Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ha! I know I'll be blogging this first because Cari is still on the road going home! :)

I got to spend a few hours with a "bloggy friend" and her kiddos today.

Now I can say that we're friends...and not just through our blogs.

We grew up within miles of one another, and now live fairly close.

We have visited the same parks, know the same landmarks,

and have traveled a similar road through adoption.

It was so enjoyable having Cari and her kids visit today.

The kids hit it off wonderfully, and we had so much to chat about and share.

What a fun day!

Do we seriously have this many kids between us?

We are way outnumbered...but they are just so stinkin' cute!

And just wouldn't be right if we didn't get a photo like this!

(Notice the blur? He's mine...on the move...again!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Diet

Ugh. I detest diets. This family loves food...any kind, any ethnicity...well, almost.

I don't mind cooking, and sometimes it's actually fun trying something new.

And meal time here is serious business.

I can't tell you how many times after JUST finishing lunch, I hear...

"So what's for dinner?"

And it's family time, too. No phones (I love answering machines), no toys...just us and the cuisine.

But, sometimes there's a gliche in the the four letter word: DIET.

Yes, we have a little one who has been breaking out in hives for no apparent reason.

We can't seem to identify why they appear, but they do and they itch like crazy.

So, off we went to a holistic dr. today to see what may be done.

He was very kind, and took 2 hours of his office time to talk to us.

2 hours!! And there was less than 5 minutes of wait time beforehand.

He was thorough, gave us lots of suggestions and support, and then said that dreaded word (that I fully expected to hear): Diet

We need to make some dietary changes to see if we can find the culprit for those hives. The changes aren't as tough as I thought they'd be...lots of veggies, few fruits, meat, most nuts and legumes and seeds, good fats.

But here's the kicker...absolutely NO grains for 2 weeks, and then only brown rice and gluten free oats until further notice. Do you know how much this family loves rice???? And not brown rice...jasmine rice. No potatoes. No corn. No starch, period. No sugar, period.

Do they not know this is icecream cone season? And that pizza is a weekly staple?

But, we can do this, and I plan to get as many on board in this house as I can. I'm sure everyone will just jump at the chance for all this fun! But it will be good for all of us to eat more healthy. So, if anyone would like to share some good recipes, sans grains, sugar, prepared dressings, and fruit...please do!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cookbook Giveaway!

Giveaway time!

I love doing giveaways, and this time it's for

The Amazing Food Preparation Manual, by Stephanie Rhines.

See the end of this post for entering the drawing.

(Jenna not included!)

Stephanie is a family friend...a very sweet teen from church. She and a friend went on a missions trip to South Africa. They are helping a missionary family while they are there, as well as visiting at least one orphanage. Stephanie is such a sweet gal, and I know that those to whom she ministers will be so blessed!

Stephanie put these cookbooks together herself, and they include recipes from her family and friends. And believe me...these gals can cook! Stephanie's mom is a fabulous cook, and often supplies food for events. She makes THE BEST cinnamom rolls in the world! The last time I chatted with Stephanie, she was interested in attending culinary school...she would do awesome! Stephanie was selling these cookbooks to raise funds for her trip to SA.

You can follow her journey here on FB, and please feel free to donate toward her trip if you feel so led. I know she still has some cookbooks to sell!

Now in order to get your name entered in the drawing, you just need to let me know that you've visited Stephanie's FB page, and left her an encouraging note (can you do this without being a "friend?"). If you're like me, and you don't have a FB account (or if you can't leave her a note without being a "friend"), just leave a note of encouragement for Stephanie on my blog, and I'll forward it on to her.

I'll draw a winner this Saturday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 24...17 years later

If anyone would have told me in 1994 what our lives would be like over the next 17 years, I probably would have laughed, or fainted...not sure which.

Our life together has been nothing short of an adventure...some valleys, some mountains...some plateaus. By God's grace, we've endured them all!

We've done and seen a lot, to say the least.

*residents of 3 different countries

*10 household moves

*10 different homes...however temporary they may have been

*5 children

*traveled around the world to bring home some of our children

*grown immensely in our love for Jesus, and try so hard to live our lives to please Him and not the world...obviously not even close to perfection!

June 24, 1994

We laughed today as the weather was so similar to our wedding day. June 24th, 1994 was a Friday...a cool, rainy, Friday. Today was just like it... a cool, rainy Friday!

We left for a date night to celebrate our special day. We hadn't been out, just the two of us, since last December due to not wanting to leave Jenna for very long...bonding and trust understand. But it was time...time to let the kids have some fun with babysitters (yes..2 sisters tag-teamed!), and time for us to put our marriage in the front of the line...quite challenging at times when there are 5 young ones needing lots of attention!

We found a Thai celebration to attend and had so much fun, and it also made us yearn to visit Asia again. Some of you know what I'm talking about...there's a piece of us that will always remain in Asia.

So, there was traditional dancing, AWESOME food, beautiful Thai children running all over the place (I know, I know, my van is full), and friendly people to chat with at our table. The woman in charge of the evening found out we had adopted Amarin from Thailand. She sent us home with a bunch of sticky rice to share with him...yum!!!

