Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Tomorrow we're leaving for a long weekend in Singapore (or Sinkapore, as the boys call it). We're traveling with friends, so the trip should be a blast.

The laptops are staying home. We're placing bets on who will be the first to collapse on the sidewalk, doubled over in the throes of withdrawal.

The baby is staying home. I'm convinced she'll be walking by the time we get back. And doing long division and diagramming sentences. Please don't forget us, Little Miss Fluffernutter. We won't forget you. Not even when we're sleeping eight consecutive hours and missing that 1 a.m. feeding and 5 a.m. wake-up call...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pizza Emergency

So there is no 911 in the Philippines. We've never figured out how to summon an ambulance, and with the traffic here I wouldn't trust one to get us to the hospital anyway. Thankfully we live close enough to a medical center that Bryce can get us there with some fancy driving in five minutes.

There is, however, a handy number for Pizza Hut delivery: 911-1111. For all those pizza emergencies! (And we've had a few, believe it or not.)

Yesterday we passed an ambulance and saw a number painted on the side: 911-1121. Eureka! We now have an emergency preparedness backup plan. Plus it's nice to know the priorities of the people handing out telephone numbers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Over Sea, Under Stone

So I'm finally getting around to posting a book review. I decided to start with my all-time favorite children's book, Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. This cover is gorgeous, by the way, and one I've not seen before. It's by David Wiesner of Tuesday and Flotsam fame (LOVE his work!).

I pulled this out recently for another read and decided to take a red pen to it to decipher what made me fall in love with the story. First, the easy stuff:

-Bored siblings looking for trouble
-Mystery, adventure, chases, old books, treasure maps
-British kids using expressions like "Smashing!" and "Rubbish!" and "It's jolly difficult."

Simon, Jane, and Barney, with the help of their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry (a.k.a. Merlin), must evade the terrible Mr. Hastings and recover a relic linked to King Arthur. The kids are smart; they're determined and sneaky. They tell each other to shut up and fight over stupid stuff. But their bond also grows throughout the book. The tension is top-notch, the setting enchanting, the descriptive passages rich and full.

And I love the chase scene with Simon and "the boy Bill" that goes on for pages and pages.

Yes, it was written in 1965. Yes, some of the language is dated. But, like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I could read it again and again and always find something new to love.

I've heard people say they prefer the other books in the Dark Is Rising series, the books steeped in Arthurian lore that focus on the character Will (an Old One like Merlin), but I love the idea of normal, "real-life" kids getting mixed up in an otherworldly mystery with only their wits and courage to guide them. Good stuff.

Million Dollar Baby

Some days we just want to hop on a plane and go home. Then we sweep this little imp into our arms, cover her with kisses, and remind ourselves that it's all worth it.

Three-year residency requirement? Check.
Six months of foster care completed? Check.
Adoption papers filed? Check.

Wheels of bureaucracy in motion?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Boys of Summer

Hooray--pictures! They're ridiculously easy to add, as it turns out. I swear that "add image" button wasn't there the first seven times I posted.

The boys will be going back to school in two short weeks. I think we're all counting the days. The Filipino school year runs June to March, coinciding with the start of the rainy season. Can't say I'm sad to leave the summer heat behind! The rains linger until November. I've always liked rain, and the storms that pass through are impressive to see. Last year's Typhoon Mileno was the strongest we've seen in Manila. Not your typical five-minute downpour! It was humbling, and we didn't even get the worst of it. The provinces are usually the hardest hit, with appalling loss of life and property.

Speaking of nature's power, the second photo was taken in Tagaytay above one of the many active volcanoes in the Philippines. The city of Tagaytay is built along the rim of an ancient volcano. You can drive parallel to the rim and glimpse gorgeous views of Lake Taal, situated inside the giant extinct crater. You can drive down to the water's edge, hire a boat to cross the lake to an island in the center, then hire a horse and guide to take you up a trail to the rim of the "baby" volcano (pictured). Of course the horses are more like ponies and the guides try to gouge your wallet at every opportunity, but it really is a cool little day trip.

Friday, June 1, 2007

My poor little laptop was admitted to the computer hospital this week. The pangs of withdrawal I suffered for three entire days made me realize that perhaps I'm slightly addicted, just a very little bit. What a sense of disconnect!

The Fujitsu dealership (?) was set up like a doctor's office. You sign in with the receptionist, sit in a waiting room with funky chairs and wait to be called, then follow your assigned computer doc to his own special cubicle where he sits down with you to diagnose your baby's illness. Sure, it was only a damaged power port caused by my own reckless carting of the computer from room to room like a security blanket, but it was comforting to know my laptop was in capable hands.

In adoption news, I submitted our application and all relevant paperwork today. Next comes the home visit and hopefully a court date soon after!

In travel news, we're all booked for Singapore at the end of June. I'm counting the hours.