Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's a Good Question

Zachary, my 6 year old, has always been very inquisitive and analytical.  I remember him telling me that he sang "the old lady who swallowed a fly" in preschool one day, and  just could not understand why that lady would eat *all* of those things, just to get rid of a fly.

As he's gotten older, his questions most often turn to superheroes, the most common question being the "Who would win" question.  "Who would win, batman or spiderman?"... "Who would win, Superman, or that guy who can't get hurt?" (That would be Wolverine)  but sometimes they would branch out to, "who would you rather be?"  or "who is your favorite?"

These questions require a lot of brain power on my part.   It takes a considerable thought to compare all of the individual powers of each superhero & then have an imaginary fight in your head in order to answer a question like that.  "Well, spiderman could catch batman with his web - but batman is very clever and always finds a way out of every problem.  Plus, he's got those throwing star things, to cut himself out of the web. but spiderman..... wait a minute, does Batman have Robin with him?  because that would put the odds in his favor..." 

You can see why these questions might become a bit tiresome for me.  So when Zachy started finding new subjects to ask about, i was relieved.  And then I went from relief to laughter, because his thought process is so random.  Allow me to share with you some examples from a recent car ride.  --and while you read them, keep in mind that these were all asked in a time span of about 15 minutes while we drove from the store back to our house.  As soon as I would answer one question, he's ask the next:

*  If you didn't need food or water, and you couldn't open your mouth for your whole life, would you live?
*  Would your mouth get hot?
*  Is it cool the way your body works?
*  Why?
*  Who was the first person alive after the flood?
*  Why is your breath hot? (this one apparently didn't get a satisfactory answer, because he still continues to ask questions about how our breath gets hot when we breath in cold air, and it's hardly spent any time in our body before we breathe it out)
*  How do spiders make webs?
*  If you shot an arrow really hard right through your pupil, would it go to the other side of your eye?
*  How do you get throw up?
*  Why do they make chapstick so yummy if you can't lick it off?
*  Which is importanter:  Christmas or Sunday?
*  If we didn't have the word, "ow," what would we say when we got hurt?
*  Why do people buy scarecrows? 
*  Why are they called scarecrows if they scare other kinds of birds?
*  Aren't our eyes like windshield wipers?
*  Why is every question that people don't know the answer to, a "good question?"

And now I find myself wishing he would go back to asking me simple superhero questions.

So how about you?  Which is your favorite question and how would you answer it?  And for 5 bonus points, who would win, Superman or Ironman?  --and for the sake of argument, let's assume that Ironman does not have access to any kryptonite.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly 7

okay.  so my amazing sister-in-law, Jody, has an amazing blog.  In it, she did an author interview, which was really fun.  And in the interview, she gave the link to Erin McCahan's blog.  And Erin McCahan had the very clever blogging idea of Saturday Seven, in which she describes her week in 7 words.  Well, I thought it was such a great idea that i'm going to steal borrow it.  Now i'm not going to do it every saturday, because i don't usually blog on Saturdays.  But i will be doing it here and there, and figured I should give Erin all of the creative credit.  Thanks Erin! :)

So here's mine:

Furniture hunting
Growing anticipation

How about you?  What's your weekly seven?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unpack is the new Pack

Well, we've moved into our house, & I'm working hard trying to get some semblance of order.  But at least we have the computer up and going. :)  Everything is one  big chaotic mess right now. Pretty stressful. But the house is great. The kids woke up yesterday morning & went straight into the jacuzzi. Our garden is producing large zucchinis, and looks like soon, we'll have some beans or something.  The giant  tree in the back yard is working hard to ripen the hundreds of avocados that are hanging from its branches, and the 5+ orange and lemon trees peek into my windows and show off their lovely happy colors to me as I work.

This Saturday, we'll be celebrating Gideon's birthday at a nearby park, and Monday, Chloe & Gideon will begin attending public school for the first time ever! 

And now I'm off to explore the plethora of boxes scattered through my house.  I think if i can ever figure out where to put everything, I'll really enjoy it here. until then, it's work work work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We're moving this weekend!  Last night we went by the new place and dropped off a load of stuff.  It's starting to feel homey already.  We'll be making the big move this weekend.

The house is just a few blocks away from where my grandma used to live - and almost the same model home.  It's funny to be there, and sort of feel like I'm at Grandma's. 

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Well, here I go again.  Yet another attempt to revive The Blog.  Seems like whenever I read, I'm motivated to write (what irony).  And tonight, I enjoyed looking at a project that someone did, where they took a photograph of themselves every day for 365 days.  It was inspirational, because she's an amazing photographer... and while I really wanted to do a challenge like that, I knew it was unrealistic, because there's no way I'd have the time or creativity  to take a cool  picture of myself every day ...and I'm sure you'd all be bored looking at the same exact pose 365 different times.  So I figured, why not give you a small verbal snapshot of myself each day, along with an occasional visual snapshot?  Just typing that makes me feel narcissistic, but my motivation is pure.  It really has little to do with showing myself to you because i know you're all desperately waiting, but had more to do with saving moments in time for myself to look back upon --- which i think just made me sound all the more self absorbed.  Oh well... I guess I can't escape it.

