Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Programs

We have had our share of Christmas programs in the last couple of weeks!
Ethan had a band concert and Isabelle had her preschool program on the same day. Chris went to Ethan's concert and said it was very good. I went to Isabelle's and Chris and Ethan joined us towards the end. Isabelle did a great job singing. She also had a speaking part - she was so adorable! I am a little biased!

On Sunday, Heidi sang with the choir at church service. Then in the evening, Heidi, Isabelle, Riley and Ruth were part of the kid's choir performance at church. They all did an outstanding job, and Isabelle was part of the live nativity. She was an angel. Ethan was very sad after the program because he forgot to push play on the video recorder. OOPS! Luckily, we can get a copy from someone else
Tonight was Devin's school concert. He was really excited about it. It was very cute, and he did a great job singing.

Also, Heidi and Isabelle started Upwards cheerleading. It was so cute to watch. Devin should have started basketball, but it conflicted with the school program tonight.

I will leave you this little story: Isabelle's teacher asked "Why do we celebrate Christmas?" Isabelle said "because Jesus love us."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Look who is 10!

I can't believe Devin is ten. It just seems like yesterday he was a tiny baby.
We celebrated on Tuesday, but tomorrow he is picking where we eat after church. He still hasn't decided where it will be.
We are so proud of you Devin. We love your honesty and how you always say what you think! You are a good student, and we hope you continue to love learning.
Here are a few photos of the birthday boy!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I can't believe it is already Thanksgiving!!

I really enjoy this holiday. It is a great time to reflect on all the blessings God has given me and give thanks to Him.

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who works to hard to provide for our family and loves me so much. He is also a great father who loves spending time with our kids.

I am very thankful for my children! I still can't believe that God has allowed me to parent such beautiful and wonderful children. They are definitely blessings from above.

I also really enjoy getting together with family. It is so much fun to see everyone!! I am thankful that I have such an awesome, supportive, and loving family.
This year we are thankful for two new additions to our family. My brother and his wife just had a beautiful baby boy. He is definitely a blessing to our family.
Of course, Ruth is getting to spend her first Thanksgiving with us.
I know I have said it before, but she is just an amazing little girl. I can't believe all she has accomplished, learned and accepted in 3 months. We are so very proud of her.

It has been busy around here. I had a Thanksgiving lunch at school with Heidi and Devin. I also got to enjoy a Thankgiving feast at Isabelle's preschool.
Ruth was dedicated at Church on November 7th and that same day we celebrated Riley's two year "gotcha day". Riley sure keeps us busy, but he is extremely sweet!!!

Also, I went with the 4 biggest kids to see the musical "Grease" at the high school. It was a lot fun.

Here are a few recent photos!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

National Adoption Month

I have been pondering about what to write about for National Adoption Month. We have a small adoption/orphan care ministry at our church, and we usually have some sort of spotlight. This year we are going to do it in the spring so I don't have anything ready, yet.

Adoption and orphan care is our passion. My husband and I truly feel that God has called us to be a voice for the fatherless. This is not how we envisioned our life, but it is way better and blessed than we imagined!!!!!

We have done about 5 spotlights on adoption and orphan care, and several general presentations. We spend many hours trying to find the perfect words to promote adoption/orphan care, make the best heartfelt video and information sheets - you get the idea. We go in on Sunday morning, and we are pumped. We know that this time we are going to change lives! However, each time the group or church body tends to honor us. I want to scream that it isn't about us!!!

It is about 147 million children who may never experience a family!!!!!!

Don't get me wrong - our family, friends, church body love our children! It doesn't matter what they look like or where they are from. They are treated with lots of love and respect. We are so blessed. We just want them to know what we know. That, yes, these children need homes, but they will change your lives more that you will change theirs!!

What I can't understand is why Christians are not standing up for these children and making a difference. I seriously don't understand!
There are so many verses in the bible that reference orphan care/adoption. If Christians are using the bible as the guide for life then why are there orphans and children dying from hunger, disease, etc?

If 7% of professing Christians adopted a single child, there would be no more orphans.

Can you imagine?

Yes, adoption can be expensive! It takes a lot of budgeting, creativity and prayer. There are also adoption grants and low-interest loans.
I think we are just an ordinary family. My husband works two jobs, and I get to stay at home with the kids. We live on a pretty tight budget, and we do not and have never had a huge amount of money stashed away in savings (that would be nice, though). We do not own a huge home, but it works for us! The kids do not have their own rooms. They have everything they need and most of their wants, but also have learned to save their money for expensive items.

Did you know God uses ordinary people? He used us. He could use you, too! We had never considered adoption prior to a 20/20 documentary, but it has changed our lives. Not only do we have 4 beautiful children through adoption, but we learned about what was most important in life. We learned that fancy cars, houses and clothes were not that important. We learned how to budget better, trust more and love unconditionally. We have learned more about our world and our family. We also made some very special friends!!! God used adoption to teach us more about Him. Our faith has grown and our family is stronger. So many lives changed - WOW!

