"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck
Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Yes, We Love You!

Years ago, we were at a evening picnic with home school friends. As we gathered around a bonfire to sing that night, the host and his wife introduced us to a song that was completely new to us.

Starting with first one person, and moving around the entire group, we sang, "Yes, we love you _________, yes we love you  . . . "  Each person got mentioned by name about 6 times in the song, and then it would pass on to the next person.

The first time it happened to me, it made me very emotional, way deep down inside. I don't know if I can even this many years later fully put it into words.

Over the years, as we have continued to "hang out" at  various events at this family's home, I have become rather "used to it" and find it less emotional to me personally, but I still love watching everyone's reactions as the song is sung to them.

The first time Katya had it sung to her, she looked quite startled and wide eyed.

This weekend these same friends hosted a family weekend as they do each summer, that has a focus on missions. It's a lot of good clean fun, and very informative as well. The event starts on Friday afternoon late and runs through Sunday, which includes a church service and then a meal afterwards before everyone breaks up to go home.

Today, after church, the host had us all sing, "Yes we love you ____________" to each other. There were probably about 50 plus people. I don't know for sure, but probably around that. It took awhile even though we went rollicking at top speed through it! The looks on people's faces were again interesting to observe. Some people took it very in stride. One man grabbed his wife and soundly kissed her as we sang about how we loved her. Some kids hid their faces in shy embarrassment.

This time, when it was turn for Katya to be sung to, she took it in stride calmly but clearly was interested in being sung to. She also enjoyed clapping along and doing her best to help sing to the rest of the room!

I really think that the host and his wife are brilliant in the out-working of that little song. Maybe for some people who come, it's the first time they really have been celebrated and told they are loved. Maybe there is a person who is struggling with feeling unloved who just needs to hear that! Whatever the case, I don't think that it hurts anyone to hear that song, with their name repeated about 6 times in it!

I doubt that I am the only person that has been deeply impacted by this simple song over the years. Probably most if not all of us need to hear more often that we are loved. Without strings, without reservations. Just loved for being ourselves, God's creation.

Have you ever participated in singing this song?? Or a similar one? And if so, what are your thoughts?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Surprise

A few weeks ago, I had a surprise in the mail! A box from a fellow adoptive Mommy. My kids were just as curious as I was, and when I opened it up, there was a lovely tea/coffee mug and another item.

Katya was SURE she knew what to do with the other item! It got grabbed and popped on to her head!


 Well isn't she cute?!

Thank you, Melanie, for such a sweet surprise! I don't know what I'm going to do with the basket yet, but I am enjoying seeing it. ;-) And Katya still likes to pop it on to her head!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swinging Wide Open!

The door is swinging wide open. On day 5, this is the photo Katya's SLP texted to me today, along with these words:

"That was 100% spontaneous and novel!!"

Photo: Lindsey (Head of SLP department) just sent me this photo. Here is what she said--""That was 100% spontaneous and novel!"    Do you realize that Katya just told us where she is at??!!!! ALL ON HER OWN??   Tears . . . people, tears . . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Closed Door is Opening!

A door that has been closed for Katya for 9 years has started opening the past two days.

 Tuesday, Katya started attending a summer program for extended school year services. The program she is attending is run by some of the best of the best people in the state, and there is a huge focus on communication. For two days now, Katya has had a 30 minute lesson with top notch SLP's who have tons of experience working with kids with communication issues, and here is the result!

"After two 30-minute trials with the Words for Life program, Katya demonstrated the ability to spell her name, learn vocabulary with minimal models, follow point prompts to get to new vocabulary, learn vocabulary through exploration and combine two words into phrases (e.g. "get more" and "I sneezed") She's a star!! I wasn't able to snag any video today but you know she was blowing everyone away"

(This is on an IPad with the communication App, "Words for Life"--it is intended to be an app that will met her communication needs clear into adulthood.)

As you can imagine, there has been a whole flurry of excitement at this house the last two days! We figured she would do well with this school and program, but even we did not expect this much progress QUITE this fast!

We thought she might need two or three weeks to settle in at a new place and then she would take off. The fact that she has taken off so rapidly tells us a number of things, but key is that she understood every thing evidently that we explained to her about WHY she was going to this new place, and WHAT they hoped to help her learn to do there.

 Katya is a most amazing child . . . she continues to do exactly what Doctor Carson predicted--she is amazing the world!

 We are so proud of her, and are happy we have ring side seats for her "show". ;-)

I think it's going to be an amazing summer for her as the door of communication continues to open!

