Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm it!!!


          I guess I have been tagged.  And, while I normally do not participate in these type of things (sometimes, I just want to rebel)  But, this one sounded fun, plus Sharla tagged me and I wouldn't say no to her.

Seven interesting or weird facts about me.... should be VERY easy.

1.  I don't have an official diagnosis but Paul and most certainly a few other friends have labeled me obsessive.  
      
     I am not exactly sure why.  Maybe it's because sometimes I start doing something, and I can't stop.  

     For example, when I was teaching, I started taking Raisins & Spice oatmeal for lunch, EVERYDAY.  I was newly married and one day I said to Paul, "I am really tired of oatmeal for lunch."  He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You're the one who packs your lunch everyday."  
     That's when it dawned on me.  I guess I could take something else.  Duh!

     My obsessions usually have to do with food.  For those of you who followed me to China, I know this comes as a big surprise to you.  

      About a year ago, when Gina visited the last time, we started making this green stuff:  cottage cheese, pineapple and pistachio pudding.  I ate so much of it for a month that I can hardly stand to look at it now.

     Lately, it is smoothies.  Paul swears I puree all my food these days.  

     I have or am also obsessed with blogs,  the internet in general, Chinese adoptions, an internet game called Poppit....   

     See, the list is long and that was just off the top of my head.

2.      I was engaged before I married Paul and called it off 3 weeks before the  wedding date.

      Long story... maybe I'll share it sometime. It was either call it off or end up in jail or the looney bin.   Hard, but one of the best decisions I have ever made.

     As our (mine and Paul's) wedding date got closer and closer, I think Paul was a little nervous.  Two weeks before the wedding, he let out a cheer, "Yes!!  I made it farther than the other guy!"  

       Haha!

3.  I love rainy days and snow days.  Another thing I am or have been obsessed with... school closings.  It made sense when I was teaching, but the desire to get up and look at the closings when I had nary a child in school??  I think I just like an excuse to slow down.

4.   I am still upset that I don't have a sister.  I desperately wanted girls when I began thinking about having children.  I wanted 2 of them.  (I remind myself of those prayers when I want to hurt them... bad.)  Now, I have 3.  

     Somehow this is supposed to make up for the lack of a sister.  We'll see how it plays out!

5.    Food again.  I bet you don't eat cheeseburgers the way I do.  I  eat  my cheeseburger with mustard, ketchup and APPLESAUCE.  Yes, applesauce.  I love it on my cheeseburger.  Actually, I just put a spoonful on the bite I am about to take.  

     I think it is because, when I was little, my family used to eat at a restaurant called Jeds on Tuesday nights- Kids eat free night.  I think my applesauce used to run into my hamburger and I guess I liked it. 

      A lot! 

      Because, I am 37 years old and I still do it!!  

     Now, if that's not random!

6.       I love to watch fishing shows.  I don't know why.  But, if I am channel surfing and I run across a show where someone is casting that pole... I will stop every time... and twice on Sunday.

7.       I hate dogs.  Really, I don't care for any animal.  They all smell.  They make messes and destroy things.  They cost a lot of money.  They have hair that ends up all over the place.  They have things on their bodies that need squeezed.... like anal glands.  I can't believe I even just wrote that!!  Parts of their bodies show that I shouldn't have to see i.e.  cats b---holes, monkeys' butts, the male parts of circus bears,etc...

     I had a dog this past year.......... for about 4 months.  

     Her name was Lulu.  

     They named her at the pound.  We thought it was cute so we kept it. 

     But, no one at the pound told me Lulu was short for LUCIFER!! 

      That dog was the biggest pain.  She barked incessantly.  She chewed everything in sight.  If she wasn't chewing, she was digging.  Sometimes, I would stay in bed a really long time so I didn't have to get up to deal with her.  I NEVER got up before Paul.

     Yep, we got rid of her.

      Some other idiot... I mean person, agreed to take her.  Never mind that Lulu was a Christmas present to the kids.  I told them that it was ok to be mad at me, to be sad, or cry.  I explained to them that I could not live the next 10 years or more, miserable.  Shelby hated Lulu too.  But, for Gracie and Jackson, who cried, I told them it was like making Gracie play ice hockey and Jackson take ballet... for as long as that forsaken mutt was alive.  They'd be miserable doing either of those things.

     So, go ahead, tell me I am worse than the Wicked Witch of the West.  Leave nasty comments, throw eggs at my house... you can't make me bring another dog into this house or make me like animals.

      8.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it said 7 things.  I told you I like to rebel.

           I adhere to Old Testament food laws.  If it says not to eat it in the OT, I don't.  On a rare, rare occasion, I will eat bacon... in a salad or something like that.

       I know that in the NT all food was declared clean but I am sure we are misinterpreting that.
  
     Because, let me ask you this, what has changed about the anatomy of the pig? 

     NOTHING!  It has ONE stomach and it eats garbage or anything else you put in front of it.

       Why do you think Jesus drove those demons into the pigs and sent those pigs flying over a cliff to their death??   Because they are nasty little creatures that should not be used for human consumption and that's how highly he thinks of pigs.

      And, do you know that God calls anything from the sea w/o gills an abomination.  That's a pretty harsh word.  Why an abomination (now I feel like Grace, my guide from China)?  Because they eat the poop that is on the bottom of the ocean.  Did you know if you put shrimp in a filthy pond it would be cleaned up in no time?  

     Now, before you start cursing the day of my birth, I have some planks to get out of my own eye.  I need a verse about eating sugar.  Then maybe I could stop.  I also eat too much.  So there!

     I was tagged and I was supposed to tell interesting or weird facts about myself.

     Now, I am supposed to tag seven people, but I am not sure if I know 7 bloggers.  

     Oh, I read more than seven blogs, but most of those people don't know it.  

     I am a lurker.  I hate lurkers on my blog but.... legalist never live by their own rules, ya know.  I want comments ... lots of them! 

