Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day!!

Hard to believe that a year ago today, we were anxiously waiting to meet Quinn for the first time in the Civil Affairs office in Taiyuan, China. 
Shanxii Civil Affairs office of Adoption

And we could hear her crying as they walked down the hall towards us, because she was afraid of the elevator that they rode up in.  And we were handed this little bundle of a girl that had about 4 layers of clothes on.  Luckily, she liked cheerios, so I became her friend rather quickly.

So we took our treasure back to the hotel so we could unwrap her and get to know each other.

And we discovered what a fearless, loving, tenacious, gentle, and wise soul this little one was.

And now a year later, I look back and am amazed at the adventure and how incredible this past year has been. 

We've watched Quinn bloom and grow into a spirited young lady who is very confident of her position in this family.


 She has added so much to our family, and we cannot imagine life now without her.

She is our Treasure, in every sense of the word.

Love you baby!!
Hugs and kisses xxoo
Mom and Dad

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quinn turns 3

I realize that it's boring to anyone other than the parents to view birthday pictures and hear about it ad nauseum, but since this is Quinn's first celebrated birthday with her family, it's a big deal, so here goes.

Yah- I think next year I'll celebrate WITHOUT the lip gloss, thankyouverymuch.

Thank you Grandma Lee for taking our picture

Playdough and shape block- academic tools, right?  I feel smarter already.

It says on the box 3 and up, right? 

Quinn...that's the washing machine- not a  place to put the babies.
Because she was just coming off of an allergic reaction to her sister's lip gloss AND we had just gotten home that weekend from Mpls and her Shriners appt, we kept the party low key and simple.
Pizza, cupcakes, a few gifts, and Grandma- perfect recipe for a calm and enjoyable birthday. 
Maybe next year we'll have 10 screaming 4 year olds attend, but for this year, we enjoyed just having her spend her birthday with us.  Yes, we are that kind of selfish. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another crazy week~

As if December wasn't busy enough, this week was crazier than most.  

 First, last Thursday our foster children had their first visit with their mother in over 8 months. Could the State's attorney's office be more insensitive to plan something this emotionally traumatic during December, when most foster kids are already worked up from their feelings of missing their family.  So on top of the normal melt downs, now we get to ramp them up a  notch.  Yippee.

Last weekend was G's birthday, so we had his brothers over the a sleep over/party, and it went really well.  We enjoy those boys so much - Luke really connected with the older brother, and I was grateful to get through the weekend without any major meltdowns or drama.  J, their older sister, was upset that she had to share all the boys with the rest of us,  and she pouted most of the time they were here, but that's pretty par for the course with a 13 yo girl.

The best part was giving G a special birthday party!  He was very proud to have his brothers visit, and having his own cake and presents really made it fun for him.

After the busy weekend, we had to turn our sights on preparing for Quinn's clinical at Shriners Hospital in Mpls later that week.  Because of Loren's work schedule, Travis offered to drive me up there.  The thought of me driving through downtown Mpls looking for this hospital with a 2 yo in the back seat put me in a deep sweat, so I gratefully accepted his offer.  And boy, am I relieved that he drove, because I think his GPS even got a little confused at one point!
  The clinical went well, with recommendations on waiting to schedule surgery after she completes potty training.  At least now she is in the system, and the next visit will be for surgery to detether her spinal cord.  Thankfully, she is asymptomatic with now, meaning nothing is bothering her due to the tethering, so it's all good :-)
The side perk from the trip was getting to spend alot of quality time with big brother Travis, and he got to introduce Quinn to Chipotle cuisine.
3 days after she broke out from the lip gloss

So we whip home after 2 days in Minnesota just in time to catch up on the laundry and spend 4 hours at Sunday School practice for our Christmas program.  We managed to survive that, and I even remembered to bring the gifts for my students, so yah- 2 for 2.

All we have left is Quinn's birthday, and then I'll be able to relax and begin to enjoy Christmas.  So glad that I got all our Christmas shopping done in November ;-)


Kaylee and Bri

J wanted to be a stylish angel

pretty proud of himself



The Dangers of Lip Gloss

Thanks to a Secret Santa gift that Camille received at school, we had our first experience with cosmetic allergies.

