Thursday, May 31, 2007

Love Thursday Reborn

Love is...


It was totally worth watering the grass again.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

photo by Ladyheart

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

photo by Danielito

Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Today is a day of remembrance. Today I give honor to those who have died in our country's service, protecting the freedoms that I hold dear but often take for granted.

To the men and women who gave all
and to the loved ones they left behind -
thank you.

Photos used by permission. morgueFile

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Photo Hunters - Colorful

This week's Photo Hunters selections should be really be a treat for the eyes. So many bright and beautiful ways to interprete the theme of "colorful" Yesterday, we celebrated Pastormac's birthday with a visit to the zoo. It was a beautiful day and although it rained on it a while we didn't mind a bit. We took lots of pictures of colorful things from flowers to flamingos but as our visit came to an end, this peacock gave me the photos for The Hunt this week. These pictures don't do him justice. He was stunning.

The Hunt - Colorful

Stop byTNChick's for a look at what she saw that was colorful this week.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Pastormac!

picture by Aileen
used by permission morgueFile

Today is the most special-est of birthdays.

Today is the birthday of my most precious-est best-est true-est friend - my Pastormac. There's nobody's birthday that I'd rather celebrate; noone who I'd rather be with on his birthday. Not siblings, family or friends. Not even my children, God bless them. Pastormac is #1 in my book.

We've been friends for 20 years and we've been married almost 18 of those years. Not one person knows me better or loves me more. Not one.

And I'm over-the-top, head-over-heels, wild&crazy in love with him.

Happy Birthday Pastormac!

I love you Handsome.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Farewell Love Thursday

Love Thursday.

A beautiful day.

Karen and Irene encouraged us to spend each day looking for the love in it and then blog about that love on Thursdays.

So we looked. We found. We shared.

But now those lovely Love Thursday founding ladies have to decided that it's time to move on. So the Love Is All Around website will remain but will not longer be updated.

Will Love Thursday continue for me? I think so. It's been good for me to look at life with love in mind. To find the sweet spot in each day. It's been encouraging to me to share those lovely moments with my bloggy friends. Looking back through my 34 Love Thursday posts today I am so glad to have written them down, to have captured the love. I don't want to stop and lose one precious instant.

Afterall, love is still all around. Right?!

So thanks to Karen and Irene for the inspiration to look for love. My search will continue.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Still waiting....(sigh!)

Another day past and we haven't heard any news about Bear. We don't know if our case went to court again, was postponed or was delayed due to missing documents. Our case worker said she wouldn't call unless she had news so we are left to wait. And try not to worry about what may be causing the delay.

In the meantime, when I'm not staring at her picture marveling that she's my daughter, I've started putting together a little pile of things for my Lem Lem. And would I ever love to include this little number made by Tutu Fantasy to the pile. She would just look adorable. 5 Minutes for Mom is giving one away. Head over there to sign up your little ballerina for a chance to win.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Here's something you can do to help your kids, especially little ones, keep track of the time leading up to a big event - a birthday, a big trip, the day a cast comes off, etc. I've found that's it's hard for my littler kids to grasp the concept of time if I just tell them how many days until something will happen. They need to see something tangible. Make a paper chain with one link for each day leading up to the big event. You can even write the courtdown number on each one. Then at bedtime each night, have your child tear off that day's link and count the links that are left. As the links go, your child will see the chain get smaller and smaller. I'm planning on doing this for my kids while Pastormac and I are away in Ethiopia picking up Lem Lem and Bear.

For an older child, take a calendar (you can copy the pertinent month from a calendar or even print one out on your computer), have your child mark a large X or draw a decoration on THE BIG DAY. Then each night, let your child take a marker or crayon and color in the square for the day just finished. When I was 12 years old I spent six weeks of the summer bedridden with casts on both legs. My mom did this for me. I can still remember coloring in those squares, filling in those weeks, looking forward to the day when I would be free again.

It worked for me and it works for my kids.

Head over to Shannon's for more WFMW tips.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We have a daughter!....We're waiting on a son.

Our case worker called this afternoon to say that all went well with our court date (which had been postponed from Monday to Tuesday) for Lem Lem.

So, we have a daughter!

However, one of the documents needed for Bear's paperwork was not in his file and so they'll try again tomorrow. Perhaps tomorrow afternoon, I'll have the good news that we have a son too.

I'll hold off posting pictures until I can do them together. (I know, you can hate me.)

Once I heard the news that I had been made a momma once again, I was suddenly very sad for Lem Lem's first mommy. I just can't fathom how hard a decision it must have been for her to decide that what would be best for her baby girl would be for some else to be her momma. I'm thankful that God has chosen me to be that momma.

So I'm sad and thankful and I'm oh so happy. And I'm hopeful. Hopeful that tomorrow everything will go well for Bear's court proceedings and I'll have good news to report. And pictures!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Not just an ordinary night

Tonight while I'm sleeping, on the other side of the world I am becoming a mother again for the 6th & 7th time. You see, in Ethiopia it's already tomorrow. And tomorrow is our our court date.

If all goes as it should, when I wake up in the morning two precious Ethiopian children will have become members of our family.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Photo Hunters - Cooked

This week's Photo Hunters theme was cooked/ing. Last fall, I blogged about our Adoption Fund-Raising Bake Sale which was a huge success. Our adoption is weighing heavily on my mind and heart this weekend as our court date is coming up THIS Monday. So while looking for a picture of "cooked" my mind went back to this.

The Hunt - Cooked

cooked: having been prepared for eating by the application of heat.

TNChick has a different take on the "cooked" theme this week. Drop by her place for a look.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Now that the weather is warming up, it's the perfect time to plan a "Pajama Run!" It takes a little planning in advance on your part, but be sure NOT to let your kids on that you're up to something. Pick an evening when you don't have any big plans for the next morning, a Friday night perhaps. Have a normal dinner but skip dessert. At bedtime, do your normal routine - pj's, teeth brushing, stories, prayers, etc. Then at lights out time, announce, "Pajama Run!" Everyone piles into the car, still in jammies, and heads to the nearest or favorite drive-thru for a small ice cream or shake or treat. Enjoy the time together and the giggling and the smiles. Take the opportunity of having eveyone in the car to Put up with the drips and the mess and the sticky jammies. (Plan in advance and bring along a box of wipes!)

Our kids LOVE this! Once the weather starts to get warmer they start asking when the next "Pajama Run" will be. But we are very careful to make these a very special event and limit them to a couple of times a summer.

Now understandably, your kids aren't going to come home and want to go directly to bed. A little sugar, a little excitement, a trip out at bedtime, all add up to the need for a little more "wind-down" time once you get home. Hence picking a night where staying up a later isn't going to pose a problem next day. And may I suggest, that you start getting them ready for bed earlier than usual so it doesn't end up so late? Once you return home, encourage them that you'll be a lot more likely to take them on another "Pajama Run" sometime if they don't give you any problems getting to bed afterwards. Finally, keep it special by not doing it very often. We find that we can handle wired, happy kids at bedtime if we only cause it like this a few times a year.

We've found the benefits FAR out-weigh the investments. Go ahead! Give it a try. You kids will love you for it.

A "Pajama Run!" It works for us!

Head over to Shannon's for more WFMW tips.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Photo Hunters - Five

"Five" was the theme of the week for the Photo Hunters. As the mom of five, right away I thought of something to do with my kids.

The Hunt - Five

I liked this five combo - FIVE hands with FIVE fingers on each. I'm sure that it helps that these are the hands of five of the most precious people I know.

TNChick's "five" photo is a good one! Go check it out.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Shot in the Name of Love (Updated)

photo by Belen Mendez
used by permission morgueFile

Today's the day. In just a little over an hour, Pastormac and I are going to the doctor to receive our travel vaccinations. I can't say exactly how many we're expected to receive but I think there are many. I'll come back later and let you know how it went.


We survived! We got SIX! Count 'em. SIX vaccinations EACH! As we were sitting in the examination room, we were able to overhear the Dr. telling the nurse what shots were needed. I laughed when I overheard her exclaim quietly, "Oh my G**!" I don't think she'd ever given that many shots at one time.
Both arms and one leg were required. Here's what we have now been vaccinated against:
  • Yellow Fever

  • Typhoid

  • Meningococcal

  • Polio

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis
  • and
  • Hepatitis A & B Combo

We also got a couple of prescriptions we can fill before we leave. One for malaria, should we travel outside of Addis Ababa and another for severe, ahem, tummy troubles.

The shots themselves weren't really all that painful and the result is mostly just sore muscles and tiredness. I'll let you know if either of us develop any other symptoms. The cost was more painful. Nearly $1000 for the two of us together and none of it covered by insurance. Small price to pay really, in order to stay healthy when we travel.


What's this? Tagged TWICE in one week?! That's never happened before. So what if it's basically the same meme?? I've been tagged.

Susanne tagged me with the "7 Random Things about Me" meme. And Julie (whose book, Chocolate Beach I strongly recommended in this post) tagged me with the "8 Random Things about Me" meme.

One list should suffice.

  • 1. I enjoy cooking in all it's many forms. I like watching others cook either in person or on TV. I read cookbooks just for fun and subscribe to several cooking magazines. I like talking about cooking. And I enjoy cooking new recipes and old favorites. And it goes without saying that I like eating what's been cooked too.

  • 2. I got engaged on a Friday evening, in April, just after sunset, by a waterfall. It was very romantic.

  • 3. Growing up, I took piano for many years from a lady named Perky Tietze. I kid you not. She was just Mrs. Tietze to me, but I distinctly remember my mom calling her, "Perky." Yup, Perky Tietze. She was an excellent musican and teacher; she taught me a lot.

  • 4. I don't like black licorice.

  • 5. I'm allergic to coffee.

  • 6. I have green eyes. The same color as my mom's eyes. However none of my five children have the same color eyes as me. Theirs are all blues, blue-greens, or hazel. (Pastormac has blue eyes.)

  • 7. During my senior year in college I got trigeminal neuralgia. Luckily (?!) it was caused by two absessed teeth and once I had root canals it went away.

  • 8. I'm a huge Wallace & Gromit fan. When I watch the movies now I have to be careful not to quote all the lines (that can be so annoying to the people watching with me).

That was fun. So I'll spread the fun around. I'm tagging WAYA, Pastormac, Sweetanlo, Our Gaggle of Girls, Shaz, Katie's Mommy, Jody, and Meredith. Come on, everyone's doing it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Date of Another Kind

Way back in April, Shalee challenged her bloggy friends to have a Sadie Hawkins Day. Her instructions: we were to plan a date with our special guys, take some pictures to commemorate the event and then blog about it. Well I took up her challenge but as it was during a particularily bad blog-writing slump, I never posted about it. Until now...

During said Sadie Hawkins Date Weekend, Pastormac worked late on Thursday, got up the next morning before dawn and left on a business trip which had him gone until the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. On Sunday he gave the sermon for both church services and then had meetings for the rest of the afternoon.

Needless to say, we needed an evening out together. I hired two of my favorite babysitters (my daughters) so I could take him here. (We had a gift certificate to use which made it all the better because we were prepared to spurge!.)

Pastormac had chicken.

And I had a steak. Yum.

And afterwards, we shared this dessert. Wow was it delicious.

But the best part of the time was being able to look at this face all eveniing long without interruptions. We actually had a coherent conversation or two. Wow!

Thanks Shalee for the encouragement to take my guy out. Sorry it took me so long to blog about it.

Love Thursday & Love Is All Around.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Want to pump up your mashed potatoes with a little more vitamins? When you're peeling and dicing and getting them ready to boil, throw in a sweet potato (peeled and diced, of course). It does turn your finished mashed potatoes a wonderful orange color ( plus at our house) but we find that the finished taste changes very little. Perhaps just a bit sweeter.

Sneaking in more vegetables whenever I for me!

More WFMW tips.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Photo Hunters - Childhood

The theme for this week's Photo Hunters search was "childhood." So many possibilities. I can't wait to see all the different interpretations everyone chooses.

Here's my selection - a picture from my own childhood.

The Hunt - Childhood

Here I am in 3rd grade. I'm the one wearing the red shirt in the second row from the top. I loved my teacher, Mrs. McCrary. She was terrific. I blogged about her last summer in this post. 30 years later, I can still name just about everyone in this picture.

Stop by TNChick for a look at her "childhood."

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


This Tuesday marked five weeks of waiting to hear that we had been assigned a court date in Ethiopia.

What exactly is a court date and why is it important? On that date, our adoption proceedings will take place in an Ethiopian court room with a CWA staffer standing in our place by proxy and Lem Lem & Bear will become our children. It's the next HUGE step we have to take to get them home.

So it had be an excruciating wait. We had heard so little, I took that to mean that nothing was actually happening. Had they been moved together? Had they had their second round of medical tests? Was anything happening? And the not knowing if our process was moving along was driving me nuts. A growing tightening in my chest, a gray cloud of sadness settling thicker and thicker. It was sapping any motivation to blog about life, comment on my bloggity friend's posts, write letters, answer emails.

About a week ago, we received an email with a second set of medical test results on Lem Lem, our daughter. They looked good. Making us all the more impatient to hear any news on Bear. As far as we knew, the two of them hadn't been moved to the CWA foster home in Addis yet.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into the house on Wednesday afternoon to a phone call from our case worker. I hadn't the foggiest idea why she was calling. I was completelly unprepared for her to tell me....


May 21st!

Not only had the kids been moved to the foster care center so they're together now and the staff knows that they are to be brother and sister, Bear's second set of medical tests have been done.

In less than three weeks, if all goes as planned, these two precious children will become part of our family. And quite possibly by the end of July they could be here home with us.

I can hardly believe it! My heart is bursting.

More love here and here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WFMW - Birthday Edition

Today is a special WFMW. Shannon is asking for birthday ideas..."any pointers for making birthdays special? Time savers? Money savers?"

I shared this re-gifting idea back at Christmas but since we do a similar thing at birthday times, I'll share it again here.

We have five kids - two girls and three boys, ranging in age from 5 up to 14. We have a veritable plethora of toys and games and stuffed animals and gadgets and clothes, etc. etc. (You get the picture.) There are regular times throughout the year we go through things together and give things away or donate them to charity or throw things away. And we still have A LOT of stuff. As birthdays approach naturally, the kids all want to give each other gifts. Isn’t that sweet?! Here’s the dilemma - most of them don’t have jobs and honesty they have so much stuff already. They're going to get gifts from friends, aunts and uncles and grandparents and us. So, we encourage re-gifting. Just before a birthday, we encourage each of the kids to look closely at all his/her stuff to see if there is something that he/she already has that isn’t played with much anymore or is outgrown and can be given to the birthday girl or boy. Something NICE, which isn't hard because we really encourage our kids to take good care of their things. Inevitably, I hear something like this, “Joe Cool has always liked this (fill-in-the-blank) and I don’t play with it much anymore (or didn’t ever), I think I’ll give that to him.” And I have NEVER EVER heard from the receiver of such a gift, “What?! This old thing? I don’t want your used-up old (fill-in-the-blank)!” More often, it’s, “I have always liked/wanted this! Thanks you so much!”

We've also been know to put aside a several of the MOUNTAIN of presents from aunts & uncles, friends & grandparents that our January birthday boy was going to get for Christmas, for him to open as birthday presents a month later. I know, I know, we're bad.

Re-gifting. In our home, it works for us!

Can't think of a theme? Try a "Decorate-Your-Own Cupcake" party. Bake enough cupcakes for each party attender to have two but leave them unfrosted. Buy several tubs of frosting and a bunch of decorations like sprinkles, colored sugars, candies & chocolate chips, etc. Then at cake time, let each girl/boy have two cupcakes to decorate anyway he/she wants. When it's time to sing "Happy Birthday" stick candles or one of those number-shaped cancles in the Birthday Boy's or Girl's cupcake and you're all set.

More great Birthday WFMW helps.