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

________________ Add this to your site
One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

My Blog List

Saturday, July 16, 2011
For the last 2 or 3 months, at LEAST, our "mudroom/scrapbook room/storage area" ceiling has had a leak. This is something that is easily put off, especially when buckets can be positioned amongst the junk to collect it. Well, when pieces of the ceiling start falling off, and chunks of white stuff gets tracked through the rest of the house by little pawprints, it's time to do something.

Before our vacation, I sent Reese up on the roof (poor guy is as handy as ...well, you fill in the blank). He patched up the spots he could see around a pipe-looking thing as best he could and came down. I wanted to get up there, but I was too chicken, being such a petite little thing, and I was afraid the wind might carry me right off the roof. (cough!)

But it only got worse. Much worse. By the time we got back from vacation, we were using 6 or 7 buckets and rain was coming down so hard in a couple of places that it was almost a stream.

I am NOT handy when it comes to house repairs. I'd just as soon buy a new house when something needs repair rather than actually fix the problem. But buying a new house was not possible today and this roof NEEDED to be fixed!! In FL in summers, it is customary to get hard afternoon showers every afternoon for a few minutes (it's lovely here this time of year) and I knew the wood in the roof would rot even more than it probably has. It was Desperation Time!!

While we were gone, Mark had purchased more leak-squirt stuff (you know, like cault tubes), but he was not available today to help, so it was up to me.

I borrowed a ladder from a neighbor. Spent 10 minutes getting it situated just perfectly and went up, down, up, down, up, down, trying to make sure it was in the PERFECT spot and trying to get my nerve up. Erik was happily splashing in his little kiddie pool in the driveway, happy as happy could be, and Nikolai couldn't resist the urge to watch me in my comedic performance.

I went inside to make sure all was well (what could be wrong? We were all outside!) and charged back to the ladder, determined this time.

I stiffened my lip, grabbed hold of that ladder and made it to the top (for about the 8th time!) and without really thinking, hoisted my big ol' -I mean, PETITE- self up there, rolling onto my side, right into a big, dirty roof puddle. But I MADE it!!! And it wasn't that hard. ...really.

Nikolai handed up my bag of supplies and I set to work. The roof on that part of the house is flat, so it was very easy walking around on it. I am quite sure I found the 18" long crack that was causing the trouble and I put a triple wide strip of black-gunk on it. Since I had more stuff in the tube thing, I went ahead and put it all over the place up there, on every crack I saw. I even put it on stuff that looked like it might think about being a crack someday! It was kind of fun, I had to admit.

The time came that I was really dreading though: time to get DOWN. I handed my bag of goodies to Nikolai, who was waiting below. I laid down on the roof, and peered over the side. With enormous pride, I looked him in the eye and exclaimed loudly, "YOUR MAMA CAN DO ANYTHING!!!"

Without emotion or excitement, he dryly replied, "All mamas can."

Not to be defeated, I said with resolve, "Not like YOUR mama can!!!".

Still not impressing him, I didn't care. I was filled with so much pride I could have burst. Little did I care that I was filthy dirty from rolling in that roof puddle when I first arrived. Little did I care about how wet I was. Little did I care that sweat was pouring off me like the rain poured in through the ceiling. I had stopped the leak!!!

I laid down again (in the same puddle that I was so familiar with) and swung my leg over the side. I easily found the ladder step, and with Nikolai's warm moral support, put my weight on it. Swung the other leg over, and carefully descended to the ground.

VICTORY!!!! I DID IT!! That darned roof has been leaking so badly for so long and I FIXED IT!!!

...of course, it hasn't rained yet, and we don't really know if I fixed it.

But I don't want to think about that just yet.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Remember the old days when folks went on vacation and invited their friends and neighbors over to watch 1500 slides of every single minute thing they did? Well, now we have BLOGGING!! The modern way to bore our friends and neighbors! The best part is, you don't have to look if you don't want to (I'll never know!), and it's such a chore uploading photos to this blog that there will be about .5% of the amount of pictures shown that were actually taken! :o) Do I hear any cheering out there??

