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, December 29, 2014


Happy anniversary to me
JD stayed home from DC
Now we are going out to lunch
Without our whole bunch

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Seems Like the Best Plan

 So, what should a mother do when the evidence of Christmas is still everywhere? The living room is still home to new toys that haven't been assigned a home; my idea of cleaning them at this point is putting them back around the tree, but they keep sneaking back out.

The school room also doubles as Playmobil land. Christmas yielded a nice big Playmobil dollhouse that is currently living on the school table; I think I'm going to have to buy it it's own little table. 

Since I keep cleaning the same thing over and over with little progress, I thought the reasonable thing to do is to accomplish something. The retreat area in our master bedroom is the very last room of the house that hasn't been painted since we moved in. The patio door was recently fixed from leaking and the trim around it repaired, so it's time to whip out the paint that I bought two years ago. 

Today I unloaded the bookcase, moved the furniture and taped. Tomorrow I'll paint...and pick up Christmas toys again.

We are a sick household, but no flu. Alei now has pneumonia, which was diagnosed on her second trip to the doctor on Christmas night. Alyssa made her second trip today and finally got antibiotics for a sinus infection - she has run a fever for six days now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Presents

The kids draw names and buy one present for one sibling; we exchange just those presents on Christmas Eve after the service. It allows it to be a special time without distraction of any other gifts.

Alyssa wrapped a candle for Tori as a joke, who was sweet and thankful in spite of having no desire for her own candle. 
She then got her actual gift - a sweater and lots of candy.

Elijah had James and only accidentally mentioned what his present was a few times...

We received these gorgeous Christmas cookies from a friend at church; they made me so happy because I only made sugar cookies since I had been sick. (I even bought Costco apple and pumpkin pies this year - I've never, ever bought pies before!)

 After the kids were in bed, we bring up the wrapped gifts. I do not keep them under the tree as we wrap them because I don't like them to be able to focus on them. 

Christmas morning starts at 7:00 at our house - no earlier.


 This is the part when the room gets so messy that they start migrating through the house with toys in tow. 

 And Mom and Dad get to clean up a bit. 

We are a blessed, blessed family!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our home to yours; we hit the light show at the mall last night before the Christmas Eve service. 

The seven youngest kids
The three littles
The boys
The Mom and Dad


While Christmas didn't end up in Memphis as we planned, it would have been a rough, rough week since most of us have been sick. Alei is hitting Urgent Care again since she is still very sick after a week on antibiotics for bronchitis and ear infections. Other than that, I have taken four or five of us to the doctor. 

I'm happy to note that Gabriel is back in the country! Alayna didn't expect him until the 28th, but the ship arrived back in San Diego Christmas Eve and he flew the all night flight to Memphis and landed Christmas morning. My mom picked him up at the airport and Gabriel was the Christmas morning surprise - I can speak from experience when I say that six months is a long, long time!

I hope Alayna is ok with this picture - I think it's sweet

 Although we are unhappy that we aren't there with them, I am very happy for them! They will be have some time in Memphis, make a stop in Colorado and then be looking for a new home in San Diego. They should have plenty of time to get settled before the baby comes late February.     

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Break

The kids can be so creative when they aren't allowed to do anything that involves a screen. 

I came down with the coughing sickness that has plagued our home the last few weeks and spent the morning at Urgent Care. I still managed to make the Christmas sugar cookies yesterday and let the kids decorate them today. What I haven't managed to do, however, is re-braid the little girls' hair - I guess that will be a fun Christmas Eve project!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Getting Along

 A year and a half ago when we made the decision to send Selah to K and keep Elijah at home, we had quite a bit of conflict between the two of them. I am happy to say that they get along so nicely now. The plan (I hope!) is to home school them both next year for 2nd grade and to continue to keep Bella home for K/1st grade. I stayed home from church this morning with them because Elijah has run a fever off and on for the last two days and Bella is continually coughing. Since Selah is coughing just slightly, we thought we wouldn't bless anyone with her potential germs either. I was working in the laundry room for well over an hour before I took this picture and they were just all sweetly playing doll house. It makes my heart happy to see the three of them enjoy each others company.

