Thursday, January 29, 2015

Global Warming!

First of all thank you for all your thoughtful comments regarding Sarah trying out for a gymnastics team.

One of the things I neglected to say was that Sarah has taken lessons once a week for 5.5 years.
She has longed to take it twice a week for 3 years (we said no).
We are now letting her take it twice a week.
She is completely self motivated and has taught her self how to do a-
back handspring (and then seven in a row)
aerial cartwheel (and then 2 in a row)
back flip.
back layout flip,
front handspring,
And on the beam -
back walkover, cartwheel, working on a back handspring,
and the list goes on!
If she sees it, she teaches herself how to do it!

The XL team is what she will be trying out for and we will support her.
It will put a kink in our lifestyle but we feel that the benefits will out weigh the hardships.

Hubby and I will share the driving.
We are planning for her to be driving around the age of 18- which fits because she is about 2 years behind maturity wise.

Madeline, Ben and Abby had the first reconciliation(confession) in January!
They did a great job with the retreat and sharing their heart with our priest!
We are excited for them to have their first communion this spring!

In November we said goodbye to the grill on our deck.
A snowstorm was on it's way and once it snows here it never leaves...
Well, I guess there is a first for everything!

Because here we are grilling hamburgers in

This has been the BEST winter so far!
Mild temps and some snow- but not too much!
This is unheard of - for a MN winter!
Children cannot run on the snowless deck with only their jammies on in a MN winter -
they'd freeze!

Math Help!
I love that siblings can help each other out!
Sarah has BTDT and Ava "gets it" so they are great helpers when it comes to explaining...

Our church sponsored a
"Feed My Starving Children" event!
I love this charity!
We had so much fun and worked hard to fill as many boxes as possible!

It was Sam, Melissa and Ben's first time!
They were awesome!

Anna and Ellie were supposed to join us 
but they were not feeling well and had to stay home ;-(

Next will be Mia,
 she is also passionate about gymnastics and tends to follow Sarah's lead!
Praying for God's guidance!

Truly a match made in heaven!
They adore each other... 


they don't!

I'm sure ya'll get that!
(It's a long day around our house when these two are at odds with each other... 
thank goodness it doesn't happen often!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

What Do You Think?

With our 5 older bio kiddos we did many traveling and competitive sports and activities.

Soccer, Basketball, Dance and Golf.

We had many, many good experiences and some not so good experiences.
We learned from the good and from the not so good.
As we look back we are amazed how God actually orchestrated it all and brought lessons, personal growth and blessings from the trials.

The negative about traveling sports is the large amount of time that we had to put into them.
It took our older children away from our family time, holidays, Grandparents birthdays, church time and more.

As we entered a new phase of child rearing(adopting our treasures) we decide up front-
absolutely NO competitive or traveling sports/activities for this crew.
The hubby and I looked back at the times we could not recap with our older kids and felt we just did not want to repeat it at this point in our lives (fabulous 50's!).

We wanted a more peaceful existence.
Dinners together at home in the evening.
No one living and eating out of the car/van.
Time together to figure out the parenting, the bonding, and realizing our time with these guys is shorter than the first time around ; - (.....
We strive for balance in activities, learning, and meals.

When I am running around too much-
I get crabby...
and crabby doesn't work when I have 13 children that have already had a hard life before they came home.
They don't deserve it and neither do I.

We do however value activities where the children learn and have new experiences.
So I am NOT anti activity.
We do gymnastics, homeschool gym and swim, horseback riding lessons, swimming lessons, wildlife classes, keyboard(piano) and more.

Well, that is a compelling argument on why we should not enter into the world of competitive anything.

But, now that these children are home
and we see their love and passion for an activity
it's hard to not allow them... or her to pursue it.

I battle back and forth in my head.
Just say no and stick with the program.
It is too time consuming...
We have such a great life and time together.
Putting anything more on the family plate could backfire...


She is passionate about this...
We let the older kids follow their passions, how can we not let her follow her passion.
She is talented, she can do this.
How wonderful for her to compete in front of others
and learn first hand what it feels like to succeed and sometimes fail.
Those are the life lessons that we grow from.
It's good to keep a young teen busy with something that they love.

I am interested in your thoughts so please leave a comment here or on FB- if you can.

I will tell you what I think we are going to do...
Sarah will be 15 in March.
She is at the maturity of a wonderful 13 yr old- she is delightful!
She probably only has 2 more years to have this experience before she ages out.
And although I don't want many changes in our life (because it's good and it's working well).
We feel that she should try out for a gymnastics team if that is what she really wants to do.
We feel like she is ready to handle the ups and downs
(although with girls there will always be some tears over something).

She wants to be a world champion gymnast...
that's probably not going to happen
but this experience will at least give her a chance to compete.

