Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I'm moving!!!!

Well, my BLOG is moving. Its got a new title and everything - to better keep up with what is happening in our lives. Someday we may eventually get "Mo' hens and chicks," but for now, we're growing a garden.

So click over here, and PLEASE re-subscribe. This blog won't be active anymore after today! Thank you for your support!

Oh, and let me know what you think of my new "home"!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

day trippin

We took a drive over to Amherst County to surprise the girls by taking them to their first Native American Pow-Wow. It was held in a beautiful setting - in a cattle field (of course!) just beside the Blue Ridge Mountains:

We watched the opening ceremonies and the introduction of the dancers, the Monacan Chief and the other guests of honor.
It was SO hot. I made the girls' dresses out of thin cotton fabric I got from WalMart. Most of the dancers were wearing heavy buckskin, leather and feathers - and headdresses of one sort or another. I don't know how they managed all day with the sun beating down on them. We only ended up staying for 2 hours - too hot!
Hannah was reticent at first as far as having her picture taken with the dancers, but after awhile she got used to the idea (once she was assured there were no tomahawks in sight....)
We met a friendly red-tailed hawk and her dad:
Han and Abbo had no qualms at all about sharp talons and a beak that can crush bone merely inches from their heads...
They each even rubbed her belly to see if she purred like the kitty.
Next up was a visit inside a REAL tipi!
Here they are with a couple of "squaws" - they looked so cute that another lady wanted to get their picture, too (they being the girls + these ladies)!
On the way back we stopped for a quick hike up the Appalachian Trail over near Buena Vista. I didn't know that Han had made a face until I had uploaded the pictures :)
A mountain stream dripping down from some cliffs. Cool relief for our faces and hands.
We crossed this bridge over the James River off of Route 501, and came across these folks beating the heat:

It looked SO FUN and SO WET and SO COOL! I was laughing just as hard as they were - it was hard to show restraint and not join them!

How much fun is that! Tight!

A quick stop at the Ben Salem Wayside on the other side of Buena Vista for the obligatory picnic before the last leg of the journey - then home after a fun day full of adventure!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reverence & Respect Fail

We're using the LifeWalk curriclum at Wednesday night church, reading through the Bible in a year. At home I usually use a parallel version: NASB (New American Standard) and The Message. The best time for me to be in the Word is in the morning, as I'm relatively undisturbed if the girls are sleeping, so I fix the first of 3 cups of morning coffee and come back to read in bed.

On a recent morning, however.....

when I got up to refresh my coffee.......

I returned to the bedroom and the Bad Cat with a haughty tilt to his head saying,

"Me? You'd blame ME for that?"
"Uh - you got a little of 1 Samuel there under your fingernails"......

This could be an argument of why pets (certain ones, anyways) will NOT be in heaven. Ahem.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Diary of a brief illness

I've been sick for the last 36 hours and am functioning now only because of the Wonders of Modern Medicine, i.e., Excedrin (store brand, BOGO, of course).
Night before last it felt like a giant cannonball was resting in my stomach, just below my sternum. In the morning a mild case of delirium had me convinced that it was a giant hairball, the illusion brought on, no doubt, by my constant warnings to Hannah to quit chewing on her hair.
So at 12:00 noon yesterday, only a minute or so after I'd eaten the edges off of two PB&honey sandwiches belonging to two little girls who have been allowed to eschew the "sides," I made a mad and unplanned dash to the bathroom to relieve my suffering. With a hoarse voice I dictated Daddy-o's cell number to the 5 year old who quickly took in the situation and relayed the pertinents to her father.
As I staggered back to the kitchen, there she was handing the Unhappy Princess a bag of "printzels" in hopes of allaying a tantrum that had now been going on a full quarter hour.
"I'm following Daddy-o's rules now, you can go to bed."
And she deftly stepped by me, searched out a video from the "movie" box, slid it into the VCR and took a seat in front of the tube. Meanwhile, Unhappy Princess continued to beat her tiny fists on the kitchen floor screaming at the top of her lungs. Summoning my strength, I hoisted her over the cannonball/hairball I was feeling in my gut and plunked her down - very unregally - on my bed and tried to soothe her.
I finally was made to understand that she had wanted to carry her plate from the counter to the table after her sandwich had been made (and before my mad dash to the lav) and that the only way to remedy the situation was for her to be allowed to eat her sammy in the living room watching whatever video her big sister had chosen.
"By all means," I said, and she plopped herself on the "good chair" while I situated her lunch beside her and clambered into bed.
Thankfully Andy came home early, before the video was even over, I think, but I can't be sure, as I stayed in bed and slept until 6:30 or so. I was back asleep around 9PM and up at 4:15, 5, 6:30 and then again at 8:30 for good.
Despite my early morning agonies, we managed to get in a full homeschool lesson, minus the extra handwriting practice that Hannah needs. I still have few ideas how to involve the 2-year old during periods of time when Hannah desperately needs to concentrate. One helpful hint I've read recently was to put her in her bedroom with a baby gate across the door. Um, yeah, right. Cue the thrown objects. I'm hoping next year will be better for all three of us in this area.
Anyways, all that's left of this bug so far as I can tell is a residual headache - easily solved - and some mysterious rumbles in my stomach. I don't know if it was a touch of food poisoning or a little virus going around or what.
Better go so I can get ready to greet two sleepyheads who are still abed lo' this late hour of the morn....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


