Monday, June 30, 2008

12:27 PM

It was at this exact minute our miracle baby, Phyllip, was born 11 years ago today.

Phyllip today - age 11

1997 - couple of months old

We had Lyndsey 14 months after we were married. We waited a couple of years and decided we were ready for our 2nd child. But it seemed that we wouldn't be able to have another natural child. There's 6 1/2 years between Lyndsey and Phyllip.

We went to see a doctor for infertility and found out I was pregnant. But I lost that baby shortly after.

Not knowing if we'd be able to have any more children (though the doctor hadn't been able to find anything wrong with either one of us) we decided to look into adoption. We found out just how hard it would be to adopt through an agency. The waiting list is years long and the price is astronomical! We decided that wasn't the way to go. However, we heard of a preacher that handled adoptions so we contacted him.

Phyllip was 8 in this picture

He had been contacted by a family whose teenage daughter was pregnant and didn't want the baby. He interviewed us and got background on us as well as the girl. We met her over the phone as she was in Chicago and we were in WA state. Things seemed to progress well with the whole situation.

Then I found out I was pregnant in the middle of the adoption process. We didn't tell anyone involved with the adoption. We decided to let God close whichever door He chose. He chose to close the door of adoption.

And on June 30, 1997, at 12:27 p.m., we welcomed Phyllip James into our family. He truly was our miracle baby. He's such a blessing from Heaven. He's tenderhearted, loves to laugh and make jokes, always wants to play, will bend over backwards to make his momma happy, and he's got his daddy's outstanding looks!

Walter made a makeshift wagon and we would pull Phyllip up and down the hill around our house when he was little.

Happy 11th birthday my son! Your momma and daddy love you very much!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

She Was a Good Sport

Our church just finished Vacation Bible School last night.

There was an offering contest between the girls and boys. If the boys won, a representative for the girls (one of the teenage girls) would have to eat something really gross (and I mean it was GROSS). If the girls won, a representative for the boys (one of the teenage boys) would have to eat it.

On Monday and Wednesday night my Lyndsey was the representative for the girls. It just so happened that on both of those nights the girls lost. So.....Lyndsey had to eat the really gross thing. Monday night it was a bite of gefelte fish. It looked gross but Lyndsey was a good sport about it and took a bite. Her response...."tastes like chicken!" But last night, it was a bite of a sardine (just plain nasty). Again, she was a good sport and ate a bite. Her response..."yuck!" She said the worst part of it was looking at it.

All I can say is "I'm thankful I wasn't one of the representatives!"

Is He Really Old Enough?

So Monday marked the day that my last child was old enough to go to Jr. Camp.

Phyllip and Tyler were very excited to go. I couldn't believe that they were so eager to leave their mother! They were up early and got everything out to be packed. We packed their suitcases and then they watched the clock for the moment it was time to leave.

Another boy, James, was going with them. James got to the house and we left shortly after.

The boys could hardly contain themselves. They were so excited! Every so often I would get asked, "Are we almost there?"

We arrived at the camp and they couldn't get out of the van fast enough. They couldn't leave me fast enough. *sniff, sniff* Before I left, I had to take a couple of pictures. The kids happily obliged me. I said goodbye to them and they didn't look back as I left (can you believe that?). *another sniff, sniff*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Childlike Faith

Tonight our church started Vacation Bible School. We had a lot of fun. The theme is Wild, Wild West.

We had crafts, singing, offering, skit and Bible lesson. At the end of the lesson, Pastor gave a message on salvation. Those who didn't know Jesus as their Saviour raised their hands. Then they stood up and came towards me and I took them to a private room where Walter and I showed them from the Bible how they could know for sure Heaven is their home. Two girls came forward (Jael and Jazmin).

I wish everyone could have been in that room. It was one of the most precious few moments of my Christian life. I could see in their faces that they absolutely knew they needed ask Jesus to save them from their sins and take them to Heaven when they die. Jael and Jazmin both eagerly prayed and asked Jesus to save them. Afterwards, there was a heavenly smile that came over both of them. You could absolutely tell they had asked Jesus to save them and they meant it with all of their hearts. It was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life!

Whoever you are that read this here blog, if you don't know for sure that Heaven is your home, scroll down and you can read how to make Heaven your home by reading the side bar.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

College Application Officially Filled Out

Last night our church hosted a singing group from Hyles Anderson College.

Walter and I (and the kids) had dinner (pizza) with them. It was so much fun! The girls were so nice and their chaperones (Chris Tefft and his wife Brenda) were hilarious!

The girls sang quite a few songs and Brother Tefft preached (an incredible message, by the way).

We hosted 4 of the girls in our home overnight. The other 3 stayed at our pastor's home. Lyndsey was thrilled, to say the least.

Lyndsey and Rachel

Lyndsey and Katie

Sarah and Lyndsey

Lyndsey and Emilie

L to R - Emilie, Sarah, Lyndsey, Rachel, Katie

The boys wanted in on the pictures, too.
They are from the college she will be attending in the fall of 2009. Before the service started she filled out the college application. *sniff, sniff*

It's so hard to believe my little girl isn't little anymore. A word to the wise - when someone tells you to cherish every single moment with your children because they'll be grown up before you know it, listen to them. They used to tell me that and I thought they were nuts! But here I am with only 1 year left with Lyndsey at home. I tell you that I am CHERISHING each and every day with my beautiful daughter.

All of the girls fell in love with my very cute little dog! They all played with her. Some of them even took pictures of her. Ruby had to be in at least one of the pictures.

L to R - Ruby, Emilie, Sarah, Lyndsey, Rachel, Katie

The whole group
Top L to R - Becky, Heather
2nd row L to R - me, Katie, Rachel, Kristi, Lyndsey, Sarah, Emilie
Front row - Phyllip and Tyler

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Knock, Knock!

I've had my 2nd set of children for the last 2 days (Ciarra, Kaylyn, Grace, Liza aka Cuppie). We were all at my house yesterday and the following occurred many times.

My boys' bedroom door was closed and Grace was in their room. Cuppie walked over to the door and knocked on the door. The conversation went like this:

Cuppie: (knocking on the door) Knock, knock!

Me: (in the kitchen watching this unfold) Who's there?

Cuppie: Me (smiling while looking at me)!

Me: Me, who?

Cuppie: Cuppie (or as she says it, Tuppie)!

Lots of giggles followed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Breadmaking 101

Ok, so i consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about cooking. It is one of my passions.

I love to make homemade bread. I've been making bread for several weeks about every other day. I like to make it by hand - not a breadmaker (my own personal preference).

Just when I think I've got it mastered - bam! - I ruin a loaf of bread (I think the Lord was trying to keep me humble). Such was the case yesterday.

I was too tired to make my regular oatmeal bread. So I opted for a traditional white bread. Everything was fine until the bread was out of the oven and I tried to get it out of the loaf pan. The bread was stuck. Typically, I butter the pans before I put the dough in to rise. However, I figured there was enough butter on it from the first rising (that's what I get for doing my own figuring!). Well, I was so very wrong! The bread stuck to the pan. I was able to get part of it out. I was left with a loaf broken in half (the top half). The bottom half stayed stuck to the pan.

So a word to the wise. When the recipe calls for buttering the pan, make sure you follow the directions! Otherwise, your bread will be ruined!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

what boys do when it's 110 degrees outside and they have no swimming pool. They improvise!

Friday, June 13, 2008

We Discovered A New Favorite Place!

So today we were on our way to our kids' graduation. We left early so that we could stop by
and look around. If you've never been there and you like outdoor sports (hiking, fishing, hunting, etc.) you will LOVE it! That place is HUGE! In fact, I got separated from the rest of the family and I spent about 15 looking for them and gave up. I went to the front of the store and sat on a bench until they found me.

Soon after we all met up I found out why I couldn't find them. Walter found a virtual reality NASCAR car racing game. Of course he and Phyllip had to try it out! They said it was a blast. This is Walter's new favorite place to go daddy shopping!

We only had 45 minutes to look around before we had to be on our way to the graduation. We found the "Fine Gun Room." We went in there and found the following.

Now, I know this isn't exactly what we found in that particular room. But it is similar. Only thing is that these guns were incredibly expensive. Some were antiques and had a price tag as high as $70,000! Yep, I looked at the price tags several times to make sure my eyes were seeing the right dollar amount! I think they want to keep it more than we want to buy it!

We had a lot of fun looking around and actually didn't get to see the whole store with our time limit. I asked Walter what he wanted to do for Father's Day and he said, "Go back to Pro Bass Shop."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Fun Day

Today was my pastor and his wife's 9th wedding anniversary. They called and asked me if I would watch their girls (my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th daughters) so they could go out for the day.

The day started out about 9:30 this morning. The girls were dropped off. Liza (aka Cuppie) followed me around most of the day. I hadn't dried my hair or gotten my makeup on for the day yet. She came into my bathroom and I got the stool so she could sit up against the counter.

I decided to freshen up her hair. And then Grace's. And then Kaylyn's. And then Ciarra's. And just to prove that I still have the knack (albeit a small one) for doing little girls' hair, I took a picture of them. You see, it's been a very long time (about 7 years or so) since I had to do my little girl's hair every day. And I quite enjoyed myself, too.

L to R - Liza (Cuppie), Grace, Ciarra, Kaylyn

Grace decided to join us in the bathroom. I dried my hair and put it up. Then I got out my makeup. Cuppie's eyes lit up when I opened up my drawer full (yes, I have a boat load) of makeup (one of my downfalls, I know). I pulled everything out and put it on the counter. Grace asked if she could open up one of the boxes. Of course. She opened it up and Cuppie sucked all the air out of the room! Grace closed the box. Cuppie asked if she could open the box. Of course. Again, the oxygen was sucked out of the room by Cuppie! She was in makeup heaven! Hence, the picture below.

The rest of the pictures were just because pictures. Cuppie asked me to take most of them.

Cuppie is such a ham! She loves to have her picture taken! And she talked my ear off today! We had a very good time. I enjoyed the day with all the girls - though I didn't see much of the other 3 because they were playing with my 2 boys having a great time.

Pictures as Promised!

At the end of this post, I said as soon as I figured out how to move the pictures I would post them.

Voila! I figured it out! promised here are the infamous pictures. Enjoy...because I don't get a chance very often to hold things over this man's head!

Yes, it actually happened! My husband is playing cards!

The proof!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our Final Day in Madagascar

Friday, April 18

The morning started out at about 5:30 a.m. simply because we woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Ugh! Our flight wasn't out until 12:50 a.m. the next morning.

We met up with Ja and Rachel around 8:00 a.m. to get some breakfast. We left the hotel and headed out on quite a trek. We stopped at a little deli that supposedly served breakfast. It had tables and chair set up. We got menus and decided what we wanted.

We told the waiter we wanted a ham and cheese omelet. He informed us he didn't have any ham or cheese. So...we picked another item. This time a croissant with jelly and butter and fresh fruit. He again informed us he didn't have any jelly or fresh fruit. So...we said, "What do you have?" Basically, not much and nothing we wanted! So we left.

We stopped by an internet cafe because Rachel needed to do some banking via the internet. There were a couple of tvs showing the French equivalent to Fox News Channel. However, the commercials....disgusting - that's all I will say about that! I had to tell Walter not to even look at the tv!

We took a taxi (boy was that an experience) back to the hotel because they had a little cafe for breakfast. We sat down at a table. The waiter (or so we thought) came to take our order. We asked for a ham and cheese omelet. Ha! This man informed us he was the bartender and the chef wasn't there. He could make us scrambled eggs but NOT a ham and cheese omelet! Come on! If you can make scrambled eggs, you can put some ham and cheese on top of it. But, NO, this guy refused to do it. Not again! We said ok to the scrambled eggs and ordered a croissant with it. At lease we got some food!

From there we hopped into the car and went to pay a car repair bill Ja had. From there we went to the Croc Farm. The road to get there took us about 30 minutes and we only went about 2 miles. The road was that bad! On the way to the farm we saw people working in a rock query (sp?). Their job was to take big rocks and pound them into smaller rocks and then again into smaller rocks and so on until they had all different sizes. That's all they did So I got a couple of pictures.

We parked at the farm and went inside. It only cost $5 per person to get in - what a steal! Upon entering, you have to walk through the gift shop to get inside where all the animals and reptiles are. Hmmmmm, I think they want to make sure people buy souvenirs. Anyway, there were purses and lots of them. I started looking at 'em and saw a hot pink purse (just my color - in fact, my favorite color)! I looked for a price tag and couldn't find it. The clerk showed me where it was. Get this - in a 4th world country this purse was - are you ready for it - $1,000! Now, one must realize that all the purses were made out of genuine croc skin, but, come on - $1,000! For a purse!!!! No way! I didn't really like the style but they definitely wanted to keep it more than I wanted to pay $1,000 for it!

The infamous purse

The price tag - $1,000 in US dollars!
So on inside we went. We walked through an aviary and saw the birds below. I thought they were beautiful.

I think this is an African Grey parrot - not sure though.
We moved outside to where the rest of the animals were. We happened upon a "free" tour guide. He was a very nice young man and he willingly (for a price, of course) guided us through the park. The following was some of what we saw.

None of the animals were fully enclosed with the exception of the crocs and the birds. This snake, by the way, was not poisonous.

Iguanas - dozens of them

The tour guide found a couple of chameleons loose and Walter and Ja held them (Rachel and I say no - I really didn't want to hold it - not sure about Rachel). Notice the beautiful colors.

Walter fed a giant tortoise - His head was as big as Walter's hand.

It was on to the crocodiles. This was the pen with the babies - less than 2 years old. Notice how many there were - hundreds!

These crocs were the medium size ones - not babies and not adults

A close up of the medium sized ones - notice the croc with the missing foot. Yikes and ouch!

Ostriches - The guy in the orange jumpsuit was our "free" tour guide. He was really nice but he almost got himself pecked several times by that ostrich! I didn't dare get that close to them.

Then we saw the lemurs in the trees. There were 5 of them and they live up in the trees at the croc farm. We watched them jump from tree to tree and they didn't miss once. I wonder if any have missed in the past and ended up falling in the croc pens!

This lemur took a piece of fruit right out of Walter's hand.

Here are the big boys - the adult crocs! And let me tell you - they were BIG!

We happened to be there right at feeding time for the big ones. Notice how the men don't seem nervous about being around all those crocs.

There were dozens, if not hundreds, of the big crocs heading over to eat. It was quite a sight.

After that we had lunch inside the park. Ja and Walter had crocodile. Guess what? Yep, you guessed right - it tastes like chicken! We saw cans of crocodile meat that we could buy but they were very expensive (why would I expect anything but expensive - I mean, after all, there were $1,000 purses in the gift shop!) so we decided not to.

We left the farm and headed to a giant craft market. Along the way, I saw the sign below.

Doesn't this sign look unusual. I mean, it says "stop" but the triangle to us Americans means "yield." So...which is it in Malagasy? I don't know. I just thought it was odd.

Some sights of Tana

A picture of a house in Tana. Notice the rusting tin roof.

You see that there car? That, my friends, is a taxi. Imagine piling 2 big American men, their wives and a baby in one of those. We did it. Not just once - but 4 times! They appear to be the old rickety cars from the World War II era. It really wasn't that bad. We did have a good laugh each time. Getting out was a lot harder than getting in!

We went to the craft market, bought some souvenirs and headed back to the hotel. We left the car at the hotel and walked to a restaurant. We ended up eating at a - get ready for this - MEXICAN restaurant. The funniest thing about it is that the chef boasts about learning how to cook Mexican food in New York, of all places! We thought that was hilarious! The food was pretty good, too. The one thing I noticed that needed to be improved was how to properly warm the tortillas. Mine were hot but when I rolled them up they cracked!

We went back to the hotel after dinner and fellowshipped until it was time to leave for the airport. We were exhausted already and we had a 23 hour flight along with time zone changes up ahead of us.

We got to the airport and got in line to check in. I needed to go to the restroom. I went and there was a woman sitting at the door of the restroom and she handed me a roll of toilet paper. When I was done, I handed it back to her. Yes, my friends, she was an official TOILET PAPER MONITOR! Can you say 'hilarious'? I didn't know it at the time but I was supposed to "tip" her for doing her job! I didn't have my purse with me so I couldn't have done it anyway. Ja told me when I got back to the line about tipping her. He said she was probably irritated but chalked it up to me being a foreigner.

We got checked in and had to go through customs to get in the security checkpoint line. Ya know, after traveling through 3 countries, I'm convinced that nobody knows what the correct requirements are for carry on luggage. In Paris, the officer told me all of my face creams had to be in the plastic bag (they aren't liquid). In Madagascar, the officer told me I had to take my deodorant and the plastic bag full of acceptable liquids back to the check-in line and have it put in the cargo hold. We looked at him frustrated and told him that we had met the correct requirements. He kept telling us the same thing. One of the women workers overheard our conversation and told me to just put the deodorant in the plastic bag, zip up the suitcase and leave. Whew! We did it lickety split and got ourselves outta there before the guy noticed us.

We got on the plane safely and were on our way home. I thought the flight to Madagascar was long. The flight home was longer because we were up for 2 1/2 days by the time we got home to our house. We had jet lag for several days and weren't able to sleep well. Best of all, Monday afternoon, we picked up our kids and felt complete again. The kids were away from us for a few days shy of a whole month.