The greatest experience, the one which shakes a soul with hopes and fears, the results of which are never ending, and incidentally, the one which pays the biggest dividends, is to be found in the adoption of children.
--Anonymous

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Christmas Time Again......

...........and you're not home.

This song, even though it was written about a family waiting for a child from China, felt like it spoke to every family waiting for a little one to come home. No matter where you are in the process of adoption, the holidays without that little one home are so difficult. Although I shed many sad tears while I listened and longed to have Nola home with us, those tears turned to hopeful tears at the end of the song. I'm praying this is indeed the last Christmas that we will spend without our little Nola home. And if you're waiting, like we are, just know you're not alone. My prayer is that 2011 will be a year of waiting families being united with their little ones in outstanding numbers!






Saturday, December 4, 2010

I know, it's been a while........

......I just haven't had time to blog in what seems like forever! The last time I left you was just after the spider incident. Blah, I don't even want to let my mind wander back to that. Well, the car was repaired in about three weeks and looks as good as new! Kelsey was happy to have her wheels back and we have to give Dad a big Thank You for letting us borrow his truck for Kelsey to drive back and forth to school during the repair time.



Halloween came and went since I last wrote. Maria was a little butterfly. She enjoyed getting her face painted and Trick-or-Treating.











Audree was a little lamb, a very adorable little lamb I might add;)





Most of my time, the last several weeks has been spent on a remodeling project. We decided, with the crowd we were planning on having for Thanksgiving, we needed a place big enough to seat everyone. So we rolled up our sleeves and began finishing a room in our basement. Of course the job took longer than I had expected but turned out very nice.


Here is the before picture.


A during picture.



And the finished room.....complete with tables and decorations. It was so nice to have space to all be together and not be crawling on top of each other when we needed to move around.



We invited a dear friend of ours from Guatemala and her two children to be our guests the week of Thanksgiving. We thoroughly enjoyed their company! We didn't do a lot of extra things. They were just a wonderful addition to our family for a week.


Gloria giving Audree a snuggle before dinner.




Daddy carved the turkey as he traditionally does......and passed out samples to a lucky few who happened to walk by.


Gloria and Fredy posing behind the spread before we blessed the food and dug in! They were amazed at how much we eat!!!





Luis and Marcela and their kids were able to travel from North Carolina to join us. The Reyher clan was here too. We had a full house!



Gloria, Isa and Fredy helped us decorate our Christmas tree




Maria kind of stuck to Fredy like glue but he was a good sport about it. He even let her join in some of his soccer practice time.
We were truly blessed to be able to share such a special time with our family and wonderful friends!

We have so much to be thankful for!







Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I've never had an affinity for spiders......

.....in fact, I can probably say I loath spiders. They're creepy! I know they have their place in the "great circle of life" but regardless, they make me shiver. But,come on now, how much trouble can one spider cause????? Well, I'll tell ya, a whole heck of a lot! The other morning, Kelsey was leaving for school. She was backing her cute little Toyota Solara convertible out of the drive when she felt a spider crawling on her. She immediately jumped out of the car. Did she take the time to put the car in park first? No! She realized that when the open door hit her as it was rolling off the back of the built up turn around area of the drive way. Being the athlete she is, and not wanting her beautiful car to roll into our pond, she jumped back into the car (which was still in reverse) and slammed her foot on the break, at least that's what she meant to do. By mistake, she slammed her foot on the gas and you can probably all see what's going to happen next. The door was still open, it hooked on a near by tree which spun the car around causing it to hit several other trees. Every side of her car has damage! Unbelievable! Thank God, Kelsey is fine! I really don't know the fate of the spider, nor do I care. The car, on the other hand, is in need of a major repair.......to the tune of $4,764.00. I didn't think to take pictures before it left on the tow truck. It was all such an unbelievable experience, it never crossed my mind that I may want some sort of photographic memoir to commemorate the occasion. But now that we're a few days past the event and we can all laugh about it......sort of, it would have been nice to have a picture just to prove exactly how much trouble one spider can cause;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Look at that Smile!



As you can see, we kept the Tooth Fairy pretty busy last week! This child's speech has gone from, difficult for strangers to understand, to kind of tough for Momma to understand ;) but we're managing. The only difficulty for her has been eating an apple. She was happy to report this week that she can feel one new tooth coming in already so apple eating should be back to normal soon.








Friday was our little Nola's third birthday. Maria blew out the candles and wished for Nola to come home soon. I had planned to make Nola a doll for her birthday. I have the image of it in my head. The problem is getting that image to translate into something three dimensional. I'm having a bit of a rough time. It's actually making me quite aggravated. I just want a sweet faced, cloth, soft sculptured doll that's going to hold up to the abuse of a toddler. So far, I have three heads laying on my dinning room table (the first one looks like ET) and I don't like any of them. My plan was to have it completed by last Friday. At the rate I'm going, I might have it ready for her fourth birthday. When I finally get it right, I'll post a picture......along with all of the failed attempts.


Everything has been quiet on the adoption front. There has been no news from the recent meetings. I was hoping this week would bring us some news but it's not looking to be the case.


Now, for a confession. I hope you have noticed the chocolate ticker on the right of the blog. I have gone an amazingly long time without chocolate...............well...........until Saturday. This is going to sound really stupid but I didn't even realize I did it. We went to the Corn Festival Parade (a real happening time around these parts). You know what happens at parades. They throw candy to the kids. Maria had a bag full and I reached in to get a piece and pulled out a mini tootsie roll, unwrapped it and popped it in my mouth. Later that day, Mark, Maria and I were out shopping and Maria offered me a piece of candy. It was a tootsie roll. I took it and started to unwrap it when Mark said "uh, Pammy, that's chocolate!"............I just looked at him while a wave of guilt washed over me. I couldn't believe what I had done. I even went as far as to check the ingredient label and there it was...........cocoa. Oh my gosh! He asked if I had eaten any others and I said yes, one. If it hadn't been a couple of hours earlier that I had eaten it, I might have gone to the bathroom and stuck my finger down my throat. That's how upset I was. To me, a tootsie roll isn't chocolate but now I know, it sure is. So to those of you who have joined my chocolate fast until Nola comes home, I'm sorry! I really didn't mean to fall off the wagon and if you want to take this opportunity to do the same, feel free. It was just a momentary slip (if I had planned on cheating, it certainly wouldn't have been with a tootsie roll. I would have gone for the good stuff!) Please know, I'm serious about this. No more chocolate until Nola comes home! But we're going to have some Chocolate Party when she gets here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yesterday, I left Guatemala for the twelfth time.........without Nola. I'm sure you know, I had no expectations of bringing her home this time but coming home each time and leaving her behind is heartbreaking! Mark and I signed a new POA and met our new lawyer. He wasn't exactly full of uplifting or encouraging words. Actually, he asked us how long we were prepared to wait and told us it could take a very long time. Now, I don't know about you, but I thought we had already waited a "very long time"!!! He was just being honest with us. He said he had no idea what might happen if and when our case goes back to PGN. He said if PGN required more investigations, it could take a long time. I'm not sure what PGN could possibly want investigated again but if I've learned anything from this journey, it's not to second guess PGN. They do what they want, when they want and in their own time.

We haven't heard any news yet about results of the meetings between Colom and the other government officials who have our adoption fate in their hands. I'm still praying Colom says that all cases will finish through PGN.................and be expedited! Hey, I'm praying BIG! I really think all of the pending cases have been investigated forwards, backwards, upside down and sideways! Just let these kids come home!

Can't let this post close without a big "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY" to my sweetie!
31 years today!! Love you Mark!

Monday, August 30, 2010

IS TIME STANDING STILL?!?!

