Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We ARE still here and I DO intend to post regularly again soon.  In the meantime - Merry Christmas from our whole clan! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do you know their mom and dad?

Or are you their mom and dad?  The Ukrainian government maintains a website of waiting children.  Saturday morning Eric was browsing the pictures and ran across one of the boys we know.  He also has an older brother who we spent quite a bit of time with.  We met these boys when we were hanging out at Joseph's orphanage.  They were wonderful boys - sweet, but not too sweet and good, but not too good.  They were fun to hang out with and the older one would come down to spend time in Joseph's room often - the room where his little brother slept.  He appeared to be a good influence on the younger boys and they loved playing with him.  The younger boy is 9 and his older brother is 15 years old - about to age out.  It terrifies me and makes me so sad that this sweet boy/young man is about to be denied the chance at a family.  So here is my plea - help me find these boys a home - FAST!  Please post the link and share it with anyone you know who might be able to help them.  Pray for them and let's get them home.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adoption Disruptions....

I didn't intend for this to be my first post after my hiatus but I just got done reading it and thought it made some excellent points (and ranted in a constructive fashion - an art I have yet to master!)


Read it.  Ponder it.  Pass it on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

VBS Week

Last week was VBS at our church.  They brought in a BMX/FMX team and had all kinds of stunts each night.  The kickoff was Sunday and it has so HOT outside.  But the blow-ups were fun (our church loves blow-ups) and the tricks were pretty spectacular and hopefully it brought some new faces to our church and ultimately to their Savior.
Jonathan loves the blow-ups too.  He would play in these things 24/7 - even when it's over 90 degrees outside!
Michael loves this human wrecking ball game.  He has surprisingly good balance and didn't get beat by the 3 girls that were playing against him!
Best friends and best neighbors!
I DID NOT need anyone giving Joseph any more ideas on how to inflict bodily harm on himself (but they were super cool)!
Family fun at Summer FX - did I mention it was really hot!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Puzzling" news...aka "Every Piece Counts"

So my darling children want to do something to help raise money to bring home their next siblings.  They have talked about a lemonade stand and an ice-cream stand.  I said no to both of those because - let's face it, I'm going to have to do most of the work and will probably watch them literally eat up all the profits.  Not too long after one of these discussions I noticed Charity and Joseph standing out by the street trying to sell their "artwork" as a fundraiser.  It simultaneously made me laugh out loud and touched/broke my heart.  They want to DO something!  That same day I was reading a new blog and saw a fundraiser that her kids were doing - I knew it was one my kids would LOVE and was something they could actually do and that hasn't been done by every adopting family we know.  So, today I ordered a 500 piece puzzle by my favorite artist.  The kids will get "sponsors" for each of the 500 pieces.  We will then write the name of the "sponsor" on the back of the puzzle piece.  The goal is for them to be able to see 500 people give a little bit (minimum of $1) to help them meet their goal.  500 people who will have a part in something bigger than themselves.  We will eventually frame the puzzle with glass on both sides so that our family - and especially the new ones will have that reminder of God's faithfulness and the kindness of our friends and family (after the adoption is over - since framing isn't cheap and one of the main goals is for them to raise some money :)!  I love this for many reasons but also because most kids can scrounge up a dollar or two and so I won't care when they hit up their friends to be a "sponsor".   This should be fun!

This will be the finished product:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July is gone :(

Which means school is just around the corner (7 days to be exact - booo!)  The kids got their "teacher" letters in the mail this week and we bought school supplies last Monday so I guess technically we are ready to go back - that being said, I'm never ready to go back. I'll drown my back to school blues by reliving some of the fun from this summer!
The 3 older kids spent a week at camp in the middle of July.  They were placed in "family" groups for the week.  They had a great week learning all about the Creation and having their lives touched by the missionary from Haiti.  (I don't have any pics of Charity yet but I'm sure she looked just as "campy" as the girls in this group!)

 Joseph loves mini-golf....

Especially when he sinks his putt!
I'm not sure what the deal with the bandanna's was but they wore them all week apparently, and have continued to sport them at home every now and then!

While the kids were at camp, I was here:

With them:

This isn't the most flattering picture of all of us but riding the bikes was one of our favorite parts of the trip so...it makes the blog!  It was a great week with some great friends and proof that we all married great men who allowed/urged us to go.

The day after we all got back it was time once again for the county fair.  

Tell me this isn't the quintessential 4-H kid picture!  On the way to the fair!
 Okay, this one is pretty good too!
Joseph and his bff - these two are so stinkin cute.  They passed the football ALL WEEK outside of the dairy barn.  Kind of annoying to people trying to pass through but it was nice for the moms - we knew exactly where to find them!
 Not a great picture but it's the only one I've got right now - and he did SUCH a good job showing his pig.  It sounds silly to those who haven't done it but it takes a lot of work to do it right.  He surprised us all with how well he did.  He really loved it and had a great time!

