Sunday, November 29, 2009


No Christmas decoration photos today. I was not in the mood to decorate. I've been stunned and in mourning today.

My dear friends, Lori and John, went in to deliver sweet baby Matthew on Friday night. Sometime on Saturday, from what I can gather on Facebook, Lori had to have an emergency C-section and little Matthew was Lifeflighted to another nearby hospital's NICU where he later passed away.

I don't know any other details, but I am so in shock and so sad. A friend described it best: I am numb.

Lori and John have wanted children for so long. They were waiting to adopt from Kyrgyzstan when the country shut down. They decided to try IVF and it took on the first try and miracle boy Matthew was conceived. I have followed along through her pregnancy and have been so excited to see the birth of this sweet, so loved little boy.

I have trouble understanding God at times like this. I know He loves John and Lori and Matthew and that He has a plan in all of this, but I still can't help but ask WHY??? really loudly and really frequently. I've struggled with this all day long. It's never far from my mind.

My heart is with John and Lori right now. I can't imagine what they are going through and what their lives will be like over the next days and months to come. I can only pray earnestly and frequently that God will hold them in His loving arms and make His presence very known to them during this time -- that He will carry them when they can't take another step in the day.

So, out of respect for them, no photos today. I ask you to just stop right now and take a moment to remember wee little Matthew and his parents.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Decorating

We started our Christmas decorating this evening. I always forget how much stuff we have to decorate for Christmas. Unreal.

This year it was especially fun because everything was new and magical to Ellie. Since she is old enough to really be excited about most of it, it's fun to see her reactions to everything. It's all new, exciting and curious to her and she has to investigate every bit of it. FUN!!

Both Josh and Ellie have their own Christmas trees that go in their rooms. Ellie got hers this year, and, yes, it is pink -- much to Josh's dismay. Ellie, however, loves it. Everyone got in the act of helping Ellie decorate her tree.

The reindeer ears made me a bit sad because just last year we were taking pictures of Sunshine wearing the ears and now she's not with us. Ellie, however, loved the ears and wore them around for quite a while.

We incorporated Ellie's Kyrgyz yurt nativity scene in with our other traditional nativity. Ellie had a great time when we got it out. She'd take the out of the yurt and put them back in the yurt. She even wore the yurt as a hat at one point. I'm so thankful that the Schoolers gave her this wonderful gift when we were there to visit her the first trip. She loves it and it's a great way to talk to her about her country.

Everyone got into the process of putting the tree together. I was bummed that no one would let me watch Christmas Vacation again this year. It's a tradition at our house. HOWEVER, the UK v. UT football game was on, so.... We haven't put the decorations on the tree yet -- saving that for tomorrow -- so maybe tomorrow I can slip that traditional movie viewing into the plan!!
I love these pictures of Josh getting the lights ready and Ellie playing with them. I took them without a flash because I loved the look.
And while we were decorating, Josh broke into dance with Ellie. It was so sweet. He was twirling her and dipping her and she was just laughing and laughing. Sweet times.
When we finally got the tree up, Josh was putting the tree skirt down and here goes Ellie, scooting up under the tree. You can't say she doesn't investigate everything!

More decoration photos tomorrow! I love Christmas!!!

Christmas Lights

The idea sounded great. That's usually what begins most of the horror stories of my life. And while this one wasn't quite a horror story, it wasn't all warm and fuzzy like I'd hoped it would be.

My sister in law and nieces are in town for the holidays. My brother in law is in the military and is currently overseas. Today Angie called and wanted to know if there was something we could do with the kids. We thought and thought and decided it would be fun to go see the lights and decorations at Opryland Hotel.

We took the kids to lunch at McDonalds and then told them where we were going. Then the grumbling began. We dropped off my mother-in-law and the four kids at the entrance and then Angie and I parked and walked back. When we got back, all the kids looked bored out of their minds sitting in chairs waiting for us. Emily declared this, "BORING". Josh complained about one thing after another. I don't think I ever heard Lauren complain. Ellie and I were both dressed way too warmly and she had not had a nap even though it was after 1 p.m.
Do these photos give away how happy they all were or what???

We took pictures near the poinsettia tree and Ellie was less than accommodating. At this point, Josh tells me he has to go to the bathroom and I thought he went one way and we followed. After we all used the bathroom, I finally decided to yell into the boy's bathroom and there was no answer. I got kind of sick feeling, thinking that we might have missed him, misunderstood him or something happened. I gave Ellie to my mother-in-law and took off back to where we were when he went to the bathroom. He was there with the lady working at the information desk and he was on a cell phone. He looked distraught and when I got there, he burst into tears while I held him and told him I wouldn't have left him. He had called Kevin and told him that we had left him and asked him to come get him. Poor thing!!! After he gathered himself back together, we went back and met up with the others. By this time, I had to take off one of my shirts and we took Ellie's shirt off her and just left her overalls on. She was so hot and so tired.
These are the ones that turned ok good enough ...