If I said I had been a bit edgy since Thursday (the day of the big meeting) it would be a huge understatement! I knew it would be several days before we would hear anything but that doesn't make this wait any easier.
Mark and I have decided to head down to Guatemala over the Labor Day week end and sign new POA. Our original lawyer announced he didn't want anything to do with finishing our case and I don't want to deal with his assistant who had taken over our case. He's quite the money hungry mongrel! We're stepping out and doing what we feel is best for our case and best for Nola. Mayra has gotten everything she needs from our original lawyer's office with exception of a copy of the birth mothers POA but I don't think she will have any trouble getting that. The fee the new lawyer will charge is very reasonable and he is someone Mayra has worked with and recommends.
We're praying the results of the meeting will send our case from CNA back to PGN to be completed. If indeed that happens, our quick trip to Guatemala will hopefully speed the POA process along and enable our new lawyer to jump right in and be ready to represent us as soon as things begin to move.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Good News On The Horizon!?!?

I heard from my friend Mayra last night. She and I have both been waiting for a response from Sr. Enrique Valesquez at CNA about whether or not our case will be able to continue. Sr Valesquez did tell Mayra that it would not be necessary for me to make another trip to Guatemala right now and that he would respond to an e-mail. Mayra and I both sent him e-mails and are still waiting for a response. But last night Mayra sent me this message:

I went to CNA yesterday with another family, they told us that right now they are having meetings and there is a huge possibility that PGN will finish all pending adoptions, this is not official, but they hope to have a final decition within a couple of weeks. We will take from there. That is why they are not answering to us, everything is in hold.

Blessings
Mayra

Hope is alive!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Official....

.....all of the i's have been dotted and the t's have been crossed. Joshua and Alison are Audree's legal parents! The hearing was August 12th and I don't think there are two happier parents in the world right now. The kids had a baby dedication during church and a celebration lunch right after church this past Sunday. It was a perfect day!
I had a hard time trying to decide on a design for the cake but was pleased with what I finally came up with. I had all kinds of trouble trying to get my little bear to stay together. I ended up leaving the back arm and leg (that you can't see) off, and it was fine. I'm not a fondant master................and not sure I want to be.

This week brought another bit of official business to our home. Maria is officially a Kindergartner. Today was day three. Day one, she was up and out of bed and dressed in a surprising amount of time. Day two, she was a little more sluggish. Today, day three, I dressed her while she was sleeping. It was like dressing a big rag doll. Now that's the Maria I know and love. She loves her sleep! Hopefully she will adjust to that early morning rising soon. If not, I may be thinking about devising an automatic child dressing machine. You know, one of those contraptions that a child could be placed in one end and when they come out the other, they are completely dressed, hair and teeth brushed, shoes and back pack on and ready to go out the door. Oohhh, I might have to get working on that. Oh well, one more day and she'll have the week end to sleep in and catch up on her late morning sleep that she loves so much.
Posing for her first day of school.





Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There's a Buzz in the Guatemala Adoption Circles...

....and boy, am I praying the rumors are true!

OPTIMISTIC NEWS FROM GUATEMALA
Guatemala Minister Counselor Fernando de la Cerda is returning to Washington, DC today after an intense 10 day trip to Guatemala which included 2 meetings with Guatemala President Alvaro Colom. Fernando is reporting significant progress in finding solutions for moving the adoption cases of the Guatemala900 forwards towards resolution. Fernando's efforts in Guatemala also included individual meetings with the PGN, CNA, Court of Appeals, MP, and with his own Department of Foreign Ministry.
On Monday, July 26th, President Colom hosted a meeting with the highest level officials from the PGN, CNA, MP and several high level lawyers. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss adoptions, including the resolution of the grandfathered cases. The same group along with the Deputy Secretary of Interior and high level officials from the Secretaría de Bienestar Social (SBS) convened again on Monday, August 2nd and will do so again next Monday, August 9th. Fernando reports that President Colom was sympathetic to the children who are in limbo and spearheaded discussions with the other officials about how cases can start to accelerate towards resolution. Fernando is optimistic that end result should be some significant measurable progress in the coming weeks and months.


