Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something Amazing Out of Something Horrible

(Alyssa is the one holding the teddy bear with the Governator. Denise is the one in pink with the Governator.)
"Let me do it! No let me do it! No I'm going to do it!"....the previous was a conversation between Brandy and Coby before Coby tied Brandy up and started pounding on the keyboard.

It's Sunday night and Brandy just returned home from her fabulous trip to L.A. where her family threw her (us) the "greatest baby shower one could ever have." All she has done since the plane landed was praise our sister-in-law Lucy and everyone who helped put the shower together. And after seeing everything she brought back, it's truly unbelievable how much greatness and love we have for our family and friends. And little Neil is truly going to love all of his gifts.

So we're hanging out and I happened to look up on the internet all the homes that were burned down in San Diego. Brandy's matron of honor and her family live in a place called Ramona that we know was hit pretty hard by the fires. The Lamborns (Dan, who married us, Denise, Phillip, our ring bearer, Lauren, our flower girl and Alyssa--remember her name) live in Ramona.

So I asked Brandy to go find their address in her palm pilot and we found homes that were burned down on the Lamborns street but according to Brandy's address, their house was spared.

Brandy picked up the phone to call Denise and it turns out, they did indeed lose their house and all their possessions.

But here's the cool part...when Brandy called Denise, they were in the middle of a showroom, shopping for an RV. This would be a potential place to live while they figured out where they were going to go. But Denise told Brandy, "google Alyssa Lamborn. I'll call you back in a few minutes."

We did and the first result we find says this...

Text of president's weekly radio address - MarketWatch
At one recovery center, I met an amazing young girl named Alyssa Lamborn. Alyssa told me, "I lost my house, but I didn't lose my home -- because my family.............."

If you want to listen the G.W. (as we're calling him now), click on this link.

Alyssa got to meet the President and the Governator, who she said to his face, "you're the greatest governor we've ever had." To which Arnold (as we are now calling him) responded, "get this girl anything she wants."

She was also on the Today Show, the Early Show and all the local TV channels in San Diago (Ron Burgundy reference). Which in German means....never mind.

Not bad for a 10-year-old! What an amazing experience she'll be able to tell her kids and grandkids about.

Oh, Denise said they got out safely and their animals, which included dogs and horses are all safe as well. And by the way Dan was on a mission trip to Thailand and returned Tuesday to nothing standing but a mailbox and the fronts steps to the house. Denise did tell the mailman to keep the mail coming since they're going to rent the house down the street.

Another blessing from God was two weeks ago, Lauren, their oldest daughter who had just turned 16, needed to be added to their insurance policy. While there, the insurance agent told them, we need to look at your policy and re-adjust things after the 2002 fires. Your policy needs updating, he said.

They decided to do it on the spot, they were told to clear a 200 foot perimeter around the house, the adjustor came out and took pictures last Wednesday and the policy was updated. Their house burned down on Sunday night at midnight. If that wasn't an act of God, I don't know what is.

So it's all good for them, they're going to rent a house down the street from their house that burned, while they determine what type of house they're going to re-build. They figure it will be 18 months. They did lose everything but have each other and their animals, and a few pictures, which were wedding pictures that Phillip said, "mom you should take these."

(This is Brandy, I had to add this in.)
I spoke to Denise last night and let me tell you... her attitude and outlook on this whole event is just amazing! She truly is filled with the Holy Spirit and His's not everyone who can talk to you a week after they lost EVERYTHING, and be joyful during their sufferings. I don't even think she is looking at this as a 'suffering.' Denise told me that if she could go back in time to 2 weeks ago and have the opportunity to change what happened to her and her house...she would not do it. The events that have happened since the fire have been so amazing for her and her family....she said it just shows that God is totally in control and He works all things together for His glory.

And in other news, thanks and love to everyone who came to the shower and "showered" baby Neil with all the gifts. It's truly overwhelming and we love you all.

Nothing new to report on the adoption but hopefully we'll have some news soon.

Coby and Brandy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fires in California

These are updated photos from Coby's friend Brian who took these photos from the hill in front of his house.

I thought I might just post a quick blog about my family in California....

My grandparents have evacuated from their home in San Diego a few days ago. The home is still there, but they evacuated...just in case. They evacuated to my aunt and uncle's house which is also in San Diego. My brother and his family were told yesterday morning at 6am to pack up and get ready to evacuated. So they got ready, but never had to leave. The fire in San Marcos (San Diego) became under control, so they never had to leave, and my brother Wes told me last night that they are fine and will not have to leave.

My parents home in LA is doing fine. This is the home I grew up in and I have evacuated from this home once before when I was younger. There was a fire that was burning in the direction of their home (Castaic Lake) but that fire, was kept under control.

My mother just called me this morning and told me that my aunt and uncle and grandparents have just evacuated from my aunt and uncle's home in Valley Center (San Diego). My aunt has many horses and animals and my uncle is a landscaper and has all of his equipment at their home. I am not too sure what their plan is...but please keep them all in your prayers as they are leaving their home. I will keep you posted.

One of Coby's co workers from his TV days in San Diego (CBS), Larry Himmel lost his home in one of the San Diego fires. Coby used to travel for sporting events with him. He was Coby's reporter, while Coby produced. Larry actually took a camera guy up to his home and did a live shot in front of his home as it burned to the ground. CNN and most of the stations are airing his story. Coby said that Larry is a great guy and he always loved traveling with him! Please keep Larry and his family in your prayers as they go through these next few months of adjustment.

I leave in the morning for California for my a baby shower this weekend. I am flying into Burbank, not LAX. My sister in Law Lucia and my family are throwing a shower for I can't wait!

Please keep the family's in San Diego and LA in your prayers and if anything else happens with my family, I will let you all know!

Oh new news with the adoption. All is quiet on the home front!
Love to all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1 week of waiting....

Well, we have been waiting now one week and we have ??? more to go. At this point, we have been told anywhere from 4 weeks up to 3 months. So anytime from now...till January. So, we are staying as busy as we can till we get the call.

We are very sorry that we can't post pictures of our little guy. We will not be able till until after we go to court. We would love to.....but can't.

I am heading back to visit my family next week for a family baby shower in California. I can't wait! It will be good to see my family and friends and hang with them. Then the second week in November our good friends that we meet on our ski trip in Colorado are throwing us a couples baby shower. Considering Coby is already a daddy...or I like to call him' Big Papi' it would be fun for him to be apart of the celebration!

Well, we just wanted to say a quick hello and everything is good and we are just hanging out in the waiting pool again! We will give updates when we get some.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Thought you all might enjoy some pictures....Sorry we don't have any of the little guy....

Coby in the morning!!! This was a doll at the orphanage that we thought was funny!!!

Our little Guys feet........Coby's flippers!

Coby's shoes in the 'shower caps'

Outside the orphanage, after our first visit with our little guy. I am holding the silly orange doll thing that we bought on the way to our first visit.

Our first day in Moscow wearing clothes we left Nashville in...yuck!

Coby sleeping on hotel couch during our 7 hour layover in Moscow.

Brandy sleeping in Moscow airport during our 6 hour delay.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Is it 2 p.m. already?!!!

You'll have to read on to understand the headline....

Hello from Nashville! Well we finally made it home from our week excursion to Russia and of course we have a few more stories of our last day of travelling.

You learn to appreciate the litte things in life when you haven't had them in a week. We woke up on Friday morning at 6 am (Moscow Standard Time, or whatever time zone they're in) and got ready to come HOME!

The hotel we were staying in, a very nice Holiday Inn, as Brandy described in the previous blog, offered a buffet breakfast as part of our 8,350 Rubles (you do the math) we paid to stay for one night. But at least it was a smoking room so that made it nice, not!

So as we're getting ready, we can only imagine the things this buffet is going to have. Maybe some buckwheat and some overfried eggs, like we've been having for breakfast every morning, and definitely no butter for our bread, because we don't know how to ask for it in Russian.

