Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Princess!

Earlier this month we celebrated The Princess' 4th birthday. The Princess selected a Barbie cake complete with lots of pink and purple icing. The Queen remained close to The Princess throughout the celebration to ensure she maintained proper etiquette.



Get ready to make a wish! Blow out the candles!

Notice The Queen giving instruction.



Ta Da!




Siblings.


Biggest, bestest, big brother.

Just what I wanted, "Pocahontas."

More instruction from The Queen.


The Queen takes control.


I l-o-v-e my new Pocahontas doll!!
And I love you, Princess!
Happy 4th Birthday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

With 7 days before Christmas REMEMBER:
Jesus is Better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.

Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.
May the Lord Bless and Watch over you and your loved ones this Christmas 2009
And may He prosper and bless the work of your hands in the New Year.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Drive-In Movie


If you are a parent of a Cub Scout, you are familiar with the Pinewood Derby. This is a highly competitive event by which Dads (I mean Cub Scouts) create a race car out of a block of pine wood. This event in our Pack is held at the end of January. So to prepare the boys for the upcoming event our Pack hosted a "Drive-In Movie" night featuring the ever popular movie "Down and Derby." (get it?)

Anyway, the parents (I mean Cub Scouts) were to create a "box" car to sit in and watch the movie. Godzilla wanted a Hummer to "drive" to the movie. Well it may not be a Hummer, but it served the purpose. Keep in mind that we only spent about 2 evenings working on it.


Pretty boxy eh?


Notice the safety features such as the GPS, bumper, spare tire, rear AND side view mirrors.

Personalized license plate.

Maybe I could sell the prototype to GM as a "Green" car.

Anyway, as I said, we didn't put too much time and effort into it. Let's just say this isn't the first "box" car we have had to make. But apparently, some parents have just way to much time (and talent) on their hands...

Notice the "crate" foam tires.



The space shuttle?


Lightning MacQueen made a guest appearance.


and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine.



The army also showed up...just in case.

The Princess in her castle. Talk about safety features. Where's the moat?


The Queen in her plastic storage box. Just keeping it simple.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

National Adoption Month

In case you didn't know, November is National Adoption month. Adoption is something near and dear to my heart as I am an adopted child of God. God also blessed our family with adoption. Enjoy the video but be warned! Grab a box of tissues first!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Flippies for Supper


One of the blessings about living along the coast in the fall is that there are plenty of beautiful days to enjoy the outdoors without tourists. Sunday was one of those beautiful days. As we were driving home from church we asked the Beach Crew if anyone would like to go fishing out in the boat. The girls wanted to go; the boys wanted to stay home. So after a quick lunch we headed out to enjoy the beautiful day God had made.
We went out into the ocean, but there were no signs of fish. We motored back into the creeks and found a hole that Captain Daddy remembered fishing at with his Aunt when he was a boy. The hope was to catch a few small fish. Captain Daddy had bought for the girls special, small, pink rod/reel fishing poles. The Queen remembered all of the instructions that Captain Daddy had taught her about using her fishing pole. The Princess just wanted to do her "Fish Dance."
Well, wouldn't you know as soon as the girls cast their lines that they each caught a small Black Fish. Excitement was running high! The Queen cast her line and hooked a HUGE Pig Fish. Captain Daddy told her she needed to catch three more so we could eat supper. So she set out to catch three more flippies...and she did. By the way, flippies are fisher-girl talk for "the fish flipping in the bottom of the boat."

Captain Daddy didn't get a chance to fish. His job was to bait the hooks and remove the hooks from the fishes mouths. He did a great job!

The Queen was poised for success. She found her spot and held her ground, or should a say, water.

The Princess caught a great, big.....


Toad Fish.
These aren't for eating. The have a mouth and jaw full of teeth. They totally wreck a fish hook.

The Princess informed us that what she r-e-a-l-l-y liked to do was
"r-e-l-a-x on the b-e-a-c-h."

Waiting for a strike.

The Queen caught her quota of fish and proceeded to dictate that The Princess had to catch four fish too. The Princess only wanted to do her "fish dance" and left Beach Mama to do her work.


Another Pig Fish. If you don't know what a Pig Fish is, well, first it is just good eating. Second, it makes a grunting/oinking kind of noise like a pig.

