Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Blind Date and an Anniversary

On Thursday evening, D and I went on a date, with 4 other people. All good friends, but 2 of them were on a blind date. My good friend N (hi N!) was the female in the blind date scenario and we had arranged for her to meet up with another guy friend named D (seriously, he and D have the same name and it is NOT a common name). We had a great time though and it was very relaxed and not at all awkward as it could have been. We went and had a nice meal at a schmanzy Italian restaurant and then back to my friend LaLa's house to play some cards. It was a good way for N and D to get to know each other and they are scheduled to go out together tonight, alone. I hope they have a grand time.

Now, prior to this initial date, N confided in me that she was not all that excited and that I just did not understand what it was like. N was previously married, to a complete &%*, he said some things that I just can't get past and I am so very glad that she kicked him to the curb, she is an amazing friend and any guy would be lucky to have this hot little number. So, I hope tonight goes well N - D is a good guy and I hope it works out!

I am spoiled with my D, he is the most amazing guy I have ever met and I was lucky enough to find him in high school, I was a freshman and he was a junior. In all honesty, at that age you can't imagine what could honestly become of a high school romance and given that my own mom was never married, I did not have a good picture of what a happy marriage could be like. The last 19 years of my life (7 years dating and almost 12 years of marriage) have been as close to perfect (romance wise) as one could imagine.

Our relationship began on December 26, 1987 when we went to a movie and ate at Taco Bell. Our carriage for this adventure was his mostly floorless VW Bug that he adored. I knew from the beginning that I was not in it for the money;). I was actually too young to go out on this "date" but we were supposed to be going out with another couple and they were not able to go, so I kind of just went and explained later....since my mom adores him, it all worked out.

We married on January 1, 1995 and the rest is, well, history.

D and I have been through some challenging times, including infertility, difficult adoptions, jobs we hated that made us unhappy in general and the typical daily issues that crop up. I honestly can't complain though, because I have had the best partner in this journey. There were blessings behind each struggle, blessings far beyond my imagination. AND, the good times are so much more in number than the struggles.

I thank God for you D, you are my best friend, my lover and the father of our children - you are truly my everything.

Thanks for the last 19 years - I look forward to the rest:)

Life is This doubt!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Financial Countdown

Well, in addition to the weight loss (updates continuing - all honesty baby...) countdown to June 5, 2007, I also want to start my debt reduction countdown.

There are so many inspirational bloggers out there who continue to motivate me, and I will use them as my resources, but these are my plans:

1. Utilize MyEnvelopes to it's fullest, I have already paid for a full year and am already behind in keeping it organized.

2. Write all debts down on a white board and keep track of them. I also want to keep an excel spreadsheet of all the debts and the finance charges I incur each month - and watch them SHRINK!

3. Write a budget for D and I - and stick to it!

4. SELL some of the things we do not need, including a multitude of Longaberger baskets and a kayak and sailboat. Put all this money toward debt reduction.

5. BE AGGRESSIVE about this, eating out far less for lunch at work, using crockpot, planning menus

6. Use all extra money towards debt reduction, including tax return and company bonus

7. Start saving for 2008 trip to Cambodia, GOAL: take Doodle and Meesta and NOT charge it to a credit card (without paying it off that month); this will be at least $7,000.00 for plane tickets alone (unless we get a good deal and go the right time of year, then it will be cheaper)

8. Create a detailed plan to determine how long it will officially take to get out of debt, I have generously given myself 6 years, which will be the amount of time until my husband is "officially" a Navy Chaplain and we take off, hopefully much faster.

9. As soon as debt reduction is complete, aggressively fund college funds for the kids, I can't rationally see the sense of paying more in interest on debt than I would be earning in college funds. College is very important to us, and we will do whatever it takes to send our kids to school, neither of our parents had ANY money to send us to school and we both have Bachelors and Master's degrees, with D working on another as we speak.

10. Try to keep this all in perspective and remember to enjoy life, vacations are allowed, just plan for them (one reason why it just might take so long to become debt free). We want to show our kids the world.

Okay, beginning January 11th (once we return from our little trip - I know, I know, not exactly planned for....), the plan will be implemented and I am truly so EXCITED. We got a taste of this and it felt good, the holidays got me out of the habit and spending too much again, just ask Am Ex...but I am ready!

January 11th, here I come!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

When You Were Our Age

What a Merry Christmas we had, the only thing missing being our girls in Cambodia. They had a nice Christmas though and we exchanged emails. They have yet to receive our package though and I am totally bummed out that my well-planned and expensive package has not yet been received AND they are moving in the next week or so. I would appreciate any prayers that the box get there before they move, please, dear baby Jesus :) (think Talledega nights).

Our kids enjoyed their gifts and we all had a nice relaxing time, including a nap had by all - my kind of day. We used to run here, there and everywhere, but after doing that the first Christmas the twins were home, we put our feet down and said NO MORE. We are staying home and enjoying this time with our kids, we will come by another day. The families have been great and the only compromise is that we go to D's mom on Christmas evening, spending Christmas Eve evening with my mom. We see the rest other times and it is good.

Meesta has developed this obsession about if we did this, that, went here, there or whatever "when you were our age". It is very interesting as he begins to show interest in our lives, our likes and interests and is very curious as to how we were when we were children. I absolutely love seeing things through their eyes.

Well, I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. I know we did.

Life is indeed This Good...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Simply Beautiful and Heartbreaking

Well, Tuesday was the funeral for the 5-year-old little boy. It was sad, so very very sad, and yet beautiful.

The ceremony itself was tear-provoking, as would be expected, but it was also nice. There were lots of stories of this little guy and they were nice to hear. The beautiful part came when it is was the open time for family and friends to speak. The dad of this little guy was the first to get up and speak. His first choked words were to his wife, and I have goosebumps thinking about the raw beauty and love he displayed for her. He thanked her for sharing their son with him for the last 5 years, he thanked her for the wonderful way that she parented and loved their children, and he told her he could not go through this without her. If there had been a dry eye, there was not after that. He then went on to address their other 2 children and told them how much their son who passed away had loved and idolized them. Truly beautiful. I am still in awe of his ability to do this, even though he was frequently choked up, it was a wonderful tribute to his son and demonstrated his love for his wife and their children.

I am going to do my best to send notes of encouragement in 2007, once the holiday fervor has died down, to them both. I know I would need that.

This situation has given me new patience with my own children. Life is short, and I need to remember just how wonderful and easy I have it. My children are wonderful little people and I am so proud to be their mom. They are a beautiful reflection of the love my husband and I have for each other and for them.

God Bless All,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Glass Castle - Book Review

A new feature here at This Good... a book review!

I have been wanting to read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls since a coworker told me about it. Well, I patiently waited (so difficult for me) to receive it from the library (hence, an effort to be more frugal) and then read it in just a few hours.

This is a true story told by Ms. Walls and it is captivating in my opinion. It spoke to me about the internal will to not only survive, but thrive, that truly exists in at least some people, despite a lack of parenting. Note, I said parenting, not even good parenting.

Jeannette and her 3 siblings all survived a total lack of parenting, with a lazy mom who had a seemingly hopeless ambition to be "free" and an artist and an intelligent father who was a total alcoholic. The children in this family were forced to care for themselves, find their own food, find ways to take care of their own personal hygiene, pay bills, you name it. When I consider how different the lives of my children are, I wonder how on earth Jeannette and her siblings ever made it. The sheer lack of safe living conditions was disturbing, let alone lack of food.

Jeannette survives though and is very resourceful and is such a hard worker, you can't help but wonder how she would be had it not been for the necessity for her to display these attributes, given that her parents did not. She makes it, moving to New York City before her senior year in high school, following her older sister. She thrives and ends up graduating from college from a prestigious school. Her parents, despite her offers, chose to live a homeless lifestyle, it suited their needs and wants.

Kudos to Jeannette for surviving what she did and coming out on the other end successful.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book.


Busy Time of Year

First, curse you blogger or office desktop downstairs, not sure who to be mad at. I have tried multiple times now to post this weekend, but it has all been from my desktop downstairs and all attempts have been futile, when I hit publish, nothing happens...grrr.

We have had a little boy in our church and Doodle and Meesta's Sunday school class die very unexpectedly and it has just been a total alteration in plans and mindset for that matter. Life is so very short and I must try to remember that I need to enjoy my little beans as much as humanely possible because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. So incredibly sad.

I only have 2 working days left this year and that is wonderful! I have been keeping up with the NFP work and it is nice to be caught up! Lots of wonderful people are donating in honor of others and that is so heart-warming.

My kids are getting more and more excited about the upcoming holiday, they are fun to watch.

Weight loss took a bit of a diversion yesterday evening at D's office Christmas party. I got right back on today though. I had squeezed myself into a size 10 skirt to take Doodle to the Nutcracker yesterday before the party and while it did prevent me from eating TOOOO much, I still managed to eat a plate plus a bit more... I am truly staying with the program though and doing my best to see it as a new way of life, not an event...

D is struggling to finish all his finals and final papers, he is stressed and this is difficult for me especially to endure. I want to help him and can't but I am doing all the other things like Christmas cards, presents, etc. so hopefully that is relieving any undue stress.

I believe that catches up the latest events. Only 2 more days...Monday and Friday - leaving me Tues, Wed, and Thursday to wrap, do final shopping, and continue to keep the NFP paperwork caught up!

Life is this good...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Butt Races and Random Bits

Heard while I was coming down the stairs "come one, we are having a butt race!" Wow, living with young ones is never boring. They have a knack for saying the most unusual things.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but my husband, you know, the good looking one - yes, him, he has this unique talent that has excelled out of practice and is urged on by my utter disgust at this talent. What is this ever so unique skill? Could it earn us extra money? Could it alone get us out of debt, send our kids to college? Well, um, no. He has developed the uncanny ability to take ANYTHING that is said, and truly I mean anything, and somehow turn it into a sexual reference. I am forever rolling my eyes at him and doing the deep sigh thing that shows true exasperation, but it only fuels his fire. You can tell by this alone that he was not an only child and did everything in his power to irritate his 3 sisters. Am I alone? Is this uncommon? I am guessing not, but would love some reinforcement here.

On to paid employment, there are times where I truly feel like I am plopped right in the middle of a Dilbert comic. I would love to further elaborate, but not worth the risk;)...I read Dooce afterall:) I truly wonder how many layers of process and decision-making could be stripped down to create utmost efficiency and financial well-being. I compare this to the running of our not-for-profit which operates on a volunteer-only basis. We have managed to raise over $300,000 since June 2003 - I know the difference is personal passion and everyone can't work for free...but I feel like I could seriously minimize the "layers" and work would still be completed...oh well. Another day, another dollar.

I have been eating well still, will exercise once the kidlets go to bed. D just went for a run in our local little park. He only has until Thursday morning to get to his goal weight and he is still about 5 pounds away. He did inform me though that if he does not meet the weight, they will then do a body fat calculation and he might slide in that way. Only time will tell.

The next 2 weeks are going to be WAY busy for him, so I need to strap on my extra patience and remember that this too shall pass. The kids pretty much won't see him from bedtime tonight until Thursday evening. Sucks.

Okay, all for now.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Scale and Aftermath of the GREAT FLOOD of 2006

Well, the old scale is done, finished, finito, no more...we have gone to one that provides values to the .2 level and I am so excited! I have continued to eat healthy, not as much exercise with the tapes, but lots of walking and activity, but don't take my word for it, talk to the pedometer...over 10,000 steps each day!

This summer we had a bit of flood here at our little casa, in an effort to multi-task, even while sleeping, I started the washing machine before bed and well, things did not go so well. Somehow the water connection in the back came undone and so the machine continued to wash all night. All OVER OUR FLOOR, and then dripped down in the basement and onto the family room carpet, under the fridge, dryer, and on and on. Yeah. Good times.

Well, we thought that everything was fine and cleaned up, well so much for thinking. We went to decorate our tree on Saturday and went to pull our pre-lit baby (no guilt - we used to go and cut it down) out of its nice, secure plastic tote and well, let's just say it was sloshy...from months ago. Ewww.

We made a trip to my most-hated Mega-Store and purchased a new one, one with tiny little multi-colored lights. The kids chose it and then proceeded to decorate the lower 1/3rd of that baby until its fake little limbs were drooping.

We also lost some ornaments and other things and that was a bummer, but oh well, not much we can do about it now.

Tomorrow is back to work and back to the grind. I only have 6 more days to work though before I am off for the holidays, although those 6 days will be interspered over the next 10 working days.

All for now!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Christmas Rush

Well, Christmas Day will be here before we know it, and while I am desperately trying to keep the complete commercialization of this Holy day from from altering my kids knowledge of what this is about...there are still presents to purchase, a house to decorate, cookies to make, and a plethora of other things...

I am trying to get a box off to our older girls in Cambodia and that has been a challenge to say the least. I had a major guilt session and decided that I needed to go and get something for ALL the children who live with them, given that they will have a sizeable loot from us and the majority of the other kids there don't have "parents" like our girls do. So, off to the D*llar store and whalllla!, I have something for everyone. Tonight I must get everything organized, labelled, fun!

Weight loss and working out are still on the forefront of my mind - back up a pound, but I am sure it is just water adjustments because I have still been eating well and have exercised 3 days in a row. Did ya read that??? - 3 DAYS IN A ROW. This is in and of itself a record.

Okay, just touching base for the day.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gazelle Intense

I have been reading some Dave Ramsey stuff ( since I began my journey to becoming debt free (giving myself 6 years...) and he frequently talks about success coming once you get "gazelle-intense". Well, I am now gazelle intense about weight loss.

I ate very well and healthy all day yesterday, am doing well so far today, and have been taking vitamins and I HAVE BEEN EXERCISING. This is indeed the key. I don't really enjoy exercising, so if I am doing it, I am not going to then turn around and screw it up with bad food. Last night the whole family got involved and we all did the Biggest Loser sculpting workout - rather funny to see a 2-year-old exercising, but also heart-warming to see a 2-year-old exercising. I know we are imprinting a healthy lifestyle on her and I am glad.

As you will see from the ticker on the side, the pounds are coming off - 3.5 already since Monday! Now, I do know that I am losing the low hanging fruit (so to speak), and that it will get much more challenging...but it is motivating indeed!

More later, lots going on at my paid employment and tons to do before Christmas!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Great Weight Loss Adventure

I say I am going to lose weight, I do some, then I fall off the wagon for a multitude of different reasons. Sometimes it is out of laziness/exhaustion/lack of time = drive through meals, sometimes it is out of wanting to do what everyone else is doing = eating out/eating wrong, and sometimes it is just because I CRAVE BAD FOOD. I guess this makes me a food addict of sorts and I KNOW it is emotional. Stress = Eat.

Well, 2 things have worked to kickstart my weight loss and I am determined to get it gone this time. I am officially (whoooo serious, right?), yes officially, declaring that I will be at 150 pounds by June 5th. This means a weight loss of exactly 40 pounds from this morning. This means a little less than 2 pounds a week and I will meet my goal. Come on, this is achievable (self motivation...)!

So, what are my 2 motivators and what is my punishment?

Motivator 1: D, my handsome better half, has his physical for the Navy chaplaincy on Dec. 14th - and he just found out about it yesterday. Yesterday morning he was exactly 14 pounds over the weight he should be, so he is on massive attempt to lose weight (in the middle of his final papers and exams for his 4 classes + work + demanding wife + demanding-yet adorable- kids). I know he can do this, but I thought if I was full-force on board with him, he would do much better. So, I shopped like crazy last night and $220 later, came out of the grocery with a plethera of fabulous, healthy, whole food. This is obviously a short-term thing, but I am hoping it is my jumpstart to a healthier way of life.

Motivator 2: D, aforementioned handsome husband, and I are going to take a little trip in early January. Why you ask? V. simple, we miss each other a lot, and we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary on Jan. 1. It is our little treat to ourselves, even though it goes against my paying off debt plan. I think that our relationship and some quality time ALONE together is critical and he agrees, so I would like to look a bit better in a swim suit, which will be required for our destination;).

