Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Helping Mom make cookies

Today is my father's Birthday - Happy 68th Gramps! Here is a conversation Kim had with Josiah about this very fact.
"Why is today Grandpa's Birthday?" Josiah asked.
"Because this is the day Grandpa was born." Kim said.
"This is the day he was born?" Josiah asked.
"Yes" Kim said.
"Was he born in a stable?" asked Josiah.
Much laughter followed.... just a little Christmas/Birthday confusion.
Here we are with Grandpa cutting down our Christmas Tree

Olivia decided to cut her bangs off with a scissors recently

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where has all the time gone

I can't believe it's been 6 months since my last post... WOW! But I referred to my blog in my Christmas letter, so I thought I'd better get things up to date. So much has happened in that time so I guess I'll just start with today. We sent Olivia in to wake up Josiah for school. Joshia attends preschool Tuesday and Thursday and Olivia M-W-F. So Olivia comes out crying because Josiah wacked her. Oh so typical in the Basten household. So I dropped Josiah off before I went to work, and as we typically do, we race from the van to the front door of school and Josiah won - again! So Josiah took off his coat and gloves and one of the little boys from his class came out and said "hi" to Josiah, and grabbed his hand, and the two of them walked back into class holding hands as I walked away saying "I love you". He has come so far.

Both of them have adjusted to the point where we can leave them with babysitters or they can go by Grandma and Grandpas by themselves and there's no trauma in our separation. Gabriella has progressed to where she can be comforted by anyone in the family rather than being Kim's little shadow. It's been an amazing year. Last year at this time, we were just coming to terms with not being able to bring them home in 2007. I can't even remember what our quiet house used to be like :). But we wouldn't want it any other way. Just so very thankful to be where we are... Til next time.

Enjoy this picture of Josiah and Gabriella dressed up for Halloween

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Fun (Finally...)

We took a trip to Minneapolis St Paul Int'l Airport yesterday to welcome home Teddy Redman to America. Julie was in Liberia back in March in hopes of picking up Teddy while I was picking up Gabriella and our friendship grew from our time together there. Kim and Julie were friends before I went to Liberia, but Liberia was the first time I met her. She showed me the ropes in Liberia and helped me see more of Liberia than I would have on my own. Since that trip we visited with them in Stratford when Hamilton was up, and so i've gotten to know Scott as well and the rest of the family.

Anyways, after many, many setbacks, they were finally able to bring Teddy home yesterday. We were so excited for them, that we just had make the trip to Minnesota and celebrate - and we were so glad we did. Another couple, the Joyces, met at the airport too. We met Mike and Pat Joyce in Brussels on our way to get Josiah. Unfortunately our trip was cut short that time and we never really got to know them as well as we had liked. We also never got to see their beautiful children. So they were kind and generous and invited us all back to their home for some pizza. Their son Kevin is 3 and was in the same orphanage as Josiah. So it was so sweet to see their reunion and how excited they were to see each other. They were wrestling and hugging and having a blast.

Tomorrow is Joshua's 12th Birthday, so he had a friend spend the day and the weather was finally nice (87 and mostly sunny) so we took advantage of it and got the jetskis out for the first time this year. So Josiah and Gabriella expierence their first jetski ride. We had a lot of fun, and the water felt great. But the fact that Joshua is 12, means Kim and I are definitely getting old. I remember everything about his delivery and early months - each of those precious stages - rolling over, crawling, first tooth, but it seems like it's been a blur since then. But we rejoice in how the Lord has blessed us through Joshua.
Josiah with his buddy Kevin Joyce

Action shot of Gabriella and Olivia playing at the Joyces
Olivia ready to jetski
Caleb snuck this one of me working - all work and no play makes dad a crabby patty
Gabriella has been with us 3 months already - so Kim was getting some post placement pictures
Look at me - I'm swinging
Some of the Redmans, Joyces, and Bastens
Teddy on the floor in the airport opening some gifts

Gabriella enjoying Shawano Lake
Ready for a tube ride
Can't wait til I can drive this
Joshua the birthday boy
The 3 youngest playing on the jetski

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Officially Summer

Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the weather. We are still anxiously awaiting a warm day where we can try out the jetskis for the first time. In the meantime, the kids started swimming lessons last week. Josiah loves the water, even though he's usually shivering and the chlorine bleaches his skin. Joshua is in level 5, Elizabeth and Caleb in level 4, Olivia in level 1, and Josiah is in beginner. But they are all doing great. Olivia is definitely the bravest of her age group, and loves jumping off the diving board. Meanwhile Gabriella, forced to watch each day, keeps getting closer and closer to the water.

This weekend we attended a birthday party with very good friends that have "adopted" us into their family. And the cool part for the kids, is that there were 6 adopted children at the party. 3 sisters from this family have adopted, so their were three from Ethiopia, one from China, and two from Liberia. It was a great time of playing and getting wet.

Julie Redman, who I spent a week with in Liberia, and have visited once since being back, has been back in Liberia for a third time in order to bring Teddy home. It's been a long road for them, so we are anxiously awaiting the news that both of them boarded the plane.

Gabriella and Caleb
Gabriella being her cute self
Elizabeth and Gabriella snuggling
Joshua with his summer hair cut and summer atire.
Olivia with Gabriella showing off her braided hair that mom worked so hard on
Josiah smelling the flowers
Helping dad water the flowers
What a cutie - I dread those dating years
Another hairstyle courtesy of mom

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hope you had a great Father's Day

Just wanted to post quick that the local newspaper featured an article in the Sunday paper about our adoption. It was a privilege to share our story and hopefully get others thinking about adoption. If you're interested, you can read the story on-line: Basten Family to celebrate Father's Day with two more kids. Also here's a couple more pictures of our "cuties".

being silly with diapers on our heads
i know - i'm cute
Seeing what it would be like to be the "big" sister with one of my cousinsPlaying with my pony substituting a fireman's hat for a cowboy hat
cute and cuddly in my pajamas

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Introducing for the first time...

We were in court this morning to readopt Josiah and Gabriella as our children. So I'd like to introduce to you for the first time Josiah Thomas Boimah Basten and Gabriella Kimberly Basten as our legal children and citizens of the U.S. My parents joined us in court to witness the proceeding. Then we went out for lunch after to celebrate.
With the judge after the court order for their name change.

With Grandma and Grandpa Basten

The whole Basten family

This is typical Josiah style - full of energy and moving so much even the camera couldn't catch him still.

With suckers and balloons from Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another Post - So Soon

Nothing new from Basten Family. Summer vacation has officially started. We attended a graduation party on Saturday at a VFW and Josiah learned a valuable life lesson: "Don't throw rocks". He broke a basement window of a neighboring house. So that was exciting for a moment. And we've been trying to help Josiah and Gabriella get rid of Giardiasis - a parasite disease. So they are on their third dose of anti-biotics. And today out of the blue, Gabriella starts crying, and we can't figure out why but discover her pants need to be changed. And it's the first time she's had solid stool since we've had her. And we finally put two and two together that it either hurts coming out or she's afraid because it's different then she's ever experienced. She cryed again spontaeously and again a dirty diaper. We found it a bit humorous, but we rejoiced in solid pooh. Other than that, thought we share some more pictures.

The girls with their pajamas "hiked up"
Olivia and Gabriella fixing their hair
Olivia playing horse with Josiah playing cowboy
Elizabeth showing off her new "do"
Riding a toy 4 wheeler at Aunt Miriam's
Close-up of Josiah
Being boistrous
Gabriella sitting in the doll carrier on Olivia's bike

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hello - Anybody Out There?

After a 2 month absence, I've finally gotten back to the blog with an update. Things are going very, very well, and we are enjoying our family tremendously. We are extremely blessed and thankful to be at this point. All our children have been adjusting so well to all the changes and the progress of everyone has been amazing. Tomorrow is the last day of school, so come Friday, Kim will be more exhausted, and more in need of a break from the kids. But we have a plan to provide structure and eliminate some of the chaos. The kids will be in swimming lessons for 4 weeks which will help. But things are extremely busy! My business is doing well, which has added to the busy-ness, which is why it's been so difficult to sit down and blog. But my sincerest appologies to those of you who have faithfully checked, only to find the same old post. I'll try to recap the last 2 months briefly in pictures.

Showing off our pearly whites

Bath time is so much fun!

Sleeping Angel
Holding hands in our car seats

Posing with Grandma Maly

The whole Basten Family

On the shore of the Wolf River in Shawano watching the migration of Sturgeon

Joshua showing off his new glasses

6 kids has made me a little crazy

Love will make you do this

Posing with our Great Aunt Miriam (Kim's dad's sister) We visited family over Memorial Day weekend in Richland Center in the soutwest part of the state.

End of School Year field trips meant we visited the NEW Zoo more than once. Here Joshua is feeding one of the giraffes named Hodari

The before picture

Elizabeth got her hair cut so that she could donate her hair to Locks of Love