Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Toby and Evan in Gatlinburg

Last vacation post, I swear! But I can't forget our friends Todd and Evan who came to join us Wednesday night and stayed through Saturday. We met Todd and his wife Amy on our 1st visit trip to Guatemala. We stayed in touch and met up again in Guatemala over Christmas. Now that everyone is finally home we thought it would be fun to meet up again in gatlinburg. Amy was unable to join us due to her work schedule (we really hope to see her next time), but the boys had a ton of fun together. I have too many pics of them together, so I created a montage. It includes their eating fun, enjoying each others toys, hiking, bath time, and the aquarium. Hope you all enjoy it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Bridge

For those of you that don't know, Gatlinburg is a very special place for Greg and me. 6 years ago on a bridge that spans a roaring creek Greg first told me he loved me, two years later he proposed to me there, and now 4 years later we brought Toby to that special place. So on Thursday after hiking a .5 mile paved trail near the creek, we drove the 7 miles up the Newfound Gap Road to visit the Chimney Tops Trail that is so special to us.

On our Bridge

The scenery from our bridgeThe bridge itself. Simple but beautiful!


At 4 on Friday, we made the hour drive to Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a large field set in a valley in between the Smokies. Very picturesque! Once there we drove the 11 mile motor trail in hopes of spotting some of the wildlife which we were despritely hoping to see while on vaction. Cades has one of the highest concentrations of Black Bear and Deer in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The 11 mile trail takes 2-3 hours to do and it was well worth it. See the pictures below.

Cades Cove
Two Bucks: The one on the left was a 10pt and the other an 8pt. I was about 10 feet away from them. They were with 2 other bucks. It was incredible.

Our first bear sighting was of a momma bear and her two cubs. This is a pick of the cub. I have great video of this and if I can get it uploaded, you see just how close they came to us.

Our second bear sighting was of a lone bear out catching a bite to eat. It was awesome to see Bears this close. Evidently had we come a little later we would have seen many more.

A white tailed deer with some different coloring. She was a beaut!

Cades Cove was a wonderful (but long) experience. And well worth the trip!

More Gatlinburg


It rained, but we still enjoyed some sightseeing. We drove about 23 miles up into the mountains to go to Clingsman Dome. A lookout that the Cherokee used. You can usually see for miles, but not that day. you'll see why in the pics. We also stopped at the Newfound Gap which also has beautiful views and contains the TN, NC border. Here are some of the pic from that day.
Our "view" from Clingman's Dome. It was so foggy and cold that we didn't hike to the top
Greg and I freezing. It had to be 40 degrees up there. We were not prepared.

Newfound Gap (also very foggy) Toby enjoying the fireplace. His favorite spot in the house.
Tuckered out from our day of exploring.


On Wednesday we went on a motor nature trail just in case it rained. It turned out to be a great morning so we were able to get out and hike 1.7 miles to the Grotto Falls. It was beautiful! And the hike was lots of fun, we even saw some bear tracks.

Toby asleep again! This time it was Daddy's turn to carry him.
This is the path we hiked. A little rocky.
Us hiking behind the falls
The lower fallsLet's go! I want to see the rest of the Motor Trail!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Hi Y'all! We just got back today from our trip to Gatliburg, TN. We enjoyed 6 nights and 7 relaxful days. I have way too many pics(and they are all soooo cute), so your going to get several posts. I figure I'll oraganize them by subject and by days. That should make the most sense. So without further ado...


Our Cabin: Heavenly View

The "Heavenly View" from our deck

Day 1 Hike: Laurel Falls

A paved trail that goes 2.7 miles up the mountain.

Greg and I and a sleeping Toby. He slept the entire hike up the mountain!

A family pic

"Rock Climbing" at Cades Cove Picnic Area

Splashing in the Creek

Liliana Update!

Hello everyone!

