Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who I Will Vote For

I have often said on this blog that I will avoid political discussions. If you meet me in person, I will avoid them. Truly, I don't care who you vote for. We can be friends no matter what side of the aisle you will sit on.

But while lying in bed last night, I decided ... this is my blog. And when it comes to the topic of abortion, I feel so incredibly strongly, that I cannot let myself be silenced.

If you feel differently, I must respect that. But I can also say I disagree. More specifically if you tell me that while you support my viewpoint on abortion, other issues are more important and you must vote on them, I definitey respect that. In a two-party candidate system, you just don't get a whole lot of options. Obviously if you are pro-life and pro-Obama and there was a man who was Obama who was pro-life, you'd vote for him. But that doesn't exist. So we much choose.

I do not hate President Obama. He is our President. He deserves my respect. But I do not think he has the answers for our country. I don't believe any man has the answers.

I do not believe Mitt Romney has all the answers. And I don't really like Romney all that much if I'm being honest. I definitely do not think he has the answers for our country either.

But I have decided to vote based on the fact that I believe abortion is murder. And I must do everything I can to stop those murders from happening.

If you do not believe that abortion is murder, I challenge you to watch the video I am attaching here: The Truth About Abortion Video. I am warning you. It is very graphic. You will find it difficult to watch. The images will stick with you. Do not watch it if these things bother you. (I could only watch half of it.)

I know many of my very good friends who have had abortions. Some of you have shared this with me. Some of you, I am sure, have not. You know, of course, that I see you as no greater sinner than me. We are all sinners, saved by grace. I harbor no animosity to individuals who have abortions. That is not what this is about.

What it is about is putting someone in office who will not support abortion. Years ago, when abortions were first done legally, no one dreamed they would be done up until the last day of pregnancy for any reason at all. But they are. Right now, in Maryland, an abortion is allowed, for any reason at all, at any moment of pregnancy. People do not know this. We need to know this. When the 2007 U.S. Supreme Counrt decision upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion came down, President Obama was quoted as saying, "I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women." This means that he supports a woman ending the life of her full-term infant, even though there are families lined up who would take that child home and love them forever.

I believe as Christians, most of us believe abortion is wrong. But we believe it is someone else's problem. I have to disagree. If 4,000 military personnel were dying every day, we would be outraged. And yet, according to The Center for Bioethical Reform, that is exactly what is happening in America. Here are the stats on abortion:
  • Approximately 42 Million performed each year (1.37 million in the U.S.)
  • Approximately 115,000 performed each day (3,700 in the U.S.)
  • 52% of women obtaining abortions are younger than 25 (something to really think about when most research indicates we are not fully mature until 25 or 26.)
  • 38% of these abortions are being done on people in the $30,000-$59,999 financial income bracket. nearly 14% are being done on women making over $60,000. This is not something secluded to the poor.
  • We talk so often about rape or incest being a reason for abortion. Or the health of the mother. But in fact, only 1% of abortions are done because of rape or incest. And only 6% are done beacause of the health of the mother. 93% of all abortions occur because of social reasons (unwanted, inconvenient, etc.)
  • 48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 out of 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. 14% of abortions in the United States are being paid for with public funds. 16 states will pay for abortions for poor women.
So all of this to say, I need to write that because of abortion alone, I going to vote for Mitt Romney. Everything else aside, I have to look at the things Obama has done regarding abortion. So many of his actions have furthered the cause of abortion, and I cannot allow that to happen.

Some examples of Obama's actions:
  • January 2009: Issued an executive order overturning a ban on federal funds for organizations that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries. His order reversed what is known as the Mexico City policy.
  • January 2009: Restored funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a U.N. agency that supports China's population control program which includes forced abortions.
  • March 2009: Nominated Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of Health and Human Services. As Kansas governor, Sebelius had vetoed several pro-life bills, including one that would have placed limits on late-term abortions. Since being confirmed as HHS secretary, she spoke at a fundraiser for NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group.
  • December 2009: Signed into law a bill that allowed government funding for abortions in the District of Columbia.
  • December 2009: Endorsed a Senate version of the health care bill that included taxpayer funding for abortion as part of a public option. The bill that became law did not include a public option.
  • March 2010: Signed the landmark health care bill into law. It includes federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion.
  • May 2010: Nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court. Pro-life groups said Kagan's record indicated she would uphold Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice groups endorsed her.
  • August 2011: Announced, through his Health and Human Services Department, that insurance plans must cover contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs as part of the new health care law. The mandate, which went into effect in August 2012, exempts churches but not religious organizations such as Christian schools, hospitals and charities.
  • October 2011: Threatened to veto a bill that included a section eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.
  • Summer/fall 2012: Launched a political TV ad campaign that makes his pro-choice views a major theme of the general election. No Democratic nominee had ever made abortion a major general election theme in TV ads.
Do I know that Romney will be better? No. Do I know that he will slow down the accessibility of abortion? Will he put an end to partial birth abortion? God I pray he will, but I have no lofty expectations. He is not proven. But based on the actions of my other choice above, I must  give him a chance.

Romney was originally pro-choice. However, in 2005 he switched to pro-life when he vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill without a prescription to minors! (This is bad on so many levels -- giving a drug without a prescription? Are you kidding me?! And giving it to people without parental support?! When is this ever okay? What are we afraid of in this country. Are we afraid of mothers, like Joan, helping their daughter, like Bri, make a choice that will allow a woman, like me, to have a son, like Isaac?

"I am pro-life," Romney wrote. "I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."

Romney added, "You can't be a pro-life governor in a pro-choice state without understanding that there are heartfelt and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the question. Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer. At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born."

I could not agree more. I cannot imagine what a mother of limited means must feel when she finds out she is pregnant. However, I wonder if we could consider helping her have this child (adoption agencies will) and helping her place this child in a family that would want a baby more than anything in the world -- instead of making it free for her to have an abortion. I wonder if we coudl give her an ultrasound so that she could see what a baby looks like when its heart is beating. I wonder if we could let her meet 29-year-old Wendi -- who would have done anything to raise the child she is thinking of killing as my own.  

