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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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.


Amy L said...

Looks like everyone had a lot of fun! The first time Caleb watched a parade and they threw candy to him, he threw it back! LOL! Jimmy has that Reese's PB shirt too (his favorite candy). Those are absolutely beautiful pictures that you took in the park. Loved them:) Erik is a doll as always. I bet if we got him and Elijah together, they would be the same size.:)
Thanks for sharing your vacation, I'm glad you had such a nice time:)!

Sonya said...

Just found your blog from a comment you left on The Road Down Home. I've read 3 or 4 of your latest posts and I'm hooked!

You write with quite a sense of humor and warmth. Thank you for sharing.

Erik's progress is amazing!
Sonya from TX

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
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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

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

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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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