Saturday, October 24, 2015


I am a mom who loves tradition.  Our family is covered in them.  Some of the silliest things make us who we are.  I am sure every family has this to some extent.  As our kids have grown I am having a bit of difficulty knowing how to continue traditions if everyone can't be a part of it.

Having adult children changes things.  Although our oldest is now 19, she still lives at home, but is very busy with work and school and many other activities that I find hard to keep up with at times.:)

Last year at this time she was working crazy hours at a pumpkin patch.  I kept waiting for a day when we could all go to our "traditional" pumpkin patch and take our yearly picture under the 
"How Tall This Fall?" sign.

October came and went, without a day that worked for everyone.
It made me sad.  We have gone to the pumpkin patch every year since our oldest was a baby.  I thought about letting go of the tradition and then felt bad for the younger ones who are still in the middle of marking their years with memories like the pumpkin patch.

 You might notice that Bookworm is now the tallest.  
He has passed everyone, but Dad.  That will happen soon.

My new thought is that we will try to keep traditions that are feasible and not stress the ones that don't work.  We need to be ok with one or a few of the kids missing out on the traditions that don't work for them and their schedules.  Those of you with older children see this truth as obvious, but I'm just now settling into it.

There is so much comfort in the familiar.  The old red tractor, sitting on the pumpkins and choosing the best pumpkin as a family.  I remember six years ago walking through the corn maze and saying to Stand-Up Dad, "Next year we will have six kids running through the maze instead of four."

It was six years ago this month that I saw Sunshine and Little Buddy's faces for the first time as we received our referral.  So much has happened since then.  Time surely does fly.

This Fall also marks the beginning of Cate's Senior year of high school.  She is attending our local junior college full time and will graduate in June with her high school diploma and an Associate of Education degree which will qualify her to enter a University Teacher training course.  She plans to work toward a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language.

I had a great time taking her Senior photos last week.  I still need to spend some time editing them, but here are a couple raw photos that I like.  I'll have to remove the guy walking behind her.:)
Don't you just love her shoes?

Our Cate has a zest for life that is completely contagious.  I am loving watching this young woman grow in the Lord and use her gifts to bless others.  I can't wait to see God's plan unfold in her life.

Cate is a lot like me in her love of traditions.  She loves all the fun that life can bring and her attitude can keep me going.

What traditions do you enjoy?

Sweet Momma

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Still Alive in Washington... :)

My kids are giving me a hard time that I have not posted on this blog since last Christmas.  One might say we have fallen off the face of the earth.

The truth is, I am not sure that there are many people out there reading this, as I originally intended this blog to be a living scrapbook off our adoption story and our lives after we became a family of eight.

Since last Christmas, a lot has happened in our family.  But much of it was very hard to work through and not really blog worthy.

Now that we are on the other side of some of the "awful" I can say that God continues to be faithful and is definitely in the business of forgiveness, redemption and restoration.  Each day is a step of grace and faith that God is on the throne and madly in love with each one of us.

If you are reading this and are wondering what we have been going through... I might write about it later.  But for today... please keep our family in your prayers.  As always, God knows what's up and will hear your prayers and move in response to them.  Please know that any prayers lifted up on our behalf are pure gold to us.  Thank you.

Because it has been an eon since I wrote I'll try to do a short update on the kiddos.

Elsie:  Not quite a kiddo anymore.  Almost nineteen.  Loving her online college courses to become an ASL interpreter.  Spent a month in Colorado this summer for schooling.  She went on a short term mission trip to India and fell in love with the culture there.  She is a lifeguard, swim instructor and Bible Quiz Master in her spare time.

Cate:  This is her Senior Year!!!  She is taking courses at the local Junior College to complete an Associates degree and hoping to enter into a teacher education program after graduation.  She is just completing a job with our church as the first ever summer intern in children's ministry.  She is loving teaching swim lessons.  She has also enrolled, with Elsie, in a discipleship training course offered at our church.

Sweet Pea:  She is our newest High Schooler.  She had an amazing time volunteering this summer at an event that raises money for Ultrasound Machines for Crisis Pregnancy Centers.  She has also become a mother's helper to a sweet family at our church.  She is maturing beautifully every day and is showing a deep desire to serve God in all she does.

