Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy New Year

New Year
Graphics & Myspace layouts

Katie's First Christmas

This was so funny. All the kids wanted a baby bottle of milk or a pacifier;-))))). So I laid my babies all in a circle and issued bottles of milk and pacifiers. They are such silly little kids. We all got a big laugh out of it!!!! The next day we began our Christmas baking and had a ball.

Trisha is under my supervision making the famous German bread called "Potica".

Here she is rolling the bread out paper thin and adding the nut filling.

Here it is ready for the oven. We cut it into loaves before baking it.

Then we decorated the Christmas tree after baking all day. Some of the things we baked were peanut butter chocolate balls, peanut butter chocolate pretzel clusters, nut rolls, Christmas nuggets, and rum balls...yummmmmm.

DeeDee is working on the top of the tree.
Little Trisha wanted her turn at placing ornaments on the tree top.
Here we had finished decorating and next we sat up our Christmas Tiny Town and our Nativity scene.

Here are the kids for their Christmas picture on Christmas Eve. Top row from left to right: Katie Aunna, Casey, Annie, Little Trisha and from left to right on the bottom row: Christian, John-John, DeeDee, Mary, and Karissa.

This is Christmas morning and everyone is chomping at the bits to start ripping open their plunder of Christmas treats.
We had a wonderful time with Katie Aunna and our other darling little children. Casey and Little Trisha were my biggest helpers this year. Little Trisha shopped till she dropped for Casey, DeeDee, and her own clothes. Casey wrapped until he had sore fingers;-). I had bought special gifts for the kids from Switzerland. Particularly a watch for Casey and also a Swiss watch for Trisha and little Swiss dolls for the little girls. John-John got his favorite toy in the world.....Geo Train Tracks and more cars for his huge train set up. He really enjoys playing his train set. I bought nice winter clothes for all the children and this is the bulk of their Christmas gifts. Thank goodness that all the kids absolutely love clothes!!!!
It seems rather cruel that Christmas has come and gone so quickly. Katie Aunna was delighted and she felt like she was in Heaven. It was a very special Christmas for her. Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas break and remember that the biggest present of all was the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I tried to emphasize this message often during our classes before I gave them a holiday break.
I am continuing to ask from the depths of my heart and soul that everyone please continue to pray for V. Please....let God speak openly to y0ur hearts and donate any amount possible to her adoption fund so she may be able to unite with her family. We would love nothing more than to be able to afford her adoption. She is (like Katie and our other children) a shinning diamond in a dark place where she will have a very bleak future with the limp she has. One of her legs is longer than the other and here Shriners could fix this free of charge. She also is in need of dental work and properly fitting glasses.
PLEASE......Open your hearts for any amount you are led to give to help her come home!!!! Even a small amount will help bring her closer to home. So listen to God's soft and patient calling to you and help "V". God's many blessing to you...He will reward your generosity many times over as He promises to do in His Holy Bible and further, He commands us to help the orphans.
Happy holidays and many blessings...Trisha, Duane, Casey, Christian, Karissa, Katie Aunna, Mary, John, and our two grand-babies Little Trisha and DeeDee!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reflections Of Christmas 2007 and Dreams Do Come True

Well....We went to the Clovis Annual Christmas Light Parade. Of course, my Developmental School had a float. It was adorable. We won 3rd place;-(. I will post some pictures in another post. Anyway, we now have the lights up on the house with all the trees in the yard decorated and the little figures placed in the lawn (I'll get a picture). Our tree is now set up in the living room, too. I still have the Christmas Tiny Town and Nativity Display to set up inside the house. Also, I have some more baking to do and I think I will do it tomorrow. The decorations have turned out beautifully this year (so far) and can't wait to do our annual family pictures in front of the tree with our newest sweet family member....Katie Aunna Gartner.

