Tuesday, December 29, 2009


OK, how domestic is this? Family Fun magazine comes through with an idea to occupy the young ones while Thanksgiving dinner is cooking. Yes, I said Thanksgiving. Al, Scott's dad, and the Daigles (Scott's sister, Christy's family) came for Thanksgiving. We threw in a little Christmas while they were here.
This is Naomi, Christy's middle one, playing dress up with Sabrina.

Now it is really Christmas, with Diane's family. This is Elizabeth, and Christian. Believe it or not Christian and Sabrina are only a couple weeks apart in age. His dad always jokes that Christian shouldn't eat his cousin!

Princess Sabrina, Christmas eve!

On the way to Grandma Mary's with stocking goodies in our lap.

This is the best I could do with a Christmas morning photo. Rather pathetic considering the ages of the older two. Mostly it was the uncooperative oldest!

Oh, yeah, she's a tool girl!
Even if it is a little late...

Sabrina update!

Sabrina has officially been home a year. WOW! Cannot imagine life without her! She is finally growing a little. She is about 24 pounds and 331/2 inches tall. She still mostly wears 18-24 month clothes. (Jake wore that size when he was less than a year old!) She is walking really well, but still with a little swing of the hips. The doctors think she will out grow this. Our big news was that Sabrina has latent tuberculosis. This means she has no symptoms and is not contagious but could one day develop TB so she has to take 9 months of antibiotics! She did have a chest x-ray to verify that the doctors didn't see anything suspicious. We joked with her that she was getting a picture of her boobies. Anything to distract her. She continues to have an amazing vocabulary and is adding 3 and 4 syllable words like comfortable, tomorrow, and together.

Noelle dances

Isn't she beautiful? Noelle has been taking a ballet/tap class. She would love to take pointe, but has to work her way up. Because she is starting later than most girls, the girls in her class are younger than she is. The recital was lots of fun and Noelle's dance was great. Especially the final kick!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My girls

I am so behind on posts. But I quick wanted to put a link to new professional photos of the girls. The photographer has already asked to post one of Sabrina in a doctor's office. Fun. The link is http://elementportraits.instaproofs.com/collection.php?event=184796. Let me know what you think. My favorites of Sabrina are 154, 156, 190 and 195 (absolute fav!!). My favorites of Noelle are 37, 170 and 202. Sabrina had a hard time warming up and there aren't any great ones of the two of them together. And the ones with me were unplanned, just trying to get Sabrina to warm up. We will not be buying any of those. Where did those thighs come from and how come working out six days a week doesn't make them go away? Oh, yeah, you have to stop eating everything that is not nailed down. I digress.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yummy, healthy recipes.

So I know it comes and goes, but I am eating really healthy again. And I feel amazing! Thought I would share some of the recipes that I have come across.
Vegan Banana Muffins

4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar or pure maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Canola)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour ( I used all wheat flour, 1/2 of it was whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
I added chopped walnuts and raisins.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease or place cups in tin for 12 muffins
3. Mash bananas
4. Add oil, sugar or maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and cardamom and mix.
5. Add flours, baking powder and baking soda and mix.
6. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are done and slightly browned on top.

Calories 241
Total fat 9.6
fiber 2.8
protein 3.4

Salad of Arugula and Persimmons
from "The New Vegetarian Epicure"
3 good-sized bunches of arugula (I used mixed greens)
1 small head radicchio
1 small bunch water cress
2 medium Fuyu persimmons or a firm pear (I used a red pear that was amazing)
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion (not a big raw onion fan, I used less)
1/2 medium red bell pepper
1 small sweet yellow pepper
1/2 pound Roquefort cheese
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
2-3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Basically, toss it all together and toss the oil and vinegar on top:) Yummy!
Veggie Jambalaya
(crock pot recipe)
From the "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker"
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
15.5 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15.5 ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
(You can use slow cooked beans but I am way to lazy for that, 1 1/2 cups each)
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 can diced tomatoes, drained (I didn't drain them)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon file powder (optional, but I used it)
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
Tabasco sauce (I didn't add)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic; cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Add the beans, tomatoes, water, file powder, thyme and Old Bay seasoning; season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. (I did it on high for about 3 hours.)
3. Just before serving time, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage link pieces and cook until browned, then add to the jambalaya along with Tabasco sauce to taste.
**If you need your meat, I would think you could add any meat in that last step.
Enjoy mixing it up a bit in your kitchen!

