Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Update on the Girls' Fundraiser

***Update: Jillian wanted me to be sure to tell you that she hopes you will tell us if there is a blanket set you want even if we have run out of the one you liked. She said, "Please tell them that we like making them. I don't want anyone to think they are bothering us if they need us to make more."

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! The sales are going well. I wanted to give you an update so that you would know what we have left. If you would like to purchase one that is sold out, please let us know because the girls are so excited that they want to make more! I think I was just as excited as they were each time I got a notification that someone had purchased a set or two!! Let's just say that there has been a lot of squealing and jumping up and down going on around here!

Currently, we are sold out of the first two sets, baby colors and dots.

We have one set of the pink and black plaid.

We have two sets of the aqua and blue gingham.

If anyone needs a boy set, we are going to be making some camoflauge sets. If you have your heart set on the cowboy set, please just request it because the fabric is still available at the store.

The girls begged me to get them some more fabric--which I wasn't going to do--but when I went to the store for some more thread, there was a cute ladybug pattern that was on the sale rack. So....we will sew those up and I will post pics as soon as possible.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for making it so fun for my girls to serve the Lord! They have one more week before school starts, so they have time to do more sewing!

Monday, August 30, 2010


My girls have been busily sewing and this is what they came up with....

Sweet little blankets and pillows for dolls! They will fit pretty much any doll. We tried to size them so that they can be used for average sized baby dolls, beanie babies (two will fit under the blanket), and can also fit an American Girl doll or Build-A-Bear if you don't want to tuck the blanket under them.

We have 16 sets made in a variety of fabrics. Most of them are for girl dolls, but since we have some boy Build-A-Bears, we made one boy style, with another coming soon. All of the blanket fabric is flannel - two sided, same fabric on each side. Some of the pillows are flannel, some calico. You can double click on the photos to see them larger.

Style A, pink ,green, blue and yellow 'baby' print

Style B, reverse of style A

Style C, mint green and light blue gingham

Style D, Black and Pink plaid, pillow with polka dot ribbon trim

Two beanies fit easily with lots of length left over

Style E, cowboy blanket with bandana pillow
This is an example of how the sets fit a Build-A-Bear

We are working on a camoflauge style as well. It will be available in the next day or so.

To order, please click on the Pay-Pay button here or on my sidebar at the top of the blog.


We are asking for $11 each. ALL of the money will go to Morning Star Foundation. Mom and Dad are covering the cost of the supplies and shipping, so not a dime of your money will be used for anything other than Baby Joy at Morning Star.

For more information on Morning Star Foundation, click here.

Big Reveal Coming Soon!

The Big Reveal of the girl's sewing project is coming very soon. Their mommy just has to try to figure out how to get the Pay-Pal button working correctly.

Don't worry. I am a trained professional.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Dreams of Racial Unity

These thoughts have been rolling around in my mind for weeks and I am just now feeling like it is forming into a post. And honestly, I'm scared to post this because I know I might get some hate mail. But please hear my heart... I love America and it is my deepest desire that we would continue to be that beautiful shining city on a hill...a country that is a beacon to the hurting around the world. Not a country that is hurting each other from within.

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Obama. However, when he was elected, I experienced a brief feeling of joy that we, as a country, had risen from the depths of black slavery to electing a black President. I hoped upon hope that his election would prove to the African Americans of this country that the majority of Americans are not racist and that racial unity would improve dramatically.

Sadly, this has not been the case. Rather, the racial chasm seems to have only grown wider.

My heart has been heavy as I have watched it play out in the news. I see so many African-American leaders speaking with great anger at what has been done to their people in America over the past few hundred years. And they are correct that African Americans have endured horrible treatment at the hands of white Americans in the past. However...

