Friday, October 24, 2008

I am Exempt!

Boy, they didn't wait long to serve me. I promptly got back to them, the same day that I voted.

To Whom it may Concern,

I am juror XXXXXXXXX and I am writing to get an exemption from jury duty. Not only am I a stay at home mom of 11 kids, but we just adopted our 2 year old son with special needs at the end of July, 2008. I do not leave him with a babysitter yet because I want to avoid attachment issues and he is going to be having his first major surgery on November 5th to remove his right eye. I need to get an exemption from jury duty because of this. If not, hopefully you guys don't mind my two small children coming with me and sitting on my lap. Unless, I hear otherwise, I am assuming that I am excused.

Sincerely, Christine Reed
Ms. Reed,

Your request to be excused from jury service has been approved. You will receive confirmation by mail.

Thank you,
United States District Court

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Here is a video that has by far been the most convincing, yet graphic illustration as to why abortion is so horrible--- unthinkable. I don't understand how anyone can support a woman's choice to do this. It is of my opinion that if we as a country are allowed to do this, than we should be allowed to murder whoever harms us, threatens us, ticks us off, or merely inconveniences us --- just as easily. Honestly, what is the difference? I can't understand why so many are unresponsive to the war that is being waged on the most innocent lives of all.

Just click on the video on the right hand side of the site, but beware, this might change your mind. Are you open and willing to have God work in your life at this very moment? Every woman thinking of doing this, should be required to watch a video like this.

I also want to encourage you to read this. It was lifechanging for me.

So was this........ but even more so. Redeeming Love changed my life so much, second to the Bible, that I went out and bought at least five copies and handed them out to friends and family.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Playing with Forks

The other day we went to McDonald's. We sat outside and ate---- Sveta called it a picnic. As we were finishing up our food, Adam came over to our table and asked if we wanted any fries. One of my daughters quickly reached for the fries even though she had just as big of a pile still on her wrapper. "Sweetie, you shouldn't take those fries when you have those to still finish up."

"Oh, yeaaah," she mischievously replied with a sly look on her face. Just one of many little things that we are working on daily.
Today after school, Annalyn thought it would be cool to make a fork sculpture. She was incredibly relieved that her $600 clarinet wasn't lost after all--- the bus driver found it last Friday and was holding onto it until someone claimed it. I so wanted to take away this privilege from her, but John helped me to see how giving Annalyn another chance was in her best interests if we wanted to teach her responsibility. So, even though she temporarily lost her instrument, she has another chance to prove to not only us but to herself that she can be responsible. Come on Annalyn, you can do it!

For snack today, Julia made everyone Top Ramen--- mmmmm!

Andrew was so sweet with Dennis tonight. Isn't this adorable?

Annalyn has been bugging me to cut her hair. I was glad to see her happy face when she looked
at the back of her hair in the mirror. She thinks she looks like Ramona Quimby. What do you think?

Dennis is learning to drink from a cup on his own.

How smart is this?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Digest 4

crispy said...
I have asked before and still wondering what the answer big is that table and where did you get it? How many does it seat?

Our kitchen table, which is actually two put together is 16 feet long and always has seating around it for 16. However, it can easily sit 22. We bought it at a local oak liquidator store where we were able to special order the fabric for the chairs.

Mary said...
I'd like to know what cooking for a large family is like. I usually cook for four, so I can't imagine what it's like to cook for three times that number of people every night! Do you find that it's pretty similar to cooking for a smaller group, only you just make more of each dish, or does it require a very different approach?

Cooking for a large family is not that different than cooking for a small family. Over the years as our family grew, the amount of food that I prepared naturally grew too. It is not like I had to learn overnight how to cook for a crowd. Sometimes the prep and clean-up work can be a little tiring, but thankfully I enjoy cooking so much and I have plenty of helpers that it isn't that big of a deal. Soon, I will be sharing some recipes that I have found to be especially yummy, crowd pleasing, and fairly easy to make.

Nikki said...
I have a question for the next digest in response to the one asked today regarding the girls speaking Russian. You said they barely know any anymore... do you have any plans on getting them in lessons so they can keep the language? Do you do anything with them to keep the Russian culture in them alive, if that makes sense? I plan on adopting my kids in 5(ish) years (although probably from Haiti and Ethiopia) and find it really interesting to hear adoptive parents thoughts on language and culture... although that probably also has a lot to do with me getting a degree in cultural anthropology :) Thanks, and I look forward to reading more as always :)

First off, I am thrilled that you have a heart for adoption. What a wonderful road you plan to travel. As far as re-teaching my kids Russian, I don't think we will be doing that. Spanish would make more sense where we live, LOL. But I do believe in keeping their Russian culture alive. I am Russian myself, so this isn't very hard. We talk about Russia and Ukraine on a regular basis because it is a part of who my daughters are. Since they were older when we adopted them, they have a lot of memories and I don't want them to forget them. I try to cook Russian food like borscht, compote, Stroganoff, and potatoes. We have Russian trinkets around the house, and we play games to see who can remember the Russian names of things. I suppose if they wanted to re-learn Russian we would let them pursue this as long as their other studies were fairly strong.

Denise said...
I am a stay at home mom with 3 adopted children from Russia. Well, they're toddlers.. I find it so hard to live off of 1 salary. How do you do it. Any suggestions.

Our family is blessed that I am able to stay at home. John's salary has continued to meet the demands of our growing family in the form of raises, and to honor his hard earned money and stretch it to meet our family's needs, I have learned to run a tight ship. For the most part--- we don't try to keep up with the Jones'. I am constantly looking for ways to cut costs and live within our means without making our kids feel like being part of a large family makes them do without. I would say that my top three secrets to being a good steward of our money is tithing, using things until they have completely worn out (the kids do not automatically get new backpacks every year just because it is a new year), and helping my kids to realize that there really isn't anything that they need that they don't already have.

Connie said...
Hey sis, I nominated you for
a blog award :-)

Thank you so much. I feel honored. I am so glad that I inspired you to start blogging again because you do an awesome job. I think it is a wonderful way to keep in touch. I pass this award to Heidi, Maleri, Kathy, Carrie, Jen, Rachel, Carla, and June.

But the real question is, did you go and vote for me? Just kidding. :)

Faith said...
"I couldn't even think of starting a new project until my first book was done---- and I finished it last night!"Umm...what? I never heard about that! Please do dish!!

I'll share in a couple days, I promise.

beth said...

Questions I have:

1. Do any of your children take medications for behavior issues?

2. Your table, that everyone is interested in, does it happen to be a Broyhill-Attic Heirlooms piece? It looks a lot like mine.

3. How do you handle the constant "noise"?

4. With so many kiddos what things have you learned to overlook?

(1) None of my kids take medication for behavior issues. When William was in kindergarten and we insisted he be evaluated because of Autism like behaviors, the school wanted to have a pharmacologist be part of the IEP team. I was adamant that I did not want to go down that slippery slope and would not allow a pharmacologist to be part of the team. William, with his issues now recognized has done a total 360 in school and is now the best behaved student in his class--- no joke. I'm not sure why he still struggles with certain behaviors here at home--- but nothing is even remotely bad enough to warrant any kind of medication in our opinion. I think he feels that home is the one place that he can be himself which still includes saying Binky and Dad at least 100 times a day. If one of my children all of a sudden became really aggressive, suicidal, or had a change in behavior that was totally out of character for them and medication was the best option, I think we would definitely consider it after exhausting all other resources.

(2) Already answered. (3) The noise level is naturally loud in our house. For the most part I have come to accept it and ignore it-- accept when the phone rings. That is when I get louder than all of them and shout, "BE QUIET RIGHT NOW!! I AM ON THE PHONE!!!" Great example, huh? (4) I have learned to overlook very little. I run a tight ship. My kids know I run a tight ship. My husband is 100% onboard and he is an equal co-captain. But, we honestly try to practice what we preach and we dish out tons and tons of love while we are parenting. Our kids are really good kids and because they know how the ship operates, they don't do too many things to make it go off course. And I must mention that we are all about grace--- but that is different than overlooking something.

dj said...
My husband and I are thinking of adopting. Most of my family is against it and two of my friends think it's a wonderful thing. What are your feelings about adopting out of birth order?

We have adopted out of birth order four times. Each time it has worked out beautifully. While we may sound totally "out there", we just felt that a child should not be considered or not considered for adoption based solely on their age. When we adopted Rachel, she became our oldest daughter, and if you were to ask any of my kids, it was and is not an issue. What reason could be good enough that would trump a child not having the chance for a family? Would it be that my bio daughter might not be the first to walk down the aisle? Big deal-- what would God say about that? Or might it be that my oldest son might have to let his new sister hitch a ride in his car to school in the morning? He should be thankful to have a car if you ask me. Now, I am not saying that any of my kids have said or felt this way, but honestly, if they did I don't think we should be adopting another child because in my opinion if my kids felt this petty about such non-important things than I should be focusing on raising the kids I already have to have hearts more like Jesus and less like the world before trying to add another child to our family. (sorry for the run-on sentence)

Pat said...
Just a purely educational question, what are your thoughts on professional counseling for the kids. I obviously don't know much about RAD or other emotional disabilities but I don't recall you mentioning it and I haven't seen a discussion of it on other blogs. Have you had to struggle with RAD? This seems, by your posts and how well your children are doing, to be one disorder that fortunately bypassed you.Again, just purely educational for myself

Good questions. Both of my girls were said to have RAD. One family was doing the Nancy Thomas approach including strong sitting. I don't want to go into too much discussion since I am not a "professional", but I will say that my girls do not have RAD nor have they ever been in therapy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dennis in the Box!!!

Dennis wants my camera so bad! I think he wants to play Mr. Photographer.

Time to go wake him up to go pick up his safety glasses and get the kids from school!

I rented "Facing the Giants" and bought candy and popcorn! What are you doi

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Julia, my first daughter

My daughter Julia has a unique place in our family. She is my only biological daughter. When she was born, I had to keep checking her diaper because I couldn't believe that I finally got my girl. After her birth, we went on to have three more boys. She was our princess for seven years.

We always hoped to give her a sister, so when we decided to adopt it was only natural that we wanted to adopt a girl. Who knew that we would eventually end up with four more girls--- all within a 31 month age span. Needless to say, Julia was no longer the princess of the family. Now there were five!

During the beginning stages of our very first adoption of Anna and Sveta, we got some very hurtful comments. "You don't know what you are doing. You are going to forever change your children's lives and possibly screw them up. Why would you want to risk bringing in someone else's child to raise when you don't even know them?"

For us, it was a wake-up call. Quickly we knew which friends were supportive and which ones were not. For us, the idea of an adoptive child ruining our family was as ludicrous as saying that one of our six biological children might ruin our lives. We believed then and believe to this day that a child whether bio or adopted are exactly the same and therefore any sister that we gave Julia would be a blessing no matter how God joined them to our family. A biological child can just as easily cause problems in a family, and to avoid adopting for fear that an adoptive child could mess up our perfect little family was essentially saying that God was not big enough to get us through the hardships. I know better than to doubt my God. I think having this attitude from day one is what has carried us through the good times and the bad.

Anyway, Julia has handled our growing family with such an unselfish attitude, that at times I feel like it is just to good to be true. I mean how can she just be totally fine with sharing all that was once hers with four sisters now---all of whom could be totally annoying to her (and vice-versa)? There is a balance that I feel like as a mom I have to maintain with all of my children---- yet they each need something a little different. I am totally up for this challenge and find it very rewarding to be able to help each of my children feel special in their own little way.

With Julia, it is making sure that she knows without a doubt that she holds a special place in my heart (I will never forget those first seven years where it was just her and I) and I understand that she might struggle with feelings of jealousy while still letting her know that her sisters are just as important and special as her in their own way. I want her to know that I am aware that it is not only her sisters who have had to adjust to their new family, but it her that also has to adjust to them now being a part of our family. Make sense?

The other day Julia was very emotional after school. She was quiet, irritable and a time bomb waiting to go off. I picked up on it and right away thought that it must be one of the times that she was regretting having so many sisters. I was waiting for her to tell me about some huge fight she had had with one of them on the walk home from the bus or something.

As I was sitting with her on her bed, I kept trying to guess what was wrong. I was sure I had it nailed and was rehearsing how I was going to address her feelings. I wanted to be sensitive to how she was feeling yet I knew that I would have to remind her that wishing for them to be gone was wrong because they were forever a part of our family just like her brothers---- though I am sure she would like to snap her fingers and have one or two of them disappear at times.

When she finally told me what was wrong, a huge sigh of relief came over me. This had nothing to do with her not wanting sisters-- nothing at all. A big shame on me for automatically assuming that this is what was wrong. I should have given my daughter more credit.

"Today we were weighed in groups of three. And I was the heaviest, and this girl told everyone in class." Julia was devastated. I was angry that the school was still weighing the kids in front of each other after all of these years knowing full well how sensitive weight issues are in this day and age. Julia is not fat, not even close and she is very tall and beautiful, and fast meaning she is all muscle, yet now because some insecure girl decided to shoot off her mouth to embarrass Julia, now I have a daughter feeling that she is too fat. Did I mention that I was angry?

But at that time all I could do was to try and pick up the pieces of my daughter's embarrassed, broken heart and help her to realize that she is one beautiful girl. I shared with her my experiences as a very overweight girl in school that always tried to wear the lightest clothes that day just so I would weigh less. I remember those days of being weighed and they were very devastating to my self-esteem.

I am so sorry that Julia of all girls had to experience this (even when it shouldn't be an issue), but at the same time, it was a beautiful moment that the two of us got to share. It reminded me that maybe, just maybe I don't praise my children enough or tell them how beautifully and wonderfully made they are.

And just like my other daughters, Julia is amazing from the inside out.