      And, there are a few people who leave me comments on my blog and then I go to look at their blogs, and they tell me I am not invited.  

     That hurts!  
     It takes me back to junior high when I didn't get invited to a party.

Anyway, I am tagging these people:
     
                Darja-Morning by morning new mercies I see
                Pam- Our Family News
                Margie-Mississippizen
                Sophie-Boomama
                              see comment for Pioneer Woman
                Sharon-Chloe in China
                Ree-Pioneer Woman
                        Because out of the 50,000 hits she gets on her blog everyday, she'll read my        
                        comment and respond....LOL!
                Cindi- Of Paths and Errands

     Lots of Love to all my animal loving friends!:-)


Mom of the Year

     Just in case you were wondering, I won't be getting that award this year. It seems it doesn't matter if you birthed a child or adopted one, brain cells leave the body either way. This time a whole big load of them packed up and headed out.

      I can't remember anything. I can't find things. I have missed appointments. I have not even started my post-placement adoption paperwork. I did print out the guide.... 30 pages!! The list of things to do is a mile long. All that on top of being responsible for the education of small homo sapiens.  Plus, did you know I am a domestic engineer (laundry, laundry and more laundry)???  I am about to snap!!

     Saturday, while I was just sitting back with a cup of coffee (like the world had stopped) talking with my my good friend, Gina, planning a trip to see High School Musical 3, Shelby's choir was practicing away. Missing choir practice may not seem like a big deal, but it is with this choir. It is a city Children's Choir and they are as serious as a heart attack. (And, they sing the most beautiful music, by the way.) Each child is allowed to miss three practices. Shelby missed 2 while we were on vacation, one so her soccer team didn't have to forfeit, and this one. That's four for those who are counting. I want to blame it on the fact that they only scheduled 2 Saturday practices for the whole year.... so that's what I'll do. It's their fault:-)

The worst was yesterday. I usually get up and get dressed pretty quickly. Not yesterday. Yesterday I stayed in my mismatched PJ outfit. At 12:10, I was sitting on the couch, reading (a leisure book and eating bonbons... not!) while the girls ate their lunch. I hadn't brushed my hair or my teeth and I am sure I looked like a raccoon with black eye liner lingering around my eyes  from the previous day, when the phone rang.

"Hello."

"Hi, this is so and so from Dr. Wenzel's office. Did you know that you and Shelby and Gracie had dentist appointments today at noon.

"No. Did you do the reminder call?"

"Yes."

"Did you talk to someone or did you leave a message on our machine?" (I was desperate. I wanted to blame someone.)

"We left a message on your machine."


"Oh. I didn't listen to my messages."

"Well, since there are three of you, we are going to have to charge you for missing the appointment. Unless.... do you live close?"

"Yes, basically across the street."

"Can you come?"

"Yep! We'll be there in a minute."

     We showed up looking like Cousin Eddie's family (Christmas vacation) minus Eddie and that slobbering mangey mutt.  What I am saying is... I think we were a bit hard on the eyes.

    What's worse? I knew the appointment was coming and I kept meaning to cancel it for Gracie.

      Because.... about 6 months ago, at our last cleaning appointment, they told me Gracie had a cavity and they told me to take her to a pediatric dentist. And, I kept meaning to do just that, except... I kept forgetting.

      I have had a lot going on the past 6 months... you're going to have to read the whole blog if you want details.

     Gracie kept trying to remind me while we were on vacation at the beach. She kept telling me her tooth was hurting and that she had something stuck in it. I would use a toothpick and then tell her to rinse with salt water.  Suck it up!  You'll be fine!

     I told her I'd take her to the dentist as soon as we go home.

     Except, she wasn't complaining about it anymore, so I forgot.

     But, yesterday, the dentist reminded me. After her cleaning, the hygienist said, "Did you remember that the last time she was here, we told you she had 4 cavities."

     "Um, I didn't remember hearing the #4."

     "Well, one of the cavities is too far gone, so we'll have to remove the tooth."

     I went home, walked through the door like a dog with it's tail tucked between it's legs, and felt like a loser the rest of the day.  

     I am typing this as I watch Gracie get the first of her fillings this morning. Tomorrow morning, we'll come back at 7 am for 2 more. Saving the best for last, we'll get the rotten tooth the next day... or very soon.

Until then, nominations are being accepted for Mom of the Year.  Goodluck!!




     Numbing Grace's cheek before she got the silver squirt gun.  (AKA the needle).  Of course I didn't tell her to make that face.  She was a little nervous, but got over it really quick.  She's the one who wanted to go back at 7 am for the others.  I am not kidding!  




     Now, if the next pictures don't warm your heart.
     My friend Rachael can not stop buying things for her... more to come in later photos.

      


     Yes, this too is from Rachael.  I just want to put her on a plate and sop her up with a biscuit!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Double for your trouble

     Isaiah 61:7    Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion.  Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.
     

     When Paul and I are lucky enough to have been given tickets to what he calls "the promised land", an OHIO STATE football game, we always walk through the maze of tailgaters who have been going at it since the wee hours of the morning,  Whether or not he likes to admit it, he is as nosey as I am. So, we both enjoy finding out what those tailgaters are eating.   Then we drool and head over to 711 and buy boring ol' regular hot dogs.  We are not cool enough to have an RV and  a OSU tent with a grill  and make all that great food ourselves.  And, Paul is too cheap to buy something from the street vendors... even if it means he could choose a hot Italian sausage smothered with hot onions and mustard.
      However, above all the great smells of food, there is a smell that permeates the air and about knocks me down.  The smell of beer.  And, whenever I am engulfed by that smell, it takes me right back to my college days at the University of Dayton- the #4 beer drinking school in the nation.

     There was a lot of partying that went on at that school.  Lots of drinking, staying out late, sleeping places where people probably should not have sleeping and everything else that accompanies that college lifestyle.  And, while I was in no way perfect, I really tried to live out what I believed God says in his word about how a believer should conduct themselves.  I could go to the parties and leave with a very clear conscience, but it just was no fun for me... at all.