I reflect back on last Christmas when I was stressing out about getting a dossier together for little Katie Aunna's adoption. In addition, I needed to get my Christmas decorations up, presents bought, and then the task of getting them all wrapped, plus all my goodies baked. I felt like I was caught up in this horrible whirlwind last year. It was John-John's first Christmas, too. So, that added more stress as Duane felt I should not concentrate on a dossier, but, should be thinking of John's first Christmas.

Well, I tucked away the paperwork and just simply enjoyed our first year with John. Here are pictures of his time to have a family for Christmas. I am so excited to have Katie this year and not be in the process of doing a dossier and Christmas. Now I can just enjoy all the family get togethers, Christmas parties, and our family Holiday. I hope you enjoy the pictures from last Christmas which was John-John's first and I am really looking forward to making and posting the pictures of Katie Aunna's first Christmas soon.

In close, this evening I am posting because I wanted to share with you what Katie Aunna said to me tonight. I was rocking her in my over-sized rocking chair and we were talking about what happened last Christmas when she was still in the Russian orphanage. She said Santa came to visit and brought all the kids candy and they had a nice dinner that night. Then she looked into my eyes and said "Mommy, I love this Christmas really the most. I get family for Christmas this year....and do I get a present, too?" It was so touching and yet I had to laugh because she sure does get "a" present;-). More than one as a matter of fact...LOL. They are not wrapped yet so none of the children know how many gifts are for them.

Then her glowing face suddenly changed to a sad look and mentioned her friend left behind. Please, pray for Katie Aunna's best friend "V", as "V" now has had two of her dear friends, who have found families and she has not yet. I have been begging Duane, but, our finances right at this moment are a biggie;-(. So, I continue to pray about this little girl and hope God will bless us and her. When we were picking up Katie from the orphanage, "V" laid her head on my shoulder weeping and begged me to take her home with Katie. She touched my heart deeply with her tears as they spilled on me and she pled. That was so difficult and neither Duane nor I seem to be able to free our mind's eye from that picture. So, we continue to pray for God's Will to prevail in our lives and for "V".

Please, during this season of perpetual hope, pray and think of all those precious children left behind. They have not one person in their life they can call family as they are orphans. It is so easy to sit in the comfort of our world and not recognize or feel the pain of a lonely orphan. Let this be the season to open your hearts and your minds to the possibility of adopting an orphan who may look into your eyes and say as Katie did to me..."This year I have family for Christmas"!!!

After all.....aren't we so so so lucky God adopted us??? Look, during Jesus' birthday, at the price God paid to adopt us with the death of His Son Jesus Christ. Please open your hearts and homes "Until All Have Homes"!!! I ask you, in Christ's love, to go to the following site to donate to "V's" adoption and help make that miracle happen for her. Any amount the Lord asks you to give is never too small. Go to and click on waiting children.

If you are not registered, ask to be, then go to Eastern Europe children. Next go to girls and scroll down to "V's" picture 61003. Her face looks so unhappy and without hope. Hit the donate button and do whatever God leads you to do. Above all, pray for God's intervention in uniting this child to her forever family and for us to perhaps make this happen.

God's many blessings and Happy Holidays....Trisha, Katie Aunna, and Family <><

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kids At Work

Just thought I would post a few pictures of the kids hard at work!!! I am so impressed with Katie Aunna's handwriting. She is truly an amazing little girl. Of course, I could be sort of bias. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. God is so good to us. I will post more later. Many blessings!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Karissa's New Ear

Well....we just got home this evening from Lubbock and I am so excited to tell you that Karissa's ear is clean and dry. The bottom line is that she is ready for her middle ear implants!!!!! YEAH!!!!! Karissa will soon have hearing in both ears and we are delighted. So, now the preparatory part before the surgery will be a regimen of medication to prepare her to receive the implants. In either January or February she will fly (with me of course) to Dallas and have her surgery at Baylor Children's Hospital. I am also going to have a strabismus specialist in Dallas, whose reputation is outstanding, look at Katie's eyes the day before Karissa's surgery.

