Saturday, December 22, 2012

~*Christmas Menu*~

We're hosting 3 more family get togethers for Christmas! We've already hosted one, plus Thanksgiving, that is a lot of cooking and baking. I, however, do not mind a bit...this Mama loves to cook!

Christmas Day:
Sweet potato casserole (link)
Scalloped potatoes (link)
Cornbread stuffing
Pumpkin pie (link)
Spinach balls (link)
Quinoa and Black Beans (link)

Thursday w/inlaws:
Fried Chicken w/an assortment of
leftovers from Christmas

Sunday w/Sis (and niece/nephew)
 Appetizer spread!

Pineapple Boat w/fruit dip (link)
Antipasto Platter (link)
Appetizer Wreath (link)
Angel Eggs (as opposed to the devlish kind)
Popovers w/chicken salad

What's the menu looking like at your house?  


John 6:56
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Dalton has been moody for the last week, defiant, talking back, not obeying/listening, etc...we've remained consistent and firm with him and today that was rewarded with a snuggle on the couch.  
Dalton is my joy-boy and we see this smile often!
 Only one other time in the last 3 months has he crawled up beside me on the couch and this was the first time he laid his head on my shoulder!  

Then he started remembering...a little boy punched him in the face, pulled his hair, bad things....another little boy pushed him down and stepped on or kicked him...bad things....

He desperately wanted to put a face to the names he was repeating to me. I pulled up the many pictures we have of his time in China and he easily pointed out the two culprits.  But slowly the good memories came forward, he laughed at his friends faces, smiled and affectionately told me their names, some boys he clearly did NOT care for and others he seems to long for. 

Then came the sweetest request ever!  He wanted to see the pictures from his birthday last year!  No problem little man!  

He, also, requested the video which I am sharing the link to for you to view by clicking here!

He's mourning, he's longing, he's remembering!
He loved carving pumpkins in October...

He liked being elbow deep in gourd guts the best!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

~*Anniversary and How We Met*~

~*Happy Anniversary*~ 

to my best friend!

Devin and I met online in 2005....
through Yahoo!* personals*.  Kitty-kakes had just turned 3 a month before we met. 

We decided that dating wasn't what we were looking for at the time so we would meet just as friends so I brought my Kitty-kakes...since it wasn't a date!

I got lost on the way to his house because he gave confusing directions (that's my story anyway) and we headed up to Grand Rapids* with a plan to hit the zoo (for the wee one's entertainment) but at the last minute Devin decided that we should head to Meijer Gardens* since I had never been there yet.  

As we walked through the Gardens I held Kitty's hand and she grabbed his hand since she was in the middle...then, being the little stinker she is, put our hands together.  What she didn't know is that she put his heart and mine together along with our hands!  

They've never apart since!  

Another thing most folks don't know is that while we celebrate and acknowledge our December 9th wedding day we actually eloped months before (August).

We went back to Meijer Gardens as a family yesterday!

Six years + six children later = a happy family of 9!

I love you Devin and so happy to be married to my best friend! 

(**I wrote this on our Anniversary, which was Dec. 9th, however, life happened and I just now got the chance to post it!**)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

~*The Other Side of Adoption*~

Being honest with ya'll: I do not need judgements. It is incredibly easy to sit on your side of the web and judge a situation you are not fully versed on.  

Bad things happen to great children. That is what happened to our Sunshine. We have spent the last 3.5 yrs helping him move on and grow to be independent and emotionally healthy.  To the point that we have family that feels we shelter him too much already!

We are grateful we are able to homeschool this little guy.  I do believe we would have seen violence much sooner had he been integrated into a regular classroom.  His normal temper tantrums about school work would not be understood or tolerated by a public school teacher.  

I will try to be open with others on his struggles without too much detail, however, I do believe that far too many adoptive families are too quiet on the struggles for fear of judgements or of deterring others from adoption.

It happens...
Children are hurt and they continue the cycle and hurt others.  Now we pray for healing and change.  We don't know what we're up against until he's officially evaluated.  We'll update as things progress and try to live our lives.  However, things are definitely not "normal" right now around here. 

Pray, don't judge.

That being said...He's had several REALLY great days. After 3 weeks of the hardest behavior he's shown yet, I am so glad to have a breather before the hard stuff comes back up again...we've got two more triggers coming up that could be very difficult for him to handle.  Christmas followed by Dalton's birthday.

Keep praying for our little man! 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

~*Tannenbaum is the Bomb!*~

Fraiser Fir
Sawed on site by a very happy 9 yr old!

7th heaven= sawing down the tree!

Love my girl!

Dalton thought this was tons of fun!
Sweet Peanut Butter!
Peanut being Peanut..she's always silly!
Shanghai princess!
See even Donovan was there but slept through the fun!
A very happy Fujian boy!

 Donuts and hot chocolate by the fire afterward!

Definitely making donuts/hot chocolate by the fire a tradition!
Adoring this picture!
   We enjoyed our trip to chop (saw) down our tree at the Janke's, again, this year! What a great family!

At home we put the finishing touches on it!

Parachute pants are back in style!
Great job!
Ha! No idea what I was doing but had to include it..and no I'm not 9 feet tall!
Gorgeous face!
Great job Analina!
My sunshine was with us but he still needs lots of prayer!
Sweet silliness...and not sure why Peanut was laughing through the tears!
Adding ornaments!
Relaxing and looking Christmas books!

 Have a great week!  

Romans 15:12
And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
    one who will arise to rule over the nations;
    in him the Gentiles will hope.”


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

~*Dental Nightmare*~

I took the wee ones to their first dental appointments and it went exactly as I expected. 

Dalton was Monday and he did awesome! He was a rockstar and had no problems listening and was not scared at all!  He had perfect little teeth with no problems!  Great job, Buddy!
Fun with Nutella!

Analina went with me last week for my own appointment to get use to the place and meet the ladies beforehand.  I knew this would be incredibly difficult for her and it was.  

I had three concerns.  One is a grey tooth on the bottom row and a brown/yellow tooth on top.  But my biggest concern was her anxiety level.  I knew this was going to be hard...

The grey tooth is dead and the result of some sort of trauma; most likely from her falling.   We will let it come out on its own unless it becomes infected.

The brown/yellow tooth was the likely result of an infection while she was a baby and the tooth was still developing.  The Dentist and the Hygienist both surmised it was likely an ear infection but the surprising thing is that they both felt it was from the MEDICATION used to treat the infection!  This is HUGE because a little girl at Analina's orphanage had such a horrible ear infection it perforated her brain and she had NOT been treated with antibiotics until it was so bad she was admitted to the hospital shortly before her parents came to get her.

Her bread accidentally fell onto her face..she's never this messy of an eater!

Analina's anxiety level for this visit was extremely high and I had to stop the attempt to get x-rays because she was near hysterical!  She was shaking and sweating and crying for the exam and cleaning.  It was heartbreaking but she was so sweet about it! I just adore her!  

When we got home for the next hour she just sat on the steps in shock and had silent tears.  She asked every few minutes when Daddy was coming home.  She needed everyone who loves her right there by her side. 

The bright side? This was the most real we've seen her since she came home.  Stripped of all pretense its been so awesome to see the REAL her!

Wonderful job Ana-banana!  

Being my silly girl!