Friday, March 6, 2015

Taylor Basketball Pics

It's pretty difficult to get good action shots with your phone, but I tried.  Here are a few shots from this year.  (My favorite picture is the last one where he appears to be flying forward:) Taylor played so well!  He was the leading scorer on his JV team and shot over 50% from the 3-point line.  He worked hard in practice and harder in games.  Way to go!

Nutrition Lesson

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sounds about right

I sat down to my computer this morning and woke it up.  On the screen was an article that Christi had been reading.  It was about special clothes for kids with autism.  I read the first sentence and stopped.  I contemplated.  And then I figured it sounded pretty plausible:

"A study found that mothers of kids with autism have stress levels compared to those of combat soldiers."

An interesting thought.  The stress level that goes along with caring for a child with autism really is off the charts.  And the moms often bear the brunt of the workload.  Thanks, Christi, for always taking such good care of Elli.  For always sending her to school with her hair done up beautifully.  For working so hard to teach her the things she is capable of learning.  I love both of you.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Year of the Sheep!

Every Chinese New Year, we gather with other local families who have adopted kids from China and have a little Chinese New Year party.  I think it's a great opportunity for the kids to be around other kids who share similar histories.  This year, Taylor babysat Elli at home so we could enjoy the festivities a little bit more (in the past, one of us has pretty much had to be in the hallway with her the entire time-- she doesn't do well with large crowds.)  Parker had a basketball game and Jesi stayed home-- so we just ended up with six kids.  I had forgotten how easy just having six kids can be!  We had a great night eating yummy Chinese food, visiting, crafting, and doing the annual "Dragon Parade."  Happy Chinese New Year!

 Graci always hides when there's a camera around...

 ...but we were able to catch a little glimpse!

Of Boys and Baking

How did our 6'3", basketball star, top of his class, teddy bear of a son add to his "he's-pretty-much-the-perfect-future-husband-for-your-daughter" resume?  He took up baking!  Like, he bakes.  Really.  Our fifteen-year-old son bakes a batch of whole wheat bread and a batch of white rolls every single Sunday.

A few months ago, his young mens group at church was working on a cooking project.  He was assigned to bake bread.  With Christi's help, Taylor did a great job, but he felt like he had wimped out just a little by getting so much assistance from mom.  So the next week, he decided to prove to himself he could bake on his own.  He made a batch of white bread which turned out fantastic.  As we were all ooh-ing and aah-ing at his delectable creation, a plan began to percolate in his mind.  "Hey Mom and Dad.  Do you think if I bake bread on Sundays, I wouldn't have to help clean up after dinner?"  Of course Christi and I pounced on this opportunity immediately.  A tradition was born!

For a couple of months, he baked three large loaves of white bread each week.  This was fantastic.  Then Christi started us on our "Fit in 6" program and she and I could no longer eat white bread.  I asked if he could make whole wheat bread instead.  He was willing to, but was such a fan of the white bread that he decided to make two batches.  So he made wheat bread and a batch of white rolls.  (Both recipes are from Grandma Rose--thanks Mom!)  Since then, he comes home from church and immediately starts on his baking.  Once in awhile he uses some of the white dough to make cinnamon rolls.  We are spoiled!

Last week Christi gave me an expansive shopping list.  (I told her I was going to Walmart and asked if she needed anything.  Maybe not such a wise question?!?)  Some of the items on the list were baking necessities for Taylor.  As I picked up a jar of yeast, the strangest thing happened.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the short amount of time that many of our kids will still be living under our roof.  I was hit with the realization that in just over three years, our amazing Taylor will graduate high school, and life will never be the same.  Our chipper, ever-smiling, wonderful son will no longer come home from Church on Sundays and bake bread.  Tears sprang to my eyes right there in Walmart.  How will we possibly adjust as our children move out and go on to bigger and better things?

I guess all we can do is enjoy them as much as possible right now.  I sure do love them.  Thanks to all of our children for filling our lives with such priceless experiences every day!



Sophi eating anything is just about the cutest picture ever!  This is cinnamon roll frosting:)

Sophi, with a bit of a 'batting-her-eyelashes' type of feel:  "Can't I take a picture with my big brother?"  Of course you can, Soph!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Amazing People!

So many people are so good to our family!  We have felt unbelievably loved and supported by family, friends, community, church, Facebook friends and even people around the world who we've never met but who have been introduced to our family in one way or another.  Here's a small example of the blessings we so frequently receive.

