January 17 Randoms

Plant Therapy is our go-to essential oil company.  I don’t use oils religiously but I love to have them on hand and when I remember, I don’t mind looking up mixtures for things here and there.  I love Plant Therapy’s honesty and transparency and purity of their oils.  Aside from that, I have struggled with where and how to organize them.  Plant Therapy ran a sale on their boxes and I jumped on them.  They are awesome ya’ll!  I had plenty of oil for all of my oils including my synergies

This is what happens when you ask your husband to take a picture of something at the store but you don’t clarify and just text, “Take a picture.”  Communication is essential to marriage ya’ll.  So is a little goofiness. Emmie’s first Chuck E. Cheese trip. Zoe got her braces off in January!  This is her before… …and this is the after. Donuts…a 2 year old’s best friend. Malachi made it all the way to the top of the cube rope climb at the park.  Super proud of our spider man! Winter the Cat, thinks the kids school box (my check box for them to put their work in) is her personal nap area on my desk.

The kids tried their best to beat me at Just Dance Kids.  Ace is close but I blame that on pregnancy.

It Snowed

in January.  For about five minutes.  But you better believe my kids totally got out in it.  I was off at a construction auction.  So, I missed it all…but Mark made sure to get it all on camera. If you look closely, you can see the actual flakes. Some actually stuck (for a few seconds) on the car.

No.  It’s not dandruff.  It’s snow, ya’ll.  Definitely a Southern snow.

Life is Good

Last year was so hard ya’ll.  Yes, we had a ton of good, but surgeries, adoption trips, stresses were all in there.  When we capped it off with losing our twins, Mark and I both knew we needed a trip away.  Mark’s parents graciously agreed to watch the kiddos.  I begged for a relaxing getaway close by.  Mark agreed (he really wanted to do a cruise again but I really wanted to just rest).

We went to my favorite beach on the east coast, Jekyll Island.

 

Of course, a trip to the southern coast is not complete without a pit stop to Pineland.  Ya’ll, they have the absolute best pastries and breads!

Mark reluctantly agreed to my cheesy pose.

The rest of this blog post are pictures of the beach and our happy times!  It wound up raining and tornado warning like crazy on Saturday night and Sunday.  But, it was clear enough for us to go on a 17 mile bike ride around the island.  The thunderstorms meant we had a good deal of time to relax and rest.

Friday we decided to take a walk on the beach before supper.  We wound up walking all the way to where we wanted to eat.  Mark had to chase the birds on the way.
Saturday, we biked.  And biked and biked.  And found treasures like Driftwood Beach

And the marshes…

We found Ace’s store.

And visited the remains of the oldest settlement on Jekyll.

We stopped at our hotel for lunch and snacked at the park right next door.  These little squirrels desperately wanted to join our meal.  While Mark was running to the room, one of the squirrels even jumped on the bench beside me and sniffed at my shoe.

Our much deserved reward for 17 miles of cycling.

In January and February, Jekyll has an island treasure hunt.  They hide glass blown decorative balls all over the island.  We searched for two days but never found one.  However, our search led to another part of the island I had never seen and it was absolutely picture worthy!

If you go to Jekyll, you must cycle to St. Andrews Beach.  It was so peaceful and gorgeous. We met some deer too!

We found a great Tex-Mex restaurant on the island.

A fruitless treasure hunt led to a mad dash for covering when the rain began to pour down…and a great selfie.  One of my favorite pictures of us of all time.

Sunday, we decided to use a movie gift card and head to see Rogue One and then eat at my favorite restaurant on neighboring St. Simon’s Island, Barbara Jean’s.  We crossed the giant bridge to St. Simon’s in a tornado warning and got there just as the storm hit the island.  Five minutes after we ordered, the owner called and told them to shut down (not a big deal since we were one of two sets of customers).  They brought our food out quickly.  We ate as fast as we could so they could close up and then we headed back out in the crazy weather.

Always an adventure!

Happy Birthday, Silas!

Silas’s first birthday here seemed to be everything he wanted. He loved the various celebrations with his grandparents and aunts and uncles. He requested a Ninjago cake. Ya’ll…it’s getting really hard to come up with different Ninjago cakes each time.  Thankfully, I haven’t had a boy ask for another one yet. We did a smash cake because, well, it’s his first birthday with us.  Honestly, we don’t believe he had birthday cakes often before us.  So, why not!

Breakfast request:  Krispy Kreme of course!
Lego for birthday and brothers to assist in the build.

Pie Face from Aunt Yaya!  Of course!

It was such a blessing to celebrate our Silas’s 10th birthday.  Oh, how I wish we could have been there through the other nine.  But God had a plan and we were not to come in until now!  So, we rejoice with the time we have with our newest son.

