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

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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

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Thursday, December 31, 2009
Christmas morning is always fun, and it's always the MOST fun when it's a new child's first one!! Erik was pretty bored by all of the action in all honesty, but there were highlights for him - like Christmas dinner!!! (The boy can EAT!) He watches Sesame Street every morning and loves all of the puppets (the people and cartoons are bo-ring!). Elmo gets TONS of exposure, so he has learned to love Elmo (like his mom and dad and brother!). So when he got a Tickle Me Elmo, he was so interested in him!! He doesn't know how to squeeze Elmo's foot to make him talk and giggle, but he does hand him to whomever is close and "la la la"'s away in happiness and anticipation! lol Here he is, checking out what Santa left for him:
And here is Reese with his oven mitt! It didn't hold quite as much as his stocking, so Santa piled the rest of his goods on the mantle. ;o)

Erik somehow got a normal stocking but he wasn't sure what to do with it!
And I with my Beales Department Store sack. It held a LOT!! (Maybe I'll keep it after all...!)
I think this was Markie's favorite gift of the whole season: snow in a box!!!! Santa must've known how much he missed snow at Christmas time so he gave him the next best thing. And it was really, really neat!! We all played in it off and on most of the day.
It was even cool to the touch, hours after it was made!! What you see here is just two little scoops (it expands when you add water) - there was about 15 times that amount still in the box - it was so light and fluffy and cool and really felt like snow! Like I said, I think it was Mark's favorite gift of the year. ;o)
Merry Christmas!! (I've boycotted the phrase "Happy Holidays".) Even though it's New Year's Eve, I'm finally getting around to posting a few pictures from our big day!

First, by request, are the oven mitts, graciously filled by Santa. I don't know what his reaction was when he saw them, but somehow, I think he understood... The white sack was my "stocking". I refuse to buy stockings full price, especially when holding out hope that I might find our real stockings! I'll buy some at my favorite after-Christmas store, Macy's, on Jan. 2 when the REAL sales begin!! Then, if we DO find the real stockings, I'll just use the new ones for general decorating around the house, or for future pets (or kids!). :o)

One fun thing about Erik is that I'm convinced he thinks stuffed animals are real. He LOVES stuffed animals!!! He's not really into any other kinds of toy but these, and he really doesn't have that many. I have NO idea what he's saying to this bear, but he's sure into the conversation!!

Daisy wasn't to be left out of the fun! Here's a gift she got from her grandparents. She loves it!

While Erik might not have had very many stuffed animals before Christmas, he sure has them NOW!!! The Shriners gave him a whole bag full at their Christmas party and then he got more from family!! Poor little guy looks a little overwhelmed in this picture - sometimes dreams up close are a little intimidating.

Looks like he knows how to solve that "problem" - throw them overboard!!!! LOL
Hope your Christmas was merry and bright and full of memories of our Savior's birth. I'll get pictures of Christmas morning put up when I get a chance!!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Once I get a little bit of time, I'll post pictures and stuff about Christmas, but for now, I need to do some therapeutic storytelling:

The other day, we went to Cracker Barrel, and, being a good, submissive wife, I didn't look at the little girls' clothing (as I get too wistful and whiny for a daughter and I drive everyone nuts!), but instead found this ADORABLE little boy's outfit! A cute little dragon one-piecer that I put Erik in the very next day (it's fun that it's cool weather now, and I can put him in different clothes!).

I went to work that morning and came home and made supper. During supper, it was obvious that Erik made a doo-doo - VERY obvious. So, I cleared a few dishes and hauled him off to his bedroom.

Now, I remember hearing lots of new parents with (especially) Ukrainian Down Syndrome kids tell stories of them having HUGE blowouts in their diapers on the trip home. I've always been a bit smug that Erik always has nice, firm, small poopies and even goes on the potty seat lots of times. God always knows how to humble us, doesn't He??