Lexi LOVES singing.  Anyone who has been around her for more than three minutes knows that she will spontaneously break into song on a regular basis.  An not just any singing.  She sings with a deep, rich voice that sounds like it belongs in a broadway musical.  She really enjoys her singing lessons with our friend Amara Blackburn.  When "Into The Woods" came out as a movie, Lexi decided she just had  to see it.  We bought the soundtrack for her and she has listened to it dozens of times and sung the songs even more than that.  A couple of weeks ago, Christi decided she would take Lexi and Graci on a mommy date to see the movie.

They were able to find a showing at the local theater that had a descriptive service for visually impaired people.  Lexi wore headphones while watching the movie and the was a recording that went along with the show that give detailed descriptions of what was happening visually.  Lexi loved it!  After she saw the movie, she sang the songs even more than she had after she got the soundtrack.

Recently we found out that Herriman High School was putting on…you guessed it…"Into the Woods."  Believe it or not, our little Lex was dying to go.  Our schedules are so busy right now that there was just no way for Christi or me to take her.  Christi got a brilliant idea:  she would post to Facebook that Lexi would love to tag along if anyone we  knew was going to attend.  Lexi wouldn't be much extra work.  She is basically self-sufficient and very polite.  So Christi asked if anyone was already going.

The first response she received was from a sweet couple from our previous church congregation.  They are empty nesters, and worked with our children when we attended services together.  The husband had worked with Taylor and Parker in scouts, and the wife had been Elli's special helper during Sunday school time.  This allowed Christi and me the opportunity to attend classes.  The love she showed to Elli during the time she worked with her was so tender.  And each week as soon as sacrament meeting was over, Elli would start asking:  "Sister Terry?  Sister Terry?"  This wonderful couple said they would love to take Lexi to the musical.  They had not been planning on attending, but were willing to spend an evening with our Lex to bring some light to her life.

What a beautiful example of love and service.  What a demonstration of Christ-like love.  When they dropped Lexi off after the play this evening, Lex was literally squealing with joy as she described what a fun time she had.  Her smile lit up the room.  Thank you!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Civics Lesson

Last night was a divide and conquer night.  Taylor and Conner went with the young men in the ward to a Utah Grizzlies hockey game.  (Conner has become SO much better at going to activities with the young men.  He is really adapting to life with a family in America in so many ways!)  Graci and Cali walked to the church for a young women's activity.  Christi had to drive 30 minutes away to watch Parker's super league team play a tournament game.  (They lost ): )  I got the privilege of staying home with Lexi, Xander, Sophi and Jessica and having a mini family home evening.  (I was out of town on Monday, our regular FHE night.)

I was pretty late getting home (about 7:30) due to one of my monster shopping trips to Walmart, so the kids had everything planned out.  Dad would give a short lesson, for the activity we would watch a Cosby show, and the treat would be doughnuts, which Sophi had added to the shopping list Christi gave me.  (I didn't get the doughnuts, but the kids were satisfied with the sandwich cookies I brought home.)

Once we got the groceries put away and dinner all cleaned up, the four kids and I cuddled up on the couch to watch the show.  Sophi just melted into me.  She is SO perfect to cuddle with.  During an advertisement, an image of New York came on screen.  Sophi totally perked up and exclaimed, "That's the Statue of Liberty!  She's so special!"

I thought, "Wow, that's really neat that our little immigrant daughter has such an appreciation for the the Statue of Liberty and what she represents."  I asked Soph, "Why is she so special?"

She replied, with a touch of scorn in her voice due to me not knowing the obvious, "She's special 'cuz she's so fragile and she would break if someone knocked her over!"



PS.  As I've been posting this, dear little Sophi woke up and is singing "Tomorrow" from the new Annie movie at the top of her lungs.  She is absolutely irreplaceable!  Here's one of HUNDREDS of selfies she has taken on Christi's phone:)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Road Trip

Taylor's basketball season has been a blast this year.  He's done very well, playing JV and varsity as a freshman.  (6'3" doesn't hurt!)  A few weekends ago, his teams went on a road trip to Eastern Utah, and I took some of the kids and followed them.  We drove a total of about 8 hours in two days.  They played in Altamont and Manila.  JV and varsity both won both of their games.  Varsity's game against Manila was particularly fun, with a packed house and an overtime win.

Cali, Jesi, Lexi and Xander drove with me.  We stayed overnight in Vernal.  Of course the kids loved the swimming pool and eating at restaurants.  But the non-basketball highlight of the trip was the dinosaur quarry at Dinosaur national monument.  Boasting possibly the most concentrated collection of dinosaur bones in the world, it was a fascinating exhibit for the kids.

Thanks, Taylor, for giving us a reason for a road trip!


Monday, February 23, 2015

State Champs!

