Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


This year, we spent Christmas at home, after a great deal of recent travel....no more travel days left! I missed being with family but thank goodness for skype! On Christmas Eve, Don made his traditional braided bread and we delivered it to the neighbors. We finally got to know the neighbors' names and even met a couple exactly our age who are also starting their family.

Then we went to see the Winterhaven Festival of Lights (an entire historic neighborhood in Tucson that decorates their homes for Christmas). We stopped at Starbucks to get hot chocolate...the "light" thing was very spontaneous...but they were closed, so we settled for good 'ol Circle K. It was a very festive night and after we got home, I read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to Nate, we set out the Santa cookie and milk (and even a carrot for the reindeer) and got the Natester off to bed. Then we chilled on the sofa for awhile before assembling the Santa gift (A Disney Cars garage).

Today, we were surprised by one of the neighbors, to whom we had delivered bread, stop by to drop off some homemade cookies and doggie treats! The funny thing, is that this was one of the neighbors who we thought didn't like us very much. ha! He ended up staying for nearly an hour shooting the breeze with us. God does amazing things through the spirit of giving.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

MORE CHRISTMAS PHOTOS LINK


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas and 4 yrs


This year at Christmas has been fun with the Natester! Several "firsts"...first Christmas concert from his preschool, first time to smile with Santa, first letter to Santa, first time to make gingerbread cookies almost all by himself! Here's some photos for you:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Capers


So, the other day, I showed Nate the advent calendar...which is a wooden bird house with little wooden doors. We were late getting started and I had put chocolate santas from Day 7 to Christmas. He opened Day 7 and was excited to find a very tasty surprise in there. Then I said.."Now we only open one day at a time until Christmas and you might find another surprise!", thinking I was so clever and all.

Three days later, I put Nate to bed and realized we had skipped some days, so, I decided I would "make-up" for the last 3 days and help myself to some chocolates. I opened Door #10 and saw....no chocolate. Hmmm....maybe I accidentally missed that door. So I opened Door #8...#9....no chocolates!! By this time I'm truly baffled. So I opened up every door left on the calendar and.........NO CHOCOLATES!!!.....except one! WHAT?!

Don was out of town so I called to talk and asked him, "Did you eat those chocolates before you left?" "What? No!", was his reply. And then it dawned on me.

So that's why Nate hasn't been hungry the last 3 days....
And that's why Nate's been complaining that his tummy hurts....
And that explains his Jekyll and Hyde attitude!!!!

So the next morning, I said to Nate, "Hey! We haven't opened our calendar in a few days. Let's go see what surprise is in there!" He just looks at me with a "should I be excited or not?" type of look. I open the empty doors and pretend to be shocked. Then I ask him,

"Nate, do you know where the chocolates are?"

"No"

"Nate, I know dad didn't eat them, and I didn't eat them, so don't lie to me. Did you eat those chocolates?" *eyes looking side to side...silence...and then....*

*Shakes his head "yes"*

"Did you eat them or hide them somewhere?"

"I ate them"
(A few days later I discovered the empty chocolate wrappers stuffed in the bottom of the bathroom trash can.)

So, from that day on, he opened the door to find advent calendar broccoli and carrots....and mom is one year wiser.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is coming....

Nate's 4 yr school photo

......and I'm determined NOT to pack on the pounds! Wow, I am seriously behind in my blog. It has been a whirlwind since we had our Mexico Mission trip back in Oct. First Mexico, then grandparents in for a week, then Israel, then swamped with artwork, then Disneyland, then more art while Don was preaching in Michigan, 2 sick guys on top of all that.....and here we are today. I'm looking at the Christmas packages sitting under our tree, waiting to be mailed. Thinking it might be a gift card type of year. ha! Haven't even got the Christmas lights up yet. At least we managed to do the tree.

I'm thinking back on everything...Israel was amazing. What a great perspective to have, seeing all the different places that Jesus ministered and King David walked. People celebrate Christmas for different reasons but all we can think about, is the great gift that God gave us all. The gift of friendship, leadership, grace, and love through Jesus and his sacrifice. I wasn't sure what to expect from Israel and thought it would be another historical place to see. Surprisingly, I felt a much deeper connection there. It's as if I met a long lost relative, in fact, part of me regretted leaving. It wasn't like a spiritual "high" or any "wow" factor. Just a longing for that part of my beliefs that stayed with me after we returned home.

One of the highlights that stuck with me was when we visited the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee....where Jesus recruited his disciples. Our guide spoke of forgiveness and each of us picked up a large stone, prayed for God to help us let go of our anger or frustration toward a person(s) and threw that burden out into the sea. I'm not really a groupie when it comes to this stuff. (I felt like I was in group therapy for a moment)...but casting that worry out into the water and knowing this was where Jesus performed so many miracles....well, I admit it was therapeutic, in a way.

I remember being in a tiny circular chapel in Bethlehem, singing Silent Night. A group of Astonians were sitting behind us and they joined in....in their native tongue! Two groups of people singing the same tune in two different languages. How awesome is that!?

I was amazed at the massive amounts of tourists there. At first it was annoying...crowded...pushing to get into the historic places to get a decent photo. But then I stopped and realized, "Wow, we are all here for the same reason. A pilgrimage to Israel to see the places where Jesus walked, lived & breathed." Can't get much better than that.

I was proud of my man, leading a communion service in a VERY tiny chapel at the Garden Tomb. What better place to remember Jesus and have communion with everyone we'd traveled with?

Jerusalem was amazing. So many conflicts there...so much history. Sometimes I'd stand on the ancient streets and stones and wonder about Jerusalem's past and future. I didn't realize how close the Mt. of Olives was to Jerusalem. It's literally just up on a hill overlooking the city. Kind of like being in Tucson, up on A-Mountain, looking down on the city...or up on Camelback Mtn in Phoenix overlooking the city. Definitely an experience I will never forget.

Well, I have to get back to being productive. I love Christmas...the magic I remember as a kid, being with family (sadly, not this year. *sniff*), people thinking about other's needs, and remembering the miracle of our Savior's birth and the best gift ever! I have Israel's memories to help me not take that gift for granted and remember it every day... not just Christmas Day.

Shalom Aleichem (peace be with you).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One more Photo Link

View of the Mt. of Olives from the House of Caiphas

Here's the last photo link for our Israel trip:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jerusalem and More...

Here are more photos of Days 6-7. Be sure to go back & view the Days 4-5 in the previous post as I added more photos.

We walked through the streets of Old Jerusalem today. Incredible experience! More writing later...it's late & it took forever to get all these photos uploaded. Wake up call is 6am and we're going to the Dead Sea & Masada tomorrow. Can't wait to float on it!

ISRAEL PHOTOS DAYS 6-7 LINK

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Holy Lands


Standing on the original street in Bethsaida where Jesus would've walked.


Sorry to keep you all waiting! We FINALLY have decent internet service in Jerusalem....where I am currently writing to you.





What an amazing trip! We actually stood...STOOD...on a street in Bethsaida where Jesus would've walked. How surreal is that?? Not only to see the historical sites but we have received so MUCH historical background about the culture during that time. The scriptures make so much more sense now.





I have very limited time to write but I did want to include the photos for you. Check out these links below. I will try to write more tonight. Our days begin & end from 7am - 5pm every day..filled with Bible studies, lectures, visits, etc. Today we visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem & much more.





More later....for now, here's photos!





ISRAEL DAYS 1-3 PHOTO LINK





ISRAEL DAYS 4-5 PHOTO LINK

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tomorrow....

Packing...*check*, house somewhat clean...*check.

Time for me to hit the sack. Tomorrow, Mon., we are up at 4:30am to load up our stuff and head to the airport. By Tuesday, we will be in Israel!

We were very humbled and blessed to have this trip "gifted" to us. Otherwise, who knows when we would have the opportunity to go? Nate is flying with us to Georgia, where he will "sleepover" at Grandpa & Grandma's house while we're gone. Lucky kid!

I will try to update the blog and facebook as often as I can. Every day is packed with tours from 8am-5pm. They said once we get back to the hotel, all we'll want to do is eat & sleep! I believe them.

Please pray for safe travels! Shalom!
-Denise

Friday, November 5, 2010

TWO MORE DAYS!

SO MUCH TO DO!! Packing, cleaning & catching up on artwork..........

Two more days & we're off.....guess where?? (no, not Africa...yet).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MISSION TRIP TO ROCKY POINT, MEXICO

The team!

What an amazing weekend! We just returned from a 4-day trip to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico with One Mission.....an organization who builds homes & community for impoverished families. This was my first mission trip ever, and I don't know why I waited so long. I had a vague idea of what to expect but the trip was nothing like I expected.

5 of us from our church were meeting up with 22 from another church in Phoenix at the base camp. We had no problems on the drive from Tucson to Rocky Point. No fake checkpoints along the way or hitches of any kind (that we kept hearing from everyone). It's a 3 hr drive to the border, then 1 more hr to Rocky Point.

We drove into the One Mission camp and set up our tents on the sandy dirt lot. There were hot showers, bathrooms, a community kitchen and even a place to do laundry so we were set! I didn't sleep well the first night...mainly because it was windy & the tent made weird noises. Then someone's alarm went off at 2:45am....but my cell phone said 3:45am so I had no idea what that was about. I found out soon enough when we woke up & not a single person was stirring at 7am (according to my cell). Come to find out, there are 2 different mayors in Rocky Point. One mayor declared one side on daylight savings time, the other on Arizona time. Turns out, the cell tower happens to be on the side that didn't "fall back". ha!

We met the people from the other church, had a good breakfast burrito & headed out to the family's place where we would build their house. The area is called the barrios (or the San Rafael subdivision). Basically, you drive down and endless maze of sandy dirt roads (soft, deep sand, not packed dirt), passing various "homes" made out of....well, anything they could find. Turns out, the place used to be a landfill. But the govt didn't clear it out. They just dumped a big pile of dirt on top of the trash and sold the land lots. As we were digging out the area for the foundation, we were digging up trash too. Not to mention the flies were horrendous. (I have a vague idea of the infamous 7 plagues, now). Very sad. Poverty in Mexico is very different from the U.S. We are fortunate to have some resources like shelters, food banks, welfare, etc. But in Mexico, if you are down & out, too bad. There's nothing & no one to help you, so you find food where you can get it (like the trash), friends or family. This was a hard working family whose father lost his job. (But man, he could stucco a building like no one's business!).

