Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There's No Place Like Home!

Yep, we are going HOME!

We will be heading back to MN in January.

Not exactly good planning...
because it's the middle of the winter
we are going to embrace the winter
with sledding, hot cocoa, warm nights by the fireplace...
and an opportunity to go through
35 plus years (and 21 children) of stuff
(not the children... the stuff!)

Ya... we may have our work cut out for us...
bc we may have a storage space or two or three or....
It's best that I stop right there!

It feels good to go back to familiar!

Moves are a lot of work...
they are over the top stressful...
but going back to familiar makes it a tad bit easier...

We're replanning who is in which bedroom 
and what furniture we will put where
and that we intend to not have any "piles of stuff" 
laying around the house.

We are talking about all the things we love about Colorado and
all the things we are looking forward to, once we are in Minnesota.

Big brothers, friends, church, boating, sledding, swimming, 
soccer games (Johnny's going to be coaching a team and 
yes, we will watch him coach and cheer the team onto a victory), 
cookouts on the front lawn, golden retrievers running the yard,
school/homeschool, field trips with friends, activities, familiar faces
and so much more!

Thank you Jesus for working out all of the details!

Hoping to NOT move for a
LONG while...
but we will see about that?

All prayers appreciated!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Moving... Again...

I can't believe it...

 once again at Christmas time...
(actually right after Christmas... just like last time)

We are weary but we are finding strength through prayer!
Honestly... these kids are amazing and they have an upbeat attitude-

which we are thankful for!

My model could stop laughing...

This kids is awesome!
She is such a great packer, hard worker and she makes it FUN!

Along with this one and truthfully many... most of the other kiddos!

There ya go sweetie!
Ya gotta look the part!
Exhausted, weary, over worked and under paid!

More details to follow!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Our July Birthday Trifecta!

On July 20th (Ellie), 21st (Emma) and 22nd (Joey) we are busy celebrating!
This happens twice a year for us!
(The other time is March 31st (Jenny), April 1st (Emily and Jake) and April 2nd (Anna)!)
And this year, Easter will be celebrated on April 1st...
busy times!

Yes... there are time that we want to simplify the 
whole birthday celebration thingy...
It's a lot and we do get...
warn out.

But look at her smile!

 And that's when we realize that we can do this!
We can make one day... their day... every year!
(Times 16, plus 3 in loves, plus 3 grands!)

Happy 15th Birthday, Ellie!

As usual, the kids make their own cards!

No matter how simple they are...

 they are still appreciated by the birthday girl or boy!

We have toned down on the gift giving...
which is okay because we all have all that we need.

The birthday person can make a list as long as they want...
but they need to star only 4 things that are their top choices...

in hopes that they will get 2-3 of the four things they really want.

I love how the crowd gathers
closer and closer!

Everyone enjoys the celebration
and a close look at the birthday girl's gifts!

 15 candles!

 Ellie chose cheesecake!

 HaPpY BiRtHdAy to YOU!!!

Hope your birthday wishes come true!

And then it's
EMMA'S turn!

They have been home for 7.5 years!
They were scared to death when they met us
and our time together in China
was beyond challenging!

Once home, they adjusted to life in a family and became amazing daughters!
We are very blessed to have them in our family!

This is Emma's favorite day of the year!

She loves that so many of her siblings made her birthday cards!

You are so loved, Emma!

Emma gets very excited about her birthday!
Sometimes she can get a little too excited...
so we just say, "Emma, calm down!"
and she answers back, "Okay"

It's a long 365 days between birthdays!

And now it's finally
her turn!

Happy 17th Birthday, Emma!

Emma chose a bundt cake!

I had to keep this pic in the mix 
because it's one of the best pics of Jake!
He hasn't quite perfected his picture smile. 
He tends to look away or 
close his eyes or 
have a fake smile. 

We're working on it!

Great pic of Emma!

She's is beaming with joy!
You missed one candle!

And then the next day...
it was Joey's Birthday!

Joey gave me his birthday list a couple weeks early!
As we celebrated Emma we asked him 
if he was excited to open his presents the next day.
He said he was very excited!
And then, I asked him what he wanted most from HIS birthday list?

turns out Joey never wrote his birthday list...
he had some help from his two older bros...
Well, at least Joey will get what Sam and Ben want...

Our little guy is looking so much older...
I didn't really notice until...

Happy 9th Birthday, Joey!

It's finally your turn!

And he loves the homemade cards from the sibs, too!

Grace and Jake are fitting right in!

Since Sam and Ben had a lot to do with writing Joey's birthday list...
they were very excited to see what... 
Joey got!

He got everything they wanted!

Had to do a selfie of the crowd!

Sam and Ben were very pleased!

Joey struggles with sitting still and finishing a task-
 so we thought puzzles may help him!
and yes, I told him to open his eyes...
note to self- don't do that!

He's all boy...
so crashing cars
are perfect for him!

Here's what it looks like from the birthday boy's perspective!

And of course every boy needs a water gun!
Especially when your brothers don't have one...
enjoy Joe!
Run brothers!

Joey chose a bundt cake, too!

Can't believe he is 9 yrs old!

Happy Birthday, Joey!

We spent the afternoon at Chuck E Cheese!
Joe choice of activities!

Everyone got a certain amount of tokens 
and when you are done
you are done!

No extras, no borrowing,
everyone gets the same amount...

Grace loved the games!

The birthday boy with Chuck E Cheese!

The perfect way to celebrate
if you are
a 9 yr old boy!