Monday, December 20, 2010

December in Photos

The kids' annual family Santa Play - a bit more chaotic this year than last, with Meiners break-dancing while the twins attempted dialogue and Sash in the reading room waiting for someone to come play with her...but a picture makes the memory last forever.  :)

Before Sunday dinner this month, we tried to take some serious grandparent pictures.  Soon after this particular shot, Meiners kissy faced and those two admiring each other down in front really did kissy face and the littlest began to cry, and it was very successful.  When I used Windows 7 to fuse the best expressions into one photo! 

Cookie decorating at Sunday dinner early in the month.  We've enjoyed family Sunday dinners the first Sunday of every month (with a short break over the summer because we already have so many family events with birthdays and such).  I think this was a successful tradition that began in January 2010.  I've liked it, anyway.  We served pulled pork sandwiches with baked potatoes and some other things I've already forgotten (see why I blog?!).  We taste tested 3 different bbq sauces to decide which was the best.  I'll post recipes on the cooking blog another day...

St. Nick arrived on December 6th with much anticipation!  T received a karate ornament, Pookie a dolphin one, Meiners a surfer, and Sash a school house.  I'm hopeful Santa brings her an Elmo ornament that plays music.  If she were to find something like that in her stocking on Christmas morning, I'm pretty sure she'd think it was Christmas or something!   ;)

A series of Christmas program photos from church.  Love the boots, Sash!

A very happy boy.  I don't think he was feeling 100% here, actually.  And he needs a haircut (who is his mother??).  About 24 hours later, he lost his cookies in the trash can at Schnuck's.  I think it was his mother who could be heard advising her brood of four to "Run!" and then "Stick your head in this trash can!"  She's quick on her feet like that.

OK, I don't know all these kids around her, but Pookie was born to sing.  And she loves doing it.  Go Girl!

Doncha love it when your kids bring home cookbooks from the school library and insist that right then and there you must make one of the recipes?  Thankfully, it was a Sesame Street cookie cookbook and I love Elmo and sugar cookies.  And the really were quite tasty.  I think Obi the Golden Retriever ate the last batch we baked.

A photo from our first snow day of the year.  I seriously love snow days.  This was noon and we were all still in our pjs, had enjoyed a morning of playing Wii games together and had just finished baking (more of those cookies from up above).  I honestly don't know who enjoys snow days more - me or them.  But I'd have to say me, because I absolutely treasure those relaxing days with all the kids at home.

Advent calendar seems to be going well this year.  (Elfie was sent by Santa last year to keep me on track regarding this.)  The kids insist I stay on top of it.  Here, the little guys are playing with their new jelly belly pooping reindeer they got that morning.  No one ate the jelly beans, thankfully, because Matthew was recovering from the stomach flu.

Me trying to be artsy.

A face painter at the Make A Wish Christmas Party truly was artsy and dolled up Pooks with this awesome Rudolph face.  Just beautiful and sparkly in real life!

I'll be back, hopefully, later in the week to share more pictures of our December goings-on.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Me Again

You are not actually 34.  It was kind of funny for you to figure that out this morning while talking to a friend about how long it'll be before you're 40.  You're only as old as you think you are?  Or as old as you act?  Or as old as you look?  Or as old as you feel?  Regardless, you're closer to 40 than you thought two days ago.  Just FYI.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Christmas Letter to Me.

Dear Me,

This year, you can't seem to pen the memorable, the important, the regular, or the mundane.  This year, you are increasingly finding that the real relationships matter more than the Christmas letter.  And you're finding it harder and harder to remember what life was like in Christmases past, and you worry that one day you'll forget, too, what made this year matter, and so you write.  To you.  And here is what you say:

Hello Old Friend.  You really were 34 once.  And your babies were "little" and you did the best you could.  Most days.  Some times you did better than others.

This year, JT traveled.  A lot.  And you thought for a long time that you needed a bigger house.  And his lesser commute.  And you sat in the middle of "The Toy Room" and nearly had a nervous breakdown over the amount of 'stuff' you had acquired.  And you saw how very unimportant 'stuff' is.  And you tried to teach this wisdom to your children.  They have not yet grasped or embraced the concept.  Your garage is half full of toys none of you have sorted through or been willing to part with.  You remain hopeful that one day it will grow legs and walk away on its own so that you won't eventually have to face it yourself.  You are grateful that not only the new-build fell through but ultimately that the sale of your home did not come to fruition either because God has been telling you that His plans are bigger than your house.  You just haven't picked up the phone and called Him back yet to find out what His plans are.

You are terrible about returning phone calls in general, by the way.

The kids are doing great.  And all that that means. 

T is quirky and passionate and smart.  Everywhere he goes, people comment on how polite he is.  Just this morning, you yelled at him for apologizing for your own poor behavior.  "Don't say you're sorry for something you didn't do!" you chided him.  You owed him an apology.  And thankfully you gave it.  And he said, "I accept your apology."  The nurse at the doctor's office told you he would make a fine husband one day.  You couldn't agree more.  He is a boy with a heart of gold.  He is often (not always) self-motivated.  Just yesterday, you complimented him on his fine ability to vacuum with precision and focus.   Very straight lines.  Even though he forgot the kitchen.  He saves the notes you write him.  Under his pillow.  He was sick last week, and you realized again that every good man needs his momma when he has a cold.  Man-Oh.  He can talk you into brain freeze.  And he admitted the other day that sometimes he tests people he knows aren't listening by asking them a bogus question and waiting to hear their response.  And then he laughs it off.  Even though you're pretty sure it breaks his heart.  He's up at the crack of dawn and he doesn't need a list to remind him of his morning expectations (including peeing! ;) ) and he quietly finished all his makeup work in the reading room without prompting.  Sometimes he may drive you nuts.  But he's amazing.

Pookie is enjoying the ribbon she won for her gingerbread igloo (T received one, too!).  And she is questioning how big her role in the Charlie Brown Musical really is going to be.  She is shiny and bright and all things spectacular.   Her health scared you a few times this fall.  And she's coughing again but puts together her own nebulizer treatments now.  Remember when you set up the feeding tube to run every night?  And found her wrapped in the tubing at the bottom of her crib?  No?  That's why you're writing this tonite.  So you don't forget the little things that were big things that fade.   The good and the bad.  Pookie's struggling with friendships this year.  All the friends are in a different class.  Together.  She was so excited when she heard a new girl was starting this morning.  But the new girl wasn't GinaAnn Betty Davison.  You know what I mean. You remind her that it's better to have one good friend than 100 untrue friends.  And she has made friends with one little girl.  You like this girl.  She's just busy a lot.  So, Pookie yearns for friends and playdates and being a star off the stage.  It hurts.  She's teaching you that sometimes values are taught AND learned.  She's learning what it means to be a friend.  And how to be a friend.  It's a life lesson you yourself seem to still be learning.

Meiners.  What a card.  He wants eskimo kisses and extra hugs and he loves his Ma.  Just not in front of the friends, please.  He's athletic and funny and kind.  And he, too, looks for his place to fit in.  Yet, he makes the space.  We laugh at him in practice.  Competetive.  Driven.  Focused.  Sidelines, he's telling jokes and pushing the limits and making things fun.  His reading is improving.  He's learning to write in cursive.  (Because he's a triplet, afterall.)  But he's not wanting to go to Stretch.  Initially, it was an altercation on the bus, so you agreed to drive him to school.  Lately, though, it's a little unclearer as to what is ailing him come Monday mornings.  Monday afternoons, he's gregarious and talkative and full of the fun he had while there.  But getting him to Stretch is tummy aches and complaining lots and time for Mom to pull up her big girl panties and play tough love.


Sasha.  Sasha is squishable, squeezable, and fun.  She is your sidekick, through and through.  The day of BoyScout food drive, she said, "I follow the orange coat.  I follow the orange coat."  (Your coat ~ as you ran through the apartment building upstairs and down.)  You love to whisper in her ear, "Wanna know a secret?"  And before you can gather your breath in, she stage whispers in response, "I love you!"  It is such a clever race.  But don't come to her rescue when she needs toilet paper in the bathroom?  Or hello ~ even ask her to go pee in the first place?  "Hell hath no fury" comes to mind.  Or perhaps "the bump on the log."  Or "the dead weight."  Or maybe just the kid who kinda just needs a spanking.  She L.O.V.E.s her cousins.  Mostly Joe, but she really struggled with the a) vs. b) of Kaden vs. Joey at Thanksgiving (thankfully Joe was in IA).  If only the sweet li'l girl realized marrying your cuz is illegal in most states...hahaha.  Seriously, she has herself wrapped around your finger, knows the buttons to push, etc. etc. etc.  She can get away with a giant Hershey kiss for breakfast if you're not careful.  Allergic to milk my tail (sage wisdom from the sweet, maternal, and all-knowing Dr. Ortiz....).

And you?  Well sit down.  Make yourself comfy. Cuz it's gonna be a while!


You are totally, unequivocally, 100% addicted to BreadCo icee mochas.  And yet, you gave them up for 15 days.  Only to take them up again.  Because you love them. You're a talented baker, but you're not so good at cooking.  Or are you really good at healthy eating, but they're not so good at eating healthy?  You love your life, but you are still finding your way.  You wholly believe in God, but you continue to uncover your faith.  You drive around a lot thinking (you prefer calling it 'chauffering?')  You think about the 3 friends you have lost in the last few years that break your heart.  They've simply walked away for various reasons ~ and you've found them irreplaceable. You're discovering what it means to be A Wife.  And you're better at it some days than others.  Just like Motherhood.  You haven't run most of the fall.  Your knees ache and your weight - though down - creeps slowly back up pre-marathon.  Maybe you'll run again?  Maybe.  You don't have a niche, so to speak.  You used to be "The Stamp Lady."  You take decent pictures, and people compliment you, although you tend to see other photographer~moms taking pictures just as good and you scoff at your aspirations.  Maybe one day you'll go back into Speech Pathology?  Maybe one day you'll work at Bread Co.  At this point, the future is rearing its ugly head, but you're not ready to face it.  You have friends but not those friends.  You have dreams and aspirations and thoughts and goals and desires and time but no time and Christmas letters to write.  So you pen a few personal lines, and you write here.

Because one day?  One day you will read it, and it will matter that this was 2010.  And you lived it.  And you'll remember that it was important. To you.

There is laundry to fold and the dog needs let in.
Merry Christmas Karin.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Seriously Creative

Several weeks ago, the twins came home announcing this year's Creative Challenge at their school: Gingerbread Houses.  Their art teacher encourages her students each year to an extra credit project.  One year, students painted chairs, one time there was a robot theme, last year it was an Egyptian contest, and this year she chose gingerbread houses. 

It's interesting how my two firstborn children differ.  One child came home and drew up his elaborate design on paper.  A skyscraper.  With numerous floors.  And windows you can look into to see scenes of Christmas.  


The other?  She went off to the library and came home with a pile of books about gingerbread houses, complete with recipes and ideas to follow and to adjust to her liking.  She began encouraging me to help her start her project immediately.  And by encourage I mean relentlessly badger.

I didn't hear from him for weeks.

She made pastillage penguins from scratch and a gingerbread dome and three batches of frosting.

He didn't say a word.

She put together an igloo with hula dancing penguins, a dolphin swimming in a pool under a palm tree replete with Christmas lights, a glowing fire and snowman melting inside.

And T?  He put together a skyscraper.  With numerous floors.  And windows looking in on a living room (complete with Dan Dunn's Ray Charles painting) and a disco room.

You can just see the disco ball dagling from the ceiling

I marvel at them both.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which I Vent

Have I titled a blogpost that before?  I'm not sure.  Sometimes a girl just needs a venue.

I've been had.  One way or another, I feel like the system - and my own lack of knowledge - bamboozled me.  And I'll be honest with you.  I'm not thrilled about it.  I had a good cry in front of the kids tonite.  Not proud of it.  But it happened.

Here's the story:

In October while we were in Hawaii, I tried to log onto my blog to post pictures for folks back home.  When I clicked on my link to 6byHisDesign, I came to a friendly page that said, "This webpage has been parked."  Hmmmm.  Curious.  I dropped it for the remainder of the week, knowing I'd purchased my domain name in October last year, so figuring I'd need to renew it when we came home.

We came home.  I didn't have my customer number or PIN number for GoDaddy, my registering company, so I got on their website and emailed customer support.  Customer support sent me to Google registry.  I began a lengthy conversation with TimF of incident report #00831619.  Unfortunately, I was outside the 3 day automatic renewal window, but fortunately I was well within the 15 day grace period.  Our conversations ended with my blog being back up and my registration being renewed.  Tim said:
I can confirm that your domain has been renewed till next year. However, your billing for this domain is no longer handled through Google. You are still registered with GoDaddy as your host. Can you confirm if you have contacted them directly for assistance with this? Have you previously transfered your domain to another host?

