Baby Shower!

This Saturday Abby, Mom and I had a baby shower for Julie. It seems like we were just getting the news that the baby is a GIRL ... and now she's only 3 weeks away from being born. We had a great morning celebrating with family and Julie's friends. Baby Linn is one fortunate little girl ... she is going to be surrounded by a family who will cherish, love and adore her, she is being born into a country that promises a life full of opportunity, she will have all of her basic needs met each & every time, and lots of wants met as well. She gets to grow up in a home where she'll learn first hand that God loves her, that Jesus died for her, and that life can be full! Plus, she has a 6 year old cousin who will goo and coo and fuss until she can't take it anymore. :) So, now the showers are done, the nursery is set, and we wait for "the call". I can hardly wait to meet my new little niece!


We've Been Printed!!

If you read my previous post, you know we had an issue with our fingerprinting appointment. I was getting ready to mail my form back to request a new appointment, but thought I'd better call our agency first in case they had a better idea. They did! AAI suggested we go to the USCIS office in Kentwood and see if they'd take us as a "walk in". I hopped in the car, met Paul in Kentwood, and walked into the office with a smile on my face. IT WORKED! I've officially been fingerprinted by the United States Department of Homeland Security ... and so has Paul. Good news for a rainy Friday afternoon!


Fingerprinting appointment ... or not!

When I got the mail today I was excited because there were 2 envelopes from the USCIS!! Could it be our fingerprinting appointments already?!? I was sure hoping so. My hopes turned to "oh no" when I tore open the envelopes. Much to my disappointment we have an appointment next Friday, the 19th, at 8am in Grand Rapids. That's Great! you may think. Think Again. Paul is gone on a golfing trip in northern Michigan for 3 days next week ... including ... you guessed it ...the 19th. Not his fault, no the government's fault, just bad luck I suppose.

There's a small spot on the form we can fill out to request a new appointment. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they have mercy on us and give us another appointment quickly ... hopefully they don't hold it against us and schedule us sometime in 2009! It says on the form if we don't show they'll consider our application and all other documents "abandoned". Quite a word!! Anyway, I guess we'll just have to wait and see ... we're getting pretty good at that. I'll express overnight the forms back to the USCIS tomorrow requesting a new date...


Picture Time

We had some family pictures taken tonight. It's never too early to be thinking about Christmas cards ... I know, I know ... it's only September but when a friend has a portrait party with a great photographer; what's a girl to do? I can almost hear my brother-in-law Andrew laughing as I type this ... he thinks I take WAY too many pictures. When I'm 80 I know I won't be sorry I captured my beautiful children as often as I did. In typical "jessica fashion", I had the kids do a few poses on the front porch before our actual shoot. Again, I know I know. It was a good idea though because we ended up with an outfit change. Maybe I really do need to get a "real" job. Sorry for the sarcasm ... hope you enjoy the trial pics :) My kids are really good sports to put up with me some days ...
One more exciting bit of news ... I am now on facebook so if you want to be my friend I'll be glad to "confirm" you. If you have no idea what I'm talking about ... no worries. To quote one of my new facebook friends Sarah Blystra "welcome to facebook; the most glorious distraction from all the important things you should be doing".
Oh, and Happy Birthday Mike! Hope it was fantastic!!


What a Week!

So much has happened in the past week! Our days have been filled to the brim. I think I've taken more pictures in the past week than I have all summer.
Last Friday night we celebrated Ella's 6th birthday with our extended family. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating her birth. Everyone warned me that time goes by so quickly ... boy were they right! Ella is a beautiful, joy-filled little girl who brings more life & laughter to my life and our family than I could ever imagine.

After the birthday party on Friday night, we launched into "labor day weekend" prepared to get in as much summer as we possibly could in 3 short days. We played at the beach most of the weekend, and even took a swim in cool, clear Lake Michigan halfway between Holland & Grand Haven. It was a perfect weekend and we tried to forget Tuesday was quickly approaching.

Tuesday, arrived quicker than we had hoped. We set the alarm clock Monday night and woke up ready to go early Tuesday morning. Noah started 3rd grade at a brand new school. As much as I wanted to continue to take him, he was so excited to ride the bus. He's felt very deprived over the past few years that he had to WALK to school and his friends got to RIDE. His friend's moms tell me they're jealous of Noah ... I guess even at such a young age kids want what they don't have. Anyway, Tuesday Noah hopped on a bus to Pine Ridge. He admitted he was a bit nervous, it's never fun being the youngest in the school, but the day went well and he's going to be just fine. Ella began 1st grade which means all day, every day. She had an excellent first week. I thought she'd be exhausted but not Ella ... she's wondering if it's Monday yet so she can go back. She's made lots of new friends already, and loves her teacher. Friday at lunch time she cried a bit and told her teacher she missed her mom ... how bad is it that I took that as "good" news?!?

Although the kids had a great first week back, I didn't fare as well. Being a mom is tough. The first week of school is really hard for me. I get so used to having the kids around during the summer months. I love being with them and it's hard to start the school routine where they're gone more than they're around. I love being the primary influence in their life, I love being there during the day rather than having to hear about exciting stuff they've experienced after the fact. I love having lunch together, love going to the pool, love seeing them play with their friends. I miss them while they're gone, and each school year that passes I realize my time with them is getting shorter. I know I still have lots of years left, but some days it seems like they were just learning to walk ... not heading off to school! I'm sure I'll get back into the groove soon, but it's bitter sweet non the less.

Today Noah had a 3 hour football scrimmage. His team met up with 3 Hamilton teams. He played both offense and defense ... and did a great job. The coach has him playing center, and Noah has been rising to the challenge. In the picture below, Noah's the one in red with his hand on the ball. His first "real" game is this coming Saturday.