Thank You for Praying

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Thank you for praying and caring. We are still not “out of the woods” at all . . . however, God has been so good to keep reminding me to trust Him and to know that the battle is not ours, but the Lords. Every time I have turned around it seems we are directed to the verse in Exodus 14, verse 13. No matter what translation it is shared in, it is meaningful and precious. I particularly like this verse in the English Standard Version though: “And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today.”  http://bible.cc/exodus/14-13.htm

We saw already one clear instance of God doing that for us during this mess. I can’t share all the details, but when a prayer warrior went to prayer for us, praying specifically that if someone was up to evil, God would remove them immediately from our presence, said person was suddenly ready to leave, when up to that point they had shown no interest in leaving.

Your continuing prayers are appreciated for our family . . . and I hope that the next blog post will be one of my more usual ones for this blog.

Thank you.

A Quilt to Help Bring Katya Home!

Christie, a rock solid figure in the adoption community, has generously put up an antique quilt today for silent auction to help bring Katya home!! We are trying hard to NOT go into debt for her adoption, although if we have to borrow the money we need to get her home, we will. So far, all her adoption expenses have been paid for, and we would like to keep it that way for reasons I outline in my blog post here: http://bringingkatyahome11.blogspot.com/2011/06/get-quilt-help-katya-home.html

You can find out about how to bid on the quilt Christie has up for auction too–look here: http://minichfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/this-old-quilt.html

People can bid until MONDAY–so please spread the word on your Twitter, Xanga, and Facebook pages, please?! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Needing Prayers

I like to mostly keep this blog happy and light and focused on the crafting or projects that we do, or other fun stuff, but I’m going to post tonight and ask for prayers for our family, especially for Monday. God knows what the specifics are . . . but we really need prayers for peace, for love, and for protection. This is a serious and urgent prayer request–our family’s well being is at stake.

Thank you.

Nighties upcycled from a vintage JCPenny Gown

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When Kristina and I were at a thrift store a few weeks ago, Kristina spotted this vintage JCPenny gown and fell in love with the delicate sweet pea fabric design.

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Having grown up a portion of my childhood with a sweet pea tangle outside the window of our house, I am partial to sweet peas too! I studied the gown for awhile, trying to figure out how to make something useable for Kristina out of the worn gown.

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When I finally made the decision to purchase the gown, I was not entirely sure I had all my ideas figured out, but I had enough of an idea that I thought it was worth bringing the gown home. Kristina was estatic.

After some digging around online, I found a tutorial for a Pillowcase Dress. I figured that the idea would work for a nightie too, and given how very warm our upstairs can get at night, it seemed that a very light weight and airy gown could be just the ticket for Kristina for this summer.

I took my ruler, and made the cut, ridding the gown of the upper portion that was worn, after I measured Kristina to get a rough idea of the appropriate length.

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 On the sides where the seams were, I measured and marked and then cut to create the armhole area.

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After creating a casing front and back, and threading elastic through to gather the fullness, Charity sewed the bias tape on for me. (She’s much better at that than I am!)

I raided our stash for the ribbon, and after a few other little tidying up things, such as snipping long threads etc., we pronounced the project finished!

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We were very happy with it, as all supplies were able to come from our stash except for the elastic.

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When I was staring at the upper part that I cut off, I felt regret about having to throw it away, as there was still some fabric that was useable. It dawned on me that I could probably make up a similar gown for Kristina’s American Girl doll, Anna Grace! I thought it would be fun to do it as a surprise for her if I could.

With Charity’s great help, I managed to pull it off! I used my doll, Lydia Anne, that my friend, Ann, and her daughter, Amy, gave me back last fall as my “model” and “dress form” to drape, fit and cut since I had no pattern. I used only items that were in the stash, so it was a very economical project!

Lydia Anne was happy to be my model. She obligingly put up with all my taking the gown off and on once it was nearly completion as I kept checking fit. I think she was even more happy when the gown was done, don’t you think?!

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It made me very happy to be able to be creative again . . .  and to do something that made Kristina happy!

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And  . . . before I end for the night, I just have to show my “brain storm” for this summer that I’m happy about! I got sick–yes SICK–about all the cups constantly floating around this house! Year round  . . .but summers are just over the top! Everyone is always thirsty and grabs a cup, and drinks, and then it gets moved from where they put it (since the kitchen table is used all day long for every thing imagineable and our counter space is limited . . . ) and then no one was sure where their cup was or if the cup they saw was really still “theirs” or if a younger sib had perhaps grabbed it and started drinking from it . . . so they would go get another one. And then another one. . . . and thus the day went. It was truly discouraging to have the constant pile of cups. I finally bit the bullet this spring and did what I had long thought about.

Behold! A different cup for every child in the family!

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Even Katya knows that the orange cup is hers and no longer helps herself to her sibs’ cups!

What, you say, there are TWO red cups? Oh yes–that. Well, you see, there were only four colors . . . and so we purchased the next LARGER size of red for Todd. He knows the biggest red cup is his. Besides, the rubber grip on his cup and Charity’s have a different pattern. The smaller cups have circles. The larger, a rectangle. It’s working great. I’m sooo happy! The kids are happy! The dishwasher is happy! No matter where the cup is located at, EVERYONE knows whose cup is whose! That means that 5 children have a total of 5 cups per day that are being washed–plus a few tea cups now and then. We instantly cut our amount of dishes down by easily 75% per day with this one simple change. Less stress, less clutter, less dishwashing soap and water . . . what is there NOT to like?! Now if I could only solve all our problems so easily . . .

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Dress for Sale–Size 5 Girls

Charity has been busy sewing. She finished a lovely little girl’s dress in a cool, breezy summer style. Check it out here: http://waresbycherry.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/dress-for-sale/ and spread the word even if you don’t need it. She would really like to get it sold to help with her violin lesson expenses. She had to upgrade to a more experienced teacher when her teacher moved out of state, so the cost of her weekly lessons have gone up. Please note that she also has flowers, aprons and other items for sale–check out the side bar links on the left hand side of her blog.

I’m very proud of Charity and how hard she has worked to help our family the last two years. First she unselfishly helped with all our fundraising for Katya’s adoption, sacrificing much of her own interests and time and energy to help us get Katya home. Now that Katya is home she continues to make a lot of sacrifices so that we can give Katya the level of care and attention she needs, as well as sacrificing financially without complaining so that Katya can have the care she needs medically. While it’s hard to see our kids giving up so much sometimes, I’m also very proud of them and glad that they are learning to love others more than themselves. At the same time, I am going to try to work hard to make sure that their needs and interests are met as much as I possibly can. . . . Please pray for Paul and me as we strive to be good parents to all our children. At times it looks like a very huge and daunting task, especially as it seems that ever since we have committed to Katya Satan has done all he can to throw a million gazillion darts at us in every way he can–financially, emotionally, physically and most of all, spiritually. Our whole family has been under attack again and again. But in Jesus’ Name we claim victory and press onward!

 

A Much Needed Date–Part 2

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 As we continued our way through the house, we came to the room that had originally been the Master Bedroom. I was disappointed that they did not have it furnished as nearly as it had been, but instead used it to display other items of furniture. However, it was still a lovely room, and I could envision somewhat how it might have looked when a bedroom for the Master and Mistress of the house. I personally loved the two window seats on either side of the fireplace!

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Slightly blurry due to shooting through the protective glass wall they had up to keep people out of the room.

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The formal parlor.

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And an old record player . . .  plus a better view of the lovely rug in this room. Many of the rooms had huge wool rugs that were still from the owners of the home! I do not remember whether or not this rug was an original one or not.

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The informal parlor was where the family spent alot of their time if the weather outside was inclement.

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The programmed audio told us that the main furniture in this room was the furniture that the family used in this room. We were also told that the Master considered much of the furniture in this room very uncomfortable but kept his mouth shut about it so as not to hurt his wife’s feelings since she had chosen it. I loved all the windows in this room, and found the light playing off the colors beautiful. Just looking at the furniture, esp. the benches on the sides of the table in the center of the room, I personally could easily believe it was not too comfortable!

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Our tour finally took us back out to the porch that was closed in after the house became a tourist attraction so that there was a place to come in and pay the admissions fee. ($6.00 per adult, so fairly reasonable, we felt.)

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We decided to walk about the house and see what we could see from the outside.

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This corner struck me as a lovely one.

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After our walk about the house, we decided to find the restrooms, and then make good our escape. We stopped for Mexican on the way home (nope, sorry, didn’t take any photos) and arrived home to find that between our friend who baby sat for part of the day (thanks, Lisa!) and Charity, everything was well and under control. The day was amazingly good for both of us–we were able to actually have some in-depth conversation about some much needed topics, as well as just having a lot of cheerful time together that was important too for our mental health!

I’m very grateful that God worked out the details of our day so that we could really get away together . . . “escaping” to another state felt really good. Better than if we had stayed more local–I know we weren’t that far from home, but just getting out of our state into another one felt more special and more like a true “get-away” even though it was only for part of the day–not even over night. Maybe next year we can try an over night get away . . . or maybe not . . . Katya may still not be ready for that  . . . but who knows?! I can dream, right? 

A Much Needed Date–Part 1

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This week dear hubby and I celebrated 21 years of marriage. Sadly, Dh was working out of town the day of our anniversary . . . however, he was still “Paul on the ball” and this showed up at our door!

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He had stopped at a local “hole in the wall” florist shop and told them to make up an arrangement of whatever they had on hand that would be nice for our anniversary!

I was very pleased–I especially loved the shade of the roses–they are a rasberry pink in real life–a shade I have not usually seen in roses.

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So I had my beautiful flowers to enjoy the day of our anniversary. The day after our anniversary, we were able to line up baby sitting for part of the day (Charity is a capable baby sitter, but she has had to do so much, we try hard to get help for her when we can so that she’s not overwhelmed due to the high level of “neediness” that Katya has). We left our place around 10:30 a.m. or so and headed out of state! In WVA we stopped for lunch at a Olive Garden. We ordered the inexpensive lunch time soup and salad, and water. Then we SPLURGED for dessert!

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I have been hankering for “Coldstone Creamery” ice cream for a long time, so it was nice to finally have my craving indulged. I got the fruity concoction on the right with the strawberries and blueberries.

After we ate, we went to Target to pick up a few things we needed (no Target in our town) and then on to our destination–the Bissonette GardenWe were glad that the garden was free, because we were sadly disappointed by the lack of flowers! The beds were primarily empty, having just recently been spaded up in preparation for planting summer flowers, I guess. We did enjoying poking our noses in the garden center, and found a few flowers to enjoy here and there outside, but certainly not the profusion we had been anticpating.

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Still, after so long without any dates at all, let alone a fun date (our “dates” generally the last year plus have been going to the store to get groceries together . . . ) we were happy just to be out together for the day, and so we enjoyed it to the full, flowers or no!

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The weather was perfect, and reminded me of the lovely days we had weather wise on our wedding trip, oh so long ago.

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After we used up the garden, we still had about two hours of time left before we would need to leave and head towards home. We decided to go ahead and tour the house. That ended up being the high-lite of our day, and of course brought back lots of memories of when we toured Biltmore Estates on our wedding trip!

This day, we were the only tourists in the house, which was a huge contrast to when we toured Biltmore. We were also allowed to take our own tour, which Paul and I enjoyed very much, versus being herded along in a huge group with a tour guide like we were at Biltmore. So even though it was not so fancy of an estate, there were advantages.

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Some of the lovely antique dishes on display.

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And the glass  . . . with the sun shinning through . . .

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One of the luxurious bedrooms. It was very large–much larger than this photo can show.

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What had originally been a guest bedroom, redone to display children’s items.

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To be continued . . . .

Remembering the Sinking of the Titanic?

I have been reading the last couple of months about the “lead-up” to the event in Branson to remember the Titanic’s sinking.Am I really that “out of tune” with modern day life that I am failing to see the allure of getting together, dressing in all your best and having a great time, to remember a SAD and AWFUL night? I grew up reading about the Titanic, and I just can’t get it . . . honestly. Would we remember 9-11 in some similar way?!

When I read the blog post I give below, and looked at the photos, I again was like, “HUH?!”

 It feels jarring . . . odd . . . happy, glowing faces, fun reports of dresses and jewelry . . . sailing around at the exact moment the Titanic sunk . . .

Just replace (DOT) with an actual dot before you copy and paste in the link below! I attempted to break the link (hope it worked!) so their website isn’t suddenly getting hits from mine, as I have no desire to start some type of “war” with anyone over this matter! It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life, but I’m truly curious what MY readers think–and am asking that comments on the matter stay polite, and on my site. Thanks!

http://mariemadelinestudio(DOT)typepad.com/mariemadeline_studio/2012/04/titanic-100(DOT)html

Maybe I’m just getting old. And fussy. And cantankerous. Yeah, that could be it . . . but . . . I wonder.

Long Overdue Update on Katya

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These photos were taken mid-March . . . right before Katya went for her pre-op (yes, you read that right!) physical–in which it was discovered that she had a nasty infection in both of her ears! That meant she got pulled out of school for the whole week prior to her surgery (yes,  you read that right too!) on March 21st at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.

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I don’t have any photos of her immediately post-op–not sure I took any–if I did, it was on my cell phone and I deleted all messages from there mid-way through the hospital stay as the phone capability was FULL.

She actually looked better immediately post-op than she did a few days later when the swelling went from normal, post-op swelling to out-of-control, anaphaletic type swelling that nearly killed her. The plastics residents who were the only ones seeing her that first weekend did not recognize what was going on and kept insisting to me that it was “all normal” even when the swelling was closing off her throat . . . I still almost have nightmares about that terrible day, March 25. This photo is when the swelling was still within normal post surgical limits–I took no photos at all when she was not recognizeable  . . . I don’t think any photos exist of that terrible day . . . .

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Katya after over two weeks in the hospital. . . . she was soo happy to be out!!

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Katya after being home from Wed to Sunday (the 15th of April).

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Her swelling is lessening. We pray it continues, since the swelling now is from a leak in the dura of her brain, which is allowing Cerebral Spinal Fluid to leak out into her tissues. This swelling is like a soft, squishy water balloon, not firm typical swelling.

Hopefully in another 8 weeks or so we will have all of this behind us. For now, it’s weekly labs, meds every 8 hours, and follow-up visits. But Katya is alive . . . after a long and terrible battle . . . and for that we are very thankful!

 

Update on 100 Items Challenge

Having the challenge, loose as it was, and knowing that one other person (a FB friend) was rather loosely working towards the same goal DID help keep me inspired to keep cleaning items out of our lives. I have been so very busy and my challenge spilled into March as a result, and I eventually lost count of items, but I’m fairly sure I got to 100, or very close thereof. I’m certainly happy with what has gone OUT of our house. I’ve even made a bit of money in the process which will be helpful with paying some bills.

I hope to continue cleaning items out over the next few weeks. It feels good to rid our house of unnecessary items–items that are not needed for health or happiness or work!