Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I'm so excited!!!!!!
It will be awhile, maybe, who knows... to get a referral or to be asked to foster a child, but the licensure is complete today!!!! :D I guess I'm now a Foster (hoping foster/adoptive) Parent in waiting for this agency.
Now, onto figuring out this Kazakhstan thing. One thing at a time, right? ;-)
Happy, happy dance!
Now, before we all think I just completely bagged it, $50 of that was for a prescription not counted toward my flex account because I've hit that limit. Ugh. So that brings it to $134.
I did not really add dog food, cat food and cat litter into my original calculation. And, boy, does this you perspective on what you spend for 3 animals in a month! I spent $20 (dog food) + $12 (cat litter) and $0 for cat food, 'cause I had enough for the month. So, that's $32.
I'm down to $102. Not too bad. Right? ;-)
Next time, I'll see if I can figure out the other stuff. You know, the dinners out. I didn't add that in. But overall, it was probably about $200 for the month. And, frankly, for the two of us... for 3 meals a day for me, 2 meals a day for her, and snacks... plus the 3 animals. I guess I can live with that! :D
Go see how the other challengers did!
When Lil M came into the picture, I made the decision to follow this same rule, principal for the both of us. It is what I want. So, what does this mean for her? Well, it means that she doesn't eat crap like bologna or hot dogs or meatloaf or hamburgers, unless they are made of Turkey. And she eats more beans. We eat a lot of beans. In a lot of different things. We just don't eat beef or pork.
For example, take spaghetti. Use your regular sauce and add one can of black beans to it. Yum.
Same thing with goulash (made with ground turkey). Add a can of beans. We use a lot of chicken, turkey and fish in our diet. Oh, and the same this with stir-fry... I add a can of red beans. It doesn't have to be all beans, or a ton of them to add the benefits. Sometimes we don't eat meat at all.
Last night I cooked a can of Lentil soup, put that on top of noodles. Then I added hot sauce and grated sharp cheddar cheese. Sort of a 3-way as it is known around here. :) Just a vegetarian 3-way. YUM.
I am having a little difficulty with daycare. They have given Lil M beef or pork in the past month. Yesterday, they gave her bologna. Thankfully, I found out that it is actually turkey bologna. Or, I would have been really mad. I just want them to abide by my dietary wishes. I've made my requirements/wishes known since day 1, so let's see if it continues. (it better not)
That's what works for me. Go check out the other great ideas.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
It's been a pretty crappy weekend. I mean, the good news from Thursday is still awesome and that has been on my mind... but otherwise, the rain and some personal things have gotten in the way of having a decent weekend.
Looks like the rain is gone for now, though, so maybe the week will be better.
Lil M did like the little trip we took out to an Alpaca farm. We'll do more things like that this fall.
Friday, September 25, 2009
We finally got the news yesterday that Sis' divorce decisions have been made by the Judge. All that is left is to wait for the actual decree, but according to the decision document, the divorce is final. It's finally over. (breathing sigh of relief over here)
This really long, depressing, difficult, awful journey started in February of 2007. Yep, 2.5 years ago. It started with EX-bil's 2nd drunk driving offense.
Sis did not want this divorce, but apparently he did. And he lied and lied and lied to everyone about everything for that entire time, trying to ruin Sis. That was his one and only ultimate goal. To ruin her. (oh, and to shack up with some skanky bitch, but that's a different story).
But he did NOT ruin her!
We finally won. God prevailed.
It is so hard to explain to people who don't know the situation just how rough it's been. It's really hard to explain to people who are close to us even... But it is a HUGE relief that she was finally heard and believed. That not just one judge, but two (another issue involving jackass' girlfriend) judges came to the same conclusion - JAKE IS A LIAR. He is required to go to alcohol counseling. His girlfriend has aggravated menacing charges against her for threatening Sis' life. Sis was awarded the protection order she needed. whew.
But the biggie - My sister was granted full custody, with support and all. She finally won. SHE WON. OMG. It still feels surreal, but it is real. :D We have waited for this day for 2.5 years. Years.
