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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. &mdas... 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 Cottonwood Creek Pet Spa (Facebook page) Animal Rescue Site "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 infe... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 8 no 1

Once in a Blue MoonVol. 8 No. 1, February 1997 A lot has happened since our last newsletter, so let's just jump right in with the "news"... Mike and Evelyn get married Almost two years ago now (June 21, 1995, actually), Mike marrie... 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 just now thawed out. You know how it is. We should h... 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 gone and had a litter of pups. This time the mother is Belinda, a Rottweiler, and she gave birth to a litter of ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 6

  Coyote BreathVol. 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 Denver. All we know is that he returned to Nashville a week lat... 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 Breaks Hand Jeannie, a DMV employee in Tracy, CA, broke her hand after falling off her bicycle on the way to work recently. [Th... 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] Tiffany wins awards Tiffany and her horse, Rocky, of Tracy, CA, competed in a local horse show a couple of ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 6 no 3

  The Obtuse Moose Vol. 6, No. 3, April 21, 1994 Jeannie finds dog Jeannie and John have a ranch in Tracy, California. To help pay the bills, they board a few horses. One of those horses, a fat old gray Arabian mare, had been particu... 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 Michael moves! Michael has moved out of his mother, Lucy's, house. "It's the first time I've been able to afford it," he says. "Believe m... 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 you've just recently emerged from a cave. It happened ... 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 A... 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 of days after we s... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 6

Hoot and a HollerVol. 5, No. 6, September 28, 1993 — Nashville editionJournalism at its finest! — Yearly subscription rate: $135 Brouns family buys property LATHROP, CA - John, Jeannie, their kids, Tiffany and Thomas, Jo... 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 just moving the... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 4

Not Just Another NewsletterMONDAY, JULY 19, 1993CIRCULATION: From 8 to 15 (depending on our mood and how many stamps we have)Copyright 1993 Bill Holmes Enterprises 2 pages BILL ARRESTED That's right. Bill, this newsletter's edit... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 3

  A Face in the CrowdVol. 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 been given her drivers license!"It just goes to show that persevera... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 5 no 2

  The Sacred CowVol. 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, for that matter)!]Anyway, as a big corporate executive f... 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 (and a few others) a happy, healthy New Year ("B... 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 people wanting to be added to our mailing list. (Som... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 4 no 7

  The Belching Frog Vol. 4, No. 7, September 16, 1992 "Thomas should like this name." Doug returns again On August 26, Doug returned from Europe for the second time in as many months. Of course, his first thought upon ... 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 California ... 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 leader... 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 t... 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 tradition of political rhetoric and b.t., one name has gone relat... 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! Yes, all your prayers have been answered! "The King" ... 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 Hayward, CA had back surgery done on her back (always a good place ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 3 no 8

  The Leaky Faucet Vol. 3, No. 8, December __, 1991 Steve & Denise host Thanksgiving Turkey was served and everybody ate it. What else is there to say? Okay, so it was an excellent meal thanks to the efforts of Denise and those who br... 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 show. It will basically be a show focusing on happenings on ... 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 Sapphire dispute settled out of court Steve of Sacramento, CA, invested in a sapphire venture a few solar eclipses back. He ... 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 Th... 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, Don and Diane (collectively known as "Hell On Wheels") rode thei... 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-... 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 boys and four girls! Hasn't she ever heard of birth control? ... 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 time over the weekend" according to police. We think it was ou... 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 of Arizona, Dad and Eleanor told of battles with man-eating coyotes and viciou... 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 anniversary issue! (Aren't you excited?) It was one year ago ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 7

  theNEWSVol. 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 Modes... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 6

  theNEWSVol. 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 spea... 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 expects to return from Germany at the end of March, assuming his mom can afford the return... 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. Holmes" now. Diane Holmes, D.C., to be exact. She passed her exams last month and is ... 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! Taking her cue from Lucy's dog, Coyote, Denise is also expecting puppies, er, that is, a ... 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. Only those with food will be allowed in. Says Lucy, &q... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 14

  The Daily GargoyleVol. 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 therewouldn't be any more newsletters, well, a... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 2 no 13

  Hometown NewsVol. 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 Colleg... 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 wanted to put out this issue. And, sure enough, she had the bab... 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 Lake City over a week ago and hasn't been seen since! Sever... 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 available at a store near you. Don't be surprised if they're s... 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 Elvis Presley will still be dead. Vice-President Quayle will be kicked out of off... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 10

  The Holmes Family Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 10 — Worldwide Circulation — December 6, 1989 Newsletter sold! The Holmes Family Newsletter was involved in a hostile takeover. A group of Japanese investors have taken con... 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 'til Christmas And where will this year's celebratio... 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 in downtown San Francisco when the whole building started to shak... 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 to just keep coming.] Steve arrested Steve received his first speeding ticket ever recently. Of course, this is the first car he... 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 ... 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" maneuver during a roller derby match last month with teammates Ti... 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) [Editor's Note: This will probably be the last is... 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.] Mike made the Cal State Stanislaus Dean's List for the ... read more

Holmes Family Newsletter vol 1 no 2

  The Holmes Family newsletter June 23, 1989 — Vol. 1, No. 2 — Since 1989 [Editor's Note: This may be the last issue.] NEWS Jeannie's dog, Chance, finally had her puppies. Ten of twelve survived, eight of w... 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 course, is Steve and Denise's engagement. The wedding is se... read more

Lionel Rocha Holmes Memorial DNA Fund

  Lionel Rocha Holmes Memorial DNA Fund Lionel Rocha Holmes (1919-2017) was an important part of the Sacramento, CA Portuguese community. He was one of the original founders of the Portuguese Historical & Cultural Society (PHCS), a fo... read more

Our Portuguese Table

  My brother Doug talking about Portuguese genealogy on (I guess) the podcast dated January 22, 2019.... 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 ... read more

Taking Elizabeth to skating party

  Preparing to take Elizabeth to a skating party, I said, "Here, take some money. Go ask your mom for more." I thought I had at least a $10, but only had $6. When she returned I asked how much she had now. "Forty-six dollars." "Wha... read more

Parenting tip #426

  Parenting tip #426: When taking out recyclingtrash, check its contents. I almost threw out our daughter's purse and wallet! #parentingtips... read more


  Me (folding clothes): I need some of your hangers. Elizabeth: Here you go. Me: Wow, a variety of hanger types, thanks. Elizabeth: Well, I am diverse!. Her friends are diverse, actually, but it's an inside joke with us abou... 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 you missed the first two, above) :)gofundmeFacebook-harmony-hdonate See also: Willi... read more

Avocados poisonous to most pets

Did you know that avocados are poisonous to most pets? Check out these links: petpoisonhelpline avocados-are-poisonous-to-horses That first link says: "Level of toxicity: In dogs and cats: mild. In other species (e.g.... read more

Elizabeth skiing for the first time

It was father-daughter day (for me, my brother, nephew and our daughters) at NorthStar ski resort in Lake Tahoe. See vimeo122485652... 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?" "Elizab... read more

Watch hero cat attempt ceremonial first pitch

  Watch Tara the Hero Cat attempt to throw a ceremonial first pitchFor those who saw that video.But then, who didn't? ... 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 pe... 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 Candy Heaven (do not go to "candyheaven"!). As Michael noticed, there's almos... 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 freaked out to wake up and find me gone. Passing through th... 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 members would finally get to meet her. Her mom, Tara, had no vacati... 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?

Cat-parasite-drive-to-suicide From: Diane The answer is "yes", but not through parasite worms. Mostly through bringing live animals into the house and letting them loose so you can encounter them whilst sitting on the commode. From... 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 he... 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 a... 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: Daisy due to recurrent p... 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,... 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 a... 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... 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 ... 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. Ther... 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 Tar... 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... 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 th... read more

Rottweiler tricks

  Here are some videos by my sister's friend who bought a puppy from her: watch?v=yO_ov3s9LbQ&feature=related watch?v=PTyOqZemOq4 watch?v=nVFlSQdzQjI&feature=fvw amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "tr... 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 gi... 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... 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... 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 ch... read more


  Almost stepped on a snake 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... 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 ha... read more

Eleven Rottweiler puppies

  Help her come up with names starting with the letter "B" by leaving comments below! [comments closed]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 ... read more

Videos on vimeo

  Not much new here, other than Elizabeth's dance class video. They might be new to you, though: vimeouser767842albums... read more

Elizabeth's first Halloween

  Click here for the video... 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 ... 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 c... 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. Eli... 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 sh... 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 t... 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) Holmes Russian Adoption, Part 2 (updated) To download the songs from the videos, click on any or all of the following: Raúl Di Blasio - Andino — Dim... read more

A few more videos

  I finally edited these a little bit and uploaded them: Chandler hanging out Elizabeth's baby shower in February Elizabeth's b-day party in April... read more

Elizabeth dancing!

  It should be available here: Elizabeth dancing!... read more

Elizabeth's first video!

  Elizabeth's directorial debut. A probing, provocative, sometimes introspective look at a typical weekend around the house with Mama and Papa and the pugs. Elizabeth's first video from Bill Holmes on Vimeo... read more

Had a scare

We had a scare a couple of Wednesdays back with Elizabeth. She was at pre-schooldaycare when she tripped and fell head-first onto the pavement outside as everyone was told to get in line to go back inside. We figure, being so competi... 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 | Part 2 Part 2 has been moved to... read more

Adoption videos

  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 the above linked page. To download the songs from the... read more

California trip

Tara, Elizabeth and I just returned from a trip to California. Ostensibly, we went for my nephew Thomas's wedding (to bride Heather at Lake Tahoe), but it was also a convenient excuse to let everyone on my side of the family, especial... 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 p... read more


  Elizabeth spent her first official full day at daycare 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 ... 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 av... 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, an... read more


  I can't believe how nice my coworkers at Franklin are. On Friday, they had a luncheon 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 speech... 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 hurdl... 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 circumstanc... read more

More pics (12-28-2007)

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... 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! amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id... 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

We're home!

And now I'm going to bed! :) I'll blog tomorrow.... 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 souven... 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... 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 yes... 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 ... 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. Just kidding about that last part, of course. I wonder if the Children's Hope people... 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 tec... 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 de... 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... 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 ... 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 lea... 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 ... 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 s... read more


  Everyone is wanting an update! Well, we're parents of a two-year-old now. No time for updates! 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... 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 ... 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 t... 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 snowsu... 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 t... read more

More pictures (12-09-2007)

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. I just had to go for a walk. I was getting cabin fever. This is where we walked. Tara'... 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. We have one more visit today before we pick her up Monday. Our ten day wait is over tomo... 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. ... 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 wit... 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, ... 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... read more

Beet salad

  The time stamp on these blog posts are in US Central Time, not Russia time. It's 6am Sunday morning here. We had lunch the other day with Nancy, Joel, Vika and Liena at a Western-themed restaurant called The Horseshoe down the street... 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 ... 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 tha... 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 consola... 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... 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 ... 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!... 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... 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 ... read more

Russian adoption consultant

  I've taken a job here as a Russian adoption consultant. 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 Bren... 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 stap... read more


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 coul... 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 y... 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 tim... read more

Elizabeth's room

OK, here are the pictures: Before After The plaque, if you can't read it, says: To My Adopted Child I gazed upon your tiny face and knew right from the start that you were sent to fill a special place within my heart &... 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. Nor... 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 those language MP3's relentlessly for the past several week... 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 da... 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!"... 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 ... 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 kn... 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... 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 decorate... 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 R... 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.... 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 morn... 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 Educa... read more


  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'... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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... 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, b... 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,... 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.... 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 sleepin... 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! Flying halfway around the world tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I think I figured out that I can take the SD memo... 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 conn... 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 ... read more


  Click here for Pug-related gifts! The Lazy Pug Cafe Daisy graduates! Pic One, Picture from earlier that day! Daisy wrestling with Sunny Previous pictures: One and Two ... read more


Doug sells power tools Doug's genealogy services 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!" O Pr... read more

Regenerated Sep 19 2019