One of the best parts of the fair is hanging out with our cousins.  Charity is in the white shirt - I'm not sure what these crazies were discussing but my guess is - if we could implement it - it would CHANGE THE WORLD!
This might be my favorite picture of the week - Michael and Alida giving pep talks to their "girls" before going in the ring.
The week pretty much revolved around Michael but this proves that the others were all there supporting him and having a grand ol' time in the process.

It was a great couple of weeks.  VBS was last week - pics to come but for now I'm off to sleep - hoping for a fun day tomorrow and maybe a spare half hour to post some more.  I DO miss you lovely little blog.

Oh- quick what's cooking (I always forget):
We had baked potato bar tonight with homemade buttermilk biscuits.  Not sure why we were carbo-loading but boy was it good!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Random Pics

Since I have been bad about updating on a regular basis for the past 6 weeks or so, I will take the most boring route and throw a bunch of pictures out here for the far off relatives and readers who like to watch my kids grow up.  For all the rest of you - feel free to skip this one (although I have to tell you - I don't really trust anyone who doesn't think I have great kids!)

 We have been doing a lot of swimming (at other's houses and at ours)
Swimming and diving....
Or doing something fearless off the diving board (this kid couldn't swim last year and hasn't had any lessons to change that but has managed to pick up enough skills to keep from drowning)
Or trying to drown themselves (or look at the bottom - whatever....)
and doing it all with great friends and neighbors!
So, have I mentioned that we are adopting from Bulgaria?  Well this is what sealed the deal for Eric - I sip (shot?) of Bulgarian brandy.  He decided he must visit and bring home a child from a country that can make something smell so sweet and taste so awful wonderful.  (please read that with LOTS of sarcasm)
 He did like the beer though (actually I think one of those is Ukrainian - but we love that country too)
Never did figure out why my daughter decided to dress up as a flamingo for an afternoon.  She ran around the neighborhood looking like this.  Hmmmm.....

So I mentioned that we were in the midst of 4-h madness (and lovin' almost every minute of it.)  This is Hank getting hosed down before a little walk.

Uncle Brian (my baby brother) plays "judge" and helps Michael learn a thing or two before show day.

We waited at a pharmacy for several hours so each of the kids could get physicals and our two bio kids could have their TB tests read for the homestudy.  Joseph and Jonathan test positive for TB and have been x-rayed (negative) and treated with 6 months of antibiotics so they are in the clear.  The kids were actually very good and we got through them quickly.

Aren't they sweet?  Jonathan was in trouble (again) and not able to join in the fun.  It's been a rough summer for that little monster.

 Looking through pics on Michael's camera to see if he had any shots for his poster - notice how my mom's head is turned away - she did that as soon as I came over to take a group shot :)


Guess who just mailed off her homestudy paperwork?  Yep - that would be me!!  We are on our way.  Unfortunately the next two weeks are completely booked  and a majority of our family will be away from home so the actual home visit will have to wait until at least the last week of July but boy is it a relief to get the part that I can control done.


That pile of papers in the corner (covering the return address to maintain some privacy) are my copies of the documents.

Now we wait - and gear up for all the fun of the next two weeks.  A well known fact about me (and my kids and extended family) is that we are fair rats.  Absolutely love hanging out at the fair, watching the shows, and catching up with friends.  This year is Michael's first year of "real" 4-H and so we have spent this week finishing up books and projects between morning and afternoon trips to the barn.  (And of course getting physicals and fingerprints for my  homestudy - did I mention I got that done?!)  Our dining room is 4-H central right now - which is fairly inconvenient since it is stinking hot out there and it would be kind of nice to eat inside. 

We have poster board and pictures for photography, an electric circuit board, and 5 4-H manuals in here, a bird feeder and model for Joseph's mini 4-H, a pillow and friendship bracelet making stuff for Charity's mini 4-H plus in the lower right hand corner is all my adoption paperwork - but that pile is greatly diminished now that I mailed off the homestudy paperwork - not sure I have told you all that interesting bit of news yet.

Our goal is to get his photography project done tomorrow and then we will be done until Saturday.  He will mix up his cookie dough and stick it in the freezer so that he can slice and bake them when he gets back from camp - the day before the fair starts.  That's right ladies and gentlemen - my kids go to camp the week before the fair.  Now for those of you who have never done 4-H this might not sound like that big of deal - and really it doesn't have to be.  However, I am a procrastinator and it took a good deal of work and discipline on my part to pull off getting projects done a week early instead of an hour early.  