So.   here we go.  Snapshot day1 ... oooh! since i seem to be changing the direction of The Blog - yet again- maybe i should change the title -yet again... will consider the title, "Snapshots."  What do you think?
-distracted- let me start again.
Snapshot day 1:

Today I finished reading "Hank the Cowdog" to my kids.  This was fun for me, because I remember reading it (and meeting the author!) when I was in 5th grade.  They all enjoyed it just as much as me, and kept begging me not to put it down. :)  It was also a little sad, though because I know that our cuddling-on-the-couch-around-a-good-book times are coming to an end, because my two big kids will be going to public school this fall.

Choice one:  if you want Karina to be sad about this decision, continue reading here:   *SOB!*  {runs from computer and throws herself on the bed in a fit of tears and cries herself to sleep}

Choice two:  if you want Karina to be happy about this decision, read here:   *WaHoo!!*  {leaps away from computer and celebrates her upcoming freedom by doing the  happy dance until the clock strikes midnight}

Did I mention that I've also been reading a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book to the kids?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

Well, true to form, I have proven to be incapable of keeping with a weekly schedule, with this little blog, so i'm officially giving up.  I'll write when i can write - which isn't often, but at least it's something.

And now, some things that have made me smile lately:

I HAPPY that my house is really super duper clean. --I mean *really* clean.  Over the last couple weeks, we've been doing my first spring cleaning ever.  (we've never stayed in a house for more than two years.  Moving has always been my "spring cleaning" --but this house, we've been in for four years.  It was really needing some help).  My poor kids have been working like crazy with me, and aren't allowed to do anything but sit on the floor, for fear that they'll mess it up,  but at least the house is clean, doggone-it!

SMILING that i hear classical music coming from my boys' room.  As a result of our cleaning process, The boys got an old CD player in their room, along with a case of all our CD's.  I'm amused that their regular choice of music is classical.

 ENJOYED our much needed family vacation to Joshua Tree National Park.  our vacation was several days, but the day in Joshua Tree was the highlight for me.  I have to admit that I was not looking forward to spending my vacation in the desert... but it was full of all kinds of interestingness.  I took tons of pictures with my new camera & will hopefully post them some day, if I can ever finish edditing my latest wedding photos. 

Which brings me to how much I LOVE my new camera!!!  A few weeks back, I sold all of my Pentax camera gear (which was very hard to part with), and bought a new Canon camera & a few lenses.  I had 2 weeks to learn how to use the thing before my next wedding shoot.  eek!  I felt like I was cramming for a test.  But learn it I did, and I'm loving the results!  The pictures are beautiful.  So long, Pentax.  You'll always be my first love.  Here's one of my very first pictues from the new camera:

Along the lines of my new camera, I had lots of FUN being a wedding photographer for the third time.  This time, for Chris' business partner, Adam.  A sweet, simple wedding in a tiny little chapel up in the wine country.

You can see more of the pictures as I edit them on my facebook photo page.
In other news I'm PROUD of Evelyn for  learning how to ride her bike while we were on our vacation.  Yay Evelyn!!

Also, I can't tell you how THANKFUL I am to have Chris in my life, to help me deal with the tough stuff.  After the brutal death of one of our mice few weeks ago, and then amputating another one's tail last week, I've come to 2 conclusions:  1) I don't handle gore very well, and 2)  Chris really is my hero.  I don't know what I'd do without him.

And finally, I'm EXCITED that I was recently a finalist in a photo contest!  It was very fun & I won all kinds of great stuff.  --and to make it even better, it was one of my favorite pictures of my grandma, right before she died.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Cookieversary to Us!

It's that time of year again.  The time of year when I bemoan the fact that I just don't make chocolate chip cookies like I used to.  But I'm thankful for Chloe who has taken up the joy of cookie-making, and while I was away, made a lovely batch with the babysitter.  So this evening Chris and I will enjoy some homemade cookies together, and remember our first romantic encounter in Grandma's kitchen .  Who would have thought on that day, that thirteen years later, we would have a daughter who was baking for us?

Random Trivia that I've learned through homeschooling

One of my biggest joys in homeschooling is all the fun stuff that *I* get to learn with the kids.  I thought I'd share some of the things I've discovered recently:

- When you get hot, the blood vessels in your skin get wider.  This lets more blood into your skin.  The extra blook makes your face look red.  But it let the air around you cool your blood down faster.

