Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Card 2008

We hope that all of our friends in the Blogosphere have a Picture Perfect Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let it Snow! Let is Snow! LET IT SNOW!!!!!!

It doesn't show signs of stopping, and I've got some corn for popping......
For those of you that are reading our blog and don't live in West Michigan, we thought you should have a look at the Blizzard conditions that we have been enduring for the last 24 hours. Chad and the kids decided that they would bundle up and brave the wintery conditions this afternoon. At the time that they went out, the temperature was 10 degrees. Gabbie, Max, and Lily returned inside for some hot chocolate after these photos were taken. However, Will stayed out and helped Chad finish the shoveling (the snow blower stopped working on him.....great timing!).
We have spent the day finishing up our Christmas wrapping, baking, and cards. This year, if I'm not ready for Christmas, I have no excuse!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Day at the Park

One of my favorite things about homeschooling my kids is our weekly outings. We call them fieldtrips...some are educational, some are just for fun. We had a beautiful fall day last week, so I decided we would get in one last trip to the skate park before the winter weather sets in. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can go places when everyone else is not there. I don't think we would last two minutes in the skate park when it is full of teenagers. However, we went when everyone was in school and had the park to ourselves. The kids brought a bike, a scooter, rollerblades, and a little ride on toy. What a blast!!

Seven is Enough!!

This weekend we have had the pleasure of adding three children to our family. What a blessing to enjoy some extended time with our friend's kids who also happen to be our kid's friends. The kids have been a joy to have around and have fit in very nicely to our family. We have made some great memories this weekend.

One thing that Chad and I have learned this weekend, though, is that seven kids are a lot of kids. That translates into a lot of dishes to wash, a lot of voices to quiet, and a lot of shoes to keep track of. Of course, it also means a lot of giggles, a lot of interesting conversations, and a lot of fun!

We will cherish these memories for years to come!

Thanks, Troy and Lisa for sharing your kids with us.

This was what happened at bedtime the first night.....oh my, it may be a long night!!!

On Saturday, we decided that some good physical activity would be fun for everyone, and just might wear everyone out a bit, so we spent the day at the gym for some rock climbing and swimming. That is one full hot tub!

Sophie shows off her underwater tricks!!

Josh and Will enjoy the ride down from their difficult climb!

A big smile from Sophie after she made it to the top of the rock wall!

ALL THE MAVERICKS IN THE HOUSE, PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!! The kids had a great time watching some polital reruns of SNL online today and enjoyed rapping and dancing to them. I just had to snap a pic of this...they were having such a great time. With that being said.....if I hear this line one more time this weekend....I may just loose it. (I cannot believe what my two year old has to put up with.....shouldn't she be watching Barney or something?)

I'm not trying to make a political statment here, just having a little fun after this election week. I'm so glad the election is over...really, SNL was fun, but all of the ads, I could do without!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Last Days of Summer

I cannot believe how quickly summer went by. It is so hard to say good-bye to the carefree days of summer. We had such a great summer! Our best memories are of the surf and sand at Lake Michigan. We are so blessed to live so close to the beautiful sandy shore. It is amazing how sand and water can provide hours of entertainment for all ages.

Here we are with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. We just finished a great hike through the woods to the Lake.

What a great picture of my parents. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary this month!!

Lily enjoys our "backyard carnival". We have a small collection of large inflatables that the kids enjoy all summer long. Thanks largely to Chad who so graciously drains them, fills them, and moves them around the yard so the grass doesn't die underneath!!

Gabbie and Tessa show off their cakes after our first cake decorating class! Great work, girls!

Summer wouldn't be complete without a Trolley ride in Grand Haven. Will is enjoying the view from the back of the Trolley.

Gabbie hangs out at the back of the Trolley to take in the summer sites in Grand Haven.

Blueberry picking, yum!!!

There is a great story that goes along with this family photo. Our adoption agency asked us for a family photo for the magazine that they publish. We thought this would be an easy thing to do, and it may be fun to see if we end up in the magazine. So, we tried to clean everyone up a bit (that's not all too common in the summer), and put on some clothes that may look okay together. Chad set up the tri-pod, we gathered the kids on the front porch and told everyone to smile. It was all down hill from there!! Let's just say that getting a 5 year old to look at the camera, a 2 year old to smile, and two older kids to keep "decent looks on their faces", is so much easier said than done. So, about 45 minutes and a whole bunch of tears later, here is the result. Is it a good picture? Yeah, I think so. Was it worth it? It depends on how many years our kids will spend in counseling dealing with the scars!!

Here, Max and I wait it out while Chad heads inside to try to convince Will to come back out and give it another try.

Lily helped to wash (and eat) all of the blueberries.

Gabbie and Will head up front with Josh and Sara at Unity (Christian music concert) to hear Third day. I must be getting old, because it sure was LOUD!!!

Gabbie and Erin take time from enjoying the music to smile for a picture.

Gabbie and Lily dance the night away at the concert.

I included this picture not only because it is a great shot of me with my two darling girls, but because I think it is such a beautiful picture of the water, sand, and dunes. If you are friends that don't live in Michigan, you should come and see us in the summer and enjoy the beach with it. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Beach Bums!!!

Our kids and some friends are getting ready to tube down a little stream that leads into Lake Michigan. What a perfect lazy summer day!!

I know the marshmellow is toasted to perfection, but more importantly, look at that sky and waves. It is so hard to say good-bye to summer.

