Monday, June 30, 2008

June update

Melanie is now giving us updates from the orphange.  Here's a little of what she said this month.

"I love to see Peterson and Gaëlle together. He is such a good big brother to her! He seems to always be looking out for her and trying to help her do what she is supposed to be doing. I have noticed this especially both months that I have taken their pictures. Peterson does a great job of sitting nicely and smiling at the camera. Gaëlle, on the other hand, is easily distracted and has a hard time focusing on the camera. Peterson is always checking on Gaëlle, encouraging her to smile for the pictures, and even doing what he can to physically ensure that she is looking in the right direction. It is all done out of protective love and it is neat to see how much they care for each other."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moving on up

Well, our move has come and gone.  We have moved a whopping hour away, but that measly hour could just as well be a continent away when there's a 14 year old girl, a dog, and a cat involved.  We've never had to move a dog before and I'm not sure who was more traumatized, unsettled, or sad; Kaylin or the dog.  Snickers was so funny to watch.  She just did not know what to do with herself.  Do I follow this strange man, or sniff this strange lady?  She loves the car so every time we had to run out in the car, we took her.  And fortunately we only had one night in a hotel.  Now Snickers is fine, and Kaylin is lonely.  

But the cat was and is a whole other issue.  We managed to get her here but we haven't seen much of her since.  She's either under the couch or refusing to come in the house.  Until we have guests.  We had old friends of Robin's in tonight and she rubbed herself all over them.  Wouldn't leave them alone.  So Robin put her outside and we haven't seen her since.  It's as if she's sending us a message.  Silly girl.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's a Fethival!

Remember college days, when we would stay up late, and just plain be crazy.  I had a friend who was madly in love with David Letterman.  That was one of his phrases, 20 years ago anyway.  

Robin was working at the Multicultural Festival last night, so Kaylin and I drove up and checked it out.  I think my expectations were a little high.  I mean, what was there was good, but it was a little on the small side.  But we still feel sufficiently educated and cultured.  Especially by the guy selling D&G "real" sunglasses for $25.  But for us, it's only $20.  Do you think we just fell off the turnip truck?  No thanks, we'll wait and go to Chinatown in NY and get the fake ones for much less.  

But we did enjoy the opening show and we did enjoy all of the artisans.  Kaylin saw jewelry that was right up her alley, except for the price.  But it doesn't cost anything to look.

And we're thinking of sending her to "Henna Tatoo School" where she can learn a trade and pay her way through university and she can have Fethtivals every day.

Time to say goodbye

Well, yesterday marked the end of a few things around here.  It was the last day my daughter will spend in this house in this town.  She packed up and headed off for her summer camp job.  While she's gone, we will move to another town and another house.  

A lot of people ask how she feels moving for her senior year.  Believe it or not, she is looking forward to it.  I know, this is a sign of growth for her.  Normally she has a difficult time with change.  I think it helps, that she was able to have so much input in our decision, and she's ready for some change.

I will miss her while she's gone this summer, but again, the time at camp is so good for her.  She loves it and has wonderful opportunities to challenge herself and to grow.  

Another goodbye was to our temporary 3rd daughter.  Looking back at September and that huge decision between our 2 families,  I'm still surprised we all agreed to it.  But in many different ways, it has been good.  I think both girls appreciate their families in new ways.  And really... time flies.  I just can't get over the passing of time.

Anyway, here's to goodbye... and new beginnings.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

To complain, or not to complain... that is the question

Donna over at Quiet Life has an interesting question today.  Do you write notes of complaint or praise?  Do you send those thoughts in the mail, or telephone your complaint, or use email?  I immediately thought of several situations where I let complete strangers know what was on my mind.

Several years ago, Kaylin and I used a delightful curriculum called Five in a Row.  One of the picture books we needed was Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha.  But alas, it was out of print and our library system didn't have it.  So several families wrote the previous publisher asking them to reprint this book.  I sent my note along to the publisher and a few weeks later, I received my very own copy of the book from the author himself.  He had a few copies of his own and to thank some of us for our effort, he sent us his book.  He had a cute illustration and a personal message inside.  That was one of the most fun units Kaylin and I did.  We just had a blast.  And of course, we then sent the author a thank you card.  This book has since been republished by Purple House Press.  They specialize in reviving older classic children's books.

More recently, I purchased a hard cover book, brand new, just for me.  I usually don't spend the big bucks on hard cover books, but I heard an interview with the author and the subject matter was near and dear to my heart; chocolate.  Bitter Chocolate by Canadian author/journalist Carol Off, to be precise.  For the most part the book was well written, but the beginning was slow going because there were numerous typos and grammatical errors in the first 5 pages.  I was disgusted because I spent my $35 and the publisher had done such a crummy editing job.  So, I emailed them my disgust and I received a very lackluster response back.

This isn't word for word, but the gist of the message was, "Sorry.  These things happen with first printings.  We'll correct it in later printings."

Ugh!!!! Not good enough.  I haven't bought a hard cover book since.

My last story doesn't have to do with books.  It has to do with our adoption.  During this process we have dealt with several different social workers at various steps along the way.  We have not been impressed, but I do not complain out loud.  They hold a lot of power over us and I don't want to jeopardize anything.  However, sometimes their lack of professionalism is startling.  One day I was in one office and the social worker did not show up for a scheduled meeting because he was on vacation... and didn't let me know! This was just one of many unpleasant encounters I had.  I was not pleased but I tried to hold it in.  The secretary was just so compassionate and helpful and went out of her way to try and help me.  So I went home and made her a card and dropped it off.  I don't think I would recognize her today, but on that day she was the one bright spot in a dreary day.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


A couple of years ago I went with our church youth group on a super long bus ride to a really excellent youth conference.  So well done.  So huge.  Worth the effort.  Worth the money.  And did I mention the long bus ride?

I wasn't the only mom chaperone, but I roomed with 2 college age girls.  And they were BFF.  Not only were they best friends, but they let everybody know they were best friends by continually calling each other best friend.  So, it would be, "Like, hey, best friend, can I like, borrow your hair gel?"  "Sure, best friend, it's right here."

I had to struggle to remember their names, because they just referred to each other as best friend.  Kind of funny, at first.  Got a little old.

But anyway, as I look ahead to our move, I realize that I have developed some good friendships here and I am going to miss these women.  This past weekend we got together for our annual mother-daughter get away.  Where moms and daughters get away but don't necessarily spend time together.  Every once in a while someone (always a mom) will suggest a specific mom & daughter activity.  But we all nix it.  The most refreshing aspect of the weekend is just the relaxed time away.  Our daughters have so many activities and responsibilities that when we can give them and us, just a time to do nothing, it's eagerly embraced.

But this weekend, we moms did find ourselves really sharing and I loved it.  The give and take of conversation.  About life and God and daughters.  God has blessed me with so much variety in my relationships and I am thankful.  I'll miss them, but I can't wait to see what God has in store for me in my new home.

And I'll never be far from my tried and true BFF, my hubby.  We've been BFF for far longer than our 20 years of marriage.  Here's looking to many more years as BFF.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Keep those books coming

My parents were here last month and they left us with all kinds of goodies.  Their visits are fun for so many reasons, but there is one tradition we look forward to probably the most... the bags and boxes of books.

My parents haul in the goodie bags and then won't let us touch them until the kids are there.  My mom is an avid yard saler and library sales are her friend.  So she wants to see our reaction when we see how well she did... how many treasures she finds.  

Now that the kids are older, they don't ask for as many types of books.  When they were younger they would ask her to look for books on ancient Egypt, dogs, Salem witch trials, or whatever the interest of the day was.  

This time my mom even had brand new books.  She had a Barnes & Noble gift certificate that she used on YA fiction.  She read them first and then passed them on.  This wasn't completely altruistic on her part.  She prefers YA fiction over adult fiction.  Sometimes she tries to determine why, what's wrong with her.  But she quickly gets over that and just enjoys her reading.  Every book comes with a grandmother review.  Note this quote on page ( ).  What do you think the author means by this idea?  A page turner.  I liked this ...  I don't know why the author included this ...  

I get my own bag of books also, but unlike the kids, I almost always receive several new books that my mom thinks I would like or should read.  I love love love my bag of books.  Thanks mom.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

6 degrees of separation

I went to a wedding last night and had an interesting experience.  I was sitting in the church surrounded by friends, waiting for the ceremony to begin, when a lady walked in with a Sarah Jessica Parker "Sex in the City" premiere type hat on.  I didn't say anything, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed.  Then right when the ceremony was ready to start, the mother of the bride walked in with the same type of hat, but different colors.  

Wow.  It was stunning.  Definitely not common in our neck of the world, but both women carried themselves with confidence and style.

Later on I was introduced to the first lady and it turns out she's a well known British milliner and a cousin to the mother of the bride.  Her son was obviously proud of his mom and he filled us in on her accomplishments.  She is invited each year to Royal Ascot as a guest of the royals.  Because hats are mandatory for women at Royal Ascot, this is a busy time of year for her.  

Anyway, you never know what interesting people you'll run into at a wedding.