Slippery Things

Just how fast is *too* fast on a Slip-n-Slide? Vera decided to test the limits today. After Dad spent a long half hour blowing up all the pieces (he’s recovering well, thank you), he stretched it out on Grandmom and Granddad’s lovely lawn.

Completely ignoring the intermittent rain and slightly chilly temperatures, Vera set out to break a few speed records (and thankfully nothing else).

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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.


The Summer of Bug Love

Or loving bugs. And other creatures.

We are almost daily fascinated by some of the creatures that live in our back yard, in and around the pond and fountains.

Today, Aric found what he’s hoping is a new species of grasshopper. We are planning on sending a photo and description to experts at the BCCP or Travis County to see if they can help us ID it. None of us have seen this particular variety before:


Thanks to Scott for the nice photo. He’s gotten some good shots of one of our other favorite creatures, a big, red, dragonfly that I’ve nicknamed Clifford:


Easter with the Big Bun


Here comes Monster Cottontail,
Lumbering down the bunny trail
Easter’s on its way!

11 pounds. 4 months old. Still growing. And growing.

We’ve given up our fantasy of sweet spring pictures of children with adorable little bunny.  But next year we’re doing shots of the children RIDING her.

Jelly Bean and Butterscotch


(At 10 weeks, so sweet! But see Monster Bunny picture below.)

As if we needed ONE MORE CREATURE to take care of.

I’ll admit it. I was taken in by the most dangerous, adorable animal on our Earth: a Flemish Giant rabbit. A very young version. At 6 weeks, she is nearly the size of a full-grown “regular” rabbit. Full-grown, she’s supposed to be around 20 lbs…the size of a medium-sized dog!

Hard to imagine a 20-lb. rabbit? Here’s a picture of one at 22 lbs. (Photo borrowed from, which lists “giant rabbit” as an urban legend).


My sister, Linda, drove down to acquire one of these things. I was going to be strong. The worst part? When I weakened and took one home with me, I blamed it on Richard. He SAID he’d always wanted a bunny. Hey, I was just making my adorable partner happy. Right?

She is very, very cute. And sweet. Her name is Butterscotch, “Butters” for short.

March 1, 2007 Butterscotch Update: At 10 weeks, Butters now weighs 7 lbs. and eats a large Ziploc container-full of cilantro, carrots, broccoli, and parsley daily. We’ve planted 8 square feet of garden for her, but do not think we can keep up. Somebody, please start growing rabbit greens for us. She’s going to eat us out of house and home. Or possibly just eat us. 😉


Last night Vera invited me to join her in her favorite hobby, making Hama Bead figures.

Vera wanted to make a heart with a dog in the middle of the heart.

She was doing this on the floor, so I assumed the prone position and started culling out pink beads from our bead stash.

I don’t remember why, but she hugged my head and said “my daddy!”

Ah, so sweet!

hama beads

In other news, my grandfather passed away last Sunday and so our family has been having to deal with that bit of stress and anxiety. He will be sorely missed. On the bright side, we know where he is today. Amen!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Vera - Christmas 2006
What Christmas cards? We barely have time to keep up with posts here.

(sigh). OK, we did actually purchase cards, using photos of the kids. And we bought cute paper with snowflakes on which we imagine a charming letter about all the things we’ve done this year.

There they sit, on my desk. A big stack of ’em, right next to all the wonderful cards we’ve received from better-organized friends and family members.

I remember a friend who once sent her Christmas cards in July. She took her kids out on the lake, topped them with “Santa hats”, and shot a beautiful sunset scene. By sending them in July, she left it to the recipient to determine whether they were really late or really early. Clever, really.

We’ll be sending our cards later this month, and those who know us will have no such quandry. Yeah, they’re late. In the meantime – wishing everyone many blessings as they begin the new year!

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.

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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.

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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.

Fixing Miss Betty

What happened in Ole Miss.? We rebuilt this house for an elderly lady that had been born here and refused to allow it to be torn down…


As you can see, it should have been torn down…


Even the Golden Arches were in trouble, one year after the big wave.

It was some of the hardest 3 days I’ve had in a long time. It was amazing though to have people just humbling themselves before the people of this little community. We had a Certified Financial Planner driving nails and holding lumber. We had an unemployed guy working to make somebody else’s life more bearable. We had a software engineer, doing whatever he was told needed to be done, even when he thought he could be better used elsewhere. We had a former pro football player serving dinner to everyone else. God is good.

Too Long Since the Last Post.

Shame on us. Forgive us please, we are very tired…

Ok, so Scott recently went to the ACF High School Retreat. To top it off, he turns fourteen on Sunday. Yea, Scott!

There were 92 high school kids and the boys outnumbered the girls… I thank God everyday for placing us in a church that has a vibrant, living youth group that teaches more than moral values, but teaches relationship with Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings.

Scott is the one in the white hoody…



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


News of the Hasting Family, Texas, USA