Sunday, January 26, 2014
Grand baby #2 Aiden Sternberg was born in September of 2012 and I got to go help Crystal for the first couple of weeks and I will always cherish that time. Even though he is a redhead we still love him! (Inside joke)
Travis got married June 2 of 2012 and grand baby #3 arrived 9 months and 10 days later. We told them to wait three YEARS not 3 DAYS but baby Lucas is just as precious as he can be. Its great having him close by.
Yuri started homeschooling in the fall of 2012 in order to get speech therapy and try to get a little bit caught up. He is now doing 8 th grade math, 7 th grade history and science and 5/6 language. Language still proves to be his biggest struggle. Along with turning 13, he enjoys royal rangers, soccer, and even did some wrestling which was not his favorite. Having a teenager again is going to be interesting as I find my patience level to be much lower than when our older kids were in that "stage". Bracing ourselves for the years to come as the last two approach those years as well.
Veecha continues to be our social butterfly and makes friends everywhere (as long as his brothers aren't around). He was an excellent wrestler and competed in many tournaments with great results. He even had to wrestle a girl! After the initial cross eyed look he gave us he got down to business and pinned her (and then immediately got up and ran off the mat as if the cooties were chasing him) He us interested in every new opportunity available but really excelled as the catcher of his baseball team. Initially he picked the position be cause he got to wear a cool "costume". That costume gets pretty hot in the spring though. We took a break from all sports this past year in order to focus more on school work. Hasn't really helped although we have enjoyed the break of not having to run from one place to another trying to be at everything. Hoping he will pass 5th grade at this point. He took up the violin this year and enjoys it just a little. Not thinking it will be his thing but we'll see.
Vanya is my still constant companion and Papa has decided that he is actually growing an umbilical chord. I think he is just jealous. I have nightmares about the movie "Failure to Launch" with him as the star. He is a very talented boy but has zero interest or initiative to pursue and one thing. He is still just as cute as a button and its probably a good thing as he wakes up talking and goes a mile a minute until I literally have to close his bedroom door at night. Sometime s he is still talking after the door is closed. He is still by far my most affectionate child and is quite comfortable with his status as the baby. This is quite annoying to Hus brothers however and this there is constant fussing between them. Not all together certain that that will change but am holding out hope! We serve a big God who can handle of the issues of the Passanita nut house so I regularly lay them down at His feet. Good thing His mercies are new every day!
We have enjoyed many visits and visitors and were particularly blessed by a visit from my brother from California whom I had not seen since I was a teenager.
And the biggest news yet: Mayra is engaged! Hooray! I couldn't have handpicked a more perfect mate for her. Let the planning begin! I have already told her we have ordered a pink when it is time for grandbaby#4. We are full up on blue. No pressure, Matt!
Rob continues to work hard while wishing to move closer to retirement. Just because he turned 50 this year he thinks he is elderly. Apparently AARP thinks so as well.
I continue to be amazed at the work God is doing in each of our lives and the blessings that come from simply relying on Him. The URC orphan ministry hosting, adoptions, and missions trips allow me to see first hand that He orchestrates everything and makes everything work together for good. I continue to stand in awe of the way He weaves people in and through our lives and will be forever grateful for a loving husband and family to do life with while we wait for His return.
mama mama mama
Sunday, May 13, 2012
2010 2nd half highlights
- Babushka took us to Disney World for the boys first time ever at an amusement park
- Group went to Ukraine but without me this time. I had to follow along from the web as my guys needed me at home. Very fruitful trip with many making choices to return either on a trip or to adopt!
- Vanya accepted Jesus into his heart and was baptized. He chose his mama to do the honors and what an honor it was to baptize my little guy. Thank you Lord for that blessing :)
- took the boys to the pumpkin patch across the ferry to cut their very own pumpkins
- wonderful harvest festival at church where we got to sell food to raise money for the Ukrainian orphans
- Uncle Brian came for the Veterans Day celebration at the boys school
- We got to bring over a set of Ukrainian orphans for hosting over Christmas. What an awesome group and what a great time was had by all.
- Christmas at our house with the gang plus Victor S. since he came with the host kids.
- Veecha finally lost his first teeth! 2 on the same day and at school.
- Mayra ran her first marathon in DC and we went up to see the finish
- After successful winter hosting many kids are being pursued for adoption.Praise God!
- Veecha started on the wrestling team and was 2nd in his weight class as a rookie
- Spring break found us at Babushkas beach enjoying her paradise and had a cookout with some friends we had met in Ukraine that lived close by
- Cameron (grandbaby #1) turned 1 year old and we went up for his birthday party
- Rob made me a frame for the family pic we had taken. Awesome job
- Travis got engaged to Michelle Hoag in July for a June 2012 wedding
- Vanya was on the swim team again and decided that he would actually try to win this year
- Mayra was able to go with us to Babushkas over the summer for some beach time, dress up, alligator watching and fun
- I started homeschooling Yuri for 4th grade and he loves it!
- We finally got some speech therapy for Yuri and he sounds much better already
- Our friends the Amory's took off to adopt their daughter Anya from #3 in Zap, Ukraine
- Grandbaby #2 arrives Sept 15th and I got to go up to help for the first week. What an honor
- the little boys went ice skating for the first time
- We enjoyed everyone for Christmas at our house
- Yuri decided to take up wrestling this year and liked it OK and was very good. Veecha and Yuri did well for the season and participated in the rookie tournament.
- Yuri and Veecha got glasses and even though Vanya didn't need any he wanted to have some too so we got his a pair from Walmart so he could "look smart" too
- Travis moves back home as he has gotten a job here in town as a security officer in Colonial Williamsburg. Nice to have him home again but a little strange to have on return to the nest. Will have to navigate this carefully.
- In February Yuri passed the 4th grade standardized testing. Whew! I now feel better that I am teaching him the right things.
- Veecha joined the drama club at school and played Neil Armstrong and Lewis of Lewis and Clark. Lots of hard work and he really enjoyed acting. Of course I think it might have been because he got to wear cool costumes also.
- Ukrainian Resource Center get a new website and has soared since then with another group coming for the summer hosting this year and many more families in the process of adoption. Hope God continues to draw and touch the hearts of people for his children.
- Had the wonderful company of my friend Christine for our spring break trip to Babushka's where we went to the circus and the boys learned how to ride skim board on the waves. What naturals!
- Rob gets a job! Praise God! After a very long, very dry, very anxious time of unemployment and underemployment. Paying for some longevity and prosperity and fulfillment for him. Even though he had to leave today on Mothers Day and will miss lots of birthdays and special events I am happy he has this opportunity to feel successful again and I know he will do a great job.
- We took the boys hiking to Old Rag Mountain and they sure showed us up. Very different than when we took our other kids. We had to ask them to stop instead of them asking us. Tables are turned now.
- Not really liking that aging thing although the grandparent part of it is AWESOME!
- Travis got an apartment and Michelle has now finished her next to last year of college
- Mayra has now run multiple half marathons and full marathon and is helping with a church plant of a Hispanic church in and around Washington D.C. where they work.
- Crystal has lost 75lb since the birth of Aiden (grandbaby #2). So proud of her :)
- Both grandbabies were dedicated on this Mothers Day
The little boys continue to grow and mature and have come a long way over the years.Now in 2,3,and 4/5 grades and still weighing in at 45, 64, and 78 pounds respectively. By no means have we arrived yet but every day I thank God for all my blessings. And on this Mothers Day I have so much to be thankful for: the blessing of a wonderful husband and 6 awesome children, a great set of Godly friends and family to share my life with, my health, a thriving ministry to serve in, my new lemonade dispenser with ice cone in the middle, a beaded bracelet from Yuri, a decorated journal from Vanya, a colored card from Veecha, the first Mothers Day call of the morning from Mayra, a very touching card from Crystal along with letting me love on her boys as much as I wanted, and to top it off Travis and Michelle brought me a cake and a cute card and came over to hang out with me and did all the dishes and made me feel very special.
Don't think I could ask for anything more! Feeling very very blessed and honored.
