Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Poots and Toots

We got back from the Mardi Gras Party in good spirits, but this achy body needed to rest with my feet up.  I sat on my bed with my computer on my lap.  As usually happens, the kids all came into the room.  They started talking excitedly about the great time that had at the party.  Keener was very chatty, when suddenly a series of "poots, or toots" started coming from her bum bum.  In the joy and excitement of the moment, I could not help but laugh and laugh.  This set her off laughing and when a few more "toots" came, I think everyone was laughing.
The sweetest laugh is the laugh of a child.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras).  Our church is having their annual party to celebrate.  For the first time,  our family is going to attend. Normally we have CCD on Tuesday nights and as a teacher I was always unable to attend.  I am taking my much needed break from volunteering for a year, so we can go. When Honey got back, I decided that I needed to take it easy and only deal with homeschooling, so I dropped the job of girl scout leader and CCD teacher.  I am always willing to help, but am trying to avoid the leadership, organizing, and running of anything.    I also chose not to send them to CCD but to leave the religious education at home for this year.  It has enabled us to change our focus to learning about more about the saints and reading more from the Bible and discussing it.

I am looking forward to celebrating Mardi Gras.  I think it will be a lot of fun.  My grandparents always went to New Orleans to celebrate because my uncle lived there.  I have the happy memories of Mardi Gras that my grandparents shared with me.  That is probably why it is on my list of things I would like to do in my life.  It seems like such a fun event.  Maybe Honey and I will go one year when the kids are older.  In the meantime, I went to help decorate for the event and took Elizabeth to help.  She was a huge help.  We had a great time and Elizabeth is excited for the party.  She loved all the bling and sparkle.  She was planning her wardrobe for tomorrow all afternoon!  I am glad that she is excited.  I love to see her smile, it warms my heart.

 I hope you have a Wonderful Mardi Gras!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whoo Hoo For Me! I can now be president!

So I had my birthday last week in the middle of the snowstorms.  It was sort of hard to get  excited about it since I was stuck in the house AGAIN looking at fluffy whiteness.  But the good news is that I am now eligible to be the President of the United States.  Look Out Obama, I might just run against you! Yes I passed to that tender young age of 35.  But don't tell my kids, I keep telling them I'm 29! Which is not exactly a lie, I am 29 years and 2192 days!
    It has always been fun celebrating my birthday because I am a twin.  I am never alone and I always have a birthday buddy.  Ironically I have met over 30 people in my life who had the same birthday and even dated a guy whose birthday was the day before mine.  And his roommate's birthday was the same as mine.  Weird right?  I even share my birthday with William Henry Harrison (9th President, known for the serving the shortest time as president.)  My sister and I always get together to celebrate and just enjoy each other and our families.  This year was a little delayed because of the weather, but I got to celebrate with her today.  We let the kids play and our husbands got take out for us, which left us to chit chat and relaxation. Trust me when I say that this is SOOO much easier than dealing with 7 kids in a restaurant.

I am so grateful to have my sister, I love you sis and I am so very happy to share my birthday.  Here's to celebrating many more, even if we don't run for president.  Of course I should never say never...

4 in a row.

It just occurred to me that there are 4 holidays in a row this week.  Weird.  So Happy Valentine's Day! Happy President's Day! Happy Mardi Gras! Have a Blessed Ash Wednesday!
Whew, Thursday is our day for a break!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two rescues at once

I traveled to my friend Mary's house to rescue her from insanity.  The snow is really making it hard to get out around here.  Since I have 4 wheel drive, I asked her if I could come rescue her.  Trust me when I say that I needed it in her neighborhood.  My street is fairly cleared, but she lives further out in our county and hers was in horrible shape.
   We quickly hopped in the car and started to leave her neighborhood.  When we were almost at the exit to the neighborhood, I saw a little boy peeking his head out of the snowbanks.  He was around 3.5 - 4 years old, wearing pajamas and shivering.  I stopped, honked my horn (to alert him and his parents).  He stopped, but there was no adult around.  We rolled down the windows and asked him if he lived at that house.  He did not.  Then we asked if he lived nearby, "No I lives far away".

