Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
So sorry it has been so long since my last post. We have been very busy with our life lately. School keeps me very tied up as it is so demanding;-). I love the curriculum but, it does require a lot of time to get through it each day. We love to sleep in and usually this means we don't start school until around 10:00am. Last weekend we began to put up Christmas lights on the house and trees outside. Of course, we won't turn them on until after Thanksgiving Day.
Seems as though I am behind on lots of areas in my life. I have not began my Christmas shopping. Usually by this time I am completely done with it and ready to begin wrapping packages. Now Thanksgiving is sneaking up on me ever so quickly!!! I can't believe it!!! I guess I should tell you that the kids had a blast on Halloween. Although, no yucky really type costumes allowed. I have posted a picture of the kids for you to see of their costumes.
Pictured are Lil' Trish in the back. She is getting to be such a big girl!!! In the middle row are Christian, Katie, Karissa, Annie, and DeeDee. Up front are John-John and Mary Beth. I thought they were all so darling. Let me tell you that they ate so much candy that night. I honestly thought Mary Beth was going to throw up. But, she held her ground with a traditional belly ache. I hope my post finds everyone doing well and....ummm...more prepared for the holidays than I am...LOL!!!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here is a picture of the first day of school!!! They all decided to wear their cool-school shirts. I love Mary's set up. She is such a squirt that she needs the plastic box to put her feet on...HAHA!!! Trisha is not pictured as she had an important appointment that day and started school the next. I'll post a picture of her on my next blog post. she has grown so much and really is looking like a teenager!!!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The major activity I love about winter time is school. The children have all their new books for this year and are quite excited to begin their lessons. Casey is not so happy about starting the new school year. But, everyone else said they are happy to begin soon. Only two more weeks until we start the new year. Since, we did not finish our work until the middle of June, we will not begin until the middle of September (the 14TH to be exact).
I have been very busy the last couple of weeks getting things in order and going over their new books so that I will know what is going on in advance. My only regret about home-school is that I did not do this for Casey before the public school system in our area failed to give him a love of learning. This is the major difference in my older child/grandchild and my younger ones who have really never known anything other than their Catholic home-school. They really L-O-V-E it.
Though Casey enjoys his time off from school, when I offer to send him to public school, he emphatically shakes his head "no"!!! I also must admit that his grades and academic abilities have drastically improved from his former years in public schools. Trust me...I cut NO slack when it comes to education. It is my belief that when they go to college they will receive no slack there. So, it's best for them to earn that grade by learning the material well.
I also don't believe in allowing a student to experience failure and sadly move on. How unfortunate that many high school graduates are illiterate (Google "high school graduate + illiteracy"). Mastery is very important in gaining confidence in learning. So, I am ever present to explain everything before they move on or test. Certainly, they have no learning blocks or test stress (among the grade school age) and only some stress with the two older children (Casey and Trisha). Again, I think that has a lot to do with the public school system here in our area.
Okay....I will get off my soap box and promise to give you an update on the last few weeks of summer (with new pictures) very soon. Also, I will post in regard to the beginning of our new school year. I do want to acknowledge, for those who are not avid homeschoolers, and are happy with the public school....there are some wonderful communities whose systems are very successful and satisfying.
However, the way we choose to educate our children is such a personal choice. One which I am most grateful to have the freedom of choice. I want to excitedly wish you every success this year and pray for many blessings to you!!! Now...let me change the subject to an interesting perspective from the children this afternoon following Mass.
Duane, the children, and I went to visit my parent's grave. They were such sweet parents to us and we miss them so very much. We find a comfort in visiting there periodically and making sure their grave site is nice. The summer grass was growing too close into their head stones. So, Duane and Weldon took the weed-eater to groom it up a bit. I just have to share this experience from the eyes of the children. Usually, we go to visit just my parent's grave and do not ordinarily go with Duane when he does maintenance on the graves. But, today the kids all clamoured to go out there with us.
