Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perfect Chaos

Friday evening for the first time all ten of us were together.

We loaded up into the van and headed home.

They were all so excited.

"How much longer?" was only asked a few hundred times.

When we finally pulled into our drive way they could not get out of the car fast enough.

We showed them all of the downstairs and then we began to show them their bedrooms for the first time.

The excitement remained at an all time high from the first door until the last.

They seem to all love their room and the special touches we added to make it their own.

After the grand tour it was time for our first meal together as a family.

Several of the kids wanted to help me prepare it.

Lots of hands in the kitchen.

It took twice as long to make dinner.

The mess was ten times bigger.

But it was sweet memories together.

Memories that I wouldn't trade for anything.

We watched a movie together after dinner and then tried to settle down for bed.

Sleep...there wasn't a lot of that.

We were all just a bit excited.

They went to bed late and woke up early.

It felt almost like having 8 newborns in the house.

Saturday was a big day.

Our sweet friends Jennifer and Jennifer hosted a beautiful shower for us.

It was a chance to meet family and friends.

What a blessing it was to see our children meet their grandparents,aunts, uncles, cousins, and new friends for the first time.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church as a family.  I think this might have been my favorite part of the weekend.  All ten of us sitting together taking the entire row worshiping our Creator.

A sweet friend made us all matching shirts.  As soon as we opened them on Saturday the children wanted all of us to wear them on Sunday.

And so we were THAT family Sunday morning in our matching shirts.

There may have been some eye rolling from dad, but he's a good sport.  He loves these kids with his whole heart.

 I love that about him.

I remember a time when he said he didn't care if we ever had kids.  I don't think he feels that way anymore. :)

Sunday night was one of the hardest things we've had to do.  We had to say goodbye to 7 of our 8 children one more time. (One moved in on Friday.  It was what is best for her)  Our hearts broke as we drove away.

We are all counting down the days until Friday when everyone can be home for good.

The weekend wasn't perfect.

I would be lying if I said there were no hard moments.

I would be lying if I say it wasn't a chaotic weekend.

It was very chaotic and very new.

Yet it felt normal and like it is the way life has always been.

God has brought our children home.

Now we will do our best with His help to raise them to love Him with all their hearts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Our Painting & Technology Date

Our three youngest daughters returned from camp this past Thursday.  They were gone for two weeks but it felt more like two months.  I didn't realize just how much I missed them until I saw them Thursday evening.  

We took the two youngest girls out for a date.  I have enjoyed each and every date with them, but I have to admit this was my favorite meal and activity.

We went to Pottery Worx, one of those places where you pick a piece of pottery to paint.  

Our Dancer chose a cat for herself and a dog for dad.  He took his dog painting seriously.

I painted a plate and our other sweet daughter painted an owl.

It was so much fun.  We are looking forward to picking them up soon and seeing our finished products.

We ate at a place called Stoby's afterwards.  Andrew claims it is famous for its cheese dip.  I had never heard of it or their cheese dip, but let me tell you it was GOOD!!

After our date we were able to spend time with seven of the eight kids.

We told them they were going to Skype with family and they could not have been more excited about it.

Most of Andrew's family were together for PB's birthday party so we skyped with them.  They got to "meet" our kids for the first time.  

It was special.

I stood behind the ipad and just cried for a minute.  

I have never been more thankful for technology.

A few of them Face Timed with my parents too.

Our kids are so excited about family - and they don't mean just Andrew and me.  They mean aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

We start overnight visits soon.

We talk to at least some of the kids every day.  They call us and they call often.

We love it.

They ask every time they call when they can come spend the night.

They are so ready.

We are too.

We are working like crazy to get bedrooms set up for them.

We just keep telling them soon.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekend Fun!

Oh what a weekend!

We had a fun filled weekend and none of it had anything to do with the holiday.

Andrew and I pretty much just ignored the fact that it was July 4th.

It wasn't intentional.  It just happened that way.

Thursday evening the most exciting thing of my blog life happened.

I met my best blog friend for the first time.

Not only did I meet her, but she and her husband stayed at our house for a couple of nights.

