Wednesday, September 30, 2009

147 Million Orphans

It seemed like a normal day, taking my kids to the downtown library story hour, David meeting up with us and then heading to the courtyard for lunch.
But then, I walked into the courtyard behind a mother wearing a shirt with this verse on the back, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...." Proverbs 31:8A.
I simply said to her. "I like your shirt," which then led us into a discussion about 147 million Orphans. She had adopted her son and had plans to adopt again. She told me about this organization and it's goal to raise awareness of orphans as well as raise money. I told her how we have been thinking about international adoption. Pretty cool!

But then, I go home and decide to visit a friend's blog who adopted from Ethiopia. I have not been to it for awhile so I scrolled down several posts and came to a post about her finding this amazing blog. It turns out to be the sister of the family who started 147 Million Orphans! Again, pretty cool!
But then, I was over at a neighborhood friend's house this afternoon so the kids could play and I was telling her about my day. She then tells me that these fair-trade, organic blankets we have been wanting to have made by a Sudanese refugee is also the same seamstress for these bags below.

So, not quite the normal day that it had started out to be and sparked my heart even more to continue our quest in international adoption. Does anyone else have days like these?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Vacation

This past week we headed to Destin, Florida for our family vacation. David's parents joined us and we were so thankful for their company and help throughout the trip. We also enjoyed many games of cards, reading books,eating bearclaws,chocolate eclairs, and Kay's coffee ice cream pie! Below are David's parents and the kids in front of the house where we stayed for the week.

We were very pleased with the weather during our stay. It called for thunder showers every day but thankfully we had pretty days after brief morning showers. We also were able to enjoy some beautiful sunsets!

Below is Pops trying to warm Asher up to the ocean. They dug a hole in the sand and were waiting for a wave to come and fill it up. They had to wait awhile since Asher would not budge any closer to the water.

This was Asher's second trip to the beach but his first time in the ocean! We were so excited for him. He wouldn't go in by himself but did allow us to take him out to the higher waves.

Asher had not been sleeping well prior to our vacation (and not so great during) but seemed to enjoy his own king size bed, especially on this occasion. He took over a four hour nap and we could NOT get him to wake up despite multiple attempts to be "loud" in his room. I guess the ocean wore him out!

We had precious family time throughout the week. Asher and Jonas really enjoyed each other and practiced "sharing" their beach toys. This was one of only a few times that the two were actually sitting still next to each other. Notice they both are wearing hats that are really too small for their heads.

This was our first vacation for all four of us and Jonas' first trip to the beach. He loved every part of the trip (except for his nap times). This little boy loved the water and if he had his way, he would have preferred to go in by himself. He would giggle with delight when a wave would crash on us. And of course he also enjoyed splashing in the pool.

Jonas conquered the beach. He would play in the sand and then would crawl great lengths all over the beach (thankfully not into the ocean). We kept a pacifier in his mouth to keep him from eating the sand. We actually only lost his pacifier once in the ocean but it managed to wash up on the shore and another family found it for us.

Jonas enjoyed getting his picture taken with all of us on the beach at sunset. However, Asher did not. He wanted to play in the sand instead. So, this is why we have a precious picture of Kay and Jonas but not one with Asher. Oh well!

We went to dinner two nights at the Villages of Bay Wharf in Sandestin. It had a really fun playground for Asher to enjoy and one night we were able to watch a beautiful sunset over the docks. This was our last night and a great ending to a much needed vacation!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Beautiful Sight

There is nothing more precious than seeing your husband spend quality time with your children....especially reading a book...especially reading a book about Ohio State Football!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

David in the WSJ

It's not every day that you read an article that your husband is quoted, especially in the Wall Street Journal. As many of you know, David is not the type to brag on himself so I am doing it for him. I am so proud of him! He is such a hardworker and never gives himself credit. Feel free to leave him a comment and I will be sure to pass it on to him. (You may get lost in the article but you can at least read David's quotes highlighted. The article is based on David's study but written by someone from the WSJ.)

Investors Approved Pay at TARP Recipients

Shareholders this year approved executive-pay packages at every public company that received funds from the Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and disclosed the results of the vote, according to a recent analysis.

The findings call into question the value of such "say-on-pay" resolutions, says David Wilson, a securities lawyer and author of the study. They come as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this fall on a bill that would give shareholders of all public companies advisory votes on executive compensation, following the passage of a similar measure by the House of Representatives in July.

"Such legislation would have little if any teeth," writes Mr. Wilson – who represents companies at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis LLP, in Nashville, Tenn. -- in the report. "In the midst of unprecedented public outcry … shareholders of every TARP recipient gave a 'thumbs up' to the executive compensation structure."

Charles Elson, head of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, agrees. "I don't think that 'say on pay' is the solution to the problem" of runaway executive compensation, says Mr. Elson, who's also a director at HealthSouth Corp. "The real solution is to replace the directors, not to have a pointless vote."

Of the 282 public companies that took bailout money, 237 reported the results of the say-on-pay votes, required for TARP recipients by the stimulus bill. Shareholders at all of these firms approved the pay packages, though approval rates varied widely.

At the Bank of Commerce Holdings annual meeting in May, 100% of shareholders who voted approved the firm's executivecompensation packages, according to a regulatory filing. President and Chief Executive Patrick Moty says the vote shows that shareholders backed management for "doing an exceptional job of guiding the bank through these trying times." (The Redding, Calif., firm's stock price fell by more than half in 2008 – to $4.23 from $8.50 – but has since recovered to around $5.50.)

But at MB Financial Inc. in Chicago, shareholders narrowly approved a similar resolution, with 51% signing off on the firm's pay packages – the lowest approval rate at any public TARP recipient, according to Mr. Wilson. A third of its shareholders opposed the resolution and 16% were represented by brokers and did not cast a vote. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jill York says, "We think it's unfair…to assume that those non-votes would be no's."

Some firms that awarded big bonuses last year despite poor stock performance also won approval from shareholders for their pay plans. For instance, Flagstar Bancorp Inc. paid CEO Mark Hammond a $1.5 million cash bonus in December "on account of 2008 performance," according to a regulatory filing, though its stock price fell 90% in 2008, to 71 cents from $6.94. Still, 99% of shareholders who voted at the Troy, Mich., bank's annual meeting in May approved its executive-pay structure. A spokesman for Flagstar declined to comment.

Many companies allow brokers to vote on their clients' behalf, says Richard Ferlauto, head of corporate governance and pension investment at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and a proponent of 'say on pay.' In those cases, he argues, the votes don't truly indicate what shareholders want, because brokers tend to side with management.

"You don't get a fair view of the shareholder perspective unless the broker votes are excluded," says Mr. Ferlauto, who recommends that Congress add a provision in the say-on-pay bill to explicitly exclude such votes.

Patrick McGurn, special counsel for proxy adviser RiskMetrics Group Inc., says he thinks shareholders have been slow to vote against executive-pay plans at TARP recipients because there was little organized opposition to the plans this year and many of the firms had "fairly benign pay practices." He adds that "it usually takes several years for shareholders' voting policies and practices to emerge on new issues" and "investor voting support tends to build over time."

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved