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Friday, December 31, 2010

I have a bit of catching up to do here! As always, life got a little busy and my blog was put on the back burner. The first of December, Jessi's college room mate came for a visit to meet Josiah. She brought her baby with her and the girls spent the weekend in a whole different way than they probably ever imagined...comparing notes on their babies, feeding, burping, changing diapers and SLEEPING...not quite what their first days at college were like at all! We took a quick trip to the mall and Jessi realized that she needed to have Josiah sit on Santa's lap, we found the cutest Santa suit in a store and he was a hit! Everyone was stopping to take a look of him on Santa's lap. I know, I am the Grandma, but he was the cutest thing!The week before Christmas, John's sister Martha and her husband came for dinner when they stopped in to see his parents for a night before they headed to meet their kids for Christmas. It has been a long time since we saw them and we enjoyed the night with them, John's parents and our other brother-in-law Jack. (Pictures are going to be loaded up of them later when I get home, don't have them here with me)

Christmas was so good, as always! Christmas Eve, John and Rachel and Emily and Joshua showed up. John's parents, came out too and we all had a really nice time eating dinner, and then opening up presents. The kids stay the night and we are SUPPOSED to open gifts in the morning...but they always start in on me to let them open them early, it has become a game with us...each year I say "No way! This year we are waiting!" and they begin begging and begging, knowing full well that they will be having presents before they go to bed. As Emily and Joshua have grown up so much, the gifts have not been as 'fun' to buy, so this year it was extra fun to buy baby toys again now that we have another baby in the family.
We had brunch at our place in the morning and then headed on over to Grandma and Grandpa McCool's place, the guys wanted to watch the Laker game, then we had our usual Christmas feast, Grandma had a new game with race cars that we were in teams for, Lindy and Matt won, after that came gifts and dessert. Before we knew it another Christmas was over.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For a second year, Cyndi asked if she could use my pictures for the print shop calendar that she sends out to clients each year. I put the ones I like best on a CD and give it to them. From there, I have no idea what they will do with them. It is always so fun for me to open up each page and see which ones they chose out of the hundreds I gave her. I loved the one last year and this one is just as good for me. The cover turned out really cool, (yes, I know, 'Cool Printing') they took a sliver of each month's picture and made a rainbow.

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Friday, November 26, 2010



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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Josiah David Veras!!
A week overdue and her time finally came. We went in for her checkup and the doctor said that from the exam she felt there was too low amount of fluid around the baby and she was having contractions, so it was time to head on over to the hospital! We didn't even have our bags with us!

She was hooked up to a monitor for the baby's heartbeat and one for her contractions.

Grandpa and Grandma McCool and Aunt Cyndi showed up to cheer her on, a few texts came in, phone calls were made and a last meal.
After a while, they left and the next phase of waiting time began!

It was a long night, contractions didn't seem to go away, one minute of rest and minutes more of each contraction, by morning, there was no progress and the baby was showing signs of distress. His heart rate dropped a couple of times but they were able to get it back up each time. Then came decision time, they wanted to induce her. She knew from her experience as a labor and delivery nurse, that once they did that, most of the time it ended in Caesarean anyway, so since the baby was already having problems in there, she just didn't want to risk anything happening to him just so she could deliver him naturally. With a ton of tears, she decided to let them do the surgery. I was in awe as I stood there watching my little girl make such a grown up decision. She didn't even need to ask me for advice, she KNEW what needed to be done.

We got ourselves all ready for the surgery & took one last look at

'The Belly'
lopsided, as usual

Upper left was her view, upper right was my view. I tried not to look down to my right at the 'other' view or I would have been useless in there. It still makes me tear up seeing her little tear drip down.

And here is my first look at the little guy! I put it in black and white just for those who would rather leave something to the imagination.

