Christmas 2015

We continued this year with our theme of breaking away from our traditional Christmases past. And we continue to be surprised at how the Lord has blessed our meager efforts to reprioritize our time, our energy and our spending. We completed a third year with our wonderful Advent book, every night taking turns guessing which object would be the one to represent the story of Christ's coming, and learning more and more how all scripture points to Him. We also went to no screens after 5 PM for the month. With a twist. This year we made allowance for one screen, … [Read more...]

what one year can do.

One year ago today, we met this girl. Since then, well... words just don't seem adequate. She's amazing. She has learned to crawl (sort of), pull to stand, climb, walk and dance. She had tubes placed and adenoids removed. She had a CT and 6 sedated bronchoscopies. She had tracheal-slide surgery and open-heart surgery, which required a two week hospital stay. She has gained over 6 pounds and grown 4 inches. She's gone from 0 teeth to 16. And her hair has gone from buzz cut to bob. She can drink from a cup and feed herself finger foods. She can draw … [Read more...]

how we do Halloween

I've shared before about our *ahem* spin on Halloween. This year we changed it up even more. The verdict is still out on whether or not we'll do it this way again but, all things considering, it was a really good time. We used to do Halloween pretty traditionally. Here we are in 2008. Jude in that rainbow wig, oh my. Here we are in 2009, the last year we technically trick or treated. Jude and Shepherd were just itty-bitty peanuts. In 2010 though, we had to make some changes. We wanted to still have fun with the kids, but Chris was away and … [Read more...]

celebrating Poppy

She turned six at the end of last month. Strangely enough, it seems like she's even older than that. Poppy is simply an old soul. She's a thinker. A watcher. And always keenly aware of everything going on around her. In fact, she's more frequently put "in charge" around here than most of her older siblings. The girl likes to be large and in charge, and she consistently succeeds at any task she sets her mind to accomplish. But she's also ridiculously silly. She makes the goofiest faces. And loves to try to make up new words, just to make everyone … [Read more...]

Isabelle = 11

Isabelle (not-too-long-ago) turned 11. This is a girl that thinks about her birthday for approximately 360 days a year, give or take. During the 6 months that follow her birthday I refuse her attempts to engage me in birthday-themed conversations. You know, all the things she'd like to get for her birthday, what kind of cake she'd like, what sort of party she's thinking of having. Because her birthday is two seasons away. But sometime after Christmas, I begin to indulge her. I bite off on the as-I-tuck-her-into-bed remarks she makes about her next … [Read more...]

sixteen is pretty sweet.

Be forewarned. This is the first of several similarly themed posts. Between June and July, we celebrate four birthdays around here. But they're all important. The older I get, the more I see time rushing past. I can't stop it. But I can do all I can to squeeze every bit of joy out of each and every moment. Anyway, you might have guessed by the title, he's 16 now. And, around here, the birthday boy gets to do whatever he wants to do. Okay, not anything. I'm pretty sure his anything would not have included coloring the kids menu while being critiqued by … [Read more...]

it’s official.

He's a teenager. To be completely honest, he's been a teenager since December. But we got home with Clementine 8 days before he turned 13. I'm just glad he actually had a cake. And presents. Because mama was jet-lagging. Bad. So bad, I'm not 100% sure I remember everything that was actually going on at his party. Other than cake and ice cream (so grateful I took pictures), cards, presents and the usual birthday chaos. As you can see, my travel-partner was feeling the jet lag pain, too. But Miss Clementine? Not so much. Regardless of my and … [Read more...]

guess who is two.

We got to celebrate Clementine turning two the other day. Her first birthday with us. And I'm not sure who had more fun, Clementine or the rest of her crazy-for-Clementine family. As she always does, Victoria wowed with a beautiful cake for the occasion: a four-layered, pink, polka-dotted cake, just for our girl. We tried to make a mini-smashcake, just like the big version, but that didn't go so well (although we did manage to eat it with a spoon off the cookie sheet). So we bought a fancy cupcake instead. Clementine didn't seem to … [Read more...]

the year of the sheep

We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year on Thursday - the official first day of the Lunar New Year. Didn't happen. Then we hoped to celebrate on Saturday. Nope. On Sunday Chris took the boys to church and I kept the girls home since we had three still recovering from fever/nausea/rash. And we were finally able to get the party started. The girls and I began by pulling down box after box of keepsakes gathered during eight trips to China. We looked through it all. Pearls and jade bought for the girls. Chopsticks and tobacco boxes purchased for … [Read more...]

Happy 11th.

Sophie Lu is 11. And, among many other things, she's a girl who knows her mind. So when it came time to pick a menu and shop for party accessories, I just got out of the way. She chose a local burger joint with the best sweet potato fries, ever. Chocolate Trifle, covered with chocolate chips. Pink party accessories. And mustaches... for everyone. I like this girl's style. Happy 11th, Sophie Lulu. I love you and the strong, beautiful young lady you have become. … [Read more...]