Spring Break and Birthdays

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We enjoyed our 2-week Spring Break thoroughly. The first week we spent sleeping, playing and hanging out with friends that were left in town. We then packed and headed down to Florida for the second week. We like to go to a little place called Santa Rosa Beach. It’s in between Destin and Seaside, quiet, quaint and the beach is beautiful, clean and best of all, empty! The kids did AWESOME on the 12 hour drive down, awake for a good portion of it. We stopped once for lunch and made it to our cottage by dinner time. We stayed in the most adorable place called the Happy Mermaid, right across from one of the pools in the small neighborhood. We could watch the kids from the porch. It was glorious.

We had a few days of crummy rain, but we made the most of it by playing games, watching tv and napping. All the things we clearly needed to catch up on. The days that were beautiful we toggled our time between the beach and the pool, as well as some fishing. Fishing never disappoints!

We celebrated Meseret’s 14th birthday and were able to connect and call to Ethiopia to talk to some of her relatives. She was overjoyed to talk to them, finding out how her cousins were, how friends were and we were able to connect with one of her uncles on Facebook so we can keep the correspondence going forward. It made us all so happy to be able to stay connected. We weren’t sure how being away for a week would be and while we had a few moments – I’m not sure how much of it was adoption related as much as it is teenage related. Having a teen sure does make things emotionally interesting! All in all it was a fantastic week, with fun, sun and laughs.

We traveled home through the night Thursday to Friday so the kids could sleep the whole way and so Jon and Messie could attend a church retreat for Middle Schoolers on Friday night through Saturday. It felt good to get home, unpack and SLEEP! We had a glorious weekend of beautiful weather that beckoned us all outside to play, work in the yard and for Messie ride her new scooter. We’re all back in action at school and work, but I am grateful to God for this much needed break! Now if Mother Nature could just take a cue and stick with the season she’s in – all will be right with the world.


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 photo IMG_9022_zps2f1625bc.jpgLove this picture, that smirky grin!

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 photo IMG_9163_zpsbe8eb725.jpgDarn setting sun! My squints!

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 photo IMG_9253_zpsbcfe5dc3.jpgThat about sums these two yahoos up quite nicely.

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 photo IMG_9392_zps96c7e1d8.jpgLove this one of my boy.


It's me, Betsy - April 15, 2014 - 1:27 pm

Looks wonderful!!!!!

Tammi - April 15, 2014 - 4:28 pm

Adore these pics! I looks like everyone had an amazing time!

shannon - April 16, 2014 - 5:32 pm

Annie, what a beautiful family!


I am smiling right now. It’s really ticking my eldest daughter off. She just doesn’t understand why I’m so happy with her grades. Why I’m not so fired up and ready to go and argue with her teachers. She’s pissed. Seriously! This 9 weeks my darling EL student received 2 C+’s, 2 B+’s and 2 A’s. Some of her classes have modified assignments – meaning she doesn’t do as much or have to read as much or can do a poster in addition to her speech or debate to help her on topic. Her tests are modified in a way that she gets to use her translation dictionary and gets a bit more time than her peers. Assignments she works on in class with classmates to complete. She is doing really well and loves school and wants nothing less than straight A’s. She’s not crazy about reading at home with me for leisure and doesn’t understand how reading a fictional book with me is going to help her with math word problems. I’ve assured her that if she reads with me for 20 minutes a day, I can promise she’ll be reading by grade level next year. See – she’s literate in her native languages. She’s really picking up her comprehension in English. I know with consistent practice she’ll get there – but who am I? Right? Next week she tells me we’ll read (she’s a bit Scarlet O’Hara in that we like to postpone things to a future date with the hopes that mom forgets – silly girl. Mom NEVER forgets, I’m Italian.)

Middle School has rocked Jon, as has this Common Core crap and the programming that comes along with it. I’m sure many of you have seen those ridiculous math problems circulating on Facebook that make a simple problem nothing short of nuclear science. Welcome to my life. Jon is like me – show me one way how to do it, I’ll get it done and that will be that. Don’t show me four different ways to do multiplication, you will confuse me and then I will make my own method, a hybrid of all the methods and be consistently wrong every. single. time. Despite that he’s worked super hard and improved his grades and we rounded out the quarter with B’s and A’s.

Pickles and Drew are my easy ones – thank goodness. They are self directed, do their homework, study on their own, read on their own and are doing work well above their grade level. God knew I couldn’t handle four children that needed academic assistance. Praise the LORD!

It’s Spring Break! We’re excited for the time off, we’re excited about going to a warm place with a pool and we’re excited to sleep in. Ask me how excited I am in a week! To you and yours – Thanks!


How did my baby boy, the one that made me a mom, turn 12 this Sunday? Sure, he’s still a squish. He loves to cuddle and snuggle. He’s got a heart of gold and is empathic beyond his years. This child of mine – the one who dove in head first in Ethiopia playing with kids, talking with adults, hanging out with orphans. Loving them, playing, praying for them. Seeing life in a way that so few of his peers have the opportunity to see. My boy who loves to make videos, has a witty as all get out sense of humor and is sensitive to no end. My hippy-child – that loves his hair long, loves wearing TOMS because it gives shoes to kids who need it. The one who loves working with the special needs kids at his school. How did I end up with such a miraculous creature? I say this each year, I love him not only because he’s my son, but because he’s someone I’d want to be friends with because he’s so cool, caring and interesting. Happy Birthday my sweet Jon Thomas!

All he wanted for his birthday is a video camera and an old school Nintendo system. He got both. I think the pictures say it all:


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Anxious no more

I’ve said before repeat clients are the best compliment. I had the opportunity to do another canvas with one of my favorite bible verses as of late. It’s a little too applicable and has become a daily mantra as our household dynamic continues to evolve and grow and find it’s new norm. Enjoy and a big THANK YOU to Leslie for letting me be a bit creative and pull this fella’ together for you!


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Finally some warmth. I love winter like the next person, but I’m over it. I’m over being cooped up. I’m over feeling cold. I’m over not feeling the warmth of the sun on my face or heck even seeing the sun. Today the sun was shining and tempted us all out of our homes with her glorious warmth and glow. You can’t help but smile when it’s bright out, despite the brown grass and remnants of snow on the ground. My children rode their bikes with neighbors to get slushes. They played soccer and just like that I had 8 kids in my driveway playing basketball. Then capture the flag. We had dinner at 7:45. No one minded because we were soaking up the sun. Everyone was tired at bedtime. Now fast asleep. Soon I will join them – hopeful for one more warm day before the cold returns.