"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 ~ The Greatest Year Yet!

Here are the highlights of 2008 ~ in no particular order!

  1. Flying to Ethiopia to meet our kiddos.
  2. Coming home from Ethiopia!
  3. Watching Danny and Jacob play baseball together
  4. Addy being "potty trained"
  5. Watching Joseph play soccer and
  6. Discovering I am one of "those moms" who scream and yell and go crazy at games
  7. Watching Marti play volleyball - she is so much fun to watch
  8. Experiencing life through Lilly's eyes... it is so much more exciting than I ever imagined
  9. Learning to be a mom to 6 kids... it is fabulous
  10. Discovering friendships that we could not survive without... thanks to all of you who have been there for us through the good and the bad times
  11. Learning that my house doesn't have to be perfect... good enough is often good enough
  12. Watching Ben's faith, patience, and his "great dad qualities" grow each day! He really is amazing!
  13. Experiencing our kids faith walk as they learn more about Jesus and His plan for our lives
  14. Watching Mama Mia with friends! I can't wait to watch it again!
  15. Hearing about "the BUFFALO Hunt" over and over again - the boys "giggle" each time they retell it!
  16. Watching our family and friends fall in love with our kids
  17. Passing my National Boards
  18. Discoving God's plan for our lives and how well HE provides for our needs when we follow his will.
  19. Spending time with family on various long and short vacations over the past year.
  20. The countless nights I have gone to bed with a slightly dorky smile (and sometimes a shout to "be quiet") while listening to the kids laugh and talk as they fall asleep.

I am so thankful for this most wonderful 2008!

I can't wait to see what God has planned for 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Lilly Noel

Lilly The "Goof Ball"

Lilly "The Princess" (2006)

Lilly the "Dare Devil" (She was climbing to get fruit snacks and pulled a can of peaches onto her head ~ she was almost 2 at the time)

Lilly picking sunflowers in 2005

My little sweet Lilly Noel is now a 6 year old! She is so much fun and her giggle/cackle is one of her best qualities! She is kind and loving and so sensetive to the feelings of others! I often think that God gave me such wonderful daughters, they are everything a mom could want in a daughter. Lilly is sure to surprise us throughout her life. We have often joked that she will either be president of the US or a monster truck driver... she would be wonderful at either! She has had a fantastic day surrounded by her brothers and sisters who worked really hard to pick out presents that she would love!

Happy Birthday Sweet Lilly Bean!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all! We are loving our first Christmas together as a "complete family". We have had a fabulous morning celebrating Jesus' birthday, opening presents, and dancing with Addy's new toy!

I have decided that this is my favorite Christmas ever... I could hardly sleep last night (I woke up every 45 minutes) because I WAS SO EXCITED to wake up with the kids!

May God's blessings be abundant to you all today! Thank you for following us on our journey this past year! God is Good!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Calling Ethiopia

We called home yesterday to check on Mesalech and the boys... our hearts sank when we learned that Mesalech had been in the hospital recently but was back home and feeling better. Praise God! It was so much fun to listen to the phone call - we put the phone on "speaker" so that Joseph could help Jacob (who has forgotten how to speak Amharic and Wolaytina). My favorite part of the phone call was when Mesalech burst out laughing... I picture her as serious (for no good reason) and it has made me smile since the call to imagine her being funny. We talked for about an hour and it was great. One of the funny things that happened was when we asked if she got the pictures we sent. She quickly said told us she had and then asked what had happened to all of Jacob and Marti's teeth to make them all fall out. She said that she couldn't sleep for 2 nights and has been praying ever since about their teeth. She was sure that when we were flying from Ethiopia to America that Jacob had fallen down on the plane and his teeth had fallen out! :) We assured her it was just a shadow on Jacob's picture and that Marti's teeth were being straightened not taken out! The other funny thing was when Joseph told everyone that in Kennewick it was -18C and they laughed like it was a joke! You could just hear the disbelief in everyone's voice as Joseph described the snow that is near record levels here in Kennewick. Right now in Ethiopia it is very hot and near drought conditions...

The kids had a great talk and for the first time did not experience any really hard times right after. We will expect some tears or sadness over the next few days but for now we are thankful for a good talk and that Mesalech is well!

Please keep Mesalech, Beniam (3 years old) and Ashenafi (5) in your prayers. These are very hard times in Ethiopia right now and we pray that "our family" has enough to eat. We recently sent money to buy groceries and a few Christmas presents for the boys. When the group went to take it to Mesalech she was in the hospital so it was given to a "not so nice lady" who took 3/4 of the money for herself and gave Mesalech the rest... we are so frustrated about this and are looking for another way to support Mesalech and the boys without causing an uproar in the adoption community.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Claus

We are a Santa Claus family... and proud of it! Jesus is the most important part of our family - He is the cornerstone of our family... but we still have fun with jolly ol' Saint Nick. We also enjoy visits from the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Hair Washing Fairy. The Hair Washing Fairy has recently begun visiting Addy when she can get her hair washed without crying! After a particularly good hair washing night recently I told her that the Hair Washing Fairy would need to come. Addy said, "I will call him and he will bring me some teeth". It made me laugh.

Here are some more funnies!

Joseph wanted to know why the "tooth taker no give me money when my teeth came out".

Marti wanted to know if Santa could fit down a small chimney on a nearby house. When I explained that Santa was not "real" she looked at me with sad eyes and said, "why did you have to tell me that, I WANTED him to be real." It was so sweet.

I love teaching my kids about Jesus' birth. About God using someone so normal and ordinary like Mary to be part of something so miraculous! I love "playing" with our nativity set (Lilly calls it a 'utility set') with the kids and reinacting the birth of our Saviour. I also love visiting Santa and watching Rudolph on TV. I love that the kids still think that a red blinking light on a nearby hill is Rudolph making his "practice flights" as he gets ready to help Santa on his Christmas deliveries. Does that mean that they think Santa is more important than Jesus? Absolutely not!
Santa is part of the fun but Jesus is THE REASON!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jacob's Masterpiece

This is Jacob's story about our summer vacation.  He has been working on it for 2 weeks - just for fun.  I did not do any editing or correcting because he is a first grader and I love it this way!  :)  Enjoy!

T he   Schuldheisz

Once  opon a  time there  was  a  family  called   Schuldheisz.   We  were in    

Montana .  we were  d iveing on  the high  d ive  and  L illy  was scared she   said

I  don't one    d ive  she  said  and   everybody was saying  go  Lilly  she  jamped  

from   the  high  dive   and   she   said   it   dos'nt  hurt.  " It  is  cool said  Lilly.

everybody  was excited! at rockaway beach We  went  on  a  treasure  hunt. And  we  found  small treasure  chset.  We  eat with  ton   of   family  a  supper  and  after  that  Jacob  and     Danny  sing  an  army  song.  grandpa  tell  for  everybody  a  pierot storey.  Dad musi-c   instrument.   Ash  Aca  and  Alex  there  mom and  dad  made  a  show  for e-rey  body.  Jacob  and  Danny   sang  agein  a  difrent  song   about america.                                                  we  camp   cook   marshmellous.  In  Montana  we found  a lot of cool  games.   We  played   deangled  ball  and  football  and  soccer.                                                                   



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!

Sweet Addyson... doo doo doo... you are the sweetest baby girl!

Happy Birthday to our sweet Addy today! She is 3 years old and we can hardly believe it! We celebrated with a delicious Taco John's meal (Addy's choice) and a Christmas lights tour. We parked in front of Senske (a local lawn care business) that must have 20,000 lights set to music. It is the coolest thing! Addy bopped her head around and grinned through the entire thing! She is so fun!

Oh, and the car fixing fairy came... our Suburban is running!!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!


I never thought of oranges as a toy... until Jacob came along. The other night he asked for an orange and I gave it to him... An hour later he still was holding it in his hand... when I asked him if he was going to eat it, he smiled and said, "I just like hold it."

An orange and a ball are the same shape... now I get it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A sad day...

It is a sad day... I think our Suburban is about to be "put out of its misery". I am so sad. I love my beautiful green Suburban. I love the color. I love that it is the first time I saw all 6 of my kids smooshed together in a car. I love that whenever we are in it the kids are laughing, fighting, singing or telling jokes. I am not ready to say goodbye to my car.

But our friendly mechanic says it is just about time. He can't figure out what is wrong and has fixed the same problem 3 times... once was last week. Ben is beyond stressed out about the whole thing, knowing that the cost of a new car is not really in our budget. We have been praying that we could wait a year to buy a new-to-us car... oh well!

Tonight I test drove the mother of all vans! There was nothing mini about the monstrosity I drove... I felt like I should have been wearing a name tag and taking tickets for the the "riders". It was crazy. All the coolness I have driving the Suburban was sucked away the minute I stepped into THE VAN. Even though we didn't buy it... the coolness factor was still gone! I know I am not a super-cool mom, but I lived in a fantasy world that I was in fact still a little bit cool. Now I shake my head... I am/was a VAN driving dork! :)

I have spent the last hour looking for a van like what we drove but in any color other than white! REALLY, a white van... Joseph kept shaking his head and saying, "Mom, we are not a school. This van for school." I would love a red one... well, love is a little too strong but it would be better.

A lot better.

Tonight we will pray about what to do... maybe tomorrow it will be "The Suburban has been fixed by the magic car fairy day" That would be good.

Thanksgiving Blessings

I was teary eyed most of Thanksgiving Day... watching my 6 kids run around like maniacs and having a blast was an amazing feeling. I kept remembering that a year ago people were still asking, "why would you do that?" and "are you sure this is something you REALLY want to do?" A year ago we knew nothing about our kids. And much of what we thought we knew was wrong. Now I know that Jacob is one of the most competetive children I have ever met and the ONLY time he doesn't have a ball in one hand is when he is sleeping (and even then I often find a baseball in bed with him). I know that Marti Grace is compassionate and kind. I know that this young lady loves God with her whole heart and is working hard to understand the plans He has for her. I now know that Joseph is intense and driven and REALLY good with kids! He is a wonderful young man and I am thankful for the example he is to the rest of the kids. A year ago I was terrified that he would be a bad influence on Danny... I am so glad I was so wrong!

So... 5 turkeys, 20lbs of stuffing, 12 dozen rolls, 52 family members and 1,000 smiles later I am still misty eyed and Thankful for my family!