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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Photo Friday

Heading to the beach...
Building sandcastles...we never could get one finished before the waves would break down parts of it...Mandy kept trying though. Our visit to the Naval Aviation Museum...Nolan a chopper pilot?
The Blue Angels...we missed their flight practice by half and hour, but saw them flying at a distance on our way to the museum... Nate...a Blue Angel Pilot?The whole crew exploring the airplanes.
Levi liked flying the big cargo planes. Our Dolphin Hunting Boat Trip...Mia wasn't quite sure she liked the wait.
A baby dolphin ... quite the fisherman.
This is Yamaha... he is a dolphin that frequents the bay and legend has it that he lost his dorsal fin when he was hit by a Yamaha Wave Runner when he was a young dolphin. So all the locals called him Yamaha. He has been around the bay for some 15 or more years. A momma and her baby... Another dolphin family... their patriarch is Yamaha...
Exploring the beach... we spotted several rays floating near the beach.

Do you see the ray? Nolan body boarding...

Fun on the Beach...
A Bathing Beauty... Here are a few of our vacation photos. We are having such a good time, but all things must come to an end. We will be returning home on Sunday, and then back to our school work on Monday.
Hope you enjoy the pictures, and I am sure that I will have even more to share once we are back home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday,Princess Mia!

Yesterday was Mia's official birthday, and I am a day late, but I must do my traditional birthday post for my special kiddos.

Sweet Princess Mia
Sunshine, Joy, Happiness all describe this special little girl. It seems as if Mia just radiates joy. She almost always has a smile on her face and laughter comes easily. She lights up a room the minute she enters. She is friendly, kind,compassionate, and gentle in manner. She loves people and never knows a stranger. I love to watch as this special girl interacts with people, and I stand amazed at the gifts/talents that God has given her. She loves to entertain, and she is constantly dancing and singing. As Mia goes through dance classes, we have seen her become much more graceful in all that she does. She sparkles and shines. She isn't afraid to attempt almost anything and approaches every challenge with excitement, adventure, and a joy filled spirit. She has filled our lives with such blessings. She is our beautiful gift from God.
Happy Birthday Princess Mia!!

Mia's Birthday Beach Bash

Dinner with the birthday girl...
Mia and her "beach" cake... Mia and her gift...
Mia and her brothers and sisters...(the chili peppers)
Mia turned 5 years old, yesterday. She got to have an extra special birthday celebration. Since we are on vacation, Mia got to have a beach birthday bash. Our day started with fun in the sun, sand, and ocean. We played,splashed, and built sand castles until we were all a pale shade of pink(and yes, we did use sunscreen). We spent part of the afternoon resting in front of a movie, and then by popular vote, we decidced to explore some of the local shops. We found a quaint little shopping area and want to make another visit there during our vacation week. Mia did not let us forget that we had to pick up "The Birthday"cake which we ordered for her party. After a quick stop at the store, we made our way to dinner. We always give the birthday person the opportunity to pick their favorite place to eat out. Mia decided she wanted "Seafood", and so we found Bubba's Seafood. It definitely turned out to be a "find". The food was simply delicious, but do you want to guess what Mia picked for her meal?...Mac n Cheese, sigh!, at least she ate it all and finished her plate(she eats like a bird most days). I think she even coerced her big brothers to share a few shrimp and a few bites of crab in addition to her standard fare. After dinner, we made our way through a few souvenir shops. We were really just window shopping;however, Nolan did find a "skin" board to ride the waves. After enjoying the pleasant evening out, we came back to the condo and had a fun birthday celebration with plenty of cake, ice cream, and presents. After all the cake and fun, it didn't take long for this tired crew to call it a night. It was a special, joyous, terrific day to celebrate our sweet Mia's birthday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School

This is what Nolan thought of waking up early today....(he was the first one awake, but being the jokester that he is, he was just pretending to snore) Waiting for the BUS...
The bus arrived... and they were loading up. Mia was being a slowpoke and realized she might miss her ride..."Wait for me,Daddy...wait for me!" That "Crazy" Bus Driver...who is also the Principal...(scary isn't it?...Haha)
Six Chili Peppers ready for school...
Mia and Levi's first assignment... matching ABC's.
Don't they look so studious... I just love the way Levi is holding his head like he is thinking so seriously. They are actually doing "big kid" work this year with workbooks and everything!
Garrett's silent reading book... we get to experience a lot of great literature this year,hooray!! Nolan hard at work on his "Pre-Algebra". Mandy and Nate working on their Language Arts assignments...grammar,handwriting,spelling, and journal writing. We are officially back in school as of today. The kids were filled with "antsy" excitement yesterday as we put the finishing touches on the school room and as they got to spend their last day of "freedom". We all awakened ,this morning, with eager anticipation for the work of the day. The kids really did surprise me with their enthusiasm. They were up and dressed in good time; although, they did drag a bit at the beginning. Daddy took them on their official "ride to school" before he hurried out the door to work. The kids always have fun with this event, and even as our oldest becomes a 7th grader this year, he reminded his dad of getting a ride to school. I had wanted to fix a "back to school" fun breakfast, but my time ran out, and we settled for frozen waffles with peanut butter. Our new school schedule seems to be working(today at least), and we all managed to stay on task. The schedule even allows mom to work with all the kids,making rounds and giving help as needed. I have been homeschooling for 7 years now, and I finally have a schedule that is working. Of course, this can all change tomorrow. It promises to be a busy and somewhat chaotic as we work out any kinks. Next week, we will take a week long break to spend our vacation at the beach. One of the joys of homeschooling is a less restrictive calendar, and so we made plans to take this vacation during the "less busy" season. The interesting thing is that a lot of what we are studying will coordinate with our trip. We will enjoy some of the beauty and wonder of God's creation and world, and then we will return refreshed and ready to tackle the remainder of our school year. We are praying for all those teachers,students and parents out there as the new school year gets underway. Happy Schooling!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For This Child I Prayed...

“For my thoughts* are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”*declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,*so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.* Isaiah55:8-9
Levi joined our family on the evening of Aug.12,2008.
One of God's beautiful blessings...
I heard it again,the call ... I could not phathom the feelings of my heart and mind almost two years ago. We had just completed the paperwork for our daughter Mandy. We had just been DTC for a couple of months, but it was there... my heart was feeling that familiar tug. God was going to lead us to another child. I remember looking at the Waiting Child List that Mandy's referal was on and seeing a beautiful little boy there...but we were "getting a sister for Mia". I thought of friends, who were considering adoption, but the time wasn't right for them. Soon, God would send the perfect family for that little boy...and my eyes were opened. Several months later, I came across another little boy who was needing a family;however, Brad kept reminding me that we didn't even have Mandy home yet. According to God's perfect plan, we would travel shortly after that and bring Mandy home. The gentle nudge and tug at my heart was still there. I couldn't get the little boy out of my heart. But, God had bigger plans... he had the perfect child picked out for us and the perfect timing. Mandy had been home a little over 9 months when God began to reveal his plan. It wasn't a plan that anyone other than God could have or would have orchestrated! This amazing plan would bring this little boy into our hearts,our home and our family forever. Shortly after Mandy's first Forever Family Day, our sweet Levi would join our family and come to live with us. It would be several months to follow,according to state adoption laws, before he was "official" and legally ours;however, we needed no paper to make us know that he belonged right here with us.
Levi has just fit into his perfect place in our hearts and in the family. He is a precious little boy full of spunk, "attitude", and charm. We love him with all our hearts. Thank You God for this amzing gift!!

[11] 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.* [12] Then you will call* upon me and come and pray* to me, and I will listen* to you. [13] You will seek* me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.* Joshua 29:11-13

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fifteen Wonderful Years

I have known this man for a little over sixteen years. Today, we celebrate 15 years of marriage, and what an incredible 15 years it has been. We have experienced a lot of life in these years of our marriage...3 miscarriages, 3 job losses/layoffs, 6 moves, 3 births, 3 adoptions, and the deaths of my daddy and my sweet grandma. Through it all, we have remained committed to one thing, that God is in the lead. God is at the head of our marriage and of our home, and Jesus is our Lord and savior! Second, we are committed to one another and to our children. God answered my dreams and prayers to be a wife and mother, and His plan is better than I could have ever imagined. Every morning that I wake up to see my husband's handsome face, I am struck by the fact that I am one lucky woman. He makes my heart twitter every time he smiles at me. My heart fills with such happiness and joy with each touch and with each kiss. I love that we know each other so well that we can finish each others thoughts,and that we can know each others feelings without them being spoken. He knows me at my very best and at my very worst and, he loves me in spite of my shortcomings. Nothing makes me happier than to spend time with my husband. I love being near him, sharing our days, sharing activities, and sharing our time. I miss him when he has to be gone. When he returns home each day, my heart fills with joy and my world just feels complete. I love that we are each others support system, confidant, and friend. My husband is a kind, generous, caring, passionate, loving man, and he cares about me, the person who I am. I love that he wants to protect me and keep me safe. I love that we want to fix each others hurts (even though sometimes this isn't possible). I love the fact that he is the leader and provider of our family. He leads with patience and humor. He keeps the whole family at peace. He is an incredible daddy and spends many hours devoted to his children. I love that we share the joys and heartaches of parenting. I love that we both love children and have chosen to answer God's call for a large family. I love that we share secret thoughts and dreams. I love that we want to grow old together. I love my husband, my soulmate, and my very best friend!

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Not So Happy Weekend

Our weekend turned out to be a not so happy one. The weekend started out with us having to take our sweet little kitten to the vet. She had been losing a lot of weight, had stopped eating and looked very ill. As it turned out, she was indeed very sick, and we had to let her go. She was diagnosed with FIV(which is a Feline Immune Disease) and is incurable. We all had a hard time with this news. She was such a sweet cat and absolutely adored the kids. She would make her rounds every night sleeping for a few hours with each one of the kiddos. She was the type of cat that allowed the kids to dress her up and push her around in the baby stroller. She was just a wonderful family cat, and we will miss her.
On a not so sad note, we sent Nolan to a church camp with lots of jr high kids from our church. He was super excited to be going! This whole week, they will be building new cabins and doing service projects for a camp. He was "itching" to get his hands on tools and build. In addition, there are plans for the kids to spend some fun time on the lake and plenty of devotional and bible study too. It sounded as if they will have plenty to keep them busy. We are a little sad because we miss our Nolan or "Molie" as Mia calls him. Mia and Levi are counting down "their sleeps" as they anxiously await his return. We pray that he has a wonderful and safe time this week.
That about sums up our not so fun weekend. Mom continues to work on getting school ready to start next Monday, and the kids will spend their last week of summer playing and just being kids. I think they are actually ready to start school as they are "kinda bored". We are super excited that we will be taking a break 2 weeks into school for our family vacation to the beach. ...only 19 more days until VACATION!!!!