Friday, August 29, 2008

My, What a Big Hat You Have!

Baby Isabella got her birth certificate today using plan B. Plan A had been in the works for several weeks with no result, but her dad found a faster way, so off they went for downtown. And that worked so well, they immediately went to the downtown post office and applied for her first passport. I mean, this girl is about to become a world traveler, so she needs a passport.

Rachel mailed in her first set of employment papers today. Each step seemed to take longer than it should, but it was progress. Tomorrow is her last day of work at Sylvan Learning Centers. After work she plans to buy a laptop desk, another bookcase, a phone with caller ID, and some new ink cartridges. That will about eat up her first paycheck!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Good News

Rachel got a job! A real job. A job in her field. A job with a salary, health and dental insurance, and a retirement package. Included: a new computer, paid-for internet, phone, and travel. We are so happy, but almost afraid to be too happy until she signs the papers! She starts Tuesday, Sept. 2 and has lots of reading to do until then to get ready. More details later!

Also, she is 95% moved into her place, just a few more things to hang on the walls. She still is discouraged about the cigarette smoke smell, which apparently comes from the smokers downstairs. We're trying to help her find some ways to deal with that as she seems quite sensitive to it.

50% More

Baby Isabella went to the pediatrician yesterday for her 2-month checkup. She had gained 50% of her original weight and now is in the 75th percentile in both height and weight. No wonder my arm is getting tired holding her! I think she is about 50% more beautiful too, don't you?? She also got three injections and one oral vacination--I bet her legs are sore!

Laura has joined the YouTube movement with this funny little clip of Isabella talking to her grandmother in Santo Domingo. Baby is definitly catching on the the turn-taking process of communication. If you look at her and say something, then quietly wait, she vocalizes something back, and we all laugh because it is so fun!

We are going to be so sad to see this baby move to the other side of the globe, but it looks like that is going to happen. Andrew has accepted a job with Food For the Hungry in Ethiopia. The travel details are not in place yet, but it looks like Andrew will go ahead of his family for 4-6 weeks, leaving in September.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Wow, another week has flown by. Nearly every day this week I spent a bit of time helping Rachel with getting her apartment set up. Yesterday we switched out the mattress and took a few more bits and pieces from here to there. Today she got a nice hand-me-down desk, a photo shelf, and 3 lamps. We also moved her computer desk over, but left her computer here since she doesn't get her internet until Monday.

Everything is nice about this apartment except for one thing--it smells like cigarette smoke. The people below her smoke--is that causing the problem? Supposedly the previous renter did not smoke, but I"m not so sure... We washed the carpets with clear water--we'll see if that helps.

It looks like she is going to need to buy one more bookshelf and she might need another small table or so.

She took her cat over a couple days ago and he's starting to get used to the place. But I think he misses going outside, too.

This afternoon we attended a graduation celebration for Rhodesia--Gary was asked to play a song, which he did. Afterwards, someone asked him for his CD. :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Flat Tire

I was glad Andrew was here to help me. He changed it and then I drove to Goodyear. They told me I needed not one, but two, new tires which they put on this afternoon.

In other news, Gary and I are babysitting tonight. Yes, without mama and papa nearby. They went to another Rangers' game but the seats were in foul ball territory so they didn't want to take baby. She is just coming up on 2 months now and is getting so alert and intentionally interacting with smiles and vocalizations. I think she's going to be a chatterbox!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinner at Rachel's

We squeezed 6 of us, plus baby, around this 4-man table to enjoy a sit-down dinner at Rachel's new place. She didn't quite do the cooking--maybe next time for that. I bought some great chicken at Pollo Regio and Laura brought rice and guandules.

Rachel still has quite a bit to do to finish settling in, but I've helped her install drawer liners and hang her bluebonnet paintings (originals from exchange student Doro).

She didn't get the job she interviewed for, so at the moment she is still going ahead with plan A--subbing and Sylvan.