     Because that was how I chose to live, even though I had a lot of friends, I was really lonely in college.  I had trouble finding friends who were like-minded.  

    6 years later, I was able to do college all over again.  Sort of.  Paul was hired as a resident director at Cedarville University.  That meant we lived in an apartment inside the dorm.  We lived free, we ate free, but we didn't have to study.  Well, I didn't have to study.  Part of the reason for taking such a job was so Paul could get a Master's degree and we wouldn't have to go in debt.

     We lived with 180 guys.  And, while it may sound like a barbed-wire enema to some of you, it was 4 of the best years of my life.  College guys are an interesting breed.  Here are just some of the things I remember about living there:

     1.  Cedarville has a lake on campus.  One night this group of guys pulled out this huge dead fish.  They brought it to the door outside of our apartment to show us.  (We told them we didn't want to know what they were planning.)  They put it in  a box, left it in the lobby of one of the girls' dorms, and let it fester.  I forget how long it was there.
    2.  I remember someone bringing me a camera and having me look at a picture that I never in a million years would need or want to see.  A guy had eliminated in such a manner that I think he was afraid no one would believe if he described it to them, so he took a picture.  Use your imagination... enough said!
    3.  Paul kicked a mother possum and her babies to the curb because some guy was harboring them in his room.  (I wonder why, when I was pregnant with Gracie and living in that dorm, I had a dream that she looked like a possum when she was born.  A baby body but a possum face.)
    4.  Guys would eliminate in empty pizza boxes.  Guys don't throw empty pizza boxes away so....
     5.   A guy put a container of milk in the heating duct in another guys' room and let it sit and sit and sit...........
     6.  Guys would take off their clothes, jump in another guys bed who was not there and roll around in their sheets.  Later, they would tell the owner of the sheets what had been done.
     7.  They would have contest to see who, if anyone, could drink a gallon of milk in an hour.  And, since no one can, they would all puke.
     8.  One guy, who was graduating the next day, put a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave for 20 minutes.  It set the fire alarm off in the middle of the night.
     9.  A guy peed in a SOBE bottle and put it in the refrigerator.  Then, watched as his friend popped off the lid and starting drinking...... and then spewing! 

     I think you get the point.  Although, I am going to be honest and say, I don't get why any normal human being would do any of those things.  But, they did.  And, while I thought most of it was really funny, I had to have some sanity.  So, I hung out with college girls.

     Many, many nights, our apartment would be full of them until curfew.  And, because I had connections, sometimes they would even stay past curfew.

    It dawned on me because I had established great friendships with these girls that I was getting to do college over again... only it was way more fun!

     Not too long ago, I ran across Isaiah 61:7.  I could be taking this verse a bit out of context.  I don't mean to... it just seems to fit.  I tried to live a life that would honor God in college and it wasn't much fun.  So, 6 years later I seemed to have been given double for my former trouble.  And, isn't that just like God?

     I am still in contact with many of those girls.  They are my really close friends.

    They are now married and have children of their own.  Abby and Gina came to visit and meet Emme yesterday.  We had such a great time.  They are two of the funniest people I know.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  We made dinner- the best lasagna ever and pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing!
     We ate and then marveled at the fact that we all have babies at the same time.  Hopefully, Emme is my last and hopefully, Anthony and Nolan are their firsts.  

     
    

     Emme and Nolan (Nolan's mom is Abby).  Check out those feet on Nolan, they are like little fat sausages.  (That's a direct quote from Nolan's mom...I told you she was funny.)  Nolan was kind of a bully with Emme.  Once, when they were both sitting so nicely, Nolan lunged at her and knocked her down.  It broke her little heart.  Now, he's trying to take the bow.  I think he doesn't like it because it's as big as her head.
     What a little digging in the ear amongst friends?
     There's Anthony joining the group.  Emme looks a bit paranoid.  Don't you think?
Nolan is 8 months old, Emme is 14 months old (on the 30th) and Anthony is 18 months old.
     Nolan and Emme trying to be helpful.
     And, here we are in the midst of cooking.  Me, Abby (middle), and Gina.
     I love you girls!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Got any fava beans??

     The girls sat Emme at the piano bench the other day and when I took her away, one would have thought we were headed back to China.  So, since I don't have time to hold her there all day, I moved her high chair in front of the piano.  That problem solved!  Next!
     What??  You put me here. I'm allowed!
      Flipping through her music.  You laugh, but she may be my retirement.  Child prodigy??
     Shelby took these pictures like these scarecrows were one of the family.  The pictures were on my phone.  I thought maybe they'd help you feel festive.

     I guess since this is supposed to be a blog about my adopted daughter I should write about her periodically.  So, I am going to tell you how she's doing in just a second.  Before that,  I want to tell you that I am starting a new blog.  I can't stand miles and miles to mylei!!   I don't even have a child with that name.  Besides, I don't want to write about Emme all the time.  I love her so much I want to squeeze her to death,  but she's not really doing anything all that exciting right now. 

      I just want to talk about life.  Sometimes, I focus so hard on the destination, what's next in life, that I forget to enjoy the journey.  Destinations are really short lived and sometimes not all they're cracked up to be.  My journey through life has been anything but boring.  The things that happen to me... if you didn't know me, you'd think I was lying sometimes.  One of these days, I know the crew of Candid Camera is going to pop out and reveal themselves.  Or, maybe it's just true, God does have a sense of humor.  It's an adventure to travel with Him.  I try really hard to allow God to be the pilot who flies me through life, sometimes I grab the wheel away from him. (Does an airplane have a steering wheel?)  But, he's proven to be a much better pilot.  He's has flown me over strange lands and he has taken me places I never in a million years thought I would go.  (CHINA!!  For crying out loud, it still cracks me up that I went to China!!)  He has provided for my family in ways you only hear about in books or on tv.  Life with God is never boring!  Hopefully, you'll hang around with me.  I think you'll be entertained.  
     Until then....
      Just  keeping checking back here.  I'll tell you where to go when the new site is up and running!

