Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Family photo experiance

we for the first time since 2002 we had all 10 kids under one roof and took the opportunity to have a family photo done, top left is the result of the others 75 or so photos taken that got started with one of many wrestling matches as usual-the two wrestling are Alex age 31 in plaid shirt and Eric age 29 in purple shirt and Vicky age 11. Then of course when we get everyone seated and smiling Kris (Brown shirt age 33) has to be funny and wave at the camera. When we changed the seating arrangement Vicky chose her spot of choice as being the tallest and standing on the end table...not. In the end we did get lots of very nice shots and of course additional memories to store.

Friday, January 8, 2010

updating on the family

Our son Kris and his family are still stationed in the warm south at Kessler AFB. We are all very proud of Kris and Cathy for their jobs with the Air Force. Our son Alex and the girls are still doing great! They enjoy camping and fishing and family time - Alex still works for the phone company and is still the Great Hunter...he and I have went out several times deer hunting this season, one Saturday I came up to the house and he called me about an hour later to say "I GOT A HUGE BUCK" yea right he got the one I should have :) Our son Andrew moved back to Illinois, and he has went to work with Midwest Ingredients and is a supplier of feed ingredients to dairy's, etc. Eric is dating a lovely young lady, we enjoy having her and her daughter Gabby visit us, and Drew still likes to ride the four wheelers out here and show his aunts how to play games on Facebook and funny singing cats on you tube. Eric recently went to work for a salon in Morton-we wish him well!

The trip to China as you all know was interesting to say the least, paperwork out of date by 2 days-a never heard of before twist-landing in Beijing expecting 60 degree weather to wake up to snow!, Claude flying to China and thus our girls spending time at home for the first time without a parent but with my sister and niece.In the end what was important was we brought home our daughters Morgan age 13 and Gracie age 9. They both came with a backpack-nothing of anything personal in them-not like what i had heard from other families of their children bringing things from music to books, to photos etc., but one day i was unpacking things to find a photo album we had sent to Gracie of family photos had been filled between the pages with photos of her own, of a foster mother, of best friends, etc. We have also found out that she has the foster mothers phone number etched in her memory and will be sometime calling her to say she is OK and let her know how to stay in touch. Gracie also did bring her Teddy Bear - Bo Bo Bear - with her and she has since told me that in China there were two Bo Bo Bears but that she gave her friend Naomi one. So two separations, one of two girls that loved each other and two-of her bears. Morgan we find did bring something very important to her-phone numbers...lots of them! She has called some of her friends at the orphanage and spoke to them. We asked for Zoe to listen in a bit to tell us if she was reporting good news or bad news and Zoe told us that one thing she said was that it was not to bad here, learning English was going OK, that the school has a teacher for her and so do mama and baba at home. This was good news to us as Morgan has really resisted learning English and then when Zoe told us that Morgan knows and understands a lot of English it has been hard to get her to speak it to us. Thankfully she is showing more patience with the process, and has just started reading stories to us. We are very proud of her-to be 13 and not only have to learn a new language but to find out that this is forever (she did not know this) to go thru these changes (food, clothes, bedroom, family, friends, hey even now riding a school bus, can you even begin to imagine the changes?) we have also been so fortunate to have had Zoe here with us for 10 days (she was Vicky's English teacher in China) and Morgan warmed up to her and shared a lot with her of her life before here. We feel a lot of changes in Morgan were because of these conversations and that we were able to address a lot of her questions and previous life. Thank you Zoe! Gracie has settled in and can tell a great story-in English-and imitates one teacher at school that is always clearing her throat before she speaks. Has me just rolling when she talks about her.

Penny will be 13 in less than a month (God what were you planning when you lined us up to have two 13 year olds at the same time?) and plays on the basket ball team for 6th grade. She is also in chorus and band, is still taking piano lessons, and can be caught still fluffing her hair as the school bus pulls in the drive. Penny has spent the last two months translating for Morgan and Gracie when we cannot figure out the needs.

Vicky will be 12 this summer-the changes in this young numerous to count-she has changed so much and is such a lovely young lady. She did finally commit to having her hair cut this fall. A bit over ten inches came off-now that was a change! Vicky is taking piano lessons and does a beautiful job playing, she is now watching season 7 of Little House on the Prairie and did get a pink violin for Christmas but no Conestoga wagon. Vicky will sit and watch her L. house on the Prairie shows and stick a load of laundry in, when it is done she pauses the show and puts it in the dryer, then pauses it again to get the dry clothes out and fold them. Vicky is a great daughter!

Addie is going to soon be 8. She is in 2nd grade this year and still is best friends with Lauren. Addie likes to play school or office all of the time, rarely watches t.v. ad loves putting together puzzles. Addie said that if Gracie has to have any surgeries for her hands or feet that she is going to the hospital to help her not be scared. Vicky said the same thing...very caring sisters! Addie likes to do the dishes (really) and always tells me she has thought about me during the day and to have sweet dreams.

Kate turned 7 in Oct (I just realized that we will have two 13 year olds again in about 5 years) and is in first grade. Her favorite thing in the whole world is sugar (now her pony's name is Sugar) and this past year has questioned why we had to adopt her first making her the baby of the family. I cannot get her to yet understand that even if we had adopted her third or sixth she would still be the baby of the family as she would still only be 7. Some day she will understand I am sure. We drove to Washington D.C. this past summer and Kate had amazing patience-she would ask how much longer and if I said three hours she would sing out "well that's better than six hours" but I cannot say she has that sort of patience all of the time. Kate is still my best barn helper when it comes to getting the eggs or feeding the rabbits...but in the house you just as well say she needs a maid following her :)

Claude is still at the grade school-thankfully the school he works at did not get hit to bad with the sudden outbreak of the flu this past fall-but it really kept him busy cleaning and cleaning to prevent anymore than what did happen. He still picks up the girls every day after school, he just hates for them to ride the bus for 45 minutes when it is only 6 miles home. He has a full fleet of four wheelers to care for here that he has accumulated for the girls...and last summer he planted about two plus acres of Sunflowers, Milo and Turnips for the wildlife etc. The Sunflowers towered at 12 feet!

Me-well my son has to work a bit harder this year at covering up the grey hair. Work is great, and we have been blessed to have another successful year. My days start at 5 a.m. with a quiet cup of coffee and then making a hot breakfast for the girls to get on the bus at 7 a.m. If the little ones need that extra 45 minutes of sleep then I let them sleep in and take them to school as it is only 6 miles to school and then I head to the office. Most days I am home to Claude having cooked supper, and just about to put it on the table. I love having chickens over at the barn, this year we have some that lay shades of blue eggs. When I put them in the cartons I try to put one blue egg in the lower right corner...sort of a signature. We did get hit with the H1N1 flu this past season when the elementary school the girls attend had almost half of the student body out in one week. This included Addie and Kate and we set up a system here where they were segregated from everyone for the whole time they would be contagious only for the reason of stopping anyone else getting it. Again being self employed has great benefits and I was able to stay home to care for them and just work from home. They were not as sick as some, and I did check in with the Dr office every day to make sure they were on track with getting better..for a few days they did think it was great, breakfast, lunch and supper in bed. TV all day but on about the 3rd day that changed so became a bit interesting keeping them in there separate from the other girls. But once the crafts came out and letting them out of bed to sit at a small table and chairs happened they settled in for the last two days of being stuck. We all danced with joy when they were free of fevers for 24 hours so they could be around all of us.

