Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last week of May in review.....

Great Moogley-Googley it’s almost June. It’s so funny how time seems to creep by when you are waiting on something important (yet it seems to fly by all at the same time). I’m not sure how that works, but it does. Here are the interesting facts for the last week of May:

1- I saw both Saluda, South Carolina and Saluda, North Carolina on my road trip.
2- The weather was officially nicer in St. Petersburg than it was here since it rained all week.
3- I won the Italian Lottery and just need to give them my credit card number and mailing address to claim my prize.
4- I can parallel park an SUV under extenuating circumstances.
5- The Baby Name Genie ( suggested we name a son, Peyton Andrew or a daughter, Donna Isabella. No we haven’t picked any names yet.
6- Graduation Weekend at Bethel was as crazy as I remember. We "Roasted" our seniors on Saturday night and then turned around and celebrated with all the grads and families today after church. be 18 again. Meagan reminded us that this week 11 years ago, we were wearing the caps and gowns! And before you know it we'll be attending preschool graduations, kindergarten get the picture. Time feels stuck on fast forward......
7- Girls night out with Shani was a blast- we saw Angels and Demons and fortunately, I have a terrible memory and didn't remember what I read until after it happened on the big screen.
8- Bought some Old Navy t-shirts for $3.00 and some sweaters (for Russia) for less than $3.00 each. What a bargain and I always enjoy forcing my sister to shop with me.
9- Celebrated my parents joining this century- My parents are now "Blog Followers" and Chad's folks have joined facebook.
10- I always enjoy volunteering at the Children's shelter. What a blessing. That's where I am headed right now.....Then it's on to the grocery store. I don't want Jordan to think I have a kitchen just because it came with the house. Just wanted to check in with you weekend readers since I haven't said hello in a few days.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This morning I called the Secretary of State's office in Columbia (where the Apostilling magic happens) and I asked if I hand delivered our Dossier, could the docs be certified that same day, instead of sending them through the mail and waiting several weeks for their return? Answer: YES! So I hopped in the car (sans GPS, which I have become quite dependant on but was accidentally left in my sister's car) and made the 96 mile trek to our state capitol. Did I mention alone? Usually Chad drives me everywhere, I'm a bit of a nervous traveler, but he was tied up at work and I was highly motivated! So off I went- to see the Wizard. I had to drive in inner city traffic, parallel park, figure out how much money to put in a parking meter (I put in 50 cents and then realized it was 30 minute limit parking only, which only costs a quarter) and got followed up the steps by some skeezy bums trying to hit on me (Yikes) and wandered around a cement jungle peeking in buildings with no names on the front- just looking all "governmenty". It was totally deserted in the "inner sanctum" of the capitol buildings. It was kinda eerie- it went from city hustle and bustle to abandoned courtyards surrounded by grey stone buildings. I wish I would have had my camera to take a picture or two for you....It reminded me of Narnia- When the children venture back to Narnia to find it deserted, but just as magnificent and daunting. Statues lined the walkways and footsteps echoed in the air. Can you see it? Anyway- I finally randomly pick a building and open a door. Inside there are security guards and metal detectors. The guards look surprised to see a "human" but point me in the right direction- stone building number 3 on the right.
I enter through the doors that weigh 5 tons, go up an elevator and poof- there she is, the woman I spoke on the phone with. She says "Sarah?" Yippeee!!! She also says she has our other documents C.W.A. sent and asks if I would like to take those with me as I go too. YES!!!! I have our entire DOSSIER IN MY HANDS! I have a seat and she starts stamping away. In 29 minutes I am back to my car. I had a whole minute to spare! The bums have deserted their bench (Sigh of relief) and I am on my way up the happy bean road.
I made such good time in Columbia, I think to myself.... I could make it to Flat Rock (North Carolina) by 4:30. So I drive another 150 miles to our agency. Upon arrival (with 25 minutes to spare) I took advantage of the sweet receptionist and ask her to make some copies for me and took up residency in an empty conference room to get everything in order (copies, originals, our copies, C.W.A.'s copies) and walk to the front waiting area. THEN I HANDED OVER OUR DOSSIER (with home studies enclosed) CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Just like that...4 hours of driving and 1 hour of paper processing later, I am on my way home, with our Dossier Apostilled and this huge step completed.
I started out today stopping to get gas on the way to work and ended the day by filling up my tank again after a multi-state trek! I'm just like UPS, but faster. However, I am absolutely exhausted and I am on my way to bed RIGHT NOW..... I hope this post makes sense! On Monday, I made an appointment for Chad and I at Immigration at 8:00 to file our Petition to bring an orphan into the country (I-600A). There will be no dust settling on us!

Milestones in our “first trimester”/ Our 100th post!

Last night we received a call from Anya- Our Home Study is in route to the Deetz household and BONUS- It's already been Apostilled! Our feet are on the pedals..... With that thought.....IN HONOR OF OUR 100TH POST, WE PRESENT OUR FIRST TRIMESTER!

January 8, 2009- Chad and I celebrate our 9th anniversary. While at dinner we talk about the next step in starting a family- IVF? Not for us. Adoption, lets do it! What’s holding us back? Money, fear of the unknown.

January 10, 2009- Go to Barnes and Nobles and buy two books on adoption. Question: Domestic or International. Chad stays up all night reading Dawn Davenport’s book- “Book of International Adoption” Start web research. Decide that International adoption has less risk (more 1st time success rates than U.S. adoption, less birth mother rights to change her mind)

January 12, 2009- Request information from several adoption agencies. Some are too small, some are too big. Christian World Adoption seems just right! And the headquarters are about 45 minutes from home. Start thinking about a country….. We are thinking Bulgaria.

January 22, 2009- Met with Carol at C.W.A. We are so eager to hear all about the different programs and countries. We have a lot to think about! Bulgaria is out; our hearts are set on Russia. Ethiopia is a close second.

January 23, 2009- Receive first set of goodies from C.W.A. to fill out (Initial Application packet, Home Study details)

January 27, 2009- Attend webinar Orientation with Julie.

January 30, 2009- Send letter to friends and family announcing the adoption, need for support and financial help!

February 3, 2009- Send Initial Application packet to Pat with first payment to the agency. It’s official- We are “Paper Pregnant”! The blog is born…..

February 8, 2009- Start the evil adoption book, start gathering documents, start freaking out. Background checks, reference letters, and other things with personal information goes out. Still not sure why….. but I think we’re in the clear.

February 10, 2009- Anya is assigned to our case. We love her accent, we are hoping that she likes us.

February 16, 2009- Send autobiographies (More than you ever wanted to know about Chad and Sarah) along with all the other documents on our “check list” for our home study. Home study is scheduled for March 14th. Start cleaning. Start Hague Training online course. It was a busy day.

February 17, 2009- Spider infestation.

February 19, 2009- Anya assigns us to the St. Petersburg Region. Yipppeee!

February 24, 2009- Complete Hague online training.

February 28, 2009- Pass the “evil adoption book” test. Ridiculous amount of cleaning taking place in our home. More than when we sold our house in Georgia.

March 14, 2009- Home Study visit. I actually asked Portia to look in our closets and inside our drawers.

March 16, 2009- Document training webinar with Michael.

April 11, 2009- Momma Jane (Mimi) and Daddy (PeePee, just kidding, we haven’t figure out what to call him yet) buy nursery furniture for Baby Deetz. It will arrive in our “second trimester”

April 22, 2009- Home study draft comes via fax. Make our changes and send it back the next day.

May 27, 2009- Home study has been Apostilled by C.W.A. and in route to the Deetz House!

It’s been a little longer than 3 months, but I consider the receipt of our final home study the end of a very long trimester. The good news is: I didn't throw up once, have not gained any weight, and I have no new stretch marks. However, I am feeling REALLY tired and have moments of extreme crankiness and irritability. Then again, that's nothing new! But, the good news is, we are on our way!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

Our little neighbor, Gracie, is my pal. She stands in the driveway and greets me nearly everyday when I come home from work. She tells me when “the boys” have been home moving t.v.’s and borrowing video game equipment for impromptu Halo tournaments. (“The boys” are the youth group boys that frequent our home to borrow controllers and “routers” and other things I don’t really understand, because our house is gaming central. We are equipped to have 16 players playing each other at one time through the magic or technology that I again, don’t understand) Anyway, Gracie is about 6 years old and I think she is the leader of the neighborhood kid pack. When I hear them all jumping on the trampoline- it’s Gracie that calls the shots. She tells me about school and soccer and her dog. She is full of information.

A few months ago, Gracie learned how to ride her bike. I came home from work, her parents were in the driveway with the video camera and she was in the cul-de-sac, trying to get the bike moving. I think before I arrived, she was having a little bit of a meltdown. I could see tear stains in the dirt on her cheeks. The video camera was off, but held at attention by her mother. When she saw me, she tucked in her lower lip and puffed out her chest. She said “I can ride my bike now, do you want to see?” I stood at attention for what seemed like an eternity. She would get balanced, then teeter to one side. She would kick off again and almost tip over. This went on and on. At last she got both feet on the pedals. Then all of a sudden- she was flying! We all cheered, video cameras were rolling, Gracie was really doing it! She was moving! It was like a breath of relief was simultaneously breathed by me, Gracie’s mom and dad, and the biggest one of all- from Gracie.

We are finally starting to move. The good news is that we are standing in the driveway, bike in tow, but we just haven’t quite gotten both feet on the pedals. Yesterday we received more documents in the mail that have already been certified and Apostilled in Columbia. I am praying today when I get home our home study is sitting by the front door and then- we’ll be flying! Then we can all breath a sigh of relief. More exciting movement- fellow blogger Kate has gotten a referral, she will travel the second week of June to meet her daughter!

“I thought of it while riding my bicycle", is reputedly what Albert Einstein said about his Theory of Relativity…..

Let's remember to keep moving, or at least be ready to spring into action at a moments notice!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baby Deetz

Sometimes we subliminally get a picture in our head that just sticks with us, that picture becomes our compass until reality becomes known. Say, for instance, Baby Deetz. We don’t know for sure if they are a boy or a girl. I’ll let you in on a secret- We have been told (by reliable sources) that by us saying “we have no gender preference” that means most likely we will be matched with a boy, because the majority of adoptive parents request girls and for other various reasons concerning Russian culture that to be honest with you, we have no idea if they are accurate or not. But still- the second we paint that room baby blue- you know what will happen! I can see us rushing to the store the day before we travel to buy some bubblegum pink to cover it up….

We have no idea about how old they will be, we’ve said newborn to two years old is an acceptable age range. Reliable sources also tell us that the minimum age is 9 months in Russia, because the children must remain on an “In-Country Waiting List” for 9 months prior to being available to outside adoption. That being said, we know of a family that adopted a 4 month old from Russia. Even though I think she was closer to 6 months old when they brought her home, the orphanage/government kept saying “Ohh…she’s too young for you to take her!” yet, she was placed with them anyway! 6 months to 24 months is a huge gap in age and development, it’s really like apples and oranges…..

It’s interesting to me how sometimes with the unknown, consciously we see a blank canvas and start filling in the blanks as information is presented- a little here, a little there. When people ask me about specifics when it comes to the baby, I just say what I just wrote. Basically- we have no idea! In my minds eye though, I picture a darling blonde toddler boy~ He knows how to walk, he babbles in Russian, but is learning some English words- “mama” “dada” “book”. I look in my rear view mirror and there he is sitting in his car seat playing with a toy car! He has a mischievous personality and a grin to match…. Sometimes I picture a little toddler girl with dark ringlet curls and alabaster skin who loves Disney Princesses as much as I do. People sometimes stop us in the store and say “Ohh! She looks just like you!” I just smile and nod and say thank you. Sunday night though, I had a dream, let me tell you about it…..

I dreamt that I went to baby Deetz crib and there was a TINY newborn baby inside. I was so shocked in my dream that I gasp! This baby is so…..SMALL! What am I going to do with this? The toys I’ve bought are all too grown up, the books are too mature, and the clothes won’t fit for another two years! I’ve bought sippy cups and tiny silverware not bottles! I pick her up out of the crib (yes it was a her!) and walk into the kitchen. I fill a sippy cup with cheerios about half way, throw in like 10 scoops of formula (I read the label to make sure there isn’t too much iron in it, I don’t want to poison her) by this time the baby is screaming in this tiny high pitched wail, so I fill it up with water and start shaking it. I sit down in the chair and start to feed her out of this huge sippy cup. The cup is practically as big as the baby! The whole time I’m feeding her I’m hoping she doesn’t choke on a cheerio. When I woke up, I laid in bed and re-evaluated my image of baby Deetz. This could be a really small baby…..

Part of me wants to blame the crazy vivid dream on the Chinese food I ate too late for dinner. Part of me is thinking it may be God saying- “Only I know what child I have picked for you and you don’t, so stop buying blue things and telling yourself if it’s a girl you’ll just sell them on ebay or at the next consignment sale!” But logically, it’s telling me the dream is based on a recent conversation I had with Chad. I found these cool magnetic strips you hang on the wall that have these giant magnets to display artwork. I told Chad “oohhhh we could hang these like a border in Baby Deetz room and paint the bottom half of the wall with that chalkboard paint, wouldn’t that be cool?” To that he said “don’t you think they’ll eat the chalk?” BINGO. I am picturing a toddler that would love drawing and coloring in chalk all over the walls. Chad is picturing a baby like in my dream that would definitely make a snack out of chalk. I wonder who will be more accurate? Will we be equipped to encompass that broad of an age range? Yikes. Needless to say, we are holding off on the magnetic strips and I will not eat General Tso’s and egg rolls that close to bed time ever again.

