Thankfulness: Part 2

In no particular order (because, let’s face it, I’m coming up with all of these right now!)

Day 6: Homeschooling.  This is shaping up to be such a nice year for our homeschool.  The kids are loving choir.  I am enjoying rereading some old favorite books to a fresh new set of little ears.  Pippa is so independent and motivated.  Trevor is home just enough to make everything fit.  I feel like my kids are all getting more of me than they have for a while somehow, even the ones who go to school.

A friend hosted a wool-felting workshop in her home last week that we were able to enjoy.  I just love the freedom we have being home together all day.

Day 7: School-schooling. I am so very happy with how all three of our schoolies are doing.  I love their teachers.  I love all the things they are experiencing that they wouldn’t have at home.  I even love being a school mom and getting to have this different role in their education.  I feel as though our whole family is getting the best of both worlds this year.

Also, this boy is just absolutely rocking it.

 

Day 8: Three-year-olds.  Well, okay. This one in particular.  She is spicy and funny and wants to be big so badly, but is still so adorably not big. Annis-Banannis is one of the chief suppliers of much-needed comic relief in our family.

Day 9: My mom.  My mom makes up a good 75% of my support network, and she’s a busy lady herself.  Whether I need someone to drop everything and come watch my gang for a few hours or just let me have a good cry on the phone, my mom is always there.  She is my greatest cheerleader and an unchanging constant in my life.  Her latest feat of motherly superhero-ness was hosting a slumber party for four of our girls and three friends (plus me!) at her house, so that Pippa could finally have a proper 13th birthday celebration.  It was such a great night. And I didn’t even have to clean. 

Day 10: Names.  I realize this is frivolous, but I am actually super thankful for names.  I enjoy them so much that when I have a week like last week when I discover two new-to-me names that are not only beautiful, but full of history and substance, it actually makes me a little bit giddy.

Oh, what? You want to know what they were?  Well, okay.  Since you asked. Some friends gave their daughter the middle name Idelette after John Calvin’s wife, and we watched a documentary on the life of Richard Wurmbrand, whose wife’s name was Sabina.  I’m thinking wives of heroes of the Christian faith must be an untapped treasure trove of fabulous names!

Day 11: Our church family.  This has been a difficult year in the life of our church, and it had also been increasingly challenging for me to get everyone to church by myself as Trevor has been stuck working Sundays for a number of months.  But each time I flop my frazzled self into the pew and think, “That’s it.  I’m not doing this without Trevor again,” God shows me that I am exactly where I need to be.  Friends come and sit behind me to help keep the kids settled during worship.  Others have stepped up to help in children’s church so that I can stay in the service and be fed.  Our small group continues to find a way to accommodate our unwieldy gang each week for dinner and Bible study.  We are so very blessed.

Day 12: The Bible.  I have started copying out verses, just a few a night, into a little notebook.  I hope it becomes a lifelong habit.  I am always amazed at how God’s Word, no matter how familiar, always yields surprises and fresh insights.  Wasn’t God so gracious to reveal Himself to His creation in such a thorough and personal way?

Day 13: My big girls. Yes, this is the best recent picture I have of them.

These girls stay up late way too often, but that’s because they have reached the delightful stage of actually being enjoyable and easy to be around.  They are smart and funny and best friends (still!). They have, each in their own way, learned to do things that I didn’t teach them and don’t know how to do.  They amaze me every day.

Day 14: Cool weather. I think my six years in Scotland ruined me forever for hot weather.  I am thankful for every single day that I am not sweaty.

Day 15: Laughter. Life in our family has been pretty intense lately (did you know we have added one new child per calendar year for seven straight years?!), but I think we are all relearning how to relax together and just have fun.  Our kids are characters.  Every one of them has a side to them that makes us laugh (even Teddy, who ends most evenings with a lengthy imprecatory prayer about Niko: “Chico, bad! No, Chico!  Bad. Owwy!  No, Chico, no!”)

