Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Music

Earlier this month Eric and I were at the Family Christian Bookstore. We have a "membership card" so every time we buy something we have the opportunity to buy another item for $5 from a group of preselected items. I often take advantage of those items. This day one of the items was the new Christmas album by Casting Crowns. Eric wanted to buy it. I did not.

Now, Casting Crowns became my favorite group this year; they have some songs that really ministered to me during tough days, but I was NOT interested in their Christmas album. Some people can do Christmas music and some people just cannot. For instance, I love Randy Travis but I made the BIG mistake of buying his Christmas album a few years ago. Country singers and Christmas songs just do not mix. I'm not sure about Casting Crowns, but sometimes they sound rather "country". So I said "no".

Eric persisted. He loves Casting Crowns too, and he loves to buy a new Christmas album every year. So, fine, we bought the album. I was prepared for it to stink.

A few days later Eric turned on the new music as I headed for the shower. I was so sure I would hate it that I wanted to escape. The music began before I could get to the stairs. Rather than being repulsed, I was immediately drawn in. I fell in love with the first song. It is my new favorite Christmas song. It is really a new rendition of an old hymn, one which I have quoted on this blog in the past.

Take a listen. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Fun Continues

School has been cancelled for what was left of the week. This morning the snow was STILL being cleared from our neighborhood. The vacant lot in front of our house was a beehive of activity. Little dump trucks and big dump trucks were dumping loads of snow. At one point I went out to take a picture of the activity and found this:

>

The large dump truck had gotten stuck in the snow!! The little bobcat was ramming its scoop into the truck, trying to propel it forward I guess. But the wheels of the dump truck just kept spinning and the bobcat wasn't heavy enough to push the dump truck. Next they tried scooping SNOW under the tires. (I was really laughing at that!) They must have thought they'd get some traction from the snow. When that didn't work they brought in another little bobcat-type thing. They hooked a chain from the first bobcat to the dump truck and tried to pull the truck out. Eventually they coordinated their movements so the first bobcat pulled while the second bobcat rammed the dump truck. That worked and they got out. It was pretty entertaining.




After the trucks and bobcats left I let the kids go out to play on the mountain. Thankfully I snapped these pictures:






I'm guessing some neighbor didn't like the kids playing on the mountain, because as I type they've come off the mountain and there is a new piece of machinery out there which seems to be tearing down the mountain.

Spoil sports.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It has already been announced that there is no school tomorrow. This does not make me happy. The kids are fighting. I want some peace. I still have things I need to do to get ready for Christmas - - things that require their absence. It's hopeless. IF they go to school on Tuesday, they both have parties which I am supposed to help at. Wednesday is supposed to be a half day AND Eric returns that day. Can we skip Christmas this year? Push it back a few days maybe?

SNOW DAY... Part II

Excuse me, but I'm a little grumpy today. Eric called this morning. He had been to a beach and gone swimming in the ocean. I'm so jealous I could... (Fill in the blank.) Not exactly beachy here in Virginia. Here's a sampling from yesterday and today.

This photo is for my Mom and Dad. Does it remind you of Walden?



Something about these lights looked familiar to me. I wasn't sure what.

Last night the kids and I finally watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was a PERFECT night for it. The snow was still coming down outside so it looked a little like the outdoor scenes in the movie. When I saw Snoopy's prize-winning decorations I realized that was why our sad droopy lights looked familiar - they are hung just like Snoopy's lights!



Is this a cute boy or what? I just love the "Elmer Fudd" hat! He found an icicle outside and was licking it like a popsicle.



By this morning it had finally stopped snowing. Here is the scene about 7 a.m. The big mountain of snow in the center of the picture is actually my car.



When I opened the door to take some pictures of the snow I found that even my Christmas swag had snow on it. Rather pretty, I thought.




After talking to Eric and hearing about his wonderful trip to the beach (grrrr) it was time to get to work. I began clearing off the car.



I had to shovel a TON of snow from behind the car. The plow had been around so the snow was about 3 feet high in back of the car. This picture was actually taken to show the snow hanging off the roof of our house. While I was shoveling the sidewalk a neighbor cautioned me to "look out" in case that snow came sliding off. I suppose it will slide off sometime after dark tonight, when I will have forgotten all about it. I will undoubtedly think someone is trying to break into our house.


While the neighbors and I shoveled, the kids went sliding on a small hill. I realize that most people call that sledding. I refuse. If you ask me, you slide down a hill on a sled, therefore the verb is slide, which translates to sliding. Sled is a noun (or maybe an object of the preposition) so sledding makes no sense. But that's just me. I also refuse to allow anyone in my family to call me "Ant Laura". I have drilled into the heads of my nieces, nephews, and children that an ant is something that eats your food at a picnic. An AUNT is someone who loves you. As proof I offer the word automobile. My kids and my nieces and nephews oblige me. (Although a certain niece taunts me... "Hey ANT Laura" she loves to say.) But I guess I've gotten off subject. Sorry.

So here, in the distance, are the kids. They are SLIDING.


One final picture. The kids standing on top of a pile of snow next to a street sign. They will want this to remember in the future that the snow really WAS this deep.



It is a beautiful day. Clear blue sky and snow sparkling like diamonds. As I recall, the sun on the ocean also sparkles like diamonds. But I wouldn't know about that. You'd have to ask my husband. Grrrr...


Saturday, December 19, 2009

SNOW DAY... Part I

The boots are ready...





(I can't help it that they're fancy boots and rain boots. These are literally the ONLY boots that were available in 5 stores yesterday!)

We opened the front door and stepped into more snow than my kids have ever seen.




The snow is still coming down, so "stay tuned" for updates throughout the day!

I have a dilemma. I purchased soap from my talented SIL, intending to give it as gifts. I've begun working on packaging the soap. My first attempt was so successful that I'm not sure I can give it away! I'm beginning to realize the downfall of handmade gifts. Either they turn out so nicely that I can't bear to part with them (because I won't be able to exactly replicate the result) or they turn out so poorly that I'm embarrassed to give them away. The solution I've come up with for now is to photograph the gift. That way I sort of get to keep it, while giving it away.

Here is the gift box I made, which I love, love, LOVE:






By the way, there are 2 reasons why I cannot replicate this. Number 1, I used paper purchased over a year ago. There is no chance of buying more. I have enough paper to replicate the box one time. However, the box itself is actually a Godiva chocolate box. I only had one. Hmmm... I suppose I could buy a whole bunch more. But then I would have to eat all that chocolate. I'll have to think about it.

