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, October 31, 2009


Just a few shots proving that Julia isn't to be trusted alone with markers, especially black ones. I don't know why black is her preferred color, but is seems to often be her first choice. She frequently sneaks markers and colors her finger and toe nails; she calls them her tanglenails. Yesterday, I made her scrub her own artwork, from herself and the wall.

Tomorrow begins National Adoption Month. I have a lot swirling in my brain for the month of November in real life and blog-land.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harvest Party

Our church had a harvest party last night. As usual, the kids had a blast. It has been coordinated and worked by the church youth the last two years and they have done a fabulous job. Here are my youth workers, Gabriel and Alei. Do you like their costume choices?

They did receive a bit of attention from the crowd. Only one little girl cried when she looked at Alei in the Michelle mask.

Tori was a cow-girl and Julia was a ballerina. I didn't get good pictures of either of their costumes. Here they are on the hay-ride. Although we do hay-rides fairly often, they are still quite a thrill to Julia.

The high-light of Elijah's evening was drive-driving the tractor. He is really, really fond of riding lawn-mowers.

Aunt Deb popped in at the end of the evening to see the kids. We miss seeing her on a daily basis, but it's so nice to have her living locally!

Since our Harvest party isn't on the 31st this year, we are having some friends over that night for a pot-luck and camp-fire. We don't have trick-or-treaters in the boonies!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New, Used Furniture

I am the blessed owner of new, used furniture. I am so excited about it because I absolutely hated my old furniture (the word loathe comes to mind) which I am embarrassed to admit I chose new at the furniture store a few years ago. I started hating it the second week after I purchased it when I realized that it constantly was coming "untucked" and the only way to make it look decent was to remove the 101 cushions, re-tuck it all back in and then replace the cushions. Since we are doing the Financial Peace rapid debt reduction program, I had just resigned myself to living with the dreadful furniture another three years UNTIL my friend Wendy and her husband saved the day. They had a connection that allowed my to buy this fabulous-only six months old-Lazy Boy furniture for a whopping $250. The down-side was my poor husband had to make a six hour round trip run to pick it up; apparently he thought it worth the trip to not have to listen to me for three more years. So, I quickly put my untucked messy furniture on Craig's list and sold it the first day for $150, so I got new furniture for $100!

Here it is, nothing to tuck or pick up off the floor.

You have to love that Charlie and Slurpee like the new furniture. Nine children, two little dogs and a few cats are a great reason to buy used furniture; it keeps the stress down.
As for Slurpee, we caved and are letting him in. He is my 7-11 find that is supposed to be a barn cat. He apparently has some special needs; he walks like he is drunk and doesn't move for cars! He spent much of his time sneaking in the house anyway. So, after JD bumped him with the car one day, he just decided that Slurpee can become an indoor cat. So, here he is in all his glory.

So, here's the "other side of the living room." The lady is coming for the green furniture on Friday, so it is stacked here until then. (Man, I hope she comes like she said she will!) The walk-way that was left between the furniture was filled with little doll-houses today. Tori and Julia won't play down-stairs without "big kids" so unless I rotate toys upstairs, they want to just sit in front of the TV during school time.

I'm off to dictate cleaning tasks to several children. The living room isn't the only room that looks like this!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Look What Happens

Look what happens when a little guy has FIVE big sisters.....

He has made several trips around the house the last few days wearing this Bambi purse. Today, however, when I called everyone to go outside to do our aloud reading, Elijah got his purse right on.

I'm sure in due time his three big brothers will straighten him out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Youth Sunday

Today was youth Sunday at our church; it's the once a year Sunday that the youth do the entire service. Gabriel spoke for the third year in a row, sadly, it was also his last because he is technically not a youth next year. I can't believe I am a mother to an almost 18 year old! Gabriel and Alei both also participated in the drama. Unfortunately, I was holding Elijah and JD was videoing, therefore, there are no postable pictures. Since I can't show my teens on Youth Sunday, I'll show my gardening helpers. Elijah really wanted to push the wheel-barrow, but it wouldn't work for him for some reason.

Happy Sunday evening!

Dollar Tree Deal

A friend just face-booked me and let me know that her local Dollar Tree has the book -There Is No Me Without You - that I wrote about the other day. It's about one woman's work to save AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. I can't recommend it enough; it will make you consider what's worth our time, energy and money these few years we are blessed with on earth! Since I paid about $10 on Amazon for a used copy, you can't beat $1. Buy a few and loan them to others!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flown By

The week flew by and the majority of the blogs I've "written" are still in my head. I'm not sure what has been busier than usual this week, but it seemed to be. The high-light of the week was Moriah's birthday; she turned 12 on Thursday. We just had a family party, although she is having a friend over tonight for round two of celebration. You would think with nine children, I would figure out how to only have to make one cake per child, per year, but that hasn't happened yet. Here's the clan and the cake -

Here's the picture Moriah said, "don't use that picture," but I like it and she hopefully won't notice!

Here's Elijah playing Happy Birthday on the piano in his own rendition. He played and sang.

Last night, we took the kids to the play, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, put on by a local church. It was without-a-doubt the best musical I've ever seen. Most of the humor went over the kid's heads, like the Pharaoh looking and sounding like Elvis, but I thought it was hilarious. Elijah even did great, he watched from our laps for the first hour and slept the second hour.

JD and Gabriel were supposed to go to hunter safety class today, but skipped due to the hecticnesss of other things. JD is plowing our future cow pasture so we can plant grass, Gabriel and Alei are at drama practice for a presentation in church tomorrow, Moriah and Ben both have soccer games, James and Ben have a birthday party this afternoon and then Moriah and Alyssa have friends coming tonight. And me? I'm just relaxing; HA!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Save Mercy

Please notice the badge on the right side of my blog for little Mercy. Mercy is a four year old little girl in Uganda that will die without medical treatment outside of Uganda. She appears to have a medical condition that causes frequent seizures and needs to be treated by a neurosurgeon. Things can be arranged for Mercy to receive care in America, but funds must be raised to bring her here. If you click on the badge, it will take you to another adoptive mom's blog who is doing an iPod touch raffle for anyone who will donate towards saving Mercy. Mercy's family abandoned her, her only hope lies in the compassion of strangers - like you and me! Consider giving up something this week - a trip through McDonalds or Starbucks and donating the money to Mercy. Let's be Jesus' hands to Mercy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rooster Round-Up

The time has come to get rid of the spring chicks we hatched that are roosters. Not knowing what else to do with them (no, we aren't eating them) we loaded them up to sell at the Amish feed-store (yes, I know the Amish may eat them.) This is Alyssa, James and Ben doing rooster round-up.

Here's one of the beauties that is being relocated.

I loaded eight roosters up, but I kept just this one because he is about the prettiest rooster I have ever seen.

Little Buddy hung out in the truck drive-driving.

Here are the eight roosters loaded and leaving.

Turns out that Tuesday is an early close day for the Amish. So, the roosters made a round trip and have returned home. Another day - another rooster round-up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday and Glue

Believe it or not, Mondays aren't always the smoothest homeschool days. It's like the boy's weekend video games often suck the previous weeks knowledge right out of them and we have to review and relearn on Mondays. So, today we did our missionary/history aloud reading and then I let them do last week's craft that we didn't do last week because I didn't buy yarn until Saturday.

The problem we ran into was the simple fact that only Elmers glue worked and I had ONE bottle for seven children. The 336 glue sticks that I stocked up on at the Back-to-School sales didn't glue yarn. So, we worked until the glue ran out, then we set them on the counter and we'll make a big mess again, I mean finish our projects again another day.

I'm not sure it was wise to do the fun stuff first, as Phonics and Math took forever this afternoon. It's done now, though, and I'm off to soccer.....

It's a glamorous life and it's all mine!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Julia's Sightings

My three big girls went to a friend's house last night and I kept another friend's two younger children for the night. This morning I was tearing around to get seven little people fed and dressed for church. Julia was sent to the time-out bench for some infraction when I heard, "Mom, there is a deer in the backyard. He is a nice deer and I want to go out and play with him." Sure enough, there were two deer grazing in the backyard. In the almost five years we have lived on our land, we have never seen deer from our windows. We see them up and down the street, but not by our house, thanks to my outdoor watch-dogs. Here were Julia's "friends."
It was cool to watch them as we ate breakfast. I don't know what the dogs were doing, but they never noticed the deer.

Tonight Julia emerged from my bedroom, rather alarmed, to tell me that she saw a mouse. What she didn't know was that I have a mouse that has been mocking me from my closet for a week now. I lay in bed in the mornings and hear him chewing, chewing. He has eaten through one of Moriah's birthday presents and two of JD's sweat-shirts, but he has been smart enough to not get in the live mouse-trap. Julia showed us that she saw him go under the bookcase. Well, now the show is concluding - there is a mouse trap with peanut butter under the bookcase! Good job, Julia, animal hunter of large and small, inside and outside.

