Thursday, December 20, 2012

Look who's ONE!

This precious little one had a birthday recently, so now that she is settling in with us, I thought it was high time we take a few pictures.  She is very photogenic, and so fun to hang out with in the front yard. :)

We often call her Amira, an African name meaning princess, so that is what we will call her here.  We are honored to have her in our care right now, and look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for her life.  She is a little treasure!

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
We love you more every day....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Maze

Have I mentioned that we love Montessori learning?

Lucas and a few of his friends create elaborate games during their lunch recess.  Here, they created a maze that literally filled the whole backyard using the leaves that were falling from the shade trees. 

They kept it up for over a week.  I'm glad I took a picture when I did, as there was a wind and rain storm the next day, and it was gone!  No worries -- they were ready to move on to the next project.  Maybe it will be a lunchtime science club, a habitat for the free-ranging chickens, or an olympic team.  The sky's the limit!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hope and Life

One night, after babysitting Isaac (our little friend who lives with us), our new friend Nicole spent over an hour sharing the gospel with our girls using a special story book created for this purpose -- The Way of the Master for Kids.  I don't know anything about these materials in general, but this book explained God's Word, and the Hope we have in Him, beautifully!  I hope I never forget this hour of sweet conversation they had. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Lucas, Nichole, and Keandre recently completed a 6-week Taekwon-Do trial after a friend invited us to give it a try.  We had a wonderful experience!  The focus on Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit blended wonderfully with the spiritual and life skills we work to teach our children on a daily basis. 

Here, Keandre is studying for his test.

Over the course of the classes, their confidence grew and grew!

Keandre runs over for a quick snuggle after his group's testing.

We hope to be able to sign up for additional classes sometime soon.  The middle three kiddos loved their experience there, and the littlest girls enjoyed watching.  In the future, Jasmin even hopes to participate!  Now, to save up, or apply for a scholarship. :)

(Did I mention they started saying 'Yes sir' and 'Yes ma'am' in response to our instructions to help set the table, get homework done, etc.?  Ahhhhh..... I could get used to that. ;)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Christmas Surprise

There's a new little sweetie in our home.

She stole our hearts the minute we met her!

We are her emergency foster placement.

It's been 5 days now, and she is settling in nicely. 
Each family member wants to claim her as their own.
Yes, she is that irresistable. :)

Please pray for her family.  They are struggling deeply, and this is an especially challenging time of year to be digging deep and dealing with big losses.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November in Phoenix

Lest we forget our winter blessings when it's July
and 110 degrees in the shade.

(Yes, the kids are barefoot and wearing short-sleeved
t-shirts. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

This year, Andy decided it was high time we start a new Thanksgiving tradition.  On Thanksgiving morning, before heading to Papa and Granny's house for a feast, we loaded up the kids and headed to a nearby mountain to go trail walking.  While hiking, we talked about the many things are are thankful for -- our many blessings given by God.  It was a hit with the whole family!  We'll definitely be keeping up this tradition. 

This was an exciting *first* for Jasmin, who had never been hiking.  Jasmin is 10.5 years old, and she is living with our family for a while.  She and Nichole call each other sister-cousins.

Some people seem to think we have a lot of kids.  We like to think this is normal.  (It is, right?)

Okay, so maybe five is more than some people have.  But we still get to walk alone and hold hands for a few minutes here and there.  So it works.

Today, we were very thankful to live in Phoenix.  The weather is amazing right now!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving at School

The night before the Thanksgiving feast at school, Keandre cried himself to sleep. I may have shed a few tears, too. It's heart-wrenching to watch your friends prepare all week for a special meal, and know you can't participate. Holidays that focus almost exclusively on food are especially hard for those with multiple severe food allergies, or Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease (EGID), or both. 

Surprising Keandre at the school Thanksgiving feast.

