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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Books, Teeth and Hair

Over Christmas break, I took the kids to the library. After being there a LONG time already, I found out that there was a book sale going on down the hall. By the time I made it out of there, Tori and James had taken the kids outside to play. My largest score was this set of out of print books by Lois Lenski, featuring a story of a child set in different parts of the country in different eras. They look so good and like I said, are out of print. I'm thinking libraries ought to keep copies of out of print historical books much more than things like multiple volumes of Captain Underpants. Just my crazy opinion.

The two huge boxes I staggered home with forced me to clean off the school bookshelves. I did pull off a large box of books to get rid of. I have been tired of the history shelves confusion that were supposed to be in timeline order, but often crammed back in the wrong place. This attempt at organization was adding baskets for different times - like one basket is WWII and one is the Civil War time.

We also caught up with the kid's DVDs; I toss the cases and cut the front paper to fit in a little plastic sleeve and we keep them in these two boxes in somewhat alphabetical order. JD's DVDs are going to be the next project, which should free up an entire cabinet.

We did some fun stuff over Christmas also. I stopped at Bass Pro Shop on the way home from Selah and Bella's Christmas party at the hospital in Richmond. Our intention was so get a free picture with Santa, but once the line was estimated at three hours, we just visited with the animals.

This was the first New Years Eve in a long time that we didn't have a bunch of teenagers at our house, so we took the younger crowd bowling. They love it and we should do it more often.

Bella lost her front tooth on Christmas Eve, right between church and the sibling present exchange.

Elijah woke up like this after going to bed with wet hair - I told him you couldn't even create that if you wanted to without the use of serious hair spray. 




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Goat Milk Soap

I made my second ever large batch of goat milk soap a few days ago. The first one was a success, so I decided to add essential oils to this batch - it happens to be peppermint. I find it rather challenging to keep the two pots at the correct temperature, but thankfully it seems to be slightly forgiving of spiking temperatures.

Elijah was appointed goat milk soap stamper; he did an outstanding job.

I like the rough cuts, possibly wrapped in a burlap bow for gift giving.

The soap sits for 24 hours in the mold, then is cut and stamped. After that it has to sit for 3-4 weeks before curing for use. My stacking cookie trays have become soap trays and they cure in the cool basement storage room.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Days

My days have been pretty stressful lately, and I don't sleep very well. The second I wake up in the night, my mind is racing about situations that I don't think are healthy. One day, when things are more stable, I may be able to blog about some of it; but for now, I just spend my days half doing the task at hand and the other half praying and problem solving. My mom has always made me feel better by stating that intelligent people are harder on themselves, because they think about all the options and angles before making decisions. Believe me, I have created more angles than mathematicians know exist at this point.

Sometimes, the ability to laugh is the greatest gift. Way back, when Alei was new on Facebook, I posted on her wall the saying, "Alei, just be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then be a unicorn." The people at work asked her what that was supposed to mean. (If loses it's humor if you have to explain it.) One time, Alei bought me a mug that had that same saying on it.

Since then, there have been many unicorn gifts exchanged between us. I originally really hated unicorns since my first room-mate in college arrived with her porcelain unicorn collection. In time, they have grown on me... a bit. This Christmas was a banner unicorn year - Alei bought me these super classy, rainbow unicorn slippers that I will wear with pride. And, I found her that unicorn sweat-shirt in her favorite light teal color.

I hope that supplies a bit of humor to your day, but in case it doesn't, let me leave you with a conversation I had earlier today at the library with my "chief arguer" child. We walked in and while everyone else went to collect books, he (there is a clue) sat down at a computer. I told him to go find books, we didn't come to use the computer. He has a HUGE habit of arguing so quickly that he doesn't evaluate the foolishness that spills out. He said, "there are no good books here and I've read most of the them anyway!" All that pops in my head at a time like that is a saying that has a semi-bad word in it; not really a cuss word, but too close for use in our house, (unless you are a semi-adult and bucking authority, but that's a different kid and a different conversation). I toned my thoughts down to my traditional, "do you hear yourself? That is one of the dumbest arguments yet. We are in the LIBRARY, (where again I have to refrain from not adding the semi-bad word as a adjective before library.)"

So, there you have it; my second attempt at some humor for you.



Sunday, December 25, 2016


Merry Christmas from our home to yours -



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

 I feel like I've been living in the kitchen. My sister has made pear bread and pumpkin bread daily to take to the Afghan immigrants she visits.

The kids and I attempted Christmas sugar cookies yesterday, but they did not roll out nearly as well as normal. I ended up having to take over most of the operation.

The kids were freed up to begin their gingerbread houses; we did teams of one older and one younger child per team.

I'm really amazed how well they all turned out!

The big kids worked nicely with the little guys and there wasn't any conflict; which is often not the case.

James and Elijah's underway -

Tori and Selah's -

The giant behind the house -

We are eating Christmas dinner earlier than usual tomorrow, so we did all our salads and desserts today; we also make Amish soup for tonight after our church Christmas Eve service. It's pretty impressive how helpful the children are in the kitchen now; Elijah chopped all the carrots and Julia the potatoes.

After church tonight, we will finish our Advent reading and hang our last ornament on our Jesse tree.

Then we will tuck the little darlings into bed, hopefully before they fall asleep on the couches.

Selah and Hunter

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Advent Season

This is what I chose for our Advent reading this year. We have a Jesse tree and hang the corresponding ornament to the chapter we read each night.

Don't take the following two pictures too seriously, Ann Voskamp; it wasn't the story that put them to sleep, it was the fact that today was our last big day at CC before Christmas, and the feasting and games wore them out.

looks comfortable, huh?

Tomorrow is the beginning of my catch up phase. I have a list a mile long, but school will only be about half it's normal load until the new year.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Field Trip and Hair

Once upon a time, I was part of an all-natural website for African hair care. The reality is that I can't just keep doing this endless braiding of four heads of hair; I am probably getting carpel tunnel! Tori is getting old enough to handle her own hair, given the right tools; and I took seriously when my friend told me that straightening her girls' hair had revolutionized her life. Anything that is a hair revolution at this point? Count me in!  We booked Tori in her kitchen and Tori and I hung out for a few hours (like five...).

Here is her hair chemically straightened, yet not flat ironed.

I like it; this is what it will return to when we wash it.

Here is her selfie with it all groomed nice and flat.
The next day we went on a fun field trip at the local state park to learn about beavers and fire building.

We got to make some s'mores once we built the fire.

The park is overlooking the Potomac River; I hope to camp there in the spring.

Elijah and Bella