Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summertime in the Keys

We were lucky enough to be able to go back to the Keys with Nick's parents, brother and his fiance this last week.  It is one of our favorite places....surrounded by beauty with lots to do.  We had another great week of snorkeling (Nick and the big kids), scuba diving (just Nick), rowing, a little fishing, lots of swimming and some fun in Key West.

Unfortunately, we had a little camera deleting accident in the back seat on the way back from Key West and ALL of my pictures were deleted.  I was totally bummed as "all I wanted on this vacation was a good family picture," but at least my mother-in-law caught this picture on her camera :-)

Until next time...................

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All Stars

Well, of course we think all of our kids are all stars, but this year we had two make the all star teams.  Colton played as one of only two 5 year old on the 6U team and Rahel made it on the team in her very first season of softball.  Way to go you two!

I've said it before, but Colton lives and breathes baseball.  It's pretty crazy how much he loves it.  In fact, he's broken 3 or 4 windows recently swinging bats (or anything else he can swing...sticks, golf clubs, light sabers...), my wall clock also took a hit (wall ball in the house ;-) and Nick slammed a tennis ball into the light post in our front yard this week (like father like son) when he had me "pitch him one."  I'm going to be on a first name basis with the window repair guy.

Colton played in a regional tournament this past weekend.  After the tournament, the fans went out for a little miniature golf.

Daddy won (one under par) and Colton came in second.  I was there, just taking the pictures.  I think I came in 4th (no natural athletic ability here).

We were missing Caleb and Rahel because they stayed home with my parents to go to Rahel's tournament happening the same weekend.  We did end up making it back for her games.

My two little Eli helpers.

Rahel's done pretty well this season learning the game and jumping in with girls that have been playing for years.  She seems to have a natural talent and I think with some hard work and training, she's got a lot of potential to continue to do well in softball.

Rahel's team advances to the state competition coming up in a couple of weeks.  Pretty crazy for a rookie!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Changes

Our family has expanded rapidly in the past 5 years.  When we bought our 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, we only had Caleb and Caroline.  A room for our boy and one for our girl (with room for guests.... she had a  pretty big room) and one for us.  It's a very functional house with everything we need, but we are getting a little more crowded now that we have grown from a family of 4 to a family of 9.

So a change is a coming.

We considered moving and then considered adding on an addition, but in the end, we realized that if we get rid of some stuff (ridiculous what we've acquired in our 11 years of marriage) and better organize our rooms, that our home has plenty of space for all of us....and who knows, maybe even more (an audible gasp.....don't worry, nothing in the works, but we're always open to God's plan ;-)

So, we moved the girls to the master them a bathroom and cutting down on the daily tooth brushing traffic jam.  The three boys moved into the girls room which is bigger than their old room.  That leaves the smallest room, the old boys' room for us.

Makes pretty logical sense:

biggest room = 4 people
medium room = 3 people
smallest room = 2 people

Now we have room for the kids to keep some toys in their rooms, so we converted the playroom into the school room and that made space for us to move our dinning room into the bigger space that was the school room.

I'm liking the change.  Sure, I'll miss my bathroom a bit and sharing with 4 boys may get interesting (might just end up using the girls bathroom after all :-), but in the grand scheme of things, we don't "live" our lives just in our home.  In fact, I want to "live" much bigger than that.  Our life shouldn't just exist within our "own four walls" as our church likes to remind us, but should extend to those around us.  I think our culture places a little too much emphasis on space, a room for every child, playrooms, game rooms, formal living and dinning rooms, theatre rooms......basically just more rooms to fill and more rooms to clean. 

Plus, I hear close quarters make close families and that is definitely a goal we're aiming for.

Rahel watched me paint the new "master" bedroom and then helped me prep the new boys room for painting.  When we finished removing all the outlet covers and taping off the trip, she looked at me and asked if she could paint (I was crunched for time, but....).  She beamed when I said yes and happily skipped off to get a paint brush.  Then she looked back at me and said, "this is my first time painting."  One of those great bonding moments.

I asked her if she wanted me to take her picture painting and she said yes!

While we worked, Eli got passed around like this, always well attended to (Prince Eli...yikes, we might be creating a monsters, he can hardly help but be spoiled with all the love he's smoothered with :-)

And my two little boys ended the night like this (their beds weren't set up yet).  Moving the house around was exhausting work, but we are just about settled in now and enjoying the new set up.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Raised to New Life

 In April (yes,I'm a bit behind), Rahel made a big decision to be baptized.  Our church baptises at the beach, which I think is just beautiful.  The beach also holds some significance for me and our Ethiopian kids as we sometimes talk about how Ethiopia is just across the ocean.  When you're looking out across the ocean, you're looking in the direction of Ethiopia. We were so proud of our girl as she walked out into the water.

