Friday, January 30, 2009

Six Months At Home~ How It's Going

Sunday it will be six months since Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie arrived in America to join our family. It doesn't at all seem like it has been that long. Whew, what an adjustment time it has been for us all. One thing that is a surprise to me has been how natural it seems to have six children. When I count up all their heads it doesn't seem like that many and I'm always thinking "That's it?". While waiting to bring home our children I had read a lot and heard a lot about what a huge adjustment it was going to be for all our children. What I was unprepared for was what a huge adjustment it is for me as a Mother and as a person. I hadn't thought nearly as much about the emotions and battles I was personally going to face as well.

So here is how it's going~

Lovenie~ What an amazing little miracle this dear girl is! She is so full of spunk and giggles. She has changed and grown so much since coming home. She is talking a little in both English and Creole. Her comprehension has expanded at unbelievable rates. When she came home she had the mentality of a 1 year old and in only 6 months she is much more like a 2 year old. Unfortunately along with the comprehension of a two year old came behaviors of the terrible twos. She is going non-stop and gets herself in a lot of trouble but she is so sweet that she is still just precious. It feels good to know that she feels secure and loved. She takes dolls and stuffed animals and just really loves on them. She showers her Mama with snuggles and kisses nearly all day long and her Mama just LOVES it! I'm just all melty in love with her and it seems as if she has been our baby girl always.

Jude~ What a hoot! He's so cute and funny. I've been amazed at how good he is at everything he tries. His English is coming along wonderfully. He's smart, fun, and athletic. He's really just a totally remarkable little guy. He behaves great for us most of the time (other then normal little kid stuff). He still has some dark moods where he gets sulky and gets his mad face on. I think he's still working through some grief from all he has left behind and all that has changed for him. Usually we just love on him and wait it out and he works through it and is bouncing around again soon. He's so easy to love and we are excited to have him home with us. When I am apart from him for any time at all I really miss him. His sweet smile and easy laughter just brings warmth to our family. He has improved greatly when it comes to the aggressiveness and anger we saw in him the first two months home. He still has a tendency to not always be honest with us and we are working on truthfulness. We think it is a good sign that, while he does not always tell us the truth right away, he usually comes around to telling the truth and feels remorse for not being honest. Good sign!

Stephanie~ I have typed out and erased many times what to write about with our situation with Stephanie. I think I will leave it at this~ it's not good. Please continue to pray for her and for our family.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Adventure Continues

Just a little update on what we've been up to~ We got a house! We will still be in the hotel for one more week while waiting for the moving company to deliver our things. I took the boys over to see it yesterday. 3 of them had not seen it yet because they were staying with their Nana and Papa when we found it. All 6 kids are just thrilled with their new home. Jude kept walking around saying "It's PERFECT, just PERFECT!".
Each day has been it's own little adventure. Saturday- Met up with my parents in Vacaville where they returned our boys to us. We had a great time catching up with them over pizza before they headed home. Then we went to the Jelly Belly factory. The kids loved it! We left there with 6 POUNDS of Belly flops! Sunday- Took the kids to San Jose Children's Discovery Museum and were thrilled to end the night at Old Spaghetti Factory with Jim's sister and family. Monday- Went to the movie theater to see Mall Cop~ pretty funny. Tuesday- Hit Chuck E Cheese for a few hours.

Yesterday was so adventurous it gets it's own paragraph! Let me start off by saying that Hayward (where our hotel and Jim's work is) is not exactly the safest neighborhood. We started out in downtown Hayward and went to the movies again. This time to see Hotel for Dogs. I was all braced to just hate this movie. Our kids LOVE any movie that has anything to do with dogs and I find them all to be the same and not so exciting. I was wrong, this one was actually okay. Then we had to take a little trip to the bank. The security at this place is unlike anything I've ever seen. We had trouble getting in and out of the bank. It was crazy! Afterwards we swung by the realty office to take care of some things with our new home. They let us borrow the keys so that I could take the kids to see the new house. We stopped at Taco Bell for some lunch were I chatted it up with an elegant elderly lady that has lived here for 50 years and filled me in some on the areas. Then interacted a bit with a drunk homeless man that was very kind. My heart broke for him and took a minute right there to pray for him. At lunch Luke announced that he had left his stuffed animal, that he got out of a McDonalds Happy meal, in the bathroom at the movie theater. This may not sound like a big deal to most people but Luke gets very attached to things and this silly little inexpensive toy was very important to him. He just crumbled into tears. I promised to return to the theater to get Soda (which is what he named this toy). Then Kyle announced that he just realized that he also left his bag (which has his wallet) at the theater. Oh brother kids! So back we went. We had to park in a garage that is in an alley and then you walk a little ways to the theater. While in the alley there was a not so clean cut looking guy (don't like to judge people too much by how they look... but when you are dressed like a thug, walk like a thug, and in a bad neighborhood.....) that we found ourselves alone in the alley with. He was walking right behind us and I was trying to keep an eye on him and the kids at the same time. Jude was in one of his sulky moods and was hanging back behind us no matter how many times I yelled to him to get up next to us. The whole thing was very uncomfortable. Then as we neared the street the guy behind us yelled out to a group of guys on the street (dressed similarly thuggy) and all the sudden I found myself and the kids BANG in the middle of a drug deal!!!! Thug #1 behind us in the alley and group thug in front of us where the alley met the street. I screamed at Jude that he needed to get with us RIGHT NOW and booked it out of there. My heart didn't stop pounding until we were safely inside the theater. After all things had been happily retrieved from the theater I took the kids to check out their new home in Castro Valley. On the way back we stopped at the park around the corner from our house and had a wonderful time together playing and doing exercises on the par course. Today we are headed back there to explore some hiking trails at another park we came across.
Tonight I get some very exciting grown up time out with one of my best friends many years ago. We have not seen each other in about 8 years and will have lots of catching up to do.