I like this one of Nana, Ellie and Josh

As well as this one of Nana, Ellie, Josh, Emily and Lauren

We finally just decided to call it a day and go home. Angie and I were disappointed that the kids didn't have more fun. Afterwards when we took them back to McDonalds for ice cream, they had a blast. Go figure!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I never knew there were so many people in my family who were so very anxious to throw a pie in my face. Poor Josh had to "fight off" my dad, my mom AND my husband to put a pie in my face today. BUT... since I had promised this honor to Josh and asked him to pray for God's provision of the funds for the kids (and he did), it was his honor. He said he had "been waiting all his life for something like this!" Ha. Yeah. Me too.

Because of Melanie's words to the wise, I made sure I sat my pie out for a while before throwing it, but it was still cold. When we got ready, I had a moment or two of "I can't DO this! What was I thinking? I just can't DO it." But, I sucked it up and took the pie. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here you go.

Josh did SUCH a good job that it was all over my shirt, my pants and even all in and over my shoes. I basically had to go in shower, wash my hair and fully change clothes. But, I'd do it all over again to help those kids. I cannot WAIT to see the photos of that event!! I wish I could be there to help.

Thanks to mom and Angie who took the pictures.

Happy Anniversary

Fifteen short years ago I married the most wonderful man in the world and he has since become so much more to me than he was then. We have grown so much both and individuals and together as a couple. I wouldn't trade what we have for anything in the world -- even when I'm mad at him (and yes! that certainly happens from both sides).

I am so glad that God knew exactly the person I needed to complete me, to put up with me, to love me unconditionally and to be the father of my children. Kevin and I have been through a whole lot in fifteen years, but I can't imagine that I would have been able to walk through it with any other man other than him.

I love you Kevin. I can't wait for 15+15+15 more years!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting Ready for Pie (in the face)

Tonight preparations began for the GREAT Pie in the Face Christmas Challenge!! Readers, family and friends came through and met my challenge to raise $500 for the kids in Kyrgyzstan to have Christmas. I am making my final PayPal donation tomorrow of all the funds I received and also will take my pie in the face. Because I wanted to give my all, the pie is homemade. I will admit I made two -- one to throw and one to eat (yum!!).

Now to share the recipe for those who might want to make their own pie.


In a small saucepan, combine:
2/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Stir in
2 cups of milk
until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Stir in a small amount of filling into
3 egg yolks, beaten (make sure you beat your eggs in an Elmo bowl as they come out great!!)
Return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir two more minute. Remove from heat.

Gently stir in
1/2 cup coconut

2 tablespoons of butter

and 1/4 tsp of vanilla and stir until butter is melted. Pour hot filling into 1 9" baked pie shell crust.

3 egg whites and
1/4 tsp of cream of tarter
and beat on high until high peaks form, adding

6 Tbsp of sugar after peaks begin to form.

Put meringue on pie making sure the edges are sealed and sprinkle with coconut.

Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes. Refrigerate at least three hours before serving.

This is actually the second pie, which is the one I'm going to throw because it isn't quite as pretty as the first one.
The best part of pie: licking the beaters at the end. This was Ellie's first "beater licking". She wasn't quite sure what to do at first until she saw Josh doing it. When she tried it, she got the biggest grin on her face. I handed her the beater then and she just continued to lick and lick until I finally took it away. Notice the meringue on Josh's nose. Yum -- good!

The pie is ready; I am ready. Let the Thanksgiving festivities begin. Let us be thankful for every kid who will get Christmas because of the generosity of people they will never meet. Last check, John was up to 1744 children funded. Only 256 more to go!! Incredible. With God all things are possible.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Little Friendly "2 on 2" Action

After the "YouTube experiment" with vinegar, baking powder and a soda bottle proved fascinating for the boys (ie, it blew up like it should), they have now resorted to a more peaceful activity: 2 on 2 basketball. Following this, of course, they are headed to two hours of open gym at the school to ... play basketball. Go figure. At least it's exercise and doesn't involve blowing anything up. *smile* I'm glad they are having fun. I want Josh to be able to remember these days, so that's why there are photos that will likely interest no one but him (and his mom).