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, January 29, 2013


 I'm wrapping up our January birthdays by taking cup-cakes to Tori's class tomorrow. We then do not have a birthday until Ben's in March; there are only a few months that we get a birthday break and February is one of them. (Which is good because my budget hasn't recovered from Christmas in time for January birthdays.) 

I knew that having a two year old again was going to be a very short phase. I love two year olds and I was blessed to have one for three months before she turned three. Thankfully, she is still just as cute as before her birthday.

We finally got some information from the adoption agency in Ethiopia about Brooke. Since we had been home three months and still heard nothing, I thought I better check into it. Turns out that our info. was that there is still no info. Seven months after requesting to adopt her, the city court she is in still has not completed a "packet" making her available for adoption. There is nothing our agency can do before she is available for adoption. I feel so bad for her, it's been a long seven months already and her best friend just came to America last week. I hope she believes that it isn't because we aren't doing our part. We will as fast as we are able! As soon as there is a packet, the process should be quick since she has no living relatives and we already have her sister. We are about to run into paperwork that is going to expire, however, and that will be a major pain.

 Adoption isn't for the weak I tell you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Selah's New Smile

 Here's a before shot of Selah's smile -

And here's a picture of the new smile. There is a lot of silver with a big smile, but we really only see the white when she talks. Hopefully, her permanent teeth will all come in pretty and white.

Selah feels great and went to Tori and Julia's first soccer game today. Tori played goalie half the game.

And Julia ran and ran. It was fun to watch them and listen to Selah and Bella yell, "Go, Tori" and "Go Julia".

Friday, January 25, 2013

Post Surgery

Selah is out of surgery and doing well. Her teeth look fabulous from the little peak I could sneak. I'm getting the car and the nurse is bringing her down in a wheel chair with Alyssa.


Alyssa came with me to pass the time at the hospital during Selah's surgery. We left at 6 a.m. on semi-icy roads and they finally wheeled her back to the OR at 10:15. The surgery itself is a full two hours, with a third hour in recovery before I am allowed back. The staff here is wonderful and I met with several doctors before they took her back. Her main entertainment was channel surfing so fast that she couldn't even see the shows on TV. Once they gave her the loopy liquid, that was to relax her in preparation of leaving me and having a mask on, she was pretty outgoing and kept calling "come here" to the staff that walked by. The dental surgeon did not have high hopes of her having enough good teeth in the front to even be able to cap them; she may be toothless for a few years! They also prepared me for her to be one angry bird when I get to go back and see her.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bella's First Birthday (3!) and First Snow

 Thank you, Blogger, for finally fixing the picture down load ability. Yesterday was Bella's 3rd birthday, but definately the first celebrated one. Since Tori's birthday was only three days before, she knew all too well that birthdays are worth getting excited about. So did Selah, who couldn't quite understand why Bella would get a birthday without her. Selah's English is amazing after less than three months home; several times during the day she would say, "Daddy, Selah's birthday tomorrow?" Dad would reply, "it's a little bit" and she would sigh, "Oh, Daddy...tomorrow!" In the end, she got a present too and all was well in the world until Bella opened a present from Geema and she didn't have one from Geema. She's a smart little girl.

We began birthday morning with do-nuts since Bella loves do-nuts!

Since I had to take James and Ben to Richmond in the afternoon, poor Bella had to wait all day for her "cuppy-cakes". I think the wait was a bit tough on her.

She liked everyone singing to her and knew right away that she was supposed to blow out the candles.

For a little girl that can take a full hour to eat a bowl of cereal or piece of bread, she ate TWO cup-cakes and a scoop of ice-cream in record time. She likes her sugar!

 Presents were simple. She loves puzzles and plastic jewelry!

 Today, the girls got to experience their first snow. They both loved it and had a great time.

We really need to clear a sledding path into the woods; the kids are currently flying down the hill dodging trees.

I'm thankful the snow hit today - I was in Richmond the last two days and tomorrow I'm back in Richmond for Selah's dental surgery. She is getting everything in her little mouth capped!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Tori

We are happily celebrating Tori's 8th birthday today. She is going to have a party with Bella next Sunday, but we are having a family celebration today starting with a stop for donuts after church. Let me tell you, for some crazy reason I have noticed that people seem to just watch us when we are out in public; today was no exception. Maybe it's just due to the cute faces that I'm privileged to mother.

Happy Birthday, Tori 

Bella has decided that Tori is her big buddy. She is so happy when Tori comes home from school and she grants Tori the privilege of carrying her around to play. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Saki Saki with Drums

I'm having a terrible time with Blogger, but I thought you might be missing Saki Saki, so here
is a version with drums. I think it's funny how Selah kind of grants Bella and Elijah a solo at the end.

Saki Saki with Drums

Since Playlist magically reappeared, you have to pause the music at the bottom first.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

School Room

I spent the better part of the last two days organizing the school room. It was my big job that I planned before Christmas that did not get done. Since Christmas, we haven't been able to use our school table because of the new Playmobile sets that needed a home. The next room is going to be the office, complete with my first medical bill catch up since our trip to Ethiopia in October- that is going to be a good time!

This was taken during the basket clean out. While I did clear out baskets enough to house the new Playmobile collection, I did not end up with the extra shelf space I anticipated. Selah and Bella enjoyed all the school manipulatives that they hadn't played with before.

I was hoping for some extra room on the shelves that I could tuck pretty things in, but that isn't happening...this is a working school room!

No extra room in the cubes either, but organizing all of it gave me some good ideas for the rest of the school year. Speaking of school year, tomorrow is our final trip to the testing psychologist in Richmond that is going to give us an idea of what is causing some of the challenges that we are facing with James and Ben.  

I still can not successfully load picture from my computer to Blogger - these are from my new phone, but the quality is really not too good.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day Trip

We took a last minute day trip to the mountains on Sunday. It was cold and rainy on the way up, but became clear and warmer like the weather promised. Selah and Bella both love to go bye-bye and since we left early, they both slept all the way home in the afternoon.

We stopped for a picnic at a park; Bella can pump her legs on the swing - that seems pretty brilliant to me for not quite three!

They did have two swings at the transition home in Ethiopia, so Selah is an old pro.

Elijah was the only one that wanted to stop for a quick picture.

I assure you that they were excited about a picnic, but from the looks of this picture, you would have thought we were in line for shots instead. I guess that's why you are supposed to tell kids to say cheese.

Decent picture or not, we had a nice "very mini vacation".

Now I'm on to cleaning out the school room and the office...those are pictures you wouldn't want to see!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Computers, Blogger and Richmond

I appreciate the feedback about the Blogger issues. I have not "fixed" any issues, but tried to download this picture on the children's school computer and it worked like mine used to. Go figure. The problem is that I store my pictures on my computer and need Blogger to let me use them. 

Speaking of computers, our lap-top is in the repair shop for a stuck disk and our desk top repeatedly acts like it has a virus and won't load although we have run tests over and over that don't reveal anything. It may need a trip to Best Buy as well.  Since only one of our two school computers is working, we are operating at a quarter and there is serious demand for that computer.

The happy news is that I have moved forward in technology and replaced my cell phone that doesn't type "c's" with a smart phone. I am looking forward to the scheduling ability as well as being able to get online the many hours I spend sitting in doctor's offices. I stand a better change at intelligent blogger there than my climate at home!

Alyssa, Selah and I spent about four hours at the hospital yesterday for Selah's dental surgery pre-screening. It was my second medical trip to Richmond for the week - I then have two next week and three the week after. I postponed Tori's appointment in Baltimore for the same week.  While Richmond is really only an hour and 15 minutes away, once I park and wait for hours, it is typically an all day event. It will help to get past Selah's surgery in two weeks. 

My friend, Wendy, knit the girls these super cute owl hats. The other cool thing is that Selah's pink coat was once Julia's; Julia wears a matching green one that was Tori's. My friend gave me a coat for Bella and it happened to be the same Kohl's coat that matches the other two girls. I have a thing for them coordinating - I'd still coordinate James and Ben if they would go for it. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blogger Issues

All of a sudden, I am unable to down-load pictures to Blogger from my computer. It gives me options from smart phone, web cam, etc, but not the ordinary computer. Thus, I have been unable to put on pictures, which in turn means, I haven't blogged.

Anyone else having this issue or know how to fix it?

Monday, January 7, 2013

FOUR Room Move

The great room swap began as a simple story....we needed a spot for Brooke and Gabriel joined the Navy and doesn't officially live at home anymore. So, we were going to swap Gabriel's larger room down-stairs for Alyssa to share with Brooke and move his stuff upstairs to the smaller room and use it as a guest room for the time being. The complication arose when my middle aged sons showed me that they were no longer responsible enough to be housed in the basement and desperately needed an upstairs room where their parents could keep much closer tabs on them. To further complicate matters, the "Alyssa turned guest" room upstairs is housed right in between the two girl bathrooms and it doesn't seem like a logical place to put a boys' bedroom. So, I decided to move Elijah, Selah and Bella into that room and James and Ben into the littles' old room, which means Alyssa is still moving into Gabriel's larger room downstairs but Gabriel just moved next door to James and Ben's old room. The added benefit is that we may be able to talk Aunt Deb into temporarily moving into the guest room down-stairs as she prepares to head back to the mission field.

Once the boys "earn" back their down-stairs room by showing me how responsible they are (in a minimum of ONE year), Elijah can then move back into the room he was sharing with the new little girls and have his own room. Did you follow all that?  Maybe some pictures will help - 

This was James and Ben's downstairs bedroom. It had the green paint we wanted, but then some free mismatched green carpet that didn't match. I didn't intend on re-painting it, but it was obviously not an option after moving everything out, especially when I found the area behind the bed that James had made a hole in the wall and dry-walled and painted in with grey concrete paint. (When I got past the sneaky dry-wall part of the story, I asked why he didn't just use the paint that matched, he told me that he thought it did...).

What is remaining from Gabriel is now completely housed in the new guest room closet. I have to either buy new closet doors or a nice curtain, because the boys broke both of those as well.

I painted the guest room a neutral and we laid the Berger carpet that matches upstairs. Granted, this is hardly a decorator dream-room, but I'm going to work on that.

We then moved on to painting Alyssa and Brooke's new room - it's always helpful to have your painting buddy dressed in a dinosaur costume and hanging on your ladder!

I attempted to do the active painting during nap time, so that little Bella didn't end up with too much paint on her.

They were both there, however, for all the prep work. Check out Bella's dance moves.

I will give credit where credit is due. Gabriel's girlfriend, Alayna, helped me paint the guest room and Alyssa helped paint her room. JD laid the carpet in both rooms.

Her new big room ended up very pretty. We still have to get twin beds for her and Brooke as well as new bedding that matches her color scheme. (And fix the window from Gabriel, uh, boys...)

She has a whole Ethiopian art collection from our trip in November that she has been excited to hang, it should make Brooke feel a bit at home.

Alyssa told me that she could just shove her clothes to one end when Brooke comes - I'm thinking I just wish Brooke could wear the same size as Alyssa since Alyssa somehow has so many clothes, but she can't, she's even skinnier than Alyssa.

After the two downstairs bedrooms, I moved up to Alyssa's old small room.

I chose a baby blue to try and match the boy and girl motif; I just have too much green in my house to paint another bedroom green. While I think this is probably the smallest bedroom, the three little guys fit alright. We have been putting Selah in the bottom bunk and Bella in the toddler bed and they are happy with their new arrangement.

I guess I am going to buy Selah the pink owl quilt at Target that matches Bella's toddler bed. I was excited when I saw that Target online has the same pattern in blue and yellow, but when I saw it, I didn't really think it was as cute as the pink and green. 

Finally, yesterday, I moved James and Ben into the sun room. I didn't realize how huge that room really is until we got all the boy's furniture in there. They have a lot of Lego building room are quite happy with the new arrangement. While the sun room is nice and big and light, it just tends to be colder in the winter and warmer in the summer due to all the windows.

It was kind of comical when we thought how we had it perfectly planned whose bedroom was whose when we built the house - TEN of my eleven children have moved bedrooms in the 4.5 years we have lived in this house. We have to be flexible around here!