I am so glad we didn't give up. Even in the darkest days, we fought for the truth. We fought for Chase. We fought for Sis. And we finally overcame the evil that is Jason or Jake or whatever he wants to go by.
I can't tell you just how overwhelmingly happy I am right now. And relieved. It is finally over. This is the day we've been waiting for. Chase will be safe. Sis will get restitution or Jake will be in even more trouble. Christina (the psycho girlfriend) will have to stay away, or she will go to jail.
It is a good day. Thank you God.
I want to thank all of our close friends for their undying support and prayers. We love you all.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
For the net
Tuttle Chinese for Kids (Love this because it comes with flash cards)Not only flash cards but lots of sentences as well, this is a car favorite.
Mei Mei and Jade (Audio and DVDs)
The Language Tree Mandarin
Early Start Mandarin with Bao Bei (cheesy production but good vocab)
|New Violence Hits Southern China Over Family Planning Policy|
| By VOA News |
30 May 2007
Enforcement of China's strict family planning policy has sparked more riots in the southern Guangxi region.
The state-run Xinhua news agency says protests erupted again Tuesday, the second outbreak in the region this month.
More than 100 police were called into the town of Yangmei after residents ransacked the local government headquarters, surrounded the population control office and burned police cars. Violence was also reported in the town of Lingshan where residents protested outside the local government office.
Unrest first erupted two weeks ago in rural parts of Guangxi over what residents say are the brutal methods used by local officials to enforce the "one child" policy.
Residents say the authorities have forced abortions, confiscated property, and imposed heavy fines on families having more children than the policy allows.
Under China's one-child policy, started in the late 1970s, most families are allowed only one child. Families in rural areas are allowed two, especially if the first child is a girl. Abortions have risen due to the policy.
China has the world's highest population at 1.3 billion people.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.You can find the article here and here.
The term Ethnic Minorities is theirs, not mine.
The total population of Guangxi has grown rapidly over the past decades, increasing from 18.45 million in 1949 to 44.89 million in 2000. From 1982 to 1990, a total of 5.824 million people were added to its total population, producing an average annual growth rate of 1.87%. From 1990 to 2000, growth in persons were 2.64 million, the growth rate was 6.26% and the annual growth rate was 0.59%. In addition, with ethnic populations accounting 38.34% of its total, Guangxi is one of the four provinces (autonomous regions) in China with an ethnic population of more than 10 million, and the autonomous region with the largest ethnic population.
Most of Guangxi's population resides in the southern and southeastern parts of the region; the northern and southwestern parts are sparsely populated. Great differences exist in population distribution and density between urban and rural areas. Ethnic minorities are concentrated in the west and northwestern hilly areas, while most Han people live in the northeastern and southeastern plain areas. In 2000, the population density was 190 persons/sq.km.
Updated: 2009-09-07 09:51
Farmers working in the rice fields in Pingle Yao ethnic Township of Fengshan county, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, September 6, 2009. Middle-season rice is harvested in Fengshan. [Xinhua]
A farmer harvests paddy stalks in her rice field in Pingle Yao ethnic Township of Fengshan county, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, September 6, 2009.[Xinhua]
Farmers carry sacks of rice along the rice field in Pingle Yao ethnic Township of Fengshan county, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, September 6, 2009. [Xinhua]
Farmers harvest paddy stalks in the rice fields of Pingle Yao ethnic Township of Fengshan county, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, September 6, 2009.[Xinhua]
Farmers work in rice fields in Pingle Yao ethnic Township of Fengshan county, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, September 6, 2009.[Xinhua]
here's a link to the article
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Here's the story
What is disturbing about this video (the video is at the top of the article) is the fact that some of these children are not truly orphans, but clearly have parents. That the parents seem to get duped into thinking that their child is going to America, but what isn't clear is if they actually realize they are giving their child up ... permanently. The whole thing makes my stomach turn.
