Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The forecast is for more snow.
Ranging from 6 to 18 inches.
Depending on how it tracks in the next 24 hours.

She's ready.
TOTALLY ready.
To sleep in. To drink hot cocoa.
To read, for uninterrupted hours.
Snuggled up with her blanket.

I don't love snowstorms.
But this time, I think I might actually
be ready too.
It's been a long, hard, emotional week.
Stopping the world for a freak storm
might just be the respite we all need.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun,
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Most of them are ACTUALLY wordless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Contest is Almost Over!

this is your 2nd weekly reminder . . .

Yes, I know it's pretty much been the same two posts
for quite a few days now.
We're home from services for our dear friend and trying to reclaim our routine and our territory around here. Be patient, I promise something new. Soon. In the meantime, go buy a tee. Go enter the contest. And give your kids a hug.

There's a fabulous new contest going on over at Wild Olive Tees. They have re-designed and re-released their Hope for Haiti shirt and 100% of the proceeds are going directly to Haiti relief efforts, via Eyes Wide Open International (click here).


So, head over to this post and get all the skinny on how to get one of these great tees for yourself. And while you are at it, join the contest fun and spread the word. The more shirts they SELL, the more money goes to the relief efforts!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Forget

this is your weekly reminder. . .

There's a fabulous new contest going on over at Wild Olive Tees. They have re-designed and re-released their Hope for Haiti shirt and 100% of the proceeds are going directly to Haiti relief efforts, via Eyes Wide Open International (click here). I'm LOVIN' the re-design of this shirt and am fixin' to place my order right now.

Frankly, between you and me, I am glad they redesigned.
Gray was never my best color. :)
But I was willing to take one for the team
In fact, I was on the site to buy it
when I stumbled upon this blog post about the change.


So, head over to this post and get all the skinny on how to get one of these great tees for yourself. And while you are at it, join the contest fun and spread the word. The more shirts they SELL, the more money goes to the relief efforts!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rest in Peace

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

A dear friend lost his life this week. We are shocked and saddened. He is survived by a sweet, faithful wife who never lost hope and has been an example of faith and honor to me for over 15 years. And by two strong, bright, engaging sons who will continue to grow into all that God has for them. Please pray for us in the coming days.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

So Much To CELEBRATE!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Gung Hoy Fat Choi!
(Please excuse my atrocious attempts
to wish you Happy Chinese New Year!)


A Silver Medal
For Apolo and Bronze for J.R.!


A GOLD for Hannah!

Have a Happy Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wild Olives Big Give Away!

There's a fabulous new contest going on over at Wild Olive Tees. They have re-designed and re-released their Hope for Haiti shirt and 100% of the proceeds are going directly to Haiti relief efforts, via Eyes Wide Open International (click here). I'm LOVIN' the re-design of this shirt and am fixin' to place my order right now.

Frankly, between you and me, I am glad they redesigned.
Gray was never my best color. :)
But I was willing to take one for the team
In fact, I was on the site to buy it
when I stumbled upon this blog post about the change.


So, head over to this post and get all the skinny on how to get one of these great tees for yourself. And while you are at it, join the contest fun and spread the word. The more shirts they SELL, the more money goes to the relief efforts!

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Here! It's Here!

I've been counting down this day since, I don't know, before Christmas. . . The opening of the Winter Olympics is TONIGHT! I haven't been this excited since I found out that all 25 of my immediate family would get to be together for a whole day at the holidays! Seriously, I think the only thing I could be MORE excited about is if my Eagles had made it to the Big Game.

For weeks, I've been teaching Li'l Empress to chant with me. I've been humming the national anthem. I'm tearing up every time I hear the I decided to have an Olympics party. I've been plotting and planning a big international feast for friends and family. Last night, I snuck out of the house and went crazy on red, white and blue STUFF to decorate for tonight's party. I've been overloading on NBC's spotlight features on athletes. Instead of reading blogs and keeping my email up-to-date, I've been poring over news stories of weather conditions, opening ceremony plans, injury reports and so on. (If I've ignored an email and it's important, you should probably attach an Olympics story to it. That will get my attention!)

So, in celebration of the GREATEST. DAY. OF WINTER. (so far . . .), I give you the cutest little speed skating fan I know. Try to contain yourself. And yes, I know I'm brainwashing her. It's one of the perks of parenting, isn't it?! :)

video

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

Well, we survived! The Blizzard of 2010 raged around us from about 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the 9th straight through till the early morning hours of Thursday, the 11th. I fell asleep last night to the sounds of high winds and creaking siding outside my window. I haven't been out yet to look and see if there's been any kind of damage. But I did notice this morning from the upstairs windows that several trees in the "gully" behind our fence have lost branches. And darn it, none of the "ugly trees" came crashing down on their own! Below are some pics that The Boss snapped on his way out to work this morning. AFTER he shoveled (for the third or fourth time!) out the driveway.


