Brandon. Just Brandon.

It had been brought to my attention that I haven't been mentioning a very important member of the Gilbarte family enough.
Apparently there are 23 post labeled Kaden, 20 labeled David,
but only a mere 15 posts that have "Brandon" labeled on them.
Oops!  Sorry Brandon! 
So this post is all about
Well, first of all, Brandon is a great friend. 
We have always been great buddies, ever since he was "Baby Brandon" and I was "Ninnie",
we have played, laughed, conspired, worked together.
If you know me, you know that I am a very shy and quiet person, and much more of a follower than a leader.
So if we are ever in a big group of people Brandon is glad to be my spokes person.
He's great with Kaden, and sometimes plays with him all morning, allowing the rest of us to get a big head start on school.
He is very, very, very determined and competitive.  He plays Risk against himself, and wins!:)
he keeps track of and tries to break every record.
He beats me at most board games, and loves long, strategic ones best.

We're have very different personalities, but we love being together, and I'm very thankful he is my little brother!

First Christmas

Christmas time!

At least one first Christmas, maybe the first time for another little one too.
I think they're enjoying it:)

Really, how much cute can they get?
Bethany's very first Christmas!

My apologies and David's Gymnastics meet

First of all I must beg your forgiveness for my lack of "good posting" or not posting at all.
I have been writing posts in my head and sometimes even starting drafts,
but somehow I never get around to finishing them.
Sometimes I'm too busy during the day or too tired at the end of it,
but I will try to do better.
I will try.
we have been very busy.
David had his first gymnastics meet and my dad and I sayed home with Bethany and Kaden.
My cousins came to meet Bethany and Kaden two weeks ago.
We went to those same cousins home in Virgina two weeks later, and the rest of the family met Bethany and Kaden.
We went to my Mom's parents house this past Saturday and the her side of the family met Bethany and Kaden.
And well, the list goes on, 
so I'll start at the beginning of my list.
David is now a level 4 gymnast, and he had his first meet 5ish hours away. 
We knew that it would be to hard to bring the little ones along, so my mom, Brandon and David went and my Dad and I stayed home. 
David placed 2nd in his group!
Because I wasn't there I can't write to much about it, but maybe I can get one of the boys to do a guest post for me.

 always a crazy boy. always.
Back at the home front Kaden, Bethany, my dad and I had good four-on-four time:)
We went to a place that had a little train you could ride in,
and a fun play ground,
and a river.
blogger is not working with me, so I'll have to post more pictures later.


Christmas is such a wonderful time of year!

I love the spirit of joy, and the memories and thinking about the first Christmas.
And this year is so much more exciting because we have two new little people to celebrate it with us!
Today we went out to buy a Christmas tree. 
When we told Kaden that we were going to get a tree, bring it home and put lights on it,
he looked at us like we were crazy, but soon got really excited.
This time last year my parents plan to adopt hadn't even been announced, and now they've been home for almost 2 months!

He wasn't to sure about it:)

1.5 Months

Time is going by so quickly...
Kaden and Bethany have been home 1.5 months as of Thursday.
Kaden is speaking in half English sentences.
We are speaking half Lingalan sentences:)
Bethany is 6.5 months old already!
We kept thinking Kadi would come out of the "honeymoon stage" and start "acting out", but so far is never has. 
He is so funny, and smart, and he loves us.
He has said next to nothing about his life before coming home, but I was a part of one conversation we had.
We were going on a walk around our neighborhood, our walks are very slow these days with a lot of stopping to talk, look, listen, and even find a pet in the grass:)  Anyway, were about 15 minutes into the walk when Kadi stopped and looked up into the sky. 
"Kadi coona avion," (Kadi is up in the airplane) he said pointing to sky.
"No," I said, "Kadi aya."  (kadi's here) 
He looked at me for a second and then said
"Momma, Papa, Baby Jilma, Kadi avion."  (they were in the airplane)
"Yes.  Momma, Papa, Baby Jilma and Kadi were in the avion."
I pointed into the distance.  "Kadi coona, (kadi was there)  and then Momma, Papa, Kadi, and Baby Jilma went in the avion, (moving my hand like an airplane) home to Brittany, Brandon and David."
Kadi stared for a minute and then repeated what I said with emphasis
 on the long plane ride, and then looked at me. 
 "Home to Brittany." he said smiling."
Home the Brittany.  that makes me smile.
Bethany is doing very well too.
She is starting to babble, saying "da da da," although I'm trying to get her to say "ba ba ba" for Brittany.  It hasn't worked yet:)
She has two cute little teeth, starting on solids, and sleeping through the night most of the time.
She is a very sweet baby, but insists to be held most of the time. 
We are trying to take care of her beautiful African hair, and I've tried to braid it a few times.  I failed, but I'll keep trying:)

My Math Buddy

I have the best math buddy!
 Because I do my math on the computer, I am able to hold Bethany for most of the lesson, but it normally puts her to sleep after about 30 minutes:)
Every day for the past week and a half, I've taken a picture of us doing it together. 
Notice how different she looks in all of them.

This is definitely one of my favorite things about homeschooling!

Meet Joey

Our family just expanded!
Meet Joey:
He's not much to look at, but a very nice first pet!

The only problem is he's shy... which is not a good thing when his owner wants to show him off to his Momma and Papa!

He has buddies too. 
Like Big Joe, who is a very large worm, or Freddy the rolly polly and his friends.
There is also a yet-to-be-named snail to keep him company.
Yep, Joey is a very nice first pet!

Kadi's First Ice Cream Cone!

Out of all the videos we have of Kadi, I think this one is one of the funniest!
Some of our cousins came to visit us for a few days,
and they gave him an ice cream cone - his first!
the video says it all!

Even the Moon and Stars Praise Him

So many things in Creation beautifully display the hand of God.
Such a as sunrise,
or a baby's first laugh,
or a waterfall at the top of a mountain.
Lately I have been very interested in the stars.
Combine that with my growing love for photography and photo editing, plus a favorite Bible verse and what do you get?
Well, this:

One Month Home + My Thoughts

It is late Friday night; Kadi is settled into bed,
and Bethany is finishing a bottle.
The older boys are reading the Bible with my dad
as I type this up.
We have just finished watching a Vegetales video after enjoying a delicious dinner
some friends blessed us with.
Early tomorrow morning begins my end-of-season soccer tournament.
As I sit here simply sitting and enjoying the night, I think about yesterdays anniversary.
Yesterday marked one month that Kadi and Bethany have been home.
One month from the day our lives changed.
The day I finally got to hold my baby sister,
The day I saw my little brother for the first time in person.
And that makes me think,
what if we never did it.
What if my mom and dad never answered God's call for our family to adopt?
Or didn't wait for God's timing?
Where would they be?
How would the way we look at things be different?
How would the choices we make be changed because we are starting to see the bigger picture?
How would the way we view life be different?
I think that every family that has adopted can tell you that it is not always fun.
kids act out.
they disobey.
But I also believe that if you asked any adoptive family if they had the chance to go back and change things, and not have chosen to not adopt, they would not hesitate to say
"Of course not."
It is worth every struggle.
The good moments make up for the bad ones.
It takes patients, lots of it. and it takes even more faith,
but God is always faithful.
No questions asked.
So what about you?
Is there something you think you should do,
but feel it is too big for you?
Give it to God.
He will work out everything, always.  If you are His child, he will always, always, always be there.
For big things, or little.
Here is a video I made in honor of the 1 month anniversary.