Monday, November 29, 2010

Pie Warrior

Zara. Most certainly not her real name.

No photo. No face. No grant.

An orphan with no name and no face and no money.

I had some grand plans to raise big money for her adoption fund when I signed up to be her Reece's Rainbow Christmas Warrior. But, life with our two newly adopted boys has gotten in the way. It's the story of my life...over promise and under deliver.

Not much I can do about "life" right now. I mean, we still are trying to get doctor appointments for Theo and Zhen. But, there are a few things I can do.

When we were preparing to adopt I made enchiladas for donation until my hands turned orange. I was really happy to make something instead of just asking for gifts. I was happy to use good quality ingredients and provide something that people would enjoy.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had the opportunity to hone my pie making skills. I have not used shortening or margarine for nearly 10 years. Yes, we quit hydrogenated oils long before it was cool, so my pie crust was made with butter and unbleached flour. The pies were so delicious, the crust so crispy that I was compelled to make more pies on Saturday. I was fighting off the children just so the pies could cool off!

So...even though Thanksgiving is over and done for the year...'tis still the season! I'll be making high quality pumpkin and pecan pies for local people for the next month. If you are in the Wichita area and you'd like to give one a try leave me a little comment and I'll get right back to you! I'm covering the cost of the ingredients and donating my time so that I can donate 100% of my proceeds to Zara's Angel Tree fund.

Enjoy a creamy pumpkin or crispy sweet pecan pie for a donation of $15. I'll even deliver! Save yourself a few headaches and let me make the pies for your holiday events. And together maybe we can help Zara have a Merry Christmas next year!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When will I ever learn...?

When will I ever take my camera
To mark the end of our holiday weekend we took the whole family out for, what else, pizza! We were missing our oldest, who was not able to make it home, but everyone else was there tonight. As I grabbed my purse off the kitchen island I saw the camera...thought for a split second...and then decided to leave it at home. *sigh*

Theo enjoyed watching everyone else eat real food and he got a bottle of vanilla formula. Blech. Zhen ate some pasta, jello salad, and some diced ham off of the salad bar. Rose ate too much dessert pizza. Jordan was the last one done eating as usual!

Leroy ate very sensibly, like always. When we first sat down he spied a Christmas tree next to the exit door. Next to the tree was a fancy chair. He asked me when Santa would be there! I looked around and saw a sign near the kitchen. Together we walked across the room to read the sign. 15 minutes.

Santa was coming at 6pm! Only 15 minutes!!

The pizza joint was empty when we arrived, but started to fill up soon after. By 6pm the place was packed. When Santa burst into the room with a hearty ho-ho-ho, the whole place went nuts. He made his way to his chair in front, shaking the hands of children as he went. Ralph was so excited he was about to burst. He was jabbering and waving. Jabbering some more!

I was so happy I nearly cried! Watching Ralphie have fun is different than watching my other children and more special than just about anything I can think of. It makes all of the around-the-clock night breathing treatments, oxygen tank changes, and midnight meds worth the while. All the heartache was not for nothing. It seems to have made life more exciting and colorful now.

Oh, and today I'm thankful for cell phone cameras. :)

Ruby waiting her turn.

No fear! Ralph couldn't wait to sit on Santa's lap. He kept waving and jabbering to Santa from across the room until we gave up on him finishing his dinner and took him over to see the big guy.

Ruby, also fearless, signing "more." More candy, that is!

Leroy couldn't think of anything to ask for!

Fearless is not a word used to describe Zhen. He wasn't going to have anything to do with Santa.

On our way out the door. One last snuggle with Santa!

I just had to get Theo out of his seat to meet the jolly elf. He wasn't all that impressed. I was just pretty relieved that he didn't throw up on Santa's white gloves!

Merry Christmas dear friends!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We had a fun holiday week!

Guess who?
Theo loves to rip the handle off the ice cream bucket (empty and washed, btw) and put his head inside. He had a ball rolling around on the floor like this!!

Ruby put Zhen in the rolling toy bucket and tried to pull him around. Yes, she PUT him in there. She thinks she is the mommy. She just loves that she has someone new to boss around!

Well, the little mommy didn't have the power to pull her tubby big brother so she tried to push!
That girl is so willful lately. After baths tonight we had a little bedtime snack...pie! She wouldn't let me feed her and I wasn't going to let her get pumpkin pie all over her clean jammies and in her clean hair. So she decided not to eat it. heh.

Thursday was a nice relaxing day. Dinner was a breeze to prepare thanks in part to the fully cooked smoked turkey we received from James company. The pies were done the day before so everything fell into place with little effort.
After I put the turkey in the oven to warm up I put a different turkey into the kitchen sink for a bath. It was a very cold day and far too chilly in my bathroom for me to put him in the tub. He just splashed like crazy. I mean crazy!

Here's our spread. The big pot is full of mashed potatoes. I have never made enough potatoes until this year. I still have a little left over in the fridge. Probably since Wes couldn't make it home this year. We missed him.

Ralph decided to do a little dancing later on that evening. His latest thing is the conga line. He will walk up behind you and grab your hips and start pushing. This could easily be mistaken for meanness, but no. He just wants to dance with you!!
I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving weekend! Lots to be thankful for this year, as always!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I could not get myself and five of my children out of the house yesterday morning for a meeting. I felt pretty low about it. I enjoy getting together with other mothers and my children enjoy playing with other children and new and different toys. But, after losing my temper it dawned on me that this is not the season for me to be attending moms' groups.

I'm disappointed in my lameness, but still OK with the season in which I find myself.

In stark contrast with yesterday, today I'm pretty proud of myself! I actually remembered to order Ralph's medication and pick it up before a long holiday weekend. It takes two days from the day I order it. Coming up on a holiday weekend I normally find myself freaking out and begging for same day service.

Also, I made the prettiest pumpkin pies tonight.

The pecan pie is in a store bought crust. Not pretty. I haven't made pie crust in forever, but I don't know why. It's not that hard. Tomorrow we'll know if they taste good or not.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday last...

Last Saturday was a big day for young Thomas. It was his first big race day. 2 miles. He did awesome!

New shoes! Birthday present from the family!

Ralph was in total heaven today with thousands of people to wave and say "hello" to!!

Here we are waiting for Thomas to hit the 1 mile mark.

Waiting and watching...

Here's the happy birthday boy with his proud daddy.

Now we are at the 7 mile mark waiting for big brother Richard to appear. He ran the 10 mile race!!

Leroy found some golf balls. ???

Rose and her super-cute wind-blown new haircut.

Zhen. Shhhhh. Don't let the nannies at the orphanage know that I let him take off his hat and mittens.

Here's Richard. Awesome!!

I told the children they could throw sticks in the river while we were waiting for Richard to come around to the 9 mile mark.

Ahhh! Happiness! What is better than throwing things into the river? Hey, don't worry. It's a Kansas river...only about 4 inches deep.

Later that time! The birthday boy wanted to cut his own birthday pie. I served it with ice cream. ha! Different, for sure.
Thomas also asked for duct tape for his birthday. How redneck is that?!?! He's actually making a suit of armor. Here are the shoes.

What a fun weekend we had together!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Thomas

Here's my serious young son, Thomas, who turned 11 yesterday. Happy Birthday Thomas! He had his first orchestra concert tonight. I was prepared for something less than pleasant. But I was surprised and the concert was cute and fun.

For his birthday he'll be running in the Turkey Trot 2 mile run on Saturday. Afterward, he requested eleven candles in a pumpkin pie! How about that? No cake for this boy. Pie all the way!

Here is Ralph loving on Zhen. Ralph has been very affectionate toward his new brothers lately. He's so happy to have someone to boss around. Ruby doesn't seem to think she needs to take orders from him!

Ruby thinks Theo is her personal playmate. I caught her putting him in jail yesterday!

I scolded her and she quickly removed the cage.

Theo had his first taste of water therapy today. We crashed the infant & toddler group that meets at our local YMCA. It was nice to get some input from Ralphie's old physical therapist on the best ways to strengthen him. He loved the water and did lots of splashing. We will definitely be hitting the pool again very soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


One naughty happy kid!

So what's happening around here? Not much and that's good news!

The good thing about last week was that we didn't have any appointments and nothing to do that I couldn't get out of. It gave me a chance to try to find a routine. And get caught up on some special projects, too.

I got the whiteboard calendar up on the wall and loaded with appointments and activities. I moved some coat hooks out of the laundry room and over to the front door. This made room in the laundry room for another dresser. I need to go through all the kids clothes and redistribute them into the new drawers. I cleaned the carpets in the front room and in the little boys' room.

Not that there is not soooooo much more to be done. Because there is. I wish I could dedicate a couple of full days to cleaning and organizing. I could put those days to good use! While I was cleaning the carpets one of my children, who shall remain nameless, dumped a full garbage can down the basement staircase. *sigh* More carpet to clean.

This week the insanity starts all over again. Wall to wall doctor appointments, birthdays, school programs, oh my!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's worse than not cleaning out the fridge? Or any other job, for that matter?

Of course, starting the job but not finishing it! I had to take Thomas to the dentist, so I ran out of time. At least I was able to get some photos of my little school boy, Ralphie!

He loves getting ready to go. He loves the hood on his jacket.

He looks so grown up. He surprises me every single day!
Trying to decide...haircut for Ralph or not. It's getting in his eyes, but it's almost past that in between stage. I like my boys a little shaggy. What to do. Hmmm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I did it!

I did one thing today to get more organized. I'm eating that elephant!

Today I finally made my white board calendar. And it's not perfect, but I didn't freak out. I just got it done. I was about to get started when the phone rang. It was the dentist's office reminding me about an appointment for tomorrow. What timing!

AND...I even put it up on the wall!

I couldn't find the level. That could have been a deal breaker, because I like things done right. You know, correctly. I would normally have opted for not doing it all if it couldn't be done perfectly. But, today I eyeballed it and slapped it up on the wall.

Tomorrow...the fridge. And, kid photos...I promise!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Theo today - new hope!

Whoa!! Man, that flash is bright!
Hey look at me! I can actually sit up by myself like a big boy. Do you recall the photos from the orphanage where I was shown how to tie him to the playpen bars so that he could sit up and play? No more of that nonsense.

People say that they can tell Theo is growing. I can't see it. Not yet anyway. I need numbers to look at. I do see that he is filling out a little bit. I love to get my hands on his squishy little thighs! It's better than squeezing the Charmin!! This is a very welcome sight compared to just two months ago.

Theo's teeth are growing too! Isn't that cool and strange? It seems as if he was in suspended animation for a few years and now he's picking up where he left off. He still breaks my heart and I have many concerns, but we have new hope each day! Love this little dolly with all my heart.

Can I get organized?

Gosh, I don't think I've gone a whole week without blogging in years! I didn't update here while I was in Ukraine over the summer, but I did keep up the other blog while I was gone. I just needed a break, a mental break, ya know?

Some pretty horrible things happened last week and I can't talk about them all, so I won't even go there. Also, I was sick nearly the whole week. It just took all the wind out of my sails. It's so hard to get going once you've come to a complete stand still and you've lost all your momentum.

Saturday I got a pretty good start on getting this show back on the road. Can you imagine what my kitchen looked like? Remember I was sick and my squeezy (don't like the word hubby anymore) was traveling. Every single dish in the house needed to be washed. Guess what my least favorite household chore is?

So the kitchen is back in order. Squeeze helped me get the laundry under control today. Things are really looking up. Is there a chance that I might actually get organized? I've got some appointments coming up and others to call and make tomorrow, so I'd better get my act together.

How do I eat this organizational elephant? One baby bite at a time. Next step tomorrow...make a calendar. I have a big whiteboard all ready to go. It's my one organizational goal for the day. I'll let you know how it turns out. Maybe I'll sneak some in photos of the kids. That is what you are really here for, isn't it?