Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RIP Green Sock

Well Kelsey was right. I had warned her that our dog likes to eat socks. She said that on Sunday, she found Scrubs in her room, and she was unable to find one of her socks. She thought that possibly Scrubs may have been responsible. Now I love Kelsey, but she isn't exactly known for her impeccable organization with laundry so I wasn't sure whether Scrubs ate it or whether Kelsey misplaced it. (Sorry Kelsey -- just had to be honest!)

As of two minutes ago, proof was on the floor. Scrubs had eaten the sock, and uneaten it. These were the green socks that we got on the plane on our way to South Africa. It had seemed weird for the airline to give socks away. However, shortly after takeoff, it became obvious why they did this. All these Nigerians on the plane were wearing sandals and were used to living without air conditioning. They had no idea how cold the plane was going to get. Sure enough, thirty minutes after takeoff and the plane was overrun with Nigerians in green socks. Too funny.

Kelsey, I still have my pair. I'll be shipping them to you soon. What kind of dogs eats socks?!

Straight through the night!

We've grown so tired of Scrubs' early mornings. He sleeps okay until about 3am, wakes up to go to the bathroom, and then has been barking from nearly 4am until we get up at 5:30. Last night, JB made the executive decision to make Scrubs a bed in our bedroom. His kennel is pretty large but after a long evening, he thought maybe Scrubs just needed more room. So, we did it, and low and behold the dog didn't make a peep until the alarm clock went off at 5:30am! In fact, he didn't even get up to go to the bathroom at all. So, there you go. While we refuse to budge and let him sleep IN our bed (and good for us, it is too high for Scrubs to get up on anyways right now), we have acquiesced and allowed him in the room.

I met our friend Heather at the dog park at 10am this morning for a mid-morning break from work. Scrubs LOVES going there. He plays SO hard and just loves playing with the other dogs. He's been sleeping ever since next to me at my desk. He's turning into a very good dog.

I'm excited about Halloween! Not really Halloween itself because I think celebrating this holiday isn't at the top of my list. But I'm excited that for the first time, we might actually get some kids coming to our house. We still live on a pretty empty street so we'll see how many come and visit us. If not a lot are coming, I'll just take a walk to see all the kids.

We bought some candy last night. I purposely waited until the last day so to avoid the temptation staring me in the face all week. How do you decide how much candy to have? I have no idea how many kids will be by.

I actually made the decision to get mini granola bars instead as this seemed healthier but JB nixed that idea calling it "Cruel" to throw health foods in their baskets. Well, he's the doctor, so okay, candy bars it is!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Week well underway

Well it's now Tuesday, and we are officially in the normal grind of the week. After getting up at "the hour of death" to take Kelsey to the airport yesterday, I actually went to bed at 7pm. I planned on watching Prison Break, but when I realized it wasn't on due to the World Series (which had actually ended the night before), I opted for bed instead.

Life is currently about waiting here. I am waiting . . .
  • For my dentist appointment next week. I am still having pain where I got a crown. Now the pain is compounded by hot/cold sensitivity. So I picked up some military dental insurance only to find out the dentist I had found here wasn't on their list. So I had to find a new dentist which I bummed about. It's hard enough to find a dentist you like when you move and now I have to find one, twice.
  • For Hans and Rachel to come and visit. I'm SO EXCITED TO SEE THEM!
  • To hear back from China about whether they will let us proceed with both adoptions at once.
  • To send our paperwork to the Immigration office. No use spending $800 if it won't be accepted.
  • For May to come! (I know birthmom feels the same way!)
  • For our cruise in January. Did I tell you all that we booked a cruise? We are so excited. It is during the first week of January to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras I think. A week long cruise! Our great friend Jodi has agreed to come and stay at our house that week with Scrubs. Her husband Cliff is on nights so it might be nice for him to be closer to the hospital anyways. I can't wait for this cruise.

Also, November is adoption awareness month. I plan to do a variety of things on my blog during this month. I really want to encourage you who are reading this that adoption isn't only for the infertile! There are so many kids who need to be adopted. If that bugs you, it's probably because you know I am right and are afraid the Lord may call you to be one of the people who adopts these children! So stay tuned for my gentle prodding. If you know that you could never adopt, then I really want to encourage you to help someone who wants to. JB and I are blessed with the finances for adoption. Imagine a couple just like us who doesn't have the money to adopt! Anyways, more to come on that. I could go on all day.

Monday, October 29, 2007

3am is death to me

I told you all that on her way here, Kelsey was so opposed to getting to the airport early in the morning that she decided to arrive there the night before and sleep at the airport. When asked why she did this, Kelsey responded: "3am is death to me."

Well her return flight wasn't much better. 6:00am out of Pensacola (1:15 minutes from here). This meant we needed to leave by 4am my time (3am Kelsey's time ... aka the "death to her" hour.) We opted out of her going the night before. For one thing, as a hostess, this totally goes against good hosting skills. Secondly, this is a small airport, and we weren't even sure it would be open overnight.

It was so wonderful to have Kelsey here with me. Kelsey is not my real twin, but we often joke that she is like a kid/twin sister to me. (If that's possible.) I very rarely meet women who look like me, or who, specifically, are as tall as me. But here is Kelsey. The first friend I have ever had that I can share pants with! It's awesome! It especially came in handy when her suitcase failed to make the trip to Nigeria. Tara was a bit out of luck but Kelsey could wear all my clothes.

Kelsey and I worked together back in Rochester, lived in the same building, and then spent six weeks in Africa together. I so enjoyed getting to catch up with Kelsey over the course of the last few days. What's even better is that John is as good of friends with her as I am so the three of us just have a great time. Joia joked it looked like Kelsey and JB were on a date -- as much as they conversate about things I can't possibly keep up with, you'd think they were! I was also glad she got to meet most of my friends here. "Kelseycakes" is currently getting her master's degree in Colorado and loving her new home.

Thanks for good food, good conversation, and good catching up Kelsey. I hope to see you soon. Oh, and of course, she has been added to my current visitor blog. Up next: Hans and Rachel! I can't wait!!!