When I was in college and just after - you know, wondering what I was going to be when I grew up - I had a couple pretty spicy jobs that provided a lot of life experience, even if they barely paid the bills. Did you know that I once worked for a private investigator, going undercover to scope out counterfeit Rolex watches for sale in Washington, D.C.? Really! I'd go up there on Saturday mornings, dark sunglasses, toting a shopping bag from The Gap or Banana Republic (filled with a change of clothes because i was too POOR to afford to shop at those stores on any regular basis) and do the tourist routine. Usually the sidewalk vendors had a row of fake Rolexes on their tables and sometimes I'd have to ask if they had any - they kept cases of them in the van parked around the corner (just like in the movies!). The vendor would walk me over to the van, open the back door and there would be cases and cases of watches, with hundreds of knockoff Rolexes in the mix. I'd buy one - or not - make a mental note of what I saw and meet the PI on the next street over at a coffee shop. He'd radio in to the U.S. Marshals and - I swear I am not making this up! - they'd swoop in for the catch while we drove by in a Lincoln with blacked-out windows. Man, my heart would be pounding and I was about to pass out from the excitement. But it was so cool! Later I'd help the PI sort the confiscated contraband to be processed as evidence for counterfeiting cases against the distributors and sellers. I remember once when I asked a woman if she had any other Rolexes under the table she looked at my shoes and said, "I don't like your shoes - I think you might be a cop, so I'm not going to sell you any watches- no watches for you!" (think "Soup Nazi") and she shooed me away from her booth. Jeez Louize, it's not like I was wearing gumshoes or anything!

Another job I had with this PI was doing supervised visitations with non-custodial parents. Lately I've reminisced about the case he had of an Indian woman who tried to return to India with her son - without the father's consent. This type of thing is frowned on, you know, and the American father had the airplane detained - literally while it was on the tarmac - and she was prevented from "kidnapping" the child. My job was to sit for 8 (long, excruciating) hours with her and her son on a Sunday to make sure she didn't pull any funny business. It was really an eye-opener as to how custodial parenting works (or doesn't work). There I sat in this oppressive little apartment for EIGHT HOURS watching a spoiled and whiny little boy manipulate his mother who - of course - resented the heck out of me being there. She wouldn't put him down for a nap, which he desperately needed - as even I, a childless 20-something could see for myself (truth is, she probably didn't want to miss a minute of him).

Anyways, according to the PI, they weren't allowed to leave the apartment - a one bedroom walkup somewhere in Northern Virginia. M-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e for me....but the money was good, so I kept at it for 6 months; they went back to court and I never knew what happened. I started working with them in the late winter and as it eased into spring, sometimes it would be so beautiful outside that I couldn't bear to make them stay in. We'd go for a walk around the apartment complex until I started getting sweaty palms that she was going to grab him and hop into a waiting Toyota and spirit him out of the country. We even went and dyed Easter Eggs at a neighbor's house - who spoke Hindi or whatever language the mom spoke - and if I thought the mom resented me, neighbor lady had no use for me whatsoever. I positioned myself close to the door in case anyone tried to make a break for it. (Such stress for a college kid!) Back at the mother's house it always reeked of curry. It hit you like a gust when she opened the door and permeated my hair and my clothes. She must have used it in every dish. She always very matter-of-factly offered me lunch and I'd make up some excuse why I couldn't eat - but one day I ran out of excuses, so I accepted the egg/rice/curry/vegetable bowl she gave me. I wasn't used to "real" ethnic cooking and about fell over because it was so strong. Plus, I wasn't completely sure she wasn't going to slip a little night-night into it so she could snag the boy....

All this does have a point, and not just to take you on a stroll down Memory Lane....

Last Friday I had a wonderful girls' night out with a great friend I'll call Barbara. (Why Barbara? Because I don't see any "Barbaras" on a regular basis and I didn't ask this friend if I could talk about her in cyberspace. Plus she reminds me of my mom's friend Barbara Peters.) Anyways, Barbara treated to a sweet little restaurant over in Lewisburg that reminds me of the restaurants up in Old Town Alexandria and Washington, D.C. And at said restaurant, she recommended the Thai Chicken, which was steeped richly in curry. On the way home (in my car, by myself, with the occasional burp from the curry) I was whisked back to that stuffy little apartment and the visits with that sad little family....and working for the PI....and informing on bad guys in the big city.

All because of a little spice in my life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

morning devotions

The other morning I got up early and enjoyed a (quiet) cup of coffee. When I came back to the bedroom, I found this: and after I got The Look, she went back to what she was doing.

Oh, and here's an example of Bad Parenting: When Andy and I talk and we can't remember their names, they go by "The Big One" and "The Little One." That way we're sure to keep them straight :)

Easter Dresses

The Golden Curls