Mother's Day

I'm feeling loved and cherished by all my boys this Mother's Day. I spent almost all day abed, with coffee and books.

And I've read some mothering encouragement the past few days that I'd like to pass along. The first is from Camille, with Scripture and medieval mommy-inspiration from Martin Luther.

Karen writes a mother's day tribute to both her mother and her daughter, and the journeys the Lord has walked the three of them through.

I was able to have a long, enjoyable conversation with my own Mom yesterday. So much I'm thankful for, so much I appreciate, so much I see of her in me. . . so much to say that just can't be written online. I love you, Mom.


May 11, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



To My Parents

"Through the years, you've never let me down You've turned my life around, the sweetest days I've found I've found with you ... Through the years It's better every day, you've kissed my tears away As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you Through the years!

Happy anniversary, with much love!


May 10, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sarasota Reds vs. Daytona Cubs

We joined the other families in our homeschool baseball team for a game at Ed Smith Stadium tonight. Our team won, and our family had a fun. The whole atmosphere of the game was great; the cool fresh air, the excitement, the game announcer's voice reverberating, the hot dogs. . . I remember my folks bringing us to a game in Racine when I was growing up. It was the same thing. Minor league games are are the best. (And the boys understood a lot more now that they've been playing baseball, compared to their first taste of the classic American sport.)

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May 08, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm an Auntie

2008-05-09 Twin Neices and New Nephew.jpg

These three precious little ones were born within a month of each other. Twin girls in one family, and a firstborn son in the other. And yes, I've volunteered to babysit! My boys seem so BIG when I see these newborns.


May 06, 2008  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sunday Afternoon Meanderings. . .

We've been continuing our mellow-weathered springtime. The lanai is still our makeshift office, and the kids are running around in the backyard or swimming in the pool for hours each day.

I finished up this semester's classes with a sigh of relief. I toyed with the idea of not taking any classes in the summer, but scheduling wise have ended up with two--Statistics and the Psychology of Religion. Ought to be interesting, to say the least. (And challenging--statistics, to me, is like a foreign language. Requires a lot of work and repetition before things "click.") Speaking of, I'm also having my Russian language skills evaluated in a few weeks. I'm a little nervous about that. I can have long and ongoing conversations in my head in Russian, but tend to stumble over my tongue when I try to speak. That, and my listening comprehension. . . well. . . it's slow even in English! Classes start the week after next, so I'm trying to fit in some "fun" reading this week. Not exactly light reading, but Samuel Martin's book is on my to-read list (and it is now available in electronic format at no charge!)

T10 has had an ongoing fascination with whales for several years. He's read all the books on whales and related species at the library (and even pointed out errors in some.) I could totally see him out on a boat with a beard and binoculars and a notebook, like the cetologist on a video we watched. Last year we went to Shedd Aquarium with Mo and Papa John, and T10's special gift there was a book on how to become a marine animal trainer. Since then his obsession seems to have waned to mere fascination. . . Yesterday after watching Shamu and seeing the other dolphins, whales, porpoises, walruses and myriad sea creatures, he's again certain that he wants to work with and study sea creatures. I know that there are padi scuba lessons for kids as young as 12, but I'm so nervous about that--even if it is a few years away. Our neighbor is a scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory. I'd like to look into what volunteer opportunities would be age-appropriate and work within our schedule. Or, maybe we'll start with the Saturday morning program--that would be a fun Mommy-Son date.

We pretty much do year-round homeschooling, with lull times when Hubby or I are at the end-of-semester crunch, holidays and trips. But I think it is time to reassess the school books we are using and refocus on our education goals with our children. The boys have been learning by leaps and bounds. The most exciting thing is that C7 made the great leap from beginning reading to avid reading. They are all readers! That is so reassuring. Still, it's time for assessment and decisions.

The boys are still active with their Young Conservatives of Our Neighborhood club with the neighbor kids. They are in the beginning stages of planning a 9/11 remembrance service. It has been interesting watching them take a broad idea, and then walking them through breaking it up into little steps.

My morning glories have not yet sprouted, but Kathy's roses are blooming.

Life is good.


May 04, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sea World!

Tomorrow is our much anticipated family trip to Sea World! Considering we have a whale lover in the family and we've lived in Florida for three years, I'm surprised it has taken us this long.


May 02, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



He Wholly Followed the Lord

Rejoicing with dear friends who have had their firstborn son (he was 9 lb, 15 oz!) Our love and prayers are with you.


And the child that is born on the Sabbath Day,
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.


April 27, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




"Instead of one of those stereotypes, I'm one of those Smeagol-types." --C7, as he prances around in his pajamas-cum-loincloth before bed


April 23, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Another Nephew!

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Welcome, little baby J! Hubby's little sister has a firstborn son, entering the busy, breathing world today.

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April 23, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



QOTD. . .

Quote of the Day:

"We're an exceptional family, aren't we?"

That's what R9 said to me as I was making dinner tonight. "Connor has already been in bed an hour, and we're just making dinner!"


April 20, 2008  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sunday Afternoon Family Ramblings

Summer is slowly creeping in. . . We've had afternoon showers recently, and soon it will be hurricane season. The weather is warm enough for the boys to swim, the pool is clean, and they have new goggles. Still, the water was chilly enough that they didn't stay in long today.

Hubby has moved his thesis writing to the back lanai. Each day he sets up the desktop on the patio table and writes and thinks and is energized by the fresh air and sunshine. It's still cool enough to have the doors open and the A/C off. (Thanks to the Florida summer, our electric bill trebles when the A/C is on.)

Yesterday the two younger boys and I went out and about. The best part was a trip to B&N. The boys had gift cards from my brother and they had such fun looking and looking and trying to decide. C7 was immediately drawn to the bird watching kit. I thought the allure was simply the binos included, but he's been looking up birds in the guide and sitting still and watching the birds in the woods. R9's favorite choice was a sketchbook, so he's been accompanying C7 and sketching birds and other things he's observing. Ahhh. . . I love delight-led learning, especially when it mirrors my own educational ideals! They also bought books on mammals, the wild west, archaeological treasures and wildcats. We ran a few routine errands, too--bought a new mouse for the laptop (the touchpad is wonky), visited the bread store, the produce market and shared a treat from Starbucks.

But I've traded buying coffee when out for the yummiest coffee at home. I'll just bring my own when I leave the house. I finally bought a burr coffee grinder (a Christmas gift, thanks to my parents.) Fresh ground, fresh roasted Old Bisbee coffee--nothing is better!

With birthday money from my grandmother, I bought a birdfeeder and seed. Unfortunately, where I wanted to hang it is too close to the lanai screen, and hence a squirrel feeder more than a bird feeder. We'll put it in the front yard, instead.

I've planted morning glory seeds and we'll see if my notorious black thumb doesn't kill them. The boys will be mulching and raking and trimming the hedges this week. Our front porch has become the favorite play spot for the boys and their neighborhood friends. Somehow they still need daily reminders that books and flip flops and toys can't stay out on the porch overnight.

We went to church this morning and it was worshipful and welcoming and good. I'm thankful. As much as we value the church in the community and the importance of corporate worship, it's been hard to integrate into a church since arriving back in Florida. Why that has been is. . . complicated. . . but through it all we've seen God's faithfulness. It is restful, though, to be in corporate worship now. It hasn't always been so.

We had bowls of fresh fruit for lunch yesterday, Florida fresh blueberries and cantaloupe. Today we shared artichokes for a midday snack. The fresh produce just tastes so good. A friend told me about how a local gentleman developed the Earth Box for fumbling black thumbed gardeners like me. Remembering Natalie's salsa garden last year and knowing how my boys will each tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers and onions raw, when they are available, has me tempted to try my hand at container gardening on our lanai. The sensibility sets in and I think, maybe next year.

Beyond the weather and the birds and the produce, I can sense a change of seasons coming. Not just in our environment, but in our lives and future. I don't know in what ways, just that seems thing to be warming up and getting ready to turn into something new.


April 20, 2008  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



New Pets

R9 has caught two lizards and named them Mark H. George and Fudge Brownie.

etu: T10 said other lizards' names were Butterfinger, Mr. Nerdy and Nerd-of-the-World.


April 13, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Spring Memories

My boys amaze me. . . really they do. I'm seeing as time goes by that their interests and lives are expanding, and that expansion goes beyond my experiences.

For example, someone recommended the Yul Brynner 1969 movie Taras Bulba to me, so we rented it the other day. In spite of our time in Ukraine and great interest in that region, I still have fuzzy spots in my understanding of its history. R9 piped up, "Wasn't he a Cossack? Who killed his kid?" J11 answered, "Yeah, but he wasn't as bad as Ivan Groznyi." While I wasn't exactly sure of where he fit in history, I thought he was a Cossack, but wasn't sure about it until we watched the movie.

The other day T10 asked me, "Who do you like better? Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, or Bill Gates?" Later the boys were playing a modification of a game that they made up, each making decisions as a businessman about shares and advertising and keeping score on a piece of paper. J11 has been reading The Myth of the Robber Barons (for fun) and their U.S. history text is addressing industrialization and monopolies.

Today they spent most of the day on the lanai, hand-painting their little green army guys. Hubby found a book that describes specific battles and they've been setting them up throughout the living room and re-enacting them. J11 and R8 each painted red-shirted Garibaldi troops. I hadn't even heard of Garibaldi and his exploits before now. . .

I've been giving the boys more cooking tasks. They love cutting up onions and peppers and I'm starting to count on them to be my sous-chef helpers. They made cupcakes for a neighbor's birthday, and surprised me with brownies and milk one night for dessert. Better yet, they are just as good as cleaning up kitchen messes as they are at making them.

They've been reading avidly. Once again, we're under a self-imposed ban from the public library. We just don't do well with due dates. Thankfully, we have two Goodwill Bookstores in our area which each have well-stocked kids' and homeschool sections.

Both my mp3 player and the boy's cd player died this month. We're taking turns with the laptop. I'll listen to my lectures with my ear phones on (but missing my learning during drives.) The boys have been listening to Alexander the Great and other stories from LibriVox. (Finally taking advantage of this, Kathy!) I'd really like to get them another cd player, but want to make sure it's both kid-durable and can read mp3 and wav files.

So many little daily details that I don't want to miss and forget. Yet, I know they are hard to remember if I don't record them. I want to get family photos taken soon.


April 04, 2008  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Fecund Family

Congrats to Mike and Shelly on their daughters, Heather and Lindsay!

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April 01, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



4 of 5

Four out of five of my boys are down for the count, including Hubby. Only the youngest has escaped. I'm hoping their ills are more minor than mine. . . though by the way they are sleeping and looking, I'm not hopeful.

I'm not feeling well, but I'm feeling better. I was able to start a load of sheets and blankets in the wash and load the dishwasher. I'm ignoring the other messes for now.


February 09, 2008  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Wahhh. . .

This is my third day of being sick. Sweats and chills. Blech. At least I'm finally feeling well enough to go online and be distracted.

Update: I'm coughing and sipping dayquil and feeling a smidge better. This has been the most bizarre illness I've had in a long time. Started with a fever and chills. Then cold symptoms. Then fever again. Then cough and runny nose. Then nausea. When does it end? Seriously, though, I can type this out now and so I must be getting better. . .


February 06, 2008  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




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Matt Miller

World championship ultra-marathon runner and president of the M&M Company of the South, Mathias (Matt) Peter Miller, 88, passed away Sunday, January 20, 2008, of pneumonia following knee surgery.

Born in Uehling, Nebraska on September 11, 1919, Miller came to New Orleans during World War II. He met and was married to Helen Alexander Miller, of New Orleans, for 63 years. Known for his strong faith and political views, Miller was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Metairie and the John Birch Society.

He began his running career at age 66 and captured national attention setting and breaking world records. In 1997 he ran 90 miles in 24 hours breaking his own record of 83 miles set the previous year. He liked to train by running barefoot on the levees of Lake Pontchartrain.

Miller is survived by his wife Helen Alexander Miller; sons Michael M. and Mitchell A. Miller; daughters Maureen M. Kuehne and Barbara M. Wilburn; in-laws John Kuehne, Doug Wilburn, and Beverly Blackburn; nephews Jeffrey, Dale, Whitney, and Scott Alexander; niece Judith A. Jackson; brother Robert Miller; 9 grandchildren; 6 great-grandsons; 3 great-granddaughters; and wonderful friends who are just like family. Son of the late Walter Miller and Mary Helen Heitzhusen. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral service on Thursday, January 24, 2008, at 3:00 p.m. at Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp, 1600 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie. Visitation will precede the service beginning at 1:00 p.m.


January 21, 2008  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



An Election Lesson from My Boys

I woke up this morning to C7 pointing both thumbs at his chest and proclaiming in a radio voice, "I'm Duncan Hunter, man of the people."

Half-asleep, I asked "Duncan Hunter?"
"Yeah, he's running for president."
T10 chimed in, "Some people run for president just to promote their issue."
"What's Duncan Hunter's issue?"
"Immigration. And China."

When Hubby got home I told him of our conversation, and he explained that yesterday they learned about democratization. ETA: His lesson wasn't about Duncan Hunter, but about Andrew Jackson. . . C7 just combined the two.

Gotta love a dad that homeschools in an election year.


January 09, 2008  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blogging Year in Review - 2007

As an overview of the past year, here are the titles of the first post of each month.

January 2007: Another Year Bloggin' and A-Deeper in Debt

February 2007: To Console, To Understand, To Love

March 2007: Drugs and the Brain

April 2007: Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 10

May 2007: One Anothering

June 2007: Hurricane Season, Florida

July 2007: For Demographic Fiends

August 2007: World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7th

September 2007: Shepherd of Tender Youth

October 2007: Looking to Christ, Listening to my Mother

November 2007: Bored of Bedtime

December 2007: Taking for Granted

(Via Three Under Three, via A Mindful Life)


January 03, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From Our Family to Yours

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December 26, 2007  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Christmas Wishes from Mrs. Claus

When I was little, I had cassette tapes of my Maw Maw on the radio in New Orleans being Mrs. Claus. Children would call up and ask questions about the North Pole or ask Mrs. Claus for that very special gift they hoped to find under the tree on Christmas morning. One of the things I've always admired about Maw Maw is her ability to jump feet first into new projects and try new things. She passed that quality along to my mother, too.


For the past couple of years, my Mom has been Mrs. Claus at Navy Pier in Chicago. (Did you know Mrs. Claus's first name is Cookie?) She delights the children and adds to the magical air of the holiday season.


December 24, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Season's Mindfulness


December 22, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A New Christmas Tradition

We've done something new this year, which I think I'd like to turn into a family tradition. I put a bunch of Christmas movies at the top of our Netflix/Blockbuster queue--both ones that we know are classics and ones which we've never seen. On the evenings Hubby has to work, the boys and I snuggle in bed and watch Christmas shows. Usually I drift off to sleep in the middle of the movie. . . We've watched classics like The Nutcracker and It's A Wonderful Life (with Hubby) and movies new to us like Holiday Inn, Christmas Past, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Special.

I don't like doing too much TV time, but it's nice and cozy and snuggling in front of a movie is the Florida equivalent to cuddling in front of a fire. . .


December 19, 2007  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Today's Christmas Agenda

Wrap and mail presents for Chicago and Arizona. Cut the boys' hippie-hair. Make Kristen's yummy cider pork recipe. Go buy a Christmas tree. Get produce at the Farmer's Market. Make Peppermint Playdough. Go to the drive-thru Christmas lights. Do a couple of loads of laundry, while listening to Christmas carols.


December 15, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




"I live with interesting male people."

--Ann Barlow

Yes. Me, too.


December 11, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Look! A Scottish Flag!

"Look! A Scottish Flag!", said R8 when he and I were sitting outside a coffee shop yesterday, he with his cappuccino and I with my latte.

The men at the neighboring table asked, "Where did you learn about the Scottish flag?" One was from Scotland, the other from England.

This is the point homeschooling parents puff out their chests and smile and wait for their child to say, "My Daddy homeschools me!"

Alas, R8 told the truth. "Playing Medieval Total War!"


December 08, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Preparations for Thanksgiving

I'm about to light candles, put on music, get a glass of wine, and enjoy the evening with the kids doing Thanksgiving preparations.

I've not been. . . excited. . . about the traditions of Thanksgiving, even though my heart has been very thankful. The Lord changed my heart from stress to peaceful today. He gave me the energy and desire to do a "real" Thanksgiving and I went grocery shopping for all the fixings.

I just got off the phone with my Dad to get his special, secret tips for making a turkey (he was the one that always cooked our turkeys growing up) and had a wonderful visit.

Now the turkey is thawing in the pool and my heart and home are peaceful.

ETA, later:

Thanksgiving 2008 Menu

Dad's Roast Turkey and Stuffing

Turducken and Sausage Stuffing
(I didn't make it--left over from an office party)


Green Bean Casserole (R8 made)

Red Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Green Peas (C6 made)

Corn (R8 made)

Dinner Rolls (C6 made)

Cranberry Sauce

Hot Mulled Apple Cider (T9 made)

Pumpkin Pie

Ambrosia (J11 made)

Butterscotch Scotchies (J11 made)

Bailey's Irish Cream (continuing a Kyiv tradition)


November 21, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Rejoicing and Thankful and Relieved

I've been hesitant to give lots of specifics about Hubby's health issues until we know more. . . I appreciate those who have been so supportive of us--calling and writing and emailing and praying.

Of the four most likely possibilities of diagnoses which fit with his symptoms, three of them were tested for and eliminated as possibilities within the first two weeks. While some were pretty serious, all were things we could. . . deal with. That left the most serious diagnosis to still be pursued. The past week, by God's grace, we've been doing alright. Living each day, taking things in the moment, not being too wrapped up in the what ifs.

We received some FABULOUS news today. Hubby saw the neurologist for a couple of kinds of tests, and the most serious of the possible illnesses was ruled out. The neurologist very confidently assured us that it was off the table. We are rejoicing and thanking the Lord and just so, so relieved.

Hubby and I have always dreamed about the future, daydreamed, speculated, drawn castles in the air. . . It was so difficult this past month not be able to do that. Not be able to say, "So, would you rather go to Prague or Budapest?" Not be able to make plans beyond the next month because. . . well. . . we just didn't know.

Hubby's symptoms are continuing, still undiagnosed, but now we are hopeful and joyful and thankful and optimistic. Rejoicing!


November 16, 2007  |  Comments (19)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hubby Update

I've been so amazed and humbled at the outpouring of concern, prayers, and support from people online and in real life. I've been hesitant to share details until we have a diagnosis--which we still do not have. Of the four most likely scenarios initially presented by the doctor, the three mildest have been ruled out. The fourth and most serious, while not completely ruled out, was not confirmed by a clinical exam and next Friday Hubby will do some more medical testing that may take it off the table. That is our hope, though. . . it could still be a possibility. At that point, it is possible Hubby and his doc will be back to square one, as to evaluating the most likely causes for the symptoms he's been having.

Overall, though, we are at a place emotionally and spiritually where we were not two weeks ago--just being in the moment, taking each day, being hopeful, not speculating. . . Physically, Hubby's symptoms are still presenting, his energy is low. . . His thesis advisor has okayed a break from his research, and when we get a diagnosis, we'll evaluate the next step. He's still homeschooling the boys, though we're relying upon workbooks more than before.

The past few weeks I've been doing okay--and then this week, I've just been worn out and fell apart a few times emotionally. (Hence, the long delay in updating y'all. I just. . . couldn't.) I went to sleep at 7:30 pm the other night and slept 11 hours solid. Fighting off a cold. It was like as soon as we could take a breath and relax a little about Hubby, it all hit me.

Again, thank you for your encouragement and prayers. They mean a lot to us. We seek secure in the Father's hand. And we'll be sharing more as we know more.


November 10, 2007  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Walk Along the Beach

We were planning a walk along Lido Key Beach. . . It was chilly, and I was wearing my leather jacket and a scarf. Before we knew it, the boys were frolicking among the seaweed and waves. We didn't have towels. Thanks to a not-cleaned-out-van, the boys had clothes to change into for the ride home with the heater blaring.

Driving over Sarasota Bay, originally uploaded by TulipGrrl.


November 03, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Peak Inside. . .

I value transparency. Over the years I've been pretty open with people online, yet still going through cycles of being more or less transparent. I don't put my full name on this blog, partly out of security concerns when we were overseas, and partly out of respect for my children's privacy in the future. (Do I really want future employers to find nekkid baby pics when they google my kids' names as they apply for jobs?)

Some of y'all are aware that when we returned from Ukraine, we pretty much crash-landed. We were considered "short term" with MTW, and extended twice. The second time. . . well. . . perhaps that was a mistake in judgment. I've been blogging less since being in the US. Time constraints, adjustments, pondering things that I'm not willing to be transparent about yet. . .

The Lord has been gracious, but this time of adjustment has been. . . interesting. . . and led down unexpected paths. Personally, spiritually, emotionally, in our family. . . Still we're journeying down this life path. Images of Little Christian's pilgrimage come to mind. God is faithful.

Right now we are facing an obstacle that we were not expecting. Hubby is having significant health problems that are as of yet undiagnosed. His symptoms are worsening, almost daily. Of the four most likely possibilities, the two milder illnesses have been ruled out. He's undergoing further blood work, and as I'm typing this he's in the midst of a three hour MRI.

Peace of mind as we face the unknown, making the most of each day as it comes, wisdom in guiding the children, and a return to full health are what we are praying for now. Thank you for keeping our family in your prayers.


November 02, 2007  |  Comments (39)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bored of Bedtime

"I don't know what to do right now. . . basically, I just have zero options."
--C6's comment, when trying to avoid bed


November 02, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Smooth Moves

KnightT and NinjaJ, originally uploaded by TulipGrrl.


October 31, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Real Ultimate Ninja

NinjaT, originally uploaded by TulipGrrl.


October 31, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Knightiest Knight

KnightT, originally uploaded by TulipGrrl.


October 31, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Doing Everything a C6 Can

SpiderC, originally uploaded by TulipGrrl.


October 31, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Patriotic Boys

Getting Ready for the Patriotic Rally - 10/26/07
Originally uploaded by TulipGrrl
Do to a time miscalculation, we didn't make it to the pro-troop rally in Orlando today. However, we'll be at the Green Bridge over the Manatee River tomorrow afternoon.

Update: We did made it to the bridge over the Manatee River this afternoon--boys, flag, signs and all. The boys loved it and we'll be out their next week, if anyone wants to join us!


October 27, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys Will Eat Anything

I've got to say, I'm super thankful that my boys will eat just about anything. They are each allowed to choose one food that they don't have to eat, but if it is in something I prepare, they are responsible for just eating around it. Right now, the "one things" include leeks, onions, carrots and lima beans. For a long time, monkey brains were R8's "one thing" and then he realized I never serve those. . .

I'm thankful they are willing to try just about anything. One wasn't thrilled with the millet I've made a few times. I tried to convince them it was yummy by saying it was like a cross between rice and couscous. I forgot that rice had been his "one thing" for quite a while.

We had a light lunch the other day of veggies dipped in hummus and toasted pita bread. Hubby bought the hummus at the grocery store, and it reminded me of how much we all like it. It's pretty easy to make, too--and you can skip the tahini if you aren't a hummus purist.

Tonight we had deeeelicious Cuban Black Bean soup. We try to have a legume-based dinner once a week, and Black Bean soup is a fave. I forgot just how good Cuban Black Bean soup is when you're sure to season it with cumin and serve with fresh chopped onions and sour cream. Yummmm. We all had seconds.

Maybe it's the cooler weather, but I'm more inspired to cook and create in the kitchen these days. R8 is asking to make apple butter with me--I've hardly done any canning since Ukraine.



October 22, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pancake Mixes

J11 is very handy in the kitchen. It took me years to be able to make good pancakes, and he's mastered it at age 11. Still, it's easiest to use a mix in the box, but when he's cooking and the other boys are eating. . . well. . . we can go through a lot of pancakes! So here are some make-your-own-mix recipes for us to try out.

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

4 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup non-fat dry milk
2 tablespoons cinnamon
5 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Makes about 8 cups.

To cook the pancakes, beat together:
2 eggs
1/3 c. of melted butter

Little by little mix in:
2 c. of pancake mix
1 c. of water

Perfect Pancake Mix

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Stir 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix, 2 eggs, and 1 1/4 cups of milk in a mixing bowl until smooth. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Enjoy with maple syrup.


October 20, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



No Drama

Just life. Days and weeks go by, the normal rhythm of life. I'm thankful for the lack of drama, the routine ups and downs. I embrace my husband. Hold on to my boys while letting them go. Thanking the Lord.


October 18, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



"Because the ice is so slippery. . .

. . . and the monkeys are all irrational."

Family movie night: Most Valuable Primate


October 13, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Kid Compliments

"You know what I like about Mark? He's a great athlete. He's got amazing endurance. He can run and run and run. And he can jump far."

--T9 about neighbor-kid-Mark


October 12, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




When I got up this morning, the boys were already awake and C6 was asking his brothers what kind of peanut-butter and jelly sandwich they wanted him to make for them. What a sweet kid.


October 06, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



P.A .Vay-Cay

The last week of August we had a family vacation to Pennsylvania. Hubby went further north to Maine with his dad, brothers, and a few other guys to go bear hunting. The boys and I stayed in Pennsylvania with relatives, and had a relaxing, restful country holiday. One of the reasons I started blogging was to keep a family journal. Pics and notes of the trip will be backdated to help us with our stories and pictures and memories.

Friday * Saturday * Sunday * Monday * Tuesday * Wednesday * Thursday * Friday * Saturday * Sunday * Monday

Note: The rest of this is delayed because the pics are on the computer that crashed, and Hubby hasn't had time to get the data off of the hard drive.


September 08, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Saturday: At the Buck!

We dropped Hubby off at his Uncle Sonny's for his trip up to the Maine woods to go bear hunting, and then the boys and I went to Uncle Barry's and Aunt Sherry's. I knew Aunt Sherry long before I knew Hubby--and she's the one who introduced us when we were just 17. Since her youngest is now that age I had to ask her, "What were you thinking when you introduced us!? We were so young!" Ahh, but it has been nearly two decades of bliss, so I'm not complaining!

The boys played for hours on the tire swing that cousin Evan put up for them.




That evening the boys went with Uncle Bar, Natalie and Evan to. . . The Buck to watch Monster Trucks like Robby the Racing Rabbit and the Pink Puppy. They stayed through a rain shower and had so much fun! They learned rhymes like, "When we went to the Buck, we needed to up-chuck and said "Duck! Or you'll be out of luck!" Evan and Natalie also taught them Indian Leg Wrestling. I visited with Aliza and little C while the boys were out at the Buck. We all slept soundly that night!


August 25, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Off We Go!

Recovering from a week of the sickies, we started out Friday morning instead of Thursday night as originally planned. We stopped at Jack's at exit 14 in Georgia--a family tradition--to eat the best wood-smoked barbecue on the globe.

We talked and sang and talked and laughed on the drive up. The boys travel well. *grin* At 2 a.m. we were driving through Washington, D.C. Hubby was pointing out landmarks to the boys, and on a lark we exited to drive through D.C. We saw the Capitol building, the Washington Monument, and then decided to park and walk to the White House. Yes, at 2 a.m. It was great--no crowds of people, no horrid traffic--just a ton of Capital Hill police officers and a few drunk college students, one of whom took this family picture for us.

Visiting Uncle George


August 24, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



No Dark Sarcasm. No Thought Control.

As an incentive to critical thought, Hubby has exegeted this classic song and now the boys are humming it as our homeschool anthem.


August 16, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Follow Rainbows in Your Eyes

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July 29, 1995


July 29, 2007  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys and Men

"Is this what is meant by the chivalric ideal?" asked J10 today, as he, Hubby and brothers were working out--lifting weights while listening to Puccini.


June 22, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hello From Chicago!

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Me, J10, T9, and My Mom

The two older boys and I have been spending a fabulous weekend in Chicago visiting my parents. We've walked all over the city, ridden the ferris wheel at Navy Pier (where my Mom used to work--as Mrs. Claus!), watched the baby beluga nurse at Shedd Aquarium. . . My Dad and the boys slept with the dinos at the Field Musuem.


June 16, 2007  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Lemonade Stand

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The boys have been planning to have a lemonade stand, and the parents have been procrastinating. Today was a perfectly hot, happy day for lemons and sugar and ice.

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One of our neighbors has their house on the market,
and invited the kids to set up shop in front during their open house.
Gives a friendly, neighborhood feel to the potential buyers,
don't you think?

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Business was not brisk, but the fun was.


June 09, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Wii Had A Blast!

We went to Tarpon Springs, renown for its sponge divers and Greek food. We met up with friends (and their boys) from BJU and talked and laughed for hours. After wandering around Tarpon Springs, we went to their place and played Wii. Oh, my! I haven't had that much fun in ages. I'm not big on the electronica in general, but a Wii is definitely on my wish list.

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Camille, Baby and Me

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Camille and Crew

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Horsing Around

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Wii Boys

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Happy Wii Dance

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Serious About Their Studies and Sports


June 08, 2007  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ну, погоди!

Memories of Ukraine, just for my boys.

Ну, погоди!


May 12, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What Life's About

Happy anniversary to my wonderful Dad and Mom. I love you dearly.


May 10, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Coffee with the Guys

Here we are at a local coffee shop, me and my two oldest boys. J9 is drinking a white chocolate mocha and reading a book about drawing comics, T8 is drinking iced coffee, light ice, heavy whip, and finishing HP4 and I'm drinking an extra-caffeinated blended coffee and finishing some homework on the laptop. It's peaceful. And it is amazing to have transitioned to a time in our family life in which we can hang out at a coffee shop and talk and read and just be together. . .


April 27, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I've been feeling nostalgic the past couple of weeks. Maybe that's not such a surprise, seeing all the Ukraine related posts I've written lately. It just dawned on me, however, that today is our 2 year anniversary of being back in the U.S. Two years ago, April 16, 2005, we arrived back in Florida after three and a half years in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The transition back was difficult, perhaps made harder because we left Ukraine just so wiped out. The past couple of months I've said to Hubby, "I miss Kyiv. I could live in Kyiv again." Six months ago, I could envision living in Ukraine again--but not Kyiv. Too many shadows. Now, they seem to have dissipated. Who knows? Who knows whether in the future, God's path for us will lead back to Kyiv? Right now it doesn't seem likely. But, maybe. . . I do trust that the Lord will lead us in the next step--and the next--and the next. Even though I have no idea where or when or what that may bring.

Still, I've been very sentimental, wistful, missing people and places, routines, ways of living. . . Missing Ukraine. And I'm thankful the Lord has brought me to this place of nostalgia, past the fear that clouded so much of our transition time.


April 16, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink






April 15, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hubby Waxes Lyrical

Hubby wrote a lighthearted poem for me today. He loves me.

Presidents write decrees;
And Pontiffs issue bulls.
Despots love their fiats;
And Executives make their rules.

But my love reigns by subtler means;
They’re impossible to question.
And thus it is I live my life,
‘neath the tyranny of “suggestion.”



April 09, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Making Memories and Pysanky

Each spring in Ukraine, several of us American women would get together with a Nadiya, an artist who focused on traditional folk art mixed with modern media, for an afternoon of writing pysanky eggs. It is meditative to sit, work, create together.

On Easter itself, we would see people with krashanky (solid-dyed, usually red, hard boiled eggs) and paska (a decorative, holiday bread) in baskets, bringing them to be blessed by the priests.

I miss Ukraine, and the seasonal changes and traditions. Even when traditions were not my own, they became part of the rhythm of our lives.

This year the boys and I will cook hard-boiled eggs. We will decorate them, and every red egg will remind me of babushka and Ukraine.

(Lil' Miss or Laura or Dawn. . . if you are reading this, do you have any photos of making pysanky together?)


April 02, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Tale of Two Bicycles

Over a year ago, I decided I wanted a bike. I haven't had one in years. I was concerned it might be a passing fancy, that the idea of riding a bike would be more appealing than the reality. So, I waited. When Christmas rolled around this past year, I realized that I really DID want a bike. I had a Schwinn when I was a kid, and so I asked Hubby for a nod to retro design Schwinn from the local store.

While he gave it to me for Christmas, we didn't actually go buy it until mid-February. I rode it and loved it. It was blue. I felt a bit like Audrey Hepburn.

The second time I rode it, as I went up a slight incline I decided to switch gears. And the chain and whole gear mechanism popped off and went flying into the road. It was my birthday. I felt like a kid, wanting to cry.

I returned the bike to the store. They had no more like it, but were readily agreeable that it was a defective bicycle, and so issued me a full refund.

At that point, I was despondent. I told Hubby, "I'm just going to advertise on CraigsList that I want an old bike that has been ridden recently and works."

When I went to post a Wanted:Bike ad, I saw that an ad had just been posted for two bicycles just a few hours before. I called. An older couple have been vacationing in Florida for the past month. They had two older Schwinns and have ridden them all month. I called, and they were willing for me to come take a look.

The bikes were just what I wanted--and not just a bike for me, but Hubby as well. Road bicycles, good condition, older, slightly rusted but working. And the styling? Pure vintage. A Suburban and Collegiate. Blue and Yellow. A comfy seat, new brakes.

I felt like it was a special gift from the Lord. Just what I wanted, only better.


March 29, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When I Grow Up, Part I

We have a set of books from the Life Nature Library. They belonged to Hubby's grandfather and were published in 1962. This morning as R8 was reading one, he told me, "I think when I grow up, I'd like to study cowboys--you know, a Cowboy Historian. Or, study cactus, so they don't die as much. Or the stars"


March 24, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For Laura and Sam

This past weekend we were witness to Laura's and Sam's covenant vows of marriage. Laura was a dear friend and teammate in Ukraine. I cried nearly every time she smiled. And it was wonderful to see Little Miss and Lina--two other recently wed teammates, who lived too far away for us to attend their weddings.

Oh, look at where we are
God has brought us both so far
We've been delivered by his hand
And brought to the place where we now stand

Love is patient and love is kind
Love comes through every time
Always protects hopes and trusts
Keeps on believing and it never gives up

In my life I have seen so many things
But nothing has touched me so deep inside
As when I see Jesus in your eyes

In my heart I'm very sure
In His love ours will endure
Loving Him by loving you
In serving Jesus, I will serve you too

For His glory we will live
He has given us love to give
I am with you heart and soul
Where ever He leads together we will go

In my life I have see so many things
But nothing has touched me so deep inside
As when I see Jesus in your eyes

--Julie Miller


March 21, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Just Another Stop on the Road

My sis, her music man, and her two winsome children are visiting us this week. We've listened to music, drunk wine, looked at photos, and watched the kids play. We'll be celebrating a birthday tomorrow, and then they'll be on their way.


March 05, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Enjoying School

A glass of merlot, a lit candle, music playing, children gathered round and the blue glow of the monitor. Ahhh, this is the way to do school work. Homeschooling or college work. I'm enjoying my music class.


January 16, 2007  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Bits and Pieces

Haven't been blogging much. . . obviously. . . I can't believe we are already two weeks into 2007. 2007. Seems like such a far away year, and here we are already.

We've had company this past week. Rebecca, who travelled with us in Paris, and her college roommate. They've spent a week hanging out with us and enjoying the Florida sunshine and are now off for more vacationing. (They just finished their degrees in English Lit and History, respectively, and need a break before diving into life in Chicago.)

On the home front, a new semester has started. And not only is Hubby another step closer to his master's, but I'm enrolled in a couple of courses, too. Ack. First time in a school setting in. . . ages. One class is online and the other a real-live, actual classroom class. Excited and slightly nervous. And thankful that my textbooks don't cost more than tuition. The kids are back in (home)school, too. They are amazing. I think that C6 is reading. . . but not completely sure. . . definitely things are starting to click.

Hubby's grandparents are visiting from Pennsylvania. (Not staying with us, thankfully--I like having company, but do need a break between one set of guests and another!)

In other news, my sister and her music man are on the road, touring, singing, being together as a family. If you live in Oregon, Kansas, Chicago, upstate New York--you'll have the opportunity to hear Pat Gahn live. It's totally worth it! Check this calendar to see Pat Gahn's engagements.


January 13, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours

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TulipGirl and Discoshaman
C6, J10, R7 and T9

December 25, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent - The Third Sunday

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So we missed church this morning. There is an early service at 8am (impossible) and at 9:30am. At 10:30 T9 was asking "when are we leaving for church?" C6 had "helpfully" turned off the alarm clock. I didn't even hear it go off--I must have rolled over and gone back to sleep.

So we had family worship today. I like having multiple copies of the Trinity Hymnal now. We didn't need to pull them out for today's Christmas hymns, though.

C6 lit three candles today. This is the week for the joy candle. We sang all the verses to Joy to the World.

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December 17, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

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December 16, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Missing My Ukrainian Christmas

I spoke with someone on the phone today and recognized the lilt in her accent. While her English was flawless and accent faint, it was just enough for me to ask her where she was from. Ukraine. Kyiv. She hasn't been there in 15 years. My memories are more recent than hers.

As we are in the holiday season, a lot of memories and "traditions" we made in the few years we were there are making me sad and nostalgic. I liked having the season paced a bit slower than in the States. Our family observing Advent. Christmas on December 25th, celebrated with our family and teammates. New Year's--which has the traditions and emphasis in Ukraine that we have here with Christmas. That was celebrated with our Ukrainian friends Then Ukrainian Christmas in January. Then Old New Year around the 13th. Each celebrated slightly differently, but still sharing some traditions and the spirit of the holidays.

The temperatures have dipped slightly. Enough to wear a sweater or coat and not look like you're totally out of your mind. While in general I love the Florida weather, right now I'm missing Ukraine's winter. Watching the snow fall, looking out from our 15th floor flat and seeing a fairyland instead of grey concrete block buildings.

I haven't kept in touch very much with our friends or teammates in Kyiv. But as I'm doing my Christmas shopping, I'm mentally picking out gifts for Sasha and Laura, Dima and Erik.

Added on later: One of the things I have really been missing is our annual trek to Dyetski Mir, Children's World. It is a 4 story department store, and the top floor is all kids' toys. Really it had an impressive collection of kids' things. Hubby and I would get a babysitter and then go Christmas shopping for the boys. One of our favorite toys we found were little plastic guys (like green army guys) but specific to a historical period. We got knights and vikings and lots of neat things. Unfortunately, by the time we discovered them, the toy factory in Donetsk had already been closed. Typed out, this doesn't sound very exciting, but it was one of our "traditions" that I miss.


December 12, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent - The Second Sunday


December 10, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What I'm Doing. . .

Pandora Online Music Radio: Switching between "Roger Whitakker Holiday" and "Louis Armstrong Holiday"

A new "Jesus Set" for the boys--baby Jesus' head popped off last year, and gluing it isn't working. It just seems so sacriligious to have a headless baby Jesus that I went out and bought a new one. So now we have lots of extra shepherds, wisemen and sheep. We got our original one 6 years ago, and is a special part of our Christmas traditions.

Charlie Brown Christmas with the kids
Alias Final Season with Hubby

The spicy potpourri coasters that my sil made for us when she was in junior high. We pack them away with our Christmas things, and when we unpack them the whole house smells cinnamony.

Brian's Thai Curry

Too much sugar

Peruvian FT Organic Cepicafe Co-Op Coffee

The Pastor's Wife's Christmas Recipes
Gentle Christian Families Forum
Abondante Living
Techy Gadget Giveaway!


December 09, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Moon Moon Yellow

"We're studiers of the moon!" "I found a glowing stone in a little cave." "Look, Mom, we're jumping over giant moon craters!"

The boys have turned out all the lights and are playing by the glow of the computer screen, being astronauts exploring the moon.


December 07, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent - The First Sunday

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This year's advent wreath is made with the ferns, vines, and pinecones which the boys gathered from the woods. We used plates as the base, with clay to hold the candles in place and upright.

Tonight R6 lit the prophecy candle and we read from Isaiah. We have started with the readings we used a few years ago for advent.


December 03, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Meanderings

Last weekend we had two birthday boys--now C is 6 and T is 9. *sniffle* They are growing up so quickly. They each got a bike for their birthday, just like the other two boys did for their birthday's this year. Now they all can ride around the neighborhood! Yesterday R7 rode T9's bike without training wheels, so we took his off. Today, C6 showed he could ride without training wheels, and I took his off. C6 is so independent. The other boys I potty-trained, but he potty-trained himself (with his brothers' examples.) Now he's learned to ride a two-wheeler without our help.

My sister and her kidlets were here for Thanksgiving and stayed for about a week. It was great--we went to the beach, talked, baked, drank wine, went shopping, talked, talked, talked. She bought me an early Christmas present--my own toolbox full of tools. As I am decidedly unhandy, I've never bothered with tools. But they've already come in handy several times--like taking off those training wheels.

Our neighborhood has recently reinstuted their Farmer's Market. It's quite small, but I found wonderful local, non-pastuerized, seasonal honey there this morning! I bought spring and winter, and recommend Eden's Nectar to anyone in Florida.

The boys and I went to the Sarasota holiday parade tonight. For some reason, I didn't realize until we were there that this was the boys' first parade. They had a great time. They made friends with the kids we were standing near and got quite a haul of candy. We had some grumpy people sitting on one side of us, and some neat people on the other side. (Guess which ones brought a bottle of merlot for the parade? I wish the grumpy ones had!)

The boys gathered vines and leaves and pine needles and such from the woods behind our house so that we can make our advent wreath for tomorrow.

I was supposed to take a GRE subject exam today, but my registration didn't go through. I registered online. I was really upset about it. The next one isn't until April.

I have jury duty on Monday. This is the first time I've ever been called up. I don't know what to expect.

T9 told me yesterday that he and his brothers talked about it, and would give up any Christmas presents and birthday presents for the next 10 years, if they could have a little brother or sister.


December 02, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Callooh! Callay!

My sister and her kidlets are flying in tonight. They'll be landing at the airport in just two hours. . . Hubby is picking them up. *grin* My folks drive in on Wednesday. I'm really super-excited. My inlaws are hosting all of us for Thanksgiving dinner.

Annnnnd. . . two boy-birthdays are this weekend, and rumors of bikes and Sea World are floating around.


November 20, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys’ Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning the House

In the past six months or so, we've gone from barely-keeping-up to staying-on-top of the daily messes and clutter. One of the biggest changes is how the boys are now at an age at which their daily activities don't result in a net-mess.

One of the tools we use is the below outline I wrote up and posted on the fridge. We don't do all of these every day, but it is the guide we follow when we do a weekly housecleaning or before we have guests. This list is primarily for the boys to do the basic cleaning, and I follow up taking care of details and things that I see that are overlooked by those who are only 4 feet high.

While the list looks long, we tackle each section at a time. Four boys can do a numbered section in less than 10 minutes when they are working together.

Boys’ Step-By-Step Guide

To Cleaning the House

1. Throw Away All Trash!

a. Empty trash cans in both bathrooms, kids’ bedroom, and kitchen.

b. Gather any and all trash from the floor—bedrooms, public areas, bathrooms, under furniture, in corners.

c. Take trash out to bins in garage—make sure trash gets put in the bin and the lid closed!

d. Sort the recycling in the garage.

2. Gather All Clothes!

a. Pick up all clothes and shoes from the floor—check bedrooms, public areas, bathrooms, and closets. Fold and put away clean ones.

b. Put dirty ones in the hamper (not on the laundry room floor!)

c. Check in and on the dryer. If you see your clothes, fold them and put them away!

d. Are all shoes put away neatly in the closet? Play shoes in one bin, church shoes in the other bin.

3. Books!

a. Gather all books from the floor, under beds and in bathrooms.

b. Mommy/Daddy books put on top of living room bookshelf.

c. Library books put in bin by the door.

d. School books go on the school shelf. Set them up neatly!

e. Kids’ books go on kids’ shelf or under-bed shelves. Set them neatly—like Daddy’s bookshelves.

4. Clean the Kitchen

a. Gather any food, plates, or utensils from anywhere they are in the house.

b. Empty dishwasher. If something still isn’t clean, use the scrub brush!

c. Load dishwasher.

d. If anything is on the counter tops, put it away where it belongs!

e. Squirt counter tops, stove top, and cupboards with vinegar. Wipe down!

f. Sweep kitchen and kitchen office.

5. Wash the walls.

a. Use a slightly damp, clean cloth to wipe walls. Look for fingerprints! Look for scuffs from toys!

b. Pay extra attention to doors and the walls around the doors.

c. Mommy or Daddy will use Magic Eraser.

6. Clean the bathroom.

a. Put away, where they belong, any items that don’t belong in the bathroom.

b. Put away in the cupboard any items that DO belong in the bathroom.

c. Use some dishwashing soap—just a little squirt—to fill the tub with bubble water. Let it soak.

d. Wipe down all surfaces. Use either a cleaning cloth that is wet and wrung out from the soapy water in the tub, or use Clorox wipes. Wipe down counter, cupboards, door, shower walls, and floor.

e. Wipe down toilet with Clorox wipe. Start with the cleanest areas, move to the dirtier areas. Be sure to wipe floor around the base of the toilet!

7. Clean the Floors!

a. Sweep the public areas.

b. Let Daddy or Mommy mop.

c. Inspect for vacuuming—office and bedrooms.

d. Vacuum. Be careful of money, legos, and rubber bands.

e. Put small attachment on and vacuum next to wall and hard to reach areas.

8. Clean Bedroom

a. Make beds—sheets on properly, blankets spread nicely, pillows on.

b. All trash, clothes, and books should already be picked up from earlier work. Double check.

c. Clean closet. Any toys in closet put away. Shoes organized.

d. Clear out everything under beds, under shelves. Put away properly.

e. Straighten shelves. Books neat!

f. Clean out your own dresser special-drawers.

g. Inspect for vacuuming.

9. Have Daddy or Mommy Check!


November 18, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Cooking Coq Au Vin and Christmas

Had a nice evening making Coq au Vin, drinking shiraz (used instead of burgandy), wearing my WIC Have You Hugged A Presbyterian Today? apron and listening to Harry Connick, Jr's, Christmas album. Usually I am a strict constructionist when it comes to Christmas--doesn't start until Advent and/or after Thanksgiving. But I had this cd from the library, and after thinking about Roger Whittaker yesterday, well. . .

I'm making Coq au Vin for a birthday potluck tomorrow. I bought a crock pot today for this very reason. I have wanted one like the one my Mom bought me before we moved to Ukraine. Unfortunately, even with the transformer, it wasn't happy with the electrical current there. Still, it had a removeable pot and all-glass lid, and so could be used in the oven and on the stovetop. So, that's what I wanted if I bought another crock pot. Do you know how hard that is to find?

Washing dishes by candelight is the best way to do it.

My bil is here, helping Hubby repair our recalcitrant laptop.

T8 is begging to read LOTR. Hubby wants him to wait until he's older, not because it is "too much" but because he wants him to really be able to appreciate it So, we're encouraging him to read The Hobbit first to get used to J.R.R. Tolkein's style.


November 12, 2006  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Amazon Christmas Order Excitement!

I ordered my absolute most favorite Christmas album on cd last year through Amazon. I listened to this cassette over and over and over again when I was younger, and not just at Christmas.

My order last November was delayed because Amazon didn't have it in stock and couldn't get it in stock. Every few weeks, I'd get an e-mail, "Do you still want us to try to fulfill the order?" I kept selecting yes so it's been in my "order history" for ages.

(The year before I was careless in ordering, and inadvertantly bought the wrong album, right artist. Since we were in Ukraine, I didn't bother trying to trade it for the right one.)

Today I received and e-mail--it's been shipped! Woohoo! I'll be all set for Christmas this year! It's only taken three Christmases.


November 11, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Kyiv Memories: From The Window

R Looking Out the Window

R7 (when he had just turned 6) is standing on the radiator and looking out of the boys' bedroom window in Kyiv. That flat was on the 15th floor, and provided a great view of the construction of the yellow/triangular-roofed building.

Out the Window

(Kyiv, March 2005)


November 08, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hiating or Not?

So I was asked. . .

Does this mean you're back...??? I was so sad to see that you were going on hiatus (even though I understand). I'll keep peeking in, just in case.

Ummmm. . . yes and no. Sorta. Still kinda on hiatus, especially from mega-online involvement. But a little blog posting--pics and odd thoughts and the like--well, this is just the best outlet for that. *grin*

This is our vacation week, and we have some wonderful New Orleans photos. (But Hubby has them on the laptop, so that will have to wait. . .) And I anticipate posting other bits and pieces this week, too.


November 05, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Peeking. . .

Peeking out of hiatus, because I want to post links to recipes that I don't want to forget.

Pumpkin Seeds / Buttered and Salted

Butternut Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

We went to Detwiler Farms (where we usually buy our produce) for pumpkins yesterday. We were going to buy one, ended up buying two, but took home five! The lady selling the pumpkins gave us several for pumpkin shakes and pumpkin seeds when she found out we like pumpkin seeds. They were still good but had a tiny soft spot and couldn't be sold. So we have pumpkin baking in the oven (and then off to the freezer for Thanksgiving pies!

My folks are coming for Thanksgiving! I'm so excited. My sister and her kidlets are flying out, too. I've e-mailed my brother an invitation, but haven't heard from him. (He's not big on e-mail, but I don't have a current phone number. . .) The last time we were all together was a year and a half ago, for my brother's college graduation.

This is our second Thanksgiving back in the States, and it makes me happy that it's become "tradition" for my parents and sister to come spend this holiday with us. Okay, so it's not a huge, long-standing tradition, but after two years, it feels like one.

Speaking of seeing family, we're going to New Orleans soon. We'll see my grandparents, my other brother and his family, and maybe even some family on my Dad's side. I'm kinda scared, to be honest. I have so many memories of childhood set in New Orleans, and I know things are different, but I don't want it to change my memories, you know?


October 29, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On Hiatus

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Well, I'm getting older too

So, take this love, take it down
If you climb a mountain and turn around
And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will brought it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

Well maybe ... the landslide will bring it down

--Stevie Nicks

Yes, I feel lame quoting the Dixie Chicks. With the classic Stevie Nicks refrain of Children get older I'm getting older too echoing in my head, TulipGirl is going on hiatus.

Grace and peace,
To you and yours,
Wherever you are in the world.


October 17, 2006  |  Comments (22)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Getting Better. . .

Thursday night Hubby came home early and called in sick to his Theory class, because of food poisoning. Second time in his life it was related to beef jerky. He's never eating that again. (And he never misses class unless he's on his deathbed.)

Friday my right eye was hyper-photosensitive. It got progressively worse throughout the morning, culminating in me being overly-cautious and a bit fearful of driving home from J10's orthodontic appointment. I crawled in bed next to Hubby (still sick, but a bit better) and closed my eyes. And slept most of the day.

Saturday I felt great, ran errands, got things done. About 3 am Sunday morning Hubby woke me up and told me C5 had been throwing up for the past couple of hours. In the morning, I awoke feeling nauseated. Yup. Sure enough, the "food poisoning" was likely a virus that swept through the whole family.

Sunday afternoon I was feeling (a bit) better, so Hubby started off for the Uni library an hour away. He was almost there when I called and said the boys were throwing up more and I really needed him home. (He wouldn't have left if I wasn't feeling better earlier. . .) So he came home to care for us, picking up blue powerade, that miracle anti-dehydration potion.

Today we're all up and about. Still feeling pretty lousy, but mobile and no one is vomiting. We're sticking to the BRAT diet, so I made applesauce.

Of the 15 lbs/$5 of apples I bought Saturday, we have about a dozen left. I think the boys have been practicing their juggling again. So I used the bruised ones to make the applesauce. Reminded me of Columbine's story of Good Potato, Bad Potato in Ukraine.

I've been feeling nostalgic and homesick for Ukraine lately. Likely because we've been looking at pics and feel "settled" enough here to miss things there. I've been looking at the pics and reading these blogs (which aren't in Ukraine) but are reminding me of so much of when we were in Kyiv.

The boys and I have been taking turns vegging out on the computer. Andrea introduced us to LineRider and Homeschool Hacks, which led us to these puzzle maps of the US and Europe.

The boys also spent several hours outside today, and I kept the doors open to air out the "sick rooms." I think they needed the fresh air and sunshine.