Meanwhile, here is another (very clever, I think!) gift package:



The idea from this packaging, like any original creative idea, is not mine. My friend Alicia gave me the idea. This is a can (soup or pears or something) wrapped in paper. Using a crop-a-dile you punch holes in the can and string wire through the holes for a handle. I add eyelets to my holes for a finished look. I also added beads (from my daughter's jewelry making supplies!) to the handle to jazz it up. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photograph showing the pretty handle.
The gift inside is a small jar candle from Yankee Candle. They fit PERFECTLY!
My last picture for this post is sort of a preview of what my day is going to be. It was taken several weeks ago when we got our first snow. We didn't get much, but the kids were THRILLED nonetheless. Here they are, trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues:


We did end up with a small accumulation of snow that day. It was enough to sled down the hill. We did not own any snow gear - I hate to buy it because you cannot count on needing it around here. My poor kids played in the snow in tennis shoes and ended up very cold and wet. I ended up with lots of wet pants and socks to launder. They would get too cold to play so they would come in for some hot cocoa and change into dry clothes. Before long they couldn't stand to be inside looking at the snow anymore, so back out they would go. Time after time.
So when I heard yesterday that we were supposed to get a lot of snow overnight (thank you Joel!) I rushed out to buy boots and snow pants. I was not alone. I think the whole state was buying snow gear. The first store I went to had 4 pair of snow pants left, 1 size 5, 2 size 8 and 1 size 12. I bought both 8's. They'll come close enough to fitting each kid. (They were 50% off. Yeah!!!) The boot section was decimated. I did manage to find a pair for Anna, although I fear they may be more fashionable than useful. I went to 5, yes FIVE stores looking for boots for Ethan. The scene was unbelievable. The shelves were empty. At Famous Footwear there was another mother searching desperately through the few stragglers that remained. She told me she couldn't find two boots in the same size. She chose 2 that were close. I found one boot that was 1 size smaller than I wanted but there was nothing else anywhere close to the size I needed. How in the world does that happen?? Eventually I found a pair of rain boots which I scooped up. They will be better than tennis shoes, I hope.
Hopefully there will be pictures of happy kids to post later today.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Cards

Today I am doing what I love - stamping! I decided to try some more snowman cards. First, here is yesterdays card (again):





I don't own any snowman stamps. So when I decided I wanted to make a snowman I hunted through my stamps for some circles. I was thrilled to find two different sizes; however, I needed a third for the head. Since I didn't think I had one, I pulled out the letter "o" from an alphabet set I have. I wasn't happy with the result - I colored the middle in but it is more opaque than the rest of his head. There were other things I thought I could improve on too, so I got to work.

I had actually put my stamps away yesterday (gasp!) So I had to find my circles again. In the process, I found a third, smaller circle. Perfect! Here is card #2:



There are several things I like better about this card. For one thing, I decided to start with white paper, so the snowman looks white, as a snowman should. To be honest, I did 3 or 4 similar to this. So far this is the only one that I have mounted and put onto a card. I was getting a bit bored with the same picture, so I decided to try something a little different. Here it is, and it is my favorite snowman card:



I copied the swirl idea from this blog. (This is probably my favorite stamping blog. The woman is an artist. She travels around the country teaching classes. I would like to go if she ever comes near me. In the meantime, I am trying to learn from her online.) I really love this card. I really got stuck though when it came time to put a sentiment on it. I don't own many Christmas stamps. I have just 2 with words. They are "Silent Night Holy Night" (from which I've been pulling Silent Night on my other cards) and "Let's Welcome Jesus". Neither worked here. I do have a stamp that says Merry Christmas on part of it; I have been using that on my family Christmas Cards. However, I could not find that this morning! So I used "joy". I think it works okay. It feels a little disingenuous though, because snow doesn't actually make ME joyful. It just makes me cold. Oh well, I think a lot of people think snow and snowmen are happy, joyful things, so this will have to do.
One more note for any "crafty" readers. A few months ago I bought a Xyron thing-a-ma-jig. I got the 5 inch version. It is one of the best things I have ever purchased for making cards. Now I can make cards on dark colored cardstock but insert a white or vanilla piece for writing. I run it through the Xyron to get adhesive on the entire thing. Also, any time my front pieces get too heavy I run them through the Xyron for total adhesion. I love it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cards

So far I've only made 1 batch of cookies today. I'll make another soon. But I got diverted. The neighbor boys came in to play and all the kids headed to the basement. Things tend to get broken when kids play in the basement without supervision, so I went down and worked on cards. Here's what I did:

1. A sympathy card. As usual, it is much prettier in person. I watercolored using "Twinkling H2O's". They have a very pretty shimmer which doesn't show up in photos.



2. This year's Christmas card. You may have already received a similar one in the mail. Or maybe not. I made 10 and sent them out, then made 6 and sent them, etc. I make them whenever I get a chance. I'll send Christmas cards until I run out of time or get to the end of the list, whichever comes first. Anyhow, I don't have enough of any one paper for them to all look identical, so this paper is different than what I've sent previously. I think it is my favorite and I wish I had found it first. I didn't spend a dime for Christmas cards this year! I am 100% using supplies purchased long ago. I also must say that I did not design this card. I made it first last year at the home of my "stamping lady", Robin. I had to modify it a tiny bit to work with the supplies I own, but it is fairly close to identical to her card.



3. I am trying to get some cards made to enclose with teacher gifts. I doubt they want a card with a picture of our family! I had an idea that I played with today and it turned out fairly good. I'm not sure I'll be able to use it for a teacher. When Anna saw it she wanted it, so we'll see. I suppose I could make more.




Speaking of Anna, she is lurking, wanting a turn on the computer. So I guess I am off to bake cookies.
Today I am stuck in the house. I have no car and it is raining. Seems like a good time to get started on some Christmas cookies. While the first batch is in the oven I randomly scanned a recipe book that belonged to my Grandma and I got a great idea: I'm going to share a recipe! A lot of blogs that I read talk about cooking or baking from time to time. They share recipes. (I've tried a couple and they have been okay. I suppose anything that would taste great would require more work than I am willing to do.) I came across this recipe and thought I just had to share it. A word of caution: If you have just eaten, are about to eat or want to eat sometime in the next day you might not want to read it.

BLODKLUB
1 quart blood
3/4 pint water
1-1/2 pints chopped suet
2 tablespoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
2 pounds rye flour (scant)
Mix all ingredients well together. Form with a spoon into large balls. In center of each ball place a piece of suet covered well. Place in pot of boiling salted water. Let simmer half an hour or more.
Is that awful or what? I believe this was actually for human consumption. Yuck! Literally, this nearly makes me sick. And worse yet is the fact that there are 2 more recipes in which the first ingredient is blood. My Grandma was Norwegian, and she was born in 1895. Somehow I guess that -- explains this. ???
To be honest, I don't think she ever made this. The recipe book is missing a cover, marked up, written in, tattered and taped. She made notes all around the stuff she liked. (Mostly cookies!) The page with the blood recipes is pretty pristine so, thank goodness, I don't think she was into Blodklub.
I'll get back to my cookie baking now. I believe I shall not be in the mood to eat any of them for awhile.
You're welcome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eric left on a business trip again yesterday. I am prepared for a couple weeks of sleeping late, cooking little and...car repairs?

The plan was for the kids and I to attend a Christmas concert at our church this afternoon. Last year the kids sang in part of it but they did it because I forced them into it. They didn't want to be in choir again this year. The concert last year was spectacular and, while I very much wanted to see it this year, I also hoped that if the kids saw it and heard how great it sounded they would want to rejoin the choir. It was not to be.

We all got dressed in "fancy clothes" including Ethan in his suit. We got into the car and I was amazed because we were actually going to be early. However, as soon as I started driving down the road something didn't sound right. It didn't sound good, not good at all. Earlier in the week I had put air into a tire so I was pretty sure that sound must be the tire. I pulled off and looked and, sure enough, the tire was COMPLETELY flat. I wasn't far from home, but I also wasn't too far from a gas station with air so I decided to go for the air. I thought I could fill the tire with air and proceed to church, hopefully arriving on time. I got to the station, plugged in my 75 cents (which always burns me!) and started filling the tire. It was encouraging at first, the tire started to rise. However, this was not to be either. The air compressor was so loud that I couldn't be sure, but I think there was a hissing sound of air coming out of the tire as fast as I was putting it in. In any case, after trying for as long as my 75 cents would allow, I realized this tire was not going to be pumped up.

