Archives for January 2006

Ring Around The…TV?

We’ve just introduced the baby to the delights of “Ring Around The Rosy”. She will go til I’m dizzy and my knees are complaining from too much “all fall down.” Thankfully she has siblings who are still willing to play even after her momma quits.

This afternoon the four youngest were going round and round. Then I reminded the 3 year old to put away a toy. Ever-so-reluctantly she left the circle of fun to comply with my request. But as she ran to obey she hollered back over her shoulder, “Pause it!”

Ya think she’s watched too many videos?

And I’m Homeschooling??

OK– I was directed to this by Mommy Needs To Vent. Thought for sure I would get them all right. I mean, I’m homeschooling my kids, for pity sakes– and how hard can 8th grade math be?? But, ack, I only got a B!! The dumb thing is they don’t even tell you which ones you got wrong…. I guess I should just be glad I passed!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!
Additional note: I just had my 17 year old daughter take the test. She got a perfect 10/10. I guess that’s just more proof that successful homeschooling does not depend on the ability of the parents– something most homeschooling mommas figure out pretty quick!

True Love

The Queen of Spain is having a contest. She’s looking for pictures of true love. I immediately thought of this one of hubby and me TWENTY-ONE years ago at Prom. Boggles my mind that is was THAT long ago! This year we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, so it really must have been true love! I think my hubby is even cuter now than he was back then.

Beyond Borders

Friday evening it wasn’t quite movie-time bedtime for the kids yet and they were running around burning off their last energy. So hubby and I went on looking at living room furniture. Our old couch is really starting to fall apart and we’re short on seating, so we’re looking at possibly spending part of our tax refund on a couple of new couches. Found a gorgeous leather set that we both liked, which I bookmarked, happily imagining it someday in our home. Then we put the kids to bed and sat down to watch the movie.

The cover of the “Beyond Borders” said it was about foreign aid workers. Moments into the movie, I discovered part of it is set in Ethiopia, where my girls are from. Wow. I was suddenly even more glad I had impulsively picked it up in the grocery store.

The first scene was set in 1984–a gala fundraiser in London for African orphans. Into the lavish party strode an aid worker, with a scrawny orphan in tow. The angry worker blasted the assembled big-wigs for pulling funding from Ethiopia. A famine was on, hundreds of people were dying every day, and these posh and pampered people were spending money on plastic surgery and expensive champagne, then fooling themselves into thinking that they were great humanitarians.

A wealthy woman at the gala is moved by this man’s appeal to travel to Ethiopia to bring food to the starving people. Along the way to the feeding camp, she sees a starving baby lying at the side of the road next to his dying mother. The woman makes the driver stop, and snatches the baby from certain death to bring with her to the feeding station. The scene was even more horrific to me because I knew it was not a Hollywood over-dramatization. It is real. It happens day after day after day, all over Africa.

In fact, this could have been one of MY babies. I don’t know my children’s pasts. But I do know that something awful happened in their lives to cause their birthmothers to relinquish them. It makes me cry to think of, and it makes me desperate to keep other babies, other mothers, from such horrific circumstances.

The movie following the life of the aid worker and the woman beyond Ethiopia, to Cambodia and then Chechnia (sp?). Suffering, sickness, and violence everywhere. People everywhere in desperate need of anyone willing to reach out a hand. It wasn’t a feel-good movie. There were parts of it I did not care for. But it was an important movie to me because it was an impassioned cry for action. I am convinced that this movie is part of what moved Jolie to later adopt a baby from Ethiopia. It is hard to look need in the face. But once you do, how can you not be moved to action?

After the movie, my gaze wandered to the nearby computer screen, still displaying ‘my’ leather couch. Suddenly the $1200 per couch price tag seemed obscene. How many people could be fed with the $2400 we were so casually considering spending on two couches? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure those couches were all that important. That $2400 would even be a start on the adoption of one more child. Yeah, there are always more kids. Yeah, we can’t help everyone. Yeah, we’ll truly need a new couch some day. But is that the right use for our money right now? I am not sure.

I look around and see the life I lead. Not rich– by American standards, anyway. But I’ve never had a day where I couldn’t feed my children. I’ve never been homeless. My husband and I have always had TWO cars to drive, for pity’s sake! It really got both us us thinking about how spoiled we are and about what more we might be able to do.

We’re still talking about what else we might do. There are many ways, large and small, to make a difference in the world. Sponsor a child through Compassion International. Donate to UNICEF. Volunteer for UNHCR. Or even– my favorite– adoption. I have a hard time adequately describing the blessing adoption has been to our family. Yeah, we’ve made a difference in the lives of our kids. But THEY are making an even bigger difference in our lives. Holding their little hands each day is a priceless gift from God.

In the bonus material for Beyond Borders, Angelina Jolie talks about the great need in the world and says, “Everyone can do something.” That is the truth. My heart is with Ethiopian children. Your cause may be something different. Think about. There are hurting people everywhere.
What moves you?


Psalm 4: 8

A Couple Things

I wanted to thank y’all for the movie recommends– I appreciate them. Also, since I hinted in a previous post that I was only looking for PG movies, I feel I ought to mention that ‘Beyond Borders’ is actually ‘R’ (for language and violence). We made an exception to our ‘no-R’ rule to see it, and are glad we did. But I didn’t want anyone to get it home thinking it was a good whole-family flick. Finally, I will write more about the movie soon. Hubby and I have been having great conversations about it all day.

Movie Review: Beyond Borders

I found this movie at the checkstand at Walmart for less than $5. Wasn’t expecting much, but was curious about it because Angelia Jolie, a fellow Ethiopian adoptive mom, is in it. All I can say is wow. Not an easy movie to watch. But amazing. I want to talk about it more later. But if you happen to see “Beyond Borders” sitting in one of those big bins of movies at Walmart, and can afford to spend $5 on it, buy it. Buy it, watch it, and come back and talk to me about it. OK?

Movie Recommendations?

Hubby and I are planning on renting a movie or two this weekend. Anybody seen anything good recently (that isn’t R-rated)? We were thinking of Pleasantville, but need more ideas…

Kids These Days

So my 3 teenagers are headed off to Snow Camp this weekend. This morning before my hubby dropped them off at church, he and I went over the usual parental checklist.

“Extra gloves?”
“Sleeping bag?”

After about 10 questions along those lines from each parent addressed to each child, impatience is growing and eyes are darting ever-more-frequently toward the clock. (Isn’t it time to leave yet?) It never seems to occur to the poor abused creatures that the parental goal is not insanity-making– it is to ascertain that the child will actually remain functional, comfortable, and non-frostbitten the whole weekend.

After issues of warmth and basic hygiene are addressed, then comes the topic of communication in case of emergency. We discuss the virtues of giving them hubby’s phone.

17 year old chimes in, “(Newlywed counselor) has a cell phone.” She writes down the number for us.

15 yr old chimes in, “(Dad-of-three counselor) has a cell phone.” No number is forthcoming, but we feel confident that this experienced dad will call us if needed.

14 year old remembers that the children of Dad-of-three also have a cell phone. (They are 12 and 14).

17 year old remembers that an 18 year old in the group also owns a cell phone. And so does 18 year old’s boyfriend. Oh, and another 12 year old got one for Christmas.

Within a moment we have ascertained that there are for sure 7 cell phones in this group of 13 people. Possibly more, since some of the 13 are friends of church kids and we are as yet unaware of their cell phone status. Hubby and I decide we can safely keep both our own cell phones home.

Final line of parental questioning: food. 15 yr old made some to-die-for chocolate-chocolate chip cookies to bring along (I will share the recipe soon) So I know they are supplied with one staple of life– chocolate. Oldest daughter reassures me that newlywed counselor has done all the grocery shopping for this event and there will be lots of food.

“But” she says, “last time he forgot to bring any fruit.”

No fruit for three days? I am aghast. And delighted. I do still have a purpose in life. Finally there’s something I can supply to improve the quality of their weekend.

I send a 10 pound bag of oranges.

Unclean! Unclean!

Why, after one bath and TWO showers this morning, do I still feel the urge to scrub myself? Let’s just say that taking a bath with a baby can be risky.

Oh, and the baby learned how to say “poop” this morning. Something about two revolted tub-mates screaming it over and over while hastily fleeing the tub really impresses it on a kid’s brain.