Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in photos.....

It's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our household, but wanted to bring you our Thanksgiving in pictures.... We have so much to be Thankful for! My parents were here all week, Brittany made pink eggs (thanks for the recipe Amy- they were pretty good!) caught a nice nap, watched National Lampoons Christmas (of course!) had game night with our friends, and then woke up bright and early on Friday for some black Friday shopping. Family, friends, eating, and shopping- what could be better?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All set for the big day!

Turkey brined.....check! Cranberry sauce congealing in the fridge......check! Pecans toasted......check! Lovely flower arrangment given by Rick and Donna displayed on the table....check! Newest outdoor Christmas decoration examined by the poochies....check!!!
Bring on the big feast!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for...... I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of the 5 F's.
1- Faith
2- Family
3- Friends
4- Fun
5- Food
Tomorrow I will be off work....and the day after that.... and the day after that! 5 days off? What will I do with myself? Plenty I'm sure. I always look forward to the Macy's parade, cooking good food, EATING good food, and spending time with my family and friends. It's really the perfect holiday. I was watching back to back episodes of the Food Network (as I do every Thanksgiving, I mean how many ways can you really make stuffing?) and Paula Deen said it best "I like Thankgiving because it's just like Christmas without the pressure of having to buy gifts" Amen Paula.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am a believer. It only took 4 years.

I contacted our financial guru today- our agency family builder fund has grown significantly since our last inquiry. At this point, any funds that come in as a donation to our adoption will help to offset our travel expenses and out of pocket expenses (flights, train tickets, hotels/host family payments, food, tips, orphanage relief $, visas, in country medical exams, etc.) Isn't that wonderful news?!!?! But it's not to late if you want to help with that. (Remember it's a tax write off! And the $ still goes directly into our account, but now it is issued directly to us at the time of travel instead of to Russia or CWA) Here is the link. Now I think of every dollar as "one night in the hotel in Moscow" or "One Borscht stew coming right up" Isn't that exciting?!?!?!

I remember when Chad came home from a Steven Curtis Chapman concert about 4 years ago. He said that the proceeds that night benefited Shoshana's Hope (Now Show Hope, check them out at SCC's adoption foundation. He told me about the amazing video clips shown throughout the concert and he asked me "what do you think about adoption?" I'm sure we talked about it and decided that we would love adopt "someday" but the financial aspect of it seemed beyond our capability. It's still sad to me that adoption costs so much.....I'm sure a lot of potentially great parents think this way too. I was definately NOT a believer four years ago.

Then the summer we met our dear friend's son, William, adopted from Ethiopia God nudged us again. Matt told us that if they could do it, we could do it. "Don't worry about the money" he said, "God will put the right people at the right time in your life and God will blow the doors off of your expectations." I still wasn't a believer.

Then we took the leap of faith and finally decided that this was the right thing for our family. We were absolutely overwhelemed and really had no idea how all the pieces were going to fall into place. In the back of our mind I thought, well, we might take the longest in history of adoption to come up with the funds, but we'll get their eventually. We had no idea if anyone would give at all (this is the WORST time in our country's recent history) but it was worth a try. We sent a letter. We linked up the donation site on our blog, we announced to our church that we were adopting. I only talk about money once in a blue moon (I know you don't like reading about this stuff that much, but it is a major issue surrounding our adoption and others too, so pardon the "shop talk" but maybe some "non-believer" just like me will read this and God will nudge their heart too- You CAN do it! I know you don't believe it, but just try it out, take Him up on his promises....)

