Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One year ago today...

We drove Lincoln to the vet as he wasn't able to get up. We discovered he had a rupture in the abdomen due to spleen/liver cancer that had been quietly working within. After an ultrasound it was decided there was no choice and he had to be put down. I got to hold him while he got his stuff and he put his big, sweet paw on my arm and seemed to just 'know' this was it. It goes without saying that I cried a very long time. And so... I miss him. He was a brilliant, sweet comfort to us during some very sad times. He was patient with each additional child that came. And he loved, loved, loved our very close neighborhood and spent endless hours at other homes.

And now we have golden retriever #2. Lisi is just... well different. She has her own strengths and weaknesses. Just like kids I guess. And as the time goes on, I'm appreciating her for who she is and find myself comparing her less and less to what Lincoln was.

So the sidebar of Lincoln will be removed soon. He had his time. His place in our life. And now we're on to the next stages...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Thanks Sarah L. for coming! We had a pizza supper, a great walk, and some fun times after.

Posted by Picasa

Festa Italiana

Christmas Day 2008 with 34 Italians... the food? Awesome. Spaghetti with meatballs, ribs, sausages, eggplant, stuffed shells, lasagna, garlic bread, salads, and a very noisy house! The relatives? Well, you can't choose them can you? (tee-hee). The interesting thing is that the longer I'm married into The Chairman's side of the family, the more they feel like my relatives too! The sounds? NOISY. The Italian way I think is that everyone talks and you're lucky if you have a listener. The louder, the better. I used to get pounding headaches. I sometimes almost feel one coming on, and then I just join in and forget I had one. And so, t'was very wonderful in every way.

Posted by Picasa

Winter Fun

The Chairman was out with the girls and took some action shots two days ago. Too bad Trevor was still at his buddy's house. But I hear they built some huge forts there...

Posted by Picasa

Yet another one... thanks Ethel

The Part of You That No One Sees is Troubled
You are compassionate, caring, and soothing.
You like other people to depend on you...
In fact, you don't feel right unless you are helping someone out.

Underneath it all, you feel the burden of everyone's problems.
Without your guidance, you fear that many people's worlds would fall apart.
You like to feel in charge, even if it brings you a lot of stress.
Scary as it seems so realistic...!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

T'was the Night Before Christmas

After meeting, all we heard was 'Jingle Bells'. Mira and Lisi went back and forth, back and forth in the kitchen. Mira would pull Lisi, then Lisi would turn around and pull Mira. Of course, we didn't get that all on tape. But we're testing how to put a video on. And trying out the Chairman's new work camera. And hoping Lisi did more good by mopping the floor than leaving hair behind.

Here goes nothin'!

And by the way, hope you all have a warm, safe, and wonderful day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I was walking into the living room to call the family for our soup and salad supper and this is what I found. Well, not Lisi. She's not permitted on carpet, but I took the picture for Jane's benefit... she liked Lisi's affection for Clifford. Trevor isn't here tonight. He's having an overnight with his good friend Denver. p.s. I didn't mean to have my picture on the top. But Rayna took one of me while I was downloading. So here I am in all my (not so much) glory!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday madness

Feels like it. I'm 'alone' with 5 kids 9 and under. The Chairman just 'happened' to need to be out of town tonight once he heard the plans. Actually, I shouldn't say that. He really needed to go to parts north before yet another snowfall as he needs pictures and info before the end of the week.

Speaking of which. Enough already. I think everyone is having an incredible winter as we are. Maybe instead of my continual droning of the snow/ice/sleet/hail/bitter cold, I should just have the Weather Channel as a side bar!

I'm still listening to Christmas carols quite a bit and you know what I'm thinking? There really aren't that many of them. And the repetition is almost making my mind numb. Sure there's the jazzy version, the soft and sweet version, and the modern version. But you know what? They all are the same words and sounds and well, blah. Bah-humbug. It's back to silence for me. Which in the end, is better.

Our new, super-deluxe, better than you can imagine snowblower is earning its salt. We thought we got maybe a bit of 'overkill' when we went up to the next level. But last night... well. We were gone for the day. A lovely time of fellowship in the morning. Dinner and the day at the Debelak parents. And then home to waist-high drifting in our driveway. The truck was stuck. Hey! I sound like Seuss. So T&I dug out the base of the truck and D. blew out the driveway in gale-force winds and voila! We got 'er in! This is SD country living here! I grew up with blizzards and drifting.

And we're busy now. And I like it that way. I am one of those rare ones that feel more 'rested' and sleep better if I have a very full schedule ahead of me. Don't ask me why. Ask my dad. He's the same way. And it is nice to have special privileges, times, and things to look forward to. :-)

I really am enjoying the holiday cards coming in! I have a bulletin board off the kitchen that has our friends/family posted there. And really, not much in our house means all that much to me than those sweet faces peering down at me as I walk by.

So back at it.... this time 'it' is a laundry pile.

Friday, December 19, 2008

White Christmas

I'm really worried if we'll get a white Christmas this year. It has been weighing heavy on my mind...

About 10" last night.
Another 4-7" tomorrow night/Sunday.
Maybe more on Tuesday....

But I love winter! Right? Yep! For sure! Yippee!!! Great stuff!

Ok. Sarcasm stinks sometimes. But I do have to admit, getting up super-early and logging on to see school was cancelled today brought a very cozy, warm feeling. The house is stocked with groceries. We've no place to go. The snowdrifts are fun to barrel through. And the fire burns...

T'was a nice day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursdays thoughts

Here goes.

Last night Chairman called about 4 and said he wasn't coming home. Go to bible study without me. It'll be 'later'. Ok. We get home and I call him before I head to bed. He's still working hard at a report due today that is a 'big one'. So I fall asleep. Midnight. No Chairman. Not too worried. He'll be coming. Three AM. No Chairman. Go to the bathroom. Lie in bed feeling so sorry he's having a terrifically bad night. Think of calling, then don't. Five AM. No Chairman. Full-blown panic. Heart-pounding, adrenaline inducing worry. You see his office is downtown Milwaukee. Usually a safe area. But in the dead of night in an office alone... parking ramp... you get the picture. Pick up the phone. He answers on 2nd ring. He says immediately, 'I'm ok. I'm just sleeping on a couch here a couple hours and then I'll get the report done and be home by mid-afternoon. Are you ok?' Um. Yes. Now that I've heard your voice and my normally very-low blood pressure is coming down from hugely high numbers. Love yous... take care... and see you soon. Whew!!!

Puzzles. I talked to my mom-in-law the other night. She mentioned she's working on a puzzle to kill some long evenings. Hey! I have a new one that I never opened. Get up a table from the basement thinking this would be a wonderful diversion for bored brains. We start and after about 6 minutes, Trevor wanders off. Mira shows some interest and is great at bunching colors together. Rayna never did get near the table. And me? I'm hooked! Why is puzzle-making so addictive? I can't wait to find the next piece. The scene is a bunch of hot-air balloons, so it is purdy anyway.

The picture came. Different frame. It looks really good in its spot. But I get irritated with glare. Any suggestions?

And so another snowstorm appearing tonight. I'm secretly hoping for no school tomorrow. I figure 8-12" in the night should give us pretty good odds of that happening. I made sure to get the teacher's gifts to them today in case...

Ahhh. I found some super-soft fuzzy pj's at Kohl's on a super sale. And they are soooo warm. Cozy. The girls kept saying, 'we just want to hug you!'. I have a hankering to go get a 2nd pair right away.

I better skeedaddle. And no, I'm only going off to shower and head out for my errands. Then! The puzzle!!! After my work is through. I hope. I should. Me bad.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I figured out how to post pictures from Picasa with ease! At least it worked tonight!!! These pictures aren't all that exciting though. Just another ordinary night. But they looked so silly. Trevor was reading jokes to Mira in a Santa hat. Mira sitting in another fuzzy hat she found. Shortly after the picture, a huge fight broke out because Mira wouldn't listen to Trevor's jokes anymore, so he threw the book at her and chaos erupted. Another day in the life...

The poor Chairman is working. A lot. He still seems his chipper self when he calls. But the year-end stuff is always trying at best. For him and for me. But I can't complain.

I put up three pictures tonight. And assembled a new office chair. Fun!

And I had a cookie exchange this morning. A smaller bunch, but still 8 dozen to figure out which hip and thigh they'd look best on.

Another new baby born to good friends. A big one at that! Two weeks early and 9 lb. 5 oz! And her name is Minah. How cool is that? One lucky little girl.

And it snows. But I won't complain...

I just realized after reading other comments on Facebook that our kids are done the end of this week too! Anyone up to little people company? We actually have quite a bit planned over the next two weeks. That keeps the mood happy around here.

This isn't funny or entertaining actually. Sorry. You can move along now. Nothing to look at here. Goodbye. You still there? Give up! It isn't funny tonight. The next blog will be better. Promise!

Posted by Picasa

Random silliness

A duck walks into a store. He asks the man, 'do you have any grapes?'

The man replies, 'no'.

The duck says, 'do you have any grapes?'

The man says, 'no'.

The duck says, 'do you have grapes?'

The man says, 'no, and if you ask me again, I'm going to nail your feet to the floor'.

The duck asks, 'do you have any nails?'

The man says, 'no'.

'Do you have any grapes?'

(Rayna told me that joke tonight... sorta funny in a weird sort of way)

Some bullets:

* It is snowing (again). Only a few inches tonight.

* I had my annual cookie exchange with some friends. A smaller group, but a yummy assortment and good time with all.

* I just realized the kids are done with school this week for 2008! Anyone up for company of some little people? tee-hee. We'll be somewhat busy over the next few weeks.

* Another baby born to some friends of ours. She's one lucky little girl. Although coming 2 weeks early and being nearly 10 lbs. isn't exactly 'little'. But her name! Minah! How cool is that?

* I put up three pictures and assembled an office chair tonight!

* The Chairman has been working his fingers to the bone the past few days. I feel bad for him, yet he's still his chipper self.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

A few quotes...

that made me smile:

* If a week goes by and your man isn't completely confused or terrified by one of your actions, you're not doing your job.
* I bet you don't actually laugh when you say LOL
* You're smart, beautiful, talented, and just plain amazing. It's a good thing you have me to balance you out.
* Start walking behind me. We can start a parade.
* Why yes I do frequently burst out in song.
* It was my understanding that there would be no math.
* My sister has an awesome sister
* Famous last words, 'I'm sure it's just the wind'
* There's random and then there's randumb.
* Anybody notice that studying is student and dying put together?
* People that don't know me think I'm quiet. People that do know me wish I was.
* I don't have a short attention span, I just... oh look! A kitty!
* Remember yellow snow is not lemon flavored.
* Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is free. You choose.
* What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
* After they make syrofoam, what do they ship it in?
* So a thought crossed your mind? It must have been a long, lonely journey.
* Ever wonder why balogna and lasagna don't rhyme?

Ok... that's enough... for blog posts today too! I promise... I'll scale back this week so you peeps can all go about your business again.

Picture tag

Family shots

Taken this weekend. Right after this morning's meeting and the family one is from yesterday on our way out to go sledding!

Winter fun!

We've had a great weekend so far! Well it started a bit melancholy as we had a funeral on Friday night of someone we really didn't know but know some of her relatives and so we were honored to sing at the service. Then we had great fun with Trent and Sarah and puppy Mavrick. We got to go sledding, shopping, and making snow ice cream. And in between were a few games of Rook and great chats. We were sorry to wave them off this morning! Here's a few pictures for your perusing...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Concert - Take 2!

typical boy trying to be goofy
ok, smile pretty Trevor! (by the way, he picked
out his concert outfit!)
radiant as always...
dad, mom, and rayna-banayna
dad, mom, and 'T' (his nickname) my
arm is sticking out as i'm trying to
push mira out of the picture!

I'll not post the gym pictures where the kids are about 1/4" tall in the picture. Here is a few taken before and then after. Rayna and Trevor both wanted a mom and dad shot with them. So now you get to see us again! Is funny as I just saw this tonight! And by the way, why in the world did I wear hot pink
to the concert? Everyone was in dark reds, evergreen, or even black. Me?
I'm ready for Valentine's Day!!!

Christmas Carols

I like a lot of them. And since I love music and singing, I get a great thrill by singing (hopefully with no one in the car) at the top of my lungs to some Christmas song. I think the favorite of mine is 'Oh Holy Night'. But last year, I heard this one called the Christmas Canon by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I really, really like it on a lot of different levels. I'll try to post a link of their video of it... I just heard it in the car coming home from the store and wowser I really can belt it out! :-) Excuse the grainy image.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adoption poem

I'm stealing this from another's blog. But I liked it. A lot. Most of you know the blessing of our first two kids being adopted. I still often feel we won the lottery when we were blessed with the two of them within two months of each other. I'm not sure why we were chosen. Only God knows. But we were and we are thankful years later. I know of more than several couples desperately wishing to have a family. And my heart aches for them. The whole international scene has changed in the adoption world since we went through it. And the wait within the states in mind-numbing. So our hearts go out to those that wait in hope. Anyway, I liked this...


1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
-Author unknown

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow Pictures


picnic anyone?

Tuesday talk

A snowy day here in Wisconsin. I'll try to post a couple pictures later when the kids get home. I doubt you all want another dog picture. It still falls, but soon it'll be over. About 6" more here I reckon.

So I have been stuck here. Got 6 doz. cookies made for the cookie exchange next week. Not sure exactly how many I'll need, but know I'm about 1/2 way there with this many anyway.

I know this isn't hip and trendy and it doesn't make me look like an excellent cook... but I still love Betty Crocker's cookbook. Mine is tattered and torn and has spots and messes from past days. But it sure has served me well and has provided great help on basic recipes.

Sorted boxes in the basement. Purged messes. Have dug around (and the kids too) looking for things since we moved and it got messy down there. Not to mention the Chairman suggested I get my behinder down there and start organizing before they start working on building it out in a month or so...

I'm trying to find ridiculously low-priced tickets to go to a warmer climate in February. We are considering Californiyeah. I'm sure my brother would love to see me again. If not, I'll be glad to see his family anyway. I hope something works out.

But the snow is pretty and I'm going to try and made a resolution to not complain about the weather. It only makes me feel a bit grumpy and others worse...

I was so happy to hear on my 'test' last week that it isn't anything to worry about. The Dr. was worried as she thought she saw something and so I had an ultrasound (and no, no babies for this old lady!). It turned out to be something lots of people get (usually ladies!). But what I'm trying to say is that I don't ever want to take health for granted. When you have a worry over your head for a few days and then get a call that says it isn't serious... it feels like a new lease on life again.

So time to fix the hot chocolate for the kiddies. They'll be home in minutes.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nightime nods

one thing the Chairman said that was so appealing to him when we first met on the raft trip in '92 was that I didn't complain. he said after five days on a raft with no shower and having no control over our situation, he marveled how easy it was for me to stay happy and chipper. well, i want to so badly muse a bit. complain. grumble. glower. about winter. i'm sick of it already. yes i know. a tired and lame complaint. but it is either freezing or it warms up to near 25 and then snows a bunch. and that my dear friends is what i just spotted on again. phooey.

but i keep walking. i did a 1/2 hour this morning at 6:30 since the pooch was going to be garage-bound for the entire day. and then another 1/2 hour tonight after supper. and it was 5 deg. in the morning and then 13 deg tonight. and you know what, it felt almost colder tonight than this morning. why was that?

rayna is beating me at rummikub. i enjoy the game. and i love to see her thrilled face when she beats me. good logic for her too!

mira is soooo into the "little house" series. we're on little house on the prairie - #2 right now and she waits with baited breath for me to come read the next chapter. i loved, loved, loved them as a kid too. part of the reasoning was that i knew at a tender age that i was born in wisconsin and grew up on the prairie like laura. so i thought i was just like her. and mary was quieter and blonder and more respectful (like my sweet, special, and senile sister). but there was no mean brother in the books and so it was fun to pretend that he didn't exist! but now i'm glad he's around. :-)

found a great sledding hill just minutes away from here! i missed it all yesterday as i had to pick up mira from a birthday party. but i hear that trevor was air-born the moment he got on the hill. he's a nut. a boy - through and through. and he lived to tell it to me when he got home.

this is boring even me now... and so my fingers will quit walking.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mira's concert

Our first concert of the holiday season. And our first at the new school. Some observations:
* Two parent families are the 'norm' in our new school. In our old one, it wasn't.
* The kids here really dressed up for the ocassion. It was very nice.
* The expectations are just higher all around - from the academic side to the musical side. These 5 and 6 year old kids did better than the 4th/5th at the old place.
* Mira is shy at first. Hand up to mouth. Walking slightly crooked into the gym. Looking for us and not wanting to look for us. Then she relaxed and did fine.
* The cookie reception was good! Except that it was at 10 am and I would have rather had a big doughnut instead.
Now I have to really get to work!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One year and my what a year it's been!

Don't I look pretty on my birthday? I tried
to show my flattering side.

Hey friends and fans! It's me Lisi... and it is (drum roll) my birthday! Whooooohoo. I'm one year old today. You humans think you're so much smarter and more special than us dogs. Well maybe you are... you have those opposing thumbs which would be mighty handy to have. But God made me this way and this life is all I got. What I'm trying to say is this. Have you seen a one-year old baby? You know the picture... a drooling, fat, mostly messy (and cute) kid sitting in his highchair and not knowing about how to blow a candle out? People gather around and watch him sit there making a mess of himself. I think you get the picture. What has that baby accomplished in a year? Still in diapers. Check. Usually still on a bottle. Check. Still needs help going to bed. Check. Still needs help getting dressed. Check. Still needs help getting around. Check. What makes them so special? You know what I am in one year? A dog! A real dog. Oh sure, I'm still messy. I still cause problems. But you know what? I don't pee on the floor anymore. I don't chew on shoes. I know when to 'sit, stay, come, cross the street at a whistle...' I think you get the picture. And beyond all that I've had exciting things happen too! I got to be on a school bus, destroyed a Mother's Day card of a little boy I love, ended up stuck in a neighbor's garage, moved across town, got to meet a sheriff, and lastly, went to the doggy doctor and he gave me sleepy stuff and I ended up not being able to have puppies! Not that I wanted any. I like the big guy here that walks me, the lady that yells but loves me anyway, and the three little people - especially the smallest one. She keeps saying how cute I am and then gets down and gives me super rubs on my tum. I overheard the big lady tell the little people there might be a birthday cake tonight. How great is that?

So stay tuned my loyal followers! More tails (sic) from Lisi-land will be forthcoming...

Downloading pictures

Ok. I know I asked this before. But I'm not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree..

How in the tarnation do I post pictures more easily than doing the five that I can download by clicking photo and adding another. I know there is an easier way and once someone tried to even help me.

I did download Picasa 3 and read that there is a "blog this" button. Where? I don't see it.

So many of you have such neat and creative ways of posting multiple shots. When I simply download the five it allows it seems to take forever and I have a relatively new computer!

Ok. I'm a bit stoopid. But I'm asking. So that makes me less stoopid right?

And if you do make suggestions, make sure they are souper-de-douper easy to understand. My mean brother that picks on my but loves me anyway always said my parents ran out of brains by the time they had me. And my sweet, special, and senile sister (that's for you Mel!) would just smile.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving pictures

everybody helping

the musicians

the siblings

my dear dad's birthday

cousins (I like this as I had no cousins!)