Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Farm 2012

My Daddy was born in North Florida, on the family farm. He and few other family members own it now. He and my Mom like to spend a lot of time up there. It's a little old fashioned town where the nearest Walmart is like 40 minutes away. It is like a little window into the past, and filled with good people. We try to go every fall. The church they attend when they are there, hosts an Old Fashioned Day. It's always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and we love it. The people of this little church always make us feel so welcome, and they obviously love the Lord. Old Fashioned Day, always has lots of fun. Horseback riding, and crafts. The kids all made butter, and got to try lots of old time machines, for sewing, getting corn off the cob, grinding sugar cane, and making syrup. Lots of old fashioned good food too.

Michael was able to take the 3 days before Thanksgiving for vacation, and we made a vacation of it. Our first one in a long time. We stayed the week with my parents. Just relaxing, visiting, playing all day outside,riding the tractor, and golf cart (the ride a golf cart around the fields) exploring the woods. Feeding turtles etc....It was wonderful.

Some good friends allowed us to borrow their 15 passenger van, so all 8 of us, plus the two dogs, and our stuff could all fit comfortably and it was such a blessing. It's my dream car, lol. Funny how dreams change over the years.

Still, after a week away, it was good to come home. I'm still working to get everything put back away, and really clean before Christmas. Sure hoping to travel shortly after the new year. Whew, that's exciting and scary all in one. God is faithful though, and I'm feeling so so blessed. Here are a few pictures. I still have to download the ones from Michael's camera.

Abram begged me to buy this hat. It didn't happen, lol.

Breakfast outside. It was cold outside, but so good!

Dinner (that's lunch around here, supper in the evening ;) )
With Grandmama and Granddad

Great fun with a stick and a hole in the ground, lol.

Doing the corn.

 Waiting to ride the horses.
Vivian having a fresh made pork rind. She loved them!

Funny boys.

My baby boy is growing up too! So handsome.

Cutie pie.

The kids helped Grandmama pick these greens, and now were getting ready to wash and pick them.

 A few shoes outside the door, lol.

Vivian is a thrill seeker, lol. She loved doing this with Daddy.

We had lots of Uno games. 

Building a huge leaf pile!

This is SO Olivia! Lives life with abandon.

Abram is so funny!

Gideon is just too precious.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My baby is 13!

Being a Mom is something I've wanted as long as I could remember. I always knew that I wanted to be a wife and mother more than anything else. Olivia came along after a bit of a wait, and then a long, difficult pregnancy with most of it spent on bedrest. Ending with pre-eclampsia, and an induction a month early. Thirty hours of labor. She was and is worth every.single.second.

People tell you to enjoy them. That it goes so fast. It sounds so cliche, and some days when you are cleaning up the same mess for the fifteenth time it doesn't feel fast, lol. But it is.
There's a scene in Cheaper By the Dozen, one of my favorite movies, where the dad is saying "how can she be so grown up, wasn't she just riding on my shoulders last week" etc... and the Mom says, "and then you blink". So true.... I feel like this was just a year or two ago.

And yet, here we are.... 
and our girl is 13. She is turning into quite a young woman. Beautiful inside and out. She is smart, and kind. Loving. Determined. Loves God. Has inspiring faith. I am so blessed to be her Mama.
We had a busy day on her actual birthday. We had our homeschool co-op, and she wanted to go, and be there with her friends. She and I made cupcakes. Little owls. Although the only picture I found looks a bit like a bat, lol.

We usually eat dinner at church on Wed. nights after co-op and before Awana. Then, she had Awana Trek,and she loves her girl's group. By the we got home it was almost 8pm. So we had a treat of baked cheese sticks, and oreo milkshakes with cupcakes. I had run home during one of the classes and secretly decorated our dining room and she was so surprised!

 Happy Happy Birthday  Olivia!

Monday, November 26, 2012

LOA!!! LOA!!!

I have so much I want to share here. We just got home yesterday from visiting my parents at "the Farm" for Thanksgiving. I have lots of pictures to share from that. And from my sweet Olivia's 13th birthday. But tonight, I will be checking and double checking paperwork to file for our I800 because our LOA's came today!!!!! This is such a land mark moment in a Ch*na adoption. It is their irrevocable consent to the adoptions! And the last big hurdle. Now we have several shorter steps for immigration and travel permission. Hoping we will travel in about 8 weeks or so.  So thankful!

Of course, our other big hurdle is the funds. We have been walking in faith and God has provided so far..... but we have far to go and honestly, sometimes I feel like Goliath is getting right up in my face, but my God is faithful. I trust him. I don't know how he's going to do it. We've worked hard at fundraising, and filled out so many grant applications, loan applications etc, worked overtime, and side jobs.... but this is just bigger than we can do. I'm coming to realize that is just how it should be though. This is God's story, his painting, and I'm just a paintbrush, and in my weakness, and inabilities.... His glory is seen.
 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9

So while I might feel like I'm on this wild go-cart ride, and it can take my breath away.... I'm trusting the driver. Hang on, it's about to get really interesting!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Drive By Posting

I'm sorry I haven't posted. Our life is always steady busy, but the last few weeks have been extra crazy. A few more kids ended up with the flu, and then Michael too.

Olivia, my first baby turned 13! This will get it's own post soon :)

We had family visiting from out of town.





A transfusion

An out of town trip (another post coming up soon.) Road tripping with 6 kids and two big dogs is not for the faint of heart, lol.

Still waiting on our LOA. I'm praying and believing it is coming Please!

I so appreciate anyone who follows along with our family. So please stick around and I'll write soon.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beautiful Things

We are doing so much better! It was a long week, but I'm thankful we all seem to be doing well now.

As I mentioned, last week was Vivian's birthday. She was ready to celebrate! And so were we, minus the strep and flu issues, lol. Her birthday is such a time of reflection for me though. I wonder about the day she was born. I wonder if she was celebrated. I have every reason to believe she was.... I wonder about her birth family. Her first Mama. Her life before the orphanage.

Her birth family kept her, and likely intended to raise her. She was left at a much older age than usual, and in a very safe, obvious spot, where her birth family was more likely to be caught.  Also, the age she was left at is the time her thalassemia would have become obvious. Most likely, up until that point they were probably unaware of the health issues, and were just loving this precious girl. The choice to give her up, was most likely her best chance at survival. Thalassemia is not easily treatable in the rest of the world as it is here. It was probably a truly selfless choice. A heartbreaking one, and as a Mama, one I can not imagine. So many questions that we will never know the answers of on this side of heaven.

I am grateful to Vivian's first family. I have no doubt they are amazing people, because Vivian is amazing. I wonder sometimes, who she gets her little smirky smile from, her love of sweets, her stubbornness. I am thankful they chose life for her. I feel guilty sometimes, that I get to be blessed by her hugs, and laughter. I grieve what they have lost, and what she has lost too. People often say how lucky she is........sigh. And she is blessed with much, and a family who cherishes her, but she has lost and endured much too.

Adoption is a complicated, emotional issue, that at it's very heart starts with loss. I believe that God is making beauty from ashes though. All week I've been humming this song. I pray that God blesses Vivian's first family. I pray they have peace. I pray they come to know him, and that someday in Heaven we will all be together. I pray Vivian will have peace as she grows up with the questions that will always remain. And I'm thankful for a God that makes beautiful things.