Anyway- What a wonderful early Christmas gift. God is sufficient to meet all of our needs and gives abundantly beyond our expectations. He is so good and we are so grateful. I am a believer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A few weeks ago I got a call from my friend Carol. She asked me to stop by her house on the way home from D-Group (I help teach 9th and 10th grade girls discipleship class) She said she had a few cookbooks that belonged to her mom that passed away and she would like to give me since I love to "read" cookbooks (like normal books, cover to cover) and enjoy cooking. She said she knew I would enjoy them as much as her mom did. She also said she also had a surprise for me. When I walked into the house I was in shock. The normally very spacious home was covered in stacks and rows of cookbooks and other books from her mom's extensive collection. The hardwood floors weren't even visible. In standard Carol style they were categorized by type and style. (You should see this woman's spice rack- it's phenomenal.) She tried to talk me into taking all of them. I told her that would require a house renovation! So for an hour or so I flipped through what was most likely 1,000 or more books. Carol had a few recommendations (cookbooks that she often used, and since I have never had anything but superior meals at Carol's house, I took her up on all of her suggestions) I had that great "auction" or "shoe sale" feel. I was in hog heaven. My surprise was a cookbook called "Please to the table: A Russian Cookbook"! I was so excited!
So for the last month I have been reading cookbooks, of course starting with "Please to the Table". Since it was written in 1990, it contains various "Soviet" region's recipes, not just traditional Russian fare. I read it, cover to cover, and then put it back on the shelf (actually back on the dryer because I haven't made room for the 50+ new books yet).
Then I found a new blog friend- Amy- (check her out at who also loves to cook and is waiting for her little Russian cupcake to come home too. She had made a few delicious looking dishes and posted them on her blog and I thought "I didn't see anything that looked like that in a Russian recipe book......" So after a few chats about our love of shopping and cooking, we decided it would be fun to have a cross country Russian cook-off. We agreed on 7 or 8 dishes and decided to TRY to cook the same recipe once a week; the first being "Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup" or "Vospapur". So tonight was the night. Unfortunately, Chad went to a concert tonight, but not to worry.....the soup made about 8 servings. *Honey-your soup is in the fridge- LOTS of it* Should have cut this one in half.
3 T. Olive Oil
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 lg. garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. dried, split, red lentils, well rinsed
5 c. Chicken Stock
3 med. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 teas. ground cumin (I would use a lot less)
1/2 teas. dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Opt.: Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (I only bought this because I knew I would be posting a picture and wanted it to look pretty for you.....)
1. In large soup pot heat oil. Saute onion, garlic, and apricots. Stir until onion is soft. (This says 12 minutes, but mine took about 2 minutes)
2. Add lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for about 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
3. Stir in tomatoes, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for about 10 more minutes.
4. Remove half the soup and puree in a food processor (Note from Sarah: if you puree it all it will look like something that came from a diaper, trust me on this people). Return the puree to the pot, stir in lemon juice and more salt and pepper if you wish. Simmer 2-3 more minutes.
5. Sprinkle with parsley.
So- I bet you're dying to find out. How did it taste? Well- it was interesting. I would best describe it as "middle eastern vegetarian chili" It was very filling, very hardy, and very inexpensive to make. It tasted like it had meat in it and it warmed me right up. When I dipped the crusty bread it in, it kinda reminded me of hummus. The apricots were also a really yummy touch. They added a nice layer of flavor. Now- what I didn't love-
1- The color! Amy and I couldn't find red lentils, so we decided the brownish red would suffice. I'm sure it didn't effect the flavor, just the eye appeal. (See: Diaper)
2- The cumin! (Usually I love cumin in southwestern foods, but that just was too much! I think I might even substitute a nice smoked paprika next time. I think that would help the color too.....
Overall, I would call tonight a success. Interesting.....but a success! Stay tuned next week for "Moldavian White Bean Soup" Uhhhh...What's a moldavian? Just kidding ;0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You're Invited! (To my pity party)

We got another bulk e-mail from our case manager today, they've gotten a few more referrals this week (not me you would be the first to know!) The e-mail said that in addition to the new referrals, they have gotten more court dates for other families and families traveling on their first trip this month too. She also mentioned that they are confident they will be getting more referrals before Christmas! So my hopes were high! Sky high!
I wrote her back and said something to the effect of "great news, maybe we can be one of those lucky travelers before 2010" She wrote be back and said the likelihood of that happening in our region was not good, that at best, we are looking at January. And not to get our hopes up. Too late for that......
Looks like a Christmas "State Side" is in our future unless we are expecting a Christmas miracle. Those do happen you know.....
Just wanted you to come wallow in my disappointment with me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Remember me telling you #1 our baby furniture store went out of business after we bought our nursery furniture? and #2 we got a flier in the mail recently saying they were holding an online auction to liquidate their assets? Well I totally cashed in on that one. I've never had a smoking habit, drinking habit, or drug habit, but let me tell you SHOPPING IS MY DRUG OF CHOICE. Every night I would preview the 900 item catalog dreaming of all the great stuff I could get for baby Deetz. I didn't bid on anything until last night about 45 minutes before the auction ended. I cursed the people all week bidding against each other two weeks before the deadline, driving up the prices for no good reason. I planned Monday night around "Auction Night" and Chad and I sat down and perused the items. I almost cried when designer crib linens I fell in love with at the store were selling for less than $100 for EVERYTHING! Including the rug, mobiles, and diaper caddies. It made me ill to see the crib conversion kits we paid $200+ for were selling for $1.25. Yes, you read that right, one dollar and 25 cents. By 8:45 I was broken out into a rash. I wished, wished, wished we knew if Baby Deetz was a boy or a girl. You may recall the linen set that was displayed in our first crib (CoCalo Harlow) It sold for less than $100. But it was very feminine and I fought off the urge to "buy it just in case" and sell it on eBay if it didn't suit our needs. I behaved myself to the best of my ability. A few nights earlier I actually dreamed I won one of the Quinny Buzz strollers being auctioned and I was jogging around the neighborhood with an empty stroller, waiving at all of our neighbors. (I didn't get a stroller by the way....See "cursed people" as earlier mentioned) They were just too expensive when it was almost said and done. But anyway, when we were buying our crib (the first time) I saw this adorable diaper bag by Kalencom. I loved it because it was so unique, but it came with a price tag that overruled my fashion sense. There was no way I could justify spending $100 on a bag. So, when I started looking through the online lots- there it was #78! The "Pheasant" bag designed by Elenor Grosch! Check out her design studio at . Anyway I WON IT! FOR $30!
I also one this Maxi Cosi Rodi car seat for a STEAL too. It's for when they are a little older (3O lbs) but then it converts into a Booster Seat too for up to 100lbs.

