**2011 Christmas Card & Newsletter**


This year we had so much to share that we thought this would be the perfect way to let you join in to some of the joy and fun we had these past 12 months. Wow...we've packed them full!

{this is outside the airport, the day ezekiel came home to us - our 1st family photo!}



Right before Christmas last year, we brought home baby Imani {5 months old, weighing 9 lbs}. 
What a Christmas gift!! {see our journey meeting Imani here}

It's been such a blessing seeing imani not only get well, but absolutely thrive.
she is definitely daddy's girl right now.

{at imani's 1st birthday party - which she shared with laith}

Imani is such a little ham {and a bit of a drama queen}. Every time the camera comes out, she yells "cheeeeeeese!" Her favorite song is "the abc's" and sings it all the time.

At almost 18 months old,  Imani is majorly doted on by her big brothers & already rules the house. Thanks to her big brothers, Imani's favorite toys are legos & cars {in addition to babies, of course}



{at his yellow birthday party}

At 3 years old, Laith is our creative one {and is truly an amazing artist}. He tells 15 minute long stories at dinnertime and 99% of the time you can't believe a thing he says because his imagination gets the best of him {no, he isn't friends with spiderman & no, he didn't catch all the bad guys and put them in jail}.

We nicknamed him "Crazy Crash" because he is the clumsiest child. No. Person. On the face of the planet. He, more than the rest of the kids knows how to make us all laugh.



Anton is the brain of the family. All the kids love school, but Anton really thrives in learning.

He and Laith are in a Chinese class that meets once a week {it's so fun to hear him speak it} & is beginning to learn to read...his favorite book is an anatomy text book that our friend Dr. Murdock gave him {how many kids would choose THAT??}.

Anton's passion though, is taking care of people. He is the extra-caring one of all the kids. His absolute favorite thing in the whole world is to go to restaurants, and to cook. 

{anton making sure all the kids get equal bites of ice cream. such a first-born}

 {totally imani's protector}

{skiing off a jump in the park across the street from our house}



While in Ethiopia on our trip bringing Imani home, our eyes and hearts were opened to the Lord wanting us to bring Ezekiel into our family, as well {see his story here}

This is Ezekiel's sweet mama & his youngest sibling. How HUGE it is that Ben was able to meet and visit with her! The book in Ben's hands is a gift for her with photos of the family, our house, etc. so she can visualize her son's life in America.

The three boys immediately became inseparable, with Ezekiel taking the role of big-brother seamlessly

{this video is from just after ezekiel came home, before he spoke much english. we did a lot of laughing while figuring out what each other was trying to say}

Ezekiel is a complete and total athlete, so far he's excelled at each new sport we've thrown at him and can't get enough. His soccer team even went undefeated all season! 
He is learning to swim, snow ski, and begins basketball & lacrosse soon.

Twice a year, teachers choose one student to earn the "Soaring Hawk Award" in which the whole school is invited to an assembly & students are surprised with the honor! Ezekiel won it this fall for being such a hard-worker & for his joyful influence on his peers.

Ezekiel is really mourning the death of his father these days and life is certainly not easy while he's testing boundaries and learning that we love him unconditionally. But who said life was easy? We're all learning & growing together. We love him so much and he has truly fit so well into our family.

Pray for him though, if you would as his heart mends from going through so much more than any child should have to.


{ben & teresa}

Can you believe that Ben & I will have been married 6 years in February?
4 kids and 2 cross-country moves later and here we are! Nuts.

{in ethiopia}

{in dubai}

{officially a soccer mom & dad}

What a blessing it is to have such an amazing husband who loves on our kids and puts his whole self into being the kind of father our children need. I love the Calling that God has given both of us.

Ben's 40th birthday was a few weeks after moving to Colorado. 
I took him for a night away in Estes Park {complete with hiking, of course} 
and a few days later our family went to Breckenridge for their annual wine festival {which is where we are in the photo above}.

He's still really involved with jiu-jitsu and plans to do some bigger tournaments this year, with the hope of training {and possibly competing} in Rio...sadly I couldn't find any photos of him doing it this year!

Ben is loving being back in this area of the country since his family is originally from a tiny little town in Wyoming. He's still with Standard and has been with them over 10 years now. 


I am still loving Stella & Dot and it has become something bigger than I ever expected. It's been such a blessing to be able to contribute to our adoptions & not let it fall entirely on Ben's shoulders.

I helped teach at Vacation Bible School this year and am trying to build a new community here in Colorado. The Lord has been so good helping me find an amazing group of ladies that I'm excited to get to know better {though I sure miss you San Antonio girls...you know who you are, xo}


{thank you}

A big thank you to everyone who has prayed for, helped encourage, and kept up on our lives this year. We are truly amazed at God's grace & are excited to see where He takes us.

We would love if you would follow our adventure.

If you'd like to Subscribe, click over ------> to the Right. We'd be honored if you'd join us.

Many blessings to you and your family in this upcoming year. . . 
may it be filled with joy and laughter

"Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east, 
And gather you from the west!

I will say to the north, Give them up!
And to the south, Do not keep them back!
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth!"

Isaiah 43:5,6



Mason Jar Snow Globes {tutorial}

The kids are still home on Winter Break so we've been doing a lot of art projects. 
I knew this one would be a hit...and who cares if it's after Christmas? We've got snow outside so in my opinion, unless they have Santa Claus or say "Happy Birthday, Jesus", they're fare game for Winter decorations!

When I had gone into Anthropologie before Christmas, I had found these fantastic snow globes {below}

I forget now how much they were {$30?} but I knew I could make them for mere pennies

Here are the items you'll need:

mason jar
ornaments, etc
glue gun
white glitter

I found lots of ornaments on massive sale at Hobby Lobby & Joann's & let the kids choose which ones they wanted to use 

Ezekiel wasn't interested in doing the project so I got to use his mason jar. I decided to place a tree at the bottom and glue a french horn to the lid so it'd hang down. Make sure you use an epoxy...I used Gorilla Glue so it will hold in liquid & through lots of shaking

Let the glue set for a few hours {or whatever your glue's label instructs you to do}

I have learned that a tablespoon {+ or - depending on the size of your jar} of glycerin mixed into the water helps the glitter to not stick together & float around better

Next comes the fun part...the glitter...and the water!

Don't freak out if your glitter clumps up like mine did {see above}, it'll come apart with shaking {especially with a lot of 3 & 4 year old shaking}

I experimented with a lot of items before I ended up with my finished product!

I love the fabric floating around the bottom

Once you like the way it looks & are ready to commit to how it looks {for example, we added more water after this photo was taken}, grab your Gorilla Glue again and squeeze it around the lid so it won't come open during the vigorous shaking. I plugged in my glue gun and ran a quick line around the outside of the lid as well, to make sure it was sealed really {reeeeeally} well. 

In Anton's words:
"I like it. Mom, I do like your idea. It was easy & fun!"

. . tip . .

if you use the green trees like we did, spray fix them first or the dye will come off and turn your liquid green {learn from our mistake...poor Laith has had to start over}!