Monday, November 28, 2011

Cat Tales: A Greasy Situation

I have previously introduced my two feline friends, Edie and Twiggy.  These two are always in to something.



When we moved last winter, we took the kitties to the new apartment the night before to get them acclimated with the new surroundings and to have them out of the way of the movers the next morning.  We had already moved over the shredded chair that they had claimed as their own.  We took them on the subway with their food, litter box and favorite blanket. Twiggy cried in her box and Edie just looked around.  We also got quite a few comments from subway passengers.  So far, so good.

We arrived at the empty apartment.  It had a fresh coat of paint, the floors were clean, it was ready for us to move in.  We opened the boxes and the girls cautiously stepped out into the new place.  Twiggy belly-crawled around until she felt it was ok to walk.  They examined every corner, I don't think they had ever had so much space to explore. 

In the bathroom, we put their food and water and made a little bed for them on the floor. We set up their litter box in the bath tub. Cozy, right?  The vet said it is better for them to be in a small space while adjusting. We did leave the bathroom door open in case they wanted to investigate during the night. We said our goodbyes and left for the night.  They will be ok, right?

The next morning we showed up and the cats were NOWHERE to be found.  We called them, looked in every closet, inside the bathroom vanity, everywhere. Where could they have gone?  Was a window open and they got out?  There is nothing in the apartment except a ratty chair and their set-up in the bathroom.  We kept calling and calling them, I was getting more and more upset.  Marlon was looking in the kitchen cabinets and calling their names and out pops a grease covered head and then another from the top of the cabinets.  There was a little opening at the edge of the cabinets above the stove, maybe 5" x 12", that they both were squeezed in, probably scared to death.  Marlon pulled out two grease covered cats out of the hole.  My guess is that this hole collected kitchen grease and wasn't cleaned before we moved in.  I wish I had my camera.  They were hysterical looking with their fur slicked down.  Of all the places they could hide, they pick a tiny grease hole.  Silly cats.

The cats got a bath, the movers came and we lived happily ever after.

♦ Check out the Christmas ornament fundraising page. Only one ornament left - the snowflake! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? - Faith Hill

For this week's notable adoptee, I'm going a little bit country.

Academy of Country Music award winner, Faith Hill was adopted when she was a few days old.  She was adopted into a loving and positive home.  Her parents had two sons and wanted a daughter. Faith had always know that she was adopted, but had a longing to connect with her birth parents.

Faith's birth parents were unmarried and were unable to care for a child at the time. Her birth parents eventually did marry and had a son.  Meeting her birth mother gave her the connection and closure that she needed.  "Having been adopted, I really have a strong sense - a necessity almost - for stability - a foundation where my family is concerned. Success would be meaningless without anyone to share it with."

Faith is married to country music superstar, Tim McGraw and has three daughters.  She has been has been honored by the Grammys, the Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, the American Music Awards and the People's Choice Awards.  The couple was honored in March 2011 for their charity work with the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Artist Humanitarian Award.

Now that Thanksgiving is here, you might be in the mood for a little Christmas music.  Check out Faith Hill's Christmas album Joy To The World.

Researching these notable adoptees has given me confidence that I will be able to raise a wonderful, well-rounded child.  Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I am so thankful that you are in my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ornament Fundraiser - Week 5

The final ornament for the fundraiser is the Christmas Pickle! There is only one pickle left!

Christmas Pickle Ornament

The Christmas Pickle is a tradition that no one has claimed as their own. The story goes... on Christmas Eve the pickle ornament is hidden deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hang the pickle last after all the other ornaments are in place. On Christmas morning, the child that finds the pickle would receive an extra gift from Santa Claus. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally gets good luck for the whole year.  Supposedly this legend is German, but the German's seem to have no idea what we are talking about.

There are other origins from which the Christmas pickle story may have derived. says,  "there is a family story of a Bavarian-born ancestor who fought in the American Civil War. A prisoner in poor health and starving, he begged a guard for just one pickle before he died. The guard took pity on him and found a pickle for him. The pickle by the grace of God gave him the mental and physical strength to live on.  The other, perpetuated in Berrien Springs, MI, is a medieval tale of two Spanish boys traveling home from boarding school for the holidays. When they stopped at an inn for the night, the innkeeper, a mean and evil man, stuffed the boys into a pickle barrel. That evening, St. Nicholas stopped at the same inn, became aware of the boys' plight, tapped the pickle barrel with his staff, and the boys were magically freed."