Visitors so far

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We love you Kelsey!

Isn't this picture of Kelsey GREAT! And I got it on the first try! Anyways, here are some more photos. We went to the beach again (this time with the camera) and then went for Sushi at Harbor Docks. (Well, Kelsey and JB had sushi -- not me!) I am amazed at how this town just shuts down with the winter approaching! The restaurant that we would have waited over an hour for a seat at a few months ago, was nearly empty! Anyways, enjoy! We sure did!

Okay, okay Tara ... here are some pictures

I finally took a few photos. Here is one picture from Saturday afternoon that I took with my cell phone and then some pictures from Saturday evening. We went to hang out at Cliff and Jodi's and had a great dinner
I had to take this picture with our camera phone. This is at Destin Commons so it didn't come out very clearly. We are standing in front of a sign that says Destin.

Joia and Kelsey

Hanging out at Cliff and Jodi's house

Joia with her son Tigger (aka Keenan)

Cliff (the prisoner) and Matt (the knight)

A dinosaur (aka William)

The dinosaur with Tiffany

Kelsey and me. This picture is so characteristic of Kelsey!

Shannon, Jodi, and Tiffany

Saturday, October 27, 2007

No photos yet ...

Okay, okay, okay. I'll try to get some photos soon. I actually brought my camera today but didn't have my memory card in it so I couldn't take photos.

As I write this, JB and Kelsey are in the kitchen. John is cooking lunch, and he and Kelsey are (no surprise here!) having some big religious discussion on the differences between Catholicism (Kelsey) and Protestantism (JB). I have long given up on:

(a) stopping them from discussing
(b) contributing to the conversation
(c) even being in the room while they talk.

It's way too deep for me, and I've learned that they both enjoy this "discussing" and are not mad at each other. So, let 'em go at it.

Kelsey found a 5:30 mass last night in Niceville so we dropped her off and took Scrubs to the dogpark. We then picked her up and also picked up Dairy Queen (which we ate after finishing off the Thai that JB had made the night before). Kelsey and JB were excited to watch the movie Eragon since they had both read the book. Apparently, the movie wasn't very good. I, wouldn't know, as I fell asleep on the couch only a few minutes into the movie. I guess I didn't think it was very good either.

This morning we got up early and headed to the boat rentals on base. Only, there was a small craft advisory and no boats were allowed to launch! I called Joia and Jodi to tell them our plans for the day were ruined, and instead, the three of us headed to Destin. We took Kelsey to Seaside (where The Trumann Show was filmed), Destin Commons, and the beach. It actually turned out that it was okay we couldn't go out on the boat. The water on Crab Island looked really cruddy! Apparently there is some "Red Tide" thing going on and a lot of the fish are dying. We went over to the Air Force Beach. It looked gorgeous!!! I was so happy to get to show Kelsey "my" beach. It would have stunk if it looked so yucky and that was all she saw.

We stopped and picked up some food, and JB is cooking now. We are going to have a nice lunch, and then JB and I are going to go to the dogpark with Scrubs while Kelsey works on her paper. Tonight, we'll head out to Jodi's to hang out.

Okay, that's a lot of info. Hope I didn't bore you all too much.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Home Study

Yesterday, we received our completed Home Study. I was excited to turn around and put it back in the mail and send it to the Immigration Office. However, I spoke with our Family Coordinator at America World, and she still doesn't know whether China will allow us to do both adoptions at the same time.

I spoke with Leah for quite a long period of time, and unfortunately, she couldn't provide me with any clearer answer as to what is going to happen here. Apparently a lot of China's "rules" are very loose and not concrete. Policies are often "open to interpretation", and they aren't sure how to interpret this. She said that she can't tell us how long we would have to wait or whether we would lose any of the money we have already paid. She also said that we should wait to submit our paperwork to the Immigration offices for a few more weeks. We have to send approximately $800 with our paperwork, and we don't want to make an $800 error. So we are going to wait and see whether China has more details in the next two weeks.

Waiting is never easy, but two things make it easier. One of those things is the hope for our adoption in May. The other thing is the fact that with every bit of waiting, I think that that is bringing us closer to the daughter that is supposed to be ours. The day we log in can make all the difference in the little girl we bring home. I trust that the child we are supposed to have is in God's hands and that brings me great comfort.

So for now, please pray that China lets us proceed with both adoptions at the same time. At this rate, it would still be over EIGHTEEN MONTHS between adoptions! That is a LONG time. So for them to make us wait until this new baby is a year old, seems rather silly. But again, we trust that this brings us the child we are destined to have.

Oh, and yes, Kelsey is here! She came into town yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed a walk, dinner, and then went out to lunch today. I just love Kelsey so much and am so blessed to catch up with her. I'll include some pics later.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good and bad news

The good news first. Kelsey is here!!!! I am so excited to see her and have her visit. I am now doing a few hours of work while she recovers from her very early morning flight. In fact, her flight was so early, she took the bus to the airport the night before and just slept at the airport to wait for her plane. Leave it Kelsey!

The bad news? Our little lovebird, Twain"ette" died last night due to an unfortunate encounter with our dog. It was not Scrubs fault. JB was cleaning out the cage, the bird took off, and Scrubs tried to play with it. He did not bite the bird, but his strength must have broken his neck. It is just a bird so we weren't crying (much) or anything, but we were both very sad that this occurred. It was a simple mistake and wasn't the dog's fault, but we are now birdless at our home. We'll probably stay that way for awhile. Oh well. Twaine was a wonderful family bird but not good with other lovebirds (both his previous mates ended up dead). So she was lonely I think. JB and I felt really lousy about this. I pounced on Scrubs the moment I heard the bird squawk, but it was too late.

Anyways, the good news! Kelsey is here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kelsey comes to visit

Tomorrow (Thursday), my little twin sister Kelsey comes to visit. I am soooo excited to see her. If you don't remember who she is or what she looks like, well, by golly, I'll remind you with a favorite photo from South Africa.

