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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

End of July

 Our big news is that Moriah came home Monday night - she successfully completed the summer program at Bible college and went on a week trip to Mexico. She got in late, so the kids didn't see her until the next morning which was "doubley" exciting since it was Julia and Elijah's birthday!

Everyone but Alyssa was home early in the day, so we did presents in the morning.

Then we did birthday dinner and cake in the evening; Julia wanted a pink cake and Elijah opted for his usual dirt cake.

I'm still putting hours in at the school table and running back and forth between the printer.

The kids seem to enjoy playing two feet away from me so much more than downstairs in the playroom, which helps my concentration immensely.

The garage is flying along; they prepared the floor the last few days. 

 Then they prepped to pour the concrete floor, which is going in today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Evolution of the Garage Walls

 Just yesterday they completed the forms for the basement walls.

Then the cement mixers rolled in and poured the supports.

It's good entertainment right off the school room.

Today they rolled in and built the forms to pour the garage walls.

Then the trucks rolled in again and poured the walls.

We kept an eye on the action while I continued to ready all the fall school plans. Elijah was working on a sticker book nice and close to me.

So, I guess the walls have to sit for six days and then the floor will be readied for the third round of cement pouring. Wish the stuff were affordable enough to have them continue on down the driveway, but it isn't.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Let the Building Begin

 This week the excavator came, cleared and dug for the new garage. I may have blogged earlier about it, but they took out our internet (cable) line for a few days. We can live fine without TV, but are pretty dependent on the internet around here I'm afraid.

It looks like this should move pretty fast. They dug and marked in a day. The cement people show up next week and then the Amish that are framing it come the beginning of August.

This next picture was pretty exciting to me. I decided that I had to have baskets for the kids' everyday school work, as they books fall over on the bookshelf and get misplaced amongst the other children's that they shared a shelf with. Literally the only bit of space left in the school room was the spot under the window. I spent some time figuring out how to have something built that would fit exactly between the bookshelves. One day as I was moving the below Ikea cubbie shelf downstairs that was not being used, I decided to measure it although I thought it was much longer than the space. It fits perfectly, not an 1/4 inch to spare. I then bought seven smaller bins that also fit perfectly in the space. It is rare for any of my projects to be that easy. Now I just have to finish planning for the year and filling the kids' baskets with work!

In the meantime, it's pretty fun to watch the building from the school room.

This week was VBS every night. Tuesday night the children had to go dressed as cows so we wouldn't miss a year of our annual tradition of Chick-fil-a cow day.

We ran into one of Moriah's friends who took a quick picture - the extra blond child was just a loaner.
 Today is Moriah's last day in Mexico doing VBS at orphanages; we should hear from her tomorrow when she is safely back in CA. Also, Alyssa moved from Peru to Panama and does not have any internet for the whole three weeks. I'm so thrilled with the opportunities that my big girls have had this summer!

Elijah has a new job at our house - Amazon bubble wrap popper. He is thrilled because he gets to use a little knife. (I know some of you are horrified that I am not saving that bubble wrap, but you have no idea how much is delivered to my door via Amazon!)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Getting It All Done

I'm actually not getting as much summer school done as I generally do, in part because I'm trying to have all next year lined up this summer. I have never pre-made plans and copies for an entire year before, but I think it will flow more smoothly if I am not trying to school one section while I plan for the next. This goes for all my kids as well as the CC class I will tutor. We are trying a note booking approach this year, which means everyone will work together on the CC subjects and read and write about the topic at their own level and everything is recorded in each child's notebook. 

I don't swap curriculums much anymore, but just our consumable math, grammar and phonics workbooks are a sizeable pile. Julia wanted to get started on her new math, but unfortunately the excitement only lasted one day.

Julia identifying her math workbook
I spent almost an entire day making copies for the kids notebooks of just the timeline, geography and history papers I plan to utilize. I hope I can get it all done, otherwise I killed a bunch of trees and blew out print cartridges for no reason. Once I put the kids to bed, I kept going because I was accomplishing so much more than I did while they were interrupting me. JD took a break from taxes (we filed an extension - they still aren't done!) to tell me it was almost 1:00 and we should go to bed. It isn't too often these days I actually work that late.

This was long before 1:00 as evidenced by Ben vegetating there.
I am also rearranging some kid furniture. The boys are getting too big for their bunk beds, so we bought a captain bed on Craig*list for James and are currently looking for another for Ben. James sanded and painted his with chalkboard paint and it looks really nice.  My contribution was painting their walls a light grey to match the dark grey beds. That is the third time, and third color, in seven years that I have painted that room!

Since I get on Craig*list everyday to hunt for a Ben bed, I decided that I would start looking for a trundle bed to put under Elijah and Selah's bunk bed. Elijah has furniture waiting when he has a room, but someone has to move out before he actually gets a room. In the meantime, Bella has been in a toddler bed next to Elijah and Selah's bunk bed and she is just too big for it. I thought a trundle would work for her for a while and then be a nice extra bed for friends once the girls have the bunk bed. So, of course, the one I found was in the Richmond area, and while I was going anyway, I was also picking up a good many things from my friend, Wendy, for a local friend's baby.

I bought the trundle bed which fit along the side of the van as I hoped. The nice mattress he was including, however, did not fit. While I had taken out the back seat, that area was for a large dresser, crib, two swings, a stroller and a few Rubbermaids I was getting from Wendy. The man that I bought the trundle bed had no idea that I had more furniture in my plan and told me that mattresses fold. He then shoved it in half and barely crammed it in the back and slammed the door shut.

I called Wendy and told her that worse case, she'd have to take the mattress. She responded with, "I don't want your mattress, we will make it fit". Now I break to say that I often pride myself in fitting more things in any vehicle than any sane man would encourage.  Wendy may be the only person that thinks like me, so she was the perfect packing partner for the job.

We did feed the children at our usual Richmond Chick Fil A before we went to work.

bad picture but cute Bella

12 of our combined 19 children
When we opened the back of my van, the mattress sprang out like a snake in a can. It took four of us pushing and tugging, but we crammed it in between the trundle and the wall - over the tire hump, under the roof, and wedged between the wheels on the bed. Lesser women would have abandoned that mattress in the Chick Fil A parking lot.

Beyond business, Ms. Wendy is fun and brought the younger kids new Build-A-Bears. I had some happy youngsters on the drive home.

It's almost Julia and Elijah's birthdays
This is a pretty packed Chick Fil A with three live order-takers manned in the parking lot. We provided plenty of interesting viewing for the cars as they rolled through.

Here's Ruth parked on the furniture.

There is our successful packing job - the third seat also was packed full which forced the children to ride nice and snug together on the first two benches.

We are still working on James and Ben's room, but Bella's bed is the next in the paint cue. In the meantime, the new bears and old bears have had a chance to get acquainted.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July

 Happy 4th of July! We have spent the day working around the house and are preparing to head to a cook out and fireworks; the problem is that it is raining cats and dogs. I am writing (in my head) a post on all my organizing and furniture swapping around the house. I am also writing (in my head) a post about my garden and my first tiny batch of canning. Finally, I am writing (in my head) a blog post about the kids and swim team. Maybe I will get at least one of these out of my head and onto the computer in the next few days.

But for now, Alyssa sent this picture today of her overlooking the ruins of Machu Picchu. She also included the text, "I'm about to try guinea pig and alpaca! Machu Picchu was amazing." I later received the photo of the fried guinea pig that somehow still resembled a guinea pig; it made me throw up a bit in my mouth.

My brave, brave Alyssa - check out those awesome ruins in the background!