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, April 30, 2015

Flying Time

 Life has been crazy busy, which is often the case when my blog gets quiet. JD's job has proven to be rather demanding, both in travel, commute time and overall hours; sometimes I find it rather discouraging how little it feels he is home. When he is home, we have a million item list that makes the pace very fast. We have hosted two major church events at our house in the last month. One is beans and bullets, which is a bunch of men, with a bunch of guns, out shooting at our house. JD only let Elijah join at the last few minutes while people were cleaning up; Elijah waited in great anticipation all day for his moment of glory.

Just because these guns are in this picture with my family does not mean we own them! The men share at Beans and Bullets.

Last weekend we hosted the teen boy camp out. I did not take a single picture as I was not here - I was at my 5th night of "Brain Camp". I will have to post on that later as I'm going to head to PA in June for more training in helping children with challenges using neuropsychology of the brain. While one child has fueled my quest for help, I think the knowledge will benefit all of us.

My latest frustration has been our latest renters in a rent home that we own. They did not give written notice that they were moving out, they refused to let us show the house even when a realtor requested to show it to people from out of town, they smoked in the home against our spoken and written requirement, they tracked grease on top of fairly new and very nice carpet, they left the house filthy, they did not clean the carpet as the lease states (shoot, they didn't even vacuum the carpet) and I toted three loads of garbage out of the yard to the dump, but they are astounded that we are not returning their security deposit. After some profane texts, they have decided to take us to court. Since the damages they caused are roughly three times the security deposit, the logic astounds me. My favorite is when they throw in (we've heard it before), "you said you were a Christian". The new renters take possession tonight and am I ever praying that they are better!

Along those lines, watching the riots in Baltimore is so sad. So much pain, so much damage all for the sake of violence. It is sad that the kind, hard working people in the inner city have to risk youth and gang violence erupting around their homes. I found it encouraging to see the community come out the next morning and start cleaning the streets. Baltimore showed the worst and best of humanity all in 24 hours.

Around here, we hope to finish weeding our last garden bed tomorrow, and I will try to plant the majority of it this weekend while I do hair and run children to and fro.

We will also celebrate Alei's 21st birthday on Sunday; my three big girls turn 16, 18 and 21 this year!

Have a good weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Welcome Selah

 We have a new homeschooler in the house - Selah. Selah has done pretty well in K and 1st grade at school, but she hasn't really loved it. Since Christmas, she has told us several times that "she doesn't really like elementary school". Once I finished my tutoring year at CC, there didn't seem to be any real reason to make her finish the school year. I pulled her out right at spring break. We celebrated her first day home with donuts on the porch; she has been so happy this last week at home.

I gave Selah and Bella the job of making their own PB and J; they were thrilled. Elijah, however, neither likes PB, nor the idea of making his own food, so he observed.

We started weeding the garden yesterday; it's amazing how many weeds spring up in the beds.

 We brought out the goats for help trimming the tall grass around the bed. I am so amazed how grass can grow so well through the soil cloth, yet can't grown on half the yard.

Yesterday's weeded bed on the left - today's yet to be done on the right -

My birthday request this year is a walkway around the beds, so we can keep the tall grass from growing higher than the plants. (I like practical gifts!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Camp ... and a Virus

My computer is very sick - it seems to have caught an incurable virus. This blog has taken way to long to get up, because things weren't loading. For whatever reason, it is working for the moment so I'm going to race to post.

This was our third year of weekend family camp. One of these summers, we may actually do a full week in the summer. The kids would love it. It really has turned into a spring tradition that is very special for our family and it started the first spring that Selah and Bella came home.

We did African drumming and dancing. Selah was by far the youngest dancer, but did incredibly well following the directions. The rest drummed, other than Julia who took a shift of each.

My favorite is the time at the lake boating and fishing. My favorite lake picture is of James and Tori in a canoe, but it won't load.

JD and the littles waiting for the paddle boat
Selah wanted to steer and did a pretty decent job
JD set out one trip letting Julia row and returned with Elijah rowing, without tipping the canoe - I don't think I'd be that brave.

The theme this year was Superheroes -

This was during the Superhero obstacle course where I was peacefully painting the "family" craft with only the help of two kids.

The big event for our family was the rock wall. It was closed last year, so it was the first time that a few of the kids even attempted it.

James on right
Elijah on right
Selah preparing
Julia on left and Bella on right
Ben makes it look easy

Only at camp do you sleep on your back all night to not mess up a late night face-painting.

 My seven little heroes. 

 As we pack out our cabin, the kids always enjoy the tire swing. It seems to take us longer to pack and there is seldom much competition at this late point.

 Good Memories

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Break

 I envy the people who get to spring clean over spring break; I desperately need to spring clean, but spring hair took over spring break. Since I was in CA before spring break and we literally have a major event every weekend in April, all four girls had to have their hair done this week. I normally never do more than two in a week!

I started taking Julia's out last Friday. On Saturday, Tori took Selah's out while I did the first round of corn-rowing in Julia's.

Bella's really needed to come out before Easter as well, so Tori continued and took Bella's out Sunday morning while I washed and combed through Selah and Bella's. Selah and Bella wore theirs out and wild for Easter and Julia went with just the first round of braiding.

I rebraided Bella's on Monday, since her last day of school was Tuesday at CC. Since my lesson plans were complete, I went ahead and pushed myself through the Selah braiding that I had planned for Tuesday as well. That worked out really well, because we went and saw a dairy cow (that's a different blog post) on Tuesday afternoon and I would have been a day behind otherwise.

On Wednesday, Ben took out Tori's hair while I started the second round of braiding on Julia's. I had a hair crisis by running out of the extensions and frantically searched our county hair suppliers to find nothing.

At this point, I had to take Tori and Julia to a park day with half done hair. On Thursday, I rebraided Tori's hair.

On Friday morning, I hit four hair supplies "in town" and come home with the needed supplies for Julia and promptly finished her hair.

Now it is Friday and we are headed to family camp for the weekend. The kids are ready and wearing last year's camp t-shirts, except for Bella whose must be in the wash, so she is going with the purple San Diego shirt.

Elijah wanted in on a shot
 JD is picking up Moriah at work and I should be loading the van instead of blogging, but here's a shot of my pile. It's a lot when I have to take all our bedding and towels.

JD just called to see if I had started loading, so I'm off....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter 2015

 Waiting for the crew to make it outside -

A quick picture of the underage nine -

 Waiting for the crew to arrive again after church -

All of us after church with a friend as our photographer - 

Since we all enjoyed going out for Mexican food last Easter on our way home from family camp, we decided to repeat the tradition this year. We drove most of the way home, but were disappointed to find the restaurant closed for Easter. 

We then drove farther and paid more, but got our Mexican meal.  

 We dyed our eggs this afternoon, since we had a big church event at our house yesterday and did not have time (later post...) -

Then we hid and found the baskets downstairs and the eggs outside; I'm so thankful to have nice weather -