Now, don't get me wrong. Personally, I think this is a glimpse into the situation. Do I think the way the media has portrayed the situation her is 100% accurate, well, there's no way for me to know. So, probably not. We get duped by them all the time. Do I think it is possible or that it does happen? Yes. So, I don't believe this is an all or nothing situation on any side. But regardless, if it is happening how they show it, then that is just shameful.
Clearly, I believe adoption is a viable family building option. But I guess I didn't want to believe this type of 'harvesting' of children actually happened. And in this type of situation, everyone gets hurt. Everyone. Why, when trying to take care of the people who need it most... our children... do some use this as a way to take advantage. There are millions (so it's reported) of orphans out there. Why, then, defile the system? GREED, pure and simple. And I hope those people get what they deserve.
I pray for all the families involved.
Friday, September 11, 2009
It was so good to hear they are all doing well. I am hoping we can do a reunion sometime in the near future. Let's see!!
Tonight, we went to get Lil M a couple of things from the store, with a gift card she had gotten. She got a new pink baby stroller, a cool magnetic ABC chalkboard/white board, and a shirt and sweater. She cracks me up. Tonight, she kept telling me that I was taking a shower (imaginary) and then drying my hair. She said the same about herself and Scott. Before that, she said her teddy bear was in trouble and put him in time out. The funny thing is, I don't really have to use time outs with Lil M, so much... I think she got that from daycare. LOL
We went to the Olive Garden for dinner and she ate a ton! I'm thankful she's a good eater. She had salad with croutons, some artichoke spinach dip and bread and then cheese ravioli. :) Oh, and some chocolate mousse pie dessert with Mommy and Scott. LOL. ;-) Ok, so, sometimes even *I* give in and give her treats! hehe.
Having a great day here... and yet, still remembering that it is 9/11. Peace and blessings to all.
PS. I had a flu shot today at the Dr's office. Then, I had my Dr fill out the form for the foster/adoption agency. One more paper done. 3 more things still to go. I think. I'm going to double-check to see if Lil M actually has to have the Dr form or not, though.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
groceries - 20.83 at wallyworld - girl products, cat litter, new dog collar for Maggi, canned chicken (2)
dinner out - frisches - $13 and change
lunch today - subway - $5.30
So, i told myself I wasn't going to count eating out as part of my grocery challenge this month... but I'm going to keep track of it.
eating out 18.30
total so far - 39.13
Today is the 10th. I've got almost $80 if I don't count the eating out for the next 20 days. Hmmm. I'm going to write out a menu tonight for the next week or so. Let's see if I can do better. Although, methinks I'll end up eating out probably once a week for the next 3 weeks, 'cause that's pretty normal. And, the animals stuff is more costly than I might have been admitting to myself. I do have two dogs and a cat, and they have to have food... plus the cat litter.
Of course, this is just a personal challenge, and it doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme if I go over this limit. lol :)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I wish so much that China, or even Vietnam, would open up to us singles again. :( But, I'm praying and praying about Kazakhstan.
That's all I've got today. Oh, and been going over the budget for the zillionth time. Oh yeah, it's that fun. ;-)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Because that's who I am. I'm going to leave it out there, though, and try to allow myself that freedom. So, if you disagree with the previous post, I understand, but it is what I really see in those passages.
And if I want my daughter to be able to tell me things that she thinks is important, I need to allow myself the same freedom. Right? Right. :)
In a nutshell, it is clearly about *gang rape* and overpowering the guests in a dehumanizing way. And in Scripture "men" refers to "men AND women", and why offer up your virgin daughters if ALL the men were gay? You wouldn't offer up women to men you knew were gay.
The people of S&G clearly wanted to overpower Lot's guests, highly likely due to fear of the guests being spies (common in the OT and in war torn countries)... and to add insult to injury, Lot put up his two daughters to placate the angry mob. Well, that wasn't enough for the townspeople. They didn't want sex. They wanted to demoralize, dehumanize and HURT the guests in a way to prove their ultimate dominance. RAPE. Pure and simple.
Now for the longer explanation...
I don't know that I'm explaining my thoughts quite as well as I wanted to here, but I have read several versions of scripture, including KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, NRSV, Amplified, etc. Some scripture says that the "men" of the town wanted to "know" the guests. Some people perceive this as just spending time with in a non-sexual way. And those folks seem to think that S&D's problem was that of being inhospitable.
But if you read the Hebrew (i have a great study bible for this) for the word "to know" it means in a sexual way. And, with the tone of the passage, I see that very clearly. The problem with trying to make the Sodom and Gomorrah story about homosexuality comes into play when you consider the following (maybe this is because it is easier to talk about homosexuality than it is to talk about rape??)
1. Men defined in Scripture often means Men AND Women.
But if you assume that "all the people" they are talking about is the whole town, you have to assume there are women and children. That was normal to speak of the whole town as men, because they thought of women and children as property. So what about the women and children then? Were they gay too?
Verse 4-5 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. KJV
2. But if it was ALL "men" (really men, and not women or children), then it does not make sense that ALL of them were homosexual. The operative word here being "all".
Today, San Francisco has the reputation for being the “gayest” city in the world. Yet even in San Francisco, gay men constitute far less than half the total male population. If the Scripture text had told us that “certain men of Sodom” or even “many men of Sodom” gathered at the door, we might then surmise that the men at the door could have been motivated by homosexual desire. But the text says “both young and old, all the people to the last man” gathered at the door. To suggest that every man and boy in Sodom was homosexual is simply not credible. Any reasonable interpretation of the story must account for the fact that all the males of Sodom (both homosexual and heterosexual), and perhaps even the women, participated in this attack. Something other than homosexual desire seems to have been at work here. (3)
3. It is clear that when Lot offered up his DAUGHTERS to the people of S&G, they didn't have any interest in having sex with them. Again, if there were women present (and there likely were) and they were also gay, why wouldn't they have taken Lot up on his offer? Or if it was just about fulfilling some sexual urge, why not just take them? Nope. It was about harming the guests. And the other thought is that if there were men and women there, then it wasn't a homosexual act at all. It was rape. Rape between two men is no better or worse than between a man and a woman. But, I imagine in some societies it is even worse because it is an act that tries to show the other man that he is as low as a woman was in that society. And that was pretty low.
Thus, the sin of the two groups of men in Sodom and Gibeah is, in both instances, the desire to engage in homosexual rape. But there is validity in connecting this sin to the violation of the norm of hospitality. There is weight to the suggestion that the desire to rape the visitors is less the expression of homosexual desire and activity per se, and more the use of forcible homosexual rape to express dominance over the strangers. This practice occurred in the Ancient Middle East when armies were defeated, and it occurs today in certain all-male settings, such as prisons. This is supported by the fact that in both instances, when women were offered to the men, both groups of men initially rejected the offer. The conclusion, more clearly for Sodom than for Gibeah, is that the goal of homosexual rape is the male inhabitants' desire to express their dominance over the strangers. (4)
Ge 19:6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
Ge 19:9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. NIV
This whole passage is disturbing to me. Mostly because it was really clear that it was about rape. On top of it, you think someone is going to harm your guests, so you offer up your daughters??? OMG. Really? Clearly a dominance issue. But you can sort of understand Lot's position because he didn't want the people to hurt his guests, who also happened to be Angels!! So, I imagine it was the lesser of two evils. What a horrible position to be in. :(
There are several sites that really explained it much better than I have here, so I'm including them for reference.
Genesis 19 explained
(3)Would Jesus Discriminate
(4) G Haas
Monday, September 7, 2009
I had a tough night again sleeping. This time, I didn't go to sleep until after 1:30am (partly due to studying some scripture)... and then woke up at about 5am and couldn't get back to sleep. So, I got up and stayed up until about 8am. That's when Lil M woke up and she went potty and came to snuggle with Mommy. We don't co-sleep as a rule, but on occasion it's nice to get that extra mama daughter time in.
The same happened this afternoon. When she was going to take a nap, she just snuggled up with me on the couch and we both took one together! I normally would have gone ahead and put her in her own bed, but hey, it's a holiday, right?!! :)
I'm still looking at a 2nd adoption. I finally found a couple of good Kaz adoption blogs and I'm hoping to make some contacts over the next few weeks to see how scary that process really is. I've been a bit bummed, because finances won't really allow me to start yet. So, more research is always a good thing. I've been researching Ethiopia, too. I find it to be a good program (for my criteria)... but am still leaning toward Kaz for several reasons. The first of which is that I have a chance to adopt a child of Asian or Euro-Asian decent from Kaz. I really would like that for Lil M. But, it is mostly up to God at this point. I'm open... just need to find the right avenue.
What I find interesting is people's thoughts about different ways to adopt or have a child. For instance, my Gyn seems to think I'm perfectly fine to try to have a baby. Sis is all for that option. But others aren't. And I'm not sure either. Then, there's the country choices or here in the state options. I'm single, so that makes quite a huge difference in my options, still. (drat, why can't China or Vietnam just open back up like I want them to!!)
Some people are against older children adoption. I'm not, but it'd have to be the right fit for Lil M and I. (and i'm still working with an agency in my state for foster/adopt program)
Some people are against certain countries, because they think that the acclimation of the child to our overly-white populated area would be too much. But, then Lil M is a child of color, too... so, while I understand the point (possibly), I don't necessarily agree.
Anyway, just wanted to get some of that out. Overall, the weekend was great. Got to see Sis for a bit and hang with my other favorite person (clearly, Lil M)! :)
Oh, and that scripture study... I'll share that soon.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Maggi, my Sheltie, stayed with Sis and Nephew last week, 'cause Sis has some psycho nut job threatening her life... I thought it would be good for her to have a dog for a few days to alert her if someone came to the house that shouldn't. Sis brought Maggi home today. Apparently, she didn't bark at all at Sis' house!!! Go figure! LOL. As soon as she was home and in the backyard, she was barking again! my goofy dog. But I did miss her... so did Skippy, apparently.
Maggi needed a bath (even before she went to Sis' house)... so, I broke down and gave her one about an hour ago! Then part-way dried her with the hair dryer and then brushed her out. Gosh, I need to do that more often. I could probably brush her daily and she'd still put out a TON of hair!! ;-) goofy dog.
I've determined that she, is in fact, more high maintenance than Skippy. Of course, you already knew that, didn't you? But, he was so quiet this week without her, it was weird!! I have absolutely no problem if Sis ever wants to keep her for a bit... but I guess I am glad she's home! :D ... high maintenance and all!
Anyway, back to relaxing... hope everyone is having a wonderful, blessed long weekend!!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Meaning, you see a woman in a store. Somehow she says she's a SAHM, and your response is to tell her how "lucky" she is and how you wish you were her. Um. No. While, I think it is great that she is doing what is best for her and what she feels led to do, that doesn't mean that somehow I want to be her.
I don't have a problem with SAHMs, nor do I have a problem with working Moms. I think there is value in both. Do I think that there are a lot of families that are out there that don't take enough time to be with their children? Yes. I do.
What some people seem to do though, that I do have a problem with, is JUDGE others for their decisions in parenting instead of being understanding and/or helpful. And the discussions I've seen lately are of the judgmental variety against those of us who choose to parent differently.
"Working mothers put other priorities over their children" ... NO (actually, we work so that we can provide for our children. This statement is usually said in a condescending or condemning tone... which i find really rude. just because there are some of us who want to work, doesn't mean we don't put our children first. ...there are ways to do both)
"All working moms wish they could be SAHM's and therefore should do whatever it takes to become one"... NO (if that is your path, then that's fantastic... and i really do hope you find a way to do that. But even if someone is wistful on a day when they are struggling with their work and/or home life, doesn't mean EVERYONE wants to stay at home)
"All women are destined to be a helpmeet to a man, and even if we live in a shack we should obey God's commandments in this regard"... NO. (well, not for me, anyway, and when did God say we had to be destitute to have a fulfilling life?)
Again, I'm not knocking SAHMs. I'm knocking the notion that all working mothers are somehow inferior to them and we should all quit our jobs and stay home. No matter what (no matter our goals, desires, and our own individual walks with God).
God, tells us that we ALL have different and unique talents and gifts. Apostle Paul specifically tells us it is OK to remain single. We don't have to get married. And, even if we get married, there is nothing that says we can't be individuals and work if we choose. That doesn't mean we don't love our children. It doesn't mean that we put the world first. It means, I'm not you and you're not me. But we CAN learn from each other.
For me, and for many that I know... working is just as much of a blessing as it is to raise my daughter. Since I'm a SMBC (single mother by choice), I have no choice to but to work, and I'm OK with that. Even if I was married at this point, it would be highly doubtful I'd quit my job. Lil M gets value from being in school and I get value from working. That is my opinion.
Do I struggle with her place in her environment, due to her being a child of color? YES. Do I wish I could find a more diverse area without having to move far away? Yes, I do. Will I figure out how to make this work for our family? YES I WILL. Or I will do my very best to try. Does it mean that I need to be with her 24 hours a day each and every day? I don't think so. Some days I do think that it might be fun, but then reality comes back and for me, I think that is too much pressure. And I'd likely get bored. That's just where I am. I'd end up having to find something to do with my time... for myself... more education, volunteering, etc. (oh, wow, i can hear it now, how selfish that would be of me... but, it isn't. God loves me too, and wants me to be just as happy as my daughter.) And how is that really different from working? Except, maybe how many hours a day/week you do that?
Do I think that SAHMs or Working Moms are somehow better or worse than each other, NO. I absolutely do not. I believe we are to bolster each other up in love, respect and help each other in any way we can! I LOVE, love, love learning from other Mothers and how they help their children grow. I've especially found that Moms with large families intrigue me and I learn a lot about how they home school and teach their children. And how they organize their lives. It helps me too!! :)
For some reason, though, us Working moms (especially us single ones) get a BAD RAP. I am a highly contributing member of my society. I try to help my community and family as much as I can. I am a believer. And, most importantly, I am a Mom. Just because I do it differently than some others doesn't make me any less relevant, nor does it mean that I'm not following God's path for MY LIFE.
So, there you have my opinion. I will continue to follow other families that are kind, gentle in spirit, and open to relationship with all kinds of Moms. (actually, if i believed in previous lives, i'd have to say i probably had a huge family sometime... 'cause i'm most intrigued with them!!! and if i ever did stay home, i'd probably have a house full of kids.... however, those who know me well, know that i have my limits and that i'd probably max out at 2 or 3!! LOL)
It all comes back to the commandment JESUS gave us - Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind... and your neighbor as yourself. This scripture does allow you to love yourself. It doesn't say that you are to put yourself down or subjugate yourself to others and make yourself some lowly piece of crap. You can't really love others until you learn to love yourself. And allow yourself to realize that God actually thinks YOU are important, too. Whatever that means. If you want to SAHM or Work... that is OK. I truly believe that we all find our path and place with God and that is not bound by this specific topic.
*this debate is on inashoe blog and called an Open Letter to Working Moms.
Friday, September 4, 2009
left-over black beans
some pre-diced onions and green peppers
Cooked over medium until done...
Then added 3 eggs. this didn't quite turn out like an omelet, because there were more potatoes and such, but it kind of held it all together. One of those breakfast-for-dinner type meals. :) We both seemed to like it. Although, Lil M isn't huge on eggs... which is why I didn't use more. She does like beans.
I put the leftovers on an english muffin with slice of cheese for breakfast this morning. That was good.
This weekend, it'll probably be turkey burgers and veggies from the freezer. I have a fully cooked chicken in the freezer I'm going to pull out and make something with, too.
I am trying to hold off until middle or end of next week to have to back to the grocery. These things definitely help. Shop from your own fridge/pantry. :)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Working on my own grocery spending challenge this month... since it is just the 2 of us, it will likely be a little different than owlhaven's... but I'm shooting for $100 this month, total. Now, I need to figure out if that is doable and livable... or not. :)