I did not want any flying debris to hit them and so we began to stroll through the cemetery. They would run over to a head stone and remark about what it said or the date of birth or a picture of the person. They began to notice that these bits of information gave a brief introduction to that person.
One stone had a German Shepard (Karissa's favored breed of dog) on it next to a picture of the owner, another had the symbol of the Masons on one side and the Eastern Star symbol on the other. Still other stones had military insignias or the rank of a person while in the service of America. They soon began to realize that there are two dates on the head stones.
Christian with wide innocent eyes asked; "Mommy, why is there two dates on some and only one date on others?". He was so surprised to find out that some people had not passed away yet and that this was their planned place of rest. They then began to figure how old a person was which revealed how long they had lived....more information for curious little minds. It shocked them when some were babies, children, teenagers, and young adults. I think they expected elderly people, but the young ones, were a bit much to absorb. As they ran from grave to grave, discussing these people, a car with two women drove up the road and parked.
When they got out of their car and stood with their loved one they watched my children gathering information on people. I kept hoping and praying that this would not be offensive to the ladies. My children were excited, and their little voices calling out to each other about the person they were learning about, was anything other than quiet or mournful.
Much to my surprise...I over-heard the older lady say to the younger one; "It's nice to hear God's children being so happy here. The laughter and joy of childhood...it's so wonderful to hear." The ladies joined hands (probably mother and daughter...I assume) and got into their car.
It made me feel that bringing the children there, and letting them gather this information was important to not only us, but it lightened the hearts of these two ladies.
Perhaps it was a feeling of the natural process of life in the physical sight before our very eyes. A peek into Heaven...maybe. As we drove home little Mary said; "Mommy, there is just a whole bunch of people there and so I bet there are lots of people in Heaven. Right Mommy???" to which I responded...."That's right, baby!!!" Until next time...Many blessings!!!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Here she is waiting for Papa to come home from work.
Surprise!!! A new "big" girl bike for her birthday...LOL!!!
This was Katie Aunna's referral photo...what a huge change has occurred in her since then!!!
I just can not believe that she is now having her second birthday since coming home. Last year we were just getting adjusted when she turned 7 y/o. It absolutely amazes me that she is now 8 y/o!!! She was her usual happy self yesterday getting dressed to go outside to play and swim. Her face lite like a light bulb when I wished her a happy birthday. I think she almost forgot.
The first questions from her were "Can we go out to eat with just you, me, and Daddy tonight? Oh...and do I get a new toy???" I couldn't help but chuckle at these straight faced serious questions. I told her that we certainly would go out to eat and she could get her new toy after dinner. Here a few pictures of the big 8 year-old in our house.
God is so generous and good to give Katie to us. She is a darling little girl and has been everything I have dreamed that she would be. Happy Birthday to my darling little girl;-). Many blessings!!!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Hi everyone....sorry I have not posted in a while. We have been really busy playing this summer!!! The kids swim every day and I think we are all getting very suntan;-). I decided to take a picture of the top of their hands compared to their palms. I was a bit surprised at how extremely suntan they all are...LOL!!! They just don't seem to tire of playing outside and swimming in their pool.
The kids love to eat outside at their little picnic tables. One picture I took just makes me laugh!!! Just as I went to snap the photo of Katie Aunna and Karissa eating...Katie points her chicken leg at Karissa and says "BANG...your dead!!!" Of course, I said "Honey, we should not shoot our sister with our chicken leg." All the kids burst into laughter...naughty kids;-).
Let me say that the Fourth of July Celebration was fabulous. We had our annual picnic at Green Acres Lake (more like a pond...LOL). There was so much food that day and the fireworks were wonderful. The gathering with family and friends is always something we look forward to each year. There was so much to eat as everyone always brings something delicious. I love my cousin's egg-rolls and chocolate covered strawberries!!!
As I sat there enjoying everything, Katie came over to me, crawled into my lap, and wanted to talk. Being there rather gave Katie Aunna and I a flashback to last summer. We had been home from Russia a little over a month at this time last year. She fondly recalled coming to this park and watching the beautiful fireworks. It was one of her very first outings. Then one thing led to another in our conversation and she began to recall our first few months at home.
