Sunday, December 18, 2011

yup... they're here ...

These are the airport arrival pictures ... our first glimpse of our little guys...

R ( so shy )

( K - little cheeky man!)

Us before leaving the airport Tuesday night.

In the hotel lobby Wednesday morning!

It has been a whirlwind so far. They have some unique little personalities and quirks. (that is putting it mildly). We have been experiencing some pretty marvelous moments too! We are trying to get the boys in a routine and teach them basic family life rules. Language barrier is there, but we get around it pretty well. Temper tantrums and time outs take up a lot of our time. and getting them to understand the dynamic of it all. The laughter and hugs have taken over all the other parts of the day, and there is joy in the balance of it right now. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Annual Decorate the House and Trim the Tree Day

Clausen Style

Stockings hung by the chimney with care...
and anticipation (see the R and K !)

down from the attic ...
Tree all ready to decorate...

I suppose I should get off the computer and
put all these fabulous people to work!

Happy Decorate the House
and Trim the Tree Day!!

Now, where is the eggnog!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


for many things (in no particular order)

Fabulous Loving Husband
6 Precious children (3 here, 1 in heaven, 2 almost here)
A lovely brick ranch
the smell of pumpkin muffins this morning
the turkey already in the oven
22 days until the boys arrive for their visit!!
A roaring fire in the fireplace, all. day. long.
Family time
random capitalization and punctuation :)
a large dining room table with enough chairs
fuzzy socks
plenty of food to eat
no debt
crazy silly dancing worship mornings
my youngest child's belly laugh
really, all of my children's belly laughs
curly hair. yes really.
the sound of little voices playing in my home
hot water
Great friends!
my garden and the bounty it gives us
the smell of clean laundry fresh off the line
crocus and daffodils
hugs and kisses from my children
a working oven
many blogs I read and glean info and ideas from (including pinterest)
and so. much. more.

What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

oh my...

I have to look back at my Sweet Small.

He is so cute.
and still so cute.

This was April 2010
eating pizza on the deck
on a warm spring day.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Eggplant ..

Aren't they beautiful!!

Listada de Gandia
Rosa Bianca

I made the perfect Eggplant Parmesan.

(I'm still enjoying having picked them on November 17! even the small ones)

If I had a green house, I could have left the plants out longer and the tiny fruit and all the blossoms I just lost, could have kept me in Eggplant over the winter! Come to mention it, I could have tomatoes still growing too if I had a greenhouse. Hmm.
Now the last of the tomatoes is another post entirely.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes you have to borrow a little...

I snagged this from a post remembering John Wimber on another blog ... Amazing.

this is the part that hit my heart...

Let me leave you with a few principles on Spiritual Fathering from “Eating John’s Steak”:

1. Fathers must have a generous heart willing to give all they have away for their children.
2. Fathers must have a delight in watching their “growing boys eat”. Fathers feed their children the good stuff.
3. Fathers do not hide their weaknesses but minister from them.
4. Fathers make room at the table for new sons, not just sitting with the other fathers.
5. Fathers know investing in their children allows their lives to live on beyond them.
6. Fathers are so approachable that children feel a boldness to ask them for their steaks.
7. Fathers teach their children that “the real meat is in the street”! Take what you have been fed and give it away to those who do not know the Father’s love.

John thanks again for the steak and all the Spiritual meals you served us over the years at a great sacrifice of your life and for being a father to the fatherless.

to read the entire post ... click Here

And many thanks to the guy who wrote it!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh I can too!

I finally had some green tomatoes turn red for me. :)
so I did what comes naturally,
I canned.

Isn't this beautiful.
Heirloom Hillbilly Potato Leaf

(I actually sliced that one for BLT's shhh.)

But I did can some great salsa.

A bit liquid-ey.

7 Lovely Jars

I did taste some tonight and was actually disappointed. It is a mild salsa (b/c that is what the children like) but it tasted weak and watery tonight when I opened a jar. Harumph.
I think I needed to use the "hot" spices for canning. We find the "mild" to be perfect when made fresh, but it needs more umph.

Well, lessons learned. Good times. Good times.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The cost of being a follower...


you stumble across word someone else has written and you know that you know that you know that God is speaking, quite clearly to YOUR heart.

I pulled the following paragraph from my favorite missionary to Haiti 's blog.
Let me preface:

Last week, I had a choice.

Go to my Aunt's funeral about 5 hours away. OR

Go to Jeff City (about 2 hours away) and Apostille all the documents for our adoption.

and after some deliberation, I knew what I had to do.

I texted my Dad. I told him I was sorry we could not make it to the funeral. I felt bad. I knew one of my sisters and one of my brothers would be there... and that my family would be "missing it" AGAIN.

Insert note here about AGAIN: I have the children who cannot come to funerals and it has caused lack of understanding in the past. My boys have been set apart to God since before birth under a Nazarite vow (think Samuel and Samson), which simply means we are raising them to be priests. And the biblical rules that we adhere to for them are that we do not cut their hair, they eat no fruit of the vine and cannot be around dead things, including people. They are daily given instruction in the house of the Lord. It's in the bible, under Numbers 6.