The family's home was a variety of boards and whatever else they could find, nailed together, with a cut out hole for a window. 4 kids & 2 parents made their home there. Another smaller shack became their outhouse. This was the only bathroom for the day so I only drank enough water to keep me hydrated (and very little coffee the entire weekend). ha. We met the family (who were the nicest, kindest people BTW), and began laying out the groundwork to pour the foundation. Many of the locals showed up and put in more muscle than I could even muster. I've never seen such hard working people. Seriously, they would work very hard for a long time, and finally take a break.

We had 2-1/2 days with 27+ people to build a double-wide (40'x20'). I started off mixing cement. Holy cow, what a workout! My arms & abs were burning. Nate had the job of putting a handful of fiberglass in the dirt/cement mix. Without it the mix wouldn't bond. By the end of the day, we had the foundation laid and some of the framework finished.

Day 2 we put up all of the framework, tar paper, chicken wire, tarred the roof & the first coat of stucco! Day 3, 2nd coat of stucco and finishing touches. Somehow we finished...all by 12pm! Then it was time to dedicate the house to the family. I've never seen such grateful faces.

We were blessed to get to know many of the locals and Nate had an awesome time playing with their kids. He couldn't speak Spanish & they couldn't speak English but it didn't matter.

I will never forget this experience & can't wait for the next trip! Here's all the photos:

Monday, October 18, 2010

GOOD NEWS!!


Good news!
Our Online Adoption Tupperware Fundraiser has been extended to this Sunday, Oct. 24!! There's still time to order + 15 extra products that were added last Wed. Thank you to everyone who has placed an order. So far we have raised $342.60+ ($857 retail)!!
If you click on the link below, it will prompt you to sign in and direct you to our special Fundraising Catalog (Please order items from theFundraising Catalog, not the regular catalog. Only Fundraising Catalog orders will count toward our adoption).
For every order you place, Tupperware will donate 40% OF THE SALE to our adoption!! Our goal is $3400 to send the dossier off. Your order will be shipped directly to you, after Oct. 22.
Please forward this link to all your family, friends and co-workers.
With your help, anything is possible! Extended deadline is Sun., October 24.



Thank you so much for supporting adoption!!!
P.S. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. You may receive this invite twice as many of us have the same friends!
Many Blessings,
Don & Denise Sullivan
Email: ddsullivan2@msn.com

Delivering Meals to a Welcome a New Baby!

We're organizing meals to bring to one of our PRCC families who just had a baby! Congrats to Leanne and Steven and their new baby girl, Hayley. The family lives in Catalina. If you would like to bring a meal this week or next, please comment or email me at ddsullivan2@msn.com with the day you will deliver and we'll get directions to you.


Thanks!

Denise

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NEW! Adoption Fundraiser Website

I finally got an official fundraiser website set up. Check it out! Add to your favorites & forward to your friends & family.

http://sullivanethiopianadoption.weebly.com/

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Girl Stuff

If you have a baby/toddler girl or know someone who does, here's a fun way to help another family bring their baby girl home from China! They are auctioning off many of their other daughter's clothes to raise funds. She has super CUTE stuff from Baby Gap, Gymboree, Crocs, Sketchers, etc. If we had a girl or knew we were getting one, I would be all over this. Might just bid anyway. ha.

Here's the link. Hurry though...auction ends Tues Oct. 12!!

http://bringinghomefinley.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-auction-works.html?spref=fb

BEFORE YOU HAVE THAT GARAGE SALE.....

Just wanted to throw this out there...


A friend is trying to round up items for a family who lost everything in a fire. And when I say, "everything", I mean EVERYTHING. They are in IMMEDIATE needs of many household items and also have a newborn + a 2 yr old (boys).


If you are willing to part with any items you have, please email (ddsullivan2@msn.com) or facebook me ASAP & I will make arrangements to pick up the items. Below is the list. Thanks everyone!!!!!


LIVING ROOM

sofa, chairs, side tables, lamps


DINING ROOM

kitchen table & chairs


KITCHEN

coffee maker, silverware, pots/pans, spatulas, coffee cups, towels, dish cloths, glasses


MASTER BED

queen or king bedding/sheets, side tables, lamps


BATHROOM

shower curtain, trash can, towels


LAUNDRY

washing maching, iron, ironing board, vacuum cleaner


FAMILY STUFF

diapers (NB & size 4), wipes, baby wash, clothing (3-6 mo & size 3T-4T).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

BIG NEWS!! Tupperware HOLIDAY fundraiser flyer!


Hey guys! On Wed., Oct. 13, our Tupperware fundraiser will include a special..

