Sunday, October 14, 2012

Small Update

Tom Say: Hey All,


Thanks for hanging in there with us.  Over All things are going well. It's been a busy summer and going to be a busier fall.  Ethan is back in football, Phoebe joined the cheerleading squad and is cheering him on, Leanore has been a darling about helping with the littles, Sophie and Holly have decided to give their hearts to the Lord and are now taking communion with us (we'll get to baptism shortly), and Trudy is the queen of the castle.

Trudy Wrote this...;')



Alina was scoped the other day and Drs say that there doesn't appear to be anything physically wrong that would prevent her from eating, however, they did say she has a bacteria in her gut typical of Russian children that might be fooling her into thinking she's full when she's not.  She also saw a dentist that concentrates on special needs children, he thinks that he can fix part of her problem by pulling some teeth and fixing some cavities.  So that'll be in a month or so. 



Little Girl has gained over 12lbs


After some serious soul searching, Vitally was mainstreamed in the local school, he has a part time helper that keeps him focused, and he's loving it, as well as he's soaking things up like a sponge.  He knows his complete ABC's, can count to around 30, and his behaviour, language and interactive skills are growing better all the time.  Some people think because we homeschool that we're anti-school, not so, and this just goes to show that every situation is different and we try to do the right thing for each child.



Mom and baby Libby are doing well also, the littlest one is growing like a rag weed and seems to get bigger every time I skype with them, ah skype, thank goodness for technology.   everybody seems to be going through small sicknesses right now, not sure if it's the flu or some other bug, but we're coping and it'll be alright.  (If we haven't said it a million times yet, Thank You Lord, for Family and Friends.)



The new job is going well and the relationships and business skills I'm learning here in Central Asia should prove very valuable when we decide to come back.  But I'm definitely looking forward to coming home next spring. 

That's all til next time...

Monday, July 23, 2012

We have the privelege of having a young man from the Ukraine come and stay with us for part of the summer. We felt led to participate in a host program and are really enjoying our visitor.
His name is Valera and he LOVES to ride bikes and play computer games. Oh, and cars, he LOVES cars. Not just any cars mind you, oh no. He loves the cool and expensive cars. Like the Mustangs, Camaros, BMW's, Corvettes, etc.

"Welcome Valera"
He is very handy, he loves to take things apart and put them back together or try to fix them. He's also smart and is picking up English very quickly. He already knew some, but is learning more and wants to learn the English letters. He printed out Russian letters and has taped them onto our keyboard to the corresponding English letter. Pretty cool. He's not too into American Football, yet. But he's got some soccer skills!

He is also very helpful and kind. He helps the Littles if they need it and likes to carry the baby in her car seat.

We're hoping to take him to DC while he is here. I asked him if there was anything in America that he wanted to see or do specifically. He said no. Ok, I can work with that!

Tom got to meet Valera thru skype. Valera was a little shy, but liked meeting "Father". :)

More updates to come......

Ethan, Valera and Vitaly in the boys room.

Vitaly really likes having Valera here.
I need my coffee........ok, got it. Now, to get on with the updates.  Baby Liberty (or Libby) is going great! She is one month old now and totally spoiled, but that's a good thing. :) Eventhough she's only been "out" a short time, I can't imagine our family without her. She's quite a blessing. She is holding her head up and looking around and loves to be in the middle of everything. The other day she was crying (which doesn't last too long because someone will pick her up) and prompty stopped and fell asleep when I started vaccuming. I know what you're thinking, that's a good baby. :) She also misses her Daddy, but we're Skyping with him so she gets to see him on the computer. Not to mention ALL of the pictures of him around and the fact that we talk about Daddy ALL the time.

Liberty Belle, 1  month

Leanore made this comment the other day: "No fair, you hog all the cute ones." to Phoebe in regards to their younger siblings.  So as you can see, that statement is not entirely true. Everyone is getting to love on Libby Belle.