And now, on Day 16, I am very thankful that I have finished catching up my list so that I can go to bed!  Good night, friends 🙂

Thankfulness: Part 1

November is upon us already – it is hard to believe.  In this busy season of life, it seems I no sooner get used to it being a new month than it’s time to turn the calendar page again. I’m sure I actually blog just as often as I always have – it’s just that the time in between is passing quicker than it used to!

November always feels like a good month to focus on thankfulness.  Trevor showed me an article a few weeks ago on a blog he’s read for years that really got me thinking about appreciating the little things in my life.  (You can read the article here, on The Simple Dollar). So I thought I’d take up the challenge of finding one thing for each day of this month that I am thankful for. I probably won’t actually post every day, but I’ll try to catch up when I do.

I am thankful for:

1. Birthdays (and also a break from birthdays now that October is over!)  Last month I hit a milestone that feels entirely too old to be my real age.  Although I can’t say I’ve completely made my peace with my new first digit, I am so very happy with the life God has given me, and with the season I am in right now.

Happy 6th birthday to our lovely Coraline Audrey!

2. Adoption. This is by no means a “little thing” in my life.  It has changed the entire landscape of our family, and I am thankful for it every single day.  Both for the opportunity to be the mom of these four precious souls, and also for my loving heavenly Father who adopted me into His family at great personal cost.  I see my own adoption struggles reflected in my children daily: to trust, to feel secure, to rest; and I have learned so much about my Lord and myself through them.

 

3. Quiet nights after the kids are in bed. Time to reflect, process, and just breathe. And as a bonus: a bit of extra quiet time tonight thanks to the clocks going back!

4. Friendship.  Tonight my best friend Mary and I celebrated 35 years of friendship.  We met in the first week of kindergarten. The Lord has absolutely spoiled me in the friend department.  I just love the relationships He brings into my life, some that last for years, others that are only for a season, but every one precious.  (Trevor sometimes teases me when I come out of a store or the bank with a little grin on my face after chatting with an employee: “What are you smiling about? Oh wait: you were connecting with another human soul again, weren’t you?”. Yep!)

5. This baby.  She is 13 months old today, and at one of my absolute favorite stages.  She is waving and saying hi to everyone she sees (an extrovert like her mama, perhaps?), clapping her hands, nodding and shaking her head yes and no… Just suddenly bursting with personality.  She brings us so much joy.

Stay tuned for the next installment.  What are you thankful for today?

 

A Mother’s Day

I was just saying to Trevor a couple of nights ago during our twice a day brief Facebook chat that things have been going so very well here at home.  Normally, by the end of his work week, I find myself stretched very thin and so ready for a break, but while he’s been away, I have felt carried.  I told Trevor that I have felt like Peter this past week, keeping my eyes dependently fixed on Jesus and doing what I would not have thought possible: not just surviving this time apart, but living life with joy and peace.  But I also admitted to him that I’ve had a few moments when I have started to let the waves frighten me a little,  when I’ve counted the long days and nights ahead (including the ones *after* they get home!) and felt panic begin to set in.

Well, today I took my eyes off Jesus and took a good hard look at the waves around me, and I started sinking fast.

Mother’s Day is never my favorite, I have to admit.  I am thankful for my kids every single day, don’t get me wrong, but Mother’s Day is just another day, with all the same messes, all the same parenting, all the same disputes over who is sitting where and who gets to put their feet in Mommy’s lap while we read together.  I’m used to that, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at making the most of the day anyway, enjoying the seeds the kids have planted for me in Sunday school, and maybe getting to spend some time with my own mom.

Today was Day 11 of 16 days of caring for eight kids without Trevor.  I arrived at church weary but peaceful, happy to get to sit for an hour and nurse the baby without any interruptions.  My best friend Mary and her daughter Maura had had a slumber party at our house the night before, and were with us for church.  It was shaping up to be a pretty good day.

Not five minutes after the kids went to their Sunday school class, Delia’s teacher came to get me.  Delia had had an accident on the floor.  While we were cleaning that up, she threw up.  I took her out of her class and thought the two of us could just sit in the (unused) nursery while I fed the baby.  Then she threw up again all over the nice new glider chair.  While I was taking the cushions off and scouring the chair and all its parts as well as I could with wipies, the custodian came in and said, “Hmm, that’s going to stain.”

At this point, I’m looking at the waves, and they’re huge, and I’m freaking out.  There goes our nice dinner (McDonald’s was the plan, but still!) with my mom and grandmom today.  There goes my whole week, come to think of it.  They’re all going to drop like flies now.  I’ll probably get it, too.  Hey, we’ll probably still have it when Teddy gets home on Saturday.  Awesome.  A stomach bug is exactly what we need right now.  (So much sarcasm in my darkest moments!)

I more or less held it together until I got home and called my mom to tell her we couldn’t come to dinner, and in the warmth and safety of her response, I fell apart.

But God was so gracious and patient with me on this day that was not going how I had hoped.

First my dad called and came over to measure our new table for some custom-made benches (to fit a few more little bottoms than the chairs can comfortably accommodate.)

Then my mom and sister came over in the afternoon before going to dinner and brought me coffee and popsicles for the kids.

While they were there, Pippa got an idea to surprise me and reorganize the dresser in the girls’ room according to the Konmarie folding method.  She mobilized a couple of sisters to help her and an hour later showed me this: (I wish I had a before picture, but believe me when I tell you it was a hot mess!)

In the very bottom of one of the dresser drawers, they found this:

I laughed when Pippa brought it down to me.  This card is probably some fifteen or twenty years old and intended for my mother-in-law (sorry, Elaine!)  I have no idea why we had it much less why it was in the girls’ dresser, but it felt as if Trevor had planned this elaborate scheme from China just to brighten my day.  And it did.

The rest of the afternoon was passed with me and most of the kids making picture-and-word labels for all the new toy storage bins in the boys’ room.  (Delia did stay curled up on the sofa feeling lousy for the rest of the day, but thankfully she didn’t throw up again, nor has anyone else so far!)

It was a lovely day.  A truly lovely day.  I don’t have a photo of me and all my beautiful children in our Sunday best to show for it this year (or one of me with MY mom and sister this year, for that matter), but I am surely the most abundantly blessed mother there is.

The Adventure Begins

On Thursday afternoon, Trevor, Niko and Bea set off for Hong Kong, their pit stop on the way to Teddy, and today I received photographic evidence that they made it – whew!

These photos from Trevor absolutely made my day, but I received another photo this evening that I wasn’t expecting.  A photo of another adventure that began today.

This is our sweet Teddy in the car with his orphanage director starting the journey to meet Trevor, Niko and Bea on Monday!

How did I get this amazing, behind-the-scenes glimpse of our boy?  It occurs to me that I never really told you the story of how we found Teddy.  Well, grab a cup of coffee, and I’ll tell you now while we wait for the exciting part to happen.

A little over three years ago, I began attending a wonderful, intimate support group for adoptive moms that meets five times a year.  It’s over an hour drive to get there, but so worth it for my sanity and the well-being of our whole family.

About two and a half years ago, my dear friend Kelly whom I met through this group came home with two new sons from China.  Even amid the flurry of excitement and chaos of her own two new boys, she shared with our group her burden for two other little boys she met there.  These two boys, it seemed, were given free rein to wander around the facility and surrounding area.  It wasn’t a good situation.

Shortly after that, one of those boys went missing.  He still has not been found.

The other little boy was our Teddy.

Kelly wanted desperately to find a home for this little guy, but we had just begun our process for Lewis, and adopting another little boy with Down syndrome was just not even on my radar.  I prayed for those little boys, but then life moved on.

A little over a year ago, right around the time we traveled to bring Lewis home, I became a little obsessed with the fact that Chinese adoption regulations allow for “reusing your dossier”, or parts of it at least, for a second adoption started shortly after the first.  I will admit that even while we were in China falling in love with our precious new son, I was looking at waiting children on our agency’s website.

My heart was for another child with Down syndrome, which just hadn’t turned out to be the scary special need it had once seemed AT ALL.  In fact, it was quickly apparent that Lewis’s extra chromosome, rather than leaving him deficient in any way, had actually made him a little bit extra awesome.

Our agency had pages of beautiful babies with Ds – oh, how they tugged at my heart strings!  But they were all babies.  Not one over the age of four or five.  Knowing that older children can be much harder to find families for, and having seen first hand what a blessing they are, that was where my heart drew me.

After we were home, I was mentioning to Kelly that we were interested in adopting another little boy with Ds, perhaps an older one, maybe 9 or 10.  She could hardly contain herself!  “That’s Didi!”

She sent us his file, and we knew immediately that if we were going to reuse our dossier, this was the one.

We began asking our agency about reusing our dossier.  They were open to the idea at first, but then Verity made her presence known.

We went back and forth for about two months, but in the end, despite having let us adopt while pregnant twice before, they said we would have to wait until after baby to begin our process, and waiting would make it too late for a “reuse”.

That could have been the end of it.  I thought it probably would be.  But meanwhile, the agency who had a partnership with Teddy’s orphanage had reached out to let us know that they would love to work with us.

When one door closed, another appeared.  Let’s push it, Trevor suggested, and see if it opens.

And open, it did.

So, with a new agency and a new home study social worker, we set out on a completely new adoption, not a “reuse” after all.  Because once we knew this boy was ours, we just couldn’t walk away.

Here we are, one year later, days away from receiving this precious little man into our family.

Thanks to Kelly’s ongoing connections with the orphanage director as well as a missionary couple that work nearby, we have been able to have regular updates and new photos of our boy throughout the process.  We were even able to “send him” a birthday cake last summer!

And so it is that we have a backstage pass to his journey to meet us.  Today he is on his way to the city where he will meet Trevor and the kids, just as they are on their way to meet him.  I can only imagine what he is feeling.  I don’t know how much he understands of what is about to take place, but please pray for his heart, that he would feel safe and loved right from the beginning.

How It All Began (Again): Part 2

(If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.)

We didn’t make any decisions on the night of my little epiphany.  In fact, I think we left it a little while before we even talked about it much again.

Another longer and farther afield camping trip in September afforded us more time to ponder and discuss the situation, only this time, we both knew the Who of it.  It was just the When and the If that were left open for discussion.

On the long drive home, just as we were nearing a decision to jump back in with both feet, I hesitated.  I think I just wanted to make sure we weren’t running ahead of the Lord.  I wanted some confirmation.

“What if,” I suggested, “we wait until Christmas?  Pray about it.  See what happens?”

“Ooh, very sensible idea.  Yes, we should do that,” Trevor agreed.  And that was that, or so I thought.

The very. next. day, after church, we sat down to eat lunch together as a family, and Trevor announced, “I was thinking in church this morning…”

All eyes were on him.  We watched and waited.  And waited some more.

Until finally Pippa blurted out, “…that we should adopt [that little boy you guys have been talking about all the time]?!  Right now?!?”

“No, Pip,”  I chided.  “Let Daddy talk.  That‘s not what he was going to say.   What were you going to say, Daddy?”

“Actually, yes.  That.”

There was cheering all around.  The kids were all thrilled, but in the back of my mind I remembered Bea’s request.   “Bea,” I asked. “He’s a few months older than you.  Is that okay?”

“I don’t care,” she beamed.  “I love him!”

IMG_7758

(Random Valentine’s Day photo. Because Bea <3 )

I asked Trevor what our pastor could possibly have said that morning to cause him to toss the wait-till-Christmas plan out the window with such reckless abandon.  He couldn’t remember.  (So Peter, if you have your notes from September 28th handy, I’m super curious what you said.  I was in teaching in toddler nursery and came home to a changed man!)

And that, folks, is how decisions are made in the Young household.  I had all the confirmation I needed, and we emailed our wonderful social worker that very night.

It took about two months for the agency that had his file to officially transfer it so that we could continue to work with the agency and social worker we know and love.  The fact that they shared his file with our agency so willingly was another confirmation.  Not all agencies are willing to do that, and we are so very thankful they did.

We began our home study near the end of November, and we are just a piece of paper or two shy of finished it now.  We held our breath waiting for our pre-approval (PA) from his country, as we knew we were below the income requirement for a family our size and would need a waiver for that.  Thankfully, they have pre-approved us, so we are all systems go so far!

Please pray with us for continued green lights and a swift paper chase.  We all miss this little guy already.

How It All Began (Again): Part 1

In April, I apparently told my mother-in-law quite convincingly that we would never adopt again.  (She reminded me of this when I told her that we are, indeed, adopting again.)  At the time I meant it.  Delia was hard work when she first came home.  In April I was just beginning to breathe again after some of the longest, hardest months of my life, and I liked breathing.

But once you have adopted a child with special needs, you never really stop looking at the faces.  We had entered a world where adoption and children who need families were all around us, in blogs, on Facebook, among friends who had also adopted.  It just isn’t possible to unsee it all.

When I saw his face, it wasn’t an all-at-once thunderbolt kind of moment, but he did become a favorite little one to check in on from time to time, hoping to find he had found a family.  Gradually the kids began to know him by name.  His was one of the only little faces that had managed to get a thoughtful little “he is pretty sweet” out of Trevor.  (You must understand he has endured a lot of “Aww, loooook!”) We began praying for him, along with a few other special faces that had captured our attention.

On our camping trip in August, we had a few good hours of car time to reflect on life and take stock of things.  Delia was doing so much better.  Life felt doable again.  Praise the Lord.

Then I asked a simple question (see this post for how history repeats itself).

Me: Do you think we’ll ever adopt again?

Trevor: Probably.

Me: Really?  Like, later when the kids are older, or, like, soon?

Trevor: I don’t know.  Soon, I guess.  It’s been really good for our family.

Me:  Huh.

We’ve been married almost 15 years, and he is still full of surprises.

After that camping trip, looking at waiting children’s faces felt different.  I was excited about getting to pick this time, since Delia had picked us.  My wheels started turning about what special needs we might be open to, which country’s program would be the best fit, how nice it would be to adopt a younger child this time (Bea, who has been twice displaced in birth order by her adopted siblings, especially requested a younger brother).

Then late one night while Trevor was at work, probably later than I ought to have been staying up, I had a little conversation in my mind.  Was it God I was talking to?  I guess I won’t know this side of Heaven, but I don’t usually have conversations in my head, and it surprised me enough that I called Trevor at work afterwards so he could help me make sense of it.

I had been chatting with a friend online who had adopted from China, and looking at waiting children, and suddenly, here was my thunderbolt moment.

You already know which one.

And I did.

But, I reasoned, wouldn’t it be better to wait at least until after the school year was over before taking on all that adoption paperwork again?

Then the other half of my brain (or God?) reminded me that I wouldn’t be giving the dog a flea bath every single night forever (it felt like forever!), and that would free up plenty of time in the evenings to work on paperwork.

And so I called Trevor.  “What does this mean?!”  I asked him.  “I don’t know,” he said in his usual matter-of-fact voice, “probably that we’re going to adopt him.”

To be continued…

 

 

Bragging on the Boy

 

Somehow it feels more socially acceptable to brag about our adopted kiddos than our bio girls (not that I don’t do plenty of that, too.  I just feel guiltier about it.)  I can’t take any of the credit for their nature and only a fraction of the credit for their nurture, so it’s not really bragging, just noting awesomeness when I see it.

Now that I have my disclaimer out of the way, would you just look at how amazing my boy is?!  Clubber of the month for December means he memorized more verses that month that any other boy in their AWANA club!

IMG_7570

Three of our girls have also received this award over the years, and of course, it is always an honor, but the boy…  Oh, how hard he worked for this!

When he first started AWANA, he was six months home, had just had major craniofacial surgery, and was still wearing his halo, which kept him from participating in most of the gym-time games.  To add insult to injury, because English was still so new to him (and Bible verses being Bible verses were full of big new words), he went weeks and weeks without being able to successfully say a single verse.  John 3 :16, the verse every good Christian knows by heart before he is potty-trained, took him months to learn.  After a few weeks of discouragement while Bea, who is in the same grade and was working through the same book, raced ahead of him, I had a chat with one of his leaders.  They agreed to be a little more flexible and give him a bit more help, under the circumstances.

He muddled through like that for a while, making his very best effort but still not quite managing to learn the verses quite the same way the other kids did, and there was plenty of grace for him.  He has loved AWANA all along.

But this year, something clicked.  Maybe he just finally saw his chance to overtake his long-time competitor (Bea), or maybe the words just finally started becoming words to him instead of just collections of letters.  (And maybe it helped, just a teensy bit, that we don’t hang out at my mom’s house all day on Wednesdays before AWANA anymore now that she has switched her day off.)  Whatever it was, our little man has been working his tail off to learn his verses, and it has paid off.  I am so proud of him I don’t know what to do with myself.

One of his leaders came to me the night he received the award, with tears in her eyes, to tell me the story of his “acceptance speech”.  They had asked him if he knew what it meant to get “Clubber of the Month”, and he replied confidently,

“You have to say a LOT of verses.  And believe them!”

Lord, may it be so.

A Day for Thankfulness

What a blessed week I’ve had to top off a month of Thanksgiving!

On Monday my sister took me to get my hair done as a belated birthday gift from her and my mom.  The afternoon with her and a quick stop for lunch and coffee before our appointment would have been more than enough, but Oh, was it ever lovely to be pampered a bit.  And of course, in order for any of this to happen, my wonderful husband had have the eight all to himself for the afternoon, so he gets a whole bunch of awesome points, too.

IMG_6913

Of course we see God’s provision in all sorts of ways every single day of our lives, but on Tuesday, we got to see Him provide for our needs in a particularly cool way.  Last week at the kids’ AWANA club one of the leaders had heard through the grapevine (okay, let’s just call it what it is: Facebook) that we were in need of an oven.  In fact, we had been without one for about a month and managing surprisingly well with various combinations of broiler, microwave, stovetop and crockpot cooking, but it wasn’t a great longterm solution.  “Our youth pastor buys and sells ovens on Craigslist,” she told me.  Maybe he can help you.  About five minutes later, she reappeared with Pastor Sean.

“I hear you need an oven, ” he said.

“I hear you… trade in ovens, ” I replied.  (Is this even a thing that people do?!)

He took my details and less than a week later called to tell me he had an oven for us for $100, installed, and he’d take our old one away, too!  About an hour later, the Oven Fairy himself arrived at our home.  As a bonus, the kids were delighted that Pastor Sean came to our house.  And oh, did we ever make cookies that day!

IMG_6916  

On Wednesday we got to have a pre-Thanksgiving feast with some out-of-state relatives at my dad’s house.  I completely flaked out on taking pictures of the kids with their long lost second cousins, but it was such a joy to see them, albeit too briefly.

IMG_6965

Today was Thanksgiving proper, and I am feeling properly thankful for the day we had.  We stopped to visit my best friend Mary’s family just after lunch, as is our Thanksgiving tradition.  The kids had a great time playing with their honorary cousins there (Again, no pictures.  What is wrong with me?!) while I got to catch up a bit with the grown-ups.