Quinn got a hold of the lip gloss and decided to gloss over her whole face, all in the name of "Being Beautiful".  The next morning, she woke up to this:

This picture doesn't do her justice- it got much worse before it started getting better. 

Imagine the worst case of chicken pox you've ever seen.  That bad.  And it itched too, poor baby. 

She's been a trooper though, and does her best to not scratch at the scabs.  We are hoping for a quick recover and minimal scarring from the scabs. 

I've read of kids who have spina bifida often being allergic to latex, but I've never heard about cosmetic ingredients being a problem.  Live and learn!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The easy way or the hard way...

The other day I apologized to my hubby for always making life so hard...not taking the "easy road". 

Bless that man, he knew exactly what I meant.  And he just smiled.

When our friends are taking vacations...we're taking in foster kids.

When others are updating their homes or their vehicles, we continue to clunk along in our "vintage" cars (with the smashed in dash from a deer or two) and our worn out furniture, because we gave up our second income so that I could be home to raise our children. (And because we gave up trying to impress others a long time ago :-)

When we hit middle age and our peers were building their retirement funds, we were traveling to a little girl who was sitting in China, waiting for a family to call her own. (Bye bye, 401K...I will miss you)
When friends are eating out, we're staying home.

When others are shopping at Kohls and Macy's , I'm wandering through Once Upon a Child.

I know that our lives could be different and SO much easier.  Loren knows that too.  But when we evaluate our goals in life, they aren't the ones we had expected we would have at this age. 

We aren't planning on taking trips or playing golf when we retire.  Heck, at this rate, we won't be able to retire!  But we are working out God's plan for our life, and that doesn't include luxeries and wealth.  And apparently some week's it doesn't include free time either :-)    However, it does include incredible feelings of satisfaction, lots of joy, laughs, connection with the children in our lives, and the feeling that we're right where we are supposed to be. 

I don't remember exactly the quote, but it does something like this:  I would rather end my life used up and worn out, having given it my all, and have the Lord say "Well done, Good and Faithful servant" than to have lived a life of ease and selfishness.  ( you get the drift...)

That is why we do what we do, and why we make the choices that we make. 

It's not as if the sacrifices are extreme or miserable- we are very blessed! We are not hungry or cold or deprived of any real necessity. 

Do I care if I have new clothes?  No, not really. 

Can my pride handle driving an old car that isn't as nice as my neighbors?  Absolutely!!

Those items are not important to us anymore.  What's important is that we have been entrusted with these precious lives, to mold and guide, hug and play with, for as long as they are with us.  And we are humbled by the responsibility.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving 2011-

*  Our house had just been moved to it's new location and was sitting empty, still not hooked up to electricity or water.  We were living with my parents waiting for the chance to finish the repairs and move back in.
*  The kids ended up going with my mother to my aunt's house to eat, while Loren and I stayed to work on the house, getting the living room painted and some boxes unpacked.  We had a turkey sandwich for dinner.
*  We were waiting for our Travel Authorization to go to China and get Quinn, and we had no idea when that would be granted, so we were rushing to get moved into the house.

No chance to cook for my family, no chance to get out the Special Dishes, and no chance to repeat the traditions that I had been taught.  The whole day felt very incomplete.

We were in limbo.

Thanksgiving 2012-

So this year, I threw a traditional Thanksgiving for 11 people, with turkey AND ham, homebaked pies, and we used the Special Dishes. 

And after getting the house cleaned, kids bathed and dressed, food fixed and table set, I was more than just a little tired, but also I had a great feeling of accomplishment.  And of connection to my kids. 

Because years from now, they will reminisce about their childhoods, and remember how they felt on days like this.  And I want them to remember the feeling of family, of tradition, and of the love that went into putting on a feast like that. 