Reese, Erik, Nikolai and I drove 24 hours over 2 days from FL to Reinbeck, IA, where my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents all are from and where both of my grandmothers and several aunts and uncles still live. When I was a kid, my brother Mike and I used to get sent up there most summers, and we spent many Christmases there, too. To us, Reinbeck and the surrounding areas were the best places to vacation in the world. As an adult, I lived there with my kids, but it didn't last too long (see post from July 4, or so) before we relocated to FL. Anyway, I hadn't visited IA for about 4 years at this point so the kids and I were very excited to go! As a bonus, my mom and stepdad were also going to be there (from Seattle)!!

Here's how we spent our time from July 3 - 9:

Reese and his Papa Joe (my stepdad) love sparring at ping-pong in my Gram's basement!! You'll have to ask them who won the most games, cause I'm not getting in the middle of it!

Take it easy on him, Joe! He's only a boy!!

Take it easy on him, Reese! He's a Baby Boomer!!

Here's the gang (sans me!) getting ready for the Fourth of July parade. Hey, Joe! Look THIS way!!

Reese's favorite part of the parade is getting candy that the people on the "floats" throw! He's got his bag ready and everything! I think he'll always be a big kid at heart. ;o)

"Hey, when's the parade gonna start, Mom and Reese??"

While Mom is waving hi to her friends on the float, Reese is saying, "Hey! Throw me some candy, lady!!" LOL

What's gonna go by next, Erik?

Takin' some time for a sweet kiss from his Gram.

What? Sitting in Old Men's Row??
(Actually, Erik was spooked by some of the loud noises and felt safer sitting a ways off, with the "grown ups"!)

Hey!! You gotcha one!!

There is a beautiful park nearby, that I suspect is rarely used, and is a wonderful place to take pictures! I would love someday to be able to do freelance photography (or pet portraits, baby portraits and the like) so I practice on my kids a lot! This day, Mom and I took Erik (the boys -ahem!- declined to go) down to get some nice shots of him. Unfortunately, in addition to the fact that Erik is already a rather difficult subject to photograph (he's not always terribly cooperative and has no clue what "smile!" means), it was very, very hot and VERY humid that day and the bugs were HORRID. *I* would have had a tough time relaxing and smiling for a picture, let alone poor little Erik! Nevertheless, we tried, and these are the best shots that we ended up with. :o)

Often, the only way to get him to smile is to do the "I'm gonna get you!" thing. Unfortunately, he had his hands up still when I got this one, but I had so few ones of him smiling that this one is pretty good! lol

I love this one of him and his Gram!!

And this one's sweet too! Isn't this a beautiful park??


Mom worked for quite awhile teaching Erik to give a kiss!!

Pucker up...

Get ready...


Ah, poor Joe got sentenced to a day (or two) staining my Gram's deck! It sure did look nice when he was done!! Good job, Joe!!

Here is rarely photographed Carlos, my first cousin's son. So that would make him my... second cousin?? He's spending July with Reese, detassling corn. He was also visiting my aunt (his grandma) from Tampa!

And my very sweet cousin, Steve.

Here is my Gram visiting with another second(?) cousin, T.S. and his wife Anne, from Minnesota. Super nice people. :o)

That little Erik is learning stuff easier all the time! Here he is, with a Jack-in-the-box at my Gram's house, cranking the ...crank. He didn't care so much for Jack and the way he jumped out of the box, but he liked the music and he learned how to crank the ...crank, and in the right direction, in no time! We were all really impressed! He loved this toy and played with it every day for a long time.

A visit to my Gram's isn't a real visit without a wild Marble Game!! Here she is with Carlos (left), Nikolai (middle) and Reese (right). I stayed away while they played. I didn't want her to beat me if she got "sent home"!!

