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, April 29, 2013

Chimney and Orders

I'm writing under my picture because Blogger refuses to let me move the picture down enough for any words above it. As you can see, the working boys have moved on to adding the stone to the chimney under the screened in porch and in the porch. They are doing quite well.
Other than that, Gabriel finally got his future orders from the Navy. He is staying in Pensacola for another school, until the end of June; then he is transferring to the USS RONALD REAGAN, stationed in San Diego. It is a bit farther than we hoped but closer than overseas! It looks like we are looking at a July wedding in between his military bases.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fire and Planting

 This was our bon-fire last night. I was very thankful for perfect weather since we had several families from our church home group come. The wood was so dry that it burned quickly; there was some water dumping around the perimeter to keep it under control.

Here's all that was left this morning. It's going to be nice to be able to see across the field now.

Elijah uses the term "lucky for..." in many contexts, (which is funny because I don't think JD or I ever use the term luck). Anyway, for this picture, he would say, "lucky for Dad, he has me to help drive the tractor".

While Elijah helped tend the fire and ash, I took the girls out to weed the first garden bed. It is really amazing to watch them experience first after first that would never happen if they grew up in an orphanage in Ethiopia.

Selah is actually a capable little helper.  Since both girls love being outside, I think they will really enjoy the garden this year. We'll see how much I can get them to eat. Recently Selah was given ONE green bean. She proudly told us that she had eaten it when Tori discovered it under her chair on the floor. She then changed her story to "Toby will eat it".

We also planted some little flowers that had been left in their plastic containers too long.

I don't think the kids want the fire fun to end; they started collecting from around the yard to keep it going longer.

I'd rather be outside weeding the other four garden beds; instead, I have to braid Tori's hair.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hard Work in Progress

Our pasture fence was just finished yesterday. While we are working towards a cow or two,  until we have decent grass growing, it will be home to only two baby goats that I am searching high and low for. I know exactly what I want and we want them young enough to bottle-feed, so we are having to be patient. I am hoping that we are able to till in lime and be ready to plant grass next weekend. The picture here is to show the fence along the far side - it is wooden post and five wire. The top will be electrified when cows go in so that they don't push the fence.


We are hosting a pot-luck / bonfire for our home group tomorrow night to burn the huge pile in the middle of the field. Then the ash can also be tilled in to help the soil.

Alyssa is the fence painter. She is being paid by the hour to help fund her mission trip to Zambia and South Africa this summer. We went with the longest lasting paint on the market, because who is going to want to do that again in a few years!

Before we let Kenny (who built the fence) move on in life, he is helping JD lay the stone on the fire-place and chimney. They spread them around the back yard this morning, so they can see what they are working with.

Here's the beginning of the section that goes through the screened in porch. It has to be completed before the ceiling or floor can be installed.

James and Ben got the task of stacking the large pile of unsplit firewood. At this point, it won't be split until next winter when we need it. If you are wondering, James and Ben have cashed in since we have paid them to be Kenny's helpers. They are not making much, but it's a lot to them and they have gained some valuable experience.

Now we are contemplating if we can really pull off the bigger pool in the backyard this summer!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Giraffes and Parakeets

 I coordinated a homeschool field trip to our favorite zoo yesterday. Having enough people to call a field trip makes the difference between a $16 ticket and a $6 ticket! The day started pretty chilly, but warmed up nicely in the afternoon. While we saw everything and even did the train ride through the African animals, the highlight for us is the animals we can really interact with - which is the giraffes, camels and the parakeets.

Of course, the animals really only want to interact with us for food, but we love it.

Selah has zero fear, but Bella prefered lining their food up on the fence for them to eat instead of feeding them directly.

James didn't realize the camera was on him during this interaction -

This giraffe thought Tori should keep the food coming at a faster pace -

Selah made me wish I had brought the jumbo Purell!

Bella was starting to doze on our way to the bird finale, but she came alive to hold them.

Selah had the touch; she often had two birds when others couldn't get one to come to them.

