Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Don't quote me on this....

....but I'm pretty sure a little creek in the woods can cure just about anything.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Numero Uno

My oldest kiddo hasn't gotten a lot of play around these parts recently.

I think that's what happens as they get bigger.

They're busier, and on the move. And well, mom and her camera get a little annoying when you're at the ripe old age of 8.

Regardless, I figured it was time to highlight my pride and joy.

My J-man...aka Jonah.

So, I did a little interview with my rising 3rd grader.

And I learned that if I thought taking his picture annoyed him.....well, that was nothing compared to asking him some "deep" questions.

So, here is Jonah, in all of his 8 year old glory.

Favorite Food: Undecided.

Favorite color: Red

Favorite thing to do: Ride bikes, play with legos, play playstation

Favorite sport: Baseball. Specifically, the Texas Rangers. And Josh Hamilton.

When he grows up, he wants to be a baseball player.

If that doesn't work out, then a police officer, like his Daddy and Grandpa.

He wants to live in Texas.

Loves The Mr Men Show. Thinks Mr Rude is hilarious.

Something he is proud of? Learning to ride his bike.

His favorite person: His brother, Jude :)

My favorite person?

This kid is a contender.

Monday, August 27, 2012


"After the third kid people stop congratulating you.  
Then they just look at you like you are Amish."
-Jim Gaffigan

We can relate.  When people find out we have four kids their response is usually something along the lines of, "Really? Four?" or "Wow, that's a lot."

But more often than not I hear the following question: "So are you guys done?" Sometimes I can't tell if they are asking a question or pleading for us to stop.

We have to be done, right? With our income and in today's world it was borderline irresponsible to have four, much less five children.  We couldn't possibly afford more kids could we?  Besides, where would we put them?  We are still trying to figure out where to put Jude's bed for goodness sake.  Don't even get me started on how we are going to pay for college in the years to come.

We should really do the responsible thing and focus on the kids we already have.  But then again, whose definition of responsible I am using?  The world tells me that it's responsible to have a beautifully decorated home, nice cars, college savings for everyone, expensive hobbies, well invested retirement accounts and kids who excel in academics and sports.  If I can't give each kid their own room, own television, own smart phone, own computer, their own this & own that then it's pretty clear what I am: irresponsible.

It's not that any of those things are bad.  In fact, many are good.  But does checking everything off of that list make me responsible? Or wise? I am starting to think the answer to that question is a resounding "no".

No doubt, we all have a responsibly to provide for our families.  But an even greater responsibility exists to spread the Good News to the ends of the world and to reach those in need. The poor, the abandoned. The foreigner, the widow, the orphan.

I don't know what the future holds, but I know that my family isn't done.  I don't know if that means we will adopt more sons and daughters into our home.  It may.  But even if we don't we will never be done fighting for the millions of Rylies & Judes who are waiting.  Literally waiting to come home & waiting to hear the Gospel.

The more the world looks at my family and cries, "How irresponsible!" the more I'm convinced we are finally being responsible to the call that a Jewish carpenter made some 2,000 years ago.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oh summer..... (Sunday Snapshot) I am going to miss you.

    Your gorgeous blooms.

Your impromptu sleepovers.

Your poolside fun.

Your frolicking freedom.

It's been fun.

But other things await us.

Like cooler weather.

And sweatshirts.

And leaves.

And fire pits.

And did someone say football???

Oh yes. 

Summer, it's been nice. 

You can hang around for one more week.

But after that, I think it's time for you to mosey on along. 

See ya next year.

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fountains (Sunday Snapshot)

While Jonah was in a day camp this week, I took the other 3 kiddos to some pop-jet fountains for a little water play. It's been a while since we've fact, I'm not sure we've ever even taken Rylie!

They had a great time!

I was curious to see if Jude would want to play or if the water would scare him off. He loved it!

The girls ended with a little water dump-off. Oh, these girls crack me up!

Summer is winding down....guess we better get as much of this stuff in as possible in the next 2 weeks or so before school starts.

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday Snapshot info: These were taken with my Canon T3 and 55-250mm lens. SOOC, the first picture was horribly underexposed (I wasn't paying very close attention), but I tweaked it some and converted it to B&W, and considering what how poor the original looked, I kinda like it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

4 Months Later

4 months ago today, we stepped off a plane with our newest addition....Jude.


All 6 of us together.


Every little milestone in this journey provides an opportunity to look back at where we started.

Jude is like a different kid. Which is good and bad.

He is still a pretty content guy. He still eats his body weight at every meal. He still has everyone pretty much wrapped around his little finger.


He's started to show us some other sides too. And considering he is 2....they should come as no surprise. I guess I was just expecting him to stay more like a "baby" a little longer.

Suffice it to say, he's making up for lost time.

He is busy. In to everything.

Climbing on top of tables and bunk beds.

Going through the trash.

Pushing every button in sight.

Chasing the dog with swords.

Fighting bedtime.

And tantrums? Oh yes.

He's suddenly like a little boy. Rough and tumble. Naughty. Mischievous.

And he thinks he is hilarious.

Mostly, I do too.

But other times?

Well, it's a good thing this face is so cute.

It's an awesome privilege watching him grow and learn and become everything he was meant to be.

How we love him!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sleepy Camper (Sunday Snapshot)

We went camping this weekend...all 6 of a tent. A very large tent. We had a great time and all went well.

Well...all of us thought so, except maybe Jude.

He wasn't the biggest fan.

But he sure did look sweet sleeping in the tent. And as the sun rose that first morning, I couldn't resist taking a picture of him in that moment.

If were up to him, that's probably where he would have liked to stay all day. No such luck for him, though!

Who knows? We might just make a camper out of him yet.

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Olympic Village

I love the Olympics.  Gathering as a family every four years, cheering on our nation's premier athletes.  Tearing up at emotional stories of those who have overcome the greatest of odds to be awarded for their perseverance and the deep stirring of national pride.  Chants of U-S-A! U-S-A! and puffed out chests as the Star Spangled Banner plays while yet another gold medal is slowly draped around Michael Phelp's neck.

Technically this is my five year old daughter Reagan's second go at the Summer Games.  She was just a few months past her first birthday when the world's eyes descended upon Beijing, and I don't recall her really catching the Olympic spirit back in 2008.  But this year is different for her.  At five she has played some organized sports (aimlessly chasing a soccer ball around a field while wearing a jersey counts as organized sports) and watched our family cheer on the Hokies, the Rangers and the like.  So like any good red blooded American dad I have been more than happy to encourage her to join us in watching the Games and revel in America's greatness.

The US's dominance in swimming at these Games has been clearly established, so what better event to start her off on than a swimming heat.  The Aquatics Centre of London was packed full of spectators all proudly waving their respective flags and chanting in their native tongues.  Shortly after the swimmers pushed off from their starting blocks Reagan joined right in.  With all the earnestness and sweetness of a five year old little girl she broke into cheer:


I chuckled at first and started to correct my childish little girl.  "We root for America in our house!",  I would have said.  We want to win.  We want medals....lots of medals.  Gold is better than silver and way better than bronze.  But in His wisdom God slowed my tongue and in a matter of seconds my mind was flooded with an awareness of my own childishness.  My five year old was standing next to her 3 year old sister and 2 year old brother.  Both born in China.  Both Chinese-Americans.  The Chinese people and culture have been a part of our family's life for nearly all of Reagan's.  No wonder she was rooting for China.  To her they aren't the enemy or even rivals. They are family.

So often I take for granted what exists in my home every day: The merging of cultures, skin colors, languages.  Isn't this what our Heavenly Father wants our homes, our communities and our churches to look like? Every nation, tribe and tongue praising and adoring Him in unison. 

Loving America isn't wrong.  I swell with pride watching the "Fab 5" tumble their way to gold.  I proudly watch the stars and stripes fly above the 2012 version of the "Dream Team".  I really do want America to win gold.  I love everything about this land and I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices that have been made from founding fathers to soldiers on foreign soil to pastors in Birmingham jails. 

But more than all of that I am forever indebted to the One who sacrificed all.  Who redeemed all the world, sinners past, present and yet to come.  Who has delivered Americans, Chinese, Russians and unreached people groups all around the globe.  What an amazing picture to think of believers stretched as far as the eye can see, gathered in the great arena of Heaven all cheering our Nation.  Truly a Nation indivisible, under God.  Hands of red, yellow, black and white intertwined in praise.  I am also thankful for that five year old little girl who may have a better vision of what that will look like than I do.

Praise God for my own little Olympic Village here in Virginia.