Some things that Mr. Romney has stated:
  • that he believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade -- a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.
  • that he supports the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions.
  • that he will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. (Yes! Could we instead consider helping poor families adopt with tax incentives and credits?!)
  • that he will protect the right of health care workers to follow their conscience in their work.
  • that we will never hear a President Romney or his vice president tell the Chinese government that 'I fully understand' and won't 'second guess' compulsory sterilization and forced abortion.
Americans have a moral duty to uphold the sanctity of life and protect the weakest, most vulnerable and most innocent among us.

Please note that you are more than welcome to leave a comment. However, we must be very careful not to bash people in any form or fashion for their differing viewpoints. This is not what this is about. I agree that Mitt Romney is not the man who will save our world. Our country. Only Jesus can do that. I am simply saying that if you don't know who to vote for because neither person sounds great, I wanted to share with you why I was going to vote, absentee ballot for Mitt Romney.

Thanks all!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Code Brown!" professionals

When it comes to gross mom moments, it's hard to rank them in order.

There was the time that my dear little Isaac threw up all over at me when I was home for a long night by myself with his new little brother and our crazy puppy while husband was doing one of his 100-hour-residency-work-weeks. And there was also the time that Abigail had diarrhea while I was breastfeeding her. I had poop in places I'd prefer not to discuss.

Those were not good moments.

"Code Brown!"ranks up there. Not sure exactly where. The exact order is difficult to define sometimes. To read about a "Code Brown!" from the mouth of Isaac, our first willing participant, you can click here. Here is an excerpt:

Next topic. My favorite topic. The bathtub. Man, I looovvveee my baths. I could stay in there all night. Sometimes, however, when I get bored and am ready to get out, I have learned that if I do something in the bathtub, it makes everyone go crazy. Daddy yells, "Code Brown!" and pulls me out of the tub and sets me totally wet on the floor of the bathroom. Mommy comes running in to scoop up my toys and throw them in the sink to wash them. Then they bring bleach in and hose everything down while I crawl around completely naked in the bathroom. It's quite hilarious and a ton of fun. I've done it twice now. Two nights in a row. How cool am I?

"Code Brown!"took a long break in our house. But in July of 2010, they rememerged. Our little Sidge joined the "Code Brown!" club as you can read out on this post.

So all that to say, it's now been a long time since the words, "Code Brown!" have echoed through the walls of our home.

Last night, that all changed.

Our little Abigail. Our sweet little diva. Our little lady joined the "Code Brown!" club. And not only did she join the club, she joined the club during a triple bath.

Yes, you read that right. A huge, terrible, blow-out "Code Brown!" while her brothers were with her in the tub.

Not good.

Not good at all.

Good thing we are well practiced. We've gone through drills. We've experienced the real thing. We are "Code Brown!" professionals.

We have a bath system in our house. When we deem the kiddos need baths (we do not give them every day simply because we don't have the energy), I head upstairs with Abigail. She starts the bath. Isaac will often join her, and as Sidge gets in, Abigail is usually done. I hand off Abigail to JB and then wash the boys.

There is therefore a small period, a short window, when all three kiddos are in the tub together. And it was during that short window that Abigail decided to "do her thang."

I opened the bathroom door and screamed at the top of my lungs: "JB! We have a 'Code Brown!'"

He came running. As our "Code Brown!" drills (and actual events) have prepared him to do. The person on the receiving end of the call is then the one who is supposed to help the bather, who is almost always, frozen with frustration and fear, as they (in the case me) try to figure out how to handle this. In this case, JB talked me out of my frozen fear and the following steps were followed in rapid succession:

Step 1: Immediately begin to drain the tub
Step 2: Stand up the responsible party (Abigail) and begin to spray her down with hot water. Rewash responsible party.
Step 3: "Code Brown!" first line responder (JB) takes guilty party out of tub.
Step 4: Stand guilty bystanders (Isaac & Sidge) up. Instruct them to leave every toy, every soap sud, every drip of water in the tub. March them into parents' bathroom across the hall for a rewash in the shower.
Step 5: Send guilty bystanders to first line responder (JB) for bedtime ritual.
Step 6: Gather up all toys and bath rags and any possible item effected by "Code Brown!" and bring them downstairs for a bleach bath in outside sink.
Step 7: Bleach bathtub accordingly.
Step 8: If in doubt about cleanliness of any item, bleach again. And again. And again.

But gosh-darn-it wouldn't you know it that the universe knows when you have poop on your hands! (Not that I believe in a "universe" per se but it works here so go with me.) The universe knows that I have poop on my hands and that my husband is busy getting three different children dressed and ready for bed. Because just at the moment that the "Code Brown!"was at its peak, the doorbell rings.

Scrubs goes into "Guard Dog" mode instantly. Since our front door is inside of our gate, the poor window-shade-fixer-guy is standing there getting barked up and down as he waits for us to let him in. (This used to bother me a lot, but I have really realized what a good dog Scrubs is and that he is simply doing what he was born to do, and I therefore praise him and call him into another part of the house.) I put Scrubs in another part of the house. Let window-shade-fixer-guy into house. And here come Nick and Kristy, passing us on a walk. And then our friend Carla coming by to bring her fabulous baked goods.

Timing. Not good timing.

But then again, I've determined that nothing in the universe times well with a "Code Brown!"

The End. For now.

P.S. And yes, I realize Unfortunately is spelled wrong in the photo. But it's not my photo so, oh well.

Too Politically Correct?

Click on the button above to read an article about cancelling Father/Daughter dances in a town because some people might feel left out. I'd love to hear what you think of this, especially those of you who might have grown up without a mother or a father. The article is written by a man who grew up without either and who still feels that we are just carrying everything to an extreme in our country. What do YOU think?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Headed to Germany (and the reason why)

Connie's arrival could not have come at a more perfect time. I am going to be taking the rotator, with Abigail, to Ramstein Germany very soon. (As always, I don't give exact dates on my blog.) I will actually be going back to Landstuhl hospital, where I had Abigail over a year ago, to get a specialized ultrasound done that they do not do on the island.

The reason: IVF #5.

I wasn't sure I was going to write about this on my blog. But I guess I am. I just decided to about four seconds ago. It's on my mind. And when something is on my mind, I write about it. Avoiding writing about what is on my mind is almost painful to me. I think that's why my blog is so honest (and sometimes vulnerable.) I have to say what is there.

And right now, what is there is IVF.

IVF. Again. Our fifth try with IVF to be exact. We are going back for our embryos in December.

So to answer the questions I can picture floating around on the back of your tongue.

Why now? Well why not. When is it a good time? No time like the present. In short, I am 35. Not getting any younger. We don't like having them "in limbo." So we decided to go for it. In the end, we just feel the Lord saying, "GO!" and so we shall go.

Will it work this time? No idea. No one can know. No one can know whether my issue, previously, was something related to our embryos or whether it was something within my body that has now corrected itself. In speaking with Dr. Coddington, who was my doctor for most of my infertility journey and who is still at Mayo, my embryos look "excellent." This was confusing to me because I had been under the impression, previously, that they were not very good. But he said he is not sure where I got that information from. That he feels that they look great. He felt confident that our chances of this working were as good as anyone's and there was no telling whether our previous failures would be repeated.

Can you deliver on the island? No. Just like Turkey. I'd have to leave the island for delivery. Not something I enjoyed the first time. Not something I'd want to do the second time. But who even knows if I'll get to that point.

Are you actually ready to add another child to your brood? No. Not really if I am honest. I had three kids three and under. Now I have three kids four and under. I don't feel quite ready. But we have Connie here. I am 35 (which is considered 'advanced maternal age.') We are fully committed to those embryos. We feel we must not forget about them. We are following the Lord's leading.

How many embryos will you transfer? The answer is: 2. Protocol has changed since I went in for my first four IVF's, the last of which was in the summer of 2007. They will dethaw all 7 of our remaining embryos and attempt to get them to grow further outside of my womb but in the lab. Some may die. Some may live. But these embryos, because they are fully developed, have a better life expectancy inside the womb. So Dr. Coddington recommended transferring no more than 2. Not 3 like I did during our last try with IVF. So two I will do. Any embryos past the number 2, can be refrozen for another try at a later date.

How do you feel? Am I nervous? Yes. But this time, not so much about it not working but about the memories. Going back to that clinic. Going back in that ultrasound room. In the operating room. Blood work. Ultrasounds. I'm not really afraid this time of it working or not working. We have three children, and if this is all the family I have, it's a great amount of family for me. But I just don't want to think about that dark place I was in for five years. I don't want to remember all the tears.

In infertility circles, a negative is referred to as BFN "big fat negative." I started thinking about what our infertility entailed and the best I could come up with was:
  1. 8 months trying before seeing doctors due to no ovulation -- BFN x 8 (although these didn't result in a phone call to be told the cold, hard facts.)
  2. 3 failed attempts to ovulate on clomid -- BFN x 3
  3. 2 negative IUIs (artificial inseminations) -- BFN x 2
  4. 2 cancelled IUI's -- BFN x 2
  5. 1 year on metformin but no other treatments (ovulated twice) -- BFN x 2
  6. 1 cancelled IUI/permitted to try on our own -- BFN x 1
  7. 4 IVF transfers -- BFN x 4
So that equals 22 times total ... 14 times that we had to have someone call us and tell us (or we found out ourselves) that things did not work. I also thought I would try to estimate how many pills, shots, and doctors appointments this was but quite honestly, I do not even know how to begin to calculate those numbers. I'll just say that from the best I can estimate, I have probably had upwards of one hundred internal ultrasounds. But that is such a crazy guess. I have no earthly idea.

But it's time. We've been on the phone with Mayo quite a bit in the last two weeks getting all the details established. There's lots to figure out. For now I know that I have to get some fancy ultrasound done before I go, and they don't do it on the island. So to Germany I go. I will take Abigail and leave the boys here simply to split up some of the love (aka "responsibility") a bit. I know I will get to see and stay with Shane & Linda (and their doggie Bonnie) in Germany. What a gift that will be.

We are currently planning on doing the transfer this winter. The military gives any family who does "two continuous overseas assignments" (in our case Turkey and now the Azores) up to 30 days of paid time off. They pay to fly us back to our "home of record" and they allow JB to use his vacation days to go.

So we will fly to South Florida as a family, spend a week, and then JB and I will leave the kids with family in South Florida and go to Rochester, Minnesota for the trasnfer (and get to see old friends like Ron & Ebby, Dave & Lesley, and Jake & Rana), and then we will return to South Florida to spend Christmas before flying back to the island.

I will keep you posted ... of course. Mostly I ask you just to pray for my emotional well-being during this journey. Again, not for the result, but just for the memories of a darker time that I have no choice but to revisit.

Friday Funnies

I have been working with the boys on various aspects of life. The states in the USA. Their full names. The names of the Presidents. The first time I asked the boys, "Who is the President of the United States of America?" Sidge replied, "I am" without missing a beat.
I've have been requiring the boys, more and more, to carry their own stuff. Want to bring some books in the van with you? Okay, but you have to carry them. Want a snack or a drink? Okay. You carry it. Isaac had his heart set on two books and a drink cup for our recent car trip. He kept asking me to help him, and I kept explaining that he was welcome to take two trips, but that he had to figure out how to carry them himself. As I said this the third time, he dropped one of the books and said, "See Mom. That's the problem."
After living in "Europe", I can understand why all people move to South Florida and paint their houses colors that are just totally "Un-American." And actually, I now kind of like the purple and orange and pink and mint green houses. Why not? While driving down the road the other day Sidge said, "Mom. God made houses different colors!" I smiled thinking how much I enjoyed the variety of house colors. I also wondered how long it would be before he stopped attributing things to God and man instead.
Sidge and I had a "date" to the Base pool where they were letting the dogs have a "swim day" before shutting down the pool for the year. He got one of the "uncrustable" peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I got one. He finished his first and asked if he could have a bite of mine.
Me: "Okay. You can have one bite of mine."
Sidge: "Thanks Mom."
Me: "You're welcome."
Sidge: "Hey Mom?"
Me: "Yeah?"
Sidge: "Can I have another bite?"
Me: "Well, I just gave you one."
Sidge: "Yeah, but I'm one more hungry."
Me: "Okay. Here's one more bite."
Sidge: "Thanks. Now I am no more hungry."
I haven't listened to a real radio station since before we moved to Turkey. In Turkey, the stations were all Turkish. Here, they are all Portuguese. However, I can pick up 96.1 which is the Air Force Base station. It's nice to hear someone talking in English. However, the songs they play are very random. There will be a country, then a rap, then a hard rock song. This means that I often have to turn it off or on depending on what comes on -- especially when I have little kiddos in the car. Yesterday, while riding in the car with Sidge, I heard him say: "Mom, this song sounds like Jesus' voice." I stopped and listened a bit closer. It was some sort of rap song that I'd never heard. I have no idea where he got a connection to Jesus from, especially when I went home and listened to the whole song: Lil' Wayne's Bedrock. (I won't even put a link to the lyrics on my blog because they are so vile.) Needless to say, I quickly changed the station. Jesus and Lil' Wayne ... hmmmm ....
One of my new friends on Base, Melinda, came up to Sidge at the "Dog Dayz" at the pool and told him he was "one beautiful little boy." Sidge smiled but then said, "Ummm ... boys are handome ... not beautiful."
I "retired" Isaac's Mickey Mouse pajama shirt because it was just too small. But the pants, still fit a bit, and so I kept them in the pajamas drawer. While picking out his pj's the other night, Isaac asked me, "Where is my Mickey shirt?" I explaiend that it was now too small. "Oh," he said. "Where do shirts go when they get too small?" I decided against explaining to him my system of storing or giving away too small items and instead just said I put them away in a box on the third floor.
The boys continue to ask for my help when something is inside out. And when I fix it, they will say some variation of, "Good! Now it is outside out!"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post: IVF Boosters

