Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Baby Photos

I just received a few more baby photos, so I added them to the above album. Looks like baby is getting ready for Christmas.

Speaking of which, yesterday Rachel talked us into going Christmas tree shopping with her after going out for breakfast. She bought a big tree and since she's doing that, we decided to buy a little potted Austrian Pine to plant outside after Christmas. In the afternoon we got the boxes of Christmas decorations down and so far I've put up the nativity scene and a few lights outside around the living room window.

On Friday Gary and I spent a lot of time discussing our bathroom remodel plan. He nixed my plan, but we're working hard on some other options. I hope the contractor can come by this week and give us some advice so we can finalize our plan.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Gary's Return

Gary's flight arrived safely and a few minutes early, and Dave and Sharla were willing to postpone Thanksgiving dinner to accommodate Gary's arrival. Dave carved up the turkey and Sharla make a banquet with all the traditional dishes. Rachel contributed green bean casserole and I made some rolls.
And we had a nice table to sit at too.

The "kids'" table was available for a puzzle, since all the kids have grown up.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The News from Ethiopia

Last night I did some research on calling cards that work to Ethiopia and came up with this one: I waited until about 10:30pm to try it out, and yay, it worked. I called their landline, and everyone was up but Andrew hadn't left for work yet, so I had a nice chat with everyone. Including baby Isabella, who reportedly smiled when she hear my voice over the phone! :-)

They seem to be doing well. They will be happier when they get some more furniture for their house and when the shipped furniture in boxes arrives, hopefully early January.

I guess I should send out an email with all their contact info, in case any other relatives want to call.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yay! Some Photos from Ethiopia

They knew I couldn't go too long without some photos of my beautiful baby, so I was so happy to get these today. I've uploaded them to another Picasa Web Album so if you want to see all 8 of them click on the photo and it should take you to the entire web album.

Baby Isabella, part 7 (5 months)

Also, look to your right and notice that I have added a clock to my blog template showing the current time in Addis Ababa. Hmm, at least it is current relative to Dallas; I'm not sure if it works for viewing my blog from all other places in the world. Maybe somebody would test that for me.

I've added this clock as a way to help myself get organized so I can phone baby and ask her how she's doing. I found a calling card company called and I bought $20 credit, but I haven't tried it yet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Email from Gary in Philippines

I just got a long email from Gary so here are parts of it for your reading enjoyment: (sorry the formatting isn't too nice)

It is now 9:30 p.m. Last night I hit the wall at 8:30 and could function
no longer, so I went to bed, and then woke up at about 3:00 and got up. At
least I didn't have any trouble being down stairs at 5:30 to leave for the
airport :-) Tonight, I still feel reasonable, so I might make it back to a
regular schedule by today.

We just got back from a dinner for the invited speakers, and I checked at
the registration desk on the way in about getting Internet access. You'll
be glad to know that the postage for this letter is only $6.00. For $1.00
I could probably put it in an envelope and you'd get it in 10 days, so
maybe $6.00 for instant delivery isn't that bad. The Hotel Services book
in the room said they had 2-hour, 4-hour, 10-hour etc. cards, but when I
checked at the desk they've just changed to $6.00 per day, so i have
unlimited use until noon tomorrow -- I'll just be asleep and at the
conference most of that time.


We planned to get to the airport two hours in advance, but ended up 2.5
hours early because there was virtually no traffic on the roads. They had
His and Hers metal detector and Xray lines since they pat everybody down.
The terminal was brand new and shiny and so was the plane we took. It was
Cebu Pacific which is the local budget airline but they had a brand new
plane. They have an interesting approach to loading and unloading the
planes. Ian told me that the old board by rows routine never worked in the
Philippines since everybody always came as soon as they mentioned the
flight, so they load from two ends at once. When they call the flight,
everybody comes and they have two lines, one for the rows 1-16 and the
other for 17-31. Then the 1-16 line continues down the jetway and into the
front door of the plane as usual, but the 17-31 line goes down the stairs
to the tarmac and walks the back of the plane and goes up stairs to enter
in the back door of the plane. When they land, they open the doors at both
ends, so the plane empties twice as fast!

The highlight of the flight was "game time". Ian told me this is a regular
feature on this airline. On our flight, the game was "Name that Tune".
The two stewardesses stood together at the front of the plane. After one
explained the rules, the other one started singing a pop song, and the
first passenger to correctly shout out the name of the song won a Cebu
Pacific towelette. The had three towels to give away, so we got to enjoy
three rounds. I kid you not!


Lunch was a hoot. It was a local chain that has local cuisine. For
drinks, we had green coconuts. Yes, they brought out the whole coconut,
shaved down a bit to a six sided solid, with the top cut clean through to
make a removable lid. It was served with a straw to drink it and a spoon
to scoop out the soft meat. The main dish was chicken and rice served on a
wicker plate like you have for using with paper plates, except the paper
plate was a giant leaf that had been cut to make a big circle. They also
ordered squid on the side-- their bodies were stuffed with vegetables and
cut into many small slices.

