Thursday, October 30, 2008


I just got home from casting my ballot in early voting. I was encouraged to see the lines were long even mid-morning on a Thursday. I had heard that the lines were long all day, and at times were out the doors! It will be interesting to see if they are long because everyone is voting early, or if they will be long on Tuesday as well! If you haven't voted yet, get out there and vote!

My main reason for voting early is an irrational hope that Andrew will be born before Tuesday, preventing me from voting on election day! I am pretty sure that is only wishful thinking... I even went out of my way since early voting was at a neighboring suburb's library, and my regular polling location is at my church, where I will already be for Bible study on Tuesday morning! :) Like I said, wishful thinking.

Speaking of thinking, I seem to be unable to think or blog about anything but baby these days. I guess that is understandable, but it makes for a boring blog...sorry about that! I did get tagged for another meme, which I'll put up soon. I'll try not to make it all about baby, too!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tag, Belly, and a Contest!!

Well, Joanna tagged me, which I'm not sure is totally kosher since we are here on the same blog, but I've never been tagged before and it seems kind of fun, so I'll do it.

10 years ago: I was married just a year and a half, living in a tiny town in Ohio and teaching PE in one Christian school, piano in a montessori school, and running my own piano studio out of our home. I had just been in a car accident that left me with nerve damage and stuck in bed on disability for an entire month, unable to use my hands at all or feel my hands or feet. Sometime, I'll have to blog the whole story, because God healed me miraculously when I went to the elders of my church and they prayed over me and annointed me with oil. An amazing testimony to God's power and his faithfulness to do what he says he will do when we do what he tells us to do. (Did that make any sense at all??)

Things on today's to do list:

  • school
  • finish the four embroidered blankets I started yesterday
  • Do some heavy cleaning in my kitchen (a friend is coiming over to help me with this!)
  • get milk from store (very ambitious, I know. But hey, I'm 9 months pregnant - it is ambitious!)
  • Put feet up at some point
Snacks I enjoy:
  • clementine tangerines
  • milkshakes
  • cereal
  • guacamole
Five things I'd do if I were a millionaire:

  • Tithe (I put this because others are mentioning it, but I do it now, so is it really something that fits this category??)
  • Pay off my house
  • Invest more
  • Set up a trust to better fund our favorite charities
  • Make sure my children never have college debt
Places I have lived: Woodstock, IL; Oak Cliff, TX; Cedar Hill, TX; Duncanville, TX; Upland, IN; West Milton, OH; Arlington, TX; DeSoto, TX. Lots of Texas in there.

Jobs I've had:

  • Babysitting - lots and lots of babysitting.
  • Hand solderer and inspector at a printed circuit board manufacturing plant
  • Retail clerk at department store
  • teacher (piano, pe, music, computer, jr. high science & Bible, jr. high & high school English, speech, creative writing.)
  • Mom
I think I am only going to tag one other person - Shannon. She is a great friend of mine and new to blogging.

In other news, I'm going to have a baby soon. Yeah, yeah, you already knew that. I know, but it is on my mind since I cannot escape the looming reality. I think I finally snapped out of my denial that this little boy is coming soon last weekend. I hit 36 weeks, had a baby shower, and had my doctor chastize me for not being more prepared, since he found that I was dilating. Hmmm. Okay. So I came home and ordered a car seat, packed my bag, and got the nursery together. Oh, yeah, and pulled a ligament in my stomach because I did that all in about 24 hours. Fortunately, I had a prescription filled the day before for some great, strong pain medication that I need to sleep at night now that this boy's huge head is resting very, very low in my pelvis. (I know, too much information.) Even with narcotics, I could barely walk Tuesday. Ouch! Much better now, though.

To help you all understand the last post better, where I said I was suddenly getting many comments on my size, I give you this picture, taken at exactly 36 weeks. The day after I took this picture, I dropped significantly, and I think I've grown even more. At some point, this has to stop!

