Thursday, November 19, 2009

Welcome Alexander!

Welcome Zander! My very good friend Katie just gave birth last night to a perfect baby boy (shower post here). Katie and her husband Josh welcomed Alexander into our world at 8:05 last night....after 48 hours of labor. He is a tiny little guy weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches tall. Kristin and I were able to go see him tonight when he wasn't even 24 hours old yet. He is just perfect. He slept the whole time we were there except for peeking out his eyelids a few times before closing them again. Although it took him quite a while to decide to come out, Mom and Alexander are now doing very well...just tired! I am so excited to be a "college auntie" again! And I am just thrilled that all of the prayers worked and he arrived and everyone is healthy.

Alexander Jack


Kristin and Alexander

Me and Alexander

Mommy holding her new little baby boy

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fundraiser

In my last post, I talked about the fundraiser a wonderful family from church held for my sister's Women's Center. Here are some pictures!

There were pictures and maps and digital picture frames all over the house so everyone could check out what Erin's life is like.
Everyone made yummy food. This is soup that Mom made with Beef.

Couscous I made from a box and the Moroccan sweat tea with a huge ladle to add sugar (because those Moroccans love their sugar).

Yummy Mesemen (this was delicious!) and oranges with cinnamon.

The lady who did the henna and the manicurist.....they were wonderful people who donated a portion of their services so the profit could go to the Women's Center.

Mom's pretty henna bracelet and the hand massage girl giving Christina (my cousin) a hand massage.

My pretty henna!
Thank you again to everyone who is making her Women's Center possible!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fully Funded!

In case you haven't seen Sister-Erin's blog yet...her Women's Center is FULLY FUNDED!

It happened sometime between 9:45 and 11:45 on Friday night. I checked at 9:45 and it still had $1,900 left. I checked before I went to bed at 11:45 and it was listed as fully funded! Amazing. Truly Amazing. In just ONE WEEK wonderful generous people donated $7, help the Women of Erin's village. Because of generous family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and people we have never met...donating, passing the word, hosting blog giveaways....this was made possible. She thinks they will be able to break ground in the next couple of weeks and she will be able to see this project to completion before she leaves in May of 2010.

There are still people who want to donate and there is still a lot more to do. Now that the building is possible, Erin is still collecting money for supplies such as yarn, needles, crocheting supplies, paper, books, training, etc. The $3,500 USAID grant will also help with the supplies. The $600 and counting total from the Spa Party the generous family at church had last night will also be added to the supplies total. Cash and check donations (written to our family) can still be made and we will be sending Erin the total soon.

Thank you again for supporting the work my sister is doing. And definitely read her blog post...she is so touched.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Slouchy Boots, Skinny Jeans, and a Loveseat

The first part of this post is for sister-Erin because she said she couldn't believe I was talking about slouchy boots and skinny jeans! Embarrassingly enough...this all started because one of my students (keep in mind I teach preschoolers) came to school with cute tights and slouchy boots. I decided then and there, I was going to get me some slouchy boots. After I did at the awesome Payless sale, I knew skinny jeans were in my near future. I went to Express on Wednesday and was excited to find jeans Buy One Get One 50% off. AND I had a $30 off coupon! Rock on!

Express jeans rock my world....usually. Not the ultra low rise ones that barely cover my butt...but the other ones are awesome. I LOVE jeans. But I have huge jeans issues. I am so picky. Shirts, jackets, everything else, I love to bargain shop! But jeans.....oh jeans...they have to be nice. Now....I still do love a good bargain....hence my two pairs of jeans for $60 on Wednesday!

Anyway...I busted them out today...and had to take a self portrait in my full length mirror that may or may not have fallen off my door.....6 months ago...that I haven't put back up yet.

They were SO comfy today! We even walked to the mailbox in the neighborhood of the school two times today (in the morning and afternoon class!) and I was still comfortable. Oh yeah, and in the morning I had to carry a very tall, not so tiny almost 5 year old to and from the mailbox because I was a space cadet and forgot she has motor needs and can't walk that far without a wagon. So on my back she went. I think that was my workout for oh about....4 weeks!

The other SUPER exciting thing about today...besides my new that Adam and I bought our first piece of furniture together. We have been talking about how we will need more furniture because right now I only have a couch and chair and we will need way more for his big family room. I was just looking around on Craigslist the other day and happened upon a love seat that looked like it matched my furniture! Now...Craigslist made me a little nervous. But after lots of debate, we headed out to the house and found a pristine loveseat that matches my furniture exactly. We were just looking at each other like "This is perfect, right???". So for an amazing $165, we got a beautiful loveseat that matches my furniture and will better fill up his family room! We also saw an accent chair at Value City Furniture that is made from the SAME fabric as my accent pillows....but a $400 chair is not in our future at the moment.
Austin came over and helped us carry it into Adam's house. And we were able to pick it up because Aaron lent us his truck. Family is great! We are so lucky. And Austin helping him carry it resulted in far less swearing and yelling than if I was the one trying to help carry a couch!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Done It? I did!

Last Saturday night Erin had a murder mystery party for her birthday...and it was a Twenties theme! I was SO excited about it leading up to the night and it was even more fun than I imagined. She bought a kit online and everyone got a character. I was Rebecca Ravioli, daughter of the Chicago Mob Boss, "Big Jim" Ravioli. We had background information about our character and a few things we had to do (I had to get in an argument with my dad about letting me marry who I want to). When we got our original info...I found out that I was the murderer! I was so excited...but I had to keep it to myself. It was so hard!

