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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Getting Ready for Christmas

 Some decent progress happened on the house while I was in CO, and there has been more upon my return. but we still have a bit to go. The contractor finished up the last of the trim on Saturday and has to come back only for the wood stove and an awning out on the deck. JD has bathroom lighting and kitchen tile, lighting, and cabinet doors to put back on. 

Alei and I wrapped up wall painting last weekend but have some touch up work to do and a coffee buffet to paint. 

In the meantime, we put up the Christmas tree, because it's coming fast this year!

The purple wall is finally grey - 

After painting all day Friday and Saturday, Sunday morning came and the tables were covered, the floor was filthy and there was no lunch for all the visiting adult kids after church, so I stayed home and watched the service online while making chili and cleaning up. I enjoyed the quiet!

I gave the Pyrenees their Christmas dog beds early; the old ones moved to the garage where they sleep on them when they are too dirty to come in, which is frequently the last several days of rain.

Now I'm shopping online in between coats of paint! I'm hoping there is very little left after Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Early Gift

 I wrapped and left the boys' Christmas gifts, but wanted to give them this one early. Nathan was kind to demonstrate to Samuel how to unwrap a gift. Samuel enjoyed backing up and sitting on the box. 

Last Colorado Run

 I honestly wish we had counted how many trips our family has made to CO in the almost three years that Gabriel and Alayna have been stationed here; Frontier Airlines cheap, direct flights have made it so easy to be able to visit. JD has been out twice in the last month, so he held down the fort at home and let me make one last trip. I say it's probably the last, because Gabriel leaves for his next schooling/training in Feb. and Alayna is going to come to VA for Nathan's birthday the same month. Then they move to WA State a few months later. I'm bummed that WA is even further away, but it's an area of the country we haven't visited so that  opportunity is a bonus. 

Gabriel turned 28 on Dec. 6th; I know people always say they don't know how their kids got so old, but it's so true. Here I am with Gabriel and his sons outside his chosen birthday lunch eatery -

Inside, in case you were dying to see the inside of the establishment. 

One day we hit up Santa at the mall; Samuel was less than impressed with the man in the red suit. Santa made a valiant effort at winning him over, but not this year. 

Nathan was in charge of candles on his Daddy's cake - a 2 for 20 and eight  randomly placed individual ones. 

Alayna snapped this picture as Nathan and I read the Christmas story. 

This is Gabriel and Alayna's house decorated for Christmas. 

They also have a house in their neighborhood that decks out the backyard with a Christmas wonderland and leaves both sides open for people to walk through. They have been doing it for over 20 years so it was cool to see. 

Got this darling picture of Selah and Bella with their friends at the Bethlehem Walk while I was away. Bella had been asking to go this year, so I'm so happy for them. 

My last serious task of today is Nathan and I need to make cookies. I head home tomorrow.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Bonus

Our Thanksgiving bonus was this sunset out the new window - (left to right is Winchester (Moriah's baby), Moriah, Alyssa, Alei and Oliver (Alyssa's baby.) 

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Still Working -

 The ceilings and lighting are pretty much completed - it was a long few days of people caulking and painting. The mistake I made was showing up last Saturday with all the kids and a bunch of groceries, in the rain of course, to open the front door and not be able to walk in because everything was draped to spray the ceiling. We ended up carrying everything around to the back basement and stashing it there. The ceilings look so nice though; definitely worth it!

We had a flooring rush on Wednesday before Thanksgiving; the entire main area was finished that day except for some baseboards.  

Mud room and bathrooms floors -

We were able to get the dining room table out of the pod for Thanksgiving dinner - it's back covered in saw dust now, but was great for Thanksgiving! It's the first dinner that we were able to spread out at the table and not have to file in single file between the table and wall!

The purple wall looks like an accent wall now; I promise it isn't staying!

 More to come...

Sunday, November 17, 2019

More Progress

 Things are moving along over here; I'd love to say quickly, but most days are noisy and chaotic (with Spanish music playing that we can't understand) and I'm relieved when it's quiet bedtime. About everything is covered in saw dust so I finally relocated school and Oliver toys downstairs, so we can spend longer stretches in the slightly cleaner and quieter basement. I'm hoping we have floors by Thanksgiving so we can bring our table out of the pod, but that may be optimistic. 

Some things currently being worked on are new trim on the doors and windows .

Friday, the new counter tops went in. We are still awaiting one faucet and some touch ups, but we love them. We made the island smaller, taking out the seating along the one side, and created the peninsula larger and put the seating along it instead. 

They are still working on the ceiling, but yesterday, the electrician put in the recessed lighting in each square. 

Yesterday was Chris' college graduation open house at his and Moriah's new home. This was the picture I snapped on the way out the door. The guys are good sports because there are always kids and dogs weaving through the living room area where they are working. 

To be continued ...


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Still Working...,

 We are super proud of Gabriel, who is excelling beyond our best hopes in the military. He recently was awarded Sailor of the Year in CO where he works; he will now be coming out to MD to compete on a national level. It also sets him up as a very hopeful for another early promote. 

JD put on a uniform and flew out last week to re-enlist him again for a few more years. I know the Navy is very happy to hold on to him! He, Alayna and my adorable grand-sons will be moving all the way back to the west coast, which stinks for this Mimi, in the spring. He plans to head back to our area after that three years is up.

The re-enlistment was done in the Bronco's Stadium, where Gabriel has done color guard for the team the last few years.

Here's Gabriel and Elijah at the touchdown line - 

JD and Elijah heading home in their new matching "Salute to the military" Steeler hoodies Gabriel ordered them. 

Monday is my only day that Oliver comes and hangs out with us while Alyssa works, she only went back two short days a week. He enjoys the kids very much.

This particular Monday I thought the guys were just swapping doors, but it turned out that it was rip the flooring out day. It was rough with the noise and mess with Oliver, but we made it. Here was the living room area - 

And the kitchen - 

We have our first hold up also, the dishwashers were evidentially leaking under the cabinets, so now the cabinets have to be ripped out, sub flooring replaced and NEW dishwashers installed. Counter tops have been delayed. 

Today the siding guys came and took the siding off the entire back of the house. The windows were not sealed to code, so now we are having them fix this portion as doors and windows were being swapped anyway. 

Just this morning, I put the last clear coat on the bathroom vanity cabinets and drawers. I intended to also paint the actual bathrooms before the new flooring went in, but they are doing that now. So, I will just try to beat the new counter top and cover the floor!

Here are my cabinet doors curing against the living room wall. 

And last, but definitely not least to the kids, we are putting in a very large above ground pool. For years we have hoped to put in an in ground, but the cost is just so high and it doesn't seem to make it up the priority list. So this the compromise - the kids will have a pool and we won't go totally broke!