Monday, August 31, 2009

Breaking Silence

I think I will be back fairly soon - within a week or two. This has been very renewing as I've had a chance to do some soul searching and to seek counsel from several people close to me. I feel the best I have felt in a very long time. I realize that relationships and friendships change and I realize that callings are important. Now it's just how to apply all that I am feeling and learning and how to honor God with my life and with the passions He has given to me and to us as a family.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind and encouraging words. I'm honestly amazed at how differently I feel from a week ago (and no, my monthly visitor seriously had nothing to do with it). Not to say there won't be tough days and months still to come (aren't there always in life?) and not to say everything is perfect (it isn't) but I am encouraged and challenged and learning a lot!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Quick Thing

I failed to note here but it was quite a milestone for us...the boys just had their three year post-placement report done. It is the last one required to be done by a social worker so now we will do them ourselves.

Amazing that we started here:

And now we are here:

What a blessing they are! And how incredibly thankful I am for God giving us these wonderful blessings.

Bye for Awhile

I'm keeping it real here...I am just struggling with some personal stuff right now. I feel lonely and this has been a very difficult several days. I have decided to take some time away from blogging as I work through some things and seek healing and peace for my hurting heart. This is something I've been considering for months and I think it's time - maybe a week, maybe much longer.

That said, I'm incredibly thankful for my husband who is my best friend and my children who make me smile every single day. And I'm thankful for all of you who stop by my little corner of the web. I'll probably be back but in the mean time, I'm going to be scarce in all of blogland. That's all I care to share right now and I'll be okay. :) I'm reachable via e-mail during my blog silence (you can find the address on my profile).

I did forget to note one milestone that happened in our family this week - it will post later today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Since education decisions for next year are up in the air and because I think the structure and discipline will be good for the boys and for me, we are homeschooling the two-three days a week that the boys are not at preschool. We are using Alpha Omega preschool curriculum which I really like - they usually have a few workbook pages, crafts, songs, stories, memory verses, letters, numbers etc. It's a nice variety and takes 1 -2 hours. The workbook pages are way too easy for them at the moment so I'm sure they will fly through some of the lessons but they love them!

I'm working to get more organized and ready for each day. I will admit that the crafts are a bit daunting for me - just not my thing. :) But I'm excited to see how it will all work and the boys enthusiasm is inspiring. So today (while the boys are at school at Ty is napping) is my get-the-school-corner-ready day. :) I headed to the store and picked up several things and have been gathering craft supplies and school supplies from around the house to a more central location. While we have already started homeschool, I'm hoping tomorrow will be our more formal start. Praying for a great year of learning and growing together and praying for lots of patience! :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Inspires You?

Besides my amazing family (who, of course, inspire me!), food always sparks creativity and inspiration. The vibrant colors, delicious flavors, endless possibilities... Yesterday I made pork chops w/onions, peppers, and pineapple, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and raspberry cobbler. Earlier this month, I grilled the vegetables below and we enjoyed hamburgers and those gorgeous cherries.

I love it when I have time to wander through the grocery store and allow myself to take in all the ingredients, the fresh produce, the cheese (a rarity, thus I'm not generally a fan of grocery shopping :)). I can't help but occasionally splurge on an item like fresh mozzarella - it begs to be used. I delight in making food that my family and friends enjoy. And I thoroughly enjoy dreaming up new recipes and thinking about new ingredients. So, I think it's fair to say that food inspires me. What inspires you?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I went raspberry picking on Thursday with a friend. The berries were gorgeous, delicious, fairly easy to pick, and plentiful! I go nearly every year and this was probably the best I have ever seen. At $2/lb., they are definitely a better deal than the store.

I froze most of them to be used in pies, cobblers, syrups, sauces, and smoothies. I picked 19 1/2 pounds in less than 2 hours. Not bad.

Beautiful, ripe raspberries.

A close up of a red raspberry - they also had golden/yellow raspberries.

My 3 1/2 buckets that equaled 19 1/2 pounds - yay!

Titus went with me (the boys were at school) and after a long struggle and many crackers and cheerios, he finally fell asleep. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm feeling horribly disconnected - our internet is not working at home. So that's the reason for no updates - I'll be back as soon as the internet is working again. Ugh. Miss you all. :) Oh and I saw Julie & Julia last night - excellent!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1st Day of School

The boys started school yesterday. They were SO excited! I think the day went well. They have 14 kids in their class this year - 10 boys. Yikes! 6 of their 10 classmates from last year are in their class again. They very much miss one of the little girls who didn't return - I think I need to call her mom for a play date. Titus and I enjoyed our few hours together and I managed to get some much needed grocery shopping done and a little organizing as well. I can't believe the summer is over - it went by way too fast!

Not the best picture but what can I say - it was very sunny on the front porch and we wanted to quickly get a picture with Daddy before he left for work. :) Calvin was especially proud of his new shoes which he thinks look like Papa's shoes (my dad). The boys were so pleased to take their lunches in their new lunch boxes but were concerned that they didn't have anything in their back packs yet. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Cupcakes!

Here is Titus' birthday tower of carnival/circus cupcakes! This was quite the project but I was overall happy with how it turned out!

My cousin, Emily, told me about this book -Hello, Cupcake! And seriously, if you like to do your kids' cakes, stop what you are doing and go buy it (I bought mine on Amazon for about $8)! It's so cute, the instructions are generally easy to follow, you don't have to buy a lot of cake decorating things, and your kids will love them! There are also some very classy cupcake designs suitable for adults as well. It's a book that I'm sure I will be returning to again and again for ideas.
I love the concept of cupcakes because they are easy to serve, portioned out, and adorable. I was able to easily adjust the ideas to work with what I had and what I could find at the store. And while my cake platter wasn't quite right, I just added an extra layer of candle cupcakes (1 candle on each representing his 1st birthday) and seated the clowns on the table (they were too tall for the bottom tier). I also skipped the cute elephant cupcakes they suggested because I simply did not have enough time to do them - I think it turned out just fine without! Oh and I decorated all of the extra cupcakes by rolling the edges in sprinkles and topping them with a circus peanut or a gummy life saver with one candle in the middle.
So there you have it, the cupcake project. I hope there will be many more because they were fun to do!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Party Pics

I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I had hoped and pretty much none of Calvin & Patrick. Such is life. Special thanks to our family and friends who helped out at the party!

We had a Carnival for Ty's birthday which included:
Ring Toss
Basketball Throw
Bean Bag Toss
Floating Cups
Train Ride
Face Painting
Puppet Making
Circus Coloring Pages
Bounce House
Cotton Candy
Candy Shop
And LOTS & LOTS of prizes

The kids (there were 23 or so of all ages) all had tickets and each game or treat cost 1 ticket. They raced around and I think they all had a good time. Titus mostly took it all in and watched everyone - he tried his hand at a few games but didn't want a train ride and wouldn't dare go in the bounce house. :)

The grassy area where Titus tried a couple of games.

Taking it all in from the safety of my arms.

Cautiously excited (and a little confused) about the cupcake and candle.

Digging in and starting to smear the frosting.

Definitely more into the frosting than the cupcake - he eventually threw the cupcake overboard. :)

Taking a rest in the midst of his day.

Opening Gifts - he loves his new books and toys!
When I ask Titus if he had a fun birthday, he breaks out in a huge smile and giggles. I think it was a success. :) Tomorrow, I will post pictures of his cupcake tower! You can check out more pictures on facebook. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

1st Birthday Letter

Dear Titus,

Wow sweet boy, can you possibly be one? This year has flown by as you have grown and changed and though I didn't think there was any way you could get any sweeter, you have. And so here I am, writing your very first birthday letter.

Words cannot express how thankful we are for you - God's suprise gift to us. He knew we needed you and He worked everything out just right. This week I've had tears in my eyes more time then I can count thinking about you and about your first mom. She was so sweet and so kind and I'm sure she was thinking of you this week, too. I wish she could see you now!

I'll never forget the day you were born. I think I might have cried a gallon of tears. I was so happy and so nervous. You were very little and you had a rough start. I saw you in your incubator and couldn't believe that you could possibly be ours. To me, you were perfect and beautiful. I was almost afraid to hold you because you seemed so tiny. Your dad and I couldn't get enough of you as we rocked you and held you constantly. When we got home, your brothers were so attentive and gentle in caring for you. They were so happy to have a little brother. We were all thrilled and relieved when you became legally forever a part of our family in November - I might have shed a few more tears then, too. I'm a little emotional like that as you will learn.

This year you have developed by leaps and bounds. You started eating your first food (rice cereal) at 4 1/2 months, crawling at 6 months, walking at 9 1/2 months, and feeding yourself at 10 1/2 months. You are so motivated to keep up with your brothers! You love to tease and laugh and be tickled. You love to rest and rock, to hug and kiss (the kisses you blow are so sweet!), to dance and play with all the toys and mostly to be the center of attention. You have a few words - mama (you waited awhile on this one :)), dada, bye-bye, hi, nigh-night, love you, and baba. You definitely can be shy but once you warm up, there is no stopping you. You often prefer your uncles to your aunts but you tend to want mommy and daddy pretty equally (though I think that you want me more when you are ready to cuddle, right?). You can't wait for Daddy to get home in the evenings! You already do a great job of following one-step commands and you love to play games. You amaze us every day and every day we thank God for you.

Titus, we love you so much! You bring so much joy to our lives. We seriously cannot believe what a perfect addition you are to our family. We look forward to seeing what this next year will bring for you as you continue to be a blessing to your dad and me.

I love you forever and always, no matter what. Happy 1st Birthday, Son!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can It Be?


I cannot believe our baby is one - this year has flown by! More of a post tomorrow - we had big party today and I'm exhausted! :) This week has been emotional for me as I've thought of how Titus came to be in our family and have also thought very much of C.

Friday, August 14, 2009

And Finally...

...this is how we felt at the end of the weekend! :)
We were so tired but it was a fantastic weekend!!! Thanks for following along with all my pictures this week - I gave myself a blogging break and wrote all of these on Monday to post throughout this week. It's been great!
We have spent this week recovering and getting ready for Titus' Carnival-Themed 1st birthday party tomorrow! I'm undertaking a major cupcake challenge - we shall see how it turns out! :) Add Image

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Here are a few pictures and details from the Brunch! We had 49 people at our house - it was such a great time visiting with family and friends.

-Spinach, Portabella, & 2-Cheese Egg Casserole
-Multi-color Pepper, Onion, & Cheddar Egg Casserole
-Fruit Platter (made by my good friend, Heather - it was beautiful and yummy!)
-Marinated Vegetable Salad (Tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, and carrots w/salt, pepper, and balsamic vinagrette)
-Assorted Bagels & Cream Cheese
-Yeast & Cake Donuts (from our favorite local bakery!)
-Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Coffee, & Tea

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Family Pictures!

Here are pictures of our family!
The five of us!

Two of our cute bell ringers - the third was not so sure about the pictures. :)

Patrick looking very handsome!

Calvin had the time of his life and was quite the ladies man.

We managed to capture a few candids of our camera shy little boy!

My Sweetie & Me!

All 7 of the siblings!
(L-R: Elizabeth, Stephanie, Me, Margaret, Elliot, Noah, Wesley)

Sisters - no longer J's - we all have different last names.

All the J girls - doesn't Mom look gorgeous?!

Andrew took Patrick and Titus home after awhile but Calvin stayed for the long haul. He was having too much fun to send him home. He asked all the girls, "Do you want to dance with me?" Here he is with his friend Meredith - her answer was, "Sure!" And he led her to the dance floor - too cute for words! He certainly looks pleased with himself. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Bride & Groom

Don't they look so happy?!
Margaret looked amazing and seriously looked like she belonged on a magazine cover. She was absolutely stunning and every detail was perfect! Her new sister-in-law made her dress, our sister-in-law made her necklace, and my mom made her birdcage veil!