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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Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas! We hope you had a wonderful day, as we have. It was just the 5 of us at home, no visitors this year, and it was a nice, relaxing day. ;o) No big stories to tell, so I'll let the pictures do the talking (it's for the pictures that you visit my blog anyway, though!):

Erik's stocking, Christmas morning, as it hung on the mantle.

What did you get in your oven mitt, Roosey??

Nikolai, collecting the goods from HIS oven mitt.

Ah! A new favorite!! How did Santa know...?
(Never mind the broken glasses, please.)

Markie got a stocking, too!

Look at the nifty (very loud!) bell Erik got from Santa!

...and of course, a sweet little teddy bear.

What the HECK is this thing...?!?

Our tree.

Sheesh! Look at Mark's stack of goods!!

I think "Cute!"'s enough of a caption for this one. ;o)

When's it going to be MY turn to open one...?
Saturday, December 11, 2010
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Week two of lighting the Advent Wreath:
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Week One of Advent:

(He doesn't look too happy because he couldn't get the lighter to work...!)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving, 2010!! We didn't go anywhere, we didn't have anyone over and really, didn't see a soul, other than each other, but we had a very lovely day! It was low-key, relaxed and everyone got along. :o) I've got a bunch of pictures to share, so if you're looking to read a book, look elsewhere - I've got PICTURES! ;o)

Here is Nikolai this morning, helping to gut one of our pumpkins to make roasted seeds. He'd never gutted a pumpkin before, and found this to be quite the interesting experience! lol

Something must've been funny!

Nik is one HECK of a great kitchen helper! He is a master at doing dishes, and usually has a great attitude about it. Here he is doing small batches of dishes, as he knows what a MESS is coming later on today!

Erik is always such a riot - here he is, hamming it up as usual, but I didn't realize how dirty he was until I uploaded the pictures! LOL He is covered with food! ;op

Reese is feeling a little better, but is so often tired. He's getting better each day.

Daisy and Mary, playing on their blanket in the corner. They love it when the family is all together and doing stuff at home!

SMILE, Markie!! We had a hot game of Apples to Apples, which is one of our favorite family games. Scrabble is the other.

Little Mary, chewing on the nub of a bone. She's so cute - see the little shock of hair she has on the top of her head? It's so hilarious - I like to try and stand it up, punk-style, and Mark tries to get it to lie flat. ;op

Erik LOVES to sit at the kitchen counter on a stool, and watch me cook. (What I think he's doing is waiting for me to toss him a goodie or two!)

Here I am with my turkey!!

My family.

One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to give Daisy some turkey on a plate and get a close-up of her eating it! She LOVES turkey!!! (She got mashed potatoes, too!)

Of course, we couldn't leave Mary out.

Mary's FAVORITE place to be is by Erik's chair during/after meals. She's just a little too short to get to the seat of the booster, but she does pretty well, nonetheless!!

What a guy!! Here's Nikolai, by the considerable kitchen mess! He and Reese have a deal worked out each night: Nikolai washes the dishes, and Reese does all the wiping down of counters, sweeps, and puts stuff away, as well as the cleaned dishes. I can not TELL you how I appreciate their help with this!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It's been a long time since I posted a picture on here!! I haven't taken many lately, I guess...!! I DID take this picture of Mary (now 9 months old) in her chicken costume for Halloween. This costume is perfect for her because she can be sooooo timid at times!! We love you, Mary!!

This is just a picture so that you have a picture to see. LOL

Poor Reese had a tough day yesterday. What we expected to be a short, eventful, but smooth day turned into a very long, eventful and tough day!

