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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adoption Tax Credit Expiring

For 2011, the IRS was giving a tax credit dollar-for-dollar of up to approx. $13,000.  For 2012, it is no longer a fully refundable tax credit, but only a "write-off" up to approx. $12,000 and for 2013... nothing.  This is unacceptable given that the average adoption costs $25 - 35k.

I signed this petition.  I also contacted my US Senators and Representative.  I urge you to do the same.  It can change the course of a child's life since this credit can make all the difference in a family's decision to adopt.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Waiting to open presents!
Got the Bible she wanted!

Attacking his present!




Friday, December 9, 2011

Blueberry Face

This is what happens when the older children feed Nathaniel blueberries for breakfast.
Don't you want to give me a big kiss Mom?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When God Sets You On a Path

Today I am filling out paperwork to start our adoption from China.  Those close to us know that we had started this process 1 1/2 years ago only to have it come to a halt because of the illness of the child we were adopting.  It was an extremely sad time in my life... but God!  He had another plan; a better plan.  Three months later I was pregnant with our darling Nathaniel.  What a joy he is to our family!  Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Now Jim and I step out in faith once again.  We have a different placement agency and different homestudy agency... not because there was anything wrong with those other agencies.  We just feel led to these new agencies through different people and experiences.  We are optimistic.  This is a long process, though.  The soonest we can hope to travel to see our daughter is next December.

Today I am cautiously excited.  I'm excited to start the process again (even though I do not like all the paperwork).  I'm excited that my husband is just as excited as I am (even though he doesn't show it).  I'm excited to fundraise (even though I worry about raising all the money).  Most of all I'm excited that my God knows our daughter already and is working ahead of this process to bring us together.  So, if you don't hear from me for a few months it'll be because I'm buried in paperwork, but I'll be smiling, filled with the joy that only comes from walking closely with my Lord.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Adoption Travel Funds Needed

Through Connie's website One More Ladybug, I heard about this family.  They are so close to traveling to China to get their sweet daughter.  But... they can't.  They don't yet have the funds to travel.  To be so close to seeing their daughter and have to decline a Consulate Appointment because they don't yet have the money must be saddening and frustrating.  Even though we may not all adopt a child, we can help those who are.  This is just one of the ways we can fulfill that all-familiar and vitally important scripture.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widons in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27


So, please take a moment and visit Mandi's fundraiser and give as generously as you can.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Teeth Gone in a Week... Yikes!

Kate lost another tooth this evening. This is the second one in less than a week, thanks to a wrestling match with her brother.  Come to think of it, that seems to be how she has lost most of her loose teeth. :)

We now call her "Toothless" (from the movie How To Train Your Dragon).

Love that smile!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Great Christian Resource

We have enjoyed the different resources that are available from Vision Forum.  They have everything from toys, homeschool material to Christian books.  They are fast becoming a favorite at our house.  Anna has had her eye on the child harp for a while now.  Vision Forum also has interesting conferences that we hope to attend some day.

Dan's Man Cave

Didn't know the desire for a man cave starts this young!




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween

Halloween is definitely NOT my favorite holiday.  To be sure, I liked it when I was a kid, but as an adult... nope, don't like it at all.  However, my kids (like all kids) love candy!!  And they really get into the creative side of what to be for Halloween and how to use most of what we have around the house to put it together.  We are not big on purchasing costumes.  All day they were so anxious to dress up and go trick-or-treating. Finally, after an early dinner of something healthy to off-set the inevitable sugar rush, they dressed and we snapped some pictures before heading out.
Anna (Fairy), Nate (Pumpkin) and Kate (Bunny)
The Girls
Will (British Soldier), Nate and Dan (Puppy)

The Whole Gang
They also had fun watching Dad carve their pumpkins for them. :)  They designed it or told Dad what they wanted and he made it happen!
Kate's pumpkin (love the glasses!)
Anna's pumpkin (a horse)
Will's pumpkin (good old scary face)
Dan's pumpkin (cute, just like him!!)
 Nate didn't do a pumpkin this year.  I don't think he noticed. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Proverbs Family Study Guide

I've heard wonderful reviews about this Family Bible Study Guide on Proverbs.  The author, Kevin Swanson from Generations With Vision, has put together a wonderful resource.  For a more thorough review, go to Raising Olives.




Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nate's First Food

Last night we decided to give Nate some sweet potatoes since he was showing all the signs of being ready for solids.  Well, he ate 1/2 of the jar last night and the other 1/2 this morning, so I'd say he was ready!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Anna's Birthday and Colorado Trip

Where did the time go?  I can't believe it's almost the end of October already.  Anna's birthday was the end of September.  We had a family party for her before we left for Colorado.  She wanted to celebrate her actual birthday while in CO, so had her family party early.
Her cake was "animals in a pasture."

Anna's new favorite stuffed animal- a horse named Gingerbread.

The next day we were off for Colorado.  Below are some pictures from our time there.  When we got there it was about 80 degrees.  The weather became colder during our stay and we even got a little snow!  By the time we left it was about 20 degrees when we woke up in the morning.  I just love our time in Colorado.  The quiet and solitude on the acreage brings so much family time.  I love to sit on the front porch and listen... to nothing! :) And to enjoy God's beautiful handiwork.  Usually I'm ready to head back home to the creature comforts that our home provides, but this time I didn't want to leave the cabin. I was ready to send darling husband on an airplane back to work while the kids and I stayed.  Sorry honey! :)  We'll be back in January, though, and that gives me something to look forward to.
Some video for your viewing enjoyment.  Here is Kate entertaining Nathaniel. (Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of the page.)
And the big kids running around in the hail...




Monday, September 12, 2011

She Did It!

Anna, my darling daughter who has a severe hatred and paranoia of needles, got her ears pierced over the weekend.  She wanted it that badly!  We told her that she could have her ears pierced for her 8th birthday, which is coming up in a couple weeks.  She is so very happy and proud of herself for going through it without shedding a tear.  She was a trooper!  We're proud of you too!  Doesn't she look pretty... and so grown up?!?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Boy and His Chicken

For some reason, Daniel has found a new friend in Kate's chicken named "Teeny."  He'll go out to the chicken coop many times throughout the day, scoop up Teeny and hold her under his arm like a football and then walk around like that.  

He also likes to take Teeny in his police car...

Or ride her around in the shopping cart.

  Not sure how much Teeny likes it, but Dan sure is having fun!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Look Who Came Last Night!

The Tooth Fairy made a visit to Kate last night.  Our little 6-year-old lost her third tooth yesterday... and gained a dollar!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Next Book Purchase

If you're not familiar with Amazima Ministries, please click on the left side bar Amazima picture to go to their website.  It's a wonderful ministry to support.  Katie Davis, who started Amazima, has a wonderful story to tell.  Her book will be out October 4th.  Can't wait to read it!  You can pre-purchase the book through 147 Million Orphans and 50% of the purchase price goes back to Amazima Ministries.

(Make sure to turn off the music at the bottom of this page.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Last Day of Summer (Sort Of)

Tomorrow we start our first day of school.  The books have been purchased.  The schedule has been set.  Goals have been communicated to my students.  They are excited and we're celebrating with a popsicle on a beautiful summer's day.



