It’s Fall . . . and Time . . .

. . . for our annual Mother-Daughter trip coming up soon!!! We weren’t sure if we could do it this year but we tweaked our “usual” plans, and made adjustments as necessary, such as staying at our friends’ house instead of all going to a hotel, budgeted carefully . . .and we are going to be able to DO THIS.

The girls and I are so excited . . . and it would appear that Kristina’s Anna Grace, and my Lydia Anne, are geared up and raring to go as well. . . .  Stay Tuned for more!

And in the meantime . . . you can look back at some previous year’s posts . . .


My Violinist . . .


. . . is moving along in her violin path.

She was asked to start teaching a few beginning students this summer. She was reluctant to agree, but with encouragement from her teacher and former teacher, she did agree to take on a few students. She taught her first lesson this past Wednesday to a little 6 year old boy. She reports it went fairly well.

Charity also was asked this week to consider playing in a violin duet for a wedding. The bride wants to listen to her play before it’s final, but she is very hopeful about this as it’s a paying gig and would give her a nice chunk of cash to put towards her violin expenses, if she is accepted. I’m very hopeful for her . . .

I’m so glad to see that the investment of time, energy, money and hours and hours of time that Charity and our family have put into her violin lessons is starting to pay off for her.

(Photo credit to Amy W.)

The Day’s Bargain

Today after taking the homeschooled kiddos to the library, we stopped at the school on the way home and waited about 20 minutes until Katya was dismissed, and then went home. I dropped the 4 youngest off, and then went back into town to pick up Todd from college. We then went and did the grocery shopping. We were out of many things, especially things Todd needs for his dairy free, wheat free, sugar free life-style.

After a stop at the health food store, the farm stand, and then Kroger’s, I hit up our local Big Lots.

Was I ever glad I did! What a score!


Six whole cartons of organic Rice Dream original enriched (the kind we prefer to buy) for $6.00 dollars! Yup. You read that right! I was so excited as we were out of Rice Dream and I was keeping my eyes open hoping for a bargain, but I sure had not expected to find that GOOD of a bargain! Now we are in business for a few more weeks on that part of the food supplies. Now if I could just find good goat’s cheese at a price like that . . .

September 2005


old family photo 001 

#Mennobrarian was the inspiration for this post, with her comment about Kristina’s lovely dress. See it in this photo, taken after Kristina had only been home a few days? Yes, Kristina is now wearing the dress Charity was wearing in this photo, having LONG ago outgrown her own version of the dress. The story behind these dresses is that a couple of friends of mine threw a surprise shower for me when I was due with Chad. They asked people to also consider gifts for Kristina who was going to be soon added to our family as well. A teen girl made the lovely matching dresses that both girls have on in the photo and gave them to us at the shower.

I loved the dresses, and of course wanted them to be what the girls wore for our first official family photo. So I’m very happy that Kristina is able to get a second-go at the dress now that she fits into what Charity was wearing.

Happy 7 Years, Kristina!


Seven years ago, Kristina arrived HOME with us. I blogged about it last year, complete with photos.

I’ll share a recent photo of Kristina with you.


She’s growing up on us! In so many ways, She may not be growing that much in stature due to her TS, but she is growing in wisdom, and in favor with God and man. It’s hard to believe that Kristina will be being baptized soon, and even harder to believe that she will be 13 on her next birthday!

I’m so grateful that she is with us. Little did I dream that September day when I sat down to check my emails that God was going to drop a daughter from Russia into my lap. But as I read about her urgent need for a family, and saw the grainy picture that was ripped from a video, it was as if an audible voice said to me, “That’s my daughter!” My heart began to pound, I broke out in sweat, and I KNEW. Around a year later, Kristina was in our home, enjoying pizza for the first time. (We didn’t know that she had dairy allergies at that point.) Now she has been home 7 whole entire years.

Simple Things . . .

Simple things making me happy tonight . . .

 . . . after doing without a VCR/DVD player since the storms that hit here right befoe July 4th, Dh finally managed to get a working VCR/DVD for us after a lot of tinkering with some seond hand stuff . . . YAY and finally Katya can watch the music videos she loves do dearly again!

 . .  . He also got the fish tank pump working again! Double YAY!!!

 . . . And he ordered a new cord for Kristina’s little netbook that she uses for her school work, because it wouldn’t charge at all any more due to the connection on the cord being worn out . . .

 . . . Now, if he could just get t his cranky keyboard working better again so I don’t have to keep going bck over and over my posts correcting what it’s messing up or else looking like an idiot . . . (I joke not–the keybord is missing letters like crazy even when I type them .. . )

Katya is back in school and doing well overall, from what we hear so far. We are slowly catching up on many things that had badly back-logged around here, are getting schooling done, and are starting to feel less over-whelmed. Being abl to relax for the 6 hours a day that she is gone at school and function more normally is helping all of us. We love Katya dearly, but parenting her right now is a full-time job almost! So the daily break helps a ton.

Hair Style


Charity enjoys when I can figure out something different to do with her very long and luxuriant tresses. I often don’t have time to think about it enough to figure something out, nor time to mess with doing extra. And so much of the time I rely on a standard braid, or putting her hair up in a bun, but today I had a few minutes to do something different for her before she went off to group violin/youth Bible Study.

First I braided her hair into three braids, and then I braided those braids as one braid.

Here’s how it looked when I was done.

A bit of a closer view.

She liked it. I’m glad.


It felt good to do something creative again.

Back, With a Smile


Things are still tough–actually, beyond tough at times. However, I have something that makes me smile that I wanted to share with you!

We were given this huge watermelon by my sister and her hubby. They grew it in their garden and blessed us with it. Here Chad stands admiring it before we cut into it. I love the look on his face . . . he was anticipating eating that melon with so much pleasure!

So yeah, smile time for me. Isn’t God good to give us things to make us smile even during hard times?

What to Blog?

I have a yearning to blog, but my life has been so challenging lately on so many levels that it’s hard to know what to blog. I don’t want to be grumbling and down all the time. But it’s hard to blog cheerfully . . .

I’m choosing to try to be thankful that God is in control, that He loves me, and that He has good plans for our lives. And when I can think of something cheerful beyond that  to blog about, I’ll try to come back to blog about it.

Another Skirt



I blogged about Charity’s faux wrap skirt here when she made the first one. She has enjoyed that skirt, and worn it extensively, especially when it ended up being one of the few items she had packed to take along to Baltimore back in March when we thought we were going to be there for 5 or 6 days–“a week max, probably” we were told. It turned out we were there for over 3 weeks, so the few items we had taken to wear were worn and worn many, many times. Good thing she liked the skirt, right?

This summer Charity decided to tweak her pattern a bit more, and make another skirt. She started with two coordinating fabrics from JoAnne’s–using the heavier weight twill for the main body of the skirt, and the lighter weight fabric as the sash.

The rick-rack trims are from a bag of vintage trims we found at the thrift store once–the smaller (cotton!) rick-rack was not enough to complete the skirt, so Charity “changed course” and decided to throw a few fabric and ribbon flowers on the front panel, and add the wider rick-rack (in the same color)  to give it a “picket fence” effect.

 I think the effect is charming, personally. It certainly is unique, and that meets Charity’s satisfaction–she likes to wear clothing that is uniquely “hers”.

The “sash loop” that Charity put on the back of the skirt, holds her sash in place and was one of her new tweakings.

Charity also made an origami flower to wear with her skirt.

If Charity creates her own panel pattern for the skirt, she will have designed her own pattern, and could probably market it were anyone interested.

Love my big girl! She’s growing up on me . . .