Thursday, January 30, 2014

Helping Our Children Grow in Their Faith- UPDATED

I love how our LORD works!

I love how he uses 
YOU and me 
to help others, to nudge a thought into their heads or to redirect them.

This week two bloggy friends have done that for me.

They did it just by emailing me simple questions.
Questions that I should have been able to easily answer but instead I found myself stumbling for the right words to say.
(you can cut me a little slack due to the stomach flu but I don't deserve any more than that…)

I am bringing their questions to you because I think we can each grow and learn by sharing our answers.
I want to learn and grow by reading your answers!

 Their question made me think and rethink what am I doing to teach the children about Jesus.
We have been in survival mode for quite awhile and although things are going well we still have many "everyday" things we are working on.

I pray all the time but I don't always share my prayers with the children nor have I shared my prayers or results with the children ( we did share before we went into survival mode).

Sometime I think of it as my secret weapon but the glories of GOD are not meant to be kept secret.
Their questions were a good reminder to me to share my faith and love for the LORD with the children and with others.
We were falling into habits that we don't want to have and it's time to crawl out of the hole!

(Katie started cleaning the house as everyone was getting sick! Good try Kate! In the end she got it too…)

We had tickets to a play and weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it.
The bucket was present "just in case"!

I read the book to all the children to prepare them for the play- hoping we could get there!
After all I had purchased 14 tickets!

Now- back to the original topic!
we go to church every weekend(except when we are sick).
We do bible stories M-F with our homeschool.
UPDATE- We use Abeka Curriculum- some do the video series and some do not.
We pray before our story time.
And the children hear me mumble throughout the day "thank you Jesus".

BUT something is missing and it's time to get "it" back.

"It" is sharing the love of the Lord with our kids, with others and with anyone who sees us.

"It"  is to radiate HIS love 
to teach our children to desire and allow the Holy Spirit to shine through them!

"It" is to welcome Jesus into our hearts.

Here are their questions. Please answer them in the comments!

D asked-
I was wondering if you could recommend any children's books you may have used to tell the story of Jesus or other bible stories.   The language barrier is so hard.

C asked-
 Did you convert your kiddos right when you brought them home?  How long after?  Did you give them a choice?  Did they seem to have deep rooted religious beliefs when they came to you?

One thing I have found is that God's children are eager to learn about him.
It is our job to spiritually feed them.
Also their tender herts are attracted to HIM because HE is all that is good and right.
Most of the time I am the problem when I get too busy to share with them or I keep it all inside and just forget to share.
I also find that I often need to connect the dots for them and make it simple.
I notice in our home school curriculum they ask a biblical question and always follow up with the correct answer. Sometime the answer is for the child to memorize and not one they would think of by themselves.
With our range of english language learners I believe that if they don't understand the answer now they will in time!

I think it is important to attribute all things in a positive way- events and results to our Lord. 
When looking for the good, it becomes evident!

The children see the tenderness of the Lord shine through and they will desire it for themselves!

Excited to see your responses!

Everyone seemed to be doing well, so off we went!

The play was WONDERFUL!
It was "The Mitten".

By the next day we had more fallen soldiers including me and then a day later, Katie!

This is how the stomach bug spreads- sorry to be part of the problem…
Thank goodness everyone is 100% now!

Friday, January 24, 2014

They Fell Like Flies...

I was hoping to NEVER have to write a post like this!
Since we have been bringing our children home we have been quite healthy-

every once in awhile the tummy flu will

It really has been quite mild compared to what it could be.

The victims so far are-
last but not least…

Hubby is on the fence right now…

We are hoping
will not get it!

Katie has avoided it so far and is now in DC visiting the other half of the family!
Praying she doesn't get it!

Sorry, no pics!
It wouldn't be pretty!

Looking forward to getting my energy back and diving into LIFE once again!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WOW! What Wonderful Weekend!

It started on Friday when Katie and I went shopping for the baby!
(Well, we may have purchased a few things for ourselves too!)

Later, we met Hubby/Dad for an early dinner at one of Katie's favorite restaurants- PF Changs!

