Saturday, December 29, 2007

And We Called Her...




Baby Girl has Arrived!

I am so very happy to announce that our Baby Girl has arrived!

She was born Friday, December 28, 2007 at 4:13pm.
7lbs, 5oz - 19.5 inches

Curly (redish?) hair and a darling little nose!

We are both doing splendidly. She remains nameless, however!

Thank you so very much for all of your prayers, we are so grateful for them.

I'll update soon with photos and, hopefully, Baby Girl's name!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

D-Day is growing nearer!

Karl and I decided that we'd like Baby Girl to arrive this side of 2007 while my family was in town. SOOO--we're set for a December 28 induction. That is, IF Little Miss Charba doesn't decide to come on her own before then!! --Which we would prefer, of course. Her head is way WAY down, so she really could come at any time! I don't have any other labor symptoms to report, as my cervix is posterior and the Doctor graciously opted to save me great discomfort by not checking for dilation. Braxton Hicks contractions are pretty frequent, but not at all painful. With Henry I called them my "breathless moments." This time around, however, they've been given the monicker "Braxton Hiccups." Good times, good times.

Although I gained 2 pounds since last week, my Baby Bump hasn't grown in 3 weeks! What's that all about...

One week 'til the FINAL check up! Yay! I'm so excited to meet her!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let the Guessing Begin!

Date? Time? When will the newest Charba arrive??? Her due date is Dec 29th, and that's backed up by a 1st trimester ultrasound ... etc!

I'll keep a running list of everyone's submissions.

Please don't guess any time in January--that's not even funny :p

Audrey: Dec 28, 8pm
Karl: Dec 29, 5am
Hallie: Dec 30, 9:13pm - Feast of the Holy Family!
Kateri: Dec 31
Duquesa: Dec 31, 3pm [Hour of Divine Mercy--I like!]
Laura: Jan 2, 2008, 3am, 7 lbs 6 ozs [pint-sized, eh Laura?!]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

38 Weeks!

Can you believe there's only 2.5 weeks until my due date?!?!?

Baby Girl is head down, but the only pains I've been feeling are elbows and heels poking poking poking!

Her heart rate was really low today-130's-but so was my blood pressure. It must be this cold weather we're having--brrr!!! Today was cold and rainy outside (45/38 degrees) but snuggly warm inside. I'll take any kind of cold during the winter, though--'cause that's what it's all about!!!

One week until my next appointment and then only 3 days until my family arrives! Uncle Isaac wants you to wait to be born until he gets to Texas, little girl...let's not disappoint him!!! haha!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Our little family...

Family Portrait cropped, originally uploaded by The_Charbas.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Baby Bump

Am I 36 or 37 weeks along? Well, no matter--the basketball that I'm carrying under my shirt is getting bigger and bigger!!

Sewing Projects...

I have always enjoyed sewing--whether it be sewing something from scratch or making alterations to something premade. As an heir to the short genes of the Huss family, most-if not all-my pants need hemming! However, the most fun comes from creating projects with special purpose for special people.

The past few months I've been working on a Baptismal Gown for Baby Girl. Henry's gown was my first. I haven't yet decided whether this will be an every-baby tradition or a one-time boy and girl endeavor.

Henry's gown was fairly plain and most definitely gender neutral. But since we are anticipating Baby Girl's arrival, I felt that she would appreciate something more befitting her femininity ;p

Next up: Christmas Stockings.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Baby Shower!

A sweet group of gals from Henry's Wednesday playgroup showered me and another mom from the playgroup with gifts.

We had such a nice time eating and gabbing. And, of course, ooing and ahhing over the DARLING baby things. Elizabeth is expecting a baby boy in Jan--so we had a boy & girl themed party.

A yucky stomach bug had been making it's way from one playgroup home to the next--and the shower had been relocated TWICE!! Most of the parents had escaped from the sickness unscathed--so although the location had to be changed only one friend was unable to attend.

I really hadn't been doing anything to prepare for little Charba's arrival--except for sewing her baptism gown--but the shower has kicked me into gear :)
Clothing to prepare! Bags to pack! Rooms to clean! Ooo! and the Minnesotans are coming for Christmas !!!!!
"It's the most wonderful time...of the year!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Poole Family Returns!!!


Greetings to you all!

