Tuesday, February 26, 2008

KNIT WIT


I have been in a major knitting mood lately. My problem is that I like fast results so I usually stick to making baby stuff. We have 3 baby girls-to-be in our church in April & May and of course there's always stuff to knit for Nate. I started making him a white cotton pullover sweater to wear for spring or the beach or in the fall. It's slightly big so he'll still be able to wear it when he turns two. I love Debbie Bliss patterns and this one has a fun cable pattern with lots of texture. I went to the fabric store today but unfortunately, boys patterns are almost non-existent. And the ones they do have are seriously lacking any hip or trendy styles. I bought some fun Hawaiian fabric in Kauai a couple years ago that I think I will make a shirt out of for Nate. I took Home Ec classes in high school but threw away everything I attempted to make. Then I went home, did it my own way and sewed a lot of my own clothes. My teacher wasn't open to thinking outside of the box!

A few years ago, I knitted a zip up, cabled sweater jacket and learned a very important lesson about dye lots...i.e. make sure the numbers are all the same. I ran out of yarn in the middle of the front piece and started with a different dye lot. It looked the same color to me in the dim, living room lighting. But when I finished the piece, I took it outside and it was totally obvious it was a different color. I was so frustrated but there was nothing to do but rip out the new yarn and start over with the correct color. By the way, if you want to sew or knit, you better enjoy ripping out seams or yarn! I don't know how many times I've started a knitting project, didn't like the way it was going and ripped it all out to do a new one. ha!

Maybe I should re-think this quilt idea. :-O

Monday, February 25, 2008

100 GOOD WISHES QUILT

In the China adoption world, it is common to make a 100 Good Wishes Quilt for your expected child. Usually this happens BEFORE you get your child. I had thought about it and liked the idea but never got around to organizing it. Then, I read a fellow bloggers post about their quilt and thought it would be cool. There are so many people who are a part of Nate's journey, it would be very meaningful for our entire family to have a quilt like this.

So what is a 100 Good Wishes Quilt? To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or "100 Good Wishes Quilt." It is a custom to invite 100 people to contribute a single square patch of cloth. The 100 patches are sewn together into a quilt that contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the family and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation. We ask that you please participate in this project. We love the idea of celebrating our son with a quilt that represents the good wishes for him from our family and friends. My goal is to have this done by his 2nd birthday, which will be his first full year with us and in America.

Here's how it works:

1. Send us a 5"x5" square of 100% cotton fabric with colors or a pattern that is meaningful to you. Obviously we have a boy so anything that fits a little boy would be awesome. If you are lucky enough to find fabric with a chinese pattern or images on it...even better!

2. Send your wish for Nate....it could be a short sentence of congrats, welcome home, God's will for him, a prayer, etc. This will go in a keepsake box that we have.

If you don't have our address, send me an email at ddsullivan2@msn.com. To see an example of a Good Wishes quilt, click on Sharon's name to see her blog. I'm excited about putting this project together over the next few months. Hopefully, I'll be able to get it all done!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

THANKS


Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your comments, cards, thoughts, prayers and emails for my grandma and our family. It really meant a lot to know that you care and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know that.

We are trying to get back into the swing of things now. Nate is cutting 4 big molars...they've been coming in for awhile now, which is good because we can start feeding him more foods he can chew up. He has graduated to a sippy cup with no nib. They're more rounded like the edge of a glass and he likes using straws too. It's interesting how he's changing lately. He's learning how to show affection...gives kisses and hugs and loves to receive them from us. He'll talk to us now in his own baby babble but it sounds like he's trying to form more words. If I look at him and ask "What did you say?", he'll point to something, look at me and start talking like he's trying to explain it. It's too cute! When we were driving on our trip, every time a truck or van drove by, he'd point to them and say "Dut!" Of course he pointed and said the same thing at boats, water, buses, dogs or anything else he recognizes. ha!

