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.

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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Bit of Catch-Up

 We had a great visit with Gabriel, Alayna and Nathan in spite of the high temps and broken AC. Here is Nathan being a ninja at the hotel breakfast on the way. 

Nathan sleeping on the long ride (yes, they drove this time). 

A quick dip in the hotel pool and delivering coffee to his momma - 

I let Selah and Bella go to church camp with a friend and her daughter at the local church that they attend Awana at. They left the day before Nathan, and while he smiled for this picture, he sobbed when he realized they were leaving him. He kept crying that "they left me" - it broke my heart. 

During Nathan's visit, Butte had a baby girl. This baby is full llama and looks like her momma. She is soft and snuggly; not sure I can sell her!

The hot days are not pleasant for the llamas; this day, standing in the pool wasn't enough for Butte. I need to get them a larger pool!

Thankfully our AC is fixed now, but it was down 8 weeks! We are dealing with a basement mold issue now also from the high humidity and lack of air circulation. This picture was taken at the ribbon cutting ceremony for our community food pantry, but it was just so hot and miserable that afternoon!

 The new office and entry way are almost done, but I've also decided to paint the entire basement as I deal with mold areas; it just needs to be done before I focus anymore on the upstairs. 

It's been a very, very busy summer but we are having some fun. We have season passes to Kings Dominion and have gone several times. The kids are old enough that I easily take them when JD is unavailable and we have several friends with passes also. 

Here is a lousy picture of Julia's friend, Julia, me and Tori on the Dominator. Elijah and his friend were right behind us. 

We have also had several days of pool and lake fun; here's Elijah at a birthday party at the lake with fun cup-cakes. 

 We only have two more weeks of swim team until finals also!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


 The good news? My Colorado kids and grand-baby came to visit! The bad news? It's HOT and our AC is not working!!! We are on round two of no AC this summer due to the slowness of the warranty and ordering parts for a geo-thermal unit. The first round was 2.5 weeks and this round we are at 3.5 weeks. We obviously are not going to be able to count on them for timely repairs, but are just trapped this round until the part comes in and it's fixed. I won't even go into the long version of the story, but my "favorite" is when the lady told me I wasn't a priority because it was 82 degrees the day I spoke to her, never mind it was 97 just a few days before that when it was out. 

At this point, we have installed a larger window unit in the living room and have a few smaller units about the house, but the kids still all sleep on the living room floor and the Coloradians are sleeping in the nice AC of the camper.

Yesterday, Gabriel and I hit the pool with the kids - Nathan turned 3 in February and his new baby brother is due in September. 

sometimes the suit creeps down in the back but snacks should still be the focus

I will get some pictures today of us in our red, white and blue, but I must head out early to tend to the animals and garden. Yesterday I managed to be rather sun-sick by evening; apparently I didn't drink enough water to compensate for my time in the sun. 

Don't forget to fill your llama's wading pool - it's hot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Weekend

 JD went to Ghana for work last week; if you are wondering where that it, it is in West Africa. Ghana, unlike Liberia, has escaped devastating civil war, so JD had power and AC! Ironically, our AC here is America is BROKEN and we are waiting on our home warranty company to do its job (which they aren't, but that is a separate post). 

Here he is snacking on a coconut.

The day he came home, we hit two days of King's Fest, where Christian artists perform at King's Dominion. My older kids had gone, but this was a first for our younger crowd.

We heard several big name artist, including Toby Mac, King and Country, Crowder, Zach Williams and Big Daddy Weave. 

It was hot and rained on us the first night, but stayed cool and relatively clear the second night.  

Tori and I won backstage passes to meet King and Country, and we missed it by 5 minutes because I didn't answer my phone during another concert. I think I was more disappointed than she was. 

They walked through the crowd though, Selah got to high-five them both. 

Saturday JD and attended a "teach the Bible" conference in DC. Then Sunday we celebrated Alyssa's birthday about a week late. She is 19!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Summer

 It's been a great summer thus far. Last week I completed my three days of CC tutor training at the beginning of the week and then hit the state home school convention at the end of the week. There are many things going on around the house on top of daily swim team, but they are all exciting progress. 

This is the extent we have gotten on JD's new home office. When we built the house, it was a "sun room" turned bedroom, with a wall and regular door built here and a armoire instead of a closet. When we took the door down, we loved the natural light, so the office got as much glass as possible while still sealing it off for working. When we came out with the new flooring into the entry area, there was a lite by the front door leaking water that has grown mold on the sub flooring.I ordered a new front door (with more glass!) five weeks ago and it still isn't in. I need to call about that...

The background of JD needing a serious home office is that he left the defense industry and his new job is working from home more than the DC office. He moved all his Navy memorabilia home from a previous local and DC office and it is also waiting for a home. This office should accommodate him with enough room for visitors to come meet with him, etc, out of the traffic flow of the rest of our home. 

See the new floor? One day it will cover the entire downstairs.

 The garage apartment has had some progress, but nothing impressive enough for pictures yet. In the meantime, we had a landscaper finish the retaining wall and circle in the front.

 It's a pretty large area; not sure what we should put in there other than the flagpole JD has picked out.

I make four trips to and from the pool every weekday morning, which means I stop and move a lot of turtles off the road. This large snapper didn't get my usual courtesy; he got left right where we was, which fortunately was close to the side of the road. 

 Luke's four baby chicks are doing great and are able to fly to the top of the coop to roost now.

 We have not been to the neighborhood pool even once yet, but have spent many hours at the lake. The other night I took the kids, picked up pizza and got some work done at the picnic table while they played. We had the place completely to ourselves part of the time. 

I have to show a few humorous gifts JD got from his children for Father's Day. Read the shirt, then read it again with the grey lines. 

Fine Trump mug from another daughter -

 And Alei bought me this fine new unicorn mug - it says, "me? crazy? I should get down off this unicorn and slap you!" Gotta love my unicorn mug collection!