Katie Aunna told me about how she understood what we said to her last year. But, she found it difficult to respond fully in English. Then she put her arms around my neck, sweetly kissed my cheek, and said the nicest thing in my ear..."Thank you Mommy. Having a home is so nice!" Now how darling is that??? She has been an amazing little girl full of happiness and joy. Katie Aunna has really blended well into her family. Our life without her seems to never have existed for us. God has been so good to our family and so perfect in giving us the children that He has. He is truly a great and wonderful God worthy to be praised!!!
More good news....Last week I flew to Dallas with Karissa for another check up with her surgeon. We had a good report that she has healed well from her surgery and she is tumor-free. Another moment to praise our Lord for His generosity. She does have a little more moisture than he would want to see on her eardrum. However, Karissa has been swimming daily with her custom made ear-plugs. The doctor wants to see her again in January. He said they usually follow a child with reoccurring tumors for two years following the surgery. She does have a loss of 40 decibels in her hearing. He says this is not a bad thing when we consider she had no hearing before surgery in her left ear. So, some hearing is better than none;-).
On the lighter side of things....We went to see the 3-D movie "Ice Age 2" and it was really cool. I recommend it highly. The children were so adorable sitting in the theater's afternoon matinee with their 3-D glasses on. John-John was amazed and his little body moved with the show. It was difficult to watch the movie as I kept watching the reaction of the children...LOL!!!! Well, I guess that pretty well updates July for us. Gotta go play with the kids now;-). Many blessings!!!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Karissa (left) and Katie Aunna (right) in April 2009. What a difference family life makes!!!
I am amazed that one year has flown by since our sweet little girl, Katie Aunna, has come home from Russia. What a blessing she is for all of our family. Her outgoing and yet sweet personality has made her place in our family concrete. Although, she has been with us only one year, it seems as though she has always been here. Katie is doing wonderfully with her adjustment to family life. It is now very funny that she told us, while we were in Russia, that she would not learn to speak English and her new family would just have to speak Russian;-). Presently, she is not only speaking English, but has learned to read and write English in her school work. Though, we are still working on riding a bike, she can swim like a fish;-). Her brothers and sisters enjoy playing with her and she has completely meshed into the family unit. Katie Aunna's overall appearance of good health is amazing!!! I just can't say enough about how happy we are to have her in our life. God is good to us!!!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
On the bottom spews a natural fresh water spring. There are many caves filled with water that divers explore, many yet untouched, regularly during scientific dives. Some go miles underground and are the water supply for much of the area for many miles and to unknown destinations. On numerous occassions, divers have become trapped, or gone too far, and even been lost in the underwater caves. The openings are located all along the walls of the 60 foot diameter of Blue Hole.
Naturally, the kids wanted to swim in it. But, there was a diving crew getting ready to enter the water and it is still too cool for the kids to swim in. I am guessing it was in the 50's this time of the year!!! They did get on the steps and feel the water. This quickly changed their minds about wanting to get into it.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
John-John sitting in a big boy chair. He is flashing me his "I'm so cute" smile. what a blessing he is to our family. He is a very quiet and calm child. Every day is a pleasure for him!!!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Star Thrower Story by Joel Barker
Inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley
Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I guess I should have asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” “The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die." “But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!” The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. “It made a difference for that one!” His response surprised the man. He was upset. He didn’t know how to reply. So instead, he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings. All day long as he wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed out on the essential nature of the young man’s actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed. That night he went to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man. And with him he spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean.
Monday, February 23, 2009
God Bless" Anonymous author #1
QUOTE: "I'm not sure...to tell you the truth, Lent kind of snuck up on me...I just realized that Ash Wednesday is this week. Sounds terrible, but life for me during tax season is like that.
