Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Fall (well almost!!)

Even though it is still very warm (96 when I got in my car this afternoon!!!!) we are starting to feel a bit of fall in the air. There are a few leaves here and there starting to change. The corn is very dry and the farmers are cutting it. And the biggest clue of all…….Football season is here!
Jake is a sports fan. He use to watch and keep track of all sports but as time has gone on he has become more involved in other things (guitar, keeping the yard up, etc, etc). We don’t watch every game of every sport but we do watch the Stanly Cup finals, the World Series and of course football.

Jake loves the Dallas Cowboys (well, some years more than others) and the PAC 12. Growing up his dad was (and still is) a Cowboys fan and so all the kids were Cowboys fans.

Jake is really good to explain things while we are watching (sometimes there are live reenactments!!). He knows how another team’s win or loss impacts his team and what needs to happen so the Cowboys can go to the playoffs. He watches the sidelines to see how the players are acting there (are they sitting with their heads down? Are they up and engaged?). He knows the coaches and assistant coaches how they did with the teams they have worked with before.

So along with the smell of pumpkin, apples and cinnamon; our home is filled with the sound of the Dallas Cowboys (hopefully winning!!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Speaking in Church

Jake had to speak in church Sunday. (In our church people in the congregation take turns speaking. There is a topic each Sunday and those who have been asked to speak study that topic and tell what they have learned. Typically a talk lasts about 15 minutes).  He worked on it all week and got up early to finish up.
He did a really good job. His topic was standing firm in the faith. He used a talk by Julie Beck as a starting point.  You can read her message here.
He did a great job. I was nervous for him and very glad when he was finished and so was he!
I get to help in the Primary (read more about Primary here ) and teach the 5 year old class. I have 7 children in my class (when they are all there). We act out the stories in the lesson and try to get the children up and moving whenever I can. Some weeks I come home EXHAUSTED but I think the children enjoy it and seem to learn. They are able to remember and talk about stories we have done in weeks past!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update

Hurricane Irene passed us. We were lucky and only had some wind and cloudy skies (we didn’t even get any rain!) We were so blessed! Those closer to the coast got rain, high winds and some places had flooding. We saw a couple at church today that moved to Wilmington and were back to get away from Irene.
We are grateful for the prayers and well wishes. Our prayers and thoughts are with those who are cleaning up and helping others after the hurricane. We hope there won’t be too many hurricanes this year but hurricane season does go until November 30 (I was shocked when I read that too! It starts June 1!!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Tuesday there was an earthquake here on the east coast. My parents felt it in Virginia but we didn’t feel it here. There are people that could feel it near us but said it felt like an 18 wheeler going by.  My mom keeps sending emails to update us and let us know they are fine but feeling aftershocks. The last time there was an earthquake in this area was 1897 (maybe I better Google that to check. Hang on for a second. . .Chat among yourselves... OK. It was actually 1884. Which makes me wonder about how they measured them. A lot has happened since 1884-Do they use similar machines now? A similar scale to tell the strength? )
But the really big news is Hurricane Irene. It is heading for us. We are far enough inland that we will get a lot of rain and some wind (as long as Irene stays on the current path).  You never really know with a hurricane. Sometimes they go a different way or are weaker or stronger than expected. We will see what happens! Definitely a big week for Mother Nature!
For snow storms everyone goes to the store to get bread and milk. For hurricanes it is about the same.  We went to the store and now we have plenty of bread and milk (and other things to feed us). When Hurricane Rita hit Texas a few years ago it knocked out the oil refineries and we didn’t have gas for about three weeks. There were lines and cops at the few stations that had gas. They limited how many gallons you could get. It was crazy! So we have prepared for that too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School!

