Monday, December 28, 2009

Welcome To Alexis Victoria Gartner

Alexis Victoria Gartner


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! I want to introduce our new daughter Alexis Victoria Gartner. What a sweet child she is and fits so perfectly into our family!!! I feel a great relief that the process is finally behind us and now we need to settle into life with a new family member. Her adoption has been a long process and very exhausting. But, well worth it;-). She is darling!!!

I must say that this has been an extremely event filled month. Among the final process of adopting, we lost our darling Gracie Belle. This took an emotional toll on all of us. My sister was very concerned over the family's grief and loss. Her son breeds little Boston Terriers and so they gave us a puppy. Oh yes...a baby dog during all of this...LOL!!! She is so adorable!!! Although, Gracie can not be replaced, Cupcake gives us great pleasure and has assumed her place within the family.

Hopefully, I will now be able to make more posts now that we have settled down in our family. I wish everyone a Happy New Year filled with all your dreams come true!!! Many blessings...Trisha and Family

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Gracie Belle

I am sad to post that our little pet has passed away. She had problems with collapsing trachea and died in my arms last week. I am just so sad and heart broken. God gave humans dogs to love and to be loved by them unconditionally. Gracie has been such a blessing to us!!! She did her job well of loving us unconditionally and we deeply love her in return. I try to comfort myself by the vision that someday she will be anxiously waiting for me in Heaven where she will eagerly lead me to Jesus' arms of love and comfort. Our little friend will be greatly missed by us all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day;-)

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving Day!!! We have much to thank our great God and King for every day of the year. Many blessings;-).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update...I'm Late;-)

Halloween 2009...trick-or-treat;-)

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

School Is In Full Swing

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!!!

The summer was wonderful!!! We really enjoyed swimming, playing outside, and various day trips we took. I have not been regular enough about posting as we were always on the run...ha-ha!!! Now as winter approaches, and school has begun, I should have more time to update the blog. It seems time has just flown by the last few years and gets faster every year.

I have had a hammer and chisel out as the children's brain rusted over during their break from school;-). Last week was our second week and it went much much better than the first week. They are still in the review process and have yet to begin new concept learning. However, they are filled with zest and desire to learn. John-John is doing very well with his preschool program. He is now singing his ABC's. Although most of them are "a,b,c...kkkkkkk....z...know my ABC's". HAHAHA!!!!

Mary has begun some pre-K work and some kindergarten work. She is getting much better with her eye/hand coordination. Annie is working on kindergarten and first grade material. She is also doing a great job. Katie Aunna is doing both first and second grade work in varying subjects. I am just amazed at how fast she learns and what a wonderful job she has done adjusting to her new life. Christian and Karissa are busy with third grade lessons and also doing very well.

Christian is playing football again this year and his skills just seem to get better and better every year. Both Christian and Karissa are preparing at our church for first communion and should be ready to begin a new spiritual journey with Jesus in the Spring. Naturally, Annie and Katie wanted to take the catechism classes even though it is included in their daily school lessons. But, it will be a great enhancement to their daily catechism in our Catholic home school.

Little Trisha decided that she wanted to spend her last year of middle school with us;-). I am so thrilled that she did make this decision, as I know, she will be well prepared for high school next year. Although, I dread the peer exposure she will have next year, she has been well prepared for making right choices. I am praying for her to be a wise teenager and place God as the head of all her decisions.

Now, about Mr. Casey...he is getting to be such a beautiful young man. He is a head taller than I am and his shoulders are getting very broad. I think he is going to be such a sturdy and solid built man. Considering, he will be sixteen years old in October, he's a very good kid!!! He is doing high school curriculum and seems very capable of having a successful school year. I am really enjoying teaching them and now consider it my God given full-time job.
It seems such a wonderful investment into my children. I know that no one knows them as I do. Therefore, only I can give them all that they need. God has been very good to us to allow this opportunity. Certainly, it is wonderful to have them with me so much of the time. I really don't want to miss any part of their lives. They are my heart's beat!!! As the Holiday's approach...there is much to be thankful for and in celebration of...many great days to come. Many blessings!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Has The Summer Gone???