I tried calling a friend whose husband works with Eric but got no answer. I called a neighbor who THANKFULLY was home. The husband actually answered and said he would be there in 5 minutes. Yeah! He could put on the spare tire. Maybe we could get to the concert late! He arrived quickly and began searching for the jack. (I suppose we could have checked the Owner's Manual to see where the jack was. Problem is, we had taken it into the house a few weeks ago to look at something and never put it back into the car. Brilliant. It was par for the course today.) He searched everywhere; he took things apart. He could not find the jack. That's okay, I said. I'll just call a tow truck. He asked if I wanted him to take me home but I thought I should stay with the car. I did ask him if he would mind taking my kids home to his house and he was happy to do that. The concert was now out of the question.

Thankfully (again) I remembered seeing a new card from our insurance company recently which I thought MIGHT include towing service. I called them and, sure enough, we have towing coverage. Yeah! Actually, I said, maybe someone could just replace my tire and I could drive to the tire store myself. Sure, they could do that. They ordered the service for me. Within a couple of minutes I received an automated phone call saying the service would arrive within 40 minutes. I was still parked right in front of the air compressor and there had been at least 3 people using it since I had arrived, so I decided I should probably move my car out of their way. I started it up and drove it forward about 10 feet - just enough to allow everyone access to the pump. I turned the car off and sat there for about 10 minutes. I was getting a little cold so thought I would turn the car on again for the heat. I turned the key and all sorts of crazy things happened. Washer fluid sprayed onto my headlights, the radio turned on (I hadn't had it on before) and my clock flashed to 12:00. I also thought I saw smoke coming from under the hood. The one thing that did NOT happen is the car didn't turn on. I could not believe it. My husband has left town, I have a flat tire, and now something under my hood - - - exploded? I wasn't about to try the key again. I was afraid something would start on fire. I thought about it. Maybe a fire wouldn't be a bad idea. Maybe it would get me a new car! On the other hand, there was a fire station directly across the street from me, so chances were good they would put a fire out quickly enough to prevent a total loss. I would have a half burned car with a flat tire. Probably it would sit in a repair shop for weeks. Nope. I wasn't turning that key. I would just sit and wait.

As I waited I thought maybe it was just a dead battery. My car has over 80,000 miles and we've never replaced the battery, so there's a good chance it is just that.

Some minutes later my phone rang again. It was the man who was on his way to change my tire. He said he would be there in about 10 minutes. That's wonderful, I said, but something else is now wrong with my car, I told him. Any chance you could jump it? Yes, he could do that but I would have to call the insurance company again and have them schedule it. This is a very minor detail of the day, but I have to include it because it "fits". I called the insurance company. They were very nice. No problem, they added it to my order. I also called the tire place. I knew they would need to order a tire for me. (How did I know that? Well, because we had another tire replaced just 2 weeks ago! Note that! Two nails in two tires in two weeks!) As I talked with them about the tire, the battery, the ride home, etc., I was trying to take notes. Guess what? My pen ran out of ink! I mean, how ridiculous is that? No big deal really. But... My tire is flat, my battery is dead and my pen is out of ink. AAAAAH!

The very nice man from "Auto Rescue" arrived. He first jumped the car so I could have heat. Thank you! (Remember I was dressed "fancy" for the concert? I was wearing open toe shoes and my toes were cold!) He too searched all over for my jack. He had his own, really cool, pneumatic jack, but he said he had to have my jack extension. I knew not why. He took apart the car in the same place as the neighbor. No jack. He suggested I look in the manual. Um, sorry, I don't have the manual with me. I know it would make sense to have it in the car, but... Never mind. He found it! He needed the extension because he had to insert it through a small hole in the back of my car and loosen something to get the spare tire out from underneath the car. That operation in itself could be a whole other story. So could the shuttle ride home from the tire store. But I am shivering so think I will go take a hot bath. Maybe I'll write about the shuttle ride a different day.

One thing though. A new friend of mine, whose husband is also gone, was telling me earlier this week about how she was sick and her car was towed from in front of her house. (!!!) She had to pay a bunch of money to get it back. But, she said "I just praise the Lord". Despite being sick. Despite having her car wrongly towed. Despite anything, she praises the Lord. I thought of that while I was sitting in the car. I sang a couple of praise songs. It is kind of fun to write about all the craziness today, and I sort of have to write about it in a negative tone to make it funny, but I am taking my friends advice and praising the Lord. None of this stuff matters. I am going to learn to praise the Lord.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I just have to quote something Anna said this morning because it really made me laugh. We were talking about ballerina's and she said:

"No one notices how much they're sweating because they're twirling so much it flings off."

It is still making me laugh. What an image. I'm never sitting in the front row at a ballet again!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I remember many years ago encountering someone in a Bible Study who really annoyed me for a peculiar reason. It seemed that whenever someone shared about a trial they were going through that person claimed to have faced it and had a story to tell. I did not believe it was possible for one person to have experienced all of those things so I rather thought she was a liar or had some kind of weird problem.

Last year I was in a different Bible Study when it dawned on me that I had become that annoying person. The strange thing was, everything anyone was going through either I or my husband (or both!) had been through. Gall bladder, appendicitis, herniated disk, back surgery, cancer, pregnancy problems... you name it. Any time someone began sharing about an issue they or a family member or friend was going through I was saying something like "Oh, I know how that is. When that happened to me..." I realized one day (or at least it felt as if) everyone was looking at me and thinking "Sure she knows about that. That woman is either a liar or has some kind of weird problem." If you know me, you know that in fact Eric and I have experienced a litany of medical issues. Add in to that personal issues that I will not name in this potentially public forum and things faced by extended family members and I feel like there isn't much that I haven't experienced!

But there is this one thing: death of a loved one. I have been thinking this week that I am 47 years old and I have not yet lost anyone close to me. (I hope that continues to be the case for a long, long time.)

This weekend Anna and I will be attending a memorial service for the father of one of her friends (and the husband of one of my friends.) This 9 year old girl has lost her father. I cannot comprehend that. It seems wrong. Very, very wrong. And yet, she is not alone in her experience. Others (MANY others) know what she is going through. Just not me. And for that (my lack of experience) I am very grateful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Better Late than Never????

Okay, so almost 3 months to the day after school started, I got my pictures developed! Here are a few of the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! Ethan's first day of Kindergarten, so it was big. Of course, if he was my first child these pictures would have been developed the same day. And I suppose there would have been about 52instead of 5! It's no wonder Mom's of more than two kids say they never take pictures of the third.






You are going to think I'm kidding in my opinion here, but I am not. I'm sure this sounds trite, but I'm going to say it anyhow:

By now everyone probably knows that Obama will be addressing the nation tonight regarding Afghanistan. He will be speaking from West Point, which I think is awful, but that is not my point. (If you want to read an interesting opinion regarding the President speaking from West Point, read here.) I just heard that the timing of the address is such that it will preempt part of the greatest show of all time in my opinion - A Charlie Brown Christmas. Apparently the beginning of the show will be aired, but the President's speech will break in before Linus goes on stage to explain the real meaning of Christmas - straight from the Bible. Very sad, I think. The only children's program shown on network TV that includes the true story of Christmas, and it will not be shown.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pathetic

Yes, I admit it. I am pathetic. Totally, completely, ridiculously pathetic.