Uh, oh!

So we quickly go into mommy mode.  Mary gets out and tries to talk with him and also talks with a neighbor from a few houses down.  The neighbor does not recognize the boy and says he does not live in the houses next to her.

Double Uh, oh!

While Mary talks to the boy to try to calm him, get his name and a location of where he is supposed to be, I call 911 and talk to the dispatcher.  While I am on the phone the boy bolts out running.  Mary chases after him and I follow in the car.  Another neighbor joins in the chase to help this boy while I remain on the phone with the dispatcher.  I had to stop at the street intersection, in order to pull over and allow cars to pass and be at a location the police could easily recognize.  Mary and neighbor #2 are no longer in sight.  I waited anxiously for her to return.  When she does, the news is not a great big happy reunion story.  The boy ran to a house and she knocked on the door.  No one answered. She turned the handle to see if it was open (it was) and the boy darted into the house.  She yelled to see if anyone was home.  A man came to the door, not all himself.  Mary was not sure if he had been asleep or if he was using some mind altering substance. He did not seem concerned for the boy, or appear that he had been looking for the boy.  He barely addressed her when she asked if the boy belonged here.  He answered her with, "Yes. He's in daycare." Close door and lock it.
Uhhh, in my book a THANKS is in order.  Even a little bit of concern over the boy being lost????

When Mary gets back to the car and relays this to me, I know in my soul that there is only one thing to do.  It is not to call the police and say the boy has found his home, and get on with our day.  The right thing is to stay and wait for the police and explain the situation.  Is the man sleepy? in an altered state?  Is he fit to provide daycare to this child?  I did call back the dispatcher and alerted her to the change of situation and that we would be willing to wait.
    The police arrived shortly.  They were driving a school security SUV instead of the standard police car.  They had a chuckle with us about being "real cops" in a borrowed car.  (Due to all the snow, any county SUV was being put to use for other purposes).  I was glad to have police officers that were friendly, but diligent.  They took all our information and went to investigate while we waited for them to return.  When they did return they told us, that the wife was actually the day care provider.  They told the police that they were starting to look for the boy when he came back, and that he had not been gone for long. This is not true.  Based on where the boy was located, he had to have been out of the house for at least 15 minutes.  Think about how long it would take a typical curious boy to meander around and travel about 2-3 blocks.  15 minutes is a fair estimate.  Not to mention that a daycare provider should have child safety locks on the doors.  The police were able to assess that the man was not under the influence and had probably just awoken when Mary knocked on the door.  They were filing a report, were notifying Child Protective Services, and were going to call the mother of the boy to inform him of the event.   This is the best result that we can hope for.  At least the mother was informed and if anything else happens with this daycare, there is a report filed.
   I am no perfect parent and these things can happen to all of us, but I know that I would never feel comfortable leaving my child at that daycare again.  I think that your minimum expectation from a daycare provider is the safety of your child.  I can only say that I wish that little boy the best of luck and I am glad that Mary and I stopped to rescue him.

After that hour detour,  I was finally able to rescue Mary!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Patience is a Virtue that my dog should teach.

I do not know how I got so lucky when I chose our dog.  A small part is due to the fact that I am one to do research first.  I looked at criteria for good family dogs since we planned on having kids; dogs that were easy to train, since this would be my first time training a dog; and how to choose the right puppy/dog.  I looked at 5 litters of puppies and the local shelter before choosing our sweet dog.  Most people are surprised that I looked at 5 litters.  The average person looks at 1, and fall in love with the "cute" puppy.  I was lucky enough to read a book that reminded me that ALL puppies are cute.  I needed to look for the qualities that I desired.  Trust me when I say that it was REALLY hard to look at a sweet little puppy and walk away.  It was also hard to go to the shelter and see all the animals and not get one.  Of course we did not leave the shelter empty handed, our kitty came from the shelter.  When we did get our sweet puppy, she had all the qualities that we had been looking for and I am grateful that I put forth the effort.  She is so kind and patient, has never growled at a full grown dog and only once at a puppy (that NEEDED to be reminded that he was not the boss).  She rarely barks and has never bared her teeth at anything.  She is truly a very good natured & sweet tempered dog. 
The kids love her and sometimes more than she needs, as witnessed here:
What a hard life...      for the dog!