It was also hard to say good-bye to this wonderful vacation. We stayed at a cottage on Lake Michigan two other families. It was an amazing week of water, waves, sand, and great memories! We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends.

Will and I enjoyed this great sunset after we all took a late night dip in the water.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Oh Yeah! My boy can ride a Bike!!!

Max did it!! He is officially able to ride his bike without training wheels.

Check out these videos of his Mad Skills.

You will have to click on the links to play the videos. But I will try to figure out how to embed a video right here.

Max Riding a Bike

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer up to now

Wow! It is amazing how quickly summer seems to be going by. It seems as though we just returned from Guatemala, and then finished up our school year. Now, it is the end of the fourth of July weekend. I wish I could slow everything down so we can soak up every bit of summer.

As I watched the slide show that Chad put together for our blog, I could not help but to think about how quickly my kids are growing up. I honestly could not believe that Max mastered jumping off the diving board at Grandma and Grandpa's pool this weekend. Wasn't it just yesterday that we wrapped him up in a blanket and brought him home from the hospital? How does time go by so quickly once you become a parent?
I feel so blessed to be able to be home with our kids. I am so thankful that I am here to cheer them on when they learn something new. I'm thankful that I'm here to kiss a boo-boo, wipe away tears, witness a two year old learning to talk and entertain her siblings, shop with a pre-teen, find missing lego pieces (okay, that is not always my favorite thing), and to hear an eight year old dream of great inventions and cool cars. What an amazing gift it is to be a mom. I am reminded of the wise words of a very wise mom and good friend that told me recently after her oldest son graduated from high school "the joy is the journey". It is so easy to think that we are just working toward some goal (graduating a child, potty training, sleeping through the night, or mastering printing). But the joy is in the everyday moments that God gives us with our children. What a gift to be able to teach them and train them and experience all of God's blessings with our family, right now!

Here is a slide show and a link to the same slides to let you see what has been going on here.

Thanks for checking in.

Early Summer 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Lily!!!

Yesterday our little girl turned 2 years old. And we had a fantastic celebration. We could only wish that our family and friends back in Michigan could have enjoyed the day with us. We invited Dora and Ruben (and their family) to our ¨home¨ in Antigua and we had a beautiful day together. Some other friends came to the party too, as you can see in the pictures.

Here is a link to another large album of pictures. I am sorry there are so many pictures, but I don´t have time to edit it now and our internet access is not completely dependable. Enjoy the pictures.

And Yes that is HOT lava only a few feet away from Gabbie, Will and me on Volcan Pacaya.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuk Tuks and the Hill of the Cross

Here is a link to another photo album. We walked up about 500 steps to the hill of the cross for a great view of Antigua. There are some pictures of Lily with a very special pink Butterfly. And some pictures of us all stuffed into a Tuk Tuk for a ride around town. We will post more details later.

Thanks for your prayers and for checking up on us.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lunch at the Castillo´s

What an amazing day!!! As I sit here to type this, I am still trying to wrap my mind around it all. Lily´s foster parents invited us to have lunch with them at their house. From beginning to end, it was wonderful. They were so warm and welcoming to us. It was wonderful to see Mamma Dora and Papa Ruben again. Their entire family came to visit with us. Dora served us a wonderful meal and treated us like we were kings and queens. She made some authentic Guatemalan dishes that were so yummy! She also made baked three different desserts, each was so good and so unlike anything that we have in the states. The third dessert was cheesecake and she put two candles in and everyone sang happy birthday to Lily!
We were so blessed by this day and we are so thankful that their family has so much love for Lily! As a mom, I have wondered what their home was like...where did my daugher spend the first 8 months of her life? It was just so great to be there. Our kids played all afternoon with their grandkids.....funny how the language barrier doesn´t seem to bother the kids! Jumping rope and sword fighting is the same no matter what language you speak! By the way, for those of you wondering, we did use an interpreter who did an awesome job helping us for the afternoon. Dora was able to share with me some details about Lily coming to her and about Lily´s birthmother...some things that I hadn´t known. These stories are priceless!
There were many one point our interpreter (neither family even knew her before today) was crying and struggling to make it through the was just one of those days that I know I will never forget.
We will try to continue to update our blog while we are here. I will just add that this entire trip so far has been wonderful. We are so thankful to God for the opportunity to be here during this time. Our little casita in Antigua is muy bueno!! The weather is fantastico!!! The kids are having a blast!!! We continue to seek the Lord as we are finding reasons that HE laid it on our hearts to be here. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for us during our time here in Guatemala. Please continue to lift us up to HIM during our time means more to us than you could possibly know!

Here is a link to most of the pictures from our trip so far.

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Our Adventure begins!

We arrived safely in Guatemala on Wednesday morning and we have enjoyed fine weather and beautiful sights since then. We enjoyed our time at the Marriott and we each have some degree of sunburn to show for it. We really shouldn´t have trusted a sunscreen that we have never used before.

We are preparing to leave for lunch at Dora and Ruben´s house now so I well have to go.

I will post some pictures later tonight.

Thanks for checking in.

Chad and Carrie

Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter 2008 - Signs of Spring???

Well, it has been quite a while since this blog has been updated but I make no apologies. Sometimes I am just not that creative and I have no ideas about what to write or show you all on this blog. So I trust that these few photos will satisfy all of our blog readers.

All dressed up for Easter Brunch

I took the kids on a little field trip to Hoffmaster State Park last Friday.

Soaking it up at the beach.

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