Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lemonade Stand Finances

Teaching our children can often be fun, but sometimes it is hard. We've taught our kids about the scriptures, in particular, God's commandments. Some of those lessons have been excruciating this week. Two posts. Two examples today.

There are several places tithing is mentioned. We are to pay a tithe, or a tenth, of our increase annually to the Lord. Not because he needs our money, frankly he'll be just fine without it, but because I need to learn to give it and recognize what is mine is really the Lords anyway.
When all the lemonade stand sales were done and the pitchers were empty Ben brought in the dishes and was off to play. Now comes the hard lesson.  Sunday morning he reminded me that in the craziness of the day I hadn't paid his allowance on Saturday.  True. We handled that and as he put his "Fun Money" into his piggy bank after paying his bills (tithing and savings) I remarked how he sure had a lot more money than I remembered him having last week. He is saving for a Nintendo DS and is keeping meticulous track of his progress and reports it proudly to me each week. He had about $22 last week. This week, after allowance he had about $32.  I asked where it came from. The lemonade stand. Of course. I forgot. He had made $7.50 selling lemonade.

Now what?  Yuck. Parenting can be rough.  I mentioned that he hadn't yet payed his bills on that money yet. He was dumbstruck. What bills? Tithing. Of course he had to pay on the money I give him. I guess it's just part of the deal in his mind. I pay him and then I take his money back.  He hadn't ever thought about it before that you had to pay tithing on other money. Luckily this time Brian was around. I asked, "Dad, what happens to your money when you get paid from work?" Sensing exactly where I was going, he gave an appropriate response about tithing first, then taxes, then bills, then fun.  I explained that the Bible says we play on our "increase" and increase means what more we have than we had before. Did he have more on Sunday than he had on Friday? Yep. So the Lord expected that he would need to pay a tithe on that money.

Life lessons are hard, especially when you are seven years old. He took it well, after the shock wore off. He still came out ahead. The piggy bank flashes a bigger number today than it did on Friday. And hopefully it won't be a surprise next time he does a lemonade stand. I think he'll be happy to honor the Lord next time, you know, when he's mentally budgeted for the expense. Hopefully by learning the importance of tithing now will make it easier to be faithful and diligent when times are tough in college or later in his life. Those are the times that the blessings of obedience are really seen. This much I know to be true: the windows of heaven shower down blessings on those who consistently, deliberatly obey Gods laws, even when it's hard to do.

Lemonade Stand

Ben and Maddie had been asking for months if they could have a lemonade stand. They always ask at the wrong time. Twenty minutes before dinner is served and I'm rushing to get it on the table. On our way out the door to a swim lesson. When it's pooring down rain and half an hour from bedtime. Every time I tell them it's a great idea but we have to plan it. Thanksgiving weekend they finally got it right. Friday night they came to me and asked if they could have a lemonade stand on Saturday. I knew already it would be a hectic day since we were hosting 22 people for a big dinner but they had done exactly what I had asked them to do. Make a plan. I couldn't refuse.

First thing Saturday morning (I was up at 4am thawing the turkey, they came down about 6:45) they wanted to get started. It wasn't a good time and we had limited supply of ice because I had party plans for most of it. I suggested that most people would probably want to eat breakfast and get dressed before they wanted lemonade. We formally scheduled the big event for 10am. They quickly polished off a bowl of cereal each and bounded up the stairs to the craft area to make the signs they would need. By 7:30 they were ready, but the crowds, I assumed, were still in bed on a lazy Saturday morning in the middle of a four day weekend. Maddie asked about every 30 minutes if it was 10 o'clock yet and Ben asked about each thing to make sure we were ready.

As the clock ticked the minutes away, Brian peeled potatoes, I washed green beans and we both realized we needed to pick up the deep fryer to make absolutely certain our monsterous turkey would fit because going strictly by weight, it was oversized for the pot. If this plan wasn't going to work, we needed to get that bird in the oven immediately or there would be no dinner! We took the family and the wagon to get it at about 9:45. We verified it would indeed fit and headed to the grocery store to get lemonade stand cups and a couple other random groceries for the afternoon.

Beep, beep, beep went the scanner at the checkout counter and as we looked out the window into the courtyard my heart sunk. It was a downpour the likes of which are hard to explain to a Utahn. We got home from the store and unloaded the car. Ben knew it wasn't a good time so started to play and do random clean up tasks to get ready for our guests. Somewhere along the line the rain stopped but it was soon approaching 1:30 and that meant turkey time. I snagged the three little people to come and see just what we were going to eat. Everyone needed stools and it took a minute to get all situated so everyone could see the show. It was totally entertaining for me to snap photos as Brian explained the anatomy of the headless, footless bird to three wide eyed kids. Then he pulled out the neck and the innards and showed them what they were and explained the jobs of the parts.

Then it was into the pot for Mr. Turkey and within minutes the rain returned full force. Knowing my patient Ben had had enough of the months of waiting only to have to keep waiting today I suggested we make up the lemonade and have it all ready to add ice when the rain stopped. He was keen on that idea so he picked two flavors, I threw in the sugar and he happily mixed them up. Then he got a toy bin and his signs and tape and got ready to wait.

About 2:30 he'd had enough waiting. He set up shop in our driveway under the cover and waited. And waited. And waited. See, we live on a quiet, dead end circle of a road at the extreme most back corner. And it was RAINING! No one was going to be walking around. He had made signs for the main road, but didn't want the rain to ruin them so he hadn't posted them up on the light poles and trees. Finally the rain slowed to a medium sprinkle instead of a full on downpour. He opened the door and yelled, "I'm going to know tell people I'm selling lemonade!" And off he went to knock the doors of the neighbors.

Soon enough he had his first three customers and made $1.50. In a while he got two more kids to come over and at S$0.50 (US$0.38) he felt like he was getting rich quick. That was of course his last customer other than all our dinner guests who began arriving at 2:30. John and Jenna, the British couple, only had a $50 bill, which Ben couldn't break, so I loaned them $2.50 and they and their three kids all had a delicious warm cup. The ice melted instantly in the Singapore heat so nothing was cold. They thought it was such fun to buy lemonade from a real lemonade stand. It's something they had literally only seen in the movies. That made me chuckle. Silly Brits.  Really though, Silly Americans, sitting in the driveway with juice and cups on an old cardboard box.

Sabbath Day Birthday Parties

Teaching our children can often be fun, but sometimes it is hard. We've taught our kids about the scriptures, in particular, about the 10 commandments. Some of those lessons have been excruciating this week. Two posts. Two examples today.

Exodus 20:8-11
8 Remember the asabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it

If we aren't to work on the Sabbath and we shouldn't cause other people to work either then I can't justify shopping on Sunday or sports events or amusement parks or the like. That much we've been firm on.  The keep it holy is a lot more subjective and I genuinly struggle with what is in the spirit of keeping the Sabbath a holy day. We give the green light to family dinners and inviting friends over to dine with us but keep it low key and only if it's a full family event for both us and our guests or inviting someone over in need. We try not to go to parties and such where, though it may be loads of good pool party/laser tag/moon bouncing fun, we won't be drawn closer to the Lord through our attendance. See what I mean? Hard line to draw.

Now that the kids are getting older we are having to deal with this commandment more and more with our kids. Ben just accepts as a given that we won't join a sports team that has Sunday practice and games, we left the cub scout campout as soon as we woke up instead of staying for the days events, so we could get packed up, showered and to church on time (and even that attendance was debated before we decided to go). We don't have playdates with neighbor kids on Sunday unless it is a small family event where their entire family is invited to enjoy time with us our entire family.

The kicker at our house these days is the birthday party invites. He knows from the time he sees that invitation come home in back pack mail that if it says "Sunday" it's the kiss of death for him. Ben has not yet ever complained, but that doesn't mean his sweet, innocent heart isn't broken and that we haven't had tears.

