Help us bring home Rose

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story
by Strand kids
and Will kids
Once a long time ago, there was a young girl named Mary who was betrothed to marry a man named Joseph. An angel appeared to Mary and told her she was to be with child and she was to call him Jesus. Joseph also was visited by an angel who told him of the baby Mary was carrying and that it was God's son. He chose to continue with the engagement. They, along with everyone else in the country had to go to their families home to be counted.
So Mary and Joseph made the long trek to Bethlehem.
They were so tired and searched for an Inn to stay because Mary was so close to giving birth to the baby Jesus. ALL the Inns were full but one Innkeeper allowed them to stay in the stable. It was there that Mary gave birth to her newborn son and wrapped him in a cloth and laid him in a manger.
Mary and Joseph couldn't believe that they were holding, rocking, kissing and singing to their Savior.

In a field there were shepherds who were watching their sheep. All of a sudden, there appeared an angel of the Lord who said, "Fear not. I bring you good tidings of great joy. For unto you, a child is born in Bethlehem. And his name shall be Emmanuel. Go and find him, you will find him in manager."

(yes there were blue elephants in the field that night as well)
The shepherds found the babe just as the angel had said and they bowed and worshiped him.

Three Wise men came also to see this child whom the prophets had foretold. They brought him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.

)(I think that is when Mary and Joseph broke out in a dance)

They all were in awe of what had just happened and praised God for this miracle.

They prayed and thanked God for allowing them to witness the birth of a King. One who would grow to be the King of Kings.

A king who would one day save the world.

(This is obviously an abbreviated version and there are many wonderful and important parts of this story we left out. But for 6 kids 7 and under-this was long enough, trust me.)


Last night Travis and I watched a movie called "Mugabe and the White African". It was on Netflix and said it was a documentary about white farmers in Zimbabwe who are being forced off their land.
I really enjoy watching docs and anything about Africa, so we thought it would be a good one.
It WAS!!!!
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as it followed a family who farmed in Zimbabwe and was being harassed by the gov. to leave. I won't get into all the political issues surrounding this movie, but what I was so impressed with was the family this doc. followed.
At first, they didn't mention their faith in God. They were just good people wanting to live their lives and stand up for what is right. Then as the movie progressed, it was so evident that they trusted God for EVERYTHING! They HAD to! They trusted in God for their safety, for their lives-which is the hardest, I think. We trust God for so many things, but in America, most of us don't have the threat of someone just barging through our doors and taking everything we have. We can call the police, if that does happen. But these people didn't. They lived everyday with the threat of that happening and they watched as it happened to many of their fellow white farmers. They even had their 3 young children living there too!! I think it would be easier to trust God with my life but putting my children in danger is another level-which is odd because God loves them more than we do.
When they were interviewed about it, they would continue to say that they trusted God with their lives and running away never solved anything.
Saying it is one thing, but living it-which they did- is a whole other thing.
Three of the four adults were kidnapped and severely beaten in attempt to get them to give up. Thankfully, they survived and continued to fight for their farm.
I pray I can always have faith like that! Faith in God to supply ALL my needs-not WANTS-and if it came down to it-my LIFE and/or my children's lives.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Time

(Sorry the photos are in the wrong order)

Our Christmas week has began!! We started off by decorating a gingerbread house together. The kids had fun with all of the candy and imagining having a real house made of gingerbread cookie. We tried something different this year and let the kids open their presents not on Christmas Eve or day.(Thanks Dawn for the inspiration) Since Travis is off this week we decided to do it today. The kids were excited when we told them they could open their presents-it was a total shock to them. They even sat nicely while we figured out how to get the self-timer on my camera to work:) So here is some pics of the last couple days:

Oliver getting his creative groove on with a Lite Brite
Thatcher the Viking playing with Woody

Addis with her new dollhouse

Sebastian with his favorite-Buzz Lightyear

We tried to have them open one at a time to make sure we could see every one's reaction-didn't work though.