I recently came across a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King and I was so struck by it. And I realized that his dream has not truly been fulfilled. He did not only dream that his people would be accepted, but that they would rise above what had been done to them. That they would go down in history as over-comers...a people to emulate because of their amazing ability to forgive and not retaliate...to live the best possible 'revenge' by being happy, healthy and productive DESPITE what had been done to them. A people to put on a pedestal. Here is his quote:

"Our actions must be guided by the deepest principles of our Christian faith. Love must be our regulating ideal. Once again we must hear the words of Jesus echoing across the centuries: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.'...If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will pause and say, 'There lived a great people--a black people--who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.'"
--Dr. Martin Luther King

Yesterday, I saw Martin Luther King's neice, Alveda, interviewed. She is a gracious, lovely woman who radiates an inner peace. She was taught by her father (who was murdered) and her uncle Martin (who was murdered, as you know) to forgive her enemies. And she has done so with God's strength. She has chosen not to enslave herself to hatred, even though it would be understandable from the perspective of many. She loves God and she knows that our only hope is in Him. She is truly free! We need to pray for racial unity in our country and that God would give African-Americans the ability to overcome their history here by being able to forgive the atrocities that have been done to them. Then they will truly be set free...set free by the grace of God that enables all of us to be over-comers. We owe them our prayers. Because you know what?

We can never make it right.

We could never pay back the horrible debt. Even if we made each African-American a millionaire, it would not ease the pain at the core of their beings. No, it is a debt that can only be forgiven for THEM to be set free of the pain. White America could throw money at the problem and think it has been fixed, but the pain would remain. Pain does that. It stays unless dismissed. It stays and ferments. It gives birth to more pain, bitterness and misery. That is why Jesus asked us to forgive. It wasn't for the perpetrator to live in peace. It is for the VICTIM to live in peace. As long as we hold onto our pain, we give the perpetrator our lives.

And they are usually unaware of it.

Jesus asks us to do the hard thing (to forgive and have inner peace) rather than live the harder thing (to live in misery, anger and bitterness).

It's a pretty good trade, don't you think?

May each of us lead the way in our personal lives by forgiving everything done to us.

"So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery..." Galatians 5:1

"...if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Joy, Joy, Our Hearts are Full of Joy!

Sweet baby Joy.

Look at her! Oh my goodness...what a punkin.'

And no...we have no plans to adopt her... Sadly, she is one of many little ones who need families.

My girls were hard at work all day busily sewing. We are almost done and hope our BIG REVEAL will be tomorrow. They have been talking today about how much money they hope to raise for baby Joy.

And they finished off the day by seeing this picture, which made all their hard work worthwhile. They asked me to print her photo so it can go up on our refrigerator.

What a great idea!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rainy Day #2

It's actually the third rainy day in the row, but Sunday was the first of them, so it doesn't count.

Thank you for so many great suggestions for ways to spend our day today! You guys are great mom's. For those who suggested cooking or baking...hahahahaha.
Not going to happen at my house.
I do that once a year at Christmas when I am forced by tradition to endure making sugar cookies and frosting them with all the kids.
"Nuff said.

Before I could even make a suggestion today, Jillian said,
"Mom, I really want to sew again today. I want to make xxxxx and see if we can sell them to raise money for orphans."

Now...they have only been sewing for one day. They are fast learners but still.... I almost started to give the 'that's-nice-honey-but-you-need-to-practice-sewing-longer-before-you-try-to-sell-your-work speech, but then I stopped. I just didn't have the heart to squelch her idea.

So after lunch, she babysat while I ran to Walm*rt for some fabric and thread.

I'm not going to tell you yet what they are making. However, I WILL tell you that they worked really hard all afternoon and before we knew it, it was 5:30 and there was no supper ready.
Quickly, I whipped up a gourmet meal--'cause I'm so good at that.
We had frozen pizza. But I baked it first.
Give me some credit.

As soon as we are done with this special project, I will let you know because the girls specifically asked if I would put it on the blog to see if people would want to buy what they are making. We have a recipient chosen....

