Dude. It’s a “White Out”!

Hey, guys. Sorry we haven’t posted in a while. David and Keon have been in Minneapolis at a trade association meeting and I’ve been at a private school educators conference in Miami. While we were gone, Dub stayed with Tra, and he tells us Tra is in charge of pictures of the wedding. I’m sure he’ll get lots of help from Pop-pops.
For a while now, we’ve been talking about doing a new series of “Colors” posts. Over time, we’ve done lots of “colors”, but apparently never a “White” one. Probably a good place to start the series 🙂

So much has happened lately here in the Northland…it’s kind of mind boggling. We’re going let our friends bring you up-to-date. This is gonna be long so you may want to just look at the pics for now and read this when you have time.
FROM CHAD: On Valentines Day, Raef surprised me asking me to marry him – and, of course I said “Yes.” We got our Marriage License that day. I told Dub Friday night and asked him to help me plan the wedding and to be my “best man” at the ceremony. He was thrilled and is taking his new responsibilities very seriously. Since we know there’s going to be a crowd, Ty suggested having the wedding and reception at their new cabin at the Lake. He said “It’s about 99% finished and our “great room” is really big. You could say your vows by the waterfall if you want.” We love the idea of “getting hitched at the Lake” so that’s the plan, and the wedding will be on Saturday, February 29th.
Keon, Rick, Raef, our attorney and I met with the DSS people on Valentines Day afternoon. The DSS folks were a little pissed that we brought our attorney 🙂 The meeting was over an hour long and ended with the bureaucrats agreeing to a “provisional placement of Mateo” with Raef and me. They’re requiring “weekly in-home evaluations” by DSS personnel and bi-weekly meetings for Mateo with a child counselor. Our attorney felt the requirements were acceptable, so the deal was done. After the meeting, Raef and I went over to the Church to meet Mateo. “Mary Katherine” (one of the Catholic sisters) introduced us and told Mateo we were going to be his new Papas. He’s a neat kid and seemed pleased to be moving to a “real home.” He speaks fluent Spanish and broken English. Raef and I speak fluent English and broken Spanish – but communicating with him wasn’t a problem. We’re guessing that over time we’ll all end up being fluent in both languages. The DSS people will bring him to his new home at our house next Monday afternoon. I don’t know who’s more excited – Mateo – or Raef and me.
FROM ALEX: The Northland gang is very excited about Chad, Raef and Mateo. We wanted Mateo to have one of the world’s best new homes, so after they met over at the Church, I called Sister Mary Katherine and asked her if she knew what his favorite color was. She said she had no idea… so I asked her if she could find out. She called me back about an hour later and said “I showed him a box of crayons and asked him which one he liked most. He picked the green one.” So, green it is. The gang converged on Chad and Raef’s house last Saturday with paint, rollers and brushes. Mateo’s room was painted a soft gray-green in three hours flat. I knew where there was some awesome boys room furniture at a consignment store over in Shawnee, so we went over there – bought it – and had it in the room by late Saturday afternoon. On Sunday we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target and Kohls and got a tartan green bedspread, throw rugs, new window blinds, and so-forth. The room was finished by late Sunday afternoon and it’s awesome. Mateo is smaller than Dub and Austin so they donated a TON of clothes – and we bought him new undies, p.j.’s, etc., so his closet and dresser are full of neat stuff. I can’t imagine what he’ll think when he sees his room and clothes.
FROM RAEF: Ummm. I’ve never written anything for a blog before, but Ben asked me to tell you about “Mateo,” so I’ll try it. The State people brought him over to the house Monday afternoon. The sisters had him excited about living in a “real home” but he was still real nervous when he got here. Right off, “Bud” ran over and started licking him and he started laughing and got down on the floor to play with him. Then we showed him his new room and stuff – and he said “mi habitation?” And Chad grinned and said “si es tuyo.” After the State people left, we had a chance to get to know each other and I told him we’d go fishing soon – and showed him pictures of Dub and the rest of the Northland kids and told him they’d be his new friends. After a while, he said “You could call me “Matty”. That’s what my madre always calls me. I said “Matty it is.” Then we fixed tacos and brown beans and rice and he ate like a horse and started smiling a lot. I think this is gonna work out real good!