P.S.- You can make your own stick family at

Monday, May 25, 2009

Harra by Sarah

Happy Memorial Day! Today, I slept in too much and had to make a mad dash to the grocery store to pick up food to make for our Memorial Day cookout with the Mathis'. Chad had to mow the grass. We have appearances to keep up with now that we are the yard of the month. Then I cut Chad's hair. I've been cutting his hair since we moved to South Carolina. When we were in Georgia, we would just plan trips home to Orlando when he needed his hair cut. Susan has been cutting his hair since he was pretty small. When we moved to Georgia, he got his hair cut once by someone new, that didn't work out so well. So we would just drive home (only about 4 hours) every 2 months. Well, that plan doesn't work out so well now that we live 10 hours from home. And I think Susan moved to Pennsylvania anyway.....Well Sam and Seth wanted the "3-5-7" special. That's what Chad calls his hair cut because the blade numbers on the clippers, I just know he lays everything out and I go to town. I usually only say "oops" once or twice. I say it at least once just to make him paranoid and once because I really mean it and I've taken a chunk out where it's not suppose to be out. Most of the time it's in the back and he never knows..... Anyway- Harra by Sarah...I wish I had before and after pictures of all of the boys. We could have made at least 10 toupees out of the hair on the ground. So, I thought they all looked so handsome! Perfect summer hair..... I hope that you all had a great long weekend and were surrounded by the people that matter most to you- I know I did! What a great weekend and a great day. Tomorrow, our intern Jordan moves in and we'll officially kick off the normal summer craziness in the world of youth ministry. Hopefully, I'll have some progress to report this week as we should receive our home study on Tuesday or Wednesday. Then I'll have lots of new information to share with you- the wonderful world of immigration and Dossiers. Oh boy! Till then- "Harra by Sarah" is closed for business for another 6 weeks!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ikea Ide-a

Today we journeyed to Charlotte to Ikea and bought some really fun stuff for baby Deetz. It turned out to be a gift from Grandma and Grandpa White....we were so surprised when we went to check out, what an unexpected gift! Here is Grandpa Rick trying out some un-assembled seating. Picture a retreaded turtle stuck on its back and trying to flip itself over. Get the picture?

We drove home (in the pouring rain), went and got some Chinese food, and began the assembly of our treasures. As you can see, it was a group effort.

This is the really cool bookshelf we will hang at kiddy eye level after we paint the room. If it's a boy, a light blue with big gears to go with the robot theme, and if it's a girl maybe a shade of yellow, because I spotted this beautiful linen set at Baby U.S.A. It's a red/light blue/yellow flower and paisley number. Both would be cool, modern, and happy! And we love happy!

Here is the fun red book shelf. After I put all the books on it, I thought.....I need more books! Now that they are spread out, there doesn't look to be as many as in the baskets.

This is my favorite thing we got today.....a groovy "Dr. Evil" Egg chair. This was my assembly project! It swivels and spins around and the orange curtain thing goes all the way down for a perfect little reading nook. Once we get the closet doors taken off and the closet organizer/toy bin unit in that Mr. Fischer is building for us, we'll move the chair next to the book shelf. As you can see, the old beat up (but extremely comfortable) rocking recliner has made it's way downstairs too. For now, we are planning on using it as a sleeping/baby rocker chair. It matches nicely and we'll see how everything fits in the room once the furniture gets here.
I barely fit in the egg chair. I also got some really cute finger puppets at Ikea. Here I am testing everything out and modeling the finger puppets. It takes a lot of skill to put all 10 on by yourself. Then, I spun around too much and it kinda made me want to barf. Note to self: Don't let baby Deetz spin on a full stomach.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Major Award....

As we were getting ready to head out for the day today, the door bell rang. The dogs went crazy barking, as they think the doorbell is their signal to seek and destroy. So after we get them corralled into their room, Chad opens the front door to find a guy about our age, wearing casual clothes and a ball cap. I'm not really listening to the conversation- I hear the word "yard" and assume that it's a guy trying to solicit his lawn business. If you could see our yard you would know why I instantly thought that was the guy's purpose. I hate yard work. I find NOTHING enjoyable about mowing/weeding/mulching or so on....The only part of yard work I like is buying the flowers at Lowe's or Gunther's Garden down the street. I love choosing the colors (usually in either yellow or red) and picking out hardy varieties that come back year after year. (Annuals? Perennials? I don't even know which is which, I just know I am so happy if the things do happen to come back post freeze) But that's as far as the enjoyment goes. I hate putting them in the ground and eventually they die when I neglect to water them.
So the lawn guy.....he's talking to Chad and I hear Chad crack up laughing. He keeps saying "are you serious?" He hands Chad something and walks away.
I say "what was that all about?" Chad just looks at me in disbelief. We've been named the "Yard of the Month" in our subdivision. We both just sit there and laugh for a minute. We won a $25 gift card to Lowe's. We laugh some more. Chad says "I asked the guy if he was paying attention as he walked to the front door" Now, I must tell you that they judged the yards on May 13th, a day after Chad's step-dad mowed the grass for us. Obviously though, they must have done a "drive by judging" and neglected to look at the flower beds very closely. So here is the best part- they put a giant sign in the yard that says "YARD OF THE MONTH" RIGHT IN A GIANT PATCH OF WEEDS. Now I am embarrassed and feel like I need to go pull weeds and plant some more flowers immediately! Chad says- "Well I guess I better mow the grass tomorrow". With great power, comes great responsibility. We are going to be the laughing stock of the cul-de-sac. Our neighbors know the truth. Our Great Dane's potty area makes our yard smell like a barn. We mow our grass a week after our neighbors do because the stark contrast of grass lengths is ridiculous. We let things grow in the flower beds if they remotely look like flowers (ie: dandelions, clovers, ragweed).
Have you ever gotten something you didn't deserve? I feel that way every single day. I have a good job. I have a nice house (even if the yard is full of weeds). I have the sweetest husband. Our life's work in the ministry gives us purpose. My parents are still together and I love them every day more and more. My in-laws are terrific people (that even mow my grass). I ate way too much at dinner tonight. I have food in my fridge. I drive a nice car. My sister is my best friend. I have more clothes/shoes/and purses than one person should. I have good friends. I am going to be a mom soon. I know that God loves me, so much that he sent his son to die for me so that I can truly live. The gifts I've been given so freely are more than I even could have asked for, and certainly more than I deserve.
The only thing I wish is that I didn't win the yard of the month. Now I'm going to have to do yard work this month. Maybe I'll just move that darn sign to our neighbor's yard in the middle of the night tonight......

New News....

Yesterday afternoon we got a message from C.W.A. that our home study and other important documents have made their way to the agency and will be sent out to us early next week. (If mysterious head social worker says o.k. and signs off on the social worker's work) We'll see because of the big issue with the medical condition stuff. But....Hallelujah! At least we have some movement! That only took 10 weeks......
After we get those very expensive pieces of paper, then it's off to the Apostille. C.W.A felt badly about how long everything was taking so long and went ahead and got their documents Apostilled for us. So what we should have by mid-week is everything in our possession for our will be Dossier sent off to Columbia. I'm thinking about taking a little day trip down there and hand delivering them to the state office, since it's only a hop,skip, and jump from the Burg'. Maybe I can talk Chad, Rick, and Donna into making a day of it...... We can go to the zoo.
Today we are heading out to IKEA to buy baby Deetz a bookshelf for their room and me a new "down alternative" blanket for the bed. My sister's devil dog (Lola) ate the corners off mine and the fluff is finally starting to come out of all the little puffy pockets.
I am so thrilled that our documents are making forward motion! It's such a good feeling. There is good news for other fellow bloggers/adoptive families too- it seems as several agencies have been taken off the "blacklist" and Kate is getting close to a possible referral (two girls!) It's so refreshing to have new news, and good news to boot!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dollars and Sense

I haven’t talked about money in a while- I try not to bore you too much! But we subscribe to “Adoptive Families” magazine (It’s great…. You can check it out online at
Anyway, when you subscribe to the magazine, they send you little articles monthly by e-mail of additional topics and stories they couldn’t fit in the magazine. This month, one of the topics was about how the economy has effected adoption. I was going to do a cut and paste number, however, 1-It was mega long and 2- It basically said it was “too early” to detect a trend with how adoption has been effected by this recent downturn in our economy. It did, however, share several families’ stories that were on both sides of the fence. It told of a family that registered their Dossier in China in January 2006 and were getting close to a referral (can you imagine waiting that long?) And the husband has been unemployed for several months and they know that they will be unable to afford to travel or donate the required $5,000 humanitarian fee to the orphanage. They are praying that they DON’T receive a referral anytime soon, because they said they would have to decline the referral. In China a minimum income of $30,000 per dependant must be proven to qualify for adoption. (i.e.: a family of four that are trying to adopt a third child must earn $150,000) Yikes.
Then, you had the opinion that adoption is not a luxury, it is considered a need and families are willing to beg, borrow, or steal to make adoption work. I think this might be the category we fall into (other than the stealing bit….) but I think that is easy to say when you are not facing financial ruin. My heart just went out to all of those families that were saying no to adoption because of the cost associated with it. The article provides links to need based grants and low interest loans. However- if you earn too much, you don’t qualify for a grant and if you don’t earn enough you don’t meet the sending country’s minimum income requirements and can’t qualify for a loan. Catch 22.
A trend is slowly emerging that more biological families are being forced to give their children up because they can’t afford the child’s most basic needs and less families have the resources to adopt these children. It’s a vicious cycle.
One crazy lady basically said “I’m happy that so many people aren’t adopting right now, it bumped us to the front of the list and made our process quicker” Whoa- what I have to say about that is not “blogworthy” for young audiences.
Anyway- how has this affected us personally? We are depending on God fully. We’ve had a handful of people give VERY generously. Every week we’ve had an inquiry about our financial needs and we’ve answered them openly and honestly- WE NEED! Deetzsie’s Treatsies (my side business making cookies for settlements at our law firm) donates 100% of proceeds to “Operation Baby Deetz”. Chad has D.J.ed a few school dances. We are eating out less; my excessive shopping habit has taken a permanent vacation (only with a few relapses). I am thinking about a fundraiser in the early fall (Maybe a BBQ or silent auction?) We have “Pampered the Chef” and Daddy is still selling crosses. Basically, every penny that goes into our account is classified as “a night’s stay in St. Petersburg” or “dinner for me and Chad in St. Petersburg”. It’s a whole new mindset. We lovingly joke that one generous anonymous giver has paid for “one leg” of baby Deetz. All joking aside- we have been so blessed and are trusting God to make this a reality.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today we received another piece to the Dossier puzzle- Our photo verification pages that have been signed off on by the social worker and the agency. Basically, it is a document that goes to Russia that has 10 pictures, a description of each photo, and a letter from the agency verified by the social worker that those pictures are ACTUALLY our house. With how clean and orderly the house is in the pictures, there may be a question as to that being our actual house if we took the same shots today…But anyway, have you ever tried to reduce your life into 10 photographs? Yikes. 5 out of the 10 had to be pictures of our house, inside and out, also showing where the baby will sleep and play. The other 5 were to be of us as a couple in various stages of our marriage and pictures of immediate family.
Oh Boy. You should have seen the pictures we had to choose from! We narrowed it down to a picture of the front of the house, one of the backyard, one of the baby’s room, living room, and kitchen area. Then for the personal pictures- us on our wedding day (looking like mere babes) a picture of us on the cruise last Christmas, a picture of us in Mexico, a picture of my family and Chad's mom and Rick at Christmas, a picture of Chad's dad and Bev with the kids. It's kinda like summarizing your life in 10 words or less. But in a way, everything we've had to fill out has been like that. You worry about "how you look on paper". Forms leave no room for your true self, the fabric of your lives that hold everything else together, not just the big milestones or memories. I've heard it illustrated by someone talking about a tombstone, it's not the year listed that you were born or the year listed that you died, it's the little dash in between that truly matters and makes us who we are. Pray that whom ever is translating our documents into Russian in a few weeks (hopefully) can read between the lines and find us worthy of raising a child!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Today I just had to get out of the office for a little bit at lunch- the weather was perfect and I wanted to check out our new Goodwill Book Center. It’s where the old Goodwill use to be, now that the main store has moved down the street, the old building is for books only. I love books! I plan on signing baby Deetz up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library once I know their date of birth and such…. It’s a federally funded book club program that sends families books every month until they reach school age. You can check it out at
Anyway, I’ve been buying baby/toddler books like crazy! Top three reasons: 1-Age and gender don’t matter when you’re building a library. If the words are too complex, you can make up your own interactive story 2- Language skills are so essential and books are perfect tools to establish bonding, build communication skills, teach baby Deetz English, colors, counting, emotion, logic, deductive reasoning, all that good stuff. 3- As a society, we over T.V. our kids! I think about our “library” growing up, we had shelves and shelves of stories that stretched our imagination and taught us the love of a good story! My sister and I haven’t stopped talking/writing/reading since….
For less than $15, I bought 10 gently loved hardback books:
1-Boom Chicka-Boom
2-Farm Animals “Slide Out” Book
3-Trucks and Cars “Slide Out” Book- These books are so cool, instead of lifting the flap to show a hidden object, the child slides a window down into the page of the book to reveal the object. This is much more sturdy than flaps that rip off in tiny hands!
4-Guess How Much I Love You
5-My Love for You (English and Spanish to totally confuse the poor little thing)
6- One Yellow Lion (A cool “lift the flap” book)
7- Animal Colors (Another great “lift the flap” book)
8- The Wheels on the Bus (Another great “lift the flap” book)
9- Bear’s Magic Show (Pop up book)
10- And a book for mom and dad- a new baby name book. The one we have doesn't have meanings attached to names listed, it just lists them by type- “Russian Names” “Popular Names” “So In- They’re-Out Names” This one will be cool to see what the names we like actually mean.

This weekend, we really need to go buy a bookshelf for Baby Deetz. The basket we have for books is overflowing! I can’t wait for bedtime reading and wonderful story times…..I wonder if anyone is reading to baby Deetz while he/she waits for us? If not, we’ll have a lot of ground to cover. Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Disney Stories, Little Golden Books galore.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now Hiring

Now Hiring.......
POSITION:Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma, Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION:Long term, team players needed, for challenging, permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be a willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION:None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately.On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.


Thanks Sharon for the funny! Just think...... we are going to the ends of the earth (literally) to get this job! However, they forgot to mention "Co-Sleeper" assembly. Home Study update: Still no package with home study final copies per C.W.A. today. Maybe tomorrow? I have been checking out some other blogs and checking out their "time lines" I guess we are on the slow side of the norm. (That sounds like a motto: "Slow side of the norm") I like it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brief News Flash....

Spoke with Portia a few minutes ago..... Our home study final copies are in route to C.W.A. for approval. Maybe we can get all our docs to Columbia to be Apostilled and on to Russia before their Summer break? It's unlikely, I think we planned this one just perfectly..... (sarcasm doesn't translate well over e-mail) So we are lined up perfectly to hit summer break and be delayed another month. That goes right with my prediction of a referral in the dead of winter 2010. That way we not only freeze our buns, but miss the tax credit for 2009. Keep praying that I am wrong blog reading people! Let's praying for impeccable timing and that our Dossier is pushed through before summer break and keeps on rolling so Baby Deetz is known before October 23rd. (My 30th birthday)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I fought the bed (and the bed won)

I've been in the market for a wonderful thing called a "co-sleeper". As you may, or may not know, bonding is a big deal when it comes to adoption. In short, you've missed out on some very formative months in your child's life and children in orphanages are forced to be very independent little creatures due to the lack of one on one care. Therefore, it is important to create bonds with your child upon getting them home no matter what their biological age. Even if they can feed themselves (which many do even at a very young age) the parent holds the bottle and sits with the child to eat. Another biggie is sleeping. 1-Orphans are accustomed to sharing sleeping quarters with a lot of other people. 2-Co-sleeping a great way to "make up for lost time"- It's a intimate way to live as a family, at least until the child gets comfortable with their new surroundings. Anyway- the Co-Sleeper is this cool invention that is basically an extension to your bed- it attaches to the side and remains open to the parent without the risk of "rolling over" onto a baby actually in your bed. So, today the big neighborhood next to ours had a community wide yard sale and I hit the mother load! A like-new co-sleeper- still in the original box and carrying case! And in a neutral, non-gender specific color! The best part, the tags were still in the box a $200 item for a $30 steal!!! So I couldn't wait to but it together and share the pictures with you......yeah, it didn't go so well. Here is the tiny box it came in.

I read the instructions carefully and began locking collapsible arms and "pressing here" and pulling there to get something that came in a 3 foot bag into a 5 foot item. As you can see, I had some lovely furry assistants who are very curious about all this stuff that is making its way into our house lately.

As soon as I got to the part with the fold out mattress Alex thought "Oh boy a new dog bed!!!" These poor pooches have no idea what's coming their way and what adventure they are in for.....

The bed also converts into a "Pack-N-Play" and a diaper changing table. Pretty cool huh? Here it is as the Pack-N-Play. So I get it, for the most part, up and together. Then I thought I would take it to our bed and see how it looked. Yeah- It wouldn't fit through the door frame. (*Note to self- when assembling this item for real Baby Deetz and not "blog photo op" ASSEMBLE IN THE BEDROOM!) So I took it all apart, determined to show you how neat this is going to be! I got it all apart, drug it into our room, and began to reassemble. I was covered in sweat and dog hair from rolling around on the ground. I was about to go crazy trying to get this thing back together! Needless to say, I gave up. Obviously you need two sets of hands to attach this sucker to the bed. (And a master's degree in baby product assembly). AND I would have to make the bed before posting pictures on the blog. I decided to call it a day and try to pull a completed picture off the web instead of struggling anymore AND making the bed. I didn't think though.....I had to disassemble to get it OUT of the room! Ughh.....Then, I spent another 30 minutes trying to get this thing back into the tiny box. This is what I was left with......At least I got the bumpers and mattress back into the bag...

We called it a day, drug the thing into the Baby's closet (to remain hidden until it is needed months down the road) and we all took a nap.......
This baby product stuff is a killer. If I was more mathematically and assembly minded, here is what you would have seen......However, these people are not covered in sweat or dog hair, I don't even think they are real people- they look like wax dummies. And they look WAY too happy to be awake in the middle of the night with a screaming baby. I bet they didn't even put their Co-Sleeper together!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paging Dr. Deetz

I spent a considerable amount of time today talking to, texting, and e-mailing home study person, mysterious home study supervisor lady, and the agency. Word on the street has it that our home study "draft" is being re-sent to the agency because of some wording concerning the acceptable/unacceptable health conditions of our adoptive child. It is our understanding that every child in a Russian orphanage has a diagnosis. We have been brainwashed since the beginning of this plight that "Sarah and Chad wish to adopt a child as healthy as possible, but are willing to adopt a child with minor or correctable health issues" To me this statement encompasses a gamut of health diagnosis that are 1-minor, 2-correctable, 3-cosmetic. Right? This rules out down syndrome, heart conditions, muscular dystrophy, the biggies. This leaves, WELL, the minor stuff. Stuff you can treat with creams, antibiotics, and worst case scenario- physical therapy, other types or therapy, and minor surgery. According to our social worker, the agency would like a list of what minor conditions are acceptable. (Cleft palate, cleft lip, heart problems- Are you thinking what I'm thinking- since when is a heart problem minor???) Anyway.... I am so tired. I am just tired. I said no. We won't be making a list. The risk in this is that we may be put on ice in Moscow trying to leave the country with a child that has scabies. Whatever. At this point, that is a risk I am willing to take. It is my understanding that some families have been denied travel home because their home study does not have a role call listed of all the fungus, bacteria, facial imperfections, and/or moles/warts/growths/viruses that a child may have. These families are being "held" in Moscow while their home study is being "revised" to include said fungus, bacteria, facial imperfections, and/or moles/warts/growths/viruses. This costs time and a lot of money. The thing is I wouldn't even know where to start on making a list. I am not a doctor. I just play one on t.v. If this is an issue, why doesn't the agency provide a checklist of medical conditions and have us check them off? And provide us with said list....say...uhhhh 8 weeks ago?
This is where I am. It's been eight weeks since our home study. I am tired. I'm not making a list. I don't have enough medical expertise to make a list. AND I am honestly scared (maybe with a little bit of shallow mixed in) to say "I will except a child with crossed lazy eyes, clubbed foot, and a cleft palate" I hope that doesn't make me sound like a bad person. I just think that medical issues should be evaluated by a doctor once a referral has been made. Then we'll take it one step at a time about what we can handle, financially and emotionally when it comes to our baby's health. Or we can just live in Moscow for a while. I just want to cross the medical issue bridge when I get to it. Dr. Deetz is taking a vacation to the Cayman Islands.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back in Business!

