Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I get asked lots of times how do we feed the family ?

I am often asked how do you feed your family? So I thought I would begin to share how we do things in our family every day... starting with eating. I started out in college in a BS program in nursing... and took some nutrition classes. I think we eat healthy most of the time and in all reality for me it is not to difficult anymore.... For breakfast we have one person whose chore is to prepare breakfast....We home school and part of our curriculum has included a unit on nutrition. So they all know what is expected for meals... At breakfast some form of calcium like milk, yougart or cheese, one fruit, a grain like cereal, bread, pancakes and a drink. We eat eggs 2 times a week. All the younger kids take a multivitamin plus iron and our older kids take an older same vitamin. I place the older girls vitamins on a paper with their names listed because some tried to skip it and now I know who takes their vitamins. At lunch we eat a protein, grain, 2 fruits/veg. combinations and sometimes a dessert and drink. Dinner is a protein, grain, and usually 3 to 4 fruits/ vegs. , drink and sometimes dessert. Snacks are usally fruit or pretzels, cheese, popcorn, granola bars. In the summer when we are swimming I make a snack about 3 pm because the kids are more hungry after swimming all day.... popsicles are a big hit too.

I shop 2 times a week.... once at Walmart and once at Sams Club... I buy 10 gallons of milk, 6 gallons of apple juice, 2 gallons of sunny d, koolaid for drinks. I buy 16 loaves of bread, 72 eggs a week, 2 lg. containers of cottage cheese and sour cream from Sams, we eat 5 lbs of hamburger when we cook with hamburger at each meal. We eat lots of chicken and beans. Rice, noodles and potatoes are a staple in our dinners. I make snacks from cereal mixed with chocolate covered raisins, nuts, pretzels or whatever else I can find to throw into it and they love it. We often eat 30 lbs of apples a week. They love fresh veggies and we grow a large garden in the summer. We also drink lots of water. I spend anywhere from 5 to 800 hundred dollars a week on groceries... and often can get all of our extras in that too..... like birthdays, or holiday meals.

Here is a picture of hot chocolate for the 10 little ones ( includes Abraham's). The weather has turned colder here and yesterday morning I fixed hot chocolate for all to celebrate. Notice the hot water pot behind the cups ? When we have been in Europe the kitchens all had these to make tea and coffee. I love ours and it boils water in less than a minute. We use it all the time.
Our first day of school we make "Stone Soup"... the book is read and the kids give me some stones they find outside and we make the same soup as the soliders in the story.... I have been doing this a long time ( actually most of the 24 yrs we have been home schooling).

On the radio talk show we were on someone asked,"How do you express love to so many?" I shared that many times it is thru the meals we cook and share... it is a happy time at our home when we have meals... and since we are together 24/7 we eat lots of meals together :) My kids get as excited the days before a holiday as we prepare the "special " foods we will be eating on the holidays. I have shared before almost every meal there is a "choir" of thank you mom for dinner. They are very appreciative and I love to cook with and for them.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the kids were creative this weekend

The first picture was made by Leah and some of the little ones from shells we got at the beach. The second one was Rachel and Anna's house of candy they made on Sat.....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We have had a few b-days this month

