Monday, January 25, 2010

From earthquake to blessing...

I don't know all the answers to complex questions like why are there natural disasters and tragedy in the world, but I do know that God is greater than those tragic events. Now I have seen that first hand in a very real way that has changed my life forever! A couple of years ago, friends of ours from our church here in Dallas, Jason and Sarah Hyatt, went on a mission trip to Haiti that changed their lives forever. I knew the instant they came back that something was different, and then soon after, they shared that they would be adopting two children from Haiti. So the long process began... they sold their home in Dallas (at a time when real estate was plummeting and we were going into a recession, it sold almost immediately!) to move back to Louisiana to live with their family so they could save money for the adoption. Steve and I were humbled by their decision to do this and were excited to see things unfold for them. It was a long hard couple of years. They were matched up with an orphan immediately, but nothing seemed to be happening. In fact, everything was at a stand still. Laws were suddenly changing that were making it next to impossible for them to ever bring home their sweet Naomie. But God is bigger than that.

As we all know, there was an earthquake in Haiti just a little over a week ago... I can imagine how our friends must have felt: fear, uncertainty, panic. Just to name a few emotions. They learned that Naomie's orphanage was fine, but the children were having to sleep outside due to damage and the after shocks were making it unsafe to be inside. Many adoptive parents were wondering if they would ever be united with their children, for fear that their adoption papers were lost in the rubble. But God is bigger than that.

Many of us watched their blog and twitter updates on the edge of our seats, wondering what was going to happen next. They were literally working around the clock to find out the status of Naomie and wondering how they could get to see her again. They didn't get much sleep, their whole life was revolved around somehow getting Naomie back into their arms. Then it was announced that orphans in Haiti were being brought back to the US under Humanitarian Parole status. Could this be the hope they were waiting for? The adoption that was once at a stand still and they had been preparing to wait even another year, could it really be that they could immediately be united with her? The first flight came, and Naomie was not on the flight. She was held back because she did not have travel papers. Road block. But God is bigger than that.

Naomie did not make it on that first plane, but another surprise did: a 5 month old named Amalia! They had initally said they would adopt two and were only matched with one. But now, here was their second daughter that they were adopting! A blessing yes, but what about Naomie? Jason was asked to fly down to Haiti as soon as possible to help assist with getting the rest of of the orphans out of the country, including Naomie. Through an unbelievable series of events, it was orchestrated that Jason would be on a flight next tuesday to do this. But then, a change. Yesterday he had word that he should fly to Orlando and that Naomie would be on a flight there on Monday. This morning, they were united! Their blog is titled 4 to 6 (their family of 4 becoming a family of 6) and this morning they finally became 4 to 6! I can't even describe the emotions I felt when I saw the picture of Sarah embracing her little girl. It's beyond comprehension. And I'm just watching from afar. Just imagine what they must've felt! The post was titled "Now my soul can rest." And now it can...

For those of us who wonder the "Why" questions... somehow it all just comes together. And I believe that is because of God who orchestrated it all from the very beginning! It's just so very amazing to me and I feel forever changed and humbled by having the opportunity to witness this miracle.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ice at the Gaylord!

On New Years Eve, Carter and I had the opportunity to go to the Gaylord Texan to see the Ice exhibit with my father and mother in law and Steve's brother Kevin and his daughter Emma. It was -5 degrees inside the exhibit (yes that is fahrenheit!) so they give you these huge parkas to wear while you are inside. Every year they do a new theme and this year was the Grinch.

This was the entrance with the Grinch himself sitting on the ice!

Carter and I in front of the Grinch.

Emma (3), Kevin, Grandma and Carter in front of the Welcome to Whoville sign. They had a huge ice slide in the next section, but unfortunately do not have pictures of it. Kevin and I were too concerned with whether or not Emma and Carter were going to go down the slide (they ended up not going down!) that we forgot to take pictures.

Carter in front of a Who resident at the feast table.

The Whoville feast table.

Carter and I in front of the roast beast.

Grandma in front of the Grinch's dog.

Merry Christmas! Carter looks a little bit cold.

Emma and Carter, once we got warmed up outside of the exhibit.

Emma and Carter on the train.

Emma and Carter in front of the Gingerbread house inside the hotel.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Meeting a Babyfit friend for the first time!

About 4 years ago when I first found out that I was pregnant with Carter, I joined a website called Babyfit. It's a website that promotes a healthy pregnancy and also provides an opportunity to meet other Moms who are pregnant at the same time. I had no idea that joining this site would give me the opportunity to make many wonderful and lasting friendships! I joined the October 2006 Moms group and made some amazing friends. We are all very good friends to this day and have now become friends on Facebook too, so we all keep in touch on a daily basis, sharing stories about our children, asking each other advice and so on. Some of us have already had our 2nd and 3rd children together. On our trip back from VA, we had the opportunity to stop in Knoxville to meet one of my best Babyfit friends, Kristen and her two little kiddos.

Here we are with our kids: Kristen with Will (6 months) and Lexi (3), myself with Sydney and Carter. The fun thing is that Lexi and Carter are the same exact age (Lexi is a few weeks older) and Will and Sydney are only 6 months apart.

Carter and Lexi had a blast playing together in the McD's playground! It was a fun little stop for us. For anyone who is pregnant, I highly recommend this website, I seriously don't know what I would do without it. It's so valuable to have other women there by your side who are going through the same things at the very same time!

Christmas with the Blackburns

This year, in order to save money, we decided to do the unthinkable: drive 18 hours to VA for Christmas with two little ones! Thankfully, we had friends to stay with in the Nashville area both directions, so it made it much easier. We left around 2:15 a.m. on the first day of driving (in order to allow for the kids to sleep for half the trip) and arrived in Smyrna, TN around 2:30. We had the opportunity to visit with my dear friend and college roommate, Jen Brand Warneld and meet her kids for the first time. Upon arriving, we learned that the biggest blizzard in 10 years was approaching the east coast, so the Warnelds graciously allowed us to stay one extra night so we wouldn't have to drive in blizzarding conditions. Luckily, the Warnelds are also big gamers like the Westdyks, so we played lots of games while the kids had fun running around the house together.

Once we got on the road again two days later, there was over a foot of snow on the ground, but the highways were crystal clear. The kids were very excited to see snow for the first time!

Steve and my brother Joel offered to shovel the snow from around the mailbox so the mailman would actually deliver the mail!

Me and my little snow bunny. She really wasn't a big fan of the white stuff actually and wouldn't let me let go of her.

It was such a joy to have my Mom play the piano for my kids. They loved listening to her play!

Sydney had a love interest in their dog Becca the entire week! She loved to pet her, squeeze her and hug her. Thankfully, Becca is a very sweet and loving dog and took the abuse graciously. Sydney also took off with the walking thing while we were there that week. She also learned to climb steps quite well.

It was great to have Joel and Angela spend some time with us from Phoenix, although it was way too short. Since Angela had to work on Christmas day, they were only able to be with us for a couple of days. So we celebrated with them on Christmas Eve Eve. Sadly, they spent all of Christmas Eve in airports and didn't make it home until after Midnight on Christmas day.

It was great to have the WHOLE family together for once. Pictured: Steve, myself, Sydney and Carter, Angela and Joel, Dad and Mom, Alanna (13 almost 14), Tyler (11), Amy, Caitlyn (9), Emily (7) and Walt, and Becca the dog.

On Christmas morning it was fun to have all the kids together!

And it wouldn't be Christmas morning if we didn't have our traditional picture coming down the stairs to open the presents! Except this time there were a few more people in the picture than normal...

Carter and Emily spent a lot of time reading together. I think Carter really misses his cousin Emily!

On our last full day together we went to my Dad's church. Here we are with my parents in front of the church.

Amy and the kids headed back to Pittsburgh just after this picture was taken!
On our way back the next day we were able to stay in Clarksville, TN with our friends Vincent and Ingrid Luttrell. Vincent is an Army Chaplain on the base in Fort Campbell, KY and is deploying next month. It was great for Steve to visit with his Seminary pal. Since there was ice/snow supposed to be coming to Dallas the next day, we left at 1 a.m. to miss it. It was great to be home again but we really enjoyed spending time with family for the week.

Christmas with the Westdyks

Since Steve's family lives close by and my family is far away, every other year we have to celebrate Christmas early with Steve's family before we go out of town to see my family. This year was really early since we drove to VA to see my family and left earlier, so we celebrated on December 13th with the Westdyks.

Grandpa and Cooper who is a few weeks older than Sydney.

Carter getting his new leapster which he has loved playing with!

Cooper and Emma (age 3, almost 4)

Me and my cute kiddos!

Daddy and Sydney. Sydney enjoyed ripping the paper so much!


About Me

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I am a homeschooling mom to four. I just had a VBAC after 3 c-sections this year after I was told I no longer had the choice by my first Doctor. I am a childbirth instructor for Birth Boot Camp. My first class starts January of 2013!