Friday, February 29, 2008

Here He Is!!!!

What a big boy! Jonathan, we are so proud of you! Good job walking, buddy!

To think less than 7 months ago, Jonathan was so weak and malnourished he could not sit on his own. In July, when he was brought into the orphanage, Jonathan was not strong enough to even keep his head up. And, today HE IS LEARNING TO WALK!!!!

Thank you, Lord, for blessing this wonderful little boy with all the loving people to care for him. Three Angels, his nannies and all the staff and volunteers have dedicated their time to helping Jonathan become strong and healthly. How blessed is Jonathan to be with such love, devotion and care. God bless each of you for caring for our son!

Thank you, Shannon, for sharing this video! It is so special and so wonderful to be able to see his first few steps. I am so grateful you and your team were at Three Angels to capture it and celebrate with our boy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Guess Who Is Beginning To....

...walk!!! Hurray for Jonathan!

Thank you for the picutre and update, Michelle!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Consulate General of Haiti, Consular Section: Chicago

It is official ~ our dossier is completely notarized, certified and authenticated! I drove into the city today to have our paperwork certified by the Consulate of Haiti. What an easy task that turned out to be! The gentleman in the office was so kind and speedy; I was there less than five minutes. By the time I took off my coat and began walking around the waiting area looking at all the artwork on the walls, he was back with the certified papers. ...Seems the Haitians may be a bit more punctual here in the US... ;-o

Tomorrow I will spend the morning making copies of our file and then it will be completely ready to go. Once that sweet I171h arrives in the mail, I will add it to the pile and package it up for its journey to Haiti. I am not exactly sure of its means of transportation just yet, but I pray it will be down there soon being prepared for first legal. :)

This is really a great day for our adoption process. I feel so relieved everything is complete and ready. Soon, the wait will be on the other side - the side of Haiti and its adoption system. I know it will be a long wait, but I will fill my time with trips to the O and getting our family ready to become larger by two!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Relaxed and Recharged!

Well, we are back. Back home to reality of the everyday rat race of life. I am actually happy to be home. Although I was so sad to leave Cayman, the week was awesome. We had a great time together as a family relaxing, playing and enjoying each other’s company. It was just what we needed! And, now, I am happy to be home, recharged and motivated to move forward.

I have to say this winter has been a tough one for me. It began so early this season and never ceased. We have had snow and ice since November and the temps have been bitter cold. I found myself questioning our relocation to the Midwest often. I live for sunny skies and beautiful surroundings; it lifts my spirits. Unfortunately, when snow never melts, it gets dirty black and looks so icky. It really depresses me to be outside looking at the mess and trudging through it all.

The past months have been a roller coaster ride for me emotionally, as well. I have been so happy being involved with Three Angels Children’s Relief. Being a part of such a wonderful mission helping so many people has brought me a sense of being again. Plus, we were able to meet our son, well sons now, and begin the journey of adoption. That is where the emotional part has gotten me. This adoption journey is so exciting, so thrilling, so exhausting and so intense at times. I never imagined I would actually travel such a crazy road of ups and downs. It is just tough some days. Some days I miss my boys so much! Some days, I long to visit Haiti being able to “help” and do what I believe God has intended for me. Other days are so exciting as we plan ahead as to what our lives will be like when the boys are finally home. The anticipation of future trips to Haiti on other days thrills me to no end. I love to be there!

I have also run fast and hard this school year volunteering as the PTO president. I so love to help out at my children’s school. My heart belongs to the kids! I struggled with the decision of whether or not to return to work now that Kate is in school full time. I miss teaching terribly and I miss being a part of the education process. So, volunteering at school does my heart good and does so much for all the children, teachers and school. However, this too can wear on a person after a while. Being tugged in a million directions and so many people needing help can really burn a person out. I am learning to balance my volunteering with other activities so that I continue to love doing it!

I think I really needed a week away from this reality to regroup, spend time with my kids and be by myself. I feel so refreshed and rested now. I am ready to take it all on again! Our dossier is ready to take to Haiti (once we get that one last form from the government) and the wait is on. Now is the time to focus on my family, have fun and plan and prepare to be a larger family.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

We Love You, Ms. Mary!!!

The kids grew up in Arizona being taught how to swim. Spending time in the water is a given in Phoenix, especially during the summer months. When the temperatures rise well above 100 degrees each day, there isn’t much else to do outside. So, swim lessons at a very young age is a must! We were very blessed to find the most incredible and devoted woman to teach our children how to swim. Not only does she devote much of her time working with children, but she also does it because she cares about the children. She wants to see that they are able to swim should a situation arise and they need to survive in the water. So, day in and day out and month after month, children come to her pool to learn “safe swimming.”

