One of our Christmas traditions is...

going to a Christmas play.  This year it was Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
The last two years, Remi has taken her best friend from China, Abigail! In China Remi and Abigail lived right next door from one another in foster homes. Their foster moms were best friends. To be honest Remi says, "My foster Mom was mean and Abigail's was meaner." Abigail still has the scars on her cheeks to prove it!. Remi and Abigail are both sweet, sweet girls and little blessings to have in our lives.
Ha! Look at Boone. You could say he is my little Christmas present, and I can't imagine getting a better one!! His appetite has really picked up as he has learned to like American food. He told us in China they had to fight to get food and the bigger people got more. So, when people ask me questions like, "is our house big enough?" I'm honestly thinking they are not very... OK I'll be nice. When kids have scars on their cheeks from being pinched and little kids go without food because they can't win a fight against the bigger kids, I'm pretty sure sharing a room doesn't bother them. Actually, in China they shared a room with dozens of kids, so even as crowded as our house is, it is better than sharing a room full of rows and rows of beds.
I don't know what costume this play came out of, but I bet it was intense, and I would like to see it.
OMGoodness!! We stopped and got Boone shoe laces on the way there. This is what "someone" came out of Walgreens with. I did fix them as soon as we got home.
We had a fun Christmas and an interesting one. We met our daughter-in-law Rebecca for the very first time. She is from Germany and hasn't lived in the U.S. very long. She has lived a very interesting life. She spent much of her childhood in Africa.  Her parents were missionaries, and they raised her there until she was 13. The kids all loved Rebecca and really didn't give her a minute's peace. It was also Pryor and Boone's very first Christmas--and they were so excited. Pryor knew a little bit about Christmas and had been told the ritual we have with Santa. He knew Santa was not real. Boone was confused about snow and Christmas. We've had some really good snows already this year, and the ground was white everywhere. But just a few days before Christmas, it warmed up and we had a good long rain. The rain melted all the snow away. Boone asked if that meant Christmas was already over with.

Our Cocoa bar

Arden put this together.

Becki makes the world's best dip!

I told the kids they were going last.  Looks like Remi told Boone in Chinese, because look at his face.  Totally cracks me up.

It obviously didn't bother Pryor.

I didn't take these pictures and have no clue what they're all about, but I think they were enjoying themselves.

These are my oldest sister's six daughters.

 I took these pictures on Christmas Eve day.  We were getting ready for Christmas Day.  One of Bret's presents was highlights for her hair.  She had just got home and was showing us.

Arden working on her cheese tray.

Lael was peeling potatoes and Stafan came up with a new way to prepare Deviled Eggs. He used a chopstick to get the yolks out. It really worked and didn't tear up the egg. LOL
Christmas shopping.

Lyric is no shopper unless candy is involved.  I asked her if she had a perfect Christmas. She said no, because the day went by so fast she ate lunch, but forgot to come down for dinner.

Merry Christmas from me to you!!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  


Isaiah 9:6


My sister's home is ready for


Christmas !

This was cute! It has a candy bar inside and one of their teachers gave it to them.

Bret painted her nails for Christmas.

My friend had hers done and I took this picture before church. She laughed at me for taking a picture of her nails. LOL

Getting into the

Christmas Spirit!

Son #1 is home!

Brady and his lovely wife Rebecca are home for Christmas. 

It's NOT Happy Holidays-

It's Merry Christmas!! 


My sister made these Christmas cups for the kids' teachers.  She even painted them with chalkboard paint and used a chalk pencil to write on the cup.  Then she filled the cup with cocoa and candy.
Since it was the last day before Christmas break the kids had a pajama party.  Not only were they allowed to wear their pjs to school, I think they also watched a Christmas movie. 




Four Good Boys

We went out to eat the other day and Boone said, "Thank you Momma."  Arden told me he was thanking me for the Coke.  She asked him if he got Coke in China and he said, "Yes, when bà ba (Mandarin for Dad) came."  Boone lived in an orphanage.

Pryor liked his foster family and said he got Coke when they had company.  Pryor looked the healthiest of any of our kids when we got them, with the exception of his teeth.  I think he was treated good.  But when asked if he wants to go back and live with them, he always has said no. 

Shepard told me just the other day when he was in China he was really sick and went to the hospital.  He said he got sick from eating out of a trash can.  I'm really surprised someone took him to the hospital.  He lived in a foster home, but has never had anything good to say about his foster family.  He was a real mess when we got him.

Good news!

Hannah is making too much spinal fluid due to the tumor but they do not believe it is cancer. The doctor wants to re-image it in 2-3 months to make sure it is not growing. He is also putting her on a medicine to slow down the spinal fluid production. Keep praying for no growth and that the headaches go away!


Our church had their inspiring Christmas play!  The music director is great and the church is blessed to have him. 