The Guatemala 900 group posted this information last week and I'm sure everyone involved is on the edges of their seats as we wait to see what happens next. Our problem is, we aren't sure if our case is still considered "grandfathered" since the judge sent Nola's file to CNA. The Childrens Issues department of the DOS seems to think we have lost our "grandfathered" status and would now be processed as a new case. I'm not sure how the last almost three years of our process could be tossed aside and forgotten but our DOS doesn't seem to be putting any effort into figuring that out. The Guatemala 900 folks, on the other hand, are of the opinion, "once a grandfathered case, always a grandfathered case". I like the way they think better. For now, we just wait and see what happens. I would really like to look back through this blog and see how many times I've written that phrase......."we'll just wait and see what happens".

I did get a message from the lawyer at CNA stating it would not be necessary for me to come back down right now and that he would respond to an e-mail message from me. Mayra sent one and I did the same including information on our case and pictures. Mayra also just got the "golden ticket" from our ex-lawyer's office allowing her to retrieve our file and dossier from PGN and take it to CNA as proof of our grandfathered status.

Please continue to join us in praying that all of the children who are stuck in this unfortunate situation are united with their forever families soon!

We also owe a big THANK YOU to the Guatemala 900 organization whose tireless efforts seem to finally be paying off.

THANK YOU GUAT900!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig.....

......sort of. We didn't come home with quite the spring in our step. Ole Montezuma has a fierce hold on Mark, a lesser hold on me and Kels and Maria seem to be faring quite well. To make matters a bit worse, poor Dawson has the same problem Mark and I have. Not sure what caused his. I thought at first, he was just maybe a bit nervous because we weren't here with him for a week but,now that we're home, it doesn't seem to be correcting itself. You can imagine, a big dog, in the house, with the runs, equals a big mess..........and a stinky one too! Yuck!!!


Sorry! Back to the trip. What a fantastic trip it was and an equally fantastic group of people to share it with. We began in Guatemala City arriving Friday afternoon and staying in my favorite hotel, La Casa Grande. We had Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday free so the group mostly rested up and did some shopping and a little sight seeing. Sunday morning, the real journey began. We left the hotel at 8am bound for the orphanage on three school buses. The drive was a winding bumpy one that lasted about an hour. Unfortunately, the streets of the village weren't made for school buses to travel but where there's a will, there's a way. Our drivers were great!




When we arrived and the gate was opened, the children of the orphanage were all lined up, name tags on and ready to go to the zoo. Unfortunately, they wouldn't allow pictures in the orphanage so you'll just have to imagine that scene.



I'm still not sure how many kids we took. There were 14 orphanage staff who counted the kids and went with us and kept track.........sort of. We were originally told 100 children would go to the zoo. Then the number changed to 130, and then we were told 30 children from each of four different hogars would be going. You can do the math, that would be 120 but when the kids were all loaded on the buses, the assistant director said to me, "100 children". Now if it hadn't been for the fact that we bought 50 bottles of water and told the children two of then had to share one bottle on the way home but we ran out before all of the kids had water, I might have believed that 100 count figure. I'm inclined to believe we had closer to 120 kids.


Our bus carried all boys. One of them asked if we could pray before we left so Gloria led the group in a prayer in Spanish.......the perfect way to start our excursion.



What a day! We started our time in the zoo with Pollo Campero lunch for everyone. The kids loved it! It was really a treat! I had gone the day before and ordered the lunches and paid for them so the restaurant was ready for us and they did a fantastic job of getting the food ready and out to us.








With the food gone, it was off to see the animals. The plan was for the kids to "stay in a line" with the orphanage staff spaced throughout the line and our group also spaced throughout. I'd say the line lasted about................5 minutes max. At first, I panicked. What would happen if we lost one of them?!?! But it all worked out fine. Eventually, we all made our way through the zoo and back to the buses.


The trip back to the orphanage wasn't without incident. One of the buses broke down so the occupants of three buses were combined into two but we snuggled up and made it the rest of the way back.


Before the boys got off the bus, Hector, a 14 year old who was sitting with Kels and Alex, said he wanted to thank us for such a special day. He said he would remember it for all of his life. Of course, I cried. To think such a simple thing, a trip to a zoo, had such an impact on a young man.

We unloaded the buses and had a quick tour of the orphanage, where we got to see our little Nola for a few minutes, then it was back to the hotel.
Monday morning we were off to Antigua. Our plan was to visit Kairos Christian School which was started by our friend Mayra Garcia's family. Mark and a couple of the younger men of our group went ahead to Kairos School while the rest of us received a tour of a public school. Our youth minister Tim did an awesome job of leading in some skits to entertain and educate the kids. We met with several different classes before we joined the guys at Kairos for lunch.
Mayra's 72 year old mother cooks for the children every day and she cooked for us as well.
We spent the rest of the day with the kids at Kairos. Tara lead the kids in some praise songs in English and then the kids sang one for us first in Spanish and then in English. It was Open The Eyes Of My Heart. A serious goose bump moment! Absolutely precious!


The kids leave at 3:00pm each day and so did we. We headed back to our hotel where some of our group braved the downpours and did some shopping. Most of our evenings were rainy unfortunately but it didn't stop the die hard shoppers.


The next morning it was back to work. The guys continued their construction help. Tim's group went to another public school. A couple of the teachers of our group led some English classes and a few of us painted a mural on one of the walls of the school. The students of Kairos had decided on a mascot of a sheep before we arrived. So we painted a sheep on the wall with the first few words of the 23rd Psalm. The painting was hard on a rough concrete surface but it turned out pretty well.

We signed our work with our church logo and the date. Another day done! It was back to our hotel for our last evening in Guatemala.

The next morning, some of us did some last minute shopping before heading back to the Guatemala City airport.


We owe a huge thanks to so many people. First of all to our church, Shelburn First Baptist. So many people gave so generously to make this dream trip become a reality.
Thanks to Gloria from La Casa Grande for getting our buses arranged for our zoo trip and for the correspondence back and forth until we finally got clearance from the director of the orphanage to make our zoo trip.
And another thank you to Mayra. She arranged for our transportation to and from Antigua and our hotel and meals while we were there.
God has blessed us with wonderful friends in Guatemala and He blessed us with an amazing trip!
Thank you Lord!

I wasn't able to get a meeting with CNA while in Guatemala this trip. Mayra is going to continue to work on that for me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nola's Hearing

I've sat down several times to post an update but have just had too many things going on. I left Thursday morning to drive to Chicago (4 hours) to catch a flight to Guatemala. I arrived in Guatemala at 11pm Thursday night. My hearing was Friday morning at 10am. Mayra's husband was having some medical procedures done Friday so her brother picked me up to take me to the hearing and her sister went to be my interpreter. I took my camera because I knew Nola would be there and I was looking forward to getting pictures. Of course, when we went through security, they took my camera away and locked it in a cabinet. They told me cameras were not allowed in the court. I should have known but the fact never crossed my mind. We went on up the stairs and when I got to the top, I saw my little Nola. I squatted down as she turned around and saw me. I held out my arms and said Yo su mami (that was my best attempt at "I'm your mommy" in Spanish). She came running to me, wrapped her little arms around me and held on tight! What a beautiful feeling! I instantly started crying. I'm talking boo hoo crying. I'm not sure how long we held on to each other but when I looked up from our little embrace, everyone who was looking on was crying too!

Mayra's sister went to the desk and asked permission for me to come in to the hearing and in a few minutes, the clerk came back and said the judge gave permission. I was completely surprised, thrilled and nervous at the same time. Nola and I sat down to wait until we were called into court. I took a little doll for Nola and I pulled it out of my bag. She grabbed hold of it and loved it. I don't know if she'll actually be able to keep it for her own once she's back at the hogar but at least she knows momma gave it to her. I also had a little package of cookies from my flight that I had saved so I pulled those out and she scarfed them down.

Then it was time to go into the hearing. The hogar assistant took Nola from me before we went in. We all took our seats around the table and waited for the judge. After checking who was present, the judge instructed each one to speak in short sentences so my interpreter could interpret for me (another total surprise). Each person around the table took turns delivering their report and soon it was my turn to speak. I wasn't at all prepared so I spoke from my heart. I told the judge from the moment I heard Nola's name, I loved her and even though the paperwork didn't say so, she is my daughter in my heart. I told her our entire family loves her and wants her to come home. I said I know there was some problem with the paperwork but that we had done everything we were instructed to do and neither we nor Nola had anything to do with that problem and shouldn't be punished for it. I said even though the hogar was doing their best to care for her, Nola needs a family to care for her and love her. She needs a mommy and a daddy to love her and that Mark and I are ready for her to come home so we can be a family. I also asked for her to be moved back to a foster home until our process was finished so she could receive the attention she needs. Of course, I cried through my little speech but I did the best I could. The last one to speak was the PGN representative. She reported that they found the birth mother who was listed in the paperwork. The woman denied having a baby and the PGN took her word for it. There was no DNA test done for proof. It was just accepted as fact. The judge accepted each persons report and was ready to make her ruling. She said since the woman who is listed as Nola's birth mother was not, in fact, the birth mother, the birth mother's cedula was not going to be accepted as part of the process. And since they established that the woman who was listed as Nola's birth mother was not her true birth mother, that voided Nola's birth certificate. Nola's birth certificate was also not able to be accepted as part of the process. Since every other document in the process was based on the those two documents, the judge said she was going to have to declare the entire file of notarial documents invalid. She ordered that a new birth certificate be drawn up for Nola listing parents as unknown. The more she talked the harder it was for me to hold back the tears and soon it was impossible. She declared Nola adoptable. That sounds like good news but Nola is now adoptable by any Guatemalan family. Currently, there are not procedures in place for International adoptions to process in Guatemala. She also said the CNA will now oversee Nola's adoption and the CNA will be in charge of choosing the family for Nola.................more tears. The judge asked if there were any arguments (legal arguments) and since there were none, the judge dismissed us. We walked out into a waiting area to wait for the judges official to type up a summary of the hearing and give each of us a copy. While we were waiting the orphanage director came to me and said she was sorry but that since CNA is now in charge of Nola and they are a government agency, she could not allow us to take pictures of Nola...............uncontrollable boo hoo tears! About that time my lawyer came up to me and said he needed his money. The man, who I don't care much for anyway, picked the wrong time to talk to me about money. I went off on him! In a very loud voice I let him know if he cared for our little girl even half as much as he cared about his money, we might not be in the place we were in. I told him he was not to speak to me of money again. Just so you know, we have an agency who is supposed to deal with such matters and he knows that. Anyway he walked away from me and left me alone. He probably thinks I'm a crazy American woman but really what he thinks of me doesn't concern me in the least. After that little episode, I was called into a room with the PGN representative and the door was locked behind us. She told me she overheard the lawyer asking me for money at the last hearing, which he did. She told me my lawyer knew what the outcome of the hearing was going to be and he knew after the judge ruled on my case I wouldn't need him anymore. That was why he was so anxious to get his money. If our case gets accepted in CNA, we won't need a lawyer. The PGN official instructed me not to pay the lawyer another penny. She then told me to go to CNA and talk to them and make them aware of our relationship with Nola. Then the judge's official gave my interpreter a paper with the name of an organization who is helping families in the situation that we are in. I could feel God throwing me a lifeline. We left the room and the CNA representative came up to me and told me to make an appointment as soon as possible with the CNA and go speak with them about our case and our relationship with Nola. She said "no guarantees" but she obviously thinks it could help us...........more hope! We went back to the waiting area and the orphanage director came and whispered that when we get outside, we can take pictures. She got permission from the CNA rep. Again, I felt God giving me a little boost. We finally received the copies of the hearing proceedings and my passport (which they took to make copies of) and we were ready to leave. I got my camera back on my way out and I had a very few minutes to take pictures because I was already running late for my flight home.