Parker's Junior High basketball career came to an end last week in the best way possible:  their team won the state championship for charter schools.  They won games three nights in a row to clinch the title.  Parker played very well in all three games, but was spectacular in the semi-final game.  This was the most competitive game, with the score still tied with about six or seven minutes to go.  Parker scored 25 points (his all-time high), dished out several assists, had at least three steals, and led the team as the point guard.  What a player!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Elli update

Jer asked me to blog tonight while he read to the kids and I about hyperventilated.  I get that way when I've gone a long time without blogging and feel I have a thousand and one things that I want to record and don't know where to start!  So much to share, so little time-- argh…

Tonight I'll just write a little bit about our Elli-Belly.  

Elli's life is full of ups and downs and I'm so happy to say that overall, she's been UP for a few weeks!  We're getting good reports from school, fewer tantrums at home and most importantly, we have finally figured out a 90% effective way to keep her from playing with the contents of her diaper!  Woo-hoo!  Thanks to my friend and my super-mom, Elli has ribbons sewn on all of her Houdini jammies that when tied properly, keep her hands from finding their way into her p.j.'s.  It has pretty much been life changing for us!  After often spending HOURS a day cleaning up her tremendously awful messes, I was to the point of a serious emotional meltdown.  So the new and improved Houdini jammies hold the top spot on my current "most favorite things" list.  (:  She wears them night and day when at the house.  In fact, she's wearing them in this cute little video.  It was taken one night, an hour or two after putting her to bed.  As often happens, I heard her singing her heart out when she should have been sleeping, and I snuck down to record her:

Pretty precious, that girl of ours!  Tonight when I tucked her in bed I asked her if she wanted to pray.  I always ask but usually get a "no."  Tonight she said, "yes, please."  She continued to say the sweetest prayer.  She actually started it by herself, which rarely happens.  "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for licorice."  Long pause.  I had to prompt her to go on, "Thank you for…"  I waited a few seconds and then she said, "Sophi."  That was so cute because 1. she rarely says thank you for a person and 2. Sophi had just given her licorice.  (:  She went on to fill in the blanks to my "thank you for…" with Molly (our dog), suckers, home, Daddy, music, toys and then a bunch of crazy random lines from several different songs.  (Don't know of anyone else who prays, "Thank you for 'Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk'.")  LOL.   I'm so thankful for my Elli!


Thursday, February 19, 2015


Parker was in the mudroom in between basketball games.  His junior high team had just won its first tournament game by 30 points.  He was changing into his super league uniform to head off to a game his team would win by 10 points.  When I came across him, his shirt was off and his back was to me.

"Aaaarghh!"  I screamed, shading my eyes.  "What is that?  Oh…it's the glare off your skin."

Parker slowly turned around, gazed at me for about 7 seconds with an almost bored, semi-disgusted, "really?" look in his eyes.  Then, with complete disdain for his old man's attempt to tease him about his fair complexion, he pointed at his six-pack and replied:  "Call me when you get one of these."


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Christmas Ties

Taylor, Parker and Xander all got shirts and ties for Christmas.  They liked these gifts enough to change out of their pajamas Christmas morning and come model the new attire for us.  I think they're a pretty good looking group of guys!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentines Irony

Does anyone else find this picture a bit funny?

Yes, that is a box of terrifying WWE wrestler valentines right next to a box of cute little kitten valentines.  Nothing says "I love you" like a semi-clothed, full-grown man who looks like he wants to tear you to pieces.

On the other hand, I found great humor in the valentine gift Taylor found for me.  Once he saw it, he HAD to get it:)  A nice variation on the traditional box of chocolates, don't you think?  (Notice the sasquatch hair bordering the box.)


Monday, February 16, 2015

Still Here!

Taylor pointed out that it's been over a month since we've posted.  Rather remiss of us!  Since it's clear that a general desire to blog more consistently in 2015 has not been the motivation I need to keep the posts coming, I'll go back to something that has worked in the past.  I hereby commit that, starting today, there will be 60 posts in 60 days.  Taylor, I'm so glad that you enjoy reading our blog.  Sorry for the pathetic track record of late.  Hope you enjoy the next two months!

