Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...

With great joy on the Ark today, we are pleased to introduce you all to an answer to our prayers.

From our agency:

"Your case was approved in court today! Gail has scheduled your embassy interview for September 24, 2008."


Another Piece of the Puzzle

Well, it's not court info, but a family in Group J (the group right before us, who passed court last week) has announced they have an embassy date of September 10th. I expect that means we'll go sometime shortly thereafter...

Adoption is a lot like Scooby-Doo. Sifting through all the clues to get the facts. Except for driving around in the Mystery Machine. Although, we haven't found our new vehicle yet. Hmmm...that gives me something to consider...
And You Do Know What Passing Court Means Really, Don't You?

PICTURES!!!
Favorite Adoption Books

Laura had asked about my favorite books relating to adoption. There is such an incredible amount of information on the subject, that this is in no way a complete list, but it does include some of my top picks. If you know of one that you don't see here, that you just love, please share it!

Adoption Books For Children

A Mother for Choco

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
Stellaluna
Did My First Mother Love Me?
Horace
Families Are Different
Motherbridge of Love
Flora's Family
The Red Thread

Adoption Books for Adults

Adopting After Infertility

Raising Adopted Children: A Manual for Adoptive Parents (the ultimate guide to adoption)
The Open Adoption Book: A Guide to Adoption Without Tears
How it Feels to Be Adopted
Are Those Kids Yours? (the bible for international families!)
Inside Transracial Adoption
Twelve-Part Harmony (one family's adoption story)
Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma
The Baby Boat: A Memoir of Adoption
Secret Thought of An Adoptive Mother
Adopting the Older Child
Twenty Things Adopted Children Wish Their Parents Knew
Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents

Adoption Books (Ethiopia Specific)

Notes From the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood
Talk Now! Learn Amharic--Beginning Level (yes, I know this is not a book, but it's a great CD)
Lonely Planet Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook (this book was integral during our first few weeks with Hannah--and we still use it occasionally)
Lonely Planet Ethiopia and Eritrea
Ethiopia: The Unknown Land

And I couldn't share books about Ethiopia without a hearty endorsement for two books connected to our agency:

There is No Me Without You (written by Melissa Fay Greene-adoptive parent from our agency)
Faces of Layla (coffee table-style book, full of breathtaking photos of our agency's orphanage-Layla House)

You can find more books here, here, here, here and here.
One Down, One to Go

The Boy is safely home. His flight landed at midnight last night and as soon as I had word he was on terra firma and with dear old Dad, my perpetual state of catlike readiness during his travel dissolved into almost immediate sleep.

Now, though, I've been up for a while (read 5 am CST) just in case someone in Ethiopia decided to email court results to someone here at our agency who might just be at their computer at the same time (read 3am PST).

No dice.

And now, it's past 7 am my time. Surely someone knows the result of our court date. Other than God, of course. I hear He's been having trouble with His email, so I suppose I'll have to wait for the agency...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Pre-Court Jitters Edition

If it wasn't bad enough that I'll be up way past my bedtime waiting for The Boy's flight to land; sometime tonight, while we're sleeping, our adoption case will be heard in Ethiopia.

If all goes well, when I wake up tomorrow, I'll be the lucky mom of seven! (That's assuming I sleep.)
Can You Help Them?

My husband and I had the pleasure of breaking bread with Chris Cash (of the Catholic Company) at our house over the weekend. With his kind thank you, he sent this request:

From the Catholic Company website:
"This project is a true blessing. We really pray that The Catholic Company will continue to evangelize the world!" - Father Richard Ho Lung, founder of the Missionaries of the Poor

The Catholic Company has undertaken a challenge, together with the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP), to send 5000 (or more!) catechisms to the poor and needy at MOP missions in Jamaica, India, the Philippines, Haiti, Uganda & Kenya. We are sending the first 500 catechisms, and hope our loyal customers will help us send at least another 4500 copies.

Click here if you feel called to help this project.

Click here to learn more about the Missionaries of the Poor.

Below is a video about the Missionaries of the Poor.


Catholic Carnival #183

This week the Organ-ic Chemist themed the Catholic Carnival around the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sweet Summer Salsas

My friend, Faith, knowing of my great love for all things salsan sent me these tasty, summer salsa recipes--the perfect addition to any summer happy hour! Now my only problem is--trying to decide which one to try first!


Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons marmalade or any preserves

10 (10-inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar
In a large bowl, mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Serve chips with chilled fruit salsa.
Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa
1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion and olive oil. To blend the flavors, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with chips or pita.
Avocado Feta Salsa
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
In a bowl, combine tomatoes, avocados, onion and garlic. Add parsley and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Stir in feta. Cover, and chill for 2 to 6 hours.
Spicy Bean Salsa
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
In a medium bowl, combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. Season with Italian-style salad dressing and garlic salt; mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.
Source for recipes: AllRecipes.com
New Column

You can read my new column at The Beacon-News today Teens Give Back During Summer Break

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to the Hospital

So close and yet so far...let's help pray this mommy and her daughter home!
A Great Treasure

Friday afternoon, an email arrived that brought tears to my eyes. (Okay, so in the highly emotional throws of an almost complete adoption, pretty much everything brings tears to my eyes.) These, however, were pure tears of joy. The pastor of Beulah and Hannah's school was coming home. So we loaded up extra early to see and hear him say his first-time-back-at-Mass this past Sunday.

When he walked to the lectern prior to Mass to thank everyone for their support and encouragement, spontaneous applause erupted and several parishioners reached for their tissues. I watched my own children, who made cards and offered prayers on his behalf, stare incredulously at him. Minus his new, shorter buzz cut complete with a still healing scar, he looked and sounded exactly the same. It is an amazing thing to see tangible proof of an answered prayer.