Even now, Mike and I remind our kids to use “safe swimming” as they prepare to enter the water. They know this means knowing who is in the water, remembering where the grown-ups are, using good strokes and making smart decisions while in the pool. Even in Grand Cayman, the kids knew to swim carefully and cautiously. They understand the importance of using precautions around the pool and even to this day will ask before entering the water.
Thank you, Ms. Mary, for your years of love, dedication and instruction. We will forever remember our alligator eyes, good spits and strong lefty-righties! We think of you each time we swim and enjoy time in the water. It is because of you our children love to swim and swim safe!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Crabs, Tide Pools and Sand Pails...

Seems the popular thing this week in Grand Cayman is crab fishing. The kids all wondered down to the tide pool on the beach to catch some hermit crabs. We have about 10 of them all resting in sand pails. Each crab has a name and a snail friend to keep them company.
Oh, to be a kid again!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Where There Is Darkness There Is Beauty!

I sit here on the beach at night. The children are all asleep and everyone seems to be quietly settling into their nighttime routine. The only light around is the faint reflection of the moon hitting the water. It is peaceful, serene and beautiful.

As I look out at the ocean, I can only hear the waves. It is too dark to really see anything. I can't help but think about the darkness miles away. Millions of people sit in darkness in Haiti just on the other side of the reef, as it seems to be. I sit in the dark because it is late at night here. They sit in dark in Haiti because that is all there is there.

There are so many beautiful and luxurious amenities here in Cayman and just a swim away is Haiti with so very little in comparison. I do love it here in Grand Cayman; however, there is much beauty in Haiti so many people will just never know. I so love Haiti and thank God each day for blessing me with the knowledge of the country and love for its people.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Island Time!

Everyone who knows me knows just how much I LOVE the Caribbean!!! Sunny days, crystal clear waters, cool ocean breezes, warm sunshine and a relaxing atmosphere…. Who wouldn’t? Each year, I have been able to vacation and visit my favorite place. Our family cruises the Caribbean each fall stopping at several islands along the way. Plus, in February, we travel to Grand Cayman for our annual family SCUBA dive trip. Most recently, we have been very fortunate to be able to participate in several mission trips to Haiti. We are very blessed to be able to take such grand trips to such fabulous destinations.
I could not be more blessed with the opportunity to travel. I feel even more fortunate to be able to travel to such a wonderful place as the Caribbean. Take away the sunshine, cool breezes and blue water and I would be just as happy traveling there. Yes, the Caribbean is beautiful: full of gorgeous sights and tranquil settings. However, to me it is so much more! When I think of the Caribbean, I think of its BEATUIFUL PEOPLE! People vastly different from us in America ~ and it is that difference I love! These people come from all over the world; so very far away from home. They bring so much to the new land; so much for us to see, to learn and to explore. They make this new place a place of “pride” and a place of “home.” This pride they carry with them is for their families, their lives and the place they live. The are proud of their island and it makes me proud to be there visiting. Each time I step onto a different island, I enter a new culture and a completely different place of heritage. I just love that! There are several islands that even share two different countries ~ so cool. You walk down a street on the island of St. Marteen; one side is a French-speaking European territory. Across the same street you enter the world of the Dutch-speaking people who are governed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The same thing goes for the Island of Hispanola. One side of the mountain range is Haiti and the other side is the Dominican Republic. What a diversity of cultures so close to one another.
One of the greatest parts of island hopping to me is to visit all these different countries, meeting different people speaking different languages and living such different lives. Yet, while you travel among all the vast difference, you remain to be in the Caribbean. A place of sunshine, blue skies, relaxed living and BEAUTIFUL people. I have never met anyone who is more welcoming, so kind and proud-fully sincere than the people of the Caribbean.
So, to the Caribbean I will continue to travel. I will continue to learn about its beautiful people, their pride and the love they share. Each time I go, I hope to bring home with me this true sense of being. It is amazing and reassuring to know so many beautiful people live on “island time” living an “island life” while “loving life!”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Title Photo

I just love what Nikki did with the kids' pictures on the blog title. But, holy cow, when you look at it, that is A LOT of kids!!!!!

I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I cannot wait for us to be a big family!

Blogs For a Cause

So, what do you think of the new look? I have finally had the chance to have our family blog stylized by Nikki. I think it looks great ~ fun and colorful ~ just like us!

If any of you bloggers out there are interested in supporting an extremely good cause and an extremely motivated and dedicated person, please visit Nikki at Nikki is working on raising funds for her humanitarian trip this July. She is adding some pizzazz to blogs while raising money to help pay for her travels to the Dominican Republic.

It really is a fun way and a great opportunity to help support a fellow missionary. I hope you will also consider doing the same!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sooooooooooo Cute!

I just do not think two babies could not be any cuter! These little muchkins are so darling; they make me want to scream it out loud! And, what little buddies they are going to be some day! How fun!

Cutest Cousins ~ Baby Carter and Baby Jake

Time To Catch Up!

Wow! What a couple of weeks it has been here. Not much “real” or substantial posting happening because of this craziness, but now things have slowed down. So, maybe I will have some time to do some writing and blog posting~ something I really do love to do!

Things started to be a bit nutsy when I was down for the count with the flu. Holy cow! Now I know why they encourage people to get their flu shots late fall. I do not think I have been that ill in…forever! I was plagued with aches, pains, a terrible cough and high fevers on and off for over 7 days. I was so very thankful our family’s schedule was not too full of things to do and I was able to lay low and rest…. The kids were so patient with Mom being out of commission. They went with the flow as Papa picked them up from school, Dad took them to lessons and games all the while entertaining themselves around the house. I really hate when I can’t “do” things with the kids, but they we so very understanding while I could not.

In the midst of my virus, we had tickets to see High School Musical On Ice. We all headed to the Chicago Untied Center with seats right on the ice. It was really very cool to be able to sit so close to the production and the kids’ very first ice skating show. The kids pigged out on cotton candy, snow cones and popcorn while singing along to the tunes of their all-time favorite Disney movies. Although I was still way under the weather, it was great to see the kids having so much fun. The drive into the city is always entertaining and we enjoyed pointing out some of our favorite Chicago buildings to the kids during the drive.

Once I began to feel a little bit better, it was time to get ready for a big PTO event at school. Along with another Mom, I was planning Tilton School’s first family night and fundraiser: The Souper Supper. We were organizing an evening of auctions, raffles, food and fun. What an undertaking! The evening turned out great and everyone had a fabulous time! We raised over $2500 for the school in 2 hours ~ which is really cool! I was so thankful for that and the re-charging the event gave me! I was beginning to get burned out with all the volunteering, coordinating and school stuff, but this event really seemed to help. It gave me a new focus and fresh look at WHY I do all of this everyday. It comes down to “all the kids” and THEY make it all so worth it!

We are now switching gears here at our house and getting ready for another family vacation. We are all heading to Grand Cayman for our annual dive trip this Thursday morning. Come Sunday next week, we will all be relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying life pool-side. I cannot wait to get us all packed and ready to go! It is a 10-day get away for my family I look forward to every February! We get lots of time for each other and hanging out for some quality family time! It’s a great way to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company!

I am a bit sad to be missing out on an adoptive parent trip to Three Angels while we are gone. There is a great group of moms going to visit the kids at the orphanage. I would have really enjoyed going to meet all of them and spend some time with my boys. We were also hoping to have our final government approval letter by then so we could deliver our dossier with the mission group. It has, however, failed to show up just yet…. Hopefully, it will come soon and I can get all the paperwork down there shortly.

Until then, I will count down the days until the April Medical Mission I am attending and continue collecting lots of needed goods for Angel House. I have been working hard on getting donations for many needed nursery things like a baby swing, bouncie chair and new exersaucer. The orphanage has some new itty-bitty sweeties and they could use some infant and baby items. We have been so very blessed with all the generosity of those willing to donate needed items or funds to help purchase the items for the kids. Thank you everyone and thank you, Lord, for providing for the orphans of Three Angels!!!

Well, I am off to fold another load of laundry. This should be one of the last before I begin placing the clothes into suitcases. I love to be able to put all the jeans and long sleeve shirts away and get out the bathing suits, shorts and tank tops mid-February.

Have a blessed week, everyone!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Jake in December

Baby Jake has a brand new cousin as of last night! His new buddy is baby cousin Carter Henry! YEAH!!!!

Kelly and Pete have their baby boy! Carter was born at 7:14 last night via c-section weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz. and is 20 1/2 inches long. What a little peanut! Mom and baby are doing well and resting after a long day of labor.

Baby Carter

Welcome, Baby Carter! I cannot wait to meet you, little buddy! Kelly and Pete, I couldn’t be happier for the two of you! I pray you have many blessed days filled with joy as you raise your son. Nothing can compare to the feelings of parenthood and I wish you only love, happiness and health for your family! I love you guys!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Does this little boy realize how much his family LOVES pasta? He is definitely a Monfils! And, his sister Megan is so pleased!