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 28, 2015

NEW Year Pictures


Since I successfully posted the family picture on the header, I'm going to post a few more from our session. The awesome photographer took nearly 900 pictures and I came home with 100. We also got all new individual pictures to update the kids photos over the stairs for the first time in 3-4 years. It's a lot of work to coordinate and photograph 16 people, but it was worth it.

The little family in the big family -

The four big girls -

Mimi and Granddad with Nathan -

The boys -

Candid Moriah - 

Saturday, December 26, 2015


People often comment to me how much fun Christmas must be at our house. Here is a few shots of Christmas morning. It was very fun, and the noise and mess were what you would expect for that much fun. Actually, the mess is still very much there; I'm going to be working on that today on top of coordinating clothing for family pictures tomorrow.

 Merry first Christmas, Nathan. As expected, the boxes and paper were the most fun to him.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Jenny, JD, Aunt Deb, Gabriel, Alayna, Nathan, Alei, Moriah, Alyssa, James, Ben, Tori, Julia, Elijah, Selah and Bella

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

MiMi's Butterball

 Nathan turned 10 months old on Dec. 18th. He is such a sweet little guy and we are all so thrilled to have had these months with him.

We really can't think about him returning to the other side of the country; he loves the activity of all the children and the snuggles with MiMi and Granddad.

He's definitely captured the hearts of many in his time in Virginia. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Last Few Days

Last Thursday was the long awaited arrival of Gabriel on the USS George Washington, which pulled into Norfolk, VA. The plan was Alayna, Alei and JD were going to make the trip, while Nathan and I stayed at home and tried out a bottle which he had not had in months. The reality is that he eats everything and would not go hungry, just might not be happy taking a nap. That plan quickly fell apart when Alayna and I ended up in the ER most of the night with a baby with the croup. We made it home with the sick baby in time to wish JD and Alei well on their trip down. Gabriel was delivered home that afternoon and here is a quick picture taken right away. I felt badly for Gabriel arriving to a fussy baby that was so out of character for Nathan.

The lighting looks like Nathan has a red toupee, but it's some weird reflection from the Christmas lights.
Nathan was pretty miserable that day and the next, but was back to his happy self by Saturday. On Friday, we made Christmas cookies and went to our home group fellowship.

On Saturday, JD and Gabriel took most of the crew to Star Wars. Here is the picture I took before they were ready with the good light.

I have one child who chose to freeze over put on a jacket and shoes for the picture.

Here's the one that they posed for with the poor light; posing didn't seem to make a difference for Ben.

While they were all gone to Star Wars, I pulled out and organized Christmas presents while Alayna wrapped them. Nathan enjoyed all the mess.

At one point when Nathan was being a little too helpful, I gifted him with a home-made playpen. He was pretty impressed with it and wanted to go back in when Aunt Deb pulled him out.  

In between all the activity, Gabriel has played countless games of checkers with several children. My favorite was when I walked by a game between Selah and Bella and Selah jumped four checkers with no space between them side to side. She informed me that they were playing by "Bella's rules".

We are thankful to be all under the same roof this Christmas. (Nathan agrees as he applauds.) It is a very special Christmas as we reflect back to last year when Gabriel and Alayna were in CA and Nathan wasn't born yet!

Hunter, the cat, has no respect for my sister's cat allergies.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Three Years Home

 Over the stairs I have 11 frames with individual pictures of the kids. I got the brilliant idea to update them back in the spring with canvasses. I now realize that it really wasn't that great of an idea, because you can't just swap canvasses and put the older ones in a photo album, as is my current practice. Anyway, in the spring, I did a Gabriel and Alayna, an Alyssa and a Bella update picture. The other eight pictures are now old and not matching. Yesterday was beautiful, so I asked Moriah to just get a good picture of at least one child for me to update. She took Selah out, with Bella for good measure. (Sadly, I mailed the girl's three year updates to the adoption agency yesterday right before these pictures were taken and they are so much more current and cute!) 

Here are two of Selah's I like -

And two of the girls together. It's amazing that three years has past since they became sisters and joined our family. They have been an amazing addition!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December Past-time

My word of the month is vomit; well, it feels that way anyway. Elijah started throwing up eight days ago, and I had it by the next morning. I quarantined us and thoroughly cleaned and no one else got sick; until poor Alayna flew home from Memphis last weekend still feeling sick from a virus circling there. Since Saturday, we have had five more down for the count. I have no confidence that it will end there is spite of my cleaning until my hands are raw. It is the worst virus I've encountered in years...and there are just so many of us for it to work through.
We did have a nice break last Sunday before the second round hit; we went to "Walk through Bethlehem" in Richmond. It was really awesome and I would highly recommend it to anyone with one near.
It is going to be a pretty exciting Christmas this year, since it's the first ever with all 11 children under the same roof. Gabriel arrives home from his South America deployment next Thursday and I know the time all together is just going to fly by. I am really planning on doing a better job of blogging during all the family fun time!  (I just have to make it through the vomit to the fun!)
Elijah and his friend with a Roman soldier