But what impressed me so, was not the physical healing that had taken place, but God's promise to--as this Sunday's second reading reminded us--bring good out of any situation for those who love Him. Because when the pastor stood to give the homily, he spoke wisely from his experience. Referring to the gospel parable, he offered several treasures that he had more fully realized over the past month--his church and staff, his friends and family, and, most assuredly, his health. We all nodded in agreement. But, that realization, brought him to an even greater one--that those treasures have no meaning if we don't know the greatest treasure--Jesus. He is the only treasure of this world that is not fleeting. And the only treasure, he acknowledged, that we should ever worry about losing.
Giveaway!

If you have a little girl, who wears a size 2T-4T, stop over at Suzanne's to find out how you can get your name in for a chance to win this beautiful little dress.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So Much for Choice

Why aren't those in favor of "choice" crying foul about this unbelievable proposal taking away a woman's right to choose?

Perhaps, because "choice" is an easy position to maintain when the only available option applies to your world view.

From the article:
"Now along comes a proponent of population control, Carter Dillard, to argue that the right to procreate is limited to one child because there are no explicit laws guaranteeing that right. If it is any solace, he does conclude that people do enjoy one absolute right: the right not to procreate at all."
You can read the full story over at Anne's blog.

And while you're there, stop and tell her what you'd say to the woman she encountered at the grocery store.
Travelers' Prayer

For The Boy (and his mom) as he spreads his wings for the first time and heads out of state for the long weekend...

O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, command them to be our assiduous companions from our setting out until our return; to clothe us with their invisible protection; to keep from us all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved us from all evil, and especially
from sin, to guide us to our heavenly home.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Foodie Bleg

Is there anyone out there who has experience with gravy? Not turkey gravy, but the gravy of the chicken-fried steak and biscuits variety. I managed to throw my Yankee cooking skills into convulsions yesterday by cooking up a few vatfuls (How did my "what's the recipe for sweet tea?" mad southern cooking skills have any idea how much gravy might materialize?!) So, now, I sit staring down several containers of left-over white gravy.

Does anyone know how long I can keep it? Or any other uses for it? (of an edible nature thankyouverymuch, smarty pants)
Attachment Disorder Seminar

Friend and fellow adoptive mom, Erika writes via email:

Our church is doing a seminar this Saturday morning about Attachment Disorders and how to promote healthy attachments. If you know of anyone who is interested, they can contact me or go to www.arcadopt.org to register. It is free and there is childcare.

I think it sounds wonderful and there are several other upcoming programs that looked very worthwhile! Definitely go and check it out!
Donations for Auntie Esther

If you don't know who Auntie Esther is, you need to read this first.

Once again, evil attempted to steal our joy. And once again, our God, our bigger-than-the-universe-God met evil head on and with a mighty hand given back our joy like a parent returning a favorite toy that was stolen. Read more about it here at Anita's blog. She is the coordinator for our agency, AAI's, Ghana adoption program, as well as an adoptive mom herself.

Consider making a donation to help Auntie Esther take the first steps toward healing and to show the Devil that it doesn't matter how many blows we take, we'll never go down for the count.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

God's Grace Revisited

Remember when I said I couldn't think of anything good to share about God's grace in my life?

Yeah, well, God must have decided to be a little more obvious for me.

Because today, when I checked on my friend in Ethiopia who has been struggling just to keep her daughter alive; I read this. Our baby is one of the two that she talks about seeing!

If that's not God grace enabling her to take time out of her own struggle to send comfort and joy to me, I don't know what is.
Catholic Carnival #182

is now up and running at Ho Kai Paulos, and it couldn't be more lovely. Do be sure and stop by.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update

From this Mom in Ethiopia...Here's the latest. Keep praying!
Finding God in the Garbage

Last night, sitting in my living room surrounded by some seriously faith-filled, inspiring--and just plain fun to be with-- sisters-in-Christ, for women's bible study something left me thinking.

"Where have you had an opportunity to see God's grace at work in your life?" the question asked. Several women shared their own examples, but not me. I had nothing---or so I thought. It wasn't until after everyone left that I went to do a final check of my email that I noticed a message waiting for me. It was from the man to whom I was "freecycling" two of our garbage cans.

Yes, the big, green outdoor kind.

And, yes, in case you wondered, they had already been used for garbage.

I had never freecycled anything before in my life. Due to some village garbage nazibureaucrat, a limit was imposed on the acceptable size of a can. No longer could we use TWO forty-six gallon cans, that was too much. But we could purchase and use as many 32 gallon cans as was necessary. There may not be a single 32 gallon can left in the entire state of Illinois, but the landfills are overflowing with the old 46ers. Being ever environmentally-conscious (ahem), I thought I would give freecycling the old college try, and within 30 milliseconds of my "OFFER" the cans were taken. In fact, I had so many responses to said offer, before I could announce that they were "TAKEN", that I was giving away anything that was shaped like a cylinder and came with a lid.

After responding to the first taker, I began to sift through the remaining responses. I managed to give away a different can with no lid and an old recycling bin to a young man, who picked them up last night. But I was saddened to read an email from a young mother who didn't have enough money to buy new garbage cans and was hoping to get her hands on our throwaways. I almost didn't have the heart to tell her that the only extra can I had left to give away had no lid and the wheels had broken off. I even considered going to buy her a new can to leave out for her to pick up. But, unable to do so, I decided to offer her the last can, which she happily accepted and promised to come pick it up early in the morning after getting off her night shift job.

I spent most of my day out and about and when I returned home, her can was gone, but the original "good" garbage cans remained. The fellow who was to pick them up the night before hadn't taken them. I sent him a quick email. He apologized and promised he'd be back that night to get them. Well, that night--bible study night--came and went, but the cans were still here.

I had forgotten all about him, the young mother and the cans, until I read his message in my inbox:

"I guess I'm never going to make it out your way after all," he wrote, "please give them to someone else who needs them."

In a flash, I pulled that young mother's message out of my delete bin and sent her a note asking if she might be interested in the two other cans that were here when she picked up the dilapidated one. She responded almost instantly. She had been writing me a thank you note for my dumpy old garbage can (my words, not hers) and how grateful she was for it when she received my message. And yes, she would be thrilled to have them. But the soonest she could get them would be Thursday and did I mind.

Did I mind? Not a bit, I thought. Each time between now and Thursday when I catch a glimpse of those cans, my eyes will turn upward and I will thank her for the reminder that God's grace is found everywhere--even in the most unlikely form of a garbage can.
Wordless Wednesday: This Will Not End Well Edition

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Unspeakable

My good friend and fellow adoptive mom, Teri, gave me a heads up about this today, but Renee's story is the first chance I had to sit alone with my thoughts and pray for the orphans and those who love them in Ghana.

Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
De-bunking the Ark

Or how we fit soon-to-be 9 people in one house

Let me go officially on record by saying that we did not inherit a mansion with 17 bedrooms en suite. When we moved aboard the current Ark, we *only* had 4 kids. By suburban standards this was clearly above average as evidenced by the conversation I had with our builder during the house inspection.

Builder: So, how many kids you got?

Me: Four.

Builder: FOUR? Where are you going to put them all?

Me: Ummmm...we were thinking about using the three bedrooms upstairs.

Builder: Really? I'd never have imagined it. When we designed this house, we put in the master bedroom along with a bedroom for a boy and a girl; and a guest room, of course.

Me: Of course.

Builder (walking away muttering to himself): Four kids...can't imagine it...

I wonder if I should have told him we weren't planning on having a guest room? But, at the time, it seemed as though the thought might have sent him over the edge. It probably wouldn't sit well with him if I called him today to tell him of the additional two (with a third on her way) children we've managed to squeeze into the three thousand square feet of living space we have here.

House size--or more specifically number of bedrooms--seems to be one of those items on the "how could we possibly add another child to our family" list. As if when there isn't an equal ratio of children to bedrooms, everything we've been taught to believe is important in raising children starts to unravel.

I think it's just that simple. Somewhere in our HGTV-minded culture (trust me this is not an HGTV-bashing session. I big, red puffy heart LOVE HGTV.) we've come to believe that each child wants, needs and deserves their own bedroom.

Thematically designed...

including hand-painted murals...

with co-ordinating six billion thread count sheets...

full of novelties and knick-knacks...

and awash with enough material goods to bless an entire third-world country (okay, maybe just a small one) for a nation wide Christmas gift exchange. Not that there is anything wrong with a well-decorated room. Taking the time to make the spaces in our home beautiful can bring great glory to God--the Ultimate Decorator.

Unless the decorating becomes an obstacle for welcoming the most glorious of God's creation--- human life.

Jumping down off my soapbox now, to answer the original question that is often posed to us, "Where does everyone sleep?"

Well, the Captain and I have our own space--barring any new babies or late night thunderstorms.

The two older girls sleep here:



The two little girls sleep here (and you'll notice a crib all set up and waiting for our new Baby Girl to join them):




Baby T sleeps here (now officially in a "Big Boy Bed"):


And, The Boy, has secured a literal room of his own in the basement we finally finished. I'd show you a picture, but, as it is, I'm lucky Sir Privacy allows me to mention he still lives here.

As you can tell, the bedrooms are just that--rooms for beds and bureaus--for sleeping and dressing and occasionally a quiet place to read. That's definitely all they have room for, too. The largest of these bedrooms might measure 12' x 13'. Toys, games, puzzles, etc...are kept in the "common" areas of the house where we can enjoy them together.

The more I think about it, maybe I should share this information with our builder friend. It might help him---and others---quite a bit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Review: Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers

I was thrilled when Catholic mother and author, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, asked me to review her books. But in the back of my mind, I was also a little concerned. I had just committed to my first review for the Catholic Company and I had an additional writing deadline of my own to meet.

So, when the box arrived containing two of her books for review, I was pleasantly surprised by their size.

Each of the books, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers and Catholic Saints Prayer Book appeared a simple, nearly pocket-sized, book--or so it seemed. As I began to page through the Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover," rang in my ears. Sure, each book is small in stature--at less than 80 pages each--but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in substance.

The Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers has pleasant, pastel illustrations, providing a perfect visual complement to the gentle words accompanying them. Divided into 12 sections, each chapter begins with an appropriate scripture reference. Delving deeper, you'll find a great deal of wisdom reflected by this Catholic mother of five.
With such offerings as:
  • The Rosary, One Decade at a Time
  • Not Perfection, Just Peace
and, my personal favorite...
  • Mother's Prayer for Grace to Correct a Child Properly
the book's contents will impact your prayer life as a mother at its very core. Full of quotes from great saints, including several from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and John Paul the Great, the combination of original and traditional prayers make this tiny book a powerful weapon in a Catholic Christian mother's arsenal. It would be a lovely token of appreciation for all those undertaking the vocation of mothering, and an especially perfect addition to a gift basket for a new mother.

While not a "new" mom by any stretch, I'm always searching for inspiration during the women's bible study I lead. Thanks to this collection of prayers in Donna-Marie's book, my search just got a whole lot easier.

Thanks, Donna-Marie for touching so many mother's hearts with the gift of your faith!

Coming next: My review of her Catholic Saints Prayer Book

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Muse
subtitled: hey keyboard, this desk ain't big enough for the both of us...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Prayers Needed

Right now, as you read this, an adoptive mom of 10, who is traveling alone, is in Ethiopia--

with her new Ethiopian daughter...

whose deteriorating condition demanded admittance to the hospital overnight...

while her bedside prayer vigil attempts to rally her health...

to finish the journey home.

Please, please go and offer her some encouragement.
Tony Snow's Testimony

Much has been written in the past week about the great faith of Catholic Christian Tony Snow, who served as press secretary for the current Bush Administration. If you've had the good fortune to not stare down a demon such as cancer, reading his story can be awe-inspiring, and perhaps a bit frightening even. But if you've lived long enough to have your life turned on its end by some unexpected trial, you will find yourself gently nodding your head in understanding as you read his story:

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this--or because of it--God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Read the rest at Christianity Today here.

May God grant unto thee eternal rest, and may Our Blessed Mother comfort this family, who continues to fight the good fight to which we are all called.

H/T Amy

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh

What? Don't you run around with your hair on fire when you find out your court date has been set for July 31st? In less than two weeks, I could be a new mom again--for the seventh time!

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for my life as a mother. Thank You for all of the blessings and love You have bestowed upon me. My heart swells with joy, happiness, and peace contemplating the great love that compelled You to bless me with the gifts of my children. Thank You for the gift of faith You have given me. Please increase it in my heart as I pray for my children. Amen.

From Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers (this is the link to The Catholic Company because that 20% discount would be just one more great reason to pick up this precious book today) by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle (who was gracious enough to send her books for my review. They are pure gems. Keep your eyes open for reviews of them coming soon!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Strawberry Picking

It seemed like a good idea at the time. But when we noticed all the folks out from the City, spending a day on the farm (bordered by three subdivisions and a divided highway); we had our doubts. And it didn't help any when the surly farmhand greeted us, palm outstretched, looking for our admission fee!

"Five dollars per person?!?" the Captain asked. "I hope that includes the strawberries," he grimaced, as I paid our not-so-farm-friendly hostess. "Yeah. Um. About the strawberries, "I stammered, "We pay for those on the way out." Pausing for dramatic effect, he turned and looked at me, "You do know that strawberries are on sale at the grocery store for $1.79 per pound, right?" Swallowing hard and steeling my resolve to bring home our fresh, ruby-colored fruit, I acknowledged the current asking price at the market and considered my folly. Back in the day, when I picked strawberries with my mom, there was no entrance fee to simply walk on the field. (Insert loud, almost middle-aged sigh here.)

For the brief amount of time it took us to fill our little berry baskets (because after paying admission for 8 people, who could think about buying strawberries?) I figure the farmer laughed himself right to the local credit union that night--or at the very least out for a very.nice.dinner.

Was this money poorly spent I wondered as I paid our bill? It was certainly a more expensive outing than I had planned on. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and the tiny, sweet berries tasted divine. But I'm thinking for next year, maybe we'll just invest in a few nice strawberry plants for our own yard. I hear there's money to be made in the business.










Thinking About Adopting...

But your spouse isn't quite there yet? Then, don't miss this story, told from an interesting perspective---the husband's!
Timeline

Naomi asked, with regard to the arrival of her new kitty, "Is later now yet?"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And the Winner is...

Laura, from Simple, Ordinary Lives
with 64% of the votes for her family's volunteer idea, which can be found here. Email me at patjrsmom at yahoo dot com and let me know where you would like me to ship your new Pampered Chef bar pan!

Congratulations, Laura! Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas!
Faith and Family Live!

Don't miss this new and much improved site for Faith and Family magazine. On this site, you can even find our cheerleading party article! There is such an extensive amount of information available, you'll have to watch the clock to remember to stop to feed the children--or you could just throw a package of juice boxes and an economy sized box of goldfish crackers their way. They're happy, you're happy. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!
Customer Appreciation Week at The Catholic Company

If you needed a reason to click on over and check out the prolific inventory at The Catholic Company, here it is: order by July 21st and use the code JULY to save 20%. The code is good on all purchases made online, by fax, phone or mail!
Wordless Wednesday-Neighborhood Fourth of July Parade

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Catholic Carnival #181

is now up at Frank, in a Sense & Mirth by Alexa. This is another new host this week and once again, she has done a tremendous job. As a matter of fact, she's gone and changed her entire blog template to reflect her theme! Talk about dedication, eh? Go and see for yourself. But don't forget to bring money for the funnel cakes.
Last Chance!

Today's the last day to vote for your favorite family volunteer activity. The poll in the sidebar will close in less than 24 hours!
New Column

You can read my new column in the Beacon-News today: We Can All Strive to Be Heroes
Help Wanted

The EthioKids website is looking for help in the following areas:



EAKC Volunteers Needed:

EAKC Website Help:
  • Our website is still in the early stages of development and it is a very important first impression of our organization. It is more work than one working person can manage, so she is requesting assistance from 3-4 people, to work as a team, to help post all of the beautiful photos from EAKC events and families, develop an adoption story page (stories are already written and ready to be posted), and basically just work with her to be sure keep the website alive. Please contact Katie@ethiopiankids.net to discuss further. Time required is limited but it is crucial that we have a team of people to keep moving this forward!
  • Our website team is also in need a few people who will continually look for Ethiopian cultural information to post to our site, Ethiopian holiday ideas, current events in Ethiopia (Google alerts, etc). Contact Katie@ethiopiankids.net if you would like to send in these type of updates to her on a fairly regular basis.

Social Coordinators
  • We need help identifying, planning and organizing additional events that will benefit the Ethiopian American adoption community. Please contact Carol at Carol@ethiopiankids.net to volunteer!

Monday, July 14, 2008

As if you need another reason...

to go and pick up a copy of the latest issue of Faith and Family magazine. It's always chock full of informative articles, stirring reflections on the faith and family friendly activities. But this month's issue has something near and dear to my heart---my own personal "Party Planner" story! If you've been reading here for quite sometime, you might remember the Cheerleading Birthday Party for Beulah's 9th birthday. If not, go pick up this month's issue (or better yet--start your own subscription and never miss a single issue!) and you can read all about it there!
Extraordinary Moms Network!

Wondering what that new button over there in the sidebar is for? Go ahead and click on it. Come on, you know you want to...did you click it yet? You did? Okay, good.

Then you don't need me to tell you that it takes you to a great new site designed specifically to:

"offer encouragement and guidance for adoptive mothers and foster moms, those considering foster care or adoption, and all women who invest their lives in other people’s children."

The lovely, Heidi Hess Saxon, adoptive mom and writer/editor/all-around good guy is the creator of this new site, and I'll be participating there as her Ethiopia "expert". Check often for news and inspiring stories to encourage an adoptive/foster mother's heart. And coming soon, the inaugural Extraordinary Moms Network Carnival on August 1st! See you there!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And Why Not?

Because seven kids and two cats is just not as good as seven kids and THREE cats, we've decided to increase the maximum occupancy on the Ark.

Did I mention that little Naomi's Christmas kitten has been missing for nearly 2 months?

Did I mention how forlorn her four-year-old face looks?


Or that it was her birthday this past week?


I didn't?

Then there really is no other explanation for this, except that we're insane. (But you already knew that.)

I'm taking bets. Who thinks the first new arrival home will be of the feline persuasion?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Catholic Book Meme

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you would like to read. (If it were given to you as a gift or if you had the money to buy it.)
3) Put the books you LOVE in red or underline them.

Boy, it looks like I have quite a bit of reading to do! And I thought I read all the time already!

1. Mother Teresa: In My Own Words
2. Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo
3. The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn

4. Amazing Grace for Those who Suffer by Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto
5. Mystics and Miracles by Bert Ghezzi
6. True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis De Montfort
7. In Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
8. Interior Castle By St. Teresa of Avila
9. Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
10. A Holy Life by St. Bernadette of Lourdes
11. The Spiritual Legacy of Sister Mary of the Trinity edited by The Rev. Silvere Van Den Broek
12. Saintly Women for Modern Times by Joan Carol Cruz
13. Butler's Saint for the Day by Paul Burns
14. Modern Saints by Ann Ball
15. Visionaries, Agnostics, and Stigmatists by Bob and Penny Lord
16. Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality by Raymond Arroyo
17. St. Catherine of Siena by Alice Curtayne
18. Voices of the Saints: A Year of Readings by Bert Ghezzi
19. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
20. The Imitation of Mary by Thomas a Kempis
21. Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church by Bob and Penny Lord
22. Heart of Joy - Mother Teresa
22. Theotokos: Woman, Mother, Disciple (A Catechisis on Mary, Mother of God) by Pope John Paul II
23. In the Presence of the Lord: The History, Theology, and Psychology of Eucharistic Devotion by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
24. Praying in the Presence of the Lord: Prayers for Eucharistic Adoration by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
26. The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
27. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (on the shelf)
28. Life is Worth Living by Fulton J. Sheen
29. Seven Last Words by Fulton J. Sheen
30. The Spear by Louis de Wohl
31. The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
32. My Daily Eucharist Complied & Edited by Joan Carter McHugh
33. Way to Happiness by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
34. The World's First Love by Fulton J. Sheen
35. Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond
36. Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II
37. On the Way to Jesus Christ by Pope Benedict XVI
38. The Gift of Peace by Joseph Cardinal Bernadin
39. The Virtue Driven Life by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
40. The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice Von Hidebrand
41. Sex and the Sacred City by Steven Kellmeyer
42. Emily's Hope by Ellen Gable
43. Surprised by Truth (Any in the series) by Patrick Madrid
44. Praying in the Presence of the Lord with the Saints by Fr. Benedict Groeschel and James Monti
45. The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort
46. Mystical City of God by Ven. Mary of Agreda
47. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton
48. It is I Who Have Chosen You: An Autobiography by Judie Brown
49. The Heart of a Saint: Ten Ways to Grow Closer to God by Bert Ghezzi
50. Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light
51. The Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine
52. Arise from Darkness: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
53. Love and Responsibility by Pope John Paul II
54. Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn
55. Padre Pio: The True Story by Bernard C. Ruffin
56. Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox by G.K. Chesterton
57. There are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God by Benedict J. Groeschel, John Bishop, Glenn Sodanno, Michael Dubruiel
58. Mr. Blue by Miles Connolly
59. Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints by Thomas J. Craughwell
60. The Authentic Catholic Woman by Genevieve Kineke
61. 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor
62. God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est) (Benedict XVI)By Pope Benedict XVI
63. Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel
64. Archbishop Fulton Sheen's St. Therese - A Treasured Love Story by Fulton J. Sheen
65. A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World by Carl Anderson
66. My Life With the Saints by James Martin
67. Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life by Johnnette Benkovic
68. The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: From the Visions of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich by Anne Catherine Emmerich
69. The Promise: God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts by Fr. Jonathon Morris
70. Weeds Among the Wheat by Thomas H Green
71. Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen by Fulton Sheen, Michael Dubruiel, Fr. Benedict Groeschel
72. Praying in the Presence of Our Lord With St. Padre Pio (Praying in the Presence)by Eileen Dunn Bertanzetti
73. Shower of Heavenly Roses: Inspirational True Stories of Healing Guidance, and other Miracles, Atrributed to the Intercession of Therese of the Little Flower by Elizabeth Ficocelli
74. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
75. Edith Stein: A Biography/the Untold Story of the Philosopher and Mystic Who Lost Her Life in the Death Camps of Auschwitz by Waltraud Herbstrith
76. The Catholic Church And Conversion by G. K. Chesterton
77. Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year by O.C.D. Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen
78. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur
79. What Does God Want?: A Practical Guide to Making Decisions by Michael Scanlan, James D. Manney
80. Married Saints and Blesseds: Through the Centuries by Ferdinand Holbock
81. Butler's Lives of the Saints: With Reflections for Every Day in the Year by Alban Butler
82. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
83. 101 Inspirational Stories of the Sacrament of Reconcilation by Sister Patricia Proctor
84. 201 Inspirational Stories Of The Eucharist by Sister Patricia Proctor
85. By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride by Alice Von Hildebrand
86. Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th-Century Mexican Martyr by Ann Ball
87. Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching by Christopher West
88. Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O'Brien
89. Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen by Fulton J. Sheen
90. Visits To The Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori
91. The Grunt Padre by Father Daniel Mode
92. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief by Joseph Pearce
93. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
94. The Theology of the Body in John Paul II: What It Means, Why It Matters by Richard M. Hogan
95. Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor by Pietro Molla, Elio Guerriero, James G. Colbert
96. Love Letters to My Husband By Gianna Beretta Molla
97. Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla: A Woman's Life, 1922-1962 by Giuliana Pelucchi
98. Behold Your Mother by Heidi Hess-Saxton
99. Let Nothing Trouble You: 60 Reflections from the Writings of Teresa of Avila by Heidi Hess Saxton and St. Teresa of Avila
100. Catholic Saints Prayer Book by Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle

If you would like to do this meme, please be my guest. Just leave a message in my combox.

H/T Jean at Catholic Fire

Friday, July 11, 2008

101 Uses For A Happy Meal Box

Use #84: Battle Helmet. The Army and their Kevlars have nothing on salty, greasy cardboard.
The Family that Volunteers Together...

The volunteer suggestions continue to grow! I have to admit, as I've been reading them, I forgot momentarily that I was looking for suggestions to use in my next article. It's possible that it's my overtired, older-than-yesterday brain, but I think it might be something more. I am so moved by your efforts that I'm focusing more on the volunteering and less on my article. And that, dear friends, is a good thing. Read the full list of family volunteer activities here and before you leave, don't forget to cast your vote for your favorite in the sidebar. So far, Laura and her family have quite a lead at the polls!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What a Storm!

When I sent out our prayer request asking friends and family to storm heaven on behalf of our upcoming court date, I was mostly thinking that we might benefit from a few of our best prayer warriors. (Some of you, I am convinced, have God's hotline number!) If prayers from a few were good, then prayers from many were better, I reasoned.

Little did I know, that through my simple request, God was ready to rain down blessings for us the likes of which I have never seen.

Responses have been pouring in all night, non-stop. People wrote to say they were offering rosaries, Masses, holy hours and remembering us, little ol' us, in their nightly family prayers. There is nothing (and I mean nothing) that has ever been so humbling. Why? Because while many of the people who received this email know the Ark members in real life, most of you have never, ever met us before. So, to read that while you were in Adoration praying for my family's needs--when we have never met--reduced me to tears.

Nearly two years ago, when we began our first adoption journey, I was hesitant to share our blog with pretty much anyone. As I slowly ventured out into the internet's bloggy waters, I found an incredible, faithful, network of people to whom I shyly introduced myself. This time around, I have great peace knowing the fullness of the network that is praying on our behalf and I can only blame Satan, who is such a terrible trickster, for frightening me into not sharing our story the first time around.

This, friends, is what the Body of Christ is all about. And I, for one, am so, so grateful to be a part of it.

Ed. Note: If you did not receive an email about the adoption, but you would like to get on that list, drop me a note with your email address at patjrsmom at yahoo dot com. Or you can read updates here by subscribing with Google Reader or Bloglines.
Catholic Carnival--New Host This Week!

Go on over and check out this week's Catholic Carnival. It's at Adrienne's Catholic Corner. While you're there, don't forget to thank our lovely hostess for a job well done! Then, while you're still in the moment, consider hosting a week yourself!
Voting Begins!

Last week, I asked for your suggestions about family volunteer opportunities and you didn't disappoint! I'm looking forward to running down your leads for one of my upcoming columns, but in the meanwhile take a look at the amazing group of women I have had the privilege to *meet* here on the Ark. Your generous spirit and your commitment to teaching your children that it is better to give than receive will benefit them AND society at large. How wonderful that there are families like yours, raising civic-minded, caring, helpful children in the world today!

Ready to vote? Read the suggestions below. Then, click on your favorites in the sidebar poll! Voting will end on July 16th! Thanks for playing.