- When Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he landed in San Salvador (named by him, which means "Holy Savior")  He never actually discovered North America --that was later dicovered by an English man: John Cabot.( --obviously by "discovered," I'm not reffering to the natives who lived there, or the Vikings who had discovered it long before -  I mean discovered by the Europeans).  Here's another  interesting snippet from our history book "A Child's History of the World" --a *great* book, by the way): "People soon began to say it was nothing for Columbus to have sailed westward until land was found, that anyone could do that.  One day when Columbus was dining with the king's nobles, who were trying to belittle what he had done, he took an egg and, passing it around the table, asked each one if he could stand it on end.  No one oculd.  When it came back to Columbus, he set it down just hard enough to crack the end slightly and flatten it.  Of course, then it stood up.  'You see,' said Columbus, 'it's very easy if you only know how.  So it's easy enough to sail west until you find land after I have done it once and shown you how.'  ....Some [people] were so spiteful and jealous of [Columbus'] success that they even charged him with wrongdoing...Columbus was put in chains and shipped home.  Although he was promptly st free, Columbus kept the chains as a reminder of men's ingratitude and asked to have the burried with him....When at last he died in Spain, he was alone and almost forgotten even by his friends."

- speaking of the Americas, they interestingly (and obviously) enough were not named after Columbus.  Instead, they were named after Americus Vespucci who, after traveling to the New World, wrote a book about it.

- I also thought it was very fascinating to learn about Magellan's travels (he's credited for being the first to sail all the way around the world).  Only one of his five ships made it all the way around, but did you know that Magellan wasn't acutally on that ship?  He was killed inthe Philippines by the natives before completing the trip.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things that make me smile #7 (and some things that don't)

It's that time of the week again.   I've been looking forward to the time when my kids were in school today, so I could sit down and write about all the lovely happy thoughts I've been having.  This morning, as I took Gideon to the doctor to get his stitches out, I thought about how I would share that exciting news with you later in the day.  But just as we were leaving, chloe and evelyn collided as they ran down the driveway to the car.  Evelyn did a faceplant and ended up with all kinds of scrapes on her hands and knees.  So I got her home,  finished placing the five bandaids in various places, and set my attentions on rebandaging gideon's thumb (because the doctor did a bad job).  Just as I was finishing with Gideon, chloe came into the room holding her mouse in her hands, and went into a big long story about how she accidentally cut the mouse with some scissors.  Then she opened her hands to show me her  mouse covered in blood.  After much discussion it was decided that the poor little thing should be put out of its misery, so we took it to Chris at work so he could do the Deed.  I'm sure it was pretty funny sight to see chris standing in the parking lot with his three girls all bawling as they hand him a paper bag.  I think I cried as much as chloe. I'm such a sap.  The big question of the moment was, "how is daddy going to kill it?"   We drove away with chloe yelling "bring it back in one piece!

After my very eventful morning (this all happened before 9:30 am), I've come to two conclusions.  1.   between the mouse and Gideon's thumb I've had my fill of blood and gore for the rest of the month -maybe even the year.  and 2.  It's a really good thing I never tried to be an ER nurse.  I never would've made it. that i've mostly recovered from all that trauma, I'm ready to get my mind off of it by sharing the things that have made me smile this recently:

I'm SMILING about the beautiful weather we've had this week, and all the time we've spent at the beach.  And i'm LOVING all the tidepools and rocks that have been uncovered on the beaches after our recent storms.  We've found so many great seashells and things.  There's so much seaglass all over the place that I've had to buy new  jars to hold our collection.  Plus, after finding a golf ball every time we're there, we've started a new collection.

Over the weekend, I ENJOYED going out to a local Japanese restaurant for chris's birthday.  We got to watch the chef prepare our dinner at our table, complete with some spatula percussion, egg juggling, and a giant fire.  We also had a GREAT TIME on sunday evening celebrating with friends. 

I've LOVED the girlfriend time i've had this week. lots of fun with good friends.

I LAUGH when I look in the refrigerator an see the bright green goo sitting in a tupperware container.  That's what's leftover from our very colorful St. Patrick's Day meal that we had last night which consisted of corned beef, cooked red cabbage, green mashed potatoes, green milk, and a salad.

I've been AMAZED every day when I look at Gideon's thumb and see his skin reattaching itself and growing back together.  I can't think of anything that man has made that could do something so miraculous.   What an amazing God we have!  I'm in such wonder, that gideon has begun to complain.  Every time I look at his thumb, I exclaim, "That's Amazing!!"  and he rolls his eyes and says, "you *always* say that!" :)

I'm CELEBRATING because Gideon got his stitches out today (as you've already heard)!   Our celebratory dinner will be breakfast burritos at Gideon's request.  And while i'm on the subject of getting the stitches out, you might be interested to know that I asked the doctor how often he sees this kind of cut.  His answer:  About 3 times a week (!!!!) often from experienced chefs who say, "i've never cut myself before!"

LOVE the fact that mice can be quickly & easily replaced with a quick trip to petco and a couple bucks.  I'm also GRATEFUL for the fact that my children learned a life lesson on experiencing the loss of a loved one.  Not fun, but a part of life that must be experienced.  --and also the life lesson of being careful with scissors...and pets.

and finally,

I've LOVED pondering what it means to be the apple of God's eye.  Trying to understand what that meant, I looked it up on Wikkipedia.  this is what they said: "The original Hebrew for this idiom was 'iyshown 'ayin (אישון עין), and can be literally translated as "Little Man of the Eye." This is a reference to the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people's pupils."  This made me think about how that little reflection of yourself is only seen when someone is looking at you closely.  I love the idea that God's face is so close to mine that I can see my reflection in His eyes.  Just like lovers gazing into each other's eyes.

