Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving with Al Borland

For Thanksgiving Day,  we went to my Mom and Dad's house, which is our usual Thanksgiving tradition. This year, Anna and Jamie went to his family. I certainly missed them, but I know that I have to share, and I'll get them on Christmas. 

We did have a special guest this year

Al Borland. (The guy who starred on Home Improvement with Tim Allen. Actually he was the character in the show, I don't know the actor's name.)

John took this of himself
Nah! Not really, it's just John, Jr with a beard. When Beth first saw him, she said, "Hello, Al Borland!" The name stuck and he was called Al all during the holiday. I really don't like beards, but like their Dad, both of my boys think they are wonderful. (Daniel was also sporting facial hair).

See the resemblance?

 Hmmm, maybe if John gained about 50 lbs and wore a flannel shirt?

We did all the usual Thanksgiving traditions...ate too much and enjoyed catching up with my brother and his family. An after dinner horse tournament was also a must.

Abbey was Beth's shadow the whole time she was home.

I don't have many pictures. I really didn't get a chance to go around and take any. John, Jr., aka Al, took all of these for me.

It was a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. We all got to focus on the things in life that really matter.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Chicken Day Eve"

As we started filling in our November calendar for school, I told Abbey that there was a holiday in this month. She guessed Christmas and Valentines Day. then I showed her the calendar marker with the picture of a turkey on it. She immediately blurted out, "It's Chicken Day?". So that's been mine and John's pet name for Thanksgiving...Chicken Day.

All four of us, who keep the home fires burning, have been anxiously awaiting the arrival home of the rest of our family. Finally the day arrived. Abbey and Elijah showed the excitement that we all felt.

John had to go to Wilmington to get Daniel, so the kids were allowed to stay up to see him.

It was hard to get them to settle down, especially since they knew that Beth and Greg were on their way!

Our New Yorkers had left the big city around dinner time. They came rolling in at 3:45 AM! I couldn't sleep I was so excited to see my eldest baby and her sweet hubby.

Abbey got up at her usual time. Needless to say, Beth was getting some well deserved rest. (Although, Greg had to get up and work a little bit. No rest for the weary.) Every five minutes I'd hear, in stereo, "When is Beth getting up? Can I go wake up Beth? I'm going to check to see if Beth is up?"

Finally Beth did get up and they had a sweet reunion.

One more had to arrive, and he showed up shortly after Beth woke up.

Once Anna got off of work, the WHOLE gang was here! It was gloriously loud and chaotic. I loved every minute of it!

We had a pre-Thanksgiving feast.
 John and I were besides ourselves with joy to have all of our kiddos under one roof!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tree lighting at North Hills

I'm not one to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving. We usually get our tree and decorate our house a couple of weeks before Christmas. But, this year, we're "taking a walk on the wild side"! Since our kids will all be here right after Thanksgiving, we're getting our tree on Friday, and we went to a tree lighting at a local shopping center last Saturday night.

We'd never been before, but it sounded like a lot of fun. So, we bundled up and set out to see what the fuss was all about.

It was really chilly, so that led to lots of snuggles.

When we got there, the first thing we found was the bouncy obstacle course, always a hit with my kids.

Abbey discovered a cow statue that she thought was absolutely gorgeous, and wanted to make sure I took her picture with this beautiful creature.

Can you figure out why she was so enamored with this bovine?

Then it was time for the tree lighting.

After the appropriate "ooos" and "ahhhs", we decided to take a break from the cold and get some coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks.

While Abbey is an old pro, (one of her first words was "barbucks"), we found out that Elijah only will tolerate "cold chocolate".

His reaction to his first sip. Daddy saved the day and asked for some ice to cool down his drink.

 The highlight of the evening was the sledding hill. No kidding, they had trucked in some snow and set up a little sledding hill.

So much fun that we had to do it twice

We thought we had done it all and were ready to leave, when Elijah reminded me that I had promised he could ride the Christmas train.

It took us a while to find the line. The line was huge, it was going to be about an hour wait. We all wanted to leave, but our little conductor would not have it. (I had promised, after all).

He didn't mind at all waiting in line to ride a little train around a parking lot, while our fingers and toes were getting numb from the cold.

I tried to bribe cream, riding the train at the park, chewing gum...Nope! He wasn't cutting any deals, he wanted to ride that train.

So we waited, and waited and finally got on the train.

One happy camper. He even got to hold the glow-stick candle

The look on his face made it worth all the waiting, every second!

It really was quite a fun evening and did give me a little bit of Christmas cheer! So much that  I went home and started some online Christmas shopping.

My two really enjoyed themselves, and that was the best part!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This Halloween came at the end of a busy, busy day. We had spent all morning and most of the afternoon at a museum. So, we had to really rush the pumpkin carving.

Abbey insisted on drawing on hers first.

But they turned out OK.

