Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Kelli, one of the moms I got to meet in June, took several photos of the "group photo attempt" of four children aged two and under. What a joke. Here's a link to the outtakes she just posted. They are so funny!! Enjoy.

Ellie Stays with the Grandparents

We told Josh a while back that when Night At the Museum 2 came out we'd have "date night" with just him, and we'd get a babysitter for Ellie. We found out it was playing at our local "cheap" theatre in Springfield and we made a date for tonight. Ellie was all set to stay with my parents for a few hours.

While there, she got her pictures made by DeeDee. I've included several below. (Daddy, don't be upset, I cropped a few of them *smile*). Isn't she a cutie? He did a great job of capturing her true personality and her exploring!

This is the outfit she wore to Mother's Day Out today -- where she got bit. Poor baby. I'm not upset, though, because I've been the parent on the other side of the biting as Josh bit someone in daycare once. Poor things, they are teething and their teeth hurt and they get frustrated with other kids and can't talk, so they bite. Ellie does have a bite mark on her upper arm. I feel bad for her because I know it must have hurt. *sigh*

Anyway, on to the pictures:

As for the movie: if you saw the first one and loved it, you'll be disappointed. It not nearly as funny and a wee bit slow. I kept waiting for it to pop and it never did. Wait for the Redbox rental.

Stayed tuned for cuteness overload as we get to meet up with some other Kyrgyz cuties (the girls) and Russian hotties (the boys, of course) at the zoo tomorrow! Of course, we are taking along our "homegrown" boys too, so there will be photos of them as well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

As Promised -- Photos

As promised earlier today -- new photos of "us".

Here are the boys and Ellie waiting at the doctor's office. Ellie officially moved up on the charts. At 15 months, she is 29" long (13th percentile), weighs 19 lbs, 6 oz (6th percentile) and her head measures 45.9 cm (51st percentile and evening out finally). The doctor was very pleased with all areas of her development. He thought it was funny that she was so freaked out by him and crying, but when he put her down on the ground to see her walk, she turned around, ran to him with her hands up and wanted him to pick her up. It was funny. She had already started to cry from the time the nurse hit the door and was freaked out by being measured, weighed and having her ears looked into. She calmed down by the time we left as she did not have to have any shots. Always a good visit for her if there are no shots!!

After the doctor's visit, we went across the street to Sonic for mini sundaes. Ellie looks surprised, doesn't she? WHAT? No Shots???

After ice cream, it was down the road to the park. We met a sweet Vietnamese mom there who was so very interested in Ellie that she came over to visit with her. Ellie thought she was pretty cool -- for about five seconds -- and then went about climbing all over me. The mom asked where she was, and thought Ellie was "very light skinned". She has a daughter who is 14 months old (not with her) so she talked a lot about what her daughter did too. She commented about our adoption (and was very supportive) and said she knew Ellie would one day ask about her adoption because "she'll realize she doesn't look like you". She was very kind about it, so it was not offensive at all. She followed by saying, "But it won't matter because I can tell you love her so much and she will know that." It was a sweet time.
I got some really cool pictures of Josh there too -- which doesn't come as often lately as he isn't "into" getting his picture made as much as he once was.

Then, after a quick trip to Target and Rite Aid, we headed home. At home, I realized I needed to go by my mom's. We got home late and had a quick dinner, bath and now Kevin is putting Ellie to bed. Here are some cute pix of The Princess at bath and post-bath time tonight.

She LOVES to look at her picture of her as a baby that hangs over her changing table. She regularly stands up, points at the baby and looks at me saying, "Ba?" I tell her, "Yes! It's Baby Ellie!! It's you when you were a little baby."

And, now, she's out and *fingers crossed* will sleep through the night. Dr. H. has given us some "tips" to try to help her sleep through the night. We will begin trying those once we return from our "mini-trip" to visit our Kyrgyz friends. I'll let you know how they work (and what they are) after our success with them (notice the positive thought process!!!).

Happy Birthday Ellie -- 15 months

Today is The Princess' 15 month birthday -- how in the WORLD did that happen???? Wasn't it just a few months back we were celebrating her four month birthday when she was on the other side of the world??

Regardless, I wanted to post a happy birthday to her. Today we are headed to the doctor and then I think we'll go to the park to play so I can take some photos of my babies. Haven't had any in a while. I'm so burned out from working so hard yesterday that I need a break and some fun. We might even get ICE CREAM to celebrate -- yeah, that sounds like a perfectly wonderful idea.

Stay tuned for fun photos tonight!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blogger Blahs

I know ... I know... I haven't been posting as frequently as I used to. However, it's mainly because I don't have anything to post about. We are apparently leading the life of boredom (at least when you ask the 11-year-old, we are) for which I am not complaining too much. I still can't manage to get the house cleaned, or projects finished or paperwork done or any fun time in so it must not be too boring.

We spent last week car shuffling and kid shuffling because 1) my car is still broken, and 2) Dee'Anna was on vacation. Nana came down Thursday and Friday to take care of the "young'uns" and, of course, we went with Kevin on Tuesday/Wednesday.

This weekend has been pretty much nada, nothing, boring. I worked in the field half a day Saturday, then worked on the computer doing paperwork for FIFTEEN hours today. Yes, you read that right, 15 hours. I stopped only long enough to go to the bathroom and eat lunch and dinner -- or did I eat lunch??? I think I might have had a Pop Tart for lunch.

Kevin was baby-sitter extraordinaire and took care of Ellie and Josh all day so I could try to get caught up with work.

I haven't taken any new pix of Josh or Ellie in a while. We may try to do that this week. I'm excited that we are going to meet up with this family and this family this week at a "mini-Kyrgyz reunion" of sorts. The last time we met up with them, Hotdog and Ellie couldn't walk so this time should be fun!!! And, meeting new kiddos will be fun too!

Ellie has a check up at her doctor's tomorrow so I'll be excited to see how much she weighs and how tall she is now. She fits comfortably into her 6 and 9 month clothes now so I know she's filling out some. She's still a little bitty bit, though.

She is walking much better now, but still holds her hand in the air -- hanging on to her imaginary rope, I suppose. Josh has taught her the word, "GO" (as in Go Away, Ellie!!) and she says it all the time. Her other word for EVERYTHING is "Ba". She points to things and says, "Ba". I haven't heard "mama" a lot more, but she does say it now. She's learned to shake her head "NO" and will do that and sling her hands around if she doesn't want something. I know she understands us more now, because at the park yesterday, I asked if she wanted me to put her down to play with Eli and Robert and she shook her head, "No!" She likes to wave -- backwards -- bye bye when you tell her to. It's sweet.

She continues to be reticent around people that she once would go to willingly. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why she chooses one person over another to go to. She loves to play with other kids though.

I think Josh is particularly bored so far this summer. I'm going to have to start working to find friends to come over or for him to go visit and things for us to do. He is way too social to be at home by himself or he starts to invent things to do. Never a good thing. Football practice will start at the end of July, so in a few more weeks, he'll have that social outlet too.

So, I'm off to bed. Yes, I'm still reading my Bible verses every night. I've just finished Numbers and started in Deuteronomy in the OT, and am working through Luke in the New Testament. I continue to be soaking up all of the Old Testament like a sponge. I'm particularly interested in researching the tribes of Isreal and where each tribe's lineage has led to in today's world. I was fascinated to read that Moses married a woman from Ethopia! I'd like to know more things, like which group of people came from, say, the tribe of Gad, or such, and where they currently live in relation to the land God gave them with their inheritance in Canaan. I think it's all really relevant in the times we are living in and would help me be more discerning of things going on in our world.

I'm also very interested in interpretations of how the Old Testament laws given by God relate to us today. While I know we are now saved by grace, I'm interested in knowing about the relationship Jesus' saving grace has on edicts requiring people who murder to also be murdered (ie., capital punishment). Anyone who wants to share comments/dialogue -- feel free. I can't say that I will always agree with you, but I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Until later ... I promise there will be photos this week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pop Cultural Icons Die

I grew up watching Charlie's Angels and secretly wishing I could be Jaclyn Smith. I loved her hair. I never aspired to be Farrah Fawcett -- she was the unattainable goal in my book. And, Kate Smith, well, I just thought she was too plain. Of course, remember, I was a young girl back then, so my perceptions should have shifted since then. They haven't. However, I will admit, that I think they all looked just as good in 2006 as they did in the original series (see below). I think every person I know wanted Farrah's hairstyle and attempted to imitate it, including me with my nine-year-old mousy brown hair.

I was saddened to read today that Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer at age 62. In my mind, she will always be the same age she was when I collected those Charlie's Angels cards so back in the 70s.

And then there is the shocking death of Michael Jackson at age 50. People, I'm not too far from that age myself, so what a shocker. I've related it to the death of Elvis Presley. He was such an iconic pop culture figure that, albeit strange and different in his later years, was a multi-faceted, talented individual that seemed above death -- a reminder to all of us of our mortality, I suspect.

I remember, vividly, when the Thriller album was released and trying oh.so.very.hard to learn the Moonwalk -- and failing miserably. How I longed to be able to dance like those dancers in the MJ videos. He was one of my first true experiences with music videos. It was like a mini-movie filled with magic to me. I remember we were one of the millions of people who had that Thriller album (no, young people, they did not have cassette tapes, DVDs, BluRays or IPods back then -- we had vinyl).

I've remained transfixed through the years at the changes, allegations, and continued superstar status of his image and life. There was always some type of fascination -- much like I'm sure the fascination surrounding his death. I'm sure I'm one of millions who currently pore over news stories about his unexpected, sudden death.

Each of these individuals were part of the framework of my early years growing up, and I am saddened at their deaths, especially so very young. I wish the families of each of these individuals peace and understanding from the public during this difficult time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pix from Trip

Arriving at the hotel:

Checking out the hotel room -- note the right hand up high -- this is a normal stance when she is walking ...

Getting ready to swim -- not!

This is what Ellie and mama spent a lot of time doing.

Note the hand in the air again -- the balancing act

I think she's going to be a gymnast. Doesn't she look ready to do the parallel beams in this photo?? *smile*

Don't I have handsome boys???

This was Ellie's favorite thing at the pool.

After the pool, we hung out in the fitness room (Ellie and I watched Sesame Street and Hannah Montana) while Josh "worked out". Then we went to get ready to go over to Bass Pro to hang out and wait for Kevin to get done working.

Josh wants to buy this "in a few years". He tells me that DeeDee will take him to hunter safety class and then DeeDee will take him hunting. I asked what he would hunt. She said, "The only thing you can hunt -- deer." (Who knew??) I asked if he would eat the meat. He said that no, he wouldn't. He would donate the meat to the TWA??? Ok, whatever.

We all had lots of fun dreaming on the "party barge" pontoon boats. We all picked where we would sleep and nap and everything! It was fun.

Ellie was fascinated with all the animals -- pointing and calling them some sort of name -- "ba"?

Josh and Ellie both liked this animal. Anyone have a clue what it is??? I don't.

There were really cool places outside to take photos. It's a shame that all I had was my camera phone. It did well though, I suppose.

This weekend was the first time Ellie has called me "Mama". It was a big deal (to me!). She also has begun to make a big deal out of making "kissing" noises. Tonight she got her Elmo out and took it over to Josh and made it kiss him over and over. Poor Josh was a good sport.

Josh made a stop at a fireworks store on the way home to pick up fireworks. He had washed both cars and cleaned them up to earn money to buy fireworks. I don't like them, but I know that once a year it's something that boys just feel a need to do. I make sure that Kevin is with him and helps and I just stay as far away as possible.

And, on a final note -- Ellie's hair seems to grow overnight now and it's beginning to get a bit wild and unruly. Not having a girl before -- any ideas on what to DO about it? I look back over the last few weeks' pictures and her hair looks pitiful in many of them. Poor girl. Comments welcome!