I have been having more and more people contact me. They want to know if they can write a guest post for my blog. The answer is, yes you can. I welcome guest contributors. You can email me at with your story of choice and a photo of yourself. Any topic that does not contradict my personal convictions is welcome.
The following post is by Catie Keeler. I do not know Catie personally but she contacted me to see if I would welcome a post dealing with ways to improve IVF success rates. Sounded great to me! 
While I believe that no matter what you do, infertility treatments may not work for you ... or despite everything you don't do, they do work, I never think it hurts to be thinking of how to be as healthy as possible before you begin a treatment cycle. I personally used acupuncture with one of my cycles and found it very helpful -- even though the result was not in our favor. Lowering stress and eating well are never bad things, even if they don't produce the desired outcome.
I am including this article now because JB and I are actually preparing to return for our embryos in December. I am not emotionally ready to write more about this yet ... but stay tuned. I am definitely beginning to think about the things I actually can control and do to keep myself at my healthiest as we prepare to give these little babies a chance at life. Hard to believe it has been nearly five years since our fourth failed IVF attempt. Even harder to believe we are going to do it again.
Natural Ways to Enhance the Success of IVF
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is often the measure of last resort for women struggling to get pregnant naturally, many times offering the last chance to have a baby of their own. It is also an involved process that is very expensive and doesn't offer any guarantee of success.
The process is already emotionally fraught, and the chance of failure can make it even harder. Fortunately, there are some natural ways to help improve the chances of success. Though there are never any guarantees, these natural methods may be able to help improve your odds with IVF:
Reduce Dietary Toxins: Common dietary toxins like alcohol, caffeine, food preservatives and additives, and xenoestrogens (estrogens found in plants and chemicals) can disrupt hormonal balance and make it more difficult for you to conceive. Reducing or eliminating these toxins from your diet may improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
Reduce Stress: Stress from your job, your relationship, your financial status, and even your attempts to become pregnant can also disrupt your hormonal balance and make it more difficult for you to become pregnant. Undergoing IVF often adds to your stress levels, making it more difficult to find ways to relax. However, activities such as meditation, acupuncture, or even just spending time with family and friends can help you counteract that stress and heal your body.
Exercise More: Exercise not only helps to reduce stress, but it also helps to increase "feel  good" hormones that improve mood and wellness. Exercise also helps to strengthen your body and improve circulation, helping to enhance the overall functioning of all the systems in your body. All of these benefits enhance your fertility, making your chances of conception through IVF better.
Sleep More: You need at least 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night in order for your body to rest and restore itself. Lack of sleep contributes to increased stress levels and an overall reduction in your body's efficiency. Many of your internal systems begin to break down, including digestion, metabolism, and fertility. Making sure you are getting at least the minimum amount of sleep each night -- and more if you need it -- can improve your chances of conception.
Increase Healthy Eating: Not only should you be eliminating harmful substances from your diet, but you should also be increasing the healthy foods and nutrients included in your diet. Ensuring that you get the right vitamins and nutrients in your diet -- such as B vitamins, magnesium, and others -- can help you to improve your fertility. Though there are many supplements you can take to ensure you are consuming enough of the vitamins most closely tied to fertility, simply eating a healthy diet that is loaded with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains will be enough to improve your health and your fertility.

When you are grappling with infertility, it may seem like nothing you do can make a difference. You may have struggled for years, and IVF is your last chance at having a baby yourself. However, following these tips may be able to improve your fertility and increase your chances of success.
Catie Keeler is the primary researcher and writer for Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel with a degree in business and communications. Her currect for for the site involves: jumbo mortgage rates and mortgage rates florida.

Up to 700,000 Syrian refugees by

My heart, will obviously be pricked by news of Turkey. In addition, Syria has been on my radar for many years since our very good friend Bara, whom we met in Minnesota, was from there. Where we lived in Turkey, we were just over an hour from the Syrian border. Therefore, as things get worse in Syria, there is no doubt Turkey, and most likely, Incirlik, will be involved. Continue to pray for the Lord's hand on this incredibly troubled part of the world. (P.S. I received this article from a military organization.)
The UN refugee agency warned Thursday there could be as many as 700,000 Syrian refugees in countries neighboring the war-torn nation by the end of the year, up from 300,000 now.
The UNHCR warning came a day after more than 305 people were killed across Syria, making it the bloodiest day of the 18-month revolt. There was no letup in the violence on Thursday, with troops loyal to President Bashar Assad pummeling districts in east Aleppo following an overnight rebel attack on an army checkpoint outside the northern metropolis.
Some 1.2 million people have been displaced inside Syria and another 300,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries, such as Turkey and Lebanon, exerting tremendous pressure on them.
A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said non-combatants, as usual, bore the brunt of Wednesday's violence, accounting for 199 of the dead. A total of 14 people were killed when twin bombs rocked the headquarters of the armed forces general staff in the heart of Damascus.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in violence since the outbreak of the revolt against the rule of Assad in March last year, according to the Observatory’s figures.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier urged action from the “paralyzed” UN Security Counci, saying: “The atrocities mount while the Security Council remains paralyzed and I would urge that we try once again to find a path forward.” Her appeal came amid mounting attempts by Western governments to press Russia and China to ease their opposition to UN action against the Assad regime.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


