February 20, 2012…

One year ago today we said yes to a family of 5.  We knew their names & a little bit about their story. Then we received these first pictures & began falling in love…






It’s amazing how they are instantly your kids, how you can’t wait to see them smile, to see them become part of your family, to love them & be able to tell them that they will always be a part of this family. Oh those sweet brown eyes, everyday we are thankful for them…

Sat mornign

008 009 011 012 Books Church Jumping picnic smiles With dad

It’s amazing what a lot of love & family will do for a kid!  What’s stopping you from pouring into a child’s life?  From adopting?  If you are called GO!  Don’t miss out on the blessings!!!

Summer mission trips are coming up, they can change your life.  Give God 7-10 days simply serving.  Let Him change your perspective.  I had no idea life could be this hard, beautiful, frustrating, joyful, busy, crazy, perfect… & to think we could have missed out if we hadn’t said yes to Tyler going on a 10 day mission trip in Peru.

Not a lot of words, but a lot of smiles for you 🙂

At the dinnermesa,




So I don’t know about other families but at our household from about 6:30-7:20am the house is in full alert, kind of like NASA right before the rocket launch…the only problem is that this rocket launch includes 1 semi-non-morning-person Mami and 5 grumpy kids.  Not the recipe for a perfect shuttle launch.

Needless to say the morning are not our most gracious moments…

Difficulty: Our oldest’s goal in life in the morning is to be the first one ready so he can put the cereal bowls & spoons on the table.  This was all going well until our middle son realized that if he makes his bed quickly & gets ready faster that our oldest, he gets to put the cereal on the table…HUGE FIGHT!   I walked out of the girl’s room to find my oldest weeping against the wall because little bro beat him to the breakfast bowls.  And once my oldest is unhappy he makes his new goal to derail everyone around him…

*Solution: we validate the feelings, we talk about the importance of everyone helping in our family, we talk about the importance of being happy that people want to help, we talk about taking turns or sharing the breakfast responsibility (one sets out the spoons, one the bowls), we talk about not getting mad/sad/out for revenge.  But guess what sometimes we still have this exact problem in the morning.

Difficulty: Our oldest daughter moves v.e.r.y.s.l.o.w.  every morning.  She make her bed the slowest, gets dressed the slowest, picks out her shoes the slowest, puts her lunch in her backpack the slowest and if you say anything to her about her behavior she freezes, or bursts into tears…and moves even s.l.o.w.e.r.

*Solution: again we validate feelings, we set out clothes, shoes, socks…everything the night before, we even practice making our bed so it’s easier in the mornings, we get our backpack ready for our lunch.  But sometimes we still have s.l.o.w. morning problems.

Difficulty: Darth is 2.

*Solution: we go potty in the big potty first thing when we wake up, this usually saves Mami from having to change 2 diapers before we leave the house.  She gets a very small amount of cereal & milk in her bowl in the morning so if when there is a spill there is less to clean up (don’t worry she gets a snack after we drop the kiddies off at school).  While Mami is brushing her teeth I give her a lot of warning before we actually wash her face, for a long time I didn’t & we would have screaming fits every morning (big lesson learned).  She gets to pick out her coat in the morning, that is her 1 “all by myself job”.  But in all of this she is still 2.

Difficulty: Our youngest son is in prime little brother form.  I can’t make my bed, do it for me.  I can’t put on my shirt, do it for me.  I can’t put on my socks, do it for me.  I can’t pick up my pajamas & take them to the dirty clothes, do it for me.  I can’t take my dirty dishes to the sink, do it for me.

*Solution: this was one of my hardest lessons to learn (& I still screw it up all of the time).  We celebrate when he does things by himself, high-fives are given out, a big deal is made.  We talk about him being a big boy but it’s okay when he really does need help but first he must try all by himself.  For example he can pull his cover straight & put his pillows & stuffed animals where they go but if he has tried & can’t fold his blanket he can ask a brother or Mami for help.  For a long time I just yelled, “faster, you did it yesterday why not today, if Darth can do it why can’t you, I guess if you can’t put your shirt on you won’t be wearing one today”…I know lots of bad Mami moments.  Things are better but again he is still a little brother.

There are a lot of morning we leave the house & at least one person is on tense terms with another person (even Mami) in the car.  I am always so thankful for the car ride to school it gives the kids a time to be still & not rushed.  I can do the simple task of playing a favorite song, asking them their favorite part about school, or our newest game is to quiz everybody in the car.  The importance of the quiz is to ask questions that you know they will be successful, this is not a test your knowledge kind of quiz or a see how much smarter you are quiz: this is a feel encouraged & know that you are good at something quiz…

Sample questions:

For our 1st grader, math problems are usually a win (but the have to be funny ones): “If you had a dog with 3 tails & another dog with 1 tail, how many tails would you have all together?

For our Kindergartners, we ususally do sound recognition: “What sould does ‘ta’ make?”

For our 4yr old, we stick to color questions or repeating questions: “Repeat Bombero, now what color is a bombero’s truck?’

For our 2yr old, we just practice simple instructiones: “Darth, can you put your hands up & show me 10 fingers?”

Again this is not a ‘how smart are you quiz’ this is a be successful quiz.  This is a time where we celebrate good attitudes, being happy for each other, and most importantly listen while our siblings get a chance to be the star & not only think about ourselves.  But sometimes we still have bad mornings.

Sometimes I have to take what I like to call the walk of shame.  The you are in the line to drop off your children & the principal asks why are only 2 of your children getting out of the car for school when the 3rd one is clearly sitting in their carseat with a sullen expression on their face.  That’s when I explain that they are going to have an alone talk with Mom before I send them into their teachers with a mad/sad attitude for a 7hr school day.

We then pull into the parking lot & have a talk.  Once again feelings are validated, a plan is worked out, bridges are rebuilt.  I am blessed to say that I have never once dropped off any of my kids without reconciling our relationship.  But then it happens, there is not enough time to get in the car drop off lane & I am forced to walk my child into the building…in my sweatpants, crazy hair, no make-up, tennis shoes (usually with no socks).  Thankfully when I walk into the building I am now holding the hand of one of my beautiful children & I pray that people only look at them & not their slobby mami.

Hard Days

not winning a beauty queen award today…

Just trying to keep it real tonight.

At the dinnermesa,


1st Dance…

So the kiddies had their first dance at the school. And they didn’t dance once.  They did run around & play with their friends.  They let Mami paint their faces.  They had a great time.

I also had my first disagreement with the kids over clothing.  Big sister didn’t like any of the outfits that I was picking out & we finally settled on one that we both/she liked…oh teenager years I am not looking forward to you.  The boys also gave me some sass in dealing with their clothing.  The dance’s theme was Ties & Tiaras; the boys would not believe me that only the girls would be wearing tiaras…hence the pictures with their crowns…

Dance 3

Luckily Tyler said that as soon as they showed up to the school & saw the other boys they ripped their crowns off as fast as possible.  Tyler also thought that it was hilarious that the boys are dressed up a little nerdy while big sister looks a little like a supermodel.  I explained to him that this was the way it is supposed to be, we don’t want our girl chasing any boys (don’t know if I’m cool with any boys chasing our girl!).

I also go my first taste of being a PTA mom, I signed up to help & painted faces for 2 1/2hrs, we had some outstanding requests from vampires, to cheetahs, to spiderman, to a pig eating a basketball (?!?).  All in all it was a great night & the kids had a blast, I am thankful that their school still takes time to have these special nights for the children & for the PTA moms that work so hard to make them a success!


Ready to paint some faces

Dance 2

Big brother stopped by to see Mami, please notice his shark with blood dripping from the teeth 🙂

Dance 4

“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” -Derek Zoolander

Also just for fun, here are our kindergartners celebrating their 100th day of school…

100th day

At the dinnermesa,


Valentine’s Day (yr 1)…

You want a little bit of truth, social media kind of put me in a mommy-failing attitude.  There were heart shaped pancakes, balloons, presents wrapped in red & pink paper, special lunches packed, streamers, more presents, more roses from your husbands, chocolate covered strawberries, dinner out, special dinner menus, orchids, lillies…lots of magical moments.  How do you do it…VALENTINES WAS EXHAUSTING FOR ME!!!  I made 75 Valentines, 4 dozen brownies, 6 dozen chocolate chips, 2 mailboxes, homework every night, 1 eel class project, laundry, dishes, dinner…there seemed to be no time for the “special moments”, for the extra special memories for my kids.

Then we got some emails & the balloons I didn’t blow-up, the presents I didn’t buy, the flowers that weren’t ordered didn’t matter anymore.

We have had some very dear friends suffer severe losses this past week.  Losses that I cannot imagine going through or what to say to them to give them any peace during this hard time.  All anyone can really do is love.  Love them through time, through patience, through compassion, through the hurt.  I pray that they are surrounded by people who love them & will lift them up, that will encourage them & remind them to keep on going, that it will get better, that they are loved & not alone.

Don’t miss opportunities to love the people around you.  Don’t get too caught up in the details of life, slow down & focus on the people who mean the most to you.   Stop worrying about missing magical moments & just be present for your family, your kids, your friends.  Stop comparing, stop trying to “live up to expectations”.  Time is such a very precious gift, please use yours wisely.

We had a delightful Valentine’s day, lots of family time, bubbles were blown, class parties were attended; my present from the hubby was a $20 pizza dinner added to the budget so Mom had the night off from cooking & it was wonderful.


We got some Valentine letters in the mail from all of our grandparents! Stickers were everywhere!


Hanging out with big brother at his school’s Vday party


After an hour of celebrating (& eating tons of sweets) with the big brother we headed across the hall (literally) and enjoyed another hour of Valentine treats with the middle brother and big sister.


Thankful that Grandma could come for the party too!


Big brother showing little brother how to use the potty pass


Showing off some of his favorite cards


Middle brother with his Mater Valentine mailbox


Big sister modeling her Valentine purse mailbox


Look, this is where it opens!


A fun Valentine’s night, working on homework while the rest play on a “boat”/basketball goal in the background


Papi treated to pizza & we got to use our new fancy straws


Middle brother sleeping with his Mater mailbox 🙂


1 kiddo coughing, 1 kiddo had a nightmare…late night cuddling. Unable to sleep, means Mami is going to take some time & blog.

Happy V Day

Just another reason why we needed 5 kids 🙂

So thankful for friends who go above & beyond for their families, who take the time for special days for their kiddos, for my friends who are really present in their family’s lives!  I still have so much to learn.

At the dinnermesa,



A little glimpse into our night…

Look who is learning to read too…

Big Sister!

FYI: from here down is what I’ve been going through, so if you only read to see the kids you can stop here. (Don’t worry it won’t offend me a bit :))

Life has been hard.  We had the flu go through our house last week & just when you think it is over Darth started running a fever last night & got on Tamiflu today.

It’s frustrating when our plans are changed.  When money you ear-marked for something heads in another direction.  When time you so thoughtfully planned is taken away.  When family you want to be with lives far away.  When governments change their rules & their are more hoops to jump through before you can get your kids.

I wish I could let you know about all the details about how our children became available but that is our family’s private story.  Just know that we were approved nearly a week after our children became available to adopt.  Our kids were supposed to be available for adoption in May, but due to circumstances their time was pushed back.  Our children were supposed to be orphans before we had even applied for adoption, they were supposed to be orphans 1wk before Tyler would go on a mission trip that would change his heart.  If they were approved earlier: they could have been separated, they could have gone home with another family, we could still be waiting.

Sometimes doubt & frustration sets in & we get sick of the circumstance that we have been placed in.  Sometimes we forget the miracles that God has already preformed in our life as we wait for the next “big thing” to come along.

In my personal bible study I camped out in 1 Peter (he’s probably my most favorite apostle, he had a bit of a problem with his mouth too):

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.  (1Peter 5:6-11)

My Verbs/Actions for Life: 

Humble: Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance (AKA: it’s not all about me, my time, my plan)

Cast: Throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction (FORECFULLY THROW AWAY MY ANXIETY!!!)

Alert: Quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant (vigilant: Keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties) (Read the bible, pray, go to church, ALL THE TIME because my enemy is moving around all them time)

Sober (mind): quiet or sedate in demeanor, not a drunk (Do not act like a fool, like a drunk, do not go whatever way the wind may blow, I know the truth)

Resist: Withstand the action or effect of (Do not fall under pressure, the pressure that is promised to come)

Standing (firm):  Remaining upright, not cut down (firm: Having a solid, almost unyielding surface or structure).  (Staying upright unyielding, not growing weary & sitting down)

Suffered: Experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant), Be affected by or subject to (an illness or ailment). (Bad stuff is going to happen because there is sin in our world. But it is suffered (past tense), it is not my future, my future is heaven.)

Because my Enemy’s verbs are:

Prowls: Move around (a place) in search of or as if in search of prey (He is hunting & I’ve known some hunters: they are sneaky & PATIENT, going to the animal’s natural habitat, waiting in deer-blinds for hours/days, for that moment to attack, that moment of “slowness” or weakness)

Roaring: Making a loud, deep, or harsh prolonged sound (AKA does not want to be ignored, wants to disturb, disrupt, break)

Looking: Direct one’s gaze toward someone or something or in a specified direction (A specified direction, the enemy is looking into the details of my life.  That’s where he finds my weaknesses, in the everyday, in my actions toward others, how I handle hard circumstances)

Devour: Consume (someone or something) destructively (Not just eat but he wants me to suffer, to hurt, to lose faith)

But I have His Promises:

Lift (you up):Raise to a higher position or level (He will not leave me in my despair, that is not His desire for me)

Cares (for you): The provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something (For all of me, in everything He cares)

Called (you): Cry out to (someone) in order to summon them or attract their attention (He is talking to me, God of the Universe called out to me…blows my mind)

(He) will: Expressing the future tense, Intend, desire, or wish (something) to happen (AKA: IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!)

Restore (me): bring back, reinstate, return (someone or something) to a former condition (There is nothing, no one, no circumstance that is out of His reach, all can be made new..ALL)

Make (me strong, firm & steadfast): Form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create (He is going to make me able to withstand the world around me, not by my own power but solely through His)

Power: The ability to do something or act in a particular way (Synonyms: might, force, strength, authority…and I am on His side, what is there to fear, worry, doubt?!?)

Then I looked up “in due time”

In: Expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else

Due: Expected at or planned for at a certain time

Time: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole

As in all of His plans (past, present & future) are enclosed for a certain time, a perfect time.

At the dinnermesa,