It's baby Joy at Morning Star Foundation. She is a sweet newcomer to their home for orphans with special needs and she has a severe heart condition. Whether the money we raise helps her get surgery or just helps pay for some of her daily care, it will do SOMETHING to help this little one. Jeff's employer triple matches any charitable donation to a 501(c)3, so the girls' work will be given times three.

As of two days ago, baby Joy was taken to the hospital with a high fever and we haven't gotten another update on her. Please pray for this little one and stay tuned for the big reveal of the girls' project!

SaraGrace had her own part in the project and was so happy to be included with the big girls.

Sneak peek...what are they making?

Hard to tell....

Truth be told, Molly's job was rather difficult and she got pretty discouraged. I tried to get a photo of her discontent but when she saw the camera, she flashed me a happy smile.

Jillian stayed very focused all afternoon and would have worked many more hours if it hadn't been dinner time.

I will let you know soon what they are working on!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rainy Monday

What is there to do on a rainy Monday? It was cold today--only 61 degrees--so playing in the rain wasn't too appealing. We opted to stay indoors and try to come up with an activity.

Jillian decided that she wanted to sew. Her Build-*-Bears needed some pillows and blankets. Molly and Chloe wanted in on the project, too.

To sew, you need some supplies. Unfortunately, my sewing box is MIA since the move. We had to use a travel sewing kit instead.

Thankfully, the sewing machine had thread in it, albeit pink thread that didn't match.

Molly gets in close

Jillian is starting to get the hang of it.

Jake watches in fascination

Jillian and Chloe also made a costume for Bobo the bear

Ryan...this is for you.

Bobo watches the rest of the fun from atop this perch

A finished project.

It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. We are out of ideas. Anyone have any suggestions?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

School Shopping with Eight Kids

Yes, you read that correctly.

I didn't intend to take all of them.

This morning I had the day all planned. The teenager would wake up in a happy mood and be ever so willing to babysit in the afternoon. The little kids wouldn't mind taking a nap and the big girls and I could go get some school shopping accomplished.

The best laid plans of mice and men....

The teenager wanted to go skate boarding all afternoon. Drat.

I decided to take all of the kids to K*hl's to see if they had uniforms for school. I figured if it was going badly, I could just herd them all back out to the car, right?

So after dropping Taylor off at the skate park, off we went.

It was comical to see people looking at us and wondering if we were a day care group. haha (Yes, I have been asked that more times than I can count.)

I am happy to say that K*hl's DID have school uniforms and we were able to get some for about 1/3 of the cost of the ones that the school recommended. Between that and the donated ones that the school let us have, the kids at least have something to wear their first week of school.

They were being so good that I decided to head next door to P*yless Shoes since I had a coupon PLUS they were having a 'buy one, get one for 1/2 price' sale. Woohoo!

Again, the look on the faces of the store clerks was priceless.

We spent over an hour there trying to figure out who needed what. And then there was Chloe who needs two different sizes--but sometimes the smaller sizes don't come in the same styles as the larger size she needs for her other foot. It was a challenge but we found her a set that matched. The clerks were so sweet--kept coming back to ask if we needed any help. It was a bit confusing trying to keep everything straight, but we finally succeeded. And then...we had to get all those bags out to the car while holding hands with the little kids.


I kept thinking that I really wished I had brought my camera to document the bedlam in the shoe store and the walk to the car. But alas...you will have to use your imagination.

I did get a photo of Jillian and Molly showing each other their new outfits. They are so excited! And they look adorable. (and they look way. too. old...wah.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Doctor Appointments

Funny how the drive to Shriners was a lot farther than Boston Children's but I did it in about the same amount of time and it was all freeway with no traffic jams. Ahhhh...so relaxing.

The verdict for Zoey is the same as the other two doctors who examined her. Her only good choice is amputation. Even if she spent her entire childhood having surgeries (and recovering from them), doing painful leg lengthening, etc., she would still not end up with a good foot. There just isn't enough to work with because of the ankle joint and bone not being there.

