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 email@example.com.
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!
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