Monday, June 30, 2008

And now a word from Sunshine...

..vv swsx sxxx hjjiii t5 t5 tttt 6666666666666666666666t dswsw e570 ---=i kewq tgtruyy hzzwzsx

All Creatures Great and Small

I have a lot of tolerance for God's little creatures. I don't hunt. I don't let my kids burn ants with a magnifying glass or smoosh bugs just for the fun of it.

But I don't exercise the same love for spiders. If you are a spider and you are in my house or on my arm, prepare to die. I'm not like my neighbor, who if she finds a spider in her house, slides a sheet of paper under it and tosses it outside to reproduce and make more of its kind that will invade my house.

This morning, there was a spider in the shower. I kept nonchalantly tossing handfuls of water at it (only at the beginning and end of my shower, of course!), but it kept scuttling away, determined to live.

Finally we came to a tense agreement: I'd stay on the water end of the tub, and it would stay way down at the other end near the kids' toys. I figured this was a little bit of divine intervention and God had big plans for this spider.

And then I dropped the soap.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bathing is a Blessing

After I posted my Don't Shower post, I was thinking more about this. How blessed are WE in America to have clean, DRINKABLE water to WASH OURSELVES with? Daily. I've been to India, twice. They love their bath, and most people also wash daily. But they use a bucket of water, maybe a couple of quarts for their whole bath. They might have to walk to a village pump to get it. Those who don't have that, wash in the river. (many also drink that same water!)

They have showers and bathtubs in India, and indoor plumbing/running water for some. But in every hotel I've ever been in, there is a bucket and a cup to use for bathing. What I gather from that, is that even Indian people who can afford to stay in a hotel, will expect to take a bucket bath. I'm sure some take showers, but it seems to me the expectation is otherwise.

If you have insight into this, leave a comment to correct or clarify this for me.

But how about in dry, desert areas? What about in drought-stricken places where there isn't even water to drink? They don't get a daily bath. I wonder how much they mind? By that, I mean, you and I expect to have a daily bath and if we don't, we begin to feel uncomfortable. But for someone to whom that concept is foreign or not available, do they walk around feeling grubby, or just accept things as a normal state of being? I would tend to guess that if you routinely get a bath once a week, you don't begin to feel unwashed until that point has passed.

Anyway, I don't have any trouble with the Don't Shower concept, for a day or so, if I don't have plans. I have a hairstyle that can skip a day of washing.

But this morning, the Turn off the Water During Your Shower threw me for a loop. It messed with my routine! I almost forgot to rinse the soap out of my hair!

Today's tip: How do you get hot water from your faucet? If you're like me, you flip the faucet to hot and run it full blast, sticking your hand in it until it feels hot enough. Today, in my kitchen, I'm going to put a stockpot in my sink and run the water into that until it's hot. I'm sure I can use the stockpot water to boil something for lunch. I'm curious to see how much water I waste by waiting for the hot water.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's Water Saving Tip

Don't shower!

I don't mean not ever! But if you don't have to, and you aren't stinky, skip a day! Think about how often they bathe in Europe and less developed countries! We Americans are way too clean!

So if you don't have to go anywhere and you haven't just had a full workout on your treadmill, skip it.

Let me tell you, this one is a total shoe-in for us moms with little kids! Raise your hand if you've ever not showered for 3 days. Slept in your clothes? Worn them again the next day? (Amanda and Leslie, you'd better be wavin' your hands!) See? I told you!

And hey, leave me a comment if you're playing along. Or just leave me a comment. I'm narcissitic. I like to hear that SOMEone is reading my blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Can't Help It---This Cracks Me Up!

Be sure you have your sound on. It's the best part!

Water, Water Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

Yep, this is a social justice post.

Wait! Come back! It's also a post of hope. Don't run away until you've read what I have to say...

So, unless you live under a rock, you've heard about the flooding in the Midwest.

The Mississippi is over its banks, worse than in 1993.

Did you know some parts of the country are also experiencing some significant drought?

There's a famine and drought in East Africa.

You heard about the cyclone and flooding in Myanmar.

You know there was an earthquake in China.

According to the statistics on A Child's Right, 3 million people die each year as a result of drinking unclean water.

There are places right now, in the Midwest, in my state, not 50 miles from my house, where flood waters have contaminated individual wells, where they have inundated city water systems. People are being advised to boil their water.

If you're like me, hearing this sort of stuff on the news sends my heart thumping in helpless panic. It's terrible. People are suffering. I already give money to worthy causes. There's nothing I can do and it makes me feel awful. Guilt.

Well, I've been thinking about ways I CAN make a difference.

It occurred to me the other day (duh) that just because I have access to abundant, clean, free drinking water at every moment of every day, I do not have license to waste it.

The fact that it could have easily been MY community whose well was contaminated, causing me all sorts of annoying hardships has made me think about how I take water for granted.

So, until I run out of good ideas, I'm going to look for one idea a day to improve my use of the water God has blessed me with. I'd like to become a bit of a water Scrooge.

It's not going to be life or death for me. It's not probably even going to make a huge impact. It doesn't change my status as a priveleged American, nor does it give me any real sense of what those who are truly suffering are going through.

But at least I can be part of the solution and stop being part of the problem.

How much of an impact will it make if my family of seven participates? What if we add your family?

Join me if you want, or just follow along and watch me flounder!

Today's water tip... Shut the water off during my shower. Water on, get wet, water off, lather, shave, water on, rinse. (Hey, I didn't promise you rocket science!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our new baby

Meet Maple. Isn't he cute!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Look at the cool picture!

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

I uploaded Picasa to my computer and I've been playing with my pictures. Isn't that cool????????????????

Awareness for WHOM?

June is National Potty Training Awareness Month

Like I am not aware.

Can I just say that it is not any easier the fifth time around? Can I just say that I am sick of being kicked in the stomach while changing a poopy 3 year old who doesn't want to be changed? Can I just say that he is SO cute wearing his "unders" and running around peeing in the weeds? Can I just say,

"Listen, Son. It is National Potty Training Awareness Month and so I would like you to be aware that you are 3, you can pull your pants up and down, you know perfectly well what to do and where to do it and preschool starts in the fall. So in honor of NPTA Month, I'd like you to be aware that mommy is tired of diapers and you need to do the whole big boy potty thing. Ok? For Mommy? Let's call it your summer homeschooling curriculum. So, from now on, in the daytime, you are wearing unders. Pee goes in the potty. Everyone pees in the potty. If your unders are wet, you'll have to take them off, put them in the wash and put on dry ones. Got it? I'm glad we had this little talk about this important subject. If you ever want to discuss any of this with Mommy, I'm here for you, ok? I love you and I'm so proud of you! Now, go out there and POTTY TRAIN!"

Happy Father's Day!!

He's not my dad, but he's the father of my children and I love him!
He's a great dad. He never complains about having to do anything with the kids (well, ok, he draws the line at helping the girls into tights (they're too TIGHT!)), he honest and caring and a great role-model. He loves to have them around helping him. He's a great cook and makes a mean breakfast and an even meaner cheesecake. He's a fun dad and a funny dad.

And even tho this tribute is a week late, we did celebrate on Father's Day. Here's the proof:

I love you, Honey!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thinking out Loud

Welcome back to my really boring blog.

Actually, I've been sick as a dog, so I keep coming to look at my blog and then I am too tired to post anything.

Anyway, I'm going to turn this blog over to random thoughts for a few days. I've been reading a lot of really great and thought-provoking blogs lately, mostly about adoption and I've been reading some books about interracial adoption issues. So my mind has been going around.

And maybe tomorrow I'll have a random thought. Tonight I found someone to work for me so I could go to bed early since I spent the day running errands and doing more than I should have. Only I spent my evening off driving Pepper to Urgent Care to check out the arm she fell on.

The arm is fine. She cried about it for over an hour after it happened, ate supper, watched Shrek 3 and by the time we were ready to leave for our appointment, said it felt fine. We went anyway. I spent $10 on gas to and from the clinic.

So thanks for the blessing of an unhurt arm and for a clinic which is only 30 miles away instead of more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our Pepper

We had major flooding this weekend (although not as major as some places! Yikes!) and our creek overflowed its banks. Mr. GT figures it was about 100 feet wide at one point. Our saving grace was the daylilies that grow wild along its banks and the hostas we've planted lining our driveway. In spite of all the water that flowed through our yard, none of the yard washed away. The hostas did get flattened however and suffered two major drenchings (one Sunday morning and again Sunday night).
(The flat ones are the ones furthest to the back, mostly under water!)

This morning, watching Rose Bud off to school out the window, I commented that the hostas had fluffed back up. Pepper, next to me in the window shouted out, "Good for YOU, Hostas! Good for YOU!"

Barely over trying to remember that for the blog, Rose Bud appeared from behind the garage, walked under the pine tree and had some sort of shock--she flinched and recoiled a bit. It looked to me like maybe water droplets had fallen off the tree onto her or she had walked through a spider web.

But no. Pepper, who also saw it happen, had her own ideas. "She was walking along when she felt tiny finger clutches on her shoulder! She turned her head to see who was following her and it was the chickens (she slows her voice down to an ominous tone now) and the piiiiine treeeeee creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeping up upon her...."

Never one to dwell on anything, she spent the next 5 minutes hopping around on one leg shouting, "I'm a flamingo! I'm a flamingo!"

A bonus picture of Pepper's Beta fish, Blue Moon:

Friday, June 6, 2008

We go to court and Sunshine shoplifts

Our family of 7
Boys with Nonny
Best buds AK and Sunshine
Not that glad to be brothers today

June 5th was a big day for us. It was Banana Boy's 4th Family Day, the day we were all together as a family for the first time. Four years already! How that time has flown! Our dental hygenist (who has known our family for 17 years!) was commenting on the boys' personalities when we were there today and how different the two boys are. She pointed out that BB is going to me my sweet boy and Sunshine, my challenge boy. Obvious, I know, but I hadn't really thought of it like that before. It made my heart smile to think of BB as my Sweet Boy.

Yesterday was also Sunshine's adoption finalization. We were scheduled to be in court at 8:30 am. That all sounds great and early and all, but keep in mind, we were organizing 6 adults & 5 kids, two cars, driving 35 minutes downtown during rush hour, in the rain, parking, walking to the courthouse and getting through security.

It all went off without a hitch, but my organizational-mom light was blinking pretty hard.

Grandma and Grandpa plus Auntie drove down Wed. night so we could all get up bright an early for the trip to court. Mr. GT took the day off work and we made Rose Bud (oh, mom! I can't miss school!) miss school for part of the day. Auntie being a part of the whole deal helped to salve her disappointment at missing several precious hours of school.

Nonny also came with us as well as godmother AJ, little AK and two of her siblings, Anni and Tiger, who asked if they PLEASE couldn't skip school to come along!

Our immediate family got to sit at the council tables, everyone else sat in the gallery and there was just the stenographer, the judge and the bailiff besides. Sunshine played his part by running around the court room (which the judge kindly said was ok), including up into the jury box! Eep!

The judge said all the formal things, including that what most impressed him in reading the report was how "this family is realistic about parenting." Whatever that means. It was a compliment, I guess!

He pounded his gavel and the deed was done. Oh, must mention that he asked who was all there with us (meaning the kids) and PEPPER, of all people, sallies up to the microphone on the table and says her name! We maybe have a future lawyer on our hands....

Photos with the judge, then everyone out so he can hear the next case, scheduled for 8:40! (it was a cute little black baby girl--she looked maybe Ethiopian)

We signed the paperwork and we were free!

Now we had 2.5 hours to kill before the Indian restaurant opened, so everyone divided up and ran errands.

Somehow we all ended up at Target at the same time, so Sunshine got new crocs, Rose Bud insisted she needed new jean shorts, BB needed underwear, Mr. GT needed a new dish drainer basket for the sink, the boys needed diapers/pull ups and Grandma scoured the clearance racks for cute things for the kids.

Sunshine refused to sit in the cart. He was so over-the-top wound up by now with all the people and all the excitement and all the transistions, he was completely cranky.

He wanted Mom to hold him. No, he wanted Grandma to hold him. No, Dad. No, Papa, No, Nonny, NO, AUNTIE! Rose Bud!

You'd think 6 adults could watch one 3 year old at Target.

You'd think.

Suddenly, I realized he wasn't there. NOONE was holding him and I didn't hear his shrill little voice. No one remembered seeing him lately. Well, Grandpa just left for the restroom. Maybe they were together. Mr. GT went to check. No Sunshine.

I began to rev up into full Mama-panic mode. Nonny went to ask the FOUR cashiers standing around with nothing to do if they had seen a little brown boy. Nope.

I was just getting ready to all-out panic when he popped his little head out of a check-out aisle and said, "HI!"

And WHAT was the little darling doing? No wonder he was so quiet! He had eaten half a pack of Rolos, paper and all! His mouth was caramelled shut!

Does Target NOT have a system in place to guard against shoplifters??????? If I had tried to eat a pack of Rolos in the store, security would have been all over me in 3 seconds! Does no one notice an unsupervised 3 year old snacking in the check-out lane?????? So much for hidden cameras!

Anyway, we high-tailed it out of there (after grabbing a different pack of Rolos for scanning purposes, since Sunshine had eaten the bar code) and luckily it was time to go eat.

We had a lovely Indian lunch buffet to celebrate both boys and Grandpa was so brave to try new things. He even liked what he tried! Grandma thought it all was too spicy. Sunshine was too wound-up and full of Rolos to eat anything except Halwa and Kheer.

We are definitely blessed by Sweet Banana Boy who sticks close and knows how to behave, now that he is an old man of 5, but thanks to Sunshine, we are also blessed with a good laugh.

Might have to change his name to Rolo.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Mighty Three-Year Old

Because he's only 10 months old to me, I forget that Sunshine is a big ole boy of three!

We went to the park today and he chugs along with his little legs in his little sandals, running, running, running.

He loves the playground and loves to climb and slide. He can climb all the different ladders and is very confident with his balance.

Whatever Banana Boy does, Sunshine is right there. He's very low-key about it, but as soon as BB does it, Sunshine is right behind him trying it too. Today BB climbed up on the railing of the playground steps ("Look, Mom! Look at me!") and as soon as he hopped down, Sunshine was up, too ("Mom! Mama! Mama!")

When I took him for a walk with me on Saturday, I let him out of the stroller for the last 1/4 mile or so. He had a stick and he was so busy dragging it in the dirt on the trail. He is just such a little boy and I smile whenever I see him doing those things.

For some reason, BB has never been "just a little boy." I don't know what it is that is different about him, but he's not the rough and tumble, stick-throwing, rock-climbing, ant-smushing boy that Sunshine is. He's tough and he's agile and he's strong and he's fast and he's coordinated, but he just has a different flow about him.

And as I say that, he and his best buddy are out on the deck alternately sword-fighting with some rubber boat oars and shooting suction-cup arrows with Buddy's bow.