When I shared how broken I felt over my little boy's pain, my lovely sister-in-law, Sarah, suggested a creative new way to prepare his safe foods.  That was just the sort of idea this tired Mama needed! (My creativity is a bit shot at the moment....stress will do that to ya! ;)

Andy stepped up to do the creating, and the end result was a fun surprise for Keandre.  He loved it!  I think he really appreciated the effort Daddy put into making his lunch special.
Can you guess what it is? ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Keandre, as he fell asleep in my arms while
fighting a high fever this week:

"Mommy, I love being your treasure."

Be still my heart.

Do you know you are the Lord's treasure?  Oh, how I hope that changes our lives the way our deep and sacrificial (human) love for our children changes their lives.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Under the Weather

Sometimes, even with a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition, you get hit with illness.  It seems like half the people we know have the flu right now!  We've been under the weather this week, too.  It can take a while to get through a household of 8 people.  Fevers, nausea, achy body, coughing fits, we've seen it all.  We're not too bad off, for the most part, just a lot of resting, napping together, and extra TV time.  Andy and I were hit first, so at least we can take care of the others now.

We learned that while under the weather, you might decide to try out a baby bottle for the first time ever - and like it!  Daddy enjoyed the snuggle time.  (Can you believe how long her hair is getting?)

And you might start sleeping in unusual places.

Your big sister, too.

Then one brother....

and another.

There are downed children and comfort items everywhere we look.  Poor sweeties.  It hit little Isaac today, so Anna-Lise is the only one to escape the bug so far.  (We're rooting for you, Anna! :)

Keandre has been sleeping around the clock for 2 days now, but as of tonight, his fever is finally dropping.

These two snuggled up and watched Curious George 2 next to me while I napped.  This is the life, right?  (Ha...Lucas would disagree!)

We haven't had the flu in 3+ years.  At least we got it over with early this season, right?

What do you do to build your family's immunity during the winter sick season? 
(blog post on that soon)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Voted!

 Brooklyn dropped my ballot off for me. 
She loves her Daddy time!

That evening, we invited our neighbor friends, Anna-Lise & Isaac, and my parents to Rubio's for their special Election Day fish taco deal.  Yum!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Baby Bunnies

We decided to let our rabbits breed again, in hopes of ending up with a couple female bunnies we can tame better than the last set.  Since they run free in our backyard, we weren't aware of them having a litter until Andy was working out back and discovered four baby bunnies hopping around on the patio.  The kids are, of course, overjoyed!  We put them in a hutch so we can tame them.  They are getting plenty of love and attention from our kids and the neighbor friends.  Nichole and Leslie are pretty much inseparable lately, and Lucas and Chez are playing a lot, too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School, 2012

Remember the old days, when school started after Labor Day instead of the end of July?  We're still on that schedule.  Since this blog is part family scrapbook, I've included the obligatory 'first day' photo.  Lucas is in 4th grade, Nichole is in 2nd, and Keandre is officially a Kindergartener.  No backpacks or school supplies to purchase for their Montessori school -- they keep it nice and simple. :)

Nichole celebrated her 8th birthday on the first day of school.  The class sang her a special song while she held a globe and walked around the 'sun' (a candle) eight times. 

The kids are excited to be back in school with their friends.  Andy and I are glad they're back in school, too. ;)  Really, though....we are blessed to know our children are together and have caring and motivated teachers. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer Fun

In August, we made a last-minute trip to CA to visit family.  You know the kids are growing up when you arrive more refreshed instead of completely exhausted, and actually enjoy yourself while there. :)

Andy and his parents took the kids to La Jolla for a day
while I enjoyed a little R & R.

Then Andy and I headed back out to La Jolla for a date night, complete with a walk on the beach under a full moon.  Wish we could do that more often!

 A little cousin time and a birthday celebration
rounded out the week.

And we can't forget the caterpillars.  Classic Lucas.

We finished out the week with a trip to see Auntie Elise and cousins Claire and Kyndra on the way home.  We'll definitely be heading back to that river.  Maybe we'll visit Elise and the girls while we're at it. ;)

Summer fun!
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