Sunday, December 28, 2008

FB: A New Adventure

Okay, so I am a bit slow to most technological things, as in I still don't own an IPOD, although my phone would serve as one if I ever downloaded anything. Let's face it, for me to be blogging is all about the ability to write and not about my being tech savvy.

So, a while ago I joined FaceB*ok, and well, it is a totally new adventure. I thought it was primarily for the younger crowd, but really there are so many people on there. It is like a high school, college, friends you have not heard from forever reunion all rolled into one. I see it as a way to get more connected in the day-to-day life of those you rarely get to see, catch up with some old friends, and just have that new link to others you care to know more about. So, am I alone, have any of my internet friends joined?? If so, let me know so I can look you up!

The CC clan is heading east for a few days and will be celebrating a 14th wedding anniversary as well as New Year's while we are gone. Wish us FUN, little behavior modification, and some rest and relaxation!

See you all soon!
CC

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!




Christmas is here, it has snuck up on me yet again. I am struggling this year between trying to get everything done (including homework...11 hours on Sunday...don't even get me started) and taking time to make it fun and memorable with the kids. Yesterday I ran and did errands until noon, and then I came home and baked and let the kids create a total mess making and decorating sugar cookies. And I loved that they could do that, they had a ball and it really was not that bad of a mess. I used to have that tradition with my Grandma, but things are very strained between my Grandma and the rest of our family due to her choice and decisions...choosing to be a martar for the black sheep of the family, continuing to let him walk all over her, take all of her money, and yet stand up for him time and time again...after a while, it has just worn everyone thin, and I obviously digress. So, wishing it could be different but realizing it is what it is, I invited my mom over and we all did the holiday baking thing and it was a nice time. It hit me very clearly yesterday just how much D and I are in control of making traditions, etc. with our kids. Sometimes it is just hard to realize how much authority you have over their little lives.

Doodle was telling Shenzy the other day, now, on Christmas Eve, we get to open 1 present, and it is always pjs. I love how this has become a tradition that she knows and looks forward to. Most of all, I want them to feel loved and to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas at all. We even make Baby Jesus cupcakes each year for Santa Claus when he comes, we figured years ago that he had way too many cookies. So, that was part of our baking marathon yesterday, Baby Jesus Cupcakes, and we went with the chocolate-candy cane cupcake...pretty tasty!

Well, Merry Christmas and Blessings to all my internet friends. I wish you a stress-free holiday with memories being made with your loved ones.

Life is so very good,

CC

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Digital Photo Hell

The concept of the digital camera is amazing, but in actuality they stress me out. We have several, because I will just get irritated and buy another one when the one we have stops working properly (see debt issue...). This summer, with D being gone, I wanted to have one and for him to have one, so another camera was added to the mix...and then I bought the cool Flip. The problem with all of these devices, is that you must upload the photos for them to do any good...and that is where I fail miserably.

So this evening, I have been trying to upload photos and have many more hours' worth to do before all is said and done. I am rushing because we always make calendars with Shutterfly for Christmas and well, time is ticking and their offer of free shipping expires at 11:59 Sunday evening, and that is my needed pressure. I also try to upload photos from my computer (hence the need to get them at least to that point) up to Shutterfly so that if my computer ever dies, they are at least 1 other place, and I know...I know, I should have them backed up and put in a safe as well. Overwhelming is my point.

On another aside, I am trying to shake the woes of corporate life, I have a job and the week ended on a good note and was very incredibly productive. Not everyone is going to like me 100% of the time and I need to get over that fantasy.

The Saturday morning schedule is filled with basketball and dance and today was no exception, but I love that the kids are active and engaged. Afterwards, D took the kids home and I had a fabulous time this afternoon at Half-Pric* Books, man I love going there, I could spend DAYS, literally, in any book store, but that one is such a treasure trove and you are never exactly sure what you will find, so much fun! Then, I came home to yummy homemade potato soup and then we watched a family movie (Elf) and had a marvelous evening.

All for now,
CC

Thursday, December 11, 2008

BLAH

That's how I feel right now, blah. The corporate world is not for everyone and this week it picked me up with its teeth, tossed me around a bit, chewed on me, then spit me back out. Dramatic? Perhaps. But how I feel? Yes.

I feel blah and am irritated that I am letting it have an impact on the rest of my life. I have so many blessings and things to be thankful for and I need to shake this week off and get moving, but am having a hard time doing so. I am so very ready for the Christmas break, not only to celebrate Christmas but to also slow my world down a little bit.

CC

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Road of Lost Innocence


The Road of Lost Innocence, is the autobiographical tale of Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman who has experienced situations and horrors beyond what most of our nightmares take us. She was an orphan whose "grandfather" came for her one day and after using her as a personal slave, he eventually sold her to a violent soldier as a bride and then when he disappeared, he sold her into the sex trade. She has overcome more than one can imagine and now runs the Somaly Mam Foundation whose goal is to get children/women out of the cycle of poverty and provide them not only with safety and security but also with life and job skills so that they are taken out of the circle and so are their children.
Cambodia is a country that has been in our hearts since we started the adoption process for Doodle and Meesta back in 2001. After our first trip there, we knew it would forever be in our hearts and while we donate to a few other organizations and buy things from time to time that are Cambodian, our devotion to the people of Cambodia is mostly exhibited through our work with Tabitha USA. I had heard of Somaly Mam though and once I became aware of her book, I ordered it and this past week I had a chance to sit down and read it, and it only took about 3 hours as I was totally absorbed.
This book is disturbing on so many levels, but in the end, it is a story of hope. Somaly's description of many Cambodian men and their complete and utter lack of concern for women was shocking and her description indicates that it is a pervasive attitude across the country and women are pretty much property and of little value. What is even more disturbing is that she describes women, mothers of precious little children, who knowingly have their daughters working in brothels to bring in money.
Let me share with you a very disturbing paragraph, not to shock you, but to give you a flavor of what happens, what evils some children face:
"From time to time I am engulfed by rage at what I see around me. Recently there was the case of one young girl called Kaseng. Her parents were out one evening, and she was wandering in eh streets when she was captured by a group of sic or seven drunken men in their fifties. She was eight years old. They took her to a house and raped her one by one. Since she was too narrow, they took a knife and cut her vagina. Someone brought her to us. I took the child to the hospital to get her sewn up and then to the police to make a report. She began to recover. Her mother, who was very poor, said that ever since the child had been born she had brought nothing but bad luck, and she refused to take her back."
This story goes on to say that at the trial of these men, they claimed that this 8-year-old child had dressed provocatively and they were set free!! It goes on,
"We have laws in Cambodia, but everyone ignores them. The law of money prevails. With money you can buy a judge, a policeman - whatever you want. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel and stop doing all this. It feels too big for me to fight - the pimps, the corruption, the judges who aren't even for sale because they were bought long ago."
The issues with Cambodian adoptions are many and the fact that they remain closed and that Laurel and Lily will likely never be our daughters and that they very well may be used in a perverse manner is something that I must always block from my head. The psyche of this country was forever altered by the Khmer Rouge and the contrast between the expectations and laws of the US and Cambodia is extreme. How can the gap ever be bridged to allow for children who need safe and loving homes to find them in the US or other countries? This book has given me so much to ponder and I would love to sit down and talk with Somaly, first to share my admiration for her courage, both in surviving and thriving, but in putting her experiences to print so that we all might learn and understand. I would love to know just how pervasive the attitudes are across the country. What are her thoughts on "selling" children for adoption as opposed to "selling" them for sexual slavery?
These are all such contentious topics, but ones that I must ponder. I believe that we are all put on earth to share our gifts and talents, to show compassion and to make the lives of all those we can better because we cared. How much of a role does poverty play in the general mentality of children as property? I truly think that getting people out of the cycle of poverty is KEY to solving so many problems globally. Will is solve everything? Will it make everyone nice? Will is stop the power hungry souls from evil? No. Sadly no. However, I do think that it is a start and so many lives can be changed for the better because of it.
I became a monthly donor to the Somaly Mam Foundation, you don't have to sign up for much, but doing so will help Somaly in her amazing efforts, which have risked her life and that of her family on multiple occasions. I honor her efforts through my donations and know that the children of Cambodia who land in her care will make it. If I can play a role, regardless of how small, into helping her to do that, then it is my privelege to do so.
May God pour blessings out on Somaly and all those children who are experiencing horrors beyond our imagination. It is my prayer that those who are rescued can put it behind them to the best of their abilities and move on to live a life of relative peace.
I hugged my children extra tight when I finished reading the book that day and can't help but look in Doodle's eyes and PRAISE GOD that she is our daughter and safe with us. Her biggest challenge is getting yelled at for not listening and maybe not getting dessert if she doesn't eat any vegetables...but every single night she is put to bed with love, with prayers and her list of things she is thankful for that day, with a kiss, a slathering of vaseline for dry lips, and a "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite", and a wish that she have sweet dreams.
Being aware of the atrocities that exist in the world is the only way that we can help eradicate them. This book changed me, educated me, terrified me, sickened me, and inspired me.
Humbly,
CC

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nut Pie and Other Thanksgiving Bits

For the actual Thanksgiving Day, we hosted both of our mothers as well as a friend of ours from our previous city who is a dear friend. It was a relatively relaxed day although I did most of the cooking for the event. We had already eaten Turkey the previous Saturday and so D and I decided to take the meal a different route and harm a cow instead of a turkey, and we made beef and noodles. They. Were. Spectacular! D had made the noodles from scratch and I cooked the beef in the crockpot overnight and when the two were joined in magnificent unity, the result was beyond yummy. Can you tell I liked them?