We said no to a birthday pool party this week because it was on Sunday but he held onto the anticipation of another party on the calendar. Two weeks ago he brought home an invite to a party for one of his very favorite classmates. It was a Laser Tag party and it was on SATURDAY!! I was about as happy as he was that he could go.  He has been anxiously waiting for the big day this weekend. Early this week my heart felt like it was being ripped in two pieces as I read my email. The mother of the friend sent a note out that went something like this..."Oops! We are so sorry, but we put the wrong date on the invite. The party is actually on Sunday, Dec 4. We hope the schedule change doesn't mean you'll miss the party." What am I supposed to do? I know what I have to do, but I'm chicken. I waited two whole days to tell Ben. Finally I knew I had no choice but to break the news. He cried and threw himself on the couch. Not a single word of protest emerged though. He knows it's God's law, not mom's rule. And he is an obedient child.

I wish so much that other Christians felt the same as I do. I wish I didn't stand alone so often. I wish that more Christians chose not to do things on the Sabbath so that when I'm questioned and I explain my religious belief is based on the 10 Commandments my friends of other faiths didn't question me saying their (fill in the blank other Christian) friends do things on Sunday.  I know. I know they do. But I don't.  I wish so much that there were more people that remembered. It would make for so many less birthday party heart breaks in my home. For now I accept that we are peculiar. I know someday Ben (and Maddie and Jacob and #4) will hate me for our stand. But I feel like it's the right thing to teach them. I pray I have the faith and stamina to stay true. Because it's hard to make your little boy cry. His broken heart in turn breaks mine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Insurance - Explanation of BEN-e-fits

Today we got a copy of the insurance company Explanation of Benefits. My first thought was, "Weird. I have a monsterous stack of things to submit but being international means NOTHING is automatic. How could they have known about an appointment we had this year?"
 
Upon further inspection I saw that the service date was August 2007. Yes.  2007.  That's over four years ago for a surgery Ben had. Seriously? Four years later? What rotten book keeping!!  Ben was reading over my shoulder and I laughed as I realized how OLD this thing was. Wondering what was so funny, I explained to my 7 1/2 year old that I was reading a bill, for lack of a better explanation, for something that happened when he was 3 years old.
 
He started reading to figure it out and saw in big bold letters across the top of the page and read to me, "Explanation of BEN-e-fits. Is that about me?"
"Well, yeah, but not exactly how you think." Laughing out loud I asked him, "If it was for Maddie do you think it would say, 'Explanation of Maddie-fits?'"
"Of course."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quote of the Day to Make Me Smile

I just logged onto Flylady.com to check how bad shipping would be for a 2012 calendar. The quote that came up on the screen was perfect for me.
 
"You can't organize clutter....you can only get rid of it!"
 
Baby steps. That's what it's all about and I'm making a lot of them these days. Having the kids home from school was fun and good for everyone this Thanksgiving weekend even if I started to resent ExxonMobil for keeping my husband away from the family and having him work late. While the kids played and kept Jacob totally engrossed in their imaginitive games I got through so many boxes! I was beyond proud of myself for tidying up and throwing out and organizing the things we did need to keep.
 
One time as Ben passed the office and poked his head in the room I stopped him. I happily exclaimed, "Ben, LOOK! I got all this cleaned up and unpacked!" I motioned to the nicely arranged shelf. He sweetly looked around the room and smiled but couldn't come up with any words for me.  Gazing at him I realized he wasn't impressed and didn't know what to say.  I turned my head back to where I had been pointing and then I noticed it...I had unpacked and emptied two huge moving boxes of their precious cargo, but in the process my sorting piles of "recycle," "trash," "computer shelf," "cleaning supplies for the storage closet" etc. things were piled all over the floor and other boxes had simply been pushed out of the way.

I started laughing and Ben looked relieved from the akward position in which I had placed him when I said, "It doesn't really look that great, does it?"
"No." Then he smiled and charged into the room. He motioned with his hands at the three foot by three foot square piece of real estate that had previously held a pile of boxes as tall as my head. Making a square with his hands and pointing to the floor he said, "But this spot looks REALLY good mom!"
I gave him a hug and sent him on his way, thanking him for helping me feel good.  Sweet kid.

Too Much Singing

The big kids are off to class and Jacob finished his morning chores so he can watch a movie. Diego is his usual favorite on cable. I get lots done in those thirty minute blocks. Now he's complaining about the show though and I'm cracking up at his critique.

"Mom, why rescue pack is singing all the time?"
"I'm not sure. Do you like it?"
"No. He is just singing TOO much every day he does sing."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Success

I'm calling thanksgiving a success. Twenty two full bellies. Twenty two happy people. Lots and lots of dishes. This is the kitchen after two loads of dishes had already been done. Yikes!

Cranky Jake

From the second he came downstairs Jacob has been crying about this, that or the other thing. Thought I'd snap a photo of his angry face since I don't put enough pictures on the blog. This is how he felt about getting his picture taken.

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

For dinner today we are having:
6 Zufelts (I'm including the fluffy yittle doggie baby for fun - then I can eat more)
5 Brits
4 Koreans
3 Utahns (and 3 more Americans from where I'm not yet sure)
2 Chinese interns from ExxonMobil
and I think I'll have to go find a partridge in a pear tree to round things out
 
Actual grand total: 22 people
 
Brian had to work both Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday because it isn't a holiday here at all so we rescheduled our festivites to Saturday afternoon.  So while you are sleeping at 3 am after a long day of Black Friday shopping, we'll be stuffing ourselves with turkey and, well, stuffing.
 
Maddie has been listening real close to her lessons from Ms. Kiran at school and has been calling our celebration "The Feast" all week. Every single day she asks, "How many more days until The Feast?" or "Is it the day of The Feast yet?" She is sort of making the pressure and expectation level for me to perform go up don't you think? I hope I can deliver. At 6:45 am this morning the kids (Ben and Maddie) got up and started crafting table and wall decorations for the big event. Ben's only request is that we find A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie so everyone can watch it. I think that's a splendid idea...now if we can find it that'd be perfect!
 
The run down on our guest list:
Jenna, the Brit, is super excited. She's always wanted to go to a "proper Thanksgiving dinner."  Say it with a British accent and it'll make you smile even more. Think of the fact that she associated Angie Zufelt with the word proper and you may fall off your chair laughing. I promised her a fantastic traditional spread of Thanksgiving food but made no committments on the "proper" part of the request. I'll do my best, but I left all candlesticks and the nice dishes (that I don't own) in storage in the US. We'll make due with Corelle dishes, everyday silverware and neon colors of Ikea cups.  We did save our Halloween pumpkins for decorations since we were in Australia and never got around to carving them. Yesterday she sent me an SMS (that means a text message) saying she'd been dieting all week in preparation - I think she's got this holiday down already!
 
Nahyun, the Korean, has lived on our street in our little American neighborhood for three years so her kids can go to the American school.  Her son Allen is one of Ben's very best friends. They had the same teacher last year and again this year. Maddie and Eun Seo are now great buddies too.  Nahyun is extremely interested in all my American cooking. She has a helper that does most of the cooking but often she will make Korean dishes and bring me some to try. She seasoned some pork for me to fry up one day that was to die for!  She often happens by around dinner time to pick up her kids and I introduced her to a new, exotic and strange ingredient last week.  Cream of chicken soup. I had to giggle. She had never seen it in her whole life. I'm not sure I could cook anything without a can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup. My recipe book would be stripped of nearly half the recipes instantly.  She loved a simple rice and chicken oven bake I sent home with her.
 
When I invited her family to Thanksgiving dinner via email she replied and then came over the next day literally giddy with excitement. She has never in her life tasted turkey and is honored to be invited to an American Thanksgiving. After three years of learning about this holiday she is finally going to see what it's all about. At least Zufelt style. She asked what she could bring and I suggested a fruit salad. Then I had to clarify. She couldn't imagine putting salad dressing on fruit so asked which kind. Our American-ness sure can mess other people up. I explained it just meant to put it in a bowl, no dressing required. Then she asked what kind of fruit my kids liked so I asked Maddie.  "ROCK MELON!!" came the enthusiastic reply. "What is rock melon?" I translated from Singaporean to American and gave it a shot. "Cantelope?" I queried. Nope. So we went to google. She'd never seen it. She knew watermelon from living in Singpore but in Korea had only ever had honeydew, which they simply call melon because there is only green melons sold. I've never liked honeydew so I asked, neither did she.  We both agree, it's never sweet enough.  I told her rock melon was not required but showed her with online pictures what it looks like and how to prepare it if she wants to try it. If not, I'll get her one next week. I bet she'll love it!
 
To keep things interesteing for the American contingency attending The Feast today we are breaking from regular oven baked tradition and going Southern.  Our neighbors are from Houston and have a deep fryer they used on Thursday for their big dinner.  We'll be taking a wagon over this morning to get the fryer and the oil. This is our first year actually doing the deep frying and I'm hoping it works out really great. My brother fries a mean turkey so I'm hoping we don't disapoint.
 
Our Chinese guests are two college interns that have been working for Brian at ExxonMobil and, well, they have no idea what they are getting into in the first place. This whole holiday is brand spanking new to them so they are just along for the ride.  I need to tell Brian to remind them we don't drink. Sometimes I forget that and it's akward when people show up with a lovely bottle of wine as a generous gift but we allow let alcohol in our house for us or others. Better nip that in the butt before we get surprised by it. Another guest offered to bring wine yesterday, otherwise I wouldn't have remembered at all.
 
Finally, for the partridge, I found some bird seed when I was unpacking boxes yesterday. Yes. I'm still unpacking from when we moved here in January and got our shipment in April. Just the random stuff that could be tossed and no one would actually miss it so it wasn't urgent. You know, stuff like birdseed.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Turkey is STILL Frozen...and We Eat at 3:30 Today

I checked online and saw I needed four days to fridge thaw our turkey. It was delivered with sufficient time to be ready for our Saturday "feast" as Maddie has been calling it all week.  I stuck it in the fridge and forgot about it until Friday afternoon. I thought I'd check it out and to my dismay there was still a thin ice layer on the outside of the turkey.  What am I supposed to do now? We are supposed to eat this bird in 24 hours!! And we've got 21 people coming over to share it.
 
I set the alarm for 6 am because any earlier was beyond my comprehension. Then, because I'm pregnant, got up at 4 am this morning to pee and just went ahead with it. I have commenced the cool water bath method of turkey thawing.  In the wee early morning hours I also found a support community online telling me it will all be okay. I can have this turkey ready. It's possible. Of course in my planning to get up at 6 am I had read it needed 12 hours of water baths. A little short on time but it had fridge time.  Perfect.  But wait...I didn't back calculate that it needed 4-5 hours to COOK.  Ugh. At this point I'm counting on the four days in the fridge to have done SOMETHING major to help me out. The outer layer of turkey was kinda squishy when we began the thawing marathon in the pitch black hours of the night fumbling around in a tired stupor.
 
Hmm... It just occured to me that I set that alarm for 6 am. It's now 6:30 am and I've been downstairs since 4 o'clock. Sorry Brian for my alarm waking you up. My bad.

Friday, November 25, 2011

That Was Not a Roast

I don't know why the package said "pot roast". It was NOT a pot roast. It was plain terrible. It was cooked through but still reddish pink. Like the crap hamburgers I occasionally get on accident. Now I'm ticked. Wasted $30 on junk meat. Gross.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Singapore Life

Did I post this already? Cracks me up the things they have to warn me about at Sentosa Island.

Movie Snack Bar Selection

Wow. Tough choice but I'm gonna pass on the fish and stick with M&Ms.

Grateful

I'm grateful for the cleaning ladies. They are fantastic. They are totally reliable. Always on time. Clean things I would NEVER get around too. (Who washes their windows inside and out every single week?) They find little things all the time that make my life better.

Scout campout was this weekend. It rained. The mud was so bad I lost my shoes in the suction cup action more than once. Literally used a scrub brush to clean my legs in the shower because it would not come off my shins. Clean up has been a long and slow process because I spent so many hours at the school Monday and Tuesday. Everything had to be hosed off, scrubbed down and dried out. Then packed and stored.

When Mary and Auntie arrived this morning to clean we still had leaves in the living and dining room despite vacuuming twice as we dried and folded the tent inside. The tarp was a quarter clean and a pile of nasty mud caked croc sandals lay by the hose awaiting round two scrub downs. I wanted to cry tears of gratitude when I glanced out the window and saw Auntie, who in America would be nearing retirement age, squatting and scrubbing a pile of crocs. Then I noticed she had finished and folded up the muddy tarp. They are angels to me. Life is good. I am blessed.

Today's Project with Jake


Tower Building with Colors and Shapes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Field Trip to the Wet Market with Maddie Mae

Today was a big day for Maddie and fifteen of her favorite friends. The kids had their first field trip this year. From the looks on their faces at the coffee shop after doing their vegetable shopping, picking flowers to secretly buy for the teacher and buying a cool lime juice at the hawker stalls it was a smashing success. Maddie absolutely adores her teacher Ms. Kiran and their aide Ms. Fitzah.

When she saw the flower shop she first wanted to buy flowers for me. She picked chrysanthemums that were dyed nearly neon green because, she reasoned, I like the color green.

Looking around I showed her what I thought looked like my moms favorite flower that she always has in the front flower boxes in the front yard. Then she decided I didn't need flowers but Ms. Kiran did and chose what I had pointed out as grandma's favorite. Two other girls joined in picking to buy the teacher flowers too. One cute girl has a tendency to boss Maddie around and either make her choices for her or copy whatever Maddie does so they are always exactly the same (from walking exactly next to each other to coloring a butterfly the same on every single stripe and polka dot).

After a bit of time with her friend at the flower shop she finally whispered in my ear that she was changing her plan and giving them to Ms. Fitzah. I was proud she was thinking on her own and being so selfless in her thoughts because most days she would have only wanted flowers for herself.

Jake of course isn't quite there yet. We now have chrysanthemums dyed neon blue in the middle of our dinner table. The kids all love them and I'd say they were totally worth $0.80.

Asleep

Jake had a messy diaper and was too uncomfortable to sit on the ride home from the play date. Too tired to stay awake for two blocks. He was dead asleep when we got home kneeling in the stroller like this.

Can't Reach

Jake is always so sure that if he holds the remote really, really high I won't be able to reach it and turn the tv off. Hasn't worked yet but he still keeps trying!

How You Know Mom Has Had Enough

Nothing else seems to be working. Maybe this will have an impact. I know I'm not the only mom sitting in surprises due to lazy boys. Thought some of you would appreciate this post.

Monday, November 21, 2011

iPhone HELP!!

My iPhone just started emailing me anytime I update anything I put in my "Notes". I didn't change anything and it never did it before since I got the darn thing in February.  Kids must have changed something but who knows what or how to change it!  It's making lots of junk mail in my inbox. If you are an iPhone wizard, tell me, what am I supposed to do?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scout Campout Damage

Ten minutes into the drive home from church three kids are asleep in the car. Victims of a late night at the cub scout campout last night. Too bad we can't leave them in the car and go enjoy a lunch and a movie on the couch while we watch them in the driveway.

Primary Program Today

"What are those kids doing?" "Singing about Jesus in French." "Oh. They saying, 'Oui oui oui oui!'" ("We we we we.")

Maybe I've taken too much creative license with my translation/interpretation thinking he automatically switched into French, a language he absolutely does know. But the timing was fantastic and I started laughing.

By the way, Maddie and Ben remembered their parts and did great.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Brian in Pink?

Brian's flight landed from Tokyo about 3am on Thursday morning so I left the
dead bolt unlocked and went to bed. He came in about 4am and was as quiet as
humanly possible...but I'm pregnant so even the slightest noise makes me
wake and then have to get up to use the bathroom. He went to sleep and I
surfed the web on my phone laying in bed. Finally it was time to get up and
shower. As I walked out the bedroom door to face the day I saw his suitcase,
unzipped but still closed, with just a touch of pink plaid like fabric.
Immediatly I was puzzled.

I knew his subwoofer went out (a certifiable male emergency) so he had been
shopping two nights in Tokyo. Japan runs off 100V power which is close
enough to the US 110V to make it workable. He didn't want to buy a 220V one
if we will only be here two more years. Since he had been out shopping were
my eyes playing tricks on me? Was it a salmon colored plaid work shirt he
had picked up? I opened his bag and was giddy with excitement!

THANK YOU HEATHER GILLESPIE!! (And whomever Brian knows from Fairfax that
was traveling to Tokyo the same week!) No, Brian did not buy himself pink or
even salmon colored attire. Heather sent us a boat load of hand me downs
previously destined for Dani's Duds. I love you. I love you! So cute. You
are the best, and she got it all together with a adorable four week old baby
keeping her up at night. You rock. Shopping here is either beyond expensive
or Chinatown quality. This is a real blessing. Thanks a million!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

English

I like this sign. I glad we safe even if our English suck.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Derailed - By My Own Darn Self

I had the best of intentions today. Jake was going to watch an hour to hour and a half of kid shows on cable while I caught up on finances.  What did I actually do this morning? Got sidetracked on facebook after seeing a note about the Patches visiting us in Singapore. Then I talked with the Patches in Nepal about meeting up with his family on their US State Dept R&R leave. They are doing a tour of S.E. Asia and all the sites are close to us.  I’m thinking Angkor Wat the day after the kids get out of school for break.  I’ve always thought if there would be anyone to travel with it would be the Patches. They are always ready for adventure and ALWAYS know about cool things I would have never found out about.  I can’t wait!!

 

Then I got messaged by some of my old church youth girls who are away at college and another new Singapore friend called to plan out our Thanksgiving plans so we searched online for all the required dishes and planned who is bringing what. 

 

Jake? He got two good hours of Diego/Dora/Bubble Guppies/Little Bill/Max and Ruby and whatever else came on.  I tried to get him to go on a walk together, ride bikes outside with me, play games but he has no interest and I wasn’t overly motivated since I had made no progress on my own tasks so I let him be. I still only put in five receipts put into Quicken for the day.  Guess he gets twenty more minutes of tube time and then we’ll go pick up Maddie – officially ending the so called productive part of my day. What a laugh that is today.  Productive. Ha.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hey Elevator Lady!

We took the elevator down to Maddie's school today just like every other day. Usually when the voice inside the elevator says, "going down" Jacob gets agitated and tells me he wants to go up. Today he yelled out at the elevator voice directly, "HEY Lady!!! (pronounced yea-dee) I want to go UP!" He is so funny to spend my days with. I love it!

New Twist On B-I-N-G-O

video Jake really enjoys singing the song Bingo with Maddie. They belt it out. Today she’s at school so he’s doing the very best he can do.   “F-O-Angie-O”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Negotiating with a Two Year Old

Jacob is weepy. He needs a nap. We have friends over for the day while their parents are away on holiday and Jacob just came downstairs crying.  I asked what the trouble was and he told me, “Maddie says Micah is this many,” showing me three fingers.

I replied that he WAS that many.

