A Puppy- that is what we needed

2016-09-15_0003That seems to be the most frequent response when people hear that we got a puppy. “A PUPPY? That’s what you needed!”

I understand this response. We have five busy kids and a dog already, and everyone knows that puppies are exhausting. What were we thinking?

Honestly, we were thinking that our boisterous but loving crew could handle the expansion. 🙂

Years ago when we had 2 dogs we said that we never wanted to have just one dog again. It is good for a dog to have a companion. So with that, we began our search.

I took the kids to every rescue organization that I could find. I took them so many times that they didn’t think it was fun anymore, because they no longer believed that I was actually going to choose a dog. They kept asking me what exactly I was looking for, and I had to keep telling them that I wasn’t sure, I just knew that I would know the right dog when I saw it.

Finally we found a dog that fit most of what we were looking for. This mostly meant that he would remain small but still had the potential to be a dog that could run with our lab. He also touched my heart. He was a terrified little thing. When I picked him up his whole body shook and shook. He had a sign on his pen that said that he needed to go home with a particular stuffed fox. A staff member told us that he had been so scared when he arrived at the humane society that he just stayed in a corner curled up in a ball. One volunteer brought that toy in for him from home and he immediately seemed happier. He bonded to the fox and then started coming out of his shell to interact with the staff.

We decided he was the one for us! 🙂


In the next couple of days we found out that he had a tough beginning to his life. He had a skin infection, worms, and a bacterial infection. He had been overridden with fleas so badly that his hair was thin in several places. The vet said that he almost certainly had been living on the street. He also ended up in  a shelter over 4 hours from here and then was relocated. The poor little guy. That is a lot for a 4 month old puppy.

Amazingly, his fearfulness only lasted that first day home. It was like he immediately knew that he was safe now, and he was so happy.

I have to say, I am so happy we made this move. This little guy has fit right in like he belongs here. He has bonded well with Clover, and he is completely patient and tolerant with children handling him most of his waking hours. He is playful and sweet, and seems to be picking up the rules pretty fast. (We are still working on that sleeping all night thing. He really seems to like 3:30 in the morning).

Fletcher, I’m so glad you came to join our circus!

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Preschool Begins

This is once again an overdue post, but Kai finally started school! He had had enough of the days with all of his siblings in school. Every day he asked, “Can I PLEASE go to school TODAY?”

I was so thrilled for him when I could say “Yes!”

This day marked a big one for me. It was the last first day of preschool. For the last 10 years I have had a preschooler, and this will be the end of that era. I will save the rest of my angst about that for my end of the year post. For now, I will just celebrate that Kai is healthy enough to go to school, and he is eager to go every single day. And I remain forever thankful for this school where he is loved and nurtured, and for the teachers who have encouraged me and encouraged my children all along the way.2016-09-15_0001He even gets to be the big cousin going to school, which is a big deal when you are the littlest of five kids at home. 🙂


Have a wonderful year sweet boy!

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Back to School 2016

Uggggggg, it is here again. School. I understand that it is necessary, I just wish that it wasn’t.

The lunches, the homework, the hours of missing my kids. I just really could do without all of these things.


Hannah actually broke us in starting first grade last week.


Hannah LOVES going to school, so this was an easy one. She was thrilled that morning and thrilled when I picked her up and she yelled, “Now its time for after school SNACKS again!!!” (as if she didn’t get snacks in the summer time??)

My oldest 3 started today. Z in 6th, D in 4th, and K in 2nd. They were all feeling pretty good this morning. I am counting down the hours until I can pick them up.

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179 days until next summer. It can’t come fast enough for me.

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Summer Wrap Up

How does it go so fast? I love summer SO much, and I try my best to savor the days, but no matter what I do they continue to fly by. Here are some of my favorites moments from this year.

Kai and I went back to Ohio for his post-surgery check. Another couple of days at the Ronald McDonald house and an all-clear. 🙂


At our house, June is devoted to swim team. There aren’t many activities that have a place for every child in our family, but swim team works for us. We love the time with our friends, and we have a rock star coach that makes everyone excited to go the the pool every day.


