Sunday, September 30, 2012


It's official. After 11 months, 1 orientation, 2 training seminars, a home study, and 8 billion pages of documentation; we are officially DSS approved and pregnant with adoption. And much like a natural pregnancy, the next step... is to wait. With our preferences fully documented, and our family profiled to a T, we now sit back and wait for a phone call from our newly assigned case worker... waiting to hear the words, "I think we've got a match"... and once that happens, my guess is that my heart will start to race just as it did (if not more) moments before our first three children were delivered. PUSH!

At least with a natural pregnancy, we'd have a due date. But the uncertainty of not knowing when that phone call will come (a month from now? a year? 2 years? or tomorrow?) is a whole new ballgame for us. Granted, the three crazy children that we already have do a great job of keeping us busy (or should I say keeping us tired and moderately delirious) so I expect our anxiety during the waiting process to be pretty low. In the meantime, we will remain prayerful about whether or when we should have our adoption file registered with our county foster care office.  While we don't yet have clarity as to exactly which need God wants us to fulfill in the process (being registered as a foster family would not require any additional work or qualification), we've been advised that going the foster route could land a child at our doorstep at the blink of an eye... which pretty much puts us all over the map with our timeframe.

With that, I do hope that you (whatever readership we have left out there) keep us in your prayers as we continue to do our best to be obedient to God's perfect will for our family. As always, it's a bit of a roller coaster ride... but sometimes I get the feeling that He would have it no other way.


I guess the term "baby dedication" is a bit of a misnomer since the baby is the only one at the alter that's not dedicated to much of anything. Then again, I take that back. Over the past month, Naomi Janelle has demonstrated her dedication to begging for seconds, crying at the church nursery (separation anxiety has officially set in), relocating random items from one side of the house to the other (I call her the transporter) and being the first person to wake up every morning. But dedicated to being Christ-like? Clueless. Which I guess means that it's more about us (the parents, extended family and friends) dedicating ourselves to her and making a public commitment before the Lord to raise her according to God's Word and Will. With that said, she was "dedicated" last Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist in a service that Venesa and I both thought was pretty awesome.

The highlight for the kids? Nana, PopPop and Lela all in Hartsville for the weekend. And while they've gotten used to seeing Lela (for what seems like) every 72 hours (they LOVE their Lela!) it had been about a year since the last Nana & PopPop visit. But if you ask the kids, it was worth the wait. Great weekend. Fun visit. And one more dedicated Reyes baby.

This photo = Instant Classic. 
Jasmine caught on film doing the Moo Moo. Priceless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


7. We've got fleas. Bouncing all through the house. And the battle is not over. After giving Tasha (our Great Pyrenees) three baths in 4 days, one flea collar, an oral med, and a possible doggie overdose of Frontline Plus flea meds... plus two full-house Terminix flea treatment and a twice-a-day full house vacuuming; it finally occurred to us: she's not the problem. The two most interesting things that we learned from this: (1) The dog pleads not guilty. For one, the Terminex guy mentioned that the last 3 houses he treated didn't even have pets. Secondly, I guess we can't overlook the fact that she's flea-free (maybe the only one in the house). With the meds that she's on, fleas only have to touch her in order to die. It's like she's got a force field. So while we've relegated her to the outdoors until we solve the problem, the irony is that she is basically one big pesticide and we probably just need to grab her by the tail and drag her around the house in order kill the last of the fleas. Interesting fact number (2): Dawn dish detergent is more effective at killing fleas that just about anything you can by at a pet store. Google it. Craziest thing in the world. But it worked... and also left me thinking, if this stuff kills fleas... what in the world are we washing our dishes with?

8. After starting midyear last year, we have officially begun our first full year of homeschooling. Justin is picking up where he left off... not that we really know where that is (somewhere between kindergarten and second grade, depending on the subject and the day of the week). And Jasmine is following suit with a very loose Pre-K / K curriculum. In all, they're doing great things, enjoying school, and Venesa continues to do an incredible job at embracing her role as the primary home educator. Now if someone can just get the pencil swiping, crayon breaking, homework eating, no-nap taking Naomi on board, everything would be great.

9. I flew to San Antonio to celebrate my uncle's retirement from the Air Force after 30 years of service. Awesome ceremony. Great to see so much family. Shocked that my parents made it  (PA to TX road trip... insane). Would've been cool if Venesa could've made it, too. But her dad's pending liver transplant still has her on house arrest (bag packed for two weeks now, waiting for the call). Congrats, Uncle Daryl. 

10. My paternal grandmother passed away on July 12. In early August, Justin and Jasmine joined me for a quick road trip (Thursday to Sunday) for her memorial service in Brooklyn. Despite 24 hours in the car over 3 days, they were absolutely great the whole weekend. Justin was awestruck by the sheer volume of (everything) in New York. Meanwhile, Jasmine barely noticed that we left Hartsville. The highlight of the trip for both was the pool at the hotel on the way there and back. We love you, Grandma Espie. And we'll undoubtedly miss you. 

11 Jasmine is officially allergic to Soy, and unofficially allergic to... pretty much everything else. I feel like I've blogged about this already... but thought I'd throw it in just in case I didn't. Venesa has essentially become an allergist and allergen nutritionist over the past 3 months. Want to know how to make 28 different 3-course entrees without a single dairy ingredient? Ask my wife. She's a culinary genius.

12. Venesa took over as the coordinator of the Darlington County chapter of MOPS (Mother's of PreSchoolers). I'm tempted to talk about how the chapter has grown in every which way it possibly could under her leadership (spiritual maturity, membership numbers, organizationally, outreach efforts, community ties, etc.)... but she'd be totally embarrassed if I mentioned any of that... so I won't.

13. Ruben and Stacy welcomed Zane Ruiz into the world about 3 weeks ago (congratulations!), which means that Naomi now holds the family record for the shortest stent as the youngest grand baby. Move over girl, you're last year's news. I hope you enjoyed your fifteen minutes of fame. 

Okay... I am officially exhausted, and ready for bed. And (minus a slew of details and a handful of photos) the blog is officially up to date. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I need a pause button. Life is evidently unfolding about 12 time faster than I can write about it. Three entries ago, I talked about having a half dozen blog entries that I wanted to write, but couldn't find time to do so. Well, I think the number has quadrupled since then and I (once again) find myself at that head-scratching, throw-up-your-hands, laugh to keep from crying point to where I want to catch up, but don't have a clue where to begin.

And so... because it's just getting worse by the day... I present to you, the blog dump. In no particular order, here are all of the events, milestones, and otherwise trivial moments that I can think of over the past 3 months that were deserving of their own blog entry but, because of my lack of free time, have now been relegated to summary blurbs in a blog entry called Everything I Couldn't Blog About Because My Life Is Not A Tivo.... or EICBABMLINAT, for short.

1. Naomi started walking about a week ago. Not step-step-fall walking... but full out, I'm-done-crawling-and-may-my-knees-never-touch-the-floor-again walking. I know... that's huge... and it's shameful that this is on the EICBABMLINAT list... but that should let you know that the butt kicking that my schedule has
delivered this month as been a sound and thorough one. I had (and still have) the most awesome idea of a video I wanted to make to document her first full week of walking (SMH)... I guess I'll have to save it for the grandkids. We love you, Naomi, and we're proud of your latest milestone. You're awesome, girl. Now stop growing up so fast. 

It's totally crazy that we have 3 walking children now. Our baby days are officially behind us. Teardrop. Sniffle, sniffle.

2. Naomi's top canines came in before either of her top choppers. Totally weird. Now she's walking around looking like a dracula baby. It's pretty funny. Would've been a cool picture but... (SMH)... one of the choppers broke through before I could grab a camera and so now you'll just have to take my word for it. We had a dracula baby for about 2 weeks.

3. After a full summer of successfully growing herbs, tomatoes and eggplant in our backyard, and tending (and raiding)
our neighbor's garden as well; Venesa has officially been upgraded from City Girl to Farmer Mom. She should have seen her out there, playing in the dirt like she knew what she was doing. I'm proud of you, mommy. You really took the gardening thing (that I've been pushing for years) and ran with it. More than anything, I'm glad that you had so much fun with it.

4. Justin sat on a banana in the shopping cart... and cried like he killed an animal. Did we mention that our son is sensitive? Um. Yeah. I had to document that one. Justin Alexander is (ahem) special. 

5. Jasmine took dance lessons this summer. I think it was 5 or 6 lessons in total; a preview of sorts for the full dance class (which we did not opt to enroll her in). Even though she froze like a snowman in a blizzard during the final presentation, she loved it. And it really showed (reminded?) us that she thrives when given a
bit of separation from her brother... but when she came home everyday with the same line ("I had fun today... but we still haven't done ballet yet") we knew that the full class in the fall (at the full price) wasn't happening. Sorry, but we don't want to hear that our daughter did "so very well paying attention and learning to follow instructions" with the other 3 year olds. She had those "skills" before the class started. We paid for BALLET. We want some jumps and spins or something. At least give us a pliƩ and a fancy stretch. Long story short, I think it's time for a new ballet school. We'll revisit our options next fall.

6. In the category of personal accomplishments, I should mention that I finished the book of Jeremiah. The cool thing is that I didn't just read it but, in an attempt to really read the bible for all that it's worth, I studied the daylights out if it. It was pretty interesting (not to mention way long... nobody told me ahead of time that it was the second longest book in the bible). Timothy is up next. That should feel like reading a pamphlet after reading Jeremiah. One down, 65 to go.

To be continued.