Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


We have been busy with early spring cleaning around our house. When we moved here, we went from 2700 sq. ft. to 2000 sq. ft., then we added 2 new kids and sent one off one her own. We also store a lot of stuff for my in-laws who are missionaries and David's grandmother and now all Danielle's stuff that she can not take to her apartment. What this means is that I am constantly having to weed out things so we are not tripping over "stuff". So the ping-pong table is getting filled up with things to get rid of one way or another!
So far I have:
Taken 1 trip to the Salvation Army
Sold my first thing on EBay
Posted 4 more things on EBay
Posted my first lot of books on Craig's List
Donated about 5 bags of stuff to a friends adoption fund raiser garage sale
Filled about 4 boxes of books that need to be dealt with
As you can see we have been busy and still lots more to go. David will be out of town all week, so I will have some extra time to work on it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Adoption Tax Credit

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this. This credit is taken off taxes paid only. An adoptive family may receive credit for fees paid for the adoption of their child. Presently international adoption runs between 25,000 and 35,000. So you can see the tax credit is very helpful for those who have a tax liability.

This year the 2009 Federal Adoption Tax credit is $12,150 but the tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it.
Write your representative today!
Write your senator today!

Rose pruning

Wednesday is usually our running around day. Hannah has speech therapy so it is a good excuse to get some other things done. Today we went to two banks (one tax return is in Yeah!), speech, the grocery outlet and the library. We found some good deal on Power Bars, yogurt, tea and Asian pears. Hannah and Caleb got to go to story time at the library. I had some time to browse the library ALONE!
When we got home we pruned rose bushes! This picture is Grandma Mae in our garden last year. I love pruning, it always reminds me that warmer weather is just around the corner.
Hannah asked me while we were working in the yard, "Why do we always have to work?"
Well I did not think we ALWAYS worked, so I said, "We work to take care of things and make things pretty!"
I think it was the "pretty" word that convinced her that this work stuff was OK.
Thank you Lord for all the beautiful things you put in your world for our enjoyment and for us to take care of.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Erinn took Hannah shopping on her birthday with some of her birthday money in her new doggy purse.
Before they left Hannah put on her brown jacket (like Erinn) and her new sparkly shirt. When she came down she said she needed some new flip flops, I am thinking it is too cold and all the sandals are hidden in the attic, so what is she talking about. Erinn pointed out to me that she was wearing sandals, so Hannah wanted some too. We did find some for her, so she would match her sister.
Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery!!

When they got back Hannah had her purse on one arm and was proudly displaying her first all by herself purchase. She was so excited! What a birthday present, teaching her how to dress and shop all in the same day!!!

Party Pictures

Hannah invited her friend Rachel and her family over for lunch for her birthday! She was not sure about having boys at her party, but finally decided Caleb needed someone to play with too!! Gracious of her don't you think!

She really got into the whole birthday thing this year and wanted these pink cupcake, but would not eat them. She preferred chocolate, a girl after my own heart!!

She really liked her fairy doll and even had to get grandma's dress out that matched. Will have to get a picture of that later.

Then of course Gabrielle, Rachel and Hannah had to play with the fluffy dance dresses. Look at them swirl!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy 6th Hannah!

Happy 6th Birthday Hannah Charlesetta!!
One of our first pictures of Hannah in July 2005, Liberia, 2 1/2 years old.

Our first meeting at the airport!

Hannah's first American Birthday at 3.

Doing all her babies hair with lots of pretties too!

Hannah on her 4th birthday.

Beautiful eyes and wonderful smile!
Hannah and Liberty watching a movie together!
May God richly bless you Hannah! May you choose to serve Him with all your heart! May your life be a light that shines so others may know the love of Christ!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Adoption Issues Part 2

This week at our adoptive parents gathering we used the book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" to jump start discussion on birth parents. Chapter 8 discusses how adoptive children think about their birth parents often, and chapter 9 says that they want us to open discussion about their birth parents. I like that this book comes from an older adoptee's perspective. I have lots of discussion with parents in the same place as I am, but I want to be prepare Caleb and Hannah for the emotions and loss that will grow and change as they do.

As parents of older adoptees, it is not hard to start discussion of birth parents. Caleb has many memories of both his parents, though his father died when he was three. He enjoys talking of Mama Deedee and happily shares his memories with his sister. Hannah seems to have no memory other than what Caleb shares.

We have watched Caleb's memories and discussions of his family and all things Liberian, go from the fearful to the every day. What I mean by that is when he first came home he shared basic facts, then as he started trusting he began sharing the horrible things he witnessed and seemed sort of stuck on those memories. Now 3 years later he is relating normal everyday things, like watching his mother cook or walking to the market. I think he has gone beyond the fear of war and hunger, to feeling safe!