We found out on Friday that we have DNA Authorization. What that means is that the attorney went to the US Embassy and applied to have DNA taken. It has been approved by the Embassy so DNA will be taken early this week. DNA is taken to prove that the Mother and the child are related. We will have the results in about 2 weeks. After we have the results the wait for Pre-approval will begin. The Pre-approval is issued by the embassy, it essentially means that as long as the PGN approves the adoption they will too. I promise to keep you all informed. And stay tuned for pictures from our trip to Gatlinburg this past week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home Six Months

At 11:01pm our plane touched down at Pittsburgh International Airport six months ago today. I can't believe we have been home with Toby for six months. It seems like just yesterday that we were in Guatemala praying that we wouldn't be there too long (we were there 28 days) and then again I can't really remember what life was like without Toby. And I don't want to either. He has developed so much. When we arrive home he was 21lbs and 28.25 inches. He is now 24+ lbs and 30.5 inches, which the doctor is very happy with. When we came home he had one word...Dada. he now has about 30 words. He's not putting them in phrases yet but he can communicate. I am so over the moon in love with my little boy. The process seemed to drag on forever but it is amazing how quickly the time flies since he's come home.

Hi Nana and PapPap! Nice to finally meet you.

Go Steelers! Our first week home.

Toby enjoying some cake two weeks ago. Wow how you've changed!

Last week talking on the phone to Dada. He loves the phone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Toby's Day in Court and Fourth of July Pics

If you thought it was all said and done when we landed back on US soil then think again. It's taken a couple of months to get our day in court but today was it. We had to stand in front of a judge and ask the Ohio court system to recognize Toby's forgein birth. Why you ask? First and foremost it completes the name change. The finalization of the adoption in Guatemala changed Toby's last name to our family name, but that was all. So on everything official he was Angel Fernando. Today the Ohio courts officially changed his name to Tobias Angel. The second reason for our court date was to get Toby an Ohio birth certificate so that later down the road we can simply go to vital statistics and pick one up, instead of flying to Guatemala.When we receive his birth certificate (in 4-8 weeks, urgh!) then we can get his SSN and his U.S. passport enabling us to go and visit Lili.

Toby waiting for our turn

Smooches to my Sister while hiding from Mommy

A picture of me taken by...Toby

It's official thanks to Our attorney, Tom

Here's to the Red,White and Blue! We had a great time on the Fourth. Sorry it's taken me so long to post about it but with Lili's referral, I've been working nonstop to gather all the paperwork as quickly as possible. So without further ado, here's our fourth of July pictures. Sadly we witnessed no fireworks, Toby was fast asleep so we couldn't drive the 15 minutes to go and watch them.

Toby and Nate (My brother's girlfriend's son, get all that?)

Toby with his PapPap

Toby with his Nana

Toby and Nate

Toby playing with his Grandpa

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Our Daughter, Liliana Kate. She was born on June 8th at 3:10am in Santa Catarina Pinula in state of Guatemala. She weighs 7lbs, 1oz and is 19.7 inches in length.

Isn't she GORGEOUS?!?!

We received her referral yesterday at 8:45pm. We are extremely excited and are thrilled! Our new agency, Palmetto Hope out of South Carolina, is teriffic! Hopefully things will go smoothly this time, but we are prepared for another long haul. It should all be done by this time next year, but this agency is known for it's efficientness and it's good timelines so let's all pray for the best! On a cuteness fator, Toby can already say Lili and if yoiu ask him Where's Lili he points to the computer and her picture. How adorable is that?

Love to all and we'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Random Family Pictures from our MO trip

My cousin John purposefully not smiling for the camera

Toby watching Finding Nemo with Candance and Katie. If you're wondering what he's doing, he's holding the headphone up to his ear. My boy's so smart.

My cousin Katie and her husband Charles with Toby.

My cousin Lee playing with Patches

Toby with his Great Grandpap

Toby and Great-Mimi

Toby and my cousin Brad

(I love the Elvis look Toby has in this picture)

Toby with his GREAT Uncle Roger and GREAT Aunt Joanna. You guys are great!

When we left Missouri on Saturday, we took a small side trip to see Greg's Grandma in West Lafayette, IN. She enjoyed getting to meet her great grandson. It was a great way to break up the 10 hour drive too.

Toby and Great Grandma Lorraine checking each other out

Great Grandma Lorraine, Mommy, and Toby

To all my family in Missouri and Indiana, I love spending time with you this week. I look forward to the next time I get to see you. Hopefully, Toby won't be into EVERYTHING next time. I LOVE YOU ALL!!