Monday, June 29, 2009


Me, Lisa (my sister in law,) and Tonia on the plane heading for Mexico!

Cleaning out the bodega... an interesting task with brooms that don't stay on the handles!

Yes, that is my worst nightmare, and guess what, I didn't die! My body convulsed uncontrollably and I did freak a tad, which is what caused the lovely girls to bring it up to my bedroom, and yes that is my bed they are sitting on with that thing, but I survived!! Thank you Jesus! I actually saw several of them throughout the week and thought of one good thing about them... you can see them coming from a long way away, they don't really sneak up on you~if you are searching for them!

Ryan giving the team instructions...

The chalk line where the trench was to go...

By the end of the week they had the pipe laid and covered all the way to the fence!! The ground was extremely hard, they used pick axes and a lot of hard work!
Lisa, and some of the donations our group successfully got over the border! YAY God!!
Ryan and the team meeting.

This is amazing! What a fun group of girls~even at 6 am on the way to devotions! (I HAD to share this!)

We had an amazing experience in Mexico, words cannot express all of the lessons learned there last week. I am only going to highlight a few...
* Mama and Papa are amazing, their faith is refreshing especially in the context of America's "economic hardship" HA! These wonderful people run an orphanage on faith and have no salary, they take 1/2 of what is given to them personally and GIVE IT AWAY! Last year the orphanage gave away a LOT of money to other orphanages! They live life the way George Muller faith, and I long to live that way too!
*They load up around 50 or so kids a few times a week and give an offering to other orphanages or other needy people! I don't regularly load up my 5 kids to give back, I am ashamed!
*They(children, teenagers and adults) wake up at 4:45 am EVERYDAY to pray together. And you have not heard anyone pray the way they do. I was hoping the language barrier would keep me from getting too emotional...NO way! They cry out to the Lord and let me tell you, their Gracias Dios's are in a much higher quantity than their por favors!! Shame on me!
*They sing "GOD IS SO GOOD" with their arms stretched to the sky and their eyes closed, they mean it. They live in an orphanage with 3 meals a day, no seconds, no snacks, no one tucking them in at night~though they are truly loved and cared for~it's just not the same, and they KNOW the goodness of God!!
I am so thankful I was able to go on this trip, I am forever changed. There is SO much more to share, for now I will close. The kids are what I loved most about this trip, and they are missing from the pictures above. We did LOTS of loving on the kids and I wish I could share that with you, but Papa said something about being careful with blogs so I don't want to violate any trust there. But Please check out Linda's blog, she has permission and does an amazing job. There are a few posts about our trip there. (One typo she made said I DID put the toilet paper in the toilet...But I did NOT!!) Thanks Linda for all you do, you are a tremendous blessing!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Not only is he a kind, loving, thoughtful, loyal, sincere, hardworking and most valued husband,

but he is also a very involved, gentle, caring, fun, wise, and much loved daddy who will be greatly missed while he is in Mexico! I am so thankful to God for Ryan and what a blessing he is to me.

Please be in prayer for him this weekend as he heads to Mexico with a group of teens. Safety in travel and especially a safe, uneventful border crossing! I am amazed at how much work goes into a trip like this. Please check out Linda's blog here, to see what we have in store for us next week! I am fine with the water issue, I am ready to work hard, I am not sure about the heat~I hate hot weather~ it gives me a headache so I am packing plenty of Tylenol!! But, what I am most afraid of is the tarantula spiders...Seriously this freaks me out! Remember that "spider" in Guatemala? Well, these things are huge and hairy! I am claiming 2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home 1 year!!!

Lots of friends and family were waiting! It was so much fun to see everyone there, what a blessing!!

I was so elated to be HOME with our family finally together again.

Me and my sisters bawling our eyes out together!!

Wow! That was quite the wild ride! We are so blessed to have our daughter home. I am aware that many children are still waiting to come home. Guatadopt states:

On January 1, 2008 adoptions in Guatemala abruptly changed from a privately run system to government run entity. The 5000 adoptions that were “in process” at the time were “grandfathered” to finish under the laws in which they began. Although the Guatemalan government promised to expeditiously process all of these grandfathered, pre-Hague adoption cases in a timely and reasonable manner, now almost a year and a half later approximately 900 children are still waiting to join their families.The Guatemala 900 campaign will begin with the “Guatemala 900 March” on June 17, 2009 in Washington, DC. This event kicks off a SERIES OF ACTIONS to call attention to the stagnation of the remaining 900 grandfathered adoptions, and demand steps by the US and Guatemalan governments to deliver timely due process and transparency. We can no longer let these cases languish as political hot potatoes while children wait in limbo.

I can't even imagine still waiting to bring her home, that is absolutely insane!! Please pray that these precious children will be united with their forever families soon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend fun...

We went on our annual Vander Zwaag family vacation this weekend. We started out Thursday morning with breakfast and headed to Cabelas. The kids enjoyed a little fun at the laser shooting range.
We stayed at a great hotel with a huge pool, a kiddie pool(which our entire family was in for this picture)and two jacuzzi's.

We had a little party for Easton...
and went to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. We had a great weekend just hanging out together! We are quite the clan! On a side note...
If you ever get the chance to watch the movie Faith Like Potatoes and/or the documentary on the movie called the Angus Buchan Story~watch it!! We just watched the documentary, and well, I am still red eyed from crying. I have a heart for orphans (duh!) so I cry easily at these things, but it is so awesome, it makes me want to do more...God please increase my faith!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I love my boys!

The boys were busy working on a project today, and it was a surprise. I was not allowed to look in their direction when I went outside. I figured they were building some sort of fort or something, but they kept saying it was for Ryan and me.(?what could it be?) We had to wait till after dinner before they were ready to show us our surprise. We walked outside and they had it covered up with a sleeping bag! They finally revealed it and it was a...

Bench! A homemade bench! We laughed so hard, and of course had to try it out! They said "Mom gets the padded side!" They had duct taped some leather scraps on Ryan's side "so his butt didn't get dirty!" Oh my funny sweet sons, I have no idea what made them think of making us a bench, but they did a pretty good job, we sat on it and it held us up! Now we have a place to sit next to each other around the campfire! Thanks guys, we love it! And we love you!!

My darling little diva and her posh little puppy!
Ryan is leaving for Mexico (driving) next week Thursday morning on a mission trip with some of the youth group... and I get to join him! I am so excited! My sister-in-law Lisa and I are flying out next Saturday (we will beat him there by a few hours) and staying till Thursday. We finally booked our tickets and we are on the count down! We will be serving (doing anything they want us to do) at the Lilly of the Valley Orphanage in Chihuahua Mexico. To learn more about Lilly, click here. Or click here to see more!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Easton!!

First thing he wanted to do this morning was to make his batman cake! Ever since he got his batman jammies, he has been crazy about batman! He has never seen the movie or cartoon, but for whatever reason, he likes batman. I think it may be the cape!?!

So I made him a batman cake, and wrapped his batman gifts in batman wrapping paper! I am not a fan of that sort of stuff, but hey, who could resist that face!

He got batman band aids, a batman color book, and a batman sports bottle. He also got a wooden train set. He picked that out above any big batman toys, so I was thrilled!

He was so sweet, he kept saying "Thank you Mommy" for his cake and gifts!
Happy Birthday Sweet Love, WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! You are such a joy! I can't believe you are "sore" (4 in Easton language) already!
~Where does time go?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cute cop's ...

Easton and Anaya playing "cops!"

These 2 have so much fun together...most of the time! It is so cute when they play! I guess Anaya dressing up as a "cop" is better than Easton dressing up in princess things!