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 traveling back to Ethiopia this year to bring home our 12th child. We have found God's ways are higher than our ways and true joy is found in following His plan!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

And So It Goes With the Military

 Months ago we had it all planned out. Gabriel was due home from his six month deployment mid-December. He was going to go find a new house in San Diego, visit Alayna's family in Memphis for Christmas, then he and Alayna would visit Colorado for a few days and arrive back in San Diego to move in January 1st. Since Alayna's family and my parents live only miles apart in Memphis, it was the perfect occasion to let all the kids be together for Christmas. In spite of my normal rule to never travel at Christmas, we thought it would be ideal and rented a house in Memphis from the 20th-27th. All was on track until the proposed typhoon was supposed to hit the Philippines. The admiral in charge of Gabriel's battle group turned his ship around to assist if the Philippines needed it. In short, Gabriel's new home arrival date is the 27th or later. We asked the home owner about coming a later week; she was very agreeable, except the house is already rented for the week that Gabriel plans to be in Memphis. So, in short, we are not going. We are going to go later in the year and hope that Gabriel, Alayna and the baby will be able to visit as well. 

We have disappointed children; some of the girls have only seen Gabriel two days in the last two years. And, so, once again, the military is messing up my plans - we kind of thought these days were over when JD retired. Not so. 

The good side of all of this is that we aren't leaving Alei home alone for Christmas, since she had to work and wasn't coming. The bad news is that Gabriel has spent almost all his holidays alone the last two years. 

So, our plans are altered, but we are going to do some things that I thought we wouldn't be able to this year - like finish decorating and making and delivering Christmas cookies. We are also reading Bartholomew's Passage; most nights we only read one chapter. Last night I read two chapters and four girls fell asleep in the second chapter.

Today I attended Julia's class Christmas party. I planned on attending Selah and Tori's tomorrow, but Selah got off the bus to inform me that hers was also today. Sorry, dear, I always miss something, or someone, somewhere.

We have never done an Advent wreath and candles, but we are definitely going to add that to our traditions next year as well!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 There are moments when I think I'm doing things right homeschooling. I have to admit I probably have significantly more when I question what I'm doing, but here was one good one.  This was Saturday morning while we were making breakfast; the kids got out maps to work on their states and capitals without suggestion.

I think Elijah and Bella have a better grasp of the states' locations than most adults, thanks to Classical Conversations this year.

Thankfully, the public schoolers have also learned quite a bit along with them. 

 Julia was writing in the capitals from a list in her dictionary.

Tomorrow when the crazies are bouncing off the wall, I will reflect on last Saturday morning!

No one warned me how difficult this job was actually going to be!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Homemaking and Decorating

 I have shared a few of my homemaking tips on Facebook before, but I thought I'd bless my blog readers as well. With ten children in the home, four dogs, six cats, three goats, 30 chickens and a rebellious donkey (the latter animals in the barn, not home), I often get sidetracked from one project (or crisis) to another. 

My breadmaking tip is - make the dough and put it in the bowl to rise. While it rises, head out to pick up donkey poo; odds are that this will take much longer than you anticipate and the bread will have some extra rising time!

It still turned out fine thankfully
 Here's a Christmas decorating tip. When the children break your overpriced Hallmark ornaments as mine do - One, quit buying Hallmark ornaments (I did that last adoption)- and...

This is just this year's breaks so far.
Two, while they are waiting for their super glue session, put them in a nice Christmas bowl in the middle of the dining room table for a festive look. Personally, I think the headless people are the most attractive.  

I think I'll glue these once the tree is coming down so I only have one long session.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving and Beyond

 The last two years, I have done some Thanksgiving crafts with the kids on Thanksgiving morning. They enjoy it and it makes me feel like a crafty Mom.

They were pretty pleased with their turkeys and owls.


Selah and Elijah
 We had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home with just two extra people. After hosting a cast party and baby shower the week before, it was nice to have it all low pressure. 

Normally, we head out early, early the next morning for Black Friday shopping. Since most sales start on Thanksgiving now and I'm not going out shopping on Thursday, there didn't seem to be enough left to be worth the trip "to town". I did, however, order several Christmas presents online. Since I really had not started Christmas shopping for my dozen until today and I love online shopping, the UPS man is going to be at our house EVERY day from now until Christmas!

Since I was home for the first time in many, many years on Black Friday, we went ahead and put up the Christmas tree; it's early for us, but since we are traveling before Christmas, we needed to get it done early to make it worth our while.

Tori's wearing the goofy  hat is because she was mid hair-do.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Story in Pictures




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two of This Week's Three Big Events

 Alyssa performed in a local drama this year for the first time; we were thouroughly impressed with how talented the youth were! It was based on the story of a persecuted Christian in the Roman times. She made a lovely Roman.

Not sure what is going on with Julia's belly in this picture - it doesn't really look like that!
 Last night, we hosted the cast party for the production. The reality of that was the little guys got to watch a movie and eat popcorn in the master retreat while the teens took over the basement and fire pit outside.

We actually enjoy having large groups of teens at our house and the basement works great for it!

 Tuesday was our final day of Classical Conversations for Elijah, Bella and I until after Christmas. I'm not sure if I would have signed up to be a tutor if I had known the challenges we were going to face this fall, but I'm glad I committed before I would have made that decision. I have had to dump some other things I wanted to do, but CC has really taught me a lot and I'm pretty fond of my little class of eight. I wanted to show a class picture, but don't want to put them online without permission, so I'm showing our final project on the human body instead. 

The last six weeks we have made body parts while we learned about the human body. On Tuesday we assembled their paper counterparts. Unfortunately, Bella's femur bone got lost between school and home. 

We have another super exciting event coming on Sunday - I'll be back with that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Always Joy

I have to agree that I think the greatest pain and the greatest joy are both experienced in parenting. We are working through some rough roads with one of our children. While the burden is heavy there, in enters little Elijah who constantly tells me that "I'm the bestest mommy in the world." Sunday he bought me flowers (with his daddy's help) and told me that we could take turns holding them. 

Please no one tell him that bestest isn't a word - it sounds so much more impressive than just best!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


 We had a lovely party for Moriah and Emily last weekend. There are some good pictures on Facebook courtesy of their friends, but I sure didn't take many.

 The weather was rather cold and rainy, but it cleared up for a nice campfire later in the evening.

I am looking at the schedule from now until we travel for Christmas and there are major events on most weekends. Since I also have to fit in shopping, packing and corn-rowing four heads of hair, it looks far from calm and relaxing. I'm just taking it one day at a time, one demand at a time, and lately, one crisis at a time. I hope and pray that our first Christmas away in 12 years will be more enjoyable than stressful. Either way, it will be worth it to see Gabriel and Alayna!

I took my kids to the library this week - small thing for most people but it seemed like a big accomplishment to me with all that we have going on right now!