Sunday, April 29, 2012

4 years ago...

On April 28, we flew down to Guatemala to pick up Anaya.

 We didn't do a whole lot to celebrate other than talk about the meaning of that day.  It's always fun to chat with her about when she was a baby because she just eats up every story I tell her, however...I know some day the questions will get harder and more difficult, but for now she is just fascinated by it.  I recently let her watch some of the videos we have of her while she was in the orphanage.  They are her favorite movies because, as she says, "they're all about me!"  um yeah, great...and poor Luisa...she has only a handful of pictures, and absolutely no videos from when she was a baby.  This is where it will be harder when they are older too, their stories are so different, and it will not be very easy to tell them...but for now, I am so glad they have each other and that I have the chance to navigate my way through telling their stories while they are young.  It's easy now because they don't fully understand, so I keep it real simple, but I also don't want them to have any misconceptions so it's nice to have "gotcha days" to retell the happy day of how they came into our family so we can have these little chats again.

 As many of you know Guatemala closed their adoption program while we were in process, which is part of why I went down early and spent 7 weeks there.  This video does a great job explaining what went on and what is going on in Guatemala today.  Please watch and then pray for this beautiful country.  We are so thankful we were able to bring our treasure home, there are several hundred adoptive families that never got that opportunity.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

holy cow!!!

We have cows!  Meet Steaky....
and Beefy....
Yes, they are beef cows that the boys are raising for 4H.  I guess they wanted to keep their intended purposes in mind while they raise them! 
 Here Ryan is trying to put the lead rope on the cow...I was laughing so hard, he chased that thing all around the pen, it was like a mini rodeo!  Then I went outside and waited for him to bring it out.  It took a while and when he finally came out he was pulling that cow with all his might...again so funny!  Apparently, they are really strong and somewhat stubborn!
 Still pulling the cow out to the stake, since the pasture is not done yet, they have to be staked out just like the horses.
Spencer with his cow Steaky below, and Jayden with Beefy above.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

adoption tax credit review...

"Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you experience various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
James 1:2-3

A few weeks ago I got a letter in the mail from the IRS stating that our adoption tax credit part of our income tax return was being held until they had reviewed our file.  Great. Later came a letter that stated we needed to send in all of our supporting receipts and documents with written descriptions within 30 days.  Gulp.  Um...I had them, but...Believe it or not, I am not the most organized person, in fact, I am a terrible organizer.  It's not that I hate organization, I'm just not good at it.  I love having everything organized, and if there is a spot for things to go, I put them there, but...hand me a pile of stuff that has no defined spot in my home and look out.  I tend to glaze over and put it aside, later I will relocate it to another equally inefficient spot, until one day I will finally figure out a plan and take care of it.  Well, while we were in Colombia I stuffed all receipts in my computer bag.  When I got home I stuffed them in an envelope with the other adoption paper work, I stuffed all of that paperwork in a box and forgot about it.  Since then we moved and thankfully I found the box sitting in the basement in the pile of "my junk that needs to be organized."

So, I hauled it all out and began sorting...that was a little fun, kinda like a walk down memory lane.  Then I began adding it all was then that I realized how many of the receipts we had were just invoices, but not receipts marked PAID.  So began my quest for every last receipt, bank and credit card statement to prove our claim.  I had to track down several of them from various places, but I did it.  Most of my receipts were in Spanish and Colombian Pesos, so I spent a great deal of time figuring out the conversion rate and what each receipt was for.  Then came the issue of how to organize it all.  My sister in law Sarah suggested using Excel, she gave me some instruction and ideas, but...I have never used Excel or made a spread sheet in my life!  With a little help, somehow I managed to figured it out.  Finally, I had to make copies of every receipt to send them.  Being that I was gone for 5 weeks, I had accumulated quite a stack!

Did I consider it pure joy?  Um, no.  The entire time I worked on this thing I felt like it was constantly hanging over my head, I just wanted it out of my hands. But when I opened up my Bible study for Tuesday,  James 1:2-3 was written at the top of the page!  Oops.  I was so annoyed by the whole thing and really, it is a huge blessing to be getting a refund.  I know most people who claim the adoption tax credit get red flagged and have to send in documentation for this, but for whatever reason{probably my organization issue} it got me all in a tizzy!   Finally on Tuesday, I was able to mail it out, what a relief!  Now I pray that's enough, and they send us our check with out any further ado...We shall see...but I hope I will be able to choose joy even if they 'bug' me again!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Today we are celebrating this wonderful news, though it took a whole year, we are so thankful to God for his blessing and healing in Luisa's life.  When we received her referral, we were told that she would not live to see her 5th birthday if she did not get the treatment that she needed.  Her viral load {amount of HIV in her blood} was at nearly one million, and her immune system was severely damaged.  Today, it is undetectable!!! {the test can detect down to 40, so her number is somewhere under 40.} This doesn't mean that she no longer has AIDS, unfortunately, that diagnosis will stay with her forever, it just means that the medication is doing it's job, her immune system is healed and most importantly, Luisa is ALIVE and active and LOVED oh so much!!!!

Psalm 139:14

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

VZ family fun...

I have been preoccupied lately with a little "review" from the lovely IRS...more on that in another post, but today I want to share some photos of our recent VZ family get together.

 We started out our morning with breakfast at the Trestle Stop, then we celebrated many birthdays.  Then we played a game of Kick ball.  Unfortunately we were too busy playing to get any pictures.  Then, the guys took the kids to the farm while the ladies hid the easter eggs, for the annual easter egg hunt.
 Lucy, was not so sure about the baby chicks!  What is that thing?
 maybe I can pet it...
 Oh yeah, this thing is cute, let me have it!
 Oh my goodness I am holding a chicken!
 Anaya loved them from the start, look at the dust on her face and sleeves!
 The boys helped uncle Robb catch floor birds...
 Ryan used to farm chickens and the boys miss it so much, they love helping uncle Robb.

 Aunt Sarah explains the rules of the hunt...
 the girls finding their eggs...
 everyone and their loot...
 we decided Dylan couldn't do it next year, he hit the mother load!
 The birthday gang! 
We had a great time sitting around and chatting while the kids went off on the golf carts, made forts and just had fun hanging around.  The guys, were of course, walking their hunting grounds and watching basket ball.
Lisa heads back to Mayo this week for more scans...please pray that they receive great news.