Also in the news....Katie's post-op check up with Dr. Neal was great. Her throat has healed nicely. Finally, John-John has received a referral to Lubbock to see a pediatric urologist for his "Nip-N-Tuck" (circumcised....the big ouch). So, I keep telling Duane, now that all our kids are medically sound, I will get a good check up for myself. Guess we aren't getting any younger...Ha Ha;-). Just a short post today and I will get some pictures up later in the week. Many blessings!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

School Zone

I saw this sign in Switzerland and I thought "how adorable!" The sign is spelled close enough to be understood in English. Actually, there were quite a few words that were spelled in German that we could tell what they meant. I begged Duane to get a saw, cut down this sign, and take it to be installed in my kitchen floor for the home school.....Ha Ha....Just joking.....sort of;-). Isn't it cute????

Well, the home-school process is coming along very nicely!!! Katie Aunna is actually beginning to read simple books. I am planning on making a short movie of her reading and post it to the blog. Also, I intend to take a few pictures of them working in our classroom. Some days I think "Oh, this is wonderful" and then other days I think "Oh My Gosh....what will I do with all these kids....two in preschool, two in kindergarten, two in second grade, and two hormonal teenagers?"

So, I pray to the Lord to thank Him for the beautiful bright children we have been given and for me to be the right kind of teacher that they may learn a Godly curriculum and acquire a Godly style of life. Sometimes that is a difficult task. I get horribly frustrated when no one wants to work and I feel we are falling behind on the amount of materials we need to cover. Which leads me to becoming discouraged and think "maybe I should make my life lots simpler by sending them to school every day. Then I would have only John and Mary at home during the day!!!"

However, life would not be as interesting. Worse, I would miss the majority of their life, the kids would be exposed to more secular minded teachers and children, and I would not be given the credit for teaching them how to write, read, spell, think, and just simply GROW UP!!! Speaking of little kids with secular minds. TV blows my mind and I really thought the "70's" generation was open minded. But, as I have matured and look at the fast changing morals of society as a whole, it disturbs me greatly, to expose them to the world too soon.

I was asked about that recently. This person said "sooner or later your kids will have to be a part of the world. You aren't doing them any favors by keeping them from seeing the whole world." My answer is "Children are like delicate little flowers. They need many of the same things flowers need. Fresh air, nutrition, warm sunshine, and a healthy place to plant their roots." My thinking is that exposing your delicate flower to the harsh and vulgar things of the world too soon will predispose them to possible failure.

They would shrivel and can not bloom to a full-blown flower with all this trash in the world right now. I want to protect my flowers and not put them into rough soil or an inappropriate environment. A child can be exposed to see and hear thing way too soon. So, it is best to protect and nurture your flower until is time to let them be placed outside. I intend to keep them, as unexposed to the world, for as long as I can. As children, they do not have reasoning skills. But, as young adults I am hoping that logical reasoning will have been instilled by me into their hearts and minds with God as their guidline.

This is the beauty of home-school. I can put the children in various controlled outside activities and they get socialization. As a matter of fact, not only is Katie reading well her begining books....Annie is catching on to reading as well. Mary is coloring within the lines now. John scribbles and is learning to work puzzles. Karissa and Christian are excelling in math and reading. They have learned to count money and tell time this first half of the school year. Casey is learning to improve his writing skills and Algebra. While Trish is becoming strong in math, reading, language, and her spirituality is growing for God.

What a precious time, for mother and child, when the world of educating the children opens up, and Mom is the means to this process. So, there are times of discouragement in being Mom/Teacher and yet the rewards just keep me going on with it. I'll take some pictures of the kids at work tomorrow. Just a peek into my life every day.

