Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time for an Update

School came to an end, Baseball is over, vacation and our trip to visit the
Calderaro's is over. Now it's time to dive in head first to football and
cheerleading and start looking towards a new school year beginning.

So let's see, let me try to catch us up...
Joaquin and Jess finished the school year and swim season doing awesome. They
have both grown by leaps in bounds in so many ways. Jess is becoming a BEAUTIFUL
young lady with so much personality. She is happy and loving and a caretaker at
heart. She has started cheerleading again this season and loves the social
aspect of the team. She is so creative and LOVES to help cook and do project
type of things. Jess has a huge heart. Here is a typical Jess story. The last
day of school at recess she picks out the girl in her class that no one plays
with and Jess plays with her. Jess just wanted to make this little girl happy.
Typical Jess.

Joaquin is working hard at keeping himself in check and is so smart. Joaquin
has decided he wants to try football instead of playing soccer this
we'll see how this goes. He always keeps us laughing and LOVES is big brother.
Just the other day he says, "hey mom, can brothers be friends?", "yep Joaquin,
brothers can be friends, brothers should be friends, it's the best way to be." I
say. Then he marches himself over to Nate and says, "hey buddy!" It's so cute to
watch him with Nate. But as much as he outwardly adores Nate, we have learned he
is quite bonded with Emi too. Emi, back in May, went on a trip to DC with her
school. Emi went by plane and was not allowed to take her cell phone, so there
was not much communication. We sent her with a calling card in hopes she could
call once or twice. The day after she left Joaquin woke up searching for Emi. He
was not at all happy that she wasn't home yet. I explained how many more
"sleeps" it would be till she came home. Over the next several days this is what
I heard over and over and over again... "Are you sure Emilee is coming home?"
"Why did she have to go on a plane without us?" "Is Emi coming home now?" "When
is Emilee gonna get here?" The poor little guy was beside himself, he just
couldn't convince himself that she really would be back. He cried himself to
sleep at night begging for her. Needless to say he was super excited to see her
when she came home and everything went right back to normal.

Nate had a great baseball season. His team came in first in the league. He is
maturing gracefully becoming a young man and learning just what responsibilities
go along with this "growing up" bit. He has started football conditioning with
the 8th grade team, which is a new experience. These are kids he has never
played sports with. But so far so good! He has had a lot of changes and new
experiences this year and we have watched him grow as a result.

Emi finished out her middle school year with the 8th grade dance. She looked
beautiful. It was a delight to dress shop, take her to get her hair fixed and
plan for the big day. I feel like time is slipping thru my hands like the sand
washing back out to sea. She is growing up so fast, she is going into high
school in the fall and it just doesn't seem possible. I feel myself letting the
strings go one at at time and before we know it she will be driving, then soon
after off to college. It seems like no so long ago we were deciding on what to
name her.

So, we went to the beach and J and J had a ball. The look on their faces the
first time setting foot on the beach was priceless. They again experienced some
firsts...first time to the beach, first time playing putt putt (first time
watching Nate nail 6 hole in 1), first time on a really long car ride...all lots
of fun.

We also took a trip to Chicago and had a chance to visit with the Calderaro's.
Remember Sofia who met her forever family the same day we met J and J? We hung
out with Peggi, Ed and Sofia while in Colombia and it was great to hang out with
them again at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for the day and then go to dinner.
We were super excited to get to see them again. Sofia is just so darn cute and
so full of personality. I just adore the Calderaro's and feel like they I have
known them forever.

So, we have had lots of fun this summer! Now we are in full swing with all four playing fall sports, getting ready for Emi and Nate's birthdays, and preparing to go back to school in just a few short weeks. I always have a mini melt down in August...I hate to see another school year begin, they go by so quickly. I will have a 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 9th grader...sniff sniff.

I tell ya, I am quite spoiled with 4 AMAZING kids. I get comments all the time
from people on how great our kids are. Enough said! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sometimes you just have to speak your mind...

Can I just brag on Emilee? Can I tell you just how cool she is and how proud of her I am? I am proud of all 4 kids and could write a page on each of them, but today Emilee gets the spotlight!

I am kind of overwhelmed with "mama feelings" as she continues to impress me as a young lady. She makes good decisions daily, she is a responsibility, caring, mature, protective and fun example for her younger siblings. The oldest child has a lot of responsible and Emilee fits the bill of what the "oldest child" should be. Don't get me wrong she has her moments and they have their spats, but as a whole, she is a dang good kid!

Here are just a few things that make her so special and how she makes my life
easier. How many teenagers do you know that get up at 5:10am every weekday morning on her own without a fuss, without being crabby? Emilee! She always completes her school work on time and is awarded all A grades for her hard work. She takes her academics seriously but still has fun. She understands that 6 of us in a house means everyone has to pitch in and help out. She never complains when I ask her to watch J and J. She ALWAYS finds ways to challenge herself and to meet the challenge. She truly cares about others and has a heart for orphans and children and hurting people.

How many teenagers, at 13, do you know that have career goals and very specific ideas of who they want to become? Emilee has done research and is preparing herself to become a nurse. She knows she wants to attend the University of Cincinnati Nursing Program. She knows what she needs to complete in High School in order to pre-qualify and be accepted as a Freshman in college and what she needs to avoid the waiting list. She knows she wants to work in a Children's Hospital, possibly in a cancer unit for kids. She wants to be able to give each child something to smile and laugh about each day. She realizes it will be difficult to watch the suffering,
but she also wants to do a job with the rewards of making a difference in the
lives she works with each day. Give them something to smile about
or a hug if they need it. She also wants to work in a NIC Unit with the infants and their families. How hard is it to leave your baby in the NIC unit while you go take care of your other kids or run errands? Emilee wants to be the nurse that mamas feel comfortable leaving their baby with. Knowing their baby is loved and cared for in the tender way a mother would be caring for them. Tell me...what teenager, at 13, do you know who thinks so deeply? Emilee!

