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, July 31, 2014

Alyssa is Home!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Birthday

 Yesterday was Julia's 8th and Elijah's 6th birthday. We had family cake and present time and we are going to have a birthday cook-out with friends in two weeks when Aunt Deb and Alyssa are both home.

 Everyone around here loves dirt cake!

It was a beautiful evening and we headed out to begin opening our pool (yes...a little late). The kids really don't swim in it much until swim team ends, so it will be up and running in time for the party and then they will have it the month of August to enjoy. 

Julia found this little guy swimming in it - 

The old swing-set by the pool is a complete safety hazard. The rock wall, steps, swing and base are broken and it needs to come down. We are going to salvage the slides for a hopeful future tree-house, but the rest of it will be scrapped. 

I offered James money to dismantle it and he got right to work. While he took off the slides, Elijah mastered the monkey bars. Thankfully we have monkey bars on the swing set in the backyard as well.

Happy Birthday Julia and Elijah - 


Saturday, July 26, 2014


 The screened in porch is finished and it looks wonderful. Our friend that did the job was very detail oriented and the ceiling is beautiful; behind that small wall is a flat ceiling with recessed lights.    

JD pulled some furniture back in, but now I get to rearrange and decorate. I am starting with recovering the white cushions on the big chairs.

While we like the old bench, I think to be practical it is going to move out to make room for a second table. I'm at least going to try it. 

I am forcing myself to get a chuck of my homeschooling ordering done before I get too distracted decorating.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Food and More

 I feel like food and more sums up my life - making three meals a day takes an enormous amount of my time. Saturday I took Tori and Julia grocery shopping and then enlisted help to make several items. Selah and Bella helped with the bread, cinnamon rolls and cookies. 

Grinding wheat

More wheat
 Once the baking was done, I moved on to dinner for Saturday night and quiche for Sunday lunch.   

In the middle of that, I had to get the cucumbers pickled. The Saturday bunch was very fast using a speedy mix from Walmart.

Sunday and Monday I did a slow lime batch. It will be interesting to compare the difference. 

Beyond food, we are trying to control the chickens and keep them out of the garden and tame the kittens. I am thrilled to say that Tiger, the sweetest one, has a home at my friend's house. Beyond that, the next two are taming well. This picture is Olaf, who was the wildest of the first three and is now meowing for attention.

 As a sneak peak for a future post - check out the screened in porch's ceiling. Isn't it pretty?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

One Short of a Dozen

 I am grieving at this point the reality that our 12th child, Brooke, will probably never legally be a member of our family. The red tape issues with her adoption do not look hopeful as Ethiopia struggles to process even the "easy" adoption cases. While I am leery of teenager adoptions for very good reasons, we really believe that she would have integrated well into our family. The sad part is how desperately she hoped to join Bella and have a family of her own. At this point, our only option is to see how we can move forward helping her in Ethiopia. 

I'm not supposed to show pictures of children that we are in the midst of adopting, but that isn't even our case, so I want to show everyone a picture of Brooke. She is featured with another little girl, Hannah, that is also STUCK and un-adoptable due to some laws in Ethiopia that desperately need to be changed. 

I would have adopted Hannah long ago also if it were possible - we fell in love with her our first trip to Ethiopia in June of 2012. She was 6 and Brooke was 12 - now they are 8 and 14! Wasted years that they could have lived in our family!
Brooke and Hannah

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Busy Days

 I have packed this week full of events - I thought I'd show you just today's. We started this morning with swim team pictures at 9:00. There were two practices before and after pictures that we skipped to make it to Richmond on time. 

The little guys did well considering they were seated in the itchy grass while they lined up all the big kids. Selah and Elijah were fortunate enough to hold the eel's tail. 

We changed at swim team and headed straight to Richmond to meet with Wendy and her children. We had 15 kids between us this visit and it was fun as always.

 Since I didn't grow cucumbers this year, Wendy brought me some. (I have enough to share or I'm going to be making lots of pickles.)

We had to leave Richmond promptly at 2:00 to make it to an appointment back in "town" 30 miles from where we live. While Moriah was in her appointment, the rest of us walked over to the river to hang out.

I decided to not worry about the clothes and the girl's nice leather sandals. They did pretty well; no one fell in as I assumed would happen. 

Ben attempted fishing with found items and James and the girls collected several smelly shells. 

We made it back home 9.5 hours after leaving. My first recommendation was for the children to hold the kittens and watch TV.....after 9.5 hours of straight dialog and noise, some quiet TV watching is just what the momma needs!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

House, Farm and Kitten Update

 The lazy days of summer don't allow for much laziness since I have every age bracket of swimmers in swim team. My first shift starts at the pool at 7 a.m. and the last finishes at 10:30 every day. On swim meet nights, we are back around 5:00 and often don't finish until 10:30. What is rather humorous is that my three Liberian children are awesome swimmers in spite of the reality that the entire country of Liberia never swims. I'm telling you, Liberia could take the Olympics if they tapped into their natural swimming ability. In spite of our time at the pool, we are accomplishing some other things around the house and farm. 

After bringing home the three half-feral kittens, the old man called me with a fourth. The fourth is mean and is slotted for a life as a barn cat. The other three have made some good progress but I'm still not sure about any of them being that great of pets, but time will tell. Julia sure has been great at holding them everyday. I am anxious to get them fixed and make arrangements for them because they are too big, too messy and too stinky to continue to live in a dog kennel in the basement! 

Julia and little Mia
Selah with the tamest kitty - Jasper or Tiger depending on who you ask

The first three
 I am super excited that the goat fence is electrified now and the goats have the run of the entire pasture. It turned out to be a pretty big job because new insulators needed to be run. A friend from church completed the job and I am thrilled to see them grazing all day long. We have enough room to get a milk cow now, but the grass is still poor quality and I'm rather intimidated to add cow milking to my daily to-do list!

Since our friend still needed work and our to-do list is a mile long, he took over where JD left off on the porch about two years ago. He put in the wainscoting a few days ago. Next JD is going to wire for flood lights to the back yard and then our friend will resume painting and trim work on the ceiling. 

Yesterday and today, he laid the tile in the porch; tomorrow it will be grouted. It is so nice to have the pile of tiles cleared from my kitchen corner and be able to put the furniture back where it was before the tile piles. Beyond that, the area seems huge without the scaffolding and tools that have lived back there for the last two years. The finished plan is to have two tables for eating in the porch along with the two chairs we bought for the porch. It's been such a long wait that I need to recover the chairs already.

 JD is still building the chicken enclosure. There were two white roosters eating my garden, so I gave them away on Craigslist. Since then, the garden scene has been fairly peaceful until today when the guineas ransacked my garden. They ate all the zucchinis and several tomatoes. They are also trampling the plants. Since they aren't going to live in the chicken enclosure, we have now ordered an electric fence to surround the garden. If that doesn't work, they are going on Craigslist. Rest assured, they would have left a long time ago if they weren't so awesome at keeping our tick population down!

The enclosure has now been nicknamed  "the chicken mansion". I don't think a finer chicken home is to be found in our county and I can't wait to see them behind bars contained in it instead of being everywhere they shouldn't be!