Ethan is in the midst of a tooth losing frenzy. Have I mentioned before how I feel about loose teeth? They gross me out. I know I mentioned it. In fact, just a few posts ago I wrote about Ethan having his tooth pulled out. After that event Ethan decided that the next time a tooth was on the way out he was going to be like me and just wait for it to fall out. I fully supported that decision. FULLY.

Tonight, however, his resolve weakened. A tooth was hanging by a thread and apparently the fear of having it pulled was less than the gross factor of having it hang there. I have to admit I might understand that. I think gross trumps pain for me, too. So anyhow, suddenly in the middle of dinner he runs for the bathroom. I thought perhaps the tooth fell out. But after a minute I thought I heard moans so I yelled out "Are you okay?" I didn't really want to go SEE if he was okay because, you know, he had this tooth kind of hanging there. I'll skip all the conversation. I had to summon my courage and LOOK at the hanging tooth. It was bad. It needed to come out. Worst of all? Eric was at work. He is supposed to be in meetings until 8:30. Here's where the pathetic begins. (You thought it had already begun, didn't you?) I can not pull that tooth out. There is no way. I can not do it. I can not.

I had a brilliant idea. Two houses down is a Mom of 3 that I know. One of her 3 is severely handicapped so I'm pretty sure she can handle medical stuff. I decided to go over there, admit my pathetic weakness and see if she might be interested in handling my sons tooth. I know, that's nuts, but that's how desperate I felt. However, of all nights, no one was home tonight. What was I to do?

I did the only reasonable thing. (If you're a pathetic, medically challenged basket-case.) I sent Eric an e-mail! "Any chance you can step out of your meeting long enough to pull a tooth?" He called immediately. Bless the man, he knows what a pathetic wife he has. "Call me when you're driving in" he says.

Yep, that's what I did.

As we were leaving the parking lot, post-tooth-pull, Anna said "I think my sharp front tooth might be a bit loose." NOOOOOOO! Please, I cannot handle any more teeth! I need a reprieve! Ethan has another one that will be coming out any day, can't we just stop at that for awhile? Please??!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

There are 4 things my body requires: Sleep, water, coffee before 9 a.m. and food. If any one of those things are missing I get a headache. Missing combinations results in monster headaches. Missing all 4 of them? Fo-ged-about-it.

So today I was scheduled for an "Upper GI". I went blissfully to the hospital's radiology department, unaware of what that really was. I knew that by the time it was over I was going to have an horrific headache because I was required to miss, well, 3 of my bodily requirements and the 4th I had also missed due to my own stupidity. Little did I know...

Has anyone out there ever had an Upper GI? I told Eric, and I sincerely mean it, I would rather give birth via cesarean section than have an Upper GI ever again. When you have a c-section you are supplied with loads of pain killers. When you have an Upper GI they send you home with a wish for a good day.

So here's what I ended up with: No sleep, no water, no food, no caffeine, and a tummy loaded full of chemical concoctions. The X-ray technician told me I probably wouldn't want to eat afterward. I thought she meant I would probably be full from all of their delicious concoctions. In hindsight I think she meant "Trust me, you should not eat afterward." Unfortunately, I did not pick up on that innuendo. Having known ahead of time that I would be missing many of the body-critical things, I brought a peanut butter granola bar with me. As soon as I got in the car post-procedure I began gobbling up the granola. My head was throbbing so I thought I should supply my body as quickly as possible with the missing elements. Wrong. Bad choice. Bad choices.

The hospital is probably 10 minutes from home but at times I wasn't sure I would make it. I was feeling AWFUL. When I got home I headed straight to the cupboard with the Excedrin Migraine medicine. Surely that would help. Give it 30 minutes and I should be good as new. Just for good measure I heated up some of Eric's morning coffee, filled it with creamer and took a few sips as I headed for the couch where I planned to wait for the medicine to kick in.

I lay there cursing the donut I had eaten the previous night. (In my "wisdom" I thought I should eat that donut just before going to bed since I wouldn't be able to eat anything after midnight. Fill my tummy up good while I can. Ha! I forgot that I am getting old and eating ANYTHING just before bed, much less a grease laden donut, causes sever problems resulting in total lack of sleep. Maybe my headache wouldn't be as severe if I'd slept last night! Oh well, just moan a bit longer, the medicine should kick in soon. And I did begin to feel it kick in. The pain lessened enough that I didn't have to moan anymore. I think I actually began to fall asleep when suddenly something in my stomach DROPPED. Ooooo, this was not good. Now if I moved my stomach reacted violently and my head was still pounding.

I'll spare you the details. I just have to say that this has to have been one of the worst physical experiences I have ever endured.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Making a House Call

"Signs, signs, everywhere are signs. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don't do that. Can't you read the signs?"



WOW. What a beautiful day. We had a blast.



Eric and I attended the rally at the capitol along with a few thousand of our closest friends. (I guessed there were about 5000 people there. Eric guessed 20-25,000. The number we've heard is 20,000, so I guess Eric wins the prize.) As you can see from the first picture, lots of people brought signs and/or flags. This is really just a representative sample of the crowd; I don't have a panoramic camera so just took this slice.

After the rally we were asked to go up and down the halls of the Congressional office buildings talking to the Representatives and asking them to vote "no" on the Health Care bill. The lines to get into the office buildings were enormous and we were hungry, so we thought we'd outsmart everyone by going for lunch. We figured by the time we returned the lines would be gone. We were wrong. There were still lines, though possibly not as long as they had been. These are people waiting to get into the Cannon Office Building. The door is at the top of the steps.




Here's a challenge: Can anyone spot me in the above picture? I'll give you a hint. I've gained 20 pounds and grown my hair since January.

While we were waiting a reporter from FoxNews came out. A large cheer went up from the crowd. I cannot even remember his name, but I was still all excited. Fame is weird, isn't it? Despite not knowing his name, I do know he is "the" reporter who traveled around with the Tea Party Express this summer.



Take a close look at the girls in the middle of the next picture. Do they look frightening to you? They were taken out of the building in handcuffs. Terrorists, I am sure. Scary, right-wing terrorists. I am not sure of this connection, but here is what I think might have gone on with them: We heard that Speaker Pelosi did not like all the riff-raff gathering outside her office so she had them arrested. (Seriously!) I think that would have happened around the time we witnessed these girls being hauled out, so I'm guessing they might have been part of the riff-raff crowd.



Even though the goal of the day was to seek out Congressmen who might be voting "yes" on the bill and ask them instead to vote "no", we chose to spend part of our time at Congresswoman Bachmann's office. We wanted to thank her for her work and pass on greetings from mutual friends. On the way to her office we crossed paths with Jon Voigt who was just leaving. This is the first time in my life I've ever spoken to a "star". I was going to say this was the closest I've ever been to a star, but there was that time with Bruce Willis... But I didn't speak to Bruce Willis, so this is a milestone. Jon Voigt was thanking people for attending. I thanked HIM for attending. It is amazing to me that a Hollywood type is on this side of the political spectrum. Isn't "Hollywood conservative" an oxymoron? Not always thankfully, not always.




And then, I got to speak with Congresswoman Bachmann. What a gracious woman. And so beautiful. And articulate. I felt like an elephant next to her - it was awful. But I wanted the mutual friends to see that I truly did pass along their greeting, so I got over myself and had Eric take this picture.




