Thursday, May 31, 2007

Smoke gets in your eyes
I can't believe how much smoke we have from the fires in Georgia. There is just a smoky haze hanging thick in the air and the smell is just making me sick to my stomach. We've had it for about a week now. So get your feathers and please head out for the trees and do your rain dance! It just breaks my heart these fires are burning trees for weeks at a time. The wildlife and the environment affected is just horrible.

Kelly and Al and the girls

We went to the lake again this week with some dear friends, Al and Kelly and their girls Josie and Abby. Even though the water was down (need some rain!!!!!!), the weather was perfect and we had a great time.

Arrival was a bit rough. We arrived just an hour after our last renters left. So we were going to clean real quick to save the time instead of having the cleaning lady come. MERCY.... they left the house in a nasty state and that's all I'll say about that. They were supposed to rent again for July 4th but we are canceling on them and keeping some of their deposit. Reminded me to pray more about the people who come to rent! Madness... pure madness.... :0(((((

Mr. Owl on the tube

OK, Mr. Owl did ski but I didn't have my camera... and so we got him with his little boy grin tubin away. He was a pro but did go flyin too!

The family, minus one

Abby was captivated with her friends and so the family photo of the day is missing one!

Moments before the fall...

Kelly and Josie went for a spin on the tube and off they went! The water was a bit choppey that day and the bumps were just a bit too bumpy! Even though they didn't want to go flyin... I think they both enjoyed it. This was moments before the fall... wish I'd left my camera out and gotten that!

The girls and "Mr. Owl"

Josie and Abby C and Abby G had a great time. They tubed and jumped off the boat and jumped off docks and then went down a slide that was at least 15 feet off the water! Abby Grace has never had more courage in the water... Don and I were amazed and think that being thrown from the tube last week was actually the best thing for her. She is her mother's daughter!

On the way to the lake, Abby kept calling their dad "the other dad" and we were telling her his name was Mr. Al and she repeated, "Oh, Mr. Owl". And there you have it... "whoooo whooo"!

I love my dog. Not much more to say. I love to watch him stand at the front of the boat... to see a dog have fun is just a treat. He loves it.

Precious Boomer

This adorable little dirty dog came up to our back porch with his three legged friend. He lives two doors down. He was Dusty's exact size and they both acted like long lost friends. I tried to go inside, thinking he'd go away, and he just sat down by the door and waited for us. I was soon smitten and Dusty got to go out and "play". I am not sure who wore who out... they both took several rests.

Running circles

Boomer and Dusty became very quick friends and ran circles in the back yard for at least an hour straight. After several dips in the water and then more circle in the Alabama clay... Dusty appeared at the back screen door in his new red coat! Ughhh.... thank goodness for groomers.

I do still want to bring Boomer home.

Nap Time

This picture was actuallly taken last week at the lake. Both babies needed a quick little rest before playing in the water some more.

Abby and Marissa

Marissa is such a precious friend to Abby. She and Abby were big buds at Josie and Abby's Birthday party this past weekend. Abby would let me do nothing for her, she wanted Marissa to do everything. It was sweet. Thank you Marissa.

The Twins Birthday Party!

Josie and Abby, Kelly's daughters, turned eight last week and had a skating party on Saturday. It was cute to see so many kids on wheels. Abby, of course, was ready for cake... her favorite part of any party.

Working so hard...

Marissa was just precious and stepped into the big sister role and helped Abby skate the entire time we were there. Abby is almost getting it and should be skating after a few more trips to the rink... aka more B'day parties!

