Monday, January 30, 2012

Life is Interesting

I can't believe what a little stinker Dennis has turned into recently.  It has actually been for the last few months that he has started having these little tantrums-- as if to declare to the world that he has a voice, his own ideas, and if he wants to put his foot down-- by golly he is going to put his foot down.  Half the time John and I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  Most times we scoop Dennis up and whisk him off to bed for a timeout which seems to be the most effective.  
But every once in a while, we hear him out.
"You hurt my feelings!"  
"You make me cry!"
"But Julia promised me chocolate milk!"
William continues to make dinner quite interesting.
He doesn't eat beef.  Unless it is steak.  He doesn't want you to eat beef.  Unless it is steak.  Then it's okay to copy him.  For everything else like getting out of bed in the morning, it is not okay to copy him.
Remember the plates each of the kids made?
Who knew they would become the focus for William at dinner.  For a while there he was insisting that everyone have their plate for dinner... and he was adamant about it.   John and I work with him every night about this so now it isn't such a big deal anymore to have some of the plates in the dishwasher or something.  The key is that we have to continually work with him about these things.  Let's just say-- he makes life very interesting.

Anna loves pickles.  So much that I am thinking a big jar would make an excellent birthday gift this year! 
What do you think?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pie is so nice.
It's even nicer when it is completely homemade... and lemon. 
This time the meringue came out just right!
They look great, but the real question is did they taste great too?
Yup!  Absolutely luscious!
I bet you would like a slice.  Well come on over!

Ceramic Bowls

This is the kids' latest projects.  I can't wait to see them once they have been fired.
We are all anxious to see if they will leak or not.
Today we went to the Goodwill Store.  Found some really cute things and two pairs of jeans for the middle boys who keep putting holes in their knees in every pair of jeans they own.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Remember Her?

She has a family!
Now if only sweet little Owen's family would find him.

Met In Real Life!

Today I met Debbie from Slava Bogu in real life!  It is such a blessing to be able to meet her after reading her blog the last few years.  We visited and drank coffee--- just like old friends.
Safe travels home my friend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Prefer the Mountain of Muffins

When I saw this I just turned around and walked out of the room.  Dennis dumped out all of the toys.  Thankfully, William saw it as an opportunity to organize. :)  William, Alex, and Dennis played all afternoon going through the toys.
Julia made her famous Banana Muffins the other day for snack.   They are sooooo good!
Anastasia is so awesome with Dolly and Misty.  She is an animal lover through and through.  Just today when we were sitting in the dentist office and I was looking through a magazine and she was leaning on my shoulder, she pointed to all the dogs in the pictures.  I saw a famous actress, too much make-up, an ad for dresses as I looked through the magazine.  Anastasia saw all the animals and pointed them out to me. 
Dolly and Misty love her very much.
Grandma and Grandpa are here visiting.
Paul is very excited to learn how to knit.  Grandma is an excellent teacher.
While I was cooking dinner, Paul was watching me.  "I love your face," he told me.  He caught me off guard with the comment so I repeated what I thought I heard him say.  Yup, he said he loves my face. :)  Sweet.

Speaking of saying things, Dennis also said something very sweet to me.  As I was putting him down for his nap he asked me if he could be homeschooled.  In the sweetest voice he asked me,"Will you please teach me?"  I feel bad that the answer is no for now.  Teaching kindergarten is very challenging I have quickly come to realize, and honestly I don't think I would do a very good job.  For anyone who can teach someone to read--- wow-- you have a special gift-- something I don't have.   But I won't rule it out completely-- who knows what the Lord has planned between growing my ability to teach and growing Dennis' ability to read!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Window Decal Fundraiser

Please check these out!  Here's our newest fundraiser to help with costs in bringing home our boys!
Window decals for the back window of your car!
Aren't they cool?
I designed these with the help of my kids and couldn't decide on just one-- so I am going to be selling all four!   With costs anticipated to be nearly 30k to pay the ransom to bring home our boys, every little bit that is fundraised brings us one step closer.  
With just a week or so before our homestudy is in our hands, we will be able to soon send off for our immigration approval!  We hope and pray that Rachel and I will be able to travel in June to adopt Doyle and Fischer.
Do you want to dress up your back window?  Do you want to help bring home two orphans?  Do you want to make a statement?  Do you want to share your faith with everyone you pass on the street?  
Well you can do all four by purchasing a decal for $20.   
With four different designs, there is something for everyone!
And they make excellent gifts too!
If you would like to purchase one of these window decals which are approximately 9 in X 6 in. please email me at telling me which one you would like to order.  
If we sell 100 of these decals, $1000 will be raised towards Doyle and Fischer's adoption after costs.
That would be amazing if we could reach our goal!
Other ways you can help-- repost or link this on your blog, Facebook, etc.
Thank you, thank you, thank!




Just in case you were wondering, this is what the decals will look like on your window.  Of course, this is just an example and not the actual design, but I wanted to show you  in case you wanted a visual.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Princess Birthday

Today we celebrated our daughter Annalyn's birthday.  She turned 14!
But today seems just so much more special because of who she is and how much she has blossomed over this past year.  The tremendous growth she has made, has been such a blessing to be a part of... I am just so thankful to be her Mom.
I surprised her with earrings to pierce her ears.  Too bad, I am not very good at it.
Let's just say... third time is a charm.
Please don't ask. :)
Despite the big oops on my part, priceless memories were made for all of us girls!  I think we will be laughing about it for years to come.  Only because Annalyn is such a good sport... and brave.
Thankfully, in the end, I have a happy and excited daughter!

For dinner, we went to her favorite restaurant-- Hometown Buffet.
With coupons (totaling $45 off), it was very affordable!
We all had flavored waters and Coke-- a nice treat!
Happy Birthday Annalyn!
Annalyn was so excited to get this book- The Princess Bride!  I'm not sure though if she was happier to get this book or to find Chris Sarandon's fan mail address online.
(Right now she is watching a Tale of Two Cities with him in it and John ordered Little Men for her to watch as a belated birthday present)
Isn't she beautiful?
Here is Annalyn reading a card from Jonny.  He is so sweet.
Dear Annalyn,
I love you so much but I might not act like it. You are the most special sister to me.  The most special thing about you is that you are always there for me.  Also when ever I need you, you can come.  Also when I want to play with you, you do.  And that's what I love about you.
From Jonathan
Thank you Lord for blessing us with such an amazing daughter!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dissecting Owl Pellets

 Earlier in the week, we dissected owl pellets.
Only Anna and Galina remember doing something similar when they were younger, so it was a new thing.
After separating the fur and feathers from the bones, the kids identified the different bones and then figured out which animal their owl had eaten.
Most of the owl pellets contained mouse bones.  One of the girls' pellets had bird bones.
Annalyn and Anna want to dissect another pellet with Adam over the weekend.
"Have fun!" says William who absolutely could not stand the grossness of this project.
Personally, I wiped down and sanitized the counter four times.
I don't think we will be dissecting anything else.
Tomorrow someone is turning 14!  We are celebrating at HomeTown Buffet her favorite restaurant!  Hey... at least I don't have to cook!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Nachos are a crowd pleaser around here!
Regardless of our busy schedules, we try to make eating dinner together part of our everyday routine.  Most nights it is noisy and just a tad bit crazy, but we love it just the same!

Yesterday for MLK day, I took Rachel for a physical.  When the doctor saw how low her hemoglobin was she sent us over to the ER for a possible blood transfusion.  Not fun.
Thankfully, this local ER was not only effecient seeing us in less than five minutes, but the doctor on staff was wise too... sending us home with a prescription for iron pills three times a day.  Had Rachel looked really pale, was lethargic, lightheaded, and such that would have been one thing, but she looked and felt fine indicating that this was something that had slowly been happening over the last year.  Her blood work indicated low iron.
We have to monitor her over the next few months, but I think she will be okay.  I'm thankful because no matter how safe blood transfusions may be in this day and age, not having one is even safer.
If I look at this as a blessing in disguise, I could see now that she understands the significance of eating better, something she had previously let go in one ear and out the other.
Just as Rachel and I got home, John was on his way out with half of the kids to go up to the snow.  You might be wondering,  "Where is snow in SoCal right now?"  Well I don't think it was "real" snow, but a place that you pay to play that has man made snow.
I look at this picture and my heart soars.  Dennis looks amazing in every way!
Jonny looks ready for the snow!  Poor guy though... chapped lips are a regular thing around here.
Alex couldn't wait to go!  Here he is getting ready to hop up in his carseat next to Dennis'.  Since the beginning of the year California has the new law that you have to be eight years old or 4'9" now. 
Lastly, in case you hadn't heard the news, we are adopting again.  Please come check out our latest fundraiser-- a cute flower bag.  Our adoption blog is
Thank you!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm reading a book from Craig Groeschel called "Chazown."  A Hebrew word, it means vision.  Define your vision. Pursue your passion.  Live your life on purpose.  At the beginning of the book, the author asks some very thought provoking questions.  My homeschoolers have been journaling their own thoughts because I think they are good questions.  At the end of your life whether it be tomorrow or in 40 years...

People will say I stood for...

I made a difference in the world by...

God was glorified because I...

People knew I loved them because I...

Life is so short.  It is a gift.  Life is a gift.  While you're here-- love, love, love.  Not because you expect something in return.  Not because it makes you feel good.  Not because it is easy.  Not because the person you love is naturally lovable.  Love, because He first loved you.

We're Finished For Today

The kids ran a mile this morning.  Okay, it was actually less than a mile, but half of it was uphill-- so I counted it as long enough.  I jogged and walked half of what they did, which I am pleased with.  The kids are reading Cheaper By the Dozen and as we went over the questions, it was nice to see that the Dad did some crazy things just like me! 

We just got finished with homeschooling for today.... and it is the beginning of a 3 day weekend.  I'm looking forward to it.

My Mom brought some lemons so the girls are making two lemon merigue pies.  Yum!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the Wall

Today we returned to art class to see the kids' latest paintings framed and ready to go.
Of course they had to go up on the wall.
My Mom and I had fun hanging them together.
Here are the montages from our Disneyland trip.  We all enjoy looking at them whenever we pass by them.
Since buying our very first home, I have always been one to hang lots of pictures up on the walls.  But I know some people who don't like putting a nail in the wall.  Me??  I always have putty and touch up paint so it is not a big deal. 
So... are you a picture on the wall kind of gal too?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Awesome Boys!

The kids only get one hour a day of computer time, so they often sit and watch each other play.
Isn't this picture sweet of Andrew and Paul?
Too bad they aren't always this nice to each other. ;)
Adam designed these shoes for his art class.  As my kids would say, "They're pretty boss aren't they?"
Dennis is just a goof boy! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Just in case...

you wanted to know.  Click here.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To Galina, From Jonathan

Dear Galina,

I know that I only been with you for one year but I still love you so much.  I also know that your my sister and I love that.  The number one favorit thing about you is that you don't bug as much and the second thing is that your sometimes willy nice and I like that.  But the frist thing I hate about you is nothing and that is true willy.  You are my second favorit sister but that is better then last.  But just rerember that I will always love you.


This letter was written to Galina for her one year anniversary with us.  It is written exactly how Jonathan wrote it.  Isn't it sweet?  This is just one example of why John and I enjoy parenting so much. :)

A Little of This and a Little of That

Family is the most important thing you will have in this world, a special gift from God... cherish them...  and invest in your relationships by spending time with them.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy... even the simplest things will be more than enough.
Jonny and I made this poster together.  I drew it, and he colored it.
He liked it so much, and was very proud that he wanted to take it to school the next day for show and tell.
Yesterday the kids did a talent show and we all watched it... and videotaped it.  I want to turn it into a video... maybe I'll find some time this weekend.  See, time together can be this simple.

Galina made pancakes the other day with the mix we got her for her birthday,  They were pink!
... with a few accent colors. :)
I reminded her that practice makes perfect... and they still tasted good.

Remember all the stuff we got that was piled up in the garage?  Well this electric skillet was in one of the boxes so I pulled it out, had Adam assemble it, and cooked mini burgers on it.
It worked perfect and it was nice looking out into the kitchen rather than with my back turned.
Rachel has finals next week so she has been studying hard. 
Annalyn gave coupons for doing hair, foot massages, etc.  I think Julia cashed in one of them.  Julia finished this blanket that was made using up all of the leftover balls of yarn we have.  Our neighbor is expecting their first baby so Julia gave it to her as an early baby gift.
Today I went to Costco with four of the girls.  We bought our first box of 15 dozen eggs,  50 pound sack of flour, and one pound of yeast! 

I also picked up a bunch of pictures so the girls can scrapbook and I can update the pictures in some of the frames I found in the garage. 

In a little while, Caleb is going with his girlfriend and her family up to the mountains to have dinner at a restaurant. 

John is karayokying with the girls... High School Musical songs.
Now that is a real man!
I leave you with this because the message is powerful:

Ephesians 4:1-3
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.