Sunday, October 31, 2004


So, we (the children and I) had a lovely day today: gorgeous fall day, unseasonalbly warm, blue skies, strong breezes and the colors, oh, the autumnal colors. Took the scenic route home from church, to let L fall asleep longer and to enjoy the foliage and surperbness of the day. After church, the children, Oma (g-pa is away visiting a dear friend) and the godparents and I celebrated L's first birthday together. Oma blessed us with yummy vittles and a chocolate cake with pink icing with little marshmellow bunnies all around the sides, like she made for me when I turned six. :) K and D had lots of fun fighting Dorian with their "light sabers" and A and L enjoyed following each other around. MK wanted to download some more pictures she took of our trip to the farm onto my computer, and that is where the "bowling words" came from. Now my freakin' computer won't work, so it seems that I will be cutting back a bit on the blogging. I know some of you have been faithful readers, and I will still try to get in on the folks computer when I have a moment every now and then, but it certainly won't be the same. I hope the derned thing is fixable, it is my internet machine, and I had just passed up the offer of my mom's computer a few weeks ago since I thought mine worked fine. Mom's has now been donated to a charitable cause, and could be half way round the world by now. :(

Ironically, I had been thinking that perhaps I was spending too many late hours on the internet reading blogs and gaining info about various things, that I was preparing a more restrictive schedule of my computer usage. I suppose God intervened here to let me know I do need a bit of a break from the distraction of emails and blogging from my everyday responsibilities.

But please do keep checking in periodically, perhaps it won't be too much of a difference in my posting- I think I average 3 a week. So, in the meantime, if you know me and want to know how it is going, just call me instead- and we'll talk. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Happy Birthday L!

One year ago today, I was beaming, radiant, and finally after nine months, no longer pregnant. I gave birth to my very first little daughter, the littlest of my babies (7lbs, 6oz) and the easiest to bear. It has been quite an eventful year, in many ways that I never would have expected, but the one greatest gem of this year was having this new little girl person to get to know, love and nurture. L has been and continues to be the bright spot in dark moments. She is a true delight, happy and playful. She loves music and "dancing", being chased, tickled, cuddled, and read to. She is curious and coy, determined and spunky. L is my precious daughter, and now she is now longer a baby. She has been walking now for nearly two months, which bumps her into the "toddler" category. Watch out world, here she comes! Happy Birthday, little Prettiness.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Down on the farm

Took the children to Weber's Farm today with my dear friend MK and little A, (L's first boyfriend). We had lots of fun seeing all the decorated pumpkins (or as K and D say, "punkmins"), feeding the goats, watching the bunnies and tramping through the mini hay maze. L especially liked the green plastic fencing surrounding the hay maze, as well as the windmill she kept reaching for. (Maybe we should get one for here. It would fit right in. Renovated barn-house, chicken coop, windmill, sure, that makes sense. I will have to mention it the the folks.) We wrapped up the afternoon snacking on tasty fresh apple cider and cider doughnuts that are made on the premises. To quote Homer Simpson, "Mmmmm, doughnuts." We got to bring home a few "punkmins" too, a nice festive decorative reminder of such a gorgeous fall day.

Turkeys in the straw. "A" on left, "L" on right.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

One more week....

I'm not talking about the election, sillies, I'm talking about my birthday. This year my special day will be celebrated in red, white and blue, with full day news coverage and with U.S. citizens flocking to schools and churches to cast a vote. So, what do I want for my birthday this year? A new president? and old president? Well, finding my nice watch that my daughter lifted from my nightstand would be nice, or liberating the twelve cds held hostage in my car's cd player and getting it to work properly would be grand! There are practical things I could use, like a new winter coat or socks. There are impractical things I would enjoy like, rock climbing lessons at Earth Treks, or perhaps dancing lessons, or a day of pampering at a spa, or just a really good massage. I don't really need any of these things, however. I have been living without them and I can comfortably continue to live without them. In the grand scheme of things, they really aren't important, just stuff. One thing I really want, is to spend more quality time with my children, family and friends, oh yeah, and world peace, which brings us back to the election. For my birthday this year, please vote well, world peace depends on it.

(In case you were wondering, I am thirty-two on November two, born in the year nineteen seventy-two.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

It's a grumpy day....

We used to sing this song in "Hi-tech", the middle school youth group I went to, called "It's a happy day" which also had a grumpy day verse. "It's a grumpy day, and I just can't stand the weather. It's a grumpy day, and I'm livin' it for myself. It's a grumpy day, things are gonna get worse, livin' each day with the bible on the shelf." Today was a grumpy day. (Some of you know of which song I speak and are probably beginning to sing it quietly to yourself.)
It all started around three o'clock this morning, which is always a bad sign, when your day starts out rotten and the rooster hasn't even crowed. K was already sleeping in my bed, L was crying in the nursery and D was sleeping as close to me as humanly possible without crawling back into the womb. I was greatly annoyed by the lack of space and the fact that the boys were on top of the covers that I grumpily jerked the covers from under them and pulled them up over us all. I was trying to let L "cry it out" and fall back to sleep on her own, but D was inching closer and closer and fiddling with my hair (he does this for comfort) that I just got up to comfort L so at least I wouldn't have to listent to that horrible sound she was making.

Fast forward to this morning. After a couple cups of tea, I was beginning to feel human again, and the boys were relating well for the moment. I even had L down for a nap, and it was time to do school with K. That was interrupted because I needed to make some photocopies for his math asessment at Oma and Grandpa's house next door. Oma read the boys the story "Lentil" by Robert McCloskey and then gave them an old harmonica to play with. They were thrilled. The problem was that they needed to share it. That worked for a little while, but the rest of the afternoon, they were constantly fighting about something. It seemed like every ten minutes I was breaking up some kind of ruccous. It wasn't until I was cooking dinner when they discovered that they can both play the harmonica at the same time. They put it between them, each one blowing from oppostite sides. It was so cute to see them cooperating like that, and being excited about it too. It almost erased all the tension of the day.... almost.

What did do the trick was hanging out with some of my Christian sisters at the Macaroni Grill for several hours, eating delicious food, drinking Chiante and catching up on each other's lives. So I can honestly say now, "It's a happy day, and I thank God for the weather..."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Cozy Spaces

While washing up the dishes this morning, I let L have free reign. She toddled in and out with various little toys clenched firmly in her fist. First it was a small metal bell with wood handle which she demonstrated quite competantly that she is ready for the Salvation Army Santa job. Next, she had something white and soft, ah, a tissue from who-knows-where, and thankfully she hadn't tried eating it yet. Her next endeavor was to explore some of the kitchen cabinets. I have let all of my children explore them, K's favorite was the tupperware cabinet, and the drawer beneath the stove where extra pots and pans are stored. He would take them out and get in there himself. D liked the pots and pans too, but more so to bang around. L likes to open the drawer with the bibs and pull each one out an drop them on the floor, but today she found a new place. The baking cabinet. It is where all my baking sheets, muffin tins, cooling racks, mixer and various loaf and cake pans are housed. It is a very large cabinet in the corner with no shelves, and L discovered she can actually get in there next to the baking sheets and mixing bowls. She looked quite pleased with herself, feet dangling out, nestled in the bakeware. I remember as a child loving little cozy spaces like that too, they give a feeling of security and closeness.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Joyella: 1(or I should say God:1), Yahoo Maps: 0

I had a little adventure tonight, and drove to D.C. all by myself. I had invited several of my friends to come with me to hear the tenth annual Kuyper lecture, but everyone I asked had a good reason not to go. I wanted to have some company just in case I got lost, but it is also nice to have someone to discuss with on the way home. Anyway, I went alone, and was prepared with my Yahoo Maps directions, which seemed simple enough. There was one vague direction that I hadn't noticed before and that was the exit off of 295, it said, "Take the Washington exit - go .1 mile." There is no "Washington exit", there is a "downtown exit" which my intuition told me to take, but I second guessed myself, because I thought that the next exit might say "Washington". WRONG. So I said a few nice bowling words and then got back into the zen of D.C. driving and finally found a place to check my map and turn around. As I was backtracking, I said a little prayer that I wouldn't get lost, and that God would put his hand on my car and guide me because I was now realizing that the Yahoo Maps directions were lame-o. And this is the amazing thing that happened: I took the second "downtown" exit I came to and that street literally dumped me right at the hotel parking garage where the lecture was! I was only a few minutes late, and the lecture hadn't yet begun, so I was very pleased. Praise God!