Happy Mothers Day, mom!
ps. Will add pictures another time. This mama is tired now
Monday, July 12, 2010
- School year ended - last time to do Kindergarten - I was extremely touched that the book Vanya chose to write for his year end project was "I love my mama!" All the other moms loved it too. Had to fight back the tears. Will miss all those fun kindergarten things but no more little chairs Woohoo! Victor had a good 1st grade year and wrote his non fiction book on the Earth and why should take care of it. He did his sideways, of course. He marches to the beat of his own drum and is very creative. Still loves to dress up in costumes, put his clothes on backwards, and be tickled. Yuri fit right in in 2nd grade although is now realizing that he is actually a lot older than his classmates. His class did a dress up like a character in a book day and Yuri picked a Magic Treehouse book and was Jack from the story. He read his summary of the book in front of the class and make a diorama of one of the scenes. He loved wearing mamas old reading glasses from college.
- 3 baseball schedules ended (Hallelujah!) with Yuri's team winning the championship of the 9 and under kid pitch league. Veecha did a great job and loved playing catcher this season. He even got his very own catchers gear. Vanya finally got it together and behaved through the last 3 games and even got several outs and was able to hit the ball off the tee and into the outfield a few times.
- Travis moved away to Northern Virginia :(
- bible study if over for the summer :(
- Yuri's Royal Rangers is over for the summer
- Mamas alone time is over for the summer :( :( :(
- Sleeping in is over until August (Bigger :())
- Vanya finished the first week of VBS with the Saddle Ridge Ranch theme. I'm seeing more VBS in his future.
- Yuri began his second decade as we celebrated his 10th birthday with a pool party. Most of the kids came to this very first out-of-school party he has had. This is the first time we have had a real birthday party for him because we have always done games and such in their classrooms and had cake and ice cream and were able to avoid him getting all kinds of gifts. He was really overwhelmed with the presents and just wanted to take the time to open and play with everything as he went. Needless to say we had to put the kibosh on that right away or he would have been opening for hours. All the kids said that it was the best party they had been to. Pretty cool way to begin your second decade of life. Now how to deal with getting rid of some old to make room for the new. For his special birthday dinner he wanted to go to "the crab place" (Red Lobster) so off we went to enjoy the seafood specials. He really likes any time he gets to spend alone with mama and papa.
- Summer school began for Yuri and Victor to keep their skills up in math and reading. Vanya didn't qualify because he is at or above grade level.
- Vanya did start swim team which I was excited about until I found out that it was going to be at 8am every morning and that the meets would be hot and muggy and last 6 hours! We now have to get up earlier than we do during the school year and honestly I wish I had not signed him up. He has begun to like it a little bit but the first 2 weeks it was a struggle for all of us and everyone is still tired all the time which produces more fussiness which there is no lack of to begin with. If all the boys were doing it then it wouldn't be bad but dragging the other 2 to a meet where their brother only actually swims for about 2 minutes is very difficult to sell. At least most of the places have a playground or something.
- Papa is starting to sell! Thank goodness for small favors. Things are more than extremely tight but I rely on God to provide and we haven't had to go live under a bridge yet so I can't complain.
- Mama and another adoptive mother have started the Ukrainian Resource Center as a way to help prospective adoptive couples go through the paperwork process to adopt children in Ukraine and we also will do summer and fall hosting programs to bring kids over to the states. In addition we will set up missions trip to expose people to the plight of the orphans in Ukraine and encourage people to get involved by adopting, sponsoring a child to come over, or going to Ukraine to make a difference in a child's life over there. As of right now there are 3 couples in Ukraine as I write this and 2 more couples on their way in a couple of months. Missions team will go to Zaporyzhzhia from Aug 20 - Sept 2 with about 14 people. Things are going pretty well so far. We have a website that is up but still needs a lot of work. http://www.ukrainianresourcecenter.com/ Keep praying!
- The boys are excited about getting go to Disney World with Babushka in August. Should be interesting given that they have never been on a roller coaster and still get overstimulated on the school bus ride. I know they will love it, but I hope all those around us will be able to love it too!
