Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New photos on my website!

Last week I got a request from someone to photograph brightly colored daisies. I LOVE daisies, so that was a really fun project for me and I'm really happy with how they turned out. I think I'm going to be doing another round of daisy photos with different colors, but here's what I have now. If you want one, head on over to my website!





Friday, July 25, 2008

Birdseed and homemade bread

OK, so it's happening, I'm turning into the crazy bird lady. I put the feeder up in my tree earlier in the summer and I'm completely entertained by the birds every single day. I LOVE watching the feeder. I enjoy the birds SO MUCH that I decided that I needed a bigger feeder and more fun bird stuff in my tree.

When I bought the feeder last year I just grabbed whatever they had at Target and I buy birdseed at the grocery store next to the catfood. I dunno, it's birdseed and a feeder, right? Anyway, I love the birds and we get lots of finches that hang out at the feeder, but I've been wondering lately how to attract different kinds of birds.

So today I went to this place right around the corner from my house that is basically a wild bird store. I've driven past it a million times, but I've never been in. It's the coolest place! It's full of all kinds of really cool bird houses and different kinds of birdseed and the lady that works there is a total bird expert. She's awesome, she knows it all!

So I asked her why I wasn't attracting different kinds of birds and I told her what I've been using and she basically told me that I was doing it all wrong. That's probably true, what do I know about feeding birds? Apparently the crappy food I've been feeding them is mostly filler, which a lot of birds won't eat. So she fixed me up with a great big bird feeder and fancy bird food and some thistle seed in a sock that is apparently bird crack, and now my tree is ready for a bird party! (Hey, did anyone else just get the Go, Dog, Go book in their head when they read that? I just reread that paragraph and now I'm thinking about climing a tree for a dog party.)

I hung the new feeder up a couple of hours ago and the birds are cracking me up. I can tell that my regular birds recognize that it's a new feeder because they're totally mystified by it. They've been looking that thing up and down and all over for the past hour. They fly up to it like they're ready to land and eat but when they see that it's different they kind of screech to a halt and land on a branch instead so that they can check it out first. Then they do that bird head bob thing for a few minutes while they inspect it from all angles and then they decide that it's OK to sit on it and eat. I guess a new feeder is a shocking turn of events for a bird.

Anyway, I was in total Heaven at the bird store today and I'm totally going back again sometime to look at all the other things I couldn't afford today. They've got all kinds of fun bird things there.

OH!! And the lady said that if I came back with some samples of my bird photos, she might be interested in selling some of my bird greeting cards there!! Woohoo!! It was a good day at the bird store.

So then after we went to the bird store we went to Great Harvest bread, which is right across the parking lot. Is Great Harvest bread a national chain or just something they have in Idaho? I don't know, but if you don't have one, you're missing out. When you go in there they offer you free bread samples that are Heavenly. They make all the bread right in the store and it smells SO GOOD in there! So I bought a few loaves of bread, because how could you go in there and not want to take it all home with you? Eating it reminds me that I really ought to start making more homemade bread. Or at least buy a candle that smells like homemade bread...

Oh, yeah. I'm totally going candle shopping.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are we there yet?

We've now offically been waiting for Clarissa for eight months and we're now beginning month nine.

Only about ten more looong months to go.

*SIGH*

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rainy days and Tuesdays

Three ingredients for a perfect morning:

1. Massive rain storm (I LOVE rain!)
2. Markers and coloring book pages
3. Conversation with an 8 year old

Today is off to a good start! We just had the wildest rain storm I've seen in Boise in a long time! It was slightly cloudy this morning, but it looked like it was going to clear up and be a sunny day, when all of a sudden the sky got dark, the thunder started and rain starting POURING! It doesn't rain much here in the summer, and if it does it's more like a light sprinkle. But this was more like rain of Noah's Ark proportions! I was getting ready to start collecting animals two by two!

Then the hail started and it sounded like it was raining gravel for a little while. It was awesome! I get really excited about big storms. I guess because we so rarely get them.

Anyway, while the rain poured, we decided to color. Josh printed out some cool designs called mandalas and we had a great time talking, coloring and watching it rain. I've decided that adults just don't color enough. I think that everyone should be required to put their work down for half an hour a day and get out a coloring book. It's quite calming! We had a good time and I made quite a colorful creation with my mandala.