From the sidewalk, looking up the drive.

Also from the end of the drive, looking straight back
toward the back of our property line, behind our shed.

The side entrance to the house. That pile
is as tall as me. I'm 5' 1' tall.
Five feet of snow, piled at my door.
Not really tall for a woman.
Entirely too tall for a snow pile!

Oh, my poor little Japanese maple.
I've been watching her anxiously since the storm
started. Next to my lilacs, she's my favorite little
tree on our property.
I sure hope she makes it to spring with all
her limbs intact!

So, there you have it. Our craziest storm ever. The kids are home today. They likely will have to have a delay tomorrow. And the forecasters are already prepping us for another "mini-storm" to come on Monday. Too bad Vancouver had to pay for this kind of snow coverage. I'd be more than happy to share!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Last weekend's storm . . .


As I'm getting ready to post this, today's storm
is RAGING. The snow is falling so heavily we can barely
see into the cul-de-sac that is across the street.

I'm actually a little worried about power loss later today.
The weight of the snow and the gusting winds
fore-casted for this afternoon sound really ominous.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun,
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shoveling Out & Growing Up

*disclaimer: This is a catch up post, in stream-of-consciousness format.
Don't try to understand my flow. Just go with it.
I don't do it often here; but sometimes, I just let it go where it will.*

We had a fabulous weekend together, in the midst of the second biggest snowstorm our region has seen in recorded history. The kids played in the snow (reminding my of just why I despise snow gear), The Boss shoveled, the neighbors chatted and gratefully accepted the help of stronger, younger backs. And I cooked. I made cookies. I made soup. I made bread, I made Chinese pudding. When it was all said and done, we got 14" of the white stuff and the REST of The Gang probably worked off every single home-made, scrumptious calorie they took in that day. Me? "Not so much," thus sayeth my jeans.

I took it a little easier on my culinary self for our SuperBowl spread, "making" some decidedly "low brow" chips & dip platters and frozen treats. It was polished off mostly before the half-time show even started. Oh, and what a great game, wasn't it? All the intensity of two well-matched teams and the excitement of seeing New Orleans finally have something wonderful to celebrate. It's been said over and over, but seriously, who didn't have even just a little tiny "Go Saints!" whispering in their heart of hearts?!

As I sit here, typing today's post, we're gearing up for yet another whopper of a storm. This one is looking to be a bit more ominous: a wet, heavy type of snow is being fore-casted, followed by strong gusting winds. Might make for some "crippling" conditions for a day or so. The "middles" of The Gang are especially excited because this one is actually taking place in the middle of a school week, threatening to derail all their teachers' well-laid lesson plans and give the whole region a blessed day off of leisure. It was supposed to be a busy week week for The Gang. In fact, last night's dress rehearsal for LadyBug's Wind Ensemble morphed by 4 p.m. into the real deal concert. This, after tremendous machinations and behind the scenes plottings in an attempt to let the kids have their moments in the spotlight. It was a well-executed evening and I chuckled a little at how overjoyed the band directors seemed to be in thwarting "Mother Nature's" efforts at messing with their beloved ensemble performances.

LadyBug performed in her very first public concert last night and handled herself with her usual grace and aplomb. Honestly, I don't know where she gets her steady, "take it as it comes" demeanor. She took the news of the big change in schedule with relative calm (exclaiming only that those new pants MUST be hemmed NOW!). After dinner, she dressed herself in her new concert outfit (Thanks to a big bargain scored at Se@rs & Ch!ldren's Pl@ce!), let me do her hair and didn't once show a bit of tremor or nerves. Sheesh, if it were me, I'd have been sweating. Or something much worse. Instead, she just went up on stage with her band-mates and did her thing. I mean, she may look just like me, but that demeanor? I take it back. I know where she gets it. It's all The Boss. All the way.

After her portion of the concert was over, we sat together in the back of the auditorium enjoying the time alone together and the beautiful music from the other ensembles from the district. And again, I had to stop and admire my girl: she was picking out the different instruments, describing to me in hushed whispers the degrees of difficulty that certain notes required, and asking intelligent questions about the historical significance of some of the pieces. I can't believe in all the hustle bustle we forgot to take pictures of her big night. I can't believe how scattered I felt and how calm she was. I can't believe how grown up she was last night. I'm not at all sure I like it. In fact, I think I don't.

The Boss summed it up well when she came down all dressed in her concert finery. He told her that she looked very pretty. And very grown up. And that she will never be wearing that outfit again.