I am considering praying the rosary daily during Lent. Many questions going on in my mind lately...may have some answers come to me...." Anonymous #2
Okay, I think to myself...Lent might be a really good idea for me right now. I can do a lot of praying, fasting, praying, fasting, and so on. Then I finally decide to write and just lay it out with this group about how scared and unsure I am. Here is my post:
Your blog is beautiful and so is your family! Praying your newest daughter is home with you soon. I loved the pictures of your big, FENCED IN, backyard - what a blessing!!"
I am on the group and I just was reading your wonderful blog and spotted "V" (Lexi) from Murmansk and had to email you! I guess I am part of the journey b/c we actually had her on hold for a while about 1.5 yrs. ago...and I have been following her since. She has led us to Russia, and was the child that convinced DH we should adopt again also (this is our 3rd adoption).
It is a miracle. Last I heard another family with younger children were trying to adopt her..I suspect that is the one you spoke of in your blog?It's strange b/c lately "V" has been on my mind. Anyway...I am soooo happy and just know that she is your child...do not worry...God is at your side and it will work out if it is his will.
Presently, I am in a bit of a dither myself and have been saying a novena to Mother Teresa on
Mother Teresa .org...she has been monumental in this whole process. It is a long story, but we
declined a child in Russia in October, my mother died tragically in Sept. and that plus some stuff
going on with our kids and the parochial school who didn't support our traveling basically threw out our boys and well long story short, we had lost our faith in God and how we would manage and now are going crazy trying to amend our letter of decline. We just found out that she was moved, are searching for her...have sent a letter to the MOE through our agency (although we aren't sure if it really went) and well...it will take a miracle to do this...
PS.is that Katie Aunna's pic too? I attached a pic of my gang back in November.."
Then another member of this same Catholic board sent this email which established a connection between us:
Quote: "Trisha, I read your blog and when I saw the little girl that you are trying to bring home....I was soooo happy. I saw her on UAHH and I wished that I could have gone to get her. I am no where near ready to adopt, but making slow progress. She just touched me and I prayed that God would find her a good family. I love when you get to see prayers answered. It always gives me such hope inside. Maybe God thought I needed a pick me up and lead me to your blog.....just to see that my small prayer was answered!!I pray that your adoption road to this little girl is fast and easy! I am so happy that she will have brothers and sisters and a good life after such a sad start!"
WOW!!! She knows my little girl, too. This board is NOT connected to my agency in any way. It is my religious parenting board of my particular Catholic faith.
Okay...there's nothing that can happen that God can't handle in your life or mine. I'm doing better!!! Today, God blessed us with our first donation. PLEASE let Lexi into your heart and allow God to nudge you as he gently does...."HELP BRING THIS SWEET LIITLE GIRL HOME". If we pull together as Christians...we can do this and although we will only be helping one child, we help the world in large part. Scroll down to the donation button for Lexi and give whatever amount that you KNOW you are being lead to give. God is quietly whispering that figure in your ear and it hurts our hearts when we don't follow through with His requests. I always think..."Gee, I should have given that dollar to the man playing his guitar in the cold".
Yes, we can easily ignore God. I know because I am a guilty of it. Further, I could just turn my back on Lexi and take whatever money I will use to save Lexi (my own portion of her adoption), to do something really nice and selfish for us...like pay off all those horrible bills we have accumulated during this recession to support seven kids. God isn't yelling it at me to adopt Lexi.
He is whispering LOVE into my heart for His orphan, Lexi. Even though I asked for lightening bolts and he gave it to me in His usual gentle loving way....I could pretend that I don't hear the whisper or feel the nudge or see the lightening. But, I will not be at peace. I am asking you to listen.
If God whispers any amount into your mind...listen to him and receive His Almighty approval and reward for being a child of the King. Help Lexi come home!!!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The above picture was the night of Karissa's surgery. Katie was so stressed over Karissa that they both crashed out after we got back to our hotel room. Karissa put her ear on the pillow to drain and Katie snuggled close to her for comfort.
Here is the end result. Her biggest concern was typically "all girl"...don't shave any hair!!! I pulled it up to the side and they only shaved a small track for the incision. As can be seen, the incision is quite long encircling her ear. Thank you for the many prayers and keep them coming her way!!!