Saturday, September 28, 2019

HopeKids at Severs Fall Festival and MOA Sea Life!

With 17 kids still living at home,
the opportunity to have a variety of experiences
and meaningful family time
is slim...
The cost alone is prohibited.

Through HopeKids
our family has been blessed 
to enjoy activities and to explore the Mpls/St Paul area

A couple weeks ago 
we were able to enjoy the evening 
at SEVERS Fall Festival Farm!

We had meatball sub sandwiches, salad and 
a beverage, for dinner!

After dinner, the kids all ran 
in separate directions and 
enjoyed a multitude of 
fun fall farm activities!

They had zip lines!

Hay mazes for the little ones
or for the bigger kids to run around on!

Corn pits(2 of them) big enough 
for our whole family and all our friends!

The corn maze was amazing!
It's the 2nd biggest corn maze in the USA!

The kids entered it before we could talk to them...

The parents...
were hesitant...

It was huge and daunting!
But it did come with a map-

Thankfully, we found some of the kids!
They were fine and loving every minute of it!
They knew exactly where they were 
and weren't the least bit concerned!

Hubby and I were completely confused!

Luke may have been slightly lost 
but he was in good hands!

Is there anything better than a 
Fall Festival?

By the children's happy smiles...
I think not!

It was a warn sunny evening
and we all drank lot's of water!

Ellie and Emma
had a great time!
They loved the slide the most!

As a Mother to many,
I was very thankful...
 as two by two and three by three,
the children emerged from the corn maze!

We did a head count at the end of the evening
and all Mulvahill's were present and accounted for!

Thank you Severs Fall Festival!
We loved our evening at your beautiful and fun farm!

We spent another evening at Sea Life 
in the Mall of America!

The kids loved the pop up areas 
in the middle of the exhibits!

This is a sawfish...
the underside of one!

We found him very entertaining...

and interesting!

Where's Luke?

Lost children hiding in the kelp!

We were able to touch the sea anemones!

If you ring your finger along the outside they will close up!

They loved the hands on part!
Let's face it,
kids just like to touch things!

Thank you SeaLife for a wonderful evening!

Favorites were the jelly fish, sea turtles, 
stingrays, sea anemones, sea horses 
and underwater tunnel!
Okay, I think everything was their favorite!

Kindred Spirits

How can people that have never met
be good friends?

How can they know that someone hundreds of miles away 
shares your same heart?

How can you get together with someone
you've never met and chat like
you have been friends FOREVER?

That is the amazing beauty
of the adoption community.
(and the internet!)

People, including my own children
laugh when I share something
about "my really good friend"...
that I have never met.

They say how can you be really good friends,
if you've never met them?

I can see their point...
I tell our children to not trust someone 
they have met only on the internet.

But this well known safety issue
we desperately want our children
to adhere to,

This is something so deep, so honest, so kind and so supportive
that is shared in the friendships
we make with other adoptive families.

No rules, no guidelines, no judgements
just a deep sincere understanding
of "the road" we have both chosen.

It is a natural kinship

It's different than others,
it's a spiritual friendship
brought together through love and service.

Kevin, Janet and their kids
were delightful!
Meeting them,
 was on my personal bucket list!

It's a heart that breaks for the orphans.
It's a desire to serve our Heavenly Father.
It's a voice that speaks for those 
that can't speak up for themselves.

As you can see by the pictures,
 all of the kids had a GREAT time!
It was like,
 they had always known each other!

Each one adopted at an older age from an orphanage in China
(but not from the same orphanage).

Each child thriving, happy and filled with joy!

No one had ever met in person and yet, we chatted,
laughed, and shared our hearts so comfortably!

We love our adoption friends.
They are local and
they are scattered through out the USA.
Some are in Canada, Europe (Spain, France, Sweden) 
and in China.

So thankful for the opportunity to meet 
these amazing parents and families
whenever our paths cross!

