episode was more concerning then usual but he also had a fever from a virus which he does not usually have with these episodes.

After years of searching for the triggers to my seizures I think we have a great handle on it and getting better and better. I know without any doubt what caused this near seizure for me this week and it was over exhaustion and pain. This did include 2 trips to Disneyland in one week but I have done that a few weeks in a row and have not had a problem because we take breaks and make sure to take days off in between. The week also included our sons birthday and a very long non-stop 14 hour outing/celebration that ended in a sleepover, 2 other sons that came down with a thankfully short lasting virus, searching for and buying a new stroller, getting our home cleaned and decorated for a party and wedding shower, running errands and preparing games for said party, taking Johnny to urgent care when he had an episode, the list goes on and on. It was one of the busiest, hardest, and funnest weeks I've had in a very long time. Source of my near seizure-- undoubtedly over exhaustion (who wouldn't be after that week?) and pain. Source of Johnny's episodes-- still unknown but have certainly seen no connection to Disneyland or anything else for that matter. If I did see a connection do you really think for one second I would continue to take him?

Disneyland passes have been the funnest thing to happen to our family so far. We are spending so much time having fun together and a HUGE bonus is it's really helped take our minds off the long frustrating wait for our kids to come home. We are enjoying this precious time with our children that are home before our family dynamics change forever.

Please--subject closed. Disneyland, while a blast, will never be more important to me then Johnny's health or mine. If I ever see it being a problem we will not go again or at least not as often. As of now it has been nothing but a lot of joy for our family. I will apologize to Mickey when I see him and we will continue to enjoy to happiest (most seizure free) place on earth.

If Women Ruled the World Part 1

I try not to post more then once a day but this is just too funny. I received a hysterical email today with several photo's of how different things would be if women ruled the world. Since I'm headed in to clean up the bathroom (again) in a household of boys I thought I would share this one today and more later on.

"Would you do THAT in PUBLIC?"

I've mentioned before and I'll mention it again: I'm so glad we do not have video cameras in our house because sometimes I become the very definition of goofy. This morning while washing dishes I was dancing around and being silly when Kyle asked me the question "Would you do THAT in PUBLIC?". I'm thinking "Why wouldn't I be dancing? I get to do this huge pile of dishes that smell bad because they sat while I wasn't feeling well yesterday, then I get to clean up the huge puddle of pee on the floor because Luke didn't get to the toilet on time and missed by a long shot, then I get to start school more then an hour late, and once that's all done I've got a mile long list of things that are not fun to do that need to be done." Who wouldn't dance under those circumstances?

So Kyle, in answer to your question: Yes... I just might! Sometimes dancing and giggles are brought on by much joy and sometimes it is brought on by insanity. I'm a Mom so it's a fine line between the two! ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Where do we even begin?

It would be a huge understatement to say that trips to Haiti has been very eye opening to situations in the lives of others. It seems there is need everywhere you look. Right here with our neighbors in America, so much need in Haiti, Africa, Mexico... the list goes on and on. Once you actually see the conditions people are living in with your own eyes (and not just on TV or the internet, though those do help) you can no longer ignore the suffering of others.

Once your eyes are opened to so much need you wonder "Lord, where do I even begin? What can I do to bless the life of others?" There are so many great needs that one could easily just give up and realize there is nothing you can do because it's too overwhelming or you could go the other direction and try and do anything and everything possible to try and make a difference and still see so much more to do that you would find yourself physically, emotionally, and even financially strained. So were is the balance? I've heard it said that to say Yes to one thing means having to say No to other things. We can not do it all. This is why it is so important to seek God's guidance on where to help, when, and how. I could devote this blog entirely to situations or people that need help that I know of and never even begin to scratch the surface.

Sometimes there are things that I feel God's shown me to be used by Him to serve and share the need. So I hope you will all please not grow too tired of me as I continue to share these needs with you. I assure you that I do not post even a fraction of the things that come to my attention (though perhaps we could start a blog on needs and how to help?).

So... Right now there are two needs very much on my heart that I would like to share. I am seeking ways to raise funds and share information about these needs with others. If you feel led would you please share your fund raising ideas with me, contribute in ways that you can, or even just help pass on the word of the need?

Most pressing need:
As you know from a previous post we had a wedding shower for a friend on Saturday. She is just days away from marrying a pastor in Haiti that also works for this orphanage:

This is an orphanage that takes in terminally ill or very ill children in Haiti, not for adoption, but just to care for them and make their lives as happy and comfortable as they can and helping them as much as they can. This orphanage has recently lost it's only vehicle as the engine burst in to flames. You can read the whole story here:
This has caused the need to rely on others to find rides for the children to get them to and from doctors appointments, get them groceries, and so many other things. To get them another used vehicle in Haiti would be just $5000. I believe if enough people are involved we CAN help them in this way! The most concerning thing is not just that they have the convenience of a car but for these kids it can be very much life threatening for them not to have a way to get them to the hospital immediately if needed. I am praying that we can all celebrate together when we are able to find a way to provide this blessing for them!

