Things are changing around our house.

Autumn is finally here.  I know it's not officially here and that even when September 23rd rolls around
 it's not likely the weather in Florida will even be much cooler than it is now but as far as I'm concerned, Autumn begins the day after Labor Day.   It's my favorite time of the year.  I love the cooler weather,
the colors and smells and the beginning of a non-stop celebration that runs through New Years.    Football games (and by football games I mean watching Taylor cheer), family birthdays, Halloween,
our Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  What's not to love.  So it's time for the change to take shape at our house.

          Time to take down the patriotic decorations that I keep up from Memorial Day till Labor Day.

Blog Alert:   I may or may not have an obsession with
 pumpkins and the color orange.

Happy Autumn to Everyone!

Guest Post Ask5for5

I'm happy to have guest blogger Sarah Lenssen posting today about how we can all join together and give a little to make a collective BIG difference in the lives of those suffering from famine in the Horn of Africa. Together with See Your Impact and World Vision, Sarah has helped to raise nearly $25,000 through social media outlets like facebook and blogger.  Please take some time to read how you can help to alleviate this crisis that is affecting so many.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Deborah and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!


Taylor's First Cheer

This Thursday we had another first in our family. 
 It was Taylor's first time to cheer for her high school team.

These two have friends since they were little girls.

Even though they gave her shoes that were way too big and gave her blisters, she was a
real trooper and smiled the whole time.

Poppy and I are so proud of you and love you very much.  We're looking forward
to seeing you at many more games.


Movie Night!

When Dylan spends the night we usually try to see a movie with him since that's one of his favorite things to do.  This week it was "Toy Story".  He's really into Toy Story now.  He even wants his "3rd" Birthday to be Toy Story.  Lets just say fun was had by all.  I love all of the Toy Story movies.  I get to reminisce about the toys that either I had or my kids had.   If you've never seen them (and I don't think that's hardly possible) or if you haven't seen them in a while, it makes a great movie night with the grandkids.

Yes, that is a VHS.  Luckily the grandkids TV room
has a combination VHS/DVD.  I just can't bear
to get rid of all the VHS Disney movies we
have from when my kids were little.

Dylan couldn't decide if  her wanted to read or watch the movie at the same time.  I think the movie won.
This is such a great little boys book.  It's a follow-up to The Little Blue Truck and my grandsons love them.


Grandparent's Breakfast.

                                    Dylan's preschool had a grandparent's breakfast again this year.
                                              Since Poppy is retired now, he got to go this year.

He was so happy that we were there for the celebration.

This little guy really has a good appetite.

The school was really sweet to have "grandparent" books around
 for us to read to the kids.

There was a surprise guest, Clifford the Dog.  Dylan was a little 
skeptical to have his picture made but as long as Poppy had him
he did fine.  He did a lot of waving from afar.

He was very proud to take us around and show us his work that
they have hanging up around the school.  

His school does such a good job with this breakfast every year honoring
the grandparents and we really appreciate their effort.

Sweet Memories

Wordless Wednesday


First Day of Preschool

Makenzie had a milestone this month.  She started PK-4.  She goes 5 days a week for two and-a-half hours a day.  And guess what.  She loves it.  This is a really big deal because when she went to three year old preschool two mornings a week last year... well let's just say,  it was not her favorite thing to do.  It helps that her best friend, Abby,  is in her class.

Best Friends

                              It's so special to have a best friend who is an encouragement to you.

            This is just the beginning of your school years sweet girl.  Nana is looking forward to all
                      that life has in store for you even though I want you to stay 4 forever.


The Bird Restaurant

Mike came across an bird feeder when he cleaned out the garage and decided to paint it and hang it in the tree in the backyard.  He went with orange.  He thought it would be appropriate because fall is just around the corner (fingers crossed) plus we already had it on hand.   He took it apart and painted it and put it back together, went to the store for bird seed and got chains to hang it in the tree.  When he came he said I'll bet we'll have birds in no time.

It didn't take long to have our first visitor.  He went out a few hours later to take Koby for a walk and this is what he found.