HOLIDAY FLYER
15 Additional Products!
Very cool stuff! Including the round, shapes toy that we grew up with! Just check back on Wed via the link below and the Holiday flyer will be available. Remember you have until Oct. 22 to order Tupperware for our fundraiser! 40% of the sales will go toward our adoption!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

****UPDATE**** My Kid is NOT a Blue Light Special!

****UPDATE****
So we talked to the teacher today & happy to say that everything went very easily & peacefully! Turns out that one of her friends (affectionately) refers to her 3 adopted kids as her "store-bought" kids..(not saying I agree with that mom, but...well whatever). So, said teacher didn't think anything about using that phrase since her own friend refers to her adopted kids that way. We explained that regardless, we did not want that term used and why. She was VERY apologetic, understanding and appreciated that we took the time to talk to her about it. I don't anticipate any more problems.

We know this teacher adores Nate and we wanted her (and anyone else reading our blog or facebook) to be aware of what is said to adopted kids. If we had yelled at her, or gone over her head without talking to her, we would have missed an opportunity to positively change one more person's view of adoption. I'm glad everything worked out the way it did.
_______________________________________



I've heard the stories. Comments people have made to parents who've adopted kids. So far we had been spared many of those comments. Probably because everyone assumes I gave birth to Nate since he looks similar to me. However...I knew we wouldn't escape it completely.

So hubby goes to pick up Nate at preschool. There are several teachers there and all classes & teachers converge during the lunch hour. In a word...chaos! As he's gathering up Nate, his lunch box and whatever papers & crafts he did that day, while dodging other preschoolers winding up their lunch time....one of the teachers finds out that we adopted Nate and *****drum roll*****, says...

"Oh! He's one of our store-bought kids!"

What??? Are you kidding me? Did I hear that right? Then hubby informs me that she goes on to say, "We have lots of store-bought kids in our preschool!"

NO. WAY.

We did not go shopping one day, see Nate sitting on some shelf & decide to purchase him with our half-off coupon. Oh wait. The coupon expired so I guess we'll have to pay full price! Un...be...lievable!

Now I know she didn't intend to be cruel. She has a rep for saying whatever pops into her head. But at the same time, she does need to think about the impact of her words. I mean that's just setting up future "let's make fun of the adopted boy" moments. I could just see a thoughtless kid telling him he must have come from Walmart because they found toys there that were "Made in China". Show some tact!!!

Needless to say, poor hubby was dumbfounded...speechless (and if you know my hubby, you know that's a miracle). By the time his head cleared, chaos was still around & teacher was off somewhere. So when Nate goes back to school tomorrow, we will have to have a talk with said teacher.

A friend informed me that there's a young adult book out called "The Store Bought Child" (about a girl's adopted brother who was killed in an accident). I don't know if that's where this teacher got this term but regardless....it's definitely not appropriate to use for adopted kids. No kid wants to be looked at as an object or dehumanized.

This was on top of another incident earlier in the week when one of my hubby's facebook friends (from way back in high school) decided to question our decision on adopting internationally rather than domestically. It's one thing to ask. It's another to demand to know "how on earth could you do such a horrible thing" type of attitude.

ALL adopted kids...domestic or international have the right to be loved & to a family. God called us to this and He will place the child we are meant to have. We have a heart for orphans and there are many many millions of orphans world-wide who need a mom & dad.

'Nuf said.
-Denise

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nate's Birthday Weekend!

Blowing out the candle on his fighter jet cake!

My little man turned 4 this weekend and we did way more celebrating than I anticipated! Don was out turkey hunting with friends on his birthday (Friday) so we had his actual party today. However, I have to celebrate ON the day so we ended up at Denny's for his free birthday Grand Slam...Trail Dust Town to ride the train & see a shootout, school carnival to play endless games, and a free kids meal at Sonic..then getting the house, handmade cake & food prepared for 20 people at his party today. Crazy!! I think my "Clark Griswold" thinking totally kicked in. I'm exhausted!

Here's photos of his birthday weekend for you:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

TUPPERWARE ONLINE ADOPTION FUNDRAISER!!!

Hi everyone!

I'm so excited!! We are doing a very easy and fun Tupperware fundraiser to help bring home our baby from Ethiopia! For every order you place, Tupperware will donate 40% OF THE SALE to our adoption!! There are NO parties involved. Instead, there are two options available....

1. An online order link

2. A packet with order forms where you can take orders from your co-workers, local-friends & family. **TUCSON ONLY**

Tucsonans can do both if you'd like. Email the link below to your out of town/state friends & family...product would be shipped directly to them.

********************

When you use the packet & collect orders, my Tupperware rep has generously decided that you will receive 1 Raffle Ticket for every $50 in orders you collect, for a drawing for $100 of FREE TUPPERWARE!! This is only for local/Tucson orders you collect with the packet (not via the online link).

Packet orders ONLY will be shipped to my rep & I will deliver them to you. Please let me know if you'd like to take a packet of order forms & I will get that to you asap. Deadline to order is Oct. 22.

********************

ONLINE ORDERING:

If you click on the link below, it will prompt you to sign in and direct you to our special Fundraising Catalog (Please order items from the Fundraising Catalog, not the regular catalog. Only Fundraising Catalog orders will count toward our adoption).

For every order you place, Tupperware will donate 40% OF THE SALE to our adoption!! Our goal is $3400 to send the dossier off. Your order will be shipped directly to you, after Oct. 22. No parties...very easy!

Please forward this link to all your family, friends and co-workers. With your help, anything is possible! The deadline is October 22.

http://order.tupperware.com/pls/htprod_www/!twx$eparty_ctl.p_guest_welcome?pv_eparty=d236a21cf364f84a9c12647b79338ffb

Thank you so much for supporting adoption!!!

P.S. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. You may receive this invite twice as many of us have the same friends!

Many Blessings,

Don & Denise Sullivan

Email: ddsullivan2@msn.com

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Get Your Kicks......


So, on Thursday, Don comes home from work & says, "Hey! Feel like going up to Williams?" He wanted to scout for turkey for his upcoming turkey hunt next weekend. Naturally, who am I to say "no" to a road trip? Especially when we haven't had a 2-day family weekend since January!

Well Williams is a 4-1/2 hr drive north...about a hour south of the Grand Canyon. It was already late afternoon so I started buzzing around the house throwing things together to go camping. A quick "Google" on campgrounds in Williams and we were off. As expected we went off & forgot a few things (like Don's coat...good thing he brought his Snuggie. haha!).

We decided on Kaibab Lake campground and it was beautiful! We could see the lake from our campsite...temps were 40's at night, high 70's day. Considering we left behind 100+ degree temps, that was heaven to us! Leaving so spontaneously, the only tent we had was Nate's.

Yep..that's right. We ALL squeezed into his tent & when I say "squeezed", I mean SQUEEZED. After 2 days of feeling the ground in my back and barely being able to turn over, I was ready for my own bed!

We had a great time though and enjoyed touristy Williams on Route 66, scouting the back roads for turkey (and finding a herd of sheep instead), and just being in the cool, quiet pines.

I was SO not ready to come home! Click on "Williams Photos" below to see more pics.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BIRTHDAYS


I have been so crazy busy lately...art, art & more art, church art/events, a rambunctious toddler, adoption stuff....celebrating birthdays (priorities people!)

Don & I just celebrated our birthday week and enjoyed having good friends visiting to help us eat the cake and supply us with Snuggies...ha! We also had FREE birthday pizza at Grimaldi's....(can you say YUM? I knew you could). Thanks to everyone for the cards. They are proudly displayed on our piano! More photos below.......click on "Birthday Photos".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

EASY WAY TO SERVE TUCSON!!

I am totally doing this! Meet me at PRCC this Saturday at 8:30am. I'm handing out cold bottled water to motorists....yes, standing on a big island in the middle of the road and serving motorists with FREE BOTTLED WATER. The more we can hand out, the better. If you want to donate, bring by your case of water to PRCC. Don and I are purchasing as much as our budget will allow....but obviously, that's not enough. Whatever you can donate is MUCH APPRECIATED!!!! Thanks everyone!!!! Hope to see you there!


440 W. Calle Concordia, between La Canada & Oracle Rd

Monday, August 30, 2010

Do you GROUPON??


I admit it, I am hooked. On GROUPONS that is. A friend told me about and I'm sure she regrets it because I keep advertising for referral credits. haha.

Groupons is a website where you can get awesome deals around Tucson...or other cities...for deep discounts. Today I got one for the Seven Cups Tea House. For $5, I got a $10 gift certificate. The one I'm REALLY excited to use is at Chad's Steakhouse on the east side. I spent $5 and got a $30 gift certificate for steaks! Just in time for our birthdays! So far I've got screamin' deals at Tohono Chul Park, 17th St Market, gifts for family in other states...

Well, see for yourself. It's free to register and get your GROUPON!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adoption Fundraising Update!!


Yay! We've just put 3 dots on the mileage map! To date we've raised $2,117!! Thanks to the Ramos, Kirk Bushell, Slater, Miracle, McKinney, Corbin & Jackson families for your coffee, T-shirt & purse purchases. You helped us raise $153 of that total! We are so thankful for your support.

We passed our first milestone marker so it's time for our first raffle drawing for 2 sets of Thanksgiving (4 cards) & Valentine (8 cards) greeting cards featuring my artwork & signature. Retail value $27.00.

And the winner is..................LOU KIRK!! Congrats Lou!

There are more raffle drawings coming up for everyone who purchases our fundraiser items or donates via the PayPal button on our blog. More fun products with my art including: Custom Coffee Purse, Print of my art, Wood plaque with my art, $25 gift card.

Still working on our dossier paperwork. Thanks everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Chili Pepper Purses!!

**UPDATE****** Just finished a chic little wristlet clutch. Love it! Click on my Etsy store link at the bottom of this post to purchase. Remember, all sales go toward our adoption!
Clutch - $16.99


Messenger/Diaper Bag $34.95

I'm having too much fun creating these chili pepper purses! A few more for sale in my Etsy shop!

I made a large messenger bag..or diaper bag...and I like how it turned out. It was a bit laborious to make, mainly trying to get dimensions and pockets to work. This one has an adjustable strap and is fleece lined to make it sturdier. It's not intended for a laptop or several heavy books but will definitely carry several items and electronics like Kindles, iPads, etc. There's a small pocket on one side to hold a cell or keys. If you're like me, I hate digging through a large bag for my keys!

