Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review


January brought our Log In Date, or LID for Katie and Luke's adoption.  Hannah was measured for her wheelchair in January as well.


February brought us 3 new children for 2 months!  We hosted them with Safe Families.  I have a photo collage hanging over my desk of our 7 Safe Families kids that passed through our home between Sept. 2012 and April 2013.

We celebrated Chinese New Year and 3 birthdays in February, as well.


March brought our Letters of Approval (LOA) for both Katie and Luke from China.  And at the very end of March, we had Easter.


Only, in all my underachieving glory, our egg hunt didn't happen until April.

April was our anniversary, senior prom for Annaliese as well as 2 more birthdays in our house.  And we got an update on Katie.


May brought graduation, Mother's Day, and the county fair.  Oh, and TA, or Travel Approval from China for Katie and Luke!


June was largely taken up with travel to China.  Meeting Luke and then Katie and seeing the sights was amazing and exhausting.  I came home sick, so the remainder of June was a little bit of a blur.


July was full of summer camp, VBS, a visit from Grammy, and 14 medical/dental appointments.  Annaliese moved to Santa Rosa in July, and we also had Luke's birthday.  Hannah started school in July.


August only had 10 medical/therapy appointments, and was when we started getting our feet underneath us.  Katie went through serial casting for her clubfoot, and the process of getting her prosthetic made for the other leg.  Luke had more evaluations and tests and began therapy.

We also went out of town a couple days for a funeral.  Sam started school in August and we began our homeschool year then.


September found us hitting our groove, homeschool wise.  We celebrated Moon Festival.  We had 14 therapy/medical appointments.  (The photo above was taken on the way out the door to Luke's MRI.)  It was also Zachary's and then Katie's birthday month.  She got her new leg and took her first steps.


October was the start of fall weather, trips to the pumpkin patch, art lessons, and 19 medical/dental/therapy appointments.  We also had a fun field trip to Chik Fil A.  October was also the month I put the finishing touches on the panda room, Katie and Luke's shared bedroom.  Zachary moved back to California in October, too.


November was family pictures, and Thanksgiving, of course.  With most of the therapists taking Thanksgiving week off, we had only 12 medical/dental/therapy appointments.  


December brought another 12 medical and therapy appointments.  I suddenly realized how many reviews I'd been doing.  December was also Christmas, which was actually quiet and peaceful.  Not words I'd expect to use to describe having all 10 kids home.  We celebrated with our traditions and made new memories.

So that was 2013.  And now we look forward.  Personally, I look forward to spring, when the flowers bloom, and Sam's allergy medicine makes him tired, and the weather warms up so we can go outside again.  I look forward to more sunshine, more daylight.  In 2014, I look forward to Brianna starting high school, and (fingers crossed) the littles starting preschool.  I look forward to a milestone wedding anniversary, summer vacation, and getting to a place of acceptance with Luke's issues.

2013 started with excitement and anticipation for me, and ended with disappointment and depression.  It can only go up from here.


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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bummas review and GIVEAWAY

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.


If you are pregnant or have a child in diapers, you should know about Bummas!  What are Bummas?  They're genius little wipes for babies.  With two kids in diapers, I was happy to get the chance to review them and share the chance for you to win a set of your own!  


I selected the green & brown 10 pack, "calm."  


Let's face it, I could use some calm in my world.


Not to mention, the predominantly green colorway goes great in the panda room.  (You may notice there's only 8 in this picture--two are in the wash.)


Upon receiving them, I was impressed with how cute they are in the little holder, which you can reuse, if you like.  After the recommended pre-washing, they were ready to use.  

How does one use Bummas?  They're versatile, here are the 3 main ways to use Bummas at the changing table:  

1) to cover the "hose" when changing a little boy so you don't get sprayed
2) to dry a wet bottom before putting the new diaper on
3) moistened and used for a diaper wipe.


There are several diaper wipe moistening formulas out on the market.  I happen to have a couple of them here.  You can also make your own with water and essential oils.  When my big kids were little, I kept a peri bottle of water on the changing table to moisten my cloth wipes with.  


Bummas wipes are made from 100% cotton that is soft velour on one side and scrubby terrycloth on the other.  This is a great combination!  I like to use the velour side on faces and the terry side on messy bottoms.  

I also used Bummas wipes for cleaning up Luke in the high chair after meals.  These are great little wipes, and I'd love to have another pack or two around the house.  Bummas would be handy to keep in the diaper bag, too, especially if your little one has a cold, as they'd be super soft for wiping little noses.  

Ready to win a pack?  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can purchase Bummas directly from the website, or on Amazon, and they are available at a wide range of local stores as well.  If you are a diaper retailer, or have a site that sells children's products, they have a quick start wholesale pack available, as well.  Please connect with Bummas on Facebook.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Our Christmas in way way too many pictures


We have a tradition of giving the children all new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Since I couldn't quite bring myself to get the kids all dressed up and out to Christmas Eve service at church on my own, we drove around looking at Christmas lights, which happened to lead us straight to the drive through at Taco Bell, strangely enough.   


After we came home and ate dinner, I passed out the Christmas Eve jammies and tried to get everyone settle to bed.  


All too soon, it was morning, and Daddy came home, and we could do stockings.  


The thinking putty was a big hit with Eli.  (Even Paul played with it.)


Gotta love a kid who can get excited about deodorant.


My big boys all ended up with festive holiday boxers.


Look, Mom!  2 kinds of candy!


Sam got a new game in his stocking and had to try it out right away.  Looks pretty interesting, if you ask Jack.   


These magnetic blocks are really cool, and I want a bigger set of them.  


Luke didn't care for Christmas.  


He ended up going to bed in the middle of presents.  


My big girl is home for a few days, crashing here so she can see her local friends who are also home visiting their families for Christmas.  


Paul's mom went with a t-shirt theme this year.  




Josiah wore his today, and Hannah asked, "Josiah, is that a cheetah or a leprechaun?"  Still makes me laugh.  


Katie was celebrating her first American Christmas, and needed a little help at first with the whole idea behind tearing into presents, but she quickly got the hang of it.  





Clamp light, thinking cap... potayto, potahto...


Paul surprised me with a new camera.  :)



The aftermath.  Every year, I think the trash won't be so bad because we use almost 100% cloth bags for wrapping.  And every year, I'm amazed at how much garbage and recycling one day generates.  



My mom got me a nice, big crock pot!  I'll have to poke around Pinterest for some new recipes for it.  


Paul and Josiah took some time to set up his new tool set and put everything in it's little spot.  


Sam let me take him outside and snap a few pictures of him with my new camera.  



Including using the neighbor's Christmas decorations as backdrop.  


At this point, his feet were cold, and he just wanted to go back inside.  


Then Zach arrived and it was time for dinner!


Even Luke perked up at the idea of eating again.  


He was a good sport about us all watching him open presents by himself.  


And then I realized, not everyone was watching.  


Most people were playing with their new toys.  (I helped Katie build the animals in the book that came with this Duplo set.  Cute idea!)


There's that thinking putty again.  


And this picture


Makes me thankful for outlets in the front room.


We ended the evening with Paul and I and Zachary and Annaliese playing games, and the younger kids watching a movie that Zach brought them.  Yes, I'm playing Scrabble and Words With Friends at the same time.  

A lovely Christmas was had by all, and the kids have been mellow and played with their gifts most of the day today.  

Linking up with:  A Place Called Simplicity

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