This month, think about what God has in store for you! Everyone can make a difference. What will you do? Foster care, adoption, sponsoring a child, donating to an orphanage, taking a mission's trip, praying daily for waiting children, helping out at a Boy/Girl's club...there are so many ways to help!

Several years ago, Steven C. Chapman made a video about the adoption of his daughters. In the video he said something like "the thing that scared him the most is that he almost missed it". He worried about so many worldly things that he almost missed the blessings of his daughters.

We can not imagine our life without any of our children. They each have added so much laughter and joy to our family. So many times we doubted our choices and worried about finances, room in our house and vehicles, what others would think, and so much more. We are so so so glad that we decided to trust God, because what we would have missed is beyond words.

Are you missing it?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy Halloween and 4 years home!!

We had a great weekend dressing up for Halloween. On Saturday we went to the school's Haunted Hallway and on Sunday we went to two Trunk or Treats!!
You would not believe how much candy we have - it fills a paper grocery bag!!!!!

Not only is October 31st special for Trick or Treating, but Chris and I started dating on Halloween 19 years ago!!

It was made even more special 4 years ago when our little Isabelle arrived home from Korea! She is such a special little girl, and we are so happy that God placed her in our family.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So Funny!

I just watched the funniest video. It was on a blog that I love to visit. Anyway, it is a little video about large families and adoption. We have heard almost every comment. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bike Day and cute hair

Isabelle's preschool had Bike Day this week! She had so much fun riding around the parking lot. Ruth and Riley also got to be part of the fun. The weather has been so beautiful this week.

Riley started running a fever on Wednesday, but seems to finally be feeling better today. He seems to be catching all the viruses the last few months.
Most of our family got to enjoy the great weather at the Renaissance Festival yesterday. They said they had tons of fun. I stayed home with Ruth and Mr. Sicky! I did not have tons of fun. Ha! Ha! They did bring me home a Reuben sandwich - that made me happy. Lesson learned: Don't buy tickets to any event in advance.

Also, I been trying new styles on Ruth's hair. This is one of them. I thought she looked adorable!!!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Branson and Noah

Last weekend we had an exciting adventure to Branson. Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma M. the whole clan was treated to the musical Noah! It was a wonderful show, and it was so neat to experience it with the whole family.

The Whole M Clan

On the way there we stopped at Lambert's. This is a very yummy restaurant, and the kids had a great time watching the waiters toss the rolls. Too funny.

We stayed at a hotel that had a waterpark indoors. All the kids had a great time, but Ruth loved it. She went up and down the toddler waterslide non-stop. Finally, we had to get her out of the water because her teeth were chattering.

On the way home, we stopped at the Bass Pro in Springfield. We also drove through Warrensburg where we bored the kids by telling them all about our college experiences and how we met. It wasn't near as exciting to them, but I loved reminiscing!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feeling Good!

I am so happy to report that we are ALL feeling better. That was one contagious little virus. Ruth completed the illnesses by getting an ear infection that turned into an infection of the lymph nodes. It is good to see her happy and feeling good again.
We had our first post-adoption placement visit last week. It went well! Ruth continues to thrive and be a happy little girl.
Here are a few recent photos. There are always more photos of the little ones since the older one are at school!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Look who is 8...

Happy Birthday to our sweet Heidi! We can't believe you are already 8 years old. You are such a sweet girl with a big heart, and we love you very much.
For her birthday Heidi went to American Girl with her sister, Isabelle! She also decided to eat at Applebee's and had her usual (Mac and Cheese).
It was a great day!

Ruth continues to do great! She went to the OT this week since she was unable to eat solids. We have a little bit of work to do with her, but she is already eating graham crackers. Wow!!! The reason she had issues with eating is because she had been on the bottle for so long she never learned how to move her tongue. She only sucked back and forth like a baby will do with a bottle. So we were taught how to stimulate the tongue to go side to side and to start weaning her off the bottle. She has been a great sport, and we feel so blessed that she is our daughter.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First Day of Preschool and more

Isabelle had her first day of preschool this year. She is in the 4 year old room. She said she had a great time, but couldn't do math yet. I said that was ok - that is why we go to school. She is so funny!

Devin came home from school sick, and Riley is recovering from his Labor Day weekend illness! I am hoping it doesn't work itself around the whole family.

Ruth is doing great. We have seen a lot of improvement in her attitude and behavior in the short time she has been home. She can keep up with the rest of the kids and is trying new things all the time! We are very proud of her.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

She is Home!

Chris arrived home Saturday evening with Ruth. He said she did a great job on the trip! Thank you Chris for traveling and taking such great care of our little girl. You are an awesome husband and father.

She was greeted at the airport by Mommy, Ethan, Devin, Heidi, Isabelle, Riley, Grandpa and Grandma M, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kim and several of our friends!!! It was such a blessing to have so many people that we love and care about be a part of our big day!!!!
Ruth looked so much bigger than I expected getting off the plane. She clung to Chris for a while, but finally came to me. By the time we left the airport, she was running around and smiling.
She is getting more comfortable everyday. She is very sweet! However, she does have the temper many reported. She likes to scratch and hit, but we are working on it.

