Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Home renovations: Living room and family room

When we first moved into our new house, I wanted to document the changes we made.  Now so much time has gone by, and the projects just keep evolving...  But I want to at least get a few snapshots in time of the transformations thus far.  (The kitchen is still in progress, so will have to post about that later.)

So here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of our living room:



My next project is to find or make a coffee table for this room.  I might just take the top off a round pub table we have in the kitchen, have Pete make that into a coffee table, then refinish a set of chairs and table we just bought from some friends to put in the kitchen...  Always more projects to be done!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Good January Day

It's an awfully good January day when you can paint outside!

So good to see

A lot of really good things have already come out of our time with Jinna Rai, blessings we could never have foreseen.

But one of my favorite things has been watching Miles.  Before we met Jinna Rai, Miles was the most skeptical of our bunch, not sure at all if this adoption would be a good thing.  In fact, he was downright against it sometimes.

Ever since she came home, though, he has found her fascinating.  He loves to be around her, to teach her, and to help her.  Occasionally his "teaching" takes more of the form of "tough love," as he tries to explain what is fair or what our rules are, but for the most part, he is very good to her.

I love seeing how gentle he is, and how quick he is to rush to help her when she needs something.  The boys often argue over who gets to be her "first responder."
When she was sad, he tried to make her something quickly.
It's funny watching our former Emperor of the house now become a servant.  A new Empress has arrived and he is actually (usually) ok with giving her the throne.

Friday, January 13, 2017

One of "those" school days

Me:  Alright, guys, so a couple days ago we read about the First Punic War, which was fought between Rome and Carthage, right?  So, who won that war?

*blank stares*

Me:  Miles, do you know?  Who won the First Punic War?

Miles:  America?

Me:  Miles!  America wasn't fighting in that war!

Miles:  Then why are we even studying this???!!

Me:  *blank stare*

Me:  Ok, Colsen, do YOU know?

Colsen:  Oh, I think it was that guy... King David?  No, wait, who was that king that had that great teacher?

Me:  You mean Alexander the Great?

Colsen:  Yeah -- him!

Me:  No, he died.  GUYS.  Remember what I JUST said??  The First Punic War was fought between Rome and Carthage!  Who won?  PICK ONE OF THOSE GROUPS I JUST SAID!

Colsen: Ummm... Rome???

I finally picked myself up off the floor enough to begin reading the new history section for today about the Second Punic War, wondering the whole time why I even bother.

Part way through, Miles ask, "So who are we rooting for here?  I think I pick Carthage!"

History lessons are failing on all kinds of levels here....

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jinna Rai's quilt

SO many people donated so much to help us bring Jinna Rai home -- and we're so grateful to now have a tangible object that represents just how loved she is.

My mom took all the fabric squares that we wrote people's names on and made them into a quilt (talented woman that she is)!  Just before Christmas she brought it to Jinna -- who loved it.  She wanted to be wrapped right up in it!

Every night Jinna sleeps with it on her bed, and even though she can't quite understand what all the names represent yet, she does seem to understand that she is very loved.  We can't wait to explain it all to her -- and for her to get to know every name on that quilt.

 We're so grateful for how God orchestrated her whole story, and for all the people who loved her and us so well, helping to bring her to a home where she can grow with a family AND an amazing community.

My prayer all along has been that God would send us a child who would truly flourish and thrive in our home, and at this point I would confidently say that He has answered our prayer.  Watching her laugh and squeal and learn and embrace her siblings and delight in all kinds of new things has been confirmation to us.

THANK YOU to our wonderful friends and family!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Our Epiphany celebration looked much different than previous years' this year, thanks to a ski trip and a snow "storm."

We had intended to postpone our celebration by a day (since the boys would be skiing), and had invited some friends over for dinner.  But then all of the 1/2 inch of snow came through, and all plans for the weekend were cancelled.  :(

But we still chalked the door -- first time on Ivy Hill Lane! -- and enjoyed Mrs. Garrett's fudgy chocolate cake, as well as a leisurely weekend of games and fires in the fireplace.

Oh, and there was some sledding!  Jinna Rai's first time.  She was excited at first...   but after awhile decided she didn't like being cold, muddy, and wet!

 The boys were so good with her, pushing her around on a wakeboard wherever she wanted to go.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Harrowing ski trip

Well, maybe not harrowing for those attending (Pete, Strider, Miles, Colsen, James, and the Drescher kids)... but I'm sure feeling a little scared after the fact, just hearing the stories!

"There was so much blowing snow all day that I could NOT even SEE going down the mountain!  So I just had to keep closing my eyes and hope that I didn't hit anything!"  (Soon after realizing this was happening, Pete bought goggles for everyone.)

"I couldn't get the bar down on the ski lift thing, so I just had to ride it without the bar down a couple times."

"We had to drive reeeaaally slowly coming down the mountain.  The car driving in front of us went to fast and it went into a ditch!"

But of course, this was the quote that summed it all up:
"It was really miserable cold, but we weren't miserable!  It was so great!!"

That notwithstanding, I'm sure glad that Rayna, Jinna, and I stayed back and enjoyed time with Nonna, Poppa, and Mor-Mor instead.  It was much warmer, and much less dangerous.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Today's big accomplishments!

To our great surprise, Strider actually PASSED his driver's test today, thereby making him one of NC's newest licensed drivers!

He promptly went out to find a hardware store* to get a spare key made for his car, and then went off to work an 11-hour shift at Chick Fil-A.

And my level of anxiety just went up tremendously

In other news, Jinna Rai learned how to add today!  It amazes me how much she can figure out after only 2.5 months of English.  She also has the concept of odd/even down!  She also taught us a song that she remembered from her orphanage today ("Little Apple").

Meanwhile, Pete took Colsen and Miles to work today, and then they went fishing in a new pond out past Wingate.  Colsen says it was the BEST DAY EVER.

And Rayna, after a long day of school, did a jigsaw puzzle all by herself.  😍

Big day of Milestones!

*He didn't know where the closest store was, so ended up driving all over the area until he recognized a shopping plaza with a Home Depot in it.  😂

Bringing in the New Year

Well, we did our annual New Year's box... but only got this lame picture of it.

And then this one when the box opened and everything fell out.

In other news, our first company of the year was the Prevost family.  And our first group game was the Bowl Game! 

 Great hilarity involved as always!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016, a Banner Year, and a Goal for 2017

This was the conversation I had with Colsen this morning.  He walked into my room and said,

"I need to mark this down.  2016.  It was a really good year, wasn't it?  It was the year I developed so many hobbies!  I mean, it was the year I REALLY got into fishing, and fly fishing.  And piano.  And yo-yo-ing.  I'd say it was the year I developed all my hobbies.  Now in 2017 I want to master all my hobbies."

"What about you, Mom?  Did you like 2016?"

"Definitely," I answered him. "I think it might have been the very best year ever!  We got a new house AND a new family member.  We haven't done that in a very long time."

"That's true," he said.  "It's been a good year."

Heading now into 2017, Pete had the kids write down some goals for the year. (Jinna was excused from the exercise and Strider has been in DC all weekend)  Here's what they wrote:

We're not sure where Rayna came up with that answer, but we may all just have to adopt it for our own resolutions!