a beautiful reminder

We recently had a opportunity to have our family photos taken professionally. And, of course, I jumped at the chance. I shared a few of these on a post at No Hands But Ours, but there are a few more. And since this is where I *attempt* do the memory-keeping for this family o' mine, I wanted to share them here most of all. I didn't have super high expectations. After all, no one got new clothes or had their hairs did. Only a few of our outfits even really coordinated. And one of us was missing her nap. But I just figured we'd go out there and have fun. And, … [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...]

end of last school year and beginning of this one catch-up post.

So I've been in a fog of denial lately. But when October arrived, it hit me. Time to face it, chalk up how very much I've missed, and move on. I missed the last day of school pictures for last year. I missed the first day of school pictures for this year. But that's just the way I suppose it's going to go for now. Because homeschooling nine kids is no joke. Yep, that's right. Now all my school-aged kiddos are officially schooling at home. We had planned to maybe wait a year or so to bring Jude and Shepherd home to school with the other kids, but by … [Read more...]

a mama’s gotta do…

School's out. Which means I have all of my babies, from the littlest to the biggest, home. As must as I wish it were otherwise, this is rare. Due to Zach's college schedule, sometimes this phenomenon only occurs twice a year. Which leaves a mama with only one thing to do. Insist on taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Thankfully, I knew a place we could go where the kids can actually have fun in the process. Even better, it's free. And we picked a day that had a questionable forecast, in order to miss the crowds, and arrived just … [Read more...]


Jude and Shepherd played soccer for the first time this spring. It was really their first time to play an organized sport of any kind. They were pretty excited about it. I was a smidge worried, though. Neither had any experience beyond our back yard and both are on the *ahem* smaller side for their age. Let's just say, this mama has witnessed some cringe-worthy things in the sports world, and I didn't want my little guys getting hurt. In any way. I also didn't want to scare them unnecessarily. So instead of voicing all my concerns, I just reminded them to … [Read more...]

christmas 2014

It was noisy. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. And the best part? Having this little one home. Be still my heart. To have her here, with us this year, was the greatest gift we could have ever imagined. But the kids wanted toys, too For some crazy reason. Tallula got a Frozen snuggle-thing. Whose one-size-fits-all sizing is evidently for much larger kids. But with Elsa's face on the front, does it really matter? Vivienne got the Bright Eyes Kitty. There were 3 Bright Eyes designs and 4 of my girls wanted one. Lula lost. Thankfully Lula is easy-going and … [Read more...]

I’m gonna miss ’em.

So what does a mama do, when she should be packing for China? She ventures into the fall-colored woods with her kiddos and takes pictures of their sweet faces. Because she's gonna miss 'em. Crazy to me that I'll be leaving in a little over 24 hours. And I'll be away for 2 whole weeks. Away from all these shiny little faces. All these busy little hands. All these noisy little feet. I am *almost* missing them already, and I haven't even left yet. Almost. Thankfully, they're not feeling the same sappy sentimentality over momma leaving. Because … [Read more...]

orphan sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. We watched a video in church that was created to celebrate all the children who have come home to families in our church through adoption. Some from Ethiopia. South Korea. Alabama. And a few especially adorable ones from China that, when their faces flashed across the screen, might have made me tear up a little. Especially their faces before they came home. It's not that they didn't have a roof over their heads. Or clothes on their backs. Or food in their belly. It's that they didn't have parents, a mama to snuggle … [Read more...]

these two

It's the first day of school again. Seriously feels like we were doing this just a few months ago instead of a whole year ago... summer you were just a blur. (Especially when some of your kids are finally finishing up their school work from last school year. But I digress.) This year the Shepster is going into the second grade. Jude is going into the third. Our only two who are going to public school. Seven will be staying home. Six will be homeschooling. And one will be doing her best to distract us all. Both boys were a smidge nervous about … [Read more...]

it’s summer.

And school is out. How the heck did that happen? Actually, school has been out for a week already and I'm just now getting my head above water long enough to post these pictures I took on the last day of school (aka last morning to wake up at 5:45 until September, hallelujah). And in a effort to keep a record of how they grow, I'm including a little snippet about each of these three - "the school kids" as they're known around here. I'll be sharing about the other kiddos when they're actually done with school. First off is Shepherd. He just finished 1st … [Read more...]