Monday, December 1, 2014

Ah, the beauty....

The beauty of God's creation surrounds me....when I look into these precious faces, when we hike a trail through the woods, when I hear the giggles and belly laughs that resonate from "someone being silly" I stand back amazed that this is MY life! I am truly blessed beyond measure.....

One of our many hikes in the great outdoors....

This sweet jewel just had a birthday! She is growing into such a beautiful little lady...

Our son Ryan stationed in Korea with his beautiful girlfriend, Michelle.  Aren't they adorable?!

Our second snow of the season. Enough to make 
snow angels and snowmen. Kids were so happy!

My little baking helpers making cupcakes.

Turkey cupcakes!!

Samuel being his usual silly self. He is so funny and
 loves to make his brothers and sisters laugh.

Nolan showing off his creations.

Connor's turkeys.

Gabriella all smiles.

And back for another year is......Ginger! She is my version of elf on the shelf. I have her doing fun things each morning when the kids wake up. They love it and try to be the first one downstairs to see what she's doing. LOL! She made her appearance this year by parachuting in. :)

Then she was playing the drums....

And this is what they will see tomorrow. :)

Silly fun that I hope makes memories that they will look back fondly on. I love when our whole family gets together and remembers the crazy, silly, fun stuff we've done over the years. I especially love to hear my two biggest boys talking about the fun they had growing up. Warms my heart. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just because....:)

Just because I know y'all are tired of looking at that pic of me and my man and needed some sweet cuteness instead. :) 
My babes enduring me taking some pictures. 
NOT their favorite thing. LOL!

Sweet cuteness indeed!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Quarter of a Century....

Sean and I recently celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary! How extremely grateful I am that God brought this amazing man into my life all those years ago! We surely had no idea the journey God would take us on and what He would teach us through each day, which is probably a good thing. LOL! I could say huge volumes about this man but I will just say this one thing....he is truly my very best friend (next to Jesus!).  

For years we have been saying we would do a big adventure on our 20th - which we did- we flew to Kansas to pick up Samuel and flew home the next day! :) So when my man began talking about getting away for this big one I was hesitant but when he talked about flying out of country I became concerned! Of course the idea of having him all to myself sounded divine BUT having 5 small children, 4 of which have significant special needs, throws quite a wrench in things. LOL! We planned the trip but to be honest, I did call to cancel but my sweet travel agent who knew our story wouldn't let me. :) The night we were to leave, Kyalynn was already displaying serious anxiety which caused me to have serious anxiety(!) but we did it and am I ever glad we did! 
This was the first time Sean and I have been away alone together for more than a day and a half since our honeymoon! How sad is that?! 
We didn't realize how exhausted we were until we hit the hotel and then we just wanted to sleep for the first day. 
We didn't have internet so we weren't able to keep a close tab on things back home which was probably a Godsend as well. Let's just say everyone survived but my sweet mom probably lost a couple years of her life! Sorry mom!!
We were able to sleep all.night.long without interruptions, eat without worrying who was choking or needed food cut, not have a schedule or give medicine or do all the things we do each day to maintain the chaos.  It was GLORIOUS!! :)
we were ready to come home and see our babies. And although somedays I long for that relaxed and no problem place there is no where I'd rather be than right here in my humble abode with my precious gifts!! 

Samuel is getting better but he would scream and cry forever if I left the house to go for a walk. He was so afraid I was going away again. Poor little guy. 
Sean and I keep joking about our next vacation another 25 years! LOL!

What a blessing it was to go.
What a blessing it was to come home.
What a blessing it was to have my parents and oldest son and daughter in law take turns keeping the kids so we could go because they knew how much we needed it. 
And as they say in Jamaica.....
No problem mon! :)

My babies sportin' their dreadlocks....LOL! 
Aren't they ADORABLE?!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Winding Down....

Here on the Mountaintop summer is officially winding down. Already we have leaves changing into  crimson reds and golden yellows. Nights are crisp, days are cool. As we took our walk today there were so many leaves covering the ground it made me a little bit sad to see the warmth and relaxation of summer ebbing away. However, the weather is perfect now for long walks, campfires, and swinging on the porch swing sipping a cup of joe. :) I'm thankful for each and every day, each and every season the Good Lord blesses me with! This has been an incredibly hard 2 years with losing so many wonderful friends and family to the sting of death. So yes, I am trying to appreciate life more, stress less (long way to go on this one!), and love harder.

Recently, our neighbors offered our family free tickets to attend the local theater. How blessed and thrilled we were to see Godspell! It was the first time the little's have been to a theater and they were spellbound. LOL! 

We also snuck in one last day trip to the beach. It makes for an incredibly long day for mom and dad but it's so worth it to see our babes laughing and playing in the surf together. The water was icy but that didn't stop 4 out of the 5. Samuel and daddy didn't venture in but the others went all in and froze! LOL! We also took the kids to the ride section on the boardwalk. First time ever that we left them ride a couple of rides. I think they were more excited about the rides than the beach! :) We started off on the Merry Go Round just to see how everyone would do. Samuel was NOT happy. He and Kyalynn have lots of sensory issues and as much as they wanted to enjoy the rides I think it was just too much for them. Nolan LOVED the rides and could have rode all day. Same with Connor and Gabriella. They are already talking about going next year. :)

Samuel and Nolan love trucks. Especially Monster Trucks!! So when we heard about a local Monster Truck show we knew they would love it. The best part was kids under 12 were free. Score!! :) They actually had a Monster Truck that was equipped with seats in the bed and they gave rides. I begged Sean to let Sam and Nolan do it and of course everyone wanted to do it too but in the end Samuel would not go. So Sean took the rest and they had a blast! The truck actually took them over smashed cars and over a ramp. How cool is that?! So worth the money in my book. :)

We started back to school the beginning of August and things are going good. I'm still tweaking our schedule and plans but honestly, I do that all year long. Just when I get it right school's over! LOL! 

I love living on the Mountaintop as nature surrounds us. We have wild turkeys that mosey across our yard, all kinds of butterflies, insects and bugs. Frogs, toads, crickets, grasshoppers and skinks galore. Just a week ago my husband and Samuel saw a black bear not far from our home just sitting in the woods eyeing them up. We think he was stocking up on the wild huckleberries before he goes off to bed for the winter. :) I tend to keep looking behind me now as we take our walks just to make sure there is no friendly neighborhood bears following along too. :)

Friday, August 29, 2014


 noun \ˈzest\
: lively excitement : a feeling of enjoyment and enthusiasm
: a lively quality that increases enjoyment, excitement, or energy
: small pieces of the skin of a lemon, orange, or lime that are used to flavor food

Yes! That's it. That describes our boy perfectly! He lives his life with enjoyment and enthusiasm and he certainly does increase our enjoyment of life 100 fold!

Samuel Tobias is 4 years old now and I can't even put into words how very, very thankful I am to have been hand-picked by God to be this boys' mom! Just look at that amazing smile! 

My oldest and my youngest..... 

Our Sammy T is a fighter. He isn't going to let labels hold him down. Although he is delayed quite a bit in speech and other areas he IS making progress! 
Praise God! 
He is constantly amazing me with new things he can do!
Riding his bike with training wheels and actually pedaling it. 
Potty training.
Trying very hard to dress himself.
Able to say some words that we understand so he doesn't have to point and grunt. 
Can pick out some letters of the alphabet and numbers.
Knows his name.
Loves to help do chores each day.
So funny....he loves to make others laugh. 
He does this crazy monkey dance that is THE cutest thing EVER! :)
Can pick out parts of the body.
Brings zest to everyone he comes in contact with!!

When we learned about Samuel T. over 4 years ago we were not in a position financially to adopt again. We knew we'd be adopting again but we thought it would be a year or more down the road. Then we heard about this little baby and the odds stacked against him and we prayed God would bring him the perfect family. Never thinking it would be us! How God worked it all out so beautifully and quickly still brings tears to my eyes. Samuel's "theme song" is "Mighty to Save" because God did move all the mountains. Then to make his adoption that much more stellar was the fact that we got to meet and love on his precious birthmom. Oh my heart. One of the BEST days of my life, hands down! 

Samuel loves his siblings. It's good he has a large family to thrive in.
 He loves being in the mix of it all and if you are feeling down he's quick to pat your arm and say his version of a prayer. :) 

He loves cookies and if you can't find him just look in the closet that holds the cookies. I've had to resort to putting the cookies in tupperware so he can't get into them. He's been successful with the crackers though and I can just follow the trail of crumbs to locate him. LOL! 

I thought this was cute, the speech therapist told me this week that when she has him practice a sound and he is having a hard time with it she will go to model it and he will put up his little hand, as if to say "I got this", and then try until he gets it. Now that's what I'm talking about. He is trying so very hard and I couldn't be prouder of him! 

Oh yeah. 
My boy with zest...God has BIG plans for you! 
And you know of those plans was to teach me what strength, determination and zest looks like!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Sunshine....

Nolan Elijah....
oh my, words fail me....
this little guy is a pocketful of joy!
 He exemplifies it! 
I am so, so thankful God chose me to be his momma! 
Truthfully, he helps keep me sane most days. :) 

 There is not a day goes by that isn't filled with his laughter,
 his smile and his exuberant life! Thank you Lord!

He is all about family. He loves, loves, loves his family and loves having  fun with his family.

Nolan is 6 years old. He has this adorable New England accent which we've no clue how he acquired but trust's A.DOR.A.BLE :)
He loves trucks, playing board games and riding his bike. In fact, just recently he has begun ramping his bike and doing mini-wheelies. OYE! Reminds me of his biggest brothers and their crazy, skateboarding tricks. :) 
He is an awesome brother always looking out for Sammy T! He's also been our "resident translator" when we can't figure out what Sam is trying to say. He is kind, compassionate, giving and very athletic. 
However, he also likes to win and can be quite dramatic when he doesn't come in first place. He has quite an engineering mind and is constantly building or coming up with ideas to make the world a better place. :)
He doesn't really like school. Wait, that's not quite right, he likes school but "only the fun parts". LOL! He loves crafts, art, music, writing in his journal, and Bible time but the rest he could gladly do without.  He is very good at math and already an excellent reader but the having to sit still and do it part is the part he doesn't like. :) 
Nolan also loves banging the drums, strumming the guitar and singing. I think he may possibly be a future worship leader.......time will tell. :)
Love my lil' sunshine so very much!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My lil' Diva....

 Miss G.....  :)

Our little Gabriella came home at 18 months. She had lived most of her life in the hospital due to her "complicated health". The doctors had changed her diagnoses several times but just weren't able to nail it down completely while in Korea but had started her on medicine that was helping her. Enter us....medically naive....! Of course we had done our homework and had researched and talked to doctors, specialists and even a doctor who specialized in internationally adopted children with major health concerns. For the most part, across the board, they all agreed that her health would improve upon getting the medication and medical care provided here in the states. (But for the record, I believe Korea's health system is very good and I believe they were on the right path).  So we brought this cherub home and immediately her pediatrician took her off all her medication so he could see if her diagnosis was correct. Ack! Word to the not a good idea! It was such a hard transition for her and us. She literally screamed....not cried....SCREAMED! for the first 6 months here. The dr. performed lots of tests as quickly as he could and found that yes she did need medicine and so she was started back on slowly. It took months for her body to adjust and hence all the screaming. It was a very long 6 months.  BUT it was on a short vacation to the beach that all of a sudden she woke up and didn't scream. We held our breath, was this real?! But yes it was. Our girl finally was feeling good enough she didn't need to scream. Of course, I believe everything is better at the beach and apparently she felt the same way too. LOL! 

Her health has been a series of highs and lows. She's been hospitalized several times. She's had back to back to back seizures that scared me senseless. She's had periods where her fingers and toes lock up and it looks like rigormortis. (Sp?)  She's had several operations. She has to get bloodwork done monthly. She has to take lots of  "yucky medicine" a couple times a day. She sees many specialists. However, through all of it, she has been such a brave trooper. Certainly braver than I would be! We have great doctors, specialists and a hospital that goes the extra mile for her which I am so, so thankful for. 

Now let me tell you the good stuff about this precious diva. She is ALL about the bling. LOL! She loves jewelry, dressing up and anything glittery, sparkly or light-up. Especially if it's PINK! :) She is such a hard worker and excellent helper. She loves to cook and bake and be in the kitchen. In fact, she spends hours playing outside making mud pies, dirt cakes, and her newest creation, larva fish sticks. Mmmm, yummy? LOL! She loves tea parties, fingernail polish, and having her hair in piggy tales. She loves dresses of all shapes, sizes and colors. She prefers to wear dresses but will resort to shorts or pants if no dresses are clean. She loves to read and math is one of her favorite subjects in school. Although, she likes "all of them". She is my Bible whiz and is so good at grasping biblical concepts even at this young age of 9. She is always the first one to step in to carry something, help someone, or do the work that's needs done. Truthfully, sometimes I have to stop her so others can learn the concept of hard work. :) 

She is an amazing little girl. She giggles easily and always has something to say. LOL! I'm so very thankful God chose us, as naive and green as we were, to get to spend our days loving this beautiful daughter!