I did not realize it had been nearly three weeks since our last post. No wonder so many people have been asking for updates. Well here goes! This will have quite a few pictures (with more to come), so I will give you the highlights:
Visits from friends: During the weekend before Christmas we were fortunate enough to get to spend time with dear friends who dropped in on their way to other parts of NC. We were first visited by Ryan and Mary Newcomb (and also joined by Jake and Allison Webb) for some great pizza and endless hammy entertainment by the boys. Some of you may remember Ryan as "that guy who sang that beautiful song at [our] wedding." We were then visited by Andy, Bonnie and Luke McNabb. Time with them is always fun, usually includes the men going for drinks so the women can chat, Andy beating all of us at a game, and the latest addition of our boys scaring baby Luke by making him the object of their attention.
Lighting the Advent wreath on Christmas Eve: We were asked to light the Christ candle at the Christmas Eve service at our church. After Troy gave a brief explanation about the Christ candle, and I began to light all of the candles on the wreath, Luis proceeded to blow some of the other candles on the table out...very classic Luis.
Celebrating our first Christmas with our kids: This goes without saying and should be assumed. We loved it. The boys had a blast. Samuel wanted to know where Santa was and why he wasn't staying with us. They got everything they asked for (except pizza). BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!
Seeing Troy's Family: This was our PA year for Christmas and the boys got to meet a lot of family they had not met yet. My favorite Kodak moment that I am hoping Uncle Steve caught with his camera was when Luis and Daniel were sitting on the loveseat with GiGi (short for Great-Grandma Sandrock) and Luis looked at her and said "Yo quiero right there" (I want right there), pointed to her lap and put his head down. I got misty. If I remember right, Sylvia did the same thing (minus the talking) a few years back. There must be something about GiGi's lap!
Meeting the Derr's: MOST EXCELLENT! As part of being an adoptive family, we have developed a few online friendships, particularly with other people who have adopted from Colombia. David and Sheila Derr were one of our first friends in our little virtual community namely because their son Jonatan was adopted in the same city as our boys. The bonus is that they live in Harrisburg, PA not far from our family. It was so cool to meet them and hang out with them for just a little bit. It was just amazing to swap stories and talk to people who really lived what we lived while we were in-country.
Samuel lost a tooth: His front tooth was loose but stuck because his permanent tooth was coming in behind it. I accidentally hit him in the mouth when we were boxing at their cousin's house (complete with boxing gloves), and it finally fell out the next day.
The long ride home: We had car problems on the way up, took the van to the dealership who couldn't fix it in the time we needed it fixed but were blessed with a smooth ride on the way back anyway. This was the first time we have driven during the day with the boys wide awake. I have to say, it was way more entertaining and less annoying than I thought it would be. They were very funny at times and super well behaved.
The boys' Christmas came a few days early when Mary and Ryan gave them Virginia Tech t-shirts. One of the boys shouted "Go Hokies!" when he opened the present. It was pretty adorable and made all of the Hokies in the room proud.
After chuch and Christmas Eve dinner we let the boys open one present. It just happend to be pajamas, but from the look on Daniel's face, you would think he just won the lottery.
They love their Christmas pajamas!
This is our tree after Santa visited. He brought Samuel a guitar, Daniel a firetruck and Luis a pirate ship. They were overjoyed.
Nana and Pop Pop Peregory shipped their presents down, so the boys really felt like they had hit the jackpot! Here they are unwrapping their train set. We love trains!
We took Samuel to the Green Dragon (an Eisenberger rite of passage) which is an Amish flea market in Ephrata, PA that is only open on Fridays. It was pretty cool to walk around with three generations of Eisenberger men, and Samuel loved it. He held Pop Pop's hand the whole time. Another rite of passage: he got his very first big boy belt from the leather shop - they custom cut and punch the holes to fit you.
You never know what you are going to find, but it is always dirt cheap. This is one of the butcher shops. They have the best beef jerky in the world.
Here are the boys with Nana and Pappy Shoenfelt. Nana S. said that it was simply wonderful to have the boys in her house and she loved it. We also learned something new - they weren't terrified of their cocker spaniel Bailey...so, there is something less scary about smaller, whitish colored dogs. Hmmm...I don't get it either.
Samuel finally got to play in some snow and make some snowballs (which we are thinking he learned by watching Diego...maybe). His hands were completely frozen.
Bec, if you are reading this, I hope you don't mind that I posted this picture, but I wanted to put a picture of our niece-in-waiting on the blog. This is Troy's sister Becca and our niece who is due in just a few weeks. Come on Savannah! Just come out of there!
The boys got to meet their other primos Pierce and Riley and play in their play room. Troy's step-sister Jill is brilliant because the tape you see on the floor is called the "Lego Zone" and legos should not leave that area. I just love that. I need to make a zone for card house building! Also, please note the aforementioned boxing gloves, you can't make this stuff up people.
And last, but not least, La Familias Eisenberger y Derr. That is Sheila, Dave and their two-year-old son Jonatan. He is simply adorable, and they are amazingly good-hearted! Thank you Derrs for inviting us into your home!
If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed our Christmas adventures. Be on the look out for our video of the boys in the car. Also, if you have any pictures from the weekend that you want to send us, you can send them to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I couldn't get this to upload the other day (as promised), so I apologize for the delay. I think I was uploading the wrong file. I hope you all enjoy - I know the boys really did. Now the leaf pile is a big wet mess in the front yard. We had hoped to be able to get back out and bag it (it got too dark the other night), but a big rainstorm is moving through and soaking everything. That will be loads of fun when the skies clear!
The boys are completely enamored with autumn. They love the leaves and all of the crazy things you can do with them - like bring them into the house when Mamá isn't looking, throw them up in the air, throw them in your brother's hair, etc. Daniel likes to line them up under the wheels of the camioneta. We aren't sure what he thinks the outcome will be, but he does this nearly every time we get into or out of the van.
So yesterday we started cleaning up the yard in an effort to move on from fall and on to winter. I used my beloved blower/vac (Mommy - I never realized it would come in so handy years later) to create a giant pile of leaves for the little guys and you would have thought that it was Christmas already. I will also upload a video. Troy and I got a huge kick out of watching them throw the leaves, kick the leaves, and bury each other in the leaves for well over an hour. We learned a great lesson though, even when it doesn't feel cold enough for gloves we probably need them because both Luis and Samuel wailed in pain as the tingling started when their hands started to warm up. It is a good thing we don't live further north. These boys would freeze to death!
I know I say this ALL the time, but goodness he is handsome and he is going to be swarmed by girls when he grows up! This is my favorite (the picture, not the kid - I don't have one of those).
They are just so stinking cute! They are only half smiling because they didn't really want to have to share space or leaves to be in a picture together.
Surprisingly, Daniel was totally OK with being buried alive (as long as they didn't get leaves down in his glasses). I wish I had a picture that accurately captured the magnitude of the leaf pile. For those of you who have been to our house, you know that we have a ton of trees in our front yard. This is only a snippet of what the pile really looked like.
Look at that smile! He is just so precious! And he is getting better everyday about playing with his brothers. We still deal with him needing his space, and we often have to explain to Samuel (espcially) and Luis that Daniel likes to play alone, but he has really come out of his shell.
For those who are keeping track, today marks 5 months since we met the boys. Where has all of the time gone?!
I must say that we had much to be thankful for this year. Well, I know I did, and I am sure Troy would say the same. The simple fact that we are finally parents is just one reason, but the boys themselves are three more. It has definitely been a huge test of faith, patience, love, our marriage and everything else imaginable, but just watching the changes that have taken place in the boys' personalities in the past (almost) five months is nothing short of humbling.
Being unemployed continues to challenge me (to say the least) everyday. I am enjoying the boys more, but feeling very idle, a bit depressed and quite bitter still. I hope this will soon pass. I know that this is obviously a part of God's much greater plan for our lives, but I still miss having that one thing that was just "mine all mine". To top it all off, we have ALL been sick - not one of us spared - over the past two weeks; beginning with Daniel and now I seem to be the one who has whatever this icky virus is. More on this in a moment.
Thanksgiving was good. It was wonderful to be home with my family for a few days. I can't get enough of all of the "primos" together. They have such a good time playing and getting loud. It is a lot of fun. The boys ate a lot too. On the way home, Samuel said (in English) "at Nana's house, we eat and eat and eat and eat." This statement got belly laughs from both Troy and I. He is not kidding either! There was food galore.
On Tuesday, I was initiated into the wonderful world of stay-at-home-mommydom when Luis pooped on me and puked on me within about a 30 minute time span. He was so miserable. I felt horrible for him. He threw up again (on Troy, the floor, the massage chairs, his coat, his pants, his shoes, etc...) Thursday night at Concord Mills Mall - this time not because of the virus but because he stuffed himself full of chips, a quesadilla and rice at a Mexican restaurant and then proceeded to run around like crazy. On our walk back to the car, he walked into a railing and hit his cheek. It was so not his night.
Troy taught the boys the true meaning of Hokie pride this weekend by taking them to his friend John's house to watch the Tech game. You have never heard anything sweeter than these little boys saying "Go Hokies!" We thought we would start them early!
Well enough jibber jabber! Onto the pictures!
My little men! They were just too cute to resist a photo op in their kahkis and sweaters. Muy guapo indeed!
Samuel and Ethan had a blast playing together. Ethan is a couple of weeks younger than the twins, but the same size as Samuel. We LOVE our primos (cousins).
I think Liana is the best cousin ever! She gave the boys presents and takes great care of them. Not to mention she is a bit of tomboy so she has no problem being all rough and tumble with them. And she confided in me that she likes being the only girl. I can't say I blame her - it has to have its perks.
The boys at the kids table. This is where I ended up eating because the boys wanted to play more than they wanted to eat and at the rate that Luis eats, he would have been there ALL night.
To pass the time, we made turkey headbands for the boys.
I underestimated the size of Ethan's head, so his accidentally ripped. He was a little bit upset.
On the ride home, Daniel did this really silly thing with his aika. We still aren't sure what it was all about. Check out Samuel in the background who apparently has attended the Rob Wootton seminar on how to pop up in other people's pictures.
Bundled up for the wintry weather...Well as wintry as Charlotte gets. Samuel started riding the bus this week which has been a huge blessing. Now I only have to get one child up before 8 AM and get him ready and out the door. A LOT less stress. It also alleviates a lot of afternoon stress since the twins can nap before 3 PM. And he loves it!
I call this one the attack of the Oreo cookie. Luis is not only a slow eater, but a very messy one too.
Watching the game in Papá's t-shirt. Yes, it came down to his calves when he stood up, but he was insistent on showing his Hokie pride. Again, we are trying to start them early! Go Hokies!
Sorry it has been a while, but we have had some major stuff going on in La Casa de Eisenberger.
Last week, our furnace decided to kick the bucket for good. This normally wouldn't be a big deal in November in Charlotte, except we have had near record lows, and of course we have three little ones now. We were finally able get someone to come out on Thursday and replace the unit, but we have had issues with it ever since. Up until that point we were living with space heaters and keeping the boys holed up in their room (or going out to warmer places) when it was too unbearable. The same company came out again this morning and it seems to be actually heating the house so hopefully this means that it is fixed for the long haul.
In other sad news, I lost my job on Wednesday. My organization deemed it necessary to make layoffs association wide, and unfortunately, mine was one of the positions our branch chose to eliminate. For a myriad of reasons that I won't delve into, I knew deep down that this was coming, so I was not caught off gaurd when I was asked to meet with our interim executive director and human resources manager. I loved my job and the association I worked for, so this is quite hard for me. I am still stuck somewhere between the denial and anger phases of grief. On the upside, I know there are many, many blessings in this, including more time with my boys, but before everyone starts chiming in with how great it will be to be at home, please hear me when I say: I am not stay at home mother material. Kudos to you moms who are. Also, I have to work, at least a little, to help with the finances. I know I am going to sound like a broken record when I say that we went into major debt over our infertility treatments and adoption. The money we raised earlier this year helped us beyond belief, but we still have mucho debt that we acquired on the road to parenthood.
The highlight of our week though was going to see Iron & Wine in concert in Asheville on Thursday (see above video of them performing "Resurrection Fern" from our show at the Orange Peel and fall in love with Sam Beam if you aren't already a HUGE fan). Troy bought me the tickets for my birthday way back in August. It was a great show and great to be able to get away for a little bit. A great big thanks to our friends Mark and Tara Weathers for watching the boys for us.
Troy and I are looking forward to the week ahead. This is literally the boys first ever Thanksgiving. They are very excited about going to Nana and Pop Pop's for the holiday. They keep asking when we are going to see our family. I may have said this before, but I will say it again, I think they are just so excited to have family. I know we are excited to have them. Thanksgiving is going to be loud and crazy and wonderful! So much to be thankful for!
Can you believe it has been four months? I mean this in two ways...1) we met the boys four months ago today and 2) most of the time it feels much longer than four months.
I took the above picture to show off their new haircuts though I am not sure it really does them justice. We had a barber shop in the kitchen complete with waiting chairs, magazines and treats for not crying too much throughout the haircut. The boys were hilarious and just sat in their chairs, "reading", waiting their turn. Luis Angel was (of course) the only one who cried. Daniel giggled the whole time because the clippers tickled. And Samuel's mane of curls was the biggest challenge, so let's just say that it is a good thing that he is a boy and that his hair grows so fast!
Luis had his post-op appointment with the cardiologist and surgeon on Thursday. He is doing great! His echo and x-ray were all clear, and he is on the fast track to being back to 100%. His fever broke last Tuesday, came back on Friday, but seems to be gone again. He is starting to play a little bit harder, so he must be feeling a little bit better. His scar is really cool!
On Saturday, we (along with our dear friend Hannah) took the boys to see Madagascar 2. It was good to have an extra adult just in case, but the boys ended up being so well behaved. This was their first movie in the movie theater and we had no idea of what to expect. They sat through the whole thing with the twins only needing one potty break each. Daniel even got up and danced to the closing credits. It was so much fun to take them out, buy them popcorn and share this experience with them. It is always hard to predict how they will react, but they seemed to really enjoy going to the movies with us.
And, most importantly, they are LOVING fall. Not so much the general chill in the air, and I doubt they have noticed the leaves are different colors. What they love is that there are leaves on the ground everywhere - and we must collect handfuls every time we leave the house. They love that they know what a pumpkin is, especially that they got to help Papá carve one. And, my personal favorite, they love that they can see their breath when we go out to the car every morning. You should have seen the looks on their faces the first morning it was cold enough to do this, particularly Samuel who really notices things more than the twins. It was beyond priceless. Now I try to get us out the door just a few minutes early so we can just stand outside and breathe. Kids can give you such an amazing perspective on life when you let them!
What a fun night! We took the boys trick-or-treating for their first American Halloween. They were absolutely adorable, so be prepared for the cuteness! But first, an update: Luis is doing great. He is one amazing kid! He has been playing and running around nearly non-stop since we got home from the hospital. He does indeed limit himself and will lay around when he is a bit tired. He has had an inexplicable fever for several days now, but all of his doctor's are aware of it. Samuel and Daniel are handling Luis' sudden "situation" (for lack of better word) very well. We have our occasional bouts of sibling rivalry or outbursts where they are obviously craving attention, but we handle them as they come since they are few and far between. Now onto the pictures!
OK, so this is NOT Samuel's Halloween costume. His school seemingly wanted to make things more complicated by declaring that they would not be celebrating Halloween BUT would be celebrating reading instead THEREFORE students could dress up as a character from their favorite book. Samuel's favorite book happens to be called Baby Jaguar Can, so he went as Diego.
Here is a picture of all of the boys on our doorstep just before hitting the neighborhood. Aren't they cute?!
For most of the week Samuel was convinced he was a Power Ranger, but the package says he is the Transformer "Bumble Bee". Regardless, he is some science-fictiony character with super powers. Superbueno!
Daniel went as Thomas the Train, pretty much against his will. The funny thing is that as much as he didn't want to wear the costume (he kept saying "no quiero Thomas" over and over again), he is the one who picked it out. He didn't cry when we put it on him, but he did throw it on the ground as soon as we would let him take it off.
Arrgh! Luis Angel rocked the pirate look! It was way too cute and he was very proud of his costume. He did great tonight. He got carried around a lot since he wears out easily, but he was really excited to be a part of the festivities.
This is a shot of them getting candy from a neighbor. The twins would stand back about 5-10 feet until they were 100% certain that there were no dogs lurking and ready to attack them, then they would run up and yell "twick-or-tweet". Samuel was fearless and would go up to any house. Daniel would not approach any house that looked too scary. Luis was fine until we approached one house and a man wearing a scary mask came out. He lost it - screaming, real tears, the whole nine yards. From then on we had to be on the lookout for anyone in scary masks.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers for our family. We really appreciate the support that we are getting from all over the country...I should say the world since we have friends in Australia that we met while we were in Colombia who keep up with us too! Thank you again to everyone who takes the time to even read this blog and care about our family. You have no idea how much that means!
Luis and I are sitting in his hospital room waiting for Papá to return with the minivan. Troy was here for most of the day, but with our other car because we did not expect to be going home today. It has been quite a week, and we are all ready to return to our normal routine and comfortable surroundings. We never thought we would get to go home this early, but the staff here believes that children heal faster when they are at home and not under constant anxiety from being surrounded by strange people and things - not to mention being poked, prodded and woken up every two hours for meds. [Side note: Luis is singing the "Wow Wow Wubzy" theme song of his own accord. Please see the posted entitled "T.V. Show Ratings" for details.] I am a little bit worried about how we will "keep him safe" while he heals with his brothers at home. I am told he will limit himself. I can't wait to test this theory amongst the chaos that is La Casa de Eisenberger. Troy and I are also trying to figure out how to work out our work schedules until he can go back to Safari Kids in a couple of weeks. As always though, I know it will all work out in the end. [I am not really an unrealistic, overly-optimistic person. I just can't expend too much energy worrying about stuff that will eventually take care of itself, at least to some extent.]
There is much to be thankful for in our family today! Luis is recovering at a remarkable pace. Overnight he had many of the tubes, I.V.s, etc. removed, so when Troy and I walked into his room at 7:40 AM he was sleeping peacefully on his side, sucking his thumb and hugging his "aika" (a.k.a. blankie). He has slept a better part of the day and has even broken out a smile here and there. Around 1:3o PM they were able to move him straight from Cardiovascular ICU to a regular room where we are all resting comfortably. He even got to eat his much coveted "pollo"-fingers. Right now, he and Papa (who is all he wants right now) are watching Shrek the Third (en Español).
The thing that I am most grateful for, and I don't think grateful even begins to cover it, is the amazing story Luis Angel now has to tell about God's grace and faithfulness. It is no secret that our children were born into real hardship. There is no doubt that God obviously had a larger plan for their lives and our family as a whole. However, what humbles me more than anything is that, according to the surgeon, Luis should not be alive. Dr. Watts believes that with the condition Luis had, he should not have lived as long as he has. However, by the grace of God, the affected coronary artery was very narrow at end that attached to the pulmonary artery and that is what kept his condition from being worse. I do not believe in coincidences, therefore, I know that it is no accident that his coronary artery was so narrow. The fact that God preserved him for this moment, for all of the events leading up to this moment, is just mind-boggling, drive-you-to-your-knees-with-thanks humbling. There really are no words that I could write here to describe how emphatically I feel about all that all five of us have been through to become a family. For those of you who have adopted, I know you get it because your story is similar. For those of you who have not adopted, please know that I mean no disrespect to how you achieved family-hood. Adoption has changed my view of God and the world in which we live in ways in which I never expected. It isn't just parenthood that has done this, but the way in which we were able to become parents.
So, what's next? Well, Dr. Watts thought we may go home as early as Thursday (much to my dismay because that means dealing with two healthy boys and one less healthy boy all under the same roof). We hope that Samuel and Daniel will be able to come visit with Nana S. tomorrow afternoon so they can see that Luis is OK and healing. It will cheer him up some too. I am getting ready to head home for the night, while Troy holds down the fort here at the hospital. Tomorrow night we will switch. The key to hospital survival is sleep. I have no idea how parents of children with long-term illness go through this on a daily basis. Two days in and I feel like I have been hit by a truck.
I'm sure Andrea will add more, but just wanted to let everyone know Luis came out of surgery fine. He is gradually getting tubes taken out of him, but when we first saw him there were wires, tubes, and incisions all over his little frame.
I asked him if there was anything he wanted about 30 minutes ago, and he faintly said "pollo"!
I made it home for a few hours, and Nana is doing well with the boys & dogs. Thanks to Amanda and Rico (and the fam) for their help this past weekend, and for my mom who is running the house this week.
Luis is still in the O.R. We were informed that he is still on heart and lung bypass. We are about 3.5 hours in at this point. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and well wishes!
Troy and I are playing Settlers of Catan to pass the time. I have checked in with Tia Amanda and she says Samuel and Daniel are doing fine. Troy's friend Scott stopped by to check on us. His son had open-heart surgery a few years ago performed by the same surgeon that is doing Luis'. It was great to have some company! Thank you again Scott.
For those of you who are following along, I was just reminded that this is the best way to distribute information. Luis is in surgery now. They started around 8:00 AM. We arrived at the hospital around 5:15 this morning, and the little man was in excellent spirits. He was absolutely adorable in his hospital gown and socks. He only cried a little when they took him out of the room and he realized we weren't going with him (that was around 6:30 AM). We should be getting our next update shortly. We will keep you all posted!
I wanted to post an update about the surgery and family happenings before we head into Monday morning. First though I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who has left comments on the blog, emailed, called, etc...with well wishes and to let us know that our familia is in your prayers. We greatly appreciate the support we are feeling from all over the country.
Troy and I are doing OK. We are both nervous for Monday and ready to have the surgery done and over with. Needless to say, the stress level for both of us has been elevated to "RED" all week. As our friend Rob Wootton assured me though, "you can't prepare, you just make it through." So that is our main goal right now: get through Monday.
We are both off of work all next week in order to be able to care for all three boys, but intend to stay at the hospital with Luis as much as possible. The plan for the week is that the Nieves' (a.k.a. Tia Amanda, Tio Rico, Liana and Ethan) are coming into town for Sunday night. They will be here to wake up with Samuel and Daniel on Monday and will care for them until Nana Shoenfelt arrives from PA Monday afternoon. Nana will be here for the week to be at the beck and call of her grandsons. Then, on Friday Nana Peregory will arrive to pick up where Nana Shoenfelt leaves off. It will be crazy for the boys, but we have explained it to them as best we can. We had Q&A tonight, as we do with all major life events as a family, and Samuel asked great questions that led us to believe that this is not the first time a member of his household has been in the hospital.
As for recent happenings, there are so many funny/cute/silly/sweet things that happen every day that I really need to start writing them down. The highlights include Samuel's kindergarten performance on Thursday which was the cutest thing I have ever seen - despite Luis' attempts to be a thunder-stealer (by mimicking the classes motions). Daniel and Luis are learning many new songs, including the ABC song and will randomly sing "E-I-E-I-O" which they have learned at the Y. Luis was surprisingly well-behaved at his pre-op appointments on Thursday - I am always stunned at how different they are when they fly solo. Samuel's newest phrase is "one minute" while holding up five fingers. Luis says "hmm, let me see..." when he is working on a puzzle or something and can't figure it out right away. Daniel said "yummy indeed" while eating a fruit roll up the other day proving that he truly is a Mama's boy to the very core. All in all, we are amazed on a daily basis by the progress they have made despite all of the obstacles thrown in their path. God is amazingly faithful.
I will have a full update as soon as possible early this week. Thank you again for your prayers and support.
We have a surgery date for Luis Angel - Monday, October 20 at 7:30 AM.
We met with the surgeon, Dr. Watts, on Thursday. He went over the condition that Luis has, the procedure he will undergo and the risks involved. All in all, it was a very daunting appointment (despite the twins doing their best to be as cute as possible). Fortunately, both of us still have time available to take off from work. The challenge will be coordinating our schedules so that one of us can be at the hospital with Luis while the other of us is at home with Samuel and Daniel. We have no family in the area, so we are pretty much on an island - or at least that is how it feels. We will keep all of you posted as more details become available.
In the tradition of our family trying new things, we took the boys camping this weekend. It was our annual trip to Crabtree Falls in Virginia. This was our 5th year (technically 6th year for the trip, but we missed in 2005 because Troy was studying for the P.E. exam). The trip was a great success, and the boys had a great time - which was a big relief considering how afraid of everything the twins are. Other than a few scrapes, an upset stomach, and tossing toys into the "river", our biggest challenge was making sure they didn't wiggle their way out of their sleeping bags at night (temperatures were in the 40s). Since I'm exhausted, I will get right to the photos.
A family of five requires a big tent. Compared to our old tent, this is a McMansion! It was so wonderful to 1) be able to spread out, fit all of our gear and have room to boot, and 2) be able to stand up - I could barely touch the top.
Papa helping Daniel pick out rocks to throw. The campground was a boy's paradise. There were mucho rocks, dirt, leaves, etc... for the boys to play with.
Another favorite passtime, especially for Luis, was petting baby Luke. He would say "Mama, Papa, quiero tocar" (I want to touch...). Then he would look at us like "Look, I am petting the baby and I am not afraid." Good job, Luis! But Luke is a human, not a dog.
We got to do a little bit of hiking, as much as little legs could take as least. We tried a new trail this year that had this cool suspended bridge. We didn't get very far before we passed a group of Boy Scouts warning us of a Yellow Jacket hive ahead. With three kids and baby in tow, it was better safe than sorry.
We also hiked a bit of the falls. This is a fairly strenuous hike, so we didn't hike up very far. I did have a "yay me!" moment - I carried Daniel (who was begging to take a nap) back down the trail. A couple of years ago, I could barely handle this hike, but thanks to my 5k training in the spring and chasing three boys since the summer, I am in much better shape now. Hooray!
This one was too cute to not put on the blog. Side note: A lens fell out of Daniel's glasses and we couldn't find it anywhere. They are being fixed.
The McNabbs (Andy, Bonnie and baby Luke)! We usually camp with the Turners (Brian, Kristin and their son Eliott) too, but they were unable to make it this year because Kristin is expecting baby #2 and is not feeling so great these days. I hope they have a girl - our mini-vacation is becoming overrun with testosterone.
What would camping be without S'mores? Roasting marshmallows was a hit with Samuel (the twins are too little). That might be why he woke up in the middle of the night crying. His stomach hurt so badly, most likely from the marshmallows, s'mores, and hot chocolate that we let him gorge on.
Note the glob of marshmallow. Priceless.
I made Luis eat his sitting down because he is always dropping his food.
It was a great, but tiring weekend. The boys were totally wired by the time we got home, but crashed hard when we put them to bed. We can't wait to go camping again, but I quickly realized we need to figure out how to go with less gear!
Where to begin?! I had wanted to post late last week, but I did not get the chance to sit down for very long. Also, I hadn't quite processed some news we got, so I wasn't quite ready to write about it.
Last Thursday, I took Luis to the cardiologist. Our pediatrician and friend, Dr. Douglass, found a murmur during Luis' well-child check-up a few weeks ago, so he referred us to a "doctor de corazón" as he has come to be known in our house. The paperwork we received on the boys said that Luis had respiratory problems and cardiopathy when he was 4 months old, so this did not come as a big surprise to us. What did come as a gigantic shock though is the source of his murmur. It turns out that one of his coronary arteries is not attached to the heart as it should be, therefore Luis will need surgery - open heart surgery. Scary, right? Troy and I were beside ourselves last week when we received the news. We are still in shock, maybe a little denial since we haven't received word yet as to when the surgery may take place (we are told soon). On the upside, Luis is fine for all intents and purposes - he plays, runs and jumps around like any other 4-year-old boy. Also, had we not adopted him, his condition would most likely have gone untreated and who knows what would have happened in the long run.
In news of the "how cute are they?!": After the cardiology appointment, Luis and I picked up lunch for everyone. When we sat down to eat it, Daniel did the prayer and in addition to thanking God for the food he said, "Gracias a Dios para el corazón de Luis Angel" (thank you God for Luis' heart). I could have burst into tears, and Troy and I just sat there beaming with a mix of emotions and awe over Daniel's insight and sweetness.
Over the weekend I got to go on a retreat with other women from our church in the mountains of NC. I cannot even begin to express how much I needed this break from everything. It was nice to not have any demands placed on me for a couple of days. I also loved getting to know some of the women of our church better and hearing their stories. I even had the opportunity to share the story of how Troy and I came to adopt these three fantastic boys.
And, finally, God continues to reaffirm this adoption in His provision of a childcare fix for us. Troy has been granted a temporary schedule of 5 hours per day at work and 3 hours at home. He will work from 7 AM - 12 PM, then pick the boys up from the Y at 1 PM, and work through their naptime. Samuel will go to Afterschool at the Y. We can do this for 2 months at which time we should have heard from Bright Beginnings (the CMS Pre-K program for children with extraordinary circumstances like not being able to speak English). If we don't get into Bright Beginnings...well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Here are some pics because I know that is really why you all check this blog! Enjoy!
Daniel got his new glasses today. He is just so stinking cute, I can't stand it! The bonus is that they make his left eye much straighter.
All my boys. A self-portrait.
Papa survived the weekend outstandingly! He took the boys on an adventure that included a pit-stop at the Speedway! The boys love cars, but from what I understand there was some kind of truck on the track.
They are either excited or confused about the truck on the track.
School is in full swing. The air is getting cooler. Our annual camping trip to Crabtree Falls is coming up. So...it must be Fall. This is definitely my favorite time of year because 1) the summer's in CLT are nearly unbearable and 2) well...you'll have to wait til the end of the post for the biggest reason why Fall is my favorite (I doubt it will shock any of you).
Fun with Mr. Potatohead! Check out Daniel and Luis' attempts at putting a Mr. Potatohead together. Be sure to note the shoes (or zapatos as we say) for ears on Daniel's and the tongue for hair on Luis'. Pretty awesome! And they were so proud of their creations.
We really are making progress with the dogs. Every morning, Samuel helps me put the dogs in their crates, then the twins spend a couple of minutes taunting them while working up the courage to stick their hands through the bars. ALL of them now let the dogs give besos to their hands. This is followed by a lot of squealing. We still can't all be in the same room (only Samuel is OK with hanging out with the dogs), but I consider the fact that they are willing to touch the dogs at all a real victory.
On Sunday we went to this really cool event called "Touch-A-Truck". It was like it was created just for our boys, but it is really a fundraiser for lung cancer research (which is a cause very dear to me because I lost both my grandmother and - just this year - my aunt to this horrible disease). There were all sorts of trucks/vehicles for the boys to sit in/on. It was AWESOME!!! One of their favorites was the army helicopter.
I have this great video of the boys running around with other kids while all of us parents stand in line to make sure that our children are able to experience the helicopter. I will have to upload it to YouTube since it is sort of long.
How cute are they? You might be thinking, "Where is Daniel?" This is about the time when mama was rushing to the restroom which was quite a hike while carrying a 30-something pound kid who kept reminding me repeatedly that he needed to "chi-chi". Can anyone explain to me why children always have to go when there is NO bathroom convenient? Is it one of Murphy's Laws?
Lastly, the real reason I am glad it is fall - TV is back!!!! I am beyond excited to be in the midst of premiere week. I have many shows that I love, and we have plenty of room on the DVR. Why else do you think we get the kids in bed by 8 PM?
Just a few more updates: Samuel has gotten a sticker from his teacher everyday this week. In fact, I think he is up to 6 stickers in a row. This is a great little victory for us because it means that he is understanding Papa when he tells him to listen to his teacher and not worry about what the other kids are doing. We are very close to figuring out what to do with the twins while I go to work. We have a couple things to work out, but I should be ready to go full-time next week.
August 7, 2008: HOMECOMING!!! The boys are now officially U.S. citizens!
August 4, 2008: Embassy visit to apply for the boys' visas. This was a lot of waiting, but pretty much straightforward.
July 31, 2008: Fly to Bogotá. Meet with the embassy doctor.
July 24, 2008: Sentencia! We are officially a family in the eyes of the Colombian government. The boys now have the last name Eisenberger-Woods!
July 16, 2008: Integration Meeting at ICBF. This was a blur of meeting with a ton of questions that were answered. Now the legal process begins and we do nothing but enjoy the boys while we await Sentencia.
July 11, 2008: Meeting with the psychologist from ICBF. She came by the hotel to check in and see if we have any initial questions that we need answers to (of course we do!) She also wanted to see how the boys were doing in their new environment.
July 9, 2008: Presentation Day. What a beautiful, exhausting day it has been.
July 8, 2008: Fly to Pereira. Get settled in to our hotel and pray for a good night's sleep.
July 5, 2008: Travel to Bogota. Spend a couple of days sightseeing and then off to Pereira.
June 20, 2008: Plane tickets purchased, but we couldn't get the exact dates we wanted, so we are traveling on July 5 instead.
June 19, 2008: We got our official travel dates! July 7 we fly to Bogota, July 8 we fly to Pereira, and July 9 we meet our sons!
June 11, 2008: The English version of the paperwork arrived in our inboxes! It is amazing to read about our hijos!
June 9, 2008: The Spanish paperwork arrived on our doorstep at 8:11 AM. We are making our way through it. The translated version is due to arrive some time later this week.
May 14, 2008: Sarah called to let us know that ICBF has 3 boys for us and that they will have more information for us in the next few days!
March 8, 2008: Sarah, our caseworker, asked us to update some of our paperwork because they think we will be getting our referral within a month from Pereira.
November 26, 2007: ICBF has sent our dossier to the city of Pereira to look for a match for us.
November 15, 2007: Colombia has approved us to adopt 3 children under the age of 6!!!
September 24, 2007: Approval received!!! It is dated August 16, so we have been on the list for about 5 weeks.
May 11, 2007: Dossier translation complete and submitted to ICBF for approval
April 23, 2007: Dossier shipped to Colombia
Apri 18, 2007: Dossier sent to Commonwealth Adoptions International