Sarah's Scrapshack is back in business....... Previously, I have been all about the scrapbook. I have an album for the first five years of our marriage, every major vacation we've ever been on, one for the dogs, of course a high school album, wedding album......then, I got tired of making pictures of just me and Chad. So I started to make gift albums. I think I got through the first round of friends and family having babies. Then those people started multiplying like bunnies! On that note, I've composed a little letter to those children without scrapbooks:
Dear Second child born to all of my friends and family, I don't like your other sibling better than you. I just couldn't keep up!
Anyway, life got in the way of living and I just packed all my stuff away. It was A LOT of stuff. A few years ago I taught a class every week at our local scrapbook store when we were living in Georgia. At first, they paid me. Then the store started doing poorly. (I promise my teaching had nothing to do with it) So then they started "paying me" in supplies. We'll the store ended up closing before we left there and the sisters that owned the store gave me a ton of stuff. Then they started liquidating their inventory, so I bought more stuff and I mean- cheap! Then my mom gave me a TON of stuff because she says without me at home to motivate her to scrapbook, she just doesn't do it anymore. Anyway, all that to say this: I HAVE A TON OF STUFF! So I organized all the stuff and set it up in our dining room. Everything tucks under the table when we have guests over for dinner and we use the top for food overflow, so that works out! Maybe when things settle down this summer and we are just "waiting our big wait" I can start working more diligently on baby Deetz's lifebook. But in the meantime, whenever the mood strikes me I can pull it out and start scrappin'! Here is the cute paper I got from! Isn't it adorable?
And some really cool nesting dolls paper.......

And my personal favorite- personalized paper "Our Journey to You.....From Russia with Love"
P.S.- The bunny in all the pictures is the salt and pepper shakers from Easter that have not been put away yet......

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

News from the "inside"

News from St. Petersburg from the insider, Kate. You can check out her blog at She is the American woman I told you about living in St. Petersburg waiting on her daughter (s). She is getting close to referral- please keep her in your prayers as she continues to wait. Waiting is the worst word in the dictionary. In any language.(We have been waiting 8 weeks for our home study tomorrow) Anyway....Here are some pictures from her blog of the city that I find just fascinating.
She says there are people with baby bears that you can "photo-op" sad.
Last Sunday (Mother's Day) St. Petersburg celebrated "Victory Day". It really is an amazing story of the spirit of the people of St. Petersburg. I was going to read what she wrote and then try to explain it in my own words, but really, Kate does such a beautiful job, I thought I would just use her words concerning "Victory Day".

"Tomorrow is Victory Day. All across Europe people will celebrate VE Day--Victory in Europe--and the end of WWII. Here in St. P we celebrate more. We celebrate the end of The Great Patriotic War (also known as WWII).

Everyone is in a festive mood. The streets have been full of fireworks, races and hundreds, possibly thousands, of men and boys in uniform. Tomorrow they will march down Nevsky Prospekt to Palace Square. I saw them two weeks ago practicing for tomorrow. The different groups of sailors and soldiers all converged on the square in front of the Hermitage. Then, a marching band took center stage--right under the angel.If you haven't seen it, there is a massive statue of an angel right in front of the tsars' winter palace. She stands with arms raised and head bowed. As long as she stands, the people believe, St. Petersburg will be safe. There is an excellent series of children's books about Russian history. These three fictionalized accounts take readers from the revolution, in "The Angel on the Square", across the Siberian wilderness and finally through the siege of Leningrad. It is the end of that siege that we celebrate tomorrow.

The tenacity of the people who lived in my new city amazes me! They were blockaded for five and a half months. Electricity was cut off and public transportation stopped. They were freezing and starving. They had eaten everything--grass, the bark from the trees in the summer garden... Finally, finally the water in Lake Lagoda froze and they were able to drive across it on "The Road of Life" to secure supplies.Despite losing between a million lives, one-third of the pre-war population, the citizens of Leningrad fought bravely in fierce hand-to-hand combat and defeated the Germans. That defeat marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. That defeat told the world that Hitler could be stopped; that evil would not triumph.

It's interesting to me that this part of the war is not often covered in our history texts. It's an amazing story! And yet in school all I remember learning about the Russian involvement in WWII is that they were part of the Allied Powers fighting the Germans. I know that the defeat in Russia (usually accredited primarily to Russian winters and the mud that follows in the spring). Yet, this is an amazing story of a brave, tenacious people! It is a triumphant, victorious story. I think it should be celebrated. Tomorrow, I will join the citizens of Russia in gratefully thanking the survivors of that war and celebrating their victory.I hope you find a way to celebrate your own small victories tomorrow. Be triumphant!" -Kate

Here are some pictures that she took of the advertisements(1), carriages lined up waiting for tourists at the Hermitage (2), and soldiers lined up in the public square (3).

Thanks Kate for being my eyes in my child's hometown! And providing a wonderful story that we can read together someday!

Monday, May 11, 2009


A few nuts in bolts to take care of pre-blog:
Saturday's posting was a thorn in my side. For some reason blogger did not like my photographs or the words that went along with them, so I kept editing and editing and what you are left with is huge gaps in the text. It looked normal in my preview screen, but for some reason, it just wouldn't stick. FYI: I have an mailing list that e-mails folks automatically when I put up a new post. So I apologize to Mom, Rick and Donna, Jana, and my sister if you received 80 e-mails notifying you with the same post. *P.S.- If you would like to be added to my mail list, just forward me your e-mail address and I'll be happy to add you to the mailing, I just wouldn't be presumptuous to assume that you want my blog sent to you daily, you probably are happy with just checking in every now and again...*

Also- Congratulations to the 2,000 blogger to visit since the blog began, My mom! She called and told me last night that she signed on and she was #2,000! I told her she won the grand-prize! She gets to be a grandma......

Now that business is taken care of, onto the blog:
Tonight was learn to speak Russian night for my in-laws. I showed them all the all of the Russian travel guides, children's books, and the pocket sized translation guide I have purchased. ( is a wonderful thing) We spoke very bad Russian and laughed a lot. We got to the part in the translation book called "medical care" We total butchered the Russian language by saying "I was hit by a car" (miNYA zbiLA maSHYna) or "I'm having a heart attack" (u miNYA sirDYECHny PRIstup) or my personal favorite "I've lost a lot of blood" (YA patiRYAL MNOga KROvi) I came to the conclusion if I were to have a medical emergency in Russia I can't even say those words while not having a heart attack or bleeding out. Odds are I will not have the presence of mind to look up the word in the glossary, turn to the correct page and try to read a sentence in a language that puts letters like MNOga together. That's not looking so good. Hopefully they get Grey's Anatomy over there and they can take an educated guess concerning my symptoms and diagnosis. Anyway- here is a picture from Sarah's School of Hard Knocks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

Mother's Day has always been bittersweet. Sweet because I am a mama's girl at heart. I love my momma! And I have truly been blessed with a wonderful mom-in-law and step mom-in-law when I married Chad. I am very fortunate in that way to have not one, but three strong, loving, and smart women in my life.
However, Mother's day has always been slightly sad too.... for my mom (and Donna) as my Grandmother and Chad's maternal Grandmother are no longer with us, so naturally, this day is filled with mixed emotions for them too. But also, by not having children. There is always the "Will all the Mother's in the church congregation please stand up?" and the "Happy Mother's Day" greeting from well wishers. I always felt like I wasn't in the Mommy club. This day would always spark the "So when are you and Chad going to have kids of your own?" conversation. That would always end awkwardly.
This year was a little different! I am an expectant mother! It made the day a little easier..... still a little bittersweet though because I have a feeling that our child has already been born and they are sitting, waiting for us.....I can't begin to explain to you what an odd, helpless, and empty feeling that is. Having the feeling that you are already a mother, but just not having any proof.
I got a card from my mom in the mail (cried a little) a card from Donna (cried a little) and a card from Chad (cried a lot). This day would have been so much better if a real little person was here with me! But the whole "mom thing" is beginning to fit a little better. When my mind drifts, I see a little person laughing and running and calling "Mommy look at this!" Then no matter what day it is, that will be my first Mother's day......

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday (In the park)

Chad's parents are in town (we are stop #3 on their circuit) and we had a wonderful Saturday in Greenville. We didn't know it was "Artist-sphere" the downtown art festival, was in town. So we kinda stumbled into it by mistake on our way to dinner. We walked and looked at all the art exhibits. We saw some cool street performers.....

Then we finished off a lovely evening at Soby's for an early Mother's Day dinner. Here is all that remains of my shrimp and grits. It was as happy as my belly after some She-Crab-Soup.

Greenville is a very family friendly city. The tree sheltered downtown streets, the beautiful waterfall and the park is a natural draw to people with children. They can splash in the water, visit the old fashioned toy store, get some penny candy at Mast General store, and run in the park. I can't wait to bring Baby Deetz there soon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Buzzards, Bats, and Bumblebees

Sometimes when you are knee deep in paperwork and fighting the battle of the home study, one forgets that babies do actually live in Russia. And better yet..... Babies come home from Russia with adoptive parents! Imagine that, what a concept!

I've recently found some great blogs of parents that have brought home such adorable children from Russia. Check out Jackie's blog "Step by Step: Our Journey to Adopt from Russia" Here is the link..... you can even lay eyes on their precious son!
Or They have a great "blog roll" of other links to adoptive Russian parents! Wow! Real families!

Sometimes we forget to look up. When we are "in the trenches" it is so easy to focus our eyes on what's right in front of us, we forget to have joy, peace, and hope for what lies ahead of us. Someone sent me a great e-mail this week about buzzards, bats, and bumblebees. Here it is.....

THE BUZZARD: If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

THE BAT: The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

THE BUMBLEBEE: A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

PEOPLE: In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up. Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up! Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and trust in our Creator who loves us is directly in front of us.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We need you!

Currently there is a federal tax credit for parents to help defer some of the huge cost associated with adoption. Basically, the year you bring your child home, you can claim the adoption expenses on your income taxes for that year and receive a credit in addition to a standard "dependant credit". Legislature is toying with the idea of doing away with this credit tax in December of 2010 unless our congressmen and women vote to keep this credit as a permanent incentive for adoptive parents. And not just an incentive, but a bit of a safety net for parents that would like to adopt, but find it financially impossible on their own. We need you help! You may think you are just one voice, but together we can shout! The bottom line is: This hurts foster children and children living in orphanages! Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a little more financial security in raising a child, exspecially in that first year of recovering from travel/adoption expenses and time off work, but in the end this just hurts children in an already defunct system.

This is what we are begging you to do, right now:

1- Read more about the act that would help this act from being repealed at The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213

2- Send an e-mail to your U.S. Representative
Write your U.S. Representative (here is the link! Just do it!)

Here is my letter, it took me less than 3 minutes to do the whole process and I'm a really slow typer. You just punch in your zip code and it sends you a link to start typing! You can even crib my letter if you want.....

Dear (they even fill this in for you):

I am heartbroken to hear that the adoption credit for families is being considered for appeal (The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213) Not only does this hurt prospective adoptive parents recover from the huge financial burden of adopting but ultimately this hurts children living in foster care and orphanages all around the world. The odds are already stacked against these precious children and I fear this decision would lessen the odds for these children finding their forever families. Of all the ways to save money and trim our spending, I doubt that robbing abused, neglected, and abandoned children of loving homes is the solution we are looking for. As a waiting adoptive parent, please echo my concerns in your fight to keep this credit available.

3- Copy and paste your letter into your e-mail to your U.S. Senator
Write your U.S. Senator (Come on people, do it now, don't wait "till tomorrow")

4- Take a minute to think about how all the children you just helped find their forever families and their future families catch a little financial break!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Black and White (or daiquiri and oatmeal): A stark contrast

Every year one of the Partners at our firm buys a table at the "Piedmont Club" for their annual charity fashion show benefiting the Spartanburg Children's Shelter. For those of you non-Spartanburgers, the Piedmont Club is this posh "who's who" club that you pay (a lot) to be a member of. I've been there a few times, always affiliated with the firm and their goings-on's. Basically, they find some Jr. Leaguers, friends of the club, and board members to model the latest fashions from stores around town (Two Doors Down, Pink on Main, The Ants Pants; Yes they are as expensive as they sound.....) This year, every model had their adorable toddlers with them- Henry, Wyatt, Katherine to name a few.... and boy were they cute, boys in their little sear-sucker suits and girls in their smocked dresses and hair bows. "Ansley is wearing a precious pima cotton onesie with a darling crab applique in daiquiri pink and oatmeal pinstripe. Perfect for a trip to the beach or with her parents to a southern low country boil during those sizzling summer nights"

Then after the fashion show, the people from the children's shelter showed a presentation about their facility and the children in the area that they serve. The shelter exists to provide emergency and sometimes long-term care to children that have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. (This is where we do SuperChurch every month through Bethel) Anyway, during the presentation, some young adults that were once children at the shelter gave their testimonies about what a positive impact the shelter has made in their lives. There was no "Lilly Pulitzer" fashions or monogrammed jumpers from "Zucchini". Just young adults that have beat the system, broken the cycle of abuse, and have set their paths apart from the world in which they were raised. One young man was about to be a college graduate, one young lady said she had her first Christmas at the shelter "with gifts and everything" another said "I would have been in jail or in a substance abuse program without the shelter". Wow.

