Archive for October, 2009

I have such an amazing husband.  He really is not intimidated at all to spend the day with the kids and allow me the chance to get away.  One thing I have learned is that my house and my children might not look exactly like I want them to when I get home but I have come to accept this fact.   Today I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the day with my brother.  This is something I don’t get to do very often since we live so far apart.    With my husband’s blessing, I packed up my camera and headed out the door to enjoy an afternoon outing of lunch and a photo lesson.

As I left, my kids’ creative day was just getting started.

setting up for the sale

Here you will see my sweet girls setting up their outdoor store to sell pine cones and flowers.


They had gathered quite an inventory.

When I had arrived home several hours later, my youngest daughter ran up to me and asked…”Mom do you want to see the new swing dad made us?”

Anyone who has ever seen one of my husband’s swing creations knows that this was bound to be interesting and he certainly did not let us down this time.

Hailey on the two thing swing

Let me introduce “The Two Thing Swing”.  I bet you never thought bicycle parts (one part handle bars, one parta tire inner tube) could be used in such a creative way!


Hailey on the two thing swing acrobatics

She flew through the air with the greatest of ease!  I am wondering if she is destined to be a trapeze artist!

Hailey on the two thing swing with dad

Although I am thankful my husband also tried out the swing to inspect its durability, I am still not quite sure about his latest invention.  It might be a little while before I head out for the day again!

Anastasia with a funny smile

All in all, it was a great day!  Everyone is happy, healthy and whole!


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fall tree

Since we are going on a “Faith Adventure”, I wanted to make sure I took the time to record God’s Daily Provision for our lives.  I can’t remember exact dates up until this point but I will try to come back to this post often and write what blessings He sends our way.  I fully expect to be able to write something everyday!  When you are looking for God’s blessings and provisions, He is faithful to send them!

October 3, 2009 (Travis’ last day of work) : He was sent home with all the left over food from the going away party.  We were able to eat for a week without cooking and even had guests to our home to help us eat eat all before it went bad.

October 4, 2009: I was treated to Starbucks by a friend.

October 5, 2009: Received a bag of apples and a large bag of fresh okra (most of which was stored in the freezer to enjoy later!)

October 7, 2009: At the end of a youth event at our church, Travis was blessed with 3 large cheese pizzas and 15 bacon cheese burgers.  We shared and didn’t have to cook for several days!

October 8, 2009: I received a free meal at a ladies’ luncheon and was able to get 9 pairs of tickets to Branson for only $5 at a silent auction.

October 9 – October 18, 2009:  I am sure there were several blessings but I am having trouble recalling exactly what.  I am glad I am writing these things down!  Actually during this time we had the blessing of relationships.  We thought Grandma Great was going to die two different times but she is still with us and we have had several beautiful opportunities to visit.  Also my daughter’s biological grandmother came to visit.  We had a wonderful time!

October 19, 2009: We were planning on taking our daughter out to dinner for her birthday until we received an invitation for dinner.  They happened to serve several of my daughter’s favorite foods and topped it off with cupcakes to celebrate her special day!  We also received laundry detergent and newspapers from this same friend.  She recently had bought a new large bottle of laundry soap and then had to replace her washer.  The new washer needed different soap.  We also have tried to save money by not taking the local paper.  This family has been so kind to share their daily paper with us when they are finished with it.

October 20, 2009: While sitting with my grandma, one of the nursing home employees came to visit my grandma on her day off.  She decided she needed soup from Quiznos.  She went to get her some and when she came back she also had some for me!  So nice!

October 21, 2009: Travis ended his fast and was treated to a breakfast out at a local restaurant.  My daughters each received brand new bibles from the church that they were very fond of and a big box of beads.  My husband also brought home about 30 brand new cardboard boxes.

October 23, 2009:  Treated to a Braum’s shake from my brother.  The best part of that treat…having my brother here from NYC to share it with me.

October 24, 2009: Treated to lunch at Murphy’s and enjoyed a photography lesson from my brother.

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climbing the rock

Today is my oldest daughter’s 8th birthday.  I am so very proud of her.  I can’t believe that this is the fifth time I have been able to celebrate with her.  Time definitely flies by too fast!

A with birthday cake age 4

Here was our very first celebration together.  Anastasia was turning 4.  What a sweet occasion!  One I had looked forward to for years!

birthday cake age 5

Here is Anastasia turning 5 with a princess party at Kid’s Station.  What an important event!

birthday cake age 6

Celebrating age 6 with another princess party at home.  She wasn’t looking much like a baby anymore!

Anastasia with birthday cake resized

What a sweet 7 year old girl!  This was probably one of the most fun parties and she came up with it all by herself.  Since her birthday was in the fall, she decided she wanted to host a “leaf party”.  We decorated a shirt with leaves, ate a cake with leaves and then went to jump in the leaves.  It was so fun!

Birthday cake age 8

And now this precious girl is 8!  This year is a little bittersweet because her dear Grandma Great may not be with us much longer, but she is such a trouper.  After a quick cry, she was able to smile beautifully for her birthday cake picture.

Her daddy has been speaking into her life that the number 8 means “new beginnings”.  I think she is catching on.  Just this past week she shared with us the following statement:

“It is sad to leave the little life.”

Although we got a good chuckle at her statement, it is as if she also realizes that God has some amazing things in store for her and she is excited to follow where He leads!

God thank you for this most amazing gift of Anastasia.  I know you have so many wonderful things in store for her life and I am humbled and honored to think that you chose Travis and I to raise her.

blowing out candles

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A huge surprise!

After grandma rallying on Thursday evening and with hosting Nana, I decided not to try to go up to the nursing home on Friday. We were going to be having Anastasia’s birthday party Friday evening and I had a few last minute things to get done.

On Friday during Anastasia’s party we received a call from the nursing home that my grandmother was slipping again and we should come.  I felt so bad for my daughter.  She had just begun opening her birthday gifts when my parents had to leave abruptly.  Fortunately she was so excited about the presents that she didn’t realize why they had to leave early.  She thanked them and quickly went back to opening gifts.

After all the gifts were opened, she began to realize why grandma and grandpa had to leave and quickly began to cry.  It was really hard to think that Grandma Great was dying.  We wrapped up the party and off I went to the nursing home.

Even though my grandma was very weak and slept a lot, she did wake up occasionally and was amazingly able to recall events through out the day.  I am so thankful that her mind has stayed strong.  After a while we decided that she would probably make it through the night so we decided to go home to get some sleep.

The next morning, I awoke early and felt very strongly that I should go visit my grandma.  I was so tired but knew it was the right thing to do.  I really don’t want her alone when she dies.  When I arrived at her room around 7:30 am, I caught the eye of the nurse in the room.  I noticed a small smile on her face.  When I looked around the curtain, there sat my grandma eating eggs and toast for breakfast! Here I thought I was coming to watch her die and she instead was ready to live!

What a special gift this morning was.  She was so funny.  She talked about how hungry and thirsty she was.  No wonder, she hadn’t eaten or drank much in about 3 days!  I guess God woke me early not to sit with her but rather to feed her breakfast!

We had such a nice visit.  I was able to call my husband and ask him to bring the girls to see her again.  We laughed together.  She was able to sign the bible she had given Anastasia for her birthday and we were able to share lots of love!

grandma with her girls

Even though I just received another call that she is showing signs of failing again, I am so grateful for this most glorious surprise!  What a wonderful way to celebrate a special life one more time!

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Yesterday I was awaken early with a nudge from God to visit my grandmother in the nursing home.  I knew that she was struggling after hearing my husband’s description of how she was doing the day before.  I really wasn’t prepared for what I saw.


Meet my sweet grandma Willetta.  She has been a special treasure to me for 36 years.  She taught me so many things especially around the sewing machine and in the kitchen.  Some of my best childhood memories exist in her little house down the street from mine.

About 2 1/2 years ago, God allowed us to live within a mile of each other again.  I never dreamed that would happen.  When we moved back to Oklahoma she moved into a nursing home about 1 mile from our home.

Her body has slowly weakened through the years but her mind has remained so strong.  She would often struggle with why God would keep her alive.  She didn’t feel like she was of much value and yet she impacted so many over the past 3 years by being a listening ear.

So when I arrived to the nursing home at 5:15 am yesterday morning.  It was so difficult to for me to see her slumped in her bed unable to even wake up.  So weak.  I just knew that this would be her last day on earth.

Even though I have no desire for her to linger and suffer, my heart ached at the thought of losing her.  No amount of mental preparation makes a loved one’s passing easier.  Needless to say I was an emotional wreck.

She had consumed so little liquid over the past 3 days and didn’t seem to be able to swallow any more.  She was so weak.  At 6 am it was decided to order her a liquid pain medication because she could no longer take the pain pills.

I quickly called my dad and encouraged him to call his sister.  I worked hard to rally the troops and get everyone in to say their goodbyes.  I knew that she was unable to communicate with us but at least we could hug her and feel her warm, soft hands once more.

After about 3 hours and having most of the family gathered, I decided to head home and take a shower.  You see this day was supposed to be filled with preparation because the biological grandmother of my adopted children was due to arrive at 4 pm at the airport.  It had been 3 1/2 years since she last saw my sweet girls and everyone was so excited.  How could a day be so bittersweet?!

I had called my cousin and invited her to bring her 2 and 5 year old daughters to my house so she too could say her goodbyes to Grandma.  Although I had planned a day of cleaning I realized that my house didn’t need to be perfect, it needed to be filled with life and boy was it!  Those 4 little girls brought so much laughter on an otherwise dreary day and my sweet husband was so good to take on the responsibility of these little ones so I could spend time at the nursing home.

Once I got the 4 girls fed and made sure my husband was ready for his task at hand (this is a funny story all on its own!), I headed to pick up lunch and go back to the nursing home.  I was SHOCKED when I walked in the door.    My grandma was sitting up and alert.  She was taking water and beginning to visit with each one who walked in the room.  She knew who everyone was.  It was absolutely amazing!  I was so thankful that everyone saw her earlier that day because I would have felt so bad otherwise to have called everyone together.  If you had not seen her earlier that day, you wouldn’t have thought it to be her last!

We had so much fun yesterday afternoon.  The room was filled with laughter and stories.  It was truly a gift from God.

Since my Grandma appeared to be stable I decided to go with my family to pick up Nana.  What an exciting moment.  She looked so beautiful we didn’t even recognize her.

nana in hospital

This was the way we remembered Nana.  She was so sick when we first met her.  In fact our first time to meet the girls (ages 2 and 3) she had to spend our whole visit in the hospital.  Honestly, there were times we didn’t know if she would live.

first hug

Here is Nana at first glimpse of the girls.  What a precious moment!  And what a special ending to a special day!

Most would have thought of the beginning of my day as a terrible experience and would so ruin the other moments but as I reviewed the day I began to see how special my God truly is.  He caused me to call my family together to celebrate with Grandma and then gave us her back even for a short moment.  By having my concentration on my Grandma, I had no time to worry about Nana’s visit.  You know normally having a relative of my adopted children come to my home after not seeing or communicating much over 3 1/2 years could be very stressful.  God knew the best way to have me work through both experiences and the result was AMAZING!

By the way, they did not arrive to administer the pain medication until 9 pm last night!  It took them that long to order the meds from across town.  I feel like that too was a blessing, otherwise Grandma would never have awaken to speak to us.

At the very end of the day, my dad and Grandma were having a special time to visit.  All the sudden she asked him “Why was everyone here today?  It was nice to see them but seeing everyone made me think I died!”  My dad’s response “Mom, we thought we were going to lose you today.  If you still see us then know you are still alive, if you see dad, you are in heaven! ”  🙂

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Princess Party with a Twist

Birthday parties always elicit great excitement around our house.  I have learned to wait until the last minute to inform my kids of upcoming birthday parties because they can hardly contain their anticipation.

This past weekend the girls were invited to a very special princess party.  My very good friend’s daughter was turning 3 and had planned for some time to have a “Princess Party”.  Since I heard about the party around the time I learned to make tutus I offered my skills to craft tutus for all the party participants.


The tutus turned out so cute and were a big hit with all the little girls.

tutu party

What made this party even more exciting was the fact that the birthday girl had a 5 year old brother and a couple of boy cousins who were also attending the party.  To help them feel a part of the event, they were each given a camo hat and a camo gun.  It wasn’t long before the army men were chasing the beautiful princesses all over the yard.
Of course my girls could not be left out of the fun.  They quickly dawned their tutus and army gear and chased the boys!

Army princess H

army princess A

army princess H with smile

army princess A on the attack

It truly was so fun to watch our imaginative kids be kids.

All this excitement did wear a few of the kiddos out.  In fact the birthday girl put herself to bed well before everyone went home.  Even some of the guests decided to take a nap.

sleeping beauty

Of course, no princess party would be complete with out Sleeping Beauty.  The end!

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Several weeks ago I became a member of a Home School Fellowship and with that membership comes the opportunity to participate in field trips.  As soon as I heard about the trip to Fort Gibson I thought we should go.  Of course when I signed up in September I had no way of knowing how extremely cold, wet and windy it would be on this “outdoor adventure”.

cold temperature

We loaded the car at 8:30 am full of excitement and a packed lunch.

ft gibson

Although I have lived in Oklahoma over half of my life, I had never visited Ft. Gibson and actually really didn’t know what to expect.  I had overheard from another home school mom how great it was so I thought I better find out.  I was pleasantly surprised.

cold girls

Here we are waiting for the tour.  As you can see the reality of how cold it would be is sinking in but there is still a hint of excitement about the adventure!

Hailey leaning on pole

We are still waiting and the excitement is fading fast!

man in top hat

We managed to schedule the field trip on the weekend in which there were people dressed in period clothing and giving a more detailed tour.  I am so glad we came at this time.  Otherwise a tour in the bitter cold would not have been as worth it.

medicine bottles

The doctor’s medicine bottles.  I was proud of how pretty the picture turned out!

man in blue coat

After about a 15 minute wait our tour finally began with this nice gentleman.  Unfortunately I can’t remember much of what he said.  I guess my mind was already going numb!


Probably our favorite actor was the bugler.  He taught us how the bugle was much like our modern day cell phones.  It was the soldiers main source of communication in battle.  It was fascinating how many different songs sent different messages to the soldiers.  The bugler was trained and was one of the highest paid soldiers.


He was accompanied by a drummer who kept the soldiers marching once the bugler played the next command.


The two made a great team!

cold head

I sure hope my daughter is learning something.  Seems like the cold might be getting to her! 🙂

canon man in black hat

Next we headed to the “big arms” to learn all about the canon.  Once we learned what was involved in getting this piece of artillery ready to shoot, it was very impressive to learn that 7 men could fire it up to 3 times in one minute!

tired canon man

I certainly could relate to how this guy felt.  Thankfully I didn’t have to stand outside all day!

boy with rifle

Watching this young man fire his gun was fun but I jumped every time he did.   Fortunately there weren’t too many groups there at the same time as us.


Once we finally were able to tour something indoors, what were my kids interested in looking at?  The outdoors!  The kids were actually behind me.  I caught their reflection in the display case.

look daddy

Would you like to know what the best part of the day was?  Having Daddy join us!  We love home school!

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