Are you getting the flavor? Do you see why she is so special?

This year she has spent some time working with the Special Olympic athletes in our town. She has enjoyed every moment of her time with them and can't wait for the next time she gets to see and work with them. When she is with them, they make HER day. We just went to the Special Olympics track and field events last weekend and she had a ton of fun volunteering.

This weekend she is running her first 5K "Run for Their Lives". All proceeds go to feeding hungry children in Haiti. What a simple thing to do, take 1 hour from your Sunday to walk/run (she is going to run) and and think about and pray for the children/people of Haiti. To Emilee, it's just simply the "right" thing to do, so she does it!

She is a leader and not afraid to go the extra mile. She is fun and has a lot of friends. She is an achiever and she loves God.

Emilee is simply beautiful thru and thru. God has taken a piece of himself and put it right in Emilee's heart and it shows!

This reminds me of Emilee…
"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." -Saint Augustine

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Time

(I have no idea why the spacing on this post is so messed up...I can't seem to fix it)
I can't believe it's spring and we have just completed our 2nd anniversary
Gotcha Day. It's been so amazing to watch our family mesh together. Jess and
Joaquin fit ever so perfectly in every way...right down to them loving to sing
along to the radio in the car like the rest of us. Adoption is truly a miracle.
We have discussed the option of adopting from Africa and as much as it is on my
heart, it's not financially right for us at the moment. HOWEVER, Emi has assured
us that she WILL be adopting from Africa someday and not to worry! The vision
ingrained on my heart may not be for my own child, but oh how lives in me daily.

Emilee, Nate, Jess and Joaquin are thriving and lovers of life. They are soul
mates as siblings, which again reveals the miracle of adoption to me. With the
ages of Jess and Joaquin when we adopted them they have a lot of memories from
their home country. We speak openly of adoption, Colombia and and how we came to
meet them. Jess still often brings up things she remembers and is comfortable
asking questions. They openly tell us they are happy and glad Jesus put our
family together. Our social worker even commented on how easy things have been
for them as far as adjusting. Resilient little survivors, full of life,
accepting of love, and confident in who God made them. Are we Blessed?...You
bet, and we count our blessings every day!

At the Circus

Jess learning to walk the tight rope

So what have we been up to?
Well...Basketball season came to and end. Emi Cheered for the 8th grade school
team and Nate made the 7th grade team for the school. Jess and Joaquin took a
session of karate and have been involved in a swim clinic with the Cincinnati
Marlins. They love love love to swim. Jess is doing a fabulous job. And Joaquin
is not far behind her. they can swim the length of the Marlins pool freestyle,
and backstroke. They are working on butterfly and some other strokes. Emilee is
running track again this spring and doing great on her 400 meter runs and relay.
Emi has tried out for high school cheerleading and she made the Junior Varsity
team for the football season and the freshman team for basketball; we are very
proud of her hard work. Nate is now full swing into his select baseball, playing
catcher and left field. So as you can see, all we do is RUN RUN RUN. But the
kids grades are good and they love their activities.

Emi and Nate were both inducted into the National Honor Society. We had
wonderful weather for Easter, so painting eggs and hunting them was lots of fun.
Our cat hat kittens and Joaquin wants to keep them all. He is going to be upset
when they all go to their new homes, even though we told him we can't keep them

And Emilee was asked to be Hunter's God Mother

Joaquin had his 7th Birthday. When we asked him what he would like to do he said
he wanted to have a "game day" with the whole family and eat hot dogs. So we got
some of his favorite games and went to Mimi and Papa's house to celebrate.

Other than that...Jess has been begging to go to the beach and find sea shells.
So for vacation this year we are going to Myrtle Beach with my parents, brother,
sister, nieces and nephews. Should be a good time.

I can't believe school is almost over and summer is just around the corner.
Time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Events

Here are some pics to do a review of our last few months.

In November baby Hunter was born. A new nephew to love on. Emi was in the room while Aunt Jeanie gave birth to Baby Hunter. She completely enjoyed the experience and found herself in tears and in awe of the process. She adores Hunter and was asked to be his God Mother. VERY COOL!

Nate's football team won his 5th Superbowl in a row and Emi and Jess were in several cheer competitions. Also, Nate made the Junior High Basketball team!

We went to the zoo and saw all the Christmas lights and made gingerbread houses.

The boys got Tennessee gear for Christmas from Grandma Starla and Papaw Ronnie...GO VOLS!

We made it to the international food store and got lots of items from Colombia and the things to make empenadas. YUM!!! When we stayed at Zuetana, one day they had a cooking session. We learned how to make empenadas and brought home the recipe!

And we've gotten lots of snow lately to play in!

And Jess turned 9 years old this week.
Here is a pic from just after her birthday 2 years ago while we were in Colombia and then one from this week. I can't believe how much she has grown! Little Jess isn't so little anymore. She has grown in every way imaginable. She is very concerned for others and is making good friends. She is terribly concerned for the people in Haiti right now and speaks of things we can do to help, like send toothbrushes, soap, and clothes (which we have done). She loves art and being crafty. She loves music and her iPod. Jess is very sweet and a big time Daddy's Girl!