Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Breast cancer

On August 15, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.  The same day Lisle was hospitalized with initial onset of Type 1 diabetes.  You can get updates on both Lisle and me on Facebook.

You can also read about my battle against breast cancer here:


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dark curtain

At first, each step on the treadmill brings a lightness built of purpose...hey, I'm getting my steps in! But as each foot pounds out a repetitive rhythm...thud, thud; thud, thud, my thoughts wander darkly as I trouble over the concerns of myself, and even more strongly, the concerns of my children.  The dark curtain starts to fall around me as I plod on.  I worry so about this same curtain falling around my beloved children.  Parenting is hard.
Depression sucks.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blogworthy, part 2

A photo dump of blog-worthy 2015 moments that weren't blogged about, in approximate order of date.

Thomas was a huge star on the Pee Wee football field.  His team was runner-up in his league.

Anna was selected as a Princess of Aksarben!  A huge honor for our family...trust me on this.

We spent Thanksgiving at Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado.

It was cold, snowy and gorgeous.

On December 10, our youngest son officially became Carlisle Fitsum Spears.
  We also formalized the adoptions of both boys and got Nebraska birth certificates.

Candace and Sarah had a successful meet season as USAG level 5 competitors. 

 The littles posed with Santa Claus.

 Lisle was worn out on the big day of Christmas.

 Yep, he's good at basketball, too.

We had these lovely wild swans as visitors to our lake for several weeks.
  We've only had swans on the lake one other winter...so beautiful.


He is risen.  Alleluia

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blog worthy, but not blogged about

I haven't been a good blogger for some time now.  Lots of reasons...many of them live beings that require an awful lot of time and attention.  I'm going to try to fix that; mostly for my own mental health...clearly, I need some kind of a creative outlet.  At any rate, there is a certain amount of housekeeping that I feel must occur, so that in the future a sixth or seventh child doesn't ask reproachfully why there are no pictures of them on my blog. I've already walked the 1990's version of that path.

So the following are some events that while certainly blog-worthy, didn't get put on the blog when they happened.

1.  Thomas's First Communion and Lisle's Baptism

Before Mass with Mom and Dad...looking very handsome.

Receiving the Holy Eucharist

Thomas with our pastor, Fr. Au.

Carlisle Fitsum Spears being baptized.  Godparents are best friend Bill and my sister Teresa.

 Lisle was very excited that he got to hold the burning candle.

2. Spring and summer sports-a-palooza

Lisle loves soccer.

 The obligatory participation award.  Lisle also loves medals.

 Candace and Sarah played softball again this summer.  They frequently played as a twin pitcher-catcher power duo.  They are both pretty good at either position.  And also first base.

End of season softball team photo.

 T-ball for Lisle.

Could he be any cuter in those pants?

 A kids' fun run with friends!

Ever the professional, Thomas is up to bat.  He was excellent in all positions.  Naturally.

3.  DeSmet, South Dakota and The Laura Ingalls Wilder tour

My sister Laura and I had a ridiculous amount of fun on this trip.
  We let the twins and her husband Richard tag along, too.

The twins thought washing clothes with this wringer and washboard was the most fun ever.
  They do not show this amount of enthusiasm for chores at home, strangely.

Kittens in the barn!

School is in session.

Playing Mary's piano at the Ingalls' house.

Solemn pioneers...the twins with Aunt Laura and Uncle Richard.

 Our visit included petting this friendly tiny horse.

Stay tuned for Blog Worthy, part 2!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

One year for Lisle

One year ago today, Ethiopian Airlines flight 501 touched down in Washington, D.C.  After going through immigration, the USA had a new citizen, Festum Thomas Spears... a train wreck of a name; we'll be fixing that next month. To us, he is Carlisle Fitsum Spears; our Lisle.  It's been a wonderful year getting to know our new little boy, filled with many joys and many challenges.  He's done a ton of growing:  physically he's about eight inches taller and ten pounds heavier; he's also speaking English, going to school, speech therapy, occupational therapy and playing organized sports...growing as a little person.  We can't imagine life without him.

 Dulles Airport 

First snow

First Christmas home


 Today at our house

 Henry Doorly Zoo in September

Last month, hunting butterflies

Monday, November 2, 2015

The final firsts

It's hard to believe, but we are coming up on one year as a family of nine.  The end of summer and the beginning of fall leads to the last of the firsts for Lisle...here are some pictures documenting a few events.

Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado with our little cowpoke.

Lisle rode Astro everyday for a week all by himself.

Tubing with Thomas...Lisle was Mr. Cool until he was dumped minutes later.

Vala's Pumpkin Patch

The not-so-haunted house.


Danger at the Pumpkin Mine

Lisle and Sarah on the train.


The twins helped Lisle make a jack-o-lantern.

Ready to go...disco diva Sarah, vampire-businessman Candace, 
zombie Thomas, and Spiderman Lisle.

Super amazing spiderman.

Trick or treat?!

 The littles carved their own pumpkins this year.

More to come in an upcoming post...so much is going on here ALL THE TIME...I need to make more of an effort to keep up.