Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HAPPY SEVENTH BIRTHDAY MADDOX REN!
This child is a light in everyone's step that meets her! 
Our old soul.
My hippy baby.
Our "make up the rules as you play the game" kiddo.
Our future physician.
Our picky eater...."I don't care for that" - we hear it way too often:)
This year she learned to read, she learned to ride her bike without training wheels, she began gymnastics and said goodbye to ballet for the time being, she was the fastest six and under backstroke and freestyle swimmer in our league.....she will begin school with her big sister and be in the FIRST GRADE!  Amazing!  
God is so good and I am so thankful for this little one and all that she has brought into our lives!  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Adoption
We are weeks away from meeting our sixth child, our fourth daughter from China.  This is simply mind-blowing in many ways.  We began this journey just six short months ago with a peace about us that was perfect in every way, a peace that only God alone could have supplied.  Many close to us shook their heads while many others shouted praises.  We are thankful for the praises!  It is so hard to be around family members who don't even want to try to understand our hearts for adoption.  Yet, we will always, always trudge forward and fight for each orphaned child.  It is our calling.
So, where are we now in the process?  On Thursday, July 28, just one month shy of Chapman's second birthday, we will officially be waiting on our invitation from the Chinese government.  Once this invitation is received, we will be on our way in an estimated three weeks time.  Sounds easier than it really is!  We are in our "9th" month of pregnancy, if you will.  We are at that moment in the process/pregnancy where we are just done and ready to move on with the show.  Best case scenario is that our invitation comes in a matter of days and we are on our way to China by the end of August! A more realistic scenario, according to our agency and mandated Chinese holidays, has us landing in China in mid-October.
My mother told me recently not to worry, she will be here in due time.  And I am not worrying per say but I am anxiously awaiting the next step.  Waiting is ok with me.  It is the unknown that can make me a bit antsy.
And so I continue to go back to my "life" verse Proverbs 19:21 which reads "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but is is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Amen. and Amen.  This verse applies to so much in my own life and my growth in my walk with the Lord.

School
For this season, school is in our mix.  This year we will have a Junior doing a dual enrollment stint with his high school and our local university; an 8th grader schooling at home for his last year of homeschool; a fourth grader and a first grader at our local elementary school; and our preschooler attending preschool three mornings each week.  We are so excited about embarking on this new adventure and we look forward to watching them learn new things this year!  Add in cross country, baseball, ballet, gymnastics, swimming, piano, chorus and art club - we will be one busy, happy family this Fall!

Family
I am so thankful for each of my babies.  And my Ryan.  As we were delivering Colin, Ryan said to me that we would do this child thing one kiddo at a time.  This summer has been about our kiddos.  We have set aside a "date night" with a different child each week.  We have enjoyed this time immensely with them!  So much so that we have decided to continue this newest activity through the school year.  It allows for so much - the conversations, the singling them out and making them know just how special they are to us, we all get to slow down and just enjoy the moment where we all are whether it is with our four year old or our sixteen year old.  MK often asks, "Mom, what would you do if you were to go to work?"  And I always respond, "I am doing the job I have always wanted to do - be a mother and have lots of kiddos running around to love on!"  Yes, it is hard and, at times, overwhelming, but I do love each and every moment I am given with them!  The children are so excited to welcome Chapman into our lives.  We talk about her often and wonder aloud what she may be doing.  We have moved furniture around in preparation and her clothes are hung and ready to wear!  All we need is our sweet girl at home!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hornbuckle Mountain

