Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just Will and I

Last night, William and I went shopping. I took him to exchange a used game he had really wanted on his birthday, but it never actaully worked. He got a different game. Thankfully the store has a great policy, and basically through the game away when I told them it didn't work, no questions asked.

As we were walking out of the store, William said to me, "This store is the coolest, Mom. It is the biggest store ever with lots of little stores inside it."

My store shopping deprived child was referring to a mall.

Today we are celebrating Rachel's birthday. I have much to share and blog about later. Right now, her and John are off together having a special breakfast. He takes all the kids out for breakfast to celebrate their birthday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If only I were a child again.....

the highlight of a trip to Wal-Mart would be getting to see the fish for sale on display instead of the great deal I got on toilet paper.

my biggest Christmas stress would be whether or not I remembered to write down everything I wanted on my wish list instead of making sure that both Jesus and Santa get at the very least, equal mention. In a world that has watered down the true meaning of Christmas down to a pile of presents, it is especially important to me, to share and teach about the birth of our Savior.

I would only look forward to Baboonys'a chocolate pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of how much of everything I can pile onto one plate. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed corn, sauted green beans, marshmallowed yams, gravy, hot rolls for wiping up the gravy, pumpkin pie, flavored coffee, cookies, See's candy, and peach pie....oh how much my pants would thank me if I only wanted pie.

I wouldn't notice that this was the 86th time that I was watching Toy Story.

I would sleep walk to my parent's bed at 9:30 at night to get cozy with them and be completely oblivious to the hanky panky that's going on.

my idea of fun would be getting to take a bubble bath with two of my brothers and seeing who could squirt the most water on the ceiling instead of relaxing in a bubble bath all by myself. How boring is that?

I wouldn't notice that I stepped in doggy poop when I was playing in the backyard instead of constantly asking to look at and smell everyone's shoes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The toothfairy

Last night the tooth fairy visited both Rachel and Sveta. They pulled each others teeth out. As John tucked them in, Sveta kept asking about the "dairy fairy" and how would she fit in her room. See, once I tried to convince all of my kids that the tooth fairy was a cow as I showed them a picture of the Kraft dairy fairy. Sveta loved the idea and now brings it up all of the time.

Anyways, the tooth fairy brought Rachel a pink wig and nail decal kit (because she lost 2 teeth) and Sveta a new squeeze toy which she loves playing with by rolling over and over in her hand (she has sensory integration issues). Both girls were excited with what they got.

Seeing the excitement in Rachel's eyes when she put her teeth under her pillow and when she found her presents in the morning reminded me of how blessed we are to be able to share this experience with her before she got to be to big and stopped losing her baby teeth.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Annalyn is Officially Ours!

Today we had court to finalize Annalyn's adoption. It was a breeze! Not more than 10 minutes total. Annalyn was very excited and wanted to know if this was anything like Judge Judy's courtroom happenings. Not quite dear, I told her, in this court proceeding everyone leaves happy!

Monday, June 4, 2007


Annalyn was baptized yesterday, June 3, 2007! It was an awesome moment that will forever change her life. Praise God! To learn more about our church visit

Today we watched Julia receive not one but two awards --- one in scholastics and one as Husky (student) of the year in her class. Go Julia!

This Friday is Sveta's 10th birthday! It is pretty much all she can talk about. She's hoping to get a cute, pink pair of skates -----not in-line but the old-fashioned skates like I had growing up. She wore them last time we went roller-skating and had a much easier and enjoyable time.

The last day of school for my kids is this Thursday. They can't wait and frankly neither can I!
We are going to the beach next week for a whole week! One day we are going to visit the San Diego Zoo. I've never been there, but I hear it is BIG!

Friday, June 1, 2007

No poothtase!

With so many kids, you better believe I'm all about tooth care. Every night I re-brush my three youngest boys teeth after they do it themselves first. William could never stand toothpaste (sensory issues) and his younger brothers followed suit. Every time I tell them it is time to brush their teeth Jonny comes running in, screaming, "No poothtase! No poothtase!" It is just so darn cute!

I would love to write more -----so much is going on in our house, but us girls are about to go to my Mom's house for dinner. I promise to write more very soon. I just wanted to share that Julia's teacher called today to tell me she will be receiving the Husky of the Year award for her whole class. I'm so proud of her! But shhhhhhhhhh, it's supposed to be a secret.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Andrew and Anna

I just got back from speech with Andrew. His last day is next week. At his annual IEP meeting the school suggested cutting his services back to once a week instead of two. Granted, he is doing well, but I expressed my concern about him regressing over the summer. As a compromise, we agreed to have him in speech twice a week for the first quarter so that he can transition down to once a week and make up for any lost time over the summer. I am so glad they agreed to this.

John and I have decided to have Anna repeat the 2nd grade next year. She is making great progress but she is still struggling because of her understanding of the English language. This is also the best time for her to improve her classroom behavior skills before she jumps into a classroom with 32 kids. Right now she is in a class with only 20 students and is able to get more one on one attention which has been very good for her. One more year of this small classroom atmosphere is going to benefit her greatly. Sure, we teetered back and forth with our decision but once we talked with Anna's teacher and the principal we knew it would be in her best interests. They are supportive of our decision and most importantly, Anna is in agreement and understands how beneficial this choice will be for her. She is excited at the idea of being near the top in her class (which I believe she will be) instead of struggling near the bottom. I am so proud of her optimistic outlook!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mother-Daughter Retreat

I am so glad that I took my daughters on this retreat. It had a fun western theme. I enjoyed watching my girls have fun as they experienced their first sleepaway camp. Though we stayed in the least expensive cabin, my girls thought it was the best. Sveta even commented on how nice it was. Bless her heart.

Jana Alayra did worship. She was really awesome. You should check out her website at My girls loved her! They even got to get up on stage to help her with the hand motions to one of her songs. Anna was especially excited when I called her a Christian rockstar. When we first got home all she could talk about with her brothers was how she met a Christian rockstar.

During gametime on Saturday, Annalyn won a can of Pork & Beans and a box of Crunch and Munch while Julia opted to rope a steer. As we ate lunch, we saw a snake swimming in the creek, a big fat frog laying on a rock, and fish as long as my forearm. It was nature at its best.
Though the picture above shows five girls enjoying a paddle boat ride in the pond, it didn't start out that way.

Originally, six of us piled into one of the paddle boats (including myself). As I tried to steer it, I realized that it only wanted to go in circles as we drifted out into the middle of the pond. Frustrated, I tried to steer the boat by manually guiding the rudder only to end up with a freezing cold hand. The girls were quite tired from pedaling, so I finally grabbed onto another boat who pulled us back in. Later, as we explained that the boat must be broken, one of the camp workers took it for a test drive. It worked perfectly, as he informed us that it must have been weighed down with too many people. Thanks alot, I thought. Are you calling me fat?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Fishies that bite

My mounds of clothes are gone now. After sorting through all of them I ended up donating 8 huge bags. Unbelievable after you see just how much we still have. I think I could clothe at least four more girls.

Today was William's fieldtrip. We went to Weibe Farms. We learned all about stone fruit, and what goes on in a packing shed. It was quite interesting. I was very proud of William for at least trying the peach muffins that we had for snack.

Tomorrow will be a busy and exciting day. I am going with Anna on her fieldtrip and then we are going on the mother-daughter retreat. As we packed, I could tell the excitement was building for the girls. Sveta asked about swimming because I had them pack their swimsuits. Since the camp has a small pond, I told them that they could go swimming in there.

Sveta of course asked, "In there sharks? That bite?"

"No," I told her, "Just little fish that bite your feet like the kitty."

Sveta's face at that moment was absolutely priceless so I decided to play further with her. As I told her again about the biting, little fish, I went around pinching her and Anna's feet just like the fish would. She saw me smile and Anna knew I was kidding, but Sveta had to still inquire further to make sure I was just playing with her.

"No, you just kidding." she retorted, smiling as she encouraged me to tell her more about the things that bite in the pond. I continued to make things up as Annalyn joined in.

"And don't forget the octopuses Sveta, that come and suck your face like this." I said as I pretended to be an octopus by placing my spread out hands over their faces and making slurping noises. The girls busted up laughing. I think I enjoyed myself as much as they did!

Tonight as I rallied up the younger boys to brush their teeth I had one more good laugh as Jonny came running into the bathroom screaming, "No poothpase, no poothpase!!!!!!!!"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day - Belated

I hope all of you mothers out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. Maybe some of you woke up to sweet, little kisses planted on your cheeks, or breakfast in bed disguised as overflowing bowls of cereal. Maybe some of you were presented with flowers and a nice card. Or some of you may have got really lucky and actually got out of cooking a meal and went out to a restaurant instead. No matter how you celebrated this Mother's Day, I just want you all to know that you are valued and appreciated by your children and by God, even if you didn't feel like it. Have a wonderful week!

I would love to write more today, but I have to sort through clothes instead. We have been blessed with five or six families giving us hand-me-downs and now I have clothes coming out of my ears. Literally, I have them in piles going up the stairs. This has been a growing problem for months now, and the clothes just won't stay in the closets anymore. The girls keep going through them (afterall isn't that what you do with hand-me-downs) and now that the clothes have gotten loose, they are roaming everywhere.

Thankfully, I am able to pass the extras down to other families or take them down to our local church donation store. They never go to waste.

Friday, May 11, 2007



I started my morning off with good ol' sweetened condensed milk drizzled over a buttered waffle. Yumm - O as Rachel Ray would put it. One of my all-time decadent treats since my little Anna turned me on to it many months ago. So simple, yet oh so delicious. They love to describe the near and dear things they remember eating in the Detski Dom. Condensed milk spread on bread and poured on top of kasha is just one of the many things they enjoyed eating and I love that I am able to provide a comfort food for them by merely opening a can.

E Bay

Adam has discovered E-Bay. He just made his first, very own purchase even after I tried to dissuade him. He rationalized his $50 shoe purchase as something he needed rather than admitting that he wanted them because of the brand.
That's ok. At least he heard me out, asked permission, told me I had actually made him rethink his decision, and went ahead and bought them anyways. Hey, it's his money and one less pair of shoes I have to buy.

Amtrack fieldtrip

Sveta is going on a field trip today. She is probably boarding the Amtrack train as we speak. She was so excited this morning --- I'm sure she is going to have a blast! I even packed her hot Cheetos! Since this is her second time going on this fieldtrip (she is repeating 2nd grade) and I already went with her last year, I decided to give her some freedom and stay home. Afterall, she is getting to be a big girl as she told me, "Mama you don't have to go with me on train because I am already big. I can go by myself. I will stay with Mr Bartell." Besides, I have two field trips I am going on next week.

Fat lip

Jonny split his lip last night and got a bloody nose. Poor guy. Even after telling him a million times, he went ahead and ran on the wet cement patio ------need I say more. Of course, I didn't have the heart to punish him for not listening ---- sometimes the natural consequence of one's actions is enough.

AA reunion

Tomorrow our family is going to an Adoption Ark reunion in the park. I am so excited. I'm glad AA is doing this because I think it is very important for adoptive families to get together so that they can support each other. I have found that other adoptive families are the only ones that really know what you are experiencing and so getting together to visit and share stories provides an outlet where you can share your joys and struggles of parenting. I have found myself (a couple of times) walking across the street to vent my current parenting woes to my good friend and neighbor who has also adopted only to find her walking towards my house --thus meeting half way.

Mother-daughter retreat

Next week, I am taking my four girls on a mother-daughter retreat. Again, I am so excited that I can hardly wait! I invited two of my friends who have also adopted daughters similar in age. Plus another dear friend who knows all of us and has a six year old daughter too. So a total of 12 of us will be piling into my big van to go up to the mountains for the weekend.
I jumped in the pool yesterday, and it wasn't even that cold!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Starting the day off right

Up down. Good bad. Happy sad. Fun miserable. Peaceful arguing. Funny how I can control how our mornings will be. Amazing how I can help set the tone for the whole day. It just all depends on whether or not I remember to wake up with God. Thankfully I am learning this and remembering to do this. Whenever I remember to say good morning to my Lord and invite him to spend the day with my family things run so much smoother for us.

Thankfully, I remembered to this morning.

Swim Season has offically begun.

Yesterday we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for swimming and barbecued hamburgers. Boy, does Grandpa make the best! The pool is supposedly up to 87 degrees but I am not ready to test the water yet. My kids on the other hand can't seem to get enough. Maybe this weekend I'll take my first dip of the year. John is already teaching Jonny to swim and I expect he will be official by the end of summer. Go Jonny!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Dolly is a Mama

Four days ago my three daughter's brought a kitten home from school.

"Mom, mom. Look how cute she is." Julia told me this as she brought the kitty out from inside her coat pocket.

"Isn't it soooo cute, Mama?" Anna chimed in.

"Mama, It wants a drink of milk. Can we give it some milk?"

"A man was just giving these kittens out and no one wanted this little grey kitty. I promise. Come on Mom can't we keep it. Please?"

"Mom, please talk to Daddy. We can't just let it go or it will die. I promise. It will die."

