Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Ava!

Ava's birthday was in mid June!
I am so so so behind on my blogging...

Our plan was to go boating!
It was our first time out this year(mid June)!

We had an early dinner at a local restaurant on the lake!

I am always amazed when we find enough seats!
We once again met new people/friends that were so kind about our family 
and our choices for our lives!
I like to mention this because I think God places kind people in our lives to encourage us.
It reminds me to go out and encourage others!

Believe me, we often get the other reaction, 
so it is so nice when people are kind and positive to us!

Dinner was fantastic!
And we hopped back on the boat for more fun!

Some of the kids love being in the front of the boat while others love 
the "spray" of water they get on the sides!

I love these children with my heart and soul!
Everyday they bless me!

The weather began to take a turn for the worst as we boated from bay to bay.

The weather started to change while we were out on the lake.

Knees down guys!
I am a bit of a safety nut!

After a couple hours on the lake it was time to head back to the marina!
We did not want to get caught out there in a thunderstorm!

We finished off the celebration in jammies!
(I love jammies- they are so cozy!)

Happy Birthday precious daughter!
She was thrilled to get a necklace with her birthstone on it -
 a pearl!

(and now Anna wants a diamond ;-)
Ummm, we will see- yikes!
She might have to wait awhile for that one!)

Opening presents is so much fun!

Books, books and more books!
She loved them and she has already read all of them!
We love our bookworm, Ava!

With her influence and the two book studies we are in
we now have many bookworms!

I am in a book study with Sarah, Ava, Melissa and Anna!
Mia and Ellie sometimes join us when I read the books out loud to them!
We love talking about the books together!
It helps everyone to understand what they have read!

Some of the kids (Ava, Anna, Melissa and Sam) 
are in another book study from our church/school!
I like to read these books to the other children so we can all talk and share together!

Thank you Lori C for getting this going-
 it's been fantastic for our family!

Ava (and her photo bombers) chose a red velvet cake!
That's Katie and Andrew's favorite!
We may have texted them pictures of us enjoying the cake
just to make then jealous!
I'm not saying we did do that because that would be a little mean...
but we may have ;-)

Ava... you are growing up too fast!
and the same with ALL of your other sibs!

Thank you Jesus for the blessing us with this amazing girl!

This pic was taken the night before her birthday...
It WAS... of our 10 year olds.
Now she is 11...

People ask me the ages of our kids...
I am always at a loss of who is 9? who is 10? and who is 11?
Every month it changes!
So thankful that it does!
So thankful that I have this problem, that's not really a problem!

Friday, July 15, 2016

We Have A Baby! Updated!


And it's a GIRL!

She was born on July 2nd (3 days early)!

weighing in at 7lbs and 8 oz
20 inches long!

Oh my goodness, she is a beauty!

Caitlin's Mom was the winner of the contest!
I love how mother's know their daughters!
Way to go, Deb!

Her name is Elodie
pronounced like Melody without the M!
We love her name!

Matt and Caitlin have chosen not to have her pic all over the internet but
I did get the okay to post it here!

 She is absolutely ADORABLE!
We were just with them for the last few days!

We are so thankful for this precious treasure!

Feeling very blessed to have this moment with our grand baby and her parents!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Abundantly More and a GIVEAWAY!

By Angie Rylands

I remember being on facebook and seeing a post from a friend 
that made me gasp for air...

My friend through adoption, a pillar in the adoption community
and a huge advocate for the orphans
had just posted that her husband Tom, had cancer
and his prognosis was not good.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I immediately began to pray.

Except, my prayers sounded more like pleading to the Father.
Please Lord,
Heal him.
Please Lord, they have an amazing family with 5 sons.
Please... heal... Tom... please...
God, I know you can do miracles...
please God can you do one now.

God always hears our prayers....

God always answers our prayers...

Not always in our timeframe and not always the way we want them answered.
But instead, in HIS own perfect way and in HIS own perfect time.

I was thrilled when Angie asked me to preview her book~

Abundantly More

Angie is a talented writer and her style is so comfortable.
I felt like we were sitting across the table from one another enjoying a cup of coffee
and chatting.

Of course early on, I fell in love with Tom.
His humor, his wit and his commitment to his family 
are just a few of the characteristic that stood out.

Abundantly More honors her late husband, Tom.
But even more than that,
her book honors God.

