Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Coming to a close.......

I would post this tomorrow, but in our house tomorrow is a busy day. Since Randy and I had no real New Years traditions and having 7 kids impedes the whole go out till after midnight thing, we came up with a family tradition a few years ago that has quickly become one of the most family fun days in our house. We made New Years Eve a huge day of playing games and eating snack foods! We pull out the Wii and all the board games and we play games all day long as a family. One year we did a whole family whole house game of hide and seek. We make all sorts of food, chicken wings, chocolate covered strawberries and oreos, mozzarella sticks.....that type of stuff and we just let the kids snack all day. No kid has ever made it up till midnight, maybe this year!

Anyway that's why I will post my thoughts on this year today. It has been a harder year for me. This is our first full year here in IL, I was hoping it would grow on me, but it hasn't. I miss our friends in Texas and we aren't close to family so its lonely up here. I have made some friends, but their just isn't the same camaraderie I had before. I did learn that what I thought I missed about winter....I don't! We did have a great vacation this summer bringing all the kids back "home" to visit family. Its the first trip with all 9 of us to visit where Randy and I grew up. I was really hoping Keith would be home in 2009, now I hope its 2010, but I have seen God work miracles in getting us a homestudy in a state that frowns on having more then 6 children! We were approved for up to 9, and Keith will only make us 8! Hmmmm will 2010 bring us someone else????? We finally found a church home here and Alex and I have started working in the Sunday School, so hopefully we will get to know our church family. I am grateful that the kids are all healthy and happy! The greatest thing that happened this year was the birth of my nephew Dominic, he is perfect and adorable and I couldn't be happier for my sister. I am looking forward to a new year and a new decade.....eeks I will be 41 the next time a new decade comes along! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Keith

Today Keith turns 12. Another birthday we will miss, but this year he does have a mom who is praying for him. It is sad that we can't be together. I wonder if he knows its his birthday. I pray he is home before he turns 13. I wondered today what to do. We don't know at this point if and when he will come home. We do know that in our hearts he is our son and that bureaucracy is keeping us from sharing these days with him. Yet I know God knows full well about the situation and Keith was God's child long before we knew him. If God's timing was to have him here today then he would be here today, I am fully confident in that. So tonight we will celebrate Keith, no he is not here, but he is in Liberia and he was born for such a time as this and that in itself is plenty to celebrate. Thank you Jesus for Keith and for bringing him into our hearts!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crazy Christmas season.........

I have neglected my blog, but with good reason. December has proven to be a crazy month! I spent the first week in Texas with my sister visiting her and my newest nephew. He is adorable and awesome and perfect and I miss them all! Then I returned to the shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking that occurs in this large family and we do Christmas BIG here. Then just to mix it up we had some painters come and paint the whole first floor of our house. Ahh the things you will do when a painter is deeply discounted! So we undecorated, waited for the paint to dry, while corralling 4 kids under 6 in one small room and then redecorated. Anyway here we are 1 week before Christmas and the shopping is done, the wrapping is almost done and the Christmas meal is purchased but not made yet. I can finally relax with a cup of coffee and reflect. I think a part of me has purposely kept completely busy to keep my mind off the disappointment that Keith is going to spend yet another Christmas many miles from us. I have 8 ornaments for the kids to hang up special this year, I purchased them with the hope 8 kids would be happily hanging them up. Instead Hannah will have the honor of hanging up Keiths. But I continue to hold fast to God and His plan and perfect timing. I have no idea what 2010 will hold for our family. I pray its a year of homecoming! However if it is not my prayer is that God will continue to work through us to serve other children. I thought I would feel done with Keith's adoption, yet each time I hear about a hard to place, baby, child or teen my heart aches. I don't know how many will ever grace our doorstep but I have learned that God has not closed my heart to the possibility of more. As the bible says, my tent will be stretched wide!! I know who God made me to be and through the hard times and the good God made me a mom forever........

Monday, November 30, 2009

No Orphans of God

I saw this on another blog and I wanted to share it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Large Van Etiquette

I drive a 12 passenger van out of force due to the fact that we have 9 family members (hopefully 10 soon) and cannot fit in anything smaller. That said I wish to put out some general reminders to other drivers..........

1. Surprisingly these vans don't have a lot of pick up therefore please to not honk your horn when you hope they will turn on right with cars coming at them.

2. On a big bend in the road I will brake as there is a big sticker in front of my face showing me how the van will roll over if I take a tight corner. Please do not come up as close as possible to the back of my van.

3. In a parking lot please realize that there is 1 side door for getting in and out of van. Driving a 12 passenger van most likely means it is carrying many people who need to get in and out. Therefore when you park within 2 inches of the door, you make a very difficult situation of getting said people in the van.....including many small children in my case!

4. To go along with the above comment...there is a very small space behind all the seats to put strollers or groceries and since the van fills up the yellow lines please to not park 2 inches from the back door.

Thank you............ ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

I am an aunt again!

My sister had an adorable baby boy yesterday afternoon 7lbs and 3ozs of pure love! This is my sisters first baby, but she is a natural mom. I loved being able to "be there" with her through the magic of texting. She lives 3 states away and so I couldn't be with her physically. I am however going to visit her in a couple weeks and I am excited to get to hold my new nephew. Zeke saw the picture of his newest cousin and announced to us all that it was friend. So I guess less then 24 hours old, he already has a friend :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Its Halloween!

I just sent off my 7 trick or treaters. Alex at 11 said she thinks this will be her last year because she is getting too old, but we will see what happens next year when the reality of no candy bag hits. This is the first year Zeke gets whats going on, last year he tried to go into peoples houses, ate the candy and the wrappers as we walked and dragged his bucket on the ground as it made a fantastic noise. This year he is all ready, after watching Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin he says, "trick or treat, aww I got a rock". Randy took all 7 while I wait here for the trick or treaters. I don't like Halloween much, but I do love to see the kids all excited. I think sometimes about what they would be doing if our lives hadn't taken the paths they have. Some days are hard, some days are fun, all days are worth it. I love knowing they all have a dad who cares enough to spend a night freezing his hiney off just to walk them around and a neighborhood that they don't have to hide from violence. I love that they all have warm coats to wear and gloves to cover their little hands. I love that they have each other to giggle with and compare candy loot. I love them all so much, they are all what truly makes my heart keep beating. I am now posting pictures of facebook, its a little more private, so if you want to be added as a friend just let me know!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a time!

So we recovered enough for all 3 birthdays, but then got hit by a nasty flu (I believe it was the h1n1, but no official tests were done). Hannah came home on a Thursday and didn't feel well, by Friday morning her temp was up to 103.5. Then Sat. morning Caley, Riley, JD and Zeke all had fevers and coughs and then later that day AJ had a fever. Today is the first day Hannah, Caley and Riley went back to school, hoping the boys will be back tomorrow. They all felt miserable so we tucked them all in bed and gave them the portable dvd players from the car and they all just spent the weekend and first part of the week watching movies. Now we are hoping everyone is good by Halloween. Although I must admit I am not a fan of Halloween. First I have always hated to be scared, so I never liked haunted houses or stuff like that. Second it seems like a lot of work to get everyone dressed up for an hour of candy gathering! Third with 7 kids costumes can get expensive especially when they have an uncrafty mom. So this year we were creative with what we had and I found a few costumes on we will have a snowman, Napoleon Dynamite, a cheerleader, a ballerina, a baseball player, a girl scout and a yet to be determined costume for Zeke.....most likely a fireman.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Whew what a week, a flu like illness spread to everyone while we had 3 birthdays to celebrate and 1 child who was less then cooperative. Thinking back on the week makes my head spin. Starting last weekend we started dealing with a child who had discovered stealing, which led to lying which led to a total meltdown. Eventually I had to put this child on the 5ft rule where they cannot be out of my sight for ANY reason, which irked said child so said child tried to be as annoying as possible. I wanted to get Randy a specific present for his birthday so I set out Sat. of last week to get it. I found out 6 stores later no one had settled on some jeans and other clothes (SORRY RANDY!). I did give him an I O U for it though. Riley turned 5 and Randy turned a little older on Wednesday and we had her requests of donuts for breakfast, pb and j for lunch and hot dogs for dinner. Then she choose cupcakes and I made an ice cream cake thing for Randy and we sang and all was well. Then yesterday Zeke turned 3. His only requests were for pizza and a big huge cake, so I made him one and he was happy! Said 5 ft child managed to get through the actual birthdays without too much drama, but we had plenty of drama the other days to make up for it. Now this weekend I have 5ft child going between incessant chatter and pouting and 2 other children who have decided that rules only need to be followed when I am in the room.........when I leave its a free for all. So I sit here typing with 3 kids in separate rooms because they can't stop getting into trouble, one sitting in her room crying because she is testing limits and a 3 year old who almost got the potty training right when he took off his pants and diapered and showed me how he made his ""water" go on the living room rug.................

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oink Oink is this the flu?

About a week ago my oldest daughter had a sore throat, stuffy nose and was tired. This spread to Randy who added a cough to that mix, then it spread to Caley, Riley, JD and Hannah whom are still coughing, but not so much. They all complained of bad headaches.....which then Zeke was miserable for a few days and then AJ this morning walked into my room at 5am saying, mom I don't feel good. He has had a sore throat, stuffy nose, extremely tired and now added a fever. Its like a growing beast!! I assumed before it wasn't the flu because of the lack of fever, but now I am starting to wonder. So I sit hear brewing tea, nursing the beginnings of a sore throat in myself, hoping that I don't get all that plus some!! This would be a bad week to be sick. We have 3 birthdays this week! Randy turns 33 on Wed, along with Riley turning 5. It was an awesome surprise when we adopted her to find they had the same birthday and as Riley tells me they BOTH have R names. Then Zeke turns 3 on Friday!! I can't believe how old my 2 babies are getting...........

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In His Time

We sang the hymn In His Time at church on Sunday and it really struck a chord in my heart. I started to look back at my family and how it only happened in His perfect timing and how many tears I shed over feeling abandoned when really He was moving it all in this direction. The desires of my heart he fulfilled in perfect timing.

At 16 I met Randy, I had been a bit (OK a lot) boy crazy in younger years and I always had this desire to have a boyfriend, one that would last! Without going into too much detail, we found each other just in time for both of us to steer each other out of paths that would have led us into no good places.

I always had wanted to have a family young, and so while it was scary finding myself pregnant at 19, I can't say I was disappointed. However that pregnancy quickly changed into not what I had pictured. I vomited daily for 4 months, lost 17lbs and was attached to IVs at home. At 6 months labor started and to stop it they gave me medication, only too much and I ended up in the respiratory ICU with my family being told we didn't have much time (me or Alex). Yet in the last minutes, after the priest gave me my last rights, I was healed without explanation. I carried Alex till 38 weeks and she was born and she was perfect and healthy.

Fast forward 2 years I find out I am pregnant and I knew despite the past pregnancy I was supposed to have more kids. However 8 weeks into the pregnancy and 2 weeks before Christmas I lost that baby. I cried for good to remove this desire from my heart. I cried for my loss.

However, just after New Years, I see the test turn positive and this time its a keeper! Things were proceeding just as I had imagined, until I was 34 weeks and I had incredible abdominal pain and went to the hospital. I had HELLP syndrome and basically my liver and kidneys had stopped working. The only cure was to deliver AJ and so 6 weeks early and 4lbs he arrived. I remember crying in the hospital room as he was in the NICU thinking I would never have thought I would have a critically ill baby. He had tubes and wires all over him. They said it would be weeks until he could come home with us. I sadly left the hospital a few days later, leaving a part of me behind........and yet in His perfect time in 5 days he was ready to come home. He is healthy and strong and amazing.

Then came the news from the doctor that another baby would risk both my life and the babies and so we made the decision to not have more children. I was 21 and devastated, I knew I had a calling in my heart for more children and yet my body couldn't cooperate.

Fast forward to 2005....after years of prayer and tears for God to take the desire from my heart, Randy agrees to adopt, 1 newborn. We were chosen for 2 children a 3 year old boy and 1 year old girl. However the boy ended up having too many issues that would have not been good for him or our other children. I was heartbroken, I felt like I was failing God, or not a good enough parent. I contemplating giving up, but something inside just wouldn't let go and so we waited. In Dec. 2005 we get a call, we have been chosen, the baby is in IL and a preemie just like AJ. We are waiting on photos and the clearance to travel. We sent the mom flowers, told our family and friends and wait..... 2 days later they call and the mom has decided to keep the baby and move into a local shelter. Again I cry and yet I knew in my heart that it was her baby all along.

Finally Jan.06 arrives and we hear about Caley and Riley, the agency choose us. We get excited, but then the birthmom asks to find a family in Canada and so we are sad, but then 3 weeks later changes her mind and again we are chosen. We hear that on Thursday, by Sat. we are in Georgia picking up our 2 girls. I had cried but He had known.

By Jan of 2007 the familiar stirring had risen in my heart again. Randy had traveled to Africa and Romania and spent time with orphans. I had found a best friend in HollyAnn who was running an adoption program through Liberia. I talked to Randy and we decided 5 was a good number so we would attempt, 1 newborn adoption. Literally the next day we get a phone call from the pastor in Liberia and find out about Augustus a 3 year old. I talk to Randy and think yes this is number 5. A few weeks later we find out Augustus has a 5 year old brother and 8 year old sister. We talk and decided 7 is too many and adopting a 5 and 8 year old too daunting. Again I am sad I wonder why God brings these things to me when there is nothing I can do. I take Alex to cheerleading practice and come home to find Randy saying, I called HollyAnn and told her we will take all 3, he knew we were supposed to. So we sell the car, sell the house and prepare for 7. In March HollyAnn calls to tell me that their parents returned and removed them from the orphanage. I cried, I was devastated, I looked at the empty beds, the big van and wondered what God was doing. I knew though it wasn't the time to give up.

A month later HollyAnn calls and tells us that 2 brothers were brought in aged 3 and 5 months, was I interested. I agreed and we again were excited. A few weeks pass and I am on the phone with HollyAnn and she says that a girl was supposed to be adopted but at the last minute the adopted family hadn't been able to continue, I find immediately coming from my mouth, we will take her! Then said oh wait I should talk to Randy first.....long story short, here was Hannah. And so in Sept. 2007 JD, Zeke and Hannah all came home and the 7 had arrived....

Which brings us to now, we had said if Keith ever became available for adoption we would proceed. He did and we wait, but this time is different, I don't have the same tears, I don't have the same wonder on what God is doing, I just know that regardless of what He has planned it will be perfect and be in His time. If anyone feels that stirring or feels a longing or a calling don't give up press on even when it doesn't look like what you planned. God promises to complete the work He has started. It may not look like what you thought, but His thoughts are above ours.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My blog has moved.....

Welcome to my new bloggy address.....I was hoping to keep my blog public because basically no one reads when its private :) So I decided to open a new blog where I don't use so many pictures of the kids. I have a facebook account for showing them off and its more private. Please update any bookmarks, or follow this one from now on, because this will be the one that I will be blogging on!