Lorena returns to DR tomorrow, hopefully missing tropical storm Fay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Day of Changes, A Need for Prayer

Rachel moved into her new apartment today, or more correctly, she started to move. Tomorrow morning a friend with a pickup truck will come and help get some furniture from another friend's place and take it to her apartment. Next Thursday she hopes to take possession of a desk. Also, she won't be able to order internet until Monday, so it is likely to be a week or more before she is really set up and settled it. The apartment was very clean, except for the windows and looks like it is going to be a good place for her.

While unpacking this afternoon, Rachel got a surprise phone call asking her to interview for a teaching job. It is late in the hiring season for this, so she is praying about whether this is the right direction for her to pursue. Please pray with us about that too.

Another important decision has been made: Andrew accepted an offer to take a job in Ethiopia. Lots of follow up decisions now need to be made regarding timing of their departure, especially in light of the fact that the organization wants him there in about 6 weeks. They want to make a trip to the DR as well prior to leaving. It may end up that Andrew would go by himself at first. Pray for God's clear guiding about all the details that need to be dealt with.

And lastly, my mom had her pacemaker battery changed today--it should be good for another 9 years!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I went to the furniture boutique this morning and picked up (with Andrew's help) this wooden table for Rachel's new apartment. I spent a couple hours in the afternoon both cleaning, sanding, staining it AND sewing an everyday table cloth since it isn't in perfect condition. But it is real wood, and sturdy, and I think it will fit her little dining room pretty well. She was given 4 wooden chairs that just about match too. Tomorrow is the big move day--she's so excited!

Speaking of excitement, these two foxes showed up in the back yard tonight.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time for More Baby Photos

Gary continues to excel in his grandpa role, especially when it includes lying on the couch watching the Olympics.

I've added a few more photos to the existing online album "Look at that Face!" We love to stare at her and notice every little thing that changes. Just recently it seems like she intentionally smiles at us for a brief moment--no, it is not gas!

Rachel had jury duty today, but didn't get chosen for a jury or even on a panel. Andrew and his family had taken her downtown and dropped her off, then did a bit of sightseeing and ended up picking Rachel up just after they ate lunch.

Speaking of Rachel, she is busy getting ready to move. Here is the Google maps satellite view of her place. Her apartment is just to the right of the push pin icon:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Picnic, Second Try

We had planned for a couple days to go to Joe Pool lake tonight for a BBQ. I did all the work this afternoon, in spite of the brief rain showers, to get ready and when we load stuff in the car, we realized we needed to take two cars. That wasn't a problem since we had two State Park passes. So Gary and I got the firewood and took off for the lake to be followed by the rest of our gang in the second car.

But when we got there there was a big sign saying "BURN BAN. NO CHARCOAL OR WOOD FIRES." Well, that wasn't going to work for us, since we had wood but no propane tank to cook our brats on. So, we turned around, called the car at home and told them to cancel, and decided to have a picnic in the back yard instead. Of course, this gave Gary a chance to try out his new fire pit which we got on sale for $40.

It is still too hot to sit by a fire, but at least we got our food cooked.

Laura wasn't sure this was a good idea since it was threatening to rain. But baby didn't really seem to notice.

And Lorena got to try s'mores after eating her well-done bratwurst.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Father and Daughter (x2)

Scanning all my old 35mm slides is one of my on-going projects. I'm trying to do a few every day since it is too boring and tedious to do it all at once. I'm still not sure what I will do with the photos when I'm done scanning them, but at least I will pick out a few to post every now and then.

In other news, I guess I already mentioned that Rachel's move got postponed a week, so now she has another week to think about what she wishes she had the money to buy for her new place! She is getting some usable hand-me-downs of furniture, and she bought a book case yesterday. She also got a nice little side table, solid wood, for 75% off because it was scratched and the drawer pull was missing.

I talked to David today--he and Sarah are doing OK. He's hoping to do two reports with his examining committee this week, and if that goes well, that will satisfy all the requirements for his entry into the PhD program. His car is messing up again and he hopes to sell it shortly after getting it fixed. Again.