Ok, The Princess takes the credit for the fish. We kept a total of six fish, enough for a frying pan full. Thanks to the fisher-girls, we had flippies for supper!

As the sun set, we headed back to the marina.

We had a great time fishing and a great supper!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halloween

The Beach Crew got creative this year with the Halloween costumes. Sorry it has taken so long to post photos.
Do you recognize my children? They're scary!

First we have my son, Earl (My Name is Earl). Earl is on a quest to undo any wrong deed he has done. He carries "The List" in his shirt pocket and crosses each wrongdoing off his list as he makes atonement. Karma is a funny thing.

Next is my other son, Dr. Gregory House, or just House (House, M.D.). My mini-m&m popping (no Vicodin here) misanthropic medical genius that goes around diagnosing impossible medical cases in less than an hour.


Next is my polka-dot, Princess Pocahontas.



And, last but not least, The Queen of Cowgirls.





Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You're Still The One (Part II) or Operation Night Out

Captain Daddy and I very seldom ever go out on a "date." In fact, I can't say I remember the last time that we did. I know it had to been at least Pre-The Queen (5 years ago). The Queen has always been my "Velcro baby." I wore her in a HipHammock for at least 3 years. I'm talking all day wearing. The Queen has become somewhat relaxed in the past 2 years. I can be out of her sight for more than 5 minutes, but she will still call out to locate me. The Princess does it only because The Queen does it. Anyway, over the past few months I have been experimenting with leaving the house without them. They are OK if Captain Daddy is here because he usually lets them run around and get into all of the things I won't let them get into. Daddies are like that. I have also left the girls at home with Big Tuna while I pick Godzilla up from school. Now, it isn't just a "bye I'll see you later-walk out the door" departure. No, there is usually some planning involved before my foot lands on the doorstep. I get The Queen occupied with something fun like NickJr on the computer, then slip out the door. Well, more like "running and not looking back." Every time when I ask Big Tuna if the girls did all right, his response is, "Yeah, they were okay because I told them you were in the bathroom." They must think I spend a lot of time in the bathroom!

Well, Captain Daddy and I felt pretty confident that we could go out (sneak out) on a date by ourselves. Alone. So then came the question, "How are we going to do it?" You would have thought we were planning a strategic military maneuver! Operation Night Out went like this:
Step 1 - Be accountable. We have friends in our church that have the same anniversary day, October 28th. Early in the month we decided that the 4 of us would go to dinner. Now, we were accountable for going out on a date. No backing out at this point.

Step 2 - Mum's the word. We didn't mention a word of this to any of our children! Well, not until the time was appropriate, like running out to our vehicle. Also, when we did mention it, we referred to it as a "meeting', not like something fun or anything.

Step 3- Proper Preparation/Training. I prepared an arsenal of entertainment/activities so as to be able to depart un-noticed. Two days before "Operation Night Out" I took the girls to Target. After drooling over all of the toys that the store had to offer, I settled on a brand new DVD and Play-Doh Ice Cream Maker. New stuff. Yeah, new untouched Play-Doh.

Step 4- Anticipation. Now that the new stuff was in their hands, I told them that they could not play/watch it UNTIL Captain Daddy and I had left for our meeting. For two whole days they could see the new stuff, but not play/watch it. They started to ask when we would be leaving. They started counting down the days/hours. "Now, are you leaving now?" they would ask.

Step 5 - Fried Chicken and Barbeque. We have a SCNB restaurant that we love to eat at. In fact after every trip to China, SCNB was our first stop once back into NC. A few hours before Operation Night Out was to commence I purchased a Family Pack from SCNB with double fries. Yes, my children were ready to push us out of the door!

Operation Night Out was a complete success! We had a lovely dinner with our friends. We had grown up conversations. We shared our "how we met" stories. We had a wonderful time. See for yourself.

Let's start with the desserts!


Captain Daddy ordered Key Lime Pie. Ladies and Gentlemen, this was no ordinary slice of pie. The pie was at least six inches high. I think that is mango-raspberry puree drizzled oh-so-prettily on the plate.

Do you think it tacky of me to take photos of the desserts?


Seventh Heaven! Lawsy! Sweetened biscuits with Hagen Daaz ice cream and topped with not just blueberries, but also raspberries! What a party for your taste buds!


Dear friends J & B. Happy 13th Anniversary!!


Beach Mama & Captain Daddy

You're Still The One!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You're Still the One (Part I)

In 1976, a band called Orleans had a hit song titled "Still The One." That song has been mine and Captain Daddy's theme song, if you will. That was the year (1976) that we began dating. High school sweethearts. A courtship that lasted 13 years.
On October 28th we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. A total of 33 years together. Over half our lifetime. Babe, you are still the one!



Still The One by Orleans
words and music by John Joseph Hall and Johanna D. Hall
We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never want to see you again
But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear
You're still the one -- I want to talk to in bed
Still the one -- that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
I looked at your face every day
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came,
I just wanted to go (wanted to go)
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow
You're still the one -- that makes me laugh
Still the one -- that's my better half
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one -- that makes me strong
Still the one -- I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one (yes you are)
Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new
You're still the one -- that I love to touch
Still the one -- and I can't get enough
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one -- who can scratch my itch
Still the one -- and I wouldn't switch
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You are still the one -- that makes me shout
Still the one -- that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one, yeah still the one
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

Monday, October 26, 2009

Advocating for a Beautiful, Waiting Child

I think it is appropriate to say that God has truly changed me over the years. One of the changes occurred when He led me to adoption. Not just adoption by Him into His family, but also through us adopting children into our family. I am changed. In many ways. Although He has changed me into a better person than I could ever be on my own, some of the changes have come at a price. Oh, it is by no means a bad thing! It just means that in some cases, your eyes are wide open and you see things in a way you have never seen before.
God has given me a passion for children, ALL children. This shows that God truly has a sense of humor because I remember as a young adult deciding I would not have children. I have four children. I'd have more, but only if it is His will. Trust me when I say that I know God can do what He says He can do!
All of my children are miracles. All children are miracles.
There is a miracle child, currently waiting at Christian World Adoption. She is a beautiful, 8 year old girl. She has a condition known as Type B Mediterranean Anemia or otherwise known as Thalassemia. I don't have any specific information regarding the severity of this condition. I do know that it can range from a minor, carrier trait to something quite severe. This child looks healthy enough in the photos/video, but I have not reviewed her file to know any specifics. In fact, I will not be able to review her file as that would require Captain Daddy to sign a form that would allow us to review her file. At this point, there is no way that I would even approach Captain Daddy to sign this form. Captain Daddy says we are done adding to our family. So unless God grants me a RHW (reluctant husband waiver), I will have to say we are through. So at this point all I can do is advocate for this precious girl.
If you are interested, please go the the CWA website then click on the "Waiting Children Photolist" link. Scroll down and click on the Hope Project Children. At the bottom of the page you will have to request permission to view the photolist. CWA will then email to you the access information. Once you have access to the China Hope Project Children, click on the July 2009 list. The sweet little girl is C0907-25. Just look at that precious smile! They still have many children available on their lists, April 2009, July 2009, October 2009.
We did not use CWA during any of our adoptions. So I don't have any information on the agency to pass along. I haven't heard anything negative regarding them.
If you would like to know more about Thalassemia you may try the following links:
I hope this precious girl finds a family, and soon. I wish we were that family.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Playing Catch-up

Hey y'all! It has been a long time since I last posted. We have been busy, but there is not much to really write about. On Sunday we stood up for the unborn with Life Chain. I'm really proud of my family as they all participated (not required to do so). I'm also proud of our little small church body. We had 33 (not counting children) attend. That's probably half of the adults in the church! I doubt that many churches can claim 50% attendance.


Also on Sunday, we gave an attempt at celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival. Actually "celebrating" isn't the correct word. We don't celebrate it. We just try to bring a little of our daughter's culture into our family. We started with a camp out in our yard on Friday. We made "Camp out Mooncakes" (i.e. S'mores) using big, fat marshmallows. On Sunday, I made "Southern Mooncakes" (i.e. biscuits with a big chunk of cheddar cheese in the middle). We also made Moon cookies (thumbprints), made paper lanterns (with a glow stick inside) and paraded up and down our driveway until the mosquitoes drove us back inside. Those silly lanterns are STILL glowing (weakly) almost one week later.


The Queen and The Princess with their lanterns.





Other than that, it's been a week of schoolin'.

I do know that since Captain Daddy declared that the AC was officially turned off for the year, that we have had some of the hottest weather of the year! I sure hope it cools off soon!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Life Chain 2009 - October 4, 2009

I just wanted to take a few minutes to bring to your attention that tomorrow, October 4, 2009, is Life Chain Sunday. I would love to stand on my soap box and give you all of the reasons why I believe in and support Life Chain, but I will spare you that. I just prayerfully ask that you make a stand with me tomorrow, no matter where you are. If you would like to find out more about the Life Chain in your area you may do so at Lifechain.net
I like to think that maybe in some way, the prayers of those standing for Life Chain, may have had some small part in protecting my unborn daughters in a country where abortion is often imposed on women.
Life Chain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life Americans standing for one hour praying for our nation and the end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.
President Ronald Reagan in 1982: "Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prayer Request

I would like to ask for your prayers for a sweet family I know. They are a young family with 3 children (ages 8 yo, 4 yo, 9 mos). They are expecting identical twins in February. The twins share the same placenta, but each have their own sac. This can cause a problem referred to as Twin to Twin Transfusion. In this situation, the twins share the food supply - one twin usually receives most of the nutrition and the other doesn't. This can result in some serious complications. It was discovered that one twin had considerable less amniotic fluid around it than the other. This can indicate the beginning stages of the Twin to Twin Transfusion (TTT). From monitoring the situation it seems things have not improved and have gotten worse. The family may have to travel to another state to have surgery on the twins to correct the situation, which in itself is risky.
Please include this family in your prayers as things unfold and decisions have to be made.
Thank you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How (Not) To Spend Your Friday Afternoon

It has been fairly busy here at the sandcastle. Big Tuna and Godzilla attend public school; The Princess attends preK 3 mornings/week; and I homeschool The Queen. You can rest assured that when Friday rolls around you can sometimes hear a sigh of relief in my voice.
We have also had an unusual year weather-wise. We just went through one of the coldest winters; very mild spring and summer. We actually had a change in seasons. Global warming ain't happening in southeastern NC! Last week we had the weirdest weather in that about 10 inches of rain fell on our small town. In fact it was almost localized within a small radius that included our house! It was a s though a hole opened in the sky and the faucet was turned on us. Weird indeed.
Anyway, to get back on topic. They actually do come together. Today after getting through lessons and picking up The Princess, I was ready to sit back a spell and relax. The girls wanted lunch and I went in the kitchen to fix their food. As I am heating up the soup and staring at the wall over my stove I see specks that look as though they are moving. Now, I really do need a new pair of glasses and sometimes what I see isn't what I see. Upon closer inspection I see black specks moving on other walls. I start looking in the cabinets. Ants. I do hate ants. They were everywhere. I guess because of our water-logged soil they decided to move into the house and higher ground. Not only were they crawling on things, but they were in things as well (syrup).
I started having flashbacks to the "Exploding Prune Juice Bottle Incident of 2004" when my beloved Father-in-law (God rest his soul) left an opened bottle of prune juice on the counter for a week and a half. To quote my FIL, "I ain't never seen anything like that!" That incident also occurred on a Friday afternoon. No, this wasn't on my list of "things to do" no matter how far down the list I went. There are lots of "things" that need to be done, but this wasn't to be found on my list. I knew what had to be done. I also know why things like this happen. Things like this happen so you will clean out those cupboards and throw away all of those spices and stuff that you have had since the beginning of time and will never use. It's like hurricanes. They happen so you will clean out your refrigerator.
I spent all afternoon cleaning out cupboards, washing down the cupboards, which them turned to pulling out the stove to clean under and behind it; which then lead to completely deconstructing the kitchen. I just better not see an ant in the morning!
Even though we have had a mild late summer; I'm afraid that a freak hurricane will head our way. "Why", you ask? My refrigerator needs to be cleaned out.
Now this post is interrupted for some things of interest and cuteness.
Godzilla has been on a creative streak in drawing dragons. Lots of mutant dragons, actually. We have also started cleaning his room. This means he has found things he hasn't seen in years. He's back to building Bionicles. Again, the "off-species" variety.


Not sure what this guy's name is.

Ok, this is Rocker. His only job is to move rocks.

Now for some cuteness.



Don't you just love how The Queen can multi-task? She can play a computer game, cuddle her nai-nai (blanket), and such her thumb all at the same time. She told me that she wasn't sucking her thumb. Big girls of 5 years old don't suck their thumb. And she is a big girl.
BTW, has anyone heard the weather forecast lately?