Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On a Mission

TE, our oldest, is on a mission trip this week. He is rehab-ing houses in Shreveport, Louisiana. I'm so proud of him. This is his third year to go to World Changers. He loves to do this and it is so good for him to put his faith into action and be with other kids who love the Lord, on a big scale. Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Anniston, Alabama with our youth too. It was an awesome, awesome experience, and I am missing our youth, and especially TE.

...But this year I have my hands full with other things.

So, from the website, I was able to pull some pictures of my young man.

If you think about it, I'd appreciate prayers for health and safety for all those who are attending. It's 100 degrees in Shreveport this week, plus the humidity. And they have a 10 hour drive home on Saturday, when everyone is dead-dog tired.

I love you, TE! You ROCK!!

Blessings to you,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Family Reunion

Sorry for the 2 week silence.

When the boys got home from Scout camp, I spent 5 days cleaning, putting away gear, doing laundry, and packing for our big trip to Oklahoma. I barely had time to breathe the last two weeks. Every two years, we have a Family Reunion on my husband's dad's side of the family. Daddy has always been close to his cousins, and we always try to make the trip if we can. This year, we met at Beaver's Bend, OK.

We have been preparing Cupcake for this for several weeks now. We talked over and over about how we were ALL going to put some clothes in the luggage and we were ALL going to get in the car and we were ALL going to drive a L-O-N-G way to a cabin. Then we would see LOTS of cousins and aunts and uncles. Then we would ALL pack our bags, ALL get in the car, and ALL come home.

We're a family. That's how families do things. It's a new concept to a scared little girl. We were very concerned about how she would do - especially with the packing of bags. In the past, every time we packed bags, we cried, said good-bye, and left her.

Well, she did fine. She had never spent more than 1.5 hours in the car at one time, so we broke the 11 hour trip into two 5.5 hour days. She got a little mad at the car seat a few times, but overall, it was pleasant traveling. We were more concerned about our 14 year old van making it home than with how Cupcake was doing, so I guess that's a good thing.

Cupcake had a great time with all the family. It was fairly relaxing for me and we all had a good time. It was great to see all the cousins and their kids. She did pretty good with all the over-stimulation, but it is good to be home again. Here are some pictures from the trip.

So, what would cause little girls' feet to look like this?:

Playing in the dirt road behind our cabin.
Rock, Paper, Scissors with Papi:


Hanging with her Tio (Uncle)


Going under with Papi:

Lake swimming with one of Daddy's cousins:

Down time after all that swimming:

Bear Wrestling:

A Rare Photo-Op - All Four Kids Together:

Down by the Creek:

A Secret Hiding Place:

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

6 Weeks of Progress

Cupcake has come a LONG way in 6 weeks.


Some of her first words...

"C'mon people!" - Don't even ask. ;-)
"Oh my gosh! - I said it once.
"Trampoline" - which stood for everything outside, but now means trampoline
"More push" - on the swings
"I'm sorry" - THIS IS HUGE! :-D


Cupcake has learned to jump with both feet at the same time. She can do a great somersault. She can cut with scissors. She can swing like a wild woman! She can put together some fairly complicated wooden puzzles. She can stay afloat with water wings, and, as of today, she can hold her breath under water!


Cupcake can take turns (at least sometimes). She will share her food with us. The entire 2nd week home was spent learning that all the food was for the whole family. Everybody gets to eat. (That was big stuff.) She has made friends with the girl across the street. She will say "I'm sorry" first, when we ask her to (sometimes). She says "thank you" appropriately about 60% of the time.

I have been on duty 24/7 since Cupcake came home. I left her with Daddy once last week to go get milk (less than 1/2 hour) and she did okay. So on Tuesday, I was talking with her about the possibility that someday I would be able to take her to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I would say "Bye-bye, hasta luego" (See you later). I would leave and come back a short time later. She said, "Let's go. Get your shoes on now. (in Spanish)" So I called Grandma. Thankfully, she's flexible. We went right then, and I dropped her for about 30 minutes. She did great. :-D

And...drum roll please...she successfully made it through a week of Vacation Bible School! She did FAR better than I expected. I attended with her, but she really did pretty well following directions and with her social behavior.

With the neighbor girl
(We'll just call them Barbie and Skipper)

Sharing Mom
(That's still a hard one.)

Blessings to you,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

One year ago today, we sat on pins and needles...praying...waiting...hoping.

Cupcake was in court in Guatemala City. This was her second court date. The judge would determine if she was adoptable or not. About 2:00, we finally jumped into the pool at Grandpa and Grandma's house...hoping to pass the time having fun with the kids. I had been in the pool about 5 minutes when my cell phone rang. I launched out of the pool, dripping wet.

It was our agency. Our Guatemalan facilitator had called to let us know that court went very smoothly. The judge ruled that Cupcake was, indeed, an orphan. There was not a single person in Guatemala that would be willing to care for her as a daughter. We were her only hope. All ties with her birth family were, at that point, severed.

What a mix of emotions! We were overjoyed that her abandonment went through. We could now proceed with the adoption! :-D On the other hand, she was alone. :-( Truly alone in this world. An orphan. No family.

I remember sitting in the lawn chair, watching fireworks. My heart swelled with hope. For the first time in a long time, I was able to imagine watching fireworks with Cupcake on my lap.

So here we are. It's the 4th of July. And we'll be going to the fireworks tonight. :-) No longer dreaming and hoping, but living the reality. :-D

God answers prayer. He sets the lonely in families. He is close to the broken-hearted. He cares for orphans. He blesses His servants. May His name be praised.

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Family Time

I've been working on a post about the progress Cupcake has made in the month she's been home. But this past week, we've been back at almost square one, and I just couldn't write about it while we are in the midst of it. We've had two excellent days in a row, so maybe I can pick up and write in the next few days about where we were and where we are now. For now, I will tell you about all the fun we've been having with all the out-of-town family that has been visiting.

This past week, our twin nieces (on Daddy's side of the family) from down south have been staying with Grandpa and Grandma. The kids are thrilled to have their cousins close at hand. Cupcake loves them both, but has a bit of trouble telling them apart (They are identical twins.) We've been all over town with them showing them all the sights and swimming almost every day.

Then, on Saturday, my mom and brother came down with his girlfriend and her two daughters. (We're pretty sure they will be family by this time next year. :-)) It turns out the cousins on one side of the family hit it off very well with both our kids and the cousins on the other side of the family. So we've been all hanging out together in one big mob. Cupcake was in seventh heaven with all these great new family members doting on her.

Monday, we went to the St. Louis City Museum. It is an awesome place for older kids. It's scary for parent's of younger kids, because it is so big and so easy to get lost. I woke up the night before in a panic - not sure if I could keep up with Cupcake in all the tunnels and climbing apparatus (or is that apparati?).

No need to worry. We all had a great time. I was totally whooped-up tired by the time we went home, but everybody had a blast. I will leave you with some pictures of our adventures this week...