I can not believe that summer is coming to such a fast close. Late this afternoon, when the kids and I swam, the cooler temperatures were very noticeable. It has been wonderful to enjoy the warm sunshine and playing outside much of the day. The thought of winter (cold and windy days) approaching is not too exciting for me or the children. However, the Holidays are so much fun with the kids and I just love the beautiful Fall colors.

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'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

Happy Birthday Katie Aunna

Katie Aunna enjoying dinner with Mama and Papa;-)
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

Happenings for July

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

Burrowing Owl

"Tuffy The Owl" so named for his remarkable skills at surviving. This is not our owl....but, a picture of one just like Tuffy. In person, their eyes are more green than yellow. But, the one pictured above, has fluffy down on his chest like the young owl we rescued on Monday.....

Day before yesterday I was sitting on the patio watching the children swim. I heard a crying noise that was similar to screeching and crying. Initially I thought it was some of the baby Prairie Dogs fussing with each other. They often make a crying type of screaming andbarking noise with each other when they fuss;-). I guess kids will be kids no matter what!!! So, I just ignored it for a while. But, as it continued I became concerned.
When I went out into the driveway, behind our house, I found a baby (just old enough to begin learning to fly) Burrowing owl lying in a small area of shade. The hot summer sun was just about to be fully upon him. I was so shocked as I squatted down next him. He was making direct eye contact with me and whining. I felt so sorry for him and asked "Awe...poor little you want me to help you?" He tipped his head to the side and continued to look at me and cry.
Usually, an injured animal who is wild will bite....he just laid his head down on my out stretched hand and cried. I have NEVER seen anything like this in a wild animal!!! Just about that time, Weldon came into the drive, bringing Gracie home, from her grooming. He takes Gracie for me and then brings her home to me each Monday. He got out of his truck and said "Oh, Mama, he is hurt. Look how he is looking at us!!! We have to do something for him. I can't believe he is acting so friendly. Does he need some water?"
Weldon, went into the house for water and a towel, while I shaded the little owl from the searing hot sun. This baby owl lapped up the water like a little dog would drink. We had a small plastic milk crate we placed him in and I began to make phone calls to find someone who could help us. When Duane got home from work and saw him it touched his heart as well. Turns out that Duane knew his secretary's mother is a conservationist. This wonderful woman set it up for "Tuffy" to go to the South Plains Rehabilitation Center in Lubbock, Texas.
They think he may have flown into something and has neurological damage as he can not fly. He was dehydrated and somehow managed to collapse in our driveway and there he cried for mercy. Now he is in professional hands, as the girls and I, drove him over to Lubbock for their expert care. These owls (like our tarantulas and horny toads) are becoming very limited and are on the endangered species list!!! They live in the tunnels of Prairie Dog holes and are nocturnal feeders. The Burrowing owls can be seen sitting on the edge of the holes next to our property in the early evenings between the months of about March through October.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Annie Is Growing Up

Yesterday the children were playing outside. Annie came running up to me exclaiming with great joy "Mommy, my tooth is loose". She opened her little mouth to let me feel. Sure enough, her bottom tooth was very loose. Just barely hanging on, I knew soon it would come out, marking the next maturation phase of her life. When she proudly ran off to play, I just cried, as it has come so fast. Today, I was just attempting to absorb that my little Siberian Princess had a loose tooth, when at bedtime snack she ran to me with her little tooth in her dainty hand. Annie is all tucked into her bed and anxiously awaits the Tooth Fairy...aka...Daddy!!! She still makes a beautiful photo. Here is Annie with one less tooth;-).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ring The Bell

My flowers are beginning to bloom. Aren't they lovely!!!
Beautiful Annie rings the bell with her last paper finished on her desk;-).
Next handsome Christian gets his turn!!! Big 3rd graders;-)
My beautiful Karissa is proud to end her school year!!!
The Arctic Princess...Katie Aunna rings the for some dessert...LOL!!!

Well the end of school has finally come for us. Only, Casey will be working, during the summer months...on MATH!!!! He is not too happy that I did not let him "off" the hook. It was so funny...Katie Aunna closed her last school book and said: "Mama, we have to ring a bell to say good-bye to the school year!" She wanted to know why we did not have a school bell and how would we celebrate this accomplishment.
I then did a little research and soon discovered that in Russia a bell is rang by the children to indicate an end to the school year and also it is rang for graduations. There is usually a big celebration of food, drinks, and desserts. Now, Katie has such a sweet tooth, that any excuse for cake will do;-). She was sure to add that after the bell rings they get cake and foods to eat.
Duane and I took Christian, Karissa, Katie, and Annie out for dinner at their favorite restaurant with dessert included!!!
It was so nice to be with the four of them. Before dinner we went to Mass. It was so cute as they discussed what they were going to eat as we drove to the church. The bell they rang belonged to my grandmother from her childhood school in Oklahoma. Her school teacher gave it to Grandma and my mother gave it to me when I graduated from college!!! I never dreamed at that point in time that it would be used for my children to signal an end to their school year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

OH MY!!! One Year Already

Katie Aunna one year ago in Russia (February 2008) during our first visit with her.
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

Mother's Day

Yesterday was so nice!!! We all got dressed and went to church. The service was lovely and it so touched my heart. I looked down the pew at my children who were paying attention ever so sweetly. Kisty and her family sat in the pew behind us. At one point in the service Fr. Carlos called the mothers to the front of the church and prayed over us. As I stood beside Kisty, it was difficult not to cry. Here was my grown child, my first born, who had made me a mother thirty-two years ago. This child had also made me a grandmother of two beautiful little girls.
My eyes wandered up to the alter and to the image of Our Lady. I admired her and wondered how she could have been so strong and obedient to God to allow her child to be a Sacrificial Lamb to save the people of a sinful world!!! I know she knew the magnitude of that punishment to be dealt to her Son. I am so thankful she was a courageous woman and mother. Because, I often find myself in need of God's forgiveness for my daily sins. I try to be the best Christian mother I can and do what is best for my children. But, I sometimes fall short in my walk with Christ who died for me.
As a loving mother, when my children are hurt it hurts me. I prefer to think that none will pass away before me, but I know it happens. After all, Duane and I lost our baby twins due to prematurity in 1990. I thought of that pain as I stood before the alter Sunday. How unnatural that loss felt. Parents feel that they will not pass away before their child or children. Holy Mary felt that same unnatural feeling of losing her child before her own end to time. My heart ached. I felt a true gratitude that she did not grab her child and run off with him. Or piteously beg for Him to go away with her and avoid this end to His life. But, she did not do that and she was brave when she followed Him all the way to the cross.
Finally, as the Mother's Day Blessing ended and they began to pass out a gift to all of us standing at that alter, I thought of my own dear mother who had passed away in March 2005. I don't like to recall that my mother is gone from my sight although she lives in my heart all the days of my life. A booklet was placed into my hand and we all returned to our seats. I turned around with the other women and there sat all my beautiful little children with huge smiles on their faces.
They beamed of pride that "I" am their mother. Each one reaching out a little hand to greet me from my brief absence from them. Welcoming me back into our pew and it felt so comforting. My heart just soared with gladness to be their mother. We all settled back into our worship and I had a fresh new heart cleaned by a brief visit with God, Jesus, and His Mother, Mary. The day was wonderful right up to bedtime. Please, keep the children of the world who have no mother in your prayers. God's many blessings to you!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blue Hole

Yeah...I's a weird name for a historical site!!! It is located in the tiny city of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Which is about a two hour drive from our home and half way to Albuquerque. I had Weldon with me, as I hate all the driving alone, when we go to the BIG city....Albuquerque. We were taking Katie Aunna to the opthamologist.

The doctor said she has to have a much stronger prescription and it is one that requires a plastic frame to hold the thick lens. There are also prisms in them and a special type lens that keeps her eye from wandering outward. Unfortunately, her adorable sparkle glasses are metal frames and can not be used for the new prescription. The good news is that she does not need patching or surgery for her strabismus. It is correcting with the faithful use of glasses.

Back to the adventure.....Weldon and I had Katie,Christian, and Karissa with us. They had never seen Blue Hole and so I thought this would be fun for them. Here are some details about Blue Hole. As you can see it is very deep and gives it a beautiful blue hue. The white and red floating balls are attached to diving cages used by diving students.

It is actually very amazing. When it was discovered, this was a true blessing for the pioneers who traveled through and dwelt in, our prairie. Water is scarce in a natural and clean form in New Mexico. So, to have such an asset here was a great treasure. It is also one of the major contributors to the Pecos River, which is found for miles and miles throughout New Mexico. As you can see from the sign....the outflow is 3,000 gallons per minute. At one point, in my childhood, it was believed to be bottomless (long long ago...haha). Now it's depth is determined to be 81 feet.

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

Earth Day

Annie and Mary...what cuties!!!!Our Well House. The concrete is so warm to sit on and sun bathe.
Mary, Karissa, Annie, Katie, Christian, and John-John

Cold well water in the sprinklers...NO PROBLEM!!!!
John was very bent out of shape over the cold water. He hated it and was pouting out over it.

I first must apologize for the lateness in posting. We are so very busy with trying to get finished with our school year. It is my hope to have lots of playtime this summer. Additionally, I have several plans for the kids. But, for now, let me fill you in on some pretty cute stuff;-).

Last week we celebrated Earth Day with the rest of the world (hopefully). We watched several really good programs on National Geographic Channel. It showed how God's awesome hand had brought Earth together (I filled in on that info as we watched) and our universe was created. Thankfully, it stuck to actual events in planet creation and did not lead the viewer to believe it was all by accident. I was able to fill in the truth of God's mighty work without any conflicts to my narrations. It was perfect!!! Just like our Lord had selected this particular program just for our school studies.

Next, the kids picked up all the trash from around our home that had blown in from the housing constructions in the area. We have had horribly high winds the last few weeks and so there was an entire trash can filled with debris from the three acres next to our land. Plus, plenty of tumble weeds to scrunch and place in the trash. It all looks so nice now. Thank you children!!!

Then the warmth of the day drew their minds to the nearing summer days. They wanted to swim...oh so is yet too early and the temperatures are not quite warm enough. However, soon they will swim. We have begun to make preparations to open the swimming pool. It's such good exercise and therapy for them all and myself included.

Anyway....back to Earth Day....We have a sprinkler well out back and it's water is very cold as it comes from deep within our yard. I decided to turn on the sprinklers and let them play in the mineral rich water. The temperature was in the upper 80's and so they got on their swim suits. It was a very enjoyable day!!! I have posted a few pictures to share their fun with you.

One hilarious thing about John-John....He was all smiles going out into the backyard to play in the water sprinklers. I told him it was very cold water. He is a bit squeamish about cold things like ice cream or ice cubes. He said "I play Mommy" and took off running for the sprinklers. When the cold water hit him, he ran back to me, about as fast as he went out to play.

I had gone out to sit on the warm concrete top of our well-house and bask in some sunshine. Little John-John wrapped up his shivering body in the first towel he could grab. It was a pink one;-). Doesn't my baby look cute in pink??? TeeHee!!! I took his picture as I asked him if he liked the sprinkler water. Obviously, he was fairly bent, over it being so very cold. Awe...sorry little buddy:-(
Well...guess that's about it for now. I will post again soon as I want to tell you about our trip with Katie Aunna to Albuquerque. Till then...please keep praying for Lexi. Many blessings to you!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rain Showers For Katie Aunna's First Easter

Katie in computer class during school this week. She is getting so good with the touch pad. What a smart kid;-).

Working away on her program and school work for computer lab.

Front to Back : Mary, Annie, Katie, and Karissa. They loved their dresses!!!

Front row....left to right: Katie Aunna, Mary, and John-John
Back row....left to right: Casey, Annie, Karissa, and Christian

The girls were so darling in their Easter dresses and the boys so handsome. I was a little bent with John-John as he would not stop making these goofy faces for the Easter pictures!!! He is such a sweet heart...but, sometimes his desire to push my buttons is just too irritating. So I took their pictures anyway and told John-John this would be the Easter pictures he would not like when he gets bigger. Then he threw his self down on the floor in a fit at the restaurant.

We very seldom eat out, but, Duane did a trade-out with this restaurant know the sign "Will Work For Food". Well Duane (Dr. Heat-pump) fixed his freezer and some other thing in exchange for a meal credit. Pretty cool deal. It was really a nice exchange!!! So nice to go out to dinner and have all the family together.
At Mass we took up two and one half pews at church. We always try to sit in the same pew every Sunday. Guess we have gotten comfortable there after sitting in the same one for so long;-). It was very, cool outside and raining, so we did not hide eggs. However, they all got their chocolate Easter bunny and Katie Aunna gobbled down her bunny in one sitting. She just loves candy and especially chocolate;-). Quite a little sweet tooth the Arctic Princess has. She really enjoyed her first Easter.
We went to Mass first and then out to dinner with our family of 16 (Duane and I, 9 kids, two grand daughters, one son-in-law, and our S-I-L's two nephews). Glad we could avoid the mess at our house and eat out instead;-). We wished for Lexi, but, I kept telling myself that next Easter I would be looking for matching dresses for five girls and two grandchildren.
Our paperwork slowly grinds along. Duane just keeps telling me eventually we will get the job done and before we know it Lexi will be home. I hope so....I am feeling a little discouraged as we really need funding to accomplish this. So, I keep praying for Lexi's story to touch those who can donate a little to help her come home.
Please, try and help us bring this little girl into a loving family and give her a gift she so desperately wants...a family of her own!!! Many blessings to you and may God touch your hearts to help Lexi. We still have a good ways to go to meet our goal. Thank you for reading our blog and I hope for many blessings and much love in your life!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Medical Update

Just wanted to write a note about my surgery. According to the doctor my gallbladder definitely needed to be removed. Although, I am in a some moderate pain, it's not as bad as I had expected. Plus, the best part is that I have not had any heartburn or stomach pain since it was removed last Tuesday. They made three small abdominal incisions and one umbilical incision. I am moving pretty slowly, but, at least I will feel well when we go to see Lexi.

The kids are not doing so well. There is some croupy type cough and high temperature circulating among them. I have three on breathing treatments and all of them on cold medication. Last night Christian really scared us as he was so lethargic and breathing very shallow. Also, he could not talk above a whisper. Once I gave him a couple of breathing treatments he began to improve.
We have designated this week for Spring Break and guess it was a good week to be out of school since they are all sick. Katie Aunna thinks we need an extra week off because they have been ill;-). Guess we will see. I would like to move the classroom to the living room that we do not use. Maybe, they would be energized by a new location for school. It is a bit crowded in the dinning room. This would give us better space and we could have a designated classroom.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Karissa's Doctor Visit

Karissa and I flew to Dallas from Amarillo and back in a day.....whew!!! What an exhausting trip and then tack on the four hours of driving (round trip) from our home to the airport. But, we had a very nice day together. Although, it was rather odd to be able to focus on just one child.
Actually, I still feel tired today from Wednesday's doctor visit. However, the kids and I did do some house cleaning today:-) and much to my surprise...we have snow once again. New Mexico needs the moisture and so we are quite happy. We did not take any pictures while in Dallas and so I decided to post a nice Spring photo I had taken at a park last year. Just so we can all have that feeling of Springtime and Easter.

Here's the rundown for the day in Dallas:

Karissa still has a tiny hole in her ear drum and discharge from that ear. Her doctor suctioned it out and put powder in it. She was a very brave patient and sat ever so still while he worked on her. He hopes it will close or she will need one more surgery to place a patch on it. She did not have a hearing test because of the discharge. So, we still do not know how well she hears in her ear. However, he did confirm that she is (PRAISE THE LORD) hearing in that ear. Then he said "Can you bring her back in a month?" Oh my, I about fell in the floor. I wanted to scream "HEY BUDDY....We live almost 1600 miles away round trip plus four hours of driving to get to an airport and home!!!" But, instead I politely said we could come back in May. So that's the report for now.

I really want to thank everyone for their prayers for Karissa and for our family. Please, continue to pray for her healing, our family, and for Lexi. We are getting close now to Karissa being well. Many blessing to all!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Off To Dallas Again

This is my first cousin Debby. Mary just adores her and can't get enough Debby time. Actually, I think Deb loves Mary as much as she loves her own two kid;-).
The cakes were for Trisha and DeeDee's birthday. My little Trisha turned 13 years old...OMG...a teenager!!!! Hide the car keys quick. The guitar cake was for DeeDee and she has turned a whole 9 years old. Sad how time flies:-(
Here little Mary thinks she is Queen of the Hill. So she perches herself on Daddy's back as he attempts to relax...ha ha...and watch TV.
SHOCK!!!! We actually got a little snow. Isn't that amazing??? Of course it was melted within a few short hours. However, the desperately needed moister was graciously appreciated...Thank you dear Lord!!!!! Here is another picture of our only snow for this winter last week.