Missing all of our adult boys, but we still managed to fill a table :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Random hits and misses

This week has been full of admistrative paperwork and there are days when I think I need a secretary.  However, if the funds were there, ya all know that I would choose a cook over a secretary ANY DAY! ,  So until I win the lottery, I guess I'm stuck with my part time secretary job.

Having all sorts of fun deciphering insurance requirements for Quinn's surgery, and contacting Shriners to find out what preauthorizations and such are needed. The people at Shriners are so helpful and caring that I can't wait to meet them and just give them a big squeeze!  Nicest phone personalities on the planet.  I got all my questions answered for Quinn's upcoming appointment, and even a room on-site to rent while we are there.  Consider this a HIT.

 Then they called back to tell me that Quinn isn't scheduled for surgery yet (WHAT??) and that our upcoming appointment is only a pre-consultation.  (How many preconsulations do ya need?  Apparently, more than one. Can't wait to drive 6 hours one way just so another surgeon can look at the bump on Quinn's back.  I was told by Sanfords Spina Bifida team that this was for surgery because they did all the pre-op testing, not a consultation appointment.  Count this a MISS)

Finished painting the rental house (SWEET!) and now I wait for the Real Estate Genies to come and promote my house to the level of liveable and hopefully it will sell.  I have prayed to have this house off of my hands for so many years that I'm not real optimistic that this will happen soon.  So far, all the people that have either wanted to rent it or buy it haven't had the funds to even begin the process, which speaks volumes to the impossibility for many people to own their own house.  This old house is listed cheaper than most new cars, and yet, many people who are willing to live in an old house cannot afford to do even that.  So Genies- DO YOUR STUFF!  I'm calling this a HIT because I'm doing the happy dance to be done with paint stained hands.

Tanner's therapist called to let me know that he's not making any progress, so he's going to recommend halting therapy.  So far, in all the years that I've been trying to find "professionals" to help Tanner, I have rarely found any who have been very helpful. They "claim" to be trained to help people who have mental challenges, and yet, they call me because they can't get him to clean his room...or he won't sit still during work hours...or he is only working at 80% instead of 100%.  Seriously??  I thought all of these "professionals" were trained in understanding how people with autism and cognitive delays behave, and yet they keep calling his mommy because they can't get him to do it right?   I have been fighting for this kid for the last 22 years, and it looks as if I will have to continue to fight.  I am weary of this battle.  Miss.

Then to top off all this fun news, our CW calls and tells me that the States Attorney is going to let our foster children's mother have furloughs for visits with the kids, after having a No Contact motion in place for the last 6 months.  Great.  Bring on the crazy behaviors once the kids start these visits.  This is a big MISS.

So this was my week.  I don't intend to keep score, because I think I have more checks in the MISS column than I do in the HIT one.  Here's to next week and hoping that my Pollyanna personality will kick in, because then I can play the Happy Game and everything will be peachy.  :-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Orphan Sunday Recap

I'm always amazed to watch God impress an idea on someone and see how that idea grows and stretches and is soon touching others in positive ways.

Last week it occured to me that Nov 4th was Orphan Sunday, and I remembered how last year I vowed to do something to recognize it.  Last year at this time, we were living with my parents because our house was being moved AND we were getting ready to head to China to meet Quinn. I just didn't have the time or resources to get anything prepared.  So I scrambled this week to get something ready to show our church family. 

Sunday we had worked it out with Pastor Steve that Loren would show a video that I found on YouTube to promote Orphan Sunday and I would say the Prayers that are listed on the Orphan Sunday website.  I also spent almost 4 hours (grin) making posters to put up in the narthex. (I gotta admit, that was just plain fun- I need to add more art opportunities in our homeschooling!)

Here is the video that we showed:

The video is powerful and I hope it made an impact on our congregation, but considering most of the folks there on Sunday were over 70 years old, I don't think it inspired anyone there to adopt.  However, I'm hoping that it made them aware of the orphan crisis and maybe they will support other families who do choose to adopt.  If nothing else, it makes them sensitive to the feelings of the children that we foster and adopt and bring into the church family.  

