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.


  1. THANK YOU FOR THE UPDATE!! It was so good to read how everyone is doing. Love your family.

  2. Thanks for the update! I don't know if I've ever commented before, but I appreciate your posts even more now that we finally got our little guy with Apert syndrome home from Bulgaria. Your family is one of the coolest answers to prayer I've seen in our whole adoption journey. We watched and prayed as "Jonah"'s account grew from $5 to fully funded in a flash and then you swooped in and rescued him. I can't even tell people the story without crying :) Congratulations on the new little one on the way! God bless your precious family!