8 pounds, 5 ounces
19 inches

Thank you, God, for such a blessing!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

As always, life here is continuously going, and this past few weeks, have been FULL of going and going. We have been busy sewing things for the babies, had two baby showers, one given by Aunt Lindy and Aunt Cyndi and one from our Spanish church ladies, we went to watch the kids run cross country races, had lunch out with Grandpa and Grandma Dixon and McCool (and a few other lunches out), and got Grandma to use her painting talent to paint us a pumpkin on the pregnant girl's belly. We have had a few prelabor episodes, but nothing so serious to get us into the car and headed to the delivery room. The due date is this Saturday, so it won't be long now!

Yesterday, Dennis and Abby were sent a new picture of Gabriel. The update on the adoption process at this point is that the US side of it all has been completed, so now they are only waiting for the Korean side to finish and THEN they get to travel to Korea and bring that little guy home!!!

As for the visa for Ariel, NOT good news! He went for his interview on the 21 and to our shock, he was denied. The reason stated was that he needed to return with the birth certificate from the baby and his wife! But the birth of the baby is what he needed to get here asap for!!! I gave a call to Senator Merkley's office. They have advised us in the past and remembered us. Whitney, his assistant, contacted the US Embassy liaison in the Dominican Republic.(remember it is the US EMBASSY that is denying this, NOT the Dominican Republic). Finally today, she talked to Jessi and said that even though they can not REQUIRE that the spouse be at the interview, they can deny it until the spouse shows up. The Embassy there has had too many fraudulent cases and they now 'REQUIRE' to see the spouse in order to grant the visa. So the plan is that as soon as the baby is born and they get his birth certificate and visa, Jessi will pack herself and the baby back there to claim her husband and finally bring her little family back to Oregon. Not the way they planned, but they know that God knows and is in control, even it it does not appear so.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Christmas, my parents gave my sisters and me a ticket to ride the train from Hood River up to Parkdale. We decided to wait until fall to go so that we could see all the colors of the leaves. Our trip was last Sunday. It was so nice, we munched on brunch as we rode along, taking in the view and me of course taking tons of pictures. The leaves are late changing this year, but it was pretty anyway, with a perfect sunny fall day.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It has been a busy month here!
Jessi arrived on the 17th of September, with a HUGE belly! She looks sooo cute pregnant! It has been nonstop ever since she got here. Doctor appointments, shopping, painting, sewing, knitting, lunches out, cooking the foods she is always craving even when she is not pregnant, visiting family and friends and registering at Baby’s R Us for the shower her aunts are giving her.

I have never had a baby’s room at this house. What used to be called Dennis’ room, then the ‘blue room’ is now the ‘BABY’S ROOM’. First off, we went to buy the crib. We got it assembled. She picked out turquoise for the walls, and a brown for some stripes around the top as a border. Good thing that I like to paint, right? We went to the fabric store and found the perfect fabric for a sheet, ruffle, and curtain and I got to work sewing next. Then she found some awesome stars that light up that made for the finishing touch. She even has some baby clothes hung in the closet and in the drawers already! I still want to recover the rocker and hope that we have new carpet in before our little guy arrives. That royal blue carpet just does not blend well with turquoise walls.

All the doctor reports have been so good since she got back, and each day her belly seems to grow and grow. (She says I am allowed to say that for one month more and then I HAVE to stop!) The baby is so active, I love it that she is here and I get to feel him moving and kicking, I can’t wait to have him in my arms. Ariel’s visa appointment is on the 21st and we are pretty hopeful that he is going to arrive before the baby does.

On the ‘Gabriel’ front, Dennis and Abby are still waiting for a date to travel to pick up our other little guy. His latest health report says he “Gathers both hands and plays with hands and feet, Babbles often, laughs and giggles” So hard waiting to have him with us too! Just knowing that he is OURS and we can’t have him yet is almost cruel! At least it is to a GRANDMA!!! Just WHY does it take so long to finish up some paperwork? I wish I had a new picture to post, but they have only sent us the one that I already posted.

Both boys so close and yet so far!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A few months ago, I blogged about the sadness of seeing our friends Fred and Pat endure the horrible news that their son had suddenly died. No warning, no time for one more goodbye, only that he was gone. He left them with his 6 year old daughter. As Pat and Fred began the difficult task of trying to heal, to move ahead, they also had a granddaughter to help through it as well.

For reasons we will never be able to understand, last week, Fred suddenly left us too.

He was a member of the Patriot Guards.

(I did not take this set of photos, they are from the Patriot Guard site about Fred)

It is a group of people who ride together to support the families at the funeral of those who have served our country in the military, some killed in action, others retired. They ride their motorcycles to the funeral and then stand silently holding their flags during the service. Fred was a dedicated member who rode with them as often as he could, which meant he was riding at least once a week. Last Friday, he was on his way to attend a funeral when he was hit by a car and died. It comes as such a shock to a family who is still reeling from the shock of losing their son and brother just months ago.

This photo was taken at our last dinner out on Fred's birthday. Fred was John’s closest friend. They have known each other for years. They met at work. Both meat cutters and both were working at what was called Waremart way back when. Their store was way over in Hillsboro and so they ended up car pooling. It was at least an hour each way, (John’s description of the drive… 26 potential traffic light stops and 42 miles one way). That was plenty of time for them to really get to know each other over those years and build their friendship. Eventually, the company bought Cub Foods, they were both transferred to Cub Foods in Gateway, and Waremart and Cub Foods became WINCO. Then when WINCO opened in Gresham, they both transferred. Sometime in there, I got to know his wife, Pat, as well. The four of us hit it off and we spent a lot of time together, going out to dinner, to each other’s homes, to the weddings of our children, enjoyed the births of grandkids, they were amazing dancers and talked us into going to dance lessons with them, we even went to Vegas together. Five years ago Fred retired. They loved their new life and were helping John count down the days until he retires too. Please remember Pat and their two daughters as they continue to come to grips with the reality of what they have to deal with day by day.

The graveside funeral was Thursday. Now who would have ever thought you would come away from a funeral AMAZED??!!! Well, that is just how it was. I have never seen so many motorcycles in one place, I heard there were about 125, but it sure seemed like more to me. The Navy sent a bugler, the Oregon Guard had rifles, and not sure which branch it was, sent some hummers and representatives. The Patriot Guards had a bagpiper. It seemed as if we were at the funeral for the President. The Patriot Guards met at the boat ramp near where the cemetery is; I figure that the line of motorcycles and cars was about 2 miles long, maybe more. They all rode out past the house where Pat and her family were waiting to go to the funeral home along with the Missing Man Formation. They lead them all back past us at the cemetery continuing on to the funeral home and the Patriot Guards pulled into the cemetery and started getting in place for their return. So many flags! They lined up along the gravel driveway and waited. On Sunday, they held a memorial for him at their church. Again the Patriot Guards were there lining the driveway into the church. Normally, they never attend the service they are standing for, but this time, since it was one of their own, most of them came on in once the family was seated. The church was filled and some even had to stand. Both services were such a beautiful tribute to Fred. Well done, good and faithful servant.

So many times when a person dies, everybody ends up making that person bigger and better than he really was, you never again hear a bad word about him and so many times, the person becomes a sort of hero. Well, as the word began to spread about Fred and people came to remember him, sharing their memories and feelings for Fred, he did become a hero. We all enjoyed Fred and each of us knew he was a special person, very unique, very much himself, a dedicated Christian man, a husband, father, and friend. But even Pat says she has been overwhelmed with pride for Fred with it all, seeing how much and how far Fred touched. As everyone shared, it was genuine real memories, not blown up or glorified words, it was real, just like Fred was, I think even Fred would be amazed at how much bigger and better his impact on others was, more than he even would have imagined himself to be.

Another thing about Fred…He read my blog. He didn’t just take a look at it now and then, he was a REGULAR. And he didn’t just look over the pictures he READ it! When we would get together, before I even had a chance to say something about what we had just done, he would be asking me questions about it. He always told me that I should be a writer. That always made me feel good. I am really going to miss my biggest blog cheerleader.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, Grandkids...OH MY!

