Thursday, February 25, 2010

Poopy Poop

Soap Box announcement:
I'm wondering if more people own dogs now than when I was a kid...or if people just don't clean up after their dogs anymore??? Seriously, I went for a walk, a power walk, a 3 mile walk, on the sidewalks of my town, and spent most of my energy dodging doggy poop land mines on the sidewalk. Ewwwww....Yuck. I hate dog-doo! I know, who likes it? But, I really, really hate it...especially when it's out and about where people walk! Dog owners of the world (particularly the ones in MY city)...Get a scooper and clean up after your dog! Sicko!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We Are The World 25

25 years ago We Are The World raised money for Africa. Today the new version is out to raise money for Haiti. I sat with the kids on my lap and around me at the computer screen to watch the video. I was moved to tears. Beautiful! The kids loved it too...especially Busy Guy. He's my big music kid. He watches and listens and then belts out the lyrics after hearing it once or twice. He loved the rap in this new version. The kids all watched the children of Haiti. They were transfixed by the footage. I was a blubbery mess of tears. The great thing is my kids knew why I was crying. The were asking so many questions about the Haitians in the video. Let's not forget about Haiti! If you haven't donated funds....donate now. If you have donated but can afford to do more. God please help those in Haiti. The kids add this at the end of our prayers each night. Yes...Amen.

Watching the old version brings back so many great memories for me. I would have been 14 years old back then. My friends and I knew EVERY word to the song and knew each artist's part. We could belt it out with the various artist's special touches. This song gave me a passion for Africa. It added to my passion for the poor and needy. Look where that passion has taken me. I have an even larger passion for Africa today. I have two beautiful children in part from this passion that began early in my life.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Marriage is not 50/'s 100/100 - Dr. Phil

Marriage is hard work. Seriously. Well at least it is for me and for most married couples I know. It's an up and down, give and take, good and bad, easy and hard relationship. I have been thinking lately about my own marriage and how it has changed over the years. In many ways it is easier now. We have less BIG fights. I'd like to think we've learned a thing or two about getting along...or maybe it's just that we are too busy to fight. One thing I know for sure is the best thing I can do (and Cam too) is to zip it! Yes, close that mouth, zip/buckle/snap/staple/glue it shut! In the moment of passion...when I want to be heard...or more likely...want him to HEAR something...that is when I should zip it. Well, sometimes I manage and sometimes I don't...but I'm always working to do better.

Way back when Tuba was about 3 years old, and Cam was in nursing school and working 12 hour graveyard shifts on the weekends and I was working a bunch of part-time (5 of them) jobs we went to see a marriage counselor. Hmmmm....I wonder why we were having a hard time! Now looking back it makes me laugh to think that we were surprised we needed help. The other part of it was that we had no conscious idea anyway that all of Tuba's health issues and special needs were affecting our marriage! What a hoot. We were in denial! After seeing the counselor for a few sessions I happened to mention..."oh, by the way, I'm not sure if it makes a difference or not but our son has a very severe seizure disorder and is developmentally disabled.". The look on the counselors face (love that man by the way!!!) was priceless. "Ummm, yes that makes a difference, that is HUGE!" he replied. Ohhhhhhh, okay, we can see now that yes that must be putting an additional strain on us. Doh!!!

Many years have passed since then and many times our marriage has gone up and down and up again. I feel very comfortable in my marriage now....not comfortable like I don't need to work hard anymore or like I can take it for granted. Comfortable like I love it! Comfortable like it feels good to work hard for something that I cherish. Comfortable like I have my best friend right here at home. Comfortable like I know who has my back. Comfortable like having all those shared experiences. We always say to each other "nobody gets it like you do"....and it's true.

I know that in another decade I will look back and think how much I've learned since now. I look forward to all the years in between....and all the work it takes to make my marriage work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Heart

Today when I went to pick up Mr. P at school I asked one of my friends to walk Mr. P to our car since two of the kids were sleeping. She brought Mr. P up to the car and told me that Mr. P's teacher wanted me to hear something about Mr. P.

So, this is what was passed on to me. The class was having their photos taken by the teacher. Each child could choose their "special" friend to be in the photo with them. Mr. P was in the 3rd group of kids to have a turn. When it was his turn he requested to have his photo with a boy I'll call E. This boy E, is the sweetest little boy. At the beginning of the school year he barely spoke a word of English. He is also extremely shy. He is kind and friendly but very quiet and reserved. Mr. P has lots of friends in his class..boys and girls. He has two or three that he considers his best friends. But when it came time to have his photo he didn't request any of these kids. He chose E. It brought tears to my eyes. In the car I asked Mr. P about his day and about the photos. He told me he chose E because he was afraid that nobody would choose him. I am so impressed to have such a kind and sensitive boy. He thought about the feelings of this other boy and used his choice to make him feel special. I couldn't be prouder. I told Mr. P how proud I am. I told him that what he did honors Jesus. This is exactly the way God wants us to treat each other. My mommy heart is so happy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Here's a not so perfect picture of our not so perfect family;)

Last Sunday was Forgiveness Sunday in the Orthodox Church. I found this great explanation of the service. "This exquisite rite is for the faithful to beseech forgiveness of the sins, known and unknown, committed against each other. During this time, each of the faithful bow (or prostrate) before each other to ask forgiveness for their sins. The person bowed to greets the person bowing with a bestowal of forgiveness. This moving experience provides the faithful with the opportunity to enter into the Lenten period with a cleaner heart and conscience, and a greater sense of humble-mindedness and being more aware of their sinfulness."

At first I was not looking forward to Forgiveness Sunday. Not because of any chip on my shoulder or anyone that I didn't want to forgive. Cam was working which meant that I was on my own with the kids. Taking 5 small kids to church by yourself is NOT easy to say the least. On top of this Forgiveness service Sunday night we also had the regular liturgy Sunday morning. I begin getting the kids ready for church on joke. I lay out all of our clothes, bathe everyone, get snacks ready, shoes laid out, etc. Even though I do all of that prep it still takes me a good 2 hours to feed, dress and get us all in the car. OH! By the time I'm leaving our garage I'm not feeling so nice...I'm cranky...we're late...and I'm ready to call it a day!

In the car we call a truce and have a "do-over". Everyone adjusts their attitude (mostly me) and we head off. The three big boys do great at church. They go to Sunday School and then up for the liturgy. The babies are ready for snack/lunch and nap just about the time the liturgy starts. I spend my time walking in and out of the church nave like I'm stuck in a revolving door....often carrying both babes...who are getting rather big and heavy. The babies are tired and both want me...exclusively! This leads to lots of shoving and crying and "MY MAMA". To be fair they did very well this last Sunday up until the homily. This was a big improvement and I know that each week/month that goes by they will have more and more stamina to stay in the service...quietly:) The second half of the liturgy was mostly spent in the narthex. After the service we go downstairs to our fellowship hall and have lunch. I cut into the lunch line (I admit it and I always admit it to those I'm cutting around) and quickly grab food...before I loose someone or one of the babes climbs out of a high chair. I whip out pb&j's for the little ones and a regular lunch for Tuba and I. Gobble-gobble it fast and try to chat with a couple of friends before huge meltdowns start and I have to leave.

Once in the car I'm so exhausted. We head home and I transfer sleeping kids to their beds...and hope and pray they stay asleep long enough for me to have a cup of tea and read the paper. PLEASE!!! I quick get into my pj's and sit down.

Last week knowing that in a few short hours I had to get dressed again was making me grumpy...ier! I was coming up with all sorts of ugly things in my head...reasons not to go. I had done one very smart thing and that was to ask Grandma Sue to watch the babies while I took the big (ie: easy) kids to the service. Although I had that to look forward to I was still in a terrible mood. The kids were noisy, rowdy and cranky...probably following my lead. By the time dinner came I was thinking things like, "what kind of nutty church do I go to?, who in their right mind takes 5 small kids to church by themselves...twice in one day...NOBODY that's who!, I know lots of people won't be there tonight, why should I go?, etc. Basically, whaaaaa for me to the hilt!

When Grandma Sue arrived I was nearly in tears (okay, I was crying) and near pulling my hair out. I was sweaty from chasing kids around...I put my jeans on and they were too tight...and I was late...again! I have to practically hog-tie the little ones to get them into their pj's these days...and then I have to pin the top of Sis's or she'll just take them off....which I forgot to do on this chaotic evening. I'm sure I looked like my head might spin around so Grandma nicely took Sis and helped get her back into her jammies. My MIL rocks!

