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!

“Good” Hair

Mayci has a looser curl pattern, type 3c hair. I’ve been told by more than one person that she has “good” hair. It bothers me when people say that because every hair type has pluses and minuses, including Mayci’s “good” hair.

There are a lot of styles I’d love to do that I can’t because her hair just won’t hold it. For some styles I need to use extra things (elastics, product, etc) to get it to stay in place. Some styles come loose sooner than I’d like just from her moving around.

She has the most gorgeous corkscrew curls that some people pay good money to perm their hair into doing. She can choose a wide variety of styles including “Anna braids” (her favorite) and they work just fine. Her hair is equally cute long or short.

I really don’t think her hair is “good” just as I don’t think other types are “bad.” There are pros and cons to every type of hair. The key is making the most of what you have and loving it (and Mayci definitely love hers)!

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

The instructions on shampoo bottles always say to lather, rinse, and repeat. I figured this was just a way to sell more shampoo since you’d have to use twice a much.

Then I took the hair care course from Tutus & Tennis Shoes. In there, Kanisha says to wash the kids’ hair twice and then condition. I’ll do pretty much whatever Kanisha says to do so we immediately started shampooing twice before conditioning.

And then I tried washing my own hair twice and it’s pretty much life-changing. They weren’t just trying to sell more shampoo. Shampooing my hair twice leaves it feeling so much cleaner. The kids’ hair is left nicer, too. I’m sold!

(By the way, if you are a white mom raising Black children, I very, very highly recommend taking Kanisha’s The Beauty and Science of Black Hair Care Course. It’s totally worth the time and money. You won’t regret it.)

Would you skip from 2019 to now?

Speaking in Conference, President Nelson was talking about the pandemic and how things have been and lessons learned and said some would probably like to skip from April 2019 to now avoiding the whole thing altogether. Adrian said he would, but then I reminded him that means he wouldn’t have six little siblings and he said in that case he definitely wouldn’t want to skip.

Adopting six kids in the middle of a pandemic has definitely been odd. Until things shut down we were having Elijah and Mayci over every other weekend. For a couple months we only ever saw them on Skype. Several planned visits to see their bio grandma and aunts and uncles have been cancelled due to exposure. We didn’t take them out in public all together for about an entire year.

I agree with Adrian. No way would I skip. Can you imagine what we would’ve missed out on if 2020 never happened?

I’m 43 today!

The Silver Lining

Two years ago Trump was throwing a temper tantrum which was the longest government shutdown in history. Jamie, being essential, was working but not getting paid until it was over. So many people, known and unknown, were incredibly kind to us. So we decided to pay it forward and that’s why we became foster parents and ultimately adopted our six little ones. So now that Trump’s reign has finally ended, at least there is one positive thing that came out of his presidency.