Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Digest 21

Anonymous said...
Thank you so much for your reply to my question regarding homeschooling. Homeschooling isn't the norm here in the UK and, from what I have seen on the TV which admittedly is only "19 kids and counting" I was rather concerned that formal education in your family was only for the boys.
I still wonder when your girls meet other girls of their age group(s) (perhaps at church?) but realise that you probably don't share all aspects of your life.
Thank you for sharing.
August 25, 2011 7:04 AM

I would rather you ask then just assume anything. As far as my kids meeting other girls their age... that is not a problem. Not only do many of them keep in touch with old friends through letters and phone calls, but they have met new friends at church and outings. Above all though, I think it is great and best that they can count on each other at the end of the day to laugh with, confide in, and spend time with.

Sara P. said...
Christine, my husband and I would never have considered homeschooling (our kids are now grown), but I have enjoyed reading about your adventures, think some of your lesson plans are brilliant and sometimes am even a little jealous, since you sound like you're having fun.
I thought your response to anonymous was excellent, thoughtful and measured. (You'd make a great lawyer!)
Sara P.
August 25, 2011 10:51 AM

Your comment made me chuckle. My Mom said the same thing-- I'd make a great lawyer!
As for the homeschooling... I am having fun. It is time consuming and my new hobby is researching curriculum... hee hee... I often come home after spending a few hours at the resource center jumping up and down-- "I found just the thing to help you with metaphors!" It drives my homeschoolers crazy, but they know I mean well and want the best for them.

Anonymous said...
Those bars you put up look like fun but please put something soft under them in case anyone falls!
September 1, 2011 6:14 PM

I know you mean well, but it's no different than them climbing a tree, and I can't very well go out and pad under every tree they climb. I'm sorry if this is not the answer you were looking for, but I know that I can't go out and protect them from everything in this world nor am I going to even try.

Anonymous said...
I don't remember exactly when I found you, but i think it was around the time you brought Dennis home. Writing that, it's incredible to me how your family has grown (and grown up!) since then.
You and I are very different. I'm a young twentysomething, unmarried, and not very religious. However, I absolutely love your blog. It's honest and real. Also, it is so clear to me how much you and John love your children, and how much they love you and each other in return. My childhood was not always happy or stable, so it's nice for me to get a glimpse of a family life so unlike my own. Sometimes, I wish I were a Reed! :)
I found your blog while looking for international adoption resources. Both of my parents were adopted (my dad internationally) and as soon as I am old enough, I want to adopt special needs children
Anyway, thanks so much for writing this blog. I think your family is so cool and I love reading your updates. I've gotten my little sister hooked as well - I was reading the blog and she asked me whose "adorable kid" was on my computer screen. It was Dennis!
North Dakota

Hi M.! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate it more than you know! You have the gift of encouraging others-- remember that! We may be different in many ways, but we also have alot in common. We both have a heart for adoption, special needs, and Dennis!

Anonymous said...
Hi! Your back yard looks nice. I like the bike track. Do you think you will put a pool in I know you loved your last pool?This summer in Erie has been really hot .My children went to the beach many times. Pat
September 7, 2011 3:06 AM

Hi Pat, We will not be putting in a pool. We simply cannot afford it.

Annie said...
I didn't realize Galina had been with her previous family so long. That is unusual, it seems to me.
What happened? What was the dynamic, do you think?
September 12, 2011 10:05 PM

Galina was with her previous family for nearly six years. For two years I corresponded with the Mom. It just didn't work out. It is not that unusual though. Just look at couples who have been married for 10, 15, and 20 years. Maybe that is not a good analogy, but I can't really offer any other explanation.

Saturday, October 22, 2011
Wood Ranch Barbecue and Grill
Corona, Ca
4pm - 8pm
Cost-- Your meal (around $15)
RSVP: thereed8@yahoo.com

I had to throw this in as a friendly reminder not only to you but for me! Honestly I almost forgot! If you are a Mom, read this blog, need a break, or want to eat a meal that you didn't have to cook-- then please come-- especially if you live Southern California! I would love to meet you!

