Friday, December 20, 2013

Cookies Galore, and More!

This week has been incredibly busy, with the school play Thursday night, and the Charlie Brown church play tonight, with rehearsals, gymnastics and preparing for the holiday inbetween! Thank goodness today ended up being a snow day, as it gave us a little more time to get a few other things done.

Josh and Rebecca prepared cookies yesterday, and today, after the snow turned to rain and the girls got bored, they decorated them.  I was impressed with some of the decorating that was done.  I think Josh has watched Cupcake Wars one too many times!

This one's arm broke off before decorating it, but in our house, she's perfect! Jaelyn asked if this was her. Love her humor!

Josh's lederhosen boy!

Simple and dainty, like Rebecca!

Yep, a polar bear that rolled in something red!

Another one of Josh's creations.

Who doesn't make dolphin sugar cookies at Christmas? Apparently Kaia does!
Jaelyn's creation.

The cookie supply was quickly depleted after tonight's play.  Fortunately with our busy Fall schedule of school and two sports, neither girl wanted to try out for speaking parts for either play.  Both were content to be in the choir. However, Kaia did find one part in the school play that suited her well...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kaia's Christmas Recital

Here is video from Kaia's recital last weekend. The young boy at the ending did not cooperate, so it messed up the ending they had planned. Oh well, it is fun to see how far Kaia has come in a year.  Now that soccer is over, it's gymnastics competitions come January...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beauty and the Beast...

So this past week was Santa Paws picture time for Cocoa and the girls. Looking back at last year's photo, they have all grown so much! What a beautiful group of girls!
Now here's the reason why you don't see Romeo in the photo...
Poor boy has an ear infection, and one of his eyelids needs to heal before he can begin cortisone for a lesion on his eye. So for the second year in a row, it's a girls only photo!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seriously, Soccer?

Like the majority of the United States right now, we are having unusually cold temperatures. So guess how Jaelyn and I spent last Saturday, the coldest day of all we have had so far?  Yep. Her final soccer game. Seriously!

Actually, there was no wind and the sun was shining, so as long as we stayed out of the shade, and I had several layers of clothes on, and a hat, and wool socks, and gloves, with hand warmers, drinking my Starbucks gingerbread latte, then I wasn't too cold! The photos weren't great, as Jaelyn really didn't get many opportunities with the ball (we mostly played defense),  but I did get one of her right after her team scored their only goal, briefly taking the lead.

Jaelyn focused on the next play while her team jumps for joy!
Snacks after the game are still the best!

So for now, soccer is over. That is, until February!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Wrong with this Picture???

Notice anything wrong with this picture? Who knew unloading the dishwasher could be so dangerous? Guess I have a valid excuse not to do it anymore (actually it already is the kids' chore, just not this time). 

So when I took it into the jewelers they disdainfully asked me "You mean you have never had the prongs replaced in 25 years?" Gulp! No one mentioned that to me when I got engaged at 21!  The lady then proceeded to tell me they should be replaced every 10-12 years.  Let's just say between replacing the tips, prongs, and repairing the worn down edge holding in four of the channel set diamonds (that they told me I would lose if I didn't get fixed soon), I will have no wrapped gifts under the tree! In the meantime, I am sporting Grandma's wedding ring on my left hand, as I feel naked without something there! Should be getting it back in a week and a half, then hopefully I get to wear it another 25 years (with a couple check ups in between)!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Old is New Again...

Two years ago I posted about a new tradition to start off our Christmas Season. Well I am happy to say that our old tradition is back again, so does that mean it is a new tradition, or an old one? 

Last month we were excited to learn the tree farm where we cut down our tree for many years, was being re-opened by the new owners.

The girls made a bee-line for the horse. Randolph the reindeer was replaced by "Princess," the rescued pony.

Always my out-of-the-box kid, we did not go with Kellen's first choice!

That's more like it!


We were happy to see that they hired the same Santa from all our past photos.

Such a colorful photo!