Yesterday I sent an e-mail to friends and family letting them know I would be attending this event and asking if any of them would like me to bring their name along as someone who wished they could attend. I brought with me 35 names representing 8 states! In addition, when I got home tonight others had e-mailed me so I would have had over 40 names. I wrote up a list of the people who said "Yes, bring my name! Tell my representative I want them to vote no!" I had the list broken down by state and before leaving for the rally I identified the correct representative for each individual. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit all of the representatives. We were limited by time. We wish we had brought snacks with us so we wouldn't have had to use valuable time eating, but we just didn't know. If there is a next time we would be better prepared. In addition to taking time to eat, a friend had agreed to take our kids to her house after school and we didn't feel right leaving them there too long. Here is what we managed:

Michele Bachmann, 6th District, Minnesota; Thanked her, passed along greetings, chatted a bit and took a photo.

Walt Minnick, 1st District, Idaho; We made him our top priority because he is a "blue dog democrat". We were a little surprised by the reception in his office - it was fairly cold. The receptionist took the names of the constituents we were speaking for and said she would pass on the message. I assumed he wouldn't have had many visitors since he's from Idaho. But I might be wrong. People were passing around lists of blue dogs and asking that we especially try to talk to them so perhaps he was flooded with visitors while we were at lunch.

Gerry Connolly, 11th District, Virginia; Word circulating amoungst the riff-raff (us) was that he had very rudely shut down a woman who tried to get him to explain why he would vote yes on this bill. I later heard a man on the radio who witnessed the scene so it wasn't just a rumor. He said the woman was on the verge of tears and several other visitors surrounded her to support her and tell her it was okay. I was too chicken to try to confront him, although I can honestly say that if I'd had more time I would have tried because our next experience was excellent.

Ann Kirkpatrick, 1st District, Arizona; I entered her office with fear and trembling. The receptionist seemed about 1 degree warmer than Walt Minnick's receptionist. However, we were told the Congresswoman's Chief of Staff would speak with us. Michael Frias greeted us warmly and ushered us into Congresswoman Kirkpatrick's office where we talked for some time. We told him right up front (as we had also told the receptionist) that we were not from Arizona but were there on behalf of some of their constituents. I doubt we made any difference in how the Congresswoman will cast her vote but I was fully impressed with how we were treated in her office.
This is why I am certain I would have tried to visit Congressman Connolly as well as Congresswoman Markey from Colorado if I'd had time. After a kind reception in what I perceived as "the enemy camp" my courage was up and I was getting in a groove of approaching the Representatives. Eric was loving it too. We would have loved to keep going. But it was 4:30 and we knew it would take a long time to get home. It did. We didn't pick the kids up until 6:30.
I feel like there is so much more I could say, but it's been a long day, it's late and I'm tired. Perhaps I'll remember and write more tomorrow.
One last thing... If you are reading this prior to Saturday, November 7th please call your Congressional Representative and ask them to vote "no". Word is that the Speaker wants to call a vote on Saturday. This bill needs to be defeated.





Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I was right, again.

Add this to my resume: Dream Interpreter.

When Ethan woke up he came to "hold". We sat for a few minutes before I remembered the tooth stuff.

"Hey!" I said. "What about the tooth fairy?" I thought he had forgotten to check.

"One dollar" he said, very dejectedly. (My money-loving boy. We have a lot of discussions about "The love of money is the root of all evil". They don't seem to penetrate.)

"Why do you sound sad about a dollar?" I asked, fearing the answer.

"Because just before I woke up I had a dream about the tooth fairy." (See! I knew it!!!!!!!) "In my dream she left me two five dollars and a thirty dollar."

Where do I even begin with commentary on that?! There are so many things I could say! I choose to ignore all of the lessons that need to be taught there and just focus on this: I was right. He WAS dreaming about teeth.

Dreaming

Remember long ago I wrote about Ethan dreaming out LOUD? Lest you think otherwise, it continues. Just seconds ago he was yelling "Nooooooooo. Don't. Don't aaaaaaaaaaaa DON'T." I, of course, don't know what he's dreaming, but this time I have a pretty good guess.

Ethan went to the dentist yesterday. (The third dentist since moving to Virginia, but that's another story.) He told the hygienist repeatedly that he had a loose tooth because he didn't want her to touch it. She was a very nice older lady which, in my opinion, all hygienists should be. (Older I mean. Nice, of course!) She said he twice told her that she should let him know if she needed to be reminded of which one was the loose tooth. Apparently the dentist told him the tooth was very loose and asked if Ethan wanted him to pull it. Ethan's answer was no. Soooo...

Last night there was some conversation between Ethan and Eric about the dentist and the loose tooth. Eric offered to pull the tooth and Ethan apparently agreed. They went into the bathroom to get it done. (Safely out of my sight because the whole tooth thing grosses me out and PULLING one out?! Are you kidding me?!) I heard some commotion and tried, from a distance, to ascertain what was happening. Anna was at my side but also listening. (She has learned my attitude toward the tooth thing so she was staying safely away also.) Talking to her prevented me from hearing everything in detail, but I think there was a point at which Eric said maybe they should wait and do it another time. Ethan was upset and I think it was because he could not face us with the tooth still intact. So they continued on and successfully removed the tooth. Ethan came out with a sad look on his face and a bloody tissue. (Thanks. We were just about to start dinner.)

I'm rather certain he is telling someone, in his dream, to leave his teeth alone. I don't blame him. I'm guessing that future teeth will be left to fall out on their own, as they should.

Oh and, by the way, he has another loose tooth. We will soon get to test my theory.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happenings

Here's what's happening now:

Anna is sick. I suppose it's the flu, although I doubt it's the "pig flu" as we call it around here. She "just" has a fever. Nothing slows her down though. I kept her home from school (obviously!) and she just about talked my ear off! I thought she would sleep. Silly me! We watched Winnie the Pooh's Very Merry New Year and Veggie Tales Madam Blueberry. Then we read, then worked on a craft. The neighbor girl stopped by this evening with the school work she missed. I thought that was really nice.

Ethan has a loose tooth. I noticed about a week ago that his upper teeth were spreading out, so I've been watching for something to get loose. Tonight I noticed one front tooth was lower than the other so I asked if he had a loose tooth. He stuck his finger in for a couple of minutes than joyfully announced "YES! My left tooth is loose!" Funny - I don't think he ever would have noticed if I hadn't said something. No wonder the first two came out so quickly - he just probably never noticed until they were almost out.

That's all there is. There isn't...any more. (Any one know where that is from? I don't, but it's a tune stuck in my head. Probably some kids cartoon.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I've had a grand idea to take a family photo and use it for our Christmas cards this year. The colors are so beautiful right now that I've been waiting for the right moment to gather everyone together for photos. The right moment is not coming. Yes, the colors are beautiful. They seem to be especially beautiful when the sun shines which, for the past two weeks at least, has been on week days. Problem is, no one is home on week days. Weekends? It rains. And rains.

This morning was a little overcast but it wasn't raining so I jumped in the shower and afterward (gasp!) put on makeup. I hauled out every one's matching colored clothing and ordered them all to put them on. Eric dug out the tripod. I read up on how to use the timer thing-a-ma-jig on the camera. After Ethan (aka Mr. Grumpy Pants) dawdled through brushing his teeth and putting on shoes and socks we headed out. We were just going into the back yard because we don't have to go any further to find beautiful color. As I stepped out the front door I observed the sky with trepidation. The clouds were looking more serious. We found a spot and fumbled around with the tripod for a bit. Got it all set and took 1 picture. It began to sprinkle. I took another. (I wanted to take a lot to increase my chances of getting a decent picture.) I suggested we move to a different location so I didn't have 10 identical pictures. As we started walking the sprinkling turned to rain and... that was it! We were done. We had to run for the house. I got just 2 pictures. I doubt very much that anyone around here is going to cooperate for a second try, so we may have photo Christmas cards, we may not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Seasons Change

I am thankful to be able to say that although the past 6 months have been very difficult ones, through it all Jesus has been present - so much that I have thought anyone who doesn't have problems is MISSING so much! As I write this, part of a song's lyrics go through my mind: "You will find the blessing is worth the pain." At the bottom of this post I will include a youtube "video" which has the entire song. There is actually no video, it just plays the song. ("Seasons Change" by Ray Boltz.)

I can honestly, wholeheartedly say the blessing is worth the pain. The blessing has been the presence of Jesus, assuring me He is here, He cares, He knows, it is not for naught - it is for His glory.

What an interesting thing this is. I would not wish the pain I have gone through on anyone, and yet... yet... I wonder, is it possible to experience the love of Jesus without the pain? Because I would wish for everyone to experience the amazing, gentle love of Jesus that I have experienced.

I believe I have crossed the river of pain and come out on the other side. I feared it would take much longer, although I was assured at the beginning that "surprisingly soon it will end". I had no way of knowing what "surprisingly soon" meant - a week? a month? a year? What is "soon" ("surprisingly soon"!) to God?

There was a time when I thought I was going to drown in the river. I thought I was failing the test - whatever the test was. I remembered the words I had read on May 2nd (which I shared in an earlier post) said "surprisingly soon it shall end...if you", I couldn't remember the rest. If I what? What was I supposed to DO, because I was pretty sure I wasn't DOING it, whatever it was. I was failing, failing. I was going to drown, I was almost sure of it. I found the book and rifled through the pages looking for the part I had read on May 2nd. What was I supposed to be doing? Was I capable of doing it? Was I going to fail?

"Surprisingly soon it shall end in victory for you also - if you endure faithfully." God! You are so amazing! All you want me to do is ENDURE??? I am doing nothing else, but I am enduring! I can endure!

What an amazing comfort that was! ALL GOD IS REQUIRING OF ME RIGHT NOW IS THAT I ENDURE!

And then, practically as quickly as it began, it was over! The swirling mess inside of me was gone. I was ready to put it in the past. Actually, suddenly I felt that it WAS in the past and I was ready to get on with life.

Another part of the song is "Just believe and let the season's change." That's what it was for me. I didn't have to work. I just had to endure and believe that God was working. The seasons have changed for me now. How appropriate. The season of my soul has changed just as the season is changing from summer to fall. Come to think of it, all of this began as we were changing from winter to spring. Seasons change...



Thursday, October 15, 2009

The unthinkable has happened.

Anna has discovered tennis shoes. Yuck. I hate tennis shoes.

They are ugly.
They make my feet feel all closed in.
They are ugly.
They are not fashionable.
They are ugly.
They are not girly.
They get stinky.
Did I mention they are ugly?

I signed the kids up for running club, which I think is really just some after school exercise 1 day a week for 1 month. The enrollment form stated the kids must have "proper running shoes". I took that to mean Anna's High School Musical shoes with the rubber bottoms weren't going to cut it. That, along with the facts that her feet have grown like crazy recently and they had "field day" on Monday prompted a trip to the store last weekend for "proper running shoes". Then I thought "If I have to get her ugly proper tennis shoes I may as well get good ones and see if we can correct her turned in foot. (Anna is beyond pigeon toed. She has one foot that turns in severely. I asked the doctor about it more than once when she was a baby and toddler, but was told they don't correct things like that anymore unless it impedes their ability to run, jump, etc. I think I should have pushed it and gone to an orthopedist because her case is SEVERE. It has never impeded anything, but it sure does look funny.) So we bought her some New Balance shoes - size 3-1/2!!!! (The shoes she wore to the store that day were size 1. See what I mean when I say her feet have grown like crazy?!)

Well, she wore the ugly darn things to school on Monday, for field day, and she fell in love. She says she is going to wear her tennis shoes every day because they are so comfortable. WHAT???! What about all of your pretty shoes? The ones that match outfits and look girly? I may have to send her to live with her cousin for awhile; the cousin who sells shoes and owns about 300 pair of pretty, girl shoes. The cousin that Anna idolizes. No wait, the cousin lives in a dorm now so that probably won't work. What am I going to do? WHY did I ever sign her up for running club?

All I can say is these shoes better correct her turned in foot or I will forever rue the day I introduced her to tennis shoes.

(By the way, if you are the above-referenced cousin's mother, I made up the part about 300 pair of shoes. I have no idea how many pair she owns but I'm pretty sure it's not 300. 250 maybe, but not 300.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Fall has arrived here in Northern Virginia, and it is beautiful. The leaves are beginning to turn colors. Looking at the woods in my back yard this morning I was inspired to create this card which, I am guessing, will look horrendous next to my beautiful blue blog background. (I dare you to say that 3 times fast! "Beautiful blue blog background.")
This was a lot of fun to make. I smeared fall colored inks all over white card stock then stamped the leaves and embossed them with clear embossing powder. I then brayered brown ink over everything. I'm guessing that most people reading this will have absolutely no idea what that means! Sorry! I think I will make a bunch more of these and try to perfect my technique. Look for one in your mailbox soon...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gifts from Taiwan

My husband just returned from 2 weeks in Taiwan and I have to share a story from his trip.


The kids love it when Dad travels because he returns with gifts. Anna told him she wanted a Japanese dress. (She calls everything Asian "Japanese".) So for the first week and a half whenever Eric was anyplace with stores he looked for authentic Asian clothing. Unfortunately, Taiwan has become so westernized that he could not find anything. All of the stores he was seeing were the same stores we have in America. Just a day or 2 before the end of his trip he mentioned to someone at work the fact that he could not find any of the clothing he was looking for. That person went to his secretary and instructed her to help Eric find what he was looking for. The secretary apparently went to the executive floor and returned a short time later with instructions for finding a dress. She had instructions written out in Chinese! However, she explained to Eric exactly where he was going to go and how much he was to pay for the clothing. Her telephone number was on the paper and she said if the store owner tried to charge him any more than the amount she stated that he was to tell him to call her. The secretary called a cab, took Eric to the cab and explained to the cab driver, who only spoke Chinese, everything that was to take place. Eric said they then left on an adventure through narrow winding roads and down back alleys. They arrived at some remote building and, as he had previously been instructed, he climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor and knocked on a door. He was let in by "a 200 year old" Taiwanese man. The man's wife was at work sewing garments together or embroidering them or something. Neither of them spoke a word of English and Eric doesn't speak a word of Chinese, but the secretary had told the man exactly what Eric wanted and apparently had negotiated the price. (I wonder, if the man tried to charge too much, HOW exactly was Eric to tell him to call the secretary?) Eric came home with this beautiful dress for Anna:



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As I've said before, I keep a journal. I don't write every day, mostly just when I feel like I'm seeing something new from God. I was looking back at it yesterday and marveling. Over the past year I've had "fits and starts" in my walk with God. I would have a glimpse of something wonderful but then I would do something awful.

I wrote just once during the entire month of April. I wrote that I had told God I wanted to love Jesus. I wanted Him to be more than a "fire escape" to me because I realized that quite honestly that's about all He was. Apparently God took that request to heart because the following pages are full of descriptions like this: the walls came tumbling down, my world exploded, I am adrift alone at sea, I have no anchor.

When the trouble hit I knew immediately that God wanted to be my God. The truth of one of the ten commandments hit home for me. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." I have had other gods of my own making. Knowing that I had to transfer my allegiance to God was frightening. But there it was, in my own handwriting, in black and white. (Or purple and white, as the case may be!) By my own hand I had said I want to love Jesus.

Among the many things that have happened in the months since writing that, the most recent is perhaps the most obvious example of God showing me He's answering my desire. A thought just happened to cross my mind that perhaps I should go to Bible Study Fellowship this year. (I had tried it once several years ago but there were childcare complications so I dropped out.) I began looking into the possibility and found out that this year they are studying the book of John. The book about Jesus. (Okay, I know the entire Bible is about Jesus, but this one is really about Jesus.) Last week I went to the first week where I was put into the "introductory class". If you're not a returning member you have to start there and hope they have enough discussion leaders that you can get into a group. I was in the midst of a very difficult week internally and so I was feeling desperate for...something. I said to myself "I've got to get into this study. This is my last hope." And I knew I meant it. That statement seems like it must have an "or else" on the end of it. I don't know what that "or else" was. I wasn't thinking about it, I just felt inside that I needed something and I needed it now and it needed to be this study of Jesus. Well, I got the call 2 days later from my discussion leader. I've never been so thrilled. Even now I can't tell you exactly why I am so thrilled, but I just "know in my knower" (I have a dear friend who says that and it always cracks me up) that I need THIS.

Today I am going to Bible Study Fellowship where I will be in a group and we will be learning about Jesus and how much He loves us. The Bible says "We love him because he first loved us." I think it is impossible not to fall in love with someone who loves us - truly loves us. So I expect I am going to fall in love with Jesus. And that is just what I need.

Friday, September 18, 2009

School Update

School is not going as expected. In fact, it is exactly reverse from what I expected, which is good. And bad. Depending on who you are.

Ethan loves school. For years (literally) I have agonized over when to send him to school. I have talked to countless professionals about it. Because his birthday is at the beginning of September I wondered if I should send him when he was 5 or 6. I took the advice of the professionals and waited, although I wondered over and over (and over and over and...) if that was the right thing to do. They (the pros) told me if he was the oldest he would be the leader, but I worried "He'll be so much bigger than everyone. Will they think he must be stupid?" I believe they were right. Ethan has told me of helping other children to write their names and I can tell this is exactly what he needs - it is making him feel good. Last night he told me (I'm quoting very loosely) that he wishes he could teach the other children how to behave. You have to really know Ethan to appreciate the humor in that. Ethan is a rule-keeper. When he was very young I scolded him for getting into something in my bathroom and as he walked out he said "I know da wules." And he does. He knows the rules for himself and EVERYONE else. He frequently reminds others of da wules. I believe internally he honestly gets frustrated when people are not keeping the rules. I don't THINK it's out of a sense of superiority, I think his world just functions according to rules and for him to be at peace he needs everyone to be following the rules. Note to self...

The school experience is turning Ethan into a little chatterbox. Not constantly (thank goodness!) but sporadically. He gets going about school things sometimes and he just goes a mile a minute. It is really wonderful to see him so happy. Really wonderful.

But then there is Anna. Anna who was dying to go to a real school. Anna who loved her new teacher and a classroom full of potential new friends and the books and... her mathbook.

Day 1...Miss L is so nice.
Day 2...Miss L forgot to take her not grumpy pills today.
Day 3...Today we defined what makes a quality teacher. Miss L wants to be a quality teacher but she is definitely not a quality teacher. (What makes a quality teacher? Someone who is kind.)
Yesterday...I wish I hadn't come today. Why? What happened? Miss L embarrassed me in front of the whole class.

"Friends" aren't being friendly. Math is difficult. Heavy sigh. This is not at all what I expected! Not from my happy little girl.

I wrote Miss L an e-mail tonight. I didn't tell her about the not grumpy pills or even the embarrassment in front of the whole class. I just stuck to the facts. Anna is in a radically new environment with a whole new approach to learning and could you please be patient as she makes this transition?

Miss L replied already - very quickly! She had no idea Anna was frustrated. Anna has not exhibited any signs of that. Anna is very good and when things are gone over (and over) it is for the benefit of some students who are not so good. She will work with Anna if she needs extra help with the new math.

I am greatly encouraged. I must find a way to pass this encouragement on to Anna.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Putting Myself Out There

I just sent an e-mail to most of my e-mail contacts. In case you're not on that list, I am going to put it here because I am passionate about this.


Hi Friends and Family,

Some of you know my political views and some probably don't. Like all of you, I was taught that it is not polite to talk about politics. But today there is so much going on in our country that I am going to break that rule and "talk" via e-mail, because there are some amazing shifts taking place in our country and I'm not sure how many of you are even aware of it.

Let me first ask, where do you get your news? If you read many of the "big" newspapers (like the Washington Post, which I get) or watch CNN, NBC, ABC or CBS the chances are extremely high that you are not hearing much of the real news. I know because I have gone through the papers and checked the websites and they are not covering the stories I'm talking about. Don't believe me? I challenge you: go right this minute to www.CNN.com and then to www.foxnews.com.

Just as a "for instance" (and a major "for instance" it is) FOX has been reporting for 5 days now about a major story involving ACORN. CNN doesn't even mention it anywhere on their homepage. The Washington Post isn't touching it. A couple of young people - a 25 year old guy and a 20 year old girl - have gone into ACORN offices across the country, pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. Time after time they have told the people at ACORN that they need a loan to buy a house where she can practice her trade. They say they've been discriminated against by the banks because of her "occupation". Time after time the ACORN people have advised them on how to lie about what she does and how to set up her business so that she can get tax deductions. Not only that, but the pimp and prostitute say they want to bring some underage girls from El Salvador in to the home. They say they want to help the girls, but they also say they want to teach them the business. They SPECIFICALLY say the girls are between 12-15 years old. The ACORN people don't bat an eye. They advise them on all sorts of clever ways to disguise that and make money from the girls.

Want more information? Then go to www.biggovernment.com. It has all the information about this "sting" and some of it's fallout.

Here's the thing. ACORN is tight with Obama. They are a community organization, and Obama was a community organizer. I believe he represented them back in his attorney days. They are currently tied together in all sorts of ways. I know quite a bit more but I fear I will lose your interest if I try to lay it all out here. I BEG you: check into this for yourself!

This is a not a simple little thing. It is not a small difference of opinion. Obama and all of the people behind the scenes in his world are trying to undermine the foundation of our country. Please, PLEASE get informed and do not hide your head in the sand. The future of our country is at stake. I fear it is already too late, but I hope that it might not be. There were tens of thousands of people in Washington DC last Saturday (did you see THAT on your news? If not, look at this video- ) People are beginning to sit up and take notice.

There are those who are trying to say all of this is no big deal, a bunch of conservatives getting upset about nothing. They are throwing a lot of labels around. The one that makes me maddest of all is "racist". Speaking for myself, I can absolutely say this has NOTHING to do with race. I would not have voted for Obama if he was the last man on earth, but that had nothing to do with his being black. I would happily have voted for Allen Keyes, I would have voted for Colin Powell - less enthusiastically than for Keyes, but I would have been okay with him. They are both black leaders. I do NOT have a problem with color. I have a HUGE problem with everything Obama stands for. I looked into his Chicago church LONG before it was in the news because of Jeremiah Wright. I was SICKENED by what I saw. I read the transcript of testimony in the Illinois Senate when they were voting on partial birth abortion. I looked into Obama the candidate, I didn't just say "He's black so I don't like him" or "He's a democrat so I don't like him." I came to believe he is evil and could not possibly have anything positive to offer to this country.

