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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Monday, November 5, 2012
18 years ago today, a couple, Tatiana and Namik, had a baby.  From all I know, this was their first child.  No doubt they were happily anticipating the birth of their new son, but when he finally arrived, they realized that they had no chance of raising him in their country, because he was born just a little bit different from the rest.  Prejudices run high in their country and this child would never be accepted as he was, so they made the excrutiating decision to have him placed for adoption. 

This adorable little bundle (don't you just want to scoop him up and kiss his cheeks?) waited for 5 years in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere (quite literally!) until God grabbed a woman in the United States by the collar and took her to his country and she adopted him.  What a BLESSING this little boy turned out to be!!  God certainly knew what He was doing!

His new mother, grateful to Tatina and Namik, took her new precious gift home and he joined their family, blessing them each day with his cheerfulness and optimistic outlook on life.

He grew,

and grew,

and grew, and on this day, he became a man.  A man that has shown great honor to his family in all ways, has established himself as someone with very high integrity, and has endeared himself to everyone who knows him.
Happy birthday, Reese!  I love you dearly, son.  I know that wherever they are, Tatiana and Namik are thinking of you and loving you also.

Sunday, October 7, 2012
It's no secret who I like in this presidential election - moreso who I DON'T like - so if you don't want to hear the man's name mentioned and good things said, then politely move on.  This is my blog and I'll say it how I want to say it.  pppttthhhhh!!!! 

Yesterday, Reese, Erik and I made the 90 min. trip to Apopka, FL (maybe it was quicker than that) to join in at a Mitt Romney event.  After seeing what has happened to our beloved country over the past 4 years, Reese (who gets to graduate the DAY AFTER he turns 18!!) and I are quite involved politically this year, trying to get our Marxist president out of office.  So we happily traveled to central FL to see his opponent.

Apparently, not a fan of Mitt Romney rallies!  LOL

From the beginning, we could see that the venue was poooooorly organized.  There was no provision made for disabled guests and no one seemed to have any idea what to do with a disabled guest.  Reese's leg is not fitting right so walking was really painful for him and he couldn't stand long or walk far - he needed assistance.  We finally made it to the amphitheater (which was quite nice but not nearly big enough for all of the people who showed up - it was packed!) to find that there was no "handicapped section" at all.  There were so many people standing that we couldn't see a thing, and Reese needed to sit on the grass.  Yeah, right.  Erik's nerves by now were shot (it was quite a story how we even GOT to the venue, but I'll save that story for another day), and he needed a seat, too.  No one was allowed to bring folding chairs, either, so everyone who wanted to sit, had to sit on the ground, cause ALL the seats were taken.  Sorry, but that was not good enough for this mama.  I asked this person, and that person, and that person over there, if there were ANY seats available for the disabled, as my son simply couldn't stand on the grass all the time to watch the event.  No one had any idea.  So, I kept asking.  Finally, I asked a couple of policemen.  They got a look at Reese's legs and you could see in their eyes that they wanted to help.  They asked us to wait while they checked on something (good thing we arrived 2 hours early!!).  When they came back, they led us down to the VIP area, and after they talked with this person with plugs in their ears, and that person with fancy looking badges and credentials, they led us to the FRONT ROW.  The "orange wristband" section!  We could NOT believe it.  We were warned, however, that they may have to move us, if more "real" VIP's showed up, so we didn't get too comfortable until the Mayor of Apopka (I figured out from eavesdropping) sat down next to me (and Erik, who was on my lap) and I figured we were safe.  We saw Sandy Adams, our area's House of Representatives person (we met her this summer in D.C. you may remember), on the same row as us, about 10 seats down, and I have no idea who else was surrounding us.  Reese and I kept sneaking looks at each other like, "I can't believe this!!". 
The stage, from our vantage point.
A coooool picture of the sky.  You can see the press box at the bottom.  There is square light that you can see.  You can see a man looking down at the bottom right of the light - that's Carl Cameron (or "Campaign Carl") from Fox News.
Erik was on my lap, which was fine, except that being soooooo close to the stage, we were also sooooooo close to these ENORMOUS speakers and if you know Erik, you know how much he hates loud noises!  Uh, oh!!  I had a moment of panic before I realized that he was perfectly content as long as I covered his ears with my hands, which I gratefully did.  WHEW!!  Eventually, he got used to the cheering and screaming, and the sign waving and the clapping, and I was SHOCKED that he never cried, or screamed, or bit himself, although after a while he did kick the mayor...  (he was pretzeled on my lap, trying to rest (it was getting really late) and his leg shot out and kicked the 80-something mayor.  I apologized and he was very good-natured about it and said that his granddaughter has Down Syndrome!  After that, he and I were bosom buddies.  ;o) 
Anyway, finally the speeches began.  Artur Davis was one of the first - I love that guy! - and that was fun. 

Artur Davis
He was followed by Andy Somebody (sorry, Mr. Somebody - I can't think of your last name at this time!) who was a Congressman or something (obviously, I'm not too familiar with him).  And he was followed by Connie Mack, running against Bill Nelson for FL senate, and then what everyone was waiting for - the Romneys!  Man, the crowd went nuts and I am still in shock that Erik handled it.  I instantly liked these people.  Ann gave a speech and she was so cute - the podium was too high for her - she couldn't see - so instead of asking for help, she simply stood on her toes the whole time.  No complaints!  Shocking to see such realism from someone who could be so important!!  Oh - did I mention she was in high heels already?? 
Ann, on her tiptoes
After she was done, Mitt came out.  He gave his speech which was terrific, of course, though not a whole lot of new stuff (you really can't give a new speech every time when you are giving a couple of speeches a day!) but it was fun, cause he said stuff that they often don't show in highlight reels - little stuff, ad-libbed stuff, which of course I should mention that he did not use a TELEPROMPTER the entire time - there was not one there!!!  He simply talked to us.  It was GREAT.  He was telling a story about a serviceman and while I didn't see it, Reese said he saw a tear roll down his cheek.  Wow.  Can't fake that too easily.

Mitt (sorry, I didn't crop these photos closer - I just wanted to get them up)
So the thing ended with Erik almost comatose from fatigue and stress, lack of fluids and food, me having had to go to the bathroom for the past 3 hours (the stupid place had no bathrooms nearby), and Reese with his leg killing him, but we were all charged up.  Because we were in the VIP section, we were amongst the few who got the opportunity to shake hands as the candidates came by the semi-circle below the stage.  Mitt came first.  Reese wanted to get Mitt to sign his President shirt that he got in D.C. this summer, but the Secret Service told him to put the pen away.  That was a distraction, and Reese unfortunately missed his opportunity to shake Mitt's hand.  :o(  I was able to get Mitt's attention...

Let me tell you something first: I have a VERY strong woman's intuition.  I have been right on MANY occasions about people upon first meeting them, including the person who sabotaged our homestudy a few years back.  I didn't feel quite right about her then, or after, and it turns out I was right.  This has happened to me for years - often I feel nothing special about people, but sometimes I DO feel it and when I DO feel it, I'm RIGHT.  Never have I misjudged someone when I had a "feeling" about them.

From the first time I saw our current president on TV, long before this last election, he made me uncomfortable.  I saw something in his eyes that made me squirm.  The smile was too dazzling, the eyes, ...wrong, somehow.  I know that there will be people reading this that like him and I'm sorry if you are offended, but this is my place to tell my stories, and this is how I honestly feel.  I feel evil coming from behind that smile and that charm.  Sorry, it's the truth as I see it, and I'm never wrong when I feel things like this and the feeling I feel about him is strong.  

As Mitt made his way around the stage floor and he reached me, I stuck my hand out to shake his, among the dozens of others.  He paused to shake my hand and when he did so, he looked me *right in the eye*.  I had the opportunity to look, seemingly, into his soul.  As he told me "thank you" with such a humble and grateful expression, time seemed to stand still.  It was like I could peer deep down into his eyes and see this man for who he truly is.  It was like God showed me something.  I hope this doesn't sound corny, but I could see light.  I could see goodness.  I could see openness, or something.  I could see purity.  It's really hard to articulate, but I was struck by it.  I pulled my hand away after saying who-knows-what back to him, probably "uhhhhhhh" and he was gone, but I stood there for a second, drinking in my impression.  I felt it so strongly...

After Mitt came by, Ann came by and I got to shake her hand too, but she didn't lock eyes with me like Mitt did, and her handshake wasn't as natural as his was - she was being bombarded by the people who pushed in front of me so I can't blame her at all for this.  Reese did get her attention though, and got a good handshake. 

Here's Ann with one of the pushy people in front of us (they came down from one of the higher seats).  I couldn't get a shot of her with Reese, so I settled on her with this girl!  LOL

Connie Mack followed, and got a picture with Reese (I told him that Reese would be a future Congressman, and he lit up and said "HEY!!" and slapped Reese on the shoulder good-naturedly, then we got the pictre.).

Connie Mack with Reese
And it was over.  We walked the mile or so back to the car, renewed with so much energy we didn't notice the distance and had a fun car ride home as Erik slopped forward in his booster seat, asleep before we left the parking lot, and we talked about all of the amazing events that took place.

Reese carried Erik almost the whole way back to the car.
 If you are at all undecided about who to vote for, or if you think you might not vote at all, may I please urge you to go to the polls and vote for the man who's eyes I actually looked into, and saw...  Light.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Ever since I started on my weight loss journey (well, after I started recovering from last Christmas' surgeries, anyway), I've wanted to start exercising.  The Body By Vi shakes that I started taking at about that time gave me SO much energy I just wanted to go, go, GO! but I couldn't, because of the  radiation burns on my abdomen (long story - those of  you who know me know it).  The burns finally healed, but then the worst one's scar gave me trouble and only just NOW am I fit to exercise!!  It no longer hurts to twist or move, though it still does to bend, but that's no problem.
ANYWAY, I have a new motivation to walk now.  Bark Therapy.  Yes, Bark Therapy.  Not because *I* bark, but because my adorable, sweet, loving little troublemaking Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Mary, barks!  TOO MUCH!!  She has become quite the yapper, causing some stress in our house.  We don't really know why she is such a yapper, because her mentor, Daisy (our Boston Terrier) never, ever barks, and that example was not set for her when she was a pup, so we figure it must just be genetic.  Lucky us. 
Anyone who has ever seen the Dog Whisperer on TV knows that one way that Cesar Milan fixes dog behavior issues is by exercise (in fact, his motto is "Exercise, Discipline, Affection: in that order!"), and NOT by a simple romp in the backyard.  No, the man makes his clients get off their butts and GO FOR A WALK.  I've read his books, and he gives the reason but that is not the purpose of this post.  The purpose of this post is Bark Therapy.  I am counting on Cesar's teachings to get Mary to SHUT UP.  
I, for two weeks, am committing myself to walking this dog over and back on the Titusville Bridge every other day and see if this calms her down so that her barking is under control. 
...and, it's good for me, too!
So start off.  There is no one else walking at the time, which is kinda nice.  It's hot, but not terribly hot (at least by FL standards), and there's a great breeze going.  The view is spectacular (that's the Kennedy Space Center over there), and there's a fantastic concrete barrier between the pedestrian lane and the road, which is GREAT cause it lets Mary walk in the shade the entire way!  She can't even see the cars (nor can they see her) because of this partition going each direction.  I'm as happy as a lark at this point.  Initially, I was going to only go up to the top, then turn around, but it was so easy that I decided to go the whole way; go down to the bottom, cross over and make my way back on the other side of the road, since there was the partition there, too.

After awhile, Mary got a little fed up with the whole thing and started complaining.  She wasn't used to all of this walking, or the noise, or any of it!  But we kept on. 

The way over wasn't steep at all, but the other side was much steeper.  Not sure why the engineers (or whoever) designed it like that, but they did.  See the nifty barricade on the left?

(shaky legs; giving Mary a rest)
Okay, so we got down to the bottom and crossed over.  As we were starting the climb on the return, I started getting tired.  Uh, oh...  Half way up the bridge, my legs just decided they were done.  I had to stop.  My legs were shaky, wobbly, quivering, you fill in the blank.  I was tired.  Meanwhile, I had to carry Mary for awhile cause she was just so tired, poor baby!  Good thing she only weighs 11 pounds.  Somehow, probably sheer will, I made it to the top of the bridge and staggered down the other side to the car.  Wanna know how I felt??

Yeah, I was tired.  But you know what?  It was a GOOD walk.  A very good walk.  Everything about it was perfect (other than the cars zooming by, I suppose).  Even Mary heeled BEAUTIFULLY - she was perfectly well-behaved!!!  We both guzzled down some water in the car and headed home.  Get ready, Mary!!  We're doing it again on Monday!!  Your Bark Therapy has just begun...
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy birthday, Erik!  Eight years ago, you entered this world unwanted and unloved.  For 5 very long years, you waited for someone to love you and treasure you for the miracle you are.  Your dad, brothers and I were so blessed when we finally found you and brought you into our home!  You have blessed us SO much for the past 3 years - our family would have been so boring and stale without you!  You bring fun, happiness, unadulterated JOY, silliness and innocence into our lives and we can't imagine life without you now.  Your birthmother and father blessed the world the day they brought you into it and now you will bless the world right back!  WE LOVE YOU, ERIK!!  Happy birthday, son!!!
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Well, we're home...  Friday we decided to drive straight home and skip Mt. Vernon and the Yorktown/Williamsburg/Jamestown "triangle".  :o(  Mama's not happy about that, but Reese was happy to be going home.  His July has been incredibly busy and he just wanted to get home for a week of rest before school started again.  Can't blame him... 

So we drove almost 14 hours (got up there in 12...) and were glad to be greeted at home by Mark, Erik and my mom.  :o) 

Tomorrow's Monday and I head back to work, Mom goes back to Seattle today and Reese ...I guess Reese will hang out at home with Erik or with his friends.  And life goes on...

Thank you for keeping up with my blog this week!!  Our Family Bouquet has been horribly neglected and it was kinda fun to revive it again for a week.  Hope you enjoyed it!  :o)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
On to Day Four, and our last day in Washington...

Yesterday, we stopped here, but the line was really long and we were standing in the hot afternoon sun for so long that we decided to skip it and try it today.  To my surprise, we actually followed a plan that we'd previously laid out and we arrived at 9:30am!  And that was AFTER finding a parking place!!  (Ohhh, don't get me started on the parking situation around here...!!!!) 

Here is the actual theater.  Most of my 5 readers will know that the box office in the center of this photo is where Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were when Mr. Lincoln was shot.  This theater still has plays on a regular basis and is very much a working theater.  Pretty cool, huh?

What's he reading, Reese?  Maybe "The Hunger Games"??

This is the pillow that he laid his head on as he lay dying.  So sad...
And the gun that killed him by the hand of John Wilkes Booth.  Grrrr...

After that sobering exhibit, we moved on to something lighter: the International Spy Museum!!  We didn't want to pay the ridiculous $20 fee they wanted, so we just went on to the store and actually had a really fun time there! 

I could make one of many comments here, but I'll just let you formulate your own.  ;op

Ah, one of my very favorite photos of the whole trip.  :o)  I told him someday when he's sitting in his Congressman's office, he'll have this photo framed on his desk as a "Remember When", he was still dreaming...

Just another shot of the Capital Building.  It's so magnificent it's hard NOT to take pictures of it!

And another...

In case you were wondering where we were walking (walking?  Did I say "walking" again?!?) we were headed back to the Cannon Building (one of the three office buildings where House members keep their offices) to visit our new friends.  This was actually one of the highlights of the whole trip for Reese:

This is Representative Sandy Adams, our district's Representative.  It was her intern that showed us around the Capital building the other day and who were all so nice to us in her office.  We finally tracked down a time when we could meet her and thank her for the tour and she was so very nice to us.  She knew just where Mims was of course (bless her heart) because of course, Brevard county is one of the four counties who she serves.  Yay.  She's a good one, I do believe.  One of her staff even brings his dog to work and he hangs around the office all day, which I thought was neat.  She seemed genuinely interested in us and asked all about what we'd done during our visit and we told her but then we also told her about the concerns we'd had about the monument to the 56 Signers of the Constitution and she was upset to hear it.  I don't know if she can do anything about it or not, but at least we said something.

Then, we scooted back over to Ron Paul's office to meet HIM.  Now, say what you might about Dr. Paul (I agree with about 75% of what he says, wholeheartedly, but the other 25% of what he says... well, not so much.), but he was a VERY nice man (if he wasn't a distinguished congressman, I'd say he was cute old guy!) and really seemed pleased to have us stop by.  He and Reese are seen above discussing politics (small government and getting out of wars and other countries' business), and that was fun to listen to.  :o) 

Here he is, signing the book he wrote.  No, Reese is not going to sneeze...  He also gave us each a copy (in booklet form) of the Constitution that he signed.

The three of us in front of the Texas flag.  (Again with the extra 25 pounds the camera adds to women...!)  Not sure what we were laughing about, but we were pretty happy at this point...

Just walking past again so I got a picture.  On Monday(?) Reese and I ate lunch under this building with the employees.  It's a perk for having influential friends...  (Like interns who show you how to access the tunnels!)

After seeing our friends Sandy and Ron, we headed across the way to the Senate office buildings and made our way to Marco Rubio's office (I've been a fan of his for some time).  We didn't expect he'd be there (he was in a "meeting") but we thought we could always try!!  It was a MUCH MORE FORMAL building than the Cannon Building (obviously - look at it!!) and we were the ONLY people in the entire place with street clothes on (unlike the Cannon).  Reese was in his glory.  He SOOOOO wants to work in a place like this!!  He was practically drooling the entire time we walked about.  We walked through a cafeteria area and there were Senators all over the place (we knew that Congressmen wear a certain lapel pin so we always looked for it) eating lunch.  WOW.  Pretty neat. 

One more shot of the Capital building as we walked (did I say "walk" AGAIN?!?) to our car.  We were crossing the street and I was able to take this as I walked, and I didn't even get hit by a car.  I'm so talented.

Tomorrow we leave Washington and head to Jamestown/Yorktown/Williamsburg and see what we'll see there and then head home.  It's been an exhausting (did I say "walk"???) but very good vacation that meant a lot to the both of us.  :o)  I will try and blog again tomorrow but the Washington stuff is overwith now. 

Okay, this is Day Four, but last night I was so dead tired I couldn't even log on to Facebook to say, "I'm too tired to blog!" so I had Reese do it! So I'm going to try to remember things as they happened yesterday, then I'll do today's.

Here is Reese in front of the National Museum of American History.  This is my favorite of the Smithsonian museums.  :o)  He liked it too, but he liked all the "war" exhibits and I liked all the "pop culture" exhibits.  Ha!

See?  My first exhibit photo is of my good friend, Mr. Kermit the Frog!

And here are Dorothy's Ruby Slippers...

And POOP!  I just realized I didn't pull up one that I took of Archie Bunker's chair, Fonzie's leather jacket, and one other thing... (What was it???)  Well, it takes way too long to pull up ONE photo, and I'm not going back to the beginning to find that one, so you'll just have to use your imagination.  Sorry!

Okay, here's a good "war" one: George Washington's uniform!  :o)  I love George Washington.

Okay, after we did the museum, we walked (of course we walked!) to the National Archives, where the Constitution, the Declaration of  Independence and the Bill of Rights are all housed.  No photos from in there, sorry.  NOT ALLOWED.  :o( 

Just another pretty shot of the Washington Monument.  :o)

From there, we DROVE to the Jefferson Memorial.  Funny, we still had to walk about 1/2 mile from the parking lot to the monument...  I like this monument a lot.  I like Thomas Jefferson, sure, but I like the monument cause it kind of sits off by itself, is on the water and isn't as popular as Lincoln's Monument.  It's quieter and a little bit more ...humble??

While we were there, several "United States of America" blue helicopters flew overhead, very close.  It made us wonder who was in there...??

Back to Jefferson.  I included a few photos here so you could not only see his statue, but also read the inscriptions on the walls of some of his famous quotes.  Some of the things said are so austere (is that the word??) that people today really need to read them!!!  He says some things that we just truly have fallen away from... 

Geez, I hope it's the camera that's making me look so fat...  don't they say photos make you gain 25 pounds??

Walking around AGAIN, I guess I took this picture of something.  Not sure what it is...  Neither of us can remember.  If you know what it is, be sure and pipe up in the comments section!  (If I'd've gotten my rear end out of bed last night and blogged before it went cold in my brain I'm sure I would have remembered...  *said through gritted teeth*)

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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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