Family picture before opening presents

On their best behavior because they know what's about to happen:)

Their finished house.

Do I really need to tell you Addis was excited to do this?


Patiently waiting for the decorating to begin. I think when we do this again next year we will maybe buy more icing and candy. We ran out of icing and some of the candy was so small it was hard for the little ones to handle. But still a fun thing to do!
WE are enjoying our time together as a family, but we are still so aware of the members of our family who aren't with us. Hudson would have been there right in the middle of it all-playing alongside his brothers. M & A will be opening their gifts from us soon and hopefully be excited to be a part of our family soon.
Now that the main present part is over, we are looking forward to concentrating on Jesus' birthday. We have a cake ready to make and some activities to help keep our minds on what Christmas is really about.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A little getaway

I just got back from a wonderful little getaway with my sisters and mom. For my sisters birthday she wanted all of the sisters and mom to meet her in NYC for a weekend. She planned the whole thing from the Broadway show to eating places. She has a friend who lives in Manhattan who said we could stay at her place.
It was hard for me to leave my kids and the responsibilities I have as a mother and wife, even though I knew it was going to be a fun time together as sisters and mom.
I flew into the town my sister lives and was able to spend a full day just hanging out with her family. I have never had the privilege of being an auntie to my nephews and nieces so this was a treat.
On Friday we drove into the NYC and met my other sisters and my mom who drove from MO. Once the shock of us all being together in NYC wore off, we started our amazing weekend.
We ate at some great places and shopped at some fun stores. (Although it was more window shopping)
We saw Wicked on Broadway. It was my first official Broadway show on Broadway, so I was so excited. I have always wanted to see one and growing up had dreams of performing on Broadway. (Oh how dreams change)
It was amazing, as expected. I cried, as expected.
My sister planned for us all to get mani-pedi's in the morning. The place had massage chairs while you got your pedicures, which was a highlight for me. We all left with beautiful hands and feet.
We created many memories and funny moments with each other. I won't bore you with them all.
But I just wanted to warn you that if you happen to have stomach issues and you are out at nighttime, THERE ARE NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS......ANYWHERE.......not that I experienced that, just wanted to warn you in case YOU happen to be in that situation. :)

As much as I love the city life and can see myself living there, I had no problem coming home to my, when compared, boring life. I love where I am right now and where God is leading us.
Thank you Nicole for planning this memorable weekend and thank you Brittany, Shelby and MOM for all coming and being who you are to make it what it was-A GREAT WEEKEND.
And a big THANK YOU to Travis, who watched the kids and had the house CLEAN when I came home so I wouldn't have to the next day.
I will post pics soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


One of his favs right now-thanks to Toy Story 3

I often get saddened by the fact I don't have any babies in my home anymore. I LOVE the baby stage, the little clothes, their smell, holding them, their coos.......

But.....I am enjoying each stage after that with my kids, like playing real games instead of pretend animals ALL the time. A new thing, is that my kids are enjoying watching movies that I actually like. We watched Elf on Thanksgiving, and they LOVED it. Now I catch them saying, "I am standing in a store and I''m singing." And burping and saying, "Did you hear that?"

Part of the reason they liked it was Will Ferrell because he is in another movie favorite of ours, Kicking and Screaming. His name is Phil Weston in it and one day Thatcher was playing and out of the blue said,"This is Phil Weston's stuff." We cracked up! So now Will Ferrell is known as Phil Weston and everything he does is hilarious to them.

So move over The Grinch you have been replaced by Elf as our new go to Christmas movie.

I love that we have a similar sense of humor.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pulled In

Today I went shopping for Christmas presents for my kids. I had a plan and we decided to do 3 presents for each kid, one want one need and one spiritual. I made my list and set off to get it all done today.
I know Christmas is not about presents...........
I am determined to help my children know the real reason we celebrate.......
I hate shopping and the commercialism of our culture.........
Yet it took me 5 seconds in a store and I forgot ALL of that. I can't believe how I almost got pulled into the idea that I am not a good parent if my kids don't have 20 presents under the tree and I don't spend a certain amount on them. It was like I was in auto-pilot.....see toy....must buy it....see toy....that's cool.....child needs it.....that's
I didn't go overboard, like I felt like doing, I did stick to my list and our goal of 3 presents each. However, I am just amazed how easily we can get pulled in to what our society tells us is appropriate. How to dress, how to talk, how to pick your mate, how to parent your children, how many presents they need at Christmas, how many cars you should have, what is success.......
I am glad I have a compass that points me to the truth or I would be lost.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 reasons to be Thankful

Since I turned the big 3-0 this year, I thought I have at least that many things to be thankful for. So here they are:

1. God-who loves me for me and not what I can do or be. Who gave His all to make a way for me to know Him. Who comforts, gives me peace, gives me joy, no matter what my circumstances.
2. my husband-who loves me even when I am not nice or look nice and is a wonderful father.
3. my children, those in my arms and heaven and those not with us yet!!!
4. my parents who encouraged my faith growing up
5. my siblings who gave me great memories growing up.
6. Mica, who constantly encourages me to be a better mother, friend and prayer warrior.
7. Michelle, who shares my heart and obsession for orphans and adoption.
8. Nicole and Derrick-who are great examples to us in too many ways to count.
9. Nicole H. who is generous All the time.
10. Emily who goes to Zumba with me and doesn't laugh.
11. my church
12. my house
13. we have a vehicle
14. Dave Ramsey-Yes! we are almost debt free!!!! And we will never go down that road again!!!!
15. ability to feed my children
16. freedom
17. Bible
18. God's Children Adoption Agency
19. blog friends, who encourage me by just being real with their lives, joys and trials.
20. Adoption process- taught us how to really have faith.
21. I have the option of Homeschooling my children and I get to be part of the process of them learning.
22. I am healthy, my children are healthy
23. Travis has a dependable job
24. God has opened my eyes to the hurting people in the world and that we are called to reach out to them, love them, feed them, support them, and through those actions-they will know God
25. worship music-I feel so close to God when singing to Him
26. sweatpants
27. nature and how creative God is
28. hugs
29. ability to hear my children's sweet voices say "I love you, MOM."
30. forgiveness

These are not in order of importance necessarily and obviously this isn't ALL I am thankful for. So I forgot you or something really obvious, please don't be offended, this was a quick list.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh my heart!!

Please go and read about this little girl. My heart is so aching for her and the life she could have if a family stepped forward. Her smile. ....Her eyes. ....they tell so much.

Happy Monday!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Just to update you on the adoption front:

*We are currently waiting to hear back about our match of the two little girls from Haiti. Amy, the agency director is in Haiti right now and we are hoping that when she returns we will have good news from her.
*Our homestudy should be completed soon. -Please pray we will have the money needed to pay this.
*Our dossier is almost complete. We are waiting on a couple things to come in and then we can make photo copies and such. Of course we still have the lovely FDL to wait for as well.


I really dislike having to do fundraisers. But.......we need to.
So, an ongoing one we are doing throughout the adoption is babysitting. We, (by we I mean me) will watch kids anytime for parents to go shopping, have a date, have quiet, or run errands. Donations will be accepted and used only for our adoption fund.
Change for Haiti
coming soon
We will have bottles and jars available for people to fill with loose/spare change and then bring back to us when it's full.

Pizza Ranch
January 17th- come and eat at the Pizza Ranch and our family will receive 10% of that nights profits as well as any tips. That's so easy, right? You gotta eat! And who doesn't like a good pizza buffet????? Ok, well some people might not, Travis doesn't like buffets, but you can't go wrong with pizza!!