I also got a little something else, but it's a surprise....I'll post it a little later. He he....stay tuned.
I hope you all don't think I'm crazy- but I am so excited! This shopping experience was almost better than when I stumbled upon the $2 shoe sale at Kohls. But that's a whole nother story that involves breaking out into a sweat and arm wrestling a lady named Kristen for a pair of Candies.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Also, while watching the game I had a cake order to make. As usual about 1/2 way through I decided to sell my cake supplies on eBay. Then by the time I delivered it, and saw how happy the family was I thought "Well that wasn't that bad....." But really, if I never make another cake again, I'll be o.k. But it really wasn't that bad......
P.S.- In the goofy picture of me my shirt says "My Heart is in Happy Valley" Appropriate since my heart was in Happy Valley that day..... Awe, I luv you Chad!

Happy Birthday Chad!

Chad's birthday was on Friday (yes, the 13th). Back at the beginning of football season Chad mentioned that he would LOVE to go see a Penn State game at some point. We fear that Joe Pa's days as head coach are drawing near, and even if he makes it through another season, next football season will hopefully be drastically different at our house. (Hello Baby Deetz!) So I was going to surprise him with tickets and make all the arrangements. Then I realized Happy Valley is 10 hours from here....With work that was probably out of the question for me. Even though I love football, I really love it more when I can get up every 5 minutes, do laundry, read a magazine.....So, time went on and I casually mentioned it to Chad again in the first week of November. He said "I really would like to go....." So who am I to keep a man from his dreams? Carpe Diem! So for the last home game of the season, Chad and his BFF Blair sat on the 50 yard line in Beaver Stadium, with a perfect view of the man, the legend, Joe Paterno. The weather was perfect, the team won! Go Lions! And he got to be there (in person!) I watched the game on t.v. and my tummy was in knots the whole time. The Nittany Lions didn't look so good during the first half of the game. They were actually losing for a while. I am convinced that I prayed their way to a victory. How bad would it be to drive 10 hours to be skunked by an un-ranked team? But it all turned out. Chad also got to spend some time with his aunt and uncle, his cousins, and his grandma while he was there. I am really grateful that he got to be there and experience something like that again. I'm sure it will be a birthday he'll never forget.
Giving him that gift was the best party I've never went to!


O.K. so as you know we receive bulk “updates” monthly about the adoption, the pulse of Russian adoptions to be more specific, and the general status of families coming home/ potential slow downs, etc. Well, as you know we’ve gotten some scary updates (right in the beginning, like 2 days after we turned in our paperwork) and some happy updates “things are going great!” “kids are coming home!” updates. The last few have been very positive- people coming home, people traveling, people getting referrals.

Well my mom called me last week (you know the adoption guru that reads all of your blogs and keeps me up to date on the most current goings ons...) She reads like every adoption blog including our agency blog, and also periodically checks their website too. (I don't even do that!) She said- did you know your agency isn't taking any more Russia applications for new families? What? I didn't know that at all! So I went online and sure enough- there was a little note on the Russia page. It said they were temporarily not accepting new applications due to recent slow downs and to better serve the families already registered and waiting. On one hand I want to think- that is very responsible of them to not "bite off more than they can chew" and to focus on, well ME! But in the back of my mind, I am stressing out a little. It just hasn't set right with me. Maybe I am just paranoid. But if things are really going so well, then why stop? It feels like when Guatemala shut their doors (or their doors were shut) I'm not really sure which.....but either way, it just makes me feel nervous. Why wasn't this information in our latest update?

Just wanted to see what you thought about that.....Am I reading into that little paragraph too much?

P.S.- And have you noticed my fish (Feed my Fish!) have died or disappeared or something? Maybe it's my paranoia. Maybe "they" got them! Ha Ha Ha! Aren't you glad I can make fun of myself? It's truly an art.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

4 Day Forecast

Today in St. Petersburg: Snow

Tomorrow in St. Petersburg: Snow

Friday: What?!?!? Snow

Saturday: You guessed it MORE snow......

Sunday, November 8, 2009

$1 Saturday!

My sister and I named this Saturday- $1 Saturday! We woke up early on Saturday morning to be at Old Navy bright and early. Their winter scarves were marked down to $1 each! It was a nice warm up to Black Friday shopping in a few weeks. Upon arrival there was a line already formed- but it was definitely manageable.
It's always funny to me to watch people jockey for position. There are the obvious "jockey-iers" that inch closer and closer to the doors as the clock ticks down. They usually make loud comments at people, telling them the "inside scoop". "Attention ladies! I heard that the scarves will be positioned all over the store to cut down on the likelihood of a chaotic situation!" They are more apt to get into a fight over someone trying to jump in line. Then there are the ladies that pretend they are above the rush to get the best deal. Instead of calling out the "line jumpers" they will just complain to their other friends waiting in line with them. But those are the ones you need to watch the most. They will run you down with their smart Steve Madden boots and are not above using their 35 pound Vera Bradley bag to bowl you over when those doors fly open.

Anyway- I got 12 very nice scarves to give as gifts this Holiday season. (I'm sorry if you are reading this and now know that your gift only cost one dollar- but think of the value rather than the cost, ok?) Besides, you have to take into consideration that I woke up really early on a Saturday morning to stand in line to get you a present, ok? And it was pretty cold out too....

Anyway- then it was off to IKEA (I LOVE THAT PLACE) Because it was $1 meatball plates for all! So Britt and I had some meatballs, mashed potatoes, gravy, and ligonberry jam and then did some shopping. I got some curtains for Baby Deetz's room that are very darling. I haven't had a chance to hang them up yet- but it's on my list of things to do this week.

Friday, November 6, 2009


A Christian will part with anything rather than his hope; he knows that hope will keep the heart both from aching and breaking, from fainting and sinking; he knows that hope is a beam of God, a spark of glory, and that nothing shall extinguish it till the soul be filled with glory.
--Thomas Brooks

Hope has been a common theme this week in my life. Hope, for such a small word it carries a big punch. I have never been so hopeful in all my life. We are hoping for a referral, and soon. We are hoping that our baby is being loved and hugged and has enough to eat. We are hoping that our friends Steve and Kate get a court date soon to bring home their son. We are hoping for answers for Chad’s adolescent cousin's mysterious illness. We are hoping for the healing of a family in our church involved in a car accident who lost their two year old daughter. We are hoping that our friend finds a job, we are hoping that a co-worker’s family member’s test results come back negative for cancer.

Chad spoke to the teens on Wednesday night about hope. His scripture was from Hebrews 11: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
It was an inspirational message, as it always is. My little “hope meter” was restored! Then Thursday the news broke about the Fort Hood shootings. It was so senseless, so frightening. Our hearts ached with the loss of hope in mankind’s goodness. What has happened to our World?

That evening we were watching our “get me through till Lost starts again” show- Flashforward. It’s a great show by the way, and the episode we watching was themed around hope, more specifically, hope for the future. The premise is that everyone on the planet “blacked out” and saw a 2 ½ minute glimpse into their future on a specific date and time. Some people’s visions were joyful, some were ho-hum, some were frightening, others saw nothing but blackness, leading them to believe that on April 29, 2010 they would no longer be “part of the living”. They were left without hope. Stripped of life before it was even taken. But can’t the future be changed if we work to alter it’s course? Even God changes his mind…. Consider Jonah 3:10: “He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened” or Exodus 32: 12-14 “So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people". God hears our prayers and is moved by out petitions.

Today after I returned from lunch news broke of a shooting in an office building in my hometown. Two people were confirmed dead and several others were still unaccounted for. Once again, my hope in humanity was snuffed out. We all talked about “what our world is coming to” and I called a few friends that work in downtown Orlando to make sure everyone was alright.

I found this quote from St. Augustine that rang true for me: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” Out of hope is born a righteous anger that isn’t afraid to combat evil and the courage to not be overcome with fear of the evil that is all around us.

