Friday, December 28, 2007

A View from Sarah's Camera

At Disneyland: Vikki & Anna waving in yellow Dumbo, John looking on in pink Dumbo.
Our family at Disneyland-These are our youngest eight who live at home.
Don't you wish you could do this at Disneyland?
Funny Faces at our church Christmas Dinner
Sarah & Hanna-Best Friends!
Nicole, Brit, Hanna & Debbie-Her best friend's sisters & mom
Michael & Zack-Her best friend's brothers
Sarah & Aaron at Halloween

Air Soft Gun Wars

Right now there are about twenty boys and men in my yard playing war games with Air Soft Guns. Me? I'm hiding out in my house getting the pictures ready for Anna & Adah's second post-placement report. I put out chili, nacho sauce, chips, jalapenos, candy, salsa, sodas and water for them to snack on.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anna & the Peanut Butter

Anna gets into EVERYTHING!!! If she can grab it or touch it she's into it. On Christmas I had breakfast items out on the counter. For anyone who has used the Costco organic peanut butter you know it's runny. I put it in bowl with a spoon in it and placed it on the counter to go with the bread or bagels. Well while we weren't looking, little Miss Anna, who has to explore EVERY nook & cranny of EVERYTHING was able to grab it somehow. I had just dressed her in her pretty Christmas outfit and there she was with peanut butter all over her, the counter, the side of the cupboard and the floor. (I'm rolling my eyes now and wondering if this girl ever stops getting into stuff-oh wait! that would be when she is sleeping!)

See the spoon in her hand and the peanut butter pile on the counter. Her Who Me? look?

The pile a little closer and it's all over her. She had to be changed because she was stinky from the pb.

Christmas Day

Christmas day went well. Jared spent the night so he could be with us when we opened presents. Joe got the coveted skateboard he had been wanting. James got his personal DVD player, but I got two of the same movie and one on Blue-Ray which he couldn't use. (We returned those yesterday.) Sarah got her Be Delicious perfume, chocolate brown Ugg type boots, and a ceramic flat iron. Jesse got the clothes he wanted from CCS-an online skateboard store. John loves his PSP, and Joel got lots of games, men, cars, and dinosaurs. The girls got noisy type baby toys as well as babies that they love.

Christmas Eve

We went to Steve's brothers house for Christmas Eve. We go there every year and have lasagna, salad & garlic bread.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Party Dresses


Anna and Adah received presents from their grandpa and grandma the other day. They had fun opening the bags and getting their presents as well as playing with the paper. They each received a frame for a baby picture, some pjs and an outfit. Thank you grandpa & grandma!

James has/had mono

The dr. called today with James' lab results. He has/had mono. The first set came back negative, but with the in depth testing it showed up. He was REALLY sick there for a while. I'm glad I had them test him. I was almost treated as though I were a paranoid mother.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hope you're all enjoying your families and friends today! Jesse is working today, but will get off soon. I have been wrapping presents and baking all day. Steve has been keeping the girls busy and wrapping my presents. (big grin!) The boys have all had fun just hangin' round the house. Joel & John have frosted their sugar cookies for Santa. John doesn't believe, but Joel sure does. He takes this whole Christmas thing very seriously! Tonight we'll enjoy some of our extended family. Our oldest son will spend the night when his shift is over.

Last night we drove around and looked at Christmas lights and then stopped and walked around one neighborhood so the girls could enjoy it. They didn't know what to think of all this!

Yesterday they wore their pretty Christmas dresses to church. It is so refreshing to see little girls dressed up as little girls. I enjoyed seeing Rachel's girls and how lovely they looked in their handmade dresses. They were just so pretty!

Hope you have a wonderful evening.

Christmas Blessings!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Take Time

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, ''Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.''

Memories flashed through his mind like an old news reel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

''Jack, did you hear me?''

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,'' Jack said.

''Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it,''Mom told him.

''I loved that old house he lived in,'' Jack said.

''You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life,'' she said

''He's the one who taught me carpentry,'' he said. ''I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral,'' Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.

Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away. The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture.... Jack stopped suddenly.

''What's wrong, Jack?''his Mom asked.

'The box is gone,'' he said

''What box?'' Mom asked.

'There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most','' Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it. ''Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him,'' Jack said. ''I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.''

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mail box, 'Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,' the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. 'Mr. Harold Belser' it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.''Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life.'' A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved:
Jack, Thanks for your time!
-Harold Belser.
The thing he valued most time'

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. ''Why?'' Janet, his assistant asked. '

''I need some time to spend with my son,'' he said.

''Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!''

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it might change your perspective on life...for the better.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
4. Everynight, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
5. You mean the world to someone.
6. If not for you, someone may not be living.
7. You are special and unique.
8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
13. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy.
14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus church party

Last night we attended a children's Happy Birthday Jesus party at church. We met with other families and friends, and then all took off to go caroling. We stopped at one couple's house and drove again to carole to two other elderly ladies. I ended up staying in the van because Anna had fallen asleep. (I did get a little cat nap and some Bible reading done!)

When we were done caroling we went back to church and played Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree, Musical Chairs, Find the Gold Star Under the Chair, and How many M & M's are in the gumball machine? The room was decorated beautifully for the children. There were red tablecloths with pretty decorations in the middle. Very festive!

Barbara, a wonderful woman from church headed up the party and she did a splendid job. I'm sure it is something the children will treasure for a long time. Good memories in the making. :0)

Aaron & Sarah
Vikki & Lisa (Lisa is another homeschooling mom & she is adopting from China)
Garrit & Nicole
Barbara blindfolding James

Musical Chairs

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Corinthians 13 Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those
who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charles Spurgeon quote

"You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God's fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts."

Charles Spurgeon

This & That

Didn't get our dossier sent in today. Tomorrow. Steve's notary forgot to put his stamp on the paper. I spent a few hours making copies and making sure everything was all organized.

Been Christmas shopping. Tired of Christmas shopping. I love to bless people with gifts, but .................. it's a lot of expectations on the momma of the bunch. One day at a time........everyone will have something under the tree...........

A lot of dentist appts for Sarah. Remember when she knocked her tooth loose? Well, we have been in the process of fixing it since it happened. Today she had to go to the ortho to have the bar behind her front tooth taken off so they can recap it tomorrow. Her appt tomorrow is a two hour appt. Poor girl......

Jake has been to the doctor this week. He's pretty sure Jake has Muptiple Sclerosis. He was having an MRI done today to see if any lesions can be found on his brain. He's getting discouraged. Lift him in prayer if he comes to your rememberence. It must be hard to be a strong twenty-two year old, one day you're working and the next day your life is falling apart.

In the process of pulling together Life Books for Anna & Adah and starting them for the sisters. I bought some binders and some pretty paper. They're scrapbook, baby book, adoption book all rolled into one book about them. I'll use report covers to protect the papers. I should actually do one for Joel too. I don't think I EVER even did a baby book for him. Poor guy!

Homestudy update is done & dossier is ready to go!

I picked up our homestudy update yesterday from Adoption Options. I also had one paper notarized. Since the age of the girls is older than what our original intent was we had to redo the paper to show that we wanted ages 2-10. Steve has to get his paper redone and notarized and then we're sending our dossier in today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Picture update

Adah on her knees! She's using those leg muscles!

Adah after enjoying her sugared French Toast. I cut up some French Toast and gave her some sugar to dip it in. She brought the plate up to her face and her hair. Looks like she enjoyed it!

Anna-Who else?

Jake & Anna

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jesse's Job

The past two days Jesse has had two different customers go to his manager and compliment him on his helpfulness. Apparently yesterday's customer was grouchy the day before with the manager. This man went to the same manager and complimented Jesse. The manager called Jess into her office to see what happened with this customer. "Tell me exactly what happened," she said. Jesse told her and she said she is rehiring him after the Christmas season and will be giving him a raise. :0)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Took James to the doctor

James probably has strep. The nurse practitioner said, "I want to prescribe you an antibiotic just by looking at you from across this room!" Or it could be mono. Please pray if you would that it is strep and not mono. He had white patches on his tonsils and a good fever so it sounds like strep to me. Poor guy is absolutely miserable. Me? I win the bad mom award for going to Disneyland, having a GREAT time, and leaving my sick baby boy at home. The nurse told me I had to buy him a Slurpee to ease the guilt. I did.

Disneyland & California Adventure

Yesterday was another planned Disneyland trip. Unfortunately only two of my children were able to go with me. We had a BLAST!!! I took Joel (7) and Joe (12). I was able to ride on rides that I have never been on because I've always stayed behind with the littles.

California Screamin' was a favorite of mine. I was relegated to the single seat because Joe & Joel wanted to ride together. I found out that Joel is a little rollercoaster fiend. He LOVES to ride these rollercoasters with NO HANDS!! I'm gripping the bar for my life and he has his hands high in the air. He must take after his father.........

We walked and walked until we thought our legs were going to drop off. It was fun to not deal with strollers, bottles, babies, diapers and a double wide stroller in an amusement park.

Today we're supposed to go to Wild Animal Park with our home school program, but not sure if we'll make it. I have a sick boy who was left at home yesterday, not sure if he's up for another absent mommy day.

We have accepted the referral of two sisters!

Wednesday we accepted the referral of two sisters from Ethiopia! They were on our agency's older child photolisting so we inquired about them. The older one will be seven this month and looks more like Anna. Her younger sister turned five this month and looks more like Adah with the shorter hair.

Our homestudy update will be ready for pick-up on Monday. Then we can turn in our dossier (all our documentation) to our agency for approval. We also take a copy to the USCIS office so we can get an I-171H which is needed for Ethiopia.
We found out yesterday who our case worker is. Things are coming together!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Menu Planning

Thought I would post some of our meal ideas in case you have trouble coming up with ideas too!

I used to do one night was soup night, one night Mexican night, Italian, chicken, beef, etc... That way I had a skeleton plan and it was easier to come up with ideas.

This time I grabbed some cookbooks and our calendar and figured out what would go with busy days and slower days.

This is what I came up with for the next few weeks:

Chili dogs
Onion Swiss Steak
Beef Vegetable soup
Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Chicken Stir-Fry
Baked Spaghetti
Chili & Cornbread
Red Beans & Rice
Chili Nacho Supper
Lil' Cheddar Meat Loaves
Potato Soup

That takes me up to about Christmas Eve. I still need to figure out what we're doing for Christmas. I 'm thinking a ham with baked beans and some cold salads. I really want to get some meats and cheeses for snacking on Christmas Day.

Why don't you post on your blogs what meals your families really like? Or what system you use for planning meals?

A Fruitful Day

I was lounging around in bed with the five youngest children and remembered it was Tuesday. Tuesday is the day that USCIS (United States Center of Immigration Services-or something like that) is open to adoption case walk-ups from 8-12. I had forgotten that I was going to go turn in our I600A which is an advance petition to bring orphan/s into the country. I hurried up and got ready and headed out.

I started in El Cajon at the County Recorder's office to get a certified birth certificate for Jesse. He will be eighteen and needs to be fingerprinted for USCIS. Then I headed to downtown San Diego and sat in the USCIS office. My name was called, I gave the clerk the paperwork................and I had forgotten to have Steve SIGN the paper!!! Ai Yi Yi!!! I had already driven about twenty-six miles and would now go up the freeway probably another twenty miles or so to take the paper to him for him to sign it. I had also been looking for the Secretary of State's Office and couldn't find it.

I get to Steve's work and he chuckles because he did have to bring me a key the day before because I couldn't find mine. My phone is missing since last Wednesday and now I forget to have him sign this paper. He starts writing on a little piece of paper and gets a safety pin. The note read: If I seem lost just turn me over. Smart guy............

I head back downtown and turn in my paperwork. I find the office that I need to have our Power of Attorney's notory authenicated at. It gives the state seal to this document so our adoption agency can represent us in legal matters in Ethiopia. I then head home quite satisfied that I have finished two of the things I set out to finish. :0)

I get home in time for Adah's therapist. She is amazed at her progress. She wanted to work with her on going from a stand to sit, but she already does it and does it quite well. As soon as she's walking she won't need her services any longer. That's a good thing! I hate needing to keep a weekly standing appt.

We had tostadas and much to everyone's dismay we didn't have meat just beans. I have never had or served tostadas with meat so where do they get the idea that I'm starting now? Go figure!