It is a faith filled journey
of a woman who loves the Lord 
and throughout life's many challenges, 
 find herself in the most unexpected situation.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart and 
even though there are many smiles on the faces of this beautiful family, 
Angie's honesty shines through...

She is honest about her personnel shortcomings.

And about the many challenges that she faces as she parents her five sons.

She is honest about the loss of dreams and the depth of mourning that doesn't go away.

Her faith journey and God's grace is what stood out through every chapter.

We plan our lives and we look forward to the future.
But nothing could have prepared her for the journey that God had planned.

It's a humbling experience to let go of your hopes and dreams
and embrace God's plan...

If you have adopted or
if you have lost a loved one or
if your life's journey wasn't quite what you had expected,
you will love this book!

I'm hoping there will be a sequel!

God always hears our prayers....

God always answers our prayers...

Not always in our timeframe and not always the way we want them answered.
But instead, in HIS own perfect way and in HIS own perfect time.

God Bless you Angie Rylands!
Tom is so proud of you!
And I'm guessing God is pretty happy, too!

to enter her book giveaway!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Joyful Noise 2016

Last year I brought this crew to Joyful Noise 2015!
They loved it and wanted to come back in 2016, so we did!

Except we(I) decided to bring six more kiddos for 2016!
They were so excited to go for the first time!
Emma, Joey and Luke stayed home with Dad.
The two little boys were not interested in going 
and Emma does not like crowds.
She gets nervous with so many people, all the loud noises 
and concerned she will lose us in the crowd. 
We try not to put her in that situation very often (except of course- DisneyWorld ;-).
The three kiddos happily stayed home with Dad!

In Mn we have 4 seasons!
Fall, Winter, Spring and Road Construction...
We left in plenty of time so we wouldn't miss our favorite artists!

Josh Wilson was first!
He sings
"That Was Then This Is Now"
"I Refuse"
"Before The Morning"
"Carry Me"
and so so much more!
He was fantastic!

Next up, my personal favorite-
Francesca Battistelli!
She is truly amazing and her songs are the best!
Each one speaks to my heart!

She sang all of her hit songs!
"If Were Honest"
"He Knows My Name"
"Holy Spirit"
"This Is The Stuff"
"Beautiful Beautiful"
"Free To Be Me"
"It's Your Life"
"Strangely Dim"
"Let It Go"
And the list goes on!

We sang at the top of our lungs,
with her!
Praising God throughout the evening!

My kiddos were in front of me and I was constantly counting heads!
We were standing in the front area near the stage!

And when she was done they set up for the Newsboys!
 They let more and more and more people into the standing area.
We inched closer and closer to the stage as the crowd pushed forward.

I was always watching my babies- I did not want to lose anyone in the crowd!
We've lost a child one time and it was awful-
 not going to let that happen again!
Thank goodness they are so good about staying close to their Momma.

It was a beautiful evening in every way!
And we were soooo close to the stage!

And then the Newsboys came out!
They put on quite a show!
With a lot of energy and a lot of base!

And then...
my kiddos felt claustrophobic and nauseous.
We felt the base throughout our bodies.
One kiddo had to go to the bathroom
 and she was doing the dance...
if you know what I mean!

We were stuck in a HUGE energetic crowd!
I prayed and thought of this song

I had to smile!
Of course this would happen, of course!

And the kids followed me out of the crowd.
We had no problem getting out because
as I walked through the massive amount of people I said,
"We have to go to the bathroom and we are going to throw up!
Thank you!"
Which was all true!
(And we may have but I promised I wasn't going to post it)

Everyone parted and moved aside ;-)

Once we did our business and recovered, 
we returned to our previous seats and enjoyed the rest of the concert from a distance!
Personally, I like the seats further back a bit better!

Honestly friends, it was a challenge to
get there on time, 
find parking,
find a place for 12 people to sit
 and put their things.

Get a small affordable bite to eat for 12
 and make sure everyone got to the bathroom.
I was so thankful to God for his kindness and
that, for the most part
everything had worked out quite well.

I was feeling thankful and a bit teary and weary.

Then one of my kiddos handed me this note from the family sitting near us.
I saw her writing notes earlier in the evening and thought
"Wow, she's multi tasking at the concert."

I had no idea I would be the recipient of such kind words!


You made my night!

Words of encouragement
are such a gift!
How did you know,
that was just what I needed!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book review - The Story I'll Tell!

I have posted this book review over at the "No Hands But Ours Site"!

Please click on the link above
to read the post!

Thank you!