Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today is Luke's 2nd Birthday!

Today, I have very mixed emotions. I'm very happy to know that Luke is safe and sound and happy in China, but also sad that we aren't there (or he isn't here) to spend this day with him......his 2nd birthday! I wish I could hold him, hug him, kiss him, and wish him a happy birthday. I remember very well Colt and Joy's 2nd birthdays. In a way, it doesn't seem like that long ago! And oh how I love the age of two! :) The kids are like little sponges and everyday is an adventure!

We arranged to send a cake to Luke through Ann of Red Thread China and we've sent a care package through her as well that included these things:

That's a shirt/jean outfit with guitars on the shirt and a tractor for Luke, a can of cashews for the foster family, and a disposable camera so they can take more pictures of Luke to fill the gap of times we're missing!

I can just picture him playing with this tractor. It makes the coolest sounds!

Believe me, there's lots of stuff that I see (or we see) that we'd love to send his way, but you can only fit so much in these little flat rate boxes (and even those are expensive to send to China). This will go to Ann and she will make sure he gets his package as well as his cake and is translating a letter to him and his foster family. I'm very thankful to have this third party connection (which is the only way allowed during the adoption process as well). Ann has been wonderful!

Ann is also going to ask for pictures from his birthday party and oh how I hope and pray that she gets them! I guarantee you that if I open my inbox and find birthday party pictures of Luke in the days ahead, you just might hear me squeal where ever you are! I will be one happy mama!

I'm very thankful for Luke having a foster family to take care of him and love him during this time and I know they will shower him with hugs and kisses too. We've come to accept the things we cannot change and know that everything is in God's hands and that He is looking after Luke! Maybe you could just pray with us God's birthday blessings over Luke in everyway for his life now and for the future. We'd appreciate it so much!

So to Luke......although you haven't met us yet, we already love you so much and wish we could be with you on this day....your 2nd birthday.....Happy Birthday! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Little Progress on the Bedroom Makeover....

This past weekend, Joy was gone to a sleepover birthday party and Jason and I worked on her new bedroom while she was gone. Although I would have loved for much more to be done by now, we did get a good bit accomplished. Her bedroom is painted and the actual color is much deeper than the primer and we all love it. It's called Pool House. I think it's going to be great with the rich brown accents added in there. The doors lying there in the floor soaked up the primer like crazy! They were stained before and it took three coats of high hiding primer to cover them! I hope to get to the actual painting of them one day this week, so we're done with them before the weekend!

Jason worked on painting the furniture out in the workshop while I was painting her room. It also took several coats of primer for the bed and armoire as they both had a fairly dark stain finish on them. When those have their cream mocha paint on them, then we have to move her desk and night stand in there and do the same with them. It's just kind of slow going because of all the coats that are needed and we only have so much room to work with out there. (Sorry no picture of that stuff yet). Oh, and he did get her ballet barre painted too. (Now to find affordable mirrors to go behind the ballet barre).

This weekend, we also hope to paint the door frame trim and window trim as well as the trim that has been removed that is out in the workshop waiting for the cream mocha color too.

Colt's girlfriend, Amber, is giving these name letters a makeover. She is very talented at this sort of thing. We gave her a pic of Joy's comforter and the paints and she's going to give them her touch. I know they'll be perfect for Joy's new room when she's done!

Oh, and we walked past this scene I-can't-tell-you-how-many-times this weekend. I'm so used to seeing things like this around here ever since Joy came along and it always makes me smile. She's always lined up figurines and had hours of imaginative play. But I have to admit I was glad to see she doesn't feel like she's getting "too old" to do this sort of thing.

When she was younger if she couldn't find figurines to use, she would just use bottles or anything on the bathroom sink. She would line up entire families and they would go swimming in the pool (the bathroom sink). I hope she doesn't give up all this too soon because I'll miss that kind of stuff! :)

However, this had Jason and me stumped. We couldn't decide exactly why these two were hanging out of the books up above the others like this. Jason concluded that they must be cliff climbing. I didn't even try to guess. Maybe you all figured it out?

I couldn't stand it much longer, so when Joy came home, I asked her why.......and would you believe that these two were spying on the others that were hanging out and playing a game? lol! Evidently when they were playing the game, there was some bullying going on and the two were spying to see if it was true! lol!

And so the mystery was solved and I would like to say that it's all cleaned up now, but the truth is those folks are still sitting there on my bookshelves and those two are still spying on the others! Oh well it just goes along with all the other messes from the makeovers, I guess!

Hopefully I'll have more progress to share after the weekend! Oh, and I noticed I now have 302 followers. I promised a giveaway when I reached 300, so I'm trying to come up with something in the middle of our makeovers....I haven't forgotten! I'll be back before long with something! :)

Have a great Tuesday everyone and thank you for stopping by!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Trip Across the USA in an Hour and a Half.....

This past Tuesday, Joy and I were lucky enough to be able to take an educational trip across the USA in about an hour and a half! We participated in our homeschool support group's annaul geography fair. If you remember from past years, we usually focus on various countries (Joy has done South Korea and India)....but this year our group decided to focus on studying states. Joy chose Alaska.