The girls from work:
Jen, me, Erin, Katie, Jen

At the beginning of the night we all received bags with a notepad to write down the info we found out, play money to bribe people, a gun, and more secret information that we weren't supposed to read yet.

Katie with her new husband, my dad, "Big Jim" Ravioli (played by the dog because he was to die soon).

Erin's husband Ted as the inspector. "Big Jim" was just shot and the Inspector had to share the clues. After that, we were able to read our second book of secret info. It contained more jobs that we were supposed to do as well as secrets about other players. This is where the fun started. We all had to have conversations with each other and we had to pay attention to what other people were doing and saying.

Katie and me

Erin and Me

After a couple hours, we were all called together. Everyone had to verbally guess who they thought the killer was. Only one person guessed me!

Erin (or Alice "Al" Capone) tallying the results of the Best Dressed and Best Performer contest.

And I won Best Performer! I was so excited! I may have been a little loud...but I took my part seriously!
It was such a fun night and I would love to do one of these again. Thank you so much Erin for hosting it!

You may have noticed that Adam was absent from the evening. He had to cancel at the last minute because of things going on at home. He was sorely missed...although my acting may have embarrassed him a maybe it is good he wasn't there!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Please help this wonderful cause!

Donate Here!

As I wrote about here, my sister is a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. When she arrived there, she did a needs assessment and found the dire need for a women's center. The women there have little to no access to education or healthcare. Additionally, they have no opportunity to make money for their families. My sister decided to pursue the building of a women's center. She hounded the local government and local organizations until they committed almost 50% of the funds. She was left to round up around $16,000. We have had wonderful family and friends contribute to the project and the total is down to around $7,000. The VERY exciting part is that she just got word today that USAID approved a grant for $3,500! The total is down to $4,300. That is all she has left to COMPLETELY fund this project. The catch....she has 10 days left to do it. Whatever funds she receives after the 10 days will be used to build her project, however, if she does not receive the complete amount, a vital part of her master plan may be missing (such as the literacy center or health room). Even if the entire amount isn't reached, EVERY SINGLE little bit helps.

I am reaching out to you! Please take a moment to consider donating to this worthwhile cause. You can read more about the project on my link above in my first post about this. In addition, you can read her most recent post below or on
her blog.

Thank you for taking the time to support my sister and the work she is doing for women worldwide.

10 days!!!!

This morning, I received word from Peace Corps that USAID has approved my grant request for $3,500. This means we are $3,500 closer to being ready to build the Women's Center. This also means we have $4,300 left to raise. And 10 days to do it!!!

After 10 days, the project will be taken off the Peace Corps website, and will be considered closed for funding. We have decided to take whatever funds we have when these 10 days are up. This is to ensure project completion before I finish my service here in May.

HOWEVER, if we don't raise the $4,300 over the next week and a half, we will have to reduce some of the services we are planning on offering to the girls when the Women's Center is built.

For example, $4,300 could be the amount that funds the construction of the literacy room. Or the health room. If we don't raise these funds, one of the services of the Women's Center will have to go.

Please, share this need with friends and family and co workers and anyone who might want to donate in the next 10 days. Also, a wonderful family from CHS is hosting a Henna Party next Saturday (the 14th) to help raise some last minute funds. Contact my mom or sister for details!

Here it is, one more time, the link to Donate to the Women's Center.

The website will not reflect the $3,500 grant that was just approved. This is because it is a grant through USAID and not Peace Corps. Remember, $4,300 is the magic number to have a complete Women's Center!

Here are the girls standing on the land that will soon be the Talbrjte Women's Center!
Blueprint for the Women's Center

Monday, November 02, 2009

Wedding Countdown Surprises

In 2005 my friends Kristin and Ryan got married. They got married right after college graduation (Ryan had already been teaching for a year). Kristin asked me to stand up in her wedding during our junior year and we spent senior year working on wedding projects. Well...she did. I helped with a lot of them though! We had fun sitting at our apartment stamping and folding paper and tissues and other cute ideas she thought of. I was so excited to help with the wedding! Although now....looking back...I think I could have been a better bridesmaid, but what did I know???

Fast forward to July 10, 2009. I got a package in the mail from Kristin. It was a cute "live love laugh" sign for my house with a note about it being out minus one year anniversary. So sweet! And it also included a note about how when they were getting married, I found a little gift or card for her in the months leading up to the wedding. I had COMPLETELY forgotten that I had done that! She said she didn't and has been waiting to do this for me because it meant so much to her.

Have I ever mentioned that I love my friends?

So I have received a cute little gift for the last 4 months (July, August, September, October) either in the mail or brought to me when we have seen each other on the 10th. It is such a fun surprise!

I know she is reading this....and I don't expect it EVERY month! Don't worry! I have been completely surprised every time it has happened. Swear! =)

My fun surprises so far...
1. "Live Love Laugh" sign
2. Cute magnet with a risque phrase about wine drinkers
3. "I Do" rhinestones for the bottom of my wedding shoes
4. An apron with an "H" on it for my new married name
I thought it was about time to post about my fun surprises and my wonderful friend.