So the summer is pretty much over and the teachers are back to school. We are getting our classrooms ready and having meetings about schedules, policies and procedures.
I am glad to be going back to school but a little sad too. I really hoped we would have a child. Another teacher that I work with is also hoping to adopt. We share stories of others we know and things we have heard. (She has a greater connection to her agency than we do. They work only in North Carolina and have many picnics and things for their families. They are working with so many more in this area than our agency. While the support is nice, they are limited to adoption opportunities in North Carolina.) It is great to have someone else who understands and has the same worries and fears I do.  We both hoped that we would be able to adopt over the summer. I have started to make plans for being gone if we do get to adopt before school is out.
There have been a lot of changes at my school- teachers moving grades, teachers changing schools, new administrators, etc. The school focus last year was math. It will be interesting to see what it is this year. Change is hard but can be good. New people bring different experiences and may help us solve some of our continuing problems.
It should be a good year. Some things will be different and I can’t wait to see what the year will bring!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Chicken

Over the weekend we tried a new chicken dish. It was great! We put a rub on the chicken and had peach BBQ sauce to put on the chicken. We used the sauce as dipping sauce. It was pretty good and easy to make.
Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce from
Spicy Honey Chicken

Here's the recipes: for the Spicy Honey chicken go here. We grilled the chicken on foil to keep it from burning. We also did not put the glaze on at the end (there is honey and vinegar in the BBQ sauce). The other change we made was using chicken breasts. I really don't like chicken thighs (Jake will eat any chicken parts and never complains that I only like the white meat).
For the Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce go here. The only change I made to this recipe was to NOT can it. I did follow the rest of the recipe and directions. 
I will say if you are prone to heartburn this may be a bit spicy for you. It was not spicy while we were eating but it was very flavorful and is full of things that may be too much for some.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Letting Go

I like order and structure. I like to have a plan for the day or the weekend (or my life) so I know what to expect and what to prepare for. I have found that life doesn’t really work that way though. I have some control over my life but there are many things I don’t have any control over.

I have never really liked that quote. As I first read it, I thought it was saying just let life happen. Don’t make any plans because you can’t control what will happen anyway.  But as I have lived more of my life, I have realized that the quote may mean if your plan isn’t working or isn’t going to work let it go and get a new plan.
I planned to get married at 21 or so. That didn’t happen.  If I had forced the issue and made getting married happen I wouldn’t have met Jake. I wouldn’t have as great a marriage as I do now.  When Jake and I got married, we planned to have children right away. That didn’t happen.  We could be bitter and angry about our situation. We are sad but we know that we are doing all we can to find our family and live the life waiting for us.
Jake likes the curve balls life has thrown him.  He has said many times if his life turned out how he planned it would have been very boring. He also wouldn't be as happy.  I like to think that he is happier because he met me!
A Life Being Lived has a great post about this idea of being okay with life not goingI how you planned. Check it out here. She says what I am trying to say so much better.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

HGTV Design Star

I was watching HGTV Design Star the other night. I really didn’t plan to get involved in this show at all. The first episode was just okay and I am not a huge fan of reality TV since I’m pretty sure it isn’t all that real! I wasn’t planning to watch again but I kept wondering how the designers would do on each new challenge.
I have not really cared for Cathy too much. She seems very capable and has experience (as she likes to remind us) and confidence but she is not very easy to work with (again- is that just editing or is that really how she is? If it is; how does she keep her business going? ) Well, this week she went home.  I guess this time she blamed one too many people for how her project turned out. She has struggled to work with everyone she has been paired with (it really didn’t matter who she was with either).

It will really be interesting to see if the dynamics of the show change since she is gone.  I have not been keeping up on the HGTV website but the comments about Cathy are not positive (unless you are glad she is gone
J) I haven't paid enough attention to notice if the person who goes home has more on camera time on their last episode.
At the end of the show, they told you how to be on the next Design Star series. After just getting a tiny taste of the comments (on the website) – you really have to be confident and secure to do this- not only to do the challenges but to handle the comments. The judges are very nice and generally positive. If things don’t go well they offer suggestions to make it better and are professional about it. On the website it is a different story.
I didn’t read any comments that said who would win.  I think it will be Meg or Kelly. They both are consistently good both on the design side and on the camera challenge.  If you like decorating shows give it a try!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What do you get for being a Mormon?

I saw this link in my email today. The title really caught my eye. When I saw it was a talk by Brad Wilcox, I read it. He was one of my professors when I worked on my masters degree at BYU. His classes were always great! He really gives you something to think about! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Through entertaining stories mingled with hilarious jokes, Brad Wilcox enlightened Education Week’s youth with wit and wisdom.
In a spacious room in the Conference Center on Monday, Wilcox asked the youth one question: What did they get for being Mormon?
The father of a young man interested in joining the Church posed this same question to Wilcox while he served as a mission president in Chile.
“Oh, just a little thing,” Wilcox replied. “Salvation.”
Brad Wilcox speaks to an audience of youth in the Conference Center on Monday morning as part of Education Week.
Though to the point, this answer wasn’t good enough for the inquiring father. He didn’t believe in the spiritual, he wanted proof of the temporal.
“Let’s talk, for just a few minutes, about the temporal blessings,” Wilcox said. “Let’s talk about what you get right here and now.”
Wilcox continued to list four temporal proofs of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
First, as members, you get to live a longer life. On average, Wilcox said, members of the Church live 10 to 11 years longer — an entire decade.
“If you don’t believe me, you just think of Michael Jackson — he’s dead,” Wilcox joked. “Donny Osmond? He’s dancing with the stars.”
Wilcox said he didn’t know why this was true, maybe it was the Word of Wisdom, or positive attitude, or maybe it was just because Mormon’s have too much to do.
“I can’t die today, I’ve got four meetings to go to, a fireside, I’ve got to bake brownies,” Wilcox said. “We just don’t have time to die.”
The second proof, according to Wilcox, was our opportunity to get better education. He explained members of the Church are 30 percent more likely to get an education than people who aren’t members.
“Because you are Mormon you will be better educated,” he said. “Mormons see it as a way to make a better life.”
Wilcox cited studies showing members of the Church have more books in their homes. They also have more musical instruments, accompanied by more music lessons, than non-LDS houses.
“It’s just a way of life for us,” Wilcox said. “It’s just part of who we are … that’s why you see Mormons at any age and any stage going to school.”
Third, Wilcox said he believes the Church leads to an international network of friends. The Church is the same everywhere, he said, and so, after moving to a new town, members have an instant community.
Wilcox experienced this himself, much to the confusion of his new next-door neighbor.  The neighbor couldn’t understand where all the extra hands (the priests) emptying the moving van came from, where the free babysitter (the primary president) came from or where the chef (the Relief Society) for the free meal had appeared.
“We’d been in town one hour and we had more friends than he did,” Wilcox said. “Anywhere you go you have instant friends.”
The fourth and final proof for the Church showed in the strength of families and marriages within the gospel. Wilcox was quick to address those who experienced the heartache of divorce.
“Stretch your vision,” he told the youth. “Start seeing all the families in the Church.”
On a whole, the Church has the least amount of divorces across the board. On average, 1 in 2 marriages in the U.S. ends in divorce. For couples of the same faith, 1 in 4 marriages fail. For an LDS couple, not married in the temple, 1 in 6 marriages can’t make it. However, for two members of the Church married in the temple, only 1 in 20 come to an end.
“Now, 1 in 20 is not tremendous,” Wilcox said, “but it’s a lot better than 1 in 2.”
More than that, outside of the Church a study found 95 percent of children of divorces will also find themselves divorced.
“It’s like a death sentence,” Wilcox said. “You’re going to be divorced too, unless you’re Mormon.”
Because the stats for the Latter-day Saints were so different, the scientists recreated the study, thinking something had gone wrong.
“You carry a hope inside of you,” Wilcox said. “Even if your own family has struggled you still think, ‘you know what, I could have a happy family.’ ”
Because Wilcox focused on only the temporal blessings of the Church, he gave his best idea as to why these youth weren’t shattered by divorce.
“You’ve got examples,” he said. “Maybe your parents haven’t pulled off the perfect ideal marriage, but you could give me the name of someone who has.”
With these four points, Wilcox urged the youth to remember that being Mormon doesn’t mean they’re missing out on anything. They are not missing out on drinking, drugs or sex — they’re gaining something.
“You are not missing something, you are the one getting something, they are the ones missing something,” Wilcox said. “You are on the lifeboat, they are on the Titanic.”
Wilcox explained to the youth the necessity to keep themselves clean. He held up two glasses half full with water. One represented a youth, the other represented a friend, caught in the wrong decisions.
With each wrong decision, the friend lost a sip of water from the glass.
“At first it sure looked like your friend got something you missed,” Wilcox said. “Turn that thinking around. He’s the one that’s missing something.”
Wilcox went on to explain how happy marriages are formed. They are not formed through selfishness, which is how the friend learned to act. The friend, said Wilcox, will continually be searching for something he’s missing.
“You take a look at any happily married couple in the Church and they’re not looking,” he said. “They have what everyone is trying to find.”
Wilcox urged the youth to stay strong, remain faithful and stand by the Church.
“Yeah, it’s hard being a Mormon,” Wilcox said, “but it’s a lot easier than being without it.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Conatiner Garden

On our back porch we have four plants. I have them in pots so I can move them around and move them inside during the winter. One is a plumeria we got in Hawaii on our honeymoon. It has never bloomed. I am not sure why. It does very well outside. It has lots of leaves now and I love that is has the look of a palm tree.

We also have two blueberry bushes. One bush I have had for a couple years. It has never had even one blueberry. I heard that you need two bushes to get fruit so we got another bush this year. Still no berries. It could be the bushes are too small or it takes a few years to bear fruit. We didn't get any flowers this year. I knew that wasn't a good sign. I keep thinking maybe next year!
The last plant is a knockout rose bush. It is a bit thin this year but usually has beautiful red roses on it. The heat is really hard on roses. I think it might perk up when the weather cools down. My principal gave every staff member a rose bush one year for teacher appreciation week. It was such a thoughtful gift. I love roses. We had 9 wonderful rose bushes at our old house in Utah. The humidity seems to make growing roses harder here. The knockout roses aren’t as big or full of petals as some other varieties but they are very easy to grow and take very little work.

What plants do you have?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is going on?

As part of my daily routine I check the page views on each of our profiles. I check to see if the number of views is up (YAY!) and what parts of the profiles are getting looked at the most.  So far, there have been a pretty predictable number of views on each profile.
There have been times when the LDS profile (see it here) has few or no views for days :(. Until this week.  Suddenly our profile is getting 50-75 hits per day (some days even 100). This is new and exciting. I hope this means someone is interested and maybe looking many times?
We are still considering which new picture to use for our profile. Please give your opinion! (See the choices here )
Jake has been very busy this week helping to finish up the Eagle Scout project he worked on in July. They are getting together tonight to finish everything up. He helped make some bookshelves that will go to a local school. The teachers I know can always use more bookshelves!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Weekend

This weekend we went to see my niece Sarah be baptized. In the LDS church, children are baptized when they are 8years old. Read more about baptism here or here. Jake and I gave the prayers, my cousin Katie gave a talk about the reason for Baptism  and my mom gave the talk about the Holy Ghost.  Everything went very well.
My sister invited everyone over to her house for a late lunch. We had pulled pork sandwiches, fruit, potato salad, cole slaw and birthday cake. My sister’s house isn’t very big so I was a bit nervous about how everyone would fit in but it worked out great!  Everyone seemed to find a place to eat and people to talk to.
Luckily this isn't how it was!

We had a good visit with everyone. We got reacquainted with my sister’s husband’s sister, Diane. I had not seen her since they got married. Diane adopted a sibling group. The older two girls were in foster care and while Diane was their foster mother another sibling was born. It was an adventure to keep all three together. Diane and her husband persevered and were able to keep all three girls together and adopt them! It is funny how adoption keeps coming up!

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Things

If you are here from LDS Adoption Connection (or anywhere else reallyJ), Welcome! Thanks Deanna for sending so many people my way. Thank you for coming back!
The weather here has been CRAZY! We had a huge storm with flash flooding (none by us J), lightning and thunder. How sad is that –talking about the weather?!?
I have been thinking a lot about things I really like and can’t do without. So here are five things I am enjoying now:

from bing images
Clinique products are wonderful! I had acne during my teens and into my 20’s (ugh!). When I went to a dermatologist, he recommended Clinique products. I have used them ever since and love them. I only buy at bonus time! I love trying the new products!
from google images

I love the library! I love to read and there is no way I could buy all the books I want to read. I can’t afford it and where would I put all those books?

from google images
Ceiling fans are WONDERFUL this time of year! It keeps the air moving and that helps us feel cooler. We have ceiling fans in every room of our house!
I am loving Pinterest (both images from google images). You look at pictures of all kinds of things and Pin the ones you like into catagories you choose. It is a great place to keep ideas for all kinds of things (baby gifts, organization ideas, DIY ideas, etc,etc,etc). Be careful! It is SO addicting! You do need and invitation to join (I just signed up and waited for a few hours).

from google images
I love Diet Coke. There are only two things we NEVER run out of and Diet Coke is one (toilet paper is the other)

So- there you have it. Five things I really like now!
What things do you like?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Learning from others

I don’t like surprises. I like to know what is going to happen so I can be prepared.  In an effort to be prepared for the ups and downs of adoption I read lots of blogs and books. I read as many stories as I can in the hopes that I’ll know what to do no matter what happens (crazy and impossible I know, but it makes me feel better).
Lindsey at theRhouse has a post about a failed adoption placement. I read the story and felt so sad for everyone involved- the adoptive parents and siblings, the birthmother, the birthfather and the child. Lindsey said it best when she wrote “There is pain and loss in all adoption. It can either divide us or unite us. My hope is that we will be able to show empathy to those around us who are hurting especially since we, as a community, are well acquainted to such emotions.” 
 Click over to theRhouse to read Wendi’s story. Thanks to both Wendi and Lindsey for sharing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Pictures!

Last week we had new pictures taken.  Jake and I haven’t had professional pictures taken for a VERY long time. A teacher I work with suggested a friend of hers.  I looked at her website and loved what I saw.

The pictures came today and I really like them. It was ROASTING hot the day we got the pictures taken and still they turned out pretty well.
We need some help choosing new pictures for our adoption profile.  I would like a new picture for our birthmother letter.  Should it be. . .
Picture A
Picture B
Picture C
Picture D

Please leave your choice in the comments! Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Laugh

Jake recently had to tell a funny story about me. These sorts of situations make me nervous because Jake LOVES to tell stories and make people laugh. I wasn’t sure what story he would choose. . .
While we were living in Utah we took a weekend and visited Promontory Point. It is the place where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad met connecting the East and West by train.
We looked around at the museum and saw the actual spike that connected everything and then went to watch a movie about the whole process.  The movie showed how hard everyone worked and how bad the conditions were.
During one part of the movie it is cold and snowy. A man is leaving his tent to go get water. He has to break the ice in a pond to get it. The music lets you know. . .something is about to happen and it won’t be good.  While he is breaking the ice, we hear the THWAPPP of an Indian arrow. It hits the man and he falls over. Unfortunately it hit me as hysterically funny and I laughed. LOUDLY.  (That loud laugh that everyone has.) The one that is out before you can stop it. This made Jake laugh and we laughed and giggled through the rest of the movie. We tried to be quite and luckily there weren’t very many people in the theater.
What funny story would someone tell about you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's August?!?

It is August 1st! The summer has gone so fast. I did okay on the things I wanted to get done in July. I did not clean out the closet or clean out the nightstand- but I did tidy them up and get rid of some things. (That definitely counts for something!) The fabric pumpkins, I didn’t even start. I need to get some stuffing (I thought I had some and it isn't where I thought) so I can do that project.
August will be a busy month with school starting again. Our Home study is up for renewal in October so we need to start thinking about that again. I don’t have a list of things to get done in August yet- but I will. It really helped to see that list and keep me thinking of what I wanted to get done.
The counted cross stitch project is coming along. I forgot how long it takes. It isn’t done yet but I plan to keep working and maybe it will be done by the end of August. Right now it looks like this:
See the O in JOY?

You can see the snowman's coat and head (on the right).

I still have the J and the Y to do and two more snowmen. The outlining is what will really make the project look great. Then I get to frame it. I had a great frame shop in Provo, Utah that I used and they did a great job.  I will have to find someone here. I can’t wait to see it done!
Of course the biggest thing we hope to have happen in August is to adopt or meet our birthmother. Maybe this is the month!