Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Smile! It's Works-For-Me Wednesday!

Works-For-Me Wednesday time again?! Wow, can't believe the a week has flown by so fast! Don't forget to head over there to check out the other great ideas.

Here's my simple little tip.

Did you know that you should replace your toothbrush every three months?
(OK, I know that there are some of you thinking....Every three months!? That's just a conspiracy to get us to buy more dental products. Yea, I was right there with you. Then I did a little math. If you go to the dentist every six months. And you should! You get a new brush then. So that leaves only two new toothbrushes a year to buy, for less than $5 total. Some of you spend that much on one Venti Venti Grande Caffefine-allatte at the Bucks place each day! Come on guys, you only have to brush the teeth you want to keep!)

But if you're like me, you can never remember when you got your last new toothbrush, so you just wait the six months until your next dentist appointment and use the spiffy new one you get then.

Try this: when you bring home a new toothbrush (for yourself or a family member), take out a Sharpie or other permanent marker and write on the handle the date it should be thrown away - three months from the day that you're writing.

No more guessing whether or not that brush has past it's prime. Works for Me!

Now don't forget you have an appointment over at Shannon's for more ideas that make you smile. And it won't hurt a bit!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fascinating Friend Friday - My Aunt the Secret Agent

Pastormac has been hosting Fascinating Friend Friday for several weeks now. Here's what he says about it.

Everyone has a story. I’ve often thought when listening to various acquaintances and friends, “Wow, that would make a great story.” So every Friday, I’m going to tell one of those stories. It also makes me wonder what stories you all have out there.

It's about time that I jumped on board. And you can come along too. If you have a Fascinating Friend, post about him/her on your blog today (Make sure that you leave me a comment so people can follow it back to your story!) Or you can post your story in my comments section.

So I'm kicking off My Fascinating Friend Friday with My Aunt Ga. (*wink, wink* not her real name *wink, wink*)

My Aunt Ga. was born in a small town in New Mexico and I love hearing her talk about growing up with my father and her interactions with her folks, my grandparents. Her college experience at a All Woman's College in Colorado is interesting too. And I like to ask her about her favorite places around the world and about trips she and my uncle enjoyed. (Often they vacationed with my mom and dad, so I get the benefit of hearing about them as well.)

But what makes my aunt so fascinating is what she won't talk about.

You see, Aunt Ga. spent her adult life, up until the time of retiring, as agent for the CIA. In fact, she was an OSS agent before that! And it's just been recently, as we've had the chance to spend more time together, that I've realized that my aunt didn't just have a desk job like I've always thought. This dawned on me as I began to spend more time with her, asking her questions about her life. But whenever I try to ask her about her life as a CIA agent, I never can get a straight answer! I do know that she was Iran during the 70's, but not because she told me. (She and my uncle spent the holidays with my family every year but one Christmas they didn't come because she was out of the country.) "Did you carry a gun, Aunt Ga.?" I'll ask. "Oh yes." she'll say and add facetiously, "And a knife in an ankle holster." And I'm left to wonder, did she or didn't she? And I've concluded - probably, she did. More often, though, she'll just breeze right by my questions without answering them. Sworn to secrecy still, I suppose.

So I'm fascinated by what I don't know about her and what she'll never tell. My Aunt - The Secret Agent.

Don't forget to post your own Fascinating Friend today (I know you have someone!) and head over to Pastormac's Ponderings about Fascinating Friends to read about his F. F.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

What would we do without Shannon? She brings us all together each week on hump day for an exchange of ideas and community and friendship. I loved what Shalee over at the the Diner said in her WFMW last week about helping others and helping ourselves. Go read it and come back. I'll collect my thoughts. Take your time, it could be a while.

(WFMW Fringe Benefit: a good case of "Blogger's Block" can be remedied with participation in Works-for-Me Wednesday. )

My WFMW this week is one of these:

It's called a Birthday or Remembrance Calendar. I got mine from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and it hangs right there in my kitchen. These nifty little calendars have a month per page and show the days of the month BUT NOT the days of the week that they fall on, so you can use them perpetually. Just write the names of the special people in your life on the dates that are important to each person - birthdays, anniversaries - any special occasion that happens on the same day each year.

Now at a glance I can see whose birthday or anniversary is coming up and I don't have to write it on the new calendar each year or worry about carrying around the list with me in a Daytimer or PDA. (too easy to put down and forget.) I have this important information stare me in the face each day (throughout the day) and I also enjoy the fine art on the top of each page. (Pastomac always marvels at how I can remember everyone's birthday - how could I not, when it's staring me in the face ten thousand times a day!?!)

They aren't very expensive (some as low as $10.00) and you can get really nice ones with great artwork from and Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Every four or five years I treat myself to a new one.

Works for me! Don't forget to check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Our Adoption Adventure - Part Two

This is part two of our adoption adventure. If you haven't already, you can read part one, here.

Continuing on with Our Adoption Adventure.

When I left off, I was feelling a little doubtful about adding to our already large family.

During this time of doubt, Mrs. D. (from our adoption support group, see part one) stopped me walking into church on Sunday morning and handed me an Good Housekeeping article called, “Coming to America” written by Melissa Fay Greene about a brother and sister in Ethiopia who’s parents had died and had been adopted by a couple in America. I turned the page and my eyes fell onto two of the most beautiful Ethiopian children. I knew then, that this would be our country, our children would come, and they would come from Ethiopia. I went home and found another article by Ms. Greene Hope Lives Here which was actually a prequel to the article I was given. I was riveted; reading it only served to further my conviction that God wanted us to adopt from Ethiopia.

In the fall of 2005, there were only 5 agencies allowed to do adoptions from Ethiopia. I joined several Yahoo Groups and began reading comments and asking questions and researching our different options. We felt that it was important for the agency we chose to share the same faith and convictions as we have. We followed a link from Steven Curtis Chapman’s adoption website, Shaohannah’s Hope to Christian World Adoption.

While CWA's program in Ethiopia was new, they have a long record (over 15 years) of successful adoption stories. We felt comfortable that they were a Christian agency and we were pleased to learn that their child fees for their Ethiopia program had, at that time, been reduced in order to encourage the new Ethiopia programs. We decided to choose CWA as our agency and requested an application. And so before the new year began, we sent off our first chunk of money to CWA along with our application. We received notice that we had been accepted - we were on our way! So began our trek up Mt. Adoption Paperwork, someday soon we'll hopefully reach the summit.

Come back next time to read about our homestudy and about how we went from adopting one child to adopting two.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Trip Highlights

Our wireless on vacation was really undependable so I couldn't blog much. I suppose that wasn't so bad. It did leave more time to enjoy Utah and our time together with family.

We drove back on Saturday and arrived home very early in the morning on Sunday. It's great to be home and I'm almost done unpacking. (It's only Tuesday!) And I'm starting to get over the "End-of-trip" "Summer's over" blues.

The trip was amazing! We saw some awesome places. And perhaps even more priceless was the time we spent with Pastormac's mom, brothers, SIL, and nieces and nephews. We all got along so well. All the cousins made the most of every minute together. At the last card game on Friday night, I glanced at Pastormac and both his brothers and marveled at what a wonderful chance to enjoy them all together - laughing, joking, having a great time. What a magical week we had spent.

It had been such a long time since the last time we were all together. It was hard to say goodbye on Saturday morning. The cousins hugged and hugged. I tried hard not to cry and mostly succeeded.

Here are some trip highlights.

On Wednesday afternoon we visited Zion National Park. What a beautiful place. We drove into the park and took a shuttle up the mountain to the Temple of Sinawava stop where the Riverside Walk begins. This is touted as the walk of all walks - the walk not to be missed - a 2 mile walk (round-trip) into the heart of Zion. It was amazing. As we went deeper into the canyon, the mountainsides rising up around us - wow what an experience!

Where the trail ended, a hike into a slot canyon began but crossing the Virgin River was necessary. Pastormac and my nephew, Mario, decided to hike on a bit farther while most everyone else stayed back, playing in the water & skipping stones & watching fat friendly squirrels (Don't feed the animals? Oh please! We didn't but someone before us sure had.) Here's a picture of the guys crossing the river. Pastormac is the one in the rainbow tie-dyed shirt.

On Friday we drove south into Arizona about 1 1/2 hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We ate the lunch we packed and then hit the trails. I really couldn't say it any better than the Grand Canyon map states it:

It is the visual impact of the landscape that impresses most people. The world seems larger here, with sunrises, sunsets, and storms taking on an added dimension to match the landscape.
It is a land to humble the soul.

Truly, I think, if possible, everyone should take the chance to see the Grand Canyon. It really is a World Heritage Site. And I realized how true this was as we heard people speaking Italian, French, Japanese & Swedish and a quick glance at the liscense plates in the parking lot showed visitors from Alaska, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario Canada, California, and others.

We followed the 1/4 mile trail to Bright Angel Point for a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon. We were amazed and in awe. God is truly The Master Craftsman. In some of the pictures, you can see across all the way across to the South Rim!

Just a few more pictures. On the way home, we stopped for a romp at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes National Park outside Mt. Carmel, UT. As we drove up, we took one look and thought - clay. But no, this is actually sand, just like the beach only it's bright orange. We were happy we stopped even though we weren't able to stay long.

And I'll end with these two pictures (both taken in AZ) I took on the drive home.
The Vermillion Cliffs

and the Colorado River (taken from atop Navajo Bridge).

What a fantastic vacation. The perfect combination of relaxing and visits to amazing sites, all done with the best companionship.


There I was Monday morning, sitting in the chair at the dentist office with the dental hygenist scrape-scrape-scraping my teeth. Ugh! But it had to be done. So I decided to take my mind off my situation and so pass the time by.... (OK, some of you are think this is a no-brainer, but I've mentioned this before - I'm a little slow with these things.) I passed the time by praying!

But not for myself. (Although, Lord have mercy! did come to mind as the hygenist became even more zealous.) Instead of praying that the appointment would magically be over, I prayed for someone else. I was going from there to a meeting with a good friend who is about to be married this Saturday, so I just started to pray for her upcoming nupitals and her subsequent married life. Pretty soon the appointment was over. I had survived it, and by not thinking about how bad it was - I had helped it not be so bad.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas to make life simplier, easier, more enjoyable. I love Works-for-Me Wednesdays - really perks up the week.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vacation WFMW

This will be a short one - I'm on vacation afterall!

I know, I know. I'm a little slow but this idea finally dawned on me right before we left for our trip to Utah. (see post below)

We needed to leave really early on the morning of our trip. So instead of wearing pajamas to bed, I had the kids dress in the clothes that they would be wearing the next day. Traveling clothes are usually comfy anyway so sleeping in them is no problem and they're going to get all wrinkled from all the sitting in the car anyway. We also had their shoes setting right next to their beds. In the morning all they needed to do was wake up, slip on their shoes, go to the bathroom and then get in the car. Very smooth and took almost no time at all. Works for me!

Don't forget to take a trip to Rocks in My Dryer. So many great ideas - you'll feel like you're on vacation. OK, I'll feel like I'm on vacation....Oh, that's right! I am!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No. I Really Didn't Fall Off the Face of the Earth

I really haven't had the chance to post much of anything in quite a while...and I've missed it. But it wasn't because I was just neglecting my newest hobby. Life just got too full!

First, I got stuck on tour. The 1st Annual BooMama Blog Tour of Homes! that is. Once I got started, it became a compelling quest to visit everyone. And I did, even though the list kept getting longer and longer. I tried to leave a comment at each home. Although I did grow a bit weary towards the end, I had such a nice time visiting everyone's home. What a great idea, BooMama!

Then, I got sucked into Vacation Bible School Land. For those of you who have been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about - it an all-week affair. Our church chooses to do VBS in the evenings because it allows many more adults to be involved in this ministry. For those of you familiar with it, we did Group's Fiesta VBS. It's a good curriculum - great music, exciting activities, excellent lessons on Bible foundations. Our church had around 50 children signed up and we ended up having over 70 attend! Our whole family was involved in some way or other for the week (Monday through Friday). My three boys were just attenders. Sweetanlo and Rummy were crew leaders, Pastormac was in charge of Hot Bible Adventure and I was the host of Chadder's Drive-in Theater. Because some of us were in leadership positions, we had to be there at 5:30PM and we usually didn't get home in until almost 10PM. What a terrific week, but by Friday we were all pretty worn out, due in part to Fiesta!

And due in part to Pastormac's older brother and his family coming to town for a visit. We haven't seen each other for 13 years! (That was several children go for both families.) Pastormac's brother, I'll call him The Professor and his wonderful wife WonderMom have 8 children - 4 boys and 4 girls, ranging in age from 20 down to 5. We all get along so well! We had a fantastic week together, laughing and talking, playing cards and games, and generally getting to know other again. It's been so fun watching all the cousins together. Our house was a flurry of activity all week long with 17 people enjoying sweet fellowship.

Pastormac's other brother had planned a family reunion for all of us. So early Monday morning we drove around 9 hours to Mt. Carmel, Utah. The drive was uneventful and mostly pleasant although at one gas station, we did have a restroom break with only one restroom stall available - it took nearly 1/2 an hour to get back on the road.

Here are some pictures of the scenery as we got closer to our destination. Amazingly, this was the nonscenic route! (The lake pictured is Lake Powell.)

PastorMac's mom, whom I just call Mom and his other brother, The Maestro, had already arrived when we got here. This is East Zion Riverside Lodge. And we have the whole place to ourselves.

Here's what we saw when we drove up. And while it looked OK, it didn't look like anything special.

When we got inside....WOW! We were pleasantly surprised. This is the view from just inside the front door looking into the great room toward the kitchen.

This is the living room and the kitchen and the view back toward the front door.

The lodge has bedrooms and bathrooms everywhere, but I'll only show the room we're staying in. Our family is all staying in one huge master suite and it doesn't even feel crowded. The unmade bed is the Sweetanlo and Rummy are sharing. Joe Cool and #1 Son each have a roll away and Shorty is sleeping happily on the couch.

Today we just relaxed around the lodge. The kids swam in our very own pool
and WonderMom and I went to the store to get groceries for all 19 of us! (We filled a shopping cart full to the brim.)

I did get a chance to relax out back. What a view! And the sound of the Virgin River gurgling by was so peaceful.

Tomorrow we're going hiking in Zion National Park. It should be breath-taking, if these pictures are any indication. This is what we saw on our way to pick up pizza on the first night.

I expect that tomorrow I'll have even more pictures of why you should plan a trip to Utah. Check back then.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy touring homes.

(BooMama's Bloggy Tour of Homes) Lots! of homes! Hundreds of homes! And the list just keeps on growing. But I'm nearly through the whole list. I visited so many homes on Saturday that it was actually refreshing to take a break and do laundry!

But I couldn't miss up a chance to post a WFMW.

Ok, this is a blatant product endorsement for one of these

Sunshine Kids Mighty Tite - The Ultimate Car Seat Belt Fastener

Now it doesn't get a five star review at (although it does get 3 1/2 with over 200 reviews) and some folks with newer carseats or newer cars (not us) may not even need one. But we drive older cars and have had our carseats for a while so I've found this to be really helpful in getting the seatbelt tight enough. Sometimes it takes a little finesse to get the belt in the right place but it has a rachet system which makes tightening the belt easy (I have weak hands) and I don't have to worry about it coming loose and I've found getting those metal clips a challenge to get on right.

So, this may not be something that you need or maybe it won't work best for you. But it works for me. (Isn't that was WFMW is all about?)

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas. These bloggers are good!