Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great News!

I just received the call today that I will be working with the Shepherd Community Center as the K4 aide.  It's only 20 hours a week and working with little ones is always the most fun!  Now I just need to find the time to get CPR certified before next Tuesday (along with moving into my house!)

Here's their website if you'd like to check the many great things they do in the community!

Senior Pictures

 Our niece, Lexington is a senior this year and Ana managed (in typical Ana fashion) to worm her way into the photo shoot!  The pictures were great--lots of fantastic ones to choose from.  Here are the ones including Ana (the others haven't been "released" yet ;)

Monday, July 29, 2013


Matt starts work tomorrow with an IT training session.  I'm trying to pack up our stuff in some semblance of order.  I did get a call about a job with the Shepherd Center, but they called my in-laws house--so we'll see what's happening with that.  (I believe they start school on Monday!!  I think Mitike will too.)  My kids have been asking some tough questions about birth moms and why bad things happen in the world.  We've been watching people's posts about going back overseas after their summer off--it does make us feel a little sad and left out.  This is definitely a high stress time in our lives--pray we get through it with grace and joy!

On a happy note...The owner has decided to leave several items in the house for free.  We now have everything we need for our house except a couch.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Quick Update...

-We close on the house this coming Wednesday.  After closing in the morning we hope to rip up all the carpet on the main floor, pry up tack bars, and begin sanding!  We're so thankful to all the family members (and a few complete strangers) that have volunteered to help get us in before school starts on Monday.
-Bought all needed appliances today at Sears.  They will be delivered in about a week. 
-We've been having gorgeous weather--amazing considering it's the end of July.  I haven't coughed once since coming back from China--the pollution had more of an affect on me than I realized!
-Canned some more pickles today.  We will have plenty of pickles, corn, and green beans for winter.  It's nice to get all this work done now and be able to pull things off the shelf/out of the freezer. 
-Did Mitike's hair in about an hour--pretty fast for me! 
We have so much to be thankful for!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Still no word on the house (they were getting another electrical quote last night)...hope to hear today.

Yesterday we went appliance shopping--just to get a feel for what we wanted.  (We hope to get the new appliances in before moving in--the fridge is from the 80's, very dirty, and the inspector stated, "It's on its way out!"--don't want it to die with all our food in it!)

It was fun.  For the past 12 years I had to take whatever I got.  When you rent, if the apartment comes with a peach and bright green leather couch, you've just got to live with it.  If you paint the walls any color but white there is a huge debate with the owner.  Here there are lots of options!  We just bought an older dining room set on Craigslist.  There are some amazing closeouts in the stores right now.  We found a mattress that I am so looking forward to sleeping on for 60% off.  (Part of my in-laws garage has become a storage area THANKS!!  We'll probably go back and get it before the sale ends.)

Sometimes there are almost too many options here, but today I am very THANKFUL.  The rest of the world often has very little variety (unless you have a lot of money).  It's nice to have a choice!

Monday, July 22, 2013

As If I Didn't Have Enough Stress In My Life...

(I already confessed to my sister-n-law!)

So I did another batch of pickles yesterday.  Because of the lack of counter space I decided to set the six jars on a doubled towel on her dining room table to cool.  When I moved them later and lifted up the towel what did I see?  Six WHITE circles (on her golden oak table).  First we tried a baking soda paste, then salt and water, then toothpaste, and finally an olive oil and vinegar.  NOTHING WORKED.  I was panicking--was I going to have to refinish her table?   Then we found another idea on the Internet.  Take an old t-shirt and iron it on top of the spots on medium heat.  It worked--circles completely gone and what sweet relief! 

-still no word on the house--agent said the owner was getting estimates on the electric and we should hear something today.
-Matt has to be at work next Tuesday--so this is putting us in a time crunch--pray with us that things move quickly from here on out!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Horrible Picture, But WOW!

This gigantic spider (one of the biggest I have ever seen) was first spotted by Ana.  She immediately informed everyone.  The cousins and aunt came to have a look and squeal on cue.  Then we tried to catch it.  It moved surprisingly quickly and hid under the couch (which I sit on EVERYDAY)!  We tipped the couch, trapped it (and it's egg sac) under a bowl, slid a piece of paper underneath, and released it in the woods. So glad there won't be hundreds more of those crawling around down here!

This was all after doing bags and bags of corn.  We picked it from the field, shucked it, fed the husks to the neighbors cows, cooked it, cut it off the cob, and put it in freezer bags.  A lot of work, but it will taste yummy this winter!  Didn't get a single picture of the huge mess it made, BUT we're doing some more on Monday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Style 2

 I had no idea of what style I was doing when I started out today--I just knew I didn't want it to take too long.  I did six twists in the back with an easy veil style in the front.
It's amazing how much her hair has grown in under two years and it has gotten so much thicker.  I think this is mostly due to much better nutrition and more natural products (they used to wash their hair with bar soap in the orphanage!)

A List of what we've been doing...