Boy were we wrong!!! We go downstairs and oh what a spread. Like a breakfast buffet on the Vegas strip. The people there must've thought we were crazy because we walked hand and hand and admired everything before we actually picked up a plate.

It went something like this....(walk, walk walk) Brandy, "oh look at the cheese" (big smile on her face)....(walk, walk, walk) Coby, "oh look, BUTTER!" (huge smile on his face)....(walk, walk, drool) Brandy, "oh look, OLIVES!" (pretty funny, huh Safta, considering she used to be "allergic" to them. Inside joke, if you want to know, just ask us.)

Needless to say there was more than one plate filled up by both of us. I think the popular choice between us were the croissants loaded with butter and jam. I'm sure this wasn't on the weight watchers diet but who cares.

So after waddling out of the buffet room, we go upstairs and get our luggage, check out of the room, and go downstairs to wait for Vitaly and Natalia (yes another Natalia) to pick us up for our trip to the airport.

After sitting in some traffic (we were shocked) we get to the airport in about 30 minutes. This was surprising. A side note, this was the original airport we flew into. Moscow has 5 airports and a sixth that only President Putin, or as I call him, the Puter, gets to use.

Er whsd (oops sorry, I looked up while watching the USC game and wasn't paying attention to where my hands were on the keyboard. I wasn't speaking Russian again. )

Getting through security wasn't bad, although we had actually had all our luggage hand searched by a very nice Russian who didn't speak English (of course). I bet he liked my dirty socks right on top as the first thing he got to see when opening my suitcase.

Our flight took off at noon and we were on our way home. Woo hoo. The flight was going well, a little sleep, a little movie (Ocean's Thirteen, thank God), a little Sudoku, a little Brandy having a panic attack with about three hours remaining. This was fun.

I was asleep when I awaken to her holding her chest and saying she couldn't breathe. I even heard her say at one point, "I think I just had a heart attack."

I explained she just need to relax and she would be fine. That worked for about 30 seconds before I had to dump out the brown paper bag they gave us that had my eye patch, a tooth brush, ear phones and lotion, and give that to her to breathe into. She said it made her feel better but I think it was placebo.

Well we made it through that flight (we actually flew over Iceland. We got some amazing pictures) and had about a two hour layover in New York before leaving for Cincinnati. Of course we had to have a Starbucks (or a Bizzle as some have called it...another inside joke).

Brandy is feeling a little better during the wait but as soon as we get back on the plane (she knows it's not spelled plain) her sickness starts again. The hour we waited on the runway to take off didn't help either.

Once we get in the air, it's an hour and half flight to the 'Nati, which doing some quick math, we only had an hour layover, so this wasn't going to work. An of course, this was the last flight out to Nashville for the night so we were a tad concerned.

We land and get off the plane and after looking at our watches, we figure we have 10 minutes to get to our next plane to come home. We're told they know we're coming but we didn't want to take any chances.

We start running (which is good for her sickness and nausea that she's feeling) and realize of course the gate is on the complete opposite side of the airport. And this is not a small airport, it's actually very big!

Things heard while making the run from gate #C27 to B6...Coby, "wow this is a really nice airport." Brandy, "I think I'm going to throw up." Coby, "Hey look a PGA tour store, can I stop and look for a second." Brandy, "I really think I'm going to spew." Coby, "Hey look a place to get Chili, can we get some." Brandy, "Where's that vomit bag we took from the airplane. I don't think I'm going to make it."

We made it.

The plane ride was about 47 minutes and by the 42nd minute I'm pleading with her not to throw up on this plane. I'm telling her, "you can throw up as much as you want when we get home."

She made it and amazingly so did our luggage, which we thought was going be stuck either in Moscow, New York, Iceland, Canda or Cincinnati.

Our friends Sarah and Michael, who have been awesome to us by picking us up and also taking care of our house and animals (thanks so much guys), pick us up and take us home.

During the drive home we were sharing a few pictures and telling a few stories, mostly about the food we ate. This is not a good conversation topic for someone who is on the verge of hurldom.