The Tenth Annual Kuyper Lecture: Education, Race, and Social Justice
(Quoted from the brochure: Dr. Trulear and two respondents will use the occasion of the anniversary (of Brown vs. Board of Education) to illumine the landscape of education and race in America today. Where are we today, and where should we be going in the quest for racial and educational justice?)

Overall, the lecture was informative, if not conclusive, about the state of racial discrimination in our public education system. The Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear's primary focus for the lecture was that it is the "lack of will" on the part of the public, religious communities, family and the American youth which is bringing about social death. Also that tribalization, a focus on our own interests as small group as opposed to the common good for all Americans, is the main motivator in causing this disconnect between cultures and socio-econimic backgrounds. That we are all guilty of this, but as part of the "church" it is our responsibility to overcome this injustice and bring about change for the better. I was a little offended by the repeated usage of the term "Vanilla brothers and sisters" by Judith Thomas, the first respondent, because I think that to say "Chocolate brothers and sisters" would be racist. I am not a flavor, I am a person. Anyway, she focused on reiterating all that Dr. Trulear stated, and emphasized the fact that "Brown vs. The Board of Education" did not bring about equality for minorities in education. She declared that the quality of a child's education should not be based on their zip code, and proceeded to say that sitting next to a white child in the classroom does not make for a better education. I am not sure what her proposal for a solution to this problem would be, but it was heavily hinted at that more money (taxes, I presume) would need to be dumped into the public educational system to bring up the standard of education in the inner cities and poor neighborhoods. I was throughly engaged and intrigued by the second respondent, Jerry Herbert and his point of view which was different than the first two, not so much a focus on race, but on freedom. Jerry was speaking more to the role of government in the education system. That it isn't (or shouldn't be) the role of government to be involved in deciding the "what" of education, but instead to insure that education is administered justly to all. The government needs to acknowledge the necessity for parental choice in education, because education is always about virtues and perspective, and parents should be able to determine which virtues and perspective are taught to their own children. Also that the monopoly of government education must be stopped. He clarified during Q&A that he does not oppose public education outright, only the way in which it is carried out presently and stated that the primary function of the government in education (true to the CPJ) is to determine that education is carried out justly, not to provide the education itself.
Again, no real solution to this overreaching problem with the public education system was presented, but I did come away with a broader scope of the current injustices and an greater appreciation for what the Center for Public Justice aims to accomplish. I look forward to next year's.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I have begun my latest sewing project, it is an asian inspired top, called a cheongsam, (for those of you who are wondering what that is.) It has been really good to have my head in something creative again. Let's see my last project was... the dragonfly pants in August, yes, so it has been a while. I have never made one like this before, and am frustrated with the assymetrical button closure at the front. Hmm, I don't read pattern instructions anymore, because they are so convoluded, but I might have to see where this is going. I thought I understood the construction here, but it isn't making sense to me as I try to put it together. Blah. This is what happens when I am not in the sewing groove. I get rusty fast. Part of the problem is my sewing studio is currently in my bedroom, and it isn't ideal. I like to get a project underway and then hop back into it whenever I get a chance, but with this set up, I have to put everything away when I am done each stint, which prevents me from wanting to get back into it. I am going to reopen my "studio" when I get some motivation to clean that "other" room out. It used to be my special place. I would go in there and get away from the house and kids and just sew and sew and sew until the wee hours of the mornings sometimes if the bug got into me. I am somewhat of a night owl that way, but with little kids, it is hard to make up the sleep in the a.m. so I try not to stay up so late.

I am really excited to get into the good fabric for this cheongsam though. It is a red-violet satin brocade with gold vines and little purple, red, green and blue flowers. Tres chic! Presently I am just working out the kinks in the pattern with a mock up--boring, but necessary.

a random question

Can sour cream go bad?
I mean if it is sour already, why do they stamp a date on it?
Okay, I am heating an enchilada casserole that was given to me when I was sick in July, and froze it because I was too sick to eat it then. It smells yummy, and I thought a little sour cream might be nice on the side. But I don't know how old it is. I can't find the date. Well, if I get sick I will know the answer right? Here goes... I found the date stamp, it was tiny and in the wrong place. It said Oct 18. I suppose it is still good then? I never know if that is the sell by date or the use by date, or the best if opened by date. Hmmm. Tasted okay.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Burning down the house

I just nearly set the house on fire. I am sitting in a cloud of smoke and wondering how to get the smell of burning plastic out of here.

I had turned on the stove to make tea, but I switched on the wrong burner by mistake. I went to check my email, and started to smell something burn. I figured it was crumbs or a stray piece of pasta, so I kept typing away. Then I wondered why the kettle hadn't whistled yet. I go in the kitchen and there is smoke everywhere (I better check that smoke alarm- it didn't go off! scary). I had a spatula in a small pan that I had made scrambled eggs in this morning, and the spatula was totally melted in the pan! the handle had burned off and was lying on the counter. So, I am now wondering if I could get high on these fumes, and maybe I am already.

Hey who lets those elephants in here? Trippy.

The little charmer

Was out with L tonight, and she was making friends all over town. Everywhere I take this little girl, people stop and smile and ask me questions. "Oh, how old is she?" "She is so cute.... What is her name?" Well, I have never gotten so much attention in public before, except when K was a baby. It must be those huge blue eyes, who can resist? Once, in line at the bank she was totally flirting over my shoulder with the man behind us. She has this little coy smile where she tucks her chin down to the side and flashes those dimples, it works every time. She did it again tonight in the Blockbuster, a handsome silver-haired man kept eying her, or was it me? No, it was definitely her, but he did shoot a smile and a nod across to me in the parking lot as I was buckling her into her carseat. Once in the supermarket, this lady would not leave us alone. I get a little territorial with strangers touching my children, and this lady was getting too close. Finally, I said, "Well, I have shopping to do, good bye," as politely as I could muster. I really wanted to say, "Hey lady, don't touch my kid!" Something about children and pregnant bellies, that people think they are invited to touch them without asking first. This is one of my pet peeves.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I gave K and D haircuts tonight. It is another one of my hidden talents, (except of course when I use it and everyone can see what kind of stylist I really am). This time I was a little wiser. Normally I cut their hair outside, so I don't have to sweep up, but D gets so frustrated with all the little pieces of hair that make him itch. So this time, I turned the TV toward the kitchen and let them watch Monsters Inc. while I snipped and buzzed their golden locks to a more managable length. I was nearly finished D's, when he said, "Mommy, I didn't cry this time." I told him how proud I am of him, and wished I had had some lollipops on hand to reward him, but I think the movie was enough of one. I also trimmed up fingernails. You know, it is really hard to keep up with thirty extra fingers and thirty extra toes on a weekly basis. I often forget until someone gets scratched or in L's case, scratches herself.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I got some sleep last night. Only one interruption! It is amazing what a difference it makes to not wake up every hour or two all night long. Thank you L- keep it up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Books I am reading, or trying to

I have a reading list, and it seems to be getting longer by the day. Most of the books aren't for fun, however, so if after perusing this, you want to recommend a good, fun read, please do.

Knowing with the Heart: Religious experience and belief in God, Clouser
The Myth of Certainty: The reflective Christian and the risk of commitment, Taylor
Putting the Amazing back into Grace, Horton
Chosen by God, Sproul
The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented, Thomas
Perfect Daughters, Ackerman
Silent Sons, Ackerman
Codependent No More, Beattie
The Lost Continent, Bryson
The Book Against God, Wood
Hotel Pastis: A novel of Provence, Mayle (just bought this today used for 20cents- ooh, la la)

Some of these, I doubt I will finish, I got mostly through a few of them, and have no interest in picking them back up.....those would be: Perfect Daughters, Silent Sons, Codependent No More (these are some of the ones my counselor recommended- but I think I am moving past these), The Book Against God is one M bought me for Christmas and it just makes me mad to read it, because the main guy is so much like M- and yet different, but there are too many strange coincidences.