We have some more in the works and I will post as soon as they are ready. In the meantime-spread the word about Pizza Ranch****Monday, January 17th******

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I totally stole the idea of a family night from another adoptive family and it just so happens that our last name starts with a letter that also is the first letter of a day of the week-lucky us:)
We started "W" Wednesday a couple of months ago and it has become something we all look forward to. For Travis and I it is a way to make memories and traditions with our kids, for the kids it's a reason to have snacks and camp out in the living room-but all agree it's a fun time.
When we began doing this, Oliver brought it to our attention that really every night IS family night for us. We really don't have busy schedules that take us away from each other-this is intentional by the way. I am sure it won't always be this way, but for now it is important for Travis and I to be the ones who influence them and build memories with them. Even though I am with them ALL the time, these family nights together allow me to just hang and have fun. I often worry about finishing tasks in the evening while Travis spends time with the kids after being gone all day. During the day, we are doing school, housework, and sometimes it seems like I am correcting them most of the day. But when "W" Wednesday comes, I have an excuse to take that part of my mommy hat off and just ENJOY my children.


These are very random pictures-Addis wanted to do an impromptu photo shoot.

She said,"Mom, you me, picture!" How could I say,"Uhh, No mommy hasn't even gotten ready for the day."? Thankful my children love me at my worst, and I am not just talking about physically.

Trying to make fishy faces-we will keep working on it.

Thatcher giving his bear a piggyback ride

Addis wanted to pretend to be asleep. I thought she wanted to be done but she wanted me take her picture while she was sleeping.

I will try and take some pictures tonight and post them tomorrow of our "W" Wednesday festivities.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Isaiah 58:5-11 (NIV)

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to see the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

Monday, November 15, 2010

These are some of the pictures I sent in for Addis's 12 month post-adoption report. I can't believe it's been almost a year since we have had her home. She is a fun-ny little girl and we are enjoying seeing her little personality come out.
This was with the judge at her readoption in ND. He was so very nice and asked the boys if they wanted to sit on his chair. Travis and I were like "YA!!" but they had no idea what that meant or how cool that was. But Oliver did give him"knuckles."

Dedication Sunday- in front of the Christmas tree. She enjoyed helping put the tree up and already knows some Christmas tunes, not the good ones though. Oliver's been singing versions from Madagascar Christmas-definitely not edifying Christmas songs.

I know this is a silly picture to post, but those of you who know her background and "diagnosis" from her referral will appreciate it. Look at her go!! I am amazed at how her body has changed and how God has healed her inside and out.


I am back from my extended vacation from blogging. I was too exhausted by the end of the day to really do much on my blog and I spent so much time and energy on reading blogs and posting on mine, I just needed a break. But I am excited now to get back into it.
I don't want to kill you with boredom and post about everything that has happened since July, but the highlights are:

*we finalized in ND for Addis and we are working on getting her social security number and citizneship
*we are starting our second adoption
*we dedicated Addis at church, which is such an amazing thing to stand up there with your child and give them back to God and then have the congregation witness and agree to help you along the way.

So that is why this blog is now Part II of our adoption journey. I guess it's not really another part, it's completely seperate, but it just sounded better than- Next adoption journey.
This isn't just to update people about how our process is going, but to hopefully inspire others to do the same or get involved somehow. There is a way for everyone to be involved and we want to encourage ACTION not just sympathy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What is ONE year?

12 months. 365 days.
Another year older, loss, change, grief, new experiences, comfort,joy, security, a HOME.

This is Wibnesh exactly ONE year ago.
One year ago, today, Wibnesh was brought to HH. She has been through alot this past year and we are so thankful for the wonderful, caring people she had in her life. She is a miracle in many ways and I am confident God has Great plans for her.

This is Wibnesh today.

We are so thankful God chose for you to come to HH so that you could receive wonderful care and 6 months later be placed in our arms and hearts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back in April

I was looking at pictures on my computer and I found the pics of Sebastian's bday. I meant to post these because they are so funny. As you can see by the faces of the his siblings, they were appalled that he would eat his cake that way. He barely let me get the candles out before face-diving into it. It was great!
happy 4 th of July!!!