Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 Duvall Family Update

Well it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on this blog I wasn’t even sure it still existed. But it does. And you’re obviously here reading it, so I suppose I should say, “Merry Christmas, Dear Ones. And a blessed 2012 to you!” :)

As Greg and I were flipping through some pages of family photos from this past year, we humbly shook our heads and smiled. For the Duvall family, 2011 has been a year filled to the brim with life, blessing, rich fellowship, change, growth, victory, loss, new friends, new places, and
new depths of faith. September marked our fifth year in Grand Rapids, MI. We continue to be amazed at how God so clearly has brought us here for this season in our lives. We feel honored and grateful to get to ‘do life’ with these wonderful souls here in West Michigan.

New on the horizon for our family is our recent journey into the ever-changing, long and winding road of international adoption. Greg and I have been talking, dreaming, praying and researching together the possibility of adoption for a long time – really even since before we were married. This year, however, we felt the time was right to finally take the first steps…baby steps (literally!). For several reasons too long to mention here, we decided on international adoption. And while there are certainly unknowns and x-factors around every corner, we keep prodding along and keep entrusting ourselves to the Maker…the Father of every good gift and the one who holds this whole universe in the palm of His hand. He is Provider. And in His time and in His way He will bring to fruition the desires of our hearts and His, however that may look. In the meantime, I think an entire forest of trees has been cut down to provide enough paper for all the forms we have filled out. We have completed our home study and are now tackling the country dossier. From there we get on the wait list, and…we wait (possibly another year or two.) Right now our country of choice is Thailand. So please pray for us. Pray for our hearts to be still and trust in our God. Pray for this little one (or ones? We’re open to a sibling group) and his/her birth mother. Pray for Micah and Savannah as the Lord prepares their hearts as well. Many things are still fuzzy at this point, but one thing is certain. It truly takes a village. We will not be na├»ve enough to face both pre and post adoptive experiences alone. And we unashamedly invite your prayers and support in whatever capacity. We look forward to sharing more of our story – God’s story – with you in the coming months and years as the Lord graces our lives with the power of His Gospel through the ministry of adoption.

Well now (*deep breath*) that was quite an introduction to a yearly update. If any of you are still with me and are waiting to hear about the kiddos and a recap on 2011, I’ll try to keep it brief :)

Micah turned 6 in October and entered Kindergarten this year. He’s thriving at his school with
phenomenal teaching and strong academic and moral focus. He just doesn’t like the “sitting still for so long” part :) This past year his neighborhood buddies formed a band called “The Belfast Badboys” and had their debut garage band show. He’s continued to show interest in music, so he’s getting an electric guitar and amp for Christmas this year. (Pray for me.) He also loves soccer (his Dad was his coach this Fall – Go Bulldogs!), sports, playing outside, reading, video games, tearing holes in the knees of his pants and any time he can get with his buddies. He’s
growing up way too fast, but is loads of fun and brings life and laughter into our home on a daily basis.

Savannah turned 3 in March and continues to make us smile with her laughter, joy and
sheer delight. She’s an independent spirit, but incredibly compassionate and tenderhearted. She’s a “little Mommy” in every way – especially when it comes to telling her big brother what to
do. She and the other little neighbor girls spend hours playing imaginary house or “family”. She loves ballet and dancing and hopes to take her first class this coming year. I’ve loved every minute having her home with me. These are precious days.

Greg is still with Marketplace Chaplains as the Michigan Division Director and nat’l account manager for GFS (Gordon Food Service). His days are a mix of chaplaincy and administrative
duties, but he truly enjoys his work and feels blessed to get to serve alongside such amazing people. His big victory this year was his first marathon up in Traverse City, MI. He was very pleased to have qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon so he’s in the thick of his training schedule, planning to run it in April and hopefully finish with the Kenyans :) (just kidding). A
highlight was his 20th year college reunion in NY which we were both blessed to be able to attend (sans kids!). Greg had a great time reconnecting with old friends and reliving some fun (and not-so-fun) memories of “Go Army” days past.

And me? Well, I’m loving being at home with the kids and have been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed this new season of “mommyhood” as we’ve just gotten our feet wet in the grand realm of elementary school. It’s really been fun. My biggest change came in June when I started working part time at our church as a co-team leader for the women’s ministry team. I have absolutely loved the opportunities I’ve had to get to plan and cast vision, teach Bible studies, serve other women and watch God work powerfully in others’ lives. I’m also still finding time to run and work out, cross country ski, cook, write & meet with other women to chat and pray.

Some family highlights of the year included a trip to Chicago to visit friends, fun visits from grandparents and family members, several weddings (many of which Greg had the honor of officiating), a family reunion/vacation to the Outer Banks in NC, camping at Lake Michigan, our NY trip, and most recently a fantastic week in Washington for Christmas with my side of the

God has blessed us abundantly and we are so grateful. And although we do not know what 2012 holds, we can with certainty say that God is good and we can rest in His unfailing love for us.
We pray your hearts and your homes are filled with His love, peace and joy and may that carry you well into the New Year with songs of hope and thanksgiving.

Much Love,
Greg, Shawna, Micah and Savannah Duvall

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where to begin...

Well, since Savannah's birthday (and the last post), my Dad came to visit, Greg went to Florida, Micah re-visited the ER and Savannah's new favorite song is "If You're Happy and You Know It" and our computer had to be reset to it's factory settings (which basically means we lost all software we loaded and any pics or docs we've saved since we bought it last Nov. Fun, fun ,fun.)

SO - I'll start with the ER visit - The morning after Greg left for a five day trip to FL, Micah was dancing around (or something) on the kitchen floor and tripped over his PJ pants. I heard him fall and then heard him scream, but honestly, I was thinking he just knocked his knee and was overreacting a bit. I went over to hold him on the couch and looked down only to see lots of blood on my shoulder. Wow. OK, so what's bleeding? His right ear. Immediately I knew he would need stitches. SO...after calling my pediatrician and throwing on the nearest pair of jeans on my floor we were off to the ER downtown. Thankfully my dear friend Sarah lives only a couple minutes from the hospital and she was able to take Savannah for the morning. Anyway, I'll spare you all the details of the hospital visit, but in short, our Peds ER is awesome and three stitches later we were off and enjoying a happy meal at McDonald's. They gave me a stitch-removal kit, so Greg and I were able to take them out last weekend at the house, which saved us another trip to the doctor and another bill :) He's doing great and it looks like his ear is healing up just fine. He'll probably have a scar for awhile, but we are just so thankful that it was his ear and not his eye or head. God is good.

There is much more I would like to include at this point about funny things he's said or cute things Savannah's done, but I will have to report all these to you in another post. Like I said, we're down to one computer while we're getting the other one up and running and Greg needs to do a bit of work on this one before tomorrow...

SO, love to you all and happy Palm Sunday :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The big O-N-E

Our little girl turned one. I simply can't believe how fast this year flew by. It seems I was just hobbling around recovering from a c-section and swaddling that precious punkin...and now she's crawling full force ahead into toddlerdom. She's just the cutest thing :)
We didn't do much for her birthday...just cake and balloons and presents with the four of us. When we gave her, her cake she had this incredulous look on her face like, "Are you for real? You're REALLY going to let me have this? wow. OK...I still don't believe you, but this is going to be amazing..." And she LOVED it. Once again showing how very different our two offspring are. Micah didn't even want to touch it. She dug right in and giggled and squealed her way through every bite. And then she got a sugar rush...hilarious. Micah gave her a big pink ball and she was all over the place with it. It was a fun, high energy, chaotic evening...perfect for a one year old.
Some of her latest tricks are:
*looking at me, then crawling as fast as she can for the bathroom, pulling up on the toilet and putting her hands in the water...disGUSTing.
*pretending to brush her hair with her baby hair brush
*holding onto the same toy for an hour or so and crawling with it all around the house (seriously...I had to steal a toy from the church a few Sundays ago b/c she wouldn't let go. I returned it, though, in case you're thinking of turning me in.)
*she likes to dance to music or with you - esp. in her high chair.
*putting all kinds of random, small things in her mouth - I have GOT to keep my floor more clean!
*she's not as much into books as her brother was, nor is she into trying to say words or communicate...she's rather just explore and play.
*she goes to bed GREAT. Thank you, Lord.
*she's serious about her pacifier and her juice cup.
And a couple things Micah has said recently:
-"Mom, you rock the house."
-Today I asked him if he wanted a snack and he says, "Well, first I need to go pee pee and then we can talk about it later."
- To his buddy next door, "Ethan, your baby sister is just adorable."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Birthdays, Anniversaries and Disney on Ice

Strike a pose...there's nothing to it - vogue.

"Knock, knock"..."who's there?"..."Ima"..."Ima who?"..."Ima big boy laughing at this joke."


"Greg sitting on his first elevated toilet seat (No, I didn't get it for him.)

"Hey, Mickey!"

"On our Disney date"

February ended with a bang and March, no doubt, will follow in suite. Greg turned the big 4-0 and we had a fun surprise party to celebrate him :) Micah and I had a hot date to Disney on Ice with my friend Sarah and her son. LOVED it. Next week Savannah will turn ONE (ah!) and Greg and I complete year number 5 of marital bliss.

Here are a couple shots to show you what's been going on...

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The Duvall Bowling Extravaganza Results:
Greg: 111
Shawna: 78
Micah: 68 (with bumper handicap)
We took Micah bowling for the first time today. Even though it took five minutes (or though it seemed) for his ball to roll down the lane, he was thrilled with however many pins received the wrath of his 6 lb. ball.
Savannah watched from the side lines in the comfort of her stroller.
Greg smoked me with his bowling prowess. He gets the ole' "one leg behind the other" bowler's stance. I flail.
We had a great - and relaxing - Valentines Day. Greg had to go to the church early this morning to help set-up for services, but was home by 10:15. We then headed to our favorite diner (The Red Geranium) for brunch...YUM. Don't you just love a cup of coffee in one of those thick, off-white diner mugs? Usually with a chip or two on the handle or rim? It's so much better than drinking it out of a paper cup with a plasic lid...and you get hot refills! I love it.
We had the usual. California omelette (avocado, cream cheese, tomato, sprouts - hello?! Omelette bliss.) with the triple stack blueberry pancakes. Feeds the whole fam with leftovers :)
A fun added blessing was running into a friend from the other side of town there. Her hubby was out of town, so she and her two girls sat with us at our table.
With full tummies, we headed to the bowling alley, then back home for Savannah to nap and Micah to "rest". Micah and Greg (well, Greg) shoveled the driveway, then we all sipped hot chocolate while Greg started a fire in our fireplace. Micah watched his "Boz" video (a big green bear) while Savannah crawled around and put things in her mouth she shouldn't be putting in her mouth.
Leftovers for dinner, baths, then kiddos in bed. It's 7:52 and it's Greg and Shawna time :)
Just wanted to say "Happy Valentines Day" and WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Hand

Here's a shot from my birthday - Micah and Greg decorated the cake. I also got a fire truck balloon and an elephant and flower made out of modeling clay :)
So we've been going through the developmental stage with Micah where he is testing the waters with the whole "lying" bit. We're seeing progress, however, here is an example of what happened the other day:
Mommy: Ouch! Micah, did you just hit Mommy on the bottom with a hanger?
Micah: (holding a plastic baby hanger in his hand) No. I didn't.
Mommy: Micah, are you telling me the truth? Did you hit me with a hanger?
Micah: No.
Mommy: Well, Micah, then who hit me?
Micah: Savannah did.
Mommy: Micah, how did Savannah hit me with a hanger when I was right here with her, holding her on the changing table?
Micah: Well Savannah did it because she has a really big hand and she came around and she hit you like this - whack.
Mommy: Micah, you need to go to your
Disclaimer for Micah: He actually didn't hit me on purpose the first time - he was just being to wild and waving the hanger around.

Monday, February 2, 2009

One Small Step for Savannah, One Giant Step for the Duvall Family

Savannah's first few steps by herself with the walker...our little girl is growing up before our very eyes :)