What a stark contrast. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we are wearing/driving/living in (the daiquiri pink part of our lives) we forget that a whole other "black and white" world exists on our own front porch. Children are right in front of us that have been used, abused, and neglected by the people in their lives that are suppose to love them the most. I'm not saying that those people at the club don't love their children because they are wearing little pink bow-ties and tiny penny loafers, but I just pray we all know that's not what life is all about. That in those contrasts we should be truly grateful for all that we have been given and that we actively seek ways to give a little back. That when we are feeling that life has shorted us, we can step back and evaluate our pink daiquiri wants from our black and white needs. That we realize that we have been given exceedingly and abundantly beyond our wildest dreams and the people that we love and love us are more valuable than any runway fashion.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Did you know....

1-Did you know the temperature in St. Petersburg today was the same as in Spartanburg at some point? 71 degrees!

2-Did you know that you can join C.W.A. as a fan on facebook?

3- Did you know you know that you can check them out on youtube?

4- Or even follow them on Twitter?

5- Did you know that a St. Petersburg woman was arrested today on board a flight from Maine for trying to bite flight attendants after taking prescription medication and drinking "an unknown amount" of liquid soap in the on board lavatory?

6- Did you know we still haven't gotten the final copy of our home study back in the mail?

7- Did you know that while waiting for said home study, one can truly devote themselves to scholarly research such as- How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? I don't like Tootsie rolls or pops, thus, more research was needed to answer this question. According to "It depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your mouth, the amount of saliva, etc. Basically, the world may never know."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Traditional Russian Pirozhki

I really do enjoy cooking....buying cookbooks, shopping for food, trying new recipes, eating! However, when you search for Russian recipes on the web, be honest, they don't really sound that good to me. I am hoping when we do get to travel, since my expectations are so low, I am pleasantly surprised with how good the food is. We'll see about that one. But in the meantime, I found this recipe and it doesn't sound that bad.....

2 cups milk, warmed
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium head cabbage, finely chopped
6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place 1/2 cup milk in a cup or small bowl. Stir in sugar and sprinkle yeast over the top. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour the remaining milk into a large bowl.
Add the melted butter, egg, salt and 1 cup of flour to the large bowl with the milk. Stir in the yeast mixture. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and doesn't stick to your hands. Cover the bowl loosely and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour. Dough should almost triple in size.
While you wait for the dough to rise, melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until cabbage has wilted. Mix in the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender. Set this aside for the filling.
Place the risen dough onto a floured surface and gently form into a long snake about 2 inches wide. Cut into 1 inch pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls by hand until they are 4 to 5 inches across. Place a spoonful of the cabbage filling in the center and fold in half to enclose. Pinch the edges together to seal in the filling.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line one or two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Place the pirozhki onto the baking sheet, leaving room between them for them to grow.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

To Exchange....

It's funny to me that sometimes the "Russian word of the day" corresponds with what is going on in our lives. Today has been all about "exchange".
This summer Chad is getting an intern to help him with the youth group because summer is the busiest time of our calendar year. Two week long trips (one to the beach and one to New Orleans) and several "outings" every week when they aren't on a trip really adds up. An extra set of hands is a must. This year our intern is Jordan, when we lived in Georgia his dad was the senior pastor of our church and Jordan was in our youth group. He is a great guy (he will be a Junior this year at UGA in Athens) a fantastic musician, and an amazing leader of his FCA, and we are really looking forward to having him this summer. So, Jordan is coming to live with us while he is here..... sooooo..... let the exchange begin.
For only two people, Chad and I have an unbelievable amount of stuff. Our closets are filled to capacity. Making room for another person's stuff, well, it can be quite challenging. Basically, Chad's "man room" upstairs is no more. It's now Jordan's bachelor pad. We moved all the furniture out of Baby Deetz's room (previously our guest bedroom) and moved it upstairs to make that our guest room. Blair and the boys thankfully came over to help.
Today's exchange:
1- Moving all of the furniture (two club chairs, a recliner, and a futon) out to the downstairs.
2- Installing a window a.c. unit so Jordan doesn't melt (it's cooled by our house a.c., but that room is ALWAYS hot)
3- Borrowing Mark's truck to move said furniture
4- Taking the man furniture to Jana and Blair for their playroom
5-Carrying the man furniture up their stairs
6- Coming home and setting up Jordan's room and cleaning up the now empty baby room in anticipation for the furniture to arrive sometime in June.
Tomorrow that will mean:
1- Cleaning out Jordan's closet
2- Bringing down the summer clothes hanging in Jordan's closet currently
3-Storing the winter clothes away in our new "under the bed" thingies.
That's what we call an exchange.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring has sprung!

Happy May Day!
It's been spring here for a few weeks, but word on the street is that it is almost spring in St. Petersburg! Here is my deductive reasoning on this topic:
Clue #1-On my google home page I have the temperature in Spartanburg listed as well as the temperature in our hometown (Kissimmee, Florida) and in St. Petersburg. Today is the first day that the forecast in St. Petersburg has not had four consecutive days of snow! Here is the temperature- currently (it's the middle of the night) it is 45 degrees. Tomorrow high 55/low 37, sunny. Sunday, high 61/low 40, sunny. Monday, high 62/low 41, sunny! I bet there are a lot of very happy Russian people right now in St. Petersburg. They are probably wearing their little fur bikini's (sans Raquel Welsh in one million years b.c.) and swimming in the icy ocean. This is like a heat wave people!
Clue #2: A fellow blogger adopting from St. Petersburg, Kate, who blogs "from russia,with love" is actually living in St. Petersburg. She is an "ex-pat" who is living in Russia indefinitely and teaching English to Russian children in St. Petersburg. I think she is only a few weeks from receiving her referral (one or two daughters ages 4-6). You should check out her blog..... I am in awe of her wonderful use of the English language (that's probably good since she is an English teacher), her writing skills, and of course to me, she is like an "insider"! But every now and then she posts pictures of the city and it appears things have thawed considerably.
Clue #3- This amazing thing called a "webcam" There are tons of them all over the city and you can search "St. Petersburg, Russia Webcam" Here is one
You can watch cars and people walk by in real time. Kinda cool, huh? So by the looks of things the ground is now green with grass and the asphalt has returned to normal- no longer covered in a blanket of white.
So.....with those clues, I think it's safe to say "Spring has sprung in St. Pete". Relatively speaking anyway- 45 degrees is still pretty darn cold. Bundle up Baby Deetz!