Friday, April 30, 2010

cupcake adventure

So, my mom and I attempted to make some special cupcakes for Easter. We thought they would be sooooo easy. A little frosting, a little colored sugar and some detailed directions. We can do it, we thought.

Nope. We were wrong.

Here is what they looked like:

I know, not really toooo bad. But they were supposed to look like this:

The egg shape that sits on top of the cupcake is a graham cracker cut to fit a pattern. Um, graham crackers are hard, and not easy to cut without breaking. Yeah, we ruined several, and several from the box were already broken, so from the whole box we ended up with 17 eggs for 24 cupcakes. Bad math. So then we stuck them stuck them onto the cupcakes with frosting, and then spread frosting on top of the cracker. It took about 5 minutes per cupcake. I was bored after the first two and started feeding Lucy (the dog) under the table with some of the cracker eggs.

We made the cupcakes the day before.

The graham cracker got soggy from the frosting by the next day. Not so appetizing. And these were hard to eat because of the odd shape on the top. And the 30 minute drive from our house to Charlie's parents' house with the cupcakes in the sun didn't help. The colored sugar started to melt and stick to the plastic wrap. One of the eggs slid off to the side completely.

So, all in all, not the successful cupcake experience we were aiming for. Sigh. We tried to make something special, and fell only a little short.

At least they tasted good. My husband ate all our "mistakes" and a good portion of the frosting. And Lucy loved the secret snack she got under the table.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

new tools

We've been working on our yard and it needed a major overhaul. The previous owners owned the house for 40 some years and had let the yard grow over. We had to cut everything back and we had many, many, many stumps that needed to be removed. We could pay someone to come and cut them down, but Charlie likes to buy new tools.

So he bought this one.

No, just kidding. He rented it from a local place and had way so much fun driving around and pulling out stumps. He also pulled out lots of bamboo and roots. It was a three day project.

I think he was sad to see it go.

Monday, April 26, 2010

a happy/sad day

It's one of those happy/sad days, you know? A day where there is so much joy for someone else, and quiet grief on my part.

My dear friend Laura is being prepped for a C-section as I type this, after being in labor around 24 hours and only progressing to 3cm. I am so excited to welcome baby Abby into the world, as Laura is a good friend and she had fertility problems as well (another Clomid success story.)

It just brings to mind my memories from a year ago. Right around this time I was calling our SW because our birth mom, Vanessa, had several doctor's appointments. Vanessa would report to the SW and then the SW would call me and fill me in. The nursery was ready, we were practicing with the carseat, and buying diapers and bottles and little clothes.

As each day inched past, the fear crept in. I wasn't sleeping well and I was very, very anxious. I had to take meds to sleep, and even then, in the darkness, I would wonder "will she change her mind?" The fear took hold, wrapping little tentacles around me and squeezing tight. But everyone around me was encouraging, hopeful, and eager. They kept me on track. Each time the phone rang, I was ready to hear that the baby had been born. Our family and friends were planning a shower for after our daughter came home, and my school friends were planning something too. It was so exciting.

And then, with one sentence from my husband, the world fell apart. "Vanessa changed her mind."

And I know in adoption terms, I'm supposed to say that "Vanessa decided to parent the baby." That's how they say it, but to me, it was more personal. And it really didn't have much to do with me, or us. Vanessa LIKED us, but she LOVED the baby. She didn't have any responsibility to us, so I don't blame her for that, only how she handled it (it was handled secretively and poorly, is all I'll say now.)

Those many months since then seem long. Dry. A season with an empty heart, and empty arms. We would consider fostering, but I'd have to stay home and our budget does not allow that. We just have to wait, and hope and pray that in His time, things will be perfect.

But thinking about it, remembering that moment, those days, hours and weeks before and after, flood me with so many emotions. I still have little socks and shoes and diapers and bottles, just no baby yet. YET.


So, today is a happy/sad day. Laura will meet her daughter Abby, while I think of the almost one year old who was supposed to be mine. Life sure does get all mingled up together, doesn't it? If today wasn't Abby's birthday, I might only be thinking about the sad parts. At least, this way there is something to celebrate.

