We started the month off with a trip to the zoo for Lily and Micah (with her class)...
|Ready to head to the zoo|
|You can barely see it, but Lily is feeding the giraffe (in the gray shirt)|
Then an adoption fundraiser jewelry party which had low attendance, but we still managed to make sales in oustide guests and were blessed with enough money to pay for another month of Nora's care--praise God! A special thank you to my dear friend, Abbe, for her willingness to help in this way.
Next on the calendar was Mother's Day and then Toby's preschool spring program. Toby was adamant he was not going to get up on the stage, but when it came down to it, he not only got on the stage, he even said a line all by himself in one of the songs! Such a proud Mama moment!
|Flower being rained on|
|Toby with his teacher, Miss Jane, whom we love!|
We moved forward to Lily's school music program where she was a very cute explorer. She had a lot of fun singing the songs and making some music with her classmates.
|Our family getting eaten alive by mosquitoes after Lily's program|
Throughout April and the beginning of this month, I worked on a watercolor painting for my brother-in-law, Jerry. He was wanting it done for the camp they are directors of.
It was fun to get back to painting a bit...for some reason those days are few and far between right now. I had to get the painting done by the middle of the month because...
The day after Lily's school program we surprised the kids with our trip to South Dakota for our oldest niece's high school graduation. They literally had no idea we had planned the trip until we were heading out the door--it was great! We loved our time out with family so much we debated half way across Iowa about just turning back around and calling the kids and Micah off work and school for several more days. Getting away and being a family with no crazy schedules was so refreshing.
|Kids outside on Swan Lake Christian Camp's infamous bell|
|Uncle Micah playing with Liam|
|Big smiles for all since Aunt Angie was able to hold Liam this trip|
|Lily's horse ride|
|Quinn's horse ride with Aunt Judi|
|Can you tell Quinn was having LOTS of fun outside?!?!|
|Getting ready for the graduation festivities|
|Little ornery cuties|
|Quinn with cousin Laura at graduation|
|Cousin Melissa swinging the kids on the hammocks|
|Our family at the lake|
|Dirt and boys always find each other|
|Even dirt and the older "boy"--awww....so sweet!|
|Our family with the Grad-Kayle! Congrats!!!|
|Papa T with the grandkids|
We did continue on home, however, because we had a garden to plant...
and our subdivision garage sales to get ready for. We had great success at the sales so it made all the work worth it. We were then able to collect a lot of the neighbor's "left-overs" from the sales and give them to another family who are adopting another sweet one from Rivers of Hope. They are doing their own adoption garage sale fundraiser in just a few short weeks so we pray our extras will bless their efforts! It was also nice to meet another fellow ROH family in person. Many blessings to them!
|Extras being gathered to send off to our other ROH friends|
After the garage sales, I was finally able to box up lots of scrubs we've been collecting for several months. With the hospital Micah works at going to uniform scrubs this past year, we were able to ask many he knew to donate their old scrubs for clinics Project Medishare works in. I'm so excited to be able to send these off to this great organization. For more info on what all Project Medishare does in Haiti, click here!
We've also taken advantage of some nice warmer weather and had our first family campfire of the season. We all enjoyed some pizza pudgy pies and s'mores over the flames. Yummo!
|Quinn guarding the s'mores supplies|
|Nothing like a good ole roasted marshmallow|
We are then rounding out the month with Lily's 7th birthday on her last day of school today. Can't believe I'm writing I have a 7 year old 2nd grader in our household now! Time flies for sure. Still in blue at the end of the year-ha!
|Lily on the first day of school as a 1st grader|
|Lily on the last day of school as a 1st grader (also her 7th birthday-today!)|
This week, we were able to head to Lily's school to celebrate her birthday with her classmates. On each child's birthday, her teacher has the classmates write a little letter to the birthday girl or boy and then she reads them all while that child sits in front of her class. I stood there listening to the words of Lily's peers they had wrote about her with tears in my eyes. As a parent you tend to see so many treasures within the personality and life of your children that you wonder if others notice. I daily get to see so many ways that Lily cares for others, loves with a big open heart, and gives gifts and encouragement like it's going out of style. As I heard the words being read off the pages of these letters, I realized that, yes, God is using those gifts not just in our home but to all she meets. She is a gem! Here are a few of the words her classmates spoke of her--I'm so thankful for having these for Lily to treasure. They are truths spoken over her that will be needed when days come that unfortunately will carry unkind words.
So, all in all, this has been a very busy but highly rewarding month. We still have Lily's home party yet this weekend and then I may have to collapse on the couch for a day to recover from it all. When I look back, I'm amazed that this was a potential month (way back when) to have Nora coming home. Obviously, we would have cancelled some things to make it work, but it still would have been pretty crazy. Her homecoming still feels so far off, but the reality is she will be home sometime soon and I'm glad our super busy month is passed so we can relish her even more when she needs us to be more solely focused on her. No new news from Haiti regarding our process, but we have enjoyed a few beautiful new pictures from two of our favorite young Canadian women who traveled back down to ROH to love on our kids again. Ashley and Ketsia have been such a huge blessing to our family and to Nora specifically. We are always grateful for the love they give Nora.
|Nora with Ketsia|
|Nora with Ashley|
|Chowing down on some mango|
|Sticky Mango Love|
Process wise, we are still in MOI, but have not necessarily been there any longer than expected at this point. More typical time frames for this stage are 4-6 weeks although so many from our orphanage have been stuck there for months and months. We are beginning our 4th week there, so please be praying with us we will get out very soon and move on to passports. Our hearts' desires is to see Nora come home by the end of July so our children will be able to have a few weeks all at home together before heading back to school. God is Able! If you remember, at the beginning of this journey we decided to help make these days a little bit more tangible for our children by starting a paper link chain around the top of Lily and Nora's room. Every day we add a link. We had high hopes of having her home before the chain encircled her room twice. Well, we are getting very near the end of that second time around and it's not looking hopeful we will have her home before it reaches the starting point once again, but we have high hopes there will not be too many more chains left to be added. As hard as it is to see link after link after link go up, it has at least created a beautiful scene around the top of their room...almost as if their room is being literally surrounded by love and care just as we pray for Nora each night as a family. Here's a little video to show you the visual of just how many days our children have been waiting to see their sister in their very own home. May God speed the remainder of the process and get these kiddos together!