It was also a good time to partake in some eight year old conversation. I love Josh, he cracks me up and it's fun to spend some one on one time with him. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but aside from the fact that Josh is a boy, I swear I cloned myself when I gave birth to that kid. It's almost eerie all the things we have in common and all the things we do exactly the same. Not all of them GOOD things, but still, we do them exactly the same, lol. We think the same way, we react to things the same way and we have most of the same likes and dislikes. He keeps telling me that he wants to write books when he grows up, which makes me smile because that's the exact same thing I used to tell my mom when I was his age. (I never wrote a book, but I hope he does!) He even sleeps in the same specific position that I do. It's weird. He also gets as excited about rainstorms as I do, so it seems like every time it rains the two of us get together for some bonding time. He's a good kid. I hope that he still wants to spend time with me when he's a teenager.

So anyway, there it is. Coloring with an eight year old while it rains. I'm telling you, there's no better way to start your day. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is what you get at four in the morning

It's currently 4am and I can't sleep, so I'm blogging. I didn't feel well yesterday and my asthma was bugging me, so I took some medicine last night that is apparently not conducive to sleep. I've been tossing and turning all night and I've finally given up, so here I'm am, sitting in bed, blogging at four in the morning.

So here's my pointless story for the day. Yesterday I was reading an Archie comic (yeah, I'm easily amused) and I when I got to this part I did a total double take! The guy in the grey sweater in the middle is the absolute spitting image of Shawn! Here's a photo for comparison, but you're going to have to click on it to really see it. Bloggernever lets me posts photos as big as I would like!

Photobucket

Weird, huh? We were all really amused by it yesterday!

Hmmm...so that's really all I have to talk about for now! I thought maybe I'd come up with a really great topic to discuss, but at this time in the morning I guess it isn't happening. I've really got to try to go back to sleep. In a couple of hours Shawn has to get up to go to work, the kids are going to be getting up and I'm really going to be wishing that I slept while I had the chance! Josh has a friend coming over in the morning and I probably ought to be awake for it. I'll try to come up with a much more interestesting blog topic tomorrow. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

LOST: one husband

Answers to the name of Shawn, brown hair, hazel eyes, last seen wearing a lab coat and looking sleep deprived. Lost in the area of his job...and his job. If you happen to see him filling prescriptions 12 hours a day, please tell him to come home, his wife misses him!

Seriously, I've become a pharmacy widow. Shawn's pharmacy is currently down a pharmacist and in the middle of a huge software change. And since he's the manager, it's his job to supervise the software change, train the employees on it, pick up the slack for the missing pharmacist, interview potential pharmacists, hopefully hire someone and do his regular pharmacist job. Oh yeah, and occasionally come home and sleep. So he goes into work early in the morning, if we're lucky we see him around 7pm, and then after the kids are in bed he sometimes heads back to work. And for some crazy reason he volunteered to pick up a shift at another pharmacy in a town almost an hour from here today.

It's only temporary, they're working the bugs out of the new software, they'll eventually hire a new pharmacist (there's a serious pharmacist shortage here, so it's not an easy task) and life will get back to normal aorund here. Shawn's a hard worker and I love that about him, but I like it better when he's home at night!

I'm proud of him though, he's not a complainer (unlike his wife!). He just does what he has to do and gets the job done. The pharmacy is lucky to have him.

There's not much else to report this week! With Shawn gone so much we haven't done anything exciting and I'm in the middle of a bunch of photo projects that have kept me really busy. I've been trying to shoot something for a photo challenge that starts this weekend, but I'm struggling with the lighting, so I've reshot it four times and I'm still not happy with it. I'm going to give it one more shot this afternoon. The photo is a fairly simple concept and doesn't seem like it should be this difficult, I've just been struggling with getting it lit correctly. I origionally shot it with studio lighting in my makeshift studio in my basement, but after messing with the lighting for hours I still wasn't happy with the result, so I tried to use natural lighting in my backyard yesterday, but I had a whole other set of problems doing it that way. I'm going to give it another try today, and I'll post the results if I ever manage to pull it off!

Oh, hey! Just as I was posting this, Shawn called from work and asked me if I wanted to go on a date tonight. Woohoo! You can stop looking for my lost husband, I think I just found him!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chocolate and peanut butter goodness

WOW, I've been busy this week! I'm in the middle of all sorts of projects and they've kept me hopping. I've been working on getting some more photos up for sale on my website (look for my new lavender photos coming soon), I'm in the process of creating a message board for my bargain hunting friends (hi ladies!), I've got a few custom photo orders I'm working on, I started a chore schedule for my kids that I've been closely supervising this week, and Shawn is working INSANE hours at work right now, so I'm kind of juggling everything on my own for the time being.

And you know what I wake up looking forward to everyday? Muddy Buddies. I will forever curse the person who introduced me to this delicious and completely addicting treat. One of these days you're going to see me on an episode of Intervention and they'll be hauling me off kicking and screaming to a Muddy Buddy recovery center. They're bad baaaad news, I tell you.

So having said that, I now bring you the Muddy Buddy recipe so that you can all get addicted and when they have to haul me off kicking and screaming to the Muddy Buddy recovery center, you'll all be there too and we'll have a really great time together! Maybe we can get someone to smuggle us in powdered sugar and chocolate chips in the mail. It'll be great. :)

The recipe is actually on the back of the Corn Chex box, so you don't really need me to give it to you, but here it is anyway, so that you can hear all about it's peanut buttery goodness and run out and buy yourself a box of Corn Chex and get working on your own Muddy Buddies.

Chex® Muddy Buddies®

Start to Finish:15 min

Makes:18 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:
9 cups Chex® cereal (any variety)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation Directions:
1.Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2.In 1-quart microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

3.Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Stove-Top Directions: Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.


The silly recipe only tells you to use half the box of Chex, but silly them, don't they realize that if we only use half the box we're going to just have to make more muddy buddies with the other half of the box later? Save yourself the hassle and double the whole recipe and use the whole box. Then they'll last that much longer before you have to run back to Albertsons and buy yourself another box so that you can make more. I'm thinking of buying some stock in the company that makes Corn Chex. I think you might want to consider doing the same. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lavender ice cream and alligator farms

Hold on to your hats, I've got quite a story today!

Ok, so we've been known to take some pretty wacky day trips. Sometimes on Saturday mornings we look on the map, find a place that we've never been before and then we drive there, just to see what's there. We've discovered all sorts of little out of the way places, and tiny little towns that we never knew existed, and along the way we've had a LOT of crazy adventures. Today's day trip was definitely no exception, and I have the photos to prove it! :)

The original plan for today was to go to the lavender festival. There is a lavender farm a tiny little town about two hours away from here in the complete middle of nowhere, and every July they have a lavender festival. July is harvest time for lavender, so right before they harvest it, when it's at it's peak, they open up the farm and they have a party!


Last year when we went they served a lunch of lavender chicken, lavender rolls, lavender potato salad and lavender lemonade. That sounds bizzare but it was actually really delicious! I had never eaten food cooked with lavender before! You could also get lavender ice cream, lavender snowcones and there is a gift shop with every lavender related craft you can imagine. And while you're there you can walk through huge fields of lavender, which is really beautiful to see.


So after last years experience, I've been looking forward to going back all year. So this morning we jumped into the car bright and early and made the two hour trip into the middle of nowhere Idaho to the lavender festival. Unfortunately when we got there we were dissapointed to find that it was not nearly as exciting as it was last year. The lavender farm had two unfortunate happenings this year. First of all, the owner is having health problems, which has made it hard to run his farm, and second, we had a unusually cold spring and the lavender crop has suffered. All the beautiful purple lavender fields that we saw last year were nowhere to be seen this year. The fields are full of green lavender plants that haven't bloomed.

We were sad that we didn't get to enjoy as much lavender as we did last year, but we did have our lavender chicken lunch and we ate our lavender ice cream, both of which we delicious! I did take some photos of the small amount of lavender they did have. Here are a few highlights:





This one is obviously not lavender, but they were pretty flowers, so I took their picture anyway. :)



So since the lavender farm wasn't super exiting, we got in and out fairly quickly and then we had the whole rest of the day to kill. Since we were so far from home already, we decided to explore the area, since it's not a part of the state that we're very familiar with. And that's when the fun started!
First of all, Shawn heard about a place not far from the lavender farm where a guy raises alligators. What, an alligator farm in Idaho you say? That's exactly what I said. Oh yes, apparently we have alligators in Idaho! Apparently in that area there are a lot of hot springs that come out of the ground and the water is so warm that it creates an area where alligators could theoretically survive. So some guy figured that out and decided to buy himself some alligators. This is Idaho. Most of the farmers I know are raising cattle and growing potatoes. Nope, not this guy. He's all about the alligators.


Shawn read all about the alligator farm and it sounded like a really fun place to visit and the flier said that it was "right off of highway 30." It sounded like you couldn't miss it. Hey, lucky us, we were driving right down highway 30 on our way home! What a perfect stop for an afternoon adventure.

So we drove down highway 30. No alligator farm. On the way we saw a sign for some fossil beds, so we decided to stop there while we looked for the alligators. After a brief stop at the fossil beds, which turned out to be a little wooden walk way and a sign about fossils, we were back on the road in search of alligators.

So we drove down highway 30 some more. No alligators. OH!! But we did see something really amazing! We were driving past part of the snake river and I saw what looked like a big bird in the middle and I couldn't figure out what it was because it was so far away but I made Shawn stop so that I could look. It was really far out in the water so I couldn't tell, so I got my camera out and put my telephoto lens on it and zoomed in. My lens still couldn't zoom far enough to get a good shot, but I did end up with this. It's a pelican!! I've lived in Idaho for my entire life and I had no idea that there were pelicans here. The only pelicans I've ever seen were in Florida. And come to think of it, that's also the only place I've seen alligators...

This is not a good photo, so you'll have to forgive it. It was just too far away for my lens.





So after the brief stop to look at the pelican we were back on the road driving down highway 30. Guess what? No alligators. What we did find along the way though was a fish hatchery, so we went there for a bit. It's Saturday, the visitors center was closed and we couldn't see any fish.

So we decided that we must have missed the alligator farm, so when we left the fish hatchery decided to go back up highway 30 to see if we just missed a sign. Guess what? No sign. I think someone was fibbing a little when they said that there were alligators right off Highway 30.

We then were able to obtain a map of the area and lo and behold, there was a alligator farm listed on the map. It appeared to be right off Highway 30! Jackpot! So we followed the map and what do you know, there is a completely unmarked street off of highway 30 with absolutely no signs that say anything about alligators. Apparently Mr. Alligator farm man doesn't want you visiting his farm very badly or he'd get himself some signs.

So we turned on the road, thinking "here we are, right off highway 30! It must be right up ahead!"

So we drove. And we drove. And then we drove some more. And then the road ended.


*SIGH* Apparently the universe did NOT want us to look at alligators today. So we turned the car around and started back the way we came. About halfway back we saw a gravel turn off with no signs or anything and decided to turn there to see if that was it. Once you turn in there is a tiny tiny sign that says alligator parking. Woohoo, we beat the universe! We found the alligators!


So we get out of our car and we are literally in the middle of nowhere. I think we we so far out that we were 20 miles from the middle of nowhere. So we get out of the car, walk up the path and here is what we see:






There you have it folks, Mr. Alligator man's entire $12.42 advertising budget at work. Way to go, Mr. Alligator man!

So FINALLY we reached the alligators. And you know what it was? Four alligators in a pond behind a chainlink fence. There was absolutely no one around, I have no idea who Mr. Alligator man is or why he has four alligators in a pond behind a chain link fence, but I do have an idea why there weren't better signs. :)

So after driving for 2 bazillion miles, we stood there for three minutes, watched four alligators sleep in the wate, said "Yep. those are alligators alright." and that was pretty much all the fun we had looking at alligators.


And you're so lucky that now YOU get to look at the alligators! And I didn't even make you drive 9 bazillion miles up and down highway 30 to see them. See how nice I am?!




Yep, those are alligators alright!


So the alligators were a bust, but while we were looking at them Shawn spotted some dragonflies and I LOVE dragonflies, so I got really excited and took a hundred photos. Because that's just how I am. :)


Oh yeah, and I saw a cool bird! Can anyone identify this one for me?


So after seeing alligators, dragonflies and birds (oh, and teaching Matthew how to pee in the bushes, which was a proud moment for us all), we got back in the car and headed home.

On the way I saw truck in a pond. I have no idea why there was a truck in a pond, but I don't ask questions, I just take pictures.


So 8 hours later, after seeing lavender fields without lavender, enjoying our lavender food, seeing fossil beds with no fossils, discovering that pelicans live in Idaho, enjoying scenic highway 30 eight hundred times in search of alligators, discovering alligators in the middle of nowhere, teaching Matthew to pee in the bushes, pondering why anyone would put a truck in a pond, and spending 50 bucks on gas, we finally made it home. Whew, what a day! We're just full of excitement and adeventure, aren't we?! :)

I think next Saturday I'm going to take a book, park myself in the hammock in the backyard and enjoy anything that doesn't involve alligators or car trips. I think I've had enough of both for a while. :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh, the blood!

I'm such a failure as a mother, lol. I'm extremely easily grossed out. EXTREEEMELY easily! I can't handle the sight of blood at all. I can barely look at papercuts. Before I had kids people kept telling me that once you have kids it doesn't bother you anymore, you just deal with it, but that's SO not the case.

Josh has been working on pulling a loose tooth out all day. He now has it almost out and he just came running in here with blood all over the place. The area around his tooth is totally bleeding. It's not a big deal, it's totally normal, but still, it completely freaks me out. Usually Shawn is around for these situations and nothing in the world grosses him out (he REALLY want to watch my gallbladder surgery!), but he's not home right now, so I'm on bloody mouth duty. I try to remain calm in these situations, but seriously, I'm freaking out on the inside.

I gave Josh a glass of water and told him to swish and spit, but I had to leave the room while he did it. He's having a great time with it, grossing out mom by trying to show me his tooth barely hanging on.

So this isn't really an emergency, he'll get that tooth out tonight and the blood isn't bothering him a bit. In the meantime I'm hiding in the other room hoping that Shawn gets home REALLY soon!

So the moral of this story is that if there's ever a major emergency and you lose a limb or get a papercut or something, you'd better hope that there is someone around besides me. I'm just totally worthless in these situations. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

YAY!

Ok, so remember the post with the discussion of the artwork I want to put in Clarissa's room? It was done by a woman named Suzanne Woolcott, who is a Scottish artist that I LOVE. Anyway, I contacted her a while back to see if she would do a commisisoned piece and do my Heart on the Line photo in her style and after several weeks of back and forth communication, I just got an e-mail letting me know that she has agreed to do it and she has started working on it!I'm absolutely dying to see how it turns out!

It's kind of expensive to have it done, so at this point I'm just having her do a small version that I can use as a web graphic, but if I love it, and I'm sure I will, I'm going to eventually have her do it as a painting that I can hang in Clarissa's room. I'm SO excited about it! I'm sure that it will take her a few weeks or longer to get it done, but I'm WAY excited to see it. I'll be sure to post it as soon as I have it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two for one

There's really nothing interesting going on here this week to report, we're all still recovering from our crazy weekend, I think!

So today I'm pretty much just thinking outloud about something random, and I guess you get to come along for the ride.

I don't think I've mentioned this, but we're actually approved to adopt twins. That doesn't mean that we're GETTING twins, in fact, we most likely won't, but it is a possibility. One of the hardest parts of the whole international adoption thing for me has been that I'm worried that Clarissa will feel different because she's obviously going to stand out in our family, not looking like the rest of us. For regular domestic adoptions, kids can go through life with no one really knowing that they're adopted unless they tell them, but with a child from another country it's always going to be obvious. Not that it bothers me in the slightest, but I sometimes wonder if it's going to bother her. I also wonder if it's going to be hard knowing that she didn't just leave a biological family behind, but a whole country and a whole other culture. I think that adoption is hard for kids to some extent anyway, knowing that there is another family out there that they'll never know, but I wonder if knowing that you're also growing up in a completely different culture than you would have been and looking so physically different from the rest of your adoptive family makes it that much harder.

These are the things I think about when I can't sleep at night, lol. Anyway, so when we were filling out the adoption paperwork we came across a question asking us if we were open to twins. My first thought was HECK NO, but my second thought was that wouldn't it be great if we had two adopted children that could go through that experience together? They wouldn't feel alone, like they were the only different ones, and the'd get to bring a piece of their family with them. They'd always be able to share that experience and have someone that understood what they were going through. As much as I'm going to raise her with as much information as she wants about where she came from and as much as I'm going to raise her with a positive attitude about being adopted, I won't ever really be able to understand what it's like for her. But a sibling would. They'd always have someone with them that understood. So we surprised ourselves by checking YES, we are open to twins.

Twins don't come along all that often, so it's not like you're automatically going to get them if you say that you're open to them. Most likely we're just going to get the one child that we're expecting. But every now and then I have this little moment of panic that we might actually be matched with twins! Wow, what an experience that would be, wouldn't it?!

I've always been really fascinated by twins, I always kind of thought that it would be fun to have twins and I believe that God is going to send us whoever is meant for our family, so I think once the shock wore off I would be really happy with it. I just get this panic about it every now and then. It would instantly double our children!

There's no point in thinking about the what if's though, so I try not to let it freak me out too much. I've had to accept a long time ago that when it comes to adoption you're in for a roller coaster of surprises and you just have to be willing to take the ride. I don't know when or where it's going to end and I don't know who is going to be there to meet me when the time comes, but I'm just incredibly excited for all the surprises waiting for us.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back to the house

Well, the weekend is drawing to a close and we're packing stuff back into the house. Despite the way my last post sounded (I sometimes wonder if my sarcastic sense of humor doesn't come across the way I intend!), we really did have a fun weekend. The weather was perfect, we played in the pool, read books in the hammock, went to the zoo, grilled the most fantastic steak EVER, ate too much junk food, watched movies in the tent at night and pretty much wore ourselves out!
We did learn some things that we would do differently next time (seriously, no more camping out on July 4th. Oh my goodness, the noise. I think every single person in every single house in town was setting off those screechy fireworks in their driveways all night long. Not to mention all the people with their illegal fireworks that really just make more noise than anything else.), but overall it was a really fun experience that I think we'll definitely do again!

I love our little family. We don't really have extended family in town, and we really don't even have a ton of friends that we socialize with, so we do a LOT of family bonding, just the four of us. We don't spend holidays bouncing from one family party after another, we spend them together, just us, with our own traditions, doing all the things that we love to do.

The older the kids get the more I cherish the family moments that we have. I know it's not going to be long before going to the zoo and sleeping in the backyard with mom and dad is going to be totally lame and we're going to have to let go a little, so I'm soaking it all in now. Neither Shawn or I are very close to our families, so we're determined to break that cycle with our kids. That's why these family events are so important to us. I want to fill my kids heads with a million memories of all the family time and all the silly traditions we came up with over the years and how much they were loved and enjoyed as a part of our family.

They're still going to make us walk five feet behind them at the mall in a few years, but at least I hope that we will have made our family close enough that they'll still enjoy spending time with us when no one is looking. :)

OH! And speaking of our family, here's my sweet story for the day. It's probably only sweet to me, but just humor me.

We were a the zoo yesterday and we decided to get a season pass, so we had to fill out a form with all of our names on it. Under the children section I wrote Josh and Matthew's name and when I went to turn the form in Josh stopped me and asked if we should put Clarissa's name on it too so that she can come to the zoo with us when she gets here. I'm pretty sure that the pass will be expired before she gets here (ooh, that sucks.), but the fact that he wanted her name added to our family pass made me smile. I love that he's thinking about her and looking forward to having her as part of our family. It just struck me as very sweet, which is not unusual for that kid. He's always thinking of others. I love him for that.

Anyway, that's pretty much all the news from our weekend! We're all tired and ready to sleep in our own beds tonight, but we made some great memories of a really fun weekend. Next weekend I'm dragging the whole family out the lavander festival again! This is an event that is two hours away from our house and interesting to no one but me, but they're nice to humor me for the day. I really loved it last year and I've been looking forward to it all year. I'll have all sorts lavander stories for you next week.

But today I think I'll just spend some time taking down the tent, taking a nap and I'll wait until tomorrow to start planning our next adventure. :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Six things I learned this weekend

(And by the way, I'm typing this on my laptop, in my tent in the backyard. Oh yes, I'm such a hardcore camper that I drug two extention cords across the lawn so that I can watch King of the Hill and compose a blog entry while I camp.)

Ok, so here we go, six things I learned this weekend:

1. Camping in your backyard on the 4th of July is a really stupid idea. Unless you enjoy laying in a tent in the middle of the night listening to overhead explosions that sound like world war 3 has started.

2. While camping, remember to leave the tent tightly zipped. Don't let it flap in the breeze all day long or when you try to watch King of the Hill and compose a blog entry on your laptop at night, bugs will swarm the screen.

3. Shop vacs are very effective bug removal devices.

4. Camping in your backyard is super fun when you're a 4 or 8 year old boy.

5. Camping in your backyard is not nearly as fun when you're a 33 mother of two who really just wants to sleep in her own bed, where nothing is exploding over her head and bugs aren't swarming her laptop.

6. It is ridiculously fun for a 33 year old mother of two to watch her children have the time of their lives sleeping in a tent in the backyard. So much so that she'll do it again the next night, just to see them smile. :)

Happy 4th of July weekend! :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happiness is a hammock in your backyard

OK, so it's me again with the overcelebrated holidays! We're gearing up for the 4th of July and I'm super excited about it! We were planning to go to the lake like we did last year, because the kids can play in the water all day and then at night we can watch the fireworks from there, but this year Shawn is on call all weekend and he didn't want to be running back and forth from the lake to the pharmacy all day.

SO, we're gearing up for another fake vacation! :) Starting tonight we're going camping in our backyard! Woohoo! We're putting up the tent, we're going to cook on the grill, make smores at night and we're going to have a great time back there all weekend. I'm the master of pretend vacations. I can turn anything into a vacation or a holiday.

Anyway, yesterday as I was planning what I wanted to do for our weekend, I decided that if we're going to spend the weekend in the backyard I want a hammock. I've wanted one for years and every summer I say that I'm going buy one but I never do. So yesterday buying a hammock became my project for the day.

Unfortunately, no one mentioned my project to the stores because there were no hammocks to be found!! We literally drove all over town yesterday afternoon trying to buy a hammock, and everywhere we went we were told that no one can keep them in stock. They come in and people snatch them right up. Bummer.

We looked and we looked and we looked until we were tired and cranky and we were tired of looking, so we went home with no hammock. Last night I resigned myself to the fact that we just weren't having a hammock for our backyard camping adventure. But I can be REALLY stubborn sometimes! I woke up this morning and decided that we ARE having a hammock in our backyard if I have to make the darn thing myself.

Fortunately I didn't have to. I started calling around to stores this morning and I finally found a Fred Meyer that had one left in stock that had been sitting in the back because the box was totally torn up. I told them to hang on to it and we drove right over and picked it up. Fortunately because the box was so messed up it was even on sale! Woohoo! There's nothing I love more than finding something slightly damaged that I can get a bargain on.

So I came home and put it together in the shade under our big tree and the kids and I jumped into it. Pure HEAVEN! Why didn't we buy one of these a long time ago? I made lemonade and we all went out there with a book to read and we snuggled in the hammock and read our books and drank our lemonade for quite a while. Now THAT is the way to spend a summer day. I think I'm going to sell our bed and replace it with a hammock. Ok, not really.

Anyway, I hope to spend the rest of my summer snuggled with my kids in the hammock reading a book and drinking lemonade. Is there anything better than that? I think I've found my new happy place. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Waiting for Clarissa

Ok, here is the first of probably many posts to come where I complain that time is going by too slowly and that I'm tired of waiting. I'm SO ready for Clarissa to join our family and sometimes it seems like we'll be waiting forever. We're just starting our 8th month of waiting. If it were a pregnancy I'd be big and fat by now and washing baby clothes and getting out the crib bedding. But this isn't a pregnancy and it's not about to end. I'm not even halfway there yet!

Instead I just wait and wish and wonder. I wonder what it's going to be like. I hope that she adjusts to life in our family. It breaks my heart to think of what she's going to have to go through to get here, being seperated from her birth mother and then her foster family, her country and everything familiar to her and having to go to a place where no one looks or sounds familiar. I know that we'll love her and take care of her, but she won't know that at first. She'll be about nine months old when she gets here. Old enough to recognize that everything is changing, but not old enough to understand why. She's probably not even born yet and I'm already sad for what she's going to have to go through.

And more than that, I'm sad for the mother that is going to have to say goodbye to her. I have two biolological children and I know what it feels like to see your baby for the first time and have it instantly fill up your heart. Having to give a child up must be so hard. I pray for that mother, whoever she is. I hope that she finds peace.

So anyway, there's my pity party for the day. The wait it long and sometimes it's discouraging. I hope that someday Clarissa realizes how loved she is. Not just by me, but by her birthmother who will love her enough to want a better life for her and her foster mother who will love her and then have to let her go. I hope that I can raise her with an understanding of how much love went into finding her a forever home. And I look forward to the day that I can finally hold her in my arms.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Rock!! :)