Monday, June 30, 2008

Great weekend

We decided to go to Branson last weekend to be at a meeting, so after swim lessons and lunch, we took off. I think Caleb did the best he's done in the past 5 or 6 trips, praise the Lord! No dvd players and S&C did GREAT! The meeting was great, we were in the right place at the right time. Saturday it poured most of the day, but we got to see Kung Fu Panda. Caleb actually slept through about 1/3 of it. There were some really intense parts where I tried to cover his ears to block the noise, and I think that bothered him more than the noise did! Samuel went on and on about it. What a great memory! He wanted to know if we'd get it when it came out or if we'd see it again. I told him we wouldn't have too since he could describe it in such vivid detail!

We had a nice ride home with 3 children sleeping at one point! I have a picture of the 3 "resting" but I have to find my camera! When we were about 5 miles from our house, we stopped to look at a house my friend Jeri is building and found some open houses. Well, off we went to dream a little dream. The kids totally enjoyed it and wanted to buy those houses! It's so fun to see things that can be in the future. I wish I'd have taken a camera to take pictures of what we liked for that someday...

Today it was back to swimming lessons and putting everything back in its place. Caleb drank well from a sippy cup for the first time today! It had Jamba Juice Pomagranite something or other in it and his REALLY liked it. I'm thankful.

12 years ago...

...I was sitting on the couch, cross stitching, not feeling very well. My friend Charissa called and invited me to dinner. Her husband John had invited a friend over and she wanted to have a friend over, too. When I got there, there was a guy there she'd mentioned before. How interesting that he was headed to Bolivia for a month on a missions trip. I'd just gone to Bolivia a few years before and had been in Estonia that spring! He was a really nice, quiet, intense guy. What was really exciting was Charissa was selling her car. I had recently decided to sell my truck (yes, I drove a truck and thought I was cool), buy something older and pay off college loans. (which I did) When I got home, I told my parents I'd met a really nice guy and someday I'd like to date a guy with such quality.
The rest is history! Thank you soooo much Charissa!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Well, we've had a great time (most of us) at swim lessons. Caleb has had the joy of being dunked twice the last 2 days and will continue to until we're done next Thursday. We sing a sweet little song and reward them in the end by dunking them! Fortunately, they change the song every 2 days so they don't develope a complex about a particular song! Catherine and Samuel are getting better each day and look forward to their time. They are ready to go about 2 hours before it's time to leave, so I have to give them projects to keep them busy! Unfortunately, I am in the pool with Caleb and can't watch the other 2. It seems I look at Samuel just as he's getting out of the pool or waiting for his turn!
Caleb started to army crawl today! He saw Samuel's Lego's and off he went! Legos are going to have to be a nap time thing. Sad for Samuel, but safer for Caleb until we get a play room.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Swim lessons for 4

This morning we started swim lessons for 3 kids. That means I had to find a swim suit to be presentable in the pool with Caleb. Caleb had a blast after he got used to the cold water. We made it about 30 mins and his lips were getting a bit purple, so out we went. Catherine and Samuel seemed to be fine, although with all of us in the water at the same time, I don't get to watch them. I'll have to sneak pics right when C & I get out of the pool.

I meant to tell youabout a new thing Caleb did on Staurday. After we got cleaned up from the sale we went to return tables, do a business errand for me, ate dinner at Whole Foods and stopped at the home of a couple Buddy did work for. They are a sweet couple who have a mutual admiration society with Buddy! They think he's the best and he thinks the same of them. Caleb was great entertainment and for the first time pulled his knees up under him while he was working to get Buddy's sunglasses! He is 9 months, but all his entertainment comes to him, so there's no motivation to go get anything. I've been working with him to get used to the feeling since his appt. last week and it's catching on! Look out Legos! He's surely going to find all the little ones Samuel leaves around.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Tooth Fairy is back in business!