"I promise Mom, no one else wanted it. Promise. So can we keep it?"

Boy, do my daughter's know how to get me to say yes. I promise. My husband on the other hand ------well I couldn't answer for him.

First of all you need to realize that I absolutely love animals but my husband isn't really an animal person --------he is highly allergic -------and doesn't like poop in the yard. After many years he finally agreed to take Dolly our dog. One reason being because our daughter Sveta really, really wanted one and we have read how wonderful children with FAS respond to having a pet. A second reason being that Dolly was my late Baboonya's (grandmother's) dog who my grandfather wanted to keep in the family so asked us to take. Thirdly, he promised the children that we could get a dog if it was small, free and nice. Dolly is all three.

So the girls brought this kitty home who I had no problem keeping, but wondered what Daddy would say. I told them that they needed to call him.

"Can't you call him?"

"No. You brought the kitty home, you need to call Dad."

Surprisingly John said yes. I am a very blessed woman, and my children have an awesome Dad.

I was a little concerned about how Dolly would react to this new Kitty, so I got the bright idea of introducing the kitty as Dolly's new baby. It could work.

The kids were skeptical that a dog could take in a kitten, but if it was possible I knew Dolly would be the dog to do it.

I introduced them while holding both of them and I just kept giving Dolly lots of praise each time she would try and smell the kitty. At least she wasn't trying to hurt the baby kitty.

After a while I tucked the kitty into Dolly's bed and told Dolly to go lay down too. I kept doing this every time I saw Dolly get up and I would continue to give her praise and talk sweet to her like I know she likes. After a couple of hours we began to see Dolly licking the kitty and nudging it (I don't mean to refer to the kitty as it, but I still can't tell if it is a boy or a girl) with her nose to keep it in check. Soon the kitty was following Dolly around and the rest is history.

Dolly has a new baby, and she is quite the Mama. She sits close by and watches while her baby eats and only then finishes up what is on the plate. Dolly's ears perk up and she is runs up to the kitty if she hears it so much as meow. Dolly plays with the kitty and tolerates the kitty's playful scratching and biting even when I am sure she has had enough. And the very best part, the kitty rarely cries and sleeps through the night with Dolly laying right next to her. Dolly will even stand over the kitty with her legs apart whenever the kitty tries to nurse.

It really is amazing to see.

What is really special about all of this, is that my girls have a better understanding of adoption and the limitless ability to love God gives us. The kitty didn't come from Dolly's tummy and isn't even the same kind of animal, yet her love for her new baby is very apparent. To her, it doesn't make any difference that she is a dog and the new baby is a cat.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baseball and a Troublemaker

Tonight after giving Andrew and Jonny a bath, Andrew asked me to comb his hair back real nice. Since I normally always comb his hair forward it looked really different. When I was done Andrew replied, "Cool Mom. I look like a trouble maker!"

Also, Adam and Caleb's team played their toughest competition tonight and won 1-0. That makes them 8 - 0. Go Reds!

I am taking William up to the Diagnostic Center tomorrow for evaluations. The testing will last three days.

A Mission to Mexico

Over Easter break I went to Mexico with two of my daughters on a mission trip with our church. Before I begin my story, let me just cut to the chase and tell you it was amazing. Absolutely amazing! Each and every moment! The parts you might consider to be not so good could best be described as growing pains.

I had personally thought of going on such a trip for many years but always found a reason to back out. The thought was there, but my desire was non-existent. But this time around, as Easter break neared, I was told that not many people had signed up to go. Not sure why I was even told this, somebody even went as far as to ask me to go. What nerve, I thought. Doesn't she know I have 9 kids to take care of? Of course she did, but since she herself was going, she was asking people if they wanted to come too.

I talked to John about it after church a week before the trip and he was very supportive of me going. Thanks a lot Hon. We both agreed that I would go if his boss would let him work from home. Hoping he couldn’t get the time off, I was secretly disappointed when his boss encouraged him to stay home. I guess I was really going to Mexico. We decided together that Julia and Annalyn would go with me. For whatever reason, we both thought they would get the most out of the experience.

During the week leading up to the day we were leaving, I battled internally with going. How was I going to leave my comfort zone, and say goodbye to my family for a week to go sleep on some dirty floor while I served God giving up all CONTROL? That’s right CONTROL with all caps. That's what it really came down too. I wasn’t ready to give up my control over my family, children, household duties, driving, what I ate, my computer, daily life. I wasn't ready to hand over the reigns to my husband and trust him to care for, feed, bathe, and look after our children and home while I was gone. I mean how could he possibly do as good a job as me? Did he know that the girls ate vitamin gumballs while the boys preferred the gummy bears? Did he know that William needed help washing his hair? Would he remember to brush Jonny's teeth? Would he remember to get more milk before they ran out? Did he know where Jonny's extra shoes were if he misplaced his shoes? Did he know that our oven cooked 25 degrees too hot?

Don't get me wrong, my John is an awesome dad and husband --- and does just fine when I go out for the day or even over night. But a whole week? I knew the act of me leaving was going to be one of the hardest things I have had to do in a long time. But I also knew that I had to do it and just trust that God could pilot just fine without me. Once I got past the leaving my husband to care for our family part, I also knew I would have to accept that I wasn’t the one driving down, I wasn’t the one who would be doing the cooking, and I really had no clue what I would be doing for the next week. Talk about submitting to God. Boy, was this going to be heck of a week.

Saturday morning, March 31 came all to quickly as John drove us to the church . It was not even 6 am when I kissed my family good-bye and smelled little Jonny’s sweet breath as he slept peacefully. He was snuggled up in our bed fast asleep and I was going to miss his warm little body cozied up next to me over the coming week. He still joined John and I every night around 3 am to sleep with us until morning and it was something I have grown to love. I wondered if things would be the same when I came back.

I tearfully hugged John after sharing my feelings with him and soon after Annalyn, Julia and I piled into the backseat of a Suburban as we started the long trek down to Mexico. It was going to be a long day.

Julia was probably the most enthusiastic person in the car and not even two minutes later she was already organizing a game for her and Annalyn to play. Oh God, if only I could be as excited as them. And as I watched my daughters playing and began talking with the others in the car, I found myself becoming just that. Excited.

On the first stretch of the trip I rode in the car with Grams, Megan, Lonnie, and a couple of high school boys. I have known Grams for years but didn’t really know her if you know what I mean. Right off the bat she impressed me because she climbed into the back seat with my two girls. Grams might be close to eighty years old but her spirit and zest for life was nothing short of a teenager. I realized that even I was going to have trouble keeping up with her. I wondered what her secret to living such a long and fruitful life and in such good health was. I was hoping to find out sometime this week.

On the drive down we made many pit stops. Besides being extremely frugal (that’s what society sums up my feelings to be) but mostly feeling like it is wrong to spend money on things like Starbucks and over priced junk food at a convenience store, I splurged and bought myself and my girls a drink . My fave is a green tea frappuccino. Almost ten dollars later, I struggled with having spent that money when it would have been so much better to have waited to put it in the offering plate at church this Sunday. I should have saved it but now it was gone. I wondered if some of the people in Mexico even knew what Starbucks was?

After having a delicious (free) lunch at Lonnie's mom's house we continued our way down to the Tecate border. As we got closer, the scenery changed to mountains and the girls incessantly took turns asking, “Are we there yet?” After we passed a border stop about 5 miles away from the actual border all of our excitement grew. Annalyn had only been to Mexico with her previous family for vacation and was looking forward to making new memories in Mexico with me. It took a lot of talking to convince her there would be no fancy hotels or hot, sandy beaches to play on. Julia has never been outside of California and was sure she would feel different once she could say she has been to a different country.

Driving through the mountains before we got to Tecate, we saw Border Control looking in the bushes for what I imagined to be someone trying to sneak into California. I had only previously heard about or watched such things on tv but never really saw it happening live. I’m not sure it affected anyone else in the car but my heart went out to that person. Why did I live such a privileged life while other people in the neighboring country felt the need to risk their lives just to get the same things we have? It just reminded me how blessed we are to call America our home.

Overall, Tecate appeared to be a poor town full of small shacks constructed out of plywood, aluminum siding, crumbled brick and what sometimes looked like cardboard. Cardboard? Was that really possible? The nicks in my wall from the kids throwing toys into the toy box, or the fact that my side yard was not cemented seemed pretty trivial right about now. At least I have walls.

