Sunday, September 28, 2008

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

1.  I like cake more than icing.  In fact-- I will usually eat only the cake and leave the icing on the plate.
2.  I have been vaccinated for rabies.  My senior year in high school I was bitten by a stray cat and had to go through   multiple rounds of shots "just in case".  Wouldn't recommend it.

3.  I like to listen to sports radio.  Don't ask me why, but I find it comforting.  And I don't do it all the time, but occasionally it's just what I want.

4.  I'm an only child.

5.  When I go to a theme park (like Six Flags) I won't ride the water rides because walking around in wet clothes drives me crazy.  Can't do it.

6.  I haven't had a speeding ticket since 1997. Knock on wood.

7.  I flamenco danced on a table in Barcelona, Spain.  I have a picture to prove it.

8.  I have never played a competitive sport (or any sport for that matter).  Not soccer when I was four or T-ball when I was eight.  Nothing.  I do regret this actually.

9.  I was in a car accident in 1991 where the car flipped several times, through a fence, and out into a field.  Everyone was miraculously okay.

10.  A perfect day for me:  exercising early, breakfast at Panera Bread with a good friend, shopping and finding amazing deals, pedicure and massage at a spa, finished up by a date night with the husband--dinner and a movie.  =)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We are having an "Oz Fest" over here and I don't mean Ozzy Osborne.  My girls have fallen in love with the movie The Wizard of Oz, and I'm having fun reliving one of my favorite childhood movies as well.  I know that like most movies there is a book that came first.  In fact the book was written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum, and I know that I should read it to my girls. In most cases I'm a big proponent of reading the book then seeing the movie, but in this case, the movie is so great and the music so catchy that I just couldn't help myself.  

They have probably watched the film about five times now.  But more than watching it, they spend all their time playing Dorothy and Toto and all the other characters.  We bought them Dorothy costumes (complete with ruby slippers) to wear for Halloween, but they have had them on every day since we purchased them.  I found two baskets with handles and they each have a stuffed dog that goes in them (you guessed it--Toto).  Dress up is one of their absolute favorite things to do right now.  I need to add more costumes and accessories to their box because they get so into their characters. I love it.  

A few funny moments have already come out of our current Wizard of Oz phase.  After trying on their little blue gingham dresses and sparkly read shoes for the first time, Hannah exclaimed, "Oh, Mommy,  I know-- me and Leah will be Dorothy and you can be the Wicked Witch!!"  Oh boy!  I'm not sure green is my color.  =)

Another moment (also spoken by Hannah) was this morning in the car on the way to school.  It was quiet in the car then suddenly Hannah said, "Mom, when I marry Eli (our good friends' little boy the same age as our girls), I want to wear my Dorothy costume."  Awesome.  I can already see a Wizard of Oz themed wedding.  The bridesmaids can wear Glinda the good witch of the North princess dresses and the groomsmen can wear scarecrow, tin man and lion costumes.  

Finally, We were watching the scene in the movie where the characters sing, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road."  I couldn't help but sing along when Leah quickly told me, "No mom!  Don't sing!  This is only for little girls!!!"  I said, "Well, when I was a little girl I loved this movie too."  Then Leah pointed one finger at Hannah and another at herself and said, "No, this movie is for THESE little girls."  I see.  I'm too old to be in on the singing and acting. be put in my place by a 3 year old.  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Five Days of Books:: 5

For my final book, I finally picked a non-fiction read.  I have come to fully accept that I love fiction.  I love getting swept away into the world of make believe or realistic make believe, but every now and then I pick up a non fiction book that makes reality feel like I was reading fiction.  That's how The Hospital by the River by Dr. Catherine Hamlin was for me. I first saw Dr. Hamlin interviewed by Oprah (I promise I don't really sit around and watch her all the time!),and I was absolutely moved to tears.  Dr. Hamlin and her husband Reg, both gynaecologists, left their native Australia in 1959 for a short stay in Ethiopia.  They were asked to develop a midwifery school there and eagerly accepted the challenge. What they didn't realize is that they would fall in love with the country and it's people. Now over forty years later Catherine is still there running an amazing medical facility.  The Hamlins loved Ethiopia, but on the other hand their hears were broken over the amount of suffering many women go through there.  Many girls are married off at 13 years old and by 14 are having their first babies.  Many of these young girls' bodies are not ready to give birth and especially not ready to endure the process all alone as many have to do out in the country where no medical facility is available. Obstructed labor is a big problem and many of these girls go through days of labor only to finally deliver a stillborn child.  One problem that a lot of these girls suffer is called a fistula.  Without going into much detail, the fistula sufferers end up with an uncontrollable leak of urine which makes them like modern day lepers-- despised, rejected, dirty and alone.  The Hamlins knew of a simple operation that could easily cure these women and made it their mission to treat them-- and to treat them with kindness, respect and dignity.  I loved this story.  Although not a fast paced read, it is so refreshing to read about real, modern day people devoting their entire lives to selflessly helping others.  It challenged me to examine my heart and my motives as well.  

So there you have it.  A small sampling of some of the books I have read over the last six or seven months.  I love to read, and I love a good book recommendation, so please pass on some of your favorites!! 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Five Days of Books:: 4

First off, I must apologize for any run on sentences or parts that didn't make sense from my last post.  I was up late working on pricing and organizing items for my garage sale this weekend and just before midnight I realized, "Oh!  I haven't written my next book recommendation!"  So I was very tired, but glad that I got it in just in the nick of time.  Not that anyone really cares what time I post; I just wanted to meet my own self-imposed challenge! Anyway...I just had to clarify that!  

Ok, onward-- Book 4 is definitely darker in tone.  The Road by Cormac McCarthy was an Oprah's book club pick that I thought sounded interesting and outside of my normal genre selections.  Two words to sum up this book:  Love and Survival. This is not a lighthearted read.  In fact it is gut-wrenching and intense.  The story takes place in a Postapocalyptic America.  Although never explicitly stated what event caused this utter destruction, I picked up hints that a it might have been a nuclear holocaust.  This is just my guess.  But the past is not important in this book as a father and son , "each the other's world entire", constantly move forward, trying to reach the coast, hoping that they will find other survivors.  The landscape is gray, bitterly cold, and brutal.  The duo deal with extreme fatigue, hunger, sickness and exhaustion as well as trying to defend themselves from the cannibalistic bandits who also roam the land. In spite of these awful circumstances there burns a deep, unconditional, self-sacrificing love between the two that I found incredibly beautiful.  This book delves into the idea of what humanity can and will do when in the midst of extreme situations.  I am very glad that I went outside of my "comfort zone" to read this moving and haunting story.   

Five Days of Books:: 3

Yet another book I have read in the past month is The Namesake  by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I actually saw a movie trailer for this book and it intrigued me, so I decided to read the book first and have yet to see the film.  It's on my to do list for sure.  The Namesake is a fascinating look into the life of an immigrant's family as they try to be American yet hang on their culture.  The story follows the Ganguli family who come to America in the 1960's as a young married couple from India.  As the story progresses, the couple has two children a boy, Gogol, and a girl, Sonia.  Gogol takes on the main character role and you see his life unfold from birth to adulthood.  He struggles deeply with being Indian and also American.  One of his main gripes is his name.  He feels that it brings out many stereotypes of Indian people and therefore wants to change his name, all the while never really knowing the history of his namesake.   This book appeals to the side of me who would love to be a fly on the wall in someone else's life-- just observing, rooting for them to make good choices and grieving with them when they don't.  Again, this is another book I'd highly recommend.  Now I just need to see the

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Five Days of Books::2

This is another book I've recently read (thanks to my friend Jacquelyn).  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer tells the story of a nine year old boy named Oskar Schell and his "heavy boots".  You see, Oskar lost his father in the September 11th World Trade Center attack and even though a few years have gone by, he is still dealing with the incredibly sad loss.  Oskar is an extremely bright little boy who likes to invent things, walk with his tambourine, make jewelry, and loves his mom and grandma very much.  One day Oskar finds a blue vase in his parents' bedroom that doesn't look familiar to him.  As he reaches for it, the vase breaks revealing a skeleton key and a piece of paper on which the word "Black" is written.  Oskar is sure that this key is a clue his father has left for him, and so Oskar embarks on an adventure to meet everyone in New York City with the last name  of "Black".  He is positive that one of these people might have known his father or provide information about his father that Oskar doesn't already know.  Along the way Oskar meets a variety of interesting people and in his searching he feels close to his father.  It gives him something to do-- to work toward.  As a side story, we are introduced to Oskar's paternal grandfather through a variety of journal entries and flashbacks that in the end mesh together with Oskar's story.  At times this book made me laugh, cry and sometimes feel like I had to read the page again because of the interesting way in which it is written.  It was like I too was looking for clues about Oskar's dad.  Oskar is an endearing character who like my own children I wanted to jump into the book and spank him and at other times hug him and tell him everything will be okay.  Will Oskar discover the "Black" mystery?  And will he be able to find some healing for his hurting heart?  I would definitely recommend this book to find out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Five Days of Books::1

I thought that for something different, and as a challenge to myself to blog for 5 days straight, I would review five of the last few books that I have read.  I'll do one each day for five days.  I'll basically just give a brief overview of the plot and my opinion on whether I liked it or didn't like it  Please, please, please, if anyone else has read these, let me know your thoughts as well.  So without further ado, I give you book #1:

This book is the second home run for author Khaled Hosseini.  His first novel, The Kite Runner, was 
breathtakingly written in my opinion.  The books share many similarities, but also some stark 
differences.  For example, both books take place in Afghanistan during the 1970s through the 
early 2000s. They both involve the unsettling communist takeover in 1980 as well as the 
horrible years of Taliban rule.  However, unlike the main characters in The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns casts Afghan females in the lead roles which I greatly enjoyed.  
This novel weaves together two stories in a beautiful and terrifying way. 
Mariam and Laila are two women from very different backgrounds and are brought together 
by the horrors of war.  Together they suffer hardships, develop a deep and lasting friendship, 
and make life changing decisions.  The book is filled with sorrow, hope,joy, love, 
revenge, loyalty and sacrifice.  I started reading this book on a Thursday evening and finished it with 
teary eyes on Saturday morning.  I simply couldn't put it down.  Being a woman, a wife and a 
mother, I empathized with these two characters in a very deep way.  The novel was also 
fast-paced and each chapter left me dying to know what would happen next.  
I would find myself thinking, "Just one more chapter.  Okay one more,"
I absolutely recommend this book as well as Hosseini's other novel, The Kite Runner.  
Both are excellent reads.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In September 2004...

I got a new driver's license.   I was 7 months pregnant with my twin girls.  I was still teaching sixth grade at Piedmont Middle School.  We lived in a cute 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house in The Village.  We didn't have an SUV.  Mike was working at Lifechurch.  In other was a lot different just four short years ago!  

I thought about all this today because it was time for me to renew my driver's license.  For some reason, I remember the last time I had it done four years ago so very clearly.  I remember which tag agency I went to.  I remember which maternity top I was wearing.  I remember the slight chill in the air that sunny Saturday.  Why do I remember these things?  I have no idea.  Sometimes random days stick out vividly in my mind for no apparent reason.  The only thing I can think of is that looking back on that random day four years ago, I see how quickly life can change.  Four years really isn't that long ago and so much has changed.  When I look at that list above I see that:
Then:  7 months pregnant  Now:  not pregnant
Then:  teaching  Now:  not teaching
Then:  old house  Now:  new house
Then:  no SUV  Now:  one SUV 
Then:  Mike at Lifechurch  Now:  Mike at Ethnographic Media

Basically every big thing in our life has changed in the last four years!  I wonder what will have changed in four years when I go to renew my license again.  It's exciting to think about!  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Look! Watch!

"Watch this mom!  Look at our silly faces!!"
(This being said after they discovered my make-up bag!)

Look and Watch. Those are probably the two words I hear most often throughout my day right now.  I don't know if it's a 3.5 almost 4 year old thing or if it's just my girls, but they want me to look and watch everything.  I really don't mind watching most of what they want to show me.  They will carefully build a castle with their blocks and want me to, "Come see!" So I'll gladly oblige.  Of if they eat every last bite of food on their plate, they proudly hold it up and want me to, "Look Mommy!"  I'll always smile and make a bit deal about it.  They want me to watch them ride their tricycles, draw a picture, put on their clothes correctly, or help me fold the laundry (they are getting very skilled at hand towels and washcloths I might add).  I know that it is normal for them to want my approval, and I'll happily give it at these moments.

And then there are the times like when I'm driving down the road and they want me to turn around and watch them make their stuffed Simba toy dance to the song on the radio--the whole song.  I've tried to explain that I cannot turn around to watch them and continue to drive forward.  This fact just doesn't satisfy them I'm afraid, and their pleas become more frantic and high pitched, "LOOOOK!!! MOMMY!!!"  Or there are the times when we are running ten minutes late and are trying to get out the door when someone will call out, "Watch Mom!" And when I turn around all my little child wants to show me is: make a silly face, twirl around and bend over and kiss our cat lying on the floor. Then a few minutes later when I'm trying to get her to brush her teeth she wants me to watch her make her toothbrush pretend to burp. These are the not so thrilling things that end up irritating me and make me want to scream sometimes!  

But I thought about it and realized that the girls are not the only ones in my life calling out for me to Look! and Watch! I just started up my women's Bible study last week after the summer break, and I'm so excited to dive back into God's Word on a more regular basis.  How often He is calling out for me to Look! at His word so he can speak to me in a new and fresh way.  Many times I ignore that call because I'm just "too busy" or "too tired."  Just like with my girls, I need to devote quality time to look at scripture and to meditate on it.  Watching for what speaks to my heart.  Truly looking for Him.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you LOOK for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Lunch Slump

Lunch.  It's a meal that for 8 years I packed for myself every single day because I refused to eat in the middle school cafeteria (have you seen what they are feeding those kids??).  It's a meal that I didn't have to really think about for my own children during the first 2.5 years of their lives because A) they were babies and eating from a bottle or B) they were babies and eating baby food from a jar or C) they went to daycare where lunch was always provided for them.  

But now that I am a stay at home mom, the issue of what to make for lunch? looms over my morning like a dark cloud. You see, it is incredibly difficult to find a food that both my children will eat.  There are only three foods that are happily consumed by both of my girls.  Chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and cheese pizza.  That's it.  Oh what about a good old PB&J you ask? Hannah likes those, but not Leah.  Macaroni and cheese?  Leah will delightfully eat a bowl full while Hannah turns her nose up.  Spaghetti?  Just Hannah.  Hot dogs?  Just Leah.  Grilled cheese?  Just Hannah.  And the list goes on and on.  Now I will say that when it comes to the "sides" for a quick lunch there are more options-- apple slices, grapes, yogurt, and various crackers are equally enjoyed by both.  And for that I an grateful.  I think I've just been in a lunch slump lately.  Uninspired and frustrated with the task of finding something that will be a crowd pleaser-- myself included!

So, if you have any go-to, kid friendly, on the healthy side, lunch ideas-- send them my way.  Let's make lunch a peaceful meal again shall we?  No more weeping and gnashing of teeth (from me or my girls!)  =).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Baby A

This is my sweet Baby A.  My firstborn (by one minute).  My Leah Rae.  My little Bee.


Once a week my mom keeps one of my girls overnight so that she can spend some special time with one while I spend special time with the other.  We've been doing this for about a month now and I so enjoy these one on one dates with my girls.  This week it was Leah's turn to have Mommy all to herself.  We started our morning together eating her favorite breakfast of frozen waffles and vanilla yogurt.  My Baby A is a simple kind of girl who knows what she likes. We then went to the library at her request because she loves to read.  We had a great time picking out books.  In fact, we had a few tears because we couldn't check out the stack of 20 books that she pulled out to read, but my Baby A can quickly pull it together and happily settled on 7 books to take home and "show Daddy and Hannah."  When we left the library hand in hand, she looked up at me and said, "I love reading with you Mama."  Oh it's mutual, my dear.  

After the library trip we went across the street to the playground.  I pushed her in the swing for awhile, then she wanted out so she could explore some of the equipment on her own.  I watched from a park bench as she tested her independence a bit. My Baby A is not afraid to try new things.  I love this about her.  Probably because I never seemed to have her sense of adventure until I was older.  

My Leah Rae came into this world first, and during my entire pregnancy the doctor referred to her as "Baby A".  I wondered what kind of little girl Baby A would be, and have discovered that she is a tenderhearted, funny, sensitive, stubborn, helpful, creative, independent, grateful and kind little girl.  I am loving this adventure of discovering who she is and wouldn't trade it for the world.

At the library looking at the fish.

Playing at the park.

Gosh, I love this girl.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Labor Day 1996 Eventually Led to This......

Well, not immediately, but nearly three years later on June 4, 1999 we got married. You see, Mike and I officially met at a Labor Day party when I was a mere 19 years of age and he was only 20. It was the beginning of my sophomore year at OBU and Mike had just transferred in as a junior. A few of my college friends and I (who were always looking for a reason to have a party) decided that Labor Day was as good as any day to have a cookout/swim party at my aunt's house in Oklahoma City. So we invited everyone we knew and those people invited people that they knew and before you knew it about 25 people showed up that day including this tall, dark, mysterious artist from New York. I was intrigued by him and was determined to know more about him. So I spent the day trying to talk to him. He was shy, but polite and we connected right away. After a few more "group dates" in the weeks to come, we finally had our first offical date on September 22, 1996. And, as they say...the rest is history! I'm so glad Mike ended up at that Labor Day party. Every year I'm reminded of that fact!