I emailed back that I hadn't but that everything looked to be in order.  My blog was working.  That was November 5th.  In retrospect, I can see how the "I can confirm it's been renewed" is a little fishy.  But it didn't smell quite as foul at the time as it does now...

Occasionally over the course of the month of November, friends would call or email to tell me they couldn't find my blog.  So I'd tell them to renew the address in their browsers, because this seemed to work.  Until last week.  My aunt told me she couldn't get to the blog no matter what she did.  So I came home from Thanksgiving and tried clicking on my link myself.  Blog parked.

I quickly typed an email to Tim.  I sent an email to GoDaddy.  I Facebook Messaged the gal whose blogpost titled Why You Should Own Your Domain Name convinced me last year upon reading it that I should own my domain name.  I sent these emails on Monday.  Tim has not responded.  I called GoDaddy.  The gal walked me through a WhoIs search.  She recommended I buy the (dot)net version of my name.  And oh goody, I can pay them to put me on a waiting list to buy my old name back next year.  If FUDogInc lets it expire.  In the meantime, a 'blogpost' about a poker event in Vegas has been written up on my old website.  Do me a favor - don't click on it to see.  I've been doing my research.  And I must admit, visited the site myself.  I don't wholly understand all of this, but speculators (yeah - they have a name for these guys) get paid by the click.  And this particular one states in his privacy settings that he's reading your cookies while you're reading his poorly written prose about some altruistic charity poker match gone wrong.

So, here's what I've learned about buying your own domain ~ because every moment is a teachable moment, right?

  • Keep your customer information
  • Renew two months before the deadline - or pay for more than one year at a time

If you fail to do this, your domain name will be bought up by speculators who do just that - buy up expired web names - usually in an effort to make money (sometimes they do it because they love the name and have been waiting to get it for themselves.  Less likely, I think.)  They make their money either by selling it back to you for loads more than it cost to renew it, or by capitalizing on the clicks of your readership.

Wanna know what I find strange, though?  I never received renewal notices.  I checked both email addresses we keep.  And the SPAM folders.  AND, no one has contacted me to buy it.  Seriously ~ does 6byHisDesign scream poker tourney to you?


It makes me sick, really.  I mean, I have all those adorable mommy cards with my web address on them, after all.  Nah ~ what makes me really sick is that 6byHisDesign was created by Me.  I thought of it.  I wrote about it.  And for one year, I owned the rights to it.  But now, it's no longer mine.  And I think that stinks.

So there you go.  That's me venting.

Monday, November 29, 2010


If you are the owner of FUDogInc, would you please email me at
We need to have a conversation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


At the end of the summer, we began to gather downstairs in the bunk room with all the kids to say prayers and tuck everyone in.  That nightly event evolved into one night downstairs and the next night upstairs, as school began and the girls' beds were moved back upstairs.  Over time, it evolved further to everyone sitting in the living room praying, and then one or both parents retiring to kids' rooms to tuck in.

The boys are really the funniest when it comes to this routine.  And by funny, I sort of mean ritualistic.  At times verging on blatantly frustrating, but always adorable ~ thus my desire to remember it.  I'll head downstairs after prayers ~ which require a post in and of themselves.  And they'll insist I get on their beds with them.  And 'snuggles' begin - where we share eskimo kisses and then, "A Kiss!  A Kiss" will cry Meiners after the nose rubbings and then, "A Hug!  A Hug!" he goes on.  And he throws his arm around my neck and attempts to keep me snug in his embrace.  I'll pry myself out of his strong little arms and jump over to T's bed and the same pattern ensues.  Finally I'll break free and T will call out, "I love you Mom!  Please tell Dad I love him too!"  And I say back, "I love you boys.  I will!"

It's awesome to be loved by such sweet and amazing kids.

The girls are a little less cuddly once I return upstairs.  Most of their routine is insisting they are thirsty and requiring immediate liquid relief.  And Pookie will be reading in her bed with a flashlight, listening to Delilah.  The boys had been doing that late in the summer, early school year, as well ~ but more often than not lately, I just hear them talking and laughing...but the girls are sweet and give kisses and always come out to the living room for "just one more kiss/hug/drink of water."

I like the bedtime routine we've made for ourselves this year.  I don't know that we had one so unwaveringly in the past.  And though many nights I call over my shoulder, "Enough!  Go to sleep!" I just wanted to take a minute tonite to remember this sweetness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Having a Bigger Vision

I loved reading what you all are doing to make our world a better place!  Last week I watched a video by Rob Bell in which he shares this statistic:
"Experts say that in order to provide water, basic health, and nutrition for everyone in the world, ... estimates say that it would take somewhere around 20 billion dollars, which is how much Americans spend in one year on ice cream."
Friends of ours, Nathan and his wife A, from our Faith family moved across state earlier this year not for a job or hope for a better life for themselves physically.  These friends felt called to work against human trafficking and left St. Louis to go where there is a major human trafficking hub ~ Kansas City.  They left the familiar and the safe where there was a home and friends and a full-time job to go to a less familiar, unknown place to rent a house and look for any job that would bring them closer to those impacted by this real world atrocity.  I think I speak for many when I say we thought in one way that these guys were nuts.  At the same time, we knew they were exceedingly special.  Yet, God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  That is proven time and time again in history.  But also, he doesn't call just some of us.  He calls all of us.

In David Platt's book Radical, the author cautions against rationalizing Jesus' words in the Bible into safer contexts and meanings.  He goes so far as to say that Americans are beginning to 'redefine Christianity' into a version that is more comfortable, one where we find "[a] nice, middle-class, American Jesus." 

Another friend I've found through blogging shares her heart here.  She and her husband have two daughters of their own and adopted a son from Guatemala.  Feeling led to adopt again, Jami and Clint sought a domestic adoption.  Through a number of trials and numerous times waiting for a 'yes' and receiving a 'no,' they felt their hearts being led to foster care.  They now have their three children and are Home to three foster children, as well. 

Yeah.  I know.  They are special, too, right? 

I'm inclined to believe they don't think themselves any more special than you or me.  The difference in my opinion is that they listened, just like Nathan and A, when God spoke.

God is speaking today.  Let's take some time to listen together.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What I'm Talking About

I am gearing up for Christmas.  Aren't you, as well?  The world is telling us it is time.  I see chocolate people dancing to Christmas songs on TV and stores all aglow with color and lights.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

This fall, I read a book that changed my life.  I enjoy reading books that not only add to my perspective, but alter me from the inside out.  It's changed my entire way of thinking.  And I am not alone.

I have more to say about this and have been waiting to get it in print.  But first, I'm thinking ahead to Christmas.  And of you all, my friends and family.  I've decided to forego presents for me this year.  I'm asking my family to consider giving financial assistance, instead of tangible gifts, to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Please watch this video, then join me this week as I share more of this perspective with you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Eager Entertainer

So I haven't even gotten the chance to tell you about the other part of our weekend here at Chez No.6 Cottage!  Mid-week last week, my dear sweet friend from college messaged me via Facebook that she and her family were headed to the StL!  Could we fit them into our Saturday?  Do cows fly?!  HELLO!! 

I haven't seen Erika for 12 years.  12 years.  Seriously.  She's my "Will You Be My Friend?" girl.  She stood beside me when I married the mister (thus the 12 years thing).  And she and her mister and her StarWars fan and her Pretty Princess were coming to our house!  Now, there would have been a time in my life where I woulda freaked out and gotten all nervous.  Cuz I am so seriously like that.  But I told the kids, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" a la' The Nester (I bet they didn't even notice all those piles of clothes lying around waiting to be traded for cold-weather stuff), and we decided to just have sandwiches and chips for lunch a la' The Reluctant Entertainer ~ and boy howdy we had the best time!  {I sure hope they did too!}

I'm thinking they may have.  Since her mister sent me a note this week asking me to forgive him for taking a squirt gun to Pookie in the middle of the living room.  Oh.  And for taking Princess and Pookie's pretend pet rabbit hostage and running through the house screaming.

Yeah.  We had fun acting silly.  Good times.  Good times.  But seriously, thank you to the Erika Crew for taking the time to head over to the StLMO side ~ I cannot wait for the next time!  Love you guys!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

on where it went

On Being Uncharacteristic

Saturday night, Make A Wish continued to spoil us by inviting our family to their Night of Wishes ~ a gala event at the Ritz Carlton in St. Louis.  Beautiful music was played by wish kids Elizabeth and Isaiah.  We were wowed by not only the music, but also the food, and the entertaining painting skills and theatrics of Dan Dunn.  About half-way through Mr. Dunn's performance, my husband walked to my side of the table and whispered into my ear, "I'm going to bid on one of his paintings."  I looked at him twice.  Uh-huh.  It was Mister.  I easily agreed and sat back to watch the remainder of the evening unfold.

in our defense, this was late @ night  :)

I'm not sure this photo does the size of this painting any justice.  I'm off to rent a UHaul to bring our new friend Ray Charles home to roost.  And that's all I'm saying.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Something New

I'm starting a new side endeavor to this blog-o of mine-o.  I'm calling it Cooking By His Design and you can find it here (eventually I'll have the link in my sidebar).  I'm planning to post recipes and thought the kids would enjoy helping me write critical analyses.  (That should be interesting.  From The World's Pickiest Eaters hands down.)  We made a new dessert last night.  Before Mister eats it all it disappears, I'll take photos and post the recipe soon!  In the meantime, enjoy the weekend!


P.S.  If anyone knows how to get minima stretch as a template with the new blogger design, will you please let me know?  THANKS!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

North Shore Coconut

Meiners and his Coconut
I love this picture of Meiners from our last night in Hawaii.  I really wanted to get a picture of the entire family on the beach at sunset - I actually looked into hiring a professional to take photos for us, but when he saw the price tag, Mister said, "No way," so I packed the tri-pod (and maybe threatened the kids that if they didn't smile...).  Anyway, the last night, we drove up to the North Shore - famous for it's awesome waves and surfing scene from October through April ... and now we know why!!!  (Yikes!  MONSTER waves!  We almost lost a kid or two from the currents while we took a few photos of just me & Mister!)  We arrived just in the nick of time - man the sun sets fast in Hawaii ;) - and captured the perfect shot for our Christmas cards this year!

Me and Mister @ the North Shore
Anyway, back to the coconut.  I love this picture of Meiners because it reminds me how he is always finding treasures.  (Like the acorns I found under his bed last winter...and the weavils I found all around those acorns...).  He was the one who found plumeria flower after plumeria flower and always insisted I put them in my hair.  And made sure I placed them on the correct side so all the Hawaiians would know I was taken.  The last flowers he gave me came from the plate of his first class ice cream sundae.  I brought them home and laid them on my kitchen window sill so that I would be reminded of his chivalry.   They're wilted and wrinkly now - probably need to be tossed like those infamous acorns before they wield similarly unsavory friends - so I wanted to document it here.  And also, because no story of Meiners and Daddy goes without a little laughter.  As we recall how the two of them tried to break open that coconut to sample real coconut milk.  Indeed.

Channeling their inner survivor man

Notice what happened to the rock ~ while the coconut remains unscathed

As close as they ever got to coconut milk
 Yeah - one look at that balcony.  It's no wonder they voodoo'd our dolls.

Monday, November 1, 2010

VooDoo Dolls

So after Pooks highjacked my blog last week (I really was pretty busy with all those parties), I tried to convince T to do the same today.  There's one more story of Hawaii that gives him the giggles every time we mention it.  He was a no-go, though, falling asleep before the sun went down tonite along with his little brother (WHAT?!?!  Yeah, it was Halloween last night for sure!)  SO it's up to me.

You see, Pookie took her American Girl doll to Hawaii.  Her sweet li'l Mini-Me with the vibrant blue eyes and graceful blonde hair.  When we returned to our hotel room after the first day, we didn't think much of it.  The maid had sort of placed MiniPookie on the pillows at the head of the bed.  Everything seemed to be in order.  No problems to note.  Pookie snuggled with her doll and fell fast asleep.

Day 2, we returned to our room at the end of the day and MiniPookie was a little tossled at the head of the bed.  Her legs weren't exactly perpendicular to the cotton sheets and her hair was maybe a wee bit mussed, but again - not too much to notice.  I thought she looked a little rougher than expected, but Pookie picked her up and loved on her a little and we all fell fast asleep.

Now, before I move to Day 3, let me back up a moment.  In our Make A Wish paperwork were suggestions of tip amounts for the staff at the hotel.  Now, my husband travels a lot on business and hasn't really made a point of leaving a tip for the cleaning staff.  I have to say I've never done so in my lifetime, either.  So, I mentioned the idea of tipping to him, but, again, we didn't think too much about it.  That is, until Day 3.  When T dropped a truckload of sand out of his swim trunks after returning to the room.  Onto the bathroom floor.  And then so did Meiners.  And maybe Pookie did, too.  We're talking SAND, baby.  Lots of it.  So we left the maid a tip.  And The Mister spoke to her apologetically about the mess on our way out and mentioned the cash left for her.  Oh, she waved us on and said, "No problem!"

And that night, when we arrived home, MiniPookie's hair had been brushed smooth as silk.  And her little hula clothes straighened just right.  And she sat prim and proper at the top of the bed just so. 

When what to my wondering thoughts should appear:  Day 4.  Apparently, we hadn't left quite the mess on Day 4, so we may have forgotten or decided against a tip on that particular day.  But our staff had not. forgotten.  Because when we arrived home at the end of Day 4, here's what we found of MiniPookie:

We left a tip the rest of the week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello World! This is Pookie!

I am writing about my trip to Hawaii.  My Make A Wish trip!  Mom's always talking about her favorites, but since she's on the phone planning Halloween parties at school, I snuck into the reading room to tell you mine.

My first favorite part was swimming with dolphins at Sea Life Park.  I got a kiss and a belly ride.  I also got to tickle it.  I got to hold up its talk, and while the trainer was showing us the parts that make it a girl, the dolphin pooped.  Mom's dolphin pooped, too.  She says swimming in dolphin poop was the grossest part of the trip.  (I bet she didn't tell you that!)  I thought it was kind of weird seeing a dolphin poop!

I also liked the luau because I got to go up on stage with these pompom thingies.  Someone in the audience cried, "Shake it little girl!"  And the guy that picked me to dance on stage gave me an autograph.  I got to dance with him.

I also liked the helicopter ride.  We got to fly over the whole island of Oahu.  We even got to see Rabbit Island.  And we saw where they are building a new Walt Disney Resort!  When Sashi fell asleep on the helicopter, Mom said it was the most expensive nap she'd ever taken.

I also liked the plane ride home from Oahu to Chicago because the stewardess let me go up in the kitchen.  And they even let me pick up trash at the end of the time with them, but I was asleep.  They gave us snacks and first class ice cream!  I got to call the pilot to see if he wanted his dessert from the kitchen.  I called and said, "Hi!  I'm the new flight attendant.  Would you like your dessert?"  He was like "Sure!"  So I said "OK!"  The stewardess took ice cream out of the ice cabinet (because they don't have freezers) and brang him his ice cream.

OK.  I probably better go now.  Mom just got off the phone and might be headed here. 


Monday, October 25, 2010

Hawaii {Top} Five-o

Tired girl gets off the plane after 9 long hours...

Wow!  Thank you for your kind words and anticipation of our stories and photos!  (I'm feeling a lot of pressure on the photo front.  Viewing and reviewing, I'm trying to decide what makes "the readers' cut!"  Yikes!)

In the highlight reel of our Hawaii week, I think in terms of five main moments. 

First and foremost, surfing.

Pookie and T were both going to swim with dolphins.  Worrying that Meiners would feel neglected, we decided to take him to surf lessons.  The Man came upon Hans Hedemann Surf School right on Waikiki Beach.  I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing they are.  Actually, I'm going to tell you. 

They. Are. Amazing. 

We walked in to the surf shop Monday afternoon with 6 year-old Meinie quietly nervous but thrilled and in tow.  There was hustling and bustling and a bit of a wait when finally the woman behind the counter looked me straight in the eye and said, "I see your Make A Wish pin on you and your husband.  Is Meiners the wish kid?"  No, I pointed to Pookie.  "My manager said he'll take both children out."  The store manager - also her husband - James Donnelly - most definitely did take both kids out.  After letting Meiners, I mean, Surf Instructor Mein-Chow, show the class how to catch a wave with style and penache in the surf shop, he gave both Meiners AND Pookie the surfing time of their lives on the waves!

Surf Boy with James Donnelly

Surfer Girl
James told Meiners he was hired and to come back the next day @0830 to teach the next lesson.  We did return the next morning - just to make arrangements for another lesson, but when we left to head on to Sea Life Park for dolphin swimming, Meinie burst into tears.  He truly wanted to stay the day there with James and teach the tourists how to surf.  We finally gave him the chance to surf again Thursday, and James further rose to superhero status by bringing Meiners back to the front of the class - and then taking all three big kids out for almost 3 hours, on a one-hour surf lesson dime.  He even tried to take Sashi - who stood on the pier singing love songs to "her James."  But, she went mute when he offered her the board, so off he went with the others instead.  Poor girl.  Would've made for some pretty fabulous photos.

