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

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Days!

In spite of the challenges our family has faced with winter weather, and a spat of sickness, we have been able to keep up with the most important things in life--getting Katya to school when there was school (and thankfully our weather has been more stable lately, so we are back to having full weeks of school), appointments, Charity to her practices for her roles in "The Little Princess" theater production she did this month, and so on.

(Charity is to the far right of the photo. She was both a 'school girl' and an apple seller in the play. She enjoyed her theater experience very much, and hopes to do more.)

Now, we are all feeling quite a lot better. Paul's cough is still hanging on but is improving the last 24 hours. He has antibiotics yet through tomorrow so hopefully that sends it all the way on it's way. We are back busy doing our usual activities and getting school done and baking, crafting etc as we have time.

We celebrated our Feb. birthday's too!

Kristina turned 14.

A bright and tropical sort of look made her happy!

Charity turned 18!

Opening presents. Photo credit to Amy W. as well as credit for the super cute bag that says, "Pedaling to England."
She chose a blue and yellow theme, that made us both think of "Holland" and all things Dutch for some reason--but also of Ukraine.

(Katya loves to do her own hair these days . . . )

The lovely "Ghel' china figurines given to us by our Russian friends years ago went just nicely with the "blue" part of the theme.

And so our life stays busy and full, and we all are so happy that we are feeling so much better again! ;-)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Bit of Sunshine In My Life

A few years ago, I purchased a "grab bag" of assorted fabric pieces and scrappy bits at our local thrift store. After I got it home and was carefully sorting through it, I found what was clearly an attempt by someone to start a quilt. Some blocks were sewn together, some pieces were cut out, and there was additional fabric. It was kind of obvious looking that there was almost certainly a fabric shortage of at least the yellow, but I felt drawn to some of the fabric combos. It just seemed a shame to waste the work that had been put into this quilt already  . . . if I sent it back to the thrift store, who knew where it might end up? And so, I, tending towards being a sentimental softie, kept this bag of someone's short-circuited plans and dreams.
Eventually, I talked to my friend, Ann, about it and asked her if she would be willing to complete the quilt for me, using whatever fabrics she could make work. I was willing to pay her for it. She said she would see what she could do, and so the whole mess went to her house. This past weekend, she sent me the quilt. (And NOT the bill--she wouldn't give me one, bless her heart!) Here is the quilt, spread out over our couch. It's just the right size to cuddle under.

I love it. It's "scrappy" without being completely scrappy!

Amazing friend she is, she even tracked down the name of the quilt blocks--"Peace and Plenty"--and then she found a reading to go with it, and put that on the back of the quilt for me too!

I love the quilting design she choose--flowers. the back is the white you see flipped up here, with a strip of one of the green fabrics running down through the center.

The name is a good reminder to me that God has plenty of peace and other provisions for me. The quilt is a visual reminder of one of my best friends, and the love, time and money she was willing to put into this quilt for me. The realization that thanks to Ann's hard work, this pile of fabric was rescued from an uncertain fate makes me happy and satisfied. It puts a little Sunshine in my life. ;-)

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Kristina turned 14 this month, and she was given this lovely, lovely quilt by dear friends of our family. Katya loved the quilt too, and the girls had fun rocking together tonight under it. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Closing the Sick Bay--I Hope--And Music

Finally, at long last, everyone is feeling a ton better--except for my poor hubby! We have an AGREEMENT that he's going to the Dr next week unless he has a miracle over the weekend and wakes up Monday morning feeling like a new man!

Poor guy, he has had to keep going far too often since he first got sick, and even though he HAS done a lot of resting, a lot of napping, and has been taking all his supplements etc. and his head congestion has cleared up, he keeps on coughing. So time to get that checked, I think.

It feels good to be doing school again with Chad (and the girls, although they are both fairly independent to a long extent), to be going out to the library, and to have resumed music lessons again!

Speaking of music lessons, we had some great news a few weeks ago from Katya's teacher!

Just read it for yourself!