Four kids?!?

God is calling us again. Loud and clear. Some of you know that when we called about Sabrina, we also inquired about a little boy. Almost two years later, he has still not found a home. We are pretty sure that is because we are his family and we need to go get him!! So, we are starting the process again. I am unsure if the journey will be longer or shorter based on some of the details of his situation. We had our home study appointment Wednesday night and are working on the first round of paperwork.

We would love your prayers that this process would go quickly. In my little dream world, I see us all going to pick him up next summer before Jake heads off for college. By the way, have any of you returned to Ethiopia with your previously adopted children? Scott is worried about taking Sabrina.

Awesome Book Study!!

Can't remember if I mentioned or not...we are finally in an adult small group. After leading youth small groups for thirteen years, we are so excited. The book Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus is what we are reading. We are watching video clips and using the workbook, but this book absolutely will stand alone! It is a study of Jonathan, and focuses on seizing your divine moment. Here a just a few of the many, many things that I have underlined.
-"The most spiritual activity you will engage in today is making choices."
-"There are things God does for you and things that God waits for you to do."
-"...while God leaves us with many choices to make, when He has spoken, the one right choice is to obey."
-"We must resolve not only to leave the path of doing evil, but also to passionately pursue a life of doing good."
-"At worst a passive life is only pitied, yet God counts it as a tragedy when we choose to simply watch life rather than live it. Jesus described as wicked the person who leaves his talent unused. When we fail to choose, we choose to fail. You cannot put your life on hold. It moves forward with or without your approval. Choosing not to choose does not put off the problem, only exacerbates it."
-"...when you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions."
-"God rarely shows you the problem so that you can tell someone else about it."
I could go on and on. If you want to be challenged to step outside of your comfort zone and live for God in a way that will rock your world...this is the book for you. If that scares you, read it anyway!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


We started on Friday with a party at a friend's house. We wore our dress from Ethiopia. Thanks, Jael.

Carving pumpkins. She didn't want to put her hand in at first, then she finally braved it!

Back at pumpkin town. This time with cousin Elizabeth.
All of the cousins adore Sabrina.

On the hay ride with Grandma. It was a cold and windy day.

Here Kitty, Kitty!

All kitties wear shades when they are trick or treating!
After each house she would say, "more trick or treating!"
She knows what she likes.

Trunk or treat at church. Our daughter Noelle is the platinum blond in front.
They were supposed to be some sort of futuristic night club. Perfect for church.
Apparently they had a great time:)

Mommy and Kitty at Trunk or Treat.

Finally, I get to eat some!

Bubble Hat

Daddy, aren't the bubbles supposed to stay in the bath tub??

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall fun

We have done some fun day trips this fall. This is Scott and his dad and sister at Pike's Peak State Park along the Mississippi, in Iowa.
Then Scott, Sabrina and I took my mom on a trip up to Wisconsin to go apple picking and see the fall leaves. The leaves weren't great because of frost and rain but we had lots of fun. This was a fun shop we stopped at in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

Yes, my hair is red (again)!

Each year our church hosts Pumpkin Town. We meet Elke and Anna there for a quick visit.

On the hay ride.

Ride 'em cowgirls! Sabrina was afraid of the real animals.

Back on the hay ride. I tried to get pictures on the bouncy jump thing (what are those called?) but they were very fuzzy. I really need to work on the action shots!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's official!

Wow! I am so excited! Sabrina is officially Sabrina Hope Larson, as of October 8th, 2009!

This is my mom and dad, Bob and Mary.

Our attorney, Lynn Smith. Thanks, Lynn!

Scott's dad, Al and his sister, Rachel. With her husband, Kevin and their daughter, Holly.
All the way from Colorado. Thanks for making this extra special!