As we were about to cross the border, I was told that it was a fifty- fifty chance of us getting pulled over by the Mexican police to pay taxes on the stuff that we were bringing over ---mainly a Costco play place that we were donating to El Viviente church. Since I was in the big truck (actually it was 6 of us girls) hauling the trailer with all the stuff, we were most likely to be the ones to get stopped. As we crossed the border, and drove past various police vehicles, we felt God leading they way. I remember passing a local park that was quite the hot spot. I have never seen such an array of people just hanging out at the park for just the sake of hanging out. Old men played cards, young families visited together while children ran around. Street vendors pushing their helado carts could be seen by the dozen and even a mariachi band minus the sombreros could be heard in the distance. It reminded me of the parks in Russia and since I love to people watch, I could have happily sat on a park bench for hours.

We never did get stopped as we drove on down Highway 3. About 2 hours later, we turned onto a dirt road ----with El Viviente only a couple of miles away. I got goosebumps.

It is amazing how quickly we or at least I forget. Just weeks ago I was in Mexico on an exciting adventure and yet so much has happened since that I am already forgetting some of the detail that made this trip so important in so many ways.

We were warmly greeted by Terry and Zacorro, the couple who oversees the church and organizes everything. They were so nice and friendly and quickly introduced us to everyone. They were busy preparing dinner for at least thirty people and I took the opportunity to learn a thing or two about fish frying. First of all - I am not a fish eater. I also do not prepare fish for my husband unless all it takes is opening the package and sticking it on a cookie sheet to be put in the oven. I watched as the cook took cut up angel fish dipped in batter and deep fried it in a wok full of hot oil over an open fire set up right outside of the home. Oil splattered and batter dripped as the fish was carried to and from the bowl, but it didn't matter because it was outside. How ingenious I thought. Why didn't I think of cooking like this to avoid major messes in my kitchen? I thought, "You learn something everyday."

I kind of worried about dinner because I didn't want to be rude, but I just didn't eat much fish ---especially angel fish. But I knew that they had taken a lot of time and resources to prepare this wonderful meal of fish tacos and I decided to dive in and make one up just the way they were meant to be eaten. First you get a homemade corn tortilla, they you get a piece of the fried fish. Next you top it with chopped up cabbage, homemade salsa consisting of tomatoes, cilantro and onions and then you douse it with lime.

"Here I go," I thought as I took my first bite. "Mmmmmm!!" Boy was it good. So this is what authentic Mexican food tastes like. Surprisingly, it was delicious. My girls thought so too. Especially Annalyn who by the end of dinner had finished off at least five pieces of fish.
I was so proud of myself for having eaten the fish, that I could not wait to tell John, who I was already beginning to miss deeply. So much was happening, and I would have loved to have him by my side. Isn't there some saying about absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Later that evening we went to a nearby camp to spend the night. In the room there was three story bunk beds, along the walls. They were really neat. Annalyn and Julia wanted to sleep on the very top but I wouldn't let them. The beds were very narrow and after all, the floor was bare concrete. My excuses seemed valid as they disappointingly set up their sleeping bags on lower bunks, but inside I wish I would have just let them sleep up on top. It would have probably been safe enough even for them. After all, they wouldn't have them if they weren't safe, would they? God, please help me to be a more fun and adventurous Mom...........kind of like trying the fish tonight.

I slept so well last night. I didn't even have to use the bathroom ---which is unusual for me. Probably because I am afraid of coyotes or snakes or something. Everybody was loading up as this would be our last day at this particular camp. We would spend the rest of our time over at the actual church site.
As I walked around taking pictures, a dog came up and laid down on my foot. She rolled over and so I petted her. She was a sweet dog who apparently lived at the camp and she loved it when I rubbed her belly. I wish I could have brought her home with me.
We headed back over to Terry and Zacorros's house for breakfast. I again was amazed to find them and a couple of other ladies already busy cutting up papaya and peeling oranges. I intentionally greeted Terry with a warm hug so I could look over her shoulder and get a glimpse of her cooking little, individual omelets. Here again was a crowd of 20 whom I would have happily fed a bunch of scrambled eggs if left up to me to do the cooking whereas Terry was taking the time to cook individual cactus omelets for each of us. Bless her heart. I was touched by her willingness to not only serve us, but serve us something extra special.
After I watched her make her 7th omelet with only 13 more to go, I told her that the kid's and I would probably only eat a third of one so she didn't have to cook a full 20 like she was planning to do. She looked relieved and soon we were all enjoying yet another authentic Mexican meal. Cactus omelets, refried beans, corn tortillas, and fresh papaya and oranges. And of course, I ate more than than my fair share. Julia and Annalyn on the other hand didn't really care for the cactus but I praised them for their willingness to at least try it.
After breakfast we headed up to the church for Sunday church. I was sharing my testimony today along with some others and began to get nervous. I had to be careful with how much I said because I didn't think my girls were old enough for me to share all of my testimony with them yet. I prayed, "God please help me to discern what is appropriate to share for all who will hear. Please fill me with your spirit so that I may speak Your words."
I expected church to start at any moment because my watch said 10 am. sharp. Why was the church still half empty? I was told that it would be overflowing with people. After talking to Lonnie, I learned that church didn't start around here until everybody got there and would end when the message was over and not when my watch showed a certain time. He went on to tell me that sometimes church lasted 1 hour and sometimes church lasted 2 1/2 hours. You just never new. A little confused I have to admit, I just went with flow ----what else was there for me to do.

I took the girls outside to play with the other kids when I heard, "Here they come!" as we watched an old 15 passenger van come over the hill and make it's way over to the church. It stopped and I watched person after person pile out of the van. Lots of little children rushed off to climb along a partially finished brick wall. Soon another van full of people showed up too, and before I knew it, people were coming up to me left and right introducing themselves to me and the girls. Everyone was so warm and friendly and I felt right at home as I walked into the church and sat down next to people I had just met but felt like I had known for years.
It was time for Church to start. It was 10:26 am.

Their service was quite similar to what I was used to, but I was particularly moved by one gentleman whose love for the Lord shined bright as a star. He was someone who appeared very humble, someone who at one time I knew had to be a broken man and yet now was living for the Lord, who had his hat in hand over his heart as he sang ever so gentle and sweet, all from his heart, eyes closed, as he had his special time with the Lord. It was a beautiful song that he sang.

My time to share came and God was good. Just minutes before it came to be my time to speak, my girls had been invited to attend Sunday school with the rest of the children. I was able to share freely, and I ended with the secret to my strong and long lasting marriage and with so many kids too. I described it as a triangle with God at the top and John and I at opposite ends on the bottom. As we draw nearer to God moving up the triangle, we would in turn get closer to each other.

After Sunday's service, we were served another wonderful meal. Turns out, that every Sunday after church, the congregation gathers to eat lunch together. It was really nice. We sat next to the family I mentioned earlier including Chilito. Now remember that Chilito is a very mentally retarded woman in her forties. Chilito has a cousin who was always with her to help her and she really made me stop and think about my life. Some people say my life must be hard, challenging, exhausting, ..............I must have the patience of a saint all because I have a lot of kids. Well not really, I think and say, but honestly they don't believe me. They can't imagine what my life must be like. I don't think my life is too different from anyone elses if I am comparing myself to another parent. I mean after all what are we really comparing --------- 2 kids to feed vs. 10? Not a big deal. But when I look at Chilito's cousin and all that she is doing, I am humbled by her commitment and dedication to Chilito's care. As I sat across from Chilito, I couldn't help but cringe at first as I watched her eat. Food was all over her face and she was drooling and it was easier to look away, yet her cousin who was beautiful (and I would say in her prime), smart and kind, seemed to think nothing of it as she wiped Chilito's mouth and helped her to eat. Later, I saw her peeling an orange for Chilito and then assisting her to the bathroom, and so on. What about her own life? Didn't she want to get married and have a family of her own? Wouldn't she prefer to be doing something else? I can't explain it, but I still remember this woman and if anyone were to be called a saint. it should be her. I'm not sure why I notice things like this, but it helped me to realize that every person on this earth deserves to be loved and cared for no matter who they are. We are all God's children, and we do what God calls us to do -----whether it is taking care of a loved one or being a mom to lots of children. One job is not better than the other, and I am in no way better than anyone else.

All throughout the week, God was good. We had VBS (vacation bible school) for everyone which started after our group devotional time. Melissa (our leader) shared some of the most inspirational words I have heard in a long time that continue to inspire me to this day. One book she shared from, which I am almost done reading is "If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat" by John Ortberg. I would highly recommend it.

As I finish, I wanted to add that this week really gave me the chance to spend one on one time with both Julia and Annalyn. One night I slept with each of the girls and on the last night all three of us slept in a bunk together. We were like sardines ---- very cozy!

If you ever get the chance to go on a mission trip, go! It is an amazing experience.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Baseball - A first for the Reed Family

This year we signed our two oldest sons, Adam and Caleb up for baseball. This is a first for us. We had considered it last year, but none of us were ready to make the commitment. They are on the Reds and play their first official game tomorrow. GO REDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is has been really good for the boys in more ways than one.

Ever since we adopted, I had had the attitude that we don't have time for sports. I felt like I wasn't getting enough quality time with my boys as it is, let alone having to compete with baseball. I guess you can say most of the hesitation was coming from me. So as a result, I hadn't let them try out for baseball. But after talking with another adoptive Mom, I realized that I was not being fair. After much prayer and consideration, I let them try out. And they made it!

Sure, baseball does take a lot of time what with practice every day but you know what? I am getting to spend more quality time with them in spite of the long practices. When I take them out shopping for gear, we make the most of it by going out to dinner too. Just the three of us. Also, every night after the rest of the kids are asleep we get to talk about practice and what happened at school as we eat bowls of ice-cream and watch Full House reruns.

God is good.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stayin' Home

The flu is going around our family right now. Not like I'm used to though. Usually sickness hits my children one after the other over a 1-2 month span. This time it is coming in waves. Last month it was the girls. Right now it is Jonny. When he is on Motrin he is fine, but as it is wearing off, he becomes this hot, lifeless, clingy child that my heart just breaks for.........until the Tylenol kicks in. Then he is fine again and the cycle repeats itself throughout the day. I'm sure you Moms know what I'm talking about.

Adam is finally feeling well enough that he went to school today. The whole weekend was spent in our bed and I even stayed home from church with him this past Sunday. At lunchtime yesterday, he said something very nice to me. I had just made grilled cheese sandwiches and was pouring some juice when Adam asked, "You do this everyday for them when I am at school?" When I shook my head yes, Adam replied, "That's cool. They are so lucky Mom." It made me realize how blessed I am to be able to stay at home and take care of my family.

Although I could of ended it on that note, I can't help but share how cute Sveta is. She came up to me last night to tell me how much her throat hurt and how she thinks she should stay home with me. Concerned, I felt her forehead and asked if it hurt to swallow. No fever and she answered, "No I said it hurt right here." as she pointed to her neck. When I acted very concerned and told her she should go lay down to rest her poor old neck, she quickly told me she was fine. Nice try Svet (nickname purposely pronounced without the A). :)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Awesome Quote

When I read this quote I knew I wanted to share it.

"Adopting one child won't change the world;but for that child, the world will change."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Laundry, a broom, and a mop

Today was a good morning, meaning beds fixed, hair happily done, and most importantly no arguing. Homework after school has also improved drastically since the kids returned to school after their three week Christmas vacation.

A couple of weeks ago, probably around the beginning of December, my wonderful husband was putting Christmas lights up on the house. Being that he is such a fun Dad, he of course let some of the kids help him. Well, while they were up there, one of them accidentally stepped on the drain that catches the rain run off and cracked it (although we didn't no that at the time.)
Anyways, fast forward to the first heavy rain after that incident and Julia finds our hallway flooded with puddles of water. First thing, I assume it is from the washing machine and think, "Great, a full load of laundry in the wash and the washer breaks." But as soon as I looked up, I realized that that would have been my preference. Instead water was dripping through our light fixture and door molding and down our wall. Agghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Now after three weeks, the drain and roof is repaired and the ceiling is ready to be repainted. Why do I mention all of this? Because I have been lugging all of the laundry upstairs (smart husband insisted on 2 laundry rooms when we remodeled) and spending twice the time making do using one washer and dryer. This, all because the downstairs washer and dryer also finally stops working during this time too, leaving me with a useless laundry room.

Well not all's lost, since I've had the joy of watching my two youngest boys play while I fold all the laundry upstairs. Today they were playing cowboys (ever since their Grandma bought Jonny a red hat at Dollar Tree) and Jonny was straddling Andrew's back like he was a horse, both of them preparing to slide down the stairs. Quickly thinking, mainly to avoid them injury, I pulled out a mop and a broom showing them what great horses they were. It was so cute to see them riding all over the house on a broom and a mop.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas too! Over the holidays I was asked such a neat question, in fact my whole family heard it in church one Sunday, that I wanted to share it with you. It made for some wonderful conversations in our house. Since it is actually Jesus' birthday we celebrate each year, "What are you going to get Him for his birthday?" My four year old said, "A wace car!" Oops, I mean race car. We haven't addressed R's in speech yet.

Anyways, I wanted to apologize for not writing sooner. I know it is the same song and dance with me, but again my hope is to get better at keeping my blog more updated.
The kids are about to walk into the door (every Wednesday is an early release day) and then homework will begin, so I gotta go for now.