Monday, December 28, 2009

revolving door

Our home has been somewhat of a revolving door since the middle of October. As soon as one batch of company leaves, I have just about enough time to wash the sheets, clean the bathroom and restock the pantry before the next group arrives.

We have been blessed with lots of visits with family and friends over the last 2 months. We just said goodbye to some dear friends this morning and we are anticipating a visit from Chuck's uncle tomorrow. We had Chuck's parents here for a week in October and again for Christmas. My sister and her family were here for just over a week for Thanksgiving. And we were able to squeeze in a visit from a college friend for a few days.

We have had a great time, but needless to say...we are a bit tired. I am sure everyone is tired right about now. Christmas is over and packed away...and we are ready to get back into a normal routine for school. We have been extra busy with adoption stuff and we haven't had much of any time to take a breath.

I still have very limited internet access and that is why I haven't been online blogging or staying in touch. Sure miss staying connected, but we haven't had a lot of extra time anyhow. I hope you all had a great Christmas season and are staying happy and healthy. Hope to post some pictures soon of all our enjoyable Christmas holiday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Still here...just not connected

I have been so busy and haven't had time to update the blog these days. Plus I haven't had internet connection so I have been completely cut off from the world. We have also sold our car (yay!!! so we can use that money to help fund our travel to Africa sometime this spring). Without a car, we have been a little stranded and not connected.

On a positive side, we have had fun making lots of christmas gifts (homemade ones are the best). And yummy baked goodies. Oh how it feels like Christmas here. We just haven't been very motivated to get our school work done or do any needful.

I just wanted to let you know we are still here and doing just great. Hope you are having a great Christmas season and are safe and healthy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saint Lucia invites you to breakfast

This morning we were greeted by our sweet girls in traditional fashion with breakfast in bed on Saint Lucia Day (December 13). Over the past 5 years this has become one of our favorite family traditions. The girls plan and prepare (with Grammy's help) to rise early while it is still dark and prepare breakfast for the family.

They enter our bedroom in the dark with only their lighted crowns shining to light the way (don't worry - battery tea lights make it safe). They dress in white gowns and a red sash and say "Saint Lucia invites you to breakfast". Each carrying a tray with breakfast goodies.

This year was extra special because they prepared the breakfast all themselves. They only needed Grammy's help fixing their crowns and setting the alarm. My, oh my, how our little girls are growing up.

Click here and here to see them in years past. Click here and here to read a little about the history of Saint Lucia. Just wondered if any other family out there celebrates Saint Lucia Day and how they do it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

jesse tree - advent - getting ready for christmas

We have really enjoyed our time together as we have been preparing for Christmas. And I don't mean buying gifts and making cookies. We haven't even started any kind of shopping or baking. That will come in time.

We are trying to spend a little time each day doing family devotions in the evening as we celebrate advent. We read our verses and short devotional and light the candle. Like any busy family, we miss a day here and there, but we make it up when we can. It is nice to have a purposeful time each day to focus on God and His word.

This is our second week of Advent, and our family celebration night included family time at home watching an old Christmas movie. The girls are not feeling great so a night hanging out at home was just perfect. We watched the old Christmas In Connecticut movie (a favorite of mine).

We have also been working on making a Jesse Tree. Also a way to count down the days for Christmas, but with visual pictures that help retell the story of the Bible. We have not done a Jesse Tree before, so I googled some ideas and decided to print some pictures and use the verses from this site HERE. I was trying to do this in an easy way rather than "make" our own ornaments with felt or sewing, I just printed them and the girls made a tree on paper. I have the ability to make things more difficult for myself so I was determined to make this easy for all of us.

Each day we put an other ornament on the tree that represents different parts of the history of Christ and the Bible. We were a little behind so we have done more than one ornament a day, trying to catch up.

Maybe it is the educator inside of me that LOVES things like this. This is such a great way to have the kids learn Biblical history. Tristen pointed out how it is all connected and part of one big story.Right now our kitchen door is displaying this tool we are using to learn more about God and His history.

I love being purposeful and spending our time on things that we find a lot of value in. If the Jesse tree works well for us, I might make some cute ornaments out of felt for next year. You my spare time. =)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

catching up

We have been busy...and I mean BUSY around here. As I sit here and write this post, the family is conked out on the couch watching Cinderella (well ~ Chuck is snoring and not watching much). I think we needed a day of rest. It feels like a long time since we have had one.

We had lots of excitement and holiday celebrations in the past few weeks. We had a nice time with my sister and her family during Thanksgiving. They were here just over a week and all the cousins played and played and played. From football outside to Wii golf indoors to letterboxing to playing at the park. We had an active week. There were 11 of us in all for the Thanksgiving meal and most of the evening diners so the dishwasher got lots of use (couldn't have done it without all the help in the kitchen ~ thanks!!).
The girls helped make our rolls for our meal. It is always a joy to serve with them in the kitchen. I love teaching them to bake and cook. This year we made cloverleaf rolls with our traditional recipe. YUM !!

The kids watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning and worked on a craft at the same time. I made a quick turkey collage for them to do. My kids had so much fun on the one we made for the reptile project we wanted to make another one.

My 3 nephews were here and the girls enjoyed having cousins around. My sister's youngest is the same age as Tally. All of them are fun to have around.

It really was a fun time for Thanksgiving with my family. We are pretty tired from all the action around here and I will have to post more of catching up from the last few weeks. The girls worked a yard sale table yesterday and I posted that on the adoption blog with an update of our funds so far. Feel free to go and check it out. HERE

We have also had other holiday parties and activities going on and I will try to post pictures soon. Just trying to catch up and get some much needed rest at the same time.

Hope your weekend has been great. Enjoy the second Sunday of Advent.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peace because Jesus is my HOPE

I have a peace this week. In all of the excitement and chaos and roller coaster ride from the holiday and having family here and getting our referral...I have peace. A peace that comes from trusting in God and resting in the truths of His Word.

I was so blessed by the prayer from our Advent devotional book. I shared it on the Sweet Pea blog but I wanted to share it here.

O Lord, help me to see Your future possibilities in spite of the limitations of the present moment.

This week for advent we have been focusing on Jesus being our HOPE. I can stand firm in knowing that Jesus is my HOPE.

Our prayer is that God will provide $10,000 in 10 days. My human doubt says I can't figure out how that will happen, but I don't need to rely on that. I am trusting that God will do it in His perfect way. We are trying to sell our cars to get to some cash and God has already provided another car for us to use when we need it. How cool is that??? I love how God works.

We are already seeing God providing in so many ways and I desire for this to be HIS story and not mine. For Him to get the glory. So thank you for being part of God's plan. Whether by giving or praying or being encouraging and supportive. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We got a referral !!!

2 Precious boys ages 4 and almost 2. And when I say precious...I mean....PRECIOUS. They are just about the cutest things ever. We are SOOOOOO excited we can hardly stand it.

We are on the fast track on this adoption. We only submitted our application 3 months ago today. First things first - have the international pediatric office review the file and give us a report.

We have about 10 days to get all the paperwork done and get our money turned in. And it will be a miracle from God to organize all of this. I can see how His hand has been all over this already. He needed this to go quickly so we could be ready to accept this referral. Thought we had about 6 months to raise the rest of the money...but God will provide.

I hardly slept at all last night. Riding the excitement wave. =)

Stand with us

We have had a busy holiday week with family and lots of celebration for Thanksgiving. I hope you all had many things to be thankful for this year. My list of gratitude continues to grow. I can't wait to post pictures of some of our goings on and our visit with my sister and her family.

We will get back into the swing of things this week as our family leaves today. I feel like I need to get back to schooling and take advantage of the few weeks before the Christmas break.

Just very quickly I am asking for my blogging friends to PLEASE pray with us in these next few days. We have seen God working in amazing ways (looking forward to sharing more). I will share details as soon as I can, but we are praying that God provides in a big way in the next week. I can see clearly how His hand has been on our family both here and in Africa and that His timing is perfect.

Trusting in a mighty God. Stay tuned for details....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give this Christmas Away

We got a fun little surprise last week in church. Matthew West came in (as a surprise) to sing a his new Christmas song. I had not heard it before, but it seems to fit our Christmas this year perfectly.

Please PLEASE PLEASE watch this video and let the lyrics sink deep into your soul. Take it to heart and allow the message to make a difference in how you spend your Christmas.