A second interesting thread in regards to this presentation- I called Pastor Mark in Irene to borrow their digital projector and had a lovely discussion explaining Orphan Sunday to him.  He is an awesome pastor with a real heart for children, and he was enthralled to learn about this promotion, and he confessed that he and his wife support a child through World Vision. 

Any-who, I found out that he ended up preaching on Orphan care on Sunday- something that he hadn't planned on doing!!  My good friend, Sara, also spoke to the congregation at that church about the importance of adoption, as she is adopted and is a firm supporter of adoption. She also found out that her other church preached on Orphan Sunday as well due to her influence, so that makes 3 church families that were touched by the message on Sunday. 

The word is getting out to the rural towns in this area, and even though we are small in numbers, I believe that together we will all make a difference in the lives of children.  I can't wait to see what God does with this, now that we have planted the seed in these three churches.  :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Family Pics

Friday night our older boys came home in response to their summons to gather for a family picture.  Our last such gathering happened over 6 years ago, so I thought it was a good idea to update the 11x13 hanging over the TV.

 Not only are our then-preschool daughters now pre-teens, but now we have a new member :-)

Before the "real" photographer showed up, I took a few pics just to check out the background I had selected.


I'm anxious to see how they turned out, and will post my favorites. I LOVE THESE FACES and can't wait to get them up on my wall!

  Thank you to my kids for their patience and willingness to do whatever our photographer asked them to do. It was cold and blustery that evening, so if we look chilled, it's because we were!

Orphan Sunday week- day 3

I began working on preparing something for this week's church service, since its Orphan Sunday. 

I finally had to stop watching the videos on YouTube because they had me in tears. 

I hope to be able to give a short presentation to our church without breaking down and crying...we'll see if I'm successful or not!

Now I'm off to see if I can find a huge screen for the front of the church :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012


Thanks to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, I am online again.  After a frustrating 6 weeks of having my computer sent to Dell to have the hard drive replaced (after 3 months of use), and even though I repeatedly told them the keyboard was also messed up, it came back with a new HD and a still-screwed up keyboard.  This time the keyboard was replaced, so we are back in business :-)

Today my Devotional book really made me laugh!  "Linger in My presence awhile.  Rein in your impulses to plunge into the day's activities.  Beginning your day alone with Me is essential preparation for success."

How appropriate!  Being the A-type personality and list maker that I am, I often fly through  my morning trying to get as much done as I can, and I forget to take the time to reflect and commune with God before the craziness that is sometimes my day begins. 

So today I took the time, and thought about all of the blessings in my life. 

It started with waking up next to the man that I love, then surrounded by 3 of my children getting ready for school and being able to love on them as they're going out the door, waking up  my little ones to have breakfast and hugging them as they toddle around.  Getting out our homeschool materials for the day.  Going outside to feed the horses and spend a few minutes leaning against their necks and  just breathing in that horsey smell.   I realized that the life that I have was all what I had prayed for years ago, with a few variations, of course :-)

So again I face my day with the realization that I have everything I need- love, family, plenty of food, a home that is big enough for us with room to spare, and God even provided me with horses that feed my soul and a big white dog that I get unconditional love from.  I know that I am so very blessed. 

So again, I ask myself how can I share my blessings with others?  Because you know, I take this scripture seriously.

  Jesus said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48)

We've been given SO MUCH, and Loren and I know that we need to reach out to others and share the gifts given to us with others.  The question wracking my brain is "what next?"  What opportunity will present itself.  What task will God place before us?  If only God could email me the details, and I could be prepared, know what I mean??!! 

This year we have taken in 4 new children into our homes- 3 of them are still with us- one permanently  (Quinn-yah! ).  I believe that our next "assignment" will also have something to do with children, and there is this feeling of expectancy.  I'm wondering if it has something to do with our two foster children, who are 3 and 13 and have been with us since July, or if we will jump out of our comfort zone again and tackle another international adoption?  I guess we will need to be patient and see what's in store for our family next.