Mayra is going to the CNA for me Monday and trying to get an appointment for the time when we are back down there with the church (which is just three weeks from now). I'll be going prepared with a new little photo ablum full of pictures of us with Nola. I'm going to make sure they understand, I'm not giving up. I'm looking at this as a bump in the very long road to adopt our little Nola.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I really shouldn't be surprised.........

.............but today was just another in the long list of disappointments with our adoption. Our hearing was scheduled for 9am this morning. First of all, my interpreter didn't show up to take me to our hearing. Not sure what happened to her but I'm sure she has a legitimate explanation. I ended up taking a taxi to the court where NO ONE spoke one word of English. If I have learned anything from this experience it's that I really need to work on my Spanish! I know enough to understand that Nola was sick and not going to be able to be present at the hearing. Since Nola wasn't there, the judge would not proceed with the hearing. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me but that's the rules down here. Anyway, we have another hearing scheduled for July 2 at 10am.
My lawyer says it's very important for me to be here so I'm cutting this visit short and coming back next week. I have a copy of the document that the judge gave to all who were present that says in bold letters, she will make a ruling at this hearing.
Please continue to pray for a favorable ruling. It's getting harder to stay positive especially when nothing seems to be going our way.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catchin' up through pictures


I've become quite the slacker lately. So to make up for lots of lost time, I'm just doing a quick recap of the last few months through pictures.

Happy 18th birthday Kelsey!

We didn't have our usual family get together at our house due to lack of time so we headed down to our favorite after church restaurant one Sunday and celebrated Kelsey's birthday.

Then it was prom time!

Kelsey looked absolutely lovely and Alex was quite handsome!


Kels, Kyle and Maria.......My Three Homebodies



Maria and her dance class all dressed up for the recital.

She had such a wonderful time and did a great job!


Here I am with my first little graduate of the year. Yes, Maria graduated from preschool this year. Now we're on to Kindergarten in the fall.


And my second graduate of the year..........Kelsey and a group of her friends just before


their graduation ceremony.





We had Kelsey's graduation party here at the house. We learned one very important thing.........we need a bigger house! We had a great time celebrating Kelsey's accomplishment.


Congratulations Kelsey!





During Kelsey's party, Mark noticed several bees flying around Maria's play set. We found out we had a swarm of honey bees that decided to make a new home under the floor slats of the play set. We called a bee keeper and he came and rounded up between 1 1/2 and 3 pounds of bees, including the queen, and took them safely away. If you look closely in the picture, you can see several bees flying around. They had just started to make some honeycomb that was attached to one of the slats. Amazingly, not one sting out of that whole mess!





One sharp looking bike!
Mark had some custom work done to his bike. He had a fairing added, hard bags and a
trunk. Now, if we can just find the time, we're ready to hit the road!



Maria is becoming quite the little fish. She's about to wear her daddy out!

"Throw me up again, daddy, throw me up again!!!





Maria and her buddy Ella had a great time at the Indy zoo last week.
They are looking at one of the hundreds of butterflies at the butterfly exhibit.
Beautiful!



This was the first time Maria had the courage to pet the sharks in the petting tank.
The girls had a great time (and so did the moms)!
Now, I think you're officially caught up, at least until the next time I slack off.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ahhh, Finally Home!!!

It was a rough journey but they are finally a family and home where they belong!
Joshua, Alison and little Audree Suzanne. The smiles say it all.
Audree was bored with all of the fuss and would much rather have been sleeping but of course we all had to pass her around and take turns snuggling;)

Aunt Anna with Papaw and Daddy Josh looking on


Aunt Kelsey



Me...........Granny............oh, I love saying that!!!!




And Papaw getting his turn.
She is a beautiful baby and we are so thankful that she is now a part of our family.
Thank you God!






Gordon Mote - Don't Miss the Glory