Sunday, July 29, 2007


Well, what another wild week it has been! I have been busy, busy....

Grandmama's yard is finished. She asked me and Lisa to clean out the flowerbeds and lay fresh straw. It took us four mornings, but it is done. It was soooo hot! Grandmama is really happy with the results. And I would do nearly anything to make sure she's happy!

My mom and niece had eye surgery this week. Mom had a cateract removed and replaced with a corrective lens. Now she is lopsided! No, I wish I could have that done. When she has the other one replaced, she will only need reading glasses. I just can't picture my mom without glasses!

Sara had a "lazy eye" which was probably a result of her prematurity. Lisa has tried EVERYTHING: patches, a contact lens, drops, and no telling what else to get it to turn to its correct position. Well, it's in the right place now! I think it looks great and I hope it will help Sara to see better.

I've worked in my classroom this week. It is almost finished. We officiallly start the new school term on Wednesday, August 1. Lisa is going to keep the boys for me Tuesday to finish up. BUT, believe me, I will have plenty to do in the three pre-planning days to keep me busy!

Mixers has been hanging around the house all weekend. So needless to say, I am assuming that the puppies met an untimely demise :<(

Tomorrow Lisa, my teaching partner Susan, and I are all heading to Wild Adventures for a day of roller coasters and water slides! I'm looking forward to the day - between us we will have 8 kids! So it should be an interesting day!

When In Rome....

This BlogThing is too cute!

You Belong in Rome
You're a big city soul with a small town heart, which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome. Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand and gorgeous Italian people - could life get any better?
Check out BlogThings!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pampering Party!

I wanted to drop in tonight and tell you all about the pampering party I went to this afternoon. NO - it wasn't a Pampers party, but a pampering party!

Our school made AYP (adequate yearly progress) again this year, so our wonderful principal, Todd Deariso, held a pampering party for us today. My fellow third-grade teachers and I gathered at our high school this afternoon, and come to find out, Todd had arranged for the cosmotology teacher at the high school to have her students there...we all received pedicures, facials, and manicures. It was the greatest! We found out that Todd has been planning this get-together since May. It was a wonderful surprise and was very relaxing. We begin our pre-planning a week from tomorrow (August 1) so it was a nice way to get together and visit with my fellow teachers before school starts back. The fourth and fifth-grade teams will participate later in the week.

We are going to have a hectic pre-planning this year. First of all, we only have three days. On Wednesday (Aug. 1), we have our system-wide meeting, which could take anywhere from 1-3 hours. On Thursday (Aug. 2), we have an all-day staff development training, then on Friday (Aug. 3) we have Open House in the afternoon. This leaves us with, out of approximately 24 paid hours (3 working days) we have about 8 hours to get our rooms ready and plan for the first week. This is no easy task! We have tile floors and they are waxed every summer, and the custodial staff piles our furniture back in our rooms. So, we end up moving all of our furniture around. Then you have to decorate and get your beginning of the year stuff ready, and then plan your lessons for the first week, which is not easy since you don't really know your students. The kids will be coming back on a Monday this year, for the last several years they've come on a Friday.

I digress! Todd baked brownies, made dips and fixed other goodies for us. He made a white AND a red sangria...I had a glass of the red and it was fabulous. We also had a Pampered Chef representative, a Mary Kay rep, and a Partylite rep on hand to show us all kinds of goodies.

It was a wonderful afternoon and we truly do have the best school in our system! All the other schools will be sooooo jealous when they find out what our boss did for us!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Busy, Busy Me!!

It has been a busy few days for me. I've been working in my classroom this past week. I'm so excited about my teaching assignment this year! I'll be teaching math, science, and social studies to two different classes. I'll be partnering with a very good friend of mine, who will be teaching literacy to the same to classes. Soooo.....

I have been totally cleaning out my classroom! It was such a mess. I threw away a bunch of stuff, and I'm giving away a bunch of other stuff. It's been a lot of work, but well worth it. My classroom is going to be so organized this year!

In other news....I went shopping for Shelby's and Jeremy's school supplies today. I cannot believe how much I actually bought. All told, I probably spent about $225, that is including bookbags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, crayons, scissors, etc., etc., etc.! That was buying the on-sale and store brand items as well. For example, Wal-mart had paper for 30 cents a pack.

In Georgia, we are having a sales tax-free weekend in two weeks, but the crowds are so horrible, I decided it was well worth my time and money to go ahead and shop now. It is a madhouse the week before school starts! It was so cute, today I had both the boys push a buggy around Staples, and we walked up and down each aisle putting their things in their carts. Then when we went to the checkout, they each unloaded their items, and carried them to the car. For their fine shopping behavior, Shelby and Jeremy were allowed to choose one small item...Shelby chose a rubber-band ball and Jeremy chose a compass (the kind you can draw circles with). They both really took ownership in the process and I think they are more excited about going back to school.

Rumors are abounding on RQ this week...anywhere from finishing November to not getting past 11/21. Bummer!

Monday, July 16, 2007


ADSENSE - I just wanted to let you all know that when you click on the ads, I can earn a little money for Kaelie's adoption. If you see anything objectionable, please let me know.

INK CARTRIDGES - I have recycled inkjet cartridges with some success in raising adoption funds. They have to be name brand, with the exception of Epson. If you have some inkjet cartridges that you'd like to send me for this purpose, let me know.

Thanks for your support!

Puppy Update

Mixer's eight puppies were born three weeks ago today. They were so cute and precious. Two days after their births, Mixers moved the puppies under the cover of darkness out into the woods. I think she did this because it has been so hot and humid, she was trying to find a cool place for them.

Today we know the fate of one of the puppies. Tonight, Mixers brought up the white puppy, the one with the three black spots on his back. Unfortunately, he was dead.

My, how he had grown! He was so big, you could tell Mixers had taken good care of him. Why did she bring his body back up to the house? Did she think we could possibly help? I could tell Mixers was upset that something was wrong with her baby.

Last night, we could all hear Mixers raising cane outside. She was barking ferociously, like she did before she got pregnant, barking at anything that came in the yard. Was she in a life and death battle against a predator trying to get at the puppies? What's happened to the other seven? Perhaps we will never know.

I'm sad tonight. I was really looking forward to watching the puppies grow, I think more than I wanted to admit. Having never given birth, it was neat watching another living creature do the same. It was neat watching Mix mother the pups, she was/is very protective of them.

I'm sad tonight....

Ebay Update

The items Lisa listed for me on Ebay closed Saturday night. Before the Ebay and Paypal fees, we made $360 for Kaelie's adoption!

Ebay Grand Total So Far: $486 (this is without fees)

All this money will go into our savings account for Kaelie's adoption. Lisa has been so sweet to help me with this. She is definitely not a packrat, and she is a VERY good Ebay seller! Lisa is literally making me go through everything and get rid of all the stuff around here. I went today to Lisa's and we packed up the rest of what was ready to be sent out, and the boys and we took the packages to the Post Office this afternoon.

On another note, I helped Lisa outline a paper that she has to write one of her college classes. We had a blast! Lisa is in the early childhood/special education program at Valdosta State University. She is going to be a wonderful teacher!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Newsome Bums...What day is it?

Just wanted to drop in and post a few pictures of us at the beach. We are having a great time, but are sad that tomorrow is our last full day here.

Yesterday, we played outside for a good bit of the afternoon. We walked down to Toucan's and had Hippie John airbrush tee-shirts for Shelby and Jeremy. Jeremy chose a flaming shark design, and Shelby asked Hippie John to paint a battleship for him. The shirts came out so cute! They are expensive, but it's a great wearable reminder of the week we've had.

Today we went to Happy Ours Kayak Company. Miss Debbie took Shelby, Jeremy, and me out for a few hours of snorkeling. It was the first time we had been snorkeling, and the boys loved it! At first, Shelby and Jeremy were both hesitant to put their faces in the water, but before long they both were swimming like fishes! Shelby found a spider crab, and Jeremy's favorite finds were scallops. My favorite part of this trip (behinds listening to "Look, Mama!!!") was floating on top of the water and looking down at the fish. We ended up snorkeling in about 3 feet of water. Both boys also got the opportunity to practice their boating skills - we went out in a kayak! It was way fun!!

After supper tonight, we pulled up at this CUTE ice cream shoppe called Scoops Up! The boys both chose a "krazy colors" cone. Before we got home, the ice cream was dripping from their chins. I've got to take them back tomorrow so I can get some pictures!

Enjoy these photos!

Jeremy and Shelby both worked on sandcastles tonight!
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Jeremy and Me

A shorebird strolls along the shore, looking for her next meal

Hi Mom and Dad! I'm having a great time!
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beach Bums, Part ?

The Newsome crew had another uneventful day today. We are starting to really let our hair down and unwind. After having muffins for breakfast and doing some chores, we went out and enjoyed the sun. BUT, it was so hot we didn't stay out more than about 2 hours. The kids had a lot of fun on their boogie boards today, catching waves and riding them to shore.

We ate supper at Sunset Coastal Grill , and it was fantastic. David ordered shrimp and grits, the cheese grits were made into a cake and fried. I had Crabbie Patties, they were also delicious!

After supper, we took the kids down to the public pier in Mexico Beach. This is the best plac
e to go just to sit and people-watch. Jeremy found two fishermen to hang out with...they were fishing for sharks and using big pieces of fish as bait. One of the guys was from Valdosta, and it's always neat to meet people who are close to home. I also met
a lady from Texas who has a home here and she was on the pier with her granddaughter.

Shelby enjoyed looking out in the water and spotting many different kinds of jellyfish.
He said today that he wants to be a jellyfish scientist! I wouldn't put it past him.

After spending some time on the pier, me and the boys walked (it's about a mile and a half)
back to the condo, while David drove the van back home. It would have been great if the
boys had not picked up every dead jellyfish they saw to throw them back into the ocean.
Shelby slipped on some shells and skinned up his knee a little bit, and that kind of blew
it for the night walk tonight. You would have thought someone shot him! Anyway, we
still had a good day and it was great to just be with the family.

A little about the pictures:

David hates having his picture made, but when Jeremy got the camera, David really
hammed it up!!!! He would kill me if he knew I published this picture, please don't
tell him! The photo above shows the boys doing bunny ears on David. I was trying
to get one or two serious pictures, but they weren't to be had tonight.

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Jeremy dozed off on the way to supper.

Sunset at the pier.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beach Bums

Shelby and Jeremy have enjoyed our night walks. Last night they found tiny crabs (little blue crabs, I think) and a bunch of mole crabs. We had a great time!

Jeremy never meets a stranger! He met this guy who was surf fishing and hung out with him as we watched the sun set. The guy let Jeremy reel in one or two! This is Jeremy with the man's son. Before the evening was over, Jeremy was pinching the heads off this guy's bait shrimp. It was so cute! Jeremy was so excited every time the guy pulled one in (which wasn't much, but to a six year old it was great fun!

Need I say more? This was a great shot and I can't believe that I was the one who made it!

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This is a terrific picture of Shelby! We ate dinner at the Fish House in Mexico Beach. We had a great time goofing off waiting for our food to come. I had fried shrimp, and they were delicious! David enjoyed an oyster sandwish, and the kids got kid food. The Fish House is probably the busiest restaurant in Mexico Beach, unless you count Toucan's. Toucan's really caters to the beach/tourist crowd, the food is only so-so, and the service is quite slow. But if you want fresh seafood, The Fish House is the place to get it!

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Surf and Sand

Hi Everyone - we made it safe and sound to Mexico Beach. I post this morning from our condo, on the gulf side, the sliding door is open and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore are filling my ears, the smell of sea salt is tugging at my nostrils. After a couple of errands, I will be heading down to the sand, setting up the umbrella and getting in my chair to enjoy my book while the kids play in the waves. I'll post pictures later!

Oh, I forgot to mention that last night when we got here, after we got the van unloaded, the boys and I went on a night walk on the beach. Shelby smashed his first crab (a little overzealous!) but they saw several and it was so much fun to watch them chase the crabs - those jokers are fast!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ebay Auctions

I just wanted to let everyone know that my sister has put up a BUNCH more stuff for me on Ebay. We took the pictures the other day, and she's listed 70+ items. Please go over there and have a look.

Her seller id is lisasarasteff ... if you are an ebay member, you can add her as a favorite seller in "My Ebay" (that is what I did, anyway!) and it will take you to all of my stuff! If you find something you like, please start the bidding! All the proceeds from the auctions (minus Lisa's listing fees and paypal fees) are going in the savings account for Kaelie's adoption.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

We're off to the beach!

Tomorrow we are headed for Mexico Beach, Florida, for a week of rest and relaxation. We've vacationed in this area for several years's a family tradition! The boys have a great time and always look forward to going. They've both packed an old bookbag full of toys and books.
We will spend lazy days playing in the surf and sand, I have a wonderful book to take with me. I'm taking the boys on a snorkeling trip one day, haven't decided which day yet. We are definitely looking forward to getting away for a few days and regroup.
When we get back from the beach, it will be time to start thinking about going back to school. I will go and work in my classroom a few days...we only have three days of preplanning this year and a half-day will be taken up with Open House. This summer has definitely flown by!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Ancient Chinese Custom of Footbinding

I recently read a marvelous book by Lisa See called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The story is about two laotong who share their lives with one another.

The ancient custom of footbinding is intimately explored in this book. Footbinding was a practice in which a young girl's feet were tightly wrapped in long strips of cloth, causing her four small toes to break and eventually grow under the sole of her foot. Children were between the ages of 4 and 7 when their mothers and grandmothers began this excruciatingly painful process.

This custom lasted nearly 1000 years, when it was banned by the government in 1911.

There are three basic reasons or theories behind the footbinding practice. First of all, it caused women to be subservient to men, having them to be less independent. Lisa See demonstrated this in Snow Flower on numerous occasions, one of which being Snow Flower's husband carrying his mother on his back as the villagers fled an attacking army. Small feet were a sign of beauty in imperialist China; smaller feet increased the chances of a girl marrying in to a wealthier family. We saw Lily in Snow Flower marry into a family of higher wealth and status because of her beautiful "golden lilies." Finally, a family whose daughters had bound feet were increased in status among their own villages, as the family had the ability to provide for a person who could not work and labor.

To read more, I am providing the following links:

Faith, Hope, Love

I bought this wall hanging for Kaelie's room on Ebay. It is so cute! I hope the black polka dots blend in with the rest of the decor, I think they will.

Speaking of Ebay, my sister is so sweet, she sold a bunch of clothes for me there. After giving Lisa a percentage and also after Ebay and Paypal fees, I made $86 for Kaelie's adoption! Thanks Lisa!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July Referrals

Strong rumors (see Rumor Queen) suggest that the CCAA has mailed referrals for families who were logged in through November 14, 2005. This would be a 7-day referral batch.

We are half-way through with 2007, and the CCAA has referred about 65 days worth of LID's.

The January batch began with LID's on 9 September, and here we are through (speculatively)with 14 November.

I wonder where that leaves us? I think it will be at least February, 2008, before we see our referral, probably longer. Travel immediately before, during, or immediately the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing is definitely a possibility.

UPDATE: China Adoption Forecast updated their site today. Our new predicted referral date is 19 February 2008.

UPDATE: CCAA updated their website to reflect 14 November 2005 as the cutoff date.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

More Birthday Photos

Sara opens her China tea set.

Mama and her tea. She actually hooked me and the boys on it! I'm sure we will get to have some samples!

Getting ready to make a wish!

Ready, set, blow!!!

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Happy Birthday To You!

Today I want to introduce you to some of my wonderful family!

This is my mom:

My nieces Steffany (left), who is 6, and Sara (right) who just turned 8:

My wonderful sister, Lisa (age 35), who is also my best friend! Kaelie will be her first niece!

Yesterday Shelby, Jeremy, and I spent the day with my sister Lisa and her crew. It was Sara's eighth birthday and my mom's 60th birthday. Actually, Mama's birthday is today, but we celebrated yesterday!

First we met at my grandma's house for sandwiches and presents. Grandma wasn't feeling that great, but I think she was glad we came. Sara opened a beautiful china tea set, in miniature for tea parties, and the Garfield movies. Mama received a tea set with many different flavors of tea, such as lemon, Earl Gray, English breakfast (one of my personal favorites!).

We then formed a caravan and headed to Valdosta where we attended "A Year with Frog and Toad," a musical performed by the Peach State Summer Theatre. It was a humorous production but perfectly suited to a younger audience and a fanatastic way to introduce the kids to theater. The kids and adults all enjoyed the show!

Our group then invaded Red Lobster for a terrific and satisfying meal. The children were all perfectly behaved and we got there early enough to have the BEST service! The servers all came out to sing "Happy Birthday" to Mama and Sara, and we all shared desserts (a rarity in our family - we're usually too stuffed!).

All in all, a fantastic day!
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