Well tomorrow we leave for Dallas again. Just Karissa and I will be flying there and the kids will be home with our adult son....poor man!!! Ha Ha!!! Actually, Weldon is pretty good with the kids and John-John is just crazy about him. So, it's a nice treat for the kids to play with Weldon. We fly out from Amarillo at noon and will be back home in the evening.
Katie Aunna, Christian, Karissa and Annie went to the dentist yesterday and had their cavities filled. Now I look inside their mouths and I am filled with happy happy joy joy....pretty white jaw teeth and no black spots. Karissa came from her orphanage with healthy cavities and so she only got a few sealants in her teeth. But, oh her little ear, it has been quite unhealthy. Now we hope we have met her ear issues with success...the official word will come tomorrow so I will let you know then.
A funny story about Katie Aunna. First a little Russian background. Russian people would rather haggle over the smallest thing than to breath air!!! Dr. Naggs (our dentist) pinches and shakes your jaw/cheek when he is giving shots. Katie did not appreciate his tactic very well and did some whimpering. I think gentle Dr. Naggs got a little uncomfortable over her emotional show of discomfort. In his haste after Katie's procedure to pass out treats for exemplary behaviors....he gave a toy chest gift, stickers, and a card for free french fries from McDonald's to everyone. Katie got stickers and a toy, but, Dr, Naggs overlooked giving her a french fry card.
Somehow in passing out the goodies he skipped giving Katie her card. Much to my surprise...she sternly walked over to him, shook her little finger in his face and said "Hey Mr. Doctor...why you not give me french fries card and you pinched my cheeks. I don't like you pinching my where's my fries Mr. Doctor???" Then she sticks her little hand out palm up for her card. He apologized and said it would never happen again. Then Katie says "Well, you need to know??? Think about your job!!!" What a ha ha...little Miss Huffy Puffy.
Guess that's all for today. Please remember our Lexi and our adoption process in your prayers. We are working hard and furiously to get things accomplished. I hope we will be moving forward soon!!! I am getting an extreme loneliness in my heart for Lexi. I dream of her almost every single night. The kids are always talking about her and asking when she will come home. Tough question to answer.
Finally, next week I will be having my surgery...removing my gallbladder. Next Katie goes to Albuquerque to see the opthamologist about her slight strabismus and to check the accuracy of her glasses. Then John has his surgery the end of April. So May and June should be dossier composing time. Keep us in you prayers. Thanks for reading and many blessings!!!
I am also happy to report that most all of our home study documents are complete and ready to be turned in to our HS agency. Further, we sent in our first big payment with our contract for Lexi. She is officially now waiting for her family to come and get her. I just can not wait until I can go to see her and hold her in my arms for a big POLAR BEAR HUG!!!! Everyday I feel like we are making another baby step forward to bringing her home. I am begging my GF Gail to go with me for the first trip to meet Lexi. Guess we will see what happens. Again. many blessings...Trish

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Katie Aunna's Happy

AWE!!! All my babies;-).....
Group hug!!!!

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!!!

Mary is holding a book I found on the Internet about her birth city Borovichi, Russia. Someday she will treasure this book as it is packed full of information about her birth city.

Papa and Mary snuggle up for a little nap together. One of the few moments that Mary is still and quiet.

We had quite a catastrophe last weekend. I almost took her picture, but, she was so upset about it I didn't dare ask her for a picture. Anyway....Katie and Annie were doing what I had asked them a million times not to do....running in the house. We do not have any carpet in the house as it is all wood and tile flooring. When the kids have on socks it can be very slippery.

Apparently, from the explanation I received, Katie was running and Annie was close on her heals as the monster. Katie stumbled on the throw rug and Annie rammed into her back. Katie was slung into the floor face first. That's right....face first!!!! Horrifyingly, she broke off her two front PERMANENT teeth at an angle. In walks Katie Aunna crying to me with two pieces of teeth in her hands. I jumped up out of my chair and my eyes almost popped out of my head.

