Sunday, December 30, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Okay, I've been tagged! This in blogger world means that another fellow blogger (thanks Mala!) has identified you as the next one to share all your secrets! I have to list 8 things about myself that most people don't know about me and then tag another fellow blogger to do the same... I think...

So, here goes:

1. I'm a breast cancer survivor!

2. I love artichokes.

3. We are die hard college football fans, specifically Pac 10 football, specifically Washington State Cougar fans (where my husband played linebacker '81-'83).

4. Spanish is my second language.

5. Sugar or salt? Both, together even better!

6. I was 1996 Teacher of the Year of my school district.

7. I can tie shoelaces with my toes.

8. My goal in 2008 is to SIMPLIFY!

Okay, now I tag Ivy!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What a sweet Christmas this was! It's so fun to have a girl! She got dollies, dollies and more dollies. Dollies in her stocking from her auntie Robin, dollies in her stocking from Santa, dollies from aunties Sally and Leslie and guessed it...from me!

Her favorite part of Christmas was the wrapping paper and the boxes! Her least favorite part was Santa.

The boys got a trampoline (with a net!) so everybody was very happy. Most importantly Bob and I just felt so thankful, remembering many lonely childless Christmases. Now we are blessed beyond what we could imagine. If I had only known back then what was to come!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Got Milk?

I had to post this picture! Hannah exudes health here!

I recently received an email from an American gal that we met at the orphanage that volunteered her time to love on the babies at the Baby House. She is our angel! When we left after our first trip she agreed to watch out for Hannah for us.

Anyway, we have been in touch and she requested some pictures of Hannah to take to the orphanage to show the workers who had been asking about her. They could not believe the transformation! She said they all wanted the pictures to take home with them! Oh that blessed me so much to know that they still think of her and loved her so much!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Memories

Where has the time gone? Hannah has been home with us for four months now and look at the transformation! We are in awe every day at the amazing progress she is making and we love seeing her sweet little charming personality unfold.
With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas we are enjoying making family memories with our sweet baby girl to enjoy them with along with the boys. I asked Daniel the other day if he could imagine life without Hannah. We both agreed that it would feel so strange and so empty not to have her here with us.
Life is good and we are so thankful!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hannah said her first word this week! Her favorite sound is "aaaaa" so the word "apple" was a natural word to come off her lips! Today she said "Mama" when she wanted me to pick her up! I was thrilled! I had thought she had said "Mama" before but it just turned out to be a long string of "mamamamama".

Now that we are finally over the hump of school starting and soccer and Fall baseball getting going we are feeling like we are finally settling into life with three kids. The boys continue to adore their baby sister and she loves them as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our Happy Girl

We have been so struck by how much Hannah has grown and flourished since we brought her home 7 weeks ago. She has gained 2 pounds and grown an inch and is really beginning to fill out and get some color in her cheeks.

She keeps amazing us with how she learns so quickly. She waves bye-bye, blows kisses, makes signs for "more", "all done" and "water" and just charms us all so much. She is a great little eater and will try new foods every day.

Every day we feel like we are unwrapping the most amazing gift. She is truly our little miracle and we are so thankful for her sweet little spirit in our home.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hannah's Previous Life

How can such a big miracle come from such a small baby girl?

There have been moments these last few weeks where we are just doing life with her a bottle, strapping her into her carseat, shopping at Target, etc. but then it hits us. Wow, this cutie has come a long way.

She came to the orphanage about one month old in May of 2006. She was found on the doorsteps of the hospital "in baby's loose jacket, warm swaddling clothes, cap and towel. There was a note with the child" according to the report we received with the very scattered medical information on her.

The moment we saw her we knew she was ours. God had hidden her for us. He had kept her in the secret place covered under the shadow of His wing.

The orphanage was surprisingly clean and cheery. There were eleven babies in her section being cared for by 2 workers during the day and 1 worker at night. We had the privelege of spending two days at the orphanage on our first trip and watched how they got the babies up, fed them rapidly, strapped them on a potty (this is common in Eastern European orpanages to potty train at one year), and placed them to lie by themselves in a large playpen. Unfortunately the babies receive very little stimulation and personal attention. I do have to say though, you could tell the ladies really cared about the babies. She was loved and it was a tearful goodbye when we took her away.

Adoption is such a miracle. What an amazing privelege and honor to be called to such a blessing.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Nightlight Christian Adoptions is the agency we have gone through to adopt all our children, Joey and Daniel from Russia and now Hannah from Kyrgyzstan. They have been so wonderful to work with and we feel so thankful God led us to them in the first place.

