Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thanksgiving was a quiet day at home with just our family of 5.  We watched movies and filled our gullets with turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravey, green beans, cranberry sauce and pie.  We also made sure to call family members and chat about our day.  We have been invited to Pat and Patty's next year.  Not sure how Smoke would feel about being converged on with three boston terriers and 5 more people! LOL  So we will wait and see what happens. 

Christmas was VERY nice this year.  Pat, Patty and Tyler brought mom down on their "Santa Run"  to drop off gifts.  We sat around the table and ate Chili and Pat picked on Kaci and Patty and we were all laughing and realizing the all 5 dogs were behaving themselves and not really begging, just watching for something to fall.  We opened gifts and I really think we all really enjoyed our time together here in our zoo.

Today, December 26, Doodlebug is 1 year old!  Happy Birthday to Doodlebug...  It is also the one year anniversary of our dad's passing.  I am not sure how the memorial service went or if it did.  We were the lost family members not even mentioned in his obituary, so, there we have it.

On to happier things!  Kole received most everything on his list including the night vision goggles from Uncle Dana.  Those things really work!  We were testing them out last night.   Kali received all the stuff on her list which was mainly gift cards and lip balm...  Kaci received her mp3 player and many other things that she wished for.  Me, I got the four things on my list!  A hooded scarf, Just Dance for Wii, a housecoat and new slippers!  Boyd received an aquarium, neck massager, and bird feeder.  We have so much to be thankful for.  We are blessed to be able to continue having such wonderful Christmas get togethers and the sharing of gifts.  Here I go getting sappy.    Of course this year, I just wasn't as prepared as in years past.  Didn't wrap gifts until the 23rd and 24th of December.  No real plans for a big Christmas dinner.  Missed Christmas Eve services due to the weather  but all in all it was good.

Enjoy the pictures!

tree decorators

Christmas snow!


watching Tinkerbell

yeah presents

Doodlebug and Reiko

Christmas Eve

Tasha at home

family over more presents

Mia saying Hi to grandma

Cool presents!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching up

It is almost Thanksgiving!  We are so wound up in life that many times I don't get over here to update very often.  Since October, Kole has started violin lessons, Kaci will be playing sax with the 6th grade band for the Christmas tour, even though she is a 5th grader.  Kali is working on music to compete at Federation, and so is Kaci.  Kole is learning his violin parts and how to control the sound and bow.  Scholastic Bowl starts tomorrow for Kali as does Pep Band and Jazz Band...  so more stuff yet again.  It was a nice break.  lol

We have been trying to decide how this year will go with the Christmas tree and two dogs that have no clue what one is.  lol   I think putting up the tree and keeping after the dogs to stay away from it will help.  But I dread putting the decorations on with a pup.  Reiko was always good about it.  Or did I forget....  hmmm  I will have to think about that one. 

This will be our first Christmas in 3 years that we have not had a foreign exchange student to share it with.  We loved sharing the moments of our craziness with Christmas.  It usually starts with Kali waking the others to come out and see if Santa has been here at around 2 am, then they all camp out in front of the tree until morning....  Then they come and wake us up way too early, usually around 6 or before! LOL    It is going to be VERY interesting this year!

This year for Thanksgiving we are staying home and enjoying a meal here.  Boyd has to work that day so it will be interesting when we decide to eat.  Early before he goes in to work, or during his hour dinner time later in the evening... That is yet to be decided.

Enjoy the pictures taken of the kids practicing their instruments and some of our four legged friends.

These are the captive audience to all the musical sounds....  LOL

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How could I have forgotten!!!

Kaci turned 11!  Yep, that's right 11 years old!  It seems like just yesterday her dossier was going off to China.  In October the little crud added a year to her age and a hole in each ear.  She now has double piercing in each ear.  Looks really cute.  For her party she invited over 7 + friends, but only seven showed up.  She had a bonfire weiner roast.  What fun they had.  Kali invited her boyfriend over and the house was full of kids.  Three of Kaci's friends spent the night and they were giggling and talking until after midnight.  They had so much fun!     Then that Friday after the party was the Halloween Carnival at the school where I took Kole and Kaci there while Kali was on a ahem ahem cough cough  Date! with her boyfriend Sam.  They went to the playoff game between Athens and Auburn with his parents.  I guess I missed a really good tight game. 