Luke turned 8 today... Who would have ever guessed he would even be alive... walking, running, and doing school so well. We celebrated today by visiting his orthopedic doctor... Dr. Standard for a check up. Really Dr. Standard is such a wonderful person and it was a joy to have to see him today on Luke's birthday. Luke's leg is doing well and we talked about his next surgery and Mya's upcoming leg surgery. When we first got in the room Dr. Standard and his staff came in with a cake for Luke, cupcakes for all of us and a bag of presents for Luke. They all sang happy birthday to Luke and really made our visit special... as usual.
I want to share Luke's story to encourage some of you. He has such an awesome one of overcoming so many medical anomolies... first he was born with a hole in his heart and his aortic valve was proplased thru it, He was born with a bilateral cleft lip and basically no palate, he was born with his l leg webbed and a severe clubfoot, and his r leg was born fully attached to his back like an accordian. They did one surgery in Ukraine to release his r leg but it was still bent like a z when we adopted him.
We met him thru our agency that at the time was functioning as an independent adoption group. They were trying to raise money for his lifesaving heart surgery and we asked if we could adopt him....When we first met him he was very spoiled rotten... because of all the medical needs they let him have or do whatever he wanted. It took a very short time to help him overcome his demanding ways.... We saw that he disliked loud noises when I took him to the bathroom on the airplane and he was screaming. When I flushed the tolite he immediately stopped screaming and settled right down... when we got home and he started into that screaming mode he was placed on a stool and I beat a pot by him telling him in Russian, " You be quiet and momma will be quiet." We had tried everything to get him to stop this behavior and this was the only thing that worked..... it only took about a week and he was a diff. boy... his behavior changed that quick and that dramatic with the "beating pot" technique. He was home only a few weeks and had his open heart surgery... he did well and instead of a valve replacement they were able to do just a repair... although now he has reached a level with the amount of leakage in the valve that he will need to do a replacement open heart surgery in the future... for now the medicine is holding him at an acceptable level....
He has had several cleft lip and palate surgeries to get him to where he is at now... He also has had one rhinoplasty( work on his nose). He still needs many more.. the next thing according to our cleft clinic visit this week is a possible pharyngeal flap... to help close off his palate for better speech. We are doing a test first and then that will be scheduled by the end of the year.... he will also have his 4th set of tubes placed in his ears at that time.
His first leg surgery here was done by Dr. Standard... after 17 hrs of surgery to straighten and place his r leg in an external fixator and another 14 hr surgery on his l leg and many pin site infections ( including a mersa one that he was hospitalized for) and lots of physcial therapy he walked.... only 2 weeks post op in a brace and walker... a whole year earlier than anyone expected. We had gone to 5 other pediatric ortho. doctors and the first 4 suggested to amputate his r leg and Paul and I did not feel that was the right thing to do and so we kept going to one more doctor... we were so glad we did that.
He had a spinal myloceal ( like a hernia ) that was left from where his r leg was attached to his back. That was done in April 2008 with no problems. Fortunately his spine was not too involved except for some leakage of fluid into a knob like protuberance that was removed with the repair. He also had his rhinoplasty the following Oct...
He is the absoulute best patient... even when he was younger I did not even have to hold his arm when they started IV's or draw blood... all the medical proffessionals love him .... as you can see how Dr. Standard and his staff was today. The physical therapy that I did during the time he was in the external fixators and post off was very hard on him... he was on pain meds and calming meds for almost a year.. and often threw up during the therapy times daily... he did what he had to do and now he walks and runs and is like most other boys...
He has given us so much... we love his sweet personality, and precious smile... his easy going way and his willingness to do anything. He is gentle and kind hearted and has a wonderful imagination . The other day I heard him ask Mya," Have you ever seen a cow jump over the moon?" I just smiled.... pure joy every day with him in our lives.

Jacob's b-day 9/13 and Leah's b-day 9/11

Since we had lots going on with the wedding at the beach we celebrated Jacob and Leah's birthday when we came home. Leah turned 16 and Jacob turned 18... they chose cheesecake for their dessert- yummy.

I love the beach and watching the kids having fun

Whether it is building sand castles, sitting in the surf, body surfing, playing football on the beach or burying each other... not anything elaborate.. but having fun with each other. This is one of the best benefits of being in a large family or a (mega large family). There is always someone to play with or hang out with....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We are at the beach.... Keith and Mary Kate's wedding

We are at the Outer Banks all week for Mary Kate and Keith's wedding. We are at a house that is ocean front... and it sleeps 23 in beds. I will never want to come to the beach again unless we are on ocean front. How easy to just send the kids in, do lunch and eat it out by the pool, watch the kids while looking out our window. Actually we can see the ocean out of all the master bedroom windows too. They get married on Sat. on the beach. We are having a wonderful time celebrating with all the family and Keith's. He has 11 kids in his family so there are lots of kids, teens and even married ones and grand babies.... for Nana and Paw it can't get any better:)

Our adoption documents are done and were sent to the US embassy in Bulgaria. Toni is meeting Monday with them and then will take that document to to the MOJ and then to court... we are hoping to travel in Oct. or early Nov.. It has been incrediably busy with all the wedding plans, moving them to their house, Molly also just bought her first home and we have been helping with that and settling things at my father's home since he passed in May.... then add the adoption documents.... but we are done! Praise God!

We have decided to take Cate and Joseph back with us when we pick the kids up... they both have such sweet hearts for orphans and it will be wonderful to have them along side of us.