We landed in bed exhausted, but our sleep wasn't very resting. The girls kept waking up for some weird reason. I had a suspicion that they were too hot with the heater on and in their blanket sleepers so I turned the heat way down. I think they slept after that. If they didn't Steve must have been up with them. It's tiring keeping up with babies at forty-seven and forty-eight. It's a sacrifice we're willing to make though, and we know that this age and stage shall pass all too soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trying to get organized despite myself

I utilize a wonderful site that lets you print off organization papers for free. I have used their homeschooling papers and today I printed off the menu planning and Christmas card lists. So I planned my menus for the next two weeks. I took Joe with me to the grocery store and we shopped and shopped. I sent him to the Star Bucks kiosk to grab me a Mocha Light and I headed to the car. I left one cart with him and I went to unload the other cart since he had to be at the orthodontist across the street in ten minutes. I unloaded all my groceries and saw him come out of the store struggling with the cart and the Mocha Light. I went over to help him and pushed my cart to the cart stall before I took his cart. Apparently he had dropped my Mocha Light so it was dripping everywhere. I went back to my van and unloaded his cart while he cleaned up the mess that I later had to throw away because there was a HOLE in the cup. There went $3 down the drain.

I send Joe over to the ortho because by the time I pulled out of the lot, and went through the light he would have been late. I couldn't find my keys though. I looked everywhere. I thought that maybe I had handed them to Joe so I went to the ortho and asked him. No, he didn't have them. Great. We both headed back to Vons and looked some more. No luck. We searched for over an hour. Unloaded bags. Loaded bags. Moved things in my van that shouldn't have been there, but were because they hadn't been put away the week before. I had to climb over and around the front seat of the van to get into the back of the van to see if for some really weird reason they were somewhere that I hadn't even been. No luck!

I was convinced that I had placed them on the seat of the cart and when I pushed it over to the cart stall to help Joe they must have been in there. We looked through carts, Joe walked the aisles of the store. No luck. Finally Steve showed up with a key to at least start my van and get me home with all those groceries. I left my name and number at the store in case they showed up. Not more than five minutes after we got home they called. They had my keys. My poor husband went all the way back to go retrieve them. *This was not a grocery store in our neighborhood, as you will find with a large family, there isn't much time to shop, so you shop just before or after other errands and you shop where those errands tend to be.*

At least we now have them, but this gets chalked up to one more thing that I've lost.........I still have some of my sanity left, but that is slowly oozing away too. :0)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Not Much Going On

The past few days have been busy, but uneventful. We had Awana Wednesday night, and then Class Day on Thursday. John had All-star tryouts for soccer Thursday night. Poor Steve was doing all the running around and dropping off that night. Sarah had youth and usually Jesse takes her, but he was working. Yesterday Steve and I met for our what seems to be our Friday date time.

Joe brought the tree in earlier this week and he set it up. He brought in all the decorations too. My boys are the ones who decorated our house this year. I had/have no desire to decorate. With everything else that I do to add Christmas decorating on top of it is too much! I use to go all out, but who wants to do all that work? I've come to think that people who go all out just don't have enough to do.

Adah is now pulling herself up to a stand. Her legs are so much stronger than just three months ago. She'll start walking before long. She got herself stuck this morning in her crib. There is a bumper pad in her crib because she scoots to the very end of the crib and ends up sleeping against the bars. (They both actually do that and Steve thinks we should have just bought one crib because in one crib they both could have had an end and they'd be happy.) Well this morning I went in because she was crying. She was under the bumper pad with the blankets over her head. She was stuck and couldnt' figure out how to get out. She was relieved when I rescued her from herself.

This week I started blinking at her. She makes the funniest face when she blinks back. Her whole face gets very serious and she puckers up her lips. It seems like it takes much effort on her part just to concentrate on her eyes. It is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time and we're all in stitches by the time she's done with us.

Trying to get our homestudy update approved by our agency so we can continue. Our contact was on vacation and getting back into the work mode. I hate waiting on other people. God has given me patience though so I shall exercise it. The whole adoption process is a wait, wait, and wait some more time. It's very refining for my character. :-)
Have a great Saturday!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Many years ago I was on the MOMYS board and an acquaintance that I went to an Above Rubies retreat with posted this recipe. I've tweaked it to my liking. My version is below. I thought I lost it, but found it today! Steve has asked me to make this again., but he has to go to the healthfood store to buy some of the items.

