"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vacuum Girl

Little Catherine really keeps me on my toes.

Yesterday, she came home from the playground and said, "Mommy, I'm a dirt devil. I went very high on the swing". "
"She means a daredevil", my husband whispered in my ear.
"No!", shrieked Catherine, "I am a dirt devil!". Well, ok then, I guess I see the resemblance.

When she gets mad, she puts her hands on her hips and says, "That is just ridiculous!"

She can recite the Pledge of Allegiance, name most of the bones in her body, but ask the child to pick up a napkin off the floor and she looses all brain function.

The girl is just plain bossy. "Talk to me now!" She is loud!!!

She is stubborn and she knows what she wants. "I'm only eating cookies today.", she told me. No matter what she was served, no matter how much she liked the food in front of her, she was waiting for cookies, all day long.

My husband says she is appropriately named. Yep!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Less Orphan

No, she was not adopted, she died. She died without ever having parents. We don't know if there was anyone there to hug her or even hold her hand. We don't even know how she died. There are just so many children waiting and waiting. Helpless, hopeless. Please consider doing what you can.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Friday

I know some people who blog have a wordless Wednesday where they post lots of pictures. I thought I would do a fun Friday.

Catherine adores Anastasia

Isabella is such a sweetie

Another one of my attempts to be creative.

This is before the horrible haircut, more about that later.

He's taller than me now!

I love these toes!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Norman Bates

Ever since I was a kid, I have been an animal lover. I always have the best of intentions with my rescue efforts, but many times my desire to help animals has led me to believe that "no good deed goes unpunished". Norman is my best example. I drove over two hours to save a black cat (not Norman) that was going to be gassed at a shelter the next day. I was on a mission. I envisioned the grateful cat cuddling in my arms, purring sweetly.
Life always surprises me.
When I reached into the cage to pet him, he scratched me. The shelter people told me this cat was vicious and I shouldn't take him, but they had another black cat who really needed to get out of the shelter. Enter Norman. He seemed sweet, for about a minute. Then, he tried to attack the other black cat (that I later named Tchaikovsky, you can see where this is going...). I decided I would show Norman who was boss and shoved him with my foot. Big, big, BIG mistake. He rewarded me by sinking his fangs into my shin and holding on. I screamed. The workers at the shelter appeared to be paralyzed with indecision. "Get him off me!" I shrieked as the blood flowed from my leg.
"Now we have to put both cats to sleep immediately!", said the helpful shelter worker.

Guess who now has two black cats who hate each other? I also have cool scars and a trip to the doctor for antibiotics to remember this great occasion by. The vicious cat, Tchaikovsky, the one who scratched me, has turned out to be extremely sweet. Norman, not so much.

But, Norman has met his match. Little Catherine has taken a huge liking to him. She thinks he is her best buddy.

Good times Norman! Isn't it funny how life works out?!

Any suckers out there looking for a sweet black cat?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Since I was sick yesterday, I thought I would just heat up some delicious homemade chicken and rice that I made the other day. My efforts were met with extreme joy.

"This is disgusting", said my 16 year old son as he heated up a cheap, high processed, frozen meal for himself.

Little Catherine was subtle. She threw herself on the floor and shrieked, "I don't like it, I don't like it!"
I tried the ignoring technique.

"This tastes like glue, I can't eat it. I'll just make myself a sandwich". Anastasia decided.
I tried the strict approach.
"You either eat that chicken or nothing!" I bellowed.

Isabella ate in silence for a long, long time.

My husband said he had a stomach ache while gobbling up several Butterfinger bars.
I gave him the evil eye.
He quickly realized his mistake and slumped, possum like, into the chair with his eyes closed and started snoring.

I scooped up everyone's dishes from the table.
Everyone smiled until I began to transfer the chicken in a freezer bag. "I'm saving this for a special occasion, like your birthday!" I told them all.
I see the Golden Arches in my future for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Germs are flying

Yesterday, my 10 year old, Isabella, started sneezing. On me. On the kitchen table. A certain orifice of hers was leaking everywhere. Why use a tissue when your sleeve will do? I could duct tape a note with "WASH YOUR HANDS" on it to her forehead and she would give me that look, you know the one. The one that says, "Were you talking to me?
Last night, somewhere in my dreams (about being underwater and not being able to breath), I woke with a stuffed nose and a terrible sore throat.

My sweet children, they just keep on giving and giving.

Of course it's raining today and cold and I have to drive all over the place. Since I am sick, I am indulging my poor sick body with whatever it asks for. It told me it wants Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and brownies with a side of jelly beans.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I read somewhere that "worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."

Of course, worrying is my specialty, but I have to agree, it hasn't gotten me anywhere. I like to plan things, I like to know what is going to be happening and when. When I was pregnant with my first child, my son, I was the kind of mom who put headphones on my stomach so he could listen to Mozart. I read to him in utero and refused to even eat one bite of chocolate the entire 9 months. Once he was born, I had him smelling spices to develop all his senses and carried him everywhere to facilitate bonding. I nursed him until he was two. He took Spanish when he was two, piano when he was four and played chess at five.

Then, there is my youngest. She was born premature. She had no one to hold her for months in the orphanage because they thought she was a freak. She was only 11 pounds at a year old. She couldn't even sit up she was so weak. She didn't walk until she was 1 1/2. She had surgery on her skull, which could have further traumatized her.
From the moment I saw her, I knew, delayed as she was, she had a certain something. I handed her a toy, probably the first toy she had ever seen, and she grabbed it and wouldn't let go. Her excitement, determination and joy were amazing.
Now Catherine is three and likes to talk about her cerebellum and superior vena cava. She wants me to make her uvula and tonsils out of playdough.
(Catherine at 11 months old in the Republic of Georgia)

Today I had to attend a meeting at my son's school to address his learning and special needs. He has a list of acronyms after his name that are quite complicated to understand. I had to hire an advocate in order to get him the help he needs because the school says he is "unmotivated to learn",even though he can study for hours and still not remember the work in the morning. He has taught me about persevering and patience and not giving up. He has taught me not to judge others and he has forced me to be tough.

So, I guess my point is, (if I really have a point) is that we all have our gifts. I didn't make any of my children who they are, but I am lucky to know them, even if it's not like I planned.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I learn some new things

So, I started off the day with big plans. "Let's be creative and do some photography", I told the girls.

Yep, I can just see this one in a museum....

Such was my creativity that I actually took the time to exchange the cups to make the pictures more interesting, sad.

Not surprisingly, my husband never once questioned why I was taking pictures of plastic cups. He just went on about his business. I choose to see this as him having total confidence in my endeavors rather than a total lack of interest.

Anastasia is trying to follow in my footsteps, poor child.


We went to church where the girls were singing in the choir. This meant we had to be at church almost an hour early, so I had the privilege of keeping little Catherine entertained for a long, long time in a very, very small space. Towards the end, she started barking. It wasn't pretty.

Then, we went to my mom's so she could try out her new waffle maker. I am always nagging the girls about listening and paying attention, but now I'm thinking it's really more of a guideline. Especially when my mom asked me not to leave bacon grease where the dogs could get it and I didn't listen, resulting in bacon grease soaking into her brand new rug.
My adventures tomorrow will include the dry cleaners.

Again, my husband did not bat an eye over this news.

While I was trying to write this, my cat, Alvin, jumped on the computer button, turning it off three times, desperately trying to tell me to STOP WRITING NOW! Evil cat.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Saying Good-bye

I attended a funeral of my friend's mom today. I just can't imagine it. Her mom, gone, forever. How could my own mom die? She is my confidant, my other half, my best friend. She has been there for me when no one else would. She has listened to me ramble, complain and whine for 42 years (yep, I am old!). She know every nutty thing about me.

After the funeral, I drove straight to my mom's house, hugged her and begged, "You better start eating right! Don't die!!!!"

Thank you mom! I wouldn't be who I am without you!

Doesn't she look so excited to be opening a cheap, frozen meal (it's really a coupon to a spa). She had just given me the worst Christmas present ever - a cookbook! It's still in it's plastic wrap hiding in the closet under the blender.

Here's my mom with my 93 year old Grandma who lives with her! We are all named Catherine!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creative Homeschooling

Today, I took my camera out in the real world to document our exciting homeschooling efforts. My husband wasn't thrilled, especially when I took the camera into the bank and people kind of stared. I thought about taking a picture of him to capture the look on his face, but...some things are better left to the imagination.

First, we have physical education! Climbing daddy!

Next, we move on to recycling and learn how much garbage our family makes in two weeks!

In our math lesson, we learn to measure moving objects that are even larger than they appear.

Even the youngest learns. This lesson was about negotiating. Sit still at the bank and mommy will give you chips!

Lesson #4 You have the wonderful opportunity to do your schoolwork anywhere! Being happy about this is optional.

Sharing is caring!

Reading out loud to friends

Next we have our science experiment and service project. What's the easiest way to carry this ladder?! Then, we'll clean Grandma's gutters and observe the animals in the trees from on top of the roof!

Finally, we witnessed a miracle, my husband cooking dinner!

I certainly learned a lot! What did you do today?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"What are you thinking???!!!!!"

Someone said this to me the other day about adopting. I'm sure many other people think it too. The person said to me, "You will never qualify, your house is too small. You don't have time for all this! Put your kids in school and stop all this adoption stuff. You need to take time and think of yourself for a change.". So, of course, me being the worry wort that I am, started to imagine all the things that could go wrong.

What if..... we don't pass the homestudy?
What if......we can't get the money together?
What if......the country closes?
What if......we can't take the kids with us on the trip?
What if.......Nastya gets brain damage before we can get her!

And on and on I thought until I had to go watch a re-run of "Roseanne" on tv to shut my mind up. (I also felt compelled to eat several almond M&M's, but only the brown ones, so that was more healthy.)

Well, honestly, the person is probably right. I am thinking of myself. I could no more stop trying to adopt than I could stop breathing. How can I explain that these two girls who I have never meant are supposed to be in our family. I don't think God is kidding about this! When he says "Go!" He means it!

Besides, who needs a break from these cuties! Ok, maybe sometimes!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vet Visits

(Shirley pays me back for my love and servitude by scratching my moulding. Thank you Shirley!)

I think I have logged in about 1000 hours at the vet this year. We have a kitten named Shirley, who is seven months old now, but only weighs about 3 pounds. I took her in for a rescue who assured me I would only have her five days. That was in July! She has the worst immune system, so no one wants to adopt her. Today we sat in the vets office for almost two hours, waiting and waiting. They had one cooking magazine (which I would never read) and one of those Rubix cubes to pass the time with . We all got so bored, we (meaning me) tried balancing the Rubix cube on our heads and it smashed and broke into a million pieces. My seven year old freaked out. "Mom, what are we going to do? What will happen to us?" I think she thought there was vet jail or something. I figured it was payback for the long wait. We put it back together, but one day, the vet is going to try to play with it and BOOM!! Smash city.

Sadly, this was the highlight of my day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2nd Homestudy visit!

We had our second homestudy visit this morning. It went great! I am actually starting to believe that this will happen!!! Please continue to pray for us on this journey!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4 Snow Days = Crazy, Whiny Mom!!

At first I was really, really excited about having 4 inches of snow! That was Sunday. Now, I am cranky, I have PMS, and I am out of chocolate. We actually took a ride in the car on the solid icy roads just to get out of the house. I thought we could listen to "Dancing Queen" and perk up. Turns out, little Catherine, decided to go into her mode of, "You will pay attention to me or else". So she yelled, "MOOOOOOOMM, you're not answering me!!!!! Does a priest ever sleep? MOOOOOMMM What is inside of me, tell me right now!" for 20 minutes without even taking a breath. Catherine also insists on putting on summer dresses with winter clothes in many layers and then undressing and throwing the clothes everywhere.

I tried sorting socks until I realized I turned all the white socks a puce color, so I can't tell what matches. My husband said he was going to throw them all away and start over. Fine by me.

My son is hoarding the computer and the tv.

My 7 year old spilled hot chocolate all over her bed.

My 10 year old tried to help me make muffins by cracking hard boiled eggs in the mix.

My husband (who has also been home THE ENTIRE TIME) decided to built a 5 foot tall igloo "for the kids". Meanwhile, the kids are no where near the igloo. Sneaky, trying to get a minute to himself!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What a day!!

Well, our first homestudy visit is done! I think it went well, except Anastasia bumped into a picture and it went crashing to the floor. She also bumped into my dresser and the drawer front popped off! I felt like the house was going to come crashing down! Poor Anastasia looked like she was going to burst into tears! The kids did great! I was really proud of them. So, we are meeting next Friday for our second meeting.

We are supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow here! For Atlanta, that is a huge deal! I am hoping they close all the schools. The grocery stores were packed. I got the necessary things, like cookies and M&M's, so we should be all set!

I took these pictures on Christmas with my new camera. I thought they looked kind of cool, but I know I am a long way from being a great photographer!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tomorrow is the Day!

I'm not sure how worried I should be. Tomorrow we have our first homestudy visit. It's at 6:00 pm, which should mean that by then the kids will be cranky and the dogs will be jumping around like maniacs. I don't think I am going to have time to clean everything! What should I do with all the laundry? I am really considering packing it up and taking it to my mom's. She will be so thrilled! Of course, I could do something crazy and actually fold it!

We still have all our Christmas stuff up! Not only that, but look what I found behind the tree! Who knows what else I will find if I cleaned more!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Prayers Needed!

I got some new pictures of Nastya. I want so much to adopt her, but her surgeries are going to cost so much. I know if we don't adopt her, there is a huge chance she will not be adopted. She seems to have such a sweet spirit. Please pray for her and for me to find a way!!! I feel so overwhelmed!

Thank you!

Sad Day

Today is going to be a sad day. I think the time has come to put down my 14 year old Golden Retriever. He can't get up and seems in a lot of pain. His brown eyes are so gentle. I feel bad that I haven't spent enough time with him. I sure hope there is a dog Heaven.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Hugger!!!

This is Hugger. He is an English Mastiff and he weighs 177 pounds. Today he turned 11!!! That is really, really old for a Mastiff. He is such a wonderful dog. He can shoot slobber over 8 feet (and onto the ceiling!). He tries to sleep on my bed, but there just isn't enough room! He's the one who drags himself up the stairs just to be with me. If I wake up at night, he drags himself up and follows me with his wagging helicopter tail! He never, ever gets mad, even if little Catherine (again, I am NOT big Catherine) takes his food. If everyone was a "Hugger" we would have world peace.

I hope he lives a long, long time!