Now they have moved on to watching an old McGee and Me episode. Remember them? They were made by Focus on the Family years ago and I rebought them on DVD rather cheaply.

Here's a shot from reading time last night. Elijah usually stays awake, but he was running a bit of a fever and couldn't hang with the story; Selah falls asleep almost every night. (JD falls asleep many nights as well...)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

And So It Goes With the Military

 Months ago we had it all planned out. Gabriel was due home from his six month deployment mid-December. He was going to go find a new house in San Diego, visit Alayna's family in Memphis for Christmas, then he and Alayna would visit Colorado for a few days and arrive back in San Diego to move in January 1st. Since Alayna's family and my parents live only miles apart in Memphis, it was the perfect occasion to let all the kids be together for Christmas. In spite of my normal rule to never travel at Christmas, we thought it would be ideal and rented a house in Memphis from the 20th-27th. All was on track until the proposed typhoon was supposed to hit the Philippines. The admiral in charge of Gabriel's battle group turned his ship around to assist if the Philippines needed it. In short, Gabriel's new home arrival date is the 27th or later. We asked the home owner about coming a later week; she was very agreeable, except the house is already rented for the week that Gabriel plans to be in Memphis. So, in short, we are not going. We are going to go later in the year and hope that Gabriel, Alayna and the baby will be able to visit as well. 

We have disappointed children; some of the girls have only seen Gabriel two days in the last two years. And, so, once again, the military is messing up my plans - we kind of thought these days were over when JD retired. Not so. 

The good side of all of this is that we aren't leaving Alei home alone for Christmas, since she had to work and wasn't coming. The bad news is that Gabriel has spent almost all his holidays alone the last two years. 

So, our plans are altered, but we are going to do some things that I thought we wouldn't be able to this year - like finish decorating and making and delivering Christmas cookies. We are also reading Bartholomew's Passage; most nights we only read one chapter. Last night I read two chapters and four girls fell asleep in the second chapter.

Today I attended Julia's class Christmas party. I planned on attending Selah and Tori's tomorrow, but Selah got off the bus to inform me that hers was also today. Sorry, dear, I always miss something, or someone, somewhere.

We have never done an Advent wreath and candles, but we are definitely going to add that to our traditions next year as well!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 There are moments when I think I'm doing things right homeschooling. I have to admit I probably have significantly more when I question what I'm doing, but here was one good one.  This was Saturday morning while we were making breakfast; the kids got out maps to work on their states and capitals without suggestion.

I think Elijah and Bella have a better grasp of the states' locations than most adults, thanks to Classical Conversations this year.

Thankfully, the public schoolers have also learned quite a bit along with them. 

 Julia was writing in the capitals from a list in her dictionary.

Tomorrow when the crazies are bouncing off the wall, I will reflect on last Saturday morning!

No one warned me how difficult this job was actually going to be!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Homemaking and Decorating

 I have shared a few of my homemaking tips on Facebook before, but I thought I'd bless my blog readers as well. With ten children in the home, four dogs, six cats, three goats, 30 chickens and a rebellious donkey (the latter animals in the barn, not home), I often get sidetracked from one project (or crisis) to another. 

My breadmaking tip is - make the dough and put it in the bowl to rise. While it rises, head out to pick up donkey poo; odds are that this will take much longer than you anticipate and the bread will have some extra rising time!

It still turned out fine thankfully
 Here's a Christmas decorating tip. When the children break your overpriced Hallmark ornaments as mine do - One, quit buying Hallmark ornaments (I did that last adoption)- and...

This is just this year's breaks so far.
Two, while they are waiting for their super glue session, put them in a nice Christmas bowl in the middle of the dining room table for a festive look. Personally, I think the headless people are the most attractive.  

I think I'll glue these once the tree is coming down so I only have one long session.