Any excuse for cake!!

I am fairly sure that none of it got in her mouth.

Aunt Rachel looks a little nervous with all that mess:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A tribute

Proverbs 31
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is worth more than precious rubies.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She will not hinder him but help him all her life...
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household...
She watches for bargains...
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy...
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs with no fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise,
and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions...
Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her.
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!"
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
My mother-in-law, Shirlee Jean Larson, went to be with Jesus last week. It was very unexpected. She was only 67 years old. She has left great holes in many lives.
Shirlee's family (about 1960)
back row: Shirlee's mom, brother Jim, and dad
front row: Al and Shirlee (Scott's parents:), Shirlee's sister and her husband

Al and Shirlee, young and in love!

Totally the '80s.
One thing I love about Scott's family is their love of the outdoors.
My family wasn't so great at that. We had a tendency to take part in great commercialism.
Here we are enjoying the great outdoors, in Wisconsin, I think.
top: Rachel, Scott's sister
Scott, Christy (Scott's sister), Shirlee, Al
Me, with the big hair!

Another outdoor excursion. I think in Door County.
I need Scott here to identify all these adventures!

Al and Shirlee, at Rachel's wedding, 1992

Shirlee with our two kids, Jake and Noelle, 1996

Shirlee and Noelle, Holland, Michigan
It's funny, everyone always says she looks like me.
I think she sure looks like Scott's mom and sister!

Al and Shirlee dancing at Christy's wedding.

Shirlee was pretty infamous for tea parties with the grand kids.
Here they are with Aunt Rachel, 2001

Fairly sure this is in Duluth.
We all met there for a long weekend.
It is one of Al and Shirlee's favorite places.

Another tea party!
Cousin Micah joins in.

Handmade Christmas presents!

Story time with Noelle and Micah.
Thanks for reminiscing with me. I noticed a couple of things as I went through pictures. First, Al and Shirlee were so in love. They were high school sweethearts and have been together over 50 years! What a fantastic model for our family. Second, I had a hard time finding recent photos of Shirlee with our family. I have been dealing with so much regret since Shirlee passed away.
I have always joked that patience was a virtue that I didn't have. I am seeing the seriousness of that, it isn't very funny any more. God has called us to portray the FRUIT of the Spirit, singular, not plural. We don't get to pick and choose. I fear that my impatience drove a distance into our relationship with Scott's parents. I knew it was there but I didn't know how to fix it and I didn't pursue the healing of the relationship like I should have.
This is a cautionary tale. We don't get time back!! Love your family with all that you have! Don't let little differences come between you!
"Regret, remorse imply a sense of sorrow about events in the past, usually wrongs committed or errors made. Regret is distress of mind, sorrow for what has been done. Remorse implies pangs, qualms of conscience, a sense of guilt, regret, and repentance for sins committed, wrongs done or duty not performed. Antonym: JOY"
Don't live with regret.
Al and Shirlee, I am so sorry!! I am so sorry to my family for the time that they lost with their mom and grandma! I thank God that He is my Father and that in Him I can someday find peace in this situation.
Romans 8:6 "If your sinful nature controls your mind (and tongue), there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace."
Hebrews 12:14 "Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord."
I Peter 3:11 "Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others."
II Peter 1:2 "May God bless you with His special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better."
That's another thing about Scott's parents (and my parents). They are not stagnant in their relationship with their Lord. I pray this will be a wake up call to me. Maybe the reason Shirlee was so patient and peaceful is because she started each day with Jesus.
Please pray with me that the Lord will be everything that Scott and his family need during this hard, hard time. Pray with me that I will witness a transformation. That I will finally invest in my spiritual life in a way that will pore out of me in a new way, peace and patience. I have always loved the word meek. Pray that somewhere inside me there is a shred of meekness.
Pray that before it is too late, that Scott and I would model a dailyness in the Lord. That our kids won't have to look to their grandparents to see that. That our relationship with Jesus would be intimate and apparent, more that Wednesday, Sunday and meal time prayer.