Besides the above, the obvious desire to look better, feel better, be healthier, and wear ALL THE STINKING CLOTHES hanging in my closet.

Punishment: It was really hard to think of a punishment, being fat is punishment enough, but obviously that has not motivated I thought of something finally. IF I do not meet this, I will post a picture of myself in swim suit to this blog - yes, it is more punishment for those who view it than deserved (poor souls), but I must pick something that would absolutely horrify me. That would do it.

So, watch the progress on the side and root for me will ya?


Monday, December 04, 2006

A Unique Perspective on Adoption

This article provides a unique perspective of what a child likely experiences through the adoption process. While I know that it is obviously earth-shattering for an adopted child to be adopted, especially ones adopted internationally, this still gives me a new look at what they might feel like.

Doodle and Meesta, having been adopted together as twins, likely had a bit of an easier time, because they had each other. I cannot fathom being dropped into a new culture, new air, new water, new food, new people - wow. They were troopers though and we had remarkably few issues with them, again, I think it was in large part because they had each other, a built in partner in crime, someone who understands. They are extremely close to this day.

Now Shenzi, she has been more of a challenge. She has bonded very well with me - almost overly so, at the expense of her dad. She chooses me all the time, every time. When I leave the house though without her, leaving her with D, she does not cry and she is okay. She has bonded very well with her sitter though and has never cried when being left in her care.

I don't think that this transition though should hinder a child from being adopted. A child in an orphanage, without parents to care for them (documented ethically!), should be adopted. I think it is just important that we as adoptive parents understand what might be going through their minds emotionally and cognitively and be aware of the pressures of the physical changes as well.

Just found this interesting, would love your thoughts?


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gone, but not forgotten...

Hi Internet!

I have truly missed you, really I have. I will do my best over the next few posts to update you on the past month, but suffice it to say, things have been busy and overwhelming.

A mini-recap:
*Doodle has been diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder (meant EEG, multiple doctor appointments, and now meds 2x daily)

*My work has been v. busy, bit promo meeting I had to prepare for and present myself at (crazy, I know) - but went well, should get promoted next year when it is "that time" but management says yes...good, means more $ and is a validation of my hard work

*D is crazy busy with seminary and work, trying to juggle it all is a challenge for him, and for me.

*The NFP has kept me busy, selling our cottage goods at multiple events over the last 2 months, but selling lots, which is good!

I am now trying to keep up with the NFP paperwork, not an easy task. I am attempting to get Christmas shopping underway - which includes shipping a box to our girls in Cambodia.

Well, that is all for now. I have been trying to keep up with reading my fav blogs, but am even having trouble staying up with them!

I promise to purge my thoughts more soon.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Hits Keep Coming

Well, our nice day staying home yesterday with a calm little sweetie, that was cake compared to today, it was actually nice.

Well, D left early to go swim and so I started the day by myself. No biggie in theory. Well, I heard the kids' toilet flush so I walked out of our bedroom and coming down the hall was my dear Doodle. I said good morning Doodle and she just let out this animal-type howl and starts arching her back...terrifying. I immediately picked her up and tried talking to her and kept repeating her name, she was shaking like a leaf, but not jerking. I assumed we were in the middle of another seizure, a place I was hoping that I would never be again. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and she was shaky but not the violent grand mal jerking. This put me into a terrified mode though. I didn't want to call 911 as the first time this happened to Doodle in January, there were literally 20 men in my house, terrifying her even more and scaring the other 2. I decided to call a good friend who is an EMT and he told me to go with my gut, then he showed up at my house 5 minutes later for support. Then out sitter's husband showed up to get Meesta and Shenzi, we have some very good friends.

D called me back and we met 1/2 way to take her to the ER. Bottom line, they checked her out and she seems fine now, temperature was exactly normal, but we are seeing a neurologist next week. We are hoping that nothing is found, but also want to make sure she gets the treatment she needs if she does have something wrong.

The ER doc thinks that she had an aura of a seizure and that she was both scared and likely the seizure was imminent and that led to the sound she made, she wanted to tell me, was almost crying, and couldn't get anything out. She was able to tell me later that she did feel "weird" and that later she felt "normal". I hate that she understands this to some level, but am glad that she is able recognize what is happening with her body.

This hospital just so happens to be the same one that my uncle is in, so I called my aunt in his ICU room and she came down. She is not doing well. Everytime something good is discovered about how the chemo treatment is going, they find something else bad. She is terrified and is getting so frustrated by all that she does not know. I feel so very horrible for her. They are just going through so much...please keep them in your prayers.

The bad thing about Doodle's neurologist appointment - the one they are "squeezing" her into because it takes weeks to get into this guy because he is "the best" (per the ER doc) - is next week, the same day and time that my promotional review that I have to present myself at is...go figure. Obviously, I will try to reschedule my promotional review at work - but if they refuse, my priority is without question with my daughter, that is where I will be. My company is good though and I am very hopeful that they will get me rescheduled without issue.

A good thing - my good friend Chris is going to Vietnam tomorrow!!!!! They have waited a very long time for their little guy and I am so very happy for their family.

**I have read 2 books recently and mean to give a review of them. That is a RARE treat that I have read 2 books.

All for to check on Doodle for the 100th time today. My guard was down for seizures after 10 months...but it is definitely up now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Well, I have been officially sidelined - not a place I am used to being. Monday I worked from home because I felt so awful and had a project I absolutely needed to finish. Yesterday, I knew Doodle was getting sick, coughing and yet protesting that she was fine and could go to school - so against my better judgement, I allowed her to go. She did fine but by bedtime last night she had a fever and was very docile. So, today she and I and Shenzi are home. Our sitter is coming to get Shenzi when she picks up Meesta at school, this will ensure that Doodle gets the calm and rest that she needs.

I did not anticipate staying home today though and did not bring home my work laptop...I guess my coworkers will have to survive without me today. I always feel helpless and in the dark when I am not informed, I will survive though. Hopefully I will get some rest today too and that will be good for all!

All for now...


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Family are Complicated

Families are complicated. It is just as simple and as complex as that, one little sentence says so much.

My dear uncle who had a heart transplant 8 years ago has been diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). This is very sad for all of us, especially his wife (my aunt) and their 13-year-old son. We are all very close and we are all hopeful, but further lab tests are required before a specific course of action can begin. Being the scientific person that I tend to be in these situations, I am eagerly awaiting the specifics, is Epstein-Barr involved, are there B cells or T cells implicated - these things all matter. The problem lies in that to make the cancer more receptive to treatment, his anti-rejection meds which automatically reduce his white blood cells must be reduced - so treatment for his cancer can lead to his body rejecting the heart that was so lovingly donated to him 8 years ago. Prayers are requested as we navigate how to respond to this and how to be there for them all. We pray for healing, he is such a fun and generous man with way too much life left to lead.

Now the touchy thing. When things are not going well in your relationship with a family member, what do you do? Especially when whatever it is is so stupid in your mind, actually you don't even know why things are going well??? Shouldn't a life-threatening illness of a close family member make all the silliness go away? Isn't that a wake up call? I am frustrated and don't know what to do.

It is all so complicated and frustrating and I am wayyy simplifying it here. Oh well, lots of things to ponder.

Today is my birthday and my good friend CW made it a great day at work, baked me a cake and she and my other good friend at work, Nik, took me for lunch at my favorite Indian buffet - yum! D and the kids made it a nice evening as well. They got me a private little obsession, something I saw in the store a few months ago and really wanted but had honestly forgotten about - a little 5-game (old school stuff) video thing that plugs directly into your t.v. with a little joy stick, that is it, no big game system. Guess what it has...ok, I will not hold you in suspense - Ms. Pacman! I have a mild obsession with that when I get around one. We had neighbors in our old house that had a full-size arcade game of Ms. Pacman in their basement and they kept it in their basement and we had free reign to come and play anytime as it was accessible from their garage...but now, I have my own. I am in trouble!!!!

It was a decent day, birthdays indeed get less dramatic with age, and that is just fine.

All for now...


