30 January 2011

Spain, Do We Not Agree With You?

Weekly Jerry and I mention how much we have been blessed in Spain.   How much we love it here and love our neighbors, our school, teachers, other moms, our landlord.  And that's even with our limited Spanish!

Then I started thinking about how much we have been sick.  Ok, so maybe Spain isn't as excited about us as we are about it?!  Ha!!

I've tried to spare you of our sickness woes because who wants to read about a bunch of sick people!
I've mentioned it some, but I thought I'd give you a little run down of our sick season!  Good grief!  

This is our reality lately

Karis 2
Reegan 2
Brennan 1

Brennan 3
Karis 1
Reegan 1

Reegan 1

Brennan 1
Tina 2
Jerry 1

eye enfection
Tina 1

fevers & coughs
Ugh, too numerous to count

Our doctor says we've got 6 months to a year of this.  New place, new germs, first time in school.  We went about 1 week recently without sickness.  One week!  Spain, I hope we can soon come to a mutual love/love relationship!  Heh, heh!

We could sure use your prayers!

I've been asked about the camera situation (thanks for reminding me Renee Ann =).  We submitted a claim to our insurance.  A week later we were questioned more about it and I got a little scared thinking they might deny us seeing as it was our mistake.  But they wrote back and said they would start processing!  I'm so ready to get a new camera.  I'm already a little embarrassed tired of fuzzy pictures!

Have you ever had so much sickness you just wanted to cry?!

28 January 2011

Our Adoption Story

Hi friends!  I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner to share our story of adoption.

We had always been open to adoption.  After a few years of infertility we felt led to look into adoption in Prague, Czech Republic where we had been living for the past couple of years. We had a Czech colleague help us contact a social worker and fill out the paperwork. We were told that the process can go fast if a couple is willing to adopt a Roma (Gypsy) child, which we were. It took 6 months to get approved. Of course we thought it would go fast by this point, but little did we know that our wait would take another year and a half!!!

Adoptions are done through the Czech government and is only available to nationals or foreigners on a long term work visa. In talking to a friend of a friend about a possible adoption (that didn't go anywhere) we learned about another non-profit organization that does private adoptions. In a few months they matched us with a birthmom.  She wanted to meet us. She was due in 2 months, at the time. We took our Czech colleague to help with translation. After talking with her we were eager to go forward, but we had reservations.

The due date came and we were getting anxious to know something. Within a few days we found out that the birthmom took off on her own to have the baby. It was later discovered that she was actually trying to sell the baby on the internet!!  She had strung us along!  The organization found out about it and tried to have her caught through a set up by the police! They got her but she was not charged with anything. It became a national story running on the news in Czech Republic.

I was devastated!!

Through this loss I found a wonderful online ministry called Hannah's Prayer that helped me through this time.  What a blessing!

In April 2005, 6 months after our first adoption loss the private organization contacted us about a Roma baby boy that was being placed for adoption.  It was the day before I was to leave for a 3 week trip to Texas for a retreat & conference.  I was so excited and we were assured that it was a 99% chance. Because of paperwork, etc. it would be the following week before it would happen, so I decided to go to the States for the retreat and return in a few days. I got back and the parents changed their minds.

Once again, I was devastated!!

We were able to work it out for me to go back to the States with my husband for the conference. It was a nice diversion to the loss, but the pain surfaced upon returning to Prague. This really spiraled me into a state of depression and I was ready to throw away our calling to missions overseas and just go back to the States. I was mad at God for putting me through this.....TWICE!!

Counseling is available to us through our organization (IMB) and decided it would be a good thing for us to do. It helped just to talk through our losses and it came down to where I was with the Lord and that I really needed to work on that before addressing anything else.  Within a couple of months I worked through my grief and drew closer to the Lord and found a sort of peace in the wait.  We decided to take a MUCH needed vacation in August and went to Ireland for a week!!!  
Wow, what a trip that was!!  Incredible and Beautiful!
 That summer we prayed through and decided to pursue a procedure called IVF (in-vitro fertilization) to attempt one last shot at pregnancy while we waited on this adoption. I had an initial appointment and within the next month things started moving forward.  Five days into starting the procedure.....

.....our lives changed!

We got a call that we had been matched to a 5 month old Roma baby girl! This time it was the government adoption process and more of a guarantee, but I still had my doubts. 
Friday we got to go visit her at the orphanage.  She was beautiful!
Of course, we fell in love! 
We visited her again on Sunday and took her home on Tuesday!!   No need for those doubts!  Five days after finding out about her, we were taking a baby home!

October 4, 2005, our Gotcha Day!

Oh, and how did that IVF procedure turn out?  The end result was twins!

For more of the story, check out our "Path to Parenthood" page.

Thanks for reading about our journey!

