All posts by richard

I didn’t chop down the apple tree.

But I did tear up my foot on the steel fence post that we are using to support that apple tree.
So, after two hours of bleeding, Sharon finally convinced me to go to the emergency room to get it all fixed up.
Then she posted a picture of my foot on facebook. Ouch. Got a lot of sad comments on that photo.

We had a really dry 2011. We were about 15 inches short of rain, and the lake is drying up. There are wells just north of here that are running dry, and the LCRA is having to truck water into those communities. So, we pray for a lot more rain…

I love you so much

Yesterday, we took my friend Kevin, his intended, and her two great kids out on the lake.
Vera and I were playing on the back of the boat and I asked her “How much do you love me? This big?” with my arms stretched out. “No! I love you to Russia and back!”

“Well then, I must love you more. I loved you to Russia and back, Twice!”


Vera has a new favorite Song

Sunday was a great day for us. Sharon played in the Worship event Sunday night at our Church, and I got to spend some alone time with Vera. I took Vera to Grandmom’s so that we could get some plants that she had been saving for us.

On the way back, the song that I had kinda held on to as the anthem for adopting Vera came onto the stereo. I noticed Vera singing it from the back seat. and when the song was over, she made me go back to it so that she could sing it again. I’ve never been so happy to hear her sing… So we sang together…
John Elefante

That’s why God made the moon

There’s a city in the distance,
but it seems so far away.
It’s a place where lonely hearts await
The Son to light their day.
But up here I know it’s silent.
There’s no sorrow to be found;
just heaven all around.
And every star up in the sky
has driven me to testify
that I wanna know you.

That’s why God made the moon.
For nights like these when we dream of all eternity.
As the angels sing the twilight symphony.
They sing la-de-de-de-da-da
la-de-de-de-da-da tonight.
That’s why God made the moon.

Summer finally arrived

Here in Texas, Hot and Dry are words that we usually use to describe “summer”. So far, the lake rose 60 feet since March because we got rained on big time here in 2007. So Summer, 2007, has been wet and cooler than normal. Some evenings were downright pleasant. But those days are gone. It hit 100 degrees yesterday.
We have only been out on the lake a couple times, and that is too infrequent.

Vera has been in several camps this year. She has been in a sports camp, an outdoor activities camp, vacation Bible School, and for the next 2 weeks she is in a theater camp in Georgetown.
Scott and Aric got to spend a week with Uncle Mark in Silicone Valley. Scott was on staff at the theater camp held at Cedar Park High School. He loved that.

Scott took up the guitar, taking lessons over the past month or so. He is showing some actual talent. Aric decided that he wanted to be a drummer. So we now have a full set of Ludwig drums sitting in our music room. Aric is also showing some serious talent at this drumming thing. He is doing really well in his lessons. My stash of ear plugs is getting a workout as well.
Aric has obtained/earned his Green belt in Tae Kwon Do. He enjoys TKD, and hopefully he can make it all the way to black belt.

Of course, Lacrosse has started back up. Scott is discovering that physical conditioning is important. Especially if you don’t have it. So he has been working out a lot lately. And, yes, it helps.

Speaking of physical conditions, Vera has grown more than 3 inches in the past year. She was 48″ when she came here on July 4, today she is over 51″ tall. Aric is afraid she will catch up to him at that rate 🙂 He figures he only has a year or so head start on her:-) vera is already the same weight as Aric at about 56 lbs, up 8 from last year.

Enough for now. Toodles!


Tropical Storm Barry and the Marathon Disney Spectacular

On May 31 we left for Florida for a nice family vacation.

We stopped in Tallahassee for the night (got there around midnight due to a stop for dinner in Pensacola  Beach). On Friday (jun 1) we traveled for Palm beach, and discovered rain starting around noon. The radio talked about a low pressure causing it out in the gulf, and since Florida has been in a drought, we were delighted to have the rain. By the time we got to our destination at the Marriot that evening, we were in a full Tropical storm, we discovered. A Tropical Storm isn’t a hurricane, but it sure isn’t a little Texas rain shower either.  we had 30-40 MPH winds, and rain that came in buckets. That lasted only 20 hours…

After the rain stopped though, we had a great time on the beach and at the pool.