Bookworm:  He is in seventh grade this year and has officially grown taller than mom by TWO INCHES!  His shoes are size 11.  We can't wait to see how tall he is when all this growing stops.  He is enjoying Boy Scouts and attended camp for the first time this year.  He enjoys playing guitar and beating dad at foosball.  He is quickly growing into an amazing young man with a soft heart toward God.
Sunshine:  She is entering the sixth grade and seems more like a teenager to me.  She is just now eleven, but has matured by leaps and bounds this year.  Her most exciting challenge this year is the opportunity to be a part of our Bible Quizzing Team.  She just completed her first meet today and scored first in the rookie division.  She is a very determined individual.  We believe that God has gifted her in this area and constantly look for ways to steer that determination towards Him.

Little Buddy:  He just turned nine and is in the fourth grade this year.  This has been another challenging year for our little guy.  He has been a part of adoption/attachment therapy and has been working on his past to get a chance to focus on the future.  It is a hard process.  The phrase "Old Habits Die Hard" would describe the struggle we see daily.  Our love grows for this boy daily and we wait and pray in anticipation to see a miracle of transformation in his life.

Our time is filled with homeschooling, practicing law, college courses, facilitating parenting classes, swim lessons, piano practice, date nights, Bible quizzing, Boy Scouts, AWANA, etc.  But our greatest pursuit is to know God more each day.

I hope to blog more... we'll see.:)

Sweet Momma

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

May you have a very Merry Christmas!
From our family to yours!
God bless you.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


This month officially marks the first adult child (does that make sense?) at our house.
That's right!  Elsie is eighteen!!!  Her dad and I were struck by how fast the last eighteen years have gone and how good God has been.  When you hold that first babe in your arms, you have hopes and dreams for them.  But you never know what will happen.  God has been very faithful.  Our Elsie is an amazing young woman who has exceeded our hopes and dreams by far.  
Here are a few of her thoughts... 
 How old are you today?  18!!!  When I was nine, my only goal was to get to 6th grade because the 6th graders were so grown up and cool.  When I was in Junior High, I thought all the high school kids were so old, let alone the college kids.  Well, here I am - an adult at last!  I don't feel "that old" at all.

Can you describe the kind of person you are?  I absolutely love kids, especially preschoolers.  I would spend all of my time with them if it was socially acceptable.  I may seem to be quiet in large groups, but put me with a couple of close friends and you will find me VERY talkative.  I could talk about the deep things of life all day, but if I don't feel like I have anything worth saying, I might as well read a book.  I love getting to know God more each day.  He is so good and He gives me amazing fulfillment and purpose.
Handmade dress by Elsie
 Favorite color?  Blue.  I don't know why, but it just is.

Favorite person in the whole world?  I'll start with the obvious answer:  Jesus!  Other than that, I really don't know.  I guess I would say my family and my Bible Quizzing Internationals Team.  They are the most fun ever.

Hardest thing right now?  Probably learning to balance school, work, and activities.  I just finished up working at our State Fair (Yea!), and it was absolute craziness to keep track of both jobs and online school and my other commitments.  I really like being busy, but it is important to find the balance so that time with God and my family is priority.
Writing scripture in the sand at the beach
 Favorite thing to do?  It really depends on how I'm feeling:  If I am upset... I play piano.  Those dense chords help in getting frustration out. Ha ha!  If I am feeling creative... I love to sew.  If I am feeling joyful... I love to sign to worship songs in ASL.

Favorite food/drink?  Water (boring, I know) and coconut rice.  Most.  Amazing.  Food.  Ever!

 What do you not like?  Lifeguarding an empty pool.  Really boring.  
(Just a hint: Come to the Y, y'all!)  Dealing with grumpy customers ( I destroyed a little girl's day and happiness because we were out of scone mix, I was told.)  I just realized that they were both work related and kind of contradict each other.  Oh well.

What do I want to be when I grow up?  ASL Interpreter (for Deaf kids mostly)
My dear Elsie... there are not words to convey how proud I am of the person you have become and are becoming.  I wish I had had my feet under me as well as you do at eighteen.  May Jesus continue to be your best friend and may He lead you as you discover the differences that come with being an adult.:)
You're ready, and I couldn't be happier or more excited to see what God will do in and through you.
Love you more than words!

Happy Birthday!!!

Sweet Momma

Saturday, September 13, 2014

50 Years!

 Today is the day that my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage!  What a gift!  I am selfish when I say that their marriage has been a precious gift to me.  I have watched their marriage vows played out in front of me for more than forty years.  I have seen with my own eyes what "better and worse" looks like and "richer and poorer."  And through it all my mom and dad have stood side by side, determined to honor those vows that they made so many years ago.

Look at them.  They were babies.  Barely into their twenties and stepping into a life full of hopes and dreams.  They trusted God and did an amazing job raising me and my two brothers.  Life has definitely had its ups and downs.  But that is common in every life that has lived more than 70 years.

