Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Weekend in Photos

So many things happened this weekend, I'm sure I will miss something. But, I will do my best to recap events.

All three kids ended the school year this past Friday. Over the past two weeks, Heidi and I have attended more "end of year" or "graduation" parties than ever in our lives. For example: Nadia's choir concert & awards party, Nadia's soccer awards, Nadia's Newcomers Class graduation, Julia's choir concert & awards party, Julia's 5th grade graduation, Julia's school carnival, Julia's church youth group graduation, Julia's birthday party, Kolya's school lunch day out, Kolya's school grade promotion, Kolya's school carnival. I'm sure I missed some thing!

Here's Nadia at the Newcomer's graduation with her teacher, Mr, DJ. Her enrollment in this class was the best thing for her, she really blossomed! Julia will be attending this program next year.

On Friday, I took Kole out of school early, despite it being his last day. We had planned a Father-Son two day fishing trip to South Park Colorado since the girls were attending a party with the Volfs. We camped overnight and got up early for our fishing excursion. Here we are at the crack of dawn.

He and I had a blast and he caught his first fish, this 12" Rainbow trout which put up a pretty good fight. In all, we landed a dozen fish or so between the two of us. Not bad for a day's fishing!

Here I am with my largest of the day, and that's no fish tale! We are honest fishermen,but we bring a camera to do all the talking! With the exception of a fish or two that can't be revived, all our boys get released to fight another day. We departed Saturday evening to get back home for our guests arriving on Sunday.

On Sunday, we had planned our annual cabbage roll making party! We have to pre-make a few of the dishes for our annual Ukraine Orphan Outreach community dinner. The orphans that attend the camp do some of the final prep work and serving of their natives dishes but the UOO group does the heavy cooking. This event affords the kids an opportunity to "pay it forward" because this dinner raises much needed funds for next year's camp, as the previous kids did for them. We made over 450 rolls this year. 'Many Thanks' to the Volfs, the Pittels, and the DeYoungs who showed up at my house to accomplish this. Here's Nadia & Ashley enjoying a little down time after the party!

Since everyone was already at my house, and it was Julia's Birthday, we sang Happy Birthday to her and served cake, cupcakes and ice cream. Mom lit all 12 candles and the party restarted, just with a different focus! Our birthday girl wanted a homemade yellow cake with yellow icing. It was so goooooood!

Birthday smiles with Mom. Standing behind me and the camera in the photo above and below are the two dozen or so friends all saying. "CHEESE!!"

Dad's turn with the Birthday girl. We both love ice cream!

Who could forget the cupcakes! Needless to say, the sugar rush kicked in 30 minutes later and things got interesting at our house after everyone left!

For our overseas friends who don't know, Monday was our annual Memorial Day observance in America. I run the Bolder Boulder 10K run every year with about 50,000 of my friends! My run wave started at 7:15 am and I finished with a personal best time of 56:47! The run ends in the football stadium at CU. Let's play a little "find Waldo" and see if you find me in this picture. I think you can click on the photo to enlarge it. Hint, I just ran by an official on the outside and I'm wearing a white shirt.
While I cooled down in a nearby courtyard, the kids played hide & seek. They love doing this every time they come to CU (where Mom works) because of the immense gardens, courtyards and places to hide. Here's Julia with me, she asked me to cover her eyes so she could count to twenty. She can do so with great ease now.
After the run, there are dozens of venues to visit and lots of free treats. One of the best places to head over to is the popsicle guys and get something cool and tasty after a long run.