Our house is very noisy to say the least. I worry that we won't be able to help the girls with their homework to much longer as not able to understand the Math-but if that is the only worry we have then we will be OK. We do not yet know what this year will bring, only God does. Gracie has her first Orthopedic Dr. appointment in Feb and I imagine this will either give us an outline of her future or will be sending us to Shriner's for their opinion. I hope to have Addie and Vicky at the Ear Institute in Chicago this spring also to see of the advances that will be available for their hearing. The girls today were also talking about basketball camp for this summer so I imagine there will be some driving. And will Morgan want to learn how to ride a bike? Hopefully she will go out for track as she shared with me that she likes to run, and I imagine Kate will be spending a lot of time riding Sugar....I say prayers with the girls every night. They include please God as these girls go to sleep tonight so beautiful, healthy and smart please Lord let them wake the same. We also pray Lord that our family that is not with us in this house be safe and healthy too. So as I close this post please go onto the next couple of older posts to see some photos of Christmas, sledding etc! Enjoy.

Christmas 2009

the photos above are top left my sister Carrie and her daughter Jodi-we are so thankful for the both of them helping us so much this fall when Claude had to fly to China unexpectedly and while I was gone, then of Eric and his son Drew, Drew so resembles his dad at that age-then THE tree! We still say thank you to Noah for the gift of the tree (well until we go to take it down) and one of the two dining tables with our approx 35 guests of the day, next of Zoe and of Jodi-I believe Jodi's face indicates she had wanted a t-shirt the same as Zoe got, my chalk board over the kitchen sink (I have found the girls now scanning it thru the week to see what I have noted and they offer suggestions) then of our sweet Kate, posing as usual,
next row on the left is our dear Addie, the tree again (can you tell I enjoyed the tree), then our sweet Gracie, to the left again is Penny playing in the Christmas play band, then to the right is Penny playing Christmas music, then Vicky below her and she also played Christmas music, our grand-daughter Natalie wearing a Christmas bow and showing how tired she was, Kate putting on her chaps for riding the pony and last but not least my dad, Tom and mom Bev (thank you to the both of you for traveling to China again)

several new posts-sledding first

sorry-you will have to read post after post as I have lots of pictures, etc., to share with you -so here is one titled sledding-Claude bought some new sleds called "TUBS" and they can fit at least three adults! He pulls them with the Mule so to be safe! Otherwise the kids will use them sledding down the hills but they are pretty heavy and I doubt they will be pulling them back up the hills very often! One of the photos shows us on our New Year Day walk along the creek. Gracie wanted to go really bad and rode on the sled the whole time-I was glad she would as the ground was so uneven and the snow was deep-in the picture is Kate pulling her. Morgan has no desire to go outside in this snow and weather so she is not in any of the sledding photos. The young lady in the middle photo is our friend Zoe who had never experienced this sort of cold and only occasionally had been in this deep of snow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year and catching up

First I am sorry for no follow ups-to say the word busy does not begin to cover it! To get home from China and to not only try to catch up with the time change, to add 2 to the family, get them started in school, the changes they go thru and the changes we go thru, then to realize that Christmas shopping was not even started (and the lists included i-pods, a sing with me doll, a pink violin, electric guitar and a pony,) we hosted a friend from China over the holidays for 10 days, a horrible cold that I had, a 13 year old overwhelmed with the changes and the learning of English, need I say that to update the blog was impossible? This posting I am going to only update with photos...I promise to write in the next are top left -Penny during a Basketball game, middle top-everyone says that the McGava girls (my sisters and I) have a hands on the hips stance that we do when we are arguing or about to win. Penny does the same! top right: even though we have over 7,000 square feet in our house the girls will always sit right there on that short staircase to play Nintendo, pictured are Penny, Addie, Kate then Morgan. Middle left-Gracie and Addie posing. Middle our sons Eric and Andrew met me at the ice skating rink and they helped all the girls skate. They even got Gracie a few rounds in although the next day she admited that her feet hurt. Middle row right - the boys were very conscience of their safety when skating. Bottom photo I like this picture, to me it shows what I will do for these girls, off and on I carried Gracie thru China when she was tired...although this photo does not begin to show that my rear by then had lost almost 16 pounds :)