OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED

In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hawaii!

Before I show the beautiful glory of Hawaii, let me just say that I recently read someone on Facebook saying that they needed to get off FB because their life is so dull compared to others. That stuck with me in a few ways, but the basic thought I had is that our lives are never dull, but rarely glamorous, because of the number of people we have relationships with even addition to our own children. Temporary dull is a coveted position that I rarely get, but long for, because that means we aren't in a string of frequent trials. While I try to balance my children's privacy, and also not paint a picture that is unrealistic, we have plenty of not-dull on a daily basis. Actually I'm typing this as Moriah is on the way to the ER with symptoms that are rather alarming. If you consider your life dull, get involved with teens, foster kids, homeless, anything that would allow you to throw your life in to something that would make a difference for others - serving people in need is rarely dull, nor is it glamorous.

My life is much like a railroad track with the absolute beauty of Hawaii on one track at the same time as some of the most difficult times on the other track. I have to learn to appreciate the beauty on the one side while not allowing the pain on the other track to engulf both tracks.. To leave, my sister and a friend juggled the kids at home, while two other friends split the time with Julia at their houses. I had a very difficult situation with a child shortly before leaving, and we lost one of our beloved dogs. To add to it all, Selah is going through some serious medical issues that landed me in the ER most of one night and my sister most of the first night I was away. To someone who said to me just today, "how do you go away without kids?"; my answer is, "we just have to!" I'm very lucky that I have a husband that insists I rest away from home when I never would be able to at home. I questioned getting on the plane even at the last minute and he basically demanded it. 

Our lives are as stressful as Hawaii is beautiful. Here's the pretty side of the track - 

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village -

Rainbow Tower from our window
Waikiki Beach




We went snorkeling at the North Shore - turtle cove and shark cove to be exact. I'm sparing you the picture of my knees from crawling across coral to move locations -



We ate at the famous shrimp trucks -


Here are the two pictures I came home with that had me in them - (I am protesting the look-at-me-selfie-crisis of our country). 

Recognize this background?



This is my new phone screen-saver -

Jenny

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Alyssa's Graduation and Birthday

Alyssa was technically finished with high school last year early, but she had her official graduation along with her 18th birthday this year. We had a celebration for both. Here are a few shots of our day.

Hunter liked the balloon strings!
The cake says Happy Birthday and Graduation Alyssa
A friend smoked pulled pork for our main dish; here was the cold food table.


I made a simple wall of Alyssa pictures through the years.

 

Alyssa had two friends come down from NY for her party - she met Raven on a mission trip to Africa and has visited her family in the Virgin Islands, where they live part of the year, twice.



The beginning group gathering -





JD and Moriah
The goats came out to hang with the kids and eat weeds for a bit.

Fiona enjoyed the attention
These are my friend's girls from Liberia; they got a picture with my Ethiopians because they were all wearing butterfly shirts.


Alyssa with Caleb, who was a neighbor when we lived in "the neighborhood" back from Alyssa's age of 3-6!


We got Alyssa a hand-made cedar chest -


It was a wonderful day.

Jenny

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sharks 2017

Another swim season has arrived - I have lost count but we are roughly at 14 years of swimming (with two years "vacation" at different points). Swimming really is my favorite sport, as all kids compete in the same meet on the same night at the same pool; it also makes it fun that we have a family reputation for being fast. 

This was James' only meet this year as he is heading to the Bible College in CA on Saturday for their summer program. 


The kids seem to excel at the goofy pictures -



Last year at the end of the year award ceremony, the Sharks created an award for Tori called "The Beast Award". She is absolutely amazing to watch and we will really have to consider if she wants to transition to year around competition at some point. Last night, Elijah proved that he is going to give Tori a run for her beast award as he and his relay team beat the all time Shark record by 9 seconds. This is Sharks 52nd year and the 20th year with our fabulous head couch. 

Here's Elijah on the far left and his relay team -

 

Jenny







Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturdays

JD has traveled a lot the last few months, so one thing I have done is order to simplify life is order trash pick up. We haven't had it the whole 12 years we have lived here, so it's quite the novelty. We leave the cans at the end of the driveway because the driveway is too long to pull them back and forth, but it's working. 




Last Saturday, I loaded the youngest six kids and we did a long Amish run. We hit the Amish feed store, the Amish grocery store, the Amish flee market, the local farmer's market and then hunted down the grass fed beef Amish source. The only stop I should have skipped was the flee market, as the massive requests to buy ducks, bunnies and pigs were a bit overwhelming. I think they hoped they stood a chance since JD wasn't with us. 



On the way home, I even stopped at the Commissary. Tori and James let the kids play on the playground across the street for the beginning of my shopping adventure. Bella found two painted rocks - do you have that going on in your area? It's been fun for the kids. We have painted several this week.


Today? Not near as fun. I forced everyone into the heat this morning to help plant pumpkins and weed the garden. This big area that is in the back is tilled and we planted pumpkin seeds - I have no idea how well they will do as I really don't know how decent the soil is in spite of me dumping all our this year poo mountain in it. We also weeded the raised beds. It was a long, hot two hours but looks so much better! 

I am taking the kids to the pool as a reward -


Jenny


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sorry Blog-land

Sometimes I am so delinquent on the blog, for no good reason other than busyness, because there is always something going on to blog about. The latest is that Geema and Grandpa came to visit for a week. JD's sister and brother-in-law also came one day. While both were most enjoyable, I just didn't take many pictures. 

Here is my one official farewell picture with the youngest three kids as we headed to our first day of swim team, which started the day they were leaving. 


Here's another quick one I snapped because it so reminded me of my childhood. My Dad was a safety officer for the Navy at one point and I feel it seeped into our daily lives; like he sold my moped and wouldn't let me ride horses. Anyway, here he is conducting a safely brief with the bike riders before hitting the road. Apparently he is a force to be reckoned with on a bike, because the one ride that was just Grandpa and James really wore James out. 


 I had Selah at the doctor for testing on Friday - I feel like she has some symptoms that concern me that a tick borne illness could be at play, so we are awaiting blood work. She is feeling better today and I have hope that she will be able to attend CC camp with us the next three days. 


                                                              Jenny


 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Renaissance Fair

(It took some effort for me to spell Renaissance correctly, but I think I got it.)

 After studying this time period in school year last year, when I saw the BOGO Groupon deal for a semi-local Renaissance fair, I bought tickets a few months back. Fortunately, Friday I checked the dates to find out they were expiring in two days; so while we didn't miss it, JD did because he was on the men's retreat at church. (It takes an extra push for me to do these events without him!)

I hadn't been to a Renaissance event since high school, and it definitely draws an interesting crowd, but the kids had a blast. 

It was small, but plenty to do for the majority of a day.



It was humorous to see the kids pick their crimes -





The three youngest girls and I attended a doll making workshop and left with handmade rag dolls that are super cute. We sent James, Tori and Elijah to "Medieval Kenieval" while we were there.




Tori was kind enough to wait for and take some picture of Elijah with the reckless daredevil; Elijah was pretty impressed with how they turned out.


I took about five pictures on the way out and this is the best I got. Selah looked exactly like this in each one, because she told me "it was funny". I decline to agree. With this many kids, I need at least an attempt of a smile!


                                                                         Jenny