Saturday, November 14, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015


Alex LiBao 

Davis and I were hoping to add one more miracle to our family.  We wanted to add a little boy younger than Emily.  There were 2 problems with that.  Emily just seems like the baby of the family and Davis wanted a buddy to play with.

One day I happened upon a little fellow that someone was advocating for.  He was older than we were looking for, but other things about him seemed like a good fit for our family.  His special need didn't appear to be a big deal so I was surprised that he was still waiting for a family.  

After all the trauma following Emily's adoption, all of us were a little uncertain.  It wasn't an easy decision. BUT the longing to add one more was there.  I was pretty sure that if the right child came along, Kenton would be all in, but first we needed to find the right one.

A lot of agencies won't do adoptions out-of-birth order or virtual twinning.  Alex falls into both categories for our family.  He and Kaitlyn will be the same age for 7 months and he's older than Emily.  

The agency agreed to overlook these issues IF our homestudy social worker would agree.  The social worker and her agency normally won't...but agreed to it for us since they knew us pretty well.  

I guess it's only natural, but after we jumped in I had some fear. Still do occasionally.  Lots of what-ifs run through my mind.  It's reassuring to read through his paperwork and recognize those qualities that make him seem like such a perfect fit for us.

Active, self motivated, good helper, ready smile, clever (okay, this may be a stretch for us, but every family needs at least one brainiac, right?)  energetic, talkative, gets along well with others, sometimes obstinate, loves to look at books, be outside, and his favorite toys are balls and stilts, fond of listening to music, deep sleeper, very active, concentrates and participates in school.  

I will admit all those references to active, energetic, and very active sound a bit daunting.  I already have two that constantly wrestle.  Sometimes when the regular boy battles are driving me batty, Kenton laughs and says, "And you want one more?!?"  It's reassuring to see that he's good in school, concentrates, and participates.  

The little princess in the middle was adopted by a family in Italy last March.  Alex is in the bottom left corner.  When I sent her the most recent picture I have, her mama said she cried and says she wants to learn English so that she can write to him.  It's such a special thing to know that another little girl thinks our son-to-be is pretty special, especially since he'll have 2 big and 1 little sister.  

While we are thrilled that things are finally moving along, we know that for Alex it will be very difficult.  He will lose his "family", language, culture, familiar sights and smells, his school, food, for a time his ability to communicate.  I can't even begin to imagine how hard it will be for him. 

Our prayer is that God is preparing Alex's heart for a new home, that we can be patient, and that God will show us how best to be parents to him.

And although we've said it before and were wrong...

this time it's true.

We are done!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cider and Drywall

We interrupted the drywall project to do cider.

We picked 35 bushels of apples in an hour on top of the hill.

Megan has her own style of bagging apples.

Emily sampled every variety.

More pairs of hands and many apples to choose from meant this was a lot more fun than usual.

Things have been so busy, I wanted to skip it this year. 
I'm glad that no one agreed with me.

Kenton took this full bag the long way down.

At Sam Beachy and Sons

Down the chute



Almost ready to press

Filling the 110 jugs

Everybody likes to help.

And then there's that other project

Jamison is old enough to be a big help.

Ever since we remodeled the kitchen I've tended to think of other projects as minor.  
Remodeling in This Old House will probably never be minor.
Nothing is square, studs are rarely where you expect, wiring is a mystery...
in short, anyone involved voluntarily is pretty special.

Cindy and Carolyn are special.
They came on purpose to help
And brought lunch.

Cindy came back twice!
And brought supper!
And showed off the skills she learned from the "Abraham Lincoln Internet School of Drywall."

Do NOT be deceived.
This wall almost brought several of us to tears.
It had 2 upright studs about every 4 feet.
It had horizontal studs randomly placed.  
It was so frustrating!  The studs would be found and marked...and disappear 3 feet down the wall only to appear at different levels...and the process would start again after 4 more feet.  
There were a lot of holes pounded in that wall trying to find randomly placed horizontal studs.

Dad had the fun job of turning this bedroom closet into a hallway closet.  
It only involved cutting through 4 or 5 layers of boards.

The drywall is done.
The plaster is close to done.
The rest...well, it is harvest time for the Farmer in the Dell.

Mom and Dad left for home this morning.
They couldn't take anymore of our fun.  

Of course, if we wait long enough maybe they'll come back and finish the project. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


We keep switching bedrooms at our house.  

Prior to each previous "last" child we had a plan. 

We moved people and things worked...until the next one came along.
(Is it a bad sign when all the bedrooms we've remodeled since we moved here have had at least 3 different colors?)

BUT this is it - the LAST move.

I have dibs on the first available room for my sewing stuff!

The biggest room will be getting the three boys.
Megan has her own space.
The little girls share a bigger room.
And Kenton and I are squashed into a smaller room, which only works because we are pretty much only there to sleep.

My parents came to help.
(I appreciate ALL their hard work on our behalf!)

This part of the house has no studs, only back to back boards.  The men decided it was easiest to stud over the existing wallboard, add electrical and insulation, and sheetrock over that.  The ceiling needed to come down because there wasn't much insulation to prevent the heat from escaping through the attic.

The upstairs is a bit goofy.  There are 3 hallways.  Thankfully, my parents agreed that the last two hallways should be completed now as well!  Woohoo!  This means the upstairs will be mostly done.  

This hallway led to a window.  I appreciated the light, but we really need storage more than light.  This hallway will become a closet!   Woohoo, again!  
Some of this still has the old lathe and plaster...nasty job!

This will be SO NICE to have done.
Especially since 4 kids are sharing a room with bunk beds, a double bed, 3 dressers, and a bookshelf.  Mom and Dad are sleeping in Carl and Martha's camper.

If you decide this is a good time to stop by, we're going to put you to work.  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Hey!  Good news, mom!  I found a bunch of pictures of you and dad. 

Wasn't this at Uncle Bob and Auntie Sandy's wedding?  
Not too shabby!


it was all downhill from there.

Let's face it, after this we all needed some therapy.

It was probably all dad's fault!
We don't have all those crazy Finn jokes for nothing.

I will admit there were a few normal moments.

But not too many!

Thanks for all your help!
We certainly owe you a lot!

You might be a little off...

but at least we know where the credit is due.

Happy Anniversary to two of the best!
We love you!

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Life is busy for everyone, right?

It seems like this month must have been at least 3x as long as normal.

One thing was puppies.  Nine of them.
We said a reluctant (well, NOT me!) so long to all of them!

My birth certificate and marriage certificate expired while we were waiting for the last of our documents to trickle in.  Yes, I am still alive and married, but the document is no good in the eyes of the Chinese embassy if it's older than six months.  So I ordered them again!  A re-order should automatically come with a straight jacket.  I'm definitely a candidate for needing one.

At long last, ALL the documents were collected, notarized, certified (gotta love the state of Maryland), Great Sealed, taken to the State Department, and should now be at the Chinese Embassy waiting for the final step!   Woohoo!

Hopefully our dossier will be China bound in the next couple of weeks.  

We hope to be China bound ourselves maybe January - April.  

(A farming game our kids made up that is played with coins.  Lots of coins.)

Our homeschool group started up again.  I am president.
Disorganized, stressed, and crabby...I bet they won't do that again.
Beyond that you probably don't want to know.
Fortunately the rest of the committee is superlative!

The county brought us loads of dirt.

The kids and cows love it!

They will all be bummed when the dozer levels it out!

We are enjoying these warm days of sunshine.

Relieved!  That's the word!

Canning is done.
The dossier is done.
Homeschool group is organized for the year.
The puppies all found homes.