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.