Naturally, our dentist's office was already closed. So, I placed them in a sandwich baggie and told her not to freak-out (even if Mommy was) as we could get them fixed on Monday when our dentist opens. Of course, first thing Monday morning I was on the phone and they got her in that day. They did have to put her mouth to sleep and so that was a little pinch in the beginning.
However, I am proud to say that the repair is virtually perfect and shows no signs of damage. When her teeth finish growing (about age 17 or 18 y/o) she will need to have these two front teeth capped. Oh dear.....raising children is not for the timid....especially around this house!!!

On the adoption front....I want to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to those who have made donations to help Lexi come home. Your kind generosity is a blessing and an encouragement to us. Sometimes the struggle seems harsh and the road is so long to the goal. Many may feel we will be blessing her, but, we know she will be the "blessing" to us.

When I look at Katie Aunna's referral picture (which is a head shot of the one below) I am amazed at how much she has grown and changed. The love of a family is magic for a child. Like the little Star Thrower story..."We can't save them all, but, we can make the difference in the life of this one". I am so looking forward to the day when Lexi knows that I have found "HER" mommy....just as I promised her that I would do. Many blessings!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Adoption?

So many times I have people who ask why we would want to adopt or what is our motivation to adopt. Often I have been told..."You can't save the whole world". I read this story and thought it pretty well sums things up better than I could ever do. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Many blessings!!!

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

Lightening Strikes....Discernment and Lent

Katie Aunna's referral picture!!!
Katie Aunna now;-).

This post deals with my lack of courage and God's strike of lightening that I asked Him for. I asked for lightening bolts because I wanted a clear unmistakable message from God as to what He wanted us to do about adopting Lexi;-). There is so much stress we feel because of criticism from family and friends asking us if we are crazy??? Especially from our family. Plus, our financial situation at this time is not all that good. So, I wanted to be absolutely sure!!! See, I know when we do things out of self desire it usually backfires on us. When (no matter how crazy sounding the request) we do what God asks us to do, we are always taken care of, and things seem to work out PERFECTLY.
Well, the lightening bolt did happen and it started with a simple post on my Catholic International Adoptive Parents board. Hopefully during Lent you will fast, pray, and decide the right way to live your life and I will be doing the same thing. It should be something we all strive for during any liturgical season or ordinary time. Especially, during Lent, as this forty days signifies Christ's human nature to be tempted to make wrong choices. It also exemplifies His power to overcome these selfish fleshly temptations.
There are many ways one may come to discern God's Will during His Lenten season. A lady on my board made the first post regarding Discernment and Lent.

"I am curious about what your Lenten plans are for this year? We are going to attempt a family service project, although I have no idea what we are going to do, pick one day a week with no computer (!), or TV, and I have a book on Purgatory that I want to read along with a 30 day novena for the souls in purgatory. Oh yeah, and make a special effort to discern if God is calling us to adopt again! Anyone have any suggestions to assist in the adoption discernment?
God Bless" Anonymous author #1

So, here is a lady looking for discernment on what to do about adopting again. She wisely wishes to be certain (like me) that it is the right thing to do and is truly God's calling. Of course, the first thing I think of when I read her post is our situation and making sure we are doing God's Will. I think...okay it seems safe to pour out my heart on this board of Catholic Christian people (great group) about my Lexi. Here was anonymous author #2's response to #1's post:

QUOTE: "I'm not 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:

"Thank you for this question about Discernment and Lent!!! Usually we try to give up sugar during Lent. Although, it seems to me your response about adopting a child again strikes home with me. Course, I am always an...on again and off again..."expectant" mother. I know the right thing to do, but, am always afraid of the big step....second guessing our decision and wanting to not listen to God's gentle nudges. Perhaps I am wanting some discerning lightening strikes;-). I guess it is a Faith issue. Maybe I better do some Rosary praying as well during this time. I always worry about how we will finance things, the child's health needs, MY ability to meet those needs, the criticism of family members and friends, etc... My DH is one of those who gets into the process and doesn't sway. I really irritate him with my "on/off" mentality. This adoption will only be our 10Th child;-)...but, two are grown. Okay...thanks for listening and speaking to my heart;-). Many blessings....Trisha"
Then I think "Okay, now I feel better for at least getting this off my mind. It is nice to have someone who is wanting discernment for adoption during Lent like me. Guess what happens next???

Yup....Lightening strikes.

Not in the conventional from the dark cloudy sky onto my feeble head;-). No it comes in the form of anonymous author #3s 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!!"
Anonymous Author #3."

Here's the clincher or the first bolt of lightening.....#3 includes this quote with her post:

"There are no adequate substitutes for father, mother, and children bound together in a loving commitment to nurture and protect. No government, no matter how well-intentioned, can take the place of the family. ~ Gerald R. Ford"

Oh MY!!! I can't leave this child God is asking us to adopt in the hands of government care. It's just not right (self conviction occurs now). I'm thinking..."I must pray for discernment and I have asked for lightening to strike me or something really obvious from God, but, have I received one??? Although, Gerald R. Ford's quote had a lot of enlightenment in is somewhat like thunder with a small lightening flash from God...not the bold sharp bright bolt of lightening I am asking for that momentarily blinds you by its brightness;-).

Then I get a private email from a group member anonymous #2 who is writing again and titles her email:

"Well how's this for a lightening bolt???"
"Hi Trisha,
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 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 will take a miracle to do this...
OK..well sorry for rambling...I just wanted to make sure you have these pics of Lexi (that name fits her beautifully) in case they fall through the cracks...keep in touch and keep the faith. that Katie Aunna's pic too? I attached a pic of my gang back in November.."

Then she posts a quote: "The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Who could have ever dreamed that I would write about my down feelings on my Catholic Parents board and then I would see the threads associated with discernment in regard to adoption. Further it amazes me that #2 had looked at the referral videos of both Lexi about two years ago....which was about the same time I was looking at "V" the first time which was before we adopted Mary instead of Lexi.

Then, what are the statistical odds, that this same person would look at and know Katie Aunna's referral information from considering her last year about the same time I was looking at Katie??? She sent pictures of both the girls (Lexi and Katie's referral pix) to me that she had kept on her computer from when she was considering adopting the children God has given to me!!! We are connected!!! So lightening strikes me!!! There are people on this Christ Centered Catholic board who are encouraging me with words that our Great God is giving them to say to me. He is establishing a supportive connection as well and a clear message in regard to Discernment and Lent. I am just stunned by this and wonder if you all see this connection.

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 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!!!

Today I have received a wonderfully beautiful Holy $25 dollar donation. Thank you for listening to your heart and acting with the first donation!!! It is the first brick laid in the road to Lexi!!! Who knows what she may do for the futures of many people in this world given the chance. You have played a role in her greatness and God has already made your heart feel cleansed....I know He has. Lexi is well known as a very compassionate and loving girl. I will be blessed to call her my daughter.

Amazingly, these lightening bright connections from these different people came from just ONE board!!! Wow!!! Please, let my girl touch your heart and listen to God's whisper about helping her come home. Look at how many people this little girl has had an influence on and she is destitute in a Russian orphanage at this moment. Imagine what she could do in the USA living in a loving family when she becomes an adult. Let's team up on the side of our Lord and do His Will.
Just call me silly old Noah, building a huge arc in the dry desert, because God said to do it.
I am wishing for you to experience much discernment in your life during this forty days of Lent which is beginning on Ash Wednesday...the day of perpetual hope for self discipline, discernment, and the gift from Christ of rising from the dead come Easter. Many Blessings....Trisha

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Karissa's Surgery

Amarillo, Texas..Karissa and Katie before our flight to Dallas

In the above picture...Karissa and Katie are in our Dallas hotel room the day before her surgery. I must say that Karissa and Katie are very close sisters. I look back on how so many people we know thought Duane and I were crazy to adopt another child. Now I can not imagine our life without Katie Aunna. She and Karissa have become best friends and adoring sisters.

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.

We are home now and Karissa's surgery is successfully completed. The doctor wants to see her again in one month. I am thinking Karissa and I will fly up and back in a day to help curb some of the expense associated with this process. It has surprised me that she is not in as much pain this time as in past surgeries on her ear.

The kids at home did quite well. Although, very little school work was accomplished while we were away. Next week, however, they can count on making up any area they have let fall behind. Katie and Karissa did not take any work with them either. Last week they all worked very hard on their school and so I am not too concerned over missing a few days.
This picture was taken before Karissa went into surgery. She was calm and ready to get on with it. What a brave little girl!!!

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!!!