I'm officially huge. Actually, I think now is a great time to have a contest. I think we should all predict a few things here:

  • What day will this baby be born? (I am officially due Nov. 16)
  • How big will he be? (My others were 8lb. 14oz. and 8lb. 12oz. and both were 21 3/4 inches long.)

What do you think?? Leave your comments here and after he is born, I'll pick the person who came closest! I'll come up with a nifty prize for the winner soon and add it in. Right now, I cannot think clearly because my kids are loud. Maybe when they nap, I'll think again!

ETA: I have come up with a prize! I will go today and purchase the rest of the items I need for it and then post a picture, but here it is: The prize will be a collection of things that I am looking forward to enjoying once again after Andrew is born. Included will be

  • Bath salts: representing being able to sit (or in this case soak in the tub) for more than five minutes at a time without my backside falling asleep.
  • Nail polish: representing being able to paint my own toenails again! I normally keep them painted all the time...
  • Starbucks Gift Card ($5): the last time I tried to drink coffee (an iced coffee from Starbucks with dulce de leche syrup added - yum, yum) I got heartburn that lasted hours and hours and resisted all medication I threw at it! Needless to say, I haven't tried again.
  • White Chocolate Coconut bar: these are my absolute favorite indulgence. As a general rule, I don't eat sugar, but when I did (and occasionally now when I do) these are amazing. This bar will represent all the foods I currently am avoiding due to heartburn, which are mostly tomato based or spicy, but how fun is it to mail you a jar of spaghetti sauce?? :)

There it is! Worth playing for? Tell your friends - I love seeing your predictions! I will write down my prediction too, and photograph it for proof to see how well I can gauge my own growing belly! I won't post it until afterwards though. With my other two, I guessed more accurately than even the nurse who assisted with the delivery. As she was walking to the scale, she and the doctor both made guesses, then I did too. I was the closest by a good 8 oz!

Two Thoughts

Before I must finish my coffee, get dressed and get to packing.

1) Granny's post today on why she voted the way she did is an important read. Her reasons for voting they way she did are nearly exactly why I will be voting they way I will here in the near future.

2) We've been on a frenzied pace since we closed on the house. Del has been at the house every day fixing something up and still going to work. He gets up in the morning and heads over to the house until about 3, comes home, showers and goes to work until midnight and then sometimes goes back to the house. Last night he was there until about 2 A.M. I got up with him for my nightly snack and he told me that in one of the drawers he cleaned out he found the paperwork the bank filed for eviction of the last "owners." He said it was very sad and gut-wrenching to read, considering that this was their home and now...

The bank that owned the loan was Countrywide. Interesting indeed. Apparently this lady (no husband and several kids) had an ARM and was paying $2900 a month for her mortgage. When her ARM adjusted her payment went up from $2900 to $3700. Del said he found Section 8 paperwork and documents trying to get child support from...someone. To top it all off, she had $31,000 in unpaid taxes for two previous years. He said that from what he could tell, they were in the house as late as May of this year.

Very sad. It's interesting to be in the middle of this. I sort of feel bad for having their house. On the other hand Del and I avoided an ARM like the plague because we knew it was a horrible idea; it wasn't that hard to be just a little bit savvy about that (thank you God). She was alone though, with her kids. Scared, angry and probably a bit desperate.

I have so many thoughts about these people running about in my head. Like, why didn't they take care of the house better? The stove has obviously not been cleaned in a very long time and it's a flat top stove so it's not hard to clean. There are holes in the walls, sticky, icky stuff on the beautiful bamboo flooring and carpeting indescribably filthy. I don't get it.

Anyway, it's interesting to see the results of all the questionable lending in real life vs. hearing about it in the news.

Now, I have to go to work. My grandma is coming over to take care of me today. We have almost no food in the house so we don't have to move it and she's bringing lunch and dinner and will help pack up the kitchen. She's a real go-getter at 82. Maybe her two weeks in Maui shed some years. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Only Grace

Ephesians 2: 4-10 (NIV)

“4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Over the past two years, God has been teaching me about his grace. He has given me many opportunities to see my own sin and to recognize that it is only by his grace that I am able to come to him at all. I have learned the amazing freedom that comes by confession and true repentance. The amazing thing is that not only does God show me grace when I come to him and ask for his forgiveness, he continues to give me grace as I then attempt to truly change my ways. He helps me change by giving me the Holy Spirit to teach me and point out the areas that still need work. I do not deserve any of this, yet he gives it to me freely!

