Summer So Far

I always think I’ll have more time for things like blogging when school is over, but it never seems to work like that.

We’ve had a couple of days at lakes in the Poconos.  Teddy was unimpressed by the water the first time, and mostly hung out with me in my “nest of warmth and dryness”, but the second time he was much more adventurous!

We’ve also had a few days at my dad’s house, a wonderful haven with a tire swing and a trampoline and tractor rides and chickens, and most of all a delicious meal I don’t have to cook!

The kids’ Sunday school class treated our whole family to a field trip to a life-size replica of the tabernacle of the Old Testament out in Lancaster.  Niko volunteered to be a priest in the demonstration.  Earlier in the tour, Lewis had played the part of Joseph with Bea and Teddy as his jealous older brothers.  Oh, how I wish I gad acted quickly enough to get a video of that!

We had a lovely visit with my grandparents, who are both in their nineties and are blessed to still be together in their assisted living home after 72 years of marriage!  Grandmom is on hospice care, and looking forward to meeting her Lord, but we were very thankful for the time we still have with her.  She is one of two Alices in whose honor we chose Romilly’s middle name, so it was extra special for Ro to get to see her.

Over the holiday weekend, we were thankful to have Verity and Teddy dedicated in church. Verity wore the same dress that each of our babies has worn (and tried to eat the pastor’s mic!  Cheeky!)

 

Fourth of July saw us at Teddy’s first big parade.  He jumped right in and started dancing with a Bolivian dance troupe, which, thankfully, they were totally cool about 🙂

 

And finally, we celebrated Bea’s 10th birthday with a day out to the Garden State Discovery Museum, to which we now have a membership.  (Kudos to them for, unlike every other attraction we looked into, not limiting number of children on a family membership!)  The kids loved it, even the ones who were slightly too big to love it 😉

 

The slower pace of summer has been just what we’ve all needed to adjust to life as a family of thirteen.  Teddy is doing so, so well, and we are all finding our new groove.

Farewell, Wee Man

This sweet face belonged to our first baby.  He was our practice kid who experienced our first feeble attempts at parenting.  Our Gulliver.

He was the center of our universe for a few years…

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…And then had to find his new place in the pecking order when Pippa arrived.  (She wasn’t that much fun at first.)

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He’s had to find it a few more times since then, but he has always remained a beloved member of the family.

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We loved this boy dearly, and we said goodbye to him on Thursday, at the ripe old age of thirteen.  He had been declining since last winter, and hadn’t been able to walk well enough to go for a walk since the summer.

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We postponed the inevitable for as long as we could, and we were thankful Guvvy got one last visit with Adrian.  They were old pals.

On Wednesday, we had a particularly rough day.  Mr. G went potty and then fell sideways into his mess.  While I was giving him his emergency bath, Junie managed to knock Coraline over and give her a bloody lip, and suddenly I knew I had to make the call.  After months of wondering if he would just go peacefully on his own or if I would have to make the most horrible decision ever, and wondering how I would ever know it was time to make that decision, I just knew.  Only I was too much of a mess to talk, so I called my sister instead and made her call the vet for me.

The next day, we took our sweet boy to his last appointment.  Romilly came with us: she wanted to be there.  Through tears, we all gathered round him to say our last goodbyes, and then just like that it was over.  I could no longer feel his heart beating under his too-skinny ribs.  It was so much harder than I ever could have imagined.

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You’ve been a good wee dog, Guvvy.  Sleep tight.

Gulliver Ezekiel Young

9/20/01 – 1/15/15

 

Merry Christmas!

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The blog has been quiet lately (it’s because Trevor has been switched to day shifts(!),  and I don’t seem to know how to be productive when he’s home in the evenings with me anymore – a good problem to have!), but I wanted to pop in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from our family to yours.   May God bless you abundantly with His peace and joy this holiday season.

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Another Birthday Week

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Would you believe that this little lady went and turned THREE on us on Monday?!  (I must be becoming an old woman for two posts in a row to revolve around little people somehow being much older than they ought to be, but more on me being an old woman later…).

 Coraline Audrey surprised us in the middle of our adoption process for Niko; she’s a precious blessing that we might have missed out on if it had been left up to us.  We are so thankful that God’s plans were bigger and better than ours.

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This little lovie makes us all laugh all day long.  She loves Delia with a ferocity that has worn her big sister down more than any of the other kids have managed to.  She is an irresistible force, and we are so blessed to have her in our family.

The next morning I woke up to this scene in honor of my birthday:

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I didn’t cook a single meal all day thanks to my capable little sous chefs!

It was a pretty ordinary day.  We had a lot of school to work through since we’d been at a birthday party the day before for some friends.  I had a pretty bad cold (still do!)  But at the end of the day my heart echoed the sentiments of Mary Ingalls on a birthday episode of Little House on the Prairie we happened to watch this week.  Recently left blind by scarlet fever, she sat surrounded by family and friends, poised to blow out her birthday candles.  “Make a wish!” they all chorused.

