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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

It really is Wednesday today, so I am doing it right this time!

I love how Francesca is looking adoringly up at Catherine (or perhaps it's to make sure she's prepared for what Catherine is up to!).

Anastasia finished her vocabulary book - on to the next one!

Isabella got her hair done. There should be a whole other post about how long it will last.

Victoria tooting on a flute.

Cute toes.

Yep, she's definitely getting a beer belly. Gotta hit the tread mill.

Well, I guess it turns out I have trouble actually being "wordless". I tried!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Name the Culprit

Here's the line-up. Which of these sweet angels totally embarrassed their mommy at the rec. center today?

Who me? Couldn't be!

Little Catherine has been pleading with me for months to sign her up for gymnastics class. Since she is a tad bit clingy, kind of like a boa constrictor with a ponytail, I waited for a while to make sure she was ready.

Today was the big day.

She was thrilled. She practically bounced into the building on her hands.
She was so excited!

Then, all of a sudden, she wasn't.

She started slowly walking backwards, planning her escape.
"I think I changed my mind Mom.", she told me. "I don't want to go."

The only thing I could think of to do was scoop her up and walk towards the teacher. I really didn't know what I was going to do when I got there, but it seemed like a responsible mother thing to do. Everything would have probably worked out fine if Victoria hadn't decided at that exact moment to start freaking out for no apparent reason. (this picture is post-freak out)

Victoria's crying seemed to give Catherine the permission to get hysterical. She shrieked as I tossed her into the teacher's arms. I waved at her from the window while Victoria tried to fling herself into the arms of a complete stranger, while making her "special" noises.

(By the way, Francesca was eating, so of course, she was a happy camper)

I was chagrined.. All the cool moms were trying hard not to stare. Then, I felt terrible that I felt embarrassed about my kids. But just for a moment, I wished we could be a little more anonymous.

I wished that everywhere we went I wouldn't have to brace myself for weird looks and strange questions like, "How did you happen to have so many kids with lots of problems? Do you have bad genes or what?" (someone really did ask me this.)

Has anyone else ever felt like this or I am just a big wimp? You can tell me, I can take it.

Then someone threw up. And it wasn't one of my kids! We may not be cool, but at least we can hold our food down.

When I tucked Catherine into bed tonight, she told me, "Mom, I am very serious about gymnastics. I had so much fun today!"
Ahhhhh.....sweet perspective. Tomorrow, I'd better put on my super mom panties and get tough.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Conquering the Couch

We used to be able to plop Victoria down and we could be sure she'd stay in the same place. Not anymore! The girl has even figured out how to get down off the couch. But first she has an important phone call to make. (This phone is really great, she can hear herself!)

Well, now she's bored with the phone,so....

just a little flip to the side when she thinks no one is watching......

Almost there.....

Drat! Caught in the act!

If only I could get my darn legs to bend!

Ta-da!!! I did it!!!

We'd better watch out. Tomorrow she's going to defeat the stairs!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Big 3!!!!

Yesterday was Francesca's birthday. I can't believe she is three years old already! She had no idea what a birthday was about, but she clearly loved all the attention. She received her very first birthday card from Grandpa and Mema.

Catherine did great with NOT being the center of attention.

Though everyone once in a while, she did have to jump in front of the camera to take back center stage.

She got a balloon from Theresa.....

and a delicious dinner.....thank you Theresa.

I am kind of famous (at least in my own mind) for my creative birthday cakes, however, I was really tempted to just buy a cake for Francesca. After all, what kind of creative cake could I make for a three year old whose hobby is eating....wait a minute.......

An idea began to build......

“It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun.”
Ray Kroc, creator of the McDonald's franchise

Well, I must have that certain kind of mind.....ta-da, the hamburger cake, for the girl who loves food! The "meat" was made with a brownie and the buns were yellow cake.

I am kind of neurotic about using red food dyes and I didn't want to use a lot of icing, so the "cheese slices" were made out of cantaloupe....carefully cut by Carol.

The pickles were Kiwi slices.

The mustard was icing; we had to have some icing! Notice the crazy, hyper kids in the background.

We thought we could use green icing to make lettuce, but it just didn't look right. Hmmmm.....what do to with all the extra icing?

We just couldn't let perfectly good icing go to waste!

Carol, really, really liked the icing!

Victoria, meanwhile, was trying to open up her own bottle of cavity causing goo. Yummy!

What to do about this darn lid?

When all else fails, scream!!!

The girls decided to get all dressed up.

We really know how to party around here!

Francesca loved getting her "own" baby doll, one that will not be snatched away by a nameless pixie.

Only a month to Anastasia's birthday! That's one of the great things about having a big family, we have lots of opportunities to have cake!

Happy Birthday sweet Francesca!!! We are so glad that you are home with us!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Before and After

A friend of mine, Adeye, who writes much more eloquently than me, asked if I would send her a few before and after pictures of Victoria. She wrote a great post about how a family and love can change a child's life.

So many of the kids featured on her post "Seeing is Believing" were near death and are now thriving.


Her posts made me cry. Please scroll down to some of her other posts to see the reality of the children once they are sent to the institution. Their eyes haunt me.

Like my friend, Adeye, says, if not us, then who? You don't have to adopt to help.

Here is Victoria only 8 months ago. Her eyes were so blank.

She is not smiling here, she is grimacing in pain. We were still in the Ukraine and I was scared she wouldn't make it home. What if we had left her there, too afraid to take a chance on her? She wouldn't be happily singing in her crib right now.

Here is Victoria now, a happy little sweetie, with light and joy in her eyes.

Please share the stories on Adeye's blog. Maybe their family is out there right now, hoping to find them!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nurturing Methods

We all have our special ways of showing love. Some like to cuddle.

To show their love with hugs.

Francesca gently strolls her babies to sleep.

Catherine seems to employ unconventional methods of affection.

Perhaps she is practicing attachment parenting?

Though you gotta give Catherine some major points for her fashion sense. (Francesca is in awe of her!)

Luckily, they both have their strengths and they quickly learn from each other!

Watch out little Catherine, Francesca is catching up to you!