Enjoy the Birthday pictures!

Aren't they a bunch of really silly girls!?  this last one where they are trying to look mean... LOL  They are just soooo scary! LOL

November already!

Where has the time gone.  It is so hard to believe that it is November already!  It won't be long until Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us!  So hard to believe...  I took a good look at the kids the past couple of days...  and think  wow...  they are growing up at warp speed now.  I still remember wondering if Kaci would ever walk and talk.. If Kali would ever grow taller than 4 ft and if Kole would ever learn English.  Well, they have accomplished all those and are moving on to bigger better things...
Report cards came home and Kali - straight A's!  She works so hard to keep those grades and sometimes she gets so burned out.   Kaci had all A's and one B.  She too is working very hard to keep her grades up.  Her ankle has healed and she is doing great.  Kole was my biggest surprise this year.  I really didn't think I was ever going to see a V for very good (equivalent to an A) and he brought home his report card and it had all V and S  which would be all A's and B's and he is either on target with his grade group or higher...  He has come so far in 4.5 years!  I am soooo amazed!  I announced to all the kids how proud I was of their accomplishments and let them know they should be proud of them too.  I guess all of our ranting at them about homework and studying and doing well in school is working.

Halloween has ended and this year was Kali's last year trick or treating...  She is going to be 15 next year so it is up to her to decide what she will do next year...
This year Kali was a Bee, Kole was Darth Vader and Kaci was a princess of her own design.   Enjoy the pictures.  I also made a plate of Brigadiero......

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is for you Wells! LOL updates

I have been negligent on updating our blog.  Busy times since Sept 11, 2010.  Since then there has been a lot going on in our household.

Let's start with Kole.   Football season has ended.  His team ended the season with 3 losses over all and 5 wins.  He is doing well in school and is really getting opinionated.  He likes to go outside and throw the football around.  He also loves riding the mini bike.  He still likes video games the best.  Kole has really grown this summer and fall...  almost all his jeans are too short.

Kaci has finished up cross country for the season.  She hasn't been able to run due to a small tear in a ligament, but she has been to every practice and meet.  The girls team went to state competition this year and one boy did.  IF her physical therapist had released her, she would have run at state.  Now she can concentrate on music.  She started playing Alto Sax this year and so far likes it, but as any kid, doesn't like to practice and just thinks it will come naturally.   She is doing very well in school and likes it.  She is growing so much it is unbelievable! 

Kali has been the busiest of the three.  She has been preparing for I.M.E.A auditions for months.  She auditioned on October 11 and was one of 4 in the high school band that made it.  She has been swimming on swim team and doing well.  She has shortened her times and improved her techniques.  She loves biology and science.  She is in biology club and went on a field trip to clean out wood duck nests for winter.    She continues with music lessons and has a lot more studying now too.  She attends all home football games with the marching band and also tries to fit in other fun stuff throughout the week.  This weekend she went to the U of I  for the marching band competitions and to see the Marching Illini perform.  She had a really good time.  I think though, the best thing for her so far has been attending Homecoming for the first time.
She had a date, Sam.  He is in her grade and they have known each other since they are both in band.  His mom and I took them to IHOP(their choice)  for their dinner.  Then back to the school for the dance.  They looked so nice and had a good time.

Boyd and I, well we are being run ragged by the kids and their appointments and extras.  But at least we know where they are and they are doing something constructive.  We are getting older and just keeping things going.  Health wise we are good with exceptions of the normal seasonal stuff.

Today Kali and I were baptized at our local christian church.  A decision that Kali has been mulling around since she was 8 yrs old and I have mulled around for a few years.  We took that step today.

Enjoy pictures!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Updates Sept 11

Where was I nine years ago?  I was driving to work when I heard of the tragedy of the twin towers.  My brother, Dana was in the hospital from a motorcycle accident...  My kids were in daycare/school.  I remember at work, that no one was at their desks..  they were all in a conference room watching the TV....  I wondered, Why are they watching a movie this time of day?  It was that surreal....  We all ended up going home for the day and the next day our building was on Lock down.  It has been on lockdown ever since.
10 years ago we were preparing to fly to China to adopt Kaci and 13 years ago we were preparing to leave to go to China to meet Kali...   Joy and sorrow to celebrate this month.

