Monday, December 27, 2010


ImageChef.com Poetry Blender

Because most of you don't know what this means I put it in confetti to let you know...it's a pretty BIG deal!!!
I 800 approval means that the USCIS has provisionally approved us to adopt Luisa {specifically} and bring her into the US!
~Now this approval is being cabled to the US embassy in Colombia. (usually takes about 2 weeks...)
~Once they receive it, they will contact our rep. in Colombia who will hand over some more paperwork that we already sent her.(usually takes about a week to process...)
~Then, they will issue an article 5 letter which states that we are allowed to go to Colombia and adopt our daughter.
~Then we will receive our travel dates.  We should be in Colombia by the end of next month!!!!
*I emailed 'them' on the 22nd of December as that was 3 weeks, the time they normally take to issue an approval, and they said they had just received our case that morning, and they had a few others in front of ours, but they would get to it "soon".  grrr.  We had sent it out the end of November, and they were just now getting to it?  But alas, that is how international adoption seems to work for us...SLOW!  So when Ryan got the mail today, the approval was given on the...22nd!  WOW!  What an awesome surprise!!!
So we are cautiously optimistic that things will go as planned...but we know ultimately God is in control and we will get there when He wants us there!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Every year we spend one night in a hotel a hotel to celebrate Christmas with our 'little' family.  This year we had contemplated not doing that to save money.  Adopting is expensive, and our kids have sacrificed many things happily in order to do this.  So when we said there would be no hotel this year they all agreed it was okay.  But Ryan and I found a hotel that didn't cost us an arm and a leg and they had one room they allowed us to stay in (most hotels won't do that, they want us to rent 2 rooms!)  So we decided not to break tradition, but we also decided not to tell the kids until we got there!   We never do stuff like that, so it was kinda tricky to get packed and load up all of the stuff we hauled along, but oh so worth it!  They were so surprised and so excited, it was so much fun. 

Okay, so I look sorta goofy in this picture, however, I want to remember this moment forever.  They were so excited they picked me up off the ground!  Love those kids!

Anaya is THE MOST  UN-photogenic little person. EVER.  She CAN.NOT.LOOK at the camera. EVER!  Drives me NUTS!  Thank goodness for digital photos, I tried a few times and gave up.  Can you imagine my frustration if I were still using film!!!!
Happy Birthday Jesus!
The hotel even had a water slide!  Do you see the next picture of me?  I actually went into the pool with my kids, and yes I did the water slide too!  We had the place to ourselves, it was great!
Dylan went out and bought gifts for everyone with his own money!  Let me tell you, it warmed my heart to see him search for the perfect gift for each of his siblings and then the joy on his face when they opened their gifts...it was a gift for me just to watch!
After our party at the hotel we headed to my parents house.  Ryan, my dad, Jayden and Dylan went hunting and Jayden was able to shoot his first squirrel, and a partridge!  I wonder if it was in a pear tree?
We all headed over to my grandma's nursing home and caroled!  None of us can 'really sing' but we made a joyful noise unto the Lord and my grandma loved it!  It was really fun.  We are too big of a group to fit in her room so we stood outside her window!  You can't see everyone in the picture, but all 18 of us were there!
After a huge breakfast and the reading of the Christmas story, we opened our gifts and made pea soup, and did a puzzle.  Steph and I took up crocheting and decided we would rather watch the puzzle come together than actually do it, so no credit to us there!  But I was able to make this fun little hat! 

We then headed over to the Vander Zwaag's and ate some more, and celebrated with them as well.  We had lots of fun getting together with those we love, and we know we are blessed to be able to do so.

I was really struck this year on the generosity of God.  That he sent his son to us, to die on a cross for our awful sins and that we are invited to walk with Him on a daily basis.  His love is so amazing!   We have been blessed by the generosity of so many of you this year and it is truly overwhelming to think about all we have been given by our heavenly father!  We hope and pray that you too were able to ponder the amazing gift we have been given in Jesus, and find that God is the most lavish gift giver of all!  Praise Him!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Luisa!!!


Oh sweet girl, I wish you knew how much we love you and want to be there for your big day!  We pray that you have a great day and that you are surrounded by people who love you.  We are also praying that God would ready your heart for us to come and rock your world.  I am so sorry for all you have been through, and we pray that God would do what only he can do and heal you, heart, mind and body.  We are coming baby girl, and when we do, we will party together.  We have gifts, I will make you a cake, we will do balloons and we will have our very first celebration as a family of 8!!  We can't wait to meet you and pray that time will come quickly!

