Monday, July 30, 2007

Good news! (non-adoption)

One of these days I won't have to put a disclaimer in the title... ;)

Last week Mark received his temporary license as a PT! He was hired a few weeks ago and went through orientation and training and so on, but he wasn't able to see patients until he received his temporary license. That involved sending documents to the Missouri licensure board, which was no big deal, but it also required verifying every professional license he's ever had whether they are current or not, related to PT or not. This meant he had to send forms to both Michigan and Texas to get verification of his teaching licenses. After the forms not being returned to Missouri and lots of phone calls, he finally had to send another one to Michigan and the Texas one finally arrived at the Missouri office. He has spent weeks tracking down the right people to sign these and make sure they made it back to Missouri. They finally did and he's been granted his temporary license! He'll take the licensure exam in August so there'll be lots of studying between now and then. Today is his first day to see patients and I can't wait to hear all about it (without breaking patient confidentiality laws, of course). There's other good news on his job front as well but I'm not at liberty to disclose that yet, so just say a happy prayer of praise with us that everything is going so well for him. Prayers for good studying are welcome too!! :)

This past Saturday we attended a marriage conference at Concord Church where we heard Dr. Gary Chapman speak. He is the author of The Five Love Languages, which we both really like. I think we've gone through it 3 times now. The conference was wonderful and a lot of fun. He had some great constructive ideas for building your marriage. Don't get me wrong--Mark and I have a fantastic marriage. The point of attending marriage conferences is that we want to keep it that way! And in any marriage, there are always things to work on to bring you closer together and closer to the husband and wife God has designed you to be. I personally have been struggling a lot with knowing I am not the Godly wife I would like to be, and that is something I am working on. In particular, I really want to strive for this:

"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:4

I have been reading 1 Peter, and this verse in particular really hit home for me. I don't think he's referring to being meek, but being humble and gentle, calm and secure in the knowledge of my place as God's daughter. This is what I want to be, and it is most certainly not in my nature. I am doing lots of praying and thinking about what this means and how to enact it in my life. I am trying to consciously fight my aggressive nature and focus on the idea of being a gentle and quiet woman. The mental picture I have of that is so beautiful, and I hope that one day I can come close to the woman I see in my mind's eye. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Weekly update (I had hoped for maybe every other day)

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! I don't know where the time goes. In part, I know it went to the cold that Mark was kind enough to share with me last week. It really wasn't a horribly bad cold, but enough that I did stay home one day last week (a fuzzy head and toxic chemicals don't mix) and was a little out of it the rest of the week.

Last Friday we saw Peter Pan at the Muny, which was good but a little weird because it was an older guy playing Peter Pan, and he was probably 6' tall. So it was a little disorienting to see a man as Peter Pan. But overall very enjoyable and beautiful weather--it was actually a bit chilly!

This past Tuesday was our second-to-last band concert with the University City band. Apparently the Meramec community band starts up sometime in August and we'll be playing with them as well. We met the new band director Tuesday night and it looks like he's going to be a lot of fun--lots of energy! One of the other band directors described him as a "live wire". :)

We've found an architect for the new house and they came out on Tuesday and did measurements. As soon as they've got it all in the computer we'll set up a time to go plan our house!

Tuesday was also the day of the medical tests for our updated medical forms for Ukraine. Everything went off without a hitch (so far), and we go in today to have our TB tests read (I'd say negative since you can't even see where they injected it) and drop off the forms. We requested that the forms be signed on Monday since they should have all the blood results by then and the notary will be there that day. So far so good. :)

Please pray for my friend Beth who is stuck in Ukraine with her kids. They've completed their adoption, but there is a problem with getting passports right now in Ukraine and so they can't go home. Her husband has already come home so she is alone in Ukraine with the kids. It's a great bonding time for them but she'd really like to get home, so prayers for quick passports would be great.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Time for some serious purging

...and, no, this is not part of my diet. Although I have reached my first weight loss goal!!

Purging here refers to some of our recent activities as well as the unloading of info you're going to get from me in this post. :)

Thursday I had planned to take Mark to dinner at a local Nicaraguan restaurant that opened up a few months ago not far from our house. It's supposed to be absolutely delicious and they have fried plantains which Mark loves. But we received an invitation from some friends to visit an Afghan restaurant a few blocks away so we went there instead. Absolutely yummy sambosas and an eggplant appetizer (which Mark refused to even taste!) and my afghani muntoo, which are steamed pockets with ground beef and onions in a cream sauce. Mmmm... Mark had beriani chicken which is a little bit spicy and gets spicier as you go!

Friday was "Hello, Dolly!" at the Muny which is always a fun show. Saturday we went to pick blackberries at Eckerts Farm right across the river in IL. We picked about 5 lbs worth and they are huge!! I froze about half of them to use later, and we've been munching periodically on the others. We came home from the farm, picked up the dogs, and went back to IL for our vet appointment. Mark had a base ball game in New Baden, IL, so I dropped him off after the vet appointment and then brought the dogs home. Here's where the purging started. :) :) While I was eating lunch, I turned on the TV (I actually do that every once in a while) and chanced across a show called "Mission: Organization". Oh, man. Wonderful, wonderful show--and I've only seen it once. After it was over I was highly motivated, so I turned off the TV and put some FlyLady methods into practice. I got the living room and the kitchen cleaned and organized (and purged!) and it was wonderful! Saturday night we had dinner with some of Mark's former classmates which is always fun, and then we continued the purging after church on Sunday. That mainly consisted of cleaning out the basement. We (I could say "I" here, but it's really both of us--don't let Mark tell you otherwise) have a habit of collecting unwated furniture (usually picked up in an alley somewhere) to fix and sell it. Lots of fun, but we've managed to collect quite a bit that hasn't been fixed up yet. So we sorted into priority piles and made Home Depot and Lowe's runs to get necessary items for repair. The basement looks better already and it's good to know we're finally making headway on some of these projects.

In other news, I wanted to thank all of you for the prayers in regards to a situation a few months ago. The situation is now resolved enough that I feel comfortable updating you. A few months ago, we were presented with the potential opportunity to adopt two little boys here in St Louis. We pursued this to the best of our abilities, but the boys have now been matched with another family. I'm not going to go into any details, but suffice it to say that this pretty much confirmed our desire to never do an adoption through state foster/adopt agencies. It is a long, painful story, but we are hopeful that this family will work out well for the boys. I would ask that you continue to pray for them, their new family, and their remaining biological family.

We were number 30 in the list to submit at the SDA before today. They are currently accepting about 7 dossiers per day, which puts us tentatively submitting around Aug 13. Our medicals expire Aug 19, so since it will be so close we are going to go ahead and redo them. However, I have learned an important lesson through all of this--do NOT ask for more than you need. We do not need a physical, we need labwork. I called today and got both of us in for NEXT TUESDAY!! Mark is even a new patient and we are both able to go. If I had had to schedule an actual appointment, it probably would have been a month or two to get in--maybe longer since he's a new patient. This is an incredible and unexpected blessing, although I'm still hoping we get our dossier in early!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


While it is always slightly painful when I hear of dossiers being submitted, I hold onto the hope that ours will be submitted someday too. But today I got an especially big ouch. A family that started their initial adoption process from Ukraine about the same time we did (Feb 2005) adopted two little girls last year. They have just submitted another dossier to adopt a fourth child (they already have one son who was adopted a few years ago). I am excited for them, but to know people who are going to complete two adoptions in the time that we can't even complete one is really hard.

Our dossier is still in Ukraine waiting to be submitted. Prayers for its quick submission and acceptance are much appreciated.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The infamous linoleum

The layers, starting from the top:

The light blue is the very top layer, and the brown/gold is the second layer.

This is the third layer--the linoleum with the blue and pink spots on it. The brown/gold layer is glued to it, so it's hard to get a good picture of it. And finally...

This is the red linoleum that's the bottom layer. Below this is the wood floor which is tongue and groove planks. Isn't it pretty? Unfortunately, this is the best-looking area in the whole floor, and it looks pretty bad around the toilet. So it will come out along with everything else. Here's an upclose of the flower detail:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My arms are sore

Saturday night we went bowling with some friends from church. We had a great time even with some minor inconveniences along the way. We were hoping to get to the house some this weekend, but it just didn't happen. Sunday was a church picnic (BBQ...yum!) and Sunday afternoon we went and saw Ratatouille. Very cute movie with some laugh-out-loud scenes, and a great message about being true to yourself.

We did make it to the house on Monday night since we don't have band this week. We spent Monday night demolishing the bathroom. That was a lot of fun. We took off the sliding shower doors, took off all of the mirrors except the medicine cabinet (it's set into the wall), took off various other attachments (toilet paper holder, towel racks, etc.) and I started in on the linoleum. I stopped because I wanted to get some pictures before I pulled all of it out. There are four layers of linoleum in the second floor bathroom, and the bottom layer is my favorite. I'm guessing it was put down in the 1920's or so (could have been earlier--I'm not sure how to date linoleum) and it is SOOO beautiful. I have pictures but they haven't made it off of the camera onto the computer yet. I'd love to keep it but it's not in very good condition. I'll have to settle with saving scraps of it for a true "scrapbook" to tell the story of our house.

On Tuesday we went to a fireworks show down at the Arch which was a lot of fun, and really beautiful. I didn't take the camera but took some pictures with my cell phone (I'm getting pretty savvy with this technology stuff) and a couple of them turned out pretty well. We walked most of the way downtown which was great exercise, and prevented us from having to deal with the traffic jam after the fireworks show.

Pretty much all day yesterday was spent at the house. We (read: Mark) tore out some more baseboards and finished taking down the dropped ceiling in the middle bedroom. We also found out that a couple of our walls have been drywalled over the plaster. That's usually a bad sign, since it means there was a problem that led to needing the drywall (usually to hold up the plaster). We (I actually did help on this one) pulled all of the drywall off of one wall and the wall doesn't look to be in terrible shape (i.e., it didn't fall down when we removed the plaster). The opposite wall, on the other hand, is not going to have the drywall removed until we are ready for the whole wall to come down. Mark started to pull off the drywall and the plaster was falling in huge chunks, so we're going to wait on that one. In the meantime, I took down the dropped ceiling in the bathroom. We also removed most of another closet, including the HVAC ductwork that wasn't hooked up (which ran to all three of the bedrooms), and the green and brown shag carpet that was in the bottom of the closet. We've been finding lots of little "treasures" along the way that I am keeping as well. One of them is an advertisement card for blinds that may well be as old as the house!

Last night we climbed up on the roof of our little house and watched the fireworks display downtown. It really was a great view although much more impressive up close. Happy independence day, USA!