Here we are, four generations: my Gram, my mom, me and my kids. :o) I hate this picture because I look soooooo fat, but I figure it's motivation for me to lose weight!!

We had a lovely visit in another town with my dad's side of the family! Here is my Aunt Annie, taking my picture!

And my great-uncle Leroy, brother to my hugely loved grandpa - he and Erik really hit it off! Uncle Leroy is such a riot and such a good time. :o)

Reese, Erik, and Uncle Leroy

Here is Erik, practicing his newly learned High Five with his uncle. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of my grandma!! If she finds out, she'll have a fit! Yikes!!

Ahhhh... After 2 more days, and 25 more hours on the road, it's GOOD to be home.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Well, I'm off to a pretty good start. Tried an "energy" thing yesterday that only made me sick, so I skipped lunch, though I drove right past my VERY FAVORITE sandwich shop (honestly, their food isn't bad - I get sweet potato fries with a 6" whole wheat hot (and veeeery moist and juicy) chicken sandwich with only cooked onions and cheese on it). Got a good jump on shrinking the old stomach right there.

Last night, I had Mom's modified BBQ bean casserole (with turkey instead of beef and with wheat germ and milled flax seed added in - shhhh!), which was delicious. Today, I had something new I'm trying, and I did choke it down. It's called "Raw", I think, and is organic multigrain hot cereal (has whole grain wheat, flax, wheat germ, and some other kind of grass in it). I added blueberries and Truvia sweetener. I ate it, but that is about all I'll say about that.

I bought some baby carrots for munchies for my day in the car, and also some cheddar cheese rice cakes to soothe my "gotta have SOME kind of junk" craving. I also got some Acai juice to bring with me to start my day (rather than a diet Coke, though I'm sure I'll end up with one of those - that is the hardest thing I have to give up!!).

So so far, so good...

Thanks to Mom and my veeeeeery good and valued friend Faith for the encouragement! I'll need lots of it!

P.S. I'll also join the Biggest Loser Club and hope to start my walks with Mary tonight. There is a nearby Baptist church that has a fitness room that is offered to anyone free of charge, but their hours aren't that great and when I peeked in there a year or two ago it didn't look too well stocked, but I'll check it out again. Until I can afford a treadmill and/or some kind of weight machine, I have to be satisfied with what I've got! :o)

...and Rocky IV didn't need any kind of fancy weight room, did he? Heck no. The old boy simply pulled carts in the snow and chopped wood to get in shape!!
Monday, July 11, 2011
I know it better than anyone: there's too much of me. Too much softness, too much roundness, too much chunk. I'm overweight. By a lot. I think life gets soooooo busy sometimes (and often pretty stressful, like everyone's lives) that I just simply put it off. One big excuse that I've used lately is, "I'll wait until the older boys leave home cause it's impossible to lose weight with kids at home."

Heck, I know how to lose weight, cause I've done it in the past. Around the time Natasha came home from Russia, I'd lost 90 pounds. Of course, after that time, I slowly put it all back on (kids'll do that to you!), disgusting myself.

It's all in my head. I know that I'm too big, and I know how damaging it is/can be. I know how to get it off. I am a physical therapist, for pete's sake! I KNOW how important exercise is for me!! I've just gotten lazy, and started emotional eating, which really isn't how I got here, but it's what has kept me here.

On that looooooong 25 hour drive home from Iowa, with quiet Nikolai in the car, I had a LOT of time to think, and I've come to some interesting conclusions that I thought I'd share. I plan to reread these frequently and hope they help. So, in no particular order, here are my ponderings from the highways of the southeast of the US:

  1. It's okay to be hungry! It's not pain, and it can go away at any time I choose. It is not permanent, and isn't damaging. It's just simply uncomfortable - trying to NEVER be hungry is causing this problem and it's stupid.
  2. Food will NOT disappear, despite what the the "food insurance" folks say. That doughnut in 7-11 that is staring at me will be still be there tomorrow!!! (Or a replacement one will, anyway!) It is NOT the last chance I will have to eat a doughnut (even an apple fritter, which are my favorites). Food is plentiful in this country and I don't need to panic that I will be deprived and go without. Food WILL be replenished, for goodness' sake! If I don't eat it, that's OKAY! It will be there again tomorrow, and the next day and the next! I don't need to fill up so full at meals, for the same reason.
  3. Exercise: this is something I know a LOT about, due to my profession, but I am a hypocrite when I tell my patients how important it is. If it was so important, why don't I do more of it?? Yes, time is an issue, as it is with everyone (especially working moms), but that's just too bad. I multitask in every other area of my life, but I can't multitask with exercise? That's stupid. I know how important it is. I can feel it, now that I've reached a certain birthday and things are starting to change inside. It stinks!
  4. Exercise is never wasted, as I tell my patients. If I'm consistent, IT WILL HELP. The thing is to be consistent!! I know what to do and I know how to do it and why. I just simply need to convince my lazy self that I NEED TO DO IT!! So what if it's too hot in FL to walk? I'll take Mary for walks in the morning before work - that way I can take my shower at the same time as always and I can't use the excuse that it's a pain to clean up after exercising cause it won't be. She would LOVE it if I started walking her (Daisy too!!) and it would be SO good for me. Shoot, I might even start taking little jogs (ha!). I do wish I had a human partner to go with us, though... I know that would help a great deal and be very motivating.
I KNOW how to lose weight. I just simply need the motivation, support and to get my head in the game, cause with me, it's all in my head. I CAN DO THIS.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I haven't been out of FL (in the Continental U.S.) in 5 years, which is amazing for me, one who thrives on travel! The last time I went north, I went to IA for a quick trip on Mother's Day to see my mom (who was visiting from Seattle) and my Gram, and other relatives. It was a quick trip. I actually don't remember much about it because it involved some very stressful dealings with and about, my daughter.

Before that, we had moved from this small town to FL. We lived for 4 years in a small town in central IA near my Gram, my aunt and uncle and a cousin with her kids. My other grandmother lived nearby and another aunt and uncle also lived in a nearby town.

It was nice, but I hated it. I hated the snow and endless winters. I hated the lack of privacy (especially when one of my kids started having some severe behavioral issues, which is probably the main reason that we left). I hated living in an ancient house that never got warm enough in winter. I hated being bored all the time. I hated the lack of shopping. I hated the lack of competition, as there was pretty much just one of every industry here. I hated the lack of culture, as I wanted to bring my kids up exposed to much variety, and a much wider world. I hated the boring landscape, with endless farmland, stretching into eternity.

But, having lived in FL for the last 6 1/2 years now, and being back in the Midwest after all this time, I am seeing this area with new eyes:

I see how soft the green grass is. I see how tidy everyone keeps their houses in town and in the country. I wave at people walking through town, and marvel at how safe it is here. I see the big, fat trees, loaded down with emerald leaves. I see the simplicity with which people enjoy life here, as tractors roll down Main St. during the Fourth of July parade amidst much excitement. I love how my kids can go wherever they want in town, and I know they are okay. I smile as I drive past white houses with flowers in flowerbeds growing on sloped front lawns.

The town that I loved so dearly as a child but learned to resent as an adult is now dear to my heart once again. Things are different now, and sure, it is beautiful summertime here now, but the pain from the stresses that plagued me during those years have mostly healed now, and I am more mature. Moving to FL was the right thing to do, and it is still my home that I love greatly, but I can better appreciate the town where my familial roots run so deep.

And I love it once again.

Please donate

<div align="center"><a href="http://reecesrainbow.org/81148/sponsorvoigts" title=""><img width="100%" src="http://i1215.photobucket.com/albums/cc502/ReecesRainbow/fspvoigts.png" style="border:none;" /></a></div><div align="center"><a href="http://mylittlestarfishes.blogspot.com/" title="">Grab This!</a></div>

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





Friends that follow our blog


How many have visited us?

Who has visited lately?