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, May 31, 2011

School and Summer

So, soccer season officially ends tomorrow and swim team starts today. Although it was pretty traumatic, we have officially moved swim teams after swimming for something like eight years for the base team. Although this new team is in a much lower division, it is much closer to our house, which also makes a big difference in my gas-guzzling van budget, and they will allow Tori and Julia to swim. There's also the big bonus of them allowing Elijah to play in the toddler pool while the big kids swim. So, the comparison of sitting in the heat with three little kids every day that are expected to watch the pool for three hours and never get wet OR all three getting to swim - the new swim team won out.

It's going to be quite interesting with Julia! I'll get a few pictures today and we'll see how it goes! She's very excited but that could change in a nano-second!

Oh, yeah, I entitled this post School and Summer because the reality at our house this year is that school is going to be in session most of the summer. I'm hoping for maybe a break in August, when we are going on vacation anyway. Somehow, I feel the most sorry for myself in the school department; I need a break too far worse than they do!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Back and Forth - All Because of a Blog

In less than five hours, Alei will board a plane. She is heading to Durango for the second time, but this time she is then going from Durango to Albuquerque to Dallas to New York to Brussels and finally to Uganda, in eastern Africa. Where this trip originated is the same place that sent Gabriel to Durango for the last year, it's all from a blog.

We got to know Linny, the blog writer, and her husband who happens to be the senior pastor. I'm very excited for Alei to get to minister along side them in Africa. I will also be linking to her blog anytime there's an update about the team in Uganda.

Our Elijah also enjoyed playing with their Elijah, whom he lovingly called "brown Elijah."

Happy Memorial Day to those who had time to focus on more than packing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Sights of Durango

We enjoyed the sights of Durango. The mountains and running water are absolutely beautiful.


We walked along the river walk and enjoyed the rushing water. Elijah really enjoyed "skipping" rocks.

There are roaming mule deer that are much larger and much tamer than the deer we have in Virginia.

We even met the troll that lives under the bridge, (you know the one that doesn't let the goats cross to the other side?)

It's possible that the troll may be deleted off this blog, due to the fact that he may not appreciate his debut.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Internship Graduation

 I'm still blogging from Colorado after not being able to leave yesterday. We boarded the late plane and sat on the run-way due to storms in Denver. After an hour, they went back to the terminal to refuel. While we sat there, we were told that we could turn our cell phones back on as the wait was looking to be lengthy. When I turned my phone on, there was a message from the airline that Elijah's ticket from Denver to D.C. was cancelled. An airline representative boarded the plane and eventually confirmed that the entire flight had been cancelled. They told us that they may have been able to get us to Denver, but there was no way that we were getting home, so we got off the plane after a few hours,retrieved our luggage and called Gabriel. We had a wonderful, wonderful evening with friends, but my sister had to go back to work today and I have some child-care issues to resolve at home. My poor little Julia has done pretty well, but we really need to get home to the kids today!

Here's a few shots of Gabriel's graduation from Escape Average.

They were each given a few minutes to speak.

And were prayed over -

Gabriel definitely made some life long friends with the other interns.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Little Brother Surprise

I have to leave for the airport in just an hour, so I don't have time to begin to tell the wonderful events of our weekend in Durango. I do, however, have a few minutes to show the reason we came. While we obviously came for Gabriel's graduation from Escape Average, we also wanted the opportunity to meet the people that have invested in Gabriel this last year and see the sights that have been Gabriel's home for the time he's been here. We also brought Elijah as a surprise for Gabriel. Although they are over 16 years apart, they have a special bond. Elijah has fiercely missed his big brother these last several months, so it was a wonderful time for them. (I did ruin the surprise by texting Gabriel a picture of Elijah at the airport that was intended for JD, but it was a surprise until the last day.)

Here's a few pictures of my oldest and youngest sons - (Elijah didn't like the sun in his eyes for this picture, but look at those mountains!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nature Can Be Harsh

The kids and I ordered one of those caterpillar to butterfly kits. About three days ago, the butterflies actually emerged from their cocoons and we have been waiting for the heavy rains to cease to release the butterflies. First thing this morning, before the girls even got dressed, we headed out with our three butterflies.

We took the first one out of the "cage" and set him on a flower. He sat there a little bit and then started flying. While the kids were cheering and we were all watching him fly above the patio, a bird swooped down and scooped him right into her mouth. We watched in horror as our just released butterfly was eaten for breakfast.

I looked at the kid's faces and their mouths were hanging open. Ben said, "well, that was terrible." Then Tori started snickering; a few minutes later, we were all laughing. I'm still not sure why, but the irony of the situation struck me as entertaining.

The other two butterflies were smart enough to remain on the flowers, at least until we went in for breakfast.

I leave for Colorado tomorrow morning, but hopefully I can post an update from there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last Zoo Pictures

 Here are some things you may not know about camels:

Camels slobber a lot, which is why the giraffes were my favorite. (James was the first to discover this interesting fact.)

Camels seem to know a soul-mate when they see one. Aunt Deb has spent a good bit of time in the middle east and the camels seemed to sense she had something in common with them. (Elijah was working to avoid the slobber that James experienced.)

Camels seem to appreciate good rhythm, as evidenced by their fondness of Julia's dancing.

  Lastly, camels, like most of the animals, appreciate a good snack.

Speaking of snacks, Julia helped herself to Aunt Deb's baby carrot bag in her purse and was sharing them with the deer. At lunch time, we just kind of stared at the bag of carrots and pictured Julia's hands in the bag and feeding the deer - the carrots kind of lost their appeal! 

No, we weren't allowed to feed the animals anything other the approved food and yes, I stopped her once I realized what she was doing. (Although I obviously snapped the picture first - I wouldn't have if she had been feeding them Aunt Deb's Tic-Tacs.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lots of Birds

 So, while the big girls flew over-head -

 I paid the $1 for the kids to get a peanut-butter stick dipped in bird-seed to feed the parakeets in birdy land. I have to say that it was well spent money; they had a blast. The birds fly right to the sticks. Look at Julia's expression at first -

The shock turned to joy, however.

It's hard to see Tori's smile, but it was big.

We stayed so long the big girls returned.

Ben got the bird master prize. He loved it! He collected discarded sticks thrown on the ground once his was gone and just going. At one point, he had four or five birds on his hand.

When we finally moved on to the camels next to the bird area, Ben still stayed.

I'm afraid I still have to show a few camel pictures before I can conclude the zoo blog-a-rama.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Giraffes at the Zoo

We really enjoyed a beautiful day at the zoo! It's the first time we have been to the Richmond Metro Zoo and we enjoyed it far more than most zoos because there were so many animals that we were allowed to feed and pet.

The giraffes took the prize; they are so huge and yet so gentle. I think I'd get one if it were legal. Check out their long tongues!

While a few (or most) of my kids only fed the giraffes from cups, because they didn't appreciate the slobber, Elijah and I threw caution to the wind and really enjoyed the experience.

This giraffe really liked the social interaction (or the salt on Elijah's hands) and felt the need to give him a little kiss on the neck. Thankfully, Aunt Deb had the camera ready!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Rest

It's been a very busy weekend; we are all worn out!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'm running behind in the blog world, but that's the reality of busyness. The best news is that Alei got her driver's license just in time to help me drive children back and forth to soccer (and herself to work) while JD is out of town all next week. In fact, she took Moriah to her soccer game this morning while I fed the dad and boy campers that spent last night here for Ben's birthday camp-out.

There was rain in the forecast, but thankfully it held off until this morning so we could hang out around the camp-fire last night. We bought our tent about five years ago and this was the first time we've ever used it!

It's a three tent in one deal, but I still think it would be a tight squeeze for our entire family.

 Another excitement is that JD finished the 5th raised garden bed. Can you see those lined up out there? I need to plant a few more things, but the other beds are growing nicely so far.

JD and the boys cleaned out the hen house and used it in the new garden beds. So yesterday, we spread new pine mulch for the chickens; it actually smells clean and fresh in there! The baby chickens are still in the baby hutch, but soon they will move to one side of the coop in time for new babies to hatch that are in the incubator. I also have some Guinea eggs in the incubator that I'm hoping will hatch.

We have a graduation and birthday party today after one more soccer game. Then JD leaves tomorrow morning while the kids and I do a donut sale between church services as a fund-raiser for Alei.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kids Versus Mom

Here's shoe shelves by kids -

And shoe shelves by Mom -


Here's coat closet by kids -

And coat closet by Mom -

Who wins?