Although we have about 30 families in our homeschool group, only 11 families actually participated by exhibiting a state. There were others that came to support and listen and glean knowledge from the presentations. The states represented by the 11 families were: (US Territory) Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alaska, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Kentucky, Montana, and Texas.

The way it works is each family takes time to read and study about their state. Then they gather the info that they would like to present and put together an exhibit. This usually is a variety of exhibit boards, hands-on-projects, educational hand-outs, dressing in costume according to your country/state, and/or sharing a food from that can be as simple or involved as each family wishes. Then the children have 3-5 minutes for an oral presentation for their state/country. (When we studied countries, we also had our passports and each family had a stamp to put on each child's passport from that country). However, no passports were needed this time, since we didn't travel out of the country!

Here's a few highlights from our trip across the U.S.....

Joy with her Alaska presentation.....

She and her daddy had fun on this little project. During our study of Alaska, we did alot of reading on the Eskimos (Inuits) from Alaska. They built an igloo from sugar cubes with mortar made from powdered sugar and egg whites.

It was fun reading about the life of an Eskimo family. the Northern Lights, the Iditarod (dog sled racing), the animals of Alaska, and the beautiful landscaping of Alaska. I never knew that the only way to reach Juneau, Alaska, was by boat or plane! I know after studying it that I would one day love to visit there!

Here's Benjamin, Madeline and John Alex presenting Puerto Rico...

Dunnivan and Suzanna presented Arkansas (shown here with their mom and Dison)...

Weslea and Sydney presented Tennessee....

Isabella, Sophia and Alaina presented Florida....

Sarah presented Arizona....

Bobbi and Tyler presented Pennsylvania.....

Daniel and Ellen presented South Carolina and Kentucky (couldn't find them for the picture).....

I did get a shot of Daniel during his presentation of South Carolina...

Drew and Lilly presenting Montana.....

And Graham and Eli presented Texas......

As you can see the exhibits were set up around the gym.

The kids would sit in the floor in front of each display table as that state was being presented, then we would all shift around to the next table to listen to the next presentation. When it was over, everyone went back and visited the tables again, tasting the foods, reading the exhibit boards, and picking up hand-outs from each family that had them.

And here's Joy and her little sidekick....Lilly. We think she's pretty adorable! They were much pretty stuck to each other the entire time. You know how Joy loves little ones and I think the feeling might be mutual between them! :)

I think we had another successful year with our geography fair! I just love our little homeschool group and each and every family, and I'm proud to be part of it. I imagine we'll be back to countries next year and I have a sneaking suspicion that Joy will choose the country of China for her presentation........hmmm.......I wonder why! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is my daddy's 68th birthday. We celebrated yesterday afternoon with the family by going out to dinner for Chinese food.

About half the time, we call him Pop. That's because the grandkids call him that. He's just as much Pop to all of us! He loves to kid around with children....his favorite thing to ask them is "Do you live around here or work on a farm?" OR "Have you been contemplating matrimony?" OR "Do you slumber in the bed?" And it is very interesting to see how the kids answer! He gets my piano students every time!

Daddy loves anything to do with outdoors. He's not retired yet, but I suspect when he finally does decide to retire, he'll spend most of his time outside.....tinkering as we call it, and it will probably be just in time to have Luke at his side outdoors (because they say he's an outdoor kid too).

I've been blessed with the best daddy ever. He was only 21 when I was born. He and my mama have been married for 50 years. Daddy is a hard worker and loves his family. I guess I've always thought there's not anything that he can't do or figure out!

My mama and daddy live next door and I've mentioned before that he stops by everyday to bring in our mail, but another thing he does for us is to take our garbage out to the road every Wednesday evening for the garbage pick up Thursday mornings. Those little things mean alot. Thank you, daddy, for doing those.

I'll also always be grateful for having my daddy to take me to high school every morning before I was old enough to drive. He rescued me from having to ride the school bus that I disliked so much! He brought me to school in his old white work truck (that wasn't very quiet either). I remember everyone turning around every morning and looking when we pulled in the circle drive at school......but I didn't care! I was so happy to not be on the school bus and I'm glad I shared those morning rides to school with him.

I just wanted to say today, Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you and I'm proud you're my daddy! I think I got the best!

(And to my cousin, Helayne,who shares a birthday with my daddy,....if you happen to stop by.....Happy Birthday to you too!)

~ Tammy ~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Journey to Luke

Twenty one years ago, as we waited for our son, Colt, to come home to us from South Korea, I kept a journal. To look at it now, it was somewhat of a primitive journal, but a journal, neverthless. It is written in a stenographer's notebook.....just thoughts from a mother's perspective. Even though I didn't know if it would ever be anything he would be interested in when he was old enough, it helped me.

Here we are tweny one years later, and look how far technology has brought us! We didn't even own a computer back we have a grand total of five in our home! Although I'm still technically challenged, especially compared to my kids, I've come a long ways!

I've found a place that so graciously lets adoptive parents journal their adoption process online so that family and friends may follow along on the journey. It is a website called Journey to Me. They are passionate about adoption...for the children and the families as stated in their mission statement and beliefs and values:

Mission Statement

"Helping Adopted Children Thrive"

Beliefs and Values

We are compassionate and committed to the unique journey of each adopted child.
We believe every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.
We believe every child deserves a family.
We believe every adopted child experiences grief, loss and fear of attachment.
We are dedicated to providing a safe network of support for adoptive families.
We provide educational resources to those impacted by adoption.
We are the premier, comprehensive resource for issues facing the adopted child.

They offer the service of an online journal FREE for one year, and then offer the option of having it printed in book form. Isn't that really kind of them?

So why not just post these things on my blog? Well, I'm sort of a perfectionist when it comes to certain things (gasp!), and I liked the idea of having it all in one place (all neatly together in order) where it was easily accessible to all who would be interested in viewing it (and for me). Also, through many adoptive parents, I've heard that blogspot isn't always easily accessible while in China, and may even be blocked, or if it is accessible you have to post a particular way through a phone with access to the internet, etc... Well, I can't depend on me being able to have all that figured out, so I chose the safest way I could for being able to post while we are in China especially. I want you all to be able to share this journey, since you've been with us from day one. So even as we are there, our forever family day (when we get Luke), and the days that follow, my plans are to make a journal entry for everyday we are there! China is 14 hours ahead of us, so it should work out perfectly. As we've completed a day and posted it, you'll all be waking up and reading a new journal entry!

So today, I want to introduce you all to our new journal site which we called Our Journey to Luke.

At the bottom of our homepage is a table of contents of all the entries. We will add to this as time passes. I tried to catch all the posts up to date, since we didn't start this online journal from the very beginning of the process. You will recognize some of the posts as things having been written on my blog here, as well as many "new" things you probably haven't read or didn't know.

I am also posting the link to this site on my sidebar for future reference, so you can keep up with Our Journey to Luke.

So to our family and friends, we invite you to join us and share our joy as we record Our Journey to Luke.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Change is Coming....(A Little Sneak Peek)

The bedroom makeovers have begun, but we're being very pokey about it! However, I do have a little sneak peek to share with you.

All of the furniture (and stuff) from the guest room that will be Joy's new bedroom is moved out into the center of the loft floor upstairs. We took down the border, mudded and repaired the walls, and primed it.

What you'll see today is just the primed walls....the primer is tinted a similiar color to the actual color that the walls will be. These pictures make it look a little more blue, when in person, it is really more aqua.

That's a glimpse of the bed that will be painted white, that used to be mine as a little girl....the one Joy will be using in her new room.

Here's the color the walls will be painted in Joy's room.....Pool House (Valspar from Lowes). It's hard to get the true color of it to show on's one of the exact colors that is featured in her bedding actually.

You saw her bedding in a previous post, but here's another look at it.

Here's a lamp that I found at Gordman's. It was already a great price, and I used my 20% off coupon and got it for right at $11.00 lamp and shade.

Hopefully we'll get more accomplished this week or at least the weekend. I'll keep you posted! I'm ready to get it done!

Monday, February 8, 2010


That's the third time this year....that's really something! If we get one snow a year, maybe two, it's a big deal.....but this is three! This one took us totally by surprise! (You can tell global warming is in full swing here.....)! ;)

We woke up this morning to a Winter Wonderland out our window (to us anyway). We already have about 4-5", and there's supposed to be another front moving through this evening, so maybe more! Bambi was admiring it from her perch....I wonder what she was thinking? :)

Joy didn't have a clue. Jason woke her up this morning and told her to come on in the kitchen and get breakfast "so we could get started on our schoolwork". She dragged out of bed and was very tickled to see the snowy white blanket over our backyard and the trees! Her normally mean ole homeschool teacher even let her off for the day, so we could go play. Although now that I think about it, there's still plenty of time....maybe some Math is in order yet....

And play we did. Actually, Jason and Joy played more than I did. I was official photographer.

There were snowball fights.

More snowball fights.

Daddy and daughter....

And it was a really good wet sticky snow....good for rolling into balls, and perfect for constructing a little snowman friend.

So she and Jason created our snow Boo Boo.

Doesn't he look like a jolly fella?

Joy,'re losing your pants.....(pants on the ground)! (She was wearing some of my old sweats) :)

That's my feet....had to show you the 4-5"! I love the crunchy sound of the snow under my boots!

It's hard to wear this girl down....tire her make her want to go inside and get warm! Oh to have that energy again! Glad I'll have her around to help with Luke! :)

And of course, I had to capture some snow scenery photos for our picture album.

My mama and daddy's place next door...they have all the trees!

Oh, and the not-so-fun part about playing in the snow.....the mound of laundry!

It's snowing lots more as I type this so we'll see what happens after this front moves through. I can honestly say we've had our snow(s), and spring would be really nice! I can see why all of you folks in the north talk so much about spring and are so eager to send me some of your snow :)

Thank you for stopping by! :)