Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Is it not amazing that 2008 is gone???

It was our first full year spent in Alabama and we survived :) I need to know - is it y'all or ya'll? I have seen it both ways and now that I actually use it, I need to know. My vote is for y'all (using English rules). What do you think?

The weather is crazy - yesterday, picnic outside with short sleeves on (however, we were a little further south helping some friends move in) ... today, frigid again. No complaints, though - the fact that we can have a picnic in the winter anytime is still a good thing.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year - looking forward to catching up with you in 2009!

ps - I desperately need a new profile picture!!! However, first I need a haircut :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

This is the first time I have participated in "Then Sings My Soul Saturday". When I heard this song on John's new Trans Siberian Orchestra CD, I wanted to share it. Check out more songs here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas update

Happy New Year to everyone! Here's a little recap of our last week.

Last Sunday night, the temperature got down to 18 degrees - with the wind chill, it felt like 9.!! Now, that's cold for Alabama. When we know there is a risk of freezing, we let the water run all night to keep the water line from freezing. Unfortunately, it just got too cold for our trick to work and the filters outside at the well head froze solid. So, Monday morning, we woke up to no water. We are able to keep warm enough with 2 space heaters - and we have the camper heater set at a "catch" temperature in case the space heaters can't keep up.

This is a picture of the inside of our camper window - frozen!!

Do you want to know the really crazy thing? The Friday before (2 days earlier, mind you), we were wearing shorts outside to work in! We poured some concrete that day and it was plenty warm to be in shorts and a t-shirt.

Tuesday night, we enjoyed Christmas lights at the zoo - complete with train ride, watching dancing lights and petting a Norway rat.

Alabama is crazy for football - it's either Alabama or Auburn. For some reason, the kids have chosen Auburn to "like". Here's my thought - in a year when Alabama was #1 and undefeated for most of the season - call me crazy, but I might have chosen Alabama to be my favorite :)

Christmas morning, we ate cinnamon rolls and then took a nice hike to Chimney Rock. It was Savannah's first time actually up on the rock. I forgot to take my camera along, but it was a beautiful crisp morning.

We decided we had let them wait long enough and opened the remainder of our presents. We have tried to teach our kids that giving is a blessing and that we celebrate Christmas because of what God gave us - His son. This year, we saw them really enjoying giving, too. Our church had a birthday party for Jesus that our kids attended. Part of the evening, they were able to shop at the "store" that the leaders had set up. The kids were able to choose and wrap gifts for their parents (or whoever they wanted to give to). Our kids were so excited to watch us open our gifts - I was blessed.

We were able to get the kids a trampoline for Christmas with the gift money that we had received for Christmas. They were VERY excited and have spent almost every spare available minute jumping on it. It struck me funny yesterday - this is just a bigger version of a pack-and-play! Do you need a place for your kids to play ALL DAY LONG while you work on the house? Get them a trampoline :)

And, finally, Buddy has settled in and is very comfortable - and spoiled, I might add. I call him "little pipsqueak" and that makes Savannah laugh.

Christmas night, we enjoyed an incredible meal at some friends' home - thanks, Cheney family! The kids had a wonderful time playing and the guys had a very long competitive game of scrabble :)

House update:
We have the forms set up again to pour next week sometime. Once finished, we will have 3 full height walls, a 2/3 height back wall, foundation for the stairs, foundation for interior support walls. Progress - exciting!

Hannah's cards:
From the caringbridge site - the card count is over 57,200! Hannah has started chemo treatments - please pray for a miracle.

Phillipians :9-11
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just for fun

It's finally sunny, but it is really cold, so while John is working outside, I am blogging :)

1. Started your own blog
Yes. Ta-da - here it is!

2. Slept under the stars
Yes - once actually outside and once with a glass ceiling - very cool!

3. Played in a band
No - not musically talented.

4. Visited Hawaii
YES~!! 3 times - I like Kauai best. However, Tahiti was even better.

5. Watched a meteor shower
Not yet.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity
Not often enough.

7. Been to Disneyland/World
Both. We took the kids to Magic Kingdom a couple of years ago. I was in Disneyland with my best friend many years ago :) Remember Splash Mountain, Heidi? HA!

8. Climbed a mountain
Yes - Mt St Helens twice.

9. Held a praying mantis
Yes - they are my favorite "little" critter. We had some interesting pine-looking ones this summer.