This morning I finished a cute little chili pepper purse...perfect for a night out with your favorite man or just the girls. It would also be a fun purse for a teen.
$19.95

You can view & purchase them in my Etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/dsbagdesign

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1st Football Game!!


On Sat., Don got free tickets to the AZ Cardinals football game. Nate went to his very first pro game and I had the afternoon & evening all to myself!!

Nate had a great time, got a little bored toward the end, but loved it when the Cards scored & people all round cheered & Hi-Five'd. He was carried into the house zonked out when they got home.

I enjoyed the peace & QUIET and decided to treat myself to a movie that night. Wish I picked a better choice. I saw "Eat, Pray, Love" and the only thing I liked about it was the scenery. ha. Oh well. Still a good day.

Click below to see a few photos....including a couple from a fast, intense summer storm that blew through tonight.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

HOT New Chili Pepper Applique Purses for Sale!!



Well, this was fun! I just finished making two applique purses from recycled coffee bags, with a fun Chili Pepper design.

But the kicker is..........

The interior is lined with my chili pepper fabric! Kaufman fabrics printed up a few different designs using my chili pepper art and marketed them to quilt shops across the U.S. They sent me about 2 yards of each design so I decided to use them to line my purses. SWEET!!

I also started experimenting with a way to make the seams and handle loops sturdier. Voila! Double folded seams & canvas loops worked out perfect.

Check out my Etsy site to view & purchase the purses. Please pass it on to your friends & family! All proceeds go toward our adoption.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1ST DAY OF PRESCHOOL!!!


My baby is growing up into a handsome little boy. Today he started his 1st day of preschool!!

Ok, but.... let me back up a bit.

Monday, we got him ready for school, totally pumped him up for his BIG first day! Got all the way there and my first thought was, "Where are all the kids?" We walked up to the classroom only to hear the teachers say, "Uh...yeah...school doesn't start for him until WEDNESDAY!"

Doh!!!!!! I'm already scatterbrained on my kid's first day of preschool!

Poor Nate was SO disappointed & sad. How do you explain to a 3yr old that you screwed up on the dates? He looked ready to cry but he didn't. Sooo......I had some making up to do. That day was a 100% "Nate" day. We went to Sbux & got his favorite chocolate milk. Then we went to the fabric store where he picked out fabric for a shirt that I PROMISED to make him for his official first day. Then we went to the mall where he had unlimited play on the playground, rode up & down the escalator & glass elevator multiple times. THEN, he got an ice cream cone.

I also told him not to expect this every time..that it was a special treat. haha. So we made up for the mixed up dates.

And finally, the big day arrived. I made him the shirt I promised (and believe me, he asked about it), and he had a great day at school! Got good remarks from the teachers..in fact...one of them was sad that he wasn't in her class, and ate his entire lunch, including the carrots!

So proud of our little man! Here's photos (click on the words below).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Apple Annie's Orchard


Today we took a little road trip to Apple Annie's Orchard & Farm in Wilcox, AZ...about 2 hrs southeast of Tucson. We had a GREAT time and it was easy to get carried away. They gave you a bucket to pick peaches and we had to restrain ourselves from over picking! You have so much fun, you don't realize how many peaches you've picked until it's too late.....then you realize you have to pay for them. ha. They were handcranking homemade peach ice cream and we had homemade peach pie ala mode. Ohhhh so good!

My grandparents used to have a peach tree & I loved picking as many peaches as we could while mom took them home to make peach cobbler. (speaking of which, is in the oven. yum!)

After our peach pickin', we headed over to their farm to pick veggies. Nate had a great time, picking black eyed peas, okra (which is sort of like brushing against fiberglass. He & I kept complaining we were itchy), yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant. We had a ton of veggies and still only cost $18. Don found a caterpillar and Nate thought it was interesting until it tried crawling up his arm. haha.

It was a great day. Don & Nate are shelling the black eyed peas (which Nate still thinks is "fun"....and we'll let him.) and I can't wait till this peach cobbler gets out of the oven!

Click on the words below to see the photos:

Friday, August 6, 2010

ETHIOPIA ADOPTION UPDATE

Every week, we receive a newsletter regarding Ethiopian adoption from our agency. This adoption will be different from Nate's, in that we will have to make 2 short trips to Africa, appear before a judge in Ethiopia, and different paperwork requirements must be met. Below is the latest newsletter on what we would expect from our first trip to Ethiopia:

ETHIOPIA UPDATE 8-6-10

Dear Families,
Hope you’re looking forward to a great weekend.


1ST TRIP (OF 2 TRIPS)

Our first group of families to travel for the 1st trip of the new 2 trip process has returned to the US after visiting their children and giving their consent to the judge to adopt the child that they were referred. I think the greatest words that the families heard during their entire trip was when the judge said “He’s (she’s) yours”.

