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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Canvas Choices

These are the pictures that I ordered canvases of, other than the large family picture, and they arrived yesterday. I love Oliver's smile in this one as he was walking towards the photographer while we all attempted to arrange dogs! 

Me and all seven of my daughters - 

Elijah and Oliver - 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

30 Years!

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to DIVIDE it with - 

 30 years has brought the best of times as well as the hardest. We have raised, and are still raising, 11 children, many which took an abundance of difficulty to bring across the ocean. We also did several foster children before them. We have built a house and a hobby farm and have an abundance of animals on our acres. 

I remember taking to heart a quote that I heard young that more people regret the things they didn't do, than the things they did; we have lived with that to heart. 

Now we get the enjoyment of the grandparent stage; it really is more fun than parenting and I only hope that my west coast kids move east in the next few years! 

Hoping for another 30 years!

A good marriage isn't something you find, it's something you make, and you have to keep on making it.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas 2020

We had a fabulous Christmas this year! While we were not all together, we had all the Virginia members under one roof. My sister was able to make a trip to Memphis to visit my parents and yet make it back for a second round of Christmas dinner. We enjoyed a Christmas left-over brunch this morning before my sister's guest left town. 

We attended Christmas Eve service together and came back for the usual Christmas Eve sibling secret Santa gift exchange. 

After the younger crowd went to bed, we brought out the presents and stuffed the stockings. The house was quiet and calm and only a few creatures were stirring; Winnie was dreaming of Christmas turkey the next day since his momma is a vegetarian. 

No one young is allowed up until 7:00 a.m. and the adults have to get up at 7:00. We put in the cinnamon rolls in the oven, made coffee and tea and began present opening. 

Montana crammed herself in between the couch and coffee table and napped on our feet. 

I got new chairs for Christmas - although people sat right down on the plastic. 

Joseph, Alyssa and Oliver came over after doing their own Christmas at their house. 

We got Alei and Alyssa bikes; everyone is going to be riding this spring! 

Oliver was excellent help with anyone who needed some opening assistance. 

We were very happy that James made it home for Christmas; it had been a bit since we had seen him!

I'm pretty happy with the shirts I got the grandboys - 

At the end of the long, fun day, I drug the dog beds out and tucked everyone in. We have so much to be thankful for!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas is Coming

Last Christmas arrived just as the workers were wrapping up our remodel, however, there were a few lingering things that we had to finish. The one that lingered for a full year was the wood stove. Finally, I kind of demanded that it be finished as the whole area really required it to appear finished. JD started on the project, but was rather discouraged about the stones. He did the one downstairs successfully years ago, but I was more than happy to bring in Francisco and relieve him of the chore. Francisco has done a ton of stuff for us the last few years, including the whole apartment over the garage and our house remodel. We have also referred him for many jobs and friends' homes. He sent a husband and wife team over for the stones.

They worked a long day, but got all the rocks in place and were very pleasant to have, so have won the job to also do the front of the garage in the spring. 

It was glorious to have done as we were already a month into the wood stove parked in the middle of the dining room floor area!

After they were done, JD finished up the tile under the stove. 

He also cut and installed the Amish mantle we had made and then reinstalled the wood stove. It was finished for Thanksgiving. 

Now I have hung the barn collection above it and decorated for Christmas. I'm making the last missing touch in the next week or so, which will hang on the top left.  

I'm very happy to have this last piece of the remodel finished! This year I was able to decorate more than last year. I really love my Nativity sets!

I also like greenery and lights  - 

A few more festive areas - 

JD's dad made these one Christmas - there are seven of them and they are among our most treasured Christmas decorations!

This smaller tree is for the benefit of viewing from the window as you come up the driveway, but it's providing a good wrapping and present staging area. 

This years wrapping elves in training were hard at work when Alaska decided he really needed to nap on this particular rug. Since there was no room for him, he just stood in the way like a horse!

Lastly, our Christmas cards will go out tomorrow, then I will be able to put the family pictures on the blog also. Spoiler alert, some made it to Facebook before the Christmas cards!

Merry Christmas to all if I don't make it back before Christmas Day! I actually may, as I have a month break from classes, so life is feeling rather leisurely! 

Friday, December 4, 2020


The only cat that didn't get any recognition on the cat blog was Boots, our only grand-cat. Boots is a pretty special kitty, he was part of my first rescue litter this spring and was taken home by Alyssa and JP. Now he is the best friend of Oliver. It takes something special in a kitty to be a 1 year old's BFF; not all kitties are willing to be carried around by a 1.5 year old, as well as sit in the booster with them!

And a lot of hugs and kisses! He isn't willing to just kiss the top of Boot's head either, he makes sure he gets him right off the face, as shown in the this picture!