We can think other cultures are "strange" for the way they do things. But have you ever stopped to think what other cultures might think of Americans.? We certainly have some strange traditions too.
Friday was a half day of work for JB. Families joined in on the festivities. Money was paid to allow a few the opportunity to be smashed in the face with a pie. Someone put enough money on JB to gurantee him a spot! Go them!
The catch? These weren't just ordinary pies. They were disgusting concotions of baked beans, tuna fish, toothpaste ... the list goes on. It stunk to high heaven. But since the money was being raised for chairty ... well, anything for a good cause.
Part II involved more money. People could pay to be the pie thrower. I gave the boys five bucks, and no one wanted to bid against a couple of little kids. So they got to be the throwers (with the help from "Chief"). Chief is the lady in pink who is one of the highest ranked enlisted individuals on the Base. While JB outranks "Chief", special consideration is given to these amazing enlisted individuals.
So here are some photos (and a video) of the boys getting to smash a pie in their daddy's face.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Chef

A $5 find on the Lajes Yardsale page means that Sidge is now an official, one hundred percent "Sou Chef." This little guy absolutely LOVES to be in the kitchen with his Daddy. Daddy has him chopping. Daddy has him stirring. Sidge can tell you the names of foods that still trip me up. And Isaac? He's usually close by. He is the "Supply Chief" getting the things they need from the various refrigerators and freezers and cabinets.

Tonight at Awanas, the boys are going to dress up in what they want to be when they grow up. Sidge is going as pictured above. As of right now, three hours before launch, Isaac is going as a painter! We'll see if he changes his mind.

Nadakhani Update

So excited to hear of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadakhani's release. I was especially excited to read a letter thanking all the Christians that have prayed for him. You can read it for yourself by clicking here.

Military Packages

I cannot tell you what a blessing it is for military families to receive mail. We are very isolated and often feel very alone. Mail is our lifeline! I encourage everyone to support at least one military family overseas. It doesn't have to be us. There are many families much more in need of morale than my own. If you want a familiy to support, let me know. I'd love to help put you in touch with one. There are also many organizations online who do just this thing. (A quick google search will give you tons.)

I just received a package from a Sandy S___ in the mail. I remember having some correspondence with her regarding the package. I must have because I gave my address. But now, I just can't remember how we connected, etc. Sandy, could you shoot me an email at: I want to thank you for the package. I'm so sorry the details have slipped my mind. But I was so appreciative of what you sent. God Bless!

Monday, September 24, 2012

New friends

Sidge & Isaac with neighbors: Jackson and Max

I still tear up when I think about Turkey sometimes.

I will often wake up and dream that Hatice (Ha-tee-jah) is hugging and singing to Abigail: "Abigail, Abigail, I love you. Abigail, Abigail, eyes they blue." That she's walking in the front door and saying, "Scooby Doo! Where are you?"

When I hear the boys saying, "Let's go to the Optimum/M1 (what they believe every mall is actually called since these are the only two malls they've ever been in)," I get nostalgic for outtings to the big Mosque park and the indor play areas where we would eat "American" fast food and let the kids get kissed by every Turk that saw them.

I long for afternoons with Stebs wandering into my driveway, water bottle in hand saying, "What's up?" (And then, she'd subsequently leave that water bottle behind on accident, and I'd have to return it to her the next day.) William running up to his friends, and refusing, at all costs, to accept that Elijah's name was Sidge.

I miss seeing Angelica pushing her kids in the stroller and hearing her beautiful Spanish accent that came to mean home to me. Her ability to "whip up" a dinner amazed me. I don't think I've ever wanted someone to invite me over to dinner as I did the Yerringtons.

Sarahbee and her gigantic smile greeting me at the jumpy castles. Peter emerging from his shy little boydom to become one of the pack.

Mr. Shane and Ms. Linda bringing Bonnie by to play and trying to quickly childproof their house every time we stopped by.

Patty and "Mr. Meal" dropping by, whenever, just to hang out, lounge around, and lament the frustrations of this definitely-not-Europe country.

Nearly eighty-year-old Ms. Barbara coming home from her second grade classroom with the craziest sweaters I ever saw.

Jake brewing beer in our kitchen. Rana making me lamachun.

So many memories. Lots of sad things. Lots of losses. But mostly just happy smiles.

Now, we are making new memories. New friends. Like Carla and her two sweet boys: Jackson (4) and Max (3) (pictured above).

A return to Nick and Kristy and their little guys Noah (4)  (who has the vocabulary of a 35-year-old) and sweet Jonah (almost 2), who reminds me so much of Isaac when he was Jonah's age -- quiet and laid back.

Red-headed Jenn and her little one-year-old Rowynn.

It's nice. It's feeling more and more comfortable.

But still, if I'm honest, Turkey is home. And I miss it.

Connie and Nadine

The best news shall be the first news. Finally, this morning, at 4:30am, my Aunt Connie arrived on the island of Terceira. She's jet lagged, of course, but happy to be done travelling. And the kids and Scrubby have already made her feel right at home. The boys were so excited when they got out of bed and saw that she was finally here. Scrubs took to her immediately, getting on his back and opting for some belly rubs. And Abigail, after a few hours of play this morning, actually let Connie hold her! No small feat from our particular little lady.
Connie's plan is not set in stone. We do know that she will be here for the foreseeable future. Most likely until next Summer. It may be longer. Could possibly be shorter. But it's enough to mean she's moving in! She was ready for a change in her life. Ready to see the world and do something new. Her boys are now both independent and on their own. And she's not the type of mom to hover and keep them in the nest. So now, she is spreading her wings and taking flight! I'm so proud of her for taking a chance on us and the life we live here. And I am also so thankful to the Lord for orchestrating this relationship.
I haven't seen my aunt in many years. Honestly, maybe 15 years or more! Imagine that! But I was very close to her when I was younger, and while we have a lot to catching up to do, it's obvious that our hearts still know each other very well.
The Lord has given her a be-uuuuu-tiful first day on the island. The prettiest day we have had in weeks. That pesky Tropical Storm Nadine hovered around here for a long time, and then, and here's where the other part of my news stems from, she's heading back this way! I kid you not. After taking a breather for a day and a half as a post-tropical cyclone, Nadine became a tropical storm again over the far eastern Atlantic on Sunday. And it's looking like she is planning on returning to a hurricane again and possibly causing us some real issues over here on the islands.
I love a good thunderstorm. And since Nadine was only a tropical storm when it came by us, and it wasn't even coming directly at us, we thought it would be just a good ol' fashioned rain storm! Who doesn't like one of those? Well, I'll tell you what. When you are living on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, a good ol' thunderstorm is an entirely different being. It was scary and I didn't like it. Our garden took a beating too. So I'm not interested in Nadine coming anywhere near this island again thank you very much!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Turkey revisited

I wrote a post about praying for Turkey and Incirlik Air Base a few days ago. You can read it by clicking here.