Do you believe the Jesus is the Son of God......

Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins to be forgiven.....

Do you trust him for your eternal salvation......

Do you plan to follow him for the rest of your life?

Raised to new life!

We are so proud of the girl you are and excited to see God's plan for your life onfold!

Birthday Day

Meron celebrated her 7th birthday on June 10th with a trip to Lego Land.  All the kids had been wanting to go, so the girls' birthdays were a good excuse to make it out there.  Plus, home schooling families get in for just $8 per kid on Mondays and her birthday landed on a Monday, so we were in luck!

  The two rides she wanted to do were the carousel and the "big kid cars."  She wasn't old enough to do the cars last time we went.



 The highlight for the boys....a pretty impressive lego star wars exhibit.

Then we were off to the water park.  We found out the hard way that the water park is NOT included in your $8 "field trip" admission.  But, we had waited til high noon to head over there, dressed in our swim suites and sweating our tails off, I had to cave and bought tickets to go in anyway.  It was worth it.  It was not crowded at all and was super fun.

Then we were off to Gee Gee and Paw Paw's house for dinner and cake for my newest 7 year old.  Again, I ask, "how did she get to be 7 already?"  We brought Meron home as a shy, timid and TINY three year old.  She's turned into a friendly, silly, beautiful girl.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Great Dad

Our kids are lucky to have such a great dad.  He's fun, he's present, he's engaging and hard working, he loves his family and devotes most of his time to us.

Not many guys out there signing up to parent 7 kiddos. I'm so thankful that he is and that he has followed God's call and said yes even when it seemed crazy.

When I look at our kids, I couldn't imagine not having one of them.  What if we had stopped welcoming kids after we had the "perfect family" of one boy and one girl?  Boy would we have missed out.

                      Very thankful for our house full of children and especially thankful for their dad!

Friday, June 7, 2013

What We've Been Up To

May 14th kicks of Spring birthday season in our house.

Hermela turned 9!!! How did that happen?  My little girl is all grown up.  Nearly 3 1/2 years home and she has grown into such a beautiful girl inside and out.  She's a thoughtful, helpful, loving girl with a heart for others and a giving spirit.

Don't grow up too fast! (I'm always saying that to my kids, but they all keep growing up anyway???)

Sweet Caroline had a super sundae seventh birthday just two weeks after Hermela on May 29th.
Caroline is our feisty funny girl.  She's a girl with a plan, always knows what's going on (we call her "the reporter") and likes to lead. She's smart and friendly and loves helping out with her baby brother.

Meron's up next on June 10th.

Aside from birthday bashes, we've kept busy with baseball, softball, ballet and piano.

We've entered the summer baseball season with Colton and Rahel playing all stars and Caleb joining a wood bat league.  Last weekend was a marathon with 5 games and this weekend we have at least 6, maybe 8 games depending on how Colton's team does tomorrow.  It's a whirlwind, but we all enjoy it.

Eli has gotten good at napping at the field.

We've all gotten good at entertaining ourselves in the down time.

A little color fun at the field.  The girls have made friends with all the other  sisters on the sidelines.

A new site to see on the sidelines...the first time ever that Nick is not coaching.  I told him not to tell anyone that he knows anything about baseball at  the wood bat league :-) It's nice to have him on this side of the fence! He is coaching Colton's team, so this won't last long.

Caleb pitched for the second time ever and did awesome!  Two strike outs and threw for an out at home  all in the same inning.  Great for his confidence and so fun to watch.

Real baseball rules here with lead offs and stealing.  Caleb  holding the runner at 1st.

Little slugger swinging his air bat last weekend.  He lives and breaths baseball !
Talk about growing up too fast.  My big boy graduated from preschool last week. He's super excited to start Kindergarten and join us full time at home.  He can't wait to learn to read.

Then he went and lost not one, but two teeth this week.  One yesterday...he didn't even know he lost it.  We  think he lost it at lunch and swallowed it  Then tonight at dinner he lost another one.  Just fell out.  We are literally losing teeth about every week around here.  Someone always has a wiggly one.

Off to the ballet. Spring 2013 recital.  The girls were cats in "Sleeping Beauty"

And then my big girls gave us a show on the piano.  They just started lessons last September and have made so much progress. 

And one of my favorite pictures.  My oldest and my youngest playing around at home.  I came home and Eli was all sported out Ethiopian style with "Rah Rah."  These two are good buddies and have such a sweet relationship.
Love these two!

Happy June!!!

ps. This is my 400th post!! It's been a crazy 4 years!