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Harmony Haven Therapeutic Riding and Horse Rescue

  We have started our non-profit organization in Cottonwood. Harmony Haven Therapy Riding and Horse Rescue. We will add you to our mailing list if you want updates (we now have 3 horses for our riders). Hope to hear from everyone. — Jeannie, 20... read more

Family newsletter

  Old stuff, but some of it's still funny ... It's basically the precursor to this website. Click the links in the table of contents, above. Otherwise, just do a search in the home page's search box for "newsletter" (without quotes).... read more


  Pet-related posts "The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures, but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiorit... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 8 no 1

  Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 8 No. 1, February 1997 A lot... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 7 no 1

  The Wandering Eye Vol. 7 No. 1, March 19, 1995 [We're back! Sorry it took so long between issues, but the entire staff was frozen solid in a block of ice the past three months. We j... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 7

  Yee-Haw The only newsletter we do! Vol. 6, No. 7, December 29, 1994Belinda Has Puppies! Another one of Lucy's dogs has... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 6

  Coyote Breath Vol. 6 No. 6, October 26, 1994 Don rides to Denver In August, Don rode his motorcycle from Nashville to Denver. He wouldn't say why or what he did while in Den... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 5

  Behind the Eight Ball Who is that behind the eight ball, anyway? Vol. 6 No. 5, August 21, 1994 Jeannie Bre... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 4

  Fish Stories Best when lightly buttered, with just a pinch of lemon. Vol. 6 No. 4[sometime between April and August 1994] T... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 3

  The Obtuse Moose Vol. 6, No. 3, April 21, 1994 ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 2

  Falling Down a Manhole (can be quite painful and should be avoided) Vol. 6, No. 2, March 1, 1994... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 1

  Itchy Trigger Finger Vol. 6, No. 1, February 6, 1994earthquake in Southern California! We're sure you've heard all about it on the news, but we just wanted to mention it in case y... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 8

   The Happy Hairball (something we keep coughing up) Volume 5, Number 8 December 20, 1993 Publisher: This guy —>> Editor: Same guy Distributor: Brave little delivery boys and girls worldwide Address: Nashville, TN 37215 ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 7

  The Rotten Apple "Journalism with visible holes" Vol. 5 No. 7, December 1, 1993 Mike Rolls Car! LIVINGSTON, CA - Remember we told you about Mike's new car in the previous issue? Well, he "totalled" it a couple... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 6

  Hoot and a Holler Vol. 5, No. 6, September 28, 1993 — Nashville edition — Journalism at its finest! — Yearly subscription rate: $135 Brouns family buys property LATHR... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 5

  the rabblerouser Vol. 5, No. 5, August 8, 1993 Bill moving to Nashville Bill is moving to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his boyhood dream of being a country singing star! Oh wait, that's Don's boyhood dream. Bill's jus... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 4

  Not Just Another Newsletter MONDAY, JULY 19, 1993 CIRCULATION: From 8 to 15 (depending on our mood and how many stamps we have) Copyright 1993 Bill Holmes Enterprises ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 3

  A Face in the Crowd Vol. 5, No. 3, May 25, 1993 Eleanor Gets License After taking the DMV driving test every year since the age of 16, Eleanor has finally passed and b... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 2

  The Sacred Cow Vol. 5, No. 2, March 15, 1993 Dad sucked from plane! Well, almost. And it was 41 years ago. [Hey, nobody can accuse us of being accurate or current (or relevant, ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 1

  The Stupid Kangaroo Vol. 5, No. 1, February 1, 1993 Editor's Note: This newsletter welcomes the New Year (kicking and screaming, but that's to be expected) and we wish all our readers (an... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 8

  The Leaping Lizard Vol. 4, No. 8, October 20, 1992 EDITOR'S NOTE ... After Grandma's recent birthday party (see article below), this newsletter was swamped with requests from peo... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 7

  The Belching Frog Vol. 4, No. 7, September 16, 1992 "Thomas should like this name." ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 6

  >The Barking Dog Vol. 4 No. 6, July 22, 1992 "Who names these newsletters, anyway?" earthquakes, earthquakes! We're sick of earthquakes! Why doesn't the government do something!? On June 28, 1992, Southern Califo... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 5

  The Broken Record Vol. 4, No. 5, June 25, 1992 "Predictable, irritating. Really, no redeeming qualities whatsoever." L.A. riots: The aftermath In the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots, religious and community leaders speak of heali... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 4

  >The Squeaky Sprocket Vol. 4, No. 4, May 11, 1992 "The intelligent person's newsletter of choice." Riots in L.A., earthquakes in So. Cal and Eureka! Is the world coming to an end? Probably. And did you notice that all these things h... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 3

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 4, No. 3, March 18, 1992 "More of the same, basically." Doug elected president With this nation in the throes of its quadrennial tra... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 2

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 4, No. 2, February 13, 1992 "The quintessential newsletter." Warning: May not be suitable for the humor impaired. Elvis lives!... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 1

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 4, No. 1, January 4, 1992 "Everything you've ever wanted to know about anything." Diane has surgery On December 3, Diane of Haywa... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 8

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 3, No. 8, December __, 1991 Steve & Denise host Thanksgiving ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 7

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 3, No. 7, October 14, 1991 Mike lands great job! Michael has been named Executive Producer of Cal State Stanislaus' new bi-weekly cable television s... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 6

  The Leaky Faucet "Irritating, yet soothing. Obnoxious, yet hypnotic" Vol. 3, No. 6, July 30, 1991 ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 5

  >NEWS Vol. 3, No. 5, July 6, 1991 Northern California's leading newsletter since 1989 (except for those few months when we were Southern California's leading newsletter) Record heat melts Sacto!Molten steel and rubber cover city ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 4

  the Evening Star Post-Tribune Dispatch (we couldn't decide on a name) Vol. 3, No. 4, June 4, 1991 Bikers ride to Yosemite On Mother's Day, John, Jeannie, ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 3

  and now ...THE NEWS Vol. 3, No. 3 (yes, only "No. 3") April 26, 1991 Doug returns from Hungary On March 21, Doug left Sacramento for Budapest (pronounced "booda-pesht"), Hungary. Taking advantage of a tickets-for-mugs trade w... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 2

  the NEWSLETTER Vol. 3, No. 2, February 10, 1991 It's a girl... and a boy and a girl and a boy ...   Chance, a dog, has given birth to seven little dogs. Three boy... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 1

  news from La-La Land HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Vol. 3, No. 1, January 4, 1991 Newsletter editor murdered! The editor of this newsletter was apparently murdered "some tim... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 9

  WORLD NEWS "Award-Winning Journalism" Vol. 2, No. 9, June 14, 1990 Dad kills rattler! Special to the News Back from a week in the wilds o... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 8

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 8 "Anniversary Issue" May 25, 1990 [Editor's Note: This is the big one! The big enchilada. The killer tomato. It's the anni... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 7

  the NEWS Vol. 2, No. 7, May 1, 1990 [Editor's Note: We would like to apologize for that last issue, but we won't. We'd like to say it'll never happen again, but hey.] Mike gets job Mike has taken a job as a process server for a Modesto privat... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 6

  the NEWS Vol. 2, No. 6 [Back in spite of popular demand.] April 16, 1990 WORLD NEWS Mike is back from Germany and looking very European. (Fancy haircut, pale complexion, but otherwise healthy.) He's having trouble getting used to speaking Engl... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 5

  Big News & Other Stuff Vol. 2, No. 5 [Yeah, another new name.] March 19, 1990 Mike to return early Mike has had a change of plans and expe... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 4

  >Billy Club A newsletter for the 90's and beyond! "News That Hits You Over The Head" Vol. 2, No. 4, February 26, 1990 Coyote has puppies! Lucy's dog, Coyote, had four "little shepherdy things" on Friday, the 23r... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 3

  Billy Club Vol. 2, No. 3, February 8, 1990 [aka Bullseye, Hard Copy, The Holmes Family Newsletter] Diane now a doctor Call her "Dr. Holm... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 2

  Bullseye Vol. 2, No. 2, January 26, 1990 [formerly known as Hard Copy; before that, The Holmes Family Newsletter] Denise expecting! Takin... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 1

  HARD COPY Vol. 2, No. 1 "Hard-Hitting Journalism" January 3, 1990 [formerly known as The Holmes Family Newsletter] Predictions for 1990 ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 10

  Things You Need To Know Vol. 2, No. 10, July 16, 1990 "Pioneer Portuguese" now available World famous Portuguese historian Lionel Holmes's latest work is now avai... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 11

  the NEWSLETTER Vol. 2, No. 11, August 13, 1990 Doug makes pilgrimage Doug, aka "Sluggo", made a pilgrimage to the Mormon church's genealogical library in Salt La... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 12

  The Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 12, September 17, 1990 "Your Only News Source" It's a girl!! We asked Denise if she could hurry up and have the baby because we want... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 13

  Hometown News Vol. 2, No. 13, October 20, 1990 [Editor's Note: This is most definitely the last issue.] Bill graduates! After seven months, Bill has finally completed his computer programming course! The school, MTI Business College (a school ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 14

  The Daily Gargoyle Vol. 2, No. 14, November 16, 1990 "Just when you thought it was safe to open the mailbox!" [Editor's note: For those of you who actually believed, or hoped, that there wouldn't be any more newsletters, well, all we can... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 15

  NEWS, ETC. Vol. 2, No. 15, December 18, 1990 "Christmas Issue" Lucy to Host Christmas Lucy will be having Christmas at her house this year. It's a potluck affair... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 10

  The Holmes Family Newsletter  Vol. 1, No. 10 Worldwide Circulation... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 9

  The Holmes Family Newsletter A Newsletter With A Mission In Life! Vol. 1, No. 9 Worldwide Circulation November 21, 1989 The Environmental Issue Only 34 days ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 8

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 8, October 23, 1989 earthquake!   Where were you when it hit? Don was just leaving his office on the 15th floor... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 7

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 7, October 5, 1989 [Let's face it, these things are going just keep coming.] Steve arrested Steve received his first speeding ticket e... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 6

  >The Holmes Family Newsletter  Vol. 1, No. 6a*, September 17, 1989 Everyone seems to be on a diet these days. Lucy and Jeannie are trying a low carbohydratehigh protein diet. Don's trying good old reliable starvation. Eleanor is on the... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 5

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 5, September 5, 1989 Jeannie breaks elbow Placed on Disabled List Lathrop — While attempting a "sling-shot" mane... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 4

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 4, August 1, 1989 Largest Tri-Weekly Newsletter Circulation in the West! [tri-weekly (tri-week'lee) 1. we TRY to get it out weekly) ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 3

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 3, July, 1989 [Editor's Note: Due to profanity, nudity, and the mature theme of this issue, parental discretion is advised.] ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 2

  The Holmes Family newsletter  June 23, 1989 Vol. 1, No. 2 ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 1

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 1, Since 1989 May 25, 1989 [Editor's Note: This may be the only issue, so pay attention!] Announcements Well, the big news, of ... read more

Our Portuguese Table

  My brother Doug talking about Portuguese genealogy on (I guess) the podca... read more

Draft horses pull big rig up hill

  Wow! (UPI) -- A Minnesota couple harnessed their Belgian draft horses to help a semi truck driver whose vehicle was stuck on an icy driveway. Read more: Horses-pull-stuck-semi-up-icy-Minnesota-hill... read more

A few words about my Dad

  I tried to come up with the best word to fill in the blank in the following sentence: He was the most _____ man I have ever known. He was certainly the finest, hands-down, bar none. Most fair-minded, too. With seven kids ready to cry "It's n... read more

Animals rescued from wildfires

  UC Davis has been caring for dozens of animals that were displaced or injured in the California wildfires over the past two weeks.... read more

My sister's horse rescue ...

  ... and riding therapy operation now has a GoFundMe page!I hope you've got some pocket change you can donate.Thanks. Here's the link (in case yo... read more

Avocados poisonous to most pets

  Did you know that avocados are poisonous to most pets? Check out these links: petpoisonhelplinepoisonavocado ... read more

I love my daughter

  There's something on the kitchen counter. I'm thinking it's a shriveled, rotting potato. Not that we usually have that sort of thing on the counter, but that's what I'm thinking. I point at it and ask my wife, "What is that?" "Elizabeth's rock," wi... read more

Watch hero cat attempt ceremonial first pitch

  Watch Tara the Hero Cat attempt to throw a ceremonial first pitchFor those who saw ... read more

Kids hate broccoli

  Elizabeth at the dinner table being forced to eat her broccoli: Ugh, can I throw up? Her mom: Um, no. Me: [trying not to laugh out loud] Mom: You're not helping!... read more

Sunday ride

  Elizabeth dragged me onto another one of her outings this morning. If nothing else, she keeps me in shape. This time, she was on her motorized scooter (the kind you stand on), while I rode my bicycle. No fair making the old man use pedal power while ... read more

Feral cats find a new use

  In case you're in the market for a "barn cat," this is for you: sacbee201308315696395feral-cats-get-a-second-life-as.html.Maybe other cities near you have a similar program.... read more

Birthday card from Grandpa

  Elizabeth received a birthday card from Grandpa today with $20 inside! She said, "I love your dad! Tell him thank you very much! Your dad is rich! I wouldn't have thought such an old old person would have so much money!"... read more

Dad's 94th birthday, part 3

  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Old Sacramento Once Bijou and her people hooked up with Elizabeth and her people, our first stop was a candy store called ... read more

Dad's 94th birthday, part 2

  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The Zoo The next morning, I was up before Elizabeth. I couldn't wait for her to wake up, so I snuck downstairs for some free coffee. She would have fre... read more

Dad's 94th birthday, part 1

  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Going to California A couple weeks ago for my Dad's 94th birthday, I brought my (almost) 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. A couple of family me... read more


  UPDATE: Franklin has been adopted! Our daughter was sad to see him go, but he's now in a good home. And they're close to us, so Elizabeth might get to visit sometimes.... read more

Can your cat drive you to suicide? From: diankat The answer is "yes", but not through parasite worms. Mostly through ... read more

Happy father's day

  My daughter just made my day. Here's her card to me: ... read more


  Chandler's a good dog. He's been through a lot in this life and will probably never fully recover. Never fully trust anyone again. I know the feeling. Maybe that's what we have in common. Whatever it is, I just love the heck out of that d... read more

What crickets eat

  After catching a cricket and putting it into her bug cage (yes, she has a bug cage), my six-year-old daughter Elizabeth asked, "Can you … um … look on the Internet and see what crickets eat?" I just laughed and said, "Yes, I can actually do... read more

Kite flying

  As it turned out, today was a good day for kite flying. Elizabeth, 6, had been bugging me about flying her new kite since returning from the vet this morning. We had brought all three pugs in to see Dr. Paula: ... read more

Lesson learned

  I'll be spending all week (Spring Break) with my almost-6-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Woo hoo! Yesterday was supposed to be my only "day off," as she was supposed to be in school (snow make-up day). But she's come down with the flu, so she staye... read more

Sunny came home!

  I spent all day today wondering how I was going to tell our 5-year-old that our cat, Sunny, was no longer with us.Literally.After being awakened last night at 2:30 a.m. by the sound of a VERY close coyote, and then not finding Sunny asleep somewhere ... read more

Elizabeth's first play

  Elizabeth, 5, came up with the following play just as we were finishing dinner the other day. Dinner theater, if you will. :) We were in Sacramento visiting my Dad, joined by my brother Greg and his wife June. MOM (Tara): Where is the prince? ... read more

Missing cat returns

  by Jinx Good news from best friends Julie and Bert in Las Vegas. One of their cats, Tobie, went missing this past January. He was an indooroutdoor cat and one day just disappeared. Needless to say, they were heartbroken and spent many hoursdays ... read more

Fall is definitely here

  It was actually cold all day today, but that didn't stop me and Elizabeth, then the pugs, from spending half of our day outside! First, we went exploring the new neighborhood being built nearby. I don't know why they're building. There's plenty of... read more

Saturday with Elizabeth

  As Elizabeth likes to say, she and I were "hanging out" today while Tara had a girls' day out with Ronica. I think Tara's was a belated birthday thing. Hers was on the 10th. Anyway, once Ronica finally called — after Tara had started to ... read more

Vets and doctors

  I took Chandler to the vet this morning to get his teeth cleaned. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's actually very important, just like with humans. Anyway, because of road construction and morning rush-hour, it took forever to get there. The vet ... read more

First full week

  ... of kindergarten! Tara's getting Elizabeth ready now. Elizabeth has been ready to go, already jumping into bed with us, then jumping out almost immediately, I guess because she couldn't sleep. Tara will usually be taking her in the morning and ... read more

Uncles' obituaries

  I have lost a couple of uncles this year.Below are their obituaries: Uncle Ernie... read more

Rottweiler tricks

  Here are some videos by a friend of my sister who bought a puppy from her: youtubewatch?v=yO_ov3s9LbQ&feature=related ... read more

A warning to pet owners with kids

  I had to take our dog Chandler (my "best puppy", the "big man") to the vet Thursday after I discovered, while giving him a bath, what looked like a bloody gash on his throat. I was horrified. I literally gasped in shock (I'm such a girl sometimes, ... read more

Our adoption story

  My wife Tara has written up our adoption story in response to that woman (living not too far from here, unfortunately) who returned that boy to Russia a couple weeks ago.Here's the local link (our_russian_adoption_story), and here's the original li... read more

Our Russian adoption story

  With the recent headline news about the Russian adoption that went very very wrong, I have been asked by many friends and family about my opinion of the situation. I've not been able to really articulate my feelings about it, but I do have a strong o... read more

Petition in favor of Russian adoption

  Please sign the petition (at the bottom of this post) in favor of Russian adoption. I did. My wife and I adopted from Russia in 2007. You can watch the videos here and here. Of course it has been difficult at times — she's a chi... read more


  Almost stepped on a as Elizabeth and I came out of the creek. Yes, we were in the creek. Anyway, I yelled, "Aaaa" when he slithered past me toward Elizabeth and into the water. Elizabeth wanted to get a better look at him as he lay there half in th... read more

Finnegan Walter Brouns hatched out!

  Finnegan Walter Brouns. Born April 1st at 9:35 AM. ... read more

An entire week with Elizabeth

  You will not believe what I've been through! :) Okay, maybe it's not been that bad. You single parents out there are laughing at me, I'm sure. But I went an entire week taking care of Elizabeth, our 4 year old, while Tara not only had to work all... read more

Eleven Rottweiler puppies

  Help her come up with names starting with the letter "B" by leaving comments below!See NightShadowRottweilers for more details.... read more

Walking the dogs

  It's something I do every night. I actually stopped for several months starting in May, I guess, when my back problems flared up. Then came my knee surgery, which kept me from walking much. Then I got to where I enjoyed not having to walk the dogs... read more

Happy Halloween

  Or, as they piously call it around here, Fall Festival, because Halloween is "the work of Satan," you know. :)We just returned from trick-or-treating, which Elizabeth absolutely loved. She kept saying, "Halloween is so much fun!" And now we're all re... read more

An entire day with Elizabeth

  I can't believe I made it. Of course, it's not over yet. It's only dinner time. It's been a LONG day. I'm at McDonald's as I write this. I tried to get online with their free wi-fi, but you have to have an account already before you can use it. Now I... read more

Down by the creek

  Elizabeth and I went down to the creek this cold fall morning. With all the recent rain, Indian and Mill Creeks both had a lot of rushing water. We walked along the edge of Mill Creek. Usually, we stick to the closer Indian Creek. Elizabeth went as f... read more

Elizabeth cut off all her hair

  In the twenty minutes that Tara and I left Elizabeth alone, she found some (child-safe) scissors and cut off all her hair. At first I thought it was just wet. Then I realized she'd cut it all off. I laughed and said I was just glad she hadn't hurt he... read more

One hour with Elizabeth

  We had a list of stops to make. First came Ace Hardware for a clothes line and a no-pest-strip. Elizabeth had rediscovered her Barbie electric guitar earlier that day and brought it with her on this trip. She wanted to bring it into the store, she sa... read more

Elizabeth's house

  The other day at the house, we had this conversation. Elizabeth: This is my house. Bill: Your house? I thought it was my and mom's house. Elizabeth: No. It's mine. I'm sharing it with you. Tara and I cracked up.... read more

Elizabeth's birthday

  It's this Sunday! Just FYI if you want to send an email or call or whatever.We should have pictures up here from tomorrow's party at Chuck E. Cheese's.... read more

Adoption videos updated

  You can watch them here: Holmes Russian Adoption, Part 1 (updated) ... read more

Had a scare

  We had a scare a couple of Wednesdays back with Elizabeth. She was at pre-schooldaycare and had tripped and fallen head-first on the pavement outside as everyone was told to get in line to go back inside. We figure, being so competitive, she was rac... read more

More pictures of Elizabeth in California

  Bill on Rosie, while Jeannie, Tara, even Shayden, fall for Elizabeth's attention-getting antics.... read more

Holmes Russian adoption videos

  The links to both 1 and 2 are here. Part 1 has been updated slightly, in case you want to watch it again. Part 2 might be updated eventually, too, if more pictures come in. Here are the links: Part 1|... read more

Adoption video

  OK, so it took a year, but here they are, finally: Part 1 |  Part 2 You'll see all of our videos of Elizabeth, including the updated versions of these, on the right side on t... read more

Sleep-over at Ronica's

  I delegated the responsibility of reading Elizabeth her bedtime story :) By the way, she slept great! I put her to bed at 8:15 and she was asleep by 8:30. We woke up at 8:00 this morning. — Ronica... read more

My niece Kristen's graduation

  Yeah, Kristen graduated tonight from Christian Brothers High. The ceremony was at Memorial Auditorium. Attached is a picture of her, Dad, and me. — Steve ... read more

A very artsy picture of Elizabeth

  Just because I liked it, I'm posting it here! :) ... read more

Birthday party

  Well, Elizabeth's birthday party is this Saturday. She'll be 3, and it'll be her first "real" party. It'll be outside at a covered table next to a playground in a nearby park. I can't tell you here on the Internet exactly where this park is because y... read more


  Elizabeth spent her first official full day at yesterday. The teacher went on and on about how wonderful and good and helpful she was. I say "first official" day because Tara took her to a free trial day last week. Daycare is probably a lot like the... read more

Recent photos

  Around the house |  | ... read more

DOctors say she's normal

  Tara took Elizabeth to the "international adoption specialist" doctors today for a psychological evaluation and another physical exam. They say she is perfectly averagenormal for a girl her age. Of course, that puts her well above average for a fore... read more

Baby shower

  Tara's female family and friends threw Elizabeth a baby shower last weekend. I was the only man there. The only reason I went was so that any other men showing up wouldn't be the only man. Oh well. I was able to get a lot on video, and Tara took pict... read more


  I can't believe how nice my coworkers at Franklin are. On Friday, they had a at work for Elizabeth and Tara. They invited me, too. :) Great food, several gifts, and the biggest surprise: a money tree. Tara and I were speechless at that. It's not l... read more

Settling in

  I just thought I'd mention that Elizabeth is settling into her new life pretty well. Tara is her full-time parent, I just appear after work and on weekends. :) Even then, it's Tara who does most of the work. Elizabeth's biggest hurdle so far has bee... read more


  To sum it all up: We love our daughter. Elizabeth is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent little girl. We thank Russia for giving her to us. Otherwise, we did not enjoy Russia.In their defense, we weren't there under normal circumstances. It was not a... read more

More pics

  Elizabeth likes bows in her hair Red Square... read more

Stay tuned

  I hope to get the rest of the photos and videos on here, at least in raw form, over the next few days. I think I'm getting over my post traumatic stress disorder from the trip and can now face looking at the video again. :) Regarding Comments, I had... read more

Airport arrival

  Some pictures as we arrived in the airport. There was a great welcoming party there! We've never had an airport welcoming party before! ... read more

A few pictures

  Finally, some pictures of Elizabeth. They're not even the latest, but it should hold you over if you've never seen her before. ... read more

Riding the Metro, part deux

  All three of us went to Red Square this time. I'm glad Tara was able to see it. Elizabeth was fascinated, too, but probably won't remember a thing.We then had lunch at Sbarro in the underground mall, where Tara bought some more so... read more

Riding the Metro

  We're going to attempt to ride the Metro subway to Red Square today. Wish us luck. The exits aren't numbered, they are listed by name ... in Cyrillic. Of course, the overhead announcements are in Russian. One helpful thing is that the announcements a... read more

Still in Moscow

  We're in a different hotel, the Holiday Inn - Moscow Sokolniki, for the rest of our stay. This is the one that was originally reserved for our return from Astrakhan. It has a reliable internet connection, costs less per night than yesterday's, and pr... read more

Can't leave early

  ... but at least it's all over. The Embassy visit went fine. Delta said that the only way we could take the available seats on earlier flights was to pay $2800 extra FOR EACH ticket. We said no. Unless someone wants to donate that to us, then we'l... read more

To the embassy

  Our last stop before the airport on the magical mystery tour is the US Embassy. They will make Elizabeth a US citizen and a registered Republican. ... read more

Update to the update's update

  I went ahead and paid for the 24-hour internet connection from the room. It wasn't even double the cost of one hour. I also swapped out the flaky cable and that seems to have fixed the connection problem. [Wrong. I had to call the techs back to fix i... read more

Moscow update continued

  We're in Moscow. Bill already summarized our trip here. I do believe that I am fully initiated into the sisterhood of Mothers. I have changed an exploding poopy diaper in an airplane bathroom, with turbulence! I'll spare you all details, but let's... read more

Back in Moscow

  We made it this far! The plane ride was terrible for several minutes when we had to fasten our seat belts, which Elizabeth did not want to do. She SCREAMED loudly for quite a while, ticking off everyone nearby. Luckily, part of it was drowned out by ... read more

Pictures of our life in Astrakhan

  Tonight is our last night in Astrakhan. So, I thought I'd post some pictures of where we've been living for the past 19 days.We've had many battles over clothing. She thinks I put too much clothes on her. In the hotel room, she wears her thermals. Bu... read more

Just another week to go

  ... maybe less! That cheers me up. That's assuming everything goes as planned ... and it WILL. I believe in positive thinking (when I'm desperate, anyway, because it leads to positive actions, which lead to positive results, or at least your chances ... read more

51-1/2 hours

  That's how long before we leave Astrakhan for Moscow. Not that we're counting or anything. The bad thing about these in-country flights is that they don't use "jetways," those expandable tubes that protect you from the weather as you get on and off t... read more

Nothing much to update about

  She's just driving us crazy. Luckily, Tara is taking the brunt of it. I had to get out and walk around town in the freezing cold, just for the sake of getting out. I was at least useful, coming back with some groceries. Elizabeth's sweet as can be a... read more


  Everyone is wanting an ! Well, we're parents of a two year old now, no time for s! She is keeping us busy. Her favorite things to do are: play in the sink, play in the tub, and play in the toilet. She is a waterbaby! One of the things we were warned... read more

Sleep, what a concept

  I slept on the floor most of last night. It's a little after 7 a.m. here. Elizabeth refuses to sleep in her crib, even though we're told that's what she slept in at the orphanage. So, she sleeps with us in our bed. That bed is barely big enough for j... read more

Bowel movement

  I like a headline that demands attention!It's official, I'm a parent. Elizabeth had her first bowel movement since we've had her, and it was on my watch! Tara was unable to put Elizabeth down for a nap while I was out walking around town looking for ... read more

The first hours of parenthood

  Oh my gosh! She's a handful! Well, we left the orphanage without much incident. She told the orphanage staff that she wanted to leave in the car. But, she refused to let me or Bill hold her hand or touch her other than put her snowsuit and boots on.... read more

She's ours!

  We have her in the hotel now. I tried typing that sentence earlier but she shut the computer down as I was typing! I don't know how. But just a few keystrokes and it was shutting down. Now she keeps trying to run away from Tara down the hall. So far,... read more

More pictures

  Here are some photos from today of the hotel and the closest major street to us. We didn't get very far on our walk because it was too cold. ... read more

Picture of us before court

  ... from several days ago, the morning of our court appearance. Taken by the other adoptive family in town for their first trip, the Mees. ... read more

Light at the end of the tunnel

  We visited Elizabeth again today. We caught her when she was in the music room with all the other kids in her age group. She smiled wide when she saw us, but by the time she reached us, she tried to keep it cool. Like, "Oh, it's you. I thought you we... read more

She's warming up to us

  We had her laughing, smiling and giggling today. I pushed her around on the three-wheeler, then "flew" her around the room. She even let us chase her around, and it didn't scare her when I chased her! She seemed more comfortable with Tara than she ... read more

It's going to be a good week

  That's all I wanted to say. :) We had a shortened visit with Elizabeth today because we had to first stop by the pharmacy and get some Ben-Gay and ibuprofen for my sore neck. Ben-Gay actually sounds (and smells) the same in Russian, it just looks fu... read more

Went for a walk ...

  ... in the freezing cold, because we were THAT bored. I'm starting to hate this place. There's just nothing to do when we're not visiting Elizabeth or going shopping. And both of those require a driver, and usually a translator. I can't wait until we... read more

Much better visit today

  Elizabeth (a.k.a. "Masha") was much happier today. We were told that the orphanage caretakers probably were not telling her that we would be "taking her away," but who knows? She let me "fly" her around the room again, which made her laugh. We played... read more

Saturday morning

  Tara made a good guess earlier. She thinks that the orphanage caretakers are telling Elizabeth that we will be taking her away from the orphange soon. They think they're doing us a favor, trying to prepare her. But now, every time that we come to vis... read more

The day after

  Well, we're much more relaxed now that we've gotten past the court appearance. The problem now is getting Elizabeth to like us again. Today, she cried for the first time. She let me hold her, but my Russian words were not much consolation. She calmed... read more


  As you probably read below in Tara's post, our court appearance went very well. Ten days from now we will officially be the proud parents of Elizabeth! And now Vika tells us that we get to visit her not just a few times, but every day except Sunday. ... read more

And the judge says......

  She's ours!It's official! Elizabeth is ours. The court hearing went very smooth. It took about an hour and a half. There was a judge, prosecutor, a rep from the Child protective services, and the Minister of Education. They had a lot of questions abo... read more


  We leave in an hour for Court. I just got back from breakfast. Tara did not join me because she can't eat, she's so nervous. Gotta go get dressed. Wish us luck!Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more

Comments welcome

  I set this blog so that you can now add your comments anonymously without logging in. So, comment away! I was afraid that the requirement for a login was keeping people from participating. Now you can go crazy because you're anonymous. Just watch you... read more


  Oh ... my ... God. Do not EVER lose that document they have you fill out on the plane before you land! Stapling it to your forehead would be less painful than what Galina, Liena and I went through today. Vika was tending to the other couple, Nancy an... read more

Russian adoption consultant

  I've taken a job here as a . The hours are long, and the pay is in barter, but you gotta do what you gotta do, seein' as how I can't leave the country. :) But seriously, the Children's Hope office in Brentwood, TN has an opening for such a job. Th... read more

Back in Astrakhan

  We made it to Astrakhan, but I've lost my immigration form that goes with the passport and visa. It's just a little sheet that they have you fill out on the airplane before you land. If I'd known it was so important, I would have stapled it into the ... read more

Tuesday (2007-11-26)

  Time flies when you lose nine hours. We fly to Astrakhan this afternoon. This morning, we'll be having the free breakfast that the hotel offers. Then we'll exchange our dollars for rubles (before the dollar devalues even more). I could've done that y... read more

In the air again

  Sunday, November 25, 2007, 5:00pm CST We're in the air on our way back to Moscow. Delta Flight 46. The current in-flight movie is "Evan Almighty," which we saw on one of our other flights to or from Moscow last time. You know, when you jet back and ... read more

Mweh yeddum v aeroport eta ootra

  You probably guessed what that means: We are going to the aiport this morning. It's probably not grammatically correct, but I ain't got no time for linguistic correctitude. :) Unlike last time when the cat kept waking me up, this time I was able to ... read more

Elizabeth's room

  OK, here are the pictures: Before |  After ... read more

Internet access

  I'm wondering about internet access now that we've tentatively planned to stay in a weekly apartment in Astrakhan instead of the hotel the entire time. We'll probably wantneed that internet access for the sake of something to do. Normally, we could ... read more

Skora mweh tam boojum

  Translation: "We'll be there soon." This time next week, actually. I really want to be able to communicate with our daughter Elizabeth when we get there. I've been playing ... read more

Round two

  We've received our court date. We're haggling with the airlines now. One round-trip ticket for one adult costs a little over $800. One one-way ticket for our daughter's flight home with us costs $1,600!! I suggested just buying our daughter a round-t... read more

We're home!

  OK, now we're home! I'll try and do a trip summary tomorrow after a good night's sleep ... in my own bed. Tara says she feels like Dorothy, "There's no place like home!"Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more


  We're in the Atlanta airport now! Good to be on US soil, except that they keep mentioning George Bush (... as in the Houston Airport). :) It's 1:45a.m. Moscow time right now (5:45p.m. EDT), but I'm not tired. I'm anxious to catch the flight to Nashvi... read more

Last visit for a while

  We'll be leaving in a few minutes for our last visit to the orphanage this trip. I'm practicing asking for my baggage back from the hotel baggage room. Baggage actually sounds like "boggage." "Please" is pa-ZHAL-sta. Fascinating, I know. I thought ab... read more

Another great visit

  We're feeling closer and closer to our child, especially after today. And I think we passed "the test" of having the psychologist there, observing. She was pretty cool, actually. She didn't stay the entire visit. I think she could see that Tara, the ... read more

Sights of Astrakhan

  I'm attaching pictures we made of Astrakhan and our room. We are staying at the Hotel Azimut in Astrakhan. They are going through major renovations right now. It's kind of funny to see the interior design mix. The lobby is decorated in Art Deco wh... read more

Great visit

  We had a great visit with our little girl this morning. There were no observers. That happens this afternoon. Vika had mentioned that we should think about showing more affection in front of the observers. It's more in line with how Russians treat th... read more


  First things first: Our little girl is warming up to Tara. She gave her a kiss yesterday, I think without even being asked. Now, for some more random thoughts: Before I forget to mention it, I need to tell you what happened Tuesday. I think it ... read more


  We just got back from today's first visit with the child (we're not supposed to mention her name online). We'll be going back this afternoon. In the meantime, Tara's trying to catch up on her sleep. She had woken up around 5 this morning. I was able ... read more

It's a girl! it's a girl!

  Oh My Gosh what a difference 1 day makes! So, we have a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed, 2 12 year old girl! First, the obvious question: "What happened to the 4 year old boy?" We don't know. After 2 trips to the Minister of Education, and two i... read more

Tuesday (2007-10-02)

  Just some random notes this morning There's a real stray dog problem in Russian cities; or, at least Moscow and Astrakhan. A lot of people even apparently let their dogs run loose. They're almost all large dogs. The small ones don't survive. Th... read more

What a day...

  Where to begin... The original plan was for us to go to the Minister of Education and submit our dossier and then formally receive our referral. What really happened:Galina called the ministry this morning only to find out that they were closed in t... read more

It's only Monday?

  Monday - 1 Oct 07 - 6:37PM zzzDRAHST-vueet-ya, DRAHST-ya, BREEV-yet ee DO-bree-dyen from Astrakhan! I just (phonetically) said "Hello, hey, hi and good afternoon" (even though it's now evening here) in Russian. I couldn't remember how to say "even... read more

We're in Astrakhan

  After a nerve-wracking trip to the airport and getting through the airport security we finally made it to our plane. We were told that our Rep, Galina, would be flying with us. We never saw her until we were already on the plane. She was one of the l... read more

Check out time

  We check out in an hour. We got a nice free breakfast this morning. We then went back to that grocery store and managed to pay the right amount for the right kind of water (not sparkling, which is hard to find). Security guard work is apparently a la... read more


  Well, we made it to Moscow!After a long plane trip, we managed to get through passport control and customs with no problems. And all of our luggage made it!Our CHI Rep and driver were late getting to the airport and we were worried, but they did even... read more

We're in Moscow

  We'll be spending the night in Moscow, after all, and flying down to Astrakhan tomorrow afternoon. I was stressed out without an internet or even a usable power connection. But I'm obviously connected now. I had the power converters, but not the thr... read more

In the air

  28 Sept - 3:55pm CDT — We're in the air on our way to Moscow. A little bit of good news is that it's "only" a 10 hour flight instead of 12 as we had thought. Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more

Travel day

  We fly out today. It would've been nice to have gotten one last good night's sleep, but the cat made sure that didn't happen. Stupid cat. Anyone want one? Seriously. She's very pretty; and sweet when she's not keeping you from sleeping. I'll miss the... read more

The day before

  Sounds like a movie title. Anyway, it's Thursday morning. Grey's Anatomy season premier tonight. Tara says woo-hoo! F... read more


  Tuesday morning. Everyone's still asleep except for me, the pug Joey and the cat Sunny. I'm trying to reacquaint myself with the digital cameras, video and still. I would've put Joey's and Sunny's pictures here, but the camera is connected to Tara's ... read more

This time next week....

  I'm happy to say that this time next week, we will be in Astrakhan, Russia! We leave the States on Friday, September 28 and arrive in Moscow on the 29th. Depending upon the schedule of the flights to Astrakhan, we may have to stay in Moscow one night... read more


  Click here for Pug-related gifts! The Lazy Pug Cafe PugFest '04: Just click here and look for the ones randomly named starting with "DSC00" Chandler joins the family. Pictures ... read more


  Jana & Doug's baby girl, Natália Irén On the beach An entire page devoted to Milanko!... read more

Eleanor and Lionel

  Lionel's sister, Dolores In 1936 after being crowned Queen. Eleanor's back surgery a success! "Everyone warned me against back surgery," she says. "But, I'd be in a wheelchair now if I hadn't had surgery!" ... read more

Regenerated Jan 23 2019