Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Celebrating

 We decided to do a little Thanksgiving celebration with Eric's sister Molly and his sister Lori and her family the weekend of Thanksgiving.  We decided it would be nice to have a little more time to hang out and for the kids to play.  

The girls and I saw these pictures of a turkey made out of veggies so we tried our own version.  

Alexa also thought these fruit cornucopia's looked fun to make.  

We didn't do anything too fancy but instead made it simple and enjoyed our time hanging out.  The kids all squeezed around the picnic table. 

Max enjoying another family gathering during the holidays. 

The kids disappeared for most of the afternoon and evening.  They had so much fun playing! They would make a random appearance with their band or a style show! 

We grabbed a picture of the gang at the end of the night!

The big girls .....

and the crazy boys! The kids can't wait for more cousin time at Christmas! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to my parents for the day!

 I don't think I have ever gotten a picture of the turkey carver, my dad hard at work.  I love Thanksgiving food! 

I am thankful for the family and the example my parents are and the foundation they laid in our lives.   We had a table full and there were even 5 missing at lunch! 

Max loved his first taste of Thanksgiving food! His potatoes were his favorite.  When Max gets excited about food his little feet twirl in circles.  He did this on of our first nights in China as we gave him prunes .... his still does it today when he loves what is going in his mouth. 

In the afternoon my brother and his family came and we attempted some family pictures.  What a crew to give thanks for!!!!!  This Thanksgiving we are thankful that our family grew by 5 this year.  We obviously brought home Max.  My younger brother and his wife added little Mataya to their family in August.  They also felt like God was leading them to do foster care.  In March they welcomed 2 little boys into their family and just last week a 17 year old boy joined their family.  Yes, they went from 1 to 5 kids in 9 months.  I am thankful for the way they have let God lead their family and the blessing these boys have been to our family.  

Papa and Grammy and their crew.  To think just 9 years ago there were only 2 grandkids.  I know my parents would say they are BLESSED! My mom had once told her friend she didn't know if she was ever going to be a grandma .... I am pretty sure we have that covered and she is now a grammy that has her hands full. 

Our afternoon was spent relaxing ....

drawing with cousins ....

playing little people ....

and getting a little wii in! 

The picture isn't the greatest gut I don't think I have ever gotten a picture of something that is part of almost every family gathering.  My family loves to play games.  We played a lot of game and cards growing up and it continues at our family gatherings.  It has gotten a little harder with our family growing and the business of all the kids but we typically find away to play.  I love all the family memories that were formed around the table playing games and it is something that continues in our own home.  I hope someday my kids will look back and have the same special memories around the table with a deck of cards or a game.  

While we were rolling dice Mya and Bailey found their way into Grammy's closet.  They were all smiles with their new attire! 

We finished the night with the kids making turkeys out of chocolate rice krispie balls and candy! 

Shane is a baby lover! How can you not be thankful for this little sweet addition this year! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks For A Full Table

This Thanksgiving we have so much to thankful for but there is no denying that at the top of our list is having Max around our table.  Last year at this time there was so much anticipation about a little boy an ocean away that was our son and brother.  

We decided to have our own little Thanksgiving celebration with our family!  The girls loved helping to decide the menu and decorate the table.

We easily settled on Chinese food for dinner! Everyone thought it was perfect for Max's first Thanksgiving around our table.

The girls cut out our Thankful cards for our Tree of Thanks! 

It looks pretty empty but soon it was filled with our cards of thanksgiving.

Some special friends dropped off these yummy cupcakes for our family.  We have been so blessed with amazing friends to walk through this journey of life with us.  They were the perfect center piece for our table.

Max loves Edamame.  I would always squeeze out the beans for him but our little independent 2 year old wanted to do it himself.  Let me tell you he has it all figure out.  

I am so thankful for our beautiful first born.  She is a such a wonderful role model for her sister and brothers.  She is responsible, is my big helper and loves on each of her siblings.  She is one determined little cookie.  She doesn't do anything partial but does everything to the best of her ability and with her whole heart.  I am so proud of the way she loves others with Christ's love.  She is a gift to our family! 

I am so thankful for Emma.  Her smile can light up a room.  She wears her heart on her sleeve.  She often is right by my side helping me make dinner or asking what she can help clean.  She is quick to read books or play cars with Max.  She often runs a classroom in our basement and I am pretty sure Shane and Max aren't the easiest students.  Emma has a love for life that just radiates from her.  I feel so blessed to be her mommy! 

That crazy, toothless grin says it all.  Shane is all about having fun! He makes me laugh daily.  He is our social, active boy.  He can makes friends with anyone is always looking to make a new friend.  He has a gentle, loving spirit in the midst of his business as a boy! He has added a whole new dimension to our quiet, pink girly house! We are so thankful for joy that radiates from our sweet boy!

This Thanksgiving I am so thankful that Max is home and is part of our family.  I am so thankful for God's plan for our little boy's life.  I often stand it awe that God would choose us to be the parents of this little boy.  He is full of life and embraces everything that comes his way!  We are thankful for the way that he has changed our life, our hearts and our family. 

The kids got to work writing down they things they were thankful for. 

Eric pretending to think really hard while the girls were having fun with him! 

Max thought it would be more fun to dig into the cupcakes! 

After everyone was finished writing we went around and shared.  It was fun hearing what each of our blessings were thankful for.  God is good and has blessed us richly this year.  

A Gift

This morning I woke up and felt tired.  Alexa has been struggling with a cough for 3 weeks.  She has been up a ton and coughing so hard she had been throwing up.  Max had had a procedure and had been up the last couple nights as well.  I didn't feel ready to face the day with four kids and was not feeling the thankful spirit the day before Thanksgiving.  

I sat down in my chair with my coffee in toe and my devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  As I sat down I looked to my left out the large windows of our new house and there it was, a gift.  God's beauty ready and waiting to greet me.  It is November 23 and we are experiencing our first real frost.  

 I stood in awe of the beauty.  I grabbed my camera and started snapping some pictures.  

Just months ago these trees we green and lush.  They then transformed into reds, oranges and yellows as the season changed and now they are covered with a brilliant white frost.  There are so many times I take the beauty around me for granted.  I often don't stand in awe at the power of God and the evidence of this power and majesty in the changing of season.  This morning was a gift. 

I settled back in to my chair and this was part of my devotional.  

As you sit quietly in My Presence, let Me fill your heart and mind with thankfulness.  This is the most direct way to achieve a thankful stance.  If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross.  Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love.  This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.

As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way.  I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day.  Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one.  When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet.  Offer it up to Me with a grateful heart.  
From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

A gift, an attitude changer ..... that is what happens when I take time to start my day focusing up instead of out! I know there will be more treasures placed along the way! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Max's Visit To The Surgical Tower

On Monday we headed to the surgical tower for Max to have a procedure done.  

He wasn't sure what to think about the new clothes, bracelets and people that were checking his vitals. 

We typically address Max by his first name and rarely do I see or hear his whole name.  Today as I looked at his name band there were thoughts that came flooding back.  I am so thankful for everything that his name represents.  

Max wasn't sure what to think about his hat! 

He was quickly entertained by his new little pig that was waiting for him when we arrived.


Max did great as we waited for him to be taken up. The nurse came in and asked if we wanted to send something up with him that would be comforting when he was in recover before he was brought down to us.  I said we would send his blanket.  We need to put a tag on it so as I started to look for it we couldn't find it anywhere.  The nurse and I tore the room apart numerous times.  Guess where we found it? Mr. Max had put it up his pant leg, silly boy! 

They let one of us go up with him and stay with him until he fell asleep so he didn't get too anxious. 

Checking to see if he was still in his daddy's arms! 

And they are off!  Max's procedure went well but coming out of anesthesia wasn't fun.  Max was really sad and didn't want to eat or drink anything.  We couldn't be released until he got something down.  We patiently tried to get him to attempt some juice or a Popsicle but he didn't want anything to do with it.  He just had a very sad little cry.  After a while the cry turned into being very mad and the poor little thing just wanted out of there.  He started pulling of his monitors and then tried to pull out his IV.  Finally we enticed him with a Popsicle in his not very happy state so we could get out of there.  He should be back to his happy, active self in no time! 

PS While he was under they did an xray and were able to confirm that he had passed his shiny little dime 
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