Sunday, August 29, 2010

Country Days

Country days in our small town...
marking the end of summer, back to school soon,
and the beginning of fall festivities.
Every year, our town celebrates with a parade downtown,
free hot dogs and popcorn, crafts, games, pony rides, petting farm,...
just a lot of simple, fun activities for families.
And for the brave-at-heart, there are helicopter rides.
The highlight is the hot air balloon lift offs two evenings in a row!
We sat in "our spot" to watch the parade go by...
this year was pretty hot in the sun, but we're soaking
it in, knowing that in a few months, we'll be longing for that heat, again.

Charlie was the only one to ride the horses this year.
I could tell he felt pretty "big."

Laura liked the baby ducks...

and the lamb. We all laughed because
this was one LOUD lamb!
See the boys wearing their "cool" plastic
firemen hats?
Such a sweet boy!
And see his shirt? It has an NYPD "police badge" on the front.
He made it a point to go up to a local police officer and say, "I'm a policeman, too."
While we were waiting for the hot air balloons to get ready,
the boys played some football...

watched the helicopter fly overhead...

checked on the progress of the ballooners...

watched them unload their baskets...
(really? that's all that's between them and the ground far below?)
played some frisbee...

with his brother...

checked on more progress of the ballooners...

and hung out in a firetruck.

Here we go! This was the lead balloon. No one else
blew up their balloon until this one was in the air.

A little fuller...

almost there...

a little more...

and we have liftoff! The cheers went up from the crowd below!

That was the sign for the rest of the ballooners to "start their engines"
so to speak. I never knew that they used a regular, big fan to blow the air
into their balloons. I guess I never thought much about it, but assumed it was more
complicated than that!
This balloon was just filling with air. It looked like a worm wiggling
as the air blew through it.
Getting fuller. We started guessing as to which one would lift off next.

#2 lift-off with cheers

#3 lift-off...the cowboy balloon
Look at all the balloons below it almost full of air!

#4...the frog

It was cool to see the fire shoot right up into the balloon.

We've lived here for 5 years, and this was the first lift-off we've seen.
Earlier years there have been storms of some kind...but the weather this year
couldn't have been more perfect!
Hangin' out with friends, watching the last few balloons.

A bunch of kids (& parents) ran up to touch the side of the last balloon right before it
was upright. My boys are up there somewhere...

The last balloon...amidst lots of cheering as it ended the lift-off for 2010!
I guess it's official here...
autumn has arrived!

Monday, August 16, 2010


What makes working in the kitchen even more fun? Having your own apron! The boys each received a new apron from Grandma, and they donned them today as they worked. Amarin was grating soap...we needed to make more laundry soap today.

Charlie was stirring the soap mixture with more hot water.

And Jacob decided to help make pickles. (Note to self: next time I cut hot peppers in abundance, wear gloves. My fingers are still tingling hours later!)

The coolest apron...St@r W@rs

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Constitution

OK...are you like me and get that bored, dazed, far off look in your
eyes when you hear "The Constitution" or "The Bill of Rights" or
"The Declaration of Independence?"
Do you picture a bunch of old, white men with big hair sitting
around the room speaking in "thous" and "thees?"
Is that when you would tune out in history class?
Me, too.
Or it was until I took a class this past week on The Constitution.
I shared with some others ahead of time that I was taking
this class and they looked at me like I had grown another head.
I could so read their mind...
Why on earth would I want to sit in a classroom, from 8AM to noon,
for five days, and listen to someone droan on and on about some ancient
Well, let me tell you...
this was one awesome class. The instructor was very knowledgeable,
had a great sense of humor, and applied these "ancient" documents
to current and recent politics.
Even our two oldest boys sat through the class. they were really thankful for the donuts and that
two of their good friends were present.
And I know for a fact that they were REALLY tuned in when
the instructor covered the 8th Amendment prohibiting cruel and
unusual punishment...including dividing body parts...eeewwww!
But still, they were hearing some very important and applicable information.

Seriously, though.
These documents apply today...or at least they should.
I learned more in this past week than in high school and college combined.
We learned the history behind the documents,
on what the laws were based, and a whole lot more information
that I couldn't possibly do justice here.
Actually, it's going to take some time for it all to sort itself in my brain.
And best of all, it made me think and question myself.
It made me consider current legislation, and "laws" that have been
implemented, that aren't actually laws.
It made me realize how much power the national government
has taken from the states, hence, the people.
It made me realize that perhaps that amendment that we think we need
to allow us to do something, might actually take away freedom to
do what we're allowed to do in the first place!
Our forefathers were no dummies,
and those wigs were none too tight!
They had a clear idea of how to keep checks and balances,
and to avoid the kind of government from which they had come.
Believe me...we have strayed in a BIG way for many years
from what they intended.

I've included the website below for Heritage Research Institute.
It would be well worth your time to take a look.
The instructor also gave book recommendations.
You can see some of them on their website

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

LOA for Jenna Mei

Our LOA/LOC arrived today at our agency!!!!
The LOA/LOC is the next BIG step to Jenna.
It's the acceptance letter from China which means our
dossier (HUGE stack of paperwork) is OK and as far
as China is concerned, Jenna is ours.
Now we have to wait on more US government approvals,
Hague approvals, travel approvals...
and then travel!
The way things are moving, travel may be by the end of October.
I have two bloggy friends on the same timeline, and
I'm sooo hoping we can meet up in Guangzhou!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I just love my little girl!
Aside from her sweet little self,
I love to dress her.
In my opinion, girls are simply more fun to dress than boys,
and since she's the only girl (not for long!),
I have fun with it right down to the socks and hair bows!

And look at these shoes!
Since Laura wears braces most of the time to help her walk,
shoes are very limited.
Finding a shoe that's wide enough to fit around her braces,
as well as deep enough to cover the top of the braces is not easy.
We usually end up with the same pair of white and pink tennies.
And dress shoes? Forget it!
But look what we found!
Are these not the cutest?
This brand tends to be wider, and they fit right over her braces!
She is stylin'!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kitchen Time

Cooking together in the kitchen is a favorite pass time for us.
The kids get to learn about food, reading recipes, measuring
ingredients, learning practical skills, chatting about whatever,
and just being together.
Between yesterday and today, they've all helped cook in some way.
Charlie is peeling cucumbers for a Greek salad.
He had never done it before and he tried peeling quickly like I did.
I told him to take his time or he could cut his finger.
"Haste makes waste," and when we hurry, we sometimes have
to throw stuff away and start all over again.
Charlie replies, "You're gonna throw away my finger?"

Jacob helped with the meatloaf. Notice the stack of ingredients...
we have to add an element of "boy" to the process!

Amarin made southwest mac & cheese.
This boy loves to help cook.
He's not sure if he wants to be a pilot or a chef when he grows up.
The way the airlines are going, he just may need to fly the plane and
serve those gourmet peanuts, too!
Charlie set the table for dinner.

Mom...I think I ate too many frosting-graham cracker cookies!