To start us off, I'll share a picture that shows just how tall Taylor is getting.  He loves looking down at mom.  He LOVES looking down at me!!!  Currently 6'3".  Note that Taylor is in his bare feet and Christi has boots on:)


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fit in Six

Fit in 6 starts tomorrow!  If any of you sent me an email and haven't heard from me or have heard from me but haven't been added to the facebook group, please leave a comment to let me know!!!  Also, it's not too late if you still want to join-- just send me an email.  (:

Now off to have some chocolate ice cream!  (:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Conner on the Piano

Conner is doing so very well.  He is making more and more friends at school and church.  His English is progressing and is finding more joy from life in America.  He is enrolled in two music classes at school:  choir and orchestra.  Below is video of a couple of his performances with both groups this past semester.  We are so proud of him:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tiny update

Jer just noticed that I typed my email address incorrectly on the Fit in 6 post.  It has been changed and is now correct, but if anyone emailed me and hasn't heard back, please try again.  Sorry!  (:

Fit in 6

I am just finishing my last bite of peppermint ice-cream.  It was dessert after my healthy lunch of leftover Christmas candy and a Snickers bar.  Or maybe I'll just call all of that my mid-morning snack and go fix myself some lunch after I'm done with this post… Yes, I have a problem!  I have been quite out of control with my eating habits for several weeks now, I haven't been exercising beyond the hustle and bustle of taking care of 10 kids (and now a dog) and I'm at my all time highest weight-- yikes!  Jeremy must have felt sorry for me and gained some weight of his own so I wouldn't feel bad.  (;  We've had a fantastic time eating out at our favorite places and stuffing ourselves with homemade rolls and pumpkin pie and all sorts of other yummy things, but we (along with our ill-fitting clothing) have decided that 

enough is enough.

Come Monday morning, January 12, we are making some changes in our lifestyle and we are inviting you to join us!  Have you heard of "Fit in 6?"  I have done this program once before with my friend, Jan, and I really enjoyed it.  It basically reminds you to make healthy choices.   I feel it's more doable than many "diets."  I personally lost 12 pounds on the program (many people lose more), but even better was the way I felt-- more energetic, toned and happy.  (Admittedly, I was a little grouchy about it sometimes-- but that's all part of the process, right?)  I like the six week duration-- long enough to see real progress and to create better habits, short enough that I don't feel like I'm giving up my favorite foods FOREVER.  (:  There are some indulgences built in, so a treat here and there is ok.  It also gives points for those things you should be doing anyway (getting sleep, drinking water, taking vitamins, reading scriptures, etc.)  But the best part about it is that you are accountable to someone.  Everyone that chooses to join will report to ME!  Don't worry, I'm not judgmental and we're in this together!!  We will be each other's cheerleaders on days when we hate the scale or would rather do anything else than exercise.  

What do you say?

The basic premise of Fit in 6 is that you get points for healthy choices and lose points for unhealthy choices.  You can choose to "pay in" either $10 or $20 (we'll take a vote) and then the winners divide up the money at the end.  Or if you want to join but don't want to pay in, PLEASE feel welcome-- you won't be eligible for the prizes but you'll be a part of it in every other way.  This isn't about money (though it's an incentive for some) but about motivation and accountability!

The details of the program are too long to post here on the blog but I can easily email them to you before you decide.  Just leave a note in the comment section or email me if you are interested!  I will send you detailed information on the program rules and if you decide to join (I just KNOW you will)  I will add you to our Fit in 6 Facebook page.  Sounds like a party, right?!!  (:

The program runs January 12- February 23.  That means you'll have a few days to eat your favorite foods and avoid the gym and stay up late while you wrap your head around the fact that YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!  YOU CAN BE HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER IN JUST SIX WEEKS!!!  

Who's in??  (:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A child's prayer

I've recently decided I needed to start recording Sophi's sweet prayers because they just make my heart so happy.  Here is her prayer from tonight:

"Dear Heavenly Father, please bless my dear little dog, Molly, that she will have a really good sleep.  And bless her to not bite people or jump on them or do any bad thing.  And bless my two sisters, Elli and Lexi, that they can see again.  And bless my brother, Conner, that he can see.  And bless my sister, Cali, that she can walk.  And bless me, that my eczema will go away and I will have skin that doesn't itch.  And bless us all that we can love Molly and we can be gentle with her and not be mean to her even when she does bad things.  And bless anybody that passed away that they can be happy in heaven.  And bless us that we will be nice every day and choose the right and obey and read our scriptures and go to church all the time.  And bless that when we are in church we will sing the songs the right way and not the wrong way.  And bless that when we are in kindergarten that we will say the pledge of allegiance the right way and not the wrong way.  And bless us not to be silly and to be respectful to our state.  And bless that we will be good to each other and not kick or hit or whack and that we can just all love each other and when we do bad things that we can say sorry and we can forgive each other.  And bless my friend, Claire, that she can know that it's ok sometimes when we have to go through the office door instead of the kindergarten door.  And bless her to be my best friend.  And bless that we will just all love each other and not hate anybody but just love everybody.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I'm so lucky to be your mommy, sweet Sophi!

(and yes-- more about Molly in a post to come!)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Three of Our Ridiculously Cute Daughters at Their Dance Recital

I think my favorite picture is the one of Sophi doing Jesi's make-up:)


 Sophi and her best friend, Claire: