Elect

Election Day 2012

What a privilege to be an American!

 

Anticipating long voting lines, we  woke at 4:30am to go to our polling location.  I woke in a fantastically energetic frame of mind.  It was very dark when we left the house.  We live in Hardin County.  Our cars are registered in Hardin County.  Our driver’s licenses say Hardin County.  For whatever reason, we were assigned to vote in Meade County – the next county over.  We had never been to the area of the map my smartphone was sending us to.  We set out and soon discovered ourselves in hilariously unfamiliar territory.  I giggled when we turned onto Rabbit Run.  It was paved and still two lanes wide.  Then we merged onto Turkey Ridge.  Seriously??  Turkey Ridge?  It was still paved, but it cannot be described as two lanes.  There were farms out there and that’s about it!

There were a bunch of cars in the parking lot when we arrived.  They must have been poll workers.  We went inside and we were first in line!

There was a two minute alert and then a thirty second countdown.  We were waved in and placed our votes!

I am so proud to be the wife of an American Soldier – the ranks that protect my right to live in a free democracy.

I am so proud to be an American!

Lord Jesus, have mercy.

Adoption Adventures: Guidance Counselor

From my perspective underneath the mountain of paperwork, both complete and incomplete, it feels as though the adoption paper chase is actually eternal.  Dante could have added a level to his Purgatory and titled it “Paperwork”.  Paperwork Purgatory.  It has a ring to it.  Because I have this place, and you seven readers, to share the notable stories of our process, events tend to take on “oh, I HAVE to blog about this” personalities.  One such story involved a piece of paperwork I filled out yesterday.

Our agency is amazing.  They are committed to preparing us for the realities of bringing our babies home.  Some of the parenting education paperwork is more entertaining than educational.  Yesterday I called the local elementary school to speak with a guidance counselor.  Confession – I was homeschooled.  The only guidance counselor I ever dealt with was my extremely capable mother.  When I looked at this piece of paperwork that required the input of a guidance counselor I thought “How do you find one of those?”  Turns out it wasn’t very hard.  I called the school and asked the elderly woman with a Kentucky drawl if I could speak with a guidance counselor.

She said, “What do you need a guidance counselor for?”

“I have some questions for adoption paperwork that need answers directly from the school.”

“What questions?”

“Well, what is the student to teacher ratio?… How is an IEP developed?… Is there an ESL program available?… How is grade placement testing managed?”

“The student to teacher ratio is something like 28:1.  I do not know anything about the rest of those questions.  I will have to transfer you to someone else, probably to our guidance counselor.”

OH DEAR.

“Okay.  Thank you.”

The guidance counselor came on the line and I explained my needs.  I suggested that I would be bringing home a child that would be elementary age, which may or may not be true depending on our referral situation still in the future.  For the purposes of this conversation, my Chinese baby was elementary age.  The guidance counselor was nice.  She clearly deals with folks with not-so-much common sense on a regular basis because she spoke to me like I have a sub-hundred IQ.  I do not love being treated like I am unintelligent.  But one of the lessons I have learned at the ripe old age of thirty is sometimes staying quiet and letting someone treat you however they feel is proper is the quickest way to get information and get moving on to the next thing.

So I listened and asked my questions.

We discussed IEPs and ESLs and OHIs.

Then, I got this gem of a comment:  “You do understand ma’am…” She spoke with a sincere air of concern.  “You do understand that when you bring your child home, they probably won’t speak English?  They don’t teach English in China.”

Sweet mercy.

Hope that one makes you giggle as much as I did.  The Lord is gracious to provide for our every need – even comic relief.  Blessings to you.

6:31

Never in my life have I met dogs who could tell time.  These dogs can actually tell time.  Dinner time, according to the all-knowing puppies in my house, is 6:30.  If they are not fed on time I hear about it.  The complaints are heart-rending.  As though they have not actually been fed before in their lives.  Oh wait, they have never missed a meal!

So this is what I see at 6:31.

 

 

6:33.

 

 

6:36.

 

 

6:42.

 

 

 

6:55.

 

Dave arrived to feed them shortly after…  And this will be repeated everyday!

The Motivation of Avoidance

My intention this morning was to get a couple of chores done and then sit down to write.  I have a good deal of writing to do in preparation for a new project.  Writing typically requires crazy inspiration or dogged determination.  My realization this morning was that this was going to be a dogged determination kind of day.  I was going to sit down and start typing and see what I ended up with.

So I got up and sipped my coffee while catching up on the goings on in the social media world.  This is pretty typical.  Then I got started with my day.  Pot roast and veggies got started in the crock pot.  Pumpkin bread (no nuts) was mixed, baked, and tasted…hey, I’m being honest!  The kitchen was cleaned, twice.  The dishwasher emptied, loaded, and run again.  Every surface in my house required un-dusting.  My inner Amelia Bedelia grabbed a handy rag and furniture polish to fix that problem.  The floors were swept, vacuumed, and mopped.  All three are required in our house or else the dust bunnies grow so large you risk tripping over them, or being attacked in your sleep.  A friend needed me to remember the names of churches I recommended to her.  Internet research accomplished that…oh, and we caught up via text message.  I’m super proud of her.  Laundry was piling up in three different locations in my tiny house.  A remarkable achievement if I do say so myself.  That laundry is now clean and folded – even the cold-wash-hang-to-dry-delicates.  The glass shelves and mirrors got a good washing.  Even the Waterford got wiped.  Three chicken breasts were grilled for lunches for the rest of the week.

It smells so delicious and clean in my house.  It is doubtful that I have ever been so completely motivated to get things done around the house.  Like, don’t even stop to eat motivated.  Like, turn on the internet radio and keep moving motivated.  Like, I really needed to write!

Now as I sit here curled on the couch with a freshly laundered blanket eating my yummy chicken and spaghetti squash au gratin, I anticipate a long evening of writing.  Thankfully Dave will be practicing.  So my soundtrack this evening will be J.S. Bach Violin Partitas on marimba.  Pretty awesome way to write.  If I can just manage to sit down and start typing…

New Toy

Around here toys get destroyed.  Gunny has the time of his life in the destruction process, too!  On our walk this afternoon we found a new toy… and developed a game that was a cross between soccer and monkey in the middle with a flat-ish basketball…all while risking puppy’s teeth.

He could not have been happier!

Acorns and Hoodlums

I woke from my cat nap on the orange couch to the sound of hoodlums outside.

There are a number of hoodlums in our neighborhood.  They are the reason the top of our street is littered with glass, bricks, rocks, and chalk drawings.  They hang out at the skate park near the convenient store, earning it the moniker “Delinquent Academy”.  The argument that their parents do not exist is plausible.  There is no physical evidence of parents except for the living, breathing, mini-monsters running around.

It seems unlikely that someone who adores children the way I do would have such a low opinion of a particular gaggle.  Kids here make me a little crazy.  It is so great that they are outside running around instead of inside playing video games.  When I hear a loud expletive uttered at my back door though, I wish for a measure of parental presence for sure.

This afternoon, to my yet-unopened eyes, it seemed like some kids were sneaking around nearby and throwing gravel at my house.  I lay there listening, trying to analyze the situation.  The sounds were tremendously regular.  The noise of the hoodlums was surprisingly high pitched.  I opened my eyes and jumped off the couch.  It was not children in my yard!  It was birds!

A flock of birds, flying hoodlums, had descended upon the huge oak tree in the back yard and proceeded to loosen and drop hundreds of acorns.  The sound of the acorns hitting the ground and the roof and the air conditioning unit was impressive.  The sound of the birds in the branches squeaking and squawking was comical.  Put together, they gave this slightly suspicious, as yet childless, neighbor the impression of misbehaving children.

Instead I found a true celebration of Autumn in the leaves of our tree.

And I laughed.

Joyful Countenance

Something unexplainable happened to me in the parking lot today.

A man driving a new red Corvette spoke to me.  He said “You’re a beautiful woman”.  Then, when I was in my car with the windows down he walked up and asked if I was an Army wife and made another comment “Nice looking lady!”.  I reviewed my clothing to be sure everything was, shall we say, in proper place.  It was.  I looked in the mirror.  Still no makeup and wet hair tied back.

I laughed.  What a weird thing for him to say.

Hope someone tells you you’re loved today…or beautiful…because you are!

Celebrating 30

We celebrated my thirtieth birthday this week.  And what a celebration it was!  There was so much going on that I am now completely exhausted.  So exhausted that I didn’t post this yesterday!

The celebration started last weekend when I got an epic package from my family.  They sent me the most beautiful pearl ring.  It was packed in a ring box, which was in a nice store box, which was in a small cardboard shipping box, which was in a medium sized shipping box that also contained glitter, which was in slightly larger cardboard box that had more glitter, which was in the large shipping box – my postman was suspicious because my gift was so light weight!  I have essentially worn that ring everywhere except the shower this week!

On my actual birthday, I started the day by icing the cinnamon cupcakes I made the night before with pumpkin-creamcheese icing.  Ohmygoodness.  I even sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.  They went with me to school, well, the ones we didn’t eat went with me to school!

 

They tasted as good as they looked.

When I got to school April had a surprise for me.  She had purchased a “birthday girl” pin and a plastic tiara for my birthday.  She knows me well enough to know I would wear them….all day long!  The kids loved it!

 

I love April!

The kids I work with made a bunch of birthday cards for me.  It was seriously the cutest thing ever!  There was even a Starbucks card in one of them!

After school Dave met me in town to take me shopping for my birthday.  It was super fun!

He even made dinner reservations.  Look what the restaurant did for me!

I ordered my favorite shrimp dish.  Normally when we go out I do NOT order seafood because Dave really hates seafood.  But it was my birthday!

 

Then we got a tasty surprise from the restaurant….Raspberry Macadamia Nut Brownie…happy birthday to meeeeeeee!

 

Once we got home I got to see the fantastic and yummy present Kimmi, Gary, and Brianna had sent me.

The delivery guy got lost on post when he came to drop it off.  I was at work, so he had to drop it off at Dave’s office.  Poor guy….and what a trooper!  Oh, and those chocolate cupcakes….those are FROZEN PINEAPPLE covered in CHOCOLATE.

HEAVEN!!!!

This was, without a doubt, the best birthday ever!  I am so blessed to have so many loving and thoughtful people in my life.

Adventures in Adoption Fundraising: $995

It was nearly the end of day one in our weekend-long garage sale extravaganza.  Technically there were still about 90 minutes left in the official sale-day, but it felt like a near-end.  The slow of shoppers had stalled.  The sun was beating down on the pavement, and anyone who dared venture onto said pavement.  We sat on the clean floor of the garage and chatted.  Well, I was actually laying down across the floor.  There were no customers, I could do as I pleased.

Mom had a Gambler-esque philosophy about the garage sale dollars.  You know, knowing when to hold’em, fold’em, walk away, and run.  Actually, she was specific about not counting her money while sitting at the table.  Periodically she would vanish indoors to keep tabs on the income.  It seemed like a good time to count since there were no new people to meet and sell to, so in the house she went.  When she came out, it was with a half-laugh, half-groan.  The laugh was because of the joy in realizing what God had done….the groan was because of the hilarity in realizing what we still had to do.  We had $995.  We were tired and hot and sweaty.  We honestly wanted to go ahead and close up for the day.  But seriously, if you have $995, you absolutely MUST stay open to sell $5 more.

So there we were.

Sitting on the garage floor, no customers, no sounds except for the crickets…and not closing until we made five more dollars.

A lady walked down the driveway.  Turned around and walked right back up.  Fail.

Then a couple came down together.  They were probably mid-fifties and they were very curious about our adoption.  I hustled.  I mean, I HUSTLED!  I told all sorts of stories about adoption, special needs, our music careers, Dave’s role in the military.  I HUSTLED.  They did not find anything they needed to buy, so they decided to go through our book section, where everything cost $1, and pick up a few books.  Guess how many they bought.  Four.  They bought four books for a grand total of $4.  When they walked away we all just cracked up.  $999.  We needed one single more dollar.  I’m fairly certain each of us considered running inside to our own wallets and “donating” that dollar.  But that would have interrupted God.

He had another hundred or so dollars for us to raise that day.  It just took a tad more patience than we expected!

 

Chocolate Tapioca

That’s right.  Mixing two of the greatest food groups ever.

Last night we were not terribly hungry, so we decided that a bowl of tapioca would taste just perfect…instead of chicken and veggies.  Who can blame us?  Dave asked me to mix some chocolate in.  I could have followed the recipe on the box for chocolate tapioca, if I had remembered that it was there.  That would have been too easy anyway.

I was creative.  Mixed some hot chocolate powder into the pot.  So good.  Highly recommended!