Thursday, December 31, 2009

And a Happy New Year!

Happy 2010! We'll be counting down to Bralizian time tonight since our friends are coming over with their exchange student from Brazil. It's the perfect compromise with little kids who go to bed at 8pm. We'll ring in the New Year at 7pm MST.

Whenever and wherever you are counting down... Happy New Year!

Feliz Ano Novo -- Portuguese

¡Feliz año nuevo! -- Spanish

Gelukkige nuwe jaar -- Afrikaans

عام سعيد -- Arabic

-- Chinese

Godt Nyttår -- Norwegian

새해 복 많이 받으세요 -- Korean

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta -- Finnish

Hauoli Makahiki Hou -- Hawaiian

С Новым Годом -- Russian

Bonne année -- French

สงกรานต์ -- Thai

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here is a personalized message that Maija received from Santa. She was so excited!



Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Success!

The adoption fundraiser / garage sale was a big success. Thank you so much to Jennie P. for organizing and putting it on and to so many others who donated items and helped. We raised just over $1000! We are so touched by everyone's generosity.

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adoption Fundraiser

We're having an adoption fundraiser. Earlier this year we adopted our sweet baby boy, Forest. We just found out that his birthmother is expecting again in February, and we are hoping to be able to add Forest's sibling to our family.

In order to help us defray the costs of 2 adoptions within a year, some good friends of ours are putting together a benefit garage sale and bake sale this Saturday, December 19th. You can read more about it on our Facebook fundraiser event page - Here

We've also opened an account at Wells Fargo strictly for donations. You can go to any Wells Fargo and donate to account 9200925973.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What a Human Soul is Worth

Here's a shocking development out of the Optimum Population Trust in England:

"Rushing to the front of the race for the prize of Most Vomit-Inducing Environmental Initiative Ever Devised, the UK’s Optimum Population Trust ... has just launched PopOffsets. This quirkily named campaign is actually deeply sinister: It invites well-off Westerners to offset their carbon emissions by paying for poor people in the Third World to stop procreating.

In short, if you feel bad about your CO2-emitting jaunt to Barbados, or the new Ferrari you just splurged on, then simply give some money to a charity which helps to “convince” Third World women not to have children, and — presto! — the carbon saved by having one less black child in the world will put your guilt-ridden mind at rest."


You can read the full blog post "OPT: Save the Planet by Preventing African Births" by Brendan O’Neill of National Review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life Is Never Boring

Two recent events have been blogged about by my friends, so in the spirit of laziness or overwhelmedness (not a word, but you know what I mean), I've decided to link directly to their entries:

Toddler Passion - Nov. 24, 2009
One of my closest friends from high school came for a visit, and our two-year-olds fell instantly in love. It was hysterical and SO cute!

Chicken Mayhem - Nov. 20, 2009
Yes, that was our chicken who had escaped the day before when our dog, Remy, attacked one of the other chickens. Miraculously, the attacked chicken was not hurt and the escaped chicken chose our friends' yard to hang out the next day. It's a holiday chicken miracle!

Speaking of the chicken paranormal, I heard this very entertaining story on the radio on the same day of our own chicken miracle
http://podcast.thisamericanlife.org/podcast/369.mp3

It's the 1st story in the "This American Life" 11/20/09 broadcast told by Greg Warner, a reporter living in Afghanistan.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Forest's Sealing - Nov. 7th

We were sealed to Forest on Saturday, Nov. 7th at the Mesa Arizona temple. It was such a special day and so amazing to have our 3 children with us dressed in white in the temple. Little Forest was calm and peaceful through the sealing and I was overcome with feelings of gratitude for my family and all of the blessings the Lord has showered on me. What an amazing gift!

Here are a few pictures from before and after the sealing:





Monday, November 2, 2009

8 Months Old ... Happy Halloween! ... New Nephew

Forest is 8 months old today! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. He is such a big boy. He already weighs 20 pounds (just 5 pounds less than Rebekah who's almost 3 years old!) and is all muscle. I'm so grateful for my boy and for all of my children. They all look adorable in their Halloween costumes.

Also, our nephew, Davis, was born the day before Halloween. We visited him and his mommy at the hospital that afternoon, and I took some pictures. You forget how small those sweet newborn babies really are. I put a few pictures below.

Tinkerbell



Peter Pan



Forest the Lost Boy...to continue with the Peter Pan theme



On Halloween night Rebekah decides to be Batman instead



Our new nephew, Davis



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally Finalized!

We flew to Utah this week to finalize Forest's adoption. What a feeling of relief and joy to know that he is legally ours. It's one thing to feel like a child is yours, but it's another to know that all the loose ends have been tied up, and your baby is yours completely in the eyes of the law.

Here's a picture of us with the judge, Tyrone Medley, who used to play basketball with University of Utah, by the way.



We also had a little shindig to celebrate and see family and friends. It ended up being more of a New York reunion for me, since a bunch of friends of mine from 20 years ago showed up. We've all gotten older, but everybody seemed exactly the same.


Aunt Sue with Forest. She's a surrogate grandma now that both of Forest's grandmothers are on missions:




Forest sleeps through the party




Friends




On the airplane home


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Again, Amen!

Elder Dallin H. Oak's address to BYU-Idaho students on Oct. 13, 2009.

"Religious Freedom"

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/religious-freedom


and a related article from USA Today which, ironically, illustrates exactly the kind of anti-religious feeling Elder Oaks describes.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-10-15-mormon-gay_N.htm

Monday, October 12, 2009

Forest Crawls & Gets 1st Tooth - Oct. 11, 2009

Forest is growing up so fast! Too fast. Yesterday, Oct. 11, 2009, Forest crawled for the first time and he got his first tooth, bottom right. A big day for a big boy!

Here's a video of him crawling:
video

A few recent pictures too:








Swine flu update:

It took us 2 weeks to all get over it and its complications, but we're mostly recovered. Rebekah ended up getting the beginnings of pneumonia and I ended up with bronchitis, but after some antibiotics, we're all good. Our friends from church were amazing bringing us dinner several nights in a row. I did feel badly for them, though, knowing they did not want to take the swine flu home to their families. And one family who helped us out a lot did end up getting it, so now they're going through the chain of illness. Sorry!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

From my 4 year-old, Maija: "Mommy, I have to tell you about one thing that we can use. It's called Skecher shoes."

Me: "Did you see that on TV?"

Maija: "Yeah, and I thought we can use them because they light up when you stomp. And they have girl ones that I really like."

(Oh boy! Here we go. Marketing does work.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Swine Flu

Well, it happened. We all got the swine flu, except for Forest of course who seems to avoid all illnesses (knock on wood!) Rebekah has it the worst. As always with her asthma she seems to have breathing issues and lung problems. We had to take her to urgent care tonight because her breathing was getting so bad, and sure enough she's got an infection starting in her lungs, and on top of that she has an ear infection. Poor girl! I'm just grateful for modern medicine and knowing exactly what's going on with her and that there is medicine to treat it.

I ended up canceling my trip to NY this weekend. I couldn't leave a sick child at home while I go off to play. So that's the second 20 year high school reunion I'm missing... last year I missed my Hong Kong international School reunion (they combined it with the class of '88) and this year was Burnt Hills High School in Upstate NY. No, I didn't graduate from both schools in case you're confused. I graduated from high school in Hong Kong, but I had just moved there the beginning of my senior year from New York. Moving around as much as I did growing up, I get to claim many places as home.

With all of this going on, I'm still floating in the clouds that we've gotten a court date for Forest's finalization. We'll have just enough time to get everyone better before we leave for Utah. Despite the bumps in the road, life really is a blessing. I'm grateful to have 3 beautiful children to worry about and a supportive husband who helps me not worry too much. When I married Kent, my good friend Courtney told him, "You have no idea how many dead horses you're going to be beating." Ain't that the truth! Anyone who knows me, knows that it is.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Got Our Court Date!!!

Yahoo! I'm so happy! Our lawyer called this morning and told us our court date to finalize Forest's adoption. It's October 21st! Now we can actually plan our lives and more importantly plan a date to be sealed to Forest.

I just barely got the call, but I had to blog about it right away!

Great way to start the day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Waiting to Finalize

Yep, we are STILL waiting for the judge assigned to our case to just LOOK at our papers and set a date for the finalization. Usually couples are able to finalize within a week or two of their 6 month date (6 months after placement of the child). So, here we are almost a month after our 6 month date, and we have NO idea when we'll be able to finalize.

I keep calling the lawyers and asking, "Have you heard anything?" Then they call the judge's clerks and call me back, "Nothing yet." My sister was quick to remind me that the legal system can be slow. That's what makes me so nervous. This could take a long time if the judge feels like it. We've been saying lots of prayers that we'll be able to finalize soon. I can't help but feel like there is a reason why we're experiencing this delay. I keep thinking that some good will come out it. Actually, I know that good will come out of it. It's just hard to know WHAT that could be.

I am looking forward to traveling to Upstate NY next week to attend my 20 year high school reunion. I can't wait to be in NY in the Fall and to see the beautiful trees. It'll also be fun to see old friends from school and also some of my old church friends who are still in the area. Maybe by the time we get back we'll be able to head up to Utah to finalize Forest's adoption.

Wish us luck! Cross your fingers! Say a few prayers for us... all positive vibes are welcome!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seems Like An Eternity

We are STILL waiting for a court date to finalize Forest's adoption. Usually you can finalize within days of the 6 month mark (for us that was 9/4) but the judge is overbooked, and we are in a holding pattern. We were hoping to be sealed to Forest in the Mesa LDS temple on September 25th, but now that's not going to happen. Even if we did get a date in the next week, our lawyer is going to be out of town.

So...we have cancelled our plans for the 25th, and we've decided to not make any plans until we actually finalize the adoption. The lawyer felt badly and said that in normal circumstances we would've finalized by now, but this judge has been doing things "backwards" - instead of setting a court date and then looking over the paperwork, this judge wants to look over all the paperwork, make a decision, and then set a court date. That puts us in the position of being strung along not knowing when a phone call will come saying we can go to Utah right away and finalize. Makes it pretty hard to plan anything.

Can you tell I'm frustrated? I just have to remind myself that in the eternal scheme of things, it won't matter if we wait a few more weeks to be sealed to Forest, even if it FEELS like it's taking an eternity.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

6 Months

Forest turned 6 months' old yesterday! He's such a big boy and continues to be sweet and happy. Everyday he does something new. On Tuesday he started saying, "Da da da da." He's so cute. He'll look at me so intently like he's trying to tell me something important and say "Da da da da!" I've posted pics at the end of this post.

We're still waiting for our finalization court date. I am getting so bugged! It doesn't help that my patience is being tested in other ways right now; Rebekah has Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and has passed it on to Maija and me. Rebekah was just diagnosed today, and when we did a mouth check on everyone for the characteristic sores, sure enough, Maija had them and so did I. So fun! We had to cancel our plans to go on a big family trip down to Nogales on the Mexican border. The good news is that it only lasts for a week. It's going be a fun Labor Day weekend *grin*.

Here's a video and some pictures of Forest taken today:
video





Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One More Reason I Like Having Chickens

It's been 2 months now that we've had our chickens, and all in all I really enjoy having them. Mostly because I know that we have a daily supply of fresh eggs. We've also had the opportunity to share our eggs with other people and one family even bought some of our eggs. Just like growing a garden, you learn so much about where food really comes from when you grow it or tend it yourself.

For instance, did you know that most eggs at the grocery store are over a month old before they get to you? When we eat our eggs, they are usually 1 or 2 days old. We can also control the quality of the eggs by controlling the quality of the hens' feed. And our chickens seem to be genuinely happy. This whole experience has made me think about how we feed ourselves as a society. We tend to be so out of touch with what real food is... how many of us know which fruits and vegetables are in or out of season? Just food for thought (pun intended.)

This article about factory hatcheries where the laying hens are born really made me think once again, "I'm so glad we have our own chickens." - "Video Shows Chicks Ground Alive at Hatchery"

P.S. By the way, I'm not a member of PETA. I just think we should be more aware of our food sources.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Aa Aa Allin Lasta

As you may or may not know, my mother is from Finland and was raised there before she joined the LDS church and moved to the United States, where she met my father. When our first daughter was born, we gave her a Finnish name, Maija Liisa. Of course, my mother took it upon herself to share some Finnish with Maija. One of the first songs my mother sang to her is the Finnish lullaby, "Aa Aa Allin Lasta." Maija knows all the words to the 1st verse to this day.

I was having fun searching for the lyrics on the internet and found this YouTube recording of the song sung by Irma Tapio in 1977.



For anyone curious what the song is about - it's about a little orphaned bird who has no one to take care of him. The song asks, "Who will take care of you?" and then answers "The wind will sing you lullabies; the sea will carry you in its lap; and God in Heaven will watch over you." A sad and sweet song and oh so Finnish.

P.S. Still no court date for Forest's finalization and still no answer about school.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Court Date Update: Wait Some More!

I got a call yesterday from the lawyer's office in Utah, and they told us that the judge wants to see all the paperwork before he will set a court date. I guess usually the judges will set a court date and then review the papers, but this judge has been overbooked, so he wants to make sure it's all set to go before he'll even give a date. More waiting!

At least the receptionist/paralegal (not sure what her job title is) said she would rush everything and get it to the judge's clerks ASAP. I also haven't heard yet about school, but since it starts Monday, I have a sneaking suspicion if I do get accepted, it wouldn't be for this semester. That may be for the best because we're having a hard time figuring out how to come up with tuition. Since I started grad school in 2001, tuition has gone up about 30%. That's not an exact calculation but pretty close. I used to pay $1400 for full-time tuition and now it would be $1700 for ONE CLASS!!!! Crazy!

Waiting, waiting, waiting....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Waiting for a Court Date

I hate waiting... we were hoping to find out last week the court date for the finalization of Forest's adoption. I called the lawyer's office again today and the receptionist said that she has been calling the court almost every day, but the judge has been in trial. She said that as soon as she finds out the date, she'll call me right away. Of course, we're anxious because we want to make our travel plans and also be sure that the sealing date we've scheduled will work.

I'm also waiting to hear if I've gotten into school which I should find out this week. Oh the anticipation!

Here are recent pictures of Forest and the girls:









Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer's Over

Maija started up preschool again this week, and the weather is surprisingly cool for this time of year (100F instead of 115F). It feels like summer is over. We didn't take any major trips like we have in the past, but after all of the major events in the past year, maybe we needed to just stay put.

With the new activities (preschool & piano for Maija, tumbling for Bekah) the girls seem happier, and even I am starting (or restarting) a new chapter. I've decided to go back to school. I'm waiting to hear if I'll be accepted, so I'll post what happens as soon as I know.

The biggest event on the horizon for us is the finalization of Forest's adoption. We'll be headed to Utah in early September to be there for the court date where Forest will be officially declared our child. Then we'll be able to take him to the temple to have him sealed into our family forever, and we can bless him in church too. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's About Love

A wonderful friend of mine shared this video with me about adoption. It hit very close to home and reminded me that adoption really is about love on all sides.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chickens and The Littlest Angel

Chickens!!!
Yes, we got chickens! We actually got 4 chickens in the beginning of the month. Kent and I had been considering it for a long time, especially after seeing how my friend, Jennie's, family enjoyed having a chicken. Free eggs and a ready supply of protein (I'm still talking about the eggs, not the chickens.) So when we found out our bishop and his family were trying to get rid of chickens, we said we'd take some off their hands.

They brought the 4 chickens over along with a coop on a Tuesday morning. Our 2 oldest children were so excited that they wanted to interact with the chickens. I let them out of the coop (the chickens, not the girls) and they wandered around our backyard. Our dog, Remy, was going crazy inside the house watching those chickens run around. I decided it was time to round up the chickens and get them back in their coop, so I started herding them. One of the chickens got scared and jumped onto our roof. How in the world does one get a chicken off one's roof? I tried to coax her down with a broom, but she went in the opposite direction (duh!) When I walked to the front of our house in my robe trying to scope out the roof for the chicken, I couldn't see her anywhere. I figured she had jumped down and was wandering the neighborhood.

I called Kent at work and told him what was happening, and he got a good laugh out of it. When he got home that night, he opened the garage door for a few minutes and low and behold the chicken wandered into the garage from a bush in front of the house. That poor hen sat in the bush all day in the blazing 100+ degree weather. I got her back in the coop, but unfortunately my husband decided to let the chickens out of the coop again, and this time the chicken jumped onto the neighbor's roof!!! I'm not kidding. After a few seconds, she jumped down into the neighbor's front yard where Kent proceeded to chase her over to our yard until he could herd her into our garage.

After all of this we decided that maybe the chickens just needed to stay in the coop. Two days later I was putting some dirt into the coop, and one of the chickens freaked out and jumped right over my arm and out of the coop. Then she jumped over the fence into the neighbor's dog run (same neighbor, by the way.) Their very large dog had a nice chicken lunch that day. I felt terrible for everyone involved...the chicken, the neighbors, us... Now we have 3 chickens who stay in the coop and lay 3 eggs a day. Jury's still out on how I feel about having chickens.

The Littlest Angel
On Sunday the 26th the girls and I sat down together to watch a cartoon version of the book, The Littlest Angel, by Charles Tazewell. Maija was especially interested in it because she is all about fairies these days and she thinks fairies and angels are pretty much the same thing. The beginning of the narration tells of a little angel who was very dejected. He was 4 years 6 months 5 days 7 hours and 42 minutes old. I thought, "Oh, how funny! Maija is 4 years and 6 months old." Then I calculated, she was born January 21st so that means she is..... 4 years 6 months 5 DAYS and... how many hours? 1 hour and 45 minutes (give or take a few minutes) old!!!! I still can't get over how uncanny it is that the first time she ever watched the movie was when she was exactly, to the day and almost to the hour, as old as the main character. Needless to say, Maija was very intent on watching the whole movie. She is my little angel, although not the littlest angel in our family.

The littlest angel in our family, Forest, is almost 5 months old already! We are getting excited to finalize the adoption in just over a month. We're hoping to find out the court date in the next couple of weeks. I'm so grateful for all 3 of my little angels.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Four Months Old

Forest is 4 months old now and just had his check-up and shots yesterday. He was a little on the grumpy and sleepy side today, but he is such a sweet baby that even on a bad day he is easy. He's already 15 1/2 pounds and is in that adorable baby phase. The newborn days are over, and he's smiling and laughing a lot and is generally happier. He loves being in his own crib and rolls around in it or stares at the animals on his bumper and his walls. I can't say enough about what a sweet little guy he is and how much he has blessed our family.

The other update is that my parents, Frosty and Liisa, finally got their visas to Norway and are flying there on Thursday. They have been in Utah since June 1st waiting for their visas to come through, so now they will finally be able to go to their mission. We've heard from the other grandparents, Linda and Woody, in South Africa, and they are loving their mission. It's been fun to see how much our children love to talk about these places where their grandparents are serving as missionaries, and also to see how proud they are of them. We miss them, but we know what they're doing is a great thing.

We all enjoyed a fun fourth of July weekend up in the Arizona mountains in Pine. We went with friends from our ward and had such a great time hanging out, playing board games and letting our kids run up the stairs, down the stairs, outside, back up the stairs, back down the stairs, back outside.... Our friends have 2 girls the same ages as Maija and Rebekah as well as a 1 year-old daughter. They all loved playing together and Forest loved watching them run back and forth past him. It was great to get out of the heat and to see the greenery.

Here are some pictures of our trip to Pine:







Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swim Lessons

The girls have been doing swim lessons every day for 2 weeks. I'm too tired to describe exactly how exhausting it is to take my 3 little ones there every day for 90 minutes, especially since I've been sick the whole time, so maybe it's best to sum up:

1. Rebekah screaming, kicking, and throwing a tantrum for all 30 minutes of her swim lesson EVERY day!
2. 105 degrees fahrenheit!!! Even in the shade it's blazing hot!
3. 3:30pm to 5pm - which has to be the worst time of day as far as my kids' behavior goes - and mine :-)
4. Waking a sleeping baby every afternoon to make him go sit in the heat with me
5. Maija swimming on her own for the first time after only 1 week of classes
6. Rebekah swimming on her own between the screams and yells, "No! No! Mommy! Mommy!"
7. In other words, despite my being sick and 1-5 above, it was well worth it! My girls can actually swim on their own!

Their teacher, Ami, has amazing patience and really knows how to get these little ones to swim. I was so sad to miss the last day, but I was grateful to one of the other mommies (thanks, Sharlet!) for taking my girls while I was sick.

All in all, mission accomplished! Now on to our next challenge of the summer...trying not to go stir crazy in July!

P.S. Forest will be 4 months old next week, if you can believe it! We get to finalize the adoption in 2 months, and I'm counting down. At the end of September, we'll be able to be sealed to him in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. It can't come too soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanks for the Tip

This morning was another chaotic beginning to a busy day. I was on carpool duty (or so I thought - see "End of Story" below) to preschool summer camp which means that all 3 of my children and myself needed to be fed, cleaned up, dressed, strapped in and ready to go in time to pick up our carpool friend, Abby, and get both she and Maija to their preschools (2 different ones that are close to each other) on time. I know, all you mothers out there are thinking, "Yeah, been there, done that."

I was rushing around getting breakfast ready, snacks for preschool ready, and everything else in order when Forest woke up screaming 15 minutes before I wanted him to. I'm going as fast as I can getting breakfast done so I can focus on making a bottle and getting Forest fed and ready when Rebekah yells to me, "Mama! Mama!" I thought something had happened because she sounded so urgent. "Mama! Forest crying! He hungry! You have to feed him!" She comes running into the kitchen and again makes sure that I know that Forest is hungry, "Mama! You feed him!"

All I could think was, "I'm going as fast as I can!" so I sarcastically say to her, "I know, honey. Thanks for the tip!" My sweet little 2 year old who is without guile looked up at me and said, "Thanks for the tip? OK, Mama. You welcome." I was so grateful that the sarcasm of my comment had completely escaped her, and I was reminded that sometimes those frustrating things they do or say really have the best intentions. She was genuinely worried about Forest and trying to inform me of what he needed. Oh to be a child again! I wouldn't mind being oblivious to sarcasm now and then.

"End of Story"
After all of this and loading everyone in the car, I pulled out of my garage and almost ran into my friend and neighbor, Jen, who had come to pick Maija up for preschool. I had forgotten that we agreed Jen would take the girls this morning. Oh well... at least we were all ready to start the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Garden

OK, it should really be called "Kent's Garden" because he got the garden going and has been taking care of it. It's sort of become an evening tradition when he gets home for the girls and him to go out and "check" the garden. Maija planted some flowers that she is so proud of now that they are growing, and they love helping Daddy look for new vegetables that are appearing.

Although Arizona is burning hot in the summer, if you plant things in the right spot, you can actually grow certain things nearly year round. We have cucumbers, corn and peppers growing. Last year we had tons of squash, but for some reason they aren't doing as well this year. Of course, we've also moved houses and had to start the garden from scratch. Anyway, it's a great way to save $$$ on vegies, and it's fun to see how things grow from little seeds to food.

Kent asked me to post a few pics of the garden. I'm also posting some adorable pictures of Forest and the girls.







Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Close Call

A few weeks ago I read an article about a mother of two toddlers who was in the same room with them when her large, sturdy dresser tipped over and crushed her 3 year-old's skull. Awful, terrible, but luckily the child survived though he was left blind. She had turned around for a minute and her son apparently started climbing the dresser. She said she never would've guessed that such a sturdy dresser would ever fall over, much less on her child. This story seriously freaked me out, and I thought about the pieces of furniture around our house that we already know aren't sturdy in the first place. Then there are the dressers etc. that we think ARE sturdy.

I started bugging Kent about securing a hutch and television in the kids' playroom, and a couple of Saturdays went by. Finally, this past weekend we bought what we needed, and Kent secured the hutch and the TV inside of it both to the wall. Well all I can say is thank heavens (!!!) I followed my gut because just this morning my two-year-old Rebekah came running out of the playroom crying that something was falling. I went in there to find the television literally hanging out of the hutch. The chain we used to secure it to the wall had worked, and visions of the TV crushing her little feet, legs, or worse were just that ... visions... and not reality. I thank the Lord for the promptings that moved me to secure that TV.

Moral of the story: Secure your furniture! LIsten to your gut!

A few facts about childhood injuries from household furniture - http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA08/os/tipover.pdf

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seriously, technology is amazing. I'm posting from my cell phone. We're all going a little stir crazy - stuck inside cause of the heat so I'm doing things like figuring out how to post on my blog via text messages. Very cool!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiananmen

Twenty years ago today the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened in Beijing, China. As I watched a report about it on the news today, I became choked up with emotions about that day. I was just barely 18 years old and just about to graduate from high school, and I was also living in Hong Kong when the massacre happened. For weeks before tensions had been mounting, and although Hong Kong was a British colony at the time, there were demonstrations and protests going on all over the city in support of the pro-democracy protests occurring in China itself. I had attended one of the demonstrations where thousands of people peacefully chanted and listened to speeches about freedom and democracy.