Unfortunately Joshua had to head back to school Friday morning, as his ride had to work Saturday. He was very much missed in the family activities. Every year my kids receive a new ornament from Grandparents and us, so that when they leave the nest some day, they will have quite a start with their own decorations. So when Josh comes home in a couple weeks, he will have two to add to the tree. Here is the finished project...

Just for kids corner.
Now if the wind can stop blowing long enough to get the outside lights up!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Off to a Great Start...

The holiday season is officially off to a great start!  Thanksgiving was spent as a whole family, +1 or 2, eating food, doing dishes, and playing games.
Before the gluttony...

Hurry up with that gravy, would you? We're starving!

The cleanup crew meant to look like this!
Finally I was on the other end of the lens, but looking pretty ragged! A fun end to the evening, playing Quelf.

Too much to be thankful for to put into words, but these photos of the people I love say it best!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


November may be known as Movember to many now, but around here we know it as Brovember! The time when two baby faced brothers come together again, only to find that each has attempted to grow facial hair in honor of Movember, but both failed epically.  It's the thought that counts though, right?  I remember Mike attempting to grow facial hair at their age. Some day boys, some day. For now, I love the camaraderie! And I loved seeing the joy on one another's face when, after 3 months apart, they embraced, then broke into laughter at one another's "growth."

I think Kellen's stache reminds me of Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy...

And Mike says it reminds him of Kip from Napolean Dynamite...

And Josh? Shaggy from Scooby Doo comes to mind...
Love you boys, and love that you don't take yourselves too seriously.

And speaking of Kellen, his swelling from having all four wisdom teeth out this week is finally going down.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random Photo Montage...

Random sounds much better than lazy, right? It sounds so much more creative to say I am putting together a random montage of photos, but truly I have been too lazy and a bit distracted by some extremely sad news in our local community, so I haven't posted in awhile. So here are some photos I found sitting in the dropbox on our computer.
Kaia's volcano before it erupted at school. The note on the front reads Real reason dinosaurs are extinct, which referred to the volcano and the army man holding the bazooka in the back left of the scene!

Guess what Jaelyn's favorite color is? That's right, the teacher didn't say anything about having to look real! The grading wasn't based on life-like, and besides, doesn't the song say purple mountains majesty?

Mike took a picture of Josh on national TV! The WSU game was on ESPN Halloween night. Seeing Josh on TV was definitely more exciting than the blow out game!

Jaelyn wanted to be a pirate for Halloween. Cracks me one hardly blinked an eye at the hook on the end of her arm!  And the bird on her shoulder really chirped, but was dead by the end of the night.  Kaia was originally going to be a zombie hula girl, but changed her mind at the last minute, so we quickly put together Little Red Riding Hood.  Oh well, lots of candy is what counts, right?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

153 Million...

That is the stunning number of orphans around the world! Today is Orphan Sunday. I/we cannot help them all, but if everyone does their part towards the call to care for widows and orphans, then we do not have to do it all alone!

Today I need help advocating for four sweet children from the Chaoyang Orphanage that I have spent time at over the past seven summers. Two of them I have advocated for previously, but Min Bo still does not have a family, and it turned out that QianHong was not actually on the list at that time, but is now. I am also happy to share that Isaac from my previous post is waiting for his family to come bring him home, most likely in the next two months!

However,  so that I can advocate for their forever families, I need help locating them on either the shared China list, or agency specific lists. Here is some current information I have on them. If you find them on a list, or are interested in learning more about any of them, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Min Bo,  whom his foster family calls Timotai...

His birth date is April 29, 2002, which makes him now 11 years old. He has Cerebral Palsy. He has been living with a foster family through LIGHT, which through my contacts, I can ask for further updates.

Qian Hong, also known as "Michaela" 

Her birth date is January 10, 2008.  I am not sure of her exact diagnosis, but I know that she has all four limbs affected.  She has full use of her hands and feet, but there is some bowing of both radius in her arms and her legs are bowed. Again, she is in foster care through LIGHT, and more information is available.  How can you resist that smile? She was adorable when I first met her in 2010, and still that way!

Greatly on my heart since visiting with her again last summer is
ZhaoJing, whom is called Jing.

She is actually still at the orphanage and has been the list for quite some time now. In fact, she has been on there so long that her paperwork had to be renewed. She has recently been asking why she doesn't have a family, as she has seen several of her friends leave with their forever families. This breaks my heart! She has myelomeningocele/spina bifida repaired as an infant, but unfortunately this has not helped her incontinence. I am guessing this may be why she is still on the list, but it is my best guest that she could be helped here in the States! Other than that she runs around and seems as physically capable as any other child. She is smart as a whip, and would thrive in a family. We are in the process of trying to hire a tutor for her since she will turn 7 on December 21. Typically that is when the orphanage sends the more able children to boarding school, but because of her incontinence, they will not.

Lastly is YanYan. She is actually not yet on the list, but please keep your eyes open for her, as she is supposed to be on there soon.

We are told that the paperwork is sitting on the Provincial Office's desk, awaiting approval, so should be any time now. She is also living with a foster family through LIGHT. Her birth date is Dec. 18, 2006. She has severe hypospadias / ambiguous gender, but quite a bit of information is available on her. Here she is looking over a scrapbook of her life that was put together by a caring LIGHT volunteer. Some of the photos were from my previous trips to Chaoyang. Isn't she beautiful?

Please help spread the word, and be sure and post a comment if you have any information.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Meet Yuzelca...

I just realized that I have never introduced Yuzelca! For over 10 years we sponsored Lizeth from Bolivia through Compassion International. We were saddened when she suddenly dropped from the program just months before she was 18. Since she shared an exact birthdate with Joshua, we celebrated many milestones along with her (birthdays, holidays, the deaths of her mother and grandmother) and watched her grow up into a beautiful young lady.

That feeling of loss for me was probably why I neglected to mention Yuzelca when we were assigned her to sponsor.  We were mourning Lizeth, whom we intentionally selected as a family, because of her shared birthday.  With Yuzelca, we just received a notice that we would be sponsoring her in place of Lizeth.  I feel bad now, because we didn't warmly embrace her. She was young, not old enough to correspond like we had been with Lizeth.  I know it wasn't her fault, and didn't we start with Lizeth when she was that young (or just a bit older)?  And we have even received correspondence from both her parents, which is sweet.

So now I want to make up for lost time in introducing her, and doing a better job of corresponding with her. This is not a very good photo, as I had to scan a small photo for this. But notice anything in this photo that makes her a good fit for our family?

Yep, this young sweetie in South America, Bolivia to be exact, is wearing a Chinese dress! Don't you just love it?  Perfect;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Birthday Fun....

My birthday celebration began Saturday night, as Mike, the girls and I headed to the local corn maze for some flashlight hide-n-go-seek.  We spent over an hour in the maze hiding from one another. Tell you what, Mike and I don't stand a chance against our petite, flexible nine year olds! They can crouch down into tiny balls and hold that position for more than 15 minutes! And who knew they could keep silent for so long!

Sunday, my actual birthday, we spent some time with the dogs hanging out at the beach. With Fall definitely in the air, we basically had the place to ourselves.  Someone forgot to tell the dogs it was cold though, as Cocoa had a blast in the water, and even Romeo got his paws wet.  I love this selfie that Mike shot of the two of us, capturing the girls in the background playing with the dogs.  Although Kellen was with us for part of the day, I missed both my boys...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall Festivities...

There is definitely evidence of Fall all around us. First off, the pumpkins! Kellen's girlfriend and I took the girls out to the local patch to pick theirs out. Just look how beautiful last weekend was...

We missed Josh during the carving, as it was one of his specialties! However, as is also tradition, I did roast the seeds and send some to him to enjoy.

Other signs of fall in our house?  Although this is the first time in eight years that we don't have a high schooler involved in homecoming, that doesn't stop Mike from participating! Here he is on Tacky Tourist day. I say he played the part well...
And here was the homecoming football game. You can barely see the visiting bleachers through all the fog.
Now we are heading to find our way through the corn maze in the dark, using flashlights. Sounds like fun to me, but I better go bundle up!