Wednesday, January 30, 2008


When Brent and I first started thinking about having children I dreamed of having four boys. I felt pretty confident that is what God would give us so when Aaron was born and the doctor said "IT'S A BOY!" I said "Of course it is."

A year and a half later, when the doctor said "IT"S A GIRL!" I was in shock. What would I do? What would her name be? I don't like pink! Oh, it was an interesting time.

The only thing I knew at that moment was that this baby girl would need a sister.

Sisters are one of God's greatest gifts to me. I have two of them and my relationship with my sisters cannot be explained - it can only be experienced. We can have intimate conversations without having to explain details of our lives. We understand each other unlike any other relationship on earth. My daughter would need this.

"IT'S A GIRL!" said the doctor three years later. "Of course it is" I responded.

One of my greatest pleasures is to watch my girls (4 of them now!) together. They really enjoy each other and it is exciting to watch them grow in their relationships. One of my famous lines when I see them off giggling together is..."I love sisters."

In honor of sisters.........

3 sisters holding 3 sisters
(pre-adoption photo)

My pioneer girls

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Truth About Birthdays

Max just had his first American birthday. He thinks it was also his last. It is so interesting to me when I discover things we assume the kids understand. Who would have thought I would need to explain that a person has LOTS of birthdays - one every year, in fact.

Max didn't know that. He was so very excited about his special day - but before the day was even half over he got real sad. I asked him what was wrong and he said "Tomorrow is not my birthday." I said "No sweetheart, but TODAY is your birthday and we still have your party tonight!" Max sadly retorted, "But then no more birthdays."

I explained the way birthdays work. He was quite relieved to know the truth. It also cleared up for him how everyone else got to be so old. We had noticed that he was very confused about that. He would ask different siblings throughout the week..."Jenna, how do you get to be 12?" He is so happy to know that he will get to be 12 one day, too.

We are blessed to be able to make such a fuss on birthdays. In so many other parts of the world they have much bigger things to worry about than remembering the day a child was born.

In honor of our five year old I will attempt to limit myself to five things I love about Max:
1. Max is hilarious. I have no idea how he comes up with his stuff but he keeps us in stitches

2. Max is teachable. He wants to obey and please us - when he needs corrected he gets
quiet, drops his head, sheds a tear or two, nods his head, and obeys.

3. Max has a smile that lights up the room.

4. Max loves books. He memorizes his favorites and recites parts of them throughout the

5. Max is thriving in a family. It is plain to see that he enjoys the benefits of being the
youngest, but he still wants us to "get a baby" from Ethiopia.

Some fun photos of our yummy 5 year old...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Love Hurts

Many of you know that it is our Brooke who has struggled the most with losing her birth home, parents and previous life. She has grieved and we have greived for her. The other night when I was kissing her goodnight we had a very sweet conversation.

Brooke: "Mom, I wish I was in your tummy when I was a baby."

Mom: "You do? Why Honey?"

Brooke: "Because then I wouldn't miss my Ethiopia mom."

How does her six year old brain think of such things? It makes me love her more which I did not think possible. She is learning, at too young of an age, that love can be very painful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


This is how we envisioned school at our house when we set the room up last August.

In reality this is how school looks most days.

Expections are so often not met. It was not realistic for me to think I was ever going to be able to have 7 kids work quietly at a single table doing school all morning.

The greatest thing is that although expectations are often not fullfilled, they are often exceeded. When I get my perspective right (this often needs to be self-corrected) and look around, I am tickled by what I see. Two kids doing school work under the table. (who said the "on" was better than "under"?) Two kids cuddled together reading. One man-boy happily improving his typing skills. Yet two others finding a quiet spot in their bedroom. (no pictures because I actually didn't know where they were until too late.)

Then there are the times when I feel like nothing is getting done. This happens more often than I care to admit. Again, when I take a step back and evaluate what is going on - even then I am often not dissapointed.

Here are some "out takes" from our home school days gone by....

This is what happens when you let two ornry boys go off alone for "Buddy Time." (Those are Aaron's pants that Max is "wearing".)

These beautiful ladies were having some quiet reading time and instead got a complete make over.

Joseph has had a rude awakening about family dynamics when he became a younger brother. As Aaron puts it..."I have waited 13 years to do this!" Unfortunately, I have to break them up to get back to business at least once a day.

While expectations are good - flexibility is better...especially when you are a homeschooling family of nine.