Monday, March 31, 2014

Paper chase

Here is the first update on our latest adoption:  we are making progress in finishing up our paperwork.  All of the documents for our home study have been completed.  As soon as the home study is finished, we can apply for immigration approval.  When we get immigration approval (I-171H), we can get all of the dossier documents notarized and state certified.  After that, federal certification and off to Ethiopia.

Yeah, it sounds like a lot...but we've gotten a lot done!  Here is the photographic evidence of our first completed documents, our Indiana birth certificates and marriage license.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We have room

Who are we to dispute Mother Teresa?  

With happiness and some degree of trepidation, I am making the announcement that we have signed on the dotted line to adopt again.  We are welcoming into our family another son, a five year old boy from Ethiopia who has lost both of his parents and is in need of the love of a family.  Our family... whose members are anxious to love him back.

I expect I might lose some friends over this announcement.  I know many think you can't have an ethical international adoption these days, to which I respectfully disagree.  As parents who have been around the block a couple of times in the Ethiopian adoption neighborhood, we are aware of the pitfalls and know to proceed with caution.  After thoughtful consideration, we believe this is right for this child.  That is all that will be said on this topic.

Some friends will kindly point out our ages.  Yep, we're old.  I'm the oldest mom hanging out at the elementary school.  I'll be an even older mom hanging out at the high school in a few years.  But hey, did you know Halle Berry just had a baby?  She's 47, which means when her child is five, she'll be 52... two years older than I am now.  What does she have that I don't have?  (Besides fabulous beauty, obviously.)  I'm going to be old regardless, so I might as well be old and happy with what I'm doing.  I might as well get even older without having to say "I wish I would have," or "I wonder what it would have been like?".  

I know some friends think that anything over two is an excessive amount of children in a household.  Well, see the graphic above.  We couldn't disagree more.  Yes, we now have a lot of children, soon to be even more.  Yes.  It's a LOT.  We also have the financial resources to care for them through the college years, so I'm not sure why anyone should care.  And we have lots of some other things too... Love.  Laughter.  Compassion.  Hope.  Faith.  

And lets not forget pets.  We have lots of pets.  :)

Those things are worth a lot.  Probably more than the parent-funded college education and the awesome vacations.  

We have been richly blessed.  We have room for one more.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Undocumented Christmas

We have had an even busier than normal December... gymnastics meets, school functions, a birthday party for Thomas and an out of town wedding on top of the usual holiday whirl.  As a result, a funny thing happened to this mom who doubles as the chronicler of family events... I got tired of carrying my camera around.  I grew weary of documenting the festivities and watching them from behind an electronic device.  I didn't write a family Christmas letter to include with the cards, which haven't been mailed yet (but they will be!).  So this will be a Christmas that lives on only in our memories.

And... that's okay.  Our memories can be a pretty rich canvas to display the events of our past.  I won't remember every detail of this Christmas, and neither will my kids.  What I will remember is that all six of my kids were home, the presents were fun, the food was good and there was love all around.  We have been immeasurably blessed by the Baby whose birthday we celebrated that day.

That's enough.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Birthday boy

Thomas turned seven years old today!  It hardly seems like anytime at all that we first saw his picture as a skinny three and a half year old; now he's the tallest of his friends and eager to take on all kinds of new challenges.  It's hard to do a birthday party right around the holidays... so hard to squeeze in a celebration during this busy holiday season.  Thomas is always so thankful for everything he receives and so accommodating... this year we decided to give him a super fun party and we went bowling.  He invited his two best buddies from school and his best friend who lives down the street.

At the alley and ready to bowl!

Thomas bowls with style.

Bowling was followed up with pizza and birthday cupcakes!


A great time was had by all!

Friday, November 29, 2013

A happy Thanksgiving!

 We stayed home for Thanksgiving this year; just the immediate family gathered around the table.  I love big extended family gatherings, but I felt incredibly contented to just be with my husband and kids, all together under our roof.  We had a lovely traditional Thanksgiving feast and I even brought out the good china and crystal... I think for the first time since the littles have been with us.

God is good.  :)
My family... blessed by them every day!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Halloween Experience 2013

We started our Halloween "season" off with a trip to Vala's Pumpkin Patch, which is more like an Autumn Extravaganza of family fun.  Haunted houses, the pumpkin mine, Bunnyville, Story Book Barn, the corn maze... there is really too much to mention.  Also, there is a lot of food.

Danger at the pumpkin mine.

And a nice photo for mom.

Did I mention food?  Candace has a real way with a turkey leg.

Thomas with his pumpkin picked fresh from the field.

Candace and Sarah hang onto their pumpkins during the hayrack ride.

A neighbor dropped by with early Halloween treats... including these classic wax lips.

Next, we had some good old-fashioned pumpkin carving.  The kids were helped out by our very own Halloween-style black cat.




Lucy supervising.

The final jack o'lanterns!

Halloween Day brings the elementary school costume parade...

Candace the sassy samurai!

Ninja Thomas!

Hello Kitty nerd Sarah and friend.

... followed in the evening by the big event:  Trick or Treating!


Posing with their jack o'lanterns.

 The haul.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First and last

This weekend was very busy for us. We had Thomas's last soccer game of the season. It was a chilly morning, but bright and sunny. Thomas finished out his season with four goals in the game and a win for the Panthers.

Soccer mom in Ethiopian gabi.  It was chilly, but I was warm.

A blurry phone picture of the mighty Panthers and their participation medals.

 We also had a big first this weekend: Candace and Sarah had their first real meet competing for Nebraska School of Gymnastics. We traveled to Ankeny, Iowa for the Jump Jivin' meet hosted by Triad Gymnastics. The girls had some rough routines on beam, but they had some bright spots and the meet went okay on the other three events as far as a first meet goes. Most importantly, they had a blast! Looking forward to watching them improve over the course of the season!

Sarah performing an arabesque...

... and a nice handstand in the first half of her beam routine.

Candace prepares for her handstand...

... and overshoots it, but look how nice and tight she is!

Sarah starts her floor routine while her teammates look on.

 Candace on floor.

 Sarah got fifth on vault!

Monday, September 30, 2013

My boy plays soccer

And he plays it very well.  :)

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Spears for coming out from Indiana to watch him play... it meant the world to him.  :)