*Who am I kidding? Stream of consciousness is the norm around here.
So I take that back too. *

Friday, February 5, 2010

Home Sweet Home

A few weeks ago, I asked you to pray for a couple families that were traveling to meet their new children. I don't know if you followed their stories or not. Two of the families are home and the third should be soon - pray for them: they are scheduled to travel home during the bulk of the storm that is threatening the majority of the South and East coast.

In the meantime, you MUST go HERE
to see an answer to prayer now at home,
settling in and being loved.

You can also go HERE
to peek in on a re-cap
of a family's first meeting.
What a story!

Both homes, fuller and richer. Both families, reveling in the sound of new, sweet giggles. Luxuriating in hugs and kisses. Drowning in joy. Something beautiful, indeed.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It Was NOT Pretty

My Wednesday was soooo not pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly. Most of the day. Well, at least until bedtime. Then it got blissfully peaceful. Quiet. And oh, so pretty again.

The day actually started out fairly nicely. It had all the marks of a potentially pretty day. It got ugly fast.

The middle kids had a 2-hour snow cover delay. So we started the day in my favorite way - sleeping PAST 7 a.m.

(Somehow, any thing before 7 a.m. feels
so ridiculously early to my body clock.)


I got a shower BEFORE Li'l Empress woke up and started bellowing, I mean calling, for me.

(Seriously, she calls my name in, like,
12 different voices and

12 different volumes until
she hears my hand on the doorknob.

Then she's all, like,
"Hi, Mommy! Beep wew?")


Somehow, it all fell apart from there. One son logged in to school and began a lengthy quiz before finishing his morning routine. Before looking around at the snow and pitching in to clear a path for the middles. One son decided to clear some paths, only in ridiculous patterns and zig-zags that would make a hamster dizzy. One son forgot that we own several working clocks, strategically planted all over the house. AND that he has hair on top of his head: he attempted to leave the house sportin' a lovely bed-head nest of blond locks. One daughter spent the whole morning following the biggun's around, repeating everything 100x and yelling "TOP!" whenever one of them would speak to her. Or look at her. Or breathe. One daughter decided that wearing her favorite jeans 3 times in one week wasn't enough. That "one more time oughtta do it!" Yeah, it did it. To my sanity and my tolerance for repetitive denim-wearing. It was not pretty.

And that's all before the middle buggers even left on the bus. Before Li'l Empress, the big boys and I even left the house for a long-overdue jaunt to the local library. I gritted my teeth and directed the remaining three to get in the van. At which point, I had a captive audience. Lucky, lucky them. It was not pretty.

But I felt better and that's all that matters.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

With their "reset" buttons re-set, we entered the quiet peaceful library. A poor sweet mom of three REALLY! EXCITED! EXUBERANT! ACTIVE! boys was trying to corral her little ones, check out books, carry on an intelligent (?) conversation, and get back out to the cafe for a little caffeine therapy. Her REALLY! EXCITED! EXUBERANT! ACTIVE! boys were not cooperating with her. At all.

At this point, my heart really went out to her. She looked tired. And in the face of our slightly grumpy and in-tolerant librarian-type lady, she looked just a little embarrassed. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her that it wouldn't last forever and that her boys would someday grow up to be models of godliness and acceptable social behavior. That they would some day sweetly offer to carry the heavy laden burden of picture books for her. That they would some day be able to stand near each other without cries of cooties or exclamations about private body functions.

But I couldn't.

Because at the very same moment that compassion and empathy were welling up in my heart for this obviously stressed mommy . . .

(Now, please remember that at this point,
I felt so much better after my lecture
ON THE EVILS OF NOT WORKING
TOGETHER AS A TEAM

and my diatribe ON THE PERILS OF
ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL

ONE'S SIBLING TO CONFORM
TO ONE'S OWN STANDARDS.)


. . . Li'l Empress was yelling "TOP!" at one son, and "NO!" to some poor innocent library patron who was trying to be sweet and friendly. One son was griping under his breath about the REALLY! EXCITED! EXUBERANT! ACTIVE! boys who were running into and around him. And still another son was shooting muttered, snarky hilarity at his brother in an attempt to get the cheap laugh and make his brother disrupt the relative peace and quiet one has come to expect of a library. It was not pretty.

And until the last one disappeared up the stairs after dinner, skulking quietly away after the EVIL DICTATOR MOMMA banished them all from polite company, it pretty much remained in its ugly state.

Then, as if by magic, the Gang's house became pretty. Peaceful, tidy, quiet. And pretty.

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It Makes Me Happy

The Olympics are only 10 days away! I'm a huge fan of the Olympics and when I saw this on the news yesterday, it made me so happy. I just had to share it with all of you. I hope it makes you smile.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



See? Happy.