It all started when I attended their adoption seminar back in the mid '90s. I didn't necessarily feel any strong feelings about adopting but I went anyway. During the break Ron Stoddart, the director, put a video on of children in orphanages in Russia. Suddenly I felt such a strong emotion and call from God to go in that direction. I was so blessed to feel like the Lord had a purpose and a plan for our lives to adopt.

So here we are ten years later with a sweet blessed family, more than we could have ever imagined would be possible. The Lord has been so very faithful and good to us. We are so thankful.

The pictures above are from Friday, August 17th when we went down to see all the folks at Nightlight, to have them meet Hannah and see the boys, to thank them in person and to have the kids put their handprints on their wall. Each child adopted through their agency has done this and we hadn't taken the kids to this new office yet to leave their mark.

Thank you Ron, Linda, Jody, Julia and Rhonda and everyone else who has worked so hard to help children find their forever families. You have been God's instruments in our lives and have rescued so many children! We love you!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Our Southern California Girl!

We just got home from a week down at the beach with my mom. It was such a great bonding time for us all! Hannah's in love with her daddy! They got alot of time together and it really warmed my heart to see her so contented in his arms.

We went to Disneyland one evening and while watching a performance of the some of the songs from the new High School Musical Hannah almost jumped out of my arms to dance to the music. She is so funny how she rocks back and forth and sings! We've got a little performer!

It was so amazing to be down in Balboa, where we already have so many family memories taking long walks on the boardwalk, hanging out at the beach all day and making our nightly treck to the Fun Zone for Balboa Bars with our sweet baby girl. I just kept thinking of where she was three weeks ago and now look at her! From Bishkek to the sunny shores of Southern California! Wow!

Life is good!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We are so blessed!

Well we've been home close to three weeks and all is well. It has definitely been an adjustment! I had forgotten how much work this is! It's so surreal to be back in the baby mode, with everything that comes with it. I get stopped in stores by old ladies, I have a smushed nutrigrain bar at the bottom of my purse, spilled juice on the seat in the van, crushed cheerios on the kitchen floor, the smell of baby lotion on my hands and I'm tired. But I am oh so happy.

Oh, and I had forgotten how hard making dinner can be with a baby on the hip! I am learning all over again how to do everything with one hand!

She is just so precious. Everyday I get a new glimspe of her personality that truly amazes me. And it's so fun to have a girl! I took her in with me to get my hair cut and she just sat on my lap as happy and content as can be. All the ladies ooohed and aahed over her. I could've never done that with my active boys.

She has been making tremendous gains and we are so delighted at every little thing she accomplishes. She can play peek-a-boo, blow kisses, wave bye-bye, and the other day she said "Mama". She hasn't said it since but I am so excited. The boys first babbles were "Da da da da" which naturally led them to say "Dada" before "Mama". Her babbles are "Ma ma ma ma" so I am so happy that one of my children will say my name first!

Everyday she seems to be coming more and more out of her shell. She is definitely exerting her little will and we welcome that. She fights me when I change her diaper, one day she'll eat everything, the next almost nothing, she arched her back today when I put her in her car seat and she fusses when she wants something from me, usually my cell phone or my keys or a credit card! Uh Oh! Then she just smiles up at me and melts my heart. Yes, she is a typical toddler!

I had no idea I could fall in love so easily!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sleep, glorious sleep!

I have three friends who specifically have prayed for Hannah's sleep. Well, I am so happy to report that she has been a fabulous sleeper!!! This is huge! We are all doing so well on account of this. She and I have recovered really well from jet lag and are on a great consistant sleep schedule! I really consider this nothing short of a miracle. Thank you sweet friends for your powerful intercession!

Well, we have been home a week and it still all feels like a dream. We are doing WELL! Yeasterday we took one of our first excersions out to Target and on the way I played a Disney CD and we were blown away to hear her singing! With a very sweet soft voice she followed along to "Under the Sea" with a "yaaaaaaaah...yaaaaaaaah....yaaaaaaahhh..." It was so cute.

She is absolutely amazing, this little wonder. She snuggles up to me as though I have always been her mama. She throws things down on the ground and just laughs and laughs and waits for us to pick it up and give it back to her to only be thrown down again!

She loves her bumper jumper and we couldn't be more pleased at the way she is excercising her little legs. We are seeing so much progress with her motor development and with her eating. She is so happy and loves being with the family and is really disappointed when we have to remove her from all the fun to put her down for her nap. She fusses for a bit but then once she gets those fingers in her mouth she is good to go.

What a blessing to have a baby in the house again! This has truly been a dream come true!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Home at Last!