Well, this email (long awaited) brings great news... We have a daughter! Svitlana Maria Theresa Poole will enter the United States of America on Saturday the 17th of November, thanks to all of your prayers and God's great goodness!

Last you heard we were trying to get our papers and leave Kyiv. After waiting two and a half hours in the freezing cold (thankfully we had a car to wait in), they gave us the awaited documents and we fled to get our things, eat and get on that night train. The next day at court was a true miracle. After all the proceedings were done, our good judge (without our asking), waived our ten day waiting period! This means we are coming home at least 10 days sooner! He was being kind beacuse of the baby, Joseph and how long we have already been here. We were the first International adoption in that region, so it is amazing that he was brave enough to do that. Then there were still more hoops to jump through, but every time after being told no or something being closed, it all worked out. It was amazing! We all know it is due to the prayers of so many. Thank you!

Last Sunday we had Svitlana Maria Theresa conditionally baptized (meaning that she was baptized -and confirmed as the custom is here- to generate documents since her baptism is only by hearsay). It was very very beautiful, we have it on video. Svitlana wore the traditional Ukrainian clothing and was very attentive to what was happening. She is such a good sweet girl. The priest was impressed with her when he questioned her, he said she was So cute and funny.

Anyway, there are many stories to tell… but this gang must get ready for bed and hop on an international flight in the morning. Again, we thank you for all of your suppport and prayers! Can't wait for you to meet our little “Sveetie”!

Much love and prayers,

Andrew, Mara, Svitlana, Joseph and Louie

PS. Oh yeah, did we tell you that she got chicken pox the day after court? Ha! Thankfully it has been okay and Joseph and Louie have yet to develop it. Time will tell…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Videos

Hey Y'all!

New videos of the family (mainly Henry) on youtube.

Check 'em out!

PS Does the shirt Henry's wearing look familiar?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Karl and I went on a movie date night this evening.

The movie that we chose has been in all the rage in the prolife and homeschool circles that we frequent the last few months, so we were excited to check it out for ourselves.

We got in on a special promotion night too, so our $5 ticket was also redeemable for $5 in concessions!!!

With our jumbo popcorn and extra large cherry Coke, we sat down to watch the 8:45 showing of Bella.

What a great movie!!! The characters were so pleasant and believable. No gratuitous anything--you know? Just wholesome, genuine relationships--real life at its best.

A conversation Karl and I had the previous evening came to mind...Karl had asked me as I watched "The Notebook," why movies like that appeal to women. I thought about it a while, and finally responded that I, at least, like 'chick flicks' because it's fun to picture yourself as a character totally unlike yourself and live vicariously.

One of the main reasons that I liked Bella so much, was not wholly different. Although the situation that the lead actress finds herself in is not attractive--the people who surround her in her time of need are. I want a friend like Jose! And who wouldn't love to be invited in to share a meal with a close knit family like his?

Bella is the kind of movie that makes you want to emulate the characters--not just fantasize an unrealistic, irresponsible dream.

FOR THE GENTS who may read: this is not just a Chick Flick! It's an excellently woven tale of nobility, courage, and virtue. Karl enjoyed Bella thoroughly and will be recommending it to others.

PS Being eight months pregnant and drinking an extra large cherry Coke during a movie is not a good idea! I left to use the restroom, and came back in the middle of the climax of the movie--DOH! Next time, I'll push pause :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Svitlana's Adoption Update--Keep praying!

25 October 2007
Kiev Ukraine

Dearest Family and friends,
I am sorry that this must be so short, we would like to share so many things with you but the access is limited here. Anyway, above all thank you for your prayers! I was a bit nervous before our interview today, but it went fine, they accepted us and will give us our referral, thanks be to God! Joseph is a great trooper and did everything with us today so well, all day out in the city here and there, wow! And of course Louie is a sweetie.

Tomorrow (FRI) our papers will be ready at the office (4-5:00), these are the papers we must bring to the office in Lviv. Only, it is not Lviv now, but some little town called Yavoriv (sp?). We have NO IDEA where we will stay while we are there! Please pray for that. Now we are staying with the director of all pro-life work in Ukraine, she and her husband are very wonderful people!!!

We are 8 hours ahead of the States.

We will take a train at 5:00pm on Saturday and arrive in Lviv at 11:00pm. We hope we will have a place to stay for that night. Then on Sunday (Joseph's birthday) we will try and make our way to Yavoriv and find someplace to rent.

There is so much to say, it is a crazy place. Anyway, we are well, thanks be to God!
Thank you for your prayers, please continue to pray for the many steps yet to come, especially the people in Yavoriv, for so much will depend on their work.
Much love,
Mara and family

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bring out the sweaters!

The current temperature is....drumroll please...

47 degrees!!!

See ya--I'd better enjoy it while it's here :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

29 Week Checkup

29 weeks and counting down!

Today was my 1 hour glucose test--forced to drink orange pop :) My kind of force-feeding!

I have never brought Henry along to an prenatal appointment, and today wasn't going to be an exception, EXCEPT that factors out of our hands rendered my friend unable to watch him. Even then, I was on my way to drop Henry with Karl during his lunch break, when the Little Man fell asleep. I was running behind, so the prospect of shaving a few minutes off the trip by keeping the slumbering son with me won out over the possibility that he may wake up.

Well, sure enough he woke up as soon as we arrived at the office, and being Henry, wanted to run free. Ugh. We had to literally baracade the door to keep him from wandering through the building. Thankfully, the nurses were as eager to get us moving as Henry was, and we were in and out in little more than an hour--including the Glucose test.

Henry made friends with the birds and all the Hospital staff on their lunch breaks. And won a rubber bug and bubbles from the lab technician for being patiant while mommy had her blood drawn.

We'll get check-ups every two weeks now. Tick, Tock!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mr Mischief!

Climbing Henry 004sml
Originally uploaded by The-Charbas
As I was pulling apart the computer to retrieve a cd that had been pushed BETWEEN two drives, I was missing the real fun in the bathroom! Henry, you make me laugh :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Trip to the Garden

Trying to beat the heat, Henry and I ventured out early to join friends on a garden adventure.

Upon arriving at the Bastrop Gardens, we were greeted by a large flock of guineas. Talk about an exciting welcome! The three boys were very curious of these new animals. But soon curiosity turned to pure fun as the three took turns chasing and herding their new pets. (Check out the accompanying video on youtube)

What a great time to visit a butterfly garden! Butterfly migration was in full swing. Our early arrival caught the butterflies sleeping or drowsy, so we were able to get up close and personal.

We knew it was time to head home when Henry decided to invade the hen house, and the mosquitoes got in the way of enjoying the scenery.

But what a pleasant morning we had!

Herding Guineas

Here is the video of Henry and the Guineas--Go Henry!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Your prayers...

Thank you all for the prayers you've offered for the intentions listed here. I received word today that the adoption of Svitlana is marching steadily along!! Yay!

Mara sends her happy thanks and an update:


Dear Friends,
Thanks be to God we have wonderful news to share! We learned today that we will be leaving for [the] Ukraine in just 2 weeks! Our appointment with the Adoption Committee in Kiev is October 25th. Can you even believe it!?! We were very surprised, since the last we heard was that we would not have news until after the 16th or so. Thank you SO VERY much for your prayers and your joyful support. We can't wait for you to meet her!
It will still likely be complicated and possibly quite a long process. We only dream we could be home for Thanksgiving. However it might take more than a month. We are continuing to pray for it to go smoothly and efficiently.
Thank you again for your prayers!!! We'll fill you in on our plans as we have them.
With much love,
Andrew, Mara, Joseph, Aloysius (and Svitlana)


So keep storming heaven--God is listening!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Just Kidding!

Haha, well after two fun-filled days with our new minivan, she was called the dealership. Apparently they offered us financing that didn't exist! They were willing to make a new deal in which we would come out ahead by a few dollars, but after reviewing our the first transaction and the new options that this presented, we decided to return the vehicle and start again.

I was so glad to be finished with all the researching and the classified/internet searching--only to start up right back where we left off. Bummer!!!

Oh well, we had done all that we could, and had asked for God's blessing in the matter--so although we're a bit frustrated and disappointed, we're confident some other opportunity will present itself.

We'll keep you up to speed on the situation :) Until then, we're snug as bugs in our Texas Ranger, hee hee hee...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Member of the Family

Before we can welcome our Baby Girl, we must have a way to get her home from the hospital! Our trusty Ford Ranger has been good to us, but has seen better days and could no longer accommodate our growing family--it was time for a new vehicle.

We'd been doing our homework:,, kbb.come etc. No manufacturer was off limits provided they were offering 0% financing!

Armed with a folder full of figures, quotes, specs, and all the information compiled during the homework sessions, we ventured out to a local dealer in search of a minivan.

Three hours, 2 slices of cold pizza, a gazillion green grapes, applesauce, and "The Incredibles" later (we came prepared to keep Henry occupied) we were the proud new owners of a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country.

Goodbye to our dear friend, the Texas Ranger. Hello Midnight Meanderer.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Autumn" in Texas

Officially, I suppose, it is Fall here in Central Texas. Only a technicality--as nothing resembles the MN Fall that I am used to! Everything is as green as it has been since...well forever...and the temperatures? You guessed it--HOT!!

So today we tried to reclaim Autumn, and visited a pumpkin patch.

As you can see by our squinting eyes, shorts, and red faces, the sun did not share our sentiments, and appeared in full summer glory.

Henry had a blast petting the horses, chasing the chickens, and attempting to feed the goats. We posed for a pic with one of the horses--but instead got feet full of fire ants--OUCH! Luckily, I've been bringing my very good friend, AfterBite, along on all our Texas excursions.

We had a tasty hot dog and cold Sprite in the shade of a loving Oak Tree, and finished our outing with homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream. We brought home a family of mini pumpkins so we could share Autumn with Karl at home.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What a Busy Month!

September is a big birthday month--Karl's mom, Niece Monica, my Dad, Karl, and then me! yikes--and I'm sure I've forgotten someone :)

Here is a recap in pictures of our crazy busy month.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

As you can see, most of our month was spent eating and/or celebrating :) Yay for September...that reminds me, the red cake is calling my name!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baby Bump Update

Our baby girl is getting bigger! It's so funny how gradually my baby bump changes, so it wasn't until I was closing the car door the other day and my belly got in the way, that I realized just how big she's getting :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Videos

There are a couple of cute family videos that I've uploaded to youtube. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hair today...Gone tomorrow!

Remind me to purchase a real set of hair cutting shears, would ya? Good grief! Three pairs of scissors, Karl's beard trimmer, and a heaping mound of grapes later...voila! What a handsome boy emerged from under all those curls :)

Where oh where did my baby go??

It didn't hurt me as much as I thought it would...Perhaps now that a little girl has entered our horizons, I was able to let go of his hair in hopes of her (potential) bleach-blond curls--that won't have to be cut!!

Or maybe it was this picture on cover of the car seat manual that pushed me to indifference...curly little Henry with a bow--yikes.

Anywhoo, it's done! And that's that.

Hopefully his curls will be back right around the time his scar has healed :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Potty Training Successes!

Five successful trips to the potty in a row (on Henry's initiative) with a dry diaper in between!!!!

Mommy is very happy. Could I be so lucky as to have only one bottom to diaper come December????

I just want to hug whomever thought to teach babies sign language--what a blessing!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nighttime Offerings

Henry is a squirmer. Morning, noon, night--he wants to run. And he wants to run free. So when something hinders this boyish exuberance--like bedtime--he tends to fight.

On a few occasions, Henry has gotten very creative in trying to dodge bedtime. He tries to bribe us. After his nightly bedtime routine, if he isn't already asleep, he is supposed to stay in bed. Well, this is obviously a violation of the Perpetual Motion of Henry Law. So with every escape from his bedroom, a bribe comes too.

He peeks around the corner, scurries over to one of us, and drops something at our feet--then runs in the opposite direction of his room. He is quickly and quietly escorted back to said bedroom, and the bribery continues. He needs to work on the delivery and content of his bribes, but the sheer number of attempts has earned him brownie points. This will continue until he's so tired that he can't run away anymore.

Just another example of how this little one brings us so much joy. Even when he's driving us crazy!

The items we were bribed with include, but are not limited to, the following:
Towel, Teddy Bear, Clothing--both clean and dirty, Hats, Diaper covers, Cabbage Patch Henry, etc etc etc.

Thank you for the laughter! If you're going to make bedtime a bad time, at least be creative about it!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Baby Charba is a...


We're halfway to the December 29 due date, and all is well.

Thank you for your prayers and congratulations, we're very excited and thankful for this blessing.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ouchie Update

The superglue has begun to peel off, and the redness of the wound has almost completely subsided.

Any tips for minimizing the scar's appearance?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Henry Go Boom

I'll tell you what! A crazy crazy week, that's what!

Even before Harvest, Karl came down with a nasty upper respiratory bug. During Harvest, Henry and I caught it. After Harvest, we were all still suffering, though it was taking its toll on the men of the house a bit harder.

Little Henry spiked a 103 fever, and earned a trip to the pediatrician. Poor guy, he had two ear infections! Karl too, earned a sick day from work and a trip to the Dr's office. Whereas Henry was given sympathy and meds for his troubles, Karl was given only sympathy. No cure for the common but persnickety virus--just time and lots of fluids.

Three days and lots of nursing and sleep later, Henry was back in need of medical help--this time for more urgent matters! As his sweet daddy kept him busy while mommy made dinner, Henry darted toward Karl in an impromtu game of tag. Karl dodged, and Henry kept darting...right into the corner of our filing cabinet. Thank goodness for ER's and Superglue!
He was a trooper, and brought lots of smiles to the people of the waiting room.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Harvest 2007 has begun at Charba Farms.

PLEASE PRAY!! This crop is one of the best in years, but because of the flood conditions the combine can't get into the field. A really sad and frustrating situation for our South Texas Farmers.

Despite the sad conditions out of doors, however, there was much merriment happening indoors. All of the Charba siblings and families were together for laughter and reminiscing.

Check out our matching shirts :)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What a Guy

As I cleaned out our flash drive and rearranged photos, I came across these that must be shared!

Hope you enjoy them as I did :)

Created with Paul's flickrSLiDR.

Notes: The Bluebonnet is the Texas State Flower--as you can tell, it is much much more abundant than the MN Showy Pink and White Lady Slipper!

The Beach photos are from a visit to Port Aransas to Visit Henry's (Great-Great-Great) Aunt Lee who was visiting from New Mexico. The waves proved to be a bit too scary for Henry, but the puddles were just right--and warm too!

Karl's sister Laura is pictured with Henry and his cousin Patricia.

Easter Day was cold, cold, cold and rainy! So our Easter egg hunt was moved indoors. Henry had a lot of fun, although he didn't quite understand why the eggs went into the basket and not his mouth! Because of the cold I borrowed a corduroy jacket from my niece Stephanie, which really confused everyone (who already had a hard time telling us apart--as the photos demonstrate!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Baby Charba's Photo Debut!

Our littlest family member has been officially and pictorially documented! What a doll.
All is well with Momma and Baby--and the due date remains December 29, 2007. Just like big brother, Charba 2.0 was seen kicking already and had a strong and steady heartbeat!

We'd love the tax credit that an '07 birthday would grant us, though Henry's sluggish arrival may indicate that an '08 birthday is more likely :)

P.S. That is not an ear, just a well placed shadow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fun in the garden

I had the best peach today. It was juicy, it was tasty...ahhh. Yum. And I enjoyed it all the more because it came from our very own peach tree!

Growing things, from vegetables to flowers, is such a rewarding process. Watching the first sprout push up through the warm ground. Then being awed yet again by how quickly the sprout develops into a mature plant.

To think that our lovely yellow squash all came from those tiny tiny seeds. Wow.

We are still looking forward to Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, and *maybe* a potato or two!
The roses and lillies have been busy too--a dainty 5 petaled white rose (cliffs of dover?) and pretty little pink rose (have no clue!,) and the two originals--the long stem white and the red climber.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dinner is on the Way!

With Baby Charba 2.0 on the way, it's time to simplify and streamline.

To assist in this matter, I have joined a "Dinner Co-op."

The long and short is that I make dinner once and receive dinner as many times as there are people in the co-op. Well...there are only two of us in our co-op thusfar, but already it has been a great success!

Tuesday was my chili night with salad and cornbread muffins, and tonight is her Lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. Woo HOO!! Mushrooms, pickels, anchovies are off the ingredient list...and our husbands are given a month of menus to review and approve.

Once word gets out that two of Texas' best cooks ;p are sharing dinner, I have no doubt our co-op will be full in no time!