Nate's opting out of school this year. :)

Now they're off to swim in the pool...  oh, how I love those students of mine.  Hope you're having a blessed Sabbath Day.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Homeschool Schedule

School starts for us next Monday.  I'm always excited to start the new school year and all the wonderful things my children (and I) will learn.  This year we are concentrating on reading well and enjoying it, writing well and improving math skills.  Below is our schedule:

Bible   15 mins.
Character Training (Doorposts)   15 mins.
Cursive Writing   15 mins.
Reading and Comprehensive Guides   45 mins.
Latin    30 mins.
Math    30 mins.
History (Ancient Greeks and Holidays)   30 mins. 2 times/week
Music  (Classical Composers)   30 mins. 2 times/week

We'll have some art lessons and journal time later in the year as well as monthly field trips as a family.  Between that full school schedule and after-school classes and activities (Cub Scouts, dance class, park days, sports, etc.) I sometimes wonder if we're making our days too busy.  One of the many reasons Jim and I chose to homeschool is to simplify our lives and to learn, love and serve as a family.  I want to make sure that the busy-ness does not take away from our family time and God's calling on our lives.  Those opportunities to serve both within and outside the family are so very important.  We will make changes in order to allow for those opportunities.  Can't wait to see what the new school year brings for all of us!
             

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why We Shouldn't Trust Mainstream Media

I'm so tired of the inaccurate, biased, agenda-driven articles written by the mainstream media these days.  They are trying to rewrite history.  Thank goodness for organizations like Wallbuilders who use actual historical documents to counteract the lies. This is a perfect example.




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

Beach time!

 Pool time!



We're enjoying the days of summer, enjoying Nathaniel and enjoying all the events planned this summer.  I've tried to plan the camps, Vacation Bible School and other activities so that we have at least a week's break between each.  That allows us an opportunity to have the necessary free time.  We are doing school "light" during the summer.  We strive for 20 minutes (minimum) each of math, reading and Latin each day.  I'm already excited for the new school year.  I'm making some changes to our homeschool schedule and curriculum.  This will be our 3rd year and I feel that we're honing in on our priorities for our children's education.  I enjoy planning the year with Jim and including him in our scholastic goals for our children.  I'll get into more detail later in the summer, but we will be concentrating on math, reading (a lot), cursive writing, Latin and character traits; all this with God central and foremost in our daily activities. 

I recently read an article by Martin Cochran (editor of The Classical Teacher) in which he stated the following, "We live in a culture in which educational starvation has become epidemic.  Students who are functionally, culturally, and morally illiterate are graduating from our schools.  But some of us have saved up the seeds of the old education and are replanting them again so that, as more and more people realize that the educational crop has failed, they will have some place to go."  (emphasis mine)  Why do I homeschool?  Mr. Cochran could not have stated my reasons better.  What worked so well for over two thousand years has been replaced with the latest experimental ideas of the 20th century, and guess what... it's not working.  But enough of that for now.  I'm going back to enjoying the lazy days...

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Delivery

Nathaniel is now 4 weeks old and such a blessing to our family.  He does have a touch of colic, which means that I'm not getting much sleep.  That's ok.  It's absolutely worth the loss of sleep.  How different my attitude is now that I know that my years of childbearing are coming to an end.  What a special season of life this is and I'll be sad to see it go.  We know that God does have plans to bless us with more children... whether through adoption or birth.  We are keeping the door open to see how He will work in our life. 

As for Nathaniel's delivery, it was pretty textbook.  I woke up quite early on the day of his birth; not from labor pains, I just couldn't sleep.  Before getting out of bed, I said my morning prayers and specifically asked that if God willed it, could the baby please come that day.  Within 2 hours, I started experiencing stomach pains.  Since I could time their frequency, I knew that labor had begun.  I went in to tell Jim and he just about lept out of bed.  Since our last baby, Dan, was born just 20 mins after arriving at the hospital, Jim was especially concerned about getting to the hospital quickly.  The hospital is about a 25 min drive and we arrived there around 9am.  I was checked at 9:30am at 3 - 4 cm dilated.  The labor pains were not too painful and were still about 5 mins apart, so I decided to walk the halls for a little while.  After a few intense contractions, I had the nurse check me again.  Now I was only 4 - 5 cm dilated at 11:30am.  That really concerned me since I was sure I was further along and the contractions were getting really painful.  I prayed and asked God to please let the baby come soon.  After 1 hr I was fully dilated and ready to push.  Nathaniel came out in 2 pushes.  What a relief to have him finally with us and to gaze upon his face.

I only stayed in the hospital 1 night, which was the shortest hospital stay for me.  That's ok.  I was ready to be in my own bed and to be with my other children.  We are all finding a new normal with one more person in the family.  His siblings love him so much, of course, and are a tremendous help.  Even Dan will let me know when the baby's crying.

We have been blessed with a month's worth of meals from the wonderful families at our church, homeschool group and my Titus 2 small group.  The prayers, kindness and generosity of these families represent the body of Christ in action.  We are blessed!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nathaniel's Here!

Announcing our newest son, Nathaniel Thomas, born May 19th.


I'll write more of the birth story when I have a free few minutes.  In a nutshell, it was relatively easy (as easy as labor can be) and Nathaniel arrived ready for the world. His brothers and sisters are so happy to have him home and we are all adjusting to being a family of 7.  I love it!  All I can say is that I see God when I look at this sweet face and in the faces of all my gifts.  All children are miracles and truly gifts from the Lord.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Are You A Good Person?

I've seen this before on other blogs and the Living Waters website.  It's so good.  I just feel compelled to share.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Off To The Races

Yesterday was the Annual Pinewood Derby for Will's Cub Scout pack.  Everyone had such a great time.
Kate and Anna entered their cars and won 1st and 3rd place for the Open Division for siblings.
Will's car is the armored Jeep with a machine gun on the back.  Oddly enough, it was quite aerodynamic and he won a few races.  He ended up placing 2nd in his den and also won Scout's Choice.



As a leader in the pack, Jim doesn't feel comfortable when the children win so many trophies.  However, it was their design and they did a lot of work on the cars.  It's a good lesson in winning gracefully and not boasting.

So much going on this week.  It's supposed to be close to 90 degrees here today, so the kids are having friends over this afternoon to swim and I get to enjoy some time visiting with the moms who are dear friends.  Will and Anna have routine dentist appointments tomorrow.  I have a doctor's appointment on Friday, a baby shower on Saturday and then it's Mother's Day on Sunday.  My mom, sister, sister-in-law and niece will come over to celebrate both Mother's Day and Will's and Dan's birthday.

The baby is happy as can be and doesn't look like he's coming anytime soon.  I'm about 3 1/2 wks from my due date.  3 out of my 4 children were early, so I'm expecting and hoping he'll be early too. Ultimately, he'll come when he's ready and it's his time.  Since my other 2 boys were born on the same day, May 11th, we're all wondering if this boy will be born on May 11th as well.  Wouldn't that be amazing!  I think it's a bit early, though.  We'll see...  Have a great week!


Monday, April 25, 2011

He Is Risen

He is risen indeed!!  What a wonderful Easter day we had.  We started our day early as Will was the Old Testament reader at church for both services.  I think Jim and I were more nervous about it than Will.  He did great!  Then we headed off to Jim's sister's house for Easter celebrations.  I was able to get some pictures of the kids before we left.




It's so hard to get a good one of everyone and it's just going to get harder as we add more little ones.  That's ok.  I just love to see their individual expressions and personalities in these pictures. 

Our niece once again organized her wonderful Easter egg hunt and the kids had so much fun.  We ate too much and enjoyed a relaxing day visiting with family. 

The older children are gaining a better understanding of the great importance of this day in their lives.  When we have our nightly discussions during Holy Week I appreciate their thoughtful questions and comments.  I look forward to watching them grow in their faith.  

Only 2 more weeks of schooling and the baby is due in about 4 weeks.  Where did the time go?  We're all looking forward to the baby's arrival and enjoying our summer.  In the meantime, we have 3 dentist appts, 3 doctor appts (not including my own), Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, Will's and Dan's birthdays to celebrate, Cub Scout camp out and many small projects around the house to complete in the next 3 weeks.  Yikes!!  But there is nothing else I'd rather be doing than homeschooling my children, guiding and guarding their hearts and spending our days in the Lord's plan.