Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Beatiful Daughters!

I'm blessed with 6 daughters, and I think they're all beautiful, both inside and out.  Here are Annie and Cara in their Christmas dresses for church.  Don't you love those smiles?

Time with Marq

I try to make sure I get some one-on-one time with each child as often as possible.  Last Saturday Marq and I went to volunteer at Northwest Harvest together, then went out for Thai food.  It was so much fun, and he's such a great young man.  I'm one very blessed mama to have him!

7 Months Old

Evie just gets cuter all the time.  Not that I'm biased, or anything.  I had no idea being a grandma would be sooooo much fun!

Evie's Bib

Can you guess who bought Evie this bib?

Picking Out the Christmas Tree

Every year we go pick out our Christmas tree in the freezing rain.  But this year although it was very cold, it was also totally sunny when we got our tree!  What a wonderful thing it was to bring home a tree that wasn't soaking.
The joys of winter in Seattle!

Evie's Cute Hat

I found this hat for Evie at a children's resale shop.  It cost about 35 cents.  Isn't it cute? I love thrift shopping!

Cara's 5th Birthday!

We celebrated Cara's 5th birthday on November 29th.  We're not sure of her actual birth date, but this was the one assigned to her in Liberia, so this is the one we're going with.  She's been such a blessing and a gift to us.  She's happy, loving, and tons of fun.  She has the cutest little sense of humor!  For her birthday dessert, we got her Marie Calandar's Chocolate Satin Pie, which is her favorite.  Then the other kids helped her open her gifts, since she had no idea what gifts were all about.  Once she saw her new toys though, she was all smiles. It was a great day, and I'm so glad we get to celebrate birthdays with this little one from now on.  Happy Birthday sweetie!  We love you!

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  It was great having all the kids here (except for Ean) and was especially fun having Cara and Evie with us this year.  We enjoyed good food and good family time.  And as always, we expressed thanks for all we've been blessed with.  I love Thanksgiving!

Uncle Brantley

Brantley took time out from helping with Thanksgiving dinner to play with Evie so Lexie could relax a bit.  It was so distracting having Cara and Evie around this year while I was cooking.  I just wanted to play with the
 adorable little ones instead of making dinner!

Out Into the Cold

Cara loves to be outside - no matter what the weather is like!  Fortunately, my friend Kathy knit her this darling hat.  It keeps her warm so she can play outside for hours, and looks good too.  Thanks Kathy!

Chunk-a-licious Little Doll!

Evie was over 20 lbs. at 6 months old. Lexie's doing a great job being her mom, and she's a happy, healthy baby!

The Back Window

In November, I finally remembered to order a Cara sticker to add to the stick family on the back window of my big van.  I was so happy to be able to find a sticker with hair puffs!  It's so funny to watch people constantly counting the stick figures on the back of my van!

Evie's Blessing Day

November 3rd 2013 was Evie's blessing day. She got to wear her Aunts Emily and Ashlyn's blessing dress and looked so adorable in it. Lexie asked Tim to give the blessing, and it was a wonderful experience.  The spirit was so strong, and I could tell that Evie is a very choice daughter of our Heavenly Father, and that so is Lexie. We feel so blessed to have this little angel in our lives!

Halloween 2013

We had fun again this year at our church trunk-or-treat and chili cook off.  Tim stayed home with Cara who still wasn't enjoying crowds at that time.  The teens generally don't dress up but do go and enjoy the party and help with the tons of little ones who attend.  Here are some of the kids (Marq and Annie were off doing other things when I took this pic) in their costumes.  Cara wasn't happy at all about the halo on her head, but I just had to get a quick picture because she looked so adorable.  And don't you just love the Halloween costume Evie got at our baby shower last summer?  And how cute are Emily and Ashlyn?  Children in costumes are so cute!

