Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

My photo
Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

My Blog List

Monday, November 30, 2009
After feeling sick all evening and night over the lost Christmas stockings, I cried on my mom's shoulder this morning on our daily phone call. I told her how sick I was about losing one of the two most precious things in my Christmas stash (stockings being one, my ornaments being the other) and she said, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary,

"Well, I do have those two stockings that you gave to me after you got Reese. Do you want those? I can send them in your box that I'm getting ready to send this morning."

I must've hit a new decibel record with how high I shrieked!!!

"You have two of those beautiful Russian Christmas stockings like the one the boys have????"

"Yeah, you gave them to me as gifts. Do you want them?"

I couldn't believe it. I think I saw stars.

I had TOTALLY forgotten that I had bought stockings for her as souvenir gifts when I went to Russia for the boys!! I still don't remember them!! It has been 11 years since I've been home to Seattle, so I guess I just forgot...!!

Thanks, Mom, for saving Christmas!!!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
We were having a delightful time putting up our Christmas decorations today when we started cleaning up a bit. I asked, "Where are the stockings? Does anybody know??" and no answer came. I glanced around and couldn't find them. And couldn't find them. And couldn't find them. I searched EVERYWHERE around our house and sheds and they are NOWHERE. I am just sick to my stomach. Because of the fire and moving back home again last December, I gave away a LOT of stuff. And I mean boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff that was sooty or too smelly for Mark's allergies. I am just SICK thinking that I might have thrown out or given away the box with the stockings in it. I didn't think I gave or threw away ANY Christmas stuff, but maybe I did?? I can hardly think of it. I made Natasha's stocking (not that she cares) the year that she got here and spent hours and hours and hours on it. The boys each got stockings in Russia when I adopted them and they are BEAUTIFUL and totally unique. My and Mark's stockings are unremarkable and it's okay that those are gone, but we also are missing stockings belonging to our pets: Our dog Daisy, and our now-gone Whippets Adam and Ellie, my dog Ziggy, as well as our bird Joel, and our ferret Peter! All GONE. PLEASE pray that they will turn up!! Our house is still quite a mess from all of the chaos because of the fire (I know, it's been a year...!) and MAYBE they'll turn up. Oh, please, Jesus, let them turn up...!!! Those stockings are soooooo special!!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Remember this? My friend Christine took this picture of Erik in his orphanage about a month before we were able to travel to get him:

Well, today we took him to get his pictures done for Christmas and I couldn't help but see such an amazing difference in him!!!

Could I be more humbled and grateful to God Almighty for allowing me (and Mark!!) to serve Him in this way??
Monday, November 16, 2009
It never gets old. Today Reese, Erik and I watched the Space Shuttle Atlantis go up. It was such a beautiful day and the launch was right on time. We went to a marina next to where Reese used to play softball (they are bulldozing it to build condos) and watched it from the end of a pier. SO cool.
I'm not sure how clear these will come through on my blog, but on my computer in my picture file, it's so clear you can see the orbiter and the big, red external fuel tank. Maybe if you click on the picture and it gets big, you can see it.

Erik and I enjoyed some quiet time sitting on one of the piers. He had such fun looking at the water below - I wished I had something to let him throw in, like bread crumbs or rocks!! Next time.

He's so squeezable I can hardly stand it sometimes!! :o)

No, he wasn't being wow'ed by the launch in this picture. He showed NO interest in it whatsoever!!! He was just sitting in his stroller, enjoying the day, being his happy little self.

Don't miss the blog post below this one - two posts in one day!!
Remember this??

Since I've had to go back to work nearly full-time and since Mark is sick so much, Reese has been hired to watch Erik for 2-3 hours per day (he homeschools online, and Nikolai goes to school). This has done WONDERS for their relationship!! Reese has learned how to spoon feed (Erik can't feed himself yet and he doesn't chew yet so everything has to be mushy), how to change a diaper, how to change Erik's clothes when they get dirty and how to put him down for a nap! He plays with him, and just does an all-around great job!! He also knows every single Sesame Street character and has rekindled his forgotten friendship with Elmo! Besides LOVING the money he's making, he has become one of Erik's very favorite people. See?

It's SO nice to see such a strong relationship being built between these two!! Reese heads back to "institutional" schooling in early January, and hopefully Erik can start Pre-K in late January, so their special time together will end. But this time that they have together will be a great "jumping off" place and I'm so happy they have it!!

Now, we just need to get Nikolai to show an interest in Erik! I think Nik has barely touched him 3 or 4 times since Erik came home September 2. Maybe someday.
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Magdalena, who graciously blogs for Nadya over at http://nadyaneedsalovingfamily.blogspot.com/ gave me this blog award yesterday. I've never been given an award before, and I hope I do it right!!

There are two rules to accepting the award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs.Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I might duplicate a couple of blogs, but I'll try not to! If I do, and you've already received an award, then just consider yourself doubly blessed!

First of all, back to Magdalena's blog. She advocates hard for a little girl who has touched her heart in a special way: Nadya in Eastern Europe. Nadya has some special needs but is doing great and will make someone a VERY special daughter!! She really needs a home fast, and Magdalena is doing her best to help her out. Magdalena would adopt her herself, but she can't as she lives in Sweden and laws there make it very hard for her to do that. So instead of adopting her herself, she is doing what she can to help someone ELSE adopt her! A big heart has this woman!!

The next would be Debbie's blog: http://jerdebwalker.blogspot.com/ . I enjoy Debbie's wit so much and I often laugh out loud at some of the funny things her kids say! I feel a connection with Debbie because she has a child with limb differences, as do I. Also, she's adopted from Ukraine, and so have I! She lives in Seattle, and so did I, and she has a heart for the older kids, as do I!! Gosh, I didn't realize all those similarities until I started typing them out!

Another favorite is Christine's blog: http://smilesandtrials.blogspot.com/. I especially enjoy Christine's adoption because she adopted two of her kids from Erik's orphanage! We were even hoping to travel together as she adopted her son Alex, but she was able to travel first, and we didn't get to meet. I believe we were in Kiev for a few hours at the same time, but we didn't have time to get together. BUMMER!! It's fun to know someone who is so familiar with Erik's orphanage. She has a dozen or so kids, and is such a great mom!

And Leah's: http://blessingsfromabroad.blogspot.com/ . I like Leah's blog because not only is she a very sweet woman with a very big heart, but she's adopting THREE little ones from Ukraine!!

Amy is over at: http://justamomofseven.blogspot.com/ . I like Amy because not only did she adopt from the same country as I did for Erik, but she adopted two of the cutest ones!!!! They sound like a handful, but she is the right mom for them and I love to read of their escapades!

Not only is Michelle one of my favorite bloggers at: http://fromnctoukraine.blogspot.com/ because she adopted from Ukraine, but she adopted from Erik's orphanage like Christine did! Her little girl, Mary, is the same age as Natasha was when I got her from Russia, and it has been really fun reading her blog and remembering my first year with Nat, as well. :o) Mary is just as cute and funny as she can be and there's always a story!

These people are extremely special people!!! They are the Loux's, and adopted 3 special needs kiddos from Ukraine. But not just regular special needs kiddos, these 3 REALLY needed homes and medical attention! http://louxfamilyblog.com/ If you have the time, I encourage you to read their whole blog, and even their old one, that documents their Ukraine trip. I have been blessed several times by Derek and his wife and continue to be blessed by them!!!

Amy L. is one of my very, very favorite Reece's Rainbow friends. I feel like she and I could be sisters! Her blog is here: http://amyandsons.blogspot.com/ Why do I feel like that? Well, besides being a Christian sister (as so many here are!) with EXTREMELY cute and wonderful boys, Amy is a single mom who has adopted twice from Russia!! (If you know me, you'll know that I was single for a million years and adopted thrice from Russia!) We also lean toward the boys! (She has 4, I have 3!) How I would LOVE to meet with her in person someday!! Please visit her blog - you will be blessed!!

Rhonda is a special friend of mine, as we share a heart for adopting the older kids overseas. Her blog is here: http://lovinglenablogspot.blogspot.com/ I remember watching a picture of a beautiful 14(??) year old girl on the RR website and wishing so much I could go and get her, but it was not to be. Then, Rhonda and her family stepped forward and saved her from a life of ...well, you know. Not only is Lena a wonderful girl who is doing well making her way into the busy and complicated life as an American, but she has several other older kids who were adopted. Rhonda has a wonderful heart and is a wonderful mom!

The Malones are also a very special family, kind of similar to the Loux's, as mentioned above. They adopted 2 little ones from Ukraine, one being very special needs, both with DS. They are a very dedicated Christian family and I have been blessed many times by Chris's thoughtful posts!!

The Dickensons are actually neighbors of the Malones, and if I remember correctly, the Malones are the ones who told the Dickensons about the need of DS adoption overseas! The Dickensons are such a wonderful family, I can't begin to tell you: they have two older kids who just look like GREAT kids, and two very, very cute little kids with DS!! They homeschool, and took their two older ones to Ukraine with them!! (Cool!!)

The Harp Happenings is the only blog here on this list that is not an adoption blog!! (Sorry!!) But Carmen is such a neat, neat lady: she is one of several therapists (I think she's a Speech Therapist!) that has visited Erik's orphanage and given them Aid!! She met Erik once or twice and even gave me a picture of him, which of course, was treasured!! She also has a DARLING Italian Greyhound, and her posts of Sadie (the IG) are just so funny!!! I never met a dog lover that I didn't like. :o)

Well, it's time for supper. I didn't quite make 15 blog awards, but I tried!! Time is scarce around here, to be sure...!!

Congrats to all of my nominees and thank you, Magdalena, for the award that you gave to ME!
Monday, November 9, 2009
One thing that we are working on with Erik is taking initiative. For example, if he sees a toy that he likes, he'll simply look at it and not try to take it. He'll just look at it and talk to it. He sits until he's moved. He does not try and help put his arms through his sleeves when getting dressed though he knows how and is perfectly capable. I'm sure this comes from years of not being allowed to do anything for himself. The caregivers were busy and it was just faster to do things for the kids rather than let them try to do things for themselves.

We are seeing a lot of improvement in Erik in this area! For example, he doesn't just sit in the tub and enjoy having me pour water on his head, now, he takes the cup himself and pours the water out himself! He doesn't just simply wait until you shovel food in his mouth (though he does wait patiently for a few minutes in case you are going to come and feed him) but he will oftentimes grab for the food now or even for the spoon. It's fun to watch him learn that he can DO things!

One big thing that he's done just recently here is move himself through space! He can walk with handheld assist fine, but, as implied, a person is required to lead him. Well, we acquired a walker the other week and he took to it like a fish to water! He turns with it, goes up/down small steps, over thresholds, etc. and today I took him in the driveway and he was thrilled to have such a big, open area to walk around in! He did a circle around the car until he landed in the grass and got stuck a little bit. He is so confident with it!

Not only is he walking with the walker, but he even gets OUT of the walker and CLIMBS ONTO THE LOVESEATS!! By himself with no one watching!! It sounds like not a very big deal, but to this doting family, everything this little boy does is a big deal. ;op We love seeing him grow, develop and learn!!
I had to practically RUN away and turn around to get this picture before he caught up to me! He's FAST in this thing!!

Making a U-ey.

"What? Was I not supposed to get up here???"

Saturday, November 7, 2009
Now, let it be said that Daisy LOVES to wear dresses. She really does!! When we put one on her, she darts all around excitedly and grabs a toy and wants to play! It's precious, and she has a drawer stuffed full of dresses, T-shirts, and even a denim mini-skirt that we could never get to stay on. (She's so much fun!)

So when I was at Target the other day, I spotted the 75% off Halloween costumes. I wondered if I might find something for Erik for next year (we didn't "do" Halloween this year as we thought he'd get too freaked out). What I found were some GREAT dog costumes!! At 75% off, I couldn't resist - they came to only $2.50 a piece!!

I got them home and put her in them. ...let's just say she wasn't as excited to wear them as she is her "party dresses"... (I think the headpieces were what subdued her.)

We had a good laugh, got a couple of pictures and crammed them into the already-full drawer in the dresser that belongs to her and we'll wait until next year. ;op

(Above) What a darling little pumpkin she made!!
(Below) As if being a pumpkin weren't humiliating enough, next, she had to be a chicken!!!

Poor little baby girl!!! You can see from this picture that she is starting to put weight on her back leg! She's not doing it much, or often, but more and more all the time, and the horrible boniness that used to be her leg is starting to soften and the muscles are starting to grow back. What a relief!! We were really worried that we'd have to go for amputation, but I guess our procrastination was a good thing! She's our little darling, and we love her so much!!

BTW, be sure and scroll down for a couple of new posts: I'm trying to get caught up on my blogging!! Thanks!
Every year on Natasha's birthday (Oct. 30) we've made caramel apples! She hasn't been with us for many birthdays these past few years, but we've always been loyal to the tradition! Here is Reese, enjoying one of his favorite things: food!!

Happy Birthday, Nat! We love you!
Sometimes it's fun to just sit across from the table, and take pictures of Erik (or Mark!!). To look at a string of pictures seems dull so I thought I'd "flash" them up with a montage!! Hope this makes you smile!!

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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