Friday, December 25, 2015

Antonio Turns 21!!!

Antonio had a birthday this week!  I don't know why this birthday was so hard for me this year but truly I am just amazed.  How did this child of ours get so old so fast!!!  21!!!!

He was just a little guy when we adopted him.  23 pounds at almost 6 years old!  We quickly started working on getting him evaluated for a G-tube.  Until then we used an NG-tube through his nose to feed him extra calories.
He quickly started to put on weight, grow and get healthier.  Praise God!

I know he is very tired in the picture below but I wanted to include it, to show how sweet and kind he has always been to all of the other children.  Here he is holding Zeke's little hand.

Antonio was a very medically fragile infant and child. (He was a 23 week preemie)  He had so many issues, surgeries and hospital stays his whole life.  I can't even count the times or amount of days he has been in the hospital since he has been with us but he is so worth it.  He is such a miracle and it is by the grace of God he is here and so healthy today.  God is faithful!

He has always been such a good boy. We have all loved him as one of our own from the very beginning.

William and Antonio have always had a very special bond.  They still do to this day.
William would do anything for him to make him happy. 

He is a genuinely happy soul.  He encourages others and prays for everyone he knows.

He could not be a better son!  I have hardly ever had to discipline him.  He is a very easy going, laid back, young guy.

He truly is a great blessing to us.  We try to find ways to include him in everything we do and take him everywhere we go.  If it is not wheel chair accessible, we don't go.

He has always loved all his siblings so much.  Being one of the oldest children in the home, he has watched the middles grow up from little babies.

Antonio has really enjoyed having young children in the house again, with our newest additions.

Antonio felt well on his birthday and wanted to go out to eat to the Hibachi Grill. Then we came home for cake.  He wanted Aunt "S" to make him a cake with Oswald on it, like Timothy had, so she did.  He loved it.
 Thank you Aunt "S" and Uncle "B" for making his day special!

You are a wonderful gift from God and such a blessing in our lives, my sweet Antonio!  May God bless you with health and happiness every day of your life!

Psalm 91:16  With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Timothy, Kinsley and baby "A"!!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Decorating Cookies!!

I try to help the children decorate cookies this time of year, every year.  Last year I was not up to it.  I was a bit overwhelmed with the toddlers behaviors and Kinsley was a baby.  I still did not really feel like attempting it this year, with baby "A" needing my attention so much right now.  The older children begged me for weeks.  I finally told William, if he made the cookies the day before, I would help the younger children frost theirs.

I was very impressed to see William up late, rolling out sugar cookie dough and using cookie cutters one evening last week.  I did not have to do a thing.  He even cleaned up the kitchen when he was finished.  :)

The next day I made a huge batch of frosting and the children used it and food coloring drops, to make little bowls of all the colors they wanted to use.  I had also bought decorating packets of colored decorating frosting and candy, to decorate with. 

Billy and Timothy have been very into the gingerbread man story lately, so they picked out gingerbread man cookies to decorate. 
I let them each decorate their one cookie and then proceed to eat it!

Carolyn and Elizabeth had spent the previous Saturday, at my sisters, making cookies all day.  Carolyn did not feel like decorating any cookies that day and helped Kinsley decorate a circle cookie.

Antonio's has a teacher that comes to the house one day a week.  She was at the house this day and helped Antonio.

 Elizabeth and William did the bulk of the decorating.
Now..William can be a bit creative and has a mind all his own.  All of the gingerbread men became Mega-man, Superman and lego characters and the round cookies became lego ninja faces...

Zeke had a cold and did not want to help or participate.  He also can not have wheat or dairy so could not have eaten any he made.  So he did other things.  I did get him to come in the kitchen toward the end, to sit and talk with us a bit. 

I just had to include this picture below.  We don't have candy in the house very often and Billy ate a red hot for the first time in his life.  He thought it was one of the M&M's.  Bless his heart!

I pray everyone had a wonderful season of Thanksgiving and has their heart and mind on Jesus Christ and His miracle birth, all the year long!

Psalm 47:1 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.



Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Zeke!!!

God brought you into our lives and family in such a miraculous way.  There has never been any doubt, that God gave you to us as a gift.  I had a dream the night before we were asked to take you and I was told we would be blessed if we took you into our home.  That has been such a true statement and promise from God.  You Zeke, are a blessing.

Today, I am filled with gratitude that God trusted us to raise you and call you our son.  It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.  Looking back through all of our photos of you, just warms my heart and brings a smile to my face.  We love you so much.  You were so sweet and tiny the day I met you. 

We picked you up straight from the hospital.  I cut the name band off your leg when we got home.  You had a lot of health issues but were always so even tempered and sweet.  Everyone just adored you!   William shared his toys with you from the start.  A stuffed hamster he was fond of and his favorite Chevron car.  Now that is love!

You were just to cute for words. A perfect baby in every way.  You took everything, going on in our busy family, in stride and went with the flow of life, just taking it all in.

As you grew you always had a huge smile on your face.  Your eyes just twinkled.  You loved to be held and played with but was always content to just play on your own as well. 

You were such a fun and relaxed little guy.  Daddy just ate you up!

As you grew your health became more and more stable.  God did many miracles in your health.  All the glory to God!

Stephen loved you so much too.

When you turned three you got autism.  Your whole life changed and some things became so much harder.  The smiles were harder to get out of you but you stayed so sweet.  Here you are helping Elizabeth get her oxygen hooked back up.  Such a kind little soul.

Elizabeth's and your adoption took place at the same time.  Your foster care case was a very long, hard case and the joy that we felt on adoption day was so wonderful!

You have always loved animals so much.  Your first pet was your bunny Jacob.

You have always loved being outdoors. 

 When you were younger you and your sister rode your ponies regularly.  Here's your second pony Smoky.

We gave you RooBaby and you became inseparable.  We even have to take her with us when we go on vacation to Jekyll Island.  

You take RooBaby everywhere you can and at home she is almost always in your arms.

You try your hardest at all you do.  Even though school work is difficult for you, you always do your very best.  You love to go on field trips.  Here we went to the Cowboy Museum.

Even though you don't smile much, you do have a sense of humor.  Tickling your sister in the middle of getting your picture taken.

You are such a great big brother to the newest additions to the family.  You are very patient, loving and kind to them all.

Zeke wanted a cake with Jay from legos on it.  My sister did a very good job, as she always does, making it special for him.  Just what he wanted.  Thank you Aunt "S" and Uncle "B" for making him feel special.
William was making bunny ears on me in order to get him to really smile in this photo.

William made him this birthday video.  Great job William.  Zeke loved it!

It has been such an honor to watch you grow from that little newborn, to the strong and healthy young man you are today.  Thank you God for the last 14 years we have been blessed to have Zeke in our lives!

Exodus 23:25  And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Love Always, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Billy, Timothy, Kinsley and Baby "A"

Saturday, November 21, 2015


As the calendar changes over every year from October to November, there is a shift in our home.  A changing of gears, with all the feelings and emotions of this wonderful time of year.  A time of year for bringing out all of our warmer clothing, enjoying cooler weather, watching the leaves change colors and focusing on being thankful for all that God has done for us.
Taking the time to jump in puddles! Big jump up!
Big splash down.
Wonderful wet fun!
Life slows down for us in the fall.  Most of the yearly doctors appointments have been met.  By the time fall gets here, we are in a good routine for home schooling.  I don't have as much yard and garden work to do.  We have time to do extra projects and the children can play outside longer in the cooler weather. 
Water and dirt makes this stuff?  Who knew!
We have time for home school trips, fall cleaning, and lots of' "one on one" time for the children and myself.  I have time to reflect.  I look around me and see all that God has done for us and I am humbled.  We live a very busy life.  A life where every moment of every day is full.  A life where sometimes I don't know how I am going to get it all done.  A life where many days go by, where we never have a break and at times, things can be very stressful and hard...but thru it all...every moment of every day is good.  We live such a rich and full life raising all of these children.  I see miracles unfold every single day.  To witness children learn and grow.  To see them overcome fears and struggles.  The hugs and snuggles, tears and joy!  It is such an honor to be blessed by God with each and every child we have.  God choose Tim and I, to be the ones to write the pages, in the days, of the story of their lives.  He choose us to help them heal, shape who they will be and even thought it is not always easy, it is truly amazing to be a part of it all.  All the Glory to God!
Fun with leaves!
Such simple happiness!
Sweet boy!
God is so awesome.  He knows what He called us to do and knows it is not always easy.  He gives us what we need every day, to accomplish what needs to be done and he provides for our family abundantly in miraculous ways.  In the last month he has blessed us with a new oven, (our old one had died and we were cooking for our large family out of our toaster oven), hay for the winter for our goats, ballet for Carolyn, our lift in our bus broke and has been fixed, just to name a few.  Big needs met in miraculous ways, that happen in a way, that we know it was from God and only God.  Needs that no one knew about and have been met over and over again, year after year, in huge ways.  Every time with Gods finger print on it, in a way that can not be denied.  Blessed...though we don't deserve it, thought we make mistakes, though we are not perfect.  God, the creator of the universe, cares enough about the details of our lives, to reach down from heaven and bless us.  Amazing, humbling...So this is a time of year that we ponder and do some deep thinking, that we stop to take the time to say, "Thank you God!" "To you be all glory and honor and praise!" Not only for salvation but for all of the gifts and blessings in and on our lives.  I am forever grateful.

May the Lord God, in heaven above, be with you this November.  May He show you His powerful hand in a big way, drawing you closer to Him, anointing you for His calling and purpose.

Colossians 3:15-17  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.