Once in the car Busy Guy fell fast asleep. Tuba sits in the front with me and likes to hold my hand. Nice! Mr. P was in the back and we had the best time chatting all the way to church....a 30 min. drive. First we talked about how babies are born..yep, that's right:) He had all kinds of questions and was very interested. He remembered everything I had told him before and added to it. He asked, "does it hurt, can you see the little hole, how does the body make the baby come out, why doesn't the dad help". That one cracked me up! Then he switched gears and wanted to tell me all of the careers he's thinking of having when he's grown. I thought for sure after our talk he was thinking of becoming a nurse or doctor. But, nope. Here's his list, "I want to be a fireman, or a policeman, hmmm...or a know like on a train.........hmmmmmmmmmmmm...and a pirate." LOL. What a hoot. Then a second later he added, "oh, and a dentist".

Church was so nice and so easy, easy, easy! Busy Guy went right in and sat on the pew. He lit up when I leaned over and said I could hold him since I didn't have the babies with me. I snuggled all my boys, held their hand and rubbed their warm heads. It was so nice and so relaxing. At the forgiveness part of the service I got to stand with my boys as they participated with me. They were so precious asking and granting forgiveness and giving hugs. It is a humbling experience to ask for forgiveness...especially from those we are closest kids and Cam. Although Cam wasn't there we have asked each other for forgiveness too. I fall short so many times with my family and I'm so thankful they forgive me.

This service is such a lovely way to begin Great Lent. And a beautiful way for me to spend my time...even if coming to that conclusion took a bit of time and effort. I guess that's life. I hope the next time I'm having a rough day or moment I can look back and reflect or look forward and know it gets better. Nothing lasts forever...the good or the bad moments. In the spirit of Forgiveness Sunday....Please forgive me, I forgive you, God forgives us all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day! It's my favorite holiday:) It's all love and affection and I get to spend time with my sweethearts! We always have a Valentine Dinner to celebrate as a family. This year Cam is working on Feb. 14th so we celebrated on Fri. night.Nana sent these delicious cupcakes to us in the mail! No joke...the federal express man brought them in a big cooler. They were vanilla bean, chocolate-chocolate and red velvet. Super good!!!

Cam took the 4 youngest kids to Costco while I finished up our taxes and then set the table for our big dinner. It was so fun to see the kids' faces as they came in and looked at the table! And...they surprised me with roses! The boys were so proud of their gift for me. Precious boys!

In case you were worried that I was feeding my family cupcakes and candy for is what we ate. It was very counteract the desserts. We had lemon pepper grilled fish, whole wheat pesto pasta and broccoli. Yum!We added a new tradition to our dinner this year. We decided to eat in our pj's. Next year I'm going to get everyone Valentine pj's for a treat.
At Costco Cam and the boys bought Tuba his favorite logs. Mr. P announced that after dinner he wanted us to sit in front of the fire and talk! How cute is that? He will make a GREAT husband some day. I got lots of snuggle time with the babies while enjoying the fire.

Cam and I bought the kids more track for their Thomas Train set. With 5 kids driving the trains they were in need of more track. They built a huge track and played until bedtime. Cam and I exchanged gifts the night before our special dinner. We were both too excited to wait!!! At Christmas we didn't exchange gifts with each other so I think that we were really looking forward to this. Cam bought me my favorite...See's Candy...dark chocolate covered almonds and a little something from the lingerie department. I was SO excited for him to open his gift. I bought him his favorite soaps from Body Shop AND....AND...AND...a gift certificate to a local lodge and spa!!!! We went there 3 years ago and have been looking forward to going back. I already have it booked. Since having kids we have only gone away once over night. We are really looking forward to getting a massage, having a romantic dinner and then a romantic breakfast the next morning....ALL ALONE!!! Whooooo-hoooooo!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great Man

On Wednesday I was reading Costco's monthly magazine. I like to read the book reviews and add any interesting titles to my "want to read" list....which is growing rather long these days. This month's featured book is Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. I was instantly interested in this book. The author was born in Ethiopia to Indian parents eventually leaving Ethiopia and coming the the US. He became a Doctor and worked with some of the first AIDS patients. Here is a bit of what the book is about: "A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel, an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.Yet it will be love, not politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, nearly destroying him, Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him."

