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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Adventure with A Boy

I seem to have a lot of "adventures" (to put it kindly) with James and Ben that leave me shaking my head. I quietly often think, "I'm sure I'll laugh about this one day." Generally I'm not laughing at the moment, which is exactly why I blog about them - so I can remember to laugh one day!

This morning, the kids were out in the down-pour to do their chores; that's the rough part about farm animals, they require feeding no matter how bad the weather is. So, all the kids that needed to go out put on rain boots and a rain coat, except for James who headed out without either, then came back in to complain in the middle of his chores that he was wet. But that's not the adventure...

I happened to be at the front door, trying to talk Elijah into wearing his rain-boots instead of the black church shoes he was determined to wear out the door. (Guess who won? Some things aren't worth the fight and the shoes are almost dry on the edge of the bathtub!) Anyway, Elijah and I were at the door when Ben discovered a box turtle sitting in the drive-way. Everyone admired him for a minute, then I pointed to the area of trees near the drive-way and told them to put him there and finish their chores. So, about an hour later, Alyssa tells me that James took the turtle and put him in a box. I immediately call James who admits that he didn't want to let the turtle carry on a humane life, so he stuck him in a box and was planning on coming back to give him food, blah, blah, blah, but he forgot. Of course, I commenced with lecture #2,002 titled, "What Did I Tell You To Do AND What Did You Do." James is very familiar with the content of this lecture, so for the life of me, I can't figure out why he still requires it. Anyway, during the lecture, in walks Ben. Ben has this interesting ability of "handling" things without calling for assistance that would have the average child screaming for back-up. So, Ben calmly explains that the box that James decided to stow the turtle in was actually the treasure box from his birthday party and in that box were little, green army men. For some crazy reason, the turtle decided to eat one of the army men and had it lodged in it's little mouth. Ben was down-stairs, (that's right, until this part of the story I actually assumed that James kept the turtle box outside, but NO, it was in his room) so, Ben was trying to pry the turtle's mouth open to remove the army man. When he couldn't hold his grip on the army man, he used his teeth to pull it out of the turtle's mouth. Can anyone say SALMONELLA? So, mind you, Ben never called for any help, but he saved the turtle! The army man was in two pieces, and I'm not sure who's teeth did that, but the turtle was alive and well upon release.

So, one more day of raising boys!

Since I didn't think to take a picture of James and his turtle during my lecture, I'll post this one of Elijah doing Spanish with Moriah. He and Julia both enjoy doing French and Spanish with the girls, which I find amusing. And, just for clarification - yes, our office is generally this messy.

Tomorrow I am going on a women's retreat for the weekend; it's the first time I've left Elijah over night, but I have no dount that he'll be just fine.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Here's some snap shots from yesterday and today.

The slobber patrol - Lincoln and Toby (as in Abraham Lincoln and Toby Mac if you were wondering; the perfect combination I think.)

Charlie (who's just Charlie if you ask me) with Julia and her friend, Rebecca.

At lunch I got out supplies to make mass grilled cheese sandwiches. I turned around to Elijah helping himself to a bite of cheese.

After lunch, Elijah wanted to play "Baby Li-li." The game consists of his sisters wrapping him in a blanket and carrying him around like a new-born. He generally likes to have a pacifier, but today it was missing. He plays nap in his crib and we all make a fuss about the "new baby." (We used to have a pink pacifier and he would specify playing baby boy or baby girl, but it's been missing even longer than the blue one.)

On Wednesdays, I make four trips to homeschool co-op classes; each trip is only about 10 minutes round trip thankfully. The last one, I sent James out with a bag of garbage and came home to Tori wearing this while she waited for him in the drizzle. Makes perfect sense to detach the hat to keep her head dry, but then tuck her arms in her shirt to keep warm.
Crazy kids.

It finally seems to be turning cooler; I'm actually going to dig some jeans out for Julia and Elijah to wear to church tonight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Healing Begins

If you haven't heard the song "Healing Begins" by Tenth Avenue North, you can play it on the playlist at the bottom of my blog. Read these lyrics though -

So you thought you had to keep this up

All the work that you do

So we think that you're good

And we can't believe it's not enough

All the walls you've built up

Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down

There's freedom waiting in the sound

When you let your walls fall to the ground

We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh

This is where the healing starts

When you come to where you're broken within

The light meets the dark

The light meets the dark


Afraid to let your secrets out

Everything that you hide

Can come crashing through the door now

But too scared to face all your fear

So you hide but you find

That the shame won't disappear


Sparks will fly as grace collides

With the dark inside of us

So please don't fight

This coming light

Let this blood come cover us

His blood can cover us


Isn't this remarkably true about human nature? We juggle our lives, try to keep up with the Jones and appear we have it all together. The healing begins when we are broken and don't attempt to hide our imperfections.

