Vivienne and her very special feet

I don't talk a whole lot about Vivienne's special need because, well, most days it just doesn't come up. She's an amazing kid - bright, silly, happy. With the sassiest comebacks ever. And physically, despite her skeletal dysplasia and bilateral arm deformity, she's quite capable. She does pretty much whatever she wants, in her own special way. But recently her mobility has decreased. She's growing and her legs are tighter. Her heel doesn't touch the floor any more, making it increasingly more difficult for her to go up stairs or climb hills. In the last few … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]