I'll spare you a picture of the mouse in the trap tomorrow, (if he falls for it.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book and Brain Overload

My brain is working overtime, just from reading this book -

I highly recommend it, although it's so, so foreign to our American way of life that I almost can't picture it. Even after being in Liberia and having people on the streets beg me to take their children, it's still difficult to grasp the desperation of parents who are unable to care for their children. In this case, the parents are dying of AIDS and have NO ONE that will take their children in, even the orphanages are too full.

There are so many thoughts going through my head that I'm sure I'll have to comment on it again, but for now, I'll just recommend it. In spite of the serious topic, it's an easy and enjoyable read! I'm sure you can get it at the library; I got it on Amazon for less than $10.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We signed up to do Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. You pack as much as you can in a shoe box that it taken to a needy child overseas; the cool thing is that they include the message of the Gospel in that child's language. Moriah and Alyssa shopped and packed a box for a girl their age, James and Ben did a boy their age and Tori and Julia packed for a little girl their age. We included toiletries and as much little toys as we could stuff in. The video we watched at church showing the excitement as the boxes were given out made me cry the whole time. The reality of the world overseas is that this is the only gift some of these children will ever receive in their life, so we worked hard to make it as good as we can could.
I feel bad for the volunteer who puts the booklet in our boxes, the lids barely stayed on as it was.
Julia kept choosing items for herself at the Dollar Tree. Over and over, Tori would yell, "Julia, we aren't shopping for you. We are shopping for the poor kids in Africa!" I'm not sure Julia grasps the idea, but she willingly let the items she helped choose go in the box.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hiking the Mountain

Since we had Elijah in tow, we drove most of the way up the mountain on a logger road. (Man, I'm glad as my neck wouldn't have taken the walk.) Here's the middle ground, after we parked but before we climbed.

We stuffed Elijah in the Ergo on JD's back, but he didn't appreciate the confinement, so JD ended up carrying him up the mountain. There is no way I could have done it!

Then he lugged him down the mountain. At the end, Elijah fell asleep.

All weekends must come to an end, but I am all for heading back next year. Maybe Elijah will be big enough to stay with his Aunt Deb and the other kids.
Here's a barn next to the property that was quite picturesque.

And lastly, here's a shot taken by a stranger at a scenic over-look on our way back home.

Good-bye mountains, see you next year.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Last Minute Weekend Away

My sister, Debra, offered to keep the kids for a weekend this fall for JD and I to have a break. We have been wanting to go up in the mountains in the fall for several years, so this was our chance. At the last minute, it worked out for us to go and stay at a cabin that is offered by a retreat center that our church uses. JD and my teenagers have stayed in the lodge several times, but I had never been. We stayed way up in the mountains in a cabin that they own and offer to people for free. Free was easy to work into our new Dave Ramsey budget! Here's a view along the way.

Here's the little cabin tucked up in the mountains. They even loaned us a Suburban to get up and down the mountain. The narrow road next to the cliffs made me slightly nervous!

Here's the bathroom facilities. Although it did have running water and electricity via generator, it did not have flushing toilets. Hey, this toilet was way nicer than several I used in Africa!

Here's a shot of the living room of the cabin. I am currently reading, There Is No Me Without You about the Ethiopian AIDS orphans, and I can barely put it down!

Of course, we took our traveling buddy, Elijah. Here he is in his mountain-man flannel shirt, just like his Dad.

Here Elijah and I are by the pretty stream running through the property.

I showed Elijah how to throw rocks in the stream. He was pretty impressed with the splash they made.

Tomorrow I'll show some hiking the mountain photos. JD ended up carrying Elijah as he decided that he no longer likes the Ergo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tori Bug

Tori definitely had my attention when she walked in the office and said, "Don't worry, Mom, it's washable." Then she popped her little hand up to show me her finger puppets. She's a smart and creative little girl.

We have a tradition called sunday soda; the kids each get a canned soda on Sunday with their lunch. Other than that, they only have it for special occasions. Last Sunday I was whipping up lunch and Tori chose her soda. I told her that she could put it in the fridge and let it get cold while she waited for her lunch. She told me, "that's ok, I'm going to drink it the perfectly way God made it - warm."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Elijah's New Passion

Elijah is thrilled with steering-wheels; we call them drive-drives. Now his passion has expanded to the tractor and 4-wheeler. Here he is helping his Daddy mow. He rides and rides until he falls asleep.

Sunday, I spent a few hours slowly laying grass-seed with the spreader on the 4-wheeler. Of course, it went a lot more quickly and smoothly with Julia AND Elijah's help. It's less exciting than mowing, but it sure kept two little people happy.

Elijah may need a steering wheel for entertainment, but the other kids only need a seat. This is the back-seat of the van sitting in the driveway doubling as a roller coaster. Our old TV died, so JD and the kids are off buying a new one off of Craig's list.

crazy kids....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Small Town Compassion?

I thought one of the advantages of living in a small community is that people know and care. I never told the entertaining story of when Gabriel ran out of gas recently, but four people we knew stopped to offer him assistance in the 20 minutes it took for me to get there. That's one of the occasions that I've thought, "how nice to live in this community." Well, not so this weekend! My story starts on Friday. Friday afternoon I had a Dr. appointment for Alyssa who I knew had an ear infection. Thursday night, Elijah started coughing and by Friday, he was pretty sick. I called the Dr. on noon Friday to ask for him to be seen as well when I brought Alyssa in. The office lady told me they didn't have any spots for him. I explained that Alyssa was only getting her ears looked at and could they just share her spot. She told me no, but I took my sick baby along thinking that the Dr. I've seen for a few years would have some compassion. See, where we live, everything closes on the weekend, so if you have a sick baby on Friday you get kind of panicky. When I arrived, I explained my situation for the physician assistant (the actual doctor wasn't there) and she told me that they didn't have time to listen to his chest since she wouldn't have time to file my insurance. Now, here's the situation. I am probably their highest paying customer as I have nine children and am there pretty much weekly. I wasn't asking for them to listen to him for free, as I fully expected to pay for two children' s visit. I honestly think that if her only hindrance to helping my baby, who at this point was having breathing issues, was filing insurance, than she could have just listened to him for 30 seconds for free! Really, it could have been her good deed of the week or something. So, I left the office in less than 15 minutes from arrival, through a completely empty waiting room, with a sick baby that they didn't have time for!

Needless to say, we had a rough, rough night and JD and I took Elijah to Urgent Care first thing the next morning. The doctor there put him on steroids, breathing treatments and an antibiotic! Now, our neighborhood pharmacy closes on Saturdays at 1:00. I raced straight there and got in at 12:50. I asked the girl behind the counter if they would please fill the prescriptions before they close. She said, "but that's only 10 minutes." I explained that I wasn't trying to wait until the last minute, but I had come straight from Urgent Care and I had a baby with breathing issues. She looked at me, a well-known customer of 5-7 years, and said, "No, sorry...."

So, after driving to the next "town," I am moving my pharmacy business to CVS in the city. Our neighborhood pharmacy has a reputation for bad customer service but that was the final straw. I'm going to write a letter to them explaining why I'm moving my business elsewhere. As for the doctor? I have been really happy with her, so I'm going to write her a letter explaining the situation with the physician assistant and hope that she would have been more accommodating if my appointment had been with her!

The good side is that CVS will give me bonus bucks on all our prescriptions! I can probably get the kids free flip-flops by next summer with all the money I'll be making! Our friendly neighborhood pharmacy has never even given me a medicine syringe. Several times, I've paid $1.99 for a syringe, but yesterday I watched in disbelief as the cashier pulled a free one out for her "friend" picking up a prescription. Oh, CVS is looking like the promised land!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This One's For You, Maria

I have a friend, you may have guessed named Maria, who has a husband who apparently thinks that their house is the only one that the kids trash faster than the Mom can clean during the school day. In my case, I have 10 children here during the day, I'm teaching a minimum of five children a host of subjects while I deal with three additional children under three. So it shouldn't be too surprising that I don't spend much time on pick up until school is finished. I told her that it was so bad here yesterday that I moved outside to finish school so that I could think about Dwight Moody rather than picking up (or screaming!) So, here's the kitchen island that was clear that morning.

And here's the school floor.

As often the problem, I don't feel the pictures actually portray the actual mess; trust me it was bad!

Things were much better outside, nice weather and a new focus. Our biggest problem is that Elijah loves to climb the steps and we have to keep breaking to carry him back down.

Doesn't Moriah look thrilled with our lesson? Actually, her look is due to Slurpee's backside continually in close range of her face.

I have hope that in a few more weeks my boys will remember what continent, country and state we live in. It's no reflection of My Father's World, it has far more to do with their lack of focus! And the really good news is that it's Friday!