Our life is nothing short of an adventure...

Wind in our hair and screams of delight but also unpredictable turns and unknown outcomes. We are a family of six; Dave, Susie, Nate, Jake, Sam, and Bella.

God has been faithful in our marriage and through the birth and blessings of our boys.

God has been faithful during our adoption journey and united Bella with us in May of 2008. We were privileged to visit with Bella's birth mother; therefore, Bella's family in Guatemala will always be dear to our hearts.

On October 16, 2008, Bella was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. We are now battling the disease with 2 years and 3 months of treatment. We believe God will continue to be faithful!

Our family is committed to living life to the fullest...even on the hard days. Thank you for checking in and journeying with us!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tis good to be together

Grandma and Grandpa with all 11 Grandchildren! Phew!

One Big Happy Family! Looks like were on a golf course, but no, its my brother and sister-in-laws back yard....gorgeous!

Look out....Princess is coming.

Bella loved Uncle Gregs Hot Tub...she could do her favorite thing in it, stand up! She loved to bit the side of the pool.

Surrounded by good lucking cousins.
Zoe, Hayden, Collin, Madeline and Bella

Tyler and Sam lovin the floaties in the pool...yes, they were wrestling each other on the floaties, the joy of boys.

Bella and her only two girl cousins in this clan, Zoe and Madeline.

Bella and Daddy

My two totally adorable and sweet nephews, Collin and Max. Grandma and I took them on a wagon ride when everyone else was at the baseball game.

What a great weekend we had with Dave's family this past weekend. My boys said all the way home "we like the big cousins". Funny, on my side of the family, they ARE the big cousins. The weather was perfect and we spent 2 full days in the pool, playing baseball, football, laughing, talking and just being together as a big family. Everyone headed to the Tiger vs. White Sox game on Sat. night, except Bella, myself and Grandma and Grandpa. A good time was had by all this past weekend. Thank you Greg and Shannon for opening your wonderful home to all of us. Tis good to be family.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Going on a Bear Hunt!

Were going on a bear hunt....

Were going to catch a big one....

Were not scared....lovin these kids and their imaginations!

Bella standing up to one of the cottage kitchen chairs. I took this picture from under the table.

Bella with my parents

My Jake and nieces Emma and Lauren after finding the clay at the bottom of the lake.

isn't it great to be a kid! The kids spend hours out on the water trampoline.

Oh boy, was Grandma popular. The kids new she was brining a surprise and they waited hours at the curb waiting for Grandma to arrive. She brought a "herd" with her....of Webkinz Cows.

Sweet Bella on her Mama's Back in the baby carrier for the Bear Hunt Walk.

This past week we were at the cottage again with the fam. Our last day I took all the kids on a "Bear Hunt" through the walking trail by our cottage. Way to sweet. They all picked up walking sticks, we sang songs, and dodged a few rain drops. Even Bella took part in the action on my back in ther Ergo Baby Carrier. This weekend, we will meet up with my husbands family to spend time with them. We are looking forward to seeing everyone.

Blessings to all of you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bella and her Tia Mae

My sister Mary has been home for the last month. She is moving from St. Louis to Providence and spent her "in between" time home at the cottage. Bella adores her, as do I. Mary speaks very fluent Spanish and had purchased children's books in Spanish when Bella came home. It was so much fun to watch her read and speak to Bella who totally responded to the language. It has inspired me to check in to spanish classes in the fall...we shall see. Mae....I love you, and you have a very special place in Bella's heart...you earned it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too Much Too Fast!

My treasures from God...my children.

Look what I can do now!!! Bella just squeals in delight every time she does this and always wait for the applause. Its so funny how she know's that she has done something big.

Bella;s sweet little arms and hands are so TAN!

Munching those piggys. She has such small and delicate hands and feet.

Oh My, life is going by too fast. Bella changes so much every day, she has now learned to pull herself up to EVERYTHING including her crib. She has her fifth tooth almost through, crawling on all 4's all over the place, saying more vowels and consonants, and it all happened in a matter of 10 days. One thing is for sure, Bella knows she is home. Her confidence has grown so much in the last 2 weeks, her achievements prove it. Not to mention the absolute huge smile and squeel she gives "her boys" any time they look her, the cling she has to Mommy when any one tries to take her out of my arms, and the spark in her eye's when she sees her Daddy. How I wish I could let her birth Mother know that her daughter is getting exactly what she wanted for her.

I want to stop this moment, freeze her in time. After having 3 children now 8, 11 and 13, I know how soon this time will go by. And i just want to savor every moment.

My dear heavenly Father, how I praise you for the gift of all my children. Thank you that Bella is home and adjusted. Thank you that I am not missing a single moment. Thank you for your faithfulness, mercy and grace. Thank you for loving us so much that you called us to this journey of adoption. I have no idea what you have in store for the future, but I know its all GOOD.

We are heading back to the cottage tomorrow to spend the next 5 days with my sister before she makes her move to Rhode Island from St Louis to be the "Professor". I will miss her so much, but am so grateful for the time that we have had together for 2 solid weeks. She has always been a treasure to me as are all my 5 siblings. Again, how blessed I am to have this family cottage where all 6 of us and our parents live together with all 12 grandkids for 3 months out of the year. Nate is now 13, I am wondering if will get to the age where he doesn't want to be there any more. But for now, I am savoring this special time of their childhood and enjoying watching Bella join this crazy special group of people I call "The Fam". The following weekend we will join Dave's family for a weekend of laughs and joy and I am excited to post pictures of that wonderful group of "family" as well.

Have a great rest of the week, blessings to all of you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still Chillin

You cant see them, but Bella has in two "piggy's", she looked like Cindy Lou Who.

This is what happens when you turn your head for two seconds and you have a crawler. She loves paper, hours of enjoyment. Only problem is, she wants to eat it.

Nate diving off the Pontoon Boat

Sam jumping

Jake Jumping

My three sons, being silly with the pontoons life preservers. All 3 are strong swimmers and thought it would be funny to float around in the middle of the lake with them on.

As Bella's hair grows, its getting a little wave to it, especially when it gets wet. This picture reminds me of the "jokers" hair from batman.

Were still chillin at the cottage! We are now home a few days so that I can get some things done, but we are heading back by Wednesday. We are so blessed to have this gathering place for all of us to spend together. The kids love hanging with their cousins all summer long, there is never a dull moment.

Bella continues to make rapid mile stones. Yesterday, her two front teeth broke through giving her 4 teeth with the 5th making every effort to make its appearance. Today, she pulled herself up for the first time from a sitting position to standing....I'm wondering if tonight will be a challenge in her crib. She's not quit sure how to get down once she gets up.

Not much else is knew, praying for all the other Guat children to get home.

Blessings to all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Celebrating Freedom!

My Nathan and I waiting for fireworks. We are so fortunate that fireworks take place right on our lake and we sit right out front of the cottage.

My munchkins, Nate, Jake, Bella and Sam

Miss 4th of July!

Bella and her cousins closest in age, Donnie and Joey

Jake and Bella swimming in the lake. She loves it!

Just Engaged, my brother Joe and Erin! Welcome to the family Erin!

My sister Mary and I.

Big Bass! Both Jake and Sam caught huge Bass this past weekend.

This is what happens when its pouring down rain, you have no rain gear or umbrella and have to run next door to our other cottage. My sister decided to put on the wet suit to stay dry. Oh how we all laughed.

Bella hates the grass but loves the sand!

This is Bella's favortie thing to do at the cottage. She loves floating in her lady bug tube with all of her cousins. Peekaboo in the water is a high light.

The kids all grabbed the lawn chairs and decided to play a water game.

Oh to be the Princess.

Bella Boo!

This was another game made up by my boys and their cousins. They would see how many tubes they could stack on top of one of them and then they would have to walk out to the water and see how far they could get before the tubes started to fall.

Sweet baby girl and sat up in her crib but could not figure out how to lay back down. She fell a sleep sitting up and then falling over on her bear. Sweet Baby.

My handsome Sam.

Chilly First Boat Ride

Jake and his cousin Johnny

Bella and her Daddy

Bella is all about the hammock

My niece Grace

My nephew Johnny

Sam and yet another Bass!

Jake and Bella

Phew! Lots of pictures to post. We spent the past 10 days at the family cottage with all 5 of my siblings, their spouses and kids. As always, a great time was had by all. Over all, we had great weather, a couple cold rainy days, but we made the best of it. Last year at this time we were waiting for news of our referral, this year, our daughter celebrated the 4th of July at a US Citizen. Sunday July 6th, my husband Dave and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. He's still the love of my life and I would marry him all over again.

Bella is now waving bye bye and hi, doing "so big", clapping, bringing out her cheesy smile every time the camera comes out and crawling on all 4's. She has 3 teeth, two on the bottom on one "fang" on top. She is working hard to pull her self up to a standing position. She is also sporting the worlds best tan. In addition, when her hair hits the sun directly, it frizzes out, its so funny. The minute she hits the shade, it turns back to its silky smooth self. She has had so many firsts in the last 10 days, I love seeing her achieve these milestones, but at the same time, sad that she is growing so quickly. She is such a fun baby and we are enjoying her so very much.

Thanks for checking in, hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.