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

random baby dream

I had a dream last night that our SW drove up in our driveway with a four month old baby girl in a carseat and said she was all ours. In my dream, my husband had been talking to her in secret, knowing we had a chance for the baby, but not wanting to tell me until it was sure. The papers had already been signed by the birth parents and the waiting period was over! She was ours to stay! The birth parents had named her Alexis David (yes, David was the middle name) but the social worker said she knew we already had a name picked out.

In my dream I took her immediately and started changing her clothes, from whatever she had on to a cute outfit from our collection of baby clothes and told Charlie we needed to get to the store because we only had newborn diapers. He laughed and said we would need to go and get a lot of things, but he didn't want to get them in advance in case I caught on to what he was doing.

Then I woke up.

It was such a nice dream! I shared it with my mom today and she thought it was so sweet. It felt so real, although the house we were living in was not our house. I don't know what house it was, but it was nice.

Hhhmmmmm...don't you wish dreams were prophetic? Well, just this one, anyway!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

all around the house...

So my man has been working on the yard of late, and I have been concentrating on our house. I feel that itch again, that itch to sell the house and move. I think moving in and out of the dorm every year for college, and then moving almost every year when I was single trained me to move every year. We lived in our first house for almost two years and then I convinced my husband to sell it and buy this one. I finally figured out that instead of selling the houses, I should just redecorate something. Thus, this year it is the kitchen and dining room.

Right now the kitchen is red. I had always wanted a red kitchen and now I am tired of it. I just think I am not a red person, but like more muted colors. The kitchen cabinets, tile and island were all done over when we moved into the house, and are all fine, but the red has got to go!

Our kitchen opens up into our den, which I have painted a different color, a light pumpkiny color, and I am going to keep that color. So whatever color I choose needs to coordinate somewhat with that color, or at least not look horrible with it. The red and pumpkin look nice together, and I could paint the whole kitchen that same pumpkin, or a version from that swatch, but I think it would be too close to the color of the cabinets and too much of the same. Sooo...I think I am settling in on a gray blue color with some green in it. That's so specific, isn't it? I am going to paint this weekend and will show you the results later. If you have any favorite paint colors in the range, let me know.

The other project is taking place in the dining room. This is our old dining table, which we bought at a furniture store near our old house. We loved it, but it was giant and was two pedestals with a large sheet of glass on it. Really fancy but there were a couple of problems.

First, the glass was HUGE. It measured 4 feet by 8 feet. Great when I wanted to sew and spread out fabric and awesome for scrapbooking and projects and having people over, but not so great to try to walk around if someone was sitting in the chair. Second, the glass was a hazard. We never really had problems with it, but when our nephews and niece came over they tended to run into the glass. They just didn't see it. And they liked to put fingerprints on it from underneath, which were a pain to clean. With us adding to the family sometime soon, we wanted a more family friendly table. And this is our only spot to eat. We have no kitchen table area, just this large table.

We sold the parsons chairs and the pedestals, and the glass went to a recycling place (it had a chip and no one wanted it.) This was the empty room.

We went around and looked at tables, trying to find the perfect balance between casual kitchen and formal dining room, with a Pottery Barn look without the price tag. I didn't want an overly carved table, and we really wanted one with a leaf, so we'd have a small table for just us, but a way to seat more people when we wanted to. I loved the chairs and the "ribbon" detailing on the backs. Fancy enough, but not too fancy.

Sadly, the table that was delivered is not functioning properly, and is missing a piece. They can't come out and fix it for several weeks, but instead they are going to bring us a new one. We actually haven't sat at it yet, not wanting to damage anything and break it further. It will be nice to have something to sit at and eat, not just look at. I like the new table a lot.

My husband always wants to know what I think about our purchases. He wants to know if I really like it. And I do like this table. Is it what I would purchase if money was not an object? Hmmm, maybe. I would move myself into the Pottery Barn catalog and live there for a long time if they would allow it. It is just so really my style. Not too overly fussy, but elegant at the same time. And they use color. Not always bright crayony colors, but soothing choices. Love PB.

