Showing posts from February, 2010

Chuc mung nam moi!

Which, for those of you not connected with the Vietnamese community, is Happy New Year! I know Tet was actually two weeks ago, but our Families with Children from Vietnam group had their new year's party last night. By having it later we can enjoy the local Vietnamese lion dancers and folk dancing group.
Here are some of us coloring some pages of tigers. (2010 is the year of the tiger.) There were also games with prizes, lots of good food, a slide show, firecrackers (bubble wrap in red paper), li xi envelopes with chocolate coins, and a sale of Vietnamese goods to benefit the Catalyst Foundation.

There was also this adorable cardboard lion mask that the children could play with. K. was quite taken with it and really hoped to take it home. We took a lot of pictures because it seems like something that could make ourselves. But I think it needs a bit more "fluff" to make it look like the real thing:

I'm famous...or is it infamous?

I happened to be at our main branch library this afternoon checking out some books. The employee (whom I'm sure I've never met) looked at my card and asked if I was E. Curry of the Curry family. I said yes, and she proceeded to talk to me about our branch library. The branch libraries have been given a 6 month reprieve from closing in order to try to raise the needed funds to keep them open. (Confused about the whole situation yet? I am.) The library employee wanted to make sure I knew that the branch would only be open Tuesdays through Saturdays now, in case I needed to adjust our schedule. I laughed and said my children pretty much go to the library whenever it's open and the library worker agreed. So, do the librarians all get together and talk about us? Just makes me wonder. The first half of my life was spent feeling as though people don't remember me, consequently, I find it a slightly jarring experience when people not only remember me, but people who …

Small annoyances

I know, I already posted today, but this was too good to pass up. It seems today has been designated as the official 'Day of Small Annoyances', starting with my phone drama in the previous post. Later today I attempted to take a reader panel survey for a popular family magazine. The first question asked how many children under 18 lived in my home. I typed in '9' and hit enter. Instead of being taken to the next question, a pop-up window opened and informed me that my answer was "outside acceptable parameters". I always suspected my family was outside acceptable parameters, but now I know for sure.

(I did email the research company in charge of the survey...but have yet to hear back from them.)

Where, oh where has my mail delivery gone?

If Dante could have waited a few centuries to pen his magnum opus, the modern world would have provided him with limitless possibilities for further rings in the inferno. Businesses which (ab)use voice mail definitely deserve a ring all their own, especially businesses which have a monopoly on certain services. The US postal service for instance. This morning, when I should have been doing laundry or educating my children or some such useful endeavor, I instead found myself talking to a computer. Since the phone at my desk is not touch tone, at least I can choose options with the voice activated system. But, if you've ever tried to do this with children in the room, you will know that too much background noise causes the computer confusion. "I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Can you repeat it?" told to you by a computer (over and over) is more than aggravating.

My problem was that we had not received mail two times last week and two times this week. I know that it'…

Writing on the wall

We have a white board in our upstairs hallway on which I write things that I come across that I want my children to take to heart. All of my children who can read are compulsive readers. If they see words, they will read them, over and over, no matter what they are...cracker ingredients, store receipts, get the idea. So I try to make use of it when I can.

I know I've mentioned how much we're enjoying reading Little Britches at lunch time. This was in the chapter which we read today and I will be writing on the white board this afternoon:

"There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they're honest men or dishonest men.

Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes -- honest and dishonest.

Any man who s…

Father and daughters

A friend of our is in charge of the Father-Daughter dance at her church. This is the second year J. and his girls have attended and it is great fun. (So I'm told.) M. couldn't make it this year since she was on a youth group retreat. But, P. and A. went and enjoyed dancing (with dance cards), games, party favors, and a chocolate fountain. B. and I scrounged some chocolate at home and enjoyed that with a movie after we got the littles put to bed. Kind of a mother-son movie night. The photo is of A. and P. with J. right before they left. You know it was a big deal since not only did P. allow me to do something special with her hair, but I was also allowed to add bows.

And because it's been several days since I posted pictures of the babies, here's some from yesterday. L. is in the picture on top and G. in the one below. G. was having a lot of fun with the fabric scraps I had left on the floor. This morning the babies had their baby portraits taken. A photograp…

Family Lenten devotional

I've had a request for our list of readings that we do for our Lenten devotions, so here it is. As I said before, I used the idea I found in No Ordinary Home (though it's now out of print). I did change it a little. The author of the book found small objects to illustrate each passage, but I found it easier to make them out of Sculpy. In my previous post I placed the ornaments in order, so you should be able to match my description of the ornament with what I made. (Yes, I know sometimes they are difficult to figure out.) We actually do 47 readings, though technically, Lent does not include the Sundays, making it 40 days. So, without further ado...

Day 1: Faith - Matthew 17:20 Set-up branch (I use pussy willow branches, but it could be anything. If you decide to force forsythia branches, know that you will have to untie and retie all the ornaments when the pretty yellow flowers dry up and start to fall off, looking not quite so pretty.)
Day 2: Creation - …

Blessed, blessed sleep

One baby was up once last night. I think I can go on with life. Starting Saturday night (the first night J. was gone, of course) the babies started in on a non-sleeping stint. By the time J. arrived home on Monday I think I had had 5 hours of sleep. The next two nights were only slightly better. I was running a huge sleep deficit and only able to do the necessities. Plus, I was not the most patient person in the world. But now with over 7 hours of sleep in one night, I feel like a new person and am able to function (and blog) again. Ahhhhh...

So what's been going on the past few days? Well, my bloggy friend, Ann, and I had our first long-distance book club meeting. It was great to talk in real life and we had a good discussion about the book we read, The Map of Love. Next up is The Help.

Since yesterday was Ash Wednesday, today we are officially into Lent. In our home, that means we bring out the Lenten devotional we do every year as a family. First, I needed to find some pussy …

Works in Progress

J. was gone with B. all weekend on a Boy Scout camp out, so the rest of us here had a quiet weekend at home. I took the opportunity to do some sewing and start some projects that I wanted to work on.
When I came across this pattern for knitted log cabin washcloths, I was consumed with the need to make them. Here is the first one, with the colors I will be using; the blue will be the outer rectangles. Evidently I have difficulties with things that are supposed to be easy. These washcloths are all done in garter stitch, meaning that it is all knitting, no purling needed. Well, yesterday, I was happily knitting away, when I stop and really look at what I've done. I guess I have made too many items in stockinette stitch because without realizing it, that's what I started doing halfway through. I had to stop and unknit (ugh!) back to the garter stitching. I also worked on some more hats. Here G. is modelling the hat I made to be sure the pattern still fit the babies' he…

Congratulations to the newest star scout

Last night B. advanced to star scout at his troop's court of honor. We're very proud of him. (Just ignore the duct taped shoes, OK?) It does make for some sewing for me. I tend to put-off sewing on scout patches (both boy and girl) until the last minute. Which is why yesterday found me sewing many patches on both shirt and merit badge sash. The merit badges are fine; they'll stay where they are. But because B. has advanced far enough, he is entitled to wear a dark green scout shirt now. (It's how his troop designates the boys in leadership positions.) This means all those patches I sewed on for the court of honor will now need to be taken off and sewn on his new green shirt. I think it's time for B. to learn to do a bit of sewing.

B.'s troop also celebrated it's 95th birthday last night, making it one of the oldest troops in the country. (Boy Scouts is celebrating it's 100th birthday in the US this year.) It was fun to look at the slides of what our to…

Hard tack for lunch, anyone?

Today we were reading about the life of the troops who fought in the Civil War. And since one can hardly learn about troop life without also learning about Hard Tack, we decided to make some for ourselves.

A. mixing up the flour and water. Do you like her new glasses? Thanks to our anonymous gift-giver at Christmas, we were able to get A. some much needed new glasses. I like them, but they make her look a lot more grown-up than her last pair did.
Taking (scraping, more like) the Hard Tack off the pan.



The babies wanted to be a part of things, too, and happily waved their Hard Tack around, though didn't try to taste it. Here's M. and L.


And in case anyone was concerned that all these poor children had for lunch was tooth breaking Hard Tack, never fear, a regular lunch was consumed by all. This could be one of my last posts on the Civil War. We have 6 lessons left before I call it done. And for the curious, M. and B., my high schoolers, have not been studying the…

Scripts for life

I don't know about you, but I often find that my children need coaching in using appropriate language in their interactions with others...especially other family members. More than a few times in a day I discover that I am performing monologues for my children to feed them the correct response. For instance, when I ask P. to empty the dishwasher for me, sometimes her response is a perturbed sigh. To which I respond, "Oh, you mean, 'Of course, Mother dear. I'd be happy to help. Is there anything else I could do for you?' " I rarely get the 'Mother dear' part repeated, though.

This morning, TM accidentally ran the laundry basket into D., which provoked tears and an angry accusation of, "Owwwww! TM hit me really hard!" TM immediately reacted with, "No I didn't!" Having been on the scene for this particular altercation, I knew it was an accident, so was able to give them each their new script. D., you mean, "TM, that really hur…

Cute babies are better than taxes

I've spent the day (finally) sorting through piles of papers, making lists, and doing everything that has to be done before we can start filling out tax forms. And because no one enjoys doing tax stuff, much less reading about someone else doing taxes, I have more baby pictures for you.

L. is in blue and G. is in pink. These are little dresses that my mom cross-stitched for M. when she was a baby. I'm quite sure she had no idea she was creating coordinating twin outfits as she was working on them.

Choosing joy

Boy, I've been quite the happy camper over the past week or two, haven't I? It is so easy to fall into the habit of complaining and worrying. I'm particularly prone to worry. If I were Anne Shirley, I would most likely call it my besetting sin. It's as if I believe somewhere deep down, that if I worry about something enough, I can stop it from happening...that to not worry shows distinct irresponsibility. The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous, but it is often shouted down by my more irrational side.

But, worrying is really merely symptom of a much larger problem. I believe it shows a fundamental lack of faith. If I say I believe God will take care of me, but continue to worry, do I really believe that God will do as He says? Of course, the other side to this is will I like how God chooses to take care of me? I know I do not always know what is best for me, but am I going to like what is best, at least in the short-term? Recently I have been feeling like…

Tell me again why we live here...

I have just returned from our branch library because I had to renew my library card. As I mentioned before, there had been a large movement to save the branch libraries from the budget chopping block. We had all been breathing a sigh of relief, because from all indications, the city council was willing to finance them for one more year while alternate funding was secured. Imagine my surprise when the librarian informs me that last night the city council did a complete reverse face and voted to close the branches. By the end of the month they will both be gone.

As my city services dwindle and my tax bill grows, I am starting to wonder why it is we live here. Well, there's the lake...that's nice in the summer. Though to enjoy the beaches I must buy $20 per person beach tokens. The schools are good, but that doesn't really affect us. It's very diverse, if you count overall population, but so are the areas to west and south of us. It just makes me wonder if putting…

God's provision

I am always a little hesitant to share with everyone how God provides for us. It always feels a bit as though I'm bragging...which is exactly opposite of how I feel, which is completely humbled. I never feel deserving of the riches showered on us. But, I know I am encouraged by other's stories of provision, so with that in mind I'll share our most recent ones.

We are planning a trip to drive to Arizona to visit my parents this spring. It has been four years since we were last there and we're quickly getting to a point that we can't be sure our older children will be able to join us on long family trips. (Sniff.) And while in the great scheme of vacations a driving trip to stay with one's parents isn't hugely expensive, there are still hotels, gas, and meals to pay for along the way. It was adding to my worry about money in general. But yesterday, one of TM and D's Sunday school teachers offered us her hotel points. Thanks to her, we have hotels for at le…