Abbey and Elijah had to quickly get into their costumes and we walked to the shopping center to line up for the parade.

Once there, we met up with several friends.

We then walked in the parade to the clubhouse and the kids enjoyed a hot dog dinner.

After eating it was off to gather some candy. Daddy took the little trick or treaters and I stayed home to pass out the candy.

Halloween is my least favorite holiday. We struggled for years about whether to participate or not. I know there is a lot of unGodly stuff surrounding it. You can read our current philosophy HERE.

The kids enjoyed their time immensely and are still eating on the loot they collected.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We can all do something...

As anyone who has read my blog knows, John and I have been blessed by enlarging our family through adoption. We have been given so much through these two precious little former orphans. We both share a longing, a passion, a heart's cry to see orphans taken care of. Our ultimate prayer would be that there would be no more children in the world who don't know the love, care and protection of a mother or father.

Most people that I talk to say that they can't afford to adopt. I understand this fear, but I can tell you that through the past six years, I've seen time after time where God has provided the funds needed. When we started the process to bring home Abbey, we didn't have the money either. God miraculously provided, and I've seen Him do so over and over again. There are several organizations that sponsor adoption grants. Please don't let money, or the lack thereof, stop you! God's heart is for the orphan! He wants his children to take care of the "least of these".  He will faithfully provide for what He calls you to do! I've seen it with my own eyes!

If you know that for some reason, God isn't calling you to adopt. I'll just about bet he is calling you to do something for the fatherless. There are several worthy agencies that minister to orphans that could use your help. You can give as little or as much as you can. Maybe you want to invest your time? Several of these agencies encourage regular folks like you and me to go and serve in orphanages. One such agency is ORPHANS VOICE. John and I support Orphan's Voice. They are doing extraordinary things in an Asian country. We personally know the director and he is an extremely Godly man, whom God has called to give up everything and minister to orphans, the handicapped and the extremely poor. Another great agency which has a presence in several countries is INTERNATIONAL VOICE OF THE ORPHAN.

Two other agencies, AN ORPHANS WISH and NEW DAY FOSTER HOME, help orphans in China get the surgeries they need so they can be adopted. Visits to either of these websites will touch your heart, Both of these agencies need money to get the medical care these sweet babies need in order to get a forever family.

There is a new program run by Love Without Boundaries. This program is trying to get money to provide a warm coat and thermal underwear to orphans in an orphanage in China. THIS LINK will take you to their website. There isn't a huge financial obligation with this project, but you can't put a price on keeping a little one from freezing this summer.

I firmly believe that God's heart is broken for the fatherless. His Word tells us repeatedly to take care of the widows and orphans. I've see Him move in might ways to bring adoptive families together. Please, if He is speaking to you, listen and act!

If you have any questions that I might be able to help with, just leave me a comment. You can mark it as private, if you want, and only I'll see it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lillie, I'll miss your snuggles

She had me at the first pet!

Eight years ago, as I was walking through "Adopt a Pet Day" at Petsmart, I saw this somber Lab-Boxer mix dog standing there nervously wagging her tail. I petted her head and then turned to leave and she followed me! I'm sure she followed others, but at that moment, I felt she chose me. I began to talk to the people from the shelter about her.

 I was a good wife and didn't bring her home right away, but I went immediately to John and began singing the praises of this orphaned dog. We took Layla and went back to Petsmart. They got along pretty well, so we left with the new dog. She had been called, "Carla", no one in our family liked that name, so I chose Lillie, and Lillie she became.

The first hour there was some jockeying for power between her and Layla, but they quickly settled down and have been best buddies for the past eight years. Layla's first love is food and Lillie's first love is attention, so they got along beautifully.

Lillie loved to cuddle. She would lay still for hours if someone would pet her. She adored being petted. She really didn't know how to play, but boy could she love! When Abbey and Elijah came into our lives, she accepted them and was never anything but gentle with them.

Lillie did have her issues. I often wondered how hard her life was before she was ours. She absolutely could not stand to be confined or left alone. Those idiosyncrasies were often hard to live with. Many times John and I said, "We made a commitment to this dog, and we're not abandoning her again." We tried crating her...she broke through the metal bars (along with several of her teeth). If we inadvertently locked her in a room by herself, she would shred whatever she could get her claws and teeth on. We reached a compromise by putting her outside whenever we left the house and making sure someone was in the room with her at night.

A couple of years ago, she started displaying some hip deterioration, getting up and down the stairs wasn't easy. She started not being able to control her bowels, then this week, she became incontinent. She also has had some situations of strange behavior. All of these health issues led us to the vet today. With tears in our eyes we listened to him tell us that what we had suspected...she was just going to continue to go downhill, and it would be more humane to say goodbye to her now.

Right now, I feel like I don't ever want another dog. It's just too darn hard to say goodbye! I'm sure I'll change when my heart has healed, but right now my it just plain hurts!

I'll miss you, Lillie Billie!

She even put up with us doing things like putting shades on her!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

If You Have To Take Your Kids on Saturday Errands...

Inspired by the book, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie".....

If you have to take your kids with you for Saturday errands, then you will have to listen to them complain about being bored. When they get so bored that one of them starts doing ballet moves in the store, and those aforementioned ballet moves knock cans off of a shelf, which then makes you force your not so graceful ballerina to wedge her long legs and size 6 body in a "driving basket" designed for a size 4 child, because you've asked her to save her ballet for later.  Which then causes the smaller child, who loves his "driving basket", to not like having to share with his towering sibling and thus begins to loudly voice his objections. The older sibling then has to interject her objections about having no room. All this commotion will invariably make you loose your grip on your precious "super double" coupons and they will go floating like fall leaves all over the aisle. You will then have to get on your hands and knees to look under a shelf for the elusive high value coupon that you must have. All the while, you are glancing behind and sideways to make sure that no one you know sees you. (Realizing, that if they do know you, they would not find it strange to see you down on all fours looking for a coupon worth four dollars.) Finding the valuable coupon, you then continue shopping, finishing just as quickly as you can. When you get home and unload the groceries, the offending ballerina asks you to hold her. You pick up that size 6 body and hoist it to your hips to stable your arms. While you're holding this bundle of joy, she gazes in your eyes and declares.....

"When I'm with you, I feel happy!"

So when this precious little girl makes such a declaration your heart melts, you totally forget the disaster at the store and you thank the good Lord above for giving you the opportunity to take your kids on Saturday errands!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The tortoise and the hare

Today Elijah, Abbey and I attended a field trip with our homeschool group to the Museum of Natural Sciences. This place is huge, both indoors and out and has a huge variety of exhibits. It ended up that my two and I went exploring by ourselves.

As we made our way through, there were tons of hands-on activities. As I watched my kids do things such as dig for

and find fossils,

and watch baby alligators eat live fish,

I noticed for the umpteenth time the diverse nature of their personalities. It played out so strikingly in just about everything they did today, that I watched in awe.

Meet the tortoise...

And the hare...

These two gems of mine are just about as polar opposite as a Democrat's and Republican's views on just about anything. (An interesting comparison, I know, I guess it's on my mind because there's an election next week and I've been inundated).

Abbey and Elijah differ on just about any level. Amazingly, though, they love each other intensely, and would be totally lost if they weren't together.

They are so complete opposites, like black and white, fast and slow, cats and dogs, ok..., I think you get the picture.

Well, today I saw repeatedly how they see and experience the world through two totally different lens.

Every exhibit we'd go to Elijah would just start to get into it, and Abbey would be blowing that joint and on to the next one. She would lead the way running to the next great adventure, just about the time Elijah was deciding he might take a chance on the current offering.

When admiring the butterflies, Abbey gets up close and personal,

While Elijah prefers a little distance.

Abbey is game for anything, she will rush in and think later. One exhibit demonstrated the force of wind. They had a contraption that blew a blast of air as someone hit it. I told Abbey to get in front while I hit it, she immediately jumped right in front.

Elijah, on the other hand, refused to get in front of it.

At the animal exhibit, the goose almost had an uninvited visitor, but Elijah kept a respectable distance.

Look at the way these two choose to view the moon rock...

Abbey is all about touch first, ask questions later. Elijah checks it out and then may or may not touch.

It was so cold out today that we decided to picnic on the floor of our car. They had chips with cheese and salsa dip as part of their lunch. Here's Elijah's reaction to spicy salsa.

While, as you might have guessed, Abbey loved the salsa.

When we got home and carved pumpkins for tonight, noticed how they each approached cleaning the pumpkin out.

This little study of mine in contrasts today made me realize how wonderful it really is that they are so different. I imagine the world would be pretty boring with all tortoises or all hares. They both can learn from each other. Abbey will learn to be a little more patient as she waits for her brother,(at least, that's my hope), and he will learn that he doesn't have to be quite so cautious about everything, (again, that's my desire). They both have amazing gifts in the way they view the world. Abbey goes for the gusto and sees the big side of things, while Elijah studies and notices the small details, such as the types of wheels certain cars have. (No kidding, he actually does). Abbey will undoubtedly experience a lot of thrills in life, while Elijah will have less pain because of rash decisions. Both of their personalities have some beneficial results. The world needs both kinds; "go getters" and "take it slow and easy".

I think it's so wonderful that God gifted these two to us. They fit together so fantastically. It's fun to watch and predict how they will handle situations. I'm learning how to appreciate both sides of life, the go ahead with reckless abandon and the take it slowly and analyze it all,  and how they both have advantages and disadvantages. Together they make a whole world, and together, my jack rabbit and my turtle, along with their older siblings,  make our family whole.

I'm very grateful to my tortoise and hare for the lessons they teach me every day!