 Here are the gifts I made and sent down for her birthday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh the disparity of life...

So, here is a snapshot of our life right now...

In about a month or so I am going to spend about 6 or so weeks in Colombia and I have NO IDEA:
~When I will be leaving
~Where I will be staying
~Where/what I will be eating
~Who/when/if my children will be with me, or not
~How we will pay for it
~When I will be returning
~What we will be driving when I bring Lucy home (our current van is maxed out!)
~Where we will be living once we get back
?????????????????????????????????????????????????

BUT...

I DO know exactly where, when and what we will be eating, staying, and doing in June when we go to Disney with Ryan's family! (a gift from Ryan's parents that will be much appreciated after our next few months!){and Thank You sister in law Sarah! :) for all of your planning!}

Good thing we walk by faith and not by sight ~ 2 Cor. 5:7

Ryan is reading Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman as I am writing this post and he came across a great little quote:
"A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence, trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse."~Phillip Yancy  Amen to that!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas tree hunting...

 Here we are in front of "the perfect tree!"
We had "big D"(doing respite care for a friends foster son) with us in all our tree pictures so I had to hide his cute little face!  Bummer, cuz he is ADORABLE!
 After a great breakfast at The Trestle Stop with Ryan's side of the family, we all went out in search of the perfect tree.
 Here is Jayden cutting down our tree.
 This is Easton standing in front of what he thought was the perfect tree, he was a bit miffed that we didn't get his tree.  That tree was HUGE, and he couldn't understand why we had to get such a "small one"!
 Dylan being the muscle man taking our tree to the wagon.
 The look on her face cracks me up!  She spotted Santa, and was not too sure about him.  She did warm up to him a bit once he gave her a candy cane.
All the VZ cousins!
 Easton being hoisted up to put the star on our "small tree"
The finished product!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Birthdays...

December is a big birthday month for us.  Ryan and Jayden share December 2nd and Spencer is a mere 3 days later on the 5th! {And now we will add Luisa's which is coming up on the 18th!}  We get a little sick of birthday cake by the end of the week!

Spencer got his long awaited first bb gun, which all VZ boys receive on their 8th birthday.  And Jayden got his .22 which all VZ boys receive on their 10th birthday from us and Grampa and Grama VZ!  Big stuff this year for the big boys in our house!

I was relieved when Jayden asked for a family only party and that he really wanted to decorate his own cake!  We had a great time watching him decorate his cake, a hunter at the Todd Farm shooting geese!  Wow, I never would have gotten that right, so very glad he wanted to do it himself! (he had the chills so he has his winter jacket on!)
Spencer decided he wanted to decorate his cake too, however I can't locate my camera at this moment to show you his cake, but it was pretty cool!  He decorated it to look like the Colombian flag!
Celebrating birthdays at the movies in our 3D glasses!
The Birthday boys!  We didn't have enough candles so Ryan decided to use matches!  Not a great idea, but it worked, I guess...Look at that masterpiece!

  They are both excited to use their new 'snow stuff' now that the snow is finally flying!!
Happy Birthday Ryan, Jayden, and Spencer!
I love you guys!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Truth Pandemic...

December 1st is World Aids Day
Project HOPEFUL invites you to join with them in spreading the truth
about HIV/AIDS and children living with the disease. Please watch their video, Truth Pandemic and then share it
with five of your friends so they can learn the facts too.  Help fight social stigma Join the Truth Pandemic!



One of the fabulous families that we met at The Orphan Summit was the Twietmeyer family. They are a family that have adopted six children from Ethiopia, two of them are HIV positive. The story of their daughter, Selah, is truly remarkable. By the time Selah's adoption was complete, she was 12 years old, weighed 32 pounds and was dying from stage 4 Aids. Now she is a healthy, happy 13 year old. While HIV is a death sentence in third world countries, the miracle of HIV medicine in America has virtually eliminated anyone from dying from Aids related issues, but we generally remain a nation uneducated on HIV or Aids. The Twietmeyers have formed Project Hopeful to assist families that adopt HIV positive children and help educate the country against the stigma of HIV.