All praise and glory to HIM,
Our Heavenly Father!

Thank you for blessing us Janet, Kevin and kids!

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Great Minnesota State Fair

We haven't been to the Minnesota State Fair
for 6 years...

Because the last time we went...
 we lost a child. 

She had been home for 6 months and was learning English.
She did not know her last name or her parents' first names.
She didn't know our phone numbers or her home address...

(Anna 7, Melissa 7, Madeline 6, Abby 7, Ava 8)

Everyone was paired up with a partner BUT
at that moment the two kiddos forgot
to find each other and hold hands.

It was terrible...
We were sooo worried...
We stood in a circle and held hands
 to pray for her safe return.

There was a record high attendance
on that very day.
The place was packed.

Thank goodness a friend told me to take a pic
of everyone before we ventured onto the fairgrounds!

(Sarah 13, Emma 13, Ellie 11 and Mia 11.5)

As soon as we realized that we were one child short...
we found a police officer and
showed him a picture of our missing daughter.

A very nice person found
a sweet little 7 yr old girl crying.

She brought her to the information booth.

Within 20 minutes we knew she was found.
(and so very thankful)
It took another 20  minutes for them to walk to where we were.
It was the longest 40 minutes of my life...

It was quite traumatic for all of us.

This year we finally felt brave enough
to attend the State Fair and deal
with the crowds, again!

Luke and Sam were 4 and 7 in this pic!
I can't believe how young and precious
these kids look!
Now they are all teens and tweens...
(and that's a whole other post...)

First we visited the birthing center!
Many of the kids saw a calf being born.

Abby, with a lamb!

This is where we split up
into 4 groups.
All with phones!
Everyone knows their parents names, 
their home address,
Their parent's cell phone numbers 
and their full name!

PLUS, Mom and Dad's group even has ID bracelets!
We're not taking any chances!

Treats from the dairy building!

A double chocolate strip cake with whipped cream!
Chocolate cheesecake on a stick!
Strawberry cheesecake!
Deep fried baked potato with bacon!
Strawberries with hot fudge! 

More dairy building treats!

Virtual reality in a forest!

Honey Bees and their hive!

These two went into the haunted house...
and then they ran out the entrance!
Brave? NOT so much!

These three went into the haunted house
and exited through the
I think so!

There were many shows, singers, dancers on stages,
scattered throughout the fairgrounds!

Go Minnesota VIKINGS!

We sent each other pics and shared
what we were seeing and doing (and eating)!
Each group had a phone!

And sometimes we met up!

Watching the video of the calf being born!

There was a "sea of people" everywhere!

We specifically went on the first day of the fair,
in hopes that the crowd would be smaller!
Believe it or not,
the crowd was smaller.

A couple groups of kids visited the horses!

We no longer ride BUT 
we still love horses!

This year at the fair 
we lost 2 kids
they did exactly the right thing!

Anna ask to use someones phone and called us!
Ben stayed at the last spot 
where he was with the group!

We found them both, quickly!

The kids where so happy to be at the fair
and have some freedom
while they were there!

Most of the kids brought their own money for food and fun!

I was like a mother duck with her ducklings!

We walked many miles!
Good thing because we ate a lot of junk!

We looked at tractor mowers!

We currently have a large zero turn mower 
BUT our yard is huge
and it still takes so long to mow...

So many interesting sights to see!

The kids love getting on the farm equipment!

I think a John Deere would be 
so helpful!
I would love to mow the lawn with hubby 
AND soon, some of the kids could do it!

Dogs doing tricks!

A doggy standing on it's front paws!

We love seeing the different breed of dogs!
Wheaton Terrier!

Angry Birds art and science exhibit!

The crowd increased as the day went on...

We left at 4:30pm.
Tired, full, tired, and ready to rest!

that we came home with as many kids
as we brought!

Thank you HopeKids for State Fair tickets!

We all had such a great time!