We finally have all our children back under one roof after Charity being away for Suzuki Teacher training last week. We sure missed her, but were glad she had the opportunity! Kristina was my right hand helper while Charity was gone so we survived even though Paul was working out of town the week as well, and we had VBS in the evenings! That was a little much all in one week, but we got through it by making sure we kept the focus on survival mode. ;-)

This week, Kristina is away every morning for a while as she helps as a teen volunteer in a safety program for 4 and 5 year olds. She attended the program as a child and is very happy now that she can go back as a teen volunteer! That was a long held dream of hers, so it's nice it came true.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer Reading and Watching Box?

A few years ago, we began creating a box of reading and watching materials that were themed for Winter/Christmas. That was such a hit with our family, that we added a Spring/Easter themed box the next year. That too went well, so this past fall, we added a box of fall/Thanksgiving themed materials.

Now the children are asking for a Summer/4th of July box!

I'm taking suggestions because so far my looking at the thrift store has not turned up anything. I did a quick search on Amazon the other day when I was needing to order another item and tacked on a Pete the Cat book.

 (Amazon Affiliate Link Above)

Taking suggestions for any age range book from easy reader to adult and the same for videos that have a clear summer or summer holiday theme.

We love having the boxes to switch out for each season. It is "fresh" after the children have not had access to them for a year! Because the items are already in a nice box, it's fast and easy for me to grab the correct box from the shelf and set it out. The children know how to dive in and enjoy. I try to add some magazines like  Romantic Homes or Bliss Victoria that are themed to that season as well. I enjoy flipping through them myself when I don't have time or energy to read but want something to quickly do for a break.

Standing by and taking suggestions now! ;-)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Little Catching Up

Time marches on and is not waiting for me to blog. Also, while I enjoy blogging, I am well aware of the fact that a certain sub-set has taken to watching our blog and posting "information" that is in fact not based on fact. Since I enjoy blogging, I have not stopped entirely, but instead am blogging less, and sharing less. Unfortunately that is not so nice for my readers--the majority of whom are lovely people. But I value my family far more than blogging, and I don't choose to share so much of our lives if a few rotten apples are going to post fantasy, while claiming it's facts.

* Katya had pneumonia and was a sick little gal the other week. Thanks to our fantastic Doctor's office and good meds, we pulled her through at home, and she was given a clean bill of health on her lungs today! Whoop!

* Our garden is doing well, and we are already enjoying fresh radishes from it, and some onion tops. Mmmm. Can't wait for more! A health food store also is going to start a little Farmer's Market there this summer and we hope that we will have extra produce to sell there. The two older girls are both working hard to raise extra watermelon and cantaloupe to sell in order to add some funds to their name. They both have a mission trip in mind they would like to take, so they have been looking for ways to earn the money.

* School is out for the summer for Katya. We are in the process of trying to get Katya evaluated for a possible summer program that would focus on communication and other areas that Katya needs additional expertise with. This would be an "out of district" placement so that is a little new and challenging on some fronts, but we feel it's a step in the right direction for her after touring the school and talking extensively with a Director and others. If she is accepted, it would give her access to some of the best people in the State to work with Katya's unique challenges. We feel very hopeful that this is a good step forward for Katya and her needs.

* In a huge surprise, a long time family friend  offered us a few days vacation this summer at their lake shore cottage way far up north in Michigan. The kids are so excited!!! Even Mom and Dad are getting a little excited! We will find going there during the heat of summer to be quite refreshing, I'm sure!

* Charity was excited to be given a scholarship to a week of Suzuki teacher training for violin. Since her group of students continues to increase in number this year, I'm sure the week of additional training will be good for her. It will also give her a chance to hang around a lot of other musicians. That will be a lot of fun for her! It's awesome to see the years of effort and hard work that were put into her musical learning paying off for her.

* Kristina's years and years of waiting to turn 14 so she could assist in the area's summer safety program for children ages 4 and 5 have finally ended! She has been accepted as a teen volunteer for a week. She's nervously looking forward to working with the kids. I hope that she does well and it's a very positive experience for her! She remembers attending the program when she was home a year. We had to get special permission for her to go since she was 6 by then, and older than the usual program attendees. However, her need to be there was so huge that we were ready to take on whoever we needed to to make the training happen for her. Thankfully, the program director worked with us to allow Kristina to attend at her "advanced" age. So now Kristina is "giving back" to the community in this way.

I think those are some of the bigger highlights of our lives lately.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Photo: Chad took this photo after climbing a ladder to shoot the photo.

Chad found and photographed this lovely nest.

I stole a few minutes to myself in the sun to read on this cool May day.


And Paul took Charity to practice her maneuverability in preparation for her taking her driver's test very soon, we hope! But I don't have a photo of that. However, she is doing very well and making great progress.

Our seedlings are growing and soon can go outside, and we are enjoying the hummers coming to our feeder. Chad advocated for us to get one, and we are all enjoying the results.


What is your spring looking like?!