Another fund raising situation that has been very much on my heart is for another dear friend, Bryn. She leaves in just a couple of weeks to live with the teenagers of Hope For the Children Of Haiti with our children. She will be teaching them English classes and doing devotions with them but most importantly she will BE THERE when the kids are hurting, sad, happy, or confused and need someone. She will be that someone. She will also be keeping us parents of these older kids in communication with the kids so that the bonding can begin before they even come home. She is taking a huge leap of faith as she has no doubt at all that God called her to do this even though she has no idea where the finances to support her while she is there will come from. She will be such a huge blessing to these precious kids and it will certainly be a life changing experience for her as well. To follow her journey or find out more information please see her blog at: or to fill out a form for donations:

I feel strongly that I am being called to creatively do what I can for these two needs. We may not be in a place of great financial help as we have 5 adoptions to pay off and then 8 kids to raise on a single income since I plan to home school all our kids (Lord willing). So... what are the ways I can help? I can give of myself and time. I've already posted an ad to babysit for donations and 100% of the proceeds will be given to these two fund raisers. A neighbor who sells the gorgeous Lia Sophia jewelry has generously offered that if I host a party all the profits will go towards these fund raisers as well and Vera, who sells Mary Kay is also considering a fund raiser of putting the proceeds from purchases towards the vehicle fund raising as well. When I have more information about these I will post them.

Meanwhile if anyone can think of other ideas of ways to raise funds for them please email me privately or post in the comments. If this is something you would also like to be involved in please let me know.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Still working towards the 8 month mark

I would be so grateful for your prayers for myself and our Johnny. Today we visited the new church again and again absolutely LOVED everything about it! The message was so much what I needed to hear and even confirmation of what God's been telling me in other ways too (Isn't God cool how He does that?). Before the service was even over what I had just been reminded of was already being tested. That familiar feeling came back when my body tenses up, I feel strange, and begin to shake.... a seizure was about to happen and at this point there has always been nothing I could do to stop it. Jim could see me popping anticonvulsants and asked me if I was okay and when I shook my head he got me out of there fast. There were a few long minutes where I just cried because I knew that I was at the point of no return and after all these months and right before getting my license back I was going to have a seizure. I prayed and prayed and my body relaxed and eventually it WENT AWAY!!!! I'm still seizure free!!!!!!!!! Praise God as I have no doubt at all it was an answer to prayer because I was definately past the turning point in the past!

This was a great wake up call that I still need to continue to not get over confident regarding my health. It's been a very fun and exciting week but I am exhausted beyond my physical limits and should have known better (but did we ever have fun while it lasted!!!!).

When I posted a couple posts ago that we were headed for trip 10 to Disneyland I was wrong again. Johnny suddenly started acting and feeling very weird. Once again was complaining of his "bones shaking" and was feeling week. His eyes looked strange and totally out of it. We tried to get him to stand up and he was so weak he fell right down. So instead of Disneyland we headed to urgent care. Praising God again as some good came from this. Johnny is being referred to the Chief Pediatrician to try and get him the help he needs. Clearly something is not right!

So it's been a week filled with some of the most fun we have had in a very long time, and some not so fun stress. I'm now heavily drugged (to help avoid the seizure) and ready to crawl on the couch for a day of pizza and movie..... Good times!

Thanks for your prayers!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wedding Shower and Party

Southern CA families that are or have adopted from Liberia and/or Haiti
Congratulations Vera and Johnny--- to be married very soon!

Below are photo's of one of the games. 3 teams competed for the Vera's (the bride to be) vote on her favorite wedding attire made entirely out of toilet paper:

Josh (Vera's son) was our bride and he was a very good sport!

Teddy (Vera's daughter) was the bride of Beka's family team. Is she cute or what? How can we compete with that?

The finalists. The bride liked them all and called a 3 way tie.

The guest of honor, Vera, holding her adorable baby Tamarah who just recently came home from Haiti and her sweet son Josh standing nearby.

Below- Destinations: Another game we played. The children would need to scramble to the destination of their choice from a Liberian Flag, American Flag, Haitian Flag, or Wedding Chapel. A card would then be drawn showing a picture of one of these destinations and everyone there would be "out" until the was only one person left. The kids had a great time with this game and begged later to play again but we ran out of time. I guess we will have to get together again to play it. ;)

Johnny and Emma looking bummed at the news that it was time to go. We will have to play again soon!

The kids all played together so wonderfully!!! No fights, everyone shared, and everyone was instant buddies. New friends are a beautiful thing. We are already anxious to see them all again.

Today was a really wonderful day of bringing together many friends for the first time. It was the first ever get together for the families of Southern CA adoptive families from Liberia and Haiti to meet each other. One of our friends among this group is getting married in just a couple weeks so we also through her a wedding shower. It was such a wonderful time and we can't wait to see everyone again!

