Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Please be patient as I make a few changes. Hopefully I can get everything back in tip top condition soon.
Coconut Citrus Parfait
Hearth & Home
Spruce & Citrus
Sweet Tea Magnolia
My personal favorites are:
Hearth & Home
Spruce & Citrus
Sadly, I am disappointed with Twilight. It smells nothing like I imagined. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't care for it. They also have some new warmers that are way cute!
If you want to place an order or request a catalog, please email me at sourbonk [at] yahoo [dot] com. I would also love to help you host your own Scentsy party where you can earn free and discounted items.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
There is 12 fox's and 11 coyotes. And the funny thing (at least I think so). The gun he is holding...he didn't use it. He just wanted to hold his pretty gun for the picture.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Diet Dr. Pepper, why do I love you so? Why can I not go a day without you? I wish I could give you up; my acid reflux stomach tells me I should. But I can't. I need you too much!
On a side note, Josh doesn't like Diet Dr. Pepper, but if it sits in the fridge for more than 5 hours he takes that to mean I don't want it. So he drinks it. He did this earlier this week and when I confronted him about it, he admitted that he doesn't like it and he was planning to buy one to replace it with so I wouldn't notice. If he uses this logic, why doesn't he just buy a drink he would like and drink that instead of a drink he doesn't like at all.
We took these pictures a year ago. We had so much snow last year. I loved it, but I think winter is a beautiful time of year and I would rather deal with the colder snowy weather than the blazing hot summers. Except I like to go outside in the summer. I wish the snow wasn't so cold.
To give you a better idea... Last year, we still had snow behind our house the first part of June. This year, we never had snow last on our lawn for more than two weeks. It always melted before the next snow storm. Last year, we couldn't use our front door because the snow falling off the roof to the front porch was feet deep. This year, well we never even had to bother to shovel the walk. Last year, we drove through a snow drift that was taller than our truck. This year, I think they snow plow only had to come up our lane three times.
She has figured out the "nummy" treats. As in, don't do what humans say, just wait until they are distracted and take it from them. We are trying to learn sit and stay. We will keep trying.
*We do realize that it takes time, patience, and repetition to train a dog. But since we have nothing else to blog about you will have to read about us and our puppy.
Monday, March 23, 2009
1 - The tax credit is $12K for families who have adopted. I've had this explained to me several times, but some how Kelly explained it so we could understand it. I never understood if you got the money back or not.
Let me see if I can explain it... For up to 5 years who can collect back on your adoption amount, but you can only collect as much as you pay in taxes that year. For example: Our adoption cost $10,000 total. The first year we paid $4,000 in taxes. We get that $4,000 back that year and our new balance is $6,000. The next year we pay $4,000 in taxes so we get another $4,000 back and that leaves us with a new balance on our adoption fund of $2,000. The 3rd year, we pay another $4,000 in taxes, but we only $2,000 back because that is the balance of the adoption. I hope that makes since to every one! I have had this explained to me a dozen times and I never understood it until now!
2- Pretend like the child is already here. We need to buy diapers, formula and day care (just to name a few things). So we figure up how much that would cost and then put it into our adoption fund. This helps in two ways. First, we are saving even more money towards our child and secondly, we are learning to live on a small income by pretending to spend the money now that we will have to spend when the baby arrives. We are struggling to do this, but we feel that paying for Josh's education is as just a worthy cause.
3- Adoption through the Foster Care System is under $1K. I have already mentioned why we don't think Foster Care is right for us right now. It is something I want to do someday, but now is not the right time for us. And I feel really bad feeling that way, because there is thousands of children in the foster care system right now that need permanent homes. But I stand by our decision for two big reasons. One, I really want to start my parenthood in the baby stage. I want a baby as young as I can get. Two, I couldn't deal with the heartache of them going back to their families. The main purpose of Foster Care is to help the family get back together. These families are giving a hundred different chances to get their lives back in order so they can get their children back. I am not ready to love a child only to have to let them go.
4- Special Needs is totally different that what I pictured. The lady who taught this class has adopted several special needs children. For most of those children they just needed a simple 15 minutes surgery and then they were fine. A few website to check out are www.spence-chapin.org, www.chask.org and www.cradle.org. A lot of these children can be adopted for under $6K
5-There are several agencies that have reduced fees or grants attached to their waiting children. These children can be adopted for $6K -15K. Their websites are: www.wacap.org, www.holtintl.org, www.adoptionadvocates.org.
6- A few other websites that have children with grants already attached to each child: www.brittanyshope.org, www.untilallhavehomes.org, www.reecesrainbow.org, www.chancesbychoice.org, www.hivtohome.org.
*I hope all these websites work. I didn't check the links as I typed them in.
Kelly talked about several other things. If you want to learn more she teaches the class, I believe, about once a month. If you would like to get in contact with her just leave me a comment and I will email you her email address. She only charges $10 for the class and all the money is donated to an adoption cause. She also teaches other classes like just an Adopting from Africa or other countries. She lives in Layton and the class we went to was on a Sunday evening. We didn't get home until super late that night, but it was well worth it and we hope to attend other classes in the future. Be prepared - she has homework! With the class we attended she has a mandatory reading of two books: There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene and One Tattered Angel by Blaine M. Yorgason.
We have been looking at international adoption, but I don't know if we will pursue that yet or not. I would like to do it someday, but I would like to be more familiar with how adoption works before we start looking over seas.
There are several agencies here in Utah that look like great agencies. We are looking pretty seriously at A Guardian Angel Adoptions. They have great odds. About once a month I hear that they have birthmothers due immediately, but no families to place the baby with. If I had the thousands of dollars they require, we would already be parents.
I am still clinging to the hope that we can adopt without going into debt. So we have decided to try a few things. I just added a link in our sidebar where people can donate money to our PayPal account. I have seen other prospective adoptive couples do this, so I hope it has good success.
We are also looking into doing some fundraisers. We thought about doing the Little Ceaser pizza kits, but the Boy scouts in our area are doing that right now. We might consider it again in the fall. We are also looking into selling candy bars. We would love any suggestions!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Only Josh could be covered in cow manure after a hard days work and still be happy.
When we took the cattle back to the field I was able to ride on one of the horses, but I had already put the camera away by then so we didn't get any pictures of me on the horse. I guess we just have to go riding again. I was a little nervous because I haven't been on a horse for six years, but I think I did okay.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
When we bought our car almost 3 years ago it was a bitter sweet moment. We finally we established enough that we could take out our own auto loan! It was so exciting. Then we signed the paperwork. I hate the hold that has put on us. Adding a truck loan made the stress even worse.
When we purchased our computer we did a loan with the company so we could establish some credit. But we paid the loan off 3 or 4 months later. We have tried to be realistic each time we have taken out a loan, although that is something the car company had a hard time with. When we decided to buy a car we sat down and decided just how much we could spend. We had some money set aside and decided that we would use that for our down payment and then we could finance a loan that would keep our payments around $120.
So off to the car lot I went. I walked in and told the guy that we were interested in a car and we wanted to spend X-Amount of dollars. He proceeds to tell me about this car that is $XXXX. Um, no, that is $4,000 more than I just said. So then he tries to tell me about a car that is $XXXX. Still no, that is $2,000 more than I said. I was starting to get frustrated. Maybe most people don't think this through as well as we had.
Finally after some arguing he tells me that he thinks they have one car that just might work. He was kind of talking down to me, trying to belittle the car like it wasn't anything even worth looking at. Let me back up, when I first got there I saw this car and just fell in love with it, but it looked so nice I knew we could never afford it. IT WAS THAT CAR HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!
I took it home for a test drive that night and the next day we were at the bank signing papers and then on to the dealership where we signed papers again and presented the two checks (ours and the banks) to pay for the car. He seemed surprised that we already had the money. Seriously, how unprepared is the common car buyer?
There is a point to this story. I have 12 payments left on the car. I want to be giddy with joy, but that is still 12 more payments! So I have set a master plan. I will have this car paid off before the year ends. No, before Thanksgiving! The one important thing I learned while working in real estate is that is pays to pay extra each month. Since we started the loan I have tried to pay a little extra and really I am probably closer to my goal than I think I am, but I am going to increase my efforts!
Maybe after the car is paid off I can feel better about having to possibly take a loan out for an adoption.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The one in Provo was supposed to be on trans racial adoption, but I would have titled it "These guys are working on their desertions for their degrees and for some unknown reason they are trying to do studies on trans racial adoption even though they have no valid link to the adoption world with a guest speaker who is probably more anti-adoption than pro-adoption."
I was so excited when I left the house yesterday morning (before daylight I may add). I was a few minutes late, but that's because I went to the wrong building. When I got there this cute little (she was like 5 feet tall!) grandma iwas talking about a 20 year study she did. I loved her. She has several adopted bi-racial children and she loves them. It was so refreshing.
Then we had the other guest speaker. He once lived next to someone in Vermont who adopted a bi-racial child and he decided to do a study on it, but I think someone forgot to tell him we would want to see the positive side. The video was 77 grueling minutes long. I loved the guy, who during the Q&A, asked the film maker why all he showed was the challenges and not the rewards. The film maker just kind of skirted around that question.
Lunch was okay, but I was able to meet some new great people in the adoption world. I think that was the only adoption related thing at the conference; just us crazy people who have adopted or who want to adopt that were in attendance.
The session I was most excited for was a big let down. The schedule said Trans National and we have been thinking more about that since Sunday (more to come on those details) so I went. He showed a few charts about different countries and which seems to be the biggest for adoption right now. Then he asked who there had adopted internationally and if he could interview them for his study. THAT WAS IT! We didn't discuss the different things you need to do, we didn't discuss how much to spend, how long it takes. NONE OF MY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS were talked about.
The next session was a little better, but once again it was a student conducting a study. And really her's wasn't really about adoption, but mixed race families. It was informative and I really enjoyed her speech, but it would have been better at a different conference I think.
The only highlight of the day (besides the new friends I made) was the adoptee panel. IT WAS AMAZING! They had 5 people come in and share their adoption stories. They were beautiful and uplifting. I feel in love with everyone of them. They had great advice and they did admit to some things being hard, but the love they felt for their families was very positive. I wanted to find the film maker and tell him to throw his old video in the garbage and make it using these guys.
Then back to disappointment. The next guy has a passion and that is numbers. He took the 2000 Census and threw some numbers together in confusing ways. I'm still not sure what message I was supposed to get from him. Then another doctoral student spoke and to me he was trying say everything he could to say trans racial adoption probably isn't a good thing. He was African American and I didn't like how he kept saying "my people" and "your people." At this point I want the adoptee panel to come back!
I didn't stay for the last guy. I was too discouraged. I realize that trans racial adoption comes with extra difficulties, but I know it all can't be bad. In the car I looked at the schedule for Wed. & Thurs. and decided my emotional state could not handle more of the same thing so I decided to come home.
I was supposed to take notes for my friends that couldn't go. I am sorry to say that I was not impressed and will not go to this particular conference again. But during the entire day that was a handful of things that I did like or that gave me pause to think:
1- African Americans will probably have problems no matter where they are raised. As a society we really need to get our act together and quit looking at color of skin and rather look at their character that lies within.
2- It probably is best that they are raced by someone of their culture and skin color, but in not, then they just need to be raised by a loving family.
3- Kids don't seem to notice they have a different skin color until they are about four or five years old.
4- Children raised by parents of a different color seem to find the religion of their family and how that is taught more important than the color of their skin. I could probably say that in a more understandable way, but I'm not sure how to word it. Several of the adoptees mentioned it. Their families taught them that God doesn't see in color and that he loves all his children. That was important to them.
If you were at the conference on Tuesday and had a better time, I would love to hear from you! And if you enjoyed it, sorry if my thoughts upset you. We have only recently decided to consider trans racial adoption and I was hoping yesterday could have been a better learning opportunity. I have not let it discourage me away from trans racial adoption.
To make myself feel better and feel like my day hadn't been a complete waste I stopped at Bridal Veil Falls on my way out of Provo. I only had my little camera since I had planned to be gone for several days and didn't want to worry about my big camera. But once again I am amazed that my little camera is a great camera.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
On Wednesday when we got to work at 7:00 AM the full moon was so pretty, but I didn't have my camera. So on Thursday I took my camera, but it wasn't as pretty. The sky was kind of dirty. But I took some pictures anyways.