Update: I've just returned from picking the kids up from school where, I'm told, Zachary fell on his face. He's got a nice little scratch on his nose & several band aids to match Evelyn's. And now I must run to help Gideon who, I'm told,  has just stepped in the dog poop he was supposed to be cleaning up.  If next Thursday is anything like today or last week's, I might just start boycotting Thursdays --or maybe I'll just buy stock in Band-aids..

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have Fun!

Not too long ago, as I was dropping my darlings off at school, I waved good-bye and hollered sweetly after them, "have fun!" as is my habit any time I leave my children to do something without me.  But this time I was struck by what a strange statement this was.  Why is it that my parting words to my children are always, "have fun?"  Is that really the very best and greatest wisdom that I have to give them as they leave the shelter of my arms to face the perilous world out there?

on the other hand, if I didn't tell my children to have fun, would the forget?  Would they have an awful time, just because I forgot to tell them to have fun?  What a rediculous statement!  I put it in the same box as statements like "drive safe!" and "take care!"  When people tell me things like that, I know that they're trying to express kind thoughts, but I want to reply, "Wow! I'm so glad you told me to drive safe!  I was planning to drive recklessly and crash into a tree, but because you told me to drive safe, I'm certainly going to change those plans." 

But back into the world of mommyisms:  It would make sense that whatever final words I give to my children on a regular basis would emphasize what I value. Is having fun my greatest value? Is it the one thing that I want my children to think about and remember through the day? I don't think so. 

Therefore,  regardless of whether it will actually change my children's behaviors or actions, I want my words to be full of meaning and purpose.  And so I am on a quest to change this very meaningless little phrase that I frequently say to my children  into something more intentional.

So... what are my values?  What would I like to instill in my children's subconscious little hearts? 
My mom and I have been talking about the importance of teaching children to value and enjoy hard work. I've been trying out, "Work hard!" It doesn't quite feel right. 
Probably my number one value is kindness.  Should I say "Be kind"?
or perhaps, "love well!"
or maybe "be kind, love well, work hard and have fun! --and while I'm at it, don't forget all those other things I've been trying to teach you!--and I love you!"

this reminds me of the very funny mom song that I think i've posted here before.  Maybe I should just play that as my kids are running out the door.
What do you think?  What would you say?

Monday, March 15, 2010

A day to remember

It began like any other day.  After enjoying one of my final days with Mom before she went home to Texas, I picked up the kids from school & they all settled down for snacks and naps.  Within 15 minutes of our arrival home, I heard the most terrified scream ever coming from Gideon.   He came back to my bedroom, screaming  that he'd cut himself.  In my usual unconcerned manner, I got up slowly and nonchalantly told him to go rinse the cut off in the sink while I got him a bandaid.  As I watched him rinse off of his hand, I noticed that the blood didn't seem to wash away.  It just kept coming.  And coming...  And coming.  Then it occured to me that a bandaid was not going to contain all of that blood.  A hint of panic struck me, and as I went back to my medicine closet to search for gauze, I pondered what my next step of action should be.  This didn't seem quite serious enough for me to call 911.  On the other hand, I just couldn't figure out what to do about all the red stuff that seemed to be flowing endlessly out of his thumb. 

Adrenaline is a funny thing.  It heightens your heart rate, and makes your mind do all sorts of crazy things.  Some people get panicky& start yelling, and running in aimless circles.  Others get into a zone of clarity, & work super-efficiently.  Me, I freeze. (this was a moment of self discovery for me, as I've never been in such a split second emergency type of situation before).  All I could do, was let my mind wander in circles as to the best course of action:  bandaid?  too much blood.  911?  they would laugh at me.  Call chris?  he's working - and besides, what would he do?  He can't see it to tell me what to do, and it'd take forever before he got here.  By then Gideon will bleed to death.  Maybe I *should* call 911.  WHERE IS THAT GAUZE!?  what on earth am I going to do once i find the gauze?  I wonder if his blood is spurting with his heart beats like it does in the movies?  911?  Call chris?  Call mom?  That's it!  I'll call mom!  She'll know what I should do! 

And so I called mom, who was visitng a friend just down the street, and in my calmest voice - choking back tears (because apparently, extreme adrenaline surges make me want to cry), I said, "mom.  I need you.  NOW.  Gideon's cut himself."
Mom: "is that Gideon screaming in the background?  I'll be right over"

While waiting for Mom to arrive, I wrapped the gauze around Gideon's thumb, and asked the other kids how this had happened.  "He was cutting a frozen orange."  what??  

Within the few minutes it too mom to get here, the blood had soaked all the way through the bandage.  After a quick examination, she said that I should take Gideon to the local med center.  So i shoved a bunch of toilet paper into his hand to catch any more blood that may be spewing, and we got in the car to drive to the med center.  As we drove, I called chris to tell him to come meet me, and Gideon occaisionally interrupted his nonstop screaming to ask questions about what the doctor was going to do to him and how much it would hurt.   I could tell that he was beginning to go into shock because his speech was getting slurred and he was shivering like crazy.  We parked in front of the office & i carried him to the door.  It was then that i noticed that I hadn't bothered to bring any shoes for him.  Oh well.  Who need shoes in an emergency?  I walked in the door and told the receptionist that my son had cut his finger.  She took one look at the bloody wrappings and sent us straight back to and exam room.

By this time Gideon had stopped screaming and put on his brave face.  The nurse who examined him asked if he would be having pizza and video games that night - and then informed me that it was standard practice for all mothers to pamper their traumatized children with pizza and video games once the ordeal was over.  Good to know.

10 minutes later, the doctor came in.  10 minutes!!  didn't anyone tell him my son was bleeding to death!?  He was very casual about the ordeal.  Took a quick look, and then informed Gideon that he would be giving him a shot to take away the pain.  "It's going to hurt when I give you the shot.  But only for about 5 seconds and then it won't hurt anymore.  I never lie to children.  Only adults."   After the pain was gone, and Gideon had a groggy smile, the doctor took a closer look at the wound.  "Well, the skin is still attached, so that's good."  He looked at me, "If he were to cut off the whole thing, you would need to be sure to bring it in with you, so we could sew it back on."  Mentally noted.  Then he turned to the trainee who had come in with him.  "usually when this happens, they cut through the fingernail, too."  USUALLY?!  how often does this sort of thing happen!?

As the doctor stiched up Gideon's finger, Chris came in to join the fun.  We nervously chatted while Gideon's flesh was mended.  Then it occured to me that this was the first time that Gideon had ever had stiches!  A momentous occasion!  Of course, it needed to be doccumented with photos.  The doctor loved this idea, and covered Gideon's hand in red iodine to help make it look more gruesome. 

When everything was done, Gideon decided that he didn't want pizza for dinner.  He wanted pancakes.  So we went home, and I made pancakes for my brave little boy.  And Chris was very kind to take all the kids out shopping with him while I cooked.  This was greatly apreciated by me, because i really needed some time to come down from my adrenaline high & recover from my traumatic experience.  I think it was harder on me than it was on Gideon. 

And of course, we had to take one more picture, for Gideon to show off to his friends, while the bandaid conceals his "battle wound."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jokes by Evelyn

we had a  funny  ammusing  intersting night of joke telling with the kids this evening.  Here were two of the "jokes" that Evy told.

E:  how do you get a sign and a tree out of a tree that's not metal, it's glass?
me: (verifying that I understand the question) how do you get a glass sign out of a tree?
E: yah.  but no.  it's not glass it's metal
me:  it's metal?
E: yah.  with glass around the edges
me: so, how do you get a metal and glass sign out of a tree?
E: yah.
me: um..shake it out?
E: no
me: you climb up and get it?
E: no
me:  I don't know. I give up.
E: you climb up in the tree and get it down. 

E: Why did all the fish in the world that aren't whales or sharks or jellyfish or anything that eat other fish cross the road?
me: Why?
E: because they couldn't eat anything so they died.

and one by Gideon (which is what prompted the previous one by Evy):
Why did the starfish cross the road without looking both ways?
me: because he couldn't turn his head?
G: no
me: because there weren't any cars coming?
G: no
me: why?
G: because he was at a crosswalk and the light turned green.

sometimes i laugh really hard at my kids jokes just because they are so *not* funny

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile #6

I'm rushing around, getting ready to make the forever drive to Ikea, where we will be buying some supplies for our church.  But I thought I'd just check in super quick because i don't like leaving a depressing post as my most recent.   So... a couple things that made me smile recently:

LOVE having my mom in town!  She's been here for about a week and has a couple more to go.  We've enjoyed spending time at the beach and going out to birthday lunches, and just sitting around talking.  I just adore my mom, and am so thankful to have some time together.

LOVED Chloe's 9th birthday last week!  For her gift she wanted to go horseback riding, so we found a little place that would take us for an hour and a half.  The little kids stayed home & it was just me, chris, chloe, & gideon.  It was so cute watching the kids learn how to sit on a horse and steer.  we rode through the beautiful mountains, and had a wonderful time!  and a little less than a week later, my butt is still bruised. ;)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Things that make me sad

Last week, I was feeling a bit down, so I thought it would be the perfect time to start my first "Things-That-Make-Me-Smile" post of the new year, in an effort to cure my gloominess.  But I didn't get very far, because the busy-ness of life interrupted me.  And the next day, Chris and I recieved some bad news.  There's no need to go into the details of it, other than to say that it was really discouraging for me.  I was so down, that I couldn't even begin to think about writing a post about smiling.  I only wanted to cry and think about how I was hurt and angry and sad. 

 I didn't want to pout.  But those of you who have tried will understand how hard it was for me to convince my emotions to stop feeling the way they did.  Emotions by nature are irrational, and no amount of convincing, cajoling, or chocolate could persuade them to feel any other way.  And so I sat in my emotional darkness, waiting for those cruel little guys lose the battle to my sunnier (and ordinarily more victorious) emotions --or at least to show me a little mercy and take a break from their tireless nagging.  Well, I'm happy to say that after a week of moping, I had my very first day of good mood-ness. This is a great relief to me, because I hated being sad.  And  while battle still contiues, I'm glad that I'm seeing more sunshine than clouds lately.  And hopefully by next week, I'll be able to share my new  "Things That Make Me Smile" post.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Random Facts About Me

In honor of my birthday today, I thought I'd re-post something I did on facebook awhile back. It was a fun little game where you think of 25 random facts about yourself, & list them for friends to see. I've taken that, and added some more, just for fun. I'll put a link to this page on my sidebar and add more as I think of things. If you can think of a fact about me that should be added, feel free to post it in the comments. I can always delete it if I don't want anyone knowing. ;)

1.I have a great memory for anything that leaves an emotional impression --especially music. But I have a terrible memory for numbers --unless the numbers have some sort of emotional value attached to them.

2. i've gotten so good at tuning out all the noises form the children talking & playing, that I often don't hear them when they're talking to me. "mom.. mom!... MOOOM!!!:

3. I hate almost every activity that needs to be repeated on a daily basis, including cooking, cleaning, and bathing... "i just did this yesterday!!"

4. i'm an increadibly loyal person and *hate* losing touch with anyone, even if i only met them once...which is why I love facebook. :)

5. It's impossible for me to talk without using a lot of expression. If i'm not feeling well enough to adequately express myself, i'd rather just not talk.

6. when I type, I put happy faces at the end of almost every sentence. I just can't help myself. I *need* to use facial expression! :) :) :) :)

7. i've been told that i look like Claire Danes, Gwenyth Powltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Kirstin Dunst.

8. I can't stand Kirstin Dunst...she reminds me too much of me!

9. My favorite flowers are star lilies. I just love how the smell fills the room.

10. I've always regretted not getting my bachelor's degree.

11. When my kids grow up, i'd like to be professional photographer.

12. I *really* regret not taking cosemtology classes in high school

13. i'm *terrible* at returning phone calls and emails.

14. I'm kind of lazy, and would often rather not do something fun, if it involves work to do it -- which is why i seldom take my kids to the beach . I wasn't like this until I had kids.

15. I *love* people. I love being with people. I'm energized by being with people. But i'm dreadfully shy. So shy, that if i see someone i know in the store, i try to hide. Or if i'm at a meeting of some sort, I'll pretend to be reading something so I don't have to talk to anyone.

16. one of my highest values is kindness.

17. I can't stand to see anyone or anything hurt. even an annoying bug. i feel terrible anytime i have to kill one. If there's any way I can avoid it, I will. If it must be killed, I try to get someone else to do it, & then hide, so I don't have to watch.

18. I hate conflict of any kind, & will go to great lengths to avoid it.

19. I seldom apreciate new technology.
~ I thought CD's were dumb --"they'll get scratched just like records!"
~I wondered who on earth would want a digital camera... "it's not a good picture unless you can hold it in your hand...and the lag time after pushing the shutter: don't get me started!"
~ I thought cell phones were annoying "if you want to call me, call me when I'm at home!"
~ I thought MP3 players were rediculous "what if you don't want to listen through the earphones??"

20. I know about half of the employees at our local grocery store by name, and I have to plan extra time for my shopping, because i know i'll be stopping to talk to a lot of them while i'm there.

21. I've always wished I could be cool &; artsy &; quirky.

22. I'm somewhat concerned that i'm never going to grow up.

23. i smile when I'm nervous or uncomfortable. If i'm *really* nervous, i smile a LOT... which is really inconvenient, if i'm in a serious situation... like if i'm telling chris i just totalled the car, or something (remember fact # 18?) The upside is that i usually make a great impression at job interviews because of my "great smile" :)

24. I *love* getting things in the mail! ( real things like cards & packages. not junk mail)

25. i love to help people. you know, with little kids, how you ask if someone wants to help & they *all* raise their hand & say "pick me! pick me!" ? I never grew out of that. (see random fact #22)

26. my feet are always cold, but i seldom wear socks. when i must wear socks, i use thos thick fuzzy ones that never match what i'm wearing

27. the three hardest times in my life were: when i placed my baby for adoption; my first year of marriage; my first year of motherhood.

28. i love being a mother.

29. i hate being a housewife. mainly because of fact #3 and probably also #14. It takes away a lot of the joy i have in mothering.

30. my first kiss w/chris was on the night we got engaged... not that we waited *that* long, since we met &  married in five months. :)

31. My mom is my greatest hero.

32. I think the whole question of whether the glass is half-full or half-empty can be easily decided by asking if the glass was just filled, or if someone just drank out of it?
33.  I don't use capital letters very often when i type.  This bad habit started when Chloe was a little baby and I could never put her down.  So I would chat in chat rooms on the internet to pass the time.  but I could only type with one hand because i was holding the baby with the other.  That made pressing the shift key more difficult, so I didn't.  I'm working hard on breaking that bad habit.
34.  I don't drink coffee.  I tried to like it once, because that's what grown-ups drink.  But then I noticed that everbody I know who drinks coffee is adicted, & would like to break the habit, and I decided that it's silly to try to force myself to like something that will only become a bad habit, so I quit trying.
35.  I feel the same way about alcohol as I do about coffee.
36. I've never been on a diet.
37.  My life's dream is to have an orphanage in Africa.  This started when I read an article about Compassion International.  In the article they talked about children who were living alone, scavenging for food in a trash dump.  The tragedy was that there was no one to help them or take them in because there were so many orphans. I couldn't understand why there weren't enough people to help, & thought, "someone should do something about this!"  As quickly as that thought went through my mind, a new one came, "I will."
38.  I'm 6 ft. tall, and wear size 11 shoes.   I'm constantly discouraged by how difficult it is to find inexpensive clothing that fits well.
39.  I love to laugh and enjoy people with a good sense of humor.

40.  I love starting new projects, but I'm terrible at finishing them.

41.  My drink of choice is milk.

42.  My favorite TV show of all time is Pushing Daisies.  I'm sad it only lasted 2 seasons.

43.  Because of my height, I'm often asked if I ever played volleyball, basketball, or any other sport.  The answer to that question is no.  I've never played sports, except for the occaisional tennis "game" with my dad when I was in grade school.

44.  I love to dance.  Five  minutes of loud music, dancing, and singing at the top of my lungs is the perfect emotional pick-me-up for me.

 45.  I was a nerd in high school. (not like the smart kind.  the dorky kind)

46.  My childhood pets included (but were not limited to) a parakeet who was beheaded by my pet ferrett;  a gerbil who died after being thrown against my bedroom wall by a certain person who will go unnamed; and a baby duck who was smothered to death in a certain other person's bed, when they were trying to keep it warm at night,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Enjoying Life

Tomorrow is my birthday. I love birthdays. I love having a special day. And if it were up to me, I'd celebrate my whole birthMONTH. To celebrate my birthday, I spent today doing laundry, and endless paperwork for school. That way there would be nothing that I *have* to do tomorrow! Sadly for birthday me, I got tired of doing yucky stuff today & decided that I should go ahead and start celebrating a little bit early, by not finishing the laundry. That means that tomorrow I have to fold the mountain that I washed today. But that's okay, because at least I'm not doing *all* of it on my birthday! :)

Tomorrow, Chris is planning to come home early (I love rainy days when he can't work!), and take me out to lunch. Then we've planned to play games, roast marshmallows, and generally lay around being cozy in the living room while it rains outside. For dinner, the family will be going out to eat at my favorite restaurant, which is right on the beach. Maybe we'll get to see the giant waves crashing over the pier while we're there!  Then we'll bring the kids home to stay with my very kind father-in-law who has agreed to babysit, and Chris and I will go out to a movie (I'm planning to see Leap Year, which doesn't look amazing, but this is the only day of the year that Chris will willingly watch a girly movie with me, and this is the only one that's out, so we'll be watching it whether it's good or not, doggone it!).

Saturday, we'll be extending the festivities (because that's the kind of girl I am) by going to visit the Getty Museum while the kids stay with Grandpa.    I've wanted to visit ever since I moved here twelve years ago, and it's finally working out.  Yay! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Science vs. Fairy Tale

Today's science lesson began with an introduction to the animals of Australia & its surrounding islands.   I read to the children, "Unlike other mammals, monotremes do not have any teats.  Instead, baby monotremes lick up milk that seeps out of glands in the mother's skin."  This very interesting fact was followed up with a question from Evelyn, "What's a teat?"  I answered matter-of-factly, using simple words that she would understand easily, "It's like a mamma's boobie, where the baby gets it's milk from."  The light turned on in her mind, and she exclaimed knowingly, "Oh!  Like Boobie and the Beast!" 

Shortly after, we learned about the birds of New Guinea.  Our book described the way male birds of paradise fluff up their feathers & show off their good looks in order to attract a female.  It went on to tell about bowerbirds, who atract their females by building elaborate "bowers", decorated with flowers and berries.  The female selects the male whose bower impresses her the most.  (as a sidenote a bower is defined as, "A large nest made of grass and bright objects, used by the bower bird during courtship displays; A shady, leafy shelter or recess in a garden or woods; A woman's bedroom or private apartments, especially in a medieval castle; A picturesque country cottage, especially one that is used as a retreat" --isn't that romantic!?)   Check out this picture of the beautiful bower that was built for one lucky chick. (found on Nick Triantafillou' flickr site--a great photograph don't you think?)

This lesson on how birds pick their mates seemed like a great opportunity for me to teach my children the importance of picking a good mate for themselves.  I explained how, just like birds, different people are attracted to different things in a husband or wife.  Some people are attracted to a good looking person.  Some are attracted to someone with lots of money, or a nice home.  Some people want someone with similar aspirations, etc.  Then I said (especially to the boys), "Do you think that if you choose a wife just because she's pretty, that you will be happy for the rest of your life with her?  People's appearances change as they get older, and they won't look the same as they did when they were young.  So if that's the only thing you look at when you pick someone, you might be disappointed when you get older."  Zachary thought about this for a minute, while I went on to talk about other things you can look for in a spouse.  And then he said, "Then you should pick someone because you like their hair, because your hair stays the same when you get old."    Guess that's what the handsome prince was thinking  when he rescued Rapunzel. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

27 Random Things I Learned From Driving Across the Country With Four Children

Well, after all that to-do about how I wouldn't be posting anytime soon...we decided not to go to Big Bear this week, and I've got a quiet evening to myself, while Chris plays basketball. So.... i will give you a little bit more detail about the last several weeks of my life.

As is our usual Christmas tradition, we drove to Dallas, TX for the holidays to spend the time with my family and friends. While we've always flown, having four kids over the age of two made that a financial impossibility this year, so we decided to truck it. We had a wonderful time driving through California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and it was fun to see the land. The three days of driving each way was a very educational experience for me, and I thought you might enjoy hearing what I learned.

1. There are five prisons between Santa Barbara, CA and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
1b. There is one windmill.
2. It is possible for the one and a half hour drive between Phoenix and Tucson to turn into a six hour drive.
3. Truck drivers know everything that's happening on the roads ahead of them.
4. Truck drivers are very friendly to women who stick their heads out the window and ask them to share their infinite knowledge.
5. A little dust storm can cause a lot of damage!
6. If you ever need to steer around Hwy. 10 in Arizona because you've been sitting still on the road for hours due to your second encounter with a 20 car pile-up, driving over dirt roads that run through cotton fields is an excellent option.
6b. This Should not be attempted if your car doesn't have a GPS system.
7. If you happen to be driving on dirt roads through cotton fields in Arizona, this is a wonderful educational opportunity. Pull the car over and pick some cotton to show your children.
8. It's possible for a dust storm to get so bad that you can't see anything outside of your car.
8b. This is a bad time to be exploring Arizona by way of a dirt road.
8c. It's also a bad time to decide that you want to educate your children by running out into a field to pick cotton for them.
9. My children are amazingly well behaved in the car.
10. Bribing the kids with various gifts every couple hours goes a long way toward keeping them well behaved.
11. Gideon can amuse himself for hours, playing "war" with two pencils and a piece of paper.
12. My children aren't so well behaved when we let them out of the car after driving for several hours.
13. I can no longer take pride in the fact that I don't get carsick
14. Chocolate milkshakes go a long way toward curing my carsickness. Starbucks hot chocolate: not so much.
15. My children's cheeks turn red when they ride in the car for an extended length of time
16. The majority of trucks on the road between Santa Barbara, CA and Dallas, TX are from Indiana, Maine, and Tennessee (in that order). (Why maine?? What on earth does the whole country need from Maine??)
17. There are two major choices for driving from California to Texas: Hwy 10 and Hwy 40
18. Hwy 40 has a lot more snow and windmills. Hwy 10 has a lot more dust and prisons.
19. There is a mass exodus occuring from Minnesota to the southwestern part of the country.
20. While there may be hundreds of Mennesotans driving on Hwy 40, we couldn't find a single one driving on Hwy 10.
21. The Grand Canyon is beautiful when it's covered in snow.
22. When the Grand Canyon is covered in snow, it's a bad idea to walk out to the very edge, because it may not be the edge at all.  It may just be a big chunk of snow that's sticking off of the edge, and it may not be strong enough to hold your weight.
23. It's a bad idea to go walking around in snow, when you have holes in your shoes.
24. A three day car trip is the perfect time to knit a scarf.
25. If you want to knit a scarf in three days, you must knit for the entire three days.
26. It's possible for Dallas to have a white christmas!
27. As fun as it is to go on a road trip, and spend time with family and friends, it's a wonderful feeling to be home again.

One small step...

I know I've beem MIA since December. Our family took a road trip to Texas so we could celebrate the holidays with friends and family there. We had a wonderful time, and I have a whole post written in my head about it. But today is not that day. I'm still trying to get my life back in order after all the holiday chaos. (We still have a pile of Chistmas presents waiting for a certain someone -- you know who you are. And the funny thing is that they probably won't be getting them until my birthday, which is this Friday.) So... once I recover, I hope to continue with all of my regular fun posts that I was doing here. But that probably won't be for awhile still, because today, I'm packing up the family, so we can go to Big Bear to play in the snow for a few days.

But the point of this post is not to give you a million excuses for why I haven't written, or why I don't intend to write for a while longer. The point of this post is to share some exciting news.

Today, I mailed off the last of the forms we needed for our adoption and homestudy agencies, which brings us one small step closer to bringing our new baby home! Next, we need to meet with our "buddy family", and take one more class through our homestudy agency. After that, we will be assigned a social worker, who will interview us several times. I hope to be finished with all that by the end of February. Then it will take the social worker some time to write up her report, so I'm hoping that by the end of March, we'll be on the waiting list for our baby! Woo hoo!!!