Not only did Kelsey and I both play Division I basketball, we worked together, lived in the same building together, and well, we actually lived in the same condo together when she moved in with JB and I for a few months last summer. Kelsey is now doing great -- with a whole new life in Colorado, and I haven't seen her since we went to Africa (are you jealous Tara?!) Anyways, I'm pumped she's coming to visit. Yay! See you tomorrow Kelseycakes.

Wive's lunch

I was finally able to attend a weekly wive's lunch. I think I have missed the last three due to everything going on with the dog and work. Anyways, I thought I would show some pictures of my new friends.

Tif with son William -- they live across the street from us so I see them a lot.

Johanna with her kids. Johanna lives pretty far from base so we don't see her that often. Her family lives in Palm Beach so maybe we'll carpool together sometime!

Jodi (left) and Joia. Jodi recently started a mini business. She is the "diaper diva" and is babysitting for the other wives and people on base. Joia has a blog as well (on the right of my blog) so check it out.

All the wives (except Sarah): (From left) Johanna, Jodi, Joia, ME, Tif, and Andrea

Tif and Andrea (who does NOT have a no dish help rule!)

Andrea and her mom made this dirt cake! How awesome is this! Yes this is ALLLLllll chocolate!

Joia's son Keenan

Andrea with a very tired Jonathan

And one pic just for fun. My puppy sleeping with his tongue out and eyes half open.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Wow is right. What a great number of comments we received on yesterday's blog. If you didn't comment, please do! This blog will serve as a reminder to all of you who faithfully stood by and supported us during the long four years of infertility and now adoption. I want to be able to read those months and years from now! JB and I sat down and read many of them together. Thank you for your kind words. It is so wonderful to be celebrating this with so many people -- many of whom we do not even know.

To say our lives have been turned upside down by this recent development is a bit of an understatement. Which is why, quite honestly, my blog has been mostly dog-focused lately. The major thing going on was the major thing I couldn't blog about so I had to really focus on other things. Little Scrubs is good for that!

We went from thinking we would be the parents of a nearly one year old little girl sometime around 2010 to finding out that, no, in actuality, we are going to be parents in 2008, one month before our tenth wedding anniversary, to a brand new little baby that could, possibly, be a boy.

JB and I, obviously, never saw this coming. We had basically made the decision that we would never adopt in the U.S. I know many of you reading this have or are, and are very happy with that adoption. We, however, didn't feel comfortable with the openness of many adoptions in the U.S. or the risks involved in the birth mother changing her mind. We also felt like there were plenty of families who only wanted a white child. Since race didn't phase us, we had agreed that we wouldn't pursue a white adoption in the U.S. in an open format.

We are now, proceeding to adopt a white infant in the U.S. in an open adoption format. Go figure.

There were and are many questions/concerns about how this open format will play out. Rest assured JB and I asked ourselves all of those questions and more. In the end though, after lots of discussion, I asked him, "Would we ever say no?" The answer?! NO WAY! And that, was the last chapter on the questions and concerns. They really didn't matter anymore. This was our child!

As I said yesterday, we are planning to find out the sex of the little one. I, actually, am hoping I'll get to be there for that doctor's appointment! When we learn it, we will share it. We also are both hoping to be at the delivery and were thrilled with this. I was hoping at least I could be there, but to find out that JB could be there too was thrilling! While I have yet to step into the baby section of any store (this accomplishment will be a blog in and of itself!) we have started talking about names. But shucks for all of you, that'll be a secret until the little one makes his/her entrance into the world. Since Tara so vehemently protested the naming of our dog we had no idea how badly she might protest the proposed name of our child?! Ha ha! Just kidding Tara -- but we did use that example when deciding not to share. Everyone has a bully or someone in their life that makes them hate a certain name. So we are taking my cousin Sarah's lead and not telling our names!

Other than that, there is a lot of waiting. After numerous conversations, we feel confident that this birthmom has no intention of changing her mind, and we are proceeding with that plan. To say she is a wonderful and unselfish person does not do her justice. She is making an incredibly self-less decision. She is giving up nine months of her life to give this child life and change our lives forever!

So, there it is. There's what's actually going on in our lives outside of Scrubs eating pairs of socks. Thanks for sharing in our excitement with us. We think this child will have quite a bit of attention showered on him/her after such a long wait to add to our family. We can't wait!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Parents in May

I have refrained from writing about this on my blog for almost six weeks now.

That refraining is now over. Here's the news I have been wanting to share for so long.

It appears that JB and I will be parents in May.

Now before you go and start asking if we are pregnant, the answer is no. However, our lives were completely rocked about six weeks ago when we were asked to be parents of a baby due to be born in May.

In the next few weeks/months, I will probably write more about the family that has asked this of us. But for now, I will just leave it at that. The reason I have not shared more is that this is something two families are dealing with, and out of respect for that family, I'd like to leave them with their privacy.

I will say that JB and I are amazingly honored, excited, thrilled, terrified, and overwhelmed. We never thought we would adopt domestically or adopt an infant.

I guess God had other plans, and boy are we glad that He did!

The reason I have chosen to write about this now, is that, after talking with JB, I realized that this blog is an outlet for me -- a way to share what is going on in my heart. There has been a lot going on in there that I have not shared. There are now new developments, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to blog without blogging about this topic. Since I am very honest and open on this blog, I am sure you can understand this.

We were okay with waiting to share, until this week, when there were some new developments that have caused some need for prayer and have provided me with some angst. And I wanted to share that with those of you who read this blog. Many of you pray for us faithfully, and I want to ask for that prayer.

So let me explain the developments.

When we were approached about becoming in parents in May, JB and I took the time to think and pray about this. We quickly knew two things:

(1) We wanted to adopt this baby.
(2) We still wanted to adopt our China baby.

We immediately contacted our adoption agency (America World). The rule had been that any concurrent adoption or pregnancy would require the China adoption to be halted. This seemed difficult to imagine since the wait was already so long. Unbeknownst to us, America World was, that same week, updating their policy to allow for people to proceed with another adoption or pregnancy as long as the children would enter the home at least 12 months apart. This was great news to us! If we adopted this baby in May, with the wait times as they are, it would be another 18 months (at least) before our China baby came home.

This all occurred right before our home study. We began working with a lawyer in Florida in regards to our domestic adoption. He was pretty confident we could use this home study for both adoptions. We still aren't sure if this is accurate or not but are hoping that we can. We decided to proceed with the home study in the hopes that it could be used for at least one of the adoptions and hopefully both.

A few days after the home study was completed, we got word from America World that yes, in fact, they would allow us to proceed with both adoptions at the same time! We were ecstatic! Nothing could be sweeter than to be able to adopt this baby in May and move forward with the China adoption at the same time.

I say all that to say that this week, our agency contacted us again. They are not sure that China will support their new policy. We, of course, think this is absurd. The wait for China is over two years!!! By the time our China adoption went through, this baby would be over a year and a half old.

However, for now, all we can do is wait while America World hashes things out with the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs). If China does not allow us to do both, we will most likely have to halt the China adoption for approximately 12-18 months -- until our "May baby" is a certain age (6 months or 1 year -- I am not sure.)

Here's what we do know:

(1) We are ecstatic to adopt this baby in May.
(2) We will proceed with the May adoption no matter what.
(3) We will proceed with the China adoption no matter what; however, we pray that there does not have to be a "delay" in this adoption.

Here's what we are asking you to pray for:

(1) The family of our "May baby" -- especially the birth mom.
(2) Health for our "May baby".
(3) That our China baby comes to us in the timing the Lord has in mind. He knows who she is so if that means waiting longer for her, we will wait. (But we don't want to!)

I will be sharing more with you in the weeks and months to come I am sure. We do plan to find out the sex of our May baby.

This post has been fairly matter-of-fact. That's the best way we know how to approach all this right now. A lot can change between now and this baby's birth date. We are unbelievably blessed that this birth mom has asked us, when we weren't even asking to be picked. We are unbelievably blessed that we may be parents in a mere seven months! We are very excited. However, we are, as we describe it "guardedly excited" -- protecting our hearts during this long wait.

I am glad to finally, allow you all to share this long wait with us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Broken Dreams

Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys

With tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God

Because He was my Friend.

But then instead of leaving Him

In peace to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help

With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,

"How can you be so slow"--

"My child," He said, "what could I do?

You never did let go."

-Author Unknown

Beeee-utiful weekend!

What an amazing weekend! It is 72 right now, and it has been low as upper 50's overnight. We've had our windows open and have just enjoyed hanging out in the yard and going on long walks. I took Scrubs on two file mile walks this weekend all the way to the other side of base. It just felt so wonderful outside and was a great way to distract him from wanting to eat his feet.

JB has been working really hard on the yard. Our grass is still stinkola, but take a look at this beautiful flowerbed.

JB has also been working out on our back porch. He has turned it into a little greenhouse of sorts. He made these tables and is busy working on these herbal planters. It is so wonderful that he has some time at home to do some things he enjoys. This picture also cracks me up because it is about two seconds before Scrubs chucked up the pair of socks. My mom wanted to see a picture of him wearing socks (which you can see if you look closely). But you can also tell that he doesn't feel well and is contemplating a big throw-up. :) I'm sure you are glad I shared that.

I also wanted to recommend a fantastic movie that we watched last night: Sweet Land. This was just a wonderfully clean love story that I think everyone would love. I especially thought of you Tante Jan. I think you guys would love love this one!

We also got Indian food last night. There is an Indian restaurant that just opened up in town. It's the first and only one, and it was actually started by a physician on base who was frustrated that there weren't any Indian restaurants. They had a very limited menu since it just opened -- two of the three dishes were fantastic. The other one I didn't care for as much. They are still working out the kinks and aren't far from our house so this is exciting.

Scrubs is currently going sockless and coneless so I am hoping that by tomorrow our lives can return to normal. I am sure this weather is making everyone we know jealous -- those in Minnesota who are currently a bit chilly (although 61 isn't too bad) and those in Fort Lauderdale who are still burning up. 85!? Yuck! (Okay, now go ahead and comment about how I have it all wrong. Weather will be a continual debate on this blog.)

Also, as a final tid-bit, please remember our future family in your prayers during the upcoming week. There's been a bit of a "glitch" in our China adoption. Our agency is currently working with the China agency to see if they can get this figured out, but it could mean a delay. We are just trusting the Lord that this isn't the case. But extra prayers would be appreciated. As I mentioned, there is a lot going on with us and our adoption "stuff", and I can't get into it in detail on the blog. So please just take this as an "unspoken" need for prayer!

Enjoy your weekend -- wherever you may be and however cold (or hot) you may be!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It is possible ...

... for a dog to swallow two socks.

Unfortunately, a few hours later they were no longer swallowed but on the pavement of our porch.

JB saw the barf and told me that Scrubs had successfully swallowed and unswallowed a sock. Scratch that -- he then corrected. He swallowed a pair of socks.

All this despite being watched like a hawk for two days. There was one moment this morning he was unsupervised in our bedroom chasing his ball. We think that was when the misdemeanor occurred.

When will the insanity end?!?

This week will be a new week

I am putting behind me the stresses of the past week and moving forward with renewed vigor and vitality!

Okay so I don't have the renewed vigor and vitality, but I do have the desire to embrace a new week and move forward accordingly.

Positiveness will abound!

In other news . . .

We now have the pup out of his designer crown and instead have him wearing socks. He doesn't like socks but appears to like the socks more than his helmet.

The fence I thought I had insured was actually cemented and not just "dug in" as the nice lady had told me. JB said it is not worth two whole days of digging, and he'd like to wait to find a fence from someone who doesn't have cement attached to the bottom.

We had Joia over for dinner last night. She is finishing up two weeks of night call. I say "she" even though, okay, it's Phil finishing up the night call. However, in all actuality, it's the wives who suffer the most! (At least that is my opinion.) Matt and Tiffany joined us for dinner, and JB made an excellent Mediterranean meal! Awesome as usual. Matt actually starts nights on Monday so we will have to really take care of Tiffany during the upcoming two weeks. Joia was fortunate to have her mother in town for a majority of the nights, however, Tiffany is doing this solo.

It actually comforts me to see the other wives deal with nights and see that they too, think it is a bit difficult. I was the first wife to do it, and so, as a result, I thought that I was a real wimp of a wife. While all the other wives seemed to be taking their husband's rotations in stride -- I was adjusting to a new house, a failed IVF attempt, and working from home while my husband was gone nearly all day, every day. (Well, he'd be home for eight hours but would sleep them all away.) When I would talk to the other wives they all seemed like this was no big deal! What was wrong with me?! In actuality, JB was just starting with the hardest rotations first so yes, it was a lot worse than the his fellow interns.

Thank goodness John has been on easy rotations for the last few weeks! What an amazing blessing to have him home during this hectic grant and dog season in our lives.

This weekend I am working on some grant letters for Faith Alive in Nigeria. These are much less complicated so do not fear! I have actually been fortunate to continue to help with things from half a world away! Aaaah the amazing-ness of technology! Dr. Chris is actually in the U.S. now. He's back in Rochester! How much I wish we could see him.

Off to eat some leftovers for lunch (the second best part of JB's cooking!)

Friday, October 19, 2007

More bucket head

I nearly broke down and cried at the vet -- honestly. She told me that we needed to keep his stupid cone on for a few more days. When I told her that it was nearly impossible to keep him so tied down, she told me that he could now go for walks. She also gave me a different type of collar. It was cloth! Are you crazy?! Did she not see the contraption he came in wearing? You think a cloth collar will keep him out of his stitches?!?! Seriously, these vets must deal with the most lethargic, relaxed dogs ever. Have they not met Scrubs?

JB and I, however, had had enough of the cone and JB rigged some sort of sock contraption that appears to be working and will hopefully let the sores heal some more.

Sorry for all the posts about the dog -- seriously. But it has been all-consuming and just absolutely the longest week EVER! Watching an animal's every move when he can't play, can't exercise, and can't really eat or drink without confusion while working full-time will exhaust you. And add to that the fact that he has to sleep in his room and can't ever be kennelled, and I think you feel my pain. I hope you feel my pain. DO YOU FEEL MY PAIN?!?!

You are slow Gabbi

11" of rain. I just saw it on the news. Gabbi, where are you at?!

24 hours of rain?!

Hey Gabbi the wanna-be-meteorologist ... any idea how you can find out online how much rain we have had in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, when JB left for work at 6:45, it was raining. I remember a few minutes during the day when it stopped raining, but overall I think it rained nearly all day. And this morning, it is still raining. I've had to throw Scrubs out there to get him to go to the bathroom, and one time, it was raining so hard, he couldn't bear it and just went on the driveway. Anyways, I don't know how much rain we've had, but there are flood warnings up everywhere. Gabbi -- you need to get on this.

Going at noon to the vet to hopefully get these stitches out!! Pray that they are ready to come out and that he is good to go home with no contraptions. If he isn't, I will cry! Really, I will. Right there in the vet I'll start bawling.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Post-grant recap

I have had a few people ask me what a grant was. I thought I would summarize it quickly. Basically what this is, is an application for funding. You are creating an application and submitting it to an institution and asking them to give you money so that you can do research. Research physicians like my boss rely on these grants to do research. The biggest organization that these are sent to is the NIH (National Institutes of Health).

A typical application from my physician is about 100 pages long. These are all pages that we have been working on for weeks and compiling and collecting. Each page needs to be included perfectly, on a certain form, with a certain number, etc. The rules are very detailed and intense and stringent. In fact, the rules themselves are like 100 pages long! I am not exaggerating.

No matter how hard we try, these grants come down to the last minute. Physicians aren't known for the speedy responses, and we are often waiting on other physicians to send us materials for the grant. In addition, most grants now are submitted electronically which is much easier. However, for whatever reason, this grant returned to the dark ages and was not electronic. I therefore relied on a woman I have never met to do all the final photocopying because I telecommute. She did a GREAT job!

Okay, so that's that. These grants are important because, well, without them I wouldn't have a job. Dr. Kullo can afford to have an editorial assistant (me!) because he has a grant that states he can have one. It is important that he keeps his funding coming in if I am going to continue to have a job, and he is going to continue to be able to do research. While he is a physician, he actually only sees patients one afternoon a week. The rest of the time is research time.

Other than that, life is attempting to slowly return to normal. I ended up working almost twelve hours yesterday. What's difficult is that my work at RLSF is sort of sitting there while all this grant work is going on. As you know, I got a promotion at RLSF so I have more responsibilities (including a grant due in December for them -- yuck!) So once the grant was out the door around 6pm, JB found me in my office doing RLSF work. He gave me one hour and at 7pm told me I had to stop and just sit on the couch. So I did. We watched Kid Nation (interesting show!) and Kitchen Nightmares (interesting as well).

Last night Scrubs gave me a bit of a scare. He's been sleeping in our bedroom because he can't fit in his kennel, and when I woke up at 2am and realized I hadn't been woken up between 9 and 2 by the dog, I wondered why he was being so quiet. I went to the little pad we make for him, and he wasn't there. I flipped on the light (much to JB's angst) and began scouring our bedroom. He wasn't there! I looked and noticed the bedroom door was shut! Where could he be? By this time I had woken John up and we went looking in other rooms trying to find the dog. In the end we found him on the sofa (where he isn't supposed to be) sound asleep. He must have snuck out of the room in between the time that I laid down and JB came into the room (just a few seconds) and decided he'd pick his own place to sleep! Yikes! Good thing he has this big cone on so that he can't chew anything up.

I also wanted to briefly touch on our adoption progress. Our Home Study is done, and Amy is supposed to be sending it this week. I was hoping to have it sooner, but apparently she had a computer crashing issue. Either way, we hope to have this study and send it to the Immigration Office sometime next week.

As some of you may know, there have been some other developments in our hopes to be parents. Right now, I can't go into this on the blog, but I do ask for your prayers.. There have been some "developments" shall we say that may change our plans a bit. When the time is right, I will share this on the blog, but, well, the time isn't right. So stay tuned. This is one of the reasons I haven't spoken much about adoption "stuff" on the blog. There's been a little fork in the road, and we are just watching as the Lord leads. I will share more ... when the time is right.

There's been a huge storm in all morning so I've been watching the news and taking JB's calls. Apparently there was a tornado touchdown right outside of base. It all seems quiet right now, but I'll keep you posted in anything changes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Put a fork in me

I'm done. The grant is done. We are all done.

We didn't make the 2pm deadline. Instead, we had it out by the time the workday was done -- 5pm. This was still good but left me stressed out longer than I hoped. My boss asked me at 1:30pm if I had had lunch yet. No sirree, and I didn't plan to until the grant was out the door. I ended up giving up around 3pm and heating up some pizza.

JB had to come home in the middle of the day. It's a long story, but needless to say, I followed the vet's advice and took off Scrub's bandages and coated his stitches with deodorant. I had called to see if we could bring him in early because we were going batty trying to entertain a non-exercised Dalmatian who wanted only to get his e-collar and bandages off.

Apparently dogs hate deodorant and they thought that would work and get him to stop ripping at his e-collar. It did not work. Scrubs appeared to like deodorant or not mind it enough to stop from trying to pick at the stitches. JB was not pleased with me for taking off the bandages (which I couldn't put back on myself since I can't feed him peanut butter while bandaging him which is what is required), but after running to the store to get some more tape, simply presented me with a 3-Musketeers bar and didn't say another word. (Is he great or what!?) I definitely deserved someone getting mad at me, but he recognized that I knew I was a moron for this decision, and left it at that.

I'd prefer not to talk any more about the grant or about our dog -- both of which are royally stressing me out. I'd prefer to just move and focus on nice things ...

Like the beautiful flower bed JB put in the front yard this last week. Gorgeous!

Or the beautiful weather here. Cool, pleasant temperatures. Wonderful!

And the wonderful husband I have who wins husband of they year for his work around our home this past week trying to keep things moving while his wife penned herself up in her office for ghastly amounts of time and their dog tried to rip his stitches out of his feet. Whatta guy!

Time to relax ...

Grant is due by today

Some of you have thought the grant is already done. No. It is due by today. I am hoping we make the 2pm deadline. I worked until late last night and started again at 5am this morning. Hopefully by 2pm I'll be a new woman.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Folks, I've decided to make this it's own blog. This was spurred on by Lesley thinking we were Eastern Standard Time (EST). But don't worry Les, you are only the most recent in about two dozen people who have thought we were EST. So here it is, once and for all. Everyone, we are central standard time. We are in Florida, but we are actually almost due south of Kentucky and Tennessee. Central it is. Cool. No more confusion.

Power goes out ... again

We've know been on Eglin Air Force Base for over four months, and there have been at least six occasions that I can remember that we have lost power for over an hour. Usually it is 3-4 hours at at time.

Today, the day before the day the grant is due, the power goes out again! It started flickering, and I started panicking and begging God to let the power stay on. Paaallleeeese not today! The flickering finally stopped with the power in the negative position. Ugh. Two hours later and after a nap on the couch, it finally came back on. Both my boss and myself were panicking during that two hour period. I had already come up with a Plan B. My great friend Joia was going to let me come over to her house with my laptop if it still wasn't on by the time JB came home with the car. Thankfully, it finally fluttered back on.

Tomorrow at this time I will be partying!! Tomorrow at this time the grant will be done.

Oh, and on a side note. Is someone going to claim the poetry on the comments. Here was the latest poem:

Ode To My Owners
Dear Wendi and JB
Can’t you see?
I have this long, painful stich
That hurts a little, but, boy does it itch!!
But I have to wear this stupid collar
That makes me want to whine and holler!!!
So please, no humiliating videos, I beg.
Please, just let me see my leg.
You think work and grants make you stressed?
Just take one look at the way I’m dressed!
When can we remove these socks
And return to the days when we ran for blocks?
All I can say is that I FEEL “PEUTERED”!!!
(Sorry, but what else would rhyme with “neutered”?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

I successfully used a military acronym

We've been looking for a fence for quite awhile now. We thought it would be nice to put one up in the backyard and get some real grass growing in it. The grass here is just horrible. Actually, it isn't grass. It's a culmination of weeds and stickers that you wouldn't even think of walking barefoot through. We went to a block party the other night at one of the colonel's houses (if you just pronounced that col-on-el you have a lot to learn. It's Kernel folks. Like the popcorn!) Their grass was so wonderful. I guess that's what happens when you are the base commander. You get nice grass.

Military bases are a strange thing. You are assigned a house. You are supposed to be shown at least two houses. When JB came onto base, he was only shown one. The woman showing them was what many people here on base call "the housing Nazi". She is just not a nice lady. And she didn't feel like allowing JB to see more than one house despite the fact that our ENTIRE BLOCK IS VACANT! We could have easily chosen a house next door that has a fence. It is just as free as the one we are in now.

The other thing that is strange about military housing is that once someone leaves, the house remains vacant. No one waters the plants. No one tends the yard. Some people stop by to mow just so that it doesn't look horrific around here. But that's about it. So here sit these empty houses with fences. Can we take one? (Not the house. The fence.) I mean, who owns the fence? There are roses next door. No one is taking care of them. They will soon die. So can we take them? How does it work? We don't believe in stealing, but we just aren't sure the "rules" of the "base".

JB and I decided that we didn't want to take a fence. So we decided we would wait until we saw someone moving and then move in on them ourselves. That's exactly what I did tonight. I was out for a run, and I saw a moving truck. I waited patiently. I watched carefully. Yes, sure enough. The furniture was being loaded on to the truck. I seized my moment despite the fact that I didn't have glasses on or contacts in and wasn't sure if the woman I was approaching was an adult or a child. I got close. It was a grown woman. I politely asked her, "Are you PCS'ing?"

She replied in the affirmative. I was thrilled. Could we buy your fence? Another affirmative answer! I was thrilled. Not only that we had obtained a fence for only $75 but that I had successfully said PCS'ing like an old pro. (Permanent change of station or status or something like that! I'm not sure what it stands for, but I am sure of what it means.) YAY! So, no need to "steal" a vacant house's fence. Instead, we will buy a fence form this nice lady and put it up and put in some nice grass. Everybody's happy!

My run was cut a bit short. I have trouble starting up again after a long stop to inspect a fence. I had to run tonight. If you think of it, say an extra prayer for me this week. No matter how many times I do it, grant deadlines completely wear me out. I hate them. Hate is a strong word, but it is the only accurate word. They completely wear me down.

Okay off to take a shower.

GRANTS STINK!!!!!!!!!!!

My boss' grant is due by Wednesday afternoon. I'm going crazy. I really, really, really dislike grant work.

It will all be over on Thursday morning.

I watched Drew Carey host the Price is Right for the first time this morning. That was weird. He doesn't sound right.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Evolution of the E-Collar

Well I'm sorry if you are sick of posts about our dog, but he's dominating our existence currently so there you go. His e-collar has evolved even further. JB actually attached the two e-collars together to make it more firm and put colored paper around it so he couldn't see his feet (which he was still getting to.) Folks, it is hilarious and the video below, might compete with the broccoli. Which one do you think is funnier? I think this one.

Puppy dog eyes

I've been feeling like the only person in the world who has a dog who is not tolerating his e-collar. So I browsed online. I found this picture of what family did to try to help stop their dog from tearing out his stitches. And this was a guide dog puppy -- well-trained!

These pictures helped me feel better. The facts of the case for our puppy.
  • Scrubs is currently wearing two e-collars: the old one and the new one.
  • Two provides two barriers.
  • We are hoping this will buy us at least another 24 hours.
  • 12 hours would even be okay.
  • Or even 6.
  • Can't fit in his kennel with e-collar on.
  • Can't fit in his kennel = no breaks for JB or Wendi.
  • Can't be in kennel = can't sleep in kennel.
  • Sleeping on a pad in our room confuses him.
  • Wakes up in the middle of the night and begins wandering around the room.
  • Doesn't understand that the e-collar requires more space.
  • Runs into everything.
  • Especially runs into everything in the middle of the night in our room.
  • This wakes me up.
  • JB is wearing earplugs.
  • We compromised.
  • Whoever is up with him all night gets to sleep in in the morning.
  • I guide him back to the pad.
  • He usually goes down immediately, glad to finally have figured out where he is supposed to be.
  • If he doesn't go down, he has to pee.
  • During the day, goes so crazy trying to get this e-collar off that he works himself into a mad frenzy.
  • The only way to get him out of the frenzy is to get him to fall asleep.
  • This usually requires him lying on your lap ...
  • On his back ...
  • With his feet up in the air ...
  • And you supporting his head ...
  • If we finally get him to sleep, it only lasts as long as one of us in the room with him.
  • If he is asleep and we leave the room, he knows it and wakes up and then goes crazy again trying to get the e-collar off.
  • He can't really play with anything with the e-collar on.
  • He isn't supposed to be playing.
  • He is supposed to be resting.
  • We had to use duct tape to keep him out of the stitches.
  • Yes, he is still finding a way past the e-collar to his stitches.
  • That duct tape is going to HURT coming off.
  • The e-collar has to be on until Friday.
  • I have a grant due on Wednesday.
  • JB has an easy schedule this week!
  • Thank goodness!
  • Here is a picture of our dog in his newly rigged conraption which seems to evolve by the hour as he figures new ways around the e-collar and to his stitches on paws (or where he was neutered).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Long night!

Here is Scrubs this morning after a long night. He can't sleep in his kennel (he can't fit in there with this e-collar on) so he slept on a bed in our bedroom. JB put a colored piece of paper on the e-color to prevent Scrubs from seeing his feet. But when that didn't work, he had to put socks over his paws. Poor doggie!

I know I know! I just want to take it off too. He looks miserable!

Sorry for more pet posts, but quite honestly, other than the grant I am working on, and the fact that JB is on an easy rotation, there really isn't anything else major to report.

You can probably tell from these photos that it has been a long few days in our house. I dropped Scrubs off around 7:30 yesterday to get neutered and have his dew claws removed. Having the dew claws removed isn't a routine practice, however, Scrubs is famous for bear hugging our legs and drawing blood. These can also get snagged and torn easily and infected. Scrubs has already had some snagging going on. So we opted to have them removed.

JB went with me to pick Scrubs up at 4:30pm. We were blown away when the estimate they gave us for the procedure was doubled when the bill rang up. They had forgotten to include the dew claws and the microchip on the estimate! I had noticed that when I signed it in the morning and told the lady that they weren't on there. She told me, "Yeah, that's like $20 bucks a foot or something." What she should have done is gotten me a new estimate. Instead, we were a little shocked when the bill came in. JB and I are always nice about things, but this was a little bothersome, and the ladies understood why it wasn't good business to present a bill that is double the estimate. We do like this vet though and don't plan on leaving them, but this was a little disconcerting and frustrating.

The other issue was that Scrubs' e-collar (Elizabethian collar!) was a bit too small so he could get to his bandages. We tried putting a piece of paper in the e-collar so he couldn't see his feet. This didn't help. We did manage to get him to sleep on a pad in our bedroom (his e-collar makes putting him in his crate impossible!) But he woke up at 5am tearing at his bandages. He had figured out a way to get to them even with the collar on.

As a result, JB had to rig some socks to keep him out of the bandages. We then went to the 24 hour vet (which was free in combination with our surgery) to get a bigger e-collar. Scrubs now has the paper and the socks off because this collar is big enough and he can't get to his feet. I do feel bad and almost wish we hadn't gotten the claws removed. JB tells me that this was mandatory before he tore up someone else's legs or tore his dew claw off by snagging it on something. Okay, okay, but I still feel bad.

This weekend we are watching William so that Matt and Tiffany can celebrate her birthday. I will also be doing a lot of grant work. I am not sure that we can leave Scrubs home alone right now -- he really needs to be watched. So I am not sure we will make church tomorrow. We also hope to go to a bock party around the corner from our house tomorrow night. Hopefully we can leave him home a bit for that.

We aren't supposed to exercise him for a week! I am worried this dog will be getting into all sort of mischief without exercise to wear him out. We will see!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

What is cold

Cold is ... relative.

Yesterday, on our daily walk, our three little Scrubs-loving friends asked me why I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. "Aren't you cold?" one of them asked. "It's fweeeeezing," whined another.

I looked down at them to see sweaters and jackets.

It was 64 degrees.

Today it was 54 degrees. (This was the low. It is steadily rising to 80 for the day.) I did wear blue jeans when I took Scrubs to the vet to get fixed, but I found myself quietly chuckling to myself as I watched out the car window. I saw a motorcyclist wearing a cover over his entire face and joggers with gloves and ear warmers.

Why wasn't I dressed similarly? Oh! Gasp! Have I become a Minnesotan?! The horror! I am laughing at these people just like we used to laugh at tourists who got in the ocean in November.

And I actually found myself thinking last week: I'm going to miss fall and snow.

What happened to Wendi the Floridian?!

Chasing a flashlight

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Almost swallowed a sock

Last night JB and I had a moment of miscommunication. Scrubs is pretty independent now, and he can roam the house on his own, but we keep the laundry up and any other items that he might think of trying to eat or chew on.

Last night, I was on the phone. I thought JB was watching the dog. He thought I was watching the dog while I talked.

I wandered into the living room to find a very quiet dog. Too quiet. I reached into his mouth and saw something white -- just a small item. I grabbed it and pulled (and pulled and pulled). He had swallowed a sock!! Only the tip was not swallowed.

And worse! It was my sock! Why couldn't he choose one of JB's?!

I turned my back and when I turned back around he was returning from the bedroom with another sock. Apparently JB had put the laundry basket on the floor to get ready for bed, and Scrubs was determined to eat one before the night was out. I put him in his kennel after that.

This morning, the adventures of Scrubs continued on. He had two splinters in his foot, and when JB tried to hold him down to take them out he went crazy. Florida has these horrible "stickers" as we called them when we were kids. I am not sure what the scientific name for them is. They really stick into your feet though! We finally got them out with JB holding him down and me pulling out the splinters. They say you are supposed to practice restraining your dog. I guess I haven't been practicing enough.

I have been told that Dalmatians are prone to sulk, but I had never seen our dog do it before. He proceeded to spend the next thirty minutes ignoring us. John even tried to give him some peanut butter -- something he never turns down. Scrubs turned his back and walked away! I think he's finally forgiven us, but holy cow, how pitiful!

Tomorrow he's going to be even more mad at us. He gets fixed! Yikes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lack of exercise is not the problem

So people tell you to exercise when you are stressed.

I'm stressed. And goodness knows lack of exercise is not the culprit.

I'm stressed because of grants. I, honestly, truthfully, hate grant work. No, that is not strong enough. I loathe grant work. Every time it comes time to submit a grant at one of my jobs, I get a stomachache and have dreams about making a mistake. What makes it nerve wracking is that the process is so painstakingly precise. If you make one tiny mistake, there is a chance that they could reject your grant. This means that a mistake I make, as simply the assistant to the grant submission, could cost my boss millions of dollars.

The grant is due at Mayo, but I had four conference calls scheduled for RLSF today. One got cancelled, but that is still three calls while the emails are piling up at Mayo. That added to my stress.

The other thing is, these physicians are really busy. As a result, a grant is usually really worked on the fourteen days or so prior to the submission deadline. This means that no matter how hard I try, there really isn't an opportunity to prepare much ahead of time. The two weeks surrounding a deadline are just stressful. You try to figure out ways to avoid this, but it really ends up being impossible.

But, like I said, lack of exercise is not my problem. I got up and did my normal 7:30 walk with Tiffany and her son William and Scrubs. We do about three miles I think, but I've never really measured it. Anyways, we get home about 8:15am which includes stops along the way for Scrubs to say hi to various kids.

Then, JB got home around 3:00 and told me he wanted to go on a run without the dog. (Scrubs adds a different level to a run, and he just didn't want to deal with his leash antics. Although, these are getting better since we got a new "gentle leader" leash! Those things are awesome. They go around the dogs' nose like a horse harness and stop the incessant pulling. However, they also cause him to roll in any soft patch of grass trying to get it off his nose. Hey, there's some clovers. Plop!)

Anyways, I digress ...

I, at this point, was on an "I'm majorly freaking out because this grant is due in seven days" overload. So I decided to go with JB on a three mile run. This really did help relieve some of my anxiety over work.

We got home around 3:30, and I started back into work even though I had easily already put in an eight hour day by this point. At 4:30, the doorbell rings. I answer it to find Ashley, a little girl who lives around the corner from me. I've only met her once before, when she came by selling girl scout nuts (I told her to come back when she is selling the cookies!) I ask Ashley if she has the cookies ready to sell. No, she wants to walk Scrubs. She just stands there and waits for me to reply. Ummm ...

I was honestly taken off guard. I don't know her. I don't know her parents. And Scrubs is bouncing off the walls behind us. Ummm ... I start to let her and then realize I obviously can't do that. I start to say no. I can't do that. She's so sweet! So I agree to walk with Ashley around the block. During her walk, I asked her if she had asked her parents if she could walk Scrubs. She says yes, but when I asked her if we could go talk to her parents, she started back pedaling and says she thinks she talked to her parents. Okay, that means she didn't. So I told Ashley that maybe the two of us could take him together some times and that maybe we could talk to her parents at some point to see if they were okay with her walking my hyper puppy. That sounded good to Ashley.

I'm now home after my third exercise session of the day. Still stressed but slightly wound down after a hectic day. I missed lunch with the wives (although Tiffany brought me a great salad and some sheperd's pie that the gals sent over. How sweet is that?!)

We have Bible Study tonight, but I think we are going to pass so I can do some more work and also do some winding down.

I can't wait for October 18 -- the day after the grant is due!