    Onto Emme....

     She's doing great!  She has gained 1 pound in a month.  She now weighs 13.4 pounds.  Whoo hoo!!  I think that's pretty good!  At least she's keeping some pants on now.  Who cares if they are 3-6 month size.  We'll take what we can get!
     She is also getting around.  She mostly rolls.  Sometimes, she flops around like a fish out of water. I think I'll call her Nemo or Dori.   It cracks me up.  She throws up her little butt up and somehow turns as she does it.  She gets where she want to go... let's just put it that way.  She has made some progress in the crawling department too.  It's mostly backwards but we have also seen her do the official crawl but then she face-plants and quits.   Above all, she still prefers holding our hands and walking, but we all prefer NOT to go to the chiropractor!!  It hurts all our backs, even the kids.

     We can't afford the chiropractor.  When we came home from China, we had to take her to the Cincinnati Hospital's International Adoption Clinic.  When I hear the word clinic, I think cheap.  We'll, let me tell you that is not a cheap clinic.   $4100 is NOT cheap.  I kid you not, that was the bill.  $4100!!! The verdict is still out on how much we will have to pay.  $4100 was for the labs only.  The doctor, occupational therapist, social worker, nurse practitioner, secretary, janitor, etc.. is probably an additional $4000  Our insurance isn't the greatest, to put in nicely.

     So, when the nurse practitioner called today to tell me they needed to do a little more blood work, I wanted to tell her a few things.  I held my tongue.

     They apparently, for $4100, performed every test know to man's blood on her blood.  All came back clear except for one test.  One test indicated she may be missing an enzyme that breaks down the fava bean.  And, since I don't even know what the heck a fava bean is, I told her the test would not be necessary.  Ok, not really.  (It does have to do with the fava bean, but it has some mile long name that I can't say or spell.)

     She also called it favism (I am certain that spelling in incorrect but don't really care enough to fix it right now.)  The first test they ran indicated she was missing this particular enzyme.  However, they performed a quantatative test and that test indicated she was NOT missing that enzyme.  SO, LET'S JUST RUN THE TEST AGAIN BECAUSE MONEY GROWS ON TREES!  NOT!!

     I told her we'd do it in January when our insurance restores our health fund.  She said that was fine.  In the meantime, we are supposed to steer clear of all legumes including but not limited to (I have always wanted to say that... the including but not limited to part) peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans....  I am sure you get the point.  Also, any drugs that have sulfa-something in them.

     Avoiding food is not a problem considering it takes her a couple of hours to eat a Cheerio.  Will she ever get teeth???

     Emme is still getting up to eat.  She's lightened up on me and only wakes up twice instead of three times.  She eats what she wants, rolls over and goes back to sleep.  I wish I could do that sometime.  Wake up, scream, have someone bring me a piece of pizza, roll over and go back to sleep.  Oh, the life of a baby!
     
    Emme is also a jealous little soul.  She does not like the other kids sitting on my lap or Paul's lap.  She screams at Jackson every time he comes near here. She's part terradactyl.  I think she can't stand him.  I tell him she loves him so much that she can't control herself when he's around.  It's working for now!  She thinks Gracie is her mom.  If Emme is mad at me because, I did something horrible, like give her a bath.  She looks for Gracie and reaches out her arms, begging for Gracie to get her to safety.  Mean ol' mom!

     The mean ol' mom should probably go get the computer cord out of Emme's mouth......
     

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please pray for our friends

     We have some good friends that are also on staff with the Navigators serving at Purdue University.  They are working with international students in preparation to hopefully serve overseas in Thailand.

     They had a baby a week or two ago.  Her name is Cara.  They knew Cara would be born with hydrocephalus and in preparation for the care she would need, Cara was born at a hospital in Indianapolis.

     Her condition is much, much worse than they thought.  Cara was only born with 1/3 of her brain.  She will never walk or talk.  She may smile and recognize a few people.  Physically right now, she is having a difficult time swallowing and sucking.  Between 4-8 months, the sucking reflex stops as another part of the brain takes over to aid in that process.

     Hospice has already been called.  They  only become involved when a person is given less than 6 months.

    Will you please pray for them?  Pray that God will give them peace and wisdom.  I don't know what else to say.  I don't understand.  Justin and Kristen are wonderful people faithfully serving the Lord.  The seemingly trite answer is that God will use this dark time in their lives to grow them, etc...  Those words don't help much as this moment when their hearts are breaking.  This is their first child.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Beacon

     This summer, I was telling my good friend Jennifer that I get really mad at Paul when he asks me things like, "How much do we pay for cable?" Or, if he asks something like, "How much do we pay for all of our utilities. Total. Gas, water, trash, light, etc...

     I don't know why, but I get irate. I feel like I am going to start spitting green pea soup I get so mad.

     It's not a hard question. I am the "accountant" in the family. He doesn't even know how much money he makes. I pay all the bills, etc... It would take me about 3 minutes to go add it up.

     Instead, I get all irritated and act flustered and roll my eyes and huff and puff and I coldly say, "Oh, I'll figure it out later!!"

     It's so stupid! I realize I am not painting a very pretty picture of myself. That's the funny part. It takes a lot to make me mad. We rarely argue, but this question and certain other similar type things always sets me off.

     So, I was telling Jennifer about the really dumb things that make me mad. And, do you know what she said to me?? She said I was quirky. One would think this would make me mad. Instead, I thought about it for a minute and I said, like it was some deep revelation, "You're right!! I am quirky!" (I know those of you that know me well are out there laughing right now! You know it's true!)

    I'll go somewhere in this story with my quirky self in just a moment.

     About 8 months ago, I found this show on Food Network that I new Paul would love. It's called Diners, Drive-in and Dives. This guy with really bad bleached hair who wears his sunglasses on the back of his neck, named, Guy Fieri, travels the United States looking for establishments that would be considered and diner, a drive-in or a dive.

