Saturday, September 29, 2007

Warning!!

Praying mantises do NOT like having their picture taken. They WILL attack you!!








Friday, September 28, 2007

Random Updates

1. The first week of classes went really really well. I seem to have a good group of students this quarter (so far, seems like one of my best yet!), and 23 out of 26 of my Comp. I students came back for the second class. That has to be close to a school record! And they participated! And seemed to be enjoying themselves at least a little bit!! It was pretty amazing.

2. The problem student from last quarter dropped his appeal. Yay!

3. I am having another garage sale this weekend at a friend's house.

4. Mark has to work this weekend. (See update #3!)

5. We have started putting some of the baby's stuff in the baby's room. I even hung a little alphabet quilt on the wall. Of course it will have to come down when we strip the wall paper, but I'm in no real hurry to do that since we don't know what color we'll be painting the wall. I also put some of the baby books on the bookshelf and brought up a dresser from the basement to put the baby blankets, sheets, and some of the clothes in. I hung the rest of the clothes up in the closet. The closet still needs a lot of cleaning out, but Mark took all of his baseball cards back to the basement.

5. I got some really cool things last weekend at, can you guess it, a garage sale! (And a few things at a mom to mom sale my friend Jennifer took me to.) I got a brand new boys courderoy overalls set for $0.50. It still has the tags on it! I also got some osh kosh overalls for the same place. I think that the most exciting buy, however, is a plush baby doll that I got at the mom to mom sale. It is a little African-American doll that I had seen online at Target for $10, and I got it for $0.50. It had some nasty food stuff on it, and the label said to surface clean only, but I sent it through the wash, and it looks and feels brand new. I am very excited. At another sale I got a little white doll and washed it with the other, and they are sitting together on top of the dresser.

6. "Three little monkeys jumping on the bed; one fell off and bumped his head."
"Momma called the doctor, and the doctor said. . ."
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"
really gets stuck in your head, especially when it is a fun toy where you throw little monkeys into a crib and set off the song. three monkeys; three parts of the song. way too much fun. but then it gets old. for some faster than others. thank goodness for the off button!

7. Mark's boss gave him a $100 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse today as a thankyou for all the extra time he is putting in right now as his company completes a buyout of another!! I can't remember the last time we went to Outback. I honestly think it was high school or my first year of college, and it was in Wilkes-Barre since it was the closest one.

8. I can think of other things, but it is late, I have to get up early tomorrow, and this is already long enough. I will try to post some pictures soon--you're probably tired of just reading my ramblings!

Good night!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Keeping Our Fingers Crossed!

Mark finally made it in for his drug test yesterday. Now we just have to wait and see if he passes!!

Job Updates

Last night's orientation went decently okay. The speaker was almost as bad as last year's, but not quite. I sat in the back with the trouble makers in the English department, so I at least had some entertainment! Unfortunately, I didn't have anything to really work on. Last year I was able to get a lot of work done on my syllabus.

The one interesting thing from the night is that our department (the Department of General Education) is considering a name change. Students don't typically see the need for gen eds, and we are often overlooked by the administration as well. Each campus is submitting two suggestions (one of which can be to keep it the same), so we brainstormed ideas last night. I guess that we'll get a ballot in our boxes in the next week so we can vote on it. There were two that I liked last night. One was Department of Essential Education, and the other one I don't completely remember, but it was something like Department of Core Arts, Sciences, and Letters. I don't know if "core" is the right word, but there was something there. Another suggestion was Deparment of Core Curriculum. Anyways, you get the idea. It will be interesting to see how this all ends up!

I also heard back from University of Phoenix today. I sent an e-mail two or three weeks ago saying that I couldn't do the Friday night orientations now because of previous commitments, but that I was interested in doing the Saturday morning sessions later this fall. I didn't hear anything, so I followed up with a phone call the next week. Nothing. I called again this week and left another voicemail. I had basically given up. Then today, I get the call! I can do the Saturday orientations, and if all goes well, I can start teaching after the first of the year.

I'm not going to quit my job just yet, but if things go well at UP, then I will phase out my other one and just teach a night or two at UP. The biggest advantage is that it is only 10-15 minutes from my house, not 45-60! Once we have a baby, I don't want to have to spend so much time commuting back and forth from work.

One final note: the situation with a student and his grade has improved slightly (very slightly), but we still haven't set up a time to meet. Please pray that that goes well. I'm meeting with another student on Monday, but she is rational and fairly respectful, so I am optimistic that that will go well. Thanks for your prayers--I definitely appreciate them!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure,
and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
They are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this
meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back to School

My brief summer break is almost over. Tonight is our big Fall Orientation/Dinner at school. We have a lovely dinner, and incredibly boring speaker (last year set a new low, and he was supposed to be some big name speaker!), and then usually some sort of professional development sessions followed by department meetings/contract signings. I haven't heard anything about PD sessions, but I am sure that they will want to teach us something. Can you tell that I am really not looking forward to tonight??

Classes start on Monday, and for the first time in two years, I have a Monday class. I am teaching Comp. I on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and my favorite class, Workplace Communications, on Tuesday nights. I hadn't planned on making three trips up to school a week, but those are the classes that I was able to get. It will be interesting to see how the comp. class goes. I have only taught it twice before--last fall and the fall before that, so I don't feel very confident with it yet.

I also have a grade appeal from this summer that I am dealing with. I seem to get one every quarter, but this person is being especially difficult and derogatory. Please pray for me as I meet with this student and a counselor (with whom I do not really get along) sometime next week.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

God is good. All the time.

All the time. God is good.

God has been showing us over and over again that we have made the right decision to adopt now. After 5 1/2 years of waiting to adopt, it is a big step to actually do it, and it is so comforting to know that it is God's will for us.

We received another check yesterday (don't know how much since I haven't picked it up from my parents yet) and one today in the mail for $100. Mark and I are completely overwhelmed.

Since our last garage sale went so well, we are having another one on Sept. 29th at our friends' house. Please pray that this one is a huge success as well. It would be so nice to not touch our loan until we have to pay our placement fee ($9,800) which is due when we have the baby. So far, we have paid $600 and have raised over $1,000 toward the $2,600 for the homestudy and acceptance fees.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

God is good. All the time.
All the time. God is good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What a Life!

Brittany--this one's for you.

If you give a Mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and
bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her
she has to plandinner for tonight.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She will look for her cookbook (101 Things to
Make with a Pound of Hamburger).
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse
that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old
the phone will ring.
Her four year old will answer it and hang up.
She remembers that she wants to phone
a friend to come for coffee on Friday.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that
she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are......
If she has a cup of coffee......
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

God Loves to Bless His Children!

Mark and I are overwhelmed by God's blessing of our garage sale. On Friday, a business contact from church stopped by the garage sale, ran a check up to Katie and then left. The check was for $100! On Saturday, my parents' neighbor that we are good friends with gave us a check for $120 on the condition that we plant some ivy in his flower beds. Needless to say, we accepted that offer! We also had other people give donations at the garage sale, including $20 from a man who has adopted NINE boys!

From just the sale, we made over $630. I couldn't believe it since the most expensive item we sold was $25, and we would have been happy with $300. My mom was praying that we would make $600, and God definitely answered that prayer. We also received over $250 in donations, which gave us a total of just under $900!! That is almost enough for our next payment.

We still have a decent bit of stuff left over, and our friend Katrina offered her house for a garage sale since it is the perfect location (right down from Ikea and the interstate!), and we are going to take her up on the offer. We have also had people offer more donated items, so that will give us even more to sell. Hardly anything at the garage sale this weekend was ours--almost everything was donated to us.

I cannot express how thankful we are to everyone that helped us--whether they prayed, donated items to sell, donated money, bought something, or just came and hung out with us during the sale. We are truly blessed to have such good friends!

God is good. All the time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Day One--A Big Success!

The first day of our garage sale went really well, especially consindering that I was doing it alone for the first 4 hours! We sold almost all of the big items, and made $270! I would have been happy if we had made that much for the weekend! I know that it won't be as much the next two days since we don't have as many "expensive" items left, but hopefully we will sell all the little stuff we have.

Every day we are getting more things donated. I know that my parents were pulling stuff out of the attic tonight. We have been blessed by the different friends how have given us items to sell.

Here's a basic summary of the adoption costs right now. The application fee (paid on Tuesday) was $600. When we have the homestudy, it is another $1,000, and then when we are approved, we have a $1,600 acceptance fee. That adds up to $3,200. We really want to pay all of that ourselves and not use the loan until we own the balance when the adoption is finalized. This lets us put off having to make payments and paying interest. Even though it is a special low-interest, interest-only loan, it is low interest for an unsecured loan, not for a home or car type loan. That's a big part of why we want to put that off as long as we can.

Once the adoption is finalized, we become eligible for state and federal tax credits (and, of course, the child tax credit), and Mark's company will reimburse up to $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Please pray that the garage sale continues to go well and that God will continue to provide the money that we need.

Thanks for all your support!

Garage Sale Day!!

Today is the first day of our adoption fundraising garage sale. I can't believe how much stuff we have to sell! My parents have given us far more than we could have dreamed of, and our friends Kyle and Keri gave us a ton of stuff too. Pray that it is a huge success!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Official!

We finished the paperwork and sent it in!




Envelope Contents:

Formal Adoption Application
Family History Data Charts (x2)
8 page Self Study (x2)
Medical Reports on Applicants (x2)
Licensing Clearance Requests (x2)
Bethany Statement of Faith Agreement Form
Personal Statement of Faith
Openness Issues Questionnaire
Bethany Discipline Policy Agreement Form
Release of Information for Family Profile Form
HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practice Acknowledgement Form
Copy of Marriage Certificate
Copy of Birth Certificates (x2)
Copy of Social Security Cards (x2)
Copy of Driver's Licenses (x2)
Copy of 2006 Federal Income Tax 1040 Form
Copies of All Pet Vet Records (x2)

(Oh yeah, and one large check!)

Next Step:

Homestudy and Interviews!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

More Garage Sale Finds!

Yesterday Mark and I went to two garage sales (right next door to each other), and we got several really good buys. The first one was this children's rocking chair. It was really wobbly, but once my mom tightened all the screws, it was as sturdy as can be. All we have to do is clean the wood, and we picked up wood cleaner on our way home from church today.





I took a picture of it next to the dog so you can get a good idea of its size. For some reason, Sadie was afraid of the chair, so everytime I moved it next to her, she moved away. I finally got her to stay, but she sure was relieved when I told her she could leave. We have such a strange dog!




We also bought 57 children's books (all in new or nearly new condition!), and a little basketball hoop thing. We got all of this, including the rocking chair, for only $10!!! What a blessing!

God has already provided so many things for our little one through garage sales--Mark and I have been amazed at some of the items God has provided for so little money! I am excited to see what He has planned for us next. God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Getting ready for a baby!

Yesterday and today, we spent time planning the baby's room and starting to get a few things done. We decided to use Mark's office for the nursery, which I am still a bit surprised about.

That means we need to clear it out, move his desk and computer in my study, and start stripping wallpaper. This room is the only one in our house that is completely wallpapered, and it is the only bedroom that we haven't painted. Fortunately, the wallpaper in the rest of the house came down really easy, so we are optimistic that it will be the same way with this room. The previous owners were careful to do everything correctly, so they seemed to know what type of glue to use with wallpaper (unlike in our previous house where it took me 8 hours to remove a BORDER).

We have baby bedding picked out, but it is gender specific, so we can't finish the painting until we know the gender of our baby, and even then, we might wait until the adoption is finalized before painting. However, we can prime it and get everything moved out.

I also started stripping the highchair that we bought earlier this summer. I still have to scrape everything off tomorrow because it wasn't completely dry when I last checked on it. From the little bit of scraping I did, it seemed to be working. Ideally, we want to stain it an oak color to match our dining room set, but I'm not sure if the wood is too dark already. I'll have to see how it looks after I finish sanding it.
The original look
Covering it with the stripping solution
The current look


We also spent part of tonight working on the paperwork. Mark finished the financial part of the actual application, and I transferred all our answers onto our final copy. I also typed up Mark's self study (34 essay questions!) for him to revise. I still have to type mine up. Tomorrow I need to make copies of our marriage certificate, birth certificates, social security cards, driver's licenses, 2006 tax forms, and vet records for Josie and Sadie. We are so close to being done, but it's hard to stay motivated at times. It feels like I am answering the same questions over and over again!
Check back for more updates soon!