Oh how sweet it is to be home! Thank you to everyone who prayed for us with these long flights. We sure felt covered. Hannah was so charming and I felt like the time holding her for so long really bonded us together in a special way. She was so cute and interactive with everyone on the flight to London and on the ten hour flight to LAX she slept for five hours!

We had such a wonderful homecoming with many dear friends and family waiting for us at the airport. I just cried when I saw everyone, especially my boys (all three of them!)

The highlight so far of being home have been seeing how sweet the boys are with her. They adore her and are hovering over her all day. We've spent the day feeding her, changing her, bathing her, putting her in her walker, jumper, highchair and swing and basically just watching her every move and finding delight in every detail of her little personality.

Bob and I spent some time this morning thanking the Lord for the many miracles from this whole experience. The list is so long of the many ways He provided. We also thanked Him for each of you, for your many prayers and support throughout all of this. We just feel so grateful.

Now, the real adventure begins!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I write this at the end of a very long and exhausting stressful day and with tears in my eyes I can say all ended well! Our paperwork was processed and we are going home! I will give more details later but must get Hannah down and pack up and get to bed! We leave at 6:15 a.m. tomorrow for the long flight to London. Blessings to all of you who prayed! I so appreciated getting the comments from dear friends and new acqaintances rooting for us on the other side of the world!

The pictures above are of a beautiful Russian Orthodox church we visited today and also of us with another couple we have been traveling with on this adventure!


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Out and About

Well we made it to Almaty, Kazakhstan! We left Bishkek this morning at 4:40 a.m. to cross the border in the early morning hours to miss the crowds. It felt so adventurous and thankfully we crossed without a hitch. These countries are so rich with ancient history you could just feel it as we drove through the countryside watching the sunrise and picturing the travelers along the Silk Road.

We arrived in Almaty and went straight to the SOS Medical Clinic for Hannah's exam. She suffered through alot of poking and prodding but it all went went very smoothly. After that we went to the US Embassy to take all of our official paperwork. It was proving to be a very long day.

The day got increasingly longer when we got a call from the embassy saying that there was a problem with the paperwork. I had to return there with the coordinator and we heard first hand about a pretty serious problem with it regarding needing Bob's signature to be in person. We pleaded with them for mercy, basically, and were told we will have to find out tomorrow if the consulate chooses to accept or not. I am choosing to be vague about the details but really need prayer! Please pray the consulate with choose to accept without making us have a huge delay in the process...

We are now resting at our new hotel in Almaty. The good news about today is that I fell so completely in love with this little baby doll I can't get over it! She is an absolute dream to love on! She was such a trooper with all the travel and she charmed us with her sweet smile and little laugh. Heaven!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bonding Time

We've been so fortunate to have alot of down time to just hang and bond with Hannah. Unlike our other adoptions where we were off traveling right after getting our babies, we have been able to spend some time getting to know one another!

The great news to report today is that she is taking her bottle! We called our coordinator last night after many failed attempts to get fluids into her, and she had someone go to the orphanage and get a bottle and nipple from them that she would be used to. We gave it to her this morning and she gobbled it down. I was so happy I thought I would cry!Thank you to all who were praying for this!

Secondly, after doing a few little exercises with her over the last few days she is sitting up on her own!!! She is so proud of herself and loves it! I am so grateful to see such progress in such a short amount of time! God is so good!

I brought a book called Blessing Your Spirit by Arthur Burk and have been reading and praying blessings over Hannah. This is the one I prayed over her today:

"I bless you, Hannah, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God invested an incredible amount of effort and concentration in designing you. You are unique, one of a kind. There is nobody else like you. God has thought extensively about you. Every detail of your body, every organ, and every cell is the result of God's thoughts. Every facet of your personality is the result of His kind intention. You are beautiful, and you are beloved. God has blessed you with His love. God smiled on the day He created you. He had been waiting for millennia for the particular point in time when you were conceived. He had great joy in His heart when His plans actually came together. He nurtures your spirit; He watches over you.

"Your world needs you. You bring something to your family that no other person has. They need the gifts you bring. Your family would not be complete without you. Others in your circle need the deposit that God has placed in your life.

"Hannah,your Father wrote your days in His book. Your life is not a random thing. He designed your spiritual heritage. Your generational blessings go back a thousand generations. There is a spiritual treasure chest of generational blessings with your name on it.

"God promises that because of His love, His power, and His blessing upon you, He will cause your pain and any negative thing in your life to be transformed into good things before the end of the story of your life. We don't know everything about who you are going to be or what you are going to do, but you are loved, you are a blessing to your family, and you are a life-giver in the world. You are special, and we celebrate God's miraculous design of who you are. I bless you in the name of Jesus..."