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, December 28, 2018

Christmas 2018

We had a much quieter Christmas than usual, since Alei, Moriah and Chris all flew to Colorado to have Christmas with Gabriel and Alayna and my darling grand-sons. It's funny to consider just six kids and one son-in-law quiet but it really was compared to what we are used to! I missed the chaos and extra mess honestly. 

I have fought with the lights on this tree all of December; two strands are currently out and I think the whole thing is going to come down earlier than I hoped. I bought lots of new lights in many varieties on the 26th, so next year we will be set!


Tori got two ferrets for Christmas and we only took video, so I'll have to get some pictures of them. They are quite entertaining; Selah is in love with them and has set up playgrounds for them. My plan is their run time is the hours Tori spends doing school in her room anyway.
Aunt Deb and Elijah
Bella and Selah

Kylie guarding her Christmas bone from the big dogs.
I was pretty excited about company we have scheduled for tonight and tomorrow night, however, Elijah has a wicked cough and I think I'm going to have to postpone both occasions. 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Ready or Not

 After dragging the kids through town for nine hours the other day, I think we are ready for Christmas. I came home and ordered the last few things and the big girls have helped me wrap them as they have rolled in. The girls are all great shoppers; it's poor Elijah who was requesting to go home the last several hours.

 Look at these super darling cookies that Tori made as a gift for a friend - I just love them. 

 We are off for some caroling with friends to several shut-ins. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Miscellanious

 We have really been enjoying the Christmas season, just not taking enough pictures to prove it. Elijah is obsessed with football! Here is a ticket he made for Chris, Moriah's fiance, to come and watch a game with him - 

We have been blessed to do several new Christmas activities this year; we went to the Richmond Ballet for The Nutcracker for the first time, we saw CYT's A Christmas Story, which was greatly entertaining, and tonight we attended Winterfest at King's Dominion. It was really beautiful but got so, so cold!

Last year I got the basic Willow Tree nativity; this year we added the shepherd and animals. Next year I am hoping for the wise men. 

JD made me these two mug racks for the overflow mugs he buys me on travel - they are from wood we had the Amish mill after clearing for our house. 

 Here is some interesting cauliflower that just came in the farm share box - I'm kind of drowing in strange greens around here that I'm not sure what to do with.

We often have two polar bears relaxing in the living room; Alaska is scared of the wood floor so we put a towel down for him to walk in and out. 

 We had PJs and pancakes at CC with a book exchange and "minute to win it" games; the kids had a blast.

Today we finally made gingerbread men and sugar cookies; there are still a few dozen awaiting decorating tomorrow. 

 Tonight Alyssa joined us at King's Dominion Winterfest. This was in front of the Christmas tree at the entrance -- it's so big that you can't tell it is a tree. The lighting isn't good, but it's still the best I got!

 See? My other attempts were even worse.

Alyssa with our friend's son.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Last School Year

 Here are last year's CC school photos - I already can't believe how much older the kids look. Yes, I just down-loaded them from the email attachement that I received back in March, (better late than never!)

Bella gets her hair relaxed now and has new glasses.  

3rd grade photo; 4th now

Selah has grown a ton in the last year, went from wearing 8s last year to 12s this year; never did actually unpack many 10s. She is also getting her hair relaxed and wearing it down most of the time. 

4th grade photo; 5th this year
 Elijah had his eyes closed in his first picture and looks quite "cool" in this one. 

Elijah - 4th last year also; 5th now
  Julia was 6th grade last year, 7th this.

Tori was 7th last year and is 8th now - she will be a high schooler next year!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Waiting on Wedding Pictures

I'm anxious to show wedding pictures - it was a beautiful day! The pictures aren't back yet, understandably, and I did not even keep my phone with me on the wedding day, except for a few quick text checks. I am showing about everything on my phone. These are the flower pictures that I took - the top one  was actually Alyssa's bouquet before it was modified by removing lillys and adding several variety of white flowers.

The other ones were decorating flowers -

Here is the rehearsal held the night before, I am not sure the joke about the hats, but there was one!

Two bridesmaids, including Tori, couldn't be there for rehearsa, so we had Julia and Selah stand in for them.

Alyssa and Joseph front and center -

Gabriel, James and Nathan flew from CO for the wedding; Gabriel and James were great help and Nathan took his ring-bearer responsibilities very seriously. This was taken on one of our early morning "super snuggles". He is such a sweet boy and loves his visits to Virginia!

Moriah made this huge sign which leaned against a tree on the way in.

We did first look pictures and half the pictures before the wedding to maximize the light. This was Selah and Nathan watching from the bridal sweet.

I will be sharing "real" pictures as soon as I have them. Beyond that, we had family here for the next two days, and while I didn't remember to take pictures to prove it, I did make them cookies.

We had to put our tree up two days before Thanksgiving, because JD and Elijah left for CO on Black Friday and we didn't want to do it without them, or wait a full week for them to return. 

Alaska, Selah and Fiona - 

 You can see how helpful the dogs are -it's like a maze to get around their huge selves.

We had a pretty low-key Thanksgiving with just our family, but lots of yummy food!

 JD and Elijah left for CO on Friday to see the clan out west and meet the new sweet baby, Samuel.

As a huge, life-defining moment for Elijah, Gabriel was able to get them tickets to the Bronco/Steeler football game, along with passes to be on the field with the team before the game. I can't imagine that Elijah, who already has a reputation for talking, is going to stop talking about this from now until Christmas!

JD, Elijah, Gabriel, Nathan and James
The girls and I went on a feral cat rescue mission at Kings Dominion last night. We didn't come home with them but are on the list to be called if they need a home. I guess there are 8 "kittens" that need to be placed before they close for New Year. I told them to put me at the bottom of the list because I don't actually want any more cats, nor the bills that come with them, but I'll be there is they don't have other options.

King's Dominion did a huge, beautiful Winter Wonderland this year. Here is Selah and Bella with a Christmas moose. 

I bought a new nativity last year and the picture to go with it, after using one for 10 years that the wise men were missing their hands. I think some greenery and the piano will be perfect for Christmas.