Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dave Ramsey's Common Sense Plan

We are big Dave Ramsey fans.  He has so many great thoughts, and I wanted to share this "Common Sense Plan" he (and many economists) believe to be the best for our country...as opposed to the bailout.  He wrote this to be forwarded in emails and letters to our senators and representatives.  It is amazing how little we hear about the other options available to us.
Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following three steps:  
Common Sense Plan.  
A. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.  
B. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:     
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.     
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.       
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.     
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.  
C. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.   
A. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.  
B. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.   
A. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.  
B. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down. 
This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Ali

Aliana is such a lovely baby!  Liz let me practice taking pictures on her last Friday, and we had fun.  It's funny how many photos I shoot to get a few good ones, but I am enjoying trying to learn.  

Since the start of the last school year, I have had opportunities here and there to do some design work for various Cru events.  I have learned lots, and I have even had the chance to do some birth announcements for friends.  Here is Ali's birth announcement that I finished yesterday.  

Update:  (Lots of baby news around here.)  (-:   
Israel's surgery went really well!  God is so good at answering prayer!  Please keep praying for him.  What a sweet little boy He has given the Hoppes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome Baby Israel!

Our good friends and fellow NMSU Cru staff, Vince and Holly, welcomed their sweet little boy, Israel, into the world yesterday.  He is so super cute, and we are really excited that he is here.  We have been waiting a while.  

Izzy was born with an omphalocele, meaning his abdominal cavity didn't develop normally, and some of his intestines are in a sac on the outside of his body.  Yesterday, they learned that some of his liver is in the omphalocele as well...that was a surprise.  He is having surgery on Monday, so please pray for his healing. 

Check out her blog for more info.  

Taylor Meets her Sister

As most of you know, the Washburns are some of our closest friends.  They are on our staff team, and it is pretty impossible to imagine life here without them. 

Liz gave birth to Aliana Grace seven weeks ago.  Their first daughter, Taylor, is two months older than Caleb and is his very best friend.  Because she had stayed with us when her new sister was born, we were there when Ali met her big sister.  Although Taylor had a pretty emotionally difficult time at first, she soon warmed up to the little person who was no longer in Mommy's belly.  It was such a sweet scene, and it was a blessing to be there. 

As I mentioned, this happened almost two months ago.  Today, I got to take some more pictures of that sweet little girl that I will post soon.  

Hopefully it won't be too long before we get to see similar pictures of Baby Israel Hoppe who was born this afternoon.  Please pray for him and the challenges he has ahead of him with the surgery for his omphalocele and other possible complications...and for Holly and Vince, our good friends.  For more info, check out Holly's blog.  Their faith is such an encouragement to me. 

Friday, September 19, 2008


At any park we go to, all Caleb wants to do (apart from hanging out with every family besides his own) is swing on the swings.

So, Brandon built him a tree swing.  He has always been fine on the big kid swings, so we thought he would do just fine on this one.  Brandon built it from some wood we had for one of his many learning activities he takes people through. 

He hung it from a perfect branch in our front yard. 

And Caleb LOVED it!

That is, until this happened.  It was a pretty big "owwwwieee,"  but not too bad that I didn't take a picture of his sweet little face.  

And now this is what the tree swing looks like.  

Caleb just points at it and says, "swiiiiing!"  Sometimes he accompanies it with "owww."  For now, the poor swing lies motionless, but we're sure it won't be too long before he begs us to swing him again.  This time we just probably won't push him as high. 

What a face!

We had a great time camping up in Cloudcroft this weekend...and spent some good time with fun people.  I will hopefully post some pics soon. 

For now, here is another page with pictures I took on his birthday.  

Though, I might add, he wasn't the most joyful little boy last night when he was screaming his head off in the tent and we had to come home.  Poor thing.  And poor everyone else who had to hear him.  :-)  

Monday, September 15, 2008

He's TWO!!!

I blinked, and my baby became a two-year-old.  How is that possible?  We had a wonderful time celebrating his little life this weekend, and Caleb enjoyed it more than any of us. 

We had a guitar party on Saturday night.  So many friends came, and several of them brought their guitars.  Caleb loves guitars and is fascinated anytime anyone plays one.  

The guys had a jam session, and it was very entertaining for us all.  

...and Caleb got to participate.  We had set up a microphone and speaker with Cru's sound system, and he sang his heart out.  

He also played Jesse's bongos along with the music. 

Phil improvised a song about Caleb while the guys played a blues riff. (I have no idea how to spell that...don't even really know what it is.)  :-) 

He had an improvised guitar pinata.  As it was destroyed, its true Hannah Montana identity began to show through. 

I made a guitar cake with a Wilton guitar pan, but I didn't get a picture of it.  It was my first attempt at decorating a cake.  

We got him a little basketball goal that he can't get enough of.  He has a good arm, but I think that the adults in his life will get just as much use out of that little thing as he will. 

On his birthday, he woke up to breakfast in bed in his crib.  He didn't know what to think about us bursting into his room singing to him and bearing a tray of food.  He loved it nonetheless.

His dad is building him a tree swing, so we spent some time on his birthday outside helping him...and then went out to dinner at the same place we ate with my parents last year.  He threw coins in the fountain all night.  It was a wonderful, wonderful birthday weekend. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Two years ago today...

...I was very uncomfortable...and very excited.  

I can't believe it has already been two years.  Caleb was born on September 14, 2006...two days late and very wrinkly.  I was due on the 12th, and my mom had been in town for weeks so that she could be there for her first grandson.  We were all eager to meet him. 

My due date had come and gone.   I was at Sam's stocking up on necessities, and as I was leaving I started losing some peripheral vision.  My doctor told me to go to the hospital to get checked out, and they wouldn't let me leave.  I was induced, and thirteen hours later...Caleb Gregory Pelton was born at 3:09am.  

These pictures were taken at the place my mom rented while she was here...one or two days before one of the most amazing people in the world entered our lives. 

And now I have to go to bed.  I have been staying up too late watching Hurricane Ike on CNN and converting a Hannah Montana guitar pinata into a boy-friendly guitar pinata for my little boy's guitar party tomorrow.  Wanna come?  :-) 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remember this?

Brandon and I were watching this the other night when we should have been going to bed.  I have no idea what made us look it up, but it was in my head for a while.  So, I thought I would pass it along to you.  

What is sad is that the students we work with here in Cru weren't even born yet when this came out.  A strange phenomenon occurs when you work with college students.  While we keep getting older, students stay the same age.  Crazy. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My 30th Birthday

I was looking through some pictures and I realized that I never posted or even shared what my amazing husband did on my birthday.  

I turned thirty two weeks ago today.  The night before, Brandon decided he wanted to take me out to dinner.  He had found a babysitter and everything.  So, we went out to Chili's, which has been my favorite restaurant for years.  Our plan was to eat, go to Lowes and buy paint, and then go home and repaint the dining room/kitchen area because the beigeish color we had painted it was way too neutral for me.  :-)  

When we got home, the house seemed dark and empty except for some pretty party decorations I could faintly make out in the darkness.  We were then greeted with "happy birthdays" everywhere!  Brandon had planned a surprise party for me!

There were friends from church, from our staff team, and from Cru!  I felt so loved and blessed that night to have such wonderful friends and such a great husband.  Thanks, sweetheart!  

Holly H. and Holly W.  made the amazing cakes.  They were WoNDerFul!  And sadly, they were all eaten.  :-) 

Caleb helped me blow out the candles.   The blurriness in the pictures is because I hate using the flash on my camera.  

This beige paint is now blue...soon to be decorated with white paint.  I haven't decided on the design yet.  Needless to say, we didn't get any painting done that night. 

Doesn't Liz look amazing for just having had a baby a few weeks before?

Brandon gave me breakfast in bed...Cream of Wheat.  He makes something I would never have eaten before postively mouth-watering...with brown sugar and butter.  Not too healthy, but so good. 

Caleb also helped me eat my breakfast.  That's koala next to him...his favorite stuffed animal. 

The other Caleb had the idea to go hiking on the morning of my birthday up at the waterfall in Fillmore Canyon.  Living in the desert, this is an amazing novelty for all of us.  It is beautiful. 

Caleb took Caleb out to touch the waterfall. 

Then they threw some rocks for a while. 

And this is who greeted us on our way out.  A tarantula as big as my hand.  

Caleb's birthday is on Sunday with his party on Saturday.  So now we are getting ready for that. I am excited.  It is fun to have the space to have lots more people over than before.  Instead of having his party in the park, we can have it at our home.  So fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Cruces Family

Living thousands of miles from family can be pretty hard...especially with a little boy growing up so fast.   God, however, has given us the next best thing.  Our church family is wonderful, and it is hard to imagine life here without them.  

These are some pics from our Labor Day picnic on the land where we will eventually have our new building.  

Caleb spent the entire evening convincing other kids to play with him in the puddles.  The last picture is Caleb throwing rocks in the water right up until it was time to go home.  He is definitely all boy.