HI Hope Anne,

   I was so pleased with Katya's lesson.  Somehow something clicks
with her and she just does the thing I have been trying to teach her
for several weeks.  She played "He's Got the Whole World'  just about
all by herself while I sang... and she "sang" as well.  She is getting
the hang of simple chords and for the first time today switched chords
at the right times.  The other thing that was so sweet was that the
second time I accompanied her and she really settled into the song and
was enjoying hearing some "real" music.
  Also, I gave her a new book, the first of the Sing and Play series
since she now can recognize where the key names are and uses the
corresponding fingers.  I wrote the page number of the song we worked
on on the inside cover, - the "Elevator " , using C,D,E.  If Kristina
or Charity could go over this with her and some of the other ones she
could do, it would be great reinforcement.  One stumbling block I had
was getting her to use the correct finger for each key as she liked
using only her index finger.  We wrote the corresponding letter to the
key on her finger nails with a erasable marker.  i.e. a "C" written on
her thumbnail, "D" written on her index finger etc, thus she knew
where to place her finger.  She is getting use to using this position
more, now.

 I feel like at this point she is really going to catch on now that
she has a structure laid out before her that she can understand. The
stickers are hers to use as she likes.  There is a small chart on the
upper half that shows where each letter goes on each piano key.  She,
however knows most of them and has placed them correctly without my
help. She loves doing this and is very meticulous about placing them
correctly and putting them back in their proper place.
   She played most of the Elevator song by herself, which is so fun to see :  )


Isn't that such an encouraging progress note? I'm very thankful that God has put so many loving people into Katya's life who are helping her to progress in the things she is blessed with ability to do!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Encourage and Bless a Family

I know many of my readers have very good, tender hearts. And so I'm reaching out to you today to ask if you would help bless the socks off of a family that  we have met?

 Heart for the Disabled: John and Joanne and Family

You can learn more about this family here at Joni and Friends. I know many of my readers are internationally located, so if you want to bless them with encouraging words and/or Scriptures, I'm sure Joni and Friends would accept emailed messages too! Scroll down to the bottom of the page I have linked you to at Joni and Friends, and fill out the form to send a message to Joni and Friends in time for Valentine's Day for this family!

Having observed the challenges first hand that they face with their son, I know they will deeply appreciate all the encouragement. It may seem like a "little thing" but like Proverbs 25:11 says, " A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver."  (Amplified Bible.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dental Cleaning and Sick Bay Update Part 3

Katya went back to the dental office today for a cleaning and exam.

This was her first cleaning without sedation and with some patience on the part of the hygienist, Katya did fabulously! We were so proud of her!


No cavities and so we are done with that for another 6 months!

When we told her she could get ONE prize from the prize box, she signed, "One" and went off happily and got one prize! Yes, our buttons about popped off again. ;-)

Chad ended back up at the Doctor on Monday, and did not leave the office till he had a breathing treatment. He then came home with several prescriptions, including a prescription for a nebulizer. That was a first for our house but thankfully the "learning curve" for using it has not been too hard. He's starting to feel some better, and having little periods of mild energy--being up, talking and acting more like our old Chad. His appetite is slowly coming back as well. Good thing! He was sick so long that he was losing weight that was plain to be seen--and it showed on the scales too.

The rest of us keep slowly clawing our way upward. I can not believe how long this flu has impacted almost all of us. Charity came down this week with a secondary infection or virus and so we are trying to get her well from that. Meanwhile, Katya has remained healthy, thankfully! She is having so many "snow days" and 2 hour delays that she is totally mixed up on what her schedule is supposed to be by now, and that makes her rather irritable at times, but she is healthy!

Tonight, I popped this recipe into our small crockpot and we will see what it is like for breakfast in the morning. It won't be enough to feed all of us, but that is OK. We don't always eat exactly the same for breakfast due to food allergies and diet restrictions. It looked really yummy, so we'll see what the morning brings.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sick Bay Part 2

We have been running a sick bay pretty much ever since I last posted. Chad relapsed, Charity and I got sick, then Paul, Todd and Kristina came down with the crud as well. We have not had a single day since that everyone is feeling well. OY! Katya remains (thank God!) the lone hold-out! She's not gotten this!

Mixed in with all of this, Katya has had numerous days off from school due to the weather, plus so many 2 hour delays also due to the weather that I have totally lost track of how many. I don't even want to think about how many, truthfully! So our life has been quite an upheaval.

Some how, we have managed to keep the family going . . . we take turns doing little bits and pieces of the most essential things and then lay down and rest--or even sleep--again. I am surprised at how long it's taking most of us to truly feel and be well again.

Actually, today I'm taking Chad back to the Dr as he just is not totally shaking this. He's got me a trifle worried as he is normally my strapping, healthy child! The rest of us I think will get well without further intervention as long as we keep resting and taking our meds and supplements.

All kind thoughts and prayers appreciated. ;-)