And I'm feeling better. Humming these hymns.

Update: R7 just started throwing up. *sigh* I thought he had been spared.


October 16, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys' Sizes

So I don't lose it. . .

8/10, 10/12 Dress Shirt
M Polo Shirt
10 Pants (?)

S Dress Shirt (??? Medium may be better)
S/M (Size 8) Polo Shirt
10 Pants
6/8 Shorts (?)

XS Dress Shirt
XS Polo
7 Slim Jeans

XS Dress Shirt
XS Polo
4T Jeans


October 14, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Losses from Katrina

I had the L----- family history album in my possession before the storm. It may have been one of the things that washed away in the storm surge, but I won't know for sure until I can haul things out of the 5 storage areas from Miss to Baton Rouge and see what survived. I thought her name (great-grandmother) was Addie Brown, but I'll see what I can find. We hope to begin moving into the Mississippi house by the end of October, but it may be Christmas before I have time to unpack boxes.

Mom always said that of all the children, M--- E---- was the most like her mother. She spoke of her as very soft-spoken; Mom had never heard her raise her voice. Her favorite song was "Pretty Little Red-Wing." That's all I remember. I do hope that album is still intact---it traces the family history way back, with pictures.

We're on an e-mail list with my Dad's side of the family. His family is from New Orleans, though only a few of us still live there.

I started crying when I read this today. It's so small compared to what some have lost, but felt so big today. . .


October 10, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



If I Were In A Movie

If I were in the movie, even LOTR, and they made me kiss. . . I'd seriously quit. Or at least think about quitting. --my boys, after watching "Making of LOTR"

I'm glad they still think kissing is gross.


October 07, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pinecone Babies

C and PineCone Babies.jpg

Pinecone Baby Sling.jpg


October 07, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Where I Grew Up

I could spend hours at I probably have. The below links are satellite images of where I grew up, with our homes near the center of the image.

Birth to 5:
The Pontalba Apartments
Metairie, LA
Waveland, MS

San Diego

1st-2nd Grades:
Adak, AK

3rd Grade:
Bisbee, AZ

4th-5th Grades:
The Building, Bisbee

6th-8th Grades:

8th-9th Grades:
Great Lakes, IL

10th Grade:
Waukegan, IL

11th-12th Grades:
Live Oak, TX

Early College:
Brooks AFB, TX

Before Marriage:
Gurnee, IL(Our house is gone.)

Our Newlywed Home:
Greenfield, MA

When J10 Was Born:
Myakka City, FL

When T8 Was Born:
Monterrey, CA

Where R7 Was Born:
San Angelo, TX

Middle of Nowhere:
Midland, TX

Cross-Cultural Training:
Florissant, CO

Where C5 Was Born:
Columbia, SC

Preparing for Ukraine:
St. Pete, FL

In Kyiv:
In the Center of the City

In Kyiv:
In Kharkovskyia Region

Now, Florida Gulf Coast

(Not finished yet. . .)


October 05, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Kyiv Memories: Pysanky Tank

Boys on the "Pysanky Tank," Fall 2002

I've been looking through old digital photos, and realized how many memories I have from Ukraine that I want to document here and share with y'all. I think I'll try to do it each Wednesday, but we'll see. . .

This photo was taken in the park across from Rodina Mat. The tanks are painted as a mark of peace, but always reminded me of pysanky eggs. This was when my Mom and Ben were visiting us in the fall of 2002.


October 01, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink





C5, Florida, September 2006


September 28, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Swashbuckling Collectivist Adventure

Great phrase, huh? And to think Hubby has used it in a serious academic paper related to Marxist history and pirates. Grad school is fun.


September 28, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



We Went "Camping"

Camping my speed. Air-conditioned cottages on a lake. Screened-in porches that kept most of the spiders and mosquitos out. Both were plentiful.

We went to Lake Louisa State Park with Hubby's parents, and his little brother and his girlfriend. We had a wonderfully peaceful weekend. Slept more than fished.

The boys got their first fishing rods from Grandpa, who still has his very first fishing rod from when he was a little boy. We didn't catch anything, but we did drown some worms.

The boys also tried out archery, played catch with Uncle Andrew and rode in the back of a pick-up truch for the first time.

C and R Fishing.JPG

C5 and R7, Fishing

J Fishing Lake Louisa.JPG

J10, Lake Louisa

Hubby and Me Self Portrait.JPG

Self Portrait, Hubby and Me

Andrew and Ashley.JPG

Little Brother and His Girlfriend


September 25, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Music to My Heart

J10 is singing "Rock of Ages" with the newish melody. My heart melts.

Our team in Ukraine used to try to sing Rock of Ages alternating the new and old tunes with each verse. We always struggled to keep them straight.

Update: J10 told me Daddy was singing both melodies with them today, and that they were singing the first verse over and over to learn it. T8 asked me to stop singing it "because it makes my stomach hurt" because of what they did to Jesus' side.


September 20, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Let's Get Together, Yeah Yeah Yeah

This Classical Kristen and Tulip1.JPG

Me and Kristen, Atlanta

Kristen and Cute Lexi1.JPG

Kristen and Her Sweetness Lexi

Yup, we need a girl. . . *grin*


September 19, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




Hubby's main site and ROP site have been hacked by Turkish muslim hackers. Anyone know how to fix this and willing to help? Thanks!

Update: Not sure whether Hubby fixed it, or if he had some help--either way Le Sabot and ROP are back online. Thanks for the quick and supportive responses!


September 17, 2006  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Baseball and Apple Pie

Hey Batter Batter.JPG

We took another step in the boys American cultural education today. They went to their first minor league baseball game.

As we approached the gate, an older fellow came up to us and asked if we wanted free tickets. He's a season pass holder and couldn't use them all--so we got free seats right by first base!

Also it was "Wings Night 2006" with area restaurants providing free wings for the spectators in a bid to be voted Sarasota's Hottest Wings.

The game was fun, the boys learned a lot, but the Sarasota Reds lost.

Eating Wings.JPG

Watching the Game.JPG


More Game Watching.JPG


September 02, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



"If I'm Ever a Professor at West Point. . ."

That's how J10 began an elaborate conversation with me. I love how my boys' minds work.


September 02, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Kids Were Up At 5 AM

I don't wake up that early.

When I stumbled out to make my morning coffee, T8 annouced, "I've been awake since 5:02 and haven't been able to go to sleep since!"

They are playing Axis and Allies now, with reminders to check their chore list and school list.

I wanna go back to bed. Just thinking of getting up at 5 makes me tired.


September 01, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm Not A Luddite, Really I'm Not

Though I know some of my friends in Ukraine thought we were, the way we eschewed getting a cell phone. We "borrowed" a team one during a summer project. I never used it.

But we've made the jump, and now Hubby and I each have cell phones. I figured out how to dial and answer it tonight. Played around a bit so the ring tones are less annoying. At the end of the week, our landline will be disconnected. The costs balance out.

Fiber-optic internet at home; cell phones when we're out. No more dial up or being tied to landlines.

No, not a Luddite.


August 29, 2006  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home Again, Home Again. . .

Hooray! My boys are all home with me.


August 20, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



While the Boys Are Out of Town. . .

My list of things to do while the guys are gone this weekend:

Hair Cut/Highlighted
Visit Bookstores, B&N, Borders, Living Word, Goodwill
Clean the Fridge / Freezer
Grocery / Produce Market
Photo CD for Sis
Package to Mail GCM
Catch up on Laundry
Make Bulk Batches of Black Beans, Lentils, Rice
Make Granola
Dust Ceiling Fans
General House Cleaning
Gather Package for Katya / Sasha
Review GL
Review JF
Edit Hubby's Article
Edit Friend's Website
Edit Hubby's Book (See a pattern?)
Dove Chocolate/Cherry Courtship Ice Cream
Go to the Library
Add History/Bible to Homeschool Tracker
Check Kiddo's Math
Make Next Week's School Schedule
Amaretto Cherries
Watch Chick Flicks:
Raising Helen
The Shop Around the Corner
Good Night and Good Luck
Start Christmas Gift List
Pay Bills
Read Books
Listen to Lectures


August 19, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



It's Toooooo Quiet

Hubby and the boys left this morning for a trip to South Carolina. C5 was born in Columbia, SC, so he's especially excited to visit his birth state.

(Each of the boys has especial affinity for the part of the country in which they were born. Trivia: Each of our children was born in a different state. None was born in the state in which he was conceived.)

Hubby's little brother has become one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. He's graduating from basic at Parris Island. Hubby and the boys have taken our first road trip since returning to the States to support his little brother. (They'll also be visiting the USS Yorktown and historical Charleston. The last time we were in Charleston was 1999, visiting some friends. . .)

And while I have a couple of Netflix movies that haven't made it to the top of the queue when the rest of the family is home, and while I plan on getting a long over-due haircut, and while I have some projects I'm looking forward to working on. . . it's hard to relax or concentrate with a house this quiet.

Update: Hubby called. He and the boys are safe and having a wonderful time. He says I make better barbeque than then legendary place at exit 14 when you cross over the Georgia line. And I'm off too watch "Raising Helen." Not because I've heard it is a great movie, but because we purchased pirated versions in Ukraine--multiple times--which promised to be in English but never were. Po-russki, it's called "Modnyia Mama." It's like completing a mission to finally watch it. . . And I'm drinking white zin, a vino Hubby finds less than appealing.


August 17, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Define: Journal

"What's a journal?" asked R7.

"It's like a blog--only on paper."


August 13, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Battle of New Orleans (in Florida)

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see'd the British come.
And there must have been a hundred of'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring.
We stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets 'til we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire 'til we see'd their faces well.
Then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave 'em ... well

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**

We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down.
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hubby used his birthday money from his sister to buy music, including this Johnny Horton CD. He got it especially for the boys, as they are studying US history this year and next. (Thought US history would be more meaningful the years we live in the States and can do historical field trips.)

The boys have the lyrics nearly memorized to this song, Sink the Bismark, Johnny Reb, and Johnny Freedom.

Do you remember acting out songs when you were a kid? I did all the time, especially with my sister and one of my friends. This evening I've watched the boys' choreography to Battle of New Orleans evolve. Near the end of the evening, J10 was costumed all in red and R7 all in blue--the British and Ol' Hickory.

Ahhhh. . . I love watching my boys' childhood. . .

Update: Thanks to Mrs. Crumley, check out this lego brick film of the Battle of New Orleans. What a way to learn history. . .


August 10, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Arizona Honeymoon

Arizona Honeymoon.jpg

Much love to my sis and her music man
as they celebrate their marriage,
from one full moon to the next.


August 09, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When I Was A Kid. . .

When I was a kid, school didn't start until after Labor Day, and wrapped up right about Memorial Day.

The school district in which we reside begins classes Monday. In the city just north of us, school started last week.

Homeschooling, we're following a more traditional calendar. Not quite waiting until Labor Day, but we aren't starting Monday. It's still summerime here!

For those who live in Florida, here's a sample letter of intent to file with your school district, as required by Florida state law. Thanks to the Learning and Families homeschool group for providing it online.


August 05, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Healthy Hot Dogs?

The boys had hot dogs for lunch. Hubby was quick to inform me that they were healthy hotdogs--served with flax seed, spinach, avocado and ketchup. He said they were delicious.

I'll take his word on it.


August 02, 2006  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Saturday Errands

We woke Hubby up this morning with Bisbee Coffee and biscotti. Happy Birthday, honey!

The boys and I drove him downtown to work with his dad, and then we walked around the Downtown Farmer's Market. We bought some spices and looked at some art done by orphans around the world.

Then we went to the library. Not only did the boys get their books, but I scored at the library used book sale--a vintage Babywise book--the same bluish cover edition (1993) that we had when J10 was a baby.

After that, to Fruitville Market. Six pounds of cherries for Amaretto Cherries. Spinach. Broccoli. Cheap bananas. Peppers. Key Limes. Local Mangos. And a peach milkshake.

Now we're packing bags for the boys to have a sleepover with the grandparents tonight.

Hubby and I have reservations at a nice restaurant downtown, will be going to Lido Key, and are celebrating our eleventh anniversary.


July 29, 2006  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Update. . .

We have a new pet. A ringneck snake Hubby caught in the pool. He's feeding it my worms. So far it doesn't have a name. I wonder whether it says something about our family that all of our pets are cold-blooded--a snake, a fish, and worms.

I can't believe it's already near the end of July. In early July I was able to go to Arizona to see my family and my sister wed her music man.

Dad gave me a tour of his house-under-construction. It is amazing. I wish he had a blog with details about it and a virtual tour. But in short, it's on the side of a mountain and fits there so perfectly. It's designed for the climate and environment there and quite self-sustaining. The ideas are from Dad, and designed with help from an architect friend. Every window has an amazing view.

We're gearing up for homeschooling. Hubby and I had our plans, and then *stress* and we're not quite sure what materials we'll be using. But summer has been peaceful and wonderful and we're really happy about homeschooling this fall. We're also building in extra breaks for when Hubby is at the end-of-semester crunch with grad school.

On Friday we went out for ribs with Hubby's family, and had a sleepover there. Now that they are traveling together with their business, we're trying to take advantage of each weekend they are home. We watched Sledge Hammer, a hilarious cop show Hubby used to watch with his dad when he was a kid.

I have pics downloaded and keep meaning to put up, but then get distracted.

I'm very distractable these days.


July 22, 2006  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Dream Vacation

T8 knows everything about whales. In fact, he was reading a library book aloud to me tonight and told me that the length/weight information was "off" in this book. He's read enough about whales to see the inconsistencies.

Check out this cool vacation--swimming with the whales in the South Pacific.

But as it would be nearly 10K for our family, I think we'll have to plan for and be content to swim with the manatees.


July 05, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



With a Bible and a Gun

Today my son turns ten. My baby, my firstborn.

He was born in the same city where we are now living. I labored at the beach with him, before going to the birthing center and then transferring to the hospital. It was a long labor. I wish someone had named transition to me when I was in the midst of it. Pushing was a relief.

When he was born and was placed in my arms, I had an unknown feeling, an unrecognized new love overwhelm me. I remember in that moment identifying with Eve. "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man."

So J is now 10. To mark his first decade he was given two gifts, his first full Bible and a shotgun.


June 30, 2006  |  Comments (19)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What's Abortion, Mom?

Just the sort of question I haven't wanted to hear. And today J9 asked it.

By some parents' standards we're pretty permissive. The boys have seen all of the LOTR movies, myriad times. We've read them Greek myths and talked about false gods and beliefs. They've known street kids and learned how to look for syringes at the park and what to do if they see one. By other standards, we're over-protective. They have carefully guarded them from any sexualized media. They haven't spent the night with anyone outside the family. We spend limited time away from the kiddos. They only learned what divorce was in the past year. Only last month did the two older boys get a "talk" about how God brings babies into families.

The concept and reality of abortion is something I've wanted to protect them from. Knowing some babies are killed? While they are defenseless and still growing in mommy? And that it done intentionally? What a horrid idea for a child to learn.

J9 is quite politically-inclined. He has a Katherine Harris t-shirt. Wants to form a Young America's chapter in the neighborhood. Is proud to be an American, and a Republican. Somewhere along his reading he's seen the word abortion. He saw that word on my screen this evening, and that's what prompted the question.

"What's abortion, Mom?"

My first answer, "Honey, it's bedtime and I'm too tired. Let's talk about that later." Yup. The lazy answer.

A minute later I called him to me. "What do you think abortion is?"

"I don't know. I've just seen the word."

And I weighed. Do I bring him a step further into the knowledge of how fallen our world is? Can I delay it? Please, my son is only nine-turning-ten-this-week. I don't want him to know about abortion yet.

I was his age when I first read Diary of an Unborn Child. My mom had a tract from Last Days' Ministries. I think there were daisies on the front. I know I had a concept of abortion before then, but that's when I really became aware of what abortion truly was.

I have a small pregnancy diary online from when I was expecting C5. Along with it are pictures of several stages of development. So I took J9 to that webpage and we looked at the pictures and I told him about how babies grow in the womb. We talked about how they start with just two cells and the difference between those two cells and a 10 year old is simply time and nutrition. We talked about how funny they look at 6 weeks old. We laughed at the 24 week "old man" baby picture.

And then I told him.

Abortion is when people go to a doctor to intentionally kill a baby before he is born.


I watched his face. His eyes flitting from picture to picture. The look of horror, bewilderment.

He sat on my lap and we hugged and were sad and silent together.


June 28, 2006  |  Comments (22)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



It's Pouring. . .

And the boys are swimming in the pool, the sky is yellow and the rain is pouring down.

Ack. Just started thundering. Calling five wet boys into the house.


June 21, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Book Club

T8 and I have started a mommy-son book club. He chose the first book we're both going to read and then discuss: Little Pilgrim's Progress.

I highly recommend it. It is great as a read aloud. I've read it a couple of times to the boys (and then read it on tape so they can listen to it again.) While Helen Taylor takes liberties, I find she stays true to the heart of the John Bunyan classic.


June 20, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Home, Happy Father's Day

But O, my babies on the floor;
My wife's blithe welcome at the door;
My bread well earned with sweat of brows;
My garden flowerful, green of boughs;
Friends, books;
I would not change ye for ten thousand pounds.

--Cosmo Monkhouse, 'Rondel'


June 18, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Sister is Glowing



June 17, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Alberto, Our First Named Storm

I think everyone is a bit more alert and anxious, after last year's Hurricane Katrina. In the past, I remember never being worried about hurricanes (though we lived in LA, MS, FL, Cuba. . .)

We live along the border between the hurricane warning area and the tropical storm warning area is, according to the NOAA's most recent advisory on Alberto. The wind is picking up. We lost electricity for about two hours on Sunday.

Last year, we had more damage and more power outages during the early season tropical storms than we did during the later season actual hurricanes. . . Our personal damage was limited to screens needing to be put back in on the lanai. (Rejoicing at that!)

Knowing that we have family members still rebuilding, regrouping, recouping after Katrina, though, makes me less. . . certain? arrogant? . . . than I used to be about our city being in a storm-free bubble.

I can hear the wind.


June 12, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Suburban Sunday

I feel sufficiently suburban today.

After church we took a Sunday afternoon nap, and then headed to Home Depot. We bought a goodly supply of home repair and lawn equipment, and came home to work in the yard.

Some of the google searches we've done today:
how to clean tile grout
cinch bugs and st. augustine grass
energy efficiency florida
celcius farenheit conversion


June 11, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Summer Evening

This evening I sat outside on the lanai, drank iced coffee and read a new theology book (thanks, Tim).

The boys were playing with a neighbor(!) in the pool. Five splashing boys.

It was peaceful.


May 31, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sick Days. . .

All the boys are coughing. T8 slept away most of yesterday. I've been vomiting. Oh, joy.

Anyway, there are some business-y things I still have to attend to. Phone calls to make. People to contact. Plus, it's the boys' last day of school.



May 19, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Them good ol' boys. . . Singing. . .

Driving home tonight after dark, all the boys except T8 were asleep. We were listening to the radio, windows down, holding hands, singing together. . .

"Bye bye Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."


May 18, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Woman Shoots Gator

Just a few days ago I posted about alligator attacks. And now. . .

A woman shot an alligator that she found on her lanai, attacking her dog. From the details in the story, if this wasn't in our neighborhood, it wasn't too far away.


May 18, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bananas and Onions and Beets, Oh My!

We joined the local organic food co-op. While I still get most of my produce from the non-organic roadside market and the grocery store, now each week I'll be picking up a basketful of organic produce as well.

This week's goodies include organic bananas, beets, onions, sweet potatoes and more. I don't think I've ever eaten beets outside of Ukraine. It's weird to have experiences I associate with Ukraine within an American context.

Right now I have a onion frittata in the oven, with a side salad ready for dinner.


May 01, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Budding Calvinist. . .

J9 asked Hubby tonight, "Are you a 5-point Calvinist?" He's reading a "theological novel"about basic Reformed theology.

That led to a brief discussion on infralapsarian and amyraldian views between the two of them.

Then J9 turned to me, "What about you?"

"Why do you think I'm called TulipGirl?"



April 29, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bedtime Boy Said

"The Germans and the Japanese don't."

"Don't what, honey?"

"The Germans and the Japanese don't have to go to bed at this certain hour."

(Conversation with C5, as he snuggled on my lap, moments before he drifted to sleep.)


April 27, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Oh, crap!

"Oh, crap!" I heard my 8 year old say, as we drove down the road in the minivan the other day. Shocked me a bit. Haven't heard him use language like that before.

His expletive was followed by some banging, and sounds of paper being rumpled, and a book being slammed shut.

"What's going on?"

"Those stupid guys are whalehunting again. And they killed the whale already."

T8 is reading an illustrated version of Moby Dick. T8, my whale lover, budding marine biologist. He has a great sensitivity to injustices, chief of which is whale hunting.

A few days later he told me, "You know what I'd do if I were a millionaire?"

"No, what?"

"I wouldn't be foolish with my money. I'd buy a big house and get a wife and a bunch of kids. But I wouldn't just buy them every toy they wanted. And I'd work at the aquarium. If I couldn't work with the whales, well, then I'd just be the guy that feeds the sharks."


April 23, 2006  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



One Year

This is where I would insert a post reflecting on what life and the Lord has brought us in the past year. One year ago today, we stepped back onto US soil. One year ago was the ending of our life in Ukraine. Understandably, I've been a bit emotional today. Contemplative.

And I can't quite bring myself to blog on it beyond this.

But I do want to thank everyone who has prayed for us, supported us, encouraged us--both in our time in Ukraine and our time in the States.


April 15, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Of Books and Bands Unheard Of

So I went to the local Christian bookstore tonight. . . I like it, in spite of some of the cheesiness that is inevitable these days in Christian bookstores. It helps that a manager there goes to our neighborhood PCA and consciously stocks books I'd like to buy.

Anyway, there's a systematic theology I've heard about. While I adore Berkof, I wanted to get another perspective as well. I couldn't remember the authors name. "Grudem?" asked Skip.
"Nooo. . ."
"Oh, Reymond?"

He showed me to the last one in stock. Yikes. I forgot the price tags that come along with books like that. I bought it anyway, thanks justifying that I might not get a 20% off coupon from Skip again, and that my folks sent me a birthday check a few weeks ago. (That birthday money also bought me new jammies. And a couple trips to the local coffee shop. And a few other things. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Or at least, keeps on letting me find room in the budget for splurge buys. . . *L*)

After that I wandered back to the music section. While I've enjoyed a wide range of music through the years, I've only allowed myself to be called a fan of The Choir. They recently released a new album. I couldn't find it. I asked the guy in the music section where I'd find it.

"The Choir? That's the group?"
"Yes, The Choir. O How the Mighty Have Fallen."
"Do you mean the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?"
"No. Just The Choir."
"Hmmm. . . They must be an older group."
"You've never heard of The Choir? They're classic. Mid-80s SoCal alternative Christian pioneers?"
"No. . ."

I was shaking my head. The music "expert" for the store had never heard of The Choir. And I was feeling my age. Especially after his, "They must be an older group" comment. I had picked up "At the Foot of the Cross" and asked him if he was familiar with that. He was. I pointed out that Steve Hindalong was the producer, Steve Hindalong the lyricist and percussionist for the Choir. Blank look.

He looked it up on the computer. That store had never ordered, stocked, or sold a single Choir CD. The mind boggles. I told him he had to order something, just for his own listening edification.

I guess I'll just order it directly from Dan, Derri, and Steve. I bet this birthday check could stretch infinitely.

Remind me one day of swooning around Steve's parents and my "I'm a greedy little monkey" story.


April 08, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Betta

I guess my worms on the lanai aren't enough.

The boys have been wanting to get a pet again. They came across an online game in which you try to keep your fish alive and breed them to come up with new fish. (Which brought up its own set of questions. . .) They've been been pouring over a library book on aquarium fish for several days.

Fish are easy, right? Easy and possibly not quick to kill? We had goldfish when the boys were toddlers, and it was the nasty Midland water that got to them. Honest, it wasn't me.

So today we ventured out and chose a betta. The type that is supposed to thrive in a smallish environment without all the fancy set ups that non-pet-people like me can handle. (Also read: cheap.)

The boys had quite the time choosing a name.

C5's first suggestion was "Bubbly." That was quickly shot down. Soon after, though, the boys had narrowed it down to naming our betta after a Greek god.

"Who was the Greek god of war? What was his name? You know, the Romans called him Mars. . ." J9 asked. I couldn't remember. Honestly, all the Greek deities kind of blend together for me, and it has been over a year since we studied ancient Greece. Finally someone piped up, "Ares!"

T8 recommended Poseidon. Then started the lively debate over whether Ares or Poseidon was the most appropriate name for our little betta. R7 was in favor of Ares. "I can never remember how to say the other guy's name!" J9 argued against Ares, even though he recommended that name. "Sure he was the god of war, but if he got hurt, he just ran away."

I was silently rooting for Poseidon.

It was a lively 10 minute debate before settling on something they mutally agreed upon. The consensus? Poseidon. But his full name is Poseidon Ares B_____.

Oh, did I mention the boys named R7's cactus? Spike George B_____.


March 31, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Spring Break Bits

So far we've had a wonderful, relaxing, fun spring break. *grin* The boys have gone swimming every day, in spite of the water being frigid. We went to Dinosaur World in Plant City on Tuesday. It was very kid-friendly, and for those who are local, they'll be having discounted tickets for homeschoolers throughout the month of May. I took a lot of pics with my ancient Nikon (which I love, but doesn't have the instant gratification of digital. . .) I might get photos up later this week, though.

Yesterday we went to the beach on Anna Maria Island. Went with a friend I've known since our boys were babies together, 9+ years ago. We laughed at how uptight we were there, but thinking we were relaxed and had it all together. And we talked about how gracious God is. . . Lots and lots of good talking. Haven't had a "girlfriend" type talk like that in awhile. Between the two of us we have six boys. Lots of fun, lots of energy. And they were wonderful and didn't get too sunburned.

I've fallen asleep around 9pm each night. And haven't woken until 9am. I think I really have needed the rest.

We've also made a couple trips to the library. We've been avoiding it because of library fines. *blush* Yes, I have a payment plan with my local library because of overdue fees. And yes, we borrowed Hubby's card for our library excursions this week.