Poor puppy!

I would get mad at Keener for abusing our poor dog, but she was trying to snuggle with her.  She really loves our puppy very much, but being almost 3, she forgets that she might be hurting her when she is trying to love her.

What size is this?

I have a terrible time trying to find clothes for Elizabeth.  She is so skinny, and unfortunately as Americans get fatter and fatter, the child sizes do as well, so a child's size 10 is actually larger than it was when I was a child  (a 10 now is what a 10X used to be).   I have made or altered a majority of her clothes to fit her.  I actually tend to retire her clothing because I am tired of seeing her in the same outfit, rather than her actually outgrowing an outfit.   To illustrate this point, she put on a shirt that was Keeners.

It is obviously short at the waist, but it looks just like a summer crop top. She can do the same with a lot of Keener's sweaters.  So I must ask, what size is this shirt really?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kick me!

This is right before I did get kicked.  What a little devil!  

Snowmageddon, Will somebody please shoot that groundhog!

I created this poster with a program from http://www.studentposters.co.uk/templates.html  and a picture from www.tech4kids.files.wordpress.com. 
I am feeling a little sick of all the snow.  Our third snowstorm this week brought us the "Snowmaggedon" We had already had 4 inches last Saturday and 4 inches on Wednesday.  I know all you people from Buffalo, NY and North Dakota are telling us to just calm down, but it's a LOT of snow for us.  We don't all have snow tires, chains, snowmobiles and snowblowers only SOME of us have shovels, and the very few have snowblowers.  This is not normal for us, and no it's not due to global warming or climate change (Please! What a bunch of malarkey!).  It's because we were due a big storm or two, or three, or .....       I just think there are cycles to weather and we drew the snow card this year.   That said, my back is hurting from all the shoveling and saying that I am tired would be an understatement.  Honey and I have shoveled around 30 inches of snow from the driveway and sidewalk and cleaned off the cars.  He did a lot more work than I did, and it is moments like this that I am SO grateful that I have such a hardworking man for my husband.  I don't know what I'd do without him. (Well, maybe I do... but let's not repeat last year.  I'm SOOOO much happier with him home!)

I am going to leave you for now with our pictures from all the snow, but if you see any groundhogs, would you PLEASE shoot them.  I don't think I can bear much more of this... of course there is the storm that's coming on Tuesday (sigh, sigh, sigh.......)

This is actually from the Wednesday storm.

This is also from the Wednesday storm, but such a sweet smile!

You know you have a lot of snow if you come out for the second round of digging and the snow is taller than the blade of the shovel.

Take 2 of digging, Can you even tell?

Rolo climbing on the pile of shoveled snow! 

He's almost as tall as the Suburban now!

Our neighbors.

Elizabeth begins her tunnel.

Two littlest ducks in the snow.

Notice the pajamas that Keener is wearing.  Somebody snuck outside.  About 5 seconds later she starts to cry because she is cold.  Duh!

Rolo sitting on a pile of snow, he is having so much fun.  There are bushes underneath all that snow!

Our street looking west.

Our street looking east

After Digging the 2nd round, one more to go!

Front of house.

The bricks are almost covered!

Playground out back.

My path to the bird  feeders.  I refilled them.  Where else are the birds going to get food?

Back Door, we are not even bothering to try to get out here.

Back view of house.

That orange thing is the top to the T-ball stand.

I love icicles!