Following that post, I received a comment that really "moved" me. And I wanted to share it on my Blog:

I just wanted to let you know that when I saw all of the violence occurring in the middle east, including the protests and anger happening in Turkey the past few days I thought of you and your family. I consider myself an extremely open minded and tolerant person; I truly have faith in humanity and the desire of all people to do the right thing. However, my heart is so heavy right now over what is happening half a world away. How can the words (the youtube video that supposedly started this round of violence) of one crazy, angry small group cause such violence? I truly do not understand how anyone can justify taking the lives of innocent people over words. It makes me ill to see our embassies burning and our flag defiled, yet as an American who believes in the rights of all people I would never hurt someone physically over these images. I know almost all Muslims are a peaceful people, but why then if there are more who believe in peace than in the violence we are seeing aren't they standing with us as brothers to protect the lives of all people?
(I'm sorry for the rant, I just really needed to get this off my chest and thought that as someone who had experienced firsthand what life in the mid-east is like you might understand. I am definitely keeping Turkey in my prayers.)

What this reader is referring to is the fact that a video was produced mocking the Prophet Mohammed. (A very off-label, minor production). As a result, people all over the Middle East began protesting -- burning American flags and hurting the Embassies. You can read a sample article by clicking here.

The fact is, however, the protests are small pockets of individuals. In a country that has over 70 million people, the fact that a few hundred (or even thousand?) people are reacting negatively, illustrates how there are people who do believe in peace and support America. The majority of Turks that I meant had a very positive view of America. They liked us. And in fact, they wished that they could be us. They have difficulty securing VISAS and passports because it is feared that if they were allowed to go to America, they wouldn't come back. And I had one Turk tell me, "The passport people are very smart. Because if they did give me the paperwork, I wouldn't come back!"

The majority of Muslims, however, are NOT terrorists. They hate terror. They do not want terror. They actually are standing up against it by not participating in it. That being said, my husband was constantly reminding me how important it was to not stick my head in the stand. To not be Pollyanna. There are terror cells very near the Base I called home. There is a reason to fear things and to not put strange Turkish men in your car even when they insist on driving you to your intended location because you are lost. (Yes, I did this. Bad idea.)

We must continue to remember that what we see going on, truly, is spiritual in nature. These are fights that do not follow reason because we know, if we read the Bible, that Israel will always be a place of fighting. And that Christians will be persecuted. Period. That is how it is going to go. But we must not stereotype an entire people! Would you like people to group you with those crazy people who protest at military funerals because they believe God is punishing Americans for allowing homosexuality by letting soldiers die? Good God I hope not!

Do not allow yourself to hate any group of people. Don't allow yourself to hate any person. Pray for people. Pray for groups. Pray for cultures. But also remember that the majority of Turks are Muslim simply by birth. They are not praying five times a day. They don't even know what a Muslim believes. And even those who do, don't deserve to be judged by what a few extremists are doing. We MUST remember this and encourage other people to do the same.

Thanks for this great comment! It really got me thinking! Keep praying folks!

P.S. Would you specifically add for CLUB BEYOND -- the youth group for teenagers in Turkey. My friend Amy Donathan is currently heading this organization up. Dave and Beth Kanelos used to run this organization (you can read the details here)-- until a contract dispute forced them to leave the country that they had felt called to. It was an incredibly painful and frustrating experience, but the Lord brought individuals stationed on the Base to continue running this amazing program -- truly the only real "community" teenagers in Incirlik actually have. They have had a wonderful turn out but would love extra prayers around this organization, especially with all the spiritual issues surrounding the Middle East.

On Infertile Ground

"Odds are you know someone suffering from infertility, and odds are, they haven't told you. Help break the silence."

I sat and watched this video on infertility and cried. C.S. John, the Producer of an independent documentary about infertility, contacted me and asked if I'd watch the video. If I liked it, would I blog about it.

I did more than that. I made a contribution and gave him my total support. You can watch the trailer for the intended movie by clicking here. I encourage you to watch the video yourself. It was incredibly moving, and I found myself instantly returned to the dark place I spent five years wading through.

I find myself unworthy of the three beautiful miracles that are now apart of my life. Despite the fact that I am no longer treading the murkiness of infertility, those of you who read my blog know that I plan to make infertility and adoption a part of my life for every breath I have remaining.

I encourage you to join or like their facebook page by clicking here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Opting Out of the "Rug Rat Race"

I am a former Division I college athlete. And so, when I tell people, "I'm not sure if my kids will play sports or not ... we'll see," I often watch as their nose crinkles. Their jaw drops, just slightly. I'm a 6'3" All-State Volleyball and Basketball player. While I don't often talk about my past accomplishments in sports, it was my entire life for over a decade. Not push them into athletics? It's as if their eyes are saying, "Girl are you crazy!?"

Maybe I am. But I just think kids playing soccer at three and the parents standing on the sidelines as if this is the end-all, be-all, is just too much for me. If my children want to play a sport, that's fine. But if they don't, that's fine too. They aren't going to sit around and play video games. But if they enjoy working on the farm with their father, or volunteering down the street, that's fine too.

I recently read a fantastic article by Paul Tough entitled: "Opting Out of the 'Rug Rat Race'". You can read the article in its entirety here. It really echoed the way JB and I feel.

I would love to open up a dialogue about Tough's article. But I must emphasize that I am not judging parents who do it different than me. I am simply interested in how you decide the right way for your family.

When I started kindergarten back in 1983, very few of my fellow classmates had been in preschool. In fact, I had attended a small Christian school preschool during my family's attempt to return to their extended family in Chicago, and I think I was one of the only kids who had been in a preschool proram. Kids didn't read by the time they entered kindergarten. They learned to read in kindergarten.

But today, if your child doesn't know their letters by the time they start school, they are considered behind. I, personally, have a problem with this. And this isn't too say I am not working on letters with my kids. (I am!) But I am working on them for the joy of learning. Not for the pressure to keep up with anyone else.

Paul Tough's entire piece can summarized with the following statement:

"What matters most in a child's development, they say, is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years of life. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us often think of them as character."

People have asked me why our kids aren't in preschool. Don't get me wrong. John and I see nothing wrong with preschool. My statements are in no way meant to judge people for choosing to put their children in preschool. However, when we thought about it, we realized that what we wanted to instill in our children was not something they needed preschool for. We felt that we were able to provide them more at home, with us. Tidepools. Trips to the garden. Discussions in our living room. That seemed the place we wanted to educate.

Only children may need the socialization. Working parents may face no other option. No argument from me on that. But this doesn't change the fact that kids are being pressure to do more and be more from an even younger age.

I was a Division I athlete and yet, I didn't participate in any sports until I was nearly 10 years old. And that was a fun, community softball team. Why are three-year-olds playing soccer? Do kids really need gymnastics before they can walk? Learning athletic skills are important. But when is the right time? And when is it too much?

So what can parents do to help their children develop skills like motivation and perseverance? As Tough writes: "The reality is that when it comes to noncognitive skills, the traditional calculus of the cognitive hypothesis—start earlier and work harder—falls apart. Children can't get better at overcoming disappointment just by working at it for more hours. And they don't lag behind in curiosity simply because they didn't start doing curiosity work sheets at an early enough age."

Tough suggests, instead of trying to do everything, maybe instead, do nothing. Back off a bit. "American children, especially those who grow up in relative comfort, are, more than ever, shielded from failure as they grow up. They certainly work hard; they often experience a great deal of pressure and stress; but in reality, their path through the education system is easier and smoother than it was for any previous generation. Many of them are able to graduate from college without facing any significant challenges. But if this new research is right, their schools, their families, and their culture may all be doing them a disservice by not giving them more opportunities to struggle. Overcoming adversity is what produces character. And character, even more than IQ, is what leads to real and lasting success."

Friday Funnies

I love how Sidge says things backward like "I'm going to uncatch Daddy" or "my underwear are outside in."
While reading a book that gave the names for what you call baby animals, we found a few animals that didn't have a "baby name." So Sidge started making them up. "Maybe a baby snake is called a snake-ee," he suggested. Or a crocadile-ee for a crocodile. But the funniest was when he suggested the name of a baby toad. "I think it would be toad-ee," he said. "Like my little toes-ies."
The boys were trying to help their Dad catch a cricket that was in the hallway. Later, they came and told me all about it. When I asked them, sarcastically, what that cricket was doing in my hallway, Sidge replied, "Just crickin'around."
We were roasting marshmallows outside.
Isaac: "Daddy, how many marshmallows can we have?"
JB: "I'm not sure Isaac."
Isaac: "Well, if you aren't sure, then we should have a lot."
We were learning the memory verse: While we were sinners, Jesus Christ died for us."
Isaac: "Did we die?"
Me: "No, Jesus did."
Isaac: "Why did Jesus die?"
Me: "So we could ask Him in our hearts and spend forever with Him."
Isaac: "Is Jesus in everyone's heart?"
Me: "Anyone who asks Him."
Isaac: "But we can't see Jesus."
Me: "Right."
Isaac: "Only in pictures in the Bible can we see Him. Right?"
JB: "The Bible says that Jesus can give rest to those who are tired .... you know, so they won't want to sleep all day."
Sidge: "If you are tired, you would sleep all night."
The kids have recently started AWANAS. They are doing a mission with AWANAS which is to bring in loose change so that they can buy mosquito nets for kids in Africa. On the way to AWANAS, we had a conversation about this.
Sidge: "Mosquitoes scare me. I hide under my blanket."
Me: "You don't have to hide under your blanket. The mosquitoes in America and the Azores are nice mosquitoes. They will not make you sick."
Isaac: "But the mosquitoes in Africa are bad?"
Me: "Yes."
Isaac: "Did Joni sleep under a net when she went to Africa?"
Me: "Yes. That's really cool you remembered that Joni went to Africa. And when your Daddy and I went to Africa, we slept under mosquito nets too."
Sidge: "Did I sleep under a mosquito net when I went to Africa?"
Me: "You didn't go to Africa. You weren't born yet when your Daddy and I went to Africa."
Sidge: "Oh."
Me: "You haven't been to Africa. But you've been to Turkey and America and France, and Portugal, and Luxembourg, and ..."
Sidge: "And where else Mommy?"
Me: (Stopped to try to remember the other countries he'd been to.) "Ummm ... and ..."
Sidge: "And the ice cream shop in the Azores that has a big cow in it?"
Me: "Yes. That too."
Sidge: "Mom, Grampa snores all night."
Me: "How do you know that?"
Sidge: "Grama told me that."
Me: "Oh, she did?"
Sidge: "Yes. And when Grampa snores all night, he wakes my Grama up."
At this, I started laughing.
Sidge: "Is that funny, Mommy?"
Me: "Yes, that made me smile."
Sidge: "My Grampa's a funny guy. And so is my Grama."
Sidge: "Can I come out of bed?"
JB: "Why?"
Sidge: "Because my head is wet."
JB: "No, get back in bed."
Sidge: "But my bed will get hot."
JB: "You mean wet?"
Sidge: "Yes."
A conversation Isaac had with Grama (recorded verbatim by Grama)
"Sidge is my brother. I like the way he be's nice. He makes me laugh because he's silly. I love Sidge this much. Abigail is a crazy climber. She likes bananas. She has blonde hair. I love it when she takes a bath because she's very funny. My daddy is very funny. My Mommy is very funny too.
While reading a book about Christmas, the children in the book decided to give away a bunch of cookies to neighbors. "We could do that," I said. "At Christmas, we could make cookies and give them away to the people that live by us." Sidge's eyes got wide, and he said, "We could. But we could eat them too."
While in the bathtub, the boys were not cooperating in cleaning up their bath letters. "Sidge," I said. "Either you clean up the toys or you get a swat on your bottom." He looked at me, thought for a moment, and said, "Okay. Go ahead and swat my bottom."
As Isaac was finishing his chore of feeding Scrubby, I told him, "Good job Isaac. I'm really proud of you for doing that without me having to keep remind you." Isaac replied, "Yeah. Sometimes whe you tell me something, I put my hand on my eyes and say, 'Aaarrrr' but this time I didn't."
While the boys were sitting on the couch getting a minor rebuke from JB for misbehaving:
JB: "Isaac. Elijah. You must listen when we tell you to stop."
Elijah: "Daddy, my name is Sidge."
JB: "No. Your name is Elijah. And when I am disciplining you, it can definitely be Elijah. Your nickname is Sidge."
JB walked away and I heard the following conversation take place:
Isaac: "I call you Sidge. But that's your nickname."
Sidge: "No. My nickname is Elijah. My real name is Sidge."

Abigail: Follow-Up

Thank you to all of my wonderful real friends and cyber friends who have provided advice for how to handle my fiercly determined little lady. You will see from the picture at left, in which she has picked out one of my shirts and some pink converse tennis shoes I got a yard sale, that she has her own way. Her own wants. Her own desires. We absolutely love this about her. She is spunky and determined and funny and opinionated. Did I really expect to have a daughter that wasn't like me? You don't become a Division I athlete without a work ethic. Without a fight in you. Without knowing what you want. My father, who was my coach, told me that he never had another player who worked as hard as I did. I wasn't the best, but I gave it my all. I hope Abigail is the same. It appears she will be. (And the big cut on her nose is from the two cement stairs she tumbled down two days ago.)

I wanted to follow up by saying that the next morning, the morning after I wrote this post requesting advice from all you smart people out there, Abigail had a fever. She also had diarrhea something awful. And still does. Last night, it was 3am before she finally nodded off. Which meant it was 3am before I did too. She kept waking up, either burning up or pooping out her diaper. For a little lady who sleeps 7pm to 7am every single night, without fail, this was surprising. She was also not taking her naps regularly. Usually, I can count on two naps a day for a total of about 5 hours of rest time. Not so the last few days.

So while the problem still exists, the sickness was obviously a huge factor in why the problem seemed worse.

In response to all the great advice, here is what JB and I have decided to do:
  • Continue to require Abigail, who currently has no words (other than Mama and a very warped version of Ball) to use her signs. She has the signs for please, more, all done, night-night down pat. Because she is talking slower than my boys, I need to be pushing these more to help her communicate.
  • Remind myself that the boys will not remember me not being able to give quality one-on-one time during this short period. Being there and providing activities, will be enough.
  • Attempt to try different activities for Abigail -- especially putting her in her high chair with something fun to do or eat when I need her to be occupied.
  • Remind myself that I know best. I am separating to keep her safe or give the boys freedom. That is okay.
  • Wait anxiously for Connie to arrive this weekend. She will be here for at least six months. This will give me ample opportunity to spread myself more between the kids.
  • Not give in to Abigail's screaming. Simply ignore, walk away, attempt distraction or redirection. Attempt to keep my blood pressure down. Hold her. Hug her. But don't give in to what she wants.
  • Bring a pack-n-play downstairs to use, not for discipline but for moments when I need to get something done and she is refusing to allow me to do it. To keep her safe.
  • Reading Parenting with Love and Logic. I have had this book recommended to me so many times, that I finally decided I needed to read it.
  • Going to borrow The Happiest Baby on the Block from a friend or the library -- whichever has it available firstI have read some excerpts and it appears this is actually what JB and I have done with our kiddos already. I think our "modified Babywise was actually The Happiest Baby on the Block and we didn't know it. I think we are really passed this stage, but I still want to glean some knowledge.
  • On the wait list at the library for: The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Nadine

It is so strange to live somewhere that: (a) really doesn't have any weather reporting to speak of; and (b) has such unpredicatable weather due to the fact that it's a tiny island in the middle of a really big ocean.

An example. My app is saying that right now, the weather is just a little rainy. Ummm .... no, I don't think so!

(As I write that, I find myself getting just a wee bit frightened. We really do live on a tiny little island in the middle of a very big ocean!)

(Another side note, I am amazed at how many people on this tiny island cannot swim. Are you crazy? You live on an island surrounded by water. Learn to swim people!)

(My housekeeper gets so scared whenever we go out in our pool. She always laughs and says, "I only swim in my bathtub." Although, in her broken English it comes out as, "Me, just bathtub I swim only in that. No ocean you understand me?")

So anyways, back to the story at hand. Nadine. Hurricane Nadine. Or Tropical Sotrm. I am actually not sure. We honestly didn't know until the winds started that she was actually going to bother us this evening. None of our outside stuff is put away. (And we sure can't go out there right now!) No preparation to speak of. (Not that we aren't prepared with food and water and stuff -- my husband is a survivalist people! We have every type of flashlight and food source and water there is. And we probably even have the ability to eat wood or something else crazy like that if we needed to.)

Anyways, so right after dinner, the winds started. 65mph gusts. Woah! It's pretty instense here right now. Check out this video I took in our upstairs living room just a few minutes ago.

And here is the latest weather update we received from the people on Base. They send us and post and email us all kinds of stuff. What we know is that JB doesn't have to be in until 10am, as the storm should be done right after sunrise.

Tropical Storm (soon to be post-tropical) Nadine has finally shown her strength. The winds have picked up as predicted and should remain Northeasterly at 40mph, gusting to near 65 mph through the night into early morning tomorrow. The gusts come in big wallops due to the showery nature of the rain. These big “jumps” in wind speed can knock things loose that would otherwise stay put with a slower increase in winds. Keep that in mind if you need to be out - what out for flying debris.
Our biggest concerns are with the rain bands. We expect these moderate to heavy rains to remain in the area for most of the night. This will lead to some significant accumulation; upwards of 2” of rain is possible, especially on the Northeastern portion of Terceira. This will cause problems in low lying areas and steep hillsides/banks. If you have the option, don’t drive around tonight. If you must be out, Be VERY careful this evening for water related hazards.

Expect winds and rain to decrease just after sunrise and slowly return to what we experienced earlier Thursday by Friday afternoon.