Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Week of School

Well, life has been a whirlwind around here ever since school started back up again.  I've meant for some time to post pics of our first week back, but, well, since it's not on my "absolute necessity" list, it keeps getting pushed to the bottom. It's right down there with putting up my fall decorations. :)

So, I guess better late than never.  Here is a look at our first week back to school.

Salt Dough Maps of the United States

Mummifying Apples Experiment

Kaya working on her writing.

Joseph has been loving math these days!

Our memory work board that we do every morning.

Sophie wants to be just like her older siblings.  This may be why she always has marker all over her little body.  Hey, it keeps her happy! ;)

The Mayflower

Littles are practicing their alphabet in shaving cream.

Schools in session.

We've been having a blast (most days!) and learning lots. 

Now, don't think for a minute that just because school is back in session that we have put our adoption on the back burner.  We may have finished up our dossier and now are on the waiting list, but we still have some work to do!  We will be spending the next 6-18 months continuing to raise the money needed to bring our child home.  About $13,000 left to raise.  Right now we are working on a new fundraiser to be unveiled SOON.    Check back in the near future, as I am hoping to have pictures up shortly.  CAN'T WAIT to show you what we have been up to!!!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Well, this has been quite the 6 months for our family!  We made the decision to adopt and began the process back in March.  Since then, we have been busy with paperwork, doctor's appointments, fingerprint appointments, passports, criminal records, home studies, and the like.  On top of all that, we also decided around the same time, to start up a new homeschool community in our area and have had a bunch of responsibility concerning that.  A location to be found, hiring tutors, attending practicums, etc...

As you can imagine, by the end of the summer, as everything came swelling up towards the grand finale, I was mentally and physically exhausted.  Even the THOUGHT of starting school again with my own four kids come September was a daunting task.  The curriculum was ordered and the lesson plans drawn up, yet I couldn't muster up the desire to even WANT to get started (despite my kids telling me everyday, for at least the last two weeks of summer, that they were bored and wanted to start school!!). 

Then....enter glorious vacation.  We started off by driving down to Maryland and spending a couple days on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay with my parents.  The kids swam in the pool and played baseball all day.  They spent HOURS riding their little John Deere tractor all over the property, picking up debris from last weeks storm, and running down to the dock to check the crab traps.  We celebrated Kaya's birthday (again!) and made a bonfire.  I even started a book and actually finished it later that week!!

On Sunday morning, we filled up little bellies with breakfast, and then headed the rest of the way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It was a week-long family reunion with Charles' whole family - 8 adults and 16 grandkids.  Despite hurricanes swirling all around us, we had BEAUTIFUL weather all week, a definite answer to prayer.  VERY conducive for a week spent sitting in a beach chair looking out at the Atlantic or parked next to the pool.  I was one happy lady. :)  We visited the Wright Brothers Museum in Kill Devil Hills, the huge sand dunes in Kitty Hawk, and went horseback riding in Corolla.  We ate disgustingly AWESOME food (disgusting because I gained 5 lbs., but none-the-less, AWESOME!) all week and had lots of laughs.  The kids were occupied with plenty of playmates and were off and playing the entire time we were there.

And somewhere in the midst of it all - it happened.  The stress released, and a week later when it was time to return home - across the bridge connecting us to the mainland....over and under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel......back to a week of dreary skies and record rainfall - we were ready.  A little lighter, a little more carefree.  I think vacation will do that to you. :) 

We got back last Sunday, and started school that Monday, with a fresh perspective and an attitude of thankfulness.  Was our first week home perfect?  By all means NO!!  We came home a to broken washing machine and loads of stinky laundry.  We lived amongst half-unpacked suitcases for a few days (OK, more than a few days. :), and I've come to the conclusion that my counter-space is NOT big enough for all the science experiments we have going on (currently: mummifying apples, an edible cell and 3 large salt-dough landform maps of the United States).  Did I mention I have fruit flies?  I can't imagine why. :)

But regardless, we were refreshed and ready to tackle any new adventures thrown our way.  And just that little change of attitude....that much-needed week of rest....allowed for us to have a GREAT first week back.  I will be posting some pictures of our first week of homeschool in the near future.  Currently I have: a third-grader, a first-grader, a preschooler, and an adorable, yet feisty, little 21-month-old.  Life is full, but we have much to be thankful for. :)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation Pics

Well, it's been pretty quiet here in blog world this week because we've been on VACATION!!!  24 people....8 adults and 16 grandkids, all under the age of 12, all under ONE roof!!  So, so, so, so fun!  Here are some of our pics from the week.

Duck, North Carolina

16 grandkids in birth order. :)

Proud grandparents

Visiting the Wright Brothers Museum.  Sophie was less than thrilled to be strapped in her seat. :)


Wright Brothers Monument

Jack wasn't feeling the family photo.


The kids spent hours working on this sand castle.

LOVE this!

Back at the house...

The Peterson's - Charles' sister and her family.  Six kids with one on the way. :)

Not really sure why this photo downloaded all stretched out.  Definitely wasn't like that originally!!
Charles' brother and his family from Slovakia.  Six kids, expecting #7 in 6 weeks!

So, that was our vacay.  Feeling very thankful.  We had a great time and got back just in time to start school yesterday.  More on that later....

Ok, off to bed now. Thanks for sharing life with us.  :)


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Well, it is here!  The day we have been waiting for for five months now.  Today, September 1st, 2011, we were waitlisted!!!

I received a phone call from our case manager this afternoon and all of our paperwork is in and our dossier is now complete.  Everything has been signed, dated and notarized.  All of our I's have been dotted and our T's, crossed.  Our dossier has been approved and is waiting on translation in preparation to be sent to Ethiopia for our court date.  We are now officially on the waiting list for either a boy or girl, age 0-18 months.  So the countdown begins today.....


We have been told that it can take up to 18 months for a referral.  The length of time that an adoption takes is dependant upon quite a few variables.  Some of which include (but are not limited to) : gender, age and/or health specifications that we may have and unknowns within the country of Ethiopia.  So what are we going to do to pass the time? 

1.  Well, we will continue to raise money for all of our travel expenses.  Check back shortly for some new fundraisers we will be unveiling this fall!  To date, we have raised a total of $17,000, however, we are still in need of around $13,000 more. 

2.  I'm looking forward to being able to turn my focus onto my four biological kiddos, as we begin to prepare them for this journey that we, as a family, are about to embark on.  I'm trying to think creatively about how I can best prepare them for what it means to be a multi-racial family.  What will the issues be that we will be dealing with?  What can we learn and absorb from the Ethiopian culture that will help both us, and our adopted child, adapt?

3.  I'm also reading any books I can get my hands on about adoption.  I'm reading up on things like attachment issues, medical care and of utmost importance - hair care. :)  Anything to further our knowledge and understanding of the issues we will undoubtedly face. 

I pray that this will be a year of growth for us (not just in going from a 6 person family to a 7!!??!), but also that we would grow in our relationship with the Lord and with one another.  That we would use this period of waiting to grow our family spiritually, emotionally and (some of us) physically!  I was just commenting to Charles the other day, that this is the longest I've ever gone without being pregnant.  Usually, by this time, I would be about 6 months along.  It seems kind-of strange.  Yet, in a way, I am kind-of expecting again.....just in a different sort-of way.  And, this time, without the big belly. ;)

Thanks for celebrating our good news along with us!