He's also learning to play with other kids now. Before, he wouldn't have much to do with them but in San Fran, he liked wrestling with his 2nd cousin, 6-yr old Aidan. However, the other night he was playing with friends, Shannon & J.J. who are only 3yrs & 10 months and was trying to wrestle with them. They didn't really like it when he threw himself at them and tried to knock them to the ground. Doh! Guess we'll have to teach him the difference between little kids and big kids. He was very observant of J.J. and would stand there looking at him with his hands clasped behind his back. Then, after a few moments, he'd reach over and pat him on the head. I think he was trying to figure out how to interact with him. Too funny!

It's a gorgeous day today in AZ. 70 degrees, partly cloudy with a cool spring breeze in the air. Too nice to be inside. Since Nate is napping, I think I'll make me an iced mocha on our barista machine, sit outside and relax for a bit. My brother called from Cincinnati the other day and said it was snowing. Kind of hard to imagine that as I'm looking outside my open front door. ha!

Friday, February 22, 2008

PHOTOS






PHOTOS: 1. Nate in his chinese outfit; 2. Scenes from the Space Age restaurant

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BYE LOLA (GRANDMA)


We made it back home from San Fran tonight. The funeral went well..short and sweet and I learned a few things about my grandma that I didn't know... like how she negotiated with Japanese soldiers during WWII to spare her family, and how she rounded up my dad and his 2 siblings to escape while in the Philippines. I learned that she once found a parachute that she used to make curtains and pajamas for my grandpa. And how she decided to make a cheesecake and put Cheez Whiz on top for frosting! I love the photos of my grandma as a young lady....she was beautiful and I will miss her.

It was good to see cousins, aunts and uncles who I had not seen in 20 years. Unfortunately, due to last minute scheduling conflicts, we had to leave after the funeral and could not join the family for the awesome asian buffet. Bummer! We started the drive home which ultimately took 15 hours but we spent the night with our friends while we picked up Harvard. On the way home, we were starving by the time we hit Gila Bend and stumbled upon the retro Space Age restaurant. It looked like something you'd see on Route 66 (or in Disneyland!) so we stopped and had a good lunch. Apparently it was built in 1964.

I'm glad to be back home and I think I've had enough of long drives for awhile...although we enjoy our road trips together. I feel like even though we did some sight-seeing in San Fran, I never really got to relax due to the purpose of our trip and we are all totally exhausted and drained now that we're home. All 3 of my boys are conked out snoring and I'm about to do the same. ha!

Monday, February 18, 2008

CHINATOWN AND MUIR BEACH











PHOTOS: 1. Gates of Chinatown; 2. Chinatown; 3. "Daaaad...get this stupid hat off of me!"; 4-7. Muir Beach; 8. Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup.

Today was our last free day in San Fran so we made the best of it. This morning we went to Chinatown. Our goal was to find some chopsticks since the ones we bought in China broke in several pieces before we even got to use them. Driving through San Fran is major stress. The streets look simple on a map but once you're in the city, the maps don't tell all. Market St. on the map looked like a main thoroughfare....for the electric buses and cable cars that is. Right above us was a spider web of cables and the street had the cable car tracks. You didn't know which lane you were supposed to stay in and could not turn left on any street (which was the direction we needed to go), plus there were people crowded on the sidewalks and crosswalks. Finally, we managed to get off that crazy street. Parking is another nightmare. Good luck finding an available parking meter on the street, not to mention having to parallel park on steep hills. I think the parking garages cater to exasperated tourists because the fees are outrageous. We're talking $4 for 1/2 an hour!!

We walked into Chinatown and immediately felt deja vú...it really looked like areas of China that we visited. In fact, driving into San Fran looked very much like driving into Chongqing. Nate loves strolling through touristy areas. He likes people watching and all the interesting sights. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall Thai restaurant called "Banana House". It was the best Thai we've had since China.

After lunch we headed across the Golden Gate bridge to Muir Beach. The bridge is awesome to see. It's mind boggling how large it is and really gives new meaning to the word "grand". On the other side, the terrain becomes very green and wooded. Muir Beach is not the most exciting beach but almost like a cove. It was really cold out and my hands were frozen by the time we left. Nate had a lot of fun. He loved throwing rocks into the surf.

For dinner we had some yummy Vietnamese beef noodle soup and spring rolls. Nate has had his fill of Filipino, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese food and he loves all of it. It's nice that he's not a picky eater. I was going to go to the Filipino grocery store tonight but I got totally lost and headed several miles in the opposite direction. It was dark and I was starting to get panicky because I could not get my bearings and didn't recognize any streets. Somehow I managed to get back after an hour of wandering. I still have no idea how I managed to find the hotel. Scary!

Tomorrow is the funeral and we'll meet up with more relatives coming into town. Then we will start the long drive home. Last night Nate didn't have any nightmares, but Don and I did. I nearly jumped out of bed during mine...scared the living daylights out of me. Is there some weird vibe in our room that's causing this? I'd really like at least one decent nights sleep before going home!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

MOM'S BIRTHDAY









PHOTOS: 1. Cable Car; 2. Ghirardelli Square; 3. Mom checking out the sweets; 4. Ship on the bay with Alcatraz in the background; 5. My parents with Nate; 6. Golden Gate bridge shrouded in fog; 7. The middle house with the scooter in front, was my grandparents'.

Today we had fun celebrating with mom on her birthday. Poor mom has been sick the whole time she's been here. Some kind of sinus infection/flu-type bug that caused her to have a fever after they flew 7 hours to get here and barely have a voice. She was better today but still suffering with a stuffy head. However, she was determined to go to Ghiradelli on her birthday so off we went.

First off, we visited a church nearby. It was a purpose-driven church, slightly larger than ours in Tucson. At first, when we arrived, the grounds were empty of people. We wandered aimlessly for a moment, not sure where to go, but found the nursery. The helper was there and she was really friendly. When we walked out, the previous service had ended and we were greeted by several friendly people as we walked in. It was a good message about how Jesus proves that God is visible, but not much to take home with....no application except a book he recommended. It was a nice church, but if I were looking for one, I probably wouldn't return. Just didn't feel any "oompf"....nothing to motivate me to want to get involved...no excitement that was being generated that made me want to join. Of course I purposely went in with a critical eye.

After lunch, we picked up mom and dad and headed over the San Mateo bridge to San Fran. We forgot it was a holiday weekend and parking was horrendous. Poor Don had 3 people shouting directions in his ear! Finally, we found a spot (and we didn't even have to parallel park on a hill). The sky was crystal clear and beautiful, but windy and freezing! It was much colder than yesterday but that didn't stop a couple of insane people from swimming in the bay. Ghiradelli museum was under construction but the chocolate shop was open. I don't know how many people were packed in there but I could barely move. I just clutched my goods close to me and inched past the people to the cashier. Most of the chocolates you can find in Target or Cost Plus Imports..they just put them in fancy, schmancy packaging in the shape of cable cars so you'll think it's something different. ha!

After that we didn't stay long. Too windy and too cold. Poor Nate's little hands were like ice. Didn't want him to catch anything or mom and dad getting worse, so we headed back. Stopped by grandma & grandpa's old house before we left. I remember riding our skateboards down the hill from where they lived, and walking up the hill with my cousins to the tiny convenience store on the corner. Lots of fun childhood memories there. On the way home, we decided to take mom to dinner. At first we tried Texas Roadhouse but forgot we were in California. Out here, expect to wait an hour or more for dinner unless you get there at 4:30 or 5pm! So she suggested Chili's which ended up being no wait. It was a fun but exhausting day.

I think we're going to take it easy tomorrow to gear up for the long drive home. Nate was really cranky today too, although he usually is on Sundays and we just forgot about that being in a different city. He's also been waking up every night since we've been here, with nightmares. Usually he'll go back to sleep when I lay him back down but we can't figure out what's causing it. The only thing we can think of is that the refrigerator in our room makes this popping noise. At first I thought someone was trying to open our door. His playpen is right next to the fridge so maybe it's spooking him during the night. Fortunately, he doesn't cry long and goes back to sleep quickly. I have to say, I'm ready for my own bed and own pillow myself!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

FAMILY









Photos: (Click on the photo for a larger view) 1. Nate with Uncle David and Auntie Ro; 2. Alcatraz Island; 3.Us in San Fran; 4.Seals; 5. Making the famous Boudin sourdough bread; 6.Fisherman's Wharf; 7. No this is not a mop..it's a dog with dreadlocks; 8. Our family

My Uncle David & Auntie Ro (in the first photo) spent a year in China teaching English to the chinese kids. We were hoping to get our referral in time to meet up with them there but it didn't happen. However, they were very helpful to us as we prepared to go there and now we have a lot of stories to share. Yesterday and today at the viewing, we met up with most of our relatives. It's a strange thing to have your last memory of some of your cousins, when they were just kids, and then see them towering over you in their 20's and 30's! It was good to catch up with everyone and let Nate spend some time getting to know his Filipino aunts, uncles and cousins. Not to mention getting TOTALLY spoiled as well! Don & I just roll our eyes as he is very content to have everyone doing everything for him...they just love doting over him. Back at the hotel though....haha! We try to keep as consistent as possible and he knows he can't get away with much when he's around us. doh!

It was hard seeing my grandma at the viewing. They really did an excellent job with her...she looked good. But I still think of her as the plump, dark-haired lady with a funny sense of humor...not the skinny white-haired lady I saw today. I loved hearing her tell stories about my dad when he was a boy, and all the trouble he got into. hee hee!

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday and it will be nice to spend it with her since normally we would be several states apart. She wants to spend it at Ghiradelli Square at the famous chocolate factory....to which I did not object. ha! We're also going to check out Crossroads Community Church tomorrow and are looking forward to worshipping together for a change instead of leading. It was kind of a bummer to put the last of the sex series on hold though as we were going to answer various questions that people had...but we're trying to figure out a different way of doing that.

Well I am pretty tired so I'm going to sign off.

Sigué ("see ya later" in Tagalog).

Friday, February 15, 2008

CA PHOTOS











Above are some interesting photos during our drive:

1. Nate asleep with his panda hanging out of his mouth.
2. A Joshua Tree...they make the landscape look like a weird sci-fi "B" movie.
3. Funny road sign along the way
4. Did we take a wrong turn?!
5. These are tumbleweeds along the fence. I'd never seen so many all at once.
6. Nate intently watching his Baby Einstein dvd
7. Happy kid
8. Coast up to Monterey
9. Big trees near Big Sur
10. More of the coast

BITTERSWEET ROAD TRIP

Earlier this week I found out my grandma was on life support. On Tuesday she passed away peacefully...she would've been 90 in a few days. She had been sick a long time and now I believe is in a much better place where she can truly rest. Since she is the last grandparent on both sides of our family, we wanted to make the trip to San Francisco to attend her funeral. It is a bittersweet trip....bitter because of the purpose but sweet because I will see relatives that I haven't seen in over 15 years. Some of them, Don has never met. These are all my Filipino family on my dad's side.

We decided to drive because it was way too expensive to fly so we left Wed and headed up to Hesperia, CA to stay the night with our best friends from college, Chris and Gayle. We survived west Texas with them. ha! They are also babysitting our dog for us. I would've taken photos but left the camera in the car and was too tired and lazy to go get it, so I'll have to do that on our way back. Nate has survived the trip BEAUTIFULLY. We borrowed a friends car and it had a dvd player in it, which was a life saver when Nate got really fussy in his car seat. But even then, we only needed it twice.

Nate was a charmer at our friends house. He had a great time playing with their kids and all the toys they had! After we left Chris and Gayle's house, we took the long way from Bakersfield to San Fran, up the coast to Monterey. It was absolutely gorgeous. What a great Valentine's Day drive! We saw elephant seals, crystal blue water and clear skies. By the time we got to Monterey, we were both exhausted and hungry, so we forfeited the rest of the coastline for the quicker interstate toward Oakland. We were only 15 miles from our hotel when the traffic bogged up. We finally made it though and stumbled bleary-eyed into our hotel room. Nate immediately went to sleep in his play pen, thankfully, and we got some much needed rest. I will post some road trip photos shortly. Our hotel has WiFi so I can update our trip. We'll be gone for a week. More later. Got to get ready to meet the relatives for lunch. Looking forward to some great authentic Filipino food too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NATE'S FIRST VALENTINE





Nate got his first Valentine today from his friend, Alyssa. She's an older woman (age 2-1/2). ;-)

DID WE DARE TRY???

On Sunday we were just dying to see a movie. Problem is...we are so day-to-day on our schedules that we keep forgetting to book a babysitter in advance. So Don and I started scheming on whether it would be possible to coerce a 16-month old into a movie without regretting the expense in tickets and popcorn. Here's our thought process:

1. Nate is always wiped out on Sunday afternoons.
2. If we wheel him around the mall in his stroller after a big lunch, he MIGHT fall asleep
3. If he's that tired, he'll be conked out for awhile
4. We could bring his blanket and a few toys to keep him occupied if he wakes up in the movie

Ok so after justifying the process, we decided to go for it. The movie ("The Bucket List") started at 2:40pm. We walked around the mall for 45 min. and Nate was still awake, chewing on his panda. At 2:30, we decided if he wasn't asleep by the time we got to the theater entrance, we weren't going for it. The minute we strolled up to the entrance, I looked down at him and he was totally conked out!! We rushed over, got our tickets and popcorn and found a place on the wheelchair row where we could park the stroller. The theater, by the way, was crowded and we were lucky to get it. Then we waited through the endless movie commercials and previews for the movie to start. My husband kept whispering, "WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GET TO THE MOVIE?? DON'T THEY KNOW WE HAVE LIMITED TIME!" ha! Not to mention that during this time, several people were trying to cross the wheelchair aisle and kept bumping into his stroller (even though it was out of the way). At one point, someone tried to use the handles for leverage in the dark theater. We were just cringing in our seats waiting for our blissful moment to be interrupted by Nate's crying. But he was still conked out.

Finally the movie started and we really enjoyed it. Nate slept through most of it, waking during the last 45 min. He woke up quietly and chewed on his panda for awhile, occasionally stealing a glimpse of the screen behind his stroller. About 20min. to the end, he wanted out of the stroller so we put down his blanket with his toys. Unfortunately, he was too HAPPY and started talking to himself. It sounded like he was saying "I saw butts" over and over! We kept shushing him until finally I picked him up because he was getting louder. He stayed in dad's lap contently with his panda until the end of the movie. We were excited that we actually got to enjoy a movie without worrying about a sitter. So I guess Sunday afternoons for us are the key. Yea!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

POTSTICKERS


Yup! I done did it. However, you won't be seeing me on the Martha Stewart show anytime soon. Everything went pretty good as I was mixing the stuffing for the potstickers today. That was the easy part. Then I started rolling out the dough..which wasn't going too well with a mungo rolling pin, so I opted for a small juice glass instead. Ok...that worked out pretty good...so did assembling the potstickers. My pinched seams weren't very neat but then, who cares? It's only us right?

So far so good...that is until I followed the next round of directions on the recipe. I heated up my pan and put the oil in. "A few sparks, a whiff of ozone"....and the pan blazed in a firey glory! YIKES!! For a second I stood there trying to remember my mom's words about putting out stove fires so I pushed the pan off the burner, ran and grabbed the baking soda and doused it in big puff of white powder. That's when my hubby (who watches all the cooking shows and knows a thing or two) said that the recipe was wrong and I need to heat up the oil WITH the pan. DOH!

Ok...round 2. So the oil starts heating up but now my new pan is still too hot. I put the potstickers in and they immediately start "sticking". Then I follow the rest of the recipe and pour in a 1/2 cup of water. However, I have water that's too hot and it's popping like crazy out of the pan. I put the pan lid in front of me like a shield and slam it over the potstickers. Now they're supposed to basically steam for 5 minutes but since my pan was too hot, the fried side is totally charred.

Ok...round 3. Now that I'm this much wiser, I turn down the heat and the next 2 batches of potstickers turn out better. I would use a different dipping sauce than in the recipe though. The sesame seed oil in it made it taste kind of smoky and I like it with a hint of sweetness. Oh and the potstickers tasted awesome! (the non-charred ones that is.) ;-D



Well I didn't get around to making the potstickers yesterday...just too much going on and then we had a meeting at church that night. So we went out for chinese instead. The photo above is at the restaurant. We shared our General Tso chicken and Sa Tsa Chicken with Nate and he scarfed it all down. I think my Sa Tsa was a bit spicy because I looked over at him and his nose was running. That didn't stop him from eating it though! I even gave him a sip of some of my green tea....the real stuff, kind of earthy tasting. He didn't seem to like it as much as Starbuck's green tea. ha! Today I mixed up all the ingredients for the potstickers so I can make them tonight. Will let you know how they turn out.

Nate has started to enjoy looking at his books. When we first got him he didn't know what in the world they were and would not sit still for a second to look at them. Now, he'll open them up and pretend to read them, mumbling something that only he knows. ha! I took a quick video above of him reading his Bible. He also loves stacking his blocks and is getting better about building bigger towers. The above photo, he stacked all of those by himself. He also finally started saying "mama" although it's not always directed at me.

PewEwwww!!! Nate just walked past me and I caught a whiff of his poopy diaper. Niiiiice. Ugh. Guess I better change him. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! (HAPPY NEW YEAR!)


Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the Rat (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996). To my brother, Terry...it's your year! "People born in the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are basically thrifty with money. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox."

We wanted to celebrate Nate's first Chinese New Year at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center...but the tickets for the day celebration were $125 each!! So we decided to celebrate much less expensively at home. Traditionally, you're supposed to wear red, which is good luck but Nate's red chinese outfit is hanging in a frame in our living room, so we dressed him in his tiger outfit. He's playing with a tiger that we picked up in China, made and hand painted by a young lady from a province in the middle of China (sorry can't remember the name).

Happy New Year to all our friends celebrating with their recent China adoptions and those waiting for their referrals! Here's a traditional Potsticker recipe below for the new year:


POTSTICKERS are one of the most popular types of Chinese dumplings. This recipe includes a dipping sauce and instructions on making the dough.

Yields about 48 potstickers.

Ingredients:

Dumpling Dough*

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup boiling water

. Filling:

. 8 ounces celery cabbage (Napa cabbage)

. 3 tsp salt, divided

. 1 pound lean ground pork

. 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, with tops

. 1 TB white wine

. 1 tsp cornstarch

. 1 tsp sesame oil

. Dash white pepper

. Dipping Sauce:

. 1/4 cup soy sauce

. 1 tsp sesame oil

. Other:

. 2 - 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation:

Cut the cabbage across into thin strips. Mix with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix the celery cabbage, pork, green onions, wine, cornstarch, the remaining 1 teaaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and the white pepper.

In a bowl, mix the flour and 1 cup boiling water until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface about 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a roll 12 inches long and cut each roll into 1/2-inch slices.

Roll 1 slice of dough into a 3-inch circle and place 1 tablespoon pork mixture in the center of the circle. Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch 5 pleats up to create a pouch to encase the mixture. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining slices of dough and filling.

Heat a wok or nonstick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, tilting the wok to coat the sides. If using a nonstick skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

To make a dipping sauce, in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve with the dumplings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SOUTH CHINA IN CRISIS

Hi everyone,
We got this message today from our adoption agency about the massive blizzards in South China that are causing devastation and deaths. South China is a hot and humid area that is not prepared to deal with freezing temps. We traveled to South China to get Nate and finish our adoption process....I can't imagine being a family having to travel there now or wondering if the baby you're waiting for is ok. Please keep this in prayer and if you feel motivated to help, click the link below in your browser to do that.

Dear Friends of Children's Hope -

South China has been hit by massive winter storms and frigid temperatures that have devastated entire provinces, causing water shortages, power outages, and freezing deaths. Few people have heaters or other cold weather resources in this sub-tropical climate, and most orphanages are ill-equipped to keep the children warm and fed during this crisis.

Join the emergency effort to reach more than 1,000 children in 10 orphanages in the hardest hit areas with warm clothes, bedding, heaters, food, water, and other critical supplies - go to www.HelpAnOrphan.org to learn more from Melody Zhang in Beijing and find out how you can help.

Thank you for sharing your blessings with children in need,
The Children's Hope Development Aid Team.

Monday, February 4, 2008

RAINY DAYS ARE REAL TREATS....

...out here in Arizona that is. Since we don't get much rain, everyone runs to the windows to watch it. Today was our day off and the perfect cold, rainy day. I made some Beef Barley Soup that totally hit the spot. Then I sat in the big leather chair by the window, threw an afghan over me, settled down with my knitting, a cup of coffee and an "Ooops Brownie". Aaahhhhh....perfect!! Wish I could do it all over again.

I know what you're thinking. What the heck is an "Oops Brownie"? Well, today felt like a good brownie day so I started throwing together all the stuff to make them. Got all the ingredients in there and realized I was out of the most important ingredient...COCOA! ARgh! Well I wasn't going to waste a bowl full of ingredients, so I substituted the cocoa for flour, threw in some coconut, walnuts, found a little bit of instant hot cocoa and swirled that in with 2 tsp of melted butter. It actually tasted really good. Sort of like a coconut custard cake. So that's my "Oops Brownie".

I'm feeling really lazy now! P.S. Harvard's doing MUCH better....but he's still not allowed in our bedroom. Doh!

BAD END TO A GOOD DAY

Super Bowl Sunday started off great. At church we talked about the guy's view on sexual intimacy and had a lot of very positive comments. For some reason I felt more nervous and Don and I both felt like we were struggling through the message. But everyone else thought it was even better than the week before! Well the Bible says that God uses us in our weakness and that was proof of it. Just another reminder that if you want to listen to the series, click on our church website link, select "Grow" on our website menu and select "Sermons". Then just click on the one you want to hear.

That night, several people from church were getting together at a friend's house to watch the game and make fun of the crazy commercials. Since our Colts didn't make it, we were rooting for the underdog and it was a really good game at the very end. Even I...not really into football...enjoyed it. Nate was kind of grumpy, as usual, on a Sunday when he's tired of being overstimulated.....and just plain tired. But he laughed for a little while until time to go home and get him to bed.

After we got home, we were chillin' on the sofa watching re-runs of M.A.S.H. I noticed our dog looked kind of funny...sort of stiff and hunched over and his ears were laid back. I was too tired to really pay attention to him, that is until I decided to go to bed at 11pm. As soon as I walked into the room I was slammed with the most putrid odor. Poor Harvard had a really upset stomach and instead of letting us know he needed to go outside, he decided to relieve himself in our bedroom! There was diheherra EVERYWHERE....by our bed (and on our bedskirt), in our master bathroom, by our closet, IN OUR CLOSET!! GROSSSSSS!!!!! That was the last thing we wanted to clean up when we were getting ready for bed, much less IN our own bedroom.

Needless to say, Harvard slept in the bathroom last night. :-O

Saturday, February 2, 2008

WHAT A STUD


How's this for a GQ look? Watch out ladies!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A FEW FAV PHOTOS







1. Sweet Taro pie at McDonald's in China. It was actually pretty good.

2. My man in highschool...number 51.

3. Harvard sucking on his favorite blanket

4-5. Our little piano man

6. Watching the reflection of the sunrise from our back deck.