Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The joys of democracy

As I was cleaning my kitchen (finally), Chloe ran up to me and asked if policemen were allowed to be in charge of the president. "No," I told her, "the president is in charge of the policemen."

"Good!" She said, & ran off down the hall, shouting at Zachary, in a snotty voice, "I'm the president, so I'm the boss of you, and you have to do whatever I say!"

This just would not do. I followed her back to her room and informed all of the children that it's important for a president to treat her people well, otherwise they might vote her down --or worse: form a military coup to bring her out of power forcefully. This pleased the other children greatly, and as I walked back to the kitchen, they were debating what to do with their president.

A few minutes later, they were all marching around the kitchen chanting, "Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!" 3 year old Evelyn interrupted her chanting, turned to chloe and said maliciously, "We are the enemy! Vote! Vote! Vote!" And they marched out of the room.

Back in the playroom the political debates continued.
Gideon: "Well, I'll let you play the Wii!"
Chloe: "I'll let you play whenever you want!"
Gideon: "I'll give you candy!"
Chloe: "I'll give you candy too!"
Zachary and Evelyn cheer!
Then Zachary runs to me, "I'm the congress, and I'm making a law that Chloe can't be president anymore."
The chanting resumes: "Vote! Vote! Vote!"

As I think about it, this doesn't sound much different from how adults behave when it comes to politics. As I go back to my dishes, I congratulate myself on a successful moment of minimal-effort homeschooling. And then I'm jolted back to reality as I'm whacked in the head by a foam dart that one of my darlings just shot at me. (who's idea was it to buy those dart guns for christmas, anyway?)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travel with Kids!!

One of my favorite memories from my childhood years is all of the car trips we used to go on. I loved discovering the world around me through the window of our family van, i loved playing games with my brother... i loved everything about it! This year, for Christmas, our family will be driving to Texas. That means three days in the car, with four children ages 4-8. Today I went out and bought lots of little gifts to give the kids at regular intervals through each day, to help the time pass. While trying to think of some other creative car trip ideas, I came acoss a great website! The creator of this site has so many super ideas, that I thought all of you out in blogland would appreciate hearing about it. With all of her suggestions, plus whatever else I can come up with on google, we're bound to have a great time in the car! --this just further supports my creativity motto: steal everyone else's tidbits, and you'll look like a creative genius!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #5

Last week, I came upon a local news site. While browsing their articles, I found this one, in which they discuss the how many of santa hats were worn at our local Christmas --oh, excuse me --- *Holiday* parade this year. I just LOVE that they considered this newsworthy. Also, not only do they count santa hats at Christmastime, but they also count dogs, horses, and drums, during some of our other many parades throughout the year. How fun is that??

I'm CELEBRATING because today, Chris & I finished the last of our 6 counseling sessions which were required for us to get through the homestudy for our adoption. Hooray!! We had a great meeting with our counselor today, and she gave us all sorts of wonderful advice in regards to raising teenagers. I'm now sufficiently freaked out. (next step in the adoption: finish take another class with the homestudy agency, and finish paperwork

SMILING because we had a lovely pre-Christmas celebration with the kids on Sunday. Because we go to Texas every year for Christmas, we always celebrate with Chris' family the weekend before we leave. But neither my family nor his family want to sit around & watch all our kids open their gifts from us. So we have an addional Christmas just for us & the little ones --which happened to be last night. They had lots of fun opening our gifts, and we even had some friends come by for a surprise visit, bearing many more gifts!

SMILING because we had a very fun ladies' brunch at my church. There were 10 tables, and each one was assigned a table leader who got to decorate her own table, all christmasy cute. I got to be one of the table leaders and had lots of fun decorating mine.

LAUGHING because i got to take part in a fun skit for the brunch. I'm reminded of why I feel I missed my calling as a melodrama actress.....maybe someday

THANKFUL that i'll be seeing my family for christmas again this year. I LOVE visiting family and friends every year

And, I'm EXCITED that we'll be driving, because I LOVE road trips!!!

I'm also HAPPY that i've finished 99% of my Christmas shopping! Yay me! Now on to the wrapping

And finally, i'm LOVING the holiday season. it's just so dang HAPPY!

Magnanimous Monday

In many parts of the world, the poverty conditions are so bad, that people are dying from lack of food or clean water. This is a hard reality to comprehend when we live in such an affluent place. This week, consider giving a gift to a family in Asia. This site offers many options for life-saving gifts ranging from $1 to $11,000.

For just $11 you could give chickens to a family in need. Their eggs would provide much needed nourishment, and as they reproduce, they can sell the chickens for additional income. That tiny bit of money can change the course of a families life!!

For $30 you can help supply a village with clean drinking water --one of those little things that we so easily take for granted. Or how about a blanket to keep someone warm through the winter for only $5??

