Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Official...We have TA!!

The time is here!! I can't believe it!!

Breath, Breath, Breath!

We have a million things to do to be ready to go!

You'd think I would have been already this time around but NO- I am the least ready of all!

Thank you Jesus!!
 Can't wait to find out when the CA is and when Gotcha day will be!!
This deserves another thank you Jesus!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I think...

our family is wonderful but not everyone does...

I am learning that having many children can make it difficult in many ways...

We are not always welcome in many circumstances...

The larger we get the more it is apparent- it is kind of sad...

It is almost like being a minority or having a disability- we are just not accepted...

this opens my eyes to how minorities and people with disabilities feel...

If only others could see beyond the numbers... beyond the color of the skin... beyond the disabilities... to the abilities...

If only they could see the joy, the fun, the love... the hope...

I am guessing that other large families have run into road blocks also...

It is kind of sad...

But we will put our faith in HIM...

He will protect us from the opposition. He will guide us to exactly where he wants us to be and when he whats us to be there. 

okay, okay... so hubby just looked at me and said "So you are finally realizing that we do not have a normal family?"

"Ahhh yes, I guess" as I look at our humoungously large family photo that I have always thought was wonderful ;-)

and just so you know humoungously is probably not a word!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nothing Official BUT...

we are awaiting good news!!

We have been asked when we want to travel!

Oh my, we are getting extremely excited!!

Can't believe we are going to China to get our children!!

Samuel Jacob, we will be there soon!! Next week I am going to the U of Mn to learn how to change a colostomy bag! I have done it before (25 yrs ago- is that possible- wow, time goes by much too fast).

Sweet Ava Marie- we will be there soon!!
We are bring plenty of girly clothes and barrettes for our sweet girl- no hair ties necessary!

Guessing that Gotcha day may be March 21st!

As soon as we know- you will know!!

Thank you Jesus!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Under Construction!

Okay I started playing around because of the grey strip- now I don't know how to get back to minima??

Yes, that is a very large pics of us... a bit too large for me!

I probably will be morphing quite a bit until I can figure this out OR I will be contacting Mandi!

We are so busy between now and China... I was hoping to do something different after we got home! Ahhhh- there is so much to do!

Do You See What I See??

When I look at my blog I see a big grey stripe across the bottom.
Do you see it too?

When we were in Phoenix other blogs I looked at had the strip, too BUT now they don't only mine does?

I have tried to  redo the background and it has not helped??

Does anyone have a clue what is happening??

Everything else seems to be working just fine!

Thank you!

Edited: I took off the back ground and I no longer see a grey strip- must be the background?? I will try adding it back later!! Thank you for helping me figure it out!!

Okay- now I'm playing around with backgrounds! Who know what will be next!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't Give Up! The Best Is Yet To Come!

It was an honor to pray for you! Thank you for leaving your prayer requests!
It was right where God wanted me- on my knees for others. I will continue to pray for you and will be doing the post again in the future!

I started the day yesterday feeling refreshed and ready to go! It felt so good to be home with our girls and they reacted completely appropriately to us in the morning. I had prepared myself for a distant look and cranky feelings on their part but they appropriately missed us, had a great time with Katie and Karen and still looked at us as their Momma and Daddy- whew! This was a test run for China and it went well!

We started school at our usual time and although the reentry went great, school was a challenge. Emma has her good days and her not so good days. On the not so good days she looks at my face with a blank stare. The only words out of her mouth is the parroting back of what I have just said to her or she is silent. My heart sunk and once again I had to remind myself that she is learning so much in everyday life. She is doing so well in so many ways. Academics will just have to wait a bit longer. They can be sprinkled in but not the main focus of her school.

Ellie is learning. It is slow and yesterday was one of the slow days but she has problem solving skills and will catch on in time!

I realize that Anna learns best when moving! She learns very quickly but sitting for long periods of time with a pencil in hand is just not her thang!

Discouragement was entering into my head- All day I kept trying to pray away those feelings. 

In the evening we went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. We have been going to this same restaurant for 28 years- since they first opened. They love our children- all of them!
I said a little prayed as I opened my fortune cookie and this is what it said!


You may think I'm a little off but honestly- I see God in everything! And this little fortune was meant for me!

What wonderful words and how true!

If you are feeling discouraged - I am guessing these words are meant for you, too!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can I Pray For You?

I'm missing our girls! Can't wait to get home!
Katie loves photography and took this pic over the weekend!
I absolutely love it!
things are going well at home- thank you Jesus!

We are supposed to come home late tonight. Praying that our flight does not get cancelled. All the flights home yesterday were cancelled due to weather. It's still snowing today.

I love the power of prayer! I am feeling much more peaceful. I think control will always be an issue with me - I am a problem solver and often want to get things done... now! 

Praying that my heart is in line with HIS!

Can I pray for you?
If so, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I can feel it inside me. It is gnawing at me and it is the opposition knocking on the door wanting to get in. I feel like Eve- so tempted. I am trying to pray away these feelings. Trying to move away the clutter and put God back in control.

Some amazing things have happened lately and absolutely amazing and I will share them with you later. For now I am finding that I am stepping forward and being self congratulatory. I am not liking the inner battle that is happening. I can see it but it doesn't squelch the desires inside- the desires that God has not put in my heart.

Just to clarify it a little I am having feelings of "wanting" the children. It has morphed from those that God has chosen for us into me choosing. I am trying to run ahead of God and not wait for his perfect timing. I am desiring to make decisions for our family that are not God directed. God has opened and closed doors for us and instead of praising him and trusting in him to protect our family and guide us- I'm not so thrilled with his choices. 

God has put beautiful and wonderful challenges into our lives and instead of moving forward positively with these challenges and doing the tasks he has asked me to do, I am avoiding my duties and just wanting more... of everything, in every way. Peace has fled me...

I don't even like typing this but I need to get back on course and have a servant heart. These words feel so ugly to put in a post and I'm embarrassed to have these feelings. There is only ONE that can overcome this and I need to give this inner issue of mine to HIM.

Have you ever felt like you want to take over the steering wheel? If so, lets pray for peace and humility together! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Moment Away!

Yesterday we hopped on a plane and headed south! Just Johnny, Hubby and me! It was such a weird feeling to go without the girls. I know they are in good hands with big sister Kate and our sitter Karen!

It feels kind of good to have this moment away! 

It feels good to be able to be here for JOhnny (soccer tournament). I can tell he is happy we are both here!

We are enjoying adult conversations with other parents!

There is no stroller to push around and no car seat to take in and out, in and out, in and out!

I feel very relaxed! 

Hubby and I got to sit next to each other on the plane!

Slept well and had a leisurely BKF!

I am on my computer now- uninterrupted!

We got into the elevator and stood there... it didn't move... why? because there was no little girls to push the buttons!

I have pushed the elevator buttons more times in the last 12 hours than in the last 3 years!

We are so excited to see the soccer team play! Going to soccer tournaments is not something I can usually do. We bring the girls when they are close but we can't  bring them when they are a plane ride away. This is a real treat for me and us! It feels so good to support JOhnny. This is the last big year for him- next year he will already know which college he is going to so his team won't travel very much.

As we were checking into the hotel at 11:00 at night in walks one of my best friends from home! Have't seen her since December- how funny that we should run into each other at the same hotel in Phoenix! She is here for a wedding!

Last night one of my favorite earings went down the drain- bummer. This morning maintenance has already gotten it out!

This morning the phone rang- it was from home. I didn't get to it in time. They didn't leave a message-I didn't call back. ;-)  I 'm guessing they are okay! They didn't call back. I'm guessing it was Sarah calling to say HI OR Anna wet the bed! The minute the phone rang I thought I forgot to remind Kate to have the girls go to the bathroom before going to bed! 

What do you think it was about?

Yes, I wil call home soon or text to check in!

It is supposed to rain here- a lot. It was beautiful the whole week and now it will rain in a place that hardly gets any rain BUT that's okay. 

Don't worry- I won't get used to this life! By tomorrow I will be missing home and those sweet smiling faces! This is nice for a little while BUT it would be a lonely life for me- and not the one that God has chosen for us!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hairdo #540!

I know! You don't even have to say it! You love the "do" and would like to wear your hair like this, too!

I love having my hair done and I now have 4 little hairdressers that take turns doing it!
No, I do not leave the house like this!

As I type this I have Emma writing letters on my back! Emma is trying not to follow her sister Sarah everywhere. She is trying to make different choices and be more of an individual! The girls really get along great BUT their fearless leader, Sarah needed some space. Often times they give her space and then she comes back for her posse!

A highlight this morning was listening to the Rice Krispies after the milk was poured! I never get tired of the snap, crackle, pop!! Reminds me of when I was young!!
Except when I was young we would drown the cereal in sugar! Our girls don't like much sugar on it- especially Ellie- she doesn't want any- imagine that! That was the reason I ate it!!

WE have had spring like weather here in the tundra! It has been wonderful to be able to run errands without freezing! The girls love being outside and they built a snowman the other day- sorry no pic! 

Feeling thankful for the sunshine and that spring is around the corner!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's official...

...we have become a large family! It kind of snuck up on us. The five older kids grew up so fast and then we began adopting. As we bring home 2 more- we are at 11 kiddos but only 7 at home. And we are not done!

As we grow in numbers I find we have to do things differently.
Everyone brings their own (shared)laundry basket in to the laundry room, we all fold together and they each return their own clothes to their closet.
The girls often empty the dishwasher. 
When mealtime comes we all pitch in to set the table and get the milks poured. We go through a gallon of milk every day (sometimes it takes us two days).
After eating the kids all put their dishes in the dishwasher.
When unloading the groceries everyone is expected to chip in! proof that many hands make light work!

Picking up the house is a family event.

The children make their beds every morning! They did a better job in China than I have done- the older boys still can hardly make their bed and well Katie? You'll have to ask her! Usually, what we say about Katie is- how can such a cute girl come out of a room lookin like that?

When we get into the car I feel a bit like I'm herding everyone toward the door. The big kids move to the beat of a different drummer at which point Mom throws up her hands and says- we'll meet you there! Which is just fine since we can't all fit into one vehicle anyway!

Hanging out together is always fun and entertaining. One by one they join us in the porch! We love it! the big kids filter in if they are home!

Everyone enjoys a moment to talk about themselves- what they are doing and their latest thoughts. If its not their turn they may find something else to do until it is! 

The big kids will look at a pic that I have up and comment- so ahhh is this my new brother or sister??

And now for your viewing pleasure her are pics from the zoo!

Don't worry children everything is fine! Just smile for Momma!!

Does anyone know of a yahoo group for large families?
I could use a few more tips and some support! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lots Happening!

Life has been busy- lots of good stuff happening right now! I can't wait to share it with you!

Art. 5 was picked up on the 14th and now we wait for TA! I can't believe we are so close to Ava and Sam! 

We went to a wonderful Chinese New Year celebration! This is the first time the girls have seen a dragon dance since they have been home and they loved every minute of it! It just felt so familiar to them- they wear glued to it!

In our area we have many Chinese immersion schools. Our older girls are not a fit for it but Anna would be. It just so happens I love homeschooling her and plan to keep her with us!

A couple families that we are close to go to the schools and invited us to the the celebration! 
This concludes our Chinese New Year party fun!

The girls were thrilled to receive a Valentine in the mail from Jennifer's crew over at Our China Starfish/ a difference to this one!
Thank you!!

It was their only Valentine- we celebrated it by going to the zoo- pics later in another post! We did frost sugar heart cookies- so I'm not a total failure! Of course they don't like them so Johnny and I are eating all of them!

Today was a good day!!
Feeling incredible thankful to God!!
Have you heard the song "I Refuse"
It's my new theme song! I love it!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The second part of the post- What can we do?

Okay- I'm going to try to finish this post. I have completely lost my momentum and I'm not even sure I can be clear and on point, but I will try...
(drives me crazy when this happens) Our ART 5 will be picked up on Monday and next is TA so I'm thinking about packing for China and the logistics at home, among many other things!
(plus the fact that I have written this 3 times, found myself completely off track each time and deleted it)

Straight to the point-
 When I look at the waiting children, my heart breaks. It's different now- I am no longer looking at who is our child. I feel connect to all of them. I cannot bare that these precious souls live without a mother, a father and a family. I look at their pictures, their longing eyes, their needs and I think well you could fit in our family and so could you and so could you and so could you... I continually ask the agencies about their waiting children- the answer in a kind, round about way is always no because we are in the adoption process most of the time.

I know that God in his infinite wisdom knows who should be our child/ children. Thank goodness someone is in control and thank goodness it is not me!

I see the love for the orphans in you- bloggy friends. I see your hearts swelling and desires increasing to get the children home. We are in this together. Together we can serve God and change the world for the orphans.

I love adoption. Adopting our children has actually helped me understand how God has adopted me. It has helped me to understand his love for me and taught me how I can love others.  Because I see the beauty of adoption with in our own home- I encourage others to adopt, adopt, adopt! And now, China has opened the door (rather God has opened China's door) to bringing home more that one child at a time. I realize this is not for every family BUT it is for us and I look at it as an incredible opportunity to double the blessings.

So here is my question to you- when your quiver is full- when God let's you know that your family is complete (or you age out ;-)
What more will you do? You may no longer adopt but there is so much more work to be done for the orphans.

Where do you think the needs are greatest (for the orphans)? (getting them home to other families, spreading God's word, education, food, training for the caretakers, foster homes, etc)

If NOTHING was holding you back, what would you do?

I asked Sarah "When she was in China what did she want more than anything?" I didn't know what her answer would be- I was more thinking along the lines of what could we provide for the children that might brighten their day.
Her answer was "A Mommy and a Daddy."

It is so simple- please adopt these sweet waiting children!

Friday, February 11, 2011

So Sad...

Mark's friend Joe passed away at 12:05 this morning...

I am so profoundly sad for his family and friends...

Our son has lost two good friends in the last two months.

He is grieving with his friends in Colorado.

Hopefully, he will come home for a weekend before we go to China. This Momma needs to hug her son...

Here is their last entry on his caring bridge site-

Dearest Family and Friends:
Our beautiful Joe’s tender heart and gentle breath stopped at 12:05 this morning, bringing a peaceful end to his young, active life. He was surrounded by love and suffered no pain.
We have run out of words to express our appreciation for the love and support the broader Team Joe community has given us over the last few weeks. How could we have weathered this storm without you?
Our deep sadness has been lightened by the blessing of so many of you who have held our Joe so close to your hearts. We are forever grateful to those who have shared stories of Joe with us.
With Love,
Madeleine, David, Hannah, and Patrick

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - February 10th, 2011

I'm sorry but I need to postpone the rest of the post from yesterday.
 I just need to take a deep breath and realize all that I need to be thankful for...

I look at this picture and I fall to me knees-
 Thank you Jesus!!

You will never believe it but we got a little video of Ava! She is as precious as can be! I feel so thankful to God! It takes all the pics we have of her and puts her into 3D - it makes her a real person and she is incredible!! 

I can't wait to meet her, hug her and in time, give her tons of kisses!!

Oh, thank you Jesus!!

I can't wait to meet Sam! We are so excited to have a little boy join our family!

I can't believe we are so close, so close to bringing home our treasures!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Did YOU know them when you first saw them? (part 1)

When we first started to adopt, we prayed that God would find the child that was meant to be in our family. The child that was connected by a red thread and waiting for us to come and get her. When we saw Anna's picture both of our hearts leapt right out of our chests. We literally shook with excitement as we tried to call and talk to someone at our agency.

When I saw Sarah's pic- I was immediately drawn to her. I kept questioning God because- oh my an older child adoption was something to fear (at least that is what we thought). Hubby had all the same fears but when he saw her pic he said "let's go for it!"

We have a local family here that adopted older sibling girls about 5 years ago. A.  It was so rare to have siblings from China. Then one year later there were our girls sitting on the waiting child list again I was
completely intrigued with it. I felt like God was communicating with me. he had prepared our heart for sibling girls and their they were! When we got an update and academic reports I prepared myself for Hubby's reaction. I was thinking he is not going to want to do this. Much to my surprise he read it and said "let's do it". 


Sam's file was about to be returned. It had been on the waiting child list for a long time and no one seemed to be up for it. I admired him for many months but couldn't do anything about it.
My heart just couldn't let this dear boy go back. He may never get a family if it went back- that was unthinkable. So we went out on a limb and were able to grab it right before it went back to China.

I was also very drawn to Ava's picture. Her smile exuded joy. She seemed like a perfect fit for this family. China was just beginning to let up on dual adoptions and just as we were allowed to see her file they made the announcement that they were officially allowing them!
The timing was perfect! The timing was HIS!

Only once has God actually spoke to me in an audible tone (regarding our adoptions that is) and said "this is your child". That story will be revealed... in the future. Believe me when God's words come true you will be the first to know! I can hardly wait to tell you all about it!!

This post has morphed and now I am finally where I was trying to get go but out of blogging time so I will finish this thought tomorrow!

When you saw your child did you know right away? Did the tug start out small and grow and grow? Or maybe you saw them and didn't think they were you child but later went back to them? How did it happen for you?

(Part 2 of this post is tomorrow)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another "gotta love 'em" post!

Last time we were in Florida- hubby found out he had a meeting he needed to be at. He didn't know this before he left and did not bring any work clothes.

I said, "Honey- how can you go to a work meeting without work clothes?"

He answered- "I can wear what I wore on the plane (khakis and a blue dress shirt). No problem!"

"Ahhhh, but dear, its ahhhhh, a little dirty, isn't it?"

"No, no it will work out just fine!" (he is such a positive guy)

I was a little nervous for him. He's planning to go to a big business meeting in what kinda clothes???

I decided, well if he's not nervous why should I be! It's his deal, he knows what he can and can't do (I think).

The next morning he left for the airport. He came home the following evening...
dressed in this (see above photo). 
It turned out on the way to the airport my guy had a change of heart. He heard it was business dress- in other words, suits!
Nothing was open, he had no options except a very inexpensive store that was on the way to the airport.
For under $100 this guy got a navy sport coat, dress shirt, tie, dress pants, socks, dress shoes and a belt!

I'm not gonna tell you where he went (you can guess if you want) but when he got home I was so impressed with my guy!
I just think he looks so handsome!!
He is definitely a type B and a problem solver!

The best part is that none of the "big shots" at the meeting even noticed that my guy was wearing less than stellar quality clothes. For all they new he had on expensive work clothes from a top notch mens clothing store!

Way to go, Honey!! Way to improvise!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy New Year!

In the morning we went to the play "If you give A Moose A Muffin".
The girls love the book and they enjoyed the play just as much! 
We went with another Mom and her daughter (Liz and Zoey)!

All the girls are used to doing this. It's Emma and Ellie's 3rd play. They sit nicely and are attentive!!
I think they were actually able to follow the play- I think, I hope!

Honestly, I didn't even know it was Chinese New Year. Liz asked what we were doing in the evening- ahhh, nothing? Oops, so we made a quick decision to go out for dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant!

Oh course, once we were there someone had to ask us about the red envelopes- shhhhh, I said!
Ya, just can't do it all! I was happy to even be there- let's call it a victory and a wonderful celebration!

They were all thrilled to get chopsticks with their dinner! 

Except when Emma and Ellie tried to use them they had forgotten how? We were so surprised.
Sarah remembers how and Anna does pretty good with them but Em and El switched to the fork!

It was a really nice evening! Katie and Devan joined us- we all had a great time!
I am becoming a minimalist- and this type of celebration worked out great for a last minute planner, like me!

On Saturday evening we went to a New Years party with our playgroup! The girls dressed in their traditional dresses- we went to church and on to the party! They felt so special in their dresses! Everyone had a great time!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ya Know...

Sarah said to me today as I was cleaning my closet, "Ya know, Mommy, maybe someday you could dress even more fancy..."

I answered, "Ya know, Honey, if I had my way I would dress even more casual..."

I'm a cabin girl without the cabin!