Saturday Morning was wonderful!
Auntie Mimi had a baby shower for Baby Burgess!
Katie is 29 weeks now and once she leaves she will not be returning until after the baby is born.
This was our only opportunity for a baby shower.
Auntie Mimi went all out!

It was a bring your favorite childhood book shower!
Some guest brought other gifts and some sent a gift to their home in Germany.

The party favors where a bottle of wine to toast with once Baby Girl Burgess is born and truffles!

That's Katie's baby bump and the big sister Penny(doggy) featured on the label!

It was so much fun celebrating this new Mommy to be and her sweet little baby girl!

 so wonderful see friends and family that she hasn't see for many months!

Our niece Meghan is expecting her second child one week before Katie!
They are both having girls!

Katie's friend Jess won the game and guessed how big Katie currently is!
The rest of us were waaayyyyy over!
Sorry Honey!

Family photo of the ladies!
Sarah, Mia, Ellie and Ava came with us- they were wonderful helpers and they loved being there!

While we were at the baby shower Hubby and big bro Billy where at Chuck E Cheese with the other nine children!
It just so happened to be Abby's 8th birthday!
Now we have 3 eight year olds and 4 seven year olds- one by one my babes are getting older.
The children had a blast and Hubby and Billy survived the afternoon!

That evening we had everyone over for a birthday dinner.

This is everyone except- Matt, Caitlin, Andrew and Kelly.
Hoping in June(at Matt and Caitlin's wedding) we can get a pic of everyone together!

The human jungle gym!

Love pics of the olders with the youngers!

Mark is so loved! 
Joey and Ben just can't get enough of him!

These two are such a cute couple!
However there is NEVER alone time at our house!
I am surprised there is only one on their lap!

I love this pic of Sarah and Emma… but not thrilled with Johnny in the background...

Love seeing Mia's true smile!

These two "big girls" are amazing!
It is a journey adopting older BUT so worth it!

Abby loved her gifts!
A jewelry box and an American girl doll with some outfits!

Joey loves the view while being held!
It's hard being the smallest one in the family.

Katie thought it was a little loud at our home when we all get together!
I think they have gotten much quieter over the last month!
Progress is being made!

The usual hovering around the birthday girl!
Everyone of them wants "to help"!

Love you guys!

I'm hanging on and not letting her go!
It has been such a joy having her home!

Abby's birthday cake has a winter sledding scene!
The girl is asian with a pink jacket- just like our birthday girl!

Happy Birthday Abby!

Just missing Matt!
They all grew up much too fast!

Good Night Sweet Girl!
Sleep Tight!

The next morning was brunch with friends!

Katie's BFF is newly engaged so we needed time to talk weddings!

That night we had our Families With Children from China New Year celebration!
No pics, but  a ton of fun!
It just so happened our Ben (7 yrs old) saw a little friend from his orphanage at the party!
The other little boy (4 yrs, almost 5) came home 2 weeks after Ben!
The boys were shocked and overjoyed to see each other!

Praising GOD for this wonderful weekend with friends and family!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Really, Really Good News!

I thought I was 56 and I just found out I am 55 yrs old!
I am feeling so very young and energetic!

Hubby thinks it's a good thing that I am so busy I have no idea how old I am or how young I am!

More Good news!
Today is our 32nd anniversary!
We had a nice leisurely lunch together!
It was so much fun just spending time with the man of my dreams!
We talked about how amazingly wonderful the first 32 years have been and that we hope and pray to have another 32 years together! It just so happened that our waitress just celebrate her 54th wedding anniversary- good job Mary and hubby!


We went to the airport and met the cutest little Mommy to be!
She flew in from Germany!
It is so wonderful having her HOME!
What a great anniversary gift!

There was quite the welcoming committee!

All the children are so excited to see Katie and her baby bump!

She was treated to a back rub and lots of love from her younger siblings!

So thankful she is home- it has been much too long!
(We miss you Andrew)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Shower Time For The Little Girls!

So blessed to have these five little treasure - more commonly known as the "little girls"!
They LOVE their shower time!
And everyone is smelling soooooo good lately!

In fact they smell so good that I went out and bought some for myself!
I needed something special for me so I got japanese cherry blossom!
I love it!

If you need a gift idea for next Christmas or a birthday idea - B*th and B*dy Works is wonderful!

And now all of our little girls have lotion for this dry winter weather. 
It was always a problem getting lotion on so many kids but not anymore!

I love it when I find something that works and solves a bit of a problem!

They are all so joyful and loving life!!
Praising God for these sweet "little girls"!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Venturing Out With The Big Girls!

We have been home a lot lately due to a variety of circumstances-
 no vehicle that fit all of us, two new boys, holiday crowds and frigid temps.

As the temps have become more moderate, we now have a vehicle and the boys have been home for one month we are beginning to venture out more often!

Big brother Mark had a pizza and movie party with the children at home! While hubby and I took the 3 big girls to their first Timberwolves game.

Mia became very quiet as we were driving. Her experiences while in the orphanage were very limited and she was always surrounded by the other children from the orphanage. She had no idea what "going to a Timberwolves game" would entail. Did we expect her to play basketball? Although there were plenty of open seats the crowd overwhelmed her. She retreated into her shell but thankfully not for long.

Once our chicken fingers, chips and bottle of pop arrived she began to feel better. And once she could see that she that we were just relaxing and enjoying the game as a family she started smiling and talking again.

Our team won…by a lot! Which always makes it even more fun!

I really hate cotton candy… I look at it and see cavities and sticky fingers - I wanna run for my toothbrush 
I got to have it when I was a child 
I need to loosen up and let the children have it, too (occasionally).

It was so much fun spending time with our three "big girls"! They really enjoyed the game and the experience!
Emma was very happy to stay home with Mark and be at the pizza party! Loud noises and big crowds are not her favorite. In fact she actually seemed relieved to not have to go!

It is kind of nice to divide up and enjoy the children in slightly smaller groups now and then!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Of my blog lately.
So sorry I have been spacing out my posts.

Life with 13 children at home, three big boys that come and go, a pregnant daughter(and son in love) in Germany- excitedly planning for the baby and a son(and daughter in love to be) happily planning a wedding in Denver has made it a bit busy around here!

Hi guys!
Ahhhhh, you're a bit late!
New Years Eve was 10 days ago!
But… there's always a reason to party around here!

I love that we have so many kitchen helpers!

We have enough salad making volunteers to last us the rest of 2014!

With everyone pitching in at mealtime it makes it so much easier!

Billy has started his new job!
He just finished with his masters in taxation and after their trip to Germany, it was back to reality!
We have loved seeing him more often and having him be available to help us out now and then 
that's over now that he is working.

First time using the grill outside!
No matter what the temp hubby loves his grill!

FYI- it was way below zero so the steaks took a little longer but they were wonderful!
And the cooks weren't even frostbit!

We love these puzzle trays to help us sort our puzzle pieces!
I recommend them IF you like puzzles!

This is our first 1000 pc puzzle!
It was soooo much fun!
Ellie consistently worked on it with me while other children came and left.
I am proud of her for sticking to it and continually trying!
She was very patient!

Sarah and Mia joined us half way through and finished it up!
Emma joyfully watches us and joins in the fun!

We let them stay up late to work on it!

This was such a cool puzzle because it is different than the picture on the box!
It's called "Something's AMISS" and they are so right- scenes were mixed around, colors changed, people in different clothing, weather scenes switched around and more!

This was our second puzzle of the vacation.
600 pc world with countries in their correct shape.
It taught me a thing or two(or 100) about geography.
The kids loved it!
Mia, Ava, Ellie, Sam, Anna and Melissa worked on this one!
They are my second graders and we are doing some geography and studying America!

Someone came up to our door selling birds eye view photos of the homes in the area!
So we bought one of our home!
It was taken in the fall- a pretty time of year!

Sylvia is fantastic but she is a beast!
(Sorry honey!)
She is easy to drive and handles beautifully!

BUT parking her is another story!
I don't even know what's legal when it comes to a vehicle like this?

We finally have our handicap sticker and now we have a vehicle too big for any handicap spot…

any thoughts on how to legally park one of these things?