Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sleepy Sunday

I was 20 minutes late for church today because I drove right past the exit because I was daydreaming, and the next exit is 10 miles down the road. This is not the first time I've done this. *shakes head at self and sighs*

Also I wanted to share a cool quote I read on Harold Underdown's site, The Purple Crayon:

"The children know. They have always known. But we choose to think otherwise: it hurts to know the children know. If we obfuscate, they will not see. Thus we conspire to keep them from knowing and seeing. And if we insist, then the children, to please us, will make believe they do not know, they do not see. They are remarkable--patient, loving, and all-forgiving. It is a sad comedy: the children knowing and pretending they don't know to protect us from knowing they know."

-- Maurice Sendak, preface to I Dream of Peace (UNICEF, HarperCollins l994). With thanks to Sara Jane Boyer.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yeah, Sure, You Betcha

We're thinking of going to Minneapolis over spring break. The kids and I have never been (unless you count the airport). It's about a seven-hour drive, and seems like a cool city. We might even meet Aunt Niesja there and make it an all-out party. After all, nothing screams SPRING BREAK!!! like Minnesota. :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Which Christine Attempts to Join the 21st Century and Also Make Some Money

I finally caved and joined Facebook. Just what I needed--another way to waste time on the Internet! The hubby raves about it though, so we'll give it a shot.

Have also been doing some freelance writing. The pay is pretty abysmal, but at least it's pay.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This has to be the funniest (and saddest) email spam subject line I've ever seen:

"BUY a degree--the new way of earning a degree!"

There's a sad commentary in there somewhere about the world's definition of "earning."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Musings

First off, a summary of our Valentine's Day 2009: sick kids. :(

Though I did receive some gorgeous red roses with the longest stems I've ever seen. Thanks, sweetie!

Speaking of red, winter in Illinois brings an unexpected delight: cardinals. I love glancing out the kitchen window to spot a shock of red bright against the snow or perched among the bare branches. Such pretty things! I had never seen a cardinal before we moved here. They are a simple but striking reminder of God's glorious handiwork.

(This was labeled as a free stock photo. Any infringement is not on purpose!)

Oh, and re: deathmatch results: I don't actually believe there's any fair comparison between the Philippines and ANYWHERE in the US, except maybe the beaches. There's simply no place like home. It was just so strange for me to be missing Manila SO MUCH that it felt like a blog-worthy event. Illinois gets the big, shiny, make-believe belt buckle. Well-played!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deathmatch: Illinois vs. Philippines

I miss the Philippines today. Like, a lot. I'm having one of those glossy nostalgia days where all the icky stuff fades away and all I can remember is the stuff I liked.

I liked church. People always took time to smile and say hello.

I liked our huge bedroom with the octagon ceiling.

I liked traveling to Subic Bay and Boracay and the occasional foreign country.

I liked the malls. They were quite spacious (read: gigantinormotastical). And the movies with assigned seating that cost $2.

I liked the pretty flowers and our wonderful helpers and going to the Costco-type warehouse store and the Gingersnaps semiannual sale for the cutest little girl clothes evah.

I liked going to Chili's where half the people on staff knew not only our names but what we usually ordered. And they had valet parking!

I liked people selling goofy stuff in the middle of traffic, like fishing poles and steering wheel covers. And those fake-nose-and-glasses combos.

I loved Christmas in Manila. And the month of January, because it wasn't too hot.

I loved the amazing friends we made there.

Illinois gets pretty lonely sometimes. The winters are chilly (read: arctic), and the water is very hard. (We're renting a water softener to preserve the shiny new dishwasher dear husband installed this weekend.) People don't want to hear about your problems. The typical reaction last September when our basement flooded went something like this: "Your basement flooded? Yeah. So did a lot of other people's." I guess the midwestern mentality of picking yourself up and moving on is totally practical and sturdy and all that. No room for pity parties. It's just that sometimes I want to whine a little before I strap on the Teflon suit and get to work.

One thing I do love: the temp hit around 60 degrees here on Saturday. Glorious!

I'll sign off with a link I found today of a commercial for Fun Ranch, the big kids' complex near our home in the Philippines. Our boys spent 14 hours at the shoot for this commercial, and earned about $45 apiece. They ended up with roughly one second of screen time each. Their American friends from church were in it too. Click the link to play spot the white kids!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rants, Raves, and Randomness

Oh, dear. I’m definitely one of those bloggers who vacillates between productive spurts and long, dry spells.

I’ll pick up the ’08 review soon, hopefully, maybe. Honestly I’d rather not relive the first half of the year, but I’ll get to it eventually. *makes shifty eyes*

Rave: My big sister came from Denver to visit for a few days. It was so cool to see her. I drove to Chicago the night before her flight arrived to enjoy a peaceful night at the Hilton. It was heaven. After the airport we hit the Ikea, then talked the whole way back to Peoria. Man, I missed you, Sis! Hope we can do it again soon.

Rant: When I worked at Stampin’ Up! there was a woman who sold homemade brown-sugar scrub. It was divine. I’ve never tried a product since that could even come close. With the cold temps here my skin is like sandpaper, so I’ve tried the Wal-Mart brand of hazelnut scrub, which smells pretty good but doesn’t leave your skin any softer. I tried Bath & Body Works scrub, which works well, but I’m having issues with the scents. The first one I bought, Vanilla Blackberry Jasmine or some such thing, gave me a migraine as soon as I opened it. That went back to the store in a hurry. Next came mandarin lime, which has been the best so far, but it was the last one they had, so when it ran out I bought mint. Big. Mistake. I used some this morning and I smell like menthol shaving cream. It’s squicking me out just sitting here typing. Ugh.

Such problems, right? I’m also searching for a decent lotion that lasts a long time but doesn’t smell weird. Curel is the best I’ve found so far, but the hunt continues for that one perfect product. I never thought I’d miss the suffocating humidity of the Philippines, but the one benefit was perpetually soft skin.

Rave: On Monday the kids went sledding for the first time. (Although I think we took the First-Born sledding pre-Philippines, but that was years ago.) Middle Child had a blast. Completely fearless. Baby Screech…screeched. She is not a cold-weather child, which kind of makes sense considering where she was born. We went with the Johnson family and had a really great time, until the very last run when First-Born and my friend Lori had a spectacular crash with a little boy who crossed in front of them. No broken bones, thank goodness, but Lori got a heck of a shiner.

Random: The boys are into Pokemon and are always talking about powers and abilities and battles. They thought up powers for themselves, though I forget what those are, and then they decided that their baby sister has Screech power. Hence the use of her current nickname, Baby Screech. Never before in the history of the world has there been a more appropriate imaginary power bestowed upon such a deceptively harmless-looking child.

Rant: Our home warranty policy bites the big one. Our dishwasher broke a month ago and after several calls, they finally sent a guy out to take a look. He charged us $95 and told us the hard water basically destroyed the dishwasher. He left and we heard nothing for days. We followed up again last night to find out that sediment build-up isn’t covered.

Aaaaaaaaagggggggggggggggghhhhhhhh! Thanks for letting us know, people. And for taking so long to do absolutely nothing except charge us $95.

American Home Shield, I renounce thee! The unhelpful, villainous crooks.

Random: I’m entering two stories in the Highlights Fiction Contest this month. One’s already in the mail; the other will go out this week. It’s not a genre I’m totally comfortable writing. I definitely prefer longer pieces for older readers, but it was good for me to stretch a little. Heck, it was good for me to write, period, since the current work-in-progress has me pulling out clumps of hair.

Random: 30 Rock is a funny, funny show. We caught up on the first two seasons through NetFlix. The Husband tells me that I’m Liz Lemon. Or Tina Fey. Or some cross between the two. Should I be scared that I relate so well to so many of Liz’s dysfunctional traits? Blergh.

Happy Wednesday, World!

Monday, January 5, 2009


We had a busy month. Visited the arch in St. Louis and Navy Pier in Chicago. Had the pleasure of blessing our little girl with all the Hayes siblings in attendance. I saw Wicked; the boys saw a Cardinals game and a Rams game and met SpongeBob at King's Island in Ohio. Oh, and they started school. Whew.

Friday, January 2, 2009


The flooded basement pretty much consumed our attention this month.

Other items of note: Dear Husband's birthday and a nice day trip to Springfield to visit family.


We love, love, love Halloween, and we missed the fall season terribly while living in Manila, so this October was pure magic.

Halloween evening was so warm that our little Dora wore her costume without a coat.
We also managed to squeeze in several birthdays and a preseason Jazz game in Chicago. You just can't beat a month with pumpkins, autumn leaves, and trick-or-treating at houses that give away full-size candy bars.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Survived a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Took lots and lots of bad photos for my photography class, and even a few ok ones. The highlight: a class field trip to photograph barns at dawn.

Met my father-in-law in Chicago and took the kids to the zoo.

This is the child we nicknamed rhinocerous at birth. (He was extremely tiny, so his daddy picked something big and ferocious.) I couldn't resist this photo with his namesake.

Leaf fight.


Lots of illness this month, but otherwise it was a pretty laid-back holiday season. We weathered our first ice storm and enjoyed a peaceful Christmas day in our new home.

I love this pic (except for the fire coming out of my child's head). The Nintendo DS was a huge hit. Thanks, Santa!

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year, y'all! I've resolved to do a 2008 year-in-review, complete with pictures, over the next few days. I'll be working backward, since I'm still hunting for my pics from January. Here's a photo to get things started: