merry christmas.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.  JOY to the world!

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“de-nanna” & brad’s wedding

We were honored to be a small part of D & B’s Baltimore wedding this weekend… our little ring bearers did a great job! The wedding was great; traveling was a bit of a nightmare as a 6-7 hour trip up turned into TEN… but somehow these little guys went straight from being cooped up in a car for ten hours to walking down an aisle for rehearsal just fine (we were so late we had to skip checking into the hotel/changing and go straight to the church & change in the bathroom! good times). I was proud of them.  We were all exhausted by the time we got home on Sunday, but it was worth it–we wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Here’s the video of them walking down the aisle… there were 4 ring bearers & 1 flower girl. They all started out a little timid then all of a sudden the pack broke into a sprint. It was pretty hysterical. Meanwhile Cullen is behind them trying to carry his little pillow as perfectly as possible. It made me laugh. Deanna didn’t care what they all did (thankfully since ours were the oldest, the rest were all 2 & younger!) so we were glad four out of five actually made it down the aisle one way or another 😉 Cuties.

Then they danced the night away at the reception. I mean tore it up… they danced more than any adult there. Here’s C in a world of his own:

And here’s when sneaky Uncle Rick got out his laser pen and had them chasing it around like kittens…until Lane figured him out.

We were so busy we barely took ANY photos… as in I don’t even have one of the beautiful bride yet! I’ll have to add some when the photographer’s pictures get back… we just let him take all the good ones so we could enjoy the day slash keep the 3-yr-olds on track! It was a beautiful wedding – such an emotional, heartfelt ceremony. Praying God blessed your marriage immensely, we love y’all!

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studs.

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with my three handsome gentlemen… poor L was fading at this point – but after a little food, he got a second wind that lasted till 10:30!

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a quick phone pic before the ceremony – handsome little men!

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just a little pre-ceremony etch-a-sketchin’, vital ring bearer preparation.

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C-man found a lady… hey girl, wanna dance? (he reeled her right in, such a ladies’ man)

matching grant: one week left!

This is the final week we can receive donations for our matching grant through Hand in Hand.  All donations must be postmarked by Friday, December 21st.  We are close to the full amount but not quite there yet… they let us know on Friday that we’re at $3225!  We’re so thrilled and hopeful that we’ll be able to reach the full matching amount of $4,000 for $8,000 toward our expenses.  God is good and we have some incredible family and friends… trust me, this is an indescribable blessing to our family.

We just returned home from Baltimore for Deanna & Brad’s wedding… it was an amazing day and we’re so happy for them.  Post to come soon.

I am still speechless and so sad about the shooting in CT.  I cannot handle thinking about it, as a mother or a former first grade teacher.  Those teachers are heroes, and my heart is absolutely broken for the parents.  Holding my babies tight, and praying for those families and the community.

Come, Lord Jesus, come…

 

overheard…

Some gems from the mouths of babes lately…

{Lane asked Aunt Ash to get something out of the garage.  Our garage door opener is broken so she said we might need some help.} Lane: “My daddy will do it.  He’s a GOOD man!!”

Part II, a couple weeks later – Daddy went to get batteries for the train.  Lane: “He’s a GOOD man!!”

Cullen: “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!”

Cullen : “These blocks look happy.  We’re gonna call this a block party!  Can you turn on some music Mommy?! I bet they’d love some music!”

Me: “Boys, what should we have for dinner tonight?”  C: “What I want for dinner is LUNCH!”

Lane: “Mama, I already made up some dance moves for De-nanna’s wedding.  It’s gonna be a PARTY!” {picture some ridiculously hilarious, VERY WHITE BOY moves as Lane starts breakin’ it down}

The other day at the Rec Center – Lane met a cute little girl who apparently he felt needed salvation… “Little girl!  Little girl!!  Do you love  JESUS?!  Jesus is the SON OF GOD!!” {buddy, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I don’t think she was quite loving the in-your-face preaching she got…we may need to try a little kinder, gentler tactic}

And then… it seems his theology is a little mixed up because I overheard him say “Little girl!  Girls can’t climb here, only boys can climb here.  Jesus was the SON of God, so only boys can climb!!”  What???? Guess we’ll have to work on that…

1 month waiting!

We wanted to do something special on the 2nd of each month, our “DTE anniversary.”  So, we’ve decided to cook an Ethiopian dish for each date in honor of baby girl.  Baby Sister Day!  Tonight we made a chickpea wat–it was DELICIOUS.  Really similar to some Indian dishes we’ve had, and we love Indian food.  The boys ate it up too.  We prayed for her together & talked a little bit about Ethiopia.  This culture is going to be a part of our lives forever and we want to embrace it!

One month waiting!

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It was also our first night of Advent!  We’ve decided to do a little daily advent Scripture reading/fun Christmas activity with the boys each day.  I’m really excited to do it with them.  Tonight we put the final ornaments on the tree (theirs that I had tucked away) and watched a little Christmas movie with some eggnog & cookies while we cuddled on the couch.  It was such precious family time and you could tell the boys loved it too.  We’re looking forward to this Christmas season, especially with the boys’ growing knowledge of what Christmas is all about!

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World AIDS Day

This post definitely veers away from our usual Pyles family topics, and it may be a little more serious than normal, but it’s something I felt like I couldn’t just gloss over.  Today is World AIDS Day.  This really isn’t something I gave much thought to before getting to know people in the adoption community and learning more about Africa. Honestly, my eyes have been opened to a lot of things I didn’t ever expect… and I know it’s only the beginning.  I mean, I haven’t even BEEN there yet.

The facts about HIV/AIDS really surprised me.  Our  country’s knowledge of HIV hasn’t really changed since the 80’s.  The EIGHTIES.  Um, I was BORN in the 80’s.  Things have certainly changed a little since then (for one, mullets are out, praise the Lord)…and research/treatment for HIV has come a LONG way.  It’s sad that so many children still have to deal with the stigma of being HIV+ when medicine has come so far to treat it.  A few facts that helped me understand how manageable HIV is now:

  • HIV is transmitted in three main ways: sexual contact, IV drug use thorugh the sharing of dirty needles, and mother-to-infant (during pregnancy, birth, or breast- feeding)
  • HIV has never been transmitted through normal family living conditions. It cannot be transmitted through casual contact.
  • HIV is not found in sweat, urine, feces, tears, saliva, or snot.
  • All around the world orphans are overlooked for adoption because of their HIV+ status.
  • Today, HIV is considered a chronic but managable disease much like Type II Diabetes (though diabetes cannot be transmitted).
  • Children who are HIV-positive and receive medical treatment are expected to live a normal lifespan. Medications called ARVs (Anti-RetroViral) can mean the difference between life and death for individuals living with HIV.
  • A person’s viral load is the amount of HIV found in their body. Through the use of HAART treatment it is possible for a patient’s viral load to become undetectable in laboratory tests (and therefore it is extremely rare for it to be transmitted when a person is on these medications and following universal safety practices).
  • Social stigma is perhaps the greatest challenge an HIV+ individual will face. {source: Project Hopeful}

Before beginning the adoption process, I can’t say I really knew anybody closely who had it.  I know I made a lot of incorrect assumptions.  But seeing these precious children’s faces on Waiting Child Lists, knowing that the ONLY reason they’re not being adopted is because they are HIV+, breaks your heart. AIDS is a death sentence for people without access to medications… but with the right medicine, they can leave a pretty normal life–just taking a dose of medication twice a day.

900 babies are born with HIV every day.  They didn’t do anything on their own to contract it–they were just born to mothers who had it.  Today, we’re praying that number will be wiped out.  It’s totally preventable.  We’re also praying for the many orphans who have HIV.  We’re praying for families for all of them.  I’m praying for those who have lost loved ones due to this disease–in Ethiopia, in Africa, in the United States.  It’s estimated that over 16 million children have become orphans due to AIDS, especially in Africa.  That is staggering.  I surely don’t have all the right things to say on this topic.  All I know is once your eyes have been opened, you can’t ignore it.  My heart aches for these orphans and I have to do something, even if it’s just trying to raise a little bit of awareness in my tiny corner for the world.

If you’re interested, here are some great sites with more information – trying to spread knowledge about the disease and how to prevent it, end the stigma, and find families for positive children.  Worth a quick look! 🙂

Project Hopeful 

Positively Orphaned

Positively Adopted

Short Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE9XnX7WRog&feature=player_embedded