10. Sang a solo
Oh NO!!!

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris
Close, but no. I spent a few days in London, England and had thought about taking the chunnel over, but didn't end up going.

13. Watched a lightning storm
Yes! One this summer was INCREDIBLE! It wasn't actually lightning here, but we could see this huge thunderhead cloud with lightning going everywhere inside of it. Also, once while driving to visit my parents in OR, there was a beautiful one along the Columbia River Gorge.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
Hmmm. Not sure if training horses counts (although I did have some help from 4-H leaders, etc).

15. Adopted a child
Technically, no. But we have 2 Compassions children in Tanzania that we support and pray for all of the time.

16. Had food poisoning
Not that I can remember

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
Yes! I LOVE NYC! However, the view from up there is not the greatest.

18. Grown your own vegetables
Yes - tried this summer. Looking forward to trying again next summer and getting an earlier start.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
No. But I have slept on an overnight plane.

21. Had a pillow fight
Yes - I have 3 sisters - I am sure we had pillow fights growing up :)

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
I don't think so.

24. Built a snow fort
Yes, but not recently :)

25. Held a lamb
I don't think so.

26. Gone skinny dipping
Not that I can remember.

27. Run a Marathon
No, but maybe someday ...

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
Many, many sunsets. A few sunrises :) In Hawaii, we had to do the Haleakala sunrise, of course.

31. Hit a home run
Oh no - baseball is not my friend.

32. Been on a cruise
Yes - to the Inside Passage in Alaska - incredible! Highly recommend this one.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
Yes! Twice! The Canadian side is more impressive and more clean, I have to admit.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
Not really intentionally. I was in Germany and England, but I didn't go in search of ancestors while there.

35. Seen an Amish community
Yes. We lived in Lititz, PA in Lancaster County, PA - lots of Amish in the surrounding areas.

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
Money will never satisfy - only Christ will.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
Part of the Mt St Helens climb is through boulders - my favorite part! I wouldn't necessarily say it was "climbing", but it was still very fun.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke
Definitely not!

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
Maybe - we gave a homeless man $5 in a McD's in NYC once (one of those situations where we felt like the Lord was prompting us to do that). Hopefully, he bought a meal with it.

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
Thankfully, no.

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
Yes - that was our summertime vacation growing up. We would fish off the coast of Vancouver Island for salmon.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
No! Not been to Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
Snorkeling - I enjoyed snorkeling in Tahiti a lot!

52. Kissed in the rain
Most of the time that John came to Portland (rains lots!), it was sunny and nice, so I am not sure.

53. Played in the mud
Oh, definitely!

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business
Yes - John and I started a software business.

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen
Yes, but just a few times.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
Not specifically, but I have seen whales in the ocean!

63. Got flowers for no reason
Yes - John just recently brought me some wildflowers. Also, the kids are always giving me little "bouquets".

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
Yes - in college.

65. Gone sky diving
No, but you can ask John about wearing a jump suit :)

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check
I'm not sure - maybe in college, but I don't remember a specific time.

68. Flown in a helicopter
Yes! My BIL took me up in his helicopter once. Also, on the Alaskan cruise, I splurged and took a helicopter flight up/over/and on the glaciers - it was worth every penny. Loved it!

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
Yes. A poor, ratty-tat stuffed dog that I can remember riding as a "horse" when I was very little.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
Yes. Love Washington DC, too.

71. Eaten caviar
Oh NO!

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
Yes - love NYC!

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
No, but I quit after 1 day of strawberry picking!

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
Yes - at Buckingham Palace.

77. Broken a bone
Yes - my elbow during basketball season my senior year of high school.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
Well, I'm not sure you could call it a speeding motorcycle, but I have been on a motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car
Yes - and I still have it and it has 140K miles on it!

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper
Yes - for various high school sports items. We lived in a small town.

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
Not that I know of.

90. Sat on a jury
Yes, I was picked for a jury - it was very exciting to actually make it out of the jury "pool". However, the dude ended up settling before we made it into court.

91. Met someone famous
I went to basketball camp at the same place the Seattle Seahawks had training camp, so we saw a few of the players there.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one
Yes - a few.

94. Had a baby
Two - Savannah and Hadden.

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit
Well, I guess so. When I was a nanny in CT, the first week I was there I was in a car accident. Apparently the other person involved saw an opportunity and sued for damages. However, they determined that the accident was not completely my fault (the other person was exceeding the speed limit on a blind corner), so they did not win.

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee
Yes - and then passed the bee on to my sister so that she could get stung, too!

100. Picked up a stray animal (I modified this one)
Yes. Buddy. We saw another stray today and just.kept.driving!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Please continue to pray for a miracle for Hannah. The local community had a wonderful gift for Hannah last night - at least 54 fire departments, police departments, EMS, etc. joined together to deliver 1000's of Christmas cards to Hannah! The local community came out and supported Hannah and the family as well. Read here for more about it.

The weather has not been the greatest for trying to pour concrete, but we are hoping to try either today or early next week.

He is still with us and we named him "Buddy". We reported him to all of the local vets and the local shelter, took him in to check for a chip, made a sign that we had found him, asked many people if they knew who he belonged to, etc, but he has not been claimed. He is doing very well at finding his way around our property, it seems. He is home every night to sleep in his warm bed :) He loves Hadden's bed, but we don't want him sleeping there so we keep booting him off. He is a persistent little fella.

Feeling a little behind. We are hoping to do our Christmas shopping for the kids tonight while they are at a "birthday party for Jesus" at church.

Many frustrations with trying to get a package delivered via UPS. I have had to force myself to be kind in the midst of it. I think there is a big lesson in here for me - in light of MUCH bigger situations, this one is nothing - and I mean NOTHING! So, my parents don't get their present on time. Do they really mind? No. So - why do I get all worked up for such small things?

Christmas cards are just not going to happen this year. Maybe New Year's cards :)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas wish for Hannah

This so touched my heart this morning. Would you consider sending a Christmas card to Hannah? She is a little girl from our church in PA - the family lost her mother about 2 years ago to breast cancer and Hannah is a very special little girl. Please pray for Hannah and this family.

Hannah's cousin had the following note on facebook:

Hannah is my 5 year old cousin who, just a few weeks ago, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare and incurable brain tumor. She has been given 12 weeks to live and is currently in her 7th week. Hannah's story is sad, but especially sad because her mother passed away just two years ago from breast cancer. Her father, brother Jordan, and sister Brittany are dealing with the unthinkable.

Right now Hannah has lost most of her motor skills. She is confined to a bed and cannot really do anything or play with the gifts she has been receiving. Hannah LOVES getting cards, though. She has gotten so many and has so much fun opening them and reading them with her grandma. She is so proud of all of her cards - her room is filled.

When asked what she wanted for Christmas, Hannah said she would like to see how many Christmas cards she could get. Many people have passed along this wish to their churches, friends, prayers groups and families and I'm asking you to continue to pass on Hannah's story.

So if you have time during the holidays, and would like to help Hannah with her wish, please send her a card. Her address is:

Hannah Garman
704 Orchard Rd
Lititz, PA 17543

You can feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish. If anyone has questions, they can email me at If you want to keep up to date on Hannah and her progress, check out her Caring Bridge website at

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers especially through the holiday season.

Many blessings,

Hannah with one of her dolls.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She's 8!!!!

We celebrated Savannah's 8th birthday yesterday! As with any parents, it is hard for us to believe that she is already 8.

The kids and I went to the McWane Science Center and were able to catch the eel feeding. Unfortunately, my camera was MIA so I don't have any pictures to share.

Just a few days old here.

Thought this one was especially cute :)

Savannah - you are very precious to us and we are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents! Our prayer for you is that you would seek Him all of your days. We love you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sounds and sights ...

"No, Savannah, I don't think we are going to be able to get a puppy for your birthday or for Christmas"

Meet "Buddy" - aka PAL (note: this is the morning after we found him, so he is still pretty skinny)

We are still not sure what exactly to do with him ... and he is not technically a "puppy", right? We did take him to the vet today to see if he has a microchip and he does not. Also, I was wrong in thinking he was a bagel - the vet said he is only beagle.

Sympathy from my family? Nope! Teresa said, "you had better get that house done soon, so that you have a place to live!". The camper seems to be going to the dogs.

"I don't think we really need a tree inside this year, do we?"

Outvoted 3-1 - at least is a little step up from our Charlie Brown tree of last Christmas.

Well, could you resist this face? (either of them)

Aren't the lights on the house absolutely lovely! My husband put ours up without any nagging - bet you wish you could say that!

As promised - Clampett camper.

I think she is embarassed that I showed you that picture :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hmmm ...

So, we woke up this morning to Hadden's front tooth missing ... not to be found anywhere!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me! Monday

And ... we certainly DID NOT pick up a stray dog tonight and bring him home. That would be generally considered a little crazy - four people and three dogs in a camper! We're calling him a "bagle" because he looks like some cross between a beagle and a basset hound. He is very cute and sweet, but we are going to try to find his owners.

I have not participated in this before, but have several things that I wouldn't want to admit to. :) Check out this site for what this craziness is all about.


We did not spontaneously enjoy our time with 3 other couples from We Care which made us arrive home at 11 pm Saturday night - this was already after a very nice Christmas banquet on Friday night.

I did not buy a red velvet cake yesterday for $12.99 plus tax because I didn't have time to make anything for dessert for our home group after arriving home at 11 pm. I do not love red velvet cake icing (the only real reason to eat cake, after all)!

Our camper was not 37 degrees on the inside when arriving home at 11 pm from our Christmas party weekend! It did not take 3 heaters and an hour to get it to a bearable temperature.

We did not pile our stacks of pink insulation around the bottom of our camper to try to keep a little of the heat in. That would look WAYYY too Clampett for us! I am positive I will not post a picture when I have a chance.

I did not have a meltdown over buttons because I was worried about wearing a black sweater with 2 missing white buttons. I did not make my poor husband feel so bad that he stopped twice (even though we were running late) for me to find some. Then, I certainly didn't sew them on on the remainder of the ride, only to find out that they wouldn't actually fit through the button holes! (Thankfully, it was just a cardigan).

Oh, and I don't stick my foot in my mouth - ever. Not Me! Nor, does my facial expression change in the least when someone says something to me that is just "out there".


Head on over to MckMama’s page and see what other people have Not Done!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The almost great escape and a 2-legged dog

So, have you seen the kids movie "Finding Nemo"? Do you remember the "great escape" plan that the fish in the dentist's tank came up with to get back to the ocean?

We had a real-life great escape plan, but this time it involved a lizard.

Our version started when the kids found a most pathetic looking little lizard on a cold day. I, being the softy that I am, allowed them to bring it into the house to warm it up. John and I both thought that it was about ready to keel over and sure enough, the next morning it appeared to be dead. When I picked up the container and tilted it slightly, the lizard just stiffly slid across the bottom of the container.

However, when the kids woke up and Savannah checked on him, he moved a little bit. We decided to make his plastic bucket a little more "homey" and added some rocks, twigs, a dish of water and a clump of grass. He seemed to perk up some and we even caught him up on the grass a couple of times.

He still looked terribly pathetic as he was shedding his old skin. He had some dark patches and some lighter, scaly patches of old skin.

Then, the day came for the great escape! John and I were outside working on the house all day and the kids were enjoying playing outside in the nice weather. In the late afternoon, I came in for a quick break and found several ladybugs right inside the front door of the camper. As I was sweeping them out, was I ever surprised to find the little lizard right there by the door, too! I immediately thought that the kids had been playing with him and that was why he was out, but they both said they hadn't.

So, my hunch is that the lizard climbed up the grass, over the edge of the container, down onto the floor (a fall of about 2 ft - pretty big for a 3 inch lizard!), then across the floor to the front door. (can't you just hear the music in your head?) Not sure what his next plan was as I caught him in the middle of it. His escape plan was successful however - we ended up turning him loose to enjoy life in the great outdoors again.

Hopefully he is staying warm on these cold nights!


Our dog, Mercy, who is normally a three-legged dog, became a two-legged dog for a short while. Probably not terribly funny for her, but it was rather amusing for us (after, of course, she recovered and we knew she was ok :). She has been down to 3 legs ever since her fall off of the 40-foot cliff when we first arrived in Alabama and she was down to 2 the other night most likely from being bit by something. Probably a no-legged critter.

When we got home from church on Sunday afternoon, she was wobbling/hobbling on two legs because one of her back legs was swollen and painful. On a side note, she is the biggest wimp of a dog ever, so it is hard to tell just how painful it really was.

We brought her in, examined her, and gave her some Benadryl. We assume it was a snake bite because by the next morning, she was fine and ready to go for a walk.

I am kicking myself for not video'ing her, though, as it was pretty funny. She can be thankful that the bite and swelled leg were on her "good" side. Not sure what she would have done if they were both bad on the same side :)