Cara's U.S. Re-adoption Hearing

On October 14th 2013 we went to court to re-adopt Cara here in the U.S.  Even though her adoption was finalized in Liberia before we even picked her up, we wanted to do it here as well so she could get a U.S. birth certificate, which will make life much easier in many ways.  It was short, sweet, and very nice.  Our attorney, who had helped us with our last 5 adoptions before Cara as well, said on his way out "I'll see you for the next one!".  Funny, funny man. :)

Snuggle time with Annie

Cara loves to be held and to snuggle.  She usually falls asleep at night snuggled up to one of us. Annie is a very loving big sister to Cara, and snuggles her all the time.  It's so wonderful having older kids who love their younger siblings!

Teen Boys Hair

Who said teen girls are the only ones who spend tons of time worrying about their hair?  Marq is very concerned about his.  He gets haircuts as often as possible, and is very concerned about his "line up".  Here he is showing off a hair cut he really likes.  What a handsome young man he is!

Hanging Out at Grandpa and Grandma's House

Tim and I love being grandparents.  How could we not with such a darling granddaughter?  It's such fun when she comes over to visit.  Here's Evie at in October at 4 1/2 months old enjoying some time at our house.  We're so blessed!

Flat Ironed Hair!

Cara has such fun hair!  It's a really loose curl that does pretty much anything we want it to do - easily.  Here's an example.  It takes only about 15 minutes to flat iron her entire head of hair, and it lasts until it gets really wet.  Of course, she's totally adorable no matter how her hair is done!

Family Photo Shoot

On August 24th (Brantley's birthday) we had all the kids here for a barbecue, so my good friend Kim Proctor came over and did a photo shoot for us.  She's so good at what she does, and it was really fun.  This is just one of the great family photos.  I'll be making a separate album with the rest of the family photos, as well as the individual ones. Thanks so much, Kim!

29 Years and Counting!

I'm so blessed!  I'm married to my best friend and the most wonderful man I know.  Every year, we just grow closer and more in love, and I can't imagine my life without him.  Happy 29th Anniversary honey!

Tim and Evie

We all just adore little Evie, but Tim and Evie seem to have a special bond.  He loves to hold and play with her, and just to sit quietly and look at her. He loves being her grandpa, and I love watching them together!

First Week of 4th Grade

Another "Where has the time gone?" moment - Emily and Ashlyn are in 4th grade this year!  They're still in public school, and still enjoying it, so that's where they'll be for now.  I can't believe how grown-up they're getting to be! Weren't they just in kindergarten a minute ago?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Holy Cow - Brantley is 14!

On August 24th Brantley had his 14th birthday, and I seriously can't believe it!  I so clearly remember him as an unbelievably adorable 2 year old having tantrums and getting into all sorts of mischief.  He's certainly grown up since then.  He's now a compassionate and thoughtful young man who adores little ones and has a soft spot for older folks as well.  He also goes with me to volunteer at Northwest Harvest every time I go.  He had a great birthday at Trampoline Nation with his siblings.  Happy Birthday you handsome young man - we love you!

Love that Smile!

I'm so glad Cara is smiling for the camera now.  She has such a beautiful smile that I just want to share it with everyone!

Point Defiance Zoo

We decided we'd better take advantage of our zoo membership before it expired, so down to Tacoma we went to Point Defiance Zoo.  It's a nice zoo, and not so large that you're exhausted by the time you're done.  It also has aquarium petting tanks and you can even pet sting rays.  The kids had a great time!  And can you believe how big they're getting???

Double Baby Shower!

In August, a couple of dear friends from church gave me and Lexie a double baby shower.  We had wonderful food, were surrounded by great friends, and of course, got tons of adorable clothes for our little girls!  It was just such a thoughtful thing for our friends to do, and we appreciated it so much.  Thank you to everyone who planned, helped and attended - we're fortunate to have such great friends!

Beautiful Girl!

We think Cara is amazingly beautiful, with an amazing smile.  When I think of all she's endured in her short life, I can't believe she can smile at all.  Orphanage after orphanage, starvation, neglect, developmental disabilities in a country where that's not acceptable at all, and on and on.  Then to top it off, these white strangers came in a scooped her up and out of everything she's ever known, only to bring her to a totally different place, with totally different people, food, weather, smells, customs, clothing and everything else.  And yet she's happy.  Very happy!  She's just an amazing girl, and certainly one of the Lord's choicest spirits.  I thank the Lord every day for having her in our family!

Hair Bling Part 2

Isn't this bow huge?  And so darling.  A friend from church gave this to Lexie for Evie, and it matched her dress perfectly.  I just love hair bling on little girls, especially a little girl as adorable as Evie!

Lake Time!

Here are the kids at our local lake.  We didn't bring Cara with us this summer because she still wasn't enjoying water or being out in public, but I took the other kids often.  I feel very lucky to live where we have our choice of nice beaches to enjoy.  The kids have lots of fun!

Sling Cuteness

Like I've said before, we're a baby wearing family.  Here's Emily using my sling to carry her baby doll around in.  She does it all the time, and it's just too cute!

All Ready for Church!

I'm having way too much fun having two little girls to dress up again.  And dresses are the best!  Fortunately I'm a great bargain and thrift shopper, so I can indulge my love of all things girly for Cara and Evie.  It's not possible to have too much pink and sparkles, is it? 

Sleeping Sweetness

Evie is such an adorable baby.  We're having so much fun with her!  Here she is in July sleeping.  She's a very calm and easy baby, and we just couldn't love her more!

Marq is 13!

On July 25th Marq became our 4th teenager - if you include Lexie who is still 19.  He's growing into a wonderful young man.  He's sweet, kind, and really cares about other people.  If he does something he's not supposed to (which is rare), he apologizes and tries everything he can to make amends.  I feel so blessed to have this great young man call me mom.  Happy Birthday sweetie - we love you!

Arms Full

Brantley loves the little girls in his life.  He's an awesome uncle and big brother.  I love seeing the tender side of him that Cara and Evie bring out.  Here he is in his favorite position - arms full of adorable littles.
 If it were up to him, we'd adopt a new little one every other year!

Shoulder Rides

Cara absolutely loves to ride on shoulders.  She shrieks and laughs and bounces up and down whenever someone puts her on their shoulders, and it's a sure way to get her in a good mood.  I thought the rides might end the first time she drooled in some ones hair, but she's so adorable nobody seems to mind.  Thank heavens for spit tolerant siblings!

Sleepy Time

Cara doesn't take formal naps, but when she's tired, she just sleeps wherever she happens to be at the moment.  Here she is sleeping half on - half off the couch.  In her favorite princess dress, no less. She stayed like that for over an hour!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Big Sister Annie

In addition to being great with Evie, Annie is a fantastic big sister too.  She's always willing to play with Cara, get her dressed, change her diaper, and feed her.  Cara just loves to snuggle and play with her.  Life is so much easier with little ones when you have super helpful older kids.  Thanks Annie!

Aunt Annie

Annie is such a good auntie!  She's always the first one in line to hold Evie when she visits, and I almost have to fight her off to get a turn myself.  And she's beautiful too!

One More Picture From the 4th

This picture was the 1st one we were able to get with the entire family after Evie was born and Cara came home.  It's not great, but it was so nice to finally have a picture with all of us. BTW, the little boy in the chair on the right isn't ours - he's a neighbor child.  Just thought I'd better explain that since we tend to show up with new family members fairly regularly!

Family 4th of July!

We had a great 4th of July this year!  It was Cara and Evie's 1st 4th of July so that made it especially fun.  I love the way our family just keeps on growing!  It was pretty nice weather - which is always a bonus in our rainy climate.  We had our usual yummy bbq and then did our own fireworks and enjoyed the neighbors fireworks as well. I love the 4th of July because it means family, great food, fireworks, and celebrating our great country's birthday!