For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baseball, our house, and a reward...

My handsome baseball players!!!

Ready to play some "serious" ball!
The House...our living room was a shade of green, and there were ceiling fans. Now, there is a new paint job and new lighting. The living room looks totally different.The Master bedroom... no decorative changes,but it is neat and clean. It is always the very last room I get to work on and has been cluttered since we moved in... Not now!Our major remodel...well sort of ... we ripped down wallpaper,tiled around the shower, and put textured paint on the walls. We added finishing touches, and now we have a great new look. The playroom...before...a total disaster (way too many toys)

The sorted,threw away, and marked things for garage sale(hopefully this weekend). We still have lots of toys,but it is much better.
The Big boy's room....he is 11, and well his room has never looked like this...
How's that for a title?.... We have been busy around here. All three boys played their first ball game of this season last night. Nate was so excited... he had been keeping a day count and then an hourly count yesterday. I couldn't decided if he was happiest about playing ball,or that his dad was the coach, or that there are three of his friends from church on his team. It all added up to a fun-filled evening for him. The older boys loved their game, and although they lost last night, they had fun playing. We have double booked games tomorrow which means mom will miss the big boys playing, and dad will miss coaching the tball team. There are terrific assistant coaches, so those dads will have to take over for this game. The daddy person in our family is in baseball dilerium! If you haven't gathered by now... baseball season is hectic in our family, but it is a passion that brings lots of fun for everyone in our house...the girls even love to cheer for their brothers
Our house went up for sale last Thursday. We have had showings everyday since then (except Sunday). Today we had the realtors tour, and we had 3 different showings. Unfortunatley, we have had no bites,yet. Please keep us in your prayers that someone will fall in love with this 100 yr old house and that we can sell it quickly. It is very taxing on the nerves to have to keep everything picked up and leave the house on a moments notice with all the kids... we had to be gone from the house all day. I have to brag.. my kids are so great. They have been so good at helping. They have worked so hard to help get the house in order and are working really hard at keeping things neat. They actually are learning to pick up things as they finish with them... I am hoping that it will continue on as a habit from this time forward. I had promised pictures, so I included some ... can you tell, mom was a slave driver for the past 6wks?
We have found another house that we like, especially for its size. It is in fabulous condition structurally, and the owners put such loving care into the home;however, it is in desperate need of updating. It was a custom built home in the seventies, and there are lots of changes that we would like to make( Of course, that task would have to be completed over time). If we sell this house, we will be able to make an offer on that one. The owners were an elderly couple who were planning on finding a smaller home. Sadly, the husband passed away a few weeks ago. The lady is wanting/needing to move to a smaller place with assisted living as her health is not good. So,please remember her in your prayers as well. Our house selling will sell her house and another house for her in return.... good for the economy, right? ! If we are able to put a contract on the other home...I will post a few pictures then... in the meantime,I hope you enjoyed the pics of our current house in its state of clean (I think it is cleaner than it has been ever).
As a reward for the kiddos, we took them on a trip to the zoo today. It served as a great way to pass the time while the house showings were taking place, and our kiddos love the zoo. In spite of the allergies making us lethargic, we had a nice time as a family. It was so nice to stroll at a leisurely pace Agenda...and without having to "CLEAN". It turned out to ba a beautiful and relaxing day.
The kids are ready for their zoo trip... a reward of sorts... a field trip too!
The older kids began a study of Africa this week...

A favorite...feeding the giraffe... there is a baby giraffe named "Mia".Mia named this cat..."Cheeto"

Hey It's Franklin...The tortoises were all in good spirits today... we had fun observing their eating habits...The "princesses" were getting tired and were "very hot".... We have had a very busy and a very blessed week so far...praying for good news on the house soon, and staying busy ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The good and the bad...

On the good side, we got the house completed (well almost except for a few odd things that will be complete this weekend). The agent came out today and listed our home for sale. We are excited about the possibility of selling this house and finding another home to suit our family. We have loved this house and know that it was God's plan for our family, and now we await the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
On the bad ... well sad ... the storm last night wrecked havoc on the dove's nest in our backyard. The egg was thrown out of the nest and cracked, and so the dove left the nest. I am hoping that she will return to rebuild and strengthen the nest, and maybe set another egg. I kept watching for her today and never saw her at the nest. Upon closer inspection tonight, I saw the unhappy sight. I did notice the male and female dove sitting on the phone wire this afternoon, so maybe they will return to our tree.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Story of my Dove

I just have to share this story...

When I was pregnant with Garrett, I went into pre-term labor. It required a hospital stay in which the doctor hoped to keep me there until Garrett could be born as close to term as possible. It wasn't to happen (but we will save that story for another day). While I was hospitalized , I had a "visitor" every day sitting on the ledge of my hospital window. It was a beautiful dove. She stayed on the ledge the entire time I was there...leaving at night to get food and returning every morning. She would sit watching over me( not out at the street). She was so noticeable that the nurses began to comment on her prescence every day.

Now skip forward a couple of years... I am pregnant with Nate, and Brad calls me outside to look in the tree of our front yard(then in Texas). There nesting in our tree is a beautiful dove. She was watching over her nest and our home.
My dove in Texas...just beautiful!

Now skip forward 6 years... I went outside with Brad yesterday. We were discussing some clean-up projects on the backyard. I mentioned that one of the dead looking trees probably should be cut out. I was looking at the tree, and I discovered .... a dove nesting! She was watching over her egg and looking at our children.

Now before you get any ideas... I am not pregnant(not possible)! I don't believe in signs or anything of the sort, but doves are very special to me. As Brad commented... everytime we find a dove ...good things happen. ( of course, I would love it if God would pave the way for us to adopt again...but not sure my hubby is quite ready for that yet...he is keeping an open mind...and he tells me that he can see us with 6 kids... but our finances are tapped out at the moment.)'s to praying for those good things to happen!!
Can you see her?


Sorry I haven't posted...

We are listing our house for sale on Thursday. This past weekend we made a huge push to get all painting and repairs done. We didn't quite get finished; however, I will spend the next couple of days finishing and cleaning the house. I still hope to show you some pictures once I get all the tasks completed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

I love ice cream... G-baby at 2yrs old. Momma's handsome cowboy.... G-baby at 2 1/2 yrs.

Garrett is all dressed up for Christmas...isn't he the cutest? Gotta love it.... Garrett,now! (Don't you just love those eyes and that smile?)

It is so hard to believe that my little boy is 9yrs old today. I can remember the day he was born as if it were yesterday. Garrett's birth was rather eventful (the labor) and definitely memorable. He is a remarkable young man who has overcome the many obstacles of his premature birth. God has a wonderful plan for this young man, and his dad and I love him with all of our hearts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mandy's New Ear

WARNING: Skip the pictures if you get queezy.
Mandy's ear before surgery
The medicine is starting to kick in...she loved making us laugh. After surgery and now awake in her hospital room (the white cup and head band will be her hair accessories for a few weeks)
Feeling well enough to go home(after 2 nights in the hospital)... well to the hotel for one more night.

Mandy's new ear (the first stage)After.... The tube running from her ear is a drain to keep all fluids off and to help blood flow to her ear. The great and mighty physician was with Mandy every step of this surgery. It is fascinating to me the wonderful skills and knowledge that God bestows upon surgeons. The amazing steps that can be taken to form and repair Mandy's ear are nothing less than a miracle. She is doing so well and seems to be in very little pain and in good spirits. She wants to be up and playing with her siblings; however, we have to keep her still and calm for another week. She and her daddy will take a trip back to see the Doctor on Tuesday. We are hopeful that he will clear her to go to dance soon.{ The dance recital is at the end of May, and Mandy is anxious to participate with her class. }
Mandy will have 3 more surgeries to complete all the steps required. Each step will be scheduled approximately every 3 months. So, if all goes well and in a timely manner, Mandy will have a fully formed ear one year from now. She is excited about her new look, but I think we may have a lot of convincing to make her understand that the next surgeries will be a lot easier than this one. Thank You all for the many prayers and well wishes for Mandy and for her full recovery.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mandy's Surgery

Mandy had her surgery on Monday morning. She came through the surgery with flying colors, but she is in a little bit of pain. The doctor described it as having 3 broken ribs. Her reconstructed ear is looking great. She will have to go through 3 more day surgeries and with each step the new ear will form. They kept her pretty comfortable the first 2 nights. She ate some soft foods yesterday and was able to move around, even if it was very slow.
I have been staying at night with our other kiddos and letting dad take the hospital duty. He has been doing a good job. Mandy told me daddy made a good nurse! (: I spent yesterday at the hospital with Mandy and enjoyed taking care of my little girl...she really likes the "princess" treatment. We are so appreciative of my mom's willingness to meet us here and take up the slack with the other kiddos while we spend our days at the hospital.
Brad called this morning and said that they would be releasing her today from the hospital. We have to make arrangements and see how she feels...but, we may return home tonight(maybe?). I think it is probably more likely that we will drive home tomorrow.
Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes!
I have some photos to share later...stay tuned.....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Precious Princess...

Two years ago, we were given one of the greatest gifts that God can give. We were chosen to be the parents of a precious little girl, Qing Cheng Le. I still get "teary eyed" as I reflect back on that time,day, and moment. ... and wow, what a moment it was...

All I can say about it is that God seared my heart to hers the moment I held her in my arms. It was exactly the same as the day my boys were placed in my arms. I knew from that moment on that she was mine. All of my mothering instincts took control. I wanted to protect her from everyone and everything. It was as if it were she and I alone...there was a lot of activity in the room, our dear friends had their baby girl, Brad was at my shoulder and Nolan was on the other side of me...but it was Mia and I facing the world. My one regret is that I lost track of sharing this very moment with my husband. It still makes me sad to this day that I clung so tightly to Mia that Brad didn't get to hold her, and that we have no pictures of daddy and his girl at that special moment. I honestly don't think anything could have separated her from my arms at that moment or for the several hours following.
Princess Mia has filled our house with sweetness, compassion, laughter and love. She is truly a princess of our Lord. She can light up a room the minute she walks into it. She loves to talk, to laugh, to sing and to dance. All she has to do is smile, and she melts the heart of all the "men" in our house. Her brothers think she was given to them alone. I have to admit that she still makes my heart turn to melted butter everytime she says,"Mommy,I love you." God continues to grow our love with an intensity and fierceness that fills my heart and her daddy's with such joy.
How can you ever put into words just how amazing this gift from God is... just how amazing this... journey of our hearts ?

We love you sweet princess, Mia, and we are so very glad that God chose us for you!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008 2

More fun pictures from our journey 2 years ago...

Can you tell that we were waiting, not so patiently? The girls were over an hour late in arriving because the van had gotten caught in a traffic jam.

The Arrival... we caught the van pulling up from the window upstairs.
One of my favorite pictures... Momma has her girl... she takes one look at mom and screams...
Finally, a smile of sorts...she loved her Ge Ge
Officially Ours!!! This was the official adoption day... we were on cloud nine.
Our visit to the orphanage... The nanny asked Mia where her Ba Ba was? Mia was in her element...she ran around the place and visited with all the kids... we were a bit nervous at this point that she wouldn't want to leave with us. We need not have worried. She reached for momma and held on tight.
Nolan was enthralled with his baby sister... he had been wanting, praying and waiting for a sister from the time he could talk. This is one of my favorite pictures.Interacting with the local people in the park. The "bigs" learned to play shuttlecock,a game similar to hackysack.Mommies head over heels in love with their babies. Another of my favorite pictures... the youth of China are much like those of the USA. They were so friendly and fun loving. The girl next to Nolan(black and white shirt) just thought he was the handsomest. He said,"Mom, I'm a chick magnet." (Don't have any idea where he heard that before)Travel group mommies and by this time fast friends. We were all waiting for the girls physical exams.One of our favorite shopkeepers on Shamain Island...Michael. We were able to visit with him again on our journey for Mandy.Exploring... Nolan says that they were counting the "dead" fish in the waterway,ugh. Our group...

Definitely a trip of a lifetime...