We turn down our street and I say, we don't have a key because we left them in the house, do you guys. Oh crap! They both realize they've left the house key at home but wait, there's hope yet. I remember we've hidden a key on (you thought I was going to tell you where our spare key is).

We get in the door and off goes Brandy. I'll spare you the details, but she does emerge out of the bathroom 10 minutes later feeling a whole lot better.

So now it's 10pm and we get in bed, and turn on ESPN. Yes! Another small thing in life you learn to appreciate once you haven't had it. Butter and ESPN, that would be a good name for a book if I decide to write one based on our experience.

Now here comes the reason for the blog headline...we woke up briefly around 8am but both fell asleep again. The next thing we know, we're waking up and it's 2 p.m. I think we have a slight case of jetlag.

But everything is all good with us. Brandy is still not feeling all that great but she's better than she was. I am feeling pretty good. I'm going golfing tomorrow. (I know y'all are shocked)

So let's review, looking back and looking forward to the next trip (which we hear will probably be the first of December).

1. Carry that stupid little Russian translation dictionary with us EVERYWHERE, when we go back.
2. Learn how to say butter, which is Masla, in case you were wondering.
3. Figure out how to laugh at the appropriate time so when Natalia, Natalia and Ludmila are having a conversation in the room you're in, in Russian, you can laugh so they think you know what they're saying. That'll teach them.
4. Don't play helicopter with baby, after feeding him rice casserole (we think that's what it was).
5. Take room in Moscow when they tell you it's a 7 hour layover.
6. Know how to say, "can I sit in the bulkhead row or emergency exit" in Russian.
7. Pack noseplugs or pot pourri for next trip.
8. Pack noseplugs and more pot pourri for next trip.
9. Pack extra extra diaper and a freakin sippy cup for baby when we return.
10. Bring about 10 jackets or grandma's yak (another inside joke) because we're told it could 22 below the next time we go.

So that's it for now...we'll keep you posted and post pictures when we're allowed to. We're not sure when we'll hear about our court visit but they say it will be about 2 to 3 months. Lot's to do before then.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement and love while we were there. It did help us get through the week.

But when it's all said and done, it's all worth it. He's so cute and can't wait to bring him home for y'all to meet him and spoil him. He really does have a sweet personality.

Off to bed now.

Coby and Brandy

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our last blog

Well, here we are in Moscow and it is our last day. It has been a long trip and we are both very tired and can’t wait o be back home. Although, this trip will be one that we will never forget!

I think our last blog left you with our morning visit to our little guy. So this one will pick up with our last visit with him.

We went in the afternoon and this time we went into the Dr.’s room to visit with him. When we walked in we knew right away that we were in the room that all the health and Dr. stuff is done in.

Coby and I thought that this last visit we would just pretty much let him do whatever and we would just kind of hang out with him. Well…….that’s not exactly how it went. Remember our theme throughout our trip….smells…well, the granddaddy of them all is about to happen!

So after about 10min of visiting with him, we realize that he is much happier then he was in the morning. He is laughing and smiling and hanging on us and cuddling and playing. He actually wanted to love on Coby more then me. We would law on the floor and he would lie on top of us and laugh and we were having a great time.

Well, in walks a lady with more hot tea and some kind of rice casserole. She tells him to come sit on the chair so he can eat it. He walks over to her and she motions to me to put him in the chair and feed him. Well, I start feeding him and then hand it off to Coby.

I think Coby has the hang of it and it doing a great job of feeding him. He finished all the casserole and tea (the serving was as much as I would eat) and we wipe him clean and put him down. Well, he is happy and laughing and wants to play. So Coby picks him up and starts to hold him over his head and he is laughing and smiling and it is the cutest ever. (see where this is going????)

So then I do the same and he again is laughing and even cooing a bit and just having a great time. He probably laughed and smiled more at this point then he had at any other visit. So after about an hour Natasha walks in and says that our time is up in 5 minutes and we should begin to say our good bys. So I am sitting on the ground with my knees bent and he is sitting on me looking right at me.