The kids have been going gung ho at school and activities.. Keeping me hopping with practices and meets and games and performances.  Football games, swim meets, cross country meets and marching band...  really can keep you on your toes and living in your vehicle.  So much for getting exercise except giving the vehicle gas and putting on the brakes and steering..

They are all doing very well in the individual areas.  Drama is back because school is back.  Just an evil to try to ignore. 

Kids are getting their homework done even with the extras.  The house suffers a bit, but it is not gross. LOL

Just everyday life here with our zoo...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall Festival weekend!

First, I know, two updates in one day...  what is up with that! LOL

Today Kole was riding a float and throwing candy in the fall festival parade.
Kali was in the marching band in the parade today also.
Kaci, myself, and Drake watched the parade and got candy!
Here are a few pictures!

School year in full swing!

The 2010 - 2011 school year is in full swing!  Kali is our freshman in High school this year, Kaci is in 5th grade and Kole is in 2nd grade.    Kali is participating in band, swim team and biology club.  She hopes to be scholastic bowl again this year.  Kaci is participating in band this year, and cross country running.  I would like to see her do speech.  It is a wonderful way to build self esteem.  Kole is playing football this year.  His team won their first game last weekend with a score of 6 - 0.

We have been chugging along getting kids to and from their events and practices as well trying to keep everything here going.

The kids were so excited about their first week of school (not).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Blog - hosting an orphan

I started a new blog last night for John's journey here and the happenings while he is here.
The link is in my blog list called Janjans Journey to America.

Follow along if you would like!

Swim conference done

Saturday was the final swim meet of the season. Conference. Only the top two times of each even participated. Kaci in the 9-10 group had one of the times in 5 events. Kali in the 13-14 group had one event. She had a good year and did her best. The heat was such a killer though.

Not sure of the results completely, but I do know that Kaci was in 8th or better out of 16 in all her events.

Kali's event, one person on the relay team was able to get them disqualified but touching in the wrong spot when she finished. What a disappointment. But as the girls say "there is always next year"!

No pics. I am a bad mom. forgot my camera at home. Too hot to carry it around anyway.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer is HOT! and a vistor is coming

So far July has been HOT! Temps in the 90's with heat index as high as 110!!! The humidity has been nearly unbearable!

Swim conference is tomorrow! The last swim meet of the summer season. Next week Band Camp starts! No rest for Kali.

Kole has been practicing hard for Football season. He is doing very good! I am so proud of him

Then in 12 days we meet John Robinson, a 10 year old boy from the Phillipines. We hope to find him a forever family! Whether it is us or another family. We will see.

After he arrives I will post a picture of him with the kids! We are very excited to have John staying with us for 3 weeks. I know his name doesn't sound like the phillipines, but he is.

We have been through training, fingerprinting, forms, homestudies all sorts of stuff to bring him into our home for this short time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to Kali! July 17

Kali turned 14 this year. Hard to believe... I had heard it is just a blink of an eye and they are grown up. It really seems like it has been just a blink of an eye.. We celebrated by letting Kali have some of her besties over for swimming cake and ice cream... Next year I think it will be swimming and snack foods.

Here are just a few pics from her big day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The fun just never ends!!!

Swim team is almost over for the summer.. two more weeks... Football starts in another week and a half.. band camp starts at the end of the month...

Then in August... register for school, high school swim team practice starts, and we will be welcoming an orphan from the Phillipines into our home for 3 weeks in hopes of finding him a forever family. John is 9 or 10 or maybe even 10 or 11. Not really sure. No birthdate was given to him. Anyway.. We received a call last week, on a Saturday morning to find out if we would be willing to get our foster licensing paperwork done ASAP. We took one look at his file and said yes we would host him. So while getting our paperwork done for the licensing we have decided to replace the hallway flooring, finish building a shed, shampoo carpets and try to clean up the driveway. ha ha ha along with the rest of our summer fun! Hopefully after school starts, we can replace the carpet in Kole's room with parquet flooring too. One room at a time.

We have just one step to complete in the licensing process and that is our physicals next week.

Then it is wait and see what happens. I don't see how we could possibly be a risk for this child unless they are afraid of him having way too much fun and things to do. Kole is so excited to have a foster brother. The girls think John is adorable. So maybe, just maybe things went crazy with the China adoption part for just this reason, that someone else was going to need us more.

