Monday, November 28, 2016

The Blessing of Another Birthday!

A birthday is
 an incredible blessing
but especially
when you have had
life saving heart surgery as an infant!

So when we celebrate this sweet boy...
I just want to fall to my knees and thank
our heavenly father!

Luke is the youngest of soon to be 21 kids!

excited for this birthday!

The little presents on top and the homemade cards are from the siblings at home!

Finally, he is 8 yrs old!
The same age as Grace (joining our family in December) and Joey!

For us,
our children put life into perspective.
What's really important and what's not so important.
We focus on the blessings from God
and try to filter out what doesn't need to be focused on.

Our children have spent their early years without the love of a family,
without medical care, without knowing Jesus and without being celebrated...

The children love making and giving things to each other!
Even if they are giving a toy from an old McDonalds happy meal!

They are very giving and generous, almost to a fault.
In fact we have to make a rule
that they cannot share their new toys or clothes,
pajamas or any other bday gift
until they have had it for 3 months.
Once the birthday child has read their new book, then the other kids can read it.
If they are playing with a sib and the sib wants to try out the new toy,
as long as it's okay with the birthday child, it's fine with us.

So why do we have this silly rule?
1. So our children can learn to accept a gift and understand what a gift is.
2. So they can learn how to take care of their belongings.
3. So other sibs can learn not to touch what is not theirs.
4. So other sibs don't break and mistreat others things.
5. So they understand they can say no and they don't have to say yes "just to be liked".
6. So that the pecking order(future post) does not infiltrate our home and the top dog doesn't end up with everyone's things...

It's a silly rule with good reasons!
And we have many other silly rules(guidelines) where that one came from!

Some, may think we give excessively
but we don't agree.
Our kids get 4 gifts.
Some boxes have more than one item in them
 but there is usually a theme,
such a PJ's, book and reading light.

Our celebrations are exactly what we want to do for our children.
They have missed out on a big chunk of their childhood.
We are thankful they are home now and we want to celebrate them!

They get to pick out a special cake and
maybe sometimes an activity depending upon the schedule...
We usually count that activity as a homeschool field trip or
just a family activity.

Such as Mia's day at the MOA.
(We made it clear that we went there because it was homeschool week at MOA
not because we are trying to top the next bday).

Looks like there will be some nerf fun in the basement tonight!

And why are we going out to dinner so much?
Honestly... it's because of the semi old parents are a bit too tired to cook dinner
e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. n.i.g.h.t. for 16 people!

Lets face it guys, we are ON DUTY 24/7
and a dinner out allows us to celebrate with them and gives us a break!
It's a win win situation!

Birthdays are just plain fun-

And yes...
Luke got a bike, too!
This is his first

Hubby is photo bombing and Abby is doing the rabbit ears!

And of course, now everyone has to get into the fun!

We went to buffalo Wild Wings for dinner!

I am guessing he chose this spot
not bc of the amazing food but bc of the video games!

So far, we do not play video games.
Only at special occasions such as this and
they use the ipad in the waiting room for Dr appts.

Love those new teeth growing in!

If you think we do not have our fair share of challenges, you are wrong.
But throughout this challenging life God has blessed us with
 to be positive,
addressing the challenges and
not focusing on the hardships.

When I look at Luke
I am reminded of God's faithfulness.
HE is our ROCK.

We had no intention of adopting a little boy.
We were certain that we were too old to and that we would adopt just a few girls.

But that wasn't God's plan!
So thankful!

Stepping out of our comfort zone and putting
our trust in HIM...
created this!

Make a wonderful wish, sweet boy!

Yes Luke!
 I bet you do have 7 girlfriends!
You are such a charmer!

God placed this dear child on my heart and mind
after we had adopted four children.
God was clear but we questioned HIS plan.
We decided to trust him and see what would happen!

Ava and Sam came home before Luke's file was ready...
It arrived just in time and Luke and Abby came home next!
God is soooo good!

We are blessed with miracles in our home
every single day!

Little did we know that HIS plan was so much bigger and so much better!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

HaPpY ThAnKsGiViNg 2016!

So thankful to have so many of us together this Thanksgiving!
Matt, Caitlin and Elodie were not able to travel to MN
but we will get to see them over Christmas!

Auntie Barbie joined us this year!
We are a bit of a crazy crew to be with!

Had to get a pic of these precious kiddos!
Soon there will be two more treasure in this photo!

Katie is in charge of the sweet potato hot dish!

The children love helping out with the meal and watching Katie!

We do things soooo differently-
 I am a recipe follower and she is chef like and more creative.

Unfortunately our Viking football team lost today ;-(

I'm in charge of getting the home and the kids ready 
along with the green bean casserole and desserts.

The kids loved coloring the table cloth!

Katie did the art projects and the sweet potatoes!

Johnny watched a movie with the kids!
They tried their hardest to get Emily to smile...
but it didn't work.

The kids colored turkey crowns!

I think Ali had help coloring hers ;-)

Joey loved coloring on the table cloth!

 Emily did too!

Our cook!
He made two turkeys this year!

This is EVERYONE'S favorite meal!

And Emily... ate the roll!

Katie brought a
"thankful tree"!

We each wrote on the leaves what we are thankful for!

Billy and Kelly joined us after dinner!

Love the end result of our thankful tree!
This is Jenny's first Thanksgiving with us!
Her one year Forever Family Day anniversary is coming up!

Max came with Kelly and Billy!

We had to watch a few replays of the sweet sixteen 
and elite eight soccer games!
Very soon we will be going to the 

We love this holiday!
Feeling thankful!

 Hope that you had a joyous Thanksgiving celebration!