We may never know where the legend came from, but it's a fun tradition.  It's the last ornament in the fundraiser and I only have ONE left.  I am thinking the donor should most definitely get good luck for the whole year!

If you are interesting in donating, please go to our Fundraising page.  There 1 pickle ornament and 1 snowflake ornament left.  For a $5 donation, I'll send you your ornament of choice.  We have absolutely been amazed at the generosity of our friends and family. We cannot thank you enough for your support.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? Dave Thomas

Up next on my list of notable adoptees: Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's.

Thomas was born to a single mother and adopted at six weeks old to couple in Michigan. Unfortunately, his adoptive mother passed away when he was 5 years old and he was mostly raised by his grandmother.  He wasn't told he was adopted until the age of 13.  'Life with my new parents was not easy….Yet without a permanent family of my own, I know I would not be where I am today, " he said in Parade Magazine.  

His grandmother worked in an eatery and he spent a lot of time with her there.  He loved food and thought if I owned a restaurant, as he told People magazine, "I could eat all I wanted for free. What could be better than that?"  He started Wendy's hamburger chain in 1969.  The restaurant was named after his fourth child Melinda Lou Thomas who's nickname was "Wenda".

I do love Wendy's.  Marlon used to bring me a Wendy's happy meal and a frosty at lunch when I was in high school.  We'd sit in the school parking lot and have lunch together everyday in the car before I went to work.  I had quite a collection of happy meal toys on my desk at the school office.  Yep, I worked in the school office my senior year.  I went to classes a half a day and other half I worked and got paid.  I would hear all the gossip going on at school, who was in trouble and what the teachers were like outside of class.  It was awesome! 

In 1990, at request of President George H. W. Bush, Dave Thomas began speaking out about adoption to encourage people to consider foster care.  In 1992, he established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to spread the word about adoption.  He testified before Congress in support of adoption tax credits and adoption legislation.  The Dave Thomas Foundation educates and provides grants for adoption.  You can find more information about the foundation here - Dave Thomas Foundation.  That's another for nurture.  Well Done! Mr. Thomas.

♦ Check out the Christmas ornament fundraising page. There are still a couple of ornaments left!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ornament Fundraiser - Week 4

So many of you have donated that I only have ONE set of ornaments and some singles left.  I had no idea that the ornaments would go so quickly.  Thank you so much for your generosity.  Week 4's ornament is a Wishbone.


Thanksgiving is one our favorite holidays and definitely Marlon's favorite meal.  The glimmer in his eye when I pull the turkey out of oven makes cooking the meal totally worth it.  Thanksgiving is our snuggle holiday.  It's usually just the two of us, we spend the day in our pjs, we watch the parade and our favorite movies, call the family, eat turkey with all the fixings and pie (you have to have pie!), snuggle under a blanket  and are thankful for our wonderful life.  Breaking the wishbone has been our tradition since I can remember.  Marlon is a master at carving the turkey and getting the wishbone out perfectly.  Thanksgiving night we break the wishbone, sometimes I get the lucky break and make a wish, some years he gets the break and makes a wish.  We never tell each other what we wish for, but I have a feeling a lot of times we wish for the same thing.

Thanksgiving 2010
This year we are taking Thanksgiving on the road and spending it with my dear friend, Jennifer and the Godkiddies.  I don't think it's going to be much different than our home Thanksgiving, just adding some good friends and maybe we'll throw in a Monopoly game.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

If your interested in donating, these are the ornaments I have left - ONE SET - 1 Shepherd Staff, 1 Snowflake, 1 Cow Bell, 1 Wishbone and 1 Christmas Pickle. SINGLES - 1 Snowflake, 1 dented Sheep Bell, 1 Wishbone and 1 Christmas Pickle.  Email me before you order to make sure I still have them before you donate. If you miss this fundraiser, don't worry there will be a different one very soon! Please see our Fundraising page. Again, we cannot thank you enough for the support that you have given us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ornament Fundraiser - Week 3

Wow, it's already week 3 of the Ornament Fundraiser. Not really, this post is a little early because I only have ONE set left of ornaments and some singles. I had no idea that the ornaments would go so quickly. You know how the fundraiser goes, donate $5 and I'll send you an ornament, donate $25 and I'll send you the set. Thank you so much for your donations.

This is what I have left - SET - 1 Shepherd Staff, 1 Snowflake, 1 Cow Bell, 1 Wishbone and 1 Christmas Pickle.  SINGLES - 1 Snowflake, 1 dented Sheep Bell, 1 Wishbone and 1 Christmas Pickle.  Email me ASAP before you order to make sure I still have them before you donate.  If you miss this fundraiser, don't worry there will be a different one very soon!

Cow Bell
Sheep Bell
Wishbone ornament
Christmas Pickle ornament
This week you get to choose which of these cute farm animals that you want.  I guess they are all cow bell ornaments or is it cow bell and sheep bell?  I had a pig bell, but they are SOLD OUT.  My family is a little bit pig crazy!  No matter, they will make a fun addition to your tree.  I am also throwing in pictures of weeks 4 and 5's ornaments.  I might not get to write about how awesome Marlon is at finding the wishbone in a chicken or turkey or give you the full story of the Christmas pickle.  But follows are some stories about farm animals.

I am a city girl and don't have too much experience with farm animals.  My two kitty cats can get pretty wild sometimes.  I did have a brief love affair of all things cow in the early 90's.  I still use my cow coffee mug every weekend, but that about all that is left from my cow phase.

My Godkids have cows in their front yard and I am a looky-loo every time we drive up. The cows seem to be just as curious about us.

Oh, then there is that time my Granddaddy took me to a slaughter house because he thought it would be a good idea to see where our pork chops, bbq and sausage came from.  I was a vegetarian for about 3 years after that little visit.  But it is a good idea to know where your food comes from.

Mmmm, pork butts for NC BBQ!

I've already told you about sheep because I am a Sheppard. Baaaa!

If you are interested in an ornament, you can get them here - Fundraising.  For week 3's ornament, be sure to add a note of which bell you want in the "Instructions to Merchant" area. Thank you so much for your donation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? Debbie Harry

To continue my series on notable adoptees, up next is Debbie (Deborah) Harry iconic singer of the band Blondie. Deborah Ann was placed for adoption by a concert-pianist at the age of three months. Richard and Catherine Harry, gift shop proprietors from Hawthorne, New Jersey were her adoptive parents. From 10/3 Elle magazine, she says she dreamt Marilyn Monroe was her mother when she was a kid. Not the case, but clearly she got her musical talent from her birth mother. I have to give this one to nature.

I loved Blondie. I remember playing those RECORDS when I was a kid and singing "The Tide is High" at the top of my lungs in a hairbrush. I ♥ 80's music.  Me and my friends used to put on these shows for my family. It was hilarious.  One of these girls is still one of my very best friends.  

Ok, back on topic.  Harry never had children, though she has considered adopting.  She told the Globe recently, "I've thought of adoption, which I think I'd be really good at. Now that this terrible earthquake has happened in Japan, there will be lots of children needing homes."  She's very active in causes for diabetes research to the environment.  Pretty cool in my book.

♦ Check out the Christmas ornament fundraiser page. Stay tuned, a new ornament will be available next week! Fundraising

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ornament Fundraiser - Week 2

Ta Da!  Week two's ornament is unveiled.  A beautiful snowflake for your tree.

There's nothing like waking up early after it snowed all night and the world is blanketed white.  Everything seems so peaceful and still.  This is just a fleeting moment until to realize you have to trudge to work in the stuff.  And then it snows again the next week and next week and you wish you owned a house in the Caribbean.

Blizzard of 2010, in case you forgot about last winter

After last week's freak snowstorm, I started to wonder if this is what we have to look forward to this winter.  Time to refer to the trusty Farmers' Almanac.  This year's Farmers' Almanac says a "very active storm track will bring much heavier-than-normal precipitation from the Southern Plains through Tennessee into Ohio, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. Because of above normal temperatures, much of the precipitation will likely be rain or mixed precipitation, although, during February, some potent East Coast storms could leave heavy snow, albeit of a wet and slushy consistency."  So perhaps not too many snowflakes this winter.  Personally, I prefer my snowflakes on a Christmas tree.

Thank you so much for the donations last week!  I was absolutely blown away by how many of you ordered the entire set. Hugs to all of you for helping our dreams come true.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

If you'd like to donate $5, I'll send you an ornament.  I still have a few week one ornaments left as well.  To donate, click on our fundraising page - Christmas Ornament Fundraiser.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? Steve Jobs

A People magazine came across my desk recently with Steve Jobs on the cover. Being the Apple fan that I am, I was curious to see how People honored Steve Jobs after his death. I was surprised to read that Steve Job was ADOPTED! Wow, this extraordinary visionary that changed millions of people lives was adopted.

He was placed for adoption at birth by a young unwed mother, whose family would not accept an inter-racial child and feared scandal. Jobs was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. Paul Jobs was a machinist for a company that manufactured lasers and Clara was an accountant. His father spent a lot of time with Steve teaching him how to build things, take them apart and put them back together again. Jobs always emphatically said that his adoptive parents were his parents a 1,000%.

His birth parents did eventually marry and had a daughter. He met his birth mother in the 80's and learned of his biological sister. Jobs described his biological sister as his best friend and remained close after meeting. He never met his birth father and was always somewhat dismissive of his biological parents. 

You can read more about his story in the People magazine article - Steve Jobs – the Private Man Few Knew.

This made me wonder what other notable people were adopted. Nature vs. Nurture is a big thing you think about when you are going to adopt a child. I am giving this one to nurture. It is interesting to me to see how people turn out and how adoption influenced their lives. This begins a series of posts about interesting people that are adopted.

Check out the Christmas ornament fundraiser page. Stay tuned, a new ornament will be available next week!  Fundraising

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Christmas Fundraiser is here!

I am excited to announce the Christmas Ornament fundraiser had begun for our adoption.  Each week for the next 5 weeks, I will post a new ornament.   I'll send you an ornament for a $5 donation. For a $25 donation, I'll send you the whole set.  The ornaments will range from religious to whimsy.  All ornaments will be available while supplies last.  Supplies are limited.  Get yours here - Christmas Ornament Fundraiser

Week 1

I am starting with the shepherd's staff ornament.  Being a "Sheppard" myself, as this is my maiden name, I have always been drawn to the role shepherds have played throughout history.  I am waiting for a Tudor's episode with some kick-ass shepherds!  From House of Names, the Sheppard name is Anglo-Saxon and comes from when its first bearer worked as a shepherd, the guardian of sheep.  I did endure a few baaaas growing up, but I didn't mind.  From Wikipedia, Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations.  There are battle axes on the Sheppard coat of arms because ancient shepherds were employed to dig sod around the embattlements of a Saxon village as means of defense, hence the term "the shepherd's ring".  Now if you google shepherd's ring, you'll get information about The View's Sherri Shepherd's, engagement ring.  Anyway, other cool Shepherd tidbits are:  Shepherd Moons are moons which literally shepherd the contents of a planetary ring, giving it a crisper edge and more definition.  And you can't forget about Shepherd's pie.  Here's a good recipe from the Framed Cooks blog - Shepherd Pie.  Yum!

The shepherd Biblical references are probably the most common.  Many Biblical heroes were shepherds, among them the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, the twelve tribes, the prophet Moses, and King David; and the Old Testament prophet Amos, who was a shepherd in the rugged area around Tekoa. As from the verse on the ornament, angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds.  The Good Shepherd is one of the thrusts of Biblical scripture. This illustration encompasses many ideas, including God's care for his people and his discipline to correct the wandering sheep. The tendency of humans to put themselves into danger's way and their inability to guide and take care of themselves apart from the direct power and leading of God is also reinforced with the metaphor of sheep in need of a shepherd.  
From  John 10:11-18:  
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn't care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father. 
That's some pretty powerful stuff.

I am one of those types of people that like to figure things out for myself, which makes it hard for me to ask for a helping hand.  It also sometimes takes me down the long, less travelled road.  Adoption is one of those instances that you need support from your family, friends and maybe from people that you didn't even know. Our adoption will cost about $25,000.  Now that's a whole lotta sheep, but worth every penny.  So I ask you to consider donating $5 and I'll send you an ornament.

The Sheppard motto is Fide et virtute, by fidelity and valour.  It's still a good motto to live by.  Who knew a little printed verse on cardboard and a plastic staff could hold so much weight? That's worth 5 bucks, right?  

Sources:;, and of course The Bible.