We arrived at our scheduled time at the hospital at 5:35am. Checked in, waited in the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) for an hour or so, as expected, then was brought up to the Holding Room (pre-OR room). There, we met everyone we needed to in a mad scurrying about, and they put Reese's IV line in. Well, they tried. The poor kid was stuck SEVERAL times (each time preceded by a "numbing shot" that didn't appear to do a durned thing). The 20-year anesthesia vet said only twice was he unable to stick someone, and he called the main anesthesiologist to do it!! By this time, Reese's nerves were shot, though I thought he did GREAT keeping it together (better than I would have done!). The guy said Reese's skin was VERY tough and not only that, his veins were deep into the muscle! (Poor Reese!) The main guy got it on his first or second try (I don't remember which) and was amazed at how tough it was to get. But after that, they gave him a sedative to relax him (by this time he NEEDED it!) and he got very happy and relaxed. Lots of smiling. ;o)

So we waited for the surgeon. And waited. And waited. The RN came over and apologized for the wait but this surgeon is "never late!". I was getting a little worried about him, but a few minutes later we got the news: someone screwed up the schedule and he was across town at another surgical center and wasn't scheduled to see Reese until 1:00!!! It was 7:30am now!! UUUUGH!!! Reese was in la-la land, in his happy place, and so we had no choice but to wait until the sedative wore off and they sent us down to Recovery (due to the meds he'd had) for awhile, then back to ACC for many hours until they could bring us back up!! So he has this IV in a weird place in the crook of his arm, he's starving, and just wanting to get the show on the road.

ME TOO! We only have one car right now and Mark needed it to go to Orlando for an appointment that he needed to get to, no one could pick up Nikolai from the daycare (where he volunteers) on time, and... and... and... What a mess.

EVENTUALLY, after an eternity of waiting, he made it back up to the Holding Room, had his procedure, which went very well, and back to Recovery and down to the "sub" recovery room, and we finally got home around 6 or 7pm. I can't tell you how exhausted we both were!! Poor Reese hardly got any sleep (other than during the procedure, of course) and was JUST starting to sleep when they finally let us go home! I was glad for him to get into his own bed last night.

He's doing okay this morning, not too much pain, and is planning on resting most of the day. I am heading off to work (I initially took the day off, but decided against it, thinking that he would be fine and we need the money so badly that I needed to go in) and Mark will be here with him. His nose is really swollen, but he is the best patient, and doing everything he's supposed to. :o) (Does that surprise anyone??)

Sorry, no pictures! He would destroy me if I posted post-op pictures of him. ;op
After a horrible day, diet-wise, at the hospital yesterday while Reesie had his septoplasty, I had a great breakfast, superfood-wise, this morning!!

I had: Multi-Grain Cheerios (whole grain), that weird superfood drink that was recommended, a cup of Soy Milk (chocolate), and a bowl of yogurt with blueberries!

I'm so full now that I doubt I'll want to eat anything for quite awhile! I also bought some "Super Tea" to drink in the car instead of my usual big diet Coke, so today so far, I am being a VERY good girl!

Hmmm... since I'm on a roll, I think maybe I'll bring a little baggie of mixed nuts with me for a snack!

P.S. I'd love to hear any feedback anyone has on this new "diet" that I'm on! Plusses AND minuses!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
At the risk of sounding redundant about my "diet", this IS a journal, and this is the most interesting thing going on right now! LOL

I had a good "SuperFood Day" today: for breakfast, I had Multi-Grain Ch**rios (whole grain) and a piece of leftover pumpkin pie. Lunch at church was pizza, so I flopped on that, but later, I had a handful of almonds (a "sidekick" of walnuts). Supper was small, cause I'm not feeling that great, but I had a spinach salad with sunflower seeds, wheat germ sprinkled on it, and ...I guess that was all the good stuff I put on it. I did drink some soy milk which, while chocolate tasted a lot like N*stle Kwik mixed with water, not milk. It was drinkable, but not what I would call delicious. So I did pretty good. I certainly didn't get all the foods I'm supposed to, but what I DID eat was pretty good!

And, while it is not on the SuperFoods list, I did have a drink of some "Odwala" brand SuperFood drink that the author of the book recommended, and is hideously expensive. It is green and has fruits, vegetables and grasses in it. If I close my eyes, it tastes a lot like thick apple juice. Not good, but not bad at all if you don't think about what's in it!

...and if it's not my imagination, my shorts today fit looser than usual. ;o)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
It was mentioned to me that I'm on a diet. Well... not really. Yes, I desperately need to lose weight (again) but this is not a weight loss diet. It's a "get healthier" diet. In my attempts to eat something off all 15 superfoods each day, I AM finding, however, that my diet is decreasing and I am filling up so much on these healthy foods that I'm not hungry for the junk! So, in my attempts to eat right, I see that I am also MAYBE losing some weight!!

The only thing is... if I'm eating so much healthier, how come I'm not feeling any better or having any more energy?? If anything, I'm more tired than ever (at least, this week...)??

Advice is more than welcome!!!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm reading this interesting book on 14 "Superfoods". It basically says "eat THIS", not "don't eat THAT", which I like. ;o) I'm reading about each food indepth right now (in the book) and I'm on the 4th food. The information is so interesting that I thought I would list the 14 foods here, in case anyone was interested!

Beans (this includes green beans and peas, as well as kidney beans, lentils and other types) Eat one cup per day.

Blueberries (he says to eat 1/2 - 1 cup per day)

Broccoli (or broccoli sprouts, which I may try)




Wild salmon (eat 3 times a week)

Soy (I'm not at that chapter yet, but it should be interesting!)

Spinach (That's easy - I don't eat lettuce - I just eat raw spinach on my salads)

Tea (That one will be a struggle for me...) (He says green or black tea.)

Tomatoes (He says tomatoes in sauce is fine - whew!! I don't like raw tomatoes!)

Turkey (skinless breast)

Walnuts (or other nuts and seeds, like sunflower, pumpkin seeds, pistachio nuts, etc.) He says a handful several times a week is what's needed.


Obviously, I'm not through much of the book yet, but these foods are EASY to incorporate and I'm really going to give it a good try. My diet pretty much stinks (though not as bad as some I know...!!) and this would be a really easy way to make it better, since I love most of the foods listed. I'll let you know how it goes!

[P.S. I know NOTHING about copyright laws so if I've said anything that I shouldn't in this article, please let me know and I'll delete it.]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Last October, Erik had been home for a month or so. The poor kid was still very overwhelmed by everything, but that didn't stop me from exposing him to as much as I could! lol Anyway, I took him to the pumpkin patch that a local church sponsored and did my best to get his picture, but this is all I was able to get:

Poor little kid!! What a horrible mama he ended up with! ;op Poor little guy was so scared of the pumpkins he didn't know what to do.

Fast forward to THIS year and check out the difference!

Checking out this years crop - notice that this year, he's standing and walking!

And what is THIS I see?? Could that be a ...smile???

Happy Fall, y'all!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I had the kind of night that mom's don't forget... Tonight, I dropped my baby off at homecoming. Now, that may not sound like much, but to THIS mom, it is. Let me explain...

Here is a picture of me with Reese in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, about 30 min. after I met him. He and I felt SO at ease with each other SO quickly, it was one of those "love at first sight" adoptions. He was my little buddy and I was sooooooo glad I listened to that "still, small voice", which wasn't so still, nor so small, about 6 months prior.

I have enjoyed watching Reese grow up a great deal and he has hardly ever given me any trouble at all. We have enjoyed that special mother-son bond and I have never taken it for granted, I promise you!

Well, tonight, he had his first big date, being a sophomore going to homecoming. To avoid giving away too much information that might embarrass him, suffice it to say that he asked a VERY nice girl out that he's known since 4th grade, when we moved here. I really like this girl and her mom, too. I was really happy with his choice. Anyway, we made a big to-do over getting her a corsage, matching his tie with her dress color, etc. and he was really spiffed up tonight - REALLY spiffed up. Mark graciously gave him some tie jewelry that he'd had for a very long time and was really special to him and Reese wore them proudly.

To see my son polished up like this kind of knocked me back - my son is not a boy anymore - he is fast on his way to becoming a MAN. And not only that, a man I am intensely PROUD of. This young man has more integrity than most people I know. I sometimes am amazed that I was able to raise him to be so wonderful. ...then I humbly remember that I was practically forced (lol) into adopting him by a Heavenly Father who always knows what's best!! And He has certainly done more than His share of raising him, and for that I am incredibly, eternally grateful.

