As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Whew! We've been busy this past week celebrating Christmas and birthdays, and traveling to visit family. And now here it is - the very last day of 2010! Where has the time gone? But I'm excited about the year ahead, and know that God has great things in store for our family. Just this week, the family directly in front of us on the unofficial sibling waitlist received their referral for a brother and sister. Congratulations! This means that we are now unofficially #1 for girl/boy siblings and boy/boy siblings up to age 3, as well as #1 for a three-year-old girl. Wow! Our time is getting close! So.......does anyone know of a great deal on a full-sized van? :-)

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year filled with God's richest blessings! See you next year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Weekend In Pictures...

We had a wonderful weekend filled with....

family time,




more sliding,



jail time,

 making pizza,

playing grocery store (and charging outrageous amounts for the food!),

mean tortoises,

watching birds,

 walking in a winter wonderland,

Christmas lights,

the live nativity and ChristmasTown at the Creation Museum,

beautiful sunsets,


 and birthday parties! (My birthday was last Wednesday, the 15th, and Chris's birthday is on Christmas Day. We had 2 parties yesterday - one at my Grandma's and the other at Chris's parents' house.)

All in all, it was a really great weekend! Hope you all enjoyed yours as well!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Winner Reveal....

OK, so who won the Christmas ornament? Well, my trusty sidekick and I used a very scientific method to figure it out. First, I wrote the names of everyone who participated in the giveaway on slips of paper. Second, I folded the slips of paper, put them in a dish, and mixed them up.
Then, my trusty sidekick picked a name out of the dish.
And the winner is...............(drum roll, please....)

Yay! The ornament that I picked out for you, Beth, is one of my favorites, and I actually just finished painting it this morning. 

front of the ornament (snowflake design outlined in gold)

back of the ornament

Congratulations, Beth! I hope you like it! And a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the give-away!

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hello, everyone! Yesterday, I was featured as the guest artist over at Cartwheels In My Mind online art magazine. I did a tutorial on my hand-painted Christmas ornaments, so I decided to give one of them away on my blog! If you are interested in entering the drawing, just leave me a comment below with your e-mail address (so I can notify you if you win).  I will randomly pick a winner on Wednesday, December 15. Below is a copy of the article where you can see pictures of the ornaments.

Guest Artist Tutorial :: Erica M.

Hello, everyone! My name is Erica, and I live in Ohio with my husband and four children, ages 9, 8, 6 and 4. We are also in the process of adopting a child (or two!) from Ethiopia! I am a stay-at-home mom, and because of my creative streak, love to bake, scrapbook, china paint, and decorate my home with various crafts I've made. Today I'm going to share my hand-painted Christmas ornaments with you!
 1. I start out with a plain china ornament:

2. Then I grab my paints! The paint starts out in a powder form, like this:
Then, I mix each paint with some oil until it looks like this:

3. Sometimes, I trace a design onto my ornament using graphite paper, but most of the time, I choose to just start painting free-hand. I paint very lightly, not adding any details at this time. I'm just trying to get the background image onto the ornament.
 4. Then, the ornament is ready to fire for the first time! So I place it in my trusty little kiln for 45 minutes.
 The kiln heats up to over 1000 degrees. This bakes the paint right into the glaze on the china, making it permanent. It will never come off, so I have to make sure that there are no paint smudges on the china anywhere! After the ornament cools completely, I paint over the image again, adding more details and deepening the colors. Usually each ornament requires anywhere from 3-6 firings.
5. Once the paint looks the way I want it to, I sign my name on the ornament and add the gold around the edges using my finger. I usually write a message on the back of the ornaments using the gold, too. It is actually either 18 or 24-carat gold, and comes in a liquid form. The tiny bottles of gold are quite expensive!
As you can see from the bottles, the gold is a dark brown liquid. It does not change to the shiny gold color that we're all familiar with until it is fired. 
6. After the ornament is fired for the last time, I tie on a piece of gold cording. Voila!


Thanks for inviting me over, Cartwheels! Have a wonderful Christmas season, everyone!

There you have it! Just leave a comment below if you're interested in participating in the giveaway, and I'll reveal the winner on Wednesday! Thanks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Numbers, Travel Vaccines, and a Prayer Request.....

Our official waitlist numbers for the month of December are:

#35 for girls

#20 for boys

#17 for siblings

These numbers are from the main waitlist, which doesn't take into consideration each family's age parameters. As far as toddlers go, however, we're basically right at the top of the list! Getting closer.......