Good Day Granola
8 cups rolled oats
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1-1/2 cups unprocessed bran
1-1/2 cups natural wheat germ
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips.

Stir oats, sugar, bran, wheat germ, sunflower seeds and walnuts in a large bowl. Heat oil and honey in small pan on low heat until bubbly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour liquids over dry ingredients and mix THROUGHLY! Divide mixture evenly and spread on two rimmed cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 325* for 15-20 minutes and stirring once to keep granola evenly browned. When completely cool, add in chocolate chips (unless you kind of want the choc. to melt in a little-yum) Store in an airtight container.

No Bake Cookies

If you like peanut butter and oatmeal together then this is a recipe for you! Jesse thinks these are better than fudge and fudge is just about his absolute favorite thing in the world.

No Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups uncooked oats

Cook sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter over medium heat until it starts to boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add in vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oatmeal. Stir well, then drop by spoonful on to waxed paper. Let them sit and they'll harden up.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Yesterday was a great day! My eight year old son had two soccer games because his team was tied for first place. I got to go to church and worship. I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant with Steve. We stopped at Cold Stone for some ice cream and I tried a new flavor. They have a dark chocolate peppermint that is wonderful!!!! It's not too minty, but just right. I tried their mix-in selection, but will leave out the mini-marshmallows next time. Next time I buy it, it will have the ice cream, chocolate shavings, and oreo cookies. It tastes just like the Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream. It's so good!!!! I came home and puttered around on the computer. Having dial-up limits my puttering so I headed upstairs and got into my pajamas and then lounged around on my bed under my rag quilt and read my book until I finished it. The book I finished was Incidents of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. That poor girl stayed in a small attic crawl space for seven years so she and her children might have freedom. I cannot even imagine what strength of character she had. She was treated so badly simply because her skin was a shade darker than what was desirable. May we never see that kind of injustice again. Look with me past the color and see the person, the person that God created in His image. I finished the night up with popcorn, Hot Tamales and of course, Diet Coke. Just the perfect end to a perfect day.

Pumpkin Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I found this recipe years ago in a free magazine for pregnant moms. is the web page given on the recipe page. The idea was that dad could make you a healthy breakfast while you were recovering and resting with baby. Along with these muffins it was suggested to serve scrambled eggs, fruit slices, and milk.

I made them today since it's been a while that I've made them, and oh my goodness! I forgot how good they are. They were so yummy! The streusel didn't turn out quite like I remember, but it was still good.

Pumpkin Blueberry Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups pure canned pumkin
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Struesel Topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray 24 muffin cups with Pam.

Combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Combine pumpkin, eggs and vegetable oil in medium bowl; stir well. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle with streusel topping.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (It seems that I only cooked mine for 15 minutes, so check them at 15 minutes) Remove from pans to wire racks; cool slightly. Serve warm. Makes 24 muffins.

For Streusel Topping: Combine in a medium bowl-
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with pastry blender.


Saturday, December 1, 2007


Yesterday Steve and I went out for a late lunch/early dinner and then went shopping. I wanted to go to Sear's because I haven't shopped in a store for clothes for almost a year. I usually shop through the internet. I found lots of cute stuff and found that I was smaller than I anticipated! Oh the joy!!! I have graduated from the Women's Dept and can now exclusively shop the Misses section. I found that a 16 Misses is big, but a 14 is still a bit snug. I tried on a 16W and it was way too big! WooHoo! So now I'm going to try and consciously not eat as badly as I usually do. I want the 14 to fit and then be to big. :-My goal through the Christmas season will be to not eat too much sweets. But you know what? There's a fire roaring next to me in the fireplace.............and I'm tempted to go find the marshmallows and roast a few.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What do you do to make a difference?

On the CNN news this morning Anthony Roberts did an interview with a young woman who spent time in Africa with orphans. I'm not sure if the orphans had HIV/AIDS or they were orphaned because their parents died of AIDS. She mentioned that she's had babies die in her arms and how devastating it was. Anyways one of her statements was that no matter how good the orphanage was, it didn't compare to a family. A family that the children have at the end of a long day. A family of their own.

For our family at this time we can make a difference for some children. We can't make a difference for every child, but we can for some. These children from Ethiopia have made a difference in our lives. These babies of ours needed love. They needed and stll need healing. They need to know that someone thinks the sun rises and sets on them. What are the benefits we receive? We get to see the adorable ear-to-ear smile of a little fourteen month old. We get to see her learn to love her daddy who she wouldn't even look at when she arrived. I've been able to see her go from a screaming baby who grabbed her ears those first few days because she didn't know what in the world was going on with her to a loving little baby who willingly puckers up and gives kisses. She claps, she crawls, she waves her arms in the air out of pure happiness. To Adah, we made a difference.

To Anna we have made a difference. This little one who went from mom to grandma to orphanage to care center and then to us in less than a year had no idea who we were or what was happening to her now. Her voice didn't count. We have found that she is very strong-willed and very opinionated, but she's had to be. She's had to be her own advocate when there wasn't any consistency in her life. She's learning to love and to be loved. She's learning that not one person who comes through our door is here to take her away. This is her home. We are her family. She has a voice. We are learning to listen. She's very smart, and I hope that one day she will return to minister to her people. Recently I read that there are more doctors in Washington, D.C., then there are in all of Ethiopia. How wonderful would it be for her to be able to help bridge that gap? E3 Ministries goes on mission trips to Ethiopia, what an awesome thought that she could go back and share the gospel? The possibilities are endless for her. She has drive and smarts and a look that tells you she knows what she's doing. We have learned patience and how to be there for her when she's crying and seemingly for no reason. I personally think she's grieving, just a mother's instinct, and she has much to grieve. Hopefully we can do her some justice and love her more than she knows what to do with. (I tend to smother my kids with my kisses-just ask them.)

So I know that not everyone can adopt. Not everyone is called to adopt. But! You can do something for someone else. Volunteer at church to work with children. The blessings will knock your socks off. You will have lifelong friends that will always remember you. Some of the first children that I used to work with are now mommies, Navy SEALS, students, etc.... When I hug one of them I am truly blessed. They made a difference in my life.

You can sponsor a child through Compassion Intl. You could do Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Volunteer at the local homeless shelter or pregnancy Care Center. Offer to give seniors a ride to the mall. Drive them through for a burger. (I had one older neighbor that used to have me drive her through Burger King on our way home.) Give a homeless person a coat or a sandwich or whatever you have. Several times I've seen homeless people and have gone home and went through our coats and raced back to give them a coat, food, blankets, whatever I though might help.

See, there's something you can do. You can minister to your own children and husband. Make them a priority. Do you consider your husband's plans when you make plans? Does he even like to spend time with you or are you so snarly that he would rather you stay busy? Do you play games with your children? Do you enjoy your children? Our family sticks together like glue. To this day our second son will come get one of the boys and take him to his house to play games on his XBox 360. He comes over just to hang out. Or our oldest son stops by for dinner while on his shift. Both boys like to go our weekend soccer games.

What you invest now can only benefit you in the future. At one time I couldn't stand to be home, and this was when I only had two children! If there was an opportunity to get out and away from them, I took it. I reaped those attitudes when my oldest boys were teens. I then found that only by losing my life, do I find it. Invest in people. Don't invest in things. Things don't matter. What would you take with you in the event of a fire? Would you take your precious dishes? couch? paintings? NO!!! You would make sure your family was out. They are what matters. Let's start acting like it. Let's devote ourselves to one another in love.

And! read your Bible. By God filling you up; you can then turn around and bless others. Do everything as unto the Lord. If no one else appreciates what you've done, that's okay. You did it for God and He knows what you've done. Give of yourselves and work together to further His Kingdom. You can't out bless Him.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I've tried to log in for several days now, but have been unable to. I have been busy doing mom stuff and pulling together adoption documents.

We sent in our application and the first half our agency fee on Tuesday for our next adoption. We will use Christian World Adoption again. Steve and I went to the notary and had many documents signed. We don't have to do as many as we did last time because those were all from scratch. We're using some of the same documents, because we had a second set ready to go and didn't use it. The ones we had to redo were really the updated forms from CWA.

Our homestudy update is almost done. Our social worker from Adoption Options is able to do it over the phone since she was just out to our house for a post-placement report on the girls. The homestudy update goes in our dossier and one goes to U.S. Dept of Homeland Security for our immigration documents. We'll just have to get fingerprinted which is a hassle. Last time it took all afternoon because there were so many people there. I went to the County Clerk's office yesterday and purchased certified birth certificates and a marriage certificate. I think I'll go downtown to the office and talk to the clerk in person and then head over to the State Secretary's office to have the "Official" seal put on our power of attny. So many details.

The mom stuff has kept me busy. Schooling, laundry, laundry, and more laundry, cooking, cleaning, changing stinky diapers, washing little girls, doing their hair even though they are loud and crying because they don't want their hair combed, and oiling/lotioning their skin. Adah still gets ashy when I use cocoa butter so I need to get some shea butter.

I did get my hair cut yesterday. I thought it was my imagination that it has been falling out, but my hairdresser confirmed it. So she cut to above the shoulder. We think it could be from the lack of nutrition when I had Giardia. I don't know. I'm thinking of going to Dr. Deckert who is an osteopath and specializes in women's care. Last time she loaded me up on some good vitamins. It's been years since I went in so I thought maybe I'll make an appt. soon.

Anna gets into EVERYTHING. Adah is crawling so she is starting to get to places we weren't expecting. The floor now has to be clean so she doesn't put things in her mouth. The doors need to be shut because if Anna can get to it she will and she brings it to Adah who puts it in her mouth. Ai yi yi!

I had a major blow-up on Tuesday afternoon/evening. Everything is okay now, but Tuesday I vented, and vented, and vented some more. What it comes down to: If you tell someone you're going to do something, then do it. Honor your agreements. Life becomes a hassle when you go back on your word or don't do what you're told and it inconveniences others. Do unto others as you would want done unto you. My mantra that my kids are sick of hearing: Do what I say, when I say, and how I say. Don't analyze it, just do it.

Jesse started a new job today. He worked for seven hours and likes it. It's probably only seasonal, but it gives him some Christmas money and some spending money. It's good for boys to become men and get out there and work in the real world.

The girls are in bed. Sarah is at youth. Jesse is at his girlfriend's basketball game. James is making a bacon sandwich for himself. John is supervising. Joel is in trouble and sent to bed early. Joe is watching tv. Me? I'm unwinding from the day in front of the computer. I'm taking a test for our adoption. It's a Hague Treaty requirement to have ten hours of training. We did go a whole weekend in April, but I guess that isn't good enough. So I have many more lessons to go and then I get to take another test on a book that is required reading. It's all good though. It's a good thing to be prepared with eyes wide opened.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving & Ethiopia get-together

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. It's nice when our family can get together.

Jake and Arianne on Thanksgiving

Friday we had dinner at our house and I think it was the first time that all ten kids were there plus Miranda and Arianne! We had our table out to it's full length and it seats twelve. Maybe we need to add another table to it?

Saturday we went to a gathering with other Ethiopian adoptive families. It was so much fun to get together with others who have gone to the same place, gone through the process and love these children from Ethiopia. On the tv were Ethiopian dancers and the girls were having quite the time dancing to it. They love music and just move to it when they hear it. There was Ethiopian food and pizza. I met another Lakeside family and received tips on brushing/combing their hair. So far I've just kind of finger-combed their hair; not really knowing if I should comb it. Paula mentioned that it's good to toughen up their scalps. So girls, I'm comin' at ya! We found that there is a culture camp in the summer up near Santa Cruz and look forward to going to that. We met two other babies there too, lots of teens and in-betweens! We belong to a new community. It's kind of mind boggling when you think about it.

Oh! and Adah started crawling this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Piano Recital

Last Saturday Joel, John and Jesse had a piano recital. It was Joel's first one and John's second one. I didn't get to see John's first one so I was excited to see him play, and very proud of all three boys. They did a wonderful job. Sarah takes lessons, but hates piano recitals. To get her to start lessons again we made an agreement that she wouldn't have to do any recitals. She hates messing up in front of people.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Anna and Adah's Photo Studio Pics

This is our adoption announcement card. We couldn't get a good picture of the two of them together so we did individual photos and took a Christmas card setting to get this. We had limited space for wording. It says "Introducing our Ethiopian princesses Anna & Adah Grieshaber"