But enough gush. Take a look at my little baby tonight:

Can you see why I'm gushing??? ;op

Anyway, after all the fuss and polishing, we were ready to go. I won't lie when I tell you that I had a BLAST giving Reese all KINDS of advice, like how to properly offer the corsage, to make sure he opened doors for her, how to offer his arm to her when they walked into the school, how to be the one to give his name to the hostess at the restaurant, etc. And the very BEST part was that he WANTED to hear it!! No teenage pride rearing it's ugly head! He listened to everything I offered and did his best to heed it! I do love that boy.

Here he is, when we picked up his date. She was SO excited!! He was offering her the corsage we'd ordered. She was so thrilled to have a corsage (thanks for the tip, Mom!!)!

And, of course, the obligatory "before the dance" shots:
He was so cute - he didn't know what to do with his arm, so he put it around her. ;op

I took them to the Cracker Barrel, where they ate at a different table (Erik was my date for this occasion), then I drove them to the dance. Kristina was full of fun, lively conversation the whole way - her mom is soooo blessed!!

I dropped them off, but we were early. They walked up to the doors but they were locked. Of course, I was still at the curb, waiting to see if they wanted to get back in the car, but when Reese saw me still standing there in the car, he gave me a little wave as if to say, "Thanks, Mom, you're excused now." And I drove off.

Holding back the tears was easy most of the night, because everything was so happy and exciting and cute, but when he gave me that little wave, it really hit me - my little baby is growing up. That's when the tears hit, and I was glad I was alone in the car, other than Erik, so I could cry. That kid means so much to me it almost hurts. I missed all of Natasha's special days, and probably will miss most of her future special days. Nikolai isn't really the type to do stuff like this, and hasn't really, though he's older than Reese. So this was extra special for me. I was really involved with these doings tonight, and I truly enjoyed every bit of it. It was a special night that I won't easily forget. Being a mom is such a privilege, and though I grumble at times and get myself worn out from being so busy, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

...now, I'll bet you can't wait to hear how slobbery I'll get when the boy gets married, can you?!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Despite the difficult months that have gone before us this year, Life does indeed go on, especially if you have kids who need you. ;o}

Erik has been receiving hippotherapy (horse therapy) for some time now, but recently I got Nikolai signed up, too. He was wary, as he was worried it was a "little kid" thing, but when I told him there was an elderly lady who rode to help her recover from a stroke, he decided it was safe, so he agreed. Nikolai desperately needs therapy on his legs, but because he has refused it for so many years (and BELIEVE ME, I've tried!!!!) his legs are in really bad shape. He doesn't seem to mind, though, and says that he likes using his wheelchair. (Hmmm...) Anyway, here are pictures from Erik and Nikolai's morning at hippotherapy:

Erik rides first, then sometimes when he's done, I scoot him off to school while Nikolai rides, then I take HIM to school. Then I get to go to work!

Isn't this a nice picture? :o)

One nice thing that they do at the end of the ride is try to get Erik to follow directions while on the horse. Here, they have him take the rings off of the bar and hand it over. He's finally "getting it"! They are SO good with him.

Here's Nik, mounting, getting ready for his ride. He was embarrassed that I was taking his picture (but I know inside he was so proud!). He hates having to wear a helmet and have "side walkers", though. He wants to ride "regular". lol This is therapy, Nik! Not sport!

Doesn't he look like Mr. Cool sitting up there? So apathetic. LOL

"Mom! Don't take my picture...!"

Off they go.

This is the "partner" of Nikolai's horse. Usually she cries the whole time Nik's horse is gone with him. Pretty out there, isn't it?

Here they come! I know Nik is thinking, "I wish he'd get his hand off of my foot!" LOL Notice though, how much lower his foot is from when he started his ride. At the beginning, his knees are squished so tightly together (not from tone but from contractures) but by the end of the ride, he can get his knees a few inches apart, which is a big deal for him. He says he stays loose for about a day and a half afterward, but of course, does nothing after that to stay loose. *sigh*

I love this picture!! I had just told him to "put your lips together!".

Now that he is chewing a lot better, he can enjoy things like - an "Aunt Watley's" cookie!! This just may be the first cookie he's ever eaten. In a way it's nice, though, one thing you CAN'T call him is a junk food junkie!!
Like it??

Proud big brother Reese tried spiking his hair, but (thankfully) it was too long! Never a dull moment!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

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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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