Trip to

My grandmother has had another stroke and was in the hospital and is now in a nursing home for rehabilitative services. Last week, my mom and sister came down and we drove over for a visit. We had lunch with my cousin Clay and his wife Jennifer and they are both just as precious as can be. My grandmother is not doing that great and my grandfather is exhausted. Prayers for wisdom and energy and healing are so appreciated.
Trouble in Blog land...
Mercy... I can not get to my Georgia Jewels blog to update it. So there are no new pics adn no "sold" tags. My email account I used to change it over when we HAD to change (which was an older one) has expired and I can not access it. So... guess I am closer to breaking down and getting someone to help me/tech me/just do it for me build a real website! Because we all know I am just rolling in spare time! :0)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hot Lava

Abby's school play was today and she was the volcano. She was so adorable and shook her "blow sticks" as the children sang about her erupting... it was too cute and so was her costume that Grammy and I made! When she came home, Grammy asked her what she did at school and she said, " I was hot lava". After spending at least a couple hours searching for the perfect materials for her costume, and at least an hour making it... she wore it on stage for three minutes! Isn't that just like fame! Think she's going to be a volcano for Halloween for the next couple years!!!

Tubin and the lake

We spent a great couple of days at the lake last week and Abby and I took our first TUMBLE out of the tube! Don took a corner a "wee" bit too fast and we flew out like a sling shot. As I came up from the water, I was afraid Abby was ruined... but my little adventure girl just laughed her head off! She then got in the tube by herself and went for another ride!

The Face of

Before Abby and I took a TUMBLE across the water... I decided to take Dusty for a ride in the tube. Dusty LOVED it... this is what Abby thought about the experience. note: reaction not due to concern for well being of her furry friend!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Application Acceptance AND
Home Study Meeting!

Wow, we received our application approval from CHI today and we'd just had our first home study meeting! I can't believe the ball is so in motion... fun stuff! Hopefully we'll be fingerprinted and get another application off to CIS within the week. Document gathering time is officially here! YEAH...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

May 8th... 2003

Today we celebrate the day we brought Abby home and she became a U.S. citizen. Wow... I can't believe it was four years ago. This is one of my favorite pictures. She would say "Bawwll" for ball. We were so amazed. By day five, she would say "ball, book, and purple". It was crazy... she was just this little sponge.
My mom printed and gave me the emails we sent from Kazakhstan. As we celebrate our four years with Abby, here is our email from the day we met Abby.
April 22, 2003-
"Hello everyone, WOW... it's been the most profound day of my life. All morning I had butterflies in my stomach and just couldn't believe I was about to meet my precious baby. Sweet Don stood looking out the window for the driver, it was so cute. After getting the official stuff out of the way, it was time. We went to the music room where Don and I and two other couples waited for our children to be brought in to us.
I heard the door open and one of the workers say, "Milana" and so I knew she was first. Around the corner this precious, precious, most beautiful angel straight from God... walked into my life. I got down on my knees and opened my arms for her... praying she'd come to me. With very little hesitation, she walked across the floor and into my arms. I was filled that instant with a love I never knew existed."

Who in the world is this?

Oh, this precious angel came out from around the corner, clutching two cookies in her hands, and walked straight into my arms, turned around backwards and sat down. I can still remember the way she smelled.
And FOR THE RECORD, I DID NOT put this bow in her hair! People, come now... don't you know me better than that. But even though I didn't put it there, I loved it. She came around with her little best outfit on and it broke my herat into a million pieces.
The fear in her eyes still just cuts me to the bone. They were telling her "mama, mama..." and pointing to me. She walked over with such strength... mercy, you precious child. Abby had been abandoned in a cafe at the estimated age of nine months. She then spent three months in a hospital. This is protocol for abandoned babies in case family members come looking for them. Then Abby had been in the orphange for a year.
The day you meet a child, that our Lord God and Father has chosen for you, is one of the most precious and sacred days fo your life. Abigail- Her Father's Joy... Grace- by the grace of God He brought her to us... we had just met and touched and kissed our Abigail Grace.

It's a man...

Children in the orphanage hardly ever, if ever, saw men. The entire orphanage was run by women and the children pretty much never left. So Abby wouldn't even look at Don. She'd look for like a second and then turn away. He was so sweet and tender with her and as he held her here, she'd just take a deep breath and sigh... her little lip would come out and quiver and then she'd sigh again... she was trying so hard to be strong. So I wanted to get their first picture together and as I got the camera ready, Don leaned his head in and she immediately readjusted her head out to keep the safe distance... it was so precious. This is one of my favorite pictures of them together... just moments after they met.

Day Three... The Laugh.

We went to the orphange twice a day... for one hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. It was so very emotional. We were thrilled to see her, of course, and she was just so perplexed. I mean, here are these two people... just coming and going and coming and going and she can't even understand our language. We could tell she wanted to like us, but her self-protection was trying to protect her little heart.
She'd hold onto me with all her might and just cry... sometimes for the entire time we were there. She'd stop and look at me, look into my eyes, then bury her face in my neck and cry. We'd leave and be so heart broken for her. By the end of the second day, I was starting to get worried that we were in for some real anxiety and attachment issues.
But Day Three will be a day I forever remember. It's the day she let her defense down and gave herself to us. I was leaning her back and kissing in her neck and on her chest and she started to laugh. Don had the video camera going and so we have this precious first laugh on tape. Then he snapped this picture. I did it over and over for at least ten mintes and we just cried together. It was the turning point and in that one moment... I knew everything would be ok.

Sunday afternoon naps...

We try very hard to protect Sundays as our day of worship and family. We've gotten into a new, very much liked, routine of taking Sunday afternoon naps. It's so nice to relax together and of course it is always nice to sleep! So daddy snuck a photo of the sleeping girls.

Time to Freshen!

Those who know me well, know I love to rearrange furniture... ok, rooms... entire rooms... and paint... and decorate! I have had the pleasure of helping about six friends freshen, repaint, and redecorate their homes... but I still love a freshness in my home and so I call it "freshening".

Soooooooo, after a year of looking at houses and trying to decide to either continue to the updating and remodel of ours or sell ours and buy another... we've decided to stay for now. So tackling the kitchen, the galley... "skinny and please don't have more than two people in there at once" kitchen was first on our list. We've had numerous estimates to knock down the glorious wall right here and expand it out about five feet into the now dinning room. But if you move the wall, we have to replace flooring (half our downstairs is wood floors, the sunroom is carpet, and the other half is fake wood). With the adoption coming up we don't think we are going to undertake that and so we repaint! Green be gone.... bring on the soothing and beachey blue green! So these are my four color swatches... which one will it be?

After a day and two hours of painting, the kitchen is done! I love it. Fresh and bright and soothing. It still amazes me what paint can do to a house! I love it, just that fact... the creator in me just wants to paint away!

New, bright silver hardware is coming after payday and we'll just be blinded with brightness!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

April 30th...
Abby's Gotcha Day!

It is so hard to believe that just four years ago, we stepped out of an orphanage in Kazakhstan with the precious and perfect child our Lord and Creator had chosen for us.

We'd gone to court the night before and presented our case, we were granted permission to become her parents. Our life changed in that moment.

As we walked around the the room where Abby had stayed most of her time in the baby house, we were shown her little bed by the window. The vision of her lying there night after night, waiting for us, moved me to tears. How I wanted that precious little bed.
We were also shown another room where she spent a lot of her time, the chamber pot room. It was the size of a large closet and off the main room and the sides of the walls were lined with little pots where the children would sit until they went to the bathroom... orphanages can not afford diapers. When they opened the door, there were a couple faces peering back at us... squatted down and waiting.
These precious memories are so special. The knowledge that God had His holy hand upon her, from the moment she was born, the day she was left in a cafe in her car seat, the day she arrived at the baby house.... oh.... and the days I stomped my foot in the bathroom as tears rolled down my face for the twentieth time as I held a "negative" pregnancy test in my hand... OH PRAISE YOU GOD for your SOVEREIGN and HOLY and perfect and precious plans... THANK YOU... THANK YOU... THANK YOU.

An "Official Photo"
for an "Official Day"

Yesterday, May 2, 2007, we mailed our adoption application to Children's Hope International and officially started our exciting journey to precious Caroline. We have chosen Russia and will ask for a girl, between 12 and 24 months, to be Abby's sister. It should just about a year, but of course anything sooner will be a blessing. We are so very excited, especially Abby. She prays for Caroline almost every night and asks almost everyday if we are going to get her yet. "Are we there yet" will come to have all new meaning!
Your prayers for a problem free process will be so appreciated. We have been talking and praying about this for over two years and both feel really peaceful in the timing. So this is one of the pictures we had to send in with the application. Do we look married? ha ha

Morning lesson in logic...

Dusty often sneaks out the door now and creeps between the flower pot and the wall, trying to sneak up on his new found buddies. Well, this morning he snuck out with his new rawhide in his mouth. After three, very slow moving and stealth attempts to get through, he backed up and left his rawhide. It's one of those pictures that speaks a thousand words... ok, at least 50!

My "bird feeder monitor"

All I have to do is say "Squirrel" and the boy comes running from where ever he is and makes a bee line for the sun room door. The squirrels start running as soon as they hear the door open. This morning I just giggled the door knob and they took off.

One of my backyard furry friends.
I love to sit out here in the mornings and just watch the days greeting the Lord gives to me as a gift of His love. Squirrels... taunting Dusty, bumble bees... taunting Dusty, chipmunks... taunting Dusty... and a beautiful assortment of birds with songs that start any day off with smiles and calm. I am ready for the return of my hummingbirds... gotta get the feeder out today. We had a hawk visit... amazing, powerful, and graceful creature. Don feared he was also taunting Dusty and sizing him up for a meal. I think he's after my smaller furry friend here. I'll DIE, just DIE if he comes down for a meal... he needs to move into another yard!

Is that a monkey in my tree?

My little tom boy is loving climbing "trees" or should I admit that they are over grown bushes...? For her sake, I'll claim they are small trees! She did a great job... especially with flip flops on!

"Take my picture for the blog Mommy!"

Need I say more?

I never tire of seeing this precious, from the toes, smile and hearing the sweet giggle and laugh that accompanies it! It evokes such pure joy in my heart... like a sweet drug!

Anyway... this precious one is fighting this week. She was bitten by a spider last week and the site continues to get worse and worse each day. She showed it to us Tuesday night and it looked like a scratch... yet with two perfect side by side holes. So the next day it was slightly red. By Thursday, it appeared a tad puffy and a wee bit crusty. After a call to my precious nurse friend Alethea, I felt "ok" about it but Don and I ended up taking her to the ER that night. They verified it was not from either of the roughest spiders, recluse and widow, and she'd be fine with some steroid cream. Well, Sunday it was even worse. So we had a doctor at church look at it and he said the same as the ER and so we sucked up our "over anxious" parenting and kept applying steroid and neosporin. WELL... yesterday, it was EVEN worse and it had a white ring around it (alert to mommy of badness involved) and so we are off to the doctor again today.
On the way to school this morning, she said, "Ughhh, I don't want this spider bite on my leg anymore." I responded that I was sorry and asked her if it was hurting her. "Yes, very badly" she responded and my heart broke. She NEVER verbally complains about pain. I reassured her I was coming back to get her from school and taking her to the doctor today and she simply replied... "Well, I don't want another one." LOVE HER CRAZY!
She is also just going to town with her seizures. She's had 6 in the past week. Yet, the last three are like half seizures. Her body lies still and doesn't jerk but her face distorts and she does her seizure breathing. Our HOPE and PRAYER is that this "half" seizure means we are so close to stopping them... we'll see. We increased her morning dose this morning and will also stopy by the hospital to get blood work done this afternoon. LOVE HER CRAZY!