Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amazing Indigo Girls

As I wrote last week, I was a very lucky music lover this month! I won tickets to a special private KINK listener concert with the Indigo Girls. It was at a jazz supper club in the Pearl District called Jimmy Mak's.

We went early for dinner, and as we arrived, Amy and Emily were on the stage doing sound checks! We were ushered into the lounge so they could finish warming up, and then moved into the main area for dinner after they were done.

The concert itself was brief, around 45 minutes, but it was AMAZING. We were two of about 150 people in the club, and we were perhaps 20 feet away from the stage.

I've long been an Indigo Girls fan; I loved them before they got mega-famous. We hadn't been to an IG concert in perhaps 6 years, though, and I realized how much I had missed them!

Simply amazing...to be that close to Amy and Emily, supremely talented musicians with phenomenal song-writing and harmonizing talents. I LOVED IT.

With the exception of "Galileo," every song they did was from their upcoming album (to be released in March). They are planning to tour for most of the year, so check them out when they come to your neck of the woods. Here is one of the new songs they did:



And for those of you who have been following them for ages like I have, I thought you might appreciate this video I found, from their network TV premiere on the David Letterman show in 1989! Emily was joking about how her mom and sister called her today, 5 minutes apart, and complimented her on the new album (her sister said she was going to call her mom and explain each song to her). Amy said that back when they first started singing together, their families were the only ones who came to listen to them, while muttering about how they were not using their college degrees...at any rate, this is one of my all-time favorite IG songs, an oldie but goody:



20 years later, I think they have only gotten better! According to this video on YouTube, Emily studied to become an English teacher before she decided to play music--no surprise, given their love of story--another reason to love their music!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Would You Do If Faced with a Moral Dilemma?

If you're like me, you'll watch movies or read books about the Holocaust and hope to God that if you had lived in Germany during those times, you would have done the noble thing and sheltered Jews or helped them escape from the Nazis.

Or if you lived in the south during the time of segregation, you hope that you would have stood up for African-Americans in their fight for equality and against racial hatred.

Harriet Tubman. Emma Goldman. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Freedom Riders. These are my heroes.

This past week, I read a book called The Hunger Games, and we watched "The Kite Runner" on DVD. The Hunger Games is a story of a dystopic world where children are forced to fight to the death in a perverted sort of "Survivor" game. Moral questions abound.

Those of you who have read The Kite Runner or seen the movie might remember the scene when Amir and his father were escaping from a Russian-occupied Afghanistan into Pakistan. A Russian soldier refuses to let the refugee-packed truck pass by unless he can have a half-hour alone with a woman who has just given birth. Amir, who has failed his own moral test in many ways, watches while his father stands up and comes to the woman's aid. He tells the Russian soldier that he will have to kill him first, because he will not allow any dishonor to occur on his watch. And the Russian soldier might have done so if he were not interrupted by his superiors.

It made me wonder, would I do the same, if I were in the same position? If I were the only protector of my only child as we were escaping a war-torn country? And if I were to die, what would happen to my child? What a horrible question to consider, and I hope to God I never have to face that kind of moral dilemma. Remember the scene in "Sophie's Choice" when Sophie is forced to choose between both of her children at the concentration camp, and the choice haunts her forever?

I can understand how she could never escape the guilt and trauma caused by that tragic choice. Just thinking about these things sends chills up my spine.

In my friend Christie's "25 Things About Me" on Facebook, she wrote that she's a wannabe pacifist, but that having her own children has brought out her "mama bear" side. But bears do not have morals...we can't help it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

Kieran's been going around the house singing "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart," which is on the soundtrack of "Ella Enchanted."

I find it highly amusing that my kindergartener is singing this song, which was one of my favorites in the '70s! I owned the 45 (along with many others), and I loved Elton John.

Back in those days we didn't have music videos and rarely had the opportunity to see our favorite musical acts performing their music, unless they were guests on variety shows. But Elton John was legendary for his outrageous costumes and enormous glasses.

Look what I found on YouTube--apparently this was an entirely unrehearsed performance, as you can tell by the awkward moves:

I looked up Kiki Dee to find out more about her--she is a Yorkshire lass and is still performing. I also found this--she looks great for 60+, and Elton is clearly sporting a toupee now:


And then there was that classic episode of my favorite TV show, "One Day at a Time," when Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli did an early version of karaoke by dressing up as Elton John and Kiki Dee and singing their hearts out. Nadine and I copied this act and performed for our parents--she was Kiki and I was Elton, complete with big glasses and foil-covered boots.

Gotta love those Baby Boomer movie makers--using music of the parents' generation in current kids' movies!

Friday, February 20, 2009

By Breath

My friend/pastor Laurie shared this song with me...I love finding new musicians and music! It reflects how I view the world.

I already bought the CD (after checking to see if they had it at the library). Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Never Was an Athlete, But I Have Watched My Share of Basketball...

When Mike and I first got married, my parents had Blazer Cable (back then, many of the games were viewable only on cable), and we would get together with them and some other friends and watch the games together. In fact, we were worried that the Blazers would have a playoff game on our wedding day...alas, they were defeated by the Detroit Pistons that year. We didn't know if we should be happy or sad! That was in the heyday of the Blazers--with Clyde Drexler (my favorite), Terry Porter, Kevin Duckworth (RIP), and Buck Johnson.

Somewhere over the years, pro basketball lost its lustre...probably around the time that so many players got involved in sex and drugs...or perhaps when Chris was in the NICU and my life was turned upside down (which is also when I stopped reading the comics).

So why I am I waxing about basketball? Only because I know how critical free throws can be to a game. And the way the players and the fans can psych each other out about free throws. When I read this article, about a high school team that chose to miss their free throws to honor a player on the opposing team whose mother had died, it brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I'm a complete sap. That's another casualty of the NICU experience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's My Lucky Day!

I've never really thought of myself as "likely to win" anything, but perhaps in recent years my luck has been changing.

I received an e-mail from KINK Radio today, notifying me that I had won two tickets to a "KINK Listeners Private Concert" with the Indigo Girls next Wednesday. It's in a jazz club called Jimmy Mak's. Yippee!!! We are long-time fans of the Indigo Girls, but haven't seen them in concert for eons. In fact, I probably know their older stuff more than their newer songs. In recent years I've become much more inclined to attend concerts in intimate venues rather than huge concert halls, so this is very exciting!!!

Some of you long-time readers will recall that 1-1/2 years ago I won a gift certificate to the Shane Company, and I bought myself a diamond ring. The postscript, however, is that I returned the ring because it made my finger green! Apparently white gold has a tendency to do that (which the salesperson never told me).

Then at a company picnic a few years ago our family won a number of raffle prizes, causing the wife of a colleague to cast aspersions on our family name! (This was passed along to me by a friend.)

At any rate, this Indigo Girls concert win is the best by far!! I can't wait! It's been a year of great concerts!!

You Know Things Are Bad When...

Starbucks starts selling instant coffee.

Yes, you read that right.

I'm a coffee snob. When Mike and I first got married and we would visit England, if someone offered me a coffee, it was nearly always instant. I learned to decline and take tea instead. Since that time, now it's much easier to get a nice cup of coffee when we are out and about (you can find Starbucks and other coffee shops all over the place). But still, in people's homes, I take tea.

I admire Starbucks' resourcefulness and creativity in scaling down its offerings. I applauded when the company started offering oatmeal last year (as a business traveler, I often pick up a light breakfast at Starbucks in the airport). As much as I like the scones, I was delighted to have a healthier option.

Starbucks' instant coffee will still be a luxury item...it will cost $0.83 a cup! If you ask me, I'd rather have half the coffee at Starbucks' usual price of $1.50 per cup of brewed coffee instead of drinking instant.

The New York Times article says that not even one in ten cups of coffee drunk in North America is brewed by Starbucks (not surprising, if you think about all the coffee consumed in workplaces, homes, etc.). Furthermore, Americans spend $70 million a year on instant coffee. ISN'T THAT ASTONISHING??? But only 7 percent of them drink instant on a regular basis.

Not to be a skeptic, but it seems a mite unrealistic to think that those 7 percent, who probably drink instant coffee for the low cost and convenience, and the fact that they are not coffee connoisseurs (that is, they don't care about the taste), will suddenly jump from their Maxwell House to Starbucks, at a much higher cost.

Except in the United Kingdom, where 81 percent of the coffee sold is instant. There Starbucks has a perfect market for its new instant coffee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Standing for Children in the Oregon Capitol

Yesterday Mike and the kids joined our friends Drew, Laurie, and Sophie and 5,000 other committed citizens in a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol...to urge lawmakers to maintain and find other funding to sustain our Oregon schools.

The kids patiently stood through 45 minutes of speeches and were good Oregonians standing up for what they believed in!













Oregon schools might have to shut down early this year because of impending budget cuts. It's not looking good...just one more thing to worry about right now, sadly.

More Sweet Photos of Our Friend Oscar

Thought our friends in Costa Rica, Neal and Annette, would appreciate these photos.

Here is Oscar in the child care room at church, reading to Nicholas and Sam. So sweet!



Valentine's Day Family Night

As I mentioned a few days ago, we had our Valentine's dinner out earlier last week. Saturday night ended up being family night.

Chris was at a theater workshop for much of the afternoon (for Bye Bye Birdie), and Mike and I worked on cleaning our room (a la One Year to an Organized Life). That evening we went to a new performance space on East Burnside in Portland called the Airplay Cafe. They had an 80s night family dance from 5 to 6:30. It's an interesting space and they have good (although not cheap) food, wine, and beer (and even pear cider!). It was packed, and we were just barely able to scrounge up a table and chairs. What surprised us, though, was how old and untrendy we felt! It seems to attract young trendy east side parents...which perhaps we were 10 years ago? Now we're old west side parents of three! :) Seriously, though, I think that some of the people there were probably born in 1980!!!

But it was fun to dance to some 80s music (although the DJ didn't have "Don't You Want Me Baby?"--one of my favorite 80s songs!). And amazingly, no ABBA!


Here are Chris and I hitting the dance floor



He turned out to be the best dance partner of my boys!



Poor little Nicholas had a cold (which, alas, I have now caught!), and he fell asleep in Mike's arms as we were dancing with him! (And it was a fast dance!) So Mike sat out the rest of the dances with a sleeping Nick.

Kieran, for his part, was being typically contrary. He announced that he did NOT want to go to the dance, and he would NOT dance. No matter how hard we tried to drag him on the dance floor! But finally, at last toward the end, he caved.



And here he is break dancing!





After the dance we went home and watched "Mamma Mia!" (which was my Valentine's gift to Mike). I know many of my blog readers do not think much of that movie (one friend reportedly called it "DREK"--you know who you are!) But as ABBA lovers, we really enjoy it. It's PG-13, but a very tame PG-13, mostly for the sexual references and plot. There are a couple of questionable words, crap and damn, I think. But fairly harmful overall, and all the kids loved it. We had taken Chris to see the play years ago, and all the sexual innuendo went over his head. Kieran is a bit more curious...so after the movie I had the birds and the bees discussion with him! He was nonplussed.
In closing, I thought I'd post the "Couples Q&A" I responded to on Facebook...in honor of my very wonderful valentine and sweetheart!

♥ What are your middle names? Denise, Edward
♥ How long have you been together? 22 years; married for 19 in June
♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating? 3 months
♥ Who asked who out? He came to a party at my apartment, and the rest is history.
♥ How old are each of you? 44 and almost-46
♥ Whose siblings do/did you see the most? Mine--because they live in the U.S.
♥ Do you have any children together? Yes
♥ What about pets? Names? A cat for several years, Chai
♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? fitting romance into her lives
♥ Did you go to the same school? No
♥ Are you from the same home town? No
♥ Who is the smartest? Definitely Mike!
♥ Who is the most sensitive? We are pretty equal.
♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? We both love Asian food (actually, the whole family does)! Local favorites are Mother's Bistro, Capitol Coffeehouse, Marco's, Sungari, Thai Herbs.
♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? India
♥ Who has the craziest exes? No crazy exes in our lives; thank Goddess!
♥ Who has the worst temper? He's more patient day to day, but when he gets mad, watch out!
♥ Who does the cooking? Him during the week and me on the weekends
♥ Who is more social? Depends on the situation--I'm more social with strangers
♥ Who is the neat-freak? Neither!
♥ Who is the more stubborn? Equal
♥ Who hogs the bed? Neither
♥ Who wakes up earlier? Him
♥ Where was your first date? See above...but first real date was a wine bar in Osaka
♥ Who has the bigger family? Me
♥ Do you get flowers often? Yes
♥ How do you spend the holidays? With our families
♥ Who is more jealous? Neither of us are jealous types
♥ How long did it take to get serious? Not long
♥ Who does/did the laundry? Both of us
♥ Who’s better with the computer? Me
♥ Who drives when you are together? Usually he does. He says he likes the control, whereas I'd prefer to read!
And a historical photo of us, not too long after we got together--on a beach near Wakayama, Japan!


And just to prove my point about getting flowers (Mike didn't see it because he's resisting the lure of Facebook), this was Mike's Valentine's gift to me:
Isn't he a sweetheart? I am SO very lucky. Every day is Valentine's Day with my wonderful partner in life!

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Honor of Presidents' Day

The best way to get rid of your enemies is
to love them.


--Abraham Lincoln

Friday, February 13, 2009

Down the Rabbit Hole!

Tonight I took Kieran to see the Northwest Children's Theater's production of "Alice in Wonderland." I must confess that I wasn't looking forward to it too much...I am not terribly intrigued by Alice in Wonderland--I find it to be lacking in plot, to be honest. But the production was a nice surprise--it had a twist.

It was a jazz musical version of "Alice in Wonderland," complete with the highly talented Shirley Nanette and other musical talent. They had a jazz band onstage, and all the music was done in jazz style. Jazz is not necessarily my favorite genre, but it was a unique production, and Nanette was amazing as the Queen of Hearts. She stole the show!






Kieran, who in the space of a couple of weeks has gone from wanting to produce "The Wizard of Oz" to "Bye Bye Birdie," to now, "Alice in Wonderland," was determined to wear white rabbit ears to the show this evening. He found some from an old costume we had, but he also spied some new ones in the gift shop for $2.50. When we went to get autographs from the cast members after the show, every actor mentioned the rabbit ears.



He also brought his Queen of Hearts figure! This kid knows how to get in the spirit! We ran into some friends at the theater, as well, which was a nice surprise.


Here's Kieran posing with the white rabbit herself!

Our children continue to be entranced by theater. Nicholas was pulling on my arm as we left for the play, saying "I want to come too!" For his part, Chris tried out for "Bye Bye Birdie" this week at school, and came home bereft because he landed the part of Harvey Johnson, the "geek." I think he's worried about being teased for playing the role. He was full of recriminations about himself, such as he can't sing very well, or he was chosen for that role because he has glasses. I was delighted to come home after "Alice" to learn that he has already learned his lines in his big song, "The Telephone Line," and has the character down perfectly! I do think it will be a great comic role for him--he has great comic timing.

I wouldn't be surprised if one of my children ended up on the professional stage, at this rate...they all seem drawn to the limelight!!

I Love Salma Hayek!

First of all, if the topic of breastfeeding makes you feel uncomfortable, stop reading right now.

Salma Hayek, producer of one of my favorite shows, "Ugly Betty," is in the news again because of her devotion to breastfeeding. Last fall she was all over the internet because she admitted that she was still breastfeeding her 13-month-old daughter. One "expert," a "licensed psychiatrist" (licensed over the internet??) even claimed that breastfeeding beyond 1 was a form of child abuse! And that it creates emotionally damaged children. Do my children look emotionally damaged to you? Other lechers wrote in about how they wanted to be in line for breastfeeding. Nice. Way to take a beautiful thing and pervert it.

Well, the latest thing Hayek has done is to take a humanitarian trip to Sierra Leone to fight tetanus, which is one of the top causes of fatalities among women and children there. While there she learned about the extremely low rates of breastfeeding, even though it not only nourishes the babies but also protects them from disease.

She was so touched by this news that she decided to offer her own breast to a 1-week old hungry African baby (presumably with permission from his mother). It has caused a firestorm on the web, adding to the earlier fire. Most web sites are full of comments supporting Hayek, but others accuse her of seeking publicity or being condescending...and some even saying that she's being unfair to her own child (which seems bizarre to me)

All of this just illustrates to me the unhealthy attitudes we have in this country about breastfeeding.

Watching the video brought tears to my eyes. She did a beautiful, honorable thing in my opinion...and she did what any caring mother would do if she could find a way to offer tangible help to another woman's child. She fed the hungry.

Here is a brief video about the story, and if you are interested in watching the whole video or reading more, click here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nicholas Phrase of the Day

Earlier today, Mike was trying to get the kids in the house, and they were lagging on the front steps, and he said "C'mon boys!"

Two-year-old-going-on-20-year-old Nicholas responded: "We're not boys; we're men!"

Tonight when I said "How's my cutie?" he responded "I not a cutie--I Nicholas!"

Last night I was reading Babymouse to Kieran--and Babymouse is playing the understudy of "Annie" and singing "It's a Hard-Knock Life!" Nicholas said, "Annie and the girls sing that and jump on the bed!"

I'd hazard a guess that most 2-year-olds do not know all the songs to "Annie" and "Bye Bye Birdie"...oh yes, and "Mamma Mia!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For Better or Worse

Monday night Mike and I had a spontaneous dinner out, thanks to my mom offering to watch the kids for us. They will be with my sister and her family over Valentine's Day, so she very kindly suggested that we go out a little early to celebrate. Thanks, Mom!

Our Valentine's Days nowadays are not particularly romantic...I remember one year when we were hosting a Japanese boy whose school had been destroyed in the Kobe earthquake...and on Valentine's night we were dropping him off at another couple who taught at Lutheran High School, where he was going to attend for a few days. Last year I believe we were in Florida, with our kids, on Valentine's Day--with no one offering to babysit! But what is Valentine's Day anyway? Just a holiday promoted by the card and candy manufacturers. Every day should be Valentine's Day when you are with the one you love!

In Japan, women give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day (it's completely one sided). It's not what one would call romantic, though, because many of the chocolates they give are called "giri-choco," or "obligation chocolates," and they give them to their male bosses, friends, and family members, in addition to men in which they have a romantic interest. It's even MORE commercial in Japan than it is in the U.S.





The men are SUPPOSED to reciprocate on "White Day," a month later--but hardly any of them do.



But the reason I'm writing about this is because of this heartbreakingly beautiful blog post I saw in the New York Times...by a man who has prostate cancer ("Love in the Time of Prostate Cancer"). This is what a loving marriage is truly about--for better or for worse. It's a wonderful testament to the sustaining power of love. That's much more romantic than chocolates or roses.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Protecting Tweens and Teens on the Internet

As we are facing the reality of having a teenager in the house (six months to go until the 13th birthday!!), I am reflecting on what we could be facing in the coming years...

Chris is such a good-natured, sweet, and somewhat naive preteen. He never says an unkind word about anyone (he's much better behaved than his parents!) and he is very trusting.

He's also always been drawn to media and the computer. These days, the only really potentially harmful thing he does is watch youtube videos and read my blog! (Ha! So I must be careful of what I write here!!) I shocked Chris the other day by confessing to him that sometimes I use foul language. I figured that he's almost a teen, so I must gradually clue him in that his mom is not perfect!

We've sheltered our kids to a great extent by not letting them watch violent films or play violent video games...and Chris don't possess a cell phone (much to his chagrin) or have a myspace page. However, I realize it's just a matter of time...before he's on myspace, texting his friends, and using whatever the next tech tool will be...