Swimming has become especially important to Z. I told his coach this year that swimming filled a hole for him that I didn’t even realize was there. With her encouragement, he began swimming year round, and through that experience he has gained more confidence all around. He has seen the benefit of hard work, and he has found an activity that he truly loves. It makes my heart want to burst!


We even got to see this special guy again at a swim meet. 🙂


Of course our house is a tennis house too, so there was plenty of tennis going on. Miss K particularly loves playing.


I peaked on my father’s day gift this year, giving my husband and my boys a night at a Weird Al concert. There is nowhere I can go but down from there. They reportedly had an “epic” time. 😉


We celebrated the 4th with our annual bike parade in the mountains, and fireworks with family.


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Family time is the best part of the summer, and this year was full of fun times with our cousins.



We also had some fun times with friends, including a trip to the mountains and a rafting day.

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D has been learning to play the guitar.


We had a fantastic trip to the Florida panhandle with family in July. 🙂2016-08-10_00032016-08-10_0001


Z and I got to watch the U.S. Olympic swim team practicing. So much fun!


We closed out our summer with a family day at the lake, trips to the zoo, the Childrens’ Museum, ice cream, and a movie. We like to close it down in style.


Good-bye Summer 2016. I will be eagerly waiting your return next year. Only 180 school days, right?


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The Story of Two Brothers

I have been waiting to write this post for SO long, and I’m so happy that I can write it today. It might be a long story, but hang with me, its a good one.

We were so lucky to get to spend a couple of days with Kai’s foster family when we first met him in Beijing. It gave us a true sense of his life before he joined our family, and let us get to know the people that were his temporary family. Well, while we were there I fell completely in love with Kai’s foster brother, Wei. While we were there he stayed gently by my side. He held my hand and touched my heart, and I wished deeply that I could just bring him home with me too!


When we got home I told my social worker about him at our initial check in. She laughed at me, reminding me that I said that Kai would absolutely be my last adoption. I told her that I still thought that he would be, but that I could not forget Wei, and if another family didn’t step forward for him soon then it would have to be me. I told the same thing to my family and friends.

I did not feel prepared to start an adoption right then, so I started doing what I could to advocate for Wei. I saw that his file had been placed with an agency in the U.S., and I talked to several families about him, and forwarded on videos and pictures, raving about what a wonderful child he is. I prayed deeply that his family would come, or that I would be ready to take the leap myself.

Shortly after that, I received this message through Facebook, “I think we are meant to know each other 😉. Our families apparently know many of the same people and we are in the process of adopting a son from Little Flower. A friend shared your blog with me a couple of weeks ago. Then last week we received more photos of our “Jonah”. And guess what?! I recognized your Kai in one of the photos❤️!”


This message was from a friend of a friend, and after a couple of short messages I put together that she was adopting Wei! Amazingly enough, she lives less than 10 minutes away!!

We quickly got together and bonded instantly over our excitement over finding each other and our attachment to this wonderful boy.

Over the months as she was waiting we got together several times, always bubbling with excitement and anticipation.

A few months ago, Wei came home to his wonderful forever family. Although I was wishing that I could be there to scoop him into my arms when they landed at the airport, I knew that this new family needed their time and space to be together. So I waited with great anticipation until I could see him again.

That day finally came yesterday. These two brothers from China were sitting next to each other again. It was an incredible moment. There are 147 MILLION orphans in the world, and somehow these two were able to end up 10 minutes from each other. They will be able to grow up with a bond that is deeper than friendship. It just continually brings tears to my eyes. This is absolutely one of the most amazing answers to prayer that I have ever experienced.


His mom shared with me that now that Wei is learning English and can talk to her a bit about his past, he told her that he was very scared when he first came to Little Flower. He had not had much stability in his life, and I’m sure that not all of his experiences were good ones. He told her though that when they opened the door he saw Kai Yi, and he knew that it was going to be okay.

Let that sink in for a minute. And then think about the fact that before Wei had to go through the scariest transition of his entire life, where he had to leave his country, his culture, and all of the people he has ever known, he also had the knowledge that Kai was already there.  I hope it helped his heart again to know that it was going to be okay.


God is so good. So thankful for the way this story has unfolded, and so excited for future memories shared with these now treasured friends!


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