This lamp looked like it was wearing one of those Russian hats.  Made me smile.

After taking this picture I promptly shoved my way through the gate beside it and promptly brought all that snow down on my head.

This is one of many measurements.  Unfortunately we are having camera trouble, but we had about 28 inches of snow in 24 hours!

See my foot way down there, it was hard to walk through this snow to take pictures.

Luckily I had my path to walk back through.

I hope that you enjoyed them.  Whew! I'm tired!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moving troubles

Honey and I snuggled down for  long winters rest when Keener came into the room.  She climbed up in bed beside Honey and kept pushing him closer and closer to me.  Yes, I mean this literally because she will push with her feet against your back.   As Honey kept moving, I kept getting closer and closer to the edge of the bed.  I finally told Honey to move her back before I fall off the bed.  When Honey started to move her, Keener said "STOP IT!  You are on MY side of the bed!"  Made me laugh so hard to hear her get so upset about "her" bed.  Boy does that little girl have a STRONG personality!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Puppy Dog!

Happy Groundhogs Day!  I am always hopeful for less winter, but alas this year it appears that I will not get my wish.  Every winter I ask myself, "Why oh why did we ever move from Hawaii?"  I of course loved the snow when I was a child, but now that I am an adult I think, "If I move back to Hawaii, I could always visit snow somewhere.  It will always be winter somewhere."  I definitely could live without snow and go back to flowers blooming year round, daily rainbows, and Christmas at the beach.   Oh well, I have to take the path that God gave me and be grateful.  I'll send you pictures of the 2nd big storm that we expect to see next weekend.  
At least my 13 year old Hawaiian dog likes the snow, no make that,  LOVES the snow.  For a dog born in Hawaii, I am always so surprised by how much she loves the snow.  She gets snow, snow, and more snow surrounding her birthday this year.  She was born on Groundhogs day and while I did not know her until she was 5 weeks old, I always try to remember my sweet dogs birthday with a bone and a nice meal.  As she gets older I realize that there will not be as many to celebrate, but as long as she acts like a puppy a little bit, I am hopeful for a few more years.  So Happy Birthday dear sweet puppy dog, I hope that when I'm 91 (her dog years), I look and act as healthy and happy as you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream a little dream

The other night our friend Father H came over to visit.  As we were sitting around chatting, we began to discuss criminals and jails.  He spends time at our local jail giving mass and helping the prisoners.  I think his mission is very important and one that can only lead to good.  These prisoners need to know that people care about them.  That somebody wants them to succeed when their sentence is finished.  This is a much more difficult task than most people think.  How many people do you know who have hired a former criminal?  I know of only one, my mother.
   My mother has this ability to see the goodness and opportunity in everyone.  This is probably one of her best qualities.  There are so many people that I have seen her give jobs to and try to help them find their path to a better life.  This includes one person who is working for her right now that has a criminal record. He is a hardworking guy that was first a tenant of hers.  He just had trouble paying his rent all the time because #1 it is not easy for an ex-con to find work and #2 he didn't know the basics of how to balance a checkbook.  This is where my mother saw someone who could help her and she could help him.  She was in need of a general handyman and a house cleaner, but couldn't give a lot of hours to either, but to a combined job she could guarantee more hours.  He was able to do both jobs and she could make sure that he could pay his rent.  In the process she has been helping him to take more control of his finances.   There was a minor risk, but ever person deserves a chance.  As I said she can always imagine the possibilities.  For being such a structured person, my mother is a dreamer.  She can look at anything and see the possibilities.  She looks at a wreck of a house and knows how to turn it into a gem, she sees a wreck of a person and sees the gem inside.  I don't know if my mother even knows this poem, but it is my favorite (I already posted it before), probably because I am like my mother.  
I am a dreamer.

Hold fast to dreams, 
For if dreams die, 
Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly, 
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams go,
Life is a barren field,
Frozen with snow.
--Langston Hughes