We met up with the Christophersons (Ann, Sophia, Anna, Eilleen & Roland) at the run and we planned an impromptu afternoon pizza party at our place. The adults were indifferent as to who's house were should go to until Heidi mentioned that we had left over ice cream and cake. All of the kids got excited about that! Just as the Memorial Day ceremonies were closing, the skies opened up and we all got plenty soaked an our long walk to our cars. When 50K+ people are in attendance, you have to park a long ways off! We all got home and dried off just in time for the new festivities to begin. Roland even treated us to a special drink he brought to make. Yum!
Our last visitor of the weekend was Marilene, Aimee's mom. She brought over a gift for Julia and we sat and talked for awhile. I was beat from the weekend and I want to thank Marilene for not minding that I laid on the couch for the duration.
I was definitely ready for bed as the evening and wonderful, action filled three day weekend came to a close. I'll blog with ya again this week. See you soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Round Two - Here we go again!

The time is right. We have discussed it for many months, both among ourselves and on this blog. It's been on our minds, constantly on our thoughts, and I can feel God's gentile nudging at my back. What is it that I am writing about?

We have officially started proceedings to begin our second adoption trip. We have asked to renew our home study and to begin the backgrounds checks needed for the process. This will start us down the path to bring Rimma (and possibly another unknown child) home! I say unknown but it could very well be a child we have met while there in Ukraine or on one of the UOO camps, we don't know. We are leaving that in His hands.

What about Zina, you may be asking? We still have no word if her registration has cleared the social worker's desks or if she will get registered by the end of this summer, but we must start the process now for Rimma. If Zina gets registered by end of August, we will put on the brakes and slow the process down and go get them both together a year after that.

Comments from our interviews with prospective Ukrainian facilitators indicate that the SDA is giving preference to families adopting older children. We think we could submit our dossier at the right time frame for Rimma's 1 year anniversary for international adoption.

This news gives promise that the SDA seems to have it's act together and is being "older-child" friendly. With that kind of pro-adoption mentality, it might not be a far-fetched idea to ask them to waive the 1 year hold on Zina. I don't know of this ever having been done before and it probably will not happen, but it's worth it to ask. Worst case is that they say no and we continue on plan. This, of course, assumes that Zina gets registered before we travel. We will have our home study ready for three children, just in case. We hope to have Rimma home by Christmas and signs are that this is very doable.

So, thank you to all our friends that provided input these past few months. We value your opinions and you can see now that we were serious and trying to make a decision. We have made that decision and we are moving forward.

In closing, please pray over us and our friends in Ukraine who are undergoing the adoption process at this very moment.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Time for Summer Fun!

As far as I'm concerned, the Eimer's have pulled off a feat as miraculous as walking on water. That is, they were able to photograph all of their kids, all at once, looking in the same direction, and all smiling (see their blog). I can't tell ya how many photos I have of all three kids together, the pictures are endless. But in each snapshot, someone is unhappy, smirking, giving an evil look, rabbit eared, crying, hitting, looking away, blurred, you name it. The few that I do have are all posted here, in a facade of family photographic cooperation! Taking a photo of just one kid is a breeze, get all three together and it's mayhem! No one else has this problem at all, right?! To get one great family picture, many billions of bytes of data die a gruesome electronic death. If I had a nickel for every time that shutter clicked! Thank goodness we have a digital camera!

This is the last week left of school for the kids and they are getting antsy. They are ready to be done for the school year. We have a few local day camps set up for them throughout the summer, just a couple of days a week. We are going to hire a teen in the area to take them to the pool once or twice a week, too. Our three used to go to Spain during the summers, except for last year when they stayed in Ukraine and went to the Black Sea to a stay-away camp. Rimma & Zina will be doing this again because their director, yet again, wouldn't allow the girls to come home for the summer.

I have heard the stories about unsupervised orphan kids running about the summer camps in Ukraine from adults we know, but our kids have been sharing stories as of late about their trips to the Black Sea. It's pretty much the same story. Nadia told me a story about 20 kids eating one watermelon as their only meal that day at the sea, too. Christian camp influences like Karen Springs' group and AGAPE are a welcome change for these youths, and quite a few become new first-time Christians as a result.

