I strive for this verse:

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:28-30

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Long hair, best buddies

Josiah and Malachi have been wanting to grow their hair out. They haven't had a haircut since November, 4 months. Their hair type is different so they look so different even though their hair length is the same. I think they are just handsome with long hair. What do you think?

They are also best of friends!

Happy 5th Birthday Aliyah!!! (this post was delayed)

Happy 5th Birthday to my sweet Aliyah Deborah!

Aliyah turned 5 years old on March 22. I remember the day she was born like yesterday. I had a homebirth with her and Frank was in training so he missed her birth. I was blessed to have my sister and a few friends there for support. My labor was only about 2 1/2 hours and due to this and my delay in calling my midwife, she actually was late to her birth and her assistant ended up delivering her. I remember after I pushed her out, the midwife's assistant, immediately wrapped her in a towel and gave her to me as I sat in our large garden bath tub. She never told me her sex so I had the chance to take a peek under the towel for myself. I was overjoyed to find that God had blessed me with the opportunity to raise a beautiful daughter for Him! I love raising my boys without a doubt, but I also know one day as they become men, they will have that special relationship with their dad and draw further from me in ways. A daughter will tend to stay close to their mother. I'm so very blessed to have both sons and a daughter, soon to be daughters once we bring home our daughter from Ethiopia.

I want to tell you about my sweet girl. She brings a smile to my face everyday with her silly antics and sayings. She randomly will talk about anything just to have a conversation with you. Unlike my boys, she has been talking since she was 18 months old and even was fully potty trained at 15 months old! She is very independent, has been since about 18 months old. She picks out her own clothes and it is adorable at times to see what she comes up with! She loves to done a princess dress and go outside and climb trees in it with her brothers! Her brothers call her a "girly girl tomboy" . I know the term comes across contradicting, but the fact is that Aliyah loves princesses yet prefers to play anything "boyish" with her brothers. Her brothers love her dearly and take good care of her for sure! She spent her first 2 1/2 years not living with nor really knowing her daddy, yet you would never know that as she is truly a daddy's girl through and through. She has a very sweet spirit about her and loves to give hugs and kisses. She is a great big sister to her baby brother. She enjoys helping him do things and teaching him things. Her favorite foods that she requested for her birthday meals were daddy's stuffed french toast, nachos, and spaghetti with broccoli. This girl loves her veggies!! I love that, considering that her brothers have all become picky over eating their veggies. Recently before her birthday, she has learned how to read (3-4 and some 5 letter words) and ride her bike without training wheels. She loves to be outdoors playing in dirt. She enjoys hiking, especially the past 6 months, and loves to run ahead with her brothers and hide in the woods trying to scare us. She would love to live in the woods if she had her choice. We went camping the other night as that was her birthday request. I have been blessed greatly with this little sweet girl of mine. I love you Aliyah, my sweetheart. I am so blessed that God has given you to me to raise as a homemaker and a lover of Jesus. I love you sweet girl with all my heart! Happy 5th birthday Aliyah!

Here are some pictures of her taken during the past week. I know there are a lot but I liked them all!

The above was a project Josiah made for his sister for her bday! He is so sweet!

Aliyah requested light sabers for her birthday and out of all her gifts including money, clothes, jewelry, a special Afghanistan outfit, a baby, jewelry box, a princess workbook, and a few others....she told me her favorite was this light saber and a toy pistol her brother bought her. As I said, she loves anything to do with playing with her brothers, including their toys!

The "brown" baby she requested to have the same skin color as her sister. (Papa sent this.)

Aliyah with her friends at her party. Yes most are boys and are her brothers friends but she requested they come to her party b/c she said they are her friends too :)

Sweet girls! Molly is like Aliyah's bigger sister!

The pretty Afghanistan outfit that daddy bought and brought home with him for Aliyah's birthday!

Aliyah decided to use the money her grandma sent her to get her ears pierced. She was scared and I had to hold her. I kept telling her she could wait a few more years, that she didn't have to do it. She insisted that she wanted to do it. She sat very still, never moved and never cried. She smiled finally after seeing her earrings in the mirror :)

I love you Aliyah Deborah!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My new sister!

So at 31 years old, I now have another sister! Actually it is a long story. When I was 20 yrs old in the summer of 1999, I went to prison to meet my real dad, Kenny, as God had healed me of the pain in my past and at that time, I had to meet him. While talking with him, he told me that my mom had given birth to a girl before she met him and gave her up for adoption. He also told me that the family didn't know this bit of information. So for 2 years I didn't ask nor say anything to my family. Then one day as I was visiting my Aunt Babby, something was said and she informed me that one day she has something to tell me. I told her I knew what it was and she didn't believe me. I preceded to relay the information to her that Kenny relayed to me. She confirmed indeed, that my mom did have a daughter that she gave up for adoption. She also informed me that the only family that knew was her and my grandma. Apparently my mom hid from the family as she was working for the carnival when she got pregnant. She knew abortion wasn't an option and being 19 yrs old, she wasn't prepared to raise her baby on her own. So she found a nice family that was willing to take care of her baby. Apparently my mom didn't tell my grandma and aunt about the baby until after she had given birth and given her up for adoption. So when it was confirmed by my aunt, she had no information about the girl and due to my mom being deceased, I never thought I would ever meet my sister. I kept this secret quiet from the family that never knew, as there was no reason to upset anyone over a situation that I never thought would come to light. So fast forward to this year, 2011. This week I received an email from my brother Andrew that I have to contact this woman that contacted him saying she was our sister. So on Thursday morning, I called this woman and chatted with her for over an hour. Her name is Datra and she had been searching for our mom for many years. Apparently when my mom had given her up for adoption, she also wrote a letter to my grandma and my aunt Babby and asked the adoptive mom to mail it when she called her and told her to. My mom never called her so the adoptive mom never mailed the letter. She kept it in a pocketbook for many years. About 15 yrs ago, Datra found the letter and it was addressed to my grandmother, in my hometown in Warren, PA. So for the past 15 years, Datra has sent letters to my grandmother and also to a few Debra Vantassels', all to no avail. My grandma had moved and considering that our mom died in 1982, the Debra Vantassels were all the wrong women. Finally on Tuesday this past week, Datra finally got a lead. A woman who was helping her search for her birth mom discovered that her mom had died, along with her grandmother in whom the letter was written to. This devastated Datra as she lost hope of ever meeting with her birth mom. The woman sent her a copy of our mom's obituary and the article about her death. The obituary listed my brother and myself as my mom's children. Datra then decided that she wanted to find us now that she found that we existed. So she decided to go to social networking to find some answers. And guess what??? She found us both on facebook!!! She then emailed us and that leads us to where we are today! I am so excited that my sister found me!! I can't believe it and would never have believed it would happen. Apparently, we are 19 1/2 months apart in age and after viewing her on Facebook, I definitely see a resemblance in my mom and myself! It is amazing! I had a similar situation happen when I was 19 years old and in college when I found out then that I had a brother and sister that I never knew about, from my bio father. However, in that situation, my family knew they existed, but chose not to tell us, nor let us visit them growing up. That is a whole different story but includes an outcome of another brother and sister that I have enjoyed greatly getting to know. I look forward to meeting Datra this summer and getting to know her along with my new niece and nephews. My life has been interesting to say the least. My husband says I need to write a book! Maybe one day I will write about my traumatic experiences, the hurt, pain, joys, blessings I have experienced in my life. Whether I do or not, know that God has given me life in my pain, has healed me in my hurt and has blessed me in abundance and I rejoice in His love and forgiveness!

Welcome home Frank!

Frank is finally home from his year long tour to Afghanistan! We are so excited and happy that he is home. We have enjoyed this past week with him, relaxing, hiking/geocaching, took the kids to a bike park, went to the parade, and even had a date without the kids! Thank you all who have kept us in your prayers over the past year! I'm amazed by the support of some of you friends and family, along with a multitude of strangers who greet me with thanks and gratitude for keeping the homefront going while my hubby is in war. I have had a comment made recently to me by a loved one that "Frank knew what he was getting into when he signed up for the army", in reference to my frustration of him returning to work this week for stuff when I just wanted some time with him after a long separation. I will say this, yes, it is correct that Frank knew what he was getting into, along with myself. However, he did not sign up so that he could spend time away from us in trainings and deployments. He chose a noble job that protects our freedom, that keeps war at bay, in another country, so that we all can live our lives without fear. He fights for everyone in this country. We, as a family, make sacrifices for this freedom that we all experience. It comes at a cost, one that many military families have to pay for. The least bit someone could do would thank those that fight for freedom. I believe the comment that was made is stemmed from an irrational belief that my husband chooses to leave us. I want to clarify that my husband does not choose to leave us, nor desires to. His job takes him away from us. Yet, without a military, our country would not stand up with all the freedoms and safety that we have. It is necessary for a military, and yes, my husband chose this career path to protect his country, his family, and to provide for his family as well. I am just amazed how complete strangers are more supportive than loved ones at times. Ok, now that I got that off my chest, enjoy the following pics!

Another banner :)

Do you notice the men guarding the doors? They were making sure that the men didn't come in early, nor family members snuck out the doors to see their loved ones.

Can you find Frank? He is about the 7th row back, 2nd man in.

The pics were all smokey because as the men and women came in, a fog machine let out a lot of smoke for cool effects!

I didn't get in the picture as everyone was busy hugging their loved ones so I didn't want to bother random people to ask to take a pic.

Judah wearing his Irish hat that daddy bought him on his return trip, traveling through Ireland.

Oh and Aliyah can ride her bike without training wheels!

Frank showing the boys (on Malachi's bike) how to ride the jumps at the bike park.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm excited!!

I'm so excited! I hope this day goes by super fast! I can't say why, yet but I'll let you know soon!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Around here

I've been busy lately and haven't had much time to catch up here on the blog. I've mailed in some more paperwork for the adoption so we are one step closer I guess. Although I got an email today saying that the Ethiopia program isn't closing, but is slowing down. It is a long story to go into but I am not sure what this will mean for us in the end. We initially thought we would be bringing home our daughter the beginning of 2012 but now I am not so sure what that will look like. God is in control though so I rest in that.

We are getting ready for Frank's return home from this deployment! I can't say when he is coming back but will say that it is this month!!! I am so excited to have my husband, my best friend, my perfect companion home with me. Oh how I have missed him over this past year. When he returns he will have just hit his 5 year mark of being in the military. And sadly, due to training and 2 deployments, we have only lived together 1 and 1/2 years of that 5 years. Aliyah also turns 5 years old this month, thus her daddy has only lived with her 1 1/2 years of her small life so far. I sure hope that there will be a long delay before his next deployment.

Tonight I have 2 extra kiddos in my home. Josiah has 2 friends from cubscouts spending the night. They are great boys, loud when the are all together, but still great boys! I let the kids have friends spend the night for their birthday and this past birthday, Josiah didn't get that chance with his daddy home for his R & R. Thus the reason he has friends over tonight.

I'm tired and will be going to bed here shortly. This is just a quick update and only a partial update into my life....haha!