I start kissing his neck…you know that little area that you could just eat up…..and I look at him and he decides to give me a going away gift. He throws up all over me…4 times! All that food…and that was a lot of food….was no all over my sweater, his shirt, his pants and through m sweater. I think I would have joined in with him if Coby didn’t walk over and tell me to breath through my mouth.

Oh, and did I tell you that the Dr. and our translator were in the room and saw this happen? So there we are sitting there…we both stink and are completely covered, and he is just looking at me like, ‘now what?’ No tears or anything….he was just like….’that was fun….can we play some more.’

So his care taker comes in and takes him and we say by and he leaves and I am standing there covered and smell like…well….you know what. Our smell stories just keep getting better and better! So after using 10 hand wipes to try and get the smell out, we go to the Director’s office to get our coats and she looks at me and says something to our translator and I can only imagine what she said….”welcome to motherhood.” Yah, I thought I got my welcome gift this morning with all that fun….I didn’t need seconds!

So, I guess there is a blessing to this. Coby and I really didn’t know how we would feel after we said our goodbyes. This was good. Instead of crying all the way back to the hotel, I was breathing through my mouth and trying not to gag by the smell of myself.

Well, we caught a 7:40am flight the next morning and on the way to the airport, f course, it started to snow. The snow that we had yesterday stopped and actually most of it melted away. But this morning it was colder and snowing again. So we got to the airport and realized that there is only one flight out the entire day.

So of course Coby had to state the statistics of that. You know….1 in 100 plains crash. Well, if there is only 1 plain and 1 flight and we are it……you get the picture. Thanks Cobe!

Our translator had written out for us in Russia a little something to give to the check in people that asked if we could sit somewhere that had more leg room for Coby. Well, we walk up to the counter and hand it to the first lady…who hands it to the second lady….who hands it to a guy twice the size of Coby and they all look at us and shake their head…no! Great…..this is going to be fun!

So as we are waiting to board the plain, I find the tallest and largest man in the airport and I point him out to Coby and say, “watch….that is who they are going to put next to you.”

Well……Coby and I get on the plain and they put us in the emergency row and we were very thankful! Coby had tons of leg room!!! BUT…..guess who was walking down the isle and looking right at the seat next to Coby….you guessed it, the tallest and largest man on the plain. The best way to describe him, is to say that he is built like a linebacker! So Coby got the leg room, but absolutely NO arm movement at all. And did you know Coby is left handed?

Well, the flight was fine and we slept for most of it. We arrived in Moscow at 8:10am (we gained 3 hours) and drove in traffic….yuck…..for over 2 hours to our hotel. It was painful! Here, let me paint a picture. Take a car the size of a Honda Civic and put a truck in front of it, on either side and behind it. Now, take the exhaust pipes for all those trucks and aim them right at the Honda Civic. Now, open the vent to ‘outside’ air in the car. Lastly…….start breathing like this for 2 hours! I think Coby and I thought we were going to die!

I must say, the traffic was the worst traffic that Coby and I, hands down, have ever been in. Just to arrive at the hotel at 10:30am and we walk up to the desk and they said that there are no rooms ready and they probably will not be ready till 2pm! Ok, shoot us now! We quickly look around for those couches that we occupied a few days ago when we had to kill 7 hours.

Well, they did get us in at 12:30 in a smoking room and we took it. At this point our lungs are blacker then black it didn’t matter.

Oh, totally forgot…..funny story…when was the last time you were flying and you realized…..hum….someone’s smoking?? Well, for me, that would be today! Coby said earlier in another blog, we are not in Kansas anymore. About 30 minutes before we landed, someone lit one up in the bathroom on our plain. NICE!!

Well, we got a wonderful tour of Moscow from a lady named Olga. She is a school teacher. We drove around the city for a few hours and she gave us a wonderful tour! She knew EVERYTHING there was to know about Moscow. We even got to go to the Red Square. It was wonderful! It was a perfect end to the week!