Then there are the countless classics that I never read or started and didn't finish...... oh, when will there be enough time for them all.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

If you only knew what she put in her mouth.....

I have the cutest, sweetest little baby girl, L, and she is just eleven months old. She can walk now, and really thinks she is so big since she can get all over the house by herself. L has recently discovered the toilet, and is facinated with the water. Much to my disgust I found her dipping a cup into the toilet and start to drink it yesterday! I really startled her when I said, "OH, yuck! NO, no." I have got to hound those boys to close the bathroom door when they are finished in there- she is too fast. Her other disgusting habit is chewing on her brothers' smelly sandals or flip flops. I can't imagine that they actually taste good, it must just feel good on her teeth to bite into the rubber. Teething toys aren't good enough I suppose. My mom said when we were at the beach last month, L had something clenched in her tight little fist. When she pried it open, there was a dead cockroach! Eww! That totally beats the time D put a dead fly in his mouth. She finds other distasteful and dirty things to put in her mouth too, like, mulch chips, rocks and even lint from the dryer. I try to keep a clean house, but it doesn't matter - she will find that one little piece of something undesireable and pop it in. Of course, I don't love her any less for her disgusting little habit. I still squeeze her and smooch her all over. She's my baby girl, and she is so sweet.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Painting with the President

After two years, I have finally finished painting my kitchen ceiling. I enlisted the President and Senator Kerry to help me out, but in classic bureaucratic fashion, they just stood around and argued about the best way to get things done without actually doing anything. So I labored, and now am feeling dizzy from the fumes. I didn't think to open a window until I was mostly done. I also began painting the "mud room" which is hardly a room. It is a small space where the kitchen door opens over a tiny tiled patch of floor where shoes often get piled. I chose "caramel honey" for the color there, which is really a yellow gold. Paint names are fun, but they seldom tell you a lick about what the color actually looks like. I had tried to have a painting party for next weekend, but I only had two volunteers, and one was my mom. So I decided I'm just going to tackle this solo. I have a number of painting tasks to tackle, and most of them are necessary. But it is also somewhat psychological : new paint = new life.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

First Thursday

A balmy autumn day, and a beautiful one for seeing art art the BMA. First Thursday, for those of you who don't know, is the first Thursday of each month when the BMA (and other museums and galleries) are open for free. I love free! Since I was feeling energetic and revived this afternoon, I decided to bundle all three kids into the car and head downtown. I couldn't have planned it better. They behaved wonderfully, didn't knock anything down or even touch anything they weren't supposed to. Of course I had to remind them a bit, but that was okay. We took a break from visiting the great works of the Cone collection to eat some dinner under the tent in the sculpture garden. It was truely lovely. I rarely take all three of my children somewhere to eat by myself, because it can be overwhelming, but I took the chance tonight, and am glad of it. I even splurged on a glass of wine, to compliment the fair evening. After our meal, we went back inside to do the family art activity, but we couldn't stay much longer, because L really needed to go home to bed. D fell asleep on the way, and I just plunked him in bed, clothes and all. K and I finished up his "artist's studio", made of tag board, colored paper and clippings of masterworks. It is cute, a little orange walled studio, with tiny paintings and one wall covered in a print of clear blue plastic bead strands.

It was so motivating to be in the art museum again. It has been a while since I have been there, and I used to have a steady diet of art museums in college. I have missed it. I feel like the BMA and I are old friends. I remember my mom taking me there for my birthday a couple different times as a child. I celebrated my 19th (or was it 20th?) at the big Monet exhibit they had showing one year. And during my T.U. days, I spent many days there for my "Writing about Art class" as well as all the art ed. courses. So, it was good to see my old friend again, you know the BMA is celebrating 90 years, so it really is old (by American standards anyway.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Confronted with rebellion

I have been having a bit of a dialogue regarding Calvinism with two people, and it is deeply moving me. I feel I am being changed, and I know that that may seem obvious considering my circumstances, but this is different. I had a very wrenching, falling on my knees type experience about two years ago. (It was actually Christmas Eve of 02.) I knew that I had been not trusting in Christ, that I was beginning to waver in many of my beliefs, because of the increasingly liberal climate in my home due to M. I fell on my knees and prayed that the Holy Spirit would change me, that I would desire to be like Christ. I think it has been a gradual process. God doesn't always strike us down with lightening and transform us, sometimes it takes years. There is a verse I came across today, and it was so poignant, that I must share it here: Ephesians 4:14-15 " Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." I was recently confronted with these words, "Repent of your rebellion and trust in Christ." It made me weep. I acknowledge that on some days that isn't too hard to do, a soap ad could bring a tear to my eye, but this was really different and unexpected. It was like something inside said, " Yes, I will."

It has been a melancholy day. (You know it is when the supermarket checker asks you if you're okay.) I have been on the verge of tears all day, and I think this awareness of true truth has something to do with it. Also I had to see M as I dropped off the kids this afternoon. He said, "We don't talk to each other anymore." I said, "Yes, it has been good for me that way." He said, "It kind of sucks." Kind of? This goes well with the comment from Saturday about pumpkin bread. I had packed a pumpkin muffin in L's lunch, and M said, "Next time you make pumpkin bread, you might want to bring me some." Are you kidding me? I said, "It's not my job to take care of you anymore."(I had actually deliberated on whether or not I should take extra for him, and decided not to. Not out of meanness, but just so he can begin to see that he doesn't get those special privileges anymore.)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Sisters, shopping and some other stuff

Today I had lots of fun shopping in Roland Park with my two sisters-in-law. We were checking some cute little stores for maternity clothes (sister-in-law #1 due in April), consignment and toys. My greatest find was the adult size hula hoop! (I am sure it is a physics related problem, but a child's sized one wouldn't go round and round. ) I've been looking for one for a while, and I am pleasantly surprised to discover that, "I've still got it, baby!" (It was either get a hula hoop or take belly dancing class, and the hula hoop was much more economical.) Also picked up some colorful jumpropes for homeschool phs. ed. We then got to check out the house that pregnant sister and husband are "renovating". That have a lot to get done before the bambino arrives, and they hope to move in December. We shall see. I rounded out the evening by attending a lecture at University Baptist Church, part of the weekend series of lectures this weekend titled, "Worth a Thousand Words: Illuminating Biblical Text Through Art and Archaeology," by John Roberts, pastor emeritus at Woodbrook Baptist Church. It was really good to do something out of the daily routine, but I think my expectations were a bit high for the lecture (strong Baptist inferences, but I am always pleased when church folk get together to discuss art). Tonight's was on Jesus' conception, the wedding at Cana, the calling of Matthew, and the prodigal son. It brought back some of those old college memories of "art in the dark". I shall close off this lovely day with the French film "Bon Voyage" which was highly recommended by my biological sister. She said it would be a nice escape even if it wasn't a good story, which it is, there is a very handsome actor worth staring at for a couple hours. Vive la France!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Harvest Moon

Tonight as I was locking up and turning out the lights, the moon beckoned me from the skylight. It has been a while since we have been together, because of all the clouds and storms, so I accepted her invitation and stepped outside. How beautiful she is! Even though she is beginning to wane, her silvery blue light bathed everything so gracefully. Cassiopia winked at her, and smiled to see me out on such a crisp, clear night. The air smelled of nutmeg, a hearty autumnal scent, courtesy once again of the McCormick plant nearby. I couldn't stay outside very long, my nose was getting cold, and I was beginning to shiver. When I came in, L was stirring for her mid-night feeding. I was so tired, and I still am, but I kept thinking about the moon and I just wanted to write it down.