A Whole Bunch of Characters

While visiting the EC, Papa and Grandmere requested we try to get a whole family picture that Sunday after church.  They drove over for church and pictures and Aunt B lined up a photographer.

The photographer did a wonderful job.  It’s no easy feat getting nineteen kids and six adults lined up for pictures.

Alas, she succeeded!

The nineteen kids in question.  Okay, there were better pictures but this one.  Well, this is their personalities shining through and I couldn’t resist.  Look at Emmie and cousin A!  They were so adorable!

Grandmere and the granddaughters!  They may be small in number but they are mighty in spirit!

Papa and the grandsons!  Numbers and spirit exceedingly great!

We even managed to get a pretty good shot!  I love our little fam.

 

To the Country

Top priority this year was to go see the EC.  That’s short for Mark’s brother and his family.  The kids were blessed to spend time with them while we traveled back and forth to Ukraine and frankly, Mark and I were jealous.  We needed some niece and nephew time and good ol’ visiting with Mark’s brother and wife.

In January, we were off.  We spent three and half days with eighteen children and four adults under one roof.  Oh yes we did.  Our kids were a blast!  And Mark and I got in our much needed visiting time!

A and Emmie had so much fun with the babies. Of course, reading books was a favorite.  Josiah with cousin H. Games were a must.

Mark got a great panorama shot of family worship!

My niece G.  Our nieces are growing into some pretty amazing young ladies! Liam and Uncle B had a good round of Uno.

This year the EC asked for really nice swings for Christmas so they could read outside.  Mark and Uncle B installed them while we visited.  And of course we all had to test them out.

 

The EC have a great piece of property which includes goats, chickens, cows, cats and a dog.  While we were there, Uncle B came home from a vet call with a calf who didn’t look like it was going to make it.  The kids absolutely loved spending time on the farm and feeding the animals.  And, as of last report, we were informed the calf was doing good and thriving.

As you can imagine, leaving the farm is tough.  Really, leaving the cousins is tough.  They made a ton of memories and it’s such a blessing to see cousins that get along…even if they (along with a sibling) leave you stranded at the pond to find your own way home.  I continue to pray that they will all stay close as they grow up.

While we visited, we crashed a birthday party (with permission of the hosts) of some of their friends.  It was a great time meeting new people and watching a bonfire!


I could not have imagined a better visit.  We’re waiting ever so impatiently until we can see them all again!

 

Happy New Year

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know it’s April.  But, at least I’m in 2017 now!

Our New Year was a little low key.  The day before we had a couple of random sickies which canceled our plans to hang out with our church family.  As a result, we were awake, refreshed and alert in church the next day.  Per Ukrainian tradition, the kids received small gifts and then we enjoyed fireworks with neighbors in the evening.

I finally got Clue!  Ya’ll, I have wanted the game Clue since I was a little girl.  This year, I watched the Black Friday sales and grabbed it up.  Mark wrapped it and put it under the tree for me!  Yes.  He did.

The world’s worst photo but we gave it what we could.  Our dear friends from across the street came over and watched Mark put on a show.  We do it early enough so the littles can get rest.  This was special for us because our neighbors moved away at the end of the month.  Still hard knowing that we can’t just skip across the street for a chat.

A Blessing

We found out in February that the Lord has blessed our family with a baby!  We’re continuing to pray that this baby will be a sticky one.  So far, so good.  I had an ultrasound last week and we saw a baby with a strong heartbeat.  Nausea and exhaustion have been my friends for the past several weeks which we are taking as good signs.

I debated on whether to post at all.  We have gone through two miscarriages in the past two years and lost three babies.  Knowing we had a missed miscarriage in 2015 (where we saw the heartbeat and then the baby later passed) in the midst of all of Emmie’s stuff, we chose to keep silent with the babies in November and December until it was “safe.”  It was so very hard mourning in silence.  Especially when it was our two babies.  I still haven’t been able to put into words a memorial like I did with our baby Isaac.

Recently, I’ve read several articles about how we hide miscarriages.  Try not to share pregnancy too early for fear the baby won’t ever be held…I’m not sure why we hide.  Why do we need to mourn in silence?  In the past two years, we’ve have three babies who are gone forever.  But, before they were gone, they were here.  They were a blessing and they were our gifts.

Just like our babies we said good-bye to too soon, this baby, is a blessing.  All babies are.  Something I shared when we found out we were pregnant with Emmie after our hardest miscarriage was this exact fact.

We’re cautiously optimistic with this baby.  Anything can happen.  Experience has taught us that.  But today, we choose to celebrate in our blessing.  In all of the exhaustion and nausea.  This baby is a blessing.  This baby is loved.  This baby is wanted.  Oh is this baby wanted.