Catherine has been asking for days if her tooth was ready to come out. Usually that was a question full of nervousness and concern. This time, she was ready. I tried yesterday, but it was still attached enough to hurt. Finally, today after lunch, I could see that it was hanging down. When I pulled it, there were no tears at all! Such a change from all the others. She was excited and wanted to know if I could bring her the money during her nap. I fell asleep and missed my chance, so I'll slip in tonight. Amazing to have 7 gone already!

Garage Sale part 2c

It Is Finished!!! I cannot tell you how happy I am that we are done! It's was a long weekend, but a blessed one. Kind of fun to have it be a neighborhood sale- the kids were back and forth between our house and the neighbors on both sides. One couple had Catherine for a good portion of the day and the other had Samuel. He was so cute- he was helping, not playing. He sat in his little fold up chair with the neighbors as they sold things to raise money for the Blue Star Mothers. Samuel had lots of fun and told me it was an honor to do things to help people in the Army. And it is.
This is how Caleb spent part of his awake time. He was so happy in his pack and play and entertained people with his chatter. People often thought we were adopting him and were surprised we were adding #4.
When all was said and done, we'd earned $490.31 for these 2 days, and a total from last sale and this was $1600! I did no advertising this time and that may have made part of the difference. We're very thankful for each person who donated things for the sale and those who purchased from us. There were several who gave us money and bought nothing. How wonderful is that?
After we packed up, this was taken to GoodWill. (I seriously need a shower!)and this is a portion of what will go to the John 3:16 Mission. On another happy note, we can now put our car back in the garage! On the agenda for this week is taking a picture of the car and putting it in the Auto Trader. Time to really get ready to add another child!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garage Sale Part 2b

Whew! I wasn't sure if I was going to try this by myself, but figured it was worth a shot. So, after a quick breakfast and feeding Caleb, I moved the vehicles and started pulling things out. I wanted to take a picture before we started, but people kept coming and I kept trying to make room and pull more out. Believe it or not, there were STILL many things left in the garage that hadn't come out since I couldn't get the tables or furniture out by myself. After 7 hours in upper 80's weather with 3 kids, by myself, we ended up with $332.01! We still have a pool table, a dresser, a roll top desk, lots of clothes and toys.

This is how it looked at the end of the day. It goes almost all the way back. Hey, we have a bigger path! I was ready to take a shower and sit in the AC for a while when it was over! Caleb played in his pack and play in the shade and napped well. S&C helped and played really well. We did not have a very good lunch, but we made up for it at dinner.

It was so fun to see people who had come to the first sale. They asked how we were coming along and I got to share what our progress was since the first. I enjoyed watching people's faces when we said we were adopting. Most people are happy for us. One lady made a comment about how the orphans here in the states need to be adopted, too. People do not realize what the conditions are like in other countries and how few opportunities they have. Not every place is like Russia or Ukraine, but statistics are-

~There are over 4 million orphans and homeless children in Russia and Ukraine
~There are 700,000 orphans living in 2,000 state-run orphanages in Russia alone ... that is more orphans than there were after World War II

~About 15,000 unadopted Russian orphans leave orphanages each year, once they are 16 to 18 years old

~Statistics show that after being released from the orphanage, 80% of unadopted female orphans will become prostitutes and most unadopted male orphans will go to jail ... only one out of ten Russian orphans becomes a functional member of society

~More than 100,000 children are thought to have been surrendered to orphanages due to poverty

I'd have to say American orphans have much better chances than this. I haven't really plugged for others to think about adoption, but my heart is so full some days of the need these children have.
Yes, it's a stretch financially, but when it's God's heart, too He takes care of things. Yes, people don't always understand, but your true friends and those who love you believe in you enough to be happy for you while they sort out their feelings. Yes, your life will never be the same, but wouldn't that be boring? So if you know God commands us to care for the widows and orphans, what's your part? It may not be to adopt, yourself, but maybe you could support those who are, financially and emotionally, or help organizations who care for those still waiting for their families.

We'll be up early in the morning to get things out to get the early birds. Be watching for part 2c!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I forgot to tell you...

Caleb grew 1 1/2 inches in a month! We went yesterday for his 9 month check up and I was amazed.

Guess what came in the mail...

Dear Petitiioner,
The State Department's National Visa Center has recently received your approval form I600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. This letter is to inform you that your petition has been forwarded to the appropriate visa-issuing post where the adoption interview will take place.
Blah, blah, blah,
Bureau of Consular Affairs

What does it mean? I don't know. But hey, it's progress! We are expecting to hear something any day, so it's nice that we are, as my aunt Lorie used to say, getting our ducks in a row!

Rainy days...

It has been raining here almost everyday for the past week and a half, it seems. Kids will be kids. One day a few weeks ago, Samuel decided to dig a hole under his swing. With all the rain, it is now a moat! Perfectly matched with the swords I just bought for them. ;o) So, Monday afternoon they went out to play and were having so much fun. Next thing I know, this is what I see...

The pictures do not do them justice! And so it happened again yesterday. They both come streaking into the house because it "just happened" that they got covered with mud. We still have the moat and still are expecting more rain and know there will be many more incidences of muddy children before these rainy days are done.
Our neighborhood garage sale is this weekend and you would be amazed at our garage. We have a path you can walk down, but that's it. I'll have to take a picture of it before we set it all out. Now I have to decide if I'm ready to try it alone on Friday with the 3 kids or just do it Saturday when Buddy is here. We're expecting great results, even better than we had last time. I know we've got some awesome things that people have donated, so it's pretty exciting! I'll be happy to post Garage Sale part 2b and have exciting news and a place to park my car!
Tomorrow, we're having a girl party at our house. 5 of Catherine's friends are coming over for a play date. Ideally, they would be coming to see Hannah, but we can do that when she gets here. Catherine is ready to show everyone her new sister. So Samuel is going to play with Bryce and We'll see what kind of fun we can have with a bunch of girls who haven't seen each other for almost a month!
Today the kids and I went to the library so they could get their ladybugs for having completed the summer reading program (actually finished 4 days before they could snatch up their prizes) and then were off to see Buddy. He commutes an hour each way and when he has a lot of work to do, that means he may get home when the kids are ready for bed or later. So, he decided to spen last night and tonight with his friend and save some miles and time on the road. Knowing what a hit he is with his kids and how they miss him, I thought we could go have lunch together. Well, on the way, I saw a little black thing in the road at the last minute that I tried to miss and hit with my back tire- blow out on the highway! I decided there was no need to worry or get upset and just do what I could do. I could have called tele-aid and they would send someone, but that could have been an hour or so. I've changed tires before, so I could do it again if I had to. As I went on with unloading the stroller, the pack and play, the water bottles, blankets and toys (are we prepared or what) I glanced up and saw a truck backing up. Bless the Lord, He sent a sweet man to help me out. While he was changing the tire, a tow truck pulled up to make sure we were ok and offerred help. God was watching out for us! We went on our merry way at 50 mph!!! When's the last time you drove 50 mph in a 75 mph speed zone? Let me just say, that was quite a trip. Catherine was entertaining Caleb and he was laughing so hard, I thought he was crying! So sweet how they play together. Samuel was devouring his library books. We had a great lunch with Buddy and after feeding Caleb, we were on the road again. going home I went 57 mph and got 23.4 mpg as opposed to 20, so I guess there was a benefit to it.
After we got home, I called one of my friends/neighbors/college buddy to come stay with the kids so I could run an errand (thanks Carla!) and also got the kids Alvin and the chipmunks. They laughed so hard! I wish I could bottle up Samuel's laugh, it's the cutest thing to hear. Then Carla came back with donations for the garage sale. My, my, but it's amazing how it's multiplied!
I have to share one thing about the kids that I really appreciate. They are always well behaved when people watch them and I pretty much never hear of them behaving poorly for others. Nice to know.
OK, 2 things. They like to help on projects and like to have "their special jobs." Tonight I have to deliver some things for my business and I had a short time frame to get the packages ready and delivered. At first, they did not want to help and I asked them to do it anyway and they did for a bit. Then I let them play and when they came back, I was still working. I asked for more help and they did it with a good attitude. It's nice to be able to tell them how pleased you are with their attitudes and their willingness to be a part of the family and help out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What a dad!

Friday, we had a terrible incident with the kids' toilet and I had to try to deal with it before Buddy got home from work. When he got home, he decided 5 times taking the toilet apart was too many in the past 5 or 6 years. (Samuel is 8 and started potty training at about 18 months. Any correlation?) So, Saturday was time to try to fix what we had and a hunt for a new toilet. Finally, we decided to go to church that night and have the whole day Sunday to be together and finish up this project. Samuel was thrilled with the idea of helping his dad and came in at 7 am Father's Day asking Buddy to get up so they could get busy on it! I convinced the kids that we needed to let daddy have his time to relax and do what he wanted. Boy, was it hard for them! We did get the new throne installed and a light fixture fixed yesterday, which was a thrill for everyone. Buddy DID get to sleep in, take a nap, had time with his family, and ate some of his favorite things. He was totally OK with doing some "honey do's" and at the end of the day said what a great day he'd had. Samuel's card was so appropriate!
I'm blessed to have such a loving, devoted father for my husband. You could never second guess his love for his children.
My dad was in MN for 10 days, so I didn't get to spend Father's Day with him for the first time in many years. I'm thankful for such a great dad who cares so much and continues to grow in the Lord. He's become someone I so enjoy talking with about the things of God and just being with. Since Buddy's dad is gone, he's a said what a blessing it is to have someone to have as an example and encouragement.

Friday, June 13, 2008

9 months later...

We are blessed!

Kid stuff

Samuel told me he was sure Catherine would sign a contract some day bcause she's alwasys singing. "You might be on American Idol. I'd watch you, but I'd turn it off if it got too annoying."

Caleb was playing with my belly this morning. I told Catherine it looks funny because of #3, #2, and #1 stretching me out, Samuel pipes in from his room "you just need a #4 to make it better."
Catherine asked me if we could have 10 kids.

Wednesday night Buddy and Samuel went to church while the C's and I stayed home. Catherine wanted to help me post pictures, then dictated recipes for strawberry muffins- "you put all the regular stuff in, then you put in strawberries, then put it in the oven." chocolate chip cookies- "no raisins, powder, the good kind of sugar, chocolate chips. Tell me the rest." She was singing and I had to repeat and clap when she said to and let me know if I did it wrong. We had lots of fun.

When Buddy comes home from work, you should hear the shouts of "Daddy!!" Well, Caleb has his own version. He fake cries, squeals and wiggles to get Buddy's attention and leans toward him so he'll hold him. Such a loved daddy! Can't wait to see how Hannah will show her love.


When we went to the library on Wednesday, Catherine got a book about Dora's picnic. We decided we should have one, so off we went yesterday to find a place with shade. the picture of Samuel and Caleb speaks volumes of their love. Notice the "toys" that entertained Caleb for quite a while. Catherine dressed up for the occasion. Samuel found a good rock to sit on and finish his food. It was quick becuase of nap time, but we all had fun and hope the neighborhood didn't mind us using their park!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pictures are here!

Playing with friends in Ozark, MO.

Back home and having fun

No, it's NOT that these pictures are from Christmas! Samuel found these p.j.'s when we were shopping and HAD to have them. Catherine found the antlers and thought Caleb needed to wear them.

Gotta have our time with Branson friends, even if it means we have to go to WalMart together!

Enjoying our time at Silver Dollar City...

Hanging out at the pool in Branson...

OK, hope you've enjoyed FINALLY seeing what we've been doing.
Today we got pictures done at Picture People and had such a hard time picking out pictures, I wanted them ALL! I scanned one and put it on the header, so if you're a goodle reader reader, you'll have to go check it out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finally approved!

GREAT NEWS! We got our INS approval in the mail yesterday! That is truly the last thing we have to do/have before we're set to go. Very good news.

I forgot to tell you that when we had lunch in Branson, one of the guys there told us he and his sister were adopted. An interesting note was that he had such a great family, he never wanted to get in touch with his bio parents or felt like he was missing out on anything. Then, on the way home, I saw a famiy in a van with something hanging from their mirror with the Georgian flag on it and something written about Georgia. Of course, you can't go chasing down people on the highway, but I thought that was pretty cool.

Today my mom brought over my oldest niece and nephew so the kids could play. We went to a great park near our house and the kids played non-stop for about 3 hrs., then came to our house
to play for about an hour more. Mom had her camera and she got some great pictures of the kids. Hopefully I can get a copy of the cd so I can post some. Caleb was hilarious- he blew raspberries in my mom's face, sucked on her cheeks, drooled all over her arms, and generally had a great time. He kept saying "ah da" so I said "mama", which made him laugh so hard. Too bad we didn't have the video camera! The boys decided it was a good idea to make it a surprise that mom was bringing them over to our house and the girls were so excited to have more time together. Mom had given me a bunch of brushes and Catherine decided they were mostly for her. My friend Sheli had given us a beauty shop toy for Catherine and Hannah to play with, so Alex and Catherine had a big time with Catherine's hair accessories and brushes. Gabriel and Samuel were biding their time until I would let them play Game Cube! They are all great friends and have a blast together. Sad it happens so infrequently.

I did make a slide show on, but I couldn't figure out how to then get it on my blog without it just being a link you have to log onto. So when I figure that out, you'll have pictures to look at!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

...and again...

Mom and I had a great time and got home at 2:40 am friday morning. Totally wiped, but totally worth it. Friday afternoon, Buddy called and said someone wanted to pay for our hotel if we wanted to go Saturday and stay for church Sunday. Alright! So, off we went. We spent the evening in the pool and enjoying each other. Then, church today, a little outlet mall shopping, lunch with some old and new friends and back on the road.
We're getting more donations for our garage sale, which will be the 20th. I need to get out there tomorrow and organize so we have room. We're having difficulty finding space to walk, but we're ok with that for a few more weeks!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

on the road again...

We had such a great time in Branson! Amazing what an extra day can do. We arrived in time for dinner and baths Thursday pm. I had anew book, so I had some quiet time before hitting the hay. Buddy arrived after I was in bed and was off towork Friday am after seeing the kids. we then spent the am with my friend Lisa and her 4 kids, who blessed Caleb with some clothes and a soft doll for Hannah, which was very thoughtful of Elisabeth. I'm really enjoying the large families I know. so fun to see the interaction, organization and discipline that goes into making it work. After lunch and a nap, we headed for the pool where Caleb had his first taste of more than a few inches in the bottom of the tub. S & C had a blast showing me all their grat tricks. Buddy came home in time for a nice dinner andthen we were off to church. Saturday we hit the outlet mall for Buddy, a few hours at Silver Dollar City, then back for the pool and a relaxing evening. We went to church Sunday am, had lunch and hit the road. We had to stop to see our friends James and Cassie and their 2 children. Caleb did well, but was ready for a break from his car seat! We made a list of things to do when we go back, which will certainly take a week or so!!!

Our week has gone well since we've been back. However, the church in Branson is having their marraige meeting this week. We watched online Mon. and Tues., but tonight is men's night (not aired) and tomorrow is ladies' night (also not aired.) You can go here and clicked on the archived services to hear the first ones. It's really refreshing to get a Biblical view of what a marraige should be like. Anyway, I've decided to make a quick road trip to hear ladies' night. My mom is going with me and I've invited some others who can't make it. We'll leave tomorrow afternoon and come back right after the service. I'm looking forward to hearing and putting it into practice. 10 1/2 years later, I know I have a lot to learn. Amanda will watch the kids between me leaving and Buddy coming home. Fortunately for the kids, this counts as babysitter day AND play day time. Thanks so much!

I did take a bunch of pictures and will post them later this week, I'm trying to be productive and catch up from close to 4 days without internet and phone!