This afternoon, Chris, Shana and I plan to get some of our travel vaccinations in preparation for our trip to Ethiopia. We will be getting the Yellow Fever and Typhoid Fever shots. The Yellow Fever vaccine is actually a live virus, so I'm really hoping we don't get sick this weekend! We will also have to get something for Malaria since we plan to travel outside of the city of Addis Ababa while we're over there, but we have to get that right before we leave. I thought that while we wait, we might as well get some of our shots out of the way, and we have already gotten our routine vaccinations. (Hep A, Hep B, etc.)

And last but definitely not least, please say a little prayer for my brother Seth, his wife Casey, and their young children.  Casey is in the hospital with what appears to have been a stroke or a mini stroke, but so far the doctors haven't been able to find out what is going on. She is only 21, and had to undergo extensive testing yesterday. They are still awaiting some of the results. We love you, Casey, and hope you get some good news today! May you feel God's nearness and strength during this time, and we're hoping that you feel better soon!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tongue Twisters and Monkeys

***Editor's Note***
(Everyone in my family knows that my tongue gets twisted up quite frequently, and things don't always come out the way I intend for them to. But I must say, usually I only mess up two words at a time instead of three. I don't think it has ever been quite this bad. I'm thinking my brain is becoming mushier as I get older. Also, here's a little disclaimer for any kids out there - DO NOT TRY AT HOME WHAT YOU SEE IN THESE PHOTOS. We are definitely NOT a normal family, nor have we ever tried to be. We just might all be a bit deranged, so I wouldn't recommend following our example.)

The other night, I was trying to explain the Dark Ages to Shana, and ended by saying, "The Dark Ages were full of castles, knights and chivalry." So then she wondered what chivalry was. "Does it have to do with being cold?" she asked. (She was thinking the word was probably spelled something like this - SHIVERY. Now mind you, this is the same child that was reading the newspaper one day, looked up at me with a slightly disgusted look on her face, and exclaimed, "Mom! This lady is getting married for the fourth time!" I looked down at an engagement picture of a very nice-looking, young couple. "What makes you think that?" I wondered. "Well, look right here," she stated, matter-of-factly. "It says that she is announcing her FORTHcoming marriage!" Anyway, back to chivalry.....) I tried to explain what chivalry was, and used words like gallant and noble. But she didn't know the meaning of those words, either. So I finally threw out, "It's when knights put fair maidens in distress above themselves." To which Chris replied something about the knights having to be pretty strong in order to hoist up all those maidens so high. I started to snicker, which was a bad idea since I was eating a pretzel, so I made a beeline for the fridge in order to get a drink, proclaiming, "EXCUSE ME, PLEASE! I HAVE A THROAT PRETZELED IN MY STUCK!" Which for some reason, made the atmosphere in the room all the merrier........

I would also like to announce that it is quite possible for human beings to give birth to monkeys. (Wait....maybe I'm not human. I thought I was, but I could be wrong.) Anyway, I'm not sure how to explain these photos otherwise:

He does this in a matter of seconds. Don't ask me - I have no idea. He was supposed to be in bed at the time. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Driving me up a wall?" Yeah, well, that saying has a LITERAL meaning here in this household..........

Monday, December 6, 2010

'Tis the Season.....

The other day, Malia wanted to go play in the "snow." At the time, this is how much snow we had:

So, she bundled herself up to go play in the snow. And this is what she looked like:
(3 hats! Guess she didn't want her head to get cold!)

Last night, we got several more inches of snow. So she's thankful now that she actually CAN play in the snow today.

Friday night, we went to the Lights Before Christmas at the zoo. This is one of our family's favorite Christmas traditions. After looking at what seemed like gazillions of lights EVERYWHERE, I remembered that the zoo advertises that there are a little over one million lights displayed. "So," I thought to myself, "if I take the number of lights here times 147, that's how many orphans there are in the world." That put it in perspective for me, and was absolutely staggering to think about.  Here are a few photos from the evening:
Ashton watching the HUGE electric train set

Funnel Cakes - another Lights Before Christmas tradition

Then yesterday, we went Christmas caroling with our church's Sunday School. All of the kids had so much fun singing, eating and receiving Christmas gifts from their Sunday School teachers. Here are a few pics of the kids before church yesterday morning:

Have a great Monday, everyone!