T & Pooks looking stellar!

She still gets the love
 I will refer people to Hans Hedemann and to James Donnelly @ Waikiki from here to the moon and back.  They were not only generous to us, but James as an instructor understood who was timid and who was able to go out to bigger waves.  He told the kids great {age-appropriate} surf jokes perfect for Halloween!  He made surfing incredibly fun - and looked like he was having just as much fun as the kids were.  The whole experience was incredible!

In the highlight reel of my Hawaii, Surfing is Hawaii.

Come back tomorrow to see Hawaii Five-2... 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Parked" Back @ Home

Hey Hey all you blog fans! 

Or should I say "ALOHA!"

The blog is back up and running and have I got a smorgasbord of photos for you this week! 

Or should I say a "Luau" of photos?

Our family just returned from Pookie's Make A Wish trip to Hawaii!  I don't even know where to begin.  From the humble gratitude we have towards Make A Wish for giving Pooks and all of us this trip to the truly phenomenal memories we made to the absolute enormity of the task of now documenting our experiences in print...Can I just tell you that I cried and cried and ... cried ... yesterday?  The day we came home. 
From Paradise!

This experience is one we will never forget ~ and truly, truly we appreciate Make A Wish and their sponsors (Applebee's!) for making it happen!  We're not a family who defines itself by a child's life-threatening medical condition ~ there is so much more to living than that.  But it does exist.  And without defining, it does shape us.  We were finding outlets in airports for lung meds and mixing heart medicines on the plane before 'bedtime' and all the things we just do because it's what we do.  Not who we are, but what we do.  Because we have to.  Because her life is precious.  Because there is no alternative. 
But this trip...

This trip....Meant everything.
And I'll tell you about it starting tomorrow!

Monday, October 11, 2010

In an old box of photos

I have more pictures to share  :)  . This one is obviously around Halloween in high school - and I am sporting my brother's HapKiDo uniform (that he wore when he was 12).  This photo just makes me laugh.  And cry a little, because I don't even remember it.  Like, at all.


I guess I really am getting old.


Last Friday, my mom and I got together to go through some photos that she has to decide whether to keep or to throw away.  Our intentions started out pure.  But then we (OK, I) got entangled with all the memories and the stories she was able to share about even long-lost-distant-to-the-beginning-of-time relatives that I found enlightening and self-defining.  And we saw how time has damaged the photos, even the ones stored so deeply and eternally between the pages of dark books in dark boxes in dark closets, that we were taken in a whole new direction.

***whisper:  Save the photos.  Save the world.***

As a photographer, I have made a point to take fewer pretty pictures of just landscapes and more pictures of people in the landscapes.  And everyday landscapes, too - like the kitchen and the street we live on.  It's amazing how much it means to me now to have a photo that shows the kitchen in the apartment we lived in while I was in high school.  I remember countless hours at the sink washing dishes while the phone was tucked between my ear and my shoulder, talking to Cherrie or to Jim - or fighting with Cherrie over Jim (Oops.  Daughters, never fight over a boy.  The end.)  I realize I really do need this link to my past.  And my kids do, too.  And one day it all may be lost. 

We fought over more than boys - Here's a pillow fight @ The Renaissance Festival.  Right after this, Cherrie smacked me right up side the head and I fell plumb off that log.  Good Times.  Good Times.  :)

Every school year, I have a goal.  Last year - organize the house.  This year - organize the photos.

What about you?  Do you have old photos sitting in a box?  (And let's be honest here.  Now they're all sitting in my digital box - perhaps even worse than the dark box in the corner!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Photo Post

Because pictures are worth a thousand words (and because I still like to talk):

Mr T demonstrates his new skill
Both Mr T and Pookie have taken up playing the violin ~ and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Meiners is back on the soccer field
Making lots of great improvements.  He thinks he'd like to continue with indoor soccer rather than trying basketball this winter.  I have to admit, I was a little surprised.

Li'l Roo plays Peekaboo!
We sure do love hanging out with this little guy.  On Friday, Sashi and I got to take him to the zoo for the day!  Thanks Auntie S!

A Mid-Day Tea Party
Sashi likes to play solo in her room nowadays.  And most of the time I let her.  Because there's little time in her life when she has to be alone, and I think it's good to learn to be comfy in your own skin.  This day, though, I couldn't help but join the party.

No words

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