My newest kitties, George and Martha were napping in the screened in porch today and Oliver made several attempts to show them how much he liked them, but they only took about one hug to make sure they moved fast when they saw him heading their direction!

I am attempting to add this video that is Oliver saying "Boots" - hope it will work. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Resident and Visiting Doggies

Kylie, the Pomeranian, is the smallest, yet oldest resident dog. She is struggling at 11-12 with a collapsing trachea and is on two medicines a day. It's managed for now, but not sure how long it will help. What she lacks in brains, she makes up for in personality. She has never met a human or animal that she doesn't like. She isn't jealous of other dogs getting any attention, which goes a long ways around here!

When she starts her coughing routines, even the dogs were initially alarmed. Now we are all used to it and barely look up. Visitors are often alarmed though!

Next up is Fiona, the sheep-herding dog that flunked from duty and was given to us by friends. She is seven and  is truly a princess. She manages to go out to the barn and chase hawks, but come back to the house with her paws still clean. She wasn't jealous until we got Montana, but now anytime Montana or Alaska come for petting, she rushes between us and them. 

Next up is Montana and Alaska. I think most people are familiar with their story, so I'll recap quickly. When I saw Montana advertised on Marketplace as a "used dog", I decided to rescue her. Alei and I made the trip three days before Christmas across the state to bring her home. Within days, she jumped the fence and ran away. We searched for three days,  found her, and worked towards an electric fence that gave her a large area. About a week after finding her, I noticed that she appeared to be getting swollen in the belly and feared she was pregnant. A week later, she started delivering puppies in the barn in the 10 degree unusually cold weather,  the night before we were leaving for our family vacation to Disney World. 

James carried her in the basement against her will between puppies 2 and 3 or 3 and 4. I delivered the final 9th puppy that was stillborn at 1:30 a.m. and had to get up by 3:30 to leave for Florida. I left an un-potty trained horse-dog in the basement, that would run away if allowed, with 8 new puppies for my sister and a friend to care for. To say they were busy that week was an understatement. I had also delivered about six goats earlier in the week, which had little sweat-shirts and heat lamps to keep them warm in the barn! 

It was a long 8 weeks of puppies, the mess was unbelievable, the smell was horrific, but it's a fun memory looking back. We adored them and we kept the "'biggest" boy, although there were three such large ones, that I have no idea if Alaska ended up being the same puppy as we first picked out!

They are now four and turning three in January and truly fun to own. The hair is it's own blog, lets just say I have a few of the best vacuums on the market!

Montana is fiercely loyal to me. Although she is scared of men she doesn't know, she will not ever let me go outside without her faithfully by my side. Alaska is a big baby, like really big, and loves everyone!

Alaska loves walking, but this is the first time we talked Montana past the electric fence with her collar off. She enjoyed our four mile walk also. Fiona slips the collar over her head at every chance, because she wants to go, but not on a leash. 

Now, if it were just my four dogs, it would be all reasonable.... for the most part. However, I have daughters that live local, come often and always bring their dogs. First of all, we have Lucca. Lucca belongs to Alei and comes five days a week for day-care. He is pretty good with the routine and has a bark that would keep anyone from ever coming in uninvited. He may be tied for the most spoiled dog I've ever known....

His competition would be Moriah's dog, Winchester. The Winchester story is very entertaining, but the short story is that he belonged to Moriah's boss and Winnie decided over time that he liked Moriah better and demanded to leave with her each day. At first, everyone fought it, but Winnie was persistent and is now officially Moriah and Chris' dog and the boss' family got a new dog. Winchester doesn't believe he is equal with the other dogs and sits politely at the table next to Moriah at meals. 

Honestly, it all seemed manageable at this point BUT then Alyssa and her family got a rescue puppy, Keanu. Keanu is a sweet boy, but a serious chicken killer so we always have to verify that he isn't coming over if we let the chickens out. Keanu loves coming over, and seemed depressed when they took him home; so when he turned one, Alyssa and JP went and got Keanu a sister, a black lab puppy named Reese. Reese also loves coming over, but still loves peeing on the floor, and chewing any shoes left on the porch. So, we are just patiently waiting to get past the puppy stage, so we can have all eight dogs in the house - won't that be fun? 

Reese has grown, but she is still all puppy! 

It's all fun until Oliver naps.....then they all are banned to the great outdoors to keep the barking from waking Oliver up ....and inevitably the UPS driver drives up. While about three of us run around the truck telling them to all stop barking, that is the moment you know they leave shaking their heads and go home to tell their spouses about the crazy people with all the dogs. 

This of course doesn't include Diesel and Waffles that live in the Northwest with Gabriel and Alayna, but one day will move east again!