The best treat of all is that at least two of Boyd's brothers are coming to visit today and help with the shed! I think if he had just asked they would have come sooner! We are all so excited to have them visiting.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How quickly things can change

First, let me say we have done a lot of praying, discussion and more praying.

We have decided to give up on the adoption of the 12 year old boy. We went for a roller coaster ride with out the thrill and laughter.
First someone had locked in the boy we were going to adopt on the shared list. So we chose a boy on the select list for the agency. Well, we find out he is not just delayed due to circumstances he is mild to moderately mentally challenged. We talked it over and decided that would not be the best course of action for us. Then the first child became available again due to some glitch. So, we looked at him again, but Boyd was already more attached to boy number two. Since we were not adopting boy number two, we decided to hold off completely since Boyd could not feel very connected to boy number one.

The way things stand now. We are not adopting another child after all. Like I said, it was a roller coaster ride. During this I had a root canal done and we continued on in our busy lives.

So there you have it in a nutshell.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Kaci performed in her last dance recital this weekend. She has decided to give up dance in favor of school activities.

Here is a link to the dress rehearsal night.

She did fantastic on recital night where recording is not allowed.

And the outfits were cute too!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A lot can happen in a couple weeks!

Summer swim team is in full swing. We have swim meets every Saturday and Tuesday through the third week of July. They girls also have practices the other days of the week minus Sunday. We also have clarinet lessons and saxophone lessons once a week. Then there are the projects. Building a shed, which just needs the trusses built and a roof, then the doors and windows. Then there is the never ending battle of keeping the house picked up. Which we are losing now! Kali and I attending church services regularly now. We are enjoying the contemporary service quite a bit. Boyd has been working more hours at the airport and seems to enjoy the job one day and be mad about it the next. Oh well, I think most of us do that.
We mourned with Boyd's brothers and our neices and family at the passing of Brian's wife, Verna. We were able to spend some time with the family but not much.

Then just this past week, we decided to host an orphan from the Phillipines. Raymond. He is 14 years old and really looks and sounds like a great kid! So we called and asked about it. We hit a solid wall. We had only a few short weeks to get a foster/adopt licence and full blown homestudy done to host him in August for three weeks. That was not going to happen... Well then a door opened in that wall and our attention was brought to a boy from China who is going to age out in a year and a half from being adopted. There was already a grant in place and many fees were being waved. wow! A healthy boy... hmmm... so we discussed it and mulled it and prayed for direction not an answer. So I took the initiative and sent in the family information form to see if we even qualifed to do an adoption. I was assuming that our age and weight would throw us both out.

Then Friday I received a phone call. If we were 100% sure we wanted to adopt him, we could. I stuttered a bit and said, I really need to talk to the rest of the family. So after work, I came home and talked to Boyd. We talked to Kole, then off to the pool to talk to the girls. So, the answer is, yes. I called back Michelle to tell her the news. Right away we needed to send in pictures, an application form, money, etc....

So, today, Sunday I finished getting the main beginning stuff together. It goes out in the mail tomorrow. So we are now in the adoption process yet again... This time for a 12 year old boy. A big brother to Kole and Kaci and younger brother for Kali.

Of course all this happens the payweek that I had to shell out over $200 on glasses and over a hundred for an initial payment on a saxophone for Kaci and pay car insurance for me. But where there is a will there is a way. I prayed today and told God that I knew this would all work out if I just let my Type A personality relax and let it happen, just as the referral did.

Tune in again for more on the saga of bringing home our 12 year old son... Name yet to be determined.. probably will let him choose. No pictures yet... Not until after Pre approval and probably more!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

End of May

The end of May has brought about so many changes... Kali graduated from the 8th grade and is now officially a freshman in High School. After the ceremony we shot some pictures and Kali and I headed to IHOP for a celebratory dinner with other families and friends. Kole came with us, but Kaci was tired, so Boyd took her home and missed out.

Now that this ceremony is over on to the last couple days of school then swim team starts. It is going to be a busy summer! Kali really enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Sam. He is a good kid. He is shy and likes to kind of watch things for a while. He doesn't let too many people know too much about him. He is a private person. Kali is the opposite, in that she likes to be with friends and hang out, but she too will sit back and watch people before she leaps into a relationship of any kind. Both are witty and smart.

Next post I should have more pics of the other two kids.

Oh and I had a birthday along with my older brother (who just so happens to be a half century old!) LOL I wonder if he will see this.....