Sunday, October 23, 2016

School 2016-17

PreK 3
1st Grade
She loves everything about school minus the homework and "SRA" time in which she tells me she just wants to take a nap until that part is over!
4th Grade
She is in chorus and art club and is thriving in every sense of the word.
 Maddox was recently Student of the Week
 I am learning to take photos of some things so that the children will have a reference for their childhood when they are a bit older!
 Maddox's self portrait
Love every bit of that little Maddox!

Disney 2016

Christmas 2015 we gave the children 12 family activities, one for each month.  We began this little tradition a few years back to make sure that we spent time together as a family, we know that we have to be intentional in keeping our family a close knit unit being that we are a bit larger than other families.
 One of the 12 activities was a trip to Orlando.  We were given a timeshare property for a ridiculously low rate and we jumped on the opportunity knowing that we would all LOVE a long weekend away spending time at a resort.  We paid, put the dates on the calendar, and the children were each given gift certificates to Disney for their birthdays throughout the year so that we could have a little visit with Mickey.
 And then there was Chapman.
We learned about her three days after Christmas and began the paper chase in January to bring her home.  With our Orlando trip already funded, we pushed forward and told the children Orlando would be a great last trip as a family of 7 before we brought home our number 8.
 Only, we got her in 7 months which meant Orlando would be our first trip together as a family of 8!
And we were all so thankful for this time, time to just be together, time away, time to bond.
 Our family time is so precious to us and I pray daily that our children will cherish the memories that we make together!
 There was a little Downtown Disney time, a little resort swimming time, a little Cheesecake Factory eating time, and then it was off to the parks.
 Epcot was Day 1.  This is one way to get a pic of the boys!
 Give them a shark to pose with and they are all in for a photo or five!
 These two baby girls enjoyed each other's time by playing with acorns and bottles while the bigs and middles rode a few rides that they aren't quite ready for yet!
 Magic Kingdom
 What is not to love?!  It is magical and arrived early and left late to be sure we enjoyed every.single.thing!  Big girl Maryn was all about the roller coasters!  Nothing is too fast or too high for her!  Meanwhile, Miss Chapman threw her smile out there to a man selling Mickey Mouse ice cream and she scored a free one to enjoy all to herself!
Maddox is our flexible girl in every sense of the word.  She LOVED riding Space Mountain 3 times with her brothers and then she loved riding the carousel with her sisters....very well rounded!  Pryce was the only child out of the six that we may have lost for a moment but thankfully we recovered him quickly and he wasn't too traumatized:)   
 Four little bugs....
these little girls thoroughly enjoyed the larger than large bathtub at our villa.
 And when your grandparents give you money and you save it for a toy at Disney, you must purchase the musical bubble blowing wand!
 All SIX!  
I love it, I love having SIX!
 And that is a Disney wrap until next time!  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Birthday, Siblings, and A Diagnosis

Happy Birthday Dear Mommy, happy birthday to you!
 I have always loved a good birthday....
 neighbors delivered goodies and the texts messages came throughout the day, phone calls were aplenty and I was surrounded by my family, all of them.  For that, I am so thankful.  And one of my favorite moments was watching these four go through our blog book together.  I love that they love reading about our family and remembering together the things that we have enjoyed and experienced.
 The weather has been amazing!  And this little girl loves being outside!
 Maryn is always up for some time outside as well!
 Throw in a big ball and a big brother, and you have yourself a most satisfying afternoon!
 This guy.  Pryce is one of my two big brother rockstars.  All of his siblings adore him and I love that he can go from playing chase with his little sisters to throwing the football and talking sports with his big brother all in a matter of minutes.  
 Our little ray of delight.  
This girl continues to nestle her way right into all of our hearts.
 I love that Pryce has this time with his two baby sisters.  He calls it recess:)
 And I am so thankful for this relationship.  His time with her has helped to make our transition from five to six so easy!  
 Miss Maryn....always our miracle baby....she wants so badly for her hair to be long, as long as her sisters and she always asks for braids.  These piggie braids were so cute on her!
 This baby girl.  She has done and continues to do so well.  She eats well, sleeps well, plays well.  She laughs and cries, sings and babbles.  She is already understanding so much of what we say and will say words that we ask her to say.  
 She is just a joy! Her favorite thing is riding in the carrier.  If she is upset, I just scoop her up and she cuddles up inside of her little safe place and settles right down.  
 When she is free to roam around, she is quick to get into anything and EVERYTHING.  This week she found the Gospel of John book in our closet and made me laugh because she just walked right over to a pillow on the floor, plopped down and began thumbing through the book as if she was seriously reading it word for word!
 MK has made some sweet new friends at school this year!  We love knowing that our girl is happy and thriving!
 And these two continue to bond and learn to love each other.  I love catching them during the sweet moments they spend together!
 And Miss Maddox....she LOVES school, LOVES her teacher, tells me all the time she does not want to be homeschooled - all things good! 
 Our homeschool co-op has been so good to us!  I am in Chapman's room with my sweet friend Rebecca.  Rebecca makes the cutest little keepsake arts for the children and I love that we will have these for Chapman!
 Chapman was a good sport with the paint....
 Maddox was the Student of the Week in her class this week.  She was responsible for taking care of the classroom pet, Fluffy.  She especially enjoyed taking Fluffy to Target to play in the Halloween aisle with the masks!  
 And Colin.  This guy adores his littlest sister.  And the feeling is mutual.  I love that Chapman has taken to him from the moment she saw him.  Colin just keeps us all laughing!  We love this guy and we are thankful he puts up with us all!  
 Cuddles with mommy. 
This sweet baby will endure a lot in the upcoming weeks.
We are all so grateful she is home where we can provide her with the medical care she needs.
 Chapman was born with Spina Bifida Occulta.  
We were given pictures and MRI studies yet there was no real confirmation on her medical condition while she was in China.  We were all encouraged to see her walking and crawling in videos from China.  
This week she was given a very thorough MRI scan of her entire back.  We were not surprised to learn that her spinal cord is tethered.  We expected this but we were hopeful this was not the case.  
We are so thankful there were no surprises.  Her spine looks good, other conditions that could go along with SB were ruled out.  She is physically doing so well and shows no ill effects from her tethered cord.  This is a huge praise!  
Chapman will have surgery on October 19 to untether her cord.  This surgery is needed in order to ensure her growth and health as she grows up.  We ask for your prayers in the days ahead....please pray she will feel our love, our comfort and pray specifically that the doctors hands will provide healing to our sweet baby girl.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

One Month of Forever

One month ago this sweet baby girl made her way into our arms forever!  Her story is everything short of amazing and I continue to be in awe that she is actually here with us!  She is a true blessing in every sense of the word.
 Our lives have changed yet all has fallen into place just about as we expected.  A little chaos here, a lot of forgetfulness and grace is a beautiful kind of mess!
 We missed our baby girl's first two birthdays so we decided to pull out some good ole Little Debbie cakes, add a few candles and sing to our girl.  She was mesmerized and so excited!
 I seriously almost cried when I looked into the camera and they were all SIX looking AND smiling at the camera!  And not the goofy smiles....real, genuine smiles.  Oh my!  
 Chapman took her time picking and eating every.single.sprinkle on her Little Debbie....
 while big sisters sang and danced at the table....
 this little one took her time.....
 they were all on deck to be sure she knew exactly how to handle her cake in a proper fashion!
 Thankfully, this little one has obviously had experience in eating sweets because she did not miss a crumb!
 Meanwhile, life has continued on....
Colin is home a lot and I love having him here!  It really is the wildest thing....he goes to school at 7:30, comes home at 9:30 everyday of the week.  Mondays and Wednesdays he goes to two classes at a local university from 1:00-3:00 and then he also takes an online college algebra class....all this and he is hanging in there with the best!  He is happy.  He loves his new set-up!  And I am thankful for this time.  Chapman has really taken a liking to him and he is smitten!  
Meanwhile, Pryce is moving right along in his last year of homeschooling....he is doing so well, loves his classes and his friends and he has been running cross country.  This boy is on fire!  He has picked up right where he left off with Maryn.  Maryn is his friend.  She LOVES to play with Pryce.  They have a little morning routine going on and I am thankful to be home and hear those two at it again each morning.  
These two.  I love the boys that they are and I love the men they are becoming! 
 And then you have these two....these girls are so fun together....whether it is dressing up or playing Barbies, they can have the best of times!
 This little one is enjoying her new ability to go outside and breathe in the fresh air!  Goodbye smoggy skies and pollution, HELLO Georgia sunshine and blooming flowers!  She would stay out all day if she could.  She just likes to piddle around like an elderly person only she is much faster at it!  Don't let that sweet smile fool you, this girl is a mover and a shaker....and she is always into something unless she is on your hip!
 We are so thankful for the friends who have come by to visit us since we retuned home with Chapman.  So many have reached out to us, brought us meals, helped with taking our children to and fro to activities, the texts, the phone's all been so good!  
 And this is how we have successfully done our first month!  Baby Chapman loves to be held in the carrier be it on front or back of mommy!  And this mommy doesn't mind one bit!  As I fixed dinner and did homework with the girls the other day, Colin asked, "So why didn't you do this with the other girls?"....he was asking because he definitely sees the benefit in me doing it with Chapman.  
Our first month has been nothing short of amazing!  Chapman, in so many ways, is so easy!  She sleeps so well and eats so good!  She still hates milk or anything that even resembles it but she willingly drinks water mixed with a dash of juice so that is what we are going with!  Her sweet voice continues to just be so angelic. But then, just to keep this realistic, there are the screams and the screams are so LOUD.  So loud.  She has no qualms in letting us all know when she is not happy.  We all agree that she is TWO and to make it even more frustrating for her, she doesn't even know our language!  Thankfully, she is so much more happy than sad!  She continues to be our little gamer....she loves a good game of chase or peekaboo!  And to see that perfect smile of hers melts us all!  We are so thankful to be home, all under one roof.  We know we are still in the early stages of adjustment and we are all giving a lot of grace as we find our way as a family of 8!  
I have SIX children.
Blows my mind.
My dream.
My heart.