1.  driving back and forth between Lafayette and Indianapolis (I don't know how many times I've told Ana to keep her hands to herself--thank goodness for the booster seat--it kind of keeps her in place!)
2.  had the house inspection--went well except a lot of the electrical needs redone--hopefully we can close soon
3.  China and Ana were accepted into Greenwood Christian Academy--the school also provides before and after school care--so Matt will just be the chauffeur
4.  finished 1 1/4 of the dressers for our bedroom--I'm glad we're getting those done before we move in! (pictures later)
5. swimming--we will miss uncle Mike's pool when we leave :)
6. shopping--we're starting to buy basics for our new house.
7. canned peaches
8. debated--do we pull up the rather grayish/pink carpet right away and refinish the hardwood floor underneath or wait--I say do it right away while none of the furniture is there--Comments anyone?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

While reading an article in the Indianapolis Star about a reporter who moved into the inner city, I happened across the obituaries.  While some might find this morbid, I found it to be a fascinating read.  Some contained lists of achievements (many of which were WWII veterans and world travelers), others had long lists of family members, but one stood out as different.  This lady sounded pretty normal.  She was a mom, served in her church, volunteered in a couple of places.  The obituary told what she loved to do in her free time.  What I was floored by was the last statement, "In lieu of flowers, please perform a random act of kindness in her memory, with the knowledge that she would have very much appreciated that."  When you live a good life--not of high achievement perhaps but a life spent helping others--you pass that characteristic on to others.  How encouraging to me to keep on doing good!  This will leave a more lasting legacy and be an encouragement to others in life and death.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One Down

We're quickly trying to get through a list of projects so that we can use them when we move in.  (It could be as soon as next week--the Realtors already having the title company preparing the papers.)
 This table's veneer had badly cracked and warped.  We weren't sure we could do it, but we gave it our best shot.  It worked.
 The first thing we did was to insert some wood glue into the slits already formed in the veneer.  If yours bubbled without a slit, you could cut a small slit to add glue.
 Next, we ironed the veneer with medium heat and a newspaper.  You'll be amazed how much the veneer shrinks. 
Next, we filled in cracks and chips with stainable wood filler.
Then we sanded it flat.  We used a gel stain and ended up applying two coats.  After one coat of polyurethane, it looked great!
It's a little shinier than what I wanted, but hopefully it can hold up being Ana's nightstand for a few years.  We've been sanding all day on one of the dressers for our room.  It's going well so far!  Can't wait to see the difference. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


Even though we gave a pretty low offer on the house, THEY ACCEPTED!  The inspector comes Tuesday and provided that it passes we can close shortly after that.  (We're on track for the fastest close ever!  It's only been four days since we first saw it!)
Also big news is that our container has made it to the US!  I'm most excited to have my kitchen things back--so I don't have to raid my sister-in-law's every meal. 
 We went out to the farm on Thursday and picked the garden. We got raspberries and black raspberries too!  I got 4 quarts of beans and today I did 5 quarts of pickles.  (Thanks for letting us raid the garden Gma)! Ana is super excited but very sad she has to wait six weeks to taste one.  Many thanks to mom for the jars and canner.  We'll put it to good use!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ana's Commentary

Ana talked so much while we were looking at houses that the real estate agent started calling her "chatterbox."  She said things like:

"Why are garages so dirty?  Doesn't anyone ever clean them? (All the garages here are detached--so they're going to be pretty dirty)" 

This house has a basement?  Wow!!!  What's a basement?

This house looks like it will have lots of spiders.  Let's go look.

(to the agent) I'm adopted.  My parents found me at a hospital.

Look at this closet.  Shut me in (so I can see how dark it is). 

I like pickles, but China doesn't like cheese.

These stairs go to an attic
me: No, it goes to the upstairs.
Wow!  What's an upstairs?

I can see that boy's underpants.  Why are his pants so low?
(agent--who by this point was answering lots of questions) It's a cultural thing.
blank stare

I kept saying, "I'm so sorry.  She hasn't lived in America before."

Remind me next time to NOT take my kids house hunting--esp. when you're trying to cram as much possible into two days. By the way, we did put in an offer!  Will let you know what happens

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

House Hunting

 Well, we looked at six houses today and they ranged from horrifying (filled with black mold), to quirky (see the pink unicorn painted in the kitchen below), to fairly nice.  The nicest one was this one.  It has amazing woodwork downstairs and the outside needs little or no work.  It also has a basement that is as big as the other floors--we would eventually work on finishing it.
 After three hours of house hunting WITH three kids (not a wise decision on our part!!!), we went and had Ethiopian food.  It was yummy!  I couldn't tell if they really enjoyed it since they snarf down anything put before them, but there wasn't much left!
 The injera was just right--thin and not too sour.  I'm sure we'll make another visit soon.

We'll Be Back Soon!

We traveled down to see my family over the fourth of July weekend--pictures to come.  Now we're house hunting!

The BIG news is that Matt has found a job as a science teacher.  So, we're scrambling to find a house so that the kids can start the school year on time.

More soon!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth!

This past Sunday we sang the national anthem and said the pledge of allegience.  I teared up--haven't said it in years.  Although my country isn't perfect I am proud to be an American.  And I am so thankful to have the rich heritage of a Godly nation/family.  I am always struck by the generosity of Americans (on the whole!)  I love that being blessed allows you to bless others.  Happy Fourth America!


 to stress out Matt and Mike more this snake skin was found hanging in a tree by the pool!
 It's quite long.  Of course my kids touched it and left it out for Uncle Mike to see when he came home.  Ana got to stay up a little late to see his reaction.
The other day on the farm Lexington (niece number 1) and I picked three cups of black raspberries in the neighbor's thicket.  We had quite the adventure climbing over fences and getting through some major thorn bushes.  The result--this lovely pie.  (7 cups of berries in it!!)

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Have Decided...

if I'm going to spend two to three hours styling Mitike's hair each week, I'm going to post it!!
Mitike's hair has really changed over the past year and a half.  It has thickened out a lot, grown several inches, and the curl pattern in parts has changed.  Because her hair is slick and has a loose curl pattern, styles never stay in longer than a week.  So, I'm always on the lookout for faster styles that are protective.  I particularly like this because it only uses one rubber band!  Hopefully it will keep up all the edges and we won't have so much frizz.
My parts could still use some work, but I'm happy with how it turned out.  We'll see how it lasts.  The idea for this style came from Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care.  I think it also would look nice if you started in the center of her head and worked out.  Maybe next time!