This week I saw great hope too, through the birth of a new baby. Carl Sandburg once said that “a baby is God's opinion that the world should go on”. I don’t know of a better way to say it. 2 Timothy 1:7 confirms in us that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” There is power in hope. So I choose to remain hopeful. God is and always will be in charge.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2 Interesting facts of the day

1- A porcupine’s quills get sharp a day or so after birth.
Sarah’s deep thought of the day: Isn’t God great? Imagine how the mama porcupine would feel if the quills got sharp before the baby was born. Yikes. (Picture #1- Baby, #2 grown up)

2-We received a flier in the mail from a law firm in Greenville yesterday telling us that USA Baby’s Inventory was being liquidated due to the bankruptcy. Guess what was on the front of the flier? OUR crib and OUR dresser! That means it was IN the store when they decided to go bankrupt and all!
Can you tell by this post that I have no adoption related news to tell you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

201st Blog Post!

Can you believe that you've been along for the ride for 201 posts? In honor to commemorate you- the fans- here is a brief rundown of all the exciting events that have transpired since announcing our plans to adopt in February:

It’s been 273 days since we turned in our initial adoption application
We’ve raised $23,200 towards the adoption since that time
It’s been 234 days since my house was REALLY clean for our home study. (After that it’s just been downhill)
My car has been spider free for 254 days.
We’ve purchased two cribs and two diaper changing tables for Baby Deetz room.
We actually received one crib and one diaper changing table without the manufacturer going out of business prior to receiving the goods.
Our Apostilled documents expire in 206 days
Our FBI fingerprinting/I-171H form expires in 436 days
Our Dossier has been registered in Pskov for 106 days
We’ve been #1 on the list for a referral in our region for 28 days

Thank you, as always, for your support, prayers, good wishes, and concern for Baby Deetz and this wild and crazy process. Here's to the next 200 posts!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What will you do?

There are 143 million orphans in the World today and that number grows every minute. Orphan Sunday is November 8, 2009. What will you do?
Please visit Steven Curtis Chapman's webpage, for some great information.
Here are just a few wonderful, practical ideas. Follow the link below for more specifics!
-Add this cause to your twitter, facebook page, or blog. (There is power in numbers!)
-You can teach a Sunday School lesson (or pass it along to your teacher)
-Pass this page along to your pastor the link it includes sermon notes for preaching a message on Sunday
-Watch one of the powerful videos on the site and then forward it to a friend
-Download church bulletin inserts
-Download a small group lesson plan
- Find a book to become more informed about this global crisis
-Be inspired by some great musical artists that have written songs about orphans, listen to their music on this link, and then support the cause by buying their c.d.
-Download a 40 day prayer guide, at the very least, we can all pray
-Buy a $10 t-shirt that benefits this cause
-Find mission opportunities through Show Hope Foundation or other great organizations
-Donate to a wonderful organization that already exits (CWA's family builder fund? Just a suggestion ;0)
-Go to the concert in Nashville on Sunday OR watch the concert live online
-Find an event in your area already set up.
-MUCH MUCH MORE by clicking on this link-

My blog friend Kristine (I do love your blog more than Peanut Butter!) reminded me that if you want to do something meaningful to help orphans, but feel like November 8th is a unreasonable deadline, orphans need our help 365 days a year, not just this Sunday! Please commit to action (even simple things like downloading the prayer outline) or gathering a care package to send to your local Children's Shelter or sponsoring an Operation Christmas Child this year....there is so much that can be done!
Just listen to that still, small voice calling you to action and empowering you with a plan- that's God reminding us that the religion he finds spotless and pure is to look after orphans and widows in their distress.

Check out the new video I posted at the bottom of the page. I tried to embed it to this post, but blogger is having issues!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We had another busy week of festivities- My parents were in town this week, we had Trunk or Treat at church on Wednesday, Thursday night we had friends over for our annual Halloween dinner, Friday night we had our youth costume party, Saturday another party at a friends house. We are all Halloween-ed out, but it is one of my favorite times of the year! Another bit of BIG news came our way on Halloween morning- my best friend from High School called to say her and her husband were expecting their first child in May!

Congrats Heidi and Joe! You are going to make wonderful parents. I am so excited for you both....

Here are Chad's pumpkin creations from this year. Pictured are Edward and Bella (a big hit with the teenage girls that came to the door) Michael Jackson (Thriller era) and just a silly little guy. Just think, by next Halloween we'll have another lil' pumpkin in the family. We should start working on their costume now.....