Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's a good thing...

It's a good thing we've got 6 brothers to be protective of their sister... She is SOOO pretty!

Playful Brothers

Great News: The internet is reconnected at HFC!!! So pictures, Videos, and eventually even letters have been making their way out again. I've missed being able to email them SO much! Here are some fun pictures of Jacques, Jude, and friends:

(another one of those "favorite" pictures!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christmas Message from Haiti

The kids send a Christmas Greeting. How cute are they?? SO cute! Stephanie is using the High School Musical microphone that was her Christmas gift from us.

Thank you so much for making this video Bryn!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Either my clues are WAY too easy or you guys are really good at this guessing thing! Yes, We headed out to Palm Springs for some fun in the sand on ATV's. It was so much fun!!! One of the joys of going on a weekday is that we had the whole place to ourselves (at peak season the hill is covered with around 150 people). Once we got the hang of it we were flying over jumps, doing donuts in holes in the ground (this stunt named by us- Donut holes), and speeding up and down the side of a mountain. We had a couple of tumbles. Jim's tumble was nice and gentle as he was going up the mountain when his ATV flipped backwards in slow motion. Mine was not so gentle as I made a turn too fast and was flung off the ATV and into the sand. Ouch. I haven't had the wind knocked out of me since I was a kid. I took a hard hit (please no "I told you so's", I'm hurting enough without it). Fortunately it was at the very end of our time and we were ready to turn back anyways. Despite the tumble it really was a blast and we would do it again in a heartbeat!
Me tearing up the track
Jim zooming by

On the way back we saw these dinosaurs on the side of the road. We chose this place to have a nice picnic lunch we had packed.

Run baby run!

See the cash I'm sporting? It wasn't part of the plan but it sure was fun. We had planned on finding a nice restaurant on the way home to have dessert together. We didn't see any restaurants but saw the Morongo Casino and were sure there would be a nice restaurant inside. So we went in making jokes about winning our date money back. Once the joke was made it became irresistible. We attempted to play Craps (our favorite casino game) but the table was too crowded so Jim settled in on a black jack table. I decided to just cheer him on and watch him play. It took about a whopping 2 minutes to lose $20 bucks and he asked me if I wanted to give it a try. So I did and in less then 15 minutes I had won back enough money to cover all of our date and we walked away happy. The nice restaurant was closed so we found some treats at this coffee bar to end out our fun outing.

There are many things that amuse my husband more then it would an average person. The tiny van on this trailer was one of them. Now that's what we call a mini-van. Has absolutely nothing to do with the date but we thought it was funny. (Ange-- Just think... You may be able to get one of these when the kids all grow up and move out... wink, wink)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Date 8 of 10

If all goes as planned we will be spending tomorrow (Tuesday) on date 8 of 10. Anyone want to take a guess at what we are up to now?
The Hints:
*An hours drive each way
*Dry climate
*Outdoor Activity
*May be slightly dangerous (not a bank robbery)
* "Look out for that cactus!"

Perfect Storm

A nasty flu bug made it's self known to our family last week. When he finally took his leave of our hospitality we found ourselves facing a much more serious illness: CABIN FEVER! There is only one way to get rid of that so we looked for ways to get out. Dear predicted 100% chance of rain and storms throughout the day. This is when smart people look for indoor plans but you will rarely find us doing what the smart people are doing! So with this forecast we bundled up warmly and off we went to Disneyland! During one of the storms. The boys were under the cover of an awning. We really were not hiding out from the rain but had just arrived at the show we were going to.

We are not scared of a little liquid sunshine!

I tried to quickly capture the boys playing in the rain while everyone else was looking for covering. The man in yellow stepped in front of the camera and I was going to delete it but was too fond of his fashion statement to do it. You can see Kyle bouncing around in the puddles (far right).

During a clear moment- view from the Sun Dial ride at California park.

Another view~ Moments later the rain started up again and we found ourselves trapped at the top of the Sun Dial with the wind blowing the rain in on us. We handled it in good spirits!

Exiting the Sun Dial. Thankfully the storm did not really hit until after we got off. It's cold at the top!

Making our way to Disneyland from California Park

A great catch!

It really was a blast splashing around in the rain. There was a storm that we got caught in that I didn't dare bring the camera out for. It was probably the hardest pelting we've ever been in and it would come and go with no warning. We went there knowing we would be getting wet so it was so fun to watch everyone running out of the park or into buildings while we played around in the downpour. By evening the park had almost totally emptied out AND the rains had cleared considerably. We got in a bunch of rides with no lines. The whole time was a blast and another great day of family memories created.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Urgent prayer request- UPDATED

A very dear friend of mine in TX and her family were at their grandfathers funeral when a brick wall collapsed on their 7 year old son. He is now in ICU in critical condition. Please pray for their family. Things do not look very good for their sweet little boy at this time but I know I've witnessed huge miracles in the past and am praying for one for them right now.

Update 1/28- I just want to give a huge heartfelt thank you to all of you that have left comments or sent emails about prayers for our friends son. I have a very positive update on him as of last night he started moving around (very good sign!) and they are decreasing his sedatives. The extent of the brain injury is still unknown. Please continue to cover him and his family in your prayers!


Last night I was reading a book and some comments about a situation in the authors life really stuck out to me. He was sharing a time that he was following God's lead and knew he was doing what God had called him to do but the finances just were not there so he had started considering doing other things instead of trusting in God to provide. The very morning he was going to make this path changing decision he got a phone call from a friend to let him know that God had put it on their heart (the author had not told anyone of his need) to send them a check for a specific amount and it was exactly how much he needed to cover his bills with just a little left over. I know this kind of experience as I have seen it happen again and again in my life and lives of my family and friends. There is no way to explain these "coincidences" other then God's provision and it's a beautiful thing to witness. So while this encouraged me it was not what really got my attention. It's what he went on to say that really hit home. As he continued to thank God again and again God questioned him. How did he know that the friends really sent the check? The author responds "why these are great friends of ours and I know their character, If they say they sent it they sent it." Then God asked him why he could be so sure and excited about word from a fellow person but not have that same kind of excitement when God himself confirms He will do something. Why is it that God can prove Himself faithful over and over and over again and yet we keep Him on an almost "I'll believe it when I see it" bases, yet other people can quickly earn our trust?

This last week I have been fretting more then usual about Jacques's adoption. I heard from the agency that does our home study that they are putting themselves on call to us and going to rush our home study update just as soon as Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie are home to make sure we get the adoptions of Jacques and Vilner rolling before Jacques turns 16. I was so relieved and excited at this news. However, God told me a long time ago in crystal clear ways that without a doubt Jacques Obain was our son. As obstacles started to show themselves I began to fret and worry. I again see how silly it is to do such things. God made a promise to us and is certainly able to fulfill it. I have been striving all week to get answers from other people to reassure me that it will work out okay instead of trusting that God was the one who called us to Jacques. After all that I've seen God do in our lives and the lives of others... unexplainable and exciting things.... How could I ever have doubted or even been more excited at the promise of another person's word then at God's promises? How silly of me. I continue to learn and grow but this has been a huge lesson to me. Questioning who and where my trust lies has brought me again to an incredible amount of peace as I realize that all I've been worrying over is really all God's problems (and we know it's no problem for Him) to deal with. Do I really want to take that problem out of God's hands and put them into my own... No thanks! I thank God for reminding me of where my trust should be. There is so much freedom in knowing Him and what He is capable of!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's here! It's here!!!!!!!

Stephanie 12, Lovenie 3, Jude 10, and Jacques 15 (ish)
It's the moment I wait for anxiously at the end of every month... that email that says UPDATE! This was an especially wonderful update to see them all together and looking so happy and healthy. Check it out-- Lovenie weighed in at 22 lbs. She's finally gaining weight. The change in her truly has been nothing at all short of miraculous!!!! I was a little bummed to see that the kids are all in MOI as I was hopeful that they would have moved forward but did not really expect it might happen just yet anyways, so it wasn't a really big let down. Still no news at all about Vilner. I'm pretty sure he has still not yet been brought into the orphanage and as long as they are both safe and eating I am even really grateful for each and every additional day he has with his birth Mom.
Here was what we received in our update for them:

Here we are with the first monthly mail of the new year.
Stephanie: 87 lbs 59 inches.
Jude: 53 lbs & 52 inches.
Lovenie: 22 lbs & 36 inches.
The children are perfectly healthy and beautiful, the picture will help better.
Your dossier is still in MOI.
God Bless you always!!!!!!!
NLL, Reginald
Missing them so much today, but again overwhelmed that God would even bless us in such a big way with these amazing kids. I know we have done nothing to deserve them being a part of our family but am SO grateful that they are!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Are Invited

Please help to share the news of these great upcoming events. They are open to everyone and both are free---

Children & Women's Human Rights in Haiti Conference
San Diego, California
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Friday, May 7, 2008
1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Admission - Free
Southern California Haitian Adoption Reunion
Mission Bay Park
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Afternoon -TBA
Admission - Free
Ambassador of Haiti to the U.S., Mr. Raymond A. Joseph (Fri & Sat)
Depute in Haitian Parliament, Mr. A. Rodon Bien-Aime (Fri & Sat)
Barbara Walker, NGO Director of Reach out to Haiti (Fri & Sat)
Professor Mattar, John Hopkins University (Friday only)
Professor Tiefenbrun, Child Trafficking Expert, T.J. School of Law (Friday only)
Vera Valdivia, Adoptive Mom, Advocate & Law Student (Fri & Sat)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How will it all work out?

There is so much I'm trying to work out and figure out right now so this will likely be a jumble of thoughts, but sometimes that's very therapeutic... out of my mind onto paper, or, um, computer. The top of the list is missing our kids like crazy. Can you believe it has been almost 7 months since I have seen them? They have managed to get several messages to me recently asking me when I will come and see them again. Since we keep thinking that they will be home any day now I keep having to tell them simply "I don't know." This MIGHT change.... maybe. One of my best friends is bringing home my nieces any day now. Nieces? Best Friend? How does that work? A couple of her children that she has adopted from Haiti are cousins of our children. In order to have children that are cousins someone has to be brothers or sisters, right? Well, we've staked our claim then to be the sisters. This adds a twist to the plan of marrying off Kyle to her daughter but we'll figure that out. Anyways... 3 of my nieces are coming home any day and I've been given the honor of being invited along to bring them home. Airline tickets just happen to be cheaper then I've ever seen them if we go soon. So.... it could happen. My friend will be meeting with the director of IBESR to plead her case to adopt me another niece so I would like to see if I could also get in to see the director as she is the one that decided that we could not start the adoptions of Jacques and Vilner until the other 3 are home (even though the US side has approved us for all 5). I'd like a shot at meeting with her and pleading our case as well. The clock is ticking towards Jacques 16th birthday (making him unadoptable) and if a proposed law gets passed then we may be fine to adopt Jacques if everything is rushed but it will make it impossible for us to adopt Vilner until he is 5. This also means we can not legally provide any support for their birth mom until he is completely adopted... this is not good. We are anxious to start helping to support her until she is able to support herself after the loss of her husband.
Anyways... those are the big things on my mind these days. Throw in teaching the kids, taking care of everyday things, my license, our taxes- we may be able to file for adoption credit this year since they are legally adopted but it's very complicated with them not being home and US citizens yet, and more... and well... these are the kinds of things that leads to such rambling. We should be getting our monthly update from the orphanage any day now and am so hopeful some good news will come along with the photo. Last I heard we are in MOI. Once we exit MOI we will just need the passports to be printed (they will already be approved) and everything else is done so it will be "time". It could be anyday now (which is why I've put off another trip to Haiti) or it could still be several months.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thou Shalt Laugh

Yesterday we finally got some downtime and we watched the DVD Thou Shalt Laugh Deuce. We watched the first one last month (Thou Shalt Laugh) and it was so funny that we were really looking forward to this one. On each DVD there are several comedians. The first two or so are usually hysterical, the middle ones.... zzzzzzzzz, and they end with Taylor Mason who is a family favorite. Below are a few clips of just a little of the DVD's. They are only around 30 sec to a minute each and are packed with FUNNY. Enjoy!

Taylor Mason: What's Your Handicap?

Thor Ramsey: Homeschool

Thor Ramsey: Overreacting Wife

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Okay.... You were right!

Looks like we have a 4 way tie in the guessing what we are up to next game. Way to go! You win the same prize we were giving out last time- Nothing except the satisfaction of being right- but you need to figure out how to split that up 4 ways. ;) Good luck with that.

The night was fun before we even left for date 7. Our friends Jim and Debbie came by to drop off their kids to watch ours so we got to hang out with them for a little while. Jim took the above picture of us. I was feeling a bit stressed as the time on the clock ticked away because we had not fed the kids yet and my only pair of nylons didn't just have a run in them but they qualified for a marathon! Jim and Debbie were so good to us. They ran off to get pizza for all the kids, their treat, as an anniversary gift to us. Stress level back down. We stopped by the store for the new pair of nylons and the woman at the cash register comment on how nice we looked and asked where we were headed. Then she gave me the receipt and said "Here is your receipt, although I can't imagine you will have any interest in the coupon on it." I was cracking up when I saw it because it was for baby formula. This wonderful woman assumed we have no kids. LOVED HER!!!!! ;)

We were having so much fun that we forgot to take pictures of our gorgeous boat! Some of you that have known me a while know that I used to work as a Wedding and Social events coordinator for the Riverboats in Sacramento. It was one of my favorite jobs for sure. We also had dinner dance cruises so I kind of expected it to be something like the boats I used to work on. I was SO wrong. These boats are WAY more stunning. The staff was super friendly and we could have looked hard and not been able to find a single thing to complain about. Even the price was right as I as an afterthought looked up AAA to see if they have discounts for these cruises and assuming it will be 10% if at all, but to my surprise it is a 25% discount!

At our table. TABLE 10!!!!!! Okay, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary and on that very day I was 10 month seizure free. So I posted before leaving that it was a day of celebrating the number 10 and then when we are shown to our table we learn that it is table #10! Am I the only one that gets all excited about this kind of stuff?

This picture shows us after our salads arrived at our table (10). I know this statement will really shock those of you that know us, with us being so shy and all, but we met some really fun people on the boat. The couple at table 9 were great. It was funny because we started chatting with them before even boarding the boat and then their assigned table ended up being the one right next to us. They also happened to be from the same town as us, she knows someone Jim works with, and they are considering buying a home near us. How fun is that? So when she asked about what area of the neighborhood and we told her the main streets we were near the birthday party behind us was just arriving at their table and heard us say the street names and excitedly told us that they and another couple at their table both also live right near us. So we got to meet some neighbors too. It was very cool. The other really fun connection we made that night was with the couple you can just see the backs of at the very far right hand corner of the picture. They were there with a friend visiting from New Zealand. All 3 of them were so much fun to talk to and we even managed to convince them to get on the dance floor for a while and had a nice chat with them later in the night.

The first couple we met, at the table next to us, we could tell right away had a great sense of humor. As the boat took off they grabbed their jackets and went outside. That's when I dared Jim to grab the bucket of the wine bottle they ordered off their table and set it at the end of ours to see how long it would take them to notice and what they would do. I can't believe he did it! When they came back to their table they looked confused and started whispering to each other and looking at our table a lot. Jim and I were trying to eat and stifling our giggles. I finally couldn't take it anymore and we gave it back to them. I think I may have muttered something about trying to talk Jim out of it but I don't think anyone believed me (weird, huh?). They were really good sports about it and he said he was just about to say something to us.

The food was unbelievable!!! Steak with some kind of wonderful sauce and Salmon that melted like butter in your mouth and had the most wonderful flavor. Would you like a bite?

We got delicious Creme brulee for dessert with a cookie and fresh fruit. It was SOOOO good (almost as good as yours, Mom!).

