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Surfing and Cousins

Maria had her first surfing lesson the other day.  She was brave, the waves were not small.  She clutched her board, through the loud crashes and rising, strong foam edged swells.  The only thing moving her out, inch by inch, was her father, right with her, the whole time, eye to eye, arm around her, encouraging words, pushing back fear.  Fear–the force that would crush her in the past, kept at bay, moment by moment.

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She did great, walked up soaking, a mix of concern yet confidence on her face.  “Every time will be easier from now on,” we told her, she smiled, surprised.


“Listen you guys, I think I can teach you a thing or two.”

Two little baby groms watched from the beach, and pointed out dolphins.photo 3



This is an example of why we can’t have nice things.

“Why does it smell like nail polish in here?  And why are you hiding your hands?”photo 3“Look mama!!!  Like YOU!!!”

Last time he took a nap in our room.  He actually kind of did a nice job.  It did not come out of the sheets.  We are ok with it.


Good looking man bringing in greens from the garden for dinner.  Diaper changer, dish washer, time investor.  Even after a long day, he will sit with Maria, nestled up with him as she asks him every deep questions in her heart.

Last night she told him, “Papa, sometimes I feel like God is holding my hand.”

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My boys decided that of all the toys we have, they only want the same one at the same time.  Commence tears and angry hop dance jig.  Ridic.

“You will sit in the same crib with one toy until you can both be using it, kindly together.

They yanked and pulled at it for a while, trying to whine at me down the hall.  “You need to work it out together,”

And twenty minutes later (‘ETERNITY!’ -Finn and E) , let freedom ring, they were doing it!

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“I was missing you Elijah!”



Do you want to be the most popular person ever? Be a small two year old carrying your own suitcase. Any and every person passing will crumble and give you endless praise. Take it onto the elevator? They’re done. Cat video status. The tank top, biceps–doing Russia proud.

Finley tried for 10 seconds, then it was back to Elijah.

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Where were we going?  To see our new cousins!!!

Pool party with new cousins can be described as: lots of joy, controlled chaos.  The chaos coming from my boys, all the other kids were good.

My boys now idolize cousin Max, ok who am I kidding, I do too. Kindest boy, so polite, and why is his English better than all my kids combined after a week?  Once he bumped Maria, then with a look of concern and the cutest accent, “Maria, you ok?”  She shy nodded.

Kate, just as sweet and bright as when we met her during hosting.  She remembered me which made me SO HAPPY but I played it cool since they are in attachment mode.  Something had changed in her, slightly,  a bit more confidence, twinkle in her eye, peace in her–so glad they are home. On Memorial Day, I was feeling extra grateful to be able to raise my kids here.

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I know what you’re thinking in this next picture, “Wow, those kids are so cute and mostly all smiling!”




Yes, and most of them came from orphanages where they were passed over year after year.  What a loss for those not open to anyone other than ‘infant.’  These children are a spark, a bright light, amazing siblings, sons and daughters.

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – (David Platt)

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“Well, I should probably go with the iced tea, but nothing says vacation like a Pina Colada…”  #TwoYearOldDecisions


The only one who napped on the way home.

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My three little best friend siblings


What did you do for Memorial Day?  Do your kids ever only want the exact same toy?  Tell me it’s not just us.  Adoption of older kids, would you ever do it?

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  • Molly May 27, 2014, 5:35 pm

    There is something about both Maria and Elijah that just reminds me of adults instead of children. The way that Maria is sitting and holding her cup in the photo of all of the kids– like a woman who is completely comfortable and confident. And, Elijah with the suitcase and the towel. Adorable.

  • barbara May 27, 2014, 11:23 pm

    I would certainly consider adopting an older child. You should know that reading your blog made me actually consider it at all and now I kind of can’t wait when it happens.
    It’s not going to be any time soon because me and my boyfriend are not married yet but as soon as we are we will seriously look into adoption.
    We would love to adopt from Russia (which could be still possible for us since we are Italians and live in Italy).
    You have the sweetest family and I love your blog 🙂

  • Linda May 28, 2014, 3:20 am
  • Kate May 28, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Congrats on your new cousins! Tearing up seeing them all lined up enjoying the sun and family; just how it should be – what a testimony!

  • Crystal May 28, 2014, 10:20 pm

    I would definitely consider adopting an older child. In fact, my husband and I wanted to adopt a 13-year-old from Uganda…and then we found out we had to be 21 years older than her. Now, it’s back to waiting for God to do a work in my husband’s heart.

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