Thursday, April 28, 2016

Looking Ahead...

We will be making a few changes in the near future at
There's No Place Like Home
and we are looking for your input!

The blog will continue to be about life in our large family
but we want it to be about more than just our family.

Life has been quite busy with 14 younger kids at home and 
5 older adults with growing futures and families,
so for the last couple years
I have been scraping by...

However, now it's time to expand my passion for the orphans
and once again begin to feature
these amazing waiting children.

Earlier in our adoption journeys 
we were blessed to advocate for a few kiddos on the old blog 
and watching them
get families, arrive home, get medical care and learn about Jesus
was beyond amazing.
Almost as amazing as meeting our children in China!

So advocating is on the top of the list!

What else would you like to see on our advocacy site?
What do you want to hear about the kids we feature and
what do you want to know in order to make a decision whether or not to adopt?

How can "There's No Place Like Home" help you?

What other concerns do you have?

I look forward to reading your comments!
I hope the new blog will be helpful to you!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Baby is in the Double Digits!

Sweet Anna turned 10 on April 2nd!
She has joined many of her other siblings in the double digits!
Sarah, Emma, Mia, Ellie, Jenny, Ava, Melissa, Abby...
and now
our Anna!

Birthdays are so exciting and this one was just as wonderful as could be!

Two big brothers met us at brunch and then joined us at home for presents!

I told everyone to line up for a picture and 
these two decided they wanted to be in the front row!
The little kids were so funny!
Move Mark and Johnny, move!

Much better big boys!
The front row just wasn't a fit!

Johnny was only 13 yrs old when Anna came home!
She was 17 months old at that time!
She was the youngest to come home and our first!
Now, Johnny is 22 and Anna is 10!

Anna with her four birthday gifts!

American Girls 
are alive and well at our house!
When a sister gets a new doll everybody finds their doll and they all play-
American Girl Dolls!
It's good! Really good!

She got matching PJ's with her Samantha doll!

I know, I am posting a lot of pics with
Anna smiling!
But I just can't help it!
It's just pure joy!

She's getting her ears pierced!
Melissa and Anna will do it together!
(Melissa has been waiting for Anna!)

We LOVE soccer!
We love to watch our big brother Johnny play soccer!
now we have signed up 6 girls and 2 boys for the recreational league!
We may not be the most skilled team 
we will be cute!
Hubby is the coach of the girls team and an assistant to the boys!
Billy, Mark and Johnny are going to help coach, too!

An orange watch!
Exactly what she wanted!
Thank you Amaz*n!
(I didn't even know it existed!)

And then, they all need to get a little closer to take a good look at the gifts!

So blessed to be her Momma and Daddy!

 Time to light the candles!

And sing "hApPy BiRtHdAy"!

I'm having a bit of a hard time with this crew growing up so fast.
It's inevitable, but for some reason I thought I could slow things down a bit...
obviously not...

We started the birthday celebration early
because we had evening plans.

Quite awhile ago,
 we got tickets to
Big Daddy Weave
Plumb and
Jordan Feliz!

Gradually, I am taking more and more of the kids to Christian music concerts.

The people behind us were super nice!
We took their pic and they took ours!

And when we got home, these two big bros we there!
They watched the NCAA final with the rest of the fam at home!

Everyone had fun!
So thankful to God!

Happy Birthday sweet Anna!
We are blessed to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Her First Birthday!

It's her first birthday with with her new family!

Since joining us in December she has watched a few of the children have birthday celebrations!
Abby was in January and Sarah was early March!
She has been counting down the days until it was her turn!

And finally,
March 31st arrived!
Her gift list was long and ever changing!
Anna and Jenny wrote their lists together (bc Anna's b-day was two days after Jenny's!)
Anna took Jenny under her wing and explained how we do it at our house-
the birthday gift list
picking out their cake
deciding what they want for dinner
and sometimes picking out a fun family activity.

Jenny decided she wanted to go to
go to a family movie for her activity!
So we went to "Miracles From Heaven".
It was really good! A tear jerker but wonderful!
We had a great family discussion about faith, life (which is not always easy) and miracles.
Then we opened gifts at home!

Two days before her big day she changed it up and decided she wanted roller blades.
What a great idea! So I asked her, "Do you want roller blades instead of the bike?"
No, I want the bike!
(Whew, because we had already bought the bike and we have lots of roller blades at our house!)

Your turn sweet girl!

It's your birthday and it has finally arrived!
Your time is NOW!

We give 4 presents!
Sometimes there are a few extra things stuffed in a box and sometimes not.

Jenny chose Lea,
 the American girl doll of the year!
Her very first American girl doll, ever!

Hold it!
Where's the birthday girl?

Ahhhh, there she is!

I'm standing on the table just to get pics!
Bad Mom!

And there's Dad!
Relaxed, not worried about a thing... Mr type B!
I love being married to a B type kinda guy!
(I have a bit enough A in me for the both of us!)
Unless you want the light bulbs changed or...
I'm gonna stop there because I'd rather have a dimly lit room then any other option!
We are all truly blessed to have our "Mr type B"!

Oh man!
A matching outfit with Lea!

And an artist outfit!
Jacket, dress and leggings
complete with paint splotches!

And a random bike helmet...
Why would she need that?

Unless, it's to go with her new, very own bike!

Thanks for helping out Sam!
You are a great delivery boy!

Jenny was thrilled with her new bike!
We did have her practice on our old, smaller bikes,
so she could get used to riding again after a long winter!

We also explained to the other children that Jenny's vision is impaired on her right side
and that they need to give her space and not get too close.
Sometimes they play follow the leader and they ALL end up running into each other!
We wanted Jenny to feel comfortable and confident when she rides her new bike!

She is already a pro at riding it!
Didn't take long!

We are starting to take individual pics with our children when it's there birthday!
For post placement reports and for memories!

We went out to dinner in the evening!

Two peas in a pod!
But they always include their other sibs!
These two have hearts of gold and they are nice to everyone!
It is a blessing to have such positive leaders in our family!
Definitely, God's plan!

The children LOVE watching the chef cook!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy!

Thinking of a wish!

It was so cute, she didn't know how to blow out the candle!

But finally, she got it!

And she had a few helpers when it came time to eating the dessert!

Big brother Johnny joined us for the celebration!

Yes, we were stuffed but we can't forget about the birthday cake!
Jenny picked a beach scene for her cake!
She loved our family time in Florida!

When the pics where taken she was still deciding on her bangs...

I love her in bangs and I was careful not to influence her.
 We wanted her to have the opportunity to make the decision
At first she looked at her sisters and wanted to grow them out
but then later decided to keep them.

I love her bob, too but she has decided to grow out the rest of her hair!
After 9 years in an orphanage and unable to have any control over her hair
it is freeing for Jenny and for our other kids to finally have some say
over their own hair!

When the kids live in an orphanage
the Nanny's decide when to cut hair
and when to shave heads...
It doesn't matter if you are a girl or a boy, you can have your head shaved at any time.
It may be because of a hot summer and no air conditioning or an outbreak of lice,
a lack of brushes or multiple heads filled with snarls...
All of our children have shared about having their heads shaved
or their hair randomly hacked off...
That's one of the many reasons we have lots of girls with long hair!

She loved having everyone sing
Happy Birthday Dear Jenny,
Happy Birthday to You!

And it just so happens this girls has the best voice of all our crew!
I was so pleasantly surprised when I heard her sing!

 Blowing out eleven candles was challenging...
(I absolutely LOVE her dimple in her right cheek!)

But she did it and smiled all the while!
Way to go honey!
 Happy 11th Birthday!