The waiting is hard, but it's also what makes life interesting :-)

Look who dug out Bri's old ballet gear..

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You are what you eat~

I just watched this video on TED TV and it has me so excited!!  It's basically about how we can eat and use food to fight cancer. Who Knew??!!

Being the hippy mom who feeds my kids organic, gardens and cans, and freaks out when a bag of Doritoes enters my house, this is very validating news!  Maybe old mom isn't such a weirdo after all?!

I've always known that eating healthy is so much better for us, and even though we often don't see immediate rewards for eating an apple instead of a Snickers, we are doing the right thing. It's why we plant and maintain a huge garden every year, raise most of own meat and eggs, milk our own Jersey, and belong to an Organic Food Coop.

Hearing news like this gives me hope!  Hope that all the weeding, cooking homecooked meals, weeding,  baking cookies instead of buying Oreos, weeding, planting, paying more for organic, more weeding, and just taking so much care into what I feed my family that this extra care will pay out in dividends that will show up for years to come. These efforts could affect our family generations from now, which sounds kinda dramatic, but I don't think it's overstating the importance of this issue. 

We Are What We Eat.

And if that includes pesticide sprayed produce, processed foods and fake foods, mountains of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, sugar substitutes, genetically modified foods, and E. Coli ridden meat, then what kind of future can we hope for in respect to our health and the health of our children?

So I guess we gotta do whatever we gotta do to give our families the Nutritional Advantage they need to face the future.

Which brings me back to weeding. Don't think that after hours on my knees in my garden in the hot sun, bugs biting, that by mid July a bottle of Roundup isn't just a little bit tempting.  Cuz it is.

But so far, it's Roundup- 0 and Mom- 1.

Organic hippy moms are tougher than we look. Don't let the environmentally- friendly-humanely-made-Fair Trade-cotton t-shirts fool you.:-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Hands and Feet of Jesus- Aug and Sept

The end of summer is a tough time to plan Service Servants projects because of all the events during this time.  County Fair, the start of school, plus the wrap up of many of our summer activities, kept us busy this month , but we still managed to sneak in a few projects that help us focus on others.

August was mostly small projects, but I'm proud that even with the excitement of the County Fair, we still remembered to do SOMETHING!  Here is our list:

  • Recycled 2 huge bags of Walmart plastic bags.
  • Worked a Food Pantry shift on Friday.
  • Served as Committee of the Month at our church, which includes setting up for service, ushering, washing communion glasses and cleaning up after service.
  • Sponsored Laura Stevens for the Relay for Life Cancer walk in Beresford.
September was also busy, but at least we were able to find some time to serve others.:-)

First- my good friend was having some serious surgery, so I called several neighbors and friends to line up meals for the family the first week following the surgery.  Given the opportunity, people are thrilled to be able to help out a friend, and I was very pleased at the responses :-)

Chicken and rice, crescent rolls, home made pickles, and peach pie

Our local Food Pantry has been very low on supplies, so our church's Hi-League kids, 4th grade and up, put an article in the paper, and set up a collection table to replenish the Food Pantry supplies. 

I love doing community service projects with kids-  they bring so much enthuisiasm and fun to each event!  And my hope is that they will remember these projects and understand how important it is for them to serve others.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homeschooling with little ones

The little ones don't like to be left out when we are homeschooling, so I schedule about 45 min a day for "Preschool".  I figure that both our Littles could use help in catching up developmentally, and I can't let my "whole 2 years" of preschool teaching experience go to waste, so we're giving it a try.

We are incorporating lots of basics, like colors and shapes, and working on vocabulary, since Quinn is now trying out her new language with a little more confidence.  My favorite part is doing songs with actions, and both the kids have been quick to pick up on The Wheels of the Bus, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider as their favorites. 

Oh, and also the hand play "This is the church..."  That one cracks me up when Quinn is insisting that I say it along with her, as she is pointing her "steeple" at me. Then she does the "where are the people?" part, hiding her fingers.... could she get any cuter??

Today we threw in a little Sensory Art using one of my favorite mediums- Shaving Cream.