Anyway, the kitchen is getting painted this weekend while my husband is working at a church thing. So on Saturday, think of me while I am rolling over all this red and calming it down. Again, if you have any colors to recommend, let me know.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

missed moments

Sometimes I sit down to write a post and the words don't really come easily. I will have an idea of what I want to say, or the feelings I want to convey, but I struggle with the sentence structure and finding the exact words. This is one of those posts.

Today Emily (chatting at the sky) was talking about Missed Moments. The kind that you overlook when you are overwhelmed, like that wonderful man sitting beside you who promised you forever and gave you a ring. It got me thinking of another man, a father.

This is my friend Ashley on her wedding day, obviously. And that is her dad, right where he should be.

I didn't have that moment. Well, I had the walking down the aisle moment, but it wasn't my dad. I had borrowed dads. Men I loved and who loved me and who knew my dad and were honored to stand up for him, but it wasn't the same. I missed that moment. I would give anything to have it back, but that wasn't my choice.

I've been thinking about all of this because of several reasons. At my school this past year, there have been three dads that have passed away, all to some form of cancer. They were fathers to children in the fifth and seventh grades, and they had been sick for some time. These deaths were not a surprise, but they were horrible. Such young students to lose a father. I lost my father when I was 20, and these kids are 10. Those ten years make such a big difference, I think. So much left to be done in a child's life; lessons to be taught by the father in your life. Not that they can't be taught by someone else, but that they are what we think of as dad things. Changing a tire, hitting a baseball, hammering a nail, etc. Missed moments.

I think too of these birth fathers, and their role in all this. Here I sit, waiting for a couple to sign away the rights to their child, selfishly removing a child from his or her father and mother. Now, in reality, my husband will probably be a better father than most of these birth fathers, but it is still a bond that remains. Parents are important to a child, and these birth parents won't be involved much. Missed moments for them, too. Things like taking first steps and riding a bike and going to kindergarten and the prom. Missed moments.

Maybe the thing to think about isn't what's missed, but what's gained. Though that side may seem smaller, I guess it's there. My dad didn't walk me down the aisle, but he did instill in me the passion for learning. He gave me my quirkiness, and my crooked teeth. My students fathers hopefully left behind something for them too, and I hope our birth parents will feel they can be involved at some level, to maintain the connection. Maybe there won't be so many missed moments ahead, if I can remember to stop and look around.

What are your missed moments?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

an invitation

Cheyenne has a mean face. This is it. Isn't it scary? In reality, I just about laughed at her when she showed me, but I loved how scrunched up her little face was!

I would like to float something past all you out there in bloggy land. Here me out. I am not one to attend blogger conventions or anything like that. I don't want to take classes on how to make my blog better, I don't think. While I would love it if I had millions of comments everyday (don't we all want to be popular?) I like that my comments are genuine. From you all.

I would like, however, to meet more of you.

So, what if we picked a date sometime this summer and arranged to meet somewhere? I would be happy to host something here in Greensboro, NC. Something laid back and casual, with some shopping and massages and a meal or two out and some cooked in my house and a movie night in our pajamas...get the picture? And not that kids wouldn't be welcome, but I think this would be a girls only deal. Unless I get a baby by then, cause all rules would be off! LOL.

A Girlfriend Getaway, so to speak. With some prayer and story sharing and genuine friendship. I know some of you already know each other in real life, but I would like to connect up even more.

What do you think? Would that be something you would be interested in? Let's discuss...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

a litte bit of sparkle...

I found several half price beads at the craft store the other day, and really liked this set. Now, we know that Sissy likes anything sparkly and diamond-like. Yes, I do. And that I was bound to share it with you at some point.

Just a pretty piece of sparkle to share with you. I did make a necklace out of it, and will show you that later. Maybe. I make no promises that I will remember to post that at another time.

I received the sweetest set of notecards from Chasing Joy, who was the wonderful woman praying for me over Lent. They were so cute, and she also included a Billy Graham devotional about Hope. I certainly needed that. So, let's consider that package a little bit of mailbox sparkle for Sissy, shall we?

Okay, it's late and I've been up since 5:30 getting ready for a yard sale that my church was hosting this morning. Sold my stuff too, but now I am exhausted and a little sunburned.

Good night. Sleep tight.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

spring situation update

If you've ever visited Greensboro during the spring, you know that it is full of blooms. Everywhere you look different colors catch your eye, from the dogwoods to the azaleas to the daffodils and the tulips. It's a challenge to those with allergies, and my car was dusted yellow from the pollen last week, but the rain washed it off.

Over the weekend I wandered around the yard with my camera, taking pictures. I even climbed a ladder that my husband had outside to take pictures of the dogwood tree blossoms from the top. The ivy in my yard makes me supremely happy, twisting and turning, catching the raindrops and making my yard sparkle. People complain that ivy takes over, but I love the way it quietly reaches out, with little faces that turn up to the sun.

Our mostly ugly backyard has one bright spot... dogwoods. There are four small dogwoods in a bed near out patio and create the only piece of beauty back there. I have taken pictures of them in every season and each time I find something to catch my eye.

This is one of my ladder photos. I was careful, I promise. The colors turned out really well and I like the composition. I did tweak it a little bit on picnik, which is such a fabulous website that allows you to edit your photos and then save them on your computer. My husband keeps telling me that I should learn photoshop, and I have, but that program is designed for serious people, and picnik is really just more fun. I can't help it.

Anyway, other than these photos, and the book fair going on at school, life has been calm this week.

Last week, however...

I mentioned weeks ago that there was a potential adoption situation that I was interested in online. There was a posting on this adoption website that I visit about a teenage girl due with a baby girl in June and the cost was reasonable. It was right up our alley, in accordance with cost, race, and gender. Now, I don't have to have a daughter, but we do have mostly girl stuff at this point. In talking with my husband about it, and he was a go. To register with the site we needed to send in a copy of our home study and several copies of our profile book.

The next day I copied the home study. I made two copies.

Charlie needed to print out the profile books, since he has the color laser printer at work. He needed to tweak a couple of things on the pages that I created in photoshop (see, I use it!) and then print it out.

I wanted it done ASAP. PDQ. Right now.

He didn't understand that I wanted to submit for that situation. Somehow we got our wires crossed. He thought that there was no way we could even be considered for that situation, even if we got our stuff in quickly and that there wasn't any hurry.

About two weeks later, I asked him about it. I didn't want to be a nag, so I asked him when he planned on doing it, and he had it on his agenda. Okay.


Then Easter came along, with lots of work for Charlie. Then we had one night when the power went out, thus making computer work impossible. The next night Charlie had a migraine and was throwing up. Something came up each night until I had to step in and tell him that our month deadline was almost up.

So he worked on it all day last Wednesday, getting frustrated with my limited photoshop skills and got it printed out. He wanted me to come to his job after school, get it, and take it to the post office. This was at 4pm. But I needed to go home to get the home study, then run to the bank for the check, then go get the stuff from him and get to the post office...all in an hour. Not happening. I checked my old emails and found out we had more time than I thought, so I wasn't going to have to do it that day, but would take it the next day.

So the next morning I went to the bank ATM to grab money for the money order, only the drive up ATM wouldn't give me cash, but only told me that after I entered my pin number and pressed withdrawal and entered my amount. Argh. Luckily, that bank also has a walk up ATM also, so I was able to get my money.

After school I went to Walmart to get the money order and some report covers to put the profiles in and while there I called the agency to let them know the package would be coming. I had already labeled the box and had it in the car, all ready, but if I wanted her to sign for it, it would need to go to the street address, not the PO Box. Argh, times two. So I dig around in my purse while standing in the stationary aisle and find a pen and write down the new address for my already labeled box. Foresight had prompted me to bring tape and scissors to tape up the box, but I had no marker. So I bought a Sharpie with my report covers and my page protectors.

Then I went to the Customer Service counter and bought my money order. I drove over to the UPS store, since Charlie did not want me to use the postal service since he likes UPS' tracking system and we were mailing money. I sat in the car and put together my profile booklets, relabeled the box, included the money order and a hastily scrawled note then taped it up and took it in the store.

The street address did not exist. I am not kidding. Somehow I heard the woman wrong and the street I thought she said did not come up on the computer. It was after 5 pm and I could not reach the agency, and UPS does not have the internet so I could look it up. I called Charlie, but he was nowhere near a computer.

