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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, April 29, 2008

Still more photos of family life

Tyler literally climbed up on the table, slid across into Kendell's lap and threw himself back-he is not to be denied when there is someplace he wants to be-doesn't seem like anyone was toooo upset with his posessiveness!

Getting some special hugs and kisses from Ahma Waughtal-he is really soaking up all the attention!

Two brothers, kindred spirits, enjoying their walk through life together.

Only boys can find a dirty upturned calf hutch a really fun place to play!

Work is not one of Tyler's favorite things, but when all 3 are together, anything can be fun!

Next will be special pictures of Tyler with his new family-grandmas and grandpas!



More fun pictures at home

We have a little man who is desperately jealous whenever Kendell is getting toooo much attention from Baba!
I am not sure how Chuck can hold all that weight, but Daddy's arms are definitely strong enough for the task.
Quite the difference from 6 weeks ago, when he would throw himself OUT of our arms, now he is diving into them.

Isn't the sandbox just the best invention for little boys? He really loves playing with trucks and digging in the sand, and generally getting dirty and making messes-typical boy!!

Tyler is also busy HELPING us with our housework. Nick's job is vacuuming, and Tyler actually pushed him away the other day and did the entire living room by himself-he huffs and puffs the whole time, but does manage to get the job done-sort of!

Can you imagine it would be such a messy job collecting eggs? Only when you are 3 1/2, with 2 older siblings thinking throwing the chicken feed to the chickens is a great way to distract the rooster while they collect the eggs, but they sure do have fun!

My Mom was here the second week we were home, and there was Just enough snow to make the hill behind the house slideable!! The 4 of them took a spill, but they had fun, and you should see those chunky legs of Tyler's after he tries keeping up with big brub and sis for the afternoon-I am not sure who was more tired, Tyler or Ahma!

More pictures will be coming-I do have 6 weeks to catch up on you know!



Finally, a fun family UPDATE!!

Tyler's first snow storm was a doozy-we got about 8 inches, it was blowing so hard, it hurt their faces, but they still had to have some outside time-I think we were home the first week, and this hit-notice the snow banks in the back almost cover up the pickup truck? Yes, we had enough snow left when we got home!

Tyler's first time in the milking parlor-he was and is still quite fascinated with the cows, and likes to check in on whoever is milking when he makes his rounds in the afternoon! Although, he already prefers riding in the tractor and skid steer to actually feeding calves, or any "labor" jobs!

This is a must during most meals-holding hands with Daddy (Baba)-it actually breaks Dad's heart when he says "Daddy" like the other 2 children do-he really likes being Baba-and Tyler really loves his Baba!

This is something we were waiting for-wanting to be held at bed time! He loves snuggles and rocking, listening to stories, and he still needs his thumb-not sure how we are going to break him of that, as he is extremely "strong-willed" to say the least. But we got Kendell off her finger-finally at age 5, so I know it can be done. But for now, we kind of enjoy seeing our little boy being a little boy.

This was our beautiful "welcome home" sign our friends made for us. Paul works for us, and his wife and 2 little girls put this together for us, it is really beautiful, and we will always cherish it!

I will be doing a few more updates soon, as I at least have my photos loaded on the computer, so it should not be a hard process to get a short blurb and some more pictures uploaded sometime.

We have been having a lot of fun with our little Tornado! He can still tear the house apart, but is slowly learning he also has to help put it back together as well. He has come so far in the last 6 weeks since we got home. I feel so bad this is really the first time we have put new pictures up-not having a digital camera really stinks when you like to do blogs, but we will work around that for a while.

Check back soon, there will be more coming! He is so photogenic-as are all our children, it has been hard choosing what to post, but there will be more soon!



Sunday, April 20, 2008

A trip to Sears Portrait Studio

We needed to get Tyler's first "OFFICIAL" photos done soon, as his hair has been growing so much, and we knew he would be in need of a haircut very soon. So, depsite the fact that we had a long trip on Wednesday to my Grandma's funeral-5 hours round trip-we made an appointment in La Crosse-another 1 1/3 hour trip on Friday. Thankfully, it was rainy, and our little man fell asleep on the way, as his 2 molars he is cutting have made him a bit cranky and irritable.

He was perfect at the studio, cooperated with any and everything the very nice photographer asked him to do, and beamed when he needed to smile-it was a fun day-and Kendell and Nicholas were just as excited to have their "family" pictures done with him as well. Things have changed a lot since we took them there 4 years ago-they take unlimited photos now, and you get to keep all of them on a cd-of course for a fee of $30, but I think it is well worth it to be able to make my own copies anytime I need them, or to put them on the blog!! HEHE!!
I am a proud Momma, what can I say-I have 3 beautiful children, and I love them to pieces-Thank you Lord for the gift you have placed in our hands!!

Soon to come this week will be updated photos of how life at home is with Tyler in the last MONTH-who can believe it has been that long already?



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Memories of Scott

OK, I am on a roll-2 memorials in less than 5 days-do I really like doing this? No, but timing was not my idea, so, here goes with the blog entry I had been planning on for months to remember what would have been my brother's 43rd birthday today.

My brother Scott was born 16 months after I was, and we were always very close-inseparable would be more like it. Mom always said he did not need to learn to talk, I did it all for him-he was my baby brother, and I loved him to pieces. Until he got big enough to start annoying the heck out of me, which happened a lot, but I still loved him.

When he joined the Marines after high school graduation, I thought my heart would break-how was I going to enjoy Christmas without him? I cherished the letters I got while at college, and when he came home on leave, we spent a good deal of time together. He was stationed in Japan and brought me home a beautiful tea set-I will always cherish that as well-I couldn't believe he got that FOR ME!!

We drifted apart as we got older, I was somewhat wild and living on the extreme side of life for awhile-he was very conservative and old-fashioned-which is where I ended up back at in the end too. When he married, we weren't invited, he kept it very small-like about 15 people, but I was very happy for he and Cathy-they were a perfect fit-and I love her to death.

My brother had lots of crazy ideas in his life-but the one I will always treasure the most was his insatiable desire to overcome the odds of stage 4 multiple melanoma-not the skin cancer, the ugly, tumors all over your body cancer that is basically incurable.

He tried everything imaginable and legal, but in the end, cancer would be the victor-of his body, but not of his spirit. When the first tumor was spotted, and they were searching for a doctor, I started talking to him about eternity-you know, heaven, hell, and where did he want to end up? He would hang up quite disgusted with me, as his wife tells me now, because we had been raised in a Catholic church, and taught that baptism was the answer to eternity.

Well, I had gotten born-again about 7 years before this, and I was quite zealous in sharing my new faith, but not many family members were too interested-until the summer of 2004. Scott began asking questions, and not liking the answers, but still seeing something different in me he had never seen before, so he kept wondering.

I shared with him how God loved him, and did not want him to perish, but Scott insisted he was a good person, and God would not send a good person to Hell. I said, "He only honors your choice, He doesn't SEND you there."

He was really searching,pondering, and wondering about his life. He made ammends with all of us as he had pushed many of us away in the last couple years. He determined that it was his mission to bring our family back together-never mind it was he who kind of drove us apart-and he did a great job of mending fences and falling back in love with his family again.

About 12 days before his death, he had a dream-a recurring dream, he told me. He was driving his semi, and he would crest a huge hill, and the brakes would go out, and he would try really hard to get it stopped before the end, which was always getting closer with each dream. This day, he crested the hill, and there was no where else to go but off a cliff, and he woke up screaming, "Jesus,save my soul."

Well, he was transformed on the spot. I visited with him a few hours after that dream,which he called to tell me about, andhe was just radiant-"Are you happy now?" he asked me? Yes, happy you have found your peace with Jesus, happy you are free from everything that was holding you down, and happy I will see you again in Heaven some day.

It was my greatest privilege ever to be with him the day before he died. All of us were there, Chuck, Kendell, Nick, Mom, Dad, Kyle and Sara and the girls, Cathy-we were all there to see his new tractor and haybine arrive-how he worried about Cathy being able to continue farming on her own with all the old equipment they had-he just beamed when the trucker got to their place, and unloaded the equipment they were purchasing with his life insurance money-right in front of his window-he wanted to touch that tractor so bad-but it was not to be-he was losing ground moment by moment.

That had to be the greated truck driver ever-he came into the house and shook my brother's hand-what a cool moment that was-and Scott was so pleased to have provided that tractor for Cathy.

I was also blessed to be by his side the night he passed away. He just went so peacefully to be with Jesus-and we were also all there that night as well-his parents, wife and siblings-all loving him, holding him, praying over him, letting him know, it was OK to go home now!

It is amazing, 3 1/2 years later-how much I still miss that guy-he had such a crazy sense of humor, such a hearty laugh-he was a real Far Side type of guy.

But he was my brother, the one I had shared so much of my life with, and sometimes it still doesn't seem possible that he is gone, that I can't share the latest episodes of our farm life with him anymore, or listen to his endless "time-saving" or "money-making" ideas.

But Someday, we will be together again.

In Him


Monday, April 14, 2008

A tribute to my Grandma

I know I am probably very biased-but I happen to think I have the most wonderful Grandma in the world. My Mom's mom has always been such a wonderful blessing in my life; my confidante, my greatest champion, loving me through all stages and ages of my life. I am sure I could do no wrong in her eyes-and isn't that a fun place to be as a grand-daugther?
I remember the wonderful summers by brother and I would spend on the farm. Oh how I loved Grandma's breakfasts, watching her tirelessly cook endless meals for everyone, hang her wash on the line, ( I can still see her with her washcloth going over the line to clean the fly poop off before hanging her clothes out-do I do that? NO) She was meticulous, methodical, and predictable-and how I loved that about her.
When we visited, there was always candy in the candy dish, and it never mattered how much we had, she never scolded us, she always had a full cookie jar, cake or brownies, and often pies too. And popcorn with a chocolate malt at night-or else a rootbeer float-what could beat that?
My Grandma's best meal was chicken (although she always preferred Capon) , carefully breaded, fried, and then baked for several hours-there was none better-and the gravy-I can still see her tending to her frying chicken, apron tied around her little waist.

Oh, how I have loved her. Even when Grandpa and Grandma moved off the farm, going to see Grandma was a treat, because it was still Grandma's house-and they were only 1/4 mile from the farm. I remember many Satruday or Sunday afternoon drives with them-always down some dusty gravel lane, and always ending with a few "cool ones" at one of their favorite local pubs. They would play pool, visit with everybody, buy us some Cheetos and give us quarters to play pinball, or the jukebox, and just hang out!
When we got older, Grandma understood when the visits got less frequent-she would always tell me she knew
how busy life was for us. After marrying a farmer, she always
told me she knew what it was like to mom/wife/farmwife, and I should never feel bad for not coming to visit more often.
Somehow, that gentle affirmation always soothed my troubled conscience-I WANTED to get to visit her, but...
Well, God has blessed me with a wonderful last memory of my Grandma. I went to visit her in February in the nursing home she had been in for only a couple months-she hated it there, wanted to go home-talked of how "they" are so strange here! But, the day I went, they were having some music, and they cleared out the dininghall and created a ballroom, and they played polka music. Grandma wasn't sure if she wanted to go or not, but with some persuasion, she agreed to let me push her down to the dance hall. As we sat together, holding hands, smiling, tapping our toes, and clapping our hands, we had a ball together. I asked her if she wanted to dance (wheelchair dancing) and she agreed-I didn't think she would!-and I strolled out on the floor with her wheelchair in front of me-and I would swing the chair softly from side to side as we went around the room, and I know she was remembering all the times she and Grandpa would fly over the dance floor-they made such a handsome couple on the dancefloor-and they loved to do it!!

How very glad I am that I can remember her with
that smile on her face, a little gleam in her eye!

Because on Saturday, April 12, 2008 and 6:30 am, my Grandma passed away, and I won't be able to see that smile anymore-but it is etched in my memory forever!
How I will miss her-she could sure talk-and share secrets, and give me hints on cooking or baking, or child-raising-or just loving me!
Grandma was 88-she always said, after Grandpa died 11 years ago, she didn't want to live to 90-and she got her wish-and she went peacefully, and gracefully, just like she did everything else in life.
Memories are wonderful, pictures are great, but they don't quite make up for the real hugs, smiles and whispers of "I love you honey". I hope someday I can be the kind of Grandma you were to me!
I miss you terribly, and I will always love you!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Kendell

I can't believe my baby girl is 9 years old today!! Where in the world does the time go? It seems like just yesterday she was 15 months old in the orphanage, then 18ths old and home, and now, WOW-she is 9, just like that

I really do have a hard time watching my children grow up-I know that is what we raise them for, I know that is

God's plan for them-to grow, mature, come to love the Lord, eventually move out, but boy, for this Momma, that is hard to get a handle on. I waited SOOOOO long to be a Mommy, and it was so much fun bringing her home, getting to know her, and now, it seems like the time is just flying by!

Kendell was born on April 10, 1999 in a region in Khazakstan.
She was taken to a baby hospital in Novatroisk, Orenburg Region,

Russia, at only a few days old by her birthmother's mother.

I can only imagine how hard that must have been for her to

leave her there. Kendell was named Valeriya, which we kept for her middle name. She never got outside to play, as it was a very small facility, with only a few workers, and it

was really a baby hospital-most of the children there never left, they were so critically ill.

We will never forget the night we arrived in Orenburg-middle of the night, not sure where we were, and we were met by our interpreter who took us to this rundown place without much lighting, up a few flights of dark steps to a very dingy room, and sat us down with this very somber look on her face. She was very careful to tell us about the children they refer, and wanted us to know they really loved this little girl, and could not believe she had been passed up by so many already. Her big problem, apparently, was that she was part Asian-and Chuck and I just rejoiced inside, as Korea had been one of our choices all along! This was not a huge problem for us at all.

Our first glimpse of our baby girl, after a 4 hour car ride at about 100 mph on roads you could only imagine being called "roads" was heart-stopping for both of us. After only an hour of playing with her, feeding her, and falling in love already, we headed out of the room, depositing her back into her crib, and with breaking hearts, because we knew we had NO IDEA when we would return, we headed back to our home to await the court hearing.

Leaving her room that day will always be etched into my memory-I think I cried a lot of the way back to Orenburg-after all these years, here she was, my precious baby, and we had to leave her and WAIT some more.

Thankfully, the region was moving adoptive families through the courts very quickly. We were there in July for our visit, in September, we went back and brought Kendell home with us.

She has been a priceless princess from the beginning. Worshipped by Mom and Dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, she could easily have been quite spoiled from all the attention, but she loves sharing the limelight, and really blossomed when we brought her big brother home a year later.

She is very bright, reads voraciously, loves taking care of babies, both live and dolls, loves farm life and chores, makes friends quickly, has many big friends she looks up to, loves going to church, and loves Jesus.

I do have my work cut out for me though, as she needs a bit of work in the "quiet and gentle" department, and she likes to boss her brothers around, but I do think she comes by that naturally-both Mom and Grandma are a bit bossy too!

Right now, she tells us she is NEVER leaving home, and would not even consider getting married and having her own babies-absolutely no way that will ever happen.

We just smile and nod our heads, and think, "we will just enjoy this while it lasts!' She has been a happy, cheerful girl since we first saw her, and she continues to grow in strength of character, moral convictions, and for the baby we thought was going to be petite-she is really growing physically as well. At over 4 ft tall and about 58 pounds, she still likes to be held, loves snuggling, and LOVES to be with her family.

I am a proud Momma, but humbled and thankful that God has entrusted her to us, letting us try to raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. While it is easy to become sad by our childrens' growing up, we need to focus on the joy they bring into our lives, focus on the things we want to train them up to be, and the plans God has for their lives, and keep our eyes fixed on both Jesus and eternity.

Blessings to you Kendell, on your special day!!

In Him,

Mommy and Daddy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Last Day in Taiwan

I can't believe we have been home for 3 weeks already, and Tyler has been with us for FOUR weeks. Where does the time go??? If it weren't for Chuck milking 2 nights this week, I don't know when I would get this trip to Taiwan finished. But, we have some great photos we want to share, and I can't believe how hard it already is to remember the details of that last day. So, it had better get chronicled soon, or it will be lost in the annals of my memory forever.

We visited the Chiang Kei Shek Memorial Hall, and had very
little time to actually look around. The building is majestic,
the grounds are beautiful (even on the foggy
rainy day) and the memorial to Taiwan's freedom rally
and leader, Chiang Kei Shek are quite impressive.

Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel, Taipei's "go-to" for all visiting
dignitaries, was a must
see-just to see the beauty of the architecture.

Martyr's Shrine

The Martyr's Shrine-a memorial for the over 330,000 fallen soldiers of WWII who died defending Taiwan from Japanese invaders was unbelievable, and the highlight of my day's sight-seeing, as we got there just in time for
the hourly changing of the guard. Full of pomp and flair, the gun-twirling, marching-in-step and very serious-minded young men taking part was quite a sight to behold.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Our Favorite Spot in Taiwan-the Geo Park

Hands down, this was our favorite place we visited. The slideshow probably won't do it justice, but I will just say, we all loved it here.