Well, this is the second time that I am typing this to you all because we bought a 1 hour internet card, and it ran out 2 min. before I was done and I lost my entire blog. So I am re-doing it and I hope it sounds ok. Please pray for our flight in the morning. They are saying that it is going to be cold again and possible snow….we will see.

Well, we hope that you have all enjoyed our bloging and we haven’t made things out to be bad. We have loved every min. of this trip because it has created memories for a life time and longer. We can not wait to see you all and share our pictures and tell you even more stories that didn’t make the blog…yup there are more!

Thanks to everyone who have been praying for us and keep them going…our journey is far from over! BSF ladies, I can’t wait to see you Saturday morning at 7:25am! I will be the one in the corner sleeping! (just kidding!) I have missed all your encouraging faces!
Mom…I have missed your voice too!

See you all very soon!
Brandy and Coby

Monday, October 1, 2007

10/3 Once again.....check the post below...we don't know why the computer is doing this.

Well, it is not snowing, but it is very cold and rainy. We woke up around 5:30 and left around 9:30. (Coby needed plenty of time to get ready)

We were prompted on the way over to Baby House #2 on the things to expect and our interiew with the Dr. Once we arrived, we had to put these slip covers on over our shoes because of the rain. With Coby having size 14 shoes, the covers barely went on over his shoes. It was pretty funny.

Our first impression of the home was that it was very clean, and the colors were very bright and happy. There were lots of windows and pictures painted on the walls and lots of care takers walking around. It seemed like a very busy place. We had our appointment with the Directior and the Dr. and got all the info. we needed for our boy.

And then...guess who walked in the room.....a little angel! We thought we were going to meet him in the play room, but the door opened and he walked in. As cute as ever! He was clean, well dressed and had new shoes on. They put him down in front of Coby and he looked up at him and gave him the biggest smile. He eventually walked up to me and I picked him up and we left the Directors office and went in a play room. Everyone left and it was just the 3 of us.

We snapped pictures, made videos and played with him. He was so excited and happy and a little shy as well. He didn't mind one bit being in there with the 2 of us alone. We brought him a little stuffed animal and he loved it, but he really loved to play with balls. So we got some out for him and he loved it. It was so amazing to be in there with him and think that this could be our little one. Coby and I completely felt at peace and I had no tears!! We just played with him and loved on him for about an hour.

And then, he began to yawn. One and then two and then the head started to go and I picked him up and held him like a little baby and rocked him back and forth until he went out. He was holding his little toy car that we brought him in one hand, and his stuffed animal in the other. He seemed so small once he was asleep, but oh how perfect!

After about 5 minutes, I gave him to Coby and he held him as he slept. We just sat there in the middle of this beautiful room filled with every imaginable toy that a child needs and held our little one. He just seemed so content to be in Coby's arms and sleeping. It felt like 100 degrees in the room and he was sweating like crazy, but still slept!

The Dr. and Natasha walked in and looked at Coby in a chair in the middle of this room holding our little one, and me sitting on the floor in front of them and they smiled and started to mutter things back and forth in a tender voice. I think the scene that they walked in on made them very happy. Natasha asked Coby if he wanted to go put him in his bed, but the Dr. said we had to wake him up because he needed to eat. So Coby lifted him up and let me tell you, I have never seen a baby wake up so quickly and so happy as he did. He sat up and half his hair was plastered to the side of his head all sweaty and the other half still perfect. The Dr. took him and left and we then went to visit with the Director and Dr. one more time.

As we left, we felt very excited and good about this little one. Maybe all our questions have not been answered and maybe tomorrow might be different then today, but this was definitely a wonderful day from God! He heard our prayers and gave us a day I know neither one of us will ever forget. I know that I don't believe in 'luck' but they say that when it rains on your wedding day, that is a sign of good luck. Well, maybe today was a good day. It rained on the day we met our little boy.

We go tomorrow to petition to adopt and then we get to visit with him again and then Natasha is going to take us out for a little shopping. (any requests??) We will write more tomorrow and would love to hear from you all!!

Good night and Good morning to y'all!

Brandy and Coby