Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jinna Rai's first Thanksgiving

Our first holiday as a family of 7 was as wonderful as we could have imagined.  We kept it simple, staying in town and going to Dan and Amy's house.  The Wray gang all assembled, and the weather was so nice that it wasn't overwhelming because everyone could be outside most of the time!

The best moment for me came when the whole family gathered to sing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."  Jinna's presence was a perfect testimony of that for me.

It was fun seeing her interact with her girl cousins, too.

 While Dan spent hours slaving over the hot grills to prepare the best turkey we've EVER had, the girls and I did a turkey craft inside.

A great day to be thankful on-- and for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

But what has Jinna Rai been up to??

The most common question I hear these days (aside from "What are we doing today, Mom?" and "What's for dinner?") comes from those outside our home and it's "How is Jinna doing??"
The short answer is she is doing very well!  She generally goes with the flow and loves to participate in our normal family activities.  She has times of acting out -- especially after the normal routine has been disrupted -- but usually she's happy and just bops around the house, trying various activities.
She's picked up a lot of English words -- food, more, please, thank you, you're welcome, water, banana, chocolate (!), towel, pencil, paper, hair, shoes, most of the colors, numbers up to 20, and a couple letters of the alphabet.  She loves to "pray" with us (which involves mumbling and listing all of the names in the family), and enjoys playing Uno and various apps on the Kindle.  She also loves writing and drawing -- learned to write her English name in the first 2 days she was here.  And she loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me."  Now we just need to teach her what it means!

We're so grateful for this lively girl who is so definitely a Frank!

Sports wrap-up

With Colsen's team's big victory during the tournament, the fall sports season has come to an end (and not a moment too soon, from a driving around standpoint!).

Colsen played on a U-11 team this year, which meant he was one of the youngest kids, but even still he was able to earn a starting position as stopper as the season progressed, and he has a new passion for the sport.  He has become very agile and loves "juking people out."  :)  We are thankful to Coach Carlos for all his instruction this season!

Here is the team victorious at the tournament:

Meanwhile, Strider spent every weeknight between July and November on the football field, with games on almost every Friday night.  His primary position was longsnapper, but he did a few other things, too, like play safety and do kick return (whatever those things are... I'm still not too adept with my football terminology).  My primary concern was that he played safely.

Now we are enjoying a little break in the evenings, although Cole and Milo start up again next week with 3v3 soccer, and Strider is talking about trying to start a boys' volleyball team in the spring...  We'll see!

Big day for Colsen and Rayna

Last Sunday Rayna and Colsen took their vows to join Church of the Redeemer!  They have taken a long class about what it means to be a Christian, and after they both decided they wanted to continue on this path, they were each interviewed by a pair of elders to make sure they full understood what they were saying.

Then, with a group of other kids, they stood in front of the congregation and promised to love the church and obey its authority.  Dr. Milton gave a very emotional explanation for how significant it all was, and took the time to speak to each child, presenting them Bibles which had their names engraved on them.

Then, Kai was baptized, too -- quite a big day!

That weekend was also the playoff-tournament weekend for Colsen's soccer team, so he ended up having games both before and after the special ceremony!  (Quick changes in the car!)  His team ended up WINNING their bracket, so it was a very big day indeed.

Colsen talked about this big day for weeks ahead of time and days afterwards, repeating things like, "This was HUGE.  I mean, when I was baptized as a baby, I didn't even know what was going on.  But taking my vows is a BIG DEAL!"  and "I should be congratulated a LOT today... for taking my vows AND for winning the soccer tournament."

And this was my favorite conversation about it with him, a few days afterwards--

Colsen:  Mom, Dr. Milton was really nice on Sunday.  Have you ever hugged him?
Me:  No, I don't think so.
Colsen, with a big grin:  He's warm.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Double digits for the Cole man!

Colsen turned 10 this past Sunday, and I wish I could have followed him around with a camera and recorder all day.  In his normal way, he was fully of gratefulness, wonder, and passion!  Everything was SO appreciated and he LOVED every minute -- even when he had just boring cereal for breakfast.  ("This is my best birthday yet!  I mean, nothing has gone wrong or anything!")

We had some of his buddies over for a party in the afternoon -- they played some backyard games led by Strider.

 And despite how Miles (and a few others) look in these photos, I promise NO alcohol was served!
Cousins and future fraternity brothers

Very fun time!

I can't believe Colsen is now 10!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2016


We didn't fully participate in Halloween this year because we didn't want to confuse Jinna Rai too much, but she did enjoy putting on a costume for our church's fall festival.  The other kids, as always, also loved dressing up... except Miles this year.  He wasn't thrilled with his options.  :)

Strider, meanwhile, got asked to be the cow for his Chick-Fil-A store at the fall festival right down the street from our house.  I went over to take a couple quick pictures -- which he loved as you can tell from his face.