This has been a busy year for us. I simultaneously can’t figure out how the time has gone by so fast and how we fit so much into just twelve months. Tomorrow will be 2022 and the start of twelve more months of adventures.

In January Fritz and Adrian got their first semester report cards for 7th and 9th grades and both did amazing for their first time in public school since kindergarten and second grade. We also continued trying to figure out just how much food to make to feed our small army (spoiler alert: it’s always too much or too little).

In February we put up a baby urinal in our bathroom and it’s been the best thing we could have done. There was more figuring out how to feed our small army (we’ve pretty much got it down now). We got a playground put up in our backyard. We ended up with COVID in the house and had to quarantine at the same time pretty much the entire state of Texas shut down due to a freak snowstorm and crazy cold (we got lucky and never lost power).

In March I started getting more creative with Mayci’s hair. All the adults in the house got vaccinated for COVID. Zeke turned six on Pi Day. The next day Noah had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids and have tubes put in his ears. We got brave and took all six kids to HEB for the first time.

In April I sprained my foot when I gracefully fell down the stairs of The Beast. We also discovered Zeke has hair like Fritz’s: It grows SO fast!

In May our six-year-old officially changed his name to Zeke. School got out and so Mayci finished pre-k, Zeke finished kindergarten, Adrian finished 7th grade, and Fritz finished 9th grade.

In June the kids were bored of their 11-week summer vacation within about 30 seconds so we started our summer schedule which continued the entire summer and worked great. We got Fritz’s end of course results (all three passed). We entered Birthday Season when Adrian turned 13 on Juneteenth. The end of the month the twins turned two.

In July we got Adrian’s STAAR test results (he did great especially because it was his first time taking that sort of test). On the 6th Nicholas turned 3. And then on the 11th Fritz turned 15. Adrian saved all year and enlisted the help of a few other people in order to give Fritz an Oculus Quest 2 for his birthday. On the 18th Anthony turned 4 ending our intense streak of five birthdays in less than three weeks. Fritz got all registered for the virtual school for 10th grade.

In August we finished birthday season on the 2nd when Mayci turned 5. Zeke and Mayci both took off in their reading (best decision ever to work on teaching them how to read over the summer). We found out who the three elementary schoolers’ teachers would be (they’ve all been the perfect teacher for each kid, especially Zeke’s). In the middle of the month it was time for four of the kids to be off to pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, and 8th grades (and Nicky moved to a new room at preschool). A week later Fritz started 10th grade. Just before the end of the month my beautiful mother turned three-quarters of a century old.

In September we started getting monthly boxes of Young Adult books from Literati for Adrian (love those books). Dance classes started up for Zeke and Mayci. I did the most complicated and beautiful hairstyle on Mayci that I’ve done so far (53 twists). The twins moved out of their cribs and into their big boy beds. We took four of the kids to the movies for the first time. Mayci went to dance camp at the high school and got to perform at halftime at a football game.

In October we pulled Nicholas out of preschool. We got the four littlest boys new church clothes. I did some fancy hair on both Mayci and Haley. We had some really cute costumed kids on Halloween.

In November Jamie and I went to see The Beach Boys again. Lola moved in with Cameron and Tami and it’s helped Nicky’s eczema so much (he’s allergic to dogs). We celebrated Jamie’s 46th birthday and one year since we adopted the kids by playing at a trampoline park. We got our family pictures taken. I started having more time to read again thanks to Haley playing with the twinplets six hours a week and the kids getting a little older and more independent.

In December Nicky suddenly started looking much older and bigger than his little brothers. Anthony’s dreams came true when we put a Christmas tree in our living room. My Daddy turned 77 on Christmas Eve.

And now here we are on New Year’s Eve looking forward to what 2022 will bring us. We know a few things like Trek for the big boys, Fritz being ordained to the office of Priest, Birthday Season ending with us having 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14 and 16-year-olds, Ani turning 22 in February, Zeke turning 7 in March, me turning 44 in April, Cameron turning 21 in October, and Jamie turning 47 in November the same day we hit two years since the kids were adopted, and having kids starting pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 11th grades in August. Whatever else 2022 has in store for us, I know it will be awesome!

Joel is picky about clothes

Joel is very picky about his clothes. His favorite outfit is the salmon onesie in the picture above. His second favorite is an orange onesie. If either of them are in the basket and he sees them, he will strip off whatever he is wearing and demand we put one of those onesies on him. It doesn’t matter if it is hot or cold, if he sees one of those onesies, he must wear them.

Just chop one down!

Anthony is so caught up in the magic of Christmas. He told me we needed a tree in our living room and then started pointing out ones on the side of the road we could just chop down and take home with us. So now we have a Christmas tree in our living room (from our attic, not the side of the road) and he is so incredibly happy.


I took this picture yesterday. I knew Nicholas had grown recently. He’s moved up to 3T clothes (thank goodness since Noah and Joel needed his old 2T ones… even though they strip… sometimes before they even have breakfast… we DO dress them every day). But until looking at this picture I didn’t realize how much he had grown. He’s looking less like the twins’ triplet and more like the big brother that he is.

Undesirable, but normal, behaviors

Kids adopted from foster care all have trauma of some sort. This means we’re always wondering if various behaviors are trauma responses or not. All kids do things that are not okay in polite society. More and more our kids’ behaviors are just normal, undesirable behaviors.

For example, Zeke is constantly telling his siblings he’s going to go into someone else’s garden (the fact he calls people’s yards their garden is adorable). This makes Mayci and Anthony cry every time so of course that encourages him to say it more. Ironically, the only kids who actually have gone into someone else’s yard (by using the trampoline ladder to climb the fence) was Mayci and Anthony. Zeke has never even so much as attempted to do it. He just likes teasing his younger siblings.

Another example is Anthony walking past a siblings and smacking them upside the head. He mostly does this to Mayci because it’s sure to get a huge response out of her. He’s a bit of a chaos creator anyway so it’s pretty exciting for him when she melts down. He’s really fast at smacking his siblings and really good at waiting until the moment we turn our backs so we almost never see him actually hitting.

There are other things they do as well that we’d rather they not do, and we’re working on getting them to stop, But they are just normal kid things. And as undesirable as those behaviors are, sometimes we are happy to see them because they are so normal.

Literati, Box 4

Last week we got Adrian’s fourth Literati box (see boxes one, two, and three). The artwork was absolutely beautiful (just look at that incredible bookmark!).

The five books this time were Aftershocks by Marisa Reichardt, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Burn After Writing Teen, and Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan.

Adrian opted to keep Aftershocks, The Scorpio Races, and Burn After Writing. I was surprised he wanted Burn After Writing since he has dysgraphia so writing is not easy for him, but he is really excited about that book and I think his future self will thank him for writing in it.

He chose to send Truly Devious back because we have it in ebook and The Ruins of Gorlan because we have it in ebook and audiobook and he’s already listened to the audiobook.

(If you want to subscribe to Literati Kids (any of their many age group boxes, not just Club Titan), if you use my link you’ll get $25 in Book Bucks and so will I!)

So fast, part 2

It’s always fascinating watching people drop their kids off at the elementary school. Sometimes I wonder what is taking them so long. I’ve seen cars sit for a full minute before the door finally opens and the kid gets out.

I don’t allow my kids to take a long time.

As soon as we pull into the school’s driveway we tell the kids to unbuckle and they move up by the sliding door and get their backpacks on. As soon as we stop where they can get out and head in we throw that door open. You’d be amazed at how fast I can say “Have a great day Anthony, I love you… Have a great day Mayci, I love you… Have a great day Zeke, I love you!” as they jump out of The Beast.

I kind of want to time it from door opening to door closing (Zeke is often the one to close it because he gets it shut properly on the first try way more often than the people helping with school dropoff) to see just how fast they get out.

So fast, part 1

My alarm goes off in the mornings at 6:10. I get dressed and then wake up whichever kids need to be woken up (often one or more are already awake by then). While Jamie gets the little ones dressed, give them a snack if they want one, and hand out toothbrushes, I fill water bottles, hand out vitamins, do hair, and get out their backpacks (which are always packed and ready to go the night before). We are out the door about 6:45.

Yesterday the kids were sleepier than usual and Mayci and Anthony didn’t get up until 6:25. Somehow, we were still pulling out of the driveway at 6:50. Just 25 minutes to do all the get ready for school stuff for three kids, plus getting three others dressed and ready for the day, too!