November Randoms

November picture dump, coming up. It may have been November but we had some wonderful warm weather park days. Sleeping.  With her glasses.  Of course. I thought I had some crazy hair days. Family movie night with Chinese food and Kung Fu Panda.  Yep.  Yep.  (Okay, I also had the dining room table covered in schoolwork) Emmie was getting ready for her television debut for promoting the NF Walk.  It happened so fast, I didn’t get to grab a picture with the anchor.  It was a great opportunity and we are so grateful for all of our news agencies who shared about the event. A Knight and Warrior Princess!   After the NF Walk, we headed home for a break and then off to Cracker Barrel to celebrate my birthday.  The kids were quite the talk with all the face paint.

One member of our church family is a truck driver.  Mr. J came over last time he was in town and brought the kids special gifts from all over the west coast.  Needless to say, he was a hit that night!  Thanks Mr. J for hanging out with us and loving on our kiddos.

October 2016 Randoms

Our picture life in October was fairly low key. We were focused on getting our school up and going, planning for an NF Walk and just enjoying being a family of eleven. Have you ever seen the Keva Planks?  We saw something similar at a homeschool convention, loved it, and found these planks.  We have had them for several years and they go in cycles of wanting to get them down and build everything.  Silas had a blast with them on this cycle.
Nothing like selfies with daddy. When you reach a certain age of dishwashing, there is a rite of passage that goes down in our house.  We call it the “YouDid” secret.  Because of privacy policies, I can not disclose what the rite of passage involves.  I can say that it involves a story of how a simple pot cleaner became known as YouDid.  The rest is on a need to know basis. Emmie sat in a lawn chair in the driveway at our street party.  She leaned forward.  Her head met the pavement. This bruise made me sick to look at, but we were so blessed that she just had a nice little toddler bump. Silas loves catching lizards.  Thankfully, our property is covered in them! This is what we did…go to a trampoline park (this was not our first trip).  Mark had to leave early for work.  As our hour was up, we started heading out.  I was busy making sure people had shoes on and buddy hands and all of their stuff.  By the time we got to the parking lot, Zoe let out a giant scream.  She was going for a split on her last jump and her foot caught underneath her.  Leg moved.  Foot didn’t.  After x-rays and a week of rest, she was as good as new.  Once again, she managed to avoid a break.  But it was a high ankle sprain.

Zoe let me do her hair!  I have to document when these things happen.

Sometimes cuddling on the bed reading, is just what the doctor ordered.

What we do

for free doughnuts… On October 31st, Krispy Kreme gives a free doughnut to anyone dressed in costume.  The kids were game and went to work the day before to find things around their house for their costumes.  We have Anna (the mama), Alice in Wonderland, Spiderman and a slew of characters from The Wingfeather Saga book series.

I know these guys are probably not familiar to many people, but to us, well they represent hours of audio books in the van.  Since we tend to accrue audible credits, we splurged on a four book series called The Wingfeather Saga written by one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters, Andrew Peterson.  The kids hung on every word they heard (and Christmas brought the actual books which have been slowly making their rounds among our readers).  The fun part of this picture is that we shared it with Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Facebook page.  He, in turn, shared it with his personal performance page and on the Wingfeather Saga blog.  My kids had their 15 minutes of fame.  Yes, the doughnuts and this bit of fame definitely made their day.


A bit last minute last year, but we managed to squeeze in some pumpkin decoration before October ended. While Mark worked on our chosen designs to carve, the kids got to work painting baby pumpkins.
While he continued to work, they started rolling down the hill. I mustache you if this was a cute pumpkin!

We worked on a pumpkin with a message.  The design in the back worked but I didn’t print out the words with enough gaps.  So, we had to write out the words instead of carve them.

Zoo Trip

We absolutely love taking trips to the zoo.  And that means I love sharing pictures of our adventures at the zoo.

Feeding some super excited lorakeets.
Touch a snake.  I love petting snakes!  At least a couple of the kids were willing to pet too. Sky high kids.
Saying hello to da birds. Trying to catch a glimpse of sea lions.


August Randoms

Ya’ll, I might actually be caught up before 2018 hits…okay, don’t hold your breath.  Here’s the end of August…and our randoms.

Emmie got “Pwincess” pjs from Ge…and we just had to show them off.  A.dor.a.ble

Ice cream at Bruster’s is better if you’re in your swimsuit.  Just saying.  Don’t forget the pink bow. Having a crown is just as good. Mr. H goes to church with us and has notarized untold numbers of adoption documents and been rewarded a couple of times with supper on us.  Then there was that one day he had enough notarizing like a normal person and decided to do it in style.  With a box on his head. Smudge sensed something was up.  Again.  And did everything in his power to keep us from packing for our Ukraine/Grandparent trip.  He was not happy with any of us. Cute contemplative cookie eating. Girls in rollers…it’s a rite of passage in our house.