24 January 2011

Fiesta Day

A day off from school to celebrate Fiestas de la Virgen de la Paz of Alcobendas.
What did we do to for the day?  Slept late, played games, went the park  

 Not sure what Reegan is doing.  Ha!

baked cookies,

(Spiderman, he's my big baker)

peanut butter chocolate chip that I've been craving since my friend posted it on her blog!  Thanks Michelle!  They are great!!

Oh and don't forget the fireworks!
You can't have a fiesta day without fireworks!  And we can see them from our living room!  Perfect!

I should have added some study time in there but oh how I find that next to impossible while the kids are whirling around me!!  I can cook and clean and even work on the computer.  But something that takes brainpower is near impossible.  And with Jerry's work schedule right now I couldn't ask him to watch the kids, although I'd hoped to.  My teacher will be none too happy with my performance tomorrow.  *Sigh*

23 January 2011

The Story of an Athlete

This past Friday I learned about the famous Brazilian football (soccer for you US folks) player, Kaká.  Currently he plays for Madrid's football team, Real (pronounced Ree-al) Madrid.
Some of our colleagues were together in Madrid for a meeting and one of them has connections to Kaká's wife, Caroline. They asked through his wife if he would do an intro for a video our colleague was doing in Milan, Italy.  Being the media guys that they are, Jerry & our team member, Steve got to go along to shoot the video.  Why would they interview a football player?  Kaká is a born again, believer in Jesus Christ!  Take a look at this photo!
i belong to jesus Pictures, Images and Photos
How awesome is that?!  Until Friday I had never heard of him.  I better get educated since I'm now living in football country!  So, I did a little internet searching to find out more about this guy.  Wow, am I impressed!  I found his testimony (below) here and bit more here.

My parents always taught me the Bible and its values, and also about Jesus Christ and faith. I did not have a specific conversion experience, but little by little, I stopped simply hearing people talk about the Jesus my parents taught me [about], and there came a time when I wanted to live my own experiences with God. One of these experiences with God was when I was baptized at the age of 12. This was a very important step in my walk with Jesus and soon after many things began to happen in my life where I could experience God in a real way.
I need Jesus every day of my life. Jesus tells me in the Bible that without Him I can't do anything. I have the gift and capacity today to play soccer because God gave it to me. The day He wants me to do something else, I will do that something else and this is why I need Jesus in my life every day. I am successful in my financial life and in my professional life, but all this has come from God and is a gift of grace from Him for my life. All that I have, I thank Him for.
The difference Jesus makes in my life is that I know I will always have victory, I will always have joy, and I will always have success. This is independent of the situations I face or will face. This brings me great peace.
I usually tell the people who ask, that the Bible is like the user's manual that comes when you buy a product. It has everything we need in it. It makes me happy to read the Bible every day, to study it and to be in fellowship with God and learn more and more about Jesus.
I will win many matches and I will lose many matches, but I know that in all of them, God has a plan. This is why I try to understand the plan of God for me in each moment so that I can have peace during times of pressure.
Everyone wants to be a winner, but for me, the true meaning of winning is having Jesus in my life. It is a life of prayer, a life of intimacy and a lifelong friendship, knowing that God is our Father. I can say that I am a winner and I am victorious because Jesus lives in my life. No, I will never stop following Him.
 And I also found this article about how he and his wife saved themselves for marriage!  Just awesome!

Now that I've learned a bit more about him I am quite envious of Jerry. ;)
What an incredible testimony and witness to what the Lord Jesus Christ is to this athlete!

18 January 2011

Street Performers

Madrid has it's fair share of street performers. 
My favorite, El Gordo Spiderman!

We took Jerry's parents into Madrid for a bit of shopping.  While eating a street performer set up outside the restaurant where we were eating.
Take a look at this!
He had some great facial expressions!  Jerry's parents were in just a position to see how he set up.  He is somehow in a type of support that he sits in.  Crazy!!

Some others are just out right dumb!  He and Spiderman are my favorites, by far!!

I'll be looking for this guy again when we visit the city!

17 January 2011

Meet Aris

Aris (pronounced like Ah-reece, but ya gotta get a good, but light rolling "r" in there!  Ha!) is a kind of mascot for Karis' class.  There are pictures of Aris in their workbooks taking the kids through their lessons.  Each weekend one of the kids gets to take the stuffed Aris home and they have to take her everywhere with them.  This was Karis' weekend!  She was so excited!

The picture above cracked me up because Karis didn't think Aris needed to go to the bathroom with her!  Ha!

We shared our weekly Friday night tradition of pancakes and movie night with Aris!

We didn't do too many exciting things with the kids this weekend.  I was home most of the day Saturday baking this cute little cake with my friend, Amy for a baby shower on Sunday!