After arriving at court in the morning with a Children’s Hope representative with them, the 7 families found themselves in a full room with other families nervously waiting to present themselves before the judge. The families were called one by one (as a couple) into the judges chambers to answer a series of questions and give their consent to the adoption. Families reported that the judge was so pleasant and seemed genuinely excited and happy for them and glad to hear their stories. This made the families feel more at ease. The entire hearing for each family took on average about 5 minutes. Some of the questions that the judge asked were about the children (if any) that the couple may have already at home – their ages, gender, etc., how were their children at home prepared for the adoption; why the couple wanted to adopt, why from Ethiopia, questions asked about addressing the race and cultural identity of the child; if the couple had actually meet the child that they were referred and the couples consent to adopt the child - then “He’s (she’s) yours”. The adoption was approved at that point. There is still a lot of paperwork that has to be done now in order for the children to come home (adoption decree, passport, birth certificate, visa medical, TB testing – for children 2yrs and over), but the judges’ approval made the adoption final. Families were also reminded that the adoption can not be overturned in Ethiopia once it has been approved by the judge.

Both parents are asked to appear in court for the first trip. However there will be exceptions made for families who have a valid reason as to why the other parent can not attend. This reason has to be documented in a letter to the court along with a Power of Attorney from the non travelling spouse.

Regarding the families leaving their children behind in Ethiopia until they return for the 2nd trip to bring the child home, one family mentioned that it gives them an opportunity to prepare their home and family for the new child now. They know his personality, what size clothes to purchase and just what he will need when he comes home. They called it a blessing to know what to expect and how to parent him. They also mentioned that the care that the children receive for the staff at the HOH (House of Hope) is excellent and therefore they had no reservations leaving their child as they know that he is in very good hands.

The time in country is only 3-4 days for the first trip. These families were able to visit their children more than one time on this trip. All of the families who could, stayed at the HOH guest house and they bonded so well together that they are looking forward to going back together as a group for the second time. Keep in mind that it is very likely that the group that you travel with on the 1st trip will be the same group that you will travel with on the 2nd trip, but not always. For example, if a family’s passport, fingerprints or CIS approval are close to expiring and they have to get documents renewed after returning from the 1st trip, depending on the timing of receiving those documents back, it could push someone off schedule as far as traveling with their original group for the 2nd trip. Therefore, please always stay mindful of when your CIS approval and fingerprints expire - even your passport, if you have had it for a while, and have them renewed so that there are no delays later. On average we expect a 5-6 week wait between court approval and travel.

Two more families will be traveling home this weekend with their new children. Congratulations!

ETHIOPIA STATS FROM JULY

__8_children home to _8_ families

__4_ girls _4 boys

__0_ sibling groups __0_ set of twins

__1_ single completed this month. After transferring from the Vietnam program after its closure and waiting 14 months for a referral in the Ethiopia program.


As of today

_ 44_ dossier families on the waiting list for a referral

_ 22_ families with a referral waiting to travel

103 families in the Home Study/dossier prep stage

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy 3 yr Gotcha Day!


3 years already?? Still seems like yesterday when we met our son for the first time in China. I'm sure I'll be saying that every year for the rest of my life. haha. Nate is older now and we've told him that he is adopted and how we flew on an airplane all the way to China to bring him home. Of course, he doesn't fully understand it but he smiles, nods & says, "Yep!" He knows how very much we love him.

Our little Nathaniel is growing up. Today we had preschool orientation and Monday, is his first day of preschool! He is so excited. I know he's going to love it. The kid just loves to learn!

Tonight we'll celebrate low-key and try out some Dim Sum at a local restaurant. We'll have to watch his Gotcha Day dvd and get all weepy eyed again. Ahhhh...what awesome memories to have forever.

So reminisce with us. Here's photos of our journey to China..click on the words below.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swim Lessons Finished!

Nate & his instructor, Isaac

Nate took his last swim lesson today & had a great time! He's become very comfortable in the water, holding his breath longer & learning strokes. Definitely worth it! Today all the kids got to go on the giant slide at the pool & I was proud of Nate going by himself...head first!!

Click on SWIM PHOTOS below to see the rest of the pictures.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Parker Canyon Lake



We took a spontaneous road trip to Parker Canyon Lake this morning, in southeast Arizona. The weather was beautiful...a storm blowing through dropped the temp down to 75 (YESSSS!!!) and left big puffy clouds. Don & Nate caught a ton of bluegill...threw them all back...but Nate had a great time fishing. Don got a cane pole at the dock shop, threw the line out & a second later hooked a fish! I went on a 5-1/2 mile hike around the entire lake (not knowing it was going to be that long!) It was gorgeous & cool out and we were wishing we'd brought a tent to stay the night.

Here's photos...click on LAKE PHOTOS below (I just assume everyone can see these photos. If you can't, leave a comment & let me know):

Monday, July 19, 2010

1st Swim Lessons


Nate had his first ever swim lessons today & had a great time! I came prepared to get in the pool with him but he didn't need me. haha. There were only 2 other kids in his class so they all got some good one-on-one attention. Two weeks of swim lessons for only $20. Can't beat that! I'm glad I didn't get in because I was able to take a few photos. Got all the way & realized I'd left my camera at the pool so I had to go back. Doh!!

Here's photos below:

Friday, July 16, 2010

PATAGONIA LAKE


Well, Becky P...you'll be pleased to know we went on another spontaneous adventure today! At first we planned to go to a movie, but I really felt like "getting out of dodge", so I said to my man, "Hey! Why not just go for a drive?" Don, naturally, has to have a purpose to that drive, so he ran into the garage, threw a bunch of fishing stuff, chairs & what-not into the truck and said, how about Patagonia Lake? (well, whatever, as long as it's out of dodge!) The lake is a little over an hour south of us.