Then we finally landed at my mom’s house for this bountiful feast:

IMG_6985  

It wasn’t a huge affair, just us and my mom and grandmom, but I love watching the kids make these simple, enduring memories.

IMG_6986 IMG_6991 IMG_6999 IMG_7001 IMG_7002

Trevor had to work tonight, but he did get to stop by for an hour and a half just in time for turkey and my sister’s fantabulous apple cupcakes before heading to work. It made everyone’s night to have Daddy there for a little while, even if most of the kids were totally absorbed in the Squanto movie for most of the time he was there.  (We can count that as school, right?  Just kidding.  Mostly.)

I’ve enjoyed a month of paying a bit of extra attention to counting my blessings (beyond the usual blessing-counting that happens frequently whenever we go out in public!) and I’m looking forward, with the kids, to getting out our box of Christmas stuff in the next week or so and shifting our focus to the ultimate object of our thankfulness.

As the kids were chattering away about Christmas in the van yesterday, I heard Coraline’s little voice ask, “But what do we do on Christmas?”  I held my breath for a moment before answering to see if one of the other kids would chime in first.  I guessed they would probably remind her that we go to church on Christmas eve.  That we have a tree and get presents on Christmas day.  That we go to grandmom’s for brunch and get more presents.  That we go to Pop-pop and Debedee’s house for even more presents at some point…  All of that would have been true and fine, and was probably just the sort of answer she would have been looking for.

Instead, without hesitation, Bea answered her, “Coraline, Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus being born!”  And last but not least, I am thankful today for that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

IMG_6953

Dedication

 Sunday was a special day for our two newest girls: their dedication day.  Over the course of our seven years at our church, we have added six children to our family, four of those in the last three years!  With each step we’ve taken in that journey, our church family has become even more precious to us in their love and support for our family.  While some have no doubt wondered if we’ve lost our minds as our family has grown, our church has unwaveringly supported us and lavished us with love and prayers and friendship (not to mention food and gifts!)  And so these dedication days become more special each time, knowing that as our church prays for our children and for us as parents, they really mean it.  They pray for us and support our family not just on these special days, but all the time in a million different ways.  And we are so thankful.

IMG_4449IMG_4452 

We are also thankful to be surrounded by friends and family who cheer us on and celebrate these red letter days with us.  We don’t take a single one of you for granted!

 

IMG_4457 

IMG_4440

IMG_4489

This happy dedicat-ee shows off her Bulgarian national costume dress.

IMG_4477

Annis in the official baby dedication dress that all of her big sisters (save one!) have worn.

So Much To Be Thankful For

I always love the idea of blogging about thankfulness every day in November.  It never seems to get past that idea stage, though.  It would be an absolute piece of cake to find thirty things I am thankful for; the challenge would be choosing which thirty!  In any case, here a few of the biggies.

 I am so thankful for each one of these precious little ones.016 

And these two as well:

019 IMG_0899

And for an extended family full of people who love us and all of our crazy!

Why yes, that is my baby sitting on the counter!

Why yes, that is my baby sitting on the counter!

Training with Aunt Paigie for the family business :)

Training with Aunt Paigie for the family business 🙂

027

Grandmom and her Tardis-like arm chair 🙂 (And yes, the boy is wearing pink PJs.  It was one of those nights when getting kids in PJs before leaving grandmom’s house trumped the desire for gender appropriate clothing. )

Pippa and Pop-pop (fake glasses compliments of Paige).

Pippa and Pop-pop (fake glasses compliments of Paige).

Trevor had to work tonight, which was kind of a bummer, but the kids were quick to remind me to be thankful that Daddy has his job, “so that he can make money for us!”  And we are!  And so thankful for him in general.  Life is so much sweeter when he’s home with us.

And above all, I am thankful for this:

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…

(Ephesians 1:5-7, ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving!