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 28, 2014

Wrapping Up

We are wrapping up the basement finishing this week, other than the projects that we are deliberately putting off for next year...or the year after. James, and his little helper Elijah, built the four Ikea shelves for "Lego land corner".

We also did three of the four girls' hair over spring break.

Wiring the pasture fence is on the the soon to-do list, but until then we have to walk the goats away from the house if we get them out of their smaller fence, to prevent them from eating the spring plants.

On Friday we went to see a friend from our old neighborhood and the kids played ball with her son. 

Although they have moved also, her husband is known for his yard. I just wish he could come and grow about 18 acres of grass that looked like this at my house!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter and Birthday

 Easter morning we ate breakfast at camp and said good-bye to new friends.

 This cutie is from Kenya; she enjoyed playing with the big kids.

These college volunteers were Selah and Bella's best friends. They spent as much time with them as they could.

Of the two pictures I took, this was the better one of Bella.
 After good-bye time, we dressed for church and cleaned out our cabin. Dan came to spend a last few minutes with the kids.

 As we were leaving camp, they gave each child an impressive Easter basket. I made them wait until home to open them.

 I seriously did six loads of laundry on Sunday night and another 12 loads on Monday. Tuesday was my birthday and I spent the morning with Elijah and Bella at our last day of Classical Conversations. Then I took Moriah, Alyssa and Tori to Chipotle for a girls lunch out. I'm most unimpressed with how I look in this picture, but it's the only one I took.  
Mom, Moriah and Alyssa
  Tori is quickly moving into the big girl category.

Tori, Moriah and Alyssa
Now, I am back to the basement. I'm feeling the pressure to start my garden so I need to wrap it up down there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Camp Day Two

 We had a long, fun Saturday at camp. We started with a hearty breakfast - so good they were begging children to take thirds on bacon. I don't think that has ever happened at home.

Our family's first activity was boating and fishing; I think it's all of our favorite. Check out the thrill on Tori's face that James put a worm on the line for her.

I didn't realize that I captured this picture until today, but can you see that Selah lost her footing and was going to fall into the lake? I'm not sure how it all went down, but seconds later both Dan and I had her by the jacket and life jacket dangling over the lake. I'm thinking I move fast under stress and all I remember is thinking how cold she would be if she went in!

 JD has never been a fisherman, but my kids sure enjoy it - or at least the idea of it. They've never fished for too long. You can tell from this picture that JD has lost 30 pounds on the "Trim, Healthy Momma" diet!

After the lake, we transferred to African drumming and on to art. I personally love the art and craft time with the kids, but I ended up hand scrubbing paint out of about three new purple camp t-shirts.  

 In the afternoon, they hosted a large candy hunt. Forget the eggs- they just put the wrapped candy directly on the ground. We have way more candy than any family needs at the moment!

This picture warms by heart. The kids were obviously not aware of what JD was taking pictures of, but it is Tori picking up candy and putting it into Selah's bag instead of her own. Selah was about the smallest in the 6-9 category and Tori was helping her.

 After the egg hunt, we got to take family Easter bunny pictures. I put on Facebook that contrary to Selah's appearance, she did not get rabies from the Easter bunny.

 There were plenty more games through the afternoon, although we were disappointed that the rock wall and rope course were not open this year. 

James on one side

Ben on the other

 That night they hosted square dancing. They required the kids to participate, which was great because they had a blast, but may not have tried it otherwise.

Ben and Tori
Selah and YMCA
 It took about two hours that night to shuffle all the kids through the lone shower. I let Elijah play a game on my Kindle while he waited for prayer - that lasted less than five minutes. I also put the kids to bed in their jackets because we all froze the night before.

It was a good day with fun memories.                      



Monday, April 21, 2014

First Night at Camp

 The kids were very excited for our second year at family camp. Upon arrival, they had crafts ready to start on. 

 The camp has the nicest group of college student volunteers; it's refreshing that there are still so many unselfish, motivated older kids! We spent a lot of time with Dan pictured below.

There was a lady painting the kids as well -

 Elijah was so happy with his snake that we couldn't talk him into wearing a jacket sleeve on that arm.  

In the evening, some UVA athletes came and played different sports with the kids. Ben is currently playing soccer but he really loves basketball. I plan on letting him play this winter.

 We finished the night with some s'mores around the camp-fire and setting up the kids in their bunks.

We have been reading Patricia St. John books aloud at night. Thankfully, I remembered The Tanglewood's Secret and most of them were out before the first chapter was over. The older kids (and I) are loving them.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Camp Is Coming

 Every weekend in April and May are filled on the calender. Tomorrow we are heading out of town for family camp. We will then be attending Easter service at our friend's church that we spoke about orphan care at last year. You might think that I would be packing for tomorrow, but I have instead spent the day on the fireplace room downstairs. I decided it would be optimal to have both coats of paint on the floor before we go, so it can cure while we are gone and be ready for baseboards and furniture when we get back. JD and the boys moved everything from the fireplace room to the now finished game room.

The boys then scraped any paint slops from the walls off the cement. This morning, after a quick doctor run to ensure James didn't have strep, I painted the last closet and touched up the walls. 

We then swept, vacuumed, mopped and mopped again the floor. James volunteered to mop at lunch break in spite of not feeling too great. 

Then I put the first floor coat on - the second will need to be done before we leave around noon tomorrow. (Hoping and praying the husband volunteers for that one.) In all irony, he ended up Easter dress shopping with Alyssa after her travel clinic appointment while I was painting.

We are loving our first few spring days! Tori likes to help cook and I'm enjoying the help as well. It's always best if your spring lamb can don an apron and participate.

When I did the community yard-sale with Alyssa, I bought four sleds and a rip-stick for $10 - (no negotiation, that was what he asked.) The kids had a fun few hours with the sleds before they were put away for next year.

We like it when we can walk to the bus stop, but we are having some chicken issues. The boys have abused the fence for so many years that it has to be completely replaced this year. Since I want to expand my flock, I considered having the Amish (that are coming to build the garage anyway) move the coop to the back part of the pasture. We then are going to enclose the fence to keep the bully guineas out at feeding time. The plan then was to allow the chickens to free range the pasture during the day. The new problem is that the electric fence won't keep them in and they will ran-sack my garden. Now we are discussing fencing the garden also. So many details to figure out, but in the meantime - there are chickens everywhere!

The bus stop ditch - always fun to jump over
More chickens in the goat stall sharing goat breakfast. One roosted in their hay feeder the other night, causing them to refuse to eat the contained hay.

 Here's our barn kitty, Talley, that thinks she is a goat. She has chosen to live in the stall with the goats and shares their goat feed at times. I had forgotten about her ways after not having goats for several years, but she did the same thing six years ago when I had the milking Nubian goats.

Speaking of intelligent animals - here is Lincoln that I allowed to sleep in over the winter because I felt bad for him. Now it's 70 degrees, the kids are outside and....here he is!

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