“NOPE!” He’s this many!” showing me two fingers again.

This went on for a bit and I tried to remind him how we had blue cupcakes at Micah’s house last week and now he was three. All to no avail. He finally ended by telling me Micah was NOT Ben and Maddie’s age and left the room. I think I lost the argument.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Switching Places

We had the Pitman kids today it was so much FUN!! Sitting in church together was fine but they were pretty chatty and happy to just be together.

On the way home Ben and Corbin switched places and Tia and Maddie did too. The girls switched as much as they possibly could switch on a car ride - hair bows, clips, sweaters, shoes and glasses. Funny part was that neither Tia nor Corbin could keep the glasses on. I'm sure they gave them headaches after two minutes or less. Of course my kids didn't understand what the problem was. I can't wait for the day they have contact lenses and then try glasses. Then they will totally get it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mini Refinery

Ben was busy this afternoon building with legos and made a mini refinery he was quite proud of.

Time for a Haircut or Dye the Roots

Jake is getting about old enough to need his first haircut. I put a pony
tail and bow in it at Shon's house. Today I noticed how when I do cut it
he's going to really darken up. All the blond must be baby hair because his
roots are much, much darker than the bleached blond hair he used to have.
That makes me sad. Not only do kids look much older once they get their
first cut but he'll no longer be my solo blond kid. Maybe he'll actually
look like my kid now.
Just for kicks I'm waiting to cut it until his birthday in a few weeks.
Seriously, who hits the three year mark and has never had a cut yet? That's
just plain nuts.

I Don't Want to Walk to School Today

Jake was not feeling like walking to school this morning to drop off Maddie Mae. Poor guy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sleeping In, Toilet Talk and Foreign Languages

Usually we get the kids up at 6 am so they are ready to leave for school at 7:30. We do morning reading and one house helper chore like empty the dish washer before school each morning. Plus they are often pokey about getting ready. Last night Halloween was wild and fun and sugar filled and LATE. This morning I'm making the executive decision to let them sleep a full extra hour. Think they can be ready in 30 minutes?

I decided it was better to scrap everything but get dressed, eat and brush teeth and let them rest. We got up twenty minutes later yesterday and no one had reading time because they were dragging too much. They did wake naturally though. I was going to give them thirty minutes but someone got up to use the toilet. They are all sooooo tired still from our trip and to put Halloween on top adds up to a risk situation of potential tears and tantrums at every turn.

It that weird of me to say "use the toilet" instead of "go to the bathroom"? It's one Singapore thing I've picked up on. Makes lift easier here to be sure. What the heck is a restroom anyway? I don't nap and rest there. And bathrooms at the mall? Aren't any bathtubs there to be seen.

In Australia, and I'm pretty sure British people too after having my friend Jenna over last night to trick or treat, say wee or wee-wee instead of pee or tinkle. Translate that for the poor people at South Bend Park in Brisbane. We had eight kids and a merry go round late on a Friday night at the boardwalk park along the river. As they spun round and round and round they would all squeal at the to of their lungs "Wee! Wee! Wee!" over and over and over. The Aussies probably think there were a bunch of crass American kids at the past last weekend. I think it's funny.

Then there were the young twenty something's on their way out clubbing. Dressed to impress this group of six or seven were saying f-this and f-that and f-her and lots more of the same in fine Aussie accents as Maddie and I crossed paths with them along the boardwalk. After they had passed us up Maddie, holding my hand as we walk, looks up in my eyes and says, "Funny how grown ups in Australia always talk in another language here, right?"
I smiled and simply agreed. Between the curse words she had never heard and the accent she had no idea what they were even saying. How can I capture that innocence and hold it forever. Maddie who began as an angel then grew into my biggest challenge for three long years has become one of my sweetest delights again in the last six months. I love being friends again with my sweet girl. She is beautiful. Her smile contagious and freely gives. She is spontaneous and oozing with love to give away. She is wonderful.

And now it's time to wake the beasts.