Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another cute photo

We had a bunch of family arrive today and though I'm a bit depressed that my dad and stepmom couldn't make it, (it was last minute, my Dad's sciatica is acting up and he is in a lot of pain)-- it is just so fun to have everyone here. Robert's two oldest sons came; Scott who is early 20's came today with his girlfriend whom we all really like - he lives close by so we do get to see him pretty often. And Stewart came with his wife Erin and cute, cutest 3 little boys - they live in FL where he is in the Air Force. We don't get to see them too often so we are all so excited to have them here --- the boys are having a blast, even though our boys are much older, they still have such a great time playing with their "nephews". Wow. We have A LOT of presents under our tree. I'll take a picture tomorrow so you can see. It is pretty obscene with all our presents and all Stew and Erin's. Oh well, I promised my husband that we would never have so many gifts again, but I can't wait for Christmas morning, I hope everyone loves their stuff.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vist to Santa

The Beautiful Baxter Children!

We went to the Mall to get our picture with Santa. I was worried Rosie might be scared, but, of course, she wasn't. It was too funny because the lady kept try to get her to smile, but instead of smiling, Rosie just mimicked her. In this shot, the lady is clapping to try to get Rosie to smile (kinda weird when you think about it), so Rosie just started clapping too. Well, mom thought that was too cute so this is the shot I took! I am just so proud of all 4 of my children. They are gifts from God and each one is so, so different and has his or her own skills, talents and gifts. That is what you really learn when you have more than one child. It has helped me to appreciate the diversity of God's children (and my own) and maybe to understand a little more the way He works and why.

What would I do without the child who can run quick and catch the dog? What would I do without the child who knows where everything is? How could I survive without the child who can comfort me? What about the child who can make me laugh no matter how bad things are or how much pain I'm in? What about my little one who is so smart he can figure anything out? Or the one who can put anything together that is broken? What about the one who loves to cuddle with me still, even though he's almost grown up. This stuff never occurred to me before, when I had one child. Don't get me wrong - when it was just me and Alexander, life was divine and we were exquisitly happy, I've just learned so much and grown so much and I rejoice in my children and thank God for them everyday!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

First Snow

This is Rosie's favorite way to spend time - hanging around on Daddy's back. If Daddy is too, too busy or not around, she will ride around on one of the boys or even on my mom. She will stay on Robert's back for an hour while he is doing something - she loves it. These pictures are in the wrong order chronologically, but this was our first (and only so far) snow. We got it around the beg. of December and it actually stuck for a day or two. Rosie and Shasta (the dog) played outside for a long time - she thought it was quite exciting until she came inside and said her fingers were "hot" -poor thing was frozen, but she had a blast.

My ever diligent mother outside cleaning up before things got slippery. Look how pretty the trees look in the background- my own little forest - I love it. The boys played outside for a long, long time, but by then, I was too cold and tired to take any more photos. Darn - I'll get more next time.
Shasta is always nearby Rosie. They play chase and tag and when Rosie sleeps, Shasta usually curls up either nearby or practically on top of Rosie! They are pretty bonded but also jealous of each other. Rosie will push Shasta away and whine and cry if Shasta sits too close to me. Ah, tis sweet to be loved.

Halloween, if a bit belated..

The boys made their own costumes. I took my wheelchair and hit the door to door with them, but I wore out quickly. Rosie lasted the longest. What a great concept- begging for candy - she loved it!

A Few Pix...

Rosie taking her bath in the kitchen sink while she finger paints. Max's 12th Birthday on October 26th. My good mother made the cake for me.
Carving Pumpkins Baxter style; with plenty of mess! Rosie always catches on right away!
Our Jack O Lanterns.
Rosie was a ladybug for Halloween - she picked the costume herself.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I am so excited for Christmas this year!! I have been feeling pretty good the last 4 or 5 days and I get a week off of chemo so I have every reason to believe I will have a good Christmas and I"m excited about it.

We had promised (or I had promised Robert) that we would be very, very low key this year with money, since things are tough financially and we've incurred huge amounts of debt with our move and the medical stuff and buying a house etc etc. Robert has been very concerned of course, so have I, but I just felt such an urgency to make this a Christmas my boys would remember and maybe Rosie too - at least through pictures.

We are going to have quite a few guests - Robert's son, Stewart, is coming up from Florida with his wife Erin and their 3 beautiful little boys and his other son Scott (single) will come and my Dad and Stepmom are coming. It will be the first time we will have a family gathering besides my mom for Christmas and I think it will help to make it very memorable for my children.

I continue to have these thoughts going through my head that this will be my best, or "healthiest" Christmas so I have to make it good. With that in mind, I've gone way over budget, thereby stressing my poor husband out. But I do promise and swear to make it up in the New Year. That is going to be my resolution; to point all efforts to getting our debt paid off.

Today we got a little Christmas package from one of my dearest friends and she sent us $300 -- The money she and her husband would have spent on each other for Christmas. Can you imagine? When I say that I have amazing friends, I'm not kidding! Anyway, just when my husband was feeling so low and worried, we got this check out of the blue. Thank you to W&S - you are remarkable people. Also, all my other friends who've sent notes and prayers and meals, you too take my breath away with your love and generosity. We are so blessed!! I pray that you all have the Spirit with you in your homes as you celebrate Christmas and spend time with your loved ones.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sweet Land of Liberty...

I don't blog much about my country, but I sure do love America, I love all the people who serve her too - Govt. employees, local, fed etc. Postman and DMV workers and garbage pickup guys. My heart lies with our military though. I worked from 1986 to 1991 in Germany while I was going to school. I was a tour guide and mostly took military personnel and their families on trips around Europe. It was a hard job and one for a young, very in shape person, but I loved it. I loved the people who serve. Not all of them start out in the military for totally patriotic reasons, but that is okay because they are making America a better place. What I have found though is that they always develop a love for our country, especially those serving overseas.

I've been All over the world and seen such mysteries and such beauties. Exotic places and peaceful places and places where true miracles have occured. So much beauty the Lord has created for us to enjoy, but I must say, there is just no place like America and I for one and glad to be home. It isn't perfect here, but we all have a chance to make it a better place. I have to share this poem with you. My good friend forwarded it to me so you may have already seen it, but it is just so beautiful, I had to share it. Keep it in mind, remember them. I have friends who are serving now, one is the son of a good friend, one is an e-friend whose son just got home from serving in Iraq, one is a career man who is getting ready to retire after a life of serving our country and serving deligently in our church I might add. God Bless you all, I love you for all you have done for me and for my family and I am so happy for those of you who can be with family this Christmas and I pray for those of you who aren't.

Please read on.....
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,Transforming the yard to a winter delight.The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,And I crept to the door just to see who was near.Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

'What are you doing?' I asked without fear,'Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!'

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..To the window that danced with a warm fire's light

Then he sighed and he said 'Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.' '

It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,'
Then he sighed, 'That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.'
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.. Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
''So go back inside,' he said, 'harbor no fright,Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.'

'But isn't there something I can do, at the least,'Give you money,' I asked, 'or prepare you a feast?It seems all too little for all that you've done,For being away from your wife and your son.'
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
'Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.'

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN30th Naval Construction RegimentOIC, Logistics Cell OneAl Taqqadum , Iraq

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Footprints in the Sand

Most people have probably read this poem before, but it is so beautiful and I think it is a good reminder during the holidays when we get so silly and stressed out when all we are supposed to be doing is thinking about family and the Lord and REJOICING.

Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First Snow!!

We got our first sprinkling today and it is so beautiful! Daniel and Alexander and Rosie played outside for about an hour- it was so fun to watch Rosie in snow for the first time. She kept her mittens on after she tried playing without them for a minute. I wish I could go outside and play with them, but I'm hoping that time will come soon. When she came back in, my mom put her right into the bath - she was saying her hands were "hot" and seemed very confused by that. She stayed in the bath an hour!

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers on my second surgery. I am doing really great this time and recovery better than the first time - probably because I didn't break the hip first! I am feeling pretty good and am mostly in my wheelchair but getting around well with my walker and can go very short distances on my own- I wobble like donald duck's grandma but I didn't walk too much better before I broke my hip; due to all the tumors in my hips/legs I still waddled and walked very poorly.

I am having one problem with my left leg (first surgery, with the broken hip), the nail, which attaches the rod to the hip bone is slightly coming out. It isn't such a big deal medically, but it is very painful, especially when I first stand or try to sit down/get up. After seeing the oncologist,surgeon last week, he said we'd wait till after the holidays (thank you!!) and then we may have to look at replacing the nail. Oh, how I dread going back to surgery and the hospital. Oh well, whatever it takes.

Other than that, things are going really well, we are still getting unpacked, but reaching the end. All the kids seem to be doing great and we are so excited by the beauty of this first snow. Well, everyone but Robert is excited; it took him 2 hours to get to work this morning.

Rosie is starting to talk lots. She babbles to fill in between words and there are lots of words that she can't say. LIke, she says "mo" instead of "no". A lot of people send their chinese children to speech therapists and I guess we may have to look at that, but with all we have going on, I'll wait till I'm teaching her to read and see how it manifests at that time.

Copper. You may remember that we adopted a sweet and really wonderful dog named Copper. The boys bonded with him instantly, expecially Alexander who seemed to really fall in love with him and attach to him more than I've ever seen from Alexander. We'd had him about 5 days when I went into surgery. I came out of surgery and Robert (oh, my wonderful and dedicated husband) was at my side when I awoke. I asked him to call home and make sure all was okay and tell them that I was out of the anesthetic and feeling fine. He went over to the phone and was looking very distressed, turning his back to me, speaking low etc. I knew immediately it had to be something with Copper. I was just praying he hadn't escaped, gotten run over by a car or some other miserable thing. Robert came back and told me that my mom and the kids were on their way out and my mom had to run back upstairs to get something. In that split second, Rosie let the dogs out and followed them outside. Alexander went to look for her and found Copper, with his mouth firmly planted around her legs, dragging her across the back yard. Alexander was out in a flash and got the baby- it wasn't a big deal to Copper - he was just playing, but Rosie was full of mud and had obviously been dragged quite far. To shorten it up, we had to give Copper back. It broke our hearts, we were shocked how much we loved him so quickly. He is such a good, good, dog. Well, except for the eating babies part. I just couldn't take the risk. Anyway, it was so traumatic and emotional I haven't even thought about another dog yet and Alexander has said he doesn't want one. I will have to think on it and pray on it and see what would be best for the whole family and for Shasta.

Well, I"ve rambled enough, just needed to update since my last surgery and give love and thanks to you all. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers so much!!

More Angels...

My dear friend just sent this to me and I have to share it with you all if you haven't seen it yet. It hits hard especially since I just lost my own dear dog. Love to you all..

This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US Postal Service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God, Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith , " in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope.
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Dear Meredith, Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love. Love, God