So I took my package home.

I was able to look up the address and label it appropriately, then Charlie mailed it the next day. I called again and let them know it was on the way, and the lady told me that she allows for some grace with the deadline. Good to know.

I got an email today telling me that our paperwork had been received and that we were now able to be considered for any situations that come along. Sadly, the situation I was initially interested in is no longer available. Charlie did apologize for the fact that he procrastinated and I appreciated that, since it was not my fault. I was disappointed to be sure, but this agency gets lots of birth mothers through, so I am still happy we are registered with them.

And that is the story of the aforementioned situation.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

in the form of coffee...

Don't we all love a Starbucks card? I do. I mean, I don't even really like coffee very much unless it is all latte-d up with chocolate and whipped cream, but I do enjoy their apple cider, hot chocolate and their peppermint mocha frappacinos. And since they added those breakfast sandwiches, I swing by the drive thru one near my job sometimes.

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week at my school, and I received TEN Starbucks cards, from various student. Like the good wife I am, I did share with my coffee drinking husband, but I kept some for me as well. Admittedly, I stacked them up and took a picture of them first, then I shared.

I'll be caffed up this week. Ignore the slightly hyper girl who fell in love with the iPad today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

an adoption situation for YOU, maybe

I think I've shared a little about our adoption agency before and how much we love them (and I know we'll love them EVEN more when an adoption goes through...LOL.) But we really like the ladies that work there and felt drawn there by God's will.

Anyway, they have sent out the word that they are looking for Christian couples who are homestudy approved to adopt African American babies. They have had several women come through in the last couple of month, and have not had many couples to show them. Today I think they had two birthmothers coming to look at profiles and only two couples to show. I prayed that each mother want a different couple. Anyway, our agency is relatively low cost on the adoption scale (around $12,000 if you have our own homestudy) and does accept couples from out of state.

I am sending out this information because I know some of you are approved for a child of any race. My husband and I are not. We live in a really NOT diverse area, and the agency did not feel this was in the best interest of the child. I talked with them the other day about posting this on my blog, and they were happy that I wanted to share this information with all of you. In fact, while they don't know whether they will immediately have any more birthmothers for this program, they do want to have more families at the ready.

Consider applying only if you are a Christian and are prepared to fill out forms as to your faith and church involvement (any denomination is fine.) This paperwork is the first step to being accepted.

The agency is called New Life Christian Adoptions and the website is Check out the website and give them a call if you are interested. Feel free to tell them that you read about this on Sissy's blog.

Oh, and about the other situation I posted about a month ago. Nope, not happening. Not much to tell.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

easter egg hunt

We had an egg hunt on Sunday at my in-laws house. The twins were so cute while looking for their eggs, and carefully opened each egg to look at the candy. It was so fun to watch them look for the eggs, and Cheyenne was speedy about it. Payden was more methodical about it, wanting to look inside each one, and sometimes stop to eat the candy.

They are at such a cute age, and it is fun to watch our niece and nephew experience new things. This was only the second time they had hunted eggs, the first being earlier that day! We spent a long time outside wandering around with them, and Cheyenne eventually started throwing sticks for the dog, who so patiently played again and again.

Could Cheyenne be any cuter? Maybe, but she's pretty darn cute right now.

And while kind of off topic, I think my photography is getting better. I've also started playing around with Picnik, the photo editing site, to easily boost my photos. I am slowly learning PhotoShop, but picnik is very user friendly for amateurs. I like it.

Now, if I only had kids of my own to photograph!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

prayer buddy revealed

I posted before that I think the Lent Prayer Buddies were a great idea. It really helps take the focus off of myself when I was praying for someone else's needs. secret prayer buddy was Maria from Hail Mary, Full of Grace. It was a blessing to pray for you and I hope that in some small way my prayers encouraged you.

I specifically prayed for your journey to be a more healthy person, and a little something is on it's way to you to help you with this quest! I hope that you enjoy it.

I hope that all of you enjoyed this Lenten season and the prayer buddies. If you didn't participate, I hope you will next time!