Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How cold is too cold?

Every year, I fight turning on the heat. It has nothing to do with money; more a desire to fight the realization that winter is upon us. Consequently, I usually set a timeline--a specific date when I will turn the heat on (Mark just humors me through all of this). This year I decided not to turn the heat on until November. Now, this is a big problem if you live in Michigan, and probably not a problem at all if you live in Florida. Most years, I would say it wouldn't be a problem in Missouri either. However, this year we have had an unseasonably cold October; i.e., we've had several nights at freezing already this month. We've had a few warm days when I've been able to open up the house but mostly it's been a bit chilly. Not yet having kids, the cold is not such an issue for us, and we troop around the house in sweatshirts and use the electric blanket at night. No big deal. However, even I have my limits. The house has been below 60F for a couple of weeks now, and we've been managing pretty well. But on Monday night when we went to bed the temp was at 56F. I finally caved and told Mark I'd turn the heat on when it got to 55F--I was starting to worry pipes would freeze, although our cold-weather dogs were absolutely loving it! We got up Tuesday morning to a thermostat reading of 53F. We turned the heat on. :)

In other news, the St Louis Cardinals have continued to exceed all expectations (except those of their fans) and are leading the World Series 2 games to 1. We're supposed to have Game 4 tonight, but it's currently raining and supposed to worsen as the night progresses. Normally they could just postpone the game a day, but it's supposed to rain pretty steadily (and hard) all day tomorrow. We'll have some friends over tonight to watch the game and share some food. I'm sure they'll appreciate the fact that we've turned the heat on since the last time they came over was pre-heat. ;)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend highlights

This weekend our church sponsored a marriage conference for the community. Leslie Vernick gave three seminars on building better relationships, both within a marriage and in relationships in general. All three sessions were wonderful and I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking to develop better relationships!

Saturday afternoon was the end-of-year picnic for Mark's vintage base ball team. We had a lot of fun spending time with the friends we've made from the team (as well as their families) and eating a lot of desserts.

The most exciting announcement by far is that three cyber-friends have appointments in Ukraine in the next few weeks! All three of these families have been registered with the adoption center since before everything shut down. They are finally getting to travel to find their children. I am so excited for them and looking forward to following their journeys!

If I sound a little blah, I am. I've been spending way too much time up late watching baseball. I really like watching baseball, but I don't usually bother. The games are so long and I hate to give up that much time when I could be doing something else. However, with the St Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship games and now in the World Series we've been inviting friends over to watch the games. It's not as bad as if we were on the east coast, but it does take its toll after a week of staying up too late. I guess I'm starting to show my age. ;)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

99K and counting

For those of you who don't know, we drive a VW TDI Jetta wagon. TDI's are diesel engines and they get much better fuel efficiency than gas engines--we average 47 mpg city/highway and 50+ mpg on straight highway driving. Our 2003 Jetta had 98K miles on it, and it was time for a timing belt change (every 100K miles). Most dealerships are not very familiar with the diesel engines and there are some significant differences, so we prefer to have people work on our car who know and love diesels. To that end, last weekend we drove to Poplar Bluff, MO, for a TDI get-together (GTG). An amazing TDI mechanic changed our TB for about a lot less time and money than it would have been at the dealership, and we are confident that it was done by someone who actually knows what he's doing. He did have a small (very small...really miniscule...but I did help!) amount of help from me (Courtney), and those would be my legs you see sticking out from underneath our car. The white tennis shoes in the background are Mark's. :) He's more of a woodworking guy--built the bunk beds for our kids, etc.--while I love cars. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to actually learn enough to be useful, so what you see in that picture is me replacing the underside of our car after the TB change was done.

We've often received comments from people about the odd things we do. Yes, we do odd things. Always have, probably always will. But we do them together, and that's all that matters to me. :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Contemplations of the cosmos

This is the picture that is currently on my computer desktop (the background) at work. You can find this picture and others like it at the Astronomy Picture of the Day hosted by NASA. The other day, I was stressing over some adoption paperwork. I had just finished sending some emails and had closed my web browser. The picture on my computer caught my eye. It looks so small and beautful, yet the galaxy pictured here is huge. I am a tiny insignificant speck compared to this galaxy. And God reminded me that there are things bigger than paperwork and worrying over small details. He will take care of getting our children to us. I need to sit back, relax, and do what He asks of me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The logic of an almost 3-year-old

This post is really for Tonya, a friend of mine in GA who shares stories of her 4 boys on her blog. Through her I was introduced to "the rock game". The rock game is like the silent game, only you can't move or talk (because you're being a rock). Apparently Tonya's boys are big fans of this game, to see who can be a rock the longest. Inevitably, her youngest loses. :)

Last Friday night we babysat for a friend of ours who has a daughter, Kassidy. Kassidy will be three at the end of this month, and she is so much fun. (By the way, anyone in the St Louis area who wants babysitters, we're available. You won't find anyone with a more thorough background check...local, state, federal, plus visits to our home, full medical evaluations, reference letters. If you want well-screened babysitters, find someone who's adopting. *smirk*) So I was making dinner and I asked Mark to entertain Kassidy since I was working over the stove and didn't have anything at the moment she could help with. Mark decided to teach her the rock game. Kassidy lasted all of about 2 seconds before she moved. Mark tried to explain to her that she was supposed to be a rock, and asked "Do rocks move?" Her response? "Yes, when you sit on them." She has a point. If you sit on an unsteady rock or pile of rocks, they do move. Score one for the 3-year-old. :)

Mark has come down with the cold I had last week so he went to bed early last night. This gave me the opportunity I've been looking for (but absolutely dreading) to go through all of our adoption paperwork. At the beginning I was very good about filing everything and I kept a spreadsheet (it's actually an Excel workbook with multiple pages for expenses, timelines, etc.) so I would know when all of our documents expire, when the notaries expire, when the apostilles expire... ahem. Anyway, when Ukraine shut down I stopped keeping up with it, for hopefully obvious reasons, the main one being that everything would expire before we could get there. And it has. So last night I went through our paperwork binder and our dossier binder and transferred all of the paperwork into one much larger binder, in reverse necessity order (that would be the order in which we will need the documents, with all of the expired ones at the back). I can't throw anything out since many of our documents are good for a couple of years in the US, just not in Ukraine. I started a new sheet in the Excel workbook titled "dossier timeline #2". Let's hope we don't need any more sheets.