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, August 27, 2008

School Days

Don't they look excited?
Our Stupendous Six... This weeks spelling test... our terrific large blackboard(uh,driveway)

Writing a sentence using spelling words... Doesn't he look studious?
All at work...
"Like this,mommy... I mean teacher?"

We were able to get school off and running this week. The first day of school the kids all awakened with great enthusiasm. We had a terrific breakfast, and then daddy "took" the kiddos to school. (I SO copied this from another homeschooling mom) We began the tradition this year of dad driving the kids around the block, and then bringing them to school. I was able to take some first day of school pictures. Even the older kids seemed to "play along" and liked it. Daddy made special notes for all of us on our first day of school. There were such special memories made for this first day.
As the week has progressed, my organization is paying off. I still feel as if I am one step away from falling off the organizational wagon. My goal for the weekend is to make "tune ups" to the schedules, and get lesson plans complete for the first six weeks of school, at least. The kids are beginning to pick up on the schedule, and like the curriculum. We will be studying World and Ancient History this year. The older two boys love Ancient Egypt and look forward to studying about mummies.
The two middles are learning to read and are taking off. Mom won't be surprised if they are reading without me by the 3rd week of school. The two littles are loving "tool" and want momma/"teacher" to keep them supplied with many activities(thank heaven for all those teaching manipulatives I kept from my public teaching days).
I begin to feel somewhat of a hermit as the school year begins. I have little time to myself and less time to answer phone calls and emails. I will do my very best to keep the blog updated... and please don't quit calling and emailing...I need to know that I still have friends out there(I just may not answer as often as I would like). I hope you enjoy the pictures of this rowdy crew and our "School".

It's All about Love,Love,Love...

Have you ever had to make an extremely tough life decision? Over the past few weeks we have been faced with just such a decision. This decision involves one special little boy and two families. It requires one family to love enough to place this little boy with another family, and it requires one family being willing to love him enough to raise him into adulthood. It all began with one family making the journey to China to adopt an adorable toddler. They were filled with excitement at adding a child to their family, and they began raising this child in God's love. However, as time went on, this family began to realize that God might just have a different plan for this child. Sometimes we do not completely understand the ways of God, and many times we still cannot comprehend it all. It is always our choice to follow as God leads. So, when I felt that familiar (Adoption) tug at my heart, I knew that God's plan would unfold in His time. Little did I know that God would lead us on yet another very uniquely designed adoption journey. So, with many questions, many different types of emotions, and with a joy and peace that only God can give, we felt God leading us to adopt this precious little boy. We stand amazed at the work of our Lord. He answers every prayer and cares for every little detail. His Love is greater than anything or anyone, and his love shines forth. This little boy is just so very special to all who know him. He is full of joy, full of mischief, and full of boyish spunk. He has a smile that will melt your heart, and a contagious laugh that can make you laugh along(almost until your stomach aches). It is the wish of us all that he will feel loved and experience all that God has planned for his life, and some day he will be able to understand the awesome plan that God had in bringing him to live with a new family.

With much joy, we are proud to announce our pending adoption of Levi . We will have to spend several months working through the court system, but we are thrilled to be adding another son and brother. We ask that you pray for our family as we begin life as a family of eight, and for the other family that chose to love enough to let go. It is all about Love...their love for this child...our love for this child... and God's love for us all!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Mia!

Just how many kids can you fit in one pool?

Water Balloon fun...the kids had fun trying to get the grownups wet!
Blowing Bubbles... This is great progress for Mia... Her speech therapist and she have been working hard on this step More Bubble Fun with Friends...

I am going to blow these bubbles .... Don't you just love the cake...haha... We had to improvise. Our Walmart(really the only place in town to get cakes) didn't have a Disney Mermaid cake, and mom searched for any type of mini sized Mermaid stuff(no luck). So, we had them make an "ocean cake", and daddy found a Barbie Mermaid. The "ocean cake" was supposed to be minus the Nemo...but who listens anymore?Mia was having great fun opening all of her presents...she wanted to take "forever" and savor each one as she opened them. What an exciting day... she had her birthday party in the early morning and then in the afternoon, her best friend(and orphanage sister) came for a visit. They are BFF's all the way... and aren't they just beautiful?
Can you tell which one is which?

Today is our baby girl's birthday. She really isn't such a baby anymore. She has changed so much from the frightened little girl who joined our family a little over two years ago to a strong, confident, funny, happy, precious little girl. What a blessing she is to our family... and such a JOY!!

We celebrated her birthday yesterday with a "Little Mermaid" party. We set up kiddie swimming pools, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk (and water balloons). The kids had a good time just playing outside, and the grownups enjoyed visiting with one another. Have I said lately how much of a blessing it is to have our new house? It was wonderful to have the space outdoors to set up the party and to enjoy being outdoors most of the day. We were able to make use of our covered patio area for the cake and ice cream time. It was easy setting it up, and cleaning it up after we were done.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Everytime I turn around, I seem to get behind in my posts. We are very busy around here, and there is lots of happenings. My goal is to get our new house in running order and for mom to be more organized than ever before. We have high hopes for starting our homeschool year on Monday; however, I want to start organized and, I will make my best effort, but I won't be devastated if we have to postpone the start of school by a week. The kiddos are ready to have structured learning, and constructive things to do. Now if mom can just finish setting up the school room, get the schedules set, grade list and planning done, and school supplies readied. Dad has the project of building mom some much needed shelving. He built me some wonderful shelves in the old home, but we had to leave them as they were built ins. He and Nolan will be working on that project every spare moment over the rest of the week and weekend. We painted the girls room(they wanted it very similar to their last room...and mom still has to paint the Panda Bear mural...have to wait a bit on that one), and we painted Nolan's room(he and dad have another shelf to build for his room...boy will they be busy). Next up is painting Garrett and Nate's room. I will post pictures when the all the rooms are done.
There is more and more happening every day around here... I will try my best to be better about posting. In the meantime, have a great week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fourteen Years ...

The year...2005 The Year...2006

The year ...2007
Yesterday, Brad and I celebrated 14 years of marriage. We couldn't help but think back to last years anniversary and relive our day in China(our daughter had just joined our family a few days before). We didn't even travel that far away for our honeymoon! This years celebration was very uneventful and very boring compared with last year. I cooked a nice dinner, and we enjoyed spending time with our kids.
We have been so very blessed! We found each other...or better yet, God placed us together. Brad was working in a town 2 hours away from where I lived and worked. We met by chance, as I was visiting a friend and co-worker at her parents home in the town where Brad worked. He doesn't claim to believe in "Love at First Sight", but I knew instantly (I had been searching for many years... we met when I was 28). We spent most of our courtship long distance dating, and over the course of that time Brad relocated and changed jobs twice(within the same company,but different locations). He claims that I chased him all over the state of Texas...I guess technically I did. We were engaged 4 months later and married 10 months after that. It still amazes me as I look back over the past years and take to heart the many blessings God has given to us. Five of the greatest blessings are our "five chili peppers" and the unique stories of how each of them came to join our family. God has taken us on an amazing journey, and I am so in LOVE with my husband... my very best friend. We look forward to living out the rest of God's story for our lives together.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Confessions of a mom...and a Special Celebration

I have started this post over many times... not exactly sure how to put my thoughts into words. This week marked an important anniversary in our lives and an especially important day for our daughter. Mandy joined our family on July 30th of last year. I remember the day vivdly. After leaving our hotel, we climbed into a van that was sweltering. Its air conditioner was trying its best to keep up with the heat and humidity of Nanning China. Hot wasn't the word for it! We met another family who would be meeting their daughter at the same time that we would be meeting ours. I remember all of us nervously chatting and wondering how ours daughters would react to us. Brad and I pictured many different scenarios as to how our seven year old would respond to us ...would she hate us or love us, would she pitch a fit, would she run away from us?. As in all things, God had control. He had prepared this precious girls heart and mind for all that awaited her, and He gave her a wonderful,adventureous spirit. We were anticipating that we would go to the civil affairs room and then she would be brought to us; however, that plan went out the window(or should I say sliding door). As we climbed out of the van, we heard the sliding door open and were greeted with a beautiful smile and beautiful words "Hello mother,Hello father"(her only knowledge of the English language). All of our lives would be forever changed from that moment on. I wish I could report that this past year went smoothly and without problems, but that would be a lie. This past year has been one full of many challenges, many fears, many doubts,many ups and downs, many emotions, and many joys. God is so faithful and so good! He has answered many prayers, and changed many hearts... mostly mine. I must say that I have learned a lot this year. I have learned about LOVE. Not love as we know it but a love so wonderful, so beyond anything we could imagine that it fills my heart and overflows tears from my eyes as I type this. You see I have learned to Love as Jesus Loves Us. I have learned to love someone who spent many months hating me, whose greatest wish is that I would disappear or change into the mother she had pictured in her mind. For many months I was the object of her fear,worry, and pain. Our struggles took many turns, and I experienced many different emotions(many as feelings of grief, guilt and not liking the person I had become). In spite of the stabbing pain that I felt in my heart, I knew that God had a plan for me and for my daughter. I relied on God's strength to see us through. As the last few months have passed, we have seen many changes, but most of all our relationship and love has grown strong. What an amazing little girl God had planned for our family!!

Happy Forever Family Day ...our sweet,lovely Amanda Margaret (Wei Da Na)!

They're Back...

The boys returned from camp yesterday afternoon. We picked them up last evening from a friend's house. We shared dinner, and all the boys chattered away with excitement. It sounds as if they were kept incredibly busy. I don't think any of them minded one bit except they were exhausted. We got to listen to camp songs on the return drive home... almost to the point of driving their dad and I crazy. It did keep them awake on the ride home, and then they crashed in their beds. The joys of being young...
Our house selling saga continues... we had another offer on our old home. We made a counter offer, and thought everything looked good but....before the counter offer was even presented the buyer changed his mind. It is getting very frustrating. We know the house is old. We know it needs work done. We listed it at rock bottom price because of these reasons, but buyers (in this market) want perfect condition for no cost(something for nothing). We do know that it appraised for a lot higher than even we thought... I know that it will sell eventually but sometimes it is hard not to get down and out... and why do I always take it so personally?? I hate selling homes almost as much as I hate moving... I think I want to stay in my new home for a nice long time!!