- Jessica Wyman is going to come visit next week which is a real treat. She is the English teacher at the orphanage in Ukraine that our missions teams go to and where Yuri came from. What a great treat to be able to spoil her like she spoils us when we are there.
- BIG NEWS - Our grandson, Cameron, was dedicated on Sunday and his father (our son in-law) has excepted Christ and is now a practicing Christian! What a joy it was to be able to be part of such a day. I got to hold the baby and feed him and love on him . The boys just LOVED being able to hold him as well. They all are very nurturing with Cameron which is so nice to see since they are not very nice to each other most of the time. It was nice to see Travis there as well although I didn't really get a chance to talk much with him with all the other festivities going on.
- We finally gave in and got the boys fishing poles so they could fish in the pond by our house. They all LOVE to fish and mama looks for every excuse not to take them because it is like watching paint dry to me. I do take them every once in a while and endure getting fishing line out of the trees and out of the bottom seaweed patches, etc etc. It is all worth it to see the smiles and sense of accomplishment they get from casting well or catching something.
OK that sums up all the things I can think about at the moment. Happy Summer to all!
Sleepy mama mama mama
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The boys have had a fantastic time with the butterfly habitat we got. They were so excited to be able to watch something grow. We ordered live caterpillars and they came in a cup in the mail. They had to just watch them inside the cup for 2 weeks as the caterpillars ate and then formed their chrystalis (cacoon). Once they formed the chrystalis we took them out and pinned them in the habitat we had for them. The looked every day to see how they were doing. After 2 more weeks the butterflies started coming out.
They just loved being able to see the whole process and they finally got a chance to get them out today and hold on their fingers for a littel while until the butterflies flew away. Each one got to have one of the butterflies sit on their hand or finger for quite some time. (Trusty butterflies!)
Now they want me to get the butterfly feeder so "their" butterflies will come back. It was a great process to watch and the boys really got a kick out of it. Best $20 we've spent in a long time!
Mama mama mama
Friday, May 21, 2010
The next morning was Victor's birthday! He is now 8! Woohoo. My sweet and kindhearted boy woke up with whooping cough like a barking seal. He loves to be tickled and wanted to be woken up that way on his birthday but as chance would have it the cough prevented that from happening. Poor guy. Typical middle kid. He opened his presents and had his favorite eggs with yolk. To the rest of us, that would be a fried egg that has a runny yellow middle. Since he turned 8 Papa got him his own pool cue as he had with Yuri when he was 8. He can now learn to play pool with papa. Patience was running a little thin however and Papa had to postpone the lessons for another day. Again, typical middle child's luck. It was then off to baseball games and then rushed home since Victors birthday wish was to go see his new nephew. So off to Northern Virginia we went to see Cameron. The boys really loved holding the baby but were quite a bit more excited by the dog and cat since they actually "did something". We had pizza as well as his cake and ice cream with Crystal, Max, and Cameron. Mayra came over to see the baby as well since she is now living in D.C. . It's very weird having little kids, grown kids, and now a grandchild. I wouldn't trade it for the world! By the time we got home everyone was sacked out and Victor was asleep before I could pray with him so I just had to pray over him instead. We usually take each child out to dinner by themselves for their birthday. Victor had to wait until the next day because we were at Crystals on his big day. We took him to Kyoto on Sunday evening since he loves sushi and wanted a repeat performance of last year sharing a love boat (sushi served in a bamboo boat with tempura, fruit, kabobs, sushi, sushimi, etc.) with mama and papa. I go for the cooked stuff but the guys ate everything and we all had a fun time and then went for ice cream at Maggie Moos ice cream place. Victor got the blue cotton candy ice cream and better batter ice cream in a sprinkle cone with marshmallows, gummy bears, and a cherry. Yep, I know what you are thinking (Sounds gross!) but the reluctant bite I had actually tasted pretty good. He never eats that many sweets so I was sure he wouldn't finish the whole thing so I felt better about letting him get all that. Sure enough he only ate about half and was ready to pitch it. I happily agreed that it was OK (just this time) to be a little wasteful and throw it away.
