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, April 28, 2017

A Few Other Things

There is always so much going on - these just show a few of the activities that actually had pictures to accompany them. 

I held our annual spring shave the dogs day; thankfully it's just two of the four, but it's still several hours of work and makes a horrible mess. 

On the other pet front, Hunter seems to be responding well to his thyroid medication and gaining some weight.

I had to spend an entire day down in the pit of a mess in the storage room; it stunk since it was so nice outside. It went from this -

to this -

Elijah has taught himself the presidents, including the number they were, middle names, etc, many facts that I do not know. I ordered him this president timeline; he is pretty thrilled with it. It's the size of the wall however and will not fit in the school room.

Lastly, JD and I went away to a bed and breakfast in downtown Fredericksburg for the weekend. I did not take any pictures, but JD took this one. It was a peaceful, relaxing weekend!

On Monday, Alei took me for sushi for a birthday lunch; it was surprisingly yummy! I have never enjoyed sushi before, but I stuck to the cooked ones!

 Now we are frantically planting grass seed and tilling the garden! 



Thursday, April 27, 2017


 You may remember way back that I sold the stuff in our back room to make room for a dojo, so that James and Elijah could continue with their local instructor that did not have a space to rent in the county. She is currently running three classes downstairs on Thursdays, and I added Julia to the beginner class several months ago. 

Tonight was testing - Julia earned her white belt. 

 Elijah and James earned their first stripe on their yellow belt -

 It's been a great program for the kids. Next we are going to be hosting Tori and class Latin boot-camp upstairs in the school room at the same time as MMA meets downstairs. Tori said it was like living at Parks and Rec. (and she doesn't mean the TV show, she means our local one.)

Opening in prayer.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Camp Weekend 2017

This was definitely our best weekend at camp in the five years we have gone. The kids have gotten older and are just able to enjoy more and be more independent. The only disappointment was that Selah and Elijah didn't make the weight cut to do the zip-line, so we are hoping that they will be able to next year.

parachute games while families are moving into their cabins
They have crafts at a big pavilion that you can work on at different times in the weekend. This was modge-podge and paint on tree cuts; they turned out very pretty. 

The food is catered by a local restaurant, and it is so nice to have a weekend of no cooking!

My favorite is canoeing; we turtle watched and enjoyed the geese that were visiting.

see the geese?

Tori took this picture

We did our annual African drumming and dancing class.

a successful selfie
They played a variety of egg games in honor of Easter.

Elijah  -

Selah -

Awesome "face" painter -

Elijah's arm

Selah's face

Deb came for just Saturday afternoon -

Bella was the mirror in Beauty and the Beast

We spent Sunday in downtown Charlottesville before finding a location to have Easter lunch. Definitely not our normal Easter, but we made the best of it.

After posing with the rhino, no one wanted to pose with the giraffe other than Bella. 

We met a man carrying around a snake that gave the kids a quick snake science lesson.

This picture shows that James has finally shot over Tori's height and Selah has overtaken Elijah. Talk about growing, I think Selah was five inches shorter that Elijah when she came home from Ethiopia. Tori and Julia are super tall - like a foot taller than all their friends. I just laughed when I read that Liberia was a land of pygmy people some years ago.

I didn't have to worry about Easter dresses and shoes this year, but I do hope it doesn't hit again on Easter next year!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Weekend Wonder

My life has been a whirlwind. We finished up our last week of Classical Conversations and I had three kids in my class test for memory master (if you don't know what that is, trust me you would be impressed!) I met with them and tested them before our last class on Tuesday. Wednesday, we did our Amish run and finished up meeting for our last goat - a second buck, named Duke. Thursday, JD and I had to be in Richmond all day, (my sister took child-care duty). Friday evening we had a wedding dress rehearsal for a family friend's wedding that Alei was maid of honor, (my sister and her friend took child-care duty again.) Yesterday, we did the wedding about an hour away and I left the children in care of Moriah, her boy-friend, Chris, and Chris' best friend home from college for the weekend. I came home to kids in bed and no on complaining, so that was awesome. Today my sister is again covering childcare in the afternoon, while JD and I go to a retirement party, and then Alyssa will take over for the evening while JD and I go to a meeting. 


Next weekend, we have family camp and I decided after that that I am going to schedule spring cleaning into my calendar. I enjoy people, and my friends even more, but I love the days that the kids and I stay home and I feel like we catch up on all the things to do around here.

JD has not been working on the garage since he fell off a ladder and sprained his ankle, so I have convinced him to do the taxes (not an easy task - convincing, I'm speaking of; I'm sure the taxes are even worse). The last few years, he has filed an extension and we are on that bad cycle. I'm hoping they get done before he heads off on travel.

Back to the wedding, I had a friend tell me about this barn venue about a year ago and it has intrigued me. It was awesome to go and see it in action. I know it's crazy, but the idea is in my realm of interest with our large Amish barn.

JD and I heading out for the wedding - 

 Have a wonderful Sunday! 



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Saturday and Sunday

 While JD hosted our church's 4th annual "Beans and Bullets", complete with barbecue and beans, guns and bullets -

the youngest four kids and I went on our own adventure to purchase a goat. I know it's confusing to the non-goat crowd why I would be selling and purchasing goats in the same time-frame, but it is to broaden the gene pool and be able to breed for different colors. 

I thought this goat was going to be black and white, but she is almost pure white. She looks like a little lamb and her name is Daisy. We drove just over and hour to the farm she was from.  

 It was a beautiful spot of Virginia and we stumbled across Patrick Henry's Virginia home and some awesome water falls.

 This was just along the road, so we pulled over and checked it out.

There was a crumbling foundation of some old building.    

 And something that resembled a walking bridge of old.

 The kids would have stayed for hours if I would have let them.

 I, however, wanted to get Daisy home to meet her farm-mates. She and Storm were both born last September and will be on the same breeding cycle. They weren't sure they were thrilled with each other at first but are doing well now.

 Today I went and met a Craigslist strawberry connection. She sold us 50 mature plants for $20. The kids and I went over and helped her dig them up and then we came home to plant them in the first bed that JD tilled just today.

 Honestly, spring and beginning the garden is my favorite, favorite time of the year and we are here! While it's too early for the traditional garden plants, I'm going to plan on getting some broccoli in the second bed tomorrow.