Franklin Five

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Monday, December 12, 2011


Lidiyanna brought down Graham's "big bear" which inspired an impromptu photo session by the Christmas tree. Aren't they so cute!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sweet Love

One of the activities I enjoy most during the holidays is baking. I love sweets, love to bake them, love to try new recipes, and love to eat them. My children share my love of sweets as well. I have great memories of helping my mom in the kitchen when I grew up and I still think about certain treats we made together at Christmastime.

To my delight, my boys have both taken an interest in helping me bake. Graham and I used to bake together during Wesley's naptime. Now, Wesley and I bake while Graham is at school and Lidiyanna is napping. I have a feeling Lidiyanna will have her turn helping me when she gets a little older.

A few years ago, we started packing up our treats and taking them to our neighbors as little gifts. The boys would sometimes make notes and cards to go along with the baked goods. They always seemed to enjoy the giving as much as the baking, and I've hoped that we passed along a little bit of love and kindness with each treat we gave away. I miss some of our dear neighbors from our Nashville home, and I thought about them today. Ms. Terry was across the street and always had little gifts and handmade cards for our children on special occasions. Alanna, next door, babysat our kids and would come over after school on days that she dreaded going to her empty house. The Keever kids, a few streets over, warmed our home on snow days when their mom had to brave the icy roads to get to work.

Now, we have new neighbors. We mainly interact with the ones we see on the playground after school. So, Graham packed cookies in a bag to take to his buddies, Mia, Josh, and Aaron. Wesley wrote a note to his friend, Karl, who is in his Junior Kindergarten class. We spent five or ten minutes getting on our coats, mits, and hats and made our way around the neighborhood delivering a little bit of love to go along with the cookies.

On a side note, I don't want anyone to read this and feel guilty that they don't like to bake or take cookies to their neighbors. Baking is not for everyone. (If it was, we might have a world full of overweight people.) Yet, I am sure everyone has special things that they enjoy and that they are good at. Take those gifts and passions and share them with others. That's what I want this post to be about...taking the passions that God has given you and blessing others through them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Yesterday was a very different Thanksgiving for me. I didn't eat turkey. I didn't spend the day with my extended family. Tim went to work and the boys went to school. I cleaned the house, volunteered in Graham's class, and served left-overs for dinner. We're in Canada now, I guess.

We did have a great opportunity to spend time with Tim's mom, sister and her hubby and kids. They came up to visit and we had a great time at the Great Wolf Lodge. Below is a picture of Perpy with her grandkids. After five full days of fun, our kids were very sad to see their cousins leave.

Earlier this month, our friends, the Fulks, visited us. Our friendship started in Michigan when we met them at church. At the time, we didn't have children and they just had one daughter, Emma. Our lives have changed a lot since then. A year after we moved back to Nashville from Michigan, they moved to Nashville as well. So, we had the blessing of living in the same city for four more years. As we were moving up to Canada this summer, they were getting ready to move back to Michigan. Although I'm very sad they won't be in Nashville when we return, I am thankful for the visits we can share over the next few years since they are less than four hours from Toronto.

As I reflect over the past year, I am filled with thankfulness at how God has been working in our lives. He is always at work around us, and we will be blessed when we choose to look at life through His perspective. His plan for us is not always easy, but it is the best way for us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Going, going, gone...

For about a month, Graham has been wiggling his loose tooth waiting for the day when it would come out. He's actually been waiting for this moment for about a year. I got teary-eyed when I first discovered it was loose. My little boy is not so little anymore. The first tooth is gone and more will inevitably follow soon. As I am trying to enjoy each beautiful day of Fall, I want to treasure all of the precious moments I have with my little guy.
One of the few good things about having a little backyard and backing right up to the neighbor behind you is you can enjoy their gorgeous maple tree in the Fall.

Monday, October 31, 2011


The kids had a great time celebrating Halloween in Canada. Our neighborhood has tons of kids so it was so fun to see the sidewalks full of trick-or-treaters. Lidiyanna dressed as a cow, Graham was a mountain climber, and Wesley decided to repeat his costume from last year-a dragon. He did add the neon green vampire teeth this year.
After the boys got back, they dumped out their candy to sort the goods. It was interesting seeing how the candy here is a little different than in the US. Smarties (which are similar to M&Ms) were a favorite to hand out to the trick-or-treaters. Another popular candy is Coffee Crisp which is similar to Kit Kats but with a bit of a coffee flavor. The kids also got several small bags of chips.
Lidiyanna hung with the boys for a while and then Tim brought her back home to help me answer the door and pass out candy. She was very good at that!

Monday, October 24, 2011

He's a star!!

Tim's new job at Nissan Canada has had many challenges. Most days, he comes home feeling overwhelmed. He works so hard and so much yet never feels like he's done enough. Despite the struggles, I know he's doing an excellent job in his new role.