After God began to teach me about his gift of grace toward me, he also began to teach me about how to show grace to others. He taught me that he shows the same grace to others as he shows to me. That should change how I view them, too. All of us who have come to know God as our savior were once dead in transgressions. None of us could have come to God on our own. None of us has a corner on “being good,” just as none of us has the corner on being the “worst sinner.” We were all dead, and have all been made alive! God showed me that this should affect how I treat my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is so easy to point a finger at someone else, or to judge either openly or in my heart. But the family of God should be a place of grace.

Yesterday I had an experience where I heard a song that I have heard countless times before, but this time I really heard the words. They said just what has been in my heart. The song is “Only Grace” by Matthew West. Look at some of the words:

There is no guilt here
There is no shame
No pointing fingers
is no blame
What happened yesterday...has disappeared
The dirt has
washed away
And now it's clear

There's only grace
There's only
There's only mercy and believe me it's enough
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
And there's nothing left here
There's only grace

What a great look at what god has done for each one of us! There is also encouragement later in the song. I know I can get discouraged when I struggle with a sin over and over. I take it to god, and he forgives me; but then after a while, I find myself struggling again. But God does not give up on me, and I cannot give up working to be more like Christ even after I fall again! The song goes on to say:

And if you should fall again
Get back up, get back up
Reach out and take
my hand
Get back up, get back up again

His grace and mercy are enough! I can get up again and continue to run the race before me because his grace and mercy are enough.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can I Quit Yet?

It occurred to me just a few minutes ago that I was definitely not cut out to be a military wife. The insanity of packing and moving with only four kids is driving me batty. My patience level hasn't seen this much of a low in years. I can hardly imagine if I had to do this every two or three years.
Once again I count my many blessings. Thank you God , for providing a good, stable job for Del outside of the Army .

I shall now cease and desist with the whining. Tomorrow the whining will resume.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Got Tagged

Terry tagged me…I’ve never been tagged before. I’m honored. Wow.

10 years ago: I was in the Air Force, living in Monterey, CA learning Korean. I had been dating Del for about two months and already knew he was the man I was going to marry.

5 things on today's to do list:
1) Pack up the apartment
2) Laundry
3) Pack up the apartment
4) Make some dinner; spaghetti?
5) Pack up the apartment

Snacks I enjoy: Hmm…cookies, Fruit Loops, hot pork skins. This will all change in about three months when I am no longer pregnant and loopy. Except for the cookies; those are always on the list.

5 things I'd do if I were a millionaire (I only changed one from Terry’s list):
1) Tithe
2) Pay off the house
3) Pay off my friend’s houses
4) Save
5) Leave some for my kiddos

Places I have lived:
From birth: El Paso, TX; Farmington, NM; Sioux Falls, SD; Cedar Hill, TX; So. St. Paul, MN; St. Paul, MN; Presidio of Monterey, CA; San Angelo, TX; Osan AB, Republic of Korea; Ft. Meade, MD; Severn, MD; St. Augustine, FL; Severn, MD; St. Augustine, FL; Brandon, FL. There are so many houses and apartments scattered in there that I can’t even count; it’s somewhere along the lines of 20 or so.

Jobs I've had:
1) Fast food (Whataburger)
2) Blockbuster Video
3) Barista/Shift Supervisor at Starbucks
4) Korean Linguist in the Air Force
5) Mom – the hardest so far. Learning Korean was a snap compared to learning the copious amounts of self-discipline, patience, understanding, and self-sacrifice that it takes to be a mother and wife who home schools.