Pop and Gran Tisdale are living their dream on the top of the mountains of North Carolina....
 they say it is just awful to wake to this every morning and go to bed every evening with one of the most beautiful sunsets one will ever lay eyes on!  
Once upon a time, they were two young honeymooners who likely never dreamt that one day this would all be their reality!
 Our time there is always remarkable.  It is peaceful.  Calm.  A step back from our wild and crazy.
 And Gran always has something crafty up her sleeve for these creative minds.
 And games are always to be played....
 Sorry or cards or whatever!
 Maddox our contortionist - I mean, really???
 In her little Maryn way, she wrapped yet another adult around her sweet little fingers.
 Horseback riding in the mountains was on our "to-do" list for this trip....
 What a fun experience for all!  A creek, a tunnel and trails of peacefulness through the woods....
 thankfully, our horses all behaved....even mine, Rambo.  
 And then we made our way to a waterfall....
 My heart in one picture.....
 and my laughter in one frame....
 I am so thankful for our little crew....each and every one of them!  
 Sweet baby girl....she told me tonight she would be big when her little sister arrives home later this year!  I told her she will always, always be my baby.....
 ATV riding is the best, especially with big brothers....
 More waterfall....
 and MK the explorer....
 and Maddox Ren, the one who insisted she be allowed to explore too!
 Cold mountain water stream....
 Colin met one of his best friends in Uncle Sam....
 And a drive down the mountain brought us upon this little wonder of life....a mother and baby elk.  Amazing.
 Air conditioning vents make the best dress enhancers:)
 And a little quiet time on the porch....
We honestly do not take advantage of this little slice of heaven as much as we should! A huge thanks to my parents for having the boys for an entire week and then hosting our whole family for an extended weekend back to back....we had such a good time and we are so thankful for the many memories that were made together!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Garden City Beach 2016

Family
Our family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins....
Tradition
My great-grandmother began this beach vacation tradition many years ago and I have gone to either Surfside Beach or Garden City Beach each summer with my family since the day I was born.
It's all about the food....we begin talking about the meal preparation 11 months prior to the actual trip!
Pop is the main chef while all of us peasants throw in a few dishes or two!
Ocean
Friendly Team Battles
Sand and Play
Little Miss wouldn't even put her feet down in the sand two years ago during her first beach adventure!  Now, she is all about some sand between her toes!
Boogie Boarding
Gran's Treasures
Each morning Gran surprises the children with little "surcies" and all of the children look forward to this time with her.  This year the ongoing theme was Pirate week complete with hooks, eye patches, and the like!
Play, play, play....the beach is always the place that my children are the happiest!  Maybe it is the salt water and the sticky air and just the time together without interruptions of daily life.....
Beach Games
Kenny had a new game this year that involved a frisbee and two pvc pipe poles....lots of fun and the boys enjoyed the challenge!
Reading
Water Park
Water park day goes way back to when we were very little and there was only one water park at the beach....and the one water park consisted of three slides - two with mats and one with a tube....
they have come a long way since then!
These four raced over and over yet the outcome was always the same!  The one of the far left was the one to beat!
The people watching is incredible in these parts and the memories made together are priceless!
This beach beauty.....every morning she would wake, pick out her bathing suit, declare that her hair was getting longer and then beg me to put her ponytails in!
These two lovebirds.....dating since they were 14 years old.....
I am thankful to call them my own!
This bright-eyed beauty!  
She celebrated two years of forever with us while we were at the beach!  
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the gifts he has given to our family through adoption!
Gran, Pop, and the Grands
Me and Sista
Her laughter is contagious and her support of my madness is immeasurable! 
I remember as a young girl that everyone would have their blankets at the beach because the beach house was always sooooo cold.  Some things never change!
Looking for sharks at the pier....
Arghh!
I love this nephew of mine.....he cracks me up!
Pop learned lots of games from this little one during our week together....
I can hear her singing, "Tic, tac, toe, give me and x, give me an o.....I WIN!"
Skim Board
(thankful we did not have any breaks to take home with us this year!)
Kenny
Drew and Kenny married a year ago and my children were so thankful he was able to spend the week with us at the beach!  
My sweet family
I always wanted a large family.....and next year we will have SIX children!  Amazing!
Thank you, Garden City, for yet another amazing year of memories!  
Until next time....