Besides the beef and noodles, we had corn casserole, deviled eggs (where did they get this name?), mashed potatoes, and 3 desserts...yes, 3. My mom brought all three, 2 had been purchased through a school drive for her nephew (my cousin - he is only 2 years older than my Doodle and Meesta, we are an unusual brood I know), and 1 she bought at the store. Odd sidenote, my mother owns more cookbooks than anyone I have ever met, and yet she rarely ever cooks....ponder that one. The two from my cousin were rather scrumptious indeed, they were from Eli's Cheesecakes, and the tiramisu one was divine. The pie my mom bought at the store was a pecan pie, but when Doodle saw it, she immediately said, "Grannis brought a nut pie!". I don't know why it cracked (get it, nut) me up so much, but it did. I love the perspective my kids bring to daily life.

We were pretty much slugs over the Thanksgiving Break and besides church and the grocery store Sunday, the only time I went out was to join some friends to go see Bolt. It was rather entertaining and I laughed out loud a few times, worth the astronomical price for the movie AND the popcorn. We then went with said friends over to Chick-Fil-A and had a nice time chatting with other adults and another couple they knew who joined us and our collective 6 children! Odd that 1/2 of those 6 children were ours!

I read most of one book and completely read the other, which I will write more about in another post as it deserves its own. The books upcoming for review are The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam and Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus. Very interesting and worth a post in their own right...

D gave an excellent sermon last night, the man is brilliant but would never admit it. He spoke about how we should always be doing the work and being the people that God has called us to be every day, all day. His sermons are very effective, at least for me, because they hit home without being overbearing. You are wondering where he is going with a thought and then he brings it all together in such a way that you are fully mentally engaged and so the message really is embedded. I know I am biased, but he is the best sermon giver I have ever heard, seriously.

Okay, all for now!

CC

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

About Friends

As an only child with a mom who worked all the time, my growing up years were spent largely playing with friends. I had one close friend growing up who was like a sister to me, she has 3 siblings and we still remain somewhat close. We went to the same undergrad and our friendship pretty much fell apart for a while after living with each other for 3 years, she transferred to another school for our senior year. That was very hard on me as I loved/love her so much. Time has mostly healed that wound though.

As I have gotten older and matured (I sound 100 as I reflect here, I know), it seems that I have made friends, select and few that they may be, through the major experiences of my life. I have a couple from undergrad, a couple from grad school, some from work, some from the adoption world (although most are crazy...inside joke J!), and even some from the internet! I have come to rely on these friends, mostly women, to fulfill that role of a sister for me. Yet, given that they are not family family, the holidays and such typically don't leave me spending that extra quality time with them.

I have two friends in particular who have been in my prayers lately as they are going through some challenging personal times. I wish that I could fix their aches and solve their problems, but I cannot, but I do hope that they know that I am praying for them daily and hope that things turn more rosy sooner rather than later.

So this is my sappy post for Thanksgiving, my thanks to those who have filled the sister role for me. I love all of them for very different reasons, I rejoice in our shared joys and sufferings, and I long for success, happiness, and health for all of you.

Much Love,
CC

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Harbour Grace

I can't believe I haven't chatted yet about Miss Harbour Grace. She is our new puppy, yes, we have lost our minds, but she is a really sweet and good dog. She is a Newfoundland and will get to be approximately the size of our house, but her disposition and beauty will make up for her size, Newfie drool, and shedding in the spring - at least I hope so.

We named her after a location in Newfoundland, Canada, no other explanation, except that I don't like traditional names very much. She tends to potty in her crate while we are gone, but I am hoping that as she ages that will get much better... She goes the entire night in her crate in our bedroom sleeping soundly with no issues, so we know she can hold it, I think it is just an anxiety thing with her...and hey, we are a cool clan so I would miss us too.

And now the election, wow, am I ever stoked....and Indiana....WE WERE BLUE ON THE MAP!!! Every single other member of my family voted Republican so I attempted not to gloat toooo much when I texted several of them yesterday! President-elect Obama has a very tough road ahead of him as does his family. I sincerely hope that the activism and enthusiasm that captivated the nation during this time will not wane, but will continue and that civic pride and involvement will increase. As for me, and D, we will pray for he and his family daily, for wisdom, for discernment of the truth, for the ability to make the US the beacon of hope again globally, and especially for his safety and that of his family. I can't help but see a tiny morsel of my own story intertwined with his and has helped hook me enthusiastically to his candidacy. He and I both grew up raised by single moms, lots of grandparents help, and despite a complete lack of money, we managed to find ways to become educated. The huge discrepancies begin to appear around intellect and public speaking...he is light years ahead there!

So, welcome Harbour Grace to our family and welcome President-Elect Obama!!!

CC

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Redistribution of Candy...A Tiny Bit Political

One thing I love about my friends is that they are a varied lot, many don't know each other, and each one brings something enriching to my life in one way or another. One of our couple friends who are truly near and dear to our hearts, you will not find better people if you searched long and hard. They are the second-in-line couple to receive our cherubs should something happen to both D and I and our first guardians select could not or were not able to take care of the cherubs. This couple have raised 2 fantastic boys of their own and he sits on the school board, is a volunteer firefighter and she has taught elementary school for many years, and they are both fabulous Christians - and we enjoy spending time with them. The he of the couple is VERY REPUBLICAN, I bet he only has undies with elephants on them in fact. He knows that I am voting for Obama and he just has a hard time believing it, so he devised a little joke...

On Halloween we went back to our previous town where we have lots of friends and it is just a small town where the worries are far fewer. So we made our home base at one house and then our friend K, the female of the couple above, joined us to walk around with the kids since hers are getting too old to trick-or-treat. Well, before we left to trick-or-treat, she called my kiddos close to her and said that Uncle B (her husband) had told her that according to Obama, when the kids got home from trick-or-treating, that they had to take all the candy they had walked around and earned and would have to give some of it away to other kids who did not want to go trick-or-treating, so that it would be "redistributed" evenly. My kids took her so seriously while the rest of us were just laughing because we knew B had stooped so low to try to convert me, even through my poor children. We all had a good laugh and told the kids that she was just joking.

But, here is the thing, my kids WANT to give some of their candy away. How awesome is that?! There is a local dentist who is collecting the candy tomorrow and he will be paying kids $1 for every pound of candy they bring him and he will then be sending the money on to the troops. I explained this to the kids and they were ecstatic about this thought. Doodle even proceeded to make 15 drawing/coloring papers to go along with the candy. I have already explained to the kids that we should not be paid to help others, especially since what we are giving had been given to us freely and without reservation, and that we will ask the dentist to keep the money to help pay for the shipping to Iraq. So, we will be redistributing...why? Because our kids want to given that they had soo much candy that there was no way they could ever eat, it was only right that it be sent to those who might need it more. Not such a bad idea huh?

It was all a good laugh and my poor kids will definitely be raised conservative Republican should these wonderful friends ever have that much influence on their lives, but there are worse things to happen to them...my D is voting Republican, so we respect each others' wrongness and we move on:)

Just a funny little diddy...I will try to get some pics posted soon.

Oh yes, one funny...Doodle was dressed as Cleopatra, apparently it was a hot outfit from T@arget this year because we saw 3 others Halloween evening while we were out and about. Well, it just so happens that Doodle has the jet-black adorable hair very similar to Cleopatra. As we passed one of the other Cleopatras, with blonde hair, I heard her whine to her mom..."Why didn't mine come with a wig! We all had a good laugh over that one. It was such a beautiful night and the weather could not have been more perfect for a mom, a Cleopatra, a Darth Vader, and an adorable monkey to take on the town (D stayed back and passed out candy at the friend's house as he is not as much into the evening).

CC

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Taxi Posse

I try to vary my route to work to alleviate the boredom and to challenge my brain to not go into "duhhhh" mode. Some days my route takes me on a little sideroad by the airport and I have come to rather enjoy this one the most. There is an element of danger driving amongst the planes (sounds more dramatic than it is...), but I most like the taxi "posse" as I have come to think of them. There is an area where the taxis sit and I assume wait to be summoned for a passenger, but it is the coolest little society that I could see a unique documentary being created about.

There are about 40 or more taxis (I am a horrible estimator) that sit parked in very neat and orderly rows, along with a little break house of sorts that I assume houses a restroom, but what is coolest and most fascinating of all to me, is the atmosphere I observe. These gents, not being sexist but I have never spied a lady, get out, stretch, take brisk walks with their friends, chat, and generally demonstrate a camaraderie that is inviting. They appear to be of various ethnic descents and I would love to hear their thoughts on the culture of the US, their thoughts on the politics of now both here and in their homeland, and they discussions about the various passengers they carry to and fro on a daily basis. It is a unique little clique that has me fascinated.

So, my path varies frequently to this route, just because their existence makes me smile and makes me think.

CC

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Clean Eating



I have been 2 weeks now on a new way of life that I am just calling Eating Clean. I wanted to share before now, but I have a bad tendency to be really gung ho, and then slack off, so I wanted some time under my belt...and now I feel comfortable sharing.




For the past who knows how long now I have been having a stronger and stronger urge to "nest" or just to be at home with my kids, cooking, spending quality time, just being there...not at work, not eating out all the time, just trying to calm the tenor of my life a bit. Well, I have begun to put those needs into reality slowly...can't get everything RIGHT NOW like I want can I? (or can I...nope).




As for the food, well, you know I have the glaring and rather serious cholesterol issue that medication is helping, but only at the strongest dose...and I still need to lose about 30 pounds...yes, still. And, I must tell you, my journey has been helped a great deal by several blogs that I read, namely Big Mama who does her absolute best to live off the land and to eat locally grown food and healthy food as much as possible, no processed junk for her and her large and boisterous brood. I started reading Big Mama because of the adoption link, but am now a dedicated reader because of her morals in life. And then there is her daughter, Sarah, who has been posting the best recipes and is also focused on eating locally grown food and not the processed junk. And then, you know how the stinkin' internet is, before you know it you have linked from this blog to that and then to that website and there is 100 Cookbooks, and a whole host of others. So, over 2 weeks ago now, I decided to go as cold turkey as possible and to cut out the fake and processed food that was so invading our diet.




So, what does this mean? Well, for one, I am cooking a LOT more and making some very delicious veggie recipes. I will start posting them soon and will get them on here as frequently as possible. I have purchased several cookbooks by Tosca Reno and they are great, even though her blog is mostly about her body building activities which do not really interest me. I also don't like the way it is called a "diet" because this truly has to be a way of life. It just feels right to eat like this. D and the Cherubs are being great sports and are fully on board (I even made chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas in them and they were fantastic)! Now, I will admit that I have spent more money on groceries the last few weeks, I have spent far LESS than normal on dining out. I have also signed up and received 2 weeks so far of local homegrown food delivery from Farm Fresh Delivery and that has been such fun to come home on Friday and see what goodies they have brought, seriously I need a Martha/Betty check as I am so domestic these days it is crazy...especially if you know me!




Okay, enough of all that for now. I am plugging away in school, actually have a B in one of my classes and am not at all pleased about it. I have been trying not to either pay too much attention to or ignore the incredibly frightening financial situation of our country...as of a week or so ago, my 401K was down 17% for the year....bet after this week it is even more. I watched the VP debate with much anticipation and am such a nerd because I was so excited about it. I know my friend Chris is too...although we are not on the same team... I am glad that Palin did not get up there and stammer and have no answers as she was seen on t.v. as doing, but it was very obvious that she was coached in certain areas and those were the areas she was going to talk about, question be damned. She was a little too "golly, shucks, Joe" for my taste, I see that she is trying to be the "average" American but this average American wants a bit more of an intellectual stance out of my VP I guess. I am still glad they picked someone outside of the Beltway and let her into the secret sect, but they still will not be getting my vote.




Cherubs are great, lovely in fact, and I have been going through some of our pics from this summer and thought I should post one here...



Chat more soon - with recipes I promise!
Life is certainly This Good...
CC

Thursday, September 18, 2008

7 Deadly Zins

Dearest All,

I don't consider myself an expert on many things, therefore I don't recommend products here, just to those in my personal life who should ask or happen upon me during an enthusiastic review about something I have fallen in love with....I am a passionate gal, what can I say...


However, I am going out on a limb and highly recommending that you all run to a store and purchase the following joy juice...it is called Seven Deadly Zins, and no, I am in no way getting paid for this...and yes, I do realize it is a highly cheesy name. Trust me, find this, taste it, you will forever be hooked. This is a blend of zinfadels from Lodi California, simply divine!

My hubbie and I are not really big drinkers, but we have always enjoyed a fine bottle of pinot noir together on a nice evening at home, and even had our nice little jaunt (on the now-defunct Skybus) to San Francisco and the vineyards last July. We discovered this little ditty a couple of weeks ago and now it is a must-have if we are ever both home for an evening, gone, at least for now, is the pinot noir variety. Poor D, he is missing it because he is working as a chaplain intern at a local hospital this evening (all semester actually), and I am enjoying it. myself :)!!

Updates on the daily life:
  • Meesta is doing great in school and has turned into quite the little soccer stud all of a sudden, and he is by far the smallest one. He is such a solid and steady little man, he is a great joke teller, want to hear one, okay: Knock, Knock....Who's There?....Interrupting Cow....Interruping Co....MOOOO!!! (seriously, first time he did it I died laughing, very likely funnier in person, trust me on this one)

  • Shenzy is determined to learn how to spell and read because she hates to be left behind and since the twins can, she thinks she must. I am trying to be patient and encourage this, but I am so incredibly sick of homework that doing flashcards with her after Doodle and Meesta's homework and before mine makes me nauseous...but I am doing it! She is also begging to get her hair cut, and quite honestly, I am all for it. Her hair grows very quickly and so she could always grow it back out...and she is only 4 for heaven's sake!

  • Doodle continues to have some challenges, but still the sweetest disposition and heart. We are in the beginning stages of having her tested for dyslexia as we think that just might be the challenge she is experiencing. She meets a lot of the criteria we have reviewed, but we are going to proceed with formal testing in case we need to get an IEP for her. The little lady is so darned smart, yet her schoolwork is much more of a challenge than it should be, so we are just trying to make sure we are on top of it all.

  • D is having a very challenging semester, lots of responsibilities, but he handles it all with a grace that is inspiring. His sermons are so good, they speak to me and many who hear them. I love it when others tell him how his sermons speak to them, he is my kind of preacher. He takes the bible, explains a bit about the context of it, and then takes the scripture and tries to apply it to our life today. I love them. It is fascinating how he becomes my teacher during that time, we are so much partners in every other area of our life that it is odd to have him as such an admired teacher for me.

  • I continue to be the crazy whirlwind that I must enjoy being. I will have some food/health posts upcoming as I continue to keep turning my leaf over, hoping it will stick! I had a scare because my student loan information did not apply to a year, rather to 3 quarters, so until that is all ironed out, I have a "hold" on my account at Walden, but fortunately it is just a technicality and I can still continue with my classes. I need to learn to LET PERFECTION GO! I get so ticked off when I miss any points, and trust me internet friends, I was NOT this way in undergrad college. I had a decent GPA in undergrad, became more perfectionistic in my master's program, but now I am just crazy. I should expect little instead of the other way around, because I always fly by the seat of my pants, rarely read all of the required material let alone the supplemental material..., and yet expect near perfection. I am CC at This Good and I realize I have an expectation problem!

Okay, that is the update for now.

CC

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Locks/Lots of Love

My Doodle donated her hair, approximately 10 inches of it, to Locks of Love. We had been talking about her doing it forever, but it was finally her decision that it was time. I thought I would miss her gorgeous long locks, but in all honesty, this little chickie has a new lease on life with this short, sassy do! She has gotten about a million and one compliments and she is more outgoing, weird I know, but I think she was somewhat hiding behind all of the hair. So, here she is in all of her adorableness, not that I am biased or anything.


Meesta lost his second tooth tonight, by having some dental floss tied to it and then having the door it was also tied to slam shut. Not my idea and I was not anywhere near when it happened, but the thing had. to. come. out. The adult tooth was almost completely up behind it...will share a picture when I get them downloaded. No tears, just surprise and Dr. Doodle fixing up Meesta like a fantastic doctor/nurse that I could see her becoming.

Shenzy has been great lately and even spent a few hours with me at work today. Our nanny's daughter had some complications from a tonsillectomy and K stayed with her daughter today as that was where she needed to be. D took care of Shenzy in the morning, then she came and had lunch with me at work, then actually came to a meeting with me and drew and was quiet and good for 1 1/2 hours!!! Heck, I was bored!!! But, she did a great job. We then left, went and got Meesta and Doodle from school, went and bought another betta fish (another one went the way of all drains lead to the ocean...).

Here is a cute picture of Shenzy, just because...



And one of Meesta because I don't want to deprive his cuteness from the internet. This picture was taken while we were riding on a tuk tuk in Cambodia and he is sitting next to our friend who was on the build with us. This was the tuk tuk that had the dog who rode along, seriously, a great marketing tool!



Okay, that's all for now, homework awaits!!! Could someone again explain to me WHY I am in school again?
Life is this good (and this crazy)!
CC

Friday, August 29, 2008

17,646 Miles


Our trip to Cambodia had us flying approximately 17,646 miles. That is a lot for anyone, but for two 7-year-olds, it is kind of extreme! The picture above is of us at the Tabitha build site, dripping with sweat, but having a great time.

The trip had lots of interesting twists and turns, as every adventure in life must to be memorable, and this one was no different. Our adventure began in Cambodia with Doodle having a grand mal seizure as the plane was landing, followed by profuse vomiting...now how is that for a grand entrance?! She recovered fairly well though and we all went on to have a nice time, although Doodle is a very western girl now. Meesta had a better time and was a bit more adventurous I must say, with food and exploring the city and all of that. However, both are troopers beyond my wildest imagination and I am so proud to be their mom.

They worked as hard as any adult during the actual housebuilding experience, never complaining, never stopping work, they were involved the whole time and did such an amazing job! It was the most challenging build I had done, mostly because the floors we installed were bamboo and they were a bit difficult to hammer down...but also because I took on the primary responsibility for making sure the kids were safe and okay (lots of nails flying...8 feet off the ground with no walls...you know). I am glad we did it. I am even more glad it is complete and we are safely home and readjusted.

Since we have been home, we have had numerous doctor appointments for the Doodle, echocardiogram, EKG, 24-hour video EEG, and on and on...and fortunately the verdict for all = she is wonderfully healthy, she just has epilepsy. We can live with that and fortunately, so can she.

I had to wrestle with a 12-page paper that was due the week after we returned for my PhD program....I am seriously wondering what in the world I was thinking. But, somehow, I got it done and even got a great score, so all is well. I am enjoying my pitiful one week off between quarters and preparing to head back to the books next week. Once that quarter is finished, I will have an entire year under my belt and I will admit it has gone rather quickly...I pray I can hang in there without needing to take a break at some point.

Now, Miss Shenzy has escaped attention thus far, and that is not intentional. Today is her birthday and she is now 4. It is hard to believe my little baby is such a big girl these days. She was as good as she can be while we were gone and we all struggled a bit with our reintegration b/c she was bent on making us feel her pain for our absence. She has calmed down a lot though and I am once again able to enjoy her silly self:)

Well, that is all for now! Sorry for the extreme delay, but 17,646 miles will do that do a girl!

CC

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Most Out of Life

I truly feel like I am trying to squeeze ever ounce of juice out of life because my days are full and my list of things to do never seems to end. But, the good still outweighs the bad, so I am just whining, not complaining.

Let's see, what has happened in the last month! We went and visited D and I survived the flights with 3 little ones by myself. Barely. Actually, the kids were great, except Doodle, who did not enjoy the flights, but honestly, neither did I! They were fast landing, sharp turning, icky flights. I honestly think the airlines are flying differently b/c of the fuel issue.

Then, drum roll...........D came home!!! I did it, I made it without him for 9 weeks! It was a rough last 2 weeks after we saw him and then waiting for him to come home, but we did survive. I know I can do it now, and while I won't ever like it, I know I can do it.

The last week has been even more of a blur because we are heading to Cambodia tomorrow and trying to get ready has been hectic. Doodle and Meesta are returning to their birth country with us tomorrow for the first time ever; sadly, Miss Shenzy is not going and is staying here with our beloved Nanny and her family. I am really sad to leave her, but it is honestly the right thing for everyone. She is too young still and it would be much more difficult to take her. So, prayers are appreciated for the family given that we are not going to be together.

Also, Doodle had an MRI last week to make sure that there is nothing more than epilepsy going on with her noggin. She was quite the trooper because they did it with and without contrast so she had to get an injection. The kid is amazing and the best news of all, she has a perfect little brain. Huge relief. When we return, we will be doing a 24-hour EEG and then going to a cardiologist because her new pediatrician diagnosed a heart murmur on the first visit! Good grief. My last month has been spent going to the doctor more times than I can count, mostly for Doodle and Meesta (series of bug bites and swollen eyes). I am exhausted!

Work has somehow been fit into the above equation fortunately! School is still puttering on. I did have to drop a class, but the one I have remaining has been fine. It is an ethics course and some of the discussions have been interesting.

Okay, that is all for now, I will try to write from Cambodia when I get the chance. Please do keep our entire family in your prayers as things in Cambodia are rather tense right now due to elections (happened Sunday in Cambodia) as well as a rather serious stand off with Thailand right now over a temple along their borders. Military poised on either side...pray for peace and rationality for all. We have never been nervous going over before, but this time we are.

See you from 1/2 way round the world!

CC

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Catching Up, Yet Again

Well, the last 20 days have been a whirlwind, so for the sake of this being somewhat my journal, I am going to try to recap.

We had our friends from Cambodia over and that was nice to catch up and see the kids hang out with each other. We were 2 moms with 6 kids, and only 1 of them was Caucasian, needless to say we were a spectacle everywhere we went. The kids got along fabulously though and a good time was had by all. We also went and say Kung Fu Panda and the kids loved it and I didn't mind it much either, very enjoyable.

I then took off for the Jefferson Awards in D.C. and they definitely know how to do an event up right. I had a really nice time and so did K, my nanny and friend who went with me. I fell in love with this older gentleman, and I will post his picture as soon as I get it downloaded, he inspired me and I just enveloped him in my heart the minute I heard him speak, it was just something about him. He also said a beautiful prayer that I will get posted here for you all to view, it was magnificent!

I came home on Wednesday, hung out with the kids and then got all 4 of us repacked to take off again on Thursday morning. K took the kids and I drove to the airport to go to D's Navy Officer's Graduation. My flight ended up being delayed so by the time I got there, I was precariously close to missing the Thursday evening shindig, so I did not stop to find my hotel, just drove to Newport and then saw a Curves workout facility and schlepped my dress clothes and make-up in there and kindly begged them to let me use a changing room. They kindly did and I got a bit gussied up and headed over to the Navy base to see D for the first time in 5 weeks! Well, I must tell you all that the word handsome is just not enough for how my husband looks in uniform. Ultra Fine. Wow. I was so proud to be with him all weekend (not that I am ont always anyway), but it was a unique glimpse into our future and it was such a fabulous time. His graduation was full of pomp and circumstance...with the exception that the music was not played live, rather was piped through speakers as a recording...which I thought was a bit of a cheap copout, but still very nice. We relaxed and explored Newport and it is a quaint little town with lots of tourists and lots of mansions! It was a wonderful weekend.

I was scheduled to fly out on Sunday evening, so I tore myself away from D and drove the rental car back to the airport, tried to sign in for my flights and the first one was DELAYED...well, the litany of what happened between that moment and 11:00 a.m. on Monday when I finally arrived home is beyond frustrating. I spent 6 hours on a flight that should have been 2. I was feeling so bad from stress, turbulence, and worry that I cannot believe I managed to keep all my internal cookies from tossing...not pretty, but true. I finally got out of the first airplane at around 1:00 a.m. and then had to stand in a line with a ton of other people to reschedule our flights for the next day, and I was fortunate to get one at 8:00 a.m. the next day. So, without food and/or beverage, THANK GOD LITERALLY that a Starbucks was the sole thing open in the Charlotte airport at 2:00 a.m. and that I got a bottle of water and a crossaint and then took my self to a well-lit floor area with some ladies who sat up and talked on their cell phones all night, which I did not care about, I felt secure. It was a very long night. I finally made it home, Meesta had been whisked off to scout camp by a helpful other mom and K had the ladies. I was exhausted but glad to be home.

The rest of last week was a bit of a blur with work and the kids activities, but the week days go by so much faster, so I prefer them. We now have 4 more sleeps until I make that same trip with the kids to go and see D. They are beyond excited to see him, it will have been almost 7 weeks since they have last seen him. Oddly enough, I am doing worse this weekend even though I saw him last weekend. A bit depressed and ready for this time apart to be over with. And yes, I do realize that there are other times during his military career when he will likely be gone longer, and I won't like it then either. My hope is that if he indeed makes it a career, that the pros will far outweigh the cons. We shall see.

Okay, well that is all for now. I hope to not be gone for so long next time.

CC

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lying...and Wait/Weight


So much to tell, so little time.

This picture above was from our "Cambodia" photo shoot in a park. We had a lot of fun and the kids got to play on the playground equipment too. This or a similar shot will be used in some marketing stuff for my company, in association with the Jefferson Award.

Well, the big issue around our abode lately has been one of my children's new habit, lying. While I won't go into details (because my brain is tired of thinking about the topic), it has been exhausting and I have had to shake the mother failure blues. I mean, this is lying over unimportant things, but it scares me that it will lead to lying about important things. Anyway, it has been rather challenging, almost one of the most trying experiences so far as a mom. I know that having D gone is likely part of it, but I am not letting this cherub off that easily as an excuse. They all know right from wrong and I must stay consistent with my behavior corrections, always making sure that they know the rules and boundaries. Exhausting though! However, redeeming them all, we were eating at Bob Evans the other day and after our meal, this older gentleman came up to me and told me he had been watching our family during the meal and that he had not seen such a happy and well-behaved group of kids in a long time. He wanted to congratulate me and my husband (who he also asked about...probably being a bit nosy, but oh well) on raising such great kids. It was a nice salve to my ego since it had been a rough one with the lying...(and yes, apparently I do need external validation...:)

On to D, he has now been gone for over 3 weeks. I miss him so much, in ALLLL areas. We are over 1/3rd of the way done. I am flying out to see him next week for the Navy Officer graduation (and apparently there is some kind of ball also). That will be pure bliss to spend some quality time with him. Before flying there though, I will be attending the Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. and am really stoked and honored by being chosen as a National recipient. My nanny, who also works for Tabitha and has been an amazing donor over the years, is going with me....leaving my 3 cherubs in the capable and daring hands of her 2 high school girls and her husband. Now, my kids are truly like part of their family so I am not worried and it is only for 2 nights, but if you could send positive thoughts and some prayers their way, that would be great!

And weight, I keep gaining and losing the same 5 pounds. It is insane and ridiculous. I don't know where to find more time, other than to never sleep, which would then make everything else even worse, I don't know when to work out consistently - which is what I need. I am going to keep fighting the good fight though and will not give up. When D returns and our travels are done for the summer (also going to Cambodia for 2 weeks), I am going to set aside time for me at least 3 days a week when I can go to the gym.

Okay, I think that is the big update for now. I am hanging in there, but MISS MISS MISS my D!

Life is this good though,

CC

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

500 Festivities and Long Weekend

Well, this weekend I had my crack at princessness and I must admit, I had a lot of fun. Riding on the float was a complete hoot and I stood up there and smiled and waved, it was crazy but fun! The kids were the most fun part because they were in some stands near the end of the parade with their nanny and they were yelling and screaming and jumping up and down yelling "Hi Mommy!" - seriously, made my day.

The rest of the weekend was fine, but long. Normally, I would like that, but this weekend, without D, was just long. I much prefer the weeks because the time goes by a bit faster. I have about 3 weeks until I see him and I can't wait!

I am going to try to attach a video or 2 of my experience on the float, let's see how it goes...playing with my new Flip here. The first is of me spotting the kids, it is quite wiggly as I was laughing at them and the float was moving, so beware. The second one is of one of the really good bands that played, at least some of their music.







CC

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cute and Sad

Well, because those who read this know me, at least for the most part, or could easily figure out who I am, I thought I would put some faces to the stories here.


This is a picture of the kids and I at the airport last summer on one of our now-bankrupt cheap flights with Skybus... while it is literally impossible to capture a good picture of everyone, this is a start at least that you can see all of our faces (minus D who was snapping the photo).





We will be flying this summer a couple of times, the first to RI where D is doing his training, I will go out by myself once and then the kids and I will all go together over the 4th of July weekend. I can't wait! Then Doodle, Meesta, D and I will leave for Cambodia and poor Shenzy will have to stay behind, which makes me sad, but she would not enjoy it and it would make the rest of us fairly miserable, plus the almost $2K ticket price...well, that sealed the deal that she would stay back. I WILL buy her lots of fabulous gifts though...


The sad of my note is that Steven Curtis Chapman, who has been a wonderful supporter of adoption, both domestic and international, has had terrible loss. His youngest daughter Maria, who they adopted from China, was killed in an accident in their own driveway. It is truly tragic and makes me so sad for them. If you would like to read more, here is the site that shows some cute YouTube memories. It is actually the one thing that propelled me to go ahead and post some pictures. Life is short, make and share memories when you can. In fact, one memory I have is of December 2005 when a good friend of mine, Wendy, who works for Steven's Foundation, called and asked if Doodle and Meesta (Shenzy was too little), would be willing to sing in Steven's Christmas Concert Tour in Indy. We of course jumped at the chance, and they joined several other children who were adopted from foster care on stage at Conseco Fieldhouse to sing a beautiful song with Steven. It was a memory I will cherish forever and I sat there bawling like a baby at the beauty of it all and of the fullness of my life. I will post a picture of it when I find one.

And, in honor of Maria, here is a picture of our China-born daughter, Shenzy, who brings such joy and delight I cannot imagine my life without her.



CC

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist

Well, this has been quite the week in our household, with D leaving, my great uncle's passing, school winding down for the kids, and for me as well for the quarter. D has not called since Monday evening and I am not sure when I will hear from him again, we just continue to pray that he can tolerate whatever he is enduring.



On the CC front, I had an awesome happening a while ago that I have not yet blogged about, but think I shall now as several upcoming events involve this happening. A month or so ago, I was notified that I had received a National Jefferson Service Award through my employer and that it involved publicity for our organization (Tabitha USA) as well as a trip to the national awards in D.C. in June and, here is the kicker (and if you did not know where I lived before, this will be a dead-giveaway - and speaking of which, since I am not really anonymous anyway, I am going to start sharing some pictures) I get to ride on a float in the Indy 500 Parade. Yep, that will be me, waving atop my employer's float, doing the elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist wave like a proper princess...ah hem. I was so very excited about this, until the Parade committee refused to allow me to take Doodle and Meesta, kids must be 10 and mine are but 7. SO, they will be hanging with my nanny and her husband at his employers' place of business along the parade route (which is fabulously convenient) and her daughters (who have donated their own money to Tabitha over the years) will be smiling and waving on the float with me.

So, that will be me, atop the float, waving like a goober, but hopefully having fun!

CC

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fine But Don't Reply...

That was what I just got, "Fine but don't reply" in a text message a little bit ago from D. We had spoken yesterday evening and he told me that others who had prior military training that were there had told their significant others not to expect anything for 2 weeks. 2 WEEKS!!!!! That is insane. I am desperately trying to get a grip, but I am guessing that he sent the text this morning as they were perhaps confiscating their phones or instructing them that they were not allowed to use them or something? Otherwise, if he had it on vibrate, why would it matter if I responded and he saw it later when he got back to his room. I know I am likely overanalyzing this, but that is my best guess. His phone, they probably have it. Grrr.

On a bit of a brighter note (trying to be positive here folks), D said that some of the others were having people come for their graduation, even though the very next day he has an all-day Chaplains retreat. So, I immediately booked the trip. This will just be for me, as the kids and I are all going over the 4th of July weekend. I probably won't get to spend that much time with him, but 10 minutes will be worth it. I can only describe it as a sensation like there is not enough oxygen in my space, that is what his absence feels like. Emotions are so physically tied to our bodies that it is fascinating.

I am soooo close to being done for the quarter with my classes, this is the last week and I am going to have all assignments turned in by Wednesday - can't wait.

Okay, all for now, I am now left with fine but don't reply and will resort to praying that he is up to it all, which I know he is, but praying that he know that we are fine here and despite my emotions, the kids are well taken care of and we are managing.

Yuck.

CC

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today Was THE DAY

Well, today was the day that my better half flew off for 9 weeks. Now, at face value this seems like a long time, and it is, and I am emotionally reacting this way. However, I am cognitively reminding myself that it is not 15 months as many families are being subjected to, so I do know it could be much worse.

The Day:
*Woke at 3:00, helped D finish his last minute stuff, went to the car, watched my handsome husband carry our adorable sleeping children to the car, one by one, so tenderly and gentle that I could see how hard this was for him too with every fibre of his being.

*Drove to the airport, tears flowing freely the whole way for me

*Said goodbye to my best friend and had to drive our kids home through rainshowers that only existed in my eyes, but could have benefited from the windshield wipers! The kids did sooo good - they had upset time the night before with him.

*We all went back to bed upon returning home and woke up about 7:00

*Decided all the sheets needed washed, things were not smelling fresh, so stripped all 4 beds (obviously out of my mind) and have proceeded to wash and dry and put sheets back on beds during all of my time at home today

*Had to get everyone ready for the funeral of my great uncle, drove to the town (~1 hour away), funeral, cemetery

*Went and had van washed, went to grocery store, came home, more laundry, fixed supper, went and got D's truck from the church and brought it home (crying all the while)

*Gave the kids baths, finished with beds (seriously, what was I thinking!), read 2 books (Bats at the Beach and I love you Stinky Face), prayers, and now they are hopefully snoozing

I have homework to do. I feel so lonely and lost without D. It is ridiculous as he is home very little most of the time b/c of school and the church, but I guess just knowing that he will be home to sleep and I have access to him if needed helps his absence normally. I have cried buckets, ridiculous I tell you, and my darling children have been absolutely incredible. Doodle is mothering me instead of the other way around and Shenzy keeps telling me to take a deep breath, which is what I tell them when they are crying, and by golly, it does help. Meesta is just walking cautiously, not sure how to react and I can't blame him. I am embarrassed by this extreme emotion, but when it decides to crop up, I am having a difficult time keeping it at bay. Thank God for my children. Time and routine will make this survivable, but right now it really sucks.

Day 1. Only 63 more days to go. I do covet your prayers.

CC

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 More Sleeps

I have 2 more sleeps with D before he takes off on his journey to becoming a military man. Every time I truly consider his absence for this long, I get a catch in my throat and my nose begins to burn. The kids are really having a hard time with it.

Meesta came to me this evening before D got home and was very mopey, just wanting to be held and very close to tears saying he was going to miss his daddy. He then went and got a box, put his favorite stuffed monkey in it and his favorite new team roster poster and brought them to me, saying they were for daddy to take with him. My heart literally needed mopped up off the floor. I explained that daddy would not have much room and that maybe he should just choose one (allowing him to keep the monkey that I know he would truly miss and would be such a sacrifice - but one he was happy to make), so he chose the roster and hid it among D's shirts that were sitting there for packing.

I told D of that story when he got home and I think it is really causing him some emotional angst as well as he is such a great dad and he will miss them more than he even realizes I am sure.

On an even less positive note, my great uncle passed away yesterday morning, his wife found him on the floor unresponsive in the morning. He was only 69. Sad, very sad. He is the youngest of my great-grandma's children and they only told her today. He very faithfully visited her and she will miss him so very much.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE, we are having FAMILY DAY tomorrow (minus the trip to go to the funeral showing, although that is certainly about family). Shenzy has a speech appointment and we will all go (keeping kids home from school - teachers approved and they already took their Friday tests today), then Doodle gets to get her ears pierced - the little lady is so very excited! Then we will have lunch on the town, run last minute errands, go the showing, have some sort of supper, and then settle down for a family night of movies and cuddles.

D's flight leaves at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. Please pray for his safety and my sanity. He is my best friend and I will miss him for my own selfish reasons, but also for our kids, this will be a struggle. BUT, I will be positive (I promise - this will be my outlet for woes) and will have more patience than normal and be more understanding and we will have FUN and do cool things - it will be a big priority for me.

All for now as I am rambling on. I am off to finish my homework so I have no more due until Saturday night.

CC

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Grateful Mom

Today has been a busy day, for Mother's Day (a day early), D did a lot of honey-do projects that I have been asking for and that was fabulous. We followed that with a family outing to the minor league baseball team in our area where it was Scout Night and our little scout got to go out to the field, and he loved that. We all ate way too much and spent too much money on bad - yet tasty - food. We are home now, D is writing a sermon and I have just finished up homework and I am thinking about Mother's Day.

I just reconnected with a friend who had endured the hardships of our Cambodian adoptions (both of us having adopted twins from the same orphanage). She lives in a nearby state and we had always thought we would raise our kids to know each other. Well, life happens and we grew apart and I had not talked to her for over a year when the earthquake happened a few weeks ago and I started thinking of her a lot. I felt like God was telling me to get in touch with her - so I finally found her on Friday. A lot has happened in the last year and she is now divorced, and while sad, it is probably a good thing for her and her children, a healthier and happier environment. All of this to say, I am reflecting on children and loss and Mother's Day.

I know that Mother's Day is largely a commercial enterprise for businesses, especially in the United States. But the day signifies that I am among the league of women who are called Mother (sometimes MOMMMEEEE, sometimes mama). I did not come about this title through the traditional route, rather it was a blessing bestowed on me through the gift of the first mother, the birth mother. I honestly don't think about the birth parents too much, our children are so much OUR CHILDREN that it rarely crosses my mind that they did not start out with us. But, the fact is that they didn't, someone else carried them and nourished them in the beginning of their lives. Someone else made the decision that they could not parent them and unselfishly decided that they wanted better for them than they could provide at that time. Those decisions allowed me to become Mom to the most amazing children on the planet.

So, I wanted to take this moment to thank these women for their gifts of Doodle, Meesta and Shenzy, without them my life would be very different and much more empty. I love them without reserve and hope you somehow know that they are cared for, treasured, held, educated, corrected, played with, laughed with, (sometimes yelled at), kissed, hugged, nourished, cultured, and loved to the very fiber of their beings on a daily basis. We are blessed beyond belief.

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends who are mothers and to all those who have mothered you, in whatever way.

Blessings,
CC

Friday, May 09, 2008

Humanitarian Crisis in Burma

Watch out - 2 posts in 1 day! I could not let this situation go unnoticed by my friends. The situation in Burma is serious and it is scary. Serious crimes against humanity are under play right now, right next to my beloved Cambodia, and the international community wants to help, but they are being turned away. What is to be done? Do we sit by and let hundreds of thousands of people die from starvation, dehydration and disease? How can we? We may be an earth divided by continents and countries with political stratifications that will forever be beyond my comprehension; however, when natural disaster strikes and people are in need, we come together. Our world is like a big fractious family, but when necessary, we can pull together.

Anyway, read this if you choose from Andrew Sullivan, it spoke to me. We have strife over oil, let us have some strife over this. The UN food has not been allowed to be distributed and flights and visas are being denied. Help is needed in the most urgent of ways.

I always think, education is the key. So, let's at least be aware of the situation.

CC

Stimulate the Economy

I must admit, I have been doing my fair share to stimulate the economy recently. You would think I would be too busy to shop, but somehow I do manage. We did receive our economic stimulus package today and so I decided to help the economy a bit.

What did I purchase?

I got this nifty little gadget: The Flip (in white/orange)


What's better, I bought my Flip through http://www.igive.com/ and Best Buy(if you have not already, please sign up, it is such an easy way to help a charity while shopping online), where not only was it on sale for $129.99, but also a portion of my purchase will be donated to Tabitha USA (my favorite charity). I should have it in just a few days - I am so excited!


I think the Flip will allow me to very easily and quickly (always key) to take videos of the kids and the like and send to D while he is away from us and this summer when we go to Cambodia without Shenzy, we can take little clips daily and send to her back at home. I think it is going to become our favorite little tool.


I have also purchased several (6) of these necklaces that are made out of recycled magazines and the like from families who otherwise would be in the Cambodian massive dump. It is an awesome program and the ladies at Lotus Jayne have procured some cool items along with the necklaces that help those in Cambodia to live better lives that are made out of unusual products, such as recycled bombs and other unique items. They are a smaller operation than Tabitha, but I like their products and what they are doing and I like to spread the wealth and opportunities of the organizations I support. I am going to keep one necklace for myself, then give one each to my mom and D's mom as they are both ladies who will appreciate what the meaning as well as two more to some friends and one to my nanny - because she makes it all possible and she will appreciate it too.


So, I am just saying...I am doing my part!


CC

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Degree Comes in Handy

There are days when I really value my clinical psychology degree, and the past 24 hours have been indicative of that opinion.

First, I cannot believe that Indiana had me up until after midnight waiting to see if the gap would close all the way and Obama would win. I was so pulling for him and I did my part. I even went to a rally at a friend's house on Saturday (interesting experience) and listened to Jessica Lange discuss her experiences and why she supported Barack (although actresses/actors are not really those whose opinions I value). I did get to hear Barack's campaign COO, Betsy Myers, and she was fantastic! She was the formerly in the Clinton White House (and I read her sister is Dee Dee Myers, Clinton's first press secretary) and then she served as executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She was intelligent, articulate, and just the kind of person that makes me feel even more solid in my support of Obama, I was impressed with her. However, this was all to say - how did we not do it Indiana! We came close, but I was so disappointed. I think the political differences are most clearly displayed regarding the gas tax and gimmicks somehow won out.

Anyway - this to say that Indiana needs some psychological therapy (tongue in cheek here people, work with me).

Then, do you have those encounters where the person with whom you are corresponding, in whatever realm, is obviously a few fries short of a happy meal... I had one of those instances today and it just makes me glad to have the perspective I do. I do diagnose people as a hobby of sorts. It is bad at work because I work with several psychiatrists and some other master's level folks and we do this. Yeah, we might tell you that we don't, but we can't help it. Now, don't get me wrong, we are diagnosable ourselves, and we admit to that, we are probably the worst offenders even, but somehow we remain functional:) Confession time: I have a touch of OCD and some rather annoying compulsive checking behaviors...good times.

On other notes, work is crazy busy, school is slowing down a little bit and only 2 more weeks in the quarter (then 1 week off....yippee), and D embarks on his journey in a mere 10 days... The kids are good, we have been doing field trips with their school (remind me to tell you about those) and D and I went and presented about Cambodian New Year to about 50 1st graders - it was a hoot to say the least! We took Cambodian fruit, rice with chopsticks, and some pictures. A good time was had by all.

Life is This Good!
CC

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Long Shaky Week

This has been a long week, but at least the weather is starting to turn bearable. This week seems to have been incredibly long and definitely full of shaky events.

My employer has announced some personnel changes that have left many unsettled. They are offering select employees an enhanced severance package with little knowledge for how things will look beyond the point of choosing to stay or go. In this seemingly increasing economic downturn, everyone is just concerned and considered taking that old CV out of the back of your computer "closet" and making sure it is up-to-date. While I am not personally feeling threatened at this point in time, it is a humbling reminder that we are all truly vulnerable. Keeping me focused on debt reduction!

The next unsettling event was the EARTHQUAKE! Seriously, a big one, here in the midwest! D had left to go work out early in the morning and the next thing I knew my bed was being tossed around as if someone were roughly jumping on it and honestly, I thought there was an intruder in my bed. The fight or flight instinct deep within me went into overdrive as did the overprotective mama gene. I could not have been more relieved when I realized that a) there was no intruder, b) a vehicle was not ramming my house from the outside, and c) that it was ONLY an earthquake. The kids slept through it and D was driving, so I was the only one who felt it. I was shocked at the magnitude of shaking a 5.2 Richter-scale quake could do, it literally shook me awake, and not gently!

The final big event of the week (besides the normal school and work headaches) was our grand idea to have all of the church trustees over to our house on Friday evening for a "thank you" and house blessing. As you might imagine, this included the cleaning, from top to bottom, of our house. Now we do try to keep a clean space, but with 3 kids and both of our school books, regular house paperwork/bills, and my NFP paperwork, it is hard to keep it spotless. But let me tell you, it looked like a magazine on Friday evening, thanks in large part to D and Shenzy who cleaned and hung some pictures and things that we have never gotten hung. I was proud to have them tour our house and we had a nice time entertaining them all, but it was an exhausting endeavour...

Oh yes, how could I forget, my next oldest cousin had a baby girl on Monday. We visited on Tuesday and she is the cutest little button. She slept the whole time so I couldn't see her little eyes, but she truly was adorable and I am excited for my kids to have a cousin on my side of the family that is closer in age. It is so weird to see people become parents, especially people who still think of as so much younger than you, but my cousin is married and in her mid-20s so plenty fine to start a family, but it is just weird. I wish them all the happiness in the world.

All for now, off to bed.

CC

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Can of Worms?

Okay,this quarter in school, I feel like I am standing in front of a fire hydrant because I am being flooded with so much information, some interesting, some not, but it is making me so very aware of how much there is to learn in the world. It is exemplifying the old adage that the more you know the more you realize you don't know. So stinking true!

Well, part of my classes in the online structure require me to post thoughts on a variety of topics and one of them that I just decided to discuss tonight was regarding the "feminist perspective" in viewing organizations. Now, let me just reiterate, I was raised by a single mom, who was never married, I am very sufficiently employed based on my education and my abilities and I could completely survive financially by myself, BUT, these factors do not make me a feminist. I guess I would just consider myself a "humanist" (is that a word?). I try not to judge based on any factor, including gender, race, education, etc. as every time you prejudge, you get put in your place. So, back to the post regarding feminism...the whole topic came at the end of the chapter and was highlighting things such as females in leadership roles, are more likely to be authoritarian in nature - but if they are, we must define her behavior along the lines of it is her attempt to fit into the predominately male culture...

Well, I think we have come further than that, at least in the places I have been employed. In fact, this book even went so far as to state "ordinary activities in organizations are not gender-neutral". Seriously? Please provide examples? I mean, am I missing the boat completely on this one? No examples were given in the text and honestly, aside of which restroom door I should enter, I can't think of a single example that would prove that statement true.

My lingering question was at what point do we chalk supervisory attitudes and agendas up to personality traits instead of gender traits? Well, that is essentially what I posted, let's see if I get eaten alive by my fellow students.

Am I too far removed from the suffrage movement? Am I blind to it all? I mean, I realize women are by no means in the highest levels of management compared with men, but I do think we are getting there. But, I don't think constant focus on gender is the way to level the playing field, I think it should be based on merit and abilities. Help me, am I in left field? Have I opened a can of worms?

Thinking and thinking, that is what these classes are making me do, I guess I am getting my money's worth!

CC

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday D!

My hubby is turning another year older today! Happy Birthday D! It is amazing for me to think that we started dating when he was 16, we have been together over 1/2 of his life. Wow!

While never boring, we have certainly had our share of adventures over the last 20 years together for sure. We have bought and sold 2 homes. We have adopted 3 children from across the world, we have lost his father and 2 dogs (Foefie and Habi, our newfie babies), started a nonprofit organization, both completed graduate degrees and are now both working on another, become a family who is at the will of either the ministry or the Navy (not sure which is worse - hah!), we have traveled together everywhere we could manage to go (Cambodia 5 times, China 1 time, Florida 3 times, Hawaii, Virginia, D.C. several times, Harbour Island, San Francisco, Monterey, San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor), Oklahoma, Illinois, and likely other fun places I am forgetting.

When I think about how blessed I am to have him as my husband, it is almost too much to comprehend. I thank God for him every single day, I am glad he is my husband, but almost even more, I am glad he is the father of my children. He is my best friend, my favorite person, my safe place. I am amazed how I honestly NEVER get tired of being around him, in fact, just the opposite, I am always craving MORE TIME with him. How cool is that!

Happy Birthday D - I love you!
CC

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Coming Up With a Prayer

I have found a new friend and that is exciting. It is hard to find someone with whom you connect and really WANT to connect. We shall call her Red because she has this beautiful red hair. We met because our kids had gymnastics at the same time and while sitting in the same room waiting, I met her mother who goes to our church (who had come to watch her grandson), and then Red and I just clicked. We have similar personalities and senses of humor and she is just a real blessing for me and we are slowly getting to know each other. It is kind of odd, like dating, because most of my friends are from work or from college or from adoption (war buddies), and she and I have to make an effort to connect because my kids are not doing gymnastics right now. But, one of the greatest parts about her is that she is a great Christian and a career woman who is also a mom. All those qualities are hard to come by in a friend (that you also click with), so I am praying that Red and I continue down our path because I have been missing having a close friendship like that. I didn't realize it really, but once I met her, I realized that I had that gap for sure. Her son is adorable and her husband is funny and sarcastic too, my kind of family!

Anyway, I tell you about Red because we were talking this weekend and I was discussing how I am already getting that catch in my throat when I think about D going away and being gone for 2 months this summer for Navy training. I am really trying to keep my calm and cool demeanor, but on the inside I am freaking out. The rationale side of me knows that going to the East Coast for 2 months is a far cry from going to the MIDDLE EAST for 15 months, and that he will be fine and all of that happy stuff. The irrational (and seemingly dominant) side of my brain says OH MY GOSH, MY BEST FRIEND, MY KIDS' DAD, MY LOVER, MY EVERYTHING, is going to be gone for 2 months. My chest gets tight, my eyes sting and my nose burns at it all. Now, I don't mean to insinuate that I am not a very independent chick, because I truly am, but I love this man so much and home is where he is. I will miss him painfully and the kids, well, I will obviously do my best to maintain an optimistic outlook, but they will miss him so much. He plays differently with them, he knows how to roughhouse, he LIKES to play outside (I really don't...), he lightens the mood when I am frustrated, he brings another perspective. I am going to miss him terribly.

So, Red comes up with a beautiful suggestion, every time I feel this way or when he is gone and I am missing him (by the minute), that I should come up with a prayer to say in my head that will strengthen me and carry me through this challenge. See why I like her? What a great idea. So, I am in the midst of trying to find a calming, strengthening prayer that I can call my own that will help. I know that I tend to be very self-sufficient and do not rely on God enough, even though I am fully aware that I am able to be self-sufficient through the gifts that God has given me. I don't like to be vulnerable though and this position leaves me in a position that is not really comfortable. I keep reminding myself though that it is through those times that I can grow in my walk with God.

Any other suggestions?

Life is This Good,
CC

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Manhattan and the Food Emporium


Well, my absence can be explained by my trip to New York as well as this PhD annoyance that I have attached myself too. But first to the fun stuff, my trip to Manhattan was great (although I missed D and the cherubs very much).
Highlights of the trip:

1. Ground Zero and the drawing from a child above. It is a storyboard of sorts that shows the Twin Towers being crashed into and then the towers, who appear to be made up of hearts (how incredible is that), falling apart but it is through the flying up to heaven of the hearts. It took my breath away and I am so glad to share it. Through the art of a young child, I was so very touched. The rest of the Ground Zero experience was incredible as well. The St. Paul's Chapel that was right there, and had NO WINDOWS even break, was just goose-bump creating. The church itself has turned into a sort of shrine and has lost a bit of its holy factor (at least for me), it was wonderful to know that the church was such a useful and special place during the days and months that followed the tragedy. This visit should be required for every American, it left me speechless indeed.

2. Seeing Lady Liberty - that was cool, but COLD. We waited in line for the ferry for almost 2 hours, brrr. It would indeed be an awesome sight if you were new to the country and came upon that symbol of freedom after traveling the seas for weeks/months.

3. Seeing a play, November, starring Nathan Lane. While I must admit to being disappointed by the proficient use of the "F" word, mostly during the first act, I also had my feathers slightly rumpled by the negative language surrounding one of the character's adoption of a child from China. Essentially, the President was offensive to every single group you could think of, and that was the point, so while I acknowledge it was on purpose, it still was a good little prodder for how SOME people in society view international adoption "buying", etc. Regardless, it was still neat to see a play up close and personal.

4. Going to the big Macy's. Ridiculously large and when we first arrived they were having a Flower Show and there were gorgeous flowers everywhere! My aunt who went with loved it as she is a major gardener.

5. Going to ChinaTown and Little Italy. I bought no fake purses, wallets, or sunglasses - I didn't find any I liked! It was fine, but I actually think I liked Chinatown in San Francisco better!

6. I LOVED all the little grocery stores, delis, etc., that were on every street corner it seemed, with my absolute favorite being the Food Emporium . Why oh why can't we have one here! I was loving that as it was only a block from our hotel.

7. The Top of the Rock - Rockefeller Center, it was beautiful to see New York at night from up there. The ice skating rink was also cool to see in person, much smaller than it seems on t.v.

Okay, that is all for now, I have finished my assignment for today for school (only 5 more to go this week!!!) and am ready to crash.

All for now,
CC

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Clean House

Million dollar question....is it possible to keep a house clean with 5 people, and 3 of those 5 being youngsters and the other 2 being college students along with being parents and workers?

Given that I do not have a million dollars and I hate to keep people in suspense, NO, it is NOT possible to keep one's house neat and tidy all the time! GRRRR.

Keeping up with the weekend for the most part, very very busy one. Had brunch with the kids and one of my best friends today, that was nice and it gave D some time to finish up his sermon for Sunday evening. Then, I had to scurry to the grocery store - it was very busy. Which is good, people are celebrating Easter, hopefully remembering what it truly means.

Then we went over to the church and hosted D's family for Easter lupper (lunch/supper) and hid some eggs and had a jolly good time. LOTS of kids, there are 14 kids under the age of 18, but everyone had a good time with few fights and meltdowns.

Came home, chilled out for 1/2 hour (should have been accompanied by some wine...darn) and then started doing my homework that was due tonight. It is now done, dishwasher is ready to run, washer and dryer are going, more eggs are boiling, and I am cleaning in preparation for my family that will be coming to our house tomorrow (much fewer kids). D has sunrise, then 3 services in the morning, then he preaches in the evening. It has been a very busy weekend!

Kids are fabulous though and it was a nice day.

Hope all is well with my blog friends,
CC

Friday, March 21, 2008

Surviving

Well folks, I knew last quarter was too good to be true, I am working my tail off to keep up with my classes this quarter. I am talking government, policy and politics with people how have been working for the government for 20+ years. Yea, um, I want to be savvy in those areas, but the truth is, I am a 34-year-old biology undergrad, clinical psychology master's chick who knows didly about the Federal Letters and comparing and contrasting different aspects among the various levels of government! YIKES, what have I gotten myself into!

I have yet to fill you all in on the experience at the BIG RAT. Well, despite myself, everyone had a great time! We spent a fortune, but really it was nice to feed everyone pizza and the fruit pizza that we had made, and their pizza was actually good! (I ate the veggie in an effort to stick as closely to my WW Core Plan as possible). I am glad we did it and the kids were very appreciative, so that was nice. I might have to get my hair colored sooner though after the day, but for the smiles and joy of my babies, it is a small sacrifice!

I think I mentioned that they wanted donations toward a well as their gifts. Well, they received funds (so far) to fund 5 wells in their birth country. How awesome is that! They were so excited and kept asking, "Mom, how many people can we help now?" It did my heart so good:)

My work has picked up lately so that is keeping me hopping and I have been doing paperwork for Tabitha as well as for our own personal taxes. So surviving is truly my mantra right now. But, it could always be worse, so just venting, not complaining!

I leave for a long weekend next Thursday with one of my aunts (the one whose husband died last year) and 2 of my friends from work for a trip to New York (one of our cheap tickets!). I am looking forward to it as I have always wanted to go there, but am stressed about leaving D and the kids, but I know that time away is good for us all, makes us appreciate each other that much more.

Speaking of going away, D is going to be gone for 2 months this summer. TWO MONTHS! I am dreading it more than I can express and get all teary whenever I let myself think about it. Then I get a grip and remind myself that I have tons of support here, he could be going to Iraq or Afghanistan and that this will be a good test for me of when he goes off on a ship for 6 months in a couple of years. Still, I am dreading it and will be a slobbering mess all over this blog. I will warn you when it is time to turn away...

All for now.

Happy Easter to you all. We have had a very nice Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services so far. Tomorrow we host D's family and Sunday afternoon my family (then D preaches Sunday evening). Yes, things are never boring around here!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Girls

Girls, myself included, definitely tend for a flair of the dramatic. I don't say this without proof - including my own behavior at times - and to prove my point I shall share my morning.

It actually peeked into warmish weather yesterday and so the kiddos played outside after supper before Doodle had dance class, getting all dirty and kid-like. We did not get home from dance until 8:30ish and I made the executive decision that we would have showers in the morning (read: mommy was exhausted and thought I would feel more equipped in the morning AND it was past bedtime). To add to this, the kids are having their SECOND school pictures of 1st grade. They already had pics, the ones where the put your picture in the yearbook, we complied, we purchased, we were model parents. Well, this second round is just money-grubbing as far as I am concerned. We are going to get family pics before D leaves for military training so my cherubs looks will be captured on my terms in the near future anyway.

Okay, I am digressing. First, Shenzy decides that she wants breakfast BEFORE her shower. If these activities don't occur in this order, I shall make you all miserable. Well, we did not let her have her way and I heard crying and moaning for at least 10 minutes. I mean seriously? Shenzy, you have been up since 6:02 and have watched your shows while I have tried to catch another 10 minutes of sleep. A period of time during which you maul me like a bored bear cub. Did I not provide you with a fantastic morning so far? I let you watch grown-ups singing ridiculous songs because they have reached cult status and are making more money than I will ever see. Must you then CRY FOR 10 MINUTES over NOTHING!

Then, post shower and in her dress that she requested, Doodle comes to the table with crocodile tears in her eyes, trying so hard to hold her **IT together. I took one look at her and asked what was wrong, at which point the floodgates opened. She went from a 2 to 200 in about 1 second flat. Fearing a seizure, I picked her up and took her to her room in an effort to both diffuse a seizure by calming her down and by trying to dispel the mystery that is a cute little girl crying for no apparent reason. Crying like someone had just beaten her up out back, but nothing had happened. After a good 5 minutes of doing breathing exercises with her and having her blow her nose and count to 3, and me playing guessing games like I was going to win a quiz show once I got the right answer, I came to the realization that her tights were too tight. You get that? The tights (which by name should not be loose) were too tight. Okay, I was proud of my calm. I told her then by all means, please remove the offending tights, go have breakfast, and I will solve this critical sob-inducing problem. Five minutes later, all was right with the world and she was singing and skipping.

All of this in the midst of my trying to get ready for work. And Meesta, where was my handsome lad you ask? He, the boy who got a "free pass" from doing his homework yesterday evening because of his good behavior at school (still not sure about the logic behind this from his normally hard-driving teacher, but that is for another day - perhaps it was because she knew the weather was going to be fabulous?), he compliantly took his shower, ate his breakfast, asked for more fruit, then decided he WANTED to do his homework anyway. So he did, without incident. WHILE his sisters were possessed by someone power of the perhaps full moon??!

The important point, I actually kept my cool. I have been praying that I exercise more patience during times like these and I am happy to report that I did. And, I know that sometimes a girl just needs to cry, without reason. Maybe Doodle is upset about something else that she will share when she is ready, I did ask her, but she said no, really it was just the tights. Hopefully my little ladies proceed to have a great day, letting their negative behaviors out at mom and dad, knowing we will always love them anyway.

CC