Now, for the really interesting part of my story. Cam has clinical on Tues. and Wed. each week. He gets done at 8:30 pm and then heads home. On the same day I was reading about this great book Cam was on his way to clinical and was listening to an interview with Abraham Verghese on the radio. Amazing! Abraham Verghese would be speaking about his book that evening. Cam called me at about 6:00 to say that he had heard about this great book, and was on his way to hear the author speak. Wow! We couldn't believe we had both read/heard about this book on the same day. Cam arranged to leave clinical early so he could go to the lecture. He headed into the city without a ticket but hopeful that he could easily get one. I got on Google and gave him directions. There was a bit of a problem. The ticket office only takes cash or checks...and Cam had neither. He did have a cash card BUT the darn strip has stopped working and his new card hadn't arrived yet. So...he wasn't sure he could get a ticket but he was going to try. After about 3 phone calls with me, confused directions and two frustrated people he said he would just come home. I was reading books to the boys when Cam called again to say that he took a chance, found parking, and went to find a ticket. He arrived at the door just as it was beginning. He said to the attendant that he needed to buy a ticket and this miraculous thing happened....the attendant said, "Here's a ticket, please go in". Wow! What a blessing. As I hung up the phone I got all teary. I was so touched that Cam was able to get a ticket and was getting to hear the lecture. But mostly I was touched that I'm married to a man who was so eager to hear this lecture. I'm truly blessed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Kisses

Here's the recipe for the cookies. They were VERY good! I ate so many that I woke up in the middle of the night dying for a drink of water:) Sounds like I haven't learned a thing since I was nine.
The recipe was on the back of the package of Hershey's Kisses.
48 Hershey Kisses
1/2 C Shortening (I used butter)
3/4 C Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 C Granulated Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Granulated Sugar
Directions: 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove wrappers from chocolate. 2. Beat shortening (butter) and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 C granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. I baked mine 6 minutes. The first batch I did for 8 minutes and the bottoms came out dark brown. Immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two Peas

Like Mother...Like Daughter

This story begins in 1979 when I was just 9 years old. My mom had made some lovely peanut butter cookies with a Hershey Kiss on top. I didn't like peanut butter cookies. But, I did like Hershey's kisses. So, without too much thought I took a bunch of cookies to my room to eat...maybe about 10 over the course of the evening. I ate the chocolate off and then tossed the cookie in my waste paper basket. No problem. Well, at least until the next day when my mom saw them in the garbage. Yikes! I was busted and in trouble. Boo-hoo!

Tonight I made these same cookies for my babies. They (Mr. P and Busy Guy) had a great time helping make them. After dinner everyone dug in. The boys were chowing them down faster than I could toss them out. When I looked over at Sis to check on her progress...I saw something familiar:) What can I say...she's just like her Mama.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sick Day

On Saturday 4 of the 5 kids were sick with a bad cold...runny noses and nasty coughs. Tuba was the only one to escape the far. We settled in for a day of snuggling and a bit of TV watching. Our latest favorite to watch is Dogs 101. It 's so fun to learn about different dog breeds and all the kids love to see the dogs.
Busy Guy spent part of his day playing dress-up. When I asked him what he was doing he replied, "I'm being Daddy". How sweet. They were missing him while he was at work.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I've been sending the boys to go have SSR...that's sustained silent reading...every night after dinner while I clean the kitchen. I came up to check on them and this is what I found. How cute is that? They were all cuddled up in my bed reading the comic books they got for Christmas. It's working great! It gets them out of the kitchen and out from under my feet. Now, if the babes would only sit and read....*sigh*.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ethiopian Sunday

Our church hosted an Ethiopian lunch last Sunday. There was a donation collection and we raised $400.00 with the proceeds going to Layla House Orphanage in Ethiopia. There are three families in our parish that have children from Ethiopia. There are also lots of Ethiopian kids in our area and we were blessed to have some of them join us for lunch. It was an AMAZING lunch and everyone enjoyed it so much!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Big Boom

Baby George fell yesterday. The kids were all at the dining room table eating popcorn and his chair tipped and he hit his chin on the table as he fell. Poor baby. Good thing Papa was home cause the little guy needed to go get stitches. Ouch! This is the third set of stitches for our family...luckily all on different kids. I'd like to think there won't be anymore stitches to come but I think I'd be foolin' myself:) Cam said they had to strap him down....OH!...and he screamed...actually Cam's words were, "he was super pissed!". By the time they got home he was calm. He hasn't mentioned the "owie" at all. His only compliant was that he couldn't take a bath this morning and he cried cause the other kids were in the tub:( Poor guy.
But...check out this adorable pic of BG hugging his Papa. Oh! Be still my heart....look at his sweet little haircut. I love it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sleep Tight...

Mr. P has been sleeping with the bottom half of their bunk bed. Mr. P sometimes starts out on the top bunk but Tuba continues to call his name until he comes down to snuggle. Precious.


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