I think I will tag Marie, Meagan, Johanna and um...I don't know anyone else...'cause I'm cool like that. I know!!! Lawanda! She gets tagged a lot but hey, that's 'cause she's cool like that.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Today is a big day for us. We got an e-mail this afternoon from our adoption agency informing us that our completed dossier left for China today!! Woo-Hoo! It should be delivered to the central adoption agency for all of China (CCAA) in 3-5 days. We should get our log in date within 4 weeks of it arriving there. Technically, we need the log in date before our baby is born, but it is doubtful that there will be a problem if he is born after it arrives at the CCAA and before our official log in date. Considering that I am due in almost exactly 4 weeks, there is a decent chance that we will get the log in date before he is born. That is what we are praying, so that it will be completely beyond question.

Celebrate with me!! God is so good and had answered prayer after prayer!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Done, But Just Beginning

We closed on the house today. We officially own a home.

Del is at Home Depot right now buying a shop vac to mop up the water that's leaking from the air conditioning. It's been like three hours since we signed the papers. What a riot.

Sorry I don't have a picture. I'll try to get one tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We're trying to close on the house tomorrow or Friday. So I started packing.

Did you see it? I bet you missed it. Take a closer look now.
I am sooooooo looking forward to being able to put this box in its proper place!


Things I WON'T miss about pregnancy:
  • heartburn
  • wide-eyed stares from total strangers - you can practically hear their brains saying, "Wow! She's huge!"
  • People thinking that just because I have a gigantic belly, they can say anything they think out loud to me. ie. "You sure are getting big." "Wow! Are you having twins? No, surely you're having twins!" "You must be ready to deliver any day now! A month left? There's no way you have a month yet!" (As if I don't know whether or not I'm having twins or when my due date is!)
  • Waddle, waddle (can you say "quack"?)
  • hip pain
  • a bladder that has a maximum capacity of 1 Tbsp.
  • waking up every 90 minutes - oh, wait. That isn't going to change with the birth...
  • that annoying itchy spot on my head that I only have when I am pregnant, itches 24/7, and doesn't get any better when I scratch it (no joke)
  • getting out of breath just doing the dishes or moving from one couch to another
  • gaining weight by the minute

Things I WILL miss about pregnancy:

  • feeling my baby move around inside of me
  • the wonder of it all
  • dreaming about who this little guy will be, what he will look like, when he will come
  • life with the same number of hands as children
  • watching the amazing design of the female body working the way God intended
  • free license to sit down whenever I feel like it
  • having the cashiers in Wal-Mart actually put my shopping bags into the cart for me out of pity rather than staring at me and rudely saying, "I don't have any bags left. You need to put those in the cart."

Did I miss anything?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seen Around Town...


For $2.96.

Um...What's With That?

I think that my kids' ears are tuned in to the sound of my bedroom door opening. It must have a certain pitch that I simply can't detect because I'm an adult or something. If they are all in the back room and I have to go to the bathroom, so I open the door to my bedroom to go to the bathroom, within seconds all four of the little buggers are following me into my bedroom and then standing in front of the bathroom door until I'm done. What's with that? Can't a mom get a little privacy here? What's so exciting about my bedroom that they have to be in there?

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Rest of My Menu

I know I am in danger of making this whole blog all about food, but lately it is all I have done. You know, cook. And sleep. And sit on the couch wishing I could sleep. Oh, and read other blogs. What a dangerous, time consuming occupation that is!

Anyway, all three of the recipes I chose from Pioneer Woman this week turned out great, and I liked the last two even better than the Migas! In addition to the recipes turning out well, thanks to Joanna's tips, I think my pictures of the results turned out better, too!
The Zucchini Farfalle was yummy and easy. It came together quickly. I did buy arrowroot since I had never used it as a thickener before. I liked how it worked. It doesn't take too much to do the job either. I don't think I would change anything about this recipe, and I'll make it again for sure!