I found Miranda's blog several years ago through a link up Kelly  (Kelly's Korner) hosted.  We immediately hit off and became "fake" friends as my husband calls it.  Ha!  She and I just seemed to have so much in common and it wasn't long before we were texting and hanging out via technology.

She was visiting Arkansas over the long weekend and it worked out where she and her hubby could stay with us for a few days.

We had so much fun.

I dare say our husbands hit it off great!  48 hours of golf talk.  

Andrew and I are sad they don't live closer so we could hang out more often.

Friday we were telling her about the van we planned to buy.  One thing led to another and before we knew it this happened...

We are now the proud owners of a Nissan NV.  

Plenty of room for us and our eight kiddos!

As we drove it home that afternoon Andrew and I would just look at each other and laugh.

That thing is huge!

Our youngest son has nicknamed it Big Blue.

Seems fitting.

Saturday morning we had to say goodbye to Miranda & Shelby.  :(

Andrew and I then spent the day with two of our boys.

We picked up our oldest son that morning and went to the driving range.  I'm not expert but I think he did a great job and will be out there playing before long. 

We picked up two of the girls and our youngest son for lunch.  

I love watching them interact with one another.

After lunch we took the two girls and our oldest son back home so that we could have an afternoon date with our youngest son.

Bowling and ice cream were on the agenda.

Sunday afternoon we were able to spend some time with our middle son after church.  

We had lunch and then went to a park to play.  He and Andrew threw a football around while I sat and watched.

Sunday on the way home I told Andrew I felt like I was going to be in a constant state of exhaustion for the rest of my life.

I love dating our kids, but the constant driving is exhausting.

I cannot wait to have them home so we can be with all of them all the time.

I cannot wait for them to meet all their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I cannot wait until I can share their pictures with you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dating Our Children

It's new.

Learning how to meet our children and get to know them.

We've compared it to dating and marriage.

It's the closest thing that we have experience with.

Just like we vowed before God, our family, and friends to love one another no matter what, we vow to love these children no matter what.

It's easy right now.

We are in the dating phase of our relationship.

Everything is new and fun and exciting.

But we know the honeymoon phase will eventually end and real life will settle in.

We will have good days and we will have hard days.

We will have days when the love comes easily.

And we will have days where we have to seek forgiveness from one another.

It's all a dream come true.

Our path to parenthood is different than I ever imagined it to be growing up.

Our path is showing me the truth of Ephesians 3:20.  My God is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or think.

We are treasuring every minute of this path.

We met our middle son yesterday for the first time.  It was strange to be back in this place of first introductions.  We were not as nervous this time, but we were equally as excited.

Our sweet boy seemed nervous at first.  

Who could blame him?

We told him how excited we were to finally meet him and we told him how much his brothers and sisters missed him.

We gave him the cards from his brothers and sisters and that seemed to bring out his true personality.  We gave him the option of waiting to read them in private or reading them right then.  He wanted to read them right then.  

It was precious to watch him read his siblings' words to him.  We could tell that it meant the world to him.

We played basketball for a little while.

Andrew beat him at a game of horse.  :)

We walked a few laps around the track and just talked.

He told us he was excited about being adopted and even more excited that it meant he could be with his brothers and sisters again.

The excitement they all have to be adopted all together...

It's why God laid on our hearts to adopt a sibling group.

Their love for one another is a beautiful thing.

Sure they are siblings and they pick on one another, but oh how they love one another.

Last night we took our two oldest daughters out on a date.

We went out to eat and then took them for manicures.

Such a fun girls night, even with Andrew tagging along. :)

He knows how to show three girls a good time and make them feel special.

The girls had never had manicures before and it was fun watching them experience it for the first time.

Our Shy One wanted our nails to match.

That made a momma feel loved.

The Oldest chose bright neon colors.

They could not have been more proud of their new nails.

The night did not seem nearly long enough.

It gets harder and harder to say goodbye at the end of each visit.

And it saddened us that we didn't get to see the other children last night.

We miss them.

We cannot wait for our next visit.