Saturday, September 13, 2014

7 Years

On August 27 we celebrated seven years since we became parents to three little boys from Colombia.  Hard to believe it's been that long.  At times it seems like yesterday and other times it seems like there was never a time we were not their parents.  We went out for ice cream to celebrate.  Not a big deal, but an acknowledgement of the anniversary.  In the beginning holidays and celebrations were very difficult for them and while that is not the case so much now we have continued to keep our celebrations low key.  We talked about what they were like then and watched videos of our first few days as a family.
  For us their coming into our family was a joyous occasions.  One that we had worked hard to make happen in a short period of time.  For them it was scary.  Talking to Maicol recently he remembers that he was told about one week before we came that they were going to be adopted and going to America.  Juan Pablo remembers being scared and when we watch the video of our first meeting he has a smile on his face, but looks nervous and scared.  Andrew remembers nothing, but loves to watch the videos.  At two years of age, I'm not sure he could really understand what was happening.  They got haircuts and said good-bye to their friends and classmates.  They put a change of clothes in a bag to bring with them and were introduced to their new parents who would take them to a new country to live.  What a scary thing!  But, they have met the challenge and are thriving.  They aren't perfect kids (and we're not perfect parents) and they have their struggles - some related to their difficult start in life and some plain old kid things, but it has been an amazing journey thus far.  To watch them learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, understand that they are in this family permanently, grow physically, spiritually and academically, see their gifts and talents emerge, and build memories has been something we could not have imagined when we first began this process of growing our family through adoption.  What an adventure it has been!
  In one more year we will have passed the milestone in which we have been their parents longer than we have not.  Another milestone with many more to come.

A "THEN" and "NOW" picture.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Day History Changed

As usual I am way behind, so here's recap of March, April, May, June and July.

 In April we welcomed two grandchildren!   Emelyn was born first.  She is a sweet, smiley little girl.

Eight days later we welcome Judah.  He is a happy little guy who looks just like his daddy.

We had nearly given up on having any snow this winter and then it happened!  We took full advantage of it.  Sledding and snowball fights and just playing outside in it.  For kids who previously thought they would freeze to death when the thermometer went down to 60 they have learned to embrace the cold and snow.

One project we worked on for school was making marble mazes out of Lego blocks.  I'm not sure who made which one now, but it was fun.

In March we celebrated Andrew's 8th birthday.  Hard to believe our "baby" is that old.  He is "wearing" his favorite gift.  An Angry Birds hooded blanket.
We also had to have the traditional Easter egg hunt.  They may be getting older, but they still begged to hunt eggs.  Maybe it was the fact that last year there was money in the eggs?  They found a little money in their eggs this year too. :)

Everyone played baseball this year.  We spent many hours driving to practices and games.  They all enjoyed it and want to play again next year.  Maicol is actually going to play again this fall.  He is the one that lives and breathes baseball.  He even spent his savings and birthday money on catchers gear.  Initially he loved soccer, but now he thinks it is "dumb".  They still spend many hours in the backyard playing with each other and the neighbor kids.

I found this recently on the sidewalk in front of our house.  It was hard to get it all in the picture, but it says "Mom I Love You.  It was a message from Andrew.
We took the month of June and part of July off from school.  The boys were excited (NOT) to start again this Wednesday.  While it was nice not to plan school everyday, they do  not do well without structure and so we decided we needed to get back to routine. 
Two of my nephews came for a visit last week.  That's a lot of boys in one house!  They had a good time together.  Juan Pablo is already asking when they can come back. 

Today is an anniversary of sorts.  The day history changed for our family and three little boys. This was the day 6 years ago that a committee of people in Colombia met and "assigned" us our sons.  I always thought using the term assignment when referring to the referral of our children was kind of interesting.  I tend to think of an assignment as something that might not necessarily be fun, but something that you must complete. We have said many times it's like the famous Mission Impossible quote "this is your assignment, should you choose to accept it".  And accept it we did. :) I think we would both say that many times it isn't "fun".  But how many things that are only fun offer such great rewards?  We have been blessed with three sons that are rapidly growing into three young men.  There are many times that they make us crazy, but there are so many times that are wonderful.  They keep us active, they challenge us, they stretch our patience and they love us even when we make mistakes.  What a privilege to watch them learn about so many new things, celebrate birthdays and holidays, teach them to read, watch them grow physically, see them understand the permanence of a family and introduce them to Jesus.   We are blessed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I thought I should get a post in before we start with birthday month and the new grandbabies coming.  It should be busy around our house in the next month or so.  :)

One of the things I have been longing to be able to do is read "chapter" books to the boys.  We have been able to get them to sit still and listen to short storybooks (with lots of pictures), but when we have tried previously to read something without pictures it didn't go very well.  I had picked up a book at the library recently to try, but Dan remembered this book series that he read as a child and thought they might enjoy reading it.  Amazingly, they really like it!  The book is about a family of 4 children and the adventures they have.  There are a few simple illustrations, but it is primarily just words.  Each chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger so they are excited to read the next chapter each night.  It's not earth shattering, but it certainly is real progress for them to sit still, listen and be able to follow along with the story.  They even stop Dan and ask him what words or phrases they don't know mean.  Yeah!! :)

We thought we had missed the chance to go sledding this year, but we were blessed with a good 4-5 inches of snow this week.  We took a snow day and went sledding.  Everyone had a good time.  Hard to believe that just 4 days later it's in the 60's.  Crazy Indiana weather!

 In school we have been studying about volcanoes.  That, of course means that you have to get a bottle, add some water, soap, baking soda and vinegar and make a "volcano".  It was a mess, but fun.  We could have done this all day.  We watched a couple of videos about volacanoes and will be doing some writing and worksheets this week.
 This is Andrew doing his schoolwork.  Not sure why this pose is necessary, but it that's what it takes for him to get things done it's fine with me.  He has some trouble sitting still sometimes. :)
Everyone is signed up for baseball this spring. So, lots of driving and coordinating things to get them where they need to be.  Grandbabies coming in April.   Three kids birthdays this month.  Always something going on!

Until next time.


Friday, February 22, 2013


Hard to believe that winter will be over soon.  We did have one "good" snow that provided several days of fun before it melted.  The driveway of course needed to be shoveled, so very reluctantly they took their shovels and got started.  When I looked out to check on them they had shed their coats and were working hard.  They eventually ended up with a big pile of snow that they then dug out and made a snow house. 
 We made a trip to Grandma's in January.  It was warm enough to play in the little stream that runs by her house.  And of course their were "critters" to bring in and show Mom.  We kept these little ones for a couple of days and then let them go.  Luckily, I can usually get them to put things back if we take a picture so that we can remember whatever it is.

We also managed to finally celebrate Juan Pablo's 11th birthday.  It was in November, but since he still had stitches in his head and was restricted a little on activity we waited.  He had a few friends over for cake and ice cream and we also went to a local place to play games, duck pin bowling and have pizza.  Hard to believe this is the 6th birthday we have celebrated with him.

 In January we went to a state park for a 2-night, 3-day vacation.  A nice chance to relax, sleep a little extra and do a little bit of what you want to do.  That meant the boys watched movies and played their iPods, Dan slept and did a 500 piece puzzle, and I read.  This has become a yearly trip for us and we look forward to it.  We stayed in a cabin instead of the inn this year and that worked out great.  Lots more room, and since we cooked our own meals it came out about the same price.

 There have been many teeth lost in our house in the last couple of months.  Andrew has lost 5 teeth and Juan Pablo four I think.  Poor Andrew doesn't have any teeth in the front that "meet".  He's cute, but is really looking forward to his teeth coming in.
 This is what you do when you fuss about doing your schoolwork and have to stay home and not play with your friends.  This is Juan Pablo's contraption.  A combination of an old desk top, skateboard, various pieces of metal and plenty of duct tape to hold it all together.  He and Andrew rode it down the driveway a few times.  I love what a great imagination he has. 

 For Valentines day we did heart and Valentine things.  We even watched part of a video of a heart disection.  At least Andrew and Juan Pablo watched it.  Maicol is very squeamish about anything medical.  We also played a simple, but fun game called Don't Eat Pete.  Basically it's a 9 square grid with silly faces on it.  You put a piece of candy or something on each space.  One person leaves the room and the other people choose a face to be Pete.  When the one person comes back he starts to eat the candy.  When he gets to Pete everyone yells "Don't eat Pete!" and he has to stop.  The object is to eat as many pieces as possible.  We did several rounds with goldfish crackers.

Not much else to report.  We did see the neurosurgeon last week.  Juan Pablo had an MRI and it appears that everything is as it should be.  He told us we don't need to see him for a couple of years and that if he goes for a full year without a seizure we can stop the medication.  Unfortunately no jumping on the trampoline for several more months, but he can play baseball this spring if he wants to (if he wears a helmet all the time).  So, I guess it's time to sign up for baseball. 
Our newest grandchildren are due in about 7 weeks now.  We are excited to meet them and I know their parents are too.  :) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Back to Normal

At our home it is "back to normal", or at least as normal as it gets around here. :)  School has been happening every day, cooking and cleaning get done and life just keeps speeding right along.  Juan Pablo is doing fantastic.  We had a follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon and he is doing fine.  He will have an MRI in February to check and make sure everything is as expected.  He is still taking his anti-seizure medication (which he hates) and can't participate in "contact sports" or jump on the trampoline, but otherwise things are normal.
Some of these pictures are earlier in the fall and some are later. 
Our grandson Aidan celebrated his first birthday.  He wasn't too sure about the cake, but he did eat some of it.  He is such a happy little boy and so much fun.  In the spring he will be joined by a little sister.  He will also be getting a cousin.  Our daughter and her husband are expecting a baby boy at the same time.  Lots of baby fun and loving coming our way in April!