What sort of guilty pleasure could you give up for a week or two (or a month or two!) that would give *life* to these people in Asia?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Childhood Magic

We've all felt it. The childish excitement. The wonder. The desperate hoping. We wake up in the morning, throw the covers off, pray a silent prayer, and run to the window. Is it there? Has it come? We peer outside to see the rooftops covered in white. The ground has been frosted with a sparkling blanket, and tiny little flakes flutter magically from the sky. They pile neatly along the edges of our window, and if we look very closely, we can see the detail of a tiny flake that has just landed. The dirty old world of yesterday has been transformed in to a stunning land of white. And then it hits us. It's happened! It's actually happened! The moment we've been waiting for has arrived! We run out of our rooms, shouting the joyful proclamation to anyone who can hear. "It's snowing! It's snowing!"

Beyond the constraints of time, this feeling of expectation and excitement has remained the same in children throughout our country - and perhaps even the world. And it's no different for my children today. As I tucked my little ones into bed on Sunday night, their final thoughts were full of anticipation for the next morning. Will the Glorious Change take place as they slumber? What magic will greet them when they awake? As soon as the clocks in their bedrooms change from 5:59 to 6:00 they know they can finally get out of bed. They run to their windows and look outside. It's here! It's come! Sweet elation! I hear the sound of my children running to my room, as I snuggle deeper beneath my warm blankets. And then I hear the rejoicing of my children. "Mommy! Daddy! It's raining!" I'm suddenly awakened to the stark contrast of my childhood versus my children's.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Beautiful Words

Today I read Ephesians 1-4. I don't see how anyone can read those chapters and not smile. It's so full of beautiful descriptive phrases! Take a minute to read through these slowly. Let their words settle into your heart and echo through your mind as you go about your day.

Established in love
Love that surpasses knowledge
Fullness of God
In accordance with his pleasure and will
To the praise of his glorious grace
Freely given
Riches of God's grace
Lavished on us
Mystery of his will
Good pleasure
Praise of his glory
Riches of his glorious inheritance
Great love for us
Rich in mercy
Incomparable riches of his grace
Expressed in his kindness
Gift of God
We are God's workmanship
He himself is our peace
Unsearchable riches of Christ
Rooted and established in love
Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
Gifts to men

Funny Friday #3

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #4

I'm smiling *lots* this week, after a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

THANKFUL that I have great inlaws who I love & get along with well.

LOVED Thanksgiving dinner, even if there were 30+ people, 1/2 of whom i didn't know. :)

HAPPY that Thanksgiving wasn't at my house, so I didn't have to deal with the mess! (sorry, Linda.)

LOVED having Chris home this last weekend. With all of the work he's been doing lately, we haven't seen much of him. This weekend was a *great* re-connect.

LOVE that we got our christmas tree up on Sunday, and LOVE the way the house feels when it's decorated for Christmas.

THANKFUL that we were able to get some much needed clothes for the kids and me.

SMILING because even though my last good pair of jeans got a hole in them, at least I have clothes to wear.

LOVED watching the (first) Star Wars trilogy with the kids this weekend. It was so fun watching them discover the story for the first time. The boys LOVED all of the fighting scenes, but all of the kids want to know why people kept cutting of each other's hands and arms instead of just killing each other. :)

HAPPY that Chloe & Gideon just finished two of their workbooks in school.

THANKFUL for Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the telephone, because i don't know how I would survive without my regular chats with my mom

which reminds me that I'm THANKFUL for Bill Gates for inventing the internet, which will helps me get lots of my last minute Christmas shopping done, *and* allows me to keep up with friends around the world. AMAZING!

oh! and of course, i can't forget that I'm THANKFUL for all those Black Friday deals! We got a great new computer that works nicely (though i'm still getting used to the new Windows program). I'm THRILLED that i'll finally be able to burn CD's again --and that the computer came with at "free" printer, so now I can print things again! Yay for technology! :)

and speaking of Black Friday, i actually really ENJOYED my crack-of-dawn shopping (or should I say sitting in line?) experience. it was quite an adventure (maybe i'll post the story sometime), and since i just love people-watching, i had a blast observing the mayhem that is Black Friday. Also, i got to have some nice conversations with the people who stood in line with me for an hour and a half.

There's so much more that i could write about, because is was just a week full of smiles for me. But i'll leave it at that, because I wouldn't want to bore my faithful readers.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gift-tastic Tuesday

Well, i'm a little late on my Magnanimous Monday, simply because I forgot. But i'm glad I did, because I found something WONDERFUL to post about today! I found a great blog/website called . Their focus is on getting away from the materialism of Christmas, & getting back to the spirit of the holiday. Among other things, they suggested these great ideas:

Purchase a Christmas wreath from This Site, and you will provide vitamins for a Guatemalan child for 1 year.


give a T-shirt as a gift: If you buy one of These Shirts, Aklesia will donate a school uniform or piece of apparel to a child in need.
or buy one of These Shirts, and $1 of your payment will go toward , which is dedicated to fighting child prostitution.

if T-shirts aren't your thing, consider buying jewelry from NightLight, who's procedes go to help those who have been sexually enslaved or exploited.

I think these are amazing ways to make your gifts count for more than just Christmas. Not only are they something nice for the receiver, but they help to change lives. I plan to order from these sites as much as I'm able for the holidays, and I hope you will do the same.

Know of any other places to buy gifts that have a double purpose? let me know!