To avoid grossing you out with a long, descriptive story about what happened over the next unbelievable hour or so (are you sure it wasn't half the night??), here are some choice phrases that you can string together in your mind:

  • a suspicious streak of wetness from the hallway to his bedroom on the tile floor
  • an overwhelming stench of poo
  • poo from the hood of the outfit to the cuff at the ankles
  • poo on the face
  • poo in the hair
  • poo under his fingernails
  • poo on my bare foot
  • poo in the bathtub
  • poo all over the floor ("REEEEEESE!! Can you mop this floor?!?!")
  • screams of protest at having to take a shower (not a bath)
  • dropping into bed (me, not him) sweaty and exhausted from the ordeal
My good friends who've been there before me, I now proudly enter Your World. God bless us, everyone.

And God bless adorable outfits worn for the very first time.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Check out my little fella's latest accomplishment!!

Monday, December 21, 2009
Bless this house, oh Lord we cry,
Please keep it cool in mid-July.
Bless the walls where termites dine,
And ants and roaches march in time.
Bless our yard where spiders pass
Fire ant castles in the grass.
Bless the garage, a home to please
Carpenter beetles, ticks and fleas.
Bless the love bugs, two by two,
The gnats and mosquitoes that feed on you.
Millions of creatures that fly or crawl,
In Florida, Lord, you've put them all!
But this is home, and here we'll stay,
So thank you Lord, for INSECT SPRAY

(I wanted to post this on Facebook, but it was too long!)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Even though Erik has only been out of Ukraine for almost 4 months, has Down Syndrome and doesn't really know how to play with toys yet, he's just like all other kids in that he LOVES TO PLAY IN A GREAT BIG BOX!! LOL!!

Last Monday, I had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite Reece's Rainbow friends over at my friend Meredith's house! Linda lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a single mom of MANY kids. She's one of the coolest people I know and I was so glad to finally get to meet her in person!

Erik'd had surgery that morning to get ear tubes in and his adenoids out, but he was feeling okay enough for a short visit. If it weren't such an opportunity, I wouldn't have taken him. Bless his heart!

Linda was in FL for the completion of an adoption and while there, came over to the "east coast" to see Meredith and we were invited over, too! She gave permission for me to post these pictures:

This (above) is Linda and her new baby, Beth.

Above left: Meredith and her kids - center, me and Erik - right: Linda and her new baby and Meredith's son Kristopher
Saturday, December 19, 2009
If you don't know the story behind the boys' lost Russian Christmas stockings, read this post first.

Well, I have a follow up to that story!! We got the big box of gifts sent by Mom and her adorable husband, Joe. In it were the stockings!! I glanced quickly at them as I was busy doing other things at the time, and yes, they were JUST like the old ones, though the scenes depicted were a bit different. I was so relieved!!

Later, I opened the ziplok that she'd had them folded in and they weren't stockings, they were OVEN MITTS!!! I was right when I couldn't remember giving her stockings, instead I gave her these mitts!! Oh, I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!!

Today I called her and thanked her for the oven mitts and she laughed and said, "I wondered why they were hanging in the kitchen!!!" We laughed until we cried. You know how you can look at something over and over and over and not really SEE it? She did that with these!!

So we laughed about how Reese would be married with kids: his wife would have her childhood stocking hanging, their kids would have their stockings hanging, and Reese'll have his oven mitt hanging there, too.

I hope most of all that we actually FIND the real stockings, but in case we don't, we have oven mitts.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him .

Maybe even some human might do him
harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold.

It would be the only way he could become a man!
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.

It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.
He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.
Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us.
When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on.
If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:
Just because you can't see God,
doesn't mean He is not there.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
Monday, December 7, 2009
Someone posted a comment on the last post asking for the potato recipe. I don't know if she'd check the comments section again, so I thought I'd stick a quick "recipe" here:

The potatoes are a Rachel Ray recipe called "Manchego Potatoes". I don't really have a "recipe" but what I do is make regular old mashed potatoes - but using New or Red potatoes - and shred "manchego cheese" and throw it in the mixer with the 'toes! Add milk and whatever, but I don't add butter or salt because I think it would draw from the cheese flavor.

The cheese is VERY expensive and kind of hard to find, but our local Publix has it. It's Spanish sheep's milk cheese!!! Sounds yucky, but it's DELICIOUS.

And there you go!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I love having a place where I can totally brag on my kids and dogs, and people can either read it or not! I resisted blogging for a long time thinking it was so dumb, but once I got going, I love it! I just need time to actually POST stuff, which is why I'm playing catch up right now. ;o)

Anyway, here are some pictures and stuff:


"When is this 'big meal' supposed to get rolling, anyway??"

I'm sure Mark's sisters will get a bang out of this picture!! MARK DOESN'T COOK, but he was trying so hard to help me!! Bless his heart!! Doesn't look too happy with me about now, does he?? LOL I think holding something "cookable" was stressing him out...

(This is how Erik signs "more", which usually means, "GIVE ME FOOD".)
"C'mon!! I'm hungry!!!"

I've never in my life seen a child who loves potatoes like this one does!! Here is Reese, with my "Thanksgiving and Christmas only" recipe with manchego cheese (honestly, the cheese cost more than the turkey did, and I'm not joking!!).

Can't leave out our baby!! Daisy LOVES turkey and she even got some ma$hed potatoe$!! I used to be TOTALLY anti-human food for dogs, but I've done a 180 and now I much prefer feeding healthy human food to my dogs than the crap that they put in commercial dog food. Poor Ziggy, he didn't live to reap the benefit of my research and ate dog food his whole life...

I'm only putting this in here because my mother and grandmother would want me to. I told Reese to take my picture because I needed a decent head-and-shoulders shot for my Facebook profile and he got a pretty good one!! I HATE having my picture taken!!

We put our decorations up the other day as I mentioned in the blog post below about our lost stockings (that are still lost...). I know many of you aren't going to be interested in our decorations, but I know my mom and my Gram are always interested in this kind of thing, so I put them in:

Here is Erik, enjoying the Christmas tree. He is being SO GOOD about not grabbing the ornaments, I really am amazed! He just sits and "talks" to the ornaments and lights and is as happy as can be. :o)

Here is just a general area. Nothing too exciting, but I managed to squirrel Mark's huge wooden boat away and into the rec room!! SO nice to have that extra table!!

This little area has an oil painting that I did last year and a little nativity set that I painted when I was about 22. The neatest part of this area is the white doily that my grandma crocheted for me! I like to bring it out only at Christmastime to keep it in good condition and to keep it special.

(Bored yet???)

And our dining room. Notice the fireplace with one lone stocking. That one was bought during an after-Christmas sale last year and packed separately from the others... I suppose it'll be Erik's now...!!

(Almost done!! I promise!!)

These pathetic little figures are from two different Santa matryoshka sets that I bought when I was adopting Reese, and then Nikolai. Our precious dog Adam who died 2 months ago (sniff!!) chewed these little figures to BITS a couple of years ago. Because they were so special, I gathered up all the slivers of wood and spent HOURS gluing them back together while cursing his ancestors!! Obviously, I did miss some pieces, but it's as good as I could do. I was SOOOOOOO MAD at that dog for what he did, but now I treasure these pieces more than ever because they have his "mark" all over them. We miss Adam so much, as much trouble as he was! He was just so dumb he couldn't really be held responsible for all the trouble he was.

And some more little Russian figures. I think most of these were spared by Adam, except for the smallest Santa in the middle. You can see the crack down his left eye, poor little fella...

This was taken today of Erik, as he walked around with his walker. (His walking is REALLY getting good, along with other things - more on that later.) He is SUCH a good boy - he stood there for the longest time and just "talked" to the figures, but eventually, he reached up and tried to grab a little reindeer. I hollered "no" (I have to holler, with his horrible hearing), and he instantly stopped his reach and looked back to me like, "yikes!". A few minutes later he reached again, and stopped himself, and looked back at me to see if I saw him. What a good boy!!! I just love him soooooo much!!

Well, that's all the show-and-tell for today. Hope you liked it!! Mom and Gram, I hope you aren't crying or anything...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
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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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