Welcome to our little home on the web

We are glad you stopped by, we hope you are blessed, and enjoy your stay. We discuss a little bit of everthing here, from homeschool, parenting, adoption, farming, our faith, and our plain lifestyle. May God Bless Your Day!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Travel Plans

WHEW!! The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind of phonecalls, emails, 100's of questions, and lots of smiles and even a few sighs: But, the bottom-line is, we have our flights booked, we are headed out to Taiwan, and we will have our son in our arms on March 10th!!

HOORAY-Halleluah-Happy Dance!!

We will leave from Minneapolis on Friday, March 7, fly to Seattle, and board EVAir at 1:30 Saturday morning. The 13 hour flight will land us in Taipei on Sunday morning, and after a shower and hopefully a bit of a nap, we will get to meet our email buddies Katie and Alex and their new son Leo. Gotcha day for us is the 10th, AIT appointments are the 11th and 12th, and we will fly back to the states on Thursday night at 11pm. That flight brings us back to Seattle at 6:30pm THURSDAY!! Boy, that is going to be a very LOOONNGG day! We will overnight in Seattle, take a flight to Minneapolis Friday afternoon, arriving back in Minnesoat at 8:30, stay overnight there, and head home Saturday sometime.

We were tempted to marathon it and just "get home", but we have to remember we are not traveling alone, nor do we only have only one toddler who won't be sleeping much anyway. We hope the extra 2 nights in the states will begin to help us readjust to US time, and help the bonding time with Tyler.

We won't be doing much sight-seeing in Taipei outside of some local sites, but there is still much to see and do while there, and the most important thing will be for all 4 of us to enjoy our time getting to know Tyler, and all being together, without the demands of the farm pulling at us for those very important first days together.

Our hotel is Agora Gardens which is picutured at the right. It is beautiful, and really reminds us of the Presidents' Hotel where we stayed in Moscow 4 times.

We are hoping to get some swimming in for the children, as Nick and Kendell will need some alone time with Dad or Mom and we are hoping Tyler has at least seen a pool before, so he is not terriffied of all the water. Looks like a lovely place to spend some quality family time and get some rest too! There is also a zoo in Taipei we will check out, as well as Taipei 101, the night market, and various other "must sees" on our fellow-bloggers lists.
Well, it seems like the hard part is over-everything is booked, now we have to get ready on this end of things-
Pack, finish the gift buying, clean the house, get all the paperwork together,
and hand our farm off to our very capable employees next Thursday and don't look back!!
Chris and family

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Taipei here we come!!

I can't believe it!! It is Feb. 21, 2007, and we have gotten THE CALL!! We have a final ruling, Tyler is ours, and we are headed to Taipei, Taiwan in 2 very short weeks.

Halleluah, Praise the Lord, God is Good, and Oh, How I Love Jesus!!

It just seems so unreal! I can't stop smiling, my son and daughter dance around singing about their little brother, my dear hubby and I continually smile, hug, smile some more, and now for the planning.

I had thought I could leave a lot of the planning for March-I was quite sure we would not hear anything until then. Well, I love surprises, but now, I Have got to get busy. Kendell is cutting all the tags off his new clothes so I can wash and pack them, a friend I spoke with said, "We have to get going on this shower," and as for this house-oh my, I have really got my work cut out for me in the next 2 weeks.

We don't have the final details yet, but will probably find out tomorrow if our AIT appointment is the 12th or not, but gotcha day is March 10-someone pinch me, I still can't believe it is real!!

Ok, just when you reach one of your lowest points, and you feel you can't go on much longer, and you are feeling defeated and empty-BOOM-new adrenaline rush.

Well, I need to get going on lists, phone calls, and CLEANING!!

Chris and family

Hang on Little Man, we are on our way!!

We Love YOU!!


Mommy, Daddy, Kendell and Nick

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm Tired!!

Ok, I am kind of known for my positive outlook, and my cheeriness ( at least to those in the cyber-world)-not always in real life!

But, over the last couple days, I have come to a conclusion:


*tired of snow

*tired of sub-zero temps & blowing winds

*tired of worrying about the farm, cows, employees

*tired of looking for another employee
*tired of cows with issues
*tired of professionals who don't want to help us
ie.veterinarian, feed consultant
*tired of Sundays being non-stop from 4:30 am to 8 pm
*tired of Sundays being about everything but God and time in church
*tired of waiting for news of our adoption
*tired of feeling like a pawn in the world of international adoption
*tired of watching our little boy growing up in pictures
*tired of homeschool consisting of maybe 1 good hour a day
*tired of my house looking like a tornado struck
*tired of trying to fix 3 meals a day-and then doing the dishes afterwards
*tired of being sharp and angry with my children
*tired of no time for friends-except by email-real personal, huh?
*tired of worrying about when I can fit in my next nap
*tired of cows that calve at all hours of the night
*tired of quality time with hubby consisting of a nap together before lunch
*tired of trying to squeeze Bible reading into our family time at night-when we are all yawning and trying to stay awake
*tired of being tired!!

OK, I could go on for a bit more, but, I think you get the picture-I am weary, worn out, fatigued, exhausted, and running on empty!!
As my hubby said this morning-"Are we having fun yet??"
No, I don't have any answers, but sometimes looking at it all in black and white helps you to see a bit more clearly, at least venting helps to get it off my chest anyway.
I promise, the next post will be a bit more upbeat-It has to be, I can't take any more of this.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

OK, Enough already!!

For some reason, we are all tired of winter around here.

I think when the 9 year olds start saying they can't wait for spring, we have maybe had enough snow for one year???
I don't know for sure, but when the piles of snow are higher than any tractor on the farm, when I can't see my house from the milking parlor, and when the swingset is almost completely covered, MAYBE we have had enough?
We are in the midst of yet another famous Wisconsin snow storm, and it could move into the blizzard category by evening if the winds pick up and start blowing the last 8 inches we just got this morning.
Of course, it couldn't just snow, it had to rain first, so we have a really nice layer of ice underneath the new snow, which is always so much fun to deal with on the roads.
Now, we love Wisconsin, we love snow, we love the changing seasons, but we have had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving. It is now 3 months since that time, and we have no end in sight yet.
You know the old saying? If you don't like the weather, stick around a few hours, it will change-well, tomorrow we go back to sub-zero-YUCK!!!
Hope everyone is having a great weekend, and is warm and safe!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tyler shopping

Last weekend, we all finally did some Tyler shopping.

It was so much fun to be looking at little boy clothes again. We hit some wonderful sales at the Outlet Mall in Wisconsin Dells, especially The Children's Place, and came home with quite a selection of stuff for him. Probably my 2 favoarites are the brown hooded jacket with fleece lining, and the little squishy stuffed puppy.

The older children had a blast helping Mom and Dad pick things out, and they seemed so unconcerned with how much he was getting compared to the couple things Nick got, and the one sweatshirt Kendell got. Such unselfishness is so wonderful, and their love for Tyler just shines in their eyes already.

The only major purchase we have yet is a carseat, and since the new law in Wis(or is this a Federal law?) is they have to be in it until they are 8, I am going to be a bit more fussy about what kind of seat they are sitting on for that long. Last time, a cheapy at Walmart was good enough to get them through, but now his little butt will be sitting on this thing for 5 years, so I think it had better be a bit more comfy!! And maybe recline also-that seems like such a nice option for longer trips.
We have been asked about the ladies at the church having a shower for us, and so now I had better calm down from buying any more until after that.
Now, to find a place for everything!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy 18 years!!

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008

I can not believe we are celebrating 18 years of marriage today! I have been having a lot of fun the last couple days putting a scrapbook together of our wedding, and it has been fun to relive the memories of that special time in our life.
We were both 26, and could not wait to be married, so headed to Vegas with a few friends, and spent a dizzying week of activity out there, but had a lot of fun and surprised everyone by moving our date up from Valentine's Day to the 13th!! The people at the wedding chapel told us if we kept our scheduled time on the 14th, we would not have a limousine, we would be in a long line, and we would have no time for pictures afterward. I think the limo was the biggie for both of us-it had been so much fun to be picked up at the hotel for our friends' wedding on the 12th, and we enjoyed the bottle of champagne, and of course the free escort around town all night, so without telling anyone back home, we were married on the 13th.

I know we both thought we would never get this far-life was certainly not easy for either of us after marriage-we were both rather selfish, filled with our own ideas, and not focused at all on the other person.

Oh, how I praise the Lord for His redeeming love, and how He can take our mistakes and turn them around to good. My dear hubby told me the other night, "I think the next 18 are going to be even better than the first 18" and I truly believe that too. We are striving to put God first in our relationship, and that takes the emphasis off ourselves. We want a home that is a haven for all who enter in, and we want our marriage to be an example of God's love and grace.
No easy task, I assure you, but still, it is our heart's desire to live for the Lord, and that does make a lot of daily decisions much easier when we aren't focused on "me, myself and I " all the time.

Without our recommittment to marriage around year 9, we would not be here, and certainly not without God's help and guidance.
Of Course, year 9 brought our renewed desire for a family (all of the focusing on making a family up to that point only drove a wedge between us and that was mainly my fault-oh the pain of infertility!!)

We began adoption proceedings, and in 2000, we had the very-real adoption roller-coaster of finding out one child would maybe never be coming home, and the whirl-wind of bringing our daughter home.

Life has never been better since our children both came into our life, and marriage has taken on a new dimension with parenting, a dairy operation, moving, and a walk with the Lord all mixed together.

We are on the verge of adding another child to the family, we have plans and dreams for the next couple years of adding a sibling group, and we are waiting to see what God will do with us and the farm.

So much to anticipate and look forward to, hope, plan and dream for.

Looking forward to the next 18, but waiting for God to lead in all areas of our life.



Sunday, February 10, 2008

Maintaining Momentum

We have been listening to a week of messages at night that have challenged us and have turned our eyes back to Jesus. As a family, we would gather around the phone set to speaker, and listen for 75 minutes, and feel the pull of the Word of God drawing us back to Him, the One who wants to lead us through this crazy life we are walking.
The final night's message started out with comments encouraging all of us in continuing on this spiritual high we may have attained through the week of purifying, reviving and eye-opening truths. I really like that idea of maintaining the momentum from a spiritual mountain top experience. It has caused me many moments of thought and pondering, especially during my morning milking time.
Now, I know life can't be all mountain-top experiences. No one can sustain the energy that is needed for that kind of life. Our former pastor once told us that, "life is full of peaks and valleys, the mountain top experiences can't go on forever."
But...how do you keep the momentum going for long enough to make a difference, and establish new thought patterns and new habits in our lives?????
When I became born-again, what a spiritual high that was, and God immediately delivered me from some besetting sins that had plagued me mostly all my life. I was elated, enthusiastic and very verbal about my God, and how wonderful He had been to me.
Time passes, and we lose that focus.

Then, my husband got born-again, and we went through another phase of excitement, this time together (which is a much better way to go through these mountain-top experiences, and we brought our first child home from Russia on the wings of that experience.)

We went back to Russia for #2, and came home in a valley-emotional, physical, spiritual, it was a long valley, that took a year or so to climb out of.

We found a new church, a real Bible-believing family that loved us where we were at, and helped us to grow; another high!

We had wonderful nights of intense Bible-study with a wonderful man who taught us so much about spiritual warfare, and prayer, and we saw wonderful evidences of God's working in and around us for the entire time we met with him-another high.

We went to see Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ!! Wow, we were sure it was going to be a life-changing experience. How do you sit through the terror and horror of Christ's death, and not be profoundly affected by it? We both walked out of the theater in tears, sure our hearts would stay tuned to God for sure this time.

I have attended 2 Women of Faith conferences, and they were both amazing, and Christ-centered, and powerful, but, I came home, and within a week, found myself losing the momentum and zeal that had been rekindled.
What is this thing called "real life?" Why does it have the power to steal our joy, and take us down off that mountain of zeal and love for the Lord?

I am not doing an intense Bible Study on the problem, I am just chronicling my thoughts and opinions here, so I know there are scripturs that can back some of this up, but here are my thoughts.

Real life, when done in our own strength, and our own might, and our own way, will bring us to our knees with fatigue, worry, anxiety and stress. We think we can give God a few moments of our morning, listen to a little Christian Radio sometime during the day, pray intermittently, and give God a little time at night before bed, and we should be fed and nourished!

But God says, "it's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit"

We lose the focus of the intensity of the teaching we have encountered, because we just head out into our day, and don't really connect with God before, during or after.

So, the question remains, "How do I stand firm, how do I remain strong, how do I keep the focus???" Why do I allow the world, my flesh, and Satan to waylay me countless times throughout the day?
I so badly want to live a life that is sold out to the Lord, that is lived with passion and purpose, yet I feel empty and powerless to follow through on even the simplest of plans I make. I do believe it has a lot to do with accountability. We need to have people around us who are committed to praying through for us, who will lovingly confront and uphold us when needed, and who are persuing the same goals and walking the same road as we are.
But, we also have an accountability with God, our Father, our Creator, our Savior, and our Friend. All we really need to do is ask Him, and if it is His Will, He will gladly bring it about.
Dearest Lord Jesus, It is my desire to be on fire for you, and to cast aside the things of this world that so easily deter us and sidetrack us. The tyrrany of the urgent is continuously before us, and you take the back seat. Focus our thoughts, and our hearts on you, your love, your grace, and may your grace be poured out upon us in unequaled measure. May your Holy Spirit strengthen and enable us to walk the straight and narrow road, without traveling down all the rabbit trails that sap our strength and energy. In Jesus' Holy and Precious Name We Pray

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ready to go public

I can't believe the time I have spent getting this site ready to go public. I have certainly learned a whole lot about computers in the last week, and have enjoyed perusing others' blogs as I have gathered info and ideas along the way. It pays to have a journalism background, as I have been chronicalling and recording in my brain the things I have liked and did not like over the last few months of blog-reading.
If only I could recall the details of my day as well-sigh!!

I have been blessed by the many blogs I have been reading, and would like to share many of the favorites with everyone.

I am also eager to begin some serious journaling about our life, so over the next few days, I will hopefully be adding quite a bit to this site.

For now, it is time to get on with the show, and enjoy the fruits of my labors.

Monday, February 4, 2008

February updates

We are so excited because we have new updated photos and videos of Tyler. He is wearing one of the sweatshirts that we sent in his Christmas package. He loves waving at the camera, and is always smiley and happy. One of the parents that traveled in Dec. said the TWCA worker mentioned Tyler and said he likes to make people laugh. Well, we could use a dose of silliness and happiness-not that we are somber or sad people, just kind of stressed out with everything we have going on.
They say adoptive parents have to be resilient, persevere, and be patient, and we can do all of that, but it does wear on you sometimes.
But, life is good, he is doing wonderful, and we are in the home stretch!!
Praise God!

Monday morning musings

Well, we are off to another race this week-where do we think all the energy comes for such long lists of things to do, calls to make, etc...
I guess, you just "do the next thing" as Elizabeth Elliot always said. This week includes
*herd health Monday
*classify 15 Holsteins Tuesday
*Dad comes to work on shelves in basement Wed (weather permitting)
*We milk 2 shifts on Thursday
*Friday is Botany co-op day (sigh, our final class together)
*Look for an employee for the farm

And I am not including trips to the chiropractor, calls to the accountant about year-end taxes, house-cleaning (and calling someone to help with that for a few months since I have been so far behind this winter), call to case worker for hand-carry documents list and ?'s about the process, homeschooling, meal preparations (3 a day, every day), Bible time for myself, and as a family, and I don't think I want to think about anything else this morning. That is enough to keep me busy, don't ya think?
Of yeah, I want to scrapbook some too, not to mention, work on my blog some more-there are ideas I have, but not time to implement them.
So, I had better get ready to head to the barn this morning.
It is kind of nice to have a place to list all this now, and see how the week goes with checking things off.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

court process

We received all our dossier paperwork in Aug, and finally had it ready to be sent on its way the end of September. We found out in Oct that we had a date for our first hearing-Dec. 28-(collective sigh/groan!!)

It seemed to be so far away, and we wondered why it would have to be that far out-many of our email friends were getting court dates much more quickly.

Well, here it is, the New Year, and on Jan. 31, we received word of our civil ruling-in layman's terms, that means the 2nd court hearing has taken place, and we now have one final ruling before we can go and get Tyler.

Our Jan update shows such a little man, I can't wait to get him home before he is half grown.
We are now in Operation: Bring Tyler Home mode. I am busy making lists, and checking them twice, to make sure all things that need to be done will be done by the time we leave for Taiwan.
I have not started with any packing, but thoughts of packing circle my brain constantly, as well as tracking down all the paperwork we need to take with us, and all the shopping/housework/farm work that needs to take place before we leave.
We are operating under the philosophy that we could get the word to go anytime after Feb 14 (10 days after civil ruling) but understand that it could be up to 2 months if we follow in Katie and Alex's footsteps (another adoption couple in Arizona, anxiously awaiting their 18 month old.)

Adoption process

We have been in the adoption process for a year now. It started in Jan 2007 with an announcement on VCY Christian Radio STation about an upcoming meeting for Sunshine Adoption in Milwaukee. We attended that meeting, and almost immediately, we knew Taiwan was the country for us this time. We wanted a shorter trip, we wanted an Asian child that would resemble our daughter, and we wanted (what we thought) was going to be a shorter process.

On Feb 14, 2007, we were approved by Taiwan's TWCA program for foster care-infant program. The homestudy began, and we filed papers with USCIS to be approved by the govt to adopt.

Finally in May, our homestudy was approved, we were approved by USCIS in July, and on Aug 3, our life changed forever with the referral of our 3 year old son.

We have been in love with him from the first time we laid eyes on him, and with each updated photo, we love him even more. We can't wait to bring him home and become a family of 5. Our last update was in Jan, and his photo shows he is growing and changing quite a bit-way too much for our liking, as we have missed out on 6 months of his life, but we also know it is all in God's timing, not ours, and He never makes mistakes, and His timing is ALWAYS perfect.

Hello world,
This is my attempt to make sense of this crazy life we are living as born-again, conservative Christians, dairy producers, homeschool family and adoptive family. Life is going by so quickly, and I need to make note of all the extraordinary things that happen each day, or they will be forgotten forever.
I am not sure how organized I will be, how often I will do this, or anything else, but welcome to my home on the web.