The kids are all doing okay with the hotel stay but I'm trying to get them out for something fun each day. We've had some really great moments and a few very sad ugly moments too. Sunday will be 6 months since our newest family members came home. I'm going to try soon to post an honest overview of how it's been going.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Report On Jacques

Today I received an update on the adoption of Jacques and it is the same news.... still in IBESR. This makes him there for 7.5 months. :( This is now even longer then we waited on Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie to exit IBESR. It's so very frustrating! We are also coming up on the two year mark since we requested to adopt Jacques. At the time Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie were still in IBESR so we were going to attempt to add Jacques and Vilner to the process and try to bring them all home at the same time. We were denied the adoptions of Jacques and Vilner and told to try again after the other three came home. So here we are almost 2 years later and we are stuck again. I'm amazed at how frustrating adoption can be. He wants to come home, we REALLY want him to come home, LET HIM COME HOME ALREADY!! The kids at HFC have also lost their internet so we are no longer even able to exchange emails with each other. Boy do I miss him!!!

In other updates: the new home search has been coming along okay. We may even decide on one by this weekend. My Mom called on Monday with a wonderful surprise. They now only live 2.5 hours away from us (it was about a 9 hour drive before we moved) and had offered to meet us half way on Monday night and take 3 of our kids for the week for us! Isn't she fantastic??!! This means I was in the hotel and house hunting this week with only 3 instead of 6 kids. Because both of my parents work during the day (my Mom from her home office) we agreed that we would send the oldest 3, Stephanie, Jude, and Kyle. But at the last moment before leaving Stephanie landed herself in a big heap of trouble and was pulled out of the lineup and her little brother Johnny was sent in her place. So Stephanie, Lovenie, and Luke are here with me and Kyle, Jude, and Johnny have been blissfully at Nana and Papa's house. We are going to try and look at a couple more houses tomorrow before picking them up and then it is time for them to come home to us at the hotel again.

Anyone have any great ideas on what to do with 6 kids at a hotel or where to go? We thought ahead and brought an extra tv to hook up their Wii to and that has helped with the entertainment. We could not find a hotel nearby that has a heated or indoor pool or that would have been hours of daily entertainment. Any suggestions??

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Grounded Celebration

We are here in our new adventureland! Our trip was great and we made it safely. The new job and new home hunt all begins this week. Pretty exciting stuff!

Yesterday we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I feel so totally blessed and honored to be married to a guy that far exceeds all I could have hoped for in a husband and father to our children! The skydiving plan got the ax (again) for a few reason~ 1. I'm STILL sick, 2. The days forecast was for fog, and 3. The weather was cold on the ground, how much more freezing would it have been at such heights? So it sadly has been postponed until summer. :(

On a bright note~ We had a great date night, our first in almost six months! Jim's sister, Donna, was the first kind and brave soul to take on our six kids for an evening. It was so great to get out! We started out with dinner on the Santana Row at a restaurant called Citrus. The atmosphere and food were the kind that you remember for years to come. Oh wow! Afterwards we hit a ComedySportz club. Funny funny stuff. I had never been to one before. It's two teams of comedians that compete for the audience votes and points. It was a lot like the show Who's line is it anyways?. Good times. And now the adventure continues.....

Thursday, January 15, 2009


When we moved years ago and ended our accounts with sbcglobal we had access to our email for 6 months after the end date. I made the mistake of assuming that verizon would be the same way, or at least give you SOME time. At Midnight... zip, nadda, no more... email has gone. I lost years of emails and all of my email addresses (and of course I didn't memorize any of them). All that to say... Could all my family and friends PLEASE shoot me an email to my temporary email address at ? No need to even add a subject or feel obligated to write me a note (unless you want to and then that would be totally great).

A New Adventure Begins

The move out of our home is complete. Tonight we stay at the hotel and then tomorrow morning we hit the road for our new adventure. Please keep us in your prayers as Jim and I are each driving a vehicle for the 7 hour (or so) trip to our new homeland. I am still sick so for prayers that I'm not too miserable behind the wheel or cranky with the family would be great too!

I had hoped to get a chance to see again and hug goodbye our really dear friends but between being swamped with the details of the move and being sick~ doesn't look like it's going to happen. You know we love you, right? So not a goodbye, but a see you soon dear friends!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brain Freezes and Moving Days

Yesterday Jude got his first painful brain freeze while chugging down a berry smoothy. His reaction was so funny and he said something like "What was that?!" All the little firsts are still fun.

Everything is coming along okay with the move. So far I still think it will be one of our easiest moves yet. However, of course, SOMETHING has to happen or you can't really call it a move. Jim and I both have been sick. It started the few days before the packers and movers came when Jim and I needed to do a lot of our end of the work. It's so hard to force yourself to do what you know you have to do when you just don't feel like doing anything. But we were champs and got it done! As of last night our entire has was finished being packed and the movers had about half our things moved out. Today should be the final day for the movers to empty the house totally. Since we do not have access to our things we started our hotel stays last night. The hotel has an indoor pool to entertain our kids so they are happy. Jim's been overseeing everything going on at home while I take the 5 kids (Stephanie started back at school yesterday) on errands and anywhere else I can think of to keep them out of the way and from being bored.

Tomorrow the cleaning company comes to do a move out clean and then we are fini. Our days here are numbered and the number is little.

Monday, January 12, 2009

They Just Like Me More!!

Jim and I both got summonsed to Jury duty for Jan.26. Considering the fact that we are moving out of the area this Friday it would be a terribly long commute for us (as in 8 hours each way). There is a place on the summons that you can fill in and return if you are moving out of the county but you have to fill in your new permanent address and we won't have one by that time. So Jim gives them a call and asks what he should do and they tell him they will postpone his jury duty for 90 days and within that 90 days he must send them proof of our new address to be removed from their list. Not long after he makes that call I get my summons in the mail. Today I was looking at it and Jim told me about how I needed to also request it to be postponed and then send in proof. I don't know, sounds like too much effort to me. So I call the same number and very sweetly explain my situation and was told "No problem honey, we'll remove you from the list and there is nothing more you have to do." And then she offered me her best wishes on our move.

Jim couldn't believe how easily I got out of it. Meanwhile I danced around him, pointing my finger at him and nodding my head, and chanting at him about how much they like me more then they like him. The kids thought their Mom had gone insane(r) until they heard what happened and then joined in with a good hearty laugh at their Dad's expense. My joy diminished a little when Jim teased back with a "And you didn't bother mentioning that your HUSBAND was in the same situation?". Oh, I guess that would have been the nice thing to do. Nah, back to the laughing, dancing, and finger pointing!

Friday, January 09, 2009

An End To Unwanted Phone Calls

We get the same unwanted telemarketing calls again and again and again. I've learned to recognize the numbers on caller ID. No problem, it is no longer annoying. When I see/hear that it is one of these calls I simply yell out "It's for you Lovenie!!!". All the kids laugh and giggle and Lovenie is thrilled to chat with any sound on the other end of the phone. Today it went from an automated voice to a real person and Lovenie just squilled and ran away with the phone jabbering away. It's so nice of them to call for her! ;)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Move On Count Down

It's starting to really sink in now that we are moving next week! It seems somewhat surreal because we have not packed or done much at all. We will be busy over the next few days wrapping up last minute things but for the most part our job is pretty easy. The packers come Tuesday and insist they can pack all our things in one day. Better them then me. ;) The movers will be here Wed and we will watch all our things head out the door. Thursday we have a cleaning service coming in to do the cleaning. Wed. & Thurs. we stay at a hotel here in So. Cal. and drive to our new adventure on Friday. Easy peazy!

I'll be busy with phone calls and getting all our utilities turned off. Then comes packing up anything and everything we are going to want between now and whenever we find a new home (clothes, entertainment, paperwork for adoption and taxes, school supplies, etc, etc).

The kids are all holding up well and excited about the move. They love hotels so the idea of hanging out in a hotel and eating out nearly everyday DELIGHTS them. We continue to be in awe of how God has provided in every single detail for this move. Feelin' kind of spoiled and looked out for. ;)

I'm less concerned with the move days and am much more excited about fast forwarding to Saturday the 17th. It is our 11th anniversary and we will be celebrating by jumping out of an airplane together. SOOOOO excited!!!!!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What We Want In 2009

For him to come home quickly!!!! Missing him so much!

A very special thank you to Kez for the photos!

20-15 Party

(My wish was of course for Jacques to come home to us)

Yesterday we celebrated my 20-15th birthday! I spent the day lounging around the spa until I was so relaxed I could hardly function or think straight (now THAT'S relaxed!). While I was away Jim was at home working away on decorating and preparing for a Casino night birthday party. I rushed home in time to change my clothes and come downstairs to prepare to greet our friends. The night was filled with games (roulette, black jack, and craps), food (a nacho bar and lots and lots of sugar), laughter, and WONDERFUL friends that I will miss so much when we move! At the end of the casino play everyone cashed in their poker chips in exchange for raffle tickets. We then called off the raffle ticket numbers and the winner could come and choose their prize from a prize table. Very fun!

The party is, no doubt, over now though as I take a blog intermission to go clean up a child's hurlings. Good times!

In other news: Tomorrow Jim starts his last full week of work. Our move is coming up quickly! A couple nights ago we had the great joy of having Ange and family here. What a BLAST we had. There were 19 of us having a sleep over~ 4 adults and 15 kids. It was fantastic. I'll try to post pictures of our fun together soon.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Great Way to Start '09

This morning I was checking friend Kez's Blog when I found these beautiful pictures of Jacques. What a great way to start 2009! He had spent the day at the beach after Christmas with Kez and Family and a few friends. (Thanks SOOO Much Kez!!!!)

Our greatest hope of what 2009 might bring would be to have him come home to us soon!!!!

The next few days continue to be extra special events happening. Tonight we are expecting our very dear friends Paul and Ange and their precious 8 kids (going on 9) to roll in. They are a couple of our closest friends from Texas and we just can't wait to see them!!!! Two of Paul and Ange's kids are blood related cousins of Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie's and three others are good friends that they lived with in Haiti so it will be an extra special reunion!

Saturday is my 20-15th birthday! I'm looking forward to spending the day lounging around again at the Glen Ivy Spa . Which is one of my absolute favorite So. CA finds. If anyone wants to join me just let me know! Then that evening we are having over a few friends for a Casino night party. Should be VERY fun around here and what great ways to start the new year!!!

....And A Happy New Year

Happy New Year Dear Friends and Family!! Here is a peek into our first new years eve together:

We decided to start preparing for my birthday Casino night party (Jan. 3rd) so Jim and I worked on setting things up since it requires a lot of prep. The kids ran around yelling, playing, and laughing for hours. Around 8 PM we gathered everyone up and taught them how to play roulette. We learned that our buddy Andrew is a BIG better.... keep him from the Casinos Mom and Dad! He's sleeping over with the kids for a couple of nights and it sure made our time even more special to spend it with him.

Around 10:15 we decided to be spontaneous (big surprise, right?) and head out to the hot tub to splash around for a while. Everyone got on their swimsuits and we were quickly on our way. We got there too late and the club house was closed. Being spontaneous means you have to learn to expect that it will not always work out the way you think. However, being someone all too familiar with that I came prepared. The kids did not know that I had snuck jackets and glow sticks in the car in case we needed to go to plan B. Off we headed to a nearby park. We love to play sardines in the dark at a park~ so fun!

When I parked in the parking spot and got out I heard a hissing sound and looked around to find the source. Someone broke lots of glass in the parking lot and I of course happened to pull into the one with the huge chunks (couldn't see it in the dark).

Jim jumped to work and was our hero! I was terribly annoyed for a while that we need to go buy a tire because someone else chose to do something so senseless. Oh how I hope it's not a sign of things to come in 2009.

When I do a job I do it well. The tire has a HUGE gash. Jim just couldn't believe how big it was or how far the glass was jambed in there and kept pointing things out to me until festive me was gone and cranky me insisted I didn't want to see it or hear it any more. Jim's so patient and such a trooper. He was cheerfully changing our tire in the cold and even making bad jokes while at work. He's amazing!
We lost Lovenie around 11:00~ So close to making it! She fell asleep in the back of the SUV while the other kids played on.

Then we watched the ball drop and toasted the new year with our glasses of sparkling grape juice.

And now I'm signing out and off to bed. We hope that your 2008 ended beautifully and your 2009 starts off sweetly!