We will have to stay in and around Colorado this year unless something magical happens. This is Heidi's busiest time of year and I only have two weeks of vacation saved up. I will need all I can get should we go get Rimma this Fall, unless I go FMLA. We have been taking short day trips to the mountains whenever possible and there will be lots of opportunity to camp and fish during summer up there. In fact Kole and I are going camping and fishing at the hottest rainbow trout spot in Colorado this weekend. We are leaving on Friday and will be fishing all day Saturday before returning home that night. Sunday will be a day of rest before my big Bolder Boulder 10K race on Monday, Memorial Day. I train for it every year, each time trying to better my time over the previous year. My practice run this past weekend puts me in the 55-57 minute time frame!
At our old house, we had a very nice garden. I would get a basket of tomatoes a day out of it. We've been missing that garden as of late, especially when the kids eat tons of veggies and seem to not get enough of them. So, we dug up rock and nailed garden boxes to create the new Rogé family garden. I've had a garden in some way or fashion since I was a kid in Louisiana. It's a southern thing, although we don't have the market cornered or anything. If you didn't have a garden in the South, you were bonafide city folk. We were organic for decades before everyone else found out that it was cool or whatever. We used home remedies to keep the bugs and critters off the plants and our secret fertilizer ingredient was cow manure. My sweet granny, Viola, would be shocked to hear that I buy it in a bag now, we used to go out into our cow pasture with the wheel barrow. Nowadays, Colorado doesn't have the bugs and the only critter I have to do battle with is Buddy our chow-hound.
We talked with both Zina and Rimma this weekend, on two separate occasions. Zina called while we were in the store getting supplies for the garden. Nadia had stayed home, so only Julia and Kolya were available to translate. She wanted us to call back later when Nadia could talk. By the time we got home, had lunch, and got back on the phone to her, she had gone to bed. Rimma answered the phone and chatted awhile. She did finally get our package a few days after Zina's arrived and she said that she loved the shoes. Earlier we sent some cash to her caretaker for both of them to get swimsuits in Ukraine. Rimma explained that they still didn't have enough for the suits, so they just bought sunglasses and summer stuff for the camp with the money. When I asked her if she was just going to wear her underwear to swim in, she giggled. It was great to hear them both again from the other side of the world.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heidi's 1st Mother's Day!

It took this card from Heidi's sister, Sally, to remind me that this indeed was Heidi's first mother's day! How cool is that! We gave mom her gift of 2 Peonies and 2 Columbine plants the day before. The kids couldn't wait, so I let them. On mother's day morning we went to Le peep for breakfast and treated mom to a nice plate of pancakes.

This being the same weekend after CU lets out for the summer, means a work filled weekend for Heidi every year. I took the kids to their carnival day on Saturday, to lunch, to the plant nursery for mom's gift, and by her work site to see her. The kids capped off the day by washing both of our cars as a special treat to both of us. After breakfast on Sunday, we once again went to mom's work site where she is busy renovating one of the CU dorms. A student was still moving out as workers tossed out various pieces of old debris from the windows and doorways. CU renovates one of their old dorms once a year during the summer and both of the past two years has fallen on Heidi's shoulders. She loves her job there and is in her zone when acting as project manager. Heidi also has a big new dining hall construction job and a new dorm build all going at the same time. She's a busy girl! So anytime we get to bring the family to her is time well spent. We helped her a bit by covering some old furniture that was placed outdoors with plastic. It was a bit rainy on Sunday.

Heidi was able to break away Sunday afternoon, so we took the kids to their first movie theater experience. We don't do this a lot due to the expense and the fact that I have a nice home theater system. The kids prefer to be home with a movie and this suits me just fine. For this outing, the kids saw "Aliens vs Monsters" or something like that. It was in 3D and they enjoyed it. Since it was mother's day, I agreed to see a chick-flick with Heidi. She wanted to see "Ghosts of girlfriends past". It was funny, but a bit raunchy. The kids won't be seeing this one anytime soon! Both movies were within 5 minutes of each other, so it worked out fine. I gave my cell phone to Nadia, just in case.

Heidi talked to Zina yesterday. She received the shoes and shirt we sent to her. Wow, it only took 9 days via US mail! The charge was minimal at $18 bucks, too. Rimma's box hadn't yet arrived despite the fact that we sent them both at the same time. I wonder what makes one package slower than another? Hmmnn. Not the first time a package never made it's destination in Ukraine. Perhaps it will show up in the next few days.

Prayers go out to the Hoffmans who boarded a plane at 10:10 MST to journey to Ukraine to bring home their girls. Right now they are somewhere over the Atlantic, hopefully getting some rest and not worrying about events to come. You can still give, they are going on faith and are praying that what they have will be enough. Let's give them what we can so they can complete God's calling.

Congratulations to the Rhan family who were notified today that their SDA appointment is on Memorial day. Another extraordinary family that we have had the pleasure of talking with. Go forth and conquer, Fran!

God bless you all, the families going into harm's way to rescue His children, and the fatherless ones awaiting the world over! Prepare ye the way!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A call for help!

I've been suffering a bit of writer's block as of late, so I've been praying for a message. When I can't get something out of my mind or off my heart, I call it the will of God. Sometimes He blinds me with it, most of the time it's this gentile nagging that won't subside. Here's what I feel He has tasked me with and the three things I need your help with:

Numero Uno & most important...

Our friends, the Hoffmann's are about to embark on their journey to bring home two sweet girls to their forever family. Their appointment is May 18th, THAT'S MAY 18TH...RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!! They got the call early to come for their adoption appointment and will not have time to finish their planned fundraisers to raise all that they will need. They will be about $8000 short. If we do my friend Becky's math, that's just 800 people giving $10 or 80 people giving a hundred! Folks, this is important. This is the future and well-being of two children in harm's way and the willingness of two people to follow God's call to walk in the fields of the fatherless. I don't know how else to say it...please send them whatever you can, TWENTY DOLLARS, FIVE DOLLARS, ONE DOLLAR, ANYTHING! It's not your money, it's God's money! Fore go that weekend movie outing with your family, rent a DVD instead. And for goodness sake put down that double ristretto venti nonfat organic chocolate brownie frrappuccino extra hot foo-foo drink from Starbucks for once and donate the $20 to the Hoffmann fund, OK! Here's a direct excerpt that I cut and pasted directly from their blog, there are two ways to send funds:

You can help two orphans be orphans no more. Any gift will help! Our
appointment is MAY 18, so time is short. The button above is for giving through Paypal. You can also give at any major Wells Fargo bank using the account name "Hoffmann Ukraine Adoption Fund" and the last four digits of the account number, 3692, for verification. (Be certain the teller spells Hoffmann with 2 n's. The entire account name must be spelled exactly right in order to find the account.)


The Ukraine Orphan Outreach camp is scheduled for June 22nd to July 13th! Yep, we finally got 'er nailed down. For those of you in the area, this is an excellent opportunity to do mission work without traveling to the far reaches of the earth. Whether you come out and help or volunteer your resources or just partake in an event, we welcome you with open arms. If any of our friends wants to come in from out of town, we can discuss options, I have a little bit of room, just e-mail me at felixroge@yahoo.com For a complete list of scheduled events and things that you can volunteer for, visit the UOO website at http://www.ukraineorphans.org/

Last, but certainly not least...

Please continue the prayers for our dear Zina. There has been no word on her registration and we are hoping that it is still being worked as planned by the officials in Ukraine. The plan is to go get Rimma if Z doesn't get registered by end of Summer. Mom and the kids talked to Rimma this past weekend (she is back from the sanatorium). Zina wasn't present, so they only got to talk with Rimma. They all refer to each other as brother, sisters, Mom and Dad. I'm so happy that all of the kids "get-it" and know that there will be a time when they are united and one family. Rimma asked where I was (I had weekend AF duty) and said that she was disappointed not to speak with me. She said that she missed the sound of my voice...aawwww! That was enough gas in my tank to last all week!


About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.