So as we discussed whom to send Valentines to, we spoke of our love for Mama Deedee. We include her in our prayer times. We talk of what she might be doing today, a normal day. We discuss whom they may look like. But most importantly we discuss her love for them.

I pray that we may have the wisdom to lead our children as they grow to love and understand the hard choice she made, that they will hold no bitterness.

And we pray for Mama Deedee, for her safety and that she may be drawn to the knowledge of her Savior.

And we pray that our family, both here and in Liberia, may be bonded together.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Creativity!?!

Here is another example of Caleb's "creative math". As you can see there is some borrowing and some carrying both going on here. He got to work on those ab muscles for not looking at the addition sign! Actually, I think it is coming together for him, he is just getting a little mixed up on the processes.

Hannah is working on matching letters on the Leap Frog game. She is getting the sounds, so we are using lots of resources to reinforce the letter sounds. I love all the fun games that she enjoys so much she does not even realize she is learning.
It was funny when the game asked her to name something that starts with "n" and she said, "spaghetti", well don't you have "naghetti" once in a while?!?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I came out to check on Caleb's school to find this!! He said, with the most serious looking face, "This is really helping Mom! Hannah is helping me look up all my words in the dictionary!"

Now I know I am a good teacher (LOL), but the idea of Hannah "helping" to look up words when she does not yet even know all her letters seemed to moving a little fast!!

Well he got all 10 words looked up and written down in less than 15 minutes! And look how strong he is after all those push ups and sit ups of the last few weeks!!

As I have said before, I will take learning in whatever form it comes. Even with your sister on your back, literally!

Birthday Pictures

Here are the pictures of Drew's birthday crowd. A combination of the cross country team and friends from church. A good group of kids hanging out playing Wii, Guitar Hero, Ping-Pong, Foosball and watching movies.
Happy Birthday Drew!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy 17th Drew!!

Happy 17th Birthday Drew!!!!
My once a year chance to show off the cute pictures of Drew!
At 10 months old Drew was as cute as a button! Notice the "Air Jordan" shoes. Being born in the midst of Micheal Jordan mania, it was to be expected. The destructive hurricane "Andrew" also hit the US the same year!!Drew and David at Stephen's wedding at about 3 years old. Notice the missing front tooth. That is what happens when you use the back of the couch as a balance beam!
Drew our little hunter at the earliest years. Here he is practicing bow shooting at 4 years old, while dressed in his ever present Davy Crockett hat and bandanna!
At 8 we are growing into a fine young man. Here showing off one of the many "Lego" creations.
I have always loved this picture of my "men"! They were quite the study cleaning their fish catch of the day!!!
Drew at the top of Mt. Theilson (about 8,000 feet) at about 11 years old.
Drew the football player in 6th and 7th grade. He played linebacker for the Indians one year the Mustangs another year. Then it was all running!
7th Grade science project. This bridge was supposed to break after just a little weight. Ha Ha! You should have seen all the 41 pounds it held!!Drew, Erinn and Danielle Christmas of 2006.

Drew para sailing in Mexico in 2007!

Eating escargot on the Mexico cruise in 2007!

Drew racing cross country his junior year!

Drew as State Cross Country Champion 2008!

Happy Birthday son! We are very happy to see the man you are becoming and look forward to what the Lord holds for you in the future!

"Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice." Proverbs 23: 22, 24-25

Grandparents and Presents

Hannah and Drew got to open a few birthday presents early yesterday, when Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit.

Hannah was delighted with all the girly things she got, especially the doggy purse!! And she was very happy with the new clothes and this morning had her whole new outfit but together!

Drew is modeling his new shirt from Danielle. He will be having his big party today.

Thank you Lord for these children you have blessed us with the pleasure of raising!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!!
Erinn received this beautiful bouquet of rose buds from Mike! She was all smiles and so encouraged after an extremely hard day at the books.
I did not get flowers, but the most beautiful card with some amazing words of encouragement from David. By the way, my love language is words of encouragement and he knows it. It is nice to hear that he appreciates the small daily sacrifices I make for the family.
I also received some beautiful homemade cards from the little ones.
Thank you Lord for the love that flows through our home!
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4: 7-8

Family Time!!

So for our family recently, getting us all down to the table at the same time has not been easy. Here we are all grabbing a quick bite together before the guys head out to a basketball game and Erinn to her girls night.

Notice David's hat in the house. That is my effort to reduce our heating bill!

Drew threatened to do damage to my blog if I posted unkind pictures of him. Here his mouth is open, but then again it usually is!!

Here we are all practicing ballet with Hannah. She is checking to make sure Dad is doing it right.

Caleb is risking an enormous amount of teasing from his big brother for being caught in this picture.