     I knew right away Paul would love this show!

     I knew because when we were first dating I introduced him to a dive on the campus of the University Of Dayton, Milanos Really, it was a hole in the wall.

     The outside of the place had old wooden steps leading up to an old rickety porch. The paint was peeling. It was connected to another hole, a very popular UD bar, Tim's. I am sure if you looked really close or sniffed really hard, you could see or smell the stench of old beer mixed with some good ol' vomit. But walking into Milanos, the wonderful smell of Atlantic City Subs smacked you in the face.
     It was very small with maybe 12 booths and 2 stools at the counter. It was a little dark and dingy inside. Just entering, I could tell Paul was excited . (He's so fun. It doesn't take much to make him happy.)
     We took a paper menu, decided what we wanted and ordered. Then, Paul declared his need for a restroom. I had been in the restroom. It was made for one and it was definitely dark and dirty and dingy.
     When he came back from the restroom he said, "I know this place is going to be really good because the bathroom smells really bad!!"

     I didn't know how to take him back then. How on earth could a smelly restroom equal good food? As a matter of fact, in shady places, I steer clear of the restroom. I may not eat if I have a bad restroom experience.

     But, his intuition lead him to agree it was a great little hole in the wall. If you visit the UD campus now, it is a huge beautiful restaurant. But, the food is exactly the same. I still crave it periodically!

     Anyway, I was also right about the show. He loved it!

     He was especially excited to see that a place that he visited while he was in college, a place he had told me about many times, made an appearance on the show. It's called The Beacon and it is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I don't think I saw that episode that featured The Beacon.
     We started watching the show frequently and Paul decided that whenever we traveled, which I feel like is ALL the time, we would look at the list of places that had been on the show and try to hit one of them.
     This past summer we decided we would check The Beacon off the list as we would be close by on our way to visit some friends in Greenville, South Carolina. Now, please keep in mind, I had heard about this place many times but I don't think anything could have prepared me for what I was about to encounter.
     Getting to The Beacon during the trip was taking a bit longer than we had anticipated. We were all starving. It was almost 2 pm, way past lunch time. The kids were getting antsy and frustrated. They were arguing and saying things like, "If we don't eat soon, we are going to DIE! Please, can we just get Wendy's??" To which I replied, "NO!! YOU ARE GOING TO EAT AT THIS PLACE AND YOU ARE GOING TO ENJOY IT!
     As we exit the highway, we enter a bit of a shady area of town. It's a little run down. We are getting deeper into the heart of the area, when rounding the corner I get my first glimpse of The Beacon. There's a huge lighthouse looking sign pointing the way to this famous little hole. We pull into the parking lot where I see the very unattractive building. I don't know what I was expecting, I knew it was a dive. It had these dirty Wendy's- looking sun windows in the front surrounded by flags. It was just... well, it was a dive.

     So, we walk in and I see this old black gentlemen in a white uniform standing a the entrance to an ordering line. And, he is yelling! I mean YELLING!! And, I can't understand a word he is saying. It's not English, nor is it Spanish or any other recognizable language. It's some language that I am pretty sure this man made up.

     Instantly, I am a nervous wreck. I have heard about this man. You better know what you want to order when you get to him. But, you can't get close to him until you are ready. Know why? Because he's blind and he can sense your presence. And, if you are near him and you don't know what you want you better move out of the way.

     One should not have to be this nervous at a restaurant, for crying out loud!! My heart is beating fast and my stomach starts feeling like I might need to run... fast ... to the bathroom. See, I told you I was quirky. Who gets that worked up about placing an order.

     I mean, I have whipped out a pen and a piece of paper and I am writing down what we want so this guy doesn't yell at me. I am writing in down exactly, word for word. I wasn't about to do the ordering, but I didn't want Paul to get yelled at either. I need to mention that it's not as simple as just saying, "I'll take a hamburger and french fries." The Beacon... to further complicate things, has it's own lingo.

A-Plenty... smother it with onion rings and french fries
All the Way... add onion
Called it.... place order
Centerfield.... fry station
Heavy Red....
Like a burger... with slaw, mustard and tomato
M&M.... mayo and mustard
Outside.... chopped pork
Walk & Talk.... place order and walk toward centerfield
With..... mayo, lettuce and tomato


     So, when you walk up to the blind gentleman, and you have to say something like, "I'll have a Beacon Burger a-plenty.

     As soon as the last word slips off your tongue, he starts yelling to the big open kitchen behind him. "woeindsknpodisjdja*@#!&**@@$#@'

      Honest to goodness, it is completely incomprehensible. He could be calling me all kinds of names and I wouldn't have known. At the end on an order, he yells, "CAAAAAAALLLLLLEEEEEEDDDDDD IIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!!!" And, somehow, that means to go ahead with your next order.

     How in the world are you supposed to know any of this unless you are with a veteran?? It was the most intense place I had ever been.

     After ordering, you are supposed to grab a tray and move down the line. Random people from that big open kitchen start walking up and putting things on your tray. Miraculously, the order is correct. At the end of the line, right before paying, you place your drink order.
We get to the paying part and Paul hands them our debit card. They don't take any cards.

    Sheer panic again! But, you know what, it's their fault. If I hadn't been so nervous about ordering, I would have figured out it was cash only!

     The nice southern gentlemen at the cash register told us to go eat and we could come back to pay. They had an ATM on site.

   The food was amazing but then again, I was so hungry I could have eaten a skunk's butt! (Sorry, Paul always says that!)

    Yet another quirk... I can't wait to go back!

    One more thing.... the bathrooms were yucky!
















Monday, October 13, 2008

Do you have any answers??

     This sign was in a restroom in an American restaurant.  There would be no need for this sign in many public restrooms in China.

     Please.... read on.






    
     Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you.... The Squatty Potty!!!






