Sunday, May 31, 2009

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to say...


Three years ago on May 31st we got an email with a subject line reading "A Referral for you". I remember screaming at Russ to get in the office with me. I wanted to open the email together. We'd previously decided that we would accept the first referral available once we got our dossier completed. Attached to the life changing email were these pics:

Uh...done and done.

Two years ago on May 31st, Russ was visiting us in Antigua when my phone rang. My expection to hear a sliver of good news was shattered by the best news I've possibly ever heard. Eliot was ours. The adoption was complete and approved according to Guatemala. Out of all the many mornings I'd done my hair and put make-up on, preparing for "the call", this morning I was waiting for my turn in the shower assuming it was going to be a regular day.

(If you don't know me in person, know that my teeth aren't that large. Nor do they become that large upon hearing great news. I'm assuming it was a bad camera angle.)

(Doing our "Out of PGN" dance)

For a great explanation on Gotcha day, here's my post from 2 years ago. Click here to jump straight there.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Dump and The Cross

Our second full day in Guatemala was spent in half. In the morning we drove to the Guatemala city dump, the largest in Central America. There was a team there from National Geographic documenting. Joel, an incredible man who dedicates his life to the people of the dump, gave us some time to soak it all in.

We watched people following dangerously close to each truck as it came to make its' deposit. As it dumped, the people would dig through it all (keep in mind they don't flush their toilet paper, they throw it in the trash) to find items that could make them money through recycling. There's a group of men that pay an extra fee to ride in the dump trucks before they get there to get "the good stuff" out first. What's left over is picked through by these people and the hundreds of vultures that share a home there. A really good day will make them between $2 and $3.

The government doesn't recognize them. They are the nameless.

There are people like Joel that spend their lives making sure they have names. Making sure they are valued. There are ministries like The Potter's House to minister to the almost 11,000 people that live there. Joel let us know that they offer all kinds of internships and short term mission groups if anyone is interested.

Once we got home, a group of us hiked up the mountain that overlooks Antigua. There is a cross set in the clearing. Kinda puts things into perspective.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Guate and Kappa Collide.

The first question we get when we tell people about this trip is "How do you guys know Kappa girls from Baylor?" When Russ was a youth guy at our church, I had a small group of girls that I mentored for years. They have since grown up and one of them, Lauren, went to Baylor. Being the Chaplain of her sorority, she had the idea to take a team on a mission trip and the conversation started. They did fund raisers and raised all the support they needed.

Last Tuesday we all met and flew to Guatemala. The theme of the week was to hang lightly not tightly to our expectations. The girls loaded up their back packs with toys, stickers, side walk chalk, bubbles, etc as we headed out on Wednesday morning for an orphanage for special needs children called Los Gozosos (the joy filled ones). We were all blown away by the director's story of faith, love for these children, for this country and God's provision.

(Where special children find their family)
As she finished sharing her story, we were divided up into groups to prepare the orphanage grounds for some major construction coming up this summer. In other words: manual labor. The girls jumped right in and were nothing but happy to help. Since the kids were all in school, we worked all morning and afternoon on everything from clearing storage rooms to become more classrooms to hauling dirt and breaking up concrete to help level out the country road. We were exhausted by the end of the day.

We would have done manual labor all week for this face!

Russ and Mel's brother, Peter, hung a tarp between the house and the outdoor dining area so they could prevent getting wet in the rainy season while taking the kids to eat every day.

The teacher in me had to peek and see what school looked like for these sweet kids.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Same, Same

Last year:

This year:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guate, Eliot style

Eliot's been a tad obsessed with taking pics lately. While around all the Baylor girls on our trip to Guate, the obsession increased since they were all taking a gazillion pics. Here's a few of his shots:

Here's Mel capturing the moment:

Here's the product:

Oh, so much more to come! The trip was amazing! More blogposts are abrewin' as much as the storm outside!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is why...

we bring our toddler on mission trips.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The non-party party

This year we didn't plan a big party like the last two years for Eliot's birthday. With our big trip coming up soon we decided to keep things low key. Plus we figured it would be the last year that we didn't hear "And for my birthday, can I have..." So, within the 24ish hours, we called a few friends to see if they were free.