They taught me who God is and that He loves me.  They taught me to obey and honor my elders and to always be honest.  They have lived life in a way that showed me to never give up, never give in and trust God in everything.  I am so thankful.
 A couple of weeks ago we all got together to celebrate.  It is so much fun when we all get together!  This is another testament to my parents and their love for family.  It struck my parents, as they reminisced, that because of their marriage 50 years ago...  they were no longer two, but twenty.
 Thank you Mom and Dad!  Your marriage has been such an incredible example to me and my whole family!  Many blessings to you on this precious day!  I love you more than words!
Happy Anniversary!!!

Sweet Momma

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!

Today is Little Buddy's birthday.  This past year has been a rough year for our precious boy.  You would never know it by looking at those beautiful brown eyes.
Our family continues to pray that God will move in his heart and give him the ability to find rest in our family.  If you think of Little Buddy, please pray with us for healing.
Below are some thoughts from Little Buddy...

 How old are you today?  I am 8!  When I was six I asked my Dad if I would ever have a birthday on a Saturday.  He figured out that I would have a birthday on Saturday when I turned eight!  I am so excited that it is finally here!

Can you describe the type of person you are?  I care about animals and people.  I have a passion for poor people.  I don't like to waste things.  I like nature.  I like how God made everything unique with different colors and qualities.
 What is your favorite color?  Bright Orange!  It stands out very well.  It shows a lot of my personality, because I like to stand out.

Who do you love to spend time with?  My Mom.  She is kind and generous and helps me through the hard times and rejoices with me in the good times.

When you grow up, what do you want to be?  I would like to start a horse camp where other people can learn about horses.  Or I could be a missionary or a pastor.  I could also be a scientist.
 What is your favorite thing to do?  I love to play soccer.  I like to run around.

What are your favorite foods? Injera (ethiopian bread), coconut rice, noodles and applesauce.

What do you not like?  Raw broccoli.  It doesn't have a lot of flavor.  It's good with butter and salt and pepper when it is cooked.  But when it is raw it is cold and icky.
Little Buddy, There are not words to describe how precious you are to me.  If love alone could heal your heart, you would have been healed forty times over.  I love your smile.  I love the kind and tender heart that God has given you.  I stand in faith that God will work out His amazing plan in your life.
You are smart and silly and so fast when you run.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be your second mommy and look forward to seeing what you will learn about life this year.

I love you all the way to Mars and back again!

Happy Birthday!

Sweet Momma

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunshine turns 10!

Our Sunshine girl is celebrating her tenth birthday this week.  I am in awe of this beautiful girl.  She has grown in so many ways over this past year.  
Below I will share a few of her thoughts.  Please enjoy the photos from her "Frozen" birthday party yesterday.  She is dressed as "Elsa," wearing a cape that her sister Elsie made for her and surprised her with.  Squeals of joy came from her room at 6:30am yesterday.

 Her best "Elsa" pose

How do you feel about being ten?  I am really excited to be double digits.  This means that I have been here almost five years.

What is your favorite color?  My favorite color is neon green.  It is bright and colorful and it goes really well with the other neons.

What are you looking forward to this year?  I hope to do soccer and sewing.  I’m also excited about being in fifth grade.

What are some of your favorite foods?  I love French Dip Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches and Cinnamon Pull Aparts.  I don’t like sausage and I love bacon.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I want to be a mom of twins.  I want to play and coach soccer and sometimes I want to be a scientist.  I think Ken Ham is interesting to watch.  It would be cool to be a scientist like that.

What is a favorite memory of this last year?  I loved playing soccer for the first time this year.  I had a really good coach.  He was really encouraging and tried to let us all play and was very fair.

What is your favorite game to play?  Probably Risk.  It is so competitive and it is really fun to play with my brother.

What is your favorite school subject?  Reading.  I like books about history and fiction, especially historical fiction.

 What are you good at?  I love to doodle and make bracelets.

Who do you love to spend time with?  My brother Bookworm.  He is a lot like me.  He is competitive and he is funny.  It is really fun to play games with him and play soccer too.  He is just a lot of fun!

Who is your favorite Disney character?  Elsa.  I love the movie Frozen!

Sunshine - You have brought so much joy and light and fun into our home.  I am so thankful to God for creating you and allowing me to be your Mommy.  May God continue to reveal Himself to you as you grow each day to know Him more.
I love you to the moon and back!

Happy Birthday!!!

Sweet Momma