It is a good thing to keep a 15 yr old busy, doing a healthy activity.
Otherwise they may find other things "to do"...
Many of the younger girls love gymnastics, too, so we will see how this goes first and then decide if others should do it.

Since I am already mourning the changes that will come in our schedule, I had to remind myself we still have the rest of this year and it won't happen until this coming summer...
For now, we will just enjoy the great schedule we have and look forward to the new changes that lie ahead.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Abigail Elizabeth!

To us, she is a miracle child.

Abby came home at 5 yrs 11 months.

She was very sick...
They gave her a blood transfusion right before we met her 
(we requested that they do this).
And then, she met us with a smile.
That night she mourned and the tears flowed.
Poor dear, was so scared and unable to process all that was happening in her life.

And who's birthday is it?
It's yours precious child!
Happy Birthday Abigail Elizabeth!
You are 9 yrs old!

Abby was diagnosed with MDS- a pre leukemic condition.
Once home and over the course of 2 yrs she was re diagnosed (multiple times but finally they settled)
with a rare form of Beta Thalassemia.

Believe it or not this was the best news we could have received!
It was a gift from God-
 just like she is!

Cancer is no longer looming in her future (at least not like it was) and she
doesn't need a bone marrow transplant to live.
She is however, transfusion dependent. 
We go in every 3 weeks for new blood but otherwise she is just like the rest of us!
(Please give blood if you can! Not in Abby's name, but for anyone one that needs it- 
it truly is a LIFE saver!)

Many of our kiddos got a new bike this year,
Abby wanted one, too!

Yes, we have an over abundance of 20 inch bikes...
but this was her first very own bike (with gears, I might add)! 
She has been happy with the hand me downs for 3 years.
That's the way it goes when you have a January birthday in Minnesota...

Just between us.... you may see a theme.
Yep, it's just plain easier for the Momma and the Daddy, to go out to dinner!

Back to the story-
 Abby picked our favorite Japanese restaurant!
Where EVERYONE who works here is Chinese and speaks mandarin!
The kids love it, the people that work here love it and we love it!
Billy and Kelly joined us!

And they even toss food in the air for the children to catch!
What fun!

Sarah caught it!

Sweet Abigail... your gonna need to open your eyes!
She missed.

And then it was time to sing to our birthday girl!

Abby loved every minute of it!

She joins her sisters Ava and Melissa in the 
"I'm a nine year old now" club!
Anna, Ben, Sam and Madeline are still in the "8 yr old" club.

She wanted Elsa on her cake but she got Olaf.
No complaints and as happy as can be with her birthday cake.
(FYI- I ordered Elsa... but Olaf works!)

It was a wonderful day!

You have blossomed sweet girl!
And it has been a complete joy to have a front row seat
to see God work miracles in your life!
 There is so much to look forward too!

Thank you, Jesus!

Oh no! 
Not another one, with a boyfriend!

She is loving her gifts!
Abby and Grace are ready for the school day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kittens and Babies!

It just doesn't get any better than that!

The children love it when Emily is here!
She is big enough now that they can play with her!
Some of the older children can hold her!

It gives her Momma a moment, now and then!

Emily is learning to walk!

She even took her first steps while she was here!

And she met a few kittens, too!

Everyone loves playing with kittens!

It's a race!

Emily won!

Look out Sulley!
She's eyin' you now!

Mia is doing so well and gaining confidence!
The first time Kate and Emily visited Mia "hid".
She avoided being around them.
I think she had a lot of feelings she needed to deal with...

Now she is in the middle of the action and loving her niece!

They had a bit of jet lag so we had a low key day 
and watched Maleficent while Emily played!

The kittens are wonderful entertainment!
It is a hoot watching them chase each other and wrestle!
I think they are tweens now!

I think Emily loves the kitten's toys even more than the kittens do!

Penny loved playing with them!
She would nudge them to play!

And then lick them!
They loved it!

Penny and Celia really hit it off!

My brother, SIL and nephew came over to visit!

It was so nice to see them- it's been too long!
The children loved playing Uno with Alex and Sarah!

Butternut Squash with sea salt, melted butter, and brown sugar!

No, I didn't make this!
I don't cook!
Katie made it for us!

It was new for the children- most of them liked it!

It can't get much better than "doing school" with your niece and her puppy dog!

Hmmmmm, is anyone listening to the lesson?

They made snow cream together right before she they left!

Blessed to be her Nana!
(She's blowing raspberries now!)

I dropped off 
2 suitcases
a stroller,
a carseat,
and more,
at the airport!

(God Bless You Katie!)

And a half hour later I got a call.
I turned around and headed back to the airport!

After all, who can resist a $500 voucher!

And, we got to have them for another night!

What a good deal!