Saturday, July 30, 2016

Zone Cleaning

I've been asked a lot of times how I "do it"--homeschooling the children, completing paperwork for the adoption, caring for the children, cooking, cleaning, taking the children to all their doctor appointments, doing the laundry, etc. The answer:

I don't.

I can't.

Actually, my in-laws help babysit the children while I run to various doctor appointments. Thank you, George and Carileen!!

In addition, I've been greatly helped by:
Zone Cleaning for Kids
We--the children and I--have been using this program since the beginning of June, and we all really like it! (Surprisingly.)

About five days a week, we do "zone cleaning". (We take off Sundays and Mondays when Derek is off work.)

Instead of everyone picking up their "own stuff", we now pick a zone. This is so helpful since so much of our "stuff" belongs to "everyone" (like Legos, playdough...).

Everyone picks their favorite zone--which starts the cleaning off to a very good start--and each zone has a check list and boxes to check off. With a dry erase marker to mark off the boxes, the children know exactly what to do.

And, there's something about a dry-erase marker and marking off boxes that is SO exciting to the children.

The children gladly clean their zones.

I know: weird.

I'll often hear: "Can we do zones now?" (vs. at the end of the day).

So, the house stays relatively clean.

Is it perfect?

No way!

Is it lived in?

Yep. Ya betcha!

Is it relatively peaceful and easy to keep up on?

Yes. Gloriously: Yes!

Last night as the kiddos were doing their zones, I snapped these shots:

Andrew loves to clean the bathrooms:

Cherish always chooses the kitchen:

Hope often chooses the living room:

This has been a true blessing to our family. I hope it will bless others as well.

Side note: If you do indeed buy it, you may want to laminate the sheets of the book immediately. Andrew was so into cleaning the bathroom, that he decided the zone book should be cleaned, too. He washed it in the sink with soap and water. Let's just say, it's laminated now and doing just fine.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Updated Pictures of Samuel

This morning, we were surprised to receive three pictures of Samuel:

And, a smile! A SMILE!!!
I've never seen one on him!!!
My heart is happy! J

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Travel Approval!

China has issued our Travel Approval, and we spent today looking for the least expensive routes, connections, and dates for travel.

We have now purchased our tickets!

"Thank You, Lord, for choosing Samuel for our family!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

To fast or not to fast

The children had almost finished eating breakfast, but Andrew's French Toast still remained untouched. I kept seeing him pass by the kitchen and thought he was just doing important kid-things. I finally went to tell him he must sit and eat before his food got cold. He replied: "I've decided to fast today." I almost choked. I said, "What?? Do you know what fasting is?" He said, "No, but I know it really pleases the Lord, so I’ve decided to fast today.” I said, “Fasting is when someone doesn’t eat in order to pray and read the Bible.” Andrew said, “But I can’t read the Bible; there are too many words.” I asked: “Do you know what you are fasting about?” He said: “No, I just want to please the Lord.” To which I said: “Then I think it will be ok to eat one piece of French Toast.” That boy….

Derek's had a fever and been sleeping since yesterday. He woke up around 12:30 p.m. today and Derek said: "Andrew, I am so sick. Did you pray for me?" Andrew: "I want to fast for you but mom won't let me."

Yes, I'm about to make lunch. Yes, sometimes I'm the "bad guy". (he he)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


...loves to play!
...loves water!
 ...loves hats!
 ...loves hugs! a new Chinese language student.

Our Daniel is a bright shining light in our home!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Updates on Samuel

Since the last time I updated about Samuel, we received LOA, I-800 Provisional Approval, and we should have Article 5 by Monday, July 25th. From that point on, we await Travel Approval! We are getting a whole lot closer!

In addition, we received some updated pictures and information about little guy.

Samuel is 19-months-old, weighs 21 pounds, and is 29 inches tall. He has 10 teeth and his feet measure in at 4.75 inches long--which means he will be wearing the same size shoes as Daniel.

 "We love you, Samuel! We'll hold you and kiss you soon!!!" 

Friday, July 22, 2016

School is underway!

I know! We are so weird! 

Yes, indeed. School is underway and going smoothly.

Here are our "Beginning of the School Year" pictures:

Here they are in age order: 9, 7, 6, and 2-years-old

Knowing that we will be traveling to China to get Samuel at the beginning of the traditional school year, we knew we had to start school early. But, knowing just how hard jet lag and transition are, we decided to begin as soon as possible--to lessen the stress on the other side of the adoption trip.

Just a side note, the adoption trip--with all of its tremendous amounts of stress, sickness, etc.--cannot compare to the transition time coming home.! Just sayin'.

Goin' in with our eyes wide open!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"God Has a Plan"

I think I've written here about Andrew wanting to be a missionary to Asia. He doesn't know which country in Asia yet, just that God wants him to go to Asia.

Just now, Andrew told me: "Ya know, Mom, God has a plan for me. Ya know how I am so skinny? I think God made me to only eat a little bit, so that the people won't eat me. Ya know the people that eat other people? Well, when I tell them about Jesus, they will see that I am so skinny and have no fat on my body, and they won't want to eat me. God has a plan in this!"


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Big Boy Bed and Favorite Book

In order to prepare for Samuel's arrival, we moved Daniel into the bottom bunk in the boys' room. However, Andrew longed to sleep WITH Daniel, so we took the bunk apart and placed the beds side by side.

Daniel has now successfully transitioned to his "big boy bed", but I don't believe in all the times he has fallen asleep on his own, that he hasn't had least one leg over a rail or between the slats in his bed. (He he)

Also, Daniel has chosen his first favorite book. He carries Biscuit around, sleeps with the book, and can listen to it read numerous times in one sitting. (And, of course, Daniel brought his book to me to read twice while I was writing this post. J)

It's precious to see little ones fall in love with books!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Daniel enjoyed his first "Independence Day"

"Independence Day" gives me the goosebumps!
To know these children are free in so many ways...
I get all choked up!

The celebration was so wonderful,
Daniel fell asleep in my arms IN the pool!

God bless all those who have fought and continue to fight to make and keep us free!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

An Undeserved Vacation

Another gift!

May I just add here: people have told us that if we keep adopting, we will rob our other children of the extra "fun stuff" they deserve.

Sorry, but for us, the needs of orphans come before "fun stuff".

However, God has GRACIOUSLY seen to the care of all of our children. They have been blessed as we keep our eyes on what God has told us to do: adopt orphans.

So, with that, I wanted to share that a precious lady, Sandra Tabor, gifted us with an 8-day vacation at her timeshare! We were amazed at the thought that someone would even think about the desire to get away from the stresses of adoption paperwork and the work-world; to pull away and find some rest!

On the first night we arrived at the timeshare, I felt like stress was literally OOZING out of my every one of my pores! I felt tight muscles relaxing and a feeling of rest began to come over me. It had been a long time!

We pulled away from most of everything and tried to live without a clock. How strange! How wonderful!

We spent our days reading, swimming, playing miniature golf and board games, coloring, and putting together a large puzzle. It was a time of really special bonding!

Here's a summary picture-style:

Derek had his birthday while we were on vacation:
Cherish trying to golf around the little ones:
Daniel golfs by throwing the ball in the hole:

The littles got tired of golfing.
Daddy used the clubs (plural) he was holding to golf "better".
Cherish patiently tries to golf around all the balls and the cute little guy:
Time to just sit, tickle, and snuggle:

Kisses and hugs:

Nap time? No problem.
Sleep whenever you'd like, little guy.

Last night sleep-over in the living room watching a movie:

Thank you, Sandra, for the gift of rest, recuperation, and bonding time. 
God bless you!!