But to tell the truth, Drew was here with us too,but Erinn was not fast enough with the camera to get him!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Couple Busy Days

I spent yesterday trying to get the garage cleaned out so I could set up a place for my scrap booking. In the process I decided I need to deal with all those round dance dresses and petticoats. Here are the 30 dresses I will try to post on eBay. There are also about 12 petticoats and a few men's shirts.
I did decide to leave all the records for later as people really are not looking at collectibles in this economy.
I came up with a good pile to bring to my friends garage sale, they are trying to raise the last of the funds needed to finish their second adoption.
David and Caleb are spending the afternoon skiing. Last week Caleb made it all the way to the top of the mountain. We will see how he fares today as their is fresh snow and it is probably snowing now.
Drew finished up his papers and headed out to a friends to "make" shirts for tomorrow's Valentines Day couple race. He and his friend are running as a team and making heart shirts I guess.
Hannah has spent the day helping me haul things all over and trying dresses on.
Erinn is house sitting this weekend and working on a major paper that she is struggling with. Send up a prayer for her that things will come together and she will find the resources she needs.
We are looking forward to a weekend with David home!!! Yeah, his year end reviews are done!!

Ryan is off

Today Danielle's fiance, Ryan, left for his year long deployment in Kosovo with the National Guard. He will be meeting up with his unit in Germany where they have been doing some training, while Ryan has been having surgery and recovering. His unit most likely be the last in Kosovo, as they will be turning things over to the nationals whom they are training.

Join us in praying for all the men and women serving in our armed forces all around the world, and for all the family they leave behind.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Making Valentines

I mentioned the other day about Caleb's creativity. Well it is interesting when we sat to make Valentines cards that he wanted me to tell him how to do every step. We had a talk about there not being a right or a wrong way to make a card to tell some one you love them. Anyways we ended up with cards opening from the back, parts right side up and upside down, words written backwards, and stamps turned in all directions! It is interesting to watch them learn.

Even though they have been here 3 years all the choices put before them were too much. I took a lot of choices away and actually left for a couple of hours and they made much progress.

Hannah was definitely in her element with pink, stickers and shinny things.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Caleb and Drew went to the store together today to get birthday presents for Hannah. Drew purchases his gift first and gets his change. Then Caleb buys his $3 gift and hands the cashier $3 and asks her why doesn't he get any change?
So we worked on this for a while this evening. You would not believe the creative ways he has to problem solve!!! I spend most of my time trying to figure out exactly how he comes up with his answers!!
If we can channel this creativity into something productive I would not be surprised if it could take him far. Now I just need to teach him that math is NOT the place for creativity!!!
And no it is not that nice here. The picture is from this summer, but I liked it and it gives a look at his mischievous side don't you think!!

Blessing at Work

Today David found out he was given the highest yearly rating that his company gives to its employees. Due to some hard issues at the office this year, he was not sure what to expect, so this was a great surprise to him.

We are abundantly thankful to the Lord for His blessings upon us day by day!!

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday." Psalm 37 4-6

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grandma's Soup

Hannah and Caleb enjoyed lunch with Great Grandma Mae today. They love her soup, so she called to ask if she could make lunch just for them. Afterwords she told me she did not think they liked the tapioca pudding and Caleb said he loved it but he ate too much soup to enjoy the pudding!!

I had an hour to grab a few things for the kids for Valentines Day and for dinner tonight. We are looking forward to a sit down dinner, something we have missed for a while with David's long days at the office. Thankfully he was able to finish all his year end reviews on Saturday! Yippee!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Computers

Both Erinn and Danielle purchased new computers this month. Here is Erinn and Hannah showing off the one we picked up this afternoon.
For those of you of my generation or later you will understand why a did a double take when she said she hoped it would be lighter!! Remember those first computers and how huge they were?! Never the less she is very happy to have one that is more reliable and will boot up faster.

Worship Time

This was worship time at our house last night. Seven families, twelve kids 8 and under, two guitars and one djembe.
We made home made pizzas, sang for an hour or so and the guys played lots of ping pong.
Good Christian fellowship is a balm to the spirit.
Thank you Lord.
Here Nate and Dustin are leading on their guitars. Nate was gracious to let Caleb hover and learn as he played the djembe.
When Caleb came home he would dance and loved to drum. But as he saw people watching him he stopped. I was excited to see his interest. He picked it up this afternoon and was showing me what he learned.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sweet Success

Here you see Caleb with a math page that is 100% correct and was done in 25 minutes!!! Remember those 2 hour sessions we were having. After this he opened his speed drills to find his first drill with multiplication 0's, 1's and 2's. He got a little worried. I said, "Do your best!" I wish I could have got the grin on camera when he finished in time and they were all right. He is now happily getting his language and phonics done with some very neat writing. Oh, sweet success and the confidence it brings!!
Here is Hannah with her 9 letters that she has mastered and 2 more vowels that she is close to having. An amazing accomplishment!!