Whats not to like?  Easy clean up, doesn't stain their clothes, and the kids smell good when they are done- haha! 

Bri and I find that they are so much better about giving us our school time when we have given them some of their own, so for now, that's our strategy for getting it all done.  And hopefully, we are all learning something :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Playing Catch-up

Lots of catching up to do since my computer malfunctioning episode the beginning of August.  Since I'm not big on rehashing, I will make it short and sweet!  Here's a quick summaryof what we've been up to the past 5 weeks~

County Fair:
Because of our move to the new farm, we knew we wouldn't have alot of projects ready for the fair.  I mean, let's be truthful- we are just happy to get the basics of meals, laundry, chores, and schooling done most days.  We don't get too full of ourselves and think we can also get a Jersey heifer broke to lead, matching skirts sewn by the girls, and breathtaking photo collages- we just don't have it in us most days. 
This year our motto was : Keep it Simple.

We showed a few chickens...

Bri, Moyra,
Camille, and Lani
Showed a rabbit or two...

Bri received 2nd place in Rabbit Showmanship- tough competition too!
And had fun with all of our 4H friends...

The County Fair is usually the closest thing to a vacation that we get, so we splurge on eating Indian Tacos and sweet corn, get the fair bracelets and ride until we are dizzy, and put off housework for 4 glorious days!  It's the last big fling before school starts, and it's our official End of Summer event.

  And yes, we eat homemade pie at the 4H food stand too :-)


The fair was followed by G's surgery for a hernia repair- not something that he was real keen on doing, but he was a brave little guy and was happy to now have a new belly button as a result!

Clifford made the whole experience so much better!

Just waking up from the anesthesia and a little scared.

MUCH happier now- I think the pain meds were finally kicking in :-)

His follow up went without a hitch, and he's now sporting a nice, new "innie" belly button! 



Luke, Quinn, Camille, J, and Bri
Here was our  "motley" crew on the  morning of the first day of school.  Can you tell which kids are happy to be going to school and which ones are NOT? (G slept in that morning, so he's not even in the picture.)
We are experimenting with sending Camille to public school this year-it was not an easy decision.  However, after alot of discussion of pros and cons, it came down to 2 main reasons for me wanting her to attend school. 
Number 1- I have given her 6 years of high maintenance attention, school and otherwise, and I really feel that Quinn now deserves time with me as well.  Quinn will need help with expressive language and I want to be starting her on preschool subjects to help her vocabulary improve.  The other kids sometimes 'gentley' remind me of how much time and attention Camille has demanded and needed the past 6 years, and how often they have had  to do without.  If I don't have Camille prepared for the social arena of public school by now, then I probably never will.
Number 2- Mama needs a break. (Did I say that out loud??)  Most nights, Camille and I were still sitting at the table at 5:30 still doing school, when I should've been preparing supper and seeing to the hundred other things that demand my attention.  Every book I've read on RAD warns parents NOT to teach their RAD child because it presents another opportunity to battle for control.  All I know is that it was very hard on our mother-daughter relationship, and for that reason, I am hopeful that this solution will benefit all of us. We are now 3 weeks into the school year, and I am already seeing a positive change in Camille.  It's amazing when the other 20 4th graders all get their worksheet done in 30 minutes that SHE can too!  Who woulda guessed?
So let the games begin!

On the farm front, we had the inconvenience of having our yard dug up again to have all of the waterlines replaced-more fun than you can imagine.....really!

 We also sold 4 of our horses that were not exactly "fun" to ride, and used that money to purchase 3 really rideable horses.  What a difference! The girls are really enjoying all their horse time, and we have begun taking them to lessons twice a month at our local rodeo grounds.  They have about a 4 hour class, and they have already done so much better with these horses than they did with their old ones.

So now we have a house full of cowgirls, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Our plan is to get the girls so hooked into riding and loving their horses that they won't be interested in boys for YEARS!  That's the plan anyway :-)


We are so lucky here in South Dakota to have a Lifelight concert every Labor Day weekend.  3 days full of our favorite Christian singers and groups, and it's all FREE!  Can you imagine, thousands of Christians sitting around in our lawn chairs, kids playing frisbee, rocking out and worshipping together- it takes me to a whole 'nother level of Godliness and goodness and spirituality that brings tears to my eyes. 
The presenters are usually band members that share their Faith stories, and we leave feeling spiritually fed and inspired.  The music is INCREDIBLE and the groups are the ones we listen to on the radio, so we KNOW THE WORDS!

(Nothing worse than a Scandanavian with no pitch, singing songs that she doesn't know- at least I can rock the words if nothing else!)

This year we were lucky enough to hear Santus Real, and 10th Avenue North- 2 of my very favorite groups, so I was thrilledAnd their faith messages were almost better than their music! I gotta think that hearing testimonials like that will influence my kids for the better, and the benefits of the music is a no-brainer.  The coordinators of Lifelight are influencing so. many. people!  I hope their vision continues so that thousands each year can have access to such a wonderful ministry, whether they are expose to Christian music for the first time, or they are fans like my family. 

That is why we donate to it each year, so that this mission can continue.  I cannot say enough good things about it, so if you are ever able to attend a Lifelight concern, run, don't walk!!  You will thank me.


Well, those are the highlights from the past 5 weeks.  Let's stay in touch :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 disappoint.

3 months. That's how long the hard drive on my laptop lasted this time.

I don't use my laptop for gaming, or holding huge amount of pictures or data; I don't tie into a huge network or download "stuff" that will corrupt my computer. So why did my harddrive crash only after 3 months of normal use? Inquiring minds want to know.

Where is Ralph Nadar when you need him?

This could start a whole dialogue about how poorly items are made these days... how we are enslaved by a marketplace that produces inferior products so that they are assured of future customers sooner rather than our throw-away society seems to expect and accept the short lifespan of many of our purchases, because it gives us an opportunity to go shopping again and maybe pick out a different color this time...yada yada yada.

Or so the rant goes. that I have her back, and most of the programs reloaded, I hope to be back in touch with the online world. Because we have alot of decisions coming up the next few months that will affect our family, and we are praying for divine guidance to follow His will.

We are also facing some tough economic times during the months ahead, and we want to be able to put our heads together to try and live more simply and more frugally.

So here's to a fresh start, electronically and otherwise.

And just for fun, here is some cuteness.

We love us some cantalope!

Friday, August 3, 2012


I know I'm terribly behind, considering all that has happened here the past few weeks. We have welcomed new family members, and we have had to say goodbye to some as well. 

We have gone from a family of 6 to one of 8.  I didn't think adding 2 kids to our household would take up so much of my time and energy, but I think it's because we have gone from a somewhat normal routine to "Slumber Party Chaos" and it's leaving me and my house looking a bit frazzled.

We are very happy to welcome GW and his sister, J, to our family, and they fit in with this group really well.  However, transitions are never flawless, and trying to learn family rules and routines is hard enough, but to move to another house, get used to new people, and also deal with the grief of having your family and home dissolved can't be anything less than heartbreaking.  So for now, we will do our best to make them feel welcome and loved, and worry about the mess and rule breaking later on.

Camille, J, GW, and Quinn
(and yes, that is my Diet Coke)

We had to say goodbye to my Dad this month- after 2 years of battling cancer, along with various other health issues, he is finally at peace.  He got his wish of not having to live in a nursing home, and only spent a few days in hospice at the end.  Stubborn man! 

His funeral was a lovely gathering of family and old friends, sharing stories and memories, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.

 Best Friends from Anoka- the Westrums and Molendas

Rod Garrison telling golf stories

As usual- my attempts at a family photo never pan out- Tanner is missing!

Then as we were working through our feelings of loss over Grandpa Rod, we lost another special member of our family....Emma.
You were always a bundle of furry sweetness, and you loved Bri with all your heart.  We will miss your exuberance for life, your ability to do the splits on the kitchen floor, and your fun filled spirit.  You will always be in our hearts.