Saturday, June 28, 2008

Still having fun!

Anaya has a love hate relationship with popsicles, and ice cream! She loves them, but hates how cold they are! It sure is fun to watch the faces she pulls!!

This was the other morning when she woke up at around 5 am, we slept on the couch, as not to wake anyone else. Well, she is a bed hog too, so she slept, I was just up for the day! Then, last night she woke up around 2 am and again around 4 am, I had to go sleep in the basement with her, as we had the cousins overnight, and I didn't want to wake all 8 of them up!!! Usually, she is a great sleeper, so I cannot complain!
She found the window at Grama's house to be a favorite place to sit as well!

Max, giving Dylan a great big hug! They are so happy to have their dog to play with again, and Max is glad to have them too!

Anaya, chasing watermelon pieces around on the tray ~ they are slippery little buggers! She looks like "is this some sort of joke?"=)
Well, Dad made it home from the hospital on Wed. and he is doing very well!! Mom's heart test went very well too, so next week, she can have her surgery! Ryan and the group are going to head to Yellowstone, so they will not be home until Monday afternoon! We miss him, and can't wait for him to get home! Starting next weekend, we have a week long vacation planned with Ryans family, and then, I think, we will all be at home together once again!!(for a how long, I do not know, we may have to move again soon?~we'll keep you posted=)) But, what a blessing it was to be able to bond with Anaya in Guatemala, she is doing great, even with all the craziness going on here! Now, looking back, yes, God's timing is perfect, and we are enjoying this time with my family! Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1 week at "home!"

Anaya and Grampa playing!

We found out that crawling is not easy to do in a dress, and since dresses are about all that she has in her closet, I had to come up with a solution! So, I tie her dress in a knot in the back, or tuck it in her fancy pants!! Hey, it works, and we are both happy!!

Easton was so happy to get a new bike from Grampa and Grama, can you tell??

We were finally able to celebrate Easton, and Anaya's birthdays with my side of the family, and will with Ryan's side in a couple of weeks! Spencer asked if Easton was turning 4 now!! So cute! Anaya got this awesome pink chair, and a tiara, and some new legwarmers!! What fun, all that pink!

She loves the swing, as I figured she would, especially if you push her high!!

Wow, 8 weeks ago yesterday, I held little Anaya in my arms again for the first time in over 11 long months! And 1 week ago today that we finally returned back home on American soil!! I came home and had a DVD of Anaya waiting for me!! That was so weird, and a huge relief to watch that DVD, as my little sweetie was crawling around on the floor in front of me! I was flooded with emotions as I watched her play in her crib, and do her weird little army scoot thing, and realized how far she has come in such a short amount of time, how much she has grown, and how extremely thankful I am that she is here!

We are actually not in our home, we are staying at my parents house all this week, and the kids are loving seeing Grampa and Grama, and playing with their cousins every day! My Dad had surgery for his prostrate cancer on Monday, and it went well, however he is still in the hospital, and waiting on his body to function properly, if you get my drift, and so we are praying that will happen soon, so he can come home! My Mom has to go in for a test on her heart on Thursday, so she can have surgery(not related to her heart) the following Thursday!! So, I am so glad to be home for all of this!! Please keep them in your prayers, as well as Ryan. They made it safely to Montana, but his phone doesn't work out there, so I don't get to talk to him much! We were able to communicate better when I was in Guatemala!!
We are still so happy to be "home" and enjoying being around family, and friends! Thanks for checking in!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Enjoying being at home!!

Anaya found her favorite spot in the house! If I have to be in, I may as well be looking outside!!
I was watching her crawl around on the floor, and then she laid her sweet little head down, and fell asleep! I got the picture, then put her in her bed, I think she likes carpet too!!
The guys enjoying some shakes!
Jayden, and his dog Max, together at last!!