Selah usually has a few things in her mental list that she is super excited about. Since she got to feed the giraffes, it is now getting her own baby chick. Hopefully we are close to getting our spring chicks as well as baby goats.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Have a Birthday

 We have had some birthday issues from the very beginning of Selah's referral. When they sent me her referral photo, they told me that they were questioning the birthday that was on her orphanage paperwork. That paperwork stated that she would be six next month in May. Later, her finalized paperwork changed her birthday to October, five months later. Everyone still though that was a stretch and she seemed to be about a year younger.

Since Bella had her 3rd birthday in January, Selah has asked every few days when it's going to be her "happy birthday". Our answer has been, "soon". We recently had a bone scan done, which is supposed to be able to pin-point a close age range in spite of malnutrition, etc, and it came back that she has 2.5. Knowing that is too young, we requested that it be re-read and it came back at 2.5 - 3. After looking into what's involved in legally changing a birth date, we are sticking with the second October birthday. So, Selah will actually turn six this fall, but will start Kindergarten.

Since there was no way we could make her wait until October for a birthday, and she never got one when she turned 1,2,3, or 4, we had Selah's 5th birthday on the one night this week that Alei had off from work and that Aunt Deb could come celebrate.

She couldn't have been any more pleased when we sang to her -

We then had presents.

I snapped this picture of her posing for Alei. So much personality!

Now we are on track for October and we are quite sure she won't mind that her birthday rolls around much quicker this year.



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yesterday In and Out

 I posted this picture on Facebook on Sunday as "our quick stop at Costco" on the way home from camp. My dear friend commented that surely that large cedar playhouse was not on the list; but I assure you it actually was. It has been on the short list that was waiting for the trailer to get it home. Elijah has called it the "pig house" for about three years because one time when he was playing in the display at Costco, I commented that it was like the stick house from the "3 Little Pigs" story. Well, since we didn't get the much-higher priced Amish tree-house, we purchased the pig house; ironically, now there are three little piggies to play in it instead of just one.

JD (who didn't remember the pig house plan while we were in the store with Elijah jumping up and down, yelling, "we have the trailer, we can get the pig house") still was stuck with building it over the last two evenings. I may add that it came with zero parts built and should have a warning on the box that assembly requires a real carpenter.

After a bit of debate, we decided that we want the house to live permanently on the big patio that will be under the deck. However, since the patio doesn't exist yet and since it's so muddy out there right now, we decided to put it inside. It couldn't be built in the playroom, however, without taking it back apart to get it through the door-way. After that decision, I had to rearrange a few things to make it all work.

After moving a armoire to put the pig house in the corner, I ended up putting it right back where JD built it.

An added bonus is the I did get the armoire and love-seat moved where I want them long term in the shuffle.

After some school, we headed outside. Our fence builder is on a short mission trip, so the fence is in wait load this week. There are probably only about three more days until it's finished. We also have to burn the big pile in the middle of the area.


 JD started fixing our tiller so we can push forward with grass planing while the kids and I raked out the leaf mess that had accumulated under a group of trees. When I was picking up a pile, the boys yelled, "snake". I did the responsible thing and ran, leaving the children to fend for themselves. Upon getting brave enough to come back, it was just a baby black snake (which keep the copper heads away, so we leave them alone).

 I still kept my distance while James got the wagon out of there because the little snake was trying to crawl up the wagon to get back into the leaf pile.

I had to tell Selah about five times to get back away from the snake. She isn't afraid of anything! Finally Julia took it upon herself to remove Selah from the snake territory, which allowed me to get this cute, but slightly blurry, picture.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Family Camp - Part Two

 There was a really awesome tire swing outside our cabin that alone would have been worth the trip to the little guys. They had a blast on it and we all got a good workout running with it and pushing it. 

A few of the other activities that everyone got to enjoy were archery - 

and rock wall climbing -

Several of the children (and JD) went on this thing that you couldn't pay me to get on -

All in all, it was a great weekend.

Camp - 2013