Friday, December 30, 2011

An update on our journey....

It is with mixed emotions that I write this post -but at the same time I can assuredly say we have been given much grace and peace that passes all understanding.  For those of you who have been following our adoption journey you know were were matched with our sweet Linnea Hope on July 15 of this year.


All of our paperwork made it to China and was logged in at the end of September.  We then begin the wait to be matched with our second daughter Kaylah.  It was our hope that our girls would come from the same orphanage so we began to wait for specific files from the Maoming Orphanage.  October came and went with no files and the hope that we would know something on November 1, that hope got moved to December 1, then December 15, then January 1, and now to February 1.  We got a call from our agency this week and the time has come for us to decide do we want to keep waiting and thus delay getting Linnea or do we want to move forward and go get our sweet girl.  We could choose to keep waiting but there is no guarantee that the files will actually come on February 1 - in fact that is right during Chinese New Year - so it is really an unlikely scenario.  Even if the files came in February - we have to wait for pre-approval from China which takes about two weeks from the time you are matched.  Then once you have pre-approval you have to wait for a Letter of Acceptance and right now those are taking anywhere from 90 to 100 plus days. There is a family in our Lifeline yahoo group who has been waiting 143 days!! Then after you get LOA (letter of acceptance) you are still 2-3 months away from travel.  So even if the files came in February - and the trend does not make that look likely.... the earliest we might travel would be August.  Meanwhile our sweet Linnea is sitting in China waiting on her mommy and daddy.  All of this to say that after much thought and prayer (and a sleepless night for me) we are moving forward to get Linnea.  We feel confident that this is God's plan. He has been faithful to give us much confirmation.  We learned today that the children's home/foster care program that she is a part of is transitioning and at the end of May someone else would oversee her care.  We have to go get her!!  This decision does not come without some sadness and even some wonder at what others might think.  However, it also comes with great reminders that God is in control, He wrote our story He knew that this is how things would turn out long ago; and there is a Kaylah Joy still out there who needs a mommy and daddy - I don't know if she will ever be part of our family - but I will forever be reminded of the 147 million orphans in the world by knowing she is out there.  And while there was some sadness there has been GREAT REJOICING!!!!  We are now on the home stretch of our journey!!!  We could be traveling to get our sweet girl in 10-12 weeks!!!! (as long as I have calculated correctly with the Chinese New Year)  Did you catch that - we our going to get our girl!!!!!!!!!!!!  Can you hear the excitement!!  I have a room to get ready and I don't own too many girl things!!!  Lots to still do!!  We are so thankful to know the One who has been in control of this all and we are beyond grateful for your prayers and support.  Thanks for keeping up with us!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

updates....

So many ask if we have heard anything about a second referral and we are still waiting on our sweet Kaylah Joy.  We have been told that hopefully files will be ready by Jan 1 - but I must tell you we heard that Nov. 1, Dec. 1, and Dec. 15 so I am not so sure.  What I am sure is that God's timing is perfect.  I would be lying if I told you the waiting was easy because it is not and I am not a good waiter.  The kids keep asking when we are going to see Kaylah and will we ever send her a package and I can't wait for the day to say here is your other sister and let's go put a package together for her!! Again I remind myself the Lord knows and for that I am grateful!  And I am also grateful for new updates and pictures on our Linnea and we got some today!  She is changing soo much!! Just when I thought I was getting content with the waiting somewhat - I get these and see she is growing up too fast!! It also looks like she might have gotten a haircut - she didn't have bangs before and now she does.  I had sent these christmas presents along with her birthday package.  We sent some pj's and a blanket that I made as well as some crayons and a coloring book.  I am not sure who gave her the doll in the last picture but the picture is so sweet.  We are sending out another package this week with some more goodies. Pray for us as we are waiting.   





Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Merry CHRISTmas from our  family to yours!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's cookie time!!


So I will let the cat out of the bag ... one of my favorite movies to watch growing up was Troop Beverly Hills with Shelly Long... you know it's cookie time!! I used to love singing that little diddy with my sister.  Well its not girl scout cookie time but it is Christmas cookie time!!  Tomorrow night I am having a cookie swap with the dwarf house girls and I am so looking forward to it!!  Tonight I made my moms famous skillet cookies.  I was reminiscing about the baked goodies my mom used to make around the holidays and this was always one of my favorites!! Chocolate and peanut butter - seriously you cannot go wrong!! So I called my mom for the recipe and of course she couldn't give me exact measurements and this as you know was driving me crazy!! So I googled them and of course they are not called skillet cookies I found them under no bake peanut butter cookies - to me they will always be good ole skillet cookies.  They were super easy and deliciously yummy!! Thanks for the recipe and memories mom!!

Skillet Cookies 
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat cool one minute
Add peanut butter, stir to blend, add vanilla and oats stir to mix well.
Quickly drop mixture by spoonful onto wax paper.  
Cool completely.
ENJOY!!!

Off to bake some more cookies!!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Driving through the desert...



I am so behind in blogging - lots of pictures to load, stories to tell - maybe I can catch up sometime this week - but I also have lots to do - stockings to make for little girls, PJ's to sew together for my 5 ducklings for Christmas eve, presents to wrap, parties to attend,  and well you know the usual - homeschool, laundry, cooking, cleaning ... you get my drift.  But for today - we are driving through the desert in our jeep looking for a place we can camp - as Nathan told Luke there are no hotels in the desert we just have to find a spot to lay down our sleeping bags.....they work in the army...
Have I mentioned I LOVE their imaginations!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's their pleasure....

It’s their pleasure | ajc.com

This was a really great article about Chick-fil-A's Winshape Foster Care program. I have told DP that once he retires this is the job I want us to have ..... I love being a mom and he loves being a dad and we LOVE kids - so it fits.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Night ...

It's chilly so we have a fire going, we're sipping on hot chocolate and watching one of my all time favorites White Christmas!! Hope you're enjoying your Friday night.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We got this today.....


I am in shock.  We have only been waiting 45 days for this.  This is our official letter of acceptance from China stating we can adopt Linnea.  Usually LOA's take about 3 months to get.  Some of my blogging adopting friends have been waiting a long time for theirs.  So you are probably wondering what this means now.  Well we are still waiting on a referral for Kaylah Joy.  We are hoping that will come soon.  As soon as we get her referral we will wait on a PA (pre-approval) which takes about 2-3 weeks and then we will wait on her LOA which as I said before takes about 3 months.  Please pray that all these things would come quickly as we are ready to bring our girls home. I know God is sovereign and His timing is best.  I rest in that.  

Orphan Sunday

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I am thankful that so many are opening their hearts as to what God would have them do in regards to orphan care.  Since David and I have become involved in the whole adoption process God has not only opened our hearts for our own two daughters but we also feel deeply convicted about the plight of the orphan in general.  Did you know that there are 147 million orphans in the world today?? If every orphan held hands and you drove past each one at 60 mph nonstop (1,700 each mile) it would take two months.  Every few seconds an orphan dies of a preventable disease.  The statistics are unbearable.  While I know we cannot adopt all 147 million children we can pray for them and we can tell others and pray that God would stir in the hearts of those around us.  The great thing is we are getting to watch Him do just that.  We have 5 couple friends who are also in the adoption process and we have seen countless other friends become involved in other ways.
This past Sunday was Orphan Sunday.  I am so thankful that we belong to a church who desires to see our church filled with faces that are not all alike.  And I am thankful for the challenge - it was a message from one of our pastors that lead us to the journey we are on right now and it actually wasn't even preached on Orphan Sunday.  But now that we are on this journey our hearts are in much different places Orphan Sunday is much closer to our hearts.  So in trying to help our kids understand what it means to be an orphan and some of the challenges that orphans face we decided to have this for dinner.....


Just rice.  It made for an interesting meal and dinner conversations and to be honest made me quite THANKFUL!!!  Some kids only get to eat this one time a day.  I honestly just cannot imagine.  I can't imagine what it is like to be cold or lonely or even hungry.  I am, we are way beyond richly blessed.

Full of Questions....

Lately Nathan has been full of questions and for that I am soo thankful!!  We have had such great conversations and many opportunities for me to remind him of the gospel.  I love how he thinks through the Bible - for example he recently sat down next to me as I was reading my Bible and says this...
"Mom I have a question.... you know the books of the New Testament start out Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.... so how come Jesus dies in Matthew but he's not born until Luke 2???!!!"  Thankfully that was an easy one to explain - they haven't all been that easy.  And actually the subject matter of his questions can vary.   This next story is for my sister - she would be proud...

This past Tuesday was a voting day - but only for the city and we live outside of the city limits - so our polling location was not open.  This concerned Nathan greatly.  Here is how that conversation went....
N: "But what about President Obama??"
M: "Well we are not voting for the president today but if we were mommy would not vote for President Obama - because he does not value many of the things God values and we want to honor God." (I explained some of the issues that do not reflect the character of God and he suggested some as well so I knew he was getting the point.)
N: "Well what about Ken Steele?"
M: "Who is Ken Steele??" (I am clueless to who this is - much to my dismay and I am not proud to admit sorry Shannon!!)
N: "I don't know." (getting all embarrassed)
M: "Do you know where you heard his name??" (thinking maybe a commercial or something - I still don't know who this is and we just dismiss the conversation, drop Luke off at school and head home)

On my way to pick Luke back up from preschool I see this.....


This is who Ken Steele is.... guess he saw enough of his signs to know they meant something!!

Wow....

God has been so gracious to us and I always want to be consciously aware that it is His graciousness alone that makes anything possible. We are so thankful for the cards and emails you have sent to us on behalf of our adoption journey.  Here is one of the many ways God has been so gracious to us...

I recently went to our mailbox and found a letter addressed to us from a name I did not recognize. (Because we are on the world wide web here I will make up names for the purpose of this story.) The return address label said Tony Williams.  I thought to myself who in the world is Tony Williams??  I opened the letter and there was this note in it....

"The Pruiksma Family"
Such a beautiful and wonderful thing you are planning to give a new life to two beautiful young ladies.  Just think what a wonderful life the will have and to be living with a beautiful family.  And most of all they will experience love and be wanted!! Best of all things-
"Polly and Tony Williams"

Included in the note was a donation for our adoption fund.  I still am so clueless as to who this couple might be - The names were so unfamiliar to me and the handwriting made "Polly" look like "Dolly" so here I am trying to figure out who in the world are "Tony and Dolly." I really have no idea!! But I am so thankful as God uses whomever He chooses.  I called dad thinking he might know them because the return address label looked militaryish...- he didn't know them.  I left a message for David thinking maybe it might be someone he knew that I didn't.  Then the lightbulb came on - its not "Dolly" its "Polly" as in "Tony and Polly"!!!  They are an older couple that are regulars at the Fayetteville Dwarf House.  I waited on them often when I used to work there and of course David knew them because of his many years there.  And I was just overwhelmed and blown away!! This sweet couple whom we have known for years only through CFA, who probably attended our wedding as many of the regulars at the Dwarf House did, blessed our lives in ways they will probably never know.   Who knew so many years ago when I was waiting on their table - that they would be intertwined in our lives again and ultimately making an impact for the kingdom.  I am amazed at God's goodness and thankful for Chick-fil-A and how He has used it in our lives.  




This is just one of the many stories I could share in how God has been so good to us.  We are beyond grateful.......

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Luke....


My Sweet boy,

We love you so much!! You are so generous and kind and most of all LOVING. You have such a sweet spirit about you.  You care so much about what others think - and I want you to know we are so proud of you - especially for working so hard on your ice cream scoops.  You are doing such a great job in school learning and writing your name.  You are definitely our quality time little man!! Mommy had such a fun date with you this weekend and I look forward to having another one soon.  We are so thankful God has placed you in our family.

The "Christmas List...."

David and I usually are not really into the kids making a big Christmas list and telling us all the things they want for Christmas because we don't want to emphasize Christmas being all about getting presents and we don't want them to have set expectations.  They love getting all the catalogs in the mail and circling things they would like especially the "hunting magazines."  However this year while we were out of town one evening Nathan was really having a hard time with going to bed and there was much crying and drama - so we suggested he be allowed to have a flash light and some paper and write down a few things he might like for Christmas......thus he made a "Christmas List."  I am going to put a picture on here for you - and as you can see it is 2 pages full.  This list made us laugh soo hard!!  I will translate it for you below but I am going to use his spelling and punctuation - and possibly put some comments to the side.  Rest assured our first born dreams big!


PAGE 1:
Night Stand!                                                                                       
Book Light!                                                        
pup                                                                  
walky-talkys!!                                                
a small tv! (this will never happen)                  
some legos!                                                      
cook book!                                                        
Modls!                                                              
hunting toys!
gi-Jos and some gi Jo things
some PJS!
a power wiels for weler!
10 Nerf guns!!!!
army stuf
a new Laptop!!!!!!! (what is he thinking??)
reymote catrol snow mobel !
some Wii things!!!!!!!
some tools with a saw and vest!!!
dirt bike!!!!!!!!!! (he drew a dirt bike - I can't replicate that)
a tree house
two tny pecees of wood
a box of nails!!!!
some paper
some cards!
a new jakit
a tikit to six flags
thas it!! (that is until we get to page 2)

PAGE 2:
cow boy bots!!!!!
air soft gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cell phon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (again not happening)
some bace balls!
Ninga stuf
an art esl with some pante
air soft hand gun!
a fish!
soem pens!
some tom and Jury movies

And that my friends completes his list.  Hope you guys got a good laugh we sure did!  He dreams big and we love him for it!! Love you Nathan!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ladybug

Ladybugs and adoption are a big thing in China. I am actually not sure what the correlation really is so I need to do my research. However on this day Orphan Sunday we saw a ladybug in our van on two separate occasions. Whatever it may mean in China I am taking it as a reminder from our sovereign God that he is in all the details of our adoption and I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a treat!!!

What a treat for our family!!  Blogger doesn't doesn't do this video justice as far as graphics are concerned but I had to let you see her!! The first video is really short but the kids got quite a kick out of that one!! She has quite the expressions in the second one!  I just love her to pieces!! Truly a mommy in love with her daughter!! 




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our girl.......

Linnea had her birthday celebration this weekend at her friends in the park outing with TCH.  I won't keep you waiting here are the pics!!!!  Can March get here any quicker!!!???

opening her birthday outfit made by mommy

how cute is she??!!!

playing with friends

Linnea celebrated her birthday with 3 other friends from TCH


I love this face!



they are showing her pictures of mommy making her outfit

how funny
she gets a musical toy with a cow on it!!
Could this be any more appropriate!!

This is my favorite!!
 It looks like she is eating a pastry with chocolate on it
Can we say mama's girl already!!

SOOO thankful for TCH - she will cherish these pictures as do we!
Thank you Jenny, TCH and Linnea's foster mother and father for making it such a fun day for her and for letting us be able to see the fun!!

Cupcakes...

I cannot believe I am about to say this but I think I found a cupcake better than Crumbs - my all time favorite cupcake place in NYC (they have other locations but none of them are remotely close to me.)  I believe myself to be a connoisseur of cupcakes - if there is a cupcake around - I will try it.  So as you can imagine I have tried a good number of cupcakes and have yet to find one that was just over the top - besides the ones I eat at Crumbs.  Now please don't get me wrong - Crumbs cupcakes are still in my favorites and if I am ever in the area of a Crumbs - please note I will be eating one of their cupcakes.  Having said all that - the best cupcake I have eaten as of today came from this place


Now this is not a very good picture as I was across the street - but it is called Hey Cupcake and it has a big swirling cupcake on the top of this RV looking trailer you see.  It is located in Austin Texas and unfortunately nowhere else.  Why is it all the really good cupcake places are never anywhere near me!! Anyway I digress..... so the menu is limited but the cupcakes I tried - yes I said cupcakes were oh so yummy!!  I had the pumpkinator whipper snapper style.  What this means is that I got a squirt of homemade whip cream shot right into the middle of my cupcake and boy was it good.  It was the best cupcake ever!! So moist. It was pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing with graham crackers sprinkled on top along with my whip cream in the middle.  Okay it was soo good!!  Take a look....


I also tried a vegan cupcake called the Elvis - it was banana cake with chocolate chips inside with a peanut butter cream cheese icing - it was also very delicious and oh so moist.  For later I got a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese icing - I can't remember its exact name - but I do remember it was not my favorite and in the chocolate cupcake category so far Crumbs is still my favorite there.  David tried the strawberry and red velvet both of which he said were fabulous.  So next time you are out in Austin go to Hey Cupcake try a cupcake and bring me back one too.  For that matter if you are ever near a Crumbs cupcake shop contact me!!

Luke on the farm....

Before we left for Texas the boys and I went on a field trip with Luke's preschool class to Southern Belle Farms.  LOVED it!!  We had a great time learning about pumpkins and farm animals.  We got to see a cow get milked - we saw a baby calf that was only 2 weeks old.  And if you can believe this - we saw pig races!!  It was the cutest thing.  I wish I had thought to take a picture - because they swam in water!  It was a fun morning for all of us!!












Hook em Horns!!

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel with David to the CFA market in Austin Texas. While we were there I had the opportunity to tour the University of Texas Football offices and I got to meet UT Longhorns coach Mack Brown. If that wasn't fun enough - one of the operators out in Austin gave us tickets to the UT vs. Okalahoma State game. Can you say FUN!! Coach Brown was so hospitable and just hearing how he coaches and his vision for the Longhorns was enough to make me a fan! Here are a few pictures from our time in Texas. Hook em Horns!!!

Coach Brown
Love the comma at the end - continuing to strive for excellence!
This was a painting and no matter how you looked at it - the Longhorn was always looking at you!