Leanore w/Libby
Daddy smooching Libby
Holly and Libby

Big sister Trudy w/Libby

Big brother Vitaly w/Libby

The only one not pictured with Libby is Alina. That's because she didn't want anything to do with her for the first few weeks, so we didn't push it. Now she can sit next to her (as long as Libby's not crying) and be ok. We know she loves Libby, she just might not know it yet. :)

We miss you and love you Daddy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Toms says "Hi All!"

Once again apologies, it's been very busy the last few months.  There have been ups and downs along the way but we are basically doing well.  Along those lines the family is pleased to announce the birth of "Liberty Belle" on Tuesday the 19th.  At 8lbs, 8oz she is the second smallest baby we've had.  Both she and Mama are home from the hospital and doing well.


Lee loving on her new baby Sis...


Both Alina and Vitaly are in school getting extra help and attention. Their buses come to pick them up and drop them off, they are definitely excited about that and both love going to class.  One week before the end of the session Alina's school refused to let her in class until she got a couple of vaccinations, one of which was Varicella, one week after getting her shot she broke out in Chicken Pox, it looks to be a mild case but a couple of the other littles haven't been vaccinated for that one, so we're worried about them passing it to the baby.  But God is good so we know it'll all turn out alright. 


That said, we're still taking precautions and we've instituted a "no littles in Mom and baby's bedroom or touching baby Liberty for 10 days" rule and the bigs helping with baby Liberty all have to wash their hands and arms before holding her.


Other than that the rest of the kids are doing well; trying to keep up on homework and all their other activities is like trying to tame a hurricane.


Ethan will be a JR this year and is still playing football and it looks like he'll be a varsity starter as well.


Phoebe decided to give cheerleading a try, so she'll be encouraging big brother.


Mommom and Poppop have moved back here to be near us.  They're now only 4 miles away.  They are a total blessing from the Lord.  Mommom helps with the littles around the house and Poppop has been driving everybody to practices, tutoring, etc...Thank You Mommom and Poppop!


Leanore ( well, all the kids really, especially Tolly) can't wait to start going to the pool. Oh yeah, Tolly had his skull expansion and last week they also removed all the hardware from his head (he is one tough cookie) and he's bounced back real well.  The Doctors say he's doing great and they don't think they'll need to do the front of his skull.


Phoebe, Lee, & Sophie played Upwards Basketball while Holly did Upwards Cheerleading. (Ethan also helped coach)  They all had a good time and look forward to doing it again next year (except PJ, too old.)


Trudy is glad that Liberty is finally home, she's been telling everyone for about three weeks now that "she's not the baby anymore."


Other than that Dad (Tom) got a sort of promotion at work (increased responsibility, not an increase in pay) and will be overseas for most of the next year.



We're also going to host a teenage boy from overseas for the summer.  More on that later. (I mean, come on, I've got 7 girls, we need to do something to even the teams up)

That's all for now folks!!!




Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Busy Year

Tom Says:

Hi Everybody, I really, really wanted to tell everyone how much I love my wife and I thank God everyday for my beautiful bride. She is a Godly woman who cherishes and cares for our family both physically and spiritually.
It’s been a busy year and this is only the start. Work is sending me on travel a lot this year; some of it is schooling and the rest is we’ve got projects all over that need to be worked on so I will be gone a lot. Because of this she has had to be both Mom and Dad in many cases dealing with all 8 children, the house, schoolwork, medical appointments, and so on, all on top of being pregnant. And while I’m also very proud of my older children, Ethan, Phoebe and Leanore who’ve also stepped up and are helping more around the house, with the littles, with housework, with cooking, etc… it is Mary who has to shoulder the majority of the load and I know it wears on her.

But I also know that God has gifted her with incredible strength and she truly is the strongest most caring woman I know.

My little man Tolly had surgery on his head today; I’m not sure if we mentioned it before, but one of the issues with Aperts is the bones in the skull knit together too early and the skull stops growing. Surgery was necessary to relieve the pressure in his head and give his wonderful big brain room to grow.
I was no help, but Mary came up with a great plan. A bunch of friends from church volunteered to watch the kids, so they all got to go on “sleepovers,” all the littles were paired up with a big, and our van is being used by one of the families, they will pick-up the other kids and take them all to Co-op while Mary is at the Hospital with Tolly. Mary told me that yesterday while she was dropping off all the other kids one by one, Tolly was upset because he wanted to go too; when they finally checked into the Ronald Mcdonald house he was so excited to be on a sleepover with just him and Mama.

Mary and Tolly had to be there early so they could do one last catscan and then the pre-op procedures. Mary got to hold Tolly while they put him to sleep (I had to do that when they did his fingers) she said she cried, (well so did I,) but that’s alright. She called me throughout the day to keep me informed of where they were at, and finally late in the afternoon she called me to let me know that it was over and he was resting in Post-op. She said he looked like he’d been run over by a freight train, but all the Drs were very pleased with how it went and say he should recover nicely. He’ll spend tonight in the PICU and hopefully tomorrow will be moved to a regular room.

People that say there are no miracles anymore don’t realize how much God blesses us through the people and situations around us; you and I know the truth.

Mary and I want to thank you for your continued love and prayers.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Things have been busy. Have I said that before? Well, it's still true. That and by the end of the day, I'm pretty tired and don't feel I have the brainpower to pull off a post. Really need to get better at this stuff. Anyway...

Let's see, we have celebrated our first Christmas with Alina and Vitaly. They were so much fun! Vitaly was blown away by the presents, Alina was a little less enthusiastic. :) I think Vitaly has found his new favorite holiday. Wait until Easter. Not only do we celebrate a risen Savior, but we get candy too! Something he can eat gets higher favor than anything else!

All the kids did well at the presentation night for our homeschool co-op. The Littles and Middle sang songs with their classes, while Lee and Phoebe were in a full musical drama.
One of the best parts was when Alina and Vitaly's class got up on stage (yes, Ukranian orphanage musical director, THEY were on stage!!) (Sidenote, they were not allowed to perform with the other kids in their group at the "orphanage children celebration") The chorus of the song they were singing went like this: "Everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know....who Jesus is." Vitaly sang LOUD and CLEAR......."Know, Jesus" with a smile all over his face. If those are the only two American words he ever learns, than that is enough! KNOW JESUS.
Alina wouldn't sing, but loved being up there with her classmates. She danced and smiled during the whole song. Which is good, cause I was just a little nervous that she would have a meltdown from overstimulation. Unfortunately, our camera wasn't working so well that night, so no pictures. You'll just have to use your imagination. :)

Overall the night was a huge success! Trudy was a little drummer girl and such a cutie pie! Sophie and Holly were angels and did awesome! Phoebe and Lee continue to blow me away with their acting ability and their hearts to have fun. Phoebe got to share the gospel message at the end of the performance which made this Mama's heart flutter. Lee also did a marionette puppet show with her art class. Amazing! She was selected to do a solo dance to a celtic song and did fabulous. Am I bias, you bet!! The high schoolers don't do anything for presentation night, so Ethan was off the hook and just got to be an audience member cheering on his siblings.

So much has been going on lately that I'm going to put everything in bullet form, just to make it easier.

* We celebrated our Little Trudy turning 3 years old at the beginning of Dec. My how time has flown. She is such a little "Big". She asked the other day, "When Vitaly and Alina take a nap, can I stay up?" Mom - "uh, no". Trudy, "But I'm a Big kid now, Phoebe told me so." She is spunky and fun, while arnery and stubborn. WE LOVE HER TO PIECES!!

* Vitaly had surgery to free the last two fingers on his left hand a few days after Christmas. He did great and really likes his new fingers!

* We celebrated our first New Years together thanking God for the trials and triumphs that He led us through/to in 2011.

* Ethan had surgery in Jan on his shoulder from a football injury last season. He is doing well now and is in physical therapy in order to get back in shape and ready for spring training!

Ethan #31

* Our Alina turned 6 years old at the end of January and officially became a Middle in the family. :)  My goodness, it's hard to think of her being that old since she is still the same size as Trudy! We didn't celebrate because Dad was out of town, but will this weekend. She has gained 10 lbs since coming home and is showing MUCH more energy.

Our Middle monkey, Alina.
* We will also celebrate Sophie (8) and Vitaly's (5) birthdays this weekend while Dad is home. They are only two days apart (well, three years and two days). Sophie is excited to share this with her little brother. I can't wait to see his face when we bring the cake out for him. He has been to a few family birthdays already, but when it's his turn to blow out the candles I can just see him laughing. Sophie is turning 8 and I can hardly believe it! She is getting so big so fast that I have to stop blinking so I don't miss anything. She is turning into such a good big helper and a good little basketball player! Thank you Lord for all the birthdays that we get to celebrate!!

Our soon to be 8 yr old Sophie!

Two peas in a pod. Very happy with "our boys".
* Vitaly is going in for surgery on his skull in two weeks. In October, the opthamologist discovered pressure on his eyes (something like that, he didn't want to sit still so I was rather occupied). Then in the two months after that she noticed that the pressure was increasing. After meeting with pediatric neurosurgens, it was noted that his brain is continuing to grow, but his skull had fused shut. This is part of his Apert Syndrome.
So, they advised us that he would have to have 4 surgeries on his skull done in order to make room for his brain to grow. All this was to be done when Tom is out of town for work. The first surgery required Vitaly to stay in the hospital for one week. I would have to be with him. Argh!! How was this going to work?! But I was recently reminded that God is good and faithful. Okay, I sometimes forget that and try to work things out for myself after worrying over them. Wonderful friends have stepped forward and offered to keep the other kids for the whole week while I would be with Vitaly at the hospital. We are humbled and blessed by these people and hope that we can return the favor someday. God worked out problem #1. Then, at a meeting with the surgeons, we were given more relief. After looking things over, they are hopeful that only two surgeries will have to done. The first is to open Vitaly's skull and cut a section of bone, then to insert expanders which we will have to turn a tiny bit every day for 30 days. The second surgery is to take those expanders out. And that the first surgery will probably only need a hospital stay of 3 - 5 days. YAY!! Our friends had offered to take the other kids for the whole week, but honestly, I want to keep them as friends and was worried about overstaying our welcome! :) Bonus, the dr said that turning the expanders every day would not hurt Vitaly! God works out problems! Now, how do I keep an active little boy busy in a hospital room for 3 - 5 days? Oh well, we'll see. :) The other kids are excited to be going on an "extended sleepover". The docs will check again in several months to see if the pressure is going down or if they need to do the other surgery (to open the front of his skull) too.

* We are 4 months away from our new addition arriving. Yes, I'm pregnant. Yes, it was planned. Yes, we are VERY excited. What? Oh YES, the children are also excited. Really. We love the fact that God has put a love of children into our children as well. They get it, that life is a blessing and God is the One who gives it!Oh and guess what.......... she's a girl!!  Oh yeah, you read that right! A GIRL! That will make 7 girls and 2 boys. After 14 yrs, we finally figured out how to get Ethan to stop asking for a baby brother. He was hoping this one was a girl as he didn't want to change anymore poopie diapers! Tolly has helped our oldest son see the wonderfulness of having sisters!! After being told that the baby is a girl, Ethan replied "Good. There's a reason God only had one Son. Well, if you think about it, sin is like poop, so God changes everyone." I love that boy  young man! The way I see it, God is giving us the privelege of raising up godly wives and mothers for the next genertion of godly men. What a humbling perspective. Thank you Lord!

* We are smack dab in the middle of some other major life changes and waiting to find out what the future holds for us. We know that God is sovereign and am trusting Him to guide our paths, wherever they may lead.

* We are also in the middle of our basketball season. We have one cheerleader (Holly), one assistant coach (Ethan) and three bball players (Sophie, Leanore and Phoebe). The kids participate in a church league called Upward. We have participated in this since Ethan was 10, it is a great program and we highly recommend it! That being said, it takes up our Friday evenings (practices) and Saturdays (games), but it is only for a season and the kids really benifit. The church where we participate have been super sweet to us and we're thankful for them.
Our beautiful Leanore.....

Our new teen sporting her new haircut. Love ya Phoebe!

Holly adores Alina. Family, looks good to me.

The Littles/Middles love to climb on big brother.