Not the best picture, but this is what you do when you have to stay in your room because you were disobedient.  Juan Pablo and Andrew took blankets, stretched them across their room and made a "tent".  Maicol joined them for a campout in their bedroom.  Quite a mess, but lots of good memories made.

In October we made a trip to the college where Dan graduated (and where we met).  The boys had not been there before.   The weather was decent enough for us to get outside and show them some of the places we used to go.  This  is a picture of a lake near the college we spent time at.  These are the cliffs where you  could jump off into the water.  It was too cold for that now, but I was just sure Andrew was going to find a way to get in the water.  Miraculously he stayed dry.  But I did do alot of reminding to stay away from the edge.

Way too close to the edge for me.
They may not always get along, but they love each other.
One of the adventures the last couple of weeks has taken place in our backyard.  Andrew came to me and wanted to know if he could dig a hole in the front yard.  Something he had seen on TV.  I vetoed that idea, but did tell him he could dig in the garden area in the back yard.  I figured it was a good way to get the soil turned and they could have fun.  It started out as a little hole and is now maybe 2 feet deep, 2 -3 feet wide and 6 feet long.  Kind of coffin shaped. :)  They (and several other kids in the neighborhood) have built a top for it with scrap lumber and play out there.  I have had quite a bit of mud in my house as a result, but they have had a great time working and playing together.

This is an inside project they worked on one day.  Dan had this set of plastic corrugated pieces that you put together to make big shapes to play in.  After they finished it of course they wanted to sleep in it.  I did let them attempt it, but they were obviously not going to be getting any sleep and so they ended up in their beds. 

This is football in the hallway.  Since Juan Pablo can't play football they figured playing in the hallway and lining the floor with comforters, blankets and pillows would be okay for him.  Lots of fun and no injuries.

This is from our study of earthworms.  Juan Pablo had been pestering me for a long time to study worms.  I finally relented.  We studied about them, did some puzzles and writing about them and then crafts.  The first picture is using partially cooked linguine dipped in paint and then dragging it across paper like a worm to make a picture.
This is eating "worms".  Hot dogs cut into thin strips and then notched along the edges so that they would curl a little when boiled.  Fun and kind of gross at the same time.  Gotta love boys!

Last night we had snow.  Only a couple of inches, but it was enough that they were out the door this morning to play.  We're certainly hoping for much more!

We are looking forward to Christmas in just a few days and all the fun and excitement that brings.  We have been doing some advent reading almost every night and have enjoyed that.  I think the lighting and blowing out of the candle is the most exciting part for them.  Hopefully they are learning a little bit too. :) 

God has blessed us greatly this year and we are so thankful. 

Dan and Karen

Monday, November 5, 2012


In His great mercy, God has given us the answer to our prayers that we had hoped for.  Juan Pablos' surgery was successful, he had a very quick recovery, no complications and no physical or mental deficits.  We were able to bring him home today.  It is hard to imagine that  just four days ago he had the extensive brain surgery that he did and he is now home and essentially the same as he was before the surgery.  He has no deficits - except for probably being a little tired he seems normal.  The swelling in his face is almost gone.  He is eating, playing and conversing  normally.  The incision was quite large - from above his right eye all the way to his left ear. The stitches will remain for at least a couple of weeks and he is sensitive about people seeing him.  Hopefully this will be a good learning experience for him.  He has always been very bad about staring at people who have an obvious physical handicap.  Now, he is on the other side of that situation.  I'm hoping he might gain some insight into how other people feel. 

                                                      Here is a picture of him from today. 

Juan Pablo and Andrew with a little friend they found today.  They came in and told me they had something to show me.  First, they asked me to close my eyes.  That usually means there is something alive that they want to surprise (try to scare) me with.  Fortunately, I don't usually scream at bugs so it's usually okay.  Although, I have learned to not let them get too close with the unknown thing.  It was a small praying mantis.  After they had pictures taken they were happy to take it back outside and let it go (quit torturing it). :)
We appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf.  We don't know how it could have gone any better.  We feel very blessed.
Dan and Karen