So the three older kids leave for camp on Sunday afternoon and I leave for a hiking trip (just me and 4 friends - HOW MUCH FUN IS THAT?!)  to Colorado on Sunday evening.  After this week I think I'll need it.  But, at least I got my homestudy mailed off....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pop Quiz

Q: What is white and green and red all over?

A: The flag of the birth country of our next child (or two) - Bulgaria. 

Eric and I officially started the process to adopt from Bulgaria at the end of last week (i.e. we sent off the first payment - ouch!)  Hopefully our homestudy packet will arrive today and I can get going on that.  Now that we are out of the waiting phase I'm ready to just get moving and get that referral as fast as possible.  You know me - very little patience when it comes to getting my kiddos home!  I'm not sure what to expect from this adventure.  I should really stop reading the blogs - they only confuse me; such different information and experiences.  The good thing is, we have complete trust in our agency and their staff.  I know they will make this process as painless as possible - love them!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not so great news

A few weeks ago we got an update on the registration of the other 4 children we were hoping to add to our family. The news is - they aren't registered yet. The judge apparently wanted some more information and it has slowed the process down considerably. The bottom line is that by the time the kids are available for adoption the oldest one will be 14 years old. I hate saying it but that puts a whole different spin on things. I know the hormones are going to be out of control with 4 girls all within 4 years of each other anyway but the reason it was doable was because they would have been with our family for a couple of years before things really kicked into high gear. We're not sure it's smart to add 4 of that age when we will be dealing with another 4 that are only slightly younger than that. We won't be able to give anyone the attention they need and I'm afraid it is a recipe for disaster. Technically we don't have to make any real decisions on this issue since they were never truly "ours" but it feels like a loss all the same. I feel really bad for the kids. They didn't have a great shot at finding families before but now their situation has just gotten worse. Please pray for these poor babies. Pray that God will open the hearts of their forever family (I really thought we were that family) and they would obey the call and go get their kids. As for us, stay tuned....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Odds and Ends

I've kept you, my lovely readers, up to date for the most part over the past couple of weeks but I do have a few fun pics that haven't had any place in any of my other posts. So, in no particular order here we go:

Michael is in his first year of 4-H. This morning they had an electric workshop for 1st year members and they actually worked on their projects. My step-dad provided MJ with the board for his circuit-board (beautiful piece of walnut) but Michael had to stain/polyurethane it. Go WITH the grain Michael, with the grain. The workshop was a success. Michael and Eric worked hard and took their time and it looks nice. Hopefully the judge agrees. Most important is the fact that Michael did the work and understands the ins and outs of his project. I'll admit I was NOT saying that when they came home - in fact I did a pretty good impression of the Wicked Witch because the wires aren't perfectly straight, they don't have crisp corners, etc. But I'll just keep telling myself - he did it himself and he's 9 years old. For now we will strive "To Make the Best Better", perfection will come in time :)

Another Michael 4-H picture. He is mixing up feed for his pig - Hank.

Meet Hank.

This is not something I see a lot of out of this kid. He is SO active - getting him to sit still and read is torture. Reading is also still on the difficult side. I mean, he's only been in this country for 18 months! He's close to reading on level so hopefully a few more moments like above will bring him closer to that goal.

Our neighbors are hosting a Ukranian girl this summer (in fact, she comes tomorrow!) We are all excited but Charity especially is beside herself. This family has 4 boys and the kids pretty much run back and forth between our 2 houses all day long. Adding a girl to the mix for a few weeks will be like heaven for Charity. She went over to help set up girl toys in the guest bedroom for her yesterday.

Yet another boy in our neighborhood! He was in Charity's class for the past 2 years and he and my daughter are good buddies. He has more freedom than my kids (I watch too much crime-drama on TV to let my kids run around unsupervised) and will show up often to play with our yahoos.

I had kind of forgotten about this feature but since I looked back at my blog I realized that I kind of like it and will try to remember to keep it up.

On the menu for today - Smothered Pork Chops. My kids got me The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook for my birthday. I love that show and have a great time reading the cookbook and all their magazines. We will be trying this recipe for the first time tonight but I know it will be a success because the ATK staff has already tried it dozens of times!


So my mom has one of those pools that you take down every year (we affectionately call them hillbilly pools and love swimming in it!) but she decided not to put it up this year. Instead she decided to send it to my house. I'm sure our neighbors LOVE us (the kids actually do) but we set it up in the backyard the other night and the kids have been dying to use it ever since. Yesterday the pH leveled off so Eric let Charity take the inaugural swim. It is still cloudy and probably 68-70 degrees but in she went.

First she had to check her goggles to make sure they don't leak...

And jumped right in!!

And this is today:

The neighbor kids have been as antsy to get in as my own 4 were. They don't care that it isn't pretty (or warm) yet. Just like everything else at our house (myself included) it is a work in progress....