The event seemed to go okay, though it was hard to tell how much they were
really getting out of it. I think the professors got more than the
students. This is apparently a certificate culture, so they made
certificates of completion for all the students (for sitting through 3.5
hours). They brought a blank certificate for the three of us presenters to
affix our official signatures, and then duplicated them onto fancy paper.
And as we were leaving, the lady in charge ducked into her office to grab
our speakers' gifts, which amounted to a 3-pound bag of groceries. Again,
I kid you not. It includes a package of dried mangos, and 5 different
packages of cookies/biscuits. At least I won't have to worry about
breakfast since they also have coffee in the hotel room.

Tonight there was a dinner for the invited speakers and the all the staff
of the university who are putting on the conference. Ian was invited to
come along as well. It was kind of amazing. We were in the back room of a
restaurant. After taking drink orders, they just kept coming with plates
and bowls of Philippine specialties, like sour soup with tamarind, oxtail
in peanut sauce, scallops on the half shell, fish that is still looking at
you, chicken kebabs, and a bunch more. For a drink, I had green mango
shake (not because I ordered it, but because that is what they brought --
but it was okay). And then the Filipina that I was sitting next to
insisted that I should try "halo halo" for dessert. That's Tagalog for
"mix mix", and it is shaved ice with all kinds of things mixed in -- purple
yams, green hard jello, jack fruit, corn flakes, coconut meat, and more
that I couldn't identify. Like I say, I kid you not.

It's been an interesting day! I also learned to go to a new kind of
euphemism today. Instead of asking for the WC here, you ask for the CR --
the comfort room.

Friday, November 14, 2008

They're There

I got a call this morning saying Andrew and Laura and Isabella had arrived safely in Ethiopia. We didn't talk long, but long enough for him to tell me all had gone smoothly on the flight, all baggage arrived, someone was there to pick them up, and the baby had behaved very well during the trip.

They were already dealing with issues like a cell phone out of minutes, no cord on their stove, and a plug on their refrigerator that didn't match the outlet in the wall. Ah, such is life and they will find solutions to each of those things.

Gary's parents left by car this morning. We pray for their safe travels too.

Gary leaves on Sunday for a trip to the Philippines and then I'm going into seclusion for a day or two!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview at the Airport

Click here to see the family caught on TV! Why didn't they show beautiful Isabella?

We've not heard from them, but they should have arrived in Addis Ababa by now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Last night Andrew and Laura just had to have one more visit to Los Lupes.

And baby needed to listen to grandpa play the hammered dulcimer one last time.

And eat breakfast with grandpa one last time.

And try on her new shirt from Aunt Rachel for the first (and maybe last?) time.

And then another trip to Target to buy some more magic vacuum bags to fit in another box of baby clothes sent from grandma Miguelina.

And then saying goodbye to the great grandparents and great aunt.

Can you believe all this luggage fit in our car along with 5 people??

Trip number two from curb to ticket counter.

And baby waits patiently while they find her ticket and only charge $350 in overweight charges--it could have been worse!

In 24 hours they should be starting their new life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Family Time

We are in the middle of a week of more-or-less vacation. Gary has still been working some, but I've mostly stayed away from office work and have kept busy with stuff around the house and taking care of my photos. My last post was about our visit to the Dallas Arboretum, but I've now organized more of the photos from that day and put them into an online album. Click below to see them all--many pretty flower photos and lots of shots of the family.

Family Visit to Dallas Arboretum

I'm still working on another album or two, so stay tuned.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Family Visit to the Arboretum

We are enjoying a lovely weekend with our whole family here. Well, by whole I mean all our kids and their spouses, and Gary's parents and Gary's sister.

We picked a day with the most gorgeous weather to walk around the Dallas Arboretum which was all decked out in autumn plants and pumpkins.

And what blog would be complete without a cute baby photo?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Just a Couple More Cute Baby Photos

It is now less than one week before Andrew and Laura take my pretty baby to Ethiopa. So I need to keep taking photos and posting them--soon I'll have to look harder for material for this blog.

Baby goes to vote.

Baby sits on Grandpa's lap while he's working.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Typical Sunday for Baby

First, she goes to church, sitting on (top of) her favorite pew.

After church, she chats with her friends.

Then she goes home and watches a bit of football.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm Going to Miss This Baby

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Yesterday I dressed baby up in an outfit crocheted by her great-great-grandma, Alberta Shinabargar. (This baby has grown so much, I should have taken these photos two months ago!) Grandma Shinabargar was my grandmother, and she crocheted this yellow outfit for my first baby, Andrew, Isabella's daddy.

Grandma died in 2004 at the age of 94. My kids were all in college at that point, but they all made the effort to come to grandma's funeral in Michigan which was a blessing for me.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grandpa's Back!

And these are the two ways he babysat Isabella when he got home.