Monday, December 21, 2009

"I wish he would just come alive."

Micah and the kids made this snowman right after we got home from the airport last week.  Isaiah named it Frosty and said "I wish he would just come alive".  Micah asked me what kind of crap had I let the kids watch while I was down there.  ;)  They had their first exposure to holiday movies such as Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns thanks to their beloved Aunt Jordan.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

North Carolina Trip

Micah had to make a trip to Japan for work so the kids and I went to NC to visit family for 10 days.  We took a ton of pictures so this is a small sampling.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Holiday

We visited the Steeles in Illinois for the long weekend.  The St Louis Steeles and Hannah were also there.  It was wonderful as we were able to have great food, conversation, and relaxation.  (Well, minus the four preschool cousins playing WWF in the living room non stop.)  We went to Grandma Betty's house for Thanksgiving dinner and gained 14 pounds each.  It was totally worth it though.  Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn, Aunt Marilyn's homemade rolls...Mmm.

On Friday the guys set out to work on finishing harvest (this is the latest they have ever been in the field according to Rick.  It is very very wet.)  Things started out well but about the time lunches were delivered to the field the combine broke and all of the guys worked on fixing it the rest of the day.

On Saturday the situation was better as the combine was fixed and the weather was 60 and sunny.  They spent the whole day out working and Naomi and I went out for quite a while and rode along.  This was the first year that Isaiah has been able to hang with the guys all day and I hardly saw him.  He rode along in the tractor with Dad, combine with Grandpa, and also helped grandpa take grain to the elevator in the semi.  He came home both days tired and muddy.  I loved it.  He is getting so big.  Micah said he talked their ears off the whole time asking a million questions.

Baby Walker- the newest addition to the family- is such a cutie.  Naomi and Isaiah loved getting to be around him.  Naomi was super excited to be able to help feed him one day while Steph and I went shopping.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

10 Years Ago

10 years ago at Thanksgiving I met Micah's family for the first time.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


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The kids and I made a trip to the Steele's a couple of weeks ago.  We love to go during harvest every year to get our combine and tractor ride fix and just enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of this time of year on the farm.  We were blessed to be able to spend time with Grandma, Grandpa, Miriam, Cora, Steph, Walker (our precious new nephew), Hannah, and Grandma Betty.  It was such a refreshing time.

Our Children Are Blessed

These are some of the kids from our small group.  Just look at those beautiful smiling faces.  I can't help but smile myself and think of how incredibly blessed they are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Quickly We Forget

I spent the entire last week studying John chapter 6. In case you are not familiar with it there is a part where the disciples are in a boat and caught in a storm. Go ahead, break out your bible and read it.

On to the next part of the story: we got our LOA in the mail yesterday...
I wanted that LOA and I-800 back in the mail as fast as possible. Overnight! Between organizing all of the papers, making copies, and going to FedEx I was a mess. My dear husband asked "can't it wait until tomorrow?". "NO! " I was way too stressed over this. I realized AGAIN after acting like an idiot that God knows the exact moment when Levi will be placed in my arms and that I can't control that. I asked for peace and felt amazing comfort. Silly old me realized that I was at peace and was amazed by that. Then this morning I heard a voice saying "when you let me in the boat we immediately arrived at the shore".

How quickly I forget.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Letter Of Acceptance

We got our LOA call today and we are going to travel in 10-12 weeks. Crazy! I feel like getting my suitcase out but I will wait a bit on that. I had gone to bed weary from the waiting and then had a beautiful dream about Levi that left me joyful. All day I wondered if this would be the day and it was! Yay.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pine Knoll Shores Vacation Video


Click on the link view/download the picture video from this summer at Pine Knoll Shores.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baptism Video

Back in March, during our vacation to Savannah, GA with the Steele family, Rick and Gwen were baptized by Micah and Joel in the Atlantic. It was an event we don't want to forget, so we've compiled a video to help crystallize the memory.
Baptism is an important symbol of God's people "dying" to sin, and being resurrected with Christ through faith. The credit for the blessings we have as a family go to Christ alone -- he has been so faithful and graceful to us.

For a high-resolution version to watch or download, click the link below.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Theme Song

This is Isaiah before AWANA last night. He has figured out how to use our I Pod and tries to take it over so that he can listen to music. He turns the volume all the way up and then when he tries to talk to us he is yelling but he does not know it. He just loves Toby Mac and so does Naomi and they have a favorite song that they usually request. Here it is for your listening pleasure. Just imagine us all dancing around the kitchen since that is usually what they want us to do when we play it. I think it has become a family theme song of sorts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going to Bible Study

This morning Naomi informed me that she was going to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) which is the bible study that we go to weekly. I noticed that she had put on my name tag, was carrying my bag, and was prepared to drop off her baby at the children's class. I was so thrilled to see her imitating me doing something that is so dear to my heart which is going to study the word of God. The kids love the classes that they go to as well.

Which brings me to my point...It is essential that we educate our children about their spiritual needs and address ours as well. So, I just wondered what you have done today to accomplish that? Yes, I am talking to you, the one reading this blog. What have you done to pursue a relationship with our creator by learning about his son, the one who came to rescue us all? He is pursuing you. Will you take time today to consider what He might be asking you to do so that you can live out His purpose for your life? Discovering His will is an amazing journey, folks. Trust me.

Nap Time

Whenever Micah tries to take a nap on the weekends he really has to fight for it. This is what the kids did to him this past Sunday. When I discovered him he was actually sleeping, snoring in fact.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is what the kids wanted to wear to do school on Friday. This is the best pic I got of them in their seasonal garb because Isaiah did not want to dress up to hand out candy on Saturday. We did have fun seeing what the other kids had come up with for their costumes. He was impressed at how many kids were dressed as "Dark Vader".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dinner Time Conversation

We are working on helping Isaiah not to pick his nose so much. It's a new obsession. This is how a conversation went at the dinner table last night:

Mom: "Isaiah, I have not seen you picking your nose today and I appreciate that."

Isaiah: "That's because no boogers have come in."

Dad: "No new arrivals, huh?"

Naomi: (big grin) "No new arrivals in my nose either!"

(Lots of laughter)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cutie Pants at Violin Lesson

I just had to post some pics of cutie and his cutie instructor ( Miss. Suz) at his violin lesson.
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Birthday Boy

We celebrated Isaiah's 5th birthday on Monday at small group. He turned 5 on Tuesday. These are the pics of all of the festivities. As you can see a dinosaur cake was requested. He also wanted pancakes for breakfast and Waffles with sausage for dinner on Tuesday. He is such a joy to be around and we are so glad that God has blessed our lives with him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pre-school Theology

I (Micah) am blogging the details of a conversation I had with Isaiah today in the van. This really took place. You can't make this stuff up.
Isaiah: Rules are important, right Dad?

Me: Well, I guess they are. But there are things which are much more important than following rules. Worshipping God is more important than just following rules.
Isaiah: What's more important than that?
Me: There is nothing more important than worshipping God. That's the MOST important thing -- we were created to worship Him.
Isaiah: But sometimes phone calls are important, right?
Me: Well, yes, sometimes Mom and Dad get phone calls which are important. But they're not more important than worshipping God.
Isaiah: . . . . . . . . . . . does Mom know that?

Friday, October 16, 2009

We are logged in!

We are officially logged in with the CCAA ( China Center for Adoption Affairs) as of September 3. Now we are just waiting for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China. Travel will still be in January or February but at least we are one step closer to meeting Levi!

Here is some info about Levi's city. He lives in Wenzhou, Zhejiang at the Child Welfare Institute of Wenzhou City. The population is 7.5 million.
Wikipedia has these interesting things to say about Wenzhou:

Business Culture:
"Due to both cultural and geographical remoteness and its lack of natural resources (land, minerals, etc.), the Chinese central government has left the people of Wenzhou relatively autonomous. Away from the center of the political and economic stage, its people are more independent, self-reliant, and generally more business-oriented. Numerous books have been published about the the business sense of people from Wenzhou. The people of Wenzhou are equipped with business sense and a commercial culture more dominant than anywhere else in China."

Most people are Buddhist, around 80% of the residents, and there are numerous Buddhist temples in the city. But recently there has been a rapid growth of Christian community, one source claims that between 15 and 20% of the city's population is Christian. For this reason the city has come to be known as "China's Jerusalem". Cool huh?

The language there is said to be "notoriously eccentric" due to the geographic location (surrounded by mountains and sea) and the influence from other Chinese languages. For this reason it won't do us any good to try and learn Chinese ( Mandarin) before we go. The guide that we have will teach us basic words to communicate with Levi.

Here is a link to a page that the BBC has called "In Pictures: A Day In The Life of Wenzhou"
I can hardly wait to check it out for myself!

Bahl Family Pumpkin Farm

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Violin

My little guy is going to start violin lessons next week. We will see how it goes. He seems excited now but I am sure that wont be the case when I break the news that he has to practice instead of playing babies with Naomi or something of the sort. ( He really does like to play babies with Naomi.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Topsail Beach Vacation Video


Click on the link to download/view the newest picture video.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Homeschooling

So here are some pics of our newly reorganized homeschool/playroom/livingroom area. I am giving homeschooling a go this year in an attempt to keep my growing preschoolers busy and active and so I felt that I needed to create a fun space for that. We are doing the Sonlight curriculum and other fun things like art and games. So far it has been super fun to have all of these resources at my fingertips to keep us busy. The kids seem to like the new schedule too.
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Labor Day at The Steeles

A long weekend at the Steeles is always fun. The whole family was able to be together and just relax. Gwen always makes us really good food too. Most of us went to the Springfield Farmers Market on Saturday morning to sell some of that yummy beef. We also got to see Grandma Betty and the Cutlers. One call was made to poison control (Miriam had a run in with holly berries) and Hannah's house was burglarized while she was gone. But, overall, a great time was had by all!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Christmas in September!

Here is the latest and greatest on Levi. He weighs 25 pounds and is 32 inches tall! He had his palate surgury in June and is able to hold his bowl an eat by himself. He is also using the potty by himself during the day. He runs and walks by himself, plays puzzles, and calls the nannies "aunt".

His 2nd birthday is Friday and so we sent him a care package with pajamas, a stuffed animal or blanket, candy, a camera for the nannies to take pictures of him and his friends, and a letter from us translated by Ann. Ann has a business delivering care packages for families to their watiting children in China, among other things. I found her on the web thanks to our Yahoo group from the Wenzhou orphanage. She said that if you order a package she tries really hard to get updated pictures and info but she does not guarantee those things. This is the info that she was able to get.

I feel like it is Christmas morning!!

Here is the picture of the care package that Ann is sending for us. Isn't that just so cool?

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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Here are our superheroes. They bring me their pillowcases and I staple them together to make capes. Then they "fly" around the house. I asked them to do a superhero pose and this is what I got.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coralville Lake Camping

We went camping at Coralville Lake this past weekend with our dear friends the Hills. It is half way between our houses and so we met up for some outdoor fun. The kids had a great time wearing each other and the adults out. We feel so blessed to have such a close friendship with them and it was wonderful to catch up and see how much the kids have grown and changed. I miss them already!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Naomi!

Our baby girl turned 3 today. I can't believe it. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she said "pink!". OK... So, I made her this pink cake and she got a new pink stroller. We started the day with chocolate chip pancakes, had a picnic in the park for lunch, and she went to get a haircut. We had her dinner and party planned for just the four of us. Isaiah threw up in between the dinner and the cake...all over the table. Happy Birthday baby!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dossier Done!

Dossier: (Dos-ee-ey) n. The presentation of our family to the Chinese officials.

This is what we have been gathering for 8 months and today we mailed it to our agency! Here I am running out the door to the FedEx office. I have to admit that when we started this process I thought to myself "this will be a piece of cake! We are SO gonna get this done in record time." I had no idea that what all other parents of internationally adopted children know is that it is SO NOT a piece of cake. Anyway, needless to say this is a very happy day for us so we had to document it for Levi's adoption journey book. After visiting Cindy at FedEx and telling her all about Levi while sharing his picture and gushing all over the place I celebrated with some Reeses Cups. Now if all is well with the packet our agency will forward it to China on Friday. Then they will think about it for about 6 months...or something like that.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation and Other Stuff

Well, we just got back from North Carolina for two weeks and we are glad to be home. It was wonderful to see family and spend time with them but we contracted a stomach bug before we left Dubuque and it has lasted until we arrived back home. We were humbled by the whole thing as we were reminded that there are many in the world that suffer from such illnesses every day and even die from them without access to clean water. Just yesterday I read in my World Vision magazine that diarrhea causes 1.8 million deaths among children each year. That is mind blowing to me and really puts things in perspective.

In other news, our adoption is moving right along thanks to a paperwork miracle. We messed up and failed to notice a very important piece of information in our one million page handbook for China adoption. Thanks to a dear friend in Dubuque and a courier in Washington DC who has friends at the Chinese Embassy we seem to be back on track. Hopefully we will be sending our load of paperwork to our agency to be mailed to China early next week. We just can't wait to meet our little guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week in Pictures

Great week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Look

Isaiah has really been slacking on his bedtime brushing.
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New Beds

We moved the kids to their new beds last night. Isaiah got Rexhina and Tessie's bunk beds and Naomi got Isaiah's bed. They were both so excited. I was kinda sad because the crib was empty for the first time since 2004. I don't have babies anymore! Naomi says that "our new China baby can use the crib". :)
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fishing Derby With Friends

Finley's Landing

Posted by PicasaYesterday we went to Finley's Landing, a beach north of Dubuque on the Mississippi. Our friends Heather and Ashton went with us. It was really nice so I hope to find some more hot summer days to spend time there.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Days like this (and the ones just like it we'll have between now and September) are why people are willing to brave Northern Iowa winters.
If these pictures don't make you smile, check your pulse