                           I think he likes the little orange house and he makes it a point to stay close. 
                                                       Even if your looking directly at him.

He completely emptied out the entire container in one day.  We're not sure if he ate it 
all or invited his friends.  Not sure how the birds are gonna get any food.

Dylan came over to spend the night and when we went in the pool he saw the bird feeder. 
 He asked what it was for and I told him it was a bird house so Poppy can feed the birds. 
 He said "Nana, I think you mean a bird restaurant".  ha  

You're exactly right little buddy!


Multitudes on Mondays


                                            Joining Ann Voskamp 1000 gifts.

                       Hope you'll visit. Just click on Multitudes on Mondays picture above.

                        Remembering to be greatful in all things

I'm thankful for:
#353  Melissa beginning to slow process of healing and doing it so well
#354  first responders that put others before themselves
#355  God keeping me strong in my goal to eat healthier  (day 12)
#356  my new great-niece
#357  a little guy who wants to try underwear instead pull ups
#358  a little girl who loves pre-school
#359  the anticipation of autumn
#360  pumpkins

#361  that God saw fit to give us the color orange
#362  cinnamon spice candles

#363  nieces and nephews that love celebrating Ethiopia New Year

Melkam Addis Amet!!!

#364  fall leaves
#365  the heros on Flight 93

#366  the ability to remember

#367  candy corn

#368  apples
#369  phone calls with daughters and sons
#370  Brody saying "Nana" and it means me

#371  a very helpful husband

#373  a productive weekend
#374  the cross that found it's way out of the rubble on 9-11

Remembering 9-11

Today we watched the tributes honoring the thousands of lives lost on 9-11.  I'll always remember where I was that ill-fated morning.  I was already at work opening the office (I'm the office manager for a group of psychologists).  I'm always the first one there.  We had a "very small" TV (13 inch) in my office which we never turned on.  For some reason, I decided to turn on the news.  I heard about the first plane hitting and thought "oh my goodness, how could that have happened on such a clear day".  I started watching it and saw the second plane hit.  I was in disbelief.  For what seemed like minutes (but I'm sure were about 10 seconds) the newscaster didn't say anything.   I thought, did I just imagine this.  Finally he said "A plane just hit the second tower.  This can't be an accident ".     Everything changed.

After spending a part of the day watching the tributes it is as fresh as it was 10 years ago.  We will always send out prayers up to the lost souls of that ill-fated day and we especially honor the first responders and heros who took a stand on Flight 93.



I am praising  God today for Melissa's surgery results.  The doctor is  are very happy with how things turned out.  Praying that she has patience as she heals.  It won't be easy for her.

Also, last night my new great-niece was born.  Mackenzie.  It's so sweet seeing new parents with their first newborn child and remembering what that felt like. 

Thank you God for this awesome day.


Sewing (beginning)

This weekend I spent some time "sewing".  I  help with my grandkids birthday parties because I love my grandkids and I love parties.  This year Dylan is have a Toy Story birthday so I decided to make a pennant banner. The tricky part is I don't know how to sew.  My mom "helped" me make my grandsons each a baby quilt.  Code for "helped" is I cut out the material and she sewed it.   I have an old, used machine that Mike got for me 10 years ago that I never really used so I decided this would be a good weekend to break it out and try my hand.  I've been inspired by all the great party blogs so I took an ideas that I had viewed on several of them.

I picked out 4 different materials.  Toy story, green, blue and white.  I also used blue binding and blue thread.  I made a triangle pattern out of card stock and traced over the material with chalk.  6 of each color than 24 additional white triangles to back each one with.

                                I thought with backing it, the triangle would be sturdier.

     And yes, that is the instruction book.  I had no idea even how to thread the bobbin or needle.

                               Once all the triangles were done, I sewed the blue binding on.

                                     This is the finished product.  It's about 17 feet long.

One of the games for the party will be a bean bag toss.  I covered the beanbags with some extra Toy Story material.

All in all, if you don't look too close, I think they came out cute.  I have to say I really enjoyed sewing and hope to do more projects soon.