I recently discovered this really great site that focuses on educating parents and kids about safe use of the internet. It has educational videos and blogs, and it also has a site with information and real-life profiles of teens and tweens, written and presented in a way that appeals to them. I'm going to direct Chris to this site so he can learn more about how to safely navigate the internet. Apparently cyberbullying is one of the greatest risks of teen internet use, in spite of all of the typical parental fears about online predators. (It's not to say that this is not a risk, but apparently cyberbullying is an even greater issue.) Most adults have had some sort of experience with e-mail flames. There's something about a computer--and not having to say something to someone else's face--that gives a person the permission and relative anonymity to be just plain mean. It's not hard to imagine how some kids could abuse the internet to inflict harm on others.

So much to worry about with the teen years approaching!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

25 Things I Didn't Want to Know About You

I have to confess that I've gotten only slightly addicted to Facebook. Slightly. Some of my friends and relatives appear to be on FB several hours each day and send me odd add-ons such as Japanese "gifts" or "Old Lutheran" items...or ask me to join their causes, etc.

I do appreciate a couple of things about Facebook: it has allowed me to reconnect with some old classmates and friends, and it has allowed me to learn more about my friends and relatives. Facebook is for people who don't want to take the time to blog!

Recently, there's been a spate of tagging games going around FB. I've indulged in a few of them--they are unfortunately addicting--and today I've read two articles making fun of one of them, 25 Things About Me. I have actually enjoyed reading my friends' 25 things, and none of them are as weird as this person's friends!

It is very interesting, indeed, to see what people feel safe in broadcasting to the world! I'm much more careful on FB than I am on this blog, because anything I post there is attached to my full name, even though only my "friends" can see it. This blog gives me a bit more of a sense of privacy because I don't use my full name.

Just in case you are not on FB, here are my famous "25 things" (that you've never wanted to know about me!):

1. When I was at PLU, I wrote down characteristics of what I wanted in a man. Years later, I found that list...and was delighted to discover that Mike fit the bill perfectly (even down to the specific detail of "likes to sing!")

2. I met my husband at a Robert Burns night in 1987, when he read an obscene poem and my bizarre Southern belle housemate at the time was after him. After the party, she declared "Those British people are sure hard to warm up to!"

3. I wrote my first song when I was 11 years old. I had a long dry spell between 1990 (when I wrote one for our wedding) and 2007, when I was performing with a band and got back in the groove!

4. I have eaten fugu (Japanese blowfish), whale, and grasshoppers (in Mexico).

5. I was proposed to on top of a hotel in India that used to be a majaraha's palace. Several days later we went on a camel safari, which was one of the most painful experiences I've had in my life outside of caesarean sections! (and I didn't have a delightful baby as a payoff--just a grumpy camel!)

6. I experienced infertility before having my first child, who was born way too early at 24 weeks, and then I had four miscarriages before having my second child. Then I got pregnant at the ripe age of 41 when we thought we were done. Quite a shock!

7. I used to collect stationery as a girl and at one time had over 100 varieties. I also loved to write letters!

8. I am addicted to reading and blogging! And I love my Goodreads.com!

9. I always thought I'd have a daughter (who would hide her Seventeen magazines under the bed while I tried to get her to read Ms.!), but I absolutely adore having three boys. They are a kick!

10. I love to sing, and as a kid I wanted to be a singer.

11. I love to CREATE things!

12. I didn't fly in an airplane until age 20 or travel abroad until 21--but since then I've visited 15 countries.

13. I feel extremely lucky to have a job I enjoy, working with talented, exceptional people...even though it wasn't what I thought I wanted to do when I grew up...

14. My comfort foods are tomato soup, grilled cheese, and cinnamon toast. But my favorite food is ANY KIND of Asian.

15. My sister and I used to fight bitterly (kicking, biting, spitting), but we have been the closest of friends for 25+ years.

16. I weighed only 85 lb when I graduated from high school. No longer, I assure you!!!

17. I have eclectic music tastes--from folk, rock, classical, world, independent, and gospel--and I LOVE my iPod!!!

18. I feel sad about the friends I've lost touch with over the years...but on the other hand, the friends I've made in the past 20 years are the best ever....

19. I am extremely close to my nuclear and extended family--they are the most important thing in my life and keep me grounded.

20. I have successfully completed 1 month of my New Year's Resolution--to follow the book "One Year to an Organized Life," and am chronicling my progress in a blog--I now have an organized kitchen!

21. If money were no object, I'd spend a year traveling around the world with my family.

22. Giving birth to my oldest son prematurely at 24 weeks and having him spend 117 days in the hospital changed me for life...as did the experience of befriending other preemie parents and people who lost their precious babies. I will never take life for granted.

23. I LOVE to travel and plan vacations. If I don't have a vacation to plan, I get antsy!!

24. My favorite places in the world are the Sylvia Beach Hotel and anywhere on the Oregon Coast; Bali (Indonesia); Kyoto, Japan; the North Shore on the islands of Hawaii; New York City, Paris, and London; and Oaxaca, Mexico.

25. I cannot believe how much I have been blessed in my life--with an amazing husband, sweet sons, and a life blessed with wonderful family and friends.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Little Conversationalist

I've written before about how amazing it is to have such a little person speaking in full sentences, after our first two children didn't speak much until they were nearly three. Nicholas is now onto full paragraphs, regularly postulating on a variety of topics. This morning he told me that the reason he woke up so early (around 5:00 a.m.) was that his daddy had woken him up...and then proceeded to tell me that he'd had a dream about his cousins, and how Daniel was laughing at him because he thought he was funny.

Tonight, as we were eating dinner (mandarin orange chicken from Trader Joe's, gyoza, and a stir-fried bean, peanut, and chicken dish), Mike asked us if we liked the dinner he had made. Kieran said it was "AWESOME!" And Nicholas agreed that it was awesome, and then said "I don't like it; I LOVE it!" This is one of Kieran's favorite phrases...but it just totally cracked me up hearing it come out of a 2-year-old's mouth!!!

2 going on 20, I guess! Except it would be nice if he would just get that sleeping-through-the-night thing down!!! Then I'll know he's no longer my baby.

Kieran, in the meantime, came off the bus today disgusted because another kindergartener had teased him on the bus, telling him he looked like a girl and calling him "girl face"! (Mike thinks she might have a thing for him...) To counteract this evildoer, he has concocted a statue outside on the front porch (I think it's a little ride-on car, with a brown cloak over it), to fool her so she won't know he lives here. That should put her off, don't you think? ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Crafty Wonderkid!

During my last two pregnancies, Mike and I often joked about hoping for a quiet daughter who could spend hours stringing beads, reading books, drawing pictures, or engaging in imaginary play.

As you know, that did not transpire.

Instead I have three EXTREMELY active boys. To the point that when Mike took the boys to meet a friend and her friend at an inflatable toy indoor playground last Friday, they marveled at his ability to keep up with all of them (they each have one girl). They indeed keep us busy!

So no bead stringing in our house, but we do have the drawing, reading, and imaginary play (although I'd hardly call it quiet). I've always wanted to have a child who would enjoy doing crafts with me. My sister and I used to love making valentines together when we were younger. My friend Shelia has her kids (two girls and a boy) actively engaging in being creative...she inspires me!

So imagine my delight when I asked Kieran if he wanted to make valentines with me, and he jumped at the chance. Yesterday afternoon we were valentine-making machines! He is making valentines for all the 22 kids in his class, and each one is completely original. We cleared away the valentine stuff for dinner, and at bedtime he was very disappointed not to be able to make more! (I consoled him by telling him he has plenty of time left!)

The time passed very quickly, especially when we put on the "Cinderella" video for Nicholas, whose patience with making valentines ran out after long. Mike was off on an "artist's date," and our poor invalid Chris (who bruised his heel really badly at the above-mentioned indoor playground and is hobbling around on crutches) was immersed in a new brain puzzler game on his Nintendo DS.

A few hours later, Mike had returned and it was already nearly 6 p.m. and time to make dinner!

Here are some photos of our results (still in process):


(Mine)



(Kieran's)

While I was making dinner last night (sole Basquaise, rice, and salad), the boys indulged one of their favorite pasttimes, tromping around in my heels! Kieran trotted Nicholas into the kitchen like this and announced him as "Cinderella"!


Nicholas, for his part, was just as pleased as punch!
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