Noah is Eleven!

So Noah has gone and turned eleven.

Chippyye helped him open the other children's homemade cards and gifts.

LK "wrapped" her gift inside an old Palm Pilot case that I bequeathed to her.  She loves this thing, straps it to her waist with a shoe string and wears it everywhere...so she made sure to tell him that it was not part of his gift and he needed to give the "wrapping" back.

Our little saver/planner wanted from us - yet again this year - money.

Noah had been telling me for, well...months, that he wanted to go back to the car dealership on his birthday (ever since we went there for his adoption day in October).

It was a nasty, rainy-ish day...

...but we persevered.

Well, some of us did....

Elisabeth offered to stay in The Silver Bullet with Abigail. 

Taking pictures of the "sticker"

Noah had a great time.

The seven of us (Daddy had an out-of-town meeting) headed to the local big Chinese buffet place.  (This was the first time they'd been there since we started GAPS almost 1.5 years ago.)  This place loses money on my kiddos.

And then for supper, Noah had requested wings.  We love our daddy who will hang out in the cold and rainy evening (at least he was in the carport) and grill 15 pounds of wings for us.  Yes, our family loves us some wings!

We sure love this boy, and the young man he is quickly becoming.  We are so blessed to be his parents!


Miscellany Monday, Monday 2, 2015: A Gift, Hair Talk, and a Great Fieldtrip

That new store that just opened in the town next to us?  Well, we were back there on Saturday afternoon again.  Again, G wasn't invited...and D decided to play legos instead...and daddy held down the fort.  But the rest of us went, and had a ball for over two hours again.  And sissy slept through a good portion of it on my back in the ergo again.  It was nasty, rainy...so almost everyone within a thirty-mile radius was in there with us.  If we hadn't stopped to talk to so many friends who also happened to be there, we might not have been there so long!

I'm starting to think that it may not be a good thing that this store opened so close to us.

But in the meantime...I'm having fun!  And I'm making things for other people...isn't that nice??

For instance.....


I pinned a gift idea for my mother-in-love over two years ago.  I want to make one of these for my mom also.  Well, now that this store is near and I can peruse and gather the supplies at my leisure, the time has drawn nigh that I actually make these gifts!  (Because I actually make and try all the recipes and projects that I pin...yes, sure...right....all 4,297 of them (not. even. joking.  About the number part anyway.)

Our trip to CO is coming up fast, so I finished gathering the last of the supplies that I will need for Linda's gift 

Purple paint (because that is Linda's favorite color, hands down)
Bling (because she is a blingy kind of girl)
Lots of cute little clothes pins, because, well...Linda needs lots of them

Any Pinterest addicts fans might be able to look at this collection of supplies and know exactly what project I have in mind.  

I can't wait to see the finished product...and I hope Linda loves it!


Is this not the sweetest face....ever?

Those cheeks are truly as nibble-worthy as they appear.  And considering that the homemade lotion I use on her has cocoa butter in it, she truly does smell like chocolate.  Scrumptious!

But, hair.  I want to talk about hair.

We recently hit on what I think is my favorite hairstyle on sissy to-date:

I'm still not happy with my parts...they're not as crisp as they need to be.

Two, two-strand flat rope twists.

This style kinda, sort of lasted for two days.  The back twist fared very well.  The front one had a harder time.  It got too loose, just through regular wear-and-tear...which in 7-mo old terms means:  rolling all around on the floor, apparently on her head.  I can't/don't want to pull too tight on Abigail's "edges", because that can pull the hairs out of her scalp.  Permanently.  So I ended up re-doing the front twist for the second day.

This style may have lasted longer than two days, except sissy then got her fingers into the beginning parts of the twists, and pulled strands totally out.  Like, sticking straight up in the air.  That is an immediate foul re-do.

I've read time and again that little black girls just learn very early that they aren't allowed to play with/mess with their hair.  We're working on it....


We went on an excellent fieldtrip with our homeschool group on Friday, to a Wildlife Education Center at a nearby(ish) University.    The children learned a lot.  I even learned quite a bit, in between helping with my two youngest and talking with my friends (I have always readily admitted that our group is every bit as important for me (and my sanity) as it is for my kiddos!)

Corn snake

The tour lasted 2.5 hours and we cycled between five different areas, ending with a live raptor demonstration.
Red-tail hawk

Barred owl


I am sooooo thankful that we went on the fieldtrip.  I originally said we'd go...and then about five days prior to the trip, I told our coordinator we weren't going after all.  And then a couple days before, I changed my mind again.  It just sounded so cool that I didn't want the children to miss it.  And I'm so glad we didn't.

It is just hard for us to do something like this.  Hard.  I cannot do it all by myself.  But thankfully, I don't have to.  My oldest four are such a help.  And the other moms in our group are always offering to help....and steal sugar!

And the other girls in our group?

I am just so, so thankful that Elisabeth has these girls...they are great girls:

And they sure do love them some G and A (when she'll let them hold her):

It totally took a village for us to do the fieldtrip on Friday...and I am so very thankful for the village that the Lord has surrounded us with!



The girls and I have been bonding over YouTube videos.  Specifically, videos by black women about taking care of and styling kinky curly "natural" hair.  We have been having so much fun snuggling up and watching a video (or four) most nights, when we should be climbing into bed.

One of the videos we watched recently (How to Cheat a Flexirod Set by Naptural85) got us thinking:  We could totally do this with Elisabeth's hair also!

So we did!

She loved it!  We've done this three times now...and I'm getting better.  I roll her hair into the rods at night and she sleeps on them.  (She doesn't love sleeping on them, but it must not bother her too much, since she keeps asking to do them again.)

And yes, we whipped up a batch of her homemade Flax Seed Gel that she mentions in the video.  It was very easy to make and works great...once you get over the fact that it totally looks and feels like snot!


We bought some beets at our co-op pickup last week, and over the weekend we tried a new recipe that I recently pinned....Crispy Rosemary and Garlic Beet Chips

Verdict from The Peanut Gallery:  They LOVED these!  Yummy!  A definite hit!

Verdict from The Mom:  Yummy!  Loved them!  BUT...I will likely not ever make these again.  Too time intensive to make a batch big enough for all of us.  (I doubled the recipe and they were still all gone within 2 or 3 hours.)  But for a family that is not comprised of a bunch of pig-hoggers...these would be a great idea!

(WARNING:  Beets do.....ahem.... strange things to your inner workings.  When you use the restroom you will think you are dying of some dread disease!  And then (phew)...your wise-beyond-his-10-years son will come to you and comment that he'd had the same issue...but thankfully he will already have realized what the cause was!  Or maybe this just happens at our house...)


We recently had a family over to eat supper with us.  This family is new to our area and we met them at church.  

And this family has 7 bio kids...and they homeschool.  We had a GREAT time together...and all the children (on both sides) have been asking daily when we will be able to get together again. 

When a family-of-8 hosts a family-of-9....it is definitely time to bring out the big guns pot!

photo credit:  Elisabeth!


We are so excited about a new craft and decor store that opened in the town next to us!  This is a store that I had easy access to in Colorado Springs, and totally took for granted.  I have bemoaned the fact that I took it for granted for almost 13 years now.  But now...we have our own...woohoo!

We have been watching the progress for months and waiting not-so-patiently for the store to open.  It finally opened last week...but we waited until Saturday, so that some could stay home with daddy (who was only too happy to babysit rather than be subjected to peruse this store).  

We waited until mid-afternoon rest-time and then Elisabeth, Noah, LK and Abigail (I was just trying to be nice to Jas) headed out.  Daniel opted to stay home and play Legos, and ummm...G was not invited.

We walked around the store for almost 2.5 hours.  It was heaven!

The one and only thing I purchased was a yard of beautiful and fun fabric.  I have a big project in the works...involving this bookshelf that we received as a hand-me-down from my cousin:

We've had the shelf for about 6 or 7 years now and it has been used in the school room, and most recently in our master bedroom.  But it is about to be repurposed and revitalized.  (Maybe I'll be done and can show "after" pictures in another year or so...)

As we walked around the store (for hours) I wore A in the ergo, and she slept for more than half of that time.  We kept getting comments from everyone who passed by.  "She is slap. out!"...one of the employees commented.  And he was right. Sister didn't find the store near as interesting as the rest of us did.  

I spied this sign in the store and literally laughed out loud!  I had to take a picture and send it to Jas:  

They made this sign for me!  I try hard to hold it together...but more often than not, my crazy definitely starts showing (just ask my kiddos!).


Cardiologist Appointment...for Gabriel???

I had a hard time deciding on a title for this post.  Some of my alternate ideas were...

God Orchestrates Amazing Things


No Such Thing As Coincidence(s)

or, my personal favorite....


Short Version: Noah had his annual cardiologist appointment on Friday.  He had his normal EKG and echocardiogram...

....and everything looks good.  Great even.  So. very. thankful for this!   Thank you, Lord!

That is normally where my posts on Noah's annual cardiologist appointments end.  Now that his open-heart surgeries and pacemaker implantation are behind us, these appointments are usually just routine and "boring" (And I totally mean that in a good way!).


Longer version:  I had to take all six children to the appointment.  

(This is where Abigail hung out:)

We saw a different cardiologist this time because I got lazy and took the first appointment they offered me, instead of making sure that our regular cardiologist was scheduled for that day.  (I now see the Lord's hand in that "laziness.")

Gabriel was laying with Noah on the hospital/exam bed when the cardiologist was listening to Noah's heart.  She was good with the children and offered to check G's heart also...to be funny/sweet.  G was thrilled at the prospect.  I took this cute picture of the moment:

Right after I snapped that picture, she said, "Hmmmm...he has an innocent murmur."  While I didn't like the sound of that, the "innocent" part kept me from getting too concerned.  

And then she kept listening.  

And then she moved the stethoscope around to G's side...and kept listening.  

And then to his back...and kept listening.

And kept listening...and kept listening.

And when she finally stopped listening, she said that the murmur "radiated" around his body...and not vertically, as she would expect.  And she wanted an echo done on G when Noah had his done in a few minutes.

?!?!?!?!?  Now I became concerned.  

When the echo tech finished the echo for Gabriel....

....and the doctor walked into the room, the tech told her that G had an "Aneurysmal Atrial Septum."  I did not like the sound of that!

And then the tech and the cardiologist went back and forth with more looking and discussing (our other cardiologist does this looking and discussing in another room, so I've never been privy to this before).... lots of terms tossed around and the doctor kept saying, "hmmmm......hmmmm....I see...."

Finally she looked at me and smiled and said, in her Romanian accent, "He has...nothing!"

While that sounded good...I sure did want to better understand what all the terms they'd thrown around meant!

She took us back to our original exam room and she drew this picture...

....and explained what is going on with Gabriel more thoroughly.  

It turns out that the Foramen Ovale in Gabriel's heart did not close at birth as it should have.  So he has a Patent Foramen Ovale.  He actually has two "tiny" holes.  (Noah thinks it's neat that he and G have a PFO in common....although Noah had other heart issues in addition to the PFO.)  

The doctor went on to explain that about 30% of adults walking around have this condition.  The doctor assured us it is no big deal, just good to know.  It is something that will require special attention if G ever scuba dives...or gets pregnant. :)

Our regular cardiologist has looked over the echo also and they both agreed:  Not an emergency....but bring G in for a follow-up when Noah goes back for his next appointment.  (And Dr. E also threw in there for me "not to stress about this."  Ummm...does he know me or what, after almost 10 years?  I'm so much better than I used to be...but I am still a recovering worrier.)  

I am still sitting here shaking my head at how everything played out at the appointment. All the weird little things that had to fall into place for us to find out that G has this going on.   The doctor herself, as she left the room, said, "It is neat how God works things out sometimes."  Amen!  I heartily agreed!


Another Countdown Chain

When our oldest four were younger we loved using a countdown chain to physically show them how much longer we had until a big event.  Big events, like a birthday, or a trip to Disney, or a trip to Colorado.  

And that is exactly what this newest countdown chain is for....

....another trip to Colorado.  

It has been almost four years since our last trip there to visit Jason's family.  Way too long.  We've added two children since then!

It was way past time to go again.  When the six of us sat down on New Years Day to talk about last year and write down goals for this year, Colorado came up.

And before you could say "Holy Roadrip, Batman!"...we had plans in place.  

We timed the trip for when our cousins in Colorado have their Spring Break.  

And Jason's dad - who lives in Oregon - has made plans to be in Colorado at the same time as us, WOOHO!

And we're driving through KS, and spending some time with my brother and his sweet family also.  WOOHOO!

And yes, as I've mentioned - we're driving!  

Yes, I know I said last time that we were driving, and then we chickened out changed our minds.  But this time we really are driving.  No seriously.  (And Noah is SO happy we're not flying!)

Gabriel kept asking me all. the. time. when we are "going to see Nai Nai"...so I thought it was high time to reinstitute the countdown chain! 


Totally Random Pics and Funnies

So...this happened recently:

My Valentine is now officially the CFO of his bank.  Great move on their part...to pick the smartest (and handsomest) guy around!


Elisabeth found China in the strangest of places...

...our egg pan!


I mentioned several months ago that my so-smart-and-capable hubby added shelves to our master closet.  The last pictures showed a still-empty closet and shelves.  It didn't stay empty for long....

...but what I really wanted to show now necessitates that you lean   w - a - y  over to your right...and look at the side of the column of shelves:

Jas installed 25 hooks for me!  (He used a ruler and level and such, like any proper OCD/anal person would)

These hooks now hold all my necklaces....

 ...and I can see them all at a glance.  A leaning-to-the-side-with-my-head-smooshed-against-my-hanging-clothes glance, but whatever.  I  L-O-V-E it!


Gabriel continues to crack. us. up. with his ever-increasing language usage.

Most recently, he folded his arms across his chest, and then put his index finger to his lips, and declared that there was "a ploblem!"


LK has now been home for just over 5 years.  I just don't know if she is ever going to get this English thing down.

Heard here recently:

LK:  (excitedly)  "Mama, Papa brought us a bunch of tambourines!"   

Me:  "Tambourines?!?"  (thinking this odd...but hey, maybe papa is just trying to be supportive of G's drum obsession interest.)

LK:  "Yes, ma'am!  Tambourines from Aunt Sheila's tree!"

Guess what we now ALL call them???


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