Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweet Give-Away!

In celebration of the last day of National Adoption Month, I am thrilled to share this review with you and to offer a sweet little give-away to go with it.

Sweet Moon Baby by Karen Henry Clark is a charming and imaginative tale of adoption. It weaves the fantastical story of a sweet little baby girl's journey to her waiting parents. And it does so in a lovely, captivating way that my girly-girls both instantly connected to when they read it - and read it they do! Even when LadyBug is not available to read the words to her, Li'l Empress pores over the pages and tries to re-tell the story on her own. She does a pretty good job of it, as I listen in on her narrative. While I'm certain that there are more "realistic" stories out there about the journey that both children and parents travel to be united through adoption, I'm equally certain that few are as tender and creative as this one. When I flip through the pages, reading of the rivers and roads the parents traverse to their Sweet Moon Baby, I can clearly identify with the imagery that those words evoke. There is great symbolism as I read of twisting waters and soaring hills. I would imagine, as Li'l Empress grows in the awareness of her own journey to our home, she will also come to see the metaphor this tale carries. As a lover of children's literature, the weaving of that metaphor alone would make me love this book. Books that make me and my children dig and connect beyond the surface of the words on the page are very important to me.

The beauty of the words and the depths of meaning that they carry are only one reason I love this book. As a bit of back-story, it's probably helpful to know that while I love meaningful children's lit, I don't often buy a book unless the art work in the book is just that: ART.  In fact, I have a whole collection of children's books that I have purchased over the years simply because the art within the pages moved me so much. I was first introduced to this book at an adoptive parents seminar last spring. At the intermission, I wandered up and down the product tables and kept coming back to this book. Each time I opened it up, I was delighted by the pictures and the expressions on the faces of each of the characters. I bought it immediately. Truthfully, I bought it before I even read it all the way through.

This book's amazing art work almost makes me want to buy a paperback copy just to be able to take the book apart and frame its pages. Really.

Except that I don't know if I could possibly buy a book just to dismantle it. As I used to tell the boys when they were little and in "destructo" stage: "Books are our friends. You need to treat them with respect. Be gentle with their pages and covers."  I know. I know. That's a little weird. Even for me.

Each page is sprinkled with lovely images that remind me of the children's books that my Grandma had stashed on the veranda for my cousins and I. They have an air of innocence and a sweetness to them that fits perfectly with the gentle rhythm of the story. The baby girl's face, in each of the different parts of her slumbering adventure radiates such peace. The settings are serene but still carry a touch of urgency. The parents are so earnest in their quest. It captures it all. And it does so with great beauty. Patrice Barton is a gifted artist, to have captured it all in the simple and stunning illustrations of this book.

I do really love this story. When the author contacted me and offered to send me a copy for my own library, I was more than happy to tell her that I already owned it. That we already loved it. When I suggested to her that instead I use her offered copy as a give-away in celebration of National Adoption Month, she graciously agreed and I'm so excited to share the beauty of this tale with one of you.

Here's how you can win
your very own signed copy of
Sweet Moon Baby by Karen Henry Clark:
  1. A first entry can be earned by leaving a comment here on the blog about your favorite children's adoption book. If you don't yet have a favorite adoption book, please share a favorite childhood book with us instead.
  2. Earn a second entry by sharing this post on your own blog. Please enter a separate comment back here and include the link to your blog post when you do so.
  3. Earn a third entry by sharing this post on your F@cebook account. Please enter a separate comment back here and include the link in that comment. (Click on the time stamp of your shared link and copy the url to paste here in your comment.)  Please consider "liking" and then "tagging" Sweet Moon Baby's FB page when you do share, so that the author can see how folks are responding to her work. It's certainly not a requirement for this third entry but who doesn't love that kind of encouragement?
  4. Comments will only be accepted till midnight on Wednesday, December 7th. FYI: Comments are set to blog-owner moderation (to protect from spammers), so yours might not appear immediately upon entering.
I encourage you, even if you own this story already, to enter and try to win. This book makes a lovely gift for any of the children in your life who have been touched by adoption. A winner will be drawn by and announced on Friday, December 7th.

You can read a personal, stirring
on Shawn Smucker's blog for more
about Karen's own Sweet Moon Baby.

As November's National Adoption Awareness campaign draws to a close, I would ask you to prayerfully consider how you can continue the efforts of increasing awareness by supporting adoptive families in your circle of friends and family. It might not be financially, but there are many other ways you can participate and honor the building of a family through adoption. I hope my posts throughout the month gave you a glimpse inside the life of this adoptive family. And that if you have particular questions about being an adoptive family, the process of adoption, or other conversations surrounding adoption, you know by now that I'd love to hear from you. If I don't know the answer to your questions, you can bet that I'll be digging up a resource for us both to investigate!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Movement is Good News

We got an email from our agency Tuesday, updating us on our LOA process. For those that aren't fluent in "adoption-ese," LOA means Letter of Approval. That's the "officially official" approval by the CCCWA that allows us to pursue the steps that will lead us to travel.

Well, Tuesday's email means we are "thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close" to the Chinese government's completion of Step #8. I know, put that way it doesn't sound all that impressive. But between the steps #7 and #8, there are a bunch of mini-steps. And the email was to inform us that they are almost done the mini-steps.

Sigh. Typing it all out that way, now it doesn't feel quite as exciting as it did when the email arrived. Hmmmmm... Darn it all. Trust me, it was pretty exciting yesterday!

Anyway, given that we are "thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close" to our LOA, I thought this would be a good time to ask you to pray with us for a few specific things that we've not really mentioned quite so explicitly thus far.

First, would you please pray that our travel to China would coordinate well with Shaggy's return home from his YWAM adventures? It would be so comforting for us and for the little kids to have him "holding down the fort" here at The Gang's headquarters. He's very steady and responsible and we feel fairly confident that it would really help ease the transition for especially Li'l Empress toward welcoming Mei Mei home.

Second, would you please pray with us for continued financial provision? We do know that HE supplies and provides and we are so incredibly grateful for the creative things He's done thus far toward our goals of remaining on this journey debt-free and trusting HIM as we do it.

Third, we would appreciate prayers for Mei Mei's health. Her special need is one that could easily make her susceptible to colds, flus, and other viruses. She is in a very traditional-style orphanage, where there is likely no "central heating system" like we enjoy here in the States. We are praying for a supernaturally strengthened immune system and stability of health while she waits.

Fourth, Mei Mei appears to be a very tiny girl. Which, in and of itself is not terribly concerning. But when coupled with her special need and the orphanage setting in which she lives, we do have reason for concern for how her growth relates to her over-all health. We are praying for very nutritious provision for her and for her body to take it all in and grow strong and healthy while she waits.

Fifth, we have applied for a "medical expedite" in light of her current needs and health status. Nothing emergent is wrong, per se. But given the above two concerns I mentioned, our doctors agree that expediting the process as much as they will allow is in her best overall interest. Please pray for favor in that request!

Finally, would you join us in praying for her little heart and mind? We recently had a friend share that the Lord had given her direction to pray specifically for angelic hosts to cover and surround our girl, to minister hope and peace and love to her in a way that would allow her to be ready to be loved. And ready to love. Again, in a very traditional orphanage setting, individual nurture and care is often in limited supply. And the God-intended nurturing bond between Mei Mei and her birth parents has been interrupted and never replaced with a permanent, loving, parent relationship. Oh, how that hurts to type that out like that. But it's the truth. And we are asking God to provide that for her in the form of His messengers and His Holy Spirit while she waits for us to be able to do it in person.

Thanks again for the love and support that you've shown thus far in our great big adventure to Mei Mei. And I'll leave you with one big incentive to pray for our LOA and the above requests:  Once we get the official notice of our LOA, we can finally share the pictures of our little girl that we have been poring over for 2 months now.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flexing With the Times

It's a well-documented fact that The Gang has lots and lots of traditions. I've told you before about our annual treks to the lake, always around my birthday. I've mentioned our baking parties with my family for holiday treats. I've shared our favorite songs and movies and recipes surrounding the many celebrations we do here with friends and family.

I've also mentioned that Shaggy would be home for Thanksgiving but that making it home for Christmas this year is just not going to happen. When we planned our family festivities with both sides of The Gang's gang, The Boss and I intentionally built into the weekend some time for just the 7 of us to be together. We had several conversations about what that time needed to look like but no final conclusion was reached.  On Friday, we were pushing to make a decision as we waited for Shaggy to return from his morning out with his cousins and for Dr. D to limp home from track practice.

And Baby BlueEyes, listening and taking it all in, piped up with the best input we'd had to the conversation all fall long. It definitely struck just the right note with us all, because as soon as we mentioned it to Shaggy, 3 of the 5 of us who were standing there just teared up and dripped together. I'm pretty sure this tradition is the one thing my kids love THE.MOST. about our holiday festivities and it was so fitting that we used our one family day together to do it.

The thing about doing it this early this year, is that we had to get a little creative and a little flexible in the doing. After all, the full blown tradition usually involves a Saturday morning trip to a tree farm to cut a big fat blue spruce. And a day of letting it settle before we spend all of Sunday whole night decorating the tree and the whole downstairs of the house. It's an all-day event for The Gang. With lots of home-made cookies and hot cocoa and Christmas music all sprinkled liberally in there for good measure. But flexing things around a little bit was absolutely the right way to make sure Shaggy was involved somehow in our Christmas preparations.

So while Shaggy visited for a couple hours with a friend, The Boss went up and dragged down our somewhat "Charlie Brown-ish" artificial tree and our boxes of ornaments. He rigged a set of lights up and sorted through the ornaments to pull out all the hand-carved ones from Grandpa and the hand-made ones from all five kids over the years of pre-school, Sunday school, and art class projects.

Once Shaggy returned, we placed our order for Chinese food to be delivered and set about decorating the tree together. It's been a long time since we did two trees, so we kept the little tree fairly simple and "kid" focused. Then we sat and ate by the light of the tree and watched "Arthur Christmas" together. It was pretty much a perfect way to do our one night alone together. The movie struck a great balance between silly enough and just meaningful enough to keep us all connecting and listening to them all laughing together was music to this momma's ears.

There's a lot of change ahead this year for The Gang, and we have so far weathered all the big changes of 2012 pretty well together. I'm experienced enough at this "life" thing to know that the pace of change won't quit any time soon. But for this one night, with a little flexibility and creativity, we got to do one of our most treasured traditions {almost the same} as all the previous years. And for now, that's enough for me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Re-evaluate Your Methods

Wow. Sunday night was brutal around here. There were LOTS of tears. Shaggy helped us put Baby BlueEyes and Li'l Empress to bed, as part of his good-bye time with them since he had to leave so very early this morning. The reality of just how long it will be till they see him again and have him home to hang out with again really sunk in. These four days together just weren't enough. For any of us. But I think the two little ones really connected with the good-bye differently this time because they have lived with his absence for the last 7 weeks.

Shaggy was so wonderful about it. He spent some time hanging out, talking with Baby BlueEyes, hugging him and really loving on him. As they were winding down their good nights, I happened to look over at Li'l Empress. She was sitting in the living room behind me, silently crying.

Oh. My. Gosh. The silent cry kills me. Yes, I started crying too.

And then she wasn't silent about it anymore.

We walked upstairs together and she crawled in to her bed, just sobbing. Shaggy came over to her room and just crawled right onto her bed with her. He was so loving and comforting and she calmed right down in his arms. The two of them looked up at me with big tears in their eyes.

As she was quieting down, he looked at me and said, "This is the downside of raising a tight-knit family. You might want to re-evaluate your methods."

I just smiled through my tears. We both know, whatever "method" we have employed to get us to this point is exactly the right one for us. This crazy, slobbery, messy love is exactly who we want to be. Exactly who we want them to be. And while they all may express it between them very differently, with or without tears, this close tight-knit family is the greatest accomplishment of my life. The most rewarding, most satisfying thing I've ever done. Even if sometimes it's also the most painful thing I do.

And I won't be re-evaluating that any time soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I haven't been around much this week. Cooking, cleaning, and preparing for our big family weekend has kept me quite busy. And I likely won't be around much till next week. My boy is home from YWAM for four whole long beautiful days and I plan to be very busy hugging him and talking with him about all that God is doing in and through him.

So I leave you with this. And much, much love to go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving from
Our Gang to Yours!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ELMO Has Left The Building

Noooo, I'm not referring to the recent disgusting scandal associated with the furry red guy. That's just really coincidental and certainly very bad timing for this story.... In fact, maybe when you read this story, you'll have a far more pleasant association to imprint in your brain. And more importantly, in your heart! Settle in, it's a bit long this time, but I hope you are encouraged and find it worth your time.

Several weeks ago, when I started promoting our Holiday Open House, I added the pretty red invitation as a picture into my Purchase With a Purpose yard-sale album on F@cebook. My thought was to allow folks from my different blogging and on-line communities to access the details since that album is set to "Public." I then shared that particular picture in several of my on-line groups.

The next day, a member of the Creating a Family forum contacted me. I didn't know her personally but had had several pleasant interactions with her on this forum and she usually posted very hope-filled, encouraging things to folks in the discussions in which we mutually participated. But that's all I knew of her.

Turns out, in her note, she indicated that she wanted to "invest" in our adoption journey but didn't need or want to buy any of the items being sold at the Open House. She wondered if I'd be okay with sending her my address so that she could send me a monetary gift directly. Before I even could respond to that with a yay or nay, she popped another message right back into my inbox and said something like, "Never mind, I want to buy that ELMO TMX toy for $100.You can send it to this address and I'll send you the check when I get the toy." Apparently, she'd been paging through the whole on-line yard sale album and found the furry little guy. She was convinced he'd be perfect for a little friend of hers, so I packaged him up and sent him off the next morning.

Frankly, that morning I made a conscious choice to keep my expectations of this transaction really low. It was certainly nothing personal to her or her promise, but I know how life gets and I know that sometimes things don't work out the way we think they will. So when I sent Elmo out the door and on his way in his snug little box, I did so with a prayer and a release. I was determined to be okay with whatever came of this interaction with this virtual stranger.

Cut to this past weekend. I hopped on the forum to check up on any new news. I was heart-broken to read that this same gal had recently experienced a very difficult situation in her own quest to build her family. I had no words, beyond a simple apology and prayer for comfort. I prayed for her right then and there while I was logging out. I moved on to preparing for our Holiday Open House and frankly forgot all about Elmo or the stranger for the time being.

Tuesday afternoon, I opened the mail to find a check from this virtual stranger. Only, it wasn't for $100.

No. Friends, instead, God showed up in a Holy SWOOP of love and generosity.

The check was for $200.


You did not read that wrong. This total stranger, who loves adoption and loves God, sent our family TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.

That, my friends, is GOD.

I mean, who else would tell a total stranger to send TWO STINKIN' HUNDRED DOLLARS for a furry, red, crazy noisy toy to another total stranger?? And a SECOND-HAND toy to boot!

Certainly NOT anyone I know. Or rather, any human I know. It reminds me of the verse in I Corinthians:

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." I Corinthians 1:27

I can't think of much that is more foolish than a crazy, slightly freaky Elmo TMX. And I am totally okay with being "shamed" by my very low expectations of the transaction. Cuz it ended up show-casing a kind of glory and love that few of us really fully know without events such as this happening to get our attention.

That, my friends, is God. And only God.

You see, the other piece to this amazing crazy story is that just Tuesday morning, I was sharing with a friend that God had been showing me how important it is for me to keep my focus on Him. To keep my heart and mind pure of negativity; to flee from vain imaginations that only become distractions to the purposes to which He has called me. To rise above the "human" element of things like our adoption journey and parenting, and keep my eyes trained on HIM and His heart for my family. I had been at our denomination's annual women's retreat on Friday and Saturday. While the event was amazing and refreshing and re-charging in many, many ways, the big take-away that I had was that I was coming into that retreat "battle weary." And that I was there to be reminded just how INTENTIONALLY He pursues me. How DETAILED and EXPLICIT He is in His desire for ME and for relationship with ME. It was like I got a re-charge of "He Loves Me" down to my tippy toes. I was sharing that with my sweet friend on that same morning, as we encouraged each other by phone on this long journey to our little ones.

And then in the afternoon, this check arrived in the mailbox. A gift from a stranger. But make no mistake about it. That gift was from God. And as long as I have breath in my body, I will give HIM the glory and honor and credit for reminding me of His love in such a sweet, and tangible way. I am incredibly grateful to this stranger who listened to His voice and obeyed, even in the midst of her own painful circumstances. It is humbling in all the best possible ways.

Only God knew when Elmo left the building just what his trip across the country would come to mean for this momma.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dr. D Drives!

Several weeks ago, we found ourselves with a "free Sunday afternoon."
Not a normal occurrence around here, but one that must be maximized
The sun was shining, the skies were crystal blue.
The air was very warm and crisp.
And The Boss and Dr. D had a focus.

Yes, it's that time of year again.
Parallel parking The Gang-mobile between garbage cans.

Over and over and over. Almost all afternoon.

Dr. D's a natural behind the wheel!

I can hardly believe my brown-eyed boy turns 17 soon.
OR that he'll be getting his license in a matter of weeks.
Really, it seems like just yesterday he was zooming around
the backyard on his "Big Wheels" bike
pretending to be "Jake Justice" and saving the world.

Let's just hope real driving experiences
do little to resemble his former "zooming"
OR Jake's roaring to the rescue!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Designated Pumpkins

LadyBug and I had a ball back at the beginning of October, decorating the inside of the house with all of our fall-themed candles, wreaths, and other cozy decor. Since that afternoon, the inside of the house has been quite festive, cozy, and comforting.

But it made me realize that the outside of our home needed some decor updating to keep up with the season. Once my Eagles flag bit the dust, I dug out the kids' old fall favorite and had Dr. D hang it for me. The sight of Mickey kicking through a pile of leaves makes me smile every time I see it. Even though recent days haven't been terribly sunny, I love the boost I feel when I look at my front porch. Colorful and welcoming - it's always fun to walk up to my front door and see this little scene.

Li'l Empress is particularly proud of this part of the ensemble.

In her words:
"The big pumpkin is the big Daddy pumpkin.
The one on the right is the Li'l Empress pumpkin.
And the itty bitty one on the left is the Mei Mei pumpkin."

She regularly forgets that Baby BlueEyes
was along that night for the pumpkin picking.
I guess she's so focused on her designated pumpkin personalities
that she doesn't realize she's miscounted!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Oh, shameful. I know. So sorry for the pop-culture, outdated Ch@rlie Sh**n reference. I couldn't help myself.

My thoughts have been consumed since about 5 a.m. with the fun of announcing the winners of the three great gifts to thank my readers for hanging around here for 1,000 posts. You are all such treasures to me and I'm very excited to have the chance to treat you!

And may I say, I'm also super excited that I chose to extend the give-away deadline. Not only did about 18 of you take advantage of the additional time, but I got a chance to lay down on the couch and rest. This cold has hit my sinuses and particularly my left eye pretty hard. Working on the computer with one eye closed is really hard on the already pounding head-ache. I'm feeling better today; or I should say, the head-ache is subsiding. The other symptoms are still a pain but I can get a ton more done without a thumping head-ache. Ya know?!

Without further ado, here are the three winners
of my 1,000th post give-away celebration:

Winning the $25 Mary Kay gift certificate is my dear friend, Emily (comment # 27). I'm especially excited about this treat for Emily. She just had another lovely little baby and could really use some pampering right now.  I've know Emily since she was a newly-wed. She married one of the young men that was in the youth group where The Boss and I served as volunteer leaders. It's so amazing to have the privilege of watching these young people grow up together and in Christ and begin raising little ones of their own. She's a great example of steadfast, diligent mothering over the treasures God has brought to their home and I LOVE that she is one of my very first readers here at The Gang's All Here! It's a fitting gift for her and for me to share this little bit of luxury with her.

The winner of the lovely Sparrow Fund necklace and earring set is known here as "Viking Clan En Mass" (comment #11). It's my very clever sister's user id - referring to their large, growing (1/2) Norwegian brood who used to live in Massachusetts. Cute, huh?! The first time she commented on the blog with that identity, I was in China for Li'l Empress's adoption trip. I was so jet lagged and wiped out that I had to read it twice or three times to figure out who was commenting. I'm excited to share this gift with my sister - she is a  creative and selfless momma to her clan and rarely buys "pretties" for herself. This set will look so great on her!

Finally, I'm thrilled to share that the $50 gift certificate to Wild Olive tees will be given to Jen (comment #26)! Jen is a brand new reader here at The Gang's All Here! She and I are part of a local on-line support group of adoptive moms in our region, and on some of the local yard-saling sites together also. Turns out as we got "chatting" via F@cebook one day that her sister used to work for my cousin in his restaurant in upstate NY. So her sister actually knows many of my cousins. Jen, her hubby, and their son are waiting to bring home a darling little guy from China. I KNOW she'll enjoy the tees she'll be able to get with this gift certificate!

I think it's kind of cool how the numbers came up for each winner. I love the wide range of experiences that brought each of these gals to The Gang's All Here! - it really is so representative of the "persona" of this blog. And each gift is such a perfect fit for these ladies.

Thank you, to all my readers, new and old. Your feedback and your support for all the crazy things I share here is so appreciated. YOU are to be celebrated, whether you won something here or not. Thank you. THANK YOU!!!!


Before you go, here's a little housekeeping for you:

  1. Please don't forget, if you are interested in purchasing any Mary Kay products, sweet Joslyn is offering an additional 10% off each order if you mention my name.
  2. Wild Olive Tees are still available for our fundraising efforts by using WHITNEY407 in the coupon code at check out.
  3. Our Holiday Open House is this Sunday, November 11th from 2-5 p.m. If you aren't local and want to participate, you can find the public event on F@cebook by clicking HERE or by contacting me by email! The on-line shows will close one week after the event.
  4. Finally, if you won, contact me by email so that the necessary arrangements can be made to get your prize to you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Grand Celebration!

1,000 posts!

*EDITED: I've extended the deadline for accepting comments
till midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 7th. I'm down for the count
with a terrible cold and a crazy list of things to try and get done.
I need the break :) You need the extra time to enter!

It's finally here. How crazy is this? I know, I know, I can hardly believe it myself. And I'm so excited that you've come along for the fun! Happy 1,000th posts to me. And to YOU!

Yes, you.

If you've been reading here for any length of time in recent weeks, you'll know that this post marks the celebration of YOU, my faithful readers! Today is the day YOU get to enter the big celebratory give-away for one of  three great prizes in honor of my 1,000th post. Remember, this whole celebration is about YOU! This is my way to thank YOU for coming around, again and again. Really, I can't say it enough - I am so excited and thrilled to be able to give YOU something special for being part of The Gang's little corner of the blogosphere.

To refresh your memory, here's a quick run down of the goodies I get to bestow upon three of you lucky readers...


Wild Olive

So here's how this works.  You have an opportunity to win any one of these three treasures and it's really simple!

Here's What You Can Do to Enter:
  1. You can earn one entry by leaving a comment here telling me how you came to be a reader here or by sharing your favorite things about "The Gang's All Here!" that keeps you coming back. (That helps ME by giving me good ideas for topics on which to write. Gotta keep it interesting for you all, since you've been so loyal to keep coming back!)
  2. You can earn another entry by sharing about our Wild Olive Tees fundraising OR Holiday Open House event with your friends on Facebook. Come back here and share the Facebook link in a comment. Sharing about both is greatly appreciated, but it still only counts for one entry. Thanks!
  3. You can earn another possible entry by sharing about our Wild Olive Tees fundraising OR our Holiday Open House event with your friends on your own blog. Again, sharing about both is super sweet of you to do, but it still only counts for one entry. Please come back here and share the link to the specific blog post (as opposed to your general blog url) in a comment.
  4. You can earn yet another entry by sharing about The Gang, my recipes, our adoption journey, our parenting conversations, or even a particular post that you loved on your blog (these can be additional and unrelated to our fundraising efforts). Please come back here and share the link to the specific post in a comment.
  5. I'm sorry to be the heavy, but comments on the Facebook link (via Networked Blogs) will not count. The only comments that will count will be the ones entered as comments below, here at this post. My Facebook readers will have to "click through" and comment with either a google or blogger account, etc.
So that gives you a potential of FOUR ENTRIES to this give-away. That's four chances to win any one of these three awesome gifts. I'm certain you will love any one of them.

Here's What I Will Do With The Entries:
  1. No comments will be accepted after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 7th. *EDITED: I've extended the deadline for accepting comments till midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 7th. I caught a bad head cold and have a MONSTER list of things to try and get done before Friday a.m. I've not figured out how to close comments yet, but I will watch the time stamps on my emails....
  2. The winners will be announced Thursday, November 8th - as long as the pending Nor'Easter doesn't interrupt power again. (Yes, sigh. It's true. Another storm is headed our way Wednesday.)
  3. In the interest of fairness, I will use to pull each winner's comment by number.
  4. The first winner drawn will be given the Mary Kay certificate. The second winner will receive The  Sparrow Fund's necklace and earring set. The third winner drawn will receive the Wild Olive tees gift certificate.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via email before you enter. (My contact info is in the sidebar to the left.)

So go. Share. Comment.
Have a ball.

And Thank YOU, again.
For coming back and reading
for the last 1,000 posts.

Here's to 1,000 more!!!!!

My Bad.

I am running woefully behind on some major doin's here at The Gang's headquarters. I'm struggling to make a To Do list that can actually, reasonably, be attacked and conquered in the next 48 hours. Which it has to be. Attacked and conquered, that is.

In light of that, I feel it is only fair to extend the opportunity for give-away entries for my 1.000th post celebration. With this head cold and the monstrous To Do list I'm trying to solidify, I cannot possibly get around to finalizing my part of the give-away wrap up today.

You can spread the word to more friends and family.

You can enter more times if you haven't already.

My badly managed calendar may just have become your golden ticket!

Entries will be accepted until midnight tonight.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Much has been made on both sides of the political aisles about the importance of today's historical elections. In my view, none of it is an exxaggeration. This is likely one of the most important events that our nation stops and marks in its march to the future. And this particular election carries weight for our future that few other elections in history have borne quite so heavily.

I don't much care how you vote, frankly.

I don't much care why you vote the way that you do.

However, I do care very much that you vote.

Your right to do so didn't come easily. Nor did it come freely.
It is an honor and a privilege that should be exercised with great respect.

Get out and vote. Encourage others around you to vote, too. Don't bother getting "into it" with them about the particulars of their personal leanings. You won't likely change their minds at this late date. But you CAN encourage them to SPEAK their minds by pushing that poll button. And you should.

It's one of the most precious rights we have. One that sets us apart from many other nations and many people around the world. Don't take it for granted. There's really NOTHING more important for you to do today. Period.


OH! And don't forget, comments to the give-away for my 1,000th post close on Wednesday morning. So go back one post and read up on how you can participate. You won't be sorry!!!

Tune in tomorrow, 
when the three winners
of our 1,000th post
give-away will be announced.

Friday, November 2, 2012


November is National Adoption Awareness Month. One of my favorite organizations, Love Without Boundaries has put this adorable video on their youtube channel and I just had to share it with you all. I can't think of a more perfect way to kick off the month of awareness. I laughed right through my tears. Don't say I didn't warn you!

While adoption isn't the only thing that gets discussed and brewed over here at The Gang's Place, it certainly has made an incredible impact on our family. And we can't help but bubble over with the joy it has brought to our home. If you ever have a question about adoption or need information as you consider your own family's path, please contact me. I would love to share more. If I don't know the answer to your question, you can bet I'll be searching it out with you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

See Ya Later, Sandy!

Whew! What a crazy three or four days it's been here on the East Coast! Thanks to the handy dandy blogger tool for scheduling posts, I was able to stay on track for my 1,000th post celebration (coming soon, I promise!!!!). But it was NO THANKS to Hurricane Sandy, that's for sure.

We had lots of down time together, as the wind and the rain and the loss of power for almost 48 hours necessitated that we all hunker down together. We really missed Shaggy's presence keenly, as he's always been our big "weather event" guy - he loves storms of any kind. The Gang spent most of Saturday and Sunday preparing for the unwanted guest. Lots of errands and stocking up where we could. The power went out Monday evening, but the wind and rain began here Sunday evening. So for most of Monday and all of Tuesday,  we made do with board games and fort building (the gang) and books (The Gang's Momma). A neighbor came over to hang with us for a while, and that was a nice distraction.

Thanks to Dr. D's girlfriend, we found out that a local restaurant was offering Free! Tacos! to families without power on Tuesday night. Her mom is a waitress there in the evenings. The Boss loved the Free! part. I was up for the Tacos! part. So we loaded the kids in the van and drove over. We were so grateful for a warm place to hang out with other humans that we didn't even care that it was an hour long wait. We came home to play the longest round of Uno I've ever witnessed in my life. I say "witnessed" because I played several rounds and then WON. They went on (and on and on and on...) to play for 2nd and 3rd place. But I won. So I just "witnessed it." Boooo YAH.

Yesterday was busy - a borrowed generator to set up, neighbors' basements to check on, adoption paperwork to be notarized, showers to be had at the sister's house, and so on. We spent most of the day in and out at my sister's house and power was restored to our neighborhood around dinner time. It was so nice to come home to a warming home and cooling fridge!

The kids were upset that they had to head off to school this morning on a two-hour delay.... As if three unplanned days off weren't enough for them! I'll spend the remainder of my day catching up on laundry and dishes and running errands with Li'l Empress. Those will be the last of our Sandy-related errands. Sandy has left the region. And I'm not at all sad to see her go.

See ya later, Sandy! Don't let the door hit ya on the way out.