Stafan and Shepard


Gabrielle and Darby doing a special part using ribbons.  It was cute.  Lael said it was her favorite part.


This was my favorite though.  Lyric, Cokie, Gabrielle and two other girls (sorry, don't know their names) singing a really cute song.



The Father gave the son...


The Son gave the Spirit, and the Spirit gave life...


and it equals love.





Cokie and Shepard were Christmas shoppers here.  They both had speaking parts and did a really good job.


You'll have to take my word for it--that is Stafan playing the mall cop.


The only half way clear pictures I got were after the program. The kids rehearsed for this play for over two months.  Bret helped out the entire time.  She is such a doll!


L to R Stafan, Gabrielle, Darby and Shepard.


Maybe I shouldn't blog this, but it was kind of funny (if you were there). A very nice person passed out the candy Lyric is holding.  I have no idea who it was.  I actually always loved the candy money you can buy at Christmas.   Lyric was so serious sitting there and probably tired.  She said, "All this work and this is what I got to show for it." I did tell her she was missing the point, and she quickly responded, "I know, I know."

My view this morning.

Then out to breakfast... with the ones that wanted to get out of bed "early" on a Saturday morning.
On the way home they got to do one of their favorites things... stop at the very authentic Chinese store. It isn't in the best part of town, but it is the real deal. It is so "real" the Chinese lady ran up and asked how much the kids cost. Hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I told her! Yes, I did. If someone born and raised here had asked me I would have been insulted, but when a Chinese person asks I just figure it is more their culture, and it is. Also, most Chinese "get it" that the US is so much better off than China and the kids are better off here in a family. Some Americans can't or won't grasp it. For example, we had our carpet cleaned yesterday. The carpet cleaning guy was going on about a spot I had on the carpet. The spot wasn't from the kids, but our sick dog. I told him I have a lot of kids and really a spot didn't bother me a lot as long as it was cleaned. He then freaked out about the number of kids we have, basically telling us our house isn't big enough for this blah blah blah... I went on to tell this carpet cleaner we don't live by man's standards and shame on him!!! Mike came in and saved the guy from my lecture. Ironically, he didn't take care of the spot he wouldn't shut up about. Meanwhile, he also blathered on about the fact I had cleaned one are the dog got sick with Comet telling me the combination of his carpet cleaning solution and the Comet was going to turn that spot bleach white. Guess what?  That spot looks great. Apparently, this guy knows about as much about cleaning carpets as he does about what life is like in an orphanage.

But that is just the beginning of my Christmas rant (and it is a Christmas rant, since I'm cleaning for Christmas). Not only did our dog get sick this week and destroy the girls's carpet, our "new" washing machine broke. And of course the repairman that came out had to order a part and won't be back out until next week. Mike has been such a sweetheart and has been taking laundry to the Laundromat until the stinking part comes in (I'm in a mood). Anyway, Mike drags in a day's load of laundry back from the Laundromat and tells me a lady he didn't know started talking to him. He said at first he was thinking "is the Laundromat a pickup place?"; but then he realized she was from our church when she asked, "How much laundry do you have with all your tribe?" He said to me, "Can't I go anywhere without getting questions?" Welcome to my world. BTW, in case you're wondering what the answer to the lady's question is, Mike has been taking 5 loads a day to keep up and that is NOT counting any sheets, blankets or coats--and the kids are taking baths and sleeping in sweats they can wear the next day.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Please pray for Hannah

She is the daughter of one of our best friends.


Update : According to the neurosurgeon this appears to be a germinoma. The game plan is: 1. Admit to Riley Hospital on Monday morning. 2. Spinal tap and blood work. It is VERY IMPORTANT that he sees the markers for germinoma in the blood and spinal fluid. If he does we see the Oncologist to set up radiation and chemo. 3. If he does not see the markers then he would have to do a biopsy on Tuesday. 4. PLEASE pray that he sees what he needs in the spinal fluid and blood work on Monday morning!


Shepard is into fixing anything around the house. If Mike is working on something or if we hire someone Shepard is all over it. Today he and I went and bought a new sweeper. He loaded it in the cart, put it in the car and came right home, put it together and then started sweeping the entire down stairs.  He is a great helper, but so are the other boys (well we aren't getting Boone to do too much). Lyric still announces about once a day, "You're spoiling him."

It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTmas everywhere you go!

This is what I found on my bed last night.



The Lyric Ya Ni of course!


Some kids don't like to be in pictures and will even run and hide.  Not Boone!




I have to admit I can't yell at him (much) because he makes me laugh.



I had to trick him to get a natural picture, but this is what he really looks like. : - )






 Pryor is doing great in school, but still  has some Chinese orphan behaviors to work out.  I was told by an adult at school the kids treat him like a rock star and everyone knows of his math ability.  However, this can cause brattyness.  : - ))


 To get Boone out of a picture you can always crop.