Monday, June 30, 2008

the bad news bears

Last Thurs night we FINALLY fit it into our schedule to go see our church's men's softball team.


Corey as catcher
Isabella snoozes
Jeff tries to see through the sun
Jessica cheers her Dad on to first base.
Carl chases the ball, and bends further than I knew his tall, lean frame could go!

And Pastor Mike (I think) throws the ball.

As does Mr Edwards (I think...outfield is a long ways off!)

and two boys couldn't understand why they couldn't play...they go to church!













Friday, June 27, 2008

judgmental

On Fridays at work, it is normally just in underlings. I think the Youth Pastor works Fridays to supposedly keep us in line (or maybe they just want a pastor on duty), but there's no other department head there.

About an hour before going home, my co-worker and I were hanging posters when someone started knocking on the glass doors. I looked up and there was this very rough looking man. He looked homeless. Linda goes and starts to open the door, and I whispered, "Linda, NO!" She laughed, then replied, "He goes to church here." I felt so ashamed. Yet at the same time, even though there were two of us and I've had a self-defense class a while back, I didn't feel safe letting in a creepy looking man with just me and a a sixty something year old woman. In retrospect, would I have reacted the same way had he been young and clean cut? Or a teenager?

It also reminded me of the homeless man at the corner of 1010/401 - the one who holds the Disabled sign but looks healthy. One day last week he was wearing shorts, and I about gasped in horror. His ankles were the same size as his calves, and his feet were so swollen they were about to pop. When he turned to face the next lane of traffic, I saw a deep gash on the back of one calf that had clearly been bleeding some. I wanted to sob, pack him up, and take him to the hospital. Yet I gave my normal wave and kept going. Bobby's always reminding me that not all handicaps are visible to the eye (like when someone takes the only wheelchair accessible parking spot and walks to the door without a limp). I don't have any answers for the right way to deal with such situations, but I don't think they're going to go away anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

names

Two years ago we bought a Russian version of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Though the kids balked and whined, we made them read a little bit every night. Then once a week we wouldn't read, and we would watch Disney's movie up to the point where they had read. I think they liked the movie a lot more, and it made reading a little more bearable knowing there was a movie to go along with it.

Sunday at lunch, someone in Bobby's family asked the kids how they liked Lucy and Linus. The kids looked to me, puzzled, so I told them "Dog..zavoot (the Russian word for name)...Lucy..." and before I could finish with Linus, they all chimed in "and Edmund!" We all cracked up laughing. I told them, no, it was Lucy and Linus, but their mind was already on Narnia. Bobby watched them today, and he informed me that they're still calling Linus by the name of Edmund. I've never heard of a dog with a middle name, but I guess one of ours now has one. Oh, well.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

plans and perceptions

Somewhere between the ages of 8-10, my boy cousins came to stay at my grandparents house. (For a long time there were only 3 boys out of 10 grandchildren.) Cool things happened at my grandparent's house when the boys were there. Papa opened up his woodshop, and we were allowed to play with his wooden blocks, a hammer and recycled nails. I loved it, until I was banned from hammering. My nails never seemed to go straight, and who can recycle bent nails? The boys also had a BB gun, and we always enjoyed watching (and begging) to shoot. We were also allowed to walk to the railroad tracks if the boys were with us (which was just across the road, literally). Yet it was during that time frame that my grandfather had cancer, and Mom and Dad felt we couldn't spend the night there. As an adult, that makes sense, but as a child, I could not understand. I was good; my cousins were good; why on earth couldn't we all stay as we had done in the past? For three days my parents drove the hour-long trip to their house in the morning, and back home at night. I loved it. But then the fourth day came, and Mom said we couldn't go back. For the life of me I could not understand why. We had nothing to do the next day, the boys only had two more days, and I let my thoughts be known. Mother erupted, as did Dad. It had never crossed my mind that they were spending money on gas to drive back and forth every day, that my grandfather was ill (he looked fine to me), or that my mother had things to do. My only thoughts were on my cousins and what I wanted to do.
I've thought about that memory a lot this week. And yes the kids have been some of it...they view America as the land of ice cream, McDonalds, pizza, swimming, and DVDs. Yet it doesn't cross their mind that things aren't cheap, time is scarce, and I have a hard time keeping up with everything. But I also wonder how many times I'm that way with God or my church...I only think about me and my needs and my wants, and not about everyone else around me. I like to think I've grown up and think of God and others first, but in reality I'm still that little child that needs a good scolding reminder.

Friday, June 20, 2008

sock monsters and toilets

There must be some conspiracy between the flush handle on the toilet (or the drain in the bathtub) and the path between the boy's bedroom and the laundry room. HOW can six pairs of socks disappear in 2.5 days? What are they doing with them, eating them? HOW can one of my munchkins be here for 2.5 days, and never open the bag of clean underwear in her drawer? HOW can they not comprehend flushing the toilet when I can smell it all the way out in the hallway? Hasn't it clicked that the odor from their bathroom is either A) the unflushed toilet or B) their brown, dirty bathwater? Some days, like yesterday, I smile at how far they've come in the last 3-4 years. On days like today it seems like they're still 7 and 8.

Updates:

  • Aleh is still running a fever, but is doing much better than last night and this morning. We did go to Rex to see a dr this morning.
  • Geese eggs #6,7 have hatched. (#7 is the one I pulled out of Lucy's mouth!)
  • Lucy has chewed off another one of Linus' underground fence collars - AGAIN! Gggrrr!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

sleep

When my cousin was at Paris Island going through Marine Boot Camp, they had a week where they were allotted very little, if any, sleep. I think the theory was that their minds needed to be trained to withstand anything. Once you know you can do it, it's not such an insurmountable task. One of the many methods of torture used in POW camps is sleep deprivation. I don't know what the actual number is, but if a person is deprived of sleep for a certain period of time, they will eventually start hallucinating. Lack of sleep can also contribute to a dramatic decline in a person's health, eventually causing them to die.

Before Bobby and I got married, one of the things that concerned me was that I am an extremely heavy sleeper and he sometimes needs something during the night. The first three months we were married, the slightest noise made me wake up. I guess my mind was on alert status. Then one morning, he kept watching me, and asked me if I remembered him waking me up during the night. I did, but turns out he had to wake me up at least three times before he had me awake enough to do anything. One of the times he woke me up, he claims I sat up in bed, smoothed the wrinkles out of his cover, patted it, asked him if he wanted anything else, then went right back to sleep. I don't remember any of it, except when I did wake up he was a little on the grouchy side, which I didn't appreciate at all.

I'm supposed to work tomorrow. That means I want to go to bed early since I have to get EVERYONE up and fed before I leave. But of course, life never ever (okay, there are the rare exceptions) goes as you plan. Aleh is sick with a high fever. I have another 20 minutes before I check him again. If this children's tylenol hasn't kicked in any, then I may be getting Bobby back up to head to the hospital. If I get 6 hours of sleep tonight, I think I'll be happy.

My motto has always been that I need to eight hours of sleep to feel good. I can function on seven, but we won't say how well I function. But I've learned over the past four years with the kids and the last nine years with Bobby that I can function if and when I have to, to points I never dreamed possible before. Yet I also realize when I go for a couple of weeks at full blast, that's normally when I wind up sick in some form or fashion. I guess if God needed a break after six days of work, who are we to think we can go without one?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

we have arrived

Nastia, Anna, Tonya, and Sosha coming down the terminal.
Mikalai and Aleh pose with "Mr. John"

Their plane arrived before three (it was supposed to land at 3:30), so we only had to wait about forty minutes for them to clear customs. The kids were glad to see me and wanted to come "home." They weren't thrilled to stop and eat, though they ate almost everything they got, declared it good (which won't be the case tomorrow, I'm sure), then wanted to know if they could ride their bicycles to grandmother's when they got home, play the xbox, and eat ice cream before bedtime. They weren't thrilled to be told it would be dark when we got home, but I think they were very happy that Bobby was at the church waiting for us and not waiting at home. It's 11pm, and they're supposedly in the bed. The boys have already checked out all their new stuff, emptied toy bins looking for their favorite toys, deleted some they didn't want (Aleh discovered my yard sale box for Lydia and swapped out a few items), checked out the baby goose and the dogs, as well as discussed who gets which bike.

Aleh looks well. I had a dream the other night that he came with a black eye, but for the first time ever he arrived at the airport dressed well and actually looking cared for. My heart is happy for him, and glad to see him a little more settled. Our six week race is now officially on.







Monday, June 16, 2008

checklist

  • tonya's room cleaned
  • bathrooms stocked with soap, washcloths, towels, and laundry baskets
  • boy's room cleaned and organized
  • hallway vacuumed
  • bills paid (with stamps on them!)
  • russian bible verse posters laminated and up in rooms

still to do: (in the morning)

  • finish the kitchen
  • balance the checkbook
  • our bedroom
  • groceries

I think I'm actually going to be in the bed before midnight! WHO HOO!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

blessings

This weekend I have received so many blessings that I feel humbled.

Friday afternoon I went to Joann's in Raleigh to look for some sewing supplies for Tonya. (One of those things I have to do before the "hands-on, touch everything, whiny 'Me no shop. Home, Momma, home" boys arrive. When I went to check out, the lady in front of me turned around and asked,"Do you have any regular-priced items?" I was surprised, but not nodded yes. She handed me a coupon for 40% of a regular-priced item. It was expiring that day, and everything she was getting was already on sale. I was so excited!

I had reserved Sat afternoon to get things done around the house, but we ended up going to a funeral. I did manage to get some things done last night, but when we got to church today, I was reminded that we didn't have church tonight! I felt like God had handed me back all those hours I lost yesterday! I'm starting to feel as if just maybe I might have the most important things done before we leave Tues AM to get them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

jealousy


Lucy isn't too happy about this strange, chirping thing that gets to go outside the fence line.
And the brooder box's empty cord hole makes a perfect peep hole to stare in at the strange critter, which she and Linus do on a frequent basis.

And a similar but separate note, eggs #1 and 3 have way surpassed the hatching stage and will be thrown out of the incubator tomorrow. Egg #5 has now stopped its rotation schedule and has begun its countdown to hatching days. No peeping sounds, yet. Eggs #6,7, and 8 still have another week of rotating.

And such is another day in the life with geese, a gosling, and dogs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

stupid is as stupid does

I am blogging when I should be cleaning.
I organize piles when I should be eliminating them.
I start another project when I should be finishing one.
There are 6 very full days before my Belarussian munchkins come, and I am SO not ready.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

lightning bugs

One of my many favorite childhood memories is all (or most) of my cousins spending the night at my grandparent's house. Rea-Rea (my grandmother) would give us one of her quart-sized canning jars, poke holes in the top of the lid with a knife, and we would head outside to capture the tiny bugs that had lightning in their bottoms. Who needed a nightlight when you had such majestic creatures? Of course, the boys always got to keep in THEIR room because they were the ones who handled the lid (you know, us silly girls -okay, me - would be in too big of a hurry to get the bug in properly and accidentally smush it) AND those lightning bugs could somehow shrink themselves and crawl out the holes during the night. Of course the bugs were always dead the next morning, and we had to start again the next night. The one time we girls convinced them that we COULD keep the bugs in our room, and also manage it so they didn't get out AND would stay alive, they all died. I lost quite a bit of interest in keeping them after that.
I saw my first lightning bug of the summer tonight, and I had to resist the urge to chase after it. But the thrill of the tiny light...it's still there.

Monday, June 9, 2008

supposed sexism

When Al Gore and George Bush ran for President, media commentators compared and commented on their clothing choices...how more relaxed they were wearing polo shirts and casual pants instead of the traditional dress shirt and tie. They even discussed the fact that Gore sometimes deviated from wearing red, white, or blue polo shirts.
Fast-forward four years: Kerry vs. Bush. Media commentators compared not only the dress styles of Kerry & Bush (Kerry wore casual dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up), but also of their wives and daughters (the daughters all posed in designer magazines).
So now we come to 2008, where Hilary Rodham Clinton has finally wrapped up her campaign, and one of the things her supporters keep complaining about is the sexist media and how they wanted to focus on Hil's clothes. ?!? Um, where were these people for the last 8+years?
I did find it interesting that Hilary was always dressed to the hilt while campaigning...especially considering the fact that her 8 years as First Lady the administration was often called "Kids in cut-offs" for their lack of decorum and classy dress at the White House. So I find it interesting, if not bizarre, the the media DIDN'T comment on her dress more.
When a person such as I, who is not overly observant about clothes and is a function over form kind of gal, notices the absurdity of Hil campaigning at the gas pumps about outrageous prices wearing a really nice pantsuit that probably cost more than the priciest section of Belk's, accompanied with this HUGE pearl necklace (I think all the ladies in our church could combine our necklaces just to equal the largest bead on that thing), does the irony of the situation not grasp anyone?
I'm just failing to see how the media, who is appearance oriented, is being sexist by commenting on things that people such as I, who could care less about appearances, notice?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

summer showers

I love summer showers. The thunder roars, the steam rises from the ground, the temp cools slightly, and when it's all over, the world looks like it has had its bath. I just find summer rain refreshing.
Even with the 100 temp weather we've had this week, this morning I felt like I walked through a summer shower. The school where our church meets on Sunday morning had air conditioner problems, so we had a last minute Sat change and switched to another location. So one, I was thankful we found out early enough to move to a cooler place (instead of having the air go out during 8:30am choir practice!), and two, it was a smaller location. The ceiling was lower, everyone was closer together, and the music was absolutely thrilling. I've always enjoyed how people at CBC sing out, but being in a smaller setting that had better acoustics made it sound 10 times louder and much more joyous and heartfelt. Then the sermon, challenging us to think about God's attributes as we pray, was both convicting and yet inspiring. There's nothing more encouraging than to think about how faithful, creative, just, caring, forgiving, and merciful our God is.
So even though it's dry as all get all and the dust is soaring off the dirt road, my soul feels refreshed from today's sermon shower.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

a new enemy

When I planted my garden this year, I anticipated certain battles: weeds, drought, weeds, bugs, weeds, but now I'm encountering an unexpected enemy: ants. I have never seen so many small ant mounds everywhere. I grew up in mid-northern Alabama, and we had huge fire ant mounds. But never, not even in my previous nine years here, have I seen so many small ant beds. It seems as if every step you take you see at least one small mound. Tonight I thinned out the pea row, and almost every other plant had a small ant mound around it. GRrrr!
I'm not sure which is worse...ants, or those fat, yucky worms you find in corn.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

books

I must be a dot-to-dot kind of gal. Now that I look back on my favorite books throughout my life, they've all been a series: Bobbsey Twins, Chronicles of Narnia, Trixie Beldon, Hardy Boys (I always checked out Nancy Drew at school since girls weren't supposed to read boy books, but I thought she was prissy. At the public library I always got the Hardy Boys.) Sugar Creek Gang, Janette Oke, Jan Karon, Lori Wick, Harry Potter, Beverly Lewis, and now my interest is piqued by the Spiderwick Chronicles. Has anyone read this series? Since the movie came out, the library has a very long waiting list, and I just can't bring myself to pay $10 for a little bitty book that I might not like.

I did read one of the Leminy Snicket books, but I didn't like it all. It's too Grimm and Poe-like for me. There are some authors whom I've really enjoyed and wouldn't mind reading more from them, but I usually hesitate to read something by an author I've never heard of or read about. Strange, isn't it?

Now, if Bobby reads this, he'll be quick to point out that almost all my favorite books are children's books. I have started reading biographies and autobiographies (well, before I started back to work I did), but so much adult fiction is solid trash. I read one of Danielle Steele, and some of Lillian Jackson's works, but wasn't overly impressed. Steele has good characterization skills but her characters are all immoral and trashy, while Jackson is overly simplistic and borderline boring. I did enjoy some of John Grisham's books, but they have so many tedious narrations that I find myself skimming parts.

There's just something about children's literature that I've always enjoyed. Maybe it's the brevity of the books; I can read them in one day and be done. Perhaps its the informative and moralistic style (you know, the character is supposed to grow in some form or fashion without too much adult help). But for whatever reason, I would much rather read something designated as children's literature than adult. There are a lot of middle-grade novels and YAs out there that are just as trashy as adult books, but I think that's just a reflection of how depraved our society is today.

So, how many of you prefer children's books to adult lit?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I think I've lost my mind

Today was supposed to be a good work day. As soon as I left work, I planned to come home and get a lot of work done. But there was one little glitch. I got so busy at work, I forgot to look at the clock! I ended up working an hour over, so by the time I got home it was crunch time as usual....
HOWEVER...my kitchen table is ALMOST cleaned off. Who knows? I just might get the house cleaned up in the 13 days before my three Belarussian messies come after all!






Monday, June 2, 2008

a good day

I know that every day that God has created is good, but then has been a very good day. Our first gosling for 2008 (pictured above) has survivd its first night and day and seems to be doing well.

The low-oxalate diet that Bobby has faithfully followed for the last year +, is NOW OFFICIALLY OVER!!!! I love good reports from the doctor. We'll return to Duke in 4 months for an evaluation.

And even better, we stopped to see little Lauren. (For those not familiar, with CBC, she's a beautiful young child in our church with spina bifida.) She is such a hoot! The doctor was in the room when we arrived; and he told us to come on in as he was finishing up. When Lauren heard him say something about sitting up a little more and she might go home that night, she wanted her wheelchair! She even talked to Bobby today (a first) and was quite thrilled about showing off her presents and going home. I hope that whatever I face in life, I will always handle it with the spunk and enthusiasm that she showed today.

And the craziest thing today...Lucy and Linus have corned a turtle under Bobby's back ramp. It did manage to turn around during the time we fed the animals, but they're now back to alternating yelping and howling at it. From head to tail, its shell is probably about 6 inches. We're just hoping they might forget about the fish & gosling eater during the night.