James' Birthday

With James turning 10, our middle crew of kids are 9, 10, 11 and 12; this phenomenon only occurs one month each year. James joined our family at the age of 2 1/2; we became foster parents in 2002 and waited a full year before we were placed with James. We patiently waited for a boy, since Gabriel had frequent bouts of pity that he had three sisters and no brothers. It's funny looking back, but Gabriel never wanted to take family pictures because he was so out-numbered by girls. I think God used his desire to have a brother to push us in the direction that He wanted us to go. The only thing we knew about James before he arrived at our house was that he was two and needed a forever family. The days between the call and his arrival were full of "I wonders," we didn't even know if he was black, white or Hispanic!

James' story is one of excelling against all odds. The one thing I will share is that he had severe lead poisoning. At one point the doctor claimed he may never be able to run or climb ladders; that certainly has not been the case!

It has been several years since James had a party with friends at his house, so it was a great time for him. James is always grateful and thankful for what he receives, which is a character trait I love.

It was cool that Costco had a soccer cake, which matched the plates, cups and napkins that I bought, but forgot to get out. That's one of the good things about boys; they can have a great time with a patch of grass, a ball and each other!

Happy double digit birthday, James. We are blessed with you in our lives.

I think it's fitting that James came with the name James -

James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brthday Soccer

James got to celebrate his 10th birthday yesterday by playing soccer in the 97 degree heat - what's up with that on September 25th? Thankfully, we had some cooler weather today for his party. When we first arrived at the game, Elijah wanted to go see his "friends." Tori and Julia accompanied him to say hello to the two little boys that have become his soccer friends.

It's a good thing that James is loving soccer so much; I may have considered running for an hour in that heat as torture rather than fun! (James is in the blue.)

We are still amazed at how good James is for his first time playing. It's the only time we've ever seen him hustle or be aggressive!

One perk of having boys the same age is that they can play on the same team! It cuts back on driving to practices and sitting at as many games.
At first Elijah was yelling "go blue" from the side-lines. Once he noticed the other team was orange, he yelled, "go blue, go orange;" then he added "go Mike," (since the lady in front of us kept yelling that as well.) By the end it was, "go blue, go orange, go Mike, go Ben, go James."

Tori and Julia always want to go to the games, but they generally complain most of the time. It was legitimate yesterday, as I was pretty hot and miserable as well. As Julia whined on the soccer blanket next to me, I turned around to see Tori - at least she was suffering quietly!

I'll post more traditional birthday photos tomorrow.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picture Catch Up

My new computer has a few glitches which have prevented me from down-loading pictures. Actually, this morning, it wouldn't even turn on for me. Maybe JD will have time to work them out this weekend; I don't know - he's cleaning carpets now. It's amazing that we've lived here long enough that the carpets really need cleaning, but we haven't finished building yet - some day...
We have had a very productive week of school; of course, school is basically all I've done. Tomorrow is James' birthday and Sunday we are hosting a party for him, so I need to switch gears a bit.
While we were working on school, Elijah branched into the art of toe-nail painting with markers. Nice choice of color for a two year old boy, I'd say.

He really considered adding a splash of red to his pigs, but I talked him out of it.

Yesterday, I decided to take a quiet trip to the grocery store with only the big girls. Elijah and Julia were left at home, heartbroken, with their Dad at nap time. Here's the pictures he took of them while I was gone. I'm not sure why Julia was under the time-out bench when she fell asleep , I assume she was moping about being left at home.

Elijah picked a more comfortable place to sleep -

until he semi-fell off the couch -

I love summer, but I'm ready to turn the air-conditioner off! These 95 degree days are getting kind of old for "fall."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blog Update

My blog has been neglected this week, as has been my laundry and other home essentials. You know it's bad when Tori whips open her drawer and it's completely empty. I have been working the last few years of having less clothes per child, but that only works if you actually do laundry. To be honest, I actually have done laundry, but none of it has been folded and put away; so a quick dig in the laundry room at least produced a pair of shorts. JD had the crazy idea the other day that we might actually fold the clothes when they came out of the dryer, but that would only work if I enrolled the kids in school - so we are on year 14 of homeschooling and wearing horribly wrinkled clothes. JD presses his own work clothes every morning; I pressed a shirt for him once about 17 years ago and when he saw it, he said, "I thought you were going to press this?" He hasn't asked me to handle the ironing since then. I do, however, cook and complete other traditional home-maker chores, so he doesn't complain.

One of the events of the week is that JD is upgrading a few of the computers. I am not able to upload the pictures that I wanted to accompany this post, however, since I can not find the camera cable. So, I'll give a book update and post my pictures later.

I just finished Red Letters, Living a Faith that Bleeds by Tom Davis and I just started Fields of the Fatherless by the same author. I am excited about reading these since he is one of the speakers that is going to be at the Orphan Summit in November. Here's a very basic idea...To my knowledge, the only thing that the Bible calls true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. Over and over the Bible describes that when we care for the least of these, we are actually doing it to Jesus. Jesus also says that when we care for the least of these, we are his hands and feet. So it's a win, win when we care for orphans; we are representing Jesus and serving Him at the same time. I certainly don't see this combination anywhere else in Scripture. So, how do we grasp that caring for the orphan is not an optional ministry, nor is it something that we need to be "called" to do? It appears to me that if we are Christians, it should be our primary focus.

I'm going to search for some statistics, but I'm sure that in America, we generally spend more on pet food than feeding the orphans and more on video games for our own children than clothing or educating orphans. This just should not be! More on this later...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Four Things I've Learned This Morning

I learn a lot from my kids, today is no exception. This morning I learned that Barbies like to watch TV; apparently The Chipmunk Movie is a favorite. I know this because while everyone was outside doing chores, I found this Barbie family sitting in front of the TV in my room. (They are supposed to live down in the play-room.)

I also learned that you can skate-board in Barbie convertibles. They are the perfect size if you are two. (I just realized how the Barbies made it upstairs!)

My third lesson of the morning is that if you are hoping for a tractor ride, the perfect combination is na-na (which means no shirt,) Tori's cool brown boots that are four sizes too big and green gardening gloves. Elijah was pretty worked up about wearing his boots or any other gloves - it had to be the brown boots and green gloves if you want to ride the blue tractor!

A side note on the na-na is that he really doesn't ever want to wear a shirt these days. He goes for it if I tell him that he can't go by-bye without one, but other than that, na-na is the way! I do insist that he wear a jammie shirt to bed, since I think he'd get cold, but that usually involves some crying!

My fourth and final lesson is that tired Mommas and sick kids are no fun on Monday mornings! I want someone to come take this crew of coughing, sneezing, snot-producers that showed up at my house this weekend and bring back my more pleasant, healthy kids!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Little Surprise

If you've never read Linny's blog, I highly recommend it. As I was reading late last night about a 5K walk/run that her church hosted to help orphans; I was thinking, "what a good idea." Then I stumbled upon a surprise, a picture of my smiling son that I haven't seen in almost a month. Linny's church is the church that runs the internship program that he is in CO for all year. It made me cry to see his smiling face - I don't know why, just because I'm a Mom I guess.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hurricane Reunion

We hosted our first annual hurricane reunion tonight. Back in September of 2004, we got hit by hurricane Isabel. While we didn't suffer real damage, we did have to manage about 8-10 days with no power. While it was all fun and games the first few days, by day five when we were running out of food that made any sense together and were unable to wash any clothes, it got real old. NONE of us had a generator back in those days, so we literally grilled any and all food three times a day. We basically banded together with two other families that we lived right by and grilled... and grilled... and grilled. On day three, we were also throwing away large amounts of food going bad.

JD made eggs almost every morning on the grill, once they were gone, it was on to cereal with no milk for breakfast. We had one dinner where we all brought out our overly-thawed frozen pizzas. Turns out that frozen pizza on the grill is pretty good.

So, now our three families live three different places, but we had one grilled dinner together again. It was even better than frozen pizza!

Here's Alyssa and Elijah with friend, Caleb.

Back at hurricane time, our three families had a total of 11 children; now there's a total of 20 children between us.

One of the families has four children from the same orphanage in Liberia as my three are from. So, in spite of not living through the hurricane, they had their fair share of bonding!

We all had a great time and although it was nice to remember the fun that we had during the hurricane, I don't mind not doing it again - especially now that we have a well and still don't have our whole-house generator hooked up!

Red Letters

Since Tom Davis is one of the speakers at the Orphan Summit I'm going to, I ordered two of his books to read before the November Summit. The first to arrive is, Red Letters, Living a Faith That Bleeds. I had absolutely no idea what the book was about, other than he is obviously concerned for the orphan crisis of today or he probably wouldn't be one of the main speakers. The introduction alone was captivating. Here's an intro. section...

The Christian church owes an apology to the almost fifty million individuals in our world currently infected with HIV/AIDS.

Those of us who claim to follow Christ's teachings should be ashamed for what little we've done to help the countless millions of women, children, and orphans who have died or are dying. Entire nations are going up in flames while we watch them burn.

Bono and the supporters of the ONE Campaign are right to use words like "crises" and "emergency" when talking about the situation in Africa. The continent is on fire with AIDS, and unless drastic action is taken, entire countries will be wiped off the face of the planet by this disease.

Sadly, the church has been slow to act in response to this crises. Like the priest and Levite of Jesus' parable, we have passed by the man on the side of the road, too busy or too "holy" to involve ourselves in lending a helping hand.

Africa is indeed on fire. But as we argue or fuss about how it started and who should be saved first, thousands more children are orphaned each day. Every hour, another one thousand children will die. Did you know that you are just a short plane ride away from a world where eight-year-old girls prostitute themselves for food?

The true state of emergency lies within the church - it lies within us. It's our problem. We can't leave Africa's children lying by the side of the road as we pass on by.


I have no idea what I'm supposed to do for this crises; a perfect excuse is that I'm a homeschooling mom of nine in Virginia. I mean, if I lived in South Africa, I honestly would comb the public toilets looking to rescue the HIV babies that are daily abandoned there. But since we are across the ocean, it's so often out-of-sight-out-of-mind. However, God presents this crises to me, over and over. Actually about twenty times a day, as I look at my sweet Liberians, I think, " it could have been them." And the reality is, I know that those children deserve the love and respect every bit as much as all of ours.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tip of the Day

James came up with our "short cut of the morning" tip of the day......He decided to dip the chicken water buckets into the pool, instead of using the hose. Why? Well, the hose was about five steps farther than the pool. The problem with this plan is that it leaves a bit of chicken poop residue in the pool that James' Dad cleaned out yesterday in preparation for closing it for fall. The other problem is that I really am not sure that chlorine is what my entire flock of baby guineas need to remain healthy and strong. I'm very thankful that Ben took the time to come in and ask if it was appropriate before he joined James!

This is why we say, "If you've never been told an idea is OK, you need to ask before you do it!" Some day, I pray it sinks in!

I could write a series on tips, as James is very skilled at finding valuable short cuts to his everyday chores. You gotta laugh (or I might cry!)

(I have a follow-up to the story.....Apparently, chlorine doesn't kill chickens, because Tori told me that James often uses the pool instead of the hose! Good to know...)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hair Day - Take 200

Hair day rolls around pretty fast. My week has been quite demanding, but I really couldn't put it off any longer. We started taking out both girls' corn-rows last night, but Julia whined and cried until we put her to bed. We did finish taking Tori's out around 10 p.m.

Today everyone was involved. We had to take shifts taking Julia's corn-rows out. Then they both had to be washed and brushed. Then Moriah did zulu knots on Tori while I did twists on Julia. It was Moriah's first time even parting, and she did a really good job.

I put Tori and James to work organizing the mounds of messy barrettes and beads. (We can call that Tori's K math right? Sorting? )

Here's Julia during the hair process; she whined or cried the majority of the time. In fact, if anyone out there is praying for an opportunity to expand their patience, you can take over Julia hair time at my house. About every fourth round, she is cooperative; the other three, she wails, "I hate doing my hair; it hurts, it hurts," - you get the idea.

I do feel bad for her, she has a ton of really beautiful curls, but it takes a lot to keep it all tame.

Now, here's Julia after hair time is over. She also got to "go to chicken," which is her favorite treat of the moment!
Little Elijah was such a good boy during the whole hair ordeal; he just fell asleep next to me towards the end.

On top of hair today, I took Elijah for his two year old well check, took Moriah to Civics class, took Alyssa to violin lessons and took all the kids to church tonight. I'm planning on blogging about bigger things than hair tomorrow, but tonight I'm too tired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why We Only Have Washable Markers!

Here are two reasons that the only markers accessible in our home are washable: Julia did this masterpiece two days ago on her bed -
Then, the next day, she spiffied up the doll-house and the carpet that unfortunately was around the house.

What I didn't get a picture of was her legs, they were streaked with the same marker.

Her reply? Well, (with hands on her hips) I can clean it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tori's New Bike

If you read yesterday's post, you know Tori was in need of a new bike. Look what she was blessed with today at church, from a friend of Alyssa's. It's even pink and came with a helmet. Things like this are such a blessing to our family!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Want a Quick Trip into my Mind?

OK, I'm going to do a turbo blog post that is as scattered as my mind. Generally, there are a few "big" things I'm trying to mentally work on, and there are a million petty distractions that keep popping in. Here goes....we just returned from James and Ben's first soccer game of the season. Ben played last year, but this is James' first season. I was absolutely shocked how well James played! Normally, he moves around like the pokey little puppy and doesn't have a competitive bone in his body, so I was pleasantly shocked how well he did. He actually set up a goal and almost made another one! Ben played great too, but that wasn't surprising.

After the game, I hauled my three boys (now that Gabriel is gone, I only have three to haul) and Moriah to the Christian bookstore and Costco. Something about that Christian bookstore - Elijah dirties his diaper every time I'm in there! We always leave with a horrible smell trailing us. Today, he took up telling adults to "move" and flinging his arm at them; it wasn't cute and totally out of character for him.

When we were at Costco, Elijah looked at a brown (I like the terms peach and brown) man at the check-out and said, "Hi Ben." I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing; then Ben (the real one, not the man) did too. Elijah just looked at us like he had no idea what was funny about it. I'm sure the man was confused as well.

Which brings me to Elijah's Baby Einstein video, they show a bunch of babies of all nationalities. Elijah told me, "I like babies - I like brown babies." One of the girls asked him, "do you like the white babies, too." He said, "no, I like the brown ones." I'm taking this as my sign that we should adopt from Africa again, what do you think? (I'm just kidding, well, at least about the sign part.)

On that note, Julia asked me yesterday who was going to drive to the homeschool picnic. I told her that I was. She seriously looked at me and said, "you know how to drive?" I just wonder who she thinks has been hauling her all over the planet the last three years of her life. She is always entertaining!

Here's what Tori brought in to me the other day....

I bought this boys bike at a yard sale way back for Alyssa. It went through Alyssa, James, Ben and Tori; I think I got my $10 worth. The cool thing is that a friend of Alyssa's just offered us a hand-me-down girls bike for her. Tori was happy, but asked me, "what's a girl's bike?" My answer was, "it's probably pink, like Elijah's!" This boy/girl color code thing is not for big families!

Alei got cortisone shots in her back a few days ago. She is still in pain, but I really pray that they dry up the fluid pockets on her spine and this is a one time deal! Another side effect is euphoria or depression, thankfully, she definitely got the euphoria. She laughed at everything yesterday. The kids would walk by and do anything, and she would burst out laughing. It was actually quite entertaining.

Gabriel is doing well, but he and Alei have both told me that CO appears to be the pot capital of the country. The stories are remarkable, as far as it being readily available if a doctor recommends it! Gabriel said at Summit last year, the cops confiscated some on the street and they saw them later down at the bridge smoking it themselves. It sure isn't that way in Virginia; is it something about the high altitude or something?

Well, that covers enough of the kids for today; I need to go prep the boy's bathroom for painting. The walls are so gross, you'd think it was a public bathroom at a ball stadium or something. I'm continually amazed at how hard on things the boys are! I also need to clean up, make some dinner, fold some laundry, figure out what to do with the girl's hair, figure out if the water park is open tomorrow...you get the idea.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Last Three Days

Today we went on a home school picnic; the kids had a blast. After it was over, we ran some errands and Elijah fell asleep on the way home. However, the three days before today, he fell asleep watching his beloved Baby Einstein videos. I know... I know....TV for a baby, but it's nice when lunch is over and he's tired. He used to watch it until I came and rocked him to sleep, but the last three days he hasn't made it that long.

Tuesday -

Wednesday - (I did not stage the DVD box.)

and Thursday - like the gloves and boots for sleeping?

He is such a little treasure.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit

I am so, so excited about this -

Join Us for the Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit

Some of the speakers are Russell Moore (the book Adopted for Life) and Tom Davis (Fields of the Fatherless.) There are also "breakout" seminars that are on the exact topic that I've been searching for information on for the last few years.

To me, it's like Christmas and Disney World rolled into one!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

We had a nice, quiet Labor Day with Aunt Deb here. She normally spends the night anytime she comes, but was unable to this time because she is house-sitting for a family almost an hour away. There was some talk at dinner about her rounding up the baby chickens and locking them in the chicken coop among other animal tasks that she is doing for this family. When Julia realized she was actually leaving, she started crying, "Why does Aunt Deb have to spend the night in a chicken coop instead of here?" I explained, but again this morning Julia started crying that, "she wished Aunt Deb had spent the night at our house instead of the chicken coop." It's tough not seeing the big picture!

I didn't take any Labor Day pictures other than work photos. Here's Elijah's shoe choice for helping Daddy mow the grass.

It's almost time to throw down more grass seed, which will be nice since the bare patches stir up a lot of dirt!

Here's Elijah showing me how dirty his hands are after helping Daddy.

Lastly, he finally likes the sandbox (and I talked him into taking off the socks.)

He fills the dump truck over and over, then dumps it out.

Or he throws it at his Mom taking a picture of him!

Hope you had a happy Labor Day. We started home school co-op classes today as well as resumed our regular school.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Big Kids - Colorado

I am just thrilled to announce that Gabriel and Alei spent their first day in Colorado yesterday. I truly am just so happy - it's not that I didn't think they would actually make it there, it's more that I have truly seen God's plan for Gabriel's year unfold and although it seemed too difficult at times - he is there. As a very basic overview, Gabriel was set on joining the Marines. I am very pro-military, but I did not feel that it was the right thing for him to do. I prayed and tried to arrive there, but I couldn't and didn't. There were times that I was very discouraged and Gabriel was very frustrated because I wasn't supporting what he wanted to do. The very weekend before he considered signing, I prayed for a clear sign if there was another direction Gabriel should go.

That very evening, in my inbox came a blog from a pastor's wife in Colorado that I always read. She wrote about this program, Escape Average Leadership Intensive, which is a leadership internship for kids the year after high-school and before "real" college. I read it and thought, "OK, God, this is all that is presenting itself." I pulled JD in to the office and we talked about it. He was fully supportive, but told me that he didn't think Gabriel would even consider it. When we presented the idea to Gabriel, he walked away saying that he would think and pray about it. We were both pleasantly surprised.

Gabriel had a few rough weeks, as he kind of lived frustrated that he had several options (I kept also pointing out the community college nearby,) and didn't know which way to proceed. After a somewhat frustrating, but humorous conversation, that began by JD reminding him that he really needed to be seeking God about His will for his life, he blurted out that "of course, God wants him to go to the leadership program, so he'll go."

After the decision, there were still definite hurdles - mostly financial. We told him that we would pay for the program, but he still needed to be responsible for 1/2 his monthly car insurance bill, all his car repairs, his gas and spending money. The tough part is that he isn't allowed to work at all during the nine month program, so he had to save up enough for driving across the country twice and the nine months in between. Due to the fact that Gabriel isn't a saver by heart, we had several conversations about his spending and how he wasn't saving enough... At one point, Gabriel really threw himself into it and stopped spending and started picking up extra hours. There were a few months of him working up to 12 hour days, six days a week and spending next to nothing. Right before he left, he had an unexpected $700 car repair and he had more than enough to pay it and still have his monthly living expenses covered for the year.

So, him being there is just a big sigh of relief. The family that he and Alei are currently staying with also seem to be a huge answer to prayer! It feels so good to know that at the end of the struggles and sometimes conflict, Gabriel is right where God wants him. We are excited to see what God does with Gabriel and through Gabriel this year.

