Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Haiti Update

These were sent earlier by the orphanage, but because they came from Snapfish, I thought they were SPAM and didn't get them until today! :(

Anyway, it is SO fun to get updates about their lives while they're away from us. Still waiting on that smile from Philippe, but we had to wait about two months before we saw one on Patricia! Also, his name isn't spelled correctly on there. We have a copy of his birth certificate, so that's how we know! :) Notice that he is missing a tooth! Poor baby doesn't look very happy here! He is adjusting to life at the orphanage, though. We don't have a March update for him because he hasn't been there very long.

We hope to get more pictures soon!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

June is the kind of dog that you want/need to know where she is in the house. I often work from home and I try to make sure she is lying down on the dog bed in the office.

On sunny days she actually behaves better because she LOVES the sun and she likes to bake in the bay window in the kitchen. Today was overcast, so when I realized she wasn't on her dog bed I wondered if she was getting into something.

Then, I spotted her. Lying on the clean laundry! HAHA! Of course. Well, as long as she's behaving, I guess.

Later I checked again to see if she was still there and found this...

Well, see ya later...I gotta go fold some clothes!

Springtime in Minnesota

Ah, springtime in Minnesota!

There's nothing better than waking up on a Saturday morning, going downstairs, pouring yourself a cup of coffee, and stepping out onto the deck to enjoy the warm...

Wha' happened...?!

Think I'll go drink this by the fireplace.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who Needs Pants?

On a recent visit to see Dawn's Mom at the hospital, our great nephew, Isaac, lost his pants. They were loose and started to slip down while he was walking. When they hit the floor, he just stepped right out of them and kept going. Naturally, Ava tried to help out as only an older sister can.

We had to post this because it's one of those memories you keep until the kid is old enough to be embarrassed by it:

I think we'll be getting him a belt for his birthday.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Foody Friday (a little late)

Lee and I have been sick all week. We woke up with terrible colds on Tuesday morning and have gotten sicker and sicker as the week has gone on. I haven't been able to see my Mom since Monday (and I broke my 45 day streak!) Lee missed rehearsal and a concert for the Great Northern Union, and we both missed work. I definitely had it worse than he did. (Lucky!) So here is my (lame) contribution to Foody Friday. Chicken Noodle Soup. I have to admit, I am sentimental over even the dumbest things, and when I was little and had a cold, my Mama made Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. I like it when I am sick and only when I am sick.

Here is where the drama comes in. My husband, my dear, sweet husband, will not buy, and will not let ME buy, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. If I sneak a can in, it doesn't matter, because when I am really sick, I am not the one MAKING (ok, preparing) the soup, so he just won't grab that can. It's not that I don't like Progresso. It's good! It's just not Campbell's. **Hack** COUGH! Oh, sorry. I just had a coughing spell after my laughing spell. Lee was just talking about how we aren't even going to buy PROGRESSO anymore because we are going to make our own soup. (Keep in mind we only eat chicken noodle soup when we are sick!) Oh, but here is the best part! He was talking about how he wants us to learn how to can!! Um, yeah, I am going to CAN my own vegetables. Listen, I know that sounds great. I know there are those among us (even in our families) that do this, but the women who do this DO NOT HAVE FULL TIME JOBS. If you have a full time job and you can your own vegetables, please let me know, and might I say right now, hats off to you. (Did I mention that we don't even have a vegetable garden? The bunny family that lives under our deck would love that!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Referral! :)

We got our referral today for Philippe! I gotta say it - since there is a vast number of folks out there saying his name wrong I thought I would let you know his name is pronouced Fil-Leap, not Fil-Leap-Pay. Es French, no Espanol.

If you missed it, we first learned on January 4 that Patricia (Pa-tree-see-a) had a younger brother. We didn't know that he was available to be adopted until early February. He was still with his father at that time. He was brought in to the orphanage within the last month. The orphanage turns away 80 children a month and Philippe was also turned away because the orphanage doesn't have enough funding.

If you would like to donate to the orphanage so that they can continue to provide housing, education, purified water, food and medical care to the children (or say YES! to new children), please click here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Mish Mash

Ok, folks. This is why I don't cook. YUM. YUM. YUM. Lee grilled for the first time on Sunday night. It was DE-LISH! I love spring and I love summer and I love that I love them and I love that I appreciate them all so much more because I live somewhere where people call it Minnesnowta and where it snows every April. These pictures are only from April 1! Ummm, where are Abby's feet? Well, it was nearly 80 degrees today, so we are on our way, I think...

I was able to take my Mom out of the hospital for a while yesterday and we went to the thrift store, a favorite family pasttime. It was so great for Mama to get out for a while! We had a great time and it was so sunny and warm outside. She is holding her own but we are still praying for her to be able to eat and drink soon!

The pictures below are from the aviary at my Mom's hospital. It is so fun to watch the birds steal from each other to build their nests.

The last picture is Corene and Ava, my great-nieces, and I in my Mom's bed since she is up in her chair so much these days!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Foody Friday!

Since it is time for Foody Friday and since I am now involved in the Foody Friday Frenzy, I thought I would post one of my favorite recipes. I must be honest, I don't really cook. My husband is such a good cook that I don't really NEED to cook. Aside from that fact, I don't really ENJOY cooking that much. I especially have issues preparing meals with meat. I have a really, really good reason for it, but I'm not gonna blog it. Sooooo, here is my first recipe, and although I am NOT a vegetarian, since this is a meal that I prepare, it does not contain meat. It is a very easy recipe to double for a crowd as long as you have a big enough pot.

Pasta Puttanesca

servings: (not specified)
1 lb spaghetti or other thin pasta
2 35 oz cans Italian plum tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup black olives
1/4 cup drained capers
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (I use anchovy paste)
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped (I haven't used this)
2 tsp salt

Boil water (Hey! I can DO that!). Add salt and pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain. While pasta is cooking, Cut and quarter the tomatoes and drain off as much liquid as possible. Combine tomatoes and olive oil in skillet and bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, stirring frequently. Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook until sauce has thickened to your liking. Serve immediately (or not!) over hot pasta.

Also, on the topic of food...we have a verdict, folks. Corn Bursts win over Corn Pops. They stay fresher in the resealable ziploc bag and hubby and I agree that they taste better, too. Ah, now you can rest easy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update on Mama!!

Well, the last two days have brought us a lot of new information. Here is Mom in my car for the first time since March 10 when I drove her to be admitted. We drove over to see her oncologist at the other hospital. After a CAT scan from late March and blood tests, the best news I could possibly announce is NO CANCER can be found. We are happy but on guard since ovarian cancer does have a high recurrence rate. She will have another CAT scan in June.

I took her up to the ICU where she spent 17 precarious days and she didn't remember any of it. The nurses converged on us and were absolutely thrilled to see her and to see that she is doing so well. My Mom is truly a walking miracle. For her to beat FOUR infections, any one of which could be deadly on its own, is amazing. She gives God the glory and we just believe that the good Lord just wasn't ready to take her yet. I am so grateful that she is ok and would have been devastated if she and our kids were unable to meet.

We had a meeting at the rehab hospital also, and they said that Mom can come home within two weeks! She is such a trouper and she is getting stronger everyday. Prayer is needed for her throat muscles and vocal chords to heal (from the trach tube) so that she can start eating and drinking. She has a feeding tube and is only able to chew ice chips and while she is starting to talk about how annoying it is to watch the food commercials on TV she is handling it all very well. Thanks so much for the prayers, cards, calls, emails, and all the lovin'. My whole family thanks you!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Greetings from Haiti!

We recently received this video of Patricia saying "Hi" to us and singing "Jesus Loves Me."

Definitely an alto -- just like her Mama!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Family Updates

Patricia and Philippe Update: Our children are safe at their orphanage and the water truck made it through! We have reports from our contacts that it is calmer in the city of Port-au-Prince now. We are very grateful for answered prayers that the violence has subsided and the kids have the water they need. Believe me, I am so much more aware of the water I use...that I usually take for granted.