So, Thursday I will document the happenings of the day;-). Lord I pray the kids are good tomorrow because I am filming everything...the good...the bad....and the home-school!!!! Oh, by the way....Dad is setting up our Dairy Farm Tour and the little ones get to feed the baby calfs....awe....won't that be cute??? Guess this is all for now!!! Many blessings;-)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Pictures

I have finally posted pictures from my new camera. Hope you enjoy the kids as they play. Mary made friends and she just loves her pictures of her caterpillar!!!! I haven't explained metamorphosis to her yet;-).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Three Eggs Short Of One Dozen

I thought this was a rather funny thought from my eight year old daughter!!! She said that we are only three kids short of having one dozen eggs;-).

Some days it is so easy with seven children and all home-schooled. Most days the two grown ones stress me out far more than the seven at home. The little ones are with me 24/7 and I love it. Naturally, there are those days I really feel like I need to just be able to go to the bathroom without someone watching or playing toys they have brought into the bathroom with us. Then there are times that I go out somewhere without them and it is so lonely...rather boring actually. Although, a little peace and quiet is periodically nice.

This is exactly the reason I am blogging nine-tenths of the time late at night. It is so difficult with the kids to try and spend any amount of time just sitting on my computer. I guess some of you are wondering what all this egg talk is about. Karissa blew Duane's mind and sent him into a real tail spin when all the kids were seated around the dinner table. I miss counted and shorted a child a fork. As I stood to retrieve the needed fork....dear Karissa said "Mommy, we are like eggs, aren't we?"

I just looked at her baffled and said "I suppose we all were eggs at one time in the beginning of our life." She smiled and said "No Mommy, I mean that all of us kids sitting here remind me of a carton of eggs. We are three eggs short of having a dozen." Then she just cracked up laughing as her father choked on his food. My response to that revelation was "Honey, God has a plan for every one's life. I don't think He is planning to make us a full carton."

She merrily said "Well, wouldn't that be a shame to not be filled up in the carton. You told me God's work is always perfect and Heaven is a place of perfect order. This is like buying a carton of eggs and when we get home three are missing." The only thing I could think to respond to that remark was it is better to have nice tasty eggs to which we are thankful for each day than none at all.

Strangely enough I have never thought of us as an incomplete carton of eggs....ha ha. Guess you never know how their wonderful minds will take lessons of math, cooking, and religion and turn it into a complete and all inclussive life lesson;-). I am still trying to find some time to upload and post new pix. I promise to do that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birthdays And More Birthdays

It just amazes me that another year has flown by us!!! Casey is 15 years old and the twins are 8 years old as of Monday. So, Casey, Christian, and Karissa will all celebrate being one year older on October 27TH. Duane and I are taking only the three of them out for dinner at the restaurant of their choice Wednesday evening. At least, this was suggested to them and they seemed to like that idea. No little kids allowed...Ha Ha!!!

Then our baby, Little John-John, turns 4 years old on the 30TH of this month, too. It's so cute!!! When the TV commercial comes on for the Tonka remote control car, he says "I want that" and points to the TV. So, we are going to have a cake and small family party for his birthday. I am a bit taken back that he has actually been home almost two years from Serbia. Time just flies!!!

Like this isn't enough cake and ice cream (SUGAR).....then on Friday the kids will Trick or Treat in our neighborhood. Gee, I hope they don't get too much yummy junk food;-). Speaking of sugar....we made our annual Halloween Puppy Chow or what some call Monkey Munch. The kids like calling it Puppy Chow and they "bark" as they eat it or jump around acting like monkeys all high on sugar....HA HA!!!! Here's our recipe:

Puppy Chow or Monkey Munch

1 box of Chex Cereal (about 10 cups of cereal)
1 & 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of (smooth) peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

Place Chex in a very large bowl. Set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter in a bowl for 1 minute. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Slowly pour mixture over Chex while tossing with two spoons. Mix in powdered sugar. Place in large gallon zip-lock bags and shake. Eat and run wild on sugar!!! It goes quite well with a tall glass of very chilled milk...yummy;-).

