Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A New Low

Last night, I had to grocery shop. Couldn't put it off any longer. But since I knew it would be a tiny trip (for us!), I grabbed The Boss and my coupons and we were off. I hoofed it through the store like a maniac, shopping and plotting and searching for coupons to match sales all with one eye on my watch. Sending The Boss off (which causes fits of panic and stress every time) with very specific instructions on specific foods to add to the cart. Gaging time needed, moving faster when necessary, and hurrying the cashiers in my mind.

I paid the nice boys with the ridiculously low-slung, baggy pants (please, did that fad not end a couple years ago?!). As we threw the last of the bags in the cart, I glanced at my watch. OH NO! 8:07 p.m. I knew that since David Cook has sung his American Idol brilliance towards the end of the last couple shows, it was likely that he'd be singing his Neil Diamond American Idol amazing-ness early in last night's show. Hurry it up!!!

The Boss threw the bags in the van, I revv'd it up and picked him up on the fly from the cart corral. Seriously, the van was moving before his butt was totally planted and the door was shut. Risky, I know. And while I was flying out of the parking lot, I called the boys and made them put the phone up to the tv speakers. I caught his first song, amid a ton of distortion, in the car with my cell on speaker while trying to responsibly and legally drive home as quickly as possible. Not the most well-known of Diamond's songs, but when you have a younger sister who loved (loves?) all things Neil Diamond in her teen years (I know, that's a whole 'nother post, I swear!!), you know all these songs. He rocked it. I drove faster.

As Shaggy was putting the phone back and laughing with Dr. Doolittle over my NEED to hear David's first song, I heard him (over the UN HUNG UP phone!) say to Dr. D, "She's pathetic. That's just sad." I couldn't believe it. My 13 year-old thinks I'm pathetic. And sad. I think I've sunk to a new low. But then (after I screeched to him, "I CAN HEAR YOU, YOU KNOW!") I heard him cracking up and laughing hysterically. That punk. He knew he hadn't hung up yet. He got me. UGH. Maybe that's my new low - he got me, and he KNEW he would. Punk.

Anyway, we got home, flew in the door and made everyone help unload and put away the groceries (I may need a treasure hunter to find that peanut butter and those canned peaches!) and clean up. Just in time. Just in time for David's second song of the night. He rocked it. Again! And his hair? Dude, I think I might get mine done like that. I love his hair! Oh wait, mine is already kinda like that. Why does it look so much funkier on him than on me?! Yeah, as I was saying, David Cook rocked the house last night. He is sooooo gonna win this. Or as Paula said:

"I feel like I'm looking at the next American Idol."

Yeah. That's what I've been saying. Since his adorable audition tape.
In Simon's words, he is "brilliant!" Yup. That's what I said.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Our Room - After!

Okay, I've killed all three of you with suspense long enough. I am so excited to share with you some pictures of my beautiful new bedroom. It's so warm and inviting that I've actually made my bed Every. Single. Day. since we finished it - just to be able to revel in the gorgeousness of it all. And I've given myself up to the luxury of crawling into bed before 9:30 several nights to read and relax in the beauty of it.

First is the view of our room from the bathroom door. Next is the view as you walk into our room from the hallway. Oh, the beauty and serenity that greets me each time I walk into my room. I cannot even describe to you how much I have fallen in love with my "new" room!

These next views are from opposing corners of our room, the top one is from my side of the bed in the corner. Next is from The Boss's side of the bed, by his dresser. We originally had one of those mirrors that hung on two very colonial looking posts, but we got a little funky and hung it directly on the wall for a more updated look. I'm so happy that The Boss encouraged me to "think outside the box" on this one - I was getting stuck on how the mirror is "supposed" to hang, as if it was sacred some how! That's not usually like me, but I'm glad that he nudged me to do it.
The color on the walls is really more of a warm caramel color, called Cumbrian Cliffs, but the flash over-lit the picture. Trust me, it's not nearly as peachy as it appears here. It's rich and warm and complements the olives of the bedspread nicely. After about 4 deleted shots, I gave up - and wished I'd had my good friend Holly take the pics when she was by for a "real life" visit (as opposed to the visiting we do via Flickr and our blogging!)

Finally, there's a close-up of the beautiful casement trim that we picked (and that I saved my hard-earned babysitting and survey job money to splurge on). The Boss painstakingly primed and painted it and all its little nooks and crannies and hung it for me. We did a similar treatment to a powder room downstairs to off-set some odd ceiling angles and loved it, so we treated ourselves to a variation of the other. You can't really see it here, but The Boss is so particular when he does these jobs that he carved, mitered and cut tiny little wedges at each place that the trim stopped or changed angles, for an amazing, seamless look. It's an outstanding labor of love, one that makes me more convinced than ever that The Boss is THE MAN for me. Forever and always. I am a blessed woman indeed. And now I have a pretty, pretty room, too!

So, what do you think? Isn't it gorgeous?! It was so worth the wait. All that's left is to find some curtains in a soft sage-y olive color. I think I've got it narrowed down to a couple choices, but I have to head to the stores to feel the fabric - it's gotta be plush, soft and luxurious to complement the rest of the beauty that is now my room. Mmmmmmm, I love it when a home project comes together even better than I'd pictured it!

Update: In case I wasn't clear enough in assigning credit,
all the hard labor was by The Boss. I create these designs
and ideas in my head and he makes them come to life in our home.
Plus, he hates it when I try to help. He's waaaay too territorial for that!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our Room - Before

Well, before and sorta during! The Boss is famous for forgetting to snap pics of a project before he starts it, so we have tons of "before" pics that are really more "during" pics.

Here's what the room looked like as we were dismantling it and prepping. Note the white walls, white trim and white ceiling. This is not primer, nor is it an effect for the camera. This is our room. Before.

Note the boring, predictable placement of furniture and the complete lack of decor. We did have lampshades, but he put those away for safe-keeping before he took these pics.

We've been here in this house for four years. 4 Years! And we've never had any wall hangings. These wall are not empty here because we'd already taken pictures down. They were just empty.

The only reason we had any curtains is because my very generous and compassionate neighbor gave me some gorgeous antique ivory sheers to go over our room darkening shades. Which are also ivory.

Boring and un-inspired. And the LAST room in the house I wanted to spend any quality time. Before.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Big, Bigger, Biggest! (Long Post . . . )

Okay, I've been hiding. I confess. I've been hiding behind piles of laundry, mountains of spring clothes, landslides of winter clothes, and avalanches of paperwork. I've been lurking in Wind Ensemble concerts, Spring Band concerts, memorial services in upstate NY, and cousins' new houses also in upstate NY. I've been sneaking around gargantuan mounds of paperwork accumulated after only 2 partial days out of town, and tip-toeing through bedrooms full of outgrown toys and other various spring cleaning purging projects. Yup, I've been in-communicado - withholding all my witty banter and sage insights on the world from all of you faithful blog readers. But I have three big pieces of news to share that has brought me out of hiding, at least for this post. At least until my piles and landslides take over and completely force an involuntary commitment to the local madhouse.

Big News ~ I've got a new bedroom! After months of waffling on color and style and trim, The Boss devoted all last week and two weekends to painting our room and helping me re-arrange furniture (his very least favorite thing about my inner decorating diva!). We've hung pics, refreshed furniture, and re-hung curtains. The only thing left to do is settle on some drapes, but until I've got a nice little nest egg of babysitting money saved up (do I totally sound like a total like teen there? Like, really?!), I'm more than content with my lovely filmy sheers. Maybe soon I'll treat you to some "before" and "afters" of The Boss's masterpiece!

Bigger News ~ Due to some recent changes in the policies of the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs), we went from #31 to #20 on the list for a Waiting Child! I am sad for those families that were bumped out of line because of these new rules, but I am very excited that we may be closer to Aidan than ever.

Biggest News ~ Today's weekly email update from Living Hope Adoptions informed us of the following:

"CCAA has reviewed documents logged in
up to and including December 31st, 2006"

This is HUGE news for us! This is GOOD HUGE news for us. Basically, unless we get a call or a letter in the next week or so from our agency stating otherwise, this means that the CCAA has cleared us for adoption of a Chinese orphan. This means that we are one big step closer to Aidan. No, we still have no time frame to count on. No, we don't know how much longer it is from here. But we logged in to the CCAA on 12/14/06 and have been waiting these 16 months for this progress! For those of us who watch faithfully the progress that CCAA makes on these reviews and referrals, the fact that two months worth of LID's were reviewed and passed is GREAT NEWS!! (The last completed reviews noted were Oct. '06) So to all you fellow November and December '06 LID'ers: Congrats to us all!!!!!

So . . . . Spring clothes are (mostly) out, (mostly) washed and (mostly) folded into drawers. Once I sort, store, purge and wash, the folding and the putting away is up to all of them. And if they all get them into their drawers, well, then that's just a big 'ole bonus for me. Woo hoo! Winter clothes are stored away and all the heavy coats have been washed and stored also. The only thing left is sorting through that huge messy box of hats, gloves, mittens and scarves. I may need an extra large Vanilla Latte for that one though. I am pretty certain that there's really only one pair of gloves that actually match after the winter ravages. And Baby Blue Eyes is now fitting into the same size clothes that Dr. Doolittle was wearing when we moved into this house. How is that possible? How can it even be remotely possible that my little guy is so grown up?

Finally, with all this cleaning and purging that's going on, we're making money on our stuff! So far, Baby Blue Eyes and I have sold Rescue Heroes, dinosaurs, and Hot Wheels. We're continuing to purge and sort and clean; what we don't sell on our local craigslist, we'll be tagging for a big yard sale in June. All proceeds are heading for our Adoption Jar and so far, the take is $50 from BBE's room alone! Next up, we're tackling LadyBug's room and the bins of baby stuff that we're fairly certain we won't use with Aidan. But now, I'm putting my feet up and crashing. It's been a long two weeks and I need to crash. Before I burn!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Fave American Idol

I've never weighed in on the blogosphere's chatter and debates about American Idol in my own blog before. I've commented lots on others' blogs (cuz you all KNOW I have somethin' to say for sure!) but never felt moved enough to devote a whole post to it. Well, okay once I did, but it wasn't about who was so amazing or so talented.

Until. David. Cook.

I've watched him with great interest and more than a little curiosity since the auditions back in February. He's edgy, fresh and interesting. No bubble gum pop music with him. And when he sang "Hello" - well, I melted. Right there in a puddle in the family room. Ask my family. I know all the questions about his supposed "originality" - questions about his arrangements abound. Just for the record, he's very quick to give the credit for great arrangements where the credit is due. I know, I read the internet. :)

Then came last night. Sigh. As much as I despise Mariah Carey's music (and believe me, I do for soooo many reasons!), he took the one song that I'm sorta okay with and. ROCKED. THE. HOUSE. I could hardly speak at first. I quickly regained my ability to speak, to leap and cheer and shout my approval. I couldn't believe how amazing it was. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Here's some feedback from the judges (yes, I took notes. I know, I'm a geek!):

"Original." "Daring." "Stood out by a mile."
"Whole package." ". . . big breath of fresh air."

Not one critique from one of the judges.
Not one.

I got a little teary (okay, I confess, I blubbered) when he teared up. For the back story on why he was so emotional, go here. I knew before the show about his brother, and just knew all night it would be his BEST. PERFORMANCE. EVER. ~ YET. ~

So, I've been saying it in comment form for several weeks - but I'm saying it here, now, in public. Well, publicly to my 5 readers. David Cook is THE ONE to watch. He's THE ONE who will take the whole AI contest. And when he does, I predict that he's going to take the whole American Idol empire to a whole new level. I know he certainly has made it a whole new experience for me.

David, if you are reading this, I have been a faithful fan
since the first time you very sweetly, humbly and sincerely
thanked the judges for the chance to go to Hollywood.
You are gonna knock this whole contest outta the park!
I just know it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Gotcha Day!

Yesterday, another family came together to form forever bonds through the miracle of adoption. My dear friend (new but no less dear!) Kateri and her husband David became the legal parents to Alayna Fu Chang Lambrose. Please head over to their site and shower them with love and congratulations. It's been a long journey, and their story is one of the great faithfulness of a loving Father and supernatural provision from the God who owns cattle on a thousand hills. It's also the story of open and obedient hearts willing to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, no matter where those promptings led them.

Please continue to pray for them as they settle in and bond to this darling girl. She's had a lot going on in her little life already and the family really needs the Holy Spirit to speak loving words of comfort and security and peace to her as she learns how to love and be loved.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Musings

"The only normal people
are the ones you don't know very well."
~Joe Ancis

I can't believe it, I actually got a Monday at home and I can finally participate in TCC's Monday Musings. And I'm so glad that this is the Monday I hit - the quote itself doesn't require a dictionary to decipher (just joshin' ya, TCC!) and it's actually one I've been pondering since lunch with my friend on Wednesday. Let me explain . . .

Lately, I've been spending a ton of time (for me) at home, alone or with just one or two of my kids. Flu and fever season hit us a bit harder here at The Gang's house than in winters past. Anyway, as an extrovert (like squared!), a lot of quiet time often leads me down the path of introspection. Introspection is not, in and of itself, a problem. But for me, lots of introspection turns into self-focus and self-absorption in the form of re-hashing conversations (with humans and with God) that I could have handled better. It becomes a conversation in my head of how ridiculous it is that at my age (gasp!) I'm not over this by now. That I should have learned this lesson and moved on already. If I am not diligent to stop those conversational tracks in my head the minute they start laying rails westward, I am full steam ahead to the end of the rails: comparisons that always result in me coming up short in some area. I fly right past the stations of "Wait, I'm Not Alone" and "Stop Here - Renewals by the Holy Spirit." I screech with all my brakes smoking right into "I Am So Screwed Up." Or I limp with squeaky wheels and sputtering engine into "Why Can't I Be Like __________?" By then, my tracks are a wreck and my wheels are chewed up beyond recognition.

So at lunch on Wednesday, I was sharing with my friend about some things going on in my life. It quickly became a conversation full of me, what I'm "really" like, and what's wrong with me. While the conversation was helpful and encouraging and insightful (she's a wonderful, wise woman, no matter what she thinks about herself today!), I also heard this Station Master in my head questioning me. Asking me if this was all really necessary. Checking with me to see if I could possibly be so ridiculous to assume that I was the only one who didn't have this issue (or any variety of others) together by now. Reminding me of the supreme vanity of thinking that I could be or should be comparing myself to others around me. Questioning the wisdom of my starting point that everyone else is normal and I'm the one that's beyond salvage-able.

As we ended our time together, I thanked my friend for her ability to be so real - I even used the word normal. And she is - she's vulnerable about her failings, but she's also real about her part in those failings and in her dependence on Her Father. But what struck me after I left our time together is that I thanked her for her normalcy, as if I have precious little of my own. As if being with her is what boosted my normalcy quotient for the day. And I felt convicted about that. When I was able to sort through it all by way of running conversations and debates with the Station Master, I realized that even within all of her own transparencies in our times together, that couldn't possibly be all there is to her. I realized (seriously, it was like a series of V8 moments for most of Thursday and part of Friday!) that I view her as normal, but given the things that she's shared with me, she may struggle to see herself as normal. And that others (God help them!) may actually view me as normal.

The funny thing is, all of us are normal in our propensity to screw up. In our struggle to make it through in our own steam. In our need for a Savior. In our desperate, daily need for "Renewals by the Holy Spirit!" All of us should be making those stops, cruising up to the platform and letting our engines cool down and be tuned up.

The equally funny thing is that none of us are normal. We are all individuals, all unique in our own right. We can never be fully known by any human relationship on this train route. We can only depend on Our Father to know us more intimately than any other. In this dependence, it matters less and less that we know normal people. And it matters less and less that we be known as normal people.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life Cut Short

On Thursday evening, my cousin's only daughter was killed in a car accident. She was on her way to teach french horn at Colgate University, where she was an adjunct professor. By all accounts, she was an incredibly gifted musician and very accomplished for her age. She was only 24 years old.

I didn't know Gretchen as an adult. Her mother is my cousin - who babysat us frequently and always had a beautiful smile and a song on her lips. I remember her parents' wedding, how beautiful my cousin and her groom looked to my little girl eyes. Like a princess and her prince. I remember her dad's tickle-y mustache and beard, and how he always had hugs and kisses for me. And I remember the joy that this beautiful baby girl brought to both of them. I remember how happy my Aunt was to become a grandmother. My only memories of Gretchen are of a darling, chubby-legged little toddler, who looked just like her mama. And of her gorgeous little smile.

Over the years, I only saw Gretchen at weddings and funerals. Since we live further away than most of the other relatives on that side of my family, those occasions were really the only time we'd all be together. And because she was part of the next generation of cousins, I really only saw her in passing, usually in a crowd of all of her cousins (her mother was one of 6, her grandmother and my dad were from a family of 5). I spent most of my time at these affairs catching up with my own crowd of cousins (and believe me, that was a task in itself: 21 of us with spouses, too!). I wasn't privileged to be close to her in any sense of the word.

I cannot even imagine the heartbreak and grief that my cousin and her husband are feeling right now. I can only imagine the pain that my Aunt and Uncle are bearing as they walk their family through this time together. And though I didn't know her well at all, I, too, feel heartsick. This is my family. My heart is aching for their loss. And for mine. I didn't even know them well enough to know if she was right with the Lord. I can only pray that she knew and trusted in my Jesus. That she called out to Him and He heard her heart's cry. I can only continue to pray for those who've been left behind to live on. Somehow, they have to learn to live with the pain and move forward. And from what I've learned about her since I heard about her passing, that's just what she'd want from all of us.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Favorites Friday

I'm celebrating here today! I have gorgeous color (and the promise of more coming!) in various spots all over my gardens, and I can't help but feel very Tigger-ish over the joy of it. Flowers, trees, bushes - they are all bursting with life and I'm so very excited!

My Favorite Spring Flowers
  • I have this incredible soft spot in my heart for lilacs. Their blooms, their scent, the memories they evoke. I love them and I love The Boss for buying me the 6 bushes I have been nursing along in my yard for almost 4 years now. They are on the verge of popping out in colors ranging from white to deep purple, and I check them daily for progress
  • I call daffodils the happy flowers. I have never seen a daffodil and not felt a little thrill of happiness at their perky color and their straight stalks reaching for the sun. My new ones are a lovely soft yellow, and are a perfect complement to their neighbors, the hyacinth.
  • My hearty little hyacinths have made my whole front yard smell heavenly. Their color is technically listed as blue, but these babies are so deep and royal that they can only be called purple. Poking up from the mulch next to the daffodils, Baby BlueEyes and I go out to sniff their fragrance almost every day!
  • Tulips are such stately flowers, and I love to see the neighbors' gardens full of reds, pinks, purples, and yellows. But the little rebel in me absolutely adores the bright flame orange tulips. The contradiction of the elegant flower with the rocker chick color makes me smile every time I see them. Every time.
  • There is a border between us and our neighbors made entirely of forsythia. Though they only stay vibrant and full and yellow for a short time, I feel ridiculously enamored with these gorgeous bushes. I wait all winter long to see them come into full bloom, and I peek out the side door to get my fill of their color several times a day. I hope the neighbor doesn't think I'm spying on her!
These flowers speak to me of life and exuberance and joy. They remind me that Spring always comes, no matter how long or hard the Winter has been. They tell me of The Father's Love and His gift of renewal and refreshment and new life. And they give me hope. The expectancy I feel every year as I watch my blooms is a little treasure in my heart that I turn over and over and cherish deeply. It's my gift from My Daddy, reminding me that I can make it and I have great color and life in store for me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

I was tagged by my friend, oH mY wORD!, last week to share 7 Random Things about me. This is a hard one for me, because I feel like I share randomly about me every time I post. Classic Mama morphed her tag into her 7 Favorite Movies, which has caught on like bloggity wildfire to several other gals (okay, one other gal that I know of!). In the interest of keeping everyone around me happy and glowing, and further enforcing my desire to make everyone that I know like me more, I am going to combine both memes and see what I come up with. (grin, giggle, snicker here!)

My Random Meme About Me:
1. I hate feet. I think they are icky, and I go to ridiculous lengths to make sure that somehow mine look cute from about April till October. This includes, but is not limited to, great nail polish, toe rings, and nail decals. Kickin' summer shoes are a must. Heels preferred.

2. My favorite date movie is Shining Through. If you have not seen this with your significant other, you really must. If you find it on DVD, please send it to me. I will pay you back. My VHS copy is getting worn and ragged.

3. I love The Boss's cologne. It's the same cologne he's worn since college, and it is getting very hard to find. It's inexpensive, drug store type cologne. But after 21 + years together, it still gives me a tickle in the pit of my tummy and makes me shiver when I smell it.

4. The funniest movies I have ever seen are tied: Twins, with Danny DeVito and Ahnold, and Wild Hogs, with John Travolta and ensemble. I mostly love Twins because it made my Dad laugh harder than I've ever seen him laugh over a comedy and I got a huge kick out of seeing him lose it, multiple times in one movie. Wild Hogs was just outrageous and silly and I needed that that day.

5. Shaggy's hair makes me jealous. It's rich, thick, wavy and incredibly healthy. It makes me wish I hadn't kept going shorter with every baby I birthed. Every where we go, he gets comments on his gorgeous hair. And I confess, I actually love it longer. He recently got it cut which makes The Boss happy, but I miss the golden locks.

6. My favorite classic Disney movie is Mary Poppins. It's a true classic and I hope and pray they never, ever remake it. I'm completely convinced that absolutely no one can ever improve upon Julie Andrews' and Dick van Dyke's interpretations of the characters. Ever. Has anyone ever seen this on DVD? Our VHS version is getting worn and ragged. :)

7. I have been a subscriber of Good Housekeeping magazine since the year we got married. No other magazine even comes close to the quality of this publication, although I do occasionally subscribe to others. The recipes, the human interest stories, the fiction, I love it all. And I love that it's so family friendly to leave on the coffee table - MOSTLY! One thing I do dislike? The rotation of celebrities lately has seemed trite and repetitive. I much prefer when they feature real women or women who have done amazing things in our culture. Please, no more Katie Couric on the cover of GH!

There you have it. My version of the "Tag, You're It" game. If you are looking for something interesting to blog about and are coming up dry, consider yourself tagged :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Forever Family

Yippee!! Hooray!! Hallelujah!!

My friend, Kateri, is leaving tomorrow bright and early to go to China to get her girl! I am so excited for this family - and for this darling little girl. Their story is wonderful to read and can be found here and here. (Go on, they are well worth spending the time to read, I promise!!) Getting to know Kateri, via blogging and our agency's on-line support boards, has been so encouraging and inspiring. I feel like I've found such a kindred spirit in her!

And in less than one week, she gets to hold her darling little Alayna for the first time of many forever hugs to come. Please pray with us for safety in travel, for clean smooth finalization of paperwork, and especially for healthy and connected bonding. Alayna has a beautiful home and an adorable room to call her own, but the most exciting thing is that she will finally have her Forever Family to love her and to nourish her and to lead her to Jesus!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kid Friendly Food

My kids hate when The Boss travels out of town for business. When we lived in South-Central PA, he was gone sometimes 3 or 4 nights a week from September to December or early January. It was open-enrollment season in the Human Resources department in which he worked, and his supervision and training was required at the various sites across the country that were owned by his company. I confess, I hated it too.

As we were still building our family and homeschooling in those years, I had to find ways to lighten the load on myself while I was alone with the three, and then four, little gangsters. And I had to find ways to make the long days and nights fun for us all. Like any self-respecting mom, I played with my food! I offered funky sandwiches, breakfast for dinner, and various assortments of frozen foods not normally approved for dinners with the whole Gang. Along the way, we discovered a couple of family favorites. This one is from one of those old church cookbooks, when I was once frantically searching the pantry for something, anything (!) that I could make without hoofing all four kids to the grocery store in the dinner rush. My kids would cheer and high-five each other when I announced this menu, as if I was preparing the coolest feast possible. What they didn't know (and please, don't tell my secret!) is that I loved it because it is so easy and inexpensive. They love it because it's simply delicious - and I made it sound like so much fun. And now, we all love it so much, we even share it with The Boss! And now, I have to quadruple the recipe for the HOOVER members of the Gang.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Pie
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (any flavor you prefer)
In a small mixing bowl, combine egg, flour, salt, pepper, and half of the milk. Whisk or beat until smooth. Add remaining milk and beat till well-blended. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese. Pour into a well-sprayed 8" pie plate. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake until melted and just starting to brown - about 2-4 minutes.

Variations to add in any combination that sound yummy:
  • thinly sliced deli meat of your choice
  • chopped pepperoni or cooked sausage
  • cooked and finely chopped hot dogs
  • cooked ground beef or ground turkey
  • finely chopped onions, peppers, or mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic or other Italian or Mexican seasonings
  • top with salsa, ketchup, mustard, or sour cream to taste
It's a fun dish to make with the kids, and can actually be a really healthy alternative to the pre-fried, frozen things like chicken nuggets, dino bites, and so on. Not that none of those ever appeared on our table . . . But after two or three dinners like that with 4 little ones 6 and under, I quickly got to the point where I couldn't look another bowl of fake mac n' cheese in the eye for weeks! Or at least till the next trip of The Boss's.

Do you have a special treat or meal that you offer to get you through nights like that? Something that you fall back on that is cheap and easy and feels like a real treat to the rest of your gang? I won't tell your secrets, I promise! And if you make this one, let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Today, we put together a letter of update about our adoption (something similar to what you have possibly read here) to send out to 150 of our closest friends and family. While we were adhering labels, stuffing pictures and licking envelopes (ick!), the kids and The Boss and I were chatting and praying for Aidan. Getting this project done helped us all feel one step closer to welcoming her home, if only in our hearts and minds. It was a tangible statement of faith that this WILL happen. She will become a little Gang member! In our hearts, though we don't even know who she is yet, she already is.

I've seen this list, or any number of versions of this list, around the blog-o-sphere several times. In the past, every time I read it, I'd get a little tickle in my heart. Like a "that's gonna be me, hopefully soon" kind of tickle. A little catch in my throat. I found it again today, just after we finalized the letter project. It was like a little serendipity from My Father, nodding and smiling, whispering in my heart, "Yes, my daughter. Aidan will be yours soon enough."

You Know You're An Adoptive Parent When . . .

1. The fact that there are 143 million children in the world without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's 'real' parents.

7. You have ever been 'pregnant' with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth (2 + years!).

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what the word 'Dossier' means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Favorites Friday

I am pleased to welcome some guest bloggers to today's edition of Favorites Friday. LadyBug and Baby BlueEyes have been working long and hard (too long and too hard!) on this creative shout out to The Boss. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Things About
  • D dances the "Fishing Pole" when the Eagles score a touchdown!
  • A awesome hugs and kisses when ever we want them
  • D does huge dives and crazy flips off the diving board
  • D drinks a lot of coffee in his favorite Eagles mug
  • Y yummy pancakes on Saturday mornings

Does this count as school?
I explained sentence structure and verb tense.
Tensely, but I explained it.
I talked about using more creative words
than "great" and "awesome" over and over.
Yup, sounds like school to me.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Check This Out!

Recently, a friend shared a beautiful blog with me:
Confessions Of A CF Husband.

It's been a tad addicting,
checking in every day on this lovely family.
Reading what God is doing in their lives and hearts,
in the midst of the hardest circumstances one can imagine,
has been humbling and challenging.

Yesterday, the family received fabulous news.
News that requires more hardship for a season
but all for a glorious gain.
Please, take some time to read their story.
Go back into their archives -
it's well worth the time spent, I promise!

As you go about your day, pray for them.
And be grateful for your life. I know I am.

April is National Donate Life Month.
Are you an organ donor?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Last week I mentioned that I got some free flowers from my neighbors. The Boss transplanted them and I prayed over them, hoping that they would survive and not suffer root shock. (Yes, I pray over my plants!) I love fresh flowers and the early pops of color that have appeared bring such excitement and joy to my spirit. I never, ever pictured myself a gardener, and believe me, The Boss does the brunt of the dirty work. But I also never, ever knew what simple pleasure a growing, blooming garden could bring to one's soul. I am completely and totally smitten with my garden. There's some deep stuff brewing in my heart today, as I'm watching these babies take root. I have to work it out in my head before I say more. Until then, I give you my gardens!

On Easter Sunday (on the left)
And Today (on the right)

We didn't transplant these lilacs on Easter Sunday, but I took pictures of them anyway. They were the first plants we bought when we re-landscaped the front gardens, three years ago this month. I've been nurturing and praying over these little guys. And today, I noticed COLOR in the heart of the green leaf buds!

My little lilac bush has baby blooms,
there in the center of the green leaf buds.
Can you see them?!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On The Lighter Side

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room, the TV was loudly blaring on the cartoon channel; and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread out by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”

She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?”

“Yes,” was his incredulous reply.

She answered, “Well, today I didn't do it.”

Have you ever had a day like this? When no matter what you did, it didn't seem to stem the overwhelming tide of more things to be done? When it seemed as if no one, not even the faithful family dog, noticed that you even did anything? This is for you. It's a funny little story, but we've all been there. We'll all be there again from time to time. Take heart: what you and I do every day does matter. We are changing the world, even if it's only one snotty boogie nose at a time. And we know that we can't stop doing what we are doing. If we did, the whole world would stop too!

And no one would make dinner, to boot.

Thanks to my friend, KB, for sending this story my way!