Please, please, if our friendship has any value, then for my sake look into what is going on in our country today.

Sincerely and with hope,
Laura

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here is a replica of a card I made for my brother's birthday. I liked it so much that I made a quick copy before I gave it to him! As usual, it doesn't look as nice in the scan as it does in "real life".




The kids are in school today. Yeah!!!!! I am enjoying a quiet house! Found a yummy cookie recipe on another blog which I will make shortly so that the kids can come home to home made cookies. They have a miniature Reese's peanut butter cup in the center of them, so they've got to be good.

Things went well this morning. I took several pictures of the kids, but they are on my "old fashioned" (i.e. film) camera so I won't be able to post them for at least a few days. Ethan, who seemed to be dreading school, was excited to get going and skipped much of the way this morning so at some point he must have changed his mind about things. Thank goodness! We were the first to arrive at his classroom. The door was closed and there was no teacher in sight. I must say Ethan, our strict rule-follower, was quite unhappy with the teacher for not being there. I think in his mind she was breaking the on-time rule. We found out she waits at the bus stop for all of her kids and walks them to class, so maybe he will cut her a little slack tomorrow!

I am dog sitting for a few days. My brother got a rescue dog a few months ago and she is the saddest little dog I have ever seen. She is afraid of everything. She has been S-L-O-W-L-Y warming up at my brother's house, but she is totally back in her shell at our house. She claimed Ethan's bed as her own and will not move off it, not for anything. We've carried her outside twice to go potty. Once back inside she beelines straight to the bed - won't take a treat or a drink of water. Poor thing. One thing seems to be certain: she will be easy to take care of!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Have you seen this Staples commercial?



I LOVE it. It makes me laugh and laugh. For the first time in 8 years, both of my kids will be going to school. Yeah! ALL DAY. YEAH!

In preparation, the kids have new haircuts. Here is Ethan "before":



And here is Anna "before":



Ethan "after":



And, more dramatically, Anna "after":



Yesterday was orientation for Anna. We met her teacher and some of the classmates. There are 3 Anna's in her class!!! When she was born we thought "Hannah" was the hot name and we didn't want her to be one of, say three kids with the same name, so we chose Anna. How original... You know, names are funny things. I had a grandmother I never knew - my Mom's Mom. She died when my Mom was 14, so obviously she was never a part of my life. She was so removed from me, in fact, that I often forgot what her name even was. It turns out her name was Anna! Her husband (a grandfather I also never knew because he died when my Mom was 17) called her Peg, so I guess if I had any name for my grandmother in my head it was Peg. So pretty much without knowing it I named my daughter after my grandmother. That's why I say names are funny - it seems like families gravitate toward certain names over and over throughout the generations and, at least based on my own experience, it is not even intentional! But back to the school stuff...

Anna's teacher is in her first year of teaching. That seems to be the case with MANY of the teachers at this school. I don't know if that is good, bad or indifferent. The teacher seemed sweet and projected a certain air of confidence, despite her lack of experience. My gut feeling is she will turn out to be good.

Anna loved everything. She loved the teacher, she met a new friend (Anna!), she was enthused when looking at the math book (!!!!!!!!!!), she is happy to be going to a "real" school instead of "one in a church". I cannot say I share all of her enthusiasm, but I cannot help but be happy that she is excited.

Ethan's orientation was today. Earlier this year we had attended a kindergarten thing at the school during which we met all of the kindergarten teachers. When we received our letter saying who his teacher would be, I knew he didn't get my first choice because she was a "Mrs." and this was a "Ms." (No one is referred to as "Miss" anymore. Why ever not?) Beyond the marital thing, I couldn't remember who the other teachers were because there are EIGHT kindergarten classes. So I had no clue who he was getting. As we approached his classroom today I saw that the teacher at the door was the one I probably liked least of all. Bummer. She is in her SECOND year of teaching (a seasoned pro compared to most, it seems!) She does not appear confident of anything. She has an assistant who is a "Mrs." and appears to be at least as old as me. I got the impression that this assistant is going to walk all over the poor teacher. So it will be interesting to see how things work out for Ethan. On the plus side, I believe this teacher leaned a little more toward an interest in science; perhaps that will be a good thing for Ethan. Unlike his sister, the experience today did NOT make him excited to start school. I asked. He said no. I can't blame him - I left his classroom feeling very disappointed too.

Nevertheless, I continue to call this "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Soon I will have hours of quiet every day. I can stamp! I can read! I don't have to interrupt what I'm doing to make lunch! I think it will take several weeks for it to sink in.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ronald Reagan on Healthcare and Socialism

I'm copying something from Glenn Beck. It is an audio of Ronald Reagan warning about socialism. Glenn's website also includes a written transcript, which I found helpful to read while listening. The written transcript has a few errors, but it is mostly correct so pretty easy to follow.




REAGAN: Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, the method of earning a living. But at the moment I'd like to talk about another way because this trip is with us and at the moment is more imminent.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.

So with the American people on record as not wanting socialized medicine, Congressman Ferrand said, if we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, they can we can expand the program after that. Well, let's see what the socialists themselves had to say about it. They say once the Ferrand bill is passed, this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire population. Well, we can't say we haven't been warned.

James Madison in 1788, speaking to the Virginia Convention said: “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Now in our country under our free enterprise system, we have seen medicine reach the greatest heights that it has in any country in the world. Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.

But let’s also look from the other side, at the freedom the doctor loses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.

This is a freedom that I wonder whether any of us have the right to take from any human being.

In this country of ours, took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in world’s history. The only true revolution. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. But here for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relation to man, a little group of the men, the founding fathers for the first time – established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God given right and ability to determine our own destiny.

This freedom was built into our government with safeguards. We talk democracy today. And strangely we let democracy begin to assume the aspect of majority rule is all that is needed. Well, majority rule is a fine aspect of democracy, provided there are guarantees written in to our government concerning the rights of the individual and of the minorities.

What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms and that you demand the continuation of our traditional free enterprise system. You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen, even if we believe that he's on our side to begin with, write to strengthen his hand. Write those letters now. Call your friends and tell them to write. If you don't, this program, I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. And behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country... until one day as Norman Thomas said, we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don't do this and if I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I don't have time for a well-thought-out post, but have to share something I learned over the weekend.

I met a woman from Norway. There was discussion of Obama and "health care reform". Norway is a socialized country - they get "free" health care and "free" education including college. When they buy groceries they pay 24% tax and when they buy gas they pay 80% tax!

Related information...

If you are able, watch Glenn Beck on FoxNews this week. He is asking questions that should be asked and exposing the backgrounds of Obama advisers. Some that are working IN THE WHITE HOUSE have criminal backgrounds. Many are communists. They idolize Hugo Chavez, Castro, etc. He shows video of people stating these things about themselves, he is not making it up! Much video of Obama telling us exactly what he intended to do and IS DOING - changing the foundation of the country. That is exactly what he said he was going to do - change the foundation of the country. And he is doing it. Forget the constitution. He and his advisers don't believe in it. YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS!

Or you can bury your head in the sand and pretend it's not happening.