We love to dance but don't get to go out dancing much since we are totally not into the club scene (and music) anymore. But when we do get the right atmosphere to dance our motto is "1st ones on the floor, last ones off." We saw the birthday party behind us get up to dance first and I asked Jim "Can you believe that? That's our thing!" In which he responded that it didn't count because they were on the carpet and not yet on the dance floor. Our table was right along the dance floor so I stuck my foot on the floor and danced from my chair while eating dessert. So we are convinced we still hold our title! They made an announcement of us and two other couples celebrating anniversaries and invited us onto the dance floor for some slow songs. The last song of the night was "Last Dance". This is the song that was playing the first time we ever danced together and everyone else had left the dance floor so it was a perfect ending to the date. We took up the whole floor (you know...even though we are both really shy and all) and had a blast.

One more fun fact that had me cracking up. Not long after the boat was moving we saw a party trying to take their own picture so I jumped up and went over to offer to take it. As I was giving them the camera back the woman asked me (totally not kidding here) if we were on our Honeymoon!!!! That's 3 times in 7 dates that we were asked that. We are laughing and having lots of fun together but not all mushy in front of people or anything. They must be able to tell that we are having a great time together so we MUST be newly weds! ;) Then when I told them that we were celebrating our 10 year anniversary her husband said to me "No way, he looks way too young" with a nod towards Jim. Which made me laugh even harder since Jim is 4.5 years older then me but I'm sure Jim thanks him.

It really was a perfect 10 of a date! Does anyone have ideas for dates 8,9, and 10? We've still got a few ideas we are considering but some of them seem like they might be too far, or too expensive, or some other reason of considering not doing them. Idea's totally welcomed!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Celebrating the number 10

Not only are we still in celebration mode of our 10 years but today is also a day of celebration of another 10.... 10 MONTHS SEIZURE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a good day, a VERY good day. A perfect 10 you might say! ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008

What will we do for date 7?

Here are the hints:

* It's a little like combining parts of dates 1 (dinner and dancing), 3 (romantic and on the water), and 6 (dinner)

* We could only do this date on a weekend night

* We have to drive to Newport Beach for this date.

* It requires tickets and reservations

* It is a nightime date

* It is not really in a building or outdoors

Happy guessing!

It's All About The Food

It's all about the food: Don't get in this guy's way! We went to Claim Jumpers for our Anniversary Dinner. Their food is not only delicious but come in huge portions. Jim was so in awe of the food that he said "I'm going to take a picture of it". I laughed and said "You're not serious are you?" What was I thinking?... of course he was serious! After great laughs at his attempts to not move away from the food but stretch his long arm out for snap shots I finally took the camera and offered to actually get up and move away from the food to stand up and take a picture of his beloved food for him. After seeing this picture I was a little nervous about returning to the table!
It's all about us: A great night of celebrating how much fun it is to be married to each other! We paused during our scramble to get out the door long enough for Kyle to take a picture of us before we left.

It's all about the hair: I know it's kinda silly but since when has that ever stopped me? When trying to decide how to wear my hair for our date I had the idea of wearing it exactly the same way I did to our Wedding. Throw in a veil and Walla- we are back in time! Jim's become such a great husband over the years that within minutes of walking through the door he made a comment about my hair being the same as on our Wedding day. 10 points for him!
We had a fantastic time. I don't think I've ever laughed harder then I have during our last several dates. What a mushroom he is-- a real fungi to be with!
So date 6 of 10 was a dinner outing to Claim Jumpers. Tomorrow will be date 7 of 10 and will be our bigger Anniversary Celebration date. I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Funny Dose of Reality....

It's finally here! Our actual 10 year anniversary. Doesn't it seem like it should have come and gone already with all the celebrations of it we've already had? Nope, it's today. We are just half way done with our 10 dates for 10 years celebration and it has been one of the greatest ideas we have come up with. We've been having so much fun together!

This morning Jim left for work before I woke up and when I came down stairs I had this card leaning against a vase of a dozen long stemmed roses (not a bad start to the day, eh?). I thought the card was SO funny and way too steeped in reality that I had to share it. So, Here it is....

On the front is a cute little couple all smiles and happy in the doorway of their home. The top of the card says "Looks like we're in this thing together"
You open the card and it shows what's going on behind the front door. A huge mess and total chaos! At least the couple is still smiling. How true it is! Would anyone sign up for this if they knew this was on the other side of the door for them??? Okay, I guess I would... over and over again! So not exactly an anniversary card dripping with sappy sweetness but it made me laugh so it was perfect!