It was a privilidge to spend some time getting to know the Twietmeyers, Carolyn is one awesome momma, and such a blessing to me!

Check out their family in this months issue of People Magazine!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

So thankful...

I have been an absent blogger lately, because we have been so busy.  It feels like at night when I usually blog, my brain is mush and I have nothing to say!  But, I will be back at it again soon.  For now I want to share a few of the things going on around here that we are so thankful for:

* FINALLY all of the adoption referral paperwork for Luisa has trickled in and we hope to send out the last big batch of paperwork early this coming week!!!  It looks like we will travel late Jan. early Feb. to pick up our little Lucy!!!

* We have had the privilege of  having an extra little blessing in our house this past week.  Big "D" as we like to call him, is the foster son of a wonderful family from our church who needed a place for the little guy to stay while they are away.  We have had a great time having a little one (he just turned 1!) in the house, and we are all pretty smitten with him!

* We have also had the blessed opportunity to care for another little sweet one fairly fresh from God for a few hours a few days each week!  Oh how I love newborn babies.  This little guy has completely spoiled me, he is perfect in every way and I just love to cuddle with him.  I get my baby fix and help out his parents by standing in the gap of time between their work schedules!  I am so blessed to be able to do this!

* We were blessed to spend a great deal of time with family this Thanksgiving week.  We were also reminded of those serving (both those serving this great country and serving God in missions)  all over the world who are missing their family at this time of year.  We have said several extra prayers for them lately!

* Of course our great God, and all of the blessings he bestows on us, especially sending His Son to die for our sins, that we may have LIFE to the fullest!

John 10:10 (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Monday, November 15, 2010

critters...

So I finally purchased more storage space and now can blog on with pictures!

First news first, Dylan shot a doe this morning, the opening day of gun season!  Good job Dylan!  I don't have a picture of it yet though. 


 But...
Here are some of the pictures from our visit to the Critter Barn a while back with a few families from AGCI (the agency we used to do Anaya's adoption.)

 They were in their glory being at a farm!  The boys really miss the farm!  They enjoyed hanging with daddy and playing with the chickens when Ryan farmed, and sometimes I feel bad because they look back at that time as being "the good old days!"  They're young, I surely hope they can look back someday and still have fond memories of this part of their childhood as well!

 Nice, No fingers by mouth?  Ha!  She can't keep her fingers out of her mouth, even though I told her a million times, and I kept yanking her hand away from her mouth, after a while I just gave up!  Good thing she has a great immune system!


 Easton was the gate keeper, he opened and closed all of the gates, but he never went inside by the animals!!  Anaya, on the other hand, loved the animals!
 Anaya and Anna, both from Guatemala, both are tiny, and they both have very similar personalities!

They even got to milk a goat!  I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that THAT was their "favorite thing" they got to do...
Now they all want a goat!
Good times.  Thanks friends from AGCI it was fun!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall fun...

Easton rode his scooter, and he was going so fast his cape stood straight out behind him!
Not sure these count as costumes, these boys are dressed like this ALOT! 
We got together to celebrate my Dad's birthday, and the 4th anniversary of my sister Steph's 29th birthday;) which is on Halloween!
This is Brayden and he cracks me up!
Handing out candy was just as fun as getting it!  The boys were on the look out for more...
I have more fall pictures I want to post, but as I was trying to load them, I found out I had used up all of my free storage space for my blog pictures!  So, I will try to buy more storage soon, else...I will have to quit blogging, or never post any pictures! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin carving...

Picking out the perfect pumpkin...
Easton is obviously pleased with his pick!
They decided that they wanted to carry them on their laps!
Ewww!  Anaya wasn't too fond of pulling out the seeds...

nor was Easton!


Anaya and Luisa's pumpkins.  I love how pleased Easton is with his!  This kid is cracking me up lately.
The boys masterpieces...

Spencer always has to include a cross on his pumpkin!  Love that boys heart!
Easton learned this little poem at Friday Addition.
video
Love this family and our traditions!

**UPDATE on our van...**
It is fixed, and...
Someone, we don't know who...
PAID FOR OUR REPAIR BILL !!!!
WOW!!  We have been blown away by God's goodness!!
THANK YOU to whoever you are, we are so grateful!!!!