Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

We can always find something to complain about, can't we? It's sometimes a whole lot more difficult to find things to be thankful for. But today, there are a few things things that come to mind easily!
  • First, I am so thankful for my mother-in-law. Mark hurt his back yesterday and is pretty much immobile. Any movement causes significant pain. Joanne came over this morning to help get Maia on the bus, spend time with Matthew, get Maia OFF the bus, and take Matthew to school. She didn't hesitate when Mark called her at 6:30am and was at our house before I was ready to leave for work. What a blessing that was. Although I don't tell my in-laws often enough, I am so appreciative of all they do for us and the kids.
  • Second, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my other in-laws this week. Bob's sister Cheryl is visiting from California so we met Cheryl and Bob's mom/step-dad for lunch. It was a short visit so am hoping we can get together again before she leaves, but at least we get a little time together.
  • And since I am on the subject of parents/families, this Saturday is Bunny Bun Day. This is a family tradition started by my mom when I was little. We bake Easter breads in anticipation of the holiday. Looking forward to spending time with mom, family, and friends!
  • Finally, I am choosing to be thankful for change. As I have shared recently, I have not been excited about this upcoming move to a new nursing home (job related). But, slowly God is adjusting my attitude and I am no longer feeling as sad about the change. I was able to walk into my new work location yesterday and feel a bit of excitement to see what opportunities God has for me there. 
  • Ok, I know I said finally above. But, I need to add one more thing. God showed me such a wonderful verse earlier this week during my devotional time. Isaiah 41:13 which states, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." What a great image to think of God holding our hand and leading us through life! I am thankful for His promises!!
What's on your Thankful Thursday list?

Monday, March 26, 2012

A little humor for your Monday morning

So... I went to work out at the healthy living center before work this morning. When I was finished, I showered and began to get dressed. All of a sudden, it hit me. I had forgot to pack something. Now, there are things that a person can get by without even though it might not be fun. And some women can get by without this, but not me. Yep... I forgot a bra.

Now, you might think - no big deal, just wear the dirty one and douse yourself with perfume. It's only one day. And that's a good thought. But, I went to water aerobics this morning. I left the house wearing my swimsuit and NO BRA! Figures! Didn't even wear a coat because the weather has been so mild. There was no way I could fudge my way around this one.

Off I flapped went to W*l-Mart (the only place open at 7AM) to buy a bra. Thankfully, they had one in my size and I am no longer swinging in the wind - lol! And don't be surprised if you see me on one of those "People of W*l-Mart" websites.

PS - Note to self, perhaps packing an extra bra in the side pocket of my gym bag would be a good thing! ;-) Hope your Monday started on a better note than mine. On the positive side, all I could do was giggle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our week

I apologize that I have been neglectful in blogging this week. It's been a combination of things. We've had computer issues that still aren't completely resolved - a virus that shut down the laptop and all of my pictures/files have disappeared (UGH!!).

Work has been really busy and I'm still struggling with the change that will be taking place soon. "Struggling" may not be the most accurate description, though. Grieving is probably a better term. Friday will be my last day at the nursing home I have worked at since I became an NP. I will have to say good-bye to patients and families that I have gotten to know well over the past twenty months. I've been blessed with some beautiful friendships with staff members at the nursing home as well. And although I won't be saying "good-bye" (since I know we will still be friends), I will miss seeing them every day at work. I feel a great sense of sadness and loss as I leave. One week from tomorrow, I will begin to care for patients at a different nursing home. It's hard to be positive about the change - the descriptions I hear are not complimentary. So, I keep reminding myself that God has a plan for me at this new place, too. That in spite of the environment, He is the one who has called me to serve, called me to care for the elderly. And HE is the one who will give me strength to face these new challenges. He reminds me to see His SON in every face I encounter. Although I know that there will be moments I fail, I pray that there will also be moments where I make a difference, times when I act as God's hands and feet, and that I can show His love in all I do.

Maia is doing all right. Carolyn, thanks for the suggestion about the probiotics! We found out last Monday that she does not have a UTI, but does have an infection in her old shunt site. The wound culture grew bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics and she is on a new one for two weeks. Our sweet girl is still not herself. She's much more irritable than she was prior to the surgery (and even immediately after surgery). We're also keeping a close eye on some stomach pain that she's having and hoping it is just related to the antibiotics. Praying that this is not the new "norm" for her or that doctor's are missing something. It's tough when she has such a high pain tolerance and isn't very verbal about how she is feeling.