We are headed out this afternoon for an early dinner for Date 6 and then this weekend we will have the big celebration on date 7, which is one I'm really excited about!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy 10th Anniversary Darling

I know it's a day early but I thought we might be a bit busy tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it and that it brings back many wonderful memories for you.

All my love,

Our Wedding Story

I think that our story is pretty unique. I'm guessing that a lot of betting people were not betting on us making it. Honestly if it were not for God's intervention in our lives I don't know if we would have. But we have and I am more happy with and in love with my husband then ever!

To call our dating and engagement a whirlwind would be a huge understatement. After 3 months from our first date we were engaged. We both knew long before even then that we wanted to be together forever. We started making plans for a normal wedding a year later. A month after we were engaged we were having a lunch date together on a Friday afternoon. We decided we no longer wanted to wait to be married and that we would get married the next day! The rest of that evening and night was insanely hectic. I had to go into work and beg and plead for my schedule to be changed so I could run off and get married. It was not taken well by my not so nice boss who had just recently called off her own engagement but we worked it out (basically, days off or I find another job, so I got the days off). Jim went home to pack and call all his family and friends and I headed off to a hair appointment I had already had scheduled (why waste it?). I then also started calling all my family and friends. Since it was Friday night everyone was out so we ended up just leaving messages for everyone telling them that we were going to elope and if they wanted to and were able to come to meet us at a place and time in Lake Tahoe, NV and we would tell them where the wedding is! That night my roommates excitedly ran around the mall helping me pick out white shoes (very hard to find in the winter by the way) and stockings, and anything else we thought of. Afterwards they threw me a bachelorette party. Actually... they partied while I slept before my big day (fun huh?). This was also the night Jim and I had planned to go see the Cirque du Soleil show with the tickets he had bought me for my birthday. We realized we couldn't do that and get ready to run off to get married so we gave the tickets to some friends.
The next morning was our wedding day! Jim came by early in the morning to pick me up. Neither of us had heard back from our family or friends so we thought it may be just us. We started to drive to Lake Tahoe to get married but had ZERO plans for the wedding. We didn't even have hotel reservations to stay for the night! So we got to Lake Tahoe and within a matter of 3 hours planned a very romantic and memorable wedding. This included touring chapels and booking the one we wanted, getting our marriage license, buying wedding rings, scheduling a photographer, videographer, ordering the cake and flowers.... the works! We now had a complete wedding and time all set. At 3:00 we went to the meeting spot (a hotel lobby) to see if anyone that got our messages could make it to our wedding. We got so excited and couldn't believe our eyes when almost every one of our family members came pouring in through the doors!!! My Sister In-Law even brought her wedding dress that just happened to fit me perfectly! I had no idea what we were going to wear to our wedding, so when Jim saw this we made plans for him to run out and rent a tuxedo. Every family member was there except two of Jim's brothers. One just couldn't make it with his family on short notice and the other just happened to already be in Lake Tahoe skiing and never got our message. So Jim got him on his cell phone and told him to get off the slopes and get to the chapel to be his best man! All of my family was there as well as my best friend I grew up with and her parents, so I had my maid of honor there as well. We went from thinking that no one may come to having almost 30 guests at our wedding. We were so excited!! Once everyone knew where and when the wedding was Jim and I had to rush off again to plan a reception since we didn't think we would have anyone to share it with. We went and got Champagne and food and hosted a beautiful reception in our stunning Honeymoon Suite. Somehow we managed to get it all done and there was not a thing missing!
At 6:15, just a little over 24 hours from our decision to get married, our wedding began. It was so wonderful. The chapel was all made out of glass that extended off of the hotel overlooking Lake Tahoe. There was snow on the ground but a bright sun in the sky. You could not have asked for a more picturesque day or place.

Our wedding day may be very unusual to most people, but it was so very much US. I wouldn't have changed anything about it. We will be married 10 years tomorrow and I can hardly believe all that we have been through together. What an exciting decade it has been. I can't wait to see what the next 6 or so decades have in store for us!!!