Hong Kong had a lot riding on what happened in China at the time because within a few years the city-state was to revert back to Chinese rule, and many were nervous about how their own personal freedoms would be affected. Those of us expatriates, especially from the West, watched with anticipation to see what would happen. Student protesters had filled Tiananmen Square in Beijing and had even erected a Statue of Liberty. We all kept saying, "The Chinese government won't hurt them. They can't do it with the world watching." But they did do it on June 4, 1989. It was a Sunday, and we woke up to headlines in the Sunday newspaper that some of the student protesters had been killed at the hands of the Chinese government. My heart was heavy, but at this point we still thought it was just a few people who had been killed. We went to church where everyone was crying and emotional. Instead of the regular 3 hour block of meetings, we only met for an hour, and everyone went home.

My good friend, Jennie, was visiting me from the States, and we had heard that there was a massive demonstration against the killings going on close to my house. We went downtown and were overwhelmed to see a virtual sea of Hong Kong Chinese marching through the streets of Hong Kong. Jennie and I sat on a fence on the side of the street, and unwittingly became symbols ourselves of the freedom they were marching for. The demonstrators were chanting in Chinese "Freedom! Freedom!" but when they saw 2 American girls on the side of the street, they began to chant in English "Freedom! Freedom!" Thousands of people marched past us and grabbed our hands, "Thank you! Thank you!" they said. I have never been so overcome with gratitude for the freedoms I had taken for granted my whole life. Living in various countries growing up I had always assumed that I was entitled to protection and freedom simply because I was American. That day in Hong Kong I realized that freedom is NEVER free! That people died for us to have freedom in the United States and now people had died in China trying to bring freedom to their own people.

After we returned home that night we found out that more than 1 million people marched that day in Hong Kong, and also that possibly thousands had been killed in China simply for demonstrating for freedom. I learned in a very personal way that freedom is a blessing and a privilege. "We the people" are the ones who should be running our country, and as soon as the government becomes a power unto itself disregarding the will of the people, it is time for all who love freedom and democracy to wake from the slumber of complacence and realize what a blessing it is to be free. We are not entitled to be free simply because we are Americans; we are simply enjoying the results of what others fought and gave their lives for. We are not entitled to live free of terror simply because we are Americans; we have a responsibility to do all in our power to be able to live free from terror. I will always have a greater appreciation for the amazing gift of freedom that I enjoy and that so may in the world are still longing for.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Decorating" Forest's Nursery

We have had a series of what I'll call incidents in our house lately. Most of these incidents are the doing of Rebekah with Maija joining in "because I decided it's fun" as she put it. We've had the Green Permanent Marker incident 2 weeks ago when magically Rebekah found a green permanent marker 2 hours before our dinner guests arrived and decided to draw all over the white playroom walls, the TV, the hutch, the toy box, the stenciling on her bedroom wall, and of course herself. Clearly Maija was involved too since I found drawings of people all over the walls also. Let's just say I was not a nice mommy when I found it.

The next day (the VERY next day) I walked into the room to find the girls jumping around naked in a pool of soapy water on the carpet! My alter ego "Mean Mommy" came out again that day. And then 2 days later Rebekah used her magical powers to somehow get my makeup out from inside my purse which was up on the kitchen counter...all without my noticing... and then she and Maija drew all over themselves with my eyeliner and lipstick. My girls spent most of the afternoon in their room that day.

We had a few days with no major disasters until the girls decided today to "decorate" Forest's nursery. I spent most of the evening yesterday getting his nursery ready so we could move Forest in there in a few weeks. Maija and Rebekah were very anxious to help me, but they were frustrated that I wouldn't let them do more. They sure got me back today. Kent found it (that's good because I'm not sure I could've handled finding yet another disaster) and had the presence of mind to take pictures before trying to clean it up. In the end, I had to repaint the wall and went ahead and repainted the playroom wall which was still greenish from the Green Permanent Marker incident.

I'm glad Kent took pictures because I'm sure someday I'll look back at all of this and laugh, but today is not that day.


Click on picture to see slideshow
(Also has pictures of my neice's baby blessing)