Here's a look at the serious side of my son -

On a separate note, Gabriel attempted to do delayed entry for the intelligence program of the Navy days before he left, but due to the time of the month, they were unable to slot him into that either. So, we all feel that God wanted the doors left open or him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

School Supplies Stock Up

My name is Jenny and I may have a little bit of a back-to-school-supplies-bargain-shopping issue. You know how all the stores feature notebooks for 9 cents and glue stick packages for a quarter? I can hardly stand to walk by those kind of deals and not "stock up!"

I know what started this..........a few years back we ran out of spiral notebooks. Over and over, I paid $1.99 for new notebooks and all the while I kept thinking, "I know these things were like 10 cents at the beginning of the school year." I would almost rather chop down my own tree and make my own paper than pay 20 times more for something than I could of! From then on, I've made sure to have enough at the beginning of the year to see the year through. Then before we moved into this house, I had stuff stored in different areas; I even had a diaper box of spiral notebooks in the barn with mice nesting in them. (Of course, I didn't know mice had taken residence in them until I went out there and pulled a notebook out and a mouse came flying out with it. My mice issues could be a weekly post theme.....) Anyway, I didn't really know what I had, or where it was, so I kept buying more in fear that I didn't have enough to get through the school year. Well, this year, I have enough! I may have enough for a few years and some to donate to charity! On a humorous note, my cousin flew out to help me unpack my house in the two weeks between move-in and Elijah's birth. When she found my glue stick supply, she exclaimed, "My word, Jenny, is it even legal to own this much glue?" I haven't bought any since then and as you can see, I still have a few packages left.

The best part is that it's organized (and mouse free) in the basement this year!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I think I have figured out why Julia never plays with her play kitchen - it's because I let her make big messes in the kitchen and they have proven to be more fun. She played at least an hour with her play dishes, water and the popcorn kernels that she dug out of the bottom of the bowl. I still stand by the idea that I would rather clean up a five minute mess than listen to an hour of whining.

I haven't blogged about miss Julia for a while. After having her tested at the Attachment Center in Charlottesville, they wanted her treated by attachment therapists even though she technically didn't have an attachment disorder. It has been a frustrating process to even get them to explain what they think she needs help for. On top of that, they won't release their information to me, but only to a certified therapist that works with them. To compound the matter, none of the select therapists will bill my insurance. I really feel that I was led to believe that once we moved passed testing into therapy, my insurance could be billed, but technically it can't because the therapy is providing training for us instead of directly treating her. I kindly explained that $10,000 cash was out of the question when I have two insurance providers. I furthermore kindly explained that each and every month we are still paying a hefty adoption loan and I adopted these children with the knowledge that although there may be issues, we had solid insurance that could cover those bills. I got no sympathy, not that I need sympathy, but I do need them to be willing to provide the testing information to a therapist that is willing to bill insurance.

The amazing thing is that just being told that she doesn't have an attachment disorder has freed me to discipline her as "a normal child" and that has provided some favorable results. On top of that, she seems to be out-growing the clingy, clingy thing she used to do for hours a day. So, all in all, unless something works for therapy that is soon and reasonable, we may really not need it!


We are enjoying the beautiful weekend. We had a local family over yesterday during the day and a stop by our nephew and his girlfriend last night on the way to the beach. Tomorrow we are going to hit the water park after church one more time - the weather is getting cooler!

My big kids are on their final day of driving, but it's a long day. They spent the night in Oklahoma City last night and are driving 11 1/2 hours to Durango, CO today; they have passed through a total of four states today. They have really enjoyed their time on the road together and are anxiously awaiting to see the city that Gabriel will call home for the next year. Elijah keeps saying that Brother and Lee-Lee (Alei) should "come home red car;" poor little guy doesn't understand!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lunch Time

Feeding my crew is generally not simple, and it's never tidy. It does seem, however, that we've fallen into a routine that works pretty well. We work on school, until everyone is complaining that they are hungry. The kids then clear the table while I make lunch. After we eat, the kids clean the school room and kitchen floor while I load the dishes. Then we make the mess all over again. (Julia did not want to take off her new purple nightgown today, it wasn't worth the fight.)
Left-overs are the coveted lunch at our house. When the left-overs run out, it's sandwiches. Today we had leftover hamburgers, enchiladas and spinach quiche along with peaches, cantaloupe and applesauce. It was better picks than usual!

What else makes lunch time clean up fun is Elijah, who rides laps around the kitchen island on his little trike. Fear of having my feet run over keeps me alert!