Wednesday, January 30, 2008


We signed up Jordan for his first little league team. They did not have enough head coaches, so somehow Javier got talked into becoming a head coach instead of just a volunteer.

OK - here is the hillarios part. We got the coach info today and guess what Javi and Jordan's team is called??? dum da da dah - Drum roll please!

The Lansing Lug Nuts

Wow, doesn't that sound fierce?!!! Jordan said they should be the Luck Nuts. Why Lansing? I don't get this little league stuff. Well, we'll have to make the best of it so . . . . . Goooooo LUG NUTS!!!!

Dossier got sent back

My dossier has been in Ethiopia since the end of December. Delivery was attempted twice. They told me it would be sent back after 1 month. I repeatedly asked for our agency's people to pick it up and they said they would send someone. Well, this morning I got word that it has been sent back to me. I am really dissappointed and discouraged - not angry. In the adoption world, everyone has a story of things going wrong - it is just not an easy road. In the midst of the sadness, I am praising God that He is mightier than these circumstances.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Special Time

Our kids love special time with us, so sometimes we try to make an effort to just take one child with us to the store or to run our errands. Sometimes, when the boys go out, we have "girl" nights where we have tea parties and do hair or paint toenails. The kids also love to go on dates with us whenever we can. On Wednesday, I took Janae out for some $.99 burritos at El Pollo Loco and then to Target and we had such a great time talking, laughing and holding hands. She especially thrives on that one-on-one time, well, I guess they all do. I also included a picture of our last girls' night drinking Moroccan mint tea. The next time Javier and Jordan go out, I will have to send a camera so that I can post it on my blog :)

Edible Math

For the little ones we always use manipulatives to help them learn math. All of my kids love it when I bring out the edible math (I learned this from my mom). Yesterday we did fishy cracker math with Joanna and Jacklyn and they begged for more.

I write down a math problem like 4+2 = and then point to the 4 and say, "4 fish swam into the sea" (then Jacklyn separates out 4 fish). Then I point to the 2 and say, "How many more swam in?" Jacklyn will read the equation and say, "two!" and then get 2 more fish. Then I say, "Now, how many fish are in the sea?" and she will count them and say, "Six!" Then I say, "That's right. 4+2=6" The subtraction is even more fun because she gets to be a shark. I will say, "There are 6 fish in the sea, but oh no, here comes a shark and he ate 3! (she eats 3) So 6-3 =?" You can do this with all kinds of snacks (my kids love to use gummy bears too) and it really helps the little ones focus. It is also fun to make up all different kinds of stories. You can use raisins and pretend you are a frog and they are flies or use your imagination.

Jacklyn just turned 3 1/2 this week, so this was right at her level, but Joanna is not even 2, but she is counting a little and repeating everything we say, so I included her and just helped her count out 4 fish with her little finger. Joanna snuck a few crackers :), but other than that, I was surprised at how well she did with my help and I think it was great for sparking her interest in learning.

I encourage all mom's to start teaching their children before age 2. Count to 100 often (whisper it, shout it, sing it), count by 2's, 5's and 10's in the car, sing little letter/sound chants and keep some picture letter cards in your purse for waiting in the doctor's office or where ever, let your little ones write letters in a pan of sugar with their finger or write letters with cheese whiz on crackers. You can use magnetic letters on a cookie sheet or scrabble letters to teach letters or spell/read small words. I also have made flash cards of the 100 high frequency words (google it) and I teach Jacklyn a couple a week. Then we do relay races or hunts (like easter egg hunt) to find the words. Many of those words can not be sounded out because they do not follow the rules, or if the child takes time to sound them out, they will read very choppy, so they are great to memorize. I am not a big fan of tv or too many videos, but it is amazing how much my little ones learn from Leap Frog learning DVDs too.

It is incredible how "ready" they will be for kindergarten and for reading, if you just incorporate some of these fun ideas into their life when they are young!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Proverbs 23:26

"My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways." Proverbs 23:26

Jacklyn has become a little mini-me. I keep hearing her say things that I say. The other day, Joanna had Jacklyn's favorite book and she gave it to her and then Jackie said, "Joanna, that was so sweet. Your reward will be in heaven!" On the flip side, the other day the dog had an accident in the house and I heard her say, "That darn dog!" It reminded me that they are observing EVERYTHING!

Well, as I was reading the Bible and came to this verse, I really stopped to think about this. I was thinking, what are my children observing and do I have my children's hearts and what do I need to do to keep them. I think this is the key to parenting - that we keep their heart and that we walk in the ways of the Lord and they follow us. There is a great post about keeping our children's hearts here. She reminds us to spend time with our children, teaching them and letting them join us in our work, showing them with a smile that we enjoy their company and prefer them to other things. She, nor I, would suggest child centered parenting, but how often are we so busy that we only half listen to their constant stories or we as moms are so busy washing dishes, making dinner or talking on the phone that we don't take 2 minutes to look up from our work and look at their new dance move or stunt or listen to the new song they made up?

Our mentors always said to remember that people are more important than projects. There are so many things that are easier for us to do by ourselves, but we have to teach and train our children allowing them to help at our side, even if it means it will take twice as long. Also, when we said that our children were whining or complaining a lot, they would ask, "Well, have you been content lately? Have you been joyful lately?" I notice that my level of joy totally affects the joy of my children. Joy comes from having a right relationship with Christ and keeping our eyes focused on Him. Moms, we are responsible for filling our homes with joy - it is contagious.

Throughout this adoption process I have struggled to keep my eyes fixed on Him and instead I get caught up in the sad and frustrating circumstances. How do we keep our eyes fixed on Him? - by letting God's word richly dwell in us (Colossians 3:16) and by meditating on what is true and eternal. All of these crazy and trying circumstances surrounding our adoption are only temporary. More importantly they are opportunities to put our trust in Christ. We are doing this out of love and obedience to Christ, not because we "need" more children. Since it is all for Him, we must trust Him and His timing in all of this. That is easier said than done, when we are so emotionally invested in this and can not wait to welcome these boys into our family. We see this time of waiting as precious time to go deeper with homeschooling, discipling our children, raising funds and stretching/growing our whole family's faith and patience. In this too, our children are watching us and observing the way we walk through these trials. May we do it faithfully unto the Lord, showered in God's grace and mercy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Help a ministry in Ethiopia with your vote

If you have an ebay account, you can go vote and help a ministry in Ethiopia win $5000. It is the video under non-profit with the older lady's picture. Lisa, from A bushel and peck, wrote, "Please vote for Heart for Ethiopia on the Ebay Giving Works contest. Ray and Lauralee are the missionaries who run the Addis Kidan Guest House, where we stayed on both of our trips to Ethiopia, as well as founders of the Addis Kidan church. Lauralee runs an Ebay bookstore that raises money for their work in Ethiopia. They are remarkable people who have given their lives to serve the people of Ethiopia. Go to this link to see a short video clip about their work and vote for them (their clip is under the "non profit" section and is second from the left). You can vote once per day through January 28th, and as an extra bonus, each time you vote you will be entered in a sweepstakes for $1,000. If Heart for Ethiopia gets the most votes, they will awarded $5,000! The wells they dig for villages cost only $200 each, so you can imagine how far this money will go in their capable hands."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

12 years and 5 kids later

On Dec. 30, Javier and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. We were talking how we could have never made it this far without Christ. It is only by God's grace and allowing God's word to be the final authority of our marriage, that we have made it this long. Believe me, not too many people thought it would last. I was 19 and he was 20. I was still going to college and he worked 2 jobs. Our backgrounds, both culturally and financially, were completely different, but the Lord knit our hearts together. We have the same convictions and ideals of how we want to raise our family and serve the Lord.
We went out to Outback Steakhouse with a gift card from my parents, while they watched our kids - it is our anniversary tradition :). He knows just how to embarass me. He is always telling the waiter or watress that it is our first date, then I always try to explain while I am red in the face. Javier said, "By far we have more fun now". That made me smile, because 12 years and 5 kids later, that is the way it should be.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Helping Dub Duh

The other day Jordan sat at the computer to post on his blog. Joanna ran over and struggled up onto his chair and said, "Dub Duh need help?" over and over. (She calls Jordan Dub Duh - I guess that is better than Doe Doe - what the other little ones called him). So here is a picture of her "helping Dub Duh". Poor Jordan goes crazy because he LOVES to kiss her and now she thinks it is funny to tell him "No" or "enough" and run away giggling for him to chase her. Jordan was almost in tears today when he told me, "Joanna just won't let me kiss her". This boy loves kisses - especially from the little ones!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Abortion to Adoption

I watched this video last night and it really stirred me up to speak out and get the word out. I especially want to challenge other believers. Watch the first video and then at the end click to go to the next page. The second video I believe every teenager and adult need to see! (If you are reading this and have aborted a baby, this is not intended to judge you, but I want you to know there is complete forgiveness and healing in Christ.)

A godly woman, Eileen, Job's Daughters who has just adopted 3 children from Ethiopia, posted a few months ago about this topic and I asked her permission to quote it. This is exactly how we feel and is one of the main reasons we feel passionately about adoption.

"I am also convinced that there is a direct correlation to the fact that our country is guilty of the greatest moral failure of all time. January 2008 marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, that has resulted in the killing of 43 million babies. I believe with all my heart that God is telling us to rise up and take a stand as HIS people, to show the world that life is sacred! We need to adopt the children that are not aborted and that have no family. What is the point of being pro-life if we are not willing to be pro-adoption!

It is time! We must stand up for righteousness, for the helpless, the unwanted, the underprivileged and the heart of God! We can all play a role in this commission... James 1:27. Some of us will actually adopt these children, some will financially support the adoption with the resources the LORD has blessed them with. Some will be like Rob Mitchell who wrote the book, "Castaway Kid" which tells his story of growing up in an orphanage, never having been adopted. Others will be the prayer warriors and physical support to families. There is no excuse for anyone to be left out of this ministry. We, HIS people, must answer the call! The word says HE desires GODLY OFFSPRING! In Ethiopia alone there are 4.3 million offspring waiting to be taken into Christian homes to be trained in the Godly part!"

I love that Adoption is just 2 letters different from Abortion. I encourage you to watch this video and seek God's heart in all of this. Unwanted babies, orphans, elderly, disabled and the weak of society are not a mistake of God, they are His perfect and good creation and it pleases Him to show His glory and Christ's love as we lay down our comfortable lives and put our faith in action. Let us be His hands and feet.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas Pictures

As you can also see, Jordan is reading clues for a scavenger hunt we put him on to find his skateboard (I was too lazy to figure out how to wrap that without him guessing it).

Apparently I gave Joanna the wrong present because she was obsessed with Jordan's skateboard.

The 3 big girls got American Girl dolls with accessories. At a garage sale I found 2 American girl dolls (new about $100 each) and a huge rubbermaid tub and another box - both were full of accessories, clothes and furniture. All together it only cost $30! Then my aunt sent Jackie a used AG doll she had - so each of the big girls could get a doll.

Grandma and Grandpa getting all the love.

Joanna trying to wrap herself up in the box.

All 8 grandkids in one spot - that was a miracle!

All the little ones just love Jordan because he is so funny and sweet with them. He will make such a great big brother to our new boys.

Sorry these are late. We had a great Christmas and it was Elizabeth's first Christmas home with our family - so that was special. Look at all those grandkids - My parents now have 8 grandkids 8 years old and younger. Next Christmas they should have at least 10 grandkids 9 years old and younger and they only had us 2 girls. I wonder if they ever imagined their house would be filled with so many little ones. In case you didn't know, the blonde little bitty ones and the sweet one from China are my sister's kids. The first pictures were taken at our house on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve we celebrate Dominican style at home and cook Dominican food and each child got 1 special present. On Christmas day we go to my parents' house for a big yummy breakfast (omelets, sausage, sweet homemade pecan rolls, fruit, wassel, juice, coffee - oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) That is Javier's favorite part of Christmas. Then my sister and her family arrive and we spend the day as a big family. The kids have really become best friends with their cousins. It is such a blessing to see how they love eachother so much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody!  Hopefully we will hear some good news soon.  The assistant at our agency said around Christmas that they had set apart a 20 day old baby boy for us, but they still needed to find our other son.  We are so excited about that and excited to find out more details and see a picture of him.  When we get the official referrals we will share them with all of you.