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!
We spent a day with our friends the Harkema's at Lake Michigan Monday. So fun to have the Guat Tot's together. Bella was a little off that day, not her normally smiley self. She is all smiles at home, but you take her out of her normal environment, and she gets a little nervous. The kids had a great time playing in the waves, and the big boy got to jump off the pear for the first time.
We are heading to the cottage for the last "ha-ra" of summer. Not sure if I will have internet access, so it may be a couple weeks before I can post again. Hoping to be able to post before Bella's first birthday next week. Oh my goodness, I think of my emotions a year ago...we had been waiting 7 months for our referral, and here we are, a year later and she is home. Glory to God!
It was a relatively quiet week for the kids. We spent this week home as I had many apts and work to complete. We did manage to get to the park one day to climb trees and the beach on Friday to enjoy Lake Michigan. Bella loves the sand....but I am in no hurry to head to the beach again. She would not take her nap, and therefore, Mama could not lay in the sun as I so love to do. But the boys flew their kites and we made the best of it. Cottage life is definitely easier with babies. We will head back to the cottage this week for the remainder of the summer, school starts Sept. 3rd. Ready or not, here it comes. Boys are ready, I am ready, not so sure Bella is giong to be ready. I am not ready for summer to come to an end, I love the carefreeness of the season, the warm weather, sunshine, days at the cottage, hanging with my siblings, nieces and nephews, parents. Over all just enjoying my kids being kids. But Michigan falls are beautiful, and this family LOVES Halloween, we start planning for that in September.
For all of you praying for our family, thank you, God's mercies are new every day and we praise Him through all storms as we know he will faithfully take us through them and come out victorious on the other side. We are doing well.
Bella is teething again, her 7th tooth is trying to make its appearance on the bottom. Still not walking, but she is gaining strength in her cruising around furniture and standing on her own. Hard to believe that she is almost one. I so much want to keep her my baby, being that I missed the first 8 months, but so very thankful to see her growing healthy and appropriately.
Stay tuned for more great family cottage photos. We are winding the summer done, its always bitter sweet.
Bella eating Big Girl Food, she is now switched to table foods and Vitamin D Milk. Mommy is having a hard time with it, Bella is fine.
This girl loves the sand....I do too, but not on my face. It gets in the mouth and then its all over for me.
Taken on the dock with "her boys". LIfe at the lake.
Everything is big at the lake, including this 24" Pizza! IT's so fun to walk in the pizza shop and pick up the box, its so ginormous. The kids just think its the coolest thing ever and the pizza is really good.
I dont know why this picture is posting sideways. This is my Jake, a cottage renter next door gave us the boat when they left...it did not have oars, so Jake made due using the beach shovels.
Another great weekend at the cottage. This week we are stuck at home as I have several homes to show, baby shower and an open house. We are taking the boys to Lake Michigan on Friday to the beach....they are so excited. Bella is still standing great, but this little Princess would rather be held. NO sooner do I put her on the floor and "her boys" come and scoop her up. She is now to the point where she cries if she is put down. Yikes! We need to break this habit as the boys go back to school in Sept. But its wonderful to have a baby that loves to be held. I am so living that up. She is now blowing kisses and giving kisses...she even makes the noise. It's hard to believe that she is almost one.
I just had to post this picture....I will post pics of our weekend tomorrow, but this is over due. This is what happens when six siblings (my 4 brothers, sister and I) and their spouses get together at the cottage....we stay up till 3:30 am laughing, talking, break dancing, eating and dancing. Had anyone walked by the cottage, they would have thought we were having a wedding the way we were dancing around. This all took place 4th of July weekend. I just have to give the Lord a praise for these people, I love my siblings, sister-in-laws and brother-in-law with all my heart. They are one of my greatest treasures, there are just no words to thank God for all they are to me, my husband and my kids. I love you all, may the party continue.
Wow!!!! Bella has been home 3 months on August 3rd. May 3rd, we landed from Guatemala in to Houston, TX and at that moment of the planes wheels touching the ground...she became a US Citizen. My heart still swells thinking of that moment. I cried that entire trip home that day...cried tears of joy and praise, for all God had done, for he "brought to completion that which he started", just has He promised. Today, Bella is thriving in her new home, glorifying God just by her very presence. In 4 weeks time, she has learned to crawl on all 4's, stand up and sit down, cruise along furniture, broke in 4 new teeth (she broke the first 2 the first week home), plays peekaboo with her little hands over her face, does so big, say's Dada, turns the pages of books, and gives us the biggest grin every time we say "Hola Chica" when approaching her in her crib. She has such a quiet sweet personality, but definitely displays a little "latin passion" when she gets beside her self. She loves her boys....and I admit, I am getting concerned for both of us when they return to school in 4 weeks. She just does not know how to live her daily life with out one of them picking her up, reading her books, playing with her, throwing her in the air, pushing her in her swing, etc. Birth Mom told us she chose us because of "the boys", she wanted her to be the only girl. She loved her own brothers and the attention she was given by them and wanted the same for her daughter. I hope to be able to share with her that her dream for Bella has come true.
It's been a wonderful 3 months, and a very challenging 3 months. The transition alone from 3 school aged children to having a new baby was enough, but we have had several other issues at hand. I remember the first week home, I thought to myself, "Lord, I just want a break". I wanted a break from the battle. The adoption was a 2 year process and although spiritually wonderful, it was draining. I have quickly found out through several attacks from the devil that there are NEVER any breaks....taking a break only opens the door for the devil to step in. We are going to get through our challenges, the Lord always has and always will see us through, but please do keep our us in your prayers. I know God will use all of this for good.
Many blessings to all of you, and thanks for checking in.
We have been so blessed with emails and calls of people who want to help us through this time of treatment for our daughter. Per suggestion of our social worker and friend, we are posting here what we feel will be most beneficial to our family at this time. Although the help is easy to give, its hard to receive, but we have been told by medical professionals an social workers that we will need it. Your love and support mean so very much to us, thank you.
1. Prayer, please see "Pray with Us" 2. Meals 3. Car Pooling from school 4. Continued emails and blog posts with encouraging words. (This means more to us than you can possibly know.) 5. Loving on our boys, this will be a time of sacrifice for them. 6. Child Care 7. GIVE BLOOD! Where ever you live, please give blood in honor of Bella. Save a life!
We want to personally recognize and thank all of you who have graciously helped us in one way or another. Whether its through meals, house cleaning, driving, errands, donations, gifts, etc. We so appreciate you and recognize the blessing from God in all of you. Every moment of every day we are privileged to see the face of Jesus in all of you. From our home to yours, thank you and "May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand." Please note, your emails and posts are greatly appreciated and needed just as much as any monetary blessing, please continue to do so as they lift us up daily.
The Stanley Family (Gretchen and Gillibean) Candy and Kya Blue Michelle and Abby Riggs Deb Vangorder All God's Children International http://www.allgodschildren.org/ Kentwood Community Church Kitty and Larry Jerard The VanderZwaag Family The Angerbauer Family The Infante Family Annie Bulthuis The Edwards Family The Ambrose Family The Claeys Family The Fabro Family The DeMarchis Family Peter Harmon Joe and Erin Harmon Mary and Dejan Vukic Keith and Daphne Edwards Susie Harmon Betty Harmon Courtney and Stella Sue Marvin Beth Hartlien Pam Sult Keller Williams Realty Grand Rapids KW Cares Grand Rapids Sue and Rob Harkema and Family Jenifer and Brian VanZanten and Family Action Chemical of Grand Rapids Celebration Entertainment-Brad Eley Trish Borgdorf-http://www.vangels.com/ John and Michelle Lawrence Larry and Kitty Girard Stacy and Bella Gail and Johanna Pam and Rick Foster Amy, Fred and Grace Nagel John and Tiffny Harmon Tom and Sandra Harmon Nancy and Don Harmon Ray and Linda Ferrick Helen Devos Childrens Hospital Dr. Deanna Mitchell Dr. Ron Hoffman Jenifer Gerwig and Family Jane and David Lautenbach Greg and Shannon Ferrick Karen and Chad Janney Cheri, Donnie and Malaena Harris
Our Home Address
Many of you have asked for our home address, please email me at email@example.com if you would like this information. Again, we appreciate all the support and prayers. It has meant more to us than we are even able to put in to words.
Our Praise from Psalm 103
With all my heart, we Praise the Lord, And with all that we are, we Praise His Holy Name. With all our heart, we Praise the Lord, and we will never forget how kind he has been. His kindness and love are a crown on our heads. Each day that we live, He provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. For all who are mistreated, the Lord brings justice. You oh Lord are merciful, kind and patient, your love never fails. How Great is our God! You are kind to all who worship you, You keep your promises to those who faithfully obey you All of you who serve and obey God, come and Praise your Lord! With all our hearts, We PRAISE the Lord!