He also has the opportunity to interact with journalists and reporters for the auto industry. He's been on TV and the internet. Check him out on the link below:

Okay, so maybe he's not a star on the big screen but he's a star in our home! I'm so proud of my hubby!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fun Fall Recipes

Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars or Balls

10 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over popcorn and mix well. Press into a buttered 9X13 pan or form into balls using buttered hands. Cool slightly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We spent last weekend with our friends, the McKims. We met them in Ethiopia during our first trip and bonded through court dates, meeting our children for the first time, and other adventures in Addis. Even though we've only seen them three times in our lives, we consider them dear friends. We hope to get togther at least once a year. All of our children get along really well, and we're hoping for a marriage to occur somewhere between the six kids. We also think it's really important for Lidiyanna to see other families like ours and to know she's not the only person that looks different from her parents...especially as she gets older.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We joined some friends on Saturday and went apple picking at a nearby apple farm. It was such a beautiful place and a great way to spend a Fall day. I've mentioned this family before as they have become such a blessing to us since moving to Canada. I met them through a connection at our church in Nashville, and I thank God often that He caused our paths to cross. Alison was the first person that reached out to me and was so helpful when we first moved. She has such a kind and giving spirit. Being with her feels so comfortable and easy. Her son, Harrison, has become Wesley's best friend here and they have their own playdate every Monday while the older kids do school. Graham also loves playing with their twin girls who are just a few years older than him.

Monday, September 19, 2011


School started a little later here in Canada than what we are used to in the South. We are now getting into our new routine with school and the boys seem to be settling in well. Graham is in "Grade One" as it is called up here. He's loving his teacher and has already made several friends in his class. Wesley is in Junior Kindergarten at the same school as Graham. In fact, his classroom is just next door to Graham's. He goes two and sometimes three days a week. It's similar to his preschool program from last year. His teacher just seems perfect for him as well. The school is in our neighborhood, so we are really enjoying biking or walking to school. Again, I see God's provision for us and am so thankful for the way He cares for my children.
I didn't have time to take a picture of Wesley before school (imagine that!), so here he is enjoying an after school snack after his first day.

Graham on his first day of school

Monday, September 12, 2011


It's been one year since we brought our daughter home. Click on her name below to see a slideshow highlighting our first year with her.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Labor Day weekend

My dad and his wife came to visit us over Labor Day weekend. The kids enjoyed the time with their grandparents. They especially had fun when their grandparents let them play in the mud in the backyard while Tim and I were on a get-away. :) Thanks for the night away, Dad and MA.

My dad took a few pictures of the kids at the lake. I thought they were really sweet.

a view of the CN Tower from the music gardens in Toronto

Notice Tim and I in the corner of this pic trying to look at a map so we could navigate our way around downtown.

Lidiyanna and Grandpa enjoying the train ride into Toronto

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Best Buds

Something happened this summer...
they became each other's best friend.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canadian Vacation-part three

Tim and Lidiyanna enjoying a snuggle around the campfire

On one of our days during vacation, we drove about 45 minutes to the village of Mont Tremblant. It is a ski resort in a smaller mountain range. During the summer, the village is still alive with activity including shopping, entertainment for the kids, and lots of dining. We enjoyed some crepes and a Canadian treat called Beaver Tails which are flat pastries similar to donuts that have toppings like chocolate hazelnut or cinnamon sugar. While in the village, we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain and enjoyed a beautiful view. Graham and Tim rode the luge which is similar to riding a scooter down a big hill. Graham also tried the ropes course for kids and the mountain climbing. Wesley and I had fun playing on a pirate ship and riding some small boats. It was a fun day in a beautiful village that we'd like to visit some time during the winter so we can introduce our kids to some skiing. Although it was lots of fun for a day, I was glad that we spent the majority of the week in a more peaceful environment that really refreshed our souls.
back at the cottage enjoying the sunset before bed

before the luge

Graham doing the ropes course.

Wesley and I riding the gondola.

a view of the village from the gondola

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Canadian Vacation-part two

After a bit of a stressful summer, the cottage we rented in Quebec was a perfect way to spend our vacation. The cottage was located on a small lake called Lake Nomininique in the Laurentians of Quebec. The Laurentians is a region of coniferous forest dotted with hundreds of lakes and rivers. It was a beautiful, remote area with quaint villages that took us away from noise and distraction. We spent the week playing on the lake's shore, paddling around in the paddle boat and kayak, roasting marshmallows on the campfire, and just enjoying each other. God knew it was just what we needed to end the summer.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our First Canadian Vacation-part one

Last week, the five of us piled in Tim's truck and headed to Quebec to enjoy some rest and relaxation together. We started our vacation with a night spent in Ottawa, Canada's capital city. It's a beautiful city right on the river with some intricate buildings on its Parliament Hill. The city is very pedestrian-friendly so we explored it on foot Friday night and by bike on Saturday.
The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill

changing of the guard

enjoying a break from our bike ride
Parliament Hill behind us

On Friday night we sat on the green lawn in front of the Parliament building to watch a light show that told a little of Canada's history. In many ways, Canada differs from the United States, but some things are true no matter where you live. The people here are proud of their country just as we are in the U.S. I was thankful for the opportunity to see Ottawa and learn a little more about this country we'll be living in for the next few years.