Friday, June 25, 2010

Hello, my name is Trouble.

I knew the house seemed eerily quiet for too long.

When I went to see what they were up to, I found Trouble with a smirk on his face, his guilt-ridden accomplice, and this:

One thing I remembered not to do was freak out with the fury of a mother scorned, but to calmly march them to the bath letting them know that they would receive a good spanking later in loving discipline---when I got over the fact that my carpets, walls, and floors were now stained with red ink.

After the spanking, I got buckets of tears mixed with a repentant "I'm sorry, Mom", and they knew they were naughty, but they also knew that I loved them, still. If I had started screaming at first---which the urge was so strong after seeing the stair rails bleeding red--I think they would have seen some serious anger, and felt love with conditions. I feel good about the way I handled that. Let's hope this is the last time I'll have to see my house destroyed by two little curious boys. Yeah, right.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

We had a nice Father's Day weekend. On Sunday morning, daddy got a special treat: raspberry scones made with love by Micah and Caelan. Patrick ate five in one sitting. :)

We heard a wonderful sermon at church (you can click the link to listen) called What kind of dad will your children remember? Patrick was very challenged with that question, so I thought I'd help him answer it with a little slideshow, below. It made me think of my father a lot. I miss him so much. I wish the kids were able to know him. I know he would just be inseparable from them!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Father's Day 2010

On Saturday, we had Patrick's dad and family over for our June dinner (we alternate and host family dinners each month) and got to celebrate the dads with some yummy, healthy, food and we also played some family mahjohn!

We made grandpa day cards too. I asked the kids to choose their favorite picture to put on Grandpa's cards, so Micah chose Power Rangers and Caelan chose fishies. It was very cute. The handsome Ring men:

On Friday night, we had dessert with Adrienne & Kevin, a wonderful couple! Kevin is hoping to be a father some day soon, as they are wishing to adopt a newborn. If you happen to know of anyone who is looking to put their infant up for adoption, they are incredible couple who will provide a loving home for the child. Truly, I couldn't recommend better soon-to-be parents!

You can check out their website by clicking on their names. Father's Day can be tough for a lot of people each year --some who are not yet dads, or others who have bad relationships with their fathers. Or for some, their fathers have passed away. But on this day, I can be grateful for my Heavenly Father, who promises to be a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) who I trust to guide me, and continue to love me without condition. Happy Father's Day to everyone!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Being Schooled by a 3-year old

While trying to get out of the car:
Mommy: Micah, can you puleeeze hurry up so we can go?
Micah: Mommy... (serious tone) you need to wait. Patiently. Waiting is hard work.
(Oh my gosh, I've been schooled.)

While Patrick and I are having a disagreement:
Daddy: Honey, don't you think that----
Micah: (drops his toys, matter-a-factly walks straight up to us and stands in the middle) Now, mommy--you say sorry to daddy right now. Daddy--you say sorry to mommy.
Mommy and Daddy: Sorry.
Micah: Good, that's better.

When I offer ice cream as a treat:
Mommy: If you guys are good, I'll buy you some popsicles.
Micah: No mommy. Daddy says sugar is bad. Ice cream is bad. We'll get sick and die.
Mommy: Lovely. (sarcasm)

When Caelan is screaming:
Micah: Caelan, can you use an inside voice?
Caelan: (still screaming at the top of his lungs...)
Micah: Caelan, I can't hear you when you use that voice. I'm going to put you in time out.
(Strangely, Caelan goes to the corner. And the screaming stops. Geez, Louise.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sleepful in Seattle--Part Deux

Back in Virginia. Wow, did I miss my family. It was kind of pathetic how often I thought of them while I was there. I've never been gone 5 days from them before. Now that I'm back to the grind, hmmm....I'm thinking about my vacation again. Let's head back to Seattle's famous Space Needle. We did a drive by as we headed to the Public Market.

There, near the waterfront, Karen treated us to a brunch at a French Restaurant called Cafe Campagne where we ate outside on the patio. We had pate, french toast, lox, fantastic bloody marys, and this was my yummy french dish:

I also drank like 12 cups of coffee--um, per day--while I was there. Why wouldn't I? Seattle is home to the very first Starbucks. The original store was opened here in 1971. The company's headquarters is also based out of Seattle. Surprisingly, despite that much caffeine, I slept like a baby each night.

We also went to the world famous Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw 3-foot salmon at each other. And some times, they miss, which they did in our case when Michael bought some smoked salmon for dinner. Oops, kinda embarrassing.

To my surprise, the food is REALLY expensive in Seattle. (I was about to have an ulcer looking at their prices in the grocery store) I thought avocados were expensive in the East - but it's $2.50 for one regular non-organic avocado in Seattle. Good--ness!

But flowers, could buy the equivalent of two big bouquets here at their public market for guess how much? $10. The peonies were stunning and perfect. That would saved a lot out of my weekly budget!

There was a pig and a troll, and other crazy things to tell you about. But the funnest part of the trip was these two:

Karen and Michael, are a wonderful couple, who are authentically living out the abundant life, and doing some courageous things. I enjoyed all of our conversations. And watching 4 back-to-back episodes of Sarah Richardson on HGTV. :) Thank you Karen for being such a blessing in my life!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sleepful in Seattle--Part One

What does a tired, weary, mother often need to refresh her soul? A weekend getaway to get recharged and rejuvenated. I did just that with one of my best gal pals, Karen, who lives in Seattle. I found this dirt-cheap flight to Seattle, and Patrick sent me off to visit one of my dearest friends. Do you want your heart to be encouraged? Just spend five minutes with Karen.

Karen and I met in 1997 when we worked for the same company. It was an instant connection and 13 years and 3000 miles later, she is still one of my most favorite people in all the world. We did EVERYTHING I would want on a girlie weekend getaway. This picture requires no explanation.

Karen treated me to a delightful pedicure at In Spa. After we left the salon, we didn't quite know what we'd do next, so we continued our pampering at another salon across the street.

For those that know me well, it's important on any vacation to not just eat, but to eat well. My first night there, Michael, her wonderful husband, made this TO-DIE-FOR arugula salad with diced tomatoes and seared salami, over this crostini bread. Mouth-watering. Also, we had Copper River salmon---a big deal in Seattle. This fish is robust, rich and has a nutty flavor, and really high in omega 3's. All I have to say is I will not be able to eat Atlantic salmon again....

They took me to downtown Seattle and I have to tell you, if I didn't hear about how much it rained here...I would TOTALLY live here. It reminds me a lot like San Francisco with its steeped rolling hills overlooking the Peugeot Sound, plus a gorgeous view of Mount Ranier.

One night, they treated me to a fancy seafood restaurant, the Waterfront Seafood Grill. I had oysters on the half-shell, and crispy soft-shell crab. Out of this world....

Everyone knows how much I love movies. But, what's better than a night at the movies? How about two? Oh, the joys in life. We watched double features! Yes, the 2nd movie ended at around 1:30 AM (um...that's 4:30 EST!) Totally worth it, though. We saw Iron Man 2 and A-team. The second movie we saw was at the Cinebarre, an upscale movie theatre and bar all in one.

Okay, so if you think that all my favorites (spas, seafood, marathon movies) topped my mini-weekend. Think again. You'll have to tune in to Part II of Sleepful in Seattle........

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Burke Lake Park

Another fun thing to do this summer is head to Burke Lake Park, in Burke, Virginia. If you can take the kids during the weekday, you will avoid the weekend crowds. The park is large, so you'll want to head to the area of the putt putt golf, where you can do a lot of things with your toddlers.

You can take your kids on a nature walk by the water. There is a great playground to start off your morning.

After the playground, take a ride on their train that runs through the woods of the park. Caelan was in awe of this train. He sat quietly, like a big boy, staring out and enjoying the scenic ride. For kids 3 and up & adults, the tickets were $2.25 each. Please note that when you pass through the tunnel, be prepared to hear the organized screaming of toddlers. I don't know how they all got the memo, but they do it right on cue!

Next stop: A ride on the carousel! Tickets were the same price. Even though Caelan is free, as an adult, if you are "on" the ride with your child, you need a ticket as well.

When all the excitement is over, you can head to their air-conditioned icecream parlor, and have a nice lunch. You can bring your own food and eat it there, or you can purchase hot dogs and popcorn. And of course, icecream cones! The food prices are very reasonable ($2 per hot dog and $2 for one scoop of icecream.) You can also find an outdoor picnic table with a view of the lake to enjoy.

One thing Patrick and I want to do eventually is take the kids to an Amusement Park. We love rides, and we hope they do too. But for $60 per person admission to either Kings Dominion, or Busch Gardens, at their age, the kids would not enjoy it as much as something like this. Total cost for two kids including lunch is under $20. Can't beat that!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In Loving Memory

On Thursday afternoon, quite suddenly, my grandmother passed away. She was my mother's mother, and I'm so grateful to have met her when I visited Cambodia.

She was 90 years old, had a full life, and was well-loved by her husband and her family. She lived for most of her married life (74 years) in this house behind us, with stilts.

When I met her for the first time, I wondered if she would want to know me. Would she love me? It had been 30 years since she held me as a babe in her arms. When our van arrived in her village, she came walking as fast her wobbly little legs could take her, came right up to me, grabbed my hand, and smiled. She had four teeth and they were all rotten! And she was all of about 4 and a half feet tall. I lost my heart to her that very second.

The entire time I was there, I couldn't remember her letting go of my hand. It was like she was trying to make up for lost time. At one point, she held up my hand to her own, and studied our hands. They were exactly the same. She snorted. It was just too precious.

In our stay at the village, I couldn't help watching her. The most surprising thing I saw was how goofy she was. At 85 years old, she would crack jokes, and hit my grandfather in the back, laughing at him until he would laugh too. She had joy. Her heart was so generous and giving. As poor as they were, and uneducated, I couldn't remember being more proud of my heritage and who I had come from. She was a hoot and total delight, and I felt so lucky to be her grand daughter. She will be greatly missed.