 But Karis and Aris kept busy playing cards,

hanging around in her room,

getting a good nights rest,

 taking her to church on Sunday,

Showing Aris American football

introducing Aris to Christopher,

and can't forget the hermanos (siblings)!

We had a fun time hosting Aris!  We'd gladly host her again!  Thanks for spending the weekend with us, Aris!

15 January 2011

What Do You Picture When You Think of Spain?

Could it be bullfighting?

 photo courtesy of sxc

Or the running of the bulls in Pamplona?

  photo courtesy of sxc

Could it be the beautiful Spanish fans?

Or flamenco dancing?

photo courtesy of sxc

Olive groves?

By the way, did you know that Spain is the leading producer of olives in the world?
Or take a look at these Spanish tiles!

Aren't they pretty?
Spain is known for many things.  And this doesn't even touch some of the food they eat, like paella or jamon (ham), which I plan to describe to you sometime in the near future.

Just wanted to give you a bit of Spain and some of the many things this beautiful country is known for!

14 January 2011


A colleague of ours was celebrating his birthday and invited everyone to come bowling.  It has been months since we've been able to hang out with colleague friends due to Jerry's insane schedule and the sickness our family has experienced.  Jerry was actually sick, but was determined to go.  He is laid out on the couch even now.
Our kids have never been bowling.  I wasn't sure if they would be able to, but we found a small ball, got them some bowling shoes and were even able to put up the bumpers (although we didn't realize we could play a game with some using bumpers and others not until half way through the game).  They had a good time and it wasn't that expensive.  I would love to do it again. 
These are ITouch pics, so excuse the quality.

13 January 2011

Segovia, Spain

It's taken me some time to write this post due to the lose of such expense.  A 6 year old Nikon D80 camera and a 6 month old gps.  I'm slowly getting over it and moving past it.

A beautiful city with an amazing Roman aqueduct, a gorgeous castle and cathedral.  However, it is marred to me now.  It will forever be known as the place where we foolishly walked away leaving our camera and gps behind on a park bench.  This was the worst kind of thing that Jerry or I have ever done.

Jerry took off with Brennan, Papa & Karis to get Brennan a shield he had seen in a store.  He left the camera backpack with me on a bench.  I set it on the other side of Reegan (that was the mistake).  While sitting their Nana was getting crackers out for a snack.  When the others got back I was handing out snacks, stood up and walked left.  Reegan, with the camera bag behind her were to my right.  I didn't see it, therefore didn't remember it and neither did Jerry. Ugh, still makes me sick just thinking about it.  Especially when it was such an unbelievable mistake to make!  It was just a camera and gps!  But oh how that hits me in the gut to know the loss!

We got some pictures from Jerry's mom and several on our IPhone & ITouch, so here they are.   Not as good of quality, but pictures no less.  *Sigh*

Our day before the loss!

The aqueduct was build around 50 AD and is one of the greatest surviving and best preserved  monuments of Roman engineering.  I was amazed at how well preserved it is!  Amazing!  It was built with unmortared, granite rock kept together by metal hooks.  It is special in that it has been used almost without interruption from Roman times until about the 60s, 1960 that is! 

Look at the people at the base!  Gives you an idea of how massive this thing is!  Have I said it already?  Amazing!

We wound our way up through the streets to the Plaza Mayor (main square) where the cathedral is located.  Take a look at these streets!

Here is Brennan checking out the seafood on Plaza Mayor.

I saw this entryway and began to wonder the hop of activity that might have occurred at one time at this abandoned hotel.

 These pastries looked yummy and decided we would stop back by after going to the castle.  I was so excited, but the waiter ended up being a jerk and didn't want to wait on us, so we left.  But the window display was lovely!

Next we went inside the cathedral.  This building is massive!

 I mean no offense or disrespect, but I got a little laugh seeing this "phone" in a cathedral and wondered if this was the modern way of confession.  Hee hee!  It's actually an information box.  You pay a euro and can hear about the cathedral.

  I LOVE old antiquey kinds of things and loved, whatever this is, behind the kiddos.  I'd fill my house with stuff like that if I could!  I have a few things like an old US bank barrel (that I bought in Czech Republic, of all places) a small spinning wheel and an old wooden basket that are among my larger pieces and favorites.  I also have an old teddy bear, tin planter, and various coffee grinders.

It is a toss up which I like more.  The aqueduct or the Alcázar, Segovia's castle.  It is so beautiful!  Look at this place!

 The view from inside.

 It's dark from being taken on my ITouch, but one of the beds.

 Brennan & Reegan taking in the view!

 There was so much armor in this place.  The boys loved it!

Our Christmas break is officially over.  We're back to school and Nana & Papa have returned to Texas.  It's time to get in gear and back to studying Spanish!


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