(These are old pics taken in Florida!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Please, Please Pray For Joe and His Family

Marks friend is not doing well. He is in a coma and they are doubtful he will wake up. He was in a ski accident about a week and a half ago. He went off a cliff into rocks.

They did a scan and there is brain damage. How much is uncertain...

We have never met Joe or his family but still our hearts ache for them. As parent we love our kids so much. 

It is unimaginable that any child or parent would be in this situation. 

PLEASE,PLEASE pray for Joe, for his parents- Mr and Mrs Lubar and for all of Joe's friends.
Maybe they (or Mark's friends) will find their faith through this tragedy, maybe prayer will heal Joe- so many possibilities with GOD!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Disability/Ability Thats Got Me Thinking!?!

This pic has nothing to do with the post! I love this sign and take a picture of it every time we eat at this restaurant! 
Except the pic is a little different now- we have 4 treasures in it!! Can't wait for next year!

Okay- my friend Sally said very simply-

So I will. No we are not doing anything- we can't yet. We have to wait until the time is right.

Lately I have been thinking about limb differences or missing hand or foot. Our friend Anita is sharing her Journey to Kaleb and that little guy has my heart wrapped around his finger.
And our friend Karin has shared her daughter Zoey's journey. Zoey had her foot amputated and is now sporting a very nice prothesis!
Both of their stories have spoken to my heart. 
I know there are many more in fact if you know of one please send me to that blog!

I have always looked at anything regarding the limbs as a major disability. Let's face it we need our hands and feet.
But these children cope, they improvise and the do so well. They make it work. I think they are incredible and I am finding myself intrigued and wondering more about this disability- which I now look at it like an ability!

I have to be honest- it is one that I have actually been a little afraid of - it looks different, people might stare or look at my child(it could hurt my child and upset both of us). Because of God's desire for our family(it's large) - well, we get stared at a lot. A caucasian couple - with 4 to 6 to 8 asian children- we are going to get stared at no matter what- better get used to it!!. At that point they won't be staring at our son's hand- they'll be thinking lots of things but his hand or her foot won't matter. Plus IF you choose to dress them a like which we often have, it's like we are immediately calling attention to ourselves anyways!

It just doesn't feel so scary- it feels doable.

The other two disabilities/ abilities that I have thought about is congenital heart defect - it is amazing what these surgeons can do! It's like giving a child back his life!
Thalasemia is another one. I am not sure that I completely understand it but from what I have read it is doable. Sometimes downright easy and other times it requires monthly DR. visits for blood transfusions- I can do that!

Have you found God working in your heart regarding adopting a child with special needs? Has He opened options to you that were previously closed?
I think He is so amazing!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Have We Been Up To or is it Too?

These pics are old- we are back home in the frigid north but it warms me up just looking at them!
We are working on starting a new curriculum with our homeschool- trying something new that hopefully will work for our crew. Ellie is ready to get going and devote more time to her education- she doesn't know that yet BUT her Momma does!
Sarah is ready for a little more independence and ready to put more hours in, she also doesn't know that yet BUT I'll tell her real soon!

We have officially cut out a few things and I am thrilled! I am happy with our choices and look forward to spending more time on school!
We have decided that Anna will start homeschool Kindergarten next year. She is so smart and other than having a little trouble sitting still she is ready to GO, go, go! She knows all her letters and sounds- thank you leapfrog!
Not sure where Sam and Ava will be at but, Hey- we're flexible!

I love seeing the children play and run! They are free! Free to be a children, to play, to explore and enjoy life! 
This is important to us!
We want to be free to enjoy them- to feel God's loving arms wrapped around us- to see the beauty that is so evident when you love HIM!

We are in the midst of making a decision. Please pray for Gods guidance, for his direction and for his desires to be our desires!

Recently I have felt a tug from God. A tug to check into a different disability/ability. One that I would have never done before.
Why?? I don't know? It was just not one that was on our short list. I love how God gently guides us. Bloggy friends- he guides us through you, through prayer, through other friend- I love how he works!

Now... is a time to wait... to wait for answers to our prayers... to wait for doors to open and close...

Friends, I love the adventure HE takes us on and the challenges He brings to our lives but I'm not really a fan of waiting...