Anna said...
I enjoyed reading all the advice you got about the foot odor. I agree with everything already said so I wont comment! I did get a laugh about the boys fighting over a bible and Johns comment. thank you for the giggle at your expense.
September 14, 2011 10:24 AM

I'm glad someone got a giggle out of it! Oh sure... now I can laugh about it too, but at the time I didn't find it to be very humorous. :)

~ Teresa ~ said...

Do not let them wear their shoes without socks either. That is bad news.
September 14, 2011 3:03 PM

Not just them-- but me too!  Even my feet smell if I don't wear socks with closed shoes. I learned that the embarrassing way.  I guess they get it from me!

suebarber said...

Thought about you today driving home from my 8th doctor visit this week. My oldest was scheduled for surgery next Tuesday; he'll come home the same day. My youngest is headed for a major spinal surgery to help his cerebral palsy; lots of appointments and preparation. I am feeling pretty overwhelmed, and I thought about you. How on earth do you keep up with all your appointments and surgeries with your kids? The rest of the house is falling apart - laundry up to the eyeballs. Any advice? Thoughts? I "only" have 6 of 'em, but just my little guy has 7 therapy appointments a week, at a minimum, before doctors and other appointments are considered. Does Alex go to PT?
September 15, 2011 6:31 PM

I feel for you.  That is alot of doctor visits.  We come nowhere near that.  Oh sure, once in a while we get caught up in one appointment after the other, but I have learned some tricks over the years.  Often times you can get out of pre-op appointments if the hospital knows your child.  This was the case when Dennis had one surgery in June and then was scheduled for another one in August.  I simply told them that nothing had changed in those two months and that I didn't want to risk exposing him to anything before his surgery by bringing him into the office.  We didn't have to come in.  Also, I learned how to do the boys' physical therapy at home.  Alex is stronger than ever and the doctors are amazed at how well he gets around.  Granted, Alex doesn't enjoy it very much, but then neither do I!  We just do what we have to do and then move on.  We do physical therapy everyday in the comfort and convenience of our own home.  I did take Dennis to see a Physical Therapist for his neck and lack of upper body strength-- but I took notes.  One exercise included walking up and down stairs alternating feet which he has nearly mastered in the last month.  The PT wanted to see him once a week, but I told her that would be hard since he goes to school, needs a nap, time to do homework, and time to just play.  She agreed that twice a month would more than suffice.
My suggestion, if you are feeling overwhelmed than your child is probably feeling overwhelmed too.  It might be worth looking into ways you can cut back on some of these appointments.
Ami said...

Phineas and Ferb, of course! What else does one name frogs?
September 17, 2011 6:45 AM

Can you believe that we have yet to name them?  Right now they are still referred to as the frogs.

MommaMindy said...

I think I need my eyes checked. I thought your title said, "It POOPED through" so I was thinking, "Wow, one of her kids swallowed money, too?" Or maybe a Lego?
Loved seeing the project that POPPED through. School with hands-on projects is so much fun.
Enjoy your weekend, busy Momma!
September 16, 2011 2:23 PM

How funny!  I had to do a double take before I hit the publish button because I thought the same thing. 

Molly said...

Happy Birthday, Anna! John is HILARIOUS in that video. I love how even when he is talking in English, he has a Russian accent.
September 16, 2011 9:54 PM

You picked up on that too?  LOL-- even after six years watching that video makes me smile.

The McGowans said...

I hope you never look back from realizing how much your parents love you, searched for you, and still find you precious. God put you in your amazing family so you could learn that he loves you even more crazy than your parents and sibs.
September 18, 2011 11:55 AM

Thank you Martita.  I posted this comment to make sure that Annalyn saw it!

Sarah said...

Just grabbed it and it's on the blog - handiworkforelijah.blogspot.com. We would love it if you grabbed ours too! :)
Been voting for you everyday!!!
September 18, 2011 6:39 PM


becca812b said...

if you don't mind me asking, how many of your children are baptised? Were these the first six? Thanks!
September 19, 2011 2:39 PM

I don't mind answering.  Eleven of the kids are baptized. 

Martha said...

Voted 6 times till now! :)
Today I felt God wanted me to help one of the saddest faces on Reece's Rainbow. I can't adopt myself, but made a website and a facebook page about Kristie.
Please help find a family for her. Until Christmas would be great :)
Please share. Boggers are very powerful :)
September 20, 2011 6:04 AM

Martha-- thank you for advocating for this sweet girl.  Hopefully sharing your comment helps to get the word out! 

Courtney said...

I would love to know more about your charter school and how found it. I wish we had something like that around here but I haven't found anything yet. It sounds wonderful!
September 22, 2011 9:06 AM

I first heard about charter schools like the one we are a part of from my friend who also lives in Southern Ca.  I am not surprised that you haven't found anything like it where you live because my friend who lives in Central Ca has been unable to find anything either. :(  I guess it's still a fairly new thing.  You might look into virtual online schools and see where that search leads you. 

Katya said...

Poor Sasha! It must be horrible to be alone like that. I hope you don't mind, but I will certainly be praying for him to get better soon. At least he has you guys to care, even if from afar.
Galina has such stunning eyes! They are similar the color of the ocean out by the reef near where we live actually.
All your children are beautiful.
September 22, 2011 5:02 AM

Thank you so much.  He is finally out of the hospital.  He is taking an English class so that he and Rachel can communicate better.   

As for Galina's eyes-- you should see them in real life!

Emina said...

In the nicest possible way, that letter could be phrased and structured a LOT better for a sucessuful outcome. Could I possibly give it a go to give you an example of how it should be done, when writing letters like that?
September 22, 2011 12:34 PM

Emina, I appreciate your constructive criticism.  I agree that the letter could have been better written.  Thankfully, the outcome was successful nonetheless.  Dennis will now be receiving Occupational Therapy Services every week!

Phyllis said...

I know what you mean. I have chronic pain...my prayers are with you.
September 23, 2011 11:46 AM

Big hugs.  Sorry that you are in constant pain.

Missy and Kevin said...

Your story sounds similar to mine. I suffered with pain for years..in and out of hospitals with no definite diagnosis. Gallbladder was removed also with no signs of stones or disease. I recently traveled to Florida to see a specialist and was diagnosed with Sphincter of Oddi disorder. I had a procedure to correct it and it saved my life. I had lost all faith in doctors and even felt forgotten by God...my faith was tested and the pain and journey brought me to my knees..in more ways than one. I am doing so much better now. I will pray for you! You are not alone! God bless you and your family.
September 23, 2011 12:39 PM

"...my faith was tested and the pain and journey brought me to my knees"  I can so relate.
I read about your story on your blog.  I am so glad that the doctors found what was wrong.   As for me... the pain is pretty much gone... for now.   I am thankful for that.  I suffer from post-cholecystectomy syndrome and probably always will.

Anonymous said...
What a great day! Love the smiling faces! So happy that you enjoyed yourselves together!

Now who's the eighth girl - a friend or a future daughter :-) ?
September 25, 2011 3:36 AM

Just a friend. :)

mommajeane said...

It sounds like a fun day...How far away is it from your home ?
September 25, 2011 6:12 AM

Hollywood is about an hour and a half long drive if the traffic is light.

Katya said...

Oh dear - Anna's caught the Bieber bug. I feel sorry for you :) I banned Oksana from playing it, though she's still a little young to go crazy over him.
Sounds like you all had a great day! You are so fortunate to live close enough to go there for a day trip!
September 26, 2011 4:31 AM

Actually, Anna is getting over the Bieber bug.  It had to run its course.

Rachel said...

Does it really get cold in Southern California? It was about 87 degrees here today, but our days will very soon be in the 50's and 60's. Autumn is my favorite time of year here though, so I'm not complaining. With the cooler temps come the beautiful colors on the trees...it's already beginning!
I've been voting!
September 26, 2011 4:51 PM

Where we live is more like desert.  It can get really cold.  On this particular night the temperature dropped to 67 degrees in the house.   For us... that's cold. :) Thank you for voting.

Michelle said...

in order to assure you that people of all ages can fall & look like fools, allow me to share. ;-)
picture this: i'm 14 and my Mom has picked me up from my ice skating training session. i was a gymnast until my body gave out, so i've taken up skating as a hobby. i manage to stay up on my skates all session, not a fall to be had.
as we drive home, it starts pouring. we realize it'll be awhile til we get through all the traffic, so we pull into the mcdonald's parking lot - i forgot my water bottle & am needing a drink desperately.
because it's pouring, nobody wants to walk in so the drive-thru line is wrapped around the building. we brave the rain & run in.
as i walk in, i say, "hey Mom, the floor is wet, be careful."
no sooner had i said that then i was on the floor.
to this day i don't remember falling - one moment i was walking, the next i was sitting on my rear!
embarrassed, i hopped up quickly & brushed it off - i managed to do jumps on ice while wearing blades on my feet, yet i can't walk into mcdonalds!
anyway, we walk to the register & order two drinks. as my Mom pays, i take my cup to the fountain to fill it. i start having trouble seeing. not having hit my head, this doesn't make sense, so i try to shake it off.
but something is wrong... i'm not thinking clearly. i place my cup under the ice machine & walk away. Mom asks where my drink is... i ask what she's talking about.
then i reach out in front of me & lean forward. i think i'm pushing on the door - i want to go sit in the car - but i'm not seeing clearly, the door is several feet away.
i pass out.
i was rushed to my health provider's version of the emergency room. WITHOUT HITTING MY HEAD, i got a concussion! i hit the ground on my rear end with such force that my tailbone not only cracked, but the force traveled up my spine & shook my brain my skull.
my doctor said it was her first patient she'd actually seen who had done that... she asked if i was sure i hadn't hit my head, but there was no wall where i was walking, and she verified there were no bruises or tender spots on my head at all. she'd read about this but never seen it.
so i walked in for a drink & broke my rear end, giving myself a concussion without hitting my head.
did i feel foolish? you bet!
but you better believe i'll never brush off an embarrassing fall ever again...
September 27, 2011 8:22 PM

Ouch.  Thanks for sharing.  It is kind of scary to know just how sensitive our brain is to injury.  Glad you are okay.

Natalie said...

September 28, 2011 10:37 AM

Here were the questions.  Natalie got the most answers right.
"Can eating Takis and drinking coffee give you diarrhea?" Umm.... yes.

Rachel, Caleb, or Adam

"Why do I have to change my socks everyday?" Ummmm... because your feet stink.
Jonathan, Andrew, or Alex

"Are you really going to cook friend shrimp on the same cookie sheet as the chicken nuggets?" Okay, I was a softy and separated the two.
Anna, William, or Rachel

"Do I have to forgive him today?" Ummm..... yes.
Dennis, Jonathan, or Galina

Thanks for playing along.

Anonymous said...

So, the only reason your're blogging so much latley is because you want the top spot? Hmmm....
September 30, 2011 12:31 PM

If I am honest... yes.  Being nominated in the first place... and the whole voting thing was very exciting.  So I was excited and wanted to show my appreciation that you voted for me.  Is that wrong?  I had not been nominated for anything like this before that I can recall and therefore did not know the proper etiquette.  I guess now I know!

Jeanette said...

Beautiful post!
Would love to see videos of all your kids, especially Paul and Anastasia.  I'm a sucker for an accent :) Would love to hear how their english is coming along.
October 2, 2011 5:09 PM

Thanks for the idea! I wish I would have thought of it sooner!

Blogging Friend said...

They really sound good together.
Julia is a beautiful girl inside and out. You can tell she has a heart of gold and loves to help others in need.
You guys need to consider getting her a real piano. I am betting that if she had a real piano that sounds really good, that she would really love to play, and it would sound beautiful. She really is good and needs a piano Mom and Dad. BTW, Christmas is not far away. I know they cost a lot but something to make you think about anyway.
October 2, 2011 10:55 PM

We used to have a piano.  We gave it to our neighbor when we moved.  I didn't think it could handle the jostling.  Replacing it would have been very expensive so we went with a keyboard that has weighted, pressure sensitive keys.  It's not the same, but it is better than nothing!

Anonymous said...

I notice your girls are interesting in cake decorating.
I taught myself out of the Wilton books. After I got good at it I have made several wedding cakes over the years and they are so much better then any bought cake.
A good how to book you can get on Amazon for about $4 is:
Jeff Shankman: Decorating cakes: A reference & idea book (The Wilton school) [Paperback]  Our local craft stores sell Wilton tips and bags. Just make up the icing and practice on a cookie sheet. I make the icing half butter and half crisco with flavoring added. That type icing will easily hold shapes for roses and decorations in general.
You can also look on utube and see how its done.
October 5, 2011 10:58 AM

Thank you so much for the tip!  I did look into cake decorating at our local craft store and it was going to be nearly $300 for the classes and supplies so I had to pass.

Anonymous said...

I love Anastasia's accent! Great reader! May I ask how long she's been in the US? My Russian-born daughter is almost 12, and has been here 3 yrs this Monday. I have no one to compare her progress to in our community. I think she's doing well but its hard to tell. Just curious!
PS. Did you win?
Cheryl in ID
October 6, 2011 9:29 AM

Anastasia came to the US in July, 2010. 

Amy...who wanted 4. said...

I would be interested in hearing more!
October 7, 2011 3:36 PM

The trip would probably be close to two weeks including travel.  I am looking into ways that we could all meet up in New York no matter what state we begin our travel so that we can fly together.  The trip would include a day at the sea... hopefully.  The trip would involve building and grounds keeping to prepare a place for orphans to stay.   It would involve working with the locals... building relationships too.  I have so many other ideas that God has laid upon my heart.  But this is something new to me.  Being a part of organizing a mission trip  is not something I have ever done--- and I hardly feel equipped, but I trust that God will work out the details.  As long as we all stay patient, flexible, and keep our eyes on Him, I know that it can and will be an amazing trip!
Kristy said...

Great Book! I am still working on 2006! LOL... Question though.. do you "Slurp" your blog or do you add everything on your own. I've been adding on my own as I am not current to when I started my blog, but I am curious how well the Slurp feature works.
October 9, 2011 9:11 PM

I have done it both ways, but I definitely prefer to Slurp!  I then go and rearrange the layout, change the backgrounds, fonts, size of pictures, etc.  I usually start with 700 pages, but after condensing everything I get it down to around 200.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I will buy the cookbook, Are you going to make any dark bags? Pat
October 10, 2011 12:31 AM

Oh thank you!  This is so encouraging to hear.  I hope to get them done by Thanksgiving so that people can buy them for Christmas gifts.  All I am waiting for is God to answer my prayer and fill me with energy! :)
Anonymous said...

So presumably you're already starting to gin up support for everyone else to subsidize your annual pilgrimage to Ukraine next year. I just have to ask one question. Why the exclusive support and obsession with Ukraine? Last time I checked, poverty and hunger are widespread and worldwide. There are children who are equally hungry and in need in other places including Mexico, Central and South America, and most of Asia. And with 20% unemployment, right here in your own backyard in California. Not to mention the entire Midwestern and Southern states. And those are heavily Christian regions. Where is your support for them? What makes them any less needy or red blooded than Ukrainian chilren? Is their currency so devalued that even when factoring travel costs that your dollars go the furthest there? Or is there another reason?
Best regards
Benecia, CA
October 10, 2011 6:45 AM

Thomas did you go and write that because you knew it would cause a stir? :) I really don't have anything else to add to the other comments except that I have wondered the same thing about why Ukraine.  Other than many of my children being from Ukraine and us getting to know the people and the country and seeing that there is a great need-- I don't know.  What I do know is that I am incredibly blessed that God would lay the desire to help in Ukraine on my heart what I believe he has already commissioned me to do. 

Have a good day Thomas.  Truly, I hope you find what you were commissioned to do with your life and go and do it!  Blessings!


  1. As a previously homeschooled homechooler (second generation), I can say that socialization is not an issue for most homeschoolers, as long as their parents don't squirrel them away. In fact, kids educated at home tend to have a much broader social experience and are able to communicate equally well with adults and others their own age. It's one of the biggest concerns people seem to have, but I think it really is the least important!

    As for cake decorating, I highly recommend looking online for techniques and inspiration. No need to pay that much for classes, spend it on materials instead and the kids can practice on cupcakes. Two of my sisters mostly taught themselves and now make cakes for money!

    On a totally different topic, my 5 year old wanted to see all the kids on the sidebar and I explained that you have a nice, big family and asked if he would want 13 brothers and sister and he said, "Oh YEAH! That would be awesome. Actually, I think I want 100." :)

  2. Good gravy, the things that pop up in the comments section. I have to say I decided to keep my own adoption blog private (not able to be found on google searches) when I saw some of the things that people say to you here. I have heard the "why are you not adopting from ____" question in person though - usually asked with a fair degree of indignance, and usually asked by people who have no intention of adopting anyone themselves. I do notice though that people tend to feel freer to be rude in text more than in person. Not always, though. Good answer here Christine. Good for you.

  3. Didn't you pick the Ukraine so you can marry off your daughter?

  4. Great Response to Thomas. My husband and I serve children in Mexico full time. My aunt and uncle have served in Dominican Repulic and Guatemala. Another friend takes yearly trips to Haiti. My sister frequents South Africa. My mom prefers to help teen mothers in her Wisconsin community. I have friends that are missionaries in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and China. Praise God that he gives us burdens for different people groups :)

  5. Wow, what a long post! Took me a while to get to the end but I have to say something about that last letter...

    If I were you, my answer would be, "Why not Ukraine?" after all, you are only one family with a finite amount of time and resources. You can't possibly help everyone this person mentions on his list. But you've picked an area to focus on and put your efforts towards that has personal meaning to your family. What's so bad about that? It's much better than the vast majority do which is nothing!

    Well, this Canadian enjoys your blog and is inspired by it. Keep up the good work!

  6. Wow. What a comment from Thomas. Really, we do what we feel called to do because God has a special plan and job for each of us. If we don't do the job we were chosen for, the job goes undone. God doesn't need us to do the job he's planned for someone else. Make sense?

  7. I always love your digests. You are an amazing Mom and exude God's grace.

  8. Dear Christine,
    You know, my church loves expensive, short mission trips, and I have some sympathy for Thomas' concern about funding a fun trip that may be more about a meaningful vacation than doing the best for the needy. One mission description talked about how the locals were more impressed that a bunch of "rich" Americans came to serve them than they would have been if the dollars had just come alone, and that more souls were turned to Christ as a result. It made me think. Then, for our own adoptions, I was proud (note the word!) to be able to fund them ourselves, only to be fired, spent the 2d mortgage proceeds on making ends meet, and finally was able to pay for the adoption only because a huge commission came in the very month we needed $10K! Still, MY money, though. Then we learned that our daughter's toddler sister may be offered to us next year and, having taken a steady job, having a commission fall into my lap is not a possibility. Heavens, I may actually have to fundraise to get that child out of her orphanage! I think I am being humbled, don't you?
    Thank you for being kind to (doubting?) Thomas, as he may not be so far from where I was a few years ago.

  9. I like your response to Thomas. Do you read the Very Worst Missionary? She has written some blog posts on short term missions trips. I think the kind of trips she is talking about are different that the ones you have gone on in Ukraine, but you might find them to be an interesting read.

  10. Christine ... I loved that you blogged daily/more often during the contest! I could count on reading something new from you daily. If anyone has an issue with that, they are a party pooper! (our almost 6yr old ds would most certainly enjoy my incorporation of the word "poop" - LOL). I thought the contest was great fun ... and as an added bonus ... you came in first :-)

    It is very late at the moment ... I will read your post again tomorrow (more carefully). 'Love your blog

    MariaG (Canada)

    p.s. What I did find not so great in a previous contest is those who campaigned for votes, got in at the top and then retired from blogging. THAT was disappointing. 'Glad to see you are not disappearing :-)

  11. Hi! Thanks for answering the questions.Pat

  12. Julia doesn't need a 'real' piano :)

    You can get electric pianos these days that play exactly the same as a 'real' piano. I actually don't think I'd buy a real piano - just too much maintenance :) An electric piano doesn't need tuning! And these days they can feel exactly the same and sound exactly the same too. Besides, no parent should be told that their child 'needs' a particular instrument. I got irritated with my mother-in-law for telling friends of mine they had to buy their 16 year old daughter a guitar because she had a little talent on the guitar. (I don't mean to insult her talent - she was quite good - but she had only just started and it's not like she was incredibly talented or anything. Who knows, she might have given it up in 6 months.)

    Couldn't believe Thomas's comment. How rude. Is one person supposed to save the world? How many children has he adopted? Do we criticise Hudson Taylor for having a heart for China but not his homeland of England? Do we criticise the Wesley brothers for having a heart for America? Do we criticise Amy Carmichael for having a heart for India? Couldn't believe that comment. I understand his concern at asking for other people's money to fundraise trips to the Ukraine (I don't have such worries but I understand his) but to criticise someone for focusing on one particular country??


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.