Wow, is it great to be home! Unfortunately, we still are not a family all under one roof! Dylan has been at camp, and gets home tomorrow at noon! But, Ryan leaves tomorrow at 7 am to go out west on a mission trip with the youth group! So we have to wait another week, and a half before that actually happens, but at least we were all in the same state for a little while! Anaya is doing very well, she has a cold, so that is affecting her eating, but she is sleeping great, and seems to be enjoying exploring her new surroundings! I still cannot believe she is here, in our home!! It is such an awesome feeling!
The boys were begging Ryan to take them fishing this week, so tonight, Ryan was able to take them out for a couple of hours! They were so happy, Jayden came in the house and said, "Grampa caught my favorite fish!" "Puuch!" (perch~said with Jayden's accent!!) It is his favorite to eat! Spencer caught the biggest and most fish, and Easton was (unfortunately) very nervous~he did not like the "snakes" which Ryan figured out were the worms!! Summer fun!!
I have enjoyed going to the cupboard, and getting familiar food out, things I missed, like Izzys (my favorite thing to drink!) and Wheat Thins! I could not find those things in Antigua! I also love carpet, and Target~yes, I have been there already!! I will be getting my fix all next week, as I will be staying at my parents house while Ryan is gone! A time to reconnect with family, and my Dad is having surgery for prostrate cancer, so I am glad to be home for that! Please pray for him on Monday, and that all will go very well! Also pray for Safety for Ryan and the 12 other people going on the trip to Montana, and a fruitful ministry to the children there! We were going to go with, and take a week long vacation out there after the mission trip! But, our stint in Guatemala wiped out our vacation fund,(and then some!!) so we will be staying HOME!!
Well, it is late, and so that is all for now! Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


How many more flights did you say we have yet? Poor baby, she was not feeling well, and then we have a huge day like this!! But, I am so happy to tell you that she did awesome! The whole day was filled with miracle after miracle!

It started out with the flight to Houston, I knew we didn't have a ton of time to get thorough immigration, and so I asked if I could get a seat near the front of the plane. To my surprise, I got a seat in the 2nd row and I had empty seats next to me!! YAY! Then, Anaya fell asleep in my arms without a peep, just as we were taxiing out to the runway, and didn't wake up for about an hour into the flight! Thank you Lord! Then at the Houston Airport, I was first out of the gate, and booked it all the way to and through customs, and immigration.(piece of cake! Anaya is a US citizen!!) I sped right through to get my baggage, brought it to be rechecked, and went through security again, and was to my gate in a half an hour!! I felt as though I was the first one leading the pack, all lines formed after me~Thank you Lord! We then got a little lunch, and waited for the next flight!! I was the most nervous about this flight, because there were no empty seats(at least none available online!) This was the longest leg of our journey, and it was on a small plane! To my surprise, I got on, and had the 3rd row back, and NO ONE next to me! The flight was full, they were taking carry on baggage from people to check, and I had an empty seat! Once again, she fell asleep in my arms and never made a peep(this never happens!) She woke up a few times, and I fed her, and she played around, no problems! Thank you Lord!! The last flight we were to be in the back of the plane, so I let everyone else board before me, so that she would have less time to have to sit! Then a ticket counter lady began talking to me, her name was Jackelin!! Before I knew it, she had given me a new seat assignment, and as I walked on the plane, I realized it was in the front row~OF FIRST CLASS!!! This made me very nervous, as there were a lot of business men, and the one sitting next to me, the stewardess knew by name! I was sure they all thought ~oh great, a baby! So I prayed for one last miracle, and I did everything possible to make her happy! Then, the flight was delayed, and she fell asleep, but woke up, at about the time it should have landed crying! She was shot! I did my best to keep her quiet, and the man next to me looked at us, and I gave him a sheepish grin, and said, "sorry, it's been a long day!" To which he said, "Oh, that sweet thing, she couldn't bother anyone!" The guy behind us, says "music to my ears! She is a sweetie!" That made me cry, and we were about to land at "home" so I was extra emotional!! Thank you Lord for all of the days miracles, and blessings! The man next to me was so sweet, he carried my bag, as I walked down the hall, I was so full of emotions, and he said he was thankful to be sharing this leg of the journey with us!!

WOW! What an awesome sight awaited us, as we came down that hall, to be greeted by so many family, and friends, it was truly amazing!! Words cannot express the joy I felt at that moment! Thank you to all who were there to welcome us home, I will never forget it! Thanks too for all who took pictures, and shared them with me, I appreciate it so much! There were a lot of people there!! There were balloons, signs, floweres,cake, and gifts, I was overwhelmed at the support we were given, and forever grateful to everyone for making our homecoming such a special occasion!!

Back on US soil!! Yeah!! It feels so good to be home!! Welcome to AMERICA baby girl!!

Then, I arrived to a very clean home with well stocked cabinets, and clean sheets!! Thank you sister in laws(and everyone else!!) That was an awesome gift!!
You guys are the greatest!! We had an awesome night last night, Anaya went right to sleep in her pretty room, with a real bed, and woke up once, and needed some Tylenol(we have an appointment tomorrow with the Dr.!)and she went back to sleep, and we all slept so very good!! Thanks so much for everything, I will post more about her first few days home, when I get a chance, today we just took it easy and let her explore her new environment!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Last post from Guatemala!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look what we got today! BEFORE,

This was only a few minutes AFTER, we were in the cab, and she was fine!! I always wanted to have my daughters ears pierced as a baby, I think it is so cute! But, since she is from Guatemala, it is especially important, as they pierce baby girls ears just after birth to show they are loved! Well my sweet Anaya, you are loved so very, very much!!
Ear's pierced, and a VISA!! What a great day! She looks just as excited about that thing as I am!
So this is what we've been waiting for? What is it anyway? Can I chew on it like everything else I find these days?
Wow, that was the longest "pregnancy and hardest delivery" I have ever experienced! Let me tell you, giving birth is a cakewalk compared to adopting! But, like labor and delivery, the pain does go away once it is over, and you forget about it, and enjoy the baby placed in your arms!! Thank you Lord for yet another beautiful, healthy child!!
So this is it, farewell Guatemala! I will always look back on this experience with the fondest of memories! We had an awesome time, and I will be forever grateful to God for the chance to come here, and experience this beautiful country Anaya was born in!! I am so excited to get home, and see you all again!! Thank you so much for your prayers through this whole process, we are so grateful for each one of you, and your support! Love to you all! Adios Amigos!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 48............................................

You are the city! Well, I don't know about that, but these signs are everywhere! We took a walk today, and went through one of the big hotels. Wow, there are some swanky places here! I still have not located a grocery store, I asked at the front desk, and well, she sent me to a store, but it was not quite a grocery store, it was more like a beer store, with VERY FEW groceries! I need some food to keep Anaya happy on the plane! But, I am sure I will find something, I still have most of the day tomorrow! I know I could take a taxi, and there are big grocery stores, but I prefer to walk, and haven't found one in walking distance yet!

This is the hotel we are staying at, Hotel Stofella, it is nice, nothing fancy! There are groups of people staying here on mission trips, and they all think Anaya is so cute, and want to take her home!! I don't think so!!(I think she is cute, but they can't take her!):) Today, I met a couple who are here visiting their daughter, and it makes me so incredibly thankful, I DON'T HAVE TO GIVE HER BACK!!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!

This is cranky baby! She is getting 2 more teeth, and boy is she crabby! I gave her some ibuprofen, but it didn't seem to help! She is drooling, and chewing on everything!(including her dress!) Poor baby!
We go pick up her visa tomorrow at 3:30!! Then that is it! We are finished, and coming HOME!! YIPPIE!!! Can't wait to get home and reconnect with everyone! Love to you all!

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 47(I think?).....................

It is much more difficult to feed Anaya with out a kitchen, or a microwave! Good thing she isn't as picky about the temperature of her food, as she is with her bottles! Here she is eating green beans at room temp. YUCK! But, she doesn't seem to mind! For her bottles I had been heating them less and less at the condo, but she is definitely not liking them at room temperature yet!

I just love those big brown eyes!!
She is sleeping very well here too! I didn't know how it would go being in the same room as her, but she just lays down and falls asleep, sometimes she fusses for a bit,(like~um I know you are right there, why don't you pick me up?) but not too bad! Poor baby, she has been sleeping in a playpen for about 7 weeks now! I keep telling her that she has a very nice bed at home, and soon she will be in it!

This is the face I get if she sees me make her bottle, and then has to wait for it to get warm as it sits in the ice bucket filled with hot water!! (I have to buy a bottle of water, and can't just use the warm tap water.) I keep telling her that if she would just drink it at room temp, she wouldn't have to wait!!
She loves to crawl around and play with her toys! Unfortunately, she also loves to get into the garbage, the outlets,pull at the cords, etc...! Typical one year old stuff, so that is good!! I am a tad bit worried about the airplane ride home, she has no sit in her whatsoever, and I have seen her temper flare if she wants down, and I don't let her!! (It ain't pretty!) It could be a LONG few hours, and I pity my fellow passengers! So, if you would pray for us on Tuesday, that would be great! I would love to be able to post about what an awesome flight it was!! And one more thing, I have 2 hours and 15 min. between flights in Houston, and I DO NOT want to miss my flight to MI, so please pray we speed through customs and immigration! I think it will be enough time, but ya never know!!

We went to the mall today, and that was about it! Tomorrow, the goal is to find a grocery store, so I can get some food for her for on the plane! Other than that, we hang out in our room, where we sit and stare at eachother~gets very boring!! We can't wait to get home!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A few pictures from our day yesterday..................

We started out the day finishing up our packing and cleaning our condo in Antigua. I must admit, it was quite bittersweet, as I have fallen in love with Antigua, and have such awesome memories of our time spent here! However, I am excited to get home and begin a "normal" life! As we were packing, one of the dogs came by to say good-bye!

Dylan and one of our favorite "guys at the gate!" There were 2 sets that worked 24 hour shifts, every other day. This guy and his partner were the best. They would hear us coming (I wonder
why?):) and they would have the gate open, and ready to help with the stroller. Both sets were super nice, always giving the boys high 5's or picking them up! We sure slept easy knowing we were being kept safe by these guys!!

Here we are driving out of Antigua! I will surely miss this awesome place!
We went to Hannah's Hope, and met with the lawyer to go over all our paperwork, and see Dr. Castro. That was very interesting! We found out that Anaya was hospitalized, and had numerous sicknesses that we were never made aware of, including, hand, foot, and mouth disease~when we picked her up!! Which would explain her sores on her thumbs, and in her mouth!! I figured that she just sucked it too hard since she was nervous, so I feel a little better! But the Dr. said he told them to tell me, so the boys wouldn't get it as well, we never got the memo!! Oh well, all's well that ends well, I am just thankful she is doing well now! He said when we picked her up she was 14lbs. but when he weighed her yesterday she weighed 16lbs., and had grown quite a bit lengthwise too! On a funny note, he showed us a picture of his kids, and then he proceeded to show us all a picture of his wife "giving the breast," (as he put it,) to his son from 20 some years ago! The boys were not phased by it at all, however Ryan and I were like "wow, okay"!!

This is why Anaya is such an outside girl! She used to be sitting in one of these over stuffed strollers!! Isn't it so cute, the kids love it! It is so amazing to see all of these beautiful children, and know that they have a family out there waiting for them! I pray they all make it home soon!

Then we left the orphanage, and went to our hotel. Ryan and the boys went to McDonalds, as our room was not ready, and Abel took Anaya and I to her visa Dr. appointment! 2 Dr. appointments in one day! Both said she looks great, and other than being on the small side, can see her growing and catching up just fine!

Then later that afternoon, we went back to Hannah's Hope, and bought the older kids Happy meals! There were 12 kids ranging in age from 2 to 10, and they were so very cute! I was brought to tears as we watched them sing their songs, and pray before dinner, thanking God for their food, and their families! Some of them have families who they are going home to, some do not!! I just couldn't thank God enough that we were able to get Anaya as a "baby" so she will always know what it is like to grow up in a family~not an orphanage. But, praise God for All Gods Children, and Hannah's Hope, that these children can grow up in a loving environment, and the special mothers that take such great care of them. This place is amazing, and if you are interested in helping them out, I will put their website on here somewhere. Right now with no new adoptions going on, they can use all the help they can get! Now the boys want us to adopt an older girl too!! God has given us the heart, but not the wallet for that~just yet!!

Here is just a small clip of the children singing their song!

Anaya and I just hung out in our hotel after we said good-bye to the guys! Tomorrow we plan on doing some shopping, if I can find the mall!! This town is not quite as nicely laid out as Antigua, but I am sure I will figure it out! Love to you all!

It is almost finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, the visa appointment went well this morning, and it was such a relief to have it over with!! I got a little nervous when the people ahead of me were asking their attorney, if they answered the questions right. But, when I went into the little closet like room, she asked where my husband was, to which I said "at the hotel with our other children." Then she proceeded to ask me about the other kids, and was laughing about Anaya needing to be spunky to put up with all the boys! And it was done! No real questions, nothing! Then, we had to wait some more, and then go to a window, and the lady there was asking me about my husband and where he was, and about the boys, and then talked about wanting a girl(she has a 23yr old son, and wants a granddaughter!)then she proceeded to tell me she loved my hair, and how she may have to fly to MI to get a haircut etc...then at the very end she said "Oh, I am supposed to have you raise your right hand and make you swear you are telling the truth!" So I did, and that was it!! So funny, not one serious question or anything, other than basic information! Yeah, I can handle that!! Now we just have to wait out the weekend, pick up our visa on Monday at 3:30, and we are home free!!(not at all free$$wise, but free from adoption being the main focus, and free to be a family once again!!!)
I will post pictures and more later, I just wanted to let everyone know all is well, except my family had to leave, which is always sad, but I will be there soon!! Love to all....................

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wow, What day is it anyway????????????????

He's back!!! YAY!! Wow, what an exciting couple of days we have had! The boys got their swimming parent back, and they were so excited to get him in the pool!
He went when the sun was shining yesterday, however when it was raining in the afternoon, he let them swim, but didn't go in himself! Jayden and Spencer were the only crazy ones who wanted to go in the rain!!
It was so fun to be together as one BIG HAPPY family!!
Anaya loves giving kisses, here she was ready to give daddy a big wet one!!
So cute!! She sure does love her daddy!!
Well, it has been pretty hectic here the last 13 or so hours! We thought we had all day tomorrow to clean, and finish packing, but we got a call from the orphanage saying we needed to be there tomorrow morning for her medical exam for the visa appointment, so we packed up today, and are heading out tomorrow morning at 8:30! We are going to stay in the city one night, because to get us all there and back will cost us almost as much, if not more than getting a hotel!! We found a deal on-line, and are hoping to stay at that particular hotel, but the agency usually has us stay at a different one, so we are hoping they won't mind, as we can get 2 of these rooms for what we are supposed to pay for one at the other place!
I will try to update our blog from the hotel, however, I am not sure about the internet connection, so if you don't see a post, that is why!
Just a heads up, we are planning an open house bonfire at my parents house in Zeeland on July 18, from 5 to 9 pm. We will have hot dogs, and smores, and anyone who is interested in finally meeting Anaya is invited to join us! We look so forward to seeing all of you again, and if you can make it, we would love to have you!! Many of you have asked when our flight is coming into G.R. on Tuesday. We are scheduled to arrive at 6:13 p.m. to be exact!! We are so excited!!
Thanks for all of your prayers and support! Can't wait to be home again!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Here's the latest..................

YAY!! Thanks for praying! We just received word that our appointment has been moved up to Friday, which was the best case scenario, as they do not do visa appointments on Thursdays!! So, we are moving out of our condo tomorrow morning, and going to a hotel in the city, as we have to meet with our agency on Thurs. and have our appointment early Friday morning. Ryan and the boys fly out Friday afternoon, and Anaya and I will stay the weekend, pick up her visa on Monday afternoon, and fly back into Grand Rapids Tuesday evening!!! I have a flight booked, and we are going HOME!!! We are absolutely thrilled, and are VERY busy packing, planning, and getting ready! I will try to update more tonight!

Oh by the way~The pink slip is not actually PINK!(which I knew, but just found it interesting!)
And it has the sweetest thing on it, her name(sort of)and our last name, in print, It is official!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

PINK!!! HOW SWEET IT IS.................................

PINK is, and has always been my favorite color, however it is especially sweet today, as we finally recieved our PINK slip!! Our visa appointment is scheduled for next Wed., however, we put in a request for an earlier date, so we will see what happens!! Either way, we are overjoyed to be at this point, and are going to celebrate this awesome news together as a family!!
Thanks so much for all of your prayers, we truly appreciate all of you!!

Until later................................

Monday, June 9, 2008

DNA is at the USE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well, we are officially waiting for PINK!! I watched as Fed Ex brought it down to Guatemala, and finally was received at the USE at 4pm! I know, too much adoption lingo, it just means it is coming down to the end and I couldn't be happier! Ryan is coming tomorrow, and we can't wait! I pray the USE will not keep us waiting, as I know my sister will be a twitching mess checking her computer every 5 seconds!!!(Am I right Steph?!~love you! & you too Jen, but I know you are relaxing by a pool somewhere, so I am stressing Steph out instead!!) ;)Wow, this is her like being in the delivery room!! Exciting stuff!

In other news, not much going on here! We are trying to rid ourselves of all the food, so we don't have to pack it back up! We are doing a pretty good job too! The boys had stale cheerios, and stale chips for snack,(everything gets stale fast here!) I told them they could just dump them, but they said"then we have nothing!" And they are right! We can't wait till Daddy gets here, then we can go out and grab a few treats!! A few packages of pasta, and some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we are all out!! Yeah!!!

It was rainy, but the boys still swam! Crazy kids! Here are a few pictures of our day! Hoping to post great news tomorrow! Thanks for praying!!