Of course Vera’s only previous beach outings had been at the Gulf of Finland, cold water, swimming not really comfortable, rocky beaches…  This beach was incredible and the water was the blue that you would see in the South Pacific.  It looked like someone was pouring blue dye into the water. It was amazing… Vera liked these beaches, as did we all.
We went drift fishing on Tuesday morning.  We caught 2 Kings, and a few snapper (I think). We took them down the street, where they prepare the fish for free, and we ate all the blackened Mackerel we could shove down our gullets.  Yummy!

On Wednesday, we left and went up to Disney, staying at the Swan hotel. We awoke at 6:00 in the morning to make the 8:00 opening at the Magic Kingdom.  We did every single ride and show that we could think of and enjoyed it a lot.  At 10:00 the fireworks show comes on, and that is REALLY cool for a fireworks show.  we got on the shuttle bus back to the hotel at 11:00 as the park closed. It was a long long day, and it took us several days to recover.
Now what I learned is how conditioned I am to the buttons that Disney is able to press. I was just in awe of some of the theming, not Mickey or Pirates, but things that kind of surprised me. The whole princess thing, and the irony of never having been there before, until we had a kid that had seen the Little Mermaid in Russian.


Vera is an American Now

The other day, Vera, Sharon, Scott and Aric were in the car.

Scott asked Vera if she still spoke Russian. “No, me Americanski now. I not Russian no more.”

We’re trying to let her know that’s just great if she’s Russian AND American, which in truth she is. Someday she’ll probably be OK with that…but for now, she’s loving the US of A! 180 degrees in 7 months…

A Tangled Web

I took Vera to see Charlotte’s Web last night. I loved it! It was great! Vera liked it too, of course. Take the whole family, everyone will love it.
A couple days ago, Vera was running out the door to the bus and I yelled after her, “Vera, I love you!”

She yelled back “I love you, too.”

I thought to myself, “hee hee, it slipped out!”

It was a good day.


Photos, Old and New

A year ago, Vera was in a children’s home in St. Petersburg.


There, her grandmother would visit often and take her home on the weekends.

Her grandmother wanted a new home for this little girl, and though she could not take care of her, she knew that God could provide a way to make it happen. And so she prayed for Vera that God would give her a good home, with children, and music, and most of all, love.

At the same time, back in Texas, Sharon and Richard are wondering who, or even if, there is going to be completion in the process of adoption. The above photo was the first picture we ever saw of Vera. I don’t know who took it, but it is precious to me. We first saw it on Feb 23, 2006.

On Feb 27, we got these photos to add to the collection.

vera_dance.jpg  vera_age6.jpg

So, it has been since June 23 (gotcha day) since we have had her with us, July 4 since she came home.

Last night she said “Mom, In Russia, ten days was too short!”

Which confused the heck out of us 🙂 SEEMED LIKE A LONG TIME to me.

We had some photos taken back in late October. Look at what love has done.

vera_s2.jpg family.jpg vera_s1.jpg dad_and_kids.jpg vera.jpg sharon_vera.jpg

And every star up in the sky
has driven me to testify
that I wanna know You.

That’s why God made the moon.

For nights like these when we dream of all eternity.

Happy Halloween – and the scary children it brings!

Ok, so what does a little Russian girl want to be for Halloween? Baba Yaga, the russian witch.


If you want to know about Baba Yaga, here is a story for you…
Link to BABA YAGA story


So, did Vera do a great Baba Yaga or what? Of course Aric, who doesn’t do scary real well goes as Jason from Fri the 13’th. Of course Aric has never seen such a movie. And for good reason. The sleepless nights would be very hard on us all!

Mom took the first trip out to the neighbors. I stayed home and fed candy to the children. “One for you, one for me, one for you, another one for me…”

When Aric, Vera and Mom got back, Vera wanted to go again. She was sad for poor Scott who was at high school still rehearsing the musical. (He got home at almost midnight, poor child) So Vera says “Trick or treat again, for Scott!” So off we went, Vera and Daddy. She held my hand most of the way. So sweet. She got another full bucket of candy. When we got back to the house, Vera took her new bucket and emptied it into a plastic bag and had us write Scott’s name on the bag. Vera was most pleased with herself.
When Scott came home, we told him how his sister had gone out trick or treating for him since it was “poor Scott at school”, and he just had a nearly teary eyed moment. “I love my sister!”

Yeah, we love your sister too.

Happy Halloween



Vera’s first soccer game was Saturday.

She has had two practices and has just begun to learn how to handle the ball. The most important thing she’s learned? Make sure you know which goals is YOURS. She scored several goals during her last practice…for the other team!

On Saturday morning, she was really excited. She had the ball plenty, but mostly kicked it out of bounds. But during the second half, something clicked, and she scored three goals in a four-minute span. Her ball-handling skills visibly improved during the game, and with her speed and aggressiveness, she found herself in a lot of 1 on 3 situations and winning about half of them.


Yea, Vera!


Red Square

Why is Red Square called Red Square?

Because red and “beautiful” were synonomous sometime in the past.

Well, it is very lovely. I had no idea what to expect. It is ringed with lots of cathedrals, each of them beautiful in its own way, and has a park at one end with the tomb of the unknown Russian Soldier. We took pictures of the guard, similar to the guard at the US tomb. (Point of trivia: the US “unknown” is no longer unknown. But they aren’t sure whether to keep him buried there, or give him back to his family. It makes for great tradition. 🙂

Vera rode on Papa’s (sore) shoulders most of the way. We stopped off at one cathedral and bought a candle for Vera. Vera lit the candle, and placed it in the holder, and then asked us to step away so that she could pray for a minute. She asked many questions about Christ today. Why did He die, why was He born, why is there a devil and so on. Many questions, a lifetime to learn understanding…

I will be on a plane to California for a class at my company’s HQ early Wednesday morning, and so I will have a quick turnaround. Bummer! But, I will get to sleep when I fall into bed at 6:00 Wednesday night. This is a good thing.

Tomorrow, we hang for most of the day. I may need to go to the Embassy (US that is) in the morning for just a bit, and then we will all go in the afternoon.

We will try to post some photos later tonight or tomorrow. See you soon!

Two Days and a Wake Up Call to Go!

When I was in the army, in training, we would count down the days until we “shipped” out of training…

We have 2 days and a wake up call to go! Which means….

We take the 5:45 (that’s a.m.) flight out of Moscow on Tuesday. Arrives at 2:20 in the afternoon in Houston. Allowing around 4 hours of drive time… we hope to be home around 6:30 p.m.

We are now in Moscow. Sharon and Vera took the overnight train Thursday night, I took the local airline (1960’s vintage airplane) Friday evening at 8:10. I was having to wait for the passport and the final adoption papers. When I saw the passport in the folder at around 5:30 that evening, I literally cried.
Got to the Courtyard by Marriot and felt closer to home than I had in two weeks. There are literally dozens of Americans here in this hotel alone, each adopting a child from Russia.

If you’re on your way to Moscow, we really like the location, amenities, and staff at this hotel.

The judge was not going to help…

Well, when the law is more important than doing what is right, you get what we got.

So, we will be able to get our medical checkup done in Moscow on Friday. We will then get the American embassy stuff processed on Monday, and we just can’t get around it. The agency folks did all they could to budge the judge, and merely managed to piss her off for asking I think. Our agency gets high marks for how they have taken care of us, but we still miss our kids more than anything.

So, what’s the problem? Didn’t we know that we would be stuck here for a while?

Well, sure we did. In fact I had anticipated a July 4 return should the ten days not get waived. The problem is that by the time it was determined that it would be mid afternoon July 3 before we could leave, all the coach flights were basically booked.


Any suggestions?

Love you all!