Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How We Spent Thanksgiving

It started here.

While the turkey was in the oven, we got out the tree and decorations.

J-Man tests out the lights. Yay...they work!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

My favorite cooks working on dinner.

"Hey, Dakey! Do you like pie?"
"Yes! I can't wait to eat some."

Rub-a-dub-dub...bring on the grub.

I asked Jeff to take this picture to prove I was there.

These two both have birthday's this week!

My two big girls. I heart them!

Jakie's lovely table manners.

Then on Saturday, we decided to go to Plymouth--our favorite place--because you know...the Mayflower is there and there is that whole 'this-is-where-the-first-Thanksgiving-happened' and all

The temperature was a factor, too.
If I believed in global warming, I would be saying, "WOOT! I'm loving it."
But I don't believe in it, so I'll just say, "Hooray for temperatures in the 60's on Thanksgiving weekend!"

Am I the only one whose heart goes pitter-patter when I see street names like 'Samoset' and 'Carver?'
I mean...really....how cool is that?

My pumpkins on the beach. Jake wanted to know if he should wear his bathing suit. He was so confused.
There WERE some tourists dipping their bare feet in the frigid water.

Beach combing for shells and beach glass.

Leaving the beach (sob).

Down to the harbor. I never get tired of this amazing view. I could sit and look at it for hours, listening to the sounds of the boats, the water, the birds. A little slice of heaven.
But of course, I never get to sit and look at it for hours.
So I take pictures.
Every time.
Of the same thing.
It's a sickness.

The Mayflower II.
My kids are unimpressed that it's not the ORIGINAL Mayflower.
And let me tell you, if I had to have endured the voyage on this tiny vessel with 80+ people, I would have been certifiable by the time she landed. Just sayin'...
The kids think it's really cool that people uh....went potty in a bucket and tossed it over the side.
I'm thinking that isn't the only thing that got tossed over the side.
My cookies could go just thinking about it.
If you haven't read the stories about the voyage, you should. The hold of the ship was uh...where all the sick people were. Sea sick. Dysentary. ETC.
It really makes you appreciate the horrible suffering that people went through to get here.
Let's not forget.

Bye, bye Plymouth Harbor. Hope to see you again soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Haircuts gone horribly awry...

It's no big secret that I cut my kids' hair.

It usually turns out fairly well.
They're kids.
How coiffed do they have to be?

And besides...when the older boys were little, they suffered through some pretty horrible hair cuts by 'professional' stylists that must not have finished at the top of their class.
Just sayin'... I figured I couldn't do any worse and I wouldn't have to pay $12.

Last night the little boys needed haircuts. For some reason, they had ants in their pants. Normally they are so good about sitting still but not last night. Jordan kept turning his head from side to side just as I was cutting.

Exasperated, I said to him, "PLEASE...sit still. Your hair is going to look totally weird if you don't stop wiggling and turning your head when I'm trying to cut it."

Jeff was walking by and said, "Yeah. Sit still or you're going to look Lloyd from 'Dumb and Dumber.' Oops....too late."

And I'm sad to say...

Well, you take a look and see if he doesn't bear an uncanny resemblance.

Thankfully, he doesn't look in the mirror very often, so maybe he won't realize how bad it looks?

{J-Man...I'm so sorry I made your hair look THIS bad. }

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby Timothy

Morning Star recently had a new arrival! Baby Timothy arrived as a very sick little guy with a severe heart condition, needing immediate hospitalization. In China, hospital bills must be paid upfront before treatment will be given. Morning Star needed $5,000 up front and Timothy's bill could easily exceed $10,000. I had just completed the "Doors Of Israel" print fundraiser and was able to send all of that to help. Thank you soooo much to all of you who purchased the print!

Because this little guy's medical bills are going to be high, I am extending the fundraiser. If you would be interested in helping Timothy by purchasing a 'Doors of Israel' print, leave a comment below telling me how to contact you. There are two sizes: 16x24 or 11x14. It is also possible to get the print already framed. Let me know if you want this option. With Christmas around the corner, this might be a nice gift for someone on your list! All of the photos of the doors were taken when I was in Israel earlier this year.

ALL PROCEEDS go to help the babies at Morning Star. If baby Timothy doesn't need the funds, there will be another baby who does.
Cost of the 16x24 is $65 + $4 shipping. Total $69

Cost of the 11x14 is $45 + $4 shipping. Total is $49

If this is more than your budget allows but you would still like to help (I know that any amount helps!) you can donate directly to Morning Star HERE.

Friday, November 11, 2011


To all the veteran's and active duty personnel...THANK YOU for your service to our country. Thank you for standing between us and danger. Thank you to the families who endure long separations and hardship.
Please know that you are deeply appreciated and loved.
And to our Ryan....we miss you and are so proud of you!


Monday, November 07, 2011

It's that time of year

Time for a family photo.

This brings more whining, griping and general unhappiness than telling the kids to clean their rooms.

What is the big deal?

I don't get it.

I have been taking family photos for other people and thinking about how I wanted to do ours this year. I mean, most of the families I photographed were fairly congenial about the whole thing.

