Tuesday, August 28, 2012

10 Things to Catch You Up to Speed

It's been a while since I've found my way to writing here.  Not that I never thought of wanting to, but sometimes life just happens all around you, other "to do's" take priority, vacations come and go, and pecking away at the keyboard just doesn't happen.  I decided I'd give you my top 10 list of things that should catch you up to speed on life in the Thieszen household.

1. Nora.
Nora with her birth half-sister, Giselle, before Giselle headed home to Canada!
Pure beauty.
We are still waiting for her name to be printed in the Haitian newspaper before I can move forward with planning a trip to see her.  Yes, this is frustrating, but somewhat expected.  Typical time frames for that printing can range from 2 weeks to 2 months.  We are 4 weeks into this stage of the wait.  This one is harder in some aspects and easier in others.  First, it's hard because with other stages we wait for officials to review our paperwork or interviews to be done, but in this stage we are simply waiting for a single name to be printed in a paper.  Seems so ridiculously easy in our culture so that makes the wait a little bit harder.  However, knowing this "stage" of the process has a pretty reliable time frame of at the most 2 months makes it a bit easier to bear.  I know that soon enough I will get a precious email letting me know I can go ahead and contact the US Embassy in Haiti to request an appointment.  Once that appointment date is given to me I will be able to plan the trip.  Speaking of the trip.  Some have asked about this trip--is this when you bring her home?  When will you go?  Who all will be going?  How long do you get to stay?  Etc.  The basics would be we will go when the above mentioned items happen...sure hoping for September or October, but it could be as late as November if things take longer than expected.  This is not the trip to bring Nora home.  This would be the required trip towards the middle of the process for two very important appointments.  The final trip will, Lord willing, be approximately 6-9 months after that. We will only stay down there around 4ish days again.  Yes, I wish it could be longer, but they try to keep visits a bit on the short end so your child does not go through attachment and then un-attachment and then re-attachment and so forth with each trip.  It's just too hard on them...and perhaps us too.  Who is the "we" going on this next trip?  I, Angie, will be there with bells on.  Our daughter, Lily, will more than excitedly be with me.  Our third traveling partner is still yet to be determined based on schedules.  It will most likely either be my sister-in-law or my dad or Micah.  We are trying to keep Micah at home so he can save up his vacation hours to utilize when Nora is home.  I will be honest in saying it will be hard to make this trip without my man by my side, but I'm excited for either my sis-in-law or my dad also having the opportunity to meet Nora, see where she calls "home" for the time being, and experience the beauty of the Haitian mountains.

2. Specific prayer request for Nora.  Beyond the request of asking for her name to appear in the newspaper, we would also like to extend an invitation for you to be praying for her leg strength.  We have found out she has begun crawling, but is only going for things she REALLY wants to get to.  If there is nothing she really wants, she seems very content to sit and watch the other children play.  She turns 11 months old this Thursday and this is a pretty typical delayed start to crawling.  Without the one-on-one care she would get in a typical family, the developmental delays have to be expected.  That being said, we had received word from Micah's dad when he visited briefly with Nora in July that he noticed she did not put any weight down on her legs and would not stand up on his lap at all.  As we watched Ashley hold her on our Skype call, we heard her begin a brief cry when Ashley tried to have her stand.  Later the following week Ashley let us know she did try to do some one-on-one time with Nora and she would "yelp" when Ashley would try to straighten out her legs to stand or put weight on them.  Basically, we are not overly concerned at this point, but would appreciate prayers for her leg strength anyways.  We hope as she begins crawling more and more, she will gain a desire to be more independent and therefore strengthen those weak and unused muscles.  It is something I will definitely be checking out while I am there (although that could be funny since I have no medical or physical therapy training whatsoever!)

4. The rest of the Thieszen crew...

I'll start with Lily.  She began her school year a little over a week ago as a 1st Grader!  I still can't believe I am typing that.  She has enjoyed her first week+ very much.  Her teacher seems great so far, she has two of her best friends in her class, and she has brought home many papers already with smiley faces at the top so she is a happy girl.

Lily last year on her first day of kindergarten--notice the skirt she picked to wear & the door knob coming to her mouth.
Lily this year--1st day of 1st Grade--notice the skirt she again picked to wear & the door knob now at her shoulders!
She also, as of today, seems to be missing something...can you tell what it is???

Lastly, we have begun the phase of Lily writing lots of notes without asking us to help her with spelling.  I love it!!!  Here are a few of her samples...can you figure out what all she is saying?

This was a menu she gave Micah and me when we were guests at her "restaurant"

5. Next is Toby.  While Lily has enjoyed the start of school, Toby on the other hand is not so thrilled about what is coming up next week.  According to us, Toby will begin preschool after Labor Day.  According to Toby, he is adamantly NOT going to school!  Eek!  He is certainly our more timid one and does not do as well with new things or new people.  I am entering this time frame with an expectation that it could be a couple solid weeks of crying 3 days a week before he realizes this is actually a lot of fun and then, by all means, he will love it.  It certainly helps one of his best friends from church will also be in his class...still such a huge answer of prayer for this Mama's heart.  He has thoroughly enjoyed a summer of fun outdoors...mainly every day with his best friend and neighbor boy, Caleb.

Toby practicing catching with his Uncle Charlie

6. Quinn!  He is his typical little dimpled, mischievous self.  He's a pretty sweet boy who wants to do everything the bigger kids do (or more) and tends to forget he's only 2.  He gives us challenges when we have to discipline as he simply isn't affected by it one way or another.  Thankfully, he's still 2 and not a teenager yet.  Maybe by the time he gets that old we'll find something that works!  Ha!  One can hope, right?!?!

Oh, melt my heart.  (I also love Micah beside us wishing it was him getting a kiss)

7. Micah!  I love that man!

There are many things about him that are different from me, but with time and wisdom I'm seeing more and more that those differences are such a blessing to our relationship and our family.  I can not tell you where I would be in this life without his constant support, sarcasm, and laid-back personality.  Watching him set up the tent in the back yard this past weekend for an overnight with the three kids while I had an evening/night to get some important things done inside was just another example of the priceless man he is.  I simply can't wait to see Nora blossom under his leadership and love for this family.  He is still hard at work making his cancer patients' time of infusions and blood draws be the best experience it can be.  He feels blessed to be working at more than just a "job" but more his area of calling.  I'm sure his patients (and maybe his co-workers-Ha!) feel the same way.  We are looking forward to celebrating 10 years of marriage this late November.  Not exactly sure what that "celebration" will look like yet, but it will be something.  Probably not the dream trip to Italy/Rome we naively thought we would take on our 10 year anniversary when we first got married. : )  Something about young kids, an adoption, school schedules, budgets, etc. that seem to get in the way of that right now...maybe 25 years???  40???  Someday, we'll get there, Babe!

Our engagement photo--taken in April 2002
10 years later--a little older & still very much in love!
8. Myself.  I feel like God has had me on such an awesome ride with Him the last several years.  Such hard things to deal with, learn, heal from...such joy, depth, and grace given to me to thoroughly be living out of my healed self.  His love and faithfulness and GOODNESS is filling the cracks of my soul more and more each day.  It just seems like it can't get any better and then, low and behold, it does!  He is good like that.  I'm so blessed and so thankful for all He has been teaching me and all the things I've been opened up to because of my willingness to go places with Him.  Truly life-changing.  My relationship with the Lord is simply that--life-changing.  Me-changing.  I'm grateful.  I'm currently reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Highly suggest it for those of you who have not read it yet.  It is not a book you breeze through.  It is heavy, deep, rich, holy, good.  I knew the premise for the book and already knew I'd love it based solely on that, but it is proving to be a bit different than I imagined, which fortunately makes it even that much more rich and that much more a soul I totally connect with.  I love this woman's style of writing, her content, and her challenges.  A definite read for those who want to find even more joy in this abundant life God has given us.

9. V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. Oh, yes, we had a wonderful time on our family vacation out to Topeka, Kansas to meet our newest nephew, Liam and then onward to Kansas City, Missiouri to visit with our friends, The Churchill's, and then finally for our stop at the St. Louis Arch.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves on the amount of fun we had as a family...

Getting out the traveling craziness
The Cousins!
Pool time relaxation
Sibling love--this started out with Toby on the left, Lily in the middle, and Quinn on the right!
Summertime childhood fun!
Getting ready to head into quite the experience at the T-Rex Cafe!
Such a cool place!
Eating our lunch with the Churchill clan under a giant jellyfish
The Arch!
Yes, we all went up despite my nerves!!!
St. Louis at sunset from 630 feet up!
Can you tell they LOVED the Arch??? (This is in the elevator on the way down)
Just some cool shots of the Arch at dusk
A totally exhausted, happy child with his newly adopted dino, Selly.  Sign of a good trip, eh!

10. Our family did a week long (partial) fast from media.  I say partial because I just HAD to be able to check my email twice a day to see if we had any news from Haiti.  Well, my own overall observations of our fast are the following: that fast was not my cup of tea, I totally checked more than email by the end of the week because I had an excuse reason for each "just this once" moment, a family with young kids (6 and under) CAN get through a whole week with no movies or tv (although I'm not sure I would want to do that again.  Seems that brothers actually do play more and fight more without moments to simply "zone out"), I am a social person--not a social butterfly--but a social person who uses facebook and email as a way to still "get out" while being a stay-at-home mom, there was a lot more things off my "to do list" than a normal week, and our world is definitely and thankfully (in my opinion) connected much easier through the internet.

*Bonus* 11.  Three things Micah and I are looking forward to with the change of seasons....Nebraska football, Ohio State football, and the start of the new "Castle" season (our every Monday night date night on our couch).  Yep, we enjoy fall for far more than the changing leaves and cooler temps, what can we say?

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