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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Last School Year

 Here are last year's CC school photos - I already can't believe how much older the kids look. Yes, I just down-loaded them from the email attachement that I received back in March, (better late than never!)

Bella gets her hair relaxed now and has new glasses.  

3rd grade photo; 4th now

Selah has grown a ton in the last year, went from wearing 8s last year to 12s this year; never did actually unpack many 10s. She is also getting her hair relaxed and wearing it down most of the time. 

4th grade photo; 5th this year
 Elijah had his eyes closed in his first picture and looks quite "cool" in this one. 

Elijah - 4th last year also; 5th now
  Julia was 6th grade last year, 7th this.

Tori was 7th last year and is 8th now - she will be a high schooler next year!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Waiting on Wedding Pictures

I'm anxious to show wedding pictures - it was a beautiful day! The pictures aren't back yet, understandably, and I did not even keep my phone with me on the wedding day, except for a few quick text checks. I am showing about everything on my phone. These are the flower pictures that I took - the top one  was actually Alyssa's bouquet before it was modified by removing lillys and adding several variety of white flowers.

The other ones were decorating flowers -

Here is the rehearsal held the night before, I am not sure the joke about the hats, but there was one!

Two bridesmaids, including Tori, couldn't be there for rehearsa, so we had Julia and Selah stand in for them.

Alyssa and Joseph front and center -

Gabriel, James and Nathan flew from CO for the wedding; Gabriel and James were great help and Nathan took his ring-bearer responsibilities very seriously. This was taken on one of our early morning "super snuggles". He is such a sweet boy and loves his visits to Virginia!

Moriah made this huge sign which leaned against a tree on the way in.

We did first look pictures and half the pictures before the wedding to maximize the light. This was Selah and Nathan watching from the bridal sweet.

I will be sharing "real" pictures as soon as I have them. Beyond that, we had family here for the next two days, and while I didn't remember to take pictures to prove it, I did make them cookies.

We had to put our tree up two days before Thanksgiving, because JD and Elijah left for CO on Black Friday and we didn't want to do it without them, or wait a full week for them to return. 

Alaska, Selah and Fiona - 

 You can see how helpful the dogs are -it's like a maze to get around their huge selves.

We had a pretty low-key Thanksgiving with just our family, but lots of yummy food!

 JD and Elijah left for CO on Friday to see the clan out west and meet the new sweet baby, Samuel.

As a huge, life-defining moment for Elijah, Gabriel was able to get them tickets to the Bronco/Steeler football game, along with passes to be on the field with the team before the game. I can't imagine that Elijah, who already has a reputation for talking, is going to stop talking about this from now until Christmas!

JD, Elijah, Gabriel, Nathan and James
The girls and I went on a feral cat rescue mission at Kings Dominion last night. We didn't come home with them but are on the list to be called if they need a home. I guess there are 8 "kittens" that need to be placed before they close for New Year. I told them to put me at the bottom of the list because I don't actually want any more cats, nor the bills that come with them, but I'll be there is they don't have other options.

King's Dominion did a huge, beautiful Winter Wonderland this year. Here is Selah and Bella with a Christmas moose. 

I bought a new nativity last year and the picture to go with it, after using one for 10 years that the wise men were missing their hands. I think some greenery and the piano will be perfect for Christmas.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Marriage and Babies, Dressing Rooms and More

 I really need to blog about 40 times more than I do to keep up with my family. I did cover Moriah's engagement, right? This is not her wedding dress, but just one of countless ones that she tried on. We had a princess party with the bridesmaids and food while Moriah chose her dress. I did not get permission to post this picture, but just love her and her friend Esther's genuine smiles at whoever was talking to them.  

I am a huge fan of this bridal shop now, because of the wonderful lady that helped us, and can understand why the Duggars came to VA to find a wedding dress for two of their daughters.

So, during this long Moriah and Chris engagment, Moriah turned 21. Chris came with balloons and gifts and we all ate a bit too much cake.

We have been having a debate about when Alyssa and her now fiance are going to get married for several months now, and while they did not want to rain on Moriah's parade, or wedding, they also found out that they have a baby on the way. While we do not endorse marriages for the sake of a baby, they are in a good place to be able to marry, so we are pulling off a wedding November 17th in hopes that it is still warm enough during the day to have the ceremony outside. The wedding is about an hour from here in a historic barn that has been updated beautifully. There will be more pictures to follow, but here are a few engagement photos. 


Guess where the girls and I spent another evening? You guessed it - same bridal shop. 

Now that I'm double wedding planning, and realized that the children didn't have adequate fall and winter clothing, I seem to spend a lot of time waiting outside dressing room doors, mainly for Tori and Julia. I need to take myself shopping, but I'm doing that trip with no one under the age of 18!

I think the kids are actually getting tired of shopping; I know I am!

Saturday we took a trip to Maryland for Amish feed and llama feed and Southern States had a nice pumpkin decorating table. The kids made these, which was fun since we got rained out of our trip to the pumpkin patch the night before.

We also got season passes to the trampoline park instead of doing birthday parties this summer and fall, I just haven't had time and this will provide several trips of fun for a full year. 

 Lastly, I miss my little grand-sons in Colorado. Gabriel and Nathan are flying here for Alyssa's wedding, but Alayna and baby Samuel are staying behind for a visit from her dad. i miss those little faces!

While its a crazy busy time, I'm sure thankful for my family! Life isn't dull!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Trip to Colorado

Moriah and I flew to Colorado last Wednesday; she came home for work on Monday and I came home Wednesday. It was a glorious week of baby holding. Gabriel and Alayna claimed that sweet Samuel slept well in his basinet before we arrived, but I wasn't seeing that too much by the time we left! He loves to snuggle and snooze!

Gabriel treated us to a lunch at the Denver Aquarium. 

 I bought this Mickey bathrobe for James at a thrift store about 15 years ago; it is serious good quality. He wore it a ton, then I gave it a friend whose son wore it for a few years, then she gave it back to Elijah who wore it for a good three years. Now it is off to Nathan who has a few years to wear it before Samuel takes it over. It may be the best $2 I have ever spent. Somewhere along the way, the belt got lost, so Nathan borrowed his Mom's. 

 James made another trip to the Navy recruiter with Gabriel and I. He is currently studying to improve his ASVAB scores to open more job choices when he enlists. 

James is currently working full time at a tire center, and Nathan is pretty sure he is there to play with him also. 

After I headed home on Wednesday, Alei flew out Thursday. She sent me this picture of my favorite baby boys today. 

Want a bit of humor? Let me tell you about my trip home. I let Moriah book my ticket for me and she booked two one-ways because it was cheaper. The flaw of the plan was that it was super basic, which meant that I needed a second mortgage to fly James and baby clothes out to CO and my credit card that normally grants me free luggage meant nothing. The real fun began the day before I left to head home and I found out that while I flew out of Dullus (and parked my car in the $17 a day lot for "convenience"), I was returning into Reagan on the other side of DC. Let me just continue with the text I sent Moriah - 

" let me explain my current situation, Moriah, I am currently Ubering with two strange men for one hour with all four windows down at 80 mph across DC. Did I mention the loud rap playing. You know that's my favorite!" 

If I had a picture of my hair after that ride; it was like I used a can of Aqua Net hairspray! Good memories!