Friday, March 31, 2006

Had I Known...

I'm totally having a "Had I known..." day! I KNEW that my friend and her husband and two boys were coming to go to the aquarium with us this afternoon, so I cleaned my downstairs and went for a nice walk this morning (will try to post more about that later!). I returned home to a phone call from my friend. When I called her back, change of plans.... her husband is heading to NY today to help his sister move. She called this morning to ask if he would come - now, that's just insane! Then, on top of that, my friend's parents are in town. Old family friends, who I love dearly, and I'm so excited they are joining us today. But, the clincher - they are all spending the night! Had I known, well, my house might actually be ready for them! Please, pray for me if you have a moment!!! -eek-

Spring is in the Air!

It is a beautiful day here - warm, springy! I have my spring cold, so I know we have officially arrived. Today Kt has no school, so she's downstairs relaxing before I make her go on a walk with me. I figure that's better than making her read a book while I work out at Curves. Then we go pick up Em after straightening up our house, have a bit of lunch and wait for our friends to arrive.

The plan today is to take some friend's to the aquarium. They are my only takers on that offer I posted months ago! Can you believe it?? Any excuse for us to !! I'm sure the Baltimore Harbor will be busy today, with all this warm weather. We may even stay down there for dinner - we'll have to see how all the kids do!

Yesterday, for Kt's half day, I had planned to take the girls to see The Shaggy Dog, but instead they played outside all afternoon. It was very strange - as I am still getting used to not watching their every move. I got a lot done around the house - cleaned out the garage, did laundry, cleaned up the kitchen. I guess there is a ray of light where my disorganized house is concerned. I never really imagined hours of time to do all this until this year. YEAH!!

So glad spring is upon us!

Thursday, March 30, 2006


On the message board I participate in (I only message on one - I don't think I could handle more than that!!) my favorite little icon is the "eek" one. Ever since the first time I saw it, it has made me laugh. I think it's hysterical! I emailing with another board member and we are constantly putting -insert eek here- because for some reason, those little things don't work in my email!

Who is Best Equipped to Deal With Homelessness?

I came across this article in the WP about a "hypothermia" shelter among churches in Fairfax County, VA. Our church participated in something similar to this last year in Howard County. This year, because of our move and the unknown factors involved in that, we did not participate. It was a big commitment and a big eye-opener for us, too. In wealthier, non-urban counties, I think we refuse to accept that there is a need to take care of our homeless. The question is who is responsible to do this??

Our county opened a "homeless" center, although I don't know that it is a shelter. It was through this center that the shelters in churches were organized last winter. In the above article, they end with this quote:

"We don't believe untrained, unprofessional church people are best equipped to deal with these problems," he said. "All we could do is provide a temporary Band-Aid so they didn't freeze to death. It's unfair to make churches responsible for that care."
I am really intrigued by this conclusion, because I thought as the church, we ARE responsible to care for this. Am I wrong??

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' " Matthew 25:34-40

At least that's the way I read it.

What this person is maybe suggesting in the article (?) is that average, ordinary people are not trained to deal with what we experience when we step out and serve. I would wholeheartedly agree with that. My suggestion would be that we step out more and learn more how to do what He asked us to do above! The best training will come by experience.

Kt's Tag Answers

T posted these yesterday - I'll post them here - take special note of her favorite park. I promise I didn't coach her on this one!

Sport: jump rope
Movie: Yours Mine and Ours
Cartoon: Spongebob Squarepants
Toy: toy laptop
Book: Magic Treehouse
Song: I'll Fly Away
School subject: Math
Clothes: Jeans
Pajamas: Nightgowns
Color: Rainbow
Food: Grilled Cheese
Animal: Dolphin
Vacation: Connecticut
Hobbies: computer
Dessert: lots of them - choc chip cookies
Places to go: Savannah
Park: Animal Kingdom
Park Activity: Jungle Gym
Preacher: Pastor Tim
Bible characters: Mary, the mother of jesus
Holidays: birthday
Day: Saturday
Prayer request: friendships
People: Abby
Boyfriend: Alex (don't worry, she doesn't quite understand that she has to wait until she is 21.)

Incidentally, Kt's favorite color has been rainbow for YEARS!! She was never able to pick a favorite color, so she always would say I like rainbow color! Last year, my brother the architect and percussionist, wrote and recorded her singing a song they called, "My Favorite Color is Rainbow." It's an adorable song and I wish I could post it for you. I don't know how AND they don't have any rights reserved on it yet, so maybe a later date, like when she's 21 most likely!!

Spring in D.C.

I found this link to a Cherry Blossom guide in the Washington Post. We are heading down to DC this weekend for the circus and are going to try to get ourselves to the Tidal Basin for a peak. Don't worry - we aren't planning to drive!! I know around our neighborhood the cherry blossoms are almost at peak, so I'm certain this weekend will be awesome! It's one of my favorite times of year, and around here, it's just beautiful!!

Last night T and I watched Memoirs of a Geisha and there was a scene with beautiful Cherry Blossoms - it just made me want to go downtown all the more! The movie was pretty good - very artistic, a bit slow and sometimes difficult to understand, even for T who has heard a lot of broken English in his lifetime!

So, if you are in or around DC this spring, don't forget to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms, the beautiful fountains and all the signs of new life!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Little Too Late, Perhaps?

Now, I've not commented at all on the Natalie Holloway case, although I have to admit that I was completely riveted by the media coverage of this story last year and have continued to follow it. I have always wanted to visit Aruba, but now I'm not so sure I'd be so enthused about being somewhere where I know 1) that the government would choose to be so uninvolved in a very important case, with little support or information for the victims, and 2) a place where it's pretty likely they are very tired of Americans!!

I saw this today on Foxnews and can't help but think about all the time the Dutch government has wasted in trying to solve this. A TV show NOW? What a farce!! Who is likely to step out now, on this tiny island, who wasn't willing to up to this point, and all because they will ask for help on the TV??? All the while, the people who REALLY know what happened are enjoying their lives, free as birds. Sorry, Netherlands, I'm not falling for this one.

There, I said it, now back to not commenting on these infuriating stories anymore!

What City Are You?

You Are Boston

Both modern and old school, you never forget your roots.
Well educated and a little snobby, you demand the best.
And quite frankly, you think you are the best.

Famous people from the Boston area: Conan O'Brien, Ben Affleck, New Kids on the Block

Here's the link - I'll have to see if their "Select and Copy" thing actually works!
Thanks, d!

To say I'm disappointed...

well that would be a bit of an understatement. Some points I find in here, lawmakers balking at an ammendment to more fully fund adult stem cell science (therefore the push for embryonic stem cell funding is obvious), the governor signing the bill even though he believes that legislation should not be necessary for funding science (so why did he sign it???) and the idea that "It furthers our reputation nationally and internationally. . . . It helps us retain our best and brightest here." I'm not just disappointed - I'm disgusted. When can we move? I'd rather have my tax dollars used for something that CREATES the best and brightest, not proposes to destroy what might become the best and brightest!! Use the money from the people who want this - PRIVATE FUNDING!!!

Let's Dish Update!

It's been a month since I went to Let's Dish, so I thought (since there is so much interest out there!) I'd update you all and let you know how we liked it!! I am ready to go back because we really did like it a lot - the food has been mostly fabulous and the convenience can't be beaten, for me anyway!

One thing I do intend to do next time is only purchase 8 meals - 12 was great, but I'm not sure I would be able to do that again without my mom. I would also split the meals in half. We usually had half of the meal left over, so I know that for most of the meals, I could split them and probably end up with more like 14 meals!

Here are the ones we LOVED: Greek burgers with onions and feta, Chicken Chili, Chicken Rustica, Chicken with Rosemary Dumplings, and the Classic Herb Pot Roast. All of these were excellent - I would definitely make them again.

The ones we liked, and why: Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops - we aren't pork fans, and they were very dry, I'd make this again but use chicken, Roasted Garlic Chicken with Rice - the chicken was garlicky but the rice and veggies were lacking in taste and very dry.

We still have to try another Chicken Rustica and I have a Chicken in Tomato-Vodka Sauce with Spinach Linguini defrosting in my fridge. If you do this and freeze your meals, allow a couple DAYS for that defrosting action!! I put it in the fridge on Monday night and it's still a bit frozen!

We LOVED the Decadent Molten Chocolate Cakes - to die for! Very fattening, but delicious. They are worth making!! I think they may have been T's favorites.

I am looking forward to returning this April for more dishing. They have a different menu that includes a French Toast dish - I LOVE breakfast food! I'll have to let you know how my next menu goes.

I am not Deanna Large!

Just in case you are wondering, I'm not her! I've had three people (maybe more) come here looking for news about her. You can find that news here! Just another notorious Deanna! I have a maltese.

Tagged! Again!

Well, our friend Jeremy tagged us - actually our girls. I'll take Em, T can take Kt! I'll see what I can get from her! (We are already stuck on favorite movie - this is going to take all day!)

Sport: Basketball dribbling
Movie: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Cartoon: Spongebob Squarepants
Toy: American Girl Doll horse
Book: I Want to Be a Firefighter
Song: There She Goes
School subject: Play
Clothes: Summer clothes
Pajamas: Bunny pajamas
Color: Purple
Food: Mac & cheese
Animal: horses and dogs and bunnies
Vacation: Connecticut
Hobbies: go to Madi's
Dessert: zebra cakes (I have no idea what these are!)
Places to go: park
Park: Our park - Holiday Hills
Park Activity: play
Preacher: Pastor Mark
Bible characters: Jonah got eaten by the whale
Holidays: Christmas
Day: Sunday
Prayer request: thank God for loving us
People: my family and Madi
Boyfriend: Virage

(I'd have to say, this was a bit painful, as Em has very little interest in doing anything I ask her to do today!!!!)

Bad Mood

I'm having one of those days where you just want to crawl back into bed a start all over again!! I have no idea why my day is going so poorly. I got plenty of sleep, it's sunny outside, I'm alive, breathing, have plenty of everything I need.... My 5 year old started the day by once again arguing about each and every thing. She wants to wear shorts, she wants something for breakfast we don't have, she doesn't want to wear sneakers, or a coat even though it's only 50 degrees out, the road work that they have been doing near her school has finally made to the entrance - can't wait until that's out of the way!, my tutoring sessions were annoying - my little kindergartener was no cooperative, my 3rd grader was the one ray of light in my morning!, I took myself to the lab for bloodwork - nightmare, an hour later I was picking up Em only to find that their program was running late, the last field trip of the year is a bus trip, costs $4/child, $6/chaperone - another farm trip! UGH! OK - enough of my run-on sentence. Anyway, there was no sign-up for the trip. That will be posted on Friday, the day that Kt has no school but Em does and we'll be lucky to get her there on time... And why am I paying for a field trip when I paid a $60 activity fee early in the year that was supposedly to cover all field trips AND they knew about this one before they came up with the fee because they told me all about it! I'm just downright annoyed.

I think I need to go back to bed and start all over again - ever have a day like this?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thinking BIG!

Tonight, when I was putting Em to bed, I mentioned that we had something big planned for Saturday. It's a surprise for the girls. We are taking them to the circus! I didn't tell her that, but she wanted to guess. I told her we were going to do something we have never done before. She thought about it for a bit and then said, "Are we moving?" I started laughing, of course, because ever since she was 2 she has wanted to move. She never wants anything more than to move to a bigger house. For some reason, she has this idea that our house is too small, which is hysterical because it's not and for a child so small to think that - well, I'm scared!!

After I told her it wasn't that, I did ask her where she would like to move. I fully expected one of two answers. The first one I thought might be to Connecticut, to mom's house. The second I would expect would be Savannah, to Skyler's house. Well, as usual, she surprised me by quickly saying, "Disney World!" Ah, a girl after my own heart!! And with the heart of a princess, as well! I hope she's not disappointed.

The Buzz on Parents

Very interesting article in the Washington Post about a new book, parents and the differences between Baby Boomer parents and GenX parents. I found it interesting but also a little confusing. I guess I have some of the characteristics but not all of these "types" of parents. While thinking about returning to work probably in education, it was a good read to prepare me for some subtle changes. My mom has warned me - mostly about becoming one these!! (bad parents, that is!)

Terra Nova Testing

My older daughter, Kt, is having some major anxiety over this standardized school testing. I don't really understand this one, because when I was a kid I love standardized test weeks. No school work, no homework, extended recess. What's not to love!!!????

This all started, though, a few WEEKS ago, when they started "practicing" to take this test. Now, as a teacher this raised a few red flags. We were never allowed to practice for standardized testing and that seems a little unfair to me that they can now. My daughter also seemed to have this idea that this test would affect all her school grades, that it would determine her report card grades, that all her practice tests would be graded.... I tried to figure out where she had gotten all this information because 1) I didn't want to overreact to all these things that I knew had to be false, and 2) Kt has a tendency to draw her own conclusions based on small, insignificant comments. I've learned that she has quite an imagination and that it often runs wild!

I have really tried to downplay this test for her. All weekend, she asked me several times a day if she could just stay home and skip this test. The big problem: they were going to take away their pencils and give them new ones! How tragic! I still haven't figured out if she was overreacting, and I sent her to school anyway. Yesterday, at her doctor's appointment, when he asked if they sleep well, I said, "Well, Kt has always sleeps well!" She replied with, "I didn't sleep at all last night because of my Terra Nova test!" What is up with this test???

I have resisted complaining, resisted asking other parents if their kids are just as freaked by the whole thing, instead resorting to prayer! Not such a bad thing. Kt and I have prayed that she would not be nervous, that her new pencil would work, that the test would be fun.... The good thing about this - I am pre-warned that the SAT's will be murder! (on our knees, anyway!)


I did it! I took both girls to the doctor by myself and survived! Truth be told, it's not my first time, but the fact that I survived yesterday is huge because of late, my girls have found that freaking out at the doctor is something they enjoy. I don't really know why, but it just happens.

Yesterday, we needed to take care of our yearly appointments. I've put them off so long because the truth is that I avoid the doctor at all cost these days. Last year was not a pleasant one with me and the doc, so that's just not my favorite place! But, I took them. I told T that I didn't think there was any need for him to tag along, so he didn't. No shots, no bloodwork, who would have thought there would be a problem.

Everything seemed fine. We all sat in the little room, the girls were all set to begin, the nurse came in and Em took one look at the blood pressure cuff and started to scream, "No, not that! I'M SCARED!" and she had a look of absolute fright on her face. It really did take the three of us by surprise that she had that reaction. She pulled her little arm into her gown and wouldn't let go! Kt tried her best to show Em that it's no big deal. We even reminded her that she's had this done many times before and never made any big deal about it. The nurse finally gave up. I'm quite certain she went and told all her nurse friends about my psycho child! When the doctor came in, he asked a little about it, said we'd see later if she would agree to it, then asked about their flu shots. I said, "Don't ask!!"

I found myself in this funny position yesterday, because for me it's my blood pressure that is a huge problem. It's a problem that runs in my family. For my cousin, it all started when he was 13 and for me, around the same time. He was given many tests which determined there was nothing physically wrong with him. I had a bunch of tests done right after I was married with the same result. But the problem continues to plague me, so I don't belittle the fear of the cuff! It's just that she's 5!!

I finally did what all good and wise moms do in situations like this - I bribed her! M&M's do it everytime. I should have thought of that earlier! I just didn't foresee this problem. I didn't think bribery would be necessary, or I would have offered before we ever stepped foot in the doctor's office!

Instead of M&M's, I actually took them to McDonald's for some ice cream - decided to add a littel calcium to the deal. I then kept Kt home for the rest of the day. We had fun, I was whooped, though. I fell asleep as soon as we got home! These doctor appointments sure do wear me out!

Monday, March 27, 2006


Looks like T will be heading to Cameroon this summer - at least that is our hope! Originally, we had talked about this year being our first trip with the girls. We wanted to give it a try. Of course, that was when we were thinking we'd be going to Europe. Africa is a different story. With over 20 hours of air travel, I'm going to pass this year. I'm slightly diappointed, because I think KT would love to go to Africa, but Em is a different story. I think she would probably end up being a bit more high maintainance, and for only 10 days, I really want T to be able to give quality time to his team and their purpose in Cameroon.

Our LA trip will be the longest the girls have been on a plane. Up to this point, the farthest they've flown is Orland0! That's a whopping 3 hours!!! I just think it's asking a lot of a 5 year old to spend a full day on a plane, then tell her her father is unable to do anything with her because he's busy working in this foreign country. Maybe I'm crazy, but that's my thinking right now.

I am very excited for this team - I think it's the right place to be heading and I'm certain that whatever happens, that God's fingerprints will be all over it. God does everything intentionally, with a purpose, and it's always to change lives.

Beauty From Ashes...

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to the prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called the oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

I was reading this passage last night for my Perspectives class and I could hear Beth Moore in the background, passionately proclaiming this word. I have really grown to love it and last night, all I could think was "spring"! Well, that's not really all, but I was thinking how wonderful it is to be a planting of the Lord. To be a new life in Him, to glorify Him, to become a mighty Oak, of righteousness.

What is a favorable year of the Lord? Is it one without mourning? or death? or ashes? or faintness? No, it's one where God provides the hope in all those things: oh, to be anointed with gladness, to wear a mantle of praise, to see beauty in ashes. And the best part - to be set free, to proclaim liberty in all that binds my heart.

Sometimes, actually often, I feel overwhelmed by grief, or sadness and life in general. I am the original brokenhearted one. If I never was, these verses would mean nothing to me at all. The hope I see in these verses is enough to make me cry. I wonder sometimes if God really can make my ashes into beauty... a brokenheart free, full of liberty. Of course, He can. Will I let him? That's another story...

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations.

Isaiah 61:10, 11
Spring up, in righteousness and praise, before all the nations - proclaim the Lord, your God!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Warehouse

I keep meaning to post pictures of our new building, so my plan was to take some camera phone pics today and post them. That is the easiest way for me because I am still a little confused by the whole digital camera thing... I love that I can email myself pictures from my phone - so much easier!

Well, I got one pic today at the Warehouse - where our teens meet. Then my battery died! Sorry - I'll have to try again next week! Sorry - it's indoors and not the best picture - oh well! I'll try to get that phone charged for next week.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Christian Colleges Increase Enrollment

Looks like more graduates are heading for Christian colleges more than ever before. With all the upgrades at schools like Gordon College (hint, hint) I can understand why. Unfortunately, as pointed out in this article, the increase in applicants mean some students are being turned away. Colleges admitting that these are students who would have been admitted in years past.

I personally loved my four years at Gordon. I know Christian colleges aren't for everyone, but I really appreciated it after public schooling and seeing what my friends who attended large state universities experienced. I would love for my children to attend a smaller Christian college. The question will be can I afford it?? We'll just have to wait and see...

Taking Notice of Signs

Here is a funny article in the Washington Post about church signs. You know those signs out front with changeable letters? Well, they used to have times and events posted on them, much like school signs. These days, they are full of funny and thought provoking messages. I think it's of interest that there is so much interest in them!! If you can read this, it's kind of funny and very interesting!

What a Day!!

I got up at 8 - on a Saturday, mind you! - and was out the door a bit after 9. I was very excited because unlike most of my scrapbook events, this one was only 20 minutes away! I knew I'd be there quickly AND no worries with only about 1/4 tank of gas. I had carefully written down the directions and was on my way. Two hours later, I arrived!! UGH!!!!

Apparently, the directions on this consultants website were, for whatever reason, incorrect! I went in the wrong direction and ended up on this little loop of a road. After driving around Severn for about 1/2 and hour, ending up at the front gate of Ft. Meade, I headed home. There I found the correct directions (at least I hoped they were correct), went to get gas! and then went on over. I was not in a good mood! Fortunately, it ended up being fun, short and a little profitable - at least it covered my gas.

The best part of the day was when they decided to play a hot potato game and had to find a music radio station. They found a Christian one. After the game, they left it on and I had about 30 minutes of joy, of course mixed with the smoke I had to inhale because I was sitting by the front door! But it was fun. Finally, someone figured out what we were listening too and said, "I've had just about enough of this stuff!" I laughed - wonder why it took so long?? It was great while it lasted.

Now it's an evening of cookies and Indiana Jones - oh, yeah, and computers!


Today I have a scrapbook day on my calendar. For me, that's when I pack up a bunch of my scrapbooking stuff and head off to do calligraphy for everyone all day. It's usually fun, I get to see lots of people I only see twice a year, make a little money and bring home some great ideas. Today I had two events to choose from and I guess I was a little lax in choosing. It turns out neither of them was expecting me. Now, if I'd kept my email shut, I could have the day to myself, but instead I'm off to one of them.

It's not that I don't like going, it's just that I'd rather stay in bed today - because I'm so lazy!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Action Sports?

OK, for those of you who know me, you understand this is a stretch for me!! I'm not exactly athletic and, well, action sports are a little, shall we say, frightening for me! Anyway, a friend of mine had her husband read my trampoline post and he posted it on his very popular action sports site - so I'm published! (sort of!)

Check it out!

I've been warned that some content can get a little foul-mouthed, but you all might be interested in Racer's Refuge.


I'm a Porsche Boxster

"You're stylish, nimble, and good-looking. When it comes to having fun, there are few who can surpass you. And yet, you suffer from a lingering inferiority complex. Maybe it's because you have an older relative who is always in the limelight?"

What kind of car are you??

How Did We Survive??

I found this on a blogging friend's blog today and I roared through the entire thing! Another online friend of mine was just laughing with me too about a trampoline post of mine from a while back, so this was just so timely! Here goes:

How Did We Survive???

Today I was thinking about some of the things we did as kids that don't happen today...I found this list gave me a chuckle!


When we were growing up we never wore seatbelts in the car, cars didn't have airbags ... ??

Riding on the back of a pick up truck was an adventure that we still remember! ??

Our cribs were painted with bright colors (paint which was full of lead) ??

We didn't have childproof medicine bottles, nor did our parents ever childproof our house ??

When we rode our bikes we never wore a helmet. ??

We would drink water from the faucet or from a hose in the backyard (not bottled water). ??

We didn't have cell phones , so our parents were never able to reach us (awesome) . ??

We would get scrapes, bruises, break bones , lose teeth , but we would never sue for these accidents. ??

We would eat cake, , bread and butter, , drink sugary drinks, and we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing ??

Four of us would share a drink, we would all drink from the same bottle and that wasn't gross nor would anyone get sick.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.??

We didn't have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X boxes, video games, cable TV with over 100 channels , VCR's , surround sound , cellular phones , computers , online chatrooms , instead we would have tons of FRIENDS ??

Some of us weren't as bright as others but when one would get left back that was no big deal. They would not get taken to a psychologist, nor did they ever suffer from dyslexia, hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, etc, they would simply repeat the grade until they passed.??

We had freedom, mishaps, successes, responsibilities, and we would learn to deal with them.


Do you have any to add?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ready or not!

I just got back from my Southern Living Party. It was at the home of a friend of mine who is the shabby chic queen!! I love any excuse to visit her and I just sit there in awe of her marvelous decorating skills, not to mention her ingenuity when it comes to refinishing furniture. I need to be under her tutelage!

Tomorrow morning I have some women coming over for Bible study - my house is still in a bit of disarray, even though I've spent most of today cleaning. A better part of the day was spent in one room of this house - Em's. That child is a living, breathing hurricane! I am guessing that while I was out tonight, she "redecorated" her room and that my time spent in there today was all in vain! I tried to get her to dismantle the "library" she set up in the living room. She was not happy about that! Why? Because I haven't returned the books I borrowed on free borrowing day! Tough!

When I got home I made my favorite egg casserole. Now, I need to clean the bathroom, the kitchen and the family room and I'm trying to decide whether to put in the cranberry-orange bread tonight or make it in the morning. Decision, decision, oh, pay me! (Do you remember that old ad for the LIFE game?) Anyway, I'd rather go to bed. It's been a long day and I've feel like I've accomplished little.

Tomorrow morning, here they all come!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Loss in the Kingdom

As some of you know, I'm a fan of this Disney VMK, or virtual magic kingdom, game and a message board full of people I've gotten to know and grown to love. I wrote about them about a month ago and the community that has been created by a bunch of "Disney freaks" that we are! I have made some good friends and have gotten to know some people "virtually" that I know I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise.

Above is the avatar used by an online friend, "Smithers," on our message post. I haven't a clue what it is or what it symbolizes - I'm hoping it's nothing too offensive. Smithers was well-loved by everyone on the message board. He was a father, an Aussie, a Harley-Davidson biker, a husband, a Chrissie (Christmas) fanatic and a friend to all he loved. He was very protective of the children who played on the game and made it a point to play with his own children on the game. He was always a lot of fun - I've not heard one negative thing about him!

Smithers posted at one time about what brought him and his family to the US - it was cancer. He had it and was being treated for it. When I first found the message board last fall, one of the first posts I read was "Smithers Went Down!" and I thought he had been banned or something. After reading further, it became apparent that he had been in a terrible bike accident and was bed ridden in the hospital. In January, he finally came home, still on major pain killers. We were all so happy to have him back.

It's been a couple months since anyone has heard from him and finally, last Friday, his wife posted that he passed away March 2, just one day before anniversary of my dad's death. It was sudden, fast, peaceful - lung cancer. On this message board, the grieving is real and like nothing I've ever experienced before. I've seen things like this online, blogging buddy's who rarely if ever met and then one dies. It's a strange thing, a different connection and a loss that is hard to explain to anyone you know.

For the past week, there has been a thread on the site to leave a message for his family. Kids and adults in the game have designed rooms in memory of Smithers, they have shared wonderful stories and have used the avatar above to show their attachment to this man, what he lived for and what he meant to them. I have many times this past week wondered what the parents of some of these kids are thinking. Do they understand or acknowledge the real grieving that their children are experiencing? Are they able to step in a help them or even recognize it for what it really is??

I have emailed with another kingdom member about this very thing, as her husband is a cancer survivor and has taken this loss very hard. He used to have email conversations with Smithers and had gotten to know him through his own children's (and wife's!) passion for the game. He, himself, does not play but he does understand the connection. We both have been thankful that there seems to be enough support online, but one never knows...

It is a real blessing to see the comfort Smither's wife has received through the board. I think she has been amazing, letting different kids know what they meant to him, letting others know just how much Smither's "Ohana" at the kingdom meant to him. He will be greatly missed - someone I never really met but sort of did. It's my first real online loss - but a feeling that I recognize all too well; grief.

An Audience in the Dead?

For those readers who have been around for a while, you know that I used to have this fixation with my sitemeter. Well, I still have it, I just don't talk about it as much! It's still fun to see who is reading and where they are from. I have also, on occasion, mapped where some readers are from. Before you get all spooked by this, it is FAR from an exact science!! It's just funny to see where I end up on a map. A few months ago I posted on this and how my latest reader was from Sesame Street!!

Well, the other night I noticed a lot of hits from one particular area so I decided to check it out. I have no idea who it is and after looking at the map I am even more clueless, which is fine!! However, there was another hit from the same town but with a different map location. Being the lunatic that I am, I put the coordinates in Google maps and guess what? It came from the dead center (no pun intended) of a cemetery!! Can you believe that? Even the dead read blogs!!

Since this post is going nowhere fast, I'll just stop here! It's just I hadn't realized I was so boring!! I need to find some more material!


I cannot believe that this would happen - that a state would suggest that teacher pay should be based on standardized test scored of students!! This goes against everything I believe as a teacher and as a parent. You cannot "judge" a teacher based on student intelligence, test performance and how well students are prepared for a standardized test. This completely promotes "teaching to a test" and will become a great disservice to the students.

I am already disgusted with my daughter's school, where they have been "practicing" for two weeks to take their TerraNova 2 test. I've never even heard of this test, but was disturbed that my daughter came home with the notion that 1) this was the most important test of her life, and 2) that they would be graded on this test and the grade would change all of her grades for the year. Neither of these things is true, but something must have been said to them for her to have come home with this conclusion. I quickly set her straight and NO, MOM, I did not even write a note!! What a complete waste of good instructional time, though, spending two whole weeks drilling for a standardized test. I thought this was no allowed??? How fair is it?

I hope that someone has the brains to pull the plug on Gov. Jeb Bush and his silly notion that somehow teachers who yield higher student test score are better than those who invest in the poorest of the poor, who teach for the love of teaching and who care about more than test scores, but a well-rounded education of a child. I hope they can find a better measure of a great teacher, because if this is all they use, it's the children who will suffer!

EDIT: I just had to add this after giving this subject more thought. Would you pay art teachers according the number of Rembrandts they turn out? Would you pay P.E. teachers by the number of professional athletes they send to professional sports teams? How would you measure the success of the librarian? By the number of published author's come from their library? And music teachers? Should we find the music teacher of every recording artist and give them a bonus?? Or, better yet, they only get the bonus if their recording artist has an album go platinum or record a song that makes the top ten! You can't measure the effectiveness of a teacher based on the intelligence and test-taking skills of their students - if you think you can, you know very little about education!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Quiet Game

Every night, when I put Em to bed, she always asks if I want to play the quiet game. I always tell her I am already playing the quiet game. Of course, she then launches into this (while I'm an laying on her pillow, half asleep and trying not to laugh my head off!):

"OK, ready, go, -TIMEOUT- We can whisper to each other -TIMEIN-(whispers)You can whisper to me and I can whisper to you and that's OK. OK? -TIMEOUT- We can make the sound, 'Eek, eek'. We can make the sound, 'SWISH.' We can make the sound, "Kack, Kack, Kack." (so loud my ears ring!)-TIMEIN-'Kack, Kack, Kack,' (whispers) Mommy, you can make the 'Kack' sound too!"

Now, this can go on and on and on. I only gave you a brief sampling of the "quiet" game. In all honestly, I don't think I've ever heard of this game before. When I taught it to them, the first person who made any kind of a peep lost. Then, out of nowhere, comes this Timeout/Timein thing. I mentioned this to T one night and this very sheepish grin appeared on his face. "Oh, I might have taught them that the other night!" Why do I even bother to let him put them to bed!

I decided tonight to leave when Em finally got to the, "OK, you win, I lose, you were quiet and I talked so I am the loser....." I just couldn't take it anymore! And the worst part about it, she absolutely LOVES this game!!

Yup, It's True!

Our messy second day of spring snow fiasco yielded not one flake!! I, for one, am ecstatic! Kt and T were not so excited. I could hardly get Kt out of bed this morning, and the sun was shining. T slept in as well, all hopes of being iced in melted away. The fun thing for Em and I was that we were able to go out for lunch instead of being cooped up in this house.

Em and I went to Target in search of some gifts. Em's best friend next door, M, will be having surgery tomorrow at John's Hopkins for extrophy, a condition she's had since birth. It's pretty major and she'll be in the hospital for a couple weeks and in bed for another few weeks after that. If you think about it, send up a prayer for the family. While it's something they have been awaiting since M was born, it's not easy to go through. They also have a 2 year old at home now, making the whole experience even more to organize!

I must go and finish up dinner - sweet and sour meatballs I planned to warm us up on our snowless snowy day!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Tonight, while I was cutting class (I sent T for some cultural anthropology - I already took that at Gordon!), I played a little computer hangman game with my daughters. The older one and I were taking turns typing in words for the other to guess on her Oregon Scientific computer. We laughed when someone would win because I swear the sound of the "boat coming ashore" is really a toilet flushing!!

It was an interesting game, as my older daughter isn't the best of spellers. That might have something to do with the lack of spelling curriculum in her school system!!!! Anyway, after trying to guess her misspelled words, I finally came across one she spelled perfectly - NICOTINE. I was slightly taken aback! I mean, sure, teach them about smoking and all, but do you only have to teach them how to spell the bad things correctly?


Just to answer D's question, what do I like about Curves, I figured I better just post about it! I joined Curves last year because I wanted to do something that I paid for that wasn't going to break the bank, that would keep me accountable and that wasn't overly straining to the point that I would avoid it altogether! I like that it's only women, that it's about 35 minutes, something I can easily fit into a day. The machines are based on resistance, so you don't have adjust anything and they are fairly easy to work. I have met some wonderful women where I go so I do enjoy that aspect of it.

A couple things to keep in mind, though, are first, that you really should do something cardiovascular to add to this workout. Curves is more of a muscle toning circuit with "aerobic bursts" in between. I find that I need to walk either outdoors or on the treadmill to keep up with the cario stuff. That's hard for me in the winter! Second, that because it's resistance, you really need to work at making your workout fit you. I try to keep track of how many reps I do at each machine and try to up it a bit after a while. You can just go work out but not get much out of it if you aren't paying attention. The nice thing about that is you can get a workout in whether you try hard or not - meaning, I know that if I'm overtired I can do a light workout and still make it all the way through.

Time was a huge issue for me. I only have three days a week that I can go and limited time. I prefer swimming, as I have terrible shin splints, but I can't fit in laps at the pool, showers, changing, make-up and everything that goes along with swimming in the small amount of time I have. I also find it difficult to swim in the middle of winter!! And it's not relaxing at all if I keep having to watch the clock. I'm planning to join a pool once both girls are in school all day and hope I can fit it in around a job!! UGH!

The price was also a huge factor for me. It's $40 a month at Curves, so when I'm sick for a week or twist my ankle, I'm not feeling like I'm dumping too much money down the toilet! While other gyms do offer child care, I've never really been a big fan of that for my kids. I just prefer to go either when they are at school or in the evening. The other great benefit is that you can use any Curves all over the country. My mom belongs so we can go together in Connecticut and we actually went a few times when we were in Hilton Head last summer. I love that option!

I hope I haven't talked your ear off about it - it just fits into my life at this time. Good luck!

Simple Math

I did my usual Monday morning routine today. I dropped off Em, went to Curves and then went to the grocery store.

Me + grocery shopping without a list = disaster!

I found some jelly beans - I love those! I also saw some cute Easter M&M's. Haven't opened them yet! The bananas looked weird, so I passed on them even though they smelled really good. I did something like this: deli, produce, aisle one, bathroom, aisle 12 (that's where the bathroom is), aisle 6, aisle 2, aisle 11, frozen aisle, aisle 3, aisle 9. Anyway, you get the picture. It took me almost an hour to find less than $80 worth of groceries.

junk food + a little real food = disaster!

I guess I didn't get all junk food, but I find that since I went to Let's Dish and no longer have to buy/plan dinners much I fill the cart with other stuff. Thankfully, I remembered that Wednesday is Em's snack day, so I found all that. I just hate shopping without my list, which I make according to where I find everything in the grocery store. That's the way Type A people do it, you know. I know where everything is, so I make my list according to where I will be walking through the store. Without the list, I am completely lost!

Me + no grocery list = junk food + a little real food

Well, at least I got those jelly beans!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Huge Price

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam. ... The prosecutor is asking for the death penalty."

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said the case was the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

He said that he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused.

We definately take our freedom for granted here in the states. Imagine facing the death penalty for changing your religion. What would you do?? We also have little understanding of true persecution.My heart aches for this man and his family and I urge you to lift this man up in your prayers, and the country of Afghanistan.

UPDATE: Just read this story about the US position on this case.

Can You Make a Squiggly 8?

That's what Em asked me tonight as I was tucking her into bed. I nearly cracked up as she drew her "squiggly 8" in the air for me. I said, "That's a lot like the figure 8 we made with those train tracks." She replied, "Some people call it a figure 8, but to me it's a squiggly 8!" And that's how it is for 5 year olds, I guess. To see the world through their eyes is fascinating, because I can see why she calls it squiggly, even though to me, now that I'm "older" it just looks like an ordinary 8!

Tonight we went to our neighbor's house to welcome our newest addition to the neighborhood family, a 14 year old adorable foster daughter. It was a fun party, meeting her and getting together with our neighbors who we love! One neighbor in particular cornered me. A delightful and sometimes tiring woman from Panama. She had many things to talk to me about, but she was most interested in finding out whether or not I believe in "signs". Now, most of the time I am caught off guard by my neighbors, so I don't always give the best answer. This time I simply said, "Yes, I do!" Of course, I didn't bother to ask what kind of signs.....

Later on, after she had finished talking to several other neighbors and finished her third or fourth cup of wine, she found me again to fill me in on the signs she has received that began when she was born. Without sharing too much personal information, all I will say is that all of these "signs" are centered around her religion and chance happenings, although some of them may have been a direct result of prayers. Her conclusion was that she feels that God is speaking to her, telling her to leave her suburban church home (which happens to be next to our new church building!) and go to a more beautiful, yet older and poorer church where she really feels that God will use her to help the church there.

I really didn't know what to say after listening for 45 minutes to her story. I wanted to say to her, "Maybe God wants to change YOU in that poor church!" but I can see that she sees things differently than I do. She sees signs directing her to do things, not directing her towards God. She sees signs as a means to getting something for herself as opposed to finding something to give to God. I see signs very differently. When she was finished, she wanted to know what I thought and I simply said, "I think God is trying to direct you towards something - I think you should go!" I am thinking now, "You see squiggly signs and I see an ordinary signs."

There are two problems in this story. First, that she does not have a relationship with Christ that allows her to see the signs as His desire to connect with her. It's a small problem given the fact that He is desperate for her and will continue to pursue her, I have no doubt. Second, that I am so old in my faith that I think I may be missing signs because they look so ordinary to me. It's a big problem because Christ desires for me to come to Him and I lazily am misguided by my selfish ambitions. I am so glad I listened tonight and realized that I need to be more aware of squiggly signs!

Friday, March 17, 2006

History Lesson

Apparently, T had a little history lesson with the girls last night while I was sick. Kt shared this little story she wrote and took to school to share with her classmates. I don't know how accurate it is, but I thought it was cute.

St. Patrich

St. Patrick was a very rich kid. He was British, not Irish. He was just a teenager when his journey began. Well, he was walking on the beach just being lazy, but then out of no where, a pirat ship came and kidnapped him. Then, they took him to Iriland. Wile he was there he was threated as a slave. he had to eat with the animals like pigs and he was a prisoner. Not like a person in jal because he did not do a bad thing. He was treated wores. But don't lose hope, because one night he had a dream. The dream was that he was walking on the beach and there was another ship. But this ship was not a pirate ship it was a ship that would rescue him, so he exaped. He went down to the beach and there was the ship. Its like God make the dream to save him. When he was older he went back to Irland and told others about God and his mericals he can do. 30-40 thousand churches planted by him. Over 100,000 people bapitiesed.

She may not have a great handle on spelling, but she can write a story! She wrote this one when she got up this morning before she got on the bus. Kt told me she read the whole story to her class but not the God parts. Too bad!!

Tonight, Kt read this to Em and I and then gave us a quiz!! She also had planned an activity where we had to list and find 5 green items. Then, after that, she wanted us to think of a Bible story that illustrated St. Patrick's life so she could read it to us. We finally decided on Joseph and we read about half the story. Do we have a future teacher here or what?

I'm constantly amazed by how hungry my kids are for spiritual truth and great stories of faith. It was a fun night I spent with the girls while dad was out at the Warehouse coffee house - too bad he missed ours!!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

How could I forget to wish you a happy green day - my favorite color!! Actually, my whole I was reminded that it should be orange for me, as I'm part Scottish. I just LOVE green, though!!

My 4,000th Visitor!

I had my 4,oooth visitor while I was sick in bed! Came from Ft. Lewis edu at 12:4something am searching for "cultural world views." Didn't stay long, but WOW! It wasn't T!!

If it snowed...

I didn't see it - YEAH! Back to spring as usual! I'll never forget my first March in Maryland - with 3 feet of snow and no school for 7 days! It was crazy. That was the week I feel in love with T!! Will not forget that!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fluffer Nutter

Em came home tonight from her best friend's house and said she had a peanut butter and fluff sandwich for dinner, while she smirked at me from the corner of her eye and raised those eyebrows a few times! Why?? Because I've been trying for YEARS to get my girls to try one of the staple foods from my childhood, and every time I ask them if they want a fluffer nutter they simply scrunch up their noses and say something like, "Ewwww. Gross!"

After Em announced this, Kt decided she ought to give it a try, but would keep to her tuna tonight. Yeah for fluffer nutters - and yeah that my kids aren't allergic to peanuts! I can't imagine life without them! (Well, OK, life without chocolate would be much worse!)

Snow? Say It's Not So!

After a beautiful weekend, with temperatures reading into the 80's, they are calling for snow overnight!! I just cannot believe it! Of course, the fact that it's dinnertime and the sun is still shining bright does not help my skepticism. I had a feeling those warm days would create a weather bitterness in my heart! I think I should add #11 to my things I dislike about D.C. - The Weather!

Per Mark's Request!

10 Things I LOVE About Orlando!

1&2. K & M - I love you both, and we would never go so often if you weren't there!
3. The Magic Kingdom
4. The Animal Kingdom
5. MGM Studios
6. Epcot
7. VMK (It's an addiction of mine!)
8. Character Meals - can't wait to try the one at the Grand Floridian...
9. The pool at the Beach Club Resort
10. The sun!!!!

That almost covers it! I'm sure I could come up with a list of about 20!!

10 Things I "Dislike" About Washington, D.C.

OK - I think I've narrowing this down to the top 10, although I can think of many, many more!

1. Politics - I hate them, and that's that.
2. Traffic - The beltway is a mess, the roads in downtown DC, with all those horrid traffic "squares" makes me avoid driving in DC at all cost!
3. Terror Target - The fact that every terrorist in the world would like to obliterate our government and that I live so close to that target, well it's a bit unnerving. I look at it this way - if someone launches a "dirty bomb" it's likely to miss the target by say 20 miles or so and hit my house. At least I won't have to live through the aftermath!
4. Expensive Cost of Living - I'd have to say this is the one area of the country where the median income is well below the cost of living - I might be wrong, but that's how it feels!!
5. Urban Sprawl - It's everywhere, and the farms of the past are just that! Not to mention, every new development has "bigger and better" homes that are starting to look more like monstrosities!
6. Roads - This is the number one reason why my mom dislikes this area - everywhere you go you must get on a road with exits. There are few neighborhood feeling routes to anything and the drivers around here...
7. The Way People Drive - Get that cell phone off your ear!! Of course, it's even worse than that. Due to the issue mentioned above, simple traffic rules, which people around here rarely encounter, become baffling. I find myself sometimes sitting at a four way stop stuck due to the fact that there is rarely any order to this process. Here's how you do it, Marylanders - the person to your right goes first, then the person to his right, his right, etc. It's really not that hard!
8. Unmarked Police Cars - Now, I can't say this has been a problem for me, but I will say I've learned that just about any car at all may be an unmarked police officer. For the benefit of catching all those reckless drivers out there, it's worth it. But being a woman who often travels alone, I still haven't figured out what to do should one of these pull me over - with so many criminals impersonating officers. I think this is extremely creepy!!
9. The Allergy Factor - Can we say "Pollen Count - Out the Roof"! If that was on the scale, we'd be there every day!
10. No Beaches! - The closest real beach is 3 hours away. Enough said.

Now you see why Maryland is just not the place for me. The truth is, T's been holding me here against my will - someone please save me!! (We aren't at all dramatic in this house!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

10 Things I Love About Washington, D.C.

In an attempt to focus on the positive things about having to live here, here goes!

1. Cherry Blossoms - they are absolutely beautiful. Of course the pollen that they bring forth can be a little irritating, their beauty makes it quite forgivable!
2. The History - It's amazing the amount of history, national history, that happened right where you walk when you visit.
3. War Memorials - I think the reminder in downtown D.C. of the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives so that we could live in a free country - it's a great reminder to us, and a tribute to them.
4. Fountains - I love spring/summer because there are amazingly detailed fountains everywhere. I especially love them when they are clean. My favorite - has become the one between the Natural History and Gallery of Art museums.
5. Peace - I love it when you can find a peaceful spot in a city. Strolling along the mall in D.C. is peaceful, serene and quiet.
6. Festival Atmosphere - As peaceful as the mall can be, it can also be transformed into a huge carnival, a food fest, an Evangelistic Outreach, a rock concert or a symphony event. Also, the home of many a protest...
7. Diversity - D.C. is an extremely diverse city. Along with many tourists, diplomats, and international students are just the residents, who represent people from all walks of life, cultures and countries.
8. No Skyscrapers - It's nice to be in a city where you can actually see the sky! I believe no building in D.C. is allowed to higher than the Washington Monument, and that's a good thing!
9. The Metro - it's fairly clean, fairly safe (if you keep your eye on your stuff!) and very easy to navigate. I like simple!
10. Museums - Where else will you find so many world-class, phenomenal museums that are FREE!! Thank you, Smithsonian!

There, that's it. Now I'll get to work on the 10 things I *uh, hem* "dislike" about D.C.! It'll be hard to narrow them down!

Funny Shirt

This woman at Curves this morning had the funniest shirt on - I laughed my way around the circuit! She apparently has four cats!! Here's what it said:

If you don't tell
your cats about catnip,
who will?
**picture of a little mouse**

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Any Disneyland Fanatics Out There??

I really have to go make dinner, but before I make dinner reservations for our Disneyland trip, are there any Disneyland fanatics out there who have some tips for me??? I doubt I'll find any East Coasters who can help me, but if anyone from CA reads this, HELP!!

Thanks, in advance!:)


Last night I went to my Perspectives on the Christian World Movement, basically missions, class and we had this incredible speaker, David Shenk. This man was born in Africa to a Mennonite missionary family. He later married (in the U.S.) and returned to live in Somalia with his wife. He is extremely knowledgeable about African culture/world views and Islam. Definitely one of those speakers you could listen to all night!!

He will be at the University of Wisconsin next week for a conversation about Islam and Christianity hosted by a Christian/Muslim Reconciliation group on campus. It is going to be a comparison of religions, cultures and practices moderated by an atheist. Sounds intriguing! Wish I could be there!!

Shenk also wrote a book with an Iranian Sheik which is a conversation comparing Islam and Christianity. (I'll post the title later, as I bought it for Tony and he's run off with it already!) Each of them presents their religion broken down into about 13 chapters each, and after each chapter is the response from the other. This book is about to be translated into Farsee and used at universities in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. Very interesting - I actually might read this one.

I have to say, I was completely intrigued by everything this man presented. I wish I could explain it all to you, but it would take pages!! He only ended his presentation with a short lesson on Islam and he was so knowledgeable and such a great teacher I wish he would have just gone on and on. This interest in Islam, combined with his study of culture lends itself to being some of the best teaching about understanding the gap between Christianity and Islam and how that translates into cultural miscommunication in most instances. Knowing the little bit that I know of Islam, I was amazed that they revere the Bible as being the Word of God. I hope he's right!!

OK - now back to my life! I'm off the Curves, the grocery store, housekeeping stuff... those all important, cultural "American" things! While it's a relief not to be in a "performance = salvation" religion, it is also important to remember to be in that relationship that provides that! It's too bad that our American "culture" doesn't have any evidence of that personal relationship...

Must Read This!

I love these kinds of stories, about amazing children!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spring Fever Breaking

It is 82 degrees outside. We have been outside for a good portion of this day, enjoying spring! But tomorrow, winter returns. I can hardly believe it. Only in the 40's and 50's - they must be kidding! I wonder what these blooms will think??

I'll write more on a day when it's too cold to spend most of it outdoors!! Now, back to enjoying my last nice day - boohoo!

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Just watched Rent. I'm not a huge fan of musicals turned movie so I likely won't watch it again. It was interesting, though. It actually made me really want to see a show on Broadway!! We had planned to take the girls to see Beauty and the Beast this spring, but now our plans have totally changed. I guess we forgot?!?! Anyway, it's bedtime and that movie sort of lulled me to sleep...

California, Here We Come!

We just booked a Disneyland trip! To say I'm excited would be an understatement!! Now, all we have to do is get there, oh, and pay for it! hehe

Em is sort of freaking out. She asked us this morning if earthquake live under the ground. Kt, on the other hand, was quite put out when I explained to her that we would not be able to see a screening of Spongebob due to the fact that the characters are not real. She was very excited, however, to find out that the Hollywood sign was real!

I am very excited - and we are bringing my mom and visiting our relatives in L.A. It's going to be so fun!! (I hope!)

Friday, March 10, 2006


It's an absolutely gorgeous day outside!! Aside from the strong winds, it feels like summer! Em has a friend over and we couldn't resist a trip to the park (pictures later). These girls kind of wore me out, but it was fun chasing two little munchkins on their bikes (with training wheels!), helping them maneuver each tiny crack in the sidewalk and every little bump, which has the potential to throw them right off their bikes. Then, it took us some time to get settled in at the park.

It's amazing how this process works. We got to the park and the girls rode their bikes once around in a kind of awkward fashion, not really knowing where they wanted to go or what they wanted to do. Each time they changed direction, they had to make sure that I knew what they were doing. Then they moved on to try to find just the right scenario that would take them away from this world and into that imaginative one.

This took some time and I kept hoping it would happen, because running around the park, trying to catch them, keep them in close proximity, playing different things with each of them - well, I was getting a bit weary! Finally, the story came together. One of them was looking for diving suits and, fortunately, found them. Then they took off for a swim around the park, eventually happening upon a pool of dolphins. They then had a mission to save the baby dolphins from the sharks. All in all, it was a life-saving, or dolphin-saving day!

After the novelty of "swimming" around the park wore off, they took two more runs around the bike path and we were off for home. They are now picnicking in the backyard waiting for the next scenario to develop in their smaller version (in more ways than one) of real life!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

5 years old

Em is 5 and today I was thinking about how funny she is. She is a walking, talking book of hysterical material!! I could not even record all of the funny things she says and does because they all happen so quickly and they are more numerous than anyone would have the time to read!

It occurred to me tonight, though, while I was putting her to bed and she was talking on and on about absolutely nothing that I have little recollection of Kt at this same age. Three years ago, when I might have been enjoying this same age of my first daughter I was totally and completely consumed by my father's illness and death that I don't think I was able to enjoy her the way I can now with Em. At the same time, there were many days when they both were my saving grace, the thing that kept me from slipping into depression or taking myself too seriously. They were a priceless gift to me during that time.

Kt told me today that she had a very difficult experience today. A classmate's grandfather came in to see how his grandson was doing and she said this grandfather reminded her of Pabu. He looked like him, sounded like him and had many of the same mannerisms. I know she really misses him and I really miss him for her. I know what that is like, to see what I don't have and the very empty space this always reveals. But for all that we don't have anymore, we still have each other and the hope that we have that we will be with Pabu again someday.

So, as Em told me for 100th time tonight that she loves me and I cuddled her into bed, prayed with her and had waited for her 7 trips to the bathroom for one more thing, she exclaimed after being tucked in, that she was "totally sweating," even though it is about 40 degrees outside, I realized how lucky I am that I can enjoy 5 years old when I missed it the first time. And now, I'm all caught up!

Mixed Race

As many of our friends know, T and I are not of the same race, therefore our children are of "Mixed Race." For me, this was a huge deal. I don't mean to insinuate that I am a "racist," which I think has some very negative connotations, but I won't sugar coat it and say that I wasn't, in many ways, full of a lot of stereotypical racist data from my years of growing up in a white bubble that was Connecticut. Many of my misconceptions about people of any other race were formed by my interpretation of what I saw on TV, what I heard from other people and the lack of experiences that I had with people of other races and cultures. I don't remember ever feeling "superior" to anyone of another race, but there was a definite fear that existed when I came in contact with someone who was different. Why fear? and not wonder?? or excitement??? Again, most likely the lack of exposure.

Moving to DC right out of college proved to be a wonderful lesson in culture for me. A couple friends of mine have communicated to me that Americans are greatly lacking in "culture," and I still don't know what they are talking about! (haha - I mean, really, what about DisneyWorld??) But what Americans lack in culture, I think they make up for in variety. At least around here. Our neighborhood alone must represent several countries, cultures, religions and even mixtures of them. Look at us! And if you look around, there are examples of us everywhere in our part of the country, and I suspect everywhere.

When T and I first started talking about getting married about 13 years ago, I had some reservations. I'll admit it - I was afraid for my children! We both wanted children so we didn't have the option of not at least trying. But I wondered, what box will they check on those standardized tests?? What will they tell people when they are asked what race they are?? How do I teach my children about their racial culture when I know little or nothing about it? Of course, having been born and raised in the US, T hasn't been much of a help here, either!

I have to say it's been an interesting journey answering all these questions and more! Children very easily embrace these issues because to them, they don't mean a whole lot. They say very profound things, very innocent things that make me think. I have chosen to tell the girls that they are Chinese, because that is what their last name says and each of them has some Chinese physical characteristics. Of course, when it comes to me the obvious "race" is white - I am fairer than the new-fallen snow. Fortunately, neither of the girls inherited my easily sunburned and freckled skin! T's dad brought dinner over for my birthday and told us that he told the cook at the Chinese restaurant and his son married "an American" and to make sure the food was not spicy! I guess that would make our girls half Chinese, half American?

Last week, when I registered Em for kindergarten at the private Christian school, there was a new box to check next to race. After listing all the "options", White, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, African American and Other, it said "Mixed Race" and asked for the two races. Now, I understand as a teacher that they ask this so they can attempt to make the classes balanced. It was difficult enough with all the other options, now we have to throw in mixed. Interesting... So, I guess this is what it will look like for my girls?

My favorite definition of who my girls are, though, had to have come from Kt. She is my thinker. Most of her perception of the world is in her head and only rarely is unleashed for us to correct!! When she was 5 and in kindergarten, I received a note from her teacher one day. This was unusual because her teacher, while having a great sense of humor is not very relational. I was surprised by my first note after months of school but very pleasantly! She wrote to me that Kt had shared with her classmates (around the time of Chinese New Year) that she was "half Chinese, half Connecticut." That remains for me a great definition of who she is, or at least who she thinks she is, racially. But for now, I will refrain from writing that on their registration forms!!

More on the Disgraceful Legislature of Ours

They are pushing that stem cell funding bill through, just as I suspected. I'm still appalled, on many levels. First, that they would propose spending tax money on something so controversial. Please, don't ask me to pay for abortion. Second, that they would suggest that this will be the answer to diseases such as Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes and the such. These diseases, even if they did find a cure for them, provide such a substantial income for pharmaceutical companies I believe we would never know if there truly was a cure outside of a medicinal one. Finally, I have been so underimpressed with the embryonic stem cell research already in progress, surrounded by all kinds of unethical behavior.

My true feeling on this is that many other promising research avenues that are much less controversial and possibly more successful are being overlooked due to the political clout that is gained by a "stem cell victory" in the eyes of partisan politicians. The show that goes on in the form of legislation makes the news, therefore presents as fact, "our only hope," and many Americans don't bother to research the true facts themselves. What if this issue was not political at all? What if it really was a life or death issue? Would we then do everything in our power to find the quickest, easiest and least life-threatening solution to this problem???

I, for one, would not offer up one of my children for research. I, for one, would never want to benefit from research that took an innocent life. I choose to move on and look for other avenues of continuing this life-saving research without jumping to the conclusion that we MUST HAVE EMBRYOs! I even found an article with some promising information - would you take the time to read this??

Now, having a sister with juvenile diabetes and a father who went through a stem cell transplant, I guess I feel I have some vested interest in this subject. I would venture to guess that unless you come face to face with this issue, it will mean little to you. But for me, I remain disheartened at the legislative battle that is hindering other forms of research and misleading the public into seeing one side as "villainous" and the other as "life-saving." Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Things to Come

In the upper 60's today - YEAH!!! I am very excited, although I am still wearing a North Face fleece and jeans - just haven't gotten around to breaking out the spring garments yet! This morning, T tossed a book at me this morning and asked if I would read it. I won't mention the title yet because I'm a bit concerned that my little head can get through this thing, along with trying to finish the "measly" amount of reading I do for Perspectives each week. I told him I'd try.

As I peeked through the book, it occurred to me that this is the kind of book that carries me back to my Gordon College days. If I have to Webster the words in the Table of Contents, what does that tell me about the material that lies ahead??? I mean, really? Can't they present this kind of stuff in the form of a romance novel??? Why does it always have to be so dry, so "intellectual" or so esoteric?

Oh, well. I guess I'll try to read it. Of course, the whole while I'll be dreaming of princes and princesses, riding off into the sunset of missiological life. Yeah, I know, never happens. But I can dream, right?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Glimpse

I have a blogger friend, whom I have yet to meet in person! She posted this yesterday, a small glimpse into the life of her sweet son. If you have a minute, take a peek. It takes a while to load, but it's worth it! Thanks, d!!

Culpability Factor

This afternoon, Kt came bursting through the front door and proceeded to blurt out to me, "I only got a check today (behavior) and can I do my homework outside?" Well, being not so happy about the check, seeing as the temperature outside is in the lower 50's at best and given the fact that homework tends to not be finished when I have allowed these kinds of activities, I simply said, "No." Now, to me, that's pretty clear. I explained that she has a brownie meeting tonight, that all her homework must be completed before that meeting and given our last few lapses in homework judgment I thought it best that she get her work done right now, inside and away from her friends.

She sat right down and began to negotiate down to the very last detail. Can she do her homework half now, half later? Can she do her reading, then take a break? Can she finish her spelling downstairs?? The list went on as she completed each assignment and I checked them. After about 10 minutes of this, the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor, three years Kt's elder, coming to find out when Kt would be joining her outside for homework. Kt walks over to me and says, "Can I do my homework outside?"

Now, I admit, I can be a pushover sometimes AND I tend to not be very good at multitasking, so if I am reading or doing something on the computer, it is hard for me to stop and redirect my attention and focus on something else. I might even be a little ADHD. But this is something that really irks even me. Didn't I JUST answer that question 10 minutes earlier??? Adding insult to injury, when I answered her and she went back to tell her friend, "No." the friend replied with, "Are you sure?"

After this exchange, I asked Kt why she would ask me a question that I had just answered, that she knew the answer to. I didn't get a very good answer, at least I didn't think it was good because I knew she did it so that I would be the guilty party. I could tell when she asked me that she expected the answer to be the same, not for me to give in. She just needed her friend, who can be very intimidating, to hear it from me, the culpable party.

I can't say I don't play a part in this kind of underhanded behavior. I am always telling the girls to "go ask your father" when I already know the answer. Sometimes I like him to be the meany, though, so I don't look to be the bad one all the time!

At times, I have made Kt be the bad guy with her friends. This time I did not do that. Is it wrong to take that weight off of our children, even if it is only once in a while? Or is it more important to be consistent with them?? I'd vote for the first choice, because I don't always like the consequence of the latter. I also sometimes swear I can see a sense of relief flood my child's whole body when I stand up and take the blame for something she really didn't want to do anyway.

Kt is downstairs now, finishing up her homework. She has done a wonderful job on it all and can now go to her brownie meeting tonight with everything done, happy parents and the hope of being able to spend a little time outside with her friends on another less busy day. Oh, the lessons we all have to learn everyday!

Summer Plans?

Or more like summer mixup!! As usual, our best laid plans.... well, we try our best, but sometimes God fills in the "blanks" with totally different ones. Of the four summer trips we would be in charge of, it would appear only one is a definite. Now, this makes me nervous, because in my world of total control and preplanning, these trips would have been in the final planning stages. I find myself, however, off to church to pick up the "response" cards that we include in support letters. There are currently three sets of cards, each for a different trip. Already, one set of these cards has the wrong info on them... And, as you have likely already assumed, we have done NO, I repeat, NO kind of support raising for any of these trips. Now, hmm... what to say?

This is the part of missions work that I struggle with the most, I'm quite sure. I hate asking for anything, especially money. I don't mind asking for prayer, but money?? At the same time, I know that if these letters don't go out soon we'll be pinching it last minute. Every year I am bugging T about needing to know about summer sooner and every year it's always last minute. I do not like that. That's just me. When my husband talks about being a full-time missionary, I cringe. This is one reason, money, and how to raise it. The second is for another post! Money, as my parents used to say, doesn't grow on trees!

This is not to say that I don't believe God that He will provide. I do believe that, but I also believe that we need to not assume that He will, we need to ask Him to, to listen to Him and to be responsible about the way we are sent out. Last year we came very close, in fact, we were a bit under in our "fundraising". Fortunately, the difference was covered by our huge budget. It did make me wonder a bit, though, about why that would happen. I know it's not all about money, but the fact remains that without it, trips would be a no go.

So, here we are, once again, mid March, no support letters have gone out. In fact, we are not even sure where anyone is going this summer or when. What does that mean for me? I have no summer vacation plans, I could not sign up the girls for camps, which are now all full, I don't have a clue whether my husband will be around for most of the summer or not or where he will be. That's my life right now! That and meetings all the time about all these trips. Some are here, some are elsewhere, some are planned, some are last minute. We are busy but there is nothing on our calendar. So, sometime around next August or September, when life has calmed down a bit, I'll let you know how this all turned out!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Rumor has it spring is just around the corner. We are expecting warmer temps and some rain later this week. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!! Em has a cold and the two of us just sat around the house today. I was just plain cold! I love warmer weather and am excited to start walking in the mornings, getting to the park, actually doing a little planting this year and eventually swimming again.

I imagine I am like a waking bear, out of hibernation, awakened by the scents and sounds of spring. I have seen more birds, smelled more, well, mold (yuck - but at least it's not frozen!) and am having more allergy attacks. Well, OK, I admit it, not everything about spring is fantastic, but it's way better than winter in my book.

Now off to have, hopefully, one of my last hot chocolates of the season. I realize this may be a bit premature, but I am hopeful. No more snow! No more snow! No more snow!!!!

My New Spellcheck

As most of us know, the blogger spellcheck leaves much to be desired!! I mean, it is helpful, but only to an extent. I laugh most of the time at the words that pop up in the check box and even more at the options I have to change them. It's especially funny with names! Here are a few examples:

Em = en
Kt = KDE
anty = ante
Alex McManus = Alex mismanage
Tony Sheng = Tony shank
blog = bloc
blogger = blocker
blogging = flogging
spellcheck = splices
(Don't mean to pick on you guys, but I just had to laugh!!)

This phenomena gets even funnier when trying to use another language, such as French, like I did yesterday. I knew I hadn't spelled the word "rendezvous" correctly, but blogger's spell check didn't offer me any options other than what I had already spelled. So, I went to my new spell check, typed in my spelling of the word and up pops this:

Did you mean: rendezvous

Don't you love being asked nicely, "Did you mean...?" in nice big, blue bold print? Well, at least they got it correct!

Monday, March 06, 2006

T's Big Weekend

OK - so his secret is out now! (finally *breathes sigh of relief*) Last week I posted that he was going to Orlando hoping to catch up with Alex McManus, someone he greatly admires, and I nearly got my head chopped off!! I immediately, upon posting, received a phone call asking me to take all references to the man off my blog. I was not allowed to reveal his true intent, only receiving credit for allowing him to travel to Disney location without actually visiting Disney.

You can read all about T's weekend in his blog and there's even a picture. And guess what he brought back for me?? A Disney nametag - very funny, T and M. Very funny... You may have to up the anty for the next rendezvous!

Those were the days...

Em and I have been running errands all day! She cracks me up most of the time, and today was no exception. I love when she creates something that reminds me of my own childhood. This weekend she has turned our living room (I had to move her from the stairs) into her library. She has organized piles of books, set up a checkout computer, has a schedule of story times and is, as I type, returning the books I borrowed on Saturday!

I can remember making up all sorts of things just like this when I was a kid. We played house, restaurant, hotel, library and school on a regular basis. We hoarded stickers, pads of paper, pencils, crayons, tissues and whatever else we might need to make these things happen. It was such fun! My best friend growing up had a huge trunk full of blocks that was our bat mobile. To this day, our control panel, made of blocks that we drew all our switches and dials on, remain at her mom's house. It was our amazing creation!

On the road today, in the car, Em announced to me that I had won a prize and asked what I would like for my prize. After breaking the news to me that she was unable to provide the trip to Disney World that I wanted, she proceeded to list all the prizes, including "books from the library where I work, you know, the one in our living room." She was so proud of her establishment!!

I am heading to the library for "Free Book Day" and I don't have to go very far. Because it's "her" library and she "makes the rules" we don't have to pay, it's all free! So funny, the things kids think that we don't even know about - paying for library books? Oh, she must have gotten that idea from all the fines her father is always paying at the library!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

This just in...

The father has landed! Yes, yes, T is safe and sound in MD again. That is, if he survives the cab ride home!! I bet you all can't wait for him to post about his weekend... Coming soon, I'm sure. I better go clean up this place - hehe!!

Curious George

I took the girls today to the movies and we saw Curious George. Now, I'm a huge Curious George fan. When everyone else was sleeping with dollies and teddy bears, I had George. I always went to bed with him and in the morning, he'd always be on the floor - that crazy monkey!! I remember being devastated when my mom pretended to have him get mad at me for letting him fall off the top bunk - mean mommy! (I think that was one of those backfiring things or something - she'll correct me if I'm wrong!) I can also remember checking out every large yellow Curious George book at the library. I even remember which shelf they were on at my old elementary school library. I absolutely loved him and always wanted a monkey for a pet. (Maybe that's why I married T!)

The movie today was cute, but it was not a real Curious George story. In fact, I fell asleep in the movie (oh, for shame!). I guess these girls have worn me out over these past couple of days!! Well, not really. Em almost fell asleep, too. It was a cute story, but I was really hoping for something classic. The music was excellent, I will give it that much. It was really just snippets of all the books put together to make a completely made up story. Yeah, I know, Curious George IS a made up story - but for me he was more than that!!

Between this and Eight Below, I'd go for the dogs!!