Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dec 20 Sleepover at Grandma's

The four oldest girl cousins have a new tradition of helping Grandma decorate for Christmas.  There is one sign that you know you have made it to Grandma's house and that is the tinsel.  She loves it and I am thinking these girls to do.  I wasn't there but I do believe they decorated a lot more than just the tree with tinsel.  My mom had written this note to us in her card thought it was perfect to add to this page.   
I love this photo of the girls all camped out in the living room.  These four get along really well and have a great time together.  How lucky are they to call their cousins their friends:)

It is almost time for us to start our Christmas celebrations. Hoping you all are feeling ready and with those you love the most!

Day 19 Wrapping Gifts (the boys)

There really haven't been any gifts under the tree and to my surprise these two boys came to me asking to help.  Ummm...oh yes I could use some help.  So they set to work and helped a lot.
I was doing something else in the room at that time but could overhear their conversations.  I love to hear what they talk about and how they communicate.  At the end Andy had tape all over his face (?) and they were both laughing!

These days are starting to sneak away from is almost time...and I am almost ready!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 18 Baking Day

We had a snowy Saturday with freezing temperatures.  A perfect day to pull out our baking list and spend the day baking.  Each kid had picked their favorite cookie or candy to make.  After so many hours we didn't make it through the list but everyone was content.

This is one of my favorite photos of the day.  To me it is about the beauty of how our family came to be. The bonds of sisterhood even if we have our real life moments.

Luke was priceless when he saw that popcorn popping.  He was so cute! The best part of being little is how the small things in life are so big!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Day 17 Snow

Yesterday we woke up to cold and snow.  Not at as much snow as cold.  Those new flannel sheets were really pulling people into staying for just a little bit longer!  

 I am always surprised who are the kids who ask to go play in the snow first.  It isn't always the usual suspects. Luke can hardly wait to get out there and Katie has been his playmate all weekend. 

They played a long time and I am sure it was single digits in the morning. The minute they walked in the door they assumed it was hot chocolate time..why not it is Christmas break!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Day 15 A letter

A letter to my kids today tucked away in an envelope.  A letter about who I am now and where I am in my life.  I want them to know when they are older who I was at different parts in my life.  

Ten days left before Christmas.  Seems crazy as the list is still long to do.  Snow is on the way tomorrow which will keep us at home.  Just what this mom needs.

Celebrating Luke's One Year Family Day

A year ago today Riley and I were in Korea and welcoming our seventh family member into our family.  It was a day that was so full of emotion.  So much pain in so many ways and so much happiness also.  I remember his very sweet foster Mom and the way she played with him in those last moments and how she cried when we left.  My heart broke in a thousand pieces.  There are no words to describe the love the foster moms have for our children.  

That first night in our hotel room.  Riley being an amazing big brother as we tried to capture and remember these first moments.  The way Luke was so tired and how he spoke his sweet Korean to us.  

I remember the wonderful tea at this tea shop with its Christmas tree.  The tea shop that we would do the exchange basically from one life to another.  This little man has stolen my heart.  I love him to pieces.  He will often seek me out for a hug and a kiss.  

A photo from the first day we meet him when we were all in Korea.  It seemed like a lifetime for this moment to come.

The six of us on our first trip.  Memories of Korea are sweet. I miss it and there will be a day I will go back.  My life has changed so much since this photo.  It is even more full than I could have ever expected.  Thank goodness for number five he has made us each better in so many ways!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day 14 A special gift in the mail

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day 13 the start of Christmas break

The start of Christmas break is upon us.  Today half were out and the rest will be here tomorrow.  I am looking forward to less of schedules and hopefully some quality time together.  Of course being from the real world there will be those moments when no one is getting along and things feel a little crazy.  We have some plans on the horizon without filling up the whole calendar.

Today these three and I did big grocery shopping. The kind that I felt so bad for the people in line behind me.  The good news is we are done at the store until 2017!  It was nice having help to put all the groceries away and a certain ten year old boy is amazing organizing the refrigerator.  Believe me that was the best gift he could have ever given me!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Day 11 and 12 of December

Day 11 was for little notes to each of my kids.  Just to let them know that I love them.  

Day 12 was about getting my cards in the mail.  I didn't want to photograph the details until I have them sent out. I am weird like that.  A short story about when I helped write my families letters when I was still at home.   I have been writing letters ever since.  I have always loved Christmas cards and each year I think maybe this year I will let that go.  In the end I will never let it go.  I really do love them and getting mail from people I don't talk to often.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Day 10 A visit to Santa

It was his first time seeing Santa.  He wasn't too sure about visiting with him but he did it.  The conversation was almost one sided but I am sure Santa has had that happen before:)

There are many photos about the different times each kid has seen Santa for their first time. Many stories about places we have seen Santa and about Santa himself.  

These days are moving fast this month.  I still have some things do but nothing huge.  Spent time in the greenhouse today doing a little replanting including this poinsettia which seems happier already!

Happy Sunday!

Day 9 Giving

One of our holiday traditions is teaching our kids to give back. For many years now we have filled shoe boxes to give to children.  We have done this through many organizations but this year it would be for an organization through our church.  The older kids know the drill we go to the store we fill up one shoe box per kid.  We think not about ourselves but those around us. We think of items such a toothbrushes and combs and then we think of toys and candy.  

The girls spent time shopping with the youth from church with donated funds for boxes. They both had so much fun and they were so talkative when then got home.  Then it was time to wrap...always and adventure!:) Luke is figuring it all out this year:)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Day 8 Snow and Polar Express

Day 8 came with snow for our area.  Not a lot of snow but very cold temperatures.  I am not really a fan of cold but being in Colorado makes it part of the experience.  Tonight found us with everyone home and a chance to watch "Polar Express".
For the seven us of to be home is almost unheard of.  Teenagers have schedules that are very full but I am hoping these next couple of weeks give us a break from routine.  The kids had been asking for hot chocolate so tonight it was the treat.  

I am trying to not feel overwhelmed this season. That is a good goal at least:)  Heading into a weekend and then just a few days of school left. Better look at my list before all my helpers are home!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Day 7 shopping

I used to love to shop.  Anymore I am happy with one trip to Target and a craft store and the rest can be done online for Christmas.  Maybe it was all those years of little ones in the store and the craziness that brought.  I have tried to make it easier with the kids with one gift to wear, read, want, and need.  

The girls and I did make a craft store trip.  All three of us get lost in there.  Many ideas to create hopefully next week.  Amazon is showing up a lot these days and it makes me wonder how my kids will shop one day.  For now that little one of mine is intrigued by each box then sad when I say he can't open it...soon enough my son it will be time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day 6 Friends

Capturing a heart that was full after a day of meeting with two women that I love.  One has been a constant in my life for many years. The other has come back in my life in an unexpected and hard way.  I am so grateful for reconnection. 

We had taken this photo a few months ago when I did their family photos. After this it was dinner for just the four of us. When did that happen last we are thinking 15 years ago!  Definitely something that needs to happen more.

My little helper.  Love that there are still little hands around our house.  It won't last long so grateful for the time they are little.

Loving what this project does for me. Makes me stop for moment and record what I want to remember.  Today I want to remember for sure!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Day 5 Stockings

This was me at 14 months.  My Aunt was visiting as she did many times during my childhood. She is a knitter and spent time knitting stockings for all her nieces and nephews.  A stocking that first hung in my parents home and now in my own. 

As the years have gone past I have also purchased stockings that are like my knitted one.  None of them match and each are unique in their own way.  The same as all of us who make up this family.  

I can only imagine the time it took to knit these stockings.  Mine has stood the test of time and I am thinking my kids will too.  A day of looking back on a Christmas stocking that needed its story told.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dec 4th--The Tree

It was once again time to find a tree.  The fact that it was snowy and cold surprised us all.  It was a good hike for all of us especially Luke who ended up on Riley's shoulders a lot.
We all looked to Bri's lead to find the best tree. Being our head elf I was more that happy to let her lead that decision.

Katie wanted to lean on the tree like her Dad. She is a trooper this one and has always been one of our best hikers!

Keeping up with my December Daily book.  I love this project and fitting in time to create during this crazy time of year.

It was Luke's first trip to get a tree with us.  Last year at the time we were so close to bringing him home.  

Not the best photo of the kids and I but you have to take what you can get sometimes.  Cutting the tree is always the biggest deal with negotiations about who is going to do that actual cutting. Carrying down was done by Brian, Bri, and Andy...look at all the help we have now!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 3- Photography

My dream is my photography business.  It was a fall I won't forget soon. I love that feeling in my stomach that I get when I get to a venue and start shooting a session.  It feels like I am walking on clouds.  Before I get there it feels like my nervous are going to take over my body! 

I have had many moments of wanting to quit, feeling like I am not good enough, and panic over how I am going to do this with our five kids. Someway I have learned to dig deep and keep trying because I know being a photographer is what makes me happy.  I  have had really tough moments but to keep trying is the only way for me.  That feeling of capturing memories is irreplaceable!

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