Olivia Update: Today marks 25 months since we were logged into China's system. No further comment as I was raised that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!

Mama Update: My niece, Jenny, made a delicious lasagna and we ate as a family in one of the conference rooms at the hospital. Once again we had a great time and the kids always make it fun. We all sang some hymns and "The B-I-B-L-E" together. My mom got to have a popsicle instead of lasagna. Unfortunately, my brother flies home tomorrow. What a fast trip! It was very nice having him here and he helped out a lot.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Good News, Bad News (Haiti Update)

Haiti president announces drop in price of rice in wake of riots, protests

The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — President Rene Preval has announced a drop in the price of rice following days of deadly rioting over the rising cost of food in Haiti.Preval says the price of a 50-pound (23-kilogram) bag of rice will drop from US$51 (euro32) to US$43 (euro27). The Haitian president, who is meeting Saturday with food importers in the national palace, says the government will use international aid money to subsidize the price of rice and that the private sector has agreed to knock US$3 (euro2) off the price of each bag. Preval did not say when the price reduction would go into effect.The announcement comes after looting and clashes between protesters and U.N. peacekeepers earlier this week that left at least five people dead.

Haitians say their hunger is real

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Elta Petithomme has been scouring the Haitian capital's garbage-strewn main market street for hours, searching for something to feed her four young children. Today, pickings are slim. Yesterday she sold a cellphone for 50 gourdes, the equivalent of about $1.30, enough to buy some bread, sugar and fried plantains. That's all the children, all under the age of 6, had to eat for the day. "Some days neighbors will cook and give us some food, as little as it is. Every day is like this," said Petithomme, neatly dressed in a white T-shirt and denim skirt. "I'm not working. I am hungry. But today, I haven't found anything for us to eat."
Petithomme and hundreds of other Haitians flooded the streets of the capital on Thursday after two days of sometimes violent protests against skyrocketing food prices that have Haitians complaining of rising hunger and talking about death by starvation.

"In the last two months, all the prices have doubled or tripled," Oxfam official Yolette Etienne said.High fuel prices, which have made transportation more expensive, rising demand in Asia, the use of farmland and crops for biofuels, a long drought in Australia and speculation on futures markets have combined to push up food prices worldwide. The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is one of three countries in the world that share the largest daily caloric deficit -- 460 calories per day below the daily requirement of 2,100 calories per day, according to the World Food Program.

At the Canape Vert Market, where oranges, onions, peppers and rolls of toilet paper are neatly stacked, clouds of flies infest piles of pork and sausages, and stray dogs work furiously against their fleas, vendors seemed to have plenty of supplies, but there were few buyers.
Marie France Presky has been selling staples for 10 years. Her cost for a 55-pound (25-kg) bag of rice has climbed from 530 gourdes ($13.90) to 1,075 gourdes ($28.20) since January.
The same is true for her other necessities: sugar jumped from 1,200 gourdes ($31.50) to 1,700 gourdes ($44.70) for a 110-pound (50 kg) bag; flour from about 1,200 ($31.50) to about 2,000 gourdes ($53.00) for a similar amount.

"The people, they buy tiny amounts now. I am hardly making any profit at all," she said, adding with a broad smile: "I haven't eaten today and you are making me talk too much. I don't have the energy."

Most gas stations were closed on Thursday and some were boarded up against vandals and looters. A worker at one service station said the price of diesel had risen from 134 gourdes ($3.50) to 152 gourdes ($4.00) per gallon (3.8 liters) in 15 days.
It is common for Haitians to scrape by with money from relatives abroad. Remittances are nearly one-quarter of Haiti's GDP and more than double the total of exports, according to World Bank figures.

Often, family and friends in the Caribbean nation help each other out. "My parents in the provinces sometimes send us some food," said Pierre Rolin, a 35-year-old who lives with his three younger brothers in Port-au-Prince. He was scouting job opportunities Thursday on Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the downtown market street. "I am not working. I am going around trying to find what I can to survive. Even if I fix something for someone, usually they can't pay, so there is no way to feed my family," he said. On Wednesday, he said, he managed to buy a bag with four pieces of bread for 30 gourdes ($0.80). "The price has not gone up, but the bread is not even half the size it was before."

International agencies say most Haitians live on less than $2 per day.
"This is a situation of complete desperation," Oxfam's Etienne said. "At this stage, they are hungry. But without strong action, this could become starvation."

(Additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva; Editing by Tom Brown) (For more stories on global food price increases, please see
© Copyright 2008 Reuters.

No word from our sources on whether or not the water truck made it through to the orphanage. Will report as soon as we know.

Friday, April 11, 2008


My brother Paul flew in last night to visit Mom. His flight was three hours late, but we agreed it is better to be late than to be on the plane in bad weather!

He worked for many years at Camp Forest Springs in Wisconsin but is now living in Texas with his family learning Spanish. They are on their way to Mexico to be missionaries. Click here for the link to their family website.

He is pictured here with his wife, Roxanne, at a farewell party we had last summer. I am very glad he is here this weekend and I know my Mom is looking forward to seeing him!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adoption News and Mama Update

Haitian News: The orphanage is still in lockdown and no one can come in or go out. Here is the update we received this morning from our contacts in the states and in Haiti:

    The children are safe and well fed. They are having trouble getting the water truck in to wash clothes, flush toilets, bathe, etc. The same staff have been there for two days straight now. Nannies cannot come to the orphanage due to the violence and those at the orphanage cannot leave. Teachers cannot come in. There is a nurse on staff, but no one else can get there. The older children are helping to fill in the gaps helping with the babies and toddlers. They don't really understand what's happening outside the walls.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Port-au-Prince is very bad now because of the violence. People are demonstrating against the high prices of life now. They destroyed in the same time many good things like businesses, cars, gas station, private houses and some people got killed. We have impression there is a group that is profiting the situation to damage the government reputation. We need more prayers so that Lord can restore the order in the city.

    We are doing good at the orphanage. Our concerns are the fact that cars cannot really be outside. We need water to operate. I pray the Lord will do something very quick. No government offices worked today and yesterday.


Chinese News: Click here for an article on the delays. We are trusting the Lord for the timing on the arrival of all three of our children, but please wait patiently with us as it will most likely be 2009 before we know anything. Our paperwork was logged into China's system March 13, 2006.


American News: My Mama is continually improving and gaining strength and energy. Today is April 10th and she was admitted to the hospital on March 10th. Of course we continue to lift her up that she will get stronger. Another, more specific prayer is that her vocal chords will heal completely and that she will be able to go back to regular food soon.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Prayers and Funding Needed for Our Orphanage

We were just about to make a family announcement and we hadn't wanted to announce it this way, but we found out that the little girl we are adopting in Haiti has a little brother. We of course are going to bring him home, too! He is six years old. The Lord has orchestrated this entire situation and we feel totally blessed.

Please pray for the safety of the children and staff at their orphanage in Port-au-Prince, as there are major riots taking place right now over lack of food. Our agency director believes that the riots are about 20 minutes away, so they should be ok. The main concern right now is the water truck being able to make it to the orphanage so that the staff and children will have purified water to drink and water to bathe, flush toilets, etc. Please pray for this as well. The death toll is now at five. If you should like to read more on the riots, click here.

If you would like to donate to the orphanage (and will you please prayerfully consider this?) so that they can continue to provide housing, education, purified water, food and medical care to the children, please click here. We met the orphanage director recently and he said that finances are so tight that the first thing to go will be the schooling, and second is they will have to take the kids from three meals a day to two meals a day. They are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. They turn away 80 kids a month. Both of our children were initially turned away.

Here is a picture of our son, Philippe, and the most recent picture we have of Patricia (Pa-tree-see-a). Our first few pictures of Patricia were "smile-less" too, but what a present it is to receive an email with that beautiful smile! We look forward to a picture like that of him, also!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"No News is Good News"

Not much to report today, which is fine with me! Mama has always said, "No news is good news". My niece Jenny brought her three kids by and we wheeled Mom down to the gift shop. I bought my mom a nice sweatshirt even though she said it was too expensive (no) and I said, "Mama! We almost lost you! I will buy you whatever you want!!!"

We also hung out in the lobby for a bit, where they have a player piano and a fireplace. Here is Lee "playing" the piano, and the rest of us cracking up in the background. Ok, so we are easily entertained!! Mom always enjoys seeing the kids and they get really excited about coming to see Great-Gramma.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Moo-hooving On Up!

Even more good news around here! Just like the Jeffersons, my Mom is moving on up! Well, she started out on the 6th floor (ventilator dependent), was moved to the 5th floor (respiratory)then to the 4th floor (rehab), so literally she is moving down, I suppose, but the PROGRESS is up! She is getting stronger every time I see her.

In Chinese adoption news:
The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before October 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before January 9, 2006.

Unfortunately they only processed five days last month. Our documents were registered on March 13, 2006, so we are inch by tiny inch moving on up there, too. The projections are still January for a referral. Hmph. I think I'll go eat some Corn Blasts.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Corn Pops vs. Corn Bursts (and other news)

Ok, so I tried the Corn Bursts...they were pretty good!! They seemed crunchier than the Pops. Burst IS a stronger word than Pop...hmmm. I still would like to do a side by side comparison some day, but in the meantime, for the price of the Corn Blasts (and the SIZE of that BAG!!) I will be sticking with the Bursts for a while.

In other, more significant news, my Mom got to leave her "floor" today! We even took her outside for a minute. If it was warm and sunny like yesterday it would have even been better, but still a major accomplishment to be able to wheel her around and get her out of her room!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Comfort Food (Foody Friday!)

Well, Mom sure is a fighter! God has blessed us so much. She is amazingly healthy considering all she has faced and she is getting stronger. She still needs prayer for more physical strength but also for her emotional health as it is so hard for her to be away from home.

We have been watching Wheel of Fortune with her at the hospital and the other night Lee and I couldn't solve the puzzle, but Mom got it right away. She was laying there and I actually thought she was asleep and all of a sudden she raises her hand in the air and says the answer! If you are local and a friend of my mom's, visitors are welcome! Just email me and I will let you know how to find her!

Ok, so on to my titled subject. After all, it is Foody Friday. I don't really understand why "comfort food" works so well. Usually cheese is a comfort food for me. Pizza. Lasagna. That kind of thing. Not sure why, but ever since this crisis began, Pops. I never eat Corn Pops. We NEVER buy Corn Pops! But at the beginning of all this Lee was heading to the grocery store. He said, "Do you want anything?" and without hesitation I said, "CORN POPS!!"
So I will not confess to how many boxes of said cereal I have gone through since March 10, but this morning I didn't have them!! We were OUT! So off to SuperTarget I went. I went on my way home from the hospital so that I could have them for tomorrow morning. So. Tired. Ok. Cereal aisle. HOLD UP. No Corn Pops. Nothing else looks good. What is is with these Corn Pops?? So I stare. Willing them to appear. Nothing. In frustration I sigh and spin around to leave and see...hmmm... what is this? Do I dare? It is a MASSIVE bag. Would they taste the same? Can I store this thing? Sorry, Kelloggs. I am off to buy a 35 oz. bag (yes, over 2 lbs!) of Malt O Meal Brand
I will be sure to let you know if the Minnesota-based Malt-O-Meal brand tastes as good and provides the same level of comfort! This is exciting stuff, folks! Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A New Day!

Mom was moved to a different floor today because they were able to remove her trach!! This is great progress. She was also able to walk down the hall with assistance - the first time she has walked in 23 days. Can you even believe that?? Please continue to pray for her to gain strength and to be patient while she is here as it is so hard to be here alone! Night time is the hardest as you can well imagine. If you would like to send her a card for the wall in her room, email me or post a comment.
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