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.

Friday, October 23, 2015

To Maine and Back (and Why I Had to Fire my Travel Agent)

 JD and I had a weekend get away in Maine. He had to work there Monday and Tuesday, so we flew up early Friday morning to have three full days.  We attended the Navy Ball on Saturday night, and while it was nice, it wasn't nearly as awesome as the fall leaves in their prime or the LL Bean outlet shopping! On Sunday, we drove up to Acadia National Park; although I had never heard of it, I can see why it makes it to many people's bucket lists.

We stopped at the above little coffee roaster shop on the way. Pretty much any time JD sees anything that says "coffee", he pulls into the parking lot. The shop was really cool and the college girl working even showed us the back room where they divide and roast the 150 pound bags that come in from all over the world. Honestly, that business would suit JD just fine, as he already roasts his own coffee beans.

We stopped at the below photo for lunch. I was amazed how Maine seems to keep the mom and pop stores open because they severely limit the big box stores. All the old downtowns had thriving businesses while I feel like we are accustomed to them drying up around Virginia.

The rest of these pictures are from Acadia. Since they are just taken with my phone, I don't thing they are prize winning or anything, but you can see how beautiful the area is.

I kind of entertained myself taking pictures of JD taking pictures more than taking the pictures myself - he did that for me.

The plan was that I would return Monday morning bright and early to resume my very demanding Monday and Tuesday obligations, and JD would return Tuesday night after working two days. While we were eating lunch on Saturday, I told him that I didn't have a copy of my flight schedule. He got on his phone to forward it to me and I could tell something wasn't right since he kept looking at the phone then back up at me. After a few minutes, he told me that he wasn't sure what happened, but I was booked for his flight time on Tuesday night. At that point, he didn't remember if he had done the reservation online or if the airline lady on the phone made the mistake. Once we got back to the room, we spent a good bit of time trying to swap flights, but it was not to be without purchasing another ticket.

So, after about four hours of additional phone time, I had my responsibilities covered for the most part. The big girls accused JD of doing it on purpose, but I know he didn't. He is, however, fired for the time being as my travel agent, but I'll keep him as a husband and travel partner.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Weekends and the In Between

 It has been such a blessing having Alayna and Nathan here. When people say to me that she must appreciate the help with the baby, I reflect on how much help she is with all my small children. She has also become a common taxi driver. Nathan doesn't love car rides, so he and I happily hang out at home while she shuffles various children around town. At this point, James and Elijah are doing mixed martial arts three nights a week, the girls have gymnastics one and the small guys have to be picked up in the middle of Tuesdays while I remain at CC. We also try to hit homeschool PE one to two times per week at the Y.

Alayna and I both got a break from the routine and went to my church's women retreat in the mountains over the weekend. While Nathan didn't relish the three hour drive, he enjoyed all the attention a squishy, smiley baby brings in a large group of women. Here's a shot of him at the Hawaiian party examining the Hula hoops. 

Every six weeks, we have a Tuesday off from CC. I used this one to take Selah and Bella to Richmond to follow up with the Dr. they have seen since arriving in America. The hospital provided some fun crafts for our more lengthy than usual wait.

Alyssa is working to complete her driver's ed. hours, so she never turns down a long trip that she can drive!

On Selah's recent birthday (oops, still need to write that post), I took the girls shopping for clothes and shoes. Elijah was sad that he wasn't included. I told him that he could accompany me on my next shopping excursion. While the hospital run wasn't shopping, he was still disappointed that he couldn't go. So, he and I went on a "date" when I got home. We bought some JUNK cool stuff at the dollar store and then went to Sheetz for fried food, soda and ice cream. We enjoyed dining in and making this awesome lion puppet while we were there. He was a happy boy once again. It really is nice to have a conversation with just one child sometimes without three more interrupting

On the heels of JD working 6-7 long days per week for the last two months, we are heading to Maine for the weekend. I'll post on that next week along with the missed birthdays.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nathan and CC

 Nathan is fond of our Classical Conversation music; our only problem is the kids arguing over who gets to hold him when we do our review work each day. Today he went to Wal-Mart with his momma and Alei just so we could skip the conflict.

This is our CC review board. I use it all week at home and then take it to the class I tutor on Tuesdays. I always use wet erase markers so the kids don't smear it, but it turns out that Nathan's slobbery fingers can still smear well. He even manages to turn his little feet green or blue depending on the week.

Yesterday I had to move Alyssa's orthodontist appointment at the last minute to the same time that I teach a Brain Boost class. So, Alayna took Alyssa and I took Nathan (because he doesn't enjoy extra time in the car seat.) A Grandma volunteered to hold him during class and he was completely happy the entire class, then fell asleep on her towards the end. Such a sweet boy!

Nathan is going to have some car seat time tomorrow and he heads into the mountains with his momma and me for our church's annual womens retreat. We will see how that time goes!