We started at Monkey Joe's and ended with dinner at the mall food court. This will be the party Eliot brags to his friends about for years. Who needs fondant and pony rides? Not this family.

Here's some favorite pics:

Oh, wait, who's surprised that Eliot wants to sit at the car game while the world-o-fun is patiently waiting for him to notice...

Eliot's birthday present from an older child was to helpfully throw him down the slide since he wouldn't go down by himself.

Playing with Charlie!

One of our late-comers to the party had a very big day! You have to click here to read her story.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy 3rd, E-beast

When did this happen? And why am I still wearing the same tank top?

Today is Eliot's birthday. He's spent the last hour+ in his room listening to a mix CD we made him. It delights me. He loves music and we had fun putting it together for him.

He's three. While I realize he's not exactly getting his learners permit this week, it's a big deal. I've started noticing toys that need to be boxed up and sent to the basement, baby toys. He's over them and onto all his sports equipment, etc. Yesterday he threw a line drive straight into my mitt that startled me. His vocabulary is growing daily.

While I miss our "baby" I'm loving this stage (apart from the times where Captain Destructo shows up...) I'm so proud of him and who he's becoming. So much so that I wish I could take credit for it. He never ceases to be the most amazing blessing. Looking for old pics, I read this blog again this morning. I can't say it any better than I already have.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Peanut. We love you more than you could know or understand.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I need Africa...

more than Africa needs me.

I'm excited to announce that FE (Fundamental Elements) (Russ' Band) have teamed up with an amazing organization called the Mocha Club. The band was able to look over the different projects they have going and they chose Orphan Care. Kinda makes my heart tingle. Chocolate chips who need a little extra help? Uh, no brainer. The short explanation is that for the cost of two mochas a month ($7) you can join with FE to support Orphan Care.

There's lots more details on their page. Click here for more info and to join an amazing cause. Sidenote: with every membership you get a sweet t-shirt. Obviously, not super important but kinda fun.

Check this out:

Again, there's more info on the FE Blog. Click here to head straight there.

Parents say the darndest things, Vol 3

"No Eliot, Jesus can't go to Walmart with us."

I think it's more fun if I don't explain any context here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update, Shmupdate

*No mohrawk yet, but it's a brewin'. Decided to hold off until after our Guate trips. Not sure how "mohawk" translates. Not sure it's internationally, guatemullets? Those are aplenty!

*Eliot is obsessed with David and Goliath. Of course, the story where a little boy gets to throw a rock to kill the bad guy. Something crashes. People run away. People cheer.

*Mother's Day was awesome! Woke up to banana pancakes and hot coffee. Eliot kept telling me "Mom, banannnaaas in der!" After church we headed out for lunch where Eliot kept yelling, "crash! Fell dead!"(see above note) at the booth next to us. Russ and Eliot compiled 101 things they love about mommy and put them in a canister. I get to pull one out each day for the next 100.

*We're leaving in a few weeks for Guatemala for a mission trip! Yes, we're excited. Yes, we're taking Eliot. No, we're not coming back w/ another one to fill that couch. Not yet. We're taking a group of college girls. Then a few weeks later we're doing it all over again with a youth group! And YES I GET TO HANG OUT WITH MELISSA BOTH TRIPS!

*Eliot turns 3 this week. Holy freak out.

*The condo's great. We've had some unwelcome visitors lately but I have started a cut throat campaign to take back our home for our own. This was punctuated by me leaving one on the wall as a clear message to all his friends that I'm not playing, I don't care how many legs you have, creepy jerkfaces.

*Arbonne is going well, thanks for asking. I've almost earned the trip again and will be making the push this month to finish earning the first free ticket. Then comes Russ' ticket. That trip was too amazing not to work for it again. Cancun, here we come?