Monday, December 31, 2007

Rick Hits the Big 4-0!

Rick turned 40 a few weeks ago. To celebrate, I planned (with Kelland's help) a Halo 3 Surprise Party for Rick and 9 of his friends. After dinner with a group of friends at a local eatery, I drove Rick to the clubhouse of our subdivision where Kelland and Steve had already set up 3 separate screens with 3 controllers at each one to play Halo 3 til their heart's content (which usually translates to somewhere between midnight and 4 a.m.). Rick even had a Halo 3 birthday cake! The guys try to get together for large group tournaments about once a month or so. Must be some sort of "mid-life crisis" thing . . . (although Rick vehemently denies being anywhere NEAR midlife)!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Clark Wins Employee of the Year!

My brother, Joel Clark Putman, won the Employee of the Year Award at his company in Louisiana. He's always been a hard worker, and I'm glad he was recognized for his accomplishments. Way to go Big Brother!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mom's Famous Dressing

My Mom's dressing is always the best ever, and I've never even attempted to learn how to make it. But this year, I decided to help Mom out and to write down the recipe for future use, too. There's a funny family story about Rick calling Mom one day from Kentucky the night before some potluck event we were going to attend. We had decided that Mom's dressing would be the perfect thing to take. When Mom answered the phone, Rick said, "Can I get your recipe for dressing? I want to make some for a potluck." Mom said, "Sure. About 3 months ahead of time, start saving leftover cornbread and put in the freezer." Rick just sighed and said "Nevermind." We bought a premade batch at Kroger instead.

Well, this year for Christmas, I watched and learned. Mom pulled out the leftover cornbread and crumbled it up while I stirred together all the other secret ingredients. Mmmm, mmm, good!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Right to the Point Movie Reviews #3

Movies Reviewed
1. Love in the Time of Cholera
2. Enchanted
3. Beowulf

Theater Crowd
1. Love in the Time of Cholera -- 6 females, including me
2. Enchanted -- approximately 1/3 of the theater filled with a wide variety of movie goers
3. Beowulf -- full theater, more men than women, wearing bizarre glasses

1. Love in the Time of Cholera -- modern literary tome
2. Enchanted -- fairy tales
3. Beowulf -- ancient epic tale

1. Love in the Time of Cholera -- Boy falls in love with girl; Girl marries someone else; Boy waits more than 50 years for girl; Happy ending
2. Enchanted -- Boy falls in love with girl; Girl banished by evil stepmother; Boy and girl find true love; Happy ending
3. Beowulf -- Boy falls in love with queen; Boy battles various monsters; Boy wins queen; Unhappy ending

1. Love in the Time of Cholera -- Dr. Urbino: "A man should have two wives: one to love and one to sew on his buttons."
2. Enchanted -- Robert: "You're not going to sing, are you?"
3. Beowulf -- Beowulf: "They say you have a monster. They say your lands are cursed. I am Beowulf, and I will kill your monster."

1. Love in the Time of Cholera -- girls only - definite chick flick
2. Enchanted -- great date movie; fun and lighthearted
3. Beowulf -- guys would see it again and again

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Camping Adventure

Rick and I headed out for a camping adventure with some of our friends. Our city-slicker friends stayed in fancy-shmancy campers while we roughed it in a tent. Despite the fact that I was sick throwing up the first night of camping, I had a wonderful time overall and can't wait to go back! My favorite part was sitting by the campfire late into the night telling funny stories. Good times.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shop 'til You Drop!

We're raising money to travel to China to get our daughter, Elianna Ruth. You can help out by shopping at my online store or by referring friends to the link to shop. Just click the title of this blog entry to take you there, or go to

Thanks for your help!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Spooky Reading Night

Approximately 500 people attended my school's third annual Spooky Reading Night last night. Author/Storyteller Roberta Simpson Brown was our featured guest. She is the author of seven books and has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows. This was her fourth visit to Simpsonville Elementary School to tell scary stories to our third, fourth, and fifth grade students. The Spooky Reading Night is a favorite event that our families look forward to each year in Wyatt's Woods behind the school. The girls in the picture are following along with one of Roberta's stories using a flashlight.

Welcome Leila & Mason!

Leila and Mason Wells came to town for a quick visit. Joanna drove down from Indiana. Wendy, Troy and Madison joined the festivities, as did Paula, Sarah Grace, and Emma. A great time at Old Stone Inn!

Update on Elianna

Several folks have asked about our wait for Elianna. If you notice the "Countdown to Elianna" at the top of this blog, you will notice that it has been 5 months, 3 weeks and 5 days since our Log In Date (LID). The Log In Date is the date when all of the dossier documents are logged into the China database for adoptions. A referral happens when China sends a picture and information about a baby that has been matched to your dossier. You then decide to accept or decline the baby referred to you. Not accepting a referral is highly unusual. The most recent referrals to families with our adoption agency came after a 23 MONTH wait from Log In Date. Those families still have a couple of months before they will travel to China to get their child.

What does that mean for us? Well, our Log In Date for Elianna was April 10. If the current trends continue, that will mean that we might get a referral for Elianna sometime around March, 2009. Add travel time into that, and it looks like we might go to China for Elianna around May, 2009.

My hope is that the wait times for a referral will decrease. We started this process in April, 2006. A three year wait seems unreal, but I know it will be worth it. Stay tuned to our blog for updates!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Sorry Losers Club

Rick and I just got home from my school. It's Sunday, Labor Day Weekend, just after 10:00 p.m. We arrived around 6:00 p.m. and found two other school employees hard at work. Rick said, "Look! More members of the Sorry Losers Club."* Sure enough, Jill Carpenter (4th gade teacher) and her husband Ken, and Pat White (school secretary) were busy earning zero dollars on their holiday weekend, too. Anytime I go to school late at night or on a weekend or on a holiday, someone else is usually busy at work, too, whether it's our principal, our head custodian, one of our secretaries, or classroom teachers.

The world at large has no clue how many nonpaid hours school employees invest in their chosen profession. Are we really members of the "Sorry Losers Club?" Or are we just dedicated educators? Sometimes I have to wonder. Especially since after spending 4 hours working on Sunday night, I still have many more hours of work to do on my first official "holiday" tomorrow, Labor Day. And my paycheck only covers the 7:15-3:00 workday, which covers 200 days per year. Hmmm. The more I continue with these calculations, the more I realize that Rick might be right.

But, would I even entertain the idea of another career? After 17 years of teaching, I know that education is the perfect fit for me. Teaching was my dream career, and nothing can compare to the feeling I get when I know a child finally "gets" something new that he has been trying to learn. If that puts me in the "Sorry Losers Club," then so be it. I think I have pretty good company.

*Note: Rick is also a member of this elite group. As a career educator, he has spent countless weekends preparing lessons, grading papers, and finding those "just right" resources for his students. "All-nighters" have not been uncommon for Rick during his teaching career. So, his name-calling is justified. He's one, too!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Village People?

In 1997 our Sunday School class held a "Back to the 70s" Party. One of the funniest moments was captured on video and is now on YouTube. Apologies to Kelvin, Matt, Ken, and Rob:)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Few Favorite Photos

I love taking photographs. Looking back at pictures reminds me of all the good friends and good times in my life. I've posted only a few pics here that I was able to access quickly. You can see some of our family favorites on Rick's Blog by clicking here. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Secret Shame #2

Secret Shame #1 was the confession of my admiration for David Hasselhoff (see previous entry). Secret Shame #2 is the confession that I adore Karaoke. Yes, that's right, Karaoke. I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but with Karaoke, that doesn't matter! Everyone sounds bad singing Karaoke (well with the exception of Matt Garner, Erin Forman, and my husband Rick). So, I unabashedly sing to my heart's content when I'm with my Karaoke machine. Yes, that's right, MY Karaoke machine. I have my own -- a birthday gift funded by Mom. The pictures you see here were taken at my 38th surprise birthday party in 2005 and a 2006 Sunday School class Christmas party. It's amazing what good friends are willing to do to humor me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

With Age Comes Wisdom

When you're in your forties, you've been around the block a few times and know the best way to do some things. Take for instance, "how to get a Harry Potter book for the best deal in the shortest line." Michele and I had that one beat from the "get-go." We forced our 40-year-old bodies to stay up until midnight (thanks to Jaye and Bob!) so that we could be in line at 12:01 to get the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We didn't have to wait at all. In fact, we walked away with free posters, free bookmarks, and a free display for my school library! All because we chose to go to Kroger to buy a Harry Potter book at 40% discount. No lines, less cost, no overly anxious kids. Ah, the wisdom that comes with age.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Arrival!

Our friends, Mike and Erin, just became the proud new foster parents of a nine-day-old baby girl! Everything happened so fast. We were with Erin when the phone call came. An hour later, Erin and Mike were welcoming the infant into their home. Rick and I took 184 photographs in about an hour's time! I only have room to post a couple of the pictures here. What an incredible day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mitcham's Peach Orchard

We missed the annual Ruston, Louisiana Peach Festival by a couple of weeks, but we did take a trip out to Mitcham's Peach Orchard to get my Mom a couple of boxes of peaches. Rick's Mom drove me out to the Orchard, and we only had to wait in line about 10 minutes. Sometimes the wait is an hour long! The pictures show the line we were waiting in, workers sorting peaches, and the boxes of delicious Ruston peaches that Mom will enjoy this summer.

Rick's Mom was the grand prize winner in the annual Peach Festival Cook-Off a few years ago. Her peach pie recipe is incredible. Rick and I don't usually eat peaches that much, but we love his Mom's prize-winning recipe!

Mom Prepares for Elianna's Arrival

Mom is very excited about becoming a grandma! She asked me when we arrived at her house last week if I was okay giving up my room (the room that was mine all through high school). When I hesitated, she continued to tell me her plans to get the room ready for Elianna. Now mind you, with current wait times for Chinese adoption, we will probably not bring Elianna home for almost two years. That hasn't dampened Mom's enthusiasm one bit. Here you will see pictures of Elianna's stroller and big girl bedspread (on MY bed!). Mom also already has a baby bed and a high chair ready to be used. I'm really glad Mom is so excited. I'm beyond excited, but it sure is hard waiting so long.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Spoiled Rotten, Part 2

Lest anyone ever think that my Mom is incapable of spoiling her future granddaughter, all they need to do is look at the way Mom dotes on her "grand-dog," Bessie. This is a picture of Bessie taking a nap on Mom's very expensive couch with her head resting ever so elegantly on Mom's specially-designed pillow. Notice the gold emboidered letter "B" on the pillow. At some point in the history of our family, that letter "B" was for Mom's last name. Bessie, of course, assumed the "B" was for HER name.

And you see who got the pillow . . .

Louisiana Trip: Rick, Clark (my brother), and Rick's Dad on Mom's back porch

Sunday, July 08, 2007

On the Boardwalk

We're on our annual summer excursion to visit our families in north Louisiana. We spend half of our time at my Mom's house in Benton and the other half at Rick's family's house in Ruston. On our last full day with my Mom, we went to the Boardwalk on Red River in Bossier City, just across the river from Shreveport. Here's a picture of my brother, Clark, me, and my Mom enjoying a non-Louisiana-like cool walk on a July day. The other picture is me with a big catfish, my favorite Louisiana meal. Rick was there, too, of course. He took the pictures.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Right to the Point Movie Reviews #2

We saw Evan Almighty three weeks before its opening at a special preview. We, and the rest of the audience, LOVED the movie. It got a round of applause at the end. Wholesome, clean, pro-family, overt Biblical references. A "must see!"

1408, starring one of my favorite actors, John Cusack, is an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller. John Cusack pretty much IS 1408. The majority of the movie is a soliloquy. Cusack's character is trapped in Room 1408 which is supposedly haunted so badly that no one in the last 85 years or so has left the room alive. Is the room really haunted or is the whole thing in his mind? See this fabulous summer thriller and decide for yourself!

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is a kid-friendly, true to the comics movie. Personally I prefer super heroes who have secret identities, but I did enjoy some of the humor derived from how the main characters dealt with the paparazzi. The villian (Dr. Doom) is fantastically evil, and the super heroes (Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, and The Thing) are appropriately kind-hearted and wholesome.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

17 Years and Counting . . .

June 23 was our 17th wedding anniversary. Rick and I celebrated by going to one of our favorite get-away locations: Bardstown, Kentucky. Our regular bed-and-breakfast of choice (Beautiful Dreamer) was booked up, so we tried a new one: A Rosemark Haven. Rick and I couldn't decide if it sounded more like a scary movie location or an insane asylum! It turned out to be neither, although the owner told us about the upstairs room that was roped off being the children's playroom back in the 1800s. We just knew that a little red ball was going to come bouncing down the curving staircase during the night and scare us out of our wits.

We had a fabulous weekend that included an historic carriage ride tour of the city, a romantic dinner, and a morning of browsing in local shops. Our schedules don't allow us to go away too often, so this was a much needed treat!

Countdown to Elianna!