It's feeding the hungry
serving the poor

It's telling the orphan
"You're not forgotten anymore"


  • This week I am thankful for a house full of cousins. My girls are having a blast spending time with family that we only get to see every few years.
  • I am thankful that we are not moving or trying to sell a house.
  • So very thankful that we are all under one roof (accept for sweet pea).
  • Praising God that we are on the waiting list for Sweet Pea.
  • Thankful and grateful for how God provided the funds we needed to send in our dossier. Knowing that God will provide in His perfect timing for the rest.
  • Thankful that my family is healthy.
  • I am in awe of how gracious God has been to me and my family.
  • Thankful for God's word, for the ability to study it and how it changes my life.
  • Thankful that God forgives...for all the times I have sinned, in so many ways, and failed.
  • Thankful for Christ - the one who paid it all.

Happy Thanksgiving !!!!!!!!!!

May you spend the holiday focused on God and His blessings and His perfect ways.

Monday, November 23, 2009


We are determined to focus on the right thing for the holiday and prepare our hearts for worship. We are ready for the season of advent...are you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Preparing for the holidays

I am sure you are all getting ready to prepare for the holidays. I am so thankful that we will not be moving, or trying to sell a home, or packing a truck or taking daddy back to the airport this holiday season. We were in such a transition period of our life last year and I am so very thankful that we can focus on the holiday and all that it really means. I am looking forward to our season of advent this year as we prepare our hearts for what Christmas is all about.

I am so thankful that we will be able to see my sister and her family for Thanksgiving. We will have a full house and I know the kids will really enjoy having the cousins around. It will be such a treat to celebrate Thanksgiving with them 2 years in a row.

I am so thankful that our paper chase part of the adoption is under our belt. We are now officially on a waiting list and we will use this time to enjoy our family as it is now and prayerfully prepare for what it will become. Our waiting list numbers are on the adoption blog - click on the peapod to get there.

We are leaning toward spending our Christmas shopping money on gifts for those that really need it. I know many families try and find something to do at Christmas to bless others. We will most likely buy gifts for native missionaries or families through GOSPEL FOR ASIA (HERE). We have done this before and I would love to encourage you to find something like this to spend part of your shopping budget on.

Also, just thought I would ask for ideas of your favorite holiday traditions that you enjoy with your family. I am looking into doing the Jesse Tree (HERE) this year and would also like to hear what ideas you would like to share.

Friday, November 13, 2009

nature prints

We made some really neat nature prints the other day for our science. I had purchased this paper a LONG time ago and totally forgot about it. (HERE) We had a beautiful sunny morning so we decided to take advantage of it.The idea is you put the paper out in the sun for a few moments with something on it to make a shape. We had fun picking fun shaped items.

It was a windy day and our things kept blowing away. We had to hold them down tight.
The girls even made their hand prints in the sun. Notice the silverware and the toy horses. They love those shadows.
Then you quickly take the papers inside and soak them in water for about 2 minutes. (Can't remember, you would have to read the instructions).
Soaking them with water helps darken the paper and prints. Then you let them dry flat.Notice the branch from a tree, the lace and the scissors. Those all turned out pretty cool.

Here are our dried nature prints. We plan on putting some in our nature journals and writing about the sun and light.

What was so cool about this project was the immediate results. Well, that and the creativity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Am I the last one out there ???

Without a GPS ??? Does anyone use maps anymore ? Feeling like I am part of a soon to be extinct group.
Maybe I should put it on my Christmas list. =)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We have been BUSY !!!

We have been so busy and trying to squeeze everything in these past few days. Chuck has been working round the clock on a big video shoot for the past week. He is beyond tired. The girls and I helped him out on Saturday at his shoot. Needless to say, it was fascinating. I loved watching him in action, directing and organizing all the chaos. He does such a great job and it was a treat to be involved.

God provided the money we needed to press ahead on the dossier and we have been busy trying to get those documents done and notarized (click the peapod for updates). It is a paper chase. We spent most of yesterday in the car going from office to office getting the last few things done. It is amazing to see God's mighty hand at work in all of this.

We have had construction workers in the house for almost a week working on our bathroom floor and shower. There has been a major leak and water has built up and caused a mess. I can't get into my closet so I have been wearing the same outfit for days. =)

I am teaching my portion of our keepers group today and we are taking a field trip of sorts to the library to learn about the organization system that is used there. I am also working with a friend on a junior naturalists club that we formed this fall. We have that meeting on Thursday and I need to squeeze in preparing for that lesson. I have left it all to the last minute. I hate that about myself.

We finished our last class of education on Monday night for our adoption training. Glad to have it done, but we have learned so much and appreciated all the education we have been able to take part in. My mom has faithfully helped us out with watching the girls all those Monday nights as we have had to travel to the "city" to take these classes. We are SO thankful for the support.

So...all that to say, my house is a MESS. With running in every direction, I haven't had the time to get it cleaned, or put away, or hardly made a meal for my family. I will be happy to have all the paper chasing done before the holidays approach. My sister and her family will be here for Thanksgiving and I can't wait for that. It will be such a treat to get together again.

In the spirit of keeping it real. A tiny peak at the mess around here.

When you don't sort through the mail in days, it can really pile up. Working on our paper work for the dossier.

I haven't been able to get to my closet and put any clothes away. So...they just keep piling up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Praying for our children

I desire to pray more for my children. Not just a prayer for their health and for them to have a good day. But I desire to pray for their spiritual walk. For their relationship with God. Their influence on others. For their future spouse. Pray that they would be an example on others. For their purity.

I found a book on praying for your children and I made cards to keep next to the breakfast nook. I try and pray over these cards each morning as I have a cup of tea and read my Bible. I love how these prayers come from scripture and help me to focus on what is worthy as I lift up my family before the Almighty God. Especially as I have been praying for our new child (ren). Since I don't know names or ages or gender or circumstances, I pray for God to be working in their life even now.

I am so thankful for the prayers of friends and family. I know our parents pray every day for our children and we are so thankful to have prayer warriors that lift us up. God is faithful and He hears our prayers and His will is what we desire.

Another one of my favorite resources is the "Praying for our Children" calendar. (HERE) It is worth printing out and putting some place you see every day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Go check out the new post

BIG news on the adoption blog. Click HERE to see how God is working.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Candy Land

Instead of eating all the candy, these girls have been playing with it all week. I had to take pictures of it, for I am impressed with their creativeness. Click the pictures to enlarge for better viewing.

At first a few toys were added to enhance the fun. And very quickly a coral showed up in front of the barn.And a candy garden was planted. Notice the "Nerds" gate. This is where the candy comes from.

Pretty soon the barn grew and stalls were added out back to house the animals. And a few wooden people were added to ride the horses and play in the garden. Notice the yellow colored candy to represent the hay. And blue candy is for the water.

When they are off playing with something else, or when it is time to take a break and eat or do school, this is how the horses are left, in their stalls.Here is the family sitting at the table. I think the family is inspired by the Ingalls family, I hear a lot of Laura and Mary dialogue going on. Chairs are made out of Milk Duds boxes. If you click the picture here you will notice the fire in the background with a Hershey Kiss as the flame of the fire.

Here they all are tucked into bed complete with covers made out of M & M's and Reese's. They have used the candy just like building blocks to create their world.

Lounging on chairs made of Nerds and Dots complete with the fireplace in the front. Again notice the flame made out of Hershey Kiss and the logs made of Tootsie Rolls. This is the parlor.

Here they are playing by the creek. Since it is inspired by the Little House stories, notice the red Now and Later, that is supposed to be the crab from the story.

I have been amazed that the kids came up with this all on their own. I LOVE how creative they are with how they play. Just had to share our CANDY LAND.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

one of the reasons we are doing what we are doing

Just a reminder that most of our adoption posts are being posted on our Sweet Pea blog (HERE). This video is worth watching, take the few moments it takes to view. My prayer is that God uses us in some way to further His kingdom. My eyes have been opened and I will not be the same. God has burdened my heart for His children who have needs. Please continue to pray for our family and our journey and our Sweet Pea.

****Sharing the good news that the homestudy is DONE and has been sent to our agency and USCIS (immigration). That is a BIG check off the list. ****

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Festival Fun

We threw together some last minute outfits for some fall festival fun. We have been so busy and we just didn't have the time to work on anything before Saturday morning. We had Chuck's parents here last week and we ended up having 2 families for dinner on 2 different nights and then one other night we went out for Ethiopian food. Plus last Tuesday the girls and I went to the theater with a school group to see Little House on the Prairie the Musical. It was a fantastic evening and we enjoyed every second of it. But all of that turned into a VERY busy week.
We ended up going from festival to festival. Kroger and Publix had fall festivals going on with games and candy. Then we went over to a local church where a HUGE fall festival was going on. The girls enjoyed all the games and fun. And of course lots of candy. It was fun to see how many people we know and we have been here less than a year. After that we headed to another church and fall festival. More games and treats. It was starting to get cold and this festival was outside so we quickly made the rounds and then home to go and visit a few surrounding neighbors.

The day turned out to be lots of fun and the festivals were fantastic. We need to remember that we are not living in the tropics anymore and it gets cold here. We were not really prepared for that. Good thing most of the fun was indoors. This year Tally dresses as an Egyptian and Tissy was a cowgirl (inspired by Jessie in Toy Story 2). And Chuck and I grabbed some left over yard sale scrubs and joined in on the fun.Notice my doctor kit. =) I carted around my cell phone and camera inside.

Now...what to do with all that candy. Man...these girls got a lot. First off, they love sorting the candy. Counting out how many of each kind. And that is just the beginning of the fun. We don't do much sweets, so it will last a LONG time. And provide much entertainment.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

homemade tv antenna

We have worked really hard at cutting down our budget and one of the ways that has worked for us to not pay for cable tv. When we moved here, we never signed up to have our cable hooked up and since we are trying to save some money, we have decided to wait as long as we can. Honestly, we don't watch much tv. In fact, the girls like a few shows on PBS and Chuck likes to watch a football game every once and awhile, but we have learned to do without the rest of tv.

With football season here, Chuck was pretty disappointed with our $5 rabbit ears the reception that it was getting. The one stations that plays the football games wasn't always coming in clear. He tried getting a powered antenna for about $40 bucks, but it wasn't any better (so that went back to the store). So....he did a little research and came up with this.
He spent about 4 dollars and found some wire hangers and came up with this. I think he got some inspirations from a site like this (HERE). It sits outside under our deck and gets great reception. Like I said, we were only hoping for PBS and at least one network that shows some football. He is still working on exactly how the wire will run to the tv, but for now it is working great. I love his determination and his passion for being thrifty.


I have been working on making an adoption blog. My desire to have a neat journal of our process and have something to show our new sweet pea some day. That is what we call our new little one - sweet pea. I have taken older posts that were adoption related and put them on that blog. I plan on blogging about adoption on that bog instead of on here. For those of you that are interested you can follow along HERE. We would appreciate prayer for our journey. I hope and pray that God uses that to be a place of positive connections and encouragement to all of those who have the heart of adoption.

Monday, October 26, 2009

some of my favorite games

We are a family that loves to spend time together. We value our time at home as a family and try to create time that is special. Often on Friday nights we make homemade pizza and might watch a video. We try to eat dinner around the table most nights and if there is time we will play a game together or some other kind of family activity.

I thought I would share some of our favorite games that we play together. Soon you might be looking for gift ideas as the holiday season quickly approaches. Here are 2 of our new favorite games.I picked this game up at a yard sale for a dollar (really good deal - you can find it HERE). I had never heard of it before but it has quickly become a favorite. Kind of a mix of counting and memory. You search through the forest to find the trees and look underneath them to discover the hidden treasure.
Then race to the castle to reveal where the treasure is located. We all have enjoyed playing (even Chuck so it isn't too girly). I bought it because it is made by a favorite company that makes good quality puzzles and games. (HERE)
Another one that is a new favorite is Quirkle. I bought this one months ago (mainly because it was a game that had won 3 awards) and pulled it out for Tally's birthday. As much as I love games, I hate reading the instructions and learning how to play.
We aren't a very competitive family so we don't often keep score when we play games. We also shake every ones hand when the game is over and congratulate the winner. I want the kids to be good sports and have fun playing if they win or lose.

This one has beautiful colored blocks with shapes and colors. The idea is to make a row with one of each color or shape. Great for pattern grouping. I also tend to like games that are educational. We have just used the blocks with little kids and grouped them in like groups (all the red, or all the squares).
These are just a few of our new favorites right now. Do you have any ones that you'd like to share?

On the adoption front, we are done with our homestudy and waiting for it to be reviewed by the international agency. We are also almost done with our dossier and ready to send it in. We are short the funds (that are needed to send in with the dossier) right now so we are praying for God's wisdom on what to do in that situation. We have also finished up one (out of 3) of our adoption education classes that we are required to do. Just mailed of the completed book (With Eyes Wide Open) for it to be reviewed by one of the workers at the agency.

We have another class tonight and are almost done with the other 2 education classes that we are doing. One is online and one is a local class with other adoptive families.

We are eager to finish and mail in our dossier to the agency and it is then that we are put on the waiting list. Trusting God for His timing and His leading in all of this.