All in all a fun birthday for our smiley guy.
It has been quite a busy week with all these happy events but we are TIRED now. I know the boys haven't had a regular sleeping schedule lately either and it shows up in all the wrong places (school, church, baseball) so I look forward to more regular schedule soon. Soo ready for baseball to be over!
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Thank you Lord for all my children!!!!!!
Mama Mama Mama
Friday, April 16, 2010
Victor 7 (Veecha)
Evan 6 (Vanya)
We all had a great time on Spring Break as we traveled down to Sarasota, Florida to visit my mom, the famous babushka. Mostly we spent time at the pool and on the beach which the boys just LOVE. We got glow in the dark eggs to hunt for and the Easter bunny did find his way to Florida with the boys baskets.
Of course Babushka spoiled them to death with their favorite things and they played with a multitude of stuff she keeps on her porch to play with (and take apart and distribute pieces and get in to). They made houses out of the empty cardboard boxes, got all the beach towels and beach toys dumped out of their bins for props, put on hats, did puzzles, got out all markers and crayons to draw with etc. etc. etc.. They were in gadget heaven!
On Easter Sunday we drove to Tampa to be with my cousins and had a wonderful time. We attended their church in the morning and then went back to their house and had a full spread of food including leg of lamb and spiral cut ham. Yummy yummy. The cool thing was seeing all my cousins kids and ours playing together. That's what it's all about. The boys are still amazed by how many family members we have. I'm sure we are technically 2nd or 3rd or removed type cousins but it is all just the same. We are all just cousins. My grandmother was the youngest of 8 children and all of their grandchildren (me being one) now have their own children who are actually getting to spend some time together at holidays and such. I remember how fun that was in the summers growing up visiting family and I'm glad our boys have that too. Our older kids didn't get the benefit of having cousins their age so I'm glad these guys do. There was a pool in the backyard where most of the kids spent their time. Everyone got along great and we didn't even have to correct our kids for ANYTHING! It was a miraculous day. Thank you Jesus for the celebration of your resurrection. Leaving to go home, well that was another story. Tired and having a full day of excitement and food finally took it's toll and 3 little boys whined and cried as we got them into the car and buckled in. Once the movie came on however it only took about 5 minutes and they were out like a light, not to emerge or peep until we arrived back at babushkas where they went upstairs quietly and went right to sleep.
We also made our ritualistic journey to the aquarium to pet the sting rays and we also made a trip to Venice beach (about 20 minutes south) to hunt for sharks teeth. We found only about 10 but they were excited about it. My entrepreneur, Yuri, after seeing that there was a man selling sharks tooth necklaces asked if we could get some materials to make necklaces out of the ones we found so that he could come back and sell his too! He cracks me up. I'm glad he didn't see the seashell jewelry being sold near babushkas. She may have been out some seashells and he would have set up his own little sea shack on the beach! Rob took Yuri and Victor to a baseball game at Tropicana field to see the Devil Rays play the Orioles. Vanya opted to stay home with mama and babushka since spending 3 hours sitting down watching baseball starting at 7:30pm was not an attractive offer in his mind. They didn't get home until about midnight but had a good time. Yuri got into seeing the "real" baseball players and learning a bit about the game but for Victor it was all about the cotton candy and stadium noise. Vanya swam, colored eggs, hunted lizards, blew bubbles, and really enjoyed his alone time with mama and babushka. We let him stay up late too so he felt like he got a treat as well. papa brought home a cow bell for him that they distributed to the boys got at the game so he was a happy camper and was able to be happy hearing about the game from his brothers. Of course the debate about who had more fun went on for some time but it was nice that everyone enjoyed their time. There was also seashell finding, kite flying, sandcastle making, paddle ball, and grilling by the poolside so lots of fun was had by all!
Since we traveled fairly light it wasn't hard to pack up and we then made the long journey back home stopping over night and at the South of the Border area for a potty break, stretching of the legs and souvenir purchase. The boys were wonderful at helping to unpack and get things back in order so we went for ice cream afterwards.
A very blessed mama mama mama