I love you, honey, and can't wait (really!) to see what the next 17 years hold for us!

June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

How can you not smile...

...when you see this sweet picture?

This was Laura's Father's Day present that she made at school.

We were all in stitches when we saw it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Enabling Behavior

What should we do when somene really cute is caught being sneaky?

Enable them and take a photo!

Dinnertime obviously wasn't coming soon enough for this little sweetie.

I had just set out grape tomatoes on everyone's plate...including this one.

Where did they go?

Let's try this again and see if we can catch someone in the act.

I know I'm so stinkin''ll let me get away with anything!

Yep...just as we thought. Charlie's amused by the whole situation.

Down the hatch.

Delightful! Guess we can't complain when she eats tomatoes...but perhaps she could eat off of her own plate and not graze everyone else's?

I must say, though, I impressed with her determination and problem solving skills when she's hungry!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6 Years With Laura

June 14, 2005

Gotcha Day, Nanchang, China


What a difference 6 years can make!

We love you, Laura!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Day in Bavaria

We spent the day in Bavaria...well...not really THE Bavaria, but at a little Bavarian festival. Having lived near Bavaria in Germany for a while, it's always fun to go somewhere and "live it again." We arrived nice and early for the parade, while listening to some music on the accordian. We ate our brats and warm brezels while we waited.

Finally, the parade started. Of course, the police were at the start. Within the first 30 seconds, Charlie ran screaming to get on my lap because they were blaring their sirens.

Poor little guy got up the nerve to sit back down with his big brothers, only to see this dude on his way. He ran, with huge eyes, back to my lap and hid his face. Only after Santa was a safe distance past did Charlie think he was a good guy, and maybe could give him a high-5. It's really a love/hate relationship!

Of course, there had to be traditional clothing, dancing, and music.

Spectators enjoying the parade. It was a little brisk, so Char actually kept me warm.

These folks sitting by us were hilarious. All originally from East Germany, Czech., or Yugoslavia...they had thick accents and were so funny, especially the lady in the bright purple coat. She called herself Oma (grandma) to the kids, and got a tad bit upset that someone did not give one of the girls a beaded necklace they were handing out. She went after them to get one...

The sun eventually popped through the clouds, and we did a lot of walking, played at a park, and saw this feathered friend..."showing off" as Charlie said. But what beauty!

We just love when summer gets here and we can enjoy the festivals!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Music Men

The past week and a half have been filled with music rehearsals, recitals, and concerts.

Last fall, Jacob started taking band at a local private school. They allow homeschoolers to join for free...very cool! Jacob chose to play the tuba, and he has loved playing that HUGE instrument!

The beginner band concert was last week and the kids did a great job. I can't imagine trying to teach a room full of 5th graders band...all new to their instruments, some new to reading music, and all of them new to playing in an ensemble. And since they started the year on the recorder, they actually didn't pick up their current instrument until almost November. Amazing job!

Here's Jacob hiding behind his tuba.

There he is!

The band teacher didn't stand to direct, but played along with them on the piano. I'd never seen this done before, but it really was a nice sound and the kids all played along with him very well.

He also gave the kids a chance to perform another instrument if they chose, so Jacob played the piano. He's taken lessons for 5 years now, and also loves to play this instrument. He played The Barber of Seville...a rather fast one...and he did great. He was pretty nervous, though, because he had a rough practice earlier in the day. He was concerned about what others would say about him if he comes the age where others' opinions start to matter. So I reminded him not to be concerned about others' remarks...if God is with you, who can be against you?

But instead of remembering those words as he walked to the piano, he told me all he could think of was..."yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."

Oh, Jacob.

The whole family there to spur him on, along with proud grandparents!
The only one that did NOT enjoy the concert was Laura...the noise and acoustics were too much for her senses.

Two of Jacob's best friends are in band with him. We carpooled this past year and it was a hoot listening to their conversations. What great imaginations!

Yep...three peas in a pod!

Next up...the piano recital. It was Amarin's first recital as he just started last fall. He and Jacob played a duet, and it was great to see them up there together having fun.

Amarin's smile says it all...he loves piano, too, and said he wasn't nervous at all!

What a difference in confidence we've seen in him.

Jacob was pretty intense with his playing. He sets his music up there just in case, but never looks at it. And we thought his foot was going to go through the floor the way he was stomping on the pedals!

Some of their biggest fans. Despite Laura's expression, she did enjoy this music.

Flowers for their teacher, Ms. Becky.

Charlie joined in this photo. He's ready to play, and is already "practicing" his finger positions. It's been fun to watch his big brothers sit with him at the piano to teach him for a couple minutes each day. What a hoot it will be to see that little guy up there playing. Something tells me his song choices will be fast and loud...just a mom's intuition...

Great job, boys! We're proud of you for working so hard at your lessons and practicing every day!

Friday, June 10, 2011


OK, fellow computer workers. Can anyone offer a suggestion as to why I'm only able to post comments as an anonymous person? It won't let me use my profile, and sometimes it keeps bumping me back and forth between my comment and my login. Anyone? Bueller?