So we headed out & about halfway there, we noticed the temp had dropped from 100 to 85!! Woot! Woot!! Road trip definitely justified. We stopped in Sonoita & picked up some fried chicken and other stuff for a picnic (Don was eyeing the local steakhouses). I had forgotten how beautiful the scenery is down here. Finally, we made it to Patagonia State Park and discovered the beach area. I think the last time we came down here, it was in the winter, so we overlooked the beach. But today was perfect for wading or swimming. Had we known, we would've brought our swim suits, tubes, noodles & whatever else. As it was, I only waded in as far as my pants would roll up & Nate shed his shorts to go partially buff. haha.

He had a great time, even making friends with some of the older kids. It was funny to watch because he just quietly invaded their groups and they had no choice but to pay attention to him.

It was a nice day and perfect little getaway. Here's photos for you:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Easily Entertained


When I was a kid, my dad took us to a ton of different summer-kid activities....summer reading programs, Wallace & Ladmo performances, VBS, etc. Now I get to do the same thing with Nate. However.....it's EXHAUSTING! Or maybe it's because I'm a parent later in life and a little lacking in the energy department. ha.

I'm glad there's no shortage of fun, free stuff for kids out here. Nate's craft project stash is steadily growing.

Next week he starts 2 wks of swimming lessons...then it will be time for preschool! He picked out an IronMan lunch box and we've decided on Light the Way preschool at Desert Son Community Church. Summer has flown by.

And I haven't made it to the ocean yet.

**click on the links below to see more photos**

Friday, July 9, 2010

CHUGGING ALONG

UPDATE 7.22.10: Had a few more donations to our adoption so that puts us at $1075 total. Thanks everyone!

Just finished a funky tropical messenger bag made from recycled coffee & snack bags. Check it out for sale on my Etsy site!

Don't forget to stop by our Just Love Coffee website if it's time to stock up on more beans. We've nearly used our 2 bags (Ethiopian Sidamo & Ugandan) and I love the flavor (believe me, we are picky about our coffee!)

You can show your pride in saving orphans by wearing one of our adoption tees for sale at our adoptionbug site.



EVERYONE WHO DONATES WILL BE ENTERED INTO A RAFFLE!! Prizes are selections of products with my art on them (prints, note cards, wall plaques, etc).

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4 Carnival


Had a great time at our church's July 4 carnival fundraiser! I was basically at the church from 8:15 that morning until 9pm that night. It was hot, sweaty work setting up the booths after service and I think I was a little dehydrated from the heat & over dosing on coffee to keep me awake, but thanks to several volunteers, we managed to get everything set up by 5pm! It was so awesome to see families arriving & having a great time. I really wanted a Starbucks basket up for auction but the price got too high for our budget. Next time I'll have to put a stash of $$ aside!

The fundraiser was a HUGE success in many ways..financially (sorry, not revealing the final fundraising amount until Sunday!) and being able to meet many new families. Fireworks from the nearby resort topped it off. Here's photos for you:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

GETTING READY FOR THE 4TH!!!!


What a day! Our church is putting together a July 4 carnival fundraiser.....to build homes in Rocky Point, Mexico and today we did a ton of set design & construction. HOT HOT HOT but so many people stuck around to get 'er done!

We got a lot of AWESOME items for the silent auction...in fact...I'm bidding on the Starbucks gift basket (complete with coffee grinder & plenty of Starbucks to keep me going!). I donated my "Tranquility" bath collection that's available in Anna's Linens ($170 value) and one of my coffee purses made from recycled coffee bags. But there are several very cool things, like tickets to Breakers Water park, gorgeous 20" square tile, a 30 minute airflight in a Trike.....

I'm so excited and hope that tomorrow is a very successful day!! Here's photos of our work today (click on July 4... below)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NATE IN THE CHI BLOG

Nate's fishing photo made the CHI (Children's Hope International) adoption blog! Check it out here (click on CHI BLOG below)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SUMMER KID FUN


I had to watch Nate's friends today while their mom had an appt, so I decided to let them play in the pool after breakfast. Yep....it's hot enough in AZ to actually play in the pool at 9am. I figured that would wear them out & keep them entertained for awhile. They had a ton of fun, and then I decided to whisk them into the truck & head to Bookmans for some fun. Bookman's is a used bookstore out here & they have free kids events over the summer. Today they got to decorate their own book bag. Nice activity to keep them occupied. Unfortunately...not as long as I had hoped! They did a great job so we went over to the kids area to look at books until their mom arrived. After that, Nate & I spontaneously decided to join them for a free summer movie (well, ok it was $2 for adults!) so we headed off to the dollar theater to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Very funny movie...but my stomach was GROWLING by the time it was over. So I loaded up Nate & headed to Chik Fil A across the street for a free kids meal & free ice cream!!

Turned out to be a pretty busy but really great morning! Here's photos...click on SUMMER FUN below:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

NATE IN THE NEWS!


I was excited to find out that this week's Northwest Explorer had a photo of Nate on Family Fishing Day!!