I'll end this post with just a couple of Sunday funnies from the kids. Mark and Matthew play a little game when we're eating. Mark will tell Matthew to look at something in the distance while he pretends to take his food. Well today, Matthew decided he would play the trick on daddy. He said, "Daddy look over there!" While Mark was looking away, Matthew pretended to take a bite of food. Only problem? He was taking his own food - not daddy's! Had to giggle at that one!

During this morning's children's sermon at church, our pastor was talking about getting closer to Jesus. Well, Maia must have decided that message was specifically for her. She got up and walked right up to the altar to get close to Jesus. Sometimes, I think we should carry a video camera to church just in case. ;-)

Proof that they just don't quite grasp all the language concepts yet... We came home and I told the kids I would race them to the front door. Mark ran up and yelled, "I'm going to cheat" and pushed me (no, not hard) off the sidewalk. The kids thought that was hysterical and started pushing me, yelling "cheat, cheat" - too funny!

Happy Sunday everyone!

PS - I backdated a post for Matthew's eight month's home anniversary - so be sure to read below!

Friday, March 23, 2012


We arrived home with Matthew eight months ago and here is a look at the changes in that time.

This is actually the first picture we have of our little guy - Christmas Day 2010. Oh, my heart broke walking out the door of the detsky dom without him. I was so happy we were bringing Maia home, but left a peice of my heart there.

June 2011 - the first "official" meeting of our son, although he had been the son of my heart even before the above the above picture - he reminded me a little of Charlie Chaplin with that big scab under his nose!

July 2011 - On our way home!!

Also July - first day at home, loving daddy but not quite sure what to make of this new place.

Seemed only fitting that Matthew be welcomed home the same way Maia was -
with a trip to our favorite place, Famous Dave's. He wasn't quite as impressed as she was. At least, not until the brownie sundae arrived.

August 2011 with Aunt Betsy at Great Grandma's 100th birthday party

September 2011 - First day of school and not too sure about it

October 2011 - first trip to the cabin

November 2011 - well, I can't find a picture right now so we'll just skip to December!
The tree at Great Grandma's nursing home

And an awesome Christmas present - a tractor just like Grandpa Jerry (well, almost like his)!

January 2012 - fun at the indoor park

February 2012 - Baptism day (such a handsome boy!)

And today... crazy to be playing at the park in March (even though Matthew doesn't realize that)

In many ways, it seems so hard to believe that we have been home for eight months already. And in other ways, it seems like much longer - especially looking at the transformation that is taking place. Looking back at these pictures is a reminder of the blessings that come when God creates forever families! We love you, Matthew Dmitriy!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What we've been up to

Jill, I had to laugh because I looked at your blog just as I was starting to type up my post and saw that your title was the same as mine. ;-)

Last weekend, Matthew's preschool sang at church. We were so proud of how well he did. I'm not sure he sang the words quite right, but had the motions perfect. One of the songs had the word "shout" in it and I think Matthew shouted the loudest of any of the kids singing - lol!

Also last weekend, we spent some time with a family who is in the process of adopting a little one from Sevastopol. We love sharing about our journey (although they know it well) and being able to offer a little support and encouragement to them was such a blessing to us!

I was all set on Friday to post that we were happily anticipating a few weeks' break between doctor's appointments when Maia spiked a temp. Her old shunt incision site didn't look great so we took her in to the clinic where the NP checked her urine which seemed ok, but contacted the covering neurosurgeon (Dr. W is away) because of her recent surgery. We were sent to the ED and spent the afternoon there. The neurosurgeon didn't seem too concerned about the incision, although they did complete some skull x-rays and sent us home with antibiotics for a possible UTI. UGH! Poor girl gets diarrhea from the antibiotics which makes recurrent UTIs more likely. We're still trying to sort things out, but Maia is not back to her usual self after the surgery. Perhaps it is just because she's still healing... don't want to create problems where there are none, but don't want to miss a problem either. If you would keep her in your prayers, we would appreciate it.

The weather has been absolutely crazy... 78 degrees in March??? We've spent most of this weekend at the park.

Maia's favorite thing at the park is swinging, I think she would be happy for hours. Although this afternoon, she was happier cuddling on my lap (totally out of character for her).

Matthew loves climbing.

Pretty amazing considering our little guy was terrified of heights last summer!

That's definitely not all that's going on (although there's nothing too exciting) and I hope to get more posted in a few days. Somehow, time just gets away from me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! Here's my gratitude list for the day.
  • First, I am thankful for choice. Today is Thursday and I am able to make a conscious choice to be thankful! It isn't always easy. And some days, there is no doubt in my mind that the devil is working overtime. He does everything he can to influence me to be ungrateful, crabby, upset, etc. In spite of that, I can choose to turn my face towards God and see His blessings in my life. It is MY choice to make.
  • Second, I am thankful for the beautiful sunrise that was happening as I was driving to work this morning. A reminder of God's beauty in nature.
  • Third, the amazing weather that our loving Father has blessed us with lately. The kids have loved being outside and soaking in the warmth and sun.
  • These precious faces that greet me every morning when I wake up. Today, I took a few minutes to play with them as I was getting ready for work. What fun to hear them laughing and giggling as we were chasing each other around the house. (Forgive the alignment, I couldn't get it to center correctly - ugh!)

Matthew in his favorite new church shirt - a gift from Grandpa Jerry so of course it is THE BEST! By the way, do you see the personality in that face? Oh my!! He does indeed enjoy being the center of attention.

     Maia in her princess dress - which reminds of another thing to be thankful for. My sweet friend MaryAnn who blesses Maia with such beautiful clothes!
My two favorite guys!  Hanging out with daddy and watching tv is Matthew's favorite way to spend time.

I would love to hear what you are thankful for today!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Little pick-me-ups

I know, I know... it's been quite a while since I have posted pictures of the kids and done an update about them. My goal is to do that this week. Last night, I was looking at photos of our trip to bring Matthew home - the difference in both kids is so amazing. God is good and He deserves all the credit for their transformation! So, be patient a little while longer and I will get some new pics up.

This morning, I am reminded of how important it is to remember that we have the ability to make a difference in other people's lives without even realizing it. I want to be an extension of Jesus' hands and feet, for everything I do to reflect Him. I ran into one of my former co-workers at the gym this morning. She shared that she had visited the blog yesterday to get a "little pick me up." What a sweet gift that was to me - I often wonder if the seemingly random thoughts I post make a difference to anyone. Sometimes, it seems like this is just my outlet and a way to chronicle some of this journey with our children (instead of relying on my great rotten memory. It touched my heart that she would feel like our blog was something positive and inspirational. So, remember - you never know whose life you might touch with your prayers, words, actions or realize the impact you have!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mulligan Stew Giveaway

Julia is another adoptive mom whose blog I follow. She adopted her son Aaron from an institution that is very similar to the type of place that Matthew would have been transferred to if we had not brought him home. Julia is doing an amazing giveaway to help some wonderful adoptive families bring their kiddos home, as well as grow grant money for some Reece's Rainbow children (like Laurel who was blessed by many of you with my LoveNote giveaway. Please visit Julia's blog and be part of this opportunity to help others. You could win some really great prizes!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

My post may be a little bit rambling today so bear with me... there is a point - lol!

My circle group at church is reading a wonderful book called Having a Mary Spirit in a Martha World by Joanne Weaver. The words speak so powerfully and personally to me that I am often in tears as I read. They are words that echo my heart. Anyway... this month's chapter was talking about service to others and Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. We discussed how God often calls us to serve others in ways that are uncomfortable for us. I shared a story that I had read about Beth Moore being told by God to comb the hair of an elderly man in an airport. Now, I am great with talking, giving advice, encouraging others. But, I'm not that great about practicing what I preach. In fact, I'm pretty darn bad at it. If God spoke to me asking me to do something similar, I'm not sure I would have been faithful enough to act. I left our group that night not really giving a whole lot of thought to how God might make that personal to me. Silly girl!

Yesterday morning, I was reading my devotional and it talked about the challenges I would face that day and how I needed to look to God instead of circumstances. I prayed about it, but again didn't think much about how this was personal to me. THEN...at work, my co-workers and I found out about an upcoming change that will affect all of us. It won't change the job I do or how I do it. But, it will take me out of my comfort zone, away from the familiarity of my current work environment - patients I know well, colleagues who I am truly blessed to call friends as well. It will require me to serve differently. How did I respond? Honestly, not well at all. It was all I could do not to spend the whole day in tears. I went home last night, ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and went to bed myself. I just wanted to wallow in my misery.

This morning, I woke up early and read my devotion. It was talking about seeking God first, looking at His face and seeking His strength. Hmmm... maybe He was speaking to me?? I left home with a little better attitude (although there was still room for a LOT of improvement) and headed off to the gym to exercise before work. While on the treadmill, I was watching a female Christian speaker who tells it like it is. I enjoy that about her because she really challenges me to look at my perspective. Her topic was about our heavenly father calling us to be obedient, to ACT, to quit feeling sorry for ourselves and our circumstances. To choose to keep our eyes focused on what is important - GOD!! Yep, I was convicted. There was no doubt I was supposed to be hearing that message right now because it definitely applied to  me.

Which brings me to what I am thankful for this Thursday.
  • I am thankful that God speaks to me. That He calls me out of my warm, cozy, little comfort zone and stretches me. That even when I am whining and crying, God is there. He reminds me that the things I am complaining about really don't matter in the big picture. If I would just stop kicking, screaming, having my little temper tantrums, maybe I could see the blessings that come from challenges (BTW - God gave me a good giggle with that one. He told me to picture Matthew's tantrums and consider the fact that mine were probably worse similar - oh, I have so much to learn).
  • My beautiful kids. Last night when I got home, I crawled on to the bed, desperate for some peace. The kids quickly got on the bed and cuddled up to give me lots of attention, hugs, and kisses. What precious gifts they are and how blessed I am to be their mom.
  • My sweet hubby. It's hard for him to understand all this emotional stuff, but he does his best to be supportive. I am so appreciative of his tolerance for me - definitely beyond what I often deserve. I love him so much!
What's on your Thankful Thursday list? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Love Notes and the weekend

First, a Love Note update. Three more of you have redeemed your certificates. All for the same child. A beautiful girl who is so close to aging out of the system. Once you turn 16 in her country, you are no longer eligible for adoption. Can you imagine what that would be like? To know that in just a few months, you will be 16 and you will never know what it is like to have parents, to grow up in a family. To know that you will be transferred to an institution that is unlike anything you can possibly imagine (blog post coming on that subject soon). It must be heartbreaking. I'm praying that a family will step forward in faith to bring this precious young lady home. And thanks to Michelle, Betsy (my SIL) and Joanne (my MIL) for choosing to bless Laurel with their Love Notes!

We had a nice weekend. Yesterday was a pretty lazy day. I love Saturday mornings. It's the only day of the week when I don't (usually) have to set the alarm. When the kids wake up, they come upstairs and crawl into bed with us. It's our time to cuddle and giggle - special bonding time. I thank God for those sweet moments. We had lunch with my parents. Hadn't seen them for a while so it was good to visit a little bit.
This isn't from yesterday, but here's a picture of
Matthew with one of his favorite people - Grandpa Jerry (my dad).

Today, we went to church and had lunch with Mark's parents. It was nice to spend some time with them as well. The weekends sure go faster than I would like. Back to work tomorrow. Now that we are done with doctor's appointments for a little while, I'm hoping to do an update on how the kids are doing very soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today, a couple of thoughts immediately come to mind as I think about what to be thankful for.
  • The ability to hear when God speaks. Yesterday was one of "those" days. It started out ok, but by the time I got to work I was just crabby. No nice way of putting it, I was not in a good mood. I told the person I work most closely with (Anne - who is also a dear friend) that I was going to close my door and try to get my attitude straightened out. Recently, I brought a bible to work and put it in my desk. That's where it has stayed. So, I pulled the Bible out and started reading a few verses. Then, I had to get back to work. I usually have internet radio on as background music. All of a sudden, I paused to listen to the tune of an instrumental that was playing - trying to decipher what the song was. "It is well with my soul" - well, that stopped me in my tracks. It sure was not well with my soul at that moment. I began to sing the words to the song (in my head, not out loud or I would have scared all the patients and staff - lol) and suddenly, I felt so much better. God spoke to my soul, giving me peace, helping me to change my attitude. And even though the day didn't improve much, I was able to get through it without the negativity that was so present before. I am so grateful for his soft, tender voice when I take the opportunity to listen.
  • Speaking of opportunity, the next thing I am thankful for is the opportunity to trust my heavenly Father. There have been times in my life when I have wondered why God has chosen certain paths for me. As I have walked down them, instead of focusing on God, I have let stress and anxiety overcome me. Recently, I've had a few of those moments (I will probably share more specifics in a different post). But, I am reminded that God holds the future. I have the opportunity to make a conscious choice to trust that HE is in control, not me. Trust that He knows the plans for my life and that if I rely on him, God will reward that faith. Trusting in my Father will draw me closer to Him, calm my fears and questions, and bless my life.
What are you thankful for today??