On to enchildadas...mmmm...have I mentioned here before just how much I love Mexican food? I think it is in my blood after having lived the majority of my life in Texas. These were really good. Sadly, they were really time consuming as well. Too much so for me. I don't understand why you had to lightly fry the tortillas before then dipping them in the enchilada sauce and rolling them up. I also think that this would be so much easier to do as a casserole. Not as pretty of a presentation, to be sure, but easier. The next time I make it, I will put some sauce on the bottom of the pan, add a layer of tortillas, followed by layers of meat, olives, onions, and cheese before adding more sauce and starting over again. I really think this would be just as satisfying. And I'll get a chance to try it today, because I had SO much meat left over! Corn tortillas are small, and there is just no way to stuff 1 1/2 pounds of meat mixture into 14 tortillas! I had leftover sauce, too. Anyway, I highly recommend that you try this recipe. I doubt you'll be disappointed - even if you decide to do the very time consuming variety.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Migas My Way

One thing that I like about cooking is that it is not only a way to prepare nutritious food for my family, but often it is a means of self-discovery. Often times I am willing to try things in the kitchen, be brave and branch out even though I am not always willing to do that in other areas. I also learn things about my preferences, likes and dislikes, that I wouldn't learn if I wasn't trying new things. This is true about Migas. I was first introduced to Migas when Tina put them up for her entry in the recipe war on Mothers of Invention. I liked them, but I thought there were too many tortillas and I wanted more flavor. So when I found the recipe for Migas on Pioneer Woman Cooks, I was very excited to try it out! These were more to my liking.

I learned several things in the process of making these:

  • I really need to learn how to take good pictures of food. That looks way more disgusting here than it did in real life!
  • I don't like cilantro. Everyone else I've heard say they don't like cilantro thinks it tastes like soap. I don't think that, but I just don't like it! I guess I do like it in one circumstance. I like fresh salsa. I know there is cilantro in that, but I guess the other flavors are so strong that it is not too prominent for me.
  • I do not like the veggies in something to be a totally different texture from the rest of the dish. This recipe says not to cook the peppers and onions too long so that they are still a bit crunchy, but I will cook them until they are much softer next time.
  • I like migas with an equal number of tortillas and eggs. The first recipe I tried had twice as many tortillas as eggs. This one has twice as many eggs as tortillas. I think right in between would be perfect!

I fully recommend this recipe! I will make it again for sure.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just FYI

If you ever buy two cans of frozen orange juice concentrate, and do not pay close enough attention when you bring the grocery bags into the house to notice that there is now only one can to put away, and for some reason do not think to see where that other can might should know that the concentrate will melt and ooze out of the can onto the carpet of your mini-van. The can does not hold in the thick liquid. If this should happen to you, and you do not actually have a need to open the back of said mini-van for three or so days after the purchase to notice the runaway can lying there on the floor, you will have fermenting orange juice concentrate causing an odor to assault your nostrils as soon as you open your van door to get in and go where ever it is that you need to go. And in case you are wondering, fermenting orange juice concentrate will not make the short list of car freshener scents any time soon. And if you really want to know, concentrate that has sat for days soaking into the carpet and cooking in a hot garage (because fall in Texas is still hot) does not easily clean up. You know, just in case you wanted to know.

Meal Plans

I know that lots and lots of bloggers post a meal plan for the week every Monday. Although I will never commit to doing that because I know I will fail more often than I succeed, I did plan a menu this week. You might notice that I have added Pioneer Woman Cooks to the links on the side of this blog. Mostly that is because I think her blog is incredible! However, I forget to check it and each time I remember, I wish I had checked it sooner. I am hoping that seeing it there will spark my memory! Anyway, this weekend, I was browsing through the 7,523 posts that she has put up since the last time I checked and realized that she has a tremendous number of recipes that I want to try. So I made my entire menu from her blog's recipes!

Meal 1: Migas, fruit, Bronco Bread

Meal 2: Zucchini Farfalle, grilled chicken

Meal 3: Beef Enchiladas, chips, black beans

Now, before you all freak out on me and think that I have forgotten how to count the days in a week or simply left off the rest of my menu, I only planned to cook three times this week. My boys are still young enough that they eat very little, so I plan for leftovers. Plus, my husband won't be home for dinner every night this week. Be honest, do you really cook a full meal for just you and the kids (if your kids are 5 and under like mine)??? I never do. And I never, never cook on Sundays. Just my little rule. So three meals it is.

I'll have to post each recipe (my version) as I make it. I am so excited about all three of these meals!

So, what's for dinner at your house this week?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pregnancy Pause

I thought it might be time for a pregnancy post. Here are some current stats:
  • I have reached the "I feel as big as a house" stage
  • My wedding ring no longer fits
  • I have stopped craving much of anything, and have even lost most of my appetite (weird for me...)
  • Andrew turned breech a little over a week ago
  • Andrew measures 25% bigger than he should for his age (eek!)
  • Feet? What feet?
  • I can now watch Andrew move all through the day - it is the highlight of my day
  • I am starting to feel more motivated to get things done in preparation for Andrew's arrival
I am working on sewing up Andrew's bedding now. I have a shower on October 19, so after that I will start purchasing any of the things we still need. I am actually starting to realize that I am going to have a baby soon! I'm not sure how this is just now dawning on me, but I am really good at compartmentalizing things in my head. Up to this point, I have only focused on getting the adoption paperwork done, and completely blocked out the fact that I have another child coming much, much sooner than the one I am adopting! :) But, as you can see for yourself, it won't be too much longer now!

(Please ignore the straining of the pants across my backside!! I cannot believe I am actually posting this...)

Anyway, since an adoption is like a very long pregnancy, I'll go ahead an update on that too! Today I put our complete dossier in the mail to our adoption agency!! I am throwing a tiny party, but the real par-tay will come once it is on its way to China, which will be another couple of weeks. But as far as anything else that I can do, there is nothing. Well, except for wait. Now begins the long, long wait. I am so thankful that I have a baby coming to help me with this since I am not, by nature, a patient person. Of course, this last step wasn't without a major hitch just like every other step has been. This time, the Houston post office lost the Express Mail envelope our authenticated documents happened to be in! Yes, they lost them. As in they had no idea where they were for a day. But, lo and behold, they showed up again in a post office on the wrong side of our city, and then arrived to us today. I only had one moment of freak out over this. It could have been much, much worse! The next time I update on the adoption, our dossier will have been reviewed, translated, bound and made to look pretty, and sent to China!

It's One of Those Days

Despite the fact that somehow I managed to get through the hard times with teaching Ella to read and now she is reading on a 5th grade level, if there was one subject that I could pass off to someone else it would be teaching reading. The level of frustration involved for me is enormous. I just can't figure out a girl that is reading "mad, made; cap, cape" can read all that just fine and then get to "tap" and not be able to read it. Just freeze up right there and stare at the page like she's never read the word "tap" before in her life and thinks that the short sound for "a" is /e/. I just don't understand. No other subject has driven me to tears like reading has...even math and I'm no good at math.

I know one of the good things about homeschooling is that it drives you to better yourself because you must control your emotions. But I'm terrible at that. She'd probably have responded better if I hadn't been so hard on her and disgusted that she "couldn't" read...tap.

Poor girl. Now I have to go apologize.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Secret Life of My Camera

You may recall me mentioning that my camera was out of commission for a while. I thought you might like to know just what my camera was up to - without me, I might add. You see, my camera took a trip to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic - without me. My camera also insisted that my husband go along on this trip - without me. Yes, my camera and my husband left me at home with two very energetic young boys, for two long weeks, very pregnant, and went to Europe - without me. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

My camera got to see things like this:

Of course, my camera would like you to know that it was required to go on this trip as part of my husband's MBA program that he is working on, but I am not sure that is relevant here. They went without me! Did I mention that I am VERY pregnant?

Before you feel too sorry for me (you can go ahead and feel a little bit sorry for me), I should show you what my husband brought back for me from the visit he made to the Swarovski Crystal factory. I am wearing it right now! I have to tell you that the picture on the web site does not really do it justice, but I have found that I am no good at photographing jewelry. My camera, on the other hand, did not bring me back one single thing. So ungrateful.