And I took many shots.

And there were many poses.

In more than one location.

I momentarily forgot that my family wasn't all that cooperative. Buoyed by my own foolish euphoric fantasies about getting a great family photo for us, I announced:

"We're taking family photos this weekend!"

Everyone cheered.

Right. There was a ridiculous amount of complaining.

But as the weekend neared, low and behold, it SNOWED.


So we had to wait for it to melt.

It did...and warmed up nicely but my fantasies came to an abrupt end. My main prop disappeared. Argh. You see...there was a really cool antique pick-up truck parked outside of a car refurbishing business. The truck sat out there all summer. I had finally worked up the courage to go up and ask if I could bring my family over to be photographed there. The owner was quick to oblige and said photographers have come at other times and he was fine with us coming.

And then he moved his truck. As in...it's nowhere to be seen.

How rude.

Yesterday was beautiful...sunny and warm. Jeff asked if I wanted to do the family picture and I knew I better come up with plan B or I might miss the opportunity completely.

I put together some props (not NEARLY as cool as an antique truck....grrrr....), changed all the clothing that I had planned for us to wear, and we headed across the street to a spot I have used before.

You should have heard them grumbling. Good grief. Even the dog had an attitude.

Guess how many shots I got before there was a mutiny?


Yes, four TOTAL shots.


Not exactly what I had in mind. I reserve the right to a re-shoot if that truck reappears!
Family Pics 049_copy_boost_70s

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, SaraGrace!

SaraGrace turned 8 today.

How is that possible?

We just brought her home from China five minutes ago, didn't we? Sigh... She loves to hear stories of her first days with us in China and I thought it would be fun to post a photo or two from way back then.

In her crib at the orphanage, tinged so blue and struggling to get enough breath.

Crazy, spunky kid who was this comfortable with me after only a few days together.

I wanted to post more photos, but cannot seem to locate them...grrr...

Anyway--we had a very fun day today. First, school was cancelled due to lack of power. Second, I had a haircut scheduled, so I took her with me. My amazingly wonderful hair stylist was able to squeeze SaraGrace in for a trim as well. Usually Mama cuts SaraGrace's hair, so this was a big treat for her. When her cut was all done, she also got a cute little braid. {Thank you, Emily...you made her day!}

On the way out to the car she said, "That started out kinda boring but then it got really exciting." She was grinning from ear to ear and continued to tell me how happy she was and how much fun she was having with me.

So I did what any other mom would do who wants to spend a few more precious minutes with her daughter.

I said, "Do you want to stop at McDonalds for lunch on the way home?"

Yeah. I stooped that low.

And it was handsomely rewarded with an squeal of delight.

In the back of my mind though, was a dark foreboding.

You see...when I called to schedule flu shots for our family, the only time and day they could accommodate all of us was.... TODAY.


In the past, SaraGrace has not been what you would call brave about getting shots.

And that is putting it mildly.

I kept my dark secret the entire day until we pulled into the doctor's office parking lot. She guessed it as we all trooped through the door.

To my great surprise, I did not hear the great weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that I was expecting.

Except for one child.



The child went nuts.

But this post is supposed to be about SaraGrace.

She told me on the way home from the doctor that she didn't mind a bit having a shot on her birthday and that it was still a 'super, exciting day.' I love that kid!

Let the present-opening begin!

Modeling her cute braid.

Her first 'big kid' Bible. She picked it out. She is totally into reading and wanted books for her birthday.

Jillian made this cake all by herself.

SaraGrace picked out all the cake colors and it turned out looking like a rainbow. So HER!

Halloween cancelled....{gasp}

OK--Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I would ignore it completely except that I remember how much I liked dressing up and getting candy when I was a kid.

Well, when the storm knocked out power here, it was decided by our town--and most surrounding towns--that it was too dangerous to have the kiddos out trick-or-treating. Kinda hard to see where you are going in the pitch darkness, not to mention that some towns still have live power lines down.

Our neighborhood had power, so when an email was sent out explaining that the town had decided to reschedule trick-or-treating to Friday night, there was a flurry of email response. It seems that some parents didn't think their children could handle the terrible disappointment of having to wait an extra four days for Halloween.


Your kids can't understand that there are people in their community with no power (aka...freezing cold) and that the holiday is just going to take a few extra days to arrive?

You know what? If our kids cannot handle such a small disappointment, what will they do when a true hardship befalls them? What are we teaching them if we never let them experience any discomfort? UGH.

It was decided that our neighborhood would have two nights of trick-or-treat...last night and the official night this Friday.

Jeff and I were disgusted. And didn't participate. What was really funny is that when I was explaining everything to our kids, and mentioned that they might see a few trick-or-treaters out, Molly said, 'I think that is ridiculous. We don't need to trick-or-treat twice." Thank you, Molly. Out of the mouth of an 11 year old.

OK--stepping off my soap box to post some pictures, because we have Internet this morning!

Tree branches down in the town center. This was a common sight.

No matter the circumstances....God is love.

My favorite barn...{swoon}