Our next step is to attend an amputee clinic where we will all have the opportunity to see and talk to other kids who have had amputations. After we attend that, we can schedule the surgery.
For Chloe: she is less severe, but will still need surgery at some point. She has a choice between leg lengthening of her shorter leg, or leg shortening of her longer leg. The shortening is MUCH easier. They would go in and cause the growth plate to slow down her growth, allowing the shorter leg to catch up a bit. The downside of that is that it would make her shorter (by at least 1.5 to 2 inches). If she chooses leg lengthening, she would have to wear an apparatus on her leg for a year (it looks like a cage). She took one look at it and said, 'No way.' She doesn't need to do anything for another few years, so she has time to think it over.

So...no big surprises but I am so glad to know about the amputee clinic. It will be really nice to talk to other families who have already been through it.

We finished up our girls day out with lunch at McDon*lds. Yuk. I've been feeling gross ever since. The girls were thrilled though, because they got a Happy Me*l, which they don't normally get when we go to McD's. Ah...the small joys in life!

Jeff had a 101 fever when I left but aspirin seemed to help and he is doing pretty well tonight.

Thank you so much for praying! Sorry no pics today. I actually forgot--even though I took my pocket sized camera with me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can't think of an interesting title...

Sorry to be gone from the blog...I had my very first photo shoot for a newly engaged couple and I have been busy editing their photos. So fun!

Tomorrow I am taking Zoey and Chloe to Shriners to see what they have to say about the girls' legs and feet. I am hopeful that if Zoey needs her amputation soon, they will be willing to get it set up. She is really limping badly now because she has grown so much since coming home from China. Her good leg is much longer now than her other leg.

Chloe is needing a lift because her hip and back is obviously skewed to one side due to her leg length difference. Maybe they will get us started on that.

So we will have a girl road trip tomorrow!
Jeff is staying home from work to be with the kids. Unfortunately, he went to bed sick tonight, so I am hoping he is feeling better by morning.


A few days ago, the kids pleaded with me to get out their pool.
Kinda hard to secure your spot in a small pool with eight kids in it, but Chloe is still smiling.

Gasp. "Ohhhh...I think I got my face wet. This is not good, chica."
(Yes, 'chica' is his new word thanks to a Spanish speaking friend who shall remain nameless.')

"Hmph. There's no room in here for diving."

"Step aside, chumps. I'm goin' in."

"I'd give myself a 9.5."

But then Mama got distracted by some beautiful flowers growing just to the left of the pool and wandered off to photograph them. (Yes, the kids were safe with big sister, Jillian, in their 12 inch deep water.)

God's creation is just so stunningly beautiful.

I know this is a weed, but it's still so pretty. And nice of the bumble bee to stop by to be photographed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"I Can't Wait to be a Mom."

As I was tucking Zoey into bed tonight, she hugged me sweetly and said, "I can't wait to be a mom." I was so touched because until 18 months ago, she was in an orphanage and learning to be in a family has been a process for her. I thought it was so wonderful to hear that she was identifying herself with a nurturing role and wanting to provide it to some children of her own.

That train of thought was short-lived as, with eyes sparkling, she looked at me and said, "Yeah. When I'm a mom I can stay up late."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Having Teens and Toddlers

Having teens and toddlers living in the same home makes for some interesting dynamics. Toddlers are so black and white. They just don't understand some of the things teens do.

Not many of us do, for that matter.

Taylor sleeps a lot. He is growing so fast you can almost hear his bones lengthening. When he isn't sleeping, he languishes on his bed listening to his dreadful music choices.

No one around here gets that.

But we love him anyway.
Today, we were in the car and the older girls were asking how Katie-bug got the horrible scars on her head. I explained to them that they are from some horrible bed sores she got when she was an orphaned baby. Then they wanted to know how a person would get bed sores. I explained that when someone lies in bed for long periods of time, they can get sores.

Without missing a beat, Molly piped up from the backseat, "Wow. I'm surprised that Taylor doesn't have a lot of bedsores."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I have a friend...

...who is doing a fundraiser for her adoption. They are adopting a little girl with special needs from China and have a lot of fees to pay. The necklaces are GORGEOUS! There are adoption related ones, but also non-adoption ones. Go check out my friend's page, follow the link she lists and get the code to put in with your order. You'll get a great piece of jewelry and you can feel good about 30% of the proceeds going to help unite an orphaned child with her forever family!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - God's Amazing Provision

I haven't participated in Memorial Box Monday for awhile--mainly because I am SO BAD at remembering to write things on certain days. ugh. But anyway...I remembered this week.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to send our kids to a Christian school. But yeah...the tuition... There is just no way.

We tried homeschooling when Molly was going into kindergarten. God very clearly called us to it at the time. Molly was just too emotionally fragile to attend school. I homeschooled for two years. The second year it went rather...um....badly.

As in epic fail.

The following year, God directed us to put the kids in public school. It was so hard to admit defeat in the area of homeschooling because it is something I think can be such a wonderful thing.

God continually reminded me that He could take care of my kids no matter where they were...home...public school...or Christian school.

And so I had to trust Him to take care of them. It sounds foolish to say that--but it was really hard for me to let them go out into the harsh cold world.

Last year, Molly began asking to go to Christian school. I shared my own longing with her and told her to pray that if God wanted them to go, He would make a way. Honestly, my faith was rather weak in this area. I mean, really, how could we possibly afford to send all the kids to a Christian school?

Well, WE couldn't but GOD could.

And so we prayed.

When we first started attending our current church, I was approached by a family who serves on the board of a small Christian school, wondering if we would be interested in sending our kids there. I laughed and said yes, but we could never afford it.

Over the past 10 months there have been occasional references to the school, but each time, I brushed them off, knowing we could not afford the tuition.

Last week, the mom and kids of the above family came over for a playdate. The mom mentioned again that the school was looking for students and that they might be interested in working with us on the tuition problem.

I gave her permission to have the school principal call us and started to have a glimmer of hope that God might be up to something.

He was.

The principal called and after a long talk, asked me to come up with a number we could afford and get back to her. Jeff came up with a number and I went to visit the school the next morning.

It's a very small school. Each class has about 5-8 students. After showing the kids around, she and I sat down to talk about coming to the school. Bottom line...she is willing to take what we can afford because our family's story of 10 adoptions touches her heart.

And so...our God, Jehova Jirah our Provider, has made a way for our five elementary kids to attend a Christian school this year. And not just any Christian school. A small school.

You see, several our kids struggle with some learning problems. They have IEP's and need extra help. They get pulled out of class for tutoring with groups of about 5-6 kids. It is a great help to them, but they miss class instruction and end up having lots of extra homework that they didn't have time to finish in class.

This year they will have a full class size of 5 or 6 and will get that 'tutoring' all day long.

Only God!

We live 25 minutes from the school, so it will mean a significant amount of driving for us, but I am trying to concentrate on the GOOD in this situation rather than how I will be spending two hours a day in the car. ha ha.

I'll have to find a little schoolhouse to put in our Memorial Box.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Our Favorite Place on Earth

Well, maybe not in ALL the earth, but our favorite place within driving distance is Plymouth. It's such a cute town and the beach is not crowded.

As you drive into the round-about on main street, you come face to face with this:

And other sights and sounds greet your senses... insert sea gulls singing, boat horns honking, and waves lapping.

Wanna visit?

The ocean was C.O.L.D. today. Brrrr.... I couldn't stay in it for more than a minute or so. The kids were oblivious to the temperature though.

Random photos...I failed to get one good photo of everyone, unfortunately.

Zoey is all about adventure and she rode this thing like it was a bucking bronco. Whee!

This photo of Kate is too blue but I'm too tired to fix it. Maybe it's just because she was so cold. :)

I love all the sand on Jake's face and hair--and even the tip of his nose.