“I don’t know what to wish for,” she beamed. “I already have everything I could ever want right here!”

And so it is with me.  My days are often hard, filled with unpleasant smells and difficult behavior.  I don’t get a lot of quiet moments (which is why I’m blogging so rarely and way past my bedtime tonight!), but when I have them, I have a deep abiding contentment with my life.  I can’t think of a single thing I’d change or a single thing I’d wish for.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.    – Psalm 16:6

 

Name Verses for the Newbies

Ahem.  That is, the last three newbies.  It seems that although we did choose verses to go with Niko’s and Delia’s names (as we did for our other children here and here), I never actually shared them, and somehow, that makes them seem a little less official.  So, let’s officialize!

Nikolai (along with all its Nicholas kin) means “Victory of the people.” We’ve had fun using swords and knights and battles as his name theme because, well, he loves that stuff, but his verse is extra meaningful:
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

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This little man is experiencing victory in his life!  It has been a joy to watch him blossom in our home.  He has come such a long way in two years and learned so much.  His academic progress has been good, but more importantly, he is learning to be gentle and kind, to share, to put others first.  These are such tough lessons for a little guy who came from a world where survival meant grabbing whatever you can get and manipulating to get as much as you can.  He came to us very good at those skills. But, by God’s grace, Niko is slowly learning a better way, and it is a joy to watch God give him that victory!

The meaning of Delia’s name has so many layers.  She is named Delphinia for the Delphinium flower, which was named for its resemblance to the dolphin, which itself derives its name from delphus, the Greek word for “womb.”

We have chosen this verse for her:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

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Again, I love this verse for her for so many reasons.  I love that even though it wasn’t my womb our precious daughter was knitted together in, these words are every bit as true for her.  God had a plan and a purpose for her life, and we are privileged to be a part of it.

I also love the reminder that she is wonderfully made.  Our Delia is an unusual little girl, but God made her!  He did not make a mistake in making her as He did.  Although she has, no doubt, been shaped in part by her circumstances, God’s works are wonderful (my soul does know it well!), and He is not finished with this little lady yet!

I was spoiled for choice with Annis’s verse.  Annis, like Agnes, means “pure” or “chaste”, and there are so many good verses about purity!  In the end, we chose an old favorite.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

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This would be our prayer for our tiny, precious new girl.  We want her her to know and love the Lord and to train her mind to dwell on Him and that which pleases Him.  We want her to look for the pure, the lovely, the excellent and then pursue those things with all her heart.

Thankful Monday

Today I’m feeling thankful for this lovely friend who came to see us for the weekend.  She spoils us.  Every time.  Pippa was in tears after she left.  That’s how much we all love her. 

(Note: Beautiful new handmade sweater!)

I’m also thankful for a husband who never hesitates to let me escape with a friend for a couple hours and leave him with six little ones.  Well, okay, sometimes he hesitates just a little (six kids is a lot of kids!), but he always lets me go in the end.

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Love you both!

Another Not Halloween Party

We sure do love when a friend with an October birthday throws a costume party!  I gave the kids had about an hour’s notice in which to plan and execute their costumes (otherwise they would have been utterly distracted with anticipation during church), and I think they rose to the challenge.

 

Happy Fall from Queen Elizabeth (the First), Lalaloopsy and Tinkerbaby, Pocahontas, Dorothy and Dash!

In other news, Storm Sandy thankfully more or less left us alone.  We lost power for about 18 hours (which the kids thought was THE FUNNEST THING EVER), but otherwise came through it unscathed.  It even gave us a couple of Daddy days, as his site closed Monday and Tuesday – bonus!

 

Where I’ve Been

We’ve just had a lovely, just-over-a-week visit from Trevor’s youngest brother Nathan.  (Well, okay, he left a week ago.  I’m very slow these days, aren’t I?) It always feels like a little vacation when someone comes to stay with us.  We get to go sight-seeing, Trevor takes a couple days off work, we eat out here and there.  Happy days!  Having Nathan here was extra special, since we hadn’t seen him in two and a half years!  And since he’s now something of a famous preacher.  Well, on his way at least.  I can’t help but remember now that Nathan’s all grown up that the summer when Trevor and I first got together, he came home from university to find that his baby brother had “lost some teeth and was looking rather gappy.”  Kind of like this girl:

 

(Someone please tell me it won’t go so quickly for her, that I won’t blink and she’ll be starting her final year of college.  Please!)

Anyway, it was an absolute delight to get to spend a whole week with this no-longer-six version of Nathan.  The kids fought over his lap while he read Tintin books one after another, and we enjoyed his company after they were in bed each night.  We were all very sad to see him go.

Here’s what we got up to:

 

We have since gotten back to “normal” around here and started our new school year, so I suspect I will continue to be scarce around here, but it is for the very best of reasons.  These six reasons, to be specific.