Sunday, June 22, 2014


We had a sunny day on a weekend and we were able to get to the pool!

Joey and Luke are becoming real buddies!
Hubby says they are meeting in the middle- somewhere between naughty and nice!

This is Joey and Ben's first summer home!
Of course, they both probably think we live in the tundra… and of course you probably think that too!

This has been a record year for snowfall and rain- much to my dismay!
Those aren't the kind of records we want around here!

Ben loves playing in the pool!
He needs to build more strength and endurance to actually get swimming BUT this is a GREAT start!

Madeline still cannot go underwater because of her ear surgery.
She is doing a great job at being careful to not get water in her ear!

They swim and swim but still manage to end up at the kiddy end of the pool to play!

Sarah's gymnastics is paying off on the diving board!
She can do front flips and back flips!

Finally I got her as she was coming out of the slide!

It took me many shots to get the timing down ;-)
This is Abby!
She is becoming a very good swimmer!

Sam and Ben are getting closer each day!
It is so much fun to see them hang out together!

Sweet Emma hangs out and plays in the shallow end or where she can touch the bottom. 
She can actually swim too but we want to be safe 
just in case she forgets what she's doing or where she is.

Ava and Melissa have so much fun playing together!
Lot's of laughter and joy!

Anna has always gone to the beat of a different drummer.
She loves to play with others but then will find a quiet spot of her own and play by herself.

Ben is adjusting well! 
He is making positive progress with each day! 
(I think I have MANY updates to post about as I look at these amazing children!)

This girl (Madeline) has come so far!
Home 17 months now and finally done with surgeries and unforeseen needed repairs!

Abby is blossoming- more on that in another post (if I don't forget that is- feel free to remind me ;-)

Silly girl!

Ellie and Mia hung out together.
Mia had a bad accident over a week ago.
She was riding the scooter down a step gravel hill and fell.
Her knee was gaping open... she had 25 stitches in her knee.
It included a ambulance ride to the hospital.
She is healing nicely but it takes time...

Next up is Matt and Caitlin's wedding!
Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Multi Tasking! Father's Day and Ava's 9th Birthday!

 We have sooooo many birthdays and holidays in this family that we need to do a bit of combining!
Our big kids have their own lives and are not able to come over

On Friday the older kids came over to see Katie, Andrew and Emily (they had been over once before during the week).

On Saturday we had Emily's baptism and a wedding shower to go to!
And now it's SUNDAY!
Emily and her Mom and Dad are off to Colorado at 5:27am.
And it's time for us to celebrate Dad and Ava!
(At this point the hubby and I are pretty exhausted!)

But, the party goes on!
Hubby is always so generous and he wanted the day to be mostly about Ava.
Ava is so kind hearted she wanted to make sure it was about Daddy, too!

Daddy opened his gifts first and then we were off to late afternoon church!

Celebrating a wonderful Daddy and husband, along with our sweet daughter, Ava!

She joined our family when she was 5.5 yrs old.
Where has the time gone… she's 9 today!

We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant!
Everyone that works there is Chinese or Mexican!
The staff spoke Chinese to the children and wrote their name in Chinese for them.
The children loved it!
Some of the kids were able to tell them if they were writing it correctly!

They put on a great show!
The egg is in his hat!

Ben, Mia, Melissa, Sarah and a little bit Ava can still speak some Chinese!
Joey can too but he is in need of English immersion right now, not Chinese.

The rest of us were on the other side of the table and we had our own cook doing a similar routine!

Mia is so easy and fun to tease!
This is how much rice they gave her (at first)!

While everyone else got as much as Sarah!
Mia had to show us right away- no fair!

The littler kids were with Jim, Mark and myself.

The Happy Birthday Head!

And her complimentary dessert!
She took one bite and smiled through it- it wasn't her favorite…
The rest of the little kids devoured it!

So thankful she is home!
We can't imagine our lives without her...

We started out with appropriate spacing ;-)

And little by little 


until they are pretty much on top of the one opening their gifts!

In fact I have even seen them attempting to
the birthday person open their gifts!

Then the doorbell rang!

Yes, this seems to be the "year of the bicycles" at our house!

She wanted a bigger bike.
That was purple.
That had gears.
That had a basket and tassels on it.

And somehow…
we found exactly that!
And we only looked at one store!

Lovin the steps for the family photos!

Ava loves animals of every kind!
She is especially fond of horses!
Both Sarah and Ava have been riding for the last year!
Mia and Melissa will be going to horse camp this summer to see how they like it!
How do we decide who gets to do it?
We base our decision on their desire and interest, their physical size, responsibility, maturity and safety.
If others want to ride horses and we feel that they are ready and responsible enough we will let them.
Of course, we can't have everyone riding at the same time or I'll need to get a second job!

The parents are exhausted but the kids are still going strong!

Teasing daddy!

Sarah got to light the candles!

And we all sang Happy Birthday to Ava!
(and Happy Fathers Day to Daddy!)

And then she blew out the candles…

and it wasn't until then 
that we found out she has 5 boyfriends!