Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Have Been Blessed

How often can you pick up a whole suite of living room furniture for $100? Well, we did today. Will's wonderful Aunt gave us a queen sofa bed, love seat, coffee table and end table for free. Our only expense was the U-haul truck to go pick it up.

A Little Bit of Techie Stuff

So, I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that I have been a serious slacker in the blog department for quite a while. The reasons are numerous, but some computer issues were certainly a significant part of the problem. First, Grace ripped the "C" key off of my laptop some time back. It was a pain, but I lived with it. Then the dumb thing started overheating and randomly shutting down. When I went to Colorado at the end of March to spend time with my sister and her family after the birth of my niece, I came home to the surprise of a new laptop (well, refurbished actually). That didn't seem to be a problem at first. In fact, I REALLY liked the new laptop. It had a fingerprint scanner to sign on, and it had a "C" key. Yippee!! It even stayed on until I turned it off...every time! That would be until I had it for about 3 1/2 months. For anyone out there that doesn't know, warranties on refurbished laptops are pretty much always 3 months (not 3 1/2)). GRRR!!!

For a few days, I was just bummed and computer-less. Then, it occurred to me that I might at least get by with the old clunker. Once I figured out that I needed to have the front lifted up off of the surface it was setting on so it could get better ventilation, it quit shutting down at random moments. Of course, that was soon followed by the power plug malfunctioning. It seems that whatever the problem was with that, it fried the battery too. I was not about to spend any money on this dumb machine, but I did discover that if I used electrical tape to hold the plug in "just so", It would stay powered up. I was still unhappy that I lost everything from the refurbished laptop (pictures mostly), but at least I could read and reply to emails.

So, this brings us to yesterday. Kyle (our eldest) has a buddy that works on computers. He felt pretty certain that he could replace my missing "C" key, and even get it to work. I jumped at the chance. I spent my day without my computer, but that was OK with the hope of a working "C" key for the first time in ages. Kyle got home well after I went to bed last night, so I had to wait until this morning to have my own little personal celebration for the newly resurrected "C" key. But NO!! There was no "C" key, and now there were 8 (yes...E-I-G-H-T) other keys that did not work either. WTF?! Well, I woke Kyle up out of bed and had him call his friend right away. He suggested that we blow the keyboard out with compressed air. We did...no dice. I even called my Dad (the Jack of all trades), and none of us could figure out why the keyboard took a sudden turn for the worse. One thing I did learn though; you can't just replace the keyboard in a laptop. It is part of the motherboard, and they only can be replaced as a unit. $$$$$$, and I don't have much right now.

Fortunately, I have a smart husband and Dad, who both suggested that I hook up a regular USB keyboard to the laptop. I didn't like the idea of having a bunch of cords hanging off of the laptop, but then Will reminded me that we had a wireless keyboard attached to the computer that the kids used to use. Yeah!! It works beautifully, and it even has a "C" key that works. I guess the laptop keyboard going wonky was actually a blessing in disguise. Plus, since I was in techie mode, I decided to pull the hard drive out of the dead refurbished Gateway. DON'T BUY A GATEWAY!!!!!!!!!!! (BTW, each word in the previous sentence is a link to a different page that will tell exactly why I have the opinion I do.) I remembered from a previous dead laptop experience that we got an enclosure for the hard drive, and it instantly became a big ol' external hard drive. I was even able to save most of the files. Why not do it again? So, I went onto www.newegg.com and ordered the necessary part. It cost all of $12.75 and requires two screws to put together once it gets here. Not bad for an 80 gig external hard drive.

With all that said, I have just one technical problem to overcome now. My camera is in need of a visit to the shop. I can't afford to take it in right now, but in the mean time, I will do my best to at least keep you all updated with writing. Thanks for sticking around. Ü

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Weekend...Do, Re, Mi Style

(Sung to the tune of Do, Re, Mi)

Doh...the sound, as Grace hits the door
Ray...to see far down the throat
Me...the one who has to look
Fah...the way to Urgent Care
Sew...the thread through Grace's head
La...we say in disbelief
Tea...a drink to soothe the throat
and we're on the road to the party, Yay!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Success....Sort Of

Grace made it into panties. Her joy was immeasurable. She even insisted on wearing them over her diaper at bedtime. She made it about 48 hours with no accidents. She was even dry after nap. We expected a wet diaper when she woke up in the morning, so that one doesn't count against her. So, as you can see, all was going well until all of her siblings were home for the weekend. All of a sudden there was much more to think about than just trying to go potty every few minutes to earn an M&M. She needed to bowl in the foyer with Justin, and she needed to play magnetix with Daniel in the loft. We also can't leave out watching Kayla play Wii. Three activities = three puddles. Grace was VERY upset about having wet panties, and frankly did not have a clue what to do about them. So, after cleaning the tile and carpet, showering the child, and adding to the laundry pile three times, it was back into a diaper for Grace......with Dora panties over it, of course!!

Hopefully, today will go better.

Friday, December 12, 2008


If Gracie makes it through today with no accidents, she will be entering a whole new world. What is it, you ask? It would be the world of no diapers, no wipes and wearing only big girl panties. Of course, when one has Dora and Boots plastered all over their underwear, I'm pretty sure a more accurate name would be little girl panties. Don't tell Grace though. She thinks she 6 feet tall and the queen of the world right now!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Our Way to Freedom

Grace has used the potty for #1 and #2 for the last three days. Of course, she has used her diapers for said functions as well. I am under no delusions that we are anywhere close to having her potty trained, but the baby steps mean an awful lot to her, and us, at the beginning. Go Gracie!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Guilt?

I have struggled off and on with Christmas guilt ever since we started our adoption journey to bring Grace home in October 2004. The more I learned of the realities of so many people around the world, the more guilty I felt for that silly CD I just HAD to have; and the book, and the sweater. After we returned from Ethiopia, I regularly looked around the house we are blessed with, and felt a certain sense of disdain for our spoiled nature. How could I have peace in this house after seeing so many people living on the streets; begging and starving. We even saw a dead, naked man that everyone was simply walking around. Why wasn't I hearing about these things as the lead story on the news every night? How could human life be so worthless.

Eventually, I came to the understanding that it is OK to be blessed. God didn't do that by accident. However, I can NEVER live a life of complacency again. Even if these stories aren't plastered on the front page of every newspaper, I know. I've seen children sing and dance in thanks for the gift of 1 Birr (worth about 8 cents when we were there). I learned that it is important to have left-overs boxed up at the end of a meal because there will always be a beggar that needs them before I can get back to my hotel room. The world may turn a blind eye to these tragedies, but I can't. My daughter is one of millions of children in the world that deserve to have a family to love them; and I need to do whatever I can to make that happen.

My efforts are often rather small. We don't have extra money in our bank account to send cash off to all the worthy organizations that could do good with it; but we do have family and friends that have been inspired by our adoption story, and have made their own contributions. I am awfully busy with six kids living in my house, but the kids' grandparents have put in time and effort to make sure that some great things to bring awareness and cold hard cash to the adoption cause happen. So, now as we walk through another Holiday season, I don't feel the guilt. I am doing the part that is mine for now. I am advocating, and lovingly raising children with the knowledge that there is a great big world out there, and they are going to need to give back for all that they have been blessed with.

My old friend, Eileen, left me a link for this video in my "We are the World" comments. It is a good reminder to all of us that this isn't a new issue (the 80's hair-dos kind of give it away). The world still needs us, and that means in whatever capacity we can muster up. If everyone did a little bit, we would live on a very different planet.