Dec 29, 2012

sick as dogs

We've been out of town for a while.  And internet access has been hard to come by.  
But we are alive...barely.
We have all been hit by the stomach flu.  It's terrible.  And fast.  We are dropping like flies.
What an awesome end to 2012. *rolls eyes*

Have an awesome day ya'll.
We'll be busy nursing everyone back to health.

Dec 22, 2012

Our paths crossed

We were adopting from the same country.  We were both Canadian.
Friendships were formed.  
And today our paths crossed and we were able to stop in their home.
Short but sweet.
The star of the show was this chubby baby.  Thankful he is home.  Safe and thriving. 
And so very loved.
Thank you so much for opening your home to [all of] us! 
Hopefully our paths will cross again sometime in the future.  :)

Dec 19, 2012

She ate a spicy pickle

Blown away.

For months after Gergana came home her taste buds were very sensitive.  We would have a little bit of pepper in our food and she would complain it was 'to hot'.  We have consistently fed her food with different tastes and she has gotten much better.  But nothing prepared us for this.  Today she ate a 'spicy pickle' (which, if you don't know, our family is mildly obsessed with.).  All on her own.  She just up and decided she wanted to eat one.  And it didn't even really faze her.  The facial expressions she makes in the movies are more her being dramatic than her being in pain.  Abby eventually joined in.  But it took her forever to finally eat it.  Made us laugh.

Impressed.  Blown away.  See for yourself.
[And please excuse some parts of these movies.  This is real life.]

[love how Gergana kept moving Abby's hair in this one.]

Dec 16, 2012

Our family picture

We had our family Christmas celebration this weekend.
Because of scheduling and dad's work, this was the day that worked best for us.
I had visions of getting a nice Christmas picture of everyone in front of the tree.
But alas...that was not to be.
Instead, this was the nicest group picture we could get.
Life happens....

Dec 12, 2012

praise praise praise!

Kanani has reached her $1,000 Christmas goal!  
She now has a total of $3,176 in her adoption grant fund! 
praise praise praise!

THANK YOU to all the people who generously donated towards her fund.  My prayer is that the money raised will be multiplied and will be an amazing blessing to whatever miracle family steps up to adopt this little lost girl.  Please keep her in your thoughts and pray for her.  Pray that a family will step up for her SOON and that God would protect her while she waits.  Sweet girl.  Hold on just a little longer.

[also.  It's not to late to donate to her grant!  I am really praying that her grant will grow to $5,000!!]

Dec 10, 2012

humor in learning English

Gergana speaks all English, besides the odd Bulgarian word.  She has for many months now and [sadly] lost her Bulgarian pretty quickly.  We joke that it was because she likes to talk so much, she just couldn't stand not being able to communicate.  And for the most part we really have no trouble communicating and understanding each other.  But some days, and some situations, get mixed up so badly you can't help but double over and laugh.  Never boring.  


Like the times Gergana finds a set of balls and practices 'juggling'.  She loves to try to juggle, but the word 'juggling' comes out a lot more like 'jiggling'.  And good golly, it is so cute we can't stand the thought of correcting her.  Especially when she asks us "do you know how to jiggle??".  Just about kills us.


We have been trying to break the habit of eating with elbows on the table.  Basic table manners.  When the kids see someone else with elbows on the table they automatically yell "Elbows on the table!"  This is how the words come out of Gergana's mouth though...

G: "Knee on the table!"
Us: "Knee?  Wrong word, try again."
G: "Eyeball on the table!!"
over and over again.  She cannot get it right.  The words do sound very similar, but the mental image of an eyeball on the table is to much.  We laugh.  She laughs.  It's all cool.


It's never boring in our family.  She adds so much spice to our life.

She rocks.

Dec 7, 2012

Happy 1st Home Day!

One year ago Gergana stepped through the doors of our house for the very first time.  Today, exactly a year later we celebrated.  Celebrated the fact that not only did we survive this crazy year, but we came out on the other side stronger.

We are family.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Dec 6, 2012

Date with Abigail

While everyone else was at their various kid clubs and youth programs, we sneaked away.  Our destination?  The local coffee shop.  Tucked away in the corner by the fake fireplace.  We sipped our shared smoothie and played two games of Clue Jr.  

-"Why do you have to keep growing up?  Please stop and stay 6 forever!" 
- "I can't!"  
-"I don't know!"

Sadly, sister genuinely doesn't know how to stop growing.  She is getting so big.  I will cry when her front teeth grow in.  She is my only blond headed sibling.  And I love her for that.
People who don't hang out with their little siblings are missing out.
Just saying.

One year with my Sister

I found these forgotten pictures yesterday.  
Taken just a couple of hours after I first met Gergana a year ago.

There were times when I didn't think we would ever make it a year.  But we did.
And now I can honestly say that we are family.

So thankful for this girl. 

You can read the post I wrote exactly a year ago here..

Dec 3, 2012

donate and win $20-edit

Giveaway is now over.  Carla D won the $20 donation to the child/family of her choice and she picked this family..Godone-maresca

Thanks everyone for playing along and donating to Kanani!

Trying something new.  Because I love this girl and I'm willing to try anything for her.

Donate a couple of $$ to Kanani (you can use the donation box to the right.  It will take a while to update the new amount) and I will enter you to win a $20 donation to the waiting child or adopting family of your choice. I'll draw a winner when she hits $200 in angel tree donations.  So go and drop a few dollars in her bucket, and then make sure to let me know so I can include you in the draw! It could mean $20 for you to donate as you wish to the child/family you are passionate about.

Kanani while I was at her orphanage in May.  
The thing this picture doesn't show is that under that blanket, her legs are stick thin.  Precious girl.

Dec 1, 2012

World AIDS Day

December 1st is officially World AIDS Day.  What does that mean?  It means that people all over the world take today to support people living with HIV/AIDS and to spread awareness about this disease.  In 2010 it was estimated that 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.  Many of those people are innocent victims who are now sentenced to a life of stigma because of other people's actions.  

There is a rise all over the world in orphans living with HIV/AIDS.  These children are dear to my heart.  I have seen first hand the stigma that these children have to deal with and it is not pretty.  You would be amazed by how normal these children are.  How lovable and 100% NOT scary they are.  I have loved children with HIV.  I have hugged them and kissed them.  Played with them and shared food with them.  Having the HIV virus in their body really is no big deal.  But people all over the world make it a big deal.

So here I am.  In honor of all the children I love who are living with HIV, telling you the TRUTH about the virus.  Please open your mind and get out of the dark ages.

What you need to know:
  • -HIV is considered a chronic but manageable disease with proper treatment, Much like Diabetes!

  • -Children who receive treatment are expected to live a normal lifespan.

  • -HIV has never been transmitted in normal family living conditions.

  • -You NEVER have to fear contracting HIV through casual contact with an HIV+ person.

  • -HIV is spread in three main ways: sexual contact, IV drug use through the sharing of dirty needles,  mother to infant (pregnancy, birth or breast feeding.)

  • -With medications HIV can be effectively managed to the point that the virus is undetectable in laboratory tests.

Visit Project Hopeful for more information.

Please change the way you think about HIV.  It is not as scary as it used to be.  Be informed.

All over the world children with HIV are sitting in orphanages.  They are usually the last children to be chosen for adoption, because of their HIV.  These children are typically developing children who will live long and normal lives in a family and with access to medication.  The sad reality is that people see their HIV status and turn the other way.  Not only that but they are not always provided with the medications they need while they are in the orphanage, giving them even less of a chance at a healthy life.  In their own countries they face stigma and when they age out of their orphanages at 16 they will have no way of getting a job.  Their future is so very bleak.

So what can we do?  We can get these children out of their orphanages and into families before it is too late.  We can provide them with medical care.  With normal family love.  We can teach them about Jesus.  They will have a chance at a future.  These children do not need perfect families.  They just need families willing to look past their HIV Status and take the leap of faith for them.  To teach them that they are more then a medical status, they are unique and made in the image of God.

Here are 2 HIV+ children waiting for families.  Please pray for them.  Look past their status.  Share their stories.  Maybe donate to their grant fund?  I don't care, just do something.  Even if it is just taking a moment to look at their picture.  They are normal children who long for a family.



Nov 28, 2012

Life is fragile

Tears.  Many, many tears.

Sweet Henry (age 2) passed away this afternoon.  It was so unexpected.

Please pray for his family.  They are amazing and loved Henry so much that they crossed the ocean to bring him home from Ukraine last year.  He was very loved.  His family and story is one that I have followed closely.  His mom is one of the sweetest people I know, always encouraging.  I can only imagine their deep grief right now (and in the weeks to come).  Life is so very fragile.

Henry's family blog:

Sweet Henry,  We love you and miss you.
You will not be forgotten.  Your story will inspire many.

Nov 22, 2012

Get your face in the picture

This is real life.  It's called "everyone get in the picture...NOW!"
picture 1: Julissa is missing.  picture 2: Gergana is missing. picture 3: My face is a tad blocked.Photobucket
Finally.  Love this tiny part of my crazy family.  Thankful for each one of them

Nov 19, 2012

Buy a Christmas ornament

You give: $35.  

Kanani gets: $27 towards her grant fund.

You get: a beautiful photo Christmas ornament with Kanani's picture.

Make a difference this year.
Go here. and buy Kanani's ornament.  No one has bought hers yet. *sad face*

Nov 16, 2012

a little weird

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

― Dr. Seuss


Nov 11, 2012

They made a difference.

These people?  They rock.  
Thank you for your donation towards Kanani!

angel tree child: Miles

guardian angel child: Giselle

angel tree child: Emmitt

angel tree child: Finley

child: Yelena

child: Kolya

Want to be added to the above list?
Want to give your blog and/or your angel tree child some extra exposure? 

If you have donated towards Kanani during angel tree please let me know and I will add your name, blog link and angel tree/guardian angel child to the list!  

If you would like to gain a little exposure for your own child or blog please head on over to Kanani's profile and drop a few dollars in the bucket.  Then come back here and let me know.  I would love to be able to help each other out!

And remember, with a $35 donation ($27 going towards Kanani and the rest going towards shipping costs) you will get a beautiful photo Christmas ornament of Kanani.  Makes an awesome Christmas present!  Win/win.

 (scroll down and look for Kanani's picture)

Nov 9, 2012

The nightmare that never ends

"I was back at the orphanage.  Back with my sweet girl.  Sitting on the bench under the trees.  I was content, she was content.  

But then a van drove up.  Two people in white coats climbed out the sides, their faces expressionless.  Neither smiling or frowning.  They started walking over to where I was sitting with Kanani.  I was holding her hand and rubbing her cheek when they reached us.  

I was so confused, "Why were these people here?  What did they want with my sweet girl?  They couldn't possibly be here to take her away, Could they?"  But they ignored me as they picked her up and started walking back towards the van.  Leaving me behind.  I was frantic and dread filled my body.  I felt sick as I realized what they were doing, where they were taking her.  

I knew they would be coming.  I knew that Kanani couldn't stay at the baby orphanage forever.  I knew that eventually she would be considered 'to old' for the baby orphanage and because of her special needs, she would be transferred to a mental institute.  A place where she would spend her days in a crib with little to no human interaction.  It's the fact of life for children born with special needs in her country.  But it wasn't right, they came to soon.  I hadn't had enough time to find her a mama yet.  

I pleaded with them running back and forth between them and the nannies, asking them to do something, anything.  To give me just a little more time.  That if they would just give me a week, or even a day, I would search the world for her family.  I would try harder.  "Please, just let me have a little more time."  But they weren't listening.  Tears were streaming down my cheeks as they ignored me and kept walking.  I was screaming at a brick wall.  And just like that, Kanani was in the van.  She was gone.  

My time had run out.  But worse then that, Kanani's time had run out."

Sometimes you have a dream that is so real, you can still remember the details months later.  This is one of those dreams.  A dream that makes me desperate for my sweet 4 year old girl all over again.  I can't forget her.  Even if I tried, this dream won't let me.  I'm at a loss as to how to help her, but I know I have do something.  Anything.  We raised her adoption grant fund to just over $2,000 earlier this fall (Thank you to everyone that helped!).  
But it's not enough.  Her time is running out.

Nov 7, 2012

Things I loved about Phoenix

A weekend in Phoenix with this family (a place called simplicity) and warm weather? Yes please.

things I loved and don't want to forget..
1). Bike rides in the evening.  warm and fun.  plus awesome talks.  Makes getting jello legs worth it.
2). Hanging out with people my own age.  With the same passions as I have. 
3). Trips to Starbucks.  and the fact that I can't stand anything coffee.  Which makes starbucks interesting. 
4). Watching these children interact.  Their sass is hilarious.  Such awesome kids. 
5). Going to church for the first time in weeks.
6). Wearing shorts and sandals in November.
7). Seeing the miracle that IS Ruby Grace. 
8).  Smores and chicken wings outside by the fire.
9).  The insane amount of 'Charlie's' 
10). Frozen yogurt. 
11). Jumpstreet with Graham, Liberty and Emma.  I'm still sore.  "if you can jump longer then an hour you're super human."  "ok, lets jump longer then an hour and prove him wrong!"  10 minutes later and we are on the ground exhausted.  fun fun fun.
12). driving, driving and more driving.
13). Cactus's everywhere you look. 
14). Hanging out and talking with this girl.  Love her and am so blessed to have her as my friend.  Go and check her out! Em on a Mission.
15). Elizabeth's big bag of popcorn.

So thankful to have such awesome people in my life.  Sad to say goodbye.  But hopefully it won't be for long!

Nov 6, 2012

41 days later and I'm back in Canada

I'm exhausted and my muscles ache (thank you jump street! So fun but now I hurt!).

My thoughts and emotions are always jumbled after I get home.  I don't even really know what I'm feeling right now.  what I do know is that I'm thankful for the experiences I was able to just have.

and I'm going to go sleep for a week.  excuse me while I crash...

Nov 5, 2012

Big bag of popcorn

Elizabeth Mercy won some popcorn at church today.  
And when I say 'some' I actually mean a lot of popcorn!
Seriously made my day.
me: Elizabeth, your awesome.
Elizabeth: I know!

Good thing she has lots of brothers and sisters to share her popcorn with!

p.s.  Phoenix weather seriously makes me drool.   Like whatttt?  You mean people actually do live with out snow?  It's November and we are wearing shorts?  Blows my mind.  I'll be sad to go back to Canada! (but not, because I miss my family to much!  But you know... Mom, want to move to Phoenix??)

Nov 3, 2012

goodbye PA

[saying goodbye to my 'boyfriend'.  This boy frustrated but made me laugh all at the same time.]

The parents came home on Thursday.  Along with precious Matthew Dima.  Seriously, he is adorable and fits in their family so perfectly.  Seeing him made everything worth it.  He will no longer be spending his life in a mental institute.  Instead he is in a family.  Giving up 5 weeks of my life to help bring him home was all worth it seeing him with his family. worth it. worth it. worth it.

Saying goodbye is never really easy.  It is so hard to invest yourself so intensely with children you may never see again.  Makes it interesting, leaving pieces of your heart all around the world.

Where is Dima??
There he is!  Cute right?  Mission {finally} accomplished. 
I'm now down in Phoenix for a few days.  Visiting  friends and warming up a bit. ;) Plus it actually worked out better with my tickets to travel home in two phases.  Excited and blessed to get to spend time with friends.  And blown away that I got to be apart of one more child coming home!

Oct 30, 2012

As the winds blew

"It's dark."
"oh sweet girl.  I know.  Our lights are broken again!"
"can you help me?"

So she ended up crawling into bed with me.  Not having a night light in her room along with the strong winds blowing outside her window was just to much for her.  And honestly....

I was glad to have her there with me.

Sandy hit us full on last night.  You could hear the winds get stronger.  And right when you thought they couldn't get any stronger, they would.  The house vibrated.  It sounded like the windows were going to break.  A little dramatic?  Maybe.  But it was crazy.

The power went out for about ten minutes at 6pm.  Right as we were starting baths.  when the lights came back on we sprang into fast mode getting kids ready for bed.  We knew it was only a matter of time before the lights went back out and knew it would be easier for everyone if the little ones were asleep when that happened.  Around 8pm the lights went back out and this time they stayed out.  After 16 hours without power we finally had light again!  Thankfully some friends were able to get us set up with a generator before lunch today.  So we are good to go!  So thankful for the generator, the power in our area could be down for several days and we did not have enough water or food set aside for that many days without electricity.  So, so thankful for that generator!

We are taking it slow today.  It is very wet outside so we are tucked into the living room playing with matchbox cars.  Thank you all for the prayers!

And can I just say, I have officially survived my first hurricane. ;)

Oct 29, 2012

Sandy is here

And I have never heard wind this bad.  And it will only get worse.

Praying our power continues to hold on...At least until all the kids are soundly asleep.

I can only imagine what people are experiencing closer to the coast.  Stay safe everyone!!

Oct 28, 2012

Ready for Sandy

Water jugs are filled.  Flashlights have been collected.  Outside toys are on the porch.  
Bring on the rain and wind.  We're ready for you Sandy!

We are set to get some rough weather the next couple of days.  Nothing serious.  We are far enough in land that we will miss most of the action.  But we may loose power.  Which would be an adventure.

Praying everyone closer to the coast stays safe...
 and that travel plans for later this week will not be complicated!  
If you don't hear from me for a bit you'll know why! xxx

Oct 26, 2012

my heart is ugly

I am messed up.  I'm impatient.  I'm selfish.  And I figured all that out in about the time period of an hour.  It clicked in my mind when I realized that all my ugly heart wanted to do was yell.  "Stop screaming!  Stop puking! Stop asking questions!  Stop complaining!  Stop breathing!" 

It just hit me like a ton of bricks that the reason my day was going so poorly was because of my attitude.  Not because the children were really acting out more then usual (all though they were not being angels ;) ).  It was mostly in my head and heart.  And it turns out that my head and heart are really ugly places to be recently.  I am not perfect.  I'm not always the calm and fun person I like to think I am.  I don't have all the answers.  I'm not a perfect Christian, not in the least!  That's the truth.  It's OK to admit your going crazy.  But goodness gracious, it's not the end of the world!

I feel like I need to admit that, at least to myself, before I can move forward.  So today I just flat out admitted it.  And I even had a little talk with the baby about it. ;)  And now, it's time to move forward.  To grow.  To learn from my mistakes.  Tomorrow will be a better day.

Oct 25, 2012

I don't always like being away from home

Can I be honest for a moment?  Tonight I want to me home.

Yesterday was my Nieces's first birthday.  I wasn't there.
Today is my mom's birthday.  I wasn't there.
Tomorrow is my parents anniversary.  I won't be there.
Saturday my niece is having a huge first birthday party.  I won't be there.

I love being home.  I'm not a social person who needs to always be out and about.  I'm content just being home with my family.  Leaving home and going on trips is hard for me.  So very hard.  Not only is it the normal physically exhausting (babies do that to you!) but it is emotionally exhausting for me.  And being on the sidelines watching major life events back home slip by with out me is hard.  I don't regret being here for the last 4 weeks.  Not at all.  I love what I do and the experiences and people it brings into my life.  I love PA.  But today I just want to be home.  With my family.  Eating birthday cake.  

Oct 24, 2012

Shaving cream fun

After naps this afternoon some friends came and took the three oldest boys for the afternoon/evening.  That left me with only the three little ones to play with.  Man, can I just say how easy three kids are to entertain after watching all six?  Since it was a super nice day out (hello summer weather once again!) I decided it was a perfect time to break out the shaving cream once again.  We started out on paper plates but quickly abandoned them when the wind picked up.  I was curious what Rachel would do with the shaving cream since she hadn't played with it yet.  Nathan and Rebekah both have played with it in the bath before and liked it.  But Nathan didn't really want to touch it last time.  But surprise, surprise.  This is how our play progressed.
They loved it.  ;)
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