The picture looks way better if you double click on it to see it bigger.
The years have gotten away from us as my cousins and I have grown up. We used to get together ALL the time. My childhood memories of times spent together are so good. But like so many families, as kids grow up and move away, get married, have their own families, we started to lose touch. We would hear bits and pieces of how each other were doing through our Moms, but we have not seen each other in a very long time. Sadly, the last two times I have seen most of my cousins have been at funerals. Not a good time to spend 'catching up'. So finally, with the prodding of my Mother, my cousin Susan and I managed, via Internet, a few phone calls and one meet up at Edgefield, to get the invitations out, the food planned and a reservation made. The day arrived last weekend that most of us managed to set aside a few hours to reconnect. It was a good day. Seven out of 12 cousins made it. And of course we are all saying that it CAN NOT be that long again before we make plans to meet again. Hopefully, the ones who did not make it will find a way to plan us in and be there with us next time!
On the Dixon side of the family, we had a special visit from John's sister Sheila and her daughter Ann. Again, like with my cousins, it has been way too long since we have seen each other. We we happy that she took the trip over from Payette, Idaho.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

There is a new photo in my house! I have known for a while, but have not mentioned it here because I have been waiting for more photos and information to pass on. But nothing new seems to be happening and I am too excited to wait anymore to announce this newest addition to our family. Dennis and Abby have been matched up with a 5 month old boy from Korea. They have named him Gabriel. Do-Hun is the name his foster family is calling him, so Dennis and Abby decided to keep his Korean name as his middle name. So we wait and we have done for almost a year since they began the process, for the processing of paperwork, passport and all that is needed to make him fully ours. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, they will be able to travel to Korea and bring him home sometime before Christmas.

An update on the other grandchild that I have on the way. Jessi is 7 months along now. They know it is a boy, but they have NO IDEA what to name him. Dennis and Abby were able to come up with a name for Gabriel in just a couple of days...but Jessi and way! They seem to have a language/cultural thing going the names he guys in the states would not be able to pronounce or would just laugh at, then she suggests her favorites and he can't pronounce them. I keep asking her if they have come up with ANYTHING, she has assured me that somehow, they will have a name for him before he leaves the hospital. None of the names I keep suggesting are WHAT is wrong with Vic?

As with the paperwork for Gabriel, so we have been waiting almost a year for the visa to come through for Ariel to travel with her back to the Oregon to have the baby. Her doctor says she has to travel no later than the middle of September. As the date nears and no progress that we can see with the final phase of the visa, I finally have contacted our state Senator Merkley. His office is helping to expedite his visa. They are not automatically granting it, but because of the conditions, they have requested doctors papers to help speed along the process in hopes that Ariel will be able to get his appointment to the US Embassy for his interview and be granted the visa to travel with her.