Just because Zoe is pretty and can do some pretty amazing things with her hair. Princess Emmie surrounded by lots of knights…traipsing through the fields. We enjoyed a subscription to Genius Box for the summer (and then three months after because I forgot to cancel it.).  Okay, we have four boxes sitting in our school area because I forgot to use them up but they will get used when we are at home with nothing to do.  Stop laughing ya’ll. Malachi’s first grown fruit…watermelon.  It was left too long on the ground and split.  But at least it was something. We got home from Josiah’s hospital stay and I walked in to the girls’ room and realized that one of the cats had used the bathroom in it.  Which resulted in me cleaning out the entire room and cleaning all the carpets upstairs.  Which resulted in rearranging the room.  Which resulted in the discovery that Emmie’s crib (bought used) was starting to tear up).  Which resulted in Emmie getting to sleep like a big girl…on the mattress…on the floor.  Which resulted in Zoe, Ceili Rain and I brainstorming how we could re-decorate their room.  Which we did this past December…and are still doing…so you have to wait on pictures of that. The night after we got home from the hospital.  Josiah wanted to crash on the couch.  So, we did. Zoe celebrated Urkainian Independence day in her traditional shirt and with a traditional hairstyle. My kids are awesome. And Emmie has shades…Her right eye (which is effected by Horner Syndrome from her first surgery) is very sensitive to light.  She finally agreed that wearing glasses was a good idea. This is pretty much how she spent her August.  At the water table, in a diaper.   Smudge is eating her toe??? We trapped a Emmie. And a Bryant. And an Emmie and a Bryant together. “Small but Mighty”  Yes, indeed.

The big news in our ‘hood in August was that Kroger opened up a marketplace with a Starbucks.  Um, yes.  Grand opening meant a cow was there to pet (some kind of creamery or something). Anyway, my kids enjoyed getting up close and personal with the bovine species.  It takes very little to entertain my city kids…okay, me too

Just Waiting

After Silas’s court date, we were blessed beyond belief when he was allowed to stay with us during our waiting period.  I stayed in country until that Friday and Mark stayed the rest of the time until Silas could come home.  Hopefully, eventually, Mark can blog about his time in Ukraine.  We were thrilled that they got to be there to celebrate their Independence day and that Papa was able to fly over to spend some time with them and seeing Ukraine!

For now, here are some photos from our adventures while I was there. We found a great park in Bila Tserkva with a fun ropes course. Just because he was standing there all handsome. There was a park near our apartment too.  Plenty of space for soccer and basketball… And climbing!

Cotton candy in Europe is a bit different than the US.  It was straight up just sugar.  No flavors, no artificial dyes etc.  Not our favorite but still edible.

My cooking went up a notch thanks to Google translate making sure I grabbed the right seasoning packets.

The sign in our elevator let’s us know not to use the bathroom in there.  Just an FYI.

Silas insisted we grab these tiger hot dogs.  Mark said they were terrible and only after he cooked them did he realize the stripes needed to be peeled off.

When I made it to the airport for my journey home, these beautiful art pieces were on display.  A photographer had taken classic art and re-shot them with Ukrainian scenes.  So much patriotism and pride for the country could be seen in each photograph.

July Randoms

I will catch up in January!  I will!

Malachi preparing a wonderful dish for everyone. Sometimes two bows are better than one. Cuddles from Emmie mean so much more these days. When you have your hands full of milk but Hop Hop needs to hang out with you too. I walked in to the girls room and discovered this.  The army men have been defeated by the princesses.  Poor guys. Before Mark and I set out out on our travels, Tracy and I squeezed in some friend time.  We went fancy and opted for dessert at Cracker Barrel.  It was totally worth it too. Smudge is ready for school to start back. Reading. Seriously  ya’ll…cuddles with this girl are amazing.  We have eight months of cuddles to make up for. The kids’ pediatrician has chalkboards…this and books make my kids happy. Emmie praying.  The cuteness…ahhh We were able to dog-sit for a friend and the kids loved it to no end.  She is a very fun, very hyper yorkie mix and Sunny, our 14 year old, turned in to a giant puppy when she arrived.  They had a blast together.  But, when it was nap time, the puppy eagerly found a person to cuddle with.

And one more cuddle picture to end our July pics.

Ace’s 12th

In July, we celebrated Ace’s birthday in style as usual.  He is definitely a lot like his daddy but has his own personality.  I can’t believe that next year we’ll have two teenagers!  

Uncle and Aunt B always give cool presents.  These socks were right up Ace’s alley.