Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Country Living

So I've been walking like a fiend trying to always meet my base goal of 10,000 steps but really trying to hit 15,000 steps a day.  Some days it gets tedious in the heat so I've been taking my good camera to give me something to do that is more enjoyable than just walking.  Here's a few of my recent favorites!

I followed this fellow for awhile as he glided down stream with a fish in his mouth

Kia followed me one day

some neighbors

a few more

few more neighbors

I just love this picture.  this is a neighborhood dog.  He was a stray but now everyone on that end takes care of him.

This view just soothes my soul.

True story...
recently I was walking down the road literally thanking God that we live in the country where we have space and peace....everything is safe...and I hear a crack so I ran and the corner of this branch just grazed my shoulder.....LOL  I started cracking up!  Not sure how safe I am!  BTW this branch is about 6 feet long or longer  I moved it off the road and it was heavy/cumbersome   I'm glad I ran!

So my average daily steps for the past two weeks have been over 11,000 and in 14 days I walked 77 miles!   Having the Fitbit keeps me more active-for sure.

Summer is on- our oldest is home from college.  Homeschool is done for the year except for ONE MORE Math book for Shad.

Speaking of Shad he FINALLY got his US Citizenship after 11 years!!!!!!  We've had so much trouble since my husband did not travel with me Shad came in on a Legal Immigrant status.  (the girls had no issue since Jon was with me and had their Certificate of Citizenship in weeks after coming to the US)  So with Shad there was one thing after another....everything was messed up.  Even his readoption in the US got messed up on a local level....   In the end I had to contact Senator Marco Rubio's office and with their help we finally were told the paperwork was done and on it's way to us.  Thank you Sen Rubio!!!!  Once it is in our hands we are going to throw Shad a party!

Hope you enjoy my pictures!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Who has a Fitbit or some other brand of exercise watch?
Jon and I do & it has changed our lives....
If you see either or us walking aimlessly around our yard or on the street you know we are trying to hit that 10,000th step!  My basic goal is 10,000 steps a day but I really want to hit 15,000 a day!  I can get about 6,000 with no real effort but to go over that requires some walking time.  

Jon has only had one for a week- we found out on Sundays after TWO services he had walked about 6,000 steps.  Yes he is one of "those" type preachers who can not be still while he is preaching.  His average is usually over 15,000 steps a day because he walks so much at work.

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I've been doing a lot of walking in the parks lately.  It's so hot and dry that I try and go early but can't always do that!

We recommend getting some type of sports watch - it will make you think about moving more than not having one!!  So far this year I've lost 8 pounds that has stayed off:)

Our oldest is home from college and I've just about wrappped up homeschool for this year.  Shad is still a year ahead in his studies ( we use a curriculum) but it's been a hard year being his teacher and mom.  He is very smart but he is also very lazy!  Because everything comes so easy to him- it seems he doesn't want to put any effort into things.  Next year I'm thinking of using Florida Virtual School so he is obligated to a teacher instead of me!  

Sam and Sarah are both doing good with Lifeskills. We've seen some big improvements. Sarah is saying Daddy all the time now.  She really uses it at night time to get one more kiss or prayer from Daddy...he can't resist her!  

I've missed blogging but I've been so busy and it seems so much work to get the old laptop out!  But I'm going to try and do better:)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Five Years ago

Today is officially FIVE years since we got home with Sarah and Selah!

These pictures mean so much to me- after 4 months of fund raising and paperwork- 6 weeks in Ukraine-a long plane ride ....we were HOME!  I finally could put them in clean PJ's and a in to their new beds.

Sarah used to always sleep on her tummy curled up. (not anymore! she owns her bed)

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Sweet Selah
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We are all doing great and I promise to update more soon!

I just could not let this 5 year anniversary go past me!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring pictures

Finally a new family fact we have hundreds of new pictures LOL thanks to my dear friend Kandi from Kandi's Kandids

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We had a fun time and I love family pictures.

Everything is going good with us.  No one has been sick and everything is going smooth- I LIKE smooth!  Hope you are having a great springtime!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Remembering God's Faithfulness!

This video posted by a friend reminded me of our life.

It's hard for me to share things about THE accident especially in this unforgiving, jump on the  parents, world that we live in....but here goes a little piece of my heart.

The first words out of my mouth when I saw my husband was "it's ok - I don't blame you"  I didn't even know what had actually happened at that time.  The cop that was with me, told his mother that he'd been to many accidents involving family members and he had never seen a reaction like mine.  His mom volunteered for Ronald McDonald House and she shared it with me later.  It really touched him.

But no matter what had happened- I KNEW my husband-I knew his character and his life.

But God gave me the words to say

I'm not known as a calm/peaceful person.  I react to things quickly & from my emotions-I have a short fuse.  But in that moment God gave me grace in a major way.

There was a night soon after the accident happened that I went down to the Erie Canal, alone.  Yea I know it wasn't the smartest thing to do but believe me no mugger or even murderer would have messed with me that night.  I wept loudly and had a Garden of Gethsemane moment where I begged God to change everything back.  But mostly I prayed for strength for what was ahead.

I'm a realist and by that time I knew without a major miracle Selah was gone away from us.  The future was absolutely terrifying.  It's one thing to be a mom to special needs children who require help as if they were's another to have a child who depends on you for her airway to stay clear!  I knew our life was forever changed.  When I say the future was terrifying....OH MY GOD there are no words!

In the midst of all the pain was the fear of losing my family.  HOW would we deal with this?   How could I meet all the kids' needs?  How would I have any sort of life?  How would this affect Jon and my marriage?

I can tell you the absolute truth.  God met me on the side of the Erie Canal.  An atheist friend wanted to talk to me about this once and he told me that I just found the strength inside of me....NOPE!  There was not that much strength inside me to face this tragedy.  There is not the slightest bit of doubt in my mind that God is real.  He gave me strength to move on.

We sat down with the kids and told them that everything was going to be ok.  We were honest and told them we didn't know HOW things would work out but we were all still a family and we were going to make it.  And we have....4.5 years later we are stronger than ever.  We trust God more than ever and we've seen God open the way for us when we didn't know where to go or what to do.

This video clip tells a story of loss and forgiveness.  It really touched me and brought back to my mind our situation.

Then this song.....Just say AMEN....  I can barely watch it without bawling.  God is faithful!

I have found Him faithful- I know He is able I've seen His power and brought through the fire!  I've found joy in the midst of sorrow- peace in the storm- hope for tomorrow.....

I laugh and say I could just stand there with one cardboard sign after another.....

Listen to it

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Just some cute pictures!
Sarah ready for Church this morning

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Sarah in her room.
We are working on keeping a hair clip in her hair-it's a challenge.

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Her bed (and Sam's too) is on the floor so they won't roll out and hurt themselves.  They were in cribs until we moved in 2015.  Sam still will not get out of bed until we come in and take his hand.  However Sarah will roll off all the time.  She goes through times of not sleeping good. She's been diagnosed with Non 24   She has been doing better since we started putting her to bed earlier.  We'd thought it was better to keep her up till we went to bed but the doctor advised us to put her to bed around 8pm.  It has helped.  We also work really hard on getting her outside an hour a day.  Both of them have blind child proof rooms:) just in case she wakes up!

Non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder - Wikipedia–wake_disorder

Actually our whole house is about as safe as a house can be inside.  We recently even had our bookcases latched into our walls with deep screws.  We had done that at our old house but kept putting it off here.  Plus we had newer furniture that we thought was better.  We kept seeing news articles about bookcases/dressers falling on kids.  THEN one day I was cleaning and I pushed hard against one of our bookcases and the thing fell on me!  I'm so thankful it did! Scared the crap out of me-I called our "fix-it" guy and we had the latches put in the next day.  We could have done it ourselves but our walls are thin and we did not want to mess anything up!  We also have cut all the cords on our blinds.  Anytime we here a safety report on tv-we try and heed it!!!!  Honestly I live with PTSD after the accident.  I even dream about things happening.... I HATE those dreams!  If I could afford an underground bunker and wrap my kids in bubble wrap (except for their faces!) I'd probably do it!  But life isn't that easy.....

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Sarah is a stinker-she is always happy but NOT when the camera is out!  How in the world does she know?  She looks mournful in 80% of all pictures unless I'm in the picture with her and I can usually get her to smile.  But she is an unusually happy child LOL we do better with videos than still pictures.

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Since November 3 of our 6 cats have been very sick.  Our one male kitten/cat Dobie had renal failure in November but recovered.  Then a young female cat Gizmo got very sick on a weekend-she was diagnosed with a UTI but there may have been some else going on.   Then a couple of weeks ago our REAL cat  Vermont (as in the only one we accepted from a friend-all the others were walk ups) got really sick and was in renal failure.  She is only about 3 years old she almost died.  It was touch and go for a few days.  We have a non profit animal clinic in town called Planned Pethood and they are absolutely fantastic.  They saved her life.  And even more than that they invest themselves into the animals.  We have since changed cat food!  We have no idea what else could be the issue.  Although the cats are all outside-we live on an fenced in acre and only one close neighbor (and he loves animals) we are very careful about any type of chemicals.  The cats do go into the little woods between our houses some but there is nothing in there that could hurt them.  I'd put a picture of the cat food we've used for years but I'm afraid I'd be sued!!!  But I can tell you we are now buying Purina Naturals.  I've got some good reviews on it.  I can't afford an expensive brand with six cats!!!  Vermont is on a special diet for now.  But hopefully she will one day be able to come off it.

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This is going to be a hectic week for me.  We have appointments and a fancy banquet along with a class for me this week.  Our oldest is home on spring break and we are going to try and get a Disney day in somewhere...... Love having all five of my chicks under the roof at night.  It makes me so happy & content!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kayaking on the Hillsborough River

Today Jon and I went kayaking on the Hillsborough River.  It's been about a year since I've gone kayaking so I felt a little rusty.  Plus the HR is a very dark river with lots and lots of gators.  BIG Gators....12 foot gators....My kayak is only 10 feet!!!  I love gators but not when they are bigger than the boat I'm in!  

 Do you see him?  Mostly his body was out of the water on the limb.  He was probably the biggest gator I've ever seen while kayaking.  His back was very wide.  Jon made fun of me because I "picked up the pace" to get far away from that big guy.

The pictures do not do his justice.  I was so nervous my stomach was hurting!

That's me rolling down the river LOL

I have gotten sunburnt on the water and it's the worst.  So I have a UV shirt and pants that I wear when I kayak with a swimsuit under (Not that I was planning on swimming at the Hillsborough River!)

Another big guy I've seen him before.

Look right above- can you see the snake?  A HUGE water moccasion.  There was a nest of them in some rocks in the middle of the river.

Fun day- got my heart rate up LOL

We're coming up on the one year mark since Jon's heart attack and heart surgery. This was a good way to celebrate!  He had a blast- me I was a bit more concerned.  I like to kayak on springs that are clear so if the kayak gets bumped-I know what bumped it!  LOL