I really don't have much sugar around the house and so the holidays become "pig out on sugar" time. Christian, Karissa, Katie Aunna (she is recovering nicely from her surgery), and Annie have all decided to run it off outside. John-John and his good old buddy Mary are not going outside and decided to play toys in John-John's room. They both ate Puppy Chow and barked like the big kids did earlier.

I am trying to figure out how my new camera uploads and will attempt to post some pictures of the events of the week as soon as possible. Look for further updates next weekend when the Birthdays and Halloween have past. Have a great week!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Katie's surgery

I am happy to report that Katie Aunna is doing wonderfully!!!! Her tonsils were huge and very bad. I am so happy that we did this surgery with her and I know she is feeling better already even though she is hurting. Dr. Neal prescribed Tylenol with codeine for her pain and it seems to be working well for her. I want to share about Katie's experience yesterday with her surgery.

Thursday afternoon we (Duane, Casey, Karissa, Katie, and I) drove over to Lubbock and pre-registered her. Then we all went to Outback for dinner....YUMMY!!! Duane had a little surprise in mind for me!!!! After dinner, he took me to Circuit City and bought me a new digital camera....oh WOW!!! It is so nice and something I have wanted for a while now. So we are set for some great holiday pictures this year. Next, we checked into our hotel room to hopefully catch a little sleep before our 4:00am wake-up call. Needless to say, I was too stressed out to sleep. I laid there stressing about how Katie might respond to her surgery until around 2:00am and slept maybe two hours before the phone rang with our wake-up call.

Duane and I got the girls up, and left Casey to sleep in, as he had requested the night before. I think, being raised in a large family, sleeping in is a real treat for our teenager;-). Also, to see her in pain was too difficult for Casey and so he wanted to wait it out apart from us. Karissa took her school work with her so she would have something to do while we went through this process. When we came out of our hotel it was still dark and the girls thought that it was too early to be up. But, Katie was scheduled to go first into the OR suite. I had discussed, with Dr. Neal, Katie's experience with her arm surgery in Russia. We all felt we should do this quickly to help with her preoperative anxiety.

When we arrived at the hospital, and parked the car, Katie began to feel anxiety. She was hanging onto me for dear life and she kept asking me if we would stay with her. Apparently, her experience in Russia left a lasting impression in her mind that we would just drop her off and "maybe" return for her. Once she was taken into the waiting area she began to cry and beg me not to do this. I kept reassuring her that we loved her and we would never leave for home without her. I explained (for the millionth time) that in America, parents can stay with their children, no matter how long it would take.

The anesthesiologist, thankfully, gave Katie medication to relieve some of her anxiety. It did stop her crying and helped her relax until the nurses came for her. It was so sad as she looked up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and her message to me was clear. I was holding her hand when we reached the OR doors. It was at this point that she freaked out as the nurse said "tell Mommy you will see her in a little while".

Well, Katie did not go for this "see you later" business and she jumped on her feet in the bed and grabbed around my neck. They literally had to pry her off. I tried so hard not to cry, but, I was really fighting a losing battle with holding my composure after she was taken from view. I could hear her screaming "Mommy" for what seemed an eternity. In reality it wasn't long until I did not hear her crying and calling for me. It was one of the most difficult moments of my life.

It is not that surgeries with our other children were not difficult. It was the fact that Katie Aunna still had a small portion of her heart that held insecurity about her new life and family. Whereas, with our other children, they know we are true to our word and always keep our promises. This is the way Duane and I both were raised. When our parents made a promise, they kept it. They never promised us something they did not feel 100% confident about. Katie Aunna just has not had enough experiences with us to give us her whole heart.

Katie has many experiences in her past that influence her belief in situations. The largest being medically related and her security with us has had a mentality of "I was left for a painful surgery once and it could happen again". As a result, she was not about to separate from me without a fight yesterday morning. When she came out of the surgical suite, she was so afraid, that she wet her pants as I walked into the recovery room. So, I immediately took her hand and she drew it close to her face. Katie kissed my hand and just held it close to her face.

I sat in a chair and held her while the nurses changed her bed. For a good hour she refused to get into her bed and just smelled me as she snuggled. It was so sweet and in that hour she bonded to me more than I could have ever imagined. She gave to me her whole heart and all of her trust. When we finally checked out and left for home, she was so happy it can not be explained in words. Although she is ill, I don't know of a time she has been more relaxed and confident.

Over the last 24 hours since her surgery, she has said "I love you" at least a million times. Last night she slept with me and woke up several times with pain. Papa, of course, slept on the couch and got up to meet her needs when he heard her. I slept like a rock with my little girl safely beside me.

I am very thankful for my dear husband and the fact that he is such a loving father to our nine children. Today, Katie Aunna is doing very well and recovering from her surgery....just as we in her own home surrounded by the family she dearly loves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Touched In My Heart

I just have to share our experiences with Katie Aunna tonight. It was one of those amazing firsts for her. Papa and I took the older children (Karissa, Christian, Casey, and Katie Aunna) to the movie to see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" this evening. Duane took the first chair, I sat in the next, followed by Katie Aunna, then Karissa, Christian, and Casey. I looked at our sweet little kids sitting there in a row waiting for the show to start. Katie leaned over to me and said "Oh Mommy....TV is really big here and what will we see?" I told her we were here as a special treat to watch big TV about dogs. She laughed out loud over the idea of watching a movie all about dogs and their adventures.

Duane and our big boy Casey went to get our goodies. He came back with four kiddie packs which contained chocolate candy, popcorn, and a coke. When Katie got her kiddie pack her eyes lite up and she looked at me with a delightful smile which conveyed....can this be for me!?!?! She looked up at me with this huge smile on her face and said "Mommy, I love you soooo much and love my home in America". This is really fun". She was so excited and it just beamed from her eyes with delight.

When the movie screen came on she was so delighted and excited. She expressed her joy so openly with her bright smiles and sparkling eyes. As the movie progressed, she munched away on her special treats and I could see she was truly in ecstasy. Katie Aunna ate every bite of her treats. She literally gobbled her treats down. I looked down the line of kids with their treats and Christian, Karissa, and Casey just picked at their kiddie pack as though it was no big deal.

Then I focused once more on Katie and she was savoring every bite and smiling with that first time experience joy. The tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that this little girl, once an orphaned child, really really really appreciated her new life and savored everything given to her. After having spent her entire 6 years of her life in an orphanage, things she is given in her new life, are exceptional pleasures to her. Our other children (adopted as babies and very young toddlers) do not share the same type of gratitude that our older adopted child does.

Katie knew what was minimal living in Russia, whereas the others who were brought home as young toddlers, did not have her grateful attitude. I pray that I can assume an attitude of appreciation with our wonderful God, like Katie has with us, for all the things He does for us and be truly grateful to Him by reflecting the true joy and appreciation that I observed in my Russian Arctic Princess....Katie Aunna.

Katie, on the other hand, appreciates perks that she was not accustomed to getting in her previous life. Every time she looked into my eyes with such great sparkling joy and happiness it just touched my heart so deeply as she glowed. This little girl, once an orphan, felt like the luckiest person in the world to have a family and have the things we take for granted every day. I had to turn my head away and cry in the dark theater. It was precious and I fell even more deeply in love with her as she appreciated her wonderful treat in a way our other spoiled all American kids did not.

I had also bought Katie and Karissa a pair of new shoes earlier in the day. I noticed Karissa just ignored her shoes and accepted them as common. Katie would turn her foot from side to side and admire the sparkle of her new shoes. She noticed me watching her admire her shoes and she leaned over and said "They are so beautiful....thank you pretty Mommy...I love you!!!" Now how sweet was that??? We take so much for granted and the things we get as common place. Katie Aunna has again touched my heart and brought about change in me. I want to have that type of gratitude and appreciation for all things, great and small, in my life.

Now another amazing thing for Katie Aunna tonight happened in the theater bathroom!!! Katie had to go potty and so I took her to the girl's room. The toilet was dirty and she said "Yuck, Mommy, it's dirty" and so I did the gross thing.....put her on the sink to tinkle;-). I had not noticed that the faucet was an automatic turn on with motion. So, just as she began to go to the bathroom, the water turned on. She screamed as this took her so much by surprise. She and I just cracked up laughing together and so I splashed her bottom clean and lifted her down to dry her bottom.

When I turned around to get some toilet tissue she stepped back and her head grazed the sensor for the hand dryer and it began to blow. Of course, this brought forth another round of screaming laughter. All she could do was laugh and talk about the auto sink and auto dryer being accidentally set off by her potty break. I laughed until the tears rolled down my face. I picked her up and drew her close to me and whispered "Thank you, Dear God, for my Katie Aunna!!!"

On to more serious matters.....Katie Aunna is having her tonsils and adenoids removed Friday morning. We will be going over to Lubbock tomorrow evening. I dread this so much as the one thing she has bad feelings about is the surgery done on her arm in Russia. She has discussed with me many times that NO ONE stayed with her in the hospital and she was so scared and in a lot of pain. No visitors came to see her, no family to comfort her, and she was truly all alone. She has asked me many times if we will leave her there or if she will be able to go home. Please pray for Katie's health, recovery, and confidence in us that we will not leave her side.

Thanks for laughing and maybe crying with me tonight. I greatly appreciate your prayers for her as well. I'll let you know how she does Friday evening when we return home. Many blessings to you all!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Well....I must say that it is a beautiful country!!! I have had some difficult feelings about Switzerland regarding their neutrality policy and the fact that they are often given liberties in regard to international adoption. However, it was beautiful and no matter where Duane and I would have gone, the alone time was fabulous. This is the first time we have left the country without adopting a child. Actually, I take that back....we did go to Hong Kong in 1978 with my parents. It was a very wonderful time spent together. This trip to Switzerland was short and sweet. My sister and her husband went with us and it was such great fun. I have enjoyed my friend's blogs with the flash pictures and so I will use that to allow for an easier time in viewing the photos I took of Switzerland. I hope you enjoy them!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Fashion

Saturday was such a busy day with football and soccer games. It seemed that I was continually wishing for my camera. Christian and Karissa were so extremely cute!!! This was their day to spend time with Mom. Dad even met us for some dinner. It was so extremely fun. Karissa wanted the child's plate of snow crab legs. When they brought these steaming crab legs and fried shrimp to our table.....Duane did his usual gross fish response.....stuck his fingers in his nose!!! The way he acts about fish is so embarrassing.....Ha Ha. Although, I only eat shelled fish, mainly shrimp. I wished for the camera as Karissa was really tormenting her Dad with the smell. She would then crack a leg and lick her fingers, dipping the tender white meat into her butter and blowing her breath across the table!!! Duane was so grossed out by how much the twins love fish. Christian and I had fried shrimp....YUMMY!!! I am going to catch Duane on film when someone is eating fish.
We are closing our swimming pool very soon and so we went swimming when we got home. Karissa did not get into the pool. I asked her why she did not want to swim. She replied with a huge smile on her face...."Because I don't want the smell of fish to wash off. I already washed with soap, but, I can still smell it." I said to her "Awe, how sweet, you loved your dinner so much! Let Mommy get the camera." Karissa's face lite up like a light bulb and she told me "Mommy, I am going to touch Daddy's mouth with my fish fingers!" and she cracked up laughing. Later, she waited until Duane was relaxing in his easy chair and away she went with the fish fingers. I love the look in her face and I had to pull out the camera for this one;-). What a little stinker!!!!'s what you have been waiting for. The star of Fall Fashion!!! My Yorkie...Gracie Belle;-). By the way....she is an "only" Yorkie and she loves it this way. Being the only pet means more scraps the kids drop on the floor and any treat she can manage to earn.....Ha Ha!!!! I love what her groomer did for Gracie today!!! She loves "Doggy Day Care" on Monday's and when we are out of town. I believe that they love her as much as she loves them!!!

Speaking of leaving town. We are going on a little Switzerland and NO kids will be included. A very sweet and dear friend of ours will stay in our home with the big kids and the babies will go to Kisty's house. It has been really difficult to decide on taking this trip as I never leave the children over night unless it is for a good reason...such as doctors or adoptions!!! But, I think we need a little "alone" time and so I have committed to go. I will post pictures after we return.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cupcakes and Fun

Katie Aunna has on her glasses from her orphanage days...she was getting her Rx updated in her new frames and I thought the old glasses were better than none. We had a very good eye exam this time. So, I will buy her a spare pair for her use when we update her prescription periodically. Here, Karissa and Katie, said they would fix Mommy's hair...Ha ha. I think her old glasses do not work very well as Katie said I am very beautiful in this picture and they love what they had done with my hair;-).
Here, all of my children decided to do handstands in our pool. I could not resist a picture of this hilarious scene. Even little John-John is getting into the act, although his hands can not touch the floor of the pool!!!! He swims wildly upside-down. He is in the navy blue and orange swim trunks. He is the absolute sweetest child. We are so happy he is our son. John-John is a breath of fresh air every day and lives his life without a care in the world. He is such a loving little boy!!!
I lost Mary again last week. I searched everywhere in this big house for her. I was about to freak out as it was dark outside and I had all these horrible pictures going through my mind as to her possible location. As I walked through the kitchen ready to start crying...I heard her giggle!!! She had opened the cabinet doors and climbed onto the very top. NICE hiding place!!! As you can see, she thought it extremely hilarious. I did the Mommy freak out and then grabbed my camera...just in case anyone should doubt this little act of hide-n-seek. She is quiet happy with her accomplishment...STINKER!!!!
She is so beautiful and yet so very very ornery!!!! Good thing that I have a good sense of humor around Mary Beth.

Here we have (above) little Trish playing "Cousin It". She insisted that I take her picture with her hair in her face like this. Then I kept calling her "Cousin It". Later in the day we made cupcakes.
Our cupcakes were for afternoon class. We had been learning about fractions and so I thought baking would be a great way for the younger kids to get acquainted with fractions. It worked beautifully and they had a blast. smiling happily as she works while Annie has a look of seriousness to her decorating skills.
Upon completion of her cupcake....Annie is very proud!!! Mary "Blueberry" (below) wasted no time diving into her cupcake...ummmm!!!

Mary crumbled it into what she said was "pack-tions" we can eat.....Ha Ha!!!! Then she said "We eat 'dis part and then 'dis part and I get pack-tions, Mommy".
Below, Katie Aunna satisfies her major sweet tooth. When I asked her what she had learned about fractions today....she said "Ummmm, cupcakes are really good to eat!"

This was difficult for me as I get really flipped out over messiness!!! I had a fair sized mess this day and plenty of faces needed washed...Ha Ha.
Just in case you are wondering about the pink ear plugs in Katie's ears....they are her custom made swimmers ear plugs. She has very bad tonsils and associated ear infections. On the 18Th of October she will have her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put into her ears. It seems that all of our IA kids have had bad tonsils. We will be going over to Lubbock where our wonderful Dr. Neal will perform Katie Aunna's surgery. I have tried to discuss it with her several times, but, she starts to cry and I melt down. Then I change the subject!!! Please, pray for Katie's surgery and also for the children while we are gone to Switzerland in a few weeks. Duane is very excited about this trip he earned through the Carrier Corporation. He deserves the break as hard as he works!!! So, I am making the sacrifice of leaving my children at home and spending some much needed time alone with Duane.