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.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our First Family Reunion with JD's Family

We have traveled to Washington, Pennsylvania for our entire marriage as a central rendezvous point for family events with JD's family. With the passing of his Mom this last May 1st, he was worried if her five children's families did not intentionally plan to meet, they would rarely see each other. JD proposed an annual family reunion at our home since we are kind of the midway point and all of the sisters agreed. While half knew they would not be able to make this first reunion, he was not dissuaded from hosting the inaugural event this last weekend. They chose the first weekend in July to honor the date his parents were married, on July 2, 1947. His oldest sister Marilyn and her husband Lee were the only ones who could make it. Another sister planned to, but at the last minute had to attend to a family health matter. While we regret that everyone could not make it, and we understand it was a quick turnaround from our all being together just two months earlier, we do not want to short change those who came to celebrate this first reunion (tee-shirts were only available for attendees).

That said, we had a great time with Marilyn and Lee! Besides just spending a lot of time relaxing, talking and playing with the kids, we did some inaugural reunion event kind of things. Initially, we were not going to go see fireworks, but we were invited to a family friend's private fireworks display. I know it would be natural to hear banjo music playing in the background right now, since we do live in the country, but this was a really nice display and they set off some mortars with reports and Disney World-esqe fire works which anyone would be proud to see.

Then, on Saturday, since the weather was gorgeous, we visited George Washington's birth place, at Pope's Creek, Virginia. It's quite the blessing to have such a plethora of American History near for  family entertainment.

Pope's Creek

The House
Carpentry Shop
Elijah and Moriah
The official family picture
8 of the dozen kids
On our way back from President Washington's birth place, we stopped at a nearby farm which allows the picking of all kinds of berries. They also have a phenomenal soft serve ice cream store which hosts an excellent strawberry shortcake. Now that could become a permanent tradition for sure.

Selah and Bella's 2nd 4th of July
 So, while JD does not want to rub it in the faces of his non-participating sisters about how much they missed, he hopes chronicling this first reunion  on this blog (which they all read) will help them plan to attend next year.

(Written by guest author: Mark Phleagher (Pseudonym) - It's JD.)

On a side note from Jenny, things went very smoothly while Marilyn and Lee visited, but once they headed out from the berry farm to hit the road for their next vacation spot, we left Moriah with the three little ones on the playground while we hiked down to pick some blackberries. Five minutes into our picking, Moriah calls to tell us that Selah fell, hit her mouth and they were in a blood-bath. Sure enough, we made it back to see Selah and Moriah covered in dried blood and Selah's mouth still bleeding. Even today, her lips are still very swollen and her front tooth is very lose and starts bleeding if she eats or brushes her teeth. We will see soon enough if it tightens back up or not - thankfully it's just a baby tooth (with a very expensive cap)!

Selah pushing Bella and Elijah - not how she got hurt.

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