Side Trip

On a wild hair, Josh, Ellie and I took off with Kevin to ride along with him on a job he has. While he worked, we hung out on the hotel and visited the neighboring Bass Pro Shop. It was pretty funny to see Ellie's reaction to all those stuffed animals in there -- and I'm not talking about the pretty, fluffy kind you sleep with, but the real animals who've been over to the taxidermist. Her favorite was the ones that looked like a kitty -- cougars and leopards and such.

Last night when we arrived, Josh was all about going swimming. Since it was later than the pool stays open, Kevin asked at the front desk and she said it was fine. He got dressed and we got Ellie dressed and off we went. Ellie did NOT like the pool that much. In fact, all that got wet on her was her bottom and I think that might have been from sitting on the side. I have photos, but the memory card reader is in the truck that Kevin is currently in. I will add photos later this evening.

However, today, with just Josh in the pool, Ellie warmed up to the idea a whole lot more and allowed him to take her up and down the length of the pool several times. I have no photos from today's trip to the pool.

There are also some pix from the Bass Pro (yeah, I know ....) and I'll get those posted as well.

Ellie likes riding on the luggage cart -- a lot!! She's done really well considering she is out of her element. It was after 11 last night before she went to sleep -- kicking and screaming about it. However, she did sleep all night tucked in beside me and got up at her regular 7:15 time.

It has been nice to get away from our home for a little bit -- even if it was just an overnight trip.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Little More Couponing -- Target Cashiers Rock

Sunday I went to use up some coupons. I knew that Target had their Glade Sense n' Spray on sale for $5.99 (normally $9.99) and I had several coupons. I had bought one of these a while back for Josh's room and it's fantastic. It goes off when it senses motion. Then it shuts down for 30 minutes or later if there is no motion. There are two "scents" -- Apple Cinnamon and Clean Linen (or something similar to that name).

I was excited that I got to "stack" coupons. For those of you who don't regularly use coupons, this is a process whereby you are able to use two coupons for one product. Here's how I did it. I had a coupon for $4.00 off the Sense and Spray unit. THEN, I had a coupon for "Buy one Sense and Spray unit and get a free refill." Since I was obviously buying a unit, I got the refill free. Therefore, a unit and a refill ended up costing $1.99. Since this would normally have cost $13.75, I was doing the happy dance. I had three such coupons I could stack so I got three.

Then I was also able to stack coupons for Lysol Neutra Air. I had a BOGOF coupon and a coupon for $1.50 off one. I ended up getting six cans for $3.12. Pretty good considering one can was $2.54. I've already given one of those away to my neighbor who gives me his coupons each week (gotta' share the love, huh?). The Lysol sprayer air thing (like the Sense and Spray) was also on sale for $5.99 (down from $11.99) and I had a $4 coupon for that as well. Another $1.99 air freshner thing! Yay!!

I also had four coupons for $.75 off Arm and Hammer toothpaste and it's always been too expensive during triple coupons, so I realized in Target that there were no size limitations on the product so I got four trial sized Arm and Hammer toothpastes and paid a total of $.16 for them. They will be great to have for travel for Kevin or camps for Josh.

But, the main reason for my post was to comment on what an excellent job the cashier at Target did checking me out. One day recently at Publix, it took two cashiers and a manager to ring up my coupons and they still couldn't get it right. The cashier at Target did not make one mistake and was very pleasant about it all. Considering I had probably 20 coupons, that was fantastic. I made a point to stop a manager on my way out and tell them what a great job she did.

So, Lori, if you are reading, you can use your coupons anywhere -- not just at the grocery store. I have always been pleased with my coupon usage at Target. While they don't double or triple, when they have items on sale and you have a coupon, it's usually a good deal.

What is your perspective?

I just visited a site I try to visit frequently. I will admit, it's hard to go there frequently because the stories there are hard on my heart. They make me hurt in areas that are sensitive. So, the article that I'm going to point you to, and encourage you to read, is one of those posts.

As a human, I know about being in holes and not knowing the way out. However, as a Christian, I do know there is someone who does know the way out. I also know that as a body of believers, we are also supposed to climb down into holes and help others out --show them the way.

This story is beautiful. Take a moment to read it. You won't be sad that you did. The insight of the writer is beautiful. The more I'm reading of the Bible, the more I am certain that this man is certainly doing the work of God and the more I feel guilty that I don't do more.

New Booster Seat

I am so thankful for Ellie's high chair as it was given to us from another Kyrgyz princess long before Ellie came home. It's been a fantastic high chair and while we are not permanently retiring it, we are moving it to the office for use only when we have more people than we have chairs -- you know, holidays and such. Because I'm trying to create more space in the house, we got Ellie a booster seat. One thing I didn't consider with her booster is that she is still so very short that she's not quite tall enough to just push up to the table and eat. Thank goodness it has a tray and she can still use that. I've also gotten her a suction cup plate with some utensils.

Since she loves to throw plates all over the floor, we thought this might help with that problem. AND we think she might need to start eating with something other than her hands. There are a lot of messy foods when you want to feed yourself!!

Here are a few snaps of her sitting in her new booster. And for anyone remotely interested, yes, I used two coupons to purchase this item. I really had been looking for a long time at consignment sales, yard sales and other less expensive options. I did manage to save $8 on it so I feel a bit better!!

See how small the pipsqueak is? However, I think she's about tall enough to start clipping those coupons for me -- whatcha' think?? *smile*

This is full view of her in her new booster.

THIS is the look I've gotten all day today and for the last three days. I have figured out it is because her Nana came last week to watch her and Josh for two and a half days and Nana has spoiled her. She held her all the time (except when she was cooking) and just ruined her. I suppose that's what Nanas do, but oy! these past few days have been hard.

Eating some of her new favorite snacks: yogurt covered fruit. And, yes, I considered the choking implications but these thing just mush right in your mouth so I'm thinking she's ok.

Father's Day

I sure wish I were a "caught up" kind of girl. If I were, the Father's Day post would have happened YESTERDAY and not today. Oh well, that whole better late than never was created with me in mind.

We had a nice day together. We had agreed this year we were not purchasing Mother's Day or Father's Day presents for each other. Our reasons were primarily financial, but also we thought it would be fun to see what we could do to make the days special without gifts. I'm telling Kevin the donation we made here to help give babies in an orphanage milk is his gift.

I made Kevin banana nut muffins for breakfast, along with coffee. The kids got him cards, and I also made a triple layer yellow cake with caramel, chocolate icing and Butterfinger topping. I was supposed to share this with my dad, but we still have not made it over with cake. Maybe, at this point, I should make him his own belated cake.

We went to eat lunch with my mom and dad and Ellie was all over the place. She has become quite the fiesty, moving little girl who really doesn't want to stay anywhere for long.

After lunch, my mom suggested taking the kids over to the park to see the ducks. It was 95* out so we didn't stay very long.

All in all, it was a pretty low key day. I wish I had some photos of me and my dad to post on here. I should ask my mom to email me one to put up. I have one of us when I was about two or three where we are sitting in the swivel rocker and I'm piled up on his lap like it's the most wonderful place in the world. It certainly was!

Here are some photos of Kevin opening his cards with Ellie and Josh. They were certainly a motley fine looking group. He's a great daddy though!!

Josh insisted that the muffins needed candles, so we added candles.

The "official" group shot

I wonder if his wish included sleep?

Reading Josh's card. Josh picked out a musical card with a Superman logo on the front that read, "On Father's Day, Dad, I just want you to know you've always been my hero." Then you open it and it plays the Superman theme song and reads, "Still I never want to see you a cape and tights." They both got big laughs out of that. I think it's really cool that Josh is old enough to pick out his own cards and to see what he picks.

Check out how Josh is holding Ellie who is trying desperately to get down. Ellie's card was the perfect card. The front read, "A daughter's love for her dad is forever." Then you open it up and it says, "Thanks for being the dad I was meant to have. Love you, Happy Father's Day." Cool. She "signed" it by herself too.

And, here are a couple of pix of DeeDee (my dad) with Ellie and Josh that we framed for him for Father's Day: