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.

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!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Baby Samuel

  Samuel Robert was born on September 25th; Alayna and the baby are doing great. He was a bit shorter and just an ounce lighter than Nathan, which still makes him a healthy 8lbs 13oz.


Nathan has been waiting for this brother of his and refers to him as "my Samuel". Nathan's brown eyes melt my heart!

 Samuel was born on James 18th birthday; so we have another combo birthday in our family. Happy Birthday, James!

This is Samuel at one day old -

 And here he is at two days old heading home with his family. I leave for Colorado next week! I can't wait to hold him!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Flooring Day

 After our summer of bad AC, mold and a cat pee crises, I decided that I wanted no more carpet. We had already bought replacement flooring for most of our upstairs, but now I added on the bedrooms. We also already have the carpet staged for the bedrooms in the apartment over the garage, but I ditched that and purchased flooring for those bedrooms as well. So after special ordering, today we picked up one set of flooring from Home Depot -  

and another from Costco - 

The poor children that went on today's adventure got drug into the Lazy-Boy Gallery to look at a few love-seats. I left with no love-seat for the living room, but a couch for the bedroom retreat on order, after sitting on everything and looking at a ton of swatches. We rewarded them with lunch at Cook Out! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

First Day Photo

 As usual, I forgot to take a first day of CC photo before we left the house, so I was pretty excited when I got there and some brilliant person had a table for us to snap a quick pic. Here are my three CC'ers this year; it felt sad to not have Tori and Julia there, but they are doing another home school co-op instead.

Elijah and Selah are 5th grade and Bella is 4th. This is the first year that Selah and Elijah are doing afternoon Essentials class, which is pretty intensive grammar and IEW writing. Bella is observing with me. 

Here's to another great year - Elijah and Bella's 6th year; Selah's 5th and the 5th I have tutored. Our Classical Conversation community has been a real blessing! 

Monday, August 27, 2018


 Ready or not, (I'm not!), the new school year is upon us. We start CC tomorrow and Selah was working on her memory work in this picture.  Montana demands being pet and will slap you with her huge paw if you take a break.  

That's one thing, but Lucca running around with his squeaky bunny distracted both girl and dog - 

 Lucca's momma is on a cruise this week and we are blessed with his hyper self all week long!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Llama Babies - Crias

 So, an update on Bree is that she is still in the home and care of the zoo-keeper in Richmond. She is doing much better in the health department, but whatever happened to her neck is not healing as hoped. A third vet that is weighing in says to let it go another week, but if it doesn't show any improvement, then it's unlikely to heal at all. The whole thing has been rather emotionally and financially exhausting. 

In the meantime, I scheduled the llama vet #1 to come out on Monday to check Glacier and give the llamas shots. I was also going to do an ultrasound on Glacier to see if she was pregnant. That morning, Julia and I de-wormed the goats, trimmed their hooves and scooped llama poop. I then mowed the back yard and went in to take a shower before the vet's 1:00 arrival. When she arrived, Selah and I headed out and Selah started yelling that Glacier had her baby. I guess she saved me the price of the ultrasound and the vet was able to give the baby her first shot also. 

We are so fortunate that it's another girl, because boy llamas can not live with a herd of females long term normally. This baby is doing very well and her name is Jewel, after the unicorn in The Last Battle in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Bree is named after the talking horse in The Horse and His Boy. (As a plug for that series, listen to the Focus on the Family CDs as an adult - it is so, so good and there is so much hidden in there that I never got as a child!)

Here is Jewel with her momma just a few hours after birth - she weighs only 14 pounds!

We are feeling sorry for Butte since she doesn't have her baby anymore, but I'm not sure she really remembers.

 Jewel is less people friendly than Bree was, just like Glacier is more skiddish than Butte.

I am babysitting Alei's dog, Lucca, for the weekend. His entire goal in life is to get wet, and although we try to minimize his water options, he usually finds something. This morning it was the old, small llama pool upside down that accumulated a small amount of rain. 

Then I have to fill "his pool" with clean water to clean him up before he comes back in. It's a continual water cycle. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Finals and Baby Llama

 We had swim team finals on Saturday - finals are when you swim against all six teams in your division. We were division champs after winning 5 of 6 swim meets, but we did not win finals. A finals win requires a large team because of the way it is scored and we swim against several larger teams. 

This is our picture at the end of the long hot day. We had to leave at 6 a.m. for warm ups at 7, for the meet start at 8:00. It finally ended about 4:30 p.m.

 We did our regular Chick-Fil-a milk-shake stop. (We also did breakfast there so they saw us twice that day!)

JD and I went out to dinner that night, so it was rather late once I made it out to feed the animals. When I arrived, I found a very lethargic baby llama. After a few calls, Julia and I were on our way to Richmond to a "llama vet". I was so exhausted once I dropped into bed around 1:00 a.m., only to get up for a middle of the night and again early feeding. 

There are a lot of theories about what is wrong, but we do know that she has pneumonia in one lung; beyond that she isn't holding her head up correctly and has no energy. We had to transfer her to bottles and while I was encouraged at her progress yesterday, today is definitely worse. I am currently awaiting another vet and a portable x-ray machine to rule out a neck injury and/or brittle bone disease. After many calls, there is a more qualified lady than I that works for the Richmond Zoo willing to take over her care. (I have done next to NOTHING else for two days!) that I am driving her to this evening. It will be my second rather lengthy road-trip with the baby llama. I am praying she makes it and want to give her every chance. 

 She will legally belong to the zoo once I take her, but they may or may not want her long term. I am OK either way as long as she gets the care she desperately needs. Pray for baby Bree.