I haven't gotten anywhere close to the around-the-house projects I wanted to tackle. In fact, I bought strawberries while we were in Plant City and we're munching on them instead of making jam. Ahh, well. I'm hoping we'll actually scrub down the vehicles inside and out tomorrow, but if we don't. . . they'll survive.

I have a bit of a stomach bug or something and feel kinda nasty.

I think I need to sip some peppermint tea.


March 30, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Growing Bolder Child Within My Heart

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
and I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life~~~

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
Oh I'm getting older too

Happy birthday, Mom.


March 26, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Spring Break

Hooray! Spring break is here! And unlike the crazy college students who fly down to Florida for spring break, I always get to live here and enjoy the sunshine. *eg*

One of the differences between homeschooling and having the boys in school is the increased appreciation I have for vacations and holidays.

Right now J9 is swimming laps in the pool. Now, it's waaaaay too freezing for me to swim, but he's a tough kid and loves the water.

Our Spring Break plans include a around-the-house project each day. (Ahhh, yes, I'm the queen of procrastinating when it comes to these things) and an fun outing.

Today we washed the inside walls in the house. We tend to get lots of fingerprints, footprints, and various banging prints on the walls of our home. The boys wiped them down, and I followed up with the Mr. Clean eraser. I love that cleaning tool. The next time I send a goodie box to my missionary friends, I'm sending Mr. Clean erasers.

We also went to see the Curious George movie and ate Curious George snacks, thanks to my Mom's suggestion. And I took a long afternoon nap. Okay, maybe not the boys' idea of fun during Spring Break, but it definitely works for me. *grin*

This Week's Projects:
Sweep and Scrub the Lanai
Make Strawberry Jam
Weed and Mulch the Front Yard
Clothes--Give Away, Dry Clean, Launder, Organize
ReOrganize Kitchen, Store Hurricane Supplies
Clean Desk/Organize Bills
Clean Car/Van Inside/Out
Dust Everything, Especially Fans

This Week's Fun:
The Library--T7 has been begging and begging to go to the library. I in my post-Ukraine excitement, overused the library when we returned to the tune of impressive overdue fines. So, the library has been avoided of late.
Dinosaur World
U-Pic Strawberries
The Beach
Reread the Chronicles of Narnia
Living Room Forts
Florida Air Show, maybe


March 24, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




. . .At the last checkpoint we took the kids out and witnessed eight soldiers melt. behind cammo and guns - eyes softened at the sight of an infant in tyedye and a little blonde barefoot shirtless girl playing in the dirt. when it was fine to leave we herad over and over "thank you my friend, thank you my friend". --mountain mama

March 11, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Woohoo! Thank you!

A dear, sweet friend, Carol of Parenting Decisions, sent me some goodies from Amazon. Two brown cardboard boxes greeted me when I came home today. I sure to feel loved. And spoiled.

Carol also sent us goody-boxes when we were overseas, packed with care by her kiddos and herself. Even her husband carefully chose just the right HotWheels to send to our boys. I'm so blessed to have friends like this, friends through the years and over the miles.


March 08, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bad Words All The Time

Read about it.


February 05, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Weird Ethnic Foods Night

When Hubby came home from the grocery store last night, he announced, "Tonight is Weird Ethnic Foods night!" Thanks to the gourmet and ethnic sections of the grocery store, Hubby planned our dinner menu:

Indian Mutter Paneer
Indian Dhingri Mutter
Indian Spiced Rice
Indian Spiced Chai

Greek Olive Bread
Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves
Greek Three Pepper Hummas
Greek Flat Bread

French Goat Cheese

Japanese Sushi

And the kids ate it all! J9 especially liked the sushi. T8 loved the mutter dishes. R6 was tired, but drank lots of chai. C5 asked for seconds on the goat cheese. . . And I'm having flat bread, hummus, and sprouts for lunch.


January 29, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Dinner and Google

I tried to resist interrupting dinner, but I jut had to google something in the midst of our conversation. We were talking about world population, food, and such, and I needed to know which country had the most arable land by area.

It took a little longer than expected to find the answer. The first search came up with arable land as a percentage of country land mass. The top three?

Yeah, I'm a bit surprised, too.

But arable land by area?
United States
Russian Federation

Okay. Back to dinner.

The conversation evolved to Christianity and capitalism. Which led to Hubby pulling Novak's "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism" off of the shelf and J9 begging to read it. . .


January 28, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm a Vermiculturist

I finally got my worms. I've been wanting to do worm kitchen composting for several years. While we had an ideal place for a worm bin in Ukraine, we were already weird Americans and I didn't want to further freak out my Ukrainian neighbors.

The past couple of months here in Florida, I've been looking into it again. Today I stopped at Mr. B's Bait Shop and asked if they had any red wigglers. They did! And Penny (who is the type of woman who obviously enjoys fishing) was very tolerant of my non-fishing request, and gave me a few pointers she'd picked up from other worm composters who had bought their red wigglers from her.

I already had a plastic bin that I had sized for under the sink. A couple of weeks ago I prepared bedding of corrogated cardboard squares and newspaper strips. But my plastic container wasn't quite ready. Worms need lots of oxygen--they breathe through their skin. And the compost needs it, too--otherwise it will start anaerobic and smelly decay. So, I stopped at Target and bought myself a small and girly hand-held drill. My first worms AND my first power tool! We are so not power tool people. I drilled bunches of holes in my container.

Then I gently dumped my two styrofoam containers of worms onto the top of the damp bedding. At first I thought about half were already dead. Laying there still and wormie. But they were just in shock. After about a minute most of them had wiggled deep into their new home. A couple were still on top and still. But when I went to take them out, they all started wiggling. Not a dead worm in the bunch!

But then I committed vermicide. Unitentional worm slaughter. Well, maybe slaughter is too big a word, since I killed only about 10. I drilled air holes into my container below the bedding line (I thought I read it was okay) and several escaped and shrivelled up overnight. Hubby said he heard little wormy voices chanting "Attica, attica!" before they made their break. So, I taped up those holes, and checked and saw I still had live worms, and we'll go from here.

More resources on vermiculture:
The Burrow Presents. . .
Worm Digest
Worms Eat My Garbage
Composting with Red Wigglers
Worm Bins, Illustrated
Easy Worm Bin


January 07, 2006  |  Comments (17)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Goals, Desires, Dreams 2006


1. Couch to 5K. The sloooooow plan.
2. Develop more family routines, ala Flylady.
3. Take a college class this year.
4. Finish memorizing the Children's Catechism with the boys.
5. Floss more.


1. Find a friend to whom I can be spiritually accountable, and will encourage me in my walk with the Lord.
2. Reconnect with family, friends, supporters.
3. Be more comfortable with techy stuff.
4. Read more. Write more.
5. Go on more dates with Hubby.
6. Start vermicomposting.


See the Mondo Beyondo list.

Btw, this is not a definitive list, and is open to updating and modification. . . *grin*


January 01, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Mondo Beyondo -- The Dream List 2006

Obviously, the Mondo Beyondo list includes things that are far into the future, not just this year. This is my day-dream list.

1. Live in Paris, in the Third Arrondissement.
2. Have another baby.
3. Finish my undergrad, and go on to grad school/seminary.
4. Be on the college lecture circuit and given handsome honoraria.
5. Drive an old Jaguar.
6. Learn to Dance.
7. Sing lullabies to grandbabies.
8. Write something lasting.
9. Wear my wedding dress/engagement ring again.

Btw, this is not a definitive list, and is open to updating and modification. . . *grin*


January 01, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Mondo Beyondo 2006

I like the New Year.

I like having a time to collect my thoughts from the past year. A time to reflect, be grateful, see how far the Lord has brought me.

I like having a time to dream.

A few years ago, some girlfriends introduced me to the idea of a "Mondo Beyondo List" for the new year. This is the list of all the wild and crazy dreams we have, the things that are so out there it is almost scary to write them down. This isn't a resolutions list of eating healthier and spending wiser. This is the mondo beyondo list, the ideas that tug at your heart and are almost out of reach even of day dreams.

I'm taking some time this week to day dream. And I'll post my Mondo Beyondo list come January 1st. (Well, at least part of it--some is too scary to post publicly--you know. . .)

Please share yours, too--either on your own blog or in the comments.

Mondo Beyondo Lists:
Hannah Im's


December 31, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Getting Ready. . .

Woohoo! We're getting ready for the Laurichka! Aunt Laura from Kyiv is coming to visit and spend New Year's, a traditional Ukrainian New Year's, with us!

(And, oh, I am soooo behind on laundry. . . And that guest room we e-mailed her about? It's still the office/storage room. Ah, well. She knows us well, knows all our dirt, and loves us anyway.)


December 29, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I have a sore throat and having trouble talking. It's getting worse. *quiet sigh*


December 24, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Crazy Kids

It's in the low 70s. The pool water has been too cold for over a month. Yet, those crazy kids are swimming.

Okay, so we were playing around and I pushed them in. *eg*

But now they are swimming and freezing and having fun.

Gotta love winter in Florida.


December 18, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Christmas Gift List

I keep making my list and crossing it off, and then misplacing it. *blush* No, I don't rank among the super-organized like the ladies at Organized Christmas or FlyLady. But the important parts of the holiday are coming together--the smell of baking, the sound of carols, doing the Jesse Tree, lighting advent candles. . .

Anyway, so I don't lose my gift list again, I'm posting it here.

Grandparents M: Card and Photos
Grandparents B: Card and Photos
Grandparents R: Card and Photos
(Still need to choose photos and have them printed.)

My Family:
Dad: Bought (not posting it--Mom might see it!)
Mom: ???
MtnMama and family: Ordered, shipped (You can open it early! *grin* It's for the whole family, but especially the kiddos.)
Johnny: ???

Hubby's Family:
Pop: Book on CD, Ordered
Mom: Book, Chocolate, Surprise, Ordered/Bought
Mike and Shelly: Bread Dipping Spices and Olive Oil, Made/Bought
Their Kids: Christmas Traditions Box, Ordered/Bought
Amanda and Jonathan: ??? (Movie and Popcorn?)
Andrew: 1/2 bought

Kids' Teachers:
Mrs. D: Post It Notes, Bought
Mrs. E: ???
Mrs. K: Chocolate, Bought
Miss S: Cosmetic Bag w/ Goodies, Bought

Dr J/Dr M: Bread Dipping Spices and Olive Oil, Made/Bought
Dee: Hippie Book/Tension Tamer Collection
Bev: Ukrainian Pysanky

Kiddos: (Not posting too many details, just in case.)

Each year we get one "big" gift for all of them, and then some individual gifts. Some of the past "big" gifts have been: a wooden chess set with child-hand sized pieces and the book "The Story of Chess," an indoor wall anchored gym set, the Chronicles of Narnia book set and reading it aloud.

This year we have two big gift. The first is a certain board game that Hubby loves that he wants to teach the boys to play together as a family.

The second is a new costume storage bin and costumes. The boys love dress up and pretend play, and we encourage that. I found some great post-Halloween sales for costumes that seem very durable, and at 90% off, well, it made for lots of fun costume buying! Also we've ordering them these wooden items.


December 10, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Two Little Boys

With beds made up in the bathroom, sipping cool chammomile tea, with occasional trips to vomit.

Update: So far it's gone from R6 to C5 to T8. I was feeling yucky yesterday, but avoided throwing up. Ginger tea and toast feature prominently in our meal plans.


December 09, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Jesse Tree from 2002

I just came across a photo of my boys that shows a small part of our Jesse Tree on the left side of the photo. Our Jesse Tree is made of felt and has magnets on the back that hold it to the fridge. Each day's ornament attaches with velcro. You can see five days are up.


This photo is from three years ago, and is taken in our kitchen in Ukraine. My hubby is the guy in the grey turtleneck on the right.
The other guy? I don't remember. . . I think he was an American spending a few weeks in Ukraine who was staying at our house for a few hours on the way to the airport.


November 30, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Jesse Tree Bible Study. . . You're Invited

Gentle Christian Mothers will be hosting an Advent Bible study, based on the Jesse Tree. The Bible study begins the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th. It will be hosted in the Drawing Closer/Bible Study forum, which is accessible to all registered GCM members. (New mamas are invited to join!)

As Hannah Jo, one of the Bible study leaders explains, "A Jesse Tree displays the family tree of Jesus. All the pivitol events in the Old Testament are drawn together to trace God's faithfulness throughout the generations and the working out of His plan for the salvation of mankind through the coming messiah."

The GCM Jesse Tree Bible study will follow these symbols and scriptures.

Many families are building the Jesse Tree into part of their family Christmas tradition. Here are some daily family devotions based on the Jesse Tree.

Our family has a felt Jesse Tree made by a dear friend over a decade ago for her family. Her children are grown now, and she's shared it with us. It's one of my boys favorite parts of the holiday, building anticipation to the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child.

Curious about what a Jesse Tree looks like?
Jesse Tree 1
Jesse Tree 2
Jesse Tree 3
Jesse Tree 4
Jesse Tree 5

"Children love helping to make the ornaments," says Hannah Jo, "and the Jesse Tree can be a teaching tool to help pass on the faith to yet another generation. We're looking forward to enjoying this tradition together with you!"


November 27, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thanksgiving Memories 2005


Isn't it beautiful? One of our family traditions is that Dad makes the turkey and his fabulous wild rice and sausage stuffing. This year he made two--one for dinner and one for leftovers.


Dad wasn't the only one in the kitchen. My Mom was bustling around so much, that it was only when she sat down to check her e-mail (and my blog) that I was able to snap this picture.


Just a glimpse of our boys eyeing our Thanksgiving Feast. Everything that was suggested made it onto the menu--turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, gravy, green peas, ginger carrots, cauliflower with cheese, mushrooms, cranberry relish, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, corn on the cob. . .


For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, pecan pie, gingerbread, oatmeal scotchies (made by J9) and ambrosia.


Not everyone was eating turkey. . .

Dad and I were trying to tally up which Thanksgivings we've been together. I think we've spent five of them with my folks, in the ten years we've been married. One of the most momentous ones was 2001--just a few days before we flew over to Ukraine.

More pictures.


November 24, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Psalm of Exhaustedness

As a school project, J9 wrote a poem in the form of a Psalm.

Psalm of Exhaustedness

Praise Him, praise Him!
I’m exhausted, I’m tired .
Please let me sleep soon,
Lord of my heart,
please let me sleep.

Lord, may I go to sleep now?
Lord, I’m exhausted.
Lord, let me sleep.
Lord, let me go to sleep, Lord let me go to sleep.

Lord of the earth, I love you!

It sounds to me like something that would have been penned by The Psalmist's wife during her third trimester. . . I guess J9 needs more chamomile tea and an earlier bedtime.


November 20, 2005  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm so excited!!!

My sister and her kidlets arrive tomorrow! And my parents the day after.

My "to do" list is a mile long.

Finish cleaning the house. (Thanks, sweetheart!)
Get caught up on laundry
Air out the house
Go to the grocery store
Make my Thanksgiving menu
Still open for modifications when the family arrives
Go to Target
Wall screws, black duct tape, light bulb cover
Stool cover, door thingie
Clean the Closet
Clean Walls (I love the Magic Eraser)
Dust! Ugh--Florida has so much.
Mail Packages
Wrap Presents
Clean the office/spare room
Hang magazine rack
Sweep, Vacuum, Mop
Call Mom and Dad
Go to the Farmer's Market
Call Myakka River State Park
Clean the car and van
Weed / Straighten the yard
Straighten the Lanai
Clean out the kitchen cupboards
Clean the fridge
Sort the Kids' Backpacks/Papers
Kids--organize toys
Kids--organize books
Kids--toys in garage

If it all doesn't get done, I know my family will understand. But I want to have things ready and in order.


I'm so tickled that we're having Thanksgiving together. My brother won't be here, but other than him this will be the first time we're all together since the Thanksgiving right before we left for Ukraine, four years ago.


November 20, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blogging on the Mountain


i'm slowly getting the hang of this. i think... so welcome. welcome to my world. my mountain. welcome to a blog that celebrates childhood. celebrates music, prose, and good cuisine! . . . enjoy your stay, comment often, breathe, breathe, breathe, the air is clean, the grasses are high, the wildlife is dangerous, the kids are noisy, and it's all so unpredictably beautiful. the sun is now just staring to rise and water is boiling. i greet the day. greetings to you.

-mountain mama


November 18, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



This Week. . .

Ahhhh. . . This is the life. Hubby blogging at the desktop, and me curled up in the recliner with the laptop. The family that blogs together. . . well, something like that.

My Mom doesn't feed me enough. That's what T7 told the dental assistant when she encouraged him to stop chewing on his numbed cheek. Kids.

Last Friday I had a bit of me time. I finally bought a pair of Gap stretch cords that I've been coveting for years. I know, I know. . . Not very sanctified, but it was out and out coveting. When we were in Ukraine, some friends of mine in the States were just gushing over how soft and comfy their Gap stretch cords were. I wanted a pair sooooo bad. But you know that sort of thing really does need to be tried on in person. Not surprisingly, there are no Gap stores in Kyiv. (Though there was once a rumor of one and a friend and I spent a day trying to find it.) So, I just couldn't resist buying myself a wonderful, beige, buttery-soft cordouroy pants when I went into Gap last week and saw them on sale. And yes, they have met my expectations.

Along with those jeans I bought a copy of Home Comforts. My Mom and Dad sent me some family photos, an encouraging card, and a gift card to the bookstore. It felt great to get that surprise and splurge.

I met with the guidance counselor at the boys' school that day, too. I like Mrs. Smith. She's approachable and wise. She's also lived overseas. I keep running into people at the boys' school who served on the mission field--the elementary principle, guidance counselor, receptionist. . . I've been very thankful for the help and understanding they've shown the boys as they transition into American school culture.

Speaking of which, there is so much I take for granted that my kids know about American culture that they don't necessarily do. This morning on the drive to school, T7 mentioned something about summer vacation and R6 was surprised. "You mean we don't have to go to school all summer?"

This school has been a good choice for our boys at this time. But I have so many homeschool biases still come up. Honestly, I'm a bit annoyed at homework. So many hours at school, and they still have work to do at home?

Several weeks ago, Amy wrote incredulously about frozen PB&J sandwiches and the people who buy them. I secretly thought, "Hey, that's a good idea. . ." While I can't imagine buying frozen PB&J, I did ask some experts if they'd ever frozen PB&J, and how they turned out when thawed. Then I did an experiment of my own. I made three loaves of bread into PB&J last Sunday, and T7 bagged them for me. We froze them. Each morning I pulled one from the freezer while packing lunches. Not a single complaint from the sandwich consumers. It works. And while, yeah, it only takes a few minutes to make them in the morning, I'm all for streamlining morning routines.

Hubby's grandparents arrived in Florida this week. They are unofficially snowbirds, staying several weeks or months each year down hear with Hubby's folks. We met them last night for pizza, and it was so good to see them. It was as if the past four years that we haven't seen them was no time at all.

I'm going to call my grandparents this weekend. They are back in Metairie. Their house is still standing and they've moved back in, but the downstairs was completely ruined by Katrina. I don't even want to think about if the photos MawMaw kept in the parlor were brought upstairs or not. I just realized that the piano on which I learned to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb was likely ruined. I know those are just things, but they represent memories and people and. . . I shouldn't have started thinking down this path. I'm going to call them tomorrow.

My parents are coming for Thanksgiving. I'm absolutely giddy about it. My sister and her children are flying in, too. I can't wait. They haven't seen the boys yet, since we've been back. We're going to go see alligators and my Dad is going to make the turkey, and it's going to be low-key and laid-back and wonderful.


November 11, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Harvest Weekend

We went to Harvest UMC's pumpkin patch yesterday to choose our pumpkin family.


I have pumpkin seeds roasting for Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds. I need to buy another pumpkin for cooking and baking. Read Mollie Katzen's tribute to this humble gourd, and add it to your autumn menu.

I had some free "me" time on Friday, so I went to the library. Two of the books I checked out are worth purchasing. I'm going to keep watching the used bookstores for now, but may break down and buy them on amazon. This first is Home Comforts, a book I first heard about from Carmon. Not only do I want to own this book, but there are several people I'd love to gift it to. *grin* The other is Valerie Worwood's The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, which presents EO ideas and recipes in a way that's accessible to urban earthy-crunchies like me.

Last weekend, we found an ancient copy of Risk at a secondhand store. Of course Hubby snatched it up. Yesterday we spent several hours teaching the boys the rudimentary strategies of taking over the world. Speaking of which, J9 recently finished reading a two inch thick, small print history of World War II. For his fun reading. That kid. . . I'm glad that he alternates betweent he heavy stuff and "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

Since I've mentioned fluffy reading, I have a teensy-weensy gripe. It's really hard being a homeschool mom with kids in school. I'm disappointed at how ugly the phonics program is, since the boys and I are used to the Phonics Museum from Veritas Press. It bugs me that curlique style handwriting is taught, rather than the more direct italic handwriting. And I cannot imagine *why* the teacher chose a Frank Peretti kids' novel for a class reader / book report instead of one of the many, many children's classics. It seems the fourth graders are all at a reading level to appreciate the Chronicles of Narnia. Or Tom Sawyer. Or any number of books. Why a silly Peretti mystery?

That said, I really appreciate the school the boys are attending. The staff continues to go out of there way to help our boys with their transitions to school and the States. The teachers are attunded to the students. And the quality overall is excellent. Even if I would have done things differently.

R6's class had a "Farm Day" last Friday. They ate corn and did lots of cool farm animal crafts. R6 went to school dressed as a cowboy (the farmer's neighbor. *grin*) And he told his classmates that Florida cowboys are called Crackers.

One of our biggest family excitements is the anticipation of family visiting at Thanksgiving. My sister and her children and my parents are coming! I'm so excited!

When my sister when to pick up her plane tickets, the lady asked my neice, "Are you going to Florida to see Mickey Mouse?" She replied, "Oh, no! My cousins and alligators!"


October 30, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




Who doesn't think of Fred Flinstone yelling for the wifey when Hurricane Wilma is mentioned?

We're within the maybe-possibly range for Wilma, but at this point most predictions indicate Wilma will be significantly south of us. This has spurred us to finish cleaning the garage and making sure our sentimental items are in plastic bins. Our home is on high ground (well, high by Florida standards. . .) The most damage I'm concerned about is the wind whipping out the lanai screens--happened during a couple of storms in the spring.

So, we're staying put for now. If my ILs evacuate, we'll go with them. (And I probably won't be able to post if we do. . . Hmmmm. . . Dad and Mom--I'll call B in Az--your phone wasn't working earlier today. . . )

Hubby's working tonight, but the boys are off school tomorrow. Right now I'm planning for a holiday. *grin*


October 23, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Big Sister

Jhrme John Garrett
Held by Big Sister

October 09, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




Welcome to this world, Baby!
October 4, 2005
About 3 am
7 lbs 14 oz

Much love to my sister and her newborn son!

SWEET and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

Sweet and Low by Tennyson


October 04, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I Miss My Blog

I miss writing down the cute and funny and sentimental stories about my kids. I miss journalling our daily lives. Life has become more busy and I'm writing less. And I miss it.

Today I'm making Chunky Granola, with almonds and cranberries. I have white beans simmering to make bean dip for tonight and freeze for future recipes.

Two boys are swimming. One is writing a book. Another is not getting in the pool, but playing with the water.

Yesterday I went on a field trip with T7's class to Mote Marine Laboratory. C4 came along. We got to see manatees, sharks, dolphins and other really cool marine animals. T7 held a crab and a sea urchin, and petted a ray.

T7 loves whales and knows a lot about them. He can identify dozens of them from pictures and tell me facts about them. He's loved whales for a long time, and it has really helped his transition to school that his teacher chose an Ocean theme for their first unit study. With T7's math and science bent and love of whales, I really could see him becoming a marine biologist.

Each morning on the way to school, I drill J9 on his multiplication facts. T7 and R6 know them as well as he does, now.

Hubby just finished a history course on China. I wish he'd post his papers online. Yes, his academic writing reflect the same fear and whimsy that you well know from his blog.

I haven't read much lately. I've skimmed through a few books, but have had trouble making the time/finding the time to sit and read.

Or sit and blog.


October 01, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Clever Boy.

It's 4:12 am. C4 woke up about a half hour ago with a growing pain in his left leg. I began massaging it with some of my essential oils/massage oils. He was still hurting and said, "It's now in this leg." I began massaging both legs.

A few minutes later, "My feet hurt, too."


October 01, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What I'm. . .

What I'm. . .

Drinking: French Market Coffee and Chickory
Reading: Common Ground, the book
Thinking: About the nature of sin and sanctification
Cross-posting: Heart to Hearth
Watching: My kids making paper airplanes
Playing: Suduko, (Thanks, sparkling Barbara)
Cooking: Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Waiting: For my sister to call, announcing my nephew is born
Cleaning: Walls & fingerprints


September 24, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



J9's Memory Work August 2005

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


August 27, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



This Week. . .

So here I am, sitting on our lanai, blogging from the laptop, and the boys are swimming. For almost half the summer, the pool was out of commission. The people who lived in our home before us had three dogs who swam regularly, according to our neigbors. Totally messed up the pool system. So, it feels good to have a warm, sunny day to be outside with the boys and swim. *grin*

R6 and T7 are "fishing" with the pool cleaning net. C4 is being a blue whale, but with swimmies on.

The other morning on the way to school T7 said, "First grade is too easy. But I don't want to go to second grade. I'll just ask my teacher for harder work." Yesterday afternoon, his eyes just lit up and he announced, "I'm learning SO much in school!" That really makes me happy. They are studying the oceans and whales. T7 loves whales, and can identify about 30 types. Childhood obsessions don't necessarily point to future interests, but I really could picture T7 as a marine biologist.

Today J9 is out with Grandma, going to the Lowry Park Zoo for his birthday outing. His birthday was at the end of June, but Grandma likes to have a special one-on-one outing with each grandchild for their birthday, and this was the best weekend for it.

Thursday was a weird day. People all over town were acting the way barn animals do before a storm. Skittish, bizarre behaviour. I swear, I met more people acting in odd ways before this hurrican than I have in ages. (Btw, Hurrican Katrina totally passed us by.)

Last Friday I paid our humongous library fines. Cheap at twice the price, though, for the great service they provide. I adore interlibrary loan and being able to manage my library account online. Hubby had several books out from the library for his China course, and that's what led to the fees. Still, reasonable, considering we didn't have to buy ten textbooks. His essays are great--I hope he puts him on his blog soon.

I've been reading very little these days. Very tired lately. However, whenever I'm in the car I've listening to Dorothy Sayers Strong Poison on tape. I've heard Dorothy Sayers praised before, but this is my first introduction to her fiction writing. Very quotable.


August 27, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



No Travels by Train

"The next time we go somewhere other than Sarasota, let's not take a train. I hate trains. They make my breath terrible."

--R6, August 19, 2005


August 19, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Laptop Envy

We want/need a laptop computer. Mostly for Hubby's grad school, but also 'cause I really want one.

This will be our first foray away from desktop computers.

Any recommendations about what to look for and what to avoid? Any great deals you've heard of lately?


August 15, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



First Day of School 2005

2005 July 29 Florida 003.jpg
Serious about School

2005 July 29 Florida 010.jpg
J9 is in 4th Grade

2005 July 29 Florida 012.jpg
T7 is in 1st Grade

2005 July 29 Florida 014.jpg
R6 is in Kindergarten

Highlights of the Week:
* Really cool school supplies.
* Morning and evening routines went smoothly. Mostly.
* School uniforms are great. Except when we get to school and see that one of the older boys is wearing the younger boys too-short-shorts.
* Lunch box lunches!
* The elementary school principal was part of an MK school in Africa for 13 years, and really understands the transitions.
* T7 really connected with his teacher, Mrs. E. And he gets to sit in the front row.
* Lots of hugs at drop off and pick up.
* R6's confidence at school.
* Meeting with the teachers at the end of the week to assess things.
* Solid teachers, even if they aren't Presbyterian.


August 13, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Mommy Brag

My kids are so cool.

T7 is great at mental math. We haven't done much workbook math, but we've talked a lot about concepts and real life math. I popped my head into T7's classroom after school on Friday. His first grade teacher was correcting math problems and said, "T7 is really good in math. He got all these problems right." I told her we did a lot of mental math and he likes percentages.

She replied, "Ah. Yes, he kept asking me what percentage done we were each day. Obviously he's heard you talk about that. I'm not sure he understands it, though."

Today T7 and I were talking about time on the computer, and so I asked him, "If you had an hour to play games, and were 50% done, how much time would you have left?"

"30 minutes," he replied without hesitating.

"What if I have you 4 sandwiches for lunch and you ate 75%? How many would you have left?"


We high-fived. He's a smart cookie, when it comes to mental math.


August 13, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Online Offline Convos

I got to talk with my sister today, for nearly an hour and a half. It's so weird to be able to talk with her any ol' time via the phone. I'm out of the habit of calling people so it's good she called me.

In our conversation, we mentioned Amy who Loves Books. My sister doesn't blog, but has a small circle of blogs she reads faithfully. We talked about some things Amy has been very transparent about and how having someone be real about those struggles makes it easier to identify and address them ourselves.

Thanks, Amy. Whoever says blogging isn't part of "real life" is wrong.


August 13, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Starting the Weekend

Relaxing with Indelible Grace and a glass of red wine.


August 12, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Shiny Red Apple for the Teacher

So, I'm hanging up my homeschooling hat.

Hubby has been the boys' primary teacher since we returned to the States and has done a fantastic job. We've discussed and prayed and pondered what our children need during this time of transition. And here we are. The first day of school-building-school.

And there is this part of me that feels like now I'm going to be judged and rejected and mistrusted. . . No more a homeschooling mom. Losing those good Christian mother brownie points.

I've been involved with homeschooling for 16+ years. Doing research, rejecting highschool and being homeschooled myself, homeschooling family members, homeschooling my children. I'm a fan. I value understanding our children and nurturing who they are, as individuals.

My Dad and Mom passed on their values of the high worth of education. I remember checking out Greenway, the local public elementary school when we moved to a new town. It was depressing as heck. (Still is, a friend who taught there one year said.) We ended up in a tiny amazing Christian family-run school. My Dad taught high school there for awhile. We bought a building for the school to occupy and lived upstairs. All the while my folks were passing along the value of finding what is best for each child, each year.

And that changed throughout the growing up years for me and my siblings. Homeschooled, Christian schools--and even public and boarding schools.

Each child, each family, each year. . . Discerning the needs and finding the best situation for meeting those needs.

So I've been sniffing a bit as I'm laying out school clothes. Feeling emotional as I buy a list supplies from Target, rather than choosing curricula from an enticing catalog. Not quite ready to hug them and let them go in the morning. . . Yet peaceful and confident as I release them into their structured classrooms that this is the next Providential step for them.


August 08, 2005  |  Comments (30)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Dinner Discussion

Gandalf vs. Dumbledore

Who'd win and why?


July 31, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



String Beans and Onions And Big Juicy Lemons

Today's soundrack is my boys singing jazz. . .

Yes, we have no bananas
Louis Prima version

(Oh yes,) We have no bananas
We have no bananas today
We got string beans and onions
And big juicy lemons
And all kinds of fruit and say…

We got an old fashioned tomato
A Long Island pot-at-o
(Oh yes,) We have no bananas
We have no bananas today

There’s a fruit man on our street
Whose name is Mr Pete
And he keeps good things to eat
But you should hear him speak
When you ask him anything
He never answers no
He just “Yeses” you to death
And then he takes your dough

(Oh yes,) We no gotta the banana
We no gotta the banana today
We gotta little beans and a big beans
The red beans and the white beans
And all kinds of beans and say…

We gotta the old fashioned salami
Mmmm we even gotta the Brooklyn pastrami
(Oh yes,) We no gotta the banana
We no gotta the banana today

Business got so good with him
He wrote home to say
“Send Pasquali, Nick and Jim
I need help right away”
When he got them in the store
There was fun you bet
Someone asked for bananas
And then the whole quartet

(Oh yes,) We have no bananas
We have no bananas today
(We have peppers, and carrots, and celery, and olives)
But we got no bananas today
(Who asked you for bananas anyway?
Ahh, who asked ya?
I only want a hotdog sandwich
Hotdogs are better than bananas
I always say, ain’t it?)

(Oh yes,) We have no bananas
(We have no bananas today)


July 21, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Counting Chickens

Said urgently, in quick succession.

R6: Mom, don't count your chickens!

R6: Mom, don't count your chickens before they're hatched!

R6: Mom, remember what happened the first time you counted your chickens? Before you knew what it meant?


July 18, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Overheard, Mockingbird

R6: A mockingbird, a mockingbird!

T7: What is he mocking?

R6: He's making fun of our house. Oh now, he's run off! I hate that the run off after making fun of our house or our tree.


July 18, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Mountain Sister

My sister and her family.


My sister's mountain.


July 11, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What I'm. . .

Drinking: Imperial Coconut Iced Tea
Reading: For Your Own Good
Wearing: A sarong, from my Mom
Listening: CD from Hymns for a Kid's Heart
Thinking: Choosing a major, when I return to college
Watching: Google Earth
Playing: Sharks & Minnows with the boys
Cooking: With Hubby's new wok


July 10, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Finally Saw Francisco

I hadn't had a haircut since, oh, January or so. And then when we knew we'd be returning to the States, I wanted to forgo the easy miscommunication always involved with getting my hair cut in Ukraine and wait until I could see Francisco.

I called not long after we arrived back in the States. Unfortunately, Francisco was getting ready to go visit family in Peru. I had an appointment for the day he returned, but then he had flight trouble and so it was canceled.

The next appointment was delayed because of, well, getting settled in here. I had an appointment last Saturday and it was cancelled because of sickness. My hair was past the shaggy stage, but to the too-long-to-do-anything-with, not-long-enough-to-put-up stage. It was just not right. But I'm very loyal, and though I was REALLY ready for a haircut, I wanted to wait until he was available.

So this morning I got in to see Francisco! Here's a self-photo.



July 08, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tip of the Day

If you happen to have a black snake in your pool, and you want to make sure it's not a water moccasin, I recommend that you NOT do a google search and look at the pictures of the snakes from all the places pest removers find snakes in Florida homes.

I'm going to have nightmares about snakes in bathrooms, behind dressers, in pizza boxes. . .

(Oh, and I think it's just a harmless little ringneck in the pool. I'll let Hubby figure it out for sure and deal with it.)


July 05, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Independence Day!

Being our first stateside Fourth in several years, we made a big deal of Independence Day. We had lots of family time--cooking together, swimming together, watching the neighbor's firecrackers. . .

Hubby planned our holiday menu, grilled the steaks and made tiramisu. The boys made berries-and-jello dessert. (Another big treat--American jello and strawberries available whenever we want them!)

We were going to watch Red Dawn with the kiddos--but the dvd was already checked out. We own it in VHS, but don't have a VCR anymore.

In the midst of all this, Hubby found time to blog on Fourth of July traditions and the Left's reaction to this holiday. Sobering reading.

Holiday pics:


J9 and T7 with the dessert they made.

Boys in Pool.JPG

Hubby and the Boys


C4 Swimming


Happy T7!


July 04, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys' Hymns

One of the happiest things is hearing my boys hum and sing hymns,

Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still --
His kingdom is forever.


July 03, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, J9!

J9 Birthday.JPG


June 30, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




In Russian, the word that looks like TOCTEP is said and means "toaster." It's in a board book we own.

Today C4 sounded it out in English. T-oh-ck-t-ee-p. Doesn't make sense in English, but he READ it in English!


June 29, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Saturday on the Gator Gal

Today we went to Myakka River State Park to ride the air boat and look for alligators.

T7, C4, J8 and R5 in front of the Gator Gal.





June 25, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bits and Pieces. . .

I've neglected any family journaling the past few weeks. Been really tired. So just to remember some of the things we've done during early summer 2005. . .

Lots of swimming!

Hubby and the kids went to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium on its 50th anniversary.

Chucklehead Day!

Buying lots of used books at library sales.

Saw Robot with the kids. Read Amy's review.

Hubby was sick and we spent a whole weekend cuddling in bed and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Went on a seasonal shopping trip with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law to Naples. Saw a local theatre production of Woody Allen's "Play it Again, Sam."

Kids are doing great with homeschooling. Hubby is an amazing teacher.

Visited SCS, considering it for the fall, though it is quite a bit more Mennonite than us Presbyterians would like. Still, Hubby's little brother goes there and it seems like a good environment for the boys as they are in transition.

Had late library books and fines. Ugh.

Falling asleep too early to blog, too early to read much.

Hubby and I cooking dinner together each night, and trying new recipes with all the easy-to-get ingredients in the US.


June 24, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Feeling Homesick

Just read this and this and this, and am having a surge of emotions.


June 21, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



J8's Reading List

I kept meticulous records of what I read when I homeschooled in high school. I hadn't kept track of what I read before then--or very much since. I currently have a program on my blog (thanks to Tim) that lists my Amazon wishlist and the books I've read. It's been great.

I remember coming across my high school reading list a few years ago. It was so cool to read through the titles. I fondly remembered some of the books, and was surprised that I had read others (which were quickly forgotten.)

So, ever since J8 started reading I've tried to help him keep track of what he's read. He reads so fast, though, that it's been hard to do that (for him or me!)

I think I've found a system now for keeping up with it. On his daily homeschool checklist is now "Update Book List." All he has to do is pile the books on my desk and I spend a few minutes entering them into an Amazon "wishlist." But rather than a list of what he wants, it's a list of what he's read. The date I enter it is marked next to the book which provides a loose gauge of when he read it. We started this at the end of April, but have only recently been keeping it updated.

So, want to see what my oldest's reading interests are?

J8's Reading List

Update: Sparrow mentioned that she is redirected to her own wishlist instead of J8's. I changed the direct link, and if you still can't access it try to put "J8" in the search box where it says "Search for a Wishlist."


June 07, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



He Loves Me. . .

. . .and brought home a new printer as a sign of his affection.

Years and years ago, Hubby came home with a dozen roses and a printer for me. This time it was fresh coffee and a printer. *mush, mush*

We actually shipped our newish HP to the States, totally blanking out that it runs on European current.


June 05, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What I'm Doing. . .

What I'm. . .
Drinking: Portsmouth Tea, Avalanche Rooibus
Writing: Résumés and Cover Letters
Munching: Popcorn
Wearing: Florida clothes!
Reading: The Boundaries of Technique
Playing: Tennis
Buying: Hurricane Supplies (No tax, June 1-10.)
Cooking: Fajitas
Going: Downtown Farmer's Market
Watching: Return of the Sith
Listening: To the rain


June 04, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Painting Girl!

My niece, Th4.

May 31, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What's Being Said, Take 3

Kids take everything so personally.

C4 enthusiastically praised Hubby, "You did a good job stopping!" I guess he remembers the accident last month.

T7, heartfelt, "Thanks for getting us gas."


May 31, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thai Night


The last night I was in Illinois, we went out for Thai at this great little restaurant in downtown Chicago. Oh, it was soooo good. My sis is in that regrettable part of pregnancy when she actually has an appetite, can keep food down, but then takes only a few bites before being full again.


Mom, Th4 and Me


Th4 and my Sis


May 27, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



More On My Illinois Trip

My sister is halfway to her due date. She's beautiful and blissful. I got to see the ultrasound video and hear her story of her trek to Mexico to get it.

I got to go to Trader Joe's for the first time. Thought of Kristen and Zero Boss.

My Dad, brother, sister and I hung around the kitchen table and played scrabble. We laughed and played and challenged each other's word choices. Sis bought Dad a scrabble dictionary before we left.

We went to Borders. And the library. And the library used book store.

We drank coffee. And white tea. And lots of water.

We stayed up late telling stories. I got to see the faxed house plans for the house my Dad is building in Arizona. The site prep is done and I think they are pouring the concrete foundation this week. It's designed to take advantage of the geography and climate of where they live, and be environmentally low-impact.

Quite a difference from the house where my Dad is living right now. Dad places high value on architecture that is appropriate for where you build. He drive through neighborhoods shaking his head at some of the building choices. . .

One of the things Dad is incorporating into the house he's building is a Japanese soaking tub, and an amazing greenhouse just off of the bathroom.

My brother's thesis was related to postmodern living and the novels of Paul Auster. I've read The Red Notebook and am going to keep checking more Auster out from the library.

We went to Walker Bros. one morning for breakfast, a family tradition that began after I got married and moved away. The table next to us was full of Russian speakers who considered Short Circuit to be a classic American film.

My neice, Th4, is an amazing child. She exudes confidence and security. She is one of the most loved children I've ever known. (And her impishness reminds me of my sister when she was that age. . .)

Mom took my sis and I to the thrift store. Another family tradition.

Mom's apartment felt like an art gallery when I walked in. Acrylic paintings, found art, sculptures. I brought home an amazing mobile. It's hung in my kitchen window now, replacing another one Mom made that's now hanging in the bathroom.

Mom gave me a great mini-massage, too.

My sis remarked on how one of the girls she watches is only six, but always asking first whether foods contain artificial flavorings or colorings. That comment has really stayed with me, and reminded me of my earthy-crunchy past. I'm feeling the need to get back to the basics, food wise. Ukraine was great for getting fresh, homegrown produce. I miss that.

I'm really glad to be home. I'm really glad I got to have some reconnecting time with my family.


May 27, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home Again. . .

I arrived home this morning, to my boys running at me with hugs and "Mommy!" How wonderful! And Hubby's hug as he sleepily rubbing his eyes--he had waited up most the night for me.

This was probably the first long road trip I've taken completely alone. While I've been the sole driver before, I think this is the first one sans kids.

It was a good trip, though I made lousy time. That was okay. I listened the the radio loud with the windows rolled down. I listened the the Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. It's a book I'd recommend for listening, just as Like Water for Chocolate is better heard than read.

I thought about seeing if I could stop and visit at the Yellow Porch, but had trouble contacting her before my trip. It's okay--I enjoyed having my solitary time.

I took a morning nap in Franklin, TN, and marvelled that I was in George Grant's neighborhood. (Btw, his blog allows comments now!)

I stopped for gas at the Lookout Mountain exit, and thought of my Covenant College friends, like Kathryn--though she's home now and in my town! It's pretty funny--I thought of so many blogging friends as I drove near their cities.

My favorite part of the drive home was crossing the border into Florida. I rolled down the window and the air was warm and dark and humid. It smelled like so many nights when Hubby and I would drive between the coast and central Florida, barely able to see the road because of the fog. It's a romantic smell to me, reminds me of making out at midnight in his parent's front yard.


May 25, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



In Illinois

I'm at the library in Illinois, doing a quick e-mail check. I flew up here Thursday night, so that I could join my family for my brother's college graduation. It's been a very special time.


May 22, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Congrats, Johnny!

Mom, Johnny and Dad
May 21, 2005 Shimer College

Me, Mom, Johnny, Dad, Sister & Th4

May 21, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What's Being Said, Take 2

"You know who my favorite god and goddess are?" asked R6.

"No, who?"

"Zeus." Said in an of-course-Zeus sort of voice.

"And your favorite goddess?"

"Aphrodite. Most people like Athena best, but I don't know much about her. So, I like Aphrodite.



May 18, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What's Being Said, Take 1

"Boys, you're being so quiet and speaking kindly back there. Good job." I said to the boys who were riding in the back seat of the van.

"Actually, we're talking about hell," replied T7.


May 18, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



This Week's Update

We bought a beautiful dark blue Plymouth Voyager today. I think the accident and the new vehicle were a blessing, and I know God is in control of it all. I'm thankful for The Other Guy's insurance company being kind, and that we were able to find a vehicle to buy.

J8 has a bad headache. He thinks it may be a migraine. He's had headaches since the accident. I'm glad we went to the chiropractor yesterday. I got a massage before my adjustment, to loosen things up. It was great. It's hard, though, to see my oldest in such pain.

Last night we went to the tennis courts at the park near our house, and played tennis. First time for me. *grin* It was lots of fun, and Hubby is super-patient with my novice abilities.

I wonder if I'd have better eye-hand coordination if I had played lots of video games when growing up?

Our new house is wonderful. Still unpacking. Not settled in at all, because of so many errands and getting things done with the smashed van.

We bought a bunch of shelves the other day from Target. Still assembling them. Hubby's salivating over the idea of having all of our books out and accessible again. It's so wild--we had in storage books I didn't even know we owned. I've already come across several books from my Amazon Wishlist, that we had in storage and I didn't know it--like this one. Our boooks were in storage for about 3 1/2 years, and the few special pieces of furniture and other sentimental things were in storage for about 5 years. How time flies.

My brother graduates from college this weekend. I'm a beaming sister.


May 17, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home Computer Sweet Home

After nearly seven weeks (and the installation of an American current power pack), we finally have our computer hooked up. We also have a lousy dial-up server *AOL, cough* while we wait for DSL. So, I'll still probably be online only sporadically. But Hubby and I are happy to have our very own computer back.

Right now, only the second of 173 e-mails is downloading. This might take awhile. I appreciate how everyone has been patient with us during transition. If you haven't heard from my lately--by e-mail or telephone--I'm not ignoring you! Just trying to catch my breath. . .


May 16, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Van Update

Our wonderful van we bought less than a month ago has been through the wringer, and the Other Guy's insurance company considers it a total loss. Sigh. Back to square one with a vehicle.

Thankfully, we have a rental through Monday. I sure hope we can find a replacement van before then.


May 14, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pentagon Plans to Close More Bases

One of the 33+/- bases slated for closure in 2006 is Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX. I lived there for three years in high school/college. I feel sentimentally sad about it. This is the second base with a lot of memories for me that is closing.


May 13, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Yellow Skies

Before you kill me honey, recognize
I'm your one-way rumblin' ride through yellow skies
I'm your sunshine truckin' man
I'm doin' everything I can to realize
The yellow skies

(I wanna go with you to heaven
I wanna drink you like a flower drinks rain
I wanna float you like a feather)

Were you crying in the kitchen
Did you paint the four walls blue
Was it something I said
Something that I did to you
Sometimes love is really sad
But you don't have to feel so bad all day
We can ride away

Let's go outside, open up our eyes
And exchange this cloudy room for yellow sky
I'm your sunshine truckin' man
I'm doin' everything I can to realize
The yellow skies

Saucers in the kitchen
Flyin' like U.F.O.s
It's a mystical experience
Mama never told me so
Sometimes love can twist your head
But you don't have to wish me dead today
Close your eyes and pray

Before you kill me Angel, recognize
I'm your one-way rumblin' ride through yellow skies
I'm your sunshine truckin' man
I'm doin' everything I can to realize
To realize
Open up our eyes
To the yellow
To the yellow

--Steve and Derri


May 12, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Through the Years

Happy Anniversary, Dad and Mom!


May 10, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



We're Okay. The Van Isn't.

Today we were rear-ended while at a stoplight. The kids and I are a bit sore and will be soaking in epsom salts and visiting the chiro. But, thank God! We are okay.

The guy who hit us was really apologetic, and super gracious. He talked with the police officer, it was completely his fault, and his insurance will cover the damage.

The back door of the van is bent up, but the glass wasn't broken. The front is slightly banged up. My glasses flew off, and I couldn't find them for about 45 minutes. They weren't broken, either.

The adreneline rush had me shaking. I was still physically unsteady for about an hour. Mom B. wasn't too far away, and came and helped me as we waited for the officer to take care of the paperwork. Then she escorted me to Sam's to get a new battery. (Needed to be replaced--not sure if it was due to the accident or not.)

If we had to be in an accident, this was the type to be in. No serious injuries. Not our fault. And the other guy has a nicer car than we do and great insurance.

Update 05/12: Still working through in insurance issues. Still waiting for an app't with the chiropractor. Had a flat tire this morning, and bought two new ones. Transmission acting funny. A/C capricious. *big ol' sigh*


May 07, 2005  |  Comments (24)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our New House Adventures

Welcome to wild reptilian west coast Florida!

While working at our new house, we had a snake in the pool. The kids (inadvertantly) killed a lizard. I stepped on a spider, and then had baby spiders swarm. And a turtle came to our front door.

It was really fun (except the spider part, and worrying whether the snake in the pool was a water mocassin.) The turtle was a box turtle--and at least a foot and a half long. I opened the door to let the gas man out, and there he was, right on our porch. I told the boys that our neighbor came over to welcome us. So they've been calling him Neighbor.


May 06, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thank a Midwife!

Today is International Midwives' Day.

I've had great midwives through the years, and want to thank them here.

Carol Wolfson and Cheryl Hollifield, Florida

Veronica Wagner, California

Alisa Voss, Texas

Tavish Brinton, South Carolina

Many thanks to you, and may you and your families continue to be blessed as you serve and nurture mamas.

(Via The Mommy Blawg.)


May 05, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Wow, wow, wow!

We have a place to settle down and live in Sarasota! I'm so completely tickled and excited. And it's more than I could ever ask or imagine. Really. Wow!


May 04, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



First Missing Tooth!

R6 lost his first tooth about 10 minutes ago. It's the bottom left front tooth.

As I snapped a photo, I got the "Warning: Battery Exhausted" message. Quelle drag. I'll try to get one later this evening.


May 03, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



It's a Boy!

My sister and her 19 week old son.

From the time she told me she was expecting, I really felt that my sister was going to have a boy. On Friday she was able to get an ultrasound and this baby is definitely a boy. I'm enjoying her pregnancy vicariously, and talking with her has given me time for reflection about when my boys were still waiting to be born. Btw, the photo was taken by my 4 y/o niece.


April 23, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Comparing Gas Prices

Now that we have a minivan, we're getting shocked by the high gas prices. (I remember not too long ago, when gas was under a dollar, and I was hoping it would go up to just a little over a dollar, since everyone in our church was in the oil industry and losing their jobs. . .)

Thanks to RealSimple magazine, I found these gas price comparison sites. In our area, there can be a 20 cent price variance among gas stations! That adds up quickly. . .

GasBuddy: Good site, links to local state gas price sites.

GasPriceWatch: Good potential, but not useful for our area.

Sarasota/Venice area Gas Prices


April 22, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hooray, A Minivan!


Hubby found a minivan. Great condition, well-cared for, decent price. It's amazing what a relief it is to have a source of transportation.

I was driving Mom B's minivan yesterday with the kids in the back and listening to a Sovereign Grace sampler. Oh, my. It felt so free and weird and peaceful and normal. I did get lost twice, though, even though I used to know the Sarasota streets well.

Each of the boys had rough moments yesterday. I can see the jet lag kicking in, mixed with some transition feelings. We read a great little book from the library yesterday, This is Me and Where I Am. They laughed at every page and we talked about being here, where we are, in Florida.


April 19, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Crunchings and Munchings**

I'm crunching on some yummy corn tortilla chips and dipping them in Pace picante sauce. Tortilla chips could occasionally be found in Kyiv, but chips and salsa were one of the things I missed the most while we were there.

And, I just found out via Annie, that tomorrow is Ben&Jerry's Free Cone Day tomorrow, April 19th! Woohoo! I think we'll try to get down to St. Armand's and enjoy some ice cream as we walk around the Circle.

I know life isn't all about food, but boy, special foods are one of the things most missed when in a different country.

**Brownie points to anyone who can name the allusion.


April 18, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Library Happiness

I got my library card today! Actually, I was still in the library system, so they just had to update my info and issue me a new card. (I was surprised I didn't have any fines from nearly a decade ago!)

I've been having so much fun looking through my Amazon wishlist and choosing books to request. *grin* I've missed the library.

I picked up a Carl Hiaasen book today. He's a Florida crime fiction author. Not a genre I often read, but Hiaasen is a great writer and portrays Florida in a humorous and earthy way.

So, what are you reading? Anything that I should request online from my library?


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Minivan Madness

So we're in need of a vehicle. A minivan.

Hubby's done some research and has an idea of what we want. I'm more vague--used, decent condition, reliable.

It's crazy needing to buy a minivan after 3 1/2 years of using the metro, minibuses, taxis, trains and walking. I liked not having and not needing a vehicle.

But I'm looking forward to the freedom of having one again. And if anyone has leads on a decent minivan for sale, let me know!


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Maintaining Routine and New Experiences

So, I'm waking up slowly, sipping coffee and checking my blog and e-mail while the kids eat breakfast and play quietly. You know how important it is to maintain routines during transition times. *eg*

Woke up in the middle of the night famished, and was thankful for Mom B's stash of chocolate on top of the fridge. The boys woke this morning around 5:30, and we started breakfast then. Mom B prepared the coffee maker before going to bed last night (she's that sort of planning person *grin*) and so all I had to do was flip the switch to start coffee this morning.

I talked with my Dad at length last night. But I was exhausted and Mom wasn't home, so I'm going to call today. My sister called, but I was a zombie on the phone. I'm looking forward to having a real conversation with her today. My brother is still out of the country.

In our first twenty-four hours in the States we visited a library (no cards yet, though J8 was very purposeful in asking the librarian "Do you have the fifth book in the Prydian Chronicles?" He hasn't been to a library since he was old enough to remember it.)

We got driver's licenses! Dealt with a weird bureaucrat in one place and several very kind and sweet state workers in another place. We walked in a minute after closing, and they still were pleasant and helped us get our licenses. Pictures are horrid, though. And neither of us are ready to actually drive. It's been 3.5 years for Hubby, though I did get to drive a little bit a year ago.

Our first meal in the States was a sentimental trip to the Waffle House. Scattered, smothered and covered. Last night we hit Taco Bell. Even though we paid the same for a meal there as we would have for a fast food meal in Kyiv, I still had sticker shock.

I'm avoiding going into a grocery store. My Mom B stocked her pantry with goodies for us and the boys, including several types of breakfast cereal. She has a better selection in her pantry than Billa, the "big" grocery store in Kyiv.

I find myself comparing/contrasting everything between here and Kyiv. Not necessarily judging better or worse--but I do feel the need to verbalize the differences I see. Hubby is doing it, too. So far we've seen the south part of the county--an area that was less "home" to us than the rest of the city/county. Mom B. has told us about so many changes in Sarasota, and we're not quite ready to see them. I cried when I saw the Denny's downtown was gone. We had so many dates there.

Mailed our taxes.

Did two loads of laundry. Washed, dried, folded. Ran the washer at the same time as the dishwasher, coffee maker, and computer without tripping the fuse. The clothes dried in no time. I'm starting to think that it wasn't entirely my fault that I could never catch up on laundry. I think it had something to do with my miniscule washer, no dryer, and electrical restrictions. Feels good to have more clean clothes than dirty clothes.

Looking for a minivan. Ack. We have a small nest egg from selling our minivan three years ago. It doesn't look like it will go far in buying a replacement. I fought with the carseat, trying to get C4 hooked up.

Making doctor and dentist appointments. People are so nice.

I know I haven't really blogged about our plans, our transitions, our decisions, leaving Kyiv, the next chapter and all--and haven't even really e-mailed my close friends about it. But it feels like I need to just take one step at a time.

I'm looking forward to worshipping in English. We won't be able to make it to our home church this week, though. (No vehicle, a city north of here. . .) I think I'm glad, though. I think seeing so many people we know would be too much too fast.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to post all of these feelings and impressions online during this transition. Ah, well.

The air smells so green. I felt embraced by the world last night, the smells, the warm breeze, the sunset. All overwhelming.


April 15, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



How Do You Do This?

Last night Hubby had to teach the boys how to flush an American toilet.

We're back in the States.

Posting may continue to be light.


April 14, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Mrs. Begrudgingly On Hiatus

. . .as Hubby said over a month ago.

My computer access will be sporadic for the next couple of months. I may be able to post now and again, but not regularly.

As you may have noticed, each comment requires manual approval. (Still working out the bug on that one. . .) So, if you comment and don't see it come up, it's nothing personal. *grin*

My e-mail address is tulipgrrl at gmail dot com.

Blogging has become very important to me. Y'all have been a very dear and encouraging part of my life. *mush, mush*


March 29, 2005  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bits and Pieces on Sunday

It’s mostly because of friends blogging about Holy Week that I know today is Easter Sunday in the West. Here in Ukraine, we still have several weeks before we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Today we hosted an open house to say goodbye to our Ukrainian friends. It went well, but was pretty emotional. As Hubby and I have alluded to, we are in the midst of leaving Kyiv. More on that later. . .

We’ve been sorting, cleaning, packing, giving, planning. . . I have some friends who have offered to help, but so much of moving is mental preparation and decisions only we can make.

Hubby brought some boxes into the shipping company the other day. He had carefully wrapped the breakables, listed the contents meticulously, and encased the boxes in layers of tape. Customs opened every single box and went through them item by item. *sigh* Four books were confiscated for being over 40 years old, and a couple of prescription drugs I didn't realized were not allowed to be shipped. For a "fee" Hubby could have the books back. He didn't pay it. They put them back in the boxes anyway.

R6 looking out his bedroom window.

The kids have been phenomenal. Looking forward to changes, but realizing they are saying goodbye. We’ve had a lot of emotions coming up—sadness, anger, mixed up feelings. One of the things that I took away from our cross-cultural preparation was the idea of the Enjoyment/Endurance paradox. That it is okay to be happy and sad, enjoying and struggling, looking forwards and looking backwards—all at the same time. The kids are going through a lot of that now, too.

It’s been interesting how having an online friend go through the craziness of a move at the same time I am has made this move a lot easier.


March 28, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, Mom!

My Mom, Me, and Baby C Kyiv, Ukraine - August 2002


March 26, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Girl

My niece, Th4--Doesn't she look like fun?


March 19, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Playing at a Friend's House

Yesterday we got to go to "Baby N's" house to play and have an UnBirthday Party. I had a great visit with my my friend, Baby N's Mommy.


The boys playing dress up.


The boys blowing out the candles on their McD sundaes. We were going to have cake, but the electricity was out, and the little cakes were never baked. . .


Baby N, aka Spiderman and J8


March 17, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Memories of Adak

I had a vivid dream the other night. Spring had softly begun. The snow was melting, the sky was clear and there was a slight warmth to the air. Trees were in a light mist of green—promises of leaf buds.

I woke up this morning and it was grey. And cold. Snow was falling hard, and I could see the roads below our flat were covered in white, unplowed.

I was so disheartened.

But my trail of thoughts led back to when I was a child and I enjoyed the winter and cold and lived in Alaska. I have few family photos with me here in Kyiv, and none from that time. But I was able to google some great photos that brought back a lot of good memories. I couldn’t find any pics of the house where we lived, but lots of places and things I remembered.



Adak National Forest

No tree taller than my dad.




So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'Cause I'm leaving on a Reeves plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go


(All photos were linked from this site about Adak.)


March 15, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



One Less Thing

Happy, Happy! The tax forms available to download from are now available in Adobe, with the option to modify.

Which means, I was able to type all of our tax info on the forms and then print them out to have a friend's brother take back to the States and mail. Woohoo! One procastinatable task checked off my list!

And thanks to Bush's additional child tax credit and having four boys, well, our tax numbers aren't too scary.


March 14, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tea, Wonderful Tea

I've been cutting back on my coffee and replacing it with water and herb tea. The baby weight I've held onto since #4 was born hasn't gone anywhere and I'm not happy with that. I realized that the huge quantities of coffee I drink (along with the requisite cream and sugar) were adding more calories a day than I realized--especially in the winter when I always have a cuppa hot joe in my hand.

So, I've been slowly replacing all but my morning coffee with hot tea. My favorites are peppermint, chammomile, lemon, and green tea. I often make the boys lavender tea when they come in from the cold or right before bed. I like a tad of honey with the green tea (or when I'm sick) but other than that, I drink them sweetner-free. I can't wait to try Adagio teas--in fact, their Cha Cha blend sounds like something I'd love. For now, though, my usual comes from a small company that sells teas made from herbs gathered in the Carpathian Mountains.

I came across Adagio Teas earlier this week. After reading about their blogging promotional all over (and challenged by Andrea), I've finally decided to public my decision to break my coffee-habit.

Those who love learning about and talking about tea, be sure to check out the Adagio Tea sponsored online magazine, Tea Muse.


March 11, 2005  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Not Quite Trogdor. . .




The boys decided to start drawing dragons. As things progressed, they began to cut them out. Then drew knights. I can't quite call them "paper dolls," but they now have a whole set of knights and dragons to play with.

I love their imagination.

And hearing them sing Trogdor the Burninator. . .


March 09, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, Niece!

My Mom and niece, Th4

March 08, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Things They Say

“Is this e-mail? Oatmeal, I mean. . .”

--C4, who has grown up calling it kasha, holding up a packet of instant oatmeal.


March 04, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Nephew, As Drawn By My Niece


My sister is due with baby #2 at the end of September! I'm convinced she's having a boy. My niece, T3almost4 drew this portrait of mother and child earlier this month. It reminds me of Amy's.


March 02, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Manolo, He Would Approve

Last week, Hubby took my boots in to be reheeled. At least I thought he did. But then I saw Condi Rice wearing them. . .


March 01, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy, Happy!

C4 arrived home this morning around 8 am. He had a fresh haircut, a new sweater and kolgotki, and his English had a decidely Ukrainian accent. The boys went crazy welcoming their brother home. *grin* He had a good week in the village with Babushka, and we're very happy he's home with us.

T7 lost his upper right front tooth this morning. It's been wiggly and loose all week, and we've just been waiting for it to fall out. There is a great big gap now, so whatever adult tooth comes in shouldn't be squished.

I was inspired by Jordana, but didn't quite have the ingredents on hand for her soup. So we have a modified chicken rice soup simmering on the stove. I discovered celeriac in the past few months--it's a root veggie that tastes like celery. I've only occasionally found celery here, but celeric is ubiquitous.

Happy, peaceful Sunday afternoon. . .


February 27, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Meanderings. . .

This has been a busy-crazy week. We've had large groups of people in our home Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, today, and will have a couple of English classes tomorrow. We often have guests and groups hosted in our home, but this week it's been busier and crazier than usual.

Bible study last night was from Romans 12. Lots of discussion. Sensitive guy that he is, Hubby ordered in pizza instead of me making the usual fellowship dinner.

I'm super-thankful for our dishwasher! It's the largest one I've seen in Ukraine--but still about half the size of my mother-in-laws. I run three loads on an average day, and it runs almost constantly on days we have guests. I'm behind on laundry right now. The fuse can't handle both the dishwasher and the washing machine running at the same time. . .

J8 asked if he could make chocolate meringue cookies today. He's been interested in cooking lately. I'm purposefully stepping back and letting him try things and experiment in the kitchen, giving him occasional pointers but staying out and letting him try.

Hubby has had a burst of energy this week. He's wondering whether the hypothyroid meds are kicking in. I hope so. He's been drinking less coffee this week--he hasn't needed it as much.

We've been on a decluttering/spring cleaning kick. Every time we do this, we vow to not bring anything extraneous into the house. I don't think we do buy or bring in things we don't need. But somehow our closets and corners get cluttery.

C4 will be home tomorrow, U-rah! He's been in the village with Babushka since last Saturday. Our family feels off balance with only three boys around.

I've been in a Creedence Clearwater Revival mood today.

A friend of mine was wearing her new stretch cord pants today. Oh, boy, am I envious. Can't wait to be able to have a normal changing room and find a pair of stretch cords that fit me. Last time I bought jeans (at the market here in Ukraine) I had a waist-high rack of clothes and a woman standing between me and the other shoppers as I tried them on. Definitely outside my comfort zone.

I watched Antwone Fisher last night, and took notes for movie night. Ugh. Very hard to watch the child abuse in it. Excellent conversation starter, though. The Denzel Washington character reminded me sooooo much of my Dad. (My Dad is a Navy officer in the medical field, and very mellow.)

I've been skimming through Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians. You can also read it online.

R6 had his birthday on Monday. *grin* We did our little tradition of "Let me tell you about the day you were born. . ." R6 is so very sweet and very much my little Winnie-the-Pooh.


February 25, 2005  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bits and Pieces

Ran the last load of dishes from Bible study/dinner last night--chili, cornbread, and layer cake with fluffy frosting and hibiscus jam filling.

Boys had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that friends brought back from the States as a gift.

C4 packed his backpack to go to the village with Babushka.

Made chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chips that Carol sent us.

T7 cleaned my kitchen of his own initiative while I checked my e-mail.

We read more stories from D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths.

Found a copy of The Greenleaf Guide to Famous Men of Greece, that I forgot we owned.

Received a good, long e-mail from my Dad.

E-mailed a friend about last night's news program about Gary Ezzo, which was aired in Charleston where he now lives.

Participated in a meeting planning a conference about cults.

My friend Sasha came over for dinner and a visit.

Prepared chicken & rice and spinach & mushrooms for dinner.

Instead of finishing up the "What Ezzo Says. . ." series tonight, I'm responding to comments on the previous posts. Join in!


February 18, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Sick Boy is Fine, But. . .

We've lived in Ukraine over three years, and life here feels "normal." But I'm still ofen surprised, learning bits and pieces of the culture. Hubby wrote this up, after an interesting series of conversations with a dear friend this week:

One of the fascinating things about Ukraine are the medieval weeds that peek up unexpectedly through the concrete of modernity -- pagan remnants that Communism couldn't quite stamp out. It doesn't take long here 'til you can understand why vampire stories fit so well in the Carpathian Mountains.

For example, the cab driver who spent half an hour telling me about the rich Gypsy Baron who lives in a nearby town and the many, many ways Gypsies have of hexing you. Or the fetishism of the babushki kissing and praying to the bones of dead monks in the caverns of the Pecherskaya Lavra monastery. Or try getting a Ukrainian man to shake hands across a doorway.

One woman who's very dear to us finds curses every time something major happens to our family. The day after Calvin broke his arm a few months ago, she came to us and breathlessly explained the situation. It turns out, a neighborhood lady had given my children the evil eye while they played on the playground.

Now that Tennyson's had pneumonia, she's discovered why -- a twisted pin and piece of colored glass stuck into the back of our couch. These are apparently elements people use in curses here. She's right about one thing -- those things didn't randomly appear back there. Which leads to the creepy conclusion that someone else sharing the same superstition actually TRIED to curse us. And it's someone who comes in our home. Weird.

None of this is said in any disrespect of Ukraine or her people. It's just one of the interesting aspects of life here.


February 12, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Of Sea Monkeys and Magic Rocks

I had a healthy skepticism of commercially promoted toys when I was a kid. While some television commercials made an impact (I still drool when I see hot pizza on tv) I figured most toys were junk or overrated. What can I say? My folks were hippies.

Take Sea Monkeys. I never thought I'd get those cool looking, rainbow-colored, comic-book creatures from the ads. With only water and the "crystals" in your Sea-Monkey® kit, you will create INSTANT-LIFE®. Yes, singlehanded you will raise up the world's only living, breathing INSTANT-PETS® I figured at best, the brine shrimp might hatch.

Magic Rocks fell in the same category. Might look cool on tv, but come on, it's all hype. So when Uncle Shainey brought the boys Magic Rocks when he visited last summer, I put them on the shelf while the boys enjoyed the more immediate toys.

Last week, the boys brought the package of Magic Rocks to me and begged to try them. We've been homebound, with all the snow and cold. I figured the boys could use a little diversion (and extra "science.") I cautioned the boys that it might not work. . .


But it did! The kids watched the crystals growing and took turns babysitting the jar as they formed. Tomorrow morning we're going to play around with making sugar crystals, rock candy. (Homeschoolers, check out more on growing crystals.)

Update on Sugar Crystals:
Perhaps our family is just not fated to succeed in making Rock Candy. When I was a child and tried it, it turned moldy. Hubby tried it, and started a kitchen fire. The batch the boys and I worked on has not resulted in any crystals--simply a trap for sugar ants. *sigh* Maybe next time. . .


February 07, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home with Brothers

T7 was tickled this morning when the doctor said he could come home today. Hubby bundled up the three other boys and met me at the hospital tonight. My heart felt so full seeing the reunion of all the boys and how excited they were to see each other. The boys vyed for seats next to T7 when we stopped at McDs on the way home. C4 kept saying, "You get to sleep with ME tonight!" And I was just so happy to see Hubby. It's good to be home and all together again.


February 06, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Everybody in the Band Appreciates Mom

"Brothers Max and Nick Reynolds, drummer Ben Brister, along with the not-pictured duo of bassist Scott Davis and Reynolds patriarch Reg, are Social Bliss, your friendly, neighborhood rock-alt-country-punk-cumbia-Tex-Mex-sometimes-even-blues-but-never- George-Strait band." --BuzzTexas.Com

Their mom is a friend of mine (and proud orange-scarf-wearer!)

I've learned a lot from both her and KatieKind (another musical mama.) I want to encourage my boys to be the people God created them to be, following their interests and developing their gifts. And I want our home to be a place where they feel safe when they are struggling.


February 04, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Baby is in the Hospital

As Hubby posted, our second son T7 has obstructive(?) bronchitis and pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital last night. Prognosis is good, but he needs to be in for several days.

We were at the state children’s hospital yesterday, and transferred to a private hospital today. (Don’t worry—both are clean. But one day we’ll tell you amusing stories about the State Hospital. . . *L*) I stayed with him last night, Hubby is with him tonight. Babushka has been with the other boys a lot (in fact, she was the one who realized he had more than a normal chest cold.)

T7 is a lot happier now that they have given him an IV instead of regular shots in the bum. He talked with brothers on the phone this evening and they were all happier after that.


February 03, 2005  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



At the Opera

Tonight we went to the National Opera House for a performance of La Bohème, went out for coffee and walked along Khreshatyk.

top hat.JPG

I recently finished reading Bel Canto (recommended by Megan and amazingly found at the Stoned Baboon.) As I watched the audience during the intermissions, I picked out which ones were true opera lovers like some of the characters in the book.

And while there were no Yushchenko, Tak! scarves, orange was very prominent on stage last night. Hubby has more photos and thoughts up.


January 08, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, Sister!


Daughter to Mother to Daughter

I am a child,
and as I try to find myself,
I see your face.
Even when I am alone, I feel
the tug of your fingers as they
wash and groom, direct and sooth.

I am growing,
and as God shapes me,
I see your creases in my smile,
and discover your worry-lines 'round my eyes.
I bear the marks of our battles,
and covet the trophies of your praises.

I am a woman,
and as I wince with pain
at learning your trade,
I cradle the child God has given me.
I detect your shadow in her first steps,
and catch your melodies in her songs.

I am a mother,
and as I brush away tears of frustration,
or pin back wisps of golden hair,
I practice your cadenced speech
and try to model your many strengths,
redeem your seldom failures.

I am wiser,
and as my eyes grow weaker,
my vision remains clear:
my hands work feverishly to finish the task
you passed on to me.
You shaped me, and now I shape.
You mirrored, and now I mirror.
You nurtured, and now I try.

For I am a child, a woman,
a daughter, a mother.
And as I hold my granddaughter’s face in my hands,
I see the marks of our instructions.
Together we bear and bury,
give and take,
laugh and cry.

We are mothers. We are daughters. We are sisters.
Intertwined in the quest to raise a generation,
connect the past, prepare for the future.
By God's help, we steward for a season,
and then we wait,
and watch,
and listen...
To one day hear her say,
...I am HIS child

© 2004 Little House Blog


January 07, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Date Night!

We left this evening to Babushka and the boys dancing to "Razom Nas Bahato" and spent an evening in the centre of Kyiv.

We walked through Schevschenko Park. The trees were outlined with white against the dark night, and we stopped to watch the old men playing chess in the snow. We went to the Opera House to buy tickets--La Boheme is showing Saturday night. I can't wait!

We strolled along Khreshatyk. The tent city has shrunk, but it's still up. People talking politics, drinking tea, warming hands around fires. I assume people are staying until Yushchenko is inaugurated. It was a glorious night to meander downtown, chilly but not frigid, reminders of the revolution and the holidays, the lights and people.

We spent Christmas money at the Globe bookstore, especially looking for books for the boys from my Dad and Mom. We got them Robin Hood, English Fairy Tales, and Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. It's a little weird, though, reading the British translation when I remember the American version. Oh, and we picked up The Bookseller of Kabul for ourselves.


January 05, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



You, Too?

Hubby came home with a surprise for me today, U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. While I get sentimental when I hear certain U2 songs, I've never been the huge fan other people I know are. But when I read some reviews a few weeks ago, I added it to my wishlist. (I thought I read a review by Gideon Strauss, but now I can't find it)

I've only listend to it a few time while cleaning the kitchen, so don't expect a thoughtful review from me. But I'm enjoying it.


January 04, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




One of J8's birthday presents was the dice game Yahtzee. I remember playing it when I was a child, and thought he'd enjoy it. The box said "Classic Yahtzee," and so I was surprised when I couldn't read the instructions. Russian, Czech, and two other languages I can't even identify. (Probably Hungarian and Finnish. . .)

I thought I could figure out the scoring in Russian, but then realized I had forgotten enough of the rules to make even that useless.

Google to the rescue! Full Yahtzee rules and explanation online, along with the illustrations I remember from when I was a kid.



January 03, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy New Year 2005!

A few minutes ago, all of a sudden R5 and I realized that it was midnight! 2005! Happy New Year!

We cheered, kissed, and pulled out the bottle of soveitski champagne we had chilling in the fridge. It made a great pop, and just then the local fireworks started going off.

We'll have fireworks outside our apartment building over the next few hours. One of the perks of living on the 15th floor, is having a birds-eye view of fireworks.


January 01, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy New Year!

My boys, getting ready to go down to Independence Square for Yushchenko's inauguration and to welcome in the New Year!

More New Year's photos from Maidan, courtesy of Hubby.


December 31, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Advent


December 24, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Orange Revolution Accessories


As Disco says, When you revolutionize--accessorize!


December 21, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Advent - The Fourth Sunday

On the fourth Sunday in Advent, we light the Angel candle. It's a thrill to have all four candles lit. Our readings for the week are:

Sun. Is. 7:10-14
Mon. Luke 1:26-35
Tue. Is. 9:2-7
Wed. Mt. 1:18-25
Thu. Luke 2:1-20
Fri. Mt. 2:1-2
Sat. Luke 2:21-35

One of the boys' favorite hymns this season has been "Hark the Herald Angel's Sing!" C4 still doesn't quite know all the lyrics and tends to switch between "Hark!" and "Razom nas Bagato."

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim.
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored.
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as Man with man to dwell;
Jesus, our Immanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He leaves His throne on high,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Listen here.


December 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Globe

We're on a first name basis with the girls who work at "The Globe".

It's an English bookstore about the size of a normal bathroom, but chock full of books. It's weird what ends up there--Tolkien and Harry Potter definitely, a smattering of DK and travel books, Penguin classics and then a weird assortment of red-lined overstocks. . .

Not having an English langauge library and a more narrow selection of books available has done some interesting things to my reading habits. I've discovered and revisited some classics and I read a bit of modern Brit Lit.

But I've surprisingly discovered that I quite enjoy current post-modern Japanese literature.


December 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Playing School?

As I sit here and type, the boys are in the living room playing school.

In Russian.


December 18, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Busy Saturday

Saturdays are one of our busiest days. Today Hubby teaches two English classes in our home (and I keep the boys somewhat quiet and occupied.) Later, we'll be having some people over for hot cocoa and cookies, and prayer. Then, they'll be off to do some things to help bring more community awareness of the church.

I had planned to make cookies with the boys last night, and then realized that I'm out of eggs again. I found a no-egg recipe for hammentashen that looked suitable for cookie cutter-ing. We'll see. . . I'm almost tempted to buy four score of eggs.

On the Ukrainian election front, Pora's "Train of Friendship" and "Movement of Liberty" is currently progressing through southern and eastern Ukraine, promoting truth in campaigning and unity in Ukraine.

Polish supporters of Ukrainian democracy are knitting a giant orange scarf. I wish I could find pictures of it.

Chocolatier Willy Wonka supports Yushchenko. Err, wait. That's Poroshenko.

Jane's confirmed Russian spetznas troops were/are in Ukraine.

And the Yushchenko/Yanukovich debates are scheduled for Monday.


December 18, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Life Imitates Art

"Life comes before literature, as the material always comes before the work. The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues." --Phillips Brooks

Do you ever have dripping-with-irony weeks? The past few have been like that here. There are so many things going on internally and externally in my life, and then I read something or experience something that just seems too. . . too contrived, almost. Irony at it's finest. Feeling like I'm living out the plot of a postmodern novel or French movie. Surreal.

(Quote via Brandywine Books)


December 15, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From the Archives. . .

Hubby has some of my favorite photos that capture Kyiv in his archives.

Possible Blog Photo1.JPG
From our kitchen window during our first winter in Kyiv.

December 13, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent - The Third Sunday

Tonight we lit the Shepherd's candle, the rose-colored joy candle. Advent has been such a special time for me this year, even though my focus was originally helping the children understand Christmas and prepare their hearts. With the craziness of the Orange Revolution and how quickly Christmas seems to be coming, the nightly ritual of lighting the candles, praying and singing has been so calming for me.

The following are the Bible passages we're reading during the third week of Advent.

Sun. Luke 1:5-13
Mon. Luke 1:14-17
Tue. Luke 1:18-25
Wed. Luke 1:39-45
Thu. Luke 1:46-56
Fri. Luke 1:57-66
Sat. Luke 1:67-80

One of my favorite Christmas songs when I was a child was Angels We Have Heard on High. I remember singing with the children's choir at a local Baptist church when I was in 4th grade,. I loved the Glo-o-oria! parts and would feel so joyful--and a bit lightheaded. Tonight was the first time we sang it this year, and it seems to fit perfectly with this week of Advent.

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Listen to the tune at CyberHymnal.


December 12, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Under the Weather. . .

I've been a bit under the weather the past few days. Slept almost 24 hours straight. So, info on Ukraine is a bit lacking here. . .

For what's going on in Ukraine, Hubby has some photos and analysis up. Or browse through the following resources helpful links, but is in no way an exhaustive list.

UkrBlogs, in and out of Kyiv:
Hubby, at Le Sabot
Neeka's Backlog
Foreign Notes
Orange Ukraine
Ukraine, Oh My!
The Argus
Fistful of Euros
Daniel Drezner
The Periscope
SCSU Scholars
A Step at a Time
Orange Revolution

UkrNews in English:
Kyiv Post high integrity
Maidan News
Ukraine Now
Ukraine Observer
Mirror Weekly
Google News - Ukraine
EinNews - Ukraine
Hotline News


December 05, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent – The First Sunday

I was excited to find an evergreen wreath and taper candles in the traditional advent colors a few weeks ago. Last year, we our advent wreath was a bit ad hoc with votives on a glass tray. This is the first year we will be incorporating lighting the advent candles and reading the Advent Scripture into our Advent rhythm. For the past 5 years, we’ve been observing Advent with singing hymns, praying, and going through the Scriptures with a Jesse Tree that Auntie L gave us.

The purple candle for the first week of Advent represents prophecy. These are the Bible passages we’ll be reading this week.

Sun. Is. 40:1-5
Mon. Is. 52:7-10
Tue. Is. 40:9-11
Wed. Gen. 3:8-15
Thu. Gen. 15:1-6
Fri. Deut. 18:15-19
Sat. Ps. 89:1-4

And the first Advent hymn the boys requested was:

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.

Trinity Hymnal #149


November 28, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



And Now For Something Completely Different. . .

In the midst of the current Ukrainian excitement, we've had some "normal" family times as well. Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with some other families from the US. We all had some special things that we had sent from the States--a videotaped football game, pecans for pie, cranberry relish, French's onion topping for green bean casserole. . . We had a time of worship and thanksgiving, and enjoyed the traditional meal with all the trimmings. The kids got to play outside in the snow, there was a bonfire for roasting apples, and it a wonderful evening.

We also had birthday cake with our friends--C turned 4 yesterday and T is 7 today. I'll have to adjust my acronyms. *grin* I can't believe that my baby is now four, especially when I think back to how T7 was only four when we first arrived here. They've both grown so much and totally delight my heart.


November 26, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Odds and Ends

R5 has been asking me for about the past two months to make apple butter for him. I went through a canning kick in July, and have been less-than-interested since then. But, we saw a babushka at the metro selling apples from her dacha the other day, so I bought three kilos. And yesterday I came across Linda's Crockpot Apple Butter Recipe. I've modified it a bit (stove top, brown sugar, unpeeled) and it simmering right now.

A couple of weeks ago, J7 misused the vacuum cleaner, and as a result was given extra time to practice using it correctly. Vacuuming is his least favorite job (as it was mine, when I was a child.) He's had a great attitude about it though, and yesterday was vacuuming an singing at the top of his lungs, Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart!

On Friday I took the two older boys to the dentist. It's been three years. It's a bit of an overwhelming task at times to first find a doctor with whom we're comfortable, not to mention making appointments in Russian. At this clinic, however, most of the staff has at least some English. My teeth feel so smoothly clean, the dentist reassured us that T6's bite looked fine, and we have app'ts for early December for fillings. *blush* I'm so embarrassed that I allowed the boys to get cavities (small ones). My Dad is a dentist. . .

I also saw an eye doctor this week. (Doesn't speak English.) I had an eye infection a few weeks ago, and we're still determining whether there is an underlying problem or it was a simple infection. And, I need an updated prescription and glassses. If you have a simple prescription, you can buy glasses at the metro station here. Mine's a bit more complex, so I need to bring Hubby along and go to an optika and find some frames he thinks suit me. I hate picking out frames alone.

We'll be having Thanksgiving with the Americans on our team this year. Thankfully, Tracy and Lauren will be making the turkey. Traditionally, I've been hugely pregnant and due any day around Thanksgiving, so I've had limited experience baking turkeys. The first Thanksgiving after we were married I made a delicious spread. Last year I made a "traditional American Thanksgiving" for Hubby's English classes. Oh, my. Nothing turned out how I wanted it to. And the turkey. . . Well, let's just say I'm avoiding being responsible for baking turkeys until I can get back to the land of Butterballs.


November 21, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The First Snow!

This morning I awoke to the boys yelling, "It's snowing! It's snowing hard! Look, it's snowing!"

We had about 15 minutes of big, wet flakes of snow. We couldn't see far past the window.

But it stopped and melted before we even left the house.


November 17, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Surprise!

Usually when the phone rings, I immediately switch gears to Russian. It threw me off for a second when I answered the phone today and was greeted in English.

"Hello. This is Carol. In Canada."

After a moment it register. Carol!

I rarely get phone calls, much less from a dear friend from North America.

Thanks for calling, Carol. It really made my day. *grin*


November 06, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Chel-o-vyek Pa-aook

As I sit here, the boys are singing the Spiderman theme song. In Russian.


November 05, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thankful Thursday

1. My Dishwasher It's super-small, but I'm so happy I at least have one. Doing dishes is one of my least favorite tasks.

2. My Washing Machine Again, it's super small and I'm never caught up on laundry. And it eats clothes. But if I had to handwash everything, I don't think we'd ever wear anything clean.


3. My Towel Warmer One of the common luxuries in Ukraine, is the brill way they run the hot water pipes externally in the bathroom. I love getting out of a warm bath to wrap up in a warm towel.


More Thursday Thankfuls at the BadgerMum's.


November 04, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Election Recovery

We're having a laid-back sort of day. We didn't sleep much last night while waiting for the election returns, and so we're pretty low energy here. Wednesdays tend to be our "Saturdays"--usually a family day since the little boys don't go to dyetski sad and Saturdays are work days.

C3 woke up crying with an earache, and has slept most the day. The other boys are all stuffy, and I'm fighting a sinus infection. They took soaks in the tub, with eucalyptus-mint epsom salts and we're all sipping echinacea-mint tea.

Still waiting for the Ohio to be "officially" Bush's state. If you doubt it will go that direction, check the odds.

For now, C3 is painting. R5 is putting together a LOTR puzzle. J8 is nursing a cut on his finger. T6 is watching construction from their bedroom window. And I'm off to attend to some long-neglected laundry.

A very peaceful day-after for us.


November 03, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What We Did Today

Boys Painting.JPG



October 30, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Hobbit Jig

Oh you can search far and wide
You can drink the whole ground dry
But you'll never find a beer so brown
As the one we drink in our home town...
You can keep your fancy ales!
You can drink them by the flagon!
But the only brew for the brave and truuuuuueee
comes from the Green Dragon!

My boys love Merry and Pippin's jig that they sing and dance in the Golden Hall in Rohan. They've watched and re-watched this scene while dancing on my bed.

They didn't quite have all the words straight, so they asked me to look them up for them.


October 30, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Big News!


T6 lost his second tooth today! He lost the first one last month, but I couldn't get a photo up. Isn't he cute?


October 28, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



At the Zoo


Today we went to the Kyiv Zoo with some friends from Odessa. It was a perfect autumn day to be outside. The boys especially loved watching the pelicans gum at the dead fish they had been fed, and the mommy monkey with her baby.


October 25, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ukraine Photography

We met a Ukrainian-Australian photographer at the embassy when we were renewing our visas. You can see the Ukrainian life that Bohdan Warchomij has captured on film at his website. He's back in Ukraine to photograph the election and hopefully spend some time among the Crimean Tatars.


October 25, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



JWs at the Door

A few minutes ago, the doorbell rang and there stood two well-dressed ladies offering me Jehovah's Witnesses literature.

I only understood about half of what they were saying, but after confirming they were JWs I told them I wasn't interested.

"You're not interested?"
"The Jesus you believe in isn't the Jesus that is taught in the Bible," I explained.
"You don't think we believe in Jesus?"
"No, I think you do believe in Jesus."
They smiled.
"But you believe in a Jesus that is different than the Jesus of the Bible. I pray that you will read your Bible more and understand who the Jesus of the Bible is. My kids need me--I need to go."
They looked at me quizzically and tuned to go. I hope I actually said in Russian what I was trying to say.

If Hubby had been home, perhaps we could have invited them in for tea and talked more about JW beliefs and the Bible.

Sadly in Ukraine, cults like JW and LDS are growing rapidly. The average Ivan on the street frequently thinks that any religious group that is not Ukrainian or Russian Orthodox is a cult. That can make things difficult for historical, small-o orthodox churches like ours.


October 16, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Welcome, Autumn!

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"

WHEN the frost is on the punkin
and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble
of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys,
and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer
as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller
is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him
from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded,
and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin
and the fodder's in the shock.

--James Whitcomb Riley

Read the complete poem.

Our vacation was summery, by the beach and pool. We came home to the chilly days and changing leaves of autumn. Fresh crisp mornings like today, always bring to mind this poem my mother had us memorize when I was in high school. We'll make gingerbread cake and applesauce for Bible study dessert tonight.

Autumn days also bring out a lot of heart-thankfulness in me. And, since it's Thursday, I'll go ahead and list three things I'm thankful for, ala Kelly.

1. That our hot water was back on when we got home from vacation.
2. That our heat came on yesterday--two days early!
3. That my energy and optimism is renewed after vacation.

I'm off to start a pot of chicken corn chowder and then take the boys outside to play.


October 14, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Places Not to Live

T6 told me the other day, "I NEVER want to be a missionary to China."

A startling, out of nowhere comment. "Why?"

"They eat too much rice!"

But, Bejing is one of the places that Marla and crew might be headed. Brilliant!


October 13, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pyramid Project


As we started back into our school routine yesterday, J8 and T6 build pyramids and a sphinx. We discussed how difficult these were to make with play dough and how the ancient Egyptians actually built them.

Later, they built pyramids with cuisenaire rods, and compared the structure of a step pyramid with an actual triangular pyramid.


October 13, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Boys on Vacation


Hubby, C3, T6, R5, J8
September 2004


October 12, 2004  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home again, Home again. . .


October 12, 2004  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Vacation!


We'll be back like Nixon, tanned, rested and ready.

Grace and peace,


September 24, 2004  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Fluffy First Day of School Bows


The Girls on their first day of school.
Notice the traditional Ukrainian/Russian bows previously discussed.


September 19, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Welcome, Baby Lincoln!


Tuesday, September 14th, 2004
Time of birth: 3:52 PM
Weight: 9 lbs. 1 oz. Height: 22 inches

We are rejoicing with Derek & Carol, and Nathaniel, Benjamin and Christina on the birth of little Lincoln Montgomery!


September 17, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Evening with Sasha

This evening Sasha came over to visit and drink piña coladas. We've seen her off and on this summer, but with the Summer Institute and Family Conference and other "big" things going on, we've had less time to just talk about life, love, and literature. I'm glad summer is over and life can resume a normal pace.


September 15, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Midweek Update

The Family Conference is going great. I'm very encouraged by the feedback from our Ukrainian friends and from some of the new people from our neighborhood we've met through the conference. I've especially enjoyed the women's fellowship activities.


September 08, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Welcome, Aubrey!

Welcome to the world, Aubrey Kai!


This is my cousin, her husband, son and new baby daughter.

Saturday, September 4th
12:27 a.m.
9 lbs. 1 oz.
22 1/2 in. long

And, please be praying for little Aubrey. from my cousin:

Sept 8: She got distressed during labor and had to be resuscitated at birth. The first 48 hrs were grim, but she held out and with the help of oxygen, medication and the excellent care at the NICU here, she is doing MUCH better today. Each little organ has had to do a lot of work to repair itself due to the lack of oxygen she had at birth. Specifically, her kidneys and lungs had to prove themselves, but thankfully they are doing well now.

Sept 14: I ask that you pray specifically for Aubrey to learn to feed...bottle feeding is going very slowly, as she has to relearn the coordinated suck/swallow/digest reflex that babies are born with. She will stay in the NICU for as long as she needs until she is eating. The doctors have warned us that this will be the hurdle that takes the longest to overcome. But we have faith that she will learn soon enough and we'll be able to take her home once she does so. The other concern we have is what kind of long-term effects her birth trauma could have on her. Whatever the future holds for us and our baby girl, we are just so in love with her and are thankful she is with us.


September 08, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Family Conference Weekend

This is a busy weekend--we're involved with a neighborhood Family Conference with visiting teachers from Texas.

And. . . HOORAY! My boys are home safely from the seaside. They ran up to hug me and they look so sweet with their sunbleached hair and sunburns.

More good news. . . Carol's Storybook is up and running again.

Note to Jennifer--Carol's back!


September 03, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Starting Dyetskiy Sad

Today was R5's first day at dyetskiy sad, kindergarten. He and C3 will be going to a small dyetskiy sad for American and Ukrainian children, but taught in Russian instead of Ukrainian as the local schools are. And it's only a 5 minute walk away!

R5 was very excited this morning, especially about his dinosaur lunch box. The batteries in my camera ran out right as I was about to snap a picture of him in the school entrance. I sat in the main room for the first couple of hours. He ran out every so often to make sure I was there and to tell me what was going on. I appreciated that the teachers allowed the separation to proceed at his pace instead of forcing the issue. After awhile, R5 told me, "Okay--you can go now."

About an hour later, we were called because R5 was upset. He wasn't quite ready to travel by marshrutka with his new teachers and friends to the park. But he told me he wanted to be sure to be back in class when the students came back to school.

He was fine during the second part of the day, and when I picked him up he didn't want to leave! C3 will be starting at this dyetskiy sad on Monday.

I'm really happy that the younger boys have the opportunity to be in a Russian-immersion program. I think it will be a good fit for their personalities. And I'm looking forward to having more focused homeschooling time with the older two.


September 02, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Off to the Seaside!

Three of our boys are off to the seaside for a week with Babushka. They've been looking forward to it all summer, and it's been delayed due to C3's broken arm and then train tickets being unavailable.

They've been excited, but were a little upset as they got into the taxi to go to the train station. I was upset, too. But knowing them, they were into the spirit of the adventure within minutes.

We're looking forward to having extra time with R5 this week. (And I'm still catching up on laundry from when it piled up last week when we were sick.) This Friday a short-term team will be arriving for a Family Conference--lots of details to come together.

I expect a phone call this afternoon from Yevpretoria, happy boys and happy Babushka saying they arrived safely.

Update: We got a phone call that they've arrived safely and happily!


August 28, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tomatoes, Boys and The Girls

I'm typing this as 10 kilograms of tomatoes simmers down into proper spaghetti sauce consistency. Today was a good day.

C3 got his cast off today! We went in to get a fresh one, because he had worn down his cast until it was soft. "The arm has begun to grow together," the doctor said, "but he needs to be careful not to fall on it, not to run or jump or do anything active three year old boys do." (Nope, not a direct quote.) *sigh*

A Ukrainian friend asked if he's going in for massage and physical therapy. That wasn't prescribed, but I have some wonderful lavendar massage lotion, and I'll be sure to massage his arm. C3 says it still hurts a little, and he's favoring it still (ate dinner with his left hand again today.)

We also got to play with the girls today. The girls are the three daughters of an American/Ukrainian couple we know and dearly love. Our boys and the girls have become such fast friends, and they play so sweetly together. They'll be moving in another month or so, and I think this will be such one of the biggest losses our boys have had to face.

One of the things talked about in cross-cultural preparation is the "Enjoyment/Endurance Paradox." That concept fits so much of life, and has helped me enjoy the good things more even when I have mixed feelings. It's hard, though, helping our children live through the joy/sadness that is part of relationships and changes in life.


August 25, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Independence Day!

Kyivites are celebrating Ukraine’s independence today. We skipped most of the festivities downtown, but have had a wonderful day with the boys. Ukraine, in its current political construct, is only 13 years old. Thirteen. I have dear friends with children older than that.

And while Ukraine is still in a bit of a rocky adolescence finding her own self-identity, she’s survived the first toddler steps of independence and the growing pains of separating from the Soviet Union.

The economic outlook seems bright. I look around my neighborhood and see new high-rises under construction, retail stores opening, and consumer goods not even imaginable when we first arrived now easy to find. Hubby, who has done real economic research (as opposed to my “glance around the neighborhood” analysis) is impressed with the economic growth and stability of the past few years.

Spiritually, we can see the hand of God moving. When the Iron Curtain came down, we all heard of the amazing responsiveness people had to the Gospel. That sort of enthusiasm is no longer here. Instead, attitudes toward religion are jaded, cults and cultic churches have scared people off, and new age philosophies are growing. And while Eastern Orthodoxy seems to be recovering from the trauma of communist oppression, it often seems intent on instituting some of its own.

But God is calling his lost sheep in Ukraine to Himself. Each week we gather in corporate worship with people from our neighborhood. We know several solid seminaries, where pastors and Believers are emerging with a sound foundation in the Bible and a vision of Ukraine and the surrounding countries. We see young Believers maturing rapidly eager to study and grow. And I’m not just talking about our church, but we’re also seeing churches having an impact on the wider community and country

And so we rejoice at what God is doing. He has brought independence to a nation, and He is bringing His people into dependence upon Himself.


August 24, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



PowerAde and Applesauce

It hit me today. A nasty virus has been cycling through the kids (one per day, thankfully--easier to give a the sick child attention.) Today I woke up so sick. I spent most of the day lying on the cool tiles of the floor next to the tub. Just in case.

Usually, the few things that we can't get in Kyiv aren't a problem. Make do, or do without. I was so excited last month when the local grocery store started stocking brown sugar!

But when I'm sick or the kids are throwing up, I really want PowerAde. It stays down, keeps us hydrated. And while I don't mind making applesauce from scratch, I'm in no condition to do that when we're sick.

The pastor of our church told Hubby he should call "Skorri Pomesh" (the ambulance service, literally Fast Help) because the Ukrainian flu does secondary damage to organs. I'm sorry, but there are some things that I just haven't acculturated to here--like calling the ambulance for every illness. Besides, I don't want to see a doc or go to the clinic--just be still in my own home until this passes.

Anyway, that's why posting has been light and any prayers for our family are much appreciated. It seems this virus is slowly making the rounds throughout our community and I wish it'd just go away.


August 21, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Apricot Abundance

On Sunday, Katya took C3 with her to her friend's dacha to pick apricots. He had a wonderful time. Katya brought me homegrown tomatoes, plums, flowers, cucumbers, and apricots.

About 10 kilograms of apricots.

That's a rough guess. Sunday night I made two batches of regular apricot jam and added some apricots to the pot of Rumtopf I started a couple of months ago. I set the nicer apricots and plums out for the boys, and put the slightly green ones on the windowsill to ripen. The rest I cleaned and whirred up in the blender, added a little citric acid, and froze.

Today I started some apricot cordial, made a batch of pineapple-apricot jam, and a double batch of apricot chutney. And I still have more apricot puree in the freezer. I'm toying with the idea of making southern-fried apricot cream pies.

In other family news:

* C3 saw the doctor last Friday. The x-rays still show the break looking pretty serious. C3 got a new cast. Katya took the x-rays to a couple of specialists she knows. The consensus is to keep the cast on another 4 weeks and then re-evaluate. We're still trying to avoid surgery, but that hasn't been completely ruled out.

* My wonderful Hubby bought me a new digital camera, through a friend who is in-the-know about where to get decent ones at decent prices in this city. I'm just tickled, and can't wait to try it out. The camera my mom gave me gave out when we were on vacation over a year ago, and I really miss it.

* Hubby has been doing a lot of remont around our flat--painting, fixing doors, epoxying things. When the telephone repairman came this morning, Hubby had to help him rewire the line into our flat.

* We have a new cyrillic/English keyboard. There are a few extra keys, and I keep mistyping. The shift and ctrl buttons are too close together. Please forgive my typos.


August 09, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Whoops. . .

Today we sent out a ministry update to friends and supporters. If you recieved multiple copies of it, I'm SORRY! I had some problems while sending it out. . . And if you didn't rec' a copy but want one, please e-mail me at alex8b8 AT hotmail DOT com.



July 29, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Day!

Today is my Beloved's birthday. And our 9th anniversary. *mush, mush*

We went to the Stoned Baboon restaurant/bar/English book exchange and traded in enough to get $70 of English books for just $7! A homeschool family must have recently left Kyiv and brought all their books in, because there was a great kids' selection that included quite a few Sonlight books.

Then we went out for dinner and daydreamed about our future and reminisced about the past. We came home and had carrot cake with the boys.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.


July 29, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



We all scream for ice cream!

It's so miserably hot here. So, tonight we had banana splits for dinner.

Whole milk ice cream, bananas, homemade strawberry syrup, nuts and whipped cream. Yum! And part of a summer balanced diet.


July 28, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Nasha Sasha

My friend Sasha is developing her personal web page, and I thought some of y'all might be interested in it. It's in both Russian and English. You may especially like the photos from her travels--especially the winter ones in western Ukraine.


July 27, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Crank, crank, crank

I'm cranky and hormonal and had a pretty cruddy day.

Don't expect any cheerful words from this corner of the world today.

Did I mention it's miserably hot, too?


July 26, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When it rains, it pours.

Literally, in this case. Hubby just left for the SI2 picnic, photo scavenger hunt, and bonfire. He's been gone maybe ten minutes and in that time the weather has changed from being a gorgeous summer day to a mighty, pounding rainstorm. The boys are building a "boat" in case there is a flood and the water rises up to the 15th floor.

Yesterday I took C3 to the doctor. The srays show that the bone is growing together as it should, but it isn't completely aligned. We have follow up x-rays scheduled in two weeks. I just thank God that he didn't need it realigned yesterday and that everything seems to be healing.

I woke up with an eye infection this morning. I get them occasionally, but this is the first one I've had that hurts. I can't focus my eyes easily and in fact, I'm typing with them closed. *L* Forgive my typos, please. . .

Hunh. The storm lasted less than 10 minutes. I hope it's gone for good, for the rest of the day.


July 24, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Showing Off

Calvin's Armor!

C3 showing off his "armor." Tomorrow we go in for a follow-up x-ray to be sure the bones are set and growing together properly.


July 22, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Update. . .

I think I've had few moments happier than when Hubby and C3 walked in the door this morning. C3 was cheerful and smiling, and had his arm in a white cast and looked. . . so much older than when they left last night for the hospital.

He's been proudly showing off his "armour" and telling everyone about falling off of T6's shoulders. (No more piggyback rides here!) He goes in for another x-ray later this week to make sure everything is aligned and growing together correctly. He hasn't needed pain meds other than a couple of baby tylenol.

Thank you for your prayers. I've been a bit emotional today--starting to cry at odd moments. While broken bones are almost to be expected with four active boys in the house, it still was very upsetting and a big ordeal for me. I really, honestly appreciate the prayers and encouragement. It meant a lot to know that I could post this here and send out a few e-mails and know people who cared would be praying for my family.

Last night, after Hubby and C3 left in the taxi for the clinic, I took the other boys to the grocery store to get some treats. While walking around, J8 mournfully asked, "Why did C3 have to get hurt? Why was my little brother hurt?"

It was hard to answer him without tears, "Well, we know that God has this all in His hands, and that God will use this in C3's life for His purpose."

Later in the evening J8 told me, "I think it's not just in C3's life, but God did this for me, too," and went on to explain some things in his heart.

I rejoice that we serve a God who is so infinite that He rules over all things, and so imminent that He is involved in the "little things" in our lives.


July 19, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Please Pray

Hey, y’all. . .

The boys were giving each other piggy back rides, and C3 fell and broke his arm. It’s the right forearm, and it’s obviously broken. John has taken him to Boris Clinic, which has an excellent reputation. C3 was doing okay, but seemed to be a bit in shock. Please pray for peace for him, as well as proper pain relief and medical treatment, for John to be able to effectively communicate with the doctors, and for the other boys to have peace. (They are upset, understandably—especially since it happened while they were playing.) I’m doing okay, not great. Trusting God's sovereignty. . .

Update at 11:30 pm: John called from Boris Hospital. The doctors need to reset the bones in C3’s forearm, but it will not require surgery. However, it will require general anesthesia. The doctors came in while John was on the phone with me, so I assume everything is being taken care of as I write this. Please continue praying. John said the hospital is very nice, clean, and well-run. In the morning they will re-take the x-rays to be sure the bones are set correctly. John expects that he and C3 will be home sometime tomorrow morning.


July 18, 2004  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Last Battle

The boys' "big" presents for Christmas were in indoor gym set and the boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia. We've slowly been reading through them since then, and on Monday we finished "The Last Battle." We started reading chapter 4 and just kept going. They didn't want me to stop, and I didn't either. I nearly cried several times.

I read the C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy for the first time when I was in 5th grade. To be honest, I liked the Space Trilogy better then. But of the Narnia books, my favorite were "The Magician's Nephew" and "The Last Battle." The beginning and the end.

But these books were so much different for me now, reading them aloud to my children. I'm trying to put it into words, but I just can't right now. The past six months of reading the Narnia books, though, have definitely been building strong memories for me.

By the way, they've announced the cast for the new movie of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." If they are able to pull of the Narnia films as well as Peter Jackson did the LOTR, we'll be very pleased. The movie is set to release December 2005.


July 14, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Kuplink, Kuplank, Kuplunk

Today, C3 and I read Blueberries for Sal, listened to the sound of blueberries dropping into a bucket, and made blueberry jam.


July 13, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Accountability. . .

Ack! I've been reviewing some e-mails and other paperwork and realized just how dreadfully behind I am on some business e-mails and other things. Yes, I've been procrastinating on them. I found it so easy getting paperwork done when I was working in offices for someone else. It's a real struggle to stay current with personal and family business.

So, I'm posting this publically as a reminder to myself to get it DONE! Now! No more putting it off!

(And you can fwack me if you see me posting before it's finished--or at least mostly finished. . .)


July 09, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Lincoln, Liberty, and Ukraine

Monday night we went to the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus patriotic concert. It was great--especially the Kyiv Brass ensemble.

While Lincoln rates among my 5 least favorite presidents, I was very moved by their performance of Aaron Copeland's "Lincoln Portrait."

What was so emotional was hearing the US Ambassador to Ukraine, the Hon. John Herbst, narrarate it in Ukrainian. Ukraine is still struggling, as it has been free of the Soviet Union for such a short time. I wish all of Ukraine could have heard the exhortation:

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise high with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country. . . .

. . .we here highly reslove that these dead shall not have died in vain; and that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . .

May it be so.


July 07, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Dyetskiy Bibleiskiy Klub

Children listening to a Bible story. Can you spot J8 and C3?

This week we've been busy and blessed by a Children's Bible Club that our church has sponsored for the children in our region. We were able to hold it in a schoolyard not far from where we live. It was exciting to see the children's enthusiasm each evening. T6 said, "I wish this could last for at least three years!" And one of the mothers mentioned that she was disappointed it was only one week long.

We have some summer interns working with us in Kyiv, and I don't think we could have held this Dyetski Klub without them. But most of the helpers were people from the church--and it was great to see them involved and excited about reaching out to our neighborhood.

Duck, Duck, Goose with the younger children.


July 03, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Monday's Day Trip

Roses and Steeples

On Monday, we went with our friends Sergei and Lena to Chernivskya (sp?), a small city about two hours north of here by marshrutka. It was a perfect day for walking around, seeing the old churches (from the 10th century forward), ancient sculptures from even before then, and just enjoying being out of Kyiv. I was amazed at how quiet the city was, and how fresh smelling. It was a wonderful day with dear friends.

Me And Boys
Me with R5, J7, C3, T6 (left to right.)


June 22, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Simply Divine

I'm sitting here eating fresh bread, spread with cool butter and warm strawberry jam. A taste of heaven.

Two batches done, one to go. . .


June 19, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Only in June

I have 7 kilograms of strawberries to jam! What am I doing sitting here?!


June 19, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Just what I was thinking. . .

"During announcements at the beginning of the service, I called attention to the list on the back of the bulletin of the missionaries our church supports. Notice how many times you see Ukraine in the list. Twenty years ago, the idea of Christian missionaries openly preaching the gospel and planting churches in any part of the USSR would have been unthinkable. But, in His providence, God raised up a leader who called evil by its real name and worked to defeat it. And because of that, hundreds of millions of people are free to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ. God willing that will happen again, and the door will open for a billion more souls. We ought to give thanks to God for bringing this to pass."

Batesline eloquently remarks on how God has amazingly worked. Earlier today, Hubby and I were sitting in amazement that we live in a Former Soviet country--something that was unheard of when we were kids.


June 07, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Peggy Noonan Remembers

I've been looking for this since hearing of President Reagan's passing. Peggy Noonan's Thanks From a Grateful Country, in honor of Ronald Reagan.

"He was dying for years and the day came and somehow it came as a blow. Not a loss but a blow. How could this be?

John Rabe echoed the same sentiments on Hubby's blog.

And it's true.

And I'm near tears again with memories,

"It's not hard to imagine him now in a place where his powers have been returned to him and he's himself again--sweet-hearted, tough, funny, optimistic and very brave. You imagine him snapping one of those little salutes as he turns to say goodbye. Today I imagine saluting right back."

June 07, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Gipper Goes On

"When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead." --Ronald Reagan, 1994

Ronald Wilson Reagan, February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004


June 05, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



D-Day 1944-2004

J7 and T6 in Normandy, saluting in front of a German pillbox

Here in Ukraine, World War II is known as the "Great Patriot War against Fascism." It seems to be remembered a bit more here, than in the US. Perhaps because the Germans occupied Ukraine for awhile.

The only time I've cried during the opening credits of a movie was for "Saving Private Ryan." Last year, Hubby and the two older boys were able to tour Normandy. It really made an impression on them. When they came home, J7 drew a picture of the rows and rows of crosses in the Normandy cemetary.

Britannica.Com's Normandy
National D-Day Museum in New Orleans
D-Day: American Experience


June 05, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm sad. . .

It seems that President Reagan's health has taken a turn for the worse. He's struggled with Alzheimer's for so long. R5 was named in honor of Ronald Reagan, and so we've started talking to him about President Reagan being very ill. In our family, he will be greatly mourned.

I highly recommend Peggy Noonan's biography of Reagan, When Character Was King. Very touching.


June 05, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Mommy Moment

"If you could ask God for anything in the world, what would it be?" asked the Sunday School teacher as an introduction to a lesson about Solomon and wisdom.

T7 piped up, "A million brothers!"


May 30, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Contented Cows Give Sweet Milk

"Oxytocin. . . which is released by the pituitary gland, is the hormone that stimulates the mother's letdown. . . This is a wonderful hormone that has a calming affect upon the mother. Every time the milk 'lets down' she experiences a feeling of relaxation and calm and sometimes sleepiness comes over her. God is good. When we do things His way, we get His benefits. He knows that mothers need this calming hormone and He has graciously provided it for us." --Nancy Campbell

May 29, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Reading Love in Chicken Entrails

This morning J7 was my grocery helper and went shopping with me in preparation for the fellowship dinner we have before Bible study each Thursday.

Our first stop was the Chicken Truck. We buy our chicken from the back of a truck that is parked across the street from the grocery store.

"Ewww! She's using her hands!" J7 exclaimed as the Chicken Truck Lady plopped three kilos of chicken breasts into a plastic bag.

"It's okay, hon. I wash the chicken and then we cook it to kill the germs."

"But, she's touching raw meat with her bare hands!"

"Yep. Pretty gross, huh?"

"I don't think I want her job when I grow up." This from the child has his life planned out--starting with being an army general. I was thinking that I'm not sure I want him to grow up to sell chicken from the back of a truck, either.

"You know, I'm glad I'm not a girl. Then I won't become a Mommy and have to touch raw meat."

I quickly disabused him of that idea.

"Well, when we lived next to the market, Daddy would go and buy a whole chicken for me, and then take off the skin and clean out all the insides. With his bare hands. Just so that I wouldn't have to do that yucky job."


May 27, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



How the Other Half Thinks

Hubby has been writing a lot lately about our family and parenting.

Parenting is a (Mixed) Blessing

Mixed Blessing, but a Pretty Cool One

Homebirthing and Other Evangelical Tribal Customs

Kids and the Big City


May 25, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I got rippling waters to wake me
to the morning, my woman and love
our tall pine trees are pointing us easily to heaven above
Blue spruce flaming on the grate in the evening
Takes the chill away fine
Cut the telephone line and the story's the same

There's an old red chair by our window
That we found at a sale down the lane
Some old women said they needed more room for the winter
People like to pull out the stuffing when they sit down
So it passes the time
Cut the telephone line and the story's the same

Blow like a bubble on a windy day
Start to flutter when I hear you say
That you feel to good to go away
And you make me feel fine
You've made my world a warmer place
By the sparkle of your diamond face
on a frayed spot, put a little lace

And you make me feel fine
Warm as the mountain sunshine
On the edge of the snowline
In a meadow of columbine

Oh, little Jennifer, I'd give a penny for
What you've got on your mind
It seems like most of the time you're lying here dreaming.
Maybe in your vision you've seen how our mission is slightly less than divine
Cut the telephone line and the story's the same

Yep, now rippling waters flow through pipes
In the walls and they're keeping me warm
And the closest I've been to my family for days is our music
You can silently stare in the morning sky
It's like hearing her calling my name
Cut the telephone line and the story might change

Ripplin' Waters
by Jimmy Ibbotson
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band


May 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Bushel and a Peck and a Hug Around the Neck

"How much is a gallon?" J7 asked me as I cleaned the kitchen this afternoon.

"Remember those big milk containers we used to buy in the States?"

Blank stare.

"Well, that was a gallon."

Blank stare.

I held up my hands. "Oh, a gallon is about this much."


May 18, 2004  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm Dom-es-tic!

Maybe it's a side effect of the Spring Cleaning that Hubby and I are finishing up, or maybe it's because I've been happy to be in my own home again. This week I've made cinnamon-raisin-honey granola, tried a new herbed marinade for pork, and bought window boxes for the kitchen.

And I'm looking forward to strawberries and other fruits coming in season--I can't wait to begin preserving again.


May 15, 2004  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Where in the world?

Anne's amazed at this geography tidbit. When I was a child, we lived closer to the USSR than the Lower 48, thanks to the Navy. *grin* I have lots of fond memories of Adak, but that base is closed now.


May 15, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From Hubby

Reflections on 5 Years in the PCA


May 13, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



J7 the Brave

My oldest came up to me a minute ago, humming.

"Do you know the words to Scotland the Brave?"

"One day I want to take bagpipe lessons with Daddy in Scotland, and eventually be able to play Scotland the Brave on the bagpipes."

Hark, when the night is falling
Hear, hear the pipes are calling
Loudly and proudly calling
Down through the Glen.
There where the hills are sleeping
Now feel the blood a-leaping
High as the spirits
Of the old highland men.

Towering in gallant fame
Scotland my mountain hame
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave!
Land of my high endeavor
Land of the shining river
Land of my heart forever
Scotland the brave!

High in the misty highlands
Out by the purple islands
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies
Wild are the winds to meet you
Staunch are the friends that greet you
Kind as the light that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.


Far off in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming
for the homeland again.


Hot as a burning ember,
Flaming in bleak December
Burning within the hearts
Of clansmen afar!
Calling to home and fire,
Calling the sweet desire,
Shining a light that beckons from every star!



Update: Since posting this, the boys have gathered around the computer to listen to the tune linked above, and practiced humming it together. J7's been reading the words--but wants someone else to sing it because he wants to hum.


May 11, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On the road again. . .

Blogging will be light, here and at Le Sabot.

Oh, and our computer power source is on the fritz. Who knows why. Sigh.


April 24, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Raising Resilient Kids

Last month, I got a copy of Raising Resilient MKs, a collection of essays aimed at helping families and others understand and support children on the mission field. Reading the book has had me on a roller-coaster of being more strongly committed to missions work--and then wondering how my kids are going to make it growing up so. . . differently.

One of the key people in advocating for TCKs (Third-Culture Kids/Trans-Culture Kids) has been David Pollock. Some of his essays felt like a personal gift to me, where I am with my children. And so it was with great sadness to hear of his sudden illness. David Pollock passed away from this life and into the presence of the Lord he served on Easter Sunday. He was in Vienna. It meant a lot to me to know his wife and children were with him--a testimony of family unity reflecting his life's work helping other families.


April 19, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Quick, Grab the Nearest Book!

"Ministry in the city, then, will help you grasp the gospel of grace in powerful ways."

Follow the herd:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

Ironically, I blogged this very passage before!

(Via Thinklings)


April 18, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (4)  |  Permalink



But, does it hurt?

A couple of weeks ago, the pericope for Thursday night Bible study was from Ephesians 2.

Mid-way through, J7 came up to me.

"Mom, there's a word I don't understand. Cir-circs. . ."


"Yeah. Circumcision. Is that like baptism?"

He gets it, folks!


April 17, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



And a child shall beat them. . .

A few days ago, R5 asked me to play chess with him.

And he beat me. Yes, my five-year-old won fair and square.

It was the first "real" game of chess I've played against him. I was paying attention, but wasn't really focusing on the game. At least, that's what I told Hubby. And I have won the two other games we've played this week--a bit of salve for my ego.


April 17, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Inspiring Reminder

"I really regret that I didn't write more about my babies when they were little--what they were doing, how it felt to be the mom of that child at that age, the learning that I observed my baby doing, what made them different from other babies, the outings we took as a family when the children were little...I guess I thought it was all too obvious and that I would never forget any of it, but I have forgotten so much. Pictures are nice but since I relate to the written word so strongly, when I do find something I jotted down about the children, it communicates to me in a special way. " -- my friend Kathy

I read this tonight and am reminded of all the little things I want to remember. Like C3's favorite new word being "otherwise." As in, "Otherwise, we went to the park today. Otherwise, your name is moonie-mommy." Said just like that, as he describes his day to me.

This is one of the reasons I started blogging. I'm not bad (though not consistent) about jotting e-mails to my Mom about what the boys are doing. But I don't keep them for myself.

Carol keeps a family journal online and I believe prints it out for their family scrapbook. Here I have in one place, all the little notes I want to make about living in Kyiv and about the funny boy sayings and new acheivements. And even if my computer crashes (as it has been in the habit of doing) I won't lose it because it's all online.


April 17, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



It's Spring!

April 15th feels like the official start of spring in Kyiv, because on that date the heat is scheduled to be turned off.

One of the legacies of the soviet system is an inefficient, city-controlled heating system. The city turns on the heat on October 15th and turns it off on April 15th (give or take a couple of days.) Instead of thermostats, families regulate the temperature of the apartment by either opening a window or adding another layer of clothing.

Sure enough, yesterday our radiators were cold!

Some flats don't have hot water once the heat is turned off. Thankfully, we have hot water year-round, except for a few weeks in the summer.


April 16, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Music and Memories

I went on down to the Audubon Zoo and
They all aksd for you
They all aksd for you, for who
Well they even inquired about ya.

I went on down to the Audubon Zoo and
They all aksd for you
The monkeys aksed
The tigers aksed
And the elephants aksed me, too.

I picked up a Buckwheat Zydeco tape today, and got so sentimental. When I bought it, I didn't realize they had this song on it.

I remember my Mom and Maw Maw singing that to me when I was little, growing up in New Orleans. I thought they had written it for me. *grin* It is odd hearing a memory like that sung on an album.


March 27, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I think today was the happiest birthday I ever had.

My oldest woke me up this morning with a hug and "You're beautiful, Mommy.

I smiled.

"And you're thirty.

R5 wrote "Mommy's Birthday" and drew a picture on a card for me. Throughout the day he brought me presents he had wrapped up in socks, backpacks and scraps of paper.

I went out for lunch with some girlfriends and was reminded of how beautiful downtown Kyiv is in the spring. (Today is the first day I could go out without a heavy coat!)

The boys together put on a lego play, complete with Queen Mommy, King Daddy and my four knight princes who protected me from a shipful of pirates as I cheered them on from the tower.

And hubby took me out for yummy fajitas, guacamole and tortilla chips, and strawberry daquiris at Kyiv's Tequila House.

I feel content and peaceful. What a way to start a new decade.


March 24, 2004  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Poetry of Playing

A Good Play

We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, “Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake;”—
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.

This evening the boys had a blanket thrown over their jungle gym, and pillows and boxes piled around it. Definitely the very best of plays.

Tonight while snuggling with R5, I read R.L. Stevenson to him. These poems colored my growing up years, and it brings such joy to share them with my children.


March 19, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

The boys spotted a spider climbing the kitchen wall today. I rightly told them that we ought to be glad we have spiders because they eat harmful insects. Then I saw its hairy long legs and an ugly red mark and got scared. I squished it.

I googled to see if I could find a photo listing of spiders in Ukraine, especially to see whether there are poisonous ones in our area. We've had brown recluses and black widows for neighbors other places we've lived, and I know what to look for before deciding whether to kill them.

I found this arachnology site, and one on the spiders of northwest Europe. All the sites specific to Russia or Ukraine wouldn't open for me tonight.

I wonder what Sciolist could tell us?


March 17, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What R5 Said This Morning. . .

I just figured it out. . . You can't take care of us if you don't wake up, and you can't wake up without coffee.

March 15, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



S Proznhikom!

Happy Women's Day!

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
"Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:28-31

Встают дети и ублажают ее, --муж, и хвалит ее:
'много было жен добродетельных,
но ты превзошла всех их'.
Миловидность обманчива и красота суетна;
но жена, боящаяся Господа, достойна хвалы.
Дайте ей от плода рук ее,
и да прославят ее у ворот дела ее!
Притчей Соломоновых 31:28-31


March 08, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday!


Many happy returns to my three year old niece!


March 05, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Errand Day in Kyiv

I went to the centre of the city today, to take care of a few things at the office and to pick up some grocery items available at a store downtown.

I took the metro. A few weeks ago, I read that the city transportation service was doubling the fare to 1 grivnia, beginning March 1st. It's an increase from 10 to 20 cents--still a remarkable deal compared to metro fares in other cities in Europe. However, for those who rely on the metro to commute to work, it's quite a jump from spending 30 grivnia to 60 grivnia a month. Compared to the average wage, it is a significant percentage. I didn't see a sign announcing the new fare, so I gave the lady 50 kopeks and she gave me a token. I guess the fare increase didn't go through, just like it didn't go through when they announced a fare increase a couple of years ago.

As I walked through the metro stations both in our neighborhood and in the centre, I asked the guys selling pirated music if they had any Nickel Creek cds. One offered me a Nickelback cd--not quite the same. I asked at the authorized music stores in MetroGrad--a new, underground mall. The guy there just gave me a funny look. I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait for the next time we order something from the States. (And honestly, I'd rather that these musicians get the money due them--but I'm so impatient that I have been asking around for a pirated copy! *blush*)

I saw two black men going down an escalator in the metro. I tried to listen to see if they were speaking Russian or another language, but couldn't hear. I see a black person about once a month here. I saw a trio of Asian students today, also. That's more common. One of the universities in town has a sizable international student body. When we were preparing to move to Ukraine, Marc Canner told us that many people historically have made the mistake of assuming that people in the former Soviet Union countries are very similar to themselves. He summarized that the culture in the FSU has been described as the "most Western of Eastern cultures, and the most Eastern of Western cultures." I see this lived out in unexpected ways.

I found armenian lavash at the grocery store--I haven't seen it sold in our part of town. Armenian lavash is a flat bread that isn't quite like a tortilla, but is similar enough to substitute when making enchiladas. As soon as I saw the lavash, I started craving enchiladas, so I think tomorrow's fellowship dinner will have a Tex-Mex menu.


March 03, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Lions and Tigers and Leopards, oh my!

T6 came up to me a moment ago and said, "I'm a leopard and C3 is a Clouded Leopard and R5 is a Snow Leopard." And then he proceeded to stalk away on all fours.


February 27, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Home Again, and Random Thoughts

Home again, home again. . .

This past weekend I attended a women's retreat. It was both refreshing and encouraging. Hubby insisted I stay an extra day to relax, while he was with the kiddos.

For those who are going through Clog withdrawals, between dealing with the computer (a horror story in itself) and being on boy-patrol 24/7, he had to leave Le Sabot sadly neglected. After we both get caught up on sleep, we'll be back to the blogging world.

While catching up on blogs, I found myself nodding in agreement with Carol's thoughts on trial-and-error parenting. I'm convinced that God's grace and a mother's love covers a multitude of mistakes. And I thank Him for the grace He's shown me and my kids through the years.

Evangelical Outpost has an encouraging update on the South Dakota abortion ban.

Andrea has a new article published online.

And we received an interesting e-mail about Mel Gibson's "The Passion" from the pastor at our home church in Florida. But I'll wait and see if Hubby will blog about it.


February 25, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



New 'do

I got a haircut today. It's the first time I've gone without Hubby since we moved to Kyiv. In general, I like him to come along as my style consultant. Here, he's a bit more skilled in communicating when neither of us knows the specialized vocabulary.

One of the biggest adjustments for me here has been that things are just done differently in a different culture. And since I'm still learning the ropes and learning the language, everything seems to take longer here than in the States. While I usually put off getting a hair cut until I'm desperate anyway, here I've waited even longer because it seems like such a time-consuming event.

I must say, I miss Francisco in Sarasota. I could say, "I need something new, that can be styled straight from the shower. . ." and he'd give me a fabulous cut.

I got the same cut I got right after R4 was born, when I went from long, all-one-length to shorter layers. If you have our prayer card, I took in that photo and showed the lady that I wanted that cut. It worked. She did it a little shorter and a little more updated, but all in all, a great cut--and for only four dollars!

I'll be at a women's conference this week, and it feels great to have a fresh cut before going. I've also made sure to pack some epsom salts for baths, jasmine candles, and the last sachet of Tension Tamer Tea. Looking forward to relaxing!


February 17, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Books and Computers

We're still computerless, and visiting the computer club down the street from time to time. Hubby says I wouldn't like coming here if I could understand all the slang and profanity in Russian. Fortunately, my vocabulary is pretty clean and so it doesn't bother me.

After having our computer for nearly a week, the neighborhood remont shop told us they couldn't find a power pack for the computer in the country. Hubby brought the computer in to the shop we should have gone to initially--it's just on the other side of town, and we were trying to save time. (!)

Perhaps tonight, perhaps tomorrow it will be available.

Yesterday I went to the centre to meet some friends for coffee. They are teaching a young women's Bible study. Right now they are doing a unit on building godly relationships, including having a Biblical view of marriage and ideas on dating and purity. It was interesting to discuss how to communicate what the Bible says in a way that is understood in this culture. Definitely a paradigm shift for many of these young women who come from broken homes and have skewed views of boy/girl relationships.

Then we went to The Globe bookstore--one of the few places in town that sell English language books. When we first moved to Kyiv, we could only find Penguin Classics and Harry Potter in English. While The Globe is quite small, it has a great selection. They've been having a fabulous sale since early December, rotating their stock through 30-60% off. Just too tempting for Hubby and I. Almost every week, one of us will stop in there.

Yesterday I bought "The Hobbit" for J7. As I paid for it, Galina told me that our family has a 10% discount now. I think we may be her best customers. Even T6 wanted to spend his birthday money there!

Not having the computer has led to me spending more time reading to the boys. We finished "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" a few days ago, and are in the midst of "The Horse and His Boy." I love listening to the boys' imaginative play reflecting what we read.

Update: Carol and Kelly are also in the midst of reading the Chronicles of Narnia to their kids. It's interesting to me, to read of friends on the other side of the world doing some of the same things we are. *grin*


February 11, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I'm just so happy to hear the good news that my friend Carol and her family have been blessed with another baby! This little one is due September 2004. Carol has a pregnancy journal she is sharing online, that chronicles this special time both from her viewpoint and that of her growing baby.

And I have to recommend the wealth of information that Carol has compiled in her website for parents, ParentingDecisions.Com.


February 09, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I bought tulips today

I saw Andrea's tulip yesterday, and have been thinking about how long winter seems and how much I miss flowers.

On the way home today, I saw a lady selling flowers at the metro station. I was going to be frugal, one stem is 5 griven and a bit of an indulgence. But as she reached to give me change, I impulsively asked for three tulips. (In Ukraine, you can only buy an odd number of flowers--even numbers are for funerals and the flower ladies will not sell an even number unless they are sure someone is dead.)

I was feeling a bit sheepish for splurging, but as I rode the escalator to the metro platform, I realized that my little bouquet was less than three dollars.

Totally worth it for the splash of color, the bit of joy added in the midst of winter.


February 04, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A New Baby!

Congratulations to Daniel and Amy!
Happy Birthday, Isaac Daniel!


January 31, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Boys


J7, T6, R4, and C3
May 2003


January 30, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Prayers of Children

This afternoon, T6 was looking through the book, You Can Change the World--it's the kids version of Operation World.

He said, "Mom, I think there are some countries missing. Iraq isn't in here--and we need to pray for Iraq."

If you were here now you would almost feel Iraq bleeding from its wounds. You would almost see the palm trees weeping and shedding tears. You would almost hear the two rivers murmuring and moaning in pain. You would almost hear Baghdad wailing and crying for help. You would smell the tension in the air which even rain is unable to wash away. You would sense the years of deprivation and negligence in its soil. Who is trying to steal the smile from its weary face? Who is going to heal Iraq? Who is going to help it stand on its feet? And is this going to be the end to all its sorrows or is there more? from Healing Iraq

(via Marsupial Mom)


January 28, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Life in Kyiv

So much of life here is different from anywhere I grew up. One of my purposes in starting to blog was to have a place where I have all the little stories about life collected in one place, for later years and especially for the boys.

Today I came across Notes from Kiev, which are the collected impressions of a former Peace Corps worker. His blog tends to focus on anecdotal economic indicators, and reflects some of the thoughts I've had.

I never read the Business section of the newspaper when we lived in the States, but it is the first section I turn to in the English-language Kyiv Post.


January 28, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




This morning, Hubby and the boys were watching Homestar Runner clips (thanks to Tim for hooking us on Homestar Runner, months ago. . .)

They noticed a new link. . . Hmmm. . . A Trogdor the Burninator game!

They've been playing it this morning and singing Trogdor the Burninator, burninating the peasants!



January 26, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Alert: Contagious Virus

We are spreading a virus from my husband's work address. If you received a Christmas e-mail from us last month, you may have received an infected e-mail from us this week. I'm sorry!

We rec'd and opened the virus THREE TIMES because it appeared to be a legit e-mail attachment from someone we knew. *groan*

As soon as we realized what was going on, we deleted our address book completely (along with the virus.) We're taking further steps to irradicate it.

We haven't had any computer or system problems other than passing it along.

The most common incarnation is an e-mail from "maureen k" with the subject "Peter Pan" and the attachment daily03.pdf.pif . Another variation has a subject line of "Security Alert" or "Contact List." The attachment may be named Board_Meeting2004.doc.scr .

This virus is marked by the suffix .pif or .scr .

I'm so sorry.

Update:The virus has been identified as W32.Bugbear.B@mm . According to the computer guy at the office, It can be removed by following these instructions.


January 23, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pan is a tan-man-ram.

At the beginning of our school year, I asked each of the boys what they wanted to learn about. T6 mournfully said, "I want you to teach me to read, but I don't think I'll ever learn."

He's known his letter sounds for a while, and can sound out short words. But the "reading" just didn't click.

Today he took a long nap, and so was wide awake when the rest of the boys were in bed. I snuggled him on my lap and got out the first reader from the Veritas Press Phonics Museum.

He was hesitant, but started sounding out the title. "P-aaaaa-nnn. Pan. Aaaaaannnnd. And. The. Mmmmmaaaaaad. Mmmmmmmaaaaaannnn. Pan and the Mad Man!"

He read all the way through the "short a" reader. Halfway through, he jumped up and ran out of the room, "Daddy! Daddy! I'm really reading!"


January 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Many Happy Returns!

Happy Birthday to my sister in Arizona!


January 07, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I just couldn't resist. . .

I finally succumbed to the siren's song of blogging. As much as pentamom inspires me, I just don't have the moral fortitude she has, and yielded to this temptation.

But I'm glad. For ages, I've wanted to update the information and look of my old website, Me and My Boys. I even began an overhaul and started studying CSS to try to incorporate. Pure torture.

While watching Hubby work with Movable Type, I was convinced that I could redo my whole site using MT and CSS in a way that would allow me to keep the information current and be a good framework for changes in the future.

Also, I've typed e-mails and posts on forums of the bits and pieces of our life and our boys--and rarely rememebered to save them somewhere I could go back and read them. Watching Carol journal and share pictures convinced me that blogging will be a good tool for saving the memories of my boys growing up and our adventures in Kyiv.

I've had so much encouragement from online friends to blog! Thank you!


January 01, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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