Friday, November 09, 2007

10 Times

In response to my friends comment:

"Isn't it illegal to go to Disneyland so many times in a row??? :-)looks like you are having a ton of fun there (and getting your money's worth from the ticket prices!)"

Tomorrow will be one month from when we bought our tickets. We are headed there again soon today making it our 10th time. We are still having a blast everytime we go! Disneyland's going to end up losing money on their deal with us. ;)

Just 11 months left of our annual passes. Wondering how many times we will end up going by the end of the year.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More good news

For those who understand the adoption process: Stephanie and Lovenie HAVE entered MOI!!! FINALLY!!!!! Sadly, there is a problem with Jude's paperwork and he has not joined them yet so please pray that he will enter soon also.

ALSO: I talked with the person at USCIS (immigration) handling the kids file and she told me this morning that our I-600 HAS been approved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those who do not know the adoption process: MOI is the start to getting their passports and the I-600 is approval for them to become American Citizens as our children.

SO..... Progress. Very very good stuff!

Rainforest Cafe Volcano


Our family, plus Andrew, in the classic picture in front of Mickey
Riding the horse drawn trolley at the birthday boy's request

Kyle with one of his best friends Andrew on the Jelly Fish ride.

Andrew and Kyle in the tea cups

At Rainforst Cafe for the "birthday cake" which was 3 orders of their famous Volcano desserts.

Johnny, Cloe, and Grant playing with the Volcano sparklers.

Kyle ate his birthday dessert and then fell sound asleep on the table. The sign of a birthday well spent!!!

Could a 9 year old ask for anything better for a birthday then to spend it at Disneyland with family and friends, followed by Rainforest Cafe's Volcanos?? It was a very long (14 hours) and very fun day for everyone. Kyle took a Disneyland map the day before his birthday and circled everything he wanted to see and do. He was able to do it all, and some of it more then once! About Mid-day we hooked up with Mandy and family and Bryn again. They were kind enough to let me, Johnny, and Luke tag along with them again while Jim, Kyle, and Andrew hit the more exciting rides (too much for the little brothers). When we got to Disneyland Guest Services gave Kyle a big Happy Birthday pin to wear and they wrote his name and the number 9 on it. Almost every employee of Disneyland that saw him took the time to say "Happy Birthday Kyle" to him.
We had a great time at Rainforest Cafe also. Our family loves an excuse to go there--so fun! We ordered 3 of their giant Volcano desserts to share and were stuffed. Kyle was so exhausted he fell asleep on the table. I had to shake him and shake him to wake him up when it was time to go! While he was sleeping a couple we did not know came by and had heard Kyle being sung happy birthday to so dropped off 2 $2 bills for Kyle. He was excited about it when he woke up. Then we spent lots of time in the fun Rainforest Cafe store where Kyle got to spend some birthday money on some neat gifts that will be a great reminder of a wonderful birthday.
Happy Birthday our dear son!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Friends at Disneyland

Mandy, Me, Bryn, and James
We took this picture thinking it would be fun for Bryn to share with all our kids when she gets to Haiti. She said she's going to tell the kids these are our pets! ;)
Kyle looking totally "bugged"

On the train ride: Grant, Bryn, and Alex, Mandy, James, Cloe, Luke, Kyle, and Johnny
(plus me once I was done holding up the ride for the picture)

Bryn is being taken for a spin on the ladybug ride (and later the tea cups) by the kids. She was the only cool grown up that would go on the spinning rides.

Grant and Johnny in a car simulator game. It was really cool. Luke watching them play. We were hanging out doing this while Mandy, Bryn, and Kyle rode Space Mountain.

Johnny and Grant at the front of the boat on the Storybook ride

One very happy family!
What a great day yesterday was! I was so excited to see Bryn again and to meet Mandy and James who I've only exchanged emails with over the last year or so. Mandy and James are adopting Job and Bernadin from HFC (friends of Jacques, Stephanie, and Jude) and Afterly who lives with Lovenie from NLL. Bryn is Mandy's sister and the friend that is going in a few weeks to live with the kids of HFC for the next year. The moment we finally got to meet was very exciting. From that moment on it was as if we were with family or friends we had known all our lives. Kids and grown ups all became instant friends. We spent most of the day together going from ride to ride. Before you get on each ride the employees would ask how many are with our party and we would say to their surprise "10". It occurred to me that this will be how big our family will be when we are all together... yikes! :)
We will hopefully be able to meet up with them again tomorrow when we go to Disneyland again for Kyle's birthday. We are all excited about seeing them again! One of my favorite moments was getting to ride Peter Pan with Grant and I was being silly and asked him "What if I get scared?". He rolled his eyes and said "You're a Mom". I asked him "Mom's don't get scared?" and he told me no in a very duh sort of way. Right after that ride we went on another one that he didn't want to ride because it was too scary. I reassured him by reminding him that when he is a Mom he won't be scared of anything!
Today is Kyle's last day of being 8. I can't say it will be a real memorable one as catch up school work and chores will take up a lot of the day, but it will make turning 9 that much more fun, right?