So around here, between Gabriel, 'BabyBoy', and Ariel's visa, we have been saying a lot of prayers for healthy babies, and speedy paperwork done to get visas and passports and all that is needed to get these 3 guys home to us!
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm sure you must think that I am going to have all kinds of interesting things to say about why I have not posted anything for the last couple of weeks. Sorry to disappoint you...nada. Of course I would LOVE to say that I have been off on some island soaking up the sun, dipping into the cool ocean to refresh myself after a day of hiking into the jungle to take pictures of breath-taking waterfalls and trying to learn the native language so I could play with the little children before lounging beside the pool with my island drink topped with a little umbrella and a hunk of, none of that, in fact, all last week, the sun didn't even show up around here until late afternoon, no little kids to talk to in any language, and the only refreshing drinks I've had are the iced americanos I have made myself, with no little umbrella. But it has not been because of boredom that I have not taken time to write. I have been sorting, and cleaning and dusting, and scrubbing and tossing and organizing. I have gone through every room, every closet, every drawer, there is not a cobweb, the floors are sparkling, the carpets are cleaned, and I put new shelf paper in the cupboards, curtains washed, the oven cleaned, I tore apart and scrubbed the inside of the refrigerator and sorted out the filing cabinet. I don't think my house has EVER been so clean and organized EVER, EVER! So now, I can sit back with nothing left to do and enjoy my americano...and guess what? While I was sorting, I found myself one of those cute little umbrellas...sure makes the americano taste better!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Last week, I was asked to take part in something with the Red Cross that I have not done before. A few weeks ago, a 57 year old fisherman/camper went missing. After being a week overdue and looking for him their own, the family finally reported him missing. They knew where his camp was, found all his things in order, nothing looked like foul play, and so the search began. The Red Cross is providing food and refreshments to the searchers. We have a small crew going up each day to make sandwiches and set out snacks and water for everyone. I have had the training to be a part of it, but never taken the opportunity. So, on Thursday, I hopped in my car and drove up the Clackamas River...and drove...and drove and drove...miles, I could not believe it as I kept on driving. Almost 60 miles 1 way. I could have ridden up with the others in the Chapter van, but I would have had to go 45 minutes in the opposite direction to just turn around and pass my place to get out to the scene. It was a beautiful drive, I even stopped twice and took some pictures. It is so hard to imagine that such a beautiful place could be the same place that is causing so much pain for this family. One look at the terrain and you can see why they are having such a hard time finding this man. It was interesting to see what goes on from the inside of one of these searches. I watched and listened as the man in charge of it gave the morning briefing. I can't believe that by their detective work, they even know what he ate the last time he ate in camp, they know about what he is carrying and how much snacks and water he took along with him. People were calling in tips to the Tip Line and the sheriffs were responding to those calls on the spot, taking notes, returning calls and sending searchers to those areas. We even had a clairvoyant walk into camp with her husband, an elderly woman who had spoken to the sheriff the day before, I guess, he had not given her the response she wanted, so she marched herself into the camp and demanded to be listened to. According to her, she was in contact with the missing man and knew exactly where he was, she described his clothing, told us he had a broken leg and was hungry and giving up. She told us all kinds of things about this man. When I left, she was talking to the sheriff still. Actually, I was glad to be going, it was kinda creepy. The other two Red Cross guys I was working with said that she has been on one of the late night shows, like David Letterman because she also is an Animal Whisperer, and has given tips to the police many times about other missing person cases. As of this morning's report, he has still not been found.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My goal for this summer is to be able to take a good shot of the moon. I think I finally have it figured out, but now I need to get a better zoom lens to get it closer. I cropped this one to get it bigger, but that is as close as I can get it without it getting fuzzy.

Here is a shot I took of the moon rising over Mt. Hood at sunset the other night.

Last weekend we went to Stone Cliff Inn for dinner, the rafters were just bringing in their rafts for the day and I was taking pictures of them. There were so many and it was pretty colorful. Then the waiter brought my wine and just before I moved the glass to continue taking pictures of the rafters, I saw the trees and sky reflecting in the wine and thought that was pretty, as I took this picture, I realized I even got the rafters in there too. Bonus!

The last night with the kids here.

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Here are highlights of the week with Emily and Joshua here. It is so hard to narrow the pictures down, but here are my favorites.
Joshua was a bit nervous on the first ride up the lift...his little hands tell it all...but it really is a LONG way down!

It only took us one time up with the kids and they had all the confidence they needed to go it alone. Next thing we knew they were not even riding up with each other!

There were so many activities up there for them to do!
Misc. pics of the week.
Emily and I went for a couple of walks, the first picture here is one she took of our shadows, isn't it good? Joshua decided the swings needed backs, so he added in one of their little chairs. Emily and I started working on some knitting for the little babies that will be joining our family this fall. And of course we had to have a game of Monopoly.

Remember those giant marshmallows we had on the 4th of July? Well, I thought it would be funny to get mini marshmallows as a joke for the next fire and batch of Smores...topped off with Teddy Grahams and chocolate chips, we used toothpicks to toast them. They thought it was funny, but actually, they were REALLY GOOD!
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