Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am trying to get all of our forms filled out and documents assembled so that when we get a copy of our final home study -
our dossier is ready to go!

And don't you know that I look just like this doing it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eva's adventure

I bought this book (the First Adventures of Incredible You) for my daughter, Eva, sometime last year and I was really excited about how it turned out. When ordering the book you answer all sorts of questions about where you live, different family members or friends, etc... (for example one questions asks for your, or your child's, favorite sports team...) Then when you receive the book, all these little details are woven into the story. Eva loves it!

I just received an email stating that this book is on sale through August 31st for $26.36. I did notice an online retailer is now selling this same book for $49, so this is a pretty good deal in comparison. This makes a great gift and I think an especially cool adoption item.

You need to enter the code: adventures20 at checkout.

As always, I have no affiliation with any of these products.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thai fact

"Because Thailand has never been under foreign rule, the Thais hold their heads high and regard people from other nations as their equals. They come across as self-confident, and proud of their country, but never arrogant. They learn from an early age that Thailand is 'Buddha's own country.' They have savored independence for centuries and are very thankful for this."

Monday, July 28, 2008

tip toe

The social worker just left.
Our second home study visit is over.
The kids are both napping at the same time.
The house is clean.

And it's a Monday.

It's as if I am living in some surreal alternate reality.

Perhaps if I tread lightly, this moment in time will last a bit longer...

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have heard some good things about this film and have been wanting to see it. I know that the girl has an unexpected pregnancy and that adoption is a theme in the film. Have any of you seen it - what were your thoughts on it?


We watched this Friday night and I really, really liked it. I hate to recommend a film because each time I do, my mother watches it and then threatens to disown me but...what can I do? I liked it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

just as they promised.

Our first home study is officially complete. I just spoke with our second home study social worker and she asked if she could fly out this monday - I am so grateful that things are finally moving along!

This is Sitha Heng...

"...Sitha is 50 years old and lives in a small village on Cambodia's Mekong River about 15 miles north of the capital city of Phnom Penh. A widow, Sitha has four daughters, three of whom are married and one who lives with her at home.
For the past 34 years, Sitha has supported her family by weaving silk into cloth, a skill she learned from her mother. She sells her finished produts to a middle man in her village, who then resells it in Phnom Penh's markets. In addition to weaving, hard-working Sitha also grows rice to sell. To grow her businesses, Sitha is requesting a loan of $1,200 U.S. dollars to purchase more silk and rice."

This morning I went to Kiva' site and made a loan towards Sitha's goal. She still needs $425 to meet that goal. If you would like to get involved in helping Sitha's business prosper you can find her here.

Such a small contribution on our part can literally change the course of a person's life. Why wait?

**update** Sitha's goal has been met a mere 6 hours from when I posted this. Perhaps some of my generous readers made it happen! There's still plenty of others to partner with though...!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I stole this picture from my friend Mindy's brand spankin' new blog, Eikyo. Man, that is just how I feel. Our (first) home study social worker said that our (first) home study should be done in a week, two weeks tops. Well, it will be two weeks tomorrow. We can't schedule our (second) home study until our (second) home study social worker has our (first) home study in hand. Confused yet?

So I'm just waitin'. Something tells me this will be the first in a long series of waits. I better learn to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thai fact

"The Thais are respectful people. Children are brought up to respect their elders and to defer to authority. If a person has a higher rank then you in society, he or she is worthy of respect, and a good employee acknowledges the superiority of his boss and does not contradict him. Students respect their teachers and would not dare to argue with them or even ask them questions. One of the ways the Thais demonstrate respect is to press their palms gracefully together, fingers pointing upwards if in prayer, and incline their the head forward in salutation. This is known as the wai. It is normal for people to wai when they see a superior, and the recipient of the wai will wai back. The greater the difference in in rank, the lower the head is inclined and the higher the wai should be. The inferior should always initiate the wai."

Monday, July 21, 2008

i really love getting mail...

I have been trying to work out the kinks - and I think I finally have this subscription thing figured out. If you had previously subscribed to the Paben 5, you may want to do it again now. I'm not sure if any old subscriptions will still be working as I have switched to a different service.

If you haven't subscribed before and you enjoy reading the Paben 5 then you can either enter your email in the box in the top right hand corner of this blog and you will then receive an email each time there's a new post.

Or if you prefer reading blogs in a web reader then just subscribe at the bottom of any post and it will let you choose a reader or the email notification option.

Thanks for visiting...and I always love hearing your thoughts...feel free to comment!

love, Em

two thumbs up

A few weeks back as I was headed out for a vacation with my family (ugh, was that only a few weeks ago? Why does it so feel like I still so need a vacation?...but I digress...) I was sorting through my list of "to read" adoption books. None of them appeared even the least bit vacation/pool side friendly. While I feel it is very important to go through this process eyes wide open to all the potential difficulties and issues that may arise - sometimes you need a little break from all the horror stories. There was one book I had been hoping to read, an adoption novel/memoir that looked very unlike the others on my list: The English American by Alison Larkin. It was perfect. Funny, poignant, and filled with rays of adoption insight. If you are feeling a little tired from all the tough reads and need one that feels a bit more like summer vacation, this may be just the book for you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feist on Sesame Street!

I really like listening to Feist and this song translates so well for Sesame Street - my kids love it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knight's prayer

I want to do more then merely exist, walk through the motions, let each day arrive and depart at it's own leisure. I want to act. I want to be intentional. I want to help alter my little corner of this earth. I want to learn to love. And you know what? I REALLY suck at loving. I am far too selfish and too tired and too easily annoyed to love well. I am scared, along with perhaps, most of the rest of the world, and not very brave at all. And I can easily look at myself and feel discouraged or some days, disgusted. But today I just feel encouraged. I did in fact love a little bit better this week than last. I did care about someone else more then myself. I even felt a little bit brave.

This week was rare.

Today it seems as though so little is asked or even expected of us. We can live our own little life never giving much thought to anything other than: "what should I eat for lunch? what do i want to do tonight? what do I want to spend my paycheck on?" And that can be it for all the days of our lives.

I want so much more than that for my life.

I came across this Knight's prayer and I have to say, I really love it. It seems so archaic. I wanna bring it back. Oh, for this to be a normal mindset in our time.

My Lord-
I am ready on the threshold of this new day to go forth armed with Thy power, seeking adventures on the high road: To right wrong, to overcome evil, to suffer wounds and endure pain if need be, but in all things to serve Thee bravely, faithfully, joyfully - that at the end of the days labor, kneeling for Thy blessing, Thou mayst find no blot upon my shield.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a shoe for a shoe

If you can't tell by now, I really love to get behind projects that help to change the world. Particularly the world of kids that don't have the basic things that kids should have.'s another company I love to love.

"The idea of TOMS Shoes came about in 2006 when founder, Blake Mycoskie befriended the children of an Argentine village and found that they had no shoes to protect their feet. Seeing their cuts and sores and wanting to help them, he imagined a company that would match every pair of shoes sold with a pair given to a child in need.

Upon his return, he launched TOMS Shoes: Shoes for Tomorrow.

Within a year, he went back to that same village in Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes to match purchases from caring TOMS customers. Since then, TOMS has hand-delivered an additional 50,000 pairs of shoes to children in South Africa.

For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need."

Love it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thai fact

"Metropolitan Bangkok is an enormous sprawling city of approximately 10 million people that has expanded rapidly over the past forty years. All other Thai cities are minnows in comparison. It accounts for more than half of the national total of telephones and cars - and this is why the city's traffic jams are so notorious.

Bangkok is the original name for the area, and means 'The Village of Wild Plums.' When it became the capital it was given a new name, Krung Thep. This is a shortened version of the official title for the city which is:

The City Of Celestial Beings, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha, the Impregnable City of Indra, The Grand Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious Gems, the Happy City Abounding in Enormous Royal Palaces that Resemble the Heavenly Abode where the Reincarnated Gods Reside, a City Given by Indra and Built by Vishnukarm."


Monday, July 14, 2008

party police

On my son's birthday invite a few months back I requested "no gifts please". A couple days ago I came across an article in Cookie Magazine called The Party Police. The tag line was ..."No gifts. No Siblings. No Sugar. The ever growing demands on birthday guests translate fun." It's a pretty funny article but this one part in particular I found pretty hilarious:

"Nor is there real concern (I'll go out on a limb here) for what the child wants - what kid doesn't want presents? "We already have so much crap," the mother will moan, playing the Buddhist who eschews all earthly matter. When the fact is, she has no problem spending $45 on belly butter and, $50 on a reclaimed teak rattle or dharma-knows-what on eco-camp in Costa Rica. But wave a Little People bus by her and she faints from overconsumption."

I love when biting criticism hits a little too close to home...though for the record I have never spent more then eight bucks on belly butter. Still with another child's birthday just a month away I'm gonna have to stick to my guns on this one: no gifts please.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

one down

Well...our very nice home-study-social-worker just departed.

Sigh. It feels nice to have cleared another hurdle on what feels like some kind of crazy internal obstacle course.

She spent several hours with us interviewing Sean and I both together and separately. It was actually quite enjoyable. As she left she told us that we were her favorite family that she has met with. I'm not sure if that's true, but gee whiz, it sure was a nice thing to say.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

more random advertising

I recently discovered a couple more not-for-profits that I am really digging:  Nest & Kiva.  They achieve their goal from different avenues but both center on providing small business loans to people in developing countries.  Such fantastic concepts.  

Here's a blurb from Nest's site:

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread. -John Muir

"Nest is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the lives of woman in developing countries.  The mission of Nest is to support women artists and artisans in the developing world by helping them create sustainable, entrepreneurial businesses.  To do this, Nest provides micro-credit loans...the funds for these loans are generated by selling a unique line of merchandise produced exclusively for Nest by a group of artists & designers.  In addition to these exclusive items created by well-known designers, the recipients of Nest loans in developing countries also make their crafts available to Nest as repayment for their micro-credit loans.  When you buy from Nest, you have not only purchased a unique and beautiful item, you have participated in a proven effort to better the lives of woman all across the globe."

And from Kiva's site: 

"The people that you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material.  When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are making a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family and their community.  Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments.  Then, when you get your loan money back, you can lend to someone else in need."

Saturday, July 5, 2008


We have just returned from a week long vacation with my family in Mexico.  Our home study is this Thursday and there is suddenly so much to do before then.  Not the least of which is pulling the jungle of weeds that have grown in our backyard while we were gone.  How is it that out here in the desert - everything I have lovingly planted and cared for hasn't lasted the week but these weeds have grown three feet in seven days?  It's tough on morale.