     There are a couple of things I have been wondering about lately... because I have nothing else to do!   Seriously, as if I am ever going to be given a good answer.

     First of all, why on earth are there squatty potties in China?  I can't believe I never talked about this when I was actually IN China.  I think it's because it was too embarrassing to talk about while I was there.  Why?  Because I didn't want anyone getting any visuals!  So, if you are going to need a visual, visualize yourself.  

       Anyway, there is no way on God's green earth that this is a sanitary way to use the restroom.  And, since there is no good way to really say it, I am just going to say it.  IT splatters everywhere.  Especially if you've waited and waited and waited to go, so as to avoid the squatty potty.  The more you have to go the more it splatters.  So, the restrooms really stink.  And, it's bad enough when it's your own urine, but then to know you are walking through other people's urine...GAG!!

     Why am I thinking about this?  Because before I went to China, I bought these little single tiny rolls of toilet paper.  Apparently, in China, if you squat, there is no need for toilet paper.   I would strongly disagree.  I was privy to the fact that there is no toilet paper in the restrooms that house squatty potties.  So, I prepared myself and spent 3 dollars on about 75 squares of toilet paper (3 rolls- 25 squares per roll@ $1.00/roll).  Actually, I really wasted $3 because I have seen these little rolls surface over the last couple of days.  They serve to remind me that never one time did I have these squares of tissue with me when they were needed.  BECAUSE WHO THINKS OF CARRYING TOILET PAPER WITH THEM WHEREVER THEY GO??

     Yeah, I know you can put 2 and 2 together.  Gross!  So, see there is advantages to having bad plumbing problems on the other end.  If someone would give me $1,000,000, I could never do a #2 in the squatties!!

NEXT...........

     Why are Vera Bradley bags/purses, etc... a) popular  b)popular among young people  and c) so darn expensive??

     I think Vera Bradley bags have been around for a long time.  You know why I think that??  Because, when I was young, like Gracie or young like in High School or young like in college, I saw Vera Bradley bags.  Guess who I thought they were for?  90 year old women!!!  I mean don't old grannies like quilts that are made into bags??  And, for the love of Pete, who all a sudden decided these were cool??

     I just can't believe it!  And, I just can't believe that I let my 7 year old daughter walk into a store and spend $84, $89 including tax on a backpack. (For those of you who support our ministry, please know that your gracious monetary gifts to us were not used in the purchase of this product.  It was all saved by her.  It's pretty easy when Grandma pays big bucks for watering a few flowers when she goes on vacation.  I have wanted to beat my children up for this job!)  But, know this, she thinks she is all that and a bag of chips with that new backpack.  She has been strutting around this neighborhood like a proud peacock.  I'd hate to think what she'd need if she WENT to school!

     Oh, also, "It was a really good deal mom because I did get a free ticket to see High School Musical 3."

     In the store where her bag was purchased, they gave away one ticket to High School Musical 3 if  $75 or more was spent .  They've even roped me in there.  I can't very well drop her off to see it by herself.  Hasn't HS Musical hasn't made enough money?   Did this really need to be in theaters?  And, the biggest question of all, why am I so excited to see it????  I love HS Musical!! Don't tell my girls!  How old am I???  


     Gracie's face upon hearing the news that there is an extra incentive to drop that much money.  Look at Emme's face.  I think if she could talk she would say, "What??  Do you have know how much my people could eat for that kind of money??  Look at me!  I practically starved to death!!"




 
     Decisions, decisions. decisions.
       Gracie is the proud owner of the Granny Pack... I mean, backpack!

     My final question is:  Who created bumper stickers?  I really hate bumper stickers because I don't understand them.  Why are they necessary??  But, if you are going to have a bumper sticker, my goodness, can you not afford a real one??  I really did see this tonight in the parking lot of a store.  Lord have mercy!!  It is a piece of paper TAPED on the back of a car.  Clearly, this person has serious issues with casinos.  
    
     






Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dates with dad


     Paul took both the girls on dates Friday.  He had to be gone for the weekend, so he wanted to make sure they have some special time with him.  SO Sweet!!  I have no idea what he and Gracie talked about.  I am sure it had something to do with Vera Bradley bags and the color and styles she prefers, when she might get one, how much money she has saved toward one, when she might get one, the Vera Bradley website, whether or not she should get a purse or a backpack, the store at The Greene that carries them and when she might be able to go there to get her Vera Bradley bag.  Gracie is very deep.

     Shelby on the other came home and started googling the Rosetta Stone.  She wanted to know how to download it.  I told her she could just access it through our library.

     We had tried the Rosetta Stone last year but I needed a tutor.  I tried to read the directions.  I am a visual learner but I am also a kinestic learner.  I needed a live human with a masters degree in the Rosetta Stone to sit with me and walk me through how to use it.  Our third day online with it dragged on for 45 minutes repeating the same words over and over and over and over.  I couldn't get it to stop.  I don't deal well with anything repetitive.  To this day, if I hear the word perro (dog in spanish).  My head starts ticking and I start barking.

     She told me that on her date, she and her dad had discussed her career (never did learn what that career was) and that she needed to learn Spanish.  When she had mastered Spanish, because that will only take like 3 weeks, she's going to move onto Chinese... because that will be really good for her career.  

    With Shelby, sometimes it's better not to ask.  She desperately needs to be in theater because right now, the world is her stage.  She instantly and deeply dives into roles or ideas.  And, if you entertain her words and thoughts, it just gets bigger.  Paul plays along.  I do not.

    

    Shelby has great talks with her dad.   He's the one who took her out to talk about the birds and the bees.  Why didn't her mother do it??  Because 1) I didn't want to 2)  I can't handle that kind of talk with  a ten year old.  It's way too much for me.  and 3) I do all the other teaching around here.  The principal, he gets to teach the tough stuff!

     When they went out for "the talk", she got all dressed up like she was going out on a big date.  They went to a restaurant, a bit of a pricey one at that.  Of course, she had planned the whole thing.  She even inititated the talk.  She kept saying, "I really need to know what sex is."  Of course, every time she said it, I cringed.  I had a stomachache the whole time they were gone.  I am so weird.

     Thursday, Shelby was sitting in our dining room doing school work and she said, "Mom, when you guys came home from China, I cried a lot at night for about a week.  And, I cried last night.  I think it's just my hormones."

     My ears perked up and I said, "How do you know about hormones?

    She said, "Well, the other day when we were watching a movie this man said, 'It's probably just her hormones.'  So, I asked dad, "what are hormones."

    Dad said,  "They make women cry or become emotional."  He also said, "Sometimes after woman have babies,  it makes them volatile .  After mommy had you guys, sometimes I was afraid to come home because I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into.  

     Gasp  

     She thought that was funny.

    " So, I don't know why I was crying, it was probably just my hormones."

Well then......

        I had a great conversation with my Father yesterday too, not the one that lives on earth.  This was my Father, who lives in heaven, God.  The strange thing is.... his voice sounded an awful lot like my friend's, Cheryl.

      I have a relationship with God.  I spend a lot of time talking to him and he talks to me.  I have never heard his voice audibly but when I am struggling with something I pray about it.  Often times, I hear answers through reading His word.  Sometimes I hear answers in my thoughts.  When I have a thought that I know is not my own or I couldn't have come up with on my own, I know it's God.  God also uses other people to deliver messages.

     That's what happened yesterday.

     See, I am really struggling with Emme's sleeping at night.  She wakes up a lot.  And, while I love her to pieces and this IS what I signed up for AND I wouldn't change having her for the world... it does not negates the fact that I AM TIRED!!  Really tired!  So tired I keep getting sick.  I mean she is 13 months old and she is getting up 3 times during the night.  She eats every time.  I know she is severely malnourished, but can she still be THAT hungry?  Am I just creating bad habits?

     Thursday I thought I'm just going to let her cry it out.  I mean all her needs are being met.  She is fed A LOT.  She gets so much love and attention she is practically mauled to death.  Sometimes I have to yell "Put her down! "  Isn't she learning to trust because all her needs are being met?

      Now, before you call Children's Services on me.  I only let her cry for about 5 minutes.  Then, I'd go in and pick her up and tell her that we love her, that we are not going anywhere and that she is ok, that she's stuck with us for life, etc...  For nap time, she cried about 20 minutes and then she went to sleep.  During the night, after I fed her and loved her, I laid her down and let her cry.

     In the morning, I was praying about it.  I was asking God to give me wisdom. He has to give to me ya know.  James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."   

     I mean, I let my other children cry.  Shouldn't I treat her the same?

    That's when the phone rang and God was on the other end.  Only, like I said earlier, he sounded just like Cheryl.  

     Cheryl has 3 girls and 2 are from China.  She called specifically because she reads my blog and she knew Emme was still having difficulty sleeping.  We talked for awhile and she said that building that trust and bonding right now is really important.  She said to wait for awhile to make her cry it out.  She also wanted to tell me that she was bringing me two different things she thought she'd enjoy sleeping with- a silky blanket and a terry cloth towel.  I guess in China a lot of the babies are given towels.  Babies seem to enjoy tactile things.

     Duh, that makes sense.  My own children loved having something like that around their face when they slept.  As a matter of fact, to this day if Jackson finds Mr. Bear, half bear, half blanket (scary), he will sleep with that raggedy looking thing.  I think I have been to tired and too out of practice to think about anything but my sleep.  Selfish!!

     Last night, Emme went to sleep, with me laying beside her, clutching her pink Satin blanket.  She still woke up twice during the night. But I had to wake her at 8:20 this morning because we had soccer games.

     Thanks God.....  Cheryl!!!!!!!! 












     

     


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A day in my life....

     This morning, when Emme woke at 7 am... before you are impressed by her sleeping, please know that from 9pm-12am , she screamed like she was in some sort of pain.  I gave her gas drops, Tylenol and I greased up her gums with some Oragel- I wanted to make sure I covered a lot of bases.   Then she was up to eat at 3:30am. 

      Anyway, I carried Emme, with my eyes barely open, down to the coffee pot.  I didn't need the coffee to jolt me awake because that light in the picture above...
 was hanging by that thread you see coming out of my ceiling.  How does that even happen? 

     I regret not taking a picture of the light while it was hanging.  But, I was too busy protecting the lives of the innocent,  my children, to worry about taking a picture.  Paul is out of town, so I had to wait until a neighbor, that had some electrical sense, could come over to help me.

       Yes, I did say Paul is out of town.  On our way back from the beach, we stopped in Charleston, WV to spend the night with his aunt and uncle.  Then, Paul got up at 5am to catch a plane to CO for a meeting.  So, I have been here by myself.

     I woke up Monday morning with some sort of stomach, intestinal flu issues.  I was sick when we went to the beach with a sore throat and cough.  Now, I am sick again.   I think I am a little run down.  Did you know that in September I went to China and back?  8 days later I drove 12 hours to the beach.  Who does these things??  No wonder I am sick.  Plus, I am home doing everything by myself while Paul is in the busiest season of his ministry.  He'll be gone the next two weekends too.  Yeah (with much sarcasm)!!

     Let's move onto lunch....
     Do you want to know what I ate?  The same thing I ate everyday in China for 12 days- noodles in a cup.  I spent 12 days complaining about the food in China.  I then come home and BUY the noodles in a cup.  With all the choices of lunch items, I CHOSE the noodles in a cup.  And,  IT WAS NOT a good idea.  When I bought them, I decided to go with the Spicy Chicken.
Why would I decide to eat spicy chicken noodles when I haven't ate anything for 2 days that has stayed in me??  And, when they said spicy, they were not kidding!!  I couldn't even eat very much of it.  I had to stop.  Then, for the next 10 minutes, I rubbed my bottom lip with ice.  IT was on FIRE!!   I also forgot that those fire noodles... they have to come out!

NEXT.....................

There is a picture of the noodles- a bad picture.
Here's picture of Emme.  For some reason, we have always called this thing Houston.  With all three kids...  It think it's because it looks like a spaceship.  "Houston, come in!  Do you read me, Houston?"

    Now, with all the crazy things that happen to me... some of those crazy things are really cool.  I went to Gymboree tonight to get my scrawny daughter some leggings.  I thought that may be one of the only things she could keep up over her nearly non-existent butt and around her teeny waist.   The Gymboree worker greeted me and asked about Emme.  I then proceeded to the clearance section.  After a few minutes of searching, another mom comes up to me and says, "Did you just say that you just adopted her from China?"  I said, "yes."  She then proceeds to tell me that she has a basement full of clothes that she needs to get rid of.  She says, "I am not having anymore children.  I am embarrassed by the amount of clothes I have, many that still the tags on them.  My husband is going to kill me if I don't get rid of them."  I look at her two little girls who are impeccably dressed and they are only 3 and 15 months.  She gives me her name and number (we have the same name) and I left Gymboree without buying a thing.  Guess where I am going tomorrow??  Yea God!

Monday, October 6, 2008

When Cyber space meets reality

       Ahhh.....there's no place like home!   We made it back!!   

     Of course, we didn't make it back without a story.  I have come to embrace the fact that I have crazy things happen to me (or to members of my family).  It gives me something to write about.

     If you have been following my story for any length of time, then you know that the title of this site in and of itself is a story.  Miles and miles to Mylei resulted in a the long and winding road to Emme.  The blessings of that winding road was worth all the detours.  All you have to do it look at Emme's little face with those huge brown eyes and the heartaches and weeks and weeks of waiting melt away.  And, because God is so good, that road marked with suffering resulted in more than just Emme.

     For me, it resulted in a friend.   

     When I was first faced with the news that I didn't receive my travel approval for Mylei because her foster parents would not return her to the orphanage, I turned to the adoption community for encouragement.  If you are adopting from China, then you know that the place to hang out is at the Rumor Queens' site.  And, while I had encouragement from many, many people publicly, there were several who contacted me privately for encouragement.  Out of those private encouragements, there was one that stood above the rest.  

       I had a tendency to confuse the poeple who were contacting me for a while.  Everyone on the RQ site has a screen name and then also a real name.  It's so easy to confuse everyone.  However, the first time Sharla contacted me she gave me a verse that she was praying for me.  That email and verse pierced my heart, in a good way.  I cried.  And, if you know me, then you know that I will do anything to fight crying.   I am not sure why, I just will.  

     I also remember another early contact from her.  She had apparently been out of town.  The way her email sounded, it was as if she had walked in the door from her trip and ran to the computer to see what was happening with our story.  That is someone who really cares.

    Our contacts became more frequent.  And, then, she went to China before me to adopt her precious daughter, Abby.  I was glued to her story.  Before my eyes were opened in the morning, I was on the computer.  I have followed a lot of blogs and a lot of journeys to China, ask Paul.  I drove him CRAZY!!   But, there's never been a  blog that touched me like hers.  I am pretty sure I cried every day.  If you want to be touched and if you want to see how God feels about his children, then you must read her travel logs and home updates.  And, because that won't be enough, you need to follow her new blog.

     Anyway, I fell in love with Sharla's heart and her love for the Lord.  That may sound a bit weird.  I don't mean it to be weird.  But, we all know that there will always be people in life that we are more drawn to than others.  That is what creates friendships.

     She too followed my journey every step of the way.  If she didn't, she sure made it look like she did.  She commented on my blog every single day.  Then, when I got home, after she couldn't stand the absence of my posts any longer, she emailed me.  She knew a tree had fallen on my house, that we had returned home without any power, and all the other things that accompany international travel to adopt a child.  She wanted to make sure we were doing ok.

     Again, if you have been following along, you know that 8 days after returning home from China, I packed us back up again to drive A LONG WAY to the beach in North Carolina. CRAZY, I know.

     Well, I can read a map (even if Paul thinks I can't) and I knew that we could pass through her city on the way home.  I asked if she wanted to meet in person.

     The whole vacation, I was so excited to meet her.  But, there were times I was so nervous.  I knew, even while in China, that there was a good chance that we could meet in person during the beach trip.   So, my mind went into overdrive.  

    I had two dreams about her.  In one dream, she came to my house.  I didn't really like her so I loaded the family in the car and left without saying goodbye to her.  In the second dream, when I was meeting her in person, she had these raised lines on her face and the lines criss-crossed.  She looked like a waffle!

     So, we met at Chick Fil-A on Saturday and ate waffle fries together.  And, she did not look anything like one of those fries!!

     I knew it would be one of two ways.  1)  We would have nothing to say to each other.  In which case my back up plan was to have some intestinal issues and hide out in the bathroom.  Or, 2) We would talk like we have known each other our whole lives.

     Turns out, the quick stop at Chick Fil-A was much too quick!  I am already scheming about how we can meet, in person, again!

    Without the heartache of losing Mylei, I would likely not have met Sharla.  Sometimes struggles make us stronger and bring about beautiful things.... just ask me,  or Emme or a pearl:)
     
    My encourager and friend, Sharla.  

    And, because meeting Sharla would not be enough of a story....  Sharla bought along her two beautiful daughters.  Our kids hit if off with one another and for some reason they had to go out to the parking lot to look at each other's ipods.  Shelby, while in the parking lot, sat in a pile of fire ants.  

    When we left the parking lot of Chick Fil-A, we had to run into the bathroom at Target so I could shake out her pants.  I also had to confirm, after a bit of searching, (way to much information) that her butt indeed had been bit by fire ants.  I heard about those bites often on the way home.

   Why????  Of all the things....


     A few more of my favorite beach pictures from my real camera... not my phone!



















     

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pictures

Sometimes, words are not needed:-)