Today is Laura's birthday (sort of. Long story there.) We had a cake with 3 candles on it. Lorena gave her a very lovely scrapbook with Isabella photos, the sort of thing Laura can add to.

Andrew is off to see his fantasy football friends in Indy this next weekend. Rachel hopes to get an hour or two of help out of him before he leaves for the airport. There has been some things going on with a job for him, but nothing really to report yet.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Spicy Thai Noodles

Spicy Thai Noodles (Americanized Pad Thai)

Makes 4 servings
Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
T = tablespoon, t = teaspoon

¼ c vinegar
3 T soy sauce
6 T sugar
4 t paprika
2 t fish bouillon granules or 2 anchovies mashed (I think this is important for authentic flavor, but I use chicken or vegetable bouillon)
½ to ¾ t ground hot red pepper (cayenne) (This is what makes the dish hot, so use less if you don’t like it too spicy. Also can use red pepper flakes.)
1 T vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ pound turkey cutlets, slivered
3 green onions, sliced
½ pound mung bean sprouts
12 ounces fettuccine, cooked and drained (the traditional dish uses rice noodles)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
¼ cup chopped peanuts

1. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, paprika, bouillon granules or anchovies, and red pepper in a large serving bowl.
2. Heat oil in wok or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and turkey; stir-fry 2 minutes or until turkey is cooked. Add to bowl.
3. Add green onions and sprouts to wok; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in turkey mixture, pasta and cilantro if using, tossing until heated through.
4. Spoon noodle mixture into serving dish. Sprinkle on peanuts.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Homemade Pizza

Here is another of my standard, frequently used recipies for any child who is reading this blog (or anyone else, for that matter):

Homemade Pizza

Makes 2 large (as in, jumbo) pizzas
Once you get the knack, you can make this pizza in one hour.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients: T = tablespoon, t = teaspoon
2 c. warm water
3 scant T yeast
2 t. sugar
2 t. salt
¼ c. oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
4 c white flour

In mixer place 2 cups warm water, add 3 scant T yeast, 2 scant t sugar. Mix. Add 2 t. salt, ¼ cup oil. Mix. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour, then 4 cuts while flour.

Dough should rest a couple minutes, but does not need to rise like regular bread dough. Cut dough into two halves. Spray counter and at the same time spray the two pizza pans (the kind of pan with holes in it works well) with cooking spray. Use rolling pin to roll dough out to just larger than the pizza pan. Flip half the dough over the rolling pin to help place it on the pan. Crimp the edges of the dough to make a nice fit.

Pour one 8oz can of tomato sauce directly on one pizza and spread evenly. Sprinkle the sauce lightly with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil.

Cover the whole thing with grated mozzarella cheese.

Add pepperoni, ham, chopped peppers, mushrooms, olives, etc. Finish by sprinkling with grated parmesan cheese.

Baking is the tricky part. Put pizza on low rack in cold oven then turn oven on at 450 degrees. If you try to bake two at once, switch them around and note that total baking time may take longer.

The goal is to get the crust crispy underneath without overbrowning the top. So you may need to see what timing and which rack level works best in your oven.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Isabella's First Baseball Game

It took some talking, but Andrew convinced Laura to let Isabella go to the Yankees v. Rangers game last night. First he had to get a spot out of foul ball territory, which works for the third deck:

Then he had to get a place where no one would spill beer on this pretty girl.

Grandpa hogged baby most of the time, but by the time the game was over we all had a turn holding her.

The third deck provides a good view of progress on the Cowboys' new stadium. Don't you think it looks like a spaceship?

Rachel and Isabella had on matching outfits.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Las Tias

It is no wonder this baby is so good looking when you see her two blood aunties (that is, a consanguinial relationship, not an affinial one.)

Tia Lola is here for three weeks from the Dominican Republic during her college break.

Baby is not only getting prettier every day, she is getting stronger too. For as much as she eats, she should be getting stronger! She is holding her head pretty steady now, and her eyes follow you when you walk past. And I think she smiled at me this week too!