#1-There is a local food pantry that we can help out at. They really need help to check out all the exp. dates and get rid of the bad/old ones. They also need help to organize and stock the shelves. Even our little ones can help do these things. It does not take a long time and they rejoice in the fun of it and how we can help our neighbors in need. From MomDaBomb

#2-We have all helped with the Boy Scouts' "Scouting for Food" program. It takes place over 2 weekends. On the first weekend, plastic bags are distributed (we did this at church, after Mass). Let me tell you, our little guy's cuteness went a long way as the kids handed out the grocery bags! The next week was "collection week." People would bring their filled bags back to church. Scouts & Scout families were waiting at each door, putting bags into wagons. The wagons were then taken to the truck at the back of the parking lot, and items were sorted for donation. From SFO Mom

#3-We make and deliver bag lunches for the local homeless shelter. This means buying the food, assembling the sandwiches, assembling the rest of the lunch, and delivering it to the shelter. The little ones help assemble the lunches, the middle ones the sandwiches, and the biggest do quality control and loading and unloading. I think I 'll have them start help with the shopping (my job) and the delivering. From Mary Poppins NOT

#4-We helped package food at Feed My Starving Children (locations in Minn and Chicago's western suburb of Aurora). Great for kids (over 5) and adults. From Anne Marie

#5-Whenever our parish hosts the local PADS shelter (usually every third month or so), we provide two 5 lb meatloaves and four dozen cupcakes. The kids know why we are shopping for this special trip, how it is helps people who are having a difficult time helping themselves, and how every little bit helps. From Laura Miller

#6-We have also made treat bags at Christmas for the shelter with candy and small encouraging notes. We have made Valentines for the sisters at the convent. We then deliver the food/gifts/cards to the places to receive them. There is a completeness to the act, seeing the place where their tangible efforts will be appreciated. My children don't hand the items out personally - for their safety and anonymity - but they are aware that such places exist (the homeless shelter). From Laura Miller

#7-We sponsor a child in Ethiopia through Compassion. I think that it isn't so much as the act of volunteering as it is the fruits of the spirit such as generosity and kindness. These acts will hopefully bring awareness to my children that they can do something to help others. From Laura Miller

#8-My husband, my oldest daughter and I are with the cathedral choir while my 4 other children are acolytes. From Easter A.

#9-Catholic family friends of ours are with a paddling group that welcomes low income families to become members. They clean our beaches to raise money to fix canoes and also to cover expenses of races. From Easter A.

#10-We are certified side walkers and lead-line walkers at a nearby therapeutic horseback riding stable. The training is simple (especially if one has any experience with horses).
My youngest is too young to be helping in any "official" capacity but he is certainly old enough to visit with the riders as they wait for their lessons. It turns out that he knows a youngster who is now riding. She is a brilliant little girl with severe cerebral palsy. There is plenty of need for volunteers in this kind of equestrian therapy. From Soutenus

#11-What we have done for several years is visit nursing homes as a family. If it is close to a holiday, the children will make several cards to bring that they hand out to the residents. It is easier to 'break the ice' for them. They introduce themselves and give them the card saying, "I made this for you" and then they can tell the person about the picture they made. If there is a piano at the facility, Claire will play a few songs. Andrew used to bring his violin as well and play a couple of songs. Often times we will just sing songs with hand motions...He's got the whole world in His hands....the wheels on the bus...etc... Sometimes we visit residents in their rooms and ask them if they would like us to pray with them. They usually do. They love to see the children especially the very little ones and will often start crying. You will bring SO MUCH JOY to some very lonely people. You will not believe how easy this is to do as a family! Thirty minutes of your time to bring smiles and tears of joy to others! From Simple, Ordinary Lives

#12-My favorite volunteer activity is a tough one--we pray as a family next to the abortion clinic. It's not the most cheerful of outings, granted, but my children are learning at an early age about the sanctity of life and that we are fighting a real battle here. From Minnesota Mom

#13-Our family helps run the church food pantry. All the children help with carrying donations and stocking shelves. We also organize an Easter Dinner basket with all the fixings for needy families. This is nice because little ones can be very active in this too by sorting and shelving:-) From Suzanne

#14-I have never done this but I thought that it would be a lovely idea. Have the kids all make cards for those soldiers who are stationed in Iraq. The older ones can help write for the younger ones. You can then pass them on to A MIllion Thanks a charity that gets letters of gratitude into the hands of soldiers who are fighting in other countries. There is no cost involved! From Laura Danella

#15-My three oldest did lots of volunteer work when they were younger. When our oldest dd was 14 she and her two sibs would get up at 0'dark thirty every Saturday morning and I would drive them to the cathedral where they would get to cook and serve breakfast to the homeless. After they were done I would pick them up (had a newborn at home) and drive our 14 yr old dd to the abortion mill so she could pray with other adults. They did this for a year. From Michelle.

#16-The three also volunteered weekly with a Sister at a local nursing home. Sister Patricia had a music ministry on the Alzheimer's Ward. Our three kids helped with range of motion exercise, singing songs and bouncing balls with the residents. Afterwards the kids would go downstairs and pray the rosary in the chapel with other residents and then talk with them. From Michelle.

#17-Other volunteer activities: weekly soup kitchen, making Easter baskets for women at a halfway house, oldest dd went to Red Cross training with one of our Labs (became a therapy dog) and takes our dog to the nursing home for the residents to pet and play with our dog. Serving at mass, cleaning the church, decorating the church, assembling food/gift baskets at Thanksgiving/Christmas and delivering them. Visiting the sick/elderly of our church. *Adopting* grandparents in our church has been very rewarding for everyone involved. From Michelle.

#18-I almost forgot about the *sock ministry* that the kids and I do. Since it's difficult for me to get out of the house with so many littles and we need two vehicles for transportation (our van only seats 8), this is a great ministry for our family.

We purchase packages of brand new tube socks from the dollar store. Then we will them with items purchased from the grocery outlet: a can of chili (with a pop top) or beans & franks, a plastic spoon, napkins, a package of gummy fruit (has 100% Vitamin C), a small package of crackers, a package of hot cocoa or a tea bag. New toothbrushes w/covers (to keep bristles clean) are also added to the socks. The kids draw pictures and/or a holy card are also placed in the socks. Then as a family we pray for the recipients of the socks. We tie up the socks with string/twine and load them into the van. The socks are passed out to homeless on the street and donated to local soup kitchens. Below is a link to my blog with photos/descriptions of how we fill the socks.

Read more at Michelle's blog here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Group K!

The official announcement was made to all families in Group K today! We are beyond belief that we are going to have our day in court soon. (Ed. Note: Group J is in court on July 25th!) By sometime in early August, God willing, the courts in Ethiopia will affirm on paper what we have known in our hearts for so long--that Baby Girl is a bonafide Ark rider. Incidentally, for those who may be wondering, that day in court is when Ethiopia and the US officially recognize us as her parents and we will be able to post her photo here--trust me, you can't wait.

And to sweeten the pot, a local mom is traveling on Monday to bring her new daughter home. She's promised to stop in and snuggle our sweetest little Arkling and let her know that her family(yup, that's us!) is coming soon. And speaking of moms bringing their beautiful, Ethiopian daughters home. If you haven't congratulated them yet, you better hurry over to Becky's before she heads off to the hospital to deliver her newest, new baby!
Don't Forget!

If you have a family-oriented volunteer idea to share, be sure to do so here. I'll be giving away a Pampered Chef bar pan to the most popular suggestion! (Voting will begin tomorrow!)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Pre-School or not Pre-School?

One of my dear mommy friends wrote to ask my thoughts on preschool. I thought I'd share them here in the hopes that perhaps some other veteran moms could offer their take on the pros and cons of preschool.

Let me first say, that although I have muddled several children through preschool and have even taught preschool in a variety of settings, I am by no means an expert. My thoughts are simply reflections on our family and the way preschool has happened on the Ark.

With my first child, preschool came at the exact time his new sibling did. Needless to say he was less than thrilled about leaving the comfort of home to join the ranks of the other Toy Story backpack-toting almost-four-year-olds. Rumor has it (I wasn't there for the first drop-offs and pick-ups due to the aforementioned new baby) that he was so upset on his first day, the teacher sat with him in a separate classroom to calm him down so that he didn't scare the other children.
His teacher was a wonderful, kind and wise older woman and his year turned out fine and I don't think we scarred him too much from the experience. But would I do it again? I'm not so sure.

When that new baby sister turned four herself, we thought about preschool. We thought about it so long that we missed pretty much every single four year old preschool option around. Fortunately, God provided for us. That summer I volunteered at our parish's VBS and discovered that the VBS organizers were--lo and behold--preschool teachers...who had openings in their class...but it was for three year olds. Thinking back, we realized that due to his birthdate--and another corporate PCS, The Boy started Kindergarten a year later than his peers. Being confident that this extra time at home was a good fit for his personality, we decided to let our four year old start preschool, but in the two morning a week three year old class. It was a perfect fit for her and by the time she started Kindergarten, which was half-day by the way, she was feeling a little more sure of herself.

As the preschool questioned loomed over us again for our third and fourth children, we decided to stick to the status quo. Candace was already four when she started a two morning a week preschool program. Little Naomi, was only three when she started, but she wanted so much to be like her big sister, we decided to break with tradition and sign her up for the same two mornings. Needless to say, after the first day, she became a preschool dropout. As exciting as it sounded, she simply wasn't ready to go and I, now a bit older and (hopefully) more wiser wasn't going to force her. If she wasn't ready to go, then I wasn't ready to let her. Candace's year was fine, but if there were days where she just "wanted to stay home with Mommy", who was I to complain?

This coming fall, my two little girls will be together in the same preschool class, two mornings a week again. In theory, they will both complete the year, but if the winds of preschool blow us a bit of course, we'll take it in stride. I've yet to find a Kindergarten program that demands proof of a child's preschool dissertation. Unless my poor, un-edumacated children are attending The School for the Academically Inferior, which is possible, I suppose.

More likely, though, their preschool experiences will have been just that--a host of experiences BEFORE school begins. Our preschool won't involve sitting for long periods of time at a desk. It won't involve repetitive, kill-and-drill worksheets completed ad nauseaum. But it will be a place where they will have been given opportunities to play, to get messy, be creative, sing songs, read stories, discover the wonder of God's creation, play some more, and maybe even make a friend.

So, have my children been to preschool before going to Kindergarten? To answer my friend's question simply, "Yes, they have." But, was it necessary? Is it necessary? Definitely not! There is no preschool that can take the place of a loving, caring, faith-filled, nurturing home. Preschool isn't bad, but home, your home, is just as good.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sesame Street Flashback

These two videos (among many others) were making the Ark laugh over the weekend. The Captain and I were reminiscing while the children pealed with laughter over these new (to them!) clips.

See if you remember these...



Sunday, July 06, 2008

Book-It! for Homeschool

For the upcoming 2008-2009 school year, Pizza-Hut has changed their popular Book-It! program to allow parents to self-register their home-educated children . You can register by phone, by fax/mail or by clicking here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Looking for a new vehicle?

If you've been reading here for a while, you know we are. Here's some useful advice. These are the Top Six Things Not to Tell the Salesperson. I might add a seventh "Don't Tell"--Don't tell the salesperson you need a car to fit any number over 8 people because not only will you become the butt of numerous *hysterically* funny car dealer jokes, they will also only have two vehicles to show you.

This or this.