Our main focus right now is to get her comfortable in her new surrounding, but we have already made an OT/PT app't for her at our local children's hospital. She will only take a bottle or eat baby food. She is 2.5 years old. She doesn't seem to know what to do with solid foods. We know that they had a tough time with her eating in Ethiopia, too. So it isn't a huge surprise.
She will also go to the International Adoption Clinic for an appointment in the next few weeks.
We are so glad that she is home. We feel like she is perfect for our family. She is also a good sleeper - Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

He Met Her!!!

Today was the big day! Chris met our little girl for the first time. She went right to him, but was a bit shy the whole day. I guess she is usually quite outgoing. He said she loved to swing and let him know that she didn't want to stop. LOL He said she was quite a bit smaller than Riley and very cute. He also said that I am going to be very, very busy. Thanks babe!
Tomorrow is the Embassy appointment. Chris is looking forward to seeing more of Addis Ababa. He hasn't had the opportunity to get out yet. He said the weather was absolutely beautiful today, but it has been chilly at night. He said that he has slept well, but has a little bit of altitude sickness.
We are doing fine here. I took Riley to the doctor yesterday, because he ran a high temperature the night before. The Dr. thought he just had a virus. He feels much better today.
I can't believe she will be home this week!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School and leaving in 3 days!!

The kids started back to school yesterday. I already miss them being home!
This year I have an 8th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader. They grow up so fast!!

However, I have been keeping busy packing my hubby up to leave on Sunday for Ethiopia. I can't believe our little girl is finally coming home. As I mentioned before, a good friend of ours visited their little boy in Ethiopia a few weeks ago. While there she took photos and a great video of Ruth! We couldn't believe how much she had changed since the last video. She seems so sweet. Although I think I am going to be extremely busy chasing my TWO 2.5 year olds around. LOL

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Update and photos

Our really good friends went to Ethiopia for their court date last week. We are so excited to say "they passed"!!!
Anyway, while they were visiting their adorable little boy...they took the time to give our little girl some loving. It was so great to hear more about her personality and development. They reported that she is very beautiful, sweet and cuddly, but has a temper!!!
They also took some photos for us. Thanks guys!!!
She sure looks happy!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Bulgogi and friends

Last Friday our adoption group went to our annual luncheon at a great Korean restaurant. A majority of the children in our group are from S. Korea, but we also have a few from Vietnam, China, Guatemala, and soon Ethiopia!!
We have a fun group and the food was great. Our family really likes to eat Bulgogi. I couldn't get over how well everyone ate.
Here are a few photos...

Riley and his buddy, Luke

An attempted group shot!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Made me think!!!

My husband was listening to the radio in his car the other day, and he listened to an interview with Francis Chan (author of the great book - Crazy Love). He said that Francis Chan gave this as an example. I didn't hear this interview. I am just paraphrasing what my husband told me, but it really made me think - so I wanted to share it.

Francis Chan said imagine that you told your child to go clean his room. So your child went to his room for several hours and then came out and said...
I thought about cleaning my room. I understand what you would like for me to do, and I have read about cleaning my room. I have told my friends about what you said. We are going to study all about cleaning the room. Then you go to the room, and it isn't clean. Is this what you wanted? No, you wanted the child to listen to you and take action. You wanted the room clean.

Think about God's word in this way. You read the bible, you study the bible, you tell your friend's about Jesus, you go to Church to learn more about it. It is wonderful to do all the above things, but are you taking action? Are you living what you have learned, read, and studied? Think about it!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Travel Date!

We found out today that we have an August 25th Embassy date! It won't be long now. This adoption journey has definitely had its ups and downs, but we are so excited to finally bring her home.
We also received her birth certificate today. There has always been some question about her age so we were very anxious to find out what she would be given. We think she is a little younger, but her "new" birthday is April 9, 2008. That date makes her 11 days younger than Riley - too funny!!
Our good friends are visiting their little boy in Ethiopia this week. We hope to have updated photos of Ruth very soon. I can't wait to hear what they have to say about her.
Please keep our little Ruth in your prayers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Scout Camp, photos and more

It has been a busy week! The whole family is so excited that we are all together again.
Ethan did great at camp. He earned 7 merit badges including the infamous "swimming" merit badge.
It was so great to see them on Scout Sunday but we were quickly escorted out around 2:00 pm because of severe storms. So fun!!

My mom came for a visit last Monday and Tuesday. It was a marathon shopping spree, but it was so nice to visit with her.

Once the boys arrived back home from camp they took a nap, and then we went out for a nice dinner!

This weekend my mom, aunt, and I went to a baby shower for my brother and his wife. They are expecting a baby boy in September.

Then we attended our adoption group picnic. Can you say hot!!!! It was lots of fun with great company so that made up for the heat.

Today at church, Devin won a Quantum leap pad for answering questions about the Armor of God. We are so proud of him!

Well, that is a quick recap of recent events. We are hoping to confirm Chris' travel plans for Ethiopia on Tuesday, but it looks like he will have an Aug 11th Embassy date. Yippee!!

Please continue to pray for our little Ruth!!!