Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Next Three Weeks or so

Crazy times ahead. This is normally the week I'm at writer's conference. I would be leaving in the morning. But due to plans the next few weeks, I didn't feel like I could be away that long. Jessica for sure couldn't miss that much school.

Due to the adoption tax refund, we are going on the Karen Kingsbury cruise March 5-9. Rick, myself, Tyler, Jessica, Adam and Jasmine are going along. The twins will be with a neighbor who has a child in the same grade at the same school. Plus she works in the cafeteria so will right there to deal with any behavior issues. Those issues are not why the twins aren't going, though. They aren't going because my personal feeling is that children need to be older to get the most out of it. Especially with what it costs. They need to be able to do the excursions with us and the late night stuff so someone doesn't have to miss out to stay with them. It will give them something to look forward too. Neither Adam or Jasmine have been on a cruise. Our last one was about three years ago and it was a Girl's Get Away cruise so no boys could go. Jasmine was a little young.

We had Tyler and Jessica wait until they were 9 and 10 to go on a cruise. That was the perfect age. They were old enough to be trusted to go different places on the ship by themselves. They joined in the preteen activities or went to the pool and were responsible to meet back with us when (my mom and me) when they were supposed to. They were old enough to choose an excursion they would enjoy--Jessica and I went to a cool beach that had lots of activities and my mom and Tyler went to see a submarine.

Since this is a special Christian cruise, we'll be hearing Karen Kingsbury speak each day and will be hearing Matthew West, Mandissa and Anthem Lights. I don't have to worry about inappropriate activities or entertainment.

So, anyway, Jessica, Jasmine and I are going to leave Friday afternoon and drive most of the way to where the conference is at. We are going to conference just Saturday and half of Sunday. Then we are headed to Kissimmee to meet up with a group of adoptive moms of children with attachment issues or who just need a break from dealing with life.. There are about 90 of them getting together. They do this each year. I know at least three of them from bloggy world. They are from all over the U.S. Extreme corners of the U.S. so this is my one chance to meet them in person.

From there we will head down to Miami. The guys will meet us there. Then on Monday we set sail, and we return Friday. Some of the group is heading straight home (it's about 14 hours so they won't drive straight through--especially since neither Adam nor Tyler drive) due to work or school commitments. We are pulling all of them out of school for this, but the ones here have spring break the very next week. However, Tyler has spring break a week later so he has to get back. Rick and Adam have work commitments. The girls and I are going to spend a couple of days at Disney. We all (except Tyler) have annual passes and want to make sure we use them all we can. It's 6 1/2 hours from our house, but we go almost right by it going home from Miami.

So I'll be gone about 11 days total spread over three different weeks--more than I'm used to being gone at one time. I'm sure I'll be very glad to get back home. And have clean laundry. And see my twins again. And spend some time with them since we'll be into spring break by time we get back. And then we go get Tyler for his spring break the next week.

Right now there are big trucks outside because I'm getting a gravel driveway put in.

This is what our driveway looks like now.

The dogs will miss their mini pool.

Stay tuned!

And also, please go to my blog for girls HERE and vote for your favorite picture. (Link is now fixed)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've Been Tagged

Okay, so Dawn here tagged me. I was going to pretend I didn't see it, but I decided to play along.

The rules:

  • You must post these rules.

  • Each person must post 11 things about herself on her blog.

  • Answer the questions the "tagger" listed for you in her post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

  • Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.

  • Go to each blogger's page and mention that you have tagged her.

1. What is your greatest food weakness.

Sugar cookies with frosting. I mean, really. Does anyone have broccoli or carrots as a food weakness?

2. What is your favorite activity?
Depends on my mood. Sometimes it's jet skiing with all the kids, other times watching NCIS (on DVD) with my husband, other times reading.

3. If I gave you $1,000 what would you donate it to?
Real Hope for Haiti. They do great work and they need more money to keep it up.

4. What is one dream that you had that has changed since your childhood?
I used to think I'd have five children--by birth--but somewhere along the line I changed to wanting two by birth and a couple by adoption.

5. What is your favorite book in the Bible?
Judges. I like that God chose ordinary people to do his work. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad. How much more basic can you get? Shamgar is my hero because he shows me you don't have to have a lot of talent, just willingness.

6. What is something you like to do by yourself?
Read. Christian suspense is my favorite--Brandilyn Collins, Terri Blackstock, Colleen Coble, Dee Henderson, Mark Mynheir, Angie Hunt....

7. What would be your dream vacation if you had money?
Next week my husband and I are taking four of our children on a cruise to the Bahamas. I think anything I share with my family. I would like to go back to England (left in '99) and Japan (last there right before Jessica's first birthday!) and maybe to Australia for the first time. Or someplace hot with white sand and clear water....

8. What would you do with a whole day to yourself?

I do have the day to myself after 6:40 a.m. until 2:10. I walk through and straighten up, work on my devo book that's due in a couple of months and sometimes graze though the cupboards : ) Would love to read and sleep. No matter what time I go to bed, I don't fall asleep until after 11:00 so I don't really try. But 4:50 comes too early.

9. What is the worst chore you have to do?

I assign the ones I hate to someone else : ) Laundry and cooking are my areas. Plus cleaning my own bathroom which isn't a lot of fun.

10. Who is the person who has influenced your life the most?

Hmmm. Not sure. In high school there were two teachers who believed in me when not a lot of people seemed to. And there's my husband who's my biggest encouragement.

11. Why do you blog?
Not sure. No one seems to comment much. Well, the same 2-3 people each time even though the counter shows 50 or so hits a day. I guess in case there's anyone out there who just can't make it through the week without knowing what we're up to : )

I don't think I really have 11 people to tag and the ones I do tag can pick and choose which questions to answer. Don't have to answer all 11, okay? Maybe the most important one or two for you. I'll list them by blog names and if you click on it, it'll take you to their blogs (I hope!).

Stare if You Must
One Crowded House
Celebrating Chaos

Jock and Lisa's Blog

Journey to Jenae

Karen Evans

Our Mixed Blessings

Over the Moon with Joy

Smiles and Trials

Stepping Heavenward

The Day to Day

Traveling Light

My Ukrainian Mission of Love

Okay, that's everyone. But if I left you off the list, feel free to do them. Leave a link in comments.

So, here are my questions:

1. What did you plan to be when you grew up and how does that compare to your reality?

2. How many children did you plan to have and how many do you have?

3. How many times did you say "We're done" only to add another child?

4. Adoptive parents: What prompts you to adopt? Do you fall in love with a picture first?

5. What Bible character do you relate to the most?

6. If you could be one person in history, who would you be? Why?

7. What one book besides the Bible has impacted your life the most?

8. What have you always wanted to do that you haven't yet done? Do you plan to do it?

9. If you were writing the story of you life, the title would be:

10. What's your best piece of advice for other parents?

11. If you could change one thing in your life/past, what would it be?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Other Kids

Over the years I have sponsored many children in other countries. Some have moved out of the area where there were projects and some areas became self sufficient and the projects were moved to other areas. So there are many past sponsored children that I don't know how are doing. Tyler and Jessica have sponsored children and Jasmine has one now too. She does jobs to earn money to send for the birthday and Christmas gifts, and she writes the letters.

I don't write this to sound like some hero, but to encourage others to sponsor a child. For us, it's a matter of $30 or so a month, but for them it's the difference between being able to attend school and get medical care or not.

The pictures below aren't the greatest pictures. The kids' pictures are taped to the side of my filing cabinet and I took pictures of those.

Henry is the child I've had the longest. He is Jessica's age but still in school. He's in Honduras. He's a World Vision child.

This is Yordi. He was born Dec 26, 2003. That is the same birthday as a past foster child. Yordi is in Guatemala. He is a World Vision child.

This is Eric. He was born May 5, 2005. He is a Compassion Child in Ghana.

This is Hamisi. She was also born May 5, 2005. She is a Compassion child in Tanzania.
This is Emmanuel. He is at the Real Hope for Haiti clinic.
This is Alex, and I'm his school sponsor through Real Hope for Haiti.

So these are "my" kids who don't live with us. I do need to get around and write to them though. Seriously, I am not very good about that because I never know what to say.

This is Jasmine with her sponsored child. They are near the same age.

And this is Jessica's child.

If you don't already sponsor a child, I'd encourage you to find World Vision or Compassion online and choose a child. The dollar a day or so it costs to sponsor a child through those organizations will make a life of difference to a child.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Look Who...

...graduated from beginner's class.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jasmine's birthday part 2

We had Jasmine's birthday party at Wonder Works on Saturday. We hadn't had a party for her in a few years. Usually she has President's Day off of school and we go somewhere. But this year she had school. In fact she was the only one other than Jessica who had school on Monday. So we decided to have a party. There was pepperoni and cheese pizza and cupcakes.

Tyler lit the candles for her.

We took a picture of her with each child and gift but I'm only going to show Jessica and Tyler. Jessica is creating thank notes with three pictures of each child at the party.

The party included a game of laser tag, 12 game tokens, the ropes/climbing course and all the exhibits.

There are all sorts of exhibits about science and such.

Everything went really well. Eleven of Jasmine's classmates out of 22 came. One girl couldn't come at the last minute due to a death in the family but she gave Jasmine a present on Monday. I think everyone had a good time except one girl who was sick and called her mother. The kids had already spread out around the different exhibits by then so I didn't realize she'd left until she was already gone. But otherwise, everyone seemed to love it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jasmine's Birthday part 1

We celebrated a day earlier due to the party on her birthday. Linguine and Alfredo sauce is her favorite meal.

Jasmine loves her DS. Tyler didn't get his first game boy until he was 14 but with the constant trips for her neck expansion last year and all the hours in the car and waiting room, she got hers last year. These games are from Uncle Ken.

Aunt Lou got her two books from the How to Train Your Dragon series and Tooth Fairy DVD.

Grandma and Grandpa sent her a nice outfit.

Grandma Sims got her a mint green (?blue) outfit and shoes.

We got her a dress for the cruise.

Shorts with two shirts

Two DS games

An outfit and earrings from Justice. Wow is that place expensive!!!

Tyler and Jessica gave her their gifts at the party.

I also got her some stuff from the Christian bookstore--a dog tag, cloth arm band, straw cup and also a necklace that is a cross in a musical note and two background vocal CDs because I believe in her and what she is going to do for God through her music.

Jasmine is an amazing girl, and she is my joy and song. She has some genetic junk in her background that I hoped we wouldn't be dealing with for a while, but it looks like we're there earlier than we wanted to be. I think it's going to be an uphill battle the next few years, but she is very attached to both Rick and myself, and we have so many shared experiences and memories that it's sure to help. I know God has a wonderful plan for her and I can't wait to see it unfold. She could use some prayer warriors who would keep her in prayer daily.

I hope this year holds amazing and wonderful things for her!

Friday, February 17, 2012

So Much Going On

Tyler came home late last night for Jasmine's birthday which is tomorrow. He definitely has my hair (and nose)!

Before I made him go get a haircut : ) (It's wet here or it would be sticking straight out all bushy)
After the haircut.

Life today revolved around getting Tyler to the dentist, me shopping for the cruise (March 5-9, more on that later) and getting ready for Jasmine's big party tomorrow. 

Caspian's doing well in beginning doggy class. He should graduate on Tuesday. Jessica got me a late Valentine's present--chocolate covered strawberries! I'll take another picture after I unwrap it. Rick got me roses and the four Murder She Wrote Movies on DVD.

We decided to go ahead and celebrate Jasmine's birthday today for a couple of reasons. First, she'll get presents at her party tomorrow and coming home and getting more won't be that much of a novelty. And secondly, Adam and Jessica work so they'd miss it.

We are doing a really cool party at Wonder Works because it's been a while since Jasmine has had a party. Usually we go somewhere because it's a long weekend, but she attends the only school in town that has school Monday. So she's my only one who has to get up and go to school Monday.

There are three birthdays in a row this week--our niece Courtney (Rick's sister's daughter) on the 16th, Rick's mom on the 17th (Happy birthday!) and Jasmine's on the 18th.

I'll post pictures over the weekend, but I'll leave you with this one of the cream filled cupcakes Jessica made for Jasmine.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Jasmine's birthday is Saturday. She took cupcakes to school today because her teacher is going to be at training tomorrow. Instead of buying them (actually I usually buy Walmart frosted sugar cookies), we made them and then sent a ton of candy for the kids to top them with.

We made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and yellow with chocolate frosting.

The kids are going to love, maybe not the teacher so much....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No More Kindness!

Our two weeks are over! Just kidding--mostly. Our two weeks of kindness are over, but hopefully our kindness isn't. We've been up to our elbows in crafts, cookies, taco soup and so on. We didn't get all our projects done, and of course we can to them at other times of the year. Here is one last project we did--crosses made from nails. The cross Jasmine is wearing used 1" and 2" nails. That makes a pretty big cross. The one she made for Mrs. Ginger (pictured) and her school teacher used 1 1/4" and 3/4" nails.

Jasmine shared her stomach virus with me and the last 24 hours haven't been pretty, but I think I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Today is Jessica's half birthday. And Valentine's Day. Instead of buying chocolate and candy, I bought everyone subs from Subway because all their foot longs are $5 this month. I don't have any pictures though. And Rick got Jessica a red velvet roll for her half birthday, but she had to leave for puppy school and her pre calculus night class before she got any. But it's waiting for her. Or rather, what's left is waiting for her.

Hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yesterday's Race

Yesterday was the Mardi Gras 5k and one mile run. Last year Jeff won the 5K, but he's in the army now. No one from our family ran the 5K, but Kaleb and Jasmine ran the one mile. They are in the front 3 and 4 over from the orange cone.

And they're off!

Jasmine is in the white shirt. The girl looking back beat her for first place.

Jasmine came in at 9.28 and was second in her age group. That's a bit faster than the church one mile run a few weeks ago.

Kaleb came in at 11.09 for second place. If he hadn't stop to dance and swing his coat around when he was almost to the finish line he would have been first. But still good.

They just got Mardi Gras beads for the prizes for the one-mile.

My winners.

The camera shut off on the video of Kaleb crossing the line! And my cannon isn't working now either. Do you suppose the cameras know we are leaving on a cruise in three weeks!