They missed my mother's funeral and will likely miss more in the future. and I am sorry, but while they are small, that means likely I will miss them too.
It hurts my heart that these people who are supposed to be closest to me, my family... Simply do not completely get me... possibly never have...possibly never will.

Now back to my thoughts...


I was faced with a choice, and I know timing is a HUGE issue for our adoption. They need our paperwork, yesterday. The children that we thought we were headed toward referral for and now the (different) children that we are headed for NEED us to be ready, paper ready, yesterday. So Apostille wins.

Side note: (cause it is fun to insert it here)
Apostille is the secretary of state attaching a document to your already notarized document, saying that the notary is current and this is, in fact a certified notarized copy of your original document. And the SOS document is attached (at least here in Missouri) with a beautiful gold pointy sticker seal. It's pretty people. Something to see at least once in your life.

and we had 100 pages to be Apostilled for our Dossier. Good Times People, Good Times. Really, it was, we went to lunch while they did this part of the paperwork... I had a fabulous manicotti and split it and a great house salad with my love. but I digress, again...

So we went to Jeff city and our entire hosting experience changed in a phone call on the way. And we said yes to God. And He confirmed we were headed on the right path with it all (with a phone call during that phone call). and my heart broke, again. and I simply said Yes to His will and His purposes. They are all His children. all 149 million of them, and I am glad to give 2 a forever family.

Translation: we thought we would be hosting two fabulous sisters, and we will now be hosting two fabulous brothers.

But I digress (apparently a LOT in this post)

so today I read my favorite blog and I get a big sloppy wet kiss from God that I am right in the middle of His will for our lives and the orphans He has for us. I love it.

This is what I read:
In my NIV Bible, the header above Luke 9:57-62 says, “The Cost of Following Jesus.” Here it is, plain and simple, laid out for us by the Lord. “As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my Father.” Jesus said to Him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

and I knew that I knew that I knew. I was supposed to miss the funeral and instead drive to Jeff City for Apostille, so that our dossier could be in Latvia sooner. (because adoption is His will for our lives, a part of our testimony.) and the boys that are coming need our paperwork done and our funds all raised right now! ... because the referral for them will come with travel approval and the time to go will be immediately.

and for anyone who needs clarification:
We are adopting Internationally. We heard the Lord say: Siblings and Latvia.
We are utilizing a hosting program, separate from our adoption agency, yet connected in that it shortens our time in country bonding with our children, and it allows us to ask for specific referral when we send our dossier.
Our funds for all hosting have been paid by us. and are totally separate from our adoption.
Our funds for adoption are still being raised. (we still have 2/3 to raise)
Our referral is not complete until Latvia approves our dossier, and the children we asked for or even the children we host, may not be referred to us until Latvia approves it.
Our dossier is now in Latvia. Awaiting translation and approval for referral.
The boys we are hosting are in need of their forever family now. The situation they are in requires. it.
and all I have to do is say Yes, Lord send me.

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. John 14:18

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Serious Superheroes

My Boy Wonder.


Medium & Tall protecting the universe.

Seriously, you should have heard small call out "Hammer!"

Love it.
and he actually looks like Thor with those curls!!

October is many things. Apparently including the need to dress up, a lot.

My children are now frequent superheroes thanks to my discovery of the plastic tablecloth cape. For $1, you can cut three or more capes for short people out of plastic. Very simple. and unless they happen to rip them off instead of untying them (that's experience speaking here people!) they will last for several capers. :)

The boys walked to the church across the street on Sunday for their autumn festival, we often visit during their outside times of games and food and fellowship. Free Fun (and candy, lots and lots of candy) :)

Sharewalk 2011

Cadence's Balloons

Me and the Balloons

Hubby & I

Some of my children, listening and waiting to release balloons!

Every year since losing our tiny Cadence, we participate in Share Walk. It raises awareness and support for Infant and Pregnancy Loss. It brings hope and remembrance to those who have lost children.

It happens in October every year, hundreds gather and listen to their child's name being read off and then release balloons in their memory. You can see on the back of my son's shirt, the rows of names of all the children. We write a little message on our balloons and then remember our tiny. We all then take a mile or two walk together. It is a blessing to stand with others who have walked this path.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

11/1/11 Dossier

Today our Dossier went to our Adoption Agency via Fed-Ex.

11/1/11 at 1:11pm True Story.

It will be checked and double checked and then head on it's way to Latvia for Translation.

Very Exciting.

There is one tiny piece of paper to join our Dossier at a later date = USCIS Approval I-797.

Monday, October 31, 2011

moving things along...

Adoption is a series of steps and waiting. Complete one step and wait for someone else to complete their part of that step.

Look what we got today ...

2:15 AM (5 hours ago)

Dear Applicant/Petitioner:

Your USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing. Within 7 - 10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number.

Well, they have it and are now working on it. Please stand with us in prayer for quick processing!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fundraising Fundraising

It takes a LOT of money to adopt. One child adopted internationally or domestically is Approximately $30,000.

Crazy money = to pull a child out of abandonment / poverty / abuse (you name the affliction - it goes with being an orphan.