Monday, October 16, 2006

4 Years Ago Today...and 11 Years Ago Today

October 16 is an important day in my life. It used to be that I liked this date because my friend June had this as her birthday (2 days before mine) and that was cool while growing up. However, the date took on my significance when a good friend of mine from college was killed in a car accident on this day, just months after we graduated from undergrad. Her name was Tonya and she was one of those people you can't help but like, that you wish you were more like. She and I had a lot in common and we were in the same sorority, both raised by single moms, both a bit fiesty, but she was wayyyy cooler. She was eccentric looking in a very positive and stunning way, she captivated attention from both men and women, and she was fun. You always had a good time when she was around. Her death changed me and I grew up quite a bit after it. I realized just how short life can be - I am glad she lived hers with gusto.

Now, the more recent and much happier reason that October 16th sticks out as an important day is that it was 4 years ago today than our twins arrived on my state's soil...after nearly a year of battling to bring them home. Doodle and Meesta turned our lives upside down from the minute we received their referrals and have continued to do that ever since. I have no idea how D and I survived that trip home, almost 48 hours of travel time with 18-month-old help as our help had to leave Cambodia following our own US Embassy's ineptitude at doing anything sensible...we could not leave on our originally-scheduled flight because of errors in Meesta's visa...and it was rushed and likely done wrong because the "black list" was down and they could not check to make sure they were not on the terrorist list...I kid you not.

Anyway, it has been 4 years now since we arrived home (following our final delay of the airplane re-ascending while landing at our home airport - can you imagine!!!!!, as if we had not already been through enough!). I will never forget the tons of family and friends (and even reporters) at the airport to welcome us home. It had been a journey not just for us, but for those who loved us and even for strangers who had followed our story in the press. We became a "family" in the true sense of the word that day and I am forever a better person because of it.

I thank God for the miracles that are my children and feel so incredibly blessed that I am able to parent them. They have begun to talk much more about Cambodia and are beginning to get the concept of "adopted" but still don't seem traumatized by any of it. I hope they will be able to work through any struggles this causes them while growing up enveloped in the love they know we have for them.

Mommy loves you so very much!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Moon Cakes

Given that we are an international family, we take that seriously and feel it is our responsibility to teach our children as much about their birth culture as we can, within reason.

Well, it is Moon Cake Festival time for the Chinese and we felt that Shenzie (using nicknames, tired of letters...) should experience Moon Cakes, so I got creative. One of the international adoption listserves posted several recipes so I decided to make it happen.

Here is a picture of a traditional Chinese Moon Cake:

Well, my recipe was a bit more simplistic - and then I filled them too full of jelly (not into red bean paste)...but they were still very yummy. I even took them to work and shared them with my fellow Chinese adoptive parents and some of my Chinese friends (and they told me they were very tasty)!

Here is a picture of my Moon Cakes, with a glimpse of my Shenzie looking on to her mom's marvelous, yet not very pretty, Moon Cakes.

Here's a Moon Cake Toast to our kids, for enriching our lives, adding joy and culture beyond our wildest imagination. They are loved more than life itself!


Friday, October 06, 2006

We did it - In the garage...

Yes, we did, tonight in the garage - but it is not what you think, get your heads out of the gutter...we danced. It was fantastic, impromptu, and deliciously romantic. Yep, in the garage.

Now that D is in seminary full time plus working 30+ hours/week, we don't have much quality time together. His head is constantly in a book and I am busy keeping the house in order/managing my own job and the not-for-profit/taming the adorable monsters that call us mom and dad. We are doing great though, but I do miss my time with him.

Well, this evening after the kids were in bed, he was helping me do some stuff in the garage this evening with our not-for-profit and we had the radio playing and all of a sudden, he was grabbing me for a dance. Ahhh, it truly made my heart go pitty pat. I do LOVE that man!

Here's to all my cyber friends - may you feel the love too, it is incredible!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Incident in the Parking Lot

Well, the incident happened the other night. It is somewhat of a repeat for me, unfortunately. One would think I would not have ever let it happen again. The last time this incident happened I was in college. I was driving home with my best friend then to our home town and well, I just couldn’t control it. It just, well, happened – despite my best intentions.

Well, it happened again, yesterday. D and the kids were with me and I was in the parking lot of a strip mall of sorts. Let me set the stage, at least in my defense…

The twins had gotten the little free personal pan pizza from reading books and so we went to Pizza Hut. I drank 2 diet sodas. We then decided to go and get CA’s hair cut in the strip mall, so we all went in, no biggie, hair cut, we are out. Well, I had to go to the bathroom, but it seems I always do, and well being the martyr mom that I am, I thought, oh I can wait until we get home.

So, as we are walking out of the hair cutting place, CA accidentally hits his little noggin on a side mirror of a car, HE WAS FINE, but D and I both laughed…he did too, it was funny – you had to be there. I should also add that I was carrying SK, our adorable monster 2-year-old…and she is HEAVY. Well, the laughter did it, I could not hold it.1.MORE.SECOND.

I peed the parking lot. All I could do was stand there helplessly and laugh, uncontrollable, with a puddle growing around me. As soon as D realized what had happened, he just starts laughing uncontrollably, which makes me laugh harder – and well, have you ever been able to hold it while laughing??? No, I think not.

We did not tell the kids what happened, they did ask why mommy was sitting on the towel in the middle row seat – I just told them because I wanted to. I wanted to tell them the truth, but knew they would go to school and tell their teacher that their mommy had an accident. It was certainly memorable and we laughed a lot.

Oh yes, back in college, I peed my car – my OWN CAR that I was still making payments on…same situation, trying desperately to hold it but my best friend started laughing at my discomfort and pain and literally ½ block from my mom’s house, out it came…how awful. I had to air my car out for some time, not pretty.

Last night I was even worried that I would dream about it and pee the BED! This did not come to pass fortunately…Thank GOD.

This was a good dose of humility and embarrassment and I was ever so glad that D was my best friend as well as my husband at that moment…

Life is this good…even in wet pants and soaked shoes…


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Did God Use Me?

D's seminary classes have my mind buzzing to new topics and opening my eyes to different ways to view religion in general. One of his papers that I edited recently (he has a built in editor in me;) mentioned something about how God can use you to speak to others. I found it interesting but did not think much more than that...until the next day.

I don't always remember my dreams, actually rarely, but last week I did remember one, very clearly. It was about a lady who works at the same place that I do, we used to work on the same "team" but not for very long and we didn't really even like each other much, both too much of a "driver" personality. I see her fairly often and we always say hi, but that is about the extent of our relationship, I don't know much about her in general or her personal life.

All that to tell you that my dream was that I saw her in the hall and she told me that she and her husband had adopted 2 children from Russia and that she was unexpectedly pregnant - and not so happy about it. Odd dream, no?

Well, the next day I happened to see this lady and it triggered my memory that I had dreamt about her. I proceeded to tell her and she just stopped and pulled up her shirt sleeve to show me her goosebumps. She and her husband are talking about adopting 2 children, from Russia. AND, one of her big fears is that she would then get pregnant. This gave me goosebumps too.

What does this mean? I am really not sure, but as I processed this interaction, I realized that maybe God had used me to either persuade or dissuade (??) her to proceed with the adoption. I guess time will tell. I don't recall ever having such a specific dream and it truly having meaning to anyone other than myself.

I likely won't forget this one anytime soon.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Colorado Sadness Hits Close to Home

I continue to take some emotional hits from the news lately. Since September 11, 2001, I can’t go without my news fix. I guess I have become a bit of a junky. The news that continues to leek out about the recent shootings at a high school in Colorado have me sad and ANGRY. How dare someone do that?! I have been outraged, but then this morning I read something that made it emotionally worse for me, it hit home a bit more…the girl that was killed, she had a twin brother.

My twins have the most amazing bond and if they are even separated for 10 minutes, they honestly miss each other. I am frequently getting on them because if they walk into a room and don’t SEE the other one, they ask where he/she is?! They are usually in the next room, just LOOK. They are tight. It is cool. They are the best of friends and even yesterday, we were having a conversation while driving to a friend's soccer game about decorating the house for Halloween as we had passed by a dramatically decorated house for Halloween. I informed them that if they wanted to do that to their own homes when they grew up – then they could. CA informed me that he would indeed do that and that I could come over to see it. I asked where he was going to live, close to mom and dad or far away – he said far away…with CM. I asked him if he planned to get married (mind you, they are 5), he said yes, he was going to marry CM. I explained that she was his sister and that she would always be his sister, but never his wife. He then asked, rather seriously, if he had married her at Doodie’s wedding (a good friend of mine who got married almost 2 years ago and they were the ring bearer and flower girl). I explained that no, they had not, he than disagreed with me because she had on the pretty white dress and he had on the bow (tuxedo). Awww, the innocence of youth.

Anyway, this story hits so close to home in that I am sure that her twin brother feels as if he has lost a part of himself. I pray that our kids never experience this pain, this injustice, this incredible sadness.

Here is a quote from about the story and a statement about the deceased girl from a family friend, and I will take this challenge/directive seriously and tell you all later what D and I try to do every year already to address this:

“In memory of Emily we would like everyone to go out and do random acts of kindness, random acts of love to your friends or your neighbors or your fellow students because there is no way to make sense of this. It’s what Emily would have wanted.”

Monday, September 25, 2006

How to Raise a Good Brother, Son, Future Husband

I was in S's bedroom this morning getting her ready and I could hear the twins down the hall getting up and ready for school. They were obviously in the bathroom at the same time and all of a sudden I hear a scolding lashed out from CM to her brother "CA, I DO NOT WANT TO SIT ON THE TOILET LIKE THAT, YOU HAVE TO PUT THE SEAT BACK DOWN WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED!" Well, she told him. They are 5.

This little man of ours has 2 rather bossy sisters and a not-so-soft-spoken mom, he does not stand a chance at being a male pig - and his dad is a most of the time, wonderful role model:)

Seriously, some day, some cute chickie had better not give me any grief because we are creating a wonderful, considerate and thoughtful, toilet seat-putting down gentleman for her to enjoy.

Today was a great and calm evening in our household. D had a meeting at church, so when I got off work and met our sitter, we went to the nearest town where we have paid to be a member of their library (while we also have to pay for our little library in our town, it does not offer much). The kids love the library and so do I, we got some books for them, for me, and a couple of new videos. Although I had to pay for the membership, it has already saved a fortune in books!

We came home, had some yummy meatloaf, carrots and potatoes that I had cooked the night before, and then I read them books at the table while they had a rather boring dessert of goldfish - then it was bedtime!

It was great and I truly treasure these times when we can be calm and I can just enjoy being around them. I like them a lot.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Inhumanity of Man

The current headline story in the news is so sickening and sad to me that it makes me question how safe it is to raise children in this society. It is about the "friend" in East St. Louis who first killed her friend by cutting her unborn fetus from her stomach, letting her bleed to death - then killing her other 3 children, placing them in the washer and dryer and then holding a funeral for the dead baby and acting as if it were her own! Seriously, I have heard many things in my time as a mental health counselor - I worked at a Women's Prison and did psychological intakes, I worked in an inpatient PTSD clinic for Vietnam Vets in New Orleans. I have heard some pretty violent and subhuman stuff, but what kind of a mental break must one have to do something like this, to a so-called friend. These 2 women had grown up together and were supposedly friends. What happened?!

I have had disagreements with friends, even recently, they always hurt and there are always two sides to a story - but never have I wanted to physically harm another person. Okay, not quite true, I have on more than one occasion had to walk away from my children because I was so angry - but I did walk away. What makes a person harm someone else in such a manner and not only the cruelty against the woman, but also against her children. Someone like this must be put away for the rest of her life - in solitary - actually, this would be a death penalty case in my opinion. This would probably be letting her off too easily.

This reminds me of the quote from Robert Burns "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!"

May God be with the family of both the perpetrator and the family of the victims.


Saturday, September 23, 2006


My son, the one who stands on the soccer fields kicking the dirt with his cleats, picking grass and flowers and rather aimlessly following the bumblee soccer game that he is to be participating in, yes, that is the one. He.scored.a.goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear it was more exciting than him winning the Nobel Prize or something, now how ridiculous is that! In all fairness, CM scored a goal during their first game and is usually more into it than he is, but this is all about his goal.

He was doing a bit better paying attention to the GAME this time and then all of a sudden, he had the ball and he took it ALL THE WAY DOWN THE FIELD by himself with the others chasing his little frame. D and I and my BF LaLa, along with the other parents from our team, were all cheering and yelling like idiots - me on my feet - it was as if it was happening in slow motion and we were all cheering for him to stop the bomb that was about to blow up the world! Save us CA!!!!!! The grin on his face after he kicked it in was absolutely priceless - he was not quite sure what to do with himself.

It is honestly silly how exciting a 5-year-old's goal was to experience. I guess that is truly what being a parent is all about, I feel their sorrows and their joys - they are truly like having my heart walking around outside of my body.

Now, I know, scoring and winning is not everthing (they don't even keep score - but if they did, we would have been squished every game so far), but this was SO THRILLING!

Soccer Sign Up: $55
Soccer Cleats: $15
Soccer Shorts: $13
Watching your son score a goal: PRICELESS

I will likely have to go on a very strong sedative if any of my kids decide to do something really competitive in school or for life!


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Grey's Anatomy...SOON!

Tonight is the night, it is the long-awaited season premiere and I am v. excited! I try not to get in serious like with too many shows, but Grey's is one I cannot miss and one reason I LOVE Tivo and feel it is worth the funds. I love the complexity of all the characters, and the men, well some of them are fine to view. I also do not miss Amazing Race, must see t.v. indeed.

I am trying my best to read more so that the t.v. is not on while D is trying to read his multitude of Seminary books (good grief, there is an immense amount of reading in seminary).

Update later on the Season Premiere. Also lots to talk about, including our trip to see Luong Ung on Tuesday night, it was interesting.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Breather

This evening has been nice, I had NO WHERE to go. The kids and I watched the Tivo'd Monday Deal or No Deal - they love it. Even little S gets into it, it is a riot. She comes up to me seriously, and asks..."mama - deal or no deal", it is so cute. It was nice. I then let them get into our master garden tub and get all pruny and have a ball. We call this our "play bath", most of the time I give them "quick baths" and they are tolerable to them, but the adore play baths.

The cold season is trying to settle into our abode, but we are doing our best to fight the invasion of the germ monsters, besides the guest bedroom is too messy. Most of the people at work have been sick with colds, sinus infections, etc and somehow I have managed to escape it.

Okay, so sad, I am catching up on Tivo'd stuff now that the kids are in bed and watching a Dr. Phil episode (can't help it!). It is truly shocking how some families live - violence in the home, kids involved. Why must idiot adults drag kids into bad situations?

All for now...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

On My Side??

The days are getting much longer, especially for me who feels much better after 8 hours of sleep, as I stay up with D at night while he reads his endless books for Seminary. He is doing so much and I am so proud of him, so I am trying to do my best to be supportive and AWAKE as much as possible. If he has to suffer, I am trying to suffer with him;).

Well, yesterday (Monday) I had a hair appointment at 4 downtown then a church meeting at 7, so it was truly pointless for me to go home until after the meeting. D had the kids for the evening by himself and they all had a good time. I arrived home around 9:30 to the man that resembles my husband, but whose head is bent into a book in a rather sustainable fashion, and decided I needed to be supportive. AND, I always have about 10 million things to get caught up on, so I went to work.

One action was to get C&C’s soccer uniforms clean as they have a game tonight (Tuesday). I went upstairs, gathered all the laundry (or so I thought) and traipsed downstairs to get the machines whirring. [[BTW, those who have the washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms and main bathrooms – you are VERY lucky – I will have this at some point in my life!]] After sorting the myriad of clothes that belong to the 5 of us, the soccer shirts were NOWHERE to be found (yes, I capped that on purpose). This led to a search of the whole *^$) house, including turning on the light in the twins’ room, waking them both up by doing this and finding 1 shirt – yes, just 1, it was CM’s, she was a lucky girl, but I found it between the toy boxes – not where dirty clothes are to go… My dear CA did notice my new hair do, even in his sleepy gaze, this handsome little devil said he liked my hair – some lady in the future is going to thank meJ. I decided that CA was going to be out of luck as I did not have time to find it, and not sure where else to even look?!

This morning, I got up early when D left and went to the dryer to do a switch of laundry from washer to dryer and lo and behold, what did I find staring right at me – CA’s soccer shirt. There is absolutely no other explanation in my mind than God knew that I needed a little extra help, it sent chills down my spine, there is just no way that I missed it in the sorting process, the putting in the washing machine, and then the dryer – no way! So, thanks for the extra help, I need it.

Now, one would think that this extra bit was enough for me for one day – but I am feeling a little extra effort today from God and he is feeling a bit ornery if I do say so myself…there was an idiot driving on the interstate with me this morning, the kind who obviously is not trying to call back work colleagues via voicemail, the kind who needs a fast mustang to compensate for his lacking abilities elsewhere (yeah, I took it there!)…this idiot obviously did not appreciate that a minivan driving mama had dared pass him in his race car. Whatever, I could care less, well after passing him and the other vehicle, I properly got back in the right lane (interstate = fast and slow lane), this idiot gets over and drives right alongside me, purposely, slowing as I need to slow because of the traffic in front of me, I look over to see if I could get over – because I am not paying attention to his game, I am already WORKING, and he is totally smirking and not looking my way. Nu uh – you didn’t! Well, he finally speeds off, trying to leave the silver monster minivan in the dust, and he gets maybe 500 yards in front of me and a big truck with a horse trailer cuts him off and moves into the fast lane – I laughed out loud. I wondered how well he liked his game then. Seriously, why must people be idiots – vehicles are for transportation only in my mind, not games. It is idiots like this that cause accidents – deadly ones. I am sure that he learned no lesson, but I felt like someone was on my side today!

Well, I am writing during my lunch, v. busy at work. Soccer tonight and actually leaving (D&I) during soccer to go to a local university to see a Cambodian speaker tonight – a rare treat.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not a Song - Just Music

My son had an interesting comment tonight - that's not a song mom, it's just music. Mmmhhh. He was wrong though because they really did start to sing, but it just made me realize how very diffently they view and categorize the world.

I had the opportunity to email with the twins' teacher today and she described them as a "joy to have in class". Now, she could be lying through her teeth, which I hope she isn't, but I honestly welled up with pride that they are good little people. That is so honestly the goal of D and I, we want to raise good people.

As I type this, my work laptop is also running right next to me and because of the current loggin in restrictions, I must use dial-up and it is SO SLOW! I have been burning the candle at 3 ends - if that is even possible. Yesterday, I scurried to the sitter's house, picked up the kids, sped home (safely...), fed the kids a quick supper, got C&C changed into soccer outfits, sped back to the soccer game (2 towns away), and then enjoyed the company of NO ONE else as our own game had been cancelled! GRRRRR.... I didn't get the message because the phone attached to the answering machine was unplugged - but the answering machine light was on so I didn't realize it - and I didn't get the messages they tried to leave - although they have my email, cell phone and work phone as well as D's. Oh well, right.

Then, today, I missed a dentist appointment for C&C because I thought it was at 3, but it was at 2 - they tried to call our HOME - I WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME. It feels that the powers that be are conspiring against me this week and all seems to be pointing to the fact that I am working too much and am overwhelmed at work. I love my job though and just need to set more limits and try to get even more organized.

Today was my great-grandma's 89th birthday and the kids and I went to visit her. It was a great visit. D is doing great in school, I am so proud of him and all that he is juggling too.

The SIL and BIL who lost everything they owned in the fire, are now renting a house and are being told that their house can be repaired - but will have to be gutted.

Well, that is the update for now.

Despite the craziness, life is This Good...


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Camp FIRE!

Things have been busier than busy around here, so please forgive the lack of posts, I have certainly missed writing. Lots to catch up on, not sure where to start.

I, disregarding my better judgment, agreed to go camping over Labor Day weekend with my dear spouse, our 3 children, and on the first night our sitter and her family and on the second night, the previous night's crowd, + D's senior high youth group. All in all, it was not bad, but I was exhausted by the experience. The first night we had an A*^%#le near our area who was so loud and drunk that I came this close (imagine scrunched fingers) to marching over there and giving him a piece of my mind. Anyone that stupid, loud and vulgar though was certainly a redneck with a shotgun in the gun rack of his oversized truck - so because I don't choose to leave my babies and hubbie without my harassment and love for now, I did not go over to tie his nether regions in a knot... The second night, I was armed with the number of the park ranger and cell phone was nearby, but they were actually well behaved, so no need to call. It was exhausting though keeping an eye on my 3, especially because I am one who might be called a bit overly cautious. There are no "safe" parameters, therefore, I feel like I needed to be eagle eyes to make sure the kids didn't wander off or get stolen by the next lunatic! All in all though, the kids loved it and D enjoyed it, and I survived:)

We returned to our house on Monday early afternoon and learned that D's sister and brother-in-law's house had burned, badly earlier that day. It is fairly well charred and nothing inside can be saved, very sad. Fortunately, they had insurance and eventually things will be okay. Their contractor and others have said that they think it is structurally sound, so hopefully so. They have had a very rough year, they both lost their fathers within about a month of each other in January and February of this year, and now this, they need a break!

Work has been very busy, lots of projects, but the days are flying by.

We are hosting a dinner/educational event on Saturday called An Evening in Cambodia and it has been very timeconsuming creating all the pieces, organizing, etc. Hopefully it will be a successful event...but exhausting! We are expecting around 60 people and are just hoping that the event will bless someone's life (or many someones), both here and eventually in Cambodia.

D started seminary this week and he has a lot of reading to doooooo (hear've got some 'splaining to do...)! He is so smart though, he will make it through with flying colors.

S, our youngest, has been exceptionally frustrating lately - she refuses to listen. to anything. at all. GGGGRRRRRRR. I guess the Terrible 2s are here indeed, may God help us all through it.

C&C continue to love kindergarten and truly seem to be learning more and changing so much so quickly. They are both playing soccer and it is funny to see them interacting in a group setting with other kids, without me. My son is FAR more social and outgoing and outspoken than I ever would have guessed. When we adopted him, he was the most introverted child ever, he has changed indeed. CM seems to be pretty good at soccer, despite the fact that she would rather socialize with the other girls - she can't seem to help herself when the ball gets near, she has to go for it. She seems to take after me more than I might realize;)

Well, wish me luck getting everything done and surviving the next few days - including our first official soccer game and the Cambodia event and then a cousin's birthday party on Sunday! I need some Calgon...

Life is still THIS GOOD,

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Why, oh why, must George W say nucular???? The word is NUCLEAR - the pronunciation matches the spelling.

Please George, the rest of the world is listening to what you say.

Let's practice, nuuuuu - cleeee - arrrrr.

Good, now the hard one, terror. It is not turrerrrr, it is terr-or.

Sorry all, this is not political, it is practical. NPR played several sound bites on my way home, work with me George!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We Survived the Party

Well, we all survived the party and the stragglers who came today because they could not make it on the day of the party. S was her charming self and truly seemed to enjoy all of her gifts. I think her favorite was a toss-up between a little compact mirror from my Aunt P and a fishing pole my Uncle J gave her. A girl with many interests...

For some stupid reason, I find myself with the Emmy Awards on, seriously, do I care?! I should be addition to increased health through more exercise and weight loss, better finances through budgeting, planning and aggressive debt reduction, I truly aim to watch less mindless t.v. once the kids are in bed and READ more. I truly love to read, but for some reason I am just too tired to focus on reading after a long day. I am going to try to do better. As you can see, I am a work in process...


Friday, August 25, 2006

Birthday Party - The Dread

Tuesday, our little S, will mark 2 years on this earth. She has had lots of changes in her little life. She was born somewhere near Jingdezhen, China and now lives in podunk Midwest USA. Now, I am all for celebrating our daughter's 2nd birthday - what I dread is the p a r t y, we are having it tomorrow.

Is anyone else like me and truly dreads the family party? It is not that I don't value family, I truly do. I just don't enjoy them all being in one place at one time, both D's family and my family. You are not only being the host, but you are making sure everyone is taken care of, nothing is destroyed, and that your children are also being nice to all relatives. It is just too stressful!

Then, there are the gifts. The kids open gift after gift, sometimes not remembering who gave them what, and it just seems like an ungrateful atmosphere where I feel pressure to make sure the birthday kid (or kids for the twins) are thanking the appropriate people, etc.

I hate it. I would rather have each family member over separately or in small groups, but our schedule prohibits this.

What would I like you ask? I LOVED what we did with the twins this year, we packed up and took the train to Chicago for the weekend, we had a ball! We had no party, there were no gift parades, and we all had a good time. The kids never even seemed to miss the traditional party because they knew we were having a special birthday celebration in Chicago. We are going to try to implement this more often for more birthdays, it was far more enjoyable.

Oh well, wish me sanity for tomorrow, I am going to need it.

On the positive, Tuesday is her real birthday, and we will begin the fun adventure of potty training. I will be none to sorry to see diapers go - I have always detested changing them, YUCK!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

School Clothes

Lots of the blogs I read have discussed school clothes lately, whether "new" clothes are needed, how much to spend, etc. Since my oldest are new to the "official" school system - kindergarten - this has me thinking about this topic.

My mom grew up very poor and remembers clearly how mean other kids were to her because she was not dressed nicely, consequently, she always had me dressed to the nines. Going school shopping was a big deal and we always made a big deal of it and spent quite a bit - more than we should have actually. Now, what do I do...

I must admit that I have LOTS of cute clothes for my kids, and CM always has her hair done nicely and they are both looking fairly adorable all the time. Part of this is because of how I was raised and part of it is that I know kids can be mean, for lots of reasons. Let me explain further and why I am wondering about my motivation and if I am a bit over the top.

We live in a small rural community, but both work in metro areas. We live out here because of the quality of life, low crime, larger house = smaller price, etc. However, one of the down sides is that people here are very HOMOGENEOUS. Our kids are THE racial diversity in this community. We know that and accept it. We have rationalized it that everyone has something that makes them different and if we have issues, we will deal with them as they come. But, I am wondering if I don't overdo it on the clothes and appearance because I don't want them to have a "social strike" against them that might set them up as a target for mean kids. Now, I know that I would dress whatever child of mine nicely, but do I go that extra mile because they don't look like the other kids??? I don't know.

Now, in our defense, the inside is more important than the outside, and that is a huge focus of our family. We are trying to develop and raise these mini people into good adults and compassionate humans, that is our goal. Our goal is NOT to raise the cutest outside appearance people who are shallow and self-absorbed, far from it. So I hope I am not giving that impression. We talk about other people, their needs and how we should treat others. They pray for others in need and we even discuss current world events. We have cereal day where we eat cereal for supper and donate our $ to a cause of their choosing. We honestly are trying to raise good people.

I just wonder if my actions will effect them in the future in terms of outward appearance? Hubster and I dress up for work so they see us dressed up as well.

Thoughts? Does anyone else, especially those who have adopted internationally, considered this topic?

Just pondering...

Have a good one,

Monday, August 21, 2006


Random Thoughts on a Monday Evening - Doing More with Your Life and Making a Difference

There is a song that the kids and I like to sing, the kids more for the tune, me more so for the words. Natasha Beddingfield (sp?) sings the song and I can't seem to hear it enough. It speaks of the way that I want to live my life...the script is yet unwritten. The message is that you can do whatever you want with your life - it is up to you.

I am thankful for all of the good and bad experiences and people that have helped make me who I am today. I truly believe there is a lesson in every situation and that your future is up to you...your story is Unwritten.

Anyone that communicates with me via my work email will know that my "signature" is from Ghandi, "be the change you seek in the world". I keep this mantra in my mind frequently and I try to live this way. Of course, no one is perfect but I do believe that the efforts of one person can make a difference in the world, if even for one other person. Lethargy, laziness, non-motivation make me sad because I have seen what can be accomplished by a small group of committed people.

We received t-shirts one time that contained a quote from Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." I challenge anyone with that itch to do something good for someone else, no matter how big or how small, go for it. You will make a difference, even if you don't have instant gratification.

Off my soap box for the evening...Treasure Hunters Finale is already going on Tivo...

Life is this good,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Inspiring and Heavy - and BLOGS galore

Well there are some serious decisions that have been going on around our household, nothing bad, just big changes. Most are exciting, but a big change nonetheless. This one big change has had me blog surfing and oh my gosh, how I LOVE blogs. I love reading about other peoples' lives, their experiences, their advice, their inspiration, and their sorrow.

In our ever-increasing efforts to reduce our debt, I have found lots of cool blogs out there about real people trying to do the exact same thing. Check out the following cash savvy blogs, I have enjoyed them:

The Great Debt Payoff

Blogging Away Debt

Taking Control Over Money

Divorce to Financial Freedom

Now for the heavy, and inspiring...these decisions, you know the big ones I mentioned, well, they have had me going to military blogs. They are amazing, articulate, and heartbreaking but also full of hope and love. These women have endured the ultimate heartache, the loss of their beloved husband and father to their children. They both describe the moment when they were told, seeing the stern military people at their door and knowing without even having to be told.

I could not stop reading these strong women:

Learning to Live

Life After Iraq

I truly cannot imagine their heartache, the suffocating feeling of loss that must cloak you so pervasively for so long. It is heartening to hear their movements forward, but the loss never seems to be too far from their minds. May God be with these brave women as they learn a new norm. Their stories have been very heavy and present in my heart and in my throat since I read them. I thank them for being so open about their ultimate loss.

The heavy decisions will be announced when they are finalized...


Monday, August 14, 2006

Kindergarten - Then College

Tomorrow is the day, I truly can't believe it. CM and CA go to kindergarten. It seems like only yesterday D and I were sitting on the floor of a Cambodian orphanage marveling at their tiny everythings. We were in awe, of them and of our new responsibilities. When I think back to how overwhelmed we were on our first trip to visit them (1st birthday) and then when we were finally able to fly over and bring them home, I honestly don't know how we survived. Thank God the kids did since we had NO CLUE what on earth we were doing.

There have been many ups and a few downs as we have fumbled our way along parenting these amazing little people. There were double the diapers, bottles, teething, and baby food for a while. Then we moved on to the inevitable potty training, learning to talk, run, fight with each other and slowly develop into the coolest little people I have ever known. I am biased, yes, I do realize that. HOWEVER, lots of other people tell us what great kids we have, and not JUST because they are so adorable, which they are.

There are lots of firsts on our horizon right now, they are beginning school - we even needed dedicated gym shoes. They are both going to play soccer (and they are so cute in their cleats and shinguards). They are going to meet lots of new kids since their preschool was in a different town than their regular school...and we are going to meet lots of new kids AND parents. Most of the time, I rather prefer the kids. They will likely learn things I don't want them to learn. I know, this is part of growing up, I am trying to let go, but it is hard.

Lots of firsts and it feels in my head and heart as if we are starting a little ball of twine rolling that will get going faster and faster until before I am able to stop the ball, we will be packing for college. I think this fear of mine is aggravated by the fact that CA is determined that as soon as kindergarten is over, he is off to college. Now he is a very bright little boy, but I doubt he is that bright. Conversations to have with him another day...

We get to go with them tomorrow, stay for an hour and leave with them. Wednesday is the REAL first day. I need my Prozac.

Life is This Good...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Did You Know About the Tan?

Okay, quick lesson I feel that I should pass on as it took me far toooo long to learn this. When you are wearing light colors including white, and you are light-skinned, you should wear NOT wear white underwear or slip or bra. I KNOW. Why didn't anyone tell you? I learned this lesson only about 3 years ago. Instead of white, you should wear TAN. Yes, tan, even under white pants or a white top. It works. Like magic. You cannot see the bra or undies.

There are a lot of ladies who do not know this, I can tell because I can see their bras - but only when they are white.

Think Tan.

All for now...


Thursday, August 10, 2006

The New Chill Day

The new chill day... I remember the day when a sick day meant laying around the house, doing absolutely nothing. Not one thing, nothing, nada, zip. Well times, they have a changed.

Today, so far, I have done 5 loads of laundry and folded them all...but not put them away. So, there are 3 whole baskets of clothes staring me down, kind of like a dog that is waiting for you to drop some food. Annoying, yep, it is. But I will win this one.

I have cleaned out 3 different "piles of organization" - mostly magazines that I have never had the chance to read. Then, when I went to put the things away upstairs, I wondered why on earth I was keeping old magazines. I have never gone back to an old magazine to find something. So, I have made the decision that it is time to get RID OF ALL THE STUFF that should not occupy my time or space. Of course, that is another day and time.

All of this has taken up most of my day, along I did clean out my log of Tivo shows. Now, I feel like I should get ready to make supper. I wish I was able to truly chill, but I just feel way too guilty.

Off to create a yummy new recipe I found in one of my magazines today!


The Good - The Bad - and the Glasses

Today is one of those days.

I feel like crap, massive muscle aches thanks to my period, usually the symptoms don't hit me very hard as I am on the pill, but this has been a bad one. I have stayed home from work. I am here, in the big comfy chair, blanket on my lap, laptop on top of that, watching the scary news of the terrorist plot that was foiled, and waiting for the thunderstorms to appear as the news keeps telling me they will.

On top of that, there has been a great unfairness in my world. Not one that I can completely share as you never know who might read your blog in this great big cyberworld. But, let us suffice to say that life really is not fair sometimes. In fact, I am sure this unfairness (being way mild in calling it "unfairness" btw) is adding to my mood and physical symptoms. Someone was able to get something done that I have waiting patiently and appropriately to get done - that is not likely to happen for me and my family. In fact, this person has gotten this thing done about 4 times to my 0! Now this thing is beyond the unfairness of she got more cookies than me or they gave her more fries in her Happy Friggin Meal - this is a big deal. It is personal, it frustrates me to the very core of my being, and it makes me question my own approach. I try to be a good person, I try to follow the rules, I try to follow the virtue of acting as if God is watching all of the time. In my dream world, this would be enough to make my life fair, yes, I know that does not mean I would get everything I would want, but this thing, it is something that is not like I want another pair of expensive shoes. I. AM. PISSED. I believe my only solution is to go to the garden and eat worms.

Enough of the bad, on to other things.

My friend Chris FINALLY got some good news, you are almost there my friend, hang tight, Zeeb will be in your home and not just in your heart very soon!

My great-grandma is doing much better. I have been trekking to her town about every other day at this point which is a reduction from every day while she was in the hospital and her first few days at the nursing home. She seems to feel much better and she is talking more and seems to know who everyone is all the time. She even knows my SK, who it would be okay if she forgot her name, but she knows her and all, so that makes my heart feel good. There is also a little nurses aid at the nursing home who seems to be benefitting from our family being there. She was there the first evening grandma was there and I did my best to engage her at that point because I truly believe that grandma will get treated better if they see her as someone's beloved family member. That is just human nature. She opened up yesterday evening to me and my mom while we were there, sweet young girl is just 20 and she has an almost 1-year-old and she just lost her mom to lung cancer 2 months ago. Bless her heart. She was telling us that she is still very sad and in therapy, etc. We let her talk and I never told her that she was actively doing therapy while talking about it (not only that I am a trained therapist, but that telling your story is a huge part of therapy). See - I am trying to see the silver lining when I can.

And now, on to the glasses. Both CA and CM need glasses and they arrived yesterday. Both are a bit far-sighted and on top of that CM has an astigmatism. Good grief. So, we ordered them last Saturday and they were fitted last evening. I hate to say it, but it truly makes them look like the stereotypical "smart Asian" perception that we all know is out there. They pretty much only need to wear them during school or if working on a computer, not needed for normal daily activities or playing, etc. They seemed not to mind them too much. I am a bit bummed for them though, I wish they did not need glasses, hopefully they will grow out of them. But, they are darned adorable with them on.

All for now, perhaps more later since I am HOME ALONE!

Reminding myself that life is This Good...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An Old Soul

More than one person has commented that our daughter S, seems to be an old soul. I had never contemplated this about her before, she is my most challenging child, but also sometimes my most rewarding. I decided to really think about it today, as I know and have been told that I am an old soul as well.

From a Christian perspective, how do I really feel about the concept of an old soul? Can there be such a thing? Who knows, so I decided to not go so deep into the concept.

What makes S such an old soul? I guess it is her eyes for one, the way she looks at you. D and I are frequently fascinated by her ability to view situations and truly evaluate them, all without ever moving her head, just her eyes. She can focus more than anyone her age I have ever been around (not that I have been around a plethora of kids her age, BUT). She is incredibly perceptive and seems to read people and situations very quickly.

Does being persistent in the face of all contrasting information make one an old soul too? S has the uncanny ability to not take "no", "nope", "I SAID NO!" as a final answer. It is as if she was the host of the game show that asks if that is your final answer - and she gets to decide when the answer is acceptable. As her mother, this is beyond maddening. She frequently pushes my patience and is so very different than her older siblings that she is truly a daily challenge. I do think that this self-confidence and certainty gives her an air of power, makes her seem older/smarter?

Whatever the combination is that makes people say she is an old soul, I guess I find her to be the same and would have to concur. I love her intensity, more so when it works with my plan of action - but nonetheless, it makes her S. She is very strong, confident and a bit mean to her siblings (confidence needs channeled appropriately), absolutely adorable and is the kind of kid who draws people to her. She charms them most of the time, but occasionally will pull a shy routine. She is a one of a kind.

Some of my favorite things about her: watching her imitate her siblings and when calling her a copycat listening to her meow like a cat, snuggling with her before bed and reading Goodnight Moon - she likes the ritual and so do I, checking on her at night and seeing how long she is getting and investigating what unusual contortion she has made herself into, listening to her demand a book when we get into the van, watching her dance with her siblings, watching her eat an entire ear of corn and then another and then another..., listening to her chant and sometimes yell mamma every morning from her crib in her room, it is our ritual.

I am thankful for my little old soul, she has added a complete transformation to our lives. God definitely gave us the child we were meant to have.

Life is This Good...


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nursery Home

Things are never boring, which is usually good, but recently that has been bad. My great grandmother, who I have posted about before, whom I truly adore, is not well. She spent a week in the hospital and is now in a nursing home. For a woman who does not like change, who has lived in the same house for over 60 years, and who does not want to be a burden on anyone, this is the worst situation.

I have spent every evening but one and spent her first night in the hospital with her. She is reverting to childhood, even infancy at times, and it is terrible to witness. I have done my best to still see my family and keep my home life as normal as possible, so this has meant taking the kids with me from time to time, mostly because I want to be with them and I want them to be around their grandma. When we got home from the nursing home on Tuesday evening, CM told her daddy that we had been to the nursery home - in so many ways that is true and I had to smile at her innocent mistake that really wasn't so far from being a mistake.

Yesterday evening, Grandma was not doing well, very sick to her stomach, and I spent several hours, sitting on the edge of the bed, holding the vomit pan, and wiping her mouth after each episode. She looked horrible and felt horrible, but at one point, she looked up at me and said "am I making you sick?" Even in her darkest hour, she was thinking of someone other than herself, her selflessness astonished me and made me tear up. I told her of course not and that she need not worry about me. I then caught her exhausted and strained eyes again and told her that I hoped she knew that if I could do anything in the world to make her feel better, I would. She weakly smiled and said "I know you would."

This is tough and horrible and sad and yet I know a process of the life cycle. When praying, I am not exactly sure what to pray for - I have decided on peace for her and a soothing of her anxiety and pain. I find that I can't pray for her to live, because I am not sure I would want to live in her state and I am not so sure she wants to either. I know it is really not up to either of us, that God will decide, but it is a heart-felt struggle for me.

I know that all the positive things I possess that others like in me, the foundation for those was set by my Grandma. I owe her so much and she was such an important and positive influence on me in my younger years - but even now, seeing her grace and thoughtfulness of others, of me, I find that there are more lessons to learn from Grandma. That is why I find myself commuting another 25 minutes each way to be with her, to sit at her side, even if she is just sleeping, because I do not want to miss even a second of time during which she could share her wisdom with me.

I pray for her peace and comfort and for God's discernment as to her time on this earth.

My life is so much better for having her in it.