Most people, simply do not have that kind of money.

Most people cannot just take out a loan to afford it.

Yet the cause is right. The result is good. It is love of a higher form. It is acceptance. It is a form of pouring oneself out longterm for another human being (to raise them).

It is Worthy.

Worthy of the blood, sweat and tears it takes to bring an orphan into their forever family.

that is our cause. that is what we are doing. Being a Forever Family.

We do not have the money, or the means to have the money it takes to ransom these children out of their situation. (ransom is a strong word, but you get my point)

We have the means to support the child(ren). Adding another mouth to feed is simple. Clothing is simply (we don't wear name brand here unless we find it at Goodwill!)

We live simply to add our meager funds to the (growing) adoption fund.

We are blessed in many ways and bringing these two girls into our lives will bless us further.

We need help (financial gifts) to get there.

We need fundraisers and the helps of financial donations.

If you have given, THANK YOU! We mean it sincerely. Our fund is growing.

If you haven't yet given, please consider.

Consider the hearts of the two girls we are bringing home into a forever family. It is all they want. To be wanted, needed and loved. To have a mommy and a daddy that loves them.

There are many ways to give, some are tax deductible, some let you purchase an item and give a small portion toward our need. All are worthy.

Thank You.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October's Blooming Here

This is my orange tree,
with tiny oranges on it.

This is actually the orange tree...
with the garden behind it...

Pineapple Plant

Bloesser Tomato
covered in baby tomatoes

I went out the other day and picked collard greens.

Another view of the entire garden...

The eggplants

Green Beans in earthbox.
second try this year.


Hillbilly potato leaf tomato
going into the basement this weekend to finish up under florescent lights.

Broccoli. mmm.

Raised bed, with an almost ripe Black Brandywine tomatoe

It's about time we got some maters round here!

and some serious eggplant too
(made 2 batches of eggplant parmesan!)

Collards, regrowth since I cut the other day

That's about it for pics tonight. The garden is about to be torn up and put to rest. We are expecting the nights to dip into the 30's early next week. It will be a busy weekend around here.

1. SHARE walk
2. Benefit Concert
3. Fall-ify the garden :)

Talk to you in a week or so...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Worthy Watermelon

We finally got a watermelon!! I planted Stone Mountain Watermelon in one earthbox this year, after planting seeds THREE different times (yes, I did consult and follow the farmers almanac best planting days) they finally germinated and 3 of 4 plants grew. We had a tiny watermelon in early July, that was not finished yet. The plants kept wilting in the extreme heat we were having, so I finally figured out they needed to be watered twice a day from like 4 foot vines on up. It gave up new blossoms in late July, and now on October first we had a full size, perfectly ripened melon. It was incredible!! Sweet and Perfect. There are some smaller melons still out on the vine, I was hoping they would get bigger, but it is getting so chilly at night, I may have to pick them soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sing for your Supper

alternately titled
"Look at how Shiny we are!"

We got to go on a dress up date!

He even wore a tux!
I wore a little black dress,
with a gorgeous Poppy Scarf as my wrap.

It was a catered dinner in the Starlight room
at the Chase.

Chris had to sing for a gig,
and we got to stay and enjoy the dinner.

It was a longer evening,
but lovely.

and free.

which, as we all know when you are fundraising for adoption,
is the only way you get a date.

Unless someone happens to hand you tickets to the Muny.

That also happened recently.
We dressed up (a little)
for that one.
It was a great play!!

Thank you to those wonderful people
who have been handing us our dates lately!
They are important to our marriage.

You can tell it is working,
by how shiny we are!!

Admit it,
You are singing the song...
Shiny Happy People Laughing...

You're Welcome!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harvesting Late in the Summer

So the fruits of the spring plantings are finally starting to come in.
*Actually, I planted the summer squash in August.

Two yellow crookneck, (same plant, giving two very different fruit - cross pollination I imagine)
three pattypan (one being a double)
and an Edmonson cucumber.

My beautiful eggplants
Listada de Gandia
the 3 on the right are Rosa Bianca

More pattypan on the plant.

The plant is lovely
except when the deer come and eat half the leaves. sigh.

This is the "W" varmit.
He is awfully cute...
but he keeps getting in the garden and eating
ALL the Blondkopfchen cherry tomatoes.

Which is actually why I plant them to begin with.

He loves little grape tomatoes.

We have had the weirdest weather
and all my tomato plants are finally fruiting, except
the Hillbilly potato leaf,
it is still in blossom stage.
We will be having BLT's in November.
mmm. Bacon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Walking it out...

Depending on God's provision.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This is His verse for my life and for our children as well.


God is good.

As we go through this adoption and watch the funds we need come in, step by step.

I am amazed.

His Faithfulness. His Love.

I am grateful to all of you who hear His